There are only four matches advertised for tonight’s special In Your Face Monday episode. The RAW Women’s Champion, Asuka, defends her title against Mickie James. The RAW Tag Team Champions, The Street Profits, have a Champions vs Champions match against SmackDown champs Cesaro & Shinsuke Nakamura. Keith Lee and Drew McIntyre have, what Lee has referred to on social media as, a friendly competition. And Dominik Mysterio faces Seth Rollins in a steel cage in what will definitely not be a friendly competition.
I’m Amanda and this is the RAW review.
The Street Profits def. Cesaro & Shinsuke Nakamura
Cedric Alexander def. Ricochet
Asuka def. Mickie James
Bobby Lashley def. Erik
Seth Rollins def. Dominik Mysterio
Kevin Owens def. Aleister Black
The Riott Squad def. Natalya & Lana
Drew McIntyre vs Keith Lee – No Contest
Tonight’s commentary team were Michael Cole, Byron Saxton, and Dolph Ziggler.
♦ Drew McIntyre opened the show, in street gear not for his match. After showing some footage of the events with Randy Orton leading up to tonight, McIntyre said Randy Orton broke his jaw but he’s back and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know Orton intended to do so much more. He feels a little lucky, and Orton should feel lucky that his head is still attached to his body after the three Claymores last week.
To address his injury, once and only once, he said WWE medical personnel told him to take some time off but if he had he’d have had to forfeit the title, so he said no. It’s a non-displaced fracture and one bad strike could displace it and mean his jaw would have to be wired shut. He’d rather leave the ThunderDome in an ambulance every week than give up his title.
Addressing himself to Orton, he said they’ve both taken rides in ambulances recently because of the WWE Championship, so it seems appropriate that the next time they meet someone should take a ride in an ambulance FOR the WWE Championship. He’s proposing an Ambulance Match at Clash of Champions.
McIntyre told the story of how the Claymore came to be. It involved tight leather trousers and a potential split crotch/no underwear situation. Amusing, and it led to him showing a cartoon of his victims like Orton did.
Adam Pearce arrived and reminded McIntyre that Randy Orton might not make Clash of Champions. That means that if Keith Lee beats him tonight and Orton can’t make it, then Lee gets the title shot at Clash of Champions.
Keith Lee arrived wearing a shirt emblazoned with Black Lives Matter on the back. He got in the ring and exchanged a few words with McIntyre, un-mic’ed, and they shook hands. There were some shenanigans with Lee not letting go then McIntyre twisting his hand a little, but it was all very civil.
♦ The Street Profits vs Cesaro & Shinsuke Nakamura – Champions vs Champions match – was the first match of the show. Montez Ford got dumped spine first on the barricade when Cesaro and Nakamura caught his suicide dive. He took a lot of punishment all match. Nakamura got his knees up for Ford’s frogsplash. Ford got Cesaro swung into Nakamura’s knees. Nakamura took himself out by jamming his knee into the steps while aiming for Angelo Dawkins. Ford kicked out of Cesaro’s pop-up punch, but Cesaro put him in his own corner to beat on him and Dawkins tagged himself in unseen while Cesaro was delivering a suplex off the second turnbuckle. Cesaro didn’t have time to get up before Dawkins landed the Cash Out splash and pinned him. Nakamura tried to get in to break it up, but he was too slow.
♦ Lana complained to Angel Garza about Mickie James getting a title shot instead of Natalya. He was starting to flirt when Zelina Vega shooed her away and started shouting at him. Garza and Andrade argued. Vega yelled that she couldn’t do this anymore and stormed off, and they immediately started fighting.
♦ Cedric Alexander, with The Hurt Business, vs Ricochet, was next. MVP had a few words to say before the match. Business for The Hurt Business is booming. Cedric Alexander talked about why he joined The Hurt Business. Basically, it’s his job and he got sick of getting beaten up. Ricochet came out with Apollo Crews and there was arguing. In essence, they think Alexander is a weak-minded sellout and now they’re coming for him instead of The Hurt Business.
When the match got started things quickly got out of hand on the outside. Erik of The Viking Raiders came down and ran Bobby Lashley off. They have a match later. After a break, they had a decent match with no serious interference. Cedric Alexander won with a Lumbar Check. The lights went out while they were celebrating.
RETRIBUTION were on the screen when we came back. There were more of them this time. A LOT more. They are preparing to show us exactly who they are.
The Hurt Business had some things to say to Adam Pearce a little later, mainly centring around the idea Pearce’s job is at risk. They want to be the security against RETRIBUTION. He thanked them for volunteering. They laughed and told him they’d send him the bill.
♦ Mickie James had an interview with Sarah Schreiber about her emotional state going into the match. She said she loves the business and she’s put her heart and soul into it. She loves the way it drives her to be the best she can be, and she loves the sort of high stakes matches she has tonight. She knows she’s got what it takes but what really fuels her tonight is knowing this could be her last chance to win the title.
Asuka (C) vs Mickie James – RAW Women’s Championship match – started the second hour. Mickie James is so underrated, Asuka is one of the best in the world, and you can tell they like wrestling each other. It should have been great but there were issues, not least of which was the finish. The bell went while Asuka had Mickie James in a submission, but James didn’t tap. She was apparently declared unfit to continue. There was no further clarification.
Zelina Vega came out after the match, while the ref was on the floor talking to Mickie James. She’s had enough of wasting her time managing ingrates and she wants a shot at the RAW Women’s Championship. Asuka started to respond but Vega slapped her then got the hell out of there.
♦ Keith Lee had an interview with Charly Caruso. He’s excited about the opportunity. They’ve known each other a long time and they’ve been honest about the fact one day they may have to fight each other, just like Lee has been honest about not being a fan of McIntyre interfering in his matches. He wants to be champion, that goal drives all of them, but he knows McIntyre will do whatever it takes to remain champion. She asked him if he plans to take advantage of McIntyre’s injury. He said he doesn’t want to, but for the chance to become champion, he’ll do what he must.
♦ Bobby Lashley vs Erik took place with MVP replacing Dolph Ziggler on commentary instead of at ringside. He stayed for the rest of the show. Ivar was not with Erik because he’s out injured after hurting his neck on a dive last week. It was short. Erik tapped out in the Hurt Lock, Lashley left it on for a little longer than necessary.
♦ Kevin Owens didn’t know why Aleister Black has developed a vendetta against him. He reeled off a list of possible reasons, but he doesn’t care. He just cares about how he’s going to inflict enough pain on Black that he runs back to his hiding place and remembers every day what happens when you pick a fight with him.
♦ Braun Strowman has made the cross-brand journey to visit RAW Underground.
♦ Mandy Rose was transferred to RAW from SmackDown, as announced on Talking Smack last week.
♦ Seth Rollins said he had forgiven Murphy and had an important role for him tonight. When Murphy said he was ready, Rollins slapped him and grabbed him by the face and told him his role was to stay in the back, so he didn’t have to deal with his mistakes. He made him say, ‘Yes, Sir’ to indicate his understanding. It really won’t be long before Murphy kicks his ass.
The Dominik Mysterio vs Seth Rollins steel cage match happened in the middle of the show. That’s a lot of messing around with a cage in short space of time. This feud has exceeded expectations in just about every way, but it is time for it to be over now. The entire Mysterio family came to ringside with Dominik. Rollins was alone.
Dominik went for the early escape but Murphy appeared from nowhere and handed Rollins a kendo stick to beat him back down with. Rey Mysterio gave Dominik a kendo stick later in the match and Rollins took a lot of shots and got bounced off the cage. That resulted in a very near fall. Dominik got crotched on the top rope, and he immediately returned the favour. There was a minute or so of them just laying on the mat after that. Then, Dominik crawled to the door. Murphy stopped Rey helping Dominik and swung the door into what he thought was Dominik, except it was Rollins. Dominik was almost over the top of the cage but Murphy climbed up to meet him. Dominik knocked him down and got a two-count on Rollins with a frogsplash.
Rollins superplexed Dominik from the top turnbuckle, to stop him climbing out of the cage, and delivered a falcon arrow, but he kicked out. He couldn’t kick out after the two Stomps though.
After the match, Rollins went to the outside with a kendo stick, dropped it to embrace Murphy, then slammed him into the barricades and cage and smashed the door in his face. Aalyah Mysterio stopped to check on Murphy before she went to check on her brother. Rey Mysterio called for a medic before they cut away.
♦ The reason Dolph Ziggler left commentary was to have a fight on RAW Underground, which he won. He had a second fight, against Riddick Moss, which ended with them both getting destroyed by Brain Strowman.
♦ Drew McIntyre’s backstage interview was interrupted by Keith Lee. Lee took exception to McIntyre inferring he only interfered in Lee’s match because he was about to lose. It got argumentative, then it got physical. McIntyre threw Lee into the interview stage ringpost. Lee flung McIntyre into a packing crate. They were eventually separated by officials.
♦ Riddick Moss had a second go at Brain Strowman, which didn’t go well. Titus O’Neil had a go as well, but Strowman put him to sleep and had to be dragged away.
♦ Kevin Owens vs Aleister Black started with Aleister Black jumping Owens before the bell. Owens took damage to his left knee and Aleister Black took full advantage of it. When it looked like he had nothing left, Owens managed to drag himself up and land a superkick, but he could hardly stand. The lights started flashing and Owens delivered a stunner while Black was distracted and got the pin.
♦ Backstage, Keith Lee and Drew McIntyre started fighting again and had to be stopped by Adam Pearce threatening to cancel the match and Clash of Champions.
♦ Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler joined commentary for The Riott Squad vs Natalya & Lana. Jax and Baszler don’t like anyone else or each other. Between them and MVP they dominated commentary for the sub-two-minute match. Lana took the pin off the double team. The Riott Squad left the ring before Jax and Baszler got in, so they beat up Natalya and Lana instead. Lana went through the announce desk courtesy of a Samoan drop from Jax.
♦ Riddick Moss and Dolph Ziggler had another go at Braun Strowman on the final visit to RAW Underground. They failed again. Dabba-Kato stepped up but Shane McMahon declared that a match for next week.
♦ Drew McIntyre vs Keith Lee was our main event of the evening, and all signs of friendship were gone by the time it got underway. Keith Lee didn’t hesitate to go for McIntyre’s injured jaw. MVP was very complimentary about Lee during the match, but I can’t see Lee joining The Hurt Business. It was a very good match, right up to the point where RETRIBUTION flooded the ring and beat the hell out of both of them. RETRIBUTION is a huge group.
The Hurt Business came down and piled in, but there were just too many of RETRIBUTION. Lee and McIntyre did tandem somersaults over the top rope and took absolutely everyone down to close the show.
Dolph Ziggler and MVP were ok on commentary, but a little annoying and not as good as Samoa Joe. I hope he’s back soon. All in all, that was a decent episode of RAW. There are some interesting things coming up by the looks of it. I’m hoping we’ve finally moved from Seth Rollins versus the Mysterio family to Seth Rollins versus Murphy. I’m looking forward to seeing what RETRIBUTION do next. And RAW Underground has turned into one of the best parts of the show.