SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
WWE RAW TV REPORT
NOVEMBER 14, 2022
LOUISVILLE, KY. AT KFC YUM! CENTER
AIRED ON USA
REPORT BY DANNY DOUCETTE, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Commentators: Kevin Patrick, Corey Graves
Ring Announcer: Mike Rome
-The show opened with the “Then. Now. Forever. Together” signature. The Raw intro aired followed by a shot of the arena stage with pyro blasting.
-Patrick welcomed everyone to Raw. Seth Rollins’ music hit and Rollins danced his way to the ring. A recap aired highlighting the U.S. title open challenge and Money in the Bank cash-in last week. Back in the arena, Rollins welcomed the fans to “Monday Night Rollins”. Rollins addressed his challengers, specifically Finn Balor, Mustafa Ali, Bobby Lashley, and Austin Theory. All of them were booed except Lashley, who got some cheers. Rollins laughed at Theory for failing his cash-in. The fans chanted, “that was stupid”. Rollins called the U.S. title the top prize on Monday Nights now that he has it. Lashley’s music interrupted Rollins. Lashley walked to the ring with a microphone and said he turned Theory into a punchline last week. Lashley had quite a gash on his left pec. Lashley also said he will keep beating Rollins down until he gets his title back. Rollins mocked Lashley for losing to Brock Lesnar.
However, Ali also headed to the ring followed by a referee. Ali stopped short of the ring and Lashley warned him to stay away. Ali ran into the ring and got dumped by Lashley. Lashley jawed at Rollins some more, but Ali jumped on his back. Rollins left the ring and Lashley threw Ali over the top rope. Lashley acknowledged Ali’s guts, but was pissed with him nonetheless. Lashley challenged Ali to get in the ring and fight him. [c]
(Doucette’s Analysis: That was clunky. The fans didn’t seem to be into anyone. Even Rollins got an only okay reaction. I agree with the crowd though, Theory cashing in for the U.S. title was pretty stupid.)
(1) BOBBY LASHLEY vs. MUSTAFA ALI
Ali dropkicked Lashley right at the bell. Lashley tossed Ali out of the ring hard. Lashley tried to ram Ali into the ringpost, but Ali reversed it. Lashley was still able to recover and toss Ali into the post. Lashley then tossed Ali over the announce desk. The referee almost counted Ali out, but he got back into the ring at nine. Ali was hurt and favoring his midsection. Lashley hit Ali with a Yokosuka Cutter. Ali tried to fight back, but Lashley hit him with a spinebuster. The referee asked Ali if he could continue. Ali wouldn’t quit. Lashley seemed to be surprised by Ali’s resilience. Lashley hit him with another spinebuster. Ali still managed to get to his feet. Ali dodged a spear from Lashley and hit a Tornado DDT. Lashley still hit Ali with a big spear and put him in the Hurt Lock. The referee stopped the match.
WINNER: Lashley in 5:00.
-Cathy Kelley interview The O.C. and Mia Yim. A.J. Styles challenged Balor to a one-on-one match at Survivor Series. Karl Anderson said that Yim is the baddest woman in the room and will win her return match tonight. Yim said that she and The O.C. will celebrate after her win tonight. The four of them did the “two sweet” gesture. [c]
-Yim made her entrance to the ring. Her opponent, Tamina, was already in the ring. A picture-in-picture recap of Yim’s return last week was shown. Rhea Ripley and Dominik Mysterio came down to ringside right before the match.
(2) TAMINA vs. MIA YIM
Yim was distracted by Dominik and Ripley’s arrival. Tamina used the distraction to attack Yim. Yim took over on offense after Tamina missed a top rope splash. Damage CTRL was shown watching the match backstage. Yim hit Eat Defeat for the win.
WINNER: Yim in 3:00.
(Doucette’s Analysis: While better than Retribution, Yim seems to be lacking something. I don’t know if it’s just because of the dead crowds, but she seems a bit generic. I hope that changes because I’m always happy to see more depth added to the women’s division.)
-Ripley teased getting in the ring to fight Yim, but then backed off.
-Matt Riddle was shown playing his bongos backstage and walked up to Kelley for an interview. Riddle said Elias was away booking shows for them and other “rock star stuff”. Chad Gable and Otis showed up. Gable kept saying “shoosh” as Riddle hit the bongo. Gable called Riddle and Elias clowns and said he would put Riddle down like Otis did to Elias last week.[c]
-Yim was shown walking backstage. She was approached by Damage CTRL. Dakota Kai asked how Yim could be forgotten after hanging with Ripley. Bayley asked Yim to join their War Games team. Yim said she’s honored to be considered, but doesn’t have any problems with Bianca Belair, Asuka, or Alexa Bliss. Bayley told her to think about it and Iyo Sky said not to think too long. Anderson, Styles, and Luke Gallows came up with a bucket of ice and asked if everything was okay. Yim said yes and that Damage CTRL was just leaving. [c]
-As Riddle and Gable made their entrances for the next match, a recap aired of Otis defeating Elias last week.
(3) MATT RIDDLE vs. CHAD GABLE (w/Otis)
Riddle and Gable engaged in some chain wrestling to start. As Gable used a Dragon Screw to take down Riddle, Graves suggested “Inflatable Grandpa” as Elias and Riddle’s band name. Riddle landed some offense went to the rope rope, but Otis distracted him. Gable then German suplexed Riddle off the top rope. [c]
Gable was working on Riddle’s leg left after the break. Riddle reversed a suplex into a Fisherman Buster. The two competitors traded punches. Riddle then unleashed an offensive explosion ending with a knee strike for a two count. Gable grabbed an ankle lock on Riddle, but Riddle reversed it into a Triangle Choke. Gable reversed that into a DDT. Riddle hit a draping DDT and went for the RKO, but Otis distracted him. Gable caught Riddle with a backslide. Otis held down Gable’s feet, which were on the ropes, and Gable got the win.
WINNER: Gable in 10:00.
(Doucette’s Analysis: Very good match. Gable and Riddle’s styles compliment each other well. Riddle’s taken quite a few losses recently, he’s fallen down the card drastically. I definitely don’t mind Alpha Academy getting some shine, but considering Riddle’s position a few months ago, it’s sort of jarring.)
-Baron Corbin and JBL were playing poker backstage. A waiter offered JBL some Kentucky bourbon. JBL said he doesn’t want anything from any Kentucky hillbillies and made a comment about incest. Akira Tozawa joined them at the table. Tozawa said he wanted to play and put on some sunglasses. JBL asked if he knew the rules or how to play. Tozawa said nope. Corbin and JBL were then happy to let him into the game.
(Doucette’s Analysis: I enjoy Tozawa. He and R-Truth were the only things about the 24/7 title that made it tolerable. This is also a better use of JBL and Corbin.)
-The Miz came out to the ring dressed humbly in a Mr. Rogers-type sweater for his apology. [c]
-Miz welcomed everyone to Miz TV and relinquished his hosting duties to Byron Saxton, who was sitting in the ring. Saxton began asking questions, but Miz said he prepared a statement. Miz put on a pair of reading glasses and asked the crowd to be quiet. That drew lots of boos. Miz said he regretted paying Dexter Lumis and said he only wanted empathy. Miz said he was never out, never injured, and showed up even when he was injured. Miz said he just tried to help Lumis out. Miz said Lumis kept taking from him and stood up for himself. Saxton said Miz told the private investigator a different story. Miz said he spun the truth to sell it to Hollywood. Miz said he was depressed about everything that happened.
Johnny Gargano’s music interrupted. Gargano said Miz wasn’t depressed, he was on vacation in Cabo. Miz asked if Gargano had photographers there. Gargano said the pictures were on the internet. Miz said he was depressed in his hotel room. Gargano pressed Miz to tell the truth. Saxton interjected with questions. Miz told Saxton to just ask the questions he gave to him. Gargano asked if Miz was paying Saxton. Miz questioned why Gargano was involved. Miz accused Gargano of doing it just to get chants. A small “Johnny Wrestling” chant broke out. Gargano called Miz a liar and made fun of his sweater. Miz clarified that it was a cardigan. Gargano called him Mr. Rogers. Miz said that like Mr. Rogers he is a good guy. Miz snapped and said he was sorry and wanted to move on. Gargano told Miz to pay Lumis what he owes him. Miz pleaded with everyone to move on. Gargano said he talked to WWE officials who were convinced by the footage. Gargano said in two weeks Miz will face Lumis. If Lumis wins, he gets his money and his contract. Miz told Gargano to tell Lumis the match will be a big mistake and it will be awesome. Gargano told Miz to tell him. Lumis was behind Miz dressed as a cameraman. Lumis grabbed Miz’s sweater, but Miz got away and ran up the stage. Gargano put on Miz’s sweater and they followed Miz up the ramp.
(Doucette’s Analysis: The crowd went mild for this one. I think the feeling with Miz-Lumis is “let’s get it over with”. Gargano is entertaining in small doses, but he has gotten way too much mic time lately. He comes off as a person who HAS to show how witty and funny they are at all times. This was a bad segment.)
-Kelley interviewed Shelton Benjamin about Theory’s failed cash-in. Dominik and Damian Priest approached Benjamin from behind. Dominik said that Benjamin has been a failure since his deadbeat dad Rey Mysterio and Eddie Guerrero were in their primes. Benjamin threatened to give Dominik the whooping his dad should’ve until Priest stepped in. Priest said that if Benjamin has a problem with Dominik he has to face him. Dominik stood behind Priest reiterated everything Priest said. Benjamin accepted, but only to face Dominik. Dominik was surprised and said he thought Priest challenged him.
-Dominik made his way to the ring with Ripley and Priest for the match. [c]
(4) DOMINIK MYSTERIO (w/Rhea Ripley & Damian Priest) vs. SHELTON BENJAMIN
Benjamin and Dominik locked up to start. Dominik slapped Benjamin and ran out of the ring. Ripley distracted Benjamin and Dominik jumped him from behind. The advantage was short-lived as Benjamin returned the favor with a slap of his own. Dominik ran behind Ripley again for cover. Dominik used some cheap tactics to gain an advantage on Benjamin. At one point, he begged for mercy and turned it into a jawbreaker. Dominik set Benjamin up for a 6-1-9, but Benjamin reversed into a powerslam followed by an exploder suplex. Benjamin caught Dominik in an ankle lock, but Ripley distracted the referee and Priest helped Dominik grab the bottom rope. Dominik hit a DDT and a Frog Splash on Benjamin for the win.
WINNER: Dominik in 4:00.
(Doucette’s Analysis: Dominik again showed in the match and backstage segment why he is perfect in his current role as the little pup protected by the big dogs that are the rest of The Judgment Day. Dominik was one of them few things to get little more than a tepid reaction from the crowd tonight.)
-Theory was shown backstage getting ready for an exclusive interview after the break. [c]
-Kelley interviewed Theory backstage and asked him for his side of the failed cash-in. Theory said nobody understands the pressure he’s under. Theory said he outperformed his expectations and said people hate on him because they can’t relate to him. Theory said he did not fail last week, he feels more alive than ever before. Theory explained that cashing in on Roman Reigns was nearly impossible because of The Bloodline. Theory said he tried cashing in twice before, but was stopped by Brock Lesnar and Tyson Fury. Theory said because of that he decided to cash-in on Rollins. Theory said that if it hadn’t been for Lashley, he would’ve won the U.S. title. Dolph Ziggler interrupted and brought up how he tried to help him a few months ago. Theory challenged Ziggler to a match to show him he has no more excuses. Ziggler accepted.
(Doucette’s Analysis: Well explained by Theory. This makes his failed cash-in attempt much more understandable. I still think it was dumb because I don’t recall it ever being said that someone could cash-in for ANY title. I thought it was clearly understood it had to be either the WWE, Universal, or NXT title. Someone did explain Theory’s exact reasoning on one of the PWTorch post-shows last week. I wish I could remember who it was, but shoutout to them! )
-Graves said that’s the most focused he’s seen Theory. Patrick threw to a highlight package for War Games.
– A graphic for the Survivor Series War Games match was shown. It is set to be Belair, Asuka, Bliss, and two mystery partners versus Damage CTRL, Nikki Cross, and a mystery partner.
-Sky, accompanied by Bayley, Kai, and Cross, came to the ring to the next match. [c]
-Dana Brooke was out next and talked trash to Cross for throwing away the 24/7 title. A picture-in-picture interview with Brooke reiterated her anger with Cross.
(5) IYO SKY (w/Bayley, Dakota Kai, & Nikki Cross) vs. DANA BROOKE
Brooke attacked Sky right after the bell. Brooke rolled up Sky for a quick two count. Sky took over by kicking Brooke in the head and then took her down with a springboard dropkick. Brooke tried to fight off Sky and get a headscissors, but Sky blocked it. Brooke moved out of the way of a Lionsault by Sky and nailed a DDT for a two count. Sky caught Brooke from a handspring splash attempt and nailed a German suplex. Sky hit a double knee strike in the corner and an Over the Moon-sault for the win.
WINNER: Sky in 3:00.
-Yim walked out with a microphone and said that Damage CTRL was right in saying that she had to pick a side. Belair’s music hit and Belair, Asuka, and Bliss came out to join Yim indicating that Yim had joined their team.
(Doucette’s Analysis: Okay…I thought there would be some sort of Survivor Series match with Yim, Gallows, and Anderson versus Priest, Dominik, and Ripley, but I guess not. Is Yim now going to be involved in two feuds?)
-Backstage, Tozawa, Corbin, and JBL were playing poker. Tozawa appeared to be winning as JBL and Corbin looked frustrated. JBL and Corbin said the would win the next hand, but Tozawa flipped the cards over the called them cheaters. JBL said those are fighting words. Tozawa told him to step outside and challenged him to a match. Tozawa took all the money and chips.
-Theory made his way out to the ring, looking more serious than usual. Patrick noted that Theory did not have his cellphone and said that some have called Theory’s the worst Money in the Bank cash-in ever. [c]
(6) AUSTIN THEORY vs. DOLPH ZIGGLER
Theory aggressively attacked Ziggler throughout the beginning of the match. Ziggler fought back with a jawbreaker and a headbutt. Theory stopped Ziggler’s offense with a big clothesline and rammed him into the ringpost. [c]
Ziggler was fighting back after the commercial. Ziggler hit a jumping DDT on Theory for a two count. Theory hit Ziggler with a Rack Blue Thunder Bomb for a near fall. Theory tried A-Town Down, but Ziggler countered into a sleeper hold. Theory tried to power out, but Ziggler got him to the ground. Theory stood up and threw Ziggler down to break the hold. Ziggler hit a Famouser for a two count. Theory recovered and threw Ziggler into the ringpost twice more. Theory tried again, but Ziggler threw him into the ringpost instead.
Ziggler hit Theory with the Zig Zag for a two count. Ziggler set up for a superkick, but Theory punched him. Theory then hit two A-Town Downs, but started punched Ziggler instead of pinning him. Ziggler rolled outside and Theory threw him into the ring stairs. Theory tossed the stairs which appeared to hit Ziggler. Theory threw Ziggler repeatedly into the announce desk and into the timekeeper’s area. The referee disqualified Theory.
WINNER: Ziggler in 14:00 by DQ.
-Theory threw chars at Ziggler and continued beating him down until officials and referees came out to break it up. Theory kept saying he wasn’t a damn kid.
(Doucette’s Analysis: This was an okay match, but it was basically the same match and setup angle from a few months ago. Theory showed good intensity and a mean streak, but until this becomes a consistent character change, it will take some getting used to for me. This could have been accomplished in a much shorter time and would’ve been more effective. Going 50-50 with Dolph Ziggler in 2022 does no one any favors.)
-JBL and Corbin were shown backstage headed to the ring for the match with Tozawa. [c]
-Damage CTRL and Cross were backstage and were approached by Ripley. Ripley told Damage CTRL she was joining their team for War Games since Yim was now on the other side. Damage CTRL was excited to have her join their team.
(7) BARON CORBIN (w/JBL) vs. AKIRA TOZAWA
Corbin tried a chokeslam, but Tozawa reversed it into a DDT. Tozawa hit Corbin with a dropkick for a two count. Tozawa took Corbin down with a headscissors and a dive through the ropes. JBL distracted Tozawa and Corbin blocked a second dive attempt and threw Tozawa into the barricade. Tozawa took Corbin down with another headscissors and a Shining Wizard. Tozawa tried a crossbody, but Corbin turned it into End of Days for the win.
WINNER: Corbin in 3:00.
(Doucette’s Analysis: Another Corbin squash, but Tozawa made it interesting. These types of matches always make me wonder; why keep trotting out Ziggler (who they could actually get use out of it they would update his gimmick) to job when they have talented performers like Tozawa that can fill the same spot?)
-Patrick threw to a recap of the Edge-Balor “I Quit” match from Extreme Rules. A graphic was shown for the Rollins-Balor match. [c]
-A replay of Theory’s attack on Ziggler aired.
-Kelley interviewed Belair, Asuka, Bliss, and Yim about Ripley joining War Games. Gable and Otis showed up afterwards and gloated about Gable beating Riddle. Rollins then walked up and sang “shooosh” to the tune of his theme song.
-Saxton interviewed Balor backstage about Styles challenging him to a match at Survivor Series. Balor said he accepts, but mentioned having unfinished business with Rollins. Balor made his entrance for the title match. [c]
-Patrick and Graves hyped Balor-Styles at Survivor Series. Rollins made his entrance as the commentators mentioned Balor and Rollins’ match at SummerSlam 2016 to crown the first Universal Champion. Rome gave special title introductions for the match.
(8) FINN BALOR vs. SETH ROLLINS – U.S. title match
As Balor and Rollins did some feeling out, the fans chanted, “Let’s go Rollins”. Rollins hit Balor with a back elbow and a crossbody on the outside. [c]
Balor shifted the momentum of the match by rolling up Rollins and hitting him with a few stomps. Balor then launched Rollins abdomen-first into the corner of the announce desk. Balor used knee strikes to further attack the abdomen of Rollins. Balor used an abdominal stretch to weaken Rollins, but Rollins used a hip toss to escape. Rollins hit Balor with a knee strike and a dive on the outside of the ring. Rollins then hit a springboard knee strike for a two count. Rollins set up the stomp, but Balor countered with a Sling Blade. Rollins superkicked Balor and tried a Frog Splash, but Balor rolled him up for a close near fall. [c]
The action moved to the outside and Rollins tried a powerbomb into the barricade, but Balor dropkicked him into it instead. Balor missed a Coup de Gras back in the ring. Rollins tried a Pedigree, but Balor flipped him. Rollins rolled Balor up, but then lifted him into a sitout powerbomb for a nearfall. Rollins went up for a Phoenix Splash, but missed. Balor dropkicked Rollins into the turnbuckle. Balor went to the top rope, but Rollins hit a superplex. Rollins tried to convert the superplex into a Falcon Arrow, but Balor reversed into 1916 for a two count. Rollins missed and Pedigree, Balor missed a double stomp, but Rollins hit a Falcon Arrow for a two count. Rollins went for the stomp, but Dominik jumped onto the apron. Rollins went after him and Balor rolled him up for a two count. Priest also tried to interfere. The O.C. and Yim came to fight off Judgment Day. Anderson clotheslined Dominik out of the ring and Balor clotheslined Anderson. Priest launched Anderson into the announce desk. Balor dropkicked Rollins into the corner. Balor went to the top rope, but Styles knocked him off. The O.C. and Judgment Day continued to brawl in the crowd. Rollins hit the stomp on Balor for the win.
WINNER: Rollins in 21:00.
-Theory attack Rollins after the bell and hit A-Town Down. Theory continued to attack Rollins outside of the ring. Theory hit A-Town Down again and nailed Rollins with the U.S. title belt. Theory stood over Rollins and held up the title belt as the show ended.
FINAL THOUGHTS: An okay show with a pretty subdued crowd. The main event was very strong so things ended on a high note. Theory looked strong this week which is another positive. I’m surprisingly more optimistic on his future than I would’ve thought going into the show. Rollins as a babyface continues to carry the show. I didn’t think I would be writing those words in 2022. I hope his character can sustain the babyface reactions without sacrificing the character work that got the crowd back behind him.