RAW did what it was meant to do this week and that is finding a challenge for Asuka for the RAW Women’s Title at Clash of Champions. Before we get into that, let’s go over the women who started the show and that was Mia Yim and Mercedes Martinez. That’s right, Yim and Martinez were officially shown as the two women of the core five that makeup RETRIBUTION.
Now, as we found out later on in the night, the three men of RETRIBUTION are now going by new names. The two men we know for certain were Dominik Dijakovic and Dio Maddin. The third man had on a hockey mask, so he is yet to be fully revealed. It is rumored to be Shane Thorne. The three names for the men are now T-Bar, Mace, and Slapjack respectively. The names for Yim and Martinez have not been revealed.
The faction starts of the show by commentary explaining that they have signed contracts with the company. Yim starts off talking for the group saying that the company isn’t safe just because they now have contracts. She says the fighting is going to continue because WWE Superstars are motivated by money. The exceptions are her and the RETRIBUTION followers. She adds that they are done being stepped on so they can get some imaginary brass ring. T-Bar would then take over the rest of the promo.
This caused a fight between RETRIBUTION and the Hurt Business. The two groups had a match later on in the night.
I don’t hate the idea of RETRIBUTION, however, it confuses me to say the least. I am glad to see that Yim and Martinez are on RAW. With their veteran status they have done enough in NXT with the exception of maybe Martinez getting a title shot. What interests me though is who the women will end up fighting in all of this. The Hurt Business being the first targets don’t have a woman in their group. They could easily add one or two if they want to. It also bothers me that The Hurt Business are heels when they are fighting Apollo Crews and Ricochet but somehow are the babyfaces against RETRIBUTION? It is confusing.
Many people keep reference this group similar to Sanity. Personally it reminds me of Aces & Eights from TNA. I hope it doesn’t end up like that.
Next up we do have the RAW Women’s Champion backstage being interviewed. During that interview with Sarah Schreiber, Billie Kay approached Asuka. Kay said she agreed with Zelina Vega’s sentiments last week that Asuka seems to be handing out matches to anyone. With that being said, Kay offered up Schreiber or even Jen from catering to have a match against the Empress.
Peyton Royce would then enter into the interviewing saying that maybe Asuka could give her a match. Kay agreed but also provided her name in there as well. Asuka if the two of them were even still friends. Kay says she still has Royce’s back and just because they aren’t a tag team anymore doesn’t mean anything.
Asuka then challenged Royce to a non-title match for later on in the night.
Directly after this was a number one contender match between Zelina Vega (with a new entrance music/tron) vs. Mickie James. The winner would go on to face Asuka at Clash of Champions (on the Kickoff show, for some reason). Vega was able to win that match in what some may consider an upset. She delivered a backstabber to put away James with a pin. You can read about this by clicking here.
As I said last week, I am not opposed to Zelina getting her title defense. In fact, I am excited to see someone new in the mix. I am not understanding why this match is on the Kickoff show, however. I just wish it wasn’t at Mickie’s expense though.
Mickie’s promo before the match that was made from earlier in the day was great. It proves that Mickie does need to take that gold soon. It is far overdue.
Natalya started the match against Jax, but would quickly tag in Lana. The two would do some good teamwork but that was briefly halted as Jax would headbutt Lana. Jax would then tag in Baszler.
Baszler would then make short work of Lana and put her in the Kirifuda Clutch. Lana taps out.
The tag champions would then approach the Riott Squad and shove them down. Baszler would start clearing off the commentary table as Jax gets Liv Morgan on her shoulders. She was trying to put Morgan through the table but Riott saved her as the two backed off.
Poor Lana would then, for the second week in a row, be put through the announce table by Jax.
I do like how they aren’t making The Riott Squad look weak to the clear powerhouse team of Jax & Baszler. It kind of makes me think that Liv and Ruby may actually take the titles.
Kudos to Lana for taking these bumps on the announce table, but why is Natalya always in the ring for two seconds and then disappears?
The third and final women’s match of the night was the one set up earlier in the night between Asuka and Peyton Royce. Billie Kay accompanied her and was in her corner. So they may end up making Kay the manager of Royce? If that is the case, that is a way to keep them together but not as a team.
The match between the two had good promise. They definitely were planting the seeds of a push for Royce. Asuka seemed to almost have the match won as she was trying to lock in the Asuka Lock. Royce was trying to fight it off. The match ended up as a disqualification as Zelina Vega emerged and attacked Asuka. Vega would then retreat up the ramp saying that the title is hers come Sunday.
Loved to see the push of Peyton seem to start, especially since for whatever reason she wasn’t on RAW last week. It was nice to see the match end without a clear finish as we knew that Asuka wasn’t going to lose to Peyton right before a pay-per-view.
I am not sure why this RAW Women’s Title match is on the Kickoff show though. Why have such a megastar in Asuka and Vega having her first title match not even on the main card?
Other women on this week’s RAW include the follow:
A Bianca Belair promo that showed how she was the strongEST.
Another promo of Mandy Rose coming to RAW – Mandy Night RAW.
And Briana Brandy appeared on RAW Underground interviewing Braun Strowman. For more about that, you can click here.
Let’s get into the Winners & Losers of the week:
WINNER: Zelina Vega
Zelina is obviously a big winner this week. Not only did she beat a veteran (Mickie James) but she has received her first title spot on a pay-per-view. Regardless if it is on the Kickoff show, it is still a big deal for her.
The chances of her winning seem to be really low here, however, I am excited to see it. It is nice to see someone else go for the gold for a change. The same can’t be said for the SmackDown Women’s Title match.
WINNERS: Mia Yim & Mercedes Martinez
Despite what one may think of RETRIBUTION, it still makes these two winners this week. They seem to have officially moved to RAW, so that is a plus for them. Especially Mia who seems to have done all she can in NXT.
WINNER: Peyton Royce
She had a good showing tonight. It shows that she is ready to be pushed to the moon and she didn’t take the loss by submission as Asuka was planning to do. It may still be too early to see if they will keep Billie as a manager type of role for her, but I like it.
LOSER: Mandy Rose
I fear for this who Mandy trade deal. It has been two weeks now and she still is only getting a “coming soon” vignette. I have a feeling this may all just be the storyline with Otis/The Miz/John Morrison and they may just move her right back over to SmackDown. It shouldn’t take a couple of weeks for someone to show up who has been regularly on TV.
Being put through a table two weeks in a row can’t be good. Right?
What did you think of this week’s RAW? Who were your Winners & Losers? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below.