This weeks Monday Night RAW came to us in it's familiar live format, after weeks of pre taped shows, from the WWE Performance Center in Orlando. You might disagree with the company’s stance of returning to live shows, I myself certainly do, but either way it was good to have a small semblance of normality restored.
Welcome to the first in a (hopefully) ongoing series of RAW's Top 5 Moments!
5. MVP’s VIP Lounge
I am a big fan of MVP, always have been and always will be. But anyone who says they expected him to still be features this heavily on TV is a liar. Who would've thought that his "one-off" Rumble appearance would lead to this? Not only is he appearing as on screen personality, but he is also lending his incredible experience to the backstage production team.
His VIP Lounge segment last night was nothing special truth be told, anyone could've done it, but seeing MVP do it added a little something at a time when the product really needs that little something to keep peoples minds off things.
Put it this way - I am, for the first time ever, looking forward to seeing Apollo Crews wrestle next week. One of the best pure athletes on the entire roster, Apollo is finally receiving some sort of push and I'm all for it.
4. The Empress Of Everything
Speaking of MVP, let's talk about the real MVP over the last few weeks - Asuka.
The Empress of Tomorrow has been the star of the show every week since the lockdown started, and tonight was no exception. Her match against Ruby Riott was hard hitting and a stark reminder of just how good the former Womens Champion can be. Let's run down what she has been up to recently:
- Fantastic on commentary? Check.
- Two great matches with Kairi Sane against BlissCross? Check.
- Hilarious at ringside? Check.
- Super aggressive and impressive in ring? Check.
- Intense post-match promo,? Check again.
I took a long time to warm to Asuka, but she is constantly raising her game every week.
3. Aleister Black Vs. Oney Lorcan
Match of the night by far and one of my favourite bouts of 2020. I simply love both guys involved. Aleister Black is one of the most naturally talented and overlooked performers on the entire WWE roster. Next week Black will be facing off against Austin Theory in a Money In The Bank qualifying match and I desperately hope he wins, although there is potential for a rematch against his old NXT rival Andrade now that the reigning U.S Champion is in cahoots with Theory.
Oney Lorcan is another super underrated and mega talented superstar who has been wasting away on 205 Live. He always brings it in the ring along with partner Danny Burch, showcasing the hard hitting, old school style of tag team wrestling at it's finest. Hopefully the two can be a major force in the division going forward.
2. The Rise of Zelina Vega’s Associates
RAW this week was a little low on star power to say the least. Notable absentees included the likes of Edge, Randy Orton, Kevin Owens and various others. Instead, we saw Paul Heyman giving fresh, younger talent more of a spotlight which is something he has been well known for doing during the course of his booking career.
A lot of time was spent focusing on the exciting trio of U.S Champion Andrade, Angel Garza, and Austin Theory. With the crafty Zelina Vega overseeing their development, the three have turned into quite the formidable faction. Last night, Heyman went to great lengths to get that stable over, despite the lack of a crowd to feed off, and as far as I'm concerned it worked. Give this group a name and set them off against The New Day asap!
1. Seth Rollins At His Absolute Best
Last weeks challenge from the Big Show was a super disappointing follow up to Drew McIntyre finally conquering The Beast at WrestleMania. Heyman needed to bounce back quickly, and he delivered by setting up the new champs first major feud against Seth Rollins. Drew had a quick and decisive victory over Brock Lesnar, but that was never going to be the win that defines Drew’s title reign, regardless of where the match took place.
Every time I've been asked who Drew should defend against first, I have given the same answer every time. Seth. Freakin'. Rollins. The Monday Night Messiah will give Drew a true test that not many other superstar could, and it will help to elevate him as a dominant champion. Near perfect in both plan and execution, Seth delivered short snippets throughout the show which served to keep him relevant off the back of his WrestleMania loss to Kevin Owens. It can be argued that KO would be the logical first challenger seeing as he came out victorious over Seth, but with both Owens and Drew both working well as faces this was the logical route to take.
Seth attacked Drew at the end of the night, but this did more than just set up their feud. It also served to take the attention away from Andrade’s loss, negating any damage that this may have caused the U.S Champion.