The Best of Raw
The Most Obnoxious in the World
Let’s get this straight. Whether he’s babyface or heel, Shane McMahon is absolutely unbearable. But at least as a heel, I don’t have to feel bad about relentlessly booing his smug, sweaty face.
And even with a limited promo game, he was effective last night. While Stephanie has arbitrarily returned to full-blown villain status after months of being a stern yet fair authority figure on Raw, it was Shane’s obnoxious ways that drew the most crowd heat. The elder McMahon sibling antagonised MizDad for a bit, reminded the live audience that he was “The Best in the World”, repeated the sentiment in what sounded like the sort of French that he learnt two minutes before heading out to the ring, and then got jumped by The Miz.
It was a neat little segment that set up Shane as a truly detestable douche and let us know that The Miz was now a Raw talent. Which, given Miz’s uncanny ability to always be on the better show, is likely a good omen for the red brand.
Hey, EC3 is He… Oh, Nevermind
Since his call-up in January, EC3 has barely featured on WWE programming other than the occasional awkward flirt with Mandy Rose or lathering himself in baby oil backstage. So you would be forgiven for thinking that perhaps he’d be given a chance to display his talents in a rare in-ring appearance on Raw.
Well, nope, because Braun rammed him into the LED boards at the top of the ramp before tossing him off the stage and through a platform. It’s unfortunate that EC3 would be proverbially thrown to the wolves here, but I’ll gladly forgive it given the larger context.
@BraunStrowman just DESTROYED @therealec3! #RAW #SuperstarShakeUp pic.twitter.com/YOmUJvVubE
— WWE Universe (@WWEUniverse) April 16, 2019
Braun was presented like a cartoon giant throughout most of 2018 and decidedly suffered as a result. Recent weeks have seen ‘The Monster Among Men’ treated like more of a – well, a monster – and it’s made him look absolutely awesome. This is what we need from Braun: a dangerous, unforgiving, violent destroyer.
Becky Two Belts
In a world where Braun is launching human beings through parts of the staging area, the question is ‘who would dare stand up to such a beast?’ Well, before Strowman had even left the scene of the crime, Becky’s music hit and she strolled out for her scheduled match against Ruby Riott, throwing a little nod at Braun and sympathetically grimacing at the sight of EC3’s carcass. It reminded us all that ‘the Champ Champ’ doesn’t cower, even at the sight of a grizzly, surprisingly oily murder.
Immediately following this little encounter, Lynch made short work of the Riott Squad, picking up the submission victory over Ruby. This prompted first Natalya to come out to challenge Becky, quickly followed by the ‘Sexy, Sassy, Chatty, Punchy, (occasionally Botchy) Southern Belle’, who announced that she and Natalya would be having a match to determine who would go on to challenge ‘The Man’ for her titles.
Lacey is impressive for sure. Threw one knockout punch, managed to put the whole building to sleep.
— The Man (@BeckyLynchWWE) April 16, 2019
A decent match ensued, which Lacey Evans predictably won. Personally, I’m not nearly as down on Lacey as many others are. She’s clearly super athletic, with enough strength and charisma to see her make waves in the women’s division. And man, that BME she hit on Natalya for the finish! I’m actually looking forward to her program with Lynch.
Sasha Off The Grid
We’ve all heard the rumours of discontent surrounding Sasha Banks of late. She reportedly wasn’t happy about dropping the Women’s Tag Team Titles at WrestleMania and hasn’t appeared on Raw since.
This week saw Bayley leaving a voicemail for her partner, when she was approached by The IIconics. It’s a small detail but I appreciate WWE at least acknowledging Sasha’s unexplained absence from the show.
The Haunted Doll House
I fully appreciate that whatever incarnation of Bray Wyatt ultimately debuts after all of these clips is destined to disappoint. There is no way that he lives up to the hype created first by the box bird and now new insert – AND SCARIEST THING THAT I’VE EVER SEEN – the haunted dollhouse, complete with animatronic pale doll gently swaying in a rocking chair. And then ominously laughing.
? #RAW pic.twitter.com/JQF3Vd4y7J
— WWE (@WWE) April 16, 2019
Having said that, these teases (as silly as they are) present a welcome change of pace in an otherwise plodding show. In an ocean of tuna, Bray’s video packages are the Sarcastic Fringeheads. Google it.
The Phenomenal Main Event
Ignoring Michael Cole’s abysmal commentary (see: “This. Is. Phenomenal” and “He’s here!”), as well as Baron Corbin again appearing in the main event of yet another Raw, the six-man tag which ended the night had plenty of positives to offer.
First off, I thought Drew McIntyre looked great. It’s a shame that he was once again sucked towards the mid-card vortex created by Corbin and Bobby Lashley, but the giant Scotsman somehow was able to overcome it and shine. For most of the match, he looked absolutely devastating, only conquered once Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins united to drive him over the guard rail.
On the other side of the equation, Reigns and Rollins’ mystery partner was revealed to be AJ Styles. The former WWE Champion is far too good to feel as tired as he was towards the end of his tenure on the blue brand, and a switch to Raw could help freshen him up. Styles is by miles the biggest star to join Monday nights and looked to have good chemistry with the more entrenched stars on the red brand, possibly setting up some pretty intriguing matchups down the road.
Ultimately Styles hit Lashley with the Phenomenal Forearm to pick up the win, leaving the final shot of the night being him stood next to Rollins and Reigns. That might be an image we should get used to seeing.
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