Monday Night Raw Review (12/2/19)

Venue: Bridgestone Arena (Nashville, TN)

Show Summary

Walking back his “we all sucked” comments from last week’s town hall, Seth Rollins shifted tones in his show opening promo this time around, apologizing to the fans, the locker room and Kevin Owens. KO came down to the ring and let Rollins know that his apology didn’t pass the smell test. AOP then appeared at the top of the stage to challenge both Seth and Kevin to a fight. Ever the skeptic, Owens predicted such a scenario would end badly for him. Still trying to display the aura of peacemaker, Rollins simply shrugged and said he tried and walked to the back, having a brief stare down with AOP at the top of ramp before the two let him pass without incident. KO was clearly in fighting mode.

Lana came out to the top of the ramp and had some back and forth banter with Owens. KO said she was beautiful on the outside but repulsive on the inside. Lana called Owens a candy eater, pizza eater, basic everyday man. Lashley then came down the ramp with two local police officers trailing behind to protect Lana from Rusev. Bobby and Kevin then went on to have the kind of punch-heavy brawl that one would expect from those two. After Owens hit Lashley with a pop up powerbomb, AOP came down to attack KO before dragging his body to the back. 

Charly Caruso entered the ring to talk with Lana and Lashley. As the detectives and Lana and Lashley all faced the stage, Rusev came running in from the crowd to surprise Lashley from behind with a superkick. He then taunted Lana before running off as the crowd chanted Rusev Day. Incensed, Bobby got in the detectives’ faces to scold them. One of the officers responded that in the state of Tennessee, they do things differently. Bobby angrily bumped the officer, which earned him a set of handcuffs. Lana then slapped him, which earned her the same fate. After a commercial break, footage was shown of Lana and Lashley being loaded into a squad car and being taken out of the arena as R-Truth and the Street Profits looked on. 

Drew McIntyre had a quick ‘throw around a smaller competitor like a rag doll’ match with Akira Tozawa. Tozawa got a brief hope spot following a missile dropkick but McIntyre dashed those hopes with a Claymore Kick that turned Tozawa inside out. 

After a dominant win, Drew picked up the mic and talked about cowards complaining on social media. He said he’d rather take a more direct approach and called out Randy Orton. McIntyre said that Randy was the most ferocious thing of the past but now the only thing Orton is ferocious at is posting on social media. Randy responded by saying there wasn’t a Drew McIntyre/Randy Orton problem; there was a Drew McIntyre/Reality problem. He then offered to solve that problem, but before the two could work out a proper solution, The O.C. interrupted things. They expressed their displeasure over the fact that Randy helped Rey Mysterio beat AJ Styles for the US Title last week. McIntyre excused himself from the ring, and Styles, Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows proceeded to beat him down. Ricochet, Humberto Carrillo and Mysterio luckily made the save. 

After returning from commercial, Orton was backstage with Ricochet, Carrillo and Mysterio. Rey asked him if he was alright. Randy said he appreciated the assistance but that he didn’t need it. 

Aleister Black and Tony Nese squared off in a match in which the former cruiserweight champion got in a surprising amount of offense. As usual, Black got some big “oh” reactions from the crowd with his thunderous kicks and strikes before finishing off Nese with a Black Mass, which Jerry Lawler referred to as Black Magic. Charly then interviewed Buddy who was watching the match on a monitor backstage, asking him if he regretted knocking on Aleister’s door. Murphy said that Black is a hothead who takes himself too seriously and he was going to be the one to calm him down. 

Andrade beat Eric Young in a quick match that didn’t seem to accomplish much besides getting Andrade a win. R-Truth then came running out with the usual crowd of 24/7 title challengers chasing behind him. Truth decided to hide at the feet of NASCAR drivers Michael Waltrip and Kyle Busch who were sitting at ringside. The strategy worked as the chasers all went running by him into the crowd. Unfortunately, Waltrip took off his fleece to reveal a referee shirt as Busch rolled up Truth from behind to become the new 24/7 Champion.

A frustrated Seth Rollins talked with Charly backstage and said he can’t win, because he’s damned if he does and damned if he doesn’t. He said everyone’s a critic, but not everyone’s got the guts to be a leader. 

Erick Rowan came out with his mysterious covered animal cage for a match with No Way Jose. He beat up some of the members of Jose’s conga line before turning his attention to their leader. He beat Jose after two claw chokeslams. Backstage, Sarah Schrieber asked Rowan what was in the cage but he simply glared at her before walking away.

The Kabuki Warriors battled Charlotte Flair in a handicap match. The Women’s Tag Champions got a two on one advantage on Flair throughout the match but Charlotte managed to fight them off and survive. Flair eventually attempted a moonsault off the top rope onto both her competitors but they each got their knees up. Charlotte went for a figure four leg lock but Asuka caught her in an armbar. Flair was able to power up and slam Asuka down to the mat but Kairi Sane saved her from a pinfall. Charlotte attempted to superplex both Warriors from the top but they countered and slammed her down to the mat. Charlotte hit a double spear on both Asuka and Sane. Shen then nailed Asuka with another spear and then applied the figure eight. Unfortunately, Flair didn’t realize Sane had tagged in. Kairi went up to the top rope and nailed a preoccupied Charlotte with an elbow drop to get the pinfall. 

In the main event, Rey Mysterio, Ricochet and Humberto Carrillo faced off against The O.C. in a six-man tag match, which was the usual heels get the heat early and the faces make a comeback with all their exciting moves kind of affair. The crowd was pretty invested in the final few minutes of the bout, which ended when Styles hit Ricochet with a Styles Clash off the second rope and then another for good measure. As Styles was celebrating, Randy Orton sneaked in from behind and hit him with an RKO, then did his pose on the ropes as the show went off the air.

Overall Thoughts

Some pretty good enthusiasm from the fans in attendance for the duration of the entire show is something that’s noticeably been missing from Raw crowds in recent months, so that was a welcome change. Speaking of welcome changes, Samoa Joe being put back on commentary was a great move.

As for the show itself, it was decent but it felt a little repetitive when compared to last week’s episode. There was another AOP assault on Kevin Owens. There was another Rusev/Lashley angle that ended in an arrest. The Kabuki Warriors’ numbers advantage got the best of Charlotte again. Erick Rowan had another squash match. Rinse and repeat.

There was no match tonight the quality of Rey Mysterio vs. AJ Styles for the US Title, although Charlotte vs. The Kabuki Warriors had some good action and intensity.

No Becky Lynch for the second week in a row is a bit strange. It seems like they could be saving her for next week’s go home show to have some sort of possible angle with Charlotte and the Kabuki Warriors and maybe build toward a tag title match at TLC.

Randy Orton’s a bit all over the place right now. Before Survivor Series, he was teasing tension with Ricochet. Last week, he cost AJ Styles his title. This week, he’s having face-to-face confrontations with Drew McIntyre and also getting into it with Styles and The O.C. as well.

They’re doing a nice job drawing out Rollins’s heel turn and having him fence hop a bit.

Overall, this felt like sort of a holding pattern episode. Last week set up a lot of angles coming out of Survivor Series. This week fleshed them out a bit. There are still no Raw matches announced for TLC, which is in less than two weeks, so presumably there should be a lot that happens on next week’s show.

Match Results

Bobby Lashley vs. Kevin Owens
Bell Time: 8:20:23 – 8:29:10
Result: Owens won via disqualification following an AOP attack (8:47)

Drew McIntyre vs. Akira Tozawa
Bell Times: 8:45:33 – 8:49:45
Result: McIntyre pinned Tozawa following a Claymore Kick (4:12)

Aleister Black vs. Tony Nese
Bell Times: 9:12:11 – 9:15:38
Result: Black pinned Nese following a Black Mass (3:17)

Andrade vs. Eric Young
Bell Times: 9:23:09 – 9:27:46
Result: Andrade pinned Young following a hammerlock DDT (4:35)

Erick Rowan vs. No Way Jose
Bell Times: 9:47:19 – 9:48:55
Result: Rowan pinned Jose following a claw chokeslam (1:36)

Charlotte Flair vs. The Kabuki Warriors
Bell Times: 10:01:27 – 10:15:23
Result: Sane pinned Charlotte following an elbow drop (13:56)

The Viking Raiders vs. Mark Sterling & Mitchell Lyons
Bell Times: 10:25:55 – 10:27:28
Result: The Viking Raiders won via pinfall following a Viking Experience (1:33)

Rey Mysterio, Ricochet and Humberto Carrillo vs. The O.C. 
Bell Times: 10:43:47 – 10:58:26
Result: Styles pinned Ricochet following a Styles Clash

WWE Monday Night Raw Review (11/25/19)

Venue: Allstate Arena (Rosemont, IL)

The show began with a Raw town hall featuring Seth Rollins in the ring surrounded by the entire roster. Rollins was initially greeted with a mix of boos, CM Punk chants and NXT chants before telling the roster that they all sucked last night at Survivor Series. He called out Randy Orton and referred to him as the weak link of the Raw Men’s Survivor Series team. Orton responded by walking to the backstage and giving Rollins a not so respectful hand gesture on his way out.

Seth, in his trademark nasally, whiny voice, then criticized Charlotte and called out AOP who followed Orton’s lead and walked backstage. He then admonished Rey Mysterio for not being able to beat Brock Lesnar with a lead pipe and “his stupid kid.” That was the comment that turned the entire roster against him

Kevin Owens then entered the ring for a face to face showdown. Seth called him a “lazy piece of crap” and told Owens he could “never be Seth Rollins.” Owens decided to let his actions speak louder than words and stunned Seth, which received the first big cheer of the night.

Commercial Break No. 1

Charly Caruso interviewed a frustrated Rollins backstage. Seth laid down the challenge to Owens to fight him later tonight before storming off.

Bobby Lashley vs. Titus O’Neil

Bell Times: 8:17:22 – 8:18:23 (One minute and one second)

Donned in his finest Bloodsport t-shirt and sweatsuit, Rusev came charging out of the crowd to attack Lashley for the quick disqualification. He then let out his pent up anger by pounding away on Lashley, shouting “Come on Bob!”

Result: Lashley won via disqualification following a Rusev attack

As Lana screamed in horror, Rusev dragged Lashley up the ramp to the announce table before he was finally apprehended by police for violating the terms of the restraining order. The police unfortunately weren’t able to stop the enraged Bulgarian Brut from kicking over a metal stage truss onto the fallen Lashley.

Commercial Break No. 2

AOP vs. Zack Ryder and Curt Hawkins

Bell Times: 8:27:22 – 8:29:14 (One minute and 52 seconds)

As expected, AOP”s first match back was nothing more than a quick dominant squash.

Result: Rezar pinned Hawkins following a sit out powerbomb

Akam and Rezar have changed up their look a bit, ditching the swat team vests and instead wrestling shirtless. They showed some good tandem slams but the crowd didn’t seem to care all that much, which isn’t surprising considering how low on the totem pole Hawkins and Ryder are.

Andrade vs. Akira Tozawa 

Bell Times: 8:35:43 – 8:38:12 (Two minutes and 29 seconds)

Besides a quick kick and a german suplex by Tozawa, this one was completely dominated by Andrade.

Result: Andrade pinned Tozawa following a Hammerlock DDT

Aleister Black warned Buddy Murphy that he was going to come collect what he is owed.

Commercial Break No. 3

Matt Hardy vs. Buddy Murphy

Bell Times: 8:45:29 – 8:48:26 (Two Minutes and 53 seconds)

Matt Hardy got a big pop from a crowd that was obviously surprised and excited to see him back in action. That excitement was short lived, though. Murphy quickly took the fight to Matt, knocking him woozy with a kick before throwing him into the post and slamming him to the outside. Hardy was able to hit a side effect to buy some time to recover. He actually gained the advantage and attempted the twist of fate before Buddy countered and him with three straight knees to the head to knock him out for good.

Result: Murphy pinned Hardy following a knee to the head

Following the match, Buddy got on the mic and called out Aleister who came storming down to the ring for a confrontation. Black nailed Murphy with a spinning elbow and a knee to the head, which got a big “oh!” reaction from the crowd, sending Murphy fleeing to the back. Aleister is one of the best pure strikers on the roster and it’s always a treat to see those skills on display even if it’s just for a few seconds.

Backstage, Charly interviewed Charlotte, asking her about her confrontation with Asuka at Survivor Series. Flair reminded everyone that she was the one that ended Asuka’s undefeated streak at Wrestlemania 34.

Commercial Break No. 4

The planned US title match pitting the champion AJ Styles against Humberto Carrillo never materialized. The O.C. took out Carrillo before he even got into the ring hitting him with a magic killer on the steps. Ricochet then came out to check on Carrillo and offer to be an impromptu replacement in the title bout.

Styles declined the request. Randy Orton’s music then hit and he offered to be the challenger instead. AJ reminded Orton that he already beat Randy at Wrestlemania and he had nothing left to prove against him. Drew McIntyre then came down to the ring to throw his hat into the ring. Styles said he’s a little to sore to compete, though.

Rey Mysterio then came down to the ring  and was met with the same response as his three predecessors. Ricochet then came up with the idea to have a fatal fourway match and the winner would get the chance to fight Styles for the title.

After consulting with Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows, who were surprisingly supportive of the idea, Styles finally gave in and agreed to the idea.

Commercial Break No. 5

Ricochet vs. Randy Orton vs. Drew McIntyre vs. Rey Mysterio

Bell Times: 9:13:45 – 9:28:13 (14 minutes and 28 seconds)

Orton hit an interesting move early sliding Mysterio under the bottom rope who then splashed onto Ricochet down on the floor. McIntyre and Orton teamed up to work over Ricochet before Mysterio entered the fray and took control. McIntyre, Mysterio and Orton came up with a unique combination superplex/german suplex off the top rope. While Randy was putting Rey into position for a superplex, Drew, who was dangling from the top rope by his knees, popped up and hit Orton with a german suplex of his own, sending Randy and Rey flying down to the mat.

The O.C. then returned to the ringside area to get a closer look at the finish.

Commercial Break No. 6

The two big fellas had a quick stare down in the middle of the ring and traded slaps before Randy raked Drew in the eyes.

A few near falls, including an O.C. interference spot which cost Orton a possible pinfall, got the crowd invested before Mysterio got a surprise roll up pin on Ricochet for the win.

Result: Mysterio pinned Ricochet following a roll up

Overall, this match was the type of fun, fast-paced affair that would be expected of these four. The McIntyre-Orton confrontation had some decent intensity.

Rey Mysterio vs. AJ Styles

Bell Times: 9:33:46 – 9:49:03 (15 minutes and 17 seconds)

Styles wasted little time going on the offensive right from the opening bell and wearing down his already fatigued challenger. Mysterio got a hope spot after managing to counter Styles and toss him shoulder first into the ring post. A 619 attempt was thwarted by an interfering Karl Anderson. Unfortunately, that mischief caught the attention of the referee who tossed both Anderson and Luke Gallows and sent them to the back.

Commercial Break No. 7

AJ had another issue with the ring post, this time going in for a baseball slide on a dangling Mysterio who moved out of the way and sent Styles sliding crotch first into the post. Mysterio got multiple near falls before finally hitting a 619 which got a standing ovation from the crowd. Unfortunately, Styles went flailing and knocked out the referee. The O.C. Took advantage of the situation by coming back down to the ring and beating on Rey. Fortunately for Mysterio, Randy Orton came down to fight them off before the two teamed up to hit Styles with a 619/RKO combination before Rey went up to the top and finished off AJ with a frog splash to pick up the win and the US Title.

Result: Mysterio pinned Styles following a Frog Splash

This match was a little slow to start but it built up well and finished with a bang. By the end, the crowd was standing and going nuts and they popped huge for the title change. Rey deserves major props for pulling double duty, especially considering he went to battle with Brock Lesnar last night. One minor gripe is that referee John Cone whiffed on the three count, hitting Styles’ foot on his way to slam down his hand for the final strike to the mat, but the crowd didn’t really seem to notice or care so it didn’t really have an effect on the moment.

Commercial Break No. 8

Backstage, Kevin Owens took the mic from Charly and delivered an emotional response to Seth Rollins, talking about how he is authentic and knows who he is. Owens then accused Seth of trying too hard to be a company man and in doing so, turning himself into a “miserable, whiny, insufferable prick.” He then said the next stunner he hits on Seth is “going to turn Monday Night Rollins into the Kevin Owens Show.”

This was a short but to the point passionate promo by KO. It outclassed any promo Rollins has cut as of late.

Charlotte Flair vs. Asuka

Bell Times: 10:00:21 – 10:17:38 (17 minutes and 17 seconds)

These two were in the unenviable spot of having to follow such a hot Mysterio/Styles match. Charlotte wasted no time taking out some leftover frustrations from Survivor Series, beating on Asuka early. Eventually, the presence of Kairi Sane on the outside distracted Flair and allowed Asuka to gain an advantage.

Charlotte eventually chased off Kairi who went running out into the crowd.

Commercial Break No. 9

The two traded some big shots before Charlotte went up to the top for a moonsault. Asuka was able to move out of the way. The women’s tag champ got a nice “oh!” reaction from the crowd with a running knee for a near fall.

There was a nice counter maneuver when Asuka reversed a natural selection attempt into an arm lock. Charlotte was able to escape and apply a submission of her own, locking in a Boston Crab.

Kairi returned to ringside to distract Charlotte some more. While the ref tended to Sane, Asuka repeated her Survivor Series shenanigans, once again spitting the green mist into the eyes of Charlotte before rolling her up and getting the victory.

Result: Asuka pinned Charlotte following a green mist spit

Overall, the crowd was pretty cold for this one, which probably had more to do with the fact that they were a bit drained from the Mysterio match. Asuka and Charlotte were actually working pretty hard and trading big moves and near falls but they just happened to be in a tough spot on the card tonight.

Commercial Break No. 10

Erick Rowan vs. Kyle Roberts

Bell Times: 10:24:04 – 10:25:28 (One minute and 24 seconds)

Robert started the match by rolling to the outside and trying to look inside the covered pet cage. That enraged Rowan who came out to powerbomb Roberts spine first into the ring post before tossing him back in the ring and hitting two claw chokeslams to pick up a quick victory.

Result: Rowan pinned Roberts following a claw chokeslam

This was like all the other Rowan squashes jobber matches they’ve been doing in recent weeks. This got absolutely no reaction from a disinterested crowd. It feels like Rowan actually had a bit of momentum going from the Daniel Bryan/Roman Reigns stuff on SmackDown. Since he’s moved to Raw, though, he seems to have lost that. Hopefully, the hidden pet in the cage angle has somewhat of an interesting pay off because if it doesn’t, he really doesn’t have much else going for him.

Commercial Break No. 11

AJ Styles was interviewed backstage. When asked what was going through his head, Styles struggled to come up with an answer before finally uttering “Randy Orton” and then walking out of frame.

Charly asked Lana about what she thought of Rusev’s actions. She called him an animal and said that the WWE should fire him. She then said that she’s going to be OK.

Commercial Break No. 12

Kevin Owens vs. Seth Rollins

Bell Times: 10:42:50 – 10:56:50 (14 minutes)

The two went back and forth for a bit before Seth went to the outside to grab a chair and stair at Owens menacingly. Kevin gestured to bring it on.

Commercial Break No. 13

Owens went for a cannonball off the top rope but Seth was able to get his knees up. Rollins worked over KO for a bit before Kevin was able to buy some time to recover with a DDT. He hit Seth with a running cannonball before heading to the top rope but Rollins rolled out to the floor. Owens improvised and decided to hit it off the apron instead.

After hitting a frog splash off the top rope, Owens proceeded to mock Seth’s setup for the stomp before missing on a pop up powerbomb attempt. Rollins countered with a falcon arrow before warming up for the stomp. Owens moved out of the way and missed on a stunner attempt but followed that up with a successful pop up powerbomb.

The two traded superkicks before Owens finally hit a charging Seth with a stunner. The two drained competitors both laid on the mat trying to compose themselves while AOP came down to the ring.

They both attacked Owens tossing him into the post shoulder first multiple times why the crowd voiced their displeasure at the unsatisfying finish, chanting “Bullshit!” Akam and Rezar then glared over at Seth before leaving the ring. Rollins took the opportunity to send a message to the helpless Owens by giving him two stomps and yelling at him as the show went off the air.

Result: Owens won via disqualification following an AOP attack

This is the second week in a row a Kevin Owens match ended prematurely right as it started to get really good. Last week, it was HHH coming out to halt his bout with Drew McIntyre. This time, it was AOP coming out for a beat down that the crowd obviously did not want to see.

Overall Thoughts

After a few quick squash matches, this show peaked in the middle with the No. 1 contenders fourway and the US Title match between Rey Mysterio and AJ Styles. Mysterio winning the belt clearly felt like the biggest moment of the show. The build up of tension between Seth Rollins and Kevin Owens throughout the night was also well done. Ultimately, though, that build up ended up feeling almost all for naught in the end given the AOP interference ending it led to. Still, it was a good start of what looks to be a long overdue heel turn for Rollins. After getting bombarded with boos at Survivor Series, it seems like they really had no choice but to lean into the crowd’s dislike for Seth.

Seeing how the show played it out and how tired the crowd was after Mysterio’s title win, it probably would have made more sense to start the show with the Asuka-Charlotte match, especially given the unresolved issues they had from Survivor Series, and swapped its position with the Lashley/Rusev angle.

Four straight sub three minute squash matches to start things off had this episode trending down in a hurry. Luckily, Mysterio, Styles and the other competitors in the fourway were able to pick up the excitement level. The KO/Seth match was good but it felt like it could have been a little better, and it was definitely hurt by a flat interference cop out ending.

Samoa Joe was missed on commentary. An absent Becky Lynch was missed in general. Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman were also not in attendance but that was to be expected.

Overall, now that the brand invasion stuff and Survivor Series is done, it at least looks as if Raw has a direction and some interesting feuds (Owens/Rollins, Murphy/Black, Charlotte/Asuka) moving forward.

WWE Monday Night RAW Review (11/18/19)

Venue: TD Garden (Boston, MA)

Match Results

Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair vs. The IIconics
Bell Times: 8:11:27 - 8:13:44
Result: Charlotte submitted Billie Kay with the Figure Eight (2:17)

This was a quick squash that was used to set up a post-match attack by Shayna Baszler, Jessamyn Duke and Marina Shafir, who came out from the crowd and beat up The IIconics. Lynch and Charlotte looked to save the opponents they had just vanquished but the three-on-two numbers advantage of the NXT women proved to be too much. After getting knocked out momentarily, Lynch and Flair chased Baszler and her friends throughout the crowd before security stopped them. Unhappy with the obstacle in her way, Becky decided to give one of the security guards a punch to the face, knocking him down to the floor.

Karl Anderson vs. Humberto Carrillo 
Bell Times: 8:27:15 - 8:36:50
Result: Carrillo pinned Anderson following Montez Ford's interference (9:35)

The Street Profits came out at the beginning of the match to even the odds. Besides a quick CM Punk chant early on, the crowd was rather quiet for this one until the final pin, which is the usual reaction Humberto has been getting from crowds. As usual, Carrillo impressed with his athleticism and high-flying offensive maneuvers but fans simply have yet to be given a good reason to invest or care about him.

Bobby Lashley vs. No Way Jose
Bell Times: 8:47:44 - 8:49:12
Result: Lashley submitted Jose with a Full Nelson (1:28)

Jose actually got a bit of offense in as well as a quick dance move and a blown kiss to Lana before Lashley took control and put him to sleep. The crowd did not care about this whatsoever.

Seth Rollins vs. Andrade
Bell Times: 8:58:08 - 9:13:23
Result: Rollins won via disqualification following interference by the Lucha House Party (15:15)

This one was slow to start as the two took turns feeling each other out. The heat picked up a bit and the crowd started to get into it following the commercial break when Rollins hit Andrade with multiple dives to the outside. Andrade got a near fall following a double knee strike in the corner and Rollins got one of his own following a buckle bomb. Andrade got a nice “oh!” reaction from the crowd with a spinning elbow before hitting a trio of suplexes. A Falcon Arrow got a near fall as well. Ultimately, the Lucha House Party interference ending felt flat and didn’t really make much sense considering none of those three are even on the SmackDown Men’s Survivor Series team. Admittedly, I had higher hopes for this match and was left feeling underwhelmed.

Akira Tozawa vs. Buddy Murphy
Bell Times: 9:23:00 - 9:29:41
Result: Murphy pinned Tozawa following Murphy's Law (6:41)

There was a good spot early on where Murphy caught Tozawa on a suicide dive attempt and suplexed him down onto the floor. Tozawa got a few nice “oh!” reactions with a series of loud kicks. This was a good performance by Akira and he managed to get a quiet crowd to pop a few times with some impressive looking kicks and leaps. Unfortunately, he’s also in the same boat as Humberto Carrillo. The fans need to be given a reason to care about him besides just what he does inside the ropes.

Erick Rowan vs. Unnamed Performer
Bell Times: 9:36:35 - 9:37:28
Result: Rowan won via pinfall following a Claw Chokeslam (53 Seconds)

For the second week in a row, Rowan squashed a local jobber in quick fashion. The Singh Brothers and R-Truth had a quick chase around the ring before the match. This seems to be building towards Rowan eventually unveiling what his hidden caged pet is.

Kevin Owens vs. Drew McIntyre
Bell Times: 9:47:09 - No Official Finish
Result: Match just stopped when HHH came out

McIntyre launching Owens from the apron into the barricade was one of the most impressive spots of the night. Kevin’s cannonball on the outside and his big bump on the apron were also big moves that got good reactions. The crowd was invested in the near fall-filled finishing sequence since Owens’ thunderous frog splash, his pop up powerbomb and his stunner as well as McIntyre’s Claymore Kick and DDT all felt like potential match enders. Then HHH came out and sucked the energy out of the arena.

Asuka vs. Natalya
Bell Times: 10:33:20 - 10:37:18
Result: Asuka pinned Natalya following a kick to the head (3:58)

This match got the type of reaction one would expect from a Natalya singles match, which is none at all. It was another in a long line of completely forgettable performances by her.

The Viking Raiders vs. Randy Orton and Ricochet
Bell Times: 10:47:21 - 10:55:34
Result: Orton and Ricochet won via disqualification following the attack by SmackDown performers (8:13)

Besides a quick little duel of athletic feats by Ricochet and Ivar there wasn’t really anything to this match. It was mainly used as a setup for the show-ending SmackDown and NXT attacks.

Other Stuff

-Becky Lynch began the show by cutting a promo calling out Shayna Baszler and Bayley. “What better place for an Irish person to fight than right here in Boston?” she asked. Instead of being greeted by either of her Survivor Series opponents, Lynch was interrupted by Peyton Royce and Billie Kay who came out to express their displeasure of being left off the Raw Women’s Survivor Series team. Lynch laid out the challenge to fight both of The IIconics. However, Charlotte Flair, looking for a warm-up to her match at Survivor Series, came down to even the odds and tag with Lynch.

-Samoa Joe joined the commentary team as Dio Maddin’s replacement.

-Charly Caruso interviewed Zack Ryder and Curt Hawkins who assured her they were prepared for their tag team title match against the Viking Raiders. What they weren’t prepared for was a surprise attack by AOP who jumped them and took them both out.

-AJ Styles cut a quick promo talking about how he would love to defend his US Title against Humberto Carrillo but Carrillo disrespected him last week, so instead it would be fellow O.C. member Karl Anderson taking on Carrillo.

-Charly interviewed Seth Rollins who talked about accepting Andrade’s challenge and putting his Survivor Series spot on the line tonight. He also vaguely compared himself to Tom Brady, saying “Boston knows a thing or two about leaders, about champions. They’ve got a football team with a quarterback who has been so good for so long that half the world wants to see him fall. Sound familiar?” He then talked about being a leader and uttered his usual “Monday Night Rollins” and “Burn It Down” catchphrases. It was a typical bland Rollins promo that pandered to the home city and got his buzzwords in.

-Before Bobby Lashley’s match, Lana grabbed a mic and talked about how she filed for divorce as the crowd chanted “Rusev Day!” She also talked about filing a restraining order which forbids Rusev from coming within 90 miles, 90 days, 90 feet of his soon to be ex-wife. Even with the 90 miles slip up, this was still a slightly less embarrassing promo by Lana than last week’s abomination.

-Erick Rowan was seen talking through a cage to his unseen pet.

-Buddy Murphy went to knock on Aleister Black’s door but Black emerged before he could and the two had a quick stare down.

-Charly asked Randy Orton if he’d be able to coexist with the rest of the Raw Men’s Survivor Series team. Orton said “he doesn’t play well with others unless it benefits him, and being the greatest superstar in the history of Survivor Series benefited him.” He then ordered Charly to go find the Viking Raiders and let them know that he’ll be in the ring waiting to fight them with a partner of his choosing.

-HHH came out during the finish of the Kevin Owens-Drew McIntyre bout with his NXT watchdogs Damian Priest, Dominik Dijakovic and the Forgotten Sons. He then gave Owens a lecture which was interrupted when the red RAW shirt clad foursome of Buddy Murphy, Ricochet, Cedric Alexander and Mojo Rawley came out to brawl with the invaders. While that was going on the Undisputed Era attacked Owens from behind. The O.C. then came out to make the save and chase off Adam Cole and his gang.

-Charly announced that AJ Styles will defend his US Title against Humberto Carrillo on next week’s episode. Carrillo said he is humbled and excited to have the opportunity.

-Paul Heyman cut a promo recapping the events that led up to the Brock Lesnar vs. Rey Mysterio match at Survivor Series. He then announced that there will be a no holds barred stipulation for Sunday’s WWE Title match. Heyman said that it will be a miracle or a massacre. Mysterio then appeared with Charly and Humberto and told Carrillo he was proud of him. He then turned his attention to Lesnar and told Brock he was going to hunt him down and make him pay.

-The show ended with the SmackDown representatives of Lucha House Party, Dolph Ziggler, Bobby Roode, Heavy Machinery and Cesaro interrupting the tag team title match. The NXT representatives of Tommaso Ciampa, Pete Dunne, Matt Riddle, Keith Lee, Lio Rush and Isaiah Scott then came down to attack the SmackDown performers. The Undisputed Era, Killian Dain, Dominik Dijakovic, Damian Priest and the Forgotten Sons then came charging through the crowd to surround the Viking Raiders, Randy Orton and Ricochet. Seth Rollins’ music hit and the Raw locker room came charging down and a massive brawl ensued. HHH then appeared on the screen and said “This was just the beginning. This just the beginning of the end. In six days at Survivor Series, we will finish this and show the world that NXT is the A brand of the WWE. Until then, this Wednesday night, it’s an open door. Raw, SmackDown, bring everything you got. I’m going to leave the doors wide open for you.” The camera then cut back to the carnage in and around the ring. Keith Lee scooped up Humberto Carrillo and threw him over the top rope down onto the Street Profits as Vic Joseph asked, “Who is going to survive at Survivor Series?”

Overall Thoughts

RAW has developed a troubling trend of quiet crowds, and tonight was no exception. Besides the last few minutes of the Kevin Owens/Drew McIntyre match, the fans were largely silent and seemingly unenthusiastic during the rest of the show, including for the key show-ending brawl which was supposed to have a climactic energy but instead ended up feeling overstuffed with too many people. Although there were way more bodies in this brawl, the end to this show paled in comparison to last year’s iconic image of a bloody Becky Lynch standing tall as the crowd surrounding her went wild.

It definitely didn’t help that none of the true stars from SmackDown were part of the invaders from the blue brand. None of the five members from the SmackDown Survivor Series team (Roman Reigns, Braun Strowman, Mustafa Ali, King Corbin and Shorty G) were even there. Instead it was the likes of Lucha House Party, Ziggler and Roode who are much lower on the totem pole and not people the fans really care about seeing.

For a key go home RAW before such a big pay per view, this show ended up feeling rather weak and uneventful. The Owens/McIntyre match was fairly entertaining and one of the few bouts the fans actually got invested in but the lack of a proper finish hurt it. The same can be said for the Rollins/Andrade match although that wasn’t quite as good.

There were some other positives, though. Just like he did as an analyst for the WWE Draft, Samoa Joe proved to be a natural in a commentary role.

Akira Tozawa had an encouraging showing in a losing effort.

The tease of an Aleister Black/Buddy Murphy feud feels like it’s going to give both those guys something important to do following Survivor Series.

The no holds barred stipulation adds a little more intrigue to the WWE Title match between Brock Lesnar and Rey Mysterio.

HHH laying down the challenge to Raw and SmackDown to walk through the door at Full Sail does at least add a bit more suspense to Wednesday night’s NXT show.

Everything else from this episode just kind of happened, which is a problem that RAW has been suffering from lately. A lot of times it just feels like the matches are thrown together just to fill time and there’s really no purpose to the fights, which is probably why crowds simply aren’t getting invested in the action. The fact that it’s the lead up to Survivor Series obviously plays a factor in the lack of interesting feuds. Hopefully, next week’s episode establishes some better and more interesting storylines going forward.

WWE NXT Review (11/13/19)

Venue: Full Sail Live (Winter Park, FL)

Cruiswerweight Championship Match
Angel Garza vs. Lio Rush

(8:06:02 – 8:18:58)

There were dueling Garza and Lio chants from the crowd as the opening bell rang. Garza opened things up with a nod to last week’s episode, offering up a handshake before quickly going for a slap which Lio ducked under. The two ran around and bounced off the ropes, missing each other with strikes, before Gaza stepped outside the ring and into the first row to show the ultimate sign of disrespect: ripping off his pants right in front of Rush’s wife and two children.

“You don’t spit in the wind. You don’t pull on Superman’s cape. And you don’t mess with Lio Rush’s family” – Mauro Ranallo

Lio came diving through the ropes to nail Garza and toss him back into the ring. It was there where Lio hit a kick strike before whiffing on a second attempt. He then went for springboard stunner off the ropes but Angel had him scouted. Garza then charged at him but Lio moved out of the way and tossed him underneath the bottom rope to the outside.

After a wrecking ball dropkick, Rush attempted a topé suicida but Garza caught him and slammed him on the outside.

Commercial Break No. 1 (Picture In Picture)

Garza hit Lio with a knee and Rush responded with a slap. Once again, Lio went for a springboard stunner but Garza nailed him in the back with a drop kick, which led to a near fall. Angel then went for a moonsault off the second rope but missed.

After a swinging neckbreaker, which Beth Phoenix referred to as beautiful, the champion got a near fall of his own.

As the split crowd once again dueled it out with chants for both competitors, Rush made his way to the top rope but was crotched. Garza then made his way to the top and hit a moonsault powerslam but Rush got his shoulder up just in time as the crowd chanted “Holy Shit!”

“This is Awesome!” chants rained down on the ring as Rush hit a charging Garza with a desperation Spanish Fly. He then hit a spinning heel kick and followed it up by finally landing the springboard stunner off the ropes. He held on to his head so he could get a retribution slap to the face. Getting a bit greedy, Lio went for another stunner but Garza caught him and hit him with his Wing Clipper finisher but Rush refused to stay down.

Looking to add some extra impact on his next Wing Clipper attempt, Angel climbed to the second rope but the “Please Don’t Die!” chants from the crowd awoke the woozy champion and they proceeded to trade headbutts before Rush flung the challenger back down to the canvas. A Final Hour frog splash wasn’t enough to put Garza away, so using the same attitude he did with the stunners a short time before, Lio went with the ‘let’s try it again’ game plan and headed back up top to hit another one on Angel who by that time had rolled to the ropes. It proved enough to get a three count but it was clear to everyone in the building except the referee that Garza had his foot under the ropes.

Result: Rush pinned Garza following a Final Hour (12:56)

That was an incredibly disappointing and unfulfilling finish to such an exciting match. It killed a crowd that had been absolutely invested in every single move and ebb and flow of the match until then. This one seemed like it was possibly trending to an ending shot of both guys finally giving a mutual respect handshake in the middle of the ring after a tremendous battle and having the crowd give a standing ovation to each performer and maybe giving Garza a nice push towards being a cocky but likable face. Instead, it was a cop out finish that the crowd hated and booed. Not only did the disputed ending not do any favors to either, it actually hurt both and diminished what was otherwise a great performance by the two of them. That was a sour taste leaver for sure.

The show then cut to a shot outside where an injured Tegan Nox writhed in pain and an unconscious Rhea Ripley laid sprawled out in a gated area of stones.

Commercial Break No. 2

A video package for the Becky Lynch/Bayley/Shayna Baszler Survivor Series triple-threat match was shown.

Xia Li vs. Aliyah

(8:28:00 – 8:30:05)

The two traded offensive attacks before Xia hit Aliyah with a springboard double axe handle and finished her off with spinning back kick.

Result: Li pinned Aliyah following a spinning back kick (2:05)

This was the ‘let the fans catch their breath’ match after an exciting opener.

Finn Balor came down to the ring to cut a promo.

He called out and criticized both Johnny Gargano and Matt Riddle.

“I used to be proud of this place but now it’s a joke. I built this place but since I’ve been gone a bunch of little boys moved in.”

Riddle emerged from the darkness and attacked Balor and the two brawled outside the ring before Finn made an exit through the crowd and Matt called him a putz.

The Undisputed Era’s theme hit and all four of the gold holders surrounded him.

Just as Adam Cole told him it was the wrong place, wrong time, Tommaso Ciampa’s music hit and he and Keith Lee made their way down to the ring to help out their War Games teammate. Lee picked up the mic and commended Cole for his performance on Raw and SmackDown before laying down a challenge to the NXT Champion to fight him as the crowd chanted “Oh, Bask In His Glory.” Roderick Strong intervened and said Cole deserved the night off and volunteered to fight Keith instead.

Commercial Break No. 3

Roderick Strong vs. Keith Lee

(? – 9:04:52)

The opening bell occurred during the commercial break. Lee made the most of his size and strength advantage in the first few minutes, tossing Roderick around and showing off his power. Eventually the North American Champion caught Keith with a few kicks and shoulder blocks.

The two traded chest slaps with Lee hitting the final and hardest of the exchange with a double slap that sent the sweat flying off Strong’s chest. Roderick recovered, though, and managed to crotch Keith on the second turnbuckle before nailing him with a kick to the head.

Commercial Break No. 4

The two ended up on the outside. Strong was able to hit him with multiple wrecking ball dropkicks before tossing him back into the ring.

As Roderick put Lee in a rear chin lock, this commentary exchange happened.

“Keith Lee, a huge Star Wars fan, possibly channeling the force, Nigel.” – Beth

“That’s not going to help him much.” – Nigel McGuinness

“I find your lack of faith disturbing.” – Beth

Lee powered up and threw Strong around the ring with a belly to belly suplex but Roderick showed his feistiness, hitting some counter punches. Eventually, the two ended up on the top rope where Strong managed to hit a Superplex for a near fall.

Roddy hit a slew of forearms before Keith nailed him with a clothesline as both men collapsed to the canvas to catch their breath. The pause in action provided the other three members of the Undisputed Era a chance to come down to the ring but they were soon met by Ciampa and Riddle. Balor emerged to take out Riddle with a double foot stomp into the stairs outside. The fracas on the outside distracted a reawakened Lee for long enough so that Strong could hit him with a jumping knee and a Roddy Slam. A pinfall attempt could not keep him down for three, though.

“It’s unbelievable, Lee kicked out again” – Mauro Ranallo

Eh, it’s not that unbelievable. Trends show to always bet the over for total number of kick outs in a Keith Lee match. The Limitless One, a nickname which apparently references Keith’s kick out abilities, then hit Strong with a Jackhammer and picked up the victory.

Result: Lee pinned Strong following a Jackhammer (Match time unknown)

Following the match a brawl between Ciampa, Lee and the Undisputed Era ensued before Donovan Dijakovic came out to make the save and let Tommaso know by way of a handshake extension that he’d like to join his War Games team. Ciampa accepted but Keith needed some more convincing. After a quick stare down and a standoff, the two heard the crowd chanting “Hug It Out!” and opted for a simpler but still satisfactory handshake agreement instead.

Commercial Break No. 5

Back from commercial, Mauro got some breaking news in his headset that there was some more pandemonium going on backstage. The cameras then cut to the outside area where a bunch of concerned backstage personnel were seen tending to the unconscious bodies of Marina Shafir, Jessamyn Duke and Candice LeRae. HHH consulted with a scantily clad Scarlett Bordeaux about how this could have happened but both just shot bewildered looks and gestures back at one another.

Isaiah “Swerve” Scott vs. Bronson Reed

(9:14:43 – 9:26:39)

Swerve hit a dropkick off the top rope early but Reed responded with a shoulder block that knocked him down to the mat. The “thicc” 300-pound Australian native sat on Scott’s back for a bit while Beth and Mauro referenced John Tenta and Yokozuna.

Bronson tossed Isaiah over the top rope with ease and then headed out to do some more damage. Scott managed to reverse a slam attempt and sent Reed face first into the ring post.

Commercial Break No. 6

Scott hit a Flatliner for a two count. After Isaiah delivered a few strikes to the chest of Reed, the Aus-zilla returned the favor with a thunderous clothesline and a senton bomb. He then made his way up to the top rope but Scott recovered in time and met him up there. After teasing a a tombstone piledriver, Scott flipped out of it and hit Bronson with a DDT.

Scott attempted a sunset flip but failed. Luckily, though, he moved out of the way of a dropping Reed just in time and was able to nail him with a House Call strike to the back of the head to pick up the win.

Result: Scott pinned Reed following a House Call (11:36)

Another good showing from Scott and another good showing from Reed. Nothing spectacular here but it was solid nonetheless. They’re bringing these two along slowly but surely which seems like the way to go.

Cathy Kelley made the announcement that William Regal had added Finn Balor vs. Matt Riddle to the War Games card, thus Riddle relinquished his spot in the men’s War Games match to Dominic Dijakovic.

Pete Dunne was shown doing push ups backstage.

Commercial Break No. 7

A Forgotten Sons video package was shown in which they said, “We are the savages of NXT and you will never forget us.”

Pete Dunne and Killian Dain were set to do battle but Damian Priest took the opportunity to get revenge on each of them by beating down both Daine and Dunne as well as the stage crew to likely set up a triple-threat that was already to be expected judging from what happened on last week’s episode.

Backstage, Cathy interviewed Mia Yim, asking her how she was able to concentrate with all the chaos unfolding around her.

As Yim talked about how she was trying to keep her focus, Dakota Kai knocked on the door and came in to let Mia know that she had her back.

Commercial Break No. 8

Mia Yim vs. Io Shirai

9:46:00 – 10:05:58

It didn’t take long for the two to end up on the outside. Less than a minute in, both were looking to get to the ladder first. With a ladder bridged between the guard rail and the apron, Shirai managed to kick the ladder into Mia’s face. Yim answered by slamming Io’s hand in the ladder.

The two struggled on the outside for a bit before rolling back in.

Commercial Break No. 9 (PIP)

Shirai hit a 619 on Yim. Then Mia countered with a belly to belly onto a ladder perched in the corner. That gave Mia enough time to set up the ladder for the first attempt of a climb but Io grabbed her foot and yanked her down before she could get too far. Shirai then sandwiched Yim in between the ladder and drove the rungs into her back.

Sensing that ladder had become too weak to stand on and climb, Io went looking for another one beneath the ring. She found it and tossed it in. Mia was able to counter with a kick to the head, sending Shirai rolling to the apron. Yim, in the center of the ring, then picked the ladder up with both hands and spun around only to find the soles of Shirai’s feet flying at her, knocking the steel into her face and cutting her open with a loud thud.

A concerned hush spread throughout crowd as Nigel and Beth traded worried “No’s” while Mauro didn’t beat around the bush, saying “Yim’s leaking like a faucet.”

Forced replays, avoiding camera angles, a lot of plastic glove clad officials and some stalling by Io let the viewers at home know that Mia was in an unexpected bad way. A credit goes to Yim for finding a way to persevere and continue. With the crowd transitioning from the earlier “Io” chants to the newfound “Mia” mantra, a bloodied Yim began to climb before finding herself being suplexed back down to the mat.

A running double knee strike from Io followed by a subsequent headbutt did their intended damage, sending a wounded Mia crashing down to the floor outside. As promised, Dakota Kai came down to check on Mia. Eating a moonsault off the top rope was the reward she got for her concern.

Kai managed to regain the strength to interfere and powerbomb Io off the ladder, which bought Yim enough time to recover and begin an ascent of her own. NXT UK Women’s Champion Kay Lee Ray showed up looking to counteract Kai’s act of charity with some interference of her own. She tilted the ladder and sent Mia flying over the ropes and crashing down into the bridged ladder below. Io then climbed up and snatched the briefcase to earn Team Baszler the advantage at War Games.

Result: Shirai won by unhooking the briefcase (19:58)

Following the match Bianca Belair came down to pose with Shirai and Lee and Baszler came out to show her approval but a chair-wielding Bayley interrupted the celebration by taking out Shayna before the rest of the team chased her off as the show went off the air.

It’s tough to judge the home stretch of this match considering the dynamic obviously shifted once Mia drew some hardway blood and the crowd rallied behind her. Regardless of that, the ending seemed like it was setting up to be a little too convoluted, just like last week’s episode. The whole NXT blending in with the main roster, War Games, Survivor Series, all the teams, all the feuds, it’s getting to be a bit overwhelming and hard to keep track of at this point.

It’s…well, it’s a lot. Hopefully, someone makes a good flowchart and simplifies it.

Final Thoughts

The crowd never seemed to fully recover from the ending to the opening Cruiserweight Championship match. Instead of a crescendo, they got a fizzle, and there was a definite sense that the fans weren’t happy that they got so emotionally invested only to be rewarded with such a meaningless payoff.

A credit to the folks in attendance, they did organically get behind Mia in the main event following the events that unfolded only to have their hopes dashed. It’s hard to rate that main event match. It was slow to start, then Yim got cut, and then things got thrown out of whack for a minute, then the fans got behind Mia, and then a whole bunch of interference happened and ultimately no one really seemed happy at the end. The ‘who attacked everybody?’ angle does set up some good intrigue for next week’s episode. Hopefully, there’s a good payoff.

AEW Dynamite Review (11/13/19)

Venue: Municipal Auditorium (Nashville, TN)

After a highlight package of Full Gear and a quick rundown of tonight’s lineup, the proper show began with a video update of a black-eyed Kenny Omega who’s apparently still too beat up from his bloody brawl with Jon Moxley to be cleared to compete tonight.

Moxley was ready to go, though. He kicked off the action against Michael Nakazawa.

Jon Moxley vs. Michael Nakazawa

(8:06:46 – 8:07:57)

The crowd showed their adoration for the Purveyor of Violence with loud “Moxley!” chants as the opening bell rang.

This was a quick nothing match. After absorbing a back elbow from Nakazawa, Moxley hit the Paradigm Shift for the victory.

“Well, Moxley has proven once again he doesn’t work by the hour. That was fast and furious.” – Jim Ross

“One of the most unpredictable and scariest men I’ve seen in a long, long time.” – Tony Schiavone

Result: Moxley pinned Nakazawa following a Paradigm Shift (1:11)

Afterwards, Moxley grabbed a mic and and began cutting a promo, starting by mockingly looking towards the back and asking Tony Khan, “So that one counts, right?”

“Kenny Omega will never be the same again. Now, Kenny, you are one radical son of a bitch. Our personal difference notwithstanding, I do respect you. You had the balls to do something I don’t think anyone else in AEW is going to have the balls to do anymore. I don’t think anybody in that dressing room is going to have the balls to step in the ring with me. But can’t nobody run, can’t nobody hide forever. I am on a pilgrimage to scorch the Earth of AEW one broken neck ata time until I am the last man standing.”

Moxley then challenged the entire locker room to see if anyone was man enough to step in the ring to fight him.

“Just do me a favor, if you’re going to step in the ring with me, kiss your loved ones goodbye before you leave the house. Have an ambulance on speed dial, and when it’s all over, nobody ask me for any damn apologies.”

The Dark Order vs. Jurassic Express 

(8:15:46 – 8:25:17)

“Let’s talk about Marko Stunt real quick. Much has been talked about, much has been written about his size and how it comes into play. I like his enthusiasm. I like the fact that he is so quick, so fast and so agile, it is very, very difficult to be able to get a read on him.” – Schiavone

“I admire his courage. He is trying to live his dream. He is not the normal sized wrestler, if there is such a thing anymore.” – Ross

Stunt and Evil Uno started things off. Marko got the chance to show off his enthusiasm and agility by reversing one of Uno’s moves into an arm drag before both men tagged out.

Jungle Boy and Stunt took turns working over Stu Grayson. Marko got a little too cocky, however, taunting Uno before the big man came in, slammed him and hit him with a senton bomb off the top rope.

Commercial Break No. 1 (Picture In Picture)

Back from commercial, Stunt managed to make the hot tag. Jungle Boy came in the ring and picked up the energy level, taking out both Uno and Grayson. Surprisingly, he quickly tagged back out to Stunt and they worked together to take out both of Uno and Grayson with some tandem offensive maneuvers.

A whiff and a slip off the top rope by Stunt got on an “eww” reaction and deflated the crowd. Those ewws soon turned to boos as both Grayson and Uno worked together to put Stunt away with a Fatality.

Result: Uno pinned Stunt following a Fatality (9:31)

After the match, Uno grabbed a microphone, gave Marko a mask and offered him the chance to become one of the Dark Order’s creepers. Jungle Boy intervened and threw the mask to the ground, earning both him and his partner a beat down.

Luckily, Luchasaurus appeared for the save and single-handedly decimated all the creepers before taking out Grayson with a chokeslam followed by a standing moonsault as Uno escaped.

The three members of the Jurassic Express embraced in the middle of the ring and posed.

Commercial Break No. 2 (PIP)

Shawn Spears vs. Peter Avalon vs. Darby Allin

(8:35:20 – 8:39:04)

The fans made it clear who they were rooting right from the start, chanting “Let’s Go Darby” as the opening bell rang.

Avalon missed a splash off the top rope and got tossed out of the ring to start things off. Allin then gained the advantage on Spears early but an attempt at a high risk move off the top rope backfired as Spears took his legs out and sent him bouncing down to the canvas.

Joey Janela then appeared at the top of the ramp and he and Spears then started brawling throughout the crowd. Back in the ring, Allin and Avalon duked it out for a minute before Darby hit a Stunner and Coffin Drop to pick up a pinfall victory.

Result: Allin pinned Avalon following a Coffin Drop (3:44)

Following the match, with the crowd once again loudly chanting “Darby!” Allin picked up a microphone.

“Jon Moxley, I accept!”

Commercial Break No. 3

Nyla Rose vs. Dani Jordan 

(8:45:21 – 8:46:57)

Jordan got a slap in early but all that did was anger Nyla who proceeded to clotheline her, whip her into the corner and give her a Samoan Drop before finishing her off with a sitout powerbomb.

Result: Rose pinned Jordan following a sitout powerbomb (1:36)

Schiavone began to interview Allie at ringside before the lights went out and Awesome Kong and Brandi Rhodes appeared at the top of the ramp. Kong came down and knocked Allie out. Brandi pinned her to the ramp while Kong cut off a lock off her hair in the same fashion she did to Bea Priestley at the Full Gear pre-show.

“What the hell is going on? Does anybody know? This is freaky.” – Ross

Commercial Break No. 4

AEW Champion Chris Jericho came to the ring to cut an in-ring promo and got an overwhelmingly warm response for a heel champion.

“I demand a thank you from every single member of the AEW roster, the back office, the front office, the side office. I want my thank you.”

The fans then cheered, but Jericho told them he wanted a thank you from people that matter; not jackasses from Nashville.

“I told you I was going to prove that Cody is not as good as you think he is, and that he’s nothing more than an entitled millennial son of a bitch.”

The lights went out, and Cody’s music and pyro hit, but instead of Cody, it was MJF, Cody’s once best friend who betrayed him with a low blow at Full Gear, who emerged from the smoke.

The crowd let MJF know what they thought of his actions with loud “Asshole!” chants. MJF soaked in the boos and did his usual mocking of the fans. 

“You people don’t like me very much do you? Are you upset because I threw the towel in, yeah? What you people don’t seem to understand is if I didn’t throw that towel in, your favorite little wrestler’s career would be over. And yet you want to boo me as if I’m the villain. Meanwhile, you people have been cheering for the real villain the whole time. And that villain’s name is Cody.

(In southern accent) MJF, what do you mean man, Cody’s in my living room every week. He’s a stand up guy. I love me some Cody Rhodes.

Oh do you guys, huh? You love Cody, huh? Well guess what, Cody couldn’t give less of a shit about any single one of you. Because the real Cody only cares about himself. But you sheep don’t want to believe that. There is only one person on this plant who knows the real Cody and you’re looking at him.

The real Cody is a liar. The Real Cody is a user and abuser. The real Cody saw a young, bright-eyed, bushy-tailed kid from Plainview, Long Island, New York and he looked at him, and all he saw was someone he could make into his puppet. And that sociopath put his hand out with a smile on his face and said, hey kid, I want to be your mentor.”

The crowd responded with “Bullshit!” chants. MJF said that he is the new face of AEW.

“Cody Rhodes, I’m better than you and you know it.”

MJF then turned his attention to Jericho and the two had a back and forth exchange about whether MJF would like to join The Inner Circle before they both agreed upon who the biggest jackass was in AEW: Cody Rhodes.

Cody then came charging down to the ring, whiffed on a powerslam on Jericho before successfully hitting it on a second attempt. Then Wardlow made good on the promise of his vignettes and arrived to beat down Cody and choke him with his own tie.

Commercial Break No. 5

Pac vs. Adam “Hangman” Page

(9:14:02 – 9:26:09)

Pac hit some kicks early before bringing the action to the outside with a Page-esque moonsault off the top rope down to the outside. After moving out of the way of a Black Arrow attempt, Hangman responded with a topé suicida and a powerbomb as the crowd chanted “Cowboy Shit!”

Schiavone praised Pac’s leg strength while JR compared him to Dynamite Kid.

The two eventually ended up back on the outside, where Page hit a moonsault of his own.

Commercial Break No. 6

Pac hit Page with a German Suplex, and then hit another but Hangman landed on his feet and nailed him with a spinning lariat clothesline.

Pac got a two-count following a spinning heel kick but Page responded with a superkick to knock him to the outside. The fans showed their appreciation of the action, chanting “This is Awesome!”

Hangman hit Pac with a brainbuster on the outside and followed it up with a buckshot lariat back in the ring but it wasn’t enough to put Pac away.

After two kicks to the head sent Page to the mat, Pac proceeded to stomp on a motionless Page’s head before going up top, hitting a Black Arrow and then putting him in the Brutalizer. The referee was forced to call for the bell when Page failed to respond.

Result: Pac won by submission with the Brutalizer (12:07)

It was a bit of an odd ending to a decent match. This was basically a shorter, more TV friendly version of the bout these two had at Full Gear last Saturday, only this time Pac was the one who came away victorious.

While the announcers advertised the upcoming tag team title match featuring the champions SCU against Chris Jericho and Sammy Guevara (JR referred to Guevara as Sammy G for some reason), the camera cut to the backstage area where officials tried to break up a scuffle between The Young Bucks and Santana & Ortiz.

Matt Jackson slammed Ortiz through a table while Santana jumped off a forklift onto the Bucks and some security guards. JR somehow managed to confuse Ortiz for Santana as well as Matt for Nick in the span of a few seconds only to be corrected by his broadcast colleagues. Santana then kicked Nick through a door into a bathroom where Orange Cassidy was seemingly just standing around and hanging out—a quick appearance which got a huge pop from the crowd. Then Matt hit Santana with a kick of his own as the brawl raged on throughout the picture in picture commercial break.

Commercial Break No. 7 (PIP)

The two teams brawled from backstage through the arena and out into the ringside area. Ortiz used the loaded sock as an equalizer and took out both Jackson brothers, ending the brawl by slamming Matt through the same spot on the stage that they sent Ricky Morton through.

Private Party then came running out to confront them as Matt climbed out from his hole and Nick limped to the backstage area.

Fittingly enough, a graphic popped up on the screen, advertising a tag match pitting Santana & Ortiz against Private Party on next week’s episode. Darby Allin vs. Jon Moxley was also advertised.

Commercial Break No. 8

SCU vs. Chris Jericho and Sammy Guevara

(9:48:25 – 9:59:09)

Guevara and Jericho came out separately.

At a combined age of 91, Chris Jericho and Frankie Kazarian started off the action. Kazarian hit a few arm drags and a drop kick early. An overwhelmed Jericho stumbled to his corner to escape by tagging in Guevara. Kazarian dumped Guevara on his head with a German Suplex.

Commercial Break No. 9 (PIP)

Guevara taunted and posed while working over Kazarian. The fans made it known who they wanted to see, chanting “We Want Jericho!”

Guevara missed on a Shooting Star Press, which gave Frankie the chance to tag in Scorpio Sky. Jericho interfered and broke up a Dragon Sleeper to save Guevara. On the outside, Jake Hager took out Kazarian. Christopher Daniels then came looking to help out by running across the ring and diving through the ropes but Hager caught him and threw him into the barricade. Jericho then tagged in but Sky was able to hold onto the advantage before Chris caught him in midair with a Codebreaker. Somehow Sky managed to kick out and then roll up Jericho to retain the tag titles.

Result: Sky pinned Jericho with a roll up (9:44)

After the match, Jericho showed his frustration by tearing up the ringside area and tossing around chairs as the show faded to black.

This was a bit of a sloppy match that lacked heat and had an unsatisfying roll up finish. It was actually quite reminiscent of the opening women’s tag team championship match on this past Raw, in which the champion Kabuki Warriors retained over Becky Lynch and Charlotte. As in that match, there was only one performer (in that one it was Becky; in this one it was Jericho) the fans seemed to care about seeing. Unfortunately, Becky and Jericho spent most of the time on the apron before each entered and ate a roll up pin. SCU tried to work babyface here but the fans just didn’t seem to care about them, which is the general reaction they have been getting since winning the belts.

Final Thoughts

As far as in-ring action is concerned, this felt like the weakest Dynamite episode thus far. There were two one-minute squash matches, a quick triple-threat match, a forgettable tag match between Dark Order and Jurassic Express, a Pac/Page bout that was good but not on the same intensity level as their match at Full Gear and a main event tag title match that lacked heat and had a disappointing flat finish.

Thankfully, there were some highlights outside of the ring, though. Luchasaurus returned and got a huge welcome back response. The Jericho/MJF promo got the desired heel heat from the crowd and it ended by debuting Wardlow, a character AEW’s been hyping up for a while. The brawl between The Young Bucks and Santana & Ortiz was well done and it helped shift the focus from the Bucks to Private Party. Awesome Kong and Brandi Rhodes are at least trying to do something. Plus, next week’s Darby vs. Moxley match is an intriguing pairing that can hopefully be built up for a week with some internet banter and vignettes.

Usually the first TV show coming off a big PPV is less focused on good matches and more shaped around building up future feuds and storylines going forward, so in that sense, this show did accomplish its goal. Still, the lack of in-ring action left tonight’s episode having a bit of a hollow feeling overall.

WWE Monday Night Raw Review (11/11/19)

Venue: Manchester Arena (Manchester, UK)

Becky Lynch began the show with an in-ring promo.

“The Man is back in Manchester.”

The Irish Lass Kicker talked about training in the UK as a teenager. She then turned her focus back to the present and delivered a message to her growing list of challengers:  “Bring them on!”

Charlotte then came down to the ring to join her for a tag team title match against the Kabuki Warriors.

Commercial Break No. 1

Becky Lynch and Charlotte vs. Kabuki Warriors

(8:13:31 – 8:31:18)

Becky and Asuka started things off with some taunting and trash talking. Asuka picked up the advantage early before tagging out to Kairi Sane. Upon entering, Sane used the unique offensive maneuver of slamming Lynch’s head into Asuka’s butt.

Lynch eventually gained control on Kairi before tagging out to Charlotte. Flair used her size advantage to slap and toss around the smaller Sane. After seemingly getting bored by beating on her, Charlotte allowed her to tag out to Asuka.

NXT Women’s Champion Shayna Baszler emerged from the crowd, apparently wanting to get a close look at one of her Survivor Series opponents.

Commercial Break No. 2

Back from commercial, Asuka had the advantage on Charlotte and she managed to keep it with the help of an interfering Sane.

The fans made it known who they wanted to see in action with chants of “Becky!”

After a failed suplex attempt, Asuka applied the Octopus Lock in the middle of the ring but Charlotte managed to power out of it. Asuka then applied an Arm Bar but Charlotte again managed to power out of it, picking up and slamming Asuka down to the mat. Sane then tagged in to save her partner.

Fortunately for Charlotte, she managed to dodge Sane and knock her loopy by slamming her head into the turnbuckle, giving her enough time to make the hot tag to Becky.

Asuka tagged in as well and Becky began firing up before eventually hitting a double dropkick onto both Warriors. Seizing a moment of disruption, Baszler climbed up onto the apron to distract Lynch but Bayley came out from the crowd and ripped her down.

Seeing the altercation unfolding on the outside between her two future foes, Lynch took her eyes off of Asuka who got a sneaky roll up pin to retain the belts.

Result: Asuka pinned Lynch with a roll up (17:47)

After the match, Becky rolled outside to confront Baszler but Bayley attacked her from behind and laid her out as Shayna walked away through the crowd.

Replacing Natalya with Becky for this week’s women’s tag action was obviously a huge upgrade. Still, the crowd seemed pretty dead for this one, especially since the heat on Charlotte spot went a few minutes longer than it needed to. The crowd clearly wanted to see Becky in the ring but instead they mostly just watched as she stood on the apron before entering the ring for a minute, eating a pin and then getting attacked by Bayley on the outside.

Back in the locker room, Ricochet was seen conversing with Randy Orton before he turned his attention to a conversation between The O.C. and Humberto Carrillo. AJ Styles and his boys challenged Ricochet and Carrillo to find another partner for a six-man tag match tonight. They didn’t have to look far. Still within earshot, Orton waltzed back into frame and let The O.C. know that he’d be happy to fill the role as the third man.

Back out in the arena, Drew McIntyre’s music hit and he walked down to the ring.

Commercial Break No. 3

Drew McIntyre vs. Sin Cara

(8:39:40 –  8:43:37)

Drew came out swinging, looking to assert his dominance. Sin Cara didn’t back down, though, as he hit McIntyre with a suicide dive through the ropes before heading up to the top rope and hitting him with a Moonsault onto the floor below.

Sin Cara wasn’t as lucky back in the ring. He got nailed with a Headbutt and a Clothesline before being powerbombed down onto the floor on the outside.

Drew finished up the quick mostly one-sided affair with a Claymore Kick for the win.

Result: McIntyre pinned Sin Cara following a Claymore Kick (3:57)

This was mostly a nothing match that the crowd didn’t make a sound for with the exception of a slight “Oh!” for the Headbutt.

Backstage, Erick Rowan talked to an unseen animal in a cage.

R-Truth came down to the ring doing his usual “What’s Up!” routine.

Commercial Break No. 4

R-Truth vs. The Singh Brothers

(8:50:45 – ?)

Samir and Sunil used their two-on-one advantage early before Truth was able to fend each of them off. Instead of staying to fight, the two decided to run around the ring for a bit before fleeing to the back with Truth chasing behind.

After trying and failing to hide in the women’s locker room, the brothers made the mistake of entering Erick Rowan’s dressing room. Rowan threw them around the room before slamming a couch into them. Truth then entered to find Rowan standing over the duo and told them they needed some privacy before turning off the lights and exiting.

Result: No Contest?

This was an even bigger waste of time than the normal 24/7 Championship segment stuff.

Commercial Break No. 5

Seth Rollins made his way down to the ring as a video recap was shown of the NXT roster’s takeover of both SmackDown and Raw

Upon entering the ring, Rollins was met with a smattering of boos.

Rollins recapped last week’s conversation with HHH as the crowd reacted with complete indifference. He proclaimed that Raw is his show and this is Monday Night Rollins as a pretaped shot of fans cheering was edited in.

“It’s no secret I think I am the best wrestler on the planet.”

He then issued an open challenge. NXT UK Champion Walter and the rest of Imperium answered.

“Just because you’re not in the United States doesn’t mean you’re safe from an NXT Takeover.” – Walter

Commercial Break No. 6

Seth Rollins vs. Walter

(9:13:00 – 9:17:42)

Walter started off by tossing Rollins around the ring. Following a thunderous German Suplex, The Ring General took time to pose for a second before returning to the attack.

After working over Seth’s left leg and hitting him with a few slaps, the big Austrian went for another German Suplex but this time Rollins was able to land on his feet.

Sensing a comeback attempt, the rest of the members of Walter’s gang decided to take out Seth, attacking him for the disqualification.

Result: Rollins won via DQ following Imperium’s attack (4:42)

Their four-on-one numbers advantage didn’t last long. Soon enough, The Street Profits and Kevin Owens ran down to the ring to even the odds.

Commercial Break No. 7

Seth Rollins, Kevin Owens and The Street Profits vs. Imperium

(9:21:53 – 9:28:34)

Walter, Alexander Wolfe, Marcel Barthel and Fabian Aichner all took turns beating on Rollins. It was the leader who really stood out, however, as he nailed Seth with a leaping dropkick into the corner before scooping him up and slamming him down with a Powerbomb.

Walter headed up to the top rope to hit a splash but Rollins met him up there and reversed it into a Superplex.

Kevin Owens then got the hot tag and picked up the energy level by running wild and taking out all four members of Imperium. The Street Profits joined the fray as well. Montez Ford flipped over the top rope and took out Walter and almost took out himself, as his legs crashed into the announce table.

Back in the ring, Owens hit a stunner on Barthel and Rollins followed that up with a Stomp onto Wolfe to pick up a victory for the Raw representatives.

Result: Rollins pinned Wolfe following a Stomp (6:41)

Walter was the standout performer in this one but the clear fan favorite was Owens. Rollins was overshadowed by both of them. KO looks like he’s primed to take Raw’s top babyface spot from Seth sooner rather than later.

Commercial Break No. 8

Cedric Alexander vs. Andrade

(9:36:45 – 9:40:29)

Andrade and Alexander showed off their athleticism and acrobatic ability early on before Andrade picked up the advantage catching a flipping Cedric with a drop kick in midair.

Cedric knocked Andrade out of the ring with an elbow to the head and followed it up with a dive through the ropes. Returning to the ring, Alexander then hit a Flatliner that was able to garner a two count on a pin attempt. Aided by Zelina’s interference, Andrade hit an elbow of his own and then nailed Alexander with a Hammerlock DDT to pick up the win.

Result: Andrade pinned Alexander following a Hammerlock DDT (3:44)

This one felt like it could have been pretty good if they gave these two at least five more minutes to actually build a match. Instead it turned out to be a quick and rather forgettable affair.

Aleister Black was shown giving his usual “Knock on my door and pick a fight” spiel.

Commercial Break No. 9

A video package was shown honoring America’s veterans before cutting back to a live shot of Lana and Bobby Lashley having a disagreement backstage.

Commercial Break No. 10

Lana came down to the ring and awkwardly raced through a promo talking about how Rusev cheated on her and she cheated on him. She was met with loud boos and boring chants. She then revealed that she is pregnant with Rusev’s child.

Rusev then came down to the ring. Lana slapped him and put him a headlock as Bobby Lashley came running down to beat on him and stand tall with his lady in tow.

Somehow they find a way to keep lowering the bar for this trainwreck of a love triangle storyline.

Erick Rowan was shown walking backstage.

Commercial Break No. 11

Erick Rowan vs. Soner Dursun

(10:10:10 – 10:11:48)

Rowan threw around Dursun for a minute before hitting a Claw Chokeslam for the win.

Result: Rowan pinned following a Claw Chokeslam (1:38)

A quick squash match that was mainly used to set up intrigue for what’s inside a covered up pet cage that Rowan carried down to the ring.

A highlight package was shown of former NXT UK tag team champions Mark Andrews and Flash Morgan Webster. The Viking Raiders were shown preparing for a raid backstage.

Commercial Break No. 12

The Viking Raiders vs. Mark Andrews and Flash Morgan Webster

(10:20:37 – 10:23:47)

Andrews and Morgan Webster surprised the Raw Tag Team Champions early hitting a double flip over the top rope on Erik and Ivar.

Their momentum proved to be short lived. Erik took out both of them by himself before Ivar followed suit and did the same, hitting a dive through the ropes onto both of them.

Andrews had a quick glimmer of hope spot before that was dashed by a tandem Viking Experience slam by the Raiders who stood tall over their vanquished challengers.

Result: Ivar pinned Andrews following a Viking Experience (3:10)

This was a step up from the past couple of Viking Raiders matches which featured the Raiders destroying local jobbers with comedic gimmicks. This served its purpose and got the NXT UK performers a quick few minutes of television time.

Commercial Break No. 13

Backstage, Ricochet told Randy Orton that he’s not stupid and he expects that Orton will try to surprise him with an RKO at some point during their match. The Viper told Ricochet that the last thing he should do right now is let Orton get into his head.

A Brock Lesnar-Rey Mysterio video package was shown.

Commercial Break No. 14

Ricochet, Randy Orton and Humberto Carrillo vs. The O.C. 

(10:42:25 – 10:58:06)

Ricochet and Karl Anderson started things off but Randy Orton quickly tagged himself in and played some mind games with Ricochet, extending his hand toward Ricochet before tagging in Humberto.

Carrillo hit an impressive high-flying move before hitting an Arm Drag on Styles. Orton got upset with Ricochet while Humberto tried to play peacekeeper.

Commercial Break No. 15

Vic Joseph called Ricochet a “ball of energy” and a “human highlight reel” as he ran around the ring and took out every member of The O.C. by himself. A Spinebuster by Anderson slowed his pace down from a sprint to a crawl. Luke Gallows then entered the ring to inflict his own brand of punishment.

After getting beaten on for a while, Ricochet managed to hit a Standing Enziguri on Gallows and a Spinning Heel Kick on Styles to buy enough time to get over and tag in Carrillo.

Humberto went for broke with a Moonsault but didn’t connect. Orton then tagged in and hit his vintage Powerslam and DDT combo before getting into position for an RKO. Anderson saved Styles but soon enough Ricochet and Carrillo joined in to help out Randy and take out Gallows and Anderson. Carrillo proved successful on his second Moonsault attempt, nailing Gallows and Anderson on the outside.

Orton then teased an RKO on a dazed Ricochet before hitting Styles with it instead. Carrillo then tagged in and hit Styles with a Moonsault to pick up the victory.

Result: Carrillo pinned Styles following an RKO and a Moonsault (15:31)

It’s good to see Humberto finally getting a victory on Raw, even if was aided by Randy’s RKO. The tension between Orton and Ricochet should provide an interesting dynamic to the Raw team at Survivor Series.

Final Thoughts

Another week, another quiet crowd. The only things the fans in attendance seemed to react to positively tonight were Becky Lynch and Kevin Owens and to a lesser extent the drama between Ricochet and Orton. Seth Rollins got an ice cold reaction. Lana got go away heat and pretty much everything else received the cricket treatment.

The first hour felt incredibly dull with too much filler, especially the 24/7 Championship match, if you can even call it a match. Things picked up a bit when Walter and Imperium appeared. Walter looked really impressive against Rollins. It would have been nice to see those two get a little more time. The same can be said for Andrade and Cedric Alexander.

As usual, the Lana/Rusev/Lashley stuff was a disaster and is dragging down all three members involved.

Even if you overlook the fact this was a pretaped show instead of live, this just wasn’t a show that featured a lot of exciting moments. Last week’s Raw made the following NXT show feel like must-watch TV. This week’s Raw didn’t have nearly the same effect. The one saving grace was that there was at least some decent Survivor Series storyline progression for Becky, Shayna and Bayley as well as Ricochet and Randy Orton. The other stuff was just there to fill time.

WWE NXT Review (11/6/19)

Venue: Full Sail Live (Winter Park, FL)

The show began with Mauro Ranallo breaking the news that The O.C. had invaded NXT and gotten retribution for the NXT’s takeover of Raw by beating down Undisputed Era outside of Full Sail.

AJ Styles, Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows then made their way to the ring.

“All your champions are out of commission, so The O.C. is taking over NXT. That’s just not phenomenal. That is undisputed.”

Tommaso Ciampa’s music hit and he made his way to the top of the ramp as the crowd chanted “Daddy’s Home!”

“For years now, I used to be asked the same damn question: When are you going to go up to the main roster? Well AJ Styles, Karl Anderson, Luke Gallows, allow me to be the first to welcome you to the main roster. NXT is now and always has been the show. And more importantly, NXT just happens to be daddy’s home.”

Styles and his crew praised Ciampa for having the balls to come out and say something to them. They also reminded him of the three-on-one disadvantage he faced.

Keith Lee and Matt Riddle then entered stage right and left to even up the odds as the crowd chanted “Oh, Bask In His Glory!”

Ciampa then told the three Raw representatives, “At War Games, Bro, Limitless, Blackheart, we’re prepared for The Undisputed Era, but boys, tonight, y’all might as well put your gear on and we go to war with you.”

Styles took a second to think about it before responding, “You’re on!”

Pete Dunne vs. Damian Preist (8:10:16 – 8:25:28)

After closing the show in the main event a few weeks ago, the two opened up the action tonight with Dunne looking to avenge his loss. After Dunne did a leapfrog over a charging Preist, Damian responded with The Reckoning but the Bruiserweight was able to escape and evade a few kick strike attempts.

Commercial Break No. 1 (PIP)

Returning from commercial, a ‘Breaking News’ scroll let the audience know that The O.C. vs. Ciampa, Riddle and Lee had been made official for tonight’s main event.

After getting beaten on by The Archer of Infamy, Dunne was able to hit an X Plex to buy some time to recover. He eventually fired up with a spurt of slaps. He then hit a Step Up Enziguri and followed it up with a Missile Dropkick off the turnbuckle to take Priest’s legs out from under him.

Pete was able to land on his feet after a German Suplex and nail Priest with a kick to the head sending him to the outside. He then went for a risky Moonsault off the second rope and nailed it. Unfortunately, Priest didn’t seem to feel the effects for long, as he quickly got up and chokeslammed Dunne onto the apron.

Back in the ring, Dunne regained the advantage and nearly picked up the victory with a Sit Out Powerbomb but Damian kicked out.

Priest then got an “Oh!” reaction from the crowd and a “Mamma Mia!” reaction from Mauro with a graceful flip over the top rope onto Dunne.

Commercial Break No. 2

The two traded clubbing blows and kicks to the head before they both collapsed in the middle of the ring from exhaustion. Priest was back to his feet first but it was Dunne who managed to rock him with a headbutt before Priest answered back with a Clothesline that turned him inside out.

Dunne climbed the ropes but Damian grabbed him on his way up and hit a Crucifix Bomb, which nearly garnered a three count before Pete kicked out at the last second. Priest made the mistake of standing up to do his archer taunt but Dunne made him pay, grabbing his left hand and trying to snap his fingers.

After retreating into the corner, Damian attempted the same low blow that helped him win their last contest. This time, though, Dunne was ready, and turned the tables hitting Priest with a low blow of his own before rolling over into position for an Armbreaker, breaking apart Damian’s fingers and then yanking on his left arm for a tap out victory.

Result: Dunne submitted Priest with an Armbreaker  (15:12)

As Pete was celebrating in the middle of the ring after the match, Killian Dain nailed him from behind. Priest, seeking his own revenge, pulled Dain off of Dunne but that just earned him a headbutt. Killian then squashed Pete in the corner before nailing him with a Vader Bomb.

“This great Dain is on the hunt.” – Mauro Ranallo

Priest awakened to confront the attacker but he paid the price yet again. Dain slammed his head into the steel steps and then squashed him with a Running Cannonball.

Overall, this was a good physical, hard-hitting, tone-setting opener. Priest has been impressive in his two bouts with Dunne, displaying a unique skill-set and kick-striking ability for a taller, lankier wrestler. The interference from Dain on Dunne was expected, but Damian’s involvement and subsequent beating at the hands of Killian is interesting. It opens up the possibility of a triple-threat match on a coming episode.

Cathy Kelley interviewed Dakota Kai, asking her what she hoped to prove in her match with Shayna Baszler later tonight.

Kai said that since she’s returned from injury, she has more aggression and more fire.

“I’m going to prove to Rhea Ripley why I deserve to be on her team; Why I deserve to be in that double cage at Takeover War Games. If Shayna wants to say that I’m a waste of a pick, we’ll see what she says after I kick her face off tonight.”

Taynara Conti vs. Santana Garrett (8:36:36 – 8:40:45)

The two locked up to begin the match with Conti going for an Arm Bar early.

Garrett hit a series of Arm Drags and a Russian Leg Sweep before Taynara turned the advantage in her favor with a knee strike into the ropes. She kept up the aggression, striking her with some more knees, kicks and judo throws.

Conti then applied an Omoplata but failed to get the submission. Eventually, Santana found her way to her feet and attempted a Handspring Moonsault off the the ropes but Taynara managed to avoid it and hit her with a kick to the head to get the pinfall victory.

Result: Conti pinned Garrett following a kick (4:11)

Eh, this one didn’t flow very well but Taynara did at least show some improvement from past outings. Garrett seemed a little nervous but she has some decent skills to work with and an interesting background story given that her recently deceased father was a former wrestler and her mentor.

Commercial Break No. 4

A quick Angel Garza video package was shown to promote his match with Tony Nese.

Dakota Kai vs. Shayna Baszler vs.  (8:49:06 – 9:00:20)

The crowd chanted “Shayna’s Gonna Kill You!” before the two locked up to start things off. Kai showed no fear early on, slapping Shayna before striking her with a few kicks and a knee.

Baszler, feeling a little overwhelmed, headed to the outside to compose herself. Kai didn’t seem ready to settle things down, though, as she attempted to knee Shayna from the apron. It didn’t go as planned. The NXT Women’s Champion grabbed her by the leg and threw her face first into the ring post.

Back inside the ring, Shayna showed no mercy, targeting Dakota’s braced right knee with a series of stomps and twists.

Commercial Break No. 5

Back from commercial, a limping Kai was able to fire up and hit a few kicks with her wounded right leg. After Dakota made her way to the top rope, Shayna met her and delivered a Gutwrench Superplex. Kai showed her toughness, though, kicking out at the last second.

The two traded blows in the middle of the ring for an extended period of time before they both hit kicks to each other’s heads before collapsing to the mat.

A Step Up Knee from Shayna looked as if it was going to wrap things up but Dakota refused to stay down. Unfortunately, her fortitude could only serve her so long. Baszler eventually wrapped her in the Kirifuda Clutch and tapped her out.

Result: Baszler submitted Kai with the Kirifuda Clutch (11:14)

Judging from Kai’s promo earlier on, this match was used to show a new level of toughness and attitude from Dakota, and it achieved that goal.

After the match, Baszler, Marina Shaffir and Jessamyn Duke assaulted Dakota. Rhea Ripley, Tegan Nox and Candice Lerae all came down to make the save. Io Shirai, Bianca Belair and a kendo stick-wielding Mia Yim also entered the fray. The brawl ended with Yim clearing house and an impressed Ripley nodding in approval.

A highlight package of the NXT roster’s consecutive takeovers of SmackDown and Raw was shown before the show cut to the backstage area where Cathy Kelley was standing by with Tommaso Ciampa, Matt Riddle and Keith Lee.

When asked about who he planned to have as his fourth team member at War Games, Ciampa told Cathy, “One war at a time” before taunting the house crashing trio of Styles, Gallows and Anderson, telling them “we left the door open, come on in.”

Commercial Break No. 6

A quick highlight package was shown of Isaiah “Swerve” Scott.

Tony Nese vs. Angel Garza (9:13:28 – 9:25:48)

The two locked up and battled for strength to start things off. They then took the action down to the mat with a series of reversals and escapes.

Nese got the first upper hand of the match by working over Garza’s left arm but Angel was able to escape.

“There is a lot of ego in that ring, almost as much ego as there is abs.” – Beth Phoenix

After delivering a Flying Head Scissors, Garza attempted to do his ripping off his pants spot but Nese interrupted him with a slap to the chest. Angel returned the favor with a slap of his own.

The two eventually found themselves in the corner. Nese attempted a Sunset Bomb but instead ended up slamming Garza’s tearaway pants to the canvas.

Commercial Break No. 7 

Back from commercial, Garza hit multiple dropkicks before sending Nese to the outside. Then, Angel took a page out of Pete Dunne’s playbook and hit a Moonsault from the second turnbuckle onto the outside.

After delivering a Lungblower to Nese, Garza looked to hit a move off the top rope but Tony countered it and sent him bouncing down to the outside. Out on the floor, Nese delivered a DDT onto the padding before throwing his opponent back in the ring and hitting a 450 Splash. Finding himself on the wrong side of a pin attempt, a last second foot on the rope saved Garza’s hopes.

Garza regained control of the match with a Sit Out Power Bomb before eventually hitting a Wing Clipper to gain the victory and earn an opportunity to face Lio Rush for the Cruiserweight Championship.

Result: Garza pinned Nese following a Wing Clipper (12:20)

A ton of athleticism was shown by both men in this one. Garza is really beginning to win over the NXT audience. He’s got the personality and charisma needed for stardom.

After the match, Rush came out to offer up a show of sportsmanship handshake only to be rebuked and slapped by Garza. Their title bout next week has the ingredients needed to be an exciting action-packed affair.

Backstage, Cathy interviewed Rhea Ripley, who was surrounded by Candice, Tegan, Dakota and Mia, asking her if she made a decision regarding who the fourth member of her team will be.

“Did you see what happened out there? That was absolute brutality. Exactly how I like it. If Shayna wants a fight. She’s going to get a fight. And after what I just witnessed, my fourth member for War Games is Mia Yim. Dakota, I’m sorry, you just didn’t make the cut.”

A disappointed Dakota hung her head and walked out of the shot.

Commercial Break No. 8

Isaiah “Swerve” Scott vs. Dominik Dijakovic (9:35:48 – 9:43:06)

The bigger, stronger Dijakovic manhandled the quicker Scott early on, pounding on him and throwing him around the ring.

Swerve was able to hit a Flatliner followed by a German Suplex to stun his big foe. In the corner, Scott hit a Superkick and a DDT before getting a two count on a pin attempt. Dijakovic didn’t stay down for long. He eventually crotched Scott on the top turnbuckle before lifting him into a torture rack/knee combination. Scott somehow managed to avoid the knee and roll up Dominik for a near fall.

Dijakovic responded to the sneaky Scott with a big boot and a Choke Bomb for a near fall of his own. He then lifted Swerve up and the two had a face to face maniacal smile off in the middle of the ring before Dominic attempted another Choke Bomb that Isaiah managed to reverse into a Poison Rana. Scott then headed to the top rope and hit him with a Double Stomp.

After another near fall, the crowd started a “Whose House? Swerve’s House!” chant.

A vicious Clothesline somehow didn’t seem to phase Scott but the Torture Rack into a Knee maneuver did prove to ultimately be just too much for the feisty competitor.

Result: Dijakovic pinned Scott following a knee (7:18)

Though Scott didn’t pull an upset, he had yet another performance that won over the NXT faithful. He got a surprising amount of offense and near fall spots in this one and got the chance to show that he can go toe-to-toe and won’t back down against one of the more intimidating members of the NXT roster. That’s how you build guys up organically. Scott’s stock trajectory is pointing way up right now.

Commercial Break No. 9

The O.C. vs. Tommaso Ciampa, Matt Riddle and Keith (9:53:36 – 10:07:24)

The two trios didn’t wait for the bell to start the fight. They brawled on the outside for a minute and brought the crowd to its feet.

Back in the ring, “NXT” chants echoed throughout the arena as the bell rang and Ciampa and Styles faced off. A powerful dropkick by AJ sent Tommaso crashing to the outside. Styles then went for a Phenomenal Forearm over the top rope but Ciampa moved out of the way and The O.C. leader hit Riddle instead.

Trying to climb back through the ropes, Styles was greeted with a Willow’s Bell by Ciampa, which earned the first near fall of the match.

Soon enough, the two big hosses, Keith Lee and Luke Gallows, tagged in and squared off. With the NXT fans firmly behind him, chanting “Oh, Bask In his Glory!” Lee was able to get the better of Gallows, who tagged out to Karl Anderson.

Commercial Break No. 10

Ciampa found himself stuck in The O.C. corner, struggling to make it back to the friendly side of the ring. Styles, Gallows and Anderson each took turns slamming him around and whaling on him.

After a leap off the top rope, Anderson was greeted with a knee to the face, which gave Tommaso the time he needed to make the hot tag to a fired up Riddle, which sent the fans into a frenzy, yelling “Bro!” with every single impact maneuver he hit.

An Everest German Suplex looked to have Styles down for the count, but Gallows was able to break up the pin just in time. Anderson and Gallows then attempted a Magic Killer on Keith Lee but Ciampa came running in to break that up. Lee then picked up Gallows and slammed him to the mat before AJ came running in to knock him out with a DDT.

The focus then returned to Riddle and Styles. After Riddle ducked a Phenomenal Forearm attempt, Lee came charging in to hit Styles with a Pounce but unfortunately, it sent him colliding into referee Drake Younger.

Lee then clotheslined Anderson to the outside and Riddle soon followed doing a Fosbury Flop over the top rope to knock out both Anderson and Gallows.

Back in the ring, Ciampa looked to finish off AJ but he was distracted by Finn Balor’s appearance at the top of the ramp. Styles seized the opportunity, hitting Tommaso with a Pelé Kick. Balor then spiked Riddle with a 1916 on the outside before trading too sweet/bullet club hand gestures with Styles.

AJ looked to hit Ciampa with a Styles Clash but Adam Cole flew into the ring to take out AJ with a Superkick and then Tommaso with a Last Shot.

The show then ended with Cole and Balor staring at each other, smiling in mutual appreciation.

Result: Um, No Contest? (13:48)

That was a bit of a confusing and convoluted ending to what was an entertaining main event. Just seeing a wrestler the caliber of AJ Styles in an atmosphere like NXT was a sight to behold.

Overall, this show checked all the boxes it needed to. It had stars from the main roster invade NXT to get retribution. It continued to build the War Games storylines and teams while still leaving a few spots open to be decided in the coming weeks. It set up an intriguing title match (Rush vs. Garza) to promote for next week’s episode. Plus, there was some good character work and development with Dakota Kai.

It’s been quite a past few days for the NXT brand. With War Games and Survivor Series on the horizon, things are only going to continue to heat up.

WWE Monday Night Raw Review (11/4/19)

Venue: Nassau Coliseum (Uniondale, NY)

The show begins with a trio of black tinted Escalades speeding down the ramp and into the backstage area. HHH was shown hopping out of the lead car but the occupants of the trailing SUV’s were left a mystery.

After the introduction video, WWE Champion Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman came down to the ring. Heyman talked about how Lesnar had conquered Cain Velasquez in Saudi Arabia. Obviously, he glossed over the fact the match itself was a tremendously disappointing affair that’s in the discussion for worst title match of the year.













Heyman then talked about how now that Lesnar has vanquished Velasquez, he has come to Raw to hunt down Rey Mysterio. He addressed the issue of why Lesnar was allowed to switch brands from SmackDown to Raw although no other performer on the roster could by saying that Lesnar has leverage, he’ special and he’s entitled to things that no other performer is mainly just because he’s Brock and he’s better.

“Brock Lesnar is better than everyone of those bitches in the back who think they’re tough guys.”

He then brought the topic back to Mysterio, warning that “Tonight is the funeral of Rey Mysterio’s career at the hands of the reigning, defending, undisputed WWE Heavyweight Champion of the world Brock Lesnar.”

Lesnar was then shown backstage using the tactic of simply yelling out “Amigo!” to see if that was enough to coax Mysterio out of hiding. Frustrated that didn’t work, Brock decided to beat up and intimidate innocent bystanders in the backstage area.







Commercial Break No. 1 

The Kabuki Warriors vs. Charlotte Flair and Natalya (8:18:43 – 8:36:49)














Before the match, a typical WWE pats-itself-on-the-back highlight package was shown of Natalya and Lacey Evans’ match at Crown Jewel, including numerous tweets from notable legends and headlines from various media outlets.

Kairi Sane and Natalya started things off. The first big move of the match was Natalya picking up Sane and spinning around while yelling loudly, a move that looked ridiculous even by Natalya’s standards.

Asuka and Charlotte then each tagged in and went at it for a short bit before Charlotte and Natalya were able to get the Women’s Tag Champions in position for simultaneous suplexes.

Commercial Break No. 2

Back from the break, Natalya and Asuka ran into each other shoulder first a few times before Asuka headed outside the ring and nailed a chasing Natalya with a kick to the head. The pace then slowed as Asuka and Sane took turns beating down Natalya while the announcers showed no interest in the in-ring action, talking instead about the NXT roster’s appearance on last week’s SmackDown.

Charlotte’s hot tag picked up the energy level and finally got the crowd somewhat invested. She hit Kairi with a knee and a Natural Selection but Asuka was able to sneak her partner’s foot onto the rope before a three count. Flair got her revenge on Asuka by tossing her into the ring and lining up both Warriors near the turnbuckle so she could hit a Double Moonsault on the two of them.

Another pin attempt by Charlotte on Sane was once again thwarted by Asuka who barely made it in time to break things up before the ref’s hand struck the mat for a third time.

Commercial Break No. 3

The first shot back after the commercial was of Charlotte barely missing a desperation tag to Natalya. Luckily, Flair was able to nail a charging Kairi with a boot to the face, which bought enough time for her to make the tag. Kairi also managed to make it to her corner to tag out.

Natalya entered the ring and hit a Russian Leg Sweep followed by a Running Clothesline and a German Suplex. Natalya’s attempt to put on the Sharpshooter was reversed into an Armbar by Asuka before Natalya managed to reverse it back into a Sharpshooter, which was broken up by Sane. An interfering Kairi was then neutralized by a Spear from Charlotte, which gave Natalya the chance to reapply the hold and tap out Asuka.

Result: Natalya submitted Asuka with a Sharpshooter (18:06)

This was one of the more forgettable performances The Kabuki Warriors have had since winning the belts. This whole match was designed simply to give Natalya the spotlight while letting the WWE brass congratulate themselves for being a paid pawn in a carefully curated political propaganda scheme by one of the world’s worst human rights offenders creating a historic, uplifting moment at Crown Jewel.

Paul Heyman and Brock Lesnar emerged from the backstage area to confront the commentary team and demand that they reveal Rey’s whereabouts. Heyman singled out Jerry Lawler with an ominous threat.

“If I unleash The Beast on you, no one will resuscitate you when you die on the air again.”






Dio Maddin didn’t take too kindly to his partner being threatened. He confronted Lesnar face to face, which earned him an F-5 through the table.

Mysterio then answered the question that Heyman and Lesnar had been asking by running onto the stage and nailing Brock with a bat to the legs before picking up the WWE Title and nailing him in the head with it, sending Lesnar flying down the ramp.

Commercial Break No. 4

Rey Mysterio Backstage Promo









Rey talked about returning the favor to Brock for what he did to his son Dominic.

“An eye for an eye. A tooth for a tooth. Fight fire with fire. You came after what’s most important to me. Now, I’m coming after what’s most important to you: The WWE Championship. At Survivor Series, are you going to be man enough to come after me like I came after you tonight?”


Buddy Murphy vs. Cedric Alexander (8:46:31 – 8:52:07)












Neither of the two got a televised entrance. The action quickly spilled outside the ring where the two traded chops and slaps before taking things back inside the ropes. Murphy gained the advantage after Buddy tossed Cedric shoulder first into the post. He then proceeded to work the left arm for a bit before Cedric was able to hit a spinning elbow with his supposed bad arm. Alexander then hit a flurry of moves, including a dive through the ropes followed by a flip over the ropes to the outside.

A Springboard Flatliner nearly put Murphy away. Cedric’s pin attempts following a surprise roll-up and a Michinoku Driver each earned two counts as well.

It was Buddy who was able to get the decisive pinfall victory after hitting his Murphy’s Law finisher.

Result: Murphy pinned Alexander following a Murphy’s Law (5:36)

Though the two didn’t get much time to build the match, this was at the very least a step in the right direction for Murphy who last week was dragged down by R-Truth and all the 24/7 comedy shenanigans. One critique of Cedric would be that he went from dramatically selling his left arm for a few minutes after the post spot to not selling it at all once it was his turn to go on offense.

A highlight package from NXT’s “Takeover” of SmackDown last Friday was shown. It was followed by a shot of an all black-clad Seth Rollins walking in the backstage area and the promise of a Rollins’ in-ring promo after the commercial.

Commercial Break No. 5

Rollins talked about how it’s been a rough couple of months. He acknowledged the boos and jeers he’s been receiving from crowds throughout his feud with The Fiend.

“Look, I’m not stupid, I hear you guys. I know plenty of you are thrilled that I lost to The Fiend at Crown Jewel. But to be honest with you, I don’t give a damn. That doesn’t concern me. What concerns me is that The Fiend took the Universal Championship over to SmackDown. What concerns me is that Brock Lesnar is back on Monday Night Raw at the top of the mountain with the WWE Championship. What concerns me is that everything I’ve worked for for the last year—to get that title off of Brock Lesnar, to change the culture of Monday nights, to give guys like AJ Styles, and Braun Strowman, and hell even Baron Corbin the opportunities to step up to the next level.”

Seth then admitted that he doesn’t know if he still has the energy and he doesn’t know what the future holds.

HHH’s music then rang out. Greeted by loud chants of “NXT” as he began to talk, The Game gave Seth a history lesson/pep talk.

Rollins asked, “Were those things you did for me for my benefit or yours?” to which HHH responded, “Does it really matter? Every time you walked away a champion.”

After HHH talked about how he knows how to make Seth great, he then gave Rollins a ‘you’re either with me or against me’ ultimatum as The Undisputed Era marched in from the crowd to confront him.



Before Rollins could make a choice, The Club came down to confront the holders of all the gold. Unfortunately, AJ Styles and his crew quickly found themselves outnumbered by Cole’s clan as well as fellow NXT performers Dominik Dijakovic and Damien Preist.

Commercial Break No. 6

Rollins confronted HHH backstage, demanding a shot at Cole and his NXT Title. It was a challenge that was happily accepted.





Andrade and Zelina Vega vs. Sin Cara and Carolina (9:20:56 – 9:28:21)








Sin Cara started things off by flipping Andrade to the outside where Carolina was able to hit him with a cannonball off the apron.

Commercial Break No. 7

The two men battled on the second rope before Sin Cara nailed a flipping power bomb and they both made it to their respective corners to tag out and introduce the ladies.

Carolina started off with a few dropkicks and then whiffed badly on a High Cross Body attempt from the second rope, which King jokingly referred to as a “Low Cross Body.”

After a sloppy and clunky back and forth between Zelina and Carolina, Vega eventually was able to hit her with a Hurricanrana for the victory.

Result: Vega pinned Carolina following a Hurricanrana (7:25)

This feud felt like it ran its course after Andrade got the pin last week. For some reason, though, they felt they needed to not only extend it but also add the women to the in-ring action as well. That was a mistake. The crowd was silent. Carolina was sloppy. Overall, it felt like nothing was accomplished here that hadn’t already been established.

A video recap played of last week’s Divorce Court segment between Rusev and Lana.

Commercial Break No. 8

Rusev was shown in the ring in his new Hulk Hogan themed attire.










“I’m here to tell you Bob Lashley, you want Lana, she’s all yours. But your ass is mine.”

Lashley’s music hit and he hobbled out onto the stage on crutches with Lana by his side.

Bob announced that he was not medically cleared since he had torn his groin after “doing things and performing in ways you could only fantasize about.”

Lana then informed Rusev that although he won’t get the fight from Lashley he desires. He will have a fight. The challenger was revealed to be Drew McIntyre who headed down to the ring to confront The Bulgarian Brute.

Rusev vs. Drew McIntyre (9:40:45 – 9:49:59)











Rusev was able to recover from an early headbutt by McIntyre and regain the advantage. The two traded strikes and kicks before Rusev slammed Drew and sent him to the outside.

Commercial Break No. 9

After delivering a Spinebuster, McIntyre stood over his opponent and taunted him which lit a fire under Rusev who hit a few moves in succession before nailing Drew with a Spinning Heel Kick. McIntyre was able to avoid another big kick attempt. The two then slammed into each other in the middle of the ring before rising up and trading punches.

A kick sent Drew flying the outside where Rusev introduced McIntyre’s head to the steel steps before Lashley charged down and blindsided him with a crutch.

Result: Rusev won via disqualification following a Lashley attack (9:14)

Back in the ring, Rusev managed to fight off Lashley and gain an upper hand before Bobby’s fellow Team Flair member Randy Orton came flying in to hit an RKO out of nowhere. A two on one advantage was quickly evened out by Rusev’s fellow Team Hogan member Ricochet who came charging in to fight off the heels.

Commercial Break No. 10

Charly Caruso Interviewed Becky Lynch


Lynch described her Survivor Series triple-threat match with SmackDown Women’s Champion Bayley and NXT Women’s Champion Shayna Baszler as a dangerous triangle.

Baszler then appeared and excused Charly of her duties. She told Becky that she is not Ronda Rousey.

“I’m going to pin you or I’m going to tap you out. The only thing you’ll have to think about between now and Survivor Series is which one of your limbs will belong to me.” – Shayna

“I don’t know you, so I haven’t fully decided whether I respect you, or whether to slap the hell of you…yet. But I’m glad we got this chance to talk so that you can feel the same doubt that Ronda felt, because warring with me will change you like it did the rest of them. So at Survivor Series, Shayna, I won’t be taking my eyes off Bayley either, but I am coming directly for you.” -Becky

The two then stood up and had a face-to-face showdown.

“See you at Survivor Series. Bring your best because I’ll show you who the real baddest woman on the planet is.” – Lynch

There was some good intensity here. The serious version of Becky is so much more entertaining than the jokey facet of her character. Shayna’s voice doesn’t exactly match her menacing look but she held her own. It definitely feels like Bayley’s going to end up as the afterthought third wheel in this buildup.

The O.C. and The Street Profits had a back-and-forth promo which did not get over with the crowd whatsoever. The low light was a groan-inducing Angelo Dawkins Tinder joke.

Commercial Break No. 11

The Street Profits & Humberto Carrillo vs. The O.C. (? – 10:23:37)




Carrillo and Dawkins each got a quick showcase spot before Montez Ford tagged in and proceeded to get beaten down for a long period of time by AJ Styles and the newly crowned Best Tag Team in The World.

Commercial Break No. 12

Ford managed to hit Luke Gallows with a Blockbuster which allowed him time to get over to his corner and give the hot tag to Carrillo.

Humberto displayed his eye-catching athleticism with a few nice looking moves, including a Standing Moonsault. He then headed up to the top rope to hit a Moonsault onto Styles but it wasn’t enough to put the US Champion away.

After a skirmish broke out between both teams, AJ was able to regain his composure and hit Carrillo with a Power Bomb to get a rope-aided pinfall victory.

Result: Styles pinned Carrillo following a Power Bomb

For a guy that’s really just broken onto the Raw scene in the past month, Carrillo has already stockpiled a lot of losses, admittedly to superior competition such as Styles and Seth Rollins. The crowd never really got into this match at all. Judging from that dreadful pre-match promo, it’s hard to blame the fans for not getting invested in this.

A highlight video of Adam Cole’s victory over Daniel Bryan from last week’s SmackDown was shown before it cut to a live shot of Cole talking to HHH backstage.

Commercial Break No. 13

The WWE Championship match between Brock Lesnar and Rey Mysterio was made official with a Survivor Series match graphic.

The Viking Raiders vs. East Hampton Polo Boys (10:33:04 – 10:34:06)

The Raiders threw around the Polo Boys before Ivar hit a splash from the top rope.

Result: Ivar pinned one of the Polo Boys following a splash (1:02)

Whatever heat the Raiders had following their Raw Tag Team Championship victory has faded since they’ve now been thrown back into the cycle of meaningless squash matches against local jobbers which fans simply don’t care about seeing at all.

Commercial Break No. 14

Seth Rollins vs. Adam Cole (10:44:34 – 10:57:04)

Rollins took the fight to Cole early knocking him to the outside and throwing him into the barricade multiple times.

Commercial Break No. 15

Returning from commercial, Rollins and Cole traded forearms in the middle of the ring before Cole hit a devastating Superkick onto a leaping Rollins. Seth managed to counter a Panama Sunrise attempt and turn it into a Buckle Bomb. He then drilled the NXT Champ with multiple dives trough the ropes and a Running Knee. Seth’s Falcon Arrow attempt was reversed by Cole who then hit a Running Knee of his own.

A failed Last Shot attempt led into a Double Clothesline that knocked both men down. Eventually, they both found themselves in the corner battling on the ropes, where Seth was able to hit a Superplex into a Falcon Arrow for a near fall.

Rollins then looked at HHH who was sitting ringside as he tuned up his foot for a stomp. Before he could attempt the finisher, however, the other three members of Undisputed Era subdued him and began laying into him.

Result: Rollins won via disqualification following an attack by Undisputed Era (12:30)

Following the match, The NXT and Raw rosters collided in a brawl as the show faded to black.

Overall Thoughts

Tough crowd tonight. For whatever reason, the fans just did not have a lot of energy and did not make a whole lot of noise. It’s a shame because there were some pretty good storylines being laid out for Survivor Series: Lesnar/Mysterio, Rollins/HHH/NXT and Becky/Shayna/Bayley being the most prominent.

The Rollins/Cole match was not of the same length or quality as the Cole/Bryan match from last week’s SmackDown. But it was a fun pairing nonetheless that served its purpose of furthering the NXT takeover angle.

Unfortunately, there were also things on this show that didn’t seem to serve a purpose other than filling time, most notably the inter-gender tag team match, The Viking Raiders’ squashing of another jobber team and The Street Profits/Humberto Carrillo pre-match interaction with The O.C.

Overall, there was a decent build of intrigue that made this week’s NXT show feel like a must-watch event.

AEW Dynamite #5 Recap & Review

Venue: Charleston Coliseum & Convention Center (Charleston, WV)

A video recap of last week’s time limit draw between Pac and Jon Moxley led into footage of a disgruntled Moxley heading down the hallway to Tony Khan’s office. It’s there where Khan informed him that his match with Kenny Omega at Full Gear will not be sanctioned and thus will not count in the win/loss records of either competitor. The Purveyor of Violence didn’t take kindly to the news.

“You’re saying it doesn’t count? You gotta be f***ing kidding me man. Win over Kenny Omega? I’ve been working for this. I’ve been working for this for months ever since I showed up here. I had the balls to go after the top-guy…your boy. And now you’re saying it doesn’t count. You’re gonna make me a freak show. You’re gonna put me in a box. You’re gonna treat me like everybody else treats me. You don’t want me to have a win over your boy? You won’t sanction me? I’m unsanctionable? What happens to Kenny is now on your hands, alright. His ass is on the line because of you.”

Sammy Guevara vs. Adam “Hangman” Page (8:08:05 – 8:16:14)

“This could be a main event match 10 years from now between the two top stars in AEW.” -Excalibur

“Let’s Go Hangman!” chants from the crowd before the opening bell. Page wasted no time bringing the action to Guevara, hitting him with a boot, some slaps and a suplex. His first pin attempt garnered just a one count. Guevara showed off his athleticism with a backflip over a charging Page and a kip up before hitting a suplex of his own.

Guevara attempted a dive off the middle rope but was caught and Page slammed him over his head before showing off his athleticism with a kip up of his own.

It only took three minutes before the first barricade spot of the night, as Guevara slammed Hangman near the timekeeper’s area. Sammy brought Page back into the ring where he taunted the crowd and showed a lackadaisical pace before hopping off the top rope and slapping his opponent in the face. Page did not take too kindly to that, returning the favor with a few slaps, a clothesline and a boot in the middle of the ring.  Guevara then rolled onto the apron where he was hit with a modified Sidewalk Slam.

After a failed pin attempt by Page, the action headed back outside where Hangman hit a Moonsault onto the floor. Upon returning to the ring, the two had a boot-knee-elbow strike exchange before Page hit a thunderous Buckshot Lariat for the win.

Result: Page pinned Guevara following a Buckshot Lariat (8:09)

This was a good opener that got Page a much-needed singles win and helped reestablish him as a viable threat. Afterwards Page took the mic and told the crowd what his plans were for Pac.

“I’m going to do some real cowboy sh*t and I’m going to take Pac’s head off.”

The crowd then chanted “Cowboy Sh*t!” before the show headed to its first commercial break.

Commercial Break No. 1 (Picture In Picture)

Shanna vs. Hikaru Shida (8:24:00 – 8:34:44)

This was the AEW debut for Shanna, who’s billed as “Portugal’s Perfect Athlete.”

The two traded wrist locks before Shanna hit a few arm drags. The action soon spilled to the outside after Shanna’s charge through the ropes was rebuked by a knee by Shida. Hikaru then set up a chair for a running knee that got a nice “Oh!” reaction from the crowd.

“Referee was a little lenient with that count outside the ring. Very generous.” – Jim Ross

The crowd chanted “Shida!” as she hit a backbreaker and started working Shanna’s back. Shanna nearly pulled off a surprise pin with a quick inside cradle but Shida was able to kick out at two.

Commercial Break No. 2 (PIP)

Returning from the break, the two were up on the second rope, trading blows. Hikaru’s suplex attempt was thwarted by Shanna who hit a headbutt before bringing all her weight down with a Double Foot Stomp onto Shida’s shoulders. After a close call pin attempt, Hikaru was able to power up with Shanna on her back and slam her neck first into the mat. After a suplex from the second rope, Shida got a near fall of her own.

Shida seemed to have the match won after hitting a Running Knee followed by a Falcon Arrow, but a lackluster pin attempt didn’t get the job done. JR, who has certainly not been shy about calling out lazy pin fall attempts during his time as an AEW announcer, summed up the fault saying, “There was no pressure on the shoulders. She left the shoulders unattended.”

Shanna seemed to hear JR’s critique. She then proceeded to hit another Running Knee and hooked both legs to secure the victory.

Result: Shida pinned Shanna following a Running Knee (10:44)

There was a slight “This is Awesome!” chant emerging before the final knee strike and the crowd seemed very engaged and into the match throughout. Shanna got enough stuff in to look formidable but this match was mostly about Shida who displayed terrific striking ability, especially on her knee strikes.

A Brandi Rhodes promo video was shown featuring her apparently summoning Awesome Kong in some type of strange evocation ceremony with candles and dolls.

Chris Van Vliet Interviewed The Rock ‘n’ Roll Express at the top of the stage.

“Gentlemen, how does it feel being back in Charleston?” – Van Vliet

“West Virginia! Woo!” – Ricky Morton

“You know Chris, 33 years ago, Ricky and I, we defeated Ole and Arn Anderson right here in this building.”

Before things could get too sentimental, LAX came charging out of the tunnel with a loaded sock before slamming Morton through the stage in a fashion similar to how the Outsiders slammed Eric Bischoff  at the ’96 Great American Bash. The Young Bucks soon emerged from backstage to chase them off and check on a wounded Morton.

Commercial Break No. 3

Tony Schiavone and Cody were shown trading old Dusty Rhodes stories in the back of a limousine. Cody announced that his mother will be in attendance for his AEW Championship match with Chris Jericho at Full Gear.

“I’ve shared rings and locker rooms with Chris for over 10 years. I know he’s the best he’s ever been. But this is my run.” – Cody

John Silver, Alex Reynolds & QT Marshall vs. The Best Friends and Orange Cassidy (8:51:22-8:54:37)

The Best Friends decided to dress up as Rick and Morty, which was the only memorable thing about this match besides Orange Cassidy’s usual fire up spot, which did get a big pop from the crowd. The AEW fans love Cassidy.

Result: Trent Barreta pinned Silver following a Strong Zero (3:15)

I don’t really care about The Best Friends when they’re wrestling quality opponents. When they do comedy stuff like this against local indie level talent, it’s very not anything I’d like to see. It served its purpose of setting up the Adult Swim Rick and Morty commercial. AEW Dynamite has officially entered the ‘having matches just to set up commercials’ territory, as if having ‘Rick and Morty’ drawn on the turnbuckles wasn’t enough.

Commercial Break No. 4

The contract signing of Chris Jericho and Cody Rhodes

Loud “You Suck!” chants interrupt a purple, pumpkin-themed blazer-clad Jericho.

I don’t suck, Schiavone (pronounced Skee-Ah-Vohne) sucks.” – Jericho

After the two shook hands and stared each other down. Sammy Guevara appeared on the screen behind them to reveal that he was in the parking lot area by Cody’s limo. It was there where “Undefeated Bellator Fighter” Jake Hager beat down Cody’s brother Dustin, slamming his head into the side of the car before slamming the back door on his arm.

“Dynamite has exploded tonight on TNT.” – Jim Ross

Eh. This was a so-so promo. Jericho got some good heat from the crowd referring to the fans as entitled millennial jackasses and hillbillies. However, Cody and him weren’t able to match the same intensity they had in last week’s concourse brawl. The Hager attack on Dustin was alright. The groin shot was a nice little touch. Overall, it didn’t really change my level of interest in seeing the match, but contract signing segments rarely do.

Kenny Omega and The Young Bucks vs. Jack Evans, Angelico & Kip Sabian (9:16:38-9:28:15)

The match started with a sneak attack by Evans, Angelico and Sabian. Kip neutralized both Bucks with a Springboard Senton to the outside while Evans & Angelico worked over Omega in the ring. But Kenny managed to overcome both of them on his own.

The Bucks then entered the ring and the three proceeded to beat down Sabian. “The Elite” chants from the crowd proved short-lived as Sabian and company regained the advantage. The match then cooled down on the chaos and a semblance of order was reestablished.

Commercial Break No. 5

Returning from the break, Matt and Nick Jackson were in control on Sabian, hitting him with tandem offensive moves. Omega came in like a ball of energy taking out all three members of the opposing team in succession as “Kenny!” chants rained down from the crowd.

Evans managed to avoid both a V-Trigger Knee and a German Suplex attempt by Omega before nailing him with a kick to the head. After Nick Jackson found himself perched on the shoulders of Angelico in the corner, Evans was able to use him as a springboard to hit a Moonsault onto Matt down on the floor below.

“These guys have absolutely no regard for their own anatomy. None.” – JR

Omega managed to save Nick from disaster by nailing Angelico with a knee. Before he could dive to the outside, Sabian cut him off and mocked Kenny’s ‘duh, duh, duh, duhduh’ thing. Kip then tried a dive of his own but was caught by Omega and The Bucks and slammed into the apron. The trio then headed into the ring to nail jumping Jack with a Triple Superkick.

Omega finished off the festivities with a V-Trigger Knee and One Winged Angel onto a helpless Evans for the 1-2-3.

Result: Omega pinned Evans following a One Winged Angel (11:37)

This was a fast-paced, non-stop action affair that featured plenty of big spots and not a lot of selling of those big spots by anybody. Basically it was what you’d expect from a Bucks/Omega six-man tag match that was crammed into 11 and change of match time.

After the match, as Matt and Nick were celebrating and high-fiving fans at ringside, LAX in Rick and Morty masks (gotta get those plugs in) attacked them and flung the two into the crowd before Omega realized what was happening and chased them off.

Commercial Break No. 6

Peter Avalon came out for an in-ring promo. Seeing Avalon with a microphone in his hand, my finger instinctively reached for the fast-forward button, but Jon Moxley thankfully decided to cut that shtick short, take the mic and cut a promo of his own.

Moxley announcing to the crowd that his Omega match is unsanctioned got some audible boos.

“AEW wants to treat me like some kind of freak. They want to treat me like I’m some kind of outsider. They want to try to put me in my little box over here so I don’t cause any trouble. I know what’s going on. I’ve been dealing with this my whole life. I’ve been dealing with this for years. I’ve got these suits, these yes men, these puppets come up to me and they say Jon, we know you’re a different type of cat. As if I don’t know what that means. As if I don’t know when I’m being insulted. As if I don’t know you’re trying to call me stupid to my face. Well I ain’t stupid. If this is how it’s going to be. AEW, you can take your win/loss records and shove them straight up your ass. Cause the truth is, the undeniable fact is, I am the baddest son of a bitch in this game. I’m the sickest son of a bitch in this game. And there ain’t a damn soul in AEW who is going to come out here and try to prove me wrong. You want unsanctioned. They want unsanctioned, huh? i’m unsanctionable. You want unsanctioned. I’m unsanctionable.  I’m out of control. You think I’m out of control? You ain’t seen nothing yet. Be careful what you wish for. On Nov. 9 at Full Gear, I’m going to beat Kenny Omega within an inch of his life. On Nov. 9 at Full Gear, you are going to see beautiful, glorious wrestling violence, the likes of which we haven’t seen in this country in decades. Kenny Omega’s blood will be on AEW’s hands. I’ve got a message for AEW. I’ve got a message for the Turner execs who want to censor me. I’ll tell them the same thing I told those suits, those puppets. The same thing I would tell the teachers, the same thing I would tell the cops, the same thing I would tell anybody who thought they’d like the fact that I march to the beat of my own drum. It’s real simple, kiss my ass, stay the hell out of my way.”

That’s how you do a promo and sell a big match. That’s passion. That’s reality. That’s the promise of something to come that no fan would dare want to miss because it has an exciting and dangerous feel to it. It seems like such a simple formula but it takes a true promo virtuoso the caliber of Moxley to really make it feel like an art form.

Commercial Break No. 7

The Lucha Brothers vs. SCU (9:44:36 – 9:57:14)

All four participants began by slugging it out before Pentagon Jr. and Rey Fenix took control. Fenix hit his run along the top rope into a kick, which will never not look awesome. Frankie Kazarian hit a double clothesline on both to gain an advantage.

Dueling Lucha Brothers/SCU chants from the crowd.

“It’s hard to hate Lucha Brothers because they’re so damn good.” – Jim Ross

After tossing Kazarian over the top rope, Pentagon Jr. held him in place for Fenix to hit a leg drop over the top rope.

Commercial Break No. 8

After the commercial, the two teams went back and forth before a nasty looking Kazarian Hurricanrana attempt resulted in him hitting his head flush on the apron. The commentators noted how wobbly he looked before Pentagon Jr. hit him with a Canadian Destroyer, which certainly didn’t help his dazed state become any less cloudy.

After Kazarian whiffed on a boot, Pentagon took advantage and slammed him through the timekeeper’s table. The Lucha Bros. looked like they were about to take advantage of a two-on-one edge but Scorpio Sky rolled up Pentagon in an inside cradle to get a stunning victory to become the first ever AEW Tag Team Champions.

Result: Scorpio Sky pinned Pentagon Jr. with an inside cradle (12:38)

Wow. For the second week in a row, Dynamite ended its telecast with a finish that absolutely deflated a crowd that had been red hot all night long.

Overall Thoughts

The Moxley promo was one of the best promos in all of pro wrestling this year. Unfortunately, there just wasn’t a lot else that was all that memorable about this show besides maybe the LAX attack on The Rock ‘n’ Roll Express.

Page/Guevera and Shida/Shanna were well worked matches. The Cody-Jericho contract signing was a run-of-the-mill contract signing segment aided slightly by Jericho’s charisma. The Omega and The Bucks match was a fast-paced spot fest as expected but it was against three guys the crowd really has no investment in. The Brandi Rhodes segment was weird. The ending to the Tag Team Championship match was perplexing. The Best Friends’ ‘Rick and Morty’ thing was a commercial disguised as a match.

To sum it up: One great promo, a few decent matches, a good heel attack spot on some veteran legends and an ending the crowd didn’t like.

Monday Night Raw Review (10/28/19)

Venue: Enterprise Center (St. Louis, MO)

The announcers kick things off by telling the audience that tonight’s show will feature a Falls Count Anywhere match between Seth Rollins and Erick Rowan as well as The King’s Divorce Court With Rusev & Lana.

Paige’s music hit and she walked out to the top of the ramp, receiving an appreciative surprise pop from the crowd. She then introduced the tag team she helped bring to the Women’s Division: The Kabuki Warriors.

The three women headed down to the ring where Asuka and Kairi Sane took turns stealing the mic out of Paige’s hands before The Empress of Tomorrow spit the green mist into an unsuspecting Paige’s eyes. As the foreign substance dripped down her face, she screamed that it burns and that she couldn’t see, which is sure to become a GIF that’ll spawn a few off-color jokes pertaining to Paige’s past.





Asuka threateningly stood over a green-faced Paige on the outside before Becky Lynch came running down the ramp in her “I Don’t Care About Your Stupid Feelings” t-shirt. Becky entered the ring in an ornery mood, wailing on both Asuka and Kairi with a number of punches and forearms before tossing Asuka over the barricade.

*Commercial Break No. 1

Becky Lynch vs. Kairi Sane (8:12:38 – 8:27:25)



Becky came out of the gates hot, throwing Sane into the corner and stomping a mud hole in her before teasing a Bexsploder Suplex. Sane managed to escape to the outside where Asuka gave her a pep talk. It seemed to work as Kairi quickly regained the advantage upon reentering the ring. The two took turns ramming each other’s heads into the top turnbuckles.

Lawler described Sane’s first pin attempt of the match as “lackadaisical.” Becky worked the left arm before nearly catching Sane in a Disarm-Her but Kairi was able to roll out of it. After a distraction from Asuka on the apron, Becky went Kabuki hunting outside. Sane came charging with a Clothesline from the top of the stairs. Lynch was able to spot it just in time, however, and nailed a rattling Clothesline of her own. Another Asuka interruption gave Sane enough time to muster up the energy to kick Lynch into the steps.

*Commercial Break No. 2

Back from commercial, Sane had Becky bent over her knees in the middle of the ring. After the hold broke, Sane taunted and slapped the Raw Women’s Champ before Becky  fired up and regained the momentum. King asked, “If Becky snaps like this, is it called a ginger snap?” causing a slight decline in the faith of the new Raw commentary team.

Sane was able to catch Lynch in a bridged leg submission but she failed to get the submission. A Lynch Suplex attempt into a Kairi DDT counter got a notable “Oh” reaction from the crowd. Sane headed to the top rope to attempt her Flying Elbow but she took too much time. Lynch was able to to recover and toss Sane back down to the mat before hitting a Leg Drop off the second turnbuckle. After a two-count near fall, Asuka tried to distract Becky on the outside and she repaid her with a running knee off the apron. A surprising spinning back fist punch caught Lynch off guard and nearly cost her the match but she was able to kick out. Lynch caught Kairi with a surprise of her own by rolling her into the Disarm-Her and picking up the tap out victory.

Result: Becky won via submission with the Disarm-Her (14:47)

On last week’s Raw there were no women’s matches or appearances besides a quick Lana segment with Lashley, so it was refreshing to start off this week’s show with Becky, the show’s biggest star, in action in a physical well-paced match. For all the talk about how Kairi is a natural babyface miscast as a heel, she certainly seems to be growing into and starting to flourish in her new heel persona. She’s lacked a true standout singles performance to really establish herself on the main roster. Tonight’s showing against Lynch made her feel like a legitimate threat. That Suplex into a DDT reversal is an early contender for spot of the night.

A recap video of last week’s quickly broken up restaurant brawl between Rusev and Bobby Lashley was shown before another ad for The King’s Divorce Court. There was also a reminder that Rollins vs. Rowan is also taking place as well as a rematch between Ricochet and Drew McIntyre with Hulk Hogan and Ric Flair at ringside. The fact that Vic Joseph refereed to Rowan as a former Wyatt Family member makes sense given Seth’s upcoming match with Wyatt at Crown Jewel but it’s also a bit interesting since the WWE hasn’t really mentioned The Wyatt Family era when talking about any of those three.

Former 24/7 Champion R-Truth made his way to the ring to hype up the crowd.

Commercial Break No. 3

R-Truth vs. Buddy Murphy (8:37:37 – 8:40:09)




After R-Truth talked about having surgery to improve his eyesight so he could keep his freshly sharpened corneas on the prize and win back the 24/7 Championship, Murphy came down to the ring to tell Truth that “You might not know me yet but after tonight, you won’t forget me.”

The two locked up in the middle of the ring before Australian’s Finest sent Truth into the corner to beat on him. Truth was able to nail Buddy with a diving forearm and a kick to the jaw before getting a two count on a pin attempt.

The 24/7 Champion Singh Brothers then came running out with a conga line of  title chasers which included No Way Jose, Eric Young, Zack Ryder, Curt Hawkins and Mojo Rawley. A distracted Truth briefly joined the chase around the ring. With the ref’s count up to eight, he was forced to head back inside where Buddy turned his new clear-sighted eyes blurry with a devastating knee to the head to pick up a pin fall victory.

Result: Murphy pinned R-Truth following a knee to the head (2:32)

This was a nothing match that was mainly used to get the 24/7 Championship and its crew of ‘creative’s got nothing for you right now’ contenders a few minutes of television time. They need to keep a guy like Murphy away from these comedy shenanigans. He should be having more serious storylines as well as longer and better matches such as the one he had with Cedric Alexander on Raw two weeks ago.

Commercial Break No. 4



It’s a new show,  but it’s still the same style of AOP promo we’ve seen time and time again. One or two of these would have been fine but doing the sitting in suits in a dark room talking threateningly in their native languages thing every week has become stale.

“Victory for the sake of our legacy. Violence for the sake of violence. And that’s all you get to know this week about the Authors of Pain.”

We get it, you’re violent. Now go prove it.

It would be a lot more intimidating if my last memory of these guys wasn’t them jobbing to Bobby Roode and Chad Gable right before Rezar got injured.

Next up was a Street Profits in-ring promo. The crowd chanted “We Want the Smoke” before Montez Ford and Angelo Dawkins talked about making The OC “feel the blues” in the main event of last week’s Raw.

Dawkins delivered the message: “To all the superstars that want to throw down with the Street Profits, like The OC, y’all done messed up fam.”

They exited the ring through the crowd, chanting “We Want the Smoke” with the fans.

This was quick but fine. It’s good that they’re having The Street Profits move from their usual backstage digs out into the ring to do promos. They’re bringing them along slowly, which is the way to go, and the crowd seems to be behind them so far.

Ricochet vs. Drew McIntyre (8:58:17- 9:15:20)

Ricochet didn’t even wait for McIntyre to finish his entrance or take off his coat. He came flying at Drew with a dive through the ropes to stun the man who whipped him into the steel steps after their match last week. Ricochet threw McIntyre out of the ring where he once again hit him with a flip, this time over the top rope.

The move seemed to take something out of Ricochet as well as he immediately grabbed his rib area. Drew, having spotted a potential weakness, exploited it by slamming his opponent rib first onto the top rope before heading to the outside to suplex him.

Like last week’s meeting, the early part of this match saw McIntyre tossing and slapping the 5’9”, 188-pound high-flyer all over the ring. A quick confrontation between Drew and Hulk Hogan on the outside brought the crowd to their feet for a few seconds. Once the action was focused back in the ring, it was more of the same: complete domination by Drew, including a high-arching Back Body Drop and a nasty looking Buckle Bomb.

McIntyre mocked an onlooking Hogan by doing his famous muscle-flexing pose. That drew some heavy boos from the crowd.

Commercial Break No. 5

It didn’t seem like the audience missed much during the break as the show returned with McIntyre still firmly in control. Another Buckle Bomb attempt was reversed by Ricochet, giving him a glimmer of hope. An Enziguri was able to knock Drew off his feet. A Clothesline off the top rope followed by a Moonsault off the second rope opened the window of opportunity for Ricochet.

Drew regained the advantage with a face first slam and a vicious looking Clothesline. But Ricochet was able catch a charging McIntryre by surprise with a kick to the head.

After a failed 450 attempt, the captain of Team Flair Randy Orton slid into the ring to nail the Team Hogan representative with an RKO out of nowhere.

Result: Ricochet won via disqualification following Orton’s interference (17:03)

This one was a bit shorter and a bit more of a one-sided affair than last week’s contest, but it was still good nonetheless. McIntyre and Ricochet work well together and they nail the big strong heel vs. smaller quicker babyface dynamic really well.  Also, with the exception of a quick line by Lawler, the commentary team thankfully shied away from the superhero talk this week.

I never find myself clamoring for Randy Orton to appear on the screen, especially if it’s to ruin a good match. However, judging by the way the fans in attendance leaped to their feet and whipped out their camera phones when he appeared, there’s at least a few people who were happy to see him when he showed up.

Backstage, The OC was with Humberto Carrillo. AJ Styles gave props to Carrillo, talking about his impressive performance against Seth Rollins last week. Styles then challenged Humberto to a match with “the real champ” and held up his US Title.

Commercial Break No. 6

The Viking Raiders vs. Rizzo & Bryant (9:25:11 – 9:27:09)

Rizzo & Bryant are dressed in the Cardinals’ NL Central rival Chicago Cubs uniforms to get some desired heat from the St. Louis crowd.

Slams, knees and some loud yells by Eric were followed by a Viking Experience for the quick win.

Result: Ivar pinned one of the Cubs following a Viking Experience (1:58)

It was the Raiders getting the quick squash against local jobbers spot tonight instead of Aleister Black. Nothing of consequence was achieved here. This felt like something that could have happened during a commercial break for the live crowd that they decided to air on national television.

Commercial Break No. 7

Andrade vs. Sin Cara (9:36:17 – 9:39:37)

Sin Cara brought out a masked female manager named Carolina to counteract Zelina Vega. A disinterested crowd that realized it was getting a Sin Cara match after a squash match didn’t seem too enthused by Carolina’s valet debut.

A long rest hold by Andrade certainly didn’t help to get the fans invested but a Corkscrew Dive from the top rope to the outside by Sin Cara did at least get a mild “Oh!’ reaction.

Vega distracted the ref during a Sin Cara pin attempt. She then tried to hit Carolina with a Diving Hurricanrana but Carolina caught her and slammed her into the barricade.

The scuffle on the outside distracted Sin Cara who was surprised by Andrade with a roll-up, foot on the ropes-aided pinfall victory.

Result: Andrade pinned Sin Cara following a surprise roll-up (3:20)

There wasn’t much here. I’d like to see Andrade get to wrestle a longer match but I also have no interest in seeing Sin Cara wrestle at all whatsoever, so I guess I can’t complain since this was basically a happy medium of those desires. An intergender tag-team match between all four of the performers involved might be the next step after this. Eh.

Charlotte and Natalya are shown walking around backstage.

Commercial Break No. 8

Charlotte & Natalya vs. The IIconics (9:46:44 – 9:51:05)

Lawler starts off this match by stating “Already some trash talking by these two great teams.” Apparently, the awkwardly thrown together first time ever tagging together team of Natalya and Charlotte is great by King’s standards.

Charlotte worked over Peyton Royce early, mocking both Peyton and Billie Kay before Natalya entered the ring and lost all the momentum immediately.

Royce received the cricket treatment from the crowd while beating on Natalya. Kay then tagged in and got flipped over and put into the Sharpshooter. Peyton tried to interfere but quickly regretted the decision when Charlotte hit her with a spear as Kay tapped out.

Result: Natalya won via submission with the Sharpshooter on Kay (4:21)

That’s the fourth sub-five-minute match of the night. Not sure what this accomplished besides getting The IIconics back on television as well as proving once again how little crowds care about seeing Natalya in the babyface in peril role. It seems like they’re going to put Charlotte in treading water mode until Royal Rumble season starts, so she’ll probably be featured in more pointless tag matches like this in the weeks to come.

Charly Caruso interviewed Seth Rollins backstage.

A fired up Rollins talked about burning down the Firefly Fun House, a line which the crowd did not respond favorably to.

“The only way to end The Fiend is to beat The Fiend.”

Commercial Break No. 9

Seth Rollins vs. Erick Rowan (9:59:53 – 10:14:57)

As Rollins and Rowan began brawling throughout the crowd, the announcers emphasize that a Falls Count Anywhere match can end up going anywhere. The two made their way up the stairs into the concession area. Rowan tossed Seth into a merchandise table, which is a common recent theme of concourse area brawls in WWE (See Bobby Lashley/Braun Strowman at Extreme Rules and Daniel Bryan/AJ Styles on SmackDown). There’s no such thing as too much product placement.

Commercial Break No. 10

Returning from commercial, the two had magically made their way back into the ring. Rollins hit Rowan with a couple of dives before his third attempt was caught by Rowan. Seth managed to avoid harm by throwing the big man into the steps. Rowan used those steps for revenge, though, slamming them into the charging Universal Champion.

“My first time on Raw, he’s trying to embarrass me.” – Rowan

After Rowan carried Rollins up the ramp to the top of the stage, he attempted to slam Seth through a table, but Seth managed to reverse it by stomping his challenger’s head onto the table. Dio referred to The Stomp as The Curb Stomp, which will likely earn him a talking to by the brass.

The brawl then headed to the backstage area where Seth made use of a forklift to pin Rowan’s shoulders down with a pallet.

Result: Rollins pinned Rowan with a pallet on a forklift (15:04)

For a Falls Count Anywhere Match featuring a top title holder, this felt like a very tame affair that didn’t explore a lot of territory. A contrived finish with a forklift didn’t help matters. By the end, however, Rollins seemed to get a decent reaction from the crowd, which is something he most definitely hasn’t been getting from fans since Hell In a Cell, so it’s at least a success in that aspect.

Bobby Lashley and Lana are shown backstage.

Commercial Break No. 11

Aleister Black cut a promo talking about beheading his opponents before a segue into the Crown Jewel promotional graphics.

Commercial Break No. 12

AJ Styles vs. Humberto Carrillo (10:31:11 – 10:40:36)

Carrillo got a Sin Cara-esque non-reaction from the crowd during his entrance, but he seemed ready to win the fans over. He came bursting with a flurry of big moves right from the opening bell.

Commercial Break No. 13

Humberto hit an impressive sequence of moves including a Missile Dropkick and an Aztec Press. But a Moonsault off the top rope proved unsuccessful as Styles moved out of the way and caught Humberto with a Reverse DDT to slow down the energetic youngster.

Carrillo managed to regain the advantage before finally hitting a Moonsault but that failed to garner a three-count. After a dive attempt that Styles blocked, AJ managed to apply the Calf Crusher and attain a tap out victory in the middle of the ring.

After the match, AJ offered up a handshake to Carrillo only to rescind it at the last second, which earned him a slap from from Humberto. That slap got a Styles Clash receipt and an attempted beat down by The OC, but the Street Profits came down to even the odds and chase off Styles and his crew.

Result: Styles won via submission with the Calf Crusher (9:25)

Yet another impressive showing in a losing effort by Carrillo. The fact he was thrown in the ring with two veteran stars like Rollins and Styles for his first two matches on Raw is evidence that folks behind the curtain see special potential in the 24-year-old Luchador.

The Mexican native has proved he can turn a cold crowd hot with his impressive athletic feats. Guys like Ricochet and Cedric Alexander proved they could do the same thing, though, and both their pushes seemed to have noticeably slowed in recent months, so it’s anybody’s guess what Humberto’s future holds. Still, he’s an interesting ball of clay worth molding.

A six-man tag team match featuring Carrillo, Ford and Dawkins vs. The OC seems likely to happen on a Raw in the near future.

A recap highlight video of Bobby Lashley/Lana/Rusev story in its entirety was shown.

Commercial Break No. 14

The King’s Divorce Court with Rusev and Lana

Lana complained about WWE fans being mean to her on Instagram while the crowd chanted Rusev Day. She then accused Rusev of being overly concerned with sex, called him a sex addict and said he was only concerned about getting her pregnant.

“He knew more about my monthly cycle than I knew. All you ever wanted was to have little machka brats running around, crushing. ” – Lana

It was at this point I debated about turning off Raw and just watching Youtube clips of Rusev’s first few months on the main roster leading up to Wrestlemania 31 for the next five minutes. But then I figured, I’ve come this far, might as well stick with it.

Lana then accused Rusev of cheating on her, which got a soundbite-worthy “What?” response from the Bulgarian Brut. Lashley’s music then hit and the two ended the show with a brawl. A kendo stick-wielding Lana and a low-blowing Lashley got the upper-hand on Rusev before standing over him to have a make out session to end the show.

A fan shouted “This is weird!” as boos echoed throughout the arena and the show faded to black.

Overall Thoughts: Lynch and Sane started the show with a bang. Ricochet and Drew had a slightly less thrilling match than last week but it was still an impressive showing. There was another intriguing performance by Humberto Carrillo. This was a show that started hot, got spotty and then did a nosedive at the end. The Lana/Rusev/Lashley storyline just isn’t for me and tonight’s segment reaffirmed that. Hopefully, somebody’s enjoying it because WWE seems to at least be putting some effort into it.

NXT Review (10/23/19)

Venue: Full Sail Live (Winter Park, FL)

Rhea Ripley vs. Bianca Belair
Opening Bell: 8:04:40
Final Bell: 8:17:18
Match Time: 12 Minutes, 28 Seconds
*Commercial Break: 8:10:33 – 8:14:08 (3 Minutes, 35 Seconds)
Result: Ripley pinned Belair following a Pumphandle Powerbomb

“I would say Belair has better technique than Rhea Ripley. Though Ripley has absolute brute force. Belair perhaps a better discipline, whereas Ripley is this wild errant aggression.” – Nigel McGuinness

Starting off, a tie up, fight for power, broke into a stare down, which transitioned into a test of strength. Belair got the first notable advantage of the match, driving Ripley into the corner, but Ripley countered with a fierce stomp. A waste lock take down broke some of Ripleys chains off her gear. Both women struggled to suplex each other before Rhea got the upperhand with a Delayed Vertical Suplex. After slamming Rhea off the top rope, Bianca hit her own Delayed Suplex.

After Rhea delivered a brutal boot to Bianca’s midsection, Beth Phoenix said the”NXT Women’s Division’s showing what empowerment looks like on a global state.” Seems like she probably meant stage.

Ripley’s Cannonball off the apron onto Bianca on the outside got an “Oh!” reaction from the crowd. Io Shirai sensed this was her time to interfere as she rushed down to the ring and hit Ripley with a cheap shot Tiger Feint Kick, then threw a stunned Ripley back into the ring where Belair hit her with what appeared to be a match-deciding Spear. But a Ripley kick out at two said otherwise.

A screaming and shocked Belair was matched in the shocked department by an apoplectic Io on the apron who couldn’t believe Rhea kicked out. Candice LeRae came rushing out to subdue Shirai.

With Io out of the picture, Rhea managed to reverse Bianca’s swipes and caught her with a Pumphandle Powerbomb that led to a pinfall victory as LeRae watched on the ramp.

As expected, this was a physical back and forth display of strength, power and athleticism by these two that managed to get the two other notable challengers for Shayna Baszler’s NXT Women’s Championship, Shirai and LeRae, involved as well. Rhea got an establishing win, but Bianca also got a chance to strut her stuff and show she’s a worthy contender in an evenly balanced affair.

After a promo package for tonight’s triple-threat main event for the NXT North American Title, Cathy Kelly is shown interviewing Pete Dunne and Tyler Bate, asking Dunne about last week’s loss to Damian Priest.

“No excuses. But I promise ya, there’s a receipt coming,” said Dunne about Priest. Kelly’s question about Killian Dain and the fireworks they had before the match got the response of “I don’t care about Killian Dain” from Dunne.

A Tommaso Ciampa overcoming injury video package.

“Adversity introduces a man to himself.”

Matt Riddle vs. Cameron Grimes
Opening Bell: 8:28:25
Final Bell: 8:39:52
*Commercial Break: 8:33:08 – 8:36:39 (Three Minutes, 31 Seconds)
Match Time: 10 Minutes, 43 Seconds
Result: Riddle pinned Grimes following a Bro Derek

Grimes and Riddle both looked to hit big moves early but both missed/avoided. Riddle hit a number of kicks and forearms and an Exploder Suplex to gain the advantage.

Riddle hit a Goldberg-taunting Jackhammer for a near fall.

“Very controversial online presence, Matt Riddle.” – Nigel McGuinness

Grimes broke out an impressive looking back flip into a German Suplex combination to get back into the match before the commercial break.

Returning from commercial, Riddle hit a Ripcord Knee and a Bro to Sleep for a near fall. Grimes hits an impressive looking slam before heading to the top rope where he was met by Matt with a thunderous Suplex. A Floating Bro attempt was thwarted by Grimes’ knees. A sequence that saw the two trade blows was ended by a Final Flash Knee Strike into the Bro Derek as Matt was able to pick up a hard fought victory.

“Cameron Grimes proves that he can hang with the level of athlete of Matt Riddle.” – Mauro Ranallo

Another superlative showing by Riddle to add to the collection. This was the kind of effort that proved that an up-and-comer like Grimes can benefit way more from going in the ring and showing he can go toe-to-toe with someone the caliber of Riddle instead of just squashing lesser opponents in blink-of-an-eye matches.

Riddle offered a post-match fist bump to Grimes who showed no interest in returning the favor. Grimes then shoved Tyler Bate who was sitting ringside who responded with a knockout punch that left him sprawled out on the floor looking up at the lights.

A Dominik Dijakovic video segment.

“I promised my family a championship. And then six months ago, that got sidelined. But tonight, I feed my greatest rival and I keep my promise.”

“In a match that I’ve just signed, Tegan Nox and Dakota Kai will face Marina Shaffir and Jessamyn Duke. And the winner of that match will go on next week to face the WWE Women’s (Tag) Champions, The Kabuki Warriors, in a championship match. Thank you.” -William Regal

Breezango and Isaiah “Swerve” Scott vs. The Forgotten Sons
Opening Bell: 8:52:06
Final Bell: 9:05:22
*Commercial Break: 8:54:02 – 8:57:58 (Three Minutes, 56 Seconds)
Match Time
: 13 Minutes, 12 Seconds
Result: Scott pinned Wesley Blake following a Back Kick

Tyler Breeze and Jaxson Ryker started things off before an intimidated Breeze quickly tagged out to Strickland. A fearless Fandango tried his luck and showed off his moves with a bit of taunting gyration before the commercial break.

Returning from commercial Ryker is firmly in control on a helpless Breeze.

“Ryker describes his offense as a vulgar display of savagery.” – Beth Phoenix

The crowd chants “Tyler!” hoping to give him a boost. Finally, Breeze was able to avoid the charging big man who goes crashing shoulder first into the post. It gave Tyler the window he needed to make it to his corner and tag in Fandango who came flying in with  slaps and strikes. Eventually, Scott found his way into the ring but he quickly ended up in a 3-on-1 disadvantage. The Forgotten Sons hit a unique looking combination Hurricanrana and Double Head Butt move from three different corners of the ring, which seemingly spelled doom for Swerve but luckily his teammates were able to break up the pin before the third strike of the ref’s hand.

Scott was able to get a second wind, knocking all three Sons to the outside. After a quick brawl with Ryker on the turnbuckle and a Superplex tease spot, Scott used Ryker as a springboard to hit Wesley Blake and Steve Cutler with a Moonsault to the outside.

Breeze and Fandango hit a Double Superkick on Ryker but the pin was broken up by the other Sons. Eventually, everyone ended up on the outside besides Scott and Blake. After rolling through a slam attempt, Swerve surprised Blake with a kick to the back of the neck to knock him out long enough to get a three count.

A post-match mini-dance party ensued among the celebrating trio of victors.

After making name for himself in one-on-one competition against Roderick Strong a few weeks ago, this was yet another breakthrough showing by Scott who wowed the crowd with his athleticism and kick striking ability.

NXT North American Champion Roderick Strong video package.

“I know Mr. Regal’s trying to screw me putting me in a match with those two big goofs. But when the bright lights are on, I’m at my best. And tonight, I prove it. And that’s undisputed.”

Cruiserweight Champion Lio Rush made his way down to the ringside area to join the commentary team before the show cut to commercial.

Returning from commercial, Killian Dain was shown standing in front of a fire taping up his pointer and middle finger on his left hand.

“Pete Dunne, you tried to break my fingers. Now I’m going to break you.”

Angel Garza vs. Jack Gallagher
Opening Bell: 9:15:45
Final Bell: 9:19:47
Match Time: Four Minutes, Two Seconds
Result: Garza pinned Gallagher following a Springboard Moonsault

“Let’s go Garza” chants from the crowd at the start. The two traded head locks early before Gallagher attempted an unsuccessful crucifix pin attempt. Soon enough, Garza’s pants were ripped off. Gentleman Jack displayed some impressive strength with a Delayed Suplex and some ferocity with a skull-cracking head butt.

Unfortunately, Gallagher got a bit overconfident with a charging leap into the corner where Garza made him pay by slamming  him to the mat and hitting him with a Springboard Moonsault to pick up a statement win in front of the champion before pointing at Rush and calling him out in a post-match taunting sequence.

Tegan Nox and Dakota Kai vs. Jessamyn Duke and Marina Shaffir
Opening Bell: 9:27:20
Final Bell: 9:30:40
Match Time: Three Minutes, 20 Seconds
Result: Nox pinned Duke following the Shiniest Wizard

Duke surprised Kai with a a kick to the face as the bell rang. Shaffir quickly tagged in and threw a jolted Kai around the ring.

“Shaffir calls herself the CEO of the Judo Throw.” – Beth Phoenix

Kai caught Shaffir with a kick which allowed her to make it the corner to tag in Nox. Tegan showed some good energy flying around the ring and hitting a Crossbody onto Duke before finally nailing her with the Shiniest Wizard to pick up the victory.

There was not really much to this match but it did give Nox the chance to show off some of her big moves in a quick affair.

After the conclusion of the contest, The Kabuki Warriors appeared on the screen to taunt Nox and Kai in their native language before Kairi Sane said, “Next week, you have no chance.”

A Keith Lee video package.

“The very thing I’ve chased since I’ve walked through these doors has finally arrived. I intend to do everything within the fiber of my being to seize it, when I become NXT North American Champion.”

Roderick Strong vs. Keith Lee vs. Dominik Dijakovic
Opening Bell: 9:42:54
Final Bell: 10:01:15
Match Time: 18 Minutes, 21 Seconds
*Commercial Break: (PIP) 9:44:10 – 9:46:40 (Two Minutes, 30 Seconds)
*Commercial Break: 9:51:32 – 9:55:02 (Three Minutes, 30 Seconds)
: Strong pinned Lee following a running kick

Strong looked to escape the two big powerhouses as soon as the bell rang but they converged on him on the outside forcing him back in between the ropes. There, he was blasted by a huge shoulder tackle by Lee, knocking him back to the outside. “Oh, Bask In His Glory” chants from the crowd. Lee hit Dijakovic with a big Pop Up slam before the commercial break.

Back from commercial, Lee and Dijakovic were slugging it out while Strong came swirling around like a pesky fly before being swatted away. Strong got his revenge on Lee, however, as he pushed him over the ropes and stole his Superplex attempt onto Dijakovic.

After Lee made his way back into the ring, the three traded kicks and knees before Dominik managed to suplex the 320-pound Lee onto the 200-pound Strong.

After Lee rolled to the outside, Dijakovic attempted a Cannonball onto the outside but was caught. Before Lee could powerbomb Dijakovic, Strong came flying in to break things up. He soon paid the price for that decision, however, as Dijakovic hit him with a thunderous right hand.

Back inside the ring, Donovan brought Strong to the top rope looking for a Superplex of his own, but Lee decided to join the fun to make it a Tower of Doom.

After a commercial break, Strong backed up his claim that he shines brightest in these types of spots by neutralizing Dijakovic with a Backbreaker and hitting Lee with a flurry of running forearms, a knee strike and an Olympic Slam. “This Is Awesome!” chants from the NXT Crowd.

Soon enough, Lee and Dijakovic realized it was best to team up for a bit to take out Strong so they can duke it out themselves. They entered the ring to a standing ovation from the crowd, slugging it out with haymakers and head butts. Dijakovic’s ring-shaking Chokeslam on Lee nearly earned him the North American Title but Lee kicked out at the last second.

The two behemoths then took turns displaying their awe-inspiring athleticism with high-flying moves over the top rope to the outside. Lee’s flip earned the loudest ovation of the night from fans who had no trouble letting the performers know just how much they loved the incredible physics-defying feats they were seeing unfold in front of them.

Lee looked to have his first championship victory in NXT in sight when he slammed Dijakovic from the second turnbuckle, but the opportunistic Strong came flying in with a kick to steal the pin and hold onto his NXT North American Title.

This match had all the big power moves and exhibitions of athleticism expected from a Lee/Dijakovic encounter, and then some. The delayed Tower of Doom spot and Keith Lee’s flip over the top rope were absolutely wild, and they had the crowd going crazy.

The Undisputed Era’s post-match celebratory beat down of the gargantuan glory possessor was cut short by Tommaso Ciampa, Johnny Gargano and Finn Balor.

After a main event which left the crowd struggling to process what they were seeing in terms of big men doing such insane things, the most unbelievable move of the night came from the 5’11”, 190-pound Balor who with one flick of his heel nailed an unsuspecting Gargano with a devastating kick, completely altering the dynamic of NXT.

Total Commercial Breaks: 10 (Two PIP)
Total Commercial Break Time: 36 Minutes, 15 Seconds

Commercial Breaks
1) (PIP) 8:10:33 – 8:14:08 (Three Minutes, 35 Seconds)
2) 8:20:27 – 8:24:15 (Three Minutes, 48 Seconds)
3) 8:33:08 – 8:36:39 (Three Minutes, 31 Seconds)
4) 8:43:57 – 8:47:29 (Three Minutes, 32 Seconds)
5) 8:54:02 – 8:57:58 (Three Minutes, 56 Seconds)
6) 9:08:47 – 9:12:47 (Four Minutes)
7) 9:21:20 – 9:25:08 (Three Minute, 48 Seconds)
8) 9:33:15 – 9:37:20 (Four Minutes, Five Seconds)
9) (PIP) 9:44:10 – 9:46:40 (Two Minutes, 30 Seconds)
10) 9:51:32 – 9:55:02 (Three Minutes, 30 Seconds)


AEW Dynamite Review (10/23/19)

Venue: Petersen Events Center (Pittsburgh, PA)

Private Party vs. The Lucha Brothers
Opening Bell: 8:01:26
Final Bell: 8:13:57
Match Time: 12 Minutes, 31 Seconds
Result: Pentagon pinned Marc Quen following a Package Piledriver/Stomp

Marc Quen and Rey Fenix begin the match by showing off their athleticism and speed. Dueling chants for both teams grow louder before Fenix’s chop on Quen gets them wooing instead. Quen gets a few “Oh!’ reactions from the crowd on a flip to the outside onto Fenix, before heading back inside the squared circle to hit a 450 Splash from the top rope onto Pentagon.

The Brothers get their revenge, though, as Fenix hits a stomp off the top rope onto Quen’s back and Pentagon flies in for a stomp onto Quen’s private party area.

After getting beaten on for a bit, Quen manages to cartwheel his way out of trouble and into a blind tag by Isiah Kassidy. Private Party manages to turn things back into their favor with some innovative tandem maneuvers. Quen takes off his vest to show he’s ready to take things up a notch then heads to the top rope to hit a Shooting Star Press.

Fenix displays some innovative offense of his own hitting the members of the party with a leg drop/slam combo. Fenix shows his cat-like prowess, running across the top rope to nail Quen with a knee. Eventually, he heads to the top rope to hit a combination Stomp/Package Pile Driver on Quen, who is then pinned by Pentagon.

“Is there anybody hotter than Rey Fenix in pro wrestling?” – Jim Ross

This match felt like it should have been the finals of the tag team tournament, instead of the semis. It’s going to be hard for the winners of SCU/Dark Order to match what Private Party was able to bring to the table from an athletic and excitement standpoint. This was a great engaging opener full of action and spots that brought the fans to their feet.

A video package for Dymatize Wardlow. It is revealed via hashtag that he is coming.

SCU VS. Dark Order
Opening Bell: 8:20:39
Final Bell: 8:34:44
Match Time: 14 Minutes, 5 Seconds
Result: Sky pinned Grayson following a knee by Kazarian

Stu Grayson and Frankie Kazarian start things off. A trio of arm drags by Kazarian early frustrates Grayson. Evil Uno enters the ring to calm him down and to get a cheap sucker punch on an unassuming Kazarian. Uno then tags in to further the assault, hitting a Flying Knee and some chops before tagging out to Grayson.  Sky and Scorpio trade in and out a few times before Uno hits the highest impact move of the match, running Sky into the steel steps on the outside.  Midway through, The Inner Circle led by AEW Champion Chris Jericho enters, which captures the crowd’s attention. A flurry by Kazarian ends in a double pin attempt on both members of The Dark Order following an O’Connor Roll on Uno and a Northern Lights Suplex to a charging Grayson, but they each break out at two.

The Dark Order regain momentum after Grayson suplexes Sky into Kazarian in the corner. Jim Ross flubs The Dark Order’s name. SCU regains the advantage after dueling cutters. Grayson shows impressive balance walking from the top rope off of a bridge of shoulders of Uno, Sky and ref Aubrey Edwards to hit a Hurricanrana onto Kazarian in the middle of the ring before seconds later doing a flip over the top rope onto him on the outside.  Uno nearly gets a pinfall victory but Edwards was late seeing the pin. Kazarian hits two straight DDT’s, one to Grayson in the ring and the other to Uno on the apron before SCU picks up the win with a tandem finishing maneuver.

Kenny Omega vs. Joey Janela
Opening Bell: 8:40:13
Final Bell: 8:53:45
*Commercial Break: 8:44:56 -8:48:23
Match Time: 13 Minutes, 32 Seconds
Result: Omega pinned Janela following a One Winged Angel

Recap videos are shown of Janela’s match with Dean Ambrose from Fyter Fest and his unsanctioned match with Omega on the second episode of AEW Dark. A mutual respect handshake starts thing off. Omega works Janela’s wrist early before Janela goes flying over the top rope onto the apron. A series of kicks sends Joey to the outside where Kenny soon comes flying at him with a Pescado.

A shot of the VIP box of The Inner Circle, who Tony Schiavone incorrectly refers to as The Dark Order, features Sammy Guevara eating popcorn, Santana sipping some of the bubbly and Jericho shouting at Omega.

The action heads back into the ring where Janela gains the upper hand after dodging an Omega leap into the corner. A series of uppercuts and slaps echo throughout the arena. Ross tells the audience “Janela’s not very popular with the women in AEW because he’s got nicer hair than all of them.” The Bad Boy asks for the Pittsburgh crowd to show him some love before heading to the top rope to hit Kenny with a cross body on the outside.

Returning from the first non-picture in picture commercial break, Ross let’s us know Omega dominated throughout the break. More shots of Jericho in the VIP box before the attention returns to the ring where Janela gains the upper hand after delivering a German Suplex to Omega into the corner. He follows it up with an elbow from the top rope which led to a near fall. Omega reverses the momentum and nearly gets a pinfall of his own after dropping Janela face first onto the top turnbuckle and hitting him with a Snap Dragon Suplex and a Running Knee.

“I love time limits. I love the fact it adds a sense of urgency to everything we do. Every sport we watch.” – Jim Ross

Janela hits a German Suplex before the two trade blows in the middle of the ring. The competitors are shown struggling to stand from exhaustion, which allows the fans to show their appreciation with a “This Is Awesome!” chant. After a vicious clothesline, Janela comes close to escaping with a victory.  Omega rolls to the apron where Joey decides to go for broke by flipping onto him but Kenny moves out of the way just to avoid disaster which sends Janela bouncing off the apron with a chilling thud.

Goodbye and Goodnight — Omega hits the V-Trigger Knee and One Winged Angel to gain the victory. Though not as overtly violent as their chairs, ladders and tables-filled AEW Dark bout, this match managed to equal the level of intensity. Janela was able to show he’s more than just a weapons master. He can also get technical and go toe-to-toe with one of the best overall talents in pro wrestling.

Following a one-minute AEW Live video package promoting upcoming shows, Cody’s music hits and the commentary team tells the audience that there will be an in-ring interview between Schiavone and Cody following the commercial break.

The interview gets off to a rocky start as Jericho and the rest of The Inner Circle heckle nonstop with air horns.

Cody tells him “This isn’t like the other wrestling company we came from. This isn’t an invisible wall right here” before stepping through the ropes, threatening to come up to the box and take care of the heels and their horns himself.

The AEW champ laughs off the threats, calling Cody a coward and an entitled millennial little bitch. Cody steps to the outside before Jericho reminds him that his group—sans Jake Hager this week—holds a 4-on-1 advantage. Dustin Rhodes’ music hits, followed by MJF’s and DDP’s, who even the odds, whip the crowd into a frenzy and send Jericho and his crew retreating behind a locked glass door in their suite.

With the aid of MJF’s scarf wrapped around his knuckles, Cody fearlessly punches through the door and begins a brawl into the concession area. Multiple garbage cans, a Dipping Dots stand and a condiments station are some of the innocent casualties caught up in the destruction. Better late than never, the Petersen Center security personnel arrive to ward off Cody and his friends and escort them away as Jericho holds up his ticket to remind everyone he’s simply an innocent paying customer.

Young Bucks vs. The Best Friends
Opening Bell: 9:12:53
Final Bell: 9:25:00
Match Time: 12:07
*Commercial Break: 9:17:24 – 9:20:24 (Three Minutes)
Result: Matt Jackson pinned Trent Baretta following More Bang For Your Buck

Orange Cassidy finds his way into the ring delivering his own less than enthusiastic brand of Superkicks to both Nick and Matt Jackson. They return the favor by giving him a combination Superkick of their own sending Cassidy flying out of the ring. A brawl begins between all four competitors as the referee calls for the bell. Trent Baretta and Nick begin but soon Matt joins his brother in the ring to deliver a dual neckbreaker/backbreaker on Baretta. The Bucks taunt The Best Friends with a mid-ring hug. Baretta and Chuck Taylor show their displeasure by throwing Nick and Matt into the barricade before Baretta spears Matt and hits Nick with a Doomsday Knee.

Cassidy distracts Matt on the outside. “Very laconic and sloth-like is Orange Cassidy,” says Excalibur. Ross and Schiavone echo the sentiment with a sarcastic tone.

The show returns from commercial with Nick attempting and missing a 450 Splash onto Trent who hits a series of suplexes onto Nick. Taylor tags in and hits a few suplexes of his own. Trent hits the ring to hit a few more suplexes that leads to a big hug in the middle of the ring much to the appreciation of the crowd.

“They want hugs goddammit.” – Jim Ross

Orange Cassidy leaps off the top onto both Bucks on the outside. The Friends hit Strong Zero on Matt but Nick, in the nick of time, breaks up the pin.

Baretta hits a Doomsday Knee off the top onto Matt but somehow he lands on his feet and pelts Trent with a Superkick before being joined by Nick to Double Superkick Taylor.

“A Superkick Party breaking out here in Pittsburgh.” – Excalibur

Nick dives onto Trent Baretta and Orange Cassidy on the outside before The Bucks hit their tandem finisher More Bang For Your Buck on Taylor to pick up the pinfall win.

“Santana and Ortiz, we accept!” – Matt Jackson

Nothing special here. A basic, entertaining Young Bucks tag match.

A Video Package featuring Pittsburgh native Britt Baker

Britt Baker vs. Jamie Hayter
Opening Bell: 9:29:53
Final Bell: 9:38:26
*Commercial Break: 9:31:35 – 9:34:26 (Three Minutes, 49 Seconds)
Match Time
: 8 Minutes, 33 Seconds
Result: Baker won via submission after applying the Lockjaw

A good ovation for Baker who was joined by the Pittsburgh Steelers mascot during her entrance. The early fire by Baker is extinguished by Hayter who suplexed Baker into the corner before throwing her to the outside. It wouldn’t be an AEW Dynamite show without a barricade spot.

After a picture in picture commercial break, the two trade blows in a “Yay, Boo” spot. Hayter dominates Baker for a few minutes before the hometown girl hits a Superkick, Ace Crusher, Swinging Neckbreaker and another Superkick before applying the Lockjaw to gain the submission victory.

A recap video is shown of the brawl between Cody’s crew and The Inner Circle.

Backstage, Jen Decker attempts to get a post-match interview with Jamie Hayter, but unfortunately Brandi Rhodes comes unexpectedly flying in to take out Hayter. Brandi then angrily points at Decker’s forehead as she stares back in horrified confusion.

Jon Moxley vs. PAC
Opening Bell: 1:46:59
Final Bell: 9:59:08
*Commercial Break: 9:49:10 -9:51: 11 (Two Minutes, One Second)
Match Time: 12:09
Result: TV Time Limit Draw

Moxley’s entrance is interrupted by PAC who comes charging out of the tunnel with a chair. The Bastard tests out the strength of the barricades by throwing Moxley into them multiple times. The refs ask Moxley if he’s OK to continue but he disregards their concern, heading into the ring to start the match. PAC shows no mercy for his dazed challenger going at him with a litany of strikes and kicks.

While getting slapped around on the apron, Moxley somehow was able to pull out a neck-crunching Bulldog onto the apron to stun PAC and buy some recovery time. A clothesline, that as Ross said “turned Pac inside out,” pulls the tide into Mox’s favor. He stays on the prowl with a Tope Suicida, a Black Hole and a Running Knee before getting a near fall pin attempt.

Moxley breaking out a Cloverleaf hold stuns Schiavone who admits to not seeing that move since the days of Dean Malenko in WCW.

PAC manages to crotch Moxley on the top rope before running up and hitting an Avalanche Falcon Arrow.  The four, three and two minutes remaining warnings add to the urgency of the finishing sequence, thus why Jim Ross told us how much he loves time limits earlier. Sensing time is running out, PAC hits a 450 Splash off the Apron onto Moxley on the outside before throwing him into the ring and attempting and missing a Red Arrow.

As the one minute remaining message comes bellowing over the loudspeaker, Moxley manages to hit a Death Valley Driver…7, 6, 5…The ref begins his count, but PAC kicks out as time expires much to the chagrin of a crowd that isn’t afraid to voice its displeasure.

Moxley taking out his frustrations by giving the ref a Death Valley Driver helps quell the frustration of the fans momentarily.

“Time limit my ass,” Moxley angrily utters as the screen fades to dark.

Overall Thoughts

Hats off to the fans in attendance. That was an electric crowd tonight which showed appreciation for everything except the finish of the main event, which is perfectly understandable given the unfulfilling nature of a time limit draw finish.  It was a hard to swallow ending to a show that actually flowed rather smoothly.

Private Party/Lucha Brothers and Omega/Janela both delivered on the hype and they were clearly the two standout matches of the night. Moxley/Pac could have been a little bit better if it was more of a fair fight and not just Moxley slowly overcoming a prematch attack for the first half of the match. The time limit draw is understandable, but it was also a bit of a buzzkill to what had turned out to be a pretty hot match by the end.

SCU/Dark Order and Young Bucks/Best Friends were both fine but nothing memorable.

Britt Baker had her best performance of her AEW career in front of her hometown crowd thanks in large part to an impressive effort by Jamie Hayter.

The brawl in the concession stand between Cody’s crew and the Inner Circle was a good fun little change of pace segment in the middle of the show.

Though there wasn’t the advancement of a lot of storylines and feuds this week, overall, it was a hot crowd, good action and solid wrestling on display. It was an entertaining show that flowed well and left little to complain about besides the time limit draw, which given the standing of both Moxley and PAC right now isn’t even all that surprising.

The only real bone to pick would be Jim Ross and Tony Schiavone mocking Excalibur every time he got a little too technical sounding in his commentary. The two old veterans don’t seem to share the same enthusiasm for having an encyclopedia-esque knowledge of moves and background information of the competitors, so it seems there’s a bit of a rift there in the dynamic developing between him and them. They openly mocked Excalibur a few times tonight, which didn’t seem called for. The guy’s just doing his homework and trying to call a match the best way he sees fit. The sarcastic one-upmanship isn’t needed.

Total Commercial Breaks: Nine (Five Picture in Picture)
Total Amount of Commercial Time: 27 Minutes, 35 Seconds

1) (PIP) 8:24:43 – 8:27:33 (Two Minutes and 50 Seconds)
2) (PIP) 8:35:10 – 8:37:35 ( Two Minutes, 25 Seconds)
3) 8:44:56 -8:48:23 (Three Minutes, Four Seconds)
4) 8:56:52 -8:59:55 (Three Minutes, Three Seconds)
5) (PIP) 9:08:02 – 9:10:52 (Two Minutes, 50 Seconds)
6) 9:17:24 – 9:20:24 (Three Minutes)
7) (PIP) 9:31:35 – 9:34:26 (Three Minutes, 49 Seconds)
8)  9:41:10 – 9:44: 41 (Three Minutes, 31 Seconds)
9) (PIP) 9:49:10 -9:51: 11 (Two Minutes, One Second)