So there we have it. Another great episode of Monday Night RAW in the bag, and another great night of build towards Money In The Bank. We've seen superstars qualify for the Climb The Corporate Ladder matches, a challenger to Drew McIntyre's throne emerging and cracks appearing in one of RAW's most dominant groups... but what were last nights standout moments?
Let's take a look at my Top 5 RAW Moments!
Alesteir Black v Austin Theory
Another week, another excellent in-ring performance by Black, who continues to be the workhorse for the red brand. This week, he was instrumental in the continued growth of Theory as a main roster star. He put over the newcomers offense and even had him looking like he might steal a win on a few occasions.
In the end, though, he fought his way back into the match before kicking Theory into next week to earn his way to Money in the Bank. It was a hard-hitting and hard-fought match that was enhanced by the commentary team’s efforts to put over both men.
Black’s post-match promo, in which he promised each floor of the WWE corporate building would represent hell for each of his opponents at the MITB pay-per-view, was excellent and put over the fight that awaits his opponents.
Shayna Baszler Vs. Indi Hartwell
Everything that Baszler has touched since WrestleMania 36 has turned to absolute gold. On that night, she lost the biggest match of her career. It crushed her, and she is now taking out her frustration on anyone unfortunate enough to face her in the ring.
Hartwell did a great job of taking her beating and putting over the assault by The Queen of Spades. Hopefully big things are just over the horizon for Indi. Baszler remains the favorite to win Money in the Bank and to take Becky Lynch’s RAW Women’s Championship.
Buddy Murphy Vs. Rey Mysterio
This was just a great match. Simple as that. A great match between two guys who have been responsible for many of those throughout their careers. Murphy and Mysterio showcased some great in-ring chemistry and left me wondering what they might be capable of with more time in a PPV setting.
Mysterio winning makes sense given the context of the story they told and that the commentary put over, but one has to wonder how many losses Murphy can take before he becomes just another lackey for Rollins. Surely The Monday Night Messiah will not suffer fools lightly?
Given his absence of late and the fact that there was little mention of Rollins in Murphy’s narrative throughout the match, you have to wonder if WWE creative might be phasing that part of The Messiah’s group out especially with talent like Austin Theory making waves. A young superstar like Theory would benefit massively from the rub of working with Seth.
If this is the case, it would be a major blow to Murphy’s status with the brand after so much hard work to get noticed.
Everything Zelina Vega Does
Hot dang, Zelina Vega has been on absolute fire recently. In fact she always has been, but her increased exposure and mic time as of late has pushed her into the upper echelons of the WWE's best talkers. She really is that good.
She is condescending, patronising, conniving, downright dirty... and she is fantastic in all of those roles. Nobody stirs the pot quite as well as Zelina does. Nobody is better at enraging their associates opponent at the same time as putting over their own client. She is quickly becoming the female Paul Heyman... quite the compliment.
This week may well be a turning point for the group of Vega, Andrade, Garza and Theory, with the latter two ignoring her request to hit the ring and save Andrade from the clutches of Drew McIntyre. The quartet have run roughshot over RAW in recent weeks, and it has done wonders for every one of them, so it would he a shame to see them split before getting the chance to assert their dominance.
Also, I just love seeing her interact with real life husband Alesteir Black. If their relationship was to be mentioned it might take away from the moment. What we instead see is a woman who is just as happy to hug her husband as she is to see him suffer. Isn't that marriage in a nutshell?
Women Front & Centre
One of this weeks real highlights may have gone unnoticed by the majory of fans, as it wasn't exactly intended to be a huge deal, but I most certainly noticed.
Thirteen. A whopping thirteen of WWE's women were featured on last nights episode of RAW, which could surely be a record. The best part? Almost all of them were used in meaningful ways, whether it be building towards Money In The Bank or simply advancing a feud. It was beautiful to see the women get so much time dedicated to them in the absence of RAW Womens Champion Becky Lynch.
Zelina Vega, Nia Jax, Kairi Sane, Asuka, Shayna Baszler, Indi Hartwell, Ruby Riott, Liv Morgan, Charlotte Flair, Kayden Carter, Bianca Belair, Santana Garrett, Lana.
You've been given the ball ladies. It's time to run with it.