By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
WWE Raw (Episode 1,480)
Live from Nashville, Tennessee at Bridgestone Arena
Aired October 4, 2021 on USA Network
[Hour One] The broadcast team of Jimmy Smith, Corey Graves, and Byron Saxton checked in. Graves said the picks are determined by officials from Raw, Smackdown, and NXT with input from representatives from Fox and USA Network. A graphic showed the wrestlers who were drafted to Raw during Friday’s Smackdown…
Smackdown Women’s Champion Becky Lynch made her entrance. Footage aired from the conclusion of Smackdown with Lynch and Charlotte Flair raising their respective title belts in the air. The broadcast team also hyped the Lynch vs. Bianca Belair vs. Sasha Banks match for the Smackdown Women’s Championship at WWE Crown Jewel.
The live crowd chanted “Becky” as she stood inside the ring. “The Man has come around to Monday Night Raw,” Lynch started. Lynch said she was going to make executives backstage very unhappy, but she does what she wants. She said the first draft pick for Raw is and then held up the mic while the fans chanted her name.
Lynch announced herself as the first pick of Raw. She recalled that she never technically lost the Raw Women’s Championship. Lynch said she’s been better than ever since the last time Flair beat her and Flair can’t stand it. Lynch said it was time to become Becky Two Belts again. Graves said it’s not official that Lynch was Raw’s first pick.
Raw Women’s Champion Charlotte Flair made her entrance and joined Lynch inside the ring. Flair stopped a “Becky Two Belts” chant. She said that Lynch was Becky Pre-Show before she beat her. “I made you famous,” Flair said. She said Lynch would be looking up at her regardless of which brand she’s on. Flair said it’s good Lynch left Smackdown because they have unfinished business.
Bianca Belair made her entrance. Belair said she unfinished business with Lynch and Flair. She said they must both be threatened because they took cheap shots at her on Smackdown. Belair said she was going to become the EST of Raw. “Because I go here now,” Belair said.
Flair said Belair’s comments were cute, but the champions were trying to have a conversation. A “Charlotte sucks” chant broke out. Belair said Flair was standing there, but technically she doesn’t go there anymore. Belair told Lynch to get her girl because Flair doesn’t even know her. Flair said she’s no one’s girl, she’s a woman.
Flair ran through some of Belair’s accolades and said she’s almost done as much as she has, but she should be asking for her autograph for paving the way for her. Lynch said that sounded pretty disrespectful and she would fight Flair if she was Belair. Lynch said Belair and Flair have never fought before and said she wondered what would happen. “I only give out opportunities, not charity,” Flair told Belair. Bianca said she had something to give Flair, who then ducked away from Belair.
Adam Pearce and Sonya Deville walked out and announced Flair vs. Belair as the Raw main event. They also announced Rhea Ripley and Nikki ASH vs. Natalya and Tamina for the WWE Women’s Tag Titles, and added that the show would open with a U.S. Championship match.
Jeff Hardy made his entrance as the challenger for Damian Priest’s U.S. Championship… An NXT 2.0 ad focused mostly on the women of the brand without announcing anything in particular for Tuesday’s show… [C]
Powell’s POV: A good opening segment with a lot of star power. I have mixed feelings on going with Flair vs. Belair in the main event. Obviously, I’m looking forward to the match and they provided a nice show hook for those watching before the Monday Night Football game, but it also feels like a match that should be saved to serve as a first time dream match at WrestleMania or another big show. We’ll see how they handle the match, but in the moment it feels like hot-shotting.
Pearce and Deville stood on the stage and announced the first round picks…
Smackdown Women’s Champion Becky Lynch to Raw.
Smackdown Tag Champion Jimmy Uso and Jey Uso to Smackdown.
Bobby Lashley to Raw.
Sasha Banks to Smackdown.
After the Usos pick was announced, they cut backstage to Jimmy and Jey celebrating while Paul Heyman looked up and thanked his maker. They also showed Lashley nodding approvingly after he was picked…
Powell’s POV: The surprises were Lashley staying put on Raw, and the Usos situation being resolved so quickly. Perhaps there’s another twist or turn with the Usos, but Roman Reigns telling the Usos to leave Heyman for dead if he didn’t get them drafted to Smackdown was a big hook for this show and the payoff was very forgettable.
1. Damian Priest vs. Jeff Hardy for the U.S. Championship. Priest’s entrance was televised. Hardy went for an early dive from the apron at Priest at ringside, but Priest stepped aside, causing Hardy to crash and burn. Priest performed a somersault dive off the ring steps heading into a break. [C]
Hardy hit a Whisper in the Wind for a near fall coming out of the break. Hardy put Priest down with a Twist of Fate and then followed up with a Swanton. Hardy clutched his lower back and then covered Priest for a two count, but Priest rolled Hardy into a pin for the three count. Priest helped Hardy to his feet and showed him respect afterward…
Damian Priest defeated Jeff Hardy in 6:50 to retain the U.S. Championship.
After the match, Sarah Schreiber entered the ring and spoke with Hardy about being drafted to Smackdown. He said it might be the perfect opportunity to show off a different side and a different ego.
Austin Theory made his entrance and interrupted Hardy’s interview. Theory entered the ring with his phone and apologized, saying he meant no disrespect. Theory said it was a dream come true to be drafted to Raw and to be inside the ring with Hardy. Theory said Hardy motivated and inspired him and look at where it got him.
Theory asked if Hardy would take a selfie photo with him. Hardy agreed. Theory took the photo and then turned and clotheslined Hardy. Theory laughed and then hit a move on Hardy. Theory laid down on the mat next to Hardy and took another selfie…
Powell’s POV: I’m pretty sure Hardy’s character hurt his back by running away from Brock Lesnar on Friday’s Smackdown. Seriously, what a terrible way to reintroduce him to the Friday night audience. On the flip side, I like the reintroduction of Theory to the Raw audience. Theory really grew as a personality during his run with The Way in NXT since he last appeared on Raw. This clearly isn’t the same persona, but I think he’s shown that he’s much more ready from a personality standpoint than he was during those early Raw appearances.
Backstage, Raw Tag Team Champions Randy Orton and Riddle were interviewed by Kevin Patrick. Riddle spoke about how happy he was that Orton was back. “Is that a snake in your pocket or are you just as happy as I am?” Riddle asked.
Orton spoke about how they would defend the titles against AJ Styles and Omos at WWE Crown Jewel. Orton said he had a proposition. Orton addressed Omos, saying it was time for the big man to go one-on-one with The Legend Killer…
Shayna Baszler made her entrance. Dana Brooke was shown warming up for their match backstage… [C] The broadcast team wondered if Omos would accept Orton’s challenge… Pearce and Deville stood at the podium on the stage to make the next batch of picks. Pearce reminded viewers that the brand split rules go into effect on October 22…
Seth Rollins to Raw.
Intercontinental Champion King Nakamura and Rick Boogs to Smackdown.
U.S. Champion Damian Priest to Raw.
Sheamus to Smackdown.
Nakamura and Boogs were shown jamming out backstage briefly after they were selected. Priest was shown smiling…
2. Shayna Baszler vs. Dana Brooke. Baszler dominated the match and forced Brooke to submit to the Kirifuda Clutch.
Shayna Baszler defeated Dana Brooke in 1:20.
After the match, Baszler attacked Brooke’s left arm. She placed her arm on the bottom piece of the ring steps, but she was interrupted by Doudrop making her entrance before she could stomp it. Doudrop went face to face with Baszler, who smirked and acted like she was going to leave, but then hit Doudrop from behind. Doudrop didn’t sell the shot and the broadcast team said she didn’t seem to be intimidated by Baszler…
Jimmy Uso, Jey Uso, and Paul Heyman were shown happily walking backstage. Kevin Patrick showed up. Heyman boasted that the Usos stayed on Smackdown because of his influence and dubbed himself the warden of the Uso Penitentiary. The mood changed when Patrick asked if that’s how Heyman negotiated Brock Lesnar’s status as a free agent. The Usos walked away from a flustered Heyman… [C]
The broadcast team hyped the “Escape The Undertaker” movie that drops Tuesday on Netflix…
3. Angel Garza and Humberto Carrillo vs. Mustafa Ali and Mansoor. Ali and Mansoor’s entrance was not televised. Ali rolled up Garza, who kicked out, sending Ali into the corner. While the referee was tied up with Garza, Carrillo slammed Ali’s head into the ring post casing. Garza covered Ali and scored the pin while Carrillo prevented Mansoor from breaking it up.
Angel Garza and Humberto Carrillo beat Mustafa Ali and Mansoor in 1:45.
WWE Champion Big E made his entrance after the tag match… [C]
[Hour Two] Imagery from Nashville was shown. Fox Sports’ Clay Travis was shown at ringside with his family… Pearce and Deville announced the next round of draft picks…
AJ Styles and Omos to Raw.
Shayna Baszler to Smackdown.
Kevin Owens to Raw.
Xia Li to Smackdown.
Powell’s POV: I’m surprised by Baszler moving to Smackdown if only because they’ve actually been building her up on Raw over the last few weeks. Typically, we see wrestlers lose matches on their way out of a brand’s door. For instance (and to catch up from earlier), I’m very surprised to see Lashley staying on Raw given the losses he’s taken lately.
WWE Champion Big E stood in the ring and delivered a promo. He acknowledged that Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods are no longer on Raw and his win over Bobby Lashley, and then turned his focus to Drew McIntyre and called him to the ring.
Drew McIntyre made his entrance and joined Big E inside the ring. He said he was drafted to Smackdown, but he has unfinished business on Raw. He said he was patient as he waited for someone to liberate the WWE Championship from Bobby Lashley.
McIntyre said this is the part where others would antagonize Big E, but he deserves to be the WWE Champion. McIntyre told Big E that he’s earned his respect and then offered him a handshake, which Big E accepted.
McIntyre said Big E technically cashed in on an injured Lashley, but he said Lashley did something similar to him before he was cashed in on (by Miz). McIntyre officially challenged Big E to a WWE Championship match.
Robert Roode and Dolph Ziggler made their entrance and interrupted. Ziggler said he’s proud of E and even sent him a congratulatory text, but Big E never thanked him. Ziggler pointed to the video screen where footage aired from 2013 of Big E working as Ziggler’s bodyguard. Ziggler said there would no Big E if it wasn’t for him.
Ziggler also showed footage of when he brought McIntyre back to the WWE main roster in 2018. Ziggler said all he’s ever wanted was a simple thank you. Big E and McIntyre huddled up. McIntyre approached Roode and mockingly said Ziggler clearly upgraded from him and Big E.
Roode said he puts the body in bodyguard. Roode told Big E that people call him Big Bob. Big E said not one person calls him that. Ziggler flipped out and once again asked for a thank you from both men. Big E and McIntyre huddled up again. McIntyre asked the crowd what they thought. Big E said they owe Ziggler something – an ass whooping. He challenged Roode and Ziggler to face him and McIntyre on the spot… [C]
Powell’s POV: While I enjoy the callbacks to Ziggler’s history with both men, it’s a shame that he doesn’t mean more. Ziggler and Rood work well together in the ring, but they have been booked as scrubs more often than not.
4. Big E and Drew McIntyre vs. Robert Roode and Dolph Ziggler. The babyface duo was in offensive control until Roode dodged a charging McIntyre, who slammed his shoulder into the ring post. McIntyre tumbled to ringside where Ziggler hit him with a superkick while Roode distracted the referee. [C]
Late in the match, Big E set up for his finisher on Ziggler, but McIntyre tagged himself into the match. McIntyre did his countdown and then blasted Ziggler with a Claymore Kick and pinned him.
Big E and Drew McIntyre defeated Robert Roode and Dolph Ziggler in 10:25.
After the match, Roode charged the babyfaces. Big E spotted him coming, warned McIntyre, and then hit Roode with The Big Ending. McIntyre picked up the WWE Championship belt and gave it to Big E, who told him they could meet at WWE Crown Jewel for the championship…
Reggie was shown walking backstage. He approached Adam Pearce and said he heard that Pearce wanted to talk to him. Pearce said that was news to him and walked away. The Viking Raiders showed up. R-Truth showed up behind Reggie. Reggie ended up using his acrobatics to escape some of the usual suspects.
Apollo Crews and Commander Azeez showed up. Crews said it was good to see Reggie again. Reggie avoided some other wrestlers, but Crews never went after him. Crews recalled telling Azeez that he told him it would be exciting on Raw…
Charlotte Flair was shown warming up backstage while the broadcast team hyped her main event match against Bianca Belair…
Kevin Owens made his entrance. The broadcast team encouraged viewers to vote for The Miz to move forward on “Dancing With The Stars”… [C] Country music artist Hardy was shown swilling bear in the crowd…
Kevin Owens started to deliver a promo, but he was interrupted by Akira Tozawa, who joined Owens inside the ring and took the mic out of his hand. Tozawa welcomed Owens back to Raw. He said he didn’t want to fight Owens, he wanted to face Reggie for the WWE 24/7 Championship on the spot. Owens kicked Tozawa and stunned him…
Pearce and Deville stood at the podium to announce the next picks…
“The Street Profits” Montez Ford and Angelo Dawkins to Raw.
“The Viking Raiders” Erik and Ivar to Smackdown.
Finn Balor to Raw.
Ricochet to Smackdown.
WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions Rhea Ripley and Nikki ASH made their entrance… [C]
Powell’s POV: No surprises in this round unless you count Balor not being drafted sooner. You had to know the Profits were Raw bound once Belair was moved to Raw, just as Seth Rollins was going to be on the same brand as Becky Lynch.
5. Rhea Ripley and Nikki ASH vs. Natalya and Tamina for the WWE Women’s Tag Team Titles. The entrances of the challengers was not televised. Ripley had Natalya pinned following a Northern Lights Suplex, but Tamina broke it up. Moments later, ASH dove from the top rope onto the challengers at ringside. Back inside the ring, Ripley hit the Riptide on Tamina, then tagged in ASH and put her on her shoulders. Ripley dropped ASH onto Tamina, which led to ASH getting the pin…
Rhea Ripley and Nikki ASH defeated Natalya and Tamina in 4:10 to retain the WWE Women’s Tag Team Titles.
Powell’s POV: A solid television match. It sucks that Ripley isn’t a player in the singles division, but I suppose the tag title run is something of a consolation prize.
Footage aired of Bobby Lashley putting Gage Goldberg in the Hurt Lock at SummerSlam. Goldberg was shown standing backstage while a graphic listed him as going face to face with Lashley. Pearce and Deville were shown standing at the podium to make more picks coming out of a break… [C]
Karrion Kross to Raw.
[Hour Three] Humberto Carrillo and Angel Garza to Smackdown.
Alexa Bliss to Raw.
Cesaro to Smackdown.
Powell’s POV: Carrillo and Garza is a mild surprise. Just like Shayna Baszler, they were showcased a bit more in recent weeks rather than jobbed out like others who changed brands.
Goldberg made his entrance and delivered an in-ring promo. He took issue with Bobby Lashley claiming that what he did go Gage was a misunderstanding. Goldberg said he was inviting Lashley to the ring so that he could break his neck.
Lashley stood on the stage and once again said that it was a misunderstanding. He said he wasn’t going to risk ruining his suit by whooping Goldberg’s ass again. He said some people weren’t still dressing like it was 1998. Lashley accused Goldberg of character assassination and said he owes him an apology.
Lashley said he would give Goldberg the match he wants with him at Crown Jewel as long as it was a No Holds Barred match. Lashley said he could bring his son along. Goldberg thanked Lashley and said the stipulation gives him a license to kill. As for the apology, he said he would give one to his kids when he leaves his lifeless body in the ring. Goldberg said Lashley is next and he’s dead.
Goldberg’s music played, but Lashley called for it to stop. He said Goldberg knows that he can’t kill The All Mighty. Lashley told Goldberg to let his son know that if he tries what he did last time, it won’t be a misunderstanding. Lashley asked what Goldberg would do if someone jumped on his back.
Cedric Alexander climbed on the back of Goldberg, who was able to fling him off. Shelton Benjamin also showed up and took a spear from Goldberg…
Powell’s POV: It’s as if WWE officials recently discovered that they have a quota of death lines to work in now that Undertaker is retired and they are giving them all to Goldberg. The angle was solid
Footage aired of Austin Theory attacking Jeff Hardy earlier in the show. The broadcast team hyped the new additions to the Raw roster while clips of several wrestlers were shown…
Seth Rollins was interviewed by Kevin Patrick on the backstage ring set. Rollins said he’s back and he’s better than he’s ever been. Patrick mentioned Edge being drafted to Raw. Rollins cut him off and went back into celebration mode…
Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods made their entrance for a tag match against Alexander and Benjamin. Woods stopped to pose next to a fan sign that called for him to become King… An ad for Smackdown hyped the beginning of the King of the Ring and Queen’s Crown tournaments… [C]
6. Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods vs. Cedric Alexander and Shelton Benjamin. Alexander and Benjamin sold the Goldberg attack going into the match. In the end, Woods hit a long distance flying elbow on Alexander and pinned him.
Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods beat Cedric Alexander and Shelton Benjamin in 2:25.
After the match, Woods obnoxiously yelled “crown me” into the camera until he was interrupted by “The Street Profits” Montez Ford and Angelo Dawkins making their entrance. A “we want the smoke” chant broke out. The duo congratulated the New Day duo on their role in the Escape From Undertaker movie. They entered the ring. They still want the smoke. Kingston drank from their red cup…
A brief Finn Balor video package aired to tout his Raw return via the draft… Randy Orton and Riddle made their entrance. The broadcast team said they were still waiting for Omos to answer Orton’s challenge to a singles match… [C]
Orton and Riddle stood in the ring while Orton wondered whether Omos was just a big bitch since he hadn’t heard a response to his challenge. AJ Styles and Omos made their entrance. Styles said Orton is insignificant and it doesn’t matter if Omos destroyed him, which he would. Styles said he was happy that they all ended up on Raw so that they could shove the titles in RKBro’s faces every week.
Omos started to address Orton, who attacked Styles and had him down on the mat. Omos charged Orton, who ducked him and then dropped Styles with an RKO. Orton and Riddle left the ring while Omos seethed. The broadcast team said Orton’s challenge was Orton’s plan to get to Styles…
Bianca Belair was shown warming up backstage for her match against Charlotte Flair… [C] Smith said they were having a blast with the draft and it would continue on NXT 2.0. Graves sang the praises of the Toxic Attraction trio… Pearce and Deville stood at the podium for the final picks…
Carmella to Raw.
Ridge Holland to Smackdown.
Gable Steveson to Raw.
Sami Zayn to Smackdown.
Carmella was shown talking briefly backstage after she was picked…
Footage aired of Gable Steveson hugging his mother and father after he was drafted…
Powell’s POV: I thought Smith was hyping that the draft would continue on NXT, but I guess he was saying that they were having a blast and that’s what would continue on Tuesday night. Anyway, I like the clip of Steveson with his family, as that brief footage might be the closest that the WWE Draft has come to emulating the NFL or NBA drafts. They billed this round as the last round of the draft, but I guess we’ll see if they do more random assignments or free agent signings on Raw Talk. If this is it, I’m surprised that Franky Monet didn’t get called up from NXT.
Bianca Belair made her entrance while the broadcast team hyped Raw in San Francisco next week. Charlotte Flair made her entrance. Becky Lynch made her entrance before the match could start… [C]
Saxton hyped Kevin Owens, The Street Profits, and Liv Morgan for Raw Talk. He also said there would be additional draft picks announced during the show…
Powell’s POV: They billed the last round as the final round and now they’re saying the draft will continue on Raw Talk after all. It’s a mess, but at least they bothered to advertise that additional picks would be made on this post show unlike Friday when they just dropped them on Talking Smack without notice.
7. Raw Women’s Champion Charlotte Flair vs. Bianca Belair in a non-title match. Becky Lynch sat in on commentary. Flair pulled Belair to ringside and tossed her into the timekeepers area. [C] Late in the match, Belair stuffed a Natural Selection. Flair avoided a suplex. Flair grabbed Belair’s braid, but Belair hit her. Belair went for a KOD, but Flair slipped away and then speared her and covered her for a two count.
A short time later, Belair put Flair down and then went up top, but Flair stood up and ran into the ropes. Flair knocked Belair from the ropes with a boot to her head. Flair performed a moonsault and landed on her feet when Belair moved, then performed a standing moonsault and covered her for a two count.
Flair went for a figure four, but Belair countered into a pin. Belair hit a clunky looking KOD and went for the pin, but Lynch pulled her to ringside and attacked her to end the match.
Raw Women’s Champion Charlotte Flair fought Bianca Belair to an apparent no-contest in 13:30 in a non-title match.
Lynch put Belair down with the Manhandle Slam. Sasha Banks appeared in the ring and attacked Lynch from behind. Banks hit Lynch and Belair with double knees in opposite corners. Lynch recovered and went after Banks, who put her down with a Backstabber and then stood tall to close the show…
Powell’s POV: The match served as a loaded television main event, but I don’t think it was worth taking away the “first-time ever” specialness that could have been saved for a much more meaningful pay-per-view match between the two.
Overall, the draft helped fill the time and made the show more interesting than usual. I will be back later tonight with my Raw audio review. Keep up with the draft picks made on Raw Talk via our WWE Draft Tracker available via the main page. Let me know what you thought of Raw by grading it below.