Alexa Bliss Hosted Moment of Bliss with Randy Orton
Orton feuding with The Fiend is logical given Orton's history with Bray Wyatt, but I'm skeptical that they'll be able to make the heel vs. heel dynamic work. That said, this was a solid segment, even though The Fiend having to retrieve Bliss from Orton's arms was odd. I assume we're getting Orton vs. The Fiend at TLC, though I'm curious what stipulation it will have (if any). As I've said before, Bliss' transformation has been the best thing about this. She's completely reinvented herself.
Jeff Hardy def. Elias in a Symphony of Destruction Match
Of the three Symphony of Destruction matches we've seen so far, this was probably the craziest yet. Sure, it's a silly stipulation, but it fit the feud and they made the most of every "weapon" (a.k.a. musical instrument) around ringside. Maybe it's just me, but I thought this was a lot of fun. The rivalry hasn't been particularly exciting, but at least they ended it on a high note. Hopefully Hardy is on to bigger and better things from here.
Slapjack def. Ricochet
While I'm happy Ricochet is a regular on Raw again, this program with RETRIBUTION is doing him no favors. I was totally fine with him losing to Mustafa Ali (who needs wins as well), but losing to a dude named Slapjack (a.k.a. Shane Thorne) is a new low. Hell, Dana Brooke interfered (because of what Reckoning did to her two weeks ago) and not even that was enough to earn Ricochet the victory. The match was whatever and felt like an appropriate way for Ricochet to end what has been a supremely disappointing 2020 for him.
The Miz and John Morrison Attacked Sheamus on Miz TV
Two talk shows on one show feels like overkill, especially when these guys were already scheduled to clash in the night's tag team main event. However, this was effective in establishing tension between Sheamus and the two heels. Sheamus obviously isn't a babyface, but he's close with Drew McIntyre and I'm all for them being friends/partners for the time being before Sheamus inevitably turns on him. It's nice to see Sheamus featured a bit more prominently after feeling underutilized on SmackDown earlier this year.
Raw Women's Champion Asuka and Lana def. WWE Women's Tag Team Champions Shayna Baszler and Nia Jax (Non-Title)
It's been several weeks, but my thoughts haven't changed: I still don't give a crap about babyface Lana. To WWE's credit, they're gradually building her up and that's why she won here, but Lana pinning Baszler is wrong in so many ways. Asuka desperately needs credible challengers to her Raw Women's Championship and Baszler could have been that person, but not at this point. The match itself was decent and clearly we're headed for a tag title Tables match at TLC. Asuka needs to ditch Lana sooner rather than later and go back to being the focal point of the division.
Cedric Alexander def. Raw Tag Team Champion Xavier Woods
The New Day and The Hurt Business continued the trend of cutting promos before the bout, which I appreciate because it makes it feel more like a feud and less like a series of meaningless matches. Hurt Business being beaten clean twice wasn't ideal, but at least they were able to rebound a bit here with Alexander pinning Woods. It was a nice match while it lasted, though Alexander walking away from MVP and Shelton Benjamin following his victory was weird.
AJ Styles def. Riddle and Keith Lee in a WWE Championship No. 1 Contender's Triple Threat Match
As expected, this was an absolute blast. Riddle and Styles have always worked well together, Riddle and Lee have history from before WWE, and Styles and Lee had instant chemistry. They made excellent use of the time they had, but I'm sure this could have been even more special had it gone longer. It helped that the outcome was genuinely unpredictable, and while I was pulling for Lee to win so he and McIntyre could wrap up their rivalry from September, Styles was the next best choice. I don't believe Styles and McIntyre have ever faced off one-on-one (in WWE or elsewhere), so I'm looking forward to their WWE Championship clash at TLC.
Dana Brooke def. Reckoning
Brooke's interference in Ricochet vs. Slapjack earlier in the evening led to this match being made. I'm sorry but it felt like something you'd see on Main Event. Yim is great and Brooke has improved, but I automatically lose interest in anything involving RETRIBUTION. Worse yet, Brooke rolled up Reckoning for the victory. The only positive that could come out of this is if Reckoning ditches Ali and the rest of RETRIBUTION and goes back to being Mia Yim. After all, she wasn't wearing the mask anymore by the time the matchup was over.
WWE Champion Drew McIntyre and Sheamus def. The Miz and John Morrison by Disqualification
If this marked the first time that McIntyre and Sheamus have teamed up in a formal two-on-two tag match (I know they were sole survivors along with Miz at Survivor Series 2009), then that's pretty cool. Granted, we've already seen McIntyre beat Miz and Morrison in a two-on-one Handicap match clean, but this wasn't supposed to be competitive. Rather, it was designed to establish the friendship between McIntyre and Sheamus and then lead into Styles' attack on McIntyre. What we got was good, but the focus was entirely on what went down afterward. By the way, where the hell was Sheamus during all that? At any rate, Miz has teased cashing in the Money in the Bank briefcase so much in the last month that my guess is that he'll do it when everyone least expects it.
There are weeks where Raw can actually be entertaining (or at least more bearable than usual) on the whole, like the last two weeks, and then there are weeks where the show leaves me scratching my head with the vast amount of dumb booking decisions that are made, like this week. It wasn't completely terrible as the opening segment, the Triple Threat, and the stuff with Sheamus and McIntyre held my interest and even the Symphony of Destruction match exceeded my expectations, but the women's tag team matchup, Ricochet vs. Slapjack, and Reckoning vs. Brooke were all abysmal. It was a mixed bag of an episode, but at least the Raw side of the TLC card is becoming clearer with the matches that are being built up making sense.