AOP Interrupted Seth Rollins and Kevin Owens; Owens def. Bobby Lashley by Disqualification
Rollins' "apology" to Owens and the rest of the Raw was as insincere as we all expected it to be. I'm really glad Owens didn't buy his crap and fall victim to dumb babyface syndrome like everyone else seems to. Rollins offered to team with Owens against AOP, but Owens thankfully declined. He instead issued an open challenge to anyone in the back, which was accepted by Lashley. Yes, Owens and Lashley did face off at Starrcade on Sunday night, and yes, that match also ended in a non-finish. This wasn't much better. Rusev once again interfered despite having a restraining order against him (man, these security guards are terrible at their jobs, aren't they?) while Lashley and Lana were arrested for assaulting the "officers" afterward. The Rollins and Owens stuff was fine, but everything that followed felt like a waste of time.
Drew McIntyre def. Akira Tozawa
Tozawa has been putting in some strong performances recently on Raw and this was another hell of an outing involving him. Granted, it didn't last long, but he pushed McIntyre to his limit before losing. This was a fun sprint and that Claymore Kick to Tozawa was a thing of beauty. Unfortunately, the post-match stuff with McIntyre and Randy Orton dragged. I like the idea of them feuding, but their back-and-forth on the mic wasn't anything special. The O.C. eventually came out and laid a beating on Orton before Ricochet, Humberto Carrillo and Rey Mysterio made the save, setting the stage for the night's main event.
Aleister Black def. Tony Nese
It was cool to see Nese make a rare appearance on Raw. It wasn't made clear whether he's officially joined the Raw roster or not, as he was still a part of 205 Live the last time I checked. Either way, this was a nice little match. It was about time Black got back in the ring and he got to showcase his skills here. Buddy Murphy was interviewed backstage afterward, so it looks like they're on a collision course for the TLC pay-per-view.
Andrade def. Eric Young
This was a weird match on paper and Young is a heel as far as I know, but Vic Joseph mentioned on commentary that he lives in Nashville, so he played babyface here. The crowd still couldn't have cared less about him for the most part. He scored more offense than usual, but Andrade went over decisively as he should have. I'm all for Andrade building momentum, but I'm ready for the guy to be inserted into a real rivalry with someone instead of spinning his wheels. Oh, and NASCAR driver Kyle Busch pinned R-Truth for the 24/7 Championship, for whatever the hell that's worth.
Erick Rowan def. No Way jose
I still have no idea what this nonsense with Rowan is building to, other than a reveal of what's inside the cage (and even then I have minimal interest). A few members of the conga line tried to take a peak but were unsuccessful. Jose's return to Raw did not end well for him as he was beaten by Rowan within minutes. Cage or no cage, Rowan does nothing for me, personally.
WWE Women's Tag Team Champions The Kabuki Warriors def. Charlotte Flair in a 2-on-1 Handicap Match
I never have high hopes whenever I hear "Handicap match," but this was way better than it had any right to be. Flair fought from underneath and the crowd wanted to see her win, but Kabuki Warriors ultimately went over as they should have. It would have been completely illogical for Flair to lose to Asuka last week only to win in a 2-on-1 situation this week. Becky Lynch was once again conspicuous by her absence on this show, leading me to believe that she and Flair will be vying for the WWE Women's Tag Team Championship at TLC. It isn't exactly what I want to see, but I can't think of anyone else who makes sense to contend for the Raw Women's Championship right now.
Raw Tag Team Champions The Viking Raiders def. Mark Sterling and Mitchell Lyons (Non-Title)
I was really looking forward to seeing what Viking Raiders could do as Raw Tag Team Champions when they won the titles back in October, but they have done nothing as champions over the past two months. They've only taken on enhancement wrestlers like they did here and competed in squash matches. I suppose it's effective in making them look unstoppable, but the division doesn't benefit whatsoever. Whatever happened to The O.C. going for the gold after defeating Viking Raiders at Crown Jewel?
The O.C. def. United States Champion Rey Mysterio, Ricochet and Humberto Carrillo
Mysterio, Carrillo and Ricochet made for a terrific trio and worked wonderfully with AJ Styles, Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows. The action was entertaining and they made the most of the time they had. The O.C. have lost a lot lately it seems, so it was necessary for them to win here. Post-match, Orton popped up and laid out Styles with an RKO. I'd be all for an Orton vs. Styles vs. Mysterio Triple Threat for the United States Championship at TLC if that's the direction they're headed in.
There were rumors online coming into the show that it wouldn't be worth watching (well, more than usual). It turns out those rumors were correct because these three hours were lethargic and lifeless. That's unfortunate because I thought last week's effort was excellent on the whole, but that same energy just wasn't there with this episode. There were some bright spots sprinkled in, but I had a feeling after that opening segment that this Raw would be a chore to get through and I wasn't wrong. Let the record show that TLC is less than two weeks away and currently no matches have been confirmed for the card.
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