By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
WWE Raw Hits
Drew McIntyre promo: McIntyre continues to show the same charisma and charm that he displayed as the Impact Wrestling Champion back in 2016. As a babyface, he comes off as sincere, relatable, and entertaining. My only issue with this segment was that McIntyre spoke of being a fighting champion, yet that somehow led to him having a non-title match with Andrade. I’m all for the idea of companies saving the majority of the world title matches for pay-per-view events, but this should have been an exception given that McIntyre was booked to go over anyway, as it would have driven home his point about defending the title against all deserving challengers. For that matter, it would have been a fun twist if McIntyre agreed to put his title on the line while Andrade declined to put his own belt on the line.
Asuka vs. Ruby Riott in a Women’s Money in the Bank match qualifier: A strong match to open the show. There’s no telling how a live crowd would have reacted to seeing two heels face one another, but it obviously wasn’t a problem in the empty venue setting.
Drew McIntyre vs. Andrade in a champion vs. champion match: I loved the way that WWE played up the NXT history between the two before and during the match. McIntyre going over clean was logical this early in his reign. The post match attack by Seth Rollins was easy to see coming, yet it set the stage for what should be a very good title match at MITB.
The Viking Raiders vs. Ricochet and Cedric Alexander: The finish was poor, but the body of the match was very entertaining. Ricochet and Alexander are quickly growing on me as a tag team. Based on the Street Profits and Bianca Belair promo, it looks like we’ll be getting the Street Profits vs. Viking Raiders for the Raw Tag Titles at Money in the Bank.
Aleister Black vs. Oney Lorcan: A nice slug fest match. Lorcan loses more than he wins, but he’s always entertaining and does a good job of making his opponents look strong.
Shayna Baszler vs. Sarah Logan in a Women’s Money in the Bank match qualifier: An effective match in terms of making Baszler look ruthless during her first match since WrestleMania.
Austin Theory vs. Akira Tozawa: A solid outing that gave Theory a Raw win. I was actually wondering if Andrade and Angel Garza were going to turn on Theory to serve as a Raw write off to send him back to NXT. Instead, it appears Theory is a Raw regular and the new faction is here to stay.
Nia Jax vs. Kairi Sane in a Women’s Money in the Bank qualifier: A dominant win for Jax. This was another heel vs. heel match that may not have played well with a live crowd. I continue to hope that the Kabuki Warriors will end up going separate ways so that Sane can be featured in her natural babyface role. I doubt it will happen, but she could take this loss now and simply bounce back strong once she turns babyface.
Bobby Lashley vs. No Way Jose: A simple showcase style match for Lashley to show his ongoing frustration with his storyline wife Lana. As for Jose, he’s been severely damaged by the way he’s been booked on the main roster, but at least he won’t have the insufferable Rosebud Reject conga line dancers for the time being.
Angel Garza vs. Tehuti Miles A spotlight match for Garza as well as the rest of Zelina Vega’s faction.
Overall show: Monday’s Raw was dramatically better than last week’s yawn fest. It was definitely beneficial to have MITB qualifiers because it made three matches feel important. Every match on the show felt like it served a purpose beyond just filling time, which was the biggest problem with last week’s show.
WWE Raw Misses
Jerry Lawler: I completely missed Lawler referring to Akira Tozawa’s move as a “Ramen Noodle Moonsault” while covering the show live. What was he thinking? As much as that was a Miss, the even bigger issue for me is WWE allowing Lawler to work during the pandemic. Lawler is a 70 year-old man who survived a heart attack, which makes him a high risk case. It doesn’t matter if he wants to be there, a company with strong leadership saves its employees from themselves.