Welcome to the WWE Raw Deal review on TJRWrestling. It’s the Season Premiere of Raw even though it’s a show with a new episode every week. It’s also the first Raw after the conclusion of the WWE Draft last week. There’s also the Hell in a Cell pay-per-view this Sunday night.
From the WWE ThunderDome at the Amway Center in Orlando, Florida, this is the Raw Deal for episode #1430 of Monday Night Raw. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport. Please visit TJRWrestling.net daily for our regular updates on the wrestling business featuring WWE news coverage, insightful columns from our team along with reviews about wrestling’s past and present. Let’s roll.
There was a new Raw intro video with a new song called “The Search” by a rapper named NF. I don’t know who that is, but I guess we’ll get used to it. The “Legendary” song was pretty good.
The Raw announce team of Tom Phillips, Samoa Joe and Byron Saxton welcomed us to the show.
With the camera on the announcers, the screams filled the arena, there were red lights and Alexa Bliss was in the ring. Alexa Bliss: “Monday Night Raw, he’s here (laughs). Let him in.” That led to “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt making his entrance that took a few minutes complete with the lantern.
The Fiend stood in the ring with his left hand extended and Bliss held his left hand with her right hand. They stood in the ring staring forward at the hard camera as Retribution made their entrance. It was Mustafa Ali with T-Bar, Mace, Slapjack and Reckoning while Fiend/Bliss continued to stare ahead. As Retribution entered the ring, the lights went out again, you could hear Ali tell his guys to attack and then say “where did they go” because when the lights were back on, Fiend/Bliss were out of there.
The Hurt Business foursome made their entrance for an eight-man tag team match that was already announced for the show. The Hurt Business guys cleared the ring and Cedric Alexander hit a somersault dive onto Retribution on the floor, which led to a break.
Analysis: An interesting start to Raw to have The Fiend out there with Bliss to show that they are part of Raw now. At least it felt different than a long promo to start the show Retribution and Hurt Business have had issues for weeks, so now they get to settle it with a match.
A video was shown about Matt Riddle, who was drafted to Raw.
The Hurt Business: Bobby Lashley, Montel Vontavious Porter, Cedric Alexander and Shelton Benjamin vs. Retribution: Mustafa Ali, T-Bar, Mace and Slapjack (w/Reckoning)
Lashley the US Champion hit a running clothesline on T-Bar and another clothesline against the turnbuckle. T-Bar (Dominik Dijakovic) with a boot to the face followed by a forearm to the back. Lashley with a flatliner on T-Bar. Slapjack (Shane Thorne) went into the ring with Lashley hitting a delayed vertical suplex. Alexander tagged in with a front suplex on Slapjack and a pump kick for a two count. MVP whipped Slapjack into the turnbuckle. Alexander with a rising kick on Slapjack, who was rocked a bit as he fell over onto the apron. Slapjack with a rising punch while Alexander was distracted and Alexander with an armdrag across the ring. Ali tagged in with a dropkick to the arm and a stomp on the left arm. Ali with a dropkick to the back for two. When Alexander tried an attack off the rope, Ali tripped him up and when Alexander was on the floor, Ali sent Alexander back first into the barricade. The Fiend appeared on the screen as the teams faced off on the floor.
Mace battled Benjamin in the ring with Mace (Dio Maddin) working over Benjamin with punches until Shelton sent Mace into the turnbuckle. Benjamin with a German Suplex followed by a rising knee against the turnbuckle for a two count. Lashley tagged in with a clothesline that took out Mace and then Lashley knocked out the other guys as well. Lashley hit a huge spinebuster on Mace, then T-Bar went in as the legal man with Lashley hitting a Spear for two as Ali broke up the pin. T-Bar tried to fight out of the Hurt Lock (Full Nelson) submission, but he couldn’t do it and T-Bar tapped out after 11 minutes.
Winners by pinfall: The Hurt Business: Bobby Lashley, Montel Vontavious Porter, Cedric Alexander and Shelton Benjamin
Analysis: **1/4 Just an average tag team match. That’s a surprising result. Retribution’s first match with new leader Ali and they lose? Bizarre booking. Lashley looked dominant in the match since he cleaned house multiple times and got the clean win for his team. I like how Lashley has been booked since he has been with the Hurt Business group. I just wonder what this means for Retribution because it almost feels like WWE is ending the group before it could ever get started, but then I saw the segment later in the show. Perhaps this loss could be used to make them better and Retribution will be booked stronger going forward.
After the match, the lights went out and then the red lights were back on as The Fiend appeared at ringside. The Fiend knocked Ali down, he hit Sister Abigail on Slapjack on the floor and gave Mace a uranage slam onto the hood of the announce table (did not break the table). T-Bar saved Ali with a boot to the face. The Fiend gave T-Bar the Mandible Claw and then the Sister Abigail neckbreaker on T-Bar. The Fiend stared at the Hurt Business guys, who were out of the ring. Alexa Bliss appeared on the video screen to say: “Let me in.” That ended it.
Analysis: The crowd noise sounded like cheers, so it seems like The Fiend is in face mode now. That’s awkward for a character like The Fiend, but it was rumored that he would be more of a face. Between the match and this post match attack, Retribution did not look good in the first 25 minutes of this episode of Raw.
AJ Styles entered for a match with the big man Jordan Omogbehin joining him. The graphic on the screen had the full last name there. I’m surprised they don’t change the last name. Jordan was in a suit. Jordan was the bouncer for Shane McMahon’s Raw Underground segments that have ended. Jordan signed with WWE two years ago and was also a “ninja” for Akira Tozawa before the Raw Underground segments.
Styles credited the Raw decision-makers for drafting a true leader like Styles. While Styles spoke, Jordan stood behind him and he’s a huge man that was over 7 foot tall. Styles spoke about how he beat Jeff Hardy and Seth Rollins in a triple threat match last week to further prove that it was never Monday Night Rollins. Styles claimed it was a new era on Raw that belongs to the face that runs the place…AJ Styles.
Analysis: Styles did not mention Jordan being with him, but he did keep looking at him.
Matt Riddle made his entrance with the flip flops and there was a replay of Matt kicking off the flip flops. When referee Rod Zapata asked Jordan to leave the ring, the big man shook his head no. Rod tried to count to five, Jordan stopped the hand and stared at the referee. The referee pleaded with Jordan to leave, so Jordan left and the match began.
AJ Styles (w/Jordan Omogbehin) vs. Matt Riddle
Riddle worked over Styles with kicks to the chest. Riddle with three gutwrench suplexes in a row to send Styles across the ring. Riddle with a clothesline that sent Styles over the top to the floor in front of Jordan. When Riddle tried an attack on the floor, Jordan stepped in front of him and Riddle stopped, which led to a break.
Styles was in control with a knee to the ribs as the announcers talked about the enormous presence of the big man on the floor. They didn’t call him by name even though there was a graphic on screen for his entrance. The announcers kept saying “huge man” and things like that. Riddle with a jumping kick, two clotheslines and an overhead suplex. Styles blocked a broton (senton) by getting the feet up to kick Riddle away. They exchanged strikes, Riddle with a knee to the face, Styles with a Pele Kick and Riddle came back with a deadlift German Suplex. Styles with the Ushigoroshi (slam off the shoulders onto the knee) for a two count. Phillips called Jordan a “huge person” while he was on the floor instead of using a name. Riddle with a Fisherman’s Suplex while hooking the leg for a two count. Riddle went up top, Styles stopped him to crotch him on the turnbuckle and they exchanged punches on the turnbuckle with Riddle bumping to the floor while Styles bumped in the ring. Jordan walked over to Riddle, made a fist and Riddle went back in the ring. Styles took advantage with a kick to the head and Styles hit the Styles Clash for the pinfall win after about ten minutes.
Winner by pinfall: AJ Styles
Analysis: *** A clean win for Styles since Jordan didn’t touch Riddle, but he did intimidate Riddle while he was on the floor. It was weird how the announcers refused to use a name for Jordan even though, as I mentioned, they showed his name during the entrance of Styles. I’ll guess that maybe it was done that way because WWE is going to change Jordan’s name and they haven’t figured it out yet. Anyway, it was a competitive match with Riddle getting plenty of offense until Styles was able to capitalize on the Jordan intimidation leading to the finish. Perhaps they should have booked somebody else in this spot since Riddle is a guy with a bright future and having him lose his first match isn’t a nice way to get Riddle going.
Post match, Styles celebrated in the ring with the big man Jordan raising his hands in the air.
They promoted Randy Orton’s “Message from Hell” later on Raw. That led to a video package about the Orton rivalry with WWE Champion Drew McIntyre, which is leading to a Hell in a Cell match on Sunday.
Drew McIntyre, the WWE Champion, was backstage for an interview with Charly Caruso, who mentioned it is Drew’s first Hell in a Cell match while Randy Orton is a veteran of the match. Drew politely asked her to leave so he can speak into the camera to Randy Orton. Drew said from the first moment he met Randy when he was 20 years old through this past few months, Randy is the most selfish, entitled individual in WWE. Drew thought that when he slammed the door of the ambulance at Clash of Champions, the next day he was celebrating and Orton took advantage by taking out four legends again. Drew said that Randy knew that Drew would accept the challenge, so now it’s time for Hell in a Cell. Drew said that being in many Hell in a Cell matches would give Randy the advantage against anybody other than Drew, but Drew is not any other superstar. Drew said that Randy didn’t deserve respect. Drew said he would put Randy through hell to remain the WWE Champion. Drew said a guy on the crew asked if he was wearing black because he’s going to a funeral, Drew said maybe he is and teased showing up for Randy’s interview later.
Analysis: Good promo by Drew. I have liked Drew’s run as WWE Champion a lot, both in terms of him having plenty of great matches and the promos have improved throughout the year as well. While 2020 is a down year for a lot of us, Drew has thrived this year and been a highlight on Raw.
Lana made her entrance as we got highlights of her fluke battle royal win last week. That led to this title shot against Asuka, who made her entrance as the champion. Lana lost matches for several months before finally winning that battle royal in the luckiest way possible.
Raw Women’s Championship: Asuka vs. Lana
Asuka with a running shoulder tackle, a shove to the back and Lana got a rollup attempt, but Asuka countered it. Lana got to the bottom rope to avoid a submission attempt. Lana avoided a kick and got a rollup for two. Lana with three kicks to the head for a two count. Asuka came back with a back elbow, then a roundhouse kick, Asuka blocked a kick, Lana with an elbow and Asuka countered a pin attempt into the Asuka Lock submission. Lana tapped out to give Asuka the win in a match that went just over two minutes.
Winner by submission: Asuka
Analysis: *1/2 A clean, dominant win by Asuka in a short match. To Lana’s credit, she looked a bit better here than she has in the past with some strikes that were decent. I just didn’t expect a long match, so it went as expected.
Post match, Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler showed up with Jax hitting Asuka with a forearm to the back. Jax cleared off the announce table, Baszler sent Lana out of the ring and Jax got a hold of Lana. It was a familiar scene as Jax picked up Lana and gave her a Samoan Drop through the announce table. It was the fifth time that has happened to Lana.
Analysis: There have been reports that Lana is going to be a face after all of these attacks, so maybe there will come a point where Lana finds away to put Jax through the table. Hopefully it’s building to something like that because otherwise all of this is really making Lana look weak.
Asuka avoided a slam by Baszler, Askuka kicked Baszler in the ribs and hit the running hip attack to knock Baszler out of the ring. Asuka got away before Jax and Baszler could get their hands on her.
Analysis: It makes a lot of sense for Jax and Baszler to go after Asuka, so I wonder if WWE does a triple threat match between them rather than a singles feud with either woman.
A commercial aired for Hell in a Cell promoting Roman Reigns defending the Universal Title against Jey Uso in an “I Quit” Hell in a Cell Match. Our Hell in a Cell PPV preview will go up on Saturday morning on TJRWrestling.
Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler were in the ring with their Women’s Tag Team Titles. Jax mentioned teamwork while Baszler said they were dominant and they argued about it. Baszler said that week after week, they dominate and that means they own both the Raw and Smackdown women’s division. Jax dared anybody to come out there to do something about it.
Mandy Rose and Dana Brooke entered to respond to the challenge. Mandy has my favorite wrestling gear in WWE. I can confirm that. Dana posts a lot of bikini photos on Instagram, so she’s cool too. Lacey Evans also entered with Peyton Royce as a partner, but they did not seem to get along during their entrance. It’s weird seeing Peyton enter without the IIconics song. The Riott Squad duo of Liv Morgan and Ruby Riott were a fourth team in the match even though they are from Smackdown. Phillips noted it was “one last opportunity” to be on Raw.
Analysis: I saw complaints online from fans about how Liv and Ruby shouldn’t be on since they were on Smackdown. However, if you saw last week’s Smackdown, they had non-SD regulars on it (like Jeff Hardy, Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods) because it was considered the post-draft show that allowed for former talent to appear. I assume that meant it carried over to Raw because Smackdown is where the draft started. That’s why I’m okay with this, but next week it should be Raw only and Smackdown only. WWE has to honor the brand split for fans to care about it. I’m not defending WWE logic. I’m just trying to explain how I see it in this instance.
Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler vs. Mandy Rose and Dana Brook vs. Peyton Royce and Lacey Evans vs. Riott Squad (Ruby Riott and Liv Morgan)
It seemed like it was set up to be a title match, but after the match got going, the announcers clarified it was just a non-title open challenge.
Two women are legal in the ring while the others had to be on the apron. Brooke got a rollup on Riott, then Baszler and Jax broke it up. Brooke and Rose kicked Baszler and Jax into the barricade. Royce hit a cross body block on the women on the floor. Evans jumped off the apron with a moonsault onto five women on the floor. Riott and Morgan jumped off the top with cross body blocks onto the six women on the floor as the show went to break.
Royce hit Morgan with a forearm, then tagged Evans into the ring and Morgan hit a headscissors on Evans. There was a corner splash by Morgan on Evans and Riott tagged in with Evans overpowering her with a punch to the ribs. Rose tagged in against Jax, Brooke tagged herself in quickly and the double suplex by the blondes failed, but Jax hit a double suplex on Brooke/Rose at the same time. Jax missed a corner attack as she went shoulder-first into the ring post. Brooke with a handspring back elbow on Jax. Brooke hit a pump knee on Jax. Brooke tagged in with a Senton Bomb on Jax for a two count as Baszler broke up the pin. Rose with a knee to Baszler, Royce with a spin kick to Rose that missed, but Rose sold it anyway (it might have grazed a hand), Riott back in with a STO trip on Royce and Evans decked Riott with the Woman’s Right punch. Brooke threw Evans out of the ring. Morgan tagged in with a dropkick on Jax, Evans tagged Jax to become legal and Morgan stomped on Evans back. Morgan with double knees to Evans with Riott hit ting a Riott Kick for two as Baszler broke up the pin. Baszler choked out Riott on the floor. Jax tagged herself in and gave Evans a Samoan Drop for the pinfall win after about nine minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler
Analysis: ** It was just an average tag team match booked in the usual way with a bunch of nearfalls before they do the “everybody hits a move to clear the ring” spot. I figured Riott Squad would lose since they’re on Smackdown now, but it doesn’t matter that Evans took the pin since she’s not a regular partner of Royce. Perhaps it will lead to Royce or Evans going face so they can feud about this. I don’t know what the plan is. Jax and Baszler remain a dominant team. It’s nice to see champs win non-title matches too.
There were highlights shown from five months ago when Elias was injured five months ago in a car crash. It was a torn pectoral muscle, which led to surgery for Elias. He was legit hurt, so they did the car crash angle. The storyline is that they don’t know who to did it although Elias attacked Jeff Hardy since he was “arrested” at the time.
Elias was shown talking to some musicians backstage because he has a concert up next.
Elias was on the stage with a band set up behind him. Elias welcomed us to the Season Premiere of Raw while claiming we were all excited about the concert. Elias has a new album coming out next Monday called “Universal Truth.” Elias did his “WWE stands for” bit as the ThunderDome crowd said “Walk With Elias” right on cue. It certainly could have been a tape. The first song is called “Amen (I’m Going In)” and Elias sang it. I’m not going to recap the song lyrics. Elias also sang the song “Lead Me Home” as well. Elias thanked the crowd, said goodnight and noted that he loved none of us.
Analysis: The songs really didn’t feel that interesting to me. Admittedly, I don’t listen to new music anymore. All I really listen to are podcasts about wrestling, fantasy football, gambling and then older songs I liked back in the day.
Elias claimed he heard an encore, so he was about to do another song, but then somebody in a hood was there playing the guitar. Elias told the guy to give the guitar and it was revealed to be Jeff Hardy. Jeff swung the guitar at Elias, who ducked and rolled towards the ring. Jeff told Elias he didn’t hit him with the car.
Analysis: Jeff is also a musician of sorts, so they could have a rivalry based on that too. After Raw was over, Hardy vs. Elias was announced for the Hell in a Cell PPV on Sunday.
The Miz and John Morrison were complaining about Mandy Rose calling him petty last week. Miz said he helped Mandy by moving her to Raw where she’s in a strong tag team with Dana Brooke instead of being Otis’ arm candy. Morrison complained about Lars Sullivan attacking them last week, but Miz moved on to talking about himself again while noting that he was going to win his court case against Otis. Tucker, who is also on Raw, complained about how they were going to ruin Otis’ life. Tucker said that Miz keeps delaying the trial and Tucker told them they’ll be in a tag team match. Miz claimed he was not trying to ruin Otis’ life. While Miz was saying things, Morrison was repeating him and Miz/Morrison laughed at the idea of Tucker finding a tag team partner.
Analysis: This feud bored me on Smackdown and it continues to bore me on Raw.
Kofi Kingston entered with his Raw Tag Team Championship partner Xavier Woods with him.
This week on Smackdown, it’s on Fox Sports 1 in the US because of the World Series baseball game on Fox. Roman Reigns has a final message for Jey Uso before Hell in a Cell, plus will Bayley sign the contract for Hell in a Cell against Sasha Banks? That’s a yes. Anyway, it should be their smallest audience of the year because it’s on FS1 instead of Fox, so that will hurt Smackdown this week. For me in Canada, it’s on Sportsnet 360 as usual.
Elias was shown walking backstage with Charly Caruso trying to interview him. Elias said in his downtime and his hiatus that people would stop interrupting him, but no. Elias said that next Monday he’ll be celebrating his new album Universal Truth and he was challenging Jeff Hardy to a match at Hell in a Cell.
Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods were in the ring with Kingston noting that for the first time in nearly four years, they are the Raw Tag Team Champions. Kofi said that a lot has changed since then. Woods said last year at this time, he tore his Achilles, then 2020 has been a garbage fire of a year and when he finally comes back, New Day was split up with Big E on Smackdown. Kofi calmed Woods down, told him to breathe a bit and they were interrupted.
Sheamus showed up for his match with Woods. Sheamus said that their crying last week on Smackdown was embarrassing. Sheamus said now they are only two thirds (or turds) of New Day. Sheamus said that means they are going to end up on the wrong end of a Brogue Kick. Kofi said it doesn’t mean that New Day is finished. All it means is Big E gets to hold it down on Smackdown while Kofi and Woods get to hold it down on Raw. Kofi said that they can spread their seed of positivity on the WWE Universe. They sang that they are “Johnny Appleseed” and Sheamus told them to shut up. Sheamus said that the reality is that they are divided and divided they will fall. Woods pointed out that Big E dropped Sheamus on the hood of a car and said Big E dropped his “ashy ass” on the hood of the car. Kofi mocked Sheamus for looking ashy on television. They did their “New Day rocks” chant to end the promo.
Analysis: Solid promos from both sides. New Day was being positive without Big E by their side while Sheamus was trying to point out that New Day was weaker because Big E wasn’t with them anymore.
Kofi Kingston (w/Xavier Woods) vs. Sheamus
Sheamus with a shoulder tackle and Kofi came back with a dropkick for two. Sheamus used his size advantage to knock down Kofi with a punch to the back. Kofi with a kick to the chest, Sheamus with a press slam, Kofi landed on his feet and Kofi with a clothesline to the floor. Kofi with a dropkick to send Sheamus to the floor. Kofi jumped over the top, caught Sheamus and slammed him into the ring apron as the show went to break.
Sheamus was in control with a headlock, Kofi with a jawbreaker and Sheamus took him out with a clothesline. Sheamus with forearms to the chest as we saw Big E, who was shirtless at home, watching on the WWE ThunderDome screens. Sheamus with a punch to the gut followed by a belly to back suplex for two. Woods let Kofi know that Big E was watching on the screens as Kofi did a leaping one-legged stomp to the throat of Sheamus. Kofi with chops, a dropkick and a leaping clothesline. Kingston with a boom drop leg drop. Kofi charged, Sheamus moved and Kofi hit a springboard cross body block off the top for two. Kofi jumped off the top, Sheamus caught him and hit a spinning slam for a two count. Sheamus went for the Cloverleaf submission, Kofi countered it into a rollup for two. Kofi charged, Sheamus caught him and hit an Alabama Slam for a two count. Sheamus lifted up Kofi by the turnbuckle, Kofi slid out of that and Kofi hit a Russian legsweep off the middle ropes to drop Sheamus in the ring and that got a two count. Cool spot there. Sheamus got a rollup to counter the SOS attempt, Kofi countered the backbreaker attempt and got a rollup for two. Kofi got back up with the Trouble in Paradise kick to the head for the pinfall win after about 13 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Kofi Kingston
Analysis: ***1/2 A very good match between two veterans that are familiar with eachother from tag team matches and wrestling in the past before that. Sheamus used his power, Kofi was great making the comeback and I liked the finish a lot. There were several nearfalls for each guy including that Russian legsweep off the middle ropes for a two count. I figured Sheamus would win since Kofi is a tag team wrestler mostly at this point, but nothing wrong with a former WWE Champion like Kofi picking up a win. I don’t think Sheamus is really hurt by losses since he’s such an established performer. It wouldn’t be a terrible thing if Kofi and Woods were singles wrestlers on Raw either because it would be fresh for both guys, but I know Raw has a weak tag team division right now.
Kofi and Woods celebrated the win with Big E dancing on the ThunderDome screens and WWE Hall of Famer Mark Henry was on another screen as well.
There were highlights shown of Retribution losing to Hurt Business when Bobby Lashley made T-Bar tap out to the Hurt Lock submission move. Retribution was beaten up The Fiend after that.
Let’s Hear from Mustafa Ali and Retribution
A promo aired from Mustafa Ali standing backstage with his Retribution allies. Ali said that The Fiend and Hurt Business made a very big mistake. Ali noted that his power is creating chaos and we all had no idea how much chaos he could create. Ali said all he needs is a laptop, a cell phone and a secret. Ali said he’ll embrace that power. Ali said that since the company couldn’t make a buck off Mustafa Ali, he was watching each and everyone of these superstars as they plotted just to get ahead. Ali said he learned all of their pathetic secrets. Ali admitted that he was the mysterious hacker on Smackdown. Ali said that this sick place is infecting everyone with greed and corruption while good, talented individuals are being forgotten and abandoned with their dreams being left to die. Ali said he found them referring to other Retribution members. Ali said that their truth will be heard. Ali said whether it’s The Fiend, Hurt Business or anyone on Raw, if you try to stop the truth from being heard, then they will shut you down.
Analysis: That was good. I liked the intensity shown by Ali there. The Smackdown hacker angle was dropped months ago with rumors that it was going to be Mustafa Ali as the person behind it, so at least now they explained it. The problem with the threats made by Retribution is they lost a tag team match clean earlier in the show and got beat up by The Fiend easily as well. When those sorts of things happen, the fans aren’t going to view you as threats. I doubt Retribution is going to fade away any time soon. I think they’ll win most of their matches. I just think they need to be booked stronger than what happened on this episode of Raw.
The Miz and John Morrison entered for a tag team match.
The Hurt Business foursome were backstage in their suits. Titus O’Neil showed up in a suit as well. Titus walked up to them saying he thought he would be a good addition to the Hurt Business since he dresses the part, he looks the part and with his connections along with his public image, he can take this conglomerate worldwide. MVP wanted to talk to his guys, he said nothing and then told Titus that “we” are in business excluding him. That led to MVP, Lashley, Benjamin and Crews beating up Titus.
Analysis: Poor Titus. At least he might have a storyline on Raw for the first time in a long time.
The Miz and John Morrison said that Tucker should bring out his partner. They did their “hey hey ho ho” song briefly when Tucker interrupted them. Tucker said he scoured the globe and found one of the world’s premiere luchadores. It was a man in a pink mask, pink tights, pink knee pads and black boots. The name was: El Grande Gordo (The Big Fat is the translation). He had the lunchbox too. The Miz said it was Otis. Gordo spoke with a bad Latino accent attempt. Morrison wondered how you could scour the globe since the challenge was just issued and Tucker said he scoured the globe digitally.
Analysis: Why does Otis need a mask to be on Raw? Once again, I’m going to try to explain WWE logic. I think it’s because unlike the Riott Squad who used to be on Raw and are now on Smackdown, Otis wasn’t on Raw previously, so him being there is “illegal” and that’s why he needs a mask. Anyway, this promo was pretty silly.
Miz ripped on Otis/Gordo saying he spit on the Money in the Bank contract by doing goofy things like this. Miz mentioned that Money in the Bank launched Miz’s career to the next level and Otis is wasting it. Miz called Otis a joke. Miz said when he stands side by side with Otis, one of them looks like a WWE superstar. Miz said he’s been in this ring for 15 years beating Hall of Famers, representing this company in media and yet everybody boos him. Miz said that people cheer Otis because he’s the underdog like when he won Money in the Bank and when Otis got Mandy Rose it meant the underdog got the girl. Miz said when people called Otis the underdog it’s because they feel sorry for him. Miz said that the courts will see things in Miz’s favor, Miz separated Otis from Tucker and Mandy and Miz will separate Otis from the Money in the Bank contract while bringing prestige back to it. Miz said you can put a mask on a pig, but it’s still a pig. Tucker and Gordo went into the ring to attack. They cleared the ring leading to a break.
Analysis: That was a really good serious promo from Miz. It’s a nice reminder of how great of a promo guy he can be when they let him do serious promos instead of the goofy comedy stuff they have him do far too often. Miz could be so much more in current WWE right now. Instead, he’s booked terribly along with Morrison.
Tucker and El Grande Gordo vs. The Miz and John Morrison
Gordo was wrestling in the pink cape. Tucker hit a cross body block off the middle ropes on Morrison. There was a handspring into a kick to the head by Morrison along with some choking on the ropes by Miz. Double team gutbuster by the heels to Tucker. Morrison with a running knee, Miz with a kick and Morrison with a standing Shooting Star Press for two. Morrison grounded Tucker on the mat with a move where he pulled back on the arms. Miz tagged in, Tucker with a clothesline on Morrison and Gordo tagged in. Gordo with two clotheslines on Miz, then a lifting slam on Morrison, a clothesline on Morrison to the floor and Gordo hit an arm drag off the turnbuckle to show he was like a luchador, I guess. Gordo with a body slam on Miz as Morrison made the save. Tucker with a slam on Morrison and Miz kicked Tucker out of the ring. R-Truth ran into the ring with the 24/7 Title, then he ran out the other side of the ring while Drew Gulak, Akira Tozawa and a referee went chasing after him. Lince Dorado and Gran Metalik were running too, but then they stopped to see El Grande Gordo since he’s a “luchador” like them. While that was happening, Gordo hit a corner splash on Miz. Gordo with the Caterpillar into the elbow drop. Gordo hit the Vader Bomb splash on Miz for the pinfall win after about five minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Tucker and El Grande Gordo
Analysis: *1/2 A comedy tag team match to put Otis over Miz after the scathing promo from Miz earlier in the night. Miz and Morrison among the worst booked wrestlers in the company, which is bizarre when you think of their tenure and the potential they could have if they were booked well. The El Grande Gordo stuff wasn’t that funny, but I’m sure Vince McMahon thought a fat guy in a mask and cape was hilarious, so that’s really all that matters to him.
The Firefly Fun House is next.
This Wednesday on NXT: Breezango defends the Tag Team Titles against Undisputed Era’s Roderick Strong and Bobby Fish. Plus, it’s one week before the Halloween Havoc episode. I’ll have a review on TJRWrestling on Thursday.
There was a backstage scene with Tucker, El Grande Gordo, Xavier Woods and Kofi Kingston celebrating their wins. The lovely Mandy Rose went up to Gordo and gave him some ham. They were all happy.
Firefly Fun House
There was Bray Wyatt in the Firefly Fun House as he pulled some things out of boxes since they were moving to Raw from Smackdown even though it’s the same building. Wyatt welcomed us to the Season Premiere of the Firefly Fun House on Monday Night Raw. Wyatt was sad about leaving his friends on Smackdown, but he can’t wait to make some new friends on Raw. They showed clips of The Fiend beating up Retribution earlier in the show as Wyatt laughed about it. Abby the Witch said that she wanted to sleep so Wyatt told Abby not to be crabby. The other characters spoke up like Huskus while Ramblin’ Rabbit had flashbacks of all the times he was beaten up. Wyatt said that the past is in our heads, but the future is in our hands. Poor Rabbit was eaten by Mercy the Buzzard. Oh no. The horror. There was a knock at the door with Alexa Bliss entering the room in her darker, black, Fiendish look. Wyatt said he saved the best surprise for last and Bliss said that their fun is just getting started. They said “bye” and waved at us.
Analysis: These segments are not as interesting as when they first started, but at least Bliss being there is a bit of a different look.
Braun Strowman made his entrance as an official member of Raw. Strowman was selling the right side of his ribs a bit after taking a lot of chair shots on the last Smackdown. Strowman’s match is after a break.
Keith Lee entered as Strowman’s challenger. This is their first official match after having an exhibition match two weeks earlier. There was no winner as they went brawling all around the arena and bumping through a table beside the ramp. They showed Ric Flair watching on the ThunderDome screens.
Braun Strowman vs. Keith Lee
Strowman attacked with punches, then a corner splash and a clothesline to the floor. Strowman ran around the ring with a running shoulder tackle. Back in the ring, Strowman went for a powerslam, then he went down favoring the injured ribs and Lee kicked him in the ribs. Lee with a running body attack followed by a splash to the back for a two count. They showed John Bradshaw Layfield watching on the ThunderDome as well. Strowman charged at Lee, who moved and Strowman hit the turnbuckle. Lee bounced off the ropes with a running shoulder tackle to knock Strowman down. While Strowman was on the mat, he raised up with his head hitting Lee in the groin. The referee apparently didn’t see the blatant low blow. Strowman bounced off the ropes with a boot to the face for the pinfall win after about three minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Braun Strowman
Analysis: *1/2 It was a short, physical match between two big guys with Strowman selling the ribs well before finding a way to win. It wasn’t clean due to the low blow, so that mean they will be doing the match again. I do like the idea of two big guys feuding like this. I just hope it benefits both guys and I wonder if that will happen in the long run.
The replay of the match showed that the referee was looking right at the blatant low blow of Strowman.
After the match, Strowman had his arm in the air as the winner. Lee went up to Strowman and kicked him in the groin. Lee trash talked him to let him know that Braun messed with the wrong guy.
Analysis: That post match attack by Lee shows that the feud isn’t over by any means. Strowman is in that unique spot of being a tweener, so I’m not sure if he’s going to be face or heel long term. Lee is more natural as a face. Anyway, they’ll probably have a match again very soon.
Randy Orton’s promo is up next as the main event.
The red Hell in a Cell structure was lowered to preview Hell in a Cell on Sunday.
This week on Raw Talk the guests were Jeff Hardy, Nikki Cross, The Miz and John Morrison. Check it out on WWE Network.
The Viper’s Message from Hell
Randy Orton made his entrance for a promo while wearing his ring gear and the vest that he likes to wear. There were only about seven minutes left in the show as Orton entered the ring surrounded by the Hell in a Cell structure. Orton locked himself inside the Hell in a Cell structure and brought a chair into the ring. It was noted by Phillips that it was Randy’s 8th Hell in a Cell match.
Orton said he wanted to come out here and reflect as he sat on the chair in the ring. Orton said ever since he’s been in this company, he’s heard that everybody that competes in Hell in a Cell leaves a small piece of him behind. Orton said he’s had seven matches inside Hell in a Cell, but he never leaves a piece of him behind because he understood himself better every time he walked out that door. Orton said he understood what he was capable of. Orton said this Sunday he faces Drew McIntyre. Orton spoke about how he remembered standing toe to toe with Mark Henry, Sheamus and mutilating Jeff Hardy right about here. Orton said he remembered beating Daniel Bryan, facing John Cena twice and becoming WWE Champion twice.
Orton said the most important thing that he remembers about Hell in a Cell is standing in this hell and looking the Deadman (Undertaker) in the eye and earning his respect right there. Orton said that every name he just listed, if they are not Hall of Famers, they will one day be in the Hall of Fame. Orton said that the first word that comes to mind when it comes to Hall of Fame is the word “legend.” Orton said that the word legend is thrown around rather loosely. Orton said that there are legends and legendary moments. Orton said that it was a legendary moment when Drew beat Brock Lesnar to become WWE Champion…and here comes Drew.
Analysis: I liked that promo a lot. Orton mentioned all of the guys he has faced inside Hell in a Cell to show that he is very experienced in these kinds of matches. I’ve written many times this year that this is the best year of Orton’s career in terms of promos. He’s a lot more comfortable in that ring doing a monologue than he used to be.
McIntyre arrived with the WWE Title in his hands with less than two minutes left in the show. Orton dared McIntyre to come after him while noting that the cell was locked. Orton dared McIntyre to break the lock to come after him. McIntyre grabbed some bolt cutters from behind the barricade, Orton tried holding onto the cage from inside and then Orton went into the ring with the steel cage. McIntyre cut the chain used to lock the door, Drew shut the door and the show ended right there.
Analysis: That’s a different kind of ending. Instead of going off the air with a predictable brawl like we saw Drew and Randy do last week, it ended with the show ending while Drew was just about to enter the ring with Randy. The idea behind that is to make people want to tune into Hell in a Cell on Sunday to see what happens when they’re in the ring together. It doesn’t give either man the advantage going into Hell in a Cell. It just ends the show with a cliffhanger. That’s fine once in a while, but I wouldn’t want to see Raw end like that very often.
Three Stars of the Show
- Kofi Kingston
- AJ Styles
5 out of 10
Last week: 7
2020 Average: 6.26
This was just an average show with some bad moments and not enough good matches. There were several weird things happening in terms of booking. I was perplexed by Retribution losing clean in a tag team match. The Fiend also beat up Retribution easily, so it was a bad night overall for Retribution although I liked Mustafa Ali’s promo. The segments involving the women didn’t go that well, which includes matches and promos. Otis wrestling in a mask was goofy. I did like The Miz’s promo a lot, but he’s booked like such a comedy loser at this point that it’s hard to take him seriously.
It was also disappointing to see Keith Lee losing a match in under four minutes although it was a cheap shot low blow that led to it. Lee has so much potential as a future top guy, but he’s not booked well at all. While Braun Strowman is a top guy, I don’t like seeing Lee being put in that spot although the feud is continuing.
The main event ending with Randy Orton’s promo leading to a confrontation with Drew McIntyre led to no physical altercation between them. I like it as a way to give neither guy the advantage going into Hell in a Cell. However, ending with a brawl or some more interaction is more of the traditional way of ending the show.
The next WWE pay-per-view is Hell in a Cell on Sunday, October 25. Here’s what we know so far.
WWE Championship Hell in a Cell Match: Drew McIntyre (c) vs. Randy Orton
WWE Universal Championship “I Quit” Hell in a Cell Match: Roman Reigns (c) vs. Jey Uso
Smackdown Women’s Championship Hell in a Cell Match: Bayley (c) vs. Sasha Banks
Jeff Hardy vs. Elias – It became official after Raw.
There are only four official matches for a PPV that takes place this Sunday. We’ll preview what we can on TJRWrestling on Saturday.
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