United States Champion Andrade, Angel Garza & Austin Theory Interrupted Rey MYsterio, Aleister Black & Apollo Crews on The VIP Lounge; Crews, Black & Mysterio def. Andrade, Garza & Theory
From in-ring competitor to commentator (see: last week's Main Event) to talk show host, MVP really does do it all in WWE. However, the role I want him in the most is as a manager (more on that later). None of the babyfaces got to talk much, but the six-man tag team match that followed was fun and ate up a good chunk of television time. I realize that the trio of Mysterio, Black and Crews needed the momentum boost heading into Money in the Bank (and Crews pinning Andrade was huge for him specifically), but it feels like Andrade losing far more often than he wins and thus it's difficult to take him and the rest of Zelina Vega's stable seriously.
Nia Jax Stood Tall Over Asuka and Shayna Baszler
These three were advertised to square off in a Triple Threat match on this show, but the bell never rang. Honestly, that might have been for the better. Not only are they all heels, I didn't expect their styles to mesh well whatsoever. The brawl we got instead was fine, and while I can understand why WWE would want Jax to be the last woman standing, she is easily the least compelling option to become Ms. Money in the Bank of everyone involved this year. And yes, that includes Dana Brooke, which is saying something.
Bobby Lashley def. Denzel Dejournette
As I've said before, Dejournette is very talented and has the potential to be a top prospect on NXT at some point (when he's eventually introduced as a regular character on the show, that is). He isn't gaining much from being squashed by the likes of Lashley, Sheamus and Seth Rollins, but hopefully he's impressing the right people with his athleticism. As for Lashley, he told Lana to stay in the back beforehand because he found her beauty "distracting." Yeah, okay, buddy. I'm glad WWE is getting back to teasing tension between the two after taking a break from it last week for unexplained reasons.
Liv Morgan def. Ruby Riott
Their match a week ago didn't light the world on fire and I had no desire to see a rematch, so I'm not sure what purpose this was supposed to serve aside from giving Morgan another notable victory. On the bright side, Morgan didn't fall victim to 50/50 booking and instead went over in decisive fashion again. Her post-match promo about "finding herself" wasn't much of anything, but at least WWE is trying with her finally after a rocky return.
Jinder Mahal def. Akira Tozawa
I was wondering why Raw has been so entertaining in 2020, and now I realize it's because Mahal has been out injured since last summer. In all seriousness, I like his new look and this was a solid return for him. I have no desire to see him receive another aggressive push, mind you, but we'll see what WWE has in mind for him this time around. As for Tozawa, he had a strong showing against Andrade last week, but he was mostly dominated by Mahal here. I wouldn't be booking him to lose so many matches while he takes part in the Interim NXT Cruiserweight Championship Tournament over on NXT.
United States Champion Andrade def. Apollo Crews by Referee Stoppage
Personally, I would have held off on this until next week, but I can't complain about getting a quality contest. I didn't know what to think when Crews arrived on Raw earlier this month, but WWE has shown that they are more committed to pushing him now than at any other point in his main roster run. He may not have won the United States Championship (which has caused Andrade to lose more than when he wasn't champion), but at least he had a strong enough showing here before an "injury" caused the match to be cut short. I'm glad Crews was protected in defeat, even if it made for a lame ending. Let's just hope this doesn't affect his involvement in the Money in the Bank Ladder matchup.
Ricochet & Cedric Alexander def. Ever-Rise
Between The Street Profits and The Viking Raiders rekindling their rivalry over the Raw Tag Team Championship and the newly formed tandem of Ricochet and Alexander, I applaud WWE for at least attempting to put more effort into making its tag team division mean something. Meanwhile, Ever-Rise have made a few appearances on WWE programming lately and I wish we'd get to see them more on NXT TV. Lord knows the black-and-gold brand could use them right now given how depleted their tag team scene is. This was another nice showcase for Ricochet and Alexander and I'm willing to give MVP managing the team of Shane Thorne and Brendan Vink a chance. It may very well be short-lived, but as I've said several times before, MVP is best suited as a manager at this stage of his career.
WWE Champion Drew McIntyre Attacked Seth Rollins and Murphy During the Contract Signing for Money in the Bank
Contract signings need to go away forever and never return. With that out of the way, this was exactly what it needed to be. Rollins' mic work as The Monday Night Messiah has been superb and McIntyre's promos have felt real and passionate. He called Rollins out on his crap and vowed to retain his title at the pay-per-view. This was successful in leaving me more excited for their upcoming match than I was before. Murphy coming to Rollins' aid also confirms that their alliance isn't over yet and the decision to keep them together is the right one.
Conspicuous by her absence on this show was Becky Lynch, who hasn't appeared in person in two weeks. That said, I appreciated how a snippet from her WWE 24 documentary was shown instead of a full-length match of hers. WWE should be doing that type of stuff more often, even when there isn't a pandemic going on and they're forced to fill time in weird ways. Kevin Owens has also been absent lately, but I attribute that to him likely wanting to stay home and stay safe. As for this edition of Raw, I enjoyed it on the whole, yet it wasn't as engaging as other episodes in recent weeks. I'm not a fan of every angle going on at the moment, and I don't think all of the Triple H videos were necessary after all of SmackDown last Friday night was dedicated to celebrating his 25-year career, but the build for the Money in the Bank pay-per-view was well done and the pace of the episode was pretty consistent throughout. In other words, I didn't think Raw dragged as horribly as it usually does, but that may have just been me. I'll watch a three-hour Raw over a two-hour SmackDown (in their current states) any day of the week.