We’ve got new Raw tag team champions! The second part of the Draft is even less surprising than the first! And WWE just managed to ruin The Fiend. Again. For like the second time in nine days.
And there’s also huge news with a WWE star trying to quit the company, and an update on CM Punk’s potential return to wrestling!
Click the timestamps in the video description below to go straight to any of those stories right now.
I’m Oli Davis – press the thumbs up button, click the ‘i’ above my head to give your rating of the show – where you can choose from: RawSome, Cor, AVRAWGE, Poor and RawFul, and answer our question of the day in the comments:
What did you think of Seth Rollins burning down the Firefly Fun House? Because I’ll be replying to people FROM OUTTA NOWHERE… reiterating that Seth Rollins is not cool.
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But for now, here’s my review of the 14 October episode of Monday Night Raw!
The second half of the latest WWE Draft was opened by the No. 1 overall pick – with Becky Lynch appearing on her new brand of Monday night Raw. At least, I think it’s her new brand. I genuinely can’t remember if she was on that or SmackDown before. Wild card!
Despite reportedly knowing Sasha Banks was still injured after last Sunday’s Hell in a Cell match, WWE continued to advertise Becky vs Banks for this episode – classy move – until Lynch said Sasha couldn’t be there because she’d beaten her up so much – which inevitably brought out Charlotte Flair, who’s now a babyface again.
The two actually had a really nice back and forth match, which had a near 5 minute run of very good near falls, and a This is awesome chant from the crowd. The finish came when Charlotte was sitting in disbelief after Becky kicked out of a spear – because Charlotte’s won so many matches with that move – when Lynch rolled her up for the victory.
We then got a rundown of the Draft rules for the night, which seemed more complicated than a Vince Russo gimmick match.
The most ridiculous of them being that “Tag teams will count as 1 pick, unless Fox or USA Network specifically wants to pick 1 superstar from the team.” Which means the USA Network are stupid, because they used separate picks for the team of Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross on Friday.
Overall, this was a profoundly uninspiring Draft, mostly just confirming the rosters we’ve had in recent months – Seth Rollins to Raw, Brock Lesnar to SmackDown, Charlotte to Raw, New Day to SmackDown. The only real surprise was The Fiend to SmackDown announced last Friday – which itself is very problematic, more on that later – and Erick Rowan being moved to Raw with no Luke Harper in sight. Likely because he’s publicly trying to get fired all the time.
R-Truth and Carmella were also split up, but it really means nothing, because Truth will go everywhere as the forever 24/7 champion.
But while the Draft was tediously executed, with Stephanie McMahon just reading names out from a podium with all the gusto of a Monday morning school register, foundations were laid for a rather exciting Raw roster. Or, as I now like to call it, Paul Heyman’s 205 Live support group.
The first of these was Andrade and Zelina Vega, who got a heelish win over SmackDown’s Ali.
And then a soft reboot of the tag division, where, after months of name changes, squash matches and then slightly longer matches exclusively facing The O.C., the Viking DON’T MENTION THE WAR EXPERIENCE Raiders actually got properly over with the crowd, beating Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode to become the new Raw tag team champions.
Heyman’s fingerprints were all over this, with big moves starting the match, more big moves in the match, and then all the big moves to end the match. WWE have finally figured out how to get the crowd into the Vikings – and an intense backstage promo afterwards where they referenced winning the IWGP, ROH and NXT tag belts popped this jabroni mark.
Ziggler and Roode were later drafted to SmackDown, but the real losers here are The O.C., who had the tag titles taken off them for absolutely no reason after SummerSlam.
Another foundation of Heyman’s new Raw appears to be Aleister Black, who was confirmed for the brand, and then got a strong victory over Eric Young with his new Dark Ritual submission finisher. I’m all for a new submission move, but the Black Mass is one of the most over moves in the company. He really should be winning with that.
Further building Raw’s tag division, The O.C. awesomely started the Street Profits’ first feud with a backstage beat down.
Ricochet then defeated the also drafted to Raw Shelton Benjamin. Is that still a gimmick? What happened to that? Later on, Ricochet was added to Team Hogan for Crown Jewel because some of Hogan’s best friends are superheroes.
Unfortunately not all Paul Heyman is good. The Rusev, Lana and Bobby Lashley storyline continued with Bobby giving Lana a ‘deep’ massage in a spa. Which is a reference to sex.
But I know your secret, Bobby Lashley. You’re not thinking about Lana at all. You’re thinking about those three beautiful sisters of yours, aren’t you Bobby. You like that, Bobby? Your three beautiful sisters?
Tyson Fury and Braun Strowman fought inanimate objects instead of each other for their Crown Jewel contract signing. Strowman gave a table these hands, and Fury beat up a pen. The humanity!
Heyman’s 205 Live support group picks continued next with the very exciting drafting of Buddy Murphy to Raw, where he beat Cedric Alexander in a slapping 5 minute match.
The commentary team then ran down the Crown Jewel card, which now includes possibly the most ridiculously titled match in wrestling history: The Largest Tag Team Turmoil Match To Determine The World Cup For The Best Tag Team In The World. That’s 18 words long, and has the words ‘World’ and ‘Tag Team’ in there twice. I’m going to say it again just to let this ridiculousness seep in: The Largest Tag Team Turmoil Match To Determine The World Cup For The Best Tag Team In The World. WWE has now become a parody of itself.
The Kabuki Warriors then faced Natalya and a mystery partner in the wrestling main event. Given its positioning and how limp the Draft has been so far, I foolishly thought this could’ve been Ronda Rousey’s return to WWE. Instead it was her blood feud opponent for the last month, Lacey Evans. Presumably because they’re both blonde.
So barely six months into her proper main roster run, the obviously heel gimmick Evans is now a babyface with no reason or context behind it. And all the Kairi Sane spinning backfists in the world aren’t going to make me forget that.
The Kabuki Warriors are excellent, but this match never clicked because nobody is really that into Natalya, and they’re even less into the idea of Evans as a babyface. Asuka picked up the win.
The main story running through the night, however, was Seth Rollins going Fiend Hunting – which he said he was going to do at the start of the night, but we saw nothing of him until the end of the show, where he broke into the Firefly Fun House, beat up Bray Wyatt and literally burnt it down as the live crowd heavily booed everything because Seth Rollins isn’t cool.
This is absolute s*** for several reasons.
This ruins any reading that the Fun House is entirely within Bray’s damaged psyche, as Rollins was able to just walk through a door into it.
How did Seth find the Firefly Fun House set?
If this is reality, which everything totally suggests it was, why were sound effects still playing when Seth beat up Bray? And why was Bray’s laughter playing over the burning set at the end.
WWE are telling the story that Seth is the babyface descending into madness. It’s not working, because the crowd are booing him with go-away heat.
That’s also making Bray Wyatt get booed.
Earlier in the night, a Falls Count Anywhere match for the Universal title between Seth and The Fiend was announced for Crown Jewel. Given that the Fiend has been drafted to SmackDown, where Brock Lesnar already has the WWE title, Bray likely ain’t winning. And given the Hell in a Cell finish, their Falls Count Anywhere match will probably end in a double countout.
There are positives – like Seth burning down the Fun House fully unleashing the Fiend version of Bray. With the idea that the Fun House was the only thing holding that full evilness back.
But really the damage was done at Hell in a Cell, and now WWE are scrambling to come up with a way to fix Bray’s character. And in their scrambling, they’ve misunderstood one of the fundamental parts of Wyatt’s genius inventions. He’s not a supernatural character. The brilliance is in the vagueness over what is real and what isn’t. Up until now, almost everything can be explained in reality, with Bray masterminding events like a psychotic tormentor from a horror movie. But this angle stripped away any of that nuance, and we descended into Hulk Hogan vs Ultimate Warrior territory, or, more aptly, Vince McMahon misunderstanding the original Bray Wyatt gimmick as a supernatural being instead of the cult leader he actually was.
Mark my words, we’ll have a Firefly Fun House of Horrors match before the year’s out.
This did set up a really exciting Raw roster going forward, and the wrestling was very entertaining. But the execution of the Draft concept was woefully dull, and WWE have taken yet another significant misstep with their most popular gimmick. This week’s Raw is poor.
And now over to Laurie with the news!
Thanks Oli, great review. Shame about the Fiend though eh… and the Funhouse burning down… I’m sort of past angry about this and now just deeply depressed…
Anyway, it’s not like this is the only terrible story WWE have been telling recently. Ain’t that right Mike Kanellis?
Because yesterday on Twitter Mike revealed that he had asked WWE if they would allow him to cuck off and work elsewhere. Give the man some release! Because Maria probably isn’t hey-yo! Kayfabe-wise.
Accompanying this was the now traditional statement typed and screenshotted from notes:
“I am only 34 years old and feel I have way to much left in the tank. Working 1 day a week is not going to cut it for me. I came to WWE to work and that opportunity does not exist right now.”
And that’s fair enough, the company barely had room in their storylines for him to be married to his actual wife.
Kanellis also said that he no longer wants his daughter to seem him come home “defeated, sad and angry” and with questions about her parentage?
There were rumours that both Kanellis’ had asked for their releases earlier this year which they vehemently denied but it looks like this current storyline has proven to be the final straw.9
We have to wait to see whether WWE grant this release, as they didn’t give it to Luke Harper who also asked to be let go after Wrestlemania.
But that didn’t stop Kanellis firing off some parting shots, or awkward staying shots that you have to deal with every day when you go into work and avoid making a cup of tea at the same time as them, depending on the outcome.
Right in his sights was newly minted NXT Cruiserweight Champion Lio Rush, Mike wrote in a now deleted post:
“You won 2 matches. Chill out. There’s an entire roster of Cruiserweights that we’re grinding and working their ass off for our Brand, while you were sitting at home for bad behavior. Let’s not act like you weren’t gift-wrapped the cruiserweight championship.”
To which Lio responded:
“You’re right, I was home. Reflecting on my past and how i can get better. Getting back on a positive road to become a champion literally and figuratively. Spending time with my children that are actually MINE. I get your anger…trust me. Win a match 1st. Maybe we can talk later.”
Now I can’t tell if this is a real fight or not. It’s a deleted tweet so that’s like you got in trouble for being too real right? But then Lio’s like, who’s the daddy? Win a match 1st, like the outcomes aren’t scripted. Do they know in which realm they’re having this twitter war? So confusing.
Also confusing is CM Punk’s current relationship with WWE.
He’s auditioned for a hosting role on a Fox show about WWE, said that he’s open to a working relationship, which Triple H has echoed, saying he’d also be open to a work-based relationship, but we all knew that because Stephanie.
And now the mystery continues with this odd little bit of news: CM Punk’s stock on ProWrestlingTees has disappeared.
All of the Punk t-shirts and merch have been removed from the website and all that is on sale is a CM Punk Sucks tee with the header ‘he once crashed the ProWrestlingTess website. Stop chanting his name at live events. CM Punk sucks now.”
As with any and all news related to Punk this could mean that WWE return is closer than ever and removing his merchandise from a competing store certainly seems like a sign. Doesn’t it?
Or maybe they just ran out of stock?
Thank you for watching, don’t forget to subscribe if you haven’t already and click the video over there to find out which WWE stars are angry at the draft! And thank you to all of the names scrolling away beneath me for being our awesome Pledgehammers on Patreon. I’ve been El Fakidor and that was lucha.