There is a lot of fallout to explore after last night’s Payback (read the full review here). There is only one match on the preview, Rey Mysterio versus Seth Rollins. With any luck, everyone moves on from this feud after that. It’s been fun, but it’s over. We’ll be hearing from the new WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions Shayna Baszler and Nia Jax. And from Keith Lee after his win over Randy Orton. Shane McMahon’s RAW Underground will probably have some more surprises for us. And I’d put money on RETRIBUTION showing up at some point.
I’m Amanda and this is the RAW review.
Keith Lee def. Dolph Ziggler
Mickie James def. Lana
Randy Orton def. Kevin Owens
Cedric Alexander & The Viking Raiders def. The Hurt Business
The Riott Squad def. The IIconics
Seth Rollins def. Dominik Mysterio
The Street Profits vs Andrade & Angel Garza – No Contest
Randy Orton def. Seth Rollins and Keith Lee
Tonight’s show was dedicated to the memory of ‘Bullet’ Bob Armstrong.
♦ Randy Orton opened the show. His entrance was accompanied by footage of his attacks on Drew McIntyre last week. Commentary explained that McIntyre is hoping to be back in time for Clash of Champions, where every title must be defended. To decide his challenger, there will be three single’s matches and the winner will go into a Triple Threat for the number one contender’s spot. The matches are Keith Lee versus Dolph Ziggler, Kevin Owens versus Randy Orton, and Dominik Mysterio versus Seth Rollins. It should have been Rey Mysterio but he picked up a triceps tear last night.
Orton felt disrespected by McIntyre’s pity-offer of a title match. McIntyre thinks he deserves the title but, as far as Orton is concerned, the only thing McIntyre deserves is the fractured jaw he gave him, to be in pain and sip his meals from a straw. McIntyre said he was going to Claymore him in the head but the only one dishing out kicks is the Legend Killer. Ask Edge, Christian, Big Show, Ric Flair, Shawn Michaels, or Drew McIntyre himself.
McIntyre thinks Orton feels entitled and he’s damn right. He shouldn’t have to face Owens tonight, he’s entitled to that match. But he’ll jump through the hoops and go through Owens and whoever’s in the Triple Threat to get there. That’s if Drew McIntyre even makes it to Clash of Champions. He said he has it on good authority that McIntyre got together with some old buddies to reminisce about their experiences then showed a weird picture of everyone he’s punt-kicked heads in hospital beds.
Keith Lee arrived while Orton was still laughing. I still don’t like his new music, but it’s still awesome having Keith Lee on RAW. Lee said Orton was fixated on the havoc he’s caused because he’s trying to forget he beat him last night. But last night, he gave Orton no chance but to bask in his glory. Maybe things are a bit different now because a victory last night against a Legend Killer like him might mean he should get a title opportunity. He’s known McIntyre for quite some time and considers him a good friend and he believes he’ll make good on his word and at some point…
Dolph Ziggler attacked Lee from behind at the point. Randy Orton got to the apron and watch Ziggler put Lee down with a DDT going into the ads.
Keith Lee vs Dolph Ziggler took place after the break and was an entertaining opener. Ziggler got pounced most of the way across the ring. Lee took a Famouser and kicked out. For some reason, Keith Lee didn’t try to pin Ziggler off the Big Bang Catastrophe and nearly paid for it after taking a ZigZag. He kicked out though and Spirit Bombed Ziggler into the canvas for the win.
♦ Sarah Schreiber interviewed new WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions Shayna Baszler and Nia Jax. Jax still thinks it was Baszler following her lead and Baszler thinks it was all down to her. Asuka danced into shot while they were arguing and Schreiber asked if she’d had an answer to who her challenger was going to be. Asuka said no then Baszler and Jax got in her face about interrupting their interview. Asuka pushed Baszler away and yelled at Jax, but it came to nothing.
♦ Extra security have been brought in to deal with the threat of RETRIBUTION. Adam Pearce was yelling orders at them backstage.
♦ Charly Caruso asked Asuka if there was a challenger she’s beaten many great women, and she listed some of them, but it doesn’t matter who is ready for Asuka because Asuka is ready for anyone.
She was joined by Mickie James, who was celebrating her birthday. She praised Asuka as one of the greatest women’s champions of all time. She said that, out of respect, she wanted to tell her she’s coming for the title.
Natalya and Lana arrived, both in ring gear, to be mean to Mickie James. Asuka got tired of them bickering and offered to take them all on. Natalya and Lana jumped on her. Asuka threw Natalya out and helped dispose of Lana as well.
Mickie James vs Lana was the match we’ve got, with Natalya at ringside and Asuka joining commentary. Asuka said Mickie James is a legend, but she’s champion. James was brought back to WWE on NXT as a special opponent for Asuka. She seemed pretty happy when James got the victory with a Mick-kick. Natalya was distressed. Lana was unconscious.
♦ Demi Burnett interrupted The Viking Raiders teaching their greeting to Cedric Alexander. She told Alexander she admired him for not joining The Hurt Business, wished them luck, and gave Ivar a good luck kiss.
♦ Randy Orton appeared from Aleister Black’s dressing room while Charly Caruso was waiting to speak to Black about his attack on Kevin Owens. With Orton facing Owens later, that’s more than a touch suspicious.
Aleister Black attacked Owens during his entrance for Kevin Owens vs Randy Orton. Owens insisted he would compete despite the referee’s protestations. An RKO finished it in less than thirty seconds.
♦ We are getting The IIconics versus The Riott Squad again, but this time there were stipulations. The winners get a tag title shot, but the losers must disband. I don’t mind the number one contender stip, but disbanding either team is a terrible idea. The women’s tag division barely qualifies as a division as it is, especially with Bayley and Sasha Banks on the verge of imploding.
♦ Rey Mysterio said getting closure with Seth Rollins was important to him. His family is there and it would have been perfect. But his loss is Dominik’s gain and he’s the only one he would want to take his place. Dominik said he knows he’s the underdog but he’s feeling confident after their win last night and he’s got a 619 with the Monday Night Messiah’s name on it.
♦ MVP and Shelton Benjamin hosted The VIP Lounge. Benjamin will face Apollo Crews on RAW Underground later. New United States Champion Bobby Lashley was their guest, which was why he didn’t come out with them. MVP said Crews disrespected him and they went off on a self-congratulatory rant about Lashley’s win. Lashley said he’s going to get Crews back for attacking him post-match and Benjamin said he would beat him on RAW Underground.
They started talking about their six-man tag against Alexander and The Viking Raiders when Alexander interrupted them. MVP questioned whether him being there alone meant he’d changed his mind about joining them. Alexander said, ‘Hell No’ and he wasn’t there alone, at which point Erik and Ivar attacked Lashley and Benjamin from behind.
Cedric Alexander & The Viking Raiders vs The Hurt Business started properly after a break. Cedric Alexander got the pin on MVP but MVP held Lashley and Benjamin back from jumping him after the match. He had a big smile on his face as he backed them away and out of the ring.
Backstage, after a break, The Hurt Business were beating Alexander up backstage. Ricochet and Apollo Crews eventually saw them off.
♦ The IIconics vs The Riott Squad was interesting for the stipulations, but that can’t cover for the fact it happened yesterday and last week, and in some form for the last few weeks. I guess the disbanding stipulation means this is definitely the last time though. Morgan and Riott came out in matching gear for the first time and were back on the same page. There was a lot of good teamwork in this one, but Morgan and Riott were on fire. After an exchange of pin attempts, Ruby Riott stacked up Billie Kay and got the win. The IIconics were distraught and had full-on temper tantrums, begged the ref to change his mind, then sat in the middle of the ring and cried together.
♦ Seth Rollins yelled at Murphy for kicking him in the head and getting pinned by Dominik Mysterio. He told him that with a title opportunity on the line he can’t have Murphy screwing things up for him and kicked him out of the ring, telling him he doesn’t want to see or hear him until he knows what kind of man he wants to be. He called him a disgrace and slapped him on the shoulder when he was leaving the ring. Murphy turned around at the ramp and looked back at Rollins, and got clotheslined to the floor by Dominik Mysterio. There was a definite moment after Rollins slapped him where it looked like Murphy might turn on him.
Seth Rollins vs Dominik Mysterio started immediately and it didn’t take long for Rollins to take control. All four of their match, Dominik’s first four matches, have been highly entertaining. Dominik Mysterio looks more comfortable with every outing. He delivered the 619 he promised, but missed the frogsplash and got Stomped into the mat and pinned.
Rollins delivered a second Stomp after the match and the Mysterio family were shown backstage looking upset.
♦ Titus O’Neil kicked ass in his first match on RAW Underground. Then Riddick Moss stepped up and they ended up in the crowd. O’Neil dropped someone out there as well, but got caught with a kick in the balls form Moss then knocked out with a punch.
♦ The Street Profits did Coach Dawkins’ Scouting Report ahead of their tornado tag match against them. They’ve faced them every week for what feels like months. I can’t see what there is left to learn. The Street Profits vs Andrade & Angel Garza, with Zelina Vega, was chaotic and fun. I’d just like to see them find some other teams to fight. Demi Burnett was sat at ringside to support Garza. Dawkins accidentally (I assume) put his partner at the top of a Tower of Doom when he dragged Andrade and Garza off the turnbuckle. Garza and Andrade kept Ford out of the match for a while and Dawkins took a lot of punishment in the two on one time. Montez Ford got back in time to save him from being pinned but didn’t get chance to finish the match. The lights flashed and Angel Garza hurried off to get Demi Burnett to safety moments before RETRIBUTION arrived. There were a lot of them this time and everyone, including Zelina Vega, took a beating before RETRIBUTION ran off backstage.
Security were being screamed at and sent to find RETRIBUTION by Adam Pearce after the break.
♦ Akira Tozawa and his ninjas got stopped entering the garage and told their names weren’t on the list. It was a setup by R-Truth. The parking attendant was a referee. R-Truth is 39-time 24/7 Champion.
♦ Avery Taylor vs Jessamyn Duke was the next RAW Underground match. Duke won decisively and quickly and kicked her opponent out of the ring after they were done. Marina Shafir got her turn next and also won. Peyton Royce threw Billie Kay in with Duke and Shafir. Jessamyn Duke knocked her out with one kick. Royce cringed and laughed, so getting over the breakup is going well.
♦ Charly Caruso asked Apollo Crews if facing Shelton Benjamin in RAW Underground was a wise idea. Crews said the old Apollo would have been feeling sorry for himself, but the new Apollo is more determined than ever. Ricochet was angry with MVP for questioning their loyalty to Cedric Alexander. Alexander didn’t look 100% on board. Maybe 80%.
Apollo Crews vs Shelton Benjamin turned into a Hurt Business vs Crews, Alexander, & Ricochet three on three. The Hurt Business came out on top. Three for three.
♦ After promising Demi Burnett that her safety was his top priority, Angel Garza ran away and left her alone as soon as RETRIBUTION turned up. She ran off as well, eventually, and they didn’t chase her down.
♦ Keith Lee vs Randy Orton vs Seth Rollins – Number One Contender’s match – is a main event worthy of the title. Rollins and Orton made a deal to work together and Orton immediately broke it. Rollins went to the outside, where Orton was hanging out, to yell at him about it and got dragged back onto the apron by his hair by Lee. Orton got involved once they were distracted by each other and it turned into a really good triple-threat. Orton and Rollins did end up working together, most notably to throw Lee into the steps and then to get him back into the ring. Orton caught Rollins with a draping DDT as he got back into the ring, but Rollins kicked out and Lee had rolled back out of the ring.
Lee came back in a different gear and threw Rollins into Orton. Orton took a pounce that made him fly. Rollins got caught mid-suicide dive and slammed onto the announce desk. Rollins had Lee all lined up for a Stomp but took a Spirit Bomb instead. Before Lee could make the pin, Orton got him with an RKO and stole the pin on Rollins.
That was a ‘not bad but short of great’ episode of RAW. The main event, especially the finish, tells you WWE really like Keith Lee and it’s the best decision they’ve made in a long time. I can’t wait to see how his RAW career unfolds. Still no unmasking of or communication of intent from RETRIBUTION though. There is a limited time before interest in anonymous attackers starts to wane. That clock is ticking.