Bray Wyatt Interrupted Randy Orton
With the Wyatt and Alexa Bliss partnership being the best thing going on Raw right now and the duo now feuding with Randy Orton, I'm not at all surprised that this was the segment that kicked off the show. Orton and Wyatt's mic work were solid and effectively set up the night's main event between them. Bliss was conspicuous by her absence, however, and she didn't appear during the main event, either, so I'm not sure where she was on the show.
Raw Women's Champion Asuka def. WWE Women's Tag Team Champion Shayna Baszler (Non-Title)
It's such a shame that this had the potential to be a big feud at one point given how these two women are two of the most dominant NXT Women's Champions of all-time. Unfortunately, they've both been hurt by bad booking on the main roster and thus this was a complete afterthought. It was well-wrestled, but the stuff with Lana and Nia Jax at ringside was more of the focal point. By the way, how the hell has the WWE Tag Team Championship match not been made a Tables match yet?
Ricochet and Dana Brooke def. RETRIBUTION (Slapjack and Reckoning)
Ricochet lost to Slapjack last week whereas Brooke beat Reckoning, so while this was a logical match to do, I can't say I cared about it. The in-ring work was perfectly fine, but a feud with RETRIBUTION is a dead-end to anyone, especially Ricochet. The worst part is that Brooke pinned Reckoning (the former Mia Yim), so apparently Ricochet wasn't good enough to avenge that loss from last week himself. Mustafa Ali yelling at Slapjack and Reckoning afterward gives me hope this RETRIBUTION experiment is almost over, but I'm not holding my breath.
WWE Champion Drew McIntyre and Sheamus Attacked The Miz and John Morrison on The Dirt Sheet
AJ Styles was supposed to be Miz and Morrison's only guest, but it wasn't long before Sheamus and McIntyre interrupted. For what it's worth, there is almost no difference between Miz TV and The Dirt Sheet, so this felt like a repeat of a recent edition with Sheamus as their guest. Much like the opening segment, this did its job in setting up the three-on-two Handicap match for later in the night, but it just wasn't as compelling. McIntyre vs. Styles at TLC will be a first-time-ever encounter, which WWE should be making a bigger deal about.
Raw Tag Team Champion Kofi Kingston def. Shelton Benjamin; Cedric Alexander def. Kingston
I still recall the rivalry Kingston and Benjamin had on WWE ECW back in 2008. In fact, I think it was Benjamin who handed him his first singles loss. That wasn't the case here as Kingston quickly beat Benjamin in a match that didn't have enough time to be as good as it could have been. Alexander then challenged Kingston to an impromptu matchup, and because Kingston was already beat up, Alexander was able to pick up the win. That's huge for him considering Kingston is a former WWE Champion. Both teams are pretty much even at this point, but I'm pretty positive it's all building to another clash for the Raw Tag Team Championship at TLC. Given their chemistry, that should be a blast, especially if there's a stipulation attached.
AJ Styles, The Miz and John Morrison def. WWE Champion Drew McIntyre and Sheamus in a 3-on-2 Handicap Match
Despite the odds being stacked against them, Sheamus and McIntyre mostly dominated this match. It wasn't until Sheamus accidentally hit McIntyre with a Brogue Kick that things fell apart and Styles capitalized with a Phenomenal Forearm on Sheamus for the victory. I guess it was WWE's way of teasing tension between McIntyre and Sheamus, but they made up immediately afterward backstage by putting Pat Buck through a table. Okay then. At least the heels finally got one over on the babyfaces, even though it doesn't make Miz and Morrison any more of a threat than they were previously.
United States Champion Bobby Lashley def. Jeff Hardy (Non-Title)
I remember these two having a hell of a match in IMPACT back in 2014 over the then-TNA World Heavyweight Championship. I was happy that this was given an equal amount of time and was actually competitive with Hardy getting plenty of offense in before eating defeat (as he should have). I enjoyed their encounter and I'd definitely be down for a full-fledged feud between them down the road. Riddle being at ringside must mean he's next in line for a shot at the United States Championship, even though Keith Lee recently beat Lashley by disqualification.
Randy Orton vs. Bray Wyatt Ended in a No Contest
Orton will be facing The Fiend at TLC next Sunday, so it was smart to not give too much of this match away. They don't have the greatest chemistry anyway, so I was honestly surprised this was as decent as it was. It didn't last long and the non-finish with the lights going out before Orton could get the three count on Wyatt made sense. Again, I don't have high hopes for their upcoming clash at TLC, but this was a subjectively better ending to Raw than what we normally get.
I have to give WWE props for building up the TLC card as well (and as early) as they have on both brands in the last few weeks. Most of the matches have potential on paper and I'm excited for the event. As for this edition of Raw, it was serviceable. I hate how much time is wasted on recaps and hyping up stuff for later in the night (I literally got through the show in 90 minutes by skipping over all of that including commercials), but I think to call this episode egregiously terrible would be inaccurate. Feuds were furthered, there was some quality wrestling, and the hype for TLC was well done. The three hours weren't enthralling by any means (and we're still seeing some of the same matches from week to week), but I've seen worse editions of Raw and this one falls somewhere in the middle for me.