Today we will be looking at Everything That Happened on Raw from MSG.
Before the show started and as the crowd was still filling the arena, Boston Celtics centre Enes Kanter made an appearance. This saw him win the 24/7 Title against R-Truth but also drop the belt back. Kanter has been a lifelong fan of wrestling, saying he may even become a wrestler after his retirement from basketball.
The show officially kicked off with none other than Stone Cold Steve Austin waltzing down the entrance to the ring to a thunderous crowd response. The crowd was hot for this angle from start to finish. As Austin reminisced about how he hit his first ever stunner on Mr. McMahon at MSG, the crowd got fired up. Austin was there to moderate a contract signing between Universal Champion Seth Rollins and Braun Strowman. After the challengers arrived, the signing was crashed by AJ Styles and The Club. Styles and Austin had some fun back-and-forth on the mic. The segment would end with Braun Strowman running through Luke Gallows and Rollins taking out Anderson. Stone Cold would hit Styles with a stunner as Cedric Alexander started to make his way out for his match against Styles.
Styles vs. Alexander was supposed to be a super fun match, and a clean result would help Alexander’s credibility. However, Styles obviously couldn’t lose as he still serves as the United States Champion. The match was a standard affair, with the two putting an impressive if basic performance. They did their regular moves and had a fair amount of back and forth. Alexander laid Styles out multiple times, but also had to battle the pit bulls relentless attack. The match would end after Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson rushed the ring to cause the DQ finish. The Viking Raiders came out to help Alexander against the OC. Segment would end with Erik and Ivar laying out Gallows and Anderson while Alexander dropkicked Styles out of the Ring.
Perennial rivals in Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair joined forces to combat the heel plague of Sasha Banks and Bayley in a high profile tag match. What we got is a stellar match that truly should have happened in a prestigious arena like Madison Square Garden. They have made plenty of history against each other and this match was just another moment for the four of them. The match was wonderful and saw the baby faces take control of the match at the start. However, Banks and a Bayley started working Flair over, making Lynch wait for the hot tag. However the tag failed and Lynch started to be worked on too. This would lead to Charlotte getting the hot tag and laying the heels out. They fought back though with Banks hitting the Banks statement on Flair, which got reversed into a Figure Eight. Bayley broke the submission attempt by launching Lynch into it. The fans were getting hotter as this match seemed to be getting longer with its near falls and teasing the fans. After a bit of fighting in the ring side area, the fans started chanting ‘this is awesome’ as we headed into the final moments of this incredible match. Bayley almost finished Charlotte with a top rope elbow drop which Charlotte reversed. This led to Charlotte connecting with the Natural Selection and pinning the SmackDown Women’s Champion ahead of their championship match on Sunday.
We got Rey Mysterio’s first win back in a while when he faced off against a fellow luchador in Gran Metalik. The two were putting on a lucha libre showcase, as one of the greatest luchadors of all time faced off one of the most underrated wrestlers of our time. If you watch any WCW Era Cruiserweight Match, you would see a lot of similarities in this match and the matches of that time. The two were using athletic moves and reversals and keeping a pretty high tempo for the match. There were plenty of headscissors, sunset flips, splashes etc. the two men have wicked athleticism and they displayed it for everyone to see today. The match ended when the Rey Mysterio finally executed the 619 and Frog Splash combo to put Metalik away and eke out a victory in this extremely hard fought match.
The next match that we saw was Baron Corbin taking on both Samoa Joe and Ricochet in a triple threat to establish who will be going on to the King of the Ring finals as the representative from Raw. Corbin has been steamrolling through his opposition, but could he defeat the always seemingly protected heel in Samoa Joe and the rising babyface in Ricochet? They match started with Ricochet absolutely laying waste to his opposition, even hitting a Shooting Star Press on Corbin. The Ricochet dominance would end at the hands of Corbin, who sent him face first into the steel ring post. This allowed Samoa Joe to take control of the match. He controlled the match for a fair amount of time, taking Ricochet out too when he recovered from his beat down by Corbin outside. Ricochet did neutralise Joe, but then ended up getting wiped out with a Deep Six by Corbin. Corbin almost had it, but Joe broke the pin up. Joe kept dominating the final few moments of the match, but Ricochet managed to deliver a 630 on him. This led to Corbin pulling the classic triple threat finish of throwing the dude that did the move out of the ring and capitalising with the pin fall. Baron Corbin is your King of the Ring finalist.
We had a pointless match between Natalya and Lacey Evans follow this thumping triple threat. Both women who have been soundly defeated by Becky Lynch in feuds in 2019 took the fight to each other. This was a rematch from last week where Evans defeated Natalya. Natalya was the aggressor and kept advancing and attacking Evans. However, Evans managed to get back into the match and hit a neck breaker on the ringside area to take control. The match continued by Natalya retaking control and trapping Evans in a sharpshooter which ended the bout via submission.
The main event of the show was a blockbuster 10 man tag team match. The babyface team featured Seth Rollins, Braun Strowman, Cedric Alexander and The Viking Raiders that took on the heel team of Luke Gallows, Karl Anderson, AJ Styles, Dolph Ziggler and Bobby Roode. Lest you have forgotten, Roode and Ziggler are actually challenging Rollins and Strowman for the tag titles at Clash of Champions. This was a super fun match where everyone got their moments but really didn’t fit as the closer of the show, as the electric women’s tag match probably would have worked better in this situation. Nonetheless, we saw the match start with the baby faces laying the heels out. However, as it goes in wrestling, the heels recovered with them cornering and beating Cedric Alexander down. The fans were dying to see Alexander make the hot tag to someone and were audibly frustrated as the heels masterfully worked Alexander over. The hot tag saw Rollins make his entry into the match. We even saw Strowman get into the match and almost kill Karl Anderson. As Ziggler pushed Rollins into Strowman to save Anderson from the pinfall, Strowman got mad and started arguing with his co-Tag team champion and opponent on Sunday. This saw the heels take control again and doing what they did to Alexander with Rollins. The ending saw the traditional ‘every superstar hits their finisher’ until Alexander and Styles were the only two in the ring. Alexander hit Styles with the Lumbar Check and pinned him clean to get the biggest win of his young career. The show capped off with Steve Austin celebrating with the winners.
This was one hell of a show. While the segments were far and few, almost everything delivered. The opening promo set the tone for an exciting show which the New York crowd was eating up. The crowd was hot throughout the night, with their coldest moment probably coming in the Natalya and Lacey Evans match. While the Styles Alexander match’s finish was disappointing, we got the necessary satisfaction by the end of the show with Alexander getting the clean pinfall over Styles. The question marks around this show come with what does WWE plan on doing with the Universal Championship. Strowman and Rollins are fighting for it, but Styles seems pretty involved too. Bray Wyatt continued to call out Rollins and Strowman, seemingly being booked for the next title feud. So why did Styles get into the feud with Strowman and Rollins? Why are they also tag champions? Why are Ziggler and Roode challenging for the titles when it clearly should be Gallows and Anderson or The Viking Raiders? A lot of the previous holes in their storylines have been a little exposed today, with superstars making multiple appearances in multiple segments.
While storyline wise it makes sense for Corbin to win, WWE may have put themselves in a position where they have booked an underwhelming King of the Ring finals. Corbin vs Gable doesn’t seem exciting at all and seems like it would make the end result a little more obvious. Elias and Corbin is interesting, but both men are average at best in-ring performers, which worries me about the quality of the finals if it’s the two of them. No one wants an overbooked KOTR finals, they just want to see a winner whose story they can buy into. Right now, Gable is the only interesting character in the mix.
The women’s tag team match will one day be regarded as one of those gems on old Raw programming. The match has easily gone beyond the expectations many had for it, probably including the ones backstage in the WWE. But overperforming when the lights shine the brightest is something that these four women have made a career out of. This is possibly the most captivating storyline in the WWE right now. The four Horsewomen have come together in this story perfectly. Two of them are the champs and the other two are the challengers. One alliance is champ and challenger, and the other is the same. This means that the results at Clash of Champions can permanently alter where this story is going. For our money though, we are probably going to see both Bayley and Banks leave as champions and go on a mini run as the dominant team in the division. Hell, have them win the tag belts also. All in all, this was one hell of a show. WWE delivered when they needed to the most.