By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
WWE Raw on the USA Network
Aired live on October 14, 2019 from Denver, Colorado at Pepsi Center
[Hour One] Raw opened with a “previously on the Firefly Funhouse” recap video that focused on the Seth Rollins vs. “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt feud. It included footage from the Hell in a Cell match and last week’s angle on Friday Night Smackdown… The Raw opening aired…
Pyro shot off on the stage and then shots of the fans were shown (including one classy gentlemen who was sporting an Adam Thielen jersey and had his son dressed in a Vikings t-shirt). Becky Lynch made her entrance. The broadcast team was Vic Joseph, Dio Maddin, and Jerry Lawler checked in (Mike Rome was the ring announcer). Maddin said he hasn’t been this excited since he was drafted in the NFL.
Lynch played up being the first overall pick in the draft. She said she was ready to dish out another beating to Sasha Banks, but she hasn’t recovered from the last beating that Lynch gave her. Instead, she’s facing someone she can’t seem to get rid of. Lynch said she came to rip someone’s arm off.
Charlotte Flair made her entrance. She said maybe the nightmare will never end and she’ll be drafted to Raw and then she and Lynch will feud forever. Flair said she doesn’t even want to fight Lynch, she wants to be friends again. She said she misses Lynch and just wants to be her friend. When Lynch approached, Flair punched her in the face. Flair said Lynch made it so damn hard to be her friend. Lynch got up and the the women fought. Four referees entered the ring and tried to separate the women going into the first commercial break… [C]
Powell’s POV: I guess they felt the need to heat up the feud again given that Lynch and Flair have been teaming together. I like that they are self aware enough to acknowledge the never ending feud. Here’s hoping they end up on opposite brands so that viewers get a break and the match can mean something again someday.
1. Raw Women’s Champion Becky Lynch vs. Charlotte Flair in a non-title match to determine the first overall pick in the draft. Lynch represented Raw while Flair represented Smackdown. Maddin noted that Flair had yet to be drafted even though she was representing Smackdown in the match. A crawler on the bottom fo the screen displayed the picks that were made on Smackdown (they didn’t bother to list the picks that were made over the weekend). Flair slammed Lynch face first into the ring post casing going into another break. [C]
Lynch caught Flair with a missile dropkick and covered her for a two count. Flair went for a figure four, but Lynch kicked her to ringside. Back inside the ring, Flair hit the Natural Selection for a two count and then showed frustration. Flair went up top, but Lynch pulled her down and went for her finisher, but Flair countered by pulling her into a turnbuckle pad. Flair caught Lynch with a big boot and got another two count.
Flair targeted the left knee of Lynch, who kicked her into the corner and then rolled her up for a two count. Lynch got another two count off a second rope leg drop. Flair came back with a spear for a near fall. Flair threw a tantrum over not getting the three count. Lynch rolled her up from behind and pinned her…
Becky Lynch pinned Charlotte Flair in 13:20 to give the Raw brand the first pick in the draft.
The broadcast team hyped the Raw Tag Title match and the contract signing for later in the show. They shifted the focus to the draft while a graphic showed the 40 wrestlers eligible for the draft. They also read through the rules of the draft. Joseph said the draft would start next…
Backstage, Charly Caruso interviewed Seth Rollins and noted that he could be drafted to Smackdown where Bray Wyatt was already drafted. Rollins said it doesn’t seem to matter to Wyatt where he is drafted because he just goes wherever Rollins goes. Rollins mentioned the end of Hell in a Cell, which drew some boos from the crowd. Rollins said he did some things he’s not proud of, but he questioned whether Wyatt is even a human being because of the way he kept getting up. Rollins said he’s been going about it all wrong and tonight he’s going Fiend hunting. Rollins said he would find Bray Wyatt and end it… [C]
Powell’s POV: The match was fine. It wasn’t memorable and hopefully that’s the last time we see it for at least a year. Rollins going after The Fiend and vowing to put an end to their feud is a nice hook for the remainder of the show.
Jim Cramer checked in from the set of his show and spoke about the stock of Seth Rollins, Andrade, and Ricochet… The USA Network and Fox “war rooms” were shown. The stupid Fox robot was back…
Stephanie McMahon was introduced. She walked to the draft podium and welcomed viewers to the final night of the draft. She explained that the Fox and USA Network executives were making the picks. Stephanie announced the following round one picks:
-Seth Rollins to Raw.
-Brock Lesnar to Smackdown.
-Charlotte Flair to Raw (NOOOO!!!!)
-New Day members Kofi Kingston, Big E, and Xavier Woods to Smackdown.
-Andrade and Zelina Vega to Raw.
The draft panel of Renee Young, Booker T, Samoa Joe, and Beth Phoenix checked in from their desk on the main floor. Joe spoke about about the Lesnar vs. Cain Velasquez match…
Andrade and Zelina Vega made their entrance. Zelina spoke as they walked to the ring and said the other first round picks were drafted to the same first round as Andrade. She said things were about to change. She told the Raw wrestlers to rejoice because now they will all have the privilege of suffering a loss to Andrade. Joseph said Andrade would be in action after the break… [C]
2. Andrade (w/Zelina Vega) vs. Ali. The match was joined in progress. Ali sent Andrade to ringside and set up for a dive, but Zelina stood on the apron and blocked his path. Andrade came back and ran Ali’s arm into the ring post. Andrade applied an armbar over the apron and had to release the hold before the referee’s five count.
Joseph announced that Bray Wyatt had announced that there would be a new Firefly Funhouse during Raw (is that where Rollins will find him?). Andrade continued to target the left arm of Ali, who came back and teased another dive only to have Zelina block his path again. Ali got a running start, she ducked, and he dove over her onto Andrade at ringside. Ali rolled Andrade back inside the ring, but Zelina performed a huracanrana on Ali from the apron. Back inside the ring, Andrade hit his Hammerlock DDT finisher and scored the pin…
Andrade defeated Ali in 5:50 of television time.
Stephanie McMahon announced the following second round draft picks:
-“The Kabuki Warriors” Asuka and Kairi Sane to Raw.
-Daniel Bryan to Smackdown.
-Rusev to Raw.
-Bayley to Smackdown.
-Aleister Black to Raw.
The broadcast team explained that the WWE Women’s Tag Titles can still be defended on both brands, but the Kabuki Warriors would be exclusive to Raw should they lose the tag titles… The Viking Raiders made their entrance for the Raw Tag Title match… [C]
Powell’s POV: This is the least eventful draft or shakeup in company history due in part because of the wild card rule that did away with the brand split, and because so few notable names are actually changing brands.
[Hour Two] Saturday Night Live’s Colin Jost and Michael Che checked in from the “Weekend Update” set. They recalled what Braun Strowman did to them as highlights were shown. Jost said he likes to think of himself as a member of the WWE Universe and Strwoman’s best friend. Che recalled some of the things that Jost said about Strowman… Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode made their entrances to their respective entrance themes…
Powell’s POV: The brand that drafts Ziggler and his shitty entrance music should be immediately declared losers of the draft.
3. Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode vs. “The Viking Raiders” Erik and Ivar for the Raw Tag Titles. Rome delivered in-ring introductions for the title match. The Viking Raiders got out to a fast start. Ivar performed a top rope splash on Ziggler and had him pinned, but Roode pulled Ivar to ringside to break up the pin. The champs came back. Roode slammed Erik into the ring post, then Ziggler performed a rough looking Zigzag in the timekeepers area. [C]
Ziggler and Roode hit their Zigzag and spinebuster combo move on Erik, who kicked out when Ziggler covered him. Ziggler hit a Fameasser on Erik and got another two count. Erik wanted to make a tag, but Ivar was still down after being attacked and left at ringside. Ivar eventually recovered and then he and Erik hit the Viking Experience on Ziggler. Erik covered Ziggler for the win…
The Viking Raiders defeated Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode in 12:05 to win the Raw Tag Titles.
The broadcast team hyped previously advertised segment and Natalya and a partner vs. The Kabuki Warriors for later in the show… A video aired with the WWE female personalities serving as spokespeople for the breast cancer charity… [C]
Powell’s POV: The Viking Raiders were over with the crowd, which responded well to the tag title change. Hopefully they have turned the corner after a rocky start with the fans not rallying behind the viking gimmick.
The NHL on NBC studio team checked in and spoke about potential picks Seth Rollins and New Day (who were already drafted)…
Erik and Ivar stood in front of their weird red light and boasted about winning the Raw Tag Titles. Ivar said it’s one thing to win the titles, it’s another thing to defend them. Ivar said they are the first team who have been unbeaten in WWE history to win the IWGP, Ring of Honor, and now Raw Tag Titles…
Stephanie McMahon announced the following third round picks:
-Cedric Alexander to Raw.
-Shinsuke Nakamura to Smackdown.
-Humberto Carrillo to Raw.
-Ali to Smackdown
-Erick Rowan to Raw
4. Aleister Black vs. Eric Young. Black’s entrance was televised while Young’s entrance was not. Joseph said Young was signed to Raw over the weekend (even though the WWE website said he was drafted to Raw). Black applied his Dark Ritual submission hold and got the submission win…
Aleister Black defeated Eric Young in 1:40.
A teaser aired for the Firefly Funhouse for later in the show… [C]
Powell’s POV: Well, at least Black is done sitting backstage waiting for someone to knock on his door.
The broadcast team boasted about being in Denver and artwork of the city was shown…
Stephanie McMahon announced the following fourth round draft picks:
-Buddy Murphy to Raw
-Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode to Smackdown
-Jinder Mahal to Raw
-Carmella to Smackdown
-R-Truth to Raw
Maddin said one of their broadcast team members will be happy that Carmella is on Smackdown (the Carmella and Corey Graves relationship is being spotlighted on Total Divas). The goofs playing USA Network executives were shown celebrating for God knows what reason. The one guy is still wearing Ultimate Warrior face paint…
“The Street Profits” Montez Ford and Angelo Dawkins checked in from backstage and said the beautiful USA Network executives made it official by drafting them to Raw. The OC members AJ Styles, Luke Gallows, and Karl Anderson showed up and joined in on the celebration. Styles said he wasn’t sure why USA Network drafted the Profits to be the unofficial hosts of Raw when The OC are already there and own Raw. The OC teased leaving, then attacked the Street Profits and left them lying…
Powell’s POV: Finally, something that indicates the Street Profits will actually be wrestling on Raw rather than just hosting these backstage skits.
Ricochet made his entrance. A pre-taped promo aired with Ricochet telling viewers that he’s learned that no one is forced to be a passenger and you and only you are the driver of your destiny. He said he will prove that superheroes can be real… [C]
Powell’s POV: Vomit. They just won’t give up on this awful superhero talk. I’ve seen all the Marvel movies, suffered through some of the DC movies, and I dig the CW’s comic book television series. I’m obviously not a hater of comics or superheroes, but it’s just seems ridiculous to have a wrestler focused on proving that superheroes can be real.
A graphic boasted that Raw was the most socially active show on television last Monday night…
5. Ricochet vs. Shelton Benjamin. Benjamin’s entrance was not televised. A crawler listed the draft picks on the bottom of the screen while the match was in progress. Ricochet performed a clothesline from the ropes and a standing shooting star press for a two count. Benjamin caught Ricochet on the top rope and suplexed him, but Ricochet landed on his feet. Ricochet performed the Recoil (Codebreaker) finisher and scored the pin…
Ricochet defeated Shelton Benjamin in 4:45.
Powell’s POV: A cool finishing sequence. Ricochet is a tremendous talent and I hope they showcase him properly. Here’s a crazy idea. How about he’s a wrestler who is focused on winning the WWE Universal Championship? Crazy, huh?
Joseph, Maddin, and Lawler spoke behind their desk and set up a Tyson Fury video package. Afterward, they hyped the contract signing as coming up next…
Lana was shown getting a massage at a spa… [C] The third NXT ad of the night included Finn Balor announcing he’s NXT and pushed Tommaso Ciampa’s return and the Keith Lee vs. Dominik Dijakovic match for Wednesday…
Lana was still getting her massage. Bobby Lashley showed up and replaced the masseuse. Lana, who was covered by a towel, volunteered to flip over…
Jerry Lawler stood in the ring and hosted the contract signing for the Braun Strowman vs. Tyson Fury.
[Hour Three] Lawler introduced Strowman first, then noted that Fury is a lifelong WWE fan in addition to listing his boxing credentials. Both men took a seat at the contract signing table while Lawler encouraged them to remain professional. Strowman said he knows that Fury is undefeated and a hell of an athlete, but he also has one of the biggest egos he’s ever seen. Strowman said Fury attended the premiere of Friday Night Smackdown to steal some of WWE and his spotlight. Strowman said he will slam Fury and give him his first loss ever. Strowman said there’s not a damn thing that Fury can do about it. Strowman signed the contract.
Fury put the mic up to his mouth, then put it down and signed the contract. Fury picked up the mic and said he’s a fan of Strowman. He said he and his family were at Smackdown to see him. He said his kids talk about how many trucks Strowman has tipped over and who will get his hands. Fury said he’s not out of his element in any ring. Fans gave Fury the What? treatment, and he vowed to knock out Strowman. Both men stood up and glared at one another. Strowman broke the contract signing table with his hands. Fury held up the pen and acted like he couldn’t break it and then did. Fury smiled and left the ring…
The broadcast team hyped the Firefly Funhouse and reminded viewers that Seth Rollins vowed to find Bray Wyatt… [C]
Powell’s POV: There were a lot of fans in the building who rejected Fury. WWE would be wise to avoid having him on television too much over the next couple of weeks unless they don’t care if he’s booed.
The fourth NXT on USA Network ad aired… NBC “Today” personalities Al Roker and Willie Geist did their draft bit…
Stephanie McMahon announced the following round five draft picks:
-Samoa Joe to Raw.
-The Miz to Smackdown.
-Akira Tozawa to Raw.
-King Corbin to Smackdown.
-Shelton Benjamin to Raw.
6. Buddy Murphy vs. Cedric Alexander. The broadcast team agreed that Raw is looking to the future with their draft picks. After an early exchange, both wrestlers got to their feet simultaneously. Alexander offered Murphy a handshake. Murphy wiped his wet hair and flicked the moisture at Alexander. Moments later, Murphy caught Alexander going for a springboard move and shoved him to ringside. [C]
Murphy performed a nice flip dive from the ring and onto Alexander at ringside coming out of the draft. Murphy followed up with at top rope meteora for a two count. Alexander came back with a great suicide dive that drove Murphy into the barricade. Back inside the ring, Alexander hit a springboard Flatliner for a near fall. Murphy caught Alexander on the ropes and put him down with a sit-out powerbomb for two, then followed up with Murphy’s Law for the win…
Buddy Murphy defeated Cedric Alexander in 9:10.
Powell’s POV: The broadcast team delivered the message that the match was a sign of things to come on Raw. And it was a good match. Unfortunately, the live crowd was quiet coming out of the match. Raw does have some top notch undeveloped talent with Murphy, Alexander, Black, Andrade, etc. Hopefully Vince McMahon will be very busy with the XFL and the broadcast team can
The broadcast team hyped the Crown Jewel pay-per-view and announced Seth Rollins vs. “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt in a Falls Count Anywhere match…
Powell’s POV: I guess this means Rollins is out as the Team Hogan captain? Here’s hoping the Saudi royal family paid for a better finish than that Hell in a Cell debacle.
Backstage, The Street Profits stood outside of the trainer’s table. Ford called out The OC. Dawkins said they need to be smart and even the odds. Dawkins said they needed to keep it a mystery. Ford said he liked it, but something that isn’t a mystery is that “we want the smoke”… [C] An ad for Smackdown touted Cain Velasquez and the new look Bayley…
The hosts of the Premier League studio show from NBCSN did their draft bit…
Stephanie McMahon announced the following round six draft picks and noted that it would be the last round of the night:
-Rey Mysterio to Raw.
-Shorty Gable to Smackdown.
-Titus O’Neil to Raw.
-Elias to Smackdown
-Liv Morgan to Raw
The Draft panel checked in. Joe said that other than himself, Buddy Murphy was the steal of the draft. Beth Phoenix went with King Corbin. Booker said there were rumors swirling that there would be a blockbuster trade within the next 24 hours. Booker touted the WWE Backstage premiere for FS1 immediately following the MLB game on Tuesday night…
Ring entrances for the Kabuki Warriors’ match took place. Natalya came out and said she was asked to pick a partner and she new she had to pick the best. She said she picked someone who took her to her limit. Lacey Evans made her entrance as Natalya’s tag partner… [C]
7. WWE Women’s Tag Champions “The Kabuki Warriors” Kari Sane and Asuka vs. Natalya and Lacey Evans in a non-title match. The match was joined in progress. Sane blasted Evans with a spinning back fist at ringside early on. Later, Natalya put Asuka in a Sharshooter. Sane broke the hold by bulldogging Natalya. Asuka dumped Natalya to ringside going into a break. [C]
Asuka targeted the left arm of Natalya, who eventually slapped her and tried to get to her corner. Asuka stopped Natalya and then knocked Evans off the apron. Later, Natalya broke free from Sane and made a hot tag to Evans. Sane eventually tied up Evans in a tree of woe and then double stomped her. Natalya broke up a potential pinfall. Asuka tagged in. Evans avoided the Insane Elbow and hit her Women’s Right finisher on Sane only to be rolled up and pinned by Asuka…
The Kabuki Warriors beat Natalya and Lacey Evans in a non-title match.
Powell’s POV: Did they want fans to cheer Evans because she was teaming with Natalya or boo Natalya because she selected Evans to be her partner? Most of the fans sat on their hands, so it didn’t work either way. I thought things would get simpler now that Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross lost the tag titles. Can they ever just have a match involving the women’s tag champions that features a babyface team and a heel team? On a positive note, Asuka is wearing green face paint around her eyes and mouth, which should help prevent the referees for looking like morons when she uses the green mist.
Bray Wyatt hosted the Firefly Funhouse. Wyatt said he saw Seth Rollins. He said people say mean things about Rollins, but he thinks he’s strong, brave, and smart. Wyatt said Rollins has to understand that “he” never forgets. Rambling Rabbit appeared and told Wyatt that Rollins was coming. Wyatt said it would be okay. Rollins leapt into the picture and attacked Wyatt. Rollins threw two pictures off the Wall of Friendship, then slammed his own picture down.
Wyatt stood up and looked at Rollins and asked why he was doing this to him. Rollins attacked Wyatt again. Fans booed loudly. “Burn it down,” Rollins said. Rollins took out a lighter and lit the Firefly Funhouse set on fire. The Fiend image flashed a few times and the Wyatt laugh track played while the flames grew taller to close the show…
Powell’s POV: You could still hear some booing at the very end of the show. The rejection of Rollins seemed to pick up again unless the fans were booking for some reason that I’m not aware of. The question now is whether WWE will fight against it or if they are working toward some sort of a double turn between the two. Their history with Roman Reigns suggests they’ll fight against it, but perhaps this time will be different.
The 2019 WWE Draft was the least exciting draft or shakeup that the company has ever done. The fact that the last shakeup was blown off and the wildcard rule became a free for all really hurt this draft because we’ve seen these wrestlers appearing on both brands so nothing feels fresh. If they show discipline for the next year then the 2020 Draft might actually mean something. I know they usually shake things up post WrestleMania, but that’s not enough time. They need to stick with these rosters for better or worse and firmly enforce the brand split for the next year. Of course, it’s hard to take the brand split seriously when they already announced Rollins vs. Wyatt for Crown Jewel even though they are on opposite brands. I will have more to say about this show in my weekly same night audio review coming up shortly.
The Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell features Kenny Herzog discussing his journalism career, his new Outside Interference podcast, doing a feature story on CM Punk, pro wrestling in the pandemic, WWE talk on Retribution, The Hurt Business, Roman Reigns as a heel, and much more...