Say what you will about Brock Lesnar, but he is a man of his word. The Beast Incarnate said he was quitting SmackDown to come to Raw and find Rey Mysterio, and in defiance of the boardroom warriors who drafted him, he did just that. Lesnar — WWE Championship around his waist and Paul Heyman at his side — opened Raw with the news that the red brand had “absorbed” his contract and that he was going “hunting” for Mysterio, who embarrassed Lesnar with a torrent of chair swings following The Beast’s submission victory over Cain Velasquez last week. As for the legal entanglements of his client's jump, Heyman dispelled with the red tape via a simple: “Brock Lesnar is entitled to do whatever the hell he wants to do.”
So, with Lesnar having set up shop in his new digs, it was time for business. “Somebody knows where Rey Mysterio is,” Heyman said, warning that The Conqueror wasn’t above putting hands on every man in the audience to force that person to reveal the whereabouts of The Ultimate Underdog. As it turned out, Mysterio found him, attacking Lesnar with a pipe after he laid waste to commentator Dio Maddin (plus some overmatched backstage employees). Mysterio even managed to leave Lesnar down by charging The Conqueror with the WWE Title itself. That was no accident, too, as Mysterio declared later in the night that he would repay Lesnar's attacks on his family by coming after that which was most important to him: The WWE Championship. All in all, Mysterio can call this night an unmitigated win, and one that carries as much symbolic weight as it does literal: Heyman loves to to insist that Lesnar is entitled to do whatever he wants; count Rey among the very few Superstars who have managed to prove otherwise.
This team of Charlotte Flair & Natalya might have some legs to it. One week after scoring a victory as an impromptu pairing, the two former SmackDown Women’s Champions earned a win over the WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions. While that isn’t exactly an upset on its face, there is something to be said for the manner in which the two Queens won the match. Flair and Natalya fought their way to an old-school, come-from-behind grinder that saw Natalya lock Asuka in the Sharpshooter to score a rare submission victory over The Empress of Tomorrow.
Many will rush to anoint Charlotte & Natalya as champions-in-waiting after this, and that’s certainly a possibility. But the locker room is full of women who thought they were ready for the champions and found out otherwise. The road to the title is long, but consider this a promising beginning.
After just a few weeks, Buddy Murphy is looking like Raw’s biggest late-round steal in the WWE Draft. The onetime Best Kept Secret impressed once again in action on Raw, this time against fellow former Cruiserweight Champion Cedric Alexander in a rematch of Murphy’s Raw debut two weeks ago. The result was no different than round one despite an inspired effort by Cedric, who isn’t far behind Murphy right now but was severely hamstrung by an injury to his left wrist. Alexander hung tough even with the one hand available to him, turning to his legs with a suicide dive-plancha one-two. But he paused to admire his handiwork at a crucial junction rather than finishing the job, and Murphy capitalized with a leaping knee to the back and Murphy’s Law to conclude the bout.
Between his rivalry with “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt and assorted social media controversies, Seth Rollins has had a very complicated month. It might be about to get a lot more complicated. Finding himself at a crossroads after losing the Universal Title to SmackDown — thereby negating everything he did to make the title a staple of Raw — Rollins was confronted by his onetime benefactor, Triple H, with an intriguing offer for how he could reboot himself: Come back to NXT and start fresh.
Given that Triple H had guided Rollins to glory at each of his previous crossroads, the offer wasn’t without its temptations. And NXT’s involvement in Survivor Series would give The Beastslayer a chance to once again make history. Rollins didn’t get a chance to respond, but Triple H made things clear with an ominous declaration — “You are either with me or against me” — and a display of intimidation straight out of Rollins’ past, as NXT ringers The Undisputed ERA emerged from the crowd to stand firm on the ring apron.
Rollins ended up with some unexpected equalizers in The O.C., but the good brothers were thwarted by NXT heavy-hitters Dominik Dijakovic and Damian Priest. A second wave of reinforcements — Zack Ryder, Curt Hawkins, R-Truth and Erick Rowan — drove the NXT Superstars away, a clear indicator that Raw won’t be caught as flatfooted as SmackDown was on Friday. As for Rollins, he cornered Triple H in the backstage area moments after the confrontation and gave The Game an ultimatum of his own. The only way Rollins would come back to NXT was as the "top guy." And to do that, he wanted to face Adam Cole for the NXT Championship later in the evening. The request was granted.
Sin Cara surely suspected that bringing on masked luchadora Carolina would give him a little extra something in his rivalry with Andrade. To be sure, she has. But even her presence wasn’t enough to stop The International Sensation from sliding to 0-3 against his rival, and she even had the distinction of suffering the deciding pinfall in the Mixed Tag Team Match that served as Sin Cara and Andrade’s third matchup in as many weeks.
Though, to be perfectly fair, this match wasn’t so much about Sin Cara or Andrade as it was about Zelina Vega, who has made it clear for a week now that she was out for payback against the masked newcomer who humiliated her last week. La Muñeca did that and then some, even securing the win by herself after Andrade was dispatched by Sin Cara on the outside. Despite Carolina’s attempts to down Vega with a powerbomb, Zelina sent her tumbling into the turnbuckles and flattened her with a basement hurricanrana to secure the win. And anybody who thought Vega was merely part of the problem is surely rethinking that mindset right now. If nothing else, this match proved she’s a problem unto herself.
Getting back at Bobby Lashley for stealing Lana isn’t going to come quite as easily as Rusev thinks. For one, The All Mighty backed out of Rusev’s challenge by claiming a torn groin (don’t ask how he supposedly did it) and Lashley seems to have held onto some contact info from that big Team Hogan vs. Team Flair rumble last week. Not only did Drew McIntyre step up to take Lashley’s place against Rusev, but Randy Orton came calling at a crucial juncture to stop The Bulgarian Brute from tearing Lashley apart.
That juncture came when The All Mighty interfered in the match, bending a crutch over Rusev’s back and revealing his “injury” to be little more than a ruse. The interference gave Rusev the disqualification win but also had the unintended side effect of opening Lashley up to retaliation from Rusev. Orton struck before he could deliver it, dropping Rusev with an RKO and teeing up a two-on-one attack that was narrowly thwarted by the arrival of Ricochet. The former United States Champion sent Orton scrambling with a kick to the face and scored a twofer by dropkicking Lashley off the apron into Lana, clearing the ring and giving Rusev some much-needed backup. If nothing else, Rusev has friends in his darkest hour. That’s got to count for something.
Becky Lynch and Shayna Baszler have never met in the ring, but there’s already a history of sorts between the Raw and NXT Women’s Champions. After all, Becky’s the one who sent Shayna’s friend, Ronda Rousey, packing from WWE at WrestleMania, and the news that all three Women’s Champions will battle in a Triple Threat at Survivor Series means The Man is either about to double down on her biggest win yet or suffer retribution on an agonizing scale.
The first encounter between the two Superstars served only to build that tension. Shayna didn’t bum-rush Becky like she did the SmackDown Women’s Champion, Bayley, but she did arrive unannounced, interrupting Lynch’s sit-down interview with Charly Caruso to kick off a tense face-to-face. “I’m not Ronda Rousey,” warned The Queen of Spades, with the additional promise to pin or submit The Man at Survivor Series — while leaving Lynch the courtesy of picking the limb that would be targeted.
Lynch remained unmoved, seemingly overjoyed that Baszler had sought her out and given her the chance to sow the same doubt The Man once planted in Rousey. And while neither was looking past Bayley, it was clear by the end of the interview that a special sort of animosity was already brewing between the two champions that were (with all respect to Charly) the baddest women in the room. When all is said and done, one might be the baddest on the planet.
The Street Profits’ victory over The O.C. remains a sore spot for the good brothers despite their Tag Team World Cup victory — AJ Styles, Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson even grew visibly agitated each time the Profits repeated the mantra, “The Street Profits beat The O.C. on Raw” in advance of a Six-Man Tag Team Match that also included Humberto Carrillo, and would have ended in a loss for the so-called “Best Tag Team in the World” if not for some timely dirty pool by Styles.
The Phenomenal One proved to be the difference-maker in the match, even as Carrillo — who’s come up short against Styles several times — seemed to have learned from previous mistakes. While the 205 Live veteran dodged the Phenomenal Forearm, he had no answer for Styles’ flagrant bending of the rules. The United States Champion stacked his foe up, placed his foot on the ropes outside the ref’s vision, and pressed down to earn a three-count that ensured The O.C. reign as the world’s best starts victoriously — if not just a little dirty.
The Viking Raiders may still hold an undefeated record in traditional tag team matches, but they suffered defeat all the same at WWE Crown Jewel when The O.C. pinned them to claim the WWE World Cup and the title of best tag team in the world. In one sense, then, Erik & Ivar’s decimation of another yet another poor local team, the East Hampton Polo Boys, was a rare instance of the Raw Tag Team Champions needing a rebound win. But in another, it was a reminder of their skills for the one team that has been able to beat them and might be looking past them. (This is to say nothing of The Undisputed ERA and The Revival, who'll battle the Raiders in a Triple Threat Match at Survivor Series.) Based on tonight’s results and The Viking Raiders’ post-match warning, to do so would be a terrible, terrible mistake.
NXT would have won no matter who got the victory in the main event on Raw. Either Adam Cole pinned Seth Rollins to retain the NXT Title across both Raw and SmackDown in the span of four days or Seth Rollins pinned Adam Cole and returned to Full Sail to give NXT a major new player as the brand-supremacy war heats up. Nobody won the match, but NXT still won anyway.
The Undisputed ERA made their presence known for the second time in the evening, rushing Rollins to give The Beastslayer a disqualification victory. And once again, Raw answered, sending in Superstars to Rollins’ side, though the Team Red competitors were met swiftly with an even greater wave of NXT talent, including Matt Riddle, Pete Dunne, Keith Lee and Tommaso Ciampa. While Ricochet seemed to get the last word with a springboard shooting star press onto a crowd of Superstars, Raw went off the air with the final image of Lee soaring over the top rope to flatten everyone in his path. As far as metaphors go, it’s a hard one to dispute.
- Numbers in parentheses indicate the length of the match.
- (c) refers to the champion(s) heading into the match.
- Charlotte Flair & Natalya defeated The Kabuki Warriors (Asuka & Kairi Sane) (18:05)
- Buddy Murphy defeated Cedric Alexander (5:40)
- Andrade & Zelina Vega defeated Sin Cara & Carolina in a Mixed Tag Team Match (7:25)
- Rusev defeated Drew McIntyre by DQ (9:45)
- The O.C. (Luke Gallows, Karl Anderson & A.J. Styles) defeated The Street Profits (Montez Ford & Angelo Dawkins) & Humberto Carrillo in a Six Man Tag Team Match (12:00)
- The Viking Raiders (Ivar & Erik) defeated The East Hampton Polo Boys (Bobby Wayward & Nikos Rikos) (1:00)
- Seth Rollins defeated Adam Cole (c) (w/ Triple H) by disqualification. Cole retains the NXT Championship (12:30)
- Dark Match: The Fiend (c) defeated Seth Rollins in a Steel Cage match to retain the WWE Universal Championship
Other on-screen talent