WWE Monday Night Raw Review (8/19/19)

Venue: Xcel Energy Center (St. Paul, MN.)

-Dolph Ziggler’s been cutting basically the same  “It should have been me” promo since he returned to feud with Kofi Kingston. But the crowd still seems to be responding to it with the desired heel heat, so I guess if it ain’t broke…

-I like Ziggler starting off with some dirty pre-match tactics with that sneaky superkick. Ziggler’s coming off losses to Goldberg and The Miz. We need a reason to believe he can actually go toe-to-toe and trade-for-trade with someone the caliber of Roman Reigns. 

-The Spear into the Fameasser reminded me of the Seth Rollins’ spear into a pedigree spot from Money In the Bank 2016. Really great timing by those two.

-Say what you will about Dolph and his role at this point in his career, but at least Ziggler can really still sell a spear well. 

-“That’s why you’ve got to put your money on Drew McIntyre.” – Renee Young 

Nothing about McIntyre right now makes me think I need to put my money on this guy. He doesn’t even really still have Shane as a much-needed support system.

-Vic Joseph stealing those play-by-play duties from Michael Cole right from the get go.

-Baron Corbin gets a gear change. Good for him. Having to wear a dress shirt for any situation always feels at least slightly stuffy and uncomfortable. I couldn’t imagine wrestling a match in one. 

-Ricochet’s standing moonsault is a thing of beauty. Corbin’s Deep Six is as well.

-Judging from the loud “Corbin Sucks!” chants, the crowd did not miss Corbin during his post-Extreme Rules sabbatical. 

Braun Strowman and Seth Rollins both wore t-shirts that are a part of WWE Shop’s Limited Time $15 sale.

-AJ Styles has a renewed energy and a noticeable pep in his step since he turned heel and joined the OC.

-I wish more matches started with a face slap, especially in big guy/little guy dynamics like Strowman/Styles.

-Obvious DQ is obvious.

-Face Rollins vs. Face Strowman for the Universal Title could be a fun feud to play out between now and Survivor Series. There are no heels on Raw that seem like a better solution. Braun’s “built some momentum” as Vic Joseph would like to say, since that really impressive showing against Bobby Lashley at Extreme Rules.

-I wish more matches started with a flying uppercut, especially in the two big, strong, physically scary guys dynamics like Cesaro/Samoa Joe.

-Cesaro/Joe lost the crowd for a bit there after Cesaro’s failed suplex attempt. Joe’s uranage woke them back up.

-Rey Mysterio says “My body just doesn’t seem to respond to what I’m envisioning.” That was certainly clear on that botched Canadian Destroyer attempt on Andrade from their last Raw match.

-Kofi’s jump into the ring blew my mind. Those are the type of maneuvers ninety-something percent of the general population couldn’t fathom even attempting. 

-Standing room only crowd for that Randy Orton and Revival beat down of the New Day. Orton has been coasting a lot for the last few years but he can still get a crowd riled up with the right RKO in the right situation.

-One half of the Smackdown Tag Champions Xavier Woods’ knee seems to be destroyed. Let’s dim the lights and hurriedly move onto the next segment…

-Becky Lynch outshined Sasha Banks in their backstage promos tonight. Lynch had her fire slightly relit by the Natalya feud, but Sasha obviously feels like a whole different level of challenger than Natalya and Lacey Evans. No need for calling people planks in this feud. This one needs to be violent and intense at all times.

-Well-worked quick women’s tag match between the champs Alexa Bliss/ Nikki Cross and Mandy Rose/Sonya Deville. Deville showed some nice striking ability in a quick flurry . The quality and consistency of the women’s tag title matches has improved dramatically since The IIconics lost the belts.

-Cedric Alexander always impresses athletically but his singles matches rarely seem to get into that next gear. There wasn’t really a lot to his King of the Ring match with Sami Zayn. Good but basic.

-Seeing what kind of spots Ricochet is put in compared to Alexander is telling when it comes to how the company views each of their respective values right now. Both are pretty similar in terms of talent level but it’s clear the brass favor Ricochet.

-Vic Joseph is a breath of fresh air on the commentary team. He does love emphasizing those “Tag!” calls, which takes a bit of getting used to.

-Strowman bursting onto the screen to demolish AJ Styles on the outside kicked the tag title match into overdrive. Braun in short, quick bursts of power and energy is the perfect use of his unique abilities.

-Finishing Raw with the sight of universal hands raised in exuberance by a celebrating crowd following a title change is a refreshing sight — something almost surreal that’s worth savoring. Fans are excited, happy and interested in a heavyweight title storyline involving two of the most popular performers on the roster. That’s good, simple pro wrestling television storytelling. Keep it up.

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