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
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.