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The John Report: The WWE Raw Deal 11/14/22 Review

wwe raw deal nov 14

This week’s WWE Raw featured Seth Rollins defending the US Title against Finn Balor, Matt Riddle facing Chad Gable and more.

This is the Raw Deal for episode #1538 of Monday Night Raw. It’s taking place at the KFC Yum! Center in Louisville, Kentucky. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport. Let’s get to it.

A big name started off the show as the United States Champion Seth “Freakin” Rollins making his entrance in a white suit with some more colors as the crowd was singing the song as usual. The Raw commentary team of Kevin Patrick and Corey Graves welcomes us to the show.

There was a video was showing highlights of last week’s Raw when Bobby Lashley attacked Rollins, then Austin Theory tried cashing in Money in the Bank, but Lashley attacked him too (the referee was down) and Rollins beat Theory to keep the title. That meant Theory lost the Money in the Bank contract.

Let’s Hear from Seth “Freakin” Rollins

The fans were loudly singing the Rollins song. Seth welcomed Kentucky to Monday Night Rollins leading to Seth going over his nicknames and the fans shouted his name. Rollins had more blonde hair now as he reminded us he is still the US Champion. Rollins mentioned people coming after his title like Finn Balor, Mustafa Ali, Bobby Lashley and for the first time ever, Austin Theory tried to cash in his Money in the Bank contract on Seth’s US Title. Rollins laughed about how it didn’t work out well for Theory as the fans chanted “that was stupid” for Theory’s failed attempt. I think many people would agree. Rollins said you can tell Theory how stupid he is later in the show. Rollins talked about how the US Title is the top prize on Monday nights because he is holding the title. Rollins said in the main event he’ll go one on one for the US Title against Finn Balor.

It was time for the “All Mighty” Bobby Lashley to make his presence felt in his ring gear. Lashley said he turned little selfie boy (Theory) into a punchline. Lashley got into the ring that the beating he gave Rollins will continue to happen until Lashley gets his US Title back. Seth called him “Big Bob.” Rollins said last week instead of a match, Lashley tried to take Seth’s soul from his body. Rollins mentioned that Lashley lost to Brock Lesnar.

Mustafa Ali ran out there with a referee walking out there with him. Lashley issued a warning to Ali telling him to walk out of there before Lashley hurts Ali. Instead, Ali went into the ring and Lashley elbowed Ali in the head. Lashley tossed Ali out of the ring. Lashley threatened Rollins, but Ali was back to jump on Lashley’s back. Lashley tossed Ali over the top to the floor while Rollins left. Lashley welcomed Ali to come into the ring for an ass whooping and that match will be after a break.

Analysis: It was fine as an opening segment to summarize some of the things that happened last week while also building to what’s coming this week. There wasn’t anything special about it. However, it’s clear that Rollins is more of a face now as I have mentioned for several weeks.

(Commercial)

Bobby Lashley vs. Mustafa Ali

The action spilled to the floor quickly, Ali managed to knock Lashley down briefly, but Lashley was back up. Lashley put Ali on his shoulders and sent Ali right into the ring post. Lashley tossed Ali over the commentary table with Ali favoring his left wrist. Al got back in the ring before the ten count leading to Lashley hitting a spinning slam off the shoulders. Ali jumped off the ropes going for a move, Lashley blocked it and Lashley hit a huge spinebuster. Lashley was down selling for several moments, then Lashley picked him up again and hit another spinebuster. The referee checked on Ali while the fans chanted “one more time” for it. Lashley charged, Ali moved out of the way and Ali jumped off the ropes to hit the DDT. Ali charged, Lashley was back up and hit a Spear. Lashley applied the Hurt Lock submission, Ali wasn’t quitting and then Lashley held on long enough so that Ali passed out to give Lashley the win. This went about five minutes.

Winner by submission: Bobby Lashley

Analysis: * A squash match to put over Lashley, who is angry about a lot of things and took it out on Ali. It’s great to see how they are booking Lashley as a dominant force. Lashley has been a bit heelish of late, but the crowds are still cheering him for the most part. Ali showing guts by wanting to fight Lashley is okay although he ended up getting his ass kicked.

The OC trio with Mia Yim were interviewed by Cathy Kelley. AJ Styles challenged Finn Balor to a match at Survivor Series. Yim said she was going for her match, so put the beers on ice and they did the “too sweet” hand gesture to end it.

Analysis: Adding Styles vs. Balor to Survivor Series is great. They are two of the best, so it’s a good singles match to have on the card.

(Commercial)

Mia Yim vs. Tamina

Rhea Ripley and Dominik Mysterio went out to the ring to watch the match. Yim and Tamina exchanged strikes, Yim sent Tamina into the turnbuckle and hit a jumping kick to the head. Some fans were chanting “oh bask in his glory” to reference Keith Lee, who is married to Yim, but the chant didn’t pick up. Yim ran the ropes leading to Tamina hitting an uppercut. Yim avoided a power move and Yim hit the Eat Defeat boot to the face for the pinfall win. It went about two minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Mia Yim

Analysis: 1/2* A quick match to put over Yim in her return to the ring while Tamina is barely on the show. The Eat Defeat move is something that the now-retired Gail Kim used throughout her career.

Post match, Ripley teased a fight with Yim, but then Ripley backed away leading to boos for some cheap heat.

Matt Riddle was shown backstage with his bongos as Cathy Kelley asked Riddle about his match. Riddle claimed Elias is booking their gigs. Chad Gable silenced Riddle with a “shoosh” so Riddle said “bro” and Otis was there as well with Gable as they made a lot of noise. Gable said he was going to put Riddle down.

(Commercial)

Mia Yim was shown walking backstage with Damage CTRL going up to her. Dakota Kai said they were impressed by her and said they have a lot in common because they know what it’s like to be cast aside. Bayley said that Yim needs to remind people who she is by joining their team at Survivor Series. Yim said she didn’t have a problem with Belair, Bliss or Asuka so she’ll think about it. IYO SKY told Yim not to think about it for too long. The OC trio showed up with beer so Damage CTRL left.

Matt Riddle vs. Chad Gable (w/Otis)

This was originally advertised as Riddle & Elias vs. Gable & Otis, but there’s no Elias on the show so it’s a singles match instead. They showed last week on Raw when Otis beat Elias.

They did some mat wrestling on, Riddle got an armbar and Gable did a thrust to the throat. Gable hit a belly to back suplex for two. Riddle went for some kicks, but Gable got a dragon screw leg whip. Riddle avoided a charge and hit a kick to the chest. Riddle hit a gutwrench suplex. Otis caused a distraction, Riddle was on the top rope, then Gable jumped up to the top and suplexed Riddle back into the ring. That led to a break.

(Commercial)

Gable was in control, he did his “SHOOSH” yell and Riddle got back into it with a Fisherman’s buster. They exchanged strikes, Riddle hit a jumping knee, a forearm in the corner and an exploder suplex. Riddle with a broton splash and a Powerbomb followed by another knee for a two count. They exchanged submission holds, then Gable had Riddle on his shoulders and did a sitout slam into the mat for a two count. Gable charged, Riddle caught him and Riddle hit a draping DDT off the ropes like Randy Orton. Riddle wanted an RKO, Otis on the apron, Riddle hit him with a forearm and a kick to knock the big guy down. Gable went for a rolling German Suplex, Riddle got out of it, Gable with a backslide pin with his feet on the ropes plus Otis holding the feet and Gable got the cheap win. It went 10 minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Chad Gable

Analysis: *** A good match between two talented guys. It’s rare to see Gable get a win in a singles match, but it was cheap with Otis getting involved. Last week Otis beat Elias, so it’s a bit of a winning streak for the Alpha Academy. I don’t know where the story is really going other than using the numbers game to give the heels a win. Riddle has lost a lot of momentum from when he beat Rollins at Extreme Rules last month. They will probably bring back Elias to have him and Rollins beat Alpha Academy to continue the story.

They showed a card game with Baron Corbin, John Bradshaw Layfield and some random guy with Corbin winning the hand, so the random guy left the table. JBL turned down Kentucky bourbon and said he had some Ugandan bourbon instead. Akira Tozawa sat down at the table saying he wanted to play poker even though he’s never played poker before, so JBL said his money is good there.

The Miz made his entrance wearing a sweater like he’s Mr. Rogers or something with Graves making a reference to Mr. Rogers and saying that Miz is such a nice family man.

(Commercial)

Miz TV

The Miz was in the ring saying he will let Byron Saxton host Miz TV this time. There were two chairs in the ring along with a small table that had a picture of Miz with his family. Saxton mentioned the hidden camera footage by Johnny Gargano leading to Miz saying he prepared a statement. Miz asked for silence, so instead the crowd made a lot of noise to annoy him.

The Miz talked about how he’s been there for 18 years, he admitted that he did pay Dexter Lumis and he rarely took days off or got hurt. Miz said that he asked for very little from Dexter, but Dexter kept on taking with no end in sight. The Miz said that he had to put a stop to Dexter. Miz claimed he was putting on a performance saying in Hollywood, they don’t want real, they want to spin the truth to make it more interesting. Miz said in reality is he is a devoted father, a loving husband and a man that has been depressed about everything that has happened.

Johnny Gargano showed up to interrupt saying that that Miz was actually in Cabo on vacation with his family, Miz wondered how he saw that and Johnny reminded him that Miz’s wife (the lovely Maryse) posted photos on Instagram. Miz claimed he was depressed in his hotel room. Gargano said that Miz got caught up in the line and he stopped paying Lumis because that’s easier than telling the truth. Miz shouted about why Johnny was even involved in this while saying he just wanted people to chant “Johnny Wrestling” so that led to the fans chanting that. Gargano told “Mike” that everybody knows that Miz is a compulsive liar that lies about everything starting with that sweater he is wearing. Miz: “It’s a cardigan!” Gargano mentioned “Mr. Rogers” and the fans popped because they chanted that. Miz shouted that he’s a good guy. Miz said “I’m sorry” repeatedly and wanted to move on from this.

Gargano said that Miz should pay Dexter what he is owed. Gargano said that WWE Officials thought the hidden camera footage was pretty convincing, so this will end in two weeks in this very ring when The Miz takes on Dexter Lumis. Gargano added that if Dexter wins, Miz will have to pay him everything that he is owed and Lumis finally gets a WWE contract. Miz told Gargano to tell Lumis that this match will the biggest mistake of Dexter’s life because the next time Miz sees him, there will be no money, no contract – just lights out and it will be awesome. Gargano told Miz to tell Dexter himself, which led to Dexter showing up behind Miz wearing camera man gear and revealing that he was there the whole time. When Miz saw Lumis, he ran away from him and got out of the ring while Lumis stared from inside the ring. Lumis walked after Miz, who went to the backstage area.

Analysis: It’s a long-term story that has had a lot of twists that will finally have a pay off when they do the match on Raw in two weeks. It’s fine with me to have stories and grudge matches ending in TV matches instead of at a PPV/PLE event. The Miz is really good at working the crowd, which is no surprise considering his experience. Gargano has been fun in his role as well as an ally of Lumis, who doesn’t talk, so the story has worked for the most part. Lumis should get the win over Miz in two weeks to put an end to the story.

Shelton Benjamin was interviewed by Cathy Kelley earlier in the night. Damian Priest and Dominik Mysterio showed up with Dominik telling Shelton that he’s been a failure since his deadbeat dad Rey and Eddie Guerrero were in their prime. Shelton told “little boy” to get out of his face. Priest stepped in front of Dominik, who hid behind Priest. They exchanged words with Priest saying they should settle this in the ring, Benjamin accepted and told Dominik he’ll see him in the ring. Dominik was hiding behind Priest so it was done in a way where it looked like Dominik wanted Priest to take the match, but Benjamin outsmarted them.

The Judgment Day’s Dominik Mysterio, Damian Priest and Rhea Ripley entered for Dom’s match. No Finn Balor because he’s in the main event later.

(Commercial)

Dominik Mysterio (w/Damian Priest & Rhea Ripley) vs. Shelton Benjamin)

The announcers mentioned Benjamin’s history in Louisville when he trained at OVW over 20 years ago. There was a light “OVW” chant. Dominik with a slap to the face and then he left the ring. Benjamin came back with punches followed by a slap to the face. Dominik with a kick, Benjamin with a shoulder tackle and Dominik left the ring. Back in the ring, Benjamin hit a suplex. Dominik with a jawbreaker, Benjamin sent Dominik to the ropes and Dominik did a neck snap across the top rope. Dominik hit a senton splash over the top onto Benjamin in the ring. Dominik with a headscissors takedown, then he sent Benjamin into the ropes and the fans booed a 619 attempt while Benjamin came back with a powerslam. Benjamin with a running knee followed by an Exploder Suplex. Dominik left the ring again, Benjamin sent Dominik back into the ring and Dominik got a rollup for two. Benjamin applied an Ankle Lock, Ripley distracted the referee and Priest pulled Dominik to get him to the ropes, which the referee saw to force a break. Benjamin was distracted by Priest, so Dominik sent Benjamin into the ring post and Dom hit a DDT as well. Dominik went up top and hit a Frog Splash for the pinfall win after five minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Dominik Mysterio

Analysis: ** A win for the younger guy thanks to Dominik getting an assist from Ripley with the distraction and Priest saving Dominik when Benjamin was applying the Ankle Lock submission. From there it only took a few moves for Dominik to get the win with the Frog Splash. I think Dominik is doing well as a heel that is getting heat in part thanks to his friends at ringside. I like Shelton a lot, but he really doesn’t win much these days. A lot of heels win by distraction finishes in this Triple H era of shows. This was another example of that.

Austin Theory was shown backstage for an interview up next.

(Commercial)

Austin Theory was interviewed by Cathy Kelley, who introduced him as the former Mr. Money in the Bank. Theory had more of a beard this week. Theory said that nobody understands him, they don’t get the pressure he’s under and they have no idea what the full story is. Theory said he was touted to be the next big thing, he proved that on day one and he exceeded that expectation. Theory said he became the face of the franchise. Theory said that people can’t relate because they want to see him fail and fall short of the expectation. Theory said they are wrong if you think he failed last week. Theory said he feels more alive than he has ever felt. Theory said that the briefcase was an anchor while talking about how dominant Roman Reigns has been for two years and whenever Reigns looked vulnerable, The Bloodline is there. Theory said he tried to cash at SummerSlam, Brock Lesnar was there, at Clash at the Castle there was Tyson Fury and if they weren’t there, the Bloodline would have been. Theory thought about the next best thing was that he could do, so that was to go after Seth Rollins and the US Title. Theory said he had his shot last week, he would have won if Bobby Lashley didn’t show up to cash in and he would have had the best cash in ever…but here’s Dolph Ziggler to say “worst cash in ever.” Ziggler said that Theory has all these excuses. Ziggler said a few months ago, he tried to help him out, but for some reason, Theory had a failed cash in. Ziggler said he would know because he was there for the best cash in. Theory said he is sick of being talked to like he was a kid. Theory said he is not the future or a protégé, he is the now. Theory wanted to face Ziggler in a match to show he has no more excuses and Ziggler said “sure thing, kid” in reply to that.

Graves and Patrick talked about it with Graves saying that is the most focused he has seen Theory.

Analysis: What Graves just said is what I was going to write after I heard the promo – Theory is very focused. Losing the Money in the Bank briefcase got him a lot of heat and people criticized the booking decision, but as I noted last week in my Raw review it’s not like he lost cleanly. Theory lost because Lashley attacked him. Yes, the result made Theory look bad, but how they followed up on it was very important. This promo by Theory was exactly what it needed to be.

A video aired about WarGames showing some history of the event including the NXT WarGames matches over the last five years. This year it’s Raw & Smackdown talent in men’s and women’s matches at Survivor Series on November 26th. They showed a graphic with the rules of the WarGames match.

IYO SKY made her entrance by Bayley & Dakota Kai while Nikki Cross was walking with them while looking up at the sky.

(Commercial)

Dana Broke made her entrance to no reaction with the announcers trying to tell us that Brooke is angry about Nikki Cross throwing the 24/7 Title in the trash. They showed a promo from Dana being mad about it saying she will not go down without a fight.

IYO SKY (w/Bayley, Dakota Kai & Nikki Cross) vs. Dana Brooke

Brooke was aggressive with punches and a waistlock takedown. Sky sent Brooke into the ropes followed by a running boot to the face. Sky went up top and hit a missile dropkick. Sky hit a running back elbow on Brooke in the corner followed by Sky hitting double knees on Brooke in the corner. Brooke with a headscissors, Sky landed on her feet and hit a flatliner. Sky went for a moonsault off the ropes, Brooke with a kick to the leg and a DDT for two. Sky hit a German Suplex, double knees in the corner and the Over the Moonsault off the top for the pinfall win after about three minutes.

Winner by pinfall: IYO SKY

Analysis: *3/4 A short match to put over SKY as she heads into WarGames in a few weeks. Brooke got one nearfall with a DDT, but the fans were not behind her much. Sky put Brooke away easily. The crowd didn’t care about the much very much at all.

After the match, Mia Yim showed up saying she knows Bayley’s team was looking for an answer from Yim. That led to Mia said that WarGames is a fight where you have to pick a side and Yim said she picked her side. That led to Bianca Belair, Asuka & Alexa Bliss showing up so those four women are on the same team along with somebody yet to be announced.

Analysis: It makes sense to put Yim on the babyface team since she’s part of The OC group. That made the last teammate for Bayley’s side an obvious choice that we would find out later in the show.

They showed the card game again with Tozawa winning another hand and he had all the chips with him to show that he has won all the money. Tozawa challenged Corbin to a match.

Austin Theory made his entrance with a serious look on his face.

(Commercial)

Dolph Ziggler vs. Austin Theory

Theory is the cocky young heel. Ziggler used to be cocky young heel for a long time and now Ziggler is a babyface in his early 40s. Theory blocked a kick and hit a punch to the face. Theory sent Ziggler into the turnbuckle followed by a backbreaker. Theory hit a running back elbow followed by punches. Patrick mentioned some of the wrestlers that failed to cash in Money in the Bank while Graves said that Theory can bounce back and it’s about the future. Ziggler and Theory did some moves that didn’t connect leading to counters, so Theory hit a clothesline. Theory grabbed Ziggler and sent him shoulder first into the ring post. They went to break there.

(Commercial)

Ziggler got some offense going with a neckbreaker along with a jumping DDT for two. Theory sent Ziggler to the turnbuckle, then Theory caught Ziggler on his shoulders and hit a Rack Bomb off the shoulders for a two count. Patrick said “A-Town Down” but that’s not the move that Theory did. When Theory went for A-Town Down, Ziggler countered it into a tight sleeper hold. Ziggler was able to take Theory down to the match while in the sleeper hold, but Theory managed to get back up and take Ziggler down. Ziggler with a knee to the face followed by a Fameasser for two. Ziggler has been doing that move for 15 years and still gets a reaction for the two count. Theory got a back elbow to the head followed by hard whip that sent Ziggler into the ring post. Theory didn’t like Ziggler calling him a kid, so Theory threw Ziggler shoulder first into the ring post again. Ziggler countered Theory by sending Theory into the ring post and Ziggler hit a Zig Zag for two. That used to be Ziggler’s finisher, but he changed to a superkick a few years ago. The fans chanted “this is awesome” for them. Ziggler charged, Theory hit a forearm to the face and Theory hit A-Town Down. Theory thought about a pin, but then he didn’t do it. Theory picked up Ziggler and hit A-Town Down again. Theory punched Ziggler repeatedly while Ziggler rolled out of the ring. Theory whipped Ziggler into the steel steps and flipped the top of the steps onto Ziggler. The referee Danilo Anfibio was trying to get Theory to stop. Theory sent Ziggler face first into the commentary table. Theory was yelling: “Who’s the kid?” Theory sent Ziggler into the hood of the commentary table a few times, so the referee called for the DQ. It went 15 minutes.

Winner by disqualification: Dolph Ziggler

Analysis: ***1/4 It was a very good match with an ending that shows that Theory wasn’t about getting the win, he just wanted to send a message and that’s what Theory did. The last few minutes were excellent after a slow start. Ziggler got plenty of offense to show that he had a chance to win. Based on the finish, they can probably do a rematch and Theory will probably win that time.

Theory threw some chairs onto Ziggler at ringside. Theory attacked Ziggler with more punches. Some WWE Officials like Shane Helms, Adam Pearce, Jamie Noble, Petey Williams, Shawn Daivari and referees showed up to try to stop Theory. That led to Theory looking angry saying: “I ain’t no damn kid.” The crowd was booing heavily as Theory walked to the back.

Analysis: This just added to the story they were telling in the match. I really liked it a lot and Theory looked like a badass here. For months now, Theory was too much of a goofy heel. I think now Theory is more of a serious heel, so that’s a good thing.

Baron Corbin and JBL were shown walking backstage ahead of Corbin’s match.

(Commercial)

Rhea Ripley walked up to Damage CTRL with Nikki Cross in the background. Ripley said if Mia Yim is on the other side then Ripley will be on Damage CTRL’s side. Bayley and friends were happy with that. Ripley: “Let’s go to war.” Bayley and friends were smiling.

Analysis: There’s your fifth member of Bayley’s team at WarGames so it’s Ripley joining Bayley, IYO SKY, Dakota Kai and Nikki Cross. Bianca Belair is joined by Asuka, Alexa Bliss and Mia Yim with one more spot remaining. They can use that fifth spot for a mystery woman or choose somebody from Smackdown or another Raw wrestler.

Baron Corbin (w/John Bradshaw Layfield) vs. Akira Tozawa

Tozawa got some kicks, Corbin came back with a shoulder tackle and Tozawa countered a move with a DDT. Tozawa went up top leading to a missile dropkick for just a one count. Corbin charged, Tozawa got a boot up and a headscissors sending Corbin out of the ring. Tozawa hit a suicide dive onto Corbin on the floor. Corbin was on the other side of the ring on the floor, Tozawa tried a dive again and this time Corbin sent Tozawa into the barricade. Corbin worked over Tozawa with punches. Back in the ring, Tozawa with a dropkick, a hurricanrana and a Shining Wizard knee to the head. Tozawa jumped off the top with a back elbow onto a standing Corbin. Tozawa went up top, he jumped off the top, Corbin caught him and Corbin hit the End of Days slam for the pinfall win after four minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Baron Corbin

Analysis: *3/4 A decisive win for Corbin after Tozawa was on offense for about 80% of the match. It was an impressive showing by Tozawa, who is a very talented in-ring performer when he gets the chance to show what he can do. With that said, it was obvious Corbin would get the win here.

They showed highlights from Extreme Rules last month when Finn Balor beat Edge in an “I Quit” match because Rhea Ripley was about to hit Beth Phoenix with a Conchairto. After Edge quit, Ripley did it anyway.

The match between Seth “Freakin” Rollins defending the US Title against Finn Balor was still to come.

(Commercial)

They showed Austin Theory beating up Dolph Ziggler after their match earlier in the show. Graves said that Ziggler was receiving medical attention.

Bianca Belair and her team were interviewed by Cathy Kelley with only Bianca talking. Belair said she was happy to admit that Rhea Ripley is a problem, but they love having Mia Yim on their team. Cathy mentioned next week on Raw is a singles match between members of the two teams to determine who gets the advantage in WarGames. Belair did not say who was going to be in the match. Bianca said that while the other team is about games, they are about war. The ladies left.

Chad Gable and Otis walked into the picture with Gable bragging about his win saying he “singlehandedly” put down Matt Riddle just one week after Otis put down Elias last week. Seth “Freakin” Rollins was shown walking there with the US Title, Seth was singing his song and even said “SHOOSH” to the beat of his song.

Finn Balor was interviewed by Byron Saxton in the backstage area. Balor said he accepted the match against AJ Styles at Survivor Series. Balor said that he has a lot of unfinished business with Seth Rollins and he’ll remind Rollins just who he is with Balor saying he’s going to become the new United States Champion.

Analysis: That Styles-Balor match should be great. I think Edge/Phoenix are probably coming back soon for revenge against Balor/Ripley, so maybe they cost Balor the match.

Finn Balor made his entrance for the main event. This was not advertised as a US Title match, but it was changed to that earlier in the day probably to make it feel like a bigger match.

(Commercial)

There was a plug for The Undertaker’s “1 Deadman Show” in San Antonio on the night before the Royal Rumble.

A graphic confirmed the now official match for Survivor Series: AJ Styles will face Finn Balor.

Seth “Freakin” Rollins made his entrance as the United States Champion. Seth was cheered heavily by the crowd during the introductions while Rollins was booed. The fans were also singing along with Seth’s song that wasn’t even playing.

United States Championship: Seth “Freakin” Rollins vs. Finn Balor

There was plenty of time left in the show for this match. Balor had Rollins in a side headlock with the fans chanting for Rollins. Balor ran the ropes, Rollins hit a back elbow and sent Balor out of the ring. Rollins with a slingshot attack over the top onto Balor on the floor.

(Commercial)

The wrestlers were out on the floor with Balor shoving Rollins into the commentary table, so Rollins hit the edge of the table with his ribs. Balor worked over the ribs with a running knee to the ribs. Rollins hit a jawbreaker, but Balor came back with an abdominal stretch working on the ribs on the right side. Rollins came back with a hiptoss, then some punches and Balor hit a running kick. Rollins with a knee to the back to knock Balor out of the ring. Rollins hit a suicide dive that sent Balor going backward onto the commentary table. Back in the ring, Rollins hit a springboard knee and a clothesline for two. The crowd was singing the Rollins song again, Rollins charged, Balor hit the Slingblade and Rollins came back with a superkick. Rollins hit went up top, he jumped off with a Frog Splash, Balor got the knees up to block and Balor got an inside cradle for two. Nice nearfall there.

(Commercial)

There were less than ten minutes left in the show as Rollins tripped up Balor by the apron. Balor avoided a move leading to Balor hitting a dropkick into the barricade. Balor went up top, he went for Coup de Grace, Rollins moved and Balor avoided The Stomp by Rollins. Seth wanted a Pedigree, Balor fought out of that and Rollins hit a double Powerbomb for two. The fans chanted “this is awesome” for them. Rollins went for a Phoenix Splash off the top, Balor avoided it and Balor hit a dropkick into the corner. Balor went up top, Rollins stopped him there and that led to a superplex from Rollins. When Rollins wanted more, Balor countered it and hit the lifting 1916 slam for a two. Balor worked over Rollins with forearms to the ribs. They each countered moves leading to Rollins hitting a Falcon Arrow slam for two. The Judgment Day’s Dominik Mysterio, Damian Priest and Rhea Ripley went to ringside. Dominik was on the apron, Rollins punched him and Balor got a rollup for two. Rollins was distracted by Priest, so Balor got a trip leading to a double foot stomp. The OC group went down to ringside to fight with The Judgment Day. AJ Styles wasn’t there, but Karl Anderson, Luke Gallows and Mia Yim were there. Balor sent Anderson out of the ring after Anderson went into the ring. Priest launched Anderson onto the table. Gallows sent Priest over the barricade. Balor with a dropkick on Rollins into the barricade. Dominik was in the ring because he was running away from Gallows, the referee was distracted by that and AJ Styles showed up to shove Balor off the top and into the ropes. The OC and Judgment Day guys went fighting into the crowd. Rollins hit Balor with The Stomp for the pinfall win after 20 minutes. The fans popped big for it.

Winner by pinfall: Seth “Freakin” Rollins

Analysis: ***3/4 This was a terrific match from two of the best in WWE. They are also favorites of Triple H, so it’s not a shock that they got a lot of time and had a great showing. The first part of the match was Balor working on the ribs of Rollins with Seth doing a nice job of selling it and then Rollins got a lot of offense after that. They traded nearfalls really well, lots of counters throughout and then a bit of a shady finish to further Finn’s story with Styles. Some of that chaos hurt the match a bit, but it was to be expected based on the story that Finn is involved in now. It’s a way of telling the story that The Judgment Day has been neutralized a bit by The OC and Rollins was able to take advantage of it for the win.

After the match, Austin Theory attacked Rollins from behind with forearms to the back. Theory hit Rollins with the A-Town Down move onto his knee. Theory whipped Seth’s head into the commentary table and into the ring post. The referee tried to get Theory to stop. Theory hit A-Town Down onto the knee again. The fans booed Theory loudly. Graves kept on saying Theory is “The Now” so that’s something WWE is going to keep pushing. Theory picked up the US Title and hit Rollins in the head with it. Theory posed with the US Title over Rollins to end it.

Analysis: This certainly could set up a Rollins-Theory match at Survivor Series with Seth putting the US Title on the line. It would make a lot of sense based on the story they have been telling. The interesting thing here is that earlier in the show, when Theory attacked Ziggler, there were about 10 people out there to stop Theory. In this case, Theory was allowed to beat up Rollins for four minutes with only one referee there to try to stop (while also giving time cues). It’s not a major complaint by me, believe me. I’m just saying logically it doesn’t make sense. That’s pro wrestling. Sometimes an attack is stopped quickly. Other times they allow it to go on for several minutes. It’s just how the story is booked. Anyway, I thought Theory had a really good night for the most part.

 

Three Stars of the Show

  1. Seth “Freakin” Rollins
  2. Austin Theory
  3. Finn Balor

 

The Scoreboard

6.75 out of 10

Last week: 7.25

 

Final Thoughts

It was a good Raw although I would say some of it was very flat too. It’s not like it is ever really a bad show in this era, but maybe it was lacking a bit of excitement. The main event between Seth Rollins and Finn Balor was excellent as you would expect from a 20-minute match between two of the best wrestlers in WWE. Balor was protected because AJ Styles got involved and Rollins took advantage for the win.

I thought the best part of the show (other than Rollins-Balor for the US Title) was how they followed up with Austin Theory after he failed to cash in Money in the Bank last week. Theory’s backstage interview was great as he tried to explain what happened last week. In Theory’s match against Ziggler, Theory showed the kind of aggression you want to see. The result didn’t matter that much because it was about his actions. The main event ending saw Theory attacking Rollins, who is now a babyface US Champion, so that elevates Theory to really become one of the top heels on Raw. Rollins has been a babyface for the last four weeks at this point, so based on what happened with Theory, Seth is even more of a face now.

A lot of stuff in the rest of the show wasn’t as interesting as some weeks. They did advance the women’s stories by having Mia Yim on Bianca’s team at WarGames while Rhea Ripley is on Bayley’s team, so there is one spot left on Bianca’s team. The Baron Corbin-Akira Tozawa thing just didn’t work. I did like Bobby Lashley showing his mean streak again, so that was a good thing. It just felt a bit slow at times this week. The crowd wasn’t super hot either except for a few people. That’s part of it as well.

The next WWE Premium Live Event is Survivor Series on November 26th.

* Women’s WarGames Match: Bayley, IYO SKY, Dakota Kai, Nikki Cross & Rhea Ripley vs. Bianca Belair, Asuka, Alexa Bliss, Mia Yim & one more partner.

* AJ Styles vs. Finn Balor

* Smackdown Women’s Championship: Ronda Rousey (c) vs. Shotzi

More to come in the weeks ahead.

You can watch Survivor Series streaming live on Peacock in the U.S. and on WWE Network everywhere else at 8/7 C on Saturday, November 26.

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Check out the WWE PPV Review archive right here. You can contact me using any of the methods below. Go Los Angeles Rams, Toronto Raptors and Toronto Maple Leafs. Be safe and smart out there.

Thanks for reading.

John Canton

Email: mrjohncanton@gmail.com

Twitter: @johnreport