And so ends the partnership of The Kabuki Warriors and Paige, an alliance born out of ingenuity and ended in a wave of green mist spewed directly into the face of the former Divas Champion on the same night she returned to manage the WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions.
So why did Asuka & Kairi Sane turn their back on their benefactor? The exact reasons were unclear, as they sneered at the audience in their native Japanese before Asuka let loose with the venomous mist. Based on their body language, it seemed clear that they felt their manager had outlived her usefulness, as the pair had reached the titles largely without her help. (Never mind that Paige was the one who had the idea to team up the two former NXT Women’s Champions six months ago.)
In any case, they showed no mercy when the time came, sending her stumbling out of the ring after The Empress of Tomorrow let loose with her signature poison. Luckily for Paige, she was spared further humiliation by an unlikely Samaritan in Becky Lynch, who had been scheduled to face Sane later in the evening and apparently couldn’t wait. The Man wildly threw hands with both Kabuki Warriors, allowing Paige to make her retreat.
Did Becky Lynch storm the ring to drive off The Kabuki Warriors out of some kind of affinity to Paige? Debatable. What is for sure is that the Raw Women’s Champion has been on the wrong end of Asuka & Kairi Sane’s tactics before, and she isn’t the kind to forgive or forget. So, Kairi Sane should have seen her defeat coming in a sense, though The Pirate Princess gave The Man all sorts of fits before the Irish brawler capsized her in the closing moments.
In fact, Sane proved as dangerous a foe for Lynch as her partner Asuka has. Sane mangled The Man across the ring with unorthodox strikes and even locked in her torturous Anchor submission for a spell. But with The Pirate Princess struggling to finish the job, Asuka attempted to run interference and inadvertently reversed her partner’s fortunes. Lynch sent Asuka scrambling and quickly ensnared Sane in the Dis-arm-her, securing a submission victory that she gleefully supplanted with some post-match trash talk. All in all, it was a much-needed bit of retaliation for The Man against a promising young Superstar, though the look on Asuka’s face suggested there might yet be some unfinished business.
R-Truth was thiiiiiis close to a big win in the non-24/7 division on Monday, having backed the mega-talented Buddy Murphy into an unexpected corner during a match born of late-afternoon Twitter beef between the two. But Truth’s precious “baby” came calling his name in the middle of the match when the 24/7 mob chased new champion Sunil Singh into the building. Truth took his eye off the ball and ill-advisedly joined the pursuit around ringside, only to run into a lights-out knee from Murphy that was more than enough to drop him for three.
Give the man points for tenacity though: Unwilling to let a little thing like a knee to the face stop him, Truth staggered to his feet, gathered whatever bearings remained and stumbled off into the distance in pursuit of his beloved 24/7 Title once more.
Ricochet battled Drew McIntyre in a rematch this week on Raw — fought him nearly to the last breath, in fact — but there were bigger forces at play. With Hulk Hogan cheering Ricochet from ringside and Ric Flair hyping up Drew McIntyre, the bout was clearly about which legend’s team would gain the last bit of wind in its sails before WWE Crown Jewel. And for all the outstanding efforts by either Superstar, the last word belonged to an unannounced ringer from “The Nature Boy’s” squad.
The intruder in question turned out to be Randy Orton, who struck Ricochet with an RKO out of nowhere down the stretch. The maneuver technically netted the high-flyer a disqualification win, though Team Flair seemed more than happy to eat the ruling in favor of making a statement. If you’re a Team Hogan supporter, it was an ominous sign. Thursday is going to be a team day, and in the last burst to the big fight, only one team seemed to realize that.
The Viking Raiders disposed of a pair of former Raw Tag Team Champions last week. This week, they got their hands on some former World Series winners.
Okay, so Erik & Ivar didn’t actually face the Chicago Cubs. But they did face a team who called themselves Rizzo & Bryant, a.k.a. “The Chicago Cubs,” and it was a home run, a grand slam, a blowout — pick your baseball metaphor; all are applicable, and all are correct. In short, the Raiders demolished their foes, even breaking out a unique two-for-one, powerbomb/powerslam combo before administering the Viking Experience. Going, going, gone.
Defeating Andrade seems like a simple formula on paper: As long as Zelina Vega is equalized and you have the former NXT Champion to yourself, you have a chance. At least, that’s what Sin Cara was banking on when he brought a masked luchadora named Carolina to ringside for his rematch with Andrade, clearly hoping to neutralize La Muñeca’s presence and avoid a repeat of last week’s result.
Unfortunately, it still wasn’t enough. Even though Carolina countered Zelina’s signature hurricanrana with a brutal powerbomb swing into the barricade, Andrade pounced on the distracted Sin Cara with a roll-up (with his feet on the ropes) to secure the pin. Points to Carolina for a strong first impression, but if you keep your focus on Andrade, you have to deal with Zelina Vega. If you keep your focus on Vega, you have to deal with Andrade. It’s a simple problem, alright. It’s just the solution that is proving more elusive by the second.
With The Kabuki Warriors headed to NXT this week to defend their titles against Tegan Nox & Dakota Kai, the Raw Women’s division is wide open for any tandems that might eventually stand against the champions. The early leader is, surprisingly, not former titleholders The IIconics, but Charlotte Flair & Natalya, two second-generation Superstars whose legendary clash helped ignite the first spark of the Women’s Evolution.
Despite having never teamed together, Charlotte and Natalya seemed like they’d been doing it for their entire careers, efficiently cutting the ring in half and isolating Billie Kay from her partner, Peyton Royce. With Billie preoccupied by Charlotte, Natalya applied the Sharpshooter, and The Queen thwarted Peyton’s last-second interference with a spear, helping Natalya secure the submission win. You know, they’re pretty good at this. Maybe they’ll do it again.
02:58 Whether Seth Rollins can handle the psychological test that “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt presents in a Falls Count Anywhere Match remains to be seen. But at the very least, we know that the Universal Champion can handle the legwork, having dispatched Erick Rowan — a Wyatt disciple long ago and far away — under the same stipulation on Raw.
That isn’t to say, however, that Rowan was merely a dry run for The Beastslayer’s bout at WWE Crown Jewel. Rowan is a nightmare all to himself, and given that he had it in his head that Rollins was trying to “embarrass” him, the big man both subjected the champion to a world of hurt and kicked out of a Stomp on top of the commentary table. As always, Rollins rose to the occasion, digging into both his creativity and his savagery when he brawled Rowan behind the curtain and pinned him beneath the bed of a forklift after a second Stomp onto a ladder. (Shades of Mick Foley, to be sure.) It’s not Wyatt. But it’s something. And historically, that’s all Seth Rollins has needed.
It’s a good time to be Humberto Carrillo, at least to a point. Sure, the former 205 Live stalwart hasn’t won a match on Raw, technically, but he’s gone the distance with Universal Champion Seth Rollins and, tonight, United States Champion AJ Styles. And even if you don’t think hanging with those two is a victory in and of itself, consider that Carrillo has been on Raw two weeks, and he’s already got two friends, The Street Profits.
Yes, Montez Ford & Angelo Dawkins are paying it forward following Kevin Owens’ assist against The O.C. last week, coming to Humberto’s aid after the good brothers jumped him at the end of a very long, very impressive effort against The Phenomenal One that narrowly ended in defeat after Styles kicked out of Carrillo’s Aztec Press and eventually applied the Calf Crusher for the submission win. Styles planted Carrillo with a Styles Clash after rescinding his post-match handshake, but Ford & Dawkins emphatically rescued Carrillo from a Magic Killer, sending The O.C. from the ring with the message that there’s still plenty of smoke to go around, should they want it.
Why did Lana take up with Bobby Lashley? Speculation has run rampant ever since The Ravishing Russian began her sordid affair with The All Mighty as to why she would abandon a seemingly loving marriage for the muscled embrace of the two-time Intercontinental Champion. As it turns out, Rusev did it first. Or at least that’s what Lashley told her.
That, among many, many, many other things, was Lana’s big revelation on “King’s Court” — aptly renamed “Divorce Court” by Jerry Lawler. Lana told Rusev that she ran to Lashley because their marriage was dominated by Rusev’s desire to have a baby. Lana’s side hustle as an influencer and a model leaves little room for stretch marks, of course, so when Lashley accused Rusev of infidelity, it was all the evidence she needed that Rusev didn’t really love her. And incredibly, it only got worse from there.
An incredulous Rusev protested the accusation, only for Lashley himself to emerge and throw hands. The Super Athlete, in a show of defiance to his wife, took off his wedding ring and shoved it in Lashley’s mouth. Lana took several swings at her husband with a Kendo stick. And Lashley downed Rusev with a pair of low blows, punctuated by a blistering slap from Lana to the face of The Bulgarian Brute. Raw ended with, perhaps, the most egregious humiliation yet for the proud Superstar, with Lashley and Lana lustily kissing astride his downed body, while Rusev nursed his wounds below the belt. To put it lightly, this was not his day.
- Numbers in parentheses indicate the length of the match.
- (c) refers to the champion(s) heading into the match.
- Becky Lynch defeated Kairi Sane (w/ Asuka) (14:50)
- Buddy Murphy defeated R-Truth (2:30)
- Ricochet (w/ Hulk Hogan & Jimmy Hart) defeated Drew McIntyre (w/ Ric Flair) by DQ (17:00)
- The Viking Raiders (Ivar & Erik) defeated Rizzo & Bryant (2:00)
- Andrade (w/ Zelina Vega) defeated Sin Cara (w/ Carolina) (3:10)
- Charlotte Flair & Natalya defeated The IIconics (Peyton Royce & Billie Kay) (4:20)
- Seth Rollins defeated Erick Rowan in a Falls Count Anywhere match (15:20)
- AJ Styles (w/ Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson) defeated Humberto Carrillo (9:25)
- Dark Match: Seth Rollins (c) defeated The Fiend to retain the WWE Universal Championship
Other on-screen talent