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KELLER’S WWE RAW REPORT
OCTOBER 4, 2021
NASHVILLE, TENN. AT BRIDGESTONE ARENA
AIRED ON USA NETWORK
Commentators: Jimmy Smith, Byron Saxton, Corey Graves
-They opened with a generic video package hyping the WWE Draft with snippets of past years. Then they went to the announcers at ringside who introduced the WWE Draft. Corey Graves explained WWE officials coordinated with USA Network and Fox officials. Byron Saxton lamented that the Raw Women’s Champion is now part of Smackdown, plus Drew McIntyre was drafted by Smackdown. Graves said it doesn’t get much bigger than Raw acquiring Edge, though. They were interrupted by Becky Lynch’s music.
As Lynch walked out, Graves said it’s going to be a wild night. They showed clips of Charlotte showing up at the end of Smackdown last week. Jimmy Smith then hyped Charlotte vs. Sasha Banks vs. Bianca Belair at Crown Jewel. Fans chanted, “Becky! Becky!” She smiled and said, “The Man has come around to Monday Night Raw,” she began. She noted it’s been about a year and a half since she was on Raw. She said she’s about to make a lot of executives unhappy by jumping the gun, but she doesn’t care because she does what she wants. She revealed she is the first draft pick by Raw. She said she technically never lost the Raw Championship. She had a few words about Charlotte, then said it might be time to become Becky Two Belts once again. Charlotte’s music interrupted.
As Charlotte walked out, Graves said Becky said she’s on Raw now, but it’s not official. He also said Charlotte is “the most statuesque” champion WWE has ever had and “it just looks right.” Charlotte entered the ring and said before she was Becky Two Belts, she was Becky Pre-show. She said she made Becky famous. She said they have some unfinished business. Bianca Belair’s music then played.
Belair strutted out and said they’re talking about unfinished business. She said she has unfinished business with them. She said they both took cheapshots at her on Friday night. She said neither of them are ready for the EST of Smackdown to become the EST of Raw. Charlotte said, “Bianca, that was really cute, but shhhh. The champions are trying to have a conversation.” Belair asked who she is talking to because “I know you didn’t just disrespect me.” Fans chanted, “Charlotte sucks.” Charlotte mockingly said, “What? What?” Belair said, “Technically, you don’t even go here anymore.” Charlotte took issue with Belair referring to her as “girl.” She said she is a woman.
Charlotte said she knows Belair has accomplished a lot and has “almost done as much as me.” She said she should be thanking her for paving the way for her. Becky told Belair that sounded like Charlotte was being disrespectful toward her. Becky said she’s defeated Charlotte so often, she has nothing left to prove, but she wonders what would happen if Belair faced Charlotte. Graves said, “I would too.” Charlotte said she only gives out opportunities, not charities. Belair took some steps toward Charlotte. Adam Pearce and Sonya Deville stepped onto the stage and announced the main event would be Charlotte vs. Belair. Pearce said Natalya & Tamina would face Rhea Ripley & Nikki A.S.H. in a rematch for the WWE Women’s Tag Team Titles. But first, a U.S. Title match.
(Keller’s Analysis: This was fine. Becky is a star. Charlotte is good at projecting a sense of superiority even if her delivery continues to be stilted. Belair was good here and once again seemed like she belonged in there with two more established, tenured stars.)
-Jeff Hardy made his ring entrance. [c]
-Pearce and Deville stood at a podium in the entry area to announce the latest WWE Draft Picks. Pearce made it official that Becky was the first pick of Raw. Deville revealed that The Usos were drafted by Smackdown. Saxton said Paul Heyman is relieved. They showed the Usos celebrating backstage and Heyman letting out a deep breath. Raw selected Bobby Lashley. And Smackdown drafted Sasha Banks to remain put.
(1) DAMIAN PRIEST vs. JEFF HARDY – U.S. Title match
Smith talked about this being a “trap fight.” He touted his 20 years in combat sports and how someone like Hardy, who has lost to Priest, can take Priest by surprise if he looks past him. (For some reason, he stressed the word “past” as if someone had zapped him with a taser as he said it; those unnatural random over-inflections are just so grating for a play-by-play announcer. He just randomly overemphasizes words and it’s like SOMEONE typing like THIS all TIME. Just stop it. WWE produced former NXT commentator Percy Watson to talk like he was straining to lift a car by the bumper, too, and it’s just not pleasant.) After a couple minutes of back-and-forth action, Hardy rolled to the floor to regroup. Hardy fought back at ringside. Priest avoided his dive off the ring apron. Hardy crashed. Priest returned to the ring to break the referee’s count, then landed a flip dive on Hardy. Smith for some reason said Priest was “clearing house.” (That’s not a situation where that tired cliche would apply.) [c]
Hardy made a comeback after the break and hit a Twist of Fate and then a Swanton for a near fall. Priest countered by leveraging Hardy’s shoulders down for a three count. Hardy showed Priest some respect after the match.
WINNER: Priest in 7:00 to retain the U.S. Title.
(Keller’s Analysis: Not a lot to that, but with Hardy moving to Smackdown, this was him being booked to “do a job on his way out of the territory.”)
-Sarah Schrieber interviewed Hardy in the ring afterward. He said he’s had a lot of career highs over the years, but he’s also crashed back to reality many times. He said going to Smackdown might be a perfect opportunity to see a different side of himself and a “different ego.” He said for the next few weeks, he’ll be on Raw and he’ll make the best of it. Austin Theory then jogged out to the ring to his music. He said he’s now standing in the ring with a legend. He said he grew up watching him and he motivated and inspired him. He said he “doesn’t mean to fanboy,” but he’d like to take a selfie. Graves said, “This kid is green.” He said he’s never seen anything like this. He called him a fanboy. Theory then hit Hardy with a clothesline. Graves said, “There we go!” He said this is what it takes and Theory is actually wise beyond his years. “That’s what it takes to make it to the top, Saxton,” he said. “Nice guys finish last. Austin Theory making waves his first night on Monday Night Raw.” Theory then smiled and thanked Jeff.
(Keller’s Analysis: Good start for Theory. They could have debuted him as a young bright-eyed “rookie” babyface, but he’s good dripping with phony sincerity like that.)
-The interviewer with two first names interviewed RK-Bro backstage. He asked about the news that they’ll be defending the Raw Tag Team Titles against A.J. Styles & Omos at Crown Jewel. Riddle said last week sucked without Orton, but he’s happy they’ve both been drafted by Raw. He asked Orton if that’s a snake in his pocket or is he just glad to see him. He said he is glowing and looks like a skinless snake sitting in the sun. Orton asked if he was done. Riddle said he was. Orton said that is a good thing. He said they have a chance to shut up Styles & Omos once and for all, but that doesn’t happen until Crown Jewel. He said tonight in Nashville (fans cheer), he had a proposition. He looked at the camera and challenged Omos to a match one-on-one with him tonight. Riddle got wide-eyed and shook his head. Graves asked if Orton was serious.
-They showed Dana Brooke warming up backstage for her match with Shayna Baszler. [c]
-Smith asked if Omos will accept Orton’s challenge.
-Pearce and Deville stood at a podium in the entry area to announce the latest WWE Draft Picks. Pearce announced Raw drafted Seth Rollins. Deville said Shinsuke Nakamura & Rick Boogs will stay on Smackdown. They cut to Nakamura and Boogs celebrating together. Pearce announced Damian Priest would stay on Raw. Smith said it’s not a surprise. Graves said everyone can breath a sigh of relief. They showed Priest smiling backstage. Deville announced Sheamus was heading to Smackdown. Graves said that pick stings.
-They replayed Baszler injuring Nia Jax’s arm.
(2) SHAYNA BASZLER vs. DANA BROOKE
When Smith said Brooke looks ready for the match, Graves questioned if she is ready for Baszler. He said she hasn’t accomplished a lot. Smith said she has great athleticism. Graves said it’s time to cut losses with her because she keeps coming up short of her supposed potential. Dana rolled up Baszler for a two count, but Baszler escaped and applied a Kirafuda Clutch. Brooke frantically tapped out. Graves said he’s tired of being right. He said Baszler is a machine right now.
WINNER: Baszler in under 2:00.
-Baszler then attacked Brooke at ringside. She was about to stomp on her arm on the ringside steps when Doudrop ran out to nearly zero crowd reaction. She confronted Baszler. Baszler stared back at her. Graves said she doesn’t appear afraid of Baszler at all. Doudrop helped Brooke to her feet. Brooke thanked her.
-The Usos and Heyman were still celebrating Smackdown drafting them. Then the interviewer with two first names congratulated Heyman for utilizing his influence. Heyman said, “You’re prettier than Kayla.” He said he is not only the special counsel to the Tribal Chief, he is the warden of the Uso Penitentiary. Kevin Patrick asked if that’s how he secured Brock Lesnar free agent status. Heyman froze and the Usos gave him a death stare and then walked away. [c]
(3) MANSOOR & MUSTAFA ALI vs. HUMBERTO CARRILLO & ANGEL GARZA
Smith said Carrillo & Garza have been a dynamite team on Raw so far. Saxton said they are cousins and grew up together and have great chemistry. He said they’ve put the tag division on notice. Graves asked Saxton if he mentally prepared for the day when he has to call one of those two men step-dad. Saxton said he doesn’t know what he means by that. Garza pinned Ali after driving his face into the bottom turnbuckle and Humberto, from ringside, rammed him into the ringpost.
WINNERS: Garza & Carrillo in under 2:00.
-Big E began his ring entrance. [c]
-They showed Clay Travis from Fox Sports/Outkick and his family in the front row.
-Pearce and Deville announced more Draft picks. Raw picked A.J. Styles & Omos to stay put. Then Smackdown picked Baszler. (Shouldn’t Baszler have lost to Dana, using their usual brand-switch logic.) Raw drafted Kevin Owens. Then Smackdown drafted Xia Li.
(Keller’s Analysis: I’m not against KO turning heel and feuding with Big E. With Styles staying on Raw, I wouldn’t mind him challenging Big E, either. Baszler seems like she’s being primed for a singles push as a heel, so she’ll potentially be a gatekeeper to Charlotte, depending on Bayley’s return.)
-Big E stood center-ring and said it feels incredible to be standing mid-ring on “my show, Raw.” He said for the second consecutive year, Kofi Kingston & Xavier Woods were drafted to a show he isn’t on. A small “New… Day Rocks!” chant started. He talked about last week’s grueling title defense against Bobby Lashley in a cage, only to then be challenged by Drew McIntyre afterward. He called Drew to the ring to speak his mind.
Drew came out and said he doesn’t things the old fashioned way and he wanted to congratulate Big E on his WWE Title win in person. He said technically, he cashed in the Money in the Bank on an injured Lashley. He said technically, Lashley attacked him from behind, so Lashley deserves it. Plus, nobody likes Lashley anyway, so he did the world a favor. He then challenged him to a match for the WWE Title. Big E smiled. They were interrupted by Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode.
Ziggler said he congratulated Big E right away, but he’s wondering why Big E hasn’t thanked him yet. Big E chuckled. Ziggler said he knew he’d forget. He threw to a video package of Big E and Ziggler teaming back in 2013 with Big E beating up Kane. He said without his mentoring, there’s no New Day and no Money in the Bank cash-in. He said maybe Xavier Woods would have never been born. Drew told Big E he might have a point. Ziggler said he famously doesn’t watch, but they know where his career was a few years ago and he worked hard to bring himself back to WWE. Then he threw to a clip from 2018 when Drew teamed with Ziggler. Ziggler said he showed him the ropes again. He said he just wants a simple thank you from them both.
Big E turned to Drew and they had a brief private chat. Drew said clearly Ziggler has upgraded from them. He said that as he laughed at Roode. Roode said he is twice the man and twice the tag team partner he ever was. Roode made fun of Big E being Ziggler’s body guard. He said he put the body in body guard. He said people call him “Big Bob.” Big E said, “Nobody – not one person – calls you that.” Ziggler said all he wants is a simple thank you. “Because I am the perfect gentleman.” Roode said he deserves it. Drew asked the crowd what Nashville thinks. Boos. Big E said what they deserves is an ass whooping tonight. Drew called himself “Big D.” Big E shot him a look.
(Keller’s Analysis: I like when WWE draws from history and has wrestlers reference prior relationships with wrestlers. You know what you’re going to get with Ziggler and Roode, and this was a good use of them overall on the mic. The crowd just seems dead for the babyfaces tonight.)
-A commercial aired for the King of the Ring and Queen’s Crown tournament beginning. [c]
(4) BIG E & DREW MCINTYRE vs. DOLPH ZIGGLER & ROBERT ROODE
Graves called Roode “Big Bob.” Saxton asked how he can do that with a straight face. Roode avoided a charge into the corner by Drew and Drew went shoulder-first into the ringpost. Ziggler then superkicked Drew at ringside. They cut to a break a few minutes in. [c]
Big E landed a Big Splash on Ziggler after the break. A graphic hyped Goldberg and Lashley would be face-to-face later. Big E caught Ziggler with a uranage, but Roode broke up the cover. Big E charged at Roode, but Roode lifted his knee. Ziggler then hit a Zig Zag for a near fall, broken up by Drew. Roode shoved Drew out of the ring. Drew gave Roode a belly-to-belly at ringside. Ziggler rolled up Big E from behind for a two count. Big E came right back with a clothesline. As he set up a Big Ending in his corner, Drew tagged himself in. He then hit Ziggler with a Claymore for the win.
WINNER: McIntyre in 9:00.
-After the match, Big E gave Ziggler a Big Ending. He then told Drew if he wants a title match so much, he’ll see him at Crown Jewel.
(Keller’s Analysis: Decent enough TV match. The Big E vs. Drew match should be good. It’s an opportunity to sneak that match in before Drew heads to Smackdown. I’m not sure what the finish will be, though, since Drew losing before going to Smackdown to challenge Reigns doesn’t seem like a good idea.)
-They showed Reggie backstage. He approached Pearce, who was on the phone. Reggie said he heard he wanted to talk to him regarding the Draft. Pearce said he got some bad info, then walked away. The Viking Raiders showed up and Reggie backed away. R-Truth grabbed hm from behind. Reggie then avoided Truth and Drew Gulak, then several others as the camera jerked around and made the whole scene unwatchable. Apollo Crews and Commander Azeez walked up to him. Crews said it was good to see him again. Drake Maverick showed up and Reggie fled. Crews said it’s exciting getting dropped into Raw.
-They showed Charlotte warming up backstage. [c]
-The announcer implored viewers to vote for Miz on “Dancing with the Stars.”
-Kevin Owens walked out to his theme. Saxton said he’s now part of the red team. As Owens was about to talk, Tozawa interrupted. He welcomed him to Raw. He said he doesn’t want to fight him, he wants to fight Reggie for the 24/7 Title right now. Owens gave him a stunner.
-Pearce announced that Raw drafted The Street Profits back to Raw. They showed them celebrating backstage. Deville said Smackdown has drafted the Viking Raiders. They showed them nodding at each other and snorting a little. Raw announced Finn Balor. The Raw announcers were thrilled. Smackdown drafted Ricochet. Graves said big things are in his future.
-A soundbite aired with Rhea Ripley & Nikki. [c]
(5) RHEA RIPLEY & NIKKI A.S.H. vs. NATALYA & TAMINA – Women’s Tag Team Title match
All four fought at ringside a few minutes in. Nikki leaped onto Natalya and Tamina. Ripley quickly threw Tamina back into the ring and gave her a Rip Tide. She tagged Nikki back in and then launched her off of her shoulders onto Tamina for the win.
WINNERS: Ripley & Nikki in 5:00 to retain the Women’s Tag Team Titles.
-They showed Goldberg backstage huffing and puffing and twitching. [c]
-Pearce reminded viewers the Draft picks go into effect the day after Crown Jewel. Pearce announced Karrion Kross was drafted by Raw. Deville announced Carrillo & Garza were drafted by Smackdown. Pearce announced that Raw selected Alexa Bliss. (How is Bliss drafted after Kross?) Deville announced that Smackdown drafted Cesaro to remain on Friday nights. Graves said next year could be thee year for Cesaro.
-Goldberg made his ring entrance. He said Lashley claimed what he did to his son wasn’t an accident, it was intentional, and therefore at Crown Jewel he plans to intentionally break his neck. Lashley walked out and insisted what happened to his son at Summerslam was a misunderstanding. No sign of Cedric Alexander and Shelton Benjamin. He said Goldberg dresses like it’s still 1998. He told Goldberg he owes him an apology. He said he’s going to give Goldberg the match he wants at Crown Jewel, but only if it’s a no holds barred match. Goldberg dropped to his knees. Lashley said he can bring his son along, too. Goldberg said that gives him a license a kill, so he likes that stipulation. Goldberg told Lashley he thinks he’s crazy, and he’s right. He said he’ll apologize to his kids when he leaves his lifeless body in the ring gasping for air. (Uh, lifeless bodies don’t gasp for air.) “You’re next, and you’re dead,” Goldberg said. Lashley told Goldberg that if his son has the balls to show up, what happens next won’t be a misunderstanding. He asked Goldberg what he’d do if someone jumped on his back. Cedric and Shelton did just that. Goldberg fought them off easily and speared Cedric. Lashley looked a bit taken aback, then stared at Goldberg who celebrated in the ring as “Goldberg!” chants rang out through the sound system.
(Keller’s Analysis: This whole thing of Goldberg saying he’s going to kill Lashley is just dumb. Nobody thinks he’s going to kill him.)
-They replayed Austin Theory attacking Hardy earlier.
-Patrick interviewed Seth Rollins who was in big sunglasses and a big black and white robe. He sang that he’s back. He said the best part is he’s better than he’s ever been. Patrick was going to tell him that Edge was also drafted to Raw, but Seth stopped him. He told Patrick not to mention his name, but he’ll take care of that person on Smackdown. He said he’s on another level because he is a revolutionary.
-Kingston & Woods danced out to the entry stage. [c]
(6) SHELTON BENJAMIN & CEDRIC ALEXANDER vs. NEW DAY (Xavier Woods & Kofi Kingston)
Graves complained that Shelton & Cedric had to wrestle despite having just been beaten up by Goldberg. Xavier walked the top rope and landed a flying elbowdrop onto Cedric for the win.
WINNERS: New Day in 2:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: They brought Shelton & Cedric back to be by Lashley’s side only to lose in two minutes to New Day the next week?)
-The Street Profits came out next and said they want the smoke. The fans chanted along. They gave New Day red Solo cups. Kofi and Xavier danced.
-A vignette aired on Balor. [c]
-Orton and Riddle made their ring entrance. Orton told Omos he was waiting and ready for him. Styles and Omos walked out. Styles said they were celebrating his victory over Riddle, whom he called Gilligan. He said it doesn’t matter if Omos destroyed Orton – and he would. He asked if Riddle has any brain cells left to prevent them from taking the Raw Tag Team Titles back. He said he is happy they’ve all been drafted by Raw so they can continue to gloat about beating them. As Omos began to talk, Orton attacked Styles while Riddle leaped onto Omos’s shoulders. Omos tossed Riddle off of him. Orton then gave Styles an RKO. Saxton said he doesn’t think Orton had any intention of fighting Omos, but rather he wanted to get in the heads of Styles and Omos before Crown Jewel.
-They showed Belair warming up backstage. [c]
-Graves hyped NXT 2.0 as clips aired of last week’s show.
-Pearce announced it’s time to send this home the right way. He announced that Raw has drafted Carmella. “There is a god, my dreams have been answered, life is good, don’t wake me up,” Graves said. They showed Carmella celebrating backstage. Deville announced that Smackdown has drafted NXT’s Ridge Holland. Pearce announced that Raw drafted Gable Steveson. That’s rather sudden. Graves said there’s true game-changing potential there. Deville said the final pick by Smackdown in the WWE Draft was Sami Zayn.
-Graves commented on a graphic showing the new Raw roster.
-Belair made her entrance. Then Charlotte made her entrance. Becky then came out to do commentary. [c]
(7) CHARLOTTE vs. BIANCA BELAIR
Graves asked Becky if there is anything she can’t do. Becky said she can’t wink very well with her right eye. She said she might not be the most flippy or lifty, but she can outsmart and outlast her opponents. Saxton said some are saying she is fearful she will lose her title at Crown Jewel. [c]
Smith asked Becky what she thinks of the match so far. She said they’re both amazing and both former WrestleMania main eventers. Belair went for a backflip onto Charlotte, but Charlotte lifted her knees and then took over with chops to the chest. Charlotte grabbed Belair’s long braid. Belair countered with a set-up for her Kiss of Death finisher, but Charlotte escaped and then speared Belair out of mid-air for a near fall. Belair jackknife covered Charlotte for a two count. Belair climbed to the top rope, but Charlotte knocked her off balance. Becky talked about how she scouted Belair and knew she was a fan of hers. Meanwhile, Charlotte missed a moonsault off the top rope, but quickly landed a standing moonsault for a two count. Belair came back with a K.O.D. When she made the cover, Becky pulled her out of the ring by her leg. The ref called for the bell.
WINNER: Belair in 14:00 via DQ.
-Becky attacked Belair at ringside. Sasha then entered the ring and attacked Becky. She stood over Becky as her music played to end the show.
DRAFT TALLY: First Round, Night Two
Raw: Becky Lynch (1), Bobby Lashley (3), Seth Rollins (5), Damien Priest (7), A.J. Styles & Omos (9), Kevin Owens (10), The Street Profits (12), Finn Balor (14), Karrion Kross (16), Alexa Bliss (18), Carmella (20), Gable Steveson (22).
Smackdown: The Usos (2), Sasha Banks (4), Shinsuke Nakamura & Rick Boogs (6), Sheamus (8), Shayna Baszler (10), Xia Li (11), The Viking Raiders (13), Ricochet (15), Humberto Carrillo & Angel Garza (17), Cesaro (19), Ridge Holland (21), Sami Zayn (23)