It’s time for another WWE Raw Deal review. Check out my reviews of Saturday’s NXT Takeover WarGames Review right here and my review of Sunday’s WWE Survivor Series right here. There were plenty of great matches on both shows, but I enjoyed Takeover more. I think Survivor Series was above average. Now that Survivor Series is over, things should be back to normal with brand-exclusive superstars rather than wrestlers being allowed to be on the other shows.
Live from Chicago, Illinois (for the fourth night in a row), this is the Raw Deal for episode #1383 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 Raw intro video aired. The pyro went off in the arena and the crowd was ready for the fourth straight night of WWE action in Chicago. Shoutout to the guy with the Canadian flag in the crowd.
Seth Rollins Town Hall Meeting
Seth Rollins was in the ring with a microphone while the other wrestlers on the Raw roster surrounded the ring. It wasn’t the entire roster because Becky Lynch was absent, same with Brock Lesnar and a few others. The fans were chanting "CM Punk" and Rollins said he wanted to get him there, but he'd rather sit behind a desk in Los Angeles instead of doing something himself. Rollins said this isn't about him - it's about Raw and this locker room. Some fans chanted "NXT" at him. Rollins said he agreed with them because NXT mopped the floor with Raw and he hates that. Rollins mentioned big names like Steve Austin, The Rock, DX, Shawn Michaels and he grew up loving this show, but to see what it has become, it breaks his heart. Rollins said that this show is better than that. Rollins said that last night at Survivor Series, "you all sucked." The fans booed. What about the wrestlers not booked in matches? I guess they don't count.
Rollins said that they all dropped the ball, every single person there dropped the ball and they went from being the A show to becoming the C show. Rollins said they need to plant the flag in the ground to make Raw the A show again. Rollins said he believed in Raw and that's why he called them out tonight. Rollins said if anybody wants to speak up, now would be the time. Nobody spoke up. Rollins called on Randy Orton aka Mr. RKO, which drew cheers, and Seth pointed out that Randy was the weak link at Survivor Series last night. Rollins asked Orton if he had anything to say. Orton had enough of this, and he walked away without saying a word. Rollins said don't say anything and don't be a leader - that's fine. Orton walked to the back.
Rollins mentioned that Charlotte Flair was supposed to be a leader and she was the leader of the women's team at Survivor Series, yet she wasn’t even the last one standing for Team Raw at Survivor Series (Natalya raised her hand on the other side of the ring). Rollins: "And you call yourself a Flair?" Charlotte wasn't impressed, so she went backstage.
Rollins mentioned AOP wasn't even at Survivor Series and said that they talk about violence for the sake of violence, but they did nothing last night. Rollins said they don’t need AOP tonight either. AOP left.
Rollins pointed out Rey Mysterio and said last night, more than anybody, Mysterio let them down. Rollins said that he beat Brock Lesnar two times this year while Mysterio couldn't get the job done even with a lead pipe and the help of his "stupid kid." Mysterio walked away as Seth said maybe this is not the Rey Mysterio we all grew up loving. Everybody (except one guy) on the roster walked away while fans chanted "Asshole" at Rollins. Rollins said this is what you are all thinking, but he's the only one that has the guts to say it. Kevin Owens was on the apron. The fans chanted for Owens and Rollins said this is "Mr. NXT" and he invited Owens into the ring.
Owens went face to face with Rollins with Seth saying he knows what Owens is going to say. Rollins said he loves this place and all he does day in, day out is think about how it can be better. Rollins said he eats, sleeps and breathes Raw because he loves this place and it isn’t about him. Rollins complained about how Owens just shows up, he said he's a lazy piece of crap and he does nothing. Rollins told Owens he will never be Seth Rollins...and claimed he didn't mean it that way. Rollins said he's coming from a good place while adding this is the right thing to do. Owens didn't say a word and he gave Rollins a Stone Cold Stunner! The fans popped for that. Owens walked up the ramp and left while Rollins was down in the ring.
Analysis: That was an interesting start. Really good. The roster turning on Rollins there was a nice way of maybe turning Rollins into a heel or at least giving in to the fans reacting to the Rollins by booing him a lot. It was a nice way to set things in motion and lead us into what should be a more unpredictable version of Raw. Plus, it also makes Survivor Series feel more meaningful since the story is that the roster is pissed off that they had a bad showing at Survivor Series. The promo also shows that WWE is aware of how the fans feel about Rollins and in this promo, they gave him the dialogue that drew the perfect reaction to get the fans to boo him right away. This was definitely better than the usual opening segment on Raw. If you want to be picky here, there was no sign of Seth's fiancee Becky Lynch, who main evented Survivor Series and failed to win as well. That's WWE, though. They choose to ignore things.
Seth Rollins was shown backstage where Charly Caruso showed up for an interview. Rollins added that he wasn’t able to accomplish what he hoped. Rollins said he was trying to get Raw back on track. Rollins said he was challenging Owens to a match and said he will see him out there.
Bobby Lashley and Lana made their entrance. A clip aired of Rusev being served with a restraining order when he arrived at the arena earlier in the day.
The Raw announce team of Vic Joseph and Jerry “The King” Lawler were shown on camera. There was no Dio Maddin again.
Bobby Lashley (w/Lana) vs. Titus O’Neil
O’Neil got some offense early with two chops to the chest, but Lashley came back with a huge spinebuster. Rusev showed up through the crowd and he attacked Lashley with punches. The match was thrown out one minute into it.
Winner by disqualification: Bobby Lashley
Analysis: There’s no point in rating that. It was just done to further the Lashley/Rusev story. Congrats to Titus for not being pinned! That's something.
The brawl spilled out to the floor with Rusev punching Lashley while Lana screamed at Rusev to get off of her boyfriend. Her acting was bad, but she looks pretty. Rusev sent Lashley into the steel steps and Rusev whipped Lashley into the barricade. Rusev gave Lashley a clothesline while they were on the ramp. Rusev whipped Lashley into one of the LED screens on the ramp. They went over to the announce table and Rusev cleared off the table. Rusev told Lana that this is not about you…even though it is. There were cops that showed up to arrest Rusev. What took them so long? At least these cops looked like actual cops instead of indy wrestlers in rent-a-cop outfits. Rusev was handcuffed, then he broke free and hit a shoulder tackle on Lashley that sent him crashing through a table that was by the stage. The fans were chanting “Rusev Day” and Rusev kicked over a steel beam that went on Lashley, or at least near him. Rusev was taken to the back as he yelled: “I’m back!” The fans cheered this.
Analysis: There was some cheesiness about the segment because they brawled for three minutes when the cops finally showed up. From a storyline standpoint, it worked very well because Rusev got revenge on Lashley and the fans were chanting for Rusev just as WWE wants them to do. This should lead to a match at TLC and since they had Lashley go through a table, I’m guessing it will be a Tables Match. This kind of segment is more of a better wrestling angle due to the brawling and big bump from Lashley. That’s why fans responded to this better than some of their previous talking segments.
There were clips of Rusev’s attack on Lashley that put Lashley through a table while Rusev was handcuffed. They showed highlights during the commercial with Lana showing concern for Lashley, who was taken away on a stretcher.
AOP (Akam and Rezar) vs. Zack Ryder and Curt Hawkins
The AOP guys are wrestling shirtless now instead of wrestling in vests like they have done in the past. AOP hit their Last Chapter double team move that was a clothesline/leg sweep combo. Rezar beat down Ryder with punches. AOP picked up both guys and slammed them back first into the turnbuckle. AOP did their Super Collider double team Powerbomb on both guys. AOP hit a double team neckbreaker/Powerbomb on Hawkins for the pinfall win. The match went about 90 seconds.
Winners by pinfall: AOP (Akam and Rezar)
Analysis: 1/2* It’s good to see AOP back in action after months of inactivity. I know there was an injury, but they have been cleared for several months and only been featured in promos that didn’t go anywhere. Their moves looked great as usual. I think long term, there will be an AOP showdown with the Viking Raiders in a matchup between two dominant teams.
The announcers shilled what was to come including Charlotte Flair vs. Asuka and Seth Rollins vs. Kevin Owens.
Akira Tozawa was in the ring as Andrade’s entrance was shown with Zelina Vega for this matchup that has a predictable result. The announcers plugged WWE Backstage with Triple H as a guest on Tuesday. There’s no CM Punk on that show this week.
Andrade (w/Zelina Vega) vs. Akira Tozawa
Tozawa went for a leaping attack, which led to Andrade catching him and hitting a Powerbomb. Andrade with a hard chop to the chest followed by an armbar. Andrade with a suplex, but Tozawa came back with a cradle. Tozawa with a snap German Suplex. Tozawa went up top, Andrade tripped him up and Andrade hit the running knee attack against the turnbuckle. Andrade hit the Hammerlock DDT for the pinfall win after two minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Andrade
Analysis: 1/2* A quick match to put over Andrade, who is pushed at the midcard level, but they need to do more with him. I hope he gets a meaningful feud soon.
Aleister Black was in his darkened room talking about how “you” knocked on my door, so he’s going to collect when you have your match tonight. Black was referring to Buddy Murphy.
Matt Hardy made his entrance and he got a big ovation from the crowd. Wonderful! Good to see Matt back on Raw in a match. Matt has been healthy and working live events, but they just haven’t used him much. Matt’s in great shape in his mid-40s and the crowd respects him, as they should.
Analysis: I think WWE can do so much with Matt either as a legend that can still go or utilizing his Broken Matt character. There’s still so much that they can do with that.
Buddy Murphy entered as the opponent.
Matt Hardy vs. Buddy Murphy
Hardy with punches on Murphy against the turnbuckle, but then Murphy came back with a kick to the face. Murphy whipped Hardy into the middle turnbuckle leading to Hardy bumping to the floor. Murphy whipped Hardy into the barricade two times. Back in the ring, Murphy went up top, Hardy moved and Hardy hit a Side Effect slam. Hardy with a boot to the face followed by an elbow to the back of the neck. Hardy did the “Delete” hand gesture with the fans joining in, but Murphy blocked an attack with a knee. Murphy with another knee strike. Murphy hit another knee to the face and Matt sold it like he was knocked out, so Murphy covered for the win after three minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Buddy Murphy
Analysis: * It was another short match to put over Murphy in dominant fashion. Ending the match with three knee strikes is different for Murphy, but it does put over his striking ability.
Buddy Murphy did a post match promo calling out Aleister Black saying he has come to pick a fight with him.
Aleister Black ran down to the ring for a showdown with Murphy. Black with a spinning back fist and a jumping knee to the face that knocked Murphy out of the ring. Black stayed in the ring, so the fight ended there.
Analysis: The fans are into Black as you can tell here. Black has been wanting a fight for seven months and aside from a few matches, he hasn’t had much to do. This should lead to a good match between them with Black likely winning this rivalry.
The US Title match between AJ Styles and Humberto Carrillo is next.
Charlotte Flair was interviewed backstage by Charly Caruso. Flair said she has never said she was a team player, but she was the only one qualified to lead Team Raw. Flair said that Asuka was jealous of her when Flair beat her for the Smackdown Women’s Title in the spring and ending Asuka’s streak at WrestleMania 34. Flair said now Asuka wants to use the green mist? Flair said she’ll remind Asuka why she’s the 10-time Women’s Champion and The Queen. A “woo” ended it.
This week on Smackdown: Bray Wyatt introduces a new character on the Firefly Fun House.
Analysis: That first hour wasn’t good for in-ring action due to so many short matches. I still liked the opening segment a lot.
There was a replay of the Seth Rollins Town Hall segment that opened the show and ended with Kevin Owens hitting a Stunner on Rollins. That set up their match for later in the show.
AJ Styles made his entrance with the US Title for a title defense. Humberto Carrillo entered as the opponent. They have wrestled many times in the last couple of months. When Carrillo went down the ramp, he was attacked by Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson. Carrillo tried to fight off Gallows and Anderson, but he wasn’t successful at it. Gallows gave Carrillo a Chokeslam on the ring apron and Anderson whipped Carrillo into the steel steps. G&A removed the top half of the steel steps and then they gave Carrillo the Magic Killer onto the steel steps. Ricochet went down to ringside to check on Carrillo.
Styles did a promo saying it doesn’t sound like Carrillo is medically cleared for tonight’s match. Styles said speaking of unfortunate, he thought Ricochet was a superhero because he didn’t make it out in time to save his buddy. Ricochet complained about how AJ just sends Gallows and Anderson out there against anybody that tries to take the title off him. Ricochet asked for a title shot and Styles said no because he signed for a match with Carrillo, so it’s not going to happen.
Randy Orton made his entrance saying Humberto might not be able to compete, but he can. Orton said that he thinks the people would love nothing more than to see him RKO AJ Styles’ ass right through the mat. Orton wanted AJ to put the title on the line against him tonight. Styles said that the last time they were competing against eachother it was in a bigger and better city at WrestleMania when he beat Orton. Styles said he had nothing to prove to two guys he has already beaten.
Drew McIntyre was next with a microphone in hand. McIntyre said Styles hasn’t faced him, he hasn’t had a title opportunity and just last night, he pinned Walter and eliminated the Monster Among Men Braun Strowman. Drew got into the ring suggesting that he faces Styles for the US Title. Styles said he’s a bit sore after Survivor Series, so that sounded like a no.
Rey Mysterio joined the promo party. Mysterio said if you want to talk about being sore and banged up, last night he stepped into a fight with Brock Lesnar. Mysterio said that Styles didn’t want to defend the US Title, so he’s not going to let AJ cheat these people out of a title match. Mysterio said he should get the title match against Styles. Styles told them they haven’t earned anything, so he declines.
Ricochet said he had an idea where they have a Fatal 4-Way match and the winner gets to face AJ Styles tonight for the US Title. Drew said he prefers his idea. Styles said that may be the dumbest Ricochet idea he’s ever heard. Gallows and Anderson said they thought it was a cool idea. Styles said if you want the match, then beat the crap out of eachother and you’re on.
Analysis: It’s a classic WWE way of setting up a match with people cutting promos leading to the match. In the past, it was usually a GM or somebody in charge that made the match official. In this case, it was just the wrestlers agreeing to the match. Both methods work fine.
The match started when they returned from break.
Randy Orton vs. Ricochet vs. Rey Mysterio vs. Drew McIntyre
Ricochet sent McIntyre out of the ring. Ricochet launched Mysterio into McIntyre, which led to Mysterio taking McIntyre down and Ricochet hit a dive over the top onto Orton. When Orton went back in, Ricochet and Mysterio hit a double dropkick. Ricochet tried a dive on McIntyre, but McIntyre sent him into the ring post. Orton tossed Mysterio under the bottom rope to send him crashing onto Ricochet on the floor. Ricochet was back in the ring, McIntyre chopped him and tossed Ricochet across the ring. The taller dudes McIntyre and Orton worked together on Ricochet with strikes against the turnbuckle. Orton decked Mysterio with a forearm and McIntyre tossed Mysterio out of the ring. Ricochet with a boot to the face of Orton and a kick to the head of McIntyre. Orton with a powerslam on Ricochet. Mysterio with a seated senton on Orton and a springboard cross body block on McIntyre. Mysterio with a jumping kick to Ricochet. Mysterio and Ricochet battled on the top, Ricochet shoved Rey down, McIntyre tried a suplex, but then he got knocked down. Orton shoved Ricochet off the top and into the barricade. McIntyre reached up and slammed Orton off into a superplex on Mysterio. That was the Tower of Doom spot with a bit of a twist since McIntyre did his cool spot out of the corner. AJ Styles entered the arena with Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson as the show went to break.
McIntyre was in control of Ricochet, but then Ricochet managed to kick him to break free. Ricochet kicked Orton too until Orton came back with a draping DDT off the ropes for two with McIntyre breaking up the pin. McIntyre told Orton it’s his time now, so Drew chopped him and Orton chopped back. Drew’s chop sounded harder and then Drew did another one with Orton selling it, so then Orton poked him in the eye followed by punches. McIntyre with a headbutt on Orton. Ricochet got back into it with a clothesline off the top and a standing SSP on McIntyre. Ricochet kicked Mysterio to knock him down on the floor. McIntyre tried a reverse Alabama Slam, but Ricochet countered into a pin attempt for two. McIntyre with a clothesline followed by a sitout Powerbomb for two. McIntyre set up for a Claymore Kick on Ricochet, but Orton went into the ring and hit an RKO on McIntyre! That got a two count because G&A pulled Orton out of the ring and whipped him into the barricade. There are no DQ’s in a 4-Way match. Mysterio went for a springboard attack on Ricochet, who caught him and Mysterio got an inside cradle on Ricochet for the pinfall win after 15 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Rey Mysterio
Analysis: ***1/4 A very good match between four guys that know what they are doing out there. It was a nice mix of talent and a fresh matchup. Orton and McIntyre were in control for a lot of it, but then Ricochet and Mysterio used their exciting offense to get back into it. There were several believable nearfalls for multiple guys in the match. Orton getting screwed out of the win sets him up as a babyface officially and seeking revenge for what happened. They built to the finish well and the fans were really into it with Mysterio getting the win.
Styles was happy about getting to face Mysterio.
The introductions took place for the US Championship match.
United States Championship: AJ Styles (w/Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson) vs. Rey Mysterio
Styles was in control early as he whipped Mysterio into the turnbuckles followed by a backbreaker. Mysterio was selling a lot since he was in a match before this. Styles beat up on Mysterio on the floor for a bit and then they went back into the ring. Styles stomped on Mysterio against the turnbuckle followed by a sliding dropkick to the head. Styles put Mysterio on the middle ropes, which led to a slingshot that sent Mysterio throat first into the middle rope. When Mysterio went for a springboard attack, he sold a left knee injury, then he tried it again, Styles caught him and Mysterio sent Styles shoulder first into the turnbuckle. Mysterio with a kick to the jaw, Styles was up against the ropes and Mysterio ran the ropes, so Anderson pulled the leg of Mysterio. The referee John Cone turned around to see what happened, so he tossed Gallows and Anderson from ringside. That always draws a big pop.
Styles whipped Mysterio sternum first into the turnbuckle. Styles set up Mysterio upside down against the turnbuckle and stomped away. This time when Styles tried the dropkick, Mysterio moved and Styles went groin first into the steel ring post. Mysterio jumped off the top with a seated senton, then a headscissors takedown and Mysterio worked over Styles with punches. Mysterio with a boot to the face followed by a bulldog for two. Mysterio went up top, Styles went after him, Mysterio bit the left hand and Styles put Mysterio onto the shoulders leading to a slam into the knee for a two count. Styles wanted a Styles Clash, but Mysterio slipped out of it and hit a Sunset Bomb for a two count. The fans were really getting it now. Mysterio with the headscissors into the ropes and the 619 kick connected. Styles went crashing into the referee. Mysterio tried to cover, but ref Cone was down. That led to Gallows and Anderson going to the ring to beat up Mysterio. Randy Orton ran down to the ring and he tossed Gallows into the barricade. Orton sent Anderson into the barricade too. Styles missed an attack on Orton, Mysterio with another 619 on Styles and Orton with a RKO on Styles. Mysterio went up top and hit a Frog Splash on Styles. Referee Cone woke up from his nap to count the pinfall leading to Mysterio winning the match and the title at around 15 minutes.
Winner by pinfall AND NEW United States Champion: Rey Mysterio
Analysis: ***3/4 Great match between two of the best wrestlers of the last two decades. I’m sure they had a lot of fun wrestling eachother because it hasn’t happened that often. It’s incredible to see how good Mysterio still is after 44 years old even after several major knee surgeries. Styles did well as the cocky heel that thought he had the match won several times, and then Mysterio kept coming back for more. I know fans don’t like ref bumps, but this one worked perfectly with G&A going back out there and then Orton was the difference maker to help Mysterio win. The fans loved that finish as you could tell by the reaction. Big title change for Rey.
Post match, Rey’s son Dominick ran down to the ring to celebrate with him. Mysterio posed with the title while Dominick put his dad on his shoulders. The announcers did a good job of telling Rey’s story where he almost retired, then Dominick convinced him to stick around and now Rey won a title. Mysterio hugged Dominick in the ring and kissed him on the forehead. Rey celebrated some more leading to a break.
Analysis: That was pretty cool. It's a nice reminder of how much fun wrestling can be when babyfaces have big moments like that. It’s a storyline of course, but it is one of those moments that feels real because Rey is a beloved veteran wrestler that is at an age where a lot of people are retiring, yet he’s still performing at a high level. Plus, Rey gets to enjoy it with his son and it's a relatable moment to fans that love watching wrestling with their families. Great job by Rey, AJ, Orton and everybody involved in making that feel like a big moment.
Kevin Owens was interviewed backstage by Charly Caruso, but he just asked her if he could take the microphone. Owens said that Rollins thinks he is making everybody better and you look at Owens thinking he should strive to be more. Owens said he has known who he is since he first laced up wrestling boots 20 years ago and his entire time in WWE. Owens talked about how even when people tried to make him change, he said no because he knows who he is and he will always be Kevin Owens, which he is perfectly fine with. Owens said that all Rollins has become is a whiny, insufferable little prick. Owens told Rollins that the first Stunner was nothing because there’s another one coming and it will turn Monday Night Rollins into the Kevin Owens Show.
Analysis: Great promo from Owens. I think he’s the best talker on the Raw roster. I like that they are building up this issue with Owens and Rollins, who are guys that know eachother well.
Charlotte Flair made her entrance in a blue robe as they showed images from Survivor Series when Asuka spit green mist into the eyes of Flair. Asuka made her entrance with her Women’s Tag Team Championship partner Kairi Sane. They had their titles with them.
Charlotte Flair vs. Asuka (w/Kairi Sane)
Flair went after Asuka aggressively with forearms to the face, they went to the floor and Flair whipped Asuka into the barricade. Sane went on the apron, so Flair kicked her down. Flair tossed Asuka across the ring to send her crashing into the ropes. Asuka came back with a hair pull to take Flair down. Flair fought back with elbows, Asuka grabbed the arm for an armbar and Flair got out of it. Sane distracted Flair, so Asuka hit Flair with a forearm to the back to send her into the turnbuckle. Asuka kicked Flair several times in her ample chest, but Flair caught the leg and Asuka hit a spinning back fist. Asuka charged right into a boot to the face by Flair for a two count. Asuka bailed to the floor, Flair chased after Sane and Sane ran away from ringside and away through the crowd. Flair went back to ringside as the match went to break.
The match returned with Asuka going for an armbar, but Flair fought out of it with punches. Flair to the apron, Asuka with a kick and then Flair hit a kick to the back of the head when Asuka went for a running attack. Asuka came back with a German Suplex. Flair avoided a kick and got a rollup. Flair got another two count. They exchanged forearms, Flair with a backbreaker and a clothesline. Flair with chops followed by a fallaway slam and she kipped up to her feet. Flair went up for the moonsault, Asuka moved and Flair hit a splash on Asuka for a two count. Asuka charged, Flair caught her and Asuka rolled through into a pin attempt for two. Flair came back with a belly to back suplex. Flair charged in and Asuka hit the double knees to the face like a Codebreaker for two. Asuka went up top, she jumped off, Flair moved and when Flair went for the Natural Selection neckbreaker, Asuka moved and went for a triangle choke submission. Flair countered into a Boston Crab submission – that was well done as a battle of submission holds. Flair stomped on Asuka to keep her down. Flair with a knee drop onto the left knee of Asuka. Kick to the head by Asuka, but Flair bounced off the ropes with a Spear for two. Kairi Sane appeared at ringside again, Flair went after her, Asuka left the ring and Flair sent Sane into the ring post. When Flair sent Asuka back in the ring, Flair held her hair back, the referee was distracted by Sane and Asuka spit the DREADED GREEN MIST~! into the eyes of Flair. Since Flair pulled the hair back, it was all over her face. The referee never saw the mist, but could clearly see the mist on Flair’s face and around Asuka’s mouth, yet he still counted when Asuka did the ROLLUP OF DEATH~! for the pinfall win after 17 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Asuka
Analysis: ***1/4 They always have great matches together and this was solid although not at the level of their WrestleMania match. A few moments did seem off a bit, though. I like that heel Asuka uses the green mist because it makes things more unpredictable when it comes to her matches. Flair’s matches are better when she’s a heel, but when she gets to work with Asuka, she does well as a face too. The cheap ending should lead to another match whether it’s in singles or a tag team match soon. It would be easy to complain about the finish since the referee did nothing when it was obvious there was the green mist, but that’s pro wrestling. Heels cheating to win is how it should be for them.
Post match, Flair was in the ring with the green mist all over her face and chest. Asuka celebrated the win with sane at ringside. Flair was selling as if she had trouble seeing due to the mist in her eyes.
There was a brief video mentioning that Sports Business Journal claims that WWE, thanks to WrestleMania, is the best at producing live event specials in sports.
Erick Rowan made his entrance with some sort of animal in a cage and he had a towel covering it. They showed a pre-taped video of Rowan talking to something that was in the cage.
Erick Rowan vs. Kyle Roberts
The unknown Roberts dude left the ring and peaked under the towel to see what was in the cage. Rowan went after him and whipped Roberts into the steel steps. Rowan stomped on Roberts on the floor and then gave him a Powerbomb back first into the ring post. Back in the ring, Rowan gave the Iron Claw Slam to Roberts. Rowan picked him up and hit the Iron Claw Slam again for the pinfall win after just over one minute of action.
Winner by pinfall: Erick Rowan
Analysis: 1/2* It was another dominant showing from Rowan. The mystery in the cage is mildly interesting, but we’ll see how it goes when the reveal happens.
Post match, Rowan grabbed his cage and left.
The IIconics were at the WWE Shop merchandise table shilling WWE merchandise for Black Friday sales this week. R-Truth joined them to promote the merchandise.
They showed Seth Rollins and Kevin Owens separately in the backstage area as they prepared for their main event match.
A commercial aired for the Broken Skull Sessions show hosted by Steve Austin. The episode with The Undertaker premiered after Survivor Series. I saw most of it, but not all of it yet. It’s very good as expected.
AJ Styles was backstage with his buddies in The OC when Sarah Schreiber asked what is going through AJ’s head right now after losing the US Title. Styles was frustrated, so he just said: “Randy Orton.” They left.
Analysis: It’s the start of a new feud with Randy Orton and AJ Styles, which is fine with me. I think the US Title feud should be Rey Mysterio vs. Andrade since they always have great matches.
There was a replay of Rusev’s attack on Bobby Lashley earlier in the show, which led to Rusev getting arrested and still managing to put Lashley through a table by the stage.
Lana was interviewed backstage by Charly Caruso. Lana said her soon to be ex-husband Rusev is a danger to himself and all of society. Lana complained that Rusev is obsessed with her, so she has multiple restraining orders. Lana said that WWE should fire him and send that animal to Bulgaria. Lana claimed that she is handling Bobby after the attack. Lana said despite this traumatic experience, she’s going to be okay and said thanks for asking.
Analysis: Lana is so much more interesting as a heel character. Easy to hate on her in this storyline.
Seth Rollins entered wearing Chicago Bulls colors along with #23 on his leather top as a tribute to Bulls great Michael Jordan. When Rollins posed in the ring, the fans booed him more than they cheered.
Kevin Owens made his entrance for the main event. Good pop for him as one of the biggest faces on Raw.
Seth Rollins vs. Kevin Owens
They started off brawling, which was the right way to begin the match. Owens with a punch to block a suicide dive attempt and Owens with a senton splash for two. Rollins went Owens face first into the middle turnbuckle. Rollins with a dragon screw leg whip to take down Owens. Rollins with a Slingblade neckbreaker followed by a knee to the back that sent Owens to the floor. Rollins with a suicide dive that sent Owens into the barricade and Rollins hit another suicide dive. Back in the ring, Rollins went for a springboard knee, but Owens moved and hit a superkick. Rollins grabbed a steel chair from ringside, the referee stopped him and they went to break.
The show returned with a battle on the ropes, Owens sent Rollins down and Owens went for a Senton Bomb, but Rollins got the knees up to block. It sounded like there were “CM Punk” chants as Rollins slapped on a chinlock and maybe the crowd got muted there. Owens with a hard chop to the chest with Rollins’ chest looking red. Rollins with repeated chops to the chest, but Owens came back with a DDT. Rollins missed a corner attack and Owens capitalized with a cannonball splash against the turnbuckle. Rollins went to the floor, so Owens hit a senton splash off the apron onto the floor. Back in the ring, Owens went up top and hit a Frog Splash for a two count. Each guy went for big moves, there were counters and Rollins hit a Blockbuster for two followed by a Falcon Arrow slam for two. Owens hit a sitout Popup Powerbomb for just two because it’s not his finisher anymore. Owens tried a rollup, Rollins with a superkick, Owens with a superkick, jumping kick by Rollins and Rollins with another kick. Rollins went off the ropes and Owens hit a Stunner. Both guys were down selling the attack. The AOP tag team of Akam and Rezar were in suits as they walked into the ring. They looked at both guys in the ring, Owens with a slap and then AOP stomped on Owens. The fans booed the DQ ending at around 14 minutes.
Winner by disqualification: Kevin Owens
Analysis: *** A competitive match from the moment the match began along with a finish that left me wanting to see more. I know the fans booed the finish, but it doesn’t bother me. This idea that every TV match needs a clean finish is ridiculous. It’s about telling stories and building to bigger matches, so I don’t mind that there was a lack of a clear winner. Owens and Rollins work well together. This was obviously the start of the rivalry, so there will be more matches between them in the weeks ahead.
AOP worked over Owens with more kicks and they whipped Owens shoulder first into the turnbuckle. The fans chanted “bullshit” as Owens was sent into the turnbuckle/ring post shoulder first three more times. Rezar kicked Owens's head against the ring post. Akam picked up Owens and Rezar gave Owens a knee to the jaw.
The AOP duo looked over at Rollins and they took off their suit jackets. It looked like they were going to attack Rollins, who said “come on” at them and they just left. The fans booed as AOP left the ring. Rollins had a puzzled look on his face.
Rollins capitalized on the situation by hitting The Stomp on Owens. The fans booed that with Lawler saying there’s the exclamation point on this match. Rollins hit The Stomp on Owens for a second time. The fans booed Rollins as the show ended right there.
Analysis: I think that solidified the heel turn of Rollins although he might not fully embrace it next week. I don’t exactly how it’s going to play out. The AOP involvement is a bit of a cliffhanger ending also because it makes the viewer wonder what’s going to happen with that. I’m glad AOP has been given more of a spotlight because they are a great tag team with an intimidating look to them, so they should be featured more than they have been.
If this leads to Rollins aligning with AOP and possibly others then that’s a good thing because it would give Raw a strong heel stable, which is what this show needs. The lack of strong heels on Raw has hurt the show. This group of talent together would help the heel side of Raw.
Three Stars of the Show
1. Rey Mysterio – Mysterio was in the ring for over 30 minutes and had two very good matches.
2. Kevin Owens
3. (tie) Seth Rollins
3. (tie) AJ Styles
There was a very good showing from Asuka and Charlotte Flair too.
7.5 out of 10
Last week: 5
2019 Average: 5.89 (Smackdown is 6.64)
Last 5 Weeks: 6.75, 5, 6.5, 5.5, 6.5
2019 High: 8 (September 9)
2019 Low: 3.5 (May 27)
This week’s Raw gets a 7.5 out of 10.
This was the best episode Raw in over two months just based on looking at my weekly grades for the show. I have the September 9 Raw from MSG with a higher score. This was an example of what Raw could be regularly with four matches that I would call above average and all of them got over 14 minutes, which is a lot of TV time. The first hour was weak in terms of matches, but then the last two hours had some great in-ring action.
There were a lot of things that made this show interesting such as Seth Rollins becoming a heel (if that's official is up to you), Kevin Owens getting more of a babyface push, Rey Mysterio had a big night winning the US Title while wrestling two very good matches for over 30 minutes, AJ Styles/Randy Orton interaction restarted that rivalry, the Asuka/Flair story was advanced and I didn’t even mind the Rusev/Lashley stuff this week. The fans chanted “bullshit” for the end of Rollins/Owens due to AOP getting involved, but I don’t mind it. Having a non-finish is fine at the start of a new feud. Let’s see how the story develops. I’m intrigued by it.
Now that Survivor Series is in the past, it seems like this was a reset of Raw with some new rivalries. I’m definitely more interested in the Raw brand now than I was in the last few months.
The next WWE PPV is Tables, Ladders and Chairs (TLC), which takes place on Sunday, December 15. Nothing is official yet.
You can contact me using any of the methods below. Go Los Angeles Rams (Monday's game was not good, yet I pretty much expected it), NBA Champion Toronto Raptors and Toronto Maple Leafs.
Thanks for reading.
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