Hell in a Cell was a fairly decent PPV overall, although I personally think the main highlights were on the SmackDown side (read SteelChair’s Tom Mimnagh’s thoughts here). Alexa Bliss will be hosting A Moment of Bliss tonight, with the new WWE Champion Randy Orton. The former WWE Champion, Drew McIntyre, will be opening the show. Survivor Series is the next PPV on the schedule, and Team RAW will be decided via a series of matches. The first three of those are tonight: Jeff Hardy versus AJ Styles, Sheamus versus Matt Riddle, and Keith Lee versus Elias.
I’m Amanda and this is the RAW review.
AJ Styles def. Jeff Hardy
Lucha House Party def. Drew Gulak & Akira Tozawa
Keith Lee def. Elias
The Hurt Business def. RETRIBUTION (DQ)
Lana def. Nikki Cross, Peyton Royce, and Lacey Evans
Drew McIntyre def. The Miz
Sheamus def. Matt Riddle
♦ Before Drew McIntyre opened the show, we were treated to the highlights of his Hell in a Cell match at last night’s PPV. When he got to the ring, he said he’s been trying to figure out how best to express how he feels. He’s got no excuses, jut one promise. He will be WWE Champion again. Winning is about how many times you get back up and his whole career has been him getting knocked down and getting back up twice as strong. He looks like he’s in a good mood, but if we could see what’s going on inside his head we’d be scared.
The Miz and John Morrison arrive and, as his entrance started, McIntyre said he’d just messed up. McIntyre warned them to be careful what they said, or he’d drop them, but no one can shut Miz and Morrison up with words. It takes more than that. Miz wanted everyone to know he was Mr Money in the Bank, so McIntyre doesn’t have to worry about facing Randy Orton to try to get his title back. Last time Miz held the briefcase he cashed it in on Randy Orton, successfully, in the same town. He’s thinking history could repeat itself as Orton is a guest on A Moment of Bliss tonight.
If McIntyre had won, he’d have stood there outnumbered by them and Miz would have cashed in so he’d be in the situation he’s in now anyway. Eventually, McIntyre headbutted Miz and threw Morrison around. Miz saved Morrison from a hammerlock DDT with a chop-block and they ran away while McIntyre was getting up. A pair of sunglasses became a casualty under McIntyre’s boot though, and he said he had an idea which would make it a bad night for Miz and Morrison.
Drew McIntyre vs The Miz was announced for later in the show.
♦ AJ Styles vs Jeff Hardy – Survivor Series Qualifier – was the opening match of the show. Styles, with Jordan Omogbehin, stood behind him making him look tiny, bitched about having to qualify when he should automatically be captain. He also warned that Omogbehin doesn’t like to be looked at or spoken to. Omogbehin came into play just as we went into a break when he caught Jeff Hardy’s dive off the apron. He was still holding Hardy when the ads started, and Styles was in control in the ring when we got back. There was no interference in the rest of the match, which is good because AJ Styles versus Jeff Hardy deserves that respect although Omogbehin’s presence did briefly distract Hardy. It finished with a Phenomenal Forearm from Styles.
Elias hit Jeff Hardy from behind with a guitar after the match.
♦ R-Truth will be watching his main competitors in their tag match, to scout the competition. He’s not worried about the danger. Danger is one of his middle names.
He arrived about a minute into Drew Gulak & Akira Tozawa vs Lucha House Party and everyone tried to pin him and forgot about the match. Lince Dorado pinned Drew Gulak to win amongst the chaos and R-Truth escaped with his title. He was chased out of the arena by everyone else, so he may not have it for long.
♦ Firefly Fun House was an Alice in Wonderland style tea party. Alexa Bliss brought the tea and poisoned Ramblin’ Rabbit. That was the least creepy thing about it. And after Bliss talking about the ‘fun chat’ they were going to have, Randy Orton might want to rethink going on A Moment of Bliss.
♦ Nia Jax and Shayna have nominated themselves as the RAW Survivor Series Team Captain. They each gave a list to Adam Pearce of who they thought should be on their team. He tried to tell them neither of them was captain, but they didn’t seem to hear.
♦ Keith Lee was still annoyed about Braun Strowman low-blowing him last week and said he’ll show Strowman a real monster next time they meet. But tonight is about Elias.
Elias’ new album, Universal Truth, is out today. He didn’t get to sing, but he might have done if he hadn’t waffled so much before he started. Keith Lee’s entrance music started as soon as he started to play. Elias vs Keith Lee – Survivor Series Qualifier – might just have spoiled Elias’ release day. Getting pounced over the announce desk, as we headed into a break, did not look fun. Elias got close to the victory, but was distracted by Jeff Hardy’s music playing. Hardy didn’t arrive until after Lee had won with a Spirit Bomb and left, then he hit Elias with a guitar.
♦ The Hurt Business were intimidating members of staff before their match against RETRIBUTION. Instead of a promo, RETRIBUTION got Mustafa Ali’s promo from last week turned into a video package. The Hurt Business vs RETRIBUTION was an eight-man elimination match. MVP said before the match that their dealings with RETRIBUTION are a business deal they made with the higher-ups. And once they’ve dealt with RETRIBUTION they expect their payment to be made in gold. RECKONING accompanied her faction-mates to the ring. She could be a lot more of a threat than The Hurt Business probably give her credit for. She did get involved, in a way. She had some kind of turn in the ring and SLAPJACK used the distraction to eliminate MVP. She was still writhing around when we went for a break.
When we came back we were shown her admitting to faking and being sent back to the locker room. SLAPJACK was next out, courtesy of Bobby Lashley. Lashley and T-BAR got themselves counted out and just kept fighting. Shelton Benjamin eliminated MACE. The Mustafa Ali was all alone with Benjamin and Cedric Alexander. He didn’t give them the satisfaction of pinning him. He got himself disqualified by hitting Alexander with a chair then ran for it and narrowly escaped the rest of The Hurt Business.
♦ Angel Garza is trying to romance everyone, it seems. He tried Mandy Rose, Dana Brooke, Nia Jax, and Shayna Baszler. Nia Jax took the rose he was offering. Jax and Baszler had just stopped by to tell Rose and Brooke how things were going to be on ‘their’ team. Rose and Brooke said they’re undefeated and Jax and Baszler needed to fall in line if they were picked for ‘their’ team. After incredulous looks all round, Brooke and Rose left. Baszler turned to Jax and said, ‘Seriously, Garza?’ Jax shrugged.
♦ Drew McIntyre vs The Miz, with John Morrison, was fun. Morrison cheap shotted McIntyre and tried to smack him with the briefcase but McIntyre kicked it out of his hand, suplexed him, and pitched the briefcase into the distance (among the lights anyway). Other the interference, it was a good match which finished with a Claymore that nearly took Miz’ head off.
♦ New Day parodied Street Profits as the first shot to build for their Champions versus Champions match at Survivor Series. Asuka turned up to deliver ‘We want the Smoke’, then they announced Asuka versus Sasha Banks, Randy Orton versus Roman Reigns. The Hurt Business turned up to announce United States Champion Bobby Lashley versus Intercontinental Champion Sami Zayn, and MVP said they want the tag titles. Asuka, getting all the catchphrases, said they will fail because ‘New Day Rocks’.
♦ Drew McIntyre said it was the first step on his road to reclaiming his title. And he would take steps two, three four, however many it took. He checked with Charly Caruso that Randy Orton was appearing on A Moment of Bliss and guaranteed Orton would have a moment, but it wouldn’t be bliss.
♦ The men got a series of matches to decide who would represent RAW in their Survivor Series match, but there aren’t enough women on the roster to pull that off, so most of the women were just announced. Nia Jax, Shayna Baszler, Mandy Rose, and Dana Brooke were the first four out. Jax wanted to announce the last one, as the team captain. Adam Pearce had to stop her and Baszler arguing to tell them that the final member would be decided in a fatal four-way – Lana vs Lacey Evans vs Peyton Royce vs Nikki Cross – which started immediately. Nikki Cross has new music and her gear has yellow on it now. It’s not great that this was the only women’s division match on the card, but the match was good. Nikki Cross had a great match, as did Peyton Royce. But it was Lana who took advantage of a Tower of Doom she wasn’t part of to pin Nikki Cross who was on the top so took the worst of it.
To celebrate her joining the team, Nia Jax hugged Lana then put her through the announce desk again.
♦ Randy Orton told Charly Caruso he is not afraid of The Fiend and he’ll RKO him if he turns up.
♦ RETRIBUTION is not a family or a team, it’s a mission. And the good men and women of RETRIBUTION are prepared to sacrifice everything for that mission. They win when people suffer and they will win because they decide when we will be shut down.
♦ Matt Riddle vs Sheamus – Survivor Series Qualifier – was decent and the very definition of ‘could have gone either way’. Riddle took some damage to his back when Sheamus got his knees up for the Floating Bro. Eventually, that cost him the match when he tried to lift Sheamus and it gave out. Sheamus capitalised on his pain and delivered the Brogue Kick to finish the match.
♦ A Moment of Bliss closed the show. It took place in the ring, which is very unusual. Bliss was wearing dungaree shorts with Yowie Wowie written on the top. Orton refused to sit down and was very wary. Bliss was creepy, almost childlike and very smiley. She asked him if he was surprised by his ‘super-duper’ performance. He wasn’t, but he asked her if she had a surprise for him. She said she didn’t, but made reference to him and McIntyre burning the house down. Orton insisted she tell him where Wyatt was, but he got Drew McIntyre instead.
Bliss sat on the turnbuckle and laughed while McIntyre beat on Orton, The lights went off when he was setting up for the Claymore and when they came back on red, McIntyre was alone int the ring. Orton was on the ramp, but he wasn’t alone. Caught between McIntyre and The Fiend, Orton went towards McIntyre. They brawled round to the announce desk, then on it. They were still brawling when RAW went off air.
So, the women’s Survivor Series match team is complete and the first three men have earned their place in theirs. And we’ve already got three other matches announced. That’s not bad going for a PPV that’s still nearly four weeks away. I’m not complaining, Survivor Series should be a great show. Makes me wonder how the next few weeks will run though.