Crown Jewel is over (read the full review here) and the newly drafted rosters are in effect. This is RAW’s Season Premiere and the official preview is blank. It’s a brand new era and anything could happen.
I’m Amanda and this is the RAW review.
The Dirty Dawgs def. The Street Profits and Alpha Academy
Zelina Vega def. Doudrop
Damian Priest def. T-BAR (DQ)
Carmella def. Liv Morgan
Keith ‘Bearcat’ Lee def. Cedric Alexander
Austin Theory def. Dominik Mysterio
RK-Bro def. The Dirty Dawgs
Seth Rollins def. Finn Balor, Rey Mysterio, and Kevin Owens
♦ RAW emanates from Houston, Texas this week. We got a look at the group graphic of the new roster, and some chat from commentary about how new everything is, before WWE Champion Big E opened the show.
He said some nice things about Texas and congratulated Xavier Woods on becoming King of the Ring. He also tipped his hat to Drew McIntyre for pushing him to his limit. But there’s no rest when you’re the champ, so he wanted to know who’s next.
Seth Rollins didn’t keep him waiting. After Crown Jewel, I’m surprised Rollins is walking. I’ve been a fan of Rollins since he was Tyler Black but there are no words for how much I hate this version.
Big E told him he lost to Edge, so he goes to the back of the line. Rollins goaded him by saying Roman Reigns had been too scared to give him an opportunity, and asking if Big E was scared too.
Rey Mysterio came out, with lots of eye puns to Rollins. He wants the title match and he’s got the credentials for it. And he’s willing to do whatever it takes to win the title one more time.
Finn Balor joined them and told Mysterio he has nothing but love for him, but he’s also got credentials and he wants the match. He got a dig in about beating Rollins to become the first Universal Champion, and said the WWE Championship is the one he’s never had.
Kevin Owens next. Same story, long list of credentials, and he won the Universal Championship in the same building they’re in tonight, and he beat Rollins for it. When he called Rollins Cruella de Vil, Rollins hit him. The scrap was short and inconsequential. Rollins rolled out of the ring to avoid a stunner.
Sonya Deville came to the stage and gave them a fatal four-way ladder match.
♦ The Street Profits vs The Dirty Dawgs vs Alpha Academy – Triple-Threat Number One Contender’s Tag Team Match – was the first match of the show. Two in the ring at any one time, tag whoever you like. Happy to have Montez Ford and Angelo Dawkins back on RAW. Alpha Academy are ok, but I’m still bitter that they split Heavy Machinery. There was a little confusion because the graphic said a future title opportunity, and WWE had advertised RK-Bro versus Styles & Omos for tonight, but the title match is later.
Really entertaining match. Robert Roode and Dolph Ziggler’s double team finisher on Angelo Dawkins was largely unnecessary. Dawkins was only in that position because Omos wandered down to the ring and wiped out Ford on the outside then punched Dawkins in the face.
♦ NXT 2.0 hosts Halloween Havoc tomorrow.
♦ Queen Zelina’s first act during her Royal Coronation was to make Mike Rome announce her again properly. She had plenty of self-congratulatory stuff to say, and we were shown some of the locker room watching from backstage while she talked about how much better than them she is.
She’s the best of the best. Her reign will be as iconic as Nefertiti, and as ruthless as Cleopatra, but she’ll be better. There was some attempt at an accent change during parts of the speech, but not all of it. That was very odd and I’ve no idea what the accent was supposed to be.
Doudrop came out at the end of the pontificating and Zelina Vega vs Doudrop – Crown Jewel Rematch – started after the break. Doudrop didn’t need another loss, and an immediate loss wouldn’t be a good look for the new queen, so reputations were on the line.
The ref caught Vega undoing the turnbuckle pad. While he was tying it back on, Vega hit Doudrop with the sceptre. He turned around in time to count the pin.
Sadly, the “new era” is the same shit different day for the women’s division. That match didn’t make three minutes.
♦ Becky Lynch is now RAW Women’s Champion, having exchanged titles with Charlotte Flair in a SmackDown segment it seems no one was happy about. She never lost the title, and it feels good to have it back on her shoulder. In the two months, she’s been back, she’s been making headlines everywhere and she’s not going to stop.
She doesn’t think people want Bianca Belair in the title picture because there is a new crop of people for her to beat, like Liv Morgan and Rhea Ripley.
Bianca Belair had something to say about that. Lynch didn’t pin her. She’s due a rematch for the RAW Women’s Championship because she technically beat Charlotte Flair last week (when Flair got herself disqualified). So she’s going to be the new face of WWE.
Becky Lynch picked up on the face of the WWE thing and showed a picture of Belair’s face after losing on Thursday. The only reason Belair has beaten the best in the company is she wasn’t there to stop her. Since she’s returned, it’s been nothing but disappointment for Belair.
The only thing Belair is disappointed about is that she hasn’t slapped the smile off Lynch’s face. Everything Lynch has done has been to cover how much her feelings are hurt because the crowd didn’t stop rooting for Belair when she came back. – Becky Lynch pulled a face like a toddler about to start screaming at that one – Lynch might have the title, but she still wants the validation. If she’s not enough without it she’ll never be enough with it, and Lynch is nothing without the title. But Belair knows who she is. With or without the title, she’s still the EST.
Lynch said, ‘Get to the back of the line, bitch,’ so Belair hit her. There was no brawl, it was a beatdown. Lynch tried to come back from being thrown over the announce desk, with a kendo stick in hand, but Belair took it off her and used it well. Belair’s K.O.D. attempt was unsuccessful and Lynch dropped her with a kendo stick at her throat to make her escape.
At the top of the ramp, Becky Lynch accepted the match… but not tonight.
♦ Kevin Owens spoke to Finn Balor backstage to tell him he respects him, but he needs to win this match, so it’s every man for himself. Balor said that’s just the way he likes it.
♦ Damian Priest vs T-BAR – Champion Contender’s Match – was interesting. T-BAR has been split from MACE by the draft. It might have been a good chance to give him his name back, but I guess not. T-BAR got himself disqualified by throwing a commentary chair at Priest, and Damian Priest beat the hell out of him, then dragged him into the ring for The Reckoning.
♦ The WWE PPV Schedule for 2022 has been announced, you can read about it here. We’re getting another two-day WrestleMania.
♦ Carmella has a ‘diamond encrusted’ mask to protect her face from jealous women who want to damage her beauty. Congratulations to her and Corey Graves on their engagement. Carmella still needs a new character… or an actual character.
Carmella vs Liv Morgan has happened so many times on SmackDown that it’s starting to feel like a punishment for undisclosed crimes. There’s nothing wrong with them as opponents, but it would make me immensely happy if they never shared a ring again.
Morgan bounced Carmella’s face off the announce desk while she was making him tell everyone how beautiful she is. She congratulated him on their engagement before getting back in the ring. Carmella pinned her by smashing her face into the mat.
♦ Keith ‘Bearcat’ Lee vs Cedric Alexander, with Shelton Benjamin, was all about the bearcat. He threw Alexander so far across the ring in the opening seconds, that Alexander had to take a break and seemed reluctant to re-enter the ring. Sometimes you should trust your instincts and this was one of those times. Poor Cedric Alexander was thrown around and put down in a variety of ways. He had a quick attempt at offence, but Lee levelled him with one blow and there was no more. The slam that finished him should have left a dent in the ring.
Shelton Benjamin wanted a piece after the match, but only when he thought he could sneak up on him. As soon as Lee turned around, Benjamin backed off.
♦ Dominik Mysterio was with his dad in the locker room, talking about the ladder match. Austin Theory interrupted them, asked Rey for a selfie, got into an argument with Dominik, and got himself a match.
Austin Theory vs Dominik Mysterio was good. I wonder what they’ll do with Theory once this phase of the character has run its course. I hope they’ll tone him down a bit eventually, but I suspect not. Mysterio almost got him with an inside cradle but got dropped on the ropes and pinned with the ATL.
♦ Veer has been split from Jinder Mahal and Shanky in the draft. He’ll be making his RAW debut as a solo player soon.
♦ Riddle wants to do a couples costume with Randy Orton for Halloween. Orton told him to take a breath and focus, promising they could talk about Halloween until they’re blue in the face once they’ve retained the tag titles.
RK-Bro (C) vs The Dirty Dawgs – RAW Tag Team Championships Match – was good. Riddle got dropped on the apron and was laid out at ringside going into a break, and was still taking a battering when we came back. He tagged out and a fired-up Orton would have made short work of Roode had Ziggler not distracted him. As it was Roode dragged Orton from the ring and launched him into the timekeeper’s area.
That gave them the problem of getting Orton back into the ring, which they did but Orton kicked out of Ziggler’s pin attempt. He was still in trouble and stretching for Riddle. Eventually, he dropped Roode on his back and got there.
Riddle fought Roode and Ziggler at the same time until Roode stopped a pin attempt and Orton RKO’d him. Riddle got the pin on Ziggler with a Spladle (according to commentary).
♦ Seth Rollins says he’s the biggest threat in the match and everyone knows it. He’s suffering and in pain, but it doesn’t matter. He’s going to win anyway because he’s Seth ‘Freakin’ Rollins.
Rey Mysterio vs Kevin Owens vs Finn Balor vs Seth Rollins – Number One Contender’s Ladder Match – was watched by Big E from backstage. That was probably the best place because it was chaos. No one tried to climb a ladder for ages, but they were using them as weapons almost straight away. Owens powerbombed Balor onto one, then tried to cannonball from the top onto Rollins on the same one. Rollins moved and the impact left Owens screaming his way into the ads.
Rollins was hitting Owens and Balor with a ladder and yelling he shouldn’t be in the match when we came back. Balor knocked him down and double stomped the ladder onto him then dumped Owens onto it.
Balor had his hand on the contract when Mysterio climbed up and stopped him getting it down long enough for Owens to tip the ladder. Owens almost get a hand on the contract before being dragged down and buckle bombed by Rollins. He had his hand on the clip by the time Mysterio stopped him the next time. A small ladder was Owens’ weapon of choice to put all three opponents down, but he got a table out instead of climbing and wasted the advantage.
Mysterio’s wind up to the 619 on Owens was halted by a trip from Rollins. He 619’d a ladder into Owens’ face then tipped himself and the ladder on top of him. Balor took Rollins and Mysterio out, while they were punching each other, with a dive over the top rope.
It got increasingly brutal after the final break, and you could see the welts and bruises coming up on Balor as it progressed. A Ladder between the ring and announce desk is never a good sign, but it nearly didn’t come into play because people started trying to climb again.
Rey Mysterio went through the table Owens’ had set up earlier. Owens almost got the contract again but Rollins pulled him down and put him through the ring to desk ladder. Rollins pulled Balor off the ladder and stomped him. With no one else left standing, Seth Rollins climbed the ladder and retrieved the contract.
Big E came out after the match and congratulated Rollins. Rollins was obnoxious in response. He was less obnoxious to Sarah Schreiber, just very self-congratulatory. I sincerely hope Big E does most of the talking in the build to what is likely to be an awesome match.
That was a packed and well-paced episode of RAW to get the new season underway. The next few weeks should feel a bit fresher, and there’s Survivor Series to build for, so it should be a nice part of the WWE year. Becky Lynch will defend the RAW Women’s Championship against Bianca Belair next week.