The latest edition of Monday Night Raw has come and gone, and the big question was, would the WWE Superstars make it back in time from Saudi Arabia?
If you believe all the rumours (mostly put out there by Dave Meltzer), they were held hostage after the Saudi Prince refused to pay for Crown Jewel, forcing Vince McMahon to pull the live feed. McMahon took on, and beat, the US Government, no one intimidates him.
It’s a funny image to imagine, with Vince having a screaming match with a dictator while his superstars are locked up, but I don’t believe any of it happened. A misunderstanding, sure, but like everything today, it gets blown way out of proportion. Anyway, they did make it back in time for Raw, meaning the show wasn’t as good as Smackdown.
This week’s episode saw Seth Rollins address losing the Universal Championship to Bray Wyatt. He didn’t turn heel which was a big disappointment, but he did take on Adam Cole for the NXT Title in the main event which was awesome. The Survivor Series card also took shape with the Women’s and Tag Team Champions of all three brands meeting in respective Triple Threat Matches at the event. And Brock Lesnar went on an F5 spree before being outsmarted by Rey Mysterio again. The two will clash at Survivor Series, which makes you wonder why they bothered with the whole quitting Smackdown angle in the first place.
Here’s the review of everything that went down on WWE’s former flagship show.
Brock Lesnar/Paul Heyman Promo
We opened with another by the numbers Brock Lesnar promo. A bland way to kick off the show, considering how Smackdown ended. However, Paul Heyman is a master of his art and delivered on the mic while Brock Lesnar…. Bounced around on the spot again.
Lesnar being incensed and wanting Rey Mysterio’s blood makes for a compelling story, but is anyone buying that Rey is anything other than a snack for The Beast at Survivor Series? I do like watching Brock on a rampage, he does it better than anyone. Him smashing his way through the backstage area looked good, but it’s up to WWE to now give Rey some hope of victory such as an injury to Lesnar. We shall see what happens.
Charlotte Flair and Natalya Def. The Kabuki Warriors via pinfall
Next, we saw the random pairing of Charlotte Flair & Natayla upend The Kabuki Warriors in an overly long bout that showcased what potential these four women have if given the right platform and story. Randomly teaming together and going after the titles with no reasoning behind it is not a story.
Rey Mysterio Attacks Brock Lesnar
The post-match events were good, however. As Brock Lesnar continued his rampage, this time delivering an F5 to one of the announcers (they’re so bland, it could’ve been any one of them) through a table before Mysterio wiped him out with a stick. Rey is amazing as the underdog and the match itself should be fun, I just want them to give us a reason why we should believe Mysterio will not be decimated within 3 minutes like his family member Cain Valesquez.
Buddy Murphy Def. Cedric Alexander via pinfall
A fast paced encounter that didn’t outstay its welcome and delivered a decisive finish. Some will criticise the booking of Alexander, but giving Murphy the win here was very much needed. Both have a big upside. This led us to the overly hyped Seth Rollins promo, which actually delivered. He spoke from the heart about how everything he had accomplished this past year had been for nothing now that Brock Lesnar is back as Champion on Raw. Triple H attempting to recruit him to NXT and make him great again was well worked too. The confrontation between The Undisputed Era and The OC had the fans on their feet, and if that’s the way they go at Survivor Series, I’m all in.
Andrade and Zelina Vega Def. Sin Cara and Carolina via pinfall
More filler on Raw saw in an instantly forgettable Mixed Tag. Carolina looked to have potential as the first (to my knowledge) masked female performer in WWE, but two weeks in and she’s been painted as a joke. Sometimes you have to question WWE’s motives for these decisions.
Rusev Def. Drew McIntyre via disqualification
Rusev the sex addict, as he will surely be known as by WWE merchandisers shortly, demanded a match with the man who ran off with his wife, Bobby Lashley, but instead had to settle for Drew McIntyre. The two meshed fairly well together until the whole thing broke down when Lashley, Randy Orton and Ricochet all interfered. Looking like we’re heading to a traditional Elimination Match at Survivor Series. I like that it’s not all about brand warfare this year, makes a nice change.
Shayna Baszler Confronts Becky Lynch
The sit down interview that brought Shayna Baszler and Becky Lynch together was simple, well done and effective. If only WWE did more of this. It’s such an easy way to create animosity, draw the fans in and give each star a platform to discuss their motives. Both women did that to perfection here. We could have a classic on our hands at Survivor Series, with the inclusion of Bayley as well, of course.
The O.C Def. Humberto Carrillo via pinfall
The O.C followed up their mouth-watering face off with The Undisputed Era by defeating The Street Profits and Carrillo in a heatless six-man tag. Surely they can think of something better to do with AJ Styles. The guy is Phenomenal after all. Also, for anyone keeping score, that’s 3 losses out of 3 for Carrillo on Raw. This is his results when creative is pushing the guy, God help him when they decide to bury him. Raw continued to slide with The Viking Raiders winning another pointless encounter against two jobbers before cutting a listless promo hyping up Survivor Series.
Seth Rollins Def. Adam Cole via Disqualification
Finally, it was time for the main event which saw Seth Rollins and Adam Cole square off in a dream match for the ages. Unfortunately, while very good, it didn’t live up to expectations. They tried to fit everything in, which hurt the overall feel of the contest. Hopefully they will get another chance to rectify this down the road. The DQ finish was sensible, and the post match brawl between the NXT and Raw rosters was a good way to end proceedings and should lend some eyeballs to NXT on Wednesday night where you can bet your bottom dollar there will be plenty of Raw and Smackdown superstars on hand.
If AEW wins the ratings war this week I’ll be amazed.
You can find the author of this article on Twitter @JK_CFC3. Thanks for reading!