Raw Winners And Losers: KofiMania Stays Alive As Hell In A Cell Draws Nearer
This week’s Raw felt different to recent previous editions. There was still way too much inconsequential filler, but it was packed with compelling in-ring action that showcased the strengths of a few of the brand’s more under-utilized Superstars. It feels like everyone has decided to up their game since learning that WWE will be hitting the road again in a few months. The pandemic era has been hard on Raw as it’s a three hour show which suffers from its length under normal circumstances, but without a real life crowd to liven up the festivities, it can really be a slog at times.
Loser: The Opening Segment
The show opened with Bobby Lashley and MVP lamenting Lashley’s defeat at the hands of Kofi Kingston last week. Both Drew McIntyre and Kofi came out, and all three men plus MVP exchanged words. Adam Pearce announced that Kofi and Drew would go one-on-in the first match of the night to decide the number one contender to Lashley’s WWE Championship.
The match between Kingston and McIntyre was a little longer than it needed to be, but otherwise it was decent. Drew showed off his strength and hit Kofi with a plethora of power moves, while Kofi flaunted his trademark resilience by kicking out of all of them. The match ended when MVP and Lashley interfered, causing the match to end without a definitive victor. Overall, not unbearable, but it was still a 40-minute opening segment that culminated in a double DQ. Later in the night it was announced that Drew and Kofi would participate in a rematch next Monday. An announcement that rendered the whole opening segment and the match that followed completely pointless.
Winner: Kofi Kingston
Inserting Kofi Kingston into the existing WWE Championship feud between Drew McIntyre and Bobby Lashley has really breathed some life into Raw’s main event scene. Lashley and McIntyre started off hot but have cooled down a lot since WrestleMania. Kofi has shaken things up a bit, and as a former WWE Champion, he’s a believable contender. Beating Lashley last week didn’t hurt either. Could a KofiMania Part 2 be on the horizon?
Winner: Nikki Cross
Nikki Cross finally got to have another match on TV, and although it was short, she technically won as all she had to do was last for two minutes in the ring with WWE Raw Women’s Champion Rhea Ripley. At first, it seemed like Rhea was going to squash Cross, but thankfully Nikki was able to beat the clock. Let’s hope we see more of the Scottish Superstar in the coming weeks. The Raw women’s title picture is in desperate of a shake-up.
Loser: Asuka Vs. Charlotte Flair
Not a bad match by any stretch. In fact, it was probably one of their better matches. It’s just an incredibly stale pairing at this point. The fact we have reached a point where two women as talented as Asuka and Charlotte Flair can have a match that doesn’t generate an ounce of buzz or excitement tells you all you need to know. Charlotte got the win after working Asuka’s knee for most of the match. The win means Charlotte will likely become the number one contender to Rhea Ripley’s Raw Women’s Championship, which means another rehash of a feud we’ve already seen relatively recently. UPDATE: Later in the night, it was indeed revealed that Charlotte Flair and Rhea Ripley will square off at Hell In A Cell.
Winner: Cedric Alexander
Cedric Alexander went one-on-one with his former Hurt Business tag partner Shelton Benjamin. Another match that was slightly too long, but overall it was enjoyable. These two had a score to settle after the demise of the Hurt Business, but Alexander had to remind viewers that that was the case in a pre-match promo in which he attempted to enrage Benjamin and get in his head. Ultimately it paid off, and Alexander was able to get the win over his more experienced opponent. An impressive performance from an exciting and dynamic performer who deserves any opportunities that come his way.
Winner: Xavier Woods Vs. Riddle
A great match between two guys who have never been on opposite sides of the ring from each other. It’s always refreshing to see Woods in singles action and to be reminded of what he can do. Riddle hit Woods with a German Suplex from the second rope. Woods landed on his head rather roughly but appeared to be fine and was able to continue the match. Riddle then got the win by hitting Woods with Randy Orton’s RKO finisher. the story they’re telling is that Riddle is learning from Randy Orton, and there were other moments in the match (aside from the finish) where he appeared to be paying homage to The Viper, with whom he has recently formed a mismatch tag team. After the bell, Riddle dedicated his win to Orton, whose absence gave Riddle a chance to shine.
Loser: AJ Styles Vs. Jaxson Ryker
A very short match that was won by Jaxson Ryker. Jaxson Ryker shouldn’t be beating anyone, least of all former WWE Champion AJ Styles. On the plus side, we got to see Omos mess up Elias, which was fun.
Loser: Sheamus Vs. Humberto Carillo
Another short match. Given more time, there’s no doubt that Sheamus and Carillo could have great match. What we’ve seen of their chemistry so far has been impressive, but they didn’t have enough time to get out of first gear here. Shaemus got the win, and continued to pummel Carillo until Ricochet made the save. Carillo and Ricochet double-teamed Sheamus. Its seems like Ricochet will challenge Sheamus for the US Championship at some point, and more Ricochet is never a bad thing.
Loser: Natalya And Tamina Vs. Nia Jax And Shayna Baszler
Please God, let this be the end of this feud. A bad match in a bad segment, most of which made absolutely no sense. Shayna appeared to have the match won but then Nia’s concubine Reggie interfered and cost his own side the match. Shayna chastised Reggie and told him to leave, but as he was making his way back up the ramp there was an explosion of pyro which left him reeling. Natalya took advantage of the distraction to roll Shayna up with an Inside Cradle for the win. After the match Shayna yelled at Reggie some more and challenged him to a match next week. Shayna has been booked abysmally recently and the damage that has been done to her character since she left NXT is almost irreparable. Hopefully, a win over Reggie next week will set on a path back to greatness.