By Gwen Lombard
WWE MONDAY NIGHT RAW
Rhea Ripley, JD McDonagh, and Dominik Mysterio made their way out to start the show with an in-ring promo. Sami Zayn took no time in interrupting them however, coming out and saying that he’s known people like the Judgment Day his whole life: people who think only about power and will do anything, oppress and stomp on anyone for the sake of power. He’s fought them his whole life and as long as there’s air in his lungs he will keep fighting. And if power is the game Judgment Day wants to play, Sami’s name is Rebellion. A tense stand-off happened, where it looked to be a three-on-one attack until Ricochet’s music hit and he ran down to even the odds.
This led to the next match between Ricochet and Dom. This was a rather quick match, both in pace and length. Ricochet eventually lost due to Rhea and JD interfering, and Adam Pearce granted him an opportunity later on to fight for a chance at Gunther’s Intercontinental Championship.
The Creed Brothers made their main roster debut next in a fun match against The Alpha Academy. This was a rather fun match that served as a wonderful introduction to the main roster for the Creed Brothers. They even won in the end, which was a great surprise. They’re a wonderful tag team, and I can’t wait to see them shine on the main roster.
The Miz came out next for a MizTV segment with Gunther where The Miz called him out and got in his face. This was a great segment, with Gunther being the stoic, short-worded mastermind that he is, and Miz being the wild, blown up, and in-your-face self that he does best. The contrast, even visually between the two, was great. Adam Pearce put Miz in the match against Ricochet to earn an opportunity at Gunther next week.
The long-awaited in-ring return of DIY, the team of Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa, occurred next when they took on Imperium. This was a wonderful match, and that might be personal bias at work as I love both of these teams, but I enjoyed this match. These two teams worked well together, and there was never a lag in the action. In the end, DIY won with a Meet In The Middle, where both men hit a knee strike to one opponent’s head, sandwiching it. A great match all around, and my recommendation from the night.
Seth came out next to cut a promo about his upcoming match against Drew McIntyre at Crown Jewel but was attacked from behind by JD McDonagh. This was made into a match, and a rather fun one to watch at that. Seth never disappoints in the ring, and JD is such a great in-ring talent. Seth did win in the end, but this was a very fun match.
We then got WWE’s moment in the Halloween spotlight, as Chelsea Green took on Natalya in a Trick Or Street Fight. Green dressed up as Natalya’s real-life uncle, Bret Hart, while Natalya was dressed in what was effectively a sexy bunny costume. This was much like Abadon versus Hikaru Shida on AEW’s Collision last week, where it’s just some goofy Halloween-themed fun. The ring was covered in skeletons, pumpkins, candy, and even a bobbing-for-apples tub that Green got her head dunked into a couple of times. Green won in the end with her Unpretty-Her finisher. This was a great moment to give the Women’s Tag Team Champions some momentum finally.
The main event between Sami Zayn and Damien Priest was a good match, though sadly entirely predictable. It ended in a double disqualification when Judgement Day ran in, as well as Jey Uso. Cody Rhodes ran down to even the odds, however, and delivered a picture-esque CrossRhodes on JD through the announcers’ desk. He then grabbed a microphone as Judgement Day slinked away backstage, letting Priest know that, despite all the opportunities Priest has been given so far, he’s still just a walk-behind. And Cody’s path isn’t behind anyone, it goes straight through Priest at Crown Jewel. The show ended with a wildly confident Cody watching Priest slinking away.
The opening match this week featured Claudio Castagnoli getting revenge on Orange Cassidy for potentially breaking Byan Danielson’s orbital bone last week in the form of challenging for the Intercontinental Championship. This was a fun match, as we got to see some of Orange Cassidy’s comedy spots that we hadn’t seen for a while. He antagonized and frustrated Claudio throughout the match until he was finally able to pin Claudio with a hurricanrana. After the match ended, Jon Moxley ran out and Orange Cassidy went to attack him first, but after such a grueling match, Moxley quickly gained the upper hand and beat him down. Later on in the night, Moxley had a promo backstage where he said that he had shown Cassidy respect when they fought, but Cassidy swooped in on his scraps in the form of Fenix to win the title. He declared his revenge on Cassidy would take place at Full Gear.
Next, the Young Bucks and Hangman Page defended their ROH World Six-Man Tag Team Championships against the Mogul Embassy. Rather soon into this match, Swerve Strickland appeared on the ramp, grabbing Hangman’s attention. Hangman quickly ran after him, leaving the Young Bucks at a three-on-two disadvantage which the Embassy quickly capitalized on, winning the Six-Man Tag Team Championships in the process. After the match, Matt Jackson was rather unpleased with this result, throwing tables, slamming steel chairs into ring posts, and throwing a tantrum like a toddler.
Adam Copeland was in the ring next, wondering if he should team with Darby Allin and Sting at Full Gear or not. This, of course, brought out Christian Cage in true speak of the devil fashion, who warned Adam to stand down. If he didn’t stand down, Christian reminded him that everyone knew about his history of neck problems and that he would snap his neck at Full Gear and leave him in a wheelchair like a nobody. This tipped Adam over the edge, attacking Nick Wayne and Luchasaurus, who outnumbered him until Sting and Darby Allin appeared to fend them off long enough for Adam to hit a fantastic spear on Christian and put himself into the match, declaring that if Christian wants to snap his neck, he’ll beat his ass.
Next, Kenny Omega and Chris Jericho, who have named their team the Golden Jets, took on Jericho’s former cronies 2.0, the team of Daddy MAgic and Angelo Parker. This was a fun match, with a great moment that had Jericho getting hit in the face with his own bat that, fun fact, is named Floyd. He was able to power through, and hit Parker with a Judas Effect, pinning him for the win. Afterward, Don Callis and his Family approached and challenged Kenny and Jericho to an 8-man Tag Team match in two weeks. Never two to back down from a challenge, they accepted. Kenny announced that Kota Ibushi would be their third partner, and Jericho decided on the fourth partner: Paul Wight. After this announcement, Renee Paquette caught up with the Golden Jets in the Elite’s locker room. Jericho was barely able to start answering Renee’s question before Matt Jackson, still fuming, butted in, assuring Kenny that he’s not mad at him or Hangman, but he’s caught up on just who let Jericho into their locker room (while maintaining direct eye contact with Kenny). Kenny tried to cut the tension, explaining it like an enemy of my enemy thing, but Matt stormed out with Nick wordlessly following behind.
Hikaru Shida took on Willow Nightingale next in a wonderful match that spotlighted both women, including Willow kicking out of an Avalanche Falcon Arrow at 1. A spectacular moment, and proved Willow even more as a future AEW Women’s Champion. In the end, Shida won with her Katana Kick finisher. The post-match, however, saw Shida chase off Toni Storm in tasteful black and white, and Skye Blue did not turn on Willow but instead sprayed Julia Hart with Blue Mist.
The main event saw the culmination of MJF’s story throughout the show. In quick segments between all the others, we’ve seen MJF knock on several different wrestlers’ doors to ask if they would be willing to team up with him to take on the Bang Bang Gang. Everyone rejected his offer, with the Acclaimed waiting just down the hall to ask MJF to choose them. Finally, MJF had no other choice but to accept their help. This was a fantastic match that I enjoyed, starting when MJF came out in Acclaimed-themed gear, hot pink trunks and all. Caster even got him a pink Burberry scarf! Talk about romance! Throughout the match, they kept teasing a four-way scissor, until Jay White spoiled the party by hitting a picture-perfect Blade Runner on MJF and pinning him clean in the ring just weeks ahead of their singles match at Full Gear and keeping custody of the AEW World Championship belt until then. After the bell rang, Jay set MJF up to hit him with the title belt until Max Caster sacrificed himself, pushing MJF out of the way just in time and getting hit instead. Bang Bang Gang escaped with their treasure, but in the very end, to close out the show, MJF finally scissored with the Acclaimed. I have nothing to say other than that this is my recommendation for the night, I love this so much.
The show opened with LA Knight almost immediately getting interrupted by Roman Reigns who told him that after Crown Jewel, he’ll just be a redneck cosplay version of his cousin, the Rock. Knight fired back by informing Roman that, unlike all his other challengers, he’s not facing Roman to finish a story but to start one. This was a fantastic promo segment from both men to start the show, and it saw security separating them, ushering them both backstage.
Kevin Owens took on Austin Theory next, and despite all of Kevin’s ability and talent, and how much I enjoy his matches, I still just cannot enjoy an Austin Theory match. He’s just not it, and I wish I could have a better explanation as to why, but I just don’t like his matches. Kevin Owens won in the end though, so that was fun.
Bianca Belair started to have an interview about her match against Iyo Sky at Crown Jewel but was attacked from behind by Damage Control ahead of her main event match against Bayley. Later on, it was revealed that because of this attack, Iyo and Kota were banned from ringside during the main event.
WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions Piper Niven and Chelsea Green took on the team of Shotzi and Charlotte Flair. If I’m completely honest, I forgot that this wasn’t a match for the Women’s Tag Team Championships and that it was just a regular tag team match, so when Charlotte eventually won, I was rather confused when nothing happened with the belts. But Charlotte and Shotzi won, and it’s always a good day when Shotzi wins.
Solo Sikoa and John Cena met face to face in the ring ahead of their match at Crown Jewel, where Paul Heyman talked up Solo by explaining that he’s going to be the Tribal Chief someday and to do that he needs victims. And who better to victimize than John Cena? Cena then proceeds to tell Solo he only got hired because of his cousin, and that at Crown Jewel, he’s going to shove Solo’s thumb right up his ass.
Next was a match that was completely catered to my personal biases: The Brawling Brutes taking on Pretty Deadly in a Good Old Fashioned DonnyBrook match, where they can only win via pinfall or submission. This was perfect in every way, a fantastic match. The Brawling Brutes attacked Pretty Deadly during their entrance, and kept the upper hand through the first several minutes, with Pete Dunne even pulling out a pair of shillelaghs to use against Kit and Elton. Pretty Deadly made a resurgence a few different times, but the Brawling Brutes kept putting them back down, including Ridge sending Elton through a table at ringside, and nearly sending Kit through one as well. In the end, Elton smashed a beer bottle over Pete’s head and knocked him out long enough to send him through a table and Kit pinned him for the win. This was just a plain fun match and I loved it. This, without a doubt, has to be my match of the night. I mean, it was practically made for me.
Our main event saw Bianca Belair take on Bayley in an amazing match. These are two of the best women on the roster today, and they prove every time they step into the ring, especially against each other. Bayley took control of the match from the beginning, but Bianca was able to gain the upper hand and put Bayley away with her Hair Whip quickly followed by her K.O.D. finisher. After the bell rang, that still wasn’t enough for Bianca, and she sent Bayley through the announce table with another K.O.D. as the show went off the air.
The show opened with a Triple Threat match between Penta El Zero Miedo, Kommander, and El Hijo de Vikingo. This was an excellent match with all three men completely in their element. This was a fast-paced match that saw constant action throughout, each man taking to the air several times with some incredible moves. In the end, Penta hit his Fear Factor finisher on Kommander, landing on top of Vikingo, and pinning Kommander to win.
We then had a tag team match between The Gunns and Christopher Daniels remaining with Matt Sydal. This match was over in a matter of minutes, Daniels and Sydal barely having the opportunity to implement any offense as the Gunns decimated them. They hit their 3:10 to Yuma finisher on Sydal to win the match. After the match, Austin Gunn took the microphone and warned MJF that AEW belongs to the Bang Bang Gang and that after Full Gear, the ROH World Tag Team Championships will belong to them as well.
Backstage, RJ City was preparing to speak when Danhausen walked on screen. He then realized that his return was next week, not tonight, and walked off again. Finally, the long-fabled return of Danhausen will happen soon.
Marina Shafir took on Skye Blue next, and this was a fun match. Marina Shafir’s MMA background and catch-wrestling style make her fun to watch, and one of my favorites when she makes an appearance. In the end, Skye hit Shafir with her Code Blue finisher and pinned her for the win.
The main event saw Daniel Garcia take on Trent Beretta in a wonderful match. These are two wrestlers who haven’t been given many singles matches as of late, and they put on a great match against each other. In the end, Garcia trapped Beretta in the Cross Face submission and Beretta tapped out. After the match, Garcia got on the microphone and announced “I have a fetish for greed. I have a fetish for gold. That’s why I’m calling out the biggest dog…MJF!” And so the MJF-verse continues to expand and include more and more of this roster, and I for one am not that mad about it.
AR Fox took on Swerve Strickland in the opening match, and this was a fantastic match. Fox attacked Swerve on the entrance ramp and quickly got the upper hand. Swerve managed to take control soon after though, and despite a brief resurgence from Fox that included a beautifully executed 450º Splash, Swerve won with a Double Foot Stomp. After the match, the whole Mogul Embassy descended upon AR Fox but FTR ran down to brawl with the Gates of Agony. Ricky Starks and Big Bill ran down to try to overpower FTR, but La Facción Ingobernables ran down to even the odds and clear the ring. It was shown that the House of Black was watching on from somewhere else in the arena, their keen eyes seemingly on every move in the tag division.
Kip Sabian had a quick backstage segment next, declaring that if Mark Briscoe can find two partners, Sabian and the Workhorsemen will take him on later in the night.
Next, Darby Allin took on “The Murderhawk Monster” Lance Archer. This was a fantastic match, and I’ll fully admit to the personal bias seeping out of them. I love Lance Archer so much, he’s just here to beat people to smithereens, and there are few people out there who get beat to smithereens as well as Darby Allin does. This was a great back-and-forth match, with Lance hitting big moves and Darby slipping out at the last minute. In the end, Lance landed a great right hand, but Darby recovered and hit a Destroyer on Archer from the top rope and won. Afterward, Jake Roberts (Archer’s manager) brought out the Righteous with him and Vincent declared that revenge is forever and that it’s showtime. Archer attacked Darby from behind and hit him with his Black Out finisher.
Then, The Acclaimed celebration of their 69th day holding the AEW Trios Championships. This was a delightful segment that saw Daddy Ass and Anthony Bowens give Max Caster a special gift: a video of MJF telling Caster he’s earned his respect, and that Caster’s starting to grow on him. MJF is kind of starting to like The Acclaimed. Caster was, understandably, over the moon about this admission, and profusely thanked his teammates. He then dedicated the trophy they had made for this historic moment to the fans. Dalton Castle and The Boys crashed the party then, smashing the trophy to pieces on the ground, and getting into a brawl with the champions. Tony Khan then made the match official, and it was over decisively when Caster hit Castle with his Mic Drop finisher and retained the titles.
We then had the promised match between the team of Kip Sabian and the Workhorsemen and the team of Mark Briscoe, Dustin Rhodes, and Keith Lee. Briscoe got the upper hand rather quickly, taking out both of the Workhorsemen in quick succession, then tagging in both of his teammates in succession to demolish each of the opposing team members. Briscoe hit his Froggy Bow finisher on Sabian to win the match for the win and challenged Jay White to a match on Dynamite afterward.
Our main event saw FTR team with Rush and Preston Vance of La Facción Ingobernable to take on Ricky Starks and Big Bill who teamed with the Gates of Agony. This was a great match that saw some great moments including Toa Liona hitting an excellent Lariat on Dax Harwood, and Rush and Dax working together to hit FTR’s Big Rig finisher on Bishop Kaun. That didn’t quite yet spell the end though. That came when Rush hit his Bull’s Horns finisher on Kaun and pinned him. After the match ended, LFI didn’t shake FTR’s hands and walked to the back as House of Black attacked FTR from behind. Blackpool Combat Club members Claudio Castagnoli and Wheeler Yuta ran down to even the odds and Claudio almost got Malakai in his Giant Swing until Brody pulled Malakai away just in time. BCC accepted FTR’s offer and shook their hands as the show went off the air. This was my match of the night.
WWE’S CROWN JEWEL PAY-PER-VIEW
The show opened with Seth Rollins versus Drew McIntyre for the World Heavyweight Championship. This was a great, heavy-hitting match that highlighted both men wonderfully. Drew attempted to absolutely destroy Seth’s back, but Seth was able to sneak out the win after he hit a beautiful pedigree. After the match, however, Damien Priest ran down to cash in his Money In The Bank briefcase. But just before the bell rang to make it official, he was attacked from behind by a hooded figure. The figure grabbed the briefcase and pulled back the hood to reveal himself as Sami Zayn, before running off through the crowd with the briefcase, Priest chasing after him.
Next was the fatal five-way between Nia Jax, Shayna Baszler, Zoey Stark, Raquel Rodriguez, and Rhea Ripley for the Women’s World Championship. This was a great match, these women are amazing at their jobs and can kick it in when it matters. The end came when Raquel covered Shayna, and Rhea trapped Zoey in an Avalanche Riptide on top of Raquel and Shayna. Raquel and Zoey rolled out the ring, and Rhea pinned Shayna for the win, retaining her title.
Solo Sikoa took on John Cena next, and this was a good match. It served to prove that Solo can hold his own against one of the greatest of all time. Both men got in some great offense throughout this, but in the end, Solo won after a series of nearly 10 Samoan Spikes; an emphatic, decisive win on his part that solidified his legitimacy as a threat, if he even needed the proof.
Next, Logan Paul challenged Rey Mysterio for his United States Championship match, and I was once more forced against my will to witness Logan Paul in a WWE ring. Unfortunately, Logan Paul cheated his way into beating Mysterio and winning the United States Championship, and I’ve rarely ever been this disappointed. I’m not mad…I’m just disappointed.
Bianca Belair challenged Iyo Sky for the WWE Women’s Championship next, and this was a fantastic match. This is to be expected when you put either of these women in the ring, you get amazing matches every time. After an amazing hard-hitting match, Bianca took to the outside of the ring to get Bayley out of the picture, when Kairi Sane made her return to WWE and attacked Bianca behind the referee’s back. Iyo capitalized on the opportunity and pinned Bianca to retain her WWE Women’s Championship. With the great in-ring action paired with the return of Kairi Sane, I have no other real choice than to say this is my recommended match of the night. I love Kairi and I’m so glad to see her back in the company.
Then we had Cody Rhodes taking on Damien Priest. This was a brutal match in so many ways; Priest hit his Reckoning finisher on Rhodes on the announce table. Eventually, in true Judgement Day style, Finn ran down to distract the referee as JD McDonagh attempted to attack Cody from behind. When this didn’t work, Finn ushered out Dominik Mysterio with a steel chair. Cody fought his way out though, and in the end, after several attempts at distraction, blindside attacks, and some incredible offense from Priest, Rhodes pulled out the win with a trifecta of CrossRhodes.
Our main event saw LA Knight challenge Roman Reigns for the WWE Undisputed Championship. This was, as everyone expected it to be, a great match. Roman, despite his infrequent schedule, has what it takes in the ring, and LA Knight got this opportunity for a reason. A slugfest of a match, the two had some great back-and-forth moments. Eventually, as with all Bloodline matches, Solo attempted to make his way down to the ring, and as the referee was telling him to leave, Jimmy Uso snuck in and helped pull Roman out of the ring. In the end, after Jimmy snuck Roman’s foot onto the rope just in time to cause a rope break, Knight put Jimmy out for good when he put his face first through the announce table. This gave Roman just enough time to collect himself and capitalize on the distracted Knight, winning the match and retaining his Undisputed Championship.