RETRIBUTION and The Hurt Business Brawled
We now know four of the core members of RETRIBUTION are Dominik Dijakovic, Dio Maddin, Mia Yim and Mercedes Martinez. There was a fifth guy in there wearing a hockey mask, but it was tough to make out who it was. The commentators didn't acknowledge their identities, but it was pretty obvious who was behind the masks here, so I hope they don't pretend like they weren't already established in NXT. That includes Maddin, who was literally doing commentary for Raw a year ago. It's nice to finally find out why they've wanted to wreak havoc on Raw. Their brawl with Hurt Business also effectively set up their match for the main event.
Andrade & Angel Garza def. Seth Rollins & Murphy and Dominik Mysterio & Humberto Carrillo in a Raw Tag Team Championship No. 1 Contender's Triple Threat Tag Team Match
Raw's tag team division is so depleted that three makeshift teams had to fight for an opportunity to contend for the Raw Tag Team Championship at Clash of Champions. With The Viking Raiders gone for a while and AOP released, this division is in serious trouble. I enjoyed the match, but the outcome annoyed me as we've seen Andrade and Garza get beaten by The Street Profits at least three or four times already. Rollins walked off on Murphy, so if that's not an official split, I don't know what would be. Dominik and Carrillo were a random pairing (I assume Carrillo is merely filling in for Rey while he's out injured), but they have potential if they stick together and this wasn't just a one-off.
Kevin Owens Hosted The KO Show with Shane McMahon Before Being Attacked by Aleister Black; Braun Strowman and Dabba-Kato Went Face-To-Face
I know Owens acknowledged his history with Shane at the start of this segment, but it still made no sense why he would agree to have Shane on his show in the first place given the bad blood between the two. Their verbal exchange was fine and managed to hype Strowman vs. Dabba-Kato in Raw Underground later in the night as well as further Owens' feud with Black. Speaking of whom, I'm glad Black vs. Owens isn't over yet as their encounter last week wasn't what I was hoping for from them, even though it was good for what it was.
WWE Champion Drew McIntyre def. Keith Lee by Disqualification (Non-Title)
So, let me get this straight. Had Lee won, he would have faced McIntyre for the WWE Championship in an Ambulance match at Clash of Champions, only if Randy Orton couldn't compete. If Lee won and Orton was cleared, what would have happened with Lee? If Lee lost and Orton couldn't Lee, would McIntyre not have defended the title? The WWE Championship picture is a damn mess right now. I enjoyed this outing more than their match last week, but the non-finish was ridiculously dumb. I get WWE wanting to protect both guys, but they shouldn't have booked the bout to begin with. Orton's post-match promo was solid, but I'm quickly losing interest in this McIntyre vs. Orton feud, especially as Lee becomes more and more of an afterthought.
Zelina Vega def. Mickie James in a Raw Women's Championship No. 1 Contender's Match
This made sense from a storyline standpoint as Vega stepped up to Asuka last week and James was never technically defeated by Asuka as she didn't tap out and wasn't pinned in their match. That said, I have zero desire to see Asuka vs. Vega at Clash of Champions. The fact it was announced for the Kickoff show telegraphs the finish, but as one of the matches I'm least looking forward to at the event, I can't say that bothers me much. This was decent, but I really hope Vega can have a breakout performance on Sunday.
Apollo Crews def. Cedric Alexander
Similar to Alexander vs. Ricochet from last week, this was a fun little match that could have been better wit more time. Alexander should be on a winning streak right now, but this was one instance where I didn't mind that Alexander lost and that it was because of a roll-up. That's because Crews is getting his rematch against Bobby Lashley for the United States Championship at Clash of Champions, so it was perfectly logical for him to win here. Once he loses there, however, The Hurt Business need to move on from feuding with Crews and Ricochet because it has been over three months at this point.
Seth Rollins Interrogated the Mysterio Family
While it's hard to believe that WWE would copy an awful angle from 15 years ago, it's actually believable when you consider that this company repeats past storylines quite frequently. This was complete crap. Rollins pretended like Dominik wasn't Rey's son, and after Rey acknowledged that they've been down that road before, Rollins shifted his focus to Aaliyah and attempted to convince viewers that she wasn't the legitimate daughter of Rey. Then Rey said something that offended Aaliyah that caused her to walk off. She was confronted by Murphy in the back who apologized for anything he did to her. Regardless where any of this is leading, it's deplorable. The Mysterio vs. Rollins should have been over and done with last week when Rollins beat Dominik for a third consecutive time. Why is this continuing? What is to be gained from it? What's the endgame here? What a waste of time.
WWE Women's Tag Team Champions Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler def. Lana and Natalya (Non-Title)
I guess Jax and Baszler attacked Lana and Natalya last week to set up this match, which no one ever asked for. Lana and Natalya aren't a compelling team and I don't care about Jax and Baszler as the champions. Thus, I appreciated that this was kept on the shorter side and ended in a dominant and decisive victory for Baszler and Jax. For what it's worth, I doubt it's a coincidence that Lana has been put through a table two weeks in a row coming off her husband Miro's AEW debut on Dynamite. This company can be pretty petty at times, so I'm not surprised in the slightest.
Raw Women's Champion Asuka def. Peyton Royce (Non-Title)
When I was thinking about potential challengers who would have been better than Vega at Clash of Champions, Royce never crossed my mind. I'd be all for her being built up as a threat to Asuka eventually and this was a nice step toward that with her looking competitive in defeat. I appreciate WWE's effort to make Vega a last-minute threat to Asuka by having her attack the Raw Women's Champion afterward, but I'm just not buying it. On a side note, Billie Kay standing ringside for this was stupid seeing as how The IIconics supposedly broke up a few weeks ago.
The Hurt Business (United States Champion Bobby Lashley, Shelton Benjamin and Cedric Alexander) def. RETRIBUTION (Mace, T-Bar and Slapjack) by Disqualification
Yes, those are the actual names WWE is going with for RETRIBUTION members Dominik Dijakovic, Dio Maddin and the other mystery dude. This angle is officially dead in the water. Between those names and those dumb masks, who in their right mind would take them seriously? The match never got going for me (especially since both factions are supposed to be heels) and the disqualification finish felt abrupt. The brawl that ensued afterward was what it was, but it was odd for WWE to shoehorn Orton hitting McIntyre with an RKO in there. It was almost like the company's way of reminding viewers that there's a pay-per-view on Sunday. To say this was all over place would be an understatement, and I don't say that as a positive thing.
This was one of those shows where as soon as it was over, I started thinking about where it ranked among the worst episodes of Raw in 2020. I wouldn't go so far as to say "ever" (though I guess that's debatable), but the bottom line is that this show sucked. The timing was terrible because Clash of Champions is on Sunday and this edition of Raw did nothing to get me more excited for the event than I was previously. The RETRIBUTION garbage dominated this episode, and while I'm glad WWE finally progressed the storyline somewhat, it's doing far more to hinder the quality of Raw than help it. The women's division is also struggling, the tag team division is desolate, the Mysterio vs. Rollins rivalry ran its course weeks ago, the WWE Championship picture is getting dull, the non-finishes are out of control, the 24/7 Championship silliness is pure filler, and the camera cuts during Raw Underground are unbearable. These were three hours I won't be able to get back.