The shows opened with several Limousines pulling up backstage and The COO of WWE Triple H exited the vehicle he signalled to someone in one of them before walking backstage. Is this night two of the NXT TakeOver?
The Beast Incarnate is back
The WWE Champion Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman have returned back on Monday Night Raw but why? The advocate brings up the fact that the former WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross were drafted to Friday Night SmackDown and in turn two draft considerations.
Since Lesnar’s contract states he can’t be cut or fired why because he’s different and SPECIAL! The Beast is back to hunt Rey Mysterio down and one way or another he will get his hands on him by the end of the night. Before the commercial break, we witnessed an irate Lesnar screaming for Rey backstage and intimidating workers.
Opinion: I am very intrigued to see how this Lesnar/Mysterio feud will intensify by the end of the night. Will The Beast actually get his hands on him or just victimise poor souls backstage? If so we’re in for one hell of a ride. Paul Heyman, in my opinion, is the greatest promoter to ever walk on this planet he could be selling socks and make me want to buy them.
Charlotte Flair and Natalya def “The Kabuki Warriors” Asuka and Kairi Sane
The Kabuki Warriors were already in the ring as “The Queen” made her entrance. They aired a recap of Natalya and Lacey Evans from Crown Jewel in the historic first-ever women’s match in Saudi Arabia before Natalya came out.
The match started with Natalya and Sane tying-up in a battle of strengths. Very quickly both Natalya and Flair sent the heels scurrying to the outside as we went to commercial. As the action carried on the WWE Universe witnessed Sane adding more layers to her vile personality with cocky pinfall attempts and blatant disrespect for “The Queen of Hearts.” After a good fifteen minute match, Natalya locked in the Sharpshooter forcing Asuka to tap-out.
Opinion: While I’m glad that Natalya and Flair are picking up wins as a team, it made little sense to have The Kabuki Warriors lose this week. Especially, after getting rid of Paige last week and successfully defending their titles on NXT this feels like a step back for them. It kinda feels like the terrible booking Asuka has faced since arriving on the main roster.
Rey Mysterio takes down The Beast
After the match, “The Beast Incarnate” and Heyman went up to the commentary table demanding that Jerry “The King” Lawler tell him where Rey is. Heyman warned him that if he didn’t oblige then no one will resuscitate his heart after he dies on live television again. Dio Stepped up to Lesnar and paid for it with a vicious F5 through the announce table. As Lesnar was about to leave Rey comes out of nowhere with a baseball bat. swinging at the legs. Rey got some good shots in before decking the WWE Champion with his own title!
Rey gives an amazing backstage promo about how Lesnar has tried to take away everything that matters most to him: Familia so he’s going after what matters most to Lesnar: the WWE Championship. Rey ends the segment challenging Lesnar essentially to a match at Survivor Series!
Opinion: Rey is pissed off after all the vicious attacks on him and his son Dominic and looks like a total badass. The thought of a regular championship match at Survivor Series continues to hammer away that this year’s pay-per-view may be different than the past three years. Lesnar’s unhinged rage is reminiscent of when he returned back in 2012, beating the holy hell out of everyone and doing whatever he wants. I love the way WWE is building this story up and you just know Lesnar is going to answer back with more carnage!
Buddy Murphy def. Cedric Alexander
Both competitors were already in the ring when the match started. These two are always exciting to watch, they always bring a new level of intensity to their table. I’ve watched them battle on 205 Live and now on Raw as well and they never disappoint.
Opinion: With that being said I’m glad that Murphy picked up his third consecutive win since being drafted to the red brand. Alexander feels like he’s at a standstill after his feud with AJ Styles and The OC. I just wish that WWE can find something for him to sink his teeth into sooner rather than later.
Seth Rollins is NXT?
The former Universal Champion says that it’s not only been a rough week it’s been a rough couple of months. He knows that the WWE Universe was thrilled when “The Fiend” defeated him at Crown Jewel to become the new Universal Champion but he doesn’t give a damn!
He’s more concerned with the Universal Title over on Friday Night SmackDown and Brock Lesnar being back on top of the mountain as WWE Champion on Raw. Rollins feels like all the grinding he did for a year to give fresh superstars a chance to get to that next level such as AJ Styles, Braun Strowman and hell even Baron Corbin has been thrown in the trash. He’s unsure of what’s next for him.
The Game’s music blared through the arena. Apparently, HHH might as he gives Rollins a history lesson about all the times in the past where he didn’t know what was next and HHH did.
He became the inaugural NXT Champion, a member of The Shield, and the WWE World Heavyweight Champion. HHH brings up how NXT is on fire right now especially after their TakeOver on last week’s episode of SmackDown. Rollins’ mentor then mentioned that he didn’t come alone as all four members of The Undisputed Era come out through the crowd. Before Rollins can make a decision here comes The OC.
Undisputed Era retreated until Dominic Dijokovac and Damien Priest blindsided Styles, Gallows, and Anderson. The Raw roster came out to even the odds and it was over. Rollins made his way up the ramp.
After the commercial, Rollins told HHH that on Friday he had NXT run rabid all over a depleted roster but this isn’t that this is Monday Night Raw. If Rollins goes to Wednesdays, he’s not going as the former Universal Champion he’s going as “The Top Guy!” Rollins ended the segment declaring he’s better than Daniel Bryan and he can get the job done against Adam Cole. He gets Cole tonight for the NXT CHAMPIONSHIP!!!!
Opinion: I’ve felt for a while now that Rollins’ run as a babyface had run its course and I am truly hoping him losing the Universal Championship and even his identity catapults into a much-needed heel turn. HHH is not wrong every single time that Rollins came to him he’s found success. The tease of “The Beastslayer” returning to the black and gold brand creates a ton of options for his future.
Last but certainly not least, The O.C., coming down to even the odds provided the possibility of a HUGE dream match that the WWE Universe has been clamoring for. Rollins vs. Cole is gold dripped in gold and it will be freaking amazing!!!! Rollins potentially going back to NXT is awesome too, there a plethora of dream matches we could see!
Mixed Tag Team Match: Sin Cara and Catalina vs. Andrade and Zelina Vega
I want to say this match lasted about eight to ten minutes. There’s not a lot to mention about it other than I’ve seen better between Sin Cara and Andrade in the past. Zelina and Catalina both found their opportunities to even the odds for their men which made things a little more exciting. Zelina picked up the win with the Basement Rana.
Opinion: This match was good but not great. Sin Cara and Andrade have had much better matches in the past and given their history as a tag team prior to WWE it’s a shame that this felt lacklustre. It’s nice to see Zelina getting a victory as she doesn’t wrestle very often. I want to see Andrade as the United States Champion soon. Let’s be honest though if Sin Cara wasn’t battling Andrade would he be receiving any tv time? Probably not.
Rusev def. Drew McIntrye via Disqualification
We get a quick recap of the love triangle between Rusev/Lana/Bobby Lashley before “The Bulgarian Brute” challenges Lashley for a fight tonight. Rusev is ready to end all this ridiculous drama and Bob can have Lana but HIS ASS IS MINE! Bobby comes out on crutches w/Lana by his side. He claims he’s not medically cleared after pulling his groin basically during sex. Lana tells Rusev that someone else will kick his ass as “The Scottish Psychopath” Drew McIntyre makes his entrance.
I wouldn’t even call this a match, this was a slugfest between two powerhouses. McIntrye beat the hell out of Rusev limb by limb while Bobby and Lana smiled on from the ramp. Rusev was incensed after McIntrye called him a “bitch!” He dished out all of his humiliation and frustrations at McIntrye and it was beautiful. The match ended after Bobby came down and blasted Rusev with his crutch to cause the disqualification. After the match, Bobby and Rusev battled it out inside the ring where “The Bulgarian Brute” finally got his hands on his wife’s new lover that was until Randy Orton dropped him with an RKO outa nowhere. Ricochet came down to make the save and the heels retreated.
Opinion: I was really getting into this match where both competitors were trying to gain the upper hand to score the victory. McIntrye is such an ass-kicker who is relentless in his attacks on literally anyone who crosses his path.
WWE rightfully decided both superstars couldn’t take a loss right now. Rusev is getting “over” again with the WWE Universe and McIntrye just recently returned. With both Orton and Ricochet coming down it sets up a tag team match for next week. WWE needs to take advantage of the WWE Universe loving Rusev and change his attire and entrance music. Both are long overdue.
The Raw Women’s Champion and NXT Women’s Champion
The Raw Women’s Champion “The Man” Becky Lynch was being interviewed backstage by Charly Caruso who was asking Lynch about her upcoming triple-threat-match at Survivor Series pitting Lynch vs. Bayley vs. Shayna Baszler. The Man realizes she’s not the one doing the TakeOver this year and she’s a target. Before Charly can get a response, “The Queen of Spades” Shayna Baszler takes over the interview.
Baszler tells Lynch that she’s heard all about her and how she rose from NXT and then had all this potential. She knows she beat Ronda Rousey her training partner but Baszler’s not Ronda Rousey. The only thing Lynch needs to figure out between now and Survivor Series is which limb will belong to the NXT Women’s Champion. The Man stares right back at her and says essentially that she’s coming right for her.
Opinion: Holy Crap! You could kill the tension with a knife here between both Women’s Champions. The disdain for one another is on a totally different level. Baszler has grown into her own identity as a character and her mic skills have greatly improved. There is no way in hell that when she first arrived in NXT she could deliver a promo as good as this one.
While the SmackDown Women’s Champion Bayley will be in the triple-threat match, all eyes will be on Lynch and Baszler to see how they tear each other apart in a war of who’s the real women’s champion!
Six-man Tag Team Match: “The OC” AJ Styles, Luke Gallows, and Karl Anderson def. The Street Profits and Humberto Carrillo
Before the match began both trios traded barbs as Angelo Dawkins and Montez Ford included Carillo on The OC’s humiliating loss two weeks ago. Styles was furious over their antics. The Street Profits did what they do best, which is hype up the WWE Universe with their high-octane offence. Carillo got another great opportunity to clash with one of the greatest in-ring performers of this generation. The heels isolated the babyfaces for a long time until Ford made the hot tag to Carillo.
The United States Champion and his recent challenger delivered some great high-octane manoeuvres. The Lucha Libre superstar went up top one too many times and got caught as Styles delivered a powerbomb and pinned him using the ropes to cheat.
Opinion: I love The OC, but they have lost a ton of momentum after losing the Raw Tag Team Championships to Seth Rollins and Braun Strowman two months ago. I was really hoping that once Gallows and Anderson paired back up with Styles they would become an unstoppable force to be reckoned with. Sadly, that’s not the case here. The Street Profits lose nothing in the loss since they weren’t the ones who got pinned.
Humberto Carrillo is great and talented and fun to watch but the WWE Universe doesn’t care about him. It doesn’t help that he’s losing matches left and right either even if it is against top talent. It might help if WWE put together a vignette about who he is and his time on 205 Live. Carillo is doing much better than Drew Gulak on Smackdown who’s been getting obliterated by Braun Strowman.
It’s official, Rey Mysterio vs. Brock Lesnar for the WWE Championship at Survivor Series! I’m super excited!
The Viking Raiders vs. The Polo Boys
Erik and Ivar made their entrance for another ridiculous squash match. The commentators announced that at Survivor Series it will be “The Viking Raiders” vs. the NXT Tag Team Champions The Undisputed Era vs. the SmackDown Tag Team Champions The Revival!!!! That’s going to be one hell of a battle! Erik and Ivar come in and obliterate the jobbers with powerful manoeuvres followed by The Viking Experience for the victory. After the match, The Viking Raiders delivered a threatening promo about losing at Crown Jewel and declaring that The OC., may have won one battle but nothing can stop the raid.
Opinion: It’s sad when I noticed that since the NXT Championship match is in the main event, then I 100% knew that WWE left just enough of a gap for another boring squash match for the Raw Tag Team Champions. Let me say that again, Erik and Ivar the Raw Tag Team Champions are still having squash matches against jobbers. Why?
Just as it seemed like WWE was going to finally fix the tag team division on Raw, it’s proven that they have no FREAKIN clue how to make it relevant again! It’s been years since the Raw Tag Team Titles have been meant anything and it doesn’t appear to be changing anytime soon.
Seth Rollins def. Adam Cole For The NXT Championship Via Disqualification
Seth Rollins made his way out first, followed by the NXT Champion Adam Cole who is flanked by HHH.
The match started and the former Universal Champion took control going on the offence. Rollins clotheslined Cole to the outside. “The Beastslayer” Irish whipped the leader of UE barricade-to-barricade as we went to commercial. These two incredibly-gifted superstars were given about fifteen minutes to put on a fun match with several counters. Cole caught Rollins in mid-air and delivered a picture-perfect Superkick, Rollins countered The Panama Sunrise into a Bucklebomb.
The dream match was cut short as Rollins was tuning up the band for the Stomp and the rest of UE caused a disqualification. Here come the troops though as The OC., came down to even the odds but the entire NXT locker room emerged. A massive brawl ensued with superstars of Raw and NXT were beating the hell out of each other. Ricochet hit a backflip onto a flood of superstars. The show ended with Keith Lee wiping everyone out with a thunderous Senton!
Opinion: WWE made the right call here by not giving us the full match on free television. Rollins vs. Cole has been a dream match for many of the WWE Universe for years now and it would have been stupid to carry this into a massive pay-per-view or TakeOver down the road.
As we’ve seen in the past, Cole does whatever it takes to keep his coveted title. The brawl helped make this moment feel special and the WWE Universe was on fire for it. Chaos creates buzz and buzz will gain more viewership to see what happens next!
There were a few good matches on this week’s episode, Rusev vs. McIntrye was one I was really getting into until it was cut short. The two powerhouses have great in-ring chemistry and it showed. I felt excited about the story developments between Rey Mysterio and Brock Lesnar and their bitter rivalry.
Rey looks hell-bent on making Lesnar’s life miserable. The uncertainty of Seth Rollins’ future is something we’ve seen for a while now, but his potential return to NXT could be huge. Speaking of NXT, WWE made the right decision here by not having them wreak havoc on all three hours and interrupt matches.
Last week it worked because hundreds of superstars were stuck in Saudi Arabia, Raw was at full strength. Sometimes less is better and this was one of those times. Since NXT has fired two shots how will Raw or SmackDown respond? Will they each attack separately, or will they join forces for one night only? Either way with three weeks to go until Survivor Series, I’m very interested to see what happens next in the war of brand supremacy!