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KELLER’S WWE RAW REPORT
OCTOBER 3, 2022
ST. PAUL, MINN. AT XCEL ENERGY CENTER
AIRED LIVE ON USA NETWORK
Commentators: Jimmy Smith, Byron Saxton, Corey Graves
Ring Announcer: Mike Rome
-After “Then, Now, Forever, Together” and the Raw “Greatness” opening, they cut to a wide angle of the arena which appeared to have a full lower bowl around much of the arena and middle deck occupied, but the upper deck looked pretty dark and empty. A good overall vibe, though.
-The Judgment Day made their ring entrance first. Jimmy Smith plugged the Matt Riddle-Seth Rollins “Fight Pit” match at Extreme Rules and noted that Ariel Helwani broke the story of the special referee for the match being Daniel Cormier.
Finn Balor talked about how 11 years ago Edge was medically forced to quit, but against all the odds, fought back with strength and determination and overcame to return to doing what he loves the most “which is performing in this ring for all of you.” Priest said, “Let’s all hear it for Edge.” Balor said that, as with most things in life, you can only outrun fate before fate catches up. He said he’ll show Edge that he doesn’t belong anywhere near a ring he’s standing in. Ripley laughed and told Balor to tell ’em.
Balor said he’ll do Edge a favor and beat him so badly that he’ll be down and out and he’ll force him to say the words “I quit.” Priest said he is so excited to witness Balor give Edge a beating so severe that he has to say the words “I quit.” Priest said that should serve as a notice to anyone who crosses paths with The Judgment Day. He said that goes for their opponents tonight, too – Rey Mysterio and A.J. Styles.
When Dominik was about to speak, Ripley whispered something to him. Fans chanted, “Who’s your daddy?” Dominik said it’s not Rey. He said he hates Rey so much because he lied to him his entire life and he has a new family now. Byron Saxton muttered, “This is repulsive.”
Balor said he could have ended Styles’s career last week, but he didn’t because he’s his friend. He said the olive branch is still extended. He said he’s not a bad guy, so don’t make him do bad things. Styles’s entrance music interrupted Balor.
(1) THE JUDGMENT DAY (Damian Priest & Finn Balor w/Rhea Ripley, Dominik Mysterio) vs. REY MYSTERIO & A.J. STYLES
As the announcers reacted to what Judgment Day said, Styles and Rey jump-started the fight. They cleared the ring of the heels. Rey headscissored Balor on one side of the ring and Styles sling-shot himself over the top rope with a forearm to Priest on the other. Smith noted that Edge wasn’t there because he was doing promotion for Extreme Rules. As Judgment Day regrouped at ringside, they cut to a break. [c]
The heels beat up Rey for a while. Styles hot-tagged in and hit a flurry of offense against Priest. He fended off Balor, too. Priest recovered and knocked Styles through the ropes to the floor. Smith said Dominik had “a disgusting look of satisfaction” as they cut to another break. [c]
Back from the break, Rey approached Ripley. Dominik stepped between them, then got on his knees and begged Rey to hit him. Ripley caught Rey with a clothesline as soon as he turned to re-enter the ring. Meanwhile, Balor was in control against Styles. Balor landed the Coup de Grace for the win.
WINNERS: Judgment Day in about 17:00.
-After the match, Styles was upset that Rey had dropped to ringside to deal with Dominik and Ripley instead of being there for him in the ring, leading to the loss. Smith said Rey took his eye off the ball at the exact wrong time. Rey apologized, but Styles told him their loss is their fault. He shoved Rey and snarled down at him. Rey rolled out of the ring, frustrated. The Judgment Day then attacked Styles four-on-one from behind. Balor mounted Styles and punched him and said he’s his only friend and he has no one else. Boos rang out.
(Keller’s Analysis: Solid formula tag match with a finish that led to a couple post-match angles – Styles being frustrated with Rey and then Balor making another pitch that Styles better join them or face more beatings since he can’t rely on anyone else. The idea that Rey is preoccupied with his son and not staying focused on the match is actually a clever way to add some doubt to Styles’s resolve to not join Judgment Day.) [c]
-The announcers talked about Cormier being the referee for the Seth-Riddle “Fight Pit” match.
-Kevin Patrick interviewed Bobby Lashley, asking what’s next for him after a dominant three months-plus reign as U.S. Champion. Lashley said it’s not the title that makes the man, but the man who makes the title. He said he has been pushed to the limits by some of the industry’s best. He said what’s next for him is someone with the same hustle and desire. Mustafa Ali walked in and said he has the desire, but he’s been in the back waiting for someone to call his number. He said he is stepping to the front of the line and he wants an opportunity now. Lashley patted him on the shoulder and said he sees him hustling and grinding, so he’ll make sure he gets an opportunity. Ali spun him back around and poked him in the chest, then said he’s not asking for anything, he’s demanding it. Lashley said he’s getting too comfortable disrespecting him, so he’ll give him his opportunity. [c]
-Sami was cracking up Jimmy Uso with how he was dancing when his couch was on fire, and then someone asked “where’s my dog” and Sami said, “Your dog is right here” pointing at himself. Solo Sikoa stood by stoically. Jey walked in and stared down Sami and Jimmy. Jey said they’re there to take care of business and prepare for the season premiere of Raw next week. Sami said he’s right. Sami led them down the hall when they ran into The Street Profits. Sami said The Bloodline will be in the house next week, so be prepared to acknowledge the Tribal Chief. Montez Ford said they’re walking around like they own the arena, but they don’t. He said there are two things The Bloodline need to acknowledge. Jey said if he’s disrespectful toward the Tribal Chief, he’ll be sure to give him two matching boots. The camera showed Ford was walking around in a medical boot. Angelo Dawkins said he’ll break off his boot in Jey’s ass. Solo stepped up to Dawkins and challenged him. Dawkins said he’ll see him out there. Ford barked at them as they walked away.
(2) BOBBY LASHLEY vs. MUSTAFA ALI – U.S. Title match
Ali countered an early flurry by Lashley and knocked him to the floor. Lashley took control at ringside and nailed him with a clothesline into a flip bump. They cut to a break at 2:00. [c]
Ali landed a flip dive onto Lashley’s arm. Graves said Lashley’s arm had to be broken in two by that. Smith said it’d be an amazing upset. Lashley made a comeback and rammed Ali into the ringpost from his shoulders. He did it a again. Saxton said it’s not just about winning, it’s about hurting Ali. Smith said it’s also a warning to anyone else who challenges him. Fans didn’t seem really sure who they were supposed to be rooting for. Lashley lifted Ali and threw him into the time keeper’s area. Lashley returned to the ring and watched as Ali barely beat the ten count. Graves asked, “But why?” He said Ali isn’t wired to give up. Lashley hit Ali with a spear and then applied the Hurt Lock for the win.
WINNER: Lashley via submission in 11:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: Good match. Ultimately it felt like a way to showcase Lashley being dominant, but also show Ali has fighting spirit even in coming up short.)
-As Lashley appeared ready to lift Ali and show appreciation for the fight he put up, Seth Rollins jumped him and gave him a Stomp. Saxton asked, “What is this for?” Graves said if not for Riddle, Seth feels he’d be champion. Seth gave Lashley a Stomp on the belt, too. [c]
-Seth was parading around the ring after the break. Smith threw to a clip of Riddle and Seth fighting at ringside after they were off the air last week. They were purportedly using “fan camera footage.”
-Seth said, “Now that we have cleared Bobby Trashley from the ring, we can get on with this evening’s festivities.” He welcomed fans to Monday Night Rollins. Seth threw to a video feature on The Fight Pit. They showed artist renderings of the pit and also clips of the NXT Fight Pit match with Riddle vs. Timothy Thatcher. The narrator said neither will ever be the same again. Back in the ring, Seth said he will show Riddle what he showed Cody Rhodes and Lashley, which is that he is the most dangerous man in the history of this industry. He said that’s Saturday, but they’re in St. Paul tonight. He called Riddle to the ring for their face-to-face.
Seth noted Riddle came out without a scooter. He said that’s the face he’s going to smash on Saturday. When Seth called himself the King of the Fight Pit, Riddle asked what he’s talking about. He said Seth has never been in that match, but he has. Seth reminded Riddle that they have a no contact clause tonight or else the match is off. Riddle said he’s there to give him an educational lesson on the Fight Pit. He said he’s going to kill Seth on Saturday. (No he’s not. It’s dumb to say that.)
Riddle said after he beats Seth’s lifeless body, they’ll be singing “Bro” to the beat of his song. Riddle danced and expected fans to sing it. They didn’t right away, at least not loudly. Seth told them to stop, so then it picked up some steam. Seth said Cormier is going to have his back and because he’s a fan of his. Seth said Riddle has quite a nice singing voice. He asked if he sings his kids to sleep like that. He said, “Oh, that’s right, you’re not allowed to see your kids at night, are you?”
(Keller’s Analysis: That’s such a heavy thing for a heel to say about a babyface, because it makes fans wonder what Riddle did to be prevented from even seeing his kids.)
Seth laughed at how expensive child support is. Riddle told Seth to back away because his breath is awful. Riddle asked when the last time was he held a championship. He said Roman Reigns choked him out last time they wrestled each other. He asked how it went the last time he headlined WrestleMania, then said he never has, but his wife Becky Lynch has. Riddle said he’s second to Roman, second to Becky, and he’ll be second to him.
Cormier appeared on the big screen and told them to stop arguing. He said their behavior has been insane. He introduced himself as one of the greatest wrestling fighters ever. He said he goes way back with Riddle and said he’s part of the fraternity. He said he was there when Seth won his first title, but he’s fed up. Cormier said the referee can’t be just anyone, so they called him. Seth knocked off Riddle’s hat and left. Graves said that didn’t violate the no contact clause.
(Keller’s Analysis: That was weird that Cormier acted a bit like he was breaking news that he was going to be a special referee even though it was talked about earlier in the show and reported prior.)
-Candice LeRae walked past Bianca Belair, Liv Morgan, and Asuka. Belair gave her a pep talk. The QR code flashed on the screen. [c]
-Backstage, Miz was on the phone with his wife expressing that he won’t let anything ruin his birthday celebration next week. Dexter Lumis showed up behind Miz, but he was just out of reach. Dexter peered at Miz through a door as Miz walked away.
-They went to the announcers at ringside. Graves again demanded that someone should do something about Dexter.
(3) CANDICE LERAE vs. DAKOTA KAI (w/Bayley, Iyo Sky)
A graphic on the screen mistakenly put Dakota Kai’s name up when LeRae came out. Saxton said LeRae has already called out the bullying tactics of Damage CTRL in just her second week on Raw. LeRae controlled the early action. When Kai bailed out to the floor, LeRae slingshot herself onto her at ringside. They cut to an early break. [c]
Kai landed a running thrust kick to take LeRae down and scored a two count. Smith pointed out that Bayley was mocking LeRae for taking time off to have a baby. LeRae went for a submission hold, but Kai slammed her hard into the corner. When LeRae climbed to the top rope, Kai landed a running boot to her head. She followed with a superplex attempt, but LeRae blocked it. LeRae countered with a back suplex off the middle rope. Sky stood on the ring apron and got the ref’s attention as Bayley knocked LeRae’s leg off the middle of the rope leading to a Kai roll-up for the win.
WINNER: Kai in 11:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: Decent basic match. It didn’t seem to aspire to be anything memorable.)
-They showed Johnny Gargano walking backstage when he noticed Miz was lying on his back knocked out on a rolling crate. Gargano tapped him and Miz jumped away. Miz had a drawing on his chest of Dexter looking over his shoulder. Gargano said, “Ooh, that’s not good.” He laughed and continued to walk.
-A Smackdown commercial hyped Logan Paul and Roman Reigns in the ring together for the first time ever, plus Gunther vs. Sheamus in a rematch for the U.S. Title. [c]
-They showed postcard shots of the Downtown Minneapolis skyline when talking about how they were in St. Paul, Minn. (They do this every time. The two cities have completely separate downtowns. At least they didn’t show Target Center instead of Xcel Energy Center.)
-Sarah Schreiber approached Bayley, Sky, and Kai backstage and talked about how Bayley wants Kai and Sky in her corner on Saturday night. Bayley said tonight it’s just her and Belair on the contract signing, but then let off a sinister giggle when she added, “Remember, you asked for this.”
-They went to the announcers who acknowledged the death of Antonio Inoki.
-A video package aired of Chad Gable coaching Braun Strowman years ago. Gable said he was actually Strowman’s first opponent ever. He said Master Gable will slay the Monster.
(4) OTIS (w/Chad Gable) vs. JOHNNY GARGANO
Austin Theory joined the announcers at ringside. Theory said Gargano is oblivious to his achievements. Gargano spotted Theory at ringside. Theory made faces at him. Otis knocked Gargano down early and went on the attack. Gargano avoided a corner swing splash by Otis and went on the attack. He gave Otis a DDT and a superkick to the face for a two count. Gargano dove at Otis a minute later, knocking him into the announce table. Gargano then leaped at Theory. Graves was outraged. Gargano leaped off the ring apron with a tornado DDT. Theory hit Gargano with his briefcase from behind as Gable was distracting the referee. Otis powerslammed Gargano for the win.
WINNER: Otis in 6:00.
-Afterward, when Otis, Gable, and Theory triple-teamed Gargano, Braun ran to the ring for the save. Graves pointed out how quick Strowman is.
(5) BRAUN STROWMAN vs. CHAD GABLE
They cut to an early break with Braun in control. [c]
Back from the break, Gable knocked Braun into the ringpost with a running knee. They showed that Otis interfered during the break, throwing Braun over the ringside announce desk, to give Gable the opening to take control. Gable gave Braun a German suplex into a bridge for a near fall. The announcers marveled at his strength. (For those keeping track, Gable is strong and Braun is fast.) Gable told Braun, “This is my state!” They showed Omos and MVP watching backstage. The camera was aiming up from the ground. (So another annoying thing Vince McMahon did that Paul Levesque is doing again.) Gable landed a top rope dropkick and then went for a top rope moonsault, but Braun moved. Braun kicked Gable and then powerbombed him for the win.
WINNER: Strowman in 9:00.
-They showed Belair strutting backstage.
(Keller’s Analysis: The idea that she walks that way to the ring in front of fans is one thing, but the idea that she does that backstage just moving through a hallway is really weird.) [c]
-Smith touted the record-breaking first-day ticket sales for the Royal Rumble.
-A trainer tried taking a look at Lashley’s shoulder, but he waved him off and said he was good. Patrick approached Lashley and asked how he’s doing after that blindside attack by Seth. Lashley said he’s going to crush Seth’s throat so he never has to hear that cackle again. He said he’s going finish off Seth next week on Raw two days after his Fight Pit match and make him pass out in the ring.
-Graves stood mid-ring for the contract signing between Belair and Bayley. He said it’s the first-ever ladder match for the WWE Women’s Title in WWE history. Bayley made her entrance. Bayley mockingly asked Belair if she feels safe since she came out alone. Bayley went on and on about how the ladder is symbolic of how hard she worked to get to the top and referenced a time when fans cheered for her, but they eventually stopped caring and buying her t-shirts. Belair cut off Bayley and explained to her that the reason what she did didn’t work for her is she was pretending to be somebody she’s not. Belair said she’s authentic and that’s why the fans connect with her. She said Bayley didn’t evolve, she became the real her. She said now she’s showing everyone her real colors.
Belair said Bayley might have a plan, but she doesn’t need a plan because she stays ready. She said since Bayley loves planning, she can plan on still calling her the Women’s Champion after Extreme Rules. Bayley said “her girls” will be right by her side on Saturday. Bayley asked what time it was. They cut backstage to Kai and Sky attacking Asuka and Alexa Bliss. They cut back to the ring where Bayley yanked a distracted Belair from behind over the contract table. She pounded on her and tossed her around the ring. Saxton said it was an elaborate plan by Bayley. Belair reverse-whipped Bayley into the side of the ring, then charged to the back to come to the aid of her friends. Bayley sat up and laughed. Belair helped remove a chair from around Asuka’s leg as Asuka cried out in pain. Bliss snarled at the camera and said it’s not over. She challenged Sky to a match tonight.
(Keller’s Analysis: Decent segment. Bayley laid out her case and Belair had a solid comeback. I didn’t buy Belair, who’s delivery is so affected and gimmicky, claiming she’s more authentic than Bayley.) [c]
-They cut to the announcers who hyped Extreme Rules.
(6) SOLO SIKOA (w/Sami Zayn, Jimmy & Jey Uso) vs. ANGELO DAWKINS (w/Montez Ford)
A fan walked by with a sign that said “WYYT RABAT.” Solo took early control, but rolled to ringside when Dawkins made a comeback with a dropkick. They cut to an early break as Sami tried to calm down Solo. [c]
After more back and forth action, Dawkins checked Solo through the ropes to the floor. Sami gave him a pep talk. Jey pulled Sami aside and said he’s got it. Sami yelled back at Jey. Jimmy stepped between them. Dawkins flip dove over the top rope onto both Usos. Dawkins then punched Sami in the chin. Solo recovered and went on the attack with a Spinning Solo uranage for the win.
WINNER: Solo in 12:00.
-Theory told Gable and Otis they did great out there. Theory said they barely got their hands on Gargano this week, but next week he’s facing Gargano one-on-one. He said he’ll put him down. [c]
-A pre-recorded promo aired with Edge who said since he returned he’s been pretty transparent and “more or less the veil of character has been dropped.” He talked about how he was forced to retire and wasn’t given a choice, but he didn’t quit. He said he returned at age 46, and it’s become more and more difficult since he returned. He said he loves what he’s been doing, but it’s becoming harder for not just him, but also his entire family. He said it’s harder to hide it from his girls the pain he’s in. He said maybe even more difficult is seeing the doubt or fear in his wife Beth’s eyes. He said she fears maybe he’s insane or too selfish or stubborn. He said those are things you need to succeed at the level he has in the pro wrestling business. He said he can’t apologize for that.
He said he’s got to give Judgment Day credit for making it more difficult because they always come back after he beats them, and it’s harder for him to put the pieces together and come back himself. He said it’s his fault Judgment Day even exists. He said he has to be a one man gang. He said Balor will face someone and something he’s never faced before. He said they cannot physically hurt him enough to make him say “I quit.” He said they better be ready for a war because he damn sure is.
-The announcers hyped next week’s Raw season premiere line-up. [c]
(7) ALEXA BLISS (w/Bianca Belair) vs. IYO SKY (w/Bayley, Dakota Kai)
A few minutes in, Sky got the better of Bliss at ringside with a dropkick. They cut to a break. [c]
Bayley and Sky attacked Belair at ringside and threw her into the ringside steps. Bliss dove onto them at ringside. She climbed to the top rope, but Sky recovered and knocked her off balance and landed an Air Raid Crash. She followed with a top rope moonsault for the win.
WINNER: Sky in 9:00.
-Damage CTRL beat up Bliss after the match. Belair charged into the ring and went for the save, but Sky and Kai hit her with a ladder. Asuka limped to the ring with a cane and bashed Kia with the stick. Sky slidekicked a ladder into Asuka. All three heels dropped the ladder over Asuka’s back. Then they set up a ladder and gloated over the fallen bodies in the ring. Things kind of crawled to a stop, as if they had more time to fill, so the heels went back to beating up Belair. Bayley gave Belair her Rose Plant. Bayley then climbed the ladder mid-ring and posed with Belair’s belt.