It must have been a packed house since RAW is usually not so liberal with the audience camera pans these days. It made a huge impact on the go-home show for Royal Rumble. The Wichita, Kansas crowd were hot all night and it heated up the temperature of every match. At times it felt like RAW in its prime. If you usually like to skip to through the fat, I’m sorry to say but you’re in for a long night. Despite my raving positivity, tonight was far from a perfect episode, with a weak final half hour helping you forget how good the rest of the show was. If RAW can keep stringing shows together like this, they may be on to something good. Let me tell you what was worth watching and what to skip.
Fast- Count Results
Andrade d. Rey Mysterio in a Ladder match to retain the United States Championship
Aleister Black d. local competitor
Becky Lynch d. Kairi Sane
Randy Orton vs. Drew McIntyre ended in a no-contest
Seth Rollins & Buddy Murphy d. The Viking Raiders to win the Raw Tag Team Championship
Erick Rowan d. Matt Hardy
Bobby Lashley & Lana d. Rusev & Liv Morgan
Seth Rollins promo
Watch. Seth kicks off the show by officially welcoming Buddy Murphy as one of his disciples and I couldn’t be more thrilled. “The Messiah of Monday Night” is eventually interrupted by Kevin Owens and Samoa Joe, who demand a fight with Rollins. Seth invites the four-on-two challenge, but KO and Joe introduce the Viking Raiders to even the numbers game. After a quick brawl, the faces stand tall in the ring.
Inserting the Viking Raiders into this feud was a good call in WWE’s part (Or so I thought, but more on that later). They’ve struggled to find the Raiders quality opponents in their main roster push and this should allow them to rekindle some of the magic they had in NXT with the A.O.P.. this doesn’t happen though as Seth and Murphy challenge the Raiders for their tag team titles later on in the show.
Side note: Seth debuted a new shirt depicting himself as Jesus and it instantly became the only piece of wrestling merch that I want to own.
Rey Mysterio vs Andrade in a Ladder match
If I need to tell you to watch this then are you lost? How’d you stumble across this website? This match featured some high impact moments that no 45-year-old should take for a non-PPV match, never mind the much younger Andrade.
Andrade pulling off the Three Amigos with the final suplex slamming Mysterio onto a ladder was a nice touch. A really nasty moment occurred when Rey hurricanrana’d Andrade off the top rope which flung and onto a ladder, with most of the impact being absorbed by Andrade’s neck. Jerry Lawler even seemed to break character for a second with his concern for Andrade.
This match was boosted by that super hot, pro Mysterio, crowd. It all came to an end when Andrade hammerlock DDT’s Rey through another ladder perched on the middle rope — aided by Zelina Vega who was sitting on the top of it and blocking the G.L.O.A.T. from reaching the title.
The former Cien Almas tried to crank his heat up to 11 with a post-match beatdown, but Mysterio was saved by a returning Humberto Carrillo — potentially setting up Andrade’s next feud.
Aleister Black vs Jobber
50/50 booking. Aleister Black just kicked the unnamed dude in the face and it took me longer to write this than it took for the match to end. I usually say skip to squashes, but who doesn’t enjoy a nice Black Mass.
Brock Lesnar Promo
Skip. My name is Paul Heyman….advocate…. reigning, defending, undisputed heavy weight champion BROCK LESNAR… conqueror… this isn’t a prediction, it’s a spoiler… my client… you can fill in the blanks.
It was your typical Heyman schtick. After a little more crowd baiting it’s Ricochet who comes out for the save and into the buzz saw (the buzz saw being Heyman on the mic vs the still underwhelming promo of Ricochet). In a bit of a surprise, this segment ends with The Beast ricocheting his foot off his challenger’s testicles. This will probably set up a Rumble angle, but there’s not much substance besides getting Brock to work three RAWs in a row.
By the way, Lesnar will be eliminated by Cain Velasquez on Sunday… this isn’t my prediction, this is a spoiler.
Drew MacIntyre vs Randy Orton
Watch. I don’t remember the last Randy Orton singles match I enjoyed this much. The match had a ton of entertaining moments, like: Orton saying “watch out grandma” as he dropped MacIntyre on the crowd barricade and Drew MacIntyre murdering a time keeper with a Claymore that Randy dodged at ringside. Randy Orton’s face when going for the draping DDT will haunt my dreams tonight and those MacIntyre chops were felt through my TV screen. No one takes the pin when the match is thrown out by an intervening O.C..
It’s Orton who gets to stand tall with an RKO out of nowhere on Drew after AJ Styles and the Good Brothers are driven off. However, before leaving the ring MacIntyre gets a mic and calls The Viper, Randall Keith, so who really got the win?
Becky Lynch vs Kairi Sane
Watch. Becky spits another hot fire promo, unnecessarily calling out Asuka’s YouTube channel and soup. For shame Becky.
Since you never see The Kabuki Warriors wrestle as a tag team these days, you forget how incredible their entrance music is.
Asuka being perched on the top rope to watch the whole match was a fantastic touch. The in-ring portion was solid, but you could see the lack of familiarity between Lynch and Sane. A few more matches together could iron this out into a good future feud. This is also Sane’s first match back from the concussion she sustained from Charlotte Flair at TLC: Tables, Ladders, and Chairs. The finish comes when Becky knocks Asuka off the top and catches Kairi with the Disarmer. The Empress of Tomorrow comes in and kicks the hell out of Lynch to come out of the segment looking like a monster. Those who stand tall before a PPV rarely do so on the PPV, but at least WWE have at least helped make Asuka seem like a credible threat again.
Rocky Johnson tribute
Watch. Just a touching tribute to the departed Rocky Johnson. If it’s your kind of thing, give it a view.
Rollins and Murphy vs the Viking Raiders –tag team title match
Watch. I’ll continue to harp on this, but it’s amazing what happens when you put an up-and-coming tag team in the ring with a pair of super talented wrestlers instead of just feeding them enhancement talent. This match made the Viking Raiders look like superstars. There were too many great spots to list.
In an absolute shock, Rollins stomps Erik while the ref was distracted. Murphy slides in for a cover for the 1-2-3 and becomes a new tag-team champion with the man he loves to hug, Seth Rollins.
I am curious to see where they go with this angle, but likely making the Raiders go through A.O.P for a chance to regain their titles.
Angelo Dawkins and Montez Ford – SNL Weekend update parody
Watch. Hopefully WWE doesn’t turn this into a fashion files, but this was so funny and a little hammy, but I enjoyed it. Weed jokes, jokes at the WWE’s expense, Otis jiggling in slow motion – just a bunch of things I never expected to see in the PG(ish) era. Go out of your way to watch this one.
Matt Hardy vs Erick Rowan.
Skip. If this doesn’t cement that Hardy is gone after his contract is done, then I don’t know what else would. This undid a lot of the good will that RAW had built up during the rest of the episode. See you in AEW, Matt.
Mojo Rawley for some reason
Skip. Oh yeah, he’s 24/7 champ. The Singh Brothers try to roll up Rawley, but are quickly tossed around in the backstage area.
Bobby Lashley and Lana vs Rusev and Liv Morgan – mix match
Skip. The good- Liv Morgan’s Batman: The animated series Harley Quinn inspired attire. The bad: The wrestling. The ugly: Having this three-minute piece of crap be your last impression going into Rumble. Liv Morgan has a nice enziguri on Lashley, but Lana’s better half eventually catches Rusev with a spear to end the night.