Do you sit and watch Raw in one long three hour chunk? No? So why read a review that takes about the same amount of time?
Check out our recap of the key moments then get caught up with them all on YouTube. Easy peasy.
Apollo Crews wins United States Championship
The push of Crews continues with his first taste of WWE gold at the expense of Andrade. A superb little match that allowed both men to show off their athleticism. Well worth seeking out the full match on this one.
With the ‘crowd’ around the ring, it felt more like a proper atmosphere for a match than any WWE match in months. (That’s to say, a little bit like one. Nowhere near sounding like an actual crowd of course.
As an aside, all the titles on Raw are now held by babyfaces. A surprisingly rare occurrence. don’t expect it to last.
The Iconics Get Vicious
Speaking of babyfaces losing titles, Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross might be prime candidates after this. Peyton Royce and Billie Kay have long been seen as comedy characters but this week showed they can be more serious heels with the attack on the tag champs. Nicely done. Royce in particular showed she has it in her to be a far more sadistic character than she has previously shown. Good stuff here.
Aleister Black & Humberto Carillo vs. Austin Theory & Murphy
This was a seriously fun match. The team of Seth Rollins’ new buddy and THE former Buddy already seemingly have great chemistry as angry, brainwashed young men. Sometimes a good match is simply a good match without much storyline advancement within the context of it. These guys are loosely feuding and it was designed to make the heels look good. Mission very much accomplished.
Seth Rollins’ Latest Sermon
He’s just fantastic isn’t he? We’ve raved about the Monday Night Messiah since this website opened its doors but my goodness does Seth Rollins deserve it.
This sadistic, self-righteous heel cult leader is the best character makeover in forever. What’s more, it fits right in with the empty arenas. You don’t need to hear a crowd. You want to be sucked in by what he is saying. Seth, we are believers!
Nia Jax vs. Charlotte vs. Natalya
A really good triple threat match to decide the number one contender for Asuka’s title at Backlash. It is already a little grating seeing Charlotte on every show, going after every title, seemingly playing a different character on each, but the match worked. The daughters of Ric Flair and Jim Neidhart have wonderful chemistry and Nia Jax’s power spots added to this rather than distracting from it. Well worth a watch.
The Street Profits vs. Lashley and MVP
Lashley & MVP are already a pairing with great chemistry. It is easy to believe with these two that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. We don’t need weeks of storyline to prove this, it’s just easy to accept that the addition of The Ballin’ One can make The All Mighty a legit presence immediately.
This was a dominant win and one that was needed to set the table for a Drew McIntyre vs. Lashley match that already looks like it has some serious spice at Backlash. The post match attack by the WWE Champion and pull apart was well executed, believable and has us excited for Backlash on Sunday 14th June.
To sum up, this wasn’t a vintage episode of Raw. It was fine and had some strong segments that did a good job of booking forward towards the PPV.
One thing WWE have been good at since WrestleMania is logical booking and storyline progression. It’s very old school, in a way.
The lack of crowds maybe means there is less hiding behind catchphrases and cheap heat in the arenas for aimless characters so they’ve been forced to ensure proper feuds and motivations for all. If so, let’s take that as a positive of this era and something that can be carried forward.