Venue: Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse (Cleveland, Ohio)
The show begins with a highlight video package recapping the Seth Rollins/Bray Wyatt feud for the Universal Title, showing clips from the Hell In a Cell match between Rolllins and The Fiend as well as last week’s Firefly Fun House segment, in which Seth literally burned it down.
After the intro video, the show goes live to the arena, where Vic Joseph tells us “a new era begins tonight: The first Raw post-WWE draft.”
Ric Flair Promo
After some light trash-talking of the Cleveland Browns, Flair talks tough about how his team is going to beat Hulk Hogan’s quintet at Crown Jewel. Ric announces that the final piece of the puzzle for Team Flair is the returning Drew McIntyre.
Apparently, no one told Flair that McIntyre hasn’t been on the winning end of a PPV match since Survivor Series 2018. In fairness, that was also a 5-on-5 match, so maybe that’s his specialty.
Drew McIntyre vs. Ricochet
Opening Bell: 8:13:49
Final Bell: 8:31:31
Total Match Time: 17 Minutes, 42 Seconds
*One Commercial Break (Three Minutes, 31 Seconds)
Result: McIntyre wins via pinfall following a Claymore Kick
Dio Maddin: “Before the break, Drew McIntyre said that this match was going to get uncomfortable. But I don’t know, he’s in there with a real life superhero. Ricochet is capable of doing incredible things.”
Vic Joseph: “Well Dio, I don’t care how many buildings you can jump over, if you’re in the hands of Drew McIntyre, you’re not going to fly.”
Ugh. Enough with the superhero stuff already.
As expected, McIntyre dominated the early part of the match before Ricochet was able to trip him up on the apron before the commercial break. Returning from commercial, McIntyre was once again back in control, throwing around Ricochet like a rag doll
Crowd was firmly on their feet and behind Ricochet following a sequence in which he scooped and slammed McIntyre before hitting a Shooting Star Press for a near fall.
A post-match beat down of Ricochet, which included McIntyre slamming Ricochet face first into the ring stairs helps to reestablish him as a vicious heel who enjoys punishing his opponents. Drew was on such a cold streak following his feud with Roman Reigns and loss to Cedric Alexander that it’s clear he’s need of a fresh start and a boost. A win here helps give him something meaningful right away upon his return from injury.
“Superheroes aren’t real but I sure as hell am.” – McIntyre
The show returns from commercial with a quick XFL plug as DC Defenders QB Cardale Jones, a Cleveland native, is shown in the crowd. Apparently, the XFL just had its inaugural draft last week. After a quick skim of the draft results, it’s safe to say that the XFL is currently not busting at the seams with star power.
A video recap is shown of The O.C.’s backstage attack on The Street Profits from last week’s Raw. This is followed up by Charly Caruso interviewing AJ Styles, Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows.
“The Street Profits, they keep talking about getting that smoke. Uh, well, unfortunately, we’re in Cleveland, and getting that smoke is illegal here, you morons.” – Styles
An “Instant Impact” highlight package featuring three recently acquired performers from SmackDown: Andrade, Buddy Murphy and Aleister Black is followed up by a graphic featuring every member of the newly shaped Raw roster. Aleister Black then appears on the screen to give one of his patented spooky sounding promos.
Aleister Black vs. Jason Reynolds
Opening Bell: 8:51:16
Final Bell: 8:53:02
Total Match Time: One Minute, 46 Seconds
Result: Black wins via pinfall following a Black Mass
Another week, another quick squash by Black. Well, at least he’s getting some television time. Since it’s unlikely he’ll be competing at Crown Jewel due to his tattoos, it seems they may be waiting until after that show to start building a proper feud for him.
A quick shot of Rusev walking backstage before heading to commercial break.
AOP Video Promo
It’s the same setup as the past ones: Akam and Rezar sitting in a dark room in suits, talking in their native languages about how violent they are. It was fine the first couple of times, but at this point, these promos are starting to feel stale. It’s put up or shut up time for these two. That likely means a few squash matches against local jobbers for the next month or so, which hopefully leads to a meaningful feud with a team like The Street Profits or the Raw Tag Team Champions The Viking Raiders.
Jerry Lawler Interviews Rusev
A visible ‘Riddle vs. Lesnar WM36’ sign during Rusev’s entrance.
Jerry Lawler gets the “What?” treatment from the crowd during his monologue, showing just how invested the fans really are in this angle.
Some scattered Rusev Day chants from the crowd.
“It’s all Lashley’s fault. Bob Lashley has poisoned Lana’s brain and for that he will be crushed.” – Rusev
Lashley and Lana appear on screen live via telecast from an unnamed restaurant. Lashley talks about fulfilling her needs, while Lana talks about this being her dream restaurant that her husband refused to take her to.
Rusev tells Lawler that he wants to deliver his message personally because he knows what restaurant they’re at. He then sprints to the back, setting up a potential confrontation for later in the show.
Zelina Vega is shown giving Andrade a pep talk backstage before the show cuts to a commercial break.
Andrade vs. Sin Cara
Opening Bell: 9:13:49
Final Bell: 9:25:49
Total Match Time: 12 Minutes
*One Commercial Break (Three Minutes)
Result: Andrade wins via pinfall following a Hammerlock DDT
Humberto Carrillo is shown backstage watching on a monitor.
Sin Cara looked rusty and out of shape early. At one point, he awkwardly just fell off Andrade’s shoulders for no real reason.
Crowd was non-responsive for most of this one, but Sin Cara’s Sunset Flip Power Bomb off the top rope and his Hurricanrana on the outside each got a decent pop.
These two actually showed some good chemistry during their feud when Andrade was first called up to the main roster last year. Unfortunately, Sin Cara just did not look up to snuff here. Plus, following such a a long absence, it was obvious the crowd simply didn’t care about him or the match.
The WWE may talk about how Andrade is a future star, but in order for him to reach his potential, he’s got to have more important matches and feuds with higher caliber performers. His last PPV singles match was at the last Saudi show back in June.
Charly interviews Carrillo backstage. He said “Andrade will be a future Universal Champion unless I beat him to it. When that happens, I’m going to be the best champion, not the kind of champion that plays with fire like Seth Rollins.”
Returning from commercial, The Street Profits are shown backstage, mocking The O.C.
“Hey O.C., mother’s love us more.” – Angelo Dawkins
The Singh Brothers defeat R-Truth to become 24/7 Champion(s)
The Viking Raiders defeat Zack Ryder & Curt Hawkins
Opening Bell: 9:44:18
Final Bell: 9:48:01
Total Match Time: Three Minutes, 43 Seconds
Result: Ivar defeats Hawkins via pinfall following The Viking Experience
Things start off quick with some tandem moves by The Viking Raiders and an Ivar suicide dive before Hawkins slows thing down with a rest hold.
Ivar gets the hot tag that doesn’t get the normal hot response from a crowd that doesn’t seem to be happy about the number of matches with jobber level performers they’ve been seeing tonight.
Overall, this was a quick match that felt like a let down following The Viking Raiders’ big crowd-popping Tag Team Title win over Robert Roode and Dolph Ziggler last week.
Bobby Lashley and Lana are shown still at the restaurant even though they seemed to be eating dessert an hour ago.
Rey Mysterio is shown walking backstage before the show cuts to commercial break.
The show returns from commercial with a mild and disappointing attack by Rusev on Lashley at the restaurant. It was a tussle that was quickly squashed and broken up. It felt like there was the potential for a fun brawl involving food and plates flying all around that might have been entertaining, but it was not to be. A let down and a waste of time.
Rey Mysterio Promo
Once again, more Raw time being used to promote feuds involving SmackDown performers. First it was Braun Strowman and Tyson Fury’s abysmal contract signing segment last week. Tonight, it’s Mysterio promoting the Brock Lesnar vs. Cain Velasquez WWE Championship match.
Shelton Benjamin comes out to call out the absurdity of Cain Velasquez getting a WWE title shot because Lesnar decided to beat up Mysterio and his son. Wow, he’s right on the money with that criticism and logic. Amen.
“The former UFC champion, the only person who can legitimately claim to have manhandled, victimized and scarred Brock Lesnar in a fight.” – Vic Joseph
Not a fan of that sentence, especially using the word legitimately to describe a former UFC fighter on a pro wrestling show.
Why is it the two supposed real fighters, Fury and Velasquez, throw the fakest looking punches?
The altercation between Velasquez and Benjamin is met with a mix of boos and indifference from the crowd.
Those boos intensify as Universal Champion Seth Rollins appears on screen for a backstage interview with Charly.
“Once you’ve stepped inside the ring with The Fiend. You’re changed forever.” – Rollins
CM Punk chants can be heard emanating from the live crowd as Rollins confronts Carrillo for his earlier comments, and challenges the Raw newcomer to a match tonight.
Clips from The Undertaker’s appearance on a float, which included huge balloons of both him and Roman Reigns holding a WWE title belt, at the Riyadh Season Grand Opening Parade are shown.
Seth Rollins vs. Humberto Carrillo
Opening Bell: 10:17:37
Final Bell: 10:30:11
Total Match Time: 12 Minutes, 33 Seconds
*One Commercial Break: Three Minutes, 32 Seconds
Result: Rollins wins via pinfall following a Stomp
Early “We Want Wyatt” chants from a crowd that has clearly checked out on Rollins.
Impressive cross body off the top rope by Carrillo.
A graceful Moonsault by Carrillo gets an “Oh!” reaction from the crowd.
Overall, this was a Rollins dominated affair with some high-flying maneuvers and kicks by Carrillo and a brief hope spot mixed in. Seth seemed to be working more heelish tonight, talking trash. This was a decent match and Carrillo showed intriguing ability. Unfortunately, the crowd has just gone absolutely ice cold on Rollins since Hell In a Cell.
Backstage, R-Truth failed to retain the 24/7 Championship since he attempted to pin the wrong Singh brother.
The Street Profits vs. The O.C.
Opening Bell: 10:45:47
Final Bell: 10:58:55
Total Match Time: 13 Minutes, Eight Seconds
*One Commercial Break (Three Minutes, 30 Seconds)
Result: Ford wins via pinfall following a Frog Splash
Some nice looking dropkicks by Montez Ford early.
The Street Profits have a great natural tag team dynamic — Ford as the face in peril and Dawkins as the big hot tag who can come in and clear house is something that works.
The fact that they failed to produce a third partner at the start of the match seemed to have taken the crowd out of it a bit. But once Kevin Owens arrived to stun Styles, the excitement level rose. I was expecting John Cena coming back and doing a similar dynamic he did with Enzo and Cass. But Owens makes sense given his recent switch over to the Raw roster.
A good showing by The Street Profits in their Raw debut. But it still feels like they’ve got a bit of a ways to go before they can solidify their status as a main event level act.
Drew McIntyre vs. Ricochet was a pretty fun, well worked opener that the crowd got invested in. Unfortunately, it all seemed to head downhill after that.
Two squash matches by Aleister Black and The Viking Raiders were simply space-fillers. The crowd did not care about Sin Cara, who fans haven’t seen in ages, or Humberto Carrillo, who most fans have simply never seen before, so their matches got little reaction.
The Street Profits vs. The O.C. match was fine. However, the expected intensity following last week’s attack just never materialized in the ring.
Having a local competitor the caliber of Jason Reynolds take up TV time while super talents like Buddy Murphy, Cedric Alexander and Akira Tozawa sit in the back unused borders on absurdity, especially considering Aleister Black has been on the main roster since before Wrestlemania and he’s yet to have a meaningful long-term feud against a worthy adversary.
It felt like the Rusev-Lashley-Lana angle was building to a potential fun restaurant brawl, but instead it fizzled out and turned out to be nothing.
The crowd did not care whatsoever about seeing Cain Velasquez.
Seth Rollins’ character is in no man’s land right now. Fans are openly rejecting him and showing their hostility. The severity in which WWE botched Seth’s feud with The Fiend is one for the history books.
Finally, what happened to the women’s roster?
Becky? Charlotte? The Kabuki Warriors? All MIA tonight. Not a single women’s match or even a promo besides Lana’s brief appearance with Lashley. Becky is clearly Raw’s biggest star, so when she’s not on the show at all, her absence is most definitely felt.
The final tallies for tonight…
Total Number of Matches: Six
Total Amount of Televised In-Ring Action: 47 Minutes, Eight Seconds
Total Commercial Breaks: 15
Total Commercial Time: 54 Minutes, 31 Seconds
1) 8:10:24 – 8:13:47 (Three Minutes, 23 Seconds)
2) 8:18:56 – 8:22:27 (Three Minutes, 31 Seconds)
3) 8:34:54 – 8:38:52 (Three Minutes, 58 Seconds)
4) 8:45:36 – 8:49:14 (Three Minutes, 38 Seconds)
5) 8:54:06 – 8:57:39 (Three Minutes, 33 Seconds)
6) 9:06:14 – 9:10:05 (Three Minutes, 51 Seconds)
7) 9:16:11 – 9:19:11 (Three Minutes)
8) 9:28:02 – 9:31:32 (Three Minutes, 30 Seconds)
9) 9:38:44 – 9:42:24 (Three Minutes, 40 Seconds)
10) 9:50:22 – 9:54:00 (Three Minutes, 38 Seconds)
11) 10:10:10 – 10:13:52 (Three Minutes, 42 Seconds)
12) 10:20:34 – 10:24:06 (Three Minutes, 32 Seconds)
13) 10:32:09 – 10:36:20 (Four Minutes, 11 Seconds)
14) 10:41:51 – 10:45:45 (Three Minutes, 54 Seconds)
15) 10:49:36 – 10:53:06 (Three Minutes, 30 Seconds)