Chris King shares his thoughts on a really well-written post-Survivor Series episode of Monday Night Raw.
After every big pay-per-view, WWE puts so much emphasis on the post-pay-per-view edition of Raw or SmackDown. The crowd is red-hot in anticipation of a special night with explosive matches and intriguing segments. Almost never does that actually occur, but when it does it makes time stop and don’t even think about changing the channel. This week was one of those rare occurrences.
Typically, I pick one topic every week from WWE programming to talk about and give my insights on where WWE could take the storyline. This week was different while I was watching the show and even reading the results there wasn’t one topic I wanted to discuss but the whole damn episode was amazing!
In the opening segment of the show, we saw a letdown and delusional Seth Rollins berate the entire locker room for their loss at Survivor Series. There were a few points where I was praying that Rollins wouldn’t be made to feel like the good guy but thankfully there was something bigger under the surface.
The Architect had been showing signs of his whiny, complaining, and annoying character for several months now, and this was brilliant storytelling. “You all sucked” that’s what the motivational leader of the Raw locker room told his fellow co-workers, while never stopping to admit that Rollins himself was the last person eliminated in the men’s traditional elimination match. Everyone left except for Kevin Owens who Rollins called him a piece of crap and in return ate a Stunner!
Right after that, we got another amazing soap opera segment between Lana, Bobby Lashley, and the sex addict himself Rusev. Rusev was served papers for another restraining order from his soon to be ex wife “The Ravishing Russian” Lana and escorted out of the arena. The Almighty was prepared to make easy work of Titus O’Neil until his rival emerged out of nowhere to beat the holy hell out of him.
Rusev was mere seconds away from sending Lashley through the announce table until officers came down to restrain him. Even while handcuffed The Bulgarian Brute head-butted his rival off the stage. He also kicked over a steel tower to crash right on top of Lashley.
Why was this awesome? It’s not like we’ve never seen two rivals brawl all over ringside hell-bent on gaining revenge, but the WWE Universe has never seen a more crazed look on Rusev’s face than last night outside of his foreign heel stuff
Later in the show, the commentary team announced that Rusev will face Lashley in a last man standing match at Starcade Live Event this weekend which is something I’ve been looking forward to for several weeks now.
Next up we have AOP making their in-ring return after being reintroduced via ominous vignettes for months now. Akam and Rezar obliterated Zack Ryder and Curt Hawkins in little time. One thing I noticed though, was both warriors appeared to have trained and slowed down their pace inside of the ring.
If you go back and watch them deliver the Super Collider in the past, you notice that they come and whip their opponent’s bodies together. Akam and Rezar instead, took their time and showed patience in their madness if that makes sense?
It’s the small fine-tuning that will not only protect their opponents from injuries but it will also make AOP better in-ring performers as a whole.
Next, we saw The El Idolo Andrade gain another impressive victory over Akira Tozawa in about a squash match. As an avid viewer of 205 Live, I’ve felt for a while now, that the only thing Tozawa is lacking is some character he’s a great performer but if the WWE Universe has no reason to buy into him they typically won’t.
The next thing to happen blew me away, now keep in mind I watched this at 9:30 pm but I sat straight up off the couch when Matt Hardy’s music blared through the arena. The Attitude Era fan in me was so DELIGHTED!!!! I also had no problem with Hardy being fed to the young up-and-comer Buddy Murphy either.
“The Best Kept Secret” was booked to look like a beast after defeating the former multi-time tag team champion with three devastating knee strikes. Murphy then grabbed a mic and called out “The Dutch Destroyer” Aleister Black and the fight was on.
I am so intrigued about this unlikeliest of opponents between the former Cruiserweight Champion and the former NXT Champion. Just give these two incredible superstars 15-20 minutes to go out there and tell a great story and steal the show and it looks like that will happen at the upcoming TLC pay-per-view.
We then got what was supposed to see AJ Styles defending his United States Championship against Humberto Carrillo but instead, he got viciously attacked by Gallows and Anderson to write him out of the title shot. Styles mocked his foe’s current situation.
Randy Orton, Ricochet, Drew McIntyre, and Rey Mysterio came down all wanting to beat the hell out of Styles. Styles tried to weasel his way out of defending his US title but instead The OC., humorously encouraged the fatal-four-way with the winner getting a title shot immediately after.
WWE does what they always succeed at doing, throw four amazing talents into the ring and then add the possibility of a title shot and you have an intriguing high-octane match. I especially loved when McIntrye wanted to engage in a chop-fest with Orton and “The Viper” just poked him in the eyes. It was a classic veteran move that was hilarious. Again, folks, it’s the little things that make things special.
Mysterio and Ricochet had a great back-and-forth sequence that saw the veteran hook his legs in a dramatic roll-up to win the match. After the break, Styles and Mysterio had a tremendous match over the US title where Styles targeted his challenger’s injured midsection. The OC got involved and were sent to the back leaving the Champion on his own against the fan-favorite.
Mysterio hit the 619 and Styles backed up into the official. Gallows and Anderson came down and Orton made the save and dropped the champion with an RKO and Mysterio hit the Frog Splash to capture the United States Championship. After the match, Mysterio’s son Dominick came out to celebrate the big victory.
There are so many different directions this can go. First, Styles will be seeking retribution on Orton and this will kickstart another chapter in their rivalry from this year’s WrestleMania. Second, it also opens up some dream matches with Ricochet and Mysterio, Carrillo and Mysterio, and my personal favorite would be seeing Mysterio and Andrade reignite their feud from two years ago on SmackDown Live. Their trilogy of matches was stellar and if Mysterio gives Andrade the “rub” and drops the title to him it would make this a home run!
The next match was Charlotte Flair going one-on-one with Asuka after she was green misted at Survivor Series. These two superstars had a terrific match at WrestleMania 34, where Flair sadly broke Asuka’s singles undefeated streak.
Recently, Flair and Asuka have wrestled numerous times but their match on Monday felt more significant. Which is crazy since there wasn’t anything on the line it was just a spectacular match. “The Empress of Tomorrow” won with a roll-up after Kairi Sane distracted the official to mist her again.
The monstrous Rowan obliterated another small jobber who for some stupid reason thought it was smart to see what was under the cage.
The main event was Rollins facing Owens in one of their best matches in my opinion, that they’ve ever had. The last time these two rivals faced each other, Owens was the cheating and weasel Universal Champion and Rollins was a defacto babyface thanks to Triple H’s betrayal.
Rollins and Owens had some great battles back in 2016, but with Owens portraying the role of the antihero and Rollins as the egocentric heel, it gave it a different dynamic.
Towards the end of the match, Owens hit the Stunner to Rollins and just when he about to win the match AOP emerged out of nowhere. Akam and Rezar were also heavily-criticized by Rollins at the start of the show during his rant.
The two powerhouses stalked both superstars and then chose to decimate “The Prizefighter.” Akam and Rezar left Owens laying and Rollins picked the bones of his opponent and delivered consecutive Stomps to a chorus of boos to close the show.