Previously on the Best and Worst of Raw: Dolph Ziggler and Robert ‘Bobby’ Roode combined their off-television loser powers to become the top tag team in Raw’s tag team division. Also, Natalya continued to get got.
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And now, the Best and Worst of WWE Raw for September 2, 2019.
Best: Bayley, This Is Your Wife
Let’s start off by talking about the week’s biggest development: both Boss n Hug deciding they hate Becky Lynch enough to turn her into a fine, orange paste with a steel chair.
Early in the show, Lynch and 2P variant Sasha Banks argue with each other through microphones from a short distance (like you do) and agree to a match at Clash of Champions. Both women have cogent points. Lynch believes Banks is angry because she was the one positioned to be the big breakout face of the women’s division — even referencing her and Bayley getting flowers after their NXT TakeOver matches, which I appreciate (and wish they’d keep doing, especially if it’s going to keep trying to be domestic puroresu) — and Banks believes Lynch’s meteoric rise only really happened because Nia Jax broke her face and made her look dangerous and cool. It’s not the best promo exchange, but it works, because they both believe they’re right. And that works, because they both kinda are.
This leads to the main event of the night, in one of those matches you know is only there to set up a post-match angle: a “championship showcase,” teaming the Raw Women’s Champion who Sasha Banks hates and the Smackdown Women’s Champion Sasha Banks loves against the Women’s Tag Team Champions. Before it happens, they thankfully address the elephant in the room from last week: why Bayley would be on the show where Sasha talks about how she didn’t give a shit about the Women’s Tag titles and not do or say anything. Her excuse is, “we talked about it, don’t worry about it,” which at first sounds like lazy writing to cover a plot hole, but ends up making so much sense.
Sure enough, Banks interferes and causes a DQ to attack Lynch. Bayley shows up to prevent the on-loop chair attack, gives it a long hard think, and decides to Hollywood Hogan it. Welcome to the world, Dirtbag Bayley.
This works for a few reasons, including:
- Bayley’s pre-attack smile, which is amazing
- the established relationships between Bayley and Banks, where you always kinda got the feeling that Bayley was a doormat in the friendship and would ultimately do whatever Banks wanted to maintain it (like putting up with multiple heel turn teases at her expense)
- Bayley’s character has been slowly turning into a huge jerk anyway, which would be a credit to the writing team if the announcers got the hint and started questioning her instead of immediately rationalizing and excusing everything because she’s supposed to be a babyface
Regardless, it’s gonna be hilarious when Lynch has to go to Charlotte Flair for help.
An Update On Becky’s Real-Life Boyfriend®
The actual show opens with a contract signing between Seth Rollins and Braun Strowman for their Universal Championship match at Clash of Champions, but not their Raw Tag Team Championship match, which I guess they can fill out the paperwork for backstage.
Before it really gets anywhere, The O.C. (don’t call them that) interrupts, tears up the contract, and launches a LET’S HAVE A TAG TEAM MATCH THAT STARTS RIGHT AFTER THE COMMERCIAL BREAK attack. Getting Styles involved in the Universal Championship picture is a good idea, because (1) Braun Strowman can’t really do long, dramatic one-on-one pay-per-view matches at a high level, and because (2) Styles opportunistically inserting himself into a situation that doesn’t involve him so he can be the third person in a world title match involving two people who’ll have already wrestled earlier in the night is 💯 heel.
Rollins reverses a roll-up into a roll-up of his own to win the match (in a way that doesn’t really “hurt” the O.C., at least not on Raw, where all tag teams are supposed to suck), and, again, it’s all about the post-match. The tag champs get beaten up by the combined efforts of Styles, Gallows, Anderson, and Raw Tag Team Championship challengers Cheer Money (Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode). I know Paul Heyman’s supposed to be the one executively directing Raw or whatever, but between the Bayley swerve and this nWo beatdown, this was a real Eric Bischoff kind of episode.
Another Eric Bischoff classic: tons of “wait, what?” jobber matches on the undercard!
Jobbers Of The Week
After they join nWo Typhoon, Roo-Dolph gets a strong win over Curt Hawkins and Zack Ryder. Hawkins and Ryder usually get more of a reaction than they do here, for better or worse, so maybe they showed that “Gratitude Era” shit to the live crowd. The heels win in about four minutes, which is the right kind of thing to do to follow up your random pairing of under-card heels in a gauntlet match they miraculously dominate. It makes them feel more “real,” I guess. Like they’re gonna be here next week, you know?
In case you were wondering, yes, the Viking Raiders can still defeat jobbers. Who knew? This week they defeat the crackerjack tandem of Saoirse Ronan and El Hijo del Honky Tonk Man.
The one who looks like Shaggy from Scooby-Doo was looking for a g-g-g-ghost and wandered into the ring is Ty Awesome, former Valour Pro Wrestling Champion of Valour. Not of wrestling, I guess? His tag team partner is Brian Hardy, son of jobber legend Barry Hardy, and somehow not the result of Rockabilly humping Jerry Lawler’s leg.
Best: King Of The Ring Continues
Hey, wanna read something strange? Baron Corbin had a better King of the Ring match than Samoa Joe and Ricochet. Put a guy in a tank top and suddenly he’s Tomohiro Ishii.
But yeah, King Corbin — just go ahead and call him that, it’s fine — defeats Cedric Alexander, who, to their credit, had every possible obstacle put in his way. He had to defeat Cesaro on a bum knee and got VICIOUSLY ASSAULTED (heinously, even) by The O.C. and still took a bigger, stronger opponent to their limit. Ced is great, and I’m telling you, if Corbin would just dress like a wrestler and have more matches like this, we’d be all about him. All hail Baron Corbin, second of his name, constable of the great grass sea, father of draggings, protector of the brand and your server for this evening.
Ricochet vs. Joe was fine, but man, did I hate that ending.
In case you missed it, Ricochet and Joe both collapsed at the same time with their arms out and “pinned” each other at the same time. In a kayfabe world everyone except me seems to understand, the referee saw this, made a double count, and that was the match. It was a no contest, I guess, but the ref had to roll out of the ring and consult a headset to get a ruling. It’s like real sports! My major issue, I guess, is that in real sports, issues like this arise because there are multiple umpires or referees watching the same play from different angles and seeing different things. Here, it’s one referee with a clear angle on what’s happening, making a decision to end the match this way. And I think I’m even fine with that, I just couldn’t vibe with the ref doing it and not knowing what it meant.
If I could gently rewrite this to accomplish the same thing, I’d have the ref count the double-pin — because it’s the referee’s job to call the match and uphold the rules, no matter what — and immediately announce a no contest. That’s what that means. Then you could have the ring announcer or one of the guys on commentary (or even a production assistant) wave him over and get him on a headset. THEN you could say that the “play” was under review, because it’s a tournament match and you need to have a winner. That achieves the same thing without having the ref look like he doesn’t understand his own decision-making process. You can either have the announcement there that since it’s a tournament match you’re either going to restart it, re-do it, or move both guys into the semis and make it a triple threat.
Although now with this precedent, I want tag team partners to get paired together in round one of a tourney, pin each other so they both advance, and then have a 2-on-1 advantage against whoever they fight in round two. Or just keep doing it in every round until the tournament finals is a 16-man tag.
Also On This Episode
Natalya continues her spectacular streak of embarrassment by losing to Lacey Evans via HANKY PANKY. Natalya: officially worse than a snotty tissue.
I’m all for Lacey turning into Raw’s version of Michael Nakazawa, but with southern American stress sweat instead of body oil.
Bray Wyatt made the Universal Championship challenge for Hell in a Cell official, and taught us an important lesson about how WWE operates: Vince McMahon needs our money because it nourishes him.
Him and his weird, weird puppet arms.
Finally there’s The Miz pinning Cesaro clean in five minutes, which is the kind of match that makes you hope Big Tony decides to just stay in NXT UK for a while so he can be appreciated and respected. No real insult meant, but can you believe this “brand” constantly pushes and gives mic, TV, and pay-per-view match time to Baron Corbin while inhuman wrestling superman Cesaro is a jobber to the stars? It’s like putting up a bunch of Thomas Kinkaid paintings and keeping your Renoirs in the basement.
Best: Top 10 Comments Of The Week
Wow. I just had an acid flashback that showed Vince McMahon ignoring the actions of a murderous madman in exchange for cash. Crazy. So when’s the next Saudi show?
“You know, we could all be watching Io Shirai vs. Candice Lerae right now.”
– Huey Freeman
The Real Birdman
Dark Bayley doesn’t count unless angry eyebrows are drawn on the inflatable tube men going forward
WWE is really leaning into the nostalgia tonight.
Mankind flashbacks making us nostalgic for an in his prime Mick Foley.
Steve Austin tweeting making us nostalgic for Steve Austin.
Lacey Evans wrestling making us nostalgic for a time when Lacey Evans just walked down the ramp and that was it.
Those five guys trying to lift up Stowman looked EXACTLY like the Iwo Jima flag raising for a second, there.
You think there’s anyone watching wrestling for the first time ever tonight, seeing that picture of Mysterio and his son, and wondering why Mysterio would be mean enough make his son wear a mask?
Bayley was backstage shouting out “ARM DRAG!” before Rollins executed one on Karl Anderson.
Remember the first time that buzzard puppet popped out of that box and we all collectively sighed in disgust? Proof that sometimes even WWE can surprise us.
This storyline would be infinitely better if Becky had some young child associated to her that could conveniently hang out in the front row
I’m not sure this was a heel turn. Bailey didn’t even remove her babyface hair.
Rey Mysterio wants to return to make his son proud, but doesn’t he know his son is already United Kingdom Champion?
Anyway, that’s it for this week’s Best and Worst of Raw. Hope you had a great Labor Day, like these independent contractors who had to work! Drop us a comment down below to let us know what you thought of the show, give us a share on social media to help us out, and make sure you’re here for the followup next week. I hear Natalya’s going to get pinned after seeing a penny on the ground and getting rolled up. See you then!