WWE Champion Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman Vowed to Hunt Down Rey Mysterio
It took all of a month for the 2019 WWE Draft to lose all meaning (assuming it had any to begin with) with Lesnar returning to Raw so soon after being moved to SmackDown. Other than that, this was an excellent show-opening angle that provided a great hook for the remainder of the show. Lesnar brutalizing people backstage was a nice touch and an improvement over what Lesnar usually does on WWE TV (bouncing around the ring while Heyman talks and never getting physical).
Charlotte Flair and Natalya def. WWE Women's Tag Team Champions The Kabuki Warriors (Non-title)
Flair and Natalya just joined forces a week ago, so while I wouldn't have had them face the WWE Women's Tag Team Champions this quickly, this turned out to be a very good match. I hate whenever the challengers beat the champions in non-title action to earn a title shot, but I appreciated that they received as much time as they did. The post-match angle with Lesnar hitting an F5 on Dio Madden and Mysterio making the save was even better. That set the stage for those two doing battle for the WWE Championship at Survivor Series.
Buddy Murphy def. Cedric Alexander
These two faced off at the Draft a few weeks ago and I mentioned then how both guys need win. That's still the case and I wish they faced other opponents instead. Alexander hasn't won in a while, so although I'm happy Murphy is maintaining momentum, I can't help but feel Alexander was damaged from suffering another loss. As a match, though, this was an enjoyable affair as they always work well together.
Triple H Confronted Seth Rollins
Say what you will about Rollins, but he had a point when he said that Raw is reverting back to what it once was with Lesnar on top as champion again. If Lesnar is moving to the red brand full-time, it's going to suck having an absentee champion again. At any rate, this was an intriguing exchange between Rollins and Triple H that dragged on a little longer than it needed to. Things got interesting when Undisputed Era showed up followed by The O.C. Damien Priest and Dominik Dijakovic also appeared to even the odds with it later being announced that Rollins would vie for Adam Cole's NXT Championship later in the night. It was wise to use NXT wrestlers who were already bad guys here because they came across like a total heels in this segment.
Andrade and Zelina Vega def. Sin Cara and Catalina
From what I understand, Catalina was solely brought up to the main roster for this angle and will not be a regular on Raw going forward. After all, why would she be paired with Sin Cara for more than a few weeks? Andrade has already beaten Sin Cara twice, so while he gained nothing from this victory, at least they switched things up with Vega picking up the pinfall win for their team. Here's hoping Andrade can move on from this "feud" now that he's won three weeks in a row.
Rusev def. Drew McIntyre by Disqualification
The talking segment that preceded this match with Rusev, Lana and Bobby Lashley going back and forth did nothing for me, much like their entire storyline. I'm not sure who it appeals to and I find it to be a waste of everyone involved and of our time as viewers. Rusev vs. McIntyre was solid but never reached that next gear before Lashley's interference. Randy Orton laid out Rusev with an RKO afterward before Ricochet came to his aid. A tag team match seems to be inevitable.
NXT Women's Champion Shayna Baszler Crashed Charly Caruso's Sit-Down Interview with Raw Women's Champion Becky Lynch
I was fully expecting a paint-by-numbers sit-down interview with Lynch, which was exactly what we got early on before Baszler crashed it. Their interaction wasn't lengthy, but it was everything I hoped for and more. Baszler brought up how she's friends with Ronda Rousey and how she's looking to make an impact at her expense at Survivor Series. Lynch's response was short and sweet and didn't give too much away. That Triple Threat with them and Bayley should be terrific, but Baszler vs. Lynch one-on-one down the road is what I'm most looking forward to.
The O.C. def. Humberto Carrillo and The Street PRofits
As much as I liked that the two trios got mic time before the bout, it was cringe-worthy material. Street Profits have been handled well the last two weeks, so I hope they aren't watered down with dumb promos going forward. The six-man tag team match was fun while it lasted, but I hated seeing Carrillo lose for the fourth time in the past two weeks. I realize Styles and The O.C. will likely be involved in important inter-promotional matches at Survivor Series, but their wins shouldn't be coming at the expense of stars on the rise such as Carrillo and Street Profits.
Raw Tag Team Champions The Viking Raiders def. The East Hampton Polo Boys (Non-Title)
Viking Raiders won the Raw Tag Team Championship a month ago and they're still facing local losers. Worse yet, the local losers are dressed up like comedy characters. First the "Chicago Cubs," and now the "East Hampton Polo Boys." Ugh. I fail to see how they benefit from these wins whatsoever. On the bright side, I liked that they addressed their loss to The O.C. at Crown Jewel in their post-match promo and seemingly set that up as a future feud post-Survivor Series. Plus, that Triple Threat tag team match announced for Survivor Series between Viking Raiders, The Revival and Undisputed Era should be a banger.
Seth Rollins def. NXT Champion Adam Cole by Disqualification
Rollins vs. Cole is a dream match to many, but as enjoyable as this was, the crowd never came alive for it. It also felt like they were holding back a bit, so in other words, Cole vs. Bryan from SmackDown this was not. The disqualification finish and subsequent show-closing brawl is what I expected them to go with on SmackDown during Daniel Bryan's clash with Cole, so I can't say I'm surprised they went with it here. I'm curious if Rollins will get a rematch for the Universal Championship at Survivor Series (though I have no idea how he'd earn one) or if he'll end up in some sort of multi-man matchup with NXT and possibly SmackDown, too.
I tend to dread this time of the year for WWE TV because of how overdone the Raw vs. SmackDown "rivalry" is, but the involvement of NXT this time around has been a real breath of fresh air. That was once again the case with this show. They weren't all over the episode the same way they were on SmackDown (which is smart because that would have been overkill), but anything NXT-related was entertaining, including the NXT Championship main event. There was some filler and the three hours did drag at times, but multiple matches were made official for Survivor Series and there was more excitement in the air than usual due to the NXT talent being in the building. We'll see if Raw can survive without them once the pay-per-view has come and gone, though.
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