Acting Raw General Manager Baron Corbin Interrupted Intercontinental Champion Seth Rollins
In addition to addressing his recent rivalry with Dean Ambrose and their match coming up at TLC on Sunday, Rollins went off on the current state of Raw. He was basically the voice of the people by bringing up every criticism fans have had of the product lately, but what's awful about that is how that means the company is well aware of the problems with Raw at the moment and how they aren't doing anything to solve them. If nothing else, the announcement of Rollins vs. Corbin in a TLC matchup for the Intercontinental Championship in the main event during this segment was a nice hook for the night.
Bobby Roode and Chad Gable def. AOP and Drake Maverick in a 3-on-2 Handicap Match to Win the Raw Tag Team Championship
If Roode and Gable won their Handicap match against AOP and Maverick last week, they would have earned another shot at the Raw Tag Team Championship (after squandering their last opportunity a few weeks ago), but they didn't. Thus, it made zero sense for a championship clash to be booked anyway, but at least this was the most bearable thing we've seen from these two teams yet. You had to know that Roode and Gable were winning as soon as Maverick tagged in. It's a fine little reboot for the division, but seeing is believing as far as whether WWE will treat Roode and Gable like true competitors and not as a joke. As for AOP, they're pretty much dead in the water at this point.
Ruby Riott Interrupted Natalya
The story of Natalya vs. Riott is simple: Riott disrespected Natalya's father's legacy by breaking his sunglasses last month and then The Riott Squad put her through a table just last week. Unfortunately, it isn't compelling at all and Natalya's mic skills are atrocious. Riott's delivery during her promo was a bit better, but the material was weak and it wasn't enough to salvage the segment. I'm ready for TLC to be over so we can move past this trash.
Drew McIntyre def. Dolph Ziggler
Ziggler noted in a backstage interview beforehand that he isn't a good guy nor is he a bad guy, so apparently he (along with the company) has no idea what he's supposed to be. Putting that aside, this was a very entertaining outing that had the right outcome with McIntyre going over decisively. McIntyre viciously attacking Ziggler afterward was just the icing on the cake.
Bayley def. Alicia Fox
It was confirmed before the bout that Finn Balor would be replaced as Bayley's partner in Mixed Match Challenge by Apollo Crews. That's far from the first time that has happened this season, either. In fact, several Superstars have already been replaced for a variety of reasons, begging the question of what the purpose of the show was in the first place. Bayley and Fox have had a handful of matches against each other in recent months, so this was nothing new and basically served as hype for Crews and Bayley vs. Fox and Jinder Mahal on Tuesday night.
Lio Rush def. Elias
Although Rush has been a regular on 205 Live for the better part of 2019, this actually marked his in-ring debut on Raw. He is incredibly talented and probably would have had a fun match with Elias if this was a truly competitive contest, but instead, it was all about the heel shenanigans with referee Heath Slater not disqualifying Rush despite interference from Bobby Lashley because he doesn't want to be fired. It's the same shit week after week and one can only hope it'll end after Corbin is fired from his position of power after TLC.
Ember Moon def. Tamina
Nia Jax's pre-match promo was good and it's obvious WWE is going to have Becky Lynch get back at her eventually if Jax's lines about destroying her face last month are any indication. I had no desire to see Jax and Ronda Rousey face off ahead of TLC, so I'm glad their interaction was kept short and sweet. Moon vs. Tamina was barely passable, but at least Moon won this time and avenged her loss to Tamina from their previous encounter.
Intercontinental Champion Seth Rollins def. Acting Raw General Manager Baron Corbin in a TLC Match
WWE holding a TLC match six days before the pay-per-view of the same name makes me think that Braun Strowman won't be cleared to compete on Sunday and that his match with Corbin will be more of an angle (unless he is replaced all together). Plus, Rollins was a better much opponent for Corbin than Strowman. This was a fairly enjoyable albeit formulaic TLC affair and Slater serving as referee provided some suspense with what he'd do. The final few minutes were excellent, even if Rollins retaining the title was expected.
WWE outright acknowledging how abysmal Raw has been recently will mean nothing if they don't do anything to improve the overall state of the brand. They seemingly took a few steps in the right direction by having the tag team titles change hands and holding a TLC match in the main event, but it was far from a must-see show. Raw was slightly more tolerable than usual and the build for TLC was decent, so that's all I could really ask for.
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