Baron Corbin started things off this week with his new cronies, Lio Rush, Bobby Lashley, and Drew McIntyre, to brag about how great he is and the beating they all gave to Braun Strowman last week. Apparently, Braun’s injury is so bad that he won’t be cleared in time for TLC, which means that his match against Corbin will most likely end in a forfeit. Elias decided to challenge Corbin’s smugness and ended up in a match against Lashley; I feel like we’ve seen this match quite a few times now so I guess it was a good thing that it was spiced up a bit by having Lio, Corbin, and McIntyre all at ringside. As you can imagine, this did not end well for Elias; the heels all interfered and attacked him as Corbin changed the rules in their favour, beating him with chair shots and finishers before Lashley ended Elias with a Spear. This went a long way towards helping to paint Elias as an underdog babyface who is anti-authority but really made Corbin look like a complete asshole; I guess that’s the plan, and a good thing, but the short-term benefit is more annoying than anything else.
The Lucha House Party and the Revival went at it again; the Revival spoke out against the rules form their match last week, which basically made it a handicap match, but ended up in exactly the same match this week. I’m not sure exactly why the happy-go-lucky, high-flying face team needs to have a three-on-one advantage against the Revival; if it was the Authors of Pain then yeah, sure, but the Revival haven’t won a match in forever and are not seen as this unstoppable or even credible team any more. Plus, when you factor in that the New Day weren’t even pulling this trick when they were heels, it all added up to a big pile of bullshit. The Lucha boys won once again, adding further dirt on the Revival’s coffin.
Nia Jax and Tamina popped out to stoke the fire and fuel the hatred; I tell you, Nia has set herself up as the ultimate troll on Twitter. Unfortunately for her, instead of coming across as cool and edgy, she instead looks like a complete asshole because no one finds what she did to Becky Lynch funny. Anyway, the Samoan girls targeted Ronda Rousey this week, who answered their taunts, only for a big cluster fuck to happen when Natalya and the Riott Squad all got involved. I’m still a bit confused as to why Nia got this shot against Ronda; it’s not like she was on any kind of roll before randomly getting it and breaking Becky’s nose and feels like a massive (no pun intended) step back for Ronda, who needs quality opponents.
The Authors of Pain went at it against Bobby Roode and Chad Gable afterwards, with more bullshit involving Drake Maverick to muddy their reputation; this week, Drake steals Roode’s robe and pisses on it backstage…Jesus Christ. On the plus side, the AOP managed to win the match, so I guess that means they are still a force to be reckoned with and also a joke of a team to be laughed at. Kinda getting mixed messages there. Oh, also, I fully expect this match to happen again until Roode and Gable win the belts as there’s no other credible teams on Raw right now.
Ember Moon and Alicia Fox had a bit of a scuffle next to hype up the Mixed-Match Challenge. Ember won in literally no time at all; man, the match quality is really rubbish this week! No Way Jose randomly returned to Raw immediately afterwards to fight with Jinder Mahal; surprisingly enough, Mahal actually won the match! It was a shit match but still, a win is a win, right Dom?
Seth Rollins issued an open challenge to anyone on the roster a shot at the Intercontinental Championship and who answered? Was it Lars Sullivan in his debut match? Was it Dean Ambrose to tie in to their ongoing issues? Perhaps Bray Wyatt, who returned at Starrcade the other night? Nope! It was Dolph Ziggler, because we haven’t seen that match a hundred times. As always, these two put on a pretty decent match, easily the best match of this week’s dire show, but it wasn’t anything new and exciting except for the finish, which saw Rollins actually win with his Superlex/Faclon Arrow combination.
Randomly, Alex Bliss decided to try and stir things up again between Sasha Banks and Bayley, which just ended up in a brawl between various members of the women’s division; not sure what that was all about. Either way, Raw ended with Finn Balor taking on Baron, another match we’ve seen a whole bunch of times. Corbin worked a ground game that was so methodical it was boring, quite frankly. As soon as Balor got into a groove and looked to be building some momentum, Corbin brought out Drew to make it a handicap match. Drew hit the Claymore and Corbin got the win, which ended the show with the visual of Corbin and his cronies beating the hell out of Balor. I’m really confident that this will lead to a decent push to Balor going forward…
Paige kicked things off this week with Becky Lynch, who hyped up how much of a bad-ass she is and all the awesome stuff she’s done lately. She brought out Charlotte Flair to have a bit of a chat and the two of them were far more pally-pally now that Charlotte has stolen Becky’s newfound aggressive attitude. However, they were still far from, being best buddies so Paige booked them into a TLC match for the belt at TLC. A bunch of the heels popped out to remind everyone that hey, there are other women on the roster and ended up getting booked into a battle royal, with the stipulation that the winner will be added to the title match.
The Bar and the Usos went at it; prior to the match, the Big Show teased a split from the Bar because his bi-polar is clearly kicking in and he hasn’t turned for a while. That didn’t really play into this match, though, which probably contributed to the Usos managing to get the win over the Bar, most likely to get a shot at the belts at TLC.
AJ Styles came out to show us his sad panda face because he lost the WWE Championship; he isn’t at all happy with Daniel Bryan’s recent actions and attitude change, which was enough to announce that they will square off once again at TLC (hopefully not in a TLC match). Afterwards, Shinsuke Nakamura destroyed Rusev rather than have an actual match against him, potentially to set up a feud between the two of them. As much as I want to see Rusev get pushed, I don’t like that he is chasing the United States Championship again as he’s spent enough time hovering around that division and needs to break into the upper echelons.
Jeff Hardy had a bit of a celebration next because it was his twenty year anniversary (I mean, it’s not really…as he was gone for a while…but never mind that!) While most people were happy and respectful towards him, Samoa Joe was not; at least it wasn’t Randy Orton! Anyway, the Miz and Kofi Kingston were up next; it was nice to see Kofi back in singles action, remember when the WWE was teasing having the New Day get singles pushes but still remain as a unit? Whatever happened to that? Anyway, Kofi won after the Miz tried to use his bullshit to cheat to win.
Randy Orton decided to explain why he attacked Rey Mysterio last week; he did it because he’s mad and a psycho and doesn’t respect Rey or his legacy. Rey came out for some payback but just ended up being murdered again.
SmackDown! Live ended with the previously-mentioned battle royal between Naomi, Carmella, Asuka, Lana, Mandy Rose, Zekinda Vega, Sonya Deville, and the Iiconics. Man, they’re really milking the battle royal/Royal Rumble concept for the women; ever since the first-ever one, I think we’ve had about five now! Anyway, speaking of the first-ever women’s Royal Rumble, Asuka won this match and got herself add to the championship match at TLC. I almost hope she randomly wins, just to stop Charlotte fighting Becky all the time.