It’s Monday again and it’s likely to be a bad night for WWE Champion Randy Orton, as he’s got both Drew McIntyre and The Fiend after him, and The Miz lurking in the background with the Money in the Bank briefcase. It’s not the relaxing build to his Survivor Series match against Roman Reigns that he might have wanted. Cedric Alexander and Shelton Benjamin represent The Hurt Business against The New Day. And the rest of the men’s Survivor Series team will be decided. In the women’s division, Survivor Series Team RAW teammates go head to head when Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler face Mandy Rose & Dana Brooke with the titles on the line. As a wrestling reviewer, there are some matches which make you question your life choices. Object on a pole matches are a classic example, so I’ll admit to not looking forward to Elias and Jeff Hardy’s Guitar on a pole match. Sadly, it will happen anyway.
I’m Amanda and this is the RAW review
Jeff Hardy def. Elias
Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler def. Mandy Rose & Dana Brooke
Bobby Lashley def. R-Truth
Braun Strowman def. Keith Lee and Sheamus
Nia Jax def. Lana
The Hurt Business def. New Day
Ricochet def. Tucker
Drew McIntyre def. The Miz & John Morrison
♦ Randy Orton opened the show with slightly too much fake crowd noise. He’s been champion for eight days now and he proved he’s not just the best of the best, he’s the best, period. He’s better than everyone who said he’s been gifted his position, and everyone else. He is no longer the Legend Killer he is now simply a legend.
But the gold on his shoulder comes with a bullseye on his back and he welcomes it. He challenged anyone in the company to come and try to take it from him. He got Alexa Bliss.
She didn’t say anything when she got into the ring, just stood there smiling while Orton walked around her. He asked where The Fiend was and Bliss held her arms up to her face. She’s got gloves now, one says play and the other says pain. She dropped the play one but kept the pain one up and said, ‘He could be here’. The lights went red and the sound effects went, but it was a Claymore from Drew McIntyre that hit Orton, not The Fiend. McIntyre dared Orton to give him his rematch and left.
The Miz and John Morrison snuck in through the crowd space and summoned a ref. It was announced the Miz was cashing in, but McIntyre was back before the bell rang. He threw Miz and Morrison out of the ring, launching Morrison at Miz and said no one is taking the title from Orton except him.
Backstage with Charly Caruso, Miz and Morrison were angry. Miz called McIntyre a petulant child and said he lost and should get over it. Morrison challenged McIntyre to a two on one handicap match.
♦ According to Elias, Jeff Hardy is jealous that Elias’ career had surpassed his. Even he couldn’t make a guitar on a pole match sound good though. He started singing a bit of his song ‘Amen (I’m going in)’, but Jeff Hardy’s entrance cut in after a line or two. So, Elias vs Jeff Hardy – Guitar on a pole match – was our first match of the night. Best to get these things over quickly. In all honesty, it wasn’t a bad match for the most part. In the end, Jeff Hardy got the guitar and jumped off the turnbuckle to hit Elias with it immediately for the pin.
♦ Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler (C) vs Mandy Rose & Dana Brooke – WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship match – did seem like the best way to build team spirit ahead of Survivor Series. Lana came out to watch the match. Brooke and Rose had a great start, they’ve really gelled as a team. Unfortunately, Mandy Rose was taken out at ringside by Jax and Brooke did the second half alone. Baszler, uncharacteristically, allowed herself to be distracted asking Lana what she was doing there and again grabbing her by the head at ringside after Brooke had made a couple of close pin attempts. Lana got up on the apron to yell at Baszler when she had Brooke in the Kirifuda. Baszler got rolled up by Brooke while dealing with her, but the ref was looking at Lana and Baszler kicked out when he turned around. The kick-out sent Brooke into Lana, then Dana Brooke found herself tapping out in a Kirifuda Clutch.
♦ Randy Orton said it amuses him that so many people in WWE forget how easy it is for the hunter to become the hunted. Drew McIntyre needs a reminder, and this will come sooner rather than later in the form of the three most dangerous letters in sports entertainment, RKO.
♦ R-Truth was a little confused about why he was in the ring and not entirely ready to face Bobby Lashley. Nevertheless, R-Truth vs Bobby Lashley was the match. He tried to talk Lashley out of hurting him, then he tried to lay down and take the pin, but he did get up and fight back when it didn’t work. That lasted for a spear and a Hurt Lock which put R-Truth to sleep. Lashley put the hold back on after he’d won, for no reason.
Drew Gulak tried to pin Truth before he woke up, but Lashley lifted him off and put him to sleep in the Hurt Lock, then laid him back on top of Truth to win the title.
♦ Lucha House Party ran into Jordan Omogbehin on their way to try to get Drew Gulak. They decided to go off in the other direction.
♦ Nia Jax told Sarah Schreiber not to say Lana’s name in her presence. She’s not happy about her being on the team and less happy that she interfered in the match. She says she’s going to end Lana’s career by the end of the night.
♦ AJ Styles, with Jordan Omogbehin – It still amuses me that Styles with his arms in the air still only reaches Omogbehin’s chin. Styles had a lot to say about his own leadership skills. He’s declared himself the captain of Team RAW. He brought ‘his’ team out, Sheamus first then Keith Lee, and tried to give them a pep-talk. Funnily enough, neither of them agreed to him being captain.
Braun Strowman came out and said he was joining the team. Lee said he’d have to qualify just like they did. Strowman disagreed and said he should be the captain. Adam Pearce arrived and said he was looking for a qualifying match for Strowman but no one wanted to face him. Keith Lee and Sheamus argued because they both wanted to fight him. Styles suggested the triple-threat, and Pearce agreed. If Strowman wins, he’s on the team.
Braun Strowman vs Keith Lee vs Sheamus started after the break. AJ Styles joined commentary for the match. The look on Styles’ face when Lee somersaulted over the top rope to take out Sheamus and Strowman, was priceless. Fair enough though, it didn’t go quite to plan. Sheamus and Lee worked together for a few moments to take out Strowman with the steps. He was back up in time to bulldoze them both through the barricade. AJ Styles got increasingly worried about the condition of his teammates as they wore each other out and beat each other up. There was a very large Tower of Doom with Keith Lee at the base and Sheamus at the top, but that wasn’t even close to the end. That came via a Braun Strowman powerslam to Sheamus, after Lee had been taken out with a Brogue Kick.
Styles encouraged them all to shake hands after the match. Lee and Strowman shook. Sheamus and Strowman yelled at each other and Sheamus slapped his hand away then hugged him. It all fell apart them Sheamus Brogue Kicked Strowman out of the ring. Lee pounced Sheamus out. Then Styles dropkicked Lee out.
♦ Angel Garza’s promo was him chatting up a ‘special someone’ in the WWE Universe.
♦ Drew McIntyre said he’s going to be Randy Orton’s guardian angel until he gets his rematch. He’s accepting Miz and Morrison’s challenge because it’s fun to beat up The Miz and it makes everyone happy.
♦ Firefly Fun House dedicated this week’s show to the letters R K O. Somehow, it’s weirder with Alexa Bliss that it was before. No words can do it justice, so here it is.
♦ Shayna Baszler accompanied Jax to the ring for Nia Jax vs Lana and cleared the announce desk before Lana arrived. Peyton Royce and Lacey Evans video mocking Lana showed during the entrances. Jax could have finished Lana early on, but she pulled her up by the hair and made her cry before she pinned her with a Samoan drop. It looked for a minute like the announce desk would remain intact, but Jax and Baszler came back. Lana fought it, but she took her seventh trip through the desk anyway.
♦ The Hurt Business intimidated R-Truth backstage before their VIP Lounge segment. They had an announcement to make. It was time to collect payment for dealing with the RETRIBUTION problem and that would take the form of the RAW Tag Team Championships. New Day had a bit to say about that, including Kofi Kingston pointing out he’s won more titles than The Hurt Business combined. So much talking. So very much talking. But the match eventually started after the ads.
New Day (C) vs The Hurt Business – RAW Tag Team Championship match – was great. Match of the night. MVP joined commentary and had some interesting stuff to say. It was a long match too and probably should have got the main event. It was back and forth all the way, but Xavier Woods took a double team from Alexander and Benjamin and we have new tag team champions.
♦ Nikki Cross tried to talk to Alexa Bliss, but Bliss didn’t respond or even look at her. Eventually, Cross grabbed her and spun her to face her, but ran off when she saw Bliss had the creepy eyes, ice blue with a red ring.
♦ Ricochet vs Tucker came about after Ricochet confronted Tucker about the way he treated Otis. Mustafa Ali came to ringside for the match and stood on the announce desk to watch. He wasn’t stood there long because Ricochet won in less than a minutes. RETRIBUTION arrived after the match. T-Bar threw Ricochet out of the ring then they all piled in on Tucker. Once Tucker was dealt with, they retrieved Ricochet and circled him. He tried to fight back, but they held him in front of Ali who said, ‘No sin is forgiven until it is punished’ before T-BAR and MACE slammed Ricochet into the mat.
Mustafa Ali put out an interesting short video explaining why RETRIBUTION members wear masks and have silly names. It’s worth checking out.
♦ Sheamus tried to recruit Drew McIntyre to Team RAW. McIntyre said nothing would make him happier, but he’s focused on Randy Orton and planning to go to Survivor Series as champion. It was friendly and Sheamus told him to Claymore Miz back to Hollywood and shove the briefcase down Morrison’s gob before they parted.
Drew McIntyre vs The Miz & John Morrison was the main event of the evening. Miz and Morrison had to tag in and out, but they should have had an advantage. McIntyre worked on neutralising that advantage, and Alabama Slamming Morrison onto Miz at ringside went a long way to achieving his goal. It wasn’t enough though and McIntyre found himself struggling against the double-team for much of the match.
McIntyre kicked out of the Skull Crushing Finale. Miz accidentally knocked Morrison off the apron, when McIntyre shoved him and took a Futureshock DDT, but he rolled to the ropes and Morrison pulled him out. McIntyre dived over the top onto them and rolled Miz back into the ring. One Claymore later, McIntyre was victorious.
As McIntyre turned to leave the ring, he took an RKO. Orton held the belt up and The Fiend’s laugh echoed through the arena as RAW went off-air.
Not a bad episode of RAW. Two title matches and one title change is a solid show in its own right, but it definitely felt like a build show for Survivor Series. It’s sad that NXT doesn’t appear to be involved in Survivor Series this year, but it’s probably unwise to mix rosters too much in the current circumstances.