Raw recap & reactions: Raw is a Rerun

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WWE loved last week’s main event story so much, they did it twice. Oh, the humanity.

Let’s get into it this week, people! You know Claire, right? She has a dope blog. I do the color commentary.

Let’s talk Raw!


The Stupid Saga Continues

Raw kicked off this week with a hilarious troll job by one Kevin Owens. Chicago lost its mind when Stone Cold Steve Austin’s music hit. They were less enthused when KO appeared dressed like the rattlesnake. KO can take anything and make it work because he’s committed. Watching him rock a bald cap, knee braces, an Austin 3:16 shirt, and jean shorts that were a little too big for him was perfect. While his Austin impression wasn’t perfect, his attitude made all the difference in the world. The fact he played the crowd so easily—and me—and then did it again in the same segment? Perfection. While not as great as what Shawn Michaels did that fabled night in Canada many moons ago, it was still great.

With KO firmly entrenched with Austin, that means Seth Rollins still needs something to do. Because WWE still thinks the story of having no story is a great story. Seth not only interrupted a tag match—we’ll get to that—but he put his nose in AJ Styles’ business as well. Seth wants Edge because AJ has Edge? While AJ was telling the world why he wants to destroy Edge, Seth told the Phenomenal One to go home, rest up, and let him get a piece of Edge.

Adam Pearce and Sonya Deville—wearing her jacket—declared if Seth beats AJ, he takes Edge’s spot at the big show. WWE loved the stupid thing they did last week so much they decided to do it again.

I was so annoyed by that, it was hard to focus on the match. Seriously, why would you do the exact same thing with the exact same stakes two weeks in a row? How, Sway? Actually, more importantly, why Sway?

Redoing what you did before with a different piece isn’t creative. It’s lazy. And insulting to think no one will care or notice.

But I digress. AJ’s still smarting from Edge’s attacks a couple weeks ago. Specifically, his neck. Seth knew that going into the match and focused his attack on the head and neck. AJ tried to bring the old AJ Styles back but that was kinda impossible given the opponent.

Seth used neckbreakers, headlocks, dropkicks to the head, and even used the ropes and turnbuckles to his advantage. As the match wore on, AJ’s equilibrium was clearly off. He was a step slow going to the top turnbuckle for a rope attack and wasn’t quick enough to capitalize on any opening presented to him. This was actually a pretty good way to tell the story over time and underline the fact that if AJ can’t deal with Seth Rollins, how is he supposed to deal with Blue light Edge?

The turning point of the match was Seth pausing to explain his motives to AJ. Seth likes AJ and this isn’t personal. He just wants a spot at Mania and wants AJ to go home and be a family man. This got under AJ’s skin, and the former WWE Champion went off. Phenomenal Blitz set off a flurry of offense from Styles. He event went for the Styles Clash a couple times but to no avail. Seth eventually regained his footing with a Falcon Arrow that didn’t put AJ away. The two men kept battling, with AJ showing some innovative offense, including a torture rack into a power bomb that was very dope.

But, alas, for Seth Rollins, it isn’t meant to be. Remember Edge? I mentioned him a paragraph ago. The Rated R Superstar showed up to attack Styles, because of course he did, giving AJ the DQ win and causing Seth to throw a tantrum on the Raw set as the show closed.

Let’s think about this for a while: The main story on Raw a couple weeks away from WrestleMania is whether or not Seth Rollins has a match. That’s the story. Not the WWE Championship. Not even the Raw Women’s title. But whether Seth has a match. We ended Raw two weeks in a row with Seth upset at not getting his way. What makes it even weirder is they’re putting him in matches with people who have solid stories built over several weeks. I can’t even watch the matches with the added suspense of picking a winner or a loser because I know the loser is Seth Rollins the minute the matches are announced.

Straight up and down? This story gets both a P and a U. It stinks.


How Much a Dollar Cost?

I was initially wary of Becky Lynch’s promo this week. Mostly because she pulled out the folding chair and sat in the middle of the ring a la Edge. While I’m not a fan of someone doing the thing that someone else does or did, Becky, shocker, made it work. Someone will correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t recall getting an actual explanation from Becky for her heel turn. This week, she explained it in stark terms and I dug every second. Becky cares about “her precious,” the Raw Women’s championship. That’s it. That’s the most important thing in her life and the only thing worth selling her soul to obtain. And it worked because it felt like Becky unfiltered, not through the guise of Big Time Becks or The Man.

Becky wants to take away everything that Bianca uses to define herself. First her championship, then her voice, and soon her hair. Becky doesn’t believe Bianca is ready to sell her soul to gain the world. And you know what? I agree with her. While I’m a huge Bianca fan, she doesn’t show that ruthlessness Becky has in spades. Bianca isn’t ready to sacrifice fans and friends for a championship.

I like the extra layer this adds to a story that truthfully didn’t need anything else. It makes me wonder whether Bianca is ready to do all the things Becky is ready to to to win at WrestleMania. Just how long one is willing to dance with the devil is a nuanced story to tell and if—IF—WWE is headed that way with this match, then props to them. I hope truly it’s more than just lip service.


Extracurriculars

VEER!

APRIL 4! THAT IS THE DATE, PEOPLE!

The New Face of Vengeance

Chad Gable told the world his partner, Otis, is the new face of vengeance. Turns out those words might be more apt for the Street Profits.

Before we get to that, there was a tag match between Alpha Academy and RK-Bro. It started with Otis in control, getting the drop on Riddle. Riddle took the beating for most of this match, until Randy came in with the hottest of hot tags. Randy had the advantage until Chad Gable got a bit of momentum with a pair of awesome German suplexes. Seriously, frame that man’s suplexes.

One blind tag to Riddle and a Bro Derek, the match was over with Gable on his back. That’s when the Profits came in, cleared house, and showed their new heel or tweener attitude that is so necessary. I love this new vibe for the Profits.

Weirdness…

Rey Mysterio & Dominik faced those Dirty Dawgs in a tag match. Oh, and Miz was on commentary. This makes sense, right? Let’s move the story between Miz, Rey, and Dom forward in prep for their stupendous match at WrestleMania.

Yeah, nah.

The match was briefly interrupted by Seth Rollins, only for WWE officials to cut off Seth’s mic.

Once the match continued, we got a pretty good tag match. The bout was designed to give Dom a rub and the kid looked good. Showcasing moves from his dad and Uncle Eddie, Dom looked smooth and clearly benefitted from having Dolph and Roode as opponents.

After Dom scored the pin for his team, Miz was out for heat. Not only did he deliver a Skull Crushing Finale to Rey, but he removed the man’s mask. I don’t have to tell you that’s a big mistake and the ultimate sign of disrespect. Removing a Luchador’s mask is always a cheap way to get heat, but damn it’s effective. Chicago, and by proxy everyone else, truly detests Miz now. I’m ready for Dom and Rey to get medieval on him.

Fooled You!

Carmela and Queen Zelina wanted everyone to think they were on two different pages in two very different books. This came to a head during the tag match between Nattie & Shayna Baszler and Rhea Ripley & Liv Morgan. Mela came out during the match to complain to her fiancé, clearly taking focus away from the match.

Multiple weeks in a row, WWE pulled this trick but each time just packs too much into one segment. The fact they did this one other time on this very show this week makes it even more redundant.

But anyway, after Nattie and Shayna picked up the W, Zeilna and Carmela attacked everyone, then hugged in the middle of the ring. We were supposed to feel tricked or hustled. Instead, I felt mildly annoyed.

Balor vs. Theory…Again

I’m sorry, dear readers, I cannot get into this again. How many times can we see Finn Balor fight Austin Theory? I just can’t do it. Pat McAfee at ringside to mess with Theory, and ultimately cost him the match, is definitely a new wrinkle, but the fact we’re doing this match again shows the lack of creativity and a surprising lack of depth on a roster for a company that should have no problem stocking its coffers.

Apollo’s Broken Chariot

Look, I really tried caring about this handicap match between Omos, Apollo & Commander Azeez. Then it started and it just didn’t work. Omos then got on the mic AGAIN and asked for a challenge. AGAIN.

Love is in the Air?

Sigh. This 24/7 Championship thing between Reggie, Dana Brooke, Tamina, and Tozawa is still a thing. Of all the things, it’s definitely on television. Their tornado inter-gender match was over before it started. There’s a place for this but not when Raw is struggling to get the more important things right.


This was not a very good edition of Monday Night Raw. We’re a few weeks away from WrestleMania and Raw should feel like appointment television. Instead, it feels like an item on a list of chores.

Grade: D

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. Your turn.

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