Welcome to the WWE Raw Deal review. The next PPV is TLC on December 20. This is the last WWE show at the Amway Center in Orlando because Friday’s Smackdown will be at Tropicana Field in Tampa. The build is already happening, so we'll see it on Smackdown. Tropicana Field will probably be WWE's main home for Raw, Smackdown and PPVs until late March when the Tampa Bay Rays will need it for baseball season.
Here’s my NXT Takeover WarGames review in case you missed it. I review NXT and AEW weekly on TJRWrestling, plus all the PPVs and I'm not posting them here. I'll still post Raw and Smackdown reviews here. Great show as usual for a Takeover. I really liked both WarGames matches and everything else was pretty solid too.
As a reminder, we’re always looking for writers on TJRWrestling. Even though it’s not a paid gig, it is a good opportunity to write a pretty popular website. If you ever want to submit a column to TJRWrestling or write news posts for us (I really need people to help with news posts), there's info on how to do that on our Contact Us page right here. I usually reply to every sample, but it might take a few days as well. We have posted some guest columns over the past few weeks.
From the WWE ThunderDome at the Amway Center in Orlando, Florida, this is the Raw Deal for episode #1437 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. Let’s roll.
The show began with the “In Memory of Pat Patterson 1941-2020” graphic on the screen as the Raw roster was shown on the stage. The Raw announce team of Tom Phillips, Samoa Joe and Byron Saxton were shown on camera with Tom talking about the death of WWE Hall of Famer Pat Patterson. There was a ten-bell salute. Vince McMahon was standing in the front beside Triple H with Raw wrestlers and staff on the stage. After the bell rang ten times, the Raw intro video aired.
Analysis: This is the same thing WWE did on Smackdown last Friday and NXT last Wednesday as well. Pat meant a lot to the WWE family, so it’s certainly understandable that they wanted to pay tribute to him again. Rest in peace, Pat.
There was a shot of the WWE ThunderDome in Orlando as the announcers ran down the 3 on 2 match coming up later. What wasn’t mentioned is that this was the last Thunderdome show in Orlando. As I said at the top, they’re moving to Tampa’s Tropicana Field on Friday for Smackdown. That’s going to be WWE’s home for at least a few months.
Let’s Hear from Randy Orton
Randy Orton made his entrance in his wrestling gear along with a vest. Orton invited himself to the Firefly Fun House as we got a recap of last week’s Raw segment with Orton and Bray Wyatt. Orton picked up Alexa Bliss, so Randy handed her to The Fiend and Orton left while laughing. There’s no Alexa Bliss on Raw this week because she was filming something for the Punky Brewster reboot along with Charlotte Flair, who remains off TV. Orton faces The Fiend at TLC on December 20.
Orton said that any ordinary man would tremble at the mere thought of facing The Fiend, but he is no ordinary man. Orton said he smashed his moral compass years ago and there is no boundary that he will not cross. Orton said that unlike The Fiend, he doesn’t need to wear a mask to show the darkness. Orton said that when the time comes, he’ll stare the devil in the eyes and let him know that the most evil son of a bitch has come home. Good line. Orton said he’s going to knock on the Fun House door and wonder who is going to let him in.
Bray Wyatt was shown on the Firefly Fun House set. Wyatt said that since Alexa was so mean to her last week, Randy will have to settle for him. When Orton said that he’s the last person he wants to play game with, Wyatt was suddenly hosting a game show called “Let’s Get Randy.” There were prizes including the rotting carcass of Friendship Frog. Anyway, there wasn’t much to the game as Ramblin’ Rabbit said that The Fiend should talk to Randy about his feelings and Bray said that none of the contestants were correct. Wyatt said that “he” always has the right answer as we got some Fiend visuals.
Orton said that he wants a match tonight, but not with The Fiend because he’ll see him at TLC. Orton said he wants a match with Bray Wyatt, so Bray accepted that. Bray waved goodbye to him. Orton had an evil smirk on his face.
Analysis: It’s a way to set up a match for later in the show. The game show bit really didn’t work at all, but they got to the point by having Orton challenge Wyatt to a match. This rivalry is more about mind games with Orton trying to outsmart Wyatt/Fiend, but now that Fiend is in the face role (I guess?), we are supposed to want to see him put Orton in his place. I don’t love the feud at this point although at least there’s a slow build to it rather than rushing it.
A clip was shown from last week’s Raw when Lana pinned Shayna Baszler in a non-title tag team match after Asuka kicked Baszler in the head. At TLC on December 20, Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler defend their Women’s Tag Team Titles against Asuka and Lana.
Asuka, the Raw Women’s Champion, made her entrance with tag team partner Lana as some pyro went off when Asuka got in the ring.
There were social media comments shown from members of the WWE family celebrating Pat Patterson. There were comments from John Cena, Rey Mysterio, Nikki Bella, Sami Zayn, Hulk Hogan, Bayley and Vince McMahon.
Shayna Baszler and Nia Jax were shown backstage with their Women’s Tag Team Titles. Jax told Baszler to forget about last week and to focus on demolishing Asuka. Jax ripped on Lana, Shayna said that her front is gonna look like her back and her back is going to look like her front, so Jax goes: “So her boobs are going to be on her back?” That was awkward as Baszler left for her match.
Asuka (w/Lana) vs. Shayna Baszler (w/Nia Jax)
This was not for Asuka’s title. They fought over submission holds on the mat to start the match with Asuka getting hold of a kneebar. Baszler picked up Asuka and gave her a belly to back suplex. Lana checked on Asuka, but she got away from Jax while Baszler sent Asuka into the announce table.
Baszler was in control with a leg drop on the left arm of Asuka as she wrenched on the arm. Baszler with kicks to the body, Asuka grabbed the ankle and Asuka hit a German Suplex. Asuka with the double knees to the face like a Codebreaker that they are calling a Facebuster in WWE now. Asuka with a flying armbar on the right arm, but Baszler rolled out going for her clutch submission and Asuka got out of it. Meanwhile, Jax shoved Lana into the ring post. Lana came back by shoving Jax into the steel steps with Jax taking the bump on her knees/ribs. Lana jumped onto Jax, who caught her, but Lana hit a headscissors into the announce table. Baszler was distracted by all of that, so Asuka did the ROLLUP OF DEATH~! finish for the pinfall win after about nine minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Asuka
Analysis: ** The match was okay for the time given. I think if they had a proper singles match on PPV that went about double this length it would be a lot better. The ROLLUP OF DEATH~! spot is used pretty much every week and I complain about it because it’s overdone. Asuka winning continued the story that they seem to have figured out how to beat Baszler and Jax.
Asuka and Lana celebrated with Phillips noting it was three consecutive wins by Asuka and Lana over the duo of Jax and Baszler in recent weeks.
There was a clip of The Hurt Business walking backstage as some guy was in their way, so Cedric Alexander told him to move. The guy left as The Hurt Business laughed about it.
There was a video package showing highlights from last week's Raw tag team match with Drew McIntyre (who teamed up with Sheamus) fending off The Miz and John Morrison while Omos carried AJ Styles to the back. That sets up the tag team match this week.
A replay was shown from last week when Slapjack beat Ricochet in a match and then Dana Brooke beat Reckoning in a match.
Ricochet and Dana Brooke were shown talking backstage with Riddle going up to them with some Bronutts in a box. Riddle asked if they have seen MVP and Bobby Lashley, but they said no. Riddle left. Sarah Schreiber showed up for an interview with Ricochet and Brooke talking about revenge. Brooke pointed out her black eye that Retribution caused even though on her Instagram she has photos from the weekend with it covered up, but I guess it helps the story to make it look like she still has a shiner. Anyway, that match is next.
Retribution group members Slapjack and Reckoning entered for a match with Ali. They showed a pre-taped promo from them as well.
Dana Brooke entered for the mixed tag team match followed by Ricochet as the babyface team in this match.
Ricochet and Dana Brooke vs. Slapjack and Reckoning (w/Mustafa Ali)
Reckoning was back to wearing her mask on the lower part of her face as Brooke attacked her with slaps and punches. Reckoning with a kick, Brooke came back with an enziguri and Ricochet got the tag leading to a hurricanrana on Slapjack that sent him out of the ring. Ali told Ricochet that he belongs with Retribution. Slapjack hit a sitout slam for two, but then Slapjack missed a cannonball in the corner when Ricochet moved. Reckoning hit a dropkick, Ali yelled at Reckoning to do something, she was distracted and Brooke hit a slam off the shoulders into a sitout pin for the win after about two minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Ricochet and Dana Brooke
Analysis: 3/4* A quick match with Brooke beating Reckoning for the second week in a row. Dana's finisher looked pretty good although it was not a fast move meaning it took a bit of time for her to set it up properly.
Post match, Ali yelled at Reckoning about losing again.
Analysis: I hope this means that Mia Yim is going to leave the failing Retribution group and maybe she can see how she does using her traditional wrestling name. This Reckoning name/gimmick isn't working out well for her.
Sheamus was shown backstage taping up his fists. Keith Lee went up to him to say that Sheamus may have stood with Drew McIntyre last week, but it's just a matter of time until he turns his back on Drew. Sheamus said excuse me while I beat the hell out of the champion as if to tease that he (Sheamus) might do it.
This Friday on Smackdown: Has Kevin Owens pushed Roman Reigns too far? We saw clips of Reigns beating up Owens and even Jey Uso as well. They weren't advertising a match yet.
There was an image shown of Becky Lynch and Seth Rollins posting an image of the birth of their baby girl Roux. It was mentioned by Tom Phillips that the baby was born this past Friday in case you're wondering.
Miz TV with AJ Styles
The Miz and John Morrison were in the ring hosting Miz TV with The Miz introducing AJ Styles and Omos. Styles sat in the ring while Omos stood outside the ring with Miz telling AJ that they couldn't find a big enough chair. Styles said that's okay because Omos prefers to stand.
Miz pointed out that AJ's WWE Title match at TLC is now a TLC Match. Styles said that this is the first time he's facing Drew McIntyre in a match, so he's going to hit him with steel chairs and put him through every table that he sees. Styles talked about all the strengths of McIntyre while adding that it won't mean a thing when he knocks Drew out cold and Styles climbs the ladder to get his spot at the top of the mountain as the WWE Champion. Morrison said that is if Drew makes it to TLC and Miz said that they can annihilate Drew and his BFF Sheamus in a handicap match. Omos even liked it. Miz and Morrison did some bad Irish and Scottish accents to mock Sheamus and Drew. They were really over the top with Morrison doing a bit of a Braveheart parody.
Sheamus showed up saying that they nailed those accents and they were top-notch. Sheamus said that as entertaining that was, he's sick of people telling him that he's going to betray his best friend Drew. Sheamus said that the truth is if they were in a pub in Dublin, if he heard them talk nonsense like that, he would kick their heads off and toss them into the gutter where they belong. Morrison and Miz pointed out there were three of them in the ring, so Sheamus is outnumbered. Miz kept saying "CORRECT" as he asked Morrison some questions. Sheamus said that they're not exactly right about that as the WWE Champion Drew McIntyre walked out with the WWE Championship and a kilt.
McIntyre and Sheamus got into the ring. McIntyre said that he doesn't make threats, he makes promises. McIntyre said that he always overcomes the odds, it's the same result every time and he remains WWE Champion whether it's Brock Lesnar, Randy Orton or Jackass and the Beanstalk. McIntyre said no matter how many times Miz and Morrison get knocked down, they keep coming back for more. McIntyre said that people in the locker room have been saying Miz has no guts and no balls. McIntyre said that he checked out Miz & Mrs. where it's clear that Maryse keeps Miz's balls in his purse, but he replaced them with Morrison as The Miz's sidekick bitch. Styles pointed out that it's not just 3 on 2, it's 4 on 2. McIntyre and Sheamus dumped Miz and Morrison out of the ring while Styles and Omos watched from outside the ring. Drew's music played to put an end to that. Drew tossed the Money in the Bank briefcase from the ring all the way up the ramp with Miz running to get it. That was an impressive toss by the champ!
Analysis: It was a good promo exchange to set up the main event tag team match later in the show. It's not really necessary to do a promo like that because the match was already announced before Raw started, but I think it's smart to feature bigger names like McIntyre and Styles in multiple segments on the show. Raw is three hours long, so they're always going to rely on promos to fill the time.
There was a clip of what happened earlier in the night between Randy Orton and Bray Wyatt with Orton challenging Wyatt to a match later on Raw. Wyatt accepted that challenge.
Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods of The New Day entered for Kofi's singles match. They are the Raw Tag Team Champions.
There were Pat Patterson tribute tweets shown from Roman Reigns, Natalya, Kurt Angle, The Miz, Alexa Bliss, John Bradshaw Layfield and Triple H. They did the same thing on Smackdown.
Shelton Benjamin entered for a singles match with Cedric Alexander and MVP. Last week on Raw we saw Alexander beat Woods in singles action, so now the other partners will have a singles match.
Kofi Kingston (w/Xavier Woods) vs. Shelton Benjamin (w/MVP and Cedric Alexander)
Benjamin launched Kingston into the air, then a running knee and a kick for a two count. Benjamin with a body slam. Kingston got some momentum with a leaping double foot stomp to the chest. Kingston with chops, then a dropkick and Kofi wanted the SOS, but Benjamin caught him leading to a Powerbomb for two. Benjamin went for an Ankle Lock like his mentor Kurt Angle, but Kingston got to the bottom rope to break the hold. Benjamin did a monkey flip, Kingston was favoring his left knee when he landed and Benjamin dumped Kingston over the top to the floor. Benjamin charged on the floor, Kingston moved and Benjamin hit the barricade. When Benjamin got back in the ring, Kingston hit the Trouble in Paradise kick for the pinfall win after about four minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Kofi Kingston
Analysis: **1/4 It was entertaining for a short match, but it wasn't given enough time to really matter that much. Good job by Benjamin showing intensity early in the match, but Kingston was able to fight him off and got the win with his finisher.
Post match, Cedric Alexander challenged Kingston to a match so he can beat him the way he beat Woods last week. Woods said that they're going to keep asking for matches and they will keep getting them. Kingston was selling a left leg injury as he walked towards the ring towards another match.
Kofi Kingston (w/Xavier Woods) vs. Cedric Alexander (w/Shelton Benjamin and MVP)
Alexander targeted the left leg of Kingston right away as he kicked the knee to knock Kofi off the apron to the floor. Alexander slapped on a kneebar submission on Kingston and then he drove the leg into the mat leading to another knee submission by Alexander until Kofi kicked him away. Alexander charged right into a kick to the face by Kingston. Two chops by Kingston leading to a cradle for a two count. Kingston went for the SOS trip into a pin for a two count although it didn't look as good as usual. Kingston countered a slam attempt with a sunset flip, but Alexander was back into it with a kick to the knee followed by a brainbuster for two. Nice nearfall there. Alexander set up Kingston on the turnbuckle, he teased a superplex, but Kingston blocked it with a front suplex. Kingston jumped off the top, Alexander moved, Kofi was favoring the left leg again and Alexander hit a Lumbar Check for the pinfall win after about four minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Cedric Alexander
Analysis: ** It's the second week in a row where Alexander got a singles win over a member of New Day, so that puts him over in an impressive way. Kingston sold the injury really well, which is why he can say he lost a match in under five minutes. The Lumbar Check is one of my favorite finishers in WWE.
Alexander celebrated the win in a big way while the announcers talked about how Hurt Business might get another Tag Team Title match now.
Replays were shown of Jeff Hardy's win over Elias with Jeff nearly hurting himself when he hit a Swanton on Elias through a table with Jeff's head coming very close to hitting the steel steps.
There's a tribute to Pat Patterson after the break.
There was a Pat Patterson tribute video that aired to the tune of “My Way” by Frank Sinatra since that was Pat’s favorite song that he loved to sing at karaoke. There’s even a clip of Pat singing it during all the videos and photos in the tribute. The video aired during NXT and Smackdown last week as well since Pat’s death was announced on Wednesday morning. Check out the Pat Patterson tribute video here if you haven’t seen it yet.
The announcers talked about Pat with Samoa Joe talking about Pat’s kindness, Saxton said that Pat will never be forgotten and Phillips noted that they were celebrating Patterson tonight.
There was a replay of the Miz TV segment with a slow-motion replay of McIntyre tossing the Money in the Bank briefcase from the ring to the ramp. That was fun.
Drew McIntyre made his entrance with the sword and the kilt as the pyro went off for the WWE Champion, who looked ready to go for this tag team match.
There were highlights shown from WWE’s Tribute to the Troops show that aired on Sunday on Fox. I haven’t reviewed it yet, but I think I’ll review it and post it on TJRWrestling this week. I know the babyfaces win all the matches and it’s a predictable feel good show. I still like reviewing it.
Sheamus made his entrance to join his best friend Drew McIntyre for the second straight week for tag team action. They did a forearm smash to show they are united while Sheamus did his “FELLA” pose.
The Miz and John Morrison made their entrance with Miz carrying out the green Money in the Bank briefcase with the contract inside of it to grant him a championship match any time he chooses. They were joined by tag team partner AJ Styles, who is challenging Drew McIntyre in a TLC match for the WWE Title at the TLC PPV on December 20. Styles had the big man Omos with him, of course.
Analysis: The McIntyre vs. Styles match was not originally a TLC match, but WWE decided to make it a TLC match a few days ago. That means two TLC matches at TLC since Roman Reigns vs. Kevin Owens for the Universal Title is also a TLC match.
Drew McIntyre and Sheamus vs. The Miz, John Morrison and AJ Styles (w/Omos)
McIntyre rocked Morrison with a forearm to the face that knocked him on his ass. Styles was reluctant to tag in, so McIntyre hit Morrison with a headbutt (by headbutting his own hand). Sheamus tagged in with a headlock, Morrison with kicks and Sheamus took him down with two forearm smashes. Sheamus with a knee to Styles to knock him off the apron. Morrison used his legs to send Sheamus over the top to the floor. McIntyre punched Miz on the floor, then Sheamus nearly hit Drew by accident, Morrison over the top with Drew and Sheamus catching him, so Drew and Sheamus tossed Morrison over the announce table onto a chair. Nice spot.
The match continued with Sheamus working over Miz with a clothesline while Saxton noted that Styles had yet to tag into the match. Sheamus hit a knee drop off the middle ropes on Miz. McIntyre crushed Miz with a chop, then Sheamus was back in and the buddies did a double team suplex toss across the ring. McIntyre was back in for a double team arm drag on Miz and McIntyre stomped on Miz’s hand. Styles finally tagged in when Miz drove McIntyre into the turnbuckle. McIntyre fought out of the heel corner, Sheamus tagged back in, more chops from Drew and Sheamus set up Miz for the apron for the forearms to the chest. Sheamus with a rolling senton on Miz, then he flipped Morrison into the ring and Miz did an eye gouge while the referee wasn’t looking. Miz with a chop block to Sheamus followed by a kick to the face. Morrison got in a cheap shot kick on Sheamus and then he tagged in with a forearm to the back. Morrison managed to block Sheamus from tagging out with this incredible flip to prevent the tag and Styles tagged back in. Sheamus tried to tag out, but Styles slapped on a Calf Crusher submission, so McIntyre stomped on Styles to break the hold. Sheamus hit the White Noise slam on Styles as McIntyre tagged in against Morrison.
McIntyre with a belly to belly suplex on Morrison and then he did it again. Miz went into the ring, so McIntyre hit a belly to belly suplex on Morrison and Miz at the same time. McIntyre with a back body drop on Morrison, who did a flip bump to sell it. Great athleticism shown by Morrison as Miz pulled Morrison out of the ring. Styles with a cheap kick to McIntyre and then Sheamus tagged back in against Styles. Sheamus with a backbreaker on Styles, Brogue Kick by Sheamus to Miz, Morrison avoided a Brogue Kick, but Sheamus hit McIntyre with the kick by accident. When Sheamus turned around, Styles jumped off the top with the Phenomenal Forearm on Sheamus for the pinfall win after 16 minutes.
Winners by pinfall: The Miz, John Morrison and AJ Styles
Analysis: ***1/2 This was a very good tag team match with Styles playing the role of cowardly heel for most of the match. There was also the big moment with Sheamus hitting McIntyre with the Brogue Kick accidentally to cost his team the match because Styles capitalized right after that to get the win. That’s a big story because Drew and Sheamus were a cohesive unit even though people think Sheamus will turn, but it was done in a way that looked like it was an accident. It could be said that Drew and Sheamus aren’t hurt by the loss since it was 3 on 2 against them. The last few minutes were booked very well with a lot of cool moments and I thought the finish was excellent with the number one contender Styles getting a huge win to continue his positive momentum.
After the match, McIntyre was outside the ring holding his jaw while staring at Sheamus in the ring as if the two friends were questioning eachother at the same time.
Still to come is Bray Wyatt vs. Randy Orton in the main event.
There was a replay from before the break when Sheamus accidentally hit Drew McIntyre with a Brogue Kick when John Morrison moved out of the way.
Next week on Raw: Lana vs. Nia Jax. Is that a good match or something that appeals to the audience? I don’t care about it.
Lana was shown talking to Asuka backstage. Lana said she can’t face Nia Jax, but she didn’t want to face Nia Jax even though she thinks that as a team, they can win. Asuka told Lana to say “I believe in myself” and “I can beat Nia Jax” and Lana said it. Asuka said that they will become Women’s Tag Team Champions and Lana repeatedly said that she can do it. Asuka left while Nia Jax walked into the screen looking angry. Lana backed away from her.
Sheamus was shown backstage with Charly Caruso mentioned that Sheamus just hit a Brogue Kick on his best friend Drew McIntyre. She asked if it was intentional, Sheamus said no, it wasn’t intentional. McIntyre walked up to Sheamus, so Charly left. Sheamus told him it wasn’t intentional, Drew stared at Sheamus he knows exactly what is about to happen and the show went to break.
Analysis: Odd time for a commercial break, but I guess it’s a tease to keep the audience tuned in to see if they will have a fight.
The show returned with Drew McIntyre and Sheamus fighting by a table that had some food on it. They were surrounded by wrestlers and other personnel watching it with Drew Gulak among them recording it on his phone. Sheamus shoved McIntyre into some object and then Drew sent Sheamus onto a cart that had a ladder by it. They went back to punching as WWE Official Pat Buck showed up to try to break up the fight. Buck got them to fight, so Sheamus and McIntyre beat up Buck and ripped apart his suit. McIntyre and Sheamus lifted up Buck for a double team Powerbomb through the table that was there. McIntyre said to Sheamus “pint?” as if to say let’s have a beer and Sheamus said "pint" as he agreed to it, but Drew is buying. They left together laughing while Jamie Noble and Adam Pearce checked on Buck laying on the broken table.
Analysis: That was pretty interesting with Drew and Sheamus brawling for a bit before they worked together with the double team move on Buck, who is a WWE Official, so I’m sure WWE will say Drew and Sheamus will get “fined” for that. Meanwhile on Raw Talk after Raw, Sheamus and Drew got along fine, so the fight that happened was just a temporary thing and they are still best friends…for now.
Just to follow up on that, here’s Drew Gulak’s video of the fight scene. You can see Adam Pearce behind the camera guy directing the scene as it was happening too.
Bobby Lashley entered with the US Title with MVP joining him. A clip was shown of Bobby Lashley attacking Riddle, who had annoyed MVP in a backstage segment.
Jeff Hardy was shown backstage getting ready for his match. Riddle walked up to him with the Bronutts (yeah there are two T’s there). Riddle suggested that they become the Hardy Bros, but Jeff told them that he had to go. Riddle said that their finisher could be the Broetry in Motion, Jeff said he kinda liked it, but he had to go for his match. Riddle ate one of the donuts.
Bobby Lashley (w/Montel Vontavious Porter) vs. Jeff Hardy
This is not for Lashley’s US Title with the announcers noting this was their first match in WWE. Lashley with a lifting slam followed by elbow smashes. Lashley jumped on the lower back of Hardy. Lashley with a running splash on Hardy against the turnbuckle. Lashley charged, Hardy with a kick to the face, Lashley jumped over Hardy with a leapfrog and went for a slam, but Hardy landed on his feet followed by a leg drop. Lashley went for the Hurt Lock, Hardy managed to block it and Hardy went to the turnbuckle, MVP wit ha distraction and Riddle pulled MVP off the apron. Hardy tossed Lashley out of the ring with Hardy kicking Lashley. Hardy hit a clothesline off the apron onto Lashley on the floor.
The match returned with Lashley in control as he drove Hardy into the ring post during the break. Riddle remained at ringside to support Hardy and he had the Bronutts with him. Lashley sent Hardy out of the ring, then got in Riddle’s face and drove Hardy into the barricade. Back in the ring, Lashley worked over Hardy with kicks to the ribs followed by a snap suplex. Lashley grabbed a side headlock, Hardy hit a jawbreaker and Hardy decked Lashley with a forearm. Hardy with the atomic drop, double leg drop, dropkick and splash for a two count. Hardy with a spin kick to send Lashley into the turnbuckle, Hardy went up top and hit the Whisper in the Wind attack with his leg hitting Lashley in the head for a two count. Lashley sent Hardy throat first into the top rope and then a flatliner got a two count. Hardy fought out of a Hurt Lock attempt and hit a Twist of Fate neckbreaker. Hardy went up top, he jumped off, Lashley was back up and Lashley hit a running Spear, so Hardy was unable to hit his Swanton Bomb. Lashley slapped on the Hurt Lock submission with Hardy tapping out to give Lashley the win after 13 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Bobby Lashley
Analysis: ***1/4 A pretty good match between two veterans with Hardy selling everything really well before making the comeback to nearly win the match. I like how Riddle was included in the match since he was attacked by Lashley, so they’re going to have a US Title match at some point soon. It’s a storyline that works, I think. Lashley is one of those champions that WWE books to win non-title matches unlike some of the champions in the company that lose those kinds of matches way too often.
Post match, Riddle went into the ring since Lashley kept the hold on, so Lashley tossed Hardy into Riddle and Lashley left. MVP ate some of the donuts that Riddle brought out to the ring and then tossed it down. That was funny.
Analysis: Lashley vs. Riddle for the US Title at TLC makes a lot of sense. It’s not official yet, but I expect it to happen.
Randy Orton was shown in his locker room. There was a knock on the door with Ramblin’ Rabbit telling Randy Orton that Bray Wyatt can’t wait to see him in the ring because it’s going to be so much fun. Orton said nothing.
There were more social media tribute posts shown for Pat Patterson. There were comments from Shane McMahon, Ric Flair, The Rock, Bray Wyatt, Paul Heyman, Drew McIntyre, Edge, Shawn Michaels and Stephanie McMahon.
Randy Orton made his entrance for the main event. Orton faces The Fiend at TLC on December 20. Bray Wyatt was up next as the opponent with Wyatt wrestling in a sweater.
Randy Orton vs. Bray Wyatt
Wyatt hit a shoulder tackle. The action spilled to the floor with Orton sending Wyatt into the announce table. Orton tried the slam onto the announce table, but Wyatt lifted Orton and slammed him onto the hood of the announce table. Wyatt grabbed an announcer headset: “Yowie Wowie, we’ll be right back!”
The match returned with Orton in control with stomps on Wyatt’s body. Wyatt got in a few shots, but Orton put him down again and hit a knee drop. Orton slapped on a headlock with Wyatt looking like he was smiling while he was in the hold. Orton grabbed the head to slam Wyatt down for a two count, which led to another chinlock. Orton bounced off the ropes with Wyatt decking him with a clothesline. Wyatt hit an atomic drop leading to a corner splash and a running cross body block. Wyatt with a lifting DDT for a two count. Orton came back with his modified backbreaker for two. Orton with a headbutt to send Wyatt out of the ring followed by a belly to back suplex onto the hood of the announce table. Back in the ring, Orton got out of a Sister Abigail neckbreaker and he hit a thumb to the eye. Orton with a draping DDT off the ropes. Orton was smacking the mat as the lights went out and Orton hit an RKO leading to a cover…but the lights went out. After about 10 seconds, Orton was laying on top of The Fiend instead of Bray Wyatt. That led to The Fiend slapping on the Mandible Claw on Orton. The referee was gone by this point The match went about 12 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: No Contest
Analysis: **3/4 They had a competitive match that was fine for the most part, but then it became about the theatrics of The Fiend. I like how Wyatt was laughing while he was in some of the holds, then he was aggressive when needed and Orton was able to nearly finish him off before The Fiend arrived.
The Fiend applied the Mandible Claw to Orton while the red lights were on them. The Fiend was in full control as he powered down Orton with Randy selling it like he was passing out. The show ended there.
Analysis: The story is that Orton was able to look impressive against Bray Wyatt in a regular match, but can he do it against The Fiend? Find out at TLC. The Fiend rarely loses, so I’m interested to see how they book it. I’m not sure how they filmed that final part with Wyatt changing out of his Wyatt gear quickly. I saw a report that it was a pre-tape ending, which makes sense based on the camera they used to shoot it. Anyway, it ended with The Fiend fully in control.
Three Stars of the Show
- Drew McIntyre
- Sheamus/AJ Styles
- Bobby Lashley/Jeff Hardy
6.25 out of 10
Last week: 5.75
2020 Average: 6.23
This was an average episode of Raw with some good action in the last hour while the first hour dragged a bit and the second hour was okay.
I liked the story advancement for Drew McIntyre’s rivalry with AJ Styles while also teasing issues between Drew and Sheamus, which led to a fight before they made up to remain friends. It’s a nice way to tease a conflict with Drew and Sheamus without breaking them up, but we know at some point the breakup is coming. The Orton/Wyatt stuff was decent as a match, but I still find it hard to root for either guy in this story. I know The Fiend is considered a face at this point although there was nothing that really caused a turn, so it just feels like two heels in feud and that makes it hard to get into.
I don’t think Raw is a terrible show by any means. I will see people say that, but I don't agree. There's too much talent for it to be terrible. Is it boring sometimes? For sure. It is lacking in excitement and fresh matches most of the time. The women’s feuds and tag team feuds are fine. They just feel repetitive because it’s the same people week after week in different kinds of matches. There’s also the Retribution stable, which continues to be booked poorly and has no impact on the show at all. They went from attacking main eventers and even winning a 4 on 4 tag match before Survivor Series to having such a minor role on the show. It's weird booking, that's for sure. That's an example of the inconsistency that frustrates most fans, myself included.
The next WWE pay-per-view is WWE Tables, Ladders & Chairs on Sunday, December 20. Here’s what we know so far.
WWE Universal Championship Tables, Ladders & Chairs Match: Roman Reigns (c) vs. Kevin Owens
WWE Championship Tables, Ladders & Chairs Match: Drew McIntyre (c) vs. AJ Styles
"The Fiend" Bray Wyatt vs. Randy Orton
Smackdown Women's Championship: Sasha Banks (c) vs. Carmella
Women’s Tag Team Championships: Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler (c) vs. Asuka and Lana
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