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Monday Night RAW in St. Paul: The King of the Ring Begins, But Braun Steals the Show

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Monday Night RAW in St. Paul starts with Dolph Ziggler running his mouth again. Roman Reigns answers and we go right into our first match of the night. Surprise, this match is good. Really good. Except then it got too good and you knew there was no way Ziggler was going to win. It was so close to staying on that line where you couldn’t be too sure, except it went one-to-many close calls. In any case, Ziggler and Reigns earn my kudos for a very entertaining start to RAW.

Lots of talk about the King of the Ring tonight and Jerry “The King” Lawler bringing back The King’s Court w/Sasha Banks.

Before this, we get a pre-taped promo from Becky Lynch and her hot take on Banks.

Lawler in the ring, stumbles his lines a bit talking about the brackets. He’s about to finish talking about his predictions, when the power starts going out. Great lines, “Uh oh, I’ve seen this before…” and he bolts from the ring, except it was too late. The Fiend sneaks up behind Lawler before he makes it to the back. Vic Joseph from 205 Live takes Lawler’s spot at the announce team for the rest of the night.

The Miz & Ricochet defeated Drew McIntyre & Baron Corbin

Decent match, hyping up some upcoming KOTR matches. My concern is how much the announce team craps on Corbin and unanimously predict McIntrye will win the KOTR. I become afraid of King Corbin. In any case, Miz and Ricochet pick up the win following a lot of solid double-teamwork to overcome the overpower of the Scot.

Michael Cole interviews Booker T who predicts Drew McIntyre will win KOTR.

Braun Strowman defeats AJ Styles by DQ

Not a bad match, but you had to be oblivious if you thought Gallows and Anderson weren’t going to interfere. Seth Rollins comes out for the save. He then challenges The Club to a tag team title match later on tonight.

Samoa Joe defeated Cesaro in Round 1 of the King of the Ring Tournament

Hot damn was this a match. It could have been a classic Ring of Honor match. They hit hard and slammed harder. Cesaro had a lot of near falls, but Joe’s big brute strength foiled his plans. This reminded me of some of the stiff matches I’ve seen in NJPW, except you knew Joe and Cesaro had to hold back just a tad here. In any case, Joe gets the win via submission in a great singles match.

I have noticed the quality of matches has improved greatly tonight. Color me impressed.

Elias attempts to sing, but there are lot of technical difficulties. R-Truth is the saboteur, but unable to regain the 24/7 championship.

Backstage: Rey Mysterio says he is going to retire and hang up the mask. He is about to unmask, but his son stops him and begs him to stay, making a promise to team together at some point in the future. Sad Rey continues to be sad.

The New Day vs. Revival goes to a DQ

Pretty good match, evenly paced until New Day go on a rally to win, until RANDY ORTON from out of nowhere starts clobbering with RKOs. Kofi Kingston attempts a save, but inevitably falls to the numbers. Orton and Revival appear to break the leg of Xavier Woods.

Alexa Bliss & Nikki Cross defeat Mandy Rose & Sonya Deville

Good match. Nothing spectacular, but overall, a satisfying match. Good finish too.

Cedric Alexander defeated Sami Zayn in a Round 1 KOTR match

This match was just a bit short from being called a squash. Zayn had some early offense, until Alexander went on a rally and made short work of Zayn. Wow. Did not expect that.

Street Profits are always entertaining.

Backstage: The OC get ready for their upcoming title defense against Rollins & Strowman.

Sasha Banks refuses to explain herself to Michael Cole.

Later on, Natalya does a backstage segment and gets assaulted by Banks. She says, “see you in hell, tell your father I say hi.”

That’s dirty.

Braun Strowman & Seth Rollins defeat The OC to become the NEW RAW Tag Team Champions

Well, we’ve seen this before. Slow building rivals becoming tag champs. They did the tease before and after with Strowman eyeballing the Universal Championship. Braun has been way over with live crowds for months, are they really going to make him turn heel just to face-off with Rollins at Clash of Champions? Tonight’s match was good, even paced.

Final thoughts on Monday Night RAW in St. Paul — It seems the quality of the program in general is improving, the backstage segments, while still prevalent, do not feel so intrusive as to derail the flow of the show.

Monday Night RAW in St. Paul Minnesota will air on Hulu later this week.

Michael Dworkis
Michael Dworkis
Michael Dworkis has been a writer for The Pop Break since 2010. For over a decade he has contributed columns featuring Anime, Comics, Transformers, Television, Movies, and most notably, Professional Wrestling. Additionally, one of the key players in the original Angry Nerds column and a guest on one of Bill's various podcasts. When he is not grinding away at his next feature, or shouting expletives at the television while playing video games or watching wrestling, Michael actually has a full-time job,as a Mental Health Professional, working at a medical practice in New Jersey, and runs his own telehealth private practice. A family man through-and-through, requiring his three children to memorize all the Autobots and Decepticons on the collection shelves while also educating them in all things Marvel and Star Wars. You know, the stuff Disney owns.


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