With crowds set to return this month, WWE signaled with this week's episode of WWE Raw that they maybe might be willing to consider possibly not phoning it in as much in the future.
Ricochet beat AJ Styles by distraction finish to qualify for the Money in the Bank match. You know what? I'm not going to complain about these matches, because at the very least, they mean we may see different people face each other instead of the same people fighting every week. Watch it.
In the fastest a storyline has ever advanced on WWE Raw, Piper Niven, who Eva called "Doudrop," refused to back in after Eva tagged herself in during a tag team match against Naomi and Asuka, causing Eva to get pinned in a distraction finish as revenge for last week. Alright, you got me. Watch this one too.
Rhea Ripley will put the belt on the line against Charlotte Flair again at Money in the Bank. Now that you know that, you don't need to watch WWE announce it via this in-ring promo segment.
Mandy Rose and Dana Brooke will also probably face Natalya and Tamina at Money in the Bank. Now that you know that, you don't need to watch WWE continue to slowly tease that match via this backstage segment.
John Morrison beat Randy Orton by distraction finish to qualify for Money in the Bank. Will any match tonight not end in a distraction finish?! Watch it, just because you might be witnessing history.
Nikki Cross pinned Shayna Baszler in a distraction finish during a tag match between Cross and Alexa Bliss vs. Baszler and Nia Jax that was also somehow a Money in the Bank qualifier, so I guess Cross and Bliss both qualify, and also, Cross is now The Hurricane for some reason. Okay. Watch it.
In the shocker of the night, Riddle defeated Drew McIntyre mostly clean in the ring with a surprise rollup, which is technically slightly different than a distraction finish even though Randy Orton was watching the match. While McIntyre did spoil Raw's distraction finish streak, he also had the excuse of being too beat up from Hell in a Cell last night lest anyone think Riddle looks *too* good. The magic is over. Skip it.
WWE jobbers want Money in the Bank qualifying matches too. But they're not going to get them. So why watch these clips?
In the opening segment of Raw, Kofi Kingston challenged Bobby Lashley to a WWE Championship match at Money in the Bank. Lashley accepted, but first, he wanted to beat up Xavier Woods in a match later in the show. Woods, acting as a proxy for USA Network management butthurt about Reigns vs. Mysterio last week, would only do it inside the Hell in a Cell cage. So that was the main event of Raw. Woods lost, of course, and Kofi had to watch him get beaten up afterward, but you don't have to put yourself through watching the match.
The build to Hell in a Cell, and Hell in a Cell itself, was WWE treading water, waiting for the return of fans in July. And since normal WWE Raw already feels like treading water, the last month felt like treading water in a poll of molasses. But that's over now and WWE is finally putting in at least the bare minimum effort. How long can they keep it up? That remains to be seen, but Raw this week was alright.