11/16 WWE MONDAY NIGHT RAW REPORT: Hazelwood’s “alt perspective” report on Survivor Series fallout, Nikki Cross vs. Alexa Bliss, Riddle vs. Sheamus, New Day vs. Hurt Business

By Bruce Hazelwood, PWTorch contributor


SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...

WWE MONDAY NIGHT RAW TV REPORT
NOVEMBER 23, 2020
ORLANDO, FLA. AT AMWAY CENTER (THE “THUNDERDOME”)
AIRED LIVE ON USA NETWORK
REPORT BY BRUCE LEE HAZELWOOD, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR

Commentators: Tom Phillips, Byron Saxton, Samoa Joe

Ring Announcer: Mike Rome


Tonight after WWE Raw, join PWTorch editor Wade Keller live with guest cohost Ryan Sullivan from PWTorch.com to break down the show with live callers and emails.

STREAM LIVE HERE ABOUT 5 MINUTES AFTER RAW
•CALL: (347) 215-8558

•EMAIL COMMENTS/QUESTIONS: wadekellerpodcast@pwtorch.com
•IF YOU DON’T LISTEN LIVE, SEARCH “WADE KELLER” ON YOUR PODCAST APP TO SUBSCRIBE AND THEN DOWNLOAD OR STREAM THE FULL SHOW AN HOUR OR SO AFTER RAW


[HOUR ONE]

-They opened with the a package highlighting last week’s WWE Championship match between Drew McIntyre and then-Champion Randy Orton. They showed clips from the match, which culminated with McIntyre’s victory. They shifted into the Raw opening video, curiously showing nothing from Survivor Series.

-Tom Phillips welcomed was from the “award winning” and “critically acclaimed” Thunderdome. The ring is filled with the victorious Raw men’s team and Adam Pearce.

Pearce welcomed us, and once again mentioned last week’s WWE Championship match. He shifted to the “final farewell” of The Undertaker and the men’s team, who won in a “clean sweep” He said that deserved a reward. He asked the five men to ask why they should be in line to face McIntyre next. Sheamus interrupts, says AJ Styles isn’t his captain, and congratulated McIntyre (with piped in cheering). He called himself the Most Valuable Team Player.

Styles repeated what Sheamus said questioningly, and accused Sheamus of using the “good old boy” system to get a title shot. He said he deserved a shot because he was the captain. Keith Lee said hold up, I saved the team since I scored the decisive pinfall. Riddle jumped in and said what they did last night was “pretty sick.” He said he beat King Corbing, “Does that make me King Bro?” (NO.) He said he’d get that “dope” sword to go with his “dope” crown. “Fireface” Sheamus called Riddle a true dope. “DON’T CALL ME FIREFACE!” yelled Sheamus. Riddle said “Fire Crotch” was already taken.

Pearce tried to regain control and introduced Braun Strowman, who took exception to being introduced as “last but not least.” Pearce said it’s a common expression, but Strowman grabbed Pearce, yelled at him to “PICK ME NOW!” and headbutted Pearce to the ground. “Hey Adam, are you okay, buddy?” asked Styles. They go to break. [c]

(Hazelwood’s Take: Umm… yikes. That was a bad, bad segment. It started out fine. However, particularly after Riddle started speaking, it was a train wreck. I assume this means Strowman faces some kind of suspension, but this is WWE, so he’s just as likely to end up as McIntyre’s next opponent than he does facing a “suspension.”)

-As we came back, Phillips highlighted what just happened between Strowman and Pearce. Samoa Joe said tensions are high and Strowman had had enough. Byron Saxton said that’s one of the most heinous thing we’ve seen in WWE recently (really?). “A chaotic start here to Monday Night Raw,” said Phillips.

They showed a package on how the Tag Team Championship match between The New Day and The Hurt Business came to be scheduled. Shelton Benjamin said the titles are missing prestige, the prestige that they can bring to the titles. Xavier Woods said we already did this, and “pray tell,” what happened last time? Cedric Alexander got in Woods’ face and said they were busy cosplaying last night, and they demand a title match tonight. Woods said they’re on. The Hurt Business walked away confidently laughing. Kofi Kingston said, “It’s our day off, bro.”

(1) THE NEW DAY (Kofi Kingston & Xavier Woods) vs. THE HURT BUSINESS (Cedric Alexander & Shelton Benjamin w/MVP) – Tag Team Championship Match

-The showed highlights from last week’s match, where The New Day successfully retained their titles. Joe said The champions seemed a bit lackadaisical backstage, and you do not want to be that when facing The Hurt Business. Mike Rome gave formal match introductions, and the bell rung for the first match about 20 minutes into the show.

Benjamin and Woods started. Woods gained the upper hand early and taunted Benjamin, and MVP told Benjamin he needs him to be controlled. Benjamin used his extensive amateur wrestling background to control Woods. “Mat domination, Tom,” said Joe. Benjamin hit a huge biel, Woods sent across the ring. First two pin attempts of the match resulted in two-counts for Benjamin. Woods ran into a boot from Benjamin, and he took out Kingston with a running knee lift as they cut to commercial. [c]

Phillips reminded us of the championship match as Raw returned form break with Benjamin still in control of Woods. Phillips said Woods was isolated during the break, but he makes the tag to Kingston who takes care of Benjamin and Alexander. He hit The New Day boom drop and set up in the corner for Trouble in Paradise. Benjamin ducked, but is countered as Kingston went to the top rope. Benjamin met Kingston looking for a superplex, but is knocked off. As the ref was distracted, Alexander pulled Kingston off the top turnbuckle with an arm drag, Kingston landing hard on the apron. Count is at eight, and Benjamin can’t bring Kingston back in before the countout. It’s a double countout…really.

WINNER: The New Day retains due to a double countout in 8:00.

-After the match, MVP gets on the mic and pleaded with the ref to restart the match. They taunt The New Day and asked if they were scared. It’s restarted. [c]

(Hazelwood’s Analysis: My guess is that the double countout wasn’t supposed to happen, and MVP adlibbed his way to a restart. I’m guessing they’re picking up where the match was supposed to continue. Weird situation, and after that opening segment, this is an auspicious start to Raw).

(2) THE NEW DAY (Kofi Kingston & Xavier Woods) vs. THE HURT BUSINESS (Cedric Alexander & Shelton Benjamin w/MVP) – Tag Team Championship Match

-They restarted the match with the men who were legal before it ended, Kingston and Benjamin. Benjamin sent Kingston over the top rope with a back body drop and Kingston landed hard, favoring his left leg. Back in the ring, Benjamin tagged in Alexander who hit a second rope elbow drop for a two-count. Benjamin back in and hit a knee breaker on the left leg. Alexander back in and locked Alexander into a modified death lock, applying pressure to the left leg. Benjamin back in and hit a short-arm clothesline to Kingston. The challengers keeping Kingston isolated in their corner. Alexander back in with a modified single leg crab. Alexander stared at Woods and taunted him as he held the submission. Kingston sent Benjamin over the top rope with an awkward back body drop, fought off Alexander, but Alexander took Woods off the apron before the tag. Kingston hit the SOS on Benjamin for a two-count.

As Kingston had a chance to make a tag, Alexander hit a chop block to the front of Kingston’s knee and locked in an Achilles lock. Kingston finally made the tag, and Woods took out Alexander with a few clotheslines and a leg lariat. Woods hit a Gorilla press slam for a two-count on Alexander. Alexander able to hit a tornado DDT and tag in Benjamin, who hit an Olympic slam. Pin broke up by Kingston. Kingston went over the top to take out Alexander, and Woods countered a Benjamin powerbomb attempt into a sunset flip for the victory.

WINNER: The New Day to retain the Tag Team Championship in 8:30

-After the match, they showed replays of the match as the winners celebrated and the losers seethed.

-They cut to the back as Charly Caruso greeted Pearce as he left the Doctor’s room. He said Strowman was escorted out of the building, and if he had his choice, he would fire Strowman. Caruso asked what the announcement was going to be, but he’s interrupted by Bobby Lashley. Lashley said he was the only Raw champion to win at Survivor Series, and they should talk before Pearce makes any announcement. Pearce agreed, and they cut to break. [c]

(Hazelwood’s Analysis: It was hard to get into the two truncated matches because of the double contout. That took away from what was probably a decent match, built largely on the tried-and-true story of the heels cutting off the ring and the faces overcoming the odds. Next, so we know Stroman’s punishment is somewhere between “escorted from building” to “fired.” What will it be? Do we really care? Lastly, can we finally give Lashley a legitimate push that he seems much more apt and ready for now?)

-Phillips welcomed us back thanking NF for their song “The Search” as the official theme song of Raw.

-Caruso approached Pearce again, and Pearce is interrupted this time by Orton. Orton said quietly, “We need to talk.” They cut to the commentators who explained the bruised on Pearce’s exquisitely shined head by showing the headbutt from Strowman again.

They then recapped last night’s women’s Survivor Series team match, highlighting how Lana won as the sole survivor even though she was ostracized by her own team. Sarah Schreiber asked Lana how it feels to go from going through announce tables nine times to being the sole survivor. Lana said she’s feeling on top of the world. Schreiber asked if this means a title match against Asuka. Lana said, “I can’t think about that right now, and if I’m dreaming, don’t wake me up.”

-Caruso once again asked Pearce what his announcement is, and he says there will be three singles matches with the winners meeting next week in a triple threat to see who faces McIntyre. The first match is Riddle vs. Sheamus, and it’s next.

-Riddle made his entrance (with slow-mo at the end) as they cut to break. [c]

(3) RIDDLE vs. SHEAMUS – Winner goes on to triple threat #1 contender’s match next week

Phillips reminded us of Pearce’s announcement as they returned from commercial. Sheamus made his entrance. The bell rung, and Riddle looked to shake hands with Sheamus, who slapped Riddle’s hand away. Riddle quickly looked to use his MMA background, but Sheamus inexplicably got the better of Riddle in the mat wrestling department. They reset, and Sheamus gained the advantage with a headlock takedown into a side headlock. The other matches advertised for tonight are Orton vs. Styles and Lee vs. Lashley, the last one billed as “first time ever.” “I believe that’s a matchup of massive proportions, Tom,” said Joe.

As Sheamus maintained control, Joe highlighted Riddle’s unorthodox movements and how it’s difficult to figure him out. Riddle looked to fight back, but Sheamus hit a big lariat to regain control. Sheamus employed a hammerlock takedown, holding on the submission as he added a leg scissor on the head. Riddle reversed into an armbar, but Sheamus reached the bottom rope and went outside.

Sheamus entered with a boot, and they traded strikes. Sheamus suplexed Riddle and into a modified key lock. Back to the feet, and Sheamus clotheslined Riddle to the outside. Sheamus attempted a knee off the apron, but Riddle barely hit his Final Flash knee strike, then an exploder. Riddle hit a Broton in the ring for a two-count. Riddle kicked Sheamus a few times, but Sheamus responded with strikes, then Ten Beats of the Bodhran. Riddle made it back in at a seven-count, met by Sheamus who hit a European uppercut. He followed with an Irish Curse backbreaker for two. Good, physical match between the two at this juncture. Sheamus threw Riddle into the corner post, went for a shoulder tackle only to hit the post himself. Riddle hit his version of the Yes Kicks (Bro Kicks?), but countered by Sheamus into an Alabama slam as they cut to break. [c]

-They returned with Sheamus in control. Riddle fought back, but Sheamus hit a huge lifting knee strike for a believable two-count. Riddle countered with an overhead kick, followed by a punt kick from the apron as Sheamus stood on the outside, plus a springboard moonsault. Riddle to the top and leaped for a crossbody, but Sheamus CAUGHT him and hit a swinging side slam for a two-count. The commentators reminded us of the two other singles match to take place later in the evening. Sheamus locked in the cloverleaf. Riddle crawled to the bottom rope, forcing the break after a count of four. Sheamus attempted his Ten Beats again, but Riddle countered into a Kimura in the ropes. They reentered the ring and Sheamus applied a heel hook. Riddle slapped and kicked Sheamus in the chest until Sheamus broke the hold. Joe asked what damage has been done to the knee.

[HOUR TWO]

Riddle hit the Final Flash for a two-count, and replays shoed it landed flush on Sheamus. Riddle looked for the Floating Bro, but Sheamus intercepted him as he looked for an avalanche belly-to-back. Riddle fought him off, but Sheamus came right back, and he hit an avalanche White Noise from the second rope for a two-count! Sheamus (and the commentators) are stunned. Phillips said White Noise has guided Sheamus to so many championships over the years, but when has he used it to actually win a title? Sheamus looked for a Brogue kick, but Riddle collapsed before Sheamus could hit the move. Sheamus arrogantly lifted Riddle, and he’s greeted with a headbutt and headkick. Victory roll attempted by Riddle, but countered into the cloverleaf, which is countered into a rollup for the victory.

WINNER: Riddle in 21:00 to advance to triple threat #1 contender’s match

-After the match, there’s piped in “Bro” chants as Riddle celebrated on the ramp.

-The cut to Lana walking backstage, and she’s greeted by Asuka. Asuka said she heard Lana said she wanted to challenge for the Women’s Championship. Lana went on to explain that that’s now what she meant. Asuka said she likes challenges, and the match is now official for tonight?

-They cut to break advertising the “Firefly Fun House” next. [c]

(Hazelwood’s Analysis: Though there were some rough spots, that was as physical match as you would expect. I’m not thrilled about Riddle going over, but then again, why put Sheamus over? Building Riddle seems to be on the post-Survivor Series docket. As for Asuka vs. Lana, eh.)

-As they returned, Phillips indicated Asuka vs. Lana is official, and Joe called Lana the “ultimate opportunist” (what about Edge?). They shifted to the Alexa Bliss-Nikki Cross-Bray Wyatt story.

-The “Firefly Fun House” started as we’re greeted by Wyatt and Bliss, who said tonight is about something evil, disgusting, vile, and that’s friendship. One minute, they’re skipping stones and burning the midnight oil to finish a 12 thousand piece puzzle, the next minute they’re burning something else, Wyatt said. Friendship Frog appeared, wearing a monocle and top hate, and used words like “indubitably” to discuss friendship. Wyatt asked Bliss to show the frog what she would do to Cross later tonight. She asked for some help, and after some whispered words from Wyatt, she based the frog over and over again with an object. The frog had green blood spilled from its mouth. They held a moment of silence for Friendship Frog, showing the frog life cycle. Friendship Frog was 40 years old, apparently. After making a “croaked” joke about the frog dying, they waved bye as that episode ended.

-Asuka made her entrance for her title defense against Lana as they cut to break. [c]

-They played a promo for Tribute to the Troops, the 18th edition. It airs December 6th on FOX.

-They returned with Asuka still waiting in the ring. Lana’s music played as she made her entrance for the match. The commentators once again discussed Lana being the sole survivor. Rome gave his second formal ring introductions of the show.

Before the bell rung, Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler made their way to ringside, where there were conveniently two chairs and headsets waiting for them as they joined commentary.

(4) ASUKA (c) vs. LANA – Women’s Championship Match

– Lana actually gained the upper hand and nearly rolled up Asuka for the victory. Asuka regained control, to the outside, and she’s taunted by Jax and Baszler. Asuka spilled water on them and they attacked her, resulting in a DQ.

WINNER: Lana in 1:00 by DQ; Asuka retains

-Jax looked to put Lana through the announce table again, but Asuka made the save. Jax and Baszler challenge the two to a tag match. [c]

-R-Truth gave a WWEShop.com ad. Drew Gulak attacked from behind looking for the 24/7 Championship, but the lights go dark. “The Fiend” appeared and said, “Yowie Wowie,” scaring off Gulak. It was just Akira Tozawa in a mask.

(Hazelwood’s Analysis: If the purpose was to have a tag match, just schedule a tag match! It’s not that hard!)

(5) ASUKA & LANA vs. NIA JAX & SHAYNA BASZLER

-They returned with the match already in progress. Lana and Baszler in the ring, and Lana actually had the advantage until Jax tagged in. Jax hit Lana with her signature biel twice, then a short-arm clothesline. She disdainfully kicked Lana over to their corner, talking trash the entire time. Jax threw Lana outside, Baszler tagged in, and then continued the methodical assault on Lana. She taunted Asuka as she stepped on Lana’s foot to prevent her from making a tag. Baszler applied a neck crank, then tagged in Jax. Jax hit a corner avalanche. She mushed Lana’s face over and over, screaming about how Lana was lucky and was sole survivor by “the skin of your teeth.” Lana tried to fight back, but Jax drove her back to the corner. Baszler tagged in, and kept one foot on the back of Lana’s neck as she grabbed one leg for a single crab. Baszler missed a baseball slide, and that allowed Lana to make the tag. Asuka hit a hip attack to knock Jax off the apron, then took over control on Baszler in the ring with a spinning backfist and release German suplex. Shining wizard hit, but only for a two-count. Baszler countered and hit a knee to the face for a two-count.

Jax pulled Lana off the apron. She gave Lana a headbutt and began to disassemble the announce table. She lifted Lana for a Samoan drop, but Lana fought out of it. Jax looked to tackle Lana, but she moved and Lana tumbled over the announce table. Baszler locked in the Kirifuda Clutch in the ropes, but is rolled up from behind by Asuka for the victory.

WINNER: Asuka & Lana in about 10:00

-After the match, they showed replays as Lana and Asuka celebrated, apart from each other. They cut to Riddle backstage, who approached MVP. MVP seemed like he wanted nothing to do with Riddle. Riddle asked about MVP’s “business investments,” and had an idea: pizza-flavored yogurt. There was also brogurt. MVP cut him off, asking Riddle if he really believed Lashley had all the time for that nonsense. MVP almost broke character a couple of times, but asked Riddle to come back with some more pitches. “If we like your idea, we’ll do business. If we don’t like your idea, we’ll do business,” said MVP. [c]

(Hazelwood’s Analysis: Just wait for the announcement that Asuka & Lana are facing Jax & Baszler for the Women’s Tag Team Championship. It’s coming. Does anyone really understand why WWE believes in this trope so much? On the other hand, MVP nearly laughing at Riddle and breaking character was hilarious, but like a true professional, he caught himself.)

-They returned recapping the match between McIntyre and Roman Reigns from Survivor Series.

-Lee made his entrance for his match against Lashley with his new music that debuted at Survivor Series. Lashley entered next, accompanied by MVP.

[HOUR THREE]

(6) KEITH LEE vs. BOBBY LASHLEY (w/MVP) – Winner goes on to triple threat #1 contender’s match next week

-Lashley tried to gain the advantage, and he did as he looked for a suplex. Countered by Lee into a side headlock (probably going to be a methodical pace in this match). Test of strength and Lashley gained the advantage with his own side headlock. Joe commented he liked the strategy of making Lee carry all of Lashley’s weight. Lashley attempted a shoulder block, but it didn’t even budge Lee. Lee took over with haymakers in the corner followed by two back elbows and a grizzly magnum to the chest. Lashley hit a lariat then a flatliner for a one-count. Lashley looked for The Hurt Lock, but it’s countered and Lee with a shoulder tackle. Lee clotheslined Lashley over the top. Lee distracted by MVP, then headed outside to confront MVP. Lashley hit a lariat as he was laying in wait, shoved Lee into the barricade, then headed back in the ring to reset the count. Back outside, he lifted Lee into a fireman’s carry and drove Lee into the post. They cut to break. [c]

-They returned with Lashley in control, having a modified Kimura on a sitting Lee. Lashley with a bloody spot on his head, possibly from grating against the post prior to the commercial. Lee finally made it to his feet, but Lashley hit a leg sweep for only a one-count. Lashley back to a rear chinlock, but Lee fought his way back to his feet. Huge forearm from Lee stunned Lashley, but Lashley with a leapfrog and lariat of his own into a vertical suplex! He deadlifted Lashley into that suplex, impressive. Lashley looked for The Hurt Lock again, but countered again. Lashley hit the turnbuckle as Lee performed his own leapfrog. Lee with a multitude of strikes and then hit a pounce that sent Lashley outside. Lashley is hit with a running cross body on the outside as Lee landed with all his weight. Lee rolled Lashley in, and then is shoved into the post by MVP behind the referee’s back. Lashley almost locked in The Hurt Lock, but Lee regained his senses and broke out. Lashley tried a sleeper, but Lee slams him down. MVP jumped in, attacking Lee for the DQ.

WINNER: Keith Lee in 12:30 to advance to triple threat #1 contender’s match

-After the match, they replayed the ending. Joe said MVP was protecting his asset. Riddle and Lee are now qualified for next week’s triple threat match. They then transitioned to a package highlighting the relationship between Bliss and Cross.

-Schreiber approached Cross, who cut her off and said that Bliss is the one who gave up on her and their friendship. Cross said she’s spent the past few months trying to get through to Bliss, but she’s done trying. “She doesn’t want me, she wants The Fiend. Message received,” she said. She said there’s only one thing she cares about tonight, and that’s beating “The Fiend” out of Bliss tonight. She made her entrance for their match as they cut to break. [c]

(Hazelwood’s Analysis: The finish to that match was utter garbage. One, what was the point of MVP interfering behind the referee’s back if he was just going to get Lashley disqualified anyway? Two, if I’m Lashley, shouldn’t I be FURIOUS with MVP for costing me a potential WWE Championship match? It didn’t help that the match was methodical and plodding, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but a crap finish does make it bad.)

-They returned with a Raw Talk ad featuring Riddle, Lana, and Lee. Bliss made her entrance with the new twist to her music, wearing her “Fun House” attire.

(7) NIKKI CROSS vs. ALEXA BLISS

-The bell rung, and Cross yelled, “WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU?” at Bliss a couple of times. Bliss acted like a little kid, playing mind games before she hit a drop toehold and went to the outside. Cross obliged and chased Bliss around the ring. Bliss reentered the ring, then is pulled out by Cross, who hit a big clothesline on the outside. The reenter the ring and faceoff from opposing corners, with Bliss laughing maniacally like Wyatt. Cross hit a short arm clothesline, followed by another, then another as Bliss laughed the whole time. Cross mounted Bliss and rained down blows. Cross with a seated senton to Bliss’ midsection for a two-count. Cross then hit a cross body to a prone Bliss sitting in the corner. Bliss started whimpering in the ring, asking what’s going on and appeared to have a breakdown in the ring. “Nikki, help!” she said, but as Cross approached, Bliss used the distraction to hit Sister Abigail for the victory.

WINNER: Alexa Bliss in 4:15

-After the match, Bliss made her way up the ring as she maliciously laughed and waved at Cross. [c]

(Hazelwood’s Analysis: This is a weird angle to evaluate. Bliss and Cross play their characters well, and I’ve been impressed by Bliss’ take on this character. However, that chemistry doesn’t always translate well to the ring, that match wasn’t all that great, and it didn’t seem like a feud-culminating match. This leads me to believe there’s more, but then how does this play into that? It will be interesting to see how this plays out in the next month or so.)

-They returned by “paying homage to ‘The Deadman’” with a video package set to Metallica, who received a special thanks from Phillips before the package played. They showed highlights from his career, and included comments from Triple H, Edge, Shawn Michaels, Batista, John Cena, Shane McMahon, Steve Austin, and some of last night’s comments from Vince McMahon. They then showed some clips of The Undertaker’s comments from the ceremony last night.

-Orton’s music played as he made his (long) entrance for the main event against Styles, the winner advancing to next week’s triple threat #1 contender’s match. “It’s a WrestleMania-caliber matchup!” Phillips reminded us as they cut to break. [c]

-Orton continued to pace the ring as they returned from break. Styles’ music hit and he entered (accompanied by Olmos/Jordan, who still isn’t being named on the lower third). Phillips reminded us that Riddle and Lee already qualified.

(8) RANDY ORTON vs. A.J. STYLES (w/Olmos) – Winner goes on to triple threat #1 contender’s match next week

-Phillips also reminded us these two are former WrestleMania opponents. Styles attempted two quick pin attempts for near falls to start the match, but Orton took over with a kick and European uppercut. Styles regained control with some strikes and a dropkick, but Orton with a thumb to the eye, which for some reason drew respectful laughter from Phillips. To the outside, Orton hit another uppercut and Irish whipped Styles into Olmos, who caught Styles and helped him regain control. Styles hit Orton’s patented belly-to-back on the announcer’s table to Orton as they cut to break. Unlike last week, there was not a single picture-in-picture break tonight. [c]

They returned with Orton beating on Styles, who’s hung up in the corner. Orton looked for a superplex, but Styles slipped through and pulled Orton out from underneath him. Styles then hit a chop block and started working the left leg for a possible Calf Crusher later in the match. Orton finally broke the hold on his leg with heavy strikes to Styles, who immediately targeted Orton’s leg again. Orton fought back, Styles countered with a Calf Crusher attempt, but Orton rolled through and stomped on Styles. Orton suplexed Styles across the top rope, pin attempt for a two-count. Orton went for a suplex, but Styles countered and hit another chop block. Styles attempted an ushigoroshi, but is hit by Orton’s modified neck/backbreaker. Orton looked for his draping DDT, but Styles reversed into a Calf Crusher attempt. Orton fought it off for about five seconds before Styles locked in the hold. Styles cranked as Orton crawled to the bottom rope, but he did make it to break to hold. The showed Olmos watching from ringside.

Styles attempted a running strike, but Orton countered into a snap powerslam for a two-count. Orton attempted an RKO, but Styles shoved Orton away and then hit an enziguri, but Orton rolled outside. Styles went for a springboard, Orton moved, Styles landed on the apron, but is taken out by Orton. Suddenly, The Fiend’s music played, and Orton swiped at someone behind the barricade. Styles tried to take advantage, but is hit with the draping DDT. Orton setting up for the RKO, but the lights go out as The Fiend appeared behind Orton in the red light, screaming at Orton. The lights went out, came back on, and then Styles hit the Phenomenal Forearm for the victory. Styles will join Riddle and Keith Lee in the triple threat #1 contender’s match next week.

WINNER: Styles in 13:00 to advance to triple threat #1 contender’s match

-After the match, Orton looked on stunned as The Fiend’s laughter played in the background. The show ended with said laughter.

(Hazelwood’s Analysis: Can we please just have one night of Raw with no distraction finishes, DQs, or any other garbage finish? It was a perfectly serviceable TV main event that turned bad once again due to atrocious booking of the finish. On the bright side, Styles should provide some amazing bumps next week as Riddle and Lee use their size and strength to their advantage. Also, I’m not looking forward to revisiting an Orton-Wyatt feud, even if the latter will be The Fiend.)

FINAL THOUGHTS: That first segment was so horrendous, but was only exacerbated by the truncated Tag Team Championship matches, making that first hour tedious at best and terrible at worst. The Sheamus-Riddle match was the highlight of the night, but there were just so many questionable booking decisions and angles tonight. After last week’s show, which seemed to indicate a positive turn, we’re right back to wondering what is going on with Raw (hint: it’s Vince McMahon).


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