By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
WWE Raw on the USA Network
Aired live on December 9, 2019 from Greenville, South Carolina at Bon Secours Wellness Arena
[Hour One] The Raw opening kicked off the show… The broadcast team was Vic Joseph, Jerry Lawler, and Samoa Joe…
Jerry Lawler stood in the ring where a contract signing table and chairs were set up. Lawler said he came to Raw hoping to talk them into reconciling, but they’ve reached the point of no return. Lawler said he was residing over the signing of a divorce contract. Lawler introduced Lana, who was accompanied by her attorney.
Rusev made his entrance and was all smiles. Lana tried to speak, but Rusev interrupted her by saying hello to the fans. Lana said she didn’t appreciate being interrupted. Rusev said she wasn’t even talking. Lana told him that she used to love him. She said she loved him when the WWE fans said he was stupid, fat, and couldn’t wrestle.
Lana said the fame went to Rusev’s head once the fans started chanting Rusev Day. The fans chanted Rusev Day, which Rusev played into. Lana said Rusev and the entire WWE Universe were responsible for their marriage failing. Rusev pointed to the big screen where footage aired of Lana and Bobby Lashley being arrested last week.
Lana yelled that it was all his fault. Rusev said it’s getting ridiculous (getting?!?) and excitedly yelled that it was time to sign the divorce papers. Rusev said he’d sign first. Lana said he was wrong and that she would sign first. Rusev said it was always a competition in their household. Lana and Rusev bickered over who would get custody of their dog. Lana called him a son of a bitch and he told her to shut up.
Lana signed the documents. Rusev held up the papers and smiled. Rusev said that he needed something from Lana before he would sign the papers. Lana wondered if he wanted sex again. She mentioned a variety of places he wanted sex, then called him a sick person just like the fans. Rusev said he wanted a match with Lashley.
Bobby Lashley made his entrance and said this is ridiculous (very true). Lashley said he would ask Lana to marry him once the divorce was final. Rusev told Lashley she’s all his. “She’s just bad,” Rusev said. Lashley moved to Rusev, but Lana held him back. Rusev signed the paperwork. Lashley slammed Rusev’s head into the table.
Lashley took Rusev to ringside and worked him over before rolling him back inside the ring. Rusev came back with a kick and then performed a belly to belly suplex to drive Lashley through the table. Lana barked at Rusev off-mic and then Rusev’s music played to put the segment out of its misery…
Joseph and Joe spoke behind their desk and set up footage of AOP interfering in last week’s Kevin Owens vs. Bobby Lashley match and then dragging Owens backstage. Joseph said Owens would speak after the break… [C]
Powell’s POV: Nearly 20 minutes of divorce nonsense made for a painful start to the show.
Kevin Owens was interviewed on the backstage set by Charly Caruso, who asked if he figured out why AOP attacked him. Owens said it was obviously because Seth Rollins told them to. Owens said he was the only one who got in Rollins’ face and told him he was full of crap. Owens said he was lucky to get away from AOP last week and now that will be a problem for them.
Owens left the interview set and cameras followed him (but scaffolding didn’t fall on top of him). Owens ran into Rey Mysterio, who offered to watch his back with AOP. Mysterio gave him the lead pipe he used on Lesnar. Owens smiled and thanked Mysterio…
Matt Hardy made his entrance. Drew McIntyre made his entrance for their match with a mic in hand. McIntyre said the show started a little depressing. He said they are all about putting smiles on faces in WWE. McIntyre noted that Hardy’s wife Rebecca gave birth to a beautiful baby boy. He said the boy was crosseyed, but at least they know Matt is the father.
McIntyre said Hardy hasn’t always made the best decisions outside the ring and thus he’s not sure of reproducing is a good idea. McIntyre gave Hardy an opportunity to leave the ring with his tail between his legs so that he could live to fight another day. Hardy attacked McIntyre as he was climbing through the ropes. Hardy gave McIntyre a Twist of Fate heading into the break. [C]
1. Drew McIntyre vs. Matt Hardy. Hardy got more offense once the bell rang, but McIntyre eventually put him away with a Claymore Kick…
Drew McIntyre beat Matt Hardy in 2:15.
Powell’s POV: Another week of wheel spinning for McIntyre. He keeps beating wrestlers positioned lower than him on the WWE totem pole, but when’s the last time he’s been involved in a meaningful program? No, being Shane McMahon’s henchman doesn’t count.
Highlights aired from last week of The Kabuki Warriors beating Charlotte Flair in a handicap match. Footage aired from “earlier tonight” of Charlotte Flair approaching Becky Lynch in her locker room. Flair said she doesn’t like Lynch, but she dislikes The Kabuki Warriors even more. Lynch mocked Flair for wanting her help and said she would face them both by herself later in the show… [C]
Owens searched for AOP backstage and asked Mojo Rawley if he’d seen him. Rawley gave him conflicting answers and laughed at Owens, who responded by slapping him…
The Viking Raiders headed to the ring for a promo. They said they have been searching for worthy opponents, but all they found were victims. They issued an open challenge. The Street Profits made their entrance through the crowd… [C]
The broadcast team spoke about Batista being named to the WWE Hall of Fame’s 2020 class…
2. “The Viking Raiders” Erik and Ivar vs. “The Street Profits” Montez Ford and Angelo Dawkins for the Raw Tag Titles. The Street Profits had an early pin on Erik, but Ivar broke it up. The Viking Raiders came back and hit the Viking Experience on Ford and then Ivar pinned him. After the match, the Viking Raiders and Street Profits bumped forearms in a sign of respect.
The Viking Raiders beat The Street Profits in 3:10 to retain the Raw Tag Titles.
Powell’s POV: It was nice to see the Viking Raiders beat a real team rather than the usual squash match victims, but it’s surprising that the creative forces fed them the Street Profits so quickly and decisively. A tag title match between those teams should have meant more and could have been built up as a Raw main event or a pay-per-view match, not just a throwaway segment that filled a few minutes of television time.
Seth Rollins made his entrance. He told both teams they were welcome to stay to hear what he had to say. Both teams opted to leave. Rollins called out AOP to face him. Kevin Owens headed to the ring with the pipe instead. Owens said Rollins was calling out AOP because he knew they weren’t there. Owens wondered when AOP would arrive so they could all attack him. Rollins denied having anything to do with AOP. Akam and Rezar were shown arriving at the building… [C]
Rollins told Owens that AOP was going to come out and kick his ass, but it had nothing to do with him. Owens said he could take care of Rollins on the spot and at least then he wouldn’t have to worry about him. Rollins left the ring.
[Hour Two] Owens mocked the idea of AOP showing up while they were in the ring together. Rollins said he would do something “very unpopular” to prove himself to Owens by leaving. “Good luck to you and goodnight to you guys,” Rollin said. Owens called out AOP, who appeared on the big screen and delivered a promo in their native tongues. “All strong points, I can’t argue with any of them,” Owens said. Funny. Owens called out AOP.
Sami Zayn made his entrance with Mojo Rawley. He said he knew he wasn’t supposed to be on Raw because he’s a Smackdown wrestler, but he got around it by applying for and receiving a manager’s license. Zayn said he’s a liberator, not a manager. Zayn and Rawley entered the ring together. Zayn said that what Owens did to Rawley backstage was out of line.
Zayn said he knows how dangerous Owens is when he’s in his own head and has no one to guide him. Zayn said he would love to guide him, but he needed to apologize to Rawley. Before Owens could respond, Rawley barked at Owens until Zayn told him not to take that tone with Owens when he had that look in his eye and a pipe in his hand.
Rawley told Owens that everybody is tough with a steel pipe in their hands. Owens said they could test out that theory. Owens tossed the pipe to Rawley, then kicked him in the gut and dropped him with a stunner. Zayn left the ring. Owens worked over Rawley with pipe shots… [C] An ad for Smackdown focused on Bray Wyatt and said that The Big Dog looks to be unchained…
Powell’s POV: A decent segment. Rollins wasn’t out there long, but I got a kick out of him saying he would do something very unpopular by leaving. Zayn crossing the brand split lines was odd, but at least they tried to explain it. I’m just not sure how many players they actually need in this storyline.
Aleister Black made his entrance. A pre-taped Buddy Murphy match aired about their pay-per-view match. Akira Tozawa made his entrance for a match against Black…
3. Aleister Black vs. Akira Tozawa. Joseph hyped CM Punk’s return for WWE Backstage on Tuesday. Tozawa went for a suicide dive, but Black caught him with a jumping knee at ringside. Black rolled Tozawa back inside the ring and hit him with Black Mass before pinning him…
Aleister Black defeated Akira Tozawa in 3:35.
Powell’s POV: The suicide dive into the jumping knee spot looked really good.
Caruso set up a brief video package on Humberto Carrillo, then spoke with him on the interview set. The crowd was flat for Carrillo. Andrade and Zelina Vega showed up. Andrade and Carrillo pushed and shoved while bickering in Spanish. “Tonight?” Vega asked… [C]
A Liv Morgan video package aired and listed “makeover” and “coming soon”…
Powell’s POV: This makeover has taken so long that we may end up learning that Morgan is now eligible to compete in the men’s division.
4. Humberto Carrillo vs. Andrade (w/Zelina Vega). Joe said Carrillo never lets anyone get under his skin, but Carrillo has done that somehow. Carrillo performed a moonsault onto Anadrade at ringside heading into a break. [C] Carrillo had another flurry of offense and Joseph said it would be a major upset if he beat Andrade.
Andrade tripped up Carrillo on the ropes and then tied him up in a tree of woe. Andrade performed a double stomp from the top rope and then got a two count. Carrillo performed a lousy version of his Aztec Press. Joseph had to call him on not getting all of it. Joseph wondered if fatigue was setting in. Andrade caught Carrillo with a spinning elbow for another near fall. Vega expressed frustration.
Andrade went up top and went or a moonsault. Carrillo moved out of the way, but Andrade landed on his feet and blasted him with a double knees in the corner. Carrillo came right back with a dropkick in the other corner. Vega climbed onto the apron. Andrade shoved Carrillo toward her and he stopped short, then moved when Andrade charged him, which led to Andrade knocked Vega off the apron. Carrillo rolled Andrade into a pin for the three count.
Humberto Carrillo defeated Andrade in 11:00.
After the match, Andrade made sure Vega was okay, then they argued about who was at fault…
Powell’s POV: An entertaining match, but the “major upset” talk felt really overstated given that Andrade doesn’t have many major wins in WWE. Sure, he was unbeaten since being moved to Raw, but it’s not like Andrade has been beating real players. Hopefully the bickering between Andrade and Vega afterward isn’t going anywhere. They are good together even though Vega hasn’t been able to show off her mic skills nearly enough since they were called up from NXT.
Rey Mysterio delivered a backstage promo about defending the U.S. Title against AJ Styles. Mysterio said the title means everything to him. He said that if Styles is man enough to beat him, then he’d be the first to congratulate him and shake his hand. Mysterio promised he would do everything in his power to be worthy of still being announced as the U.S. Champion… [C]
An ad aired for Goldberg appearing on the next installment of Steve Austin’s “Broken Skull Sessions” that will debut after WWE TLC… Kevin Owens was shown continuing his search for AOP…
5. Buddy Murphy vs. Zack Ryder (w/Curt Hawkins). Ryder’s entrance was not televised. Murphy was greeted by the sound of silence from the live crowd. Aleister Black had a pre-tape promo and said that the biggest mistake that Murphy made was knocking on his door and picking a fight with him. Murphy punched Hawkins at ringside. Back inside the ring, Murphy hit Murphy’s Law and scored the clean pin…
Buddy Murphy beat Zack Ryder in 2:00.
Backstage, Kevin Owens found the AOP van and slammed the pipe into the glass and knocked a mirror off. Owens opened the back of the van in search of AOP, but they weren’t inside. Instead, the duo attacked Owens from behind. They slammed the van door on the head of Owens. A hooded person in the back of the van turned around and revealed himself to be Seth Rollins. “It’s come to this, Kev,” Rollins said. “It’s a shame. I’m sorry.” Rollins gave Owens a Stomp and then walked away with AOP… [C]
Powell’s POV: A good angle. The beatdown looked great, especially that van door to Owens’ head moment. It was actually tough to see that someone was inside the van because of the lighting, but it played out well. I wish they could have dragged this out longer, though I suspect they did the reveal tonight so that they could set up a pay-per-view match.
Seth Rollins made his entrance and stopped on the stage. “What do you want from me?” Rollins asked. He said he’s asked himself that question for some time now. He said he and the fans used to get along and he’s trying to figure out why that’s no longer the case. Rollins said he doesn’t take nights off and he laid it all on the line for the fans night in and night out. He said he sticks his neck out from the fans not just in the ring, but in the media too.
“I get spit on and disrespected and I’m sick of it,” Rollins said. He recalled saying he had nothing to do with AOP and it was the truth. He said the fans jumped on the bandwagon because “some blithering idiot you worship” in Owens said so. Rollins said he tried to tell everyone again tonight, but the truth wasn’t good enough for the fans. “So tell me, in 2019, what is good enough for you people?” Rollins asked if he had to go into the ring and kill himself. He said he beat Brock Lesnar twice and that still wasn’t enough.
[Hour Three] Rollins said it’s time for him to push back. He said the negativity of the fans has become a self-fulfilling prophecy. He said it has turned him to stand side by side with AOP. Akam and Rezar made their entrance and joined Rollins on the stage. Rollins handed the mic to one of them and they all headed backstage…
Owens was shown lying on a stretcher and being placed into the back of an ambulance…
Powell’s POV: If I’m ever in need of emergency medical assistance, please don’t let me end up with those EMTs. They couldn’t even get the damn stretcher loaded into the back of the ambulance. More importantly, the Rollins promo was well done. Do they feel comfortable turning Rollins heel despite the lack of top babyface talent on Raw because they think they can elevate some of the babyfaces or because they know something we don’t about a certain Chicago native?
6. WWE Women’s Tag Champions “The Kabuki Warriors” Kairi Sane and Asuka vs. Raw Women’s Champion Becky Lynch in a handicap match. The Kabuki Warriors were getting the better of Lynch going into an early break. [C]
Lynch came back and went up top with Sane down, but Asuka stopped her from performing a move. Sane took advantage. Asuka made a seemingly blind tag, but Lynch avoided her coming off the top rope. Lynch performed an exploder suplex. Asuka avoided a leg drop from the ropes, then applied her Asuka Lock finisher.
Lynch got to her feet and ran into the corner to break the hold, then applied Asuka’s own finisher on her. Sane dragged both women to the floor to break the hold. Lynch ran Sane into the barricade, then tripped up Asuka on the apron. Lynch leapt off the apron and into a knee from Asuka. Sane tried to stop Lynch from returning to the ring, but she broke free and beat the referee’s count. Asuka immediately caught her with a shining wizard and got a two count.
A short time later, Asuka hoisted Lynch onto her shoulders, then Sane performed a flying forearm from the top rope and covered Lynch for a near fall. Sane went up top for her finisher, but Lynch put her feet up. Lynch set up for her finisher. Asuka ran in. It took two tries for Lynch to perform a uranage. Lynch put Sane in her finisher, but Asuka pulled Sane to the floor. Lynch showed anger and then went to ringside where Asuka hit her in the gut with a chair for the DQ.
Becky Lynch beat The Kabuki Warriors by DQ in 13:00.
After the match, Sane and Asuka set up a table on the floor. Asuka placed Lynch on the table, then Sane performed her Insane Elbow from the top rope to drive Lynch through it. A pair of referees checked on Lynch while the Kabuki Warriors celebrated on the stage…
Powell’s POV: I’m fine with the idea of Lynch and Flair teaming up to face The Kabuki Warriors at the pay-per-view, but I just hope that the plan isn’t to have Flair turn on Lynch to set up another feud between them. It’s bound to happen sooner or later, but the feud has been overexposed and it seems likely to run out of steam quickly if they go back to it soon.
The OC delivered a promo from their locker room. AJ Styles played up the idea of Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson taking the Raw Tag Titles away from the Viking Raiders. He said once his stable mates won, they would be celebrating with the U.S. Champion. Styles said that if Randy Orton stuck his nose in their business again, they might end his career for life… [C]
A video played on the NWO members Hulk Hogan, Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, and Sean Waltman being inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame…
Lynch was receiving medical treatment backstage when Charlotte Flair entered the room and asked her how that went. Lynch said it would be fine if it means she gets her shot at Asuka. Flair left the room and was attacked by the Kabuki Warriors. Asuka hit her with a chair, then Asuka and Sane put the boots to her before running away laughing…
7. Erick Rowan vs. a local wrestler. The local wrestler was not introduced. The bell rang and the local wrestler grabbed Rowan’s animal cage, ran to the stage, and left it there. Rowan followed and checked on whatever is inside the cage. The local returned to the ring and hoped to get a count-out win, but Rowan returned and destroyed him until the referee stopped the match.
Erick Rowan beat a local wrestler via ref stoppage in 1:20.
After the match, Rowan hit his finisher on the local wrestler afterward and yelled, “What is the matter with you?” Rowan went to the stage and picked up the cage and said, “I took care of him”…
Powell’s POV: The poor local wrestler had the best strategy of any of Rowan’s recent opponents and they never even said his name.
Kayla Braxton asked The Kabuki Warriors what is next for them. They spoke in Japanese. Braxton asked them to speak in English. Asuka said they challenge “you to challenge us for our titles” on Sunday… [C]
Lynch and Flair sat backstage and spoke to each other and concluded they would face the Kabuki Warriors in a TLC match…
“The WWE Monday After The Weekend Update” featuring Montez Ford and Angelo Dawkins. The duo sat on a set made to look like the Saturday Night Live “Weekend Update” set and there was a laugh track for their jokes. They said The Kabuki Warriors will face Lynch and Flair in a TLC match for the WWE Women’s Tag Titles at TLC. There was a Baby Yoda joke. They were both excited to learn that the other had Disney Plus.
They also spoke about Bray Wyatt vs. The Miz. There was a joke about The Fiend & Mrs. reality show. They also hyped Rusev vs. Bobby Lashley as a tables match, and Roman Reigns vs. King Corbin in a TLC match. Ford sang “we want the smoke.” Dawkins said Ford could have all the smoke, he needs an ice pack after facing The Viking Raiders…
Entrances for the U.S. Title match took place… [C]
8. Rey Mysterio vs. AJ Styles for the U.S. Championship. Mysterio performed an Asai Moonsault onto Styles at ringside. Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson headed to the ring. Mysterio was distracted by them, which allowed Styles to hit him from behind and run him into the post heading into a break. [C]
Mysterio went for a springboard move, but Styles caught him with a dropkick and covered him for a two count. Styles threw Mysterio under the bottom rope to the floor. “Keep an eye on Hot Karl,” Joe said. Mysterio returned to the ring at the referee’s nine count. For some reason, Styles never tried to get Mysterio back in the ring and even looked a bit frustrated despite the fact that he wouldn’t win the title via count-out.
Mysterio came back with a sunset bomb from the ring onto Styles on the floor, which sent Styles crashing into the barricade. Both men returned to the ring at the referee’s nine count. Mysterio caught Styles with a DDT for a two count. Styles caught Mysterio charging and flipped him over his head to slam him face first onto the mat.
Mysterio came right back and went for a 619, but Gallows covered up Styles and absorbed the flow. Mysterio knocked Anderson off the apron. Styles took advantage of the distraction and got a two count. Mysterio cut off Styles on the ropes and went for a huracanrana. Styles tried to block the move on the ropes, but they both tumbled into the ring awkwardly.
Styles regrouped and performed a Styles Clash on Mysterio. Randy Orton entered the ring and winked at Styles, then rolled back to ringside. Mysterio caught Styles in an inside cradle and pinned him just moments before the show went off the air…
Rey Mysterio defeated AJ Styles in 14:10 to retain the U.S. Championship.
Powell’s POV: They really cut that one close. That botched block into a Styles Clash on the ropes nearly caused them to go off the air before the end of the match. The botch was unfortunate, as I enjoyed the bulk of the match. Overall, I didn’t enjoy this edition as much as last week’s Raw. They gave the pay-per-view plenty of hype and yet I can’t say that I’m looking forward to the show (Smackdown shares in the blame). I will have more to say about this episode in my weekly same night audio review coming up shortly for Dot Net Members. Let me know what you thought of Raw by giving it a letter grade in our post show poll available in a separate story on the main page.