Monday Night Raw Review

Monday Night Raw Review

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Since my favorite WWE Superstar of all time Brad Maddox was fired in 2015, I haven’t watched an entire WWE program in its entirety. While I will keep up to date by reading wrestling blogs and listening to wrestling podcasts, I myself have not been watching whatever the WWE has been putting out for the past 5 years save a few clips here and there. However, due to the Coronavirus, I along with others have more free time on my hands. So, I decided I would give this weeks’ episode of Monday Night Raw a chance. Who knows, maybe I’ll regain my passion for the show and start watching every week again. 

Basically this whole show is just an attempt to sell their upcoming pay-per-view event known as Money In The Bank. This is an event where a group of superstars are in a free for all to attain the Money In The Bank Briefcase, which is dangling above the ring. The wrestlers all try to position the ladder below the briefcase and be the first one to gain possession of it. Whoever is able to do so is guaranteed a match with any champion that he or she chooses. This has led to some interesting moments in WWE history when people have chosen clever and calculated times to cash in on champions who may have been incapacitated in some way. Money In The Bank is one of the WWE’s better pay-per-views in my opinion, and depending on how this episode of Monday Night Raw goes, I might be tuning in on Sunday. 

The show begins with MVP who is hosting his own faux talk show known as the “VIP Lounge”. He promises that this week, his show will return to style, sophistication, and class. MVP invites 3 women wrestlers to the ring; Asuka, Shayna Baszler, and Nia Jax. Asuka is presumably from Japan or some other Asian country and speaks only the most rudimentary of English. Throughout the whole segment her sole contribution was shouting in a foreign language, and this, in my opinion, makes her a less than compelling character to watch. Baszler walks out and poses an impressive figure. The announcers remind the fans watching at home that she is a legitimate fighter and was even in the UFC for a while. Nia Jax is also impressive and it seemed like the commentators really figured that she was the favorite in the 3’s match on Sunday. This segment was short and ended with Shayna Baszler and Asuka simultaneously kicking Nia Jax out of the ring. In my opinion, this segment was not a strong start to the show. It really didn’t advance anything forward and it certainly did not make me want to watch Money In The Bank on Sunday. 

The next segment was definitely more interesting. There is one spot left in the Men’s Money In The Bank match on Sunday, and there is going to be a tournament to decide who that one competitor will be. The first match in the tournament is Bobby Lashley wrestling Titus O’neil. Titus is basically a joke who I’m not sure has ever won a match and not surprisingly Lashley pins him in less than a minute. 

Next comes out Akira Tozawa who is hoping to beat Bobby Lashley and secure his spot in the Money In The Bank Match. Tozawa is relatively new and so I don’t know much about him but he doesn’t seem to be too impressive. This is another short match which lasts literally less than 30 seconds. This has made Bobby Lashley look good but has really embarrassed both Titus Oneill and Akira Tazowa. 

LAshley’s third opponent is a little bit more formidable. Shelton Benjamin has a lot of experience in wrestling and has done pretty well for himself. I really didn’t think that Benjamin would defeat Bobby Lashley, but I was disappointed when the match lasted less than two minutes. 

The fourth opponent is Humberto Carillo who I literally had never heard of before watching this show. It seems Carillo gets his offense in by using quickness and strategy. He seems like an entertaining wrestler in my opinion. 

So much to my surprise, the WWE did something that really did surprise me. I figured that Bobby Lashley would pin Carillo and move on to the next opponent but the referee actually disqualified Lashley after he pushed the ref away from him. Of course this upset Lashley and he beat up Humberto Carillo which entailed that he was in no condition to wrestle in the next match in the tournament. 

Carillos’ next opponent is Angel Garza who the commentators point out is Humberto Carrilos’ cousin. Garza is escorted to the ring by the beautiful Zelina Vega. So far she has been the most interesting thing on the show to be honest with you. This was actually a good match and went on for well over 10 minutes ending with Carillo picking up the win.

The following participant is Austin Theory. I don’t know really anything about this guy but he has an impressive physique. He pretty much beats up on Carillo the whole match but gets careless towards the end and gets pinned by Carillo via a surprise victory. 

Much to my surprise, the next entrant is AJ Styles. Styles is one of the most well known and highly skilled wrestlers in the world, and I was happy to see him make his return to the ring. The two wrestlers have a respectable match which ends with AJ Styles picking up the win via submission. After the match, Styles adds insult to injury by attacking Carillo. 

As it turns out, Styles is the last entrant in the tournament which means that he will be entering into the Money In The Bank match on Sunday. I think this was a good choice by the WWE because while Styles might persuade fans to watch the pay-per-view, the other wrestlers who were given a chance most likely would not. 

At this point in the show the commentators implore the viewers to buy the WWE Network in order to watch the pay-per-view, which is being promoted with the tagline “The Risk Is Worth The Reward”. In my opinion this is a debatable tagline but I really think it’s a questionable choice when trying to promote a wrestling show. 

Next we had some quite frankly boring backstage interviews. Nothing really interesting came of these and it seemed like the WWE just had some time to fill on their show and so added these segments to the lineup. 

At the halfway point in the show, we got to see the tag-team of Ricochet and Cedric Alexander wrestle Brendan Vink and Shane Thorne. I am a big fan of Ricochet and Alexander and I was hoping that they would pick up the win, but after a greatly entertaining match they fell short. This was the best match on the show in my opinion because it seemed like both teams were evenly matched and both got some offense in. 

After the first tag team match we had another, this time with the Street Prophet versus the so called Viking Raiders. It makes me cringe to even write this but the 2 wrestlers gimmick is that they are actual vikings. This might be the worst idea in wrestling history and needless to say I’m not a fan of the Viking Raiders. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not a fan of the Street Prophets either, but they’re still better than the Viking Raiders. This match seemed like it went on for a really long time and ended with the Viking Raiders winning the match. 

Now it was time for some women’s competition and it was Charlotte Flair wrestling Liv Morgan. I am a huge fan of Liv Morgan and her unique character and wrestling style. All I know about Charlotte Flair is that she is the WWE Hall Of Famer Ric Flair’s daughter and that many WWE fans think that she has only been given as many opportunities as she has due to her lineage. The two have a good match and I for one would have to disagree with those people who downplay Charlotte Flair’s ability in the ring. After an entertaining match, Flair wins via submission. After the match the announcers really played up the effort that Liv Morgan gave and hyped her up a lot. It seems to me like Liv Morgan might be getting a big push forward or promotion in the women’s division moving forward which is something I would really like to see. 

Next it was main event time and wrestling were Buddy Murphy and Drew Mcintyre, who is now the WWE champion. I was shocked to see that Drew Mcintrye is the WWE champion because back in 2015 he was a member of the Three Man Band and essentially a comedy act. Now it seems like he has hit the gym hard and is getting a lot more respect. He even defeated Brock Lesnar! 

So the match begins and it turns out that Buddy Murphy has a friend out by the ring with him;Seth Rollins. This is not surprising as Seth Rollins will be wrestling McIntyre for the WWE Championship on Sunday’s Money In The Bank Pay-Per-View. 

I must say that McIntyre is a lot more intimidating with his new physique and gain in size. He has some great moves and puts on an entertaining match with Murphy. Murphy gets some moves in here and there but McIntyre of course gets the win. After the match Rollins and McIntyre have a staredown and Rollins gives McIntyre a superkick to end the show. It was an alright way to end the show and it built up their match on Sunday pretty well.

All in all I would say that this was a lackluster show and save for a few moments here and there I was less than impressed. Out of 10 I would rate it a 3.5. I enjoyed the women’s match and it was cool to see McIntyre looking the way he is now but other than that I would have been okay just reading the results online. 

So will I be tuning in on Sunday for The Money In The Bank pay-per-view event on the WWE Network? No, I will not. I am perfectly content just reading the results the next day and investing only around 5 minutes rather than actually watching it and investing around 3 hours. All in all, I would say that unless Brad Maddox makes his long awaited return to the ring, my days of watching each and every week are over.Monday 

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