One year ago, on the Survivor Series go-home episode of Raw, Becky Lynch’s popularity exploded with the bloody nose heard around the world.
Lynch kicked off RAW by saying she wanted a fight. The IIconics answered and offered to fight Lynch. Despite Lynch saying she would take them on by herself, Charlotte Flair then said: “the forces” demanded her and Lynch tag together.
The IIconics looked sharp early on, but Flair got the submission victory rather handily.
Also on the show, Paul Heyman announced Brock Lesnar’s match against Rey Mysterio is a no holds barred match.
Lastly, Randy Orton and Ricochet faced The Viking Raiders in a solid match that ended in a no-contest.
Here are three things I liked about RAW and one thing I did not like about the show.
1) Seth Rollins Defeats Andrade Via DQ
I absolutely hated the ending to this match. I was so mad about the ending that I almost shut off the show right there. Not even kidding. I understand not wanting to give away the finish on free TV, and after Zelina Vega got ejected, I knew Andrade would not win clean. But a DQ?
I do understand the decision, as this way neither man looks weak heading into Survivor Series, but I thought this match was so good that it needed a winner. And the fact that The Lucha House Party was the one that caused the DQ made the decision even worse. The Lucha House Party, who doesn’t have a match at Survivor Series, attacked both Rollins and Andrade, so they didn’t stick with Andrade.
Having said all that about the lousy finish, this match was so good that it belongs in the three things I enjoyed. It was a great television match, and I am excited to see Andrade and Rollins compete again in the future, which they both hinted to after the match.
2) “Doors Are Wide Open”
The main event was a tag match between The Viking Raiders taking on Orton and Ricochet. The match was a decent one. Orton controlled most of it. Predictably, Smackdown stars and then NXT stars invaded the ring, causing a brawl. Seth Rollins led a group of Raw superstars to try and “defend the red brand.”
NXT had the numbers advantage and stood tall. Then, Triple H appeared on the big screen and issued a challenge, saying their doors are “wide open” for any superstar to appear on Wednesday’s NXT.
This was yet another brawl where NXT stood tall, giving them more credibility. But this served as a fantastic promo for everyone to watch NXT (rather than AEW) on Wednesday.
Then there are the rumors that Triple H and Vince McMahon are sick of losing the “ratings war” to AEW on Wednesday’s and really want to win this week. This was a massive way of trying to get fans to watch by saying anyone can and may show up on Wednesday. I think it was effective.
3) Drew McIntyre Vs. Kevin Owens No Contest
Yet another fantastic match that ended in a no-contest. Owens and McIntyre will be teammates on Sunday but faced each other on Monday. McIntyre worked over Owens for much of the match, until Owens made his move.
Owens hit McIntyre with a cannonball and later a pop-up powerbomb, but McIntyre kicked out. The match deservedly received “this is awesome” chants.
However, mid-match, Triple H’s music hit, and it went to commercial. After the break, Triple H tried to recruit Owens to join team NXT by reminding him of Shane McMahon and Kurt Angle firing him. The Undisputed Era attacked Owens, and the Raw superstars ran down and cleared the ring.
Again, another fantastic match that didn’t have a finish. Like Rollins-Andrade, the match was so good that it deserves to be in the “three things,” but I hated that the match just ended. Why did Triple H walk out mid-match? Why did McIntyre just disappear? It was very odd and confusing. I did not like the finish, the in-ring action was rather impressive.
One thing I hated: The Plethora of No Finishes.
All of the good matches ended in a DQ finish or a no-contest. The fans sat through several excellent matches only to be disappointed by not getting a finish. One, I can live with three in one show? A bad booking in my eyes. What is the point of having such great matches if we don’t receive payoffs? I did not like those decisions, especially on the go-home show of a big-four Pay-Per-View.
I did not agree with several of the booking decisions, but the wrestling on this episode overall was fantastic. One of the better shows in that regard in a long time. So the wrestling alone makes up for the lousy booking decisions and gives it a higher grade than last week. However, I expect more for a go-home show of a big-four PPV. So because it was a go-home show and there was no “wow factor,” nothing to make me want to watch the PPV, I am docking my grade by a half a point.
I give this week’s RAW a 2.75 out of 5.