Nikki A.S.H. Wins Women's Title, Karrion Kross Loses Debut, More WWE Raw Fallout

Kevin Berge@TheBerge_Featured ColumnistJuly 20, 2021

Nikki A.S.H. Wins Women's Title, Karrion Kross Loses Debut, More WWE Raw Fallout

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    WWE Raw has a live crowd again. The July 19 edition represented the completion of the first week of the company being back on the road again, and it had some huge moments in store.

    The main event pulled off a shocking result. Charlotte Flair vs. Rhea Ripley ended with a brand-new Raw women's champion: Nikki A.S.H. She cashed in her Money in the Bank contract following a disqualification in the main event and won her first title.

    Bobby Lashley issued an open challenge that was answered by the returning Keith Lee. While The Limitless One fell short, he had a solid showing that led to the return of another star when Goldberg stepped up to The All Mighty.

    Karrion Kross looked to make an impact in his debut on Raw but was defeated by Jeff Hardy instead. This embarrassing loss for the NXT champion was a deflating moment on a show that never quite lived up to its biggest moments.

    Raw was as big as it has felt in a long time, but decisions made throughout Monday's edition kept it from being a classic.

Women's Title Is Just Reward for Nikki A.S.H.

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    Charlotte Flair vs. Rhea Ripley was set as the main event of Raw for a reason, but it wasn't entirely clear what would happen. The two women have had a series of really good matches together, but it seemed time to move on to something fresh.

    However, Nikki A.S.H. made it special when she cashed in her MITB contract on The Queen to win her first singles women's championship in WWE.

    The Scot has been through the wringer over the years. She and Alexa Bliss got a short run together as a tag team, but otherwise she has never seemed the same since leaving NXT in late 2018. And her new "superhero" gimmick also looked like a bad idea until WWE took it seriously.

    This story began with Nikki taking victories over both Ripley and Charlotte. While they were flukey, they built a story that allowed her to evolve into a character she herself came up with.

    It remains to be seen how long she will remain at the top of Raw. This could be a short run or something that no one forgets. The booking should hopefully showcase Nikki and reward her for the hard work she has put in.

Keith Lee Returning to a Loss Should Not Be Sign of Things to Come

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    It has been five months since Keith Lee had to pull out the Elimination Chamber pay-per-view where he was expected to win the United States Championship. At that time, he seemed to have Bobby Lashley's number in a way no one else had.

    His injury was mostly kept under wraps, so it was unclear when he would return. Coming back to challenge The All Mighty was a special moment, especially on his first Raw in front of a live crowd.

    Lee lost, but the result did make sense. The All Mighty has looked unstoppable recently and could not lose Monday's contest early, even if his opponent did challenge him with his blend of speed and power.

    What matters is that this loss does not define The Limitless One. This has to be a showcase of his will to challenge anyone. He can quickly step up to top competition on Raw to regain momentum.

    Lee is needed on a roster lacking top talent, but it's a question of whether WWE sees him as that.

Goldberg's Return Adds Nothing to a Talented Roster

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    Word had gotten around that Goldberg would be returning to WWE action, but it wasn't a certainty until he emerged to step up to Bobby Lashley. It was an eerily similar scene to John Cena's arrival the previous night to stare down Roman Reigns.

    Unlike Cena, Goldberg is way past his prime, and his last few matches have come close to ending in serious injury.

    And WWE has consistently overestimated the star power of the Hall of Famer at this stage. He is not as much of a starmaker as the company seems to think he is.

    This match sets up one of two options: a predictable win for Lashley or a seriously bad upset for Goldberg. It wouldn't the first time the veteran has defeated a dominant champion who should have been protected.

    That is even more terrifying than Lashley quickly running through the Hall of Famer with ease.

Karrion Kross Does Not Need to Pay His Dues to Succeed on Raw

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    Karrion Kross arrived on Monday's Raw with little hype. He might still be the NXT champion, but he looks to be completely restarting on the red brand after his loss to Jeff Hardy.

    The Charismatic Enigma brought back his classic "No More Words" theme, which motivated him to defeat one of WWE's potential top stars. Hardy remains incredibly popular, but he is also a 43-year-old high-flyer who has been struggling in the ring lately.

    Kross was built as one of the most dominant forces in WWE through his performances in NXT, and it was expected that he would be treated instantly as someone special on the main roster.

    So, his loss to Hardy made no sense, as did the absence of Scarlett at his side. The two have performed separately before, but it feels like Raw is taking away all that made Kross a big deal in NXT.

    If this was about the NXT champion paying his dues, it should have happened at a later point instead. This was the worst time to humble him, unless it was deliberate attempt to devalue the black-and-gold brand.