Randy Orton sat in a dimly lit room in the back (the one where he attacked everyone last week). Orton doesn’t remember a lot about his ambulance ride after Clash of Champions but he does remember the match. He remembers being ambushed by Big Show, Christian and Shawn Michaels.
He remembers Drew McIntyre punting him in the head and being driven off in an ambulance by Ric Flair. Orton felt nothing but darkness and pain in that moment. Twenty-four hours after that, McIntyre celebrated with those legends with a title he didn’t deserve and that made him sick. Those legends even played poker and toasted two of his opponents tonight.
Orton decided to repay the legends last week. He made them feel the darkness and pain that he felt at COC. Orton ran down what he did to each guy in great detail, including whispering to Christian to say to Edge for him.
Orton wished that McIntyre was there to witness it. McIntyre’s bill was not yet paid and wouldn’t be until Orton was the WWE Champion. Orton said McIntyre could attain the legacy he sought if he could survive Hell in a Cell against him.
At the precise moment that Orton issued the challenge, McIntyre barged into the room and attacked him until officials ran in to break it up.
This was certainly a different way to start the show.
Six-woman tag match: Raw Women’s Champion Asuka, Mandy Rose & Dana Brooke defeated Zelina Vega, Natalya & Lana (4:51)
During the match, the announcers talked about the draft and Samoa Joe made reference to GMs (who?) and officials working stuff out ahead of Friday. Tom Phillips mentioned that Adam Pearce was probably stressing out in the “war room.” Isn’t he on both shows?
Rose and Brooke matched this week with primarily blue gear. Rose picked up the pinfall win for her team with a knee strike on Lana.
After the winning team left, Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler marched out. They confronted Natalya and Lana outside the ring. (Vega left.) Jax was going to put Natalya through the announce table but Lana saved her. This resulted in Jax putting Lana through the table instead (for the third time over the past few weeks).
** Thumbs Up
R-Truth had a white board in the back with his mock draft. His picks included ninjas and Bray Wyatt’s puppets. He also had Vince McMahon going 5th to Smackdown. There was a custodian behind him and he thought it was Orton.
The custodian tried to attack with a mop but Truth ducked and ran away until he tripped over a mop bucket. The custodian pinned him to win the 24/7 title. It was Drew Gulak. He ran away.
Seth Rollins / Murphy segment
Seth Rollins and Murphy entered for their match. There was a long video recap of the Mysterio family angle. Rollins asked Murphy to hand him the mic but he didn’t because he wanted to get something off his chest. Murphy said he has done everything Rollins has asked of him and more but if Rollins wanted him to continue being his disciple, he needed to apologize.
Rollins couldn’t believe it. Murphy didn’t want the apology for him, he wanted Rollins to apologize to Aalyah. Rollins snatched the mic away and yelled at him. Rollins said he was the one who saved Murphy.
Rollins also noted that he could have shown way more DMs between Murphy and Aalyah, including the ones where she states her true feelings about Murphy and about her family. Rollins stressed that he was the messiah and Murphy was the disciple.
Dominik and Humberto Carrillo ran out and attacked. They cleared the ring and they each hit dives which led to break.
Seth Rollins & Murphy defeated Humberto Carillo & Dominik Mysterio
The match began during the break and Rollins quickly gained control on Dominik. Rollins and Murphy couldn’t get along. Rollins wasn’t happy about Murphy tagging himself in. Carrillo tagged in as they argued and took them down with a flying crossbody. There was some back-and-forth until Carrillo wiped out both guys with a nice dive.
However, Carrillo came off the top and Murphy caught him with a mid-air V-Trigger for the pinfall win. Murphy marched off without Rollins after the match. (Two straight matches with the same finishing move, basically.) The match was only about five minutes or less.
**1/4 Thumbs In The Middle Pointing Up
Just like Gable on Smackdown Carrillo is a geek we are not supposed to get behind. Murphy got the won...good for him.
Braun Strowman confronted Adam Pearce. He knew Raw Underground wasn’t happening but wanted a match tonight. Pearce said he wasn’t on Raw so he couldn’t do that (why the fuck not), but he could give him an exhibition.
Strowman didn’t know what that meant. Pearce said if he could find him an opponent, Strowman could have an unsanctioned match. Strowman was happy with that. He left. Keith Lee, who happened to be nearby, told Pearce to sign him up.
Owens said he was normally excited to interview his guest but that wasn’t the case tonight. He said it was true that you change when you encounter the Fiend. He felt the anger and agony and dread. He knew tonight wouldn’t be about having a chat so he chucked the furniture from the ring. They aired a replay of Wyatt attacking him on Smackdown.
Owens couldn’t describe how bad the mandible claw felt. He also wasn’t sure why these dark souls kept attacking him, between Aleister Black and Wyatt. Owens wondered if the Brood or the Ministry of Darkness would come after him next. He called out Wyatt.
Wyatt appeared on the screen and said, “bonjour.” Wyatt thanked him for having him on his show and said it was always nice to have new friends, whether it was to play catch with or bury bodies together. Wyatt sang a song for Owens about friendship.
Wyatt invited Owens to sing. Owens wasn’t interested. Owens said maybe they could have been friends before he attacked him. Owens wasn’t going to get brainwashed like Alexa Bliss and didn’t want to wait until Friday to fight. Owens called him to the ring.
Wyatt said the situation with Bliss was none of Owens’ business. That was between her and him. Wyatt said Owens had no idea what he’s gotten himself into but on Friday, he’ll find out. Wyatt excitedly said bye and see you later.
Owens wanted a fight so he left the ring and began making his way up the ramp but was attacked from behind by Black. Black laid him out with a Black Mass.
I don’t like the Fiend stuff but Owens and Bray were good here and it helped build the Smackdown match.
They pretty much telegraphed Braun is coming to RAW. He's always on RAW and I have no memory of him on Smackdown. BTW if people can come on any show what's the point of a draft.
“Exhibition” match: Braun Strowman vs. Keith Lee
Phillips said normal rules would apply in this match but the result wouldn’t count toward either man’s win-loss record.....SOOOOO it doesn't matter.
Anyway DUD and it resulted in a double count out brawl resulting in a double down after Braun tackled both himself and Lee off the stage. I can imagine Vince McMahon thinking " what good shit".......senile over the hill old man, fuck him. He obviously booked this. WWE is like one of those illuminati style companies where they take order from a pelt or a frozen corpse, or a disembodied head. In WWE's case they take orders from a recently exhumed zombie out of his mind when his prime was 1981.
Truth, Akira Tozawa and Drew Gulak fought inside a dumpster. Truth somehow emerged as the new 24/7 champion. This was very dumb.
US Champion Bobby Lashley & Shelton Benjamin (w/MVP) vs. Apollo Crews & Ricochet (w/Mustafa Ali)
MVP cut a pre-match promo. He blamed last week’s loss on Retribution and warned “T-Bag” about the Hurt Business. Crews, Ali and Ricochet interrupted. Ali thought it was funny that he blamed the loss on Retribution’s logo appearing on the tron. Ricochet interrupted his buddies because he wanted to address MVP’s offer. Ali and Crews seemed a little worried.
Ricochet acted as though he might accept but gave it a pass and laughed at Hurt Business for believing him. Ali and Crews laughed too. Ricochet said he hasn’t run from them before and wasn’t about to tonight. MVP told Lashley and Benjamin to put a special beating on Ricochet.
**3/4 Thumbs In The Middle Pointing Up
Seth Rollins / Murphy segment
Rollins entered the ring in a better mood and invited Murphy to the ring. Murphy entered. Rollins said he can apologize and they can move forward. Murphy didn’t say anything. Rollins told him that he knows what happens to people when they stand in the way of the greater good. Rollins made Murphy the man he was today and all he needed to do was apologize.
Rollins got angrier the longer Murphy didn’t respond. (It is now 10:00pm) Rollins grabbed him by the beard and demanded that he apologize.
Murphy tackled Rollins and hammered away. The fight spilled out the outside and over the announce desk. Rollins fought back for a moment but Murphy got the better of him. Rollins tried to attack with a kendo stick but Murphy ducked, grabbed the stick, and attacked.
Rollins pleaded with him to stop but Murphy hit him repeatedly with the stick while demanding that he apologize (to Aalyah). Rollins called out for Aalyah (who wasn’t there) and apologized. Rollins was wearing a leather jacket as Murphy attacked him, so he actually took his jacket off as he apologized again to show he was sincere.
Murphy believed him and dropped the stick. Rollins attacked him and gouged him in the eye. Rollins attacked repeatedly with the kendo stick.
Rollins grabbed a chair but Aalyah was in the ring tending to Murphy. She asked him to stop. Dominik ran out to check on Aalyah. Rey and Angie soon followed as Rollins walked to the back. The family wondered why Aalyah would do that. Dominik pointed at Rey’s eye to remind her of what they’ve done.
Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler defeated Ruby Riott & Liv Morgan to retain the Tag Team Championships (10:00)
**3/4 Thumbs Up
Mustafa Ali vs. MVP (w/US Champion Bobby Lashley & Shelton Benjamin)
MVP was frustrated so he brought Lashley and Benjamin in the ring with him (two minutes into the match). Before they could attack Ali, the lights flickered and the Retribution logo appeared on the screens.
The secondary Retribution members surrounded the ring with Slapjack. T-Bar and Mace watched from the ramp.
MVP asked Ali to join them in fighting Retribution. Ali agreed and got ready to fight.
Ali then left the ring and confronted T-Bar and Mace. MVP was happy to see this.
Ali turned around and smirked at Hurt Business. MVP realized what was happening. Ali sent Retribution after them. Retribution laid out Hurt Business.
DUD Thumbs Up
I called this
Ali posed in the ring with Retribution standing behind him.
The announcers wondered how long Ali was part of this.
Six-man tag match: Randy Orton, Dolph Ziggler & Robert Roode defeated WWE Champion Drew McIntyre & Raw Tag Champions The Street Profits (10:17)
*** Thumbs Up
Orton gave Dawkins a draping DDT. Dawkins came back with a spinebuster before tagging Ford. Ford hit a frog splash and almost pinned Orton but Roode and Ziggler broke up the cover. Everyone traded moves until McIntyre wiped out Ziggler with a Claymore kick.
McIntyre sized up Orton but Roode got in his way so Roode ate a Claymore kick instead. Orton nailed McIntyre with an RKO for the pinfall win. Pretty good match.
Dawson's finisher is no longer the Cashout. It's no the Anointing.
Thumbs Up Show. They built up the draft well, Mustafa is presumably the leader of Retribution. Kinda like when Bully Ray became the leader of Aces & 8s. It suddenly became awesome. So I'm gonna stay optimistic.
I don't know how to explain it, but I feel like they took what they hap and made the most/best of it.