Thu, Dec 12, 2019

The annual Survivor Series event is a mere six days out now, and with that, Monday’s edition of Raw from the TD Garden in Boston served as the go-home show for the red brand as it readies for battle against SmackDown and NXT. On what was another Monday night offering that brought it with the action in the ring, the brand supremacy focus was turned up to 11 as the stars of Raw, SmackDown and now NXT — who again were presented as more than a viable threat to the “main roster” competitors — get ready to find out who stands atop the WWE pecking order in Chicago. 

Also on Monday, amid all of the brand supremacy chaos, the WWE championship program for Survivor Series featuring Brock Lesnar and Rey Mysterio took an interesting turn that should have fans looking forward to this David vs. Goliath matchup even more so than they have been in recent weeks. We also learned that Samoa Joe has one bright future ahead of him on commentary when his incredible in-ring days come to a close for good. 

Let’s take a look now at everything that went down during Raw on Monday night in Boston as Survivor Series looms right ahead on Sunday. 

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Triple H welcomes the fight

Becky Lynch was out to kick off the Survivor Series go-home edition of Raw in Boston. She told Bayley and Shayna Baszler that she doesn’t “give a bollocks” about brand supremacy (see, Becky gets it), and that if they wanted to fight, there’s no need to wait until Survivor Series, they could do it right here in Boston. The IIconics interrupted, pointing out how they’d been left off the Raw women’s team for Survivor Series. Charlotte Flair then entered the picture, revealing herself to be captaining the women’s team for the flagship at Survivor Series on Sunday. As Flair was entering the ring for the scheduled tag team match while jawing with Lynch, Samoa Joe’s music hit as he joined the commentary team in place of the absent Dio Maddin. 

Charlotte Flair & Becky Lynch def. The IIconics via submission: In a fairly quick bout, Flair made Billie Kay tap to the Figure Eight. Post-match, Shayna Baszler, Marina Shafir and Jessamyn Duke hit the ring and attacked The IIconics. Flair and Lynch hightailed it back to the ring, but the Horsewomen were able to fight them off before retreating through the crowd. Flair and Lynch tried to give chase but were stopped by security, which resulted in Lynch hilariously punching out one of the security team members. 

Seth Rollins def. Andrade via disqualification: The match to determine the captainship of Team Raw on Sunday ended abruptly after Lucha House Party — yes, Kalisto, Gran Metalik and Lince Dorado — invaded on behalf of SmackDown and attacked Rollins on the outside. They then turned their attention toward Andrade in the ring, but he and Rollins were able to fight off the unlikely invaders from the blue brand. 

Triple H was shown arriving backstage, once again at the head of a cavalry of luxury SUVs, his NXT army in tow. 

Kevin Owens vs. Drew McIntyre ended in a no contest: Owens and McIntyre were in the midst of an incredible television match when Triple H interrupted. Back from commercial, Triple H was in the ring with Owens as NXT stars The Forgotten Sons, Damian Priest and Dominik Dijakovic stood on the ramp. Triple H, as with Rollins a few weeks ago, did his best to recruit his former NXT champion back to the black and gold side. As he was pointing out how members of the Raw roster were not coming out to help him, a group of Raw stars did emerge to battle the NXT stars led by Cedric Alexander and Ricochet. As the melee ensued on the outside, The Undisputed Era blindsided and beat down Owens in the ring as Adam Cole and Triple H appeared to be arguing. The OC came out for the save as the NXT stars went into retreat mode through the fans. 

Randy Orton cut a backstage promo where he said he only plays well with others when it benefits him. Orton stated he heard The Viking Raiders were looking for a fight after Zack Ryder & Curt Hawkins were taken out of their scheduled title match following an earlier beating at the hands of the Authors of Pain backstage, and said that he’ll be out in that ring later for a fight with a partner of his choosing — one that benefits him. 

Raw Tag Team Championship — The Viking Raiders (c) vs. Randy Orton & Ricochet ended in a no contest: During the match, cameras panned backstage where a SmackDown group of Dolph Ziggler, Bobby Roode and Cesaro were beating down Raw stars. Later in the match, a slew of SmackDown stars rushed the ring and attacked all four competitors competing in the tag title bout. This brought out the NXT crew to join the brawl. Eventually, even more NXT and Raw stars — led by Seth Rollins — made their way through the crowd as NXT eventually won the numbers game. They cut to the Gorilla position where Triple H said they will finish this on Sunday and show that NXT is the superior brand. He also issued an invitation to close the show, saying the doors to NXT will be wide open this Wednesday, and that Raw and SmackDown can bring everything they have. 

Did you expect the Survivor Series go-home Raw to conclude in any other fashion? At this point, it’s kind of played out to push the brand supremacy narrative every year when these guys and gals really don’t have much incentive to care, but it’s simply become tradition we’re forced to deal with. Even with heavier SmackDown inclusion this week, the primary focus continued to be pushed toward NXT with the new television show needing to draw ratings on USA every Wednesday, and it was a nice touch to end the show with the cliffhanger from Triple H that’ll push everyone to tune to USA as opposed to TNT to see which big stars from either Monday or Friday nights attempt to raid Full Sail. Still, the annual brand supremacy push was just a little too forced for my liking this week. Grade: C

Stipulation added to WWE title match

Paul Heyman appeared on screen. After quickly rehashing the events highlighting the WWE championship feud between Brock Lesnar and Rey Mysterio to this point leading into Survivor Series — everything from Lesnar attacking Mysterio and son Dominick to Lesnar’s victory over Cain Velasquez at Crown Jewel — Heyman assured everyone that the “Beast Incarnate” is fine after Mysterio attacked him with a lead pipe. What’s more, Heyman then proposed that the WWE title match on Sunday will now be no holds barred and no disqualification. 

Backstage with Charly Caruso, Mysterio was there to immediately provide a response. He accepted the new terms of the match, and with the lead pipe in hand, Mysterio warned Lesnar that he’s going to hunt him down and make him pay. Mysterio said it’s OK that Lesnar isn’t one to apologize, because at Survivor Series, he’s not coming for an apology — he’s coming for the WWE championship. Mysterio ended the promo with a message to Dominick in Spanish and English: “This is for you, son.”

The expectation is that Lesnar and Mysterio are going to dazzle us this Sunday, but with the no holds barred, no DQ stipulation added on, it drastically opens things up. But open for what, exactly? Well, call it wishful thinking, but for my money, it opens it up for Mysterio to stun the world and walk out of Chicago as WWE champion in the year 2019 with the help of either a returning Cain Velasquez, Dominick or possibly both. Good stuff — as always — from Heyman here, and Mysterio was money again on the mic as this program comes to a head at Survivor Series. The anticipation for Sunday’s WWE title match was only heightened. Grade: B+

What else happened on Raw?

  • Humberto Carrillo def. Karl Anderson via pinfall with a small package. The OC attempted to interfere on behalf of Anderson, but the Street Profits, who were out to watch the back of Carrillo, thwarted the attempt when the referee was still distracted by leveraging Carrillo into the small package. It was later announced that Carrillo will face AJ Styles for the U.S. championship next week on Raw. 
  • Bobby Lashley def. No Way Jose via stoppage after a Full Nelson. Pre-match, not only did Lana reveal she had filed for divorce earlier on Monday, but she also filed a restraining order in Massachusetts that prohibits Rusev from coming within 90 miles of her. 
  • Buddy Murphy def. Akira Tozawa via pinfall after Murphy’s Law. Before the bout, Murphy was walking through the hallway and he knocked on Aleister Black’s door looking to pick a fight. Black emerged, but by the time he did, Murphy was on his way to the ring. Post-match, Murphy screamed for Black again, but as he was about to knock on the door, Black exited and the two had a staredown. 
  • Erick Rowan def. Alex Malcolm (enhancement talent) via pinfall after the Iron Claw Slam. Rowan was again carrying the cage with him that was draped with a cloth. 
  • Asuka def. Natalya via pinfall following a devastating kick to the face. 
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