Raw recap and reactions: Seth Rollins seeks a challenger



Seth Rollins celebrates, Cody wants a rematch, and we finally have new Women’s Tag Team champs.

Time 4 Sum Aksion

Besides qualifying matches for a big event coming our way in June, Seth Rollins took center stage this week. And why shouldn’t he? He’s the new champ and Raw’s new centerpiece.

Tangling him with Raw’s other centerpiece, The Judgment Day, makes a lot of sense. Besides the Finn Balor factor, there’s Damian Priest and Rhea Ripley. Yes, Dom Dom is a very big thing as well, but he’s not an actual threat. And even before the Judgment Day hit the ring to spoil Seth’s celebration, AJ Styles showed up.

I initially rolled my eyes at that because someone important told us the brand split counts. But they actually acknowledged it within storyline! And found a logical explanation! Will wonders ever cease?

But I digress. AJ congratulated Seth, Judgment Day showed up and informed Seth they still run Raw. In fact, Rhea put it out there that she is the champ and Seth is just another guy holding a belt. I believe her too. It’s a testament to Rhea and the men who play off her that I legitimately believe she has a shot at beating the World Heavyweight champ. But Seth, on a high and with a hole in his leather pants, felt disrespected and challenged any two members of Judgment Day to a main event tag match against him and AJ.

AJ teased a little tension there with Seth, both in the ring and during their backstage segment with Adam Pearce. What comes from that tease? No clue since Adam made it very clear that he cleared hurdles to make the match happen since AJ represents the blue brand.

As for the match itself? A typical, well-wrestled, fun main event. We got this great moment between Seth and Rhea:

We also got Dom and Rhea ejected from the match because, well, duh.

There’s really not much more to say with this one. Fun match and fun ending to a solid three hours. Nothing dramatic happened during the match and it provided no obvious path forward for the new champ.

If anything, it set up potential solo challenges from Finn, Damian, or both. Damian took the pin so maybe not him first, but I do see him and Seth tangoing down the line.

I wish I had more insights here but hey, I work with what they give me.


Money Ain’t a Thang

I like Miz reaching into his bag for this Money in the Bank (MItB) qualifier match against Ricochet. Subtle touch that underlines its importance but also shows how much Miz respects and fears Ricochet. When do you see Miz do a Springboard Splash? I’ll wait.

Did he win? Of course not. But he got Ricochet over in a solid opening match that showcased why Ricochet belongs in the match. He also got himself a victory over a former MItB winner, so yeah, positive thoughts all around.

Get Money

I like to believe Trish Stratus and Becky Lynch flew to Raw directly from Jeddah, which explains why both women still rocked their ring gear from Night of Champions. Of course, that’s probably not the case, but let me believe.

I liked Zoey Starks’ reasoning for siding with Trish: She wants to make a statement and doesn’t want to wait in line.

Yup, that makes sense. Why wait in the back if you know someone at the front who helps you cut the line? Even someone like me, a Boy Scout most of the time, recognizes that. Trish gets her ego stroked and the pub that comes from mentoring a young wrestler. Everybody wins.

Becky showed up after Trish called her out for that mean bruise Becky created on Trish’s face, and Zoey eventually took care of The Man again.

All of that worked. Trish’s mic work though? Less so. I’m not sure why she seems adrift right now on the microphone, but I do hope she finds her footing soon. This is a big feud and she can’t go toe-to-toe with Becky in this shape.

Money on My Mind

Sami Zayn & Kevin Owens owned this entire segment. They started it hot on the mic, they kept that flames going when Imperium showed, fanned those flames when Alpha Academy popped up for their match with Imperium, and then burned down the house on commentary.

Interestingly for the tag champs, Sami admitted Roman took up a lot of mental real estate. Understandable, right? But he noted that after Night of Champions, that ends. He’s fully focused on the teams coming for those tag titles.

Listening to KO and Sami talk their way through Alpha Academy vs. Imperium filled me with joy. And we got a good match! Oh, and while I like that we finally ended the internal Alpha Academy drama now that Maxxine is firmly a part of the Academy, I do wish we saw how we got from point A to point B. Yes, she showed less hostility toward Chad Gable lately, but I still want to see the work.

I Get Money

I liked the chaos in the Four-Way Women’s Tag Team Championship match. Multiple tags, multiple direction changes, and tags that interfered with perceived momentum. That made for fast-paced action that always serves a match like this. And the match was satisfactory. Anyone of a certain age knows what that meant on report cards.

BUT, and that’s a big but, I’m not sold on the winning team. While it’s crazy that Ronda Rousey went from, well, Ronda Rousey, to just being another woman on the roster, I feel nothing for her and Shayna Baszler holding the gold. Even the Albany reaction seemed muted at best.

Money Over Bullsh*t

If you’re new to JD McDonnagh, then you now know he’s a sociopath who loves brutalizing his opponents. WWE got that over, with a lot of help from Dolph Ziggler, in a few moments.

Dolph started the match in a fury but once JD snapped the rope into his throat (ouch), that was that.

It ended in a count out since JD took way too much pleasure in destroying Dolph outside the ring than getting the victory in the ring.

Money, Power & Respect

Cody Rhodes wants Brock Lesnar one more time. And his logic makes sense: It’s 1-1, and Brock didn’t make Cody tap.

As usual, impassioned mic work from Cody. He didn’t overstay his welcome and he got to the point rather quickly.

I do hope they up the stakes for this one though. A third match between opponents, specifically a rubber match, demands a stipulation. Cage? Hell in a Cell? Anything that brings random violence. Based on Brock’s schedule and Cody’s “broken arm,” it’s possible we don’t see this until SummerSlam. And I’m fine with that. Let it cool off for a while.

It’s All About the Benjamins

For a moment, I thought Bronson Reed might walk out of Albany with a spot in the MItB match. I really did. He dominated the early moments, withstood Shinsuke Nakamura’s comeback, and rolled out of the ring after Shinsuke’s first Kinshasa.

But, as is the case lately with Bronson, he looked good. Even in defeat. He looked smart rolling out the ring, he looked gutsy surviving that first Kinshasa and crawling back in the ring before the ref counted 10, and ultimately, he only went down after taking two Kinshasas. That’s something not many men on the roster can say.

Shinsuke deserves the spot and provides an interesting combination with Ricochet.

Good match that demonstrated Shinsuke’s heart and determination.

Solid night. Raw accomplished the basics and succeeded. We even got a teaser between GUNTHER and Matt Riddle. GUNTHER really doesn’t like that man and hopes Matt wins MItB just to challenge him for the Intercontinental Championship.

Getting back to Raw, it’s not their fault they can’t really follow up Night of Champions’ biggest angle. Maybe there’s something to that as Roman Reigns, once again, overshadows Seth and Monday night as a whole. Eventually, hopefully, WWE will find a compelling story for the new champ worthy of his championship and new designation.

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