Last night's Raw wasn't a remarkable showing, except for the moving tribute to Bruno Sammartino at the beginning of the show. Filled with tag team matches galore, the show feels like it's in a state of flux, waiting for the Greatest Royal Rumble/Backlash arc to be over with so that it can move on to its feuds for the coming months.
There wasn't much to be found in the muck of tag team matches, but some signals did appear to make it through the multi-person swarms. To who do they bode well for?
Losers: Brock Lesnar and Roman Reigns
It took a long time, but after WrestleMania and the news of a new huge contract, it looks like crowds are finally starting to sour on Brock Lesnar. The "Beast" was met with jeers in St. Louis, and WWE tried its best to show people cheering for Roman Reigns, but it was a lukewarm response at best, with more than a hint of being inauthentic. Aside from repeating Paul Heyman's catchphrase, the crowd seemed totally apathetic about this feud.
Can anyone blame them? The whole thing just feels like it's something to "get over with already" rather than anything of vast importance. Let's hope this dud of a feud ends once and for all on Friday and the company can finally move on from this four-year loop.
Sure, Elias won his match last night, by the skin of his teeth. Still, last night's program doesn't bode well for him. Despite his inconsistent booking, Elias remains one of Raw's most interesting characters. The man is a heat magnet like few others are, being able to routinely draw legitimate heel heat in today's "reality era," even in front of dead crowds.
So is anyone really over the moon to see him get into a feud with Bobby Roode, who is badly miscast as a babyface? Roode's arrival on Raw last week wasn't met with excitement, nor was it last night. Even his "glorious" entrance is starting to fade in its power to connect with fans.
Elias can do something with a much more interesting babyface. Bobby Roode needs to turn heel as soon as possible.
Winner: Drew McIntyre
Drew McIntyre was last night's biggest winner. Although paired with a beyond-irrelevant Dolph Ziggler (who actually managed to look better than he has in a long time last night), he still managed to make himself the star of the show. Looking ferocious in the ring, he cut an equally ferocious promo, one of the best he's ever done.
Chastising the roster for meekness and indolence, the former NXT Champion basically announced that he was out for their blood. Perhaps then they would be woken up and forced out of their laziness.
It was tremendous, and hints at why Vince McMahon once regarded this guy as "The Chosen One." Still young at 32, he's improved tremendously, and wouldn't look at all out of place in the main event with the likes of Brock Lesnar, Roman Reigns, and Braun Strowman.
Perhaps this team will work out after all, slowly heating McIntyre up for bigger things to come.
Winner: Chad Gable
Chad Gable didn't arrive on Raw with much fanfare last week, but in his first bout as a singles competitor, he managed to pick up a victory, even if a narrow one, over Jinder Mahal. Commentary was putting over the upset nature of it.
He's also quietly turned babyface.
Perhaps it's a signal of bigger things to come for the former Olympian than he's seen so far. It is notable that he was put in a segment with Kurt Angle prior to the match. Perhaps some kind of feud with Jason Jordan, who is set to return soon, is in order?
Losers: Bobby Lashley, Kevin Owens, and Sami Zayn
After their talk show segment earlier in the night featuring Kurt Angle, the two were put in a match with Bobby Lashley and Braun Strowman. Braun Strowman of course did Braun Strowman things and crushed both of them in over the top fashion. The crowd woke up from its slumber.
Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn not only lost spectacularly, but the possibility exists that they'll be put in another authority figure feud. Shudder at the thought!
Bobby Lashley was just....there, basically to give the hot tag to the Monster Among Men. It doesn't signal much about his prospects either, despite being fresh off his huge return.
Loser: Baron Corbin
After cutting a dull promo, Baron Corbin ambushed No Way Jose. Nobody in the crowd cared. Does anyone watching at home care, either?
Baron Corbin was on shaky ground long before this. This doesn't help to reestablish him, either. As far as feuds go, this feels like it would be placed in that classic dead spot before the main event. It was the least exciting thing all night, and, if it was any indicator, it will be the least exciting thing on Raw in the coming weeks.
Winner: Mickie James
It looks like Ronda Rousey will be feuding with Mickie James over the coming weeks. Already the two are advertised to work house shows.
It's a smart move. Mickie James is a veteran worker who can help Ronda Rousey get acclimated between the ropes. It also allows her to step out of the dead role where she, inexplicably, became Alexa Bliss' sidekick again.
This program will also be the bridge to the next phase of the larger one between Ronda Rousey and Natalya, so it's smart in that way, too.
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