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)

WWE Monday Night Raw Review (10/21/19)

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)
: 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
: 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)
: 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.

Overall Thoughts

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)

WWE Monday Night Raw Review (10/14/19)

Venue: Pepsi Center (Denver, CO)

The show begins with a montage of The Fiend vs. Seth Rollins at Hell In a Cell sans boos.

Becky Lynch vs. Charlotte Flair
Becky Lynch Entrance: 8:04:12 – 8:05:22 (One Minute, 10 Seconds)
Charlotte Flair Entrance: 8:06:33 – 8:07:44 (One Minute, 11 Seconds)
Becky Lynch Promo: 8:05:32 – 8:06:32 (One Minute)
Charlotte Flair Promo: 8:07:50 – 8:08:39 (49 Seconds)
Opening Bell: 8:12:50
Final Bell: 8:26:24
Match Time: 13 Minutes and 34 Seconds
Result: Lynch wins via a roll up pinfall.

A cheap shot by a deceptive Charlotte leads to a quick pull apart brawl before this evening’s *First Commercial Break: 8:09:30 – 8:12:30 (Three Minutes)

*Second Commercial Break: 8:17:27 – 8:20:58 (Three Minutes and 31 Seconds)

-So much for a potential Charlotte face turn.
-Lazy kickout by Lynch after an early roll up pin attempt by Flair.
-Charlotte dominated early before Becky fired up with a combination of kicks and a dropkick.
-Crowd picked up energy after the near fall following Charlotte’s Natural Selection.
-Well built match. After a title loss last Friday, Charlotte was in need of a dominant showing to reassert herself. Another surprise roll up loss doesn’t hurt her and helps build a potential frustration storyline where she questions herself and has to dig deeper.

-A quick recap of the WWE draft rules and a graphic showing the 40 remaining superstars who are eligible to be drafted tonight, a group headlined by WWE Champion Brock Lesnar, Universal Champion Seth Rollins, SmackDown Women’s Champion Bayley, Charlotte and Daniel Bryan.

Charly Caruso Interviews Seth Rollins: 8:28:43 – 8:31:02 (Two Minutes and 19 Seconds)
-As always, Rollins is able to turn a lukewarm crowd response more positive with a cheap heat city plug.  That does not last long, however, as the mention of the Hell In a Cell match with The Fiend gets a strong negative response. 

“Tonight, I’m going Fiend hunting. And I promise you before this night’s over, I’m going to find Bray Wyatt, whether it’s in the ring, whether it’s under the ring, whether it’s backstage, I’m going to find him, I’m going to end this, and I’m going to burn it down.” – Rollins

*Third Commercial Break: 8:31:03 – 8:35:17 (Four Minutes and 14 Seconds)

-Jim Cramer’s Prospect Stock Analysis: 8:35:18 – 8:36:04 (46 Seconds)

“My take on Seth Rollins: He’s a blue-chip stock that always produces.” 

I guess Jim didn’t see Hell In a Cell. 

“How about Andrade. I can tell you that with Zelina Vega behind him, Andrade is a superstar who can yield a great return on investment.” 

Agree wholeheartedly with this take. 

“Like his in-ring style, Ricochet is high risk, high reward.”


-Cut to a brief shot of both the USA and Fox war rooms before the show returns to the arena where WWE Chief Brand Officer Stephanie McMahon takes the stage to kick off night two of the draft.

Round 1 Picks

1 – Raw selects Seth Rollins
2 – SmackDown selects Brock Lesnar
3 – Raw selects Charlotte Flair
4 – SmackDown Selects The New Day
5 – Raw selects Andrade and Zelina Vega

-Cut to the draft analyst panel which once again features Renee Young, Booker T, Beth Phoenix and a pink cast-clad Samoa Joe, who puts over Brock Lesnar and does a good job selling the Lesnar-Velasquez fight at Crown Jewel. More positivity, praise and smiles from Joe. 

Andrade vs. Ali
Andrade Entrance: 8:41:01 – ? (Untelevised)
Ali Entrance: ? (Untelevised)
Opening Bell: ? (Televised Action Begins at 8:46:50)
Final Bell: 8:52:42
Match Time: ? (Six Minutes and Eight Seconds of Televised Action)
Result: Andrade wins via pinfall following a Hammerlock DDT.

*Fourth Commercial Break: 8:42:52 – 8:46:49 (Three Minutes and 57 Seconds)

-Zelina calling the Four Horsewomen the Four Horse Faces indirectly referred to Andrade’s real life girlfriend Charlotte as a horse face. He seemed amused but he might pay for that smirk later with a little trip to the dog house.
-Ali’s painful-looking crash landing to the outside from the second turnbuckle gets an “Oh!” reaction from the crowd.
-The ‘Breaking News: Seth Rollins Vows to Find & Fight “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt’ ticker during the match seemed a little redundant considering we just heard him say that in a backstage interview a mere 15 minutes ago.
“Maybe Bray Wyatt won’t be too hard to find if he can find out where he does the Firehouse Funhouse from.” – Jerry Lawler
-Ali’s flip over Zelina Vega onto Andrade on the outside brought the fans to their feet. But that excitement was quickly quelled by Vega interfering with a Diving Hurricinrana to help Andrade get the victory.
-Overall, this was an OK match that served its purpose of making Andrade look strong and Zelina look like a pesky nuisance for an opponent to deal with.

-Cut to Stephanie McMahon who is ready to announce the second round draft picks.

Round 2 Picks
6 – Raw selects The Kabuki Warriors
7 – SmackDown selects Daniel Bryan
8 – Raw selects Rusev
9 – SmackDown selects Bayley
10 – Raw selects Aleister Black

The Viking Raiders vs. Robert Roode and Dolph Ziggler
Viking Raiders Entrance: 8:55:45 – ? (Untelevised)
Roode and Ziggler Entrance: 9:01:37 – 9:03:01 (One Minute, 24 Seconds)
Opening Bell: 9:03:03
Final Bell: 9:16:10
Match Time: 13 Minutes, Seven Seconds
Result: The Viking Raiders win the Raw Tag Team Championships via an Erik pinfall on Dolph Ziggler following a Viking Experience

*Fifth Commercial Break: 8:56:48 – 9:00:05 (Three Minutes, 17 Seconds)

Weekend Update Segment: 9:00:06 – 9:01:35 (One Minute, 29 Seconds)

-Colin Jost and Michael Che joked about Jost’s Wrestlemania feud with Braun Strowman, something no WWE fan has thought about since the night of Wrestlemania. That seemed to be used as an excuse for Vic Joseph to plug the contract signing between Strowman and Tyson Fury.

*Sixth Commercial Break: 9:06:30 – 9:09:51 (Three Minutes, 21 Seconds)

-No waiting around for The Viking Raiders this week. Ivar is diving and jumping off the top rope within the first minute of action.
-Jerry Lawler loves bringing up how wrestling Dolph Ziggler led to a heart attack that nearly killed him.
“Let’s Go Vikings” chants from the crowd
-The Raiders complement each other so well as a team: Erik has a more striking and grappling style and Ivar has the energetic big move feel to his move set. Ivar is in the conversation with Otis of Heavy Machinery and Big E of New Day as the best hot tag in  WWE right now.
-Standing ovation for the the new champions. Great to see the titles move to a fresh face team with some momentum. A feud with AOP could produce some pretty heavy-hitting matches.

*Seventh Commercial Break: 9:18:25 – 9:21:55 (Three Minutes, 30 Seconds)

-Returning from commercial, the show heads to the NHL on NBC sports desk, where we learn that if Jeremy Roenick and Kathryn Tappen (Keith Jones unfortunately does not get a say in this conversation) could pick any WWE superstar to play in the NHL…

Roenick would pick Seth Rollins because “he has the hockey hair and he has turned Monday Night Raw into Monday Night Rollins.”

Tappen would pick The New Day because “they are a perfect combination.”

Seth Rollins and the members of the New Day are all in fact currently alive and currently on the WWE roster, so when you compare this to the FOX NFL Sunday crew we saw on SmackDown, who only picked retired legends, three of whom are deceased, this was fine.

Viking Raiders Backstage Promo

“We are the first team whose been undefeated in WWE history to win the IWGP, the Ring of Honor, the NXT and now the Raw Tag Team Championships. WWE Universe, the raid is here.”

Round 3 Picks
11 – Raw selects Cedric Alexander
12 – SmackDown selects Shinsuke Nakamura
13 – Raw selects Humberto Carrillo
14 – SmackDown selects Ali
15 – Raw selects Erick Rowan

Aleister Black vs. Eric Young
Aleister Black Entrance: 9:26:03 – 9:28:05 (Two Minutes, Two Seconds)
No Entrance for Eric Young
Opening Bell: 9:28:07
Final Bell: 9:29:45
Match Time: One Minute, 38 Seconds
Result: Black wins via submission tap out

-Another week, another quick squash by Black. His entrance was longer than the actual match.
-Great looking Moonsault, Running Knee and some impactful kicks from Aleister.
-These quick squashes are fine for the first few weeks he’s on Raw, but Black deserves a well built important feeling feud sooner than later. 

*Eighth Commercial Break: 9:31:07 – 9:34:38 (Three Minutes, 31 Seconds)

Round 4 Picks
16 – Raw selects Buddy Murphy
17 – SmackDown selects Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode
18 – Raw selects Jinder Mahal
19 – SmackDown selects Carmella
20 – Raw selects R-Truth

Street Profits Backstage Segment
-A  backstage confrontation between The O.C. and The Street Profits turns physical. It looks like AJ Styles and his crew could potentially be the first true main roster feud for Montez Ford and Angelo Dawkins. It’s time for The Street Profits to show what they can do in the ring. Having them work with three experienced and talented veterans seems like a wise choice. 

Ricochet vs. Shelton Benjamin
Ricochet Entrance: 9:49:48 – ? (Untelevised)
Shelton Benjamin Entrance: ? (Untelevised)
Opening Bell: 9:45:16
Final Bell: 9:50:24
Match Time: Five Minutes, 12 Seconds
Result: Ricochet wins via pinfall following a recoil knee.

*Ninth Commercial Break: 9:41:26 – 9:44:53 (Three Minutes, 27 Seconds)

-They’re all in with that “Superheroes Can Be Real” line.
Dio: “King you’re a comic book guy. What superhero does Ricochet remind you of most?”
King: “Um, Spiderman.”
Vic: “Good pick.”
What an important exchange that was.
-Overall, a normal Ricochet match with his normal spots. Impressive athleticism as always, but the superhero stuff just isn’t my cup of tea.

Tyson Fury Video Package: 9:51:42 – 9:53:00 (One Minute, Eighteen Seconds)
-Same fast-forwardable video that was shown on SmackDown.

-Cut to a quick shot of Lana receiving a massage. Lana tells the masseuse she “likes it harder.”

*Tenth Commercial Break: 9:53:48 – 9:57:20 (Three Minutes, 32 Seconds)

-Returning from commercial to the same Lana massage scene.
Masseuse: “I can go deeper if you wanted.”
Lana: “Yes, I like it deeper.”
Bobby Lashley then appears to take over the massaging duties.

Tyson Fury/Braun Strowman Contract Signing: 9:58:58 – 10:07:00 (Eight Minutes, Two Seconds)
“That pen was completely and utterly demolished by Tyson Fury.”
That about sums this segment up.

*Eleventh Commercial Break: 10:07:02 – 10:10:30 (Three Minutes, 28 Seconds)

-Returning from commercial with a brief exchange between NBC personalities Al Roker and Willie Geist, who ends yet another NBC cross-promotional vehicle by saying “the only thing I know for sure is that the WWE will continue to keep us guessing.”

Round 5 Picks
21 – Raw selects Samjoa Joe
22 – SmackDown selects The Miz
23 – Raw selects Akira Tozawa
24 – SmackDown selects King Corbin
25 – Raw selects Shelton Benjamin

Buddy Murphy vs. Cedric Alexander
Buddy Murphy Entrance: 10:13:21 – 10:14:00 (39 Seconds)
Cedric Alexander Entrance: 10:14:01 -10:14:42 (41 Seconds)
Opening Bell: 2:14:46
Final Bell: 2:23:50
Match Time: Nine Minutes, Four Seconds
Result: Murphy wins via pinfall following a Murphy’s Law

*Twelfth Commercial Break: 10:16:51 – 10:20:21 (Three Minutes, 30 Seconds)

-Rough landing for Alexander on the outside before the commercial.
-Buddy Murphy got an “Oh!” reaction with a flip over the top rope.
-Alexander did his best to wow crowd as well with a Suicide Dive into the barricade.
-Good work by both men here. Though this didn’t come close to matching some of their classic Cruiserweight Championship battles, it was pretty entertaining for a middle of the third hour Raw match. Both of them popped the crowd a few times with some big moves.

Breaking News: Seth Rollins will pull double duty at Crown Jewel, facing both The Fiend Bray Wyatt in a Falls Count Anywhere match for the Universal Championship as well as captaining Team Hogan in a five-on-five match against Ric Flair.

Street Profits Backstage Promo
Ford sounds eager to get redemption tonight, but fortunately Dawkins points out that they need to even the odds first. That means they need a partner. Who will it be?

“We got a get our M. Night Shymalan on. Keep it a mystery.” – Dawkins

*Thirteenth Commercial Break: 10:27:15 – 10:30:58 (Three Minutes, 43 Seconds)

-Just when you thought there weren’t any other NBC Sports shows to cross promote on tonight’s show, Raw returns from commercial break on the set of Premier League Live. This segment gives us a shot of Sheamus chanting Allez, Allez, Allez with Liverpool fans.

Round 6 Picks
26 – Raw selects Rey Mysterio
27 – SmackDown selects Shorty Gable
28 – Raw selects Titus O’Neil
29 – SmackDown selects Elias
30 – Raw selects Liv Morgan

Remember when Elias’ segments were a highlight of Raw every week? I miss those days.

-Back to the draft panel, where Joe praised Buddy Murphy, Beth Phoenix did the same for Baron Corbin, and Booker T told us to stay tuned for a potential big trade by watching WWE backstage on FS1 tomorrow night.

Kabuki Warriors vs. Natalya and Lacey Evans
Kabuki Warriors Entrance
: 10:35:15 – 10:36:25 (One Minute, 10 seconds)
Natalya/Lacey Evans Entrance: 10:36:26 – ? (Untelevised)
Opening Bell: ? (Televised Action Begins at 10:41:17)
Final Bell: 2:57:14
Match Time: 15 Minutes, 53 Seconds
Result: Asuka wins via rollup pinfall on Lacey Evans

*Fourteenth Commercial Break: 10:37:46 – 10:41:16 (Three Minutes, 30 Seconds)

*Fifteenth Commercial Break: 10:46:33 – 10:50:30 (Three Minutes, 57 Seconds)

-Asuka’s new green mist face paint looks awesome.
-We were forced to sit through a month’s worth of Natalya/Lacey Evans singles matches for the end result to be them pairing up as a tag team with no explanation or backstory.
-This match had a little bit of heat going for it before the commercial break. Ultimately, though Natalya as the sympathetic babyface who gets beaten on and Lacey Evans as the awaiting hot tag were both just so badly miscast for each of those respective roles. Natalya got crickets, and Lacey got boos and groans. Who thought this dynamic was going to click with a crowd, especially in a main event match?

Firefly Fun House Segment

-Seth Rollins burns the Fun House down, as yet another WWE show goes off the air to a chorus of boos from the live audience. The degree to which they’ve managed to botch this feud, kill both Seth and Bray’s momentum and piss off the fans is almost astonishing, even by WWE standards.

Overall Thoughts

Considering how few performers, especially the bigger names, actually ended up switching brands, the draft felt like largely a waste of time that was mainly used as a way for USA and Fox to cross promote their other sports studio shows and personalities to a wrestling audience. After all, though, this is the build up to the annual Crown Jewel show,  so ‘wasting time’ seems to be the WWE’s theme of the month.

There was some good stuff on this show:  Charlotte vs. Becky was a physical tone-setting opener. The Viking Raiders winning both the Tag Team Championships as well as the support of the crowd was encouraging to see. Buddy Murphy and Cedric Alexander got to shine a bit in singles competition. Plus, The O.C. vs. Street Profits and a mystery partner feud has some intrigue.

Everything else, most notably an ending main event tag team dynamic and Firefly Fun House segment that were both so unbelievably tone deaf to what the audience actually wanted to see, falls into the negative category.

The final tally for tonight’s in-ring action/commercial break comparison: seven matches, totaling one hour, four minutes and 36 seconds to 15 commercial breaks, totaling 53 minutes and 28 seconds.


WWE Friday Night SmackDown Review (10/11/19)

Venue: T-Mobile Arena (Las Vegas, NV)

Roman Reigns vs. Seth Rollins
Roman Reigns Entrance: 8:02:14 – 8:04:14, Two Minutes
Seth Rollins Entrance 8:04:16 – 8:06:00, One Minute and 44 Seconds
Opening Bell: 8:06:04
Final BellFiend Attack:  8:19:38
Match Time: 13 Minutes and 30 Seconds
Result: Seth Rollins wins via disqualification

*First Commercial Break: 8:09:46 -8:13:08 , Three Minutes and 22 Seconds



-Slow feeling out process early. Both competitors had each other scouted well. Roman was able to avoid Seth’s Suicide Dive and Flying Knee while Rollins was able to avoid Roman’s Drive-By attempt.
-The one-armed powerslam by Reigns got a big pop from the crowd.
-Noticeable boos for Rollins’ Flying Knee and Frog Splash, his subsequent pin attempt and his first stomp tease.
-Noticeable boos for Roman’s first Spear attempt from the corner.
-Buckle Bomb into a Superman Punch spot was a nice call-back to their Money In the Bank WWE Championship match, as was the Spear attempt into a Pedigree counter.
-The match abruptly ends in disqualification when The Fiend rose up from beneath the ring and dragged Rollins under. Seems like this feud is still going even after that horrid ending to their Hell In a Cell match. 

*Second Commercial Break: 8:20:50 – 8:23:40, Two Minutes and 50 Seconds

-In case you weren’t tuned in three minutes ago, the show returns from commercial break with a quick recap of The Fiend’s attack on Seth Rollins

-A live look-in at the Fox and USA Draft War Room followed by an explanation of the rules for the 2019 WWE Draft. There are 70 draft eligible superstars total. 30 are eligible tonight. 40 will be eligible on Monday.

Round 1 Draft Picks

  1. Raw selects Raw Women’s Becky Lynch
  2. SmackDown selects Roman Reigns
  3. Raw selects The O.C.
  4. Smackdown selects Bray Wyatt
  5. Raw Selects Drew McIntyre

Stephanie said both Becky and Roman are “heading” to their respective shows even though they’re both actually staying in the same place. 

-A live look-in at the Draft table featuring Booker T, Beth Phoenix and Samoa Joe. Joe put over Drew McIntyre strong proclaiming him to be a future world champion.

Baron Corbin vs. Chad Gable
Baron Corbin Entrance  — 8:29:56 – 8:37:05, Seven Minutes and Nine Seconds
Chad Gable Entrance — 8:37:39 – 8:38:20, 41 Seconds
Opening Bell: 8:38:22
Final Bell: 8:47:41
Match Time: 9 Minutes and 19 seconds
Result: Corbin wins via pinfall following an End of Days

*Third Commercial Break: 8:31:43 – 8:35:16, Three Minutes and 33 Seconds

-The show returns with Fox’s lead NFL announce team Joe Buck and Troy Aikman. We learn that Aikman’s signature maneuver is the piledriver.

*Fourth Commercial Break: 8:40:19 – 8:43:30, Three Minutes and 11 Seconds


-‘I Show Up To Raw More Times Than Brock’ sign visible during Corbin’s promo.
-Gable’s Bulldog counter to Corbin’s Deep Six looked great. So did his Moonsault.
-A bit of an exaggerated corkscrew spin by Gable on that slam. Added to the effect.
-Gable’s Moonsault and German Suplex both got an “Oh!” reaction from the crowd.
-Excited and loud “Tap!’ chants during the Ankle Lock.
“Gable walked right into that End of Days.” He sure did. What was his plan was there?

-Following Corbin’s victory, the show cut to the Fox Sunday NFL preshow team, who are ready to tell us who they would choose with their first-round picks.
-Terry Bradshaw’s first-round pick would be Dusty Rhodes.
-Howie Long’s would be Bruno Sammartino.
-Michael’s Strahan’s would be Ric Flair.
-Curt Meneffee’s would be Andre The Giant.
-Tony Gonzalez’s would be Hulk Hogan.

Wow, five retired legends, three of whom are deceased. Not exactly a segment designed to help out the current generation of performers the company should be trying to promote.

Round 2

  1. Raw selects Randy Orton 
  2. SmackDown selects Sasha Banks
  3. Raw selects Ricochet
  4. SmackDown selects Braun Strowman
  5. Raw selects Bobby Lashley

“Monday Night Raw is about to defy gravity with the addition of Ricochet.” That’s a bold promise from Stephanie considering Ricochet’s already been on Raw for eight months and Raw has yet to come close to defying gravity. 

Back to the WWE Draft Panel, where Samoa Joe puts over Ricochet huge. It’s unusual to see this side of Joe, doling out praise for other wrestlers. 

-Tyson Fury-Braun Strowman Video Package: 8:51:55 – 8:53:14, One Minute and 19 Seconds

-Cut to Braun Strowman talking on a cell phone sporting his new Monster of All Monsters t-shirt followed by a shot of Fury shadowboxing next to an unknown smiling man in a suit. 

-Cut to a Crown Jewel graphic that strangely enough doesn’t mention the location of the event. 

Fifth Commercial Break: 8:53:49 – 8:56:55, Three Minutes and Six Seconds

Progressive Match Flo: 8:56:56 – 8:57:48, 52 Seconds
-A recap of Brock Lesnar’s quick victory over Kofi Kingston to win the WWE title and Cain Velasquez’s post-match intimidation attack. 

Brock Lesnar Entrance: 8:57:49 – 8:59:09, One Minute and 20 Seconds
Paul Heyman Promo: 8:59:10 – 9:03:30, Four Minutes and 20 Seconds




-The first mention of Cain Velasquez’s name receives some boos and no cheers.
-A history lesson of Lesnar and Velasquez’s UFC’s feud got the yawn treatment from the crowd.
“Brock Lesnar will conquer his nightmare from the past. ” – Heyman

Rey Mysterio and Cain Velasquez Entrance: 9:03:30 – 9:03:52, 22 Seconds
-A few photos are shown from Cain’s victory over Brock at UFC 121 back in 2010. Velasquez then tells Lesnar he will beat him again, and that he’s going to give Brock a matching scar on the other side of his face. Brock didn’t some pleased with the threat.

-Cut to the New Day backstage who command us to feel the power.

*Sixth Commercial Break: 9:06:04 – 9:09:04, Three Minutes

-The show returns with the Fox College Football broadcast team of Brady Quinn, Urban Meyer, Reggie Bush and Matt Leinart. Meyer says the No. 1 thing he looks for in a prospect is competitiveness. Quinn, Meyer and Leinart all talk about being No. 1 NFL Draft picks.

“I had to wait a little longer than you guys, though. I was there for a rapid length.” – Brady Quinn 


Susan G. Komen Foundation Promo: 9:10:09 – 9:13:55, Three Minutes and 46 Seconds

New Day vs. The O.C.
New Day Entrance: 9:13:56 – 9:14:30, 34 Seconds
The O.C. Entrance: 9:14:32 – 9:15:43, One Minute and 11 Seconds
Opening Bell: 9:15:47
Final Bell: 9:22:34
Match Time: Six Minutes and 49 Seconds
Result: Kingston wins via pinfall on Styles following a Trouble In Paradise

*Seventh Commercial Break: 9:16:08 – 9:20:02, Three Minutes and 54 Seconds

-Exciting way to clear the ring capped off by a big flip to the outside by Xavier Woods, which left the two former WWE champions, Kofi Kingston and AJ Styles, alone so they could square off uninterrupted.
-A nice quick back and forth between Kingston and Styles that almost felt a little too quick.
-Short but decent match. It would’ve been nice to see more than three minutes of it. 

-The show cuts to a second showing of The Fiend attack on Seth Rollins video recap.

Round 3 Draft Picks

  1. Raw selects Alexa Bliss
  2. SmackDown selects Lacey Evans
  3. Raw selects Kevin Owens
  4. SmackDown selects The Revival
  5. Raw selects Natalya

-Cut to a shot of to Charlotte backstage stretching next to some stage cases.

*Eighth Commercial Break: 9:27:08 – 9:30:54, Three Minutes and 46 Seconds

Round 4 Picks

  1. Raw selects The Viking Raiders
  2. Smackdown selects Lucha House Party
  3. Raw selects Nikki Cross
  4. SmackDown selectsHeavy Machinery
  5. Raw selects Street Profits

-Cut back to the draft panel. Once again, nothing but praise coming from Samoa Joe, who handled his broadcasting role quite well tonight. I actually really dig the more laid back version of Joe who seems to genuinely enjoy hyping up other wrestlers.

Charlotte vs. Bayley
Charlotte Entrance: 9:34:20 -9:41:38, Seven Minutes and 18 Seconds
Bayley Entrance: 9:41:39 – 9:42:12, 33 Seconds
Opening Bell: 9:44:23
Final Bell: 9:55:48
Match Time: 11 Minutes and
Result: Bayley wins the SmackDown Women’s Championship via a roll up pin fall.

Cut from Charlotte’s entrance to the….

*Ninth Commercial Break: 9:35:46 – 9:38:36, Two Minutes and 50 Seconds

-Returning from commercial, Jay Glazer gives us an inside scoop about a potential blockbuster trade, injured superstars and Sonya Deville’s emergence. 

A Tyson Fury/Crown Jewel Video Package: 1:39:45 – 1:40:50, One Minute and Five Seconds 

*Tenth Commercial Break: 9:45:57 – 9:48:47, Two Minutes and 50 Seconds

-Bayley cut her entrance off by revealing a new shorter, darker hair style before taking an axe handle out and slaughtering her tube people.
-Crowd was a little cold during Bayley’s beat down on Charlotte portion of the match. Charlotte’s chops helped wake them up.
-Impressive looking Moonsault off the barricade by Charlotte.
-A surprise Belly to Bayley suplex caught everybody by surprise.  But it was not enough.
-Much more edge and noticeable heel tactics (feet on the ropes during a pin) from Bayley.
-Bayley absolutely no-sold the Natural Selection. Getting up and running around following the surprise hair-pull-aided roll up pin.
-A bit of odd booking turning Bayley heel but having her end the show with a surprise title victory that received a huge pop and almost a standing ovation.
-Following the win, Bayley’s 
new more rock style theme song is debuted.
-Does this mean Charlotte’s heading to Raw on Monday?

Bayley Post-Match Promo“Hey bitches,  screw all of you!” 

End of Show: 9:58:10

Overall Thoughts
The final tally for tonight: three matches, combining for 34 minutes and 14 seconds worth of in-ring action, and ten commercial breaks, totaling 32 minutes and 22 seconds. 

Becky Lynch and Roman Reigns being the first two picks was expected. Lacey Evans being selected over Kevin Owens wasn’t. It’s hard to grade a draft that is only halfway done, especially since big names such as Brock Lesnar, Daniel Bryan, Charlotte, Seth Rollins and Bayley are still in limbo. Splitting up the eligible prospects into two groups for the two different shows was a smart move that helps explain why some certain big stars weren’t selected tonight.

The wrestling on this show was pretty good. Rollins vs. Reigns had a similar feel to their Money In the Bank encounter only with much less stakes involved. The New Day vs. The O.C. seemed like it was on pace to be good if it had gotten five more minutes of time. Bayley winning the title back from Charlotte so soon was a bit odd but also satisfying, since there’s no more ambiguity surrounding Bayley’s heel character.

I still don’t really care about the two headline feuds for Crown Jewel: Lesnar vs. Velasquez and Strowman vs. Fury, regardless of the videos and promos tonight. Unfortunately, I’ll probably have to see those same videos and promos many more times between now and Oct. 31.

NXT Review (10/9/19)

Venue: Full Sail Live (Winter Park, FL)

Lio Rush defeats Drew Gulak to win the Cruiserweight Championship

-Interesting  background information on both competitors during their entrances that explained how they both got to this position in their careers. That type of character establishing information is needed now that NXT is being broadcast to a wider audience. 

-Lio starting things off with a bang with a flawless looking Spanish Fly for a near fall. 

-Gulak slows things down and keeps the speedy and energetic Rush down on the mat with various strikes and holds. 

-Rush’s tumble off the top rope onto ring crew members on the outside leads to the first double box commercial break of the night. 

-Mauro Ranallo throwing in a little reference to “Mental Health Awareness Week.” No problem with that. Ranallo’s been open about his issues and he’s clearly passionate about “smashing the stigma.”

-This one went as it should: Gulak dominated the affair throughout but Rush was able to show his resiliency and display some impressive looking finishing maneuvers with a Stunner into a Frog Splash for the pinfall victory. What a comeback moment for a young man whose future with the WWE seemed to be very up in the air just a few months ago.  

-Rush has the ability to have exciting matches any time he steps in between the ropes. The current cruiserweight roster will provide plenty of interesting title defense opportunities.

Finn Balor NXT Highlight Video Package

-I doubt we’ll see Balor in person again tonight so it makes sense to have a package recapping his return last week as well as showing off some highlights from his first run that new NXT fans might not be familiar with.

Rhea Ripley defeats Aliyah

-It would be better if Rhea’s facials were more serious than dismissive during her entrance. 

-A quick squash. Ripley’s Lariats could’ve looked a bit more impactful but that may have something to do with the fact that someone the caliber of Aliyah was the one taking them. 

“Rhea’s going to kill you!” chants from the crowd. 

-Very unnatural sounding WWE-speak post-match promo from Rhea. “There is no doubt that Shayna Baszler is the most dominant NXT Women’s Champion in history. She has tapped, napped or snapped every one of her competitors. But not me. Shayna, I’m coming for you.” Eliminate literally everything said before that final sentence and I would have liked it a lot better. 

Forgotten Sons defeat Breezango 

-Jaxson Ryker carries out the bodies of Ever-Rise, which means we are getting an unplanned Forgotten Sons appearance. That should go over well with the NXT crowd. 

-Fandango’s powerslam gets a “Beautiful” reaction from Beth Phoenix. I agree. 

-A few good-looking moves by Fandango in a quick unmemorable affair. As usual, it was a completely forgettable performance by The Forgotten Sons.

Keith Lee Video Package

-Looks as if we are getting a Keith Lee vs. Dominik Dijakovic rubber match next week. Those two have developed some pretty good chemistry but they’ve also developed a knack for no-selling big power moves.

Cameron Grimes defeats Boa

-Another quick one move and done squash by Grimes, which leads to a Killian Dain run-in and post-match beat down on Boa. Not sure what Dain’s presence is leading to. It could have just served to get him some quick screen time.

Damian Priest Video Package

-Still unsure what Damian Priest’s character is supposed to be. From the limited amount I’ve seen, I get a Danzig/Criss Angel hybrid vibe. 

Roderick Strong defeats Isaiah Scott 

-Outstanding kick-striking ability and fluid athleticism on display by Scott. 

-Dueling “Undisputed” and “Let’s Go Scott” chants from the crowd. 

-I’ve had the chance to see Scott at a few different independent shows throughout the years, so it was fun to see him have a standout performance on a show of this magnitude. Very impressive back and forth affair by these two that got the crowd invested and chanting NXT. Name-making performance by Swerve.

Adam Cole/Velveteen Dream/Tommaso Ciampa Post-Match Promo

-I prefer Dream’s taped promos to his live stuff, and this was no exception.

-The Roderick Strong posing nude with the belt stuff wasn’t my cup of tea but it got a decent reaction from the crowd.

-Speaking of getting a reaction from the crowd, Tommaso Ciampa certainly has a knack for that.

“Goldie, Daddy’s Home!” – Ciampa
Intense. Short, sweet and to the point. Take notes, Rhea.

Bianca Belair defeats Dakota Kai 

-Tough spot for these women being squished in between a highly entertaining Strong/Scott match followed by a star power-laden post-match promo and the main event. They put in a good effort, though. 

-Bianca’s post-match promo helps keep her in the orbit of the NXT Women’s Title.

Another Finn Balor Welcome Back to NXT Video Package

-In case we forgot about the one from an hour ago.

Pete Dunne Video Package

“How’s he going to shoot an arrow with broken fingers?”

WALTER defeats Kushida

-Walter’s entrance is always a sight to behold.

-That slip off the top rope by Kushida could have looked worse. He was able to recover somewhat before eating a boot from the big Austrian.

-Powerbomb into a DDT reversal by Kushida gives him the opening he needs.

-Sunset Powerbomb to the outside tease got a edge-of-seat reaction from me.

-Though this one may not have reached the highs that the WALTER/Tyler Bate NXT UK Title match did, it had a very similar feel in half the time. They built the big monster vs. quicker underdog dynamic about as well as they could have. Kushida frustrated him early, took his lumps in the middle and then they ended things with an exciting back-and-forth final few minutes that featured some great action and near falls. Crowd loved it and let their appreciation be known with “This Is Awesome” chants. This elevated Kushida substantially without hurting WALTER a bit, which should have been the desired goal of the match. 

Overall Thoughts

Nothing tonight was as good as Matt Riddle vs. Adam Cole was last week, but admittedly nothing was expected to reach the sky high bar they set. WALTER vs. Kushida was the match of the night and felt like a Takeover quality performance.

Lio Rush winning the Cruiserweight Championship was a rewarding redemption moment.

Isaiah Scott had a breakout performance in a losing effort. 

Everything else besides a decent effort from Belair and Kai was pretty much just squashes and video packages. Overall, it was a decent show with enough rewarding stuff to make it a worthwhile watch.

AEW Dynamite Review (10/9/19)

Venue: Agganis Arena (Boston, MA)

-Jake Hager is now a part of the intro video.

Private Party defeat The Young Bucks

-Like Tony Schiavone pointing out the “East Coast/West Coast” Brooklyn Boys vs. Cali Dudes clash of styles. It gives some good quick background information on both duos, which is especially needed for a young team like Private Party who some fans may not be as familiar with.

-Nice Gutbuster/Neckbreaker combination by The Bucks early.

-Hot tag to Marc Quen leads to a fired up sequence including back and forth flips to both Bucks on the opposite sides of the ring, which brings the fans to their feet. Quen has a really unique flare and energy about him. He’s got singles star potential down the line.

-The Gin and Juice is one of the best combination tag team maneuvers in wrestling right now. In fact, Private Party are one of the best teams when it comes to combination moves and sequences. 

-Near fall after Quen’s Shooting Star Press left the crowd in utter disbelief. 

-Crowd loved both of these teams. No fun and games for the Bucks in this one. They worked a very methodical, focused style but ultimately it was not enough, as the  energetic upstarts pull off a shocking upset over the wily veterans. 

-I was at the House of Glory show in Queens when these two fought back in August. That match was outstanding, and the crowd ate up every bit of it. This one had a similar flow and high points. It turned out to be as good and maybe even a little better given the circumstances surrounding it—starting off the show in front of such a hot crowd. 

Chris Jericho In-Ring Promo

-Sammy Guevara definitely stands out among Hager, Santana and Ortiz as the least imposing and least intimidating of the bunch but it’s understandable why he’s a part of Jericho’s crew. Getting consistent screen time surrounded by well-known performers can only help a young wrestler’s popularity.

-Love “The List” reference.

“We the people sucks and it’s dead and buried. It was a stupid idea from bad creative and all that’s gone.” Jericho certainly knows how to handle and shut down impromptu crowd chants. 

-Jericho going low with that Dusty Rhodes insult. Finally a line that got him universally booed.

-The expletive felt a little forced for shock value. 

-I guess the sell out technically only counts for the seats shown on the hard cam.


-The Inner Circle is a good name considering Jericho seems to be going for the rock star vibe with his character at this point in his career.  Fun segment by a master mic worker.

Darby Allin defeats Jimmy Havoc 

-Besides a quick “Oh” reaction after Havoc suplexed Allin from the apron to the outside, the crowd was a bit cold for this one. It was mostly just Jimmy beating on Darby. Luckily, they showed interest for Allin’s Stunner into a Coffin Drop sequence for the win. 

-Allin vs. Jericho should be an interesting mix of styles. That type of spotlight situation means Darby is probably going to go balls to the wall and try something really crazy.

Riho and Britt Baker defeat Emi Sakura and Bea Priestley

-Riho’s cross body off the top rope onto both Sakura and Priestley on the outside got a good reaction. Besides that and a few stomps, there was surprisingly little involvement from Riho, who out of the four was clearly the most over with the crowd. 

-The match seemed designed to let Baker show off some of her skills heading into next week’s one-on-one title match with Riho. Unfortunately, the crowd just didn’t seem to get into it all that much. Her being dreadful on commentary during last week’s Women’s Championship match probably didn’t help matters. 

A Best Friends Video Package Leads to an Orange Cassidy Ringside Appearance

-Fans didn’t seem to care much about The Best Friends but they adored Cassidy.

Jon Moxley defeats Shawn Spears

-AEW really seems to love outside barricade spots.

-Spears has a very punch and slap heavy offensive attack. I believe I counted a kick, maybe two in there as well.

“This is a slobberknocker personified.” -Jim Ross. Eh, I wouldn’t go quite that far. 

-After missing a few months rehabbing his arm, Moxley looked to be in good shape with no evident ring rust. As for Spears, he’s so bland that it’s just hard to care about his matches at all. It’s performances like these that are a reminder why he barely was able to make it onto television during his time on the WWE main roster. It was another very forgettable showing by him, which is a shame because Tully Blanchard has the potential to be a standout heel manager. He just needs somebody more interesting to work with. 

-Crowd was into the post-match confrontation between Moxley and a barbed wire broom-wielding Kenny Omega. Having Pac interrupt by getting a cheap shot on Omega is the smart move. These two shouldn’t have a physical confrontation every week. A stare down works best as a tease to the action to come at Full Gear. Moxley refusing to take an easy shot at a defenseless Kenny is some nice character advancement for him. 

 Chris Jericho and Sammy Guevara defeat Dustin Rhodes and Adam Page

-This match started with, unsurprisingly, a barricade spot on the outside. That’s three matches in a row featuring one. 

-Hangman Page’s Moonsault to the outside always looks great and gets a big pop from the crowd. Everything else he does is hit or miss. 

-Not much to the match. It was a basic set up main event for another big chaotic brawl featuring lots of bodies flying around to end the show. Cody, MJF, The Young Bucks and Darby Allin all got to make an appearance, weaving multiple different storylines and feuds into one another. Allin skateboarding down the ramp to attack Jericho was visually something different and fun. 

Overall Thoughts

I’m a sucker for ‘let’s have lots of guys from different feuds get into a big brawl’ finishes, so I thought the ending was very entertaining, and the crowd clearly loved it as well.

The Youngs Bucks vs. Private Party was terrific and felt like a PPV quality match. It was head and shoulders above everything else on the show. Jericho’s promo was also well done. Everything else lacked any real sizzle until the end when Cody appeared. 

There are plenty of good stories starting to come together, but it’s still very much a wait and see approach. Overall, it was a decent show which featured one blow away match and helped advance some interesting storylines. Jericho vs. Cody and Kenny vs. Moxley look to be the two show-carrying feuds going forward. It will be interesting to see how the tag tournament fairs now that the standout team has been eliminated from competition. 

WWE Monday Night Raw Review (10/7/19)

Venue: Rabobank Arena (Bakersfield, CA)

The show begins with a recap video of last week’s rather graphic unveiling of the affair between Bobby Lashley and Lana.

Following the intro video package, the action begins in the ring with a 2-on-1 beat down of Rusev by Team Flair members Randy Orton and Baron Corbin. It’s interrupted, however, by the appearance of Lashley on the screen. Bobby let’s Rusev know that he’s wearing his robe, in his bedroom with his wife. Some snuggling and suggestive teasing by a scantily clad Lana managed to up the level of awkwardness even further. 

Loud boos from the crowd following the feed cut. This angle definitely isn’t coming out of the gates hot. Seeing as how they’ve treated Rusev/Lana love triangle storylines in the past, it will probably only get worse from here. It also doesn’t help that Lashley has the charisma of a lamppost.

Instead of just standing around and looking dead on the inside like he did at the end of last week’s show, Rusev did at least get the chance to show off his anger this time by taking out both Orton and Corbin.

Natalya defeats Lacey Evans

Jerry Lawler: “This rivalry has reached a boiling point.”

Vic Joseph: “King, what makes two superstars want to compete in this sort of matchup?”

Lawler: “Because they’ve had enough of each other. I guess it’s reached a boiling point:”

-Had to double check I didn’t accidentally hit the slow motion button on the remote after seeing Natalya’s spinning clothesline.

-Impressive strength shown by Lacey in that spinning throw into the barricade spot.

-The Last Woman Standing stipulation for this match means someone in the back must have watched all the matches these two have had in recent weeks, and thought, you know that these matches are missing: more shots of Natalya laying around and not doing anything.

-This one was probably the most entertaining match these two have had yet, which admittedly isn’t saying a lot. Hopefully, this is the end of the feud, which if it is, that makes Evans 0-2 in her two notable feuds since being called up to the main roster.

-Credit goes to Natalya. She took some big bumps in this one: on the table, on the ramp, onto the curved screen multiple times and onto the chair in the timekeeper’s area. That was on top of getting smashed with a trash can and beaten with a kendo stick. She’ll be sore tomorrow. 

Aleister Black Promo

“Knock on my door. And pick a fight with me!”

I won’t venture a guess as to who will knock on Aleister’s door, but I sure know who won’t be: The Saudi Arabia officials in charge of booking the Crown Jewel show. Black was kindly not invited to the last show there reportedly due to the fact that he has too many religious tattoos

Street Profits Backstage Promo

The usual Profits promo here: Montez Ford and Angelo Dawkins excitedly tell us things that we’ve already been told before. Then for some reason we get a draft prospect spotlight on the random trio of  Apollo Crews, Buddy Murphy and Drake Maverick.

Dawkins’ Drake Maverick 40-year-old virgin joke didn’t quite land with the live crowd.

Tyson Fury Backstage Interview

Not very intimidating sounding but at least Fury was able to get through the few lines they gave him to deliver without stumbling. Oh, and they fit a “Get These Hands” catchphrase in there as well, so that makes it worth it I guess. Audible boos from the crowd already, which doesn’t bode well for his in-ring segment later in the show. 

The Viking Raiders defeat Dolph Ziggler & Robert Roode

-All four competitors were putting in a good effort, but the crowd was just not invested at all early on. It’s a bummer to see an up-and-coming team like The Viking Raiders get the cricket treatment for a second week in a row. 

-Ivar’s hot tag woke up the fans a bit. He’s got such a unique move set for a man his size. 

-The Spinebuster into a Zig Zag was a pretty innovative combo move. 

-The finishing maneuver looked a little sloppy as it seemed Erik had a some trouble hoisting Ziggler up for Ivar to grab. Overall, though, it was another impressive showing for the Raiders and another important win to add to their growing resume. 

Aleister Black defeats The Singh Brothers

-A quick squash for Black against two of the lowest guys on the WWE roster totem pole.

-Some nice looking kicks and elbows by Aleister, but this simply felt like a wasted appearance that didn’t accomplish anything of note. It would’ve been better to see him face a worthy opponent in a full match. But it’s good he’s at least doing something again.

Rey Mysterio Backstage Promo

-It was basically just a Dominic health update and a promise that Cain Velasquez will be the one to achieve vengeance for the Mysterio family. I get the Velasquez-Lesnar stuff from a media exposure standpoint, but I’d much rather see Rey as the one fighting Brock for the title. 

AOP Video Promo

“We have the will. The will to take your food.”

These guys are billed as 620 pounds combined, so that’s certainly believable.

The O.C. defeat The Lucha House Party

-Triple Moonsault by the House Party onto the outside was the highlight spot of this one. Gran Metalik had a nice little flurry and Kalisto showed some good energy. 

-I’d save that Styles Clash from the second rope for bigger moments. Doing it to a guy like Lince Dorado following a rather forgettable six-man tag in the middle of a Raw diminishes the special feeling a move like that should have. 

The Miz TV Featuring Becky Lynch and Charlotte

-Almost two hours into the broadcast, and that Sasha Banks-Becky Lynch match recap was the first real mention of last night’s Hell In a Cell show. That’s pretty telling. The WWE folks know they messed up big time with the main event ending. 

-Crowd is hot as usual for Lynch. The Miz cools them off by announcing that there’s one more guest on the show, new Smackdown Women’s Champion Charlotte Flair, which leads to audible ohs and groans from the crowd.

“The draft can change careers. It can change the direction of everything. You can end up on either brand, or you both could end up on the same brand.” The phrasing of that sounds odd. 

The Kabuki Warriors defeat Becky Lynch and Charlotte

-Good intensity between Asuka and Becky Lynch. I like the acknowledgement that Becky still has payback on her mind following her losses to Asuka at TLC and at The Royal Rumble. 

-This was a pretty basic bout that never really kicked into the next gear. 

-Charlotte’s Moonsault to the outside looked good, although I didn’t love the sudden switch of camera angles midway through the move.

-The Green Mist ending makes sense. It keeps everybody involved protected and it keeps The Kabuki Warriors trending more towards the heelish side. Giving Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross the chance to come down and get some of their heat back following last night’s loss also helps to keep them in the tag title conversation. 

 Apollo Crews and Ricochet Backstage Interviews

-A duel to see which of them could have the more dull delivery while not saying anything even remotely threatening or interesting. I’ve heard Ricochet utter the “Superheroes can be real” line a few times by now. It’s been a few times too many. 

Ricochet defeats Apollo Crews

-Impressive athleticism and timing on the acrobatic stuff. early on 

-This is what I would envision a Ricochet-Apollo Crews Raw match to be. Some impressive sequences early, a few power moves by Crews in the middle and then Ricochet does his usual finishing sequence (sans the 630) for the win.

-It feels like Ricochet’s cooled off a lot since the height of his US Title feud with AJ Styles. A switch over to SmackDown for a fresh start on the blue brand could be best for him.

Seth Rollins/The Fiend Hell In a Cell Video Recap Package

I remember a few more boos when watching that match live. The magic of editing I guess. That highlight package did at least make all the action that transpired probably look as passable as it possibly could, especially considering how ill-received it all was. 

Tyson Fury Demands An Apology From Braun Strowman

-A few verbal jabs from each before everything dissolves into a predictable pull apart brawl.

-Fury’s punches did not look good – overly cautious Ronda Rousey-esque level striking. 

-After seeing everything that just unfolded, Charlie asking Braun about whether or not he’s planning on giving Fury an apology in the future was the height of stupidity.

-Nothing about this interaction made me want to see these two face off in the squared circle. That match is going to either be short or filled with high jinks. I don’t have high hopes for Fury.

Overall Thoughts

After that debacle of an ending to last night’s Hell In a Cell main event, which led to the show going off the air to a chorus of thunderous boos, it felt like WWE needed to produce something special feeling with this Raw to get that bad taste out of everyone’s mouths. 

Unfortunately, tonight’s show didn’t come close to producing anything at all that had a special feeling whatsoever. Showcase was seemingly the buzz word they were using throughout the night, but outside of Becky Lynch, there just wasn’t a lot of star power on display. Three of the four competitors — Seth Rollins, Bray Wyatt and Sasha Banks — from the two big Cell matches weren’t even on the show at all. 

The draft should luckily provide a desperately needed shakeup to the current status quo.

Friday Night SmackDown Review (10/4/19)

Venue: Staples Center (Los Angeles, CA)

Welcome to a New Era

Welcome to History

Welcome to Fox

Welcome to Friday Night Smackdown 

Welcome to Many Commercial Breaks

As someone who has transitioned to a “Red Zone Channel Only” viewer for watching NFL games and hasn’t watched a complete Fox Sports broadcast besides a Super Bowl, US Open or occasional Pac-12 game in many years, my first thought watching this show was commercials, commercials and then some more commercials. 

The Progressive brings you this, Snickers brings you that or the Ghost Recon brings you the main event within the context of a sports show is fine and expected. But wow did this show have absolutely zero flow and consequence to it (except turning the WWE into the UFC relics tour). Maybe that’s the mistake of trying to make it a hybrid debut show/go home show on a network that cares about one thing: commercial space.

First thought of the new set was that it’s sort of a reorganized Stonehenge vibe. Someone in the graphics department probably told Vince that they have to do a three-dimensional thing to get the millennial audience and he was probably like sure, let’s give it a shot.

It’s cool and different but it’ll take some getting used to. 

The Rock cut a promo using all his catchphrases and the LA crowd ate it up. Becky got a bit of heat transference off it, so I guess it worked. It turned Baron Corbin—who had been working to recover from that disastrous Seth Rollins/Becky Lynch/Lacey Evans stuff back into something legitimately imposing—back into comedic fodder, so oh well on that front. But The Rock is The Rock. He’s miles ahead charisma wise than anyone on the current roster, so let him have the mic and jazz up a crowd that adores him. That’s fine. 

There was the Becky Lynch and Charlotte vs. Sasha Banks and Bayley match that was not nearly as long and not quite as good as the one we saw at the MSG Raw.

Ramblin Rabbit died againThe Fiend attacked Seth Rollins again

Kevin Owens and Shane McMahon did some expected spots. Shane lost and was fired. It’s OK to keep him off TV for a few months. Bring him back for Mania season. 

There was a quick house show-esque four-on-four battle in which Braun Strowman did his usual big moves. Everyone else in the match can at least say they were out there. Tyson Fury got some air time and pretended to be unhappy. 

As soon as they announced that Roman Reigns was going to be in a Lumberjack Match, you knew that jump over the top rope was coming. 

And then we get to the oh man spot: Brock Lesnar’s one F-5 on Kofi Kingston in a flash victory to become the new WWE champion. Somehow, they had even more of a nothing match than they did at Beast in the East, which almost didn’t seem possible. I was expecting a 2014 Summerslam Brock destruction of John Cena-type of match but they didn’t even give Kofi  a chance to build to a brief but futile spark fire up moment.

Initially, I thought Cain Velasquez was Dominick with a shaved head when he first came out with Rey Mysterio. Does this guy have an aura? Why should any WWE fans care about him? Obviously, there is a backstory there. It will be interesting to see how far WWE decides to acknowledge the UFC side of their past on its programming.

Overall, this was clearly a very Fox-dictated show. Wanting Brock as champion is understandable. But this show felt unfulfilling and underwhelming in most respects.

There are still only three matches announced for the Hell In a Cell card on Sunday. They all should be good, and the two cell matches have the potential to be great. But right now, everything is in sort of a holding pattern until the rosters get shaken up next week. Plus, there’s the whole Crown Jewel dynamic added in as well. It’s going to be a weird month.