Drew McIntyre def. Ricochet
McIntyre hasn't been seen on WWE TV for two months and was revealed to be the final member of Team Flair at Crown Jewel. I've been saying for a while now that he should have been brought back as a babyface, but he could always turn at some point down the road. It made sense for him to face Ricochet in his first bout back, not only because Ricochet is on Team Hogan but also because McIntyre's last televised match before getting hurt was with Ricochet (and it was a loss to boot). Just like they did the last time they faced off, they had excellent chemistry together and produced a really fun opener. McIntyre winning in his return was the right outcome.
Aleister Black def. Jason Reynolds
Black has now wrestled three weeks in a row on Raw, more than he ever did on SmackDown, oddly enough. He's off to a strong start on Monday nights and is slowly regaining momentum. I liked the decision to put him up against a local athlete so he could look more dominant and hit all of his signature spots. It was also nice to see the Black Mass kick again after he won the last two matches with a cool-looking submission hold.
Bobby Lashley and Lana Interrupted Rusev on King's Court
Apparently Lawler was legitimately worried that King's Court wouldn't return after the throne they used for his talk show was destroyed by Chad Gable in another segment on SmackDown last month. Well, WWE was able to find a replacement throne and proceeded with King's Court as usual. It was a perfectly fine segment, but I can't bring myself to care about this storyline with Lashley, Lana and Rusev. I guess they're trying to portray Rusev as a good guy by saying he doesn't spend his money frivolously, but I don't understand why he'd want his wife back when she's been cheating on him for weeks. Then again, that's a real-life dilemma I'm sure many people can relate to. Even still, this is not compelling television in the slightest.
Andrade def. Sin Cara
Aside from Super ShowDown in June, I don't think I've seen Sin Cara in action since Extreme Rules 2018. I remember enjoying the few matches he had with Andrade that summer and thought this was a good match as well. Unfortunately, the crowd sat on their hands for most of it, though it's hard to blame them considering they had zero reason to rally behind Sin Cara. However, Andrade won decisively and that's all that matters. Humberto Carrillo was shown watching backstage, so it appears those two are headed for a feud with each other. If so, I'm all for that.
Raw Tag Team Champions The Viking Raiders def. Zack Ryder and Curt Hawkins (Non-Title)
Viking Raiders actually beat Ryder and Hawkins when they were Raw Tag Team Champions in their debut match back in April. They captured the the titles to a loud reaction on last week's show, so I thought it was weird that they took on a fellow face team here. I suppose it didn't matter much since fans didn't have much of a reason to rally behind Ryder and Hawkins anyway, but at least the crowd popped for the finish. This was a standard squash win for Viking Raiders as they continue to dominate the opposition.
Paul Heyman Interrupted Rey Mysterio; Cain Velasquez Attacked Shelton Benjamin
Mysterio spoke about Lesnar's actions on Raw from several weeks ago before Heyman interrupted with his two cents. Heyman claims he belongs to no brand, despite Brock Lesnar being drafted to SmackDown. Meanwhile, Velasquez isn't officially assigned to either show yet if his appearance here was any indication. His attack on Benjamin wasn't overly impressive, as it almost felt like he was holding back a bit. I assume this is the last we'll see of Benjamin on Raw for a while. If nothing else, he played his role well.
Universal Champion Seth Rollins def. Humberto Carrillo (Non-Title)
This wasn't hot debut that it should have been for Carrillo. I can't complain about him facing the Universal Champion in his first match on Raw, but Rollins being as polarizing as he is at the moment didn't help matters. This was very well wrestled, but the crowd didn't invest in the action at any point. They didn't even buy into that one close nearfall down the stretch when Carrillo connected with his patented moonsault on Rollins. On the bright side, Carrillo looked credible in defeat and got the nod of respect from Rollins afterward, so I hope he can build off the strong showing he had here.
The Street Profits def. The O.C.
This was originally advertised as a six-man tag team match with Street Profits teaming with a mystery partner against the entire O.C. It was changed to standard tag team matchup before the bell with AJ Styles standing at ringside. Street Profits and O.C. had an entertaining main event, but it was clear the crowd was waiting for the mystery person to show up. Kevin Owens was a nice choice as he has history with Styles and can feud with him over the United States Championship. It was awesome to see Street Profits shine in their debut and get over with the audience. If they're booked properly, they can be as popular on the main roster as they were in NXT. Let's hope this means they're finished serving as the narrators of the show on a weekly basis.
I don't know about anyone else, but this "new era" isn't off to an electric start in my opinion. Maybe it's because they're in promotion mode for Crown Jewel through the end of the month, but last week's SmackDown and this edition of Raw did nothing to make me believe that either brand will be better creatively than they were before. Some fresh faces got a chance to shine throughout the night including Street Profits, Carrillo, Black and Andrade, but outside of the opener, there weren't any matches or moments that made the show feel must-see. The Cleveland crowd being as dead as they were for most of the three hours caused the show to drag that much more. It will take time for the Raw roster to be built back up again so the storylines and Superstars will be as exciting as they have the potential to be.
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