Welcome to another edition of the WWE Raw Deal review here on Rajah for the second and last part of WWE’s draft. Here’s my column reacting to the first part of the WWE Draft from last Friday’s Smackdown. I enjoyed a very nice Canadian Thanksgiving on Monday and now it’s time for some Raw.
Live from Denver, Colorado, this is the Raw Deal for episode #1377 of Monday Night Raw. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport. Please visit TJRWrestling.net daily for our regular updates on the wrestling business featuring WWE news coverage, insightful columns from our team along with reviews about wrestling’s past and present. Thanks to Melo Man for the banner up top.
The opening video package focused on the feud between “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt and Seth Rollins. It showed highlights of their rivalry, clips of Wyatt in the Firefly Fun House and the Hell in a Cell match eight days earlier that ended in a No Contest after Rollins wouldn’t stop attacking. The Fiend got revenge after the match with the Mandible Claw and on Smackdown as well.
The Raw intro video aired with the song “Legendary” by Skillet. The pyro went off on the stage and the fans were loud in Denver as the show began.
Becky Lynch, the Raw Women’s Champion, was up first. The announce team of Vic Joseph, Jerry Lawler and Dio Maddin welcomed us to the show. Lynch was the first pick in the draft on Friday’s Smackdown and she’ll remain on Raw. That’s not a surprise considering the title she holds.
Lynch sucked up to Denver saying “The Man has come around” to Denver. Lynch bragged about being the first overall draft pick and said she expected to be there to kick Sasha Banks’ ass all over Colorado, but she’s come to find out Banks is out because of the last beating that Lynch gave her. Lynch said that tonight she faces the woman she can’t seem to get away from while noting that it’s always a war and she can’t wait to rip somebody’s arm off.
Charlotte Flair, who is the 10-time Women’s Champion, made her entrance in one of her robes. Flair went into the ring, posed in front of Lynch and got a microphone.
Flair said that maybe this nightmare will never end because Flair could get drafted to Raw and they’ll fight forever. Flair said she didn’t want the fans to think she’s selfish. Flair said she didn’t want to fight “Becks” and said she wants to be friends again. Flair told Becks she missed her and said she just wants to be her friend. Flair decked Lynch with a forearm and said Lynch makes it so damn hard to be her friend. The women got into a brawl, there were referees that went down to ringside and they tried to break it up.
Analysis: It appeared as though Flair was going to be a face again after he most recent rivalry with Bayley, but that may not be happening because this was a heel Flair promo. I like Flair a lot better as a heel because it’s the more natural role for her. Lynch was the right choice to start the show because she remains as popular as ever.
The winner of this match will earn the first pick in the draft for Raw (if Lynch wins) or Smackdown (if Flair wins). The bell rang when the show returned.
Becky Lynch vs. Charlotte Flair
Lynch with a clothesline followed by kicks in the corner. Flair came back with forearms, a kick and then they exchanged strikes. Flair got a backslide pin for two. Lynch came back with a leg whip, forearm to the face and Flair pulled her down by the hair. Flair put her legs around Lynch’s head and then drove her into the mat repeatedly. Flair posed while on her knees and stuck her tongue. That’s a big tongue…no wonder Andrade smiles a lot. Yeah, I said it. Flair grounded Lynch on the mat with a headscissors around the head. Flair sent Lynch into the turnbuckle followed by a kip up and Flair hit Lynch with a forearm in the back. Lynch hit a dropkick. Flair tried to send Lynch into the turnbuckle, Lynch stopped that and sent Flair out of the ring. Flair hit a backbreaker and then sent Lynch into the ring post.
Flair was still in control with a chop to the chest. Lynch came back with two clotheslines, a jumping side kick, kick to the gut and a running forearm to the face. Flair sent Lynch to the apron, Lynch with two kicks and Lynch went up top with a missile dropkick for two. Lynch went for a running dropkick, but Flair caught her and slapped on a Boston Crab submission. That was a good counter. Lynch got out of it, kicked Flair out of the ring and connected on the sliding dropkick. Lynch hit a forearm off the apron to knock Flair down on the floor. Back in the ring, Lynch went for an attack off the turnbuckle, Flair moved and Flair hit the Natural Selection neckbreaker for a two count. Flair was shocked that was only a two count. Flair slowly went up top, Lynch pulled her down and Flair countered a Disarmher attempt by sending Lynch into the turnbuckle. Flair with a boot to the face of Lynch for two. Flair was mad that didn’t get the win. Some fans chanted “this is awesome for them. Lynch countered a Figure Eight attempt by sending Flair into the turnbuckle and a rollup got two. Lynch with a reverse DDT followed by a leg drop off the middle ropes for two. Flair sent Lynch into the ropes and hit a Spear for two. Flair threw a tantrum in the ring about not being able to win. Flair was chuckling at not being able to put Lynch away, so Lynch hooked the shoulders into a pin and held Flair down for the three count after 14 minutes. Lynch did the rollup perfectly this time with Flair’s shoulders down on the mat unlike WrestleMania where both of Ronda Rousey’s shoulders were not down. Anyway, it’s a win for Lynch and the fans popped for “The Man” getting the W.
Winner by pinfall: Becky Lynch
Analysis: ***1/4 It was the usual good match between them. The crowd was into it. They have wrestled so many times and they’re best friends, so they always want to bring out the best in eachother. I think they went with that finish to show it was an even match and it was about putting Lynch over without making Flair look weak. I’m not surprised Lynch got the win since she was going to beat Banks if they had that match. Lynch continues to be booked strong and is a champion in WWE that gets booked to win non-title matches too, which is a good thing.
The win by Lynch means Raw gets the top pick in this part of the draft just like on Friday. That was expected. Becky Lynch celebrated with the Raw Women’s Title. The announcers did a good job of saying that Flair lost focus and that’s why she lost.
They spoke about how over 40 superstars can be picked on Raw. The WWE Draft rules were shown again. It begins in the next segment.
Seth Rollins, the Universal Champion, was interviewed by Charly Caruso. Rollins said today is a good day because it’s draft day and they are live on Raw in the Mile High City (another cheap pop on this show). Rollins said that Bray Wyatt seems to go wherever Rollins goes. Rollins said that the things he did and places he went to at Hell in a Cell is not something he was proud of, but he did what he had to do. Rollins said he didn’t know if The Fiend was human and he didn’t know what it will take to stop him. Rollins said he escaped on Smackdown. Rollins said that tonight he’s going Fiend hunting and he said before the evening is over, he’s going to find The Fiend, he’ll end this and burn it down.
Analysis: There were some boos when Rollins mentioned the Hell in a Cell match because fans hated the finish so much. Rollins saying that he’s going Fiend hunting tells the fans that there will be more of both guys later in the show.
There was a video of Jim Cramer of CNBC’s Mad Money show. Cramer did a promo saying Seth Rollins is a blue-chip prospect, Andrade can be a good return on investment and Ricochet is a high risk, high reward guy. At least he tried hard to care. He's an enthusiastic guy.
They showed the USA Network and Fox “War Rooms” just like on Smackdown. They were the same videos we saw on those shows. These videos are bad.
Stephanie McMahon, the WWE Chief Brand Officer, entered to a mixed reaction. She was the host of the WWE Draft just like on Smackdown as she read draft picks from the stage.
WWE Draft - First Round
Raw – Universal Champion Seth Rollins
Smackdown – WWE Champion Brock Lesnar w/Paul Heyman
Raw – Charlotte Flair
Smackdown – The New Day (Kofi Kingston, Xavier Woods and Big E)
Raw – Andrade with Zelina Vega
Analysis: The Rollins and Lesnar picks were expected based on the titles they are currently holding. Rollins gets to be on the same show as fiancée Becky Lynch, which was obviously going to happen. I’m a bit surprised that Flair went to Raw because she promoted Smackdown to Fox as much as anybody in the company and Smackdown currently doesn’t have much in terms of babyface women. I don’t mind Flair being on Raw. I’m just surprised WWE’s top two women Lynch and Flair are on the same show again. New Day remains on Smackdown where they’ve been. Andrade is dating Charlotte Flair as you would know if you follow either of them on social media, so of course they would be on the same show.
The WWE Draft panel was in the arena with Renee Young hosting Booker T, Beth Phoenix and Samoa Joe. There was a cast on Joe’s right hand since he’s dealing with an injury. Booker called Andrade an extraordinary talent. Phoenix said USA Network is looking to create a star-studded women’s division in Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair. Samoa Joe put over Brock Lesnar as a draft pick while saying that he’s looking forward to Lesnar vs. Velasquez.
Andrade made his entrance with Zelina Vega, who did a promo. Vega said that they weren’t drafted in the same round as Seth Rollins or Brock Lesnar or taking it back to Friday with the Raw Women’s Champion and one of the four horse faces (she said it), then said horsewomen…Becky Lynch. Vega made it clear that they were drafted in the same round as "El Idolo" Andrade. Vega told Raw superstars to rejoice because they will now have the privilege of suffering a loss to Andrade.
Analysis: Andrade is a great in-ring performer and Vega is strong on the microphone. Andrade got some stop/start pushes on Smackdown, so I’m hoping there’s more consistent booking for him on Raw.
Ali was already in the ring to start the match. It’s a battle of two guys that have had their names shortened.
Andrade (w/Zelina Vega) vs. Ali
Ali with a headscissors followed by a dropkick that sent Andrade out of the ring. After a distraction from Vega, Andrade hit a dropkick to the arm of Ali. Lawler had a joke asking if Andrade was related to “Mario Andrade” (Mario Andretti), who is an old former race car driver, but Maddin had no idea what he meant. Lawler is old, people. It was a very awkward exchange. Anyway, Ali went to the ropes, but Andrade was there to shoved him out of the ring leading to a crash landing on the floor. Andrade sent Ali left shoulder first into the ring post. Back in the ring, Andrade with a running kick on Ali into the turnbuckle. Andrade with an armbar on the left arm of Ali against the ropes. Andrade charged, Ali moved and Andrade went over the top to the floor. Ali ran the ropes, Vega went on the apron, Ali stopped, then he ran again and jumped over Vega with a somersault dive onto Andrade on the floor. Vega got a headscissors off the ropes on Ali and sent him into the barricade. Andrade brought Ali back in the ring and hit a Hammer Lock DDT for the pinfall win after six minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Andrade
Analysis: **1/2 That was a fun match between two younger guys with bright futures in WWE. Andrade worked on the arm for most of the match, Ali made the big comeback and then Ali managed to get the win. I like how they book Andrade matches with Vega always getting involved. I think both guys are future candidates to win the US Title on Raw.
It’s back to Stephanie McMahon for the next round of picks.
WWE Draft – Second Round
Raw - WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions Asuka and Kari Sane (While they are champions, they can appear on any show. If they lose the titles, they are exclusive Raw superstars.)
Smackdown – Daniel Bryan
Raw – Rusev
Smackdown – Smackdown Women’s Champion Bayley
Raw – Aleister Black
Analysis: I’m excited about Asuka and Sane getting a fresh start on Raw since there’s more time on Raw. I also want to see Asuka feud with Becky. Bryan and Bayley are both great, but they remain where they have been. Rusev is on Raw to feud with Bobby Lashley, who was picked by Raw on Friday and that means Rusev’s wife too. Aleister Black was barely used on Smackdown, so I’m cool with that move too. Black is also married to Zelina Vega, who is on Raw. Keeping couples together is important.
The Viking Raiders duo of Erik and Ivar entered for their shot at the Raw Tag Team Titles.
They showed Colin Jost and Michael Che from NBC’s Saturday Night Live. Jost reminded us about Braun Strowman beating him up at WrestleMania and he thinks he is Braun’s best friend now. Che said Colin has been making fun of Strowman including claiming Braun is the tallest virgin…Jost said champion. Che continued to mention Jost making fun of Strowman, Che said he never said those things and he loves Braun. That was it.
Analysis: The joke was that Jost talked shit about Strowman with Che ratting him out for it. Thanks for reminding us of how awful Strowman was booked earlier this year thanks to his feud with the SNL guys. That feud was so bad that it made Strowman teaming with a 10-year-old kid a year earlier look like genius booking.
The Raw Tag Team Champions Bobby Roode and Dolph Ziggler made their entrance. The Viking Raiders earned this title match by beating the champs non-title last week.
Raw Tag Team Championships: Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode vs. The Viking Raiders (Erik and Ivar)
The bell rang leading to Erik hitting running knees on Ziggler, then he tossed Roode out of the ring and Ivar hit a suicide dive on Roode on the floor. Erik with a Powerbomb on Ziggler, Ivar up top and he hit a splash for a two count as Roode broke up the pin. Erik tagged in, he went after Roode and Ziggler did a job block on Erik to give the heels control. Ziggler tossed Erik out of the ring, Roode got a hold of Erik and sent him into the ring post. Ziggler attacked Erik on the floor with a Zig Zag that sent Erik back first into the barricade.
The match returned with Ziggler hitting an elbow drop on Erik followed by a chinlock. For the second time in the match, Lawler mentioned Ziggler’s elbow drops gave him a heart attack seven years ago. Roode tagged in, Erik got in some shots on him, but Roode hit a dropkick to the leg. Ziggler trash talked Erik, who got back to his feet and decked Ziggler with a forearm to the head. Ivar got the tag, the fans were into it and Ivar hit a back body drop on Ziggler, plus a side slam on Ziggler and running cross body splash on Ziggler. Ivar with a jumping attack on Roode, cartwheel into a clothesline on Ziggler and Ivar celebrated. When Ivar went for a double team attack, Ziggler kicked Ivar out of the ring. Roode whipped Erik into the ring post and got a rollup for two. Roode picked up Erik and Ziggler hit a Zig Zag/Spinebuster combo for a two count. Good nearfall there. I like that as a double team move too. Ziggler hit a Fameasser on Erik for two. Ivar was still outside the ring. Ziggler missed a corner splash, he hit the ring post (with his hand), but Ziggler came back with a superkick and Roode hit a Glorious DDT for two because Ivar made the save. The fans popped big for the save by Ivar. They are into this match. The fans were chanting “Let’s Go Vikings” I think. Erik broke free, Ivar got the hot tag and hit a shoulder block on both champions. Ivar did a handspring into the ropes into a double back elbow. That’s so impressive for a 300 pounder. Erik tagged in, they launched Ziggler into the air and Ivar hit the Viking Experience slam. Erik covered Ziggler for the pinfall win after about 13 minutes. The fans popped big for the title change.
Winners by pinfall and New Raw Tag Team Champions: The Viking Raiders
Analysis: ***1/2 That was a great tag team match with four veterans that know how to put on an entertaining tag match when they get the time to do it. The reason Ziggler and Roode work well together is because they’ve been in every kind of match in their long careers. The Viking Raiders have teamed together for many years and they have some exciting tag team moves that make them unique. These teams work well together. I thought the finish was booked really well. The title change was expected since The Viking Raiders have been booked like a dominant babyface team since they debuted on the main roster. The fact that the crowd was so invested in the match showed how well WWE has booked The Viking Raiders on the main roster.
The Viking Raiders celebrated with the Raw Tag Team Titles and the fans continued cheering for them. They were drafted to Raw on Friday, so it makes sense for them to win the titles.
A video aired about WWE’s fight against breast cancer.
They showed Jeremy Roenick, Kathryn Tappen and Keith Jones from the NHL on NBC. They pretended as if they loved watching the WWE Draft. Sure you do. Roenick compared Seth Rollins to Connor McDavid. Tappen talked about liking New Day as a line combination in hockey.
Analysis: These segments continue to come off as very fake. Jones didn’t say anything, so clearly he didn’t want to participate.
The Viking Raiders did a promo backstage with Erik saying that Raw is where they belong and tonight they captured the Raw Tag Team Championship. Ivar said it’s one thing to win these and it’s another to defend them. Erik said they are the first team to be undefeated in WWE history to win the IWGP, Ring of Honor, NXT and now the Raw Tag Team Championships. They said “the raid is here” to end it. The fans cheered.
Analysis: It’s rare to hear IWGP (New Japan) and ROH mentioned on a WWE TV show, but there it is. I like this team a lot. They’ve got a lot of experience together, so they are a nice pairing to build the tag team division around.
Stephanie McMahon-Game-Helmsley-Levesque was back on the stage to read more draft picks.
WWE Draft – Third Round
Raw – Cedric Alexander
Smackdown – Intercontinental Champion Shinsuke Nakamura with Sami Zayn (They didn’t say Zayn was included, but Zayn was on the graphic with Nakamura.)
Raw – Humberto Carrillo
Smackdown – Ali
Raw – Erick Rowan
Maddin had a funny line saying the Fox Sports robot really wanted Erick Rowan. I thought it was funny because it was ridiculous.
Analysis: Alexander, Nakamura and Ali stay where they have been. Carrillo isn’t going to be known by most fans that only watch the main roster shows, but he has been good on 205 Live. Carrillo is in his mid-20s, so he has a bright future. I thought he would be on NXT. We’ll see if he can impress on Raw. Rowan moving to Raw is a fresh start for him after his recent push on Smackdown.
Aleister Black made his entrance. He was picked by Raw earlier in the night. There were reports that Paul Heyman really wanted Black on Raw and now he’s got him. Eric Young was already in the ring, who was signed to Raw over the weekend.
Aleister Black vs. Erick Young
Black with a sweep kick and a moonsault press off the ropes. Young ducked the Black Mass kick and bailed to the floor, so Black sat down in the ring. Young came back with a move where he sent Black’s throat across the top rope, but Black went for a running knee to the face. Young went for a pin attempt, but Black hooked him and slapped a reverse choke style submission and Young tapped out to give Black the win in under two minutes. Maddin said that’s called the Dark Ritual.
Winner by submission: Aleister Black
Analysis: * It was an easy win by Black, who is a rising star. Young hasn’t been used that much on the main roster. I like that Black has the Black Mass kick finisher and also a viable submission move with the Dark Ritual as well.
Still to come is a Firefly Fun House segment hosted by Bray Wyatt.
The show returned with Stephanie McMahon ready to read more draft picks.
WWE Draft – Fourth Round
Raw – Buddy Murphy
Smackdown – Robert Roode and Dolph Ziggler
Raw – Jinder Mahal
Smackdown – Carmella
Raw – WWE 24/7 Champion R-Truth
Analysis: They keep calling Buddy Murphy the “best kept secret” but the only reason he’s a secret is because he was poorly booked. Hopefully that changes now. I’m fine with Roode and Ziggler remaining a team. Mahal has been out for several months after knee surgery, but he’s probably back soon, which is he was picked here. People that are out for longer periods of time won’t be picked. Carmella remaining on Smackdown is no surprise since her boyfriend Corey Graves is there. Truth to Raw means his partnership with Carmella is over, but the 24/7 Title is on Raw because USA Network originally came up with the 24/7 Title idea. The title is also meaningless.
The Street Profits duo of Montez Ford and Angelo Dawkins were backstage in Raw hats. They talked about how they are on Monday Night Raw and the fans cheered. The OC trio of AJ Styles, Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson showed up. Styles said it’s official they are on Raw. Styles said they’ve got “it” but if he can be honest, he’s not sure why the USA Network drafted them. Styles said The OC should be the unofficial hosts of Raw and said that Raw belongs to The OC. The OC attacked Ford and Dawkins with punches and kicks. A referee and Producer Pat Buck showed up to break it up.
Analysis: It looks like The Street Profits have their first Raw rivalry against The OC, which is cool with me because it’s fresh.
Ricochet made his entrance to a good pop. He was drafted to Raw on Friday. They showed a pre-tape promo saying he will overcome all obstacles and prove to the WWE Universe that superheroes can be real.
Analysis: Ricochet is one of my favorite younger wrestlers in WWE. I’m excited about his future and I hope that by the time we get to WrestleMania in six months that he’s at or near the main event level. I’m not sure about the “superhero” thing, but it may work on the kids, so it’s worth a shot.
Shelton Benjamin was in the ring as the opponent.
Ricochet vs. Shelton Benjamin
Ricochet started off with a dropkick followed by a headscissors takedown. Benjamin avoided an attack and hit a belly to back suplex that sent Ricochet out of the ring, so Benjamin brought him back in. Benjamin launched Ricochet into the air leading to the two count. Benjamin hit a boot to the face for two followed by a chinlock. Ricochet hit a spinning kick to the face. Benjamin was up against the turnbuckle and Ricochet kicked him in the face. Ricochet hit a springboard clothesline off the top followed by a standing Shooting Star Press for two. Benjamin went for an attack, but Ricochet kicked him in the head again. Ricochet up top, Benjamin met him up there, hip toss off the top, but Ricochet landed on his feet and hit the Recoil for the pinfall win after about five minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Ricochet
Analysis: **1/4 It was a solid match to give Ricochet a win over a veteran wrestler in Benjamin. The result of the match was obvious as soon as the bell rang. The announcers kept pushing the superhero idea saying Ricochet was like Spiderman.
A video package aired about Tyson Fury’s career and his storyline with Braun Strowman that started two weeks ago.
There was a video of Lana in a spa of some kind and a woman was rubbing her legs. Lana said she liked it deeper. Bobby Lashley showed up wearing a title and I don’t know what I’m watching anymore. Lashley massaged Lana’s legs, she said she liked that and Rusev was never that good. Lashley said this is so much fun and maybe not as much fun for Rusev. Lana said maybe she should flip over. Lashley held up the towel, the camera panned up and he just smiled. That was it. The fans reacted to it with an “ooohhh” to end it.
Analysis: The Attitude Era is back! Kidding. That’s just one of those jokes people make when WWE does something risqué. This angle is certainly getting some reactions from the fans and will lead to some interesting matches from Lashley and Rusev on the Raw brand.
Contract Signing for Braun Strowman and Tyson Fury
Jerry Lawler was in the ring to host the contract signing. Two leather chairs and a table was in the ring. Lawler talked about how the match between Fury and Strowman was announced last Friday at a press conference. Braun Strowman entered first to a big reaction. Strowman was drafted to Smackdown, so this is his last time on Raw until they switch things up again. Tyson Fury was up next with the announcers talking about how he was undefeated as a boxer with 20 knockouts. They are both tall guys with Fury at 6’9” and Strowman might be an inch or two shorter. Lawler told them to remain civil and not repeat what happened last week when they got into a brawl.
Strowman said he knows a lot of about Fury because he’s undefeated, a hell of an athlete and also has one of the biggest egos he has ever seen. Strowman said he knows Fury was at the Smackdown premiere to steal some of WWE and Strowman’s spotlight. Strowman said that Fury is stepping into his world, he’s going to slam Fury in the ring and give him his first loss ever. Strowman said there ain’t a damn thing Fury can do about it because on October 31st he’s going to get these hands. Strowman signed the contract. Fury signed the contract as well.
Fury said he’s a fan of Strowman. Fury said he was at Smackdown with his family to see Strowman because all his kids talked about was Strowman. Fury said that he’s at home in any ring and he’ll prove that at Crown Jewel when he knocks Strowman out. The fans chanted “what” at Fury, but he got through the promo fine.
Strowman and Fury stood face to face while Lawler left the ring. Strowman did a double fist into the table, which broke it. Fury held up the pen, tried to break it and eventually did it. Fury walked away with a smile. The fans booed Fury a bit. Fury left with Strowman in the ring.
Analysis: It was a decent segment with each guy showing confidence. Strowman was the better talker of the two because he’s used to being in a WWE ring doing those kinds of promos. Fury is a good talker for a boxer, but he didn’t have much to say here. Last week's segment with the pull-apart brawl was better than this.
There was a commercial for WWE Ride Along that premiered on WWE Network after Raw. It was Braun Strowman with EC3 and Drake Maverick along with Mike and Maria Kanellis (Bennett). Earlier on Monday, Mike tweeted that he asked for his release from WWE.
There were comments from NBC’s Al Roker and Willie Geist talking about the WWE Draft. They talked about how WWE will keep us guessing. They were less fake than the other guys.
There were more draft picks announced by Stephanie McMahon.
WWE Draft – Fifth Round
Raw – Samoa Joe
Smackdown – The Miz
Raw – Akira Tozawa
Smackdown – “King” Baron Corbin
Raw – Shelton Benjamin
Analysis: Joe is a great pick and Maddin did a nice job of saying Joe may have slipped in the draft due to injury. Miz to Smackdown surprises me since his reality show is on USA Network. Miz has moved in every single roster change scenario they have done. The order of the picks is weird based on the push because Corbin is a guy that has main evented PPVs, yet he got picked so late. I don’t expect Tozawa or Benjamin to have a big role.
Buddy Murphy vs. Cedric Alexander
They are both Raw guys now. They wrestled many times in the past in the cruiserweight division. There was a sequence of counter moves each guy, Murphy took control with an elbow to the head and he sent Alexander into the turnbuckle. Alexander tried to come back with a springboard attack, but Murphy shoved him down, which led to Alexander bumping off the apron to the floor.
The match returned with Murphy hitting a knee that hit Alexander out of the ring. Murphy hit a somersault dive over the top onto Alexander. Back in the ring, Murphy connected with a double knee attack off the top for a two count. Alexander hit a back elbow to the head of Murphy, Alexander kicked him into the barricade and hit a suicide dive into the barricade. Back in the ring, Alexander hit a flatliner off the ropes for a two count. Good sequence of moves there. Murphy with a kick to the head, they battled by the turnbuckle and Murphy hit a sitout Powerbomb for two. Murphy hit the Murphy’s Law spinning slam for the pinfall win after about nine minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Buddy Murphy
Analysis: *** A pretty good match as expected from two exciting athletes that are very familiar with eachother. I’ve seen them have better matches together, but we only got six minutes of a nine-minute match. Murphy and Alexander are very good in-ring performers. I just hope they can get some interesting storylines to make them stand out more. The fans reacted to the big moves, but not that much and it’s tough to get excited when there is little known about them as characters.
The announcers went over the Crown Jewel lineup on October 31. It was announced that Seth Rollins will defend the Universal Title against “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt in a Falls Count Anywhere match.
Analysis: That means that Raw’s Seth Rollins defends Raw’s Universal Title against Smackdown’s The Fiend. What happens if The Fiend wins the title? They didn’t say.
The Street Profits were outside the trainers room. Dawkins told Ford they need a partner and said they need to keep it a mystery. Ford ended the promo saying, “we want the smoke” and they stared into the camera.
Analysis: It looks like a six-man tag team match next week with The Street Profits and a partner vs. The OC trio.
This Friday on Smackdown: Cain Velasquez is there and we’ll hear from new Smackdown Women’s Champion Bayley.
They showed people from NBC’s Premiere League Live show talking about the WWE Draft. I don’t watch it, but they showed a video of Sheamus hanging with Liverpool fans in the past.
Stephanie McMahon was back on the stage for the sixth and final round of WWE Draft picks.
WWE Draft – Sixth Round
Raw – Rey Mysterio
Smackdown – Shorty Gable (They officially changed his name. Ugh.)
Raw – Titus O’Neil
Smackdown – Elias
Raw – Liv Morgan
Analysis: It’s weird that Mysterio got drafted so late considering he’s on TV regularly while some guys before him are not. Also, if Cain Velasquez is Smackdown only (we don’t know if that’s official yet) then he’s not on the same show as Rey. Gable has a bright future if they use him right. I don’t remember the last Titus match on Raw. Elias has really fallen from where he was earlier in the year. Liv Morgan did nothing on Smackdown in the last six months. Hopefully she can be utilized more on Raw.
The WWE Draft panel was shown. Joe said that Buddy Murphy is a great pick. Phoenix said Baron Corbin was a nice pick for Smackdown. Booker T said there are rumors swirling of a blockbuster trade and they’ll talk about it on WWE Backstage on FS1 on Tuesday after the MLB Playoff game. Booker said “go Astros” because he’s from Houston. I agree with that.
Analysis: A trade would make things interesting for sure. I’m not sure who it will be.
The Kabuki Warriors duo of Asuka and Kairi Sane made their entrance. Asuka had some green face paint since she spits green mist now. They are the Women’s Tag Team Champions.
Natalya made her entrance. Natalya said she was asked to pick a partner tonight, so she had to pick somebody with the same drive and determination. Natalya said there’s only one woman that comes to mind – Lacey Evans. Lawler was shocked by it since last week on Raw, Natalya and Evans tried to destroy eachother. That match his next.
Analysis: This could lead to Evans becoming a face. Since Evans was in the US military, it’s easy to see why WWE would want to make her a face. Plus, Evans is on Smackdown now where they don’t have a lot of face women, so she might get a push there.
The match began during the break with about 20 minutes left in the show.
The Kabuki Warriors (Asuka and Kairi Sane) vs. Natalya and Lacey Evans
This was not for the Women’s Tag Team Titles. Evans with two arm drags on Sane. Sane and Evans were out of the ring with Sane hitting a spinning back fist. Asuka sent Evans into the barricade. Back in the ring, Asuka hit a double axhandle to the left arm of Evans. Natalya tagged in with a clothesline on Asuka followed by a German Suplex. Asuka trapped Natalya in a kneebar submission. Good counter wrestling by Natalya and Asuka leading to some nearfalls. Natalya slapped on the Sharpshooter on Asuka and the crowd was into it. Sane saved her partner with a bulldog. Asuka with a running hip attack to knock Natalya off the apron to the floor.
Asuka was in control with an armbar, then Natalya broke free and hit a dropkick. Asuka tried another armbar, Natalya turned it into a pin attempt and Asuka stepped on Natalya to prevent a tag. Asuka punched Evans off the apron. Natalya punched Asuka, Sane tagged back in and the champs hit a double suplex on Natalya for two. Natalya hit a suplex on Sane. Evans tagged in against Sane with Evans hitting two clotheslines and a sloppy neckbreaker for two. Evans with a corner splash on Sane and an elbow drop over the top to the chest of Sane for two. Evans was on the top rope, Asuka distracted and Sane hit a corner dropkick. Sane hit a double foot stomp off the turnbuckle on Evans. Natalya went back in to break up a pin attempt. Sane sent Natalya out of the ring. Sane with a running clothesline on Evans. Asuka got the tag, Evans hit the Woman’s Right punch on Sane and Asuka got the ROLLUP OF DEATH~! on Evans for the pinfall win after 16 minutes.
Winners by pinfall: The Kabuki Warriors (Asuka and Kairi Sane)
Analysis: **3/4 It was a solid tag team match with some fun moments when Natalya and Asuka were in there. They clearly wanted to build to Evans as a face by having her getting the hot tag although the fans didn’t react to it. It’s so weird seeing Sane as a heel since she’s such a natural face. I’m a bit surprised that they got as much time as they did and that it was in the main event position, but it was a fine match. The ROLLUP OF DEATH~! finish is used too often. Evans likely got pinned since she’s on Smackdown now.
With about three minutes left in the show, they cut away to a Firefly Fun House segment.
Firefly Fun House with Bray Wyatt
Bray Wyatt was on the Firefly Fun House set with one of his sweaters. He said he saw Seth. Wyatt said people say mean things about Seth, but he thinks Seth is strong, brave and smart. Wyatt said that “he” never forgets. Rambling Rabbit was alive again and Wyatt told him he’s safe, so he should go play. Rollins showed up on the set to attack Wyatt with punches. Rollins tossed the picture frames down off the wall. Wyatt asked why is he doing this to him? Rollins grabbed Wyatt and threw him into a wall. The fans booed as Rollins was on the set. Rollins: “Burn it down.” Rollins lit a match, put table on fire and turned the table over. The fire burned down the wall that had the picture frames on it. There was a fire in the room while images of The Fiend were also shown. That’s how Raw ended this week.
Analysis: I think the fact that the fans were booing Rollins when he was on screen was very telling. It’s not like this was a heel turn by Rollins although I saw some people on Twitter talking about it like it was. I think it’s just a case of Rollins trying to get to The Fiend before he gets attacked again, but the fans like Wyatt as The Fiend, so to some fans, it’s seen as a heelish act. This whole feud feels weird. I’m not sure how they can continue it if the brand split is supposed to be strict since Rollins and Wyatt are on different shows now, yet they have another match at Crown Jewel on October 31.
Three Stars of the Show
- The Viking Raiders
- Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode
- Becky Lynch/Charlotte Flair
5.5 out of 10
Last week: 5.5
2019 Average: 5.84 (Smackdown is 6.74)
Last 5 Weeks: 5.5, 6, 7, 7, 8
2019 High: 8 (September 9)
2019 Low: 3.5 (May 27)
This week’s Raw gets a 5.5 out of 10.
It felt like an average Raw this week for the second week in a row. There were some good matches especially in the first hour, but if you were looking for something surprising from the WWE Draft then you were likely left disappointed. I think most fans are going to come away from the draft wondering why it even needed to take place since most wrestlers are on the brand they were on before. I think we know why it took place because WWE figured it would get a good rating on Smackdown, but it really wasn’t that significant.
If you watch WWE or Raw specifically for storyline development, there wasn’t much here. I think the matches were good enough to make it an average show. However, other than Rollins/Wyatt stuff it wasn’t that interesting. Even when it comes to that feud, the fans booed when Rollins burnt down the Firefly Fun House set. This feud is not helping Rollins as a babyface champion at all.
I’m glad the WWE Draft is over now because the rosters are split and once we get to Smackdown on Friday, hopefully the creative team can come up with interesting storylines. This show just felt like match after match without much in the way of stories. Now that the rosters are officially split up again, it's time to make us care about these matches more.
The next WWE PPV is Crown Jewel on October 31. Here’s the official lineup so far.
WWE Championship: Brock Lesnar (c) vs. Cain Velasquez
Falls Count Anywhere Match for the Universal Championship: Seth Rollins (c) vs. "The Fiend" Bray Wyatt
Braun Strowman vs. Tyson Fury
Five on Five Tag Team Match: Team Hogan (Captain Seth Rollins, Rusev, Ricochet and two others) vs. Team Flair (Captain Randy Orton, Baron Corbin, Bobby Lashley, Shinsuke Nakamura and one more) - Rollins is currently listed for two matches. He may be removed from this match.
Tag Team Turmoil Match: The New Day (Kofi Kingston, Big E and Xavier Woods), Raw Tag Team Champions Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode, Smackdown Tag Team Champions The Revival (Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder), The Viking Raiders (Erik and Ivar), Zack Ryder and Curt Hawkins, Heavy Machinery (Tucker and Otis), Lucha House Party (Kalisto, Gran Metalik and Lince Dorado), The OC (AJ Styles, Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson), and The B Team (Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel).
Cesaro vs. Mansoor
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