RETRIBUTION seemed to take a major step back on Raw this week as WWE’s chaotic faction looked second best to the Hurt Business and The Fiend.
The show started with Bray Wyatt’s sinister alter ego joining Alexa Bliss before the group – fronted by leader Mustafa Ali – made their way to the ring.
However, before things could really kick off, the lights dropped and when they came on, The Fiend and his partner were nowhere to be seen.
Instead, the Hurt Business’ music hit and a brawl broke out between the two sides, with Bobby Lashley, Shelton Benjamin, MVP and Cedric Alexander clearing the ring.
The resulting eight-man tag match was strong, but even with the distraction of The Fiend appearing on the screen in the middle of the bout, RETRIBUTION looked too weak here.
The faction were well beaten, and it didn’t help matters that US Champ Lashley beat T-Bar for the win with the Hurt Lock.
After the bell, things went from bad to worse as The Fiend reappeared, looking like a total monster as he destroyed Slapjack, T-Bar and Mace, with Ali escaping but his minions looking second best.
Bray’s masked character stood tall, while Bliss appeared on screen and – in Wyatt’s voice – told everyone to ‘Let me in’.
Later in the show, Ali delivered a perfect promo as he revealed himself as the SmackDown hacker and laid out his motivation.
It was a fantastic bit of character development and perfectly set out the goals of RETRIBUTION – but unfortunately it came within hours of the group looking like chumps.
We also saw Alexa Bliss join the Firefly Fun House in a cracking edition focused on fresh starts and new friends, even if poor Ramblin’ Rabbit once again got killed by Mercy the Buzzard.
Best of the rest
AJ Styles – now flanked by the towering former Raw Underground bouncer Jordan Omogbehin – cut a damn fine promo about his Raw return, which led into his match with Matt Riddle.
The Phenomenal One’s bodyguard got involved throughout, but it didn’t take away from the pair putting on a decent bout, which Styles won clean with the Styles Clash.
Lana’s shot at the Raw Women’s Title didn’t go to plan, as Asuka beat her in a spirited but anticlimactic match, only for Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler to take out the champ after the bell.
Yet again, the former sent Lana through the announce table before the tag team champs issued a challenge to anyone in the locker room.
Mandy Rose and Dana Brooke made sense, but SmackDown’s Riott Squad joining a non-title match alongside Peyton Royce in a new team with Lacey Evans just weeks after WWE split the IIconincs was baffling.
Jax and Baszler stood tall too, meaning no one really got elevated by this.
In better news, Elias was back in concert with a medley of songs from his upcoming album Universal Truth, before Jeff Hardy revealed himself as a disguised guitarist and insisted he wasn’t the man behind the hit and run over summer.
The New Day – without Big E – got involved in a war of words with Sheamus, leading to a very physical match between the Celtic Warrior and Kofi Kingston.
In the end, Kofi earned the win with Trouble in Paradise, which should bring an end to the group’s issues with the Irishman.
John Morrison and The Miz has called on Tucker to find a tag team partner for their match, and he did – in the form of El Gran Gordo, who he claimed was one of the most famous luchadors in the world.
Naturally, it was SmackDown star Otis, who earned himself a verbal dressing down from The Miz, although they babyfaces triumphed in the resulting match, despite 24/7 Title nonsense getting in the way with R-Truth, Lucha House Party, Akira Tozawa and Drew Gulak.
Elsewhere, Braun Strowman used a low blow to beat Keith Lee in a decent if unremarkable match – which is a shame after their intense brawl the other week – but the Limitless One responded in kind after the bell, giving them a chance to take things up a notch next time.
Finally, Drew McIntyre and Randy Orton traded barbs throughout the night with their usual high standards, and the show came to an end with the Viper at his absolute best before the WWE Champ came out for a stand-off building to their Hell In A Cell match this weekend.
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Credit: Original article published here.