KELLER & POWELL FLAGSHIP (12/5)
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KELLER’S WWE RAW REPORT
NOVEMBER 25, 2019
AIRED ON USA NETWORK
Announcers: Vic Joseph, Jerry Lawler
-The Raw opening theme aired. Then Joseph introduced the show. He said Survivor Series wasn’t the best night for Raw. Lawler said it was a horrible night.
-They went to ringside where the Raw roster surrounded the ring. Seth Rollins entered the ring. Some fans chanted, “C.M. Punk.” He said he tried to get him to show up, but he didn’t want to show up. Boos. He said Punk wants to sit behind a desk in Los Angeles and talk about a change he’s too afraid to make himself. He said tonight isn’t about him, it’s about everyone who is there around the ring. Some fans chanted, “NXT!” Seth said NXT mopped the floor with Raw last night. He said he grew up loving Raw and to see what it’s become breaks his heart. “This show is better than that,” he said. He told the wrestlers it’s going to be harsh, but it’s got to be said. “Last night at Survivor Series, you all sucked.” Fans chanted over each other. Lawler said they were saying, “So did you.” Seth said everyone dropped the ball last night and they’ve got to fix it. “We went from being the A-show to the C-show.” He said they need to plant the Raw flag in the ground and make this place great again, “so give me a minute, would ya’?” He said he believes in Raw, which is why he invited everyone there. He invited anyone to speak up.
Seth looked at Orton at ringside. Seth said Orton was on his squad last night, but he was the weak link. He said he’s just keeping it real. He asked if Orton had anything to say. Orton smiled and walked to the back. Seth said he’ll keep sticking his nose out there as the leader. Orton gestured with his fist as he walked away. It looked like maybe he was indicating to Seth that he should be scrubbing a pipe somewhere. Seth turned to Charlotte and said she’s a leader and she was supposed to lead the Women’s Survivor Series team last night, but she wasn’t even the last person standing for Team Raw. “And you call yourself a Flair,” he said. Charlotte walked away. She didn’t tell Seth to go scrub pipes.
Seth looked down at AOP. He said they weren’t even at Survivor Series, and they could have used them. He told them they don’t need them tonight if they couldn’t be there for them last night. AOP walked away. He looked down at Rey Mysterio. “More than anybody last night, you let all of us down,” he said. He cited his two victories over Brock Lesnar this year, but said Rey couldn’t even get the job done “with a lead pipe and your stupid kid helping you out.” Boos. Rey said something and stormed away. “Maybe you’re not the Rey Mysterio we all grew up loving, huh?” Fans chanted “Asshole” at him. The rest of the Raw roster then walked away. Seth said he was trying to do the right thing and motivate them. “This is our show and we need to stand up for it.” He said they’re all thinking the same thing, whereas he’s the only one with the guts to say it.
Kevin Owens showed up on the ring apron. He looked at Seth and seemed sad by what he was hearing. Fans chanted, “Kevin Owens! Kevin Owens!” Seth said KO’s new name is Mr. NXT. Seth invited KO to enter the ring and say what he’s got to say. KO entered the ring. Seth said what he’s saying is coming from his heart. “I love this place,” he said. “These ropes, this canvas, every single guy and girl in the back, I love this place. All I do day in and day out is think about how it can be better… I want this to be the best show on the planet. I love this place. This isn’t about me.” He told Owens that he wants his spot and he wants to be him. “You will never be Seth Rollins,” he said. “Look, I’m coming from a good place, Kev. This is the right thing to do.” KO then gave Seth a stunner and left. KO’s music played. Lawler said Seth didn’t convince KO.
(Keller’s Analysis: Seems like the beginning of a heel turn for Seth, if not a full-fledged heel turn. I like the positioning of KO here. I didn’t mind the assembly of wrestlers in this instance as much as usual since a “locker room leader” called the meeting rather than management, and they were lined up outside the ring rather than standing on the stage. The visual felt less emasculating. Noteworthy that Becky Lynch wasn’t there. Not sure if that’s worth reading into, but WWE has to be careful not to damage her if Seth goes off the rails.) [c]
-An NXT on USA commercial said after the Survivor Series win, all eyes are on NXT and “how can you not watch?”
— Wade Keller (@thewadekeller) November 26, 2019
-Charly Caruso interviewed a flustered Seth. She said despite his best intentions, he didn’t accomplish what he intended. Seth said Kevin is going to have to learn things the hard way. He challenged KO to a fight, then stormed off.
-They showed a clip of someone chasing down Rusev apparently for an autograph as he entered the arena, but then he revealed he was served with a temporary restraining order in the state of Illinois. Two security guys told him he had to leave.
(1) BOBBY LASHLEY (w/Lana) vs. TITUS O’NEAL
Lawler said Rusev reminds him of a baseball player because he’s been thrown out at home. Lashley slammed Titus a minute in. Rusev then attacked Lashley, knocking him out of the ring as Lana yelled in protest. He pounded away at Lashley and then threw him into the ringside steps. Then he dragged Lashley up the stage and threw him into the new Raw set and then to the announce table. The announcers left the area. Rusev then cleared the desk and threw the office chair. He knocked Lashley onto the desk, then turned to yell at Lana. “This is not about you!” he said. (Huh?) Police arrived and pulled Rusev away and then put him in handcuffs. Rusev broke free and checked Lashley of the stage despite being in handcuffs. More police arrived to drag Lashley away. (If you wanted to be a police officer for Halloween, the stores are going to be short on those costumes in the Chicago area.) He then kicked over trussing that crashed near Lashley. It clearly landed with a thud on a solid surface, but Joseph gasped as if it might have landed on Lashley. They showed Lana crying and Lashley writhing in pain.
WINNER: No decision.
(Keller’s Analysis: Another instance where WWE deliberately undercuts the whole notion that wrestling matches matter at all by just ignoring that a match was interrupted because they didn’t want to distract from the “more important” angle that followed.) [c]
-They replayed what happened with Rusev and additional footage from during the break of medics taking Lashley out on a gurney as Lana showed concern.
(2) AOP (Akam & Rezar) vs. ZACK RYDER & CURT HAWKINS
AOP hit Hawkins with The Last Chapter seconds into the match, then pummeled Ryder as he was face down on the mat. Lawler said they should have been at Survivor Series. (Was it their fault? Did they turn down an invite?) They then gave Hawkins and Ryder a Super Collider. They finished Hawkins with a double-team sitout powerbomb move.
WINNERS: AOP in 2:00.
-The announcers hyped Charlotte vs. Asuka, A.J. Styles vs. Humberto Carrillo in a U.S. Title match, and Seth vs. KO. [c]
(3) ANDRADE (w/Zelina Vega) vs. AKIRA TOZAWA
Lawler said what Seth said got through to Andrade, who appears to be fired up.
WINNER: Andrade in 2:00
(Keller’s Analysis: If 205 Live accomplished nothing else, it led to signing a healthy talented crew of “undersized” bump takers who can provide squash match fodder for the the Raw and Smackdown stars for years to come.)
-Aleister Black continued too talk to a shoe on the floor off camera regarding how Buddy Murphy went too far. He turned to the camera and said Murphy’s mere presence on Raw tonight indicates he came here to pick a fight with him.
(Keller’s Analysis: Black has been doing the same thing too long and he’s starting to just come across as ridiculous, not intriguing or idiosyncratic.)
-Matt Hardy made his ring entrance. [c]
(4) BUDDY MURPHY vs. MATT HARDY
Murphy took it to Hardy aggressively early in the ring and then at ringside. He threw him back into the ring, but Hardy surprised Murphy with a Side Effect. Murphy blocked a running bulldog, but Hardy caught Murphy charging with an elbow. Then he signaled for a Twist of Fate. Fans cheered and chanted “Delete!” Murphy blocked it and then caught Hardy with a leaping knee to the chin and a running knee and a third knee for the 1-2-3. Murphy was bleeding from his nose afterward. When he noticed, he licked the blood.
WINNER: Murphy in 3:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: I suppose this is one way to use Hardy at this point, as a credible sympathetic veteran losing squash matches. I suspect, though, there are better ways.)
-Afterward, Murphy mocked Black, saying, “I am Buddy Murphy and I have come to pick a fight with…” Then Black’s music played and he ran to the ring. Didn’t sound like a particularly big pop. Black ducked Murphy’s punch and landed a spinning elbow. Then he gave him a knee to the chin. Murphy tumbled to the floor. Joseph asked if it was wise of Murphy to knock on the door of Black. Murphy teased re-entering the ring, but then retreated and kept checking his bleeding nose. Black’s music played as they played Black’s attack on Murphy.
-Joseph plugged Styles vs. Carrillo was up next.
-Caruso interviewed Charlotte backstage. She asked Charlotte if her behavior was captain-like on Sunday. Charlotte said she never claimed to be a team player, but rather she was the only personal qualified to lead Team Raw. She said Asuka is still bitter about losing the Smackdown Title to her last spring and also ending her undefeated streak at WrestleMania 34. They showed a freeze-frame of Asuka spraying green mist at her. She said Asuka knows that’s the only way she can beat her. Charlotte said she will remind her why she is a ten-time Women’s Champion and The Queen. “Wooo!”
-A Smackdown commercial hyped the Firefly Funhouse this Friday with Bray revealing a new character in the Funhouse. [c]
-The announcers reviewed Seth’s speech to wrestlers at the start of the show.
-A.J. Styles made his ring entrance. He came out alone.
-As Humbero Carrillo made his ring entrance, Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows attacked him. Carrillo actually fought back effectively at first, but Gallows eventually chokeslammed him on the ring apron and then threw him into the ringside steps. Lawler was eager for the referee to officially start the match. Then they slammed him on the ringside steps. Ricochet ran out to check on Carrillo. Styles then began to mock Carrillo for being unable to continue. He said he doesn’t appear medically cleared to wrestle. He then turned to making fun of Ricochet. He said a real super hero would have been on time to safe his buddy from a beatdown. Ricochet asked if this is what the once-great Styles has come to. He said he sent Anderson and Gallows to beat down someone he feared could beat him. Ricochet stepped onto the ring apron and asked to challenge him for the U.S. Title. Styles said no. He said he signed to fight Carrillo, not anyone else.
Orton’s music then played. He walked out with a mic in hand and said Carrillo might not be able to compete, but he can. He said the people of Chicago would love to see nothing more than him RKO his ass right through the canvas. Fans chanted “RKO!” As Orton entered the ring, Styles said the last time they competed against each other, it was in a bigger and better city at WrestleMania, “and I beat you.” He said he has nothing to prove to two guys he’s already beaten.
Drew McIntyre stepped out and said he knows someone Styles has never faced who has never had a singles title opportunity. He said he is tall, handsome, with a sexy accent, and just last night he beat a Monster Among Men and a champion, NXT UK Champion Walter. Boos. Drew entered the ring and proposed Styles vs. Drew for the U.S. Title for the first time ever. Styles said after stealing the show last night, he a little sore.
Rey Mysterio then came out. He said he won’t let Styles cheat the fans from Chi-Town out of a title match. Cheers. He challenged Styles. Styles said none of them have earned anything. He said they’re “entitled and spoiled.” He declined their challenges. Ricochet proposed the four of them have a four-way match and the winner faces Styles. Drew said, “I preferred my idea, to be honest.” Funny. Styles said that’s a dumb idea. Gallows said the idea actually sounds compelling to him. Styles turned to Anderson. Anderson said it is Raw with a hot crowd in Chicago and he thinks it’s pretty cool. Styles said he will pick the bones of the winner, so they’re on.
(Keller’s Analysis: They seemed to be emulating the Chris Jericho segment last week where Jericho was goaded and tricked into defending his AEW Title against Scorpio Sky the following week, with a dose of comedy thrown in at the end at the expense of the cowardly veteran champion. The best line of the segment was Drew interjecting that he liked his option best where he just automatically gets the title match. Orton seems more engaged than usual playing the fan favorite with an attitude.)
-A commercial aired for Starrcade on WWE Network at Saturday. They didn’t list matches. [c]
(5) RICOCHET vs. DREW MCINTYRE vs. RANDY ORTON vs. REY MYSTERIO – Four-way to earn U.S. Title match
A few minutes in, Drew and Orton worked together against Ricochet. Drew suplexed Orton off the top rope as Orton was trying to superplex Rey. Lawler said this will make a great replay “because bad decisions always make great replays.” They cut to a break with everyone down and slow to get up, with Styles, Anderson, and Gallows sauntering onto the stage. [c]
Ricochet and Drew exchanged blows mid-ring. Then Ricochet went after Orton, but Orton side-stepped him and gave him a draping DDT off the middle rope. Drew broke up the count with a hard shove. Drew yelled at Orton that it is his time. He chopped Orton hard in the chest. Orton returned fire. They both largely no-sold. Drew slapped back and Orton sold that his ear drum popped from the loud noise. Drew told him to show him the kind of man he is. Orton poked him in the eyes, then took it to him run the corner with uppercuts. Orton showed some welts on his chest to the ref. Drew surprised him with the Glasgow Kiss headbutt. Ricochet then hit Drew with a flying move, but when he went for a head scissors, Drew blocked it. Ricochet rolled through instead and scored a two count. Drew took over and sitout powerbombed Ricochet for a near fall. Drew set up a Claymore, but Orton caught him with an RKO Out of Nowhere. Joseph declared Orton would face Styles for the U.S. Title before the ref began counting, so we knew the pin wouldn’t’ happen at that moment. Sure enough, Gallows and Anderson yanked Orton out of the ring and threw him into the barricade at ringside. With Drew and Orton down and out, Rey and Ricochet battled, and Rey surprised Ricochet with a small package for the win.
WINNER: Rey in 12:00 to earn a U.S. Title match against Styles later. [c]
(6) A.J. STYLES (w/Karl Anderson, Luke Gallows) vs. REY MYSTERIO – U.S. Title match
A few minutes in when Styles had control, Joseph wondered if fatigue was setting in from the Brock Lesnar match last night. Rey then made a comeback and sent Styles into a ringpost. Anderson tripped Rey as he bounded into the ropes to hit Styles with a 619. The ref kicked Anderson and Gallows to the back as a result. Joseph asked if Rey has a miracle in him after all as they cut to a break. [c]
After the break, Styles was in control. He hung Rey upside down in the corner and then aimed with a running slidekick for Rey’s head, but Rey moved and Styles collided crotch-first into the ringpost. Rey then climbed to the top rope and landed on Styles and then executed a head scissors takedown. He mounted Styles in the corner and hit ten punches as fans counted along. Lawler said, “It’s a miracle these fans can count to ten.” Rey gave Styles a bulldog for a soft two count. Fans chanted for a 619. Rey climbed to the top rope. Styles knocked him off balance and set up a superplex. Rey bit Styles’s hand. Styles gave Rey an ushigoroshi and then set up a Styles Clash a minute later, but Rey countered with a sunset bomb for a two count. Rey then springbaorded at Styles with a head scissors to set up a 619. The crowd popped. Rey hit the move, but Styles bumped into the ref. Rey climbed to the top rope, but then noticed the ref was down. So he climbed down and made the cover. The ref was out and didn’t make the count. The fans counted 1-2-3 and cheered, apparently confused about how wrestling rules work when a ref goes down. Anderson and Gallows then ran back out and attacked Rey. Orton ran out for the save. He tossed Anderson and Gallows into the ringside barricade. Rey then gave Styles another 619 with Orton in the ring. Orton then gave Styles an RKO. Rey then hit a top rope splash. The ref came to and counted to three. Rey’s son, Dominic, ran out to celebrate with his dad.
WINNER: Rey to capture the U.S. Title.
(Keller’s Analysis: I didn’t see that coming. I guess this gives fans disappointed in how Rey’s match with Lesnar went a consolation prize. While Styles has the technicality that Orton cost him the match, Rey clearly got the visual three count with the ref down after the first 619, so it was something less than a fluke win for Rey if you take the entirety into account.) [c]
-Backstage, Caruso attempted to interview Owens. Owens asked nicely if he could just hold the mic. She gave him the mic. KO said he heard everything Seth had to say earlier and that he thinks he’s doing everything to make the show better and holding people to his high standards. Owens said the biggest difference between the two of them is that he has known who he is from the moment he first laced up a pair of wrestling boots 20 years ago and has known who he was his entire time in WWE. He said he has never tried to be something he wasn’t, even when people tried to make him into something different. He said he dug his heels into the sand and insisted on being himself “and I am perfectly fine with that.” He said on the other hand, Seth has always tried to be what WWE wants him to be, but all he has managed to do was “turn yourself into a miserable, whiny, insufferable prick.” He said if Seth wants to call him “Mr. NXT,” he will call Seth “Mr. Crossfit” and that stunner earlier was nothing compared to what comes next. He said the next one will turn Monday Night Rollins into the Kevin Owens Show.
(Keller’s Analysis: Now that’s a promo. I’m not sure it fully stands up to scrutiny considering how all over the place his character has been over the last year, including those bizarre bowling alley skits, but overall he has a strong enough point in contrast to Seth for it to stand out.)
(7) CHARLOTTE vs. ASUKA (w/Kairi Sane)
Before the match, Lawler said when Charlotte last last night, “her dad Ric Flair was looking down on her.” Joseph scolded Lawler and said Ric Flair isn’t dead. Lawler said he meant he condescended her. A few minutes in, Kairi Sane distracted Charlotte and thus Asuka took over. When Charlotte made a comeback, Asuka rolled to the floor to regroup. Charlotte chased Kairi through the crowd and away from ringside. Then Charlotte returned to ringside as Joseph said Charlotte has the one-on-one match she wanted. [c]
Back live, Charlotte slidekicked Asuka. Asuka came back with a German suplex. Charlotte ducked an Asuka kick and rolled her up for a two count. Asuka countered with an Asuka lock, but Charlotte leveraged Asuka’s shoulders down for a two count. Charlotte gave Asuka a fallaway slam and then kipped up and let out a yell. She walked over Asuka’s chest and climbed to the top rope. She went for a moonsault, but Asuka moved out of the way. Charlotte landed a cannonball splash instead for a two count. After more back and forth action, Asuka missed with a splash off the top rope, but when Charlotte went for a Natural Selection, Asuka countered into an armbar and then a triangle. Charlotte stood out of it and applied a mid-ring Boston Crab. Asuka crawled toward the bottom rope and eventually reached it. Charlotte hit a spear a minute later for a near fall at 15:00. Kairi returned to ringside and distracted Charlotte as she was setting up for a figure-four. She chased Kairi down at ringside and threw her into the ringpost. Charlotte entered the ring and very conspicuously pulled her blond hair back and then instantly got sprayed with green mist. Asuka then pinned her.
WINNER: Asuka in 16:00
(Keller’s Analysis: I wish Charlotte could have been a little more subtle about pulling her hair back so deliberately right before Asuka sprayed her face. I mean, she literally pulled it back into a ponytail and walked right up to Asuka. Geesh. Otherwise, a good match!)
(8) ERICK ROWAN vs. KYLE ROBERTS
During Rowan’s ring entrance, they showed a clip of him talking to his companion who lives in the cage. The only thing we know about Erick Rowan’s friend in the case is that he or she is big enough to support a Go Pro camera on its head. Roberts rolled out of the ring as soon as the bell rang and he peeked under the cover of the cage at ringside. He recoiled and jumped backward like a cat seeing a cucumber for the first time. Rowen went after him aggressively at ringside. Then he finished him with a claw slam in the ring.
WINNER: Rowan in 1:00.
-A WWE Shop commercial aired with The IIconics and R-Truth. [c]
-A commercial aired for Steve Austin’s “The Broken Skull Sessions” premiere with Undertaker as his guest.
-Sarah Schreiber asked a distraught Styles, with Anderson and Gallows by his side, what’s going through his mind right now. He couldn’t muster a single word after twenty seconds of trying and then finally said, “Randy Orton.” Then he stormed off.
-They went to Lawler and Joseph who reacted to Styles. Then they threw to highlights of the Lashley-Rusev angle.
-Caruso interviewed Lana backstage. Lana said her soon-to-be ex-husband is a danger to himself and all of society, which is why she has petitioned multiple courts in multiple jurisdictions to stay away from her. She said WWE should fire him “and send that animal straight back to Bulgaria.” She said people are asking her how Lashley is doing, “but I assure you I’m handling it; despite this very very traumatic experience, I’m going to be okay.” (So she didn’t really address Lashley’s condition. Was that on purpose to show how self-centered she is and she might not care about Lashley, or just weird syntax?)
-Seth made his ring entrance. Joseph plugged that Triple H will be on WWE Backstage tomorrow night with Renee Young and Booker T.
(9) SETH ROLLINS vs. KEVIN OWENS
Owens went for an early stunner and then took it to Seth early. Seth came back a couple minutes later with a sling blade. Lawler said fans will look back at Seth’s speech and eventually appreciate it. He said Rey already appreciates it, even though he called his kid stupid, because it fired him up and inspired him on to a U.S. Title victory. Seth got in his dive through the ropes, but Owens ducked a flying knee back in the ring and superkicked Seth to the floor. He played to the crowd and was cheered. Seth grabbed a chair. “What the heck!” said Joseph. The ref scolded Seth as they cut to a break. [c]
After the break Owens blocked a superplex. Owens went for a top rope cannonball, but Seth lifted his knees. They battled back and forth and KO eventually landed a cannonball in the corner. Seth tumbled to the floor. Owens landed a running cannonball. He threw Seth into the ring and landed a frog splash for a two count. Seth avoided a Pop-up Powerbomb and went for a Pedigree, but Seth blocked it and landed a blockbuster for a two count. Seth immediately landed a falcon arrow for a two count. When Seth stomped the mat to signal for his Stomp, fans chanted “Burn it Down!” Owens blocked it and went for a stunner, but Seth blocked it and rolled up Seth for a two count. He followed up with a Pop-up Powerbomb for a near fall. Both were slow to get up. KO again went for a stunner, but Seth blocked it and hit a super kick. Owens fired back with a superkick. Seth then superkicked him. Owens came back with a stunner. Both were down and slow to get up. (That was a lot of superkicks and stunners for both to get up from before they finally went down and stayed down.) AOP entered the ring and eyed both Seth and KO. Seth and KO rolled into opposite corners. KO slapped Akam. Rezar then joined Akam in attacking KO. The ref called for the bell.
WINNER: No contest?
-AOP double-teamed KO. they threw him into the ringpost a few times. (There was a fan opposite hard cam in roughly the fifth row with an AEW t-shirt, by the way.) They turned to Seth next. Seth stood up and yelled, “Come on!” They turned and left. Fans booed. Seth then gave The Stomp to a vulnerable KO, trash talked KO, and then delivered another Stomp.
(Keller’s Analysis: I’ve been pitching for a Seth reboot involving working with two younger and less established wrestlers in a heel faction for weeks. I like the idea of Seth working AOP as a heel faction. I’m not sure that’s what happened here. The downside is it’d be similar to Styles with Anderson & Gallows, but in this case there’d be no comedic element.)