Seth Rollins def. Finn Balor
This match was supposed to happen last week, but Rollins viciously attacking Balor caused the contest to be called off. I'm glad Balor showed some fire by going straight after Rollins before the bell rang, but with Rollins announcing that he'll be getting his WWE Championship opportunity at the Day 1 pay-per-view, it was safe to assume he was winning here. These two have always worked well together and they had yet another entertaining opener here. Balor really hasn't been able to find his footing since returning to the main roster, sadly. He finds himself in the same spot he was in before he returned to NXT.
Raw Women's Champion Becky Lynch and Liv Morgan Signed the Contract for Their Match Next Week
Although I wish Lynch vs. Morgan was saved for Day 1, it feels like a nice attraction for next week's Raw and I'm glad they're actually advertising it in advance. They could have end it in a non-finish to set up a rematch for the pay-per-view. As for this segment, it was very good and both women cut terrific promos. Morgan in particular has improved immensely on the mic and I like that she's been positioned as a threat ot the title, even though I don't expect her to win it.
Raw Tag Team Champions RK-Bro def. The Dirty Dawgs
I'm not sure what Dirty Dawgs did to earn a shot at the Raw Tag Team Championship, but at least the titles being on the line match this match more meaningful. I never doubted that RK-Bro would retain (as they should have), but from an in-ring standpoint, this was well wrestled and had some fun moments, especially when Ziggler countered the RKO into a Zig-Zag. RK-Bro remain one of the best acts on Raw right now.
The Miz and Maryse Confronted Edge
This was a pleasant surprise of a segment. Edge has been advertised to appear since SmackDown, but we didn't know what he'd be doing. He teased potential matches with the likes of AJ Styles, Kevin Owens, Balor and Big E, only for Miz to return and interrupt him instead. That was probably disappointing for most, but what followed was one of my favorite segments on Raw in some time. Both guys delivered on the mic and were serious and straightforward. I know that's nothing new for Edge, but it is for Miz, who has been booked like an absolute goof for the last year. They had to mention John Morrison getting fired and Miz being brought up last week on AEW Dynamite, and they did both of those things. This was a strong segment that successfully got me excited for an eventual Edge vs. Miz match.
The Street Profits def. Alpha Academy
Styles pretending to be blind was so dumb it was funny, at least in my opinion. That was probably the most interesting thing about the match considering we've seen it several times already this year on SmackDown. I enjoy Alpha Academy, but it's obvious they've settled into their roles as enhancement talent. The Street Profits vs. Styles and Omos rivalry rolls on, but I continue to hope Styles and Omos go their separate ways soon or at the very least Styles goes back to being a singles star.
United States Champion Damian Priest def. Apollo Crews
It seemed like WWE was building toward this as a feud and not just a one-off match. I'm not complaining it was given away because Crews has meant absolutely nothing since even before he lost the Intercontinental Championship over the summer, but it is slightly strange this wasn't set up at least a week in advance. Both guys are great in the talent, so this was a quality contest. I'm still not sold on Priest's dual personality gimmick, but as long as he remains a babyface, that's all that matters.
Rey and Dominik Mysterio def. The Hurt Business (Cedric Alexander and Shelton Benjamin)
Alexander and Benjamin enter to the Hurt Business music and wear the Hurt Business shirts, but it's hard to call them The Hurt Business when they haven't actually interacted with Bobby Lashley and MVP at all aside from interfering on Lashley's behalf once or twice. Nonetheless, this was a logical match to do after Lashley beat both Mysterios in a Handicap match last week. Alexander and Benjamin are losers at this point, so them eating the loss was hardly a shocker. This was fine while it lasted and served to get the Mysterios back on the same page, for now.
Team Liv (Liv Morgan, Bianca Belair, Rhea Ripley, Nikki A.S.H and 24/7 Champion Dana Brooke) def. Team Becks (Raw Women's Champion Becky Lynch, Doudrop, Tamina and WWE Women's Tag Team Champions Carmella and Queen Zelina)
It's sad to think that this match had more bad blood in it than what we got at Survivor Series. Maybe that's why the crowd crapped all over that but not this? (I still don't think they deserved that treatment, but just a thought.) The crowd was relatively quiet for most of this, and although it started out as a bit of a mess, it turned into a solid match down the stretch. Morgan pinning Tamina was the right call to give her more of a momentum boost heading into next week. I'm sure this was meant to be a time filler, but at least it was time well spent.
Kevin Owens def. WWE Champion Big E by Disqualification
It was established earlier in the evening that if Owens won, he'd be entered into the WWE Championship match at Day 1. They even teased that it would happen even if Owens won by disqualification, and Rollins was outright cheering for Big E because it didn't want it to become a Triple Threat. Ultimately, he looks like a moron for interfering and doing the cheap finish. The match itself was pretty good but never reached that next level. I don't mind it tuning into a Triple Threat at Day 1 because it makes sense, but they should have gotten there a little better.
I'm not sure if I'm in the minority on this or not, but I thought this was one of the best episodes of Raw in months. There will be times where the first hour or so is strong and then it falls apart from there, but I didn't feel that way about this show. I was consistently engaged, and some matches obviously meant more than others, but they filled the three hours better this week than they normally do. The wrestling was above-average on the whole, they effectively moved several storylines forward, and multiple matches were announced for Day 1 and next week's Raw. The Mr. McMahon and Austin Theory backstage segments were weird, but that was probably my biggest complaint. Thumbs-up effort this week. Now the question is if they can keep it going heading into the final few weeks of the year.