Kevin Owens and Samoa Joe Brawled with Seth Rollins and AOP
Owens and Joe received monster reactions from this crowd in Hartford. It's crazy to think that the roles were reversed almost three years ago on the road to WrestleMania 33 with them and Rollins. This was a strong segment where everyone shined. Owens was intense, Rollins came across like a totally unlikable elitist, AOP looked tough ganging up on Owens, and Joe was the badass babyface who saved the day. I figured this would lead to a tag team match later on in the night, but instead, they were booted from the building and weren't seen again. I'm sure Owens and Joe vs. AOP is only inevitable.
Aleister Black def. Buddy Murphy
I absolutely loved the match these two had at the TLC pay-per-view and they managed to produce another excellent affair here. WWE was smart to put this in the first hour when the crowd was still at their hottest. Black and Murphy were given a ton of time and, better yet, the audience ate it up. Props to both guys for putting forth a hell of an effort once again and stealing the show with their performances. Black scoring his second straight win over Murphy was the right call as 50/50 booking should be avoided at all costs with him.
Erick Rowan def. Kip Stevens
The confusing push of Rowan continues. As RJ Marceau said while right next to me during this, finding out what's in Rowan's clothed cage is more intriguing than Rowan himself. And even that angle has quickly grown thin with me, to the point where I don't really care about what the ultimate reveal might be. This was another lame squash where the jobber tried to rip the cover off the cage, only to chicken out at the last second. WWE needs to hurry up and skip to the end of this storyline with Rowan already.
Charlotte Flair def. Natalya
Is Flair already back to being a heel after a short-lived babyface run? You would certainly think so after the promo she cut on this show. She's become the female version of Big Show because of how many times she's turned over the course of her career. After declaring herself for the women's Royal Rumble match, she issued an open challenge, which was accepted by Natalya. I couldn't have gotten out of my seat faster. I don't think there has been a more overdone women's match in WWE this decade than Charlotte vs. Natalya. It's not that they don't work well together, it's that we've seen them face each other so many times that their matches aren't the slightest bit special anymore. There wasn't anything technically wrong with this, but I found it to be painfully boring, and the involvement of the 24/7 Championship crap didn't help matters.
The Street Profits def. The O.C.
Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson boasted about being the best tag team in the world (by virtue of their victory at Crown Jewel) before being interrupted by The Street Profits, who brought up their win over The O.C. in their Raw debut match two months ago. They contested another quality matchup here and Street Profits winning was a pleasant surprise. It was a questionable booking decision coming off The O.C.'s recent wins over The Viking Raiders, but it made sense once it was announced that it will be Street Profits vs. The O.C. vs. Viking Raiders next week for the Raw Tag Team Championship.
Drew McIntyre def. Zack Ryder and Curt Hawkins in a 2-on-1 Handicap Match
As tired as I am of seeing McIntyre flounder with no real direction, I can't say I hate seeing him destroy people every week. He made quick work of Ryder and Hawkins and went over in decisive fashion. With Owens and Joe being positioned as the top babyfaces on the Raw roster at the moment, the chances of McIntyre turning at this point are slim to none, but the idea of him facing Brock Lesnar for the WWE Championship before or at WrestleMania is very exciting. Here's hoping big things are in store for him in 2020 because he should have been a world champion by now.
Randy Orton Attacked AJ Styles
It was reported on Sunday night that Orton had suffered an injury at a live event and fans assumed the worst knowing his history with injuries. Whether it was legitimate or not is unknown, but WWE did the right thing by turning it into an angle and playing into fans' fears that he was retiring (in the same arena Edge retired in almost nine years earlier). Orton's delivery was excellent and Styles came across like the ultimate asshole. The crowd popped huge for the payoff with Orton laying out Styles with an RKO out of nowhere, but it does beg the question of what purpose this served aside from furthering their feud when you consider the great lengths Orton went to in order to fool his foe.
United States Champion Andrade def. Ricochet (Non-Title)
Andrade first faced an unnamed local athlete, but before he could hit him with his finisher on the exposed floor at ringside (similar to what he did to Humberto Carrillo two weeks ago on Raw), Ricochet made the save. I was confused why Ricochet didn't take on Andrade to begin with instead of wasting time with what they did, unless this was designed to plant the seeds for an Andrade vs. Carrillo match for the Rumble. At any rate, Andrade vs. Ricochet was solid but it definitely felt like they were holding back. It was also way too late in the show for this to be happening because the crowd was tired and wasn't invested in the action at all. Andrade's win allowed him to maintain momentum ahead of his rematch with Rey Mysterio for the United States Championship next week on Raw.
Liv Morgan Crashed the Wedding of Lana and Bobby Lashley
What a damn train wreck this was, and I don't mean that as a compliment. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but I'm sorry, this was terrible television. I almost fell asleep being there live for it because it felt like it would never end. It might have been a bit more bearable had it happened in half the time. Everyone coming out to object was completely pointless and Liv Morgan's grand return went over like a fart in church. I don't hate the idea of a same sex relationship storyline, but I have zero faith WWE will do right by it. This had Paul Heyman written all over it. It is not a stretch to say this was the worst segment I have ever seen live at a wrestling show, and that's covering a lot of ground over the past decade. I'm sure it drew big ratings for Raw, yet it made me feel embarrassed to be a fan.
That wedding was a fitting way of ending the decade for Raw. It's a shame because I thought the show was going quite well before that last segment. Sure, the three hours dragged per usual and the crowd was clearly tired by the end, but it was far from an awful episode. The wedding was an absolute atrocity, but Black and Murphy stole the show once again while the opening segment delivered, Orton swerved everyone, some Superstars picked up momentum-building wins, and multiple matches were set up for the premiere episode of Raw in 2020, which will also feature the return of Brock Lesnar. Among those matchups is a Triple Threat Raw Tag Team Championship match and Andrade vs. Mysterio for the United States Championship. Additionally, it was announced Becky Lynch will defend her Raw Women's Championship against Asuka at the Royal Rumble pay-per-view.
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