Welcome to another edition of the WWE Raw Deal. It’s the last month of the year and decade with Raw coming off a pretty good show last week. The last PPV of the year is TLC on December 15, so it’s time to build some matches for that show. Here's my review of the Sunday night WWE Starrcade show that was just a basic house show with cameras.
Looking ahead to the rest of the week, I’m going to add a weekly WWE NXT Reaction review column to my schedule that already includes Raw, Smackdown, AEW Dynamite and NWA Powerrr, plus whatever else is on my mind. I’m always working on things, including retro content. I have a lot coming in January for Royal Rumble month. I haven’t been good at keeping up with NXT writing. I’ve had some readers mention that while they appreciate my AEW reviews, they want my thoughts on NXT too since it’s a two-hour show as well. That’s fair. The main issue for me is that NXT is not on TV in Canada on Wednesday (I usually wait until Thursday night to watch on WWE Network), but I’ll just find a site to download it. Those reaction columns won’t be as in-depth, but I’ll still do them on Thursdays or maybe even Friday mornings. Anyway, all of that will be on TJRWrestling.net as always. (I will continue to post the Raw, Smackdown and AEW recaps here on Rajah's site because I'm loyal to Rajah and I'll probably add the NXT Reaction column too. The rest of the reviews and other content like my look at the best WWE PPVs of the decade are on TJRWrestling only. I have a website to build. I'm not posting everything here.)
Live from Nashville, Tennessee, this is the Raw Deal for episode #1384 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 show began with a car driving up in the parking lot where the lovely Charly Caruso was there waiting. Akam and Rezar were in the car. When AOP got out of the car, Caruso asked why they attacked Kevin Owens last week and they spoke in a foreign language. Caruso said she doesn’t speak Albanian or Punjabi, so can you explain? Akam said she looks lovely and they left.
The Raw intro video aired. That was followed by an impressive pyro display and the crowd in Nashville was excited to be there. We were welcomed to the show by Raw’s main announcer Vic Joseph, who mentioned Seth Rollins was there to issue an apology.
Seth Rollins made his entrance wearing a black leather jacket, black shirt and black pants. No Seth Rollins merch on him as usual. The announce team for this week is Vic Joseph, Jerry “The King” Lawler and Samoa Joe is guest announcer since he’s out with a thumb injury. Lawler said Rollins shouldn’t apologize because what he did was what the Raw roster needed.
Analysis: I really like Joe in the announcer role while he is injured. He’s great as a guy that supports the heels. Somebody must have not liked Dio Maddin announcing because he's been gone for over a month now.
Let’s Hear from Seth Rollins
Rollins said last week at this time, he brought out the Raw roster to talk about their performance at Survivor Series. Rollins said he told them that they all sucked and he said it was coming from a good place because it’s coming from his heart. Rollins said this isn’t just his job, it’s his life. Rollins added that the guys and girls in the back aren’t just colleagues, they are family like brothers and sisters. Rollins said that as the head of this family, he wants to get the absolute best out of every superstar on Raw. Rollins said he may have gone overboard, he thought about it all week and he would like to apologize.
Rollins apologized to the fans and he apologized to the entire locker room while specifically mentioning Kevin Owens. Rollins asked Owens to come out there, so he can apologize to him face to face, man to man.
Kevin Owens made his entrance and got a big ovation from the crowd. Owens got in the ring with Rollins. Owens asked if you smelled that and said it smells like when the rodeo comes to Nashville and there’s a certain smell. Owens wondered if the two closest members in his family were the AOP guys? Rollins said he had nothing to do with that. Owens said he knew Seth was lying because his lips were moving and Owens said that smell he was referring to is…bullshit. It was not bleeped.
That led to the AOP duo of Akam and Rezar making their entrance. They stood on the stage with microphones in hand. Akam and Rezar each spoke in foreign languages leading to “WHAT?” chants. Rezar issued a tag team match challenge with AOP against Rollins and Owens. Rollins said okay, let's do this match. Owens wasn’t as sure about that. Owens said one of three things can happen and all of the scenarios end with the three of them beating the crap out of him. Owens said if you’re going to do it, just do it now. Rollins said he tried to reason with him, but KO wasn't interested, so he left and told Owens he is on his own.
Rollins walked up the ramp to stand face to face with the AOP guys. The AOP guys stepped aside as Rollins walked to the back. Owens called both AOP guys to the ring, but then they laughed about it and went to the back. Joe explained that’s not how a gentleman fights.
Analysis: It was a smart way to start the show based on how Raw ended last week with AOP beating up Owens. I’m glad they are taking their time with this storyline because it leaves the viewer to wonder if Rollins is being genuine by saying he wasn’t working with AOP or if it’s all just a plan that will unfold in the weeks ahead. There’s no reason to give it away that early in the show.
Owens said it won’t be Seth or AOP, but he’s in the middle of this ring, he’s all taped up ready to go and Nashville wants to see a fight (the crowd cheers), so who wants to fight? It was a challenge by Owens.
Bobby Lashley and the lovely Lana were shown walking backstage for a match up next.
Owens was waiting in the ring when Lana’s music hit as the Ravishing Russian walked onto the stage. She likes showing off the goods, that’s for sure. I am not complaining. It’s more of an observation. Owens had his head in his hands looking uninterested.
Lana did a promo saying she doesn’t want to make it all about me, but let’s face it because it’s all about her. Owens: “No one cares!” Lana said she’s not done talking and Owens said nobody cared. Owens said he’s vomiting in his mouth right now. Owens asked what can she say that makes their life better. Lana said “Rusev Day” will not be there tonight. Lana said she had to file another restraining order again today in the state of Tennessee. Lana claimed Rusev is a danger to all of the fans, all of society and if he shows up he’ll go to jail for a long time. Owens said he’s never met somebody who talks so much without actually saying anything. Owens said that while she is beautiful on the outside, she is disgusting on the inside. Lana said her hot boyfriend is going to finish him while adding that Lashley is really the only man she’s ever been with, which is a shot at Rusev.
Bobby Lashley made his entrance to join Lana. They walked down to the ring together for Lashley’s match with Owens. There were two guys in suits that were called police officers to make sure Rusev didn’t show up.
Analysis: This is a rematch from Starrcade on Sunday night. That match ended in a disqualification when Rusev attacked Lashley.
Kevin Owens vs. Bobby Lashley (w/Lana)
Lashley with two shoulder tackles and he sent Owens into the turnbuckle. The two cops were standing near Lana and they were facing the crowd. Owens ran the ropes, Lashley with an impressive leapfrog followed by a spinebuster. They left the ring where Owens hit a splash off the apron onto Lashley on the floor.
The match returned with Owens doing a crotch chop leading to a cannonball splash on Lashley against the turnbuckle for two. Owens went for a moonsault off the middle ropes, but Lashley moved and hit Owens with a clothesline. Lashley with a running shoulder tackle against the turnbuckle, but then Owens came back with a superkick. Lashley with a neckbreaker. Lashley put Owens on his shoulders and then slammed him off leading to a two count. Owens broke free with an elbow to the head followed by a Popup Powerbomb, but he was too hurt to go for a pin. Akam and Rezar of AOP went into the ring to attack Owens for the DQ finish after nine minutes.
Winner by disqualification: Kevin Owens
Analysis: *3/4 A decent match with a DQ finish. They had some good power spots in there, but I didn’t expect a clean finish since Owens is dealing with AOP while Lashley has the storyline with Rusev. The Owens/Lashley match at Starrcade was similar to this.
The AOP guys took down Owens and beat on him with punches. Akam worked over Owens with forearms to the face. Joe talked about how AOP are two men that you do not cross or walk away from. AOP sent Owens out of the ring to continue the attack. They slammed KO’s head into the ramp repeatedly. AOP dragged Owens up the ramp to the back.
Analysis: It was a way to further the storyline with Owens trying to fight against these guys, but he couldn’t get the job done. I like AOP getting more of a spotlight. This is probably leading to a tag team match at TLC with Rollins teaming with Owens with KO realizing he has no other option and maybe that’s where Rollins will cement the heel turn by revealing that Seth is working with AOP.
The show returned with Bobby Lashley and Lana in the ring being interviewed by Charly Caruso. Lashley said he was about to beat Owens again. Lashley said all he cares about is that Lana is okay. Lana said she is tired of everybody booing them, so the fans booed them. Lana said she had to hire detectives to protect them and that led to Rusev running in from the crowd. Rusev went into the ring and hit Lashley with a superkick. Lana screamed at the cops to help her. Rusev punched Lashley. Rusev then ran away through the crowd. The fans cheered Rusev. The cops did nothing while Joe said this was ridiculous. Yes, that’s a word for it. The fans chanted “Rusev Day” as Rusev left.
Analysis: The storyline is working in terms of making Rusev more popular. It’s still pretty lame, though.
Lashley got in the cops face and yelled at them for not doing a job because they were unable to keep Rusev out of the ring. A cop said that he’s a WWE fan, he knows Lashley had a restraining order, but this is the state of Tennessee where they do things differently. Lashley bumped the cop with his shoulder as he walked away. The cop then put handcuffs on Lashley and the other cop read Lashley his rights while Lashley said this was crazy. Lana complained about the cop's actions and said he should arrest Rusev, so she slapped the cop in the face. Charly Caruso had a good shocked look on her face at that sight. The other cop put handcuffs on Lana as well. The fans cheered this while Lana freaked out about it.
Analysis: There was some bad acting there. This reminded me of a Stephanie McMahon storyline with Brie Bella where Stephanie ended up getting arrested. That was five years ago, though, so I guess it’s okay to do something similar. The acting is lame. It's frustrating to watch. It’s not a great angle by any means. Arrest angles are lame, but fans like to see heels get their comeuppance too. They need to stop doing the "restraining order" idea. Move on from it.
There were replays of Rusev decking Lashley with a superkick and then the cops ended up arresting Lashley/Lana for their actions. Joe: “This is really a reach.” True.
They showed Lashley and Lana being taken away during the commercial. The cops put them into the back of a car and drove away. Lana yelled about how she’s going to sue them. The Street Profits and R-Truth were there laughing about it.
Drew McIntyre entered for a match. Akira Tozawa was the opponent that was there to lose the match. That’s not a prediction, that’s a spoiler.
Drew McIntyre vs. Akira Tozawa
McIntyre laughed at Tozawa for being so short, then he picked him up and tossed Tozawa down easily. McIntyre went on his knees to be at the same height. Drew told Tozawa to leave, but then Tozawa hit a dropkick. Tozawa sent McIntyre out of the ring and hit a suicide dive. McIntyre put Tozawa on his shoulders and gave him a reverse Alabama Slam on the floor. They need to come up with a name for that move that fits Drew. Back in the ring, McIntyre with a hard chop followed by an overhead suplex across the ring. Great sell by Tozawa. Kick to the legs by Tozawa sent Drew into the turnbuckle, then a kick to the head and Tozawa went up top with a missile dropkick. Tozawa countered a move into a forward rollup. They ran the ropes, McIntyre hit a Claymore Kick and Tozawa sold it with a flip bump for the pinfall win after three minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Drew McIntyre
Analysis: * A squash match to put over McIntyre, who hasn’t had a meaningful feud in months. Tozawa sold everything well including the finish. The Claymore Kick is one of the best looking finishers in WWE that is also protected because people don’t kick out of it.
McIntyre did a promo and said that was fun. McIntyre talked about how the locker room are cowards because they might go on social media to complain about things and be cryptic about it. McIntyre said he’s not like that because he’s very straightforward. McIntyre called out Randy Orton because he said they had a problem, so he wants to talk about it.
Analysis: There was truth in what he said about wrestlers going to social media to complain about things. Drew is not like that.
This week on Smackdown: Baron Corbin’s issues continue with Roman Reigns and what happened to Daniel Bryan when The Fiend took him under the ring? He got a nice haircut. That’s my answer anyway.
McIntyre was still in the ring with a microphone and he called for the footage of what happened last week. They showed a clip of Raw last week when McIntyre and Orton got into it during a tag match where Drew hit him with hard chops, so Randy poked him in the eye. McIntyre said he can describe what he just saw there in three words: “Stupid! Stupid! Stupid” McIntyre told Orton to get his ass out there.
Randy Orton walked out in his ring gear and a pretty good pop from the crowd. Orton joined McIntyre in the ring with a microphone in hand.
McIntyre asked Orton if his chest was still hurting and if maybe it knocked the voices out of his head. Orton turned his back, so Drew told him not to disrespect him again. The fans chanted “RKO” for Orton. McIntyre said his problem with Orton is he walks around like he owns the place with no respect for the rules. McIntyre said he gets it because Orton is a 13-time World Champion that’s a future Hall of Famer that’s the man, but does that give you the right to speak to Drew like he’s a damn shoulder? McIntyre said that Orton was ferocious in the past, but all he’s ferocious at now is posting on social media. McIntyre said he is bigger than Orton, stronger than him and he’s the most ferocious man in WWE today. McIntyre pointed at Orton, he said past and McIntyre is future. McIntyre said RKO is a thing of the past while Claymore Kick is the future.
Orton said he didn’t think there’s a problem between them. Orton said he does what he wants when he wants because he has earned the right to do so. Orton told McIntyre he hasn’t earned a damn thing and said they are cool. Orton said if Drew thinks they still have a problem then let’s solve that problem right now.
Analysis: I liked that promo from McIntyre. He said a lot of things that made sense for his character. Orton’s response was simple, but it worked for him. I think it makes sense as a future rivalry to have McIntyre face off with Orton and they can hopefully use Orton to put over McIntyre to help elevate Drew to that next level. I like that idea, but Orton has other storyline issues too since he's got a feud with AJ Styles as well.
The OC trio of AJ Styles, Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson made their entrance. They stood on the stage. Styles said Orton’s name, Gallows said that Orton ruins lives, Anderson said that Randy ruined “Uncle Allen’s life” (that’s AJ) and they said that Orton is solely responsible for Styles losing the US Title. Luke and Karl said AJ was handsome with great hair, but AJ said he wasn’t okay. Styles said he wants to get his hands on Orton and he didn’t care what match it was as long as he gets his hands on Orton tonight. McIntyre said this doesn’t sound like his problem, so he left.
Orton was alone in the ring as The OC trio attacked him. Styles took down Orton by hitting a chop block to the back of the leg. Ricochet ran out for the save for Orton as he got into it with The OC, but the three men took down Ricochet. Humberto Carrillo joined the party for the save (he has new music too) and The OC took care of him. Rey Mysterio was next and he cleaned house with a headscissors that sent Styles out of the ring. Mysterio sent Gallows out of the ring while Ricochet hit a dropkick to send Anderson out of the ring as well. Orton stared at the three faces in the ring leading to a break.
Analysis: This was a typical Raw segment with a heel beatdown leading to faces making the save that will lead to something more later, which is a six-man tag team match later in the night. I feel like this happens every week or at least every other week.
They showed race car drivers Kyle Busch and Michael Waltrip at ringside. I don’t watch NASCAR. Keep turning left, boys.
There was a shot of Randy Orton, Rey Mysterio, Ricochet and Humberto Carrillo. Orton said he appreciates the assistance, but he didn’t need it. Orton is a face now, but he still acts like a jerk to people. That’s his character.
Tony Nese was in the ring for a match. Aleister Black made his entrance, so I guess the creative team managed to book Black in a match without somebody knocking on his door.
Aleister Black vs. Tony Nese
There was an exchange of holds to start the match with neither guy getting the advantage. Black with a sweep kick, Nese to the floor and Black did his backflip into the ring into a seated position. Nese got some offense going with a punch to the throat. Nese drove Black throat first into the top rope. Nese went for a moonsault off the ropes, but Black got his knees up to block. Black with a jumping knee to the face of Nese. Black brought Nese back up leading to the Black Mass spin kick for the pinfall win after three minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Aleister Black
Analysis: *1/2 A fun match for the time given. Nese got in a bit of offense, but this was about putting over Black. That Black Mass kick continues to look impressive as a finishing move.
The six-man tag team match was official for later: Rey Mysterio, Ricochet and Humberto Carrillo vs. AJ Styles, Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson.
Buddy Murphy was interviewed by Charly Caruso in the backstage area. Murphy said he knocked on Black’s door to expose him for what he really is – a man that takes himself way too seriously. Murphy said he’s cool, calm and collected. Murphy said that Black needs to calm down. Murphy said if he doesn’t want to calm down then he’ll be the one to calm him down.
Analysis: This dialogue was pretty silly at the end there, but it's the WWE repetitiveness style where they had him say "calm down" three times. They are doing a good job of making us care about the Black vs. Murphy match whenever it happens. It’s better than just throwing it out there. At least there’s a story.
Andrade made his entrance with his business associate Zelina Vega for the next match.
The end of Eric Young’s entrance was shown.
Eric Young vs. Andrade (w/Zelina Vega)
There was a waist lock by Andrade and they battled over an armbar. Joe did a good job on commentary of putting over Young as a dangerous competitor since they have a history together in TNA, which isn’t mentioned. Andrade sent Young into the turnbuckle followed by a running knee. Young was sent to the turnbuckle, he climbed to the top, Andrade chopped away, Young punched Andrade down and Young hit an elbow drop off the top for two. Andrade pulled Young off the middle ropes to take down him followed by a low dropkick. Young managed to counter an Andrade attack into a neckbreaker. Young went up top again, but Andrade tripped him up. Andrade with a running double knee attack against the turnbuckle. Andrade hit the Hammerlock DDT for the pinfall win after about four minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Andrade
Analysis: ** A solid match that was another matchup on this show with an obvious result. Young has the potential to do so much more on Raw, but he’s one of the older guys on the show that isn’t going to be used that much. Andrade continues to be a guy to watch on Raw as a future main event player.
R-Truth ran down to the ringside area with the 24/7 Title. The other midcard dummy wrestlers ran down to the ringside area with a referee. That’s where the drivers Busch and Waltrip told the wrestlers that Truth ran away. The wrestlers bought it. Waltrip revealed a referee shirt under his coat, so Busch did the ROLLUP OF DEATH~! on Truth and Waltrip counted the pin. Busch won the 24/7 Title.
Winner and New WWE 24/7 Champion: Kyle Busch
Analysis: Yawn. I almost forgot the title existed, but it’s still around.
It wasn't shown on Raw, but later in the night, Truth rolled up Busch to win the title back. Riveting storyline.
The Street Profits promoted some WWE Shop merchandise items that were on sale for Cyber Monday.
There were replays of Kevin Owens and Seth Rollins arguing about things to start the show. Later in the night, Owens was beat up by AOP and nobody helped Owens.
Seth Rollins was shown leaving the building with his luggage when Charly Caruso showed up with an interview. She asked why Rollins didn’t help Owens when he was attacked by AOP. Owens said he tried to help Owens and offered his help, but Owens didn’t want his help while Caruso said people were questioning the sincerity of Seth’s apology. Rollins said this seems like a no-win situation for him and no matter what side he is on, it’s his fault, so what’s the point? Rollins: “Everyone’s a critic, but not everyone has the guts to be a leader.” Rollins left. Lawler said that was awesome.
Analysis: It continues the story where people will wonder if Rollins was working with AOP last week and also this week since they didn’t go after Rollins at all. When Rollins left here, I figured he would be back later in the night for some attack on Owens again, but this was it for Rollins.
A video package aired showing highlights from last week’s Raw when Rey Mysterio beat AJ Styles to win the US Titles thanks to an assist from Randy Orton. Great moment with Rey celebrating with his son Dominick and the crowd loved this.
Erick Rowan was shown talking to his animal in the cage and we got Cage Cam to learn that Rowan won’t let anything happen to whatever is in the cage.
No Way Jose made his entrance with his conga line of people. Lawler and Joe trashed it. Lawler was a face announcer most of the night, but he doesn’t seem thrilled about Jose. Joe was amazed that Jose can find so many terrible dancers in every city. Erick Rowan entered with his cage that was covered up.
Erick Rowan vs. No Way Jose
There was a guy from the conga line that wanted to see what was in the cage, but Rowan ended up attacking three guys on the floor. Jose went after Rowan, so Rowan whipped him into the steel steps. The other conga line jerks ran away from Rowan. Rowan with a running shoulder tackle on Jose on the floor and he told Jose to tell his people not to touch his stuff. Back in the ring, Rowan with a clothesline. Rowan with the Iron Claw slam for one because he picked Jose up. Rowan with the Iron Claw slam for a second time for the pinfall win after two minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Erick Rowan
Analysis: 1/2* It was another squash match on this show. There have been a lot of them. This was a dominant showing for Rowan as expected against Jose, who never wins matches on Raw.
They showed Asuka and Kairi Sane warming up backstage.
It was announced that Seth Rollins will be a guest on WWE Backstage on FS1 on Tuesday night. CM Punk is not on this week for the second week in a row. That wasn’t announced, but Punk tweeted about it.
Erick Rowan was backstage behind the curtain where Sarah Schreiber asked him what’s in the cage? She asked a few times, Rowan didn’t say anything and he just walked away.
Charlotte Flair made her entrance to a decent pop. She’s in a handicap match this week. They showed a replay of Asuka spitting the dreaded green mist in Flair’s face last week and Asuka beat her.
Asuka and Sane were interviewed backstage by Charly Caruso. Asuka and Sane spoke in Japanese. Asuka said “we beat you” so there was some English in there. They made their entrance with their Women’s Tag Team Titles.
Analysis: Between the Kabuki Warriors and AOP, WWE is loving the “people speak in foreign languages because they are heels” gimmick these days.
Asuka and Kairi Sane vs. Charlotte Flair
Sane and Asuka made some quick tags as they stomped away on Flair in the corner. Flair sent Sane to the apron and knocked her down with a forearm, but Asuka came back with a running hip attack to take her down. Flair clotheslined Sane on the apron, sent Asuka to the floor and hit a sliding dropkick. Sane pulled Flair off the apron, but then Flair sent Sane into the barricade. Asuka with a sliding kick on Flair. Sane grabbed Flair while she was on the apron, Asuka charged, Flair moved and Asuka knocked Sane down by accident. Flair hit a slingshot dive over the top onto both Kabuki Warriors on the floor. They went back into the ring leading to a break.
The match returned with Asuka hitting a running hip attack on Flair against the turnbuckle. Sane back in with a clothesline. Asuka back in, Flair with a back elbow and Asuka hit a German Suplex. Sane jumped off the top with a punch, Flair hit her with a forearm and Flair kicked Asuka down. Flair went up top and jumped off with one of her moonsaults, but Asuka and Sane each got their knees up to block. Sane charged, Flair caught her and Flair slapped on a Boston Crab submission. Asuka saved her partner with a hard kick to the face. Asuka went up top with a missile dropkick for a two count. Asuka with kicks, Flair caught the foot, Asuka with a kick and Flair went for a Boston Crab, but Asuka fought her off. Flair went for the Figure Eight attempt, but Asuka countered into an armbar. Flair turned it into a Powerbomb, but Sane came back with a neckbreaker. Sane went up top, Flair met her there Asuka was there too and Asuka/Sane hit a double front suplex to slam Flair down. Sane off the top with a double stomp on Flair’s back for a two count for Asuka. Flair avoided a double kick attempt leading to a double Spear with Flair getting a two count on Asuka. That was a good spot that popped the crowd. Flair with knee drops to the left knee of Asuka and Flair kicked Sane down. Flair with a Spear on Asuka, Sane made the blind tag and when Flair slapped on the Figure Eight submission on Asuka, Sane jumped off the top with the Insane Elbow on Flair. Sane sat on top of Flair and hooked the leg for the pinfall win after 16 minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Asuka and Kairi Sane
Analysis: ***1/4 It was a pretty good handicap match that went a few minutes longer than I would have thought going into it. That’s not a major complaint because there were so many short matches on this show. I’m just saying if it was a few minutes shorter it may have been better. The right finish was having the heels win since they’re the champs in a 2 on 1 scenario, but Flair looked as strong as possible in a losing effort. I liked the tag team work of Asuka and Sane because they made the save for eachother the whole match. It was done in a believable way. I think Asuka/Sane have been booked well as the champions and having the champs beat Flair could set up Asuka for a title shot against Becky Lynch soon as well. I’m glad Sane got the pin because she usually loses when her team loses matches, so it’s good for her to get a win sometimes.
The champions Asuka and Sane celebrated their win. Asuka rolled out of the ring, then the referee told her to go back in to celebrate some more, so they did.
The Viking Raiders were shown backstage staring into the camera because they were up next.
Charlotte Flair was interviewed backstage by Sarah Schreiber, who asked Flair if she regretted challenging the Kabuki Warrior. Flair had a one word answer: “No.” Flair left.
The Viking Raiders (Erik and Ivar) vs. Mark Sterling and Mitchell Lyons
This is not for the Viking Raiders’ Raw Tag Team Titles. Sterling and Lyons are local competitors. Erik with a knee to the face of Lyons that included a loud knee slap to make it sound deadly. Sterling tried to leave, so Ivar gave him a body slam. Erik with a body slam on Ivar on Sterling on the floor. Ivar with a running splash on Lyons and Erik with a dropkick followed by Erik slamming Ivar into Lyons against the turnbuckle. The Viking Experience powerslam ended it by pinfall after about two minutes.
Winners by pinfall: The Viking Raiders (Erik and Ivar)
Analysis: 1/2* It was another dominant win for the Viking Raiders, who have won many squash matches on Raw this year. I think long term they’ll feud with AOP, but I think WWE wants to save that until January for Royal Rumble time or maybe for WrestleMania if they can hold on that long.
Rey Mysterio, Ricochet and Humberto Carrillo were in the locker room. They did a promo with Ricochet saying that superheroes can be real and said tonight it was about shutting up The OC. Carrillo said that it seems like The OC has tried to ruin him, but that won’t happen tonight because he’s teaming up with Ricochet and Mysterio. Rey said the honor is all his because he gets to team up with the future of this sport. Mysterio said what Styles was doing as US Champion was unacceptable. Mysterio told The OC to get ready for The Future and The Legend.
Analysis: I have no problem with Rey calling himself a legend. He is and he’s still great.
They showed country music superstars Morgan Wallen and Hardy at ringside. I have no idea who they are. One of them has bad hair.
A replay aired of Lashley and Lana getting arrested earlier.
The entrances took place for the main event. Rey Mysterio was out first with the United States Title that he won last week. Humberto Carrillo was next with his new thing. I liked the older song better. Ricochet was up next. Add him to the list of people on Raw that need a rivalry that has some meaning.
The OC trio did a promo from the Gorilla Position. They trash talked Randy Orton and said they would enjoy hurting the three guys in the match. That led to Styles, Anderson and Gallows made their entrance.
The OC (AJ Styles, Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson) vs. Rey Mysterio, Ricochet and Humberto Carrillo
The match began with about 16 minutes left in the show. Carrillo with a jumping kick on Anderson for a two count. Ricochet and Carrillo hit an impressive double team arm drag on Anderson. Carrillo hit Styles with a cross body block off the middle ropes. Anderson with a cheap shot on Carrillo, Styles kicked Carrillo out of the ring. Gallows with a clothesline on Carrillo on the floor leading to a flip bump by Carrillo. That was a good bump. Gallows with a kick to the head of Carrillo for a two count. Carrillo with a jawbreaker, then an enziguri kick and Mysterio got the tag against Anderson. Mysterio with a springboard senton, kick to the face and a headscissors sent Anderson out of the ring. Mysterio sent Gallows into the ring post. Mysterio with a jumping kick followed by a 619 around the ring post. Mysterio up top, Styles got him and Mysterio hit a headscissors into the middle rope. Anderson blocked a 619 attempt and he whipped Mysterio into the ring post. Good spot there leading to a break.
The heel OC group were still in control as Gallows hit a delayed suplex. When Mysterio got back up, Gallows decked him with a boot to the face. Anderson tagged in, grabbed a headlock and Mysterio sent him into the turnbuckle. Ricochet got the tag against Styles with Ricochet hitting a headscissors takedown, a dropkick on Gallows, a kick to the head of Styles and Ricochet with a springboard clothesline on Styles. Ricochet with a standing Shooting Star Press on Styles for a two count. Ricochet with a jumping kick to Anderson on the apron. Anderson with an uppercut on Ricochet and Styles with a sitout facebuster for a two count. Ricochet came back with the Recoil for a two count as Anderson made the save. Mysterio sent Anderson to the ropes followed by the 619 kick. Gallows kicked Mysterio down. Carrillo with a dropkick on Gallows on the apron and Carrillo with an incredible dive over the top on Gallows on the floor. That was a fast paced, exciting sequence right there. Ricochet countered a move into a rollup with a seated cover attempt for two. Styles with a Pele Kick. Styles set up Ricochet on the top, Ricochet fought back with a punch, Ricochet elbow to Anderson and Ricochet jumped off the ring post leading to a moonsault on Anderson. That was creative. Ricochet went for a hurricanrana off the ropes on Styles, but Styles caught him and hit a Styles Clash off the middle ropes for the pinfall win after 15 minutes.
Winners by pinfall: The OC (AJ Styles, Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson)
Analysis: ***1/2 A great tag team match from six guys that know what they are doing out there. Styles getting the win was fine because he just lost the US Title last week. I don’t like Ricochet getting beat because I feel like he could be doing so much more, but somebody had to get beat out there. The work by Styles and Ricochet in the last five minutes was excellent as all the spots that took out the other guys. The match was put together well and had an exciting finish. That's an emphatic way to end the match and it always looks impressive when the Styles Clash is off the middle ropes.
Replays aired of the big spots in the match.
Styles celebrated alone in the ring. That’s when Randy Orton showed up behind. Orton spun Styles around and hit an RKO Outta Nowhere to put Styles down. Orton stood tall over Styles and posed on the turnbuckles to end the night.
Analysis: They have done a good job of building up the Orton/Styles rivalry in the last few weeks. It should lead to a match at TLC or somewhere soon.
Three Stars of the Show
- AJ Styles
- Kevin Owens
- Asuka/Kairi Sane
- Charlotte Flair
- Drew McIntyre
5.75 out of 10
Last week: 7.5
2019 Average: 5.89 (Smackdown is 6.63)
Last 5 Weeks: 7.5, 6.75, 5, 6.5, 5.5
2019 High: 8 (September 9)
2019 Low: 3.5 (May 27)
This week’s Raw gets a 5.75 out of 10.
This episode of Raw was a step back after they had a good show last week. I get that there’s a slow build for some of the storylines, but there’s just a lack of excitement on Raw right now. There are so many wrestlers that could use a meaningful feud right now. It just feels like random matches and they didn’t even announce anything for TLC on December 15. The arrest angle with Lashley/Lana was lame, but the positive thing about it is the fan support for Rusev is strong. I think one of the things they are doing well is having a slow build for some of these storylines. I like that things aren't rushed right now. However, it wasn't that interesting of a show.
There were five matches that were four minutes or less. I don’t think that’s the best way to hold the attention of the audience because every one of those matches had an obvious winner, so when people at home see it, they’re not going to be engaged in the show. At least the main event was an exciting six-man tag team match with a good finish, plus Randy Orton attacking AJ Styles again.
Becky Lynch was not on Raw for the second week in a row even though she’s the Raw Women’s Champion and one of the most popular people in WWE. She did a WWE.com interview saying she had “one more debt to collect” that was a reference to Asuka beating her at the Royal Rumble this year, so Lynch will probably beat Asuka at Royal Rumble next year. There's some advertising that Lynch and Flair will face Kabuki Warriors at TLC, but it hasn't been mentioned on TV yet. Lynch wrestled in the dark match after the show.
The next WWE PPV is Tables, Ladders and Chairs (TLC) on Sunday, December 15. There is still nothing advertised yet.
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