Well, we asked you the question last week on how long it would take the WWE to break its own Draft rules. Well, it didn’t take long for our answer.
Just one week into the new landscape of RAW and SmackDown, we get SmackDown stars on RAW that weren’t supposed to be there. Otis, as El Gran Gordo, showed up to help his former Heavy Machinery partner Tucker. The Riott Squad, Liv Morgan and Ruby Riott took part in a fatal-four-way challenge to Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler.
But, in the very same season premiere episode of MNR, we are reminded that Big E can’t be with his New Day teammates due to the draft, so Big E shows up in the ThunderDome crowd to cheer on Kofi Kingston against Sheamus. Mixed messages? Damn straight.
See, that’s the thing about the WWE lately, especially on Monday Night RAW. They EXPECT you to not remember (or care) about the rules and the common sense. Storylines should, at the very least, be able to make sense and have us follow along at home. That’s how we get invested. It’s not that hard. NXT and SmackDown, along with other wrestling companies, understand this. I’m not quite sure why Monday nights don’t work the same way. But, then again, I do. It’s three words: Vincent Kennedy McMahon.
Now, it’s on to the week that was as we head straight to Hell (In A Cell)!
Star of the Week:
The Fiend & Alexa Bliss – Just one week in, they’ve taken over Monday nights. And we LOVE IT!
- The Hurt Business defeated RETRIBUTION
- AJ Styles defeated Matt Riddle
- RAW Women’s Championship Match: Asuka defeated Lana
- Non-title WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship Match: Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler defeated The Riott Squad, Mandy Rose & Dana Brooke and Peyton Royce & Lacey Evans
- Kofi Kingston defeated Sheamus
- El Gran Gordo (Otis) & Tucker defeated The Miz & John Morrison
- Braun Strowman defeated Keith Lee
Opening segment(s) – Gotta be honest, I haven’t been a big fan of the RETRIBUTION storyline, but having them mingled between The Hurt Business and The Fiend with Alexa Bliss to open the show Monday night is a chance to give them new life. Granted, having them lose cleanly to The Hurt Business again isn’t helpful, but hopeful it’s just the beginning of the storyline. The Fiend and Alexa Bliss are megastars and having them in multiple segments on Monday nights will make it more watchable. Also, kudos to Mustafa Ali for a well-done promo giving some backstory to RETRIBUTION. It’s something we thought we were getting last week, but good to see they didn’t forget about it entirely.
The Hurt Business – Speaking of the strongest faction going in the WWE right now, The Hurt Business continues to be strong and do what they do best – whatever the hell they want. This week, it’s beating down Titus O’Neill after he wanted to bring his Worldwide brand to THB. THB is starting to remind me of the Four Horsemen, if only Bobby Lashley was the World Champion. And let’s be honest, MVP could outwrestle JJ Dillon any day.
El Gran Gordo – Yes, I know, having Otis break the one-week old draft rule is worrisome, but I’ll take the entertainment of the storyline over the common sense for now. Having Otis, as El Gran Gordo, don a luchador mask to be Tucker’s tag team partner against The Miz & John Morrison is throwback to the days of the Machines (Andre, Roddy, Hulk, etc.), The Big Yellow Dog (JYD) and The Midnight Rider (Dusty Rhodes), not to mention Tommy Rich in mask in Atlanta.
Fun – Monday Night RAW has missed some of its fun, comedic elements of late and having El Gran Gordo and The New Day around will help fix that. The New Day can bring levity to any segment and it’s a nice breather in a three-hour long show. Plus, they can still bring it in the ring as the tag team champs. Good to see Big E in the ThunderDome crowd! Again, why can Otis, The Riott Squad and others appear on RAW but Big E can’t? Hmmm…..
Go home segment – Randy Orton’s final segment promo inside of the Hell in a Cell was gripping. As he went through of his HIAC matches with the likes of John Cena, The Undertaker, Daniel Bryan and others, it reminds us how good Orton truly is. One more notch on his belt I think is coming this Sunday to capture his 14th WWE title with a win over current WWE Champion Drew McIntyre. Great way to end it too with McIntyre cutting his way into the cell and yelling “your ass is mine” to Orton as the final shot of the night. It sets up a MUST-SEE match Sunday night.
Lana – We told you it was a complete waste last week to have Lana win the Battle Royale to face Asuka and the match proved it. It was a complete waste of time, only there to set up Nia Jax, Shayna Baszler and a fatal-four-way tag match. Asuka deserves better than this. It’s like having a non-title match on WWE Challenge back in the day.
Elias – Another concert and another guitar shot. At what point do we get more from Elias than just the singer who gets interrupted gimmick. The ironic thing is that the Jeff Hardy vs. Elias feud could be pretty decent.
Big things to come?
AJ gets a bodyguard – Well, it looks like the end of RAW Underground is here (thank God!) as the official bouncer of RU, Omogbehin, is now AJ Styles new bodyguard. It’s more of the old school coming back in 2020 and I like it! It’s so striking the size difference between Styles and Omogbehin. Unfortunately, I don’t think Omogbehin is going to be that good in a ring to ultimately turn on AJ and face him in a match. But then again, one never knows in the WWE world of booking. Very good rematch by the way between Styles and Matt Riddle, who continues to shine win or lose.
Battle of the low blows – Who’s the good guy? Who’s the bad guy? I can’t tell at this point between Braun Strowman and Keith Lee. Both of been tweeners, complete with a couple of low blow spots (look familiar Roman Reigns?). Not quite sure where this one is going or if it’s going to help either guy and just go the way of 50-50 matches for a few weeks. Speaking of 50-50, it was no shock to see Strowman get the win after being submitted, or is it passed out, by Roman Reigns last week on SmackDown.
- Triple Threat Match: Kushida defeated Tommaso Ciampa & The Velveteen Dream
- Ember Moon defeated Jessi Kamea
- Bronson Reed defeated Austin Theory – twice
- Legado Del Fantasma defeated Isaiah “Swerve” Scott, Jake Atlas & Ashantee “Thee” Adonis
- Ever-Rise defeated Drake Maverick & Killian Dain by DQ
- Kacy Catanzaro defeated Xia Li
- NXT Tag Team Championship Match: Danny Lorcan & Oney Lorcan defeated Breezango to win the titles
KUSHIDA – It keeps getting better and better for KUSHIDA. I hope they push it all the way to him vs. Finn Balor for the NXT Championship! Sure, he got a little help from The Velveteen Dream’s armed cast, but a win is a win, especially over Tommaso Ciampa!
Halloween Havoc build – Spin the wheel and feel the pain! Brilliant from your host Shotzi Blackheart. Plus, now we get a Haunted House of Terror match between Dexter Lumis and Cameron Grimes. Should be a tasty treat come Wednesday night!
Six-man tag – It’s no surprise that they killed it again, but Legado Del Fantasma simply brought it against Isaiah “Swerve” Scott, Jake Atlas and Ashantee “Thee” Adonis. The cruiserweight division is no afterthought with Santos Escobar and his boys at the top. Quality each and every week!
Beat-down to a build-up:
The Undisputed Era/Pat McAfee – Nice twist to the tag team title match between Breezango and TUE. First, Bobby Fish gets beat down. Then, Roderick Strong gets beat up. So, in goes Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch to sub for them. And the mystery man, Pat McAfee gets revenge on Adam Cole & TUE by getting his boys, Lorcan & Burch the tag team gold. Brilliantly done. Never saw it coming! Now while I liked Breezango as entertaining champs, this keeps them in a mix for the titles with a bigger feud and higher profile storyline. It works on every angle.
Friends and foes:
Kacy vs. Xia – When Xia Li needed a match, her one-time friend Kacy Catanzaro stepped up for the fight and to Li’s surprise, beat her. Then, as Li attacked after match, Raquel Gonzalez tore in Li, Catanzaro and Kayden Carter to give her a boost heading into next week’s Halloween Havoc match with Rhea Ripley. A good use of all four, plus Kacy gets a surprise victory.
Austin Theory – Did he really quit after getting beat (twice) by Bronson Reed? Probably not. Probably a re-dux coming.
- Daniel Bryan, Kevin Owens & The Street Profits defeated Dolph Ziggler, Robert Roode, Cesaro & Shinsuke Nakamura
- Bianca Belair defeated Zelina Vega
- Lars Sullivan defeated Short G
- Seth Rollins defeated Murphy
Sasha seals the deal – So, Bayley wouldn’t sign the contract for Hell In A Cell? No worries. Sasha Banks just beat her senseless into submitting to it. Well done as the infamous chair takes center stage once again! I can only imagine the carnage that will come Sunday night inside the Hell In A Cell!
Double Trouble – Jey Uso brings out Jimmy Uso to try and dupe Roman Reigns. Jey’s physicality gave us a little belief that he could have a chance in the family feud come Sunday. As for the consequences for the I Quit Match inside Hell In A Cell that Roman promised? Reigns puts the family on the line if things don’t fall into line from Uso on Sunday night.
Bianca Belair – She’s a superstar folks! Nice start to her SmackDown career with a victory over Zelina Vega.
Didn’t we see that before?
Shorty G – So, Shorty G quits..well, at least he quits his name. He’s back to being Chad Gable again, which is a good thing. Gone is the gimmick that needed to go a long time ago. But, hey, didn’t we just the quit angle on NXT two nights earlier? Seems a little forced but a nice way to put forth another Lars Sullivan squash match to build him up.
Wild and fun:
8-man tag – Anytime you can get the amount of in-ring talent that the opening match gave you – Daniel Bryan, Kevin Owens & The Street Profits, Dolph Ziggler, Robert Roode, Cesaro & Shinsuke Nakamura – it’s going to be good. I like the idea of Owens and Bryan joining forces too to go after the tag titles. Plus, having The Street Profits get the pin makes perfect sense.
Court TV – While not as wild as the tag team match to start the night, Otis vs. The Miz inside a courtroom with JBL as Judge and Ron Simmons as bailiff in an APA reunion was some comedic relief for the night. Not only did we get a pay-off from The Miz to win the trial, but we get a pay-off in a match for this Sunday as Otis has to put his Money In The Bank contract on the line against The Miz. But, again with the draft breaking rules with Asuka showing up on SmackDown as a witness. She’s funny, but can’t we just abide by the rules at any point?
Same ol’ story:
Seth vs. Murphy – Different night. Same storyline. Same result. Count me as one who is no longer interested in Murphy vs. Rollins with the Mysterio family as the sidebar. It’s time for Rollins to turn Aalyah or move on.
Having Talking Smack follow SmackDown was a nice idea. Probably would’ve been a better idea for WWE Backstage to be in the timeslot back when it started though. If it did, it might still be around. The Paul Heyman segment/shoot about what makes a true Heyman guy was fantastic. So much realism and truth there. No scripts needed and a breath of fresh air. Again, something we thought WWE Backstage was going to more of, but wasn’t.
Hell In A Cell PPV – Updated Card
- WWE Championship Hell In A Cell Match: Drew McIntyre vs Randy Orton
- Universal Championship Hell In A Cell I Quit Match: Roman Reigns vs. Jey Uso
- SmackDown Women’s Championship Hell In A Cell Match: Bayley vs. Sasha Banks
- Money In The Bank Contract Match: Otis vs. The Miz
- Jeff Hardy vs. Elias
Predictions: Randy Orton takes his 14th WWE title. Roman Reigns remains at the head of the table. Sasha Banks gets her revenge in the match of the night. Otis keeps his MITB contract. Elias takes part 1 vs. Jeff Hardy.
Coming up this week:
Hell In A Cell fallout
NXT: Halloween Havoc
Spin The Wheel, Make The Deal NXT North American Championship Match: Damian Priest vs. Johnny Gargano
Spin The Wheel, Make The Deal NXT Women’s Championship Match: Io Shirai vs. Candice LeRae
Haunted House of Terror Match: Dexter Lumis vs. Cameron Grimes
Rhea Ripley vs. Raquel Gonzalez
Hell In A Cell fallout
Thanks for letting us share our thoughts! Shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to hear your comments and suggestions! You can also check out my blog, The Crowe’s Nest as we delve into more pro wrestling, sports entertainment and the World of Sports. My apologies ahead of time – I AM a
Patriots, Red Sox, Celtics and Bruins fan! If you’re not down with that, I’ve got TWO WORDS for you… NEW ENGLAND