Raw Underground Debuts and Gets Taken Over By The Hurt Business (and a lot more). Raw Review 8/3/20

The Hurt Business takes over Raw Underground. Via Twitter (@WWEUniverse)

Overall

You could use a lot of words to describe last night’s episode of Monday Night Raw, but uneventful would not be one of them. In all honesty there was a lot to like about Raw, but to claim that this episode wasn’t a little bit all over the place would be a lie. We kicked off the night crowning the real United States Champion, Apollo Crews, who beat MVP (even with some technical interference). After that match, we saw very few matches with finishes and those that did finish didn’t have enough time to really get going. So, if you came into Monday Night Raw this week expecting solid matches from the likes of Asuka, Sasha Banks, or Drew McIntyre this was not your night.

If you came to Monday Night Raw this week looking for solid promos, the teasing of a new faction debuting, and well done storytelling then you came to the right place. All of these story elements were in full swing this episode, but perhaps at the detriment of the in-ring action. We didn’t even get a true main event on tonight’s card leaving the episode to kinda fizzle out with a half-hearted tease for more Raw Underground to come from Shane McMahon.

Overall, I was entertained throughout the episode but I will admit that the show was a bit of a mess this week. Raw needs to be able to balance good story work with solid in-ring matches to really get it’s grove back. All that being said, let’s look at the good, the bad, and the ugly of Monday Night Raw 8/3/20.

The Good

  • Apollo is back!
  • Apollo looked great in his match tonight. I don’t know if his kayfabe injury was legit or if it was covering for COVID or whatever but he definitely looked fully recovered.
  • Happy for Apollo that he got to keep his belt.
  • The lights and technical difficulties are an interesting element. It’s tied to the faction that will debut sometime soon. This can be good if it doesn’t turn into SmackDown hacker 2.0.
  • Solid backstage interview from Apollo. The new belt is now the official US Title belt, which is probably for the best.
  • Loved the trailer style video package Sasha and Bayley showed.
  • So glad to see Shayna isn’t stuck going after the 24/7 title or something like that.
  • Yay! Liv Morgan is back!
  • Yeah! Let’s get a Riott Squad and The IIconics in a feud. In fact let’s see a fatal four way for the tag belts at SummerSlam. The Golden Role Models vs. The IIconics vs. The Riott Squad vs. Tegan Nox and Shotzi Blackheart (or some other NXT team, maybe have a contender match at TakeOver)
  • Drew and Orton’s face to face segment is great. Really solid babyface work from Drew and some high quality classic heel work from Randy.
  • I thought Asuka cut a great promo on Sasha.
  • Montez getting drugged or poisoned or whatever is an interesting angle that added something to this feud. I’m here for it.
  • Erik on Raw Underground was better than the first introduction to the segment. That one should’ve probably gone first.
  • Bianca going after Zelina is great. Bianca should’ve been in this feud from the beginning.
  • Joe standing up to Seth got a huge pop from me in my living room!
  • By the end Raw Underground had grown on me. I still have my criticisms but I think it could end up being something cool.

The Bad

  • I would’ve liked to have seen Ricochet and Cedric Alexander have joined Apollo at ringside. But instead they weren’t on the show at all.
  • Using Sarah Logan’s retirement and pregnancy to cover up her being fired didn’t sit well with me.
  • The women’s tag match was way too short for the major return of the Riott Squad. I’m glad they are back but I hope they can get some more high quality matches.
  • The phantom DQ on the Sasha Shayna match when Asuka entered the arena was weird.
  • Raw Underground (despite growing on me by the end of the episode) has a lot of work to do before it can be good. The aesthetic is terrible, or at least the loud 2000s-esque club music and the sexy (but not too sexy) dancing girls. I can get behind an underground fight club but can it please exist in this decade. Also the editing style is atrocious you can’t light something cinematically and then film and edit it like you are shooting sports. The cuts and the frequent 180 line breaks make this feel confusing and chaotic and not in the intended way.
  • Joe teasing us like he’s gonna wrestle but not actually doing it disappointed me.

The Ugly

  • This Nia Jax and Pat Buck angle is so dumb and is such a mess. It feels like a waste of time and the suspension could’ve been handed out on twitter or just announced by the commentary team. The Riott Squad match or Sasha and Shayna could’ve benefited from the extra five minutes that cutting this segment would’ve added.
  • This episode of Raw had all of the elements but I think what left me with a bad taste in my mouth was the lack of payoff in the episode. We didn’t have a main event at all, the new faction didn’t debut, Raw Underground was introduced but we still don’t quite know how significant it is. It just felt like we built up to something but it never came.

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