Sasha Banks, Bayley Can Do No Wrong, Unleashing Kevin Owens and More Raw Fallout
The July 13 edition of WWE Raw carried an air of importance due to its proximity to The Horror Show at Extreme Rules. It was also a night of grudge matches that elevated some major stars while highlighting the recent failings of others.
Sasha Banks and Bayley continued a dominant run as WWE women's tag team champions with an impressive showing against Asuka and Kairi Sane. The champs have been wrestling on all three brands, yet they seem to work harder with every passing week and continue to elevate the women's tag team division.
Angel Garza and Andrade could elevate the Raw men's tag team division, but they first need to get on the same page. After an awkward close victory against The Viking Raiders, it is clear they are in position to rise or fall, taking the division with them.
Kevin Owens has always been among the leading WWE Superstars, but he is in limbo at the moment. Seth Rollins lost to him at WrestleMania 36 but seems more successful than ever. KO defeated him once again this week, but it remains to be seen if anything will change for him.
After many ups and down, it looks as though Ricochet has hit rock bottom. He played enhancement talent to Bobby Lashley and lost in embarrassing fashion. It is time to take a hard look at changing direction with The One and Only before it's too late.
This show did not do much for the Extreme Rules pay-per-view on Sunday, but it did show who needs to continue to be highlighted and who needs a restart.
Sasha Banks and Bayley Have Revitalized the Women's Tag Team Division
Sasha Banks and Bayley went after Asuka and Kairi Sane before the bell, but The Kabuki Warriors fought them off. The former women's tag team champions were on point throughout, but The Legit Boss still caught The Pirate Princess in the Bank Statement for a tapout.
This was another inspired performance from The Boss and The Role Model, who are outshining the spotlight put on them. They have elevated the titles and the division, even if they can feel overexposed at times.
When the titles were first introduced, Banks and Bayley were expected to set the gold standard, but the WrestleMania 35 title change sent the division into a tailspin. The IIconics could have been entertaining champions, but their booking was sloppy and inconsistent.
Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross only had a chance to walk with the titles. Even Asuka and Sane only occasionally were given permission to run. This is a full reset. It comes off as WWE apologizing for a year of sloppy booking.
The Boss and The Role Model have made the most of the moment. They have been performing at a higher level than either had in the months preceding their championship victory.
It is up to WWE to keep this momentum past two of the best in the business. Banks and Bayley will continue to deliver, but the team that dethrones them must have the same level of relevance on all three brands.
Angel Garza and Andrade Story Could Make or Break Raw Tag Team Division
Ahead of their elimination tag team match, Angel Garza and Andrade continued to bicker.
El Idolo managed to take out Erik with a hammerlock DDT only to run into a spinning heel kick from Ivar to get eliminated. Andrade saved Garza from a seated senton, allowing Garza to hit a powerbomb for the win.
If Andrade and Garza were set to become the next tag team champions, they need to get on the same page. The tag team division is built on unity not pure talent. The best teams should be better together rather than apart.
The Raw men's tag team division has been on an awkward journey for years through many ups and downs. It would only be hurt more by this feuding duo winning on a fluke only to break up. This story can work only with the pair finding common ground.
if Zelina Vega's team can work together and overcome The Street Profits, it would be a huge turning point. Suddenly, the top heel team on Raw would be established, and the Profits and Raiders would have something to strive for.
Vega could finally walk the walk as she talks the talk. Her clients would be on the top of the world and make up for embarrassing missteps against Drew McIntyre and Apollo Crews.
Kevin Owens Needs a Story Beyond Seth Rollins
Seth Rollins, for once, found himself outnumbered in his fight with Kevin Owens. Rey and Dominik Mysterio and Aleister Black all got involved to set up a stunner from KO to pick another victory over The Monday Night Messiah.
It is time to start evaluating what Owens' role on Raw is. He comes off as a potential main event star, but WWE will not pull the trigger. This leads to him drifting from story to story that is not his. He helped Apollo Crews and is now back to fighting Rollins, this time from Mysterio's corner.
Raw is in need of top acts. Randy Orton and Rollins are the top two heels, and Drew McIntyre is the top face. There's no clear second babyface, but KO can fill that role. He just needs the right opportunity, a story that can elevate him to the title picture.
McIntyre vs. Owens is not an immediate money match. It would be good, but it needs time to grow. In order to sell that growth, KO needs a rival for SummerSlam. He needs someone he can help elevate but ultimately overcome.
Bobby Lashley is a candidate, but WWE is attempting to build him up as well at the moment. Murphy would be a fascinating option if the company ever wanted to tell his story beyond Rollins.
The best options may be the ones the company is not sure what to do with. Ricochet and Cedric Alexander are on their last legs right now in terms of relevancy. What if one turned heel and went after KO? It would certainly make an impact.
It's Time for a Full Restart with Ricochet
Ricochet had a bad night. Once again fighting Bobby Lashley with all he had, he fell short in disastrous fashion, tapping to the full nelson. The All Mighty happily took out Cedric Alexander with the same move as well.
This wasn't quite a complete squash, but it was painfully lopsided. Ricochet keeps losing to Lashley as if he wasn't defeating The All Mighty repeatedly in 2019. WWE has given up on him for no reason beyond a potential lack of trust in his star potential.
Enough is enough. The One and Only walked into WWE with serious hype, but fans knew his style could lead to a lack of opportunities. He overcame his size and limited promo ability to become a champion, putting on great performances with AJ Styles and Samoa Joe along the way.
He proved himself with opportunities but was still thrown aside. At this point, he needs a full reset. He and Alexander could have been a fun tag team, but Lashley squashing them both has ruined their credibility.
It would work best for Alexander to turn on his friend and ally with MVP. He can write The One and Only off Raw for a month, allowing Ricochet to refresh and repackage himself. He can then return more fully as the superhero he has been portrayed to be (hopefully with attire that doesn't just look goofy).
Ricochet has to know he can go anywhere else in the world and succeed. He doesn't have to put up with bad booking. If WWE does not do something soon, he might just follow stars such as Rusev, EC3 and FTR. He can see where his talent will be more respected.