There was breaking Hall of Fame news from WWE today, Batista and the nWo will be inducted next year. Clarification on the RAW announce team situation for RAW, Dio Maddin has gone back to the Performance Center and Samoa Joe will stay on commentary until his injured thumb is healed. That’s great news, he’s added a lot to the role. Rey Mysterio will defend his US Championship against former champion AJ Styles. And we’re set to witness the divorce of Lana and Rusev, and hopefully, the end of this terrible storyline. Somehow, it’s also the go-home show for TLC, which feels like the least hyped PPV of the year.
I’m Amanda and this is the RAW review
Drew McIntyre def. Matt Hardy
The Viking Raider def. Street Profits
Aleister Black def. Akira Tozawa
Humberto Carrillo def. Andrade
Buddy Murphy def. Zack Ryder
Becky Lynch def. The Kabuki Warriors (DQ)
Erick Rowan def. ‘Local Competitor’
Rey Mysterio def. AJ Styles
♦ Jerry ‘The King’ Lawler opened the show to preside over Lana and Rusev signing their divorce papers. Lawler had to read out a statement saying Lana had waived her right to the distance protections of the restraining order for the duration of the signing, but all other protections remain in place. Lana was greeted with ‘Rusev Day’ chants and so was Rusev.
Lana said words. Rusev tried to say words but Lana wouldn’t let him. She accused him of letting his popularity go to his head, so the entire WWE Universe was to blame for their divorce. He showed footage of Lana and Bobby Lashley being arrested last week. Then there was more talking and a lot of screaming and some crying from Lana. Rusev just wanted to get on with it and to play to the crowd a bit. They argued about custody of their dog. Lana signed but Rusev said he needed something from her before he signed. Lana assumed it was sex. Rusev just wanted a match against Bobby Lashley.
Lashley came out and said it was ridiculous. Then revealed he’s going to ask Lana to marry him when the divorce is final. Rusev said he’s welcome to her because she’s just bad. He signed and Lashley bashed his head against the papers then started beating him up. Rusev fought back and put Lashley through the table onto the papers.
Now that’s over, I’m going to bleach my brain.
♦ Charly Caruso interviewed Kevin Owens about why he was attacked by AOP last week. Owens said it was because Seth Rollins told them to. He was the only one who stood up to Rollins at the Town Hall meeting and he thinks that’s why AOP have been attacking him. He was lucky to get away last week but the fact he did is going to be a problem for AOP this week. He went off to look for them and ran into Rey Mysterio. Mysterio said he has Owens back. Kevin Owens said it was his problem and he couldn’t let Mysterio get involved. Rey Mysterio said his homie had Owens’ back, and gave him his steel pipe.
♦ Matt Hardy vs Drew McIntyre was the first match of the night. McIntyre talked his way to the ring, mentioning the birth of Hardy’s third child, and casting aspersions on Hardy’s value as a human, but not as a wrestler. He offered Matt Hardy the chance to back out of the match, so he was still able to hold his new son, but Hardy made his feelings clear with a flurry of punches. The match proper started after the break, and a short match it was too. Matt Hardy gave McIntyre a little more than he expected. Drew McIntyre gave Hardy a Futureshock DDT and a Claymore and that was the end of it.
♦ We saw footage from Charlotte Flair and Becky Lynch talking in the locker room earlier. Flair said she doesn’t like her, but she dislikes The Kabuki Warriors more, so did Lynch want to become Becky Two Belts again. Lynch wasn’t keen, Flair tried to convince her by saying she’d had her problems with them as well. Becky Lynch agreed but said she’d rather take them both on by herself.
♦ Mojo Rawley messed with Kevin Owens while he was looking for AOP and got a smack in the mouth for it.
♦ The Viking Raiders came to the ring and said they’ve been searching for worthy opponents for weeks, but they’ve only found victims, so they were issuing an open challenge to anyone who thinks they can take the gold.
Street Profits answered the call. I love that they still come through the crowd. The Viking Raiders vs Street Profits – RAW Tag Team Championship match – was all Street Profits until Montez Ford got overexcited to the point of distraction and got kicked in the face by Ivar. The early pin attempt on Erik was the closest they got, although there was a near-ish fall on Ivar as well. Sadly, it was much too short and Montez Ford too the Viking Experience and got pinned. There was a show of respect between the teams post-match, but that match should have been longer.
Seth Rollins appeared while they were still in the ring and apologised for interrupting but there was something he had to take care of. He offered to let them all stay in the ring, but they declined and left.
Once he was alone, Rollins said he wanted to deal with the issue of AOP, by fighting then. He got Kevin Owens and his steel pipe instead.
Owens reassured Rollins that the pipe wasn’t for him, yet, and said he knows Rollins wouldn’t have called out AOP unless he knew they weren’t there. If they were there, he’d have found them because they’re not that smart. He wanted Rollins to tell him when they were arriving so he could get the three on one beatdown out of the way. Rollins tried again to tell him he wasn’t controlling AOP, then cameras cut to them arriving at the arena. Owens and Rollins were still arguing after a break. Rollins gave up trying to convince him there was no association, so he left.
AOP appeared on the big screen, but none of what they said was in English, so Owens responded by asking if they could get on with it.
Sami Zayn came out instead. SmackDown Superstar Sami Zayn. He’s got a manager’s license now and, as he had Mojo Rawley with him I guess he has a client as well. Zayn said he’s not a manager, he’s a liberator and Owens is a prisoner in his own head right now. He wanted Owens to apologise to Mojo Rawley and suggested he could help guide Owens if he did.
Rawley mouthed off at Owens for disrespecting Zayn, Zayn told him that was a bad idea. Rawley said everyone is tough with a steel pipe in their hands. Owens threw it to him and gave him a stunner then picked it up and beat him with it while Zayn quietly backed away.
After a break, Kevin Owens was back to wandering around backstage looking for AOP.
♦ Aleister Black vs Akira Tozawa was fun while it lasted. Aleister Black faces Buddy Murphy on Sunday at TLC. Murphy had a promo during Black’s entrance where he very simply said he was better than Aleister Black. Another short one. Tozawa got kneed out of the air and took a Black Mass, so it probably isn’t going down as one of his favourite matches.
♦ Humberto Carrillo’s interview with Charly Caruso was interrupted by Zelina Vega and Andrade before a single question was answered. It set up Carrillo vs Andrade for after the break though.
Andrade vs Humberto Carrillo was really very good, and it got longer than 3 minutes. Zelina Vega was clearly worried on the outside because it was mostly Carrillo throughout the match. She had cause to be. Andrade threw everything he had at Carrillo and he still kicked out. Zelina Vega got up on the apron as a distraction, but and Andrade shoved Carrillo towards her, Carrillo stopped in time and dodged Andrade’s charge. Andrade knocked Vega to the floor and got pinned before he recovered from the shock.
After he checked she was ok, they started screaming at each other. It was Andrade’s first loss on RAW and he obviously blamed her for it.
♦ Liv Morgan is coming back soon, with a makeover, apparently.
♦ Rey Mysterio said he’ll be the first to shake AJ Styles hand if he beats him, but he’s going to do everything in his power to make sure he feels worthy of the name Rey Mysterio.
♦ Zack Ryder vs Buddy Murphy was Murphy’s TLC warm-up match. Aleister Black cut his pre-PPV promo during Murphy’s entrance saying the biggest mistake Murphy ever made was to knock on his door. Another short one. For some reason, Buddy Murphy took some time out to attack Curt Hawkins who was at ringside supporting his tag partner. Ryder hit him with a dropkick for it, but as soon as they got back in the ring he delivered a high knee and followed it with Murphy’s Law for the win.
♦ Kevin Owens beat up the van he’d been told AOP were headed towards. There was a hooded figure in the back, but AOP grabbed Owens as soon as he put his hands on it. After they’d hit him in the head with the van door, the hooded figure turned and revealed himself to be Seth Rollins. Rollins said, ‘It’s come to this Kev. Shame, I’m sorry,’ then Stomped Kevin Owens’ head into the concrete.
After a break, Rollins came to the stage. He asked the crowd what they want from him. They used to get along and see eye to eye and he’s done nothing wrong. He can’t work it out. He’s sick of being disrespected. He was telling the truth when he said last week that he had nothing to do with AOP. And it was true when he said it earlier, but no one believed him. He can’t work out what would qualify as good enough for the WWE Universe. Everything he’d done and it’s still not enough. If they want to push him it’s time for him to push back. The negativity of the WWE Universe has turned fiction to fact and now he stands side by side with AOP. They came out to stand with him for a moment then they left and the camera cut to Kevin Owens being loaded into an ambulance.
♦ Becky Lynch vs The Kabuki Warriors was great, but it was weird having her come out straight after Rollins went full-on toys out of the pram. It wasn’t that long ago WWE were pushing what a happy couple they were, leading RAW with happy positive couple vibes. Now we’re supposed to forget they’re together because it no longer suits the storyline. Anyway, the moment of weirdness passed when the match started. Lynch was obviously trying to do what Charlotte Flair couldn’t, but she met with all the problems Flair met with last week. Mainly, there are two Kabuki Warriors and they’re both awesome. She managed to scrabble out of an Asuka Lock and put Asuka in her own hold, but Kairi Sane dragged Asuka from the ring and Lynch was back to dealing with them both. Sane failed to get Lynch counted out. Asuka failed to keep her down with a knee. They both failed to keep her down with a double team. Becky Lynch countered the InSane Elbow and Kairi Sane had to be rescued from a Dis-Arm-Her. Sadly, the match finished by disqualification when Asuka hit Lynch with a chair.
Kairi Sane got a table out at ringside, Asuka laid Lynch on it, and Sane delivered the InSane Elbow through the table.
In the trainer’s room after a break, Charlotte Flair came to, somewhat sarcastically, check in with Lynch, who clearly wasn’t ready to talk to her. Becky Lynch still wants a shot at Asuka. Flair was attacked by The Kabuki Warriors as she left the training room and left lying.
♦ AJ Styles pre-match promo, with Gallows and Anderson, included a warning to Randy Orton that they would end his career if he interfered, as well as the usual he’s going to win stuff.
♦ The local competitor (who didn’t get a name) chosen to be destroyed by Erick Rowan, grabbed the cat carrier and ran up to the ramp with it. He left it on the stage and ran back to the ring through the crowd to try to get a count-out victory. It didn’t work and Erick Rowan vs ‘Local Competitor’ was a massacre that carried on even after the referee’s stoppage.
♦ Charly Caruso spoke to Asuka and Sane and got them to translate for her. Asuka said, ‘We challenge you to challenge us this Sunday for our titles.’
Back in the training room, Charlotte Flair and Becky Lynch agreed they wanted to fight The Kabuki Warriors and they wanted a Tables, Ladders and Chairs match. It was confirmed almost immediately.
♦ Street Profits had a weird newsroom segment, called the Monday After the Weekend Update, with them both in suits and a cheesy laugh track, to run through the TLC card.
♦ Rey Mysterio vs AJ Styles – US Championship match – was the main event of the evening. AJ Styles came to the ring alone, and to his own music. Gallows and Anderson turned up when it started to look like Styles was in trouble and their appearance was enough of a distraction for Styles to take advantage and shove Mysterio into the post.
Happily, they didn’t interfere again until near the end, and the match was as great as AJ Styles versus Rey Mysterio should be. The interference came in the form of Luke Gallows protecting Styles from a 619 by putting his body in the way, and Karl Anderson getting on the apron only to be dropkicked off it again. Styles resisted Mysterio’s hurricanrana from the top turnbuckle, powerbombed Rey Mysterio and delivered a Styles Clash but Randy Orton appeared behind him before he could make the cover. Orton didn’t do anything, just got back out of the ring, but when Styles went back to deliver another Styles Clash, he got pinned. Rey Mysterio retained.
That episode was a very go-home show in nature, but TLC as a PPV feels really rushed. After the first segment, it wasn’t a bad show. Hopefully, that storyline will be killed off on Sunday.