By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
WWE Raw (Episode 1,483)
Live from Houston, Texas at Toyota Center
Aired October 25, 2021 on USA Network
[Hour One] A new Raw opening video aired and a graphic noted that it was the show’s season premiere. The broadcast team of Jimmy Smith, Corey Graves, and Byron Saxton checked in. The graphic for the new Raw roster was shown. Graves said viewers would see new faces all night long and added that it would be a memorable night…
WWE Champion Big E made his entrance and was introduced by ring announcer Mike Rome. Big E stood in the ring and welcomed viewers to the season premiere of Raw. Big E played to the Houston crowd and they responded with a “Let’s Go Astros” chant for their baseball team that advanced to the World Series. Big E wished the Astros good luck.
Big E said he had to tip his cap to Drew McIntyre for pushing him and sharpening his iron. Big E said he is better today than he was a week ago following their match at WWE Crown Jewel. Big E said there’s no rest for the weary. He brought up the new talent and did the “who?” routine.
Seth Rollins made his entrance and joined Big E in the ring. Rollins said Big E knew why he was out there. Big E pointed out that he lost to Edge. Rollins said Edge wasn’t there and he was, and he wanted the WWE Championship around his waist as soon as possible.
Big E said Rollins lost to Edge and now Rollins goes to the back of the line. Rollins asked Big E if he wanted to be like Roman Reigns or if he wanted to be a fighting champion. Rollins said there was no better way to start out the season premiere of Raw than the two of them meeting for the WWE Championship.
Rey Mysterio’s entrance music played and he came out with a mic in hand. Mysterio walked to the ring while saying that if anyone deserves a championship match, it’s him. He said his resume speaks for itself. Mysterio ran through a list of some of the titles that he’s held in WWE.
Finn Balor made his entrance and joined the rest of the wrestlers in the ring. Balor expressed his interest in getting a title shot. Kevin Owens’ entrance music played and he listed his title belt count and pointed out that he won the championship in Houston and he beat Rollins to do it.
Rollins attacked Owens. Balor fought with Rollins. Owens went for a Stunner on Rollins, who avoided it and then fled to ringside and headed to the stage. Sonya Deville walked out and announced that there would be a four-way ladder match between Rollins, Balor, Mysterio, and Owens to determine the No. 1 contender to the WWE Championship. Rollins wasn’t pleased by the ladder match stipulation and threw a fit…
Highlights aired of Omos and AJ Styles roughing up RKBro and The Street Profits last week… Still shots aired from Crown Jewel of Riddle riding a camel to the ring… The Street Profits made their entrance for a Triple Threat to earn a future Raw Tag Title match… An ad aired for NXT’s Halloween Havoc show on Tuesday… [C]
Powell’s POV: A pretty basic opening segment with the wrestlers all expressing their desire for a title match and then being booked in a multi-man match to determine the No. 1 contender. The four-way ladder match announcement is a solid hook.
1. “The Street Profits” Montez Ford and Angelo Dawkins vs. “Alpha Academy” Chad Gable and Otis vs. “The Dirty Dawgs” Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode in a Triple Threat for a future shot at the Raw Tag Titles. A portion of the Roode and Ziggler entrance was shown coming out of the break, and Alpha Academy received a fully televised entrance. The Profits knocked Otis out of the ring with a double dropkick. Randy Orton and Riddle were shown watching the match on a backstage monitor. [C]
Gable suplexed Dawkins into a bridge and had him pinned, but Ford performed a frogsplash onto Gable to break it up. Ford followed up with a flip dive onto Otis at ringside. Dawkins performed a spinebuster on Roode. Omos walked to ringside. Ford dove at him, but Omos caught him and threw him into the barricade. Dawkins grabbed Omos from the ring and was punched. Roode and Ziggler hit their spinebuster and Zigzag combo finisher on Dawkins and got the pin…
“The Dirty Dawgs” Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode defeated The Street Profits and Alpha Academy in a Triple Threat in 10:25 to earn a Raw Tag Title shot.
Powell’s POV: The initial graphic listed the Triple Threat as being for a future tag title shot, but the broadcast team and another graphic listed RKBro vs. The Dirty Dawgs for the Raw Tag Titles as taking place later in the show. RKBro vs. AJ Styles and Omos for the Raw Tag Titles was the only match advertised for this show at one point, but I noticed that they pulled it from the Raw preview on the WWE website earlier today.
The production team was shown setting up for Zelina Vega’s coronation as the Queen’s Crown winner… [C]
Zelina Vega made her entrance wearing a cloak and carrying a scepter. She entered the ring where the throne and crown were waiting. Vega said she won’t stand for it any longer. She took issue with the way she was introduced by ring announcer Mike Rome. She said she’s not just a superstar, she’s the first Queen’s Crown winner.
Vega had Rome reintroduce her. He called her the “one and only official queen of WWE.” Vega sat on her throne and said she’s the only woman fit to be queen. A backstage shot aired of Rhea Ripley, Nikki ASH, Liv Morgan, Dana Brooke, Doudrop, and Tamina watching the promo. Vega told the fans to bow down to the official queen.
Vega pondered what type of queen she will be and got the “what?” treatment. Doudrop was shown leaving the backstage group of wrestlers. Right on cue, Vega said Doudrop was a perfect example of what happens when you get in her way. Vega said the crown is proof that she’s the best of the best. Doudrop made her entrance. Smith assumed that they would have a match and a graphic listed them as doing so… [C]
Powell’s POV: Vega delivered the promo well, but we’ve heard it all before from countless WWE kings and queens. It’s so tired and repetitive. Why can’t someone just win one of these tournaments and not turn into a cartoon king or queen?
2. “Queen” Zelina Vega vs. Doudrop. A couple minutes into the match, Vega untied a turnbuckle pad. While the referee was focused on the pad, Vega hit Doudrop with the scepter and then pinned her…
“Queen” Zelina Vega beat Doudrop in 2:30.
Highlights aired from Smackdown of Brock Lesnar’s tirade, which led to his storyline suspension…
Raw Women’s Champion Becky Lynch made her entrance in non-wrestling attire… [C] Houston imagery was shown…
Becky Lynch delivered an in-ring promo and pointed out that no one actually beat her for the Raw Women’s Championship. She boasted that she overcame insurmountable odds at Crown Jewel. Lynch said she knows that the fans don’t want to see Bianca Belair anywhere near the title. She said there’s a new crop of people and the fans want to see her beat Rhea Ripley and Liv Morgan. Lynch said Belair will learn that you can’t always get what you want.
[Hour Two] Bianca Belair made her entrance in non-wrestling attire. Belair pointed out that she wasn’t the person who Lynch beat in the Triple Threat at Crown Jewel. Belair entered the ring and said Lynch has found every possible way to slip away from her, but that changes now. She said she beat Charlotte Flair, which put her in line for a Raw Women’s Championship match and now Lynch is the champion.
Lynch had a graphic appear on the screen that showed her smiling after she retained the title at Crown Jewel followed by a shot of Belair after the match. Lynch said Belair’s face wasn’t the face of Raw, it was the face of a loser. Lynch said she faced adversity and became a hero to the people. Lynch said it’s been nothing but disappointment for Belair since she returned.
Belair said the only thing she’s disappointed in is that she hasn’t knocked the goofy smile off of Lynch’s face to show everyone who Lynch really is. Belair said the fans rooting for her bothers Lynch. Belair said Lynch is nothing without the title, whereas she’s still the EST of WWE.
Belair said she wanted her title shot during Raw. “Look at my face, it says get to the back of the line, bitch,” Lynch said. Belair hit Lynch and then put her down with a spinebuster. They went to ringside where Belair tossed Lynch over the broadcast table. Lynch tried to hit Belair with a kendo stick, but Belair saw it coming and blocked it.
Belair got the kendo stick and hit Lynch with it until Lynch cut her off with a kick. Lynch tried to grab the stick. Belair cut her off and hoisted her up for her KOD finisher, but Lynch slipped away. Lynch performed a Russian leg sweep while using the kendo stick and then left the ring. “You want your match, you got it,” Lynch said. “Just not tonight”…
Powell’s POV: It still feels like the fans want to cheer Lynch and are slow to boo her. It’s not helping matters that Lynch plays to the crowd during her promos. At some point, I think she needs to really go after the fans in her promos to get the desired effect.
Highlights aired from the opening segment with Deville setting up the four-way main event…
Backstage, Kevin Owens told Finn Balor that he has to win the four-way match and said it would be every man for himself. Balor said that’s just the way he likes it… U.S. Champion Damian Priest made his entrance… [C] T-Bar made his entrance…
3. U.S. Champion Damian Priest vs. T-Bar in a non-title match. A graphic read that Bearcat Lee would “claw his way to Raw” during the show. T-Bar powered out of Priest’s attempt to go for his finisher during the opening minute. T-Bar also performed a moonsault. Priest came back and clotheslined T-Bar to the floor. When Priest followed, T-Bar threw an office chair at him for the DQ.
U.S. Champion Damian Priest defeated T-Bar by DQ in 2:40 in a non-title match.
After the match, Priest snapped and aggressively worked over T-Bar at ringside before rolling him back in the ring. Priest put T-Bar down with his Reckoning finisher…
Powell’s POV: I can’t believe the creative forces haven’t given up on the awful T-Bar gimmick. Seriously, give the guy an actual chance to get over.
Backstage, Carmella held her glitter mask. She said the only thing more valuable than the diamond coated, fiber mask is her. She called Liv Morgan a jealous hater. Carmella made her entrance for a match against Morgan… A generic ad aired for Friday’s Smackdown on FS1… [C]
Jimmy Smith said “only you” can prevent Miz’s abuse against Byron Saxton by voting for him to stay on Dancing with the Stars… Carmella’s assistants put her mask on at ringside and then Liv Morgan made her entrance…
4. Liv Morgan vs. Carmella. They fought to ringside where Carmella leaned over the broadcast table and spoke to Graves. Morgan slammed her face onto the table and then jawed at Graves. Back inside the ring, Carmella countered into a facebuster and scored the pin…
Carmella beat Liv Morgan in 3:00.
Powell’s POV: They had a little fun with the news of Graves and Carmella’s engagement. I like Carmella’s new vanity gimmick, but the mask isn’t doing much for me.
A Bearcat Lee highlight package aired. Lee made his entrance… [C]
5. Keith “Bearcat” Lee vs. Cedric Alexander (w/Shelton Benjamin). Alexander’s entrance was not televised. He wore a mouthguard with fangs on it. It didn’t help. Lee squashed Alexander and finished him off with by hoisting him on his shoulders and then flipping him into a power slam style move.
Keith “Bearcat” Lee defeated Cedric Alexander in 2:30.
After the match, Benjamin teased sneaking up on Lee, who caught him. Benjamin backed off and left with Alexander…
Powell’s POV: It’s nice to see Lee getting some creative love. At the same time, Alexander and Benjamin returning to The Hurt Business hasn’t led to them receiving a renewed push.
Footage aired from earlier tonight of Dominik telling his father “you’ve got this” regarding the Triple Threat. Austin Theory showed up and asked if they knew where the towels were located. Theory asked for a selfie with Rey, then asked Dom to take the photo. Dom said he’s not a photographer and this wasn’t Theory’s locker room. Theory challenged Dom to a match that Dom accepted. Dom told his father that he would handle the match on his own… Dominik Mysterio made his entrance… [C]
6. Austin Theory vs. Dominik Mysterio. Theory’s entrance was televised. Theory performed a nice backbreaker for a two count. Theory went for a suplex, but Dom countered into an inside cradle for a two count of his own. Dom performed a middle rope bulldog. Theory came back with his ATL finisher and scored the pin.
Austin Theory defeated Dominik Mysterio in 2:55.
After the match, Theory took a selfie while posing next to Dom. The referee scolded Theory, who then took a selfie with the referee…
Powell’s POV: This was fine and the right guy went over. But even with all the new faces coming over in the draft, the show already feels routine rather than fresh and new.
Backstage, Riddle rambled about Halloween costumes until Randy Orton cut him off. Orton said their challengers are former Smackdown Tag Champions and tried to get Riddle to take them seriously. Riddle told a cornball joke about cleaning up Roode and Ziggler because they are the Dirty Dawgs. The duo made their entrance… [C]
A Veer video package aired and listed him as coming to Raw…
Powell’s POV: So Veer is coming to the same brand that he was on prior to the draft? What?
Ziggler and Roode made their entrance was televised while the broadcast team recapped their Triple Threat win from earlier in the show.
[Hour Three] Mike Rome delivered introductions from ringside once both teams were inside the ring…
7. “RKBro” Randy Orton and Riddle vs. “The Dirty Dawgs” Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode for the Raw Tag Titles. A loud RKBro chant broke out before the match. Riddle went for a kick from the apron, but Roode blocked it and dumped him on the ringside floor. [C] The challengers isolated Riddle until he tagged in Orton. Oddly, the heel duo cut off Orton’s offense quickly and then isolated him. Riddle took a hot tag and missed a kick, but then he regrouped and worked over both challengers. Orton dropped Roode with an RKO and then took a superkick from Ziggler. Riddle and Ziggler traded near falls. Riddle caught Ziggler in a cradle and scored the pin…
“RKBro” Randy Orton and Riddle defeated “The Dirty Dawgs” Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode in 11:40 to retain the Raw Tag Titles.
Powell’s POV: The back to back isolation of the babyfaces was strange and slowed things down, but RKBro is over enough that the crowd never completely checked out.
After the broadcast team recapped the opening segment, Kevin Patrick interviewed Seth Rollins in the backstage area. Patrick pointed out that Rollins would be in a ladder match just days after being in a Hell in a Cell match. He asked if Rollins feels like he has a target on his back. Rollins said of course he does. He said he’s the biggest threat to the champion and everyone knows it. Rollins said he is the next WWE Champion… [C]
Big E, Queen Zelina, and Damian Priest were advertised for Raw Talk… Another batch of Houston imagery was shown… Footage aired from the Goldberg vs. Bobby Lashley match from WWE Crown Jewel… A social media post from Lashley was shown. He declared that Raw is still his show and no one can touch him…
A contract for a title shot was shown hanging above the ring as the prize for the ladder match. Mysterio, Owens, and Balor made their entrances… [C]
Becky Lynch vs. Bianca Belair for the Raw Women’s Championship was announced for next week’s Raw in Providence, Rhode Island… Seth Rollins made his entrance…
Powell’s POV: It’s nice to see them advertise a big match a week out. Now they have to actually deliver the match, which tends to be an issue with WWE (see tonight’s advertised Raw Tag Title match).
8. Seth Rollins vs. Kevin Owens vs. Rey Mysterio vs. Finn Balor in a four-way ladder match for a shot at the WWE Championship. All four men ended up at ringside during the opening minute. Owens ran a ladder into Rollins and Balor. Mysterio dove at Owens, who held up the ladder. Owens returned to the ring and tried to set up a ladder. Balor cut him off.
Owens powerbombed Balor onto a ladder that was leaning against the bottom rope. Rollins returned to the ring and was superkicked by Owens. Rollins ended up on the ladder. Owens went up top and performed a swanton that Rollins avoided, causing Owens to crash onto the ladder. [C]
Owens pulled a table out from underneath the ring and set it up on the floor. Balor fought Owens, and then Rollins performed a suicide dive onto both men. Rollins returned to the ring and fought with Mysterio, who got the better of him. Owens returned to the ring. Mysterio put Owens in position for a 619, but Rollins tripped Mysterio from the floor.
Rey sent Rollins to ringside, then delivered a 619 style kick that drove a ladder into the face of Owens at ringside. Mysterio essentially rode a ladder onto Owens at ringside. Rollins and Mysterio fought until Balor performed a flip dive onto them heading into the final break. [C]
Owens caught Mysterio at ringside and powerbombed him through the table on the floor. Owens rolled back inside the ring and made a play for the contract, but Rollins cut him off (it seemed like Owens had more than enough time to grab the contract).
Moments later, Rollins backdropped Owens from the ring onto a ladder that was leaning over the apron and the barricade. Balor went for the contract, but Rollins pulled him down and then Stomped him. Rollins climbed the ladder and pulled the contract down to win the match…
Seth Rollins defeated Kevin Owens, Rey Mysterio, and Finn Balor in a four-way ladder match in 22:15 to earn a future WWE Championship match.
After the match, Big E made his entrance. Rollins met him in the aisle and said all is fair in love and war. Rollins offered Big E a handshake, but Big E passed. Rollins laughed and headed to the stage with his contract while Big E applauded him. “I’ll see you soon,” Rollins told Big E. The broadcast team recapped highlights from the match. Big E said Rollins would never get what’s his…
The broadcast team hyped the Lynch vs. Belair match for the Raw Women’s Championship for next week’s Raw…
Backstage, Sarah Schreiber spoke with Rollins, who said it’s Monday Night Rollins because it’s his show. Rollins said he is the next WWE Champion because he is a visionary and he is Seth “Freaking” Rollins. A graphic listed the Raw Talk guests while a clip of Rollins pulling down the contract was shown to end the show…
Powell’s POV: All four men worked hard and the match had more than enough big stunt spots. Rollins being the only heel in the match and the guy who had the only post commercial break made him the favorite to win. It was nice that the match wrapped up before the top of the hour rather than conveniently ending just seconds before the end of the show for a change.
Overall, the season premiere felt like business as usual only with some new faces coming over from Smackdown. If you watch both shows, the new faces really don’t feel all that fresh. The problem with Raw isn’t the wrestlers, it’s the creative and the formula feel. Here’s hoping that something changes with this new cast of characters, but seeing is believing. I will have more to say about Raw in my weekly same night audio review for Dot Net Members. Let me know what you thought of the show by grading it below.