The John Report: The WWE Raw Deal 12/30/19 Review


Welcome to the final WWE Raw Deal review of 2019 and of the decade. Happy New Year to you. Bring on 2020.
Live from Hartford, Connecticut, this is the Raw Deal for episode #1388 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 played to begin the show. That was followed up by the pyro in the arena in Hartford, which his near WWE’s home offices in Stamford, CT. There was a plug for the wedding of Bobby Lashley and Lana later on Raw. Plus, a rematch from TLC with Aleister Black facing Buddy Murphy again in what should be an awesome match.

Let’s Hear from Kevin Owens
Kevin Owens walked down to the ring quickly. The announce team of Vic Joseph and Jerry “The King” Lawler welcomed us to the show. There’s no third person on the announce team after Samoa Joe was attacked last week because Joe is cleared to return to action. He was only a temporary announcer on Raw. Speaking of that attack, Owens cued up some highlights from last week. They showed a replay of last week’s Raw when Seth Rollins beat up Owens, Rey Mysterio and Joe in separate attacks. Joe was put through the announce table by the two big AOP boys.
Owens talked about how Seth and AOP sent him to the hospital twice in a month. Owens said that every week, he’s going to keep calling them out, but sooner or later he’ll take one of those idiots down with him. Owens said what he has a problem with is their actions impact people in the locker room that he respects like Rey Mysterio. Owens said there aren’t a lot of people in this industry that he respects as much as Mysterio. Owens said it made him sick to see them gang up on a legend like Mysterio and stomp on him on the stage. Owens said that the worst part is that those actions are why Mysterio lost the US Title to Andrade at a live event on Thursday. A video aired from this past Thursday at MSG when Andrade beat Rey Mysterio to win the US Title.
Owens called out Rollins and right on cue, that led to Rollins making his entrance with the AOP boys by his side.

Rollins stood on the stage saying that Owens is failing to see the big picture. Rollins said that this has been forced upon him by Owens and people like KO that think they know best. Rollins claimed this position is his sacrifice for the greater good to be a leader and take this industry into the next decade. The fans booed. Rollins said that Owens left him to impose his will and if you resist, you saw what happened to Mysterio and Joe while adding that AOP will enforce his will.
Owens left the ring, he went after Akam and Rezar (they were in suits as usual) and they brawled outside the ring. The fight went into the ring with AOP beating down Owens with repeated punches and knees. Rollins told AOP to teach Owens a lesson.
Samoa Joe’s music hit and Joe made his entrance to a huge pop. Joe was in his wrestling gear. Joe went to the ring with a kick to Akam and he tossed Rezar into the barricade. Joe went into the, punches to Rollins and a headbutt. Joe slapped on the Coquina Clutch on Rollins, the crowd loved that, but then AOP saved Rollins. Owens back in with a chair and he hit both AOP guys in the back, but Rollins went after Owens. Security guys went down to the ring to break it up. When the security guys broke it up on the floor, Owens hit a somersault dive onto the pile to knock everybody. They went to break shortly after that.
Analysis: Good start to Raw with Kevin Owens calling out Seth Rollins and AOP, which led to a fight and Joe joining in the fun makes a lot of sense too. Did you hear the pop for Joe? The fans want to root for the guy. The pacing of this story has been slow and that's a good thing. They aren't rushing it. The fans are into it. This kind of start is better than some promo where a guy talks for 15 minutes to set up a match later in the night. This was more action. It was a fight. It's easy to understand based on the story. Joe and Owens are likable to the fans because of the story as well as their credibility as successful wrestlers in their careers. It works. Impressive dive by KO too!

CM Punk also offered his take on this.

(Commercial)
There were replays of what happened before the break.
Samoa Joe and Kevin Owens were shown talking in the locker room. Charly Caruso showed up to ask why Joe what he did. Caruso mentioned security was showing for them. Joe said that Seth Rollins forced him into it because of what they did while Owens said he’s known Joe a long time while adding there’s nobody he would rather be on the same side with than Joe. Security showed up, Joe threatened them not to touch him and Owens said “Happy New Year” to a security guy as they left.
Analysis: I like Owens and Joe together. They are not “body guys” like we have seen in pro wrestling for decades, but they are easy to root for and now they have a common enemy, so the story works for them.
Aleister Black made his entrance for this singles match. It’s one of the coolest entrances in WWE. Buddy Murphy entered as the opponent.

Aleister Black vs. Buddy Murphy
There was some posturing in the first minute with Murphy doing Black’s sitting in the ring spot and then Black sat in the ring to stare at him. Black with a running back elbow to the face followed by a snap suplex. Black with a kick to the chest, then some punches and a running kick to the face for a two count. Black tried a corner attack, Murphy avoided it and sent him into the turnbuckle. Murphy went up top, but Black countered him with a jumping kick to the face. That was a great sell by Murphy, who tripped up Black on the turnbuckle and Black bumped into the top of the ring post, then onto the floor. They went to break about four minutes into it.
(Commercial)
The match continued with the two men exchanging strikes on the apron leading to Black kicking Murphy into the turnbuckle, which led to Murphy bumping to the floor. Black with a moonsault off the middle ropes onto Murphy on the floor. Back in the ring, Black with a running knee on Murphy followed by another moonsault press off the middle ropes for a two count. Murphy kicked Black out of the ring, Murphy was selling a left leg injury and Black with another kick to the upper body of Murphy. Black with a hard kick to the chest while Murphy was against the ropes. Black went up top, Murphy back up and he sent Black face first into the turnbuckle. Murphy with a dropkick into the ropes followed by rollup with his feet on the ropes for two. Murphy kicked Black out of the ring followed by a somersault dive over the top onto Black on the floor. Murphy barely connected on that, but Black sold it anyway. Murphy up top and he jumped off with a double knee attack on Black for a two count. The fans were chanting “this is awesome” for them. Murphy up top, Black went after him, Murphy with a front suplex and Murphy rolled through into a Powerbomb for two. Black with a kneebreaker on the shoulder, Murphy with a kick to the head and Black with a sweeping kick. They exchanged strikes again with kicks, then Black with a back kick to the face, but Murphy came back with a jumping knee. Black countered a move with a brainbuster of his own for a two count. Black wanted his Black Mass kick, Murphy avoided it, Murphy got a rollup for two and Black hit a Black Mass kick although it didn't fully connect. Black brought Murphy back up and hit another Black Mass kick for the pinfall win after 15 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Aleister Black
Analysis: ***3/4 It was a great wrestling match just like they had at TLC. It was one of the better matches on Raw this year. This is what Raw needs more of. Build the story for a few weeks to make us care about a rivalry between the wrestlers. Give great wrestlers like Black and Murphy the chance to go for 15 minutes and trust them to deliver a match that the fans will enjoy. This crowd loved this match and that’s no surprise since it was great to watch. It was fun pro wrestling. There is time for matches this good every week and it’s not that hard to do it as long as there is a bit of effort in the storylines. It was interesting how Black controlled most of it as the face, then Murphy had some moments where he nearly won, but then Black came back to win clean. They are booking Black strong, which is fine with me. A feud with AJ Styles or Andrade would be great for him in the long term.

The fans cheered the effort of both guys while Black was victorious once again.
Seth Rollins and AOP were in the backstage area. Akam and Rezar said they will beat up anybody that comes near them. Rollins claimed that management wanted them to leave the building. Rollins said that the show will be canceled by the next match. Security showed up with Rollins saying they didn’t have to worry because Seth and AOP were leaving voluntarily.
Lana was shown backstage in a makeup chair while a lady was putting makeup on her. Erick Rowan showed up asking with his cage. Rowan asked if she misplaced the invitation for him, then he said we don’t care anyway and he yelled like a crazy man. Lana just cringed in her chair as Rowan left.
Analysis: That was awkward, but I guess that’s the Rowan character doing what he does.
A commercial aired for NXT promoting their Year End Awards show on Wednesday that also features three of NXT’s biggest matches of the year. In other words, it’s a taped show on New Year’s Day.
(Commercial)

Erick Rowan entered with the cage that had a cloth on it against an unnamed opponent. It’s a guy named Kip.
Erick Rowan vs. Kip Stevens
Rowan’s opponent left the ring, he went under the ring and Rowan figured out the guy was by the cage. When Kip turned around, Rowan kicked him in the face. Rowan slammed Kip face first into the side of the ring apron. Back in the ring, Rowan hit a running splash, body slam and a running splash for two because Rowan picked the guy back up. Rowan hit the Iron Claw Slam for the pinfall win after two minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Erick Rowan
Analysis: 1/2* It was the usual squash match win for Rowan just like he does every week on Raw.
Lana was shown in her dressing room getting ready for the wedding. They had her bend over in a tight dress showing her cleavage while rubbing lotion on herself. She was talking to herself about how people are obsessed with her.

Analysis: Good camera work there. Is the Attitude Era back? Don’t answer that.
(Commercial)
Charlotte Flair made her entrance in her ring gear along with the usual robe that she loves to wear. She’s a 10-time Women’s Champion as most WWE fans know since the announcers say it every time she’s on camera.
Flair greeted the fans with “Woo” on the microphone. Flair said that she is there to announce her entry into the Women’s Royal Rumble match. Flair said it’s exciting and surprising that she’s in the Royal Rumble match. Flair said all of you knew she was going to be in the Women’s Royal Rumble, so why state the obvious? Flair said she could talk about how she’s a 10-time Women’s Champion, that she main evented WrestleMania and she’s the first woman to ever main event a pay-per-view, she’s hard working, she’s consistent and arguably the greatest of all time. Flair said she is the first woman on any brand to make her entry into the women’s Royal Rumble. Flair said that means she is the first male or female to say she’s in the Royal Rumble. Flair said she’s so tired of talking about how she is the Queen of WWE, so she wants to show us why. Flair said she had her favorite robe on, her boots are laced, so who wants to face The Queen and then she asked who wants to bow down to The Queen?
Natalya’s music hit as Natalya appeared on the stage and then they went to break at the end of the first hour.
Analysis: It was a decent promo Charlotte talking about her accolades while adding that she didn’t want to talk about it, she wanted to show it. I feel like people standing in the ring while listing what they have done is almost like a commercial. It feels too fake. Just get to the point. Her delivery was fine, but some of the dialogue was cheesy. Natalya answering her challenge is fine with me since they have had many great matches together over the years.

(Commercial)
There was a referee in the ring to begin the match.
Charlotte Flair vs. Natalya
Flair grounded Natalya with a headlock, then Natalya countered and Flair kipped up to get out of it. Flair with a shoulder tackle, Natalya with a snap mare, jump on the back on the back of the neck and Flair popped back up leading to a clothesline. Natalya came back with a snap suplex followed by a spinning clothesline for two. Natalya put Flair in a surfboard submission where she pulled on the arms of Flair, but Flair got out of that and kicked Natalya in the face for two. Flair wrenched the left knee of Natalya against the ropes, then Natalya avoided and attack and sent Flair into the turnbuckle as well as the steel steps. They went to the floor where Natalya gave Flair a suplex on the bottom of the ramp. Back in the ring, Natalya told a fan to shut up followed by a suplex. Flair hit Natalya with a forearm, then Natalya charged, Flair moved and Flair pulled on Natalya’s legs against the ropes, so it was almost like a Boston Crab against the turnbuckle. Natalya bumped to the floor. There was chaos at that moment as R-Truth ran around the ring wit the 24/7 Title. Eric Young even went into the ring and Flair hit him with a boot to the face. Truth escaped through the crowd, which led to a break.
(Commercial)

The match returned with Flair going for a superplex on the ropes, Natalya pushed her off and Natalya hit a cross body block off the top for two. Natalya doesn’t do that move normally, but it looked good. Flair came back with a kick to the chest, Natalya blocked another kick and hit a release German Suplex. Flair with a back elbow to the face followed by an overhead suplex. Flair missed a corner kick, Natalya grabbed her and hit a sitout Powerbomb for a two count. Both women were down selling the physicality of the action. Natalya wanted a Sharpshooter, Flair punched her and there was a rollup for two. Flair with a boot to block a clothesline. Flair off the ropes and she hit a Spear for a two count because Natalya barely got her left shoulder up. Flair with a knee drop to the left knee and then Natalya kicked Flair into the turnbuckle. Flair kicked Natalya down and hit the Natural Selection neckbreaker for a two count. Flair went up top, moonsault attempt, Natalya got the feet up to block and inside cradle got two for Natalya. Flair got back up to her feet and connected with a big boot to the face. Flair slapped on the Figure Eight submission, Natalya tried to fight it, but then she tapped out and Flair won by submission after 13 minutes.
Winner by submission: Charlotte Flair
Analysis: ***1/4 This was pretty good. I thought it was hard-hitting, they had some cool spots in there and plenty of counters that tells the viewer that they know eachother well. It was a bit of a cold match since it wasn’t advertised, so the fans didn’t react to it in a big way. It seemed like the story was that every time Natalya got some momentum, Flair was there to stop her. I’m a bit surprised that they didn’t do a Sharpshooter spot that we see in most Natalya matches because then it would have looked like Natalya had a chance to win. Flair getting the win is not a surprise since she will be a legit threat to win the Royal Rumble.

Becky Lynch was interviewed backstage by Charly Caruso. Lynch announced that she’ll defend the Raw Women’s Championship against Asuka at the Royal Rumble on January 26th (it was actually a challenge that was made official later in the show). Lynch claimed that she got what she wanted because her contract is up soon. Lynch claimed something about how she set out to prove that a woman can be The Man in this business and she’s done that, but she has to prove to herself that she can beat Asuka. Something like that anyway. Lynch said she doesn’t know if she can beat Asuka, but she’s going to try even if it kills her.
Analysis: Lynch vs. Asuka at Royal Rumble was expected since Asuka beat Lynch at this year’s Rumble. Doing the match again one year later sounds like a great idea to me.
Bobby Lashley was shown in the dressing room getting ready for his wedding segment.
(Commercial)

There was another Liv Morgan video talking about how you can't just look different, you have to feel different. Morgan said that somebody once made her feel different and then took it away. Morgan said that the old me wouldn’t have done anything, but the new her strikes when ready and she asked if we’re ready.
Let’s Hear from The OC
The OC trio of AJ Styles, Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson made their entrance. They stood in the ring with Styles talking about how Raw is The OC’s show. They showed a clip from two weeks ago when Gallows and Anderson beat The Viking Raiders. Last week on Raw, The OC trio beat Randy Orton and Viking Raiders in a six-man tag team match when Styles beat Orton.
Anderson said that everybody said that the Viking Raiders were unbeatable, but they beat them time and time again. Anderson noted that they beat them at Crown Jewel when they were officially recognized as the best tag team in the world (they showed the trophy). Gallows said that the trophy proves it. Gallows said that when it comes to who gets to challenge those two goofs…and here come The Street Profits.
The Street Profits duo of Montez Ford and Angelo Dawkins appeared on the stage with microphones in hand. Ford asked if G&A have beaten the Viking Raiders more than once and Dawkins said it’s true. Ford also mentioned G&A winning the tag team turmoil match, which Dawkins said it’s true. Ford noted that on their Monday Night Raw debut, they beat Gallows and Anderson with Dawkins noting they beat their A$$. Ford said that means they are…and Styles said lucky.
Styles told the Street Profits what have they done here with just a handful of matches? Styles told them to stick backstage or maybe they’ll get hurt. Dawkins noted The OC is named after a teen soap opera in reference to the 2000s drama show The OC. The fans barely reacted to that. Gallows said this is not a high school musical and told them to get in the ring so they can kick their ass. Ford said that they want the smoke. That led to a match.

Analysis: That’s the typical WWE way of setting up a match with the trash-talking promo and the ref was right there to start it. I like Street Profit promos, but they need even more catchphrases for the fans to chant along with.
The Street Profits (Montez Ford and Angelo Dawkins) vs. The OC’s Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson (w/AJ Styles)
Ford hit a dropkick on Anderson for a two count, then Dawkins came in with a double axehandle off the ropes. Dawkins with a shoulder tackle on Anderson. Dawkins ran the ropes, Styles grabbed the foot, the referee realized what Styles did and the referee ejected Styles from ringside. The ejection spot always leads to cheers when a heel is sent to the back and that’s what it did here.
(Commercial)

The match returned with Anderson in control of Ford with a headlock. Ford with a boot to the face, clothesline charge, but Anderson moved and hit a neckbreaker for two. Gallows worked over Ford with punches followed by a headlock, and when Ford got back up, Gallows decked him with a boot to the face. Gallows with a clubbing blow to the back of Ford, Gallows punched Dawkins off the apron and Ford hit a jumping kick on Gallows. Anderson tagged in, Dawson got the hot tag with clotheslines, uppercut on Anderson and a dropkick on Gallows. Dawkins with an overhead suplex on Anderson, corner splash on both guys and Dawkins with a running bulldog on Anderson for a two count. Gallows back in, punch by Dawkins and Anderson came back with a spinebuster for two. Anderson knocked Ford off the apron, Gallows back in and OC hit a double team neckbreaker on Ford for two. Ford saved his partner, dropkick on Gallows and a running somersault dive onto Gallows on the floor. Dawkins with the sky-high spinebuster on Anderson and Ford went up top with a Frog Splash (he jumped really high on that) on Anderson for the pinfall win after 11 minutes.
Winners by pinfall: The Street Profits (Montez Ford and Angelo Dawkins)
The Street Profits celebrated the win (Ford does a great rope shake) and Lawler was in heel mode saying that it wouldn’t have happened that way if Styles was still at ringside.
Analysis: **3/4 Good match with the faces going over thanks to an exciting finish. The height that Ford gets on that Frog Splash is incredible. By having The OC beat The Viking Raiders non-title and then having Street Profits beating The OC here, it usually means a triple threat situation. (Later in the show, the triple threat was announced for next week on Raw.)

The match is official for the Royal Rumble: Becky Lynch vs. Asuka for the Raw Women’s Title.
There was a backstage shot of Lana checking out some flowers that were for her wedding.
This Friday on Smackdown: Daniel Bryan needs to be careful what he wished for since he’s facing The Fiend at Royal Rumble.
(Commercial)
The Street Profits duo were backstage celebrating their victory. Montez Ford wondered if that win meant they were the best tag team in the world or universe. Angelo Dawkins said that maybe they were the best in the multiverse and tried to explain it. Ford lost interest, so he mentioned the wedding, Dawkins wanted to know who the bridesmaids were and Ford ended it saying “we want the smoke” like they love to say.
The team of Zack Ryder and Curt Hawkins entered for a match against Drew McIntyre.

Drew McIntyre made his entrance with a microphone in his hand. McIntyre said it’s a 2 on 1 match with Ryder and Hawkins against the “Sexy Scotsman” Drew McIntyre. Drew leaned up against the barricade by a fan and he said he’s not worried about it. McIntyre told Hartford if Drew should be worried tonight and not many people raised their hands. Drew asked if Zack and Curt should be worried, so most of the fans that raised their hands. Drew told them “you’re screwed” to begin the match.
Ryder and Hawkins tried to attack, but McIntyre drove Ryder back first into the barricade and he knocked Hawkins down on the apron. The bell rang.

Drew McIntyre vs. Zack Ryder and Curt Hawkins
McIntyre with an overhead suplex on Hawkins followed by a Claymore Kick. McIntyre hit a Future Shock DDT on Ryder, then put Ryder on top of Hawkins and pinned both guys for the victory after one minute.
Winner by pinfall: Drew McIntyre
Analysis: * This was another easy win by McIntyre that was more impressive than last week since he beat two guys at once. It’s good to be over 6’5” and a heel on Raw since guys like Drew and Rowan get booked so strongly every week.
The announcers talked about Randy Orton addressing his knee injury and his future. That’s still to come.
(Commercial)

A video aired letting us know that the WWE Champion Brock Lesnar is back on Raw next week in Oklahoma City. Also next week on Raw: Andrade vs. Rey Mysterio for the US Title and The Viking Raiders defend the Raw Tag Team Titles against The OC and Street Profits.
Analysis: Two title matches plus the return of Lesnar after he’s been off for over one month. That’s a solid way to begin the year.
Let’s Hear from Randy Orton
Randy Orton made his entrance with two crutches that he used to support his injured left leg. Orton had a brace on the left leg as he made his way down to ringside. There was a ringside attendant that helped Orton make his way onto the apron. Orton stood in the ring with a microphone in hand.
Analysis: There was an Orton injury at a WWE live event on Sunday in Hershey, PA. The initial belief was that it was a legit injury, but the Wrestling Observer reported it’s just part of the storyline with Orton selling the left knee injury for several weeks. WWE doesn't do injury angles at live events that often, so that's why people thought it was legit.

Orton was ready to speak as the fans chanted his name. Orton said that there’s a saying in the business that it ain’t ballet and injuries can happen at any time. Orton said all the guys and girls are well aware of the fact that injuries can happen. Orton said it kills him that he needed help to get into the ring tonight in front of the fans. The fans were chanting “Randy” in support of Orton. Randy said he’s seen champions that have surrendered their title because of injury and he said he didn’t respect many people, but one man he does respect is Edge and he had to surrender his title to retirement.
Orton said he heard his knee pop during the match last night and he didn’t know how bad it was until the doctors looked at the MRI this morning. Orton said that he’s going to be out for a very long time while adding that there’s a good chance that he won’t be able to come back. The fans chanted “no” at Orton. Randy said no matter what happens, he’s going to do everything in his power to make sure that somebody gets RKO’d at WrestleMania and that is his promise for the fans.
AJ Styles showed up for the interruption saying “timeout” to stop Orton from talking. Styles said that the next time he gets to fight Orton is WrestleMania…maybe? Styles asked is that what he’s saying? Styles went into the ring with Orton.

Styles said Orton looked mad and he asked if he was mad while adding that of course Randy is mad. Styles wondered what The Viper was going to do to him and said he didn’t think Orton was going to strike. Styles teased Orton saying he didn’t touch him, but then he touched the knee of Orton that had a brace on it. Styles said he picked on the kid at school that can’t do a thing about it. Styles laughed at how fate bit Orton before Orton could bite fate for Styles. Orton asked if he was done, Styles said he was not done and told us that he’ll give the people what they want. Styles said he’ll put his arms behind his back to let The Viper strike. Styles put his arms behind his back, he even closed his eyes and Orton did nothing while Styles laughed while adding that Orton is hurt. Styles said he’ll wait until WrestleMania to put the leg of Orton’s, put it into a Calf Crusher and not only make him tap out, but retire him. Styles told him he’ll see him at WrestleMania and then he kicked one of the crutches away. The fans chanted “AJ sucks” at Styles.
Orton asked: "You know what the big difference is between you and me?” Orton said you’re patient, but he is not. Orton hit Styles with the RKO to show that he was not hurt after all. The fans popped big for that as Orton celebrated in the ring with his familiar pose.
Analysis: I thought that was well done. It took about ten minutes to get through it, but it was nice work by both guys. Orton was sad about the injury, Styles acted like a jerk that bragged about it and then Orton took advantage of AJ’s cockiness to drop him with a well-timed RKO. It was an effective way of keeping this rivalry going. I don’t mind that at all. As for Orton mentioning Edge, there are rumors that Edge might be back in action for the Royal Rumble although Edge has denied that. It's not like a Royal Rumble surprise entrant is going to say they'll be in the match. Anyway, that's something to keep in mind for the Rumble match.

There was a video of Andrade winning the US Title from Rey Mysterio last Thursday. Rey Mysterio did a promo saying he was going to win the US Title back. Mysterio said he didn’t start this with Seth Rollins and AOP, but when this is over he’ll be standing tall. Rey said “booyaka 619” to end it.
Andrade made his entrance with the US Title along with the lovely business manager Zelina Vega by his side.
(Commercial)
There was a plug for Fox’s New Year’s Eve bash with Steve Harvey. There’s also a match with Roman Reigns facing Dolph Ziggler. It was taped last week after Smackdown.

Andrade (w/Zelina Vega) vs. Some Bald Guy With No Name Given
Andrade with a running boot followed by a clothesline. Andrade hit the guy with a running dropkick. Andrade hit a running double knee attack against the turnbuckle. Andrade wanted to hit the Hammerlock DDT, but Vega told him to do it on the floor. Andrade tossed the guy out of the ring. Andrade and Vega took the mat cover off the floor to expose the cement Andrade broke the referee’s count. Ricochet’s music hit to save this guy from a DDT on the floor and Ricochet checked on the guy. The referee left the ring too, so I guess that was the end of the match without a finish. This went about three minutes.
Match Result: No Contest
Analysis: This was about putting over Andrade by teasing the DDT on the floor like he did to Humberto Carrillo. The lack of a finish may frustrate people, but the match didn’t matter. It was more of an angle.

Ricochet grabbed a microphone and said that it’s not going to happen like that. Ricochet mentioned Andrade doing that move to Humberto Carrillo and then trying to take out a legend like Rey Mysterio, so if you want a fight, you can fight him. The fans cheered.
Analysis: It’s the typical way to set up a match on a WWE TV show. At least it makes sense with Ricochet stepping up as a friend of Carrillo, who Andrade took out with the DDT on the cement.
(Commercial)
The bell rang to begin the match.
Andrade (w/Zelina Vega) vs. Ricochet

This is not for the US Title. Ricochet was on fire with a senton splash off the top for two. Ricochet to the apron, Vega with a distraction and a springboard attack missed because Andrade hit a dropkick to the chest of Ricochet. Vega pulled the mat up again to expose the concrete outside the ring. Andrade with a running back elbow followed by stomps. Andrade hooked the arms of Ricochet while in a standing position, but Ricochet slipped through with a rollup for two. Ricochet with a headscissors on Andrade to send him out of the ring and Ricochet hit a twisting cross body block over the top to the floor. Andrade left the ring, Ricochet went after him and Andrade shoved Ricochet back first into the barricade. Andrade drove the lower back of Ricochet into the side of the ring where the LED boards were. Ricochet tried to fight back, but Andrade gave him a back body drop onto the exposed cement on the floor.
(Commercial)
The match returned with Andrade in control with a headlock, Ricochet came back with an enziguri kick and an impressive dropkick. Ricochet with a standing Shooting Star Press for a two count. Andrade avoided the Recoil, then Andrade hit a running back elbow and that connected for a two count. That running back elbow by Andrade looks so deadly. Ricochet countered a DDT attempt with an inside cradle, then superkick and Ricochet with a suplex into a neckbreaker. Ricochet went up top right by Vega, who went up and she shoved Ricochet off the top while the referee didn’t see it. Andrade hit the Hammerlock DDT on Ricochet for the pinfall win after 10 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Andrade
Analysis: *** It was a competitive match with a finish that wasn’t that creative. Some of the spots they did were great like that back elbow by Andrade and the way Ricochet sold it was perfect. They work well together. I didn’t love the finish because it was the most obvious manager interference finish that you could come up with. They could have distracted the referee better or make Ricochet not look like a loser as much by going up top right where Vega was standing. Ricochet really needs a meaningful feud. I assume the long term Andrade feud is with Humberto Carrillo although any time Andrade wrestles Rey Mysterio like he is next week that’s fine with me too.

Lana was shown getting ready for the wedding with a photographer taking pictures. Lawler was really over the top saying it may be the greatest thing on Raw in the history of the show. No. Just no.
(Commercial)
Andrade and Zelina Vega were shown walking backstage with the US Title on his shoulder. They were happy about his win. Sarah Schreiber showed up for an interview, which led to Vega talking about how Andrade proved how great he is while mentioning Andrade has beaten Ricochet and Humberto Carrillo. They talked trash about Rey Mysterio as well.
There was a plug for next week’s Raw: The WWE Champion Brock Lesnar is back, Andrade defends the US Title against Rey Mysterio and The Viking Raiders defend the Raw Tag Team Titles against The Street Profits and Gallows/Anderson of The OC.

The Wedding of Bobby Lashley and Lana
The ring was filled with wedding flowers and other things that you might see at a wedding while white steps were put beside the ring. It looked like there was some giant cake that could fit a person in it, so gee I wonder who that could be? Don't answer that. There was some older white gentleman in the ring to run the ceremony. There were many empty chairs on the stage because the idea is that nobody wanted to be at the wedding.
Bobby Lashley was introduced. Lashley’s theme song played for him. Lashley wore a tuxedo jacket with cutoff sleeves and no shirt underneath.
Lana made her entrance. They did not play “here comes the bride” for her. I don’t know what song they played, but there were some violins playing as she made her way down to the ring. Lashley held the ropes open to allow Lana to get into the ring. The wedding is next.
(Commercial)

There were about 10 minutes until the top of the hour. The show returned with Lashley and Lana in the ring for their wedding ceremony. The minister (a local actor most likely) read something about how we hope that marriage makes them a better version of themselves. When the minister read something about how they might have kids one day, Lana complained about it saying she didn’t put that in a script. The minister read some more stuff, which led to “Rusev Day” chants and fans had “Happy Rusev Day” signs in the crowd. Lana yelled that it was not about Rusev. The minister said that Lashley and Lana found their other half and we are all happy for both of them, which drew boos. There was another “Rusev Day” chant that pissed off Lana, who told the fans to shut up.
Lana said her vows while reminding the crowd that it’s all about Lana. She said this is the luckiest day of Bobby’s entire life because he is marrying the greatest WWE superstar of all time (heels lie). Lana said she’s the greatest woman that has ever lived while bragging about her charisma and telling the fans that they are pathetic. Lana said she knows that Lashley has worked so hard in his life to be the best at everything and the greatest gift he can give himself is her. The fans chanted “Rusev Day” again, so she said “Lana Day” repeatedly while the fans booed as she reminded us that it’s her day. Lana said that they are only 25 hours away from the new decade while adding that this is the greatest moment of Lashley’s career, life and manhood while adding that she wants to jump on him to make love to him right now. Lana kissed Lashley for a few seconds until Lana backed away to her side. The minister thanked Lashley for his restraint, which made me chuckle.
Lashley read some cue cards that Lana wrote for him and the comments were similar to what Lana wrote. Her makeup was all messed up on her face after she kissed Lashley. I think some of the makeup went on Lashley’s face as well or it was his makeup on her face. It's something like that. Anyway, the fans chanted “what” so she tried to shut them up again. Lashley continued to read the cards that were similar to what Lana said including Lashley thanking her for allowing him to marry her.

The minister said let’s get to the rings. Lashley took the ring and put it on Lana’s finger while saying the vows that he was told to say. The show was past the 11pmET hour at this point and Lana cut off the minister saying we know that he loves her. Lana put the ring on Lashley’s left ring finger while adding that her Bobby has promised her everything. I think Lashley helped her with some makeup.
It got to the part where the minister asked if there was anybody that thinks these two should not be married. There was some guy in a suit that walked down to the ring. He said this is a complete sham and this should not continue. The guy said that he is Lana’s first husband. The guy said that they got married the day she turned 18, then she left him for that son of a bitch Rusev and Lana told the guy to get out of there while claiming that he is still in love with her. The guy told Lashley that he’ll leave him like she always does because that’s what she does. Lashley gave the guy a spinebuster and he bumped out of the ring.
There was no interruption this time…or at least that’s what it looked like, but then there was a woman that walked down to the ring with a microphone.
The woman said that she is Bobby Lashley’s first wife. The fans chanted “Jerry” for Jerry Springer. The woman said that they met when Bobby was in the military and it was so beautiful, so Lana slapped the woman and knocked her down. The minister continued again asking if there’s anybody that has just cause why these two should not be joined in holy matrimony, speak now or forever hold your peace.

There was another objection and this time it was Liv Morgan. Liv said that this cannot go on because the love of her life is right there. Liv said she wouldn’t have made it through this year without their love. She said that she was hoping her dreams would come true and she never knew that she could be herself until they met and fell in love with eachother. Liv asked: “How can you do this to me?”
Bobby Lashley said he has never touched this woman in his entire life. Morgan said oh no, she’s not talking about Bobby.
Liv went into the ring and said: “I’m talking about Lana!” The fans popped for that. Morgan asked Lana why is she doing this? The fans chanted “yes” for this. Lana was angry, so she tackled Morgan against the turnbuckle and they got into a fight in the ring. There were referees as well as producers that went down to the ring to break it up.
Lana still wanted to get married, so the minister was about to announce them as a married couple and that’s when Rusev emerged from the cake that was in the ring. The fans popped big for Rusev probably because they wanted somebody to end this. Rusev beat up Lashley with punches and he threw him into the turnbuckle followed by a clothesline. Rusev gave Lashley a Machka Kick. Morgan sent Lana’s face into the wedding cake. That was the end of Raw at 11:11pmET so they went 11 minutes past the top of the hour. I don't believe Lana and Lashley are "married" although that wasn't clarified at the end of the show.

Analysis: This is one of those segments where I don’t even know where to begin. I fully expected the wedding to not happen and that’s what we got here as things started to unravel. The interruptions took place with previous marriages emerging followed by Liv Morgan revealing she’s in a lesbian relationship with Lana, but then Lana ended up attacking her, so that’s probably going to lead to a rivalry between them? The interference by Rusev was expected as soon as this was announced because you know the fans were going to hate this and they did, so having Rusev show up was a way to pop the crowd. The whole storyline has seen Lana acting like this arrogant woman that thinks she's a bigger star than she is actually is while everybody else sees her as a phony. I think she's trying to get her real husband Rusev over with the crowd.
The whole thing doesn’t bother me that much because it's WWE. I've been watching this stuff all my life. You can't go into a wedding segment expecting some riveting storyline or some great angle that we have never seen before. I see it as campy, cheesy comedy. It’s not like they are trying to make these weddings into serious segments. It was a joke of a wedding and that’s why it ended up in a brawl. The entire Lana/Lashley relationship has been that way with Lana controlling him while Lashley goes along with it because he thinks she’s hot. Everything about the wedding followed that pattern too.
I can see people reacting to this as one of the worst segments WWE has done in a very long time and that’s fine. I can see others laughing about it because it was the kind of silliness in pro wrestling that we are used to in our lives as wrestling fans. I laughed about it. It’s not a serious angle, so whatever. I’m glad this part of it is over. I hope Rusev gets more cheers during his career after this. It’s been good for him in that sense, so that makes me happy at least. Lana’s bad acting isn’t that great to watch, though.

Three Stars of the Show

  1. Aleister Black
  2. Buddy Murphy
  3. Kevin Owens/Samoa Joe

The Scoreboard
6.75 out of 10
Last week: 6.25
2019 Average: 5.91 (Smackdown is 6.56)
Last 5 Weeks: 6.25, 4.75, 7, 5.75, 7.5
2019 High: 8 (September 9)
2019 Low: 3.5 (May 27)

Final Thoughts
This week’s Raw gets a 6.75 out of 10.
This is a hard show to rate because I really liked most of the matches as well as the opening segment that was an exciting brawl to start the show. The Aleister Black/Buddy Murphy match was outstanding as you would expect. I liked what they did to further the Orton/Styles story as well. Most of the other matches were pretty good too.
The wedding segment with Lana and Lashley along with all the run-ins was the kind of silly WWE comedy that misses the mark sometimes. I can see fans being divided about it where they will either hate it or laugh at how ridiculous it was. I’m somewhere in the middle on it. I didn’t love it or hate it, but I hope it benefits Rusev long term. I'm also not sure this is the best way to bring back Liv Morgan, yet here she was as a former lover of Lana. The problem is that it was so long and so ridiculous that it overshadows the other things on the show that were actually good. When that happens, it hurts the show overall. I'm still saying it was an above-average Raw due to the matches as well as most of the storylines. They are pushing people well with decisive wins that will help them long term in the ring. I just don't think the main event wedding was a great ending and I'll leave it at that for now.

Next week on Raw: The WWE Champion Brock Lesnar is back, Andrade defends the US Title against Rey Mysterio and The Viking Raiders defend the Raw Tag Team Titles against The Street Profits and Gallows/Anderson of The OC.
The next WWE pay-per-view is the Royal Rumble on January 26th. Here’s what we know so far.

Universal Championship: “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt (c) vs. Daniel Bryan
Men’s Royal Rumble Match
Raw Women's Championship: Becky Lynch (c) vs. Asuka
Women’s Royal Rumble Match - Charlotte Flair is the first name announced.

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John Canton
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