By Gwen Lombard
WWE MONDAY NIGHT RAW
Seth Rollins opened the show this week, recapping his match against Drew from Crown Jewel, and Sami Zayn deflecting Damien Priest’s attempt to cash in his Money In The Bank briefcase afterward. Seth called out Sami for this reason, wanting to thank him. Sami did so and explained his actions by saying that if Damien had cashed in and won the title, Judgement Day would just become Bloodline 2.0. As a thank you, Seth announced that he was giving Sami a match for the World Heavyweight Championship later tonight, which Sami accepted.
Next, Finn Bálor and Damien Priest took on Xavier Woods and Kofi Kingston. This was a fun match, as any match featuring the New Day usually is. In the end, the predictability rang true again and Judgement Day won decisively, despite a great showing from New Day. Later on, it was announced that Finn and Damien would defend the Tag Team Titles against the team of Cody Rhodes and Jey Uso next week.
Shinsuke Nakamura quickly destroyed Akira Tozawa in the next match, and despite the short time, I liked it. I’m a Nakamura fan, I like to see him win, and this was exactly that. Afterwards, he had a brief faceoff with Tozawa’s Alpha Academy factionmate Otis, and this set up a match between the two for next week.
Then, we had an amazing Fatal Four-Way match between Bronson Reed, The Mis, Ricochet, and Ivar of the Viking Raiders. This was a great match that pitted the two big men against Ricochet’s high-flying style primarily, with some great beatdown moments. The end came when Reed and Ivar both climbed to the top rope to hit their finishers on Miz and Ricochet respectively. However, Reed missed his and Miz capitalized, pinning him just as Ivar pinned Ricochet. The referee counted to three and at the very last second, Ricochet kicked out, giving The Miz the win and an opportunity to face Gunther for the Intercontinental Title next week.
We then got a vignette hyping up the Creed Brothers being signed to Monday Night Raw, and they came out to face off against DIY. This was a great match, with both teams living up to the hype. The end, however, came when Ludwig Kaiser ran down and hit a beautiful pele kick on Gargano during a moment of distraction that the Creed Brothers were able to capitalize on and pin him for the win.
We then had our big women’s battle royal where the winner became the number one contender for the WWE Women’s World Title held by Rhea Ripely. The battle royal included 16 people originally, but Xia Li attacked Becky Lynch during her entrance, subsequently disqualifying herself and requiring Lynch to be taken to the back for medical attention, therefore forfeiting her place in the match. The match itself was wonderful, with all the women doing great work and spotlighting a few individuals in the process. Ivy Nile eliminated a decent amount of her opponents, watching as it took three women to finally eliminate Nia Jax before Jax eliminated her. This was a great moment for Nile, and in the end, Zoey Stark eliminated Shayna Baszler to win and become the number one contender.
The main event match saw Sami Zayn challenge Seth Rollins for the World Heavyweight Championship. This was an amazing match, which is to be expected with these two wrestlers. They switched it on here, and it was a great main event. The end saw Seth retain ever so slightly by pinning Sami with a surprise rollup. The story continued after the bell rang, however, with Judgement Day running down to brawl with Seth and Sami. Jey and Cody ran down to even the odds, and security had to pull the two teams apart. Adam Pearce stormed down the ring however to differentiate this closing segment from that last month of Raw, to announce that at Survivor Series on Nov. 15th, these two teams will face off in a WarGames match. I will completely admit that I saw this coming a mile away, but I’m not in any way disappointed. WarGames matches are always a lot of fun and these two teams, composed of the wrestlers they each have, will put on a great match. This was my favorite segment of the night for sure, I was hoping this match would be confirmed and it finally was, on top of an amazing match between Seth and Sami.
The show got the cold open treatment as MJF was backstage discussing how Jay White pinned him clean in the center of the ring last week. Adam Cole appeared on a video call to ask MJF to team with Samoa Joe for the ROH Tag Title match against the Gunns, even if it meant agreeing to give Joe another shot at the AEW World Title. He emphasized that he’s worried about MJF lately, and knowing he’d have a partner in the match would make him feel better about it. Before the show could start though, Daniel Garcia, Daddy Magic, and Angelo Parker waltzed into the scene and set up the opening match between Garcia and MJF. It was a fun match to kick off the show, featuring Garcia trying to hit his dance move while applying his Dragon Tamer submission hold, but in the end, MJF was able to pull out the win. He reached out to shake Garcia’s hand after the bell rang, but Parker and Daddy Magic pulled Garcia away.
Darby Allin and Sting beat on The Outrunners next, and I need to have this documented for the pure sake of the Outrunners’ names: Truth Magnum and Turbo Floyd. Those are some proper terrible 80s wrestling names and I love it. And both of them are bleach blonde and their gear is bright purple and yellow. 1986 called and they want their tag team back, it’s so wonderful.
Tony Schiavone held a contract signing between Toni Storm and Hikaru Shida for a Women’s Championship match at Full Gear. It was in Toni’s signature black and white, though Shida was dressed in the most colorful clothes she could find.
Penta El Zero Miedo took on Swerve Strickland next in an excellent match. From the beginning, they were matched move for move from each other. Trading blows and tope suicida attempts, until Swerve out Penta away with a series of a Death Valley Driver into an arm break attempt into a Stomp. As soon as the match ended, Hangman Page ran out with a steel chair, burying it in Swerve’s back. He took out two security guards with it as well when they tried to intervene and ended up hitting a Dead Eye on Swerve off the entrance stage through a table on the floor, looking like a maniac the whole time. Phenomenal stuff.
Then we had Renee Paquette interviewing the Golden Jets backstage. Before Jericho could even really say much, the Young Bucks interrupted and called out the fact that The Elite hasn’t felt much like The Elite lately despite being the ones to start this whole company. Jericho argued that he helped the three of them build this company but Matt refuted, saying The Elite did all the hard work and started the revolution and Chris just jumped in to cash the check. Jericho then challenged The Bucks with the stipulation that if he and Kenny win, then the Number One Contendership that the Bucks have becomes theirs. The Bucks accepted with the added stipulation that if they win, then the Golden Jets are done and over with. The match was made official for Full Gear. Kenny finally spoke, saying that he truly does believe the Bucks are the best tag team in the world, but he’s beaten them twice in the past with two different tag team partners, and he can do it again at Full Gear. And when he does, maybe then they’ll stop acting like “sissy, bitchy children.”
Next, Keith Lee challenged Samoa Joe for his ROH World TV Championship in a fantastic heavyweight match. The two traded blow after blow back and forth, even landing Cross Bodies and Powerbombs on each other. In the end, Joe countered an attempted Pop-Up Powerbomb into a Coquina Clutch and put Lee to sleep for a referee stoppage. Afterward, he declared that what defines the greats is hunger, and he’s officially hungry. He officially vacated the ROH TV Title to make way for him to chase the AEW World Heavyweight Championship.
Julia Hart took on Red Velvet next in a fun match. The two work well together, and Red Velvet has improved her in-ring skills a lot over the last year. In the end, all the work she put in wasn’t enough to kick out after Julia pinned her with a Moonsault off the ropes. After the bell, she sunk her Hartless submission in as well. Skye Blue ran down to break up the submission and stared Julia down as Willow Nightingale ran down to help Red Velvet from the ring. Kris Statlander ran down too, and Julia simply glanced at her on her way out.
Our main event saw Jay White take on Mark Briscoe with his AEW World Heavyweight Championship opportunity on the line. This was a great match with Briscoe getting a great showing and a decent amount of offense. However, this is a Bang Bang Gang match, and the numbers game overwhelmed him in the end, Jay hit a Blade Runner to put him away. Once the bell rang, MJF ran down, taking out the whole of Bang Bang Gang minus Jay with the Dynamite Diamond Ring. Jay quickly rolled out of the ring anyways and MJFgrabbed a microphone to tell him that at Full Gear he’ll have to kill him to win the World Title because he’s not just fighting for himself anymore, he’s fighting for every single person that’s helped him on his journey because he’s not just a scumbag, he’s our scumbag. Suddenly, the lights in the arena went out and, sadly no House of Black appeared in the ring, but video footage played instead of a team of masked men attacking The Acclaimed, even sending Anthony Bowens through a glass wall. The screen flashed the image of the man in the Devil mask momentarily as MJF rushed backstage to help his new friends. Samoa Joe found him backstage though and mentioned that it looked like MJF was running out of friends as the show went off the air.
The show opened with Kevin Owens appearing behind the commentary desk instead of in the ring, filling in as a guest commentator for the night, wearing a tie and everything. The real start of the show was the LWO’s entrance to the ring and Rey Mysterio taking the microphone. Rey called out Logan Paul, saying that without the brass knuckles, he wouldn’t have been able to win. Carlito came out and interrupted Rey by explaining that he shouldn’t be blaming Paul, he should be blaming Santos Escobar for leaving the brass knuckles on the apron in the first place. Santos stormed off, with Zelina Vega and Rey trying to follow him backstage as Bobby Lahsley’s music hit as he began making his entrance for his match against Carlito. It was a good match, but it didn’t take long before Joaquin Wilde and Cruz del Toro were brawling with the Street Profits at ringside, which distracted Carlito enough for Lashley to hit him with the Spear and win. After the bell rang, the Street Profits began attacking Carlito and Santos came back out but didn’t help his factionmate. Rey came back out with a steel chair in hand though and cleared the gin, confronting Santos once again. He turned to help Carlito, and Santos attacked him from behind. He stormed off once again and left the building, leaving Zelina, Joaquin, and del Toro to help Carlito and Rey to the back.
Bayley came down to the ring next, saying that she’s always had plans for Damage Control and that they’ve always worked out, but now Iyo brought Kairi Sane into the group and she just wants to talk about it. Iyo, Dakota, and Kairi then came down and Iyo explained that she simply got help to win at Crown Jewel. Bayley reminded them that the last time Kairi was seen in WWE was in 2020 when Bayley beat her up backstage and she wasn’t too sure about this. Kairi did say that she forgave Bayley and they all hugged, but Bayley did not once look comfortable with the situation. Bianca Beliar came out next and brought out Charlotte Flair and Asuka as well, saying she’s not the only one who doesn’t like Damage Control, and that it will be the three of them against Bayley, Kairi, and Iyo later in the show.
Dragon Lee took on Cedric Alexander next in a match that was simply a great athletic match. There is not much more to say other than Cedric and Lee are good.
LA Knight addressed the crowd next, discussing his loss to Roman at Crown Jewel. Grayson Waller interrupted him though, and said that everybody knew that Knight just wasn’t that guy, and questioned if he really believed he was able to be in the same ring as Roman. This led to a brawl, which then led to a match, which was nothing more than average and Knight won with his BFT finisher. Kevin Owens’ added commentary made it really fun to watch though, so that was nice, and after the match, Grayson and Austin Theory tried to antagonize Owens by pouring a bottle of water on his head. Owens then beat them up, and I simply love Kevin Owens.
Then we got our main event of Charlotte, Bianca, and Asuka taking on Iyo, Kairi, and Bayley. This was a phenomenal match between six of the best on the roster. There was some great back-and-forth action between the teams when Bianca crawled her way to the corner to tag out, but Asuka pulled her hand away at the last moment and sprayed Blue Mist in Bianca’s face. She then joined forces with Damage Control, and Charlotte tried to brawl with the newly formed team as the match was ruled a No Contest. Shotzi made her way down in an attempt to help Charlotte, but Damage Control stood triumphant as the show went off the air.
Ricky Starks took on Preston Vance from La Facción Ingobernable in the opening match. This was a good match; nothing outstanding or spectacular, but it was good. Big Bill was on commentary for the match but left his post to distract Vance long enough for Ricky to Spear him and secure the win. Bill and Ricky beat down on Vance after the bell and LFI’s Rush and Dralistico came down to scare them off.
Don Callis was backstage next and announced that Sammy Guevara is on the injured list and isn’t medically cleared to help The Family take on Kenny, Jericho, Paul, and Ibushi on Wednesday. He did make a deal, however, with The Mogul Embassy’s Prince Nana to enlist the services of Brian Cage for next Wednesday to fill Sammy’s spot in the match.
Red Velvet faced off against Ruby Soho next, and Ruby quickly secured the upper hand. After delivering two Back Drop Drivers to Red, a production assistant came down with a bouquet to give to her. Not expecting this, Ruby was caught off guard and didn’t know what to do with the flowers, giving Red enough time to recover and capitalize on the distraction, scoring the win. Later on, backstage, Saraya and Ruby walked past Angelo Parker, Daddy Magic, and Daniel Garcia who was declaring a match against Andrade El Idolo for Collision. Saraya was unhappy with the bouquet delivery halfway through Ruby’s match and told Daddy Magic that they’ve got big problems.
The main event saw Komander team with El Hijo del Vikingo take on FTR. This was a great match, using the tried and tested method of FTR, who don’t do high-flying moves, they’re brawlers, put in a match against a team who almost exclusively are high-flyers. This formula always produces great results, and with two of the best luchadors today, this match was a standout. Everybody countered everybody’s moves into their own which were then reversed again, it was chaotic but fun. In the end, FTR hit their Big Rig finisher on Komander for the win. The four showed each other respect after the match, embracing each other. The camera then switched, showing House of Black watching on from somewhere backstage as the show went off the air.
Andrade El Idolo versus Daniel Garcia was the opening match, with CJ Perry in Andrade’s corner. This was a good match; I’m not a huge fan of either of these men but it was a good match with some great moments of back-and-forth. It took Andrade hitting a Moonsault, a Pump Kick, and applying the Figure-8 Leg Lock submission for Garcia to finally tap out, and Andrade and CJ Perry hugged after the bell rang.
Hangman Page was backstage next, where he declared that at Full Gear he will be taking Swerve down into a fiery abyss for eternity. Every November after this, he’ll go for a walk with his son and piss on Swerve’s grave, because, at Full Gear, he’ll be facing Swerve in a Texas Death Match.
Then we had LFI’s Rush and Dralistico taking on The WorkHorsemen, Anthony Henry, and JD Drake. For two teams that have never fought each other before, this was a fun match. Their two styles worked surprisingly well together, and I love seeing people who don’t look like they can hit flawless Moonsaults doing exactly that like JD Drake. In the end, even his Moonsaults weren’t enough to save JD from Rush hitting him with the Bull’s Horns and pinning him for the win.
The House of Black were backstage, wondering if they had been direct enough in their message. Malakai Black and Brody King declared that they were coming for Big Bill and Ricky Stark’s AEW World Tag Team Championships, and Julia sent a proposition to Kris Statlander: if she beats Willow later in the night, then Kris has to give her a rematch for the TBS Title. They said that if they get the things everyone desires the most, maybe then they will all give chase to the House.
Roderick Strong took on Darius Martin next, and in true Roderick Strong style he had his Kingdom factionmates wheel him down to the ring in his wheelchair and his neckbrace, before ripping both away jumping in the ring and quickly taking the upper hand. These two put on a great match, feeding off each other in great fashion before Roderick finally put away Darius with his End of Heartache finisher. After the match, the Kingdom rushed to the ring and beat down Darius, but ran off before Action Andretti could reach them.
Julia challenged Willow Nightingale next. This was a very fun match to watch, with Willow asserting her dominance by gaining the upper hand almost immediately. Julia was able to doge and survive Willow’s offense long enough to hit a Lariat followed by a Moonsault Press to squeak out the win. And now Julia Hart has a match against Kris Statlander for the TBS Title at Full Gear.
We then saw Powerhouse Hobbs take on Alexander. This match lasted approximately 57 seconds, just long enough for Hobbs to club Alexander and demolish him with a spinebuster.
Finally, our main event saw Sting, Darby Allin, and Adam Copeland team up ahead of their trios match at Full Gear against The Righteous and Lance Archer. Sting and Archer in the same ring is one of those things that I didn’t realize I wanted to see so badly until I finally saw it, and I loved it. Sting was the target for most of the offense, but Darby was finally able to tag in and cause some damage. In the end, Adam Copeland was the one who cleaned house with his Spear and hit Vincent with a beautiful one to pin him and score the win. Christian Cage, Luchasaurus, and Nick Wayne made their way out onto the entrance ramp, with Cage holding his title above his head and Copeland staring from the ring to close out the show.