The John Report: The WWE Raw Deal 12/09/19 Review


Welcome to another edition of the WWE Raw Deal here on Rajah. This is the last episode of Raw before Sunday’s TLC pay-per-view. The two main things advertised for WWE going into Raw was Rey Mysterio vs. AJ Styles for the US Title and Rusev’s divorce from Lana will become official.
Live from Greenville, South Carolina, this is the Raw Deal for episode #1385 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 to welcome us to the show. The pyro went off in the arena and the crowd in Greenville was ready to go.

Rusev and Lana Get Divorced
Jerry “The King” Lawler was in the ring with a table and two leather chairs. Lawler said that he was there to deal with the Rusev and Lana saga with Lawler on hand to witness the signing of the divorce contract.
Lana made her entrance along with a lawyer, who is likely an indy wrestler. Lana was in a short black dress showing off the goods. She is proud of her body and I like her for that reason. The announce team of Vic Joseph and Samoa Joe talked about the situation. Lawler was on commentary with them. The divorce lawyer handed a stack of papers. Lawler read the papers saying that for the purpose of the divorce proceeding, she has waived the temporary restraining order, but all other provisions will be enforced to the full extent of the law.
Rusev entered to a pop from the crowd and he had a suit jacket and slacks along with a Daffy Duck shirt. Rusev had a big smile on his face. There were “Rusev Day” chants when Rusev entered the ring. Rusev said “hello everybody” as if he was Dr. Nick Riviera.
Lana told him to stop interrupting while Rusev said she wasn’t even talking. Lana said she wanted Rusev to know that she used to love him so much when the WWE Universe didn’t love him when he couldn’t wrestle and he was fat, but she loved him over everyone. Lana told Rusev when he became famous, rich and successful it all got to his head and when his supporters chanted “Rusev Day” for him, it just got to his head. Rusev smiled about the chants. Lana said it’s not just Rusev that made her marriage fail and she claimed it was because of the entire WWE Universe.

Rusev said now you see how the marriage went and he told her to calm down. Lana told him not to step forward or he’ll go to jail for a very long time. Rusev said that he’s the one that needs protection these days and he said he made a nice video about last week while telling us to watch the tron aka Titantron video screen. The video aired from last week showing Lana and Bobby Lashley for bumping the “cops” that were part of the segment last week.
Lana called Rusev a selfish monster and he said that nobody will compare to her while claiming nobody will love him the way she did. She said he’ll never find somebody like her again. Rusev said he could barely stand her, so why would he want somebody just like her? Lana said that he is so selfish because he always picks Rusev Day. Lana was really over the top claiming it was the WWE Universe’s fault. Rusev spoke for us all saying it was getting out of hand and ridiculous. He was right. That was some ridiculous acting from Lana. Rusev said it’s time to sign the divorce papers and the fans chanted “yes” for that.
Rusev wanted to sign first, Lana stopped him and said she’ll sign first. Lana told the fans to stop booing her, so they booed her some more. Lana said she’s signing first because she always goes first, he goes second and he’s a loser. Lana claimed their dog Joy is hers, then he said it was a gift to him and they argued about it. Lana signed the divorce papers first. Rusev said on second thought, he needs something from her before he signs this. She asked if he wants sex in the elevator, the ring, the doctor, right before a flight and she called him a sick person just like all the sick people in this arena. Rusev said what he wants is a match with her “hot boyfriend” Bobby Lashley.

That led to Lashley making his entrance to join the festivities. Lashley said he is tired of listening to Rusev because he thinks it’s a big joke. Lashley said she is “my Lana” and after this ridiculous stuff is over, he’s going to ask Lana to marry him. Rusev said she is all yours, take her, go to Vegas and get married because he doesn’t care. Rusev said she is just bad while Rusev wants to live happily on Rusev Day, which led to more “Rusev Day” chants. Rusev said he’ll sign this and he’ll have that match with Lashley and it will happen on Rusev Day. Rusev signed the papers.
Right after Rusev signed the papers, Lashley sent Rusev into the table and then out of the ring where Lashley sent Rusev back first into the barricade. Back in the ring, Rusev with a superkick and a belly to belly suplex through on Lashley the table that had the divorce contract on it. The fans popped huge for it with “Rusev Day” chants while Lana, who was still wearing her wedding ring, yelled at him about it. Rusev left the ring triumphantly with fans cheering him while Lana checked on Lashley. The segment ended after 18 minutes.
Analysis: That was nearly 20 minutes and it felt like was even longer than that. I think some of the dialogue in the promos was lame, especially most of the Lana parts. I think she can be a decent actress, but she tries too hard to be over the top, so there were a few points there where it was ridiculous just like Rusev said. I think this angle has worked in the sense that Rusev is more popular because of it while Lashley has more heat than he has had as a heel in WWE, so it has worked in that regard. I just think this went on too long, but with Raw being a three-hour show, that tends to happen often in the opening segment. Anyway, at least they finally set up a match after over two months of this feud.

A replay aired from last week when the AOP team beat up Kevin Owens and dragged Owens up the ramp to the backstage area. The announcers let us know we’ll hear from Owens up next.
(Commercial)
A commercial aired for NXT on Wednesday with Tommaso Ciampa vs. Finn Balor vs. Keith Lee in a match where the winner faces Adam Cole for the NXT Title the following week. That should be great.
Kevin Owens was interviewed backstage by Charly Caruso, who asked if he figured out why AOP attacked him. Owens claimed that Seth Rollins told AOP to do it while reminding us that he was the only one to get in Seth’s face to tell him he was full of crap. Owens said he was lucky to get away last week and that’s going to be a problem for AOP tonight. Owens said he was going to go look for them.
Owens walked down a hallway where he saw Rey Mysterio, who gave them a hug. Mysterio said he’ll watch KO’s hug, but KO said it’s his problem, so he’ll deal with it. Mysterio gave Owens his steel pipe, so Owens left with the pipe.

Analysis: It’s a good way to keep people interested to see what Owens would do.
Matt Hardy made his entrance for a match and got a pretty good pop. Congrats to Matt and his wife Reby on the birth of their third son last week. Jerry Lawler rejoined commentary.
Drew McIntyre said that we need some good news, so he mentioned Matt’s wife Reby gave birth to their third child, a baby boy. The fans cheered. McIntyre talked about how the kid is probably cross-eyed, so at least we know it is Matt’s baby. McIntyre gave Matt credit for having a great career while ripping on him for some questionable choices he has made. McIntyre said he was going to give Matt a chance to walk away so you’re not broken (there’s that word that’s significant to Matt) and Matt hit Drew with a Twist of Fate to send Drew out of the ring. The match begins after a break.
Analysis: I liked McIntyre’s promo last week on Randy Orton and this one sort of followed that in a similar style. I like how he’s the kind of heel that tries to get under the skin of the faces. He needed to get more promos like this, so I’m glad it’s happening.

(Commercial)
The bell rang to start the match.
Matt Hardy vs. Drew McIntyre
Hardy was aggressive with clotheslines against the turnbuckle followed by a clothesline to send McIntyre over the top to the floor. McIntyre sent Hardy back first into the steel steps. They went back into the ring with McIntyre with stomps, a chop and he missed a corner charge because Matt moved, so Drew hit the ringpost. Hardy hit a Side Effect for a two count. Hardy went for a backslide pin, McIntyre powered out of it and McIntyre hit a Future Shock DDT that he used to use as a finisher. McIntyre hit a Claymore Kick to the face for the pinfall win after two minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Drew McIntyre
Analysis: * A quick win for McIntyre that you would expect in a match like that. Hardy got some offense early and the fans were behind him, but the result was never in doubt. I really hope Matt gets to be featured again especially as his “Broken Matt” character because there’s a lot of potential there. I know Matt’s in his mid-40s now, so he’s not a priority, but at least it’s a different character that would make him stand out from the pack. Matt's contract is also up early next year and if WWE assumes that Matt isn't going to stay then I doubt they will use him much more. I’m all for McIntyre getting wins too.

A replay aired of last week on Raw when Charlotte Flair lost a handicap match to the Kabuki Warriors – Asuka and Kairi Sane.
There was a clip of Charlotte Flair in the women’s locker room earlier today where she walked up to Becky Lynch seated on a bench. Flair said she didn’t like Becky, who replied “feeling’s mutual” but right now Flair didn’t like the Kabuki Warriors more. Flair asked if she wanted to be Becky Two Belts again. Lynch said Flair needs her help, but Becky said she would rather deal with it by herself to collect an old debt (Asuka beating Becky at the Royal Rumble earlier this year). Flair asked if that meant Becky would face them 2-on-1, Becky said yeah and Flair wished her good luck. Lynch mentioned collecting the old debt again to end it.
Analysis: Lynch wasn’t on Raw the last two weeks, so at least she has something to do this week.
(Commercial)

Kevin Owens was shown walking backstage where he asked some people sitting in the arena if they have seen AOP. Owens went up to Mojo Rawley, who told Owens they went that way, then he pointed the other way and Mojo laughed at him. Owens gave Rawley a hard open hand palm strike to the face and said, “you just went that way.” Good line.
The Viking Raiders duo of Erik and Ivar entered with the Raw Tag Team Titles. Erik said they have been searching for worthy opponents while Ivar said all they have encountered are victims. Erik said they are issuing an open challenge to any team that thinks they can take their gold. Ivar said, “let the raid began” because that’s their catchphrase.
The Street Profits made their entrance to answer the challenge. They walked out on the ramp, then walked over to the crowd, walked down the aisle and danced their way down to the ring. It’s a Raw Tag Team Title match after a break.
(Commercial)

There was a mention of People magazine breaking the news that Batista will be inducted in the 2020 WWE Hall of Fame in April. A very deserving honor for one of the biggest WWE stars in the last 20 years. Tickets are on sale on Friday, which is why they advertised it this week.
Raw Tag Team Championships: The Viking Raiders (Erik and Ivar) vs. The Street Profits (Montez Ford and Angelo Dawkins)
This is a matchup between two babyface teams with Ford avoiding a charge from Erik and hitting a dropkick on Ivar. Dawkins tagged in with a spear on Erik, Ford with a dive over the top on Ivar, Dawkins with a spinebuster and Ford tagged in with a Frog Splash for two because Ivar broke up the pin. Great start to this match with a fast pace. Erik with a shoulder tackle to Ford, Ivar tagged in, he booted down Dawkins and a spin kick by Ivar knocked down Ford for a two count. Dawkins tagged back in with a dropkick on Ivar followed by an exploder suplex for a two count. Ford tagged back in, but then Ivar hit a handspring back elbow to knock both guys down. Erik with double knees to Ford, then both knees to Dawkins (loud knee slap by Erik) and Ivar tagged back in with Erik launching Ford into the air for the Viking Experience powerslam by Ivar for the pinfall win after four minutes.
Winner by pinfall: The Viking Raiders (Erik and Ivar)

Analysis: **1/2 This was a fast-paced, competitive match. I enjoyed it. It wasn’t a long match by any means, but it was very entertaining. I like how aggressive the Street Profits were as soon as the bell rang. Viking Raiders managed to come back to get the win. That's no surprise.
Post match, the four guys looked at eachother and the Viking Raiders extended their arms for a forearm smash sign of respect between the four guys.
Seth Rollins said that he’s got something to take care of right now. Rollins told them they can stay out there while he does it and it’s up to them. The Street Profits left. The Viking Raiders also left. Rollins was alone in the ring.
Rollins said that he had unfinished business with the AOP. Rollins didn’t care if it was 2 on 1 because he wants to fight the AOP right here, right now. Instead of AOP, it was Kevin Owens.

Kevin Owens walked out to ringside with the steel pipe in his hand and he joined Rollins in the ring. Owens said that the pipe isn’t for him yet while adding that AOP isn’t there yet or he would have found them. Owens asked when is AOP getting there because he knows AOP and Rollins are coming after him.
The AOP team of Akam and Rezar were shown arriving in a car in the parking lot. They walked out of the car, which led to a break.
Analysis: It’s the right spot for a commercial because it will keep viewers tuned in to see what happens. That was the end of the first hour.
(Commercial)

The show returned with Rollins telling Owens that AOP is going to kick his ass. Rollins said he has no association with AOP. Owens said he can take care of Rollins right now, so Rollins left the ring. Owens said they happen to get here when Owens and Rollins were in the ring. Rollins said that the only for him to prove there’s no association with him and AOP is if he leaves right now. Rollins said goodnight. Owens said nobody is going to be heartbroken about that while adding he’s coming for Rollins. AOP appeared on the screen doing one of their promos talking in their foreign language. Owens said great points for whatever they said, but told them to bring it.
Sami Zayn made his entrance with Mojo Rawley. Zayn is from Smackdown, but here he is. Zayn said he knows he is not supposed to be on Raw, but he’s been able to get around the rules by allowing him to have a managerial license. Zayn said Owens knows that Sami isn’t a manager or agent, but he is a liberator. Zayn said he sets people free. Zayn and Mojo went into the ring. Zayn said that Owens had a lot on his plate with AOP, but what he did with Mojo was way out of line because he slapped Mojo in the face. Zayn said he knows better than anybody how dangerous Owens can be. Zayn said that Owens should admit he was wrong in front of all these people and he wants KO to apologize to Mojo for what he did. Mojo told Owens to look at Sami when he talks to him and it was bad enough what Kevin already did, but you aren’t going to disrespect Mojo too. Sami tried to calm down Mojo and Mojo asked why should he be afraid, because he’s got a steel pipe in his hands? Mojo said that everybody is tough with a steel pipe in their hands. Owens said let's test out that theory, Owens tossed the pipe to Mojo and hit him with a Stone Cold Stunner. Zayn left the ring. Owens hit Rawley in the back with the “steel” pipe repeatedly and Mojo bumped to the floor to end it. Owens celebrated in the ring while referees checked on Mojo at ringside.

Analysis: It was a segment designed to put over Owens by showing what he can do with the steel pipe in his hands. Zayn’s explanation for why he can be on Raw as a manager is fine because at least they tried to come up with a reason for it. I think if they have Zayn working with Rawley in the future it could help Rawley, but I’m not sure if it’s going to continue or if it’s just for this week’s Raw.
This week on Smackdown, Roman Reigns will be “unchained” after a humiliating Smackdown and Bray Wyatt will continue tormenting The Miz.
(Commercial)
The show returned with Kevin Owens walking in the backstage area looking for AOP. No sign of them.
Aleister Black made his entrance. He will face Buddy Murphy at TLC on Sunday. That’s going to be great. They showed a promo from Murphy in the locker room saying he’s better than Black and he’ll prove it at TLC. It was a very basic promo. Akira Tozawa entered as the opponent.
Analysis: I’m all for the Black match with Murphy at TLC. Keep it on the main show and don’t put it on the Kickoff Show. Give them 10-15 minutes to have a great match.

Aleister Black vs. Akira Tozawa
Black was able to counter Tozawa’s moves early on, Black grabbed an armbar and when Tozawa charged, Black tripped him with a sweep kick. Black with an arm drag followed by an armbar. Tozawa came back with a hurricanrana that sent Black out of the ring. Tozawa charged with a suicide dive, but Black countered with a jumping knee with Joe putting it over for the pinpoint accuracy. Back in the ring, Black hit the Black Mass spin kick for the pinfall win after two minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Aleister Black
Analysis: *1/2 A dominant win by Black. I like the way Black has been booked as a deadly striker that can knock out anybody with that Black Mass spin kick. The fans are reacting to him like he’s a big star.

Humberto Carrillo made his entrance after some highlights were shown from his career. Zelina Vega and Andrade showed up to get in Carrillo’s face. Andrade and Carrillo were shoving eachother. They argued in Spanish. Vega just said “tonight?” so the idea is that they agreed to a match tonight.
(Commercial)
There was a video telling us that a makeover for Liv Morgan is coming soon.
Analysis: Congrats to WWE for remembering Liv is still on the roster after not doing much with her this year. She is only 25 years old, so she’s got a very bright future.

Andrade made his entrance with Zelina Vega followed by Humberto Carrillo as the opponent. I miss the other Carrillo theme song.
Andrade (w/Zelina Vega) vs. Humberto Carrillo
Andrade with a back body drop with Carrillo getting a lot of height. Lawler had a remark saying the first time his fiancée saw Carrillo on TV she commented how cute Carrillo was. I’m pretty sure she is about 30 years younger than Jerry. Anyway, back to the back Andrade with an elbow to Carrillo, then a chop and Carrillo went up top with a cross body block followed by an arm drag out of the ring. Carrillo went up top again, then onto the ring post and Carrillo hit a moonsault onto Andrade on the floor. Good shocked reaction face by Vega at ringside.
(Commercial)

Carrillo hit a springboard cross body block followed by a jumping kick to the face. Carrillo with a rolling moonsault for a two count. Lawler claimed that Carrillo looked like Justin Bieber, but I don’t know about that. Andrade blocked a move out of the corner followed by a double foot stomp to the chest of Carrillo for a two count. Andrade charged with a double foot stomp, Carrillo moved and Andrade hit the turnbuckle with his knees. Carrillo went up top where he connected with a missile dropkick. Carrillo went for an Aztec Press moonsault off the ropes, but it didn’t look very good as he landed on Andrade’s legs. Carrillo with an elbow, Andrade with a kick, Andrade avoided two strikes and Andrade hit an impressive knee lift followed by a spinning back left elbow for a two count. Great nearfall there. Andrade with a double knee corner attack, then he set up for it again, but Carrillo came back with a running dropkick. Vega was on the apron, Andrade charged, Carrillo moved and Andrade accidentally knocked Vega off the apron to the floor. Carrillo jumped into the shoulders of Andrade leading to a forward roll into a pinfall victory after 12 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Humberto Carrillo
Analysis: ***1/2 That was a really good match by two of WWE’s brightest young Latino stars. It feels like it is the start of a series of matches between them, so having Carrillo win can set up a cheap attack from Andrade to further the feud. These guys work well together and it’s going to continue as they get used to working together more in the future. The finish was smart because if you are going to have Vega do a bump after getting hit by Andrade accidentally, then you gotta do the finish right after. That way, it makes the accidental move the reason for the loss.
Post match, Vega slowly got into the ring and Andrade was mad at her. Vega yelled at him, so they argued about it.
Analysis: Please don’t break up this duo. They work well together. I think they’ll use that argument to set up a more aggressive Andrade in the weeks ahead.

Rey Mysterio did a promo holding the US Title. He said if AJ Styles is man enough to beat him tonight then he’ll be the first to shake his hand, but he will do everything to prove to his family, the WWE Universe and himself that he is still the US Champion.
(Commercial)
A commercial aired for the Broken Skull Sessions show with Steve Austin on WWE Network. The guest is Bill Goldberg and it debuts after TLC on WWE Network on Sunday night.
Kevin Owens was shown walking down a hallway where he asked a guy if he’s seen AOP, the guy said he saw them heading out to their van and Owens walked that way.
Zack Ryder was in the ring to lose a match against Buddy Murphy, made his entrance. There was a pre-tape promo from Aleister Black telling Murphy that it was a big mistake to knock on his door to pick a fight with him.

Buddy Murphy vs. Zack Ryder (w/Curt Hawkins)
Ryder knocked Murphy down, he went for a move off the turnbuckle, but Murphy tripped him up and kicked him in the back. Ryder sent Murphy face first into the mat, missile dropkick and a corner forearm. Ryder with the Broski Boot that kicked Murphy out of the ring. Murphy decked Hawkins with a forearm. Ryder with a dropkick to knock Murphy down. Back in the ring, Murphy came back with a rising knee lift and a Murphy’s Law slam for the pinfall win after two minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Buddy Murphy
Analysis: * A quick match to put over Murphy going into the TLC match with Black. Ryder and Hawkins haven’t had much to do since they were tag team champions at WrestleMania earlier this year.

Kevin Owens continued to walk around the backstage area where he saw the black van that AOP arrived in earlier in the night. Owens used the steel pipe to smash in the windows. Owens tried opening the van, but it was locked. There was a chair in the back of the van and a guy there, Owens grabbed him, but that’s when AOP showed up in suits. AOP sent Rollins into the garage door and some carts backstage. AOP slammed one of the door handles into KO’s face to knock him down. A guy turned around on a seat in the van to reveal it was Seth Rollins in a black hooded sweatshirt. Rollins looked at the fallen Owens. Rollins: “It’s come to this, Kev. It’s a shame. I’m sorry.” Rollins gave Owens The Stomp on the cement. Rollins stood beside the AOP guys Akam and Rezar. They left together.
Analysis: There’s the official, physical heel turn of Rollins after it looked like he might have turned a few weeks ago, but he didn’t embrace it yet. In this segment, Rollins embraced the heel ways. It was a vicious beating that ended in a dramatic way with The Stomp on the cement. Why was there a chair in the van? I think it was just done for dramatic effect for this segment.

(Commercial)
A replay aired of Owens getting beat up by Akam, Rezar and Rollins.
Let’s Hear from Seth Rollins
Seth Rollins made his entrance wearing all black rather than wearing one of his t-shirts, which is how he has been dressed during the whole show. Rollins stood on the stage to deliver a promo while fans booed him. Here’s the heel turn promo.
Rollins asked the fans what do you want from him? Rollins said that he’s been asking himself that for a long time, they used to get along and somewhere along the way, it all went wrong and he’s trying to figure out why. Rollins said he did everything right. He doesn’t take nights off, he fights through injuries, every time he gets out there he lays it all on the line for each and every one of us. Rollins said he sticks his neck out for the fans, not just in the ring, but in the media too and he gets spit on, he gets disrespected and he’s sick of it.
Rollins said that last week he had nothing to do with the AOP attacking Owens and that was the truth. Rollins said people called him a liar because some flavor of the month Owens called him a liar and you jumped on that bandwagon. Rollins said he let it slide, he tried to tell you again that he’s got nothing to do with the AOP and that was the truth. Rollins claimed that once again the truth was not good enough for you, so tell him what’s good enough for you? What does he have to do? Does he have to go into that ring and kill himself? Rollins said that he beat Brock Lesnar twice this year to bring the Universal Title to Raw for you and that was still not enough. The fans booed him. I think there were “CM Punk” chants there.
Rollins said if you want to push him, it’s time for Seth freakin’ Rollins to push back. Rollins said your negativity has become a self-fulfilling prophecy has turned your fiction into fact. Rollins said that it has turned him to stand side by side who understand, it has turned him to stand side by side with the AOP.
That led to AOP members Akam and Rezar walking onto the stage beside Rollins. They all walked to the back together.
Analysis: It looks like the official birth of a new three-man heel group on Raw. It was exactly what it needed to be and he delivered it well. I think he's going to thrive as a heel like he has in the past and it’s been about three years since Rollins was a heel, so it will be fresh. Everything Rollins said made sense for him as a character, but also the guy that does media interviews and tweets about his role in the company. It was a very believable heel promo. It’s also the most traditional way of doing a heel turn because Rollins ripped on the fans. Most heel turns in wrestling are done that way where the wrestler blames the fans. I thought Seth did a great job with it. I also think the best two years of Seth's career were 2014 and 2015 when he was a heel for most of that period.

Kevin Owens was shown in the backstage area where he was put on a stretcher with a neck brace on. Owens was loaded into an ambulance by EMTs along with referees.
Becky Lynch made her entrance with the Raw Women’s Title after her fiancé Rollins just ripped on the fans and turned heel on them. That doesn’t mean that fans are going to boo Becky, who got a nice pop.  The Kabuki Warriors made their entrance with the Women’s Tag Team Titles for this handicap match.
The Kabuki Warriors (Asuka and Kairi Sane) vs. Becky Lynch
Lynch was aggressive early with a suplex on Asuka, who bailed to the floor. Sane went on the apron, Lynch kicked her down and Asuka took advantage with stomps on Lynch. Asuka kicked Lynch in the back leading to a break.

(Commercial)
The match returned with Lynch hitting a forearm on Sane, Asuka tagged in, Lynch sent her out of the ring and Lynch hit a baseball slide dropkick. Sane tagged back in, Lynch with a jumping kick, forearm and double knees to Asuka. Lynch with a Bexploder Suplex on Sane and Lynch hit a reverse DDT/regular DDT combo for a two count on Sane. Lynch went to the turnbuckle, Asuka grabbed her leg and Sane slammed Lynch down. Sane went up top, she jumped off with the Insane Elbow, Asuka tagged herself in, Lynch avoided the elbow from Sane and Asuka missed a dropkick, so Lynch hit a Bexploder Suplex on Asuka. Lynch went for the leg drop off the middle ropes, Asuka slapped on the Asuka Lock submission, Lynch got to her feet to break free and Lynch slapped on the Asuka Lock, but Sane was there to save Asuka. Sane punched Lynch and rolled Asuka back in the ring. Lynch sent Sane into the barricade, Lynch tripped up Asuka on the ring apron to send her to the floor and Lynch missed a forearm because Asuka hit her with a knee lift. When they went back in the ring, Asuka hit a Shining Wizard running knee. Sane sent Lynch into the turnbuckle. Asuka put Lynch on her shoulders, Sane up top with a forearm and Asuka dropped Lynch back to the mat leading to a two count. Sane went up for the Insane Elbow, Lynch blocked it and Lynch hit a Rock Bottom on Asuka. Lynch slapped on the Disarmher submission on Sane, but Asuka pulled Sane out of the ring to save her partner. Lynch left the ring, so Asuka grabbed a chair and hit Lynch in the ribs with it for the DQ finish after 13 minutes.
Winner by disqualification: Becky Lynch
Analysis: **3/4 The match was solid with the crowd getting into it more as it went on. Good story in the match with Lynch continuing to fight back in a handicap match situation. Every time it looked like Lynch might win, the Kabuki Warriors worked well together to save eachother. The DQ result is fine because it was done to further the storyline as we saw after the match. I liked Charlotte’s match with the Kabuki Warriors a little bit better last week, but it was also about five minutes longer. This felt repetitive since we saw such a similar match last week.

After the match, Sane pulled out a table from under the ring. Asuka and Sane set up the table on the floor. Asuka beat on Lynch with punches and Asuka put Lynch on the table. Sane went up top and hit the Insane Elbow to put Lynch through the table. That was impressive. I love that move from Sane and she hit it perfectly. The Kabuki Warriors stood tall over Lynch, who was out on the broken table. The Kabuki Warriors left with their titles while Lynch slowly got back to her feet at ringside.
Analysis: A cheap attack to get more heat on the heel champions. There was no sign of Charlotte Flair helping Lynch because Flair and Lynch don’t get along even though they have common enemies now. They did it that way to set up the obvious tag team match at TLC on Sunday.
There was a locker room promo from AJ Styles with Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson. Styles said that the Viking Raiders can run and hide, but sooner or later, G&A will take those Raw Tag Team Titles away from them. Styles said they will celebrate with him as the US Champion since Styles is going to take the title back tonight. Styles said if Randy Orton wants to stick his nose in their business again, Styles said maybe they will end his career…forever…for life.
(Commercial)

A graphic was shown announcing the New World Order in the WWE Hall of Fame in 2020. It’s Hulk Hogan, Kevin Nash and Scott Hall…plus Sean Waltman.
Analysis: I don’t know why they felt the need to add Waltman. Yes, he was part of the group, but so were a lot of people. The three founding members Hogan, Hall and Nash should be the only ones. If you add a fourth, put Eric Bischoff since he was in the group and the group was his idea. It’s not a big deal either way.
Becky Lynch was getting looked at in the trainer’s room. Charlotte Flair showed up to ask how did that go? Lynch said fine if it means she gets a shot at Asuka. Flair said good match and she walked away. Flair walked down the hallway where Asuka and Sane showed up for an attack from behind. They attacked Flair with a chair and stomped on her to put Flair down.
Analysis: It continues the storyline of the Kabuki Warriors against Lynch and Flair, which made sense going into TLC.
Erick Rowan made his entrance with his cage that had a towel covering it and his opponent was already in the ring.

Erick Rowan vs. Some Guy
The local competitor grabbed the cage of Rowan, then ran up the ramp and Rowan chased him. Rowan checked on his cage. Rowan realized the referee was counting him out, so Rowan went back into the ring. Rowan with a running cross body block followed by the Iron Claw Slam two times in a row. Rowan with the Iron Claw Slam for a third time. The referee called for the bell to stop the match. It went just over one minute.
Winner by referee stoppage: Erick Rowan
Analysis: 1/2* It was a creative way to book that. Another easy win for Rowan.

After the bell rang, Rowan gave his opponent a fourth Iron Claw Slam. Rowan yelled at the guy on the mat: “What’s the matter with you?!?” Rowan told his object in the cage that he took care of it.
Analysis: The mystery continues. I don’t know if it’s an animal in the cage or a dead animal or what it might be. At least they are taking their time to reveal it.

Asuka and Kairi Sane were shown walking backstage with Charly Caruso there to interview them. Asuka ranted in Japanese. Caruso had a good line saying she needs to learn more languages, but can you tell us what you said? Asuka said they challenge “you” to challenge us for our titles. They left.
Analysis: That set up the TLC match for the women’s tag team titles. It took the third hour of this show to set up the match, but they got it done.
(Commercial)

It was back to the trainer’s room with Flair and Lynch sitting side by side. Lynch asked if they want to fight them. Flair said yes, but let’s up the ante. Lynch said tables, ladders, chairs. Flair looked forward in agreement.
Monday After Weekend Update with The Street Profits
The Street Profits duo of Angelo Dawkins and Montez Ford were on a Weekend Update set like on Saturday Night Live. There was a green screen behind them. Ford said that we just learned that Asuka and Sane will defend the Women’s Tag Team Titles against Charlotte Flair and Becky Lynch in a TLC match on Sunday. Ford joked that Asuka’s green mist makes it looks like she ate Baby Yoda.
Dawkins said that Bray Wyatt’s attack on Miz made USA Network want to do a show called “The Fiend and Mrs.” Ford talked about the Rusev/Lashley Tables Match at TLC. Ford said that now that Lana is finally yours, he had advice…run…and Dawkins told Bobby to get out. Dawkins said that Corbin has a Napoleon complex when it comes to Roman Reigns, Ford says that Corbin is bigger than both of us and Dawkins said not where it counts referring to their…well…Ford looked down at his pants. You know. They said that TLC will be off the chain this Sunday and Ford said, “we want the smoke.” Dawkins said he’ll need an ice pack because the Viking Raiders hit hard. Ford thanked us for joining them.
Analysis: It was a creative way to run down the TLC card by continuing to get the Street Profits over by showing off their personality. I thought there were some funny lines in there while their delivery was pretty good too.

It was main event time with AJ Styles making his way out to the ring as the challenger. Rey Mysterio was up next as the US Champion and he got a good pop from the crowd. They are both over 40 years old and two of the best wrestlers of the last 20+ years. They’re still awesome too. The match was up next after a break.
(Commercial)
United States Championship: Rey Mysterio vs. AJ Styles
Mysterio got a rolling cradle for two, Styles got a rollup for two and then they stood back in their corners for a staredown. Styles sent Mysterio left shoulder first into the turnbuckle followed by a slingshot into the turnbuckle two times in a row. Mysterio jumped on AJ’s shoulders and turned it into a pin attempt for two, but Styles came back with an elbow smash to knock Mysterio down. Mysterio ran the ropes, sent Styles out of the ring and a dropkick knocked Styles down on the floor. Mysterio with a springboard moonsault onto Styles on the floor. That was the cue for Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson to show up as Mysterio sent Styles into the ring. Mysterio looked at G&A, so Styles with a forearm and he whipped Mysterio into the ring post leading to a break.

(Commercial)
Styles was in control with a headlock, Mysterio got some moment with a springboard attack off the middle ropes, but Styles stopped him with a dropkick to the ribs. Styles sent Mysterio sliding under the bottom rope to the floor. Styles sent Mysterio into the turnbuckle, Mysterio moved, Styles hit the turnbuckle and Mysterio hit a jumping kick to knock Styles off the apron to the floor. Mysterio with a sunset flip out of the ring where he sent Styles back first into the barricade. Joe called it a “sunset flip wall bomb” and that’s good enough for me. Both guys made it back in the ring right before the ten count. Mysterio with forearms, a headscissors into the ropes, forearm by Mysterio, a seated senton off the top and a leg drop by Mysterio got a two count. Styles went for a moonsault, Styles caught him and Mysterio turned it into a DDT for two. That was sweet. Mysterio with a kick to the face, then he charged and Styles flipped Mysterio over leading to a slam into the mat. Mysterio with an enziguri kick to the head, Styles was sent to the ropes and Mysterio wanted a 619 kick, but Gallows held Styles, so Mysterio kicked Gallows in the back. Mysterio dropkicked Anderson off the apron. Styles hit the Ushigoroshi slam where he drove the knee into the back for a two count. Mysterio went for a hurricanrana off the top, but Styles managed to block it. They had a bit of a mistake there because I think Styles was going to turn it into a Styles Clash and it didn’t turn out well. Styles gave Mysterio a Powerbomb followed by the Styles Clash. Randy Orton showed up in the ring, he didn’t do anything except wink at Styles and he left the ring. That distraction by Orton allowed Mysterio to come back with an inside cradle (while the Raw copyright logo was on the screen) and Mysterio pinned Styles to retain the title. It went about 14 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Rey Mysterio
Analysis: ***1/4 A good effort from two of WWE’s best once again, but I thought their match with the title change was better. That sloppy moment out of the corner hurt it a bit although when you’re doing top rope counters, it’s going to happen sometimes. There was a nice story to the match with Orton once against costing Styles while Mysterio found a way to win again. That finish should mean that Styles is out of the US Title picture so that he can feud with Orton while Mysterio will likely get a new rival soon.
The announcement of Rey Mysterio winning was made and Orton was shown walking away as the show went off the air. It seemed like they were right up against the 11pmET hour and with no more overrun for Raw, they signed off right away.
Analysis: They usually time the finish off the show better. This felt rushed. Most weeks they do it better than that. It was probably because the Styles Clash off the middle ropes wasn't executed the right way, so they had to have Styles hit it the regular way and that meant Orton's run-in was pushed back a bit. That's live TV. It can be unpredictable like that.

Three Stars of the Show

  1. Seth Rollins
  2. Humberto Carrillo/Andrade
  3. Rey Mysterio/AJ Styles

I picked more than three. It happens sometimes.

The Scoreboard
7 out of 10
Last week: 5.75
2019 Average: 5.91 (Smackdown is 6.59)
Last 5 Weeks: 5.75, 7.5, 6.75, 5, 6.5
2019 High: 8 (September 9)
2019 Low: 3.5 (May 27)

Final Thoughts
This week’s Raw gets a 7 out of 10.
This was a pretty good episode of Raw. I think they did a nice job of advancing storylines to set up TLC match and the in-ring action was solid most of the night. The first hour wasn’t very good thanks to the divorce segment that dragged on too long, but at least it ended in a way that made the fans happy with Rusev putting Lashley through a table.
The show was a lot better in the last two hours thanks to quality matches and the Rollins heel turn. I think they have done well in the last few weeks of setting up some rivalries with a bit of slow build, but that’s a good thing because then it doesn’t feel rushed at all.
I think as a go-home show for TLC, they did a great job of setting up some of the matches. That’s what you want in the last Raw before the PPV.

The next WWE PPV is Tables, Ladders and Chairs (TLC) on Sunday, December 15. Here’s what we know so far.
Tables, Ladders and Chairs (TLC) Match: Roman Reigns vs. Baron Corbin
Bray Wyatt vs. The Miz – This is not for Wyatt’s WWE Universal Title
Tables, Ladders and Chairs (TLC) Match for the Women’s Tag Team Titles: The Kabuki Warriors (Asuka and Kairi Sane) (c) vs. Charlotte Flair and Becky Lynch
Tables Match: Rusev vs. Bobby Lashley
Smackdown Tag Team Titles: The New Day’s Kofi Kingston and Big E (c) vs. The Revival (Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder)
Aleister Black vs. Buddy Murphy
I think they might add Randy Orton vs. AJ Styles to the card as well. Kevin Owens vs. Seth Rollins is possible too, but maybe Owens will be out of action due to the attack on Raw.
We will have a TLC preview up on Saturday because I have to wait until after Smackdown ends.
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John Canton
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