Last night’s episode of Raw featured a marked improvement on last week’s fairly lackluster episode, and was definitely more watchable than the cringeworthy segments on Friday Night’s SmackDown from last week. As we get closer and closer to “The Horror Show at Extreme Rules” (I still have no desire to call it that so I won’t) we are starting to see what looks like a neat pay per view come together. Dolph Ziggler’s mystery stipulation for his title shot adds a dimension that gets me excited for their match, the feud between Sasha Banks and Asuka is heating up (and I cannot wait for next week’s tag match between the Kabuki Warriors and The Golden Role Models), and the scene surrounding the United States title is one of the most entertaining parts of Raw each week.
Speaking of the United States Championship, let’s talk about the new belt that was revealed by MVP and Bobby Lashley last night. I’m actually a fan of this new design and think it looks unique while still fitting into the current aesthetic of Monday Night Raw and the WWE at the moment. The previous version of the belt (and the one that Apollo Crews is presumably still holding) has been around for a long time and had a classic look, but it was time for a change. The conspiracy side of my brain wonders if WWE might use the fact that Apollo is not the current holder of the belt to go back on this new design due to the online backlash it received. If this is our current United States Championship Belt, I think it will take some getting used to but I think most people will forget the initial reaction.
All of that being said, let’s look at the good, the bad, and the ugly of WWE’s Monday Night Raw 7/6/20!
- The opening segment with Drew and Dolph was a lot of fun. The mystery stipulation adds intrigue to a match that really needed it.
- Heath Slater makes a return to WWE television!!!
- Heath cut one hell of a promo!
- Kairi Sane makes a return to WWE television!!! (Despite rumors that she might be done with the company)
- Kairi and Sasha had a very fun match.
- Seth’s reaction to Aleister Black being attacked backstage. In fact this week the Monday Night Messiah had a kind of “screw it” attitude to his promo work that really made him seem the most diabolical he has since attacking Rey Mysterio’s eye.
- I really liked the stipulation that the winner of the tag match will pick the stipulation of their Extreme Rules match.
- Glad to see both KO and Rey back in the ring.
- Dominic getting at Murphy’s eyes. I’m excited to see what the next steps are for this kid.
- MVP and Lashley getting to debut the new belt. Sure Apollo is the champion but I like this bit that MVP has crowned himself the new champion.
- Ricochet and Cedric Alexander are back!
- MVP has to fight in a suit.
- Randy Orton laying down the law backstage to Garza and Andrade. This segment was a lot of fun!
- MVP trying to convince Cedric Alexander to turn on Apollo and Ricochet. He would make an interesting addition to MVP’s potential stable.
- The Kabuki warriors interview was great! I’m hoping that they will be used as the perfect foil to Bayley and Sasha.
- Nikki Cross popping up on commentary.
- The Bayley Asuka match is a lot of fun. If you go back and watch anything from this episode watch this match!
- I get why they booked the match with Heath Slater the way that they did, but Heath better have gotten something good in return for showing up to cut a hell of a promo and only take one claymore in 15 second match.
- Having Bayley attack Kairi to get the DQ in Sasha’s match, no one here is so protected that you have to have a non-finish. Sasha would’ve been fine to take the L, and Kairi needs a win.
- The ending for the main event was incredibly overbooked. The match itself keeps this from being labeled “ugly” but I thought that we had just enough Nikki involvement in the match when she got escorted out. To have her show up again to get Bayley off guard so that Asuka could get the pin which was protected by Kairi Sane stopping Sasha Banks from interfering. There’s just too much going on here.
I don’t have anything new to add to the ugly. Ric Flair still probably shouldn’t be showing up during a pandemic. But really this show was one of the best Raw episodes we have had in a while.