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Ali as the leader of RETRIBUTION - WWE Raw

Pro Wrestling

Raw shows flickers of hope as the WWE Draft looms

With a great RETRIBUTION reveal and solid matches, Raw shows signs of life going into the Draft.

As Randy Orton rampaged on Raw, Jay and Jason took last week off because they had to call their mothers. They could only watch in horror as Randy Orton used night vision goggles to attack Ric Flair, HBK, Christian, and Big Show in the dark as they played poker as Jay’s mom kept emphasizing the need for him to wear better clothes to find a girlfriend. 

And with Hell in a Cell on the horizon, there are just so many questions to answer:

  • How will Drew McIntyre respond to yet another attack from Randy Orton?
  • How will Kevin Owens rebound after an attack from The Fiend?
  • Will RETRIBUTION reappear to, uh, be RETRIBUTION?
  • Will Raw Underground make its return?
  • Will Aliester Black make like Hangman Page and stick with pants?

Join Jay and Jason as they find all these answers on tonight’s Raw.

Jay: Sorry Jason, Mama Barrett decided to express her concerns regarding my life choices last Monday during Raw. She’s very unhappy with my dating prospects considering I have no dating prospects. It goes without saying, she’s also concerned about my insistence to continue watching Raw despite all it does is hurt me. 

Jason: RAW…IS….MASOCHISM! You can tell they want to hurt us because we started with a slow and not particularly good Randy Orton promo. And right into a NataLana match? With Zelina Vega getting the jobber entrance? Maybe it was a mistake to come back this week.

Jay: The man was trying to justify night vision goggles, Jason. Night- vision goggles. Like, the same effect could have been achieved if he just bull-rushed the room and took them all out. He would have even looked better. Hell, just have the lights turn out during the scuffle. 

And I’m with you, Raw is really showing the lack of depth in the women’s roster right now but I’m optimistic with time it’ll improve. 

Jason: At least Mandy’s gear is better this week. I mean it looks like she’s wearing one of Peyton Royce’s old outfits, but it’s still miles away from the “I forgot my trunks, so here’s my workout gear” look. Still, at least she’ll look presentable next week when injured women like Charlotte Flair get drafted before her. 

Man, that’s three weeks in a row where Lana lost a match and then got Samoan Dropped through a table. It’s almost like they’re punishing her for something…I can’t imAginE What. Totally WIThout Cause, Huh?….Miro…

Jay: Wouldn’t that be petty for a multi-million dollar, publicly traded company?

Jason: You’re right. The company that introduced Fake Diesel and Fake Razor Ramon, The Huckster, and a wrestling match between Donald Trump and Rosie O’Donnell would never stoop so low as to mock or punish someone for a perceived slight.

Jay: No, never. Ugh, how sad does Seth Rollins make you? I have so much respect for him for trying to make this work but it’s just, ugh. Why isn’t he working somewhere higher on the card? Why are we STILL doing the Mysterio thing? I hope he gets moved to SmackDown so bad. 

Jason: I can’t even focus on that with the revelation that Ricochet is not only considering a heel turn, but cemented that decision with a tacky dangly earring that would’ve made 1991 Shawn Michaels say “too much.”

OK, now that Murphy is asking for an apology for Aalyah maybe I’m done with this storyline too. Can’t we just fast forward to the Murphy/Rollins matches? I don’t need to see Dom and Dimples (tag team name: Domples?) driving a further wedge between the two dudes I want to see fight.

Jay: They’ve dedicated a year of Raw programming to make Dimples a thing and the fanbase is refusing to accept Dimples, much less Domples. 

Jason: Maybe he’ll get drafted to NXT and join his former tag partner as an underling in Legado del Fantasma. Turn them into a proper 4-man stable and get them out of the Cruiserweight purgatory they’re trapped in. It likely means fewer knees to the face too.

Oh dip, I wasn’t into Train-Man popping back up on Raw, but if it leads to a match between Braun and Keith-by-god Lee, I’m into it.

Jay: Train-Man is just looking for a station to call his own, ya know. I feel bad for him. Start-stop pushes are my pet peeve. If you’re the champion and lose it, you shouldn’t immediately go down to the mid-card without a good, storyline driven reason.

And KO is here. Real talk, I don’t think he’s been a part of a single bad segment in five years. Even when things are lackluster around him you can tell he’s trying. I think Kevin Owens is somewhere on my top 10 favorite wrestlers ever.

Jason: If KO brings back the Ministry of Darkness I will flip. And Yeah, big Kev is a treasure. He’s not always in good things, but he’s almost always the best part of whatever he’s in. Gotta be honest, though. Bray’s music clefs appearing over his nipples are up there too.

Man, remember caring when Aleister Black showed up? That takes me back.

Jay: Yeah, the good ole NXT days. Man I miss 2018 NXT. Sad, fam.

Jason: HOSS FIGHT! Oh god they’re getting counted out 15 seconds into this nonsense? What a load of garbage. $5 says Braun’s first thought was “Well thank god he didn’t hit the screen.” Going through LED boards is MY thing!

Jay: You know damn well they aren’t going to give us a definitive winner for something like that on Raw. It’s not AEW, no one is going to have meaningful character progression on Raw. 

Also, I’m loving the Mr. Perfect-esque Bianca Belair vignettes.

Jason: Yeah, I just want Steve Jordan sitting on the sidelines watching Bianca throw a perfect hail mary pass to herself. 

Also I hope Ced’s OK. Going missing in the middle of his biggest ever push in this day and age likely means he’s got the ‘Rona. It also makes the Hurt Business less interesting IMHO. I want the African American version of Evolution, and dude’s the Randy Orton of the squad. Also why was MVP out late? Did he forget to get dressed?

Jay: Yeah, I really like Cedric with The Hurt Business and I really hope they stay intact during the draft. They even have a tagline now — but it’s in the passive voice. “If you hear the black and gold, you better fold.” It would be much better if it was — “You better fold when you see the black and gold.”

Jason: The silence of the ThunderDome when Ricochet cut that awful promo speaks volumes. THEY CONTROL THE CROWD NOISE? They may as well have played crickets.wav between his pauses.

Jay: Raw is where dreams go to die. There’s a new Sandman show that’s coming on Netflix and they would be messing up if they didn’t have an episode with Morpheus drifting through Raw being like “ah, the graveyard of dreams” as Ricochet and Aleister Black are in the ring.

Jason: I bet Aleister Black would be super excited if Morpheus despaired at the sight of him. Though I’m sure he had envisioned it under other circumstances. Imagine the despair at the acting of Aalyah Mysterio.

Jay: Again, why? Does Aalyah want to go into the wrestling business? Murphy landed a beautiful knee to Dimples to win the match earlier. It probably made Captain Falcon himself sit up in awe. Why already have enough to get to Seth vs. Murphy — why can’t we just go there? 

Jason: Cue the Kendrick Lamar. This wouldn’t be the first time a guy abandoned his personal savior for a 19-year-old woman, though I hope they don’t go the romance route with this storyline. Let’s look on the bright side, though, maybe this means now the only Mysterio involved in this storyline is Aalyah.

Jay: The only redeeming thing is Rey’s face at the end of the segment. Every week he comes out shocked that something has happened, like he hasn’t been a wrestler for close to thirty years. Like, he can’t just avoid all of this by not allowing his kids to come to work.

Jason, it’s time. It’s time for me to get my hopes up about the career trajectory of The Riott Squad before they get broken up – again – by the Draft on Friday.

Jason: I think they may take it tonight, actually. Either that or we get a Dusty finish tonight and get the rematch next week on draft day, as Shayna and Nia get separated to be chief heels on opposite shows.

Jay: Doubt it. Again, odd-couple tag teams is WWE’s favorite thing and legit tag teams are their least favorite thing. And omg, I cringed at Baszler’s stomp to Ruby. Baszler needs opponents that know how to give her moments like that.

Jason: I love Shayna, but I would love to see her beat up on someone who isn’t one of my favorites that’s being criminally underused. Let her run roughshod over the Mia Yims, Lanas and Natalyas of the world, and keep her away from the Rubys and the Biancas unless the women’s title is in the mix.

Jay: Agreed, but Lana wouldn’t be able to sell her offense the way Ruby did. That slingshot tornado DDT was wonderful. I’ve been watching wrestling since 2000 and it’s rare I see something new. 

And told you! Odd-couple tag teams, it’s like catnip for WWE creative.

Jason: Great face acting from Ruby, though. I just want her to win, man. I don’t care what it is so long as she actually wins. Like if she won a free scoop at Baskin Robbins I’d like to know, that’s the level of goodwill I have for her. I’d take Ruby Riott, 24/7 Champion over this lackluster, house show-ass main event.

Jay: I agree, Ruby needs to win everything. I’m talking titles, Slammy Awards, Academy Awards, Grammy’s, spelling bees, and free stuff from Dunkin Donuts. Everything. Next week we should only talk about Ruby Riott in protest.

Wow. I love this. Ali could save the RETRIBUTION angle.

Jason: Oh hell yeah! Ali being the leader of RETRIBUTION is amazing. So long as they don’t give him a stupid name like A-Bomb or Mustrat!

Jay: I doubt it. He’s already got a name and he’s even already got a mask. I think this could work. He was supposed to be the SmackDown hacker or whatever, right? I can also see Xavier Woods jumping onboard.

…But I still think Demi from The Bachelor is the real mastermind.

Jason: I’m really happy for Ali getting to be the front of a major angle on Raw. I also like the storyline of a former Chicago police officer growing disillusioned from seeing all of the injustice in the world and joining an anarchist collective because of it. 

Jay: Zero chance in hell. Too controversial, too nuanced, and too smart for WWE. He’s going to talk about how no one knows obscurity and apathy like someone who was on 205 Live and how he was supposed to main event WrestleMania 35 but then his orbit caved in.

You know, I’m actually excited to watch Orton vs. McIntyre at Hell in a Cell. I fully expect Orton, Roode, and Ziggler to take this match though.

Jason: I too expect the heels to win. Furthermore, I think Bob and Zig are the next challengers for the Raw tag titles, provided they stay on the same brand. They may even win it, if they get a match at HiaC.

Tom Phillips says it’s “Damn near impossible to escape the Hell in a Cell” like it doesn’t happen in like every third Cell match.

Jay: Well WWE understands it rarely is able to hold a fan for any length of time past 3-4 years. So that’s why they have the luxury of recycling their tropes and emphasizing their predictable twists. Unlike AEW that knows they have a captive, hardcore audience and all they have to do is look at Reddit and see what that audience wants to see.

Jason: If Vince McMahon knows what Reddit is, I’ll eat my hat.

Jay: I think Vinnie Mac refers to all social media as AOL. I really do think AEW just has to look at Reddit for its creative, but that’s neither here nor there. And look at that! Snake Man has his heat back!

Jason: Clean, no less. What are the odds? Overall, a fairly OK episode of Raw. The Seth/Mysterio stuff is hopefully wrapping up, Ali is now the head of Road Warrior Antifa, and…well, I guess that’s it for positive and interesting things this week. But still, TWO! We’re on our way.

Jay: See you next week?

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