Last week, AEW Dynamite just barely edged out WWE Raw in the 18-49 demo, which we can only assume was a massive blow to Vince McMahon's ego, because prior to this Monday's episode of Raw, Smackdown star Big E took to Twitter to announce that he would cash in the Money in the Bank briefcase and win the WWE Championship, all but guaranteeing a title change on Raw this week. Whether it worked to convince viewers to tune in will be seen later today. But did it work to produce a show less excruciating to sit through? I'll be the judge of that!
Big E hosted the compulsory opening promo segment of WWE Raw, which featured the usual pissing match between the night's main event opponents, Bobby Lashley (with MVP) and Randy Orton (with Riddle). They mostly talked about various contrived storyline reasons for WWE hotshotting this angle, since the match was originally supposed to take place at Extreme Rules. The goal here was to make sure that everyone knew there would be a world title match at the end of the show, and that Big E would cash in his contract. In this, WWE tested wisdom that not only do spoilers not prevent people from tuning in, but they can actually drive viewership.
Charlotte Flair faced Shayna Baszler in a non-title match, which ended with Nia Jax distracting her own partner on purpose to cost her the win, as revenge for Shayna doing the same thing to Nia last week. Nia and Shayna were never a great tag team to begin with — they were just thrown together in the first place. I'm not sure why we're supposed to care about their breakup. Just get it over with.
Alexa Bliss joined Charlotte Flair in the ring after her victory to engage in some Bugs Bunny/Daffy Duck style arguing and present Flair with a gift, which was a doll in the style of Lily called Charly. Flair hated it and yelled at Alexa. Who is this storyline written for? Ostensibly kids, but isn't this show watched mainly by 50-year-old men? Are they going for, like, a brony type thing? I dunno. I know that this gimmick and this feud suck though.
Drew McIntyre and the Viking Raiders teamed up to squash Jinder Mahal, Veer, and Shanky in about two minutes. I'll never complain about brevity on Raw.
Backstage, Big E met up with the rest of the New Day. It was nice.
Reggie did his circus acrobatics schtick to escape the 24/7 title-chasers backstage. The less said about this the better.
One person not chasing the 24/7 Championship on WWE Raw this week was Jeff Hardy, because Hardy instead challenged Damian Priest for the United States Championship. Hardy lost, but it was a much better use of Hardy than anything they've had him do since the piss-drinking feud with Sheamus last year. Speaking of Sheamus, he was out there to watch the match and took out both men after Priest won.
Nikki ASH beat Tamina in a singles match and then Rhea Ripley beat Natalya in a singles match. At some point, somebody on the creative team will hopefully remember that Tamina and Natalya are the tag champs and have them defend the belts. None of these women are going anywhere in this feud so the sooner it ends the better.
Backstage, Charlotte said she hates Charlie and threw her in a trash can.
The New Day teamed up with Mansoor and Mustafa Ali to face AJ Styles, Omos, Mace, and T-Bar. I feel like this match happened last week too, but most of what happens on Raw from week to week is so mind-numbingly boring and completely unremarkable that I can't say so for sure. Omos powered his way to victory for his team. Everyone here except for Omos could probably stand to take a few months off and come back once creative has something meaningful for them to do.
We are informed that the next WWE draft will happen in October, meaning we can mostly ignore anything that happens before then because it won't matter.
Doudrop squashed Eva Marie in under two minutes, as she should. But she will likely continue to face Eva for a another month or two because that's how these things work.
Leather Daddy Karrion Kross cut a promo backstage about how everyone will fall and pray, which I'm beginning to think is a euphemism for oral sex.
With pretty much an entire show of filler finally out of the way, Bobby Lashley and Randy Orton had their big main event title match. The match was okay, as can be expected as a bare minimum from these two guys. Lashley won.
Afterward, Lashley beat up both Orton and Riddle and pretended to hurt his knee, which gives him just enough excuse to retain some heat after Big E came out, cashed in his contract, and won the title. Raw ended with the New Day celebrating Big E's first world championship win.
Okay, the Big E title win, I liked. Everything else was filler. That's actually an improvement for Raw, where normally the entire show is filler. WWE Raw is not a show designed to be watched live in full. Only a masochist would put themselves through that (bonus for them: they get to see Karrion Kross). It's much better consumed in tiny chunks, like Twitter gifs. But on the bright side, it's the ending that people remember, so Big E's win will be what people remember this show for. He deserved it. And there's something to be said for giving the fans what they want, something WWE is all-too-often reluctant to do. But here they did, and that can only be a good thing. I hope it's rewarded with some good ratings and that teaches WWE to give the fans what they want more often. That said, Lashley's title run was also well-deserved and I'm sad to see his run end, but you can only have so many world champions after all.