By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
WWE Raw (Episode 1,534)
Live from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma at Paycom Center
Aired October 17, 2022 on USA Network
[Hour One] The show had a cold open with Bobby Lashley in the middle of speaking while standing in the middle of the ring. Lashley called out Brock Lesnar for a fight. Lesnar made his entrance while the broadcast team of Kevin Patrick and Corey Graves checked in.
Lashley and Lesnar fought at ringside. Lesnar hoisted up Lashley, who slipped away and shoved him into the ring post. Lashley followed up by spearing Lesnar through the barricade in front of the timekeepers area. Lashley was mobbed by a group of wrestlers, security and referees. Lashley blew him off and tackled Lesnar, causing both men to tumble over the broadcast table.
Both wrestlers stood up. Lashley picked up Lesnar and performed a spinebuster that drove Lesnar through the broadcast table. A “Bobby” chant broke out while security tried to get Lashley to stand down. Lashley was censored as he barked at the wrestlers and security to stay away from him. Lesnar sat up next to the ringside barricade and the show cut to an early commercial… [C]
Powell’s POV: Lesnar dominated Lashley last week, and Lashley got to return the favor so far tonight. I enjoy the cold opens that the company has been using more often lately, as it’s a nice change from the formula opening approach on a weekly basis.
Patrick and Graves recapped highlights from the Lashley and Lesnar brawl and then hyped upcoming matches and segments… Ring announcer Mike Rome handled introductions for the opening match…
1. Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson (w/AJ Styles) vs. “Alpha Academy” Chad Gable and Otis. Graves stated that Gallows and Anderson have been competing around the globe since leaving WWE. Graves also hyped the Pick Your Poison matches for Tuesday’s NXT (which runs head-to-head with AEW Dynamite). Anderson was dumped to ringside. While the referee was caught up with Otis and Gallows, Gable ran Anderson’s shoulder into the ring post. [C]
Anderson was isolated for a stretch and then put Gable down with a spinebuster. Gallows tagged in and then joined Anderson in performing the Magic Killer on Gable. Gallows covered Gable and got the three count. Graves said the duo picked up right where they left off in WWE.
Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson defeated “Alpha Academy” Chad Gable and Otis in 8:20.
After the match, “The Judgment Day” faction of Finn Balor, Rhea Ripley, Dominik Mysterio, and Damian Priest walked out and stood on the stage. Balor mocked the “too sweet” routine and said nobody has seen that before. Balor reminded everyone that he “started this stupid little club.” Balor said he made them and will break them. Balor challenged the trio to a six-man tag match at WWE Crown Jewel.
AJ Styles got a mic and accepted the match. Styles said he couldn’t understand why everyone talks from a distance. Styles said it was Raw and called for Judgment Day to face them on the spot. “That is unless you three boys have to ask your mother for permission,” Styles taunted.
Dominik told Styles to shut his mouth unless he wants to be like his father Rey Mysterio and go running off to Smackdown because he can’t hang with Judgment Day. Styles called Dom a piece of trash for turning his back on his own father. Styles challenged Dom to face him in a singles match on Raw.
Ripley took the mic and told Styles that Dom would rip him limb from limb. “Are you a man or are you a boy?” Ripley asked Dom. “Do it.” Dom followed her lead and agreed to the match. Styles called for the match to take place on the spot, but Dom said he wasn’t prepared and said they could meet in an hour or so. Styles said he would do to Dom what his father should have done by beating the piss out of him. Styles, Gallows, and Anderson did the too sweet routine…
Patrick hyped Seth Rollins as appearing after the break… [C]
Powell’s POV: Balor sounded like the voice of reason when he mocked the too sweet routine still being a thing all these years later. Meanwhile, I got a big kick out of the way that Ripley manipulated Dom into taking the match.
Oklahoma sports imagery was shown… A video package recapped Seth Rollins beating Bobby Lashley to win the U.S. Championship on last week’s season premiere of Raw…
Seth Rollins made his entrance dressed in a red suit and pointed at the U.S. Title belt around his waist. Rollins introduced himself and then told the haters they could kiss his behind. He said that the people who always believed in him could do what they’ve always done by singing his song. Some fans chanted his entrance theme. Rollins told them that they sounded beautiful.
Rollins said it was a historic night because it was the first defense in what would become the greatest U.S. Championship run of all-time. Rollins said he would wipe the mat with Matt Riddle’s face in the show’s main event. Rollins said he would clear up “the miscommunication that was Extreme Rules.”
Rollins said it was a strategic move when he tapped out to Riddle in their Fight Pit match. He said he did it for the fans so that he would be in prime condition when he challenged Bobby Lashley for the U.S. Championship on Raw two nights later.
Mustafa Ali made his entrance dressed in non-wrestling attire. Ali congratulated Rollins and then added that he was waiting for Rollins to give a shout out to Brock Lesnar for the assist. Ali recalled Lashley telling him that he would be next in line for a championship opportunity. Ali entered the ring and said the champion changed, but his challenge remains the same.
Ali said he wants to fight Rollins for the U.S. Title. Rollins cackled. Rollins if he looked like Lashley. Rollins told Ali he’d have to go to the back of the line because he had to focus on Riddle tonight. Rollins told Ali that he could party with the new champion or get out of the ring because he didn’t belong there with him.
Ali removed Rollins’ shades from his face and told him it’s not going down like that. Ali said Rollins was looking at his next freakin’ problem. Ali said he wasn’t going anywhere and wants to fight for the title. Rollins said he likes and respects Ali and called him “one of the best performers we have here in WWE.” Rollins said people may not know it, but Ali is an even better human being. Rollins said Ali is a great friend and father.
Rollins threw a cheap shot punch at Ali and then threw him out of the ring. Rollins laughed and then exited the ring. “Problem solved,” Rollins said before cackling. Ali attacked Rollins from behind. Rollins hit Ali with a shot to the throat and then ran his head into the ring post. Rollins picked up his title belt and then headed to the stage…
JBL’s limo was shown pulling into the backstage parking area… [C]
Powell’s POV: The last time we saw JBL’s limo was when Happy Corbin climbed inside the vehicle. That was also the last time that we’ve seen Corbin on television. Anyway, the angle with Rollins and Ali was good, and Ali took a really good ring post bump. With Rollins claiming he’ll have a record long reign and then creating an enemy in Ali, it should leave viewers wondering if he will drop the title in his first television title defense. By the way, a DirecTV ad aired for Impact Wrestling during the commercial break. And then the screen froze for a few second on the Impact logo. And it was definitely a DirecTV ad because the DirecTV channel number for AXS-TV was listed.
“Damage CTRL” Bayley, Dakota Kai, and Iyo Sky made their entrance. Patrick recapped highlights of Candice LeRae’s upset win over Bayley on last week’s Raw followed by the post match beatdown and Bianca Belair then being outnumbered when she tried to make the save. LeRae and Belair then made separate entrances…
2. WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions Dakota Kai and Iyo Sky vs. Raw Women’s Champion Bianca Belair and Candice LeRae in a non-title match. Bayley sat in on commentary for the match. Bayley said she once admired LeRae and said she watched LeRae’s matches before she got into wrestling, but she said LeRae’s twenty years in the business don’t matter now that she is on her show. Belair and LeRae cleared the champions from the ring. [C]
Belair tried to tag out, but Kai grabbed her braid. Sky went after LeRae, who fought her off, and then Belair broke free and made the tag. LeRae stepped on the back of Kai and then performed a senton onto the back of Sky. Fun spot. LeRae went to the ropes and was distracted by Sky, allowing Kai to pull LeRae down. The champions isolated LeRae.
[Hour Two] Bayley spoke about how she, Kai, and Sky worked all weekend and wondered if LeRae had been home feeding her baby. Belair eventually tagged in and then held up Sky while LeRae performed a missile dropkick from the ropes. Sky landed awkwardly and then Kai ran in and broke up the pin. Kai dumped Belair to ringside. LeRae put Kai down with a Codebreaker.
Bayley stood up from the broadcast table and pulled a kendo stick out from underneath the ring. Belair went after Bayley and took her out. In the ring, Kai and Sky performed a double team move on LeRae that resulted in Kai covering her and getting the three count…
WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions Dakota Kai and Iyo Sky beat Bianca Belair and Candice LeRae in 12:10 in a non-title match.
Powell’s POV: There was nothing particularly memorable about the match, but I like the idea of giving the champions more wins. It would also be nice if the company took the time to build up some actual women’s tag teams and didn’t always go with singles wrestlers who form makeshift teams whenever challengers are needed.
Returning backstage interviewer Cathy Kelley interviewed Matt Riddle, who said he would beat Rollins’ ass in the main event. Riddle ended the interview when he spotted Mustafa Ali. Riddle told Ali that it took a lot of guts for Ali to stand up to Rollins. Riddle said that if he wins the U.S. Title, he would give Ali the opportunity he deserves.
The Miz screamed about his knee. The camera cut to Miz, who was sitting on the ground holding his left knee. Miz told Riddle and Ali that he was looking over his shoulder for Dexter Lumis when he slipped because of a high school dropout janitor. Riddle said it’s a custodial engineer. Riddle and Ali told Miz they would get him some help…
An ad for Friday’s Smackdown focused on Logan Paul appearing, how The Bloodline would respond, and Sky and Kai defending the tag team titles against Raquel Rodriguez and Shotzi. The new Bray Wyatt mask flashed on the screen at the end of the ad… [C]
An ad for the Pick Your Poison matches on NXT were shown again, and then the broadcast team spoke about the matches…
Judgment Day was shown talking backstage. Cora Jade showed up. Finn Balor asked Rhea Ripley if she had everything under control. Ripley said she had it, and then the men left the area. Jade said she couldn’t come up with anyone as ruthless and dominating to face Roxanne Perez. Ripley recalled Jade and Perez being former tag team partners, then said that she and Raquel Rodriguez were once partners. “I’m in,” Ripley said…
WWE Hall of Famer JBL made his entrance. JBL said it took a momentous occasion for the Wrestling God to come back. He said he had an announcement. JBL said he had to apologize first. JBL then explained that he was apologetic for making his announcement in Oklahoma (rather than nearby Texas). JBL also boasted about Texas beating Oklahoma in college football. JBL said Oklahoma could go to the small MAC conference rather than the ACC conference. JBL said he despises Oklahoma and all of its fans.
JBL said he had great news. JBL said Rey Mysterio left Raw. He said it led to the greatest trade since Babe Ruth was traded to The Bronx. JBL introduced Baron Corbin, who walked out with new gear and a hat on. Corbin entered the ring and shook hands with JBL.
JBL said Corbin is two or three times the size of Rey Mysterio. JBL said he asked for competition for Corbin and WWE gave him a former champion and a former Money in the Bank winner. JBL recalled people saying that Dolph Ziggler stole the show, but JBL feels he’s been stealing money. JBL said Ziggler wouldn’t have made the cut in the Attitude Era.
JBL said that after looking around backstage, most of the wrestlers would not have made the cut during the Attitude Era, they would have bought a ticket. JBL put over Corbin as an exception and dubbed him a modern day wrestling god. Dolph Ziggler made his entrance to his shitty entrance theme… [C]
Powell’s POV: I like the attention to detail of sending Raw someone in exchange for Rey Mysterio. Now I hope they’ll take it a step further and come up with an explanation for who is running Raw and Smackdown respectively. As it stands, it feels like Triple H just made the trade himself. And while that’s basically what happened in reality, it would be nice if there were storyline leaders of the brands for times like this and whenever they do the next draft.
3. Baron Corbin vs. Dolph Ziggler. JBL sat in on commentary and continued to tout Corbin as a modern day wrestling god. JBL continued to state that Corbin could have made it in the Attitude Era. Corbin took offensive control and ran Ziggler into the ring steps heading into a break over four minutes into the match. [C]
The crowd chanted “Bum Ass Corbin,” which Corbin sold. JBL called Patrick “Shamrock” on commentary. Patrick responded by saying he enjoys a good shamrock shake (good man!). Ziggler got some offense in and got a two count. JBL said he wasn’t nervous because he’s been working with Corbin, who then came back with a fallaway slam for a two count.
Ziggler came right back with a Zigzag for a two count. JBL said he had absolute confidence in Corbin. Ziggler went for another Zigzag, but Corbin stuffed it and hit the Deep Six for a near fall. Corbin showed frustration. Ziggler came back with another Zigzag for a near fall. Corbin stuffed a superkick and then hit End of Days for the win.
Baron Corbin defeated Dolph Ziggler in 13:35.
After the match, JBL entered the ring and raised Corbin’s arm…
Powell’s POV: Zigzags and Deep Sixes. It was a battle of moves that look like finishers and yet never actually finish matches. Anyway, Corbin’s new gear needs some work, but it is encouraging that he’s going by his name again rather than playing a cliche king character or doing the Happy Corbin routine.
The Miz was shown wincing on a trainer’s table. He told the doctor not to touch his bad knee and then asked him if it was out of place. Byron Saxton entered the room and asked if there was an update as to whether Miz would be able to face Dexter Lumis. Miz said he didn’t think he would be able to compete.
Saxton said a number of members of the custodial staff have come forward to say that they saw Miz pouring water on the floor and it was Miz who put up the wet floor sign. Saxton said the staff said the floor hadn’t been mopped since the night before. Miz acted offended that Saxton thought he was trying to get out of the match with Lumis. Miz said he had a huge lawsuit on his hands.
Johnny Gargano stood in the doorway and yelled, “Oh my God, it’s Dexter Lumis.” Miz jumped to his feet. “My bad, it’s just Byron,” Gargano said. Saxton told Miz it looked like he made a miraculous recovery and could face Lumis after all. Miz said his superior DNA allowed him to heal up quickly, and that’s unfortunate for “he who shall not be named” because he would end up injured…
Patrick hyped a look back at Bray Wyatt’s return to Smackdown and said it left more questions than answers… [C]
Omos and MVP stood backstage dressed in suits. MVP said he was there to celebrate Braun Strowman. MVP sang Strowman’s praises while putting over his size, strength, and ferocity. He said the mention of Strowman’s name strikes fear in ordinary men, but it’s not an issue with Omos. MVP said he and Omos would appear on Smackdown. He said Omos would look down at Strowman and let him know that he fears no man. MVP said monsters aren’t real, but giants are…
Powell’s POV: A nice hook for Smackdown. It’s always baffled me that WWE hasn’t done more crossover hype like this of this over the years. I wonder if it’s happening now because the writing of the shows done further in advance these days, allowing them to actually promote more things in advance.
The broadcast team set up a video package that recapped Bray Wyatt’s return on Smackdown…
AJ Styles was shown talking with Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson in the backstage area. Cameron Grimes showed up and said that he was having issues with The Schism in NXT and could use their help. Gallows asked Styles if Grimes is the millionaire that he told them about. Gallows said that they are “cash-only, brother friendly.” Grimes said that was too sweet and he would see them tomorrow… Patrick hyped Styles vs. Dom for after the break… [C]
Powell’s POV: Will this be the first NXT appearance for Gallows and Anderson? They were sent right to the main roster when they originally signed with WWE. I have a terrible memory, so it’s possible that I’m forgetting a past appearance.
The broadcast team hyped WWE Crown Jewel for two weeks from Saturday and listed the following matches: Roman Reigns vs. Logan Paul for the Undisputed WWE Universal Championship, and Brock Lesnar vs. Bobby Lashley. Graves said he can’t wait to wake up and have his breakfast and watch the sunrise in Riyadh. “Oh my God, it’s beautiful over there,” Graves said.
As The OC made their entrance for the next match, the broadcast team officially announced Styles, Gallows, and Anderson vs. Finn Balor, Damian Priest, and Dom Mysterio for Crown Jewel. Judgment Day made their entrance.
[Hour Three] Ripley stood on the apron and whispered into Dom’s ear before the match…
4. Dominik Mysterio (w/Rhea Ripley, Finn Balor, Damian Priest) vs. AJ Styles (w/Luke Gallows, Karl Anderson). Styles got the better of Dom to start and then jawed at his corner. Ripley distracted Styles was he was at ringside. “Come get me,” Ripley taunted. Dom took advantage of the distraction by diving off the second rope onto Styles on the floor. Styles eventually battled back and tossed Dom into the timekeepers area. [C]
Dom got some offense and then Styles rolled him into a Calf Crusher. Dom reached the ropes to break the hold. Balor pulled Dom to ringside. Gallows and Anderson approached the Judgment Day corner. Styles ran over and hit Dom and got him back inside the ring while the referee tried to keep the peace between the men on the floor. As Styles returned to the ring, Ripley grabbed his foot. When Styles broke free, Dom rolled him into a pin and got the three count…
Dominik Mysterio defeated AJ Styles in 14:30.
Powell’s POV: It felt odd seeing Dom in such a competitive match with Styles. I think the short term money is in Dom being in over his head, yet winning matches in flukey fashion or due to outside interference. And he ultimately did win this match with help from Ripley, but there were also stretches when he got the better of Styles without help from the other Judgment Day members.
The Miz was warming up backstage when Johnny Gargano showed up and said he has known Dexter Lumis for a long time. Gargano said he knows the real story between Miz and Lumis. Gargano said that if Miz wants out of the match, he should tell everyone the truth. Miz said that Lumis would be banned forever once he beats him. Gargano said good luck with that. Miz said he might have a score to settle with Gargano once he finished with Lumis. Gargano said okay and added that Miz can’t say he didn’t warn him… [C]
The broadcast team recapped highlights of the opening segment involving Bobby Lashley and Brock Lesnar…
Dexter Lumis made his entrance. Once Lumis was on the stage, The Miz showed up and slammed a chair over his back. Miz worked over Lumnis with the chair and then performed a Skull Crushing Finale onto the chair. Three referees showed up and checked on Lumis…
Backstage, Byron Saxton interviewed Bayley, Kai, and Sky and asked what’s next. Bayley told him to appreciate what’s happening right in front of his eyes. They asked where Alexa Bliss and Asuka were, then took credit for taking them out. Bayley said Bianca Belair didn’t pin her at Extreme Rules. Bayley said she would show Bianca what it’s like next week when she’s back in control…
Graves hyped Bianca Belair vs. Bayley for next week’s show. The graphic did not include any mention of the Raw Women’s Championship…
A graphic hyped the return of Elias for after the break. Patrick wondered what kind of music Elias would play… [C]
The Miz was walking backstage when Johnny Gargano showed up and told him he made a bad move. Gargano asked if he really thought that was going to stop Dexter Lumis. Gargano asked what’s the worst that could happen if Miz told the truth. Gargano pondered the idea of he and Candice LeRae taking over Miz & Mrs. Gargano pulled out a whistle and said that he would blow the whistle on him if he didn’t tell the truth…
Elias was introduced while he stood in the ring behind a keyboard and had two guitars set up. Elias said it was good to be back and noted that his younger brother’s career was cut tragically short. He said the show must go on. He asked the crowd who wants to walk with Elias and received some cheers.
Elias said he would normally come out and play a song on the guitar, but he wanted to do something special for Oklahoma. He said he wrote a song that he plays on the keyboard. He asked the fans to remain silent because the song chokes him up.
Matt Riddle’s entrance theme played and he came out with bongo drums before a frustrated Elias could perform. “The super group nobody asked for,” Graves said. Once Riddle was in the ring, Elias took issue with him interrupting him on his first night back. Riddle said he wasn’t trying to interrupt him.
Riddle said he’s a huge Elias fan and brought his bongos. “You wanna hit my bong?” Riddle asked. Riddle said everybody knows that WWE means Walk With Elias. He tried to get the fans to chant it and had some success. Elias said he appreciates Riddle and all of his fans.
Elias encouraged Riddle to take a front row seat. Riddle asked if they could play together one day. Elias promised Riddle that one day they would play together. Riddle said he would take his seat, then told Elias that he would be there if he needed anything. Riddle sat down in the ring while Elias played the keyboard. Seth Rollins’ entrance theme interrupted Elias. The broadcast team hyped the U.S. Title match for after the break… [C]
Powell’s POV: Elias is introducing keyboards? The next thing you know he’ll hire Sammy Hagar to be his lead singer and he won’t even have the decency to change the name of his band.
A graphic listed Elias, Baron Corbin, and Damage CTRL for Raw Talk…
5. Seth Rollins vs. Matt Riddle for the U.S. Championship. Mike Rome delivered in-ring introductions for the title match. Elias was still at ringside. Riddle went for a submission hold when the bell rang, but Rollins was able to reach the ropes and went to ringside. Rollins returned and Riddle got the better of him again. Rollins went to the floor and then Riddle followed and hit him.
Back in the ring, Riddle performed a gut-wrench suplex. Rollins fired back with a shot to Riddle’s throat to take offensive control. Rollins used his legs to send Rollins back to ringside. Riddle set up for a springboard move, but Rollins moved before he would execute the move. Rollins jawed at Elias and then shoved him. Elias responded by hitting Rollins with a knee to the head while the referee was tied up with Riddle. Rollins was down going into the final break. [C]
Late in the match, Rollins performed a reverse superplex and then followed up with an inverted DDT style move in the ring for a near fall. Rollins followed up with a top rope dive, but Riddle caught him in the triangle on the way down. In a repeat from Extreme Rules, Rollins powered up Riddle and slammed him to the mat, but Riddle maintained the hold. Rollins powered him up again and slammed him into the corner, then performed a sit-out powerbomb. Riddle maintained the hold, but Rollins put his foot on the ropes to break it.
Rollins rolled to the floor near Elias. Rollins told Elias to hit him. Rollins superkicked Elias. Riddle threw a kick at Rollins from the apron and then threw him back inside the ring where he powerslammed him. Riddle performed a Draping DDT and then struck the Viper’s Pose. Riddle went for an RKO, but Rollins stuffed it and shoved him into Elias, who had just entered the ring. Rollins followed up with a Stomp on Riddle and then pinned him.
Seth Rollins defeated Matt Riddle in 14:50 to retain the U.S. Championship.
After the match, Rollins performed the Stomp on Elias. Graves said Elias may have cost Riddle the U.S. Title. Rollins placed Riddle’s head on the U.S. Title belt and set up for another Stomp. Mustafa Ali ran out and speared Rollins before he could execute the move. Ali ended up sending Rollins to ringside and hit him with a suicide dive. Ali clotheslined Rollins into the front row. Rollins ran away while Ali stood on the barricade and watched. Patrick said Rollins had enemies coming from every angle, but he was still the U.S. Champion…
Powell’s POV: An entertaining match that suffered a bit from Elias being at ringside. Elias had to be there for the story they were telling, but it was hard to take any near falls seriously until he got involved. It’s interesting that Graves blamed Elias for costing Riddle the U.S. Championship. Elias didn’t show any signs of being a heel, but I suppose they’re just one angle away from making that switch.
Overall, this was a solid show that moved at a good pace. They pulled back on the length of the matches. None reached 15 minutes this week. And there were fewer matches than usual too. It remains to be seen if they are working toward settling in on a new formula or if they intend to shake things up from week to week (I hope it’s the latter). I will have more to say about Raw in my weekly same night audio review for Dot Net Members (including our Patreon patrons).
Join us on Tuesday night for our double live reviews of AEW Dynamite and the NXT television show.