Raw recap & reactions (Nov. 1, 2021): Fourth time is not the charm


Ladies and gentlemen, spooky season is officially over and we now pave the road to Survivor Series. We begin in earnest with this week’s edition of Monday Night Raw, which Claire so thoughtfully blogs about, so show her your love.

Let’s talk Raw!


Where They Do That At?

I don’t understand what Raw is doing with Bianca Belair. The EST is the hero of the story with Becky, right? Overall, she’s the babyface of the division, right? Yet, she’s now missed out on four consecutive chances to get a belt around her waist. And each of those times were due to nefarious reasons. I get that leaves the door open for a rematch with Becky down the line, but it’s tough seeing how this does anything for her.

As the heel, Becky can lose the belt and find some way to weasel her way back into the scene because that’s what bad people in wrestling do for a living. Becky was desperate in this match, willing to do whatever it takes to prove to the crowd they’re ungrateful and disrespectful. And she did that. Her interview later on Raw made that perfectly clear and she’s still disappointed with the “fickle” audience. Now it looks like Liv Morgan, fresh off taking the L last week, wants to challenge Becky.

How, Sway? By that logic, Carmella has more rights to a title shot than Liv. Oh and of course, Bianca said nothing the rest of the night about Becky cheating again to beat her. More importantly, we didn’t hear from Bianca the rest of the night. She didn’t go after Becky for cheating—as was her right—nor did she do what any actual human being would’ve done in that situation. This hurts the EST, as Cain pointed out. As a Bianca fanboy, I can put that love aside and be objective. That said, fanboy or not, losing four title contests isn a row is a bad look.

The two put on a fantastic match but the ending and the aftermath just doesn’t sit right with me.


Promises, Promises

When in doubt—and lack of compelling story—WWE retreads to the tried and true “Face of Raw” narrative. Kevin Owens believes he has the face for the Red brand and just to prove that point, he believed there was no time like the present to battle Big E one-on-one for the first time. No title on the line, but just two cats who respect each other going at it to see who reigns supreme. KO even told Seth Rollins, who claimed he was on KO’s side and promised the Canadian a title shot if/when he becomes champion, that he doesn’t need his help. In fact, he went so far to say he wouldn’t accept Seth’s help, even if he chose to give it.

It was a meaty affair, for those of you who like your wrestling with a lot of beef slapping. And it was almost a very clean match until Seth, a man of his word, made his way to ringside. For a while, he was cool with spectating; oohing and aahing from the sidelines. But with things not looking good for KO, Rollins smacked the champ with his contract while the ref wasn’t looking.

Guess who went for the cover? If you said “Seth Rollins” then you’re clearly not reading correctly and what show are you watching? KO saw his chance and jumped on Big E like a fumbled football. E, always on point, reversed the pin and walked out of Providence, RI with a win. But his trust in KO went the way of the dinosaur. KO feigned ignorance, saying he had no clue what Seth did and he’s still an honest cat. KO challenged Seth to a match next week to punish him for his instigation, but E didn’t care.

Seriously, he said he didn’t care. KO’s apology meant nothing to him, and he dished out a Big Ending to KO to fully express his anger.

This story started very meh. I don’t care about the struggle for the Face of Raw. It’s more tired than a college kid suffering a hangover. Big E learning how treacherous it is to be WWE Champion, and adding more controls to his personality could be dope. But maybe this is just me using a magnifying glass to find any depth in the WWE Championship picture.


Extracurriculars

Son of a…

Rey Mysterio and Austin Theory put on a pretty damn good match. The story included Domink Mysterio, who just so happened to be ringside. Austin goaded the young Mysterio before the match started and, duh. his troll game paid dividends. Right when Rey had the match in the bag with a 619 dialed up, Domink’s pride got the best of him. He picked the wrong time to retaliate after Theory poked the bear one too many times, and got his dad DQ’d. Good thing Domink is a grown man taller than his dad, because what he did here?

That’s a paddling.

Safari Drip

Whew, Lord. Seth’s suit looks like he’s getting ready to give a jungle cruise tour. Maybe that’s the real reason Big E felt it necessary to get in his face this week. The two jousted back and forth about their upcoming title match and who the true Face of Raw is. E was ready to get it on but Seth—as the heel—pumped all the brakes and said their match will happen on his time. Kevin Owens came down to stake his claim to being the Face of Raw. If you’re this far down in this review, you already know what came from all of this.

Beauty Queens

Carmella and Queen Zelina told the Raw women’s locker room that they rule the roost. They also insulted Nikki A.S.H.’s mask because…well, you’ve seen it. Super Brutality wasn’t having it this week, and challenged Mela and Her Highness to a tag match. A solid enough match, the tag champs took the L. So, we know this means they’re getting a shot at the tag titles soon.

Alpha Demon?

Finn BáIor and Chad Gable put on a clinic this week. Should be no surprise to anyone reading this review, but I figured I should repeat it. Finn needed some momentum after coming up short in two big spots in consecutive weeks, and the Alpha Academy needed to let cats know they’re not for play on Mondays. Mission accomplished on both fronts.

Whole Lotta Smoke

Street Profits want the smoke. The Dirty Dawgz said the smoke is theirs to claim. And RK-Bro sat at the announce table. So, yeah, there was a whole lot of smoke in the arena for this tag match between the Profits x Dawgz. And just like last week, Montez Ford and Angelo Dawkins fell victim to the distraction known as Omos. A post match beat down popped off with Omos giving the Profits a lot of work. Riddle got involved to “do the right thing” And guess what? That was also a bad idea. No clue where AJ Styles is, but Omos seems hellbent on singlehandedly wrecking Raw’s entire tag team scene.

Man vs. Himself

Apparently, Damian Priest now embodies man’s internal struggle. Still weird we’re here and I don’t quite understand why. Did he need gimmick alteration? Those decisions are above my pay grade. But if this is the thing we’re doing, then WWE needs to go all in on showing and not telling. Priest unleashed the “Damien” here, which was telegraphed since he and T-BAR tangoed in a no DQ match. After getting the W over T-BAR, the United States champ found himself in a showdown with Apollo Crews. Crews wants what Priest has. The champ is going to need a lot of anger to handle Apollo and Commander Azeez.

24-7 Chicanery

Another backstage segment with Reggie running and ducking for his life. This time, John Morrison lent his Zen advice to Reggie’s pursuers. Something tells me they won’t listen. Also? Can we stop doing this?


Raw was fine this week. Not an excellent show by any means and not a failure either. An average show with wrestling ranging from average to fantastic, along with some head-scratching decisions, and a couple stories that have potential based on the people involved.

A passing grade for a passing show.

Grade: C+

That’s my grade and I’m sticking to it. Your turn.

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