Mike Kanellis wins and loses his first ever title in WWE! The OC get ALL THE GOOOOOLD! And Cedric Alexander just jumped off the TitanTron screen. RAW, YOU’VE GOTTEN TOO GOOD TOO FAST, I WASN’T READY!
And it’s reportedly all because Paul Heyman now has almost complete control of the show.
Click the timestamps in the video description below to go straight to any of those stories.
I’m Oli Davis – give us a subscribe, press the thumbs up button, and answer our question of the day in the comments: Who should beat Maria Kanellis for the 24/7 title? Because I’ll be replying to people FROM OUTTA NOWHERE! And click the ‘i’ above my head to give your rating of the show – where you can choose from: RawSome, Cor, AVRAWGE, Poor and RawFul – as I review the 29th July episode of Monday Night Raw!
The show opened with an epic voice over video package recapping the storied history of WWE’s… 24/7 title that’s only been in existence two months – as if it was a 40s news reel. It was a good gag that fed directly into the first match – a mixed tag of R-Truth and Carmella taking on …Drake Maverick and …Drake Maverick’s wife Renee Michelle.
And out of all those people, Mike Kanellis ended the segment as champion.
But as is the title’s way, that reign didn’t last long because his real-life wife Maria threatened to – quote – “kick him in the vagina” Attitude Era, and pinned him to become the new champion. Which was objectively kinky everyone thinks that that says nothing about me.
And because Maria has the protective forcefield of being pregnant, nobody can touch her. I mean, WWE would never, ever do a something as distasteful as miscarriage angle. Again.
Weirdly, the only challenger set up to Maria was Braun Strowman, who was seen breathing very heavily after her photoshoot, potentially foreshadowing Kanellis being his manager.
Overall, it’s a great new direction for the 24/7 title, as the Maverick/Truth feud had already dramatically peaked.
WWE get a lot of flak for not being the best in the world at many parts of wrestling, but over the last few years they’ve genuinely becoming the leading creative force in gauntlet match stipulations.
Here it was used to get over everyone involved, apart from Sami Zayn, with Rey Mysterio and Cesaro having the best in-ring action of the night with uppercuts, uppercuts and, you guessed it, more uppercuts, Andrade looking great dominating a fatigued Mysterio, and Ricochet beating Andrade in an exciting finale, meaning he’ll face AJ Styles for the United States title at SummerFest, who himself was watching backstage dressed as Daniel Bryan.
Then continuing the hot start to the show, The Revival defended their tag team titles against The O.C. (California) and The Usos, starring the recently arrested for DUI Jimmy Uso.
But in a change from WWE’s usual booking, this DUI wasn’t rewarded with a tag title win, with Jimmy instead taking the losing fall The O.C. (California) – who became the new tag team champions. Meaning they now all have titles.
This match was actually really good, got a lot of time and allowed the guys in there to steadily build its pacing.
The Viking DON’T MENTION THE WAR EXPERIENCE Raiders took on enhancement talent Johnny James and Brandon Joyce. Squash matches are an effective use of building the Raiders up, but the live crowd are worryingly quiet for them.
That isn’t the case for the Street Profits, though, who’ve been protected in backstage promos since their main roster debut. Montez Ford is so charismatic, he even made me like Seth Rollins for a bit when they all said Burn It Down together.
Even A Moment of Bliss didn’t drag next – despite Alexa’s inconsistent heel/face allegiances in her promo.
It was all to build Alexa’s match against Becky Lynch later on, which itself was used to build Becky’s SummerFest match against Natalya, which also had a little side build of Becky vs Nikki Cross – a fantastic multi-layered weaving of storylines and characters that elevate the whole division rather than just the two people fighting for the title.
Becky’s match against Alexa was called off because Bliss ‘injured’ her ankle, so Lynch beat Nikki instead – which was all a contrived plot for Bliss and Cross to beat her up together afterwards. Contrived because… why not just double team her in the first place before taking two losses?
Natalya chased them off, but then put Becky in the Sharpshooter as a receipt for Lynch attacking her earlier in the day. Backstage, Natalya summed up why the women’s division suddenly feels a lot more relevant: explaining that it’s not about friendships – which is WWE’s lazy, semi-misogynistic way of writing female characters – it’s about professionalism. And even more awesomely, she challenged Becky to make it a submission match at SummerFest.
After a recap of Dolph Ziggler superkicking Shawn Michaels on last week’s SmackDown – Look at SmackDown, being all recapped on Raw like WWE actually cares about it – Ziggler came out to HBK’s music as an effective heel troll – and also a fun reminder of one of Dolph’s many forgotten gimmicks where he’d come out as a different Legends every week back in 2017.
Rollins beat him up everywhere to avenge Michaels, but it was all just a set up for Brock Lesnar’s music to hit, and more shockingly, have him actually turn up!
Lesnar then started an awesome beatdown of Rollins, somehow making the tired formula of loads of F5s feel new and dangerous, hitting multiple finishers on an upright chair, with Seth bleeding from his mouth to emulate internal bleeding. Attitude Era.
Crucially, the angle was given time to breathe, with paramedics coming down and stretchering him backstage, going through multiple adbreaks.
And making the WWE backstage area feel like an actual living, breathing environment, Roman Reigns went to check on his buddy – where were you 10 minutes ago?! – and then got jumped by Samoa Joe and the O.C., (California!) for Brock to pull Seth out of an ambulance and F5 him onto the stretcher!
And is if that wasn’t enough, Samoa Joe then called Reigns out for a fight in the closing segment, which started a mass brawl with Drew McIntyre, The Usos, The O.C. (California) and a crazed Cedric Alexander jumping from the top of the TitanTron screen onto all of them! The babyfaces stood tall for the amazingly chaotic ending.
Every segment felt like it meant something. Matches went through commercial breaks. The angles were well executed, paced and exciting. The drama built throughout the show. And they somehow did this all with absolutely zero Baron Corbin and Shane McMahon.
I’m very, very happy to say – because I sadly don’t get to say this much at all – this week’s Raw is a 5/5 In Awe.
Laurie will have more on the backstage reason Raw was so good in a bit but first!
As a special treat for the SWAFT Nation, if you visit WrestleCrate.co.uk and use the discount code WTTV, you’ll get a free autograph bundle. WrestleCrate is a monthly mystery box full of loads of wrestling goodies, which has items from the biggest promotions in wrestling.
Thanks Oli, cracking review there champ.
On with the news now and the endless revolving door of talent between wrestling companies continues as Ring of Honor loses a couple more people.
Including ties being broken with the NWA and producer Chris Resnick.
One rather interesting one though is Chris Sabin, half of one of my favourite tag teams of all time the Motor City Machine Guns.
Sabin went out injured with a torn ACL back in January and had his contract expire shortly after that, so he moved over to Impact to work as a producer briefly.
But now, he’s up to something completely different:
“Such a strange, almost nostalgic feeling it is to be in Orlando again.”
Following it up with this snippet of a logo. For the ruddy WWE performance centre!
Ryan Satin over at Pro Wrestling Sheet has reported that Sabin is working as a guest trainer at the PC this week.
With his injury set to take somewhere between 8-12 months to recover from, could this be the start of longer relationship with WWE as a trainer?
I hope so because I’m sure he’s got loads of wisdom to impart, but there’s a bit of me that just wants to see him wrestle in a WWE ring. A boy can dream right?
Speaking of boys and dreams. Remember Emma?
Otherwise known as the far better ring name and real name Tenille Dashwood.
Well, similarly to Sabin, Tenilllina was also at Ring of Honor until an injury sidelined her from in ring competition back in the Fall of 2018.
She returned to in-ring action at a Black Label Pro promo this Saturday – and then it was announced last night that she has signed with Impact.
She’ll debut for the company in August at tapings in Mexico City.
She definitely seemed like someone who would have been on AEW’s shopping list too, so this move by Impact may well have dashed their hopes of wood – which sounds grosser than it actually is. They didn’t get Emma…
But they did get hung… Hangman Page. Who may not have got the memo about wins and losses mattering.
He made an appearance on Busted Open Radio to chat all things AEW, but when asked if he could still get over in a loss to Chris Jericho at All Out he said:
“Yeah, I think so. My plan from the beginning has been to be the first champion, but I think [I can get over in a loss], People want to watch and have characters that they can follow their character’s stories for a long time and relate to them in some type of way. I don’t think someone has to win every single match to create a connection with the fans. My career is a testament to that. I’m pretty sure I had a piss poor [win-loss] record, even in Ring of Honor. I don’t think that’s the thing that necessarily gives you a connection with the fans.”
This is why you’re not an Executive Vice President Adam, gotta tow that company line, you’re a hangman you should be good with ropes.
Thankfully he clarified before Cody and the Bucks sent him the way of Adam Cole:
“Yes [wins and losses matter]. I guess that sounds contradictory to what I was just saying. I think they matter in the confines of, if you lose this match, where do you go in terms of position of the card. But in connecting with fans, I don’t think [wins and losses] necessarily matter in that way.”
Somewhere where it seemed like wins and losses have finally started mattering is on Raw, just ask Drake Maverick, all those losses have turned him into an incel.
Raw this week was actually really good. And we may have found the reason why.
Ahead of the show on Figure Four Online sneaky whisper monger Dave Meltzer wrote:
“We’ll see if this is for the better or the worst, but tonight’s Raw is the heaviest Paul Heyman influenced show to date. I had that feeling when I heard about the gauntlet match since he’s trying to make new stars and the gauntlet is really what created Kofi Kingston as a singles main eventer and another gauntlet helped Seth Rollins greatly. But it’s pretty much confirmed the idea that they will attempt to make one or more stars in that match.”
And make stars they did, with pretty much everyone in that gauntlet match looking great, a really cool title change with the Raw Tag belts and Cedric Alexander finally not looking like such a freaking dweeb with that awesome spot form the top of the titantron.
If this is a sign of things to come in the Heyman era, sign me up.