Venue: TD Garden (Boston, MA)
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.
-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?”
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.