Welcome to the WWE Raw Deal review. This is the first Raw at Tropicana Field in Tampa. As we saw on Smackdown, it looks the same as it did in Amway Center. The next PPV is TLC on December 20, which is this Sunday night. Looking ahead to later in the month, the 12th Annual WWE Johnny Awards column (my biggest of the year every year) is going to be posted in two weeks time on Monday, December 28. It’s always fun for me to do even in a difficult year like 2020.
From the WWE ThunderDome at the Amway Center in Orlando, Florida, this is the Raw Deal for episode #1438 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.
Raw began with some highlights from last week's show when Sheamus accidentally hit Drew McIntyre with a Brogue Kick during a tag team match. They didn't show what happened after that, but we know Raw loves showing replays of what happened last week. The Raw show intro video aired.
It's the first Raw at Tropicana Field as mentioned by Tom Phillips, who is on commentary with Samoa Joe and Byron Saxton. They went over some of the matches and segments coming up later.
Dirt Sheet Hosted by The Miz and John Morrison
The Miz was in the ring plugging the TLC pay-per-view this story and he had a fake book called "The Nightmare Before TLC" while also plugging the Miz and Mrs. show on USA Network on Thursday nights. Miz read something in the book because the lights were off on everything except The Miz in a spotlight in the ring. Miz introduced AJ Styles in a corner of the ring, so AJ mentioned Omos on the floor. Miz snapped his fingers and the light went off Omos. John Morrison was dressed in Scottish gear and doing a back Scottish accent. Styles lightly hit Morrison with a chair and into a table ever so gently. Morrison grabbed a plastic knife, then AJ got it from him and "stabbed" Morrison with the plastic knife. Miz read his book saying that Styles will climb the ladder to become the new WWE Champion. Miz said that's when The Miz will enter as Mr. Money in the Bank to cash in the contract and pin AJ 1-2-3. It ends with The Miz as the champion in all of WWE. Styles told Miz that is not in the book he gave him.
Sheamus made his entrance in his ring gear while noting that while that was slightly entertaining, he's got a match with AJ tonight. Sheamus said that while they want to play with swords, Sheamus wants to fight with his fists. Styles said if Sheamus doesn't want to be part of the solution then he can be part of the problem. Styles said that their match is later and it didn't have to be right now. Styles threw a fake Christmas tree at him, so Sheamus threw a present at Styles on the floor. Sheamus' music played to end it.
Analysis: The comedy of Miz and Morrison was mildly entertaining as Sheamus said, but I really don't think it was that interesting at all. It's just a reminder that Miz is Mr. Money in the Bank that can cash it any time, so there's that threat that surrounds the WWE Title match at TLC on Sunday. Sheamus wanting to fight is fitting for his character. That's what he does. Styles was okay here, but it didn't really him much either. Give some credit to WWE for being creative in the festive season although I don't think this was anything that memorable long term.
Sheamus vs. AJ Styles (w/Omos)
Sheamus with a body slam followed by a knee drop along with forearms while Styles was against the turnbuckle. Styles with shoulder tackles to the ribs of Sheamus, but Sheamus came back with a whip into the turnbuckle. Sheamus with a snapmare leading to a kick to the back and another knee drop. Sheamus hit a back body drop leading to a submission pulling back on the left arm. Styles sent Sheamus out of the ring, then he hit some strikes while Sheamus was on the apron including a running knee lift by Styles that knocked Sheamus off the apron to the floor. Sheamus took some time to regroup and then he was back in the ring with a suplex into a slam two times in a row. Styles came back with a double chop to the chest and a dropkick to send Sheamus out of the ring. Sheamus got a hold of Styles on the apron, but Omos got involved by lifting Styles up and moving him away. Sheamus stared at Omos as the show went to break.
The match returned with Styles in control as he wrenched on the left leg of Sheamus, which Sheamus got out of with some elbow smashes to the face. Styles jumped on the left leg of Sheamus by the turnbuckle. Sheamus got some momentum going with the backbreaker onto the left leg with Sheamus selling the left knee after the move. Sheamus with two double axehandles followed by the fallaway slam across the ring. Sheamus hit a jumping knee to the face for a two count. Styles dumped Sheamus out of the ring in front of Omos, but Sheamus managed to come back with the ten forearm smashes to the chest of Styles. Sheamus went up top and connected with a top rope clothesline for a two count. Styles managed to come back with the Calf Crusher submission on the injured left leg, but Sheamus was able to crawl to the bottom rope to break the hold. Sheamus came back with the White Noise slam off the back for a two count. Sheamus put Styles on the shoulders, he went to the turnbuckle, but Styles got out of that, hit a forearm to the back of the left leg and did a tight cover on Sheamus by the turnbuckle for the pinfall win after 16 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: AJ Styles
Analysis: ***1/2 This was a nice match with Styles taking a beating for a lot of the match before finding a way to win as the guy that’s getting the WWE Title shot on Sunday. It made sense for Styles to win the match. Sheamus did a nice job of selling the left leg for most of the match. Sheamus has had some great matches lately if you consider his match with Riddle recently on Raw as well. Sheamus could use a big win at some point, so I would expect that after TLC, but it made sense for Styles to win here. I liked the way the finish was booked with Styles getting a hard shot to the knee, Sheamus bumped right after that and Sheamus managed to find a way to win with a pin attempt that made it tough for Sheamus to kick out after the left leg injury.
Post match, Sheamus trash-talked Styles, so Styles attacked him while Omos held Sheamus. They did a spot where Sheamus had his legs tied against the ropes, so Styles attacked Sheamus with chair shots to the body and a chair to the injured left leg. Styles with another chair shot to the body of Sheamus, who was upside down against the ring apron. There was nobody there to check on Sheamus other than the referee John Cone, so no sign of WWE Champion Drew McIntyre. Sheamus did three more chair shots to the body of Sheamus with AJ laughing about it.
Analysis: A cheap heel attack with nobody out there to try to stop Styles while Sheamus was upside down against the tropes. This could be an angle that leads to Sheamus becoming more of a babyface because he will want revenge on Styles for this attack. I don’t know if WWE will want to have Sheamus as a face in the long term although it has happened in the past. It was a bit of a surprise that Drew McIntyre didn’t come out for the save here. I figured that was coming, but there was no sign of him.
The Firefly Fun House crew will be on later.
This Wednesday on NXT: Rhea Ripley vs. Toni Storm and Kyle O’Reilly faces Pete Dunne for an NXT Title shot. Plus, Karrion Kross is back in action. I love the NXT brand and review it every Thursday on TJRWrestling, so check that out later in the week.
A replay aired of Bobby Lashley beating Jeff Hardy with the Hurt Lock submission last week and Lashley tossed Hardy into Riddle.
The Hurt Business foursome were shown walking “earlier today” in suits as a guy in a WWE Crew shirt was there eating some Bronutts from Riddle. Bobby Lashley poured some milk onto the poor guy and Shelton Benjamin said it’s organic. Sarah Schreiber showed up asking MVP about his match against Riddle. MVP talked about his team’s six-man tag team match with Lashley saying he’ll send their opponents to their own world of hurt.
Jeff Hardy was backstage with Raw Tag Team Champions The New Day behind the curtain. Riddle walked up to them saying he had an idea since they all missed Big E. Riddle suggested that “Bro E” Riddle support them at ringside and an enemy of the Butthurt Business is a friend of theirs. Hardy mentioned the Hardy Bros name as well as Jeff entered with Riddle joining him at ringside.
The New Day’s Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods made their entrance as the Raw Tag Team Champions. They defend those titles against Hurt Business members Shelton Benjamin and Xavier Woods at TLC on Sunday. This six man tag team match is next.
The Hurt Business foursome of US Champion Bobby Lashley, Shelton Benjamin and Cedric Alexander were joined by MVP for this six-man tag team match.
The New Day (Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods) and Jeff Hardy (w/Riddle) vs. The Hurt Business (Bobby Lashley, Cedric Alexander and Shelton Benjamin) (w/MVP)
Lashley with a shoulder tackle on Woods, then Kofi tagged in and Lashley gave him a press slam. Alexander tagged in even though Lashley didn’t like it. Kofi with a monkey flip on Alexander. Hardy sent Alexander into the turnbuckle, Alexander with a kick to the ribs and Benjamin was in with some punches. Hardy with a Slingblade neckbreaker, then he punched Lashley off the apron and Kofi was in the ring with a dropkick on Alexander. Hardy and New Day celebrated with Woods on trombone and Riddle on the apron as the show went to break.
Benjamin was in the ring with Kofi, who connected with a leaping clothesline and Kofi hit the Boom Drop leg drop. Alexander distracted the referee, so Lashley grabbed Kofi and pulled him over the top to the floor. The heels took over with Lashley hitting a suplex on Kofi. Alexander with a waist lock takedown on Kofi into elbow smashes on the mat. Benjamin was back in with two body slams. Lashley tagged in with repeated shoulder tackles on Kofi along with some eye-gouging from Lashley. Benjamin and Alexander made some quick tags so they could double team Kofi with some stomps against the turnbuckle. Benjamin was back in, he punched Woods off the apron and Kofi came back with a right leg stomp to the throat of Benjamin. Hardy got the tag with punches, an atomic drop, dropkick and splash for two. Alexander tagged in with a jumping knee to the face for two as MVP told Alexander to cover him again, so Alexander got another two count. Hardy hit a side Russian legsweep and a leg drop into a pin attempt. Woods with a dropkick on Benjamin, Lashley with a flatliner on Woods, Kofi off the top with a missile dropkick on Lashley and Kofi dove over the top on Benjamin. Woods went after Lashley, who caught him and sent Woods into the barricade. Lashley with a clothesline on Kofi on the floor. Hardy kicked Lashley to keep him down. Alexander got three pin attempts on Hardy for multiple two counts. Lashley tagged in, Hardy hit the Twist of Fate on Alexander, Lashley charged, Hardy moved and Lashley went shoulder first into the ring post. Hardy went up top, Alexander tripped him up and Lashley slapped on the Hurt Lock (Full Nelson) submission for the win after 16 minutes.
Winners by pinfall: The Hurt Business (Bobby Lashley, Cedric Alexander and Shelton Benjamin)
Analysis: ***1/2 This was really good with a lot of action as the heels controlled a lot of the match, but then Hardy was on fire after the tag and there were a lot of cool moments towards the end of the match. Lashley beating Hardy doesn’t have an effect on TLC because neither one of them is booked in a match at that show. At least New Day didn’t get pinned again. I complain about how WWE books some of their champions, but Lashley is not one of them because he has been dominant as the US Champion, even in non-title matches.
After the match, Alexander was very excited while the other three guys were calm and stoic. New Day were out on the floor while Hardy was down in the ring as Hurt Business celebrated the win.
There were videos shown from last week to set up Lana vs. Nia Jax this week.
Lana was shown talking to Asuka backstage with Lana saying she was confident, strong and she believed in herself. Lana said she’s scared of facing Jax, so Asuka told her she will face Jax and that makes Lana the bravest person that Asuka knows. Asuka said she is proud to be her partner. Asuka told Lana to beat Nia Jax and gave her a hug.
Lana made her entrance for her match.
Nia Jax made her entrance with her Women’s Tag Team Title on her right shoulder.
Lana vs. Nia Jax
It’s a WrestleMania main event come early. Maybe that’s sarcasm. Jax slammed Lana down followed by a running splash. Asuka was shown watching on a TV backstage. Lana countered a Jax move with a headscissors. Lana went to the turnbuckle where Jax met her with a headbutt. Jax lifted Lana up on her shoulders, but Lana was back on her feet with a sunset flip. Lana kicked the leg of Jax on the turnbuckle and a stomp to the chest for the pinfall win at around two minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Lana
Analysis: * My prediction was three minutes or less, so I got that right, but I didn’t expect Lana to win in a relatively clean fashion. The finish was similar to Sheamus/Styles earlier although it wasn’t the same thing. Jax losing in a fluky manner is the only way she’s going to lose a match like that.
Lana celebrated the win and so did Asuka backstage as the announcers freaked out about the upset. Meanwhile, Shayna Baszler knocked down Asuka in the backstage area. Baszler stomped on Asuka repeatedly while Asuka was down selling.
Jax attacked Lana from behind followed by some weak looking head slams into the mat. The cowardly referee left the ring. There was no help from referees or security as Jax hit a running leg drop. Baszler stomped on the left arm of Lana and Baszler also stomped on the left leg of Asuka repeatedly. Baszler took off Lana’s shoe and bent the leg back while Jax hit a leg drop on the lower left leg of Lana two times. Asuka got out to the ring to take out Baszler on the floor, then double knees to Jax and a kick sent Jax out of the ring. The heels were out of the ring while Asuka checked on Lana.
Analysis: This was an effective segment in terms of putting over the bad girl attitude of Jax/Baszler doing the cheap attack on Lana simply because Jax is a sore loser. The reason I point out that nobody was out there to help Lana is that sometimes there are multi-person attacks on this show where the fight is broken up quickly. At other times like in this instance and the Styles/Sheamus segment earlier, nobody seems to care to try to help somebody getting attacked. I realize that happens because the heel wrestlers need to get heat, but WWE is inconsistent in terms of how they book stuff like that. Anyway, Lana is apparently injured now.
Still to come: Bray Wyatt is there.
PLUG TIME: I posted a retro PPV review on Monday of WWF Mind Games 1996 featuring an amazing main event with Shawn Michaels facing Mankind in one of the best WWF Title matches ever that ended in a disqualification. The rest of the show was mostly bad, but I definitely recommend that match and please check out my review of it. I have reviewed most of WWE PPVs in history and here's a link to that right here. The goal is to get all the PPVs done by some point in 2021. It's important to have goals, my friends.
Elias was in the ring with his guitar and a spotlight on him as he was joined in the ring by fellow bearded man Jaxson Ryker. Elias said that he got electrocuted in the Symphony of Destruction match two weeks ago and all he saw was a blinding light. Elias claimed that voltage at that level would have ended an ordinary man, but he is not ordinary because he’s an extraordinary man. Elias said he had visions of his purpose and visions of this man Ryker that knows the universal truth that WWE stands with “Walk With Elias” with Ryker saying it. Ryker said that Elias’ music has changed him because it’s the universal truth. Ryker said that for far too long Elias has been disrespected and attacked and he’s here to stop it. Elias thanked him. Elias dedicated this next performance to Lana, which led to R-Truth showing up in the ring with the 24/7 Title around his waist.
Truth apologized for interrupting Elias on Main Event last week while saying he’s not an interrupter and Elias pointed out that Truth is interrupting him right now. Elias played his song, but then the random Raw wrestlers ran down to the ring to go after R-Truth at ringside. When Gran Metalik was thrown into the ring, Ryker decked him with a clothesline. Erik tossed Tozawa into the ring, so Ryker picked him up and tossed him over the top onto about four guys on the floor. Truth ran to the back while Ryker hit a sitout chokeslam on Metalik. Elias had a smirk on his face to end it.
Analysis: That was a dominant showing for Ryker with Elias looking strong instead of being attacked. It’s the return of Ryker to TV after he was paired with Elias on Main Event last week. Ryker was taken off TV months ago after some “controversial” tweets (search for it if you really care), so now he’s back as a bodyguard of sorts for Elias. The reason for Ryker being there makes sense since he said he believes in the universal truth and he’s tired of seeing people interrupting Elias, which does happen a lot. It could be a good pairing for both guys while also adding some depth to the tag team division if WWE chooses to go that route with them.
The Miz holding Money in the Bank was backstage with John Morrison standing by. They talked about the WWE Title situation with Keith Lee walking up to them. Lee had a coin for a coin toss, Miz called Heads and he won. Lee said that they both won while adding that is the only thing they are going to win. They have a 2 on 1 handicap match up next.
Analysis: I think it’s weird to just book a handicap match. What they should have done is have Miz and Morrison challenge Lee to a tag team match if he can get a partner, then Lee can say he doesn’t need a partner and that sets up the handicap match. Instead, they announced it as a handicap match. They should try setting it up first.
Keith Lee made his entrance for the handicap match.
Analysis: I saw the reports last week about WWE making Keith Lee and other wrestlers go to WWE Performance Center for more training two days a week. A lot of fans on social media are mad about it. Is it really a big deal? These guys are professional wrestlers. He lives in Orlando right by the WWE PC anyway, so it’s not like there’s a long travel time involved here. Going to work to get better at your craft doesn’t have to be seen as a negative thing. Basketball players go to a gym to get better, baseball players go to the diamond to get better, so wrestlers should go to the ring to get better. Right? Other wrestlers need training more for sure because Lee is an awesome wrestler, but maybe WWE’s bosses see something they want to work on him whether it’s a particular spot or simply tweaking the presentation. Perhaps it is something about facial expressions? I don’t know what it is. If there were live events three days a week like there used to be, Lee could have worked on this stuff on the road, but since there’s not, this is the best course of action. I really don’t think it means the bosses are disappointed in Lee or anything like that. There’s nothing wrong with wrestlers practicing their craft over and over to continue to improve their game. Natalya and her husband TJ Wilson (Tyson Kidd) bought a ring that they train in with other wrestlers and she’s a 20-year pro. Why? Because people always want to get better. Is it really a bad thing to work on your in-ring performance instead of staying home and playing video games or watching Netflix/Disney Plus all day? I think more people in the company should work on things too. The current WWE schedule sees these men and women working one day a week right now plus PPVs, so that’s a lot of days off. Some of these guys went from working 15 matches per month (counting live events) to about two or three per month because everybody doesn’t wrestle on TV every week. Getting better at your job should be a priority, not be seen as a punishment. With that said, I can see why it upset some fans although I think fans are overly negative in today's wrestling environment without really empathizing for a company that has to put on shows when there are no fans considering fans help make the shows. Just saying.
The Miz and John Morrison made their entrance with Miz bringing the Money in the Bank briefcase with him.
Keith Lee vs. The Miz and John Morrison
Why is Lee booked in a handicap match in the first place? There’s no explanation for that. Miz and Morrison went for a double team attack, Lee managed to fend them off and Morrison hit a forearm to the face. Lee with a jumping spin kick on Morrison. Miz hit a double axehandle on Miz, but then Lee came back with a standing belly to belly suplex. Morrison with a running knee to the face. Lee with a flapjack that sent Morrison face first into the mat. Lee with a running body block/pounce that sent Morrison over the top to the floor. Morrison was moving before Lee even touched him, but it still looked fine.
Lee was still getting some offense with a toss across the ring, but then Miz and Morrison hit repeated kicks along with a running knee from Morrison for two. They were working this match where they were tagging in and out, but that seemed to go away. Morrison with a standing Shooting Star Press for a two count. Lee dumped Miz out of the ring leading to a double chop to the chest and Miz held Lee’s legs for a suplex with Morrison landing on top for two. Miz and Morrison had Lee down in a double submission attempt with Lee fighting out of that. Lee blocked a double suplex and hit his own double suplex to take down both guys. That was impressive. Lee with clotheslines on both guys, then running splashes and Lee tossed Morrison into Miz. Lee went for a Spirit Bomb, but Miz kicked him in the face, Morrison with a kick and Morrison was in Lee’s arms, Miz kicked the leg of Lee and both guys covered Lee for the pinfall win after 10 minutes. That meant that Lee got pinned by two guys that combine to weigh about 450 pounds. Right after the pin, Lee was back on his feet showing he was fine.
Winner by pinfall: The Miz and John Morrison
Analysis: *1/2 I didn't like this match. I don’t like seeing Lee lose a match, but the way to explain it is because it was a handicap match with two guys pinning him at once. What would be even better is if Lee beat one of these guys in a singles match, then he beats another guy in a singles match and then maybe you can do a handicap match the next week. Instead, Lee lost to two guys in one match. It’s not like the guys he lost two are losers since Miz is a former WWE Champion while Morrison has had a lot of success as well. Lee getting up right after shows that it was a very close win. It’s also frustrating to watch a match like there where Miz and Morrison were tagging before the break, yet after the break they didn’t have to tag in and out. That’s WWE not being sure of their own rules of matches. They need to be better at that.
Post match, Lee was back on his feet with an angry look on his face while Miz and Morrison were celebrating on the ramp.
There was a recap of the Randy Orton/Bray Wyatt feud. It’s Orton vs. The Fiend at TLC on Sunday. Bray Wyatt is next.
Let’s Hear from Bray Wyatt
Bray Wyatt made his entrance in a Bray Wyatt Christmas sweater with Phillips saying this is going to be one of the strangest things we’ve ever seen. Wyatt got into the ring with his puppet friends from the Firefly Fun House surrounding the ring behind the barricade. It was Ramblin’ Rabbit, Mercy the Buzzard and Huskus the Pig.
Wyatt said it was nice to see all your smiling faces in the WWE ThunderDome. Wyatt apologized to Randy Orton saying he was sorry because they were having the time of their lives last week, they got out of hand and now look at them. Wyatt claimed it was all a big understanding. Wyatt said that sometimes “he” (The Fiend) has a twisted mind of his own. Wyatt said he knows he has things to fix about himself, but he wishes they could finish what they started. Wyatt said that this Sunday after Orton faces “him” at TLC, he’s not sure what will be left of Orton. Wyatt said there’s going to be sadness, pain and “yowie wowie that’s alright.”
Wyatt said he was going to celebrate since TLC won’t be a laughing matter, so tonight will be fun. Wyatt said he has prepared some hysterical jokes for The Viper and he read them on a paper. Wyatt asked what’s the best way to measure a viper? Inches because they don’t have any feet. Wyatt laughed about it as if it was hilarious. What do snakes use to clean their car windows? Windshield vipers. Wyatt did some ridiculous laughing about that too.
Analysis: I guess they got a book of dad jokes for this segment.
Here’s Randy Orton to interrupt on the video screen. Thank you for that. Orton said that last week, The Fiend gave him the chance after Orton put down Wyatt with the RKO, something changed and “he” appeared outta nowhere. Orton said that for the first time in a very long time, he was outmaneuvered by him. Orton said that The Fiend won’t outmaneuver him tonight. Orton said he thinks Wyatt should pay him a visit tonight and play a game of hide n seek. Wyatt said he can’t resist a game. Orton told him to come find him while Wyatt said: “Let the games begin.” Wyatt walked to the back.
Analysis: I thought this was lame in terms of Wyatt’s promo and the jokes, but that was the point with the jokes. The Wyatt character is unique with the split personality, but this just dragged on too long. I would have hit fast forward if I wasn’t reviewing it. The hide n seek tease was done to keep viewers interested in seeing what happens later.
The Retribution group made their entrance with Mace in a match up next.
This week on Smackdown on FS1 (due to college football on Fox): Roman Reigns and Kevin Owens showdown before TLC and Sasha Banks looks for payback against Carmella. It wasn’t mentioned in the commercial, but they are also doing The Street Profits vs. Ziggler/Roode for the SD Tag Team Titles and Bayley vs. Bianca Belair as well.
Mace was in the match while Mustafa Ali was on commentary with T-Bar, Slapjack and Reckoning standing beside Ali. Ricochet entered as the opponent.
Mace vs. Ricochet
Ricochet with kicks to the leg, Mace caught him and hit a running elbow against the turnbuckle. Mace with a jumping side kick for two. Mace slapped on a chinlock while Ali wondered why they don’t talk about Team Raw that won at Survivor Series, which is true because they did win over Team Raw on the Raw before Survivor Series. Ricochet hit a missile dropkick off the top. Ricochet hit a running kick to the leg, then a shot to the face while Ali said that Samoa Joe is sitting in Mace’s chair because Mace was Raw commentator Dio Maddin for a brief time. Ricochet hit a springboard cross body block and a standing Shooting Star Press for a two count. Ricochet up top, Slapjack to the apron, Ricochet jumped off and kicked him. T-Bar on the apron, so Ricochet kicked him to knock him down. Mace hit a sitout spinebuster for a two count. Nice nearfall. Ali yelled at Mace to shut him down. Mace had Ricochet on his shoulders and hit a spinning slam for the pinfall win after three minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Mace
Analysis: * A boring match with another babyface wrestler looking like a loser because of the numbers game being a factor. That happens a lot on this show. I don’t see how this never-ending rivalry is helping Ricochet at this point because he has no momentum and gets beat up far too often. Retribution needs to win as a group, but maybe they should beat up some other people that aren’t a repeat of what we see far too often.
Post match, the Retribution group members held Ricochet as Ali told Ricochet that this doesn’t end until Ricochet joins Retribution.
Bray Wyatt was shown walking backstage with Bray walking up to Riddle, who called him Bro and Bray said “no it’s Bray.” Riddle had a whiteboard saying he had some Bro-Nouns while suggesting that he should go on the Firefly Fun House. Wyatt said he was busy and left. Ramblin’ Rabbit was there, so Riddle asked Ramblin’ Rabbit to sign a carrot for Riddle’s rabbit at home. The pen was almost bigger than the puppet.
Analysis: I just wrote about a grown man asking a rabbit puppet to sign a carrot for his rabbit. This show is weird. I can't imagine being a writer that has to come up with segments like this. I feel sorry for them.
Shayna Baszler entered the arena with Nia Jax for a match.
A commercial aired for TLC promoting Sasha Banks defending the SD Women’s Title against Carmella, so that match is still happening as planned even though they did the title match last week on Smackdown with a DQ ending.
It was announced that Lana has injuries to her elbow and leg, so she’s out of the Women’s Tag Team Title match at TLC. That means Asuka has to find a new partner. I think it will probably be Charlotte Flair making her return, but I'm not sure about that.
Dana Brooke entered as Baszler’s opponent.
Shayna Baszler (w/Nia Jax) vs. Dana Brooke
Baszler with a swinging attack into a backbreaker followed by a running knee for two. Baszler put the left arm of Brooke on the mat, but Brooke moved out of the way. Baszler with a knee, Brooke moved and Baszler hit the turnbuckle. Brooke with a back elbow followed by a rising kick and punches. Brooke with a clothesline. Brooke went up top, so Jax shoved her off the top to the floor leading to a DQ finish. The match was less than two minutes.
Winner by disqualification: Dana Brooke
Analysis: 1/2* Another short women’s match on this show. Brooke showed a lot as the babyface making the comeback before the match came to a screeching halt when Jax did the shove to knock Brooke down. It was all about the post match angle here.
Jax tossed Brooke into the ring as Baszler beat up Brooke with kicks to the leg. Mandy Rose ran down to the ring with a kendo stick that she used to hit Baszler and she hit Jax in the back repeatedly. Baszler hit Rose with a knee to the face. Asuka showed up with kicks on Baszler, Rose with a jumping knee on Baszler and Asuka hit a running kick on Jax to clear the win. The heels retreated while Asuka, Brooke and Rose stood tall in the ring.
Analysis: Good to see Mandy back after missing a few weeks with a sore shoulder. Mandy was on Instagram over the weekend posting pics from her calendar shoot with Sonya Deville. I’m not sure what this means for the Tag Team Title match in terms of Asuka’s partner, but it’s nice to see some babyfaces working together on this show after so many dominant heel segments.
There was a backstage segment with 24/7 Champion R-Truth talking about getting a Playstation 6 because Playstation 5 is sold out everywhere (the joke is that there is no Playstation 6 yet). Truth said that his nephew was in detention, then we saw that Truth was talking to Huskus the Pig and Bray Wyatt showed up telling Huskus not to talk to strangers. Truth said he’s right while telling Huskus to listen to your father. Truth to Wyatt: “This is your son, right?” Wyatt simply said “hide n seek” and left.
Analysis: Raw is silly. A common theme to this show. Then again, a lot of is geared towards children even though it airs late at night.
This week on Raw Talk the guests are Mandy Rose, Dana Brooke, Elias, Jaxson Ryker, Bobby Lashley and MVP.
Bray Wyatt was shown walking backstage looking for Randy Orton by yelling “Randy” repeatedly. Wyatt walked towards a darkened room that had a rocking chair in it with a spotlight on the chair. Wyatt stared at the rocking chair and then sat in it like he used to do in the Wyatt Family days. That’s when Randy Orton appeared out of the shadows and beat up Wyatt with punches along with Orton whipping Wyatt into a garage door. Orton trapped Wyatt in some crate and he shut the lid. Orton grabbed a can of gasoline that was nearby, which he used to pour on the crate that he thought Wyatt was in. Orton grabbed a lighter, lit a flame and put it on the crate, which lit up and it was a fire. The announcers were shocked by this as Orton stared at the fire and smiled about it. While Orton was laughing about it, the crate opened up with The Fiend emerging from it. The Fiend gave Orton the Mandible Claw while driving him against the garage door that was there. The Fiend was over top of Orton on the floor with the Mandible Claw and “let me in” played to end it.
Analysis: That ended up being a lot more than I expected although doing another segment where Wyatt turned into The Fiend did make sense. I’m just saying the fire aspect was a bit of a surprise. It’s creative in the sense that Orton burned down the Wyatt cabin in the past, so there’s history there. Once again, though, The Fiend ended up looking dominant against Orton just like last week.
There was a replay of The Fiend attacking Randy Orton in the previous segment. I guess that means The Fiend won the hide ‘n seek game.
MVP was in the ring for a match while Riddle made his entrance with Bronutts at ringside. I think I spelled it Bronuts with one T earlier. It doesn’t matter.
Riddle vs. Montel Vontavious Porter
Riddle charged, MVP moved and MVP hit him with knees to the ribs. MVP charged, Riddle moved and Riddle hit the Final Flash knee strike. Riddle went up top with the Floating Bro splash for the pinfall win in about 50 seconds.
Winner by pinfall: Riddle
Analysis: 1/2* That was quick. I’m not sure if that was the plan or if it was shortened. Since MVP doesn’t wrestle that often, it’s okay for him to lose in such a short match. At least a guy that should have won a match got a win.
Post match, Bobby Lashley ran to the ring with Riddle leaving the ring and having some Bronutts to celebrate. Lashley vs. Riddle for the US Title is likely coming soon.
The WWE Champion Drew McIntyre was shown walking backstage for the main event segment.
A commercial aired for TLC on Sunday with Roman Reigns defending the Universal Title against Kevin Owens in a TLC Match.
WWE Championship Ascension Ceremony
The ring was surrounded by tables, ladders and chairs with Tom Phillips in the ring to host this talking segment in the main event slot. AJ Styles made his event first with the big man Omos by his side. Drew McIntyre was up next as the WWE Champion with the sword that he put into the ramp to set off the fireworks. The announcers talked about what AJ did to Sheamus earlier and how Drew feels about it while nobody seems to mention nobody even tried to help Sheamus there. Oh well. That’s just me trying to make sense of WWE booking. There were about ten minutes left in the show for this segment.
Styles said that this is probably the last time that Drew has the WWE Championship around his waist. Styles noted that he has never faced Drew in a one on one match. Styles said he was shocked that it took Drew 19 years to climb the mountain to become the WWE Champion. How did it take him 19 years? Styles said that he showed us when he lost to Randy Orton at Hell in a Cell while noting that Drew can’t handle the pressure. Styles knows that Drew beat Orton to get the WWE Championship back, but it changed him. Styles wondered why Drew was taking the risk that he was taking by having a TLC match while noting that Drew has never been in a TLC match before. Styles talked about how he defended that championship at a TLC match and won because he knows what it takes to be a champion. Styles said if he has to take every table, ladder and chair and bend it across Drew’s back to take that championship then he will do that. Styles told Drew to kiss the WWE Championship goodbye because it will absolutely look phenomenal around AJ’s waist.
Drew said that was quite the compelling speech there. Drew said that they have never wrestled before, but this is the match he’s always wanted and fans have asked him about it for years, so we will get that match this Sunday at TLC. Drew said that AJ was right that Drew has never been in a TLC while AJ has been successful in this match. Drew said that in losing and winning the title again, his goal is to remain champion. Drew said it’s a whole other ballgame to stay at the top as the champion. Drew said that Styles should know him by the back of his hand at that point with Drew noting that he led WWE through unchartered waters in 2020. Drew said that he thrives under pressure, he’s a freakin’ diamond and that journey made him this way. Drew said he’ll tear Styles apart this Sunday. Drew told Styles that every man dies, but not every man truly lives and this Sunday he’ll do whatever it takes to Styles to remain WWE Champion. McIntyre wondered if Styles was willing to do the same. McIntyre hooked up the WWE Title to the device that raised the title above the ring. Phillips left the ring at that point. Styles noted that Drew was prepared, but what if it’s not just Styles that Drew has to face. That led to The Miz and John Morrison showing up with a cheap attack.
Analysis: I really liked the promos from both guys. I’ve read/seen a lot of McIntyre interviews over the years where he talked about wanting to face Styles, so when he says he’s looking forward to it, he’s telling the truth. Both guys made their points well.
The attack was on with Miz and Morrison shoving a ladder onto Drew. The heel trio of Styles, Miz and Morrison beat on McIntyre with punches. McIntyre sent Styles out of the ring, McIntyre with a Claymore Kick on Miz and McIntyre with a Claymore Kick on Morrison, who was holding a ladder. McIntyre with a Glasgow Kiss headbutt on Styles as Omos tossed the steel steps into the ring. McIntyre was distracted by that, so Styles hit a chop block to the knee of McIntyre to put him down. Styles went up top with a Phenomenal Forearm to knock McIntyre down again. Omos handed Styles a ladder, so Styles hit Drew with three ladder shots. Styles grabbed a steel chair that he used to hit McIntyre in the back two times. Styles whipped McIntyre into a chair that was wedged between the top/middle turnbuckle. Omos brought a table into the ring with Styles setting up a ladder. Styles put McIntyre on the table and jumped off the ladder with an elbow drop to put McIntyre through the table. Referee John Cone was in the ring at this point to tell Styles to stop, but really was there to give him a time cue because it was the end of the show. Styles climbed up the ladder and pulled down the WWE Title just like he hopes to do this Sunday at TLC. McIntyre tried to get back up, but he collapsed to the mat. Styles posed with the WWE Title to end the show.
Analysis: I liked it as a go-home segment. It was everything it needed to be to get us ready for their match at TLC on Sunday. Styles was dominant here as he used tables, ladders and chairs to beat up McIntyre, so it’s a bit of a preview of their TLC match. I fully expect McIntyre to retain the title at TLC on Sunday, which is why it makes sense for Styles to have the advantage here.
Three Stars of the Show
- AJ Styles
- The Hurt Business
5.25 out of 10
Last week: 6.25
2020 Average: 6.23
This week’s Raw was a mixed bag with the first hour being really good, but then it was downhill after that. A lot of heel beatdowns took place as well, which felt repetitive after a while. I thought AJ Styles was booked well all night long as we head towards his WWE Title match against Drew McIntyre at TLC on Sunday. I just wish the rest of the show was better.
There were a couple of great matches in the first hour with Styles beating Sheamus and Hurt Business winning a six-man tag over New Day and Jeff Hardy. Those were the two best matches of the show for sure. Other than that, Raw was a bit of a mess this week. If those two matches didn't happen then this would be one of the worst Raw episodes of the year, but at least the match quality was strong in that first hour. There were so many babyfaces that looked like losers too. Some stuff like the women’s segments didn’t really work that well and the Orton/Wyatt bits were goofy more than anything.
One of the problems with Raw is that they keep booking the same people in matches with similar opponents week after week. Ricochet dealing with Retribution for months is so boring. It might be a tag team match one week, then a singles match the next week and so on. It happens on Smackdown sometimes, but not as much and it doesn’t really happen on NXT that much because it’s a different team booking that show. Raw just feels so repetitive week after week. Please freshen things up.
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
Raw Tag Team Championships: The New Day (Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods) (c) vs. The Hurt Business (Shelton Benjamin and Cedric Alexander)
Women’s Tag Team Championships: Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler (c) vs. Asuka and ???
You can contact me using any of the methods below. Go Los Angeles Rams. Be safe and smart out there.
Thanks for reading.
Personal Facebook and TJRWrestling on Facebook