With Crown Jewel later this week, we can expect a lot of RAW to be dedicated to hyping that up. To that end, Ric Flair and Hulk Hogan will be appearing and Team Hogan’s Ricochet has a rematch against Team Flair’s Drew McIntyre. We also have Seth Rollins versus Erick Rowan in a Falls Count Anywhere match, Becky Lynch versus Kairi Sane, and R-Truth versus Buddy Murphy to look forward to. Oh, and there’s a King’s Divorce Court segment with Rusev and Lana.
I’m Amanda and this is the RAW review.
Becky Lynch def. Kairi Sane
Buddy Murphy def. R-Truth
Ricochet def. Drew McIntyre
The Viking Raiders def. Rizzo & Bryant
Andrade def. Sin Cara
Charlotte Flair & Natalya def. The IIconics
Seth Rollins def. Erick Rowan
AJ Styles def. Humberto Carrillo
♦ Paige opened the show, which was a nice surprise. She was there to introduce Asuka and Kairi Sane, as she is their advisor/manager. They made their RAW debut without her because she was still recovering from her most recent neck surgery. When she got them to the ring, she talked about putting Asuka and Sane together and how proud she is of them. Asuka and Kairi Sane both grabbed the mic off her to say their piece in Japanese. When Paige tried to grab the mic back off Sane it ended up on the floor. Paige retrieved it and Asuka sprayed her with the green mist. Paige was helped out of the ring by officials, Asuka advanced on her and Becky Lynch came to make the save. She ended up having to take on both Kabuki Warriors before her match with Sane and dispatched Asuka over the barricades before the break.
Becky Lynch vs Kairi Sane started with Sane playing injured then trying to catch Lynch off guard. The Man is too smart for that. Heel Kabuki Warriors are going to be a lot of fun to watch, playfully evil and very very good. The match was great, but with Asuka on the outside, Lynch needed eyes in the back of her head. It was Asuka’s distraction that helped Sane take control of the match going into the ads. She was still in control when we got back.
Lynch managed to counter Sane’s Anchor submission and forced Sane to kick out of a pin attempt. She also kicked out after Sane spiked her face into the canvas. When Kairi Sane went up for the InSane Elbow, Lynch followed her and delivered a leg drop after throwing Sane from the turnbuckle, but it wasn’t enough for the win. That came after Lynch had punched Asuka to the floor from the apron and kicked out of the backfist Sane caught her with. Becky Lynch locked in the Dis-Arm-Her and Kairi Sane tapped out.
Busy week for The Kabuki Warriors. You can see them on NXT on Wednesday, defending the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championships against Dakota Kai & Tegan Nox.
♦ Charly Caruso interviewed R-Truth ahead of R-Truth vs Buddy Murphy. She asked him about losing the 24/7 Championship last week. The sense in amongst the fabulous R-Truth-isms is that he wants he title back. When Murphy got to the ring he said Truth had been too focused on the 24/7 title to notice him, but by the end of the night he wouldn’t forget him. The match was looking good but was interrupted by the 24/7 titleholder and the chasing pack. R-Truth joined the chase, almost got counted out, then got kneed in the face and pinned. The 24/7 title pack ran off and R-Truth didn’t get his title back.
♦ Authors of Pain had another promo segment. Apparently conducting most of their promos in their own language is part of their mental warfare. Hopefully, we’ll get to see some of their physical warfare soon. It’s about time they made it back into the ring.
♦ Street Profits had an in-ring promo segment this week. They are only getting a moderate response from the main roster crowds so far, which must be jarring because the NXT Universe adores them. They did eventually get a chant going before they took to the mic. They talked about winning their debut match last week against The OC and sent a message to the locker room. They want the smoke.
♦ Ricochet dived over the top rope onto Drew McIntyre before he made it to the ring for their match. Their Team captains, Ric Flair for McIntyre and Hulk Hogan, with Jimmy Hart, for Ricochet, preceded them to the ring. Ricochet vs Drew McIntyre was decent. Ricochet was out for revenge after last week, but his ribs were taped and obviously causing him trouble from the outset. They were causing more trouble by halfway through the match when he’d been manhandled by McIntyre for a while. Drew McIntyre was so confident he even took a few moments out of the match to square up to Hogan. It was a long match, and a tough one for both competitors, but Ricochet was denied his vengeance by an RKO from Randy Orton. He won by disqualification, but that wasn’t the end the match deserved. It served its purpose for building Team Hogan versus Team Flair though. Flair celebrated with McIntyre and Orton after they’d thrown Ricochet out of the ring.
♦ Backstage, The OC were sizing up Humberto Carrillo. They correctly identified that he had an awesome match against Rollins last week and gave him some credit. Then AJ Styles challenged him to a match, saying he’d picked the wrong champion to prove himself against.
I said last week that if your first match on RAW is framed as by invitation of the Universal Champion, then you were probably something special. When your first match is against Seth Rollins and your second is against AJ Styles, you’re definitely something special.
♦ The Viking Raiders vs Rizzo & Bryant, The Chicago Cubs, was a pointless local competitor squash. You’d think that now The Viking Raiders are champions we’d be over this, but apparently not.
♦ Andrade, with Zelina Vega, vs Sin Cara was interesting. Sin Cara brought a friend, Carolina, to counter the effects of Zelina Vega on the outside. It sort of worked, Carolina did have an effect on the match. Zelina Vega got up on the apron to distract the ref when he should have been counting the pin. Carolina dragged her down and flung her into the barricade, but Sin Cara was so busy watching this happen that he got rolled up and pinned.
♦ Charlotte Flair & Natalya vs The IIconics happened for no discernible reason. Flair and Natalya have apparently never teamed before, which is a bit of a surprise. Natalya got trapped in The IIconics’ half of the ring for a long time, which gave them plenty of opportunities to show off their excellent team cohesion. Charlotte Flair had to come in illegally to stop Natalya getting pinned, and took Peyton Royce off the apron while she was there. Billie Kay spent long enough berating Flair for Natalya to recover and wrap her in the Sharpshooter. Charlotte Flair prevented Royce breaking it up and Kay tapped.
♦ Seth Rollins had a backstage rant rather than an interview. He’s got a lot on his plate and he accepted tonight’s match against Erick Rowan because that’s what he does. He fights every night to make sure he’s ready. Bray Wyatt’s going to take it to another level because he took it to another level when he burned down the Firefly Fun House. What he did at Hell in a Cell won’t be enough at Crown Jewel because the ref won’t be able to stop it this time. He has to beat The Fiend and retain the Universal Championship – apart from anything else, if he fails then the Universal Championship ends up on Friday Night SmackDown.
Seth Rollins vs Erick Rowan – Falls Count Anywhere – followed the rant and it was everything you’d expect of a Falls Count Anywhere match. They spent little time in the ring and headed off into the crowd fairly quickly, then up the stairs and out onto the concourse. A merch desk was destroyed when Rollins was thrown into and almost pinned on it. They made it back to ringside and utilised the steps and posts, but neither was able to make the pin. Up on the stage, Rowan started yelling that Rollins was trying to embarrass him on his first night on RAW, and cleared off the announce desk. Rollins Stomped him on the announce desk but was too slow to make the cover. Seth Rollins kept on him though and they made their way backstage where things got really nasty. After using various bits of packing and travelling equipment to hit each other with and throw each other into, including a Stomp on a ladder, Rollins demanded a member of staff lower a forklift onto Rowan and stood on it to pin him.
♦ Aleister Black still wants someone to pick a fight with him. He’s very eloquent about it, but that’s the gist.
♦ AJ Styles vs Humberto Carrillo was the final match of the night, and it was good. Really good. How do you make a superstar? You make him look good against your existing biggest superstars. Just like he did against Rollins last week, Carrillo’s style brought out bits of Styles’ skillset we don’t get to see so often. Carrillo even got to control portions of the match and got a pin attempt or two in on the US champ. Gallows and Anderson mostly stayed out of it for once, and Styles didn’t need them. He managed to get the calf crusher on and Humberto Carrillo tapped out immediately.
After the match, The OC got back into the rig so Style could shake his hand, except Styles withdrew the hand and Carrillo smacked him in the face. That was a mistake and he took a Styles Clash for it. The OC were about to start the beatdown when Street Profits came to make the save. Honestly, that 6-Man tag will be great when it happens.
♦ King’s Divorce Court with Rusev and Lana not only happened but closed the show… Do you need more than that? Ok, but don’t say I didn’t warn you.
In the dressing room, Lashley offered to go with Lana, but she declined. In the ring, Lawler reminded Lana that Rusev is still wearing his ring because he hopes they will get back together. Lana said she’d tell the truth about their marriage… which was that Rusev is a sex addict who wouldn’t leave her alone because he wanted to get her pregnant. She accused him of tracking her cycle and being obsessed with her having his baby. He doesn’t understand that her body is her career. When Lawler asked if that was really the reason Lana said it wasn’t. Actually, Rusev cheated on her and she knows because Lashley told her. Rusev said Lashley lied, then Lashley arrived and Rusev started beating on him. After he put Lashley down, Rusev took off his wedding ring, yelled at Lana, ‘Is this what you want’ and shoved it in Lashley’s mouth. When he started hitting him again Lana grabbed a kendo stick and attacked Rusev with it. He grabbed the stick and tried to talk to her and Lashley low-blowed him and Lana slapped him. Once Lashley had beaten Rusev down to the mat with a kick in the balls, he and Lana kissed over him.
And that’s how RAW ended, with Rusev laid on the mat clutching his balls while his wife stood over him kissing Bobby Lashley.
If we pretend the King’s Divorce Court segment didn’t happen and the show ended with the Styles versus Carrillo match, that was quite a decent episode of RAW. Lots of hype for Crown Jewel, which feels like a detour from any kind of important storylines. But that’s on Thursday, so next week should begin the build to the next proper PPV.