Written By: Declan Brady
• The new stable of Baron Corbin, Drew McIntyre and Bobby Lashley carried on their path of destruction from two weeks ago, initially taking out Braun Strowman and then
laying out both Elias and Finn Balor. This would lead to the announcement of Drew McIntyre vs. Finn Balor and Elias vs. Bobby Lashley for TLC on December 16th.
• Alexa Bliss, after captaining Team Raw to victory, was appointed Women’s General Manager for the Raw brand. Bliss making her intentions clear targeted the Boss ‘N’
Hug Connection with a sneak attack, which would turn unfruitful for the Goddess of the WWE.
• The return of the Seth Rollins IC Title Open Challenge led to another match with Dolph Ziggler, in which Seth Rollins was able to retain with the Falcon Arrow.
Already announced for the show is a Dean Ambrose segment, as well as Nia Jax and Tamina teaming up to take on Natalya and Raw Women’s Champion Ronda Rousey. The show takes place in the Toyota Centre in Houston, Texas.
To kick off Monday Night Raw, the show began with a 10-bell salute to 41st President and former Vice-President of the United States George H.W. Bush, who passed away
over Friday night-Saturday morning of the past weekend.
Ronda Rousey & Natalya vs. Nia Jax & Tamina
This is not a warning; Raw is starting with a match! In saying that, the match did not officially start. After all four competitors arrived, with Ronda especially getting a big pop (which is nice to see following the reactions over the past month) the Riott Squad’s music hit. This led to enough of a distraction for a sneak attack by Tamina and Nia Jax laying out “The Baddest Women On The Planet”, leaving Natalya defenceless to a Riott Squad beatdown that saw the “Queen Of Harts” being put through a table by all three members. This could be a tease for a tables match between Ruby and Natalya for the TLC PPV.
This storyline followed on later in the show with a confrontation between Rousey and Women’s GM Alexa Bliss, where Rousey demanded a rematch for later that night and
believed Alexa Bliss knew of the Riott Squad’s intentions, which the five-time Champion denied.
Alexa Bliss Segment
The next segment on Raw did have a feeling of Deja vu attached to it. Out came the new Raw Women’s GM Alexa Bliss to focus on bringing out the “Best Of The Raw Women’s
Division”, and then introducing Bayley and Sasha Banks out for another open forum. Similar to last week, the forum focused on basic questions with Women’s Tag Titles
being mentioned, and it came down to them wanting to remove Alexa off of Raw again. Before it could get more heated, out came Mickie James, Alicia Fox and Dana Brooke,
who attacked Banks and Bayley last week. This time, however, Alexa would make a tag match between Banks and Bayley vs Fox and Mickie James.
Sasha Banks & Bayley vs. Mickie James & Alicia Fox
For what this match was, which was to enhance the storyline of Banks, Bayley and Alexa Bliss, the match did what it needed to do. The bout was mainly controlled by Fox and James dominating Bayley, with Alicia Fox’s Northern Lights Suplex being a highlight of this match. However, once Sasha tagged in the match, it swung in a completely different direction. This showed with a Bank Statement applied to Fox which, if not for Mickie, would have been the end of the match. Despite Mickie nearly winning the match, she would take the pinfall off a Backstabber/Bayley-To-Belly combination. It was nice to see Bayley and Banks face someone who was not in the Riott squad. Following on from this would be the Ronda/Alexa segment already mentioned.
Baron Corbin’s Rise To Power
This segment would be a two-minute video package, focusing on the greatness of Baron Corbin as “GM Elect”. The video package focused on his win as team captain at Survivor Series as a ‘Team Player’, being the ‘Guiding Light’ of Raw, being able to delegate roles to the likes of Alexa Bliss, not letting ‘negativity’ ruin Raw in the form of Elias, and dealing with ‘monstrous’ issues with Braun Strowman. The video package did exactly what it needed to do, which was get more heat on Baron Corbin for when he is destroyed by Strowman. However, coming from someone who likes Corbin, this needs to end soon as Baron is starting to get more “we don’t want you on TV” heat rather than a “we want to see you get your ass kicked” reaction.
Bobby Roode & Chad Gable Segment
Following a Baron Corbin video package came more Baron Corbin, with him this time speaking backstage with Roode and Gable. The duo wanted a rematch from last week
against Authors of Pain following Maverick’s distraction. Instead, Corbin went against the idea and gave Roode a singles match against Drake Maverick, with neither AoP nor Gable being allowed at ringside.
Scott Dawson vs. Lucha House Party (Lucha House Rules)
How are The Revival the heels in this feud? Following on from previous weeks, The Revival faced Lucha House Party in what was essentially a handicap match, which for the good guys to have the advantage just looks obscene. Despite this, they put on the best showing possible with a nice mixture of old-school from Dawson vs. the high-flying quick speed from LHP. In the end, LHP were victorious with a Salida Del Sol/Swanton combo with Gran Metalik getting the pin. There was a cool takeout spot with Kalisto doing a second-rope 450 to take out Dash, which showed how good Kalisto could be.
Drew McIntyre Appreciation Night
Baron Corbin, again gloating that he is the GM Elect of Raw, conducted this segment. However, this time, he gave praise to Drew McIntyre, which was followed by a video
package showing McIntyre’s dominance that was well done. This brought out McIntyre to take his praise from Corbin and being awarded Raw’s ‘Gold Medal Of Excellence’.
McIntyre would then focus on his TLC opponent Finn Balor, calling him “a boy in a man’s world”, before Dolph Ziggler intervened. Ziggler brought up that the two had a good pairing of braun and brains, and that McIntyre let that go. But McIntyre said he no longer needed Ziggler, as he is his own man and the whole package, meaning that Ziggler had filled his role. This would lead to a brawl, which Ziggler would win before Corbin would make a match right there and then.
Dolph Ziggler vs. Drew McIntyre
The match of Ziggler vs McIntyre was unsurprisingly very good. They played off the whole David vs. Goliath scenario, with McIntyre hitting big power moves. McIntyre would even get on the mic, exclaiming “I’m going too easy”. The tide would start to turn with a snap DDT by Dolph, catching the Scotsman off-guard. In the end, though, McIntyre’s TLC opponent would be his own undoing, as Balor would hit a Shogun dropkick into the barricade whilst the ref was focused on Ziggler, followed by a superkick that gave Dolph the Victory. This was McIntyre’s first pinfall loss in WWE since NXT TakeOver: War Games last year. Post–match, McIntyre said he would get revenge on Balor later on that night.
Elias/Bobby Lashley Segment
As ever, Elias was incredibly over in Houston, Texas, getting the crowd to chant along with whatever he is saying. In addition, as always, Lio Rush and Bobby Lashley interrupted Elias. Lio claimed the spotlight should be on Lashley, leading Bobby to pose. Elias would chase after Lio and Lashley, before it seemed both had escaped. However, Elias would be in luck as Lio was tossed back onto the stage by Balor, and was then hit by the guitar in consequence.
Backstage, Corbin made Rhyno vs. Heath Slater for later in the show, with a Loser Leaves Raw stipulation.
Bobby Roode vs. Drake Maverick
This match was exactly what you would expect it to be, a total mismatch. After some early cat-and-mouse interaction between the two, Roode took comfortable control of the match. That is until the titantron showed AoP standing tall over a laid-out Gable, with Corbin then turning the match into a three-on-two handicap bout. Despite Roode’s best efforts to win the match in that time before Akam and Rezar came to the ring, he was unable to do so, and even with Gable’s involvement, AoP were too much, with a Super Collider getting the win and Maverick garnering the pin on Roode. This feud shows some focus on the tag division, but it is not quite to the level that SmackDown’s division is getting.
Dean Ambrose Promo
The start of this segment was a different sight to see than normal. Security guards surrounded the ring wearing gas masks, followed by Ambrose himself also donning a
gas mask; he looked very reminiscent to Bane in Dark Knight Returns for what he was wearing. Ambrose would go on to cut a promo on how The Shield in Reigns and Rollins
only cared to be role models, that life sucks, and that he is the last man with integrity in the industry. He also claimed Rollins “would lose control” at TLC once he loses the IC Title. This would bring out Rollins, and a brawl would commence between the two. Ambrose would run off from the Architect, but Rollins kept chasing. In the end, that would be his own downfall, as after getting back to ringside, he was caught unaware by a gas mask shot to the skull. Two Dirty Deeds showed a more vicious side from Ambrose than in the last two weeks, and generated more excitement around this feud, which had started on a high.
Ronda Rousey’s new partner for the main event was announced in the form of Ember Moon, which lead to Nia Jax saying that Ember had best be aware of what she did to
Loser Leaves Raw Match
Heath Slater vs. Rhyno
Despite this match’s story during the show, it seemed to be a very weird bout with no build-up whatsoever. It was quite funny seeing how both came out together in their tag entrance rather than separate intros. The match was what it was, with Rhyno dominating at first but making one crucial mistake that led to a roll-up win for Slater. There are a few rumours that this might be the end of Rhyno’s career, and if that’s true, he’s had a very successful run, but at least a week’s build would have helped this match. Post-match, Corbin would congratulate Slater, saying he has kept his job, but only as a referee.
Finn Balor vs. Jinder Mahal
I do not know if I should be glad that a former WWE Champion is getting TV time, or sad that the only time he appears is always against Finn Balor. The match was an average affair, with Jinder controlling before Balor got his speedy comeback in. A surprising element of this match was the inclusion of Apollo Crews, taking out The Singh Brothers before being taken out by Jinder. This would provide the opportunity for the Shogun Dropkick, followed by a Coup De Grace for the victory for Balor.
Charly Caruso interviewed Balor backstage post-match, where McIntyre attacked him until security got involved.
Ronda Rousey & Ember Moon vs. Tamina & Nia Jax
For the main event of the show, the match got Rousey and Jax over, whilst also showing how good Ember Moon is in the ring. The majority of the match focused on the
powerhouses of Nia Jax and Tamina damaging Ember Moon, until an enzuiguri on Tamina brought in the Raw Women’s Champion, who would lay rampage on both Nia Jax and
Tamina. The finish would be an Eclipse/Armbar combination, giving Rousey and Moon the win.
Overall, Raw was an improvement from last week’s show, with the focus this week surrounding the Women’s Title match, Balor vs. McIntyre and the very good brawl between
Ambrose and Rollins. However, this show is missing top stars in both the men’s division (in Strowman and Owens) and the women’s division (with Alexa Bliss currently not competing), which made for many filler segments throughout the show.