Monday Night Raw finished in last place for brand supremacy at Survivor Series, and suffice to say their leader Seth Rollins was not best pleased.
His promo and subsequent heel turn was exactly what needed to happen. This is the Seth Rollins we can all get on board with.
Elsewhere, Charlotte Flair clashed with Asuka after the pair turned on one another at Survivor Series, which ultimately resulted in Team Raw losing their match.
AJ Styles put his United States Championship on the line against Rey Mysterio in a first time ever clash but didn’t count on Randy Orton making his presence felt.
All this and more on an action-packed and intriguing episode of WWE’s third-best brand.
Usually, the moment Survivor Series is over with everyone forgets it even happened and goes back to whatever they were doing prior, but not this time. It made for a welcome change to see what happened have actual consequences as a seething Seth Rollins blamed the entire Raw roster for their failure only to have them walk out on him.
The only person who did not leave was Kevin Owens, who Rollins further humiliated with several insults. K.O responded with a Stunner to a thunderous pop, and the night’s main event was set. A great way to start the show.
Miracles do happen. We finally witnessed the first good segment in this truly awful story. Rusev saved us from the dire match that was taking place before completely battering Lashley all over the arena in a scene reminiscent of the Attitude Era. This is how to do it if you want to get Rusev over.
More violence, less talking is the way forward with this angle. All we need now is the actual match between the pair to put an end to things once and for all.
The Authors Of Pain finally made their in-ring return on Raw in destructive fashion, wiping the floor with Hawkins and Ryder. WWE need to strap a rocket to this pair and let them take over the tag team division, which should’ve happened the moment AOP arrived on the scene.
Akam and Rezar certainly look the part and if they can stay injury-free they have a bright future ahead of them. A clash with the Viking Raiders promises to be something very special indeed.
In the first boring part of Raw, Andrade kept his momentum going by notching another win against Akira Tozawa. This was nothing more than a squash to showcase Andrade’s skills.
It was okay for what it was but just didn’t do anything for me. Perhaps this time could’ve been better served with a vignette highlighting Andrade as a character. A US Championship feud with the man who held the gold by the night’s end would be a good idea.
It was great to see Matt Hardy back in a WWE ring looking in tremendous shape, but I’d have brought him back in a different way than being fed to Buddy Murphy.
Following the bout, Murphy called out Aleister Black once more and got taken out for his troubles by the Dutchman. I like that WWE are continuing to push Black, but I’d have him focus on the bigger names in the company such as Randy Orton or Rey Mysterio as that will help him more and not destroy any star power the younger guys have.
After Humberto Carrillo was taken out by The OC, we got a bout between four of Raw’s finest to find a new number one contender for AJ Styles’ United States Championship. It was a barn burner of a contest too. All four men were on top of their game, delivering a PPV worthy bout.
Rey Mysterio once again turned back the clock to put in a stellar performance and leave with the victory. He is undoubtedly in the twilight of his career, but he is certainly making the most of his swansong.
We then got another great contest here that resulted in Rey Mysterio capturing the United States Championship from AJ Styles following some timely interference from Randy Orton. The Viper continuing his rivalry with The OC makes sense in the grand scheme of things, and his eventual showdown with Styles should be phenomenal.
Randy is now a full-on babyface, which I’ve always said suits him much better, especially at this stage of his career. No one wants to boo Randy Orton, except maybe AEW fans.
On a night filled with short and entertaining bouts, it was fine to allow these two plenty of time to showcase their skills and chemistry in an outstanding contest. It was also nice to see Asuka finally defeat Charlotte, albeit with a little help from Kairi Sane.
This sets up the rumoured TLC clash along with Becky Lynch for the Tag Team Championship very nicely. It seems WWE is finally going all-in on Asuka as a dominant force in the women’s division.
We then got another flat victory for Rowan, who continues to flatter to deceive. He’s never been anything other than a mediocre big man. Harper has all the talent, but apparently not the look Vince McMahon desires. And as far as what’s in the box goes, I couldn’t care less.
No matter the situation, Kevin Owens and Seth Rollins always manage to deliver something worth watching. This was no different. The DQ ending which saw AOP arrive on the scene and flatten Owens before leaving Rollins to pick up the scraps was well done. Rollins completed his heel turn with a Curb Stomp for good measure to KO. If AOP are going to be Seth’s hired help moving forward, it will make for great TV. They’re an upgrade on J&J Security, that’s for sure.
Rollins has always been more suited to the opportunistic heel character as opposed to the all fighting and conquering hero he has played for the best part of 3 years. It will be interesting to see where things go from here, but surely they have to pair Rollins with AOP.
You can find the author of this article on Twitter @JK_CFC3. Thanks for reading!