Live from Madison Square Garden in New York, New York. This is the second WWE show since Vince McMahon retired in disgrace, and presumably the first with Triple H running creative. This could play out in so many different ways, I just had to sit down and watch Raw for the first time in a year out of sheer curiosity.
Cold open has Logan Paul and The Miz brawling in the ring. I have no idea what their issue is, although you don't need a good reason to want to beat up Miz. Agents and refs manage to pull them apart.
WWE World/Universal Champion Roman Reigns (with Paul Heyman and the Usos) come to the ring to talk. Vince might be gone, but the ridiculous CGI effects are still here. Production blatantly pipes in loud booing, because everyone in the crowd looks happy to see them. Despite the fake booing, the crowd applauds Roman and pops for the "Acknowledge me" catchphrase. Paul welcomes the fans to the island of relevancy, and makes fun of production for the glitchy microphone, in fact, he wants the sound guy's name because he'll be next out the door. Paul knows that Brock Lesnar is a serious threat because he's ruined other WWE parties, like Undertaker's Wrestlemania streak. Paul is sick of Lesnar riding on Roman's coattails and it's time to send him packing back to Saskatchewan. They're interrupted by Mr. Money in the Bank Austin Theory, cue more fake boos. The fans give Theory the WHAT! treatment as he dangles the briefcase around. Roman isn't impressed and dares Theory to get into the ring to acknowledge the tribal chief. Theory looks nervous, Roman tells the fans to go easy on him because it's "his first time." Roman advises Theory to analyze the situation because his "daddy isn't here anymore." The crowd LOVES that line and chants "Who's your daddy?" Roman declares that he runs the garden now and strolls out. Theory wacks Usos with the briefcase instead, but the Bloodline treat him like a nuisance and not a threat.
Back from commercials, Austin Theory is still in the ring for more talking. He's immediately cut off by Drew McIntyre, still wielding that gawdawful sword.
Bobby Lashley rushes in to save Drew and they clear out all the jabronis. If this restarts as a tag team match during the commercial I might not be able to get through it.
Theory celebrates his loss on the stage and gets ambushed by the Usos. Roman Reigns saunters out and condescendingly puts the MITB case on Theory's chest.
Rey Mysterio video package, celebrating his 20 years in WWE.
Cryptic video package with candles, spooky lighting, clocks, and bloody writing. Sure looks like Bray Wyatt, but we'll have to wait and see.
Backstage interview with Dolph Ziggler. He is targeting Austin Theory because he needs to learn a lesson. He's joined by AJ Styles, who appreciates what Dolph is doing. They're interrupted by Alpha Academy, and Chad Gable thinks Theory has already exceeded both of them. I smell a tag team match.
Rey Mysterio and Dominick come to the ring to celebrate Rey's 20 years in WWE. Fans chant "Thank you, Rey" for real. Rey credits himself for breaking the stereotype of what a small guy could be in the business. He lists all of his top rivals and gets a bit emotional mentioning Eddie Guerrero. He thanks his family and the fans for 20 of the "dumpest" most awesome years. The good vibes end when Finn Balor shows up in the crowd offering insincere applaus. Damien Priest comes in from the rear and, ah shucks, it's time for some commercials.
Raw Women's Champion Bianca Belair is all smiles walking around backstage.
The Mysterio family meets Rey and Dominick backstage for a party. They share some adult beverages and gift Rey special purple gear to honor his classic Halloween Havoc match. Rhea Ripley wanders in wearing Eddie's "I'm Your Papi" t-shirt and attacks Dominick. This leads to an ambush by Balor and Priest, and they powerbomb Rey through a table, which totally makes us all forget they just jobbed fair and square in the ring. Also, despite there being about 20 friends and family in the next room, not a single one of them tries to help.
Bianca Belair comes out to talk, her entrance is interrupted with a video package highlighting her feud with Becky Lynch. Real life Becky immediately shows up, but Bianca talks over her about how great she is, and they end up brawling.
Backstage interview with Alexa Bliss, who's still carrying around that stupid Lily doll. She isn't embarrassed to be hanging out with a doll, in fact, Lily makes her money on merchandise. Alexa throws her name into the title hunt.
Alexa comes to the ring for her match, but in the meantime there's commercials and another beatdown on Mysterio.
AJ Styles chats with Logan Paul, apparently a big fan of his Miz hating lifestyle.
Logan Paul comes back to the ring for ImPaulsive TV. He gets booed for mentioning that his brother will be fighting in MSG next weekend. I think he's supposed to be a babyface, but the fans hate him. He calls out The Miz, but gets no initial response. Instead, he gets Maryse, who doesn't appreciate the way he's talking about her awesome, amazing reality show. I think he was actually talking about her stupid husband, but I digress. Maryse orders Paul to never talk about her kids again or her man's gen…genit…er, package. Fans chant "F*ck you, both." Maryse thinks the average penis size is 1.8 to 2 inches, so her husband is perfectly average, and Logan wants to know who measures their testicles. This segment is complete death. Miz finally shows up to declare that not only does he measure his testicles, but so does every man in this arena. That doesn't sound right. Logan wants to fight, but speculates that Maryse has bigger balls than her husband. Ciampa rushes in with a sneak attack on behalf of Miz. This is the worst wrestling segment I've seen in quite some time.
Backstage interview with the Street Profits, WWE Tag Team Champions The Usos, and special referee Jeff Jarrett, who will be calling their match at Summerslam. The Profits are planning on giving the Usos a Summerslam preview in the main event. They'd like to fight, but Jarrett tells them to shut up and keep the peace.
Seth Rollins shows up for a convenient attack on Riddle. He hits a curb stomp onto the ring steps, because he is eeeeeeeevil.
Final Thoughts: There was some good stuff here and there, more so than the last few times I've checked out Raw. I really enjoyed the opening segment with Roman being allowed to make thinly veiled Vince references. After that, we got one of my most hated booking tropes of a singles match that ends in interference to set up an instant tag match, which only serves to burn up TV time on a dumb 3 hour show that after 10 years, they STILL DO NOT KNOW HOW TO FILL. The Mysterios match was pretty good, the Miz stuff was dreadful. Overall, it's hard to recommend Raw, and if you're expecting change with Vince McMahon gone, you're going to have to wait.
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