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Monday Night RAW in Baltimore: One Hell of an Ending to a Fun RAW

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Remember when Monday Night RAW was nearly unwatchable earlier this year? Hell, remember just a few shorts month ago, RAW was an absolute pointless mess?

Luckily, over the past few weeks — coincidentally since Paul Heyman was announced as head RAW — this show has gotten exponentially better. We’re seeing way better in-ring work, promos are stronger, new stars are being built, and sometimes we get endings like at Monday Night RAW in Baltimore.

Yes, the unexpected heel turn by Bayley — something a lot of people have wanted for years — finally happened. The build was near perfection. Sasha cuts a heel promo on Becky. Bayley is asked about her feelings on Sasha, and she admits she’s her best friend, but doesn’t agree with her tactics. Sasha is confronted later in the show about this, and she explodes on the interviewer. Then Sasha comes out and lays waste to Becky during the main event (it’s so weird how Alexa always skates unharmed in main events). It looks like the always goodie two-shoes Bayley was going to stop Sasha from hitting Becky with the chair. But then there was the smile. Then the turn. And boy oh boy did Baltimore love that turn.

Wrestling fans love the unexpected. If you told anyone that Bayley was turning heel tonight, the majority of fans would’ve thought it to be a ridiculous notion. So ending on this note not only has implications for Sasha vs. Bayley at Clash of Champions, but it changes the landscape of Smackdown Live as well. It’s moments like these when WWE hits, they hit it out of the park.

And it was a great note to end Monday Night RAW in Baltimore. Let’s break it all down.

Baron Corbin vs. Cedric Alexander Stole Monday Night RAW in Baltimore: If you’ve read anything I’ve done on WWE you know that Baron Corbin isn’t exactly my guy. However, tonight he and Cedric tore the house down with a high impact match with a nice story built in. With Cedric down to one arm, we saw him put on one of his best main roster match (yes, even topping his bout with McIntyre a few weeks ago). The crowd was absolutely behind Alexander as much as they were when they chanted his name at Triple H at the Cruiserweight Classic. WWE has successfully created a new star in Alexander — let’s hope they keep it up. As for Corbin, he is destined for the King of the Ring win, and he should as the gloating douche heel is in his bailiwick.

Heels Doing Heel Things: Even though The O.C. lost to Braun and Seth, they along with Roode and Ziggler successfully executed a mass beat down of main event babyfaces. Usually in situations like this you’d see someone like Braun overcome massive odds and the heels would be sent scampering. This time around we built a situation where Strowman accidentally clobbered Seth, which’ll fuel dissension in their tag match, and give some juice to next week’s official contract signing.

Hawkins and Ryder a Tale of Two Hard Workers: Listen, we know our favorite bros from Long Island aren’t going to catch a win anytime soon. However, any time they’re in the ring you know you’re getting a good match from them, and their opponents. They know exactly how to make their opponents look great, and tonight Ziggler and Roode needed to look great. Listen, Ziggler and Roode are tried and true veterans. They’ve worked in tag teams before, and done so successfully. However, they need to be seen as a very credible threat to Rollins and Strowman. And given both their recent track records of losing all the time, they need to shine. Yes, they did win the tag team turmoil, but they need even more momentum. Hawkins and Ryder gave them a run for their money, but in the end Ziggler and Roode used good tag team wrestling to win.

A Squash That Worked: Finally, the Viking Raiders got a victory that the crowd cared about. They’ve been pushed as basically a heel monster squad, crushing everyone in their way. It’s in essence the way Braun got over. However, given the team’s run in NXT, as babyfaces, it’s been hard for the crowds to care. When did they care — when there were stakes. When they rumbled with The O.C., people were into it. Tonight, when the heels jabronis cut a promo on the audience, the B-More crowd ate it up like Sunday Brunch.

A Tissue? Really?: So, Lacey Evans was back in the win column, and she used her handkerchief/tissue to win. Ugh. Seriously, ugh. The match didn’t start off great when Nattie had to wait until Lacey turned around, which took too long, too attack her. The match itself was fine, but the ending was super lame. Lacey takes out the hankie, which was not teased or even introduced until 10 seconds before the finish. Lacey tosses it at Nattie’s face and then hits “The Women’s Right.” Yeah, that’s the finish, and it’s as bad as it sounds.

The Firefly Funhouse Returns: This teases Bray going after Seth and/or Braun. Let’s do it.

Great Match, Weird Finish: Ricochet and Samoa Joe really put together a terrific match. They have an awesome chemistry, and I could see them running this back match for The Garden next week. However, the unclear ending makes it all a bit weird. I guess that gives Corbin a bye?

Miz and Cesaro: Strange that Cesaro goes over in NXT: UK but loses in relative quick fashion to The Miz. Much like Ziggler and Roode, Miz needs momentum to go into his Nakamura match. However, they gotta do something better with Cesaro.

Monday Night RAW in Baltimore airs on Hulu later this week.

Bill Bodkin
Bill Bodkinhttps://thepopbreak.com
Bill Bodkin is the editor-in-chief and co-founder of Pop Break, and most importantly a husband, and father. Ol' Graybeard writes way too much about wrestling, jam bands, Asbury Park music, HBO shows, and can often be seen under his season DJ alias, DJ Father Christmas. He is the co-host of the Socially Distanced Podcast (w/Al Mannarino) which drops weekly on Apple, Google, Anchor & Spotify. He is the co-host of the monthly podcasts -- Anchored in Asbury, TV Break and Bill vs. The MCU.


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