Damian Priest Is Over, Bizarre Charlotte vs. Nia Jax Match, More WWE Raw Fallout
The August 30 edition of WWE Raw promised much from the outset but did not always deliver. The show even backed off of multiple major promised matches to offer some interesting alternatives instead.
Damian Priest issued an open challenge for his United States Championship to start the show, and many wrestlers accepted. In the end, he was challenged by both Drew McIntyre and Sheamus and managed to pin The Scottish Warrior.
Nia Jax and Charlotte Flair had a unique match that had many talking. The Irresistible Force took some hard hits at The Queen, seemingly taking liberties before defeating the Raw women's champion.
In the main event, Bobby Lashley and The Miz challenged the Raw tag team champions RK-Bro. While Riddle was able to take the win, The All Mighty struck, forcing Randy Orton to intervene and RKO him. It seems both men could become new challengers to the WWE champion.
It was a unique edition of Raw that showed WWE is perhaps uncertain of its own direction, pushing in different direction than was previously set up.
Damian Priest on Track to Become Raw's Next Big Star
Few Superstars have been built as well as Damian Priest in recent years. He has been presented like a star since he arrived on Raw early in 2021, and he continues to build momentum.
And he was made to seem like one of Raw's true top babyfaces this week.
If this all continues, The Archer of Infamy is going to be WWE champion before long. His meteoric rise seems to be building toward a clash with Bobby Lashley. When that happens, he could well be the one to dethrone The All Mighty.
The WWE champion has dominated everyone in his path, but Drew McIntyre had him running scared early in their rivalry. If Priest is allowed to defeat the former WWE champion, that signals he is as big a deal as one of the red brand's elite babyfaces.
Raw has needed top stars like Priest for a while. Hopefully, he can continue to put on great matches every week out and prove he is worthy of everything the company can give him.
WWE will know what a rare talent it has in the 38-year-old, and there's no better time than the present to capitalize.
Nia Jax and Charlotte Flair in One of the Most Bizarre Matches of 2021
Nia Jax does not have chemistry with many wrestlers, but that is especially true of Charlotte Flair. The two are just not compatible, and it showed in their awkward match on Monday with sequences that verged on a rookie-level performance.
However, this contest was also surprisingly enthralling because the two seemed to pull down the veil of protection. The Irresistible Force hit hard and fast, genuinely clocking The Queen with a right-hander.
It almost felt like the two could not get along and it was playing out on live TV. However, Raw is a tight ship when it comes to production. Jax would never get away with openly taking liberties with WWE's most protected talent.
What seems more likely is that Jax and Charlotte just set the stage for a feud in a way that got everyone talking. It felt real, which sells it far more than the first match between these two. But it was also a dangerous gamble with a few spots that came really close to risking serious injury.
While the end result is not likely to be great, Charlotte has her first challenger. Perhaps with the challenge of Alexa Bliss delayed, fans might finally see a decent-length title reign for The Queen.
Randy Orton or Riddle Could Be Good Stop-Gap Challenger for Bobby Lashley
Randy Orton and Riddle walked into the show as Raw tag team champions, and they may have left as potential No. 1 contenders.
Bobby Lashley's WWE title reign remains in flux. He awaits someone who can truly give him a challenge. While last week set the stage for Damian Priest, it may be best to wait on that moment. Instead, let some top talent give The All Mighty an extra rub.
Orton is a proven commodity, and he and Lashley will deliver if they fight. The Viper also continues to inch closer to the world championship record held jointly by John Cena and Ric Flair.
Riddle has proved he can work with The All Mighty in the past, and both have evolved into more complete performers since then. What better way to solidify that than letting them fight once more?
Either way, this may be the smartest bet for Extreme Rules on Sept. 26. Let Orton and Riddle go after the gold. Have Lashley swat them down by playing on their underlying tension as an awkward pairing.
Last-Minute Raw Rewrites Are Growing Unbearable
WWE has always had a tendency to reshuffle the card for Raw on the day, but this week's sloppy changes were hard to follow.
Bobby Lashley was supposed to fight Sheamus, but that was hastily shuffled into two different matches instead. This made little sense as both were healthy enough to put on great performances separately.
The Miz was taken off Raw without explanation, setting aside his match with John Morrison. This was the latest mysterious disappearance of a wrestler from television, following the recent unexpected absences of Sasha Banks and Kofi Kingston.
The Eva Marie vs. Doudrop contest never happened, as the latter's attack on her rival came before the bell. It was a shaky attempt to avoid what was likely to be an ugly bout.
WWE clearly had to drastically change the card, and quickly. And it may have shifted the direction for all of Extreme Rules. While the disappearances of some wrestlers is unavoidable, the rest was not necessary.
The company isn't doing the brand any favors by promising things each week and then delivering something different. If it's not going to plan ahead more clearly and follow through, at least let the talent get real chances to succeed. Right now, it's all just a blur each week.