Despite the fact that tonight celebrates the 25th anniversary of DX, the show thankfully isn’t about them. Before the opening credits of the season premiere of Monday Night Raw (fulfilling the silly annual tradition of presenting a season finale and premiere within one week of each other), most of DX (Billy Gunn being contractually unavailable at this time) gather by Triple H near gorilla position. Hunter removes his reading glasses and urges Shawn Michaels, X-Pac, and Road Dogg to not get crude or violent tonight. After a slew of bleeped-out expletives and rubber chicken jokes which help people check off boxes on their DX bingo card, the latter three head off to let Hunter work.
Corey Graves officially introduces Kevin Patrick and himself as the new announce team (two-man booth = good news). First out the gate is The Bloodline to a pretty big pop in Brooklyn. If, after all of this time, they could manage to turn Reigns face before he loses the title(s) to a heel, that would be an impressive feat. Putting him up against Logan Paul is a good step towards that.
Paul Heyman hands a mic over to Reigns and now we hear some boos, but still an awful lot of acknowledgment. The champ says he’s having a hard time getting past Jey Uso’s behaviour on SmackDown last week, and is about to tear into him when Sami Zayn interrupts. He reminds Reigns that Jey isn’t his problem anymore — Jey is Zayn’s problem.
Zayn tells Jey that he’s just got to be cool like the rest of The Bloodline. Jey steps beside Zayn and starts hollering at Reigns, asking him if this is all a joke. Reigns is about to respond when an unexpected visitor appears, and Matt Riddle struts out to ask Reigns for another title shot tonight, despite Reigns’ decree that there would be no more such opportunities for Riddle. Reigns laughs him off, so Riddle seeks a fight with another member of The Bloodline, and Jey is all too eager to help offer Zayn. Sami agrees, and the match is set for later on.
Austin Theory VS Johnny Gargano
Theory goes for an A-Town Down right away, but Gargano escapes it and feigns a superkick. Going for something simpler, Gargano chops Theory from corner to corner before upping the pace with a leaping hurricanrana. Johnny Wrestling tries to land One Final Beat from the ring to the apron, but Theory stops him cold and instead drops Gargano hard onto the apron himself.
After a commercial break, we see Gargano get a two-count after a slingshot spear from the apron, but a second attempt at the same move hits a right hand and a two-count for Theory. Both wrestlers trade punches until Theory brings Gargano down and cinches in a Gargano Escape, from which Johnny promptly, well, escapes and puts it on Theory instead. Austin powers out of the hold and superkicks Gargano down flat.
A return superkick sends Theory to the mat, and Gargano follows with a suicide dive DDT on the floor, then One Final Beat back in the ring for the end.
Winner via pinfall: Johnny Gargano
After another break, we return to see Uli Latukefu in the Raw crowd. If you don’t know that name, then you’re not watching enough Young Rock. That’s okay, catch up in our review and interview archive here!
Chad Gable (w/Otis) VS. Rey Mysterio
Fair notice: if Gable executes a German suplex on Mysterio, I won’t be as impressed as last week’s version on Braun Strowman. Graves suggests that Mysterio is understandably distracted lately and therefore not his usual self in the ring, and Gable starts off by proving him right and maneuvering Mysterio into hold after hold at will.
Finally a hurricanrana followed by a low dropkick gives Mysterio the advantage — only to hear The Judgment Day’s theme and see Rhea Ripley and Rey’s son Dominik make their way to the ring. After another break, we see that Ripley and Dominik are just watching from ringside for now as Mysterio hits a seated senton from the second rope on Gable, but Rey’s attempted victory roll turns into a slam and a bridging German suplex by Gable (fine … I’m still impressed).
Soon afterwards, Rey slingshots himself over the top rope to attack Gable on the floor, but instead finds himself caught by Otis. Rey manages to run Otis into the ringpost and return to the ring with another hurricanrana to drape Gable over the ropes for a 619, and a slingshot splash secures the victory.
Winner via pinfall: Rey Mysterio
After the bell, Dominik gets into the ring and challenges his father to hit him. Rey takes a slap to the face but still won’t strike his son. He will, though, attack Damian Priest and Finn Balor who have appeared, only to be driven to the mat by Dominik. Dom again yells at Rey, who is nearing tears, to hit him, but when his father still refuses Balor holds Rey in place for a 619 by Dominik.
More commercials, and then the Judgment Day is still in the ring. Balor is crowing about beating Edge at Extreme Rules, claiming, and this is said with a straight face, that he’s too legit to quit (the other stablemates have a laugh about that line). After a recap of the “I Quit” match, Ripley promises Beth Phoenix that there’s more to come, while Dominik (to a chorus of boos) says the same for his father.
Balor changes tracks again, calling out AJ Styles and promising an ultimatum. Styles appears immediately and enters the ring, telling Balor that he was right — that Styles needs friends. In fact, he needs family. He genuflects in front of Balor and rises to embrace him, but as Finn says how proud he is of Styles, AJ stops him to say he wasn’t talking about The Judgment Day.
Balor’s eyes go wide at arrival of Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson, returning to the WWE to fight by Styles’ side. Gallows cements the affection from the crowd by landing the first blow on Dominik, and then all six men start to brawl (unfortunately, according to Graves, “all Rhea Ripley can do is look on”). Styles, Gallows, and Anderson are left standing alone in the ring as The Judgment Day scampers away.
Next up, in a clip recorded earlier, Byron Saxton’s interview with Bayley is immediately cut short by Dakota Kai who speaks for the leader of Damage Control, vowing they will not rest until Bayley has taken the title from Bayley.
Meanwhile, in the parking lot, Jey Uso gets marching orders from Reigns to stay and help Sami in his match against Riddle, while the rest of The Bloodline head into New York to enjoy the city.
Bayley VS. Candice LeRae
No Damage Control out here yet. Bayley starts with plenty of kicks, but then shows a lot of pain after every move by LeRae, mostly around her abdomen. A missile dropkick sends Bayley rolling to the floor before a commercial break. Upon our return, we see LeRae favoring her left knee before hitting a step-up senton onto Bayley’s back.
Both women are slow to get up from the mat, but when they do Bayley traps LeRae’s leg around the top turnbuckle, causing Candice great agony. Bayley pulls her to the middle of the ring and is set to finish her off when LeRae rolls her up for the surprise three.
Winner via pinfall: Candice LeRae
As LeRae backs away from the ring, victorious but in pain, she’s attacked by Kai and SKY who drag her back to the ring. Bianca Belair charges in to help but she’s immediately stopped cold by the women’s tag champs. Bayley drops a second rope elbow onto Belair and Damage Control stands tall.
Backstage, The Miz expresses doubts to Maryse about holding his birthday celebration tonight while Dexter Lumis may appear to ruin everything. Maryse says his birthday present will help, and he unwraps a custom baseball bat. Once the party moves to the decorated ring, Miz sees that the bat is signed by The Cleveland Guardians’ Jose Ramirez, which doesn’t please the Brooklyn fans.
The Miz opens some gifts, including two giant exercise balls to continue the joke that just won’t go away, but the second gift he lifts off the table is empty – except that it reveals Dexter Lumis with his head poking through a hole in the table. The Miz smashes the table up, but Lumis ends up behind him and clutching him, but Miz, after accidentally shoving Maryse face first into his birthday cake, takes off with Maryse not far behind.
Left alone in the ring, Lumis pops the giant balls and eats a slice of the cake to the delight of the fans.
After a break, Michaels, X-Pac, and Road Dogg are backstage pumping up Omos’ opponents before sending them to their doom before Miz and Maryse show up, furious and searching for Triple H. Road Dogg has a suggestion to solve his problems, and makes a match for next week (he can do that?) with the stipulation that if Miz beats Lumis, Dexter is gone. Is Lumis wins, he also wins a WWE contract (okay, I definitely don’t think Road Dogg can do that). Miz accepts.
Omos (w/ MVP) VS. Robert Adams & Joseph Torres
Hmm, Adams and Torres introduced themselves as Chico and Joey Ace backstage, which Graves points out as well. They take the requisite big bumps before a double chokeslam ends their evening with Omos officially pinning Adams/Ace.
Winner via pinfall: Omos
Omos continues his assault after the bell. Hey, I wrote this very sentence two weeks ago after Omos’ match then.
Bray Wyatt’s return at Extreme Rules is replayed in full. Why not, I suppose, as a lot of people are awfully chuffed about it.
Bobby Lashley (C) VS. Seth Rollins – for the United States Championship
Lashley grabs a mic and tells Rollins to come down for his beating, but a different theme music hits: Brock Lesnar’s.
Lesnar, in his farmer/cowboy gear, circles the ringside before stepping in to face off with Lashley. A few moments in, Lashley is F-5’d, suplexed, and caught in a Kimura Lock, thereby using up the whole of Lesnar’s arsenal of moves. Brock exits to a few less cheers than he got when he arrived, leaving Lashley attended to by referees and an official.
Finally, after a commercial break and replay of the Lesnar attack, Rollins makes his entrance and demands that Lashley get in the ring for the match. Rollins is showing the effects of his Fight Pit match against Riddle on Saturday, with his abdomen taped up as a target.
Officials escort Lashley away from the ring, but Rollins gets on the mic and goads Lashley into living up to his promise to be fighting champion. He even calls him a disgrace to the military, and this gets Lashley in to start the match.
In what feels very much like a Money in the Bank match, Lashley attempts a spear to open, but Rollins reverses it into a Pedigree for a two-count. Rollins climbs the ropes and hits a frog splash, injured abdomen and all, for another two-count. Lashley dodges a stomp and delivers a spear after all, and Rollins gets up and walks backwards into an attempted Hurt Lock, though Lashley’s arm is too injured for him to apply it.
Rollins escapes and hits a stomp, and then another, and gets the win.
Winner via pinfall and NEW United States Champion: Seth Rollins
Lashley sure looked like a beast in a losing effort here. Backstage after commercials, Lashley is furious, but his anger is more focused on Lesnar than Rollins.
As Patrick and Graves reflect on what just happened (I would think that this paves the way for Cody Rhodes’ return and a journey to the U.S. Title), the feed is interrupted by a new message from Bray Wyatt, wearing his Black Phone-esque mask, imploring whomever is listening to revel in what they are.
Sami Zayn (w/ Jimmy & Jey Uso) VS. Matt Riddle
Before the match begins, we learn that Elias will return next week. It’s hard to tell if I’m in the minority or not, but I was really enjoying the Ezekial arc.
Riddle seems amused by Zayn’s antics before laying him out with a stiff kick to the head. Zayn responds soon afterwards with a clothesline and, as he inadvertently distracts the ref, watches Jey deliver a kick to Riddle. Zayn tells Jey that he can handle this. Riddle, standing, takes a second-rope elbow, and soon responds with an overhead kick and Bro-ton, but a quick Blue Thunder Bomb brings him down for a two-count.
Zayn climbs to the top turnbuckle, but is caught leaping down by a knee from Riddle. After Zayn knocks Riddle off the top rope, he stops Jey from interfering again and we go to break. Once back, we join a back-and-forth punching contest before Zayn sends Riddle into a corner with an exploder suplex. Out on the floor, Riddle hits a series of kicks as Jey holds Jimmy back from helping him.
Riddle brings Zayn back into the ring for an RKO and the victory.
Winner via pinfall: Matt Riddle
Out on the floor, Jimmy is stunned but Jey tells him that this is what Sami wanted.
Finally, closing out the night, is Degeneration-X enjoying a reunion tour and hitting their marks, saying their schtick, and making jokes about having to catch their breath during their promo. That’s it? Nobody is going to try and beat them up? I guess that’s it!
Monday Night Raw, October 10th, 2022
For the first time in a long while, the show didn’t feel stretched or unnecesarily long — although just imagine how much greater it would have been as a stacked two-hour show! There’s much to look forward to now, and that’s very exciting.