Bobby Lashley (w/ MVP) defeated Riddle
Riddle approaches Lashley backstage and challenges him. This is a really funny segment, with Riddle directly quoting (with dates) times Lashley said he would take on anyone.
Lashley beats the shit out of Riddle for ten minutes straight. All over the place. Knocks him off his scooter, throws him over the guard rail, into the post. This is a one sided ass kicking. Riddle gets a brief amount of offense in, and misses a Floating Bro, only to be put in a Hurt Lock. This was a big time squash. Adnan Virk is going to take some adjustment, both as a voice and in calling the action.
Viking Raiders defeated Not The Hurt Business (Cedric Alexander & Shelton Benjamin)
The Viking Raiders are back. Ivar was at WrestleMania, in gear. The Thunderdome looks a little different, with the tron smaller and Thunderdome screens around the entrance. This is a good, action filled match that we haven't seen a million times, but I'm sure we will! Good to see Ivar back, and hopefully they're exempt from embarrassing booking. The Viking Experience got the win for them.
Charlotte says she wasn't welcome at WrestleMania and she's pissed off about missing it. She says it's not her fault that Ric Flair, Asuka, and Lacey Evans all screwed up and kepts her off Mania. Asuka didn't respond to her challenge. She calls Rhea a snake. Charlotte names all the people who were on WrestleMania. She says she doesn't steal opportunities, she is The Opportunity. Yep, that Charlotte Flair promo kicked ass. The comparison to the overly scripted stuff we saw on this same show is day and night.
WWE Raw Women's Title
Rhea Ripley (c) vs. Asuka goes to a no contest
Painfully scripted promo from Rhea Ripley. This was the kind of thing that ruined her NXT run. Asuka's screaming promo was actually a lot better. This is a lot better than their WrestleMania match early on, and that's not exactly saying a lot. Unfortunately there's a weird both that they don't pivot from where Asuka goes for a crucifix spot and gets Samoan Dropped, but Rhea sells it. They just don't work well together for whatever reason. I think they probably need to not work together for a while. There's a lot of botches and missed spots. Charlotte Flair comes out and turns babyface by causing a DQ to end this match. She beats the tar out of Asuka specifically. There are some promising spots in this match, but the chemistry isn't there.
Alexa and Bray
Alexa Bliss tells a story of why she did what she did. She says she was saved by the darkness but realized she could do everything on her own. Alexa's delivery was outstanding, and then she introduces Lilly....a sockpuppet doll....that tries to bite the camera. Huh?
Bray Wyatt is back with Firefly Funhouse, and is optimistic. He says no more clout chasing. He says the Funhouse will be better and stronger than ever.
Miz & Morrison defeated Damian Priest
Why are they acting so surprised? Maryse was just shown backstage. I'm really glad to see Maryse pop up. She's always so good. They're promoting the new season of the show, and Morrison is clearly jealous. Miz is claiming he made Bad Bunny a star. Damian Priest is out without Bad Bunny, and Miz and Morrison argue over who should challenge him. Maryse says they both can fight him.
Miz and Morrison are not dressed to compete, which is the story of this match. That, and WWE going back to having Damian Priest struggle with chinlocks. His facial expressions are great. He does a huge dive to the outside, and you can see John Morrison checking on him, which isn't optimal for TV. Hit The Lights for Morrison, but Maryse saves Miz from his. Then we get mega cool Damian Priest losing. Well. Two nights after teaming with Bad Bunny, they have Damian Priest losing to distraction roll-ups to a guy in his underpants. Maryse and Miz tripped over his pants as the segment ended.
Nia Jax and Shayna are rewinding Mandy Rose's slip, and Mandy goes up to Nia and says you just never see things like that coming. Then she slaps Nia and Dana jumps Nia with her. The work here is really good, and Mandy Rose throws a hell of a missile dropkick. The good stops at the end of the match, when Nia slips on the apron and Mandy laughs about it. Nia is embarrassed and enraged, and Mandy and Dana just.....leave. They take a countout. Another weird finish. Wrestlers don't care if they win matches. Why should the viewer? WHY WAS THEIR MUSIC PLAYING!? THEY LOST!! Maybe Nia gets mad and puts the titles on the line, but there were no verbal cues for that. Mandy couldn't have planned for that to happen. Can't be portrayed as a foil. Ahhhhh.
New Day defeated Elias & Jaxson Ryker
Elias tries to play a guitar, but New Day interrupt and make fun of them for getting beaten up by Braun Strowman. Elias throws is back at them that Omos did the same to them. They have a match, that was already advertised. Elias and Ryker are best used in the tag team division, probably in this role if they're going to be used. This is a solid match as all of New Day's are at minimum. They get the win with Afternoon Delight. New Day adding some wins. I'm cool with that.
Sheamus, AJ Styles, Omos, Naomi, Lana not featured on Raw after appearing at WrestleMania. Shane McMahon, too, but that's expected after Saturday. Sheamus is on Raw Talk. AJ Styles, Omos and Sheamus won titles this weekend. Sure would be cool if they were on Raw and people were interested in taking those titles. Did I miss something? Sheamus is there.
Top Contender Match
Drew McIntyre defeated Braun Strowman & Randy Orton
MVP comes out and talks about what's next. Drew McIntyre comes out and says he has no excuses. MVP says Drew needs to get to the back of the line. Braun Strowman comes out and agrees. Randy Orton wants a piece of this action. Adam Pearce makes a triple threat match for tonight and the winner faces Lashley at Backlash. I like that the top contender match is the former champion, and people who got WINS at WrestleMania.
Drew stops the Strowman Express with stairs and gets Singh Bombed into the table! After a commercial there's some good work outside the ring, but some sloppy work inside. Again, Adnan is not used to the WWE style. That's not a bad thing, but he also asks some pretty dumb questions of the other announcers. Randy Orton RKOs Braun, but gets Claymored while pinning him. Drew wins.
After the match, Mace and T-Bar attack Drew McIntyre while MVP looks on. Okay.....
10- Perfect, 9- MOTY Territory, 8- Excellent, 7- Great, 6- Good, 5- Average to above average, 4- Slightly below average, 3 or below: Poor
Each match starts at a 5 and slides up and down based on entertainment, execution, time, environment, reaction and stakes. The ratings are in no way an indication of a "star rating," which is a completely different system. A standard, non-offensive "TV match" lands at a 5. The gap between 5.75-6 is generally the largest, with anything reaching 6 being recommended viewing.
These are opinions, and incredibly inconsistent ones that may change upon a second viewing, or sitting on the match for a period of time. Don't take them too seriously, and have (and share) your own!