The official WWE preview for tonight’s show is brief, to say the least. The big news is Brock Lesnar quitting SmackDown so he can come back to RAW and do bad things to Rey Mysterio, and presumably Dominik Mysterio and Cain Velasquez too if he gets chance. Seth Rollins will address losing the Universal Championship to SmackDown’s Fiend. And there is a little teaser about NXT potentially invading RAW the way they did SmackDown on Friday. We can only hope because it led to the best SmackDown in a very long time.
I’m Amanda and this is the RAW review
Charlotte Flair & Natalya def. The Kabuki Warriors
Buddy Murphy def. Cedric Alexander
Andrade & Zelina Vega def. Sin Cara & Carolina
Rusev def. Drew McIntyre (DQ)
The OC def. Street Profits & Humberto Carrillo
The Viking Raiders def. East Hampton Polo Boys
Seth Rollins def. Adam Cole (DQ)
♦ Pre-credits, we saw a trio of cars arriving at the arena. Triple H was in the lead one, but we didn’t get to see who was in the others.
♦ Paul Heyman and Brock Lesnar opened the show. Heyman has now added conqueror of Cain Velasquez to Lesnar’s intro. He explained that Lesnar has quit SmackDown for RAW so he can get to Rey Mysterio, and how he arranged that with his exceptional contract negotiation skills. Lesnar is special and better than all of us, allegedly, including the locker room.
So, anyway, they’re looking for Rey Mysterio. There was a vague suggestion of Lesnar slapping random audience members… not sure what that was about. They want someone to hand Mysterio over, or Lesnar is going to wreck the place and everyone in it.
They left the ring and went backstage to get straight on with the destroying. Lesnar was yelling for Mysterio, attacked a random crew member, and turned over a table.
After the break, he yelled at someone else, who indicated Mysterio might be in a car. He wasn’t but Lesnar broke the door anyway.
♦ The Kabuki Warriors vs Charlotte Flair & Natalya was the second time in two weeks Flair and Natalya have teamed together. Maybe they’re looking at adding the tag titles to their accolades, although this was a non-title match. Natalya’s entrance was preceded by a video recap of her historic match against Lacey Evans at Crown Jewel. As the first match of the night, it got a good long time and it was a great match. Lots of chances for both sides. Charlotte Flair almost took both Kabuki Warriors out with a moonsault at one pint. She laded it but couldn’t get the pin. Asuka almost submitted Natalya, but she powered out and got the Sharpshooter on. Kairi Sane broke that up then took a spear from Flair and Natalya got the Sharpshooter on again. This time Asuka tapped.
♦ Lesnar and Heyman came to commentary after the opening match still looking for Rey Mysterio. Heyman picked on Jerry ‘The King’ Lawler and made a gag about his o air heart attack. At that point, Dio Maddin got up and fronted Lesnar. Predictably, Lesnar F5’d him through the announce desk, but as he turned to walk away Mysterio attacked him with a pipe across the back of his legs and his back, and the title belt. When Lesnar was down, Mysterio reluctantly left.
After the break, Mysterio sent a message to Lesnar. He’s angry. Lesnar came after what’s most important to him so he’s coming after what’s most important to Lesnar. He wants a title match at Survivor Series.
♦ Cedric Alexander vs Buddy Murphy was great. It was fast and skilful and incredibly entertaining. Buddy Murphy continued his run of form with Murphy’s Law.
♦ After another shot of the cars arriving at the start of the show, we got an extended recap of NXT invading SmackDown. Just a tease, but they really wanted us to believe NXT were coming.
♦ Seth Rollins appeared looking sad. He wanted to talk about what’s next for him after a rough couple of months. He acknowledged that some people are pleased he lost and said he doesn’t give a damn. What concerns him is The Fiend took the Universal Championship to SmackDown and Brock Lesnar is back on RAW with the WWE Championship. So everything he’s done for the last year means nothing. His slogan is Redesign Rebuild Reclaim, but he doesn’t know if he’s got the energy. So what’s next for Seth Rollins. For the first time in a long time, he doesn’t know.
Triple H came out then, with the NXT logo above his entrance. He queried Rollins not knowing what’s next and said their paths seem to cross every time Rollins is at a crossroads. Maybe Rollins’ past is his future and talked about Rollins becoming the first-ever NXT Champion, then Triple H put The Shield together. When that was over they got together again and Rollins became champion.
Rollins questioned who Triple H did that for, and Triple H said it doesn’t matter, Rollins became champion every time. Rollins agreed.
Triple H said Rollins might not know what’s next, but he does and started talking about NXT. He was clearly pitching NXT to Rollins as an option. I’ve got to admit, that would be awesome. He told Rollins that he might have lost his drive, but he knows how to motivate him. And he knows how it goes, Rollins is either with him or against him. Undisputed ERA turned up while Triple H was talking, leaving Rollins in no doubt what he meant.
The OC arrived before Rollins could answer. They came down to the ring and Undisputed ERA backed off, but Dominik Dijakovic and Damian Priest attacked The OC from behind and a brawl erupted as some of the RAW locker room ran down to help.
Seth Rollins was alone in the ring for the whole thing. He left without saying anything.
After the break, Rollins caught up with Triple H and said if he wants him on Wednesday nights then he’s not coming as a former Universal Champion, he’s coming in as the top guy. So he wants Adam Cole for the NXT Championship tonight. He got him.
♦ Andrade & Zelina Vega vs Sin Cara & Carolina was a mixed tag match, and Zelina Vega’s attempt to get revenge on Carolina for last week. Vega’s pre-match promo would have been more effective if she hadn’t gone down the route of calling Carolina ugly. The match was fun though. Zelina Vega did get some revenge on Carolina, she took a bit of punishment as well, but it was Vega who got the pin for her team.
♦ Rusev came to the ring and said tonight is the night to end all the drama. But he wasn’t there to bicker with his soon-to-be ex-wife, Lana. He was there for Bobby Lashley, to tell him if he wants Lana, he can have her, but Lashley’s ass belongs to him. Lashley came out on crutches, with Lana by his side. He said he’s not medically cleared because he tore his groin over the weekend doing things to Lana. Lana said some stuff too, including introducing a replacement opponent for Rusev, Drew McIntyre.
Rusev vs Drew McIntyre was fine. This storyline is so awful I can’t bring myself to invest in anything attached to it. Lashley caused a DQ by attacking Rusev, they kind of got into it then Rusev got RKO’d out of nowhere. Randy Orton and Bobby Lashley beat on Rusev until Ricochet arrived and cleared the ring.
♦ Charly Caruso interviewed Becky Lynch about Survivor Series, where she faces Bayley and Shaya Baszler in a triple threat. Lynch is excited about it. She said she loves Survivor Series and managed to explain it’s because everyone is almost tribal and no one can relax before Shayna Baszler took over from Caruso. Baszler said she’s been waiting a long time to meet her and introduced herself. Baszler said she knows all about Becky Lynch and mentioned that she’s friends with Ronda Rousey, but she wants Lynch to know she’s not Ronda Rousey. She wanted to come face to face with Lynch to tell her she’s going to pin her or tap her out.
Lynch said she doesn’t know her, so she hasn’t decided whether she respects her or wants to slap the head off her. She’s glad they got the chance to talk so Baszler can feel the same doubt Ronda felt. Because warring with her will change her like it did the rest of them. Both said they wouldn’t take their eyes off Bayley, but they’re coming for each other.
They stood up and got nose to nose to exchange final words. They both look like they’re looking forward to this, and they’re not the only ones.
♦ The OC vs Street Profits & Humberto Carrillo started with AJ Styles telling the crowd to shut up and informing them that Gallows & Anderson are the best tag team in the world and he is The Phenomenal AJ Styles. They don’t give a damn about NXT and next time they see one of them they’re going to make sure they ever set foot out of Orlando Florida. Of course, Street Profits and Carrillo were in NXT five minutes ago. Ford, Dawkins, and Carrillo concentrated their pre-match promo on the fact Street Profits beat The OC two weeks ago.
When the match actually happened, it was really good. There wasn’t any way for it to be bad with the talent in the ring. The OC used cheating to get the upper hand on Montez Ford, a distraction from Styles and a clothesline from Gallows on the outside. They kept him isolated for a long time after that, but he eventually got to Carrillo who squared off against Styles. Sadly, after a great match, Styles got the pin on Carrillo with his feet on the ropes.
♦ There was an Adam Cole hype package to introduce him to the main roster crowd ahead of the title match. A brand new one too, because it contained footage of his match against Daniel Bryan from Friday.
♦ The Viking Raiders vs East Hampton Polo Boys was another pointless squash. This time against two guys in polo shirts and chinos with sweaters knotted over their shoulders. They spoke afterwards though, to congratulate The OC on winning the Best Tag Team in the World and make it very clear they are still in charge. This is an appalling way to treat the RAW Tag Team Champions but the Survivor Series match, The Viking Raiders vs Undisputed ERA vs The Revival, should be incredible.
♦ Adam Cole (C) vs Seth Rollins – NXT Championship match – main evented the show. It seemed unlikely at the start of the match that this would end in Rollins jumping ship back to NXT, but there’s always the shred of doubt to make it interesting. Rollins vs Cole is one of those matches that turns up in people’s wishlists on Twitter, and they weren’t wrong. I’ll admit I’m not an Adam Cole fan, but he is an exceptional talent. He and Rollins are very well matched stylistically, and it made for an entertaining spectacle.
Rollins got a close two count with the superplex into falcon arrow combo. He took a moment to look at Triple H as he wound up for the Stomp, but he never got to deliver it because Adam Cole doesn’t travel alone. The rest of Undisputed ERA piled into the ring, Cole was disqualified, then the floodgates opened.
NXT and RAW superstars flooded the ring and brawled in and around it. Ricochet took out a whole pile of superstars from both teams with a dive. Keith Lee did the same and scattered people like skittles. And that was how RAW closed out.
It’s wild to know that the NXT title has been defended on RAW and SmackDown. That was unthinkable even a year ago.
As it did with SmackDown, the addition of NXT made for a better show. There were some odd matches and results, like Andrade and Zelina Vega winning again and The Viking Raiders getting another pointless match. But overall, it was a good show. Survivor Series has the potential to be a fantastic PPV, and the build is going to be a fun ride.