On the go-home show to the Greatest Royal Rumble, Monday Night RAW hit St. Louis, Missouri just days before WWE journeys to Saudi Arabia.
A week removed from the Superstar Shake-Up, RAW was able to showcase what their newly acquired talent brings to the table. With acquisitions such as Jinder Mahal, Dolph Ziggler, Drew McIntyre, Authors Of Pain, and more - Monday Nights just got a whole lot more interesting.
Let's review how WWE performed on the go-home edition of RAW before what has the potential to be their biggest event of the year - The Greatest Royal Rumble:
WWE Honors Bruno Sammartino Before RAW
Just days after it was announced that legendary WWE Hall Of Famer Bruno Sammartino passed away, the WWE decided to honor the former WWE Champion with a 10 bell salute before the show got underway. All the WWE Superstars were front and center for the honors and stood on the ramp respectfully as the bell tolled.
Score - 10/10
Its always nice to see WWE pull off the classy act of recognizing one of its greats after they have passed. Sammartino was a legend and a pioneer in the professional wrestling industry and deserved the recognition on the Monday Night RAW platform.
Roman Reigns Confronts Brock Lesnar
To officially open up the show Paul Heyman and Universal Champion Brock Lesnar made their way down to the ring to cut a promo. Heyman put over Lesnar's accolades and bragged about the fat new WWE contract his client just signed. Just as he was "spoiling" how Lesnar would retain his title inside a Steel Cage against Roman Reigns in Saudi Arabia this Friday - The Big Dog's music hit.
Reigns said that he doesn't know how he's going to get back to the United States, playing off Heyman's notion that Lesnar would beat him so bad he'd be unable to return, but Reigns vowed to return with the Universal Championship:
Score - 6/10
This feud has been extremely underwhelming. If WWE wanted to pull the trigger on Reigns besting Lesnar, WrestleMania was the place to do it - bottom line. Heyman has been cutting the same promo since WrestleMania 30 in which he puts Lesnar over, and the fact that fans know Reigns will eventually topple Lesnar takes away from the intrigue.
Bobby Roode vs. Elias
It's nice to see a fresh new feud from WWE on the docket. If this is a longterm plan then I like it. Having Roode, a former NXT Champion coming off a United States Title chase, pair up with Elias who is in desperate need of a big program is a great idea.
Roode coming out to interrupt Elias' opening song was a great way to get the tensions started, and the finish to the match was a typical heel finish to get the man formerly known as The Drifter some heat. Elias smacked Roode's head against the ropes and got the roll-up pin for the win:
Score - 8/10
An Elias and Roode feud is a great program for fans to enjoy in the middle of the card. It should be interesting to see who goes over when it's all said and done.
"Woken" Matt Hardy and Bray Wyatt vs. The Ascension
Matt Hardy and Bray Wyatt are preparing to challenge for the vacant RAW Tag Team Titles, where they'll take on The Bar (Sheamus and Cesaro) - who recently moved to SmackDown Live - in Saudi Arabia at the Greatest Royal event.
Wyatt and Hardy worked well together as a team and picked up a very impressive win. The pair are the favorites to walk away with the RAW Tag Team Titles and should put on quite the bout against The Bar in Saudi Arabia:
Score - 7/10
Hardy and Wyatt are actually quite a very good tag team, and the WWE Universe seems to be very much behind them. They'll likely receive a great reaction if they can capture the RAW Tag Team Titles.
The Sami & Kevin Show
With The Miz taking his Miz TV segment to SmackDown Live after being moved by way of the Superstar Shake-Up, RAW is now in need of a spunky talk show to fill the void. Enter The Sami & Kevin Show with Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens! Owens and Zayn's first guest was RAW General Manager Kurt Angle.
After some witty back-and-forth banter between the two sides, Angle announced that Zayn and Owens would be taking on the team of Bobby Lashley and Braun Strowman later in the night:
Score - 9/10
Owens and Zayn were absolutely brilliant on the mic and delivered some great zingers to Angle. The Olympic Hero responded nicely by announcing their match against Strowman and Lashley. An awesome segment.
Dolph Ziggler and Drew McIntyre vs. Titus Worldwide
This is an interesting pairing between Ziggler and McIntyre, and it's hard not to believe that a turn is coming from either one of these men in the future. With that being said, McIntyre and Ziggler are doing well with one another and were able to defeat Apollo Crews and Titus O'Neil with relative ease.
Afterwards Ziggler and McIntyre cut a promo. Ziggler said that it's nice to have someone as dangerous as McIntyre have his back, and McIntyre called out today's Superstars who have no passion. He ended off by saying he's not what WWE wants, but what they desperately need:
Score - 7/10
The match wasn't the best, but it wasn't the worst either. Ziggler and McIntyre's promo afterwards is what really made this segment interesting, and brought a ton of intrigue into what's next for these two.
Jinder Mahal vs. Chad Gable
Earlier in the night Chad Gable was backstage with Kurt Angle and thanked him for bringing him over to Monday Night RAW. Jinder Mahal interrupted and was offended that Angle made him defend his United States Title on his RAW debut last week, which he lost to Jeff Hardy. Gable told Mahal to show some respect towards Angle, which led to a shove. Angle broke things up and announced their match was up next.
Mahal and Gable put on a decent match, and it finished rather creatively. The Modern Day Maharaja locked in the Calas, but Gable used the ropes to walk out of it and get a roll-up pin for the win:
Score - 6/10
Another solid mid-card feud for two guys WWE wants to get involved in the show. But it's nothing more than that - solid. Gable has yet to prove himself as a singles talent and Mahal isn't as interesting as he was with the World Title. It should be interesting to see if this feud continues next week.
Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn vs. Bobby Lashley and Braun Strowman
Surprisingly this was fairly competitive with Lashley in the ring. Zayn and Owens teamed up on the former ECW World Champion inside the ring and downed him a bit. Lashley was eventually able to get the hot tag and let Strowman bring them back:
Score - 8/10
It was an interesting dynamic seeing Lashley and Strowman team together. Perhaps this could be a team for RAW's Tag Team Division in the near future, leading to perhaps a singles program between the pair after they split.
Baron Corbin vs. No Way Jose
WWE seems to really want to put the machine behind Corbin. Prior to his scheduled match with Jose WWE had been airing promos for his RAW debut all night long. When the time finally came to see him in the ring, it ended with disappointment.
Jose came out to the ring ready for a fight, but Corbin accused the recent NXT call-up of planning to ambush him with his conga line. He retreated backstage and returned to attack Jose as he made his exit up the ramp:
Score - 9/10
This was a good way to get heat on Corbin, who WWE obviously sees as a top heel in RAW's future. If they're able to pull off a slow build for him on Monday Nights, Corbin could have a very bright future in store for himself
Seth Rollins and Finn Balor vs. The Miztourage (Bo Dallas & Curtis Axel)
WWE Intercontinental Champion Seth Rollins and Finn Balor are two of the top fan favorites on Monday Night Currently. Given that they're not able to chase the Universal Title, and they can't feud against one another since they're both babyfaces, having them team up against a common enemy is the next best option.
With The Miz gone to SmackDown Live, earlier in the night Axel and Dallas approached both Rollins and Balor about joining their ranks. They first asked Rollins to create The New Shield with them - and were denied - before being denied by Balor when they asked if they could join The Balor Club.
Of course, Rollins and Balor picked up the win to remain strong and give the fans a happy ending to the match:
The reason I rate this so low is because this feud has absolutely zero substance to it. Dallas and Axel are nothing more than comedic relief at this point, and aren't a series tag team. To have your two top fan favorites on Monday Nights doing anything other than building up a title feud is pathetic.
10 Woman Tag Team Match
All night WWE had been promoting their main event of RAW - a Ten Woman Tag Team match between the teams of Bayley, Sasha Banks, Nia Jax, Ember Moon, and Natalya vs. Sarah Logan, Liv Morgan, Ruby Riott, Alexa Bliss, and Mickie James. Again, another match that leads up to nothing and a multi-man match for the Women that WWE continues to beat like a dead horse.
The match ended in a disqualification when Mickie James began taunting Natalya, who had suffered a leg injury and was being tended to by officials at ringside. Ronda Rousey made her way to the ring and confronted James, locking her in an armbar to end the match in the disqualification:
James and Ronda will be working together on the upcoming European tour, hence the reason they had their spot on RAW. Rousey was the only interesting part of this match. Rather than give Bayley and Sasha Banks' feud some spotlight, or highlight RAW's new Women's Champion in Nia Jax - another multi-match for the women was created.
What did you think of this week's episode of Monday Night RAW? Did you agree with our scores of tonight's various matches and segments? Let us know your thoughts on the matter in the comments section below!
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