Eva Marie Returns with Piper Niven, New Day vs. R-K-Bro, More WWE Raw Fallout
On the final WWE Raw before Hell in a Cell, the June 14 edition was built on selling the major matches for the pay-per-view on Sunday night.
However, Eva Marie was perhaps the biggest talking point. She made her return to a WWE ring but did not compete. Instead, she let Piper Niven do the work for her against Naomi.
Nikki Cross also continues to win but in unconvincing fashion. She defeated Charlotte Flair by count out but barely got a chance to celebrate.
The New Day finally faced R-K-Bro in a tag team match, and Randy Orton and Riddle surprisingly found the chemistry to defeat one of the best tag teams in WWE history.
The Raw tag team division was also featured in the main event where AJ Styles fought Drew McIntyre before The Viking Raiders, Bobby Lashley and Omos got involved.
Monday's Raw didn't shock much, but it was a solid way to continue building forward ahead of a Hell in a Cell PPV that could make a lasting impact.
Piper Niven Will Benefit from Eva Marie
While Eva Marie was the star of the moment on Monday night, it was Piper Niven who ended up wrestling on her behalf.
Marie had built herself up as a motivator, and it paid off with her recruitment of one of NXT UK's brightest stars.
Niven is a unique performer, especially in the women's division. Her size makes her a threat, but she also has the speed to match most of her peers. It was all about getting her the right story to work off, after moving from NXT UK where she had limited character work.
Marie and Niven may not end up working, but this is a much better way to use All Red Everything than putting her back in the ring. She has heat with the fans that she can harness as a manager while focusing on improving her promo work.
Raw is short on women at the moment, and Niven could quickly rise up the ranks. With Marie antagonizing her opponents, the Scottish wrestler should be able to tell great stories with Rhea Ripley, Asuka and more.
Nikki Cross Keeps Winning Big Matches but Gains Little
Nikki Cross continues to win each week, but the victories remain unconvincing. Each win is viewed as a fluke after she gets beat down throughout the contest.
If this actually led to the Scot winning the Raw women's title, it would work. However, the angle is more reminiscent of Lana, who was treated like a lesser competitor and never ended up getting anything back as she improved her standing.
Instead, Monday's focus was on Rhea Ripley. She hasn't truly found her footing as a champion yet, which means she needs to keep the title until it is clear what she can be for the red brand.
However, Cross has more to her than she has been allowed to show on Raw, and she can compete in a far more unique way against Charlotte Flair and Ripley.
The hope is that she gets the chance to do just that before this story ends.
Long Matches Like New Day vs. R-K-Bro Remain Key for Raw to Succeed
Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods vs. Randy Orton and Riddle was easily the best match on Monday's show. Their lengthy and competitive match raged for over 20 minutes, but it never felt too long.
A three-hour program like Raw needs contests like this. There is no reason we cannot see top competitors fight at this level each week.
R-K-Bro has become an unexpected hit thanks to the comedic pairing of Orton and Riddle. The Original Bro needed a tag team partner who can balance his fun side out; on his own, he is just too much.
This role allows him to show his strengths and hide his weaknesses. The New Day further help that given Riddle's chemistry with Kingston and Woods. This feud should not end with one contest. There is more story here to uncover.
If WWE let a few good matches go this long each week with the right talent, Raw would be in a much better place than it has been.
The Raw Tag Team Division Needs to Main-Event More
The Viking Raiders got a chance to main-event for the first time in ages, and the sight of the Raw Tag Team Championships also being featured was a welcome one.
While this was really about Drew McIntyre and Bobby Lashley, it was a test run for what should become a more regular occurrence. AJ Styles is a regular main eventer, but he and Omos have been less used since capturing the tag titles at WrestleMania 37 in April.
That should have been the other way around, though. The duo should be used more and remain in the main event scene, especially with powerful challengers such as Erik and Ivar.
The tag team division has struggled despite the talent involved, and this is the right time to feature it more. New Day and R-K-Bro could both easily main-event any given week as well.
WWE has a variety of divisions, and the best way to make them special is to regularly feature them.