By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
WWE Raw (Episode 1,536)
Live from Dallas, Texas at American Airlines Center
Aired October 31, 2022 on USA Network
[Hour One] The Raw opening aired and then pyro shot off on the stage. Halloween colors were used for the Raw logo on the big screen. Kevin Patrick and Corey Graves were on commentary, and Mike Rome was the ring announcer…
Raw Women’s Champion Bianca Belair made her entrance wearing orange gear. The broadcast team hyped upcoming segments and noted that Brock Lesnar and Bobby Lashley would meet face to face. Nikki Cross made her entrance and messed up her hair once she walked onto the stage…
1. Raw Women’s Champion Bianca Belair vs. Nikki Cross in a non-title match. Belair performed a handspring over Cross, who had dropped down on the mat. Belair stood up and did the routine where she slaps her own ass. Cross responded by letting out a maniacal scream.
Cross ended up at ringside. Belair reached out to grab her. Cross pulled the ring apron skirting, causing Belair to trip. Cross threw wild punches at Belair and then trapped her inside the skirting heading into a commercial break. [C]
Cross hopped on the back of Belair and put her in a sleeper hold. Belair fell backwards to the floor to break it. While both women were down, Dakota Kai and Iyo Sky ran out and distracted the referee while Bayley showed up and ran Belair into the ring post.
Cross took out Bayley at ringside. Cross returned to the ring and knocked Sky off the apron, then ran her into the ringside barricade. Cross dove onto Kai. Cross returned to the ring where Belair was waiting. Belair hit the KOD on Cross and pinned her.
Raw Women’s Champion Bianca Belair defeated Nikki Cross in 9:30 in a non-title match.
After the match, Bayley attacked Belair. Cross rolled to the floor, leaving Belair alone with the Damage CTRL trio. Asuka and Alexa Bliss ran out and helped Belair clear the heels from the ring. Bliss performed a dive off the apron onto Bayley, Kai, and Sky…
Powell’s POV: Cross is dressed differently, but she’s working similar to the way she did when she was a member of the Sanity faction in NXT. Graves framed her going after Belair and Damage CTRL as a case of Cross just being out to cause chaos. As such, the jury is still out as to whether she will work as a babyface or a heel. I was actually hoping that Cross would be added to the Crown Jewel match to freshen up the flat Belair vs. Bayley feud. By the way, Happy Halloween. I’m wearing a nudist costume. Okay, not really, but there’s your horrifying thought for the night.
Highlights aired of the two angles that set up Brock Lesnar vs. Bobby Lashley for WWE Crown Jewel. A split-screen shot showed Bobby Lashley on one side and an empty chair in the other. Patrick questioned whether Lesnar would show up… [C]
Cathy Kelley interviewed Belair, Bliss, and Asuka in the backstage area. Bliss said they didn’t want to wait for Crown Jewel. Bliss challenged Kai and Sky to defend the WWE Women’s Tag Team Titles against her and Asuka tonight…
The split screen shot of Lashley and the empty chair was shown. Lashley said he wasn’t surprised that Lesnar didn’t show up. He spoke about how he’s exposed Lesnar in the past and said he would expose him again at WWE Crown Jewel for being a Bobby Lashley wannabe.
Brock Lesnar’s entrance music played and he made his entrance. Graves yelled to Lashley that Lesnar was in the arena. A “Lesnar” chant broke out once he was in the ring. Lesnar greeted the crowd and said he didn’t come to Texas to have a sit-down interview with Lashley, who was shown on the big screen.
Lesnar, who wore a Megadeth t-shirt, said that when he visits the good folks of Texas, he wants to do what they would normally do, which is fight. Lashley was shown exiting his interview area while Lesnar called for him to come out and get his ass beaten.
Lashley made his entrance and removed his suit jacket on the stage. Lesnar left the ring and tackled Lashley in the entrance aisle. Triple H, wrestlers, security, and referees ran out and pulled them apart. Lesnar broke free and ran past Triple H to get to Lashley on the stage. Lashley was pushed backstage. Triple H told a referee to inform that their fight would be off if they touched one another…
Patrick hyped Seth Rollins vs. Austin Theory for after the break… [C]
Powell’s POV: A simple and effective segment between Lesnar and Lashley. There wasn’t much physicality and they event kept the pull apart pretty basic. They gave viewers a taste and ideally left them wanting to see more.
Photos of fans dressed up as the Three Faces of Foley for Halloween were shown. They previously showed a picture of a girl dressed up like Bianca Belair… Dallas area imagery was shown… The broadcast team recapped the Lesnar and Lashley pull apart brawl…
Austin Theory made his entrance. A pre-taped Theory promo aired. Theory boasted about taking out Mustafa Ali last week. Theory also took issue with Rollins stating on commentary last week that he is not a threat to him. Rollins made his entrance…
2. U.S. Champion Seth Rollins vs. Austin Theory in a non-title match. Rollins went for an early Pedigree, but Theory escaped and rolled to ringside. Rollins ran after him. Theory entered the ring. Rollins teased returning and stopped, causing Theory to miss with an elbow drop.
Rollins took the fight back to ringside and ended up draping Theory over the barricade. Rollins hopped onto the broadcast table and played to the crowd. Rollins leapt from the table and dropped a knee over the back of Theory. Moments later, Theory took control and ran Rollins into the broadcast table and the ring steps. [C]
The broadcast team announced that the WWE Women’s Tag Team Title match that was proposed earlier had been made official. Rollins clotheslined Theory over the top rope to the floor. The crowd chanted Rollins’ entrance music while he performed a suicide dive onto Theory. Rollins returned to the ring and performed the move a second time.
Rollins, who has blond highlights in his hair, set up for a third suicide dive, but Theory returned to the ring and cut him off. Rollins performed a falcon arrow for a near fall. Rollins performed a springboard flying knee and a superkick and then covered Theory for another near fall.
Theory stuffed a Pedigree and rolled up Rollins for a two count. They traded pin attempts for repeated two counts. When they stood up, Theory blasted Rollins with a punch and then slammed Rollins over his knee for a good near fall. Theory hoisted up Rollins for his finisher, but Rollins escaped and hit him with an enzuigiri. Theory came right back with standing Blockbuster for a near fall. Theory showed frustration.
Theory stood over Rollins and talked smack before going for his finisher. Rollins blasted Theory with elbows to avoid the move. Rollins ran the ropes and Theory hoisted him up, but Rollins slipped out and hit a rolling elbow. Theory threw a superkick and knocked Rollins down with a superkick. “Good God, what a match this is,” Graves exclaimed.
Theory talked more smack and then went for a Pedigree that Rollins stuffed by tossing Theory into the air. Once Theory hit the mat, Rollins ran the ropes and delivered a stomp before pinning him clean…
U.S. Champion Seth Rollins defeated Austin Theory in 14:40 in a non-title match.
An SUV was shown arriving in the parking area. Roman Reigns and Paul Heyman exited the vehicle… [C]
Powell’s POV: What Graves said. That was a gem. It felt like the Theory character became a man. He’s no longer the doofus that sucked up to Vince McMahon. Theory gained a lot in defeat, as it now feels like he can hang with a main event level player in Rollins. The first hour of Raw has already been a major upgrade over last week’s disappointing show.
Patrick and Graves announced the “breaking news” that Bray Wyatt will appear on the WWE Crown Jewel show…
Undisputed WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns made his entrance along with Paul Heyman. Photos were shown of fans dressed up like The Bloodline. Graves said they weren’t quite Ucey enough.
[Hour Two] A light “Ucey” chant broke out once Reigns and Heyman were inside the ring. Reigns turned and looked to the crowd. Funny. Reigns held out his hand and then Heyman slipped him the mic. Reigns told Dallas to acknowledge him.
Reigns told the fans not to worry. He said he had Sammy Zayn and Jey Uso out in the world, working on becoming a little more Ucey. Reigns said that by the time they were done in Saudi Arabia, the fans should see an Ucey righthand man in Jey Uso.
Reigns said that was enough of the Ucey talk. He said he wanted to be real with the fans. He said that for over two years, he’s hyped opponents, but the only thing that happens is they get to the match and they get smashed. Reigns said he didn’t want people to think he’s dishonest.
“Let’s be honest, I”m the greatest of all-time,” Reigns said. “And I’m going against a guy who’s had two matches.” Reigns said he wouldn’t hype up a match with an outsider. “But the wise man will,” Reigns said before handing Heyman the mic.
Heyman introduced himself. He said Logan Paul has steel screws inserted into the hand that he hopes to throw one lucky punch with. Heyman also noted that Logan had been training with Shawn Michaels. Heyman said Logan would still get smashed by Reigns. Heyman said that if there’s one thing that Reigns can’t tolerate on the Island of Relevancy, it’s an outsider.
The Miz’s entrance music interrupted Heyman. The Miz made his entrance and entered the ring. Miz called Reigns his Tribal Chief and acknowledged him. Miz said no one in WWE knows Logan Paul better than him because he brought him into WWE. Miz said Paul has pins in his hand that give him knockout power.
Miz said he’s had to deal with a deranged stalker. He said that if Reigns helps him before his match with Mustafa Ali, then he would help Reigns with Logan Paul. Reigns asked if Miz was trying to cut a deal. Reigns said he had a question first. Miz said he could because it’s his ring. “I think I like this guy,” Reigns said.
Reigns asked Miz why everyone keeps talking about Logan Paul knocking him out. Reigns hit Miz with a Superman Punch and then finished his thought by saying when they should be talking about him knocking Logan out. Reigns said once he does, they won’t have any choice but to acknowledge him. Reigns left the ring and barked into the camera that no man can knock him out… [C]
Powell’s POV: A fun segment with Reigns and Heyman continuing to play up the one lucky punch theme. It was also fun to see Miz’s attempt to suck up to Reigns blow up in his face.
The Miz was shown icing his jaw on a backstage trainer’s table. Cathy Kelley informed Miz that Johnny Gargano sat down with a tell-all interview with Byron Saxton that would air later in the show. Miz said the story should not air unless it is verified by multiple sources. Miz threatened WWE with a defamation lawsuit that would make Johnny Depp and Amber Heard cringe.
Mustafa Ali entered the room while Kelly made her exit. Ali said it was a shame they couldn’t have their match. Ali said almost everything is bigger in Texas while looking down at Miz’s balls. Miz told him not to say it. Ali blurted out that Miz has tiny balls…
“The Judgment Day” Rhea Ripley, Finn Balor, Dominik Mysterio, and Damian Priest made their entrance. Ripley was shown whispering into the ear of Dom. Graves said he couldn’t verify it, but Dom is rumored to be like the Pete Davidson of WWE. A photo was shown of a girl dressed like Ripley for Halloween.
Powell’s POV: Forget about the EST, Dom is the BDE of WWE.
“The OC” AJ Styles, Karl Anderson, and Luke Gallows made their entrance. A photo was shown of a man dressed like Styles for Halloween…
3. Damian Priest (w/Rhea Ripley, Finn Balor, Dominik Mysterio) vs. Karl Anderson (w/AJ Styles, Luke Gallows). The match spilled over to ringside. Anderson pointed at Dom, who backed off. When Anderson turned back to Priest, Dom tried to sneak up on Anderson, who hit him. Priest dropped Anderson with a big boot. [C]
Anderson avoided Priest going for a move in the corner and then went on the offensive. Anderson put Priest down and then performed a senton. Anderson followed up with a spinebuster for a two count.
Anderson went up top and was distracted by Ripley, who climbed onto the apron. Anderson leapt toward Priest, who caught him and slammed him to the mat. Priest played to the crowd and then set up for his finisher, but Anderson countered into a backslide and got the pin.
Karl Anderson beat Damian Priest in 7:25.
After the match, the Judgment Day members attacked Anderson, which brought in the other OC members. Gallows put Dom down. Ripley entered the ring and hit Gallows with a low blow. Ripley taunted Styles and Anderson, who were then hit from behind by her allies. Priest performed a Razor’s Edge on Styles, and then Balor hit a Coup De Grace on Anderson. Dom went up top and played to a booing crowd before hitting a frog splash on Styles…
Powell’s POV: I still think of Kerry Von Erich beating Ric Flair at Texas Stadium whenever I see a backslide finish. The post match angle was effective in putting more heat on The Judgment Day heading into the six-man tag match at Crown Jewel.
MVP cut a backstage promo while standing next to Omos. MVP said Braun Strowman can flip over all the trucks he wants, but he’ll never measure up to Omos. MVP said Strowman will find out at Crown Jewel or maybe even sooner. MVP said he’s coming to Smackdown and lined up a little surprise for Strowman…
JBL made his entrance while Patrick hyped JBL and Baron Corbin for after the break… [C]
JBL played to the Texas crowd while dropping a bunch of sports references. He also mentioned the Von Erichs and Steve Austin and said the greatness of Texas has been immeasurable until the snowflakes came along and ruined it.
JBL said the millennials and their enablers ruined it. He said Halloween is their day because they teach children to go door to door begging. JBL told the crowd that none of them should be allowed to refer to themselves as a Texan. JBL told the fans to get up on their snowflake little feet and put their chubby little woke hands together for Wrestling God Baron Corbin.
Corbin made his entrance wearing his bad hat, a couple of chain necklaces, and a tiger jumpsuit for reasons that only make sense to him. Corbin told the fans that they are lucky to be in the presence of a modern day wrestling god.
Corbin thanked the fans for scraping together their last few dollars to pay to see him in the flesh. He said they probably had to put in a few extra hours at the factory or whatever farm they work at, but it just shows how much they love him. Corbin said “the truth is…” and was interrupted.
R-Truth made his entrance in cowboy attire and had a stuffed horse between his legs (shut up, Mojo). Once R-Truth entered the ring, JBL called him a buffoon and told him that he looked ridiculous. Truth said he just wanted to wish Dallas a happy Halloween.
Truth added that he wanted to tell JBL and Corbin that he liked their Halloween costumes. JBL said they weren’t wearing costumes. Truth said JBL was dressed like an angry, out of touch old man. Corbin tried to take a cheap shot at Truth, who ducked it. Truth put Corbin down, but then got distracted by JBL throwing his hat at him. Corbin took advantage and put Truth down with End of Days…
The broadcast team hyped the Trick or Street Fight match as coming up next… [C]
Powell’s POV: JBL and Corbin continue to lack chemistry. The JBL act is tried and true. It’s on Corbin and/or the creative forces to come up with something better for Corbin that actually meshes with what JBL is trying to sell.
A graphic listed “WWE Investigates – Johnny Gargano Tell All Interview” while Patrick hyped the segment for later in the show…
Bayley was shown talking with Nikki Cross while Iyo Sky and a fearful Dakota Kai were shown in the background. Cross left the area…
Matt Riddle made his entrance and brought Elias out with him. Riddle dressed up like Ezekiel for Halloween. Yikes. There were pumpkins placed around the ring apron and CGI spiders were shown when Riddle kicked off his flip flops.
Chad Gable made his entrance wearing a white robe, a blond wig, and a bowtie. Gable said he was dressed up like Patrick Swayze. Otis made his entrance and wore the same costume minus the wig in a tribute to the classic Saturday Night Live skit. They posed on the stage and then headed to the ring…
4. Matt Riddle (w/Elias) vs. Otis (w/Chad Gable) in a Trick or Street Fight. Riddle avoided a charging Otis and sent him crashing into a skeleton set up on the ring post. Riddle performed a Floating Bro onto Otis and Gable. Graves told viewers to stick around while assuring them that it was going to get weirder. [C]
[Hour Three] The ring was covered with candy. Otis put Riddle down. Gable stood on the ropes and told Otis “one night only.” Otis did the Caterpillar spot. A short time later, Riddle avoided a second rope splash. Elias put a pumpkin over the head of Otis. Riddle performed a terrible RKO on Otis and pinned him…
Matt Riddle defeated Otis in 7:40 in a Trick or Street Fight.
Powell’s POV: Vince McMahon probably has a tear in his eye if he’s watching this sports entertainment silliness. By the way, it’s hard to blame Riddle and Otis for the bad RKO given that Otis had a freaking pumpkin on his head.
Backstage, Bayley tried to fire up Sky and Kai about their tag team title match while also saying that she would win the Raw Women’s Championship on Saturday…
The Miz made his entrance for the match with Ali. Miz held his jaw to sell the Superman Punch from earlier in the show… An ad for Friday’s Smackdown spotlighted the Gunther vs. Rey Mysterio for the Intercontinental Championship, and Uncle Howdy… [C]
Patrick hyped that Big E will introduce the NASCAR Championship Weekend… Mustafa Ali made his entrance…
5. Mustafa Ali vs. The Miz. Miz ducked early punches and kicks to avoid having his jaw hit. He eventually pulled Ali into a turnbuckle pad and went on the offensive. Ali came back with a rolling neckbreaker for a two count. Ali went up top for his 450 splash finisher. Miz rolled out of the way and Ali rolled through, but Miz dropped Ali with a kick once he was back on his feet. Miz ran Ali into the opposite corner heading into a break. [C]
The match spilled over to ringside. Dexter Lumis reached over the barricade and tried to choke Miz, who escaped. Lumis ran away from security. A distracted Miz returned to the ring and ate a superkick from Ali, who followed up with a 450 splash and scored the pin…
Mustafa Ali beat The Miz in 10:05.
The broadcast team hyped the Gargano interview for after the break… [C]
Powell’s POV: The crowd was really quiet for Ali during his entrance. They warmed up a bit to him by the end of the match, but he still hasn’t connected. It’s going to take more than a distraction win over Miz to change that. By the way, I believe this is the third week in a row that Impact Wrestling has had multiple ads air on DirecTV during Raw.
A photo of WWE fans dressed as the Firefly Funhouse characters for Halloween was shown…More Dallas imagery was shown…
A “WWE Investigates” video aired. Byron Saxton hosted the segment and labeled Johnny Gargano as a whistleblower. Footage aired of Saxton’s interview with Gargano, who recapped the story of Dexter Lumis marrying “a member of my NXT family.”
Gargano said the family fell apart and Dexter lost his job. There were campy reenactment videos. Gargano said Miz took advantage of Lumis, who had fallen on hard times. Gargano played a recording of Miz speaking with Lumis that he said was recorded on the night that Gargano debuted on Raw.
The audio clip included Miz telling a silent Lumis that he was a little snug with the sleeper hold. Miz said he thought it was working and that people were actually buying it. Miz said he would pay Lumis half upfront and the other half once the job was done. Gargano said he believed Miz was paying Lumis to stage the attacks.
Gargano said Miz is a celebrity wannabe who craves attention. He said celebrities call the paparazzi on themselves all the time. Gargano said Miz wanted attention and called it disgusting and vile. Footage aired of Lumis dragging away Miz. Gargano pointed out that Miz was barely putting up a fight, and a graphic listed Miz as a bad actor.
Gargano asked what better way to play the victim than to orchestrate your own downfall. He said Miz was never going to beat Bobby Lashley, so he came up with a way out. Gargano said he believes Miz stopped paying Lumis, who is now going after him until he gets what he’s owed. Saxton said it was a shocking development and thanked him for his time…
Graves told Patrick that he wasn’t buying a word of what Gargano said. He said Miz should hire an attorney. Graves and Patrick read through the WWE Crown Jewel lineup…
Powell’s POV: Forget Johnny Wrestling. Heck, forget Johnny Comedy from last week. He’s quickly becoming Johnny Campy. They need to get him away from the Miz and Lumis story ASAP. I don’t mind the story they came up with and the spoof video had its moments, but this just isn’t what I want to see from Gargano on the main roster.
Bianca Belair, Asuka, and Alexa Bliss made their entrance. Photos of WWE fans dressed as Asuka and Bliss were shown… [C] Damage CTRL made their entrance and then Mike Rome delivered in-ring introductions for the title match…
6. Dakota Kai and Iyo Sky (w/Bayley) vs. Asuka and Alexa Bliss (w/Bianca Belair) for the WWE Women’s Tag Team Titles. Patrick noted that the referee was Shawn Bennett. Bliss was isolated by the champions early on. Asuka eventually tagged in and threw a series of strikes at Kai before putting her down with a German suplex. Asuka tried to tag out, but Kai pulled her down by the hair and then tagged in Sky.
Asuka and Sky looked at one another and got some cheers before they went at it. The challengers made a couple of quick tags. All four women ended up at ringside. Asuka threw a kick at Sky, who was pulled out of the way, causing Asuka to kick the ring post. Sky performed a dragon screw leg whip on Asuka, leaving both babyfaces down on the floor. [C]
Late in the match, Asuka caught Sky in the Asuka Lock, but Bayley distracted the referee. Belair took out Bayley at ringside. Kai and Asuka traded kicks. Belair picked up Bayley and placed her on a platform that was set up next to the timekeepers area. Bayley pulled Belair’s braid, then performed a Bayley to Belly that drove Belair through a table on the floor. The crowd’s “holy shit” chants were censored again (ugh).
Bliss ran Kai into the ring steps. Sky threw a kick at Bliss from the apron. Sky went up top and went for a moonsault on Asuka, who moved. Bliss tagged in and hit Twisted Bliss on Sky and scored the three count…
Asuka and Alexa Bliss defeated Dakota Kai and Iyo Sky in 18:30 to win the WWE Women’s Tag Team Titles.
Powell’s POV: The match was fine and the live crowd popped for seeing a title change, but it all still had a lukewarm feel to it. Raquel Rodriguez and Aliyah won the tournament to win the vacant titles on August 29, and the titles have already changed since since then. Perhaps there’s a reason behind the title change, but it felt rather random in the moment.
Overall, this was a better show that last week, though it definitely peaked in hour one. I liked the Halloween themed logos and graphics, and the photos of fans dressed as WWE wrestlers for the holiday. I will return later tonight with my weekly same night audio review of Raw for Dot Net Members (including our Patreon patrons).
Join me for live coverage of WWE Crown Jewel on Saturday.