Raw kicks off with Seth Rollins calling out General Manager Elect Baron Corbin. Rollins criticizes how Corbin has been running the show. Rollins specifically mentions things like The Revival being in multiple Lucha House Party matches, urinating on robes, and the absence of Universal Champion Brock Lesnar. Rollins says Corbin’s run as GM has been an abject failure. WWE is literally using Corbin as a scapegoat for the weeks of lackluster programming. Corbin really doesn’t care about Rollins’ opinions and says he can’t wait to be the permanent General Manager after TLC this Sunday. Corbin vows to make Rollins’ life a living hell after Sunday. Corbin was looking forward to his TLC match this Sunday but with Braun out, it doesn’t look like that’s going to happen. Rollins says the tools for a TLC match are available, why not have one tonight? Of course, Corbin doesn’t put his money where his mouth is. That is until Rollins pesters Corbin calling him a coward repeatedly. Corbin agrees to a TLC Match tonight but it will be for the Intercontinental Championship.
AOP & Drake Maverick (c) vs. Chad Gable & Bobby Roode in a 2 on 3 Handicap Match for the Raw Tag Team Championships: Roode and Gable with matching gear. Before we went to break Roode and Gable were launching Maverick to the outside into the arms of AOP. When we come back from break AOP has the upper hand until Gable is able to get the tag to Roode who cleans house until his comeback is halted. AOP hit the Super Collider and the neck breaker-powerbomb combo. The match was more than won but Drake wanted the tag and the glory for himself. He begins to mock Bobby Roode, doing his glorious pose, before going for a cover. Roode shifts his weight reversing the cover. Three is counted and we have brand new Raw Tag Team Champions!
Natalya came out to discuss the actions of Ruby Riott and the Riott Squad’s constant harassment since the death of her father Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart. What the Riott Squad did next was, well just watch:
After the match, McIntyre continues his beating of Dolph until officials intervene. Dolph is propped up against the LED board then McIntyre hits him with another Claymore Kick sending Dolph’s head crashing against the board.
Bayley (w/ Sasha Banks) vs. Alicia Fox (w/ the Singh Brothers & Jinder Mahal): This was a really fun competitive match. The Singh Brothers tried to cause a distraction for Bayley but her Mixed Match Challenge partner Apollo Crews came down to the ring to even the odds. Bayley wins with the Bayley to Belly.
Dean Ambrose is backstage with Charly Caruso where he presented with a video package chronicling Dean stabbing Seth in the back and how we got to TLC. Dean blames everything on Seth’s ego:
Elias vs. Lio Rush: Heath Slater is the official for this match. It was pretty much what you would expect. Lio is quick as a cat and at times it worked for him but Elias maintained his dominance thanks to the size difference. With Slater’s back turned, Bobby Lashley tried getting involved but was pushed off by Elias. He catches Lio with a huge sit-out powerbomb but before Heath can count to three Lashley comes in and beats Elias down. Disqualification right? Nope. Lashley intimidates Slater to allow the transgressions including smashing Elias’ guitar across Elias’ back. Slater is forced to count the three. Lio Rush has defeated on Raw.
Nia Jax is out to discuss her Raw Women’s Championship opportunity against Champion Ronda Rousey this Sunday. Nia says she isn’t scared of Ronda due to her size and dangerous instincts. The champion Rousey comes down to the ring looking for a fight despite being outnumbered 2 to 1. Ember Moon, who has a match next with Nia’s backup Tamina, makes her way to the ring in case anything happens before their match.
Tamina Snuka vs. Ember Moon: This was probably the most I’ve been interested in a match featuring Tamina in probably ever. Nia tried to cause a distraction but Ronda halted that and sent Nia flying over the barricade. Ember hits The Eclipse and gets the win.
Seth Rollins (c) vs. Baron Corbin in a TLC Match for the Intercontinental Championship: It turns out that Slater is going to be the official for this match as well. Corbin uses Slater to fetch him a ladder before being taken out by a springboard clothesline from Rollins. Back from break and Corbin is smashing Seth with a chair. On the outside of the ring, Corbin is running Seth from barricade to barricade. A ladder is introduced which Corbin uses to suplex onto. Corbin really dominating this match. Corvin’s first attempt to grab the title is thwarted by Rollins. A brief battle ends with Rollins going face first into a ladder. Seth is dumped to the outside of the ring before we go into commercial break. When we come back from break the match is still being dominated by Corbin. Rollins finds a brief opening when he sends Corbin head first into a chair wedged into the corner. Rollins begins wailing away on Corbin with a chair. Rollins hits Corbin with two suicide dives. Rollins attempts a third but Corbin catches him and chokeslams Rollins through a table. Back inside the ring Seth begins once again attacking Corbin with a chair. The last shot was ducked by Corbin and Slater inadvertently catches the shot. A battle leads to Corbin on a table and Rollins with wild thoughts. Rollins comes off the top and goes crashing through Corbin and the table with a frog splash. Rollins gets back in the ring and is fingertips away from grabbing the title when he is tossed off the ladder by Heath Slater who then helps Corbin into the ring and up the ladder. Before Corbin can grab the title he is pulled off the ladder by Rollins and onto his shoulders. Rollins sends Corbin crashing through a table in the corner with a buckle bomb. Rollins then Superkicks Slater for causing all this trouble. Rollins sees Corbin stirring before hitting him with a Curbstomp and going up the ladder. Rollins retrieves the Intercontinental Championship and wins a pretty fun TLC Match.
Raw ends with a staredown between Rollins in the ring and his opponent Sunday Dean Ambrose at the top of the ramp.
Overall I thought this was a good Raw. It was certainly better than most weeks but I wonder if this being the last Raw before TLC maybe gave WWE an easier time putting tonight’s Raw together. A TLC Match on Raw is a rarity and this one wasn’t that bad. I’m certainly glad they didn’t give the belt to Corbin. Will they expand upon Heath Slater being a referee. The Natalya/Ruby Riott feud continues to be a feud that makes people uncomfortable, as it should. People may interpret it as way more than mean-spirited but they must know an old-timer like Jim Neidhart would have probably been loving this angle. In the glory days of wrestling, talent would have been over the moon for something like this because the real-life situation coupled with the complete lack of decency would have equated to one thing, money.
What did you think of tonight’s Raw? Was it better than previous weeks? Will you be watching WWE TLC? Let us know in the comments.