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WWE RAW Review: September 23, 2019

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WWE RAW Review: September 23, 2019

Last weeks show saw Kane return to save Universal Champion Seth Rollins, only to get ambushed by ‘The Fiend’ Bray Wyatt.

Announced for RAW this week was a Fatal-5-Way number one contenders match between Rey Mysterio, Ricochet, United States Champion AJ Styles, Intercontinental Champion Shinsuke Nakamura and RAW Tag Team Champion Robert Roode, where the winner will get a Universal Championship opportunity on next weeks ‘season premiere’.

Who will earn the opportunity and will ‘The Fiend’ find a way to torment Rollins once again? Let’s find out!

Rollins vs Strowman announced as main event

Bray Wyatt is not only tormenting WWE superstars, but also the production crew as well. Last week it was the upside-down match graphics, and this week it was the ‘Then. Now. Forever’ opening video that usually plays out before the start of every WWE show.

Universal Champion Seth Rollins makes his way to the ring and talks about how in the seven years he’s been in WWE that he has never felt the way he did last week when he was cornered by ‘The Fiend’. He says that it gets worse because in two weeks he’s locked inside Hell in a Cell with Wyatt.

Rollins goes on to say that while entering the cell can shorten careers, being inside with Wyatt could be even worse. He says he’ll do what he always does: survive and prevail. He uses his victories against Brock Lesnar and Braun Strowman before the latter interrupts. Strowman expresses his anger at Rollins for saying last week that he hoped he doesn’t get a rematch anytime soon. Rollins retaliates by saying that he said he was glad because he has a lot on his plate right now, but challenges Strowman to a match later tonight.

Summary: One of the better promos that Rollins has done in recent months, but the survive and prevail lines were a little too forced for my liking. The exchange with Strowman was okay, but also a reminder of how average their feud was last month. I was a little surprised to not see the Wyatt interrupt with the Firefly Funhouse and tease an appearance, but overall an okay start to set the direction of the show.

Rating: B-

The Viking Raiders (Erik & Ivar) def. The OC (Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson) w/ AJ Styles

The OC come out to a new entrance theme accompanied by United States Champion AJ Styles. The opening stages of the match are back-and-forth with the Viking Raiders using their power to their advantage, but The OC would respond every time with punches and double-team moves.

Ivar would tag in and hits Luke Gallows with a shoulder tackle before a sidewalk slam and low crossbody combination. Gallows throws Ivar into the corner who rolls up the turnbuckle like Ric Flair back in the day. Styles grabs Ivar’s ankle allowing Gallows to knock him off the ring apron. Styles is ejected from ringside by the referee and is attacked by Cedric Alexander on the stage.

The OC are in control with Anderson punching away at Ivar in the corner. Gallows tags in and hits headbutts and stomps to Ivar before he fights back by booting Gallows and knocking Anderson off the apron. Ivar hits Gallows with a senton before tagging in Erik, who comes face-to-face with Anderson. Erik hit Gallows with an exploder suplex before flipping Anderson over and hitting a vicious knee.

The action really starts to pick up as The OC hit Erik with the Boot of Doom double-team move for a near fall. They attempt the Magic Killer, only for Erik to fight out and tag in Ivar who manages to knock Gallows to the outside. Anderson runs at Erik only to be hit with the Viking Experience. Erik then hits Gallows with a suicide dive while Ivar pins Anderson.

Summary: Before I get into the match, I just want to say how great The OC’s new entrance theme is, which is surprising because WWE have recently had a bad streak of changing entrance themes. The match itself was very enjoyable, but frustrating because these two teams should be fighting over the RAW Tag Team Championships. Instead the titles are with a team that has only been together for three weeks. The Viking Raiders showed why they’re one of the best teams in WWE and the OC were a great team to use to establish that. Hopefully Robert Roode and Dolph Ziggler are just placeholder champions and quickly drop the titles to the Viking Raiders at Hell in a Cell.

Rating: B

Sit-down interview with Becky Lynch

Michael Cole is conducting a sit-down interview with RAW Women’s Champion Becky Lynch. Cole asks if it was wise to challenge Sasha Banks to a Hell in a Cell match. Lynch says she wanted to fix the RAW women’s division which was getting destroyed by Ronda Rousey, so she welcomes the challenge of facing Banks. Cole says there has Banks has experience from being in the only previous women’s Hell in a Cell match back in 2016. Lynch says Banks didn’t win it though.

Cole reminds her about SmackDown Women’s Champion Bayley lurking in the background. Lynch says the point of the Hell in a Cell isn’t to keep Bayley out. It’s to keep Banks in so that she can’t run away like she did at Clash of Champions.

Cole talks about Lynch getting a $10,000 fine for hitting an official with the steel chair despite Banks bringing it in. Lynch says when Banks came back, she wanted to end her with the chair shots. Banks will get her chance at Hell in a Cell and she’ll need to take her chance, otherwise, Lynch will.

Summary: When the draft comes along, I hope that Michael Cole transitions into a role of backstage interviewer like this week. He’s much more bearable in this role and asked some good questions for Lynch and she answered each one well. The feud has admittedly stalled a little over the past couple of weeks, but with the ‘season premiere’ I’m sure they’re saving the next confrontation between Lynch and Banks for then.

Rating: B

Rusev def. EC3

EC3 starts the match with a series punches and elbows but Rusev then takes full control with a swinging sidewalk slam, while the crowd continue to chant “We Want Lana”.

Rusev hits a pair of headlock suplexes before his Machka Kick knocks out EC3. The ‘Bulgarian Brute’ adds insult to injury by locking in the Accolade submission forcing EC3 to tap out.

Summary: Rusev was booked in a similar fashion to last week, but this was a lot better as there wasn’t any sign of the Mike & Maria storyline in the background. It’s great to see Rusev in great shape and booked like a powerhouse, but WWE have done this before and given up on him far too quickly. Fingers crossed this leads to at least a mid-card title push after the draft. EC3 needs to leave WWE, or at the very least go back to NXT. A talent like him should not be wasted in squash matches.

Rating: C-

Sasha Banks w/Bayley def. Nikki Cross w/Alexa Bliss

Sasha Banks and Nikki Cross are accompanied by their respective partners, Bayley and Alexa Bliss as this first-time-ever match begins. Banks does her best to avoid Cross by hiding behind the ropes and hits the first strike, only for Cross to get angry and respond with strikes of her own.

Cross begins to target the arm of Banks, to weaken any future Bank Statement attempts. Banks manages to break free of her arm being wrenched, but Cross regains control with a cross body block for a near fall. Banks rolls to the outside and Cross jumps on her back and applies a sleeper hold, only for ‘The Boss’ to fall backwards and crush Cross on the arena floor.

The action is back-and-forth as Cross hits Banks with an avalanche followed by a bulldog for a near fall. Banks starts targeting the leg of Cross by trapping it in the ropes. Cross hits another cross body, this time at ringside before throwing Banks back into the ring and nails her with a neckbreaker for a near fall.

Banks hits Cross with a basement dropkick for a near fall before a second dropkick forces Cross out of the ring. Banks is then trapped in the ring skirt as Cross unleashes a plethora of forearm strikes before throwing her back into the ring. Cross hits a spinning neckbreaker only for Bayley to distract the referee. Bliss would stop the shenanigans by taking out Bayley with a forearm.

That distraction proved costly for Cross as she would go for a cross body off the top rope only for Banks to roll into a Bank Statement and force the tap out. After the match, Banks attacks Bliss and applies the Bank Statement to her aswell.

Summary: An okay match that probably went about five minutes too long. There was something about this match that felt missing, but the crowd were behind Cross throughout which was encouraging. Next week sees Banks face Alexa Bliss and hopefully, this’ll be when Becky Lynch finally has a confrontation with her Hell in a Cell challenger. Like I previously mentioned, the feud is need of something exciting to happen again.

Rating: C+

Lacey Evans def. Ember Moon

Moon hits a dropkick almost immediately for a two-count and controls the early proceedings. Evans quickly fights back and hits a slingshot dropkick that sends Moon to the outside.

Evans slows down the pace with a Cobra Clutch before landing multiple knees to Moon’s arm. The ‘Sassy Southern Belle’ hit a Bronco Buster for a near fall before once again locking the Cobra Clutch. Moon breaks free and hits Evans with a Samoan drop.

The match goes back to the outside and Moon lands a superb modified Eclipse on the arena floor before throwing Evans back into the ring. Moon goes to the top rope, but Evans recovers and hits the Woman’s Right to knock Moon off before locking in an awful looking Sharpshooter to send a message to Natalya which forces Moon to tap out.

Natalya was conveniently interviewed after the match and says Evans hasn’t mastered the Sharpshooter and when they next face she’ll be the one that taps out.

Summary: What has Ember Moon done to deserve this? She was one of the best female wrestlers over on NXT but has been nothing but enhancement talent on the main roster, and the fact that she lost to someone as average and green in the ring as Lacey Evans is insulting. She’s in a similar boat to EC3 in that she either needs to go back to NXT or leave the company entirely because she deserves so much better. Also, does anyone care about this Evans vs Natalya feud? Because I certainly don’t.

Rating: D

Firefly Funhouse

The Firefly Funhouse begins with Bray Wyatt hanging a frame on the wall but without a photo, but Wyatt gets distracted by Huskus the Pig trying to eat a Seth Rollins action figure that appears to belong to Ramblin’ Rabbit. Wyatt says they should be friends, and both puppets say they are fans of Rollins. Wyatt says loving something too much makes a person weak and he knows what it’s like to be abandoned by others. Wyatt suggests that The Fiend may be trying to protect Rollins and snaps the figure in half. Wyatt then stares blankly down the camera before ending with his usual “see you in hell.”

Summary: Another enjoyable episode of Firefly Funhouse. There really isn’t much else to comment here. Wyatt was fantastic in delivering his split personas while the added notion that ‘The Fiend’ might be trying to help Rollins makes the character even more fascinating.

Rating: A-

Carmella def. R-Truth to become the NEW 24-7 Champion

Current 24-7 Champion R-Truth and Carmella are running down to the ring before being followed by Drake Maverick, Mojo Rawley, Curt Hawkins, Zack Ryder, Kalisto and Lince Dorado. They’re all about to enter the ring before Carmella tells them to stop and then asks for a microphone.

Carmella says she is exhausted from constantly running with R-Truth, but she then rolls him up and becomes the new 24-7 Champion. The former champion then celebrates his friends’ victory but then they both quickly run out of the arena whilst being chased by a bunch of women’s wrestlers while the male superstars on the ring apron look on in disbelief.

Summary: It’s finally happened, and it is the right direction to go for the title. It’ll be good to see where this goes without having to focus on R-Truth and Maverick, but we all know that the former will still end up as champion once again soon.

Rating: C-

Chad Gable def. King Corbin via DQ

King Corbin comes out to a new royal entrance theme as well as a new crown, robe and sceptre after they were destroyed by Chad Gable last week on SmackDown Live. Before the match begins, Corbin makes some more short jokes at Gable’s expense.

The bell rings and Gable immediately lands a right hand to Corbin. Both men hit each other with strikes before Corbin slows the pace down by locking Gable in a chin lock. Gable manages to fight back with a dropkick to the knee followed by a swinging neckbreaker forcing Corbin to roll out of the ring. The new King of the Ring then drags Gable out of the ring and throws him into the steel steps before throwing him into the crowd.

Gable fights back and hits Corbin with a springboard cross body before eating a big boot to the face. Corbin remains in full control before an attempt at a chokeslam is reversed into a roll-up for a near fall. A second attempt at a chokeslam was successful, although it wasn’t enough to keep Gable down.

With the crowd firmly behind him, Gable starts to mount some offense including a release German suplex followed by a picture-perfect Moonsault only for Corbin to just get his shoulder up at two. Gable looks set to win via the ankle lock, but Corbin rolls out and attacks him with his sceptre to cause the disqualification.

Summary: It was great to see the crowd get behind Gable once again, that near fall for the Moonsault was particularly brilliant. The match itself didn’t reach the heights of last week’s King of the Ring final, but the angle set up after the match makes it look like it’s heading for a rematch at Hell in a Cell. Still, it’s great to see Gable being pushed and Corbin continues to be fantastic in-and-out of the ring.

Rating: B+

Fatal-5-Way Elimination Match: Rey Mysterio def. Ricochet, Shinsuke Nakamura, AJ Styles and Robert Roode to earn a Universal Championship match for next week

The match begins with all the participants brawling except for Robert Roode who exits the ring. Rey Mysterio and Ricochet clear the ring before Mysterio rolls him up for a near fall. Ricochet goes for a dive to AJ Styles but gets laid out with a clothesline on the outside while Roode hits Mysterio with a knee strike before throwing him outside onto Ricochet.

Styles and Roode start double-teaming Ricochet but that partnership ends when the United States Champion hits Roode with the Pele kick for a near fall. Shinsuke Nakamura then drops Styles on the ring apron before multiple knee strikes. Nakamura then targets Ricochet hitting him with knee strikes on the corner. Mysterio then returns and hits a seated senton on Nakamura.

Ricochet looked set to eliminate Roode after hitting him with the Recoil, only for Nakamura to appear and hit a Kinshasa to pin Ricochet. Nakamura kicks Mysterio on the top rope before being joined by Styles and then Roode takes them all down with a tower of doom. Roode and Nakamura go back-and-forth with strikes until Styles returns and gets hit with a spin kick by the Intercontinental Champion.

Mysterio returns and he lands a 619 on Nakamura but Styles then attacks Mysterio and suplexes him on the ring apron. Roode returns and causes Styles to hit Nakamura with a Phenomenal Forearm for a three count. Styles then immediately gets eliminated by Roode following a Glorious DDT.

Roode looks to use the Glorious DDT again, but Mysterio reverses and rolls him up for a near fall. Mysterio looks to fight back but gets hit with a spinebuster for another near fall. Roode goes for another attempt at a Glorious DDT and Mysterio once again reverses by tripping him onto the ropes and hits him with the 619. The ‘Masked Luchador’ then hits a springboard splash for the three count and a Universal Championship match against Seth Rollins next week.

Summary: A thoroughly enjoyable match with the right outcome in terms of recent storylines. I’m enjoying this recent revived push of Robert Roode, and it makes me hope that he drops the tag titles quickly because he’s capable of being a top heel on either show. Mysterio winning makes sense given his recent winning streak and while he certainly won’t win, him and Rollins are sure to have a fantastic match.

Rating: A

Non-title Match: Seth Rollins vs Braun Strowman went to a No Contest

The main event begins with Rollins targeting Strowman’s leg by kicking him several times. Strowman recovers and drops Rollins with a single right hand followed by a shoulder tackle. Rollins tries to slow down Strowman by locking him in a sleeper hold but gets thrown out of the ring for his efforts.

Strowman has countered everything that Rollins has thrown at him, including a Pedigree attempt which gets reversed into a back-body drop. Rollins leaps at Strowman on the outside but catches him with a headbutt. Strowman looks to squash Rollins in the corner, but instead crashes into the ring post.

Rollins has finally grounded the ‘Monster Among Men’ and goes back to targeting the leg by hitting a chop block. The Universal Champion then smashes the injured leg of Strowman into the ring post several times. Rollins manages to hit a superkick followed by a Blockbuster for near fall just as Strowman was beginning to muster a comeback.

Rollins goes to the top rope and hits multiple frog splashes for another near fall and goes for his curb stomp finisher only for Strowman to thwart the attempt. Strowman catches Rollins following a suicide dive attempt and chokeslams him onto the ring apron. Strowman was in full control, hitting Rollins with shoulder tackles and a running powerslam the arena floor.

Strowman picks up Rollins in the ring and is looking for another running powerslam but the lights go out in the arena. Suddenly, ‘The Fiend’ appears and has Strowman in the Mandible Claw before coming face-to-face with Rollins. Strowman staggers to his feet before Wyatt locks in another Mandible Claw. The final shot of the show is Rollins screaming in fear as Wyatt menacingly watches over him.

Summary: The match itself was fun to watch, but the real talking point is, of course, Bray Wyatt. For ‘The Fiend’ to take out a man the size of Strowman just shows how intimidating and powerful he is, and the only direction this can go now is to give him the Universal Championship. It’ll be interesting to see what role he plays, if any, in the Rollins vs Mysterio Universal Championship match next week. Another great ending to an otherwise okay episode of RAW.

Rating: B+

Final Summary

The first two hours were lacklustre from a storyline and in-ring perspective. Banks vs Cross was okay but it never reached that next level that both women are capable of.

The final hour was great, with the Fatal-5-Way match delivering from bell-to-bell. Having Mysterio win makes sense given his redemption story, but we all know that he’s going to be the next legend to be fed to ‘The Fiend’.

The feud between Rollins and Wyatt didn’t really do anything new heading into Hell in a Cell, but it maintained the direction from last week whilst making ‘The Fiend’ look like a literal monster in taking out Strowman. There are two worries I have with this booking: The booking will become repetitive and the fans will start to sour on the feud and ultimately this will all lead to Rollins overcoming ‘The Fiend’ at Hell in a Cell. Hopefully neither of those thoughts come to fruition.

Final Rating

C+

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