Featuring a Women’s Tag Team Championship re-match, an impromptu Raw Women’s Championship match, and a Johnny Wrestling comeback/debut, Monday Night Raw is feeling lively and interesting again. Honestly, it feels like a weird hybrid of NXT 1.5 right now. Let’s get to the recap!
Seth Rollins struts out to open the show, enjoying the adulation from the crowd until he announces that he’s not interested in offering Matt Riddle a rematch after Clash at the Castle, at which point they boo him and he barks at them to zip it. It has been, Rollins announces, far too long since he’s held championship gold, and that’s where his focus is right now.
You know who does want a rematch? Riddle, of course, who heads down the entranceway with a mic in his hand. Well, actually, all he has to say for himself is “Bro” before dropping the mic and charging Rollins. They scrap in and out of the ring and over the barricade, right past an impressive Tugboat cosplayer near ringside before Rollins scampers away to safety.
As soon as he’s gone, though, Damian Priest and Finn Balor come to the ring with an offer for Riddle to join them. Priest references the longstanding friendship between himself, Riddle, and Rhea Ripley, but even still Riddle turns them down and, knowing what’s to come after that, attacks first and clears the ring. This sets up a match that begins during the commercials.
Matt Riddle VS. Finn Balor (w/ Damian Priest)
We join the match with Balor laying chops into a cornered Riddle while Priest yells supportively from the floor. Balor fights back with kicks, a gutwrench toss, and a Bro-ton for a two-count. Balor regains the upper hand, slinging Riddle off the ropes and driving an elbow into the back of his head.
Riddle fights out of a stiff looking rear-chinlock, only to suffer a neckbreaker, before sending Balor to the floor in an attempt to fight out of the ring. Instead, he ends up being driving back-first into the apron going into ads. Coming back, Riddle reverses a suplex into his own fisherman version, finally getting the outside attack he desires with a springboard moonsault onto both Priest and Balor on the floor.
Riddle turns a Sling Blade into a ripcord knee, but as he climbs the ropes he’s distracted by Priest, allowing Balor to drive Riddle to the mat. On the outside, though, Rey Mysterio dives from the crowd and onto Priest’s back, driving him away from the ring.
With Balor now distracted, Riddle hits a Bro-to-Sleep and goes for a Floating Bro — but lands on Balor’s knees. The Prince sets up his Coup de Grace, but Riddle rolls away and has to transform into Randy Orton to try for the win. He hits a hangman’s DDT and readies an RKO when along comes Seth Rollins again to interfere. Balor gets the last laugh with 1916 and a Coup de Grace to claim victory.
Winner via pinfall: Finn Balor
Rollins adds an exclamation mark with a stomp on Riddle, yelling at him that their feud is over.
Backstage, Sarah Schreiber is with Damage Control. Bailey says that Dakota Kai and IYO SKY will win their rematch against Aliyah and Raquel Rodriguez tonight even though they shouldn’t have to, as they never lost in the tournaments finals (in case you missed it: Aliyah pinned Kai while SKY was the legal woman).
Next up, a full-on heel promo for Dominik Mysterio from a dark room. He says he felt alive for the first time at Clash of the Castle after turning on his father, becoming his own man in the process. He calls his father a tiny man who casts a large shadow — pretty good line, that. Oh, he’s not yet done, as Ripley slips in from the side and whispers something into his ear, and Dominik adds that he’s not a baby boy anymore, but a man.
Dakota Kai & IYO SKY (w/ Bayley) VS. Aliyah & Raquel Rodriguez (C) — For the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship
Former partners/nemeses Rodriguez and Kai start off, with Raquel lifting Kai for a suplex and simply tossing her forward to land flat onto her face. Soon afterwards, she drives her to the mat again with a shoulder block. Kai rolls out of the ring, and Rodriguez throws SKY out after her before throwing Aliyah as well to take them out before a break.
When we return, Aliyah drops SKY with her always enthusiastic Thesz Press, doing the silly Trish Stratus thing in Matrix-dodging a clothesline, but suffering after Kai tags in and delivers a driving boot with Aliyah down in the corner. After this, Aliyah begins selling a hurt left shoulder (though I never saw anything that seemed to impact her there).
SKY returns and hits some embarrassingly soft kicks on Aliyah, down in another corner, as the ref checks in on Aliyah and her shoulder. SKY keeps Aliyah from tagging several times, but finally Rodriguez enters and does what she does: overpowers with clotheslines and overhead suplexes, but Aliyah oddly tags back in before a a brawl with all four erupts. SKY and Rodriguez end up on the floor as Aliyah goes for a pin, with Bayley unnecessarily moving Kai’s foot onto the rope to break the count (unnecessary because Kai’s arm was already under the ropes).
As Rodriguez stalks Bayley, SKY takes Raquel out with a top rope moonsault while Kai brings Aliyah down with a hurtful-looking Kairopractor, securing the victory and crowning new champs.
Winners via pinfall and new WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions: Dakota Kai & IYO SKY
Backstage, Rey Mysterio appeals to his son for a second chance, recognizing that he let him down and begging him not to fight Edge. Dominik won’t repond or even look at his father. Ripley arrives and takes Dom away.
Chad Gable (w/ Otis) VS. Johnny Gargano
Gargano, enjoying a “Johnny Wrestling” chant and sporting gear based on The Marvels, finds himself down flat after a lightning-quick drop toe-hold by Gable. Gargano responds with a hurricanrana/arm drag/dropkick sequence, but a simple, hard right hand by Gable knocks Gargano down and Chad then delivers a corner chop, which Johnny can’t have missed.
After ads, Gable hoists Gargano on the second rope and uses a dragon screw to first hurt and then focus on his left knee. Gargano catches his breath by kicking Gable away, using a crossbody to buy some more time before launching himself through the ropes from the apron for a spear and a two-count. Gable catches him in an ankle lock and uses a cliffhanger DDT for a two-count.
Gable dives off the top rope for a headbutt but is caught in a Garga-No Escape, which, oddly, Gable immediately escapes. They trade hard hits until Gargano leaps in from the apron with his slingshot DDT for the victory.
Winner via pinfall: Johnny Gargano
Gargano fends off an attack from Otis after the bell, but isn’t ready for an attack from behind by Austin Theory, who hits his former stablemate with his well-dented briefcase. After the break, Theory is still in the ring and barely gets some of his preening and demand for respect out before Kevin Owens interrupts. Theory won’t let him speak, though, continuing to sing his own praises.
Owens finally gets his mic time and reminds Theory that he was the handpicked future of this company, but that’s not how things are anymore (“Oooooh,” goes the crowd). Owens lists the opportunities that Theory has been handed, and asks how many wrestlers like Theory have come around? He answers his own question: hundreds. People like Owens and Gargano, though? They’re one in a million.
Owens passionately challenges Theory to prove him wrong, almost as if he wants more out of him, but all Austin has to say is that Owens will never be like him. KO decides to try and get through to him with a hard slap and that does something all right, as they brawl in and out of the ring before Theory finally slips away with a bloody nose.
Next up is Bianca Belair in the ring, ready for her open challenge. She explains the reason for doing this is to keep herself at her best, and she’s ready now.
Aaaaand, it’s ….
Bianca Belair (C) VS. Sonya Deville – For the Raw Women’s Championship
Deville has a mic in hand as well, blaming Belair for losing her job as SmackDown General Manager. Belair tells her to just shut up and get in the ring.
Belair opens with a spinning gutbuster, forcing an early kick-out, and a basement dropkick from Deville forces the same from the champ. Belair goes on a roll with a dropkick, a suplex, and a standing moonsault for another two-count. Following Deville to the floor, though, only nets a hard clothesline for Belair before a break.
We return to see Deville maneuver Belair from submission hold to submission hold, slowing down the match until Belair mounts a comeback with an overhead throw, but a knee from Deville off the second rope stops the champ cold again. Corey Graves provides some decent commentary, calling out Deville for failing to take advantage of her own momentum and allowing Belair a window back into the match.
Right after that, Belair hits a KOD for the successful defence.
Winner via pinfall and still Raw Women’s Champion: Bianca Belair
With not a moment for Belair to celebrate, a “ding-dong” brings out Bayley, and soon afterwards Kai and SKY as well, who all enter the ring and start a beatdown on Belair. Renewing their Clash at the Castle rivalry, Alexa Bliss and Asuka join the fight on Belair’s side, and Damage Control is soon dispersed.
Khash Morozy & Ryan Toombs VS. Omos (w/ MVP) – Handicap Match
There were technical difficulties during the broadcast of this match which cut out the video feed, but it sounded like Omos has some fun in this match as he squashes both “local competitors”, pinning them both at the same time.
Winner via domination: Omos
Rey approaches Edge in the locker room, asking his friend, from father to father, to spare Dominik tonight. Edge responds that Dom might just need to sense knocked into him, and since Rey can’t do it, he will do it for him.
In a backstage interview with Kevin Patrick, Rollins goes on about being the face of Monday Night Raw, something that Bobby Lashley has an issue with. Rollins challenges him for the U.S. Championship next week, which Lashley accepts.
In a recorded clip, The Miz is in his home for an interview, admitting to Maryse that he’s nervous about Lumis finding his way to his house. Of course, Lumis’ face appears in a few windows behind Miz he calls off the interview and leaves for a premiere with Maryse. The camera catches Lumis inside the house after they leave, sketching The Miz and family.
Edge vs. Dominik Mysterio (w/ Rhea Ripley)
Edge goes for the first move on Dominik, who is replete in the purple and black of The Judgment Day. He beats Mysterio around the ring, all while yelling “This is what you wanted, Dom.” A body slam in the middle of the ring sends Dom rolling to the floor and getting advice and encouragement from Ripley.
After Mysterio is kicked to the floor again, Edge follows him and clears the announcer’s table, but Ripley attacks Edge from behind and allows Dominik to run him into the stairs before commercials. Back from break, Mysterio is still working over Edge’s left leg before hitting a heelish Three Amigos.
They both end up on the turnbuckles where Edge lands several headbutts and tries a superplex, but Ripley grabs Dominik’s leg and holds him still while Edge goes flying. Mysterio follows with a Frog Splash for a two-count, and when he tries to continue the attack he’s sent flying into the corner ringpost.
Edge hits a flapjack and an Impaler DDT before readying a spear, much to the delight of the crowd. Dominik ducks under the attack, though, cinching in a half-Boston Crab on Edge’s injured knee. Edge escapes with a cradle pinfall attempt, forcing Mysterio to break the hold.
With Dominik tied up in the ropes, Edge prepares another spear, but Rey runs in to stand in his way, begging him to stop. While they argue, Priest and Balor hit the ring and the whole Judgment Day attack Rey and Edge, finishing with a Coup de Grace by Balor right onto Edge’s injured left leg, leaving the faction posing over top of him to end the show. By the way, Rey is thrown onto the cleared announcer’s table to satisfy Chekhov’s Rule.
Winner via disqualification: Edge
Monday Night Raw, September 12th, 2022
I’m really trying not to get ahead of myself, but the upward trends of Monday Night Raw are encouraging. There’s still too much fat (especially with clips of events from earlier in the show), but the bulk of the recent episodes has been very entertaining.