Written By: Declan Brady
• Drew McIntyre suffered his first pinfall loss since his return to the main roster after WrestleMania 34, with a Finn Balor distraction costing the Scottish Psychopath victory against Dolph Ziggler.
• At the start of Raw, the Riott Squad took out Natalya before her tag match with Ronda Rousey against Nia Jax and Tamina. Due to putting Natalya through a table, WWE.com announced through the week that the leader of the Riott Squad, Ruby Riott, would square off against Natalya at the TLC PPV in a Table match.
• In a Loser Leaves Raw match, Heath Slater defeated Rhyno. However, this only led to ‘GM elect’ Baron Corbin giving Heath Slater a referee job. This seemed to be Rhyno’s retirement match. Rhyno has since confirmed in a WWE.com exclusive that it was not his last match.
Announced segments for this show are Raw Women’s General Manager Alexa Bliss addressing the Riott Squad’s actions from last week, a press conference between Raw Women’s Champion Ronda Rousey and Nia Jax as well as Seth Rollins calling out Dean Ambrose and the state of Raw. The show takes place at the Valley View Casino Centre in San Diego, California.
Seth Rollins segment
Raw kicked off with the announced Seth Rollins segment. Rollins started his promo calling out ‘GM Elect’ Baron Corbin, saying that the plan for this talk with Baron Corbin is to “Burn it down”. Rollins told Corbin that, under his leadership, Raw has sucked as it is not focusing on the underutilized talent in the back, the rules of a Lucha House Party match, Drake Maverick’s urination problem, Brock Lesnar, and the rating last week which was the lowest in Raw history. Corbin’s response to this was “I don’t care”, which feels like what goes on backstage currently with Vince McMahon having more input in the show. The segment would end with Corbin being challenged by Rollins to a TLC match which Corbin accepted, making the match for the Intercontinental Title.
This was followed with a backstage interview between Rollins and Dasha Fuentes in which Rollins said he challenged Corbin because he cannot sit in the back and watch Corbin destroy Raw anymore.
Authors of Pain vs Bobby Roode and Chad Gable for the RAW Tag Team Titles
I am not 100% sure why this match even happened following last week in which Roode was pinned by Drake Maverick, but no real complaints for a tag title match on Raw despite the 3 on 2 circumstances. AoP had no entrance for the match, which for the Champs was quite a surprise, but the matching attires for Roode and Gable were a nice touch shown by Renee Young’s compliment. The match in general was the expected AoP domination mainly on Gable with little spurts of fightback throughout, and a big moment of this was Roode and Gable teaming up to throw Maverick over the top rope on to the tag Champs. The finish of this match would come when AoP had the match won and decided to tag in Maverick for the pin, Maverick decided to go for the cover on Roode but after taunting the Glorious one was too long was rolled up for the three count giving us NEW RAW TAG TEAM CHAMPS!!! Gable now joins his former tag partner in joining the club of winning the Raw, Smackdown and NXT Tag Titles. Roode also joins the club of winning a title on the NXT, Raw and Smackdown brand.
Following this was a recap of McIntyre vs Ziggler and the post-match beatdown of Finn Balor, leading to the advertisement of a rematch from last week for later on the show.
Gable and Roode cut a promo after the match saying they feel “GLORIOUS” with their new Raw Tag Titles.
Natalya/Ruby Riott segment
This segment was first announced as Raw Women’s GM Alexa Bliss addressing the Riott Squad’s actions from last week, but instead we were given a Natalya promo. Natalya’s promo focused on Ruby having no respect for anyone and trying to destroy her father’s legacy. Natalya focused on protecting her family’s legacy and dedicated Sunday’s match to her father. This brought out Ruby with a mystery object, claiming that Natalya is a “disgrace to the Hart Family” and revealed the object to be a table with Jim Neidhart printed on. Ruby claimed that on Sunday that Natalya “would be closer to her Dad than ever”.
This was followed by a Dolph Ziggler phone promo, saying he needed no help last week from Finn Balor and that he is Dolph Ziggler.
Drew McIntyre vs. Dolph Ziggler
Just like last week, these two were able to put on a very entertaining match. Before the match, McIntyre claimed what occurred last week has made him “more dangerous than ever”. The match would be very similar to last week with McIntyre dominance in a David vs. Goliath format, with the biggest move early on being a Celtic Cross by McIntyre from the second rope. The match would start to go into Ziggler’s favour when Drew ran into the ring post, making it back into the ring at nine. Dolph was unable to capitalise however, with his leg buckling before he could hit the Superkick, which won him the match last week. Ziggler was able to hit a surprise Zig Zag for a two-count, but when attempting a second Superkick, he was caught with the Claymore for the three-count. This seems to show the importance of Finn Balor’s actions last week, especially as he was not at the show. Post-match, McIntyre would attack Ziggler hitting a seated Dolph with the Claymore at the ring apron.
Bayley w/ Sasha Banks vs Alicia Fox w/ Jinder Mahal & The Singh Brothers
This match was done to promote the Raw finals for the MMC, which were set to be Mahal and Fox vs. Bayley and a mystery partner due to Balor’s withdrawal. The match itself was standard, which was overshadowed by the actions on the outside of the ring. As Bayley was about to win, The Singh Brothers tried to get involved with a distraction, which would lead to Apollo Crews running out to even the odds. This seems to be building towards a match between Mahal and Crews, which at least gives two underutilized talents a programme, especially as both should be doing better. Apollo’s involvement would be a double-team move with Sasha Banks throwing the ‘Legit Boss’ onto the Maharaja and the Singhs. This would distract Fox long enough for the Bayley to Belly and the three.
Dean Ambrose backstage segment
Ambrose, wearing the same attire from last week minus the gas mask, was asked by Charly Caruso what he “thought of Seth Rollins actions to open the show?” Ambrose responded to this by saying “this is not the Seth Rollins I knew” and that Rollins was a “madman”. When asked what Roman Reigns thought of the new Dean Ambrose, the response was a simple “I don’t care”. A video package would then play, showing the collapse of the Shield over the last two months, and was hopefully a good indicator for a very good promo package to hype up the audience going into the match this Sunday. Ambrose in response to the video would walk off silently.
Elias vs. Lio Rush w/ Bobby Lashley
Elias was incredibly over, which for someone who is not the biggest fan of Elias is not at all surprising. Elias was even able to get more of his song than normal, which is a positive to the majority of the audience minus Corey Graves. Lashley and Rush would interrupt this as expected and OH WAIT! Heath Slater is the referee for this match. The match goes very similar to Roode vs. Maverick from last week, with the strong babyface being able to dominate the much weaker heel; despite this, Rush was able to get some kicks, showing his dominance which he pursues on 205 Live every Wednesday night. This was stopped by an electric chair powerbomb from Elias. The match would change completely when Lashley got involved and attacked Elias, hitting his pop up Uranage slam finish before threatening Slater to not DQ. Lio gained revenge from last week by bashing Elias with the guitar and getting the three count to follow this up.
The following segment was Baron Corbin congratulating Slater on his refereeing job. Slater wanted to go home, but Corbin said Slater had one more match to officiate.
Face-to-Face Ronda Rousey and Nia Jax moderated by Alexa Bliss
Starting this segment, out came the Raw Women’s GM Alexa Bliss, but before the Goddess was able to even say a word, the challenger Nia Jax interrupted her. On a side note, Alexa Bliss seems to be turning face more and more every week, which if you look at it, means more TV time is coming, or that she is the favourite to be Raw GM following Baron Corbin. Nia cut a promo about how she is “Ronda Rousey’s worst nightmare” and emphasised her right hand as a knockout punch. The Raw Women’s Champ claimed “She came for a fight” and charged the ring, leaving Nia, Tamina and Alexa on the outside. Ronda would get backup through her tag partner last week Ember Moon, leading to a singles match between Tamina and Ember Moon.
Tamina vs. Ember Moon
If there is a key thing to take away from this match, it is that Ember Moon is very good and would do great in the Raw Women’s Title picture when given the opportunity to do so. Despite this, the match was short and dominated by Tamina, which is not much of a surprise. Tamina’s best move was a catching Superkick on Moon whilst attempting a crossbody. The match swung towards Ember’s favour following a headscissors reversal and an array of kicks. The finish would come when Ember would go for the Eclipse following a jumping Codebreaker and, with Ronda taking out Nia by throwing her over the barricade, Ember was able to capitalise for the three.
‘GM-Elect’ Baron Corbin was interviewed moments prior to his match for the IC Title. When asked if he thought the IC Title TLC match was an “abuse of power” by Charly Caruso, Corbin claimed he was “accepting Seth’s challenge”. Corbin also rubbished off rumours of Braun Strowman returning this Sunday at TLC.
Seth Rollins vs Baron Corbin for the Intercontinental Title in a TLC Match
Before, the match began the referee for this match was shown to be Heath Slater, which would seem to be giving the ‘Lone Wolf’ an advantage due to his leverage over Slater. This match was very good from a storytelling perspective with it at times turning into a handicap match due to Slater’s situation. The match started with Rollins in control with fast pace movement before being cut off with Corbin hitting multiple chair shots to the back of Rollins and a back suplex on to the ladder. Rollins gained control once again after Corbin ran into the ringpost following up with multiple chairshots in revenge. One of the big spots delivered by Corbin was after catching a Rollins suicide dive Corbin put the ‘Kingslayer’ through a table with a chokeslam. The finish to the match came when after dispatching Corbin with a frog splash through a table Rollins would go to the top of the ladder to grab his title; Slater pushed Rollins off the ladder and to the outside before helping Corbin back into the ring to win the match. Just before Corbin won Rollins re-entered putting Corbin through a table with a bucklebomb and a Curb stomp before superkicking Slater. Rollins then retrieved the Intercontinental Title to win the match.
The show would end with Ambrose coming out and staring down Rollins to end the show.
Overall, this was one of the best Raws in quite a while. The show had two very good matches and a title change as well as a solid build up to the PPV this Sunday.