It is the road to … Super Showdown. I personally have a very complicated relationship with the Saudi shows, I am always here for more wrestling, but the Saudi shows have a disjointed feeling to them, and seem to lack a certain cohesion that most pay-per-views lend themselves. Regardless, WWE is going all in on them, so most of what happens tonight involves showdowns to prepare for the Showdown!
First comes a match between Roman Reigns and the Usos vs. the Revival and Drew McIntyre. It is a so-so match that ends with McIntyre landing a Claymore Kick on Roman to get the pinfall. Afterwards Shane beats on Roman and promises he will make Roman tap out at Super Showdown. There is a clear lack of substance with Shane’s character right now except being bad for the sake of being bad, and the Super Showdown match feels too forced to be compelling, especially between the talent gap between Shane and Roman.
There is a Miz TV segment with special guest Seth Rollins. What ensues is predictable; The Miz taunts Seth and asks him if he is scared for the upcoming contract cash-in that Brock Lesnar promised, but Seth, of course, is undeterred. Brock taunts Seth by threatening to come out but there will be no such payoff, at this time. I am done with this teasing by Brock Lesnar, I would like to throw my two cents in and point out that having Brock with the Money in the Bank contract is incredibly frustrating because it is going to be a long tease with no potential payoff.
Next to come out is the Lucha House Party against Lars Sullivan. There is something to be said for just putting one of the largest men in WWE, against three very acrobatic wrestlers. It’s a quick skirmish, after which, Lucha House Party actually knocks Lars Sullivan out of the ring. Lars shrugs it off and walks back out the ramp.
Next, there is a backstage segment with The IIconics and Nikki Cross and Alexa Bliss, the IIconics pester and make fun of Nikki while Alexa watches and then shoos them off. Alexa and Nikki form a friendship, it’s hard to tell if Alexa is actually a face or is just playing one to betray Nikki later. It is so hard to imagine Alexa being anything but a heel, but maybe this could be a new look for Alexa that might work.
Next is a match between Charlotte and Lacey Evans. The match ends with interference by Becky Lynch, who is ringside, as she beats up on Lacey while she is defenseless; Charlotte wins the match by disqualification, not much to see here.
Rey Mysterio comes out next to relinquish his US Championship to Samoa Joe due to injury. It is sad to see how hurt Rey Mysterio his, he is a great competitor and it will be sad not to see him compete, I am not sure if this is the end of his career but it looks like an approximation of it. The only upside is that this is a great push for Joe, he is one of the best wrestlers in WWE right now, if anyone should be a featured competitor week to week it’s him.
Braun Strowman comes out to face Bobby Lashley in an arm wrestling match, which seems like a great way to fill time the week of a pay per view in Saudi Arabia. Braun eventually wins after some stalling by Lashley, this leads to Lashley getting the drop of Braun to beat him up to and then throw him down with a power slam. In any other context, this might be cool, but this time might as well have been spent on a video package for how worthless it was.
After the match there is a recap of R-Truth going up against Jinder Mahal yesterday on a golf course for the 24/7 Title, R-Truth is able to pin Jinder as he flees with the title via a golf cart with Carmella in tow. Backstage Drake Maverick is with EC3 as they tail Carmella to try and find R-Truth.
Next is Nikki Cross vs. Peyton Royce, which Alexa Bliss and Billie Kay in each corner respectively. The match is very fast moving in the beginning with Nikki and Peyton trading throws very early. Peyton is able to overpower Nikki by forcing her into the corners and on the ropes. Alexa cheers on Nikki to try and get her to beat Peyton. Nikki is able to fight back and manages to jump off the top rope but Peyton dodges. Alexa gets some coffee delivered during the match which distracts Peyton as she kicks it away from Alexa, Nikki gets the neckbreaker off on Peyton and the pin to win. Alexa is irate after the match due to the coffee spillage and kicks Peyton in the back as her and Nikki cheer in the middle of the ring.
Seth Rollins is out in the middle of the ring calling out Brock Lesnar and telling him that he dares him to come out to cash in his contract. Instead Baron Corbin comes out to confront Rollins. Corbin taunts Rollins into attacking, he does but Corbin manages to counter and take out Rollins. Lesnar comes out as he takes a low blow against Rollins along with a steel chair and a pair of suplexes. Lesnar doesn’t opt to cash in and instead says he will cash in Friday as he continues to beat up Rollins. Rollins is loaded into an ambulance as Becky Lynch accompanies him.
Next is an episode of Firefly Fun House. This might be my favorite thing that Bray Wyatt is doing right now, it’s so silly and ridiculous, and it surprisingly works. The sound effects are campy, the characters are great and it’s so different right now, at least WWE is trying something different.
Triple H comes out next quickly followed by Randy Orton. Triple H tells Randy that he will kick his ass at Super Showdown and has no hope to win. Randy tells Triple H he is not Batista and that he is a legend killer. This is a typical legend vs. superstar promo with nothing special. The problem with these Saudi matches is that there is no pretense for them, and the buildup feels so forced, and the promos are even worse, there is no difference here. Randy tells Triple H that he needs to get his balls from Stephanie’s purse, and Triple H shoots back by telling Randy he never even had any. I don’t know what to expect for this match but my expectations for Super Showdown are incredibly low.
Ricochet comes out next to face Cesaro. For me this was easily the best match of the night. I’m a huge mark for Ricochet, and not only because he brings it every night. While he and Aleister Black were performing three nights a week it was one of the greatest runs in history by new talent. He is still able to shine in his matches including this one against Cesaro. To be fair Cesaro is also a good worker, it is so hard in a card right now with so many excellent competitors. Ricochet is able to win with a pinfall after going around the world on Cesaro with a flurry of spins. After the match Cesaro clobbers Ricochet from behind. Cesaro goes to pull a table from under the ring only to find R-Truth laying on the table, which was a brilliant moment of comedy. The locker room spills out into the ring to take our R-Truth. Drake Maverick is taken out by Carmella as Truth runs backstage.
Tonight’s show ends with The Undertaker coming out ahead of his match with Goldberg at Super Showdown. I find this another forced promo that does not have any cohesion to any sort of genuine back round.
In all honesty, this was not a very good episode of Monday Night RAW; I was ready for it to be over halfway into the proceedings. While these months following WrestleMania become the doldrums of wrestling, it feels that the forced storylines, if you can even call them that, that are feeding Super Showdown seem to be hurting more than helping. We will see what happens next week after the Super Showdown, but for now, the direction of WWE is unclear at best.