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KELLER’S WWE RAW REPORT
OCTOBER 21, 2019
AIRED ON USA NETWORK
Announcers: Vic Joseph, Jerry Lawler, Dio Maddin
-They opened with a recap of Seth Rollins burning down the Firefly Funhouse.
-Ric Flair made his full ring entrance. Joseph wondered who Flair’s “final Superstar” will be on his team. It already includes King Corbin, Shinsuke Nakamura, Randy Orton, and Bobby Lashley. When Joseph asked for a prediction, Maddin said his heart says Team Hogan will win, but his mind says pick Team Flair. Flair stood mid-ring and jumped his cue. “God only knows, you guys need a champion. LeBron left, all you got is the Nature Boy.” He said he’s got the last hand to play. “Tell your girlfriend that, buddy,” he said to a fan in the crowd with sly smile. “I used to know your mother,” he added. He then introduced his fifth member, Drew McIntyre. He said he’s kissed every girl in this town and made them cry. Joseph said he had a real ace up his sleeve and called it a game-changer. Flair kept taking digs at the Cleveland Browns, but the crowd largely still liked him. Drew said Flair asked him for a favor and it’s been granted. Drew said things are going to get uncomfortable because he’s going to give everyone a preview of what he’s going to do to Team Hogan at Crown Jewel.
(Keller’s Analysis: Flair’s promos are all over the place in an unpredictable way that stands out from most everything else on Raw. I personally wish he’d dial it down 30 percent and not be such a caricature of himself as his most intense levels during his prime. I wish he aimed for 50 percent dignity and 50 percent frenzy.)
-Ricochet made his ring entrance. [c]
-An NXT commercial specifically hyped Finn Balor would be on NXT live, plus Dijakovic challenging Roderick Strong for the North American Title.
(1) RICOCHET vs. DREW MCINTYRE
The bell rang when they came back live. Drew grinded away at Ricochet and dominated offense. He caught Ricochet’s springboard body press attempt. Drew knocked Ricochet to the floor a few minutes in, but Ricochet dropkicked Drew’s ankles and then connected with a running flip dive through the ropes to the floor. They cut to a break at 5:00. [c]
Back from the break, Drew had Ricochet grounded again. They showed a replay of Drew sending Ricochet into the ringpost during the break. They showed Flair sitting at ringside smiling. Ricochet flip-bumped into the corner and landed on the back of his head and neck. They replayed it in slo-mo. They cut to Sarah Schreiber at ringside who asked Flair for a word about Hulk Hogan. Flair yelled about being at Smackdown in person. He wanted to know where they’d be on Friday and said he knows where they are tonight. He was at level 11 and seemed like he was inducing a self-inflicted stroke. They fought back and forth for several more minutes including Ricochet getting some two counts. Drew gave Ricochet a buckle bomb and a sitout powerbomb for a believable near fall. Both were slow to get up. Drew ducked an enzuigiri but then Ricochet landed a sidekick. He lifted Drew on his shoulders, but Drew elbowed out of it. Ricochet then delivered a Death Valley Driver. Ricochet then landed a shooting star press for a believable near fall that popped the crowd. Drew backdropped out of a Recoil and then sent Ricochet into the ringpost. Joseph said Ricochet might be out. Drew sat in the corner and signaled for a Claymore. He then connected with the Claymore Kick for the three count.
WINNER: McIntyre in 18:00.
-After the match, Drew lifted Ricochet and headbutted him, then DDT’d him. They showed Ricochet flat on his back and barely moving, selling the attack. Meanwhile, Flair met Drew in the ring and then Drew mocked Hogan’s ear-cupping.
(Keller’s Analysis: Really good match. By the time Drew won, it came across as if he beat somebody legit. But Drew needed to win clean for his return. They need him to be a strong heel on Raw post-roster split. I was concerned Flair would interfere to help Drew win.)
-The announcers hyped King’s Court with Rusev and also Seth Rollins addressing his Firefly Funhouse arson.
-A Smackdown ad hyped Brock Lesnar and Cain Velasquez “face to face.” [c]
-A recap aired of The O.C. attack on Street Profits.
-Charly Caruso interviewed The O.C. about their strategy facing the Street Profits. Karl Anderson said the Street Profits have a bright future, but they are just rookies. He said they shouldn’t be given the worldwide platform as the unofficial hosts of Raw, especially with The O.C. around. Styles said they’re in Cleveland and getting that smoke is illegal around there, so they can’t get the smoke. Fans laughed. Luke Gallows then blurted out, “Cleveland sucks!” Styles said the Street Profits are in for a beating of their lives.
-They went to the announcers on camera. Maddin recited something he memorized to say about the previous segment. Then Joseph threw to a segment called “Instant Impact” focused on three wrestlers drafted to Raw: Andrade, Aleister Black, and Buddy Murphy.
-The announcers talked up Raw’s final roster with an image on the screen of everyone. The announcers gushed about it.
(Keller’s Analysis: Between the ringside interview with Flair, the backstage interview with The O.C., and this short video feature on three wrestlers looking to make an impact, WWE is doing a lot of the production and format touches to augment matches and build up wrestlers that I expected AEW to do out of the gate.)
-Black sat backstage and said he hopes some day he will be provided with an answer to why he has this fire-like rage that is clawing at him like a mad man dancing in the moonlight. He said he is ready to pick a fight. [c]
(2) ALEISTER BLACK vs. JASON REYNOLDS
WINNER: Black in 2:00 after a Black Mass.
(Keller’s Analysis: With a smaller roster now post-Draft, without wrestlers floating over from Smackdown in the loosely applied “Wildcard Rule,” squash matches are as beneficial as ever in preventing wrestlers from being overexposed against one another. Squash matches are a good way to present star wrestlers in a favorable focused way while establishing their key moves and overall personality in a segment lasting under three minutes total.)
-They showed Rusev heading toward the entrance stage for his interview with Lawler. [c]
-The AOP talked, with English captions, about how Raw signed them to keep them from going to Smackdown. They said they are violent men in a violent world and they’re going to get violent with every team on Raw and the next chapter in tag team wrestling will be written in blood by them.
-Joseph said he cannot wait for AOP to arrive on Raw.
(Keller’s Analysis: I’m sorry, but that comment by Joseph totally undercut what AOP were going for in that promo. Joseph represents “the establishment” and AOP are a threat to it, and he should be expressing trepidation and apprehension, not eagerness, to see them arrive.)
-Lawler stood mid-ring for King’s Court. He said the Lana-Lashley scandalous relationship has everyone talking except for one man. He said Rusev has been silent – until tonight. Rusev made his ring entrance. Joseph said your heart goes out to Rusev for all he’s been through. Maddin said Rusev is caring, has a great mustache, and is strong on the plow, yet “a woman like Lana” apparently needs more than that.
Lawler said this is very tough to talk about. He said everyone would agree that what goes on inside a marriage should stay in the marriage, yet he, Lana, and Lashley are public figures. He said Lana and Lashley have made everything public. He said they have put up some excuses for their behavior, such as saying he has sent too much money back to his relatives in Bulgaria and he’s interfered in her modeling contracts and cut back on how much money she spends on herself. The crowd was “What’ing” Lawler. Rusev said, “He’s a Hall of Famer, come on.” That ended the (annoying) “What?” chants.
Rusev said it’s all “Bob Lashley’s fault” because he has poisoned Lana’s brain, “and for that he will be crushed.” Rusev said he still wears his wedding band because every day he hopes and prays they will end up happily every after. Lashley then interrupted on the big screen. He and Lana appeared to be at a restaurant in a nice booth. Lashley said he wishes he could be there in the King’s Court, but he can’t because his woman has needs. He said he will 100 percent take care of her needs, which Rusev hadn’t been. Lana got some whipped cream on Lashley’s nose and giggled. Lana said Rusev won’t recognize this restaurant because, while she told him it was her dream to go there, Rusev didn’t take her, and Lashley has because he’s a gentleman. She told Lashley she loves him. Lashley said he loves her and she looks wonderful.
Back in the ring Rusev was absorbing what he saw and shaking his head. Lawler asked Rusev for a response. Rusev said he’s going to deliver his response in person because he knows exactly where they are.
-The announcers plugged The O.C. vs. Street Profits & a mystery partner, Seth’s promo, and an Andrade match. They showed Andrade and Zelina Vega chatting backstage. [c]
-They showed a mini-bio of Charlotte in a sponsored Superstar Fact graphic.
(3) ANDRADE (w/Zelina Vega) vs. SIN CARA
When Maddin said he saw a big “Vic Joseph” sign in the crowd, he added, “It’s like Slenderman homecoming over here.” As Sin Cara came to the ring, Lawler said he’s always been one of his favorites. (I do not believe that for a second.) Joseph touted Sin Cara’s involvement in his community in El Paso and noted that he was one of the first responders for those in need in his hometown. (Joseph didn’t say why those people were in need.) They showed a clip of Sin Cara at a WWE event in El Paso with some first responders joining him inside the ring. Maddin said he’s a terrific human being.
Early in the match, they showed Humberto Carillo watching a monitor of the action backstage. Joseph said he is as high-flying and as exciting as they come. A Zelina distraction helped Andrade cut off a Sin Cara comeback. Andrade scored an early two count. There was a slightly botched move where Andrade seemed to think Sin Cara was escaping a move, but Sin Cara bumped for it anyway. Seconds later Sin Cara knocked Andrade to the floor and then flipped onto him at ringside. [c]
Andrade eventually took over control, but he took forever climbing to the top rope. Sin Cara stood up and chopped Andrade on the top rope, then set up a move, but he then paused to play for cheers. He then set up a top rope suplex, but Andrade knocked him down to the apron. Sin Cara climbed back up and landed a top rope sunset flip (or a “whadda move!” as Joseph called it) for a two count. Sin Cara went back to the top rope, but Andrade knocked him down and then hit the running knees in the corner for a two count. Sin Cara backdropped a charging Andrade over the top rope to the floor. Sin Cara played to the crowd for claps, then landed a leaping huracanrana to the floor (or “taking the action to Andrade,” as Vic Joseph called it). Zelina distracted Sin Cara as Andrade snapped his neck over the top rope. Zelina then gave Sin Cara a flying head scissors. Back in the ring, Andrade landed the hammerlock DDT for the win.
WINNER: Andrade in 12:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: Good match. Sin Cara should get some wins in the future to keep him relevant, and then he can be a useful gate keeper for heels like Andrade on an ongoing basis.)
-Caruso interviewed Humberto Carrillo. She welcomed him to Raw and asked for his reaction. He said he has a lot of respect for Andrade, but you have to face Andrade and Zelina at the same time. He said he has a lot to prove, but he intends to become champion some day. He said he will be “the best champion, not the kind of champion that plays with fire, like Seth Rollins.”
(Keller’s Analysis: His broken English and soft-spoken tone made it hard to understand if he really meant to take a dig at Seth there. I’m liking the breathing space that wrestlers are getting post-draft when they would have been crowded out by the same overexposed top tier names before the roster split.) [c]
-The Street Profits talked about The O.C. They said mothers love them more and made fun of their hand symbols and Styles’s hair. Montez Ford then celebrated that they’re main eventing Raw. He asked Angelo Dawkins if he found them a partner. Dawkins said it’ll be a surprise. Ford asked if it’ll be Ric Flair. Dawkins said Flair’s already out to the afterparty. Ford asked if it’s Booker T or Kurt Angle. Dawkins said all he needs to know is this guy doesn’t like Styles “he’s just like us.” Ford then said, “We want the smoke.”
-Backstage R-Truth was peeking out from behind a rolling shelf. He had his 24/7 Title belt with him. He snuck around, nervous that someone was out to get him. He gained confidence there wasn’t anyone there and began strutting. Then he ran into a Singh Brother who sang a Bollywood song. Then the other Singh brother rolled up R-Truth from behind for the win. Truth: “Either I am seeing double or there are two of them.”
-The announcer chuckled, then plugged Crown Jewel.
-As the Viking Raiders made their ring entrance, they cut to a clip of The Viking Raiders winning the Raw Tag Team Titles last week. They were in the ring and ready for a match. [c]
-Backstage Schreiber interviewed Zack Ryder & Curt Hawkins. They said they might be underdogs, but this is a huge opportunity for them. He said soon they’ll start calling them “winners.” Ryder asked if they’ll get pyro tonight. Hawkins said there’s only one way to find out. Hawkins & Ryder came out and didn’t get any pyro.
(4) THE VIKING RAIDERS vs. ZACK RYDER & CURT HAWKINS
WINNERS: Viking Raiders in 4:00 via Viking Experience.
(Keller’s Analysis: Not a total squash, but in the end the Raiders got to deliver their signature offense and get across their brutal style. It is a strange choice to have them, one week after winning the tag titles against two heels and finally getting over with fans, matched up against two sympathetic underdog fan favorites.)
-A man who was apparently the restaurant manager asked Lashley and Lana to leave because he had reason to believe Lana’s husband was on his way, but he offered to pay for their meal. Lashley said Rusev doesn’t have the balls to come to the restaurant. Lana laughed. [c]
-They went back to the restaurant and panned wide to show other people eating there. Rusev barged in. Everyone else screamed and ran. Rusev knocked over their table and tackled Lashley. Four security guys pulled Rusev off of Lashley. Lashley and Lana mouthed off to Rusev as he was held back.
-Rey Mysterio made his ring entrance, his left arm in a sling. He thanked the fans for their outpouring of love. “I am truly a man who has so much to be thankful for,” he said. “Your love has humbled me and I am honored for the love you have shown me and my entire family. I want to tell you personally straight from my heart that you guys are my family.” He said they would all celebrate together at Crown Jewel when Cain Velasquez wins the Universal Title “and puts another scar on the face of that bastard Brock Lesnar.” Then came the obligatory interruption of a Rey promo.Paul Heyman appeared on the big screen. He said they seem to have a misunderstanding. He asked if he’d say that if his client was live in Cleveland tonight. “Of course you wouldn’t,” Heyman said. Heyman said Lesnar has been drafted to Smackdown, so Rey knows he can’t be there. Heyman said he can’t be drafted anywhere as he’s just a “humble advocate.” Heyman said Rey is misguided in thinking there is a man who can handle Lesnar. Heyman told Rey to get it into his thick head. Rey yelled back at Heyman, and then spoke in Spanish with intensity.
Shelton Benjamin walked out with a mic in his hand. He asked why Cain gets a title shot for just stepping up and defending Rey when he couldn’t defend himself or his son. Rey said this is “a family thing.” Shelton said he has a buddy, too. He said Lesnar is his buddy. He said at the University of Minnesota, he trained Lesnar and roomed with him. “Brock Lesnar is my family,” he said. He added that other than Heyman, nobody knows Lesnar better than him. Shelton said he’s going to test a theory on what happens when he pushes Rey around. He said apparently if you beat him up, you get a title opportunity. He shoved him a few more times. He asked where his buddy is now. Suddenly Cain Velasquez walked out. Lawler said Shelton didn’t think for one minute that Cain was there. Cain stared down Shelton and walked up to him mid-ring. Shelton went for a single-leg takedown. Cain blocked it and lifted and slammed Shelton down. Then he threw some punches and took him down again. Then he shifted into a sleeper. Shelton tapped and scurried out of the ring. Joseph said if Cain makes Lesnar tap out, they’ll have a new WWE Champion. Cain stared down at Shelton at ringside grasping his neck.
(Keller’s Analysis: Cain’s punches looked weak, as did his takedowns. The fans didn’t seem impressed at all. Cain doesn’t show the type of pro wrestling charisma that a top star needs beyond the “novelty” stage. His attack on Shelton felt like a dress rehearsal for a play fight later, not an attempt to hurt him in the least. Shelton was good here, probably as good as he’s ever been on the mic. It wasn’t fantastic or anything, but he was convincing in bullying Rey.)
-Caruso interviewed Seth backstage. Mixed reaction, mostly boos. Caruso said The Fiend has pushed him to limits they never thought he’d go to, so it appears The Fiend has gotten inside his head. Seth chuckled and admitted maybe he has, but maybe he’s gotten inside Fiend’s head, too. He said he found his way into the Funhouse. He said The Fiend is different and there’s an aura about him that’s tough to explain. He said he’s a little off. He said when you step inside the ring with The Fiend, you’re changed forever. He stopped and seemed to think he saw something. He walked over to Carillo. “Hey kid, I saw what you said earlier,” he told him. Seth said he needed to burn down the Firefly Funhouse. He said being a champion isn’t always about making decisions everyone likes, but it’s about doing what’s right. He said he admires that he wants to be champion some day, so welcome to Raw. He offered him a match against him – tonight. Carillo smiled and got psyched up.
(Keller’s Analysis: Carillo was good here. It would have been easy to ham it up, but he reacted as one naturally would with such an opportunity in front of him – eager nervousness, but no cartoonish overacting.) [c]
-They showed Cleveland Browns in the front row.
-Joseph threw to a video package of Undertaker at the Riyadh Season Grand Opening Parade last week in Saudi Arabia. There was a fireworks show and a big WWE style stage.
(5) SETH ROLLINS vs. HUMBERTO CARRILLO
Maddin said it was uncharacteristic of Carrillo to take shots at Seth. Lawler said he didn’t take a shot. Maddin said he called him an “arsonist, but he wasn’t arrested.” (Wait, you have to be arrested to be an arsonist, when you were shown on TV setting the Funhouse on fire?) Joseph said Carrillo didn’t use those words. (I got the sense Maddin might have said a word Vince McMahon didn’t want being used there.) Some fans began chanting “We Want Wyatt!” Carrillo got in early graceful offense and scored a two count. Seth eventually threw Carrillo to the floor and then dove through the ropes with a tackle, knocking him hard into the ringside barricade. Then he threw him into the barricade and suplexed him on the floor. [c]
Back from the break, Seth grew frustrated with his inability to finish Carrillo, which the announcers drew attention to. Carrillo landed his Aztec Press for a near fall. He went for it again, but Seth lifted his boots and then delivered a Stomp for the win.
WINNER: Rollins in 12:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: Carrillo has a real natural confidence and cool charisma that will carry him further up the card than most “pretty boy” acts in this modern era. I’m not sure this was John Cena-Kurt Angle, but I wouldn’t rule it out as being looked at as a coming out party for Carillo nationally. It’s strange the announcers aren’t detailing his background at all. I am curious if they matched him against Seth to frame Seth as a heel or just create an excuse for the fans not being 100 percent behind Seth.)
-R-Truth pinned the wrong Singh Brother as the other one stood behind him laughing with the 24/7 Title belt on. Then the Singhs ran away.
-They hyped that the Friday Funhouse will return on Smackdown this Friday.
-The Street Profits began their ring entrance. They cut to a crowd shot of fans not reacting. The Profits then entered the crowd and jumped up and down, dancing their way to the ring. Maddin said everywhere they go becomes a block party. They made their way to the ring. Lawler wondered who their surprise partner will be. The O.C. walked out. Styles asked where their partner is. “Were you lying to us? Oh, he’s invisible? He’s imaginary? Or is the truth of the matter you couldn’t find anybody to watch your back after what The O.C. did to you last week?” They replayed what The O.C. did to the Profits last week. [c]
(6) THE STREET PROFITS vs. THE O.C.
Back from the break, the match started and the Profits had no partner. Lawler asked Maddin what it says about the Profits they don’t have a friend. Maddin said there’s still time. Anderson jumped to the floor to regroup after a flurry of offense. Styles gave Anderson a pep talk. Anderson took control and they cut to a break a few minutes in. [c]
After the break, Styles remained at ringside in his jacket while the two-on-two tag match continued. When Styles interfered, the ref kicked him out of ringside. Kevin Owens ran out to reveal he was the so-called third man. He gave Styles a stunner at ringside. Then Ford flip-dove onto Gallows at ringside. Ford tagged in and finished Anderson with a frog splash. They went off the air with the Profits celebrating with the fans including a very happy and very cute baby.
WINNERS: The Street Profits in 13:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: A good debut for The Street Profits. I’m not sure why they didn’t use Owens as an actual partner, though, after advertising it would be a three-on-three match.)