New-Look Monday Night RAW Kicks Off With A Bang, But There’s Still Room For Improvement
Written by Drew Hill on October 1, 2019
Photo credit: youtube.com
The first event of WWE Premiere Week has come and gone.
In my first article for BSR, I am going to be giving a recap of the highlights and botches from the season premiere of Monday Night RAW.
RAW has received a huge face lift. For starters, Vic Joseph and Dio Maddin, formerly of 205 Live, bring their talents to Monday nights. Joseph and Maddin bring a more nuanced, toned back style to commenting.
Most glaringly, however, is the return of pyro to the show. The returning addition to pillowing smoke, blasting flamethrowers and firework explosions add a much needed flair to many superstar entrances.
The big heels
RAW opened Monday Night with Brock Lesnar absolutely crippling both Rey Mysterio and his son Dominick. Lesnar, in a show of strength in preparation for a WWE Championship match against Kofi Kingston this Friday on the season premiere of Smackdown on FOX, delivers multiple F-5’s to the pair, forcing Mysterio out of his Universal Championship match later in the night against Seth Rollins. This even leads to a great promo later in the evening by Paul Heyman.
However, Bray Wyatt still holds the honor of being the best thing in wrestling today. After another incredibly uncomfortable episode of the Firefly Funhouse, Wyatt makes his presence known by being the only okay thing going on in the main event.
We also live in the greatest timeline: All hail King Corbin, long may he reign!
RAW was a good night for WWE tag teams. Heavy Machinery of Smackdown Live had a match against the current Raw Tag Team Champions Robert Roode and Dolph Ziggler. Heavy Machinery, as expected, retain their status as one of the most entertaining tag teams around. That being said, they’ve somehow turned Roode and Ziggler into an impressive team, taking the victory after a well placed Glorious DDT.
Following that was a spectacle with The Viking Raiders and The OC. Finally, The Viking Raiders are being given a chance to truly shine on the main roster, and showcases like this against The OC are exactly how you get people interested in tag team wrestling. The Viking Raiders end the match with a splash from the top turnbuckle, and it is impressive as all hell that a guy that big like Ivar can pull off incredible aerial maneuvers throughout the whole match.
Ricochet vs Cesaro
In a match that could have easily gone on an extra 20 minutes, Ricochet and Cesaro somehow both came through looking like absolute gold. Ricochet has a chance to deliver a decent promo at the beginning, and Cesaro gets his opportunity to deliver a scathing heel promo and unleash some incredible moves against the real-life superhero. Just give this pairing a 20 minute spot at Hell In A Cell PLEASE!
I can only assume this is the work of Vince McMahon that now RAW is the home of not one, but TWO angles about cuckoldry. How did we get here? After weeks of a slightly comical, but mostly uncomfortable angle with Mike and Maria Kannelis involving her infidelity, claiming that her baby is owned by half the roster, we are now introduced to the latest inspiration for an upcoming episode of Maury: Rusev, Lana and Bobby Lashley.
The main event of the season premiere of RAW was a match involving Seth Rollins and Rusev. It was a chance to blast Rusev into the spotlight once again. However, it was used for a cheap gag and two solid minutes of making out. I sure hope that next week we get a steamy half hour love making session between Rusev and Lio Rush in retaliation. I must repeat: How did we get here?
Jerry “The King” Lawler and the elderly
It was a rough night for the 65-year-old and up demographic. For starters, Lawler was considerably my least favorite part of the show. He just isn’t great on commentary, constantly pointing out the obvious or leading random non-sequiturs. Hopefully Heyman gets his way, and we can get the two man booth of Maddin and Joseph in the future.
We were also treated to a brand new episode of MizTV featuring Ric Flair and Hulk Hogan. Flair seemed to have trouble stringing together sentences, and Hogan spent his screen time saying the same lines he’s been saying the past 20 years. It turns out that Mr. McMahon has selected his elderly totems to sacrifice to our second Saudi Arabia show this year, but fortunately he isn’t sending them for a match. Instead, Flair and Hogan are choosing captains for a team, and those captains will choose who is on their team, and those teams will have a five on five tag match. Much like Monday Night RAW as a whole, there really is no reason for Flair or Hogan to be involved at all.
My final complaint is aimed at Sasha Banks. There are only three confirmed matches for the Hell In A Cell Pay-Per-View(PPV), which is only five days away. Banks is going to be locked inside the cage with RAW Women’s Champion Becky Lynch. How can someone absolutely botch this pairing SO BAD? There is NO MOMENTUM.
Every week, Sasha Banks comes out and is made to look incredibly weak, especially in comparison to Lynch. Banks isn’t winning matches without either interference or cheating tactics. Take her match with Alexa Bliss on RAW as an example. After a good showing from Bliss, Banks tricks her and wins via roll-up. Had they left it there, I would have thought it was weak, but she would have had the win.
After her win, Lynch comes down to the ring, and Banks high tails it into the audience. She’s one of the Four Horsewomen representing some of the finest women’s talent on the main roster. How is it that she is by far and away the most underbooked, but we’re supposed to hold her to a high standard? The only positive I can give her for this evening is that at least we didn’t get Michael Cole telling us “IT’S BOSS TIME”. Give me a reason to believe that she has at chance at Hell In A Cell, PLEASE!