WWE’s next pay-per-view (or premium live event), Fastlane, is just over two weeks away, and the Sept. 18 episode of Raw continued its snail-paced procession to that show. Broadcasting from the Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City, this week’s Raw brought fans the next chapter in the ongoing “Can the babyfaces trust Jey Uso?” saga.
This stanza in the story culminated with a main event match between Uso and Drew McIntyre. Aside from that, new NXT Women’s Champion Becky Lynch issued an open challenge for her title and North American Champion Dominik Mysterio took on Cody Rhodes in a rematch from Money in the Bank 2023 along with an assortment of other matches and angles that filled the three-hour runtime.
In short, there was plenty to discuss about this episode for good and for ill. So, let’s not waste any more time.
What went right and wrong on the Sept. 18 episode of WWE Raw?
Right: Building up Nia Jax as a threat to Rhea Ripley
After laying out Raquel Rodriguez and Women’s World Champion Rhea Ripley at the end of the Sept. 11 Raw, Nia Jax enacted more violence in her second week back with the company.
We’ll get to the issues with Jax interrupting a non-title tag match between Chelsea Green, Piper Niven, Shayna Baszler, and Zoey Stark, but booking “The Irresistible Force” to destroy all four ladies was an effective way to build her up as an unstoppable monster.
Sure, Jax is not the best option for this sort of push — her warning the rest of the women’s division with the most wooden delivery possible is a discouraging sign — but if WWE wants to get her over as a legitimate challenger for Ripley, these are the things that the promotion needs to do to reach that goal.
Wrong: Consecutive disqualification finishes
WWE’s booking for Green and Niven vs. Baszler and Stark reinforced how the company feels about its nearly non-existent women’s tag division, but it being the second of two consecutive non-finishes made it even more frustrating.
The prior match — Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Ricochet — also ended in a disqualification after Ricochet swung a chair into “The King of Strong Style’s back. Both clashes served as backdrops for angles and while that is fine in isolation, scheduling them back-to-back indicated a lack of creativity and attention to detail. It makes an already-long show feel even longer.
Wrong: Dominik Mysterio loses a non-title match
Listen, Cody Rhodes absolutely should have pinned Dominik Mysterio clean, so this shouldn’t be taken as a criticism of his booking. Rather, it’s an indictment of WWE’s booking of the North American Champion.
Yes, Mysterio is a weak champion, but that shouldn’t give the creative team free rein to script loss after loss for him. The point of the vulnerable champion trope is to play up the high possibility of a loss/title change, but if the champ loses to every wrestler they face, it devalues the belt.
It doesn’t help that Mysterio will probably lose to NXT Champion Carmelo Hayes on the Sept. 19 NXT. Again, Hayes should win that match, but it’s another unnecessary defeat on Mysterio’s record.
Right: Jey Uso does NOT join The Judgment Day
Before Jey Uso wrestled Drew McIntyre, The Judgment Day’s Damian Priest gave the former tag champ until the end of the night to tell the group whether he would join the group. This all but ensured that Judgment Day would play a role in the match.
Indeed, Priest, Mysterio, and Finn Bálor mosied to ringside to support Uso during his battle with the former WWE Champion. Uso noticed this and dapped up Mr. Money in the Bank, but was a ruse!
“Main Event Jey” used the opening to hit all three members of Judgment Day with superkicks, drawing a big pop from the audience; you would’ve thought the Utah Jazz just won the NBA Finals (but we know that’s not happening anytime soon). Sure, it led to Uso losing to McIntyre, but he made his decision, and it was the right one.
Of course, Uso could still join the group (Priest alluded to Mysterio turning Judgment Day down countless times before eventually joining), but given how over he is as a babyface, he doesn’t need to. Plus, he just left The Bloodline, so joining another faction would feel like too much of a lateral move. Turning down Priest and the gang establishes Uso as his own man as he takes the next step on the path to redemption.