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The John Report: The WWE Raw Deal 10/24/22 Review

wwe raw deal october 24

This week’s WWE Raw featured Bianca Belair facing Bayley while Finn Balor was in action against Karl Anderson the road to Crown Jewel continued.

This is the Raw Deal for episode #1535 of Monday Night Raw. It’s taking place at the Spectrum Center in Charlotte, North Carolina. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport. Let’s get to it.

The Raw opening video package aired. They do not show that every week. That was followed by an impressive pyro display.

The Judgment Day group consisting of Finn Balor, Damien Priest, Dominik Mysterio and Rhea Ripley made their entrance. Priest has a bandana that says The Judgment Day on it. It was Kevin Patrick and Corey Graves on commentary. They mentioned Dominik Mysterio beating AJ Styles last week on Raw thanks to some help.

Rhea Ripley said that last week, AJ Styles found out what “mami” has known all along and that is that The Judgment Day runs Raw. Ripley said that AJ found out that Dominik Mysterio is all man. Finn Balor called it “perhaps one of the greatest matches of all time” (that’s a stretch) when AJ Styles crumbled against the “legendary” Dominik Mysterio. Priest told the crowd to rise for the “greatest luchador in the history of the business” Dominik Mysterio.

When Dominik spoke, the fans booed loudly and Dom said that J-Day actually believe in him. Dominik bragged about proving haters wrong when he beat AJ Styles clean. Dominik said he was built different, Ripley said “yeah you are” and Dom claimed he was this generation’s Eddie Guerrero. The fans booed that, so Dominik said that Eddie was his generation’s Dominik Mysterio. Dominik said what he did to AJ Styles is just a small taste…and here’s The OC.

AJ Styles was joined by Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson aka The C as Styles told Dominik to shut up. Styles said that Charlotte, NC knows good wrestling when they see it and Dom is not it. Styles told Dom he was this generation’s James Ellsworth and Gallows called him “Jimmy No Chin.” Styles said they’ll pick off The Judgment Day one by one. Balor said that Styles is hiding the club that Balor started and Balor said that everybody that came after him is living off his legacy. Balor said if you step up, you’ll get put down. Anderson told Balor to stop talking and remind Charlotte, North Carolina (cheap pop) why Karl is the toughest man in the building and Karl wanted to do this match right now.

Analysis: It was okay as a show opening promo. The faces did some cheap pops while Dominik had some very heelish lines calling himself the Eddie Guerrero of this era, which is always going to upset the fans that loved Eddie. The fans boo Dominik louder than the others in the group because they don’t like that he turned on his father Rey Mysterio, so they let him know it. I didn’t think the promo lasted too long.

Finn Balor (w/Damian Priest, Dominik Mysterio & Rhea Ripley) vs. Karl Anderson (w/AJ Styles & Luke Gallows)

The announcers mentioned Balor and Anderson were former friends. Balor with a shoulder tackle, Anderson came back with an uppercut, as well as a jumping side kick and Balor bailed to the floor as the show went to break.

(Commercial)

Balor had a chinlock leading into a neckbreaker. Anderson was in control with kicks to the back of Balor’s left leg. Balor sent Anderson into the corner, Anderson with a boot and two forearm smashes. Anderson with a punch followed by a great spinebuster for two.

(Commercial)

Balor was working over Anderson with punches, Anderson got out of it with a kick to the leg and Anderson hit a running sitout Powerbomb for two. Balor countered a move with a reverse DDT for a two count. Balor stomped on Anderson repeatedly. Anderson fought back by going to the ropes, he blocked a kick and Anderson jumped off the ropes with a neckbreaker for two. Great move that the fans reacted to as a possible nearfall. They ran the ropes with Balor hitting the Slingblade neckbreaker. Balor with a shotgun dropkick into the corner. Balor went up top, but Anderson was back up to trip Balor on the top rope. Anderson hit a superplex with no cover because Dominik was on the apron, so Styles tripped up Dominik. Priest sent Styles over the commentary table. Ripley shoved Gallows into the ring post and Ripley gave Gallows a body slam on the floor! That was awesome. Dominik was distracting the referee, so Ripley went into the ring and hit a low blow uppercut on Anderson. Balor covered Anderson for the pinfall win. It went about 15 minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Finn Balor

Analysis: ***1/4 A pretty good match here with The Judgment Day getting the cheap win as usual for them. Ripley continues to play a major role in their matches as she hit the key low blow leading to Balor winning. The Ripley slam on Gallows drew a big reaction because you don’t see a woman slamming a 300-pound man in wrestling, so it’s a smart spot to do to get a reaction. It made sense for Balor to win since he’s a top singles star while Anderson is a tag team guy. I admit that it went longer than I thought it would go, but I think Anderson deserves a lot of credit for doing a nice job in this spot and showing the fans that he can do well in singles when he gets the chance.

They showed highlights from last week’s Raw showing The Miz doing a cheap attack on Dexter Lumis by hitting him with a steel chair to the back and a Skull Crushing Finale on the chair. Johnny Gargano warned Miz that if he doesn’t come clean, Johnny will blow the whistle on Miz.

The Miz was shown walking up to Johnny Gargano. Miz asked what Gargano knows, Johnny said Miz knows and Miz said there’s nothing to know. Gargano wondered why Miz is asking what he knows. Miz yelled at Gargano for trolling him and they yelled at eachother leading to Miz making his entrance. It should lead to a match since Miz was in his ring gear.

(Commercial)

They showed Corey Lajoie from the NASCAR Cup Series at ringside along with NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt Jr., who got a big pop.

Let’s Hear from The Miz

The Miz said he could beat Dale in a race with his Tesla. Earnhardt: “F**k you.” That was good! Miz said that Gargano was right because Miz was keeping a secret and he will reveal it. Miz complained about Dexter Lumis (he didn’t name him) talking about all of the repeated attacks by Lumis against Miz. The Miz said that the reason that lunatic targeted Miz is because of his mind. Miz bragged about his knowledge in this ring while claiming that the lunatic (Lumis) was jealous that Miz chose to help Tommaso Ciampa instead of Lumis. Miz claimed that Ciampa was missing and he wants to know where he is.

Johnny Gargano interrupted the promos saying that’s not what really happened. Gargano said that Ciampa is not missing since Gargano just texted him and Ciampa is actually injured, so Miz is a liar. Gargano told Miz to tell the real truth or you know what’s going to happen because Gargano will blow the whistle on Miz. The fans cheered for Gargano to blow the whistle. Miz said he’s been telling nothing but the truth…and here’s R-Truth! Yeah!

R-Truth made his entrance singing his classic “What’s Up” song wearing a Charlotte Hornets’ LaMelo Ball jersey because Truth is from the Charlotte area.

R-Truth told Miz he said he wanted to tell the truth, so R-Truth is here. Gargano said that technically he is the real truth. Miz ripped on Truth for eating crappy Carolina comfort food that clogged his brains. Truth told Miz not to talk down on their mac & cheese. Miz said maybe he’s the idiot thinking they can handle his reasoning. Truth told Miz not to talk down about the macaroni & cheese, so Truth suggested he gives Miz a North Cackalacky butt-whooping. Gargano said he knew Dexter deflated Miz’s balls, but didn’t realize he have any left. Miz said that he wants a match, he wants truth and Truth/Gargano both said “you can’t handle the truth” which is the famous line from the movie “A Few Good Men” from about 30 years ago. That match is next.

Analysis: There were some funny lines in there from Truth and Gargano mocking Miz, who played the role of the serious heel. I thought it was entertaining for the most part. It’s been a long time since R-Truth has been in a match on Raw since he’s mostly on Main Event these days. Since he’s a Charlotte, NC guy, it made sense to put him in a match.

A video aired about Crown Jewel featuring the Brock Lesnar-Bobby Lashley match.

(Commercial)

The Miz vs. R-Truth

Miz attacked Truth from behind to start from the match. Truth went for a kick, but Miz came back with along with a running splash on Truth against the middle ropes. Truth hit two running shoulder tackles, then the sitout slam and a John Cena-like hand gesture leading to the “you can’t see me” chant from the crowd. Miz hit a jumping knee to the face. Miz pointed out somebody standing in the crowd with a hood along with some gloves. Miz thought it was Lumis. Truth hit a ROLLUP OF DEATH~! on Miz for the pinfall win after three minutes.

Winner by pinfall: R-Truth

Analysis: * A rare Raw win for R-Truth as Miz continues to be affected by the mind games. The ROLLUP OF DEATH~! strikes again. Of course it does. Triple H really likes booking distraction rollup finishes. They happen a lot. At least this time it was done to give a face a win.

The hooded figure revealed that it was Johnny Gargano, who was laughing about it. Miz was frustrated by it.

Analysis: They have done a nice job of involving Gargano in the story as an ally of Lumis that also gets to mess with The Miz a lot.

Candice LeRae was featured in a sitdown interview with Cathy Kelley. LeRae talked about how excited she was to be on Raw while talking about being in NXT, then being a mom and coming back to WWE. LeRae mentioned having friends like Asuka, Alexa Bliss and Bianca Belair, so Bayley and Damage CTRL showed up. Bayley bragged about taking out Belair’s friends. LeRae ripped on IYO SKY and Dakota Kai while telling Bayley that she is still not the Raw Women’s Champion. Bayley knocked down the camera and then the girls were screaming with the idea that the heels attacked LeRae there.

Analysis: The story is that Damage CTRL have now “taken out” Alexa Bliss, Asuka and Candice LeRae, who are all Bianca Belair’s friends, so Belair doesn’t have help to fight off Damage CTRL now. I guess the other women that are barely booked on the show are in catering or something.

(Commercial)

Elias was shown walking with his guitar while Matt Riddle was there with his bongos. Elias wanted to clear the air about last week and Riddle was practicing his music. Elias talked about how he didn’t like being interrupted, but he knows Riddle was friends with Elias. Riddle: “I’ve been hitting the bongs all week.” Riddle played his drums, so Chad Gable and Otis interrupted with Chad doing his “SHOOSH” line. Gable told Elias to shave his beard so he can be Ezekiel, then Elias shot that down and it led to Elias challenging Gable to a match. That somehow led to the line about “eating crap like you for breakfast” from the movie Happy Gilmore.

Austin Theory made his entrance first and he did some pre-tape trash talk for Mustafa Ali. That led to Mustafa Ali as we got a recap of last week when he targeted Seth “Freakin” Rollins. That led to Rollins making his entrance with a neon-colored jacket and pants with the US Title on his shoulder. The fans were singing the Rollins song as usual.

Austin Theory vs. Mustafa Ali

Seth “Freakin” Rollins was on commentary for this match. After a lockup, Theory shoved Ali down. Theory ran the ropes leading to a shoulder tackle. Theory put his knee against Ali’s back against the middle rope while Rollins praised Theory saying he saw big things in his future. Theory with a knee to the ribs, Ali came back with a headscissors takedown and Ali set up Theory on the turnbuckle. Ali did a backflip off the top, Theory jumped off the middle turnbuckle with nothing and Ali hit Theory with a dropkick. Ali to the apron, Theory tripped him up there and Theory sent Ali into the top of the commentary table. Theory gave Ali a neckbreaker on the floor while Rollins was laughing about it.

(Commercial)

Theory sent Ali out of the ring and then Theory brought Ali back into the ring so that Theory could look at his phone that was under the turnbuckle. Theory was looking at his phone while on the apron, so Ali dropkicked Theory off the apron to the floor. Ali jumped off the top with a flip dive onto Theory on the floor. Ali with a kick to the jaw followed by a neckbreaker for two. Ali with a superkick along with a leap off the turnbuckle into a DDT for two. Ali went up top, he jumped off with a 450 Splash, Theory avoided it and Theory hit a cradle suplex into the knee for a two count. Rollins yelled at Theory to put him away. Theory with a lift, Ali got out of it and Ali hit the backstabber (double knees to the back). Ali went up top, Rollins went into the ring to distract, so Theory kicked the rope to knock Ali down. Theory hit the A-Town Down for the pinfall win after 12 minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Austin Theory

Analysis: ***1/4 A solid match between two talented young guys. Ali is always going to put on a show when he gets that much time while Theory is certainly good enough as well. It was another match with a distraction finish since Rollins got involved leading to Theory knocking Ali off the top rope followed by his finisher. Ali showed a lot of heart as a babyface that is talented in the ring.

Post match, Rollins threw Ali out of the ring and threw Ali over the barricade. Rollins sent Ali into the crowd and Rollins told somebody to get Ali out of there. Rollins left proudly.

When Rollins was by the entrance area, Ali made it back there to go after him. Ali sent Rollins into the LED boards by the entrance. Rollins ran away. Ali: “I’m not going anywhere.”

Analysis: It seems obvious they are building to Rollins defending the US Title against Ali at some point soon although nothing is official yet.

Johnny Gargano was shown in the hallway, The Miz complained to Johnny about how he dressed like him (Lumis) and deceived him so Johnny told Miz that he (Miz) was deceiving everybody. Miz walked away.

John Bradshaw Layfield and Baron Corbin went up to Gargano. JBL called Gargano an “internet hero” and “independent darling” and JBL told Gargano if this was the Attitude Era, he would be carrying his bags. Gargano said he was eight years old during the Attitude Era. Gargano said JBL deserved his respect, they shook hands and he ripped JBL for his MC Hammer pants. Gargano ripped on Corbin for changing his name. JBL kept Corbin back and that led to a match challenge with Corbin facing Gargano later.

Omos was up next.

(Commercial)

This Friday on Smackdown it’s on FS1 for those of you in the US because the MLB World Series are on Fox. Roman Reigns will be there and I believe Logan Paul is as well. Ronda Rousey also has an open challenge for the Smackdown Women’s Championship.

There was a graphic shown as the announcers talked about The Rock’s “Black Adam” movie being the number one movie in the world. I might check it out next week.

A video package aired showing the history of Bianca Belair and Bayley to set up the main event of the show.

Omos and MVP made their entrance for Omos competing in a 1-on-4 match. The big man Omos will face Braun Strowman at Crown Jewel. MVP mentioned Omos shoving Braun Strowman out of the ring on Smackdown as if Strowman was a small child. Omos put his giant hand that covered nearly the entire face of one of the small wrestlers in the ring. MVP said he respected the ambition of the four guys in the ring and hoped they had a good health insurance plan. MVP said that Omos will be the victorious monster at Crown Jewel.

Omos (w/MVP) vs. Four Dudes With No Chance

They didn’t show the names of the opponents on screen although Kevin did say their first names. I don’t need people to tell me their names either. A few looked familiar to me anyway. I’m just saying WWE didn’t even bother to show their names on a graphic. Omos tossed a guy across the ring and hit a Chokeslam on another guy. All four guys attacked Omos with punches, but he powered back up, Omos with a kick to the face, a front suplex on a guy and Omos sent a guy into the turnbuckle followed by a running boot. That’s the Kevin Nash sequence. Omos hit corner splashes on two guys as MVP said “let’s go home” to wrap it up. Omos hit a double Choke Bomb and stacked two guys leading to a foot on the chest pin to win.

Winner by pinfall: Omos

Analysis: 1/2* A squash match to put over Omos in a big way. Omos is impressive when he is on offense. Sometimes he doesn’t sell well, but I am intrigued by the match against Strowman. I think Strowman should win it.

Elias was shown walking backstage for his match.

(Commercial)

A commercial aired for NXT on Tuesday promoting two Tag Team Title matches.

There will be a closer look at the Brock Lesnar/Bobby Lashley story later on Raw.

Chad Gable made his entrance with Otis. No pre-match promo from Gable, who told some young fans to “shoosh” on his way to the ring. Elias made his entrance with the guitar in hand.

Elias vs. Chad Gable (w/Otis)

Gable did this great takedown where he faked a takedown, Elias bit on it and Gable did a takedown, so Graves was amazed by it. Gable got a side headlock takedown, then Elias had a side headlock of his own. Elias with a hiptoss and a body slam. Elias avoided a takedown, then Elias did a “SHOOSH” to Gable and Elias hit a suplex after they exchanged some moves. Elias ran the ropes, Gable distracted the referee, Otis pulled down the top rope and Elias bumped over the top to the floor.

(Commercial)

Gable was on the top rope and he jumped off with a headbutt to the right shoulder of Elias. They replayed the impressive leap. Elias with a lefty clothesline followed by a fallaway slam across the ring. Elias hit a splash in the corner and shouted: “Who wants the walk with Elias?” The fans barely reacted to it. Otis with a distraction, Gable took down Elias with an Ankle Lock. Elias got out of it and Gable slammed Elias off his shoulders. Gable with a moonsault off the top, but Elias was ready for it with a rising knee for a two count. That was a cool counter although it made Gable look like a fool since Elias was standing against the turnbuckle as Gable jumped off the top. Gable sent Elias out of the ring. Otis charged, Elias avoided him and Otis hit the ring post. Elias with a boot to the face along with a twisting suplex/neckbreaker on Gable for the pinfall win after about nine minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Elias

Analysis: **3/4 It was an average match mostly because Elias isn’t the most exciting face to watch. The fans were quiet for a lot of it. I think Elias is better as a heel and the fans don’t really cheer for him much even if he shouts out a catchphrase at them. Gable is so technically good in the ring with so many counter moves throughout a match. Sadly, they use him to put over people nearly every week because I think WWE knows he’s going to put on a good match every time. I just wish he could win some matches. In this case, it was obvious Elias would win since it was his first Raw match (as Elias) in a year.

Post match, Otis ran over Elias with a running body attack with Gable joining in on the 2-on-1 attack. Matt Riddle made the save with a jumping knee on Otis, a Bro to Sleep knee on Gable and Riddle sent Otis out of the ring. Riddle with a kick to Otis followed by Riddle hit a springboard Floating Bro onto Otis/Gable on the floor. Riddle helped Elias back up. The fans cheered for that.

Analysis: The fans reacted to Riddle unlike Elias. That should set up a tag team match between the two sides next week. I think Elias is better off as a heel, so I wonder if he turns on Riddle soon.

A replay was shown of the Finn Balor/Karl Anderson match finish with Rhea Ripley having a big impact when she slammed Gallows on the floor (great spot) and hit a low blow on Anderson leading to Balor’s win.

The OC trio of AJ Styles, Gallows & Anderson were in the trainer’s room with Anderson holding an ice bag over his groin to sell the low blow. That’s funny. Styles said they had a Rhea problem. Gallows said he has a Rhea-lution (solution) and he’ll handle it because he’s the best with women. Styles said she body slammed Gallows, who said body slams are his love language. Gallows left, so Anderson said Gallows is not good with women and Styles said he is terrible with women.

Analysis: Gallows saying body slams are his love language was cheesy enough to make me laugh, so I give them that. Anyway, they will try to find a woman to help them deal with Ripley.

John Bradshaw Layfield made his entrance in a suit for Baron Corbin’s match up next.

A commercial aired for Crown Jewel on November 5th with Logan Paul challenging the Undisputed WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns.

(Commercial)

AJ Styles and Karl Anderson were in the trainer’s room with Karl asking where Gallows is? Gallows walked back in holding his groin took Anderson’s ice pack to cover his groin. Gallows said “she got me too.” Styles said they had a “Rhea problem” and had to do something.

The WWE Hall of Famer John Bradshaw Layfield was in the ring in his suit and cowboy. JBL ripped on the Carolina Panthers for being 2-5 in the NFL. JBL said they took the GOAT Michael Jordan (owner of the Charlotte Hornets) and turned him into a loser. This led into JBL’s big introduction for Baron Corbin, who returned to Raw last week. Johnny Gargano was up next as the opponent.

Baron Corbin (w/John Bradshaw Layfield) vs. Johnny Gargano

JBL was on commentary just like last week. Big size difference since Corbin is a lot taller. Gargano hit a headscissors takedown, then a dropkick to send Corbin out of the ring and Gargano hit a suicide dive on the floor. Corbin picked up Gargano and drove him back-first into the ring post. JBL called Corbin a salvation in this business. Corbin with a hard whip into the turnbuckle followed by a running splash. Gargano with an elbow, but Corbin came back with his own strike to the face. Gargano hit a dropkick that sent Corbin over the top to the floor. Gargano with a kick to the chest, then he jumped onto Corbin, who slammed Gargano onto the hood of the commentary table. The table did not break, but it was a hard slam.

(Commercial)

Corbin tossed Gable across the ring followed by Corbin picking up Gargano for a spinning slam off the shoulders, so it was like a neckbreaker for two. The fans chanted “you can’t wrestle” at Corbin. When Corbin charged, Gargano moved and sent Corbin into the turnbuckle. Gargano with a step up enziguri, a knee to the jaw and Gargano hit a bulldog. Corbin sent Gargano to the apron, then Gargano came back with a Spear while on the apron and that was a two count. Good spot there. Corbin caught Gargano in his arms leading to a fallaway slam across the ring (that’s a JBL/Razor Ramon move). Gargano countered a Corbin move into a pin attempt for two. Gargano with punches to the body, then he charged and Corbin hit the Deep Six slam for two. Patrick doesn’t know move names so he called it a “Ring Around The Rosey” (what?) and Corbin ripped on him for calling it that, so JBL joined in to criticize Patrick for it. Corbin has been doing that move for a nearfall for about a decade. Announcers should know the name for it. Gargano fought back with strikes along with a headbutt, Corbin to the floor and a slide back in with Gargano hitting a superkick. Corbin was on the floor, Gargano tried a dive, Corbin caught him and sent Gargano into the hood of the commentary table. Corbin took the table cover off. Gargano with a superkick, Corbin charged, Gargano moved and Corbin hit the steel steps. Gargano was on the table and he put on JBL’s white cowboy hat. That drew a pop from the crowd. Gargano jumped off the table with a DDT on Corbin. Gargano with a kick to the head. The referee was distracted by Corbin, so JBL tripped up Gargano on the apron. Corbin hit the End of Days slam for the pinfall win. At least Patrick knew the name of that move. It went 14 minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Baron Corbin

Analysis: *** A solid match because Gargano doesn’t have bad matches. It was another match with interference leading to the finish with JBL tripping up Gargano because JBL didn’t like Gargano putting on JBL’s hat. Corbin’s style isn’t the most exciting to watch, so seeing Corbin on offense for a long time is a bit tedious to watch. I think it’s dumb for fans to chant “you can’t wrestle” at somebody like Corbin, but I get that they dislike the guy. The result wasn’t a surprise since Corbin was just brought back last week, so they want to give him some momentum.

Bianca Belair was interviewed by Cathy Kelley talking about how Bayley and her friends have taken out Belair’s friends. Belair said that this rivalry with Bayley has been about more than championships, it’s about payback. Belair said that Bayley has taken out every one of her friends, so Belair won’t stop until Bayley is left with absolutely nothing.

(Commercial)

Johnny Gargano was shown backstage with a towel around his neck. The Miz gave Gargano a card for Candice saying they hope she feels better. The Miz told Gargano maybe they should put this nonsense behind them and talk like reasonable men. Gargano wanted Miz to tell the truth and if he doesn’t then next week, Gargano will. Gargano said that the card was empty, then said Miz was rich and Miz should have put some money into it.

A video package aired recapping the Brock Lesnar-Bobby Lashley story ahead of their Crown Jewel match on November 5th. The video was awesome as usual. They have built up the story well with Lesnar attacking Lashley to cost Bobby the US Title and then Lashley got payback last week on Raw.

Bayley made her entrance for the main event joined by her Damage CTRL allies Dakota Kai and IYO SKY. Next Monday is Halloween Raw from Dallas, Texas. That match was next.

(Commercial)

Next week on Raw on Halloween night: Brock Lesnar returns. That’s all they mentioned.

The storyline update on Candice LeRae is that he had a sprained left shoulder from the “attack” earlier in the show.

Bianca Belair, the Raw Women’s Champion, made her entrance to a good pop. Belair recently passed 200 days as the champion. Belair won the title at WrestleMania 38 back in April.

Bayley vs. Bianca Belair (w/IYO SKY & Dakota Kai)

This was not for Belair’s title. There was over 20 minutes left in the show, so they had plenty of time for this match. Bayley worked on the left arm with an armbar along with a kick to the arm. Belair came back with a body slam to show off her power. Bayley did a counter move for a pin attempt that got a two count. After Belair did a backflip, Bayley hit a running forearm for a two count. Belair got a rollup, then another pin attempt and Bayley kicked Belair away. Belair with a suplex, she went for it again, Bayley got out of it and Belair hit a backbreaker. Bayley to the floor, so Belair did a slingshot dive over the top onto Bayley on the floor. That led to a break.

(Commercial)

Bayley with a kick to the leg followed by a running clothesline. Bayley was on the floor leading to a suplex on the floor. Back in the ring, Bayley got a two count. Belair with punches, Bayley shoved Belair down and Bayley worked over Belair with punches while taunting the crowd. Belair set up Bayley on her shoulders, Bayley held onto the ropes and pulled on Belair’s arm as Bianca continued to sell the left arm injury. Bayley with a snapmare takedown, then she missed two elbow drops and Belair hit a back elbow on a charging Bayley. When Bayley charged, Belair avoided it and jumped back into the ring. Bayley was back in the ring, so Belair hit her with a suplex. Bayley with a running forearm, then a dropkick and some corner punches that looked very safe. Just saying. Anyway, Bayley broke free by grabbing Belair’s hair and Belair hit a body slam. Belair went for a handspring moonsault, but Bayley got the knees up to block. Belair got a rollup for two. Bayley was back up with a back elbow to knock Belair down. Bayley jumped off the middle rope with an elbow drop, but Belair blocked it with her knees up. Handspring moonsault off the ropes by Belair got a two count. They were on the floor. Bayley wrenched on Belair’s arm against the barricade and Bayley hit a single-arm DDT-style move on the left arm to put Belair down on the floor.

(Commercial)

Belair was battling Bayley on the turnbuckle, Bayley fought off a superplex and wrenched on the left arm again. Bayley teased going for her own KOD, but Belair landed on her feet and Belair hit the Bayley to Belly for a two count. That move is Bayley’s old finisher. Bayley was on the floor, she pulled Belair out of the ring by grabbing her hair and Bayley sent Belair into the barricade. Belair whipped Bayley shoulder-first into the steel steps. Back in the ring, they exchanged punches, they ran the ropes and Belair hit a spinebuster for two. Sky was on the apron, Bayley delivered a punch to the jaw and Bayley hit a Bayley to Belly slam off the middle ropes for two. Good nearfall. The crowd wasn’t that loud for it. Kai and Sky cleared off the commentary table. Belair caught Bayley with a Powerbomb onto the commentary table (not hard enough to break it), then Belair sent Bayley into the ring post and the ring apron. Bayley back in the ring, Sky pulled Belair off the apron and Sky tackled Belair into the table leading to a pump kick from Kai. The referee (Danilo Anfibio) ejected Kai and Sky from ringside, but then Nikki Cross showed up to jump off the top rope with a cross body block on Sky, Kai and the referee. (The announcers had to act like they didn’t know who it was because it was such a random dive out of nowhere.) Belair fought off a Roseplant attempt and Belair hit a KOD slam. Belair covered, the referee was down on the floor and Nikki was in the ring to shove Belair into the turnbuckle. Nikki hit a twisting neckbreaker on Belair. Graves shouted about how it was Nikki Cross. Bayley covered Belair with one arm on the chest, referee Jessika Carr ran down to the ring and counted the pinfall to give Bayley the win. It went 23 minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Bayley

Analysis: ***1/2 A very good match as usual between these two with Bayley getting a win on Belair, who rarely loses. They got a lot of time, so they were able to work at a slower pace and tell a story with Bayley working on the left arm a lot. It was another match without a clean finish because they protect Belair all the time, which is fine since she’s a champion. I certainly didn’t expect Nikki Cross in that spot, but I’m glad she isn’t Nikki A.S.H. anymore. From a logical standpoint, shouldn’t the referee that came into the ring (Jessika Carr) actually disqualify Bayley because Nikki attacked Belair? Of course, it’s not going to happen because the finish was the cheap win for Bayley, but I’m just saying it is silly that a referee would slide in to count after interference like that. Anyway, the win from Bayley should lead to a title match.

After the match, Nikki Cross attacked Bayley with a tackle and she punched Bayley repeatedly. Nikki made some crazy faces. Patrick said he’s never seen this sign of Nikki and Graves said he has while adding that Nikki will be a problem for everyone. Nikki stood tall in the ring as the show ended there.

Analysis: It’s good to see Nikki back portraying the wild character she thrived as before donning the silly Nikki A.S.H. gimmick. I know Nikki was credited with coming up with Nikki A.S.H., but seeing her as Nikki Cross is a lot better.

 

Three Stars of the Show

  1. Bayley
  2. Bianca Belair
  3. Finn Balor

 

The Scoreboard

7.25 out of 10

Last week: 7

 

Final Thoughts

It was pretty good overall although I admit the finishes of several matches felt repetitive. A lot of the heel wins were the usual distraction endings that Triple H loves to book as finishes. I like the booking in general, but there are too many heel distraction/interference finishes more than once on the same show. There were five of them this week including Nikki Cross costing Bianca Belair her match against Bayley. Nikki also attacked Bayley post match to show she’s back to her old gimmick of being wild and crazy, which she pulls off well. Bayley beating Belair in extremely cheap fashion should lead to a title shot.

They put over Rhea Ripley a lot even though she wasn’t in a match. The body slam on Luke Gallows on the floor was awesome and drew a big reaction as it should. Ripley also hit a low blow on Karl Anderson leading to Finn Balor getting a cheap win. Now The OC will have to find a woman wrestler to help them deal with Ripley going forward.

There was solid story progression throughout the show as they build to the Crown Jewel matches. I’m also intrigued by The Miz’s story with Dexter Lumis (not on the show) that now involves Johnny Gargano, who claims that Miz has a secret. I like that this creative team is coming up with stories for more of the talent. That’s definitely a positive change from the previous regime.

The next WWE Premium Live Event is Crown Jewel from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on Saturday, November 5th. Here’s what we know so far.

wwe crown jewel 2022 brock lesnar bobby lashley

* Undisputed WWE Universal Championship: Roman Reigns (c) vs. Logan Paul

* Brock Lesnar vs. Bobby Lashley

* The OC – AJ Styles, Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson vs. The Judgment Day – Finn Balor, Damian Priest & Dominik Mysterio (w/Rhea Ripley)

* Braun Strowman vs. Omos

You can watch WWE Crown Jewel on Saturday, November 5, at 12 p.m. ET/9 a.m. PT, streaming live from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, exclusively on Peacock in the U.S. and on WWE Network everywhere else.

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Thanks for reading.

John Canton

Email: mrjohncanton@gmail.com

Twitter: @johnreport