SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
HEYDORN’S WWE RAW REPORT
DECEMBER 2, 2019
AIRED ON USA NETWORK
Announcers: Vic Joseph, Jerry “The King” Lawler, and Samoa Joe
-The show began with a black van pulling into the backstage area of the arena. AOP walked out of the van and and spoke to Charly Caruso. They didn’t speak english, but translated for Caruso and said that she looked lovely. Their answer seemed longer when it wasn’t in english which led Caruso to be confused by that answer. Either way, they didn’t tell her why they attacked Kevin Owens at the end of Raw last week.
Heydorn’s Analysis: I like the immediate follow-up on the events of last week. The quick interview with Caruso waiting for AOP conveys a sense of importance and that the world has been waiting on a response for a week. Nice touch.
-From there, the show open ran, and the announce team welcomed the audience to the show. Vic Joseph hyped that Seth Rollins would address the locker room and apologize for his comments last week. As he said that, Seth’s music hit and he walked to the ring to a very mixed reaction from the audience. Rollins walked to the ring and as he did, Joseph and Lawler discussed what Seth’s mindset has been throughout the last seven days. Joseph welcomed Samoa Joe to the announce team and the three of them debated the merits of Seth’s comments. From there, Rollins stood in the ring and addressed the crowd as they booed.
Heydorn’s Analysis: The commentary was a bit all over the place as Rollins walked to the ring. Mainly because Lawler was advocating that Rollins not apologize for some reason. Where did that come from and why?
He said that last week he walked out to address Raw’s success at Survivor Series. He said that saying they sucked was too harsh, but that it was coming from his heart. He called Raw not only a job, but his life. He said that the people in the locker room aren’t just colleagues, but family. He said because he is the head of the family, it was his responsibility to get the best out of everyone on Raw. From there, he said he may have gone overboard and that after thinking about it all week, he wanted to apologize. Rollins proceeded to apologize to the audience, the locker room, and specifically, Kevin Owens. Rollins then asked if Owens would join him in the ring for a face to face apology. Owens quickly accepted and walked out to a positive reaction from the crowd.
Heydorn’s Analysis: That worked. Rollins seemed genuine enough with his apology, while conveying a sense of it being a total ruse on his part too. Well done.
Once Owens got to the ring, he spoke and asked if the audience “smelled that.” He related the Rollins apology to the rodeo coming to town and then hinted that he and the AOP were on the same page. He called Rollins a liar and said that his apology was bullshit. Rollins pleaded with Owens and said that he had nothing to do with their attack. At that point, AOP walked out onto the stage as the audience booed. They spoke in their native tongue again as the crowd cadenced in with the “what” chant. They then spoke english and challenged Rollins and Owens to a tag team match. Rollins accepted the match, but Owens said he wasn’t falling for it and that he wanted to the match to happen right away. Rollins then appeared frustrated and said that he tried to be reasonable with him before telling Owens he was on his own and walking up the ramp. Rollins crossed paths with AOP and stared them down before walking past them. In response, Owens told AOP to walk down to the ring and face him because he needed payback for last week. They laughed him off and walked backstage as the audience booed. From there, Owens said that he was taped up and ready to go and wanted to fight. He then challenged anyone in the back to walk out and face him. Lashley appeared on the big screen and was shown walking backstage as the show went to break. Joseph questioned whether or not Lashley would take Owens up on his challenge. (c)
Heydorn’s Analysis: We have a smart babyface on our hands, folks. Owens owning the moment and not falling for a potential AOP/Rollins gives the audience someone to get behind. Too many times we’ve seen babyfaces go along with the silly plot only to obviously get stabbed in the back. There is another layer to this storyline that is helping both Rollins and Owens. Owens, because he can call out Rollins and Seth, because the heat he’ll generate after “trying” to work with Owens and then turning again will help him fully go heel. Intricate and well thought out.
-After the break, Kevin Owens was shown standing in the ring waiting for his challenger. The announce team wondered what was taking so long, but as they did, Lana walked out. Owens rolled his eyes as Lana posed at the top of the stage and spoke.
Heydorn’s Analysis: What an eye roll. Classic Owens.
She said she didn’t want to make Raw all about her, but said it was all about her. As she walked back and forth on the ramp, Owens interuppted and said that nobody cared. From there, they talked over each other and argued. Finally, Lana got a word in and said that Rusev wouldn’t be in attendance tonight. She said that she filed a restraining order against him and that she was a danger to the audience. She said that if Rusev shows up he would go to jail. From there, Owens interuppted again and said that he never has seen anyone talk as much as she did and say nothing. Owens called her repulsive on the inside which led to Lana introduce Bobby Lashley to take him on. Owens told her to bring him on and Lashley walked out to a small reaction. Lashley walked to the ring with Lana as police officers trailed behind them. Once they got to the ring, the bell rang, and the match began.
(1) KEVIN OWENS vs. BOBBY LASHLEY w/Lana
Lashley controlled the match out of the gate and hit a vicious sidewalk slam on Owens. Owens battled back and the action spilled to the outside of the ring. With Lashley on the mat, Owens connected with a splash from the ring apron as the show went to break. (c)
Out of the break, Owens continued to hold momentum until Lashley countered a running corner splash. From there, Lashley pummeled Owens with punches before posing to the audience as they booed. Lashley lifted Owens to his feet before connecting with a shoulder tackle into the corner. After, he hit Owens with a series of punches and charged for a clothesline, but Owens countered with a super kick. Out of that, Owens went for a Stunner, but Lashley countered it into a sidewalk slam. After, he went for a cover, but only got a two count. Out of the pin, Lashley lifted Owens for a Dominator and connected with an inverted twist. He attempted another cover, but again got a two count. Out of that pin, both men exchanged punches in the middle of the ring until Owens connected with a pop up powerbomb. This move left both men laying in the middle of the ring. With Owens down, AOP walked out to a chorus of boos from the crowd. They entered the ring and beat on Owens which caused the referee to call the match.
WINNER: No contest
-After the match, AOP continued to beat on Owens. Owens tried to battle back, but he was overwhelmed as the audience booed. From there, AOP dragged Kevin Owens up the ramp and into the backstage area as the show went to break. (c)
Heydorn’s Analysis: The action between both men was serviceable, but it was a short match and without a ton of substance. That said, it furthered the narrative of two storylines. Lashley was able to build some additional heat while taking on Owens and AOP were able to continue their story with KO as well. Smart booking all in all. Finally, AOP dragging Owens away sets a hook for the rest of the show.
-Out of the break, Bobby Lashley was interviewed in the ring. He said he didn’t know anything about AOP and that he was about to beat Kevin Owens. From there, he said he was simply happy that Lana was ok. Lana spoke again next and said that she was tired of being booed by the crowd. They booed more, but then cheered once Rusev hit the ring. He crushed Lashley with a super kick and then mocked the police officers before escaping through the crowd as the audience chanted “Rusev Day.” From there, Lana consoled Lashley before he started to berate the officers. They didn’t take kindly to the that and told him that they do things differently in Nashville. Lashley brushed him off and bumped shoulders with one of the officers as he walked by. In response, the officers arrested Lashley and put him in handcuffs. The audience cheered loudly. Seeing this, Lana complained that they should have been arresting Rusev. She then slapped the officer and got arrested as well. The audience loudly cheered as both were led up the ramp in handcuffs as the show went to break. (c)
Heydorn’s Analysis: It’s hard to argue with crowd reactions and this segment greatly succeeded in that vein. The story is and always has been silly. Right now though, the crowd is biting and the reaction for Rusev is growing by the week. Time will tell when and where it ends, but for now, WWE needs to run with this.
-Out of the break, highlights aired that showcased what just took place between Lana, Lashley, and Rusev. From there, Lana and Lashley were shown being put into a cop car as Truth and the Street Profits looked on in amazement. From there, the broadcast went to the ring again where Drew McIntyre made his entrance. Once he got to the ring, Akira Tozawa made his entrance. Once he got to the ring, the bell rang, and the match began.
(2) DREW MCINTYRE vs. AKIRA TOZAWA
McIntyre and Tozawa stood toe to toe after the bell rang and the announcers commented on the size differential.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Glad the announcers honed in on how big McIntyre is. It’s a huge factor in his gimmick being a success. The visual with Tozawa that accompanied the commentary made that detail pop. Good timing.
From there, Drew got on his knees and mocked Tozawa. He told him to leave the ring and Tozawa appeared to listen. Instead, he ran at Drew and clocked him with a kick. This caused Drew to roll out of the ring and Tozawa continued his attack with a dive through the ropes. McIntyre quickly squashed that momentum though and connected with the reverse Alabama Slam on the outside. From there, he rolled Tozawa back into the ring and connected with a stiff chop before tossing him across the ring. After, he put Tozawa in a submission. In the end, McIntyre connected with a Claymore Kick and made the cover for the 1,2,3 win.
WINNER: McIntyre via pinfall
-After the match, Drew McIntyre said that that was fun. He then said that the problem with today is that people complain too much on social media instead of facing their issues face to face. McIntyre said that wasn’t his style though and called out Randy Orton. The show then went to break. (c)
Heydorn’s Analysis: McIntyre looked great here. He comes off as an authentic bad ass and showcases that authenticity within his matches. A feud with Orton is a good next step for him, too.
-When the show returned from the break, Drew was still waiting for Orton. He then cued up the clip from last week where Randy Orton hits Drew with a rake to the eye. After, Drew called what happened “stupid.” At that point, Orton hit the ring to a nice reaction from the crowd. Once he got inside, Drew asked him how his chest was. Orton laughed Drew off and then turned his back on him. This infuriated Drew and he told Orton not to disrespect him.
Orton turned back around and Drew continued. He said Orton walked around like he owned the place and that he didn’t have respect for anyone. Drew said that Orton was the man, but that it didn’t give him the right to treat him like a child. He followed up and said that the Randy Orton in 2005 was ferocious. He said the 2019 Orton is just ferocious at posting on social media. From there, Drew said he was the most ferocious in WWE today. He said Orton was the past and that he was the future as the audience booed. In response, Orton said there wasn’t an Orton/Drew problem. He said that there was only a Drew reality problem. He said that Drew hadn’t earned anything, but that they could solve their problem now if he really wanted to.
Heydorn’s Analysis: The premise of this “problem” is too fabricated. Because of an eye poke in the middle of a match? That’s what Drew is mad about? That part was unnecessary. It took a while, but McIntyre eventually got to the idea of respect. That root is something that can grow this feud. Once they hit that note, the promo had an old school feel about it with a major match on the horizon.
At this point, the OC walked out and interuppted. Gallows spoke first and called Orton a jerk. Anderson spoke next and said that Orton was responsible for Styles losing the United States Championship. From there, Styles said he wasn’t ok and that he wanted to get his hands on Randy Orton. As Orton was about to answer Styles, Drew chimed in and said he had said spoke his mind to Orton and that he was now wasting his time. He then left the ring. From there, the OC circled the ring with Orton inside of it. Styles made the first move to attack. Gallows and Anderson followed. They beat on Orton until Ricochet ran out to make the save. He got some offense in, but was then beaten down too. Humberto Carrillo ran out next, but was beaten up as well. At that point, Rey Mysterio ran out to a big pop. He helped Ricochet, Carrillo, and Orton clean house. Ricochet, Carrillo, and Mysterio stood in the ring as Orton looked. The show then went to break. (c)
Heydorn’s Analysis: This felt like a repeat of last week’s angle and Styles needed to frame his US title loss in a more impactful way that gives meaning to the belt and Rey’s win. Comedic in tone around a situation that should be serious.
-After the break, Orton was shown backstage with Mysterio, Ricochet, and Carrillo. Rey asked Orton if he was ok and Orton said he appreciated the help. He then said he didn’t need the help and walked off.
-Back in the ring, Tony Nese wrapped up his entrance. From there, Aleister Black made his entrance. Once he got to the ring, the bell rang, and the match began.
(3) ALEISTER BLACK vs. TONY NESE
Nese and Black went toe to toe early with Black getting the upper hand and tossing Nese out of the ring. From there, Black sat in the ring and stared at Nese as he climbed back into the ring. Once Nese got back in the ring, he tried to kick Black, but Black dodged it and connected with a strike of his own. Finally, Nese got some offense in. He went for a pump handle slam, but Black countered. Instead, he dropped Black on the top rope and then tried to follow with a springboard moonsault. Black countered and crushed Nese with strikes to the mid-section. Eventually, Black hit Nese with Black Mass and covered for the 1,2,3 win.
WINNER: Black via pinfall
Heydorn’s Analysis: A showcase for Black, but he needs to be involved in something that he can sink his teeth into. The showcase was fine, but it’s time for more.
-After the match, Buddy Murphy was interviewed backstage. He said that he was still feeling the affects of Black last week, but that Black simply takes himself too seriously. He said that he is calm and collected while Black is a hot head. Murphy said that if he didn’t calm down, he would calm him down himself.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Ok, calming down wasn’t quite what I had in mind in terms of “something he can sink his teeth into.” Boy, the initial part of the Orton/McIntyre angle grasped at some straws, but this takes the cake. Good grief.
-Andrade made his entrance with Zelina Vega. As they got into the ring, the show went to commercial break. (c)
-Out of the break, Eric Young wrapped up his entrance and the match began.
(4) ANDRADE vs. ERIC YOUNG
The action was back and forth for a good chunk of the match’s early going. Andrade took control next, but Young snatched it back with a high flying top rope elbow. Eventually, Andrade gained momentum again and put Young in a shoulder submission. Young escaped and proceeded to connect with a lifting neckbreaker. After, he made the cover, but Andrade kicked out at two. Out of the pin, Young climbed back to the top rope, but Andrade knocked him off and hit him with the running double knee strike in the corner. From there, Andrade connected with the Hammerlock DDT and covered for the 1,2,3 win.
WINNER: Andrade via pinfall
Heydorn’s Analysis: Essentially a squash and while it worked to give Andrade another win, Young got too much offense in given his recent disappearing act on WWE television. Squash matches work and can work even more if the person being squashed is framed a bit different ahead of the matches.
-After the match, R-Truth ran out to the ring away from his 24-7 competitors. As he celebrated with the Nascar special guests, Kyle Busch rolled Truth up to win the title. Busch celebrated and walked up the ramp as the show went to break. (c)
Heydorn’s Analysis: Do people still care about the 24-7 title? Better question. Did people ever really care?
-Out of the break, the Street Profits were shown walking backstage. They were dressed in Christmas gear and hyped WWE’s Cyber Monday sales.
-The announce team recapped the events from earlier in the evening between Seth Rollins, Kevin Owens, and AOP. When the recap ended, Seth Rollins was shown walking backstage. Charly asked him why he wouldn’t help Kevin Owens when he was attacked by AOP. In response, Rollins said that he tried, but that Owens didn’t want his help. Rollins then asked Charly what she wanted from him. He said that no matter what he does, he’s the bad guy. He asked Charly what was the point and said that everyone was a critic, but not everyone had the guts to be a leader. Rollins then walked off.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Rollins continues to walk the heel line well. His tone of voice tonight has been spot on in conveying the heel attitude as he says babyface words.
-A hype video aired for Rey Mysterio and detailed Mysterio winning the United States Championship last week. (c)
-After the video, Erick Rowan was shown talking to his cage backstage. When he finished, the show went to break. (c)
-Out of the break, No Way Jose made his entrance with the conga line. After, Erick Rowan followed with his animal cage in his hand. He set the cage on the steps and then got into the ring. Once he did, the bell rang, and the match began.
(5) NO WAY JOSE vs. ERICK ROWAN
As soon as the match started, three members of the conga line appeared to try and look at the animal cage. Rowan saw this and destroyed them for doing so. Jose tried to gain retribution, but Rowan destroyed him as well. After beating up Jose around the ringside area, he tossed him into the ring and then connected with two face slams before covering for the 1,2,3 win.
WINNER: Rowan via pinfall
-After the match, the announce team debated what could be in the cage. From there Asuka and Kairi Sane were shown warming up backstage as the show went to break. (c)
Heydorn’s Analysis: This storyline just isn’t doing it for me. Why should we care what is in the cage? It isn’t helping him win matches. The “why” needs to be defined here. Period.
-Out of the break, Erick Rowan was shown backstage and clips of him destroying the conga line aired. Rowan then was asked what was in the cage. He looked inside of it and then was asked the question again. Instead of answering, he angrily walked off.
-Charlotte made her way to the ring to a chorus of “woos” from the crowd. As she entered the ring, the announce team cued up clips from last week that got us to this match including Asuka hitting Charlotte with the green mist. After the video clips, Charly Caruso interviewed the Kabuki Warriors backstage ahead of their entrance.
Asuka and Sane spoke in Japanese and concluded with “we beat you.” They then walked out to brand new entrance music.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Thank goodness for the new music. The mashup made no sense for them as a team and while this isn’t the greatest music in the world either, it presents both better as a single unit.
-Once Sane and Asuka got to the ring, they attacked Charlotte before the match could officially begin. Sane and Asuka posed as the referee restored order and checked on Charlotte. Eventually, the ref calmed things down and the match began.
(6) CHARLOTTE FLAIR vs. THE KABUKI WARRIORS
Flair and Asuka started things off and Asuka took over early. She and Sane quickly tagged in and out of the match to stay fresh. From there, Asuka smashed Charlotte’s face into the ring post. Charlotte briefly battled back and tossed Sane over the top rope, but was hit for her troubles by an Asuka kick. Eventually, Flair took over fully and connected with a baseball on slide on both opponents. This took the action tot he outside of the ring. There, Charlotte tried to throw Asuka into the barricade, but Asuka countered and sent Charlotte into it instead. From there, Asuka rolled Charlotte into the ring and whipped her into the corner. Charlotte attempted a counter, but Sane caught her and pulled her to the outside of the ring. This gave the Kabuki Warriors the upper hand once again. The show then went to commercial break. (c)
Heydorn’s Analysis: I like the intensity of Asuka and Sane. They seem to be gelling nicely as a heel team.
Out of the break, Asuka and Sane continued to keep momentum until Flair halted it with a stiff elbow to Asuka. Asuka quickly grabbed momentum back and crushed Flair with a suplex. After, Asuka tagged Sane and she went to to the top rope for a move. Sane jumped off, but Charlotte kicked her to counter. From there, Charlotte went to the top rope and tried for a moonsault on both Sane and Asuka. Both got their legs up counter the move. Out of that, Sane tried for a running clothesline, but Charlotte countered it into a submission. Asuka broke the hold with a straight kick to the face and followed that with a dropkick. After, Asuka tried for a pin, but only got a two count. Out of the pin, Asuka hit Flair with a series of kicks, but Charlotte countered after catching her leg. From there, both women exchanged submission holds, but Asuka got the triangle choke firmly planted. Charlotte battled out and deadlifted Asuka before slamming her to the mat.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Fun spot that got a big reaction and showcased what makes Charlotte special. Good stuff.
Eventually, the action went to the top rope. Asuka and Sane attempted a double team on Charlotte, but Charlotte tried to counter with a double superplex. She couldn’t get the move off and was sent crashing to the mat instead. From there, Asuka and Sane looked to take control, but Charlotte hit them both with a spear. She covered, but only got a two count. Out of the pin, Charlotte hit Asuka with another spear and then locked in the Figure 8 submission. Then, after a blind tag, Sane hit her Insane Elbow on the top rope to break the hold. Sane was then able to cover for the 1,2,3 win.
WINNER: Asuka and Sane via pinfall
Heydorn’s Analysis: Good match with some unique spots. Charlotte is protected because it was a handicap match, but its still a big win for the Kabuki Warriors. This and new music tells me that WWE has plans for them at least in the short term.
-After the match, The Viking Raiders were shown backstage. The show then went to break. (c)
-Out of the break, Charlotte was interviewed backstage. She said that she didn’t regret challenging the Kabuki Warriors and then walked out of the shot.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Well there you go. I’ll truly believe it when I see it, but this could be the start of some character development for her.
-The Viking Raiders made their way to the ring to a small reaction from the audience. With their opponents in the ring already, the match began once they got there.
(7) THE VIKING RAIDERS vs. MARK STERLING & MITCHELL LIONS
The Raiders controlled the match out of the gate in dominating fashion. After less than a minute, they hit the Viking Experience for the 1,2,3 win.
WINNER: Viking Raiders via pinfall
Heydorn’s Analysis: Like Aleister Black, these guys need more as soon as possible.
-After the match, Ricochet, Rey Mysterio, and Humberto Carrillo were shown backstage. Ricochet said that he wants the world to know that superheroes can be real, but that he would put that aside to teach the OC a lesson. Carrillo spoke and said that he needed to get some revenge on the OC for making his life hard since his Raw debut. He spoke highly of Mysterio and Mysterio responded by saying that he has done well thus far on the roster. He called Ricochet and Carrillo the future while he was a legend and said that they have the championship on their side now. He said they would beat the OC as the show went to commercial break. (c)
Heydorn’s Analysis: Enough with the superheroes are real gimmick. They aren’t and that’s not a mission statement or anything that a crowd would want to get behind. Period.
-Out of the break, the announce team recapped the events from earlier in the night between Lashley, Lana, and Rusev.
-When the recap ended, Rey Mysterio made his entrance. Carrillo and Ricochet followed. Once they got to the ring, the OC cut a promo backstage. They called out Randy Orton and said that he helped steal the US Title from Styles. From there, Styles said that when you stick your nose in OC business, people get hurt. They then made their entrance. As they did, the show went to commercial break. (c)
-Out of the break, the bell rang, and the match began.
(8) THE OC vs. RICOCHET, HUMBERTO CARRILLO, & REY MYSTERIO
The OC controlled the match early. They took over on Carrillo until Carrillo nailed Styles with a springboard flying headbutt. After, Carrillo went for a pin, but only got a two count. Out of the pin, the OC took control once again. Gallows distracted Carrillo which allowed Styles to kick him out of the ring. There, Gallows hit Carrillo with a monster clothesline. From there, the OC cut the ring in half and tagged in an out while beating Carrillo down. Eventually, Mysterio got the tag from Carrillo and cleared the ring of the OC. He hit Anderson with a hurricanrana which sent him out of the ring. From there, Gallows hit Mysterio from behind, but Mysterio regained control after slamming him into the ring post Next, Rey attempted a 619 on Styles, but Anderson caught him and countered by sending him back first into the barricade. From there, the show went to commercial break. (c)
Heydorn’s Analysis: Solid action, but the context is weak. If the OC’s beef is with Orton, he should be out there, thus, giving the match a foundation. If it’s Rey, this works fine, but all Styles did was talk about Randy.
After the commercial break, the OC held firm control over Rey Mysterio. Gallows dropped Rey into a reverse chinlock as the audience clapped for him to escape. Rey did escape, but Gallows clocked him with a clothesline. From there, Gallows covered, but only got a two count. Out of the pin, Anderson tagged into the match and kept Rey grounded with a sleeper submission. Again, the crowd clapped for him to escape and he did. From there, Anderson whipped Rey to the corner, but Rey countered with a knee strike. This allowed him the time to make the hot tag to Ricochet. Ricochet hit the ring hard and crushed the OC with a series of moves including a top rope springboard clothesline on Styles. Ricochet followed that with a standing moonsault and then headed to the top rope. Anderson tried to knock Ricochet off his perch, but Ricochet kicked him instead. This allowed AJ the opportunity to hit Ricochet from behind. Styles followed with a plunging facebuster and covered, but only got a two count. Out of the pin, Ricochet hit the recoil and covered, but Anderson broke up the pin. In the end, Styles hit Ricochet with a top rope Styles Clash for the 1,2,3 win.
WINNER: OC via pinfall
-After the match, Styles and the OC celebrated. With Styles alone in the ring celebrating, Randy Orton snuck in from behind and hit him with and RKO as the show faded to black.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Very good action to close the show. That said, the pace fell drastically as the three hours plodded along. I’ll give WWE credit for trying to feature new guys, but they set a nice hook with Kevin Owens and didn’t pay it off. Why? With a PPV one Raw away now, they are behind in setting the pieces properly on the board.
WAY too many jobber matches. Eric Young absolutely deserves better.
They had four squashes in a row! And five out of the first seven. I love a good job match, but I think one per hour is the way to go on those.