WWE Champion Drew McIntyre Attacked Randy Orton
Orton demanded that he be handed the WWE Championship after (seemingly) taking McIntyre out of commission two weeks ago because he didn't think McIntyre would be cleared to compete by Clash of Champions, but in predictable fashion, McIntyre returned here without a scratch on him. It was a simple and straightforward segment, but I could have done without McIntyre coming out of the ambulance like a goof.
The Hurt Business (United States Champion Bobby Lashley, MVP and Shelton Benjamin) def. Apollo Crews, Ricochet and Cedric Alexander
Crews has faced The Hurt Business so often over the last few months that I'm ready for this rivalry to be over, especially now that Lashley has the United States Championship in his possession. The match was fine albeit completely forgettable. That's why it helped to have a shock ending with Alexander turning on his partners. It's been teased for a while, but I didn't think they'd actually do it. I'd love for him to join The Hurt Business, but I don't know how much sense it would make after all the times they've beaten him over over the past few months, including right before this bout.
Raw Tag Team Champions The Street Profits def. Andrade and Angel Garza (Non-Title)
It's the tag team feud that just won't end. Thankfully, Garza walking out Andrade likely means it's done and that they're finally going their separate ways. Then again, they've teased tension before and remained a team, so who the hell knows. Post-match, Cesaro and Shinsuke Nakamura took advantage of the now-quarterly Brand-to-Brand Invitation (ugh) to challenge Street Profits to a champions vs. champions match for next week. There was no word on it being for either set of tag titles, but maybe it should be Winners Take All because of how depleted the tag teams divisions on Raw and SmackDown are at the moment.
Peyton Royce def. Billie Kay
To be perfectly honest, I had zero desire to see these two face each other, but considering they were partners for almost four years, WWE should have hyped up their first one-on-one match at least a week in advance or attempt to make a feud out of it. Unfortunately, this was no good, but Royce winning was the right result. By the way, the new entrance themes for these two are terrible. Royce's singles theme in NXT was way better, but I assume the fact it was composed by CFO$ is why she isn't using it.
Murphy Interrupted the Mysterio Family
This marked the second straight week the entire Mysterio family was on the show, so I'm curious if they're going to be regulars on Raw going forward while Rey is out injured. Dominik has shown plenty of promise, but I question what they'll do with him once this rivalry with Seth Rollins and Murphy runs its course (which it arguably already has). This was a solid segment that provided effective hype for Dominik vs. Murphy later in the night.
Raw Women's Champion Asuka and Mickie James def. Natalya and Lana
It was announced that Asuka and James will be facing each other for the Raw Women's Championship on next week's show. I realize it will be Raw's "season premiere" (a.k.a. the return of Monday Night Football), but I'd rather see that match saved for Clash of Champions, where we're bound to get a Fatal 4-Way with Natalya and Lana instead. This served its purpose in building toward Asuka vs. James for next week and it's nice to see James back winning matches on TV again for the first time since she returned to the company.
The Viking Raiders, Apollo Crews and Ricochet Crashed The VIP Lounge with The Hurt Business and Cedric Alexander; Alexander and The Hurt Business (United States Champion Bobby Lashley, MVP and Shelton Benjamin) def. Viking Raiders, Crews and Ricochet
Man, WWE rushed a three-week story into one episode. They could have done Alexander's turn this week, The VIP Lounge next week, and the eight-man tag team match the week after that. Don't get me wrong, this was fun at certain points and especially down the stretch with Alexander and Ricochet going at it, but it was also a mess as well. Ivar apparently got injured and Ricochet clearly kicked out at two at the end. If Viking Raiders are going to be missing any time, that's a big blow to an already-weak tag team division. As for Alexander, I'm not convinced he's a part of the group yet and that there's more to it. Time will tell.
Randy Orton def. Keith Lee by Disqualification
WWE has a tendency to take matches fans are excited about and run them into the ground by doing them once a week. This was the third match these two have had in the past two weeks. The worst part is that none of their encounters have been remotely memorable. Just as this one started to get going, it came to an abrupt halt due to the interference from McInyre. And yes, WWE ran that exact same finish for Orton vs. Lee two weeks ago. This was lame and did Lee no favors following his huge victory over Orton at Payback. It shouldn't have happened to begin with.
The Riott Squad def. WWE Women's Tag Team Champion Shayna Baszler in a 2-on-1 Handicap Match; Riott Squad vs. WWE Women's Tag Team Champion Nia Jax in a 2-on-1 Handicap Match Ended in a No Contest
Holy crap, these back-to-back bouts were a giant waste of time. I realize Baszler and Jax are supposed to be monster heels, but The Riott Squad struggling to beat them individually despite having the advantage made them look weak. It actually made them look like less of a threat to the WWE Women's Tag Team Championship. RETRIBUTION officially turned face for me when they turned the lights out on Riott Squad vs. Jax.
Dominik Mysterio def. Murphy in a Street Fight
The Mysterio family was present at ringside for this. Rey thankfully didn't get involved too much (until the end, anyway), but they were shown way more than they should have been and the Street Fight stipulation felt unnecessary. To his credit, however, Dominik had another excellent performance and Murphy was the perfect opponent for him. This lacked the energy that the matches Dominik had with Rollins, but I enjoyed it on the whole and Dominik needed the win. I assume Murphy losing will lead to Rollins eventually turning on him. The Mysterios went a bit overboard with their kendo stick attack on Murphy, but what made it almost unwatchable was the constant camera cuts. Kevin Dunn needs to go.
The RETRIBUTION stuff was heavily curtailed on this episode and I can't say I'm too broken over that. Aleister Black vs. Kevin Owens in Raw Underground was at least something different, but I can virtually guarantee you both gimmicks will be gone by the end of the year. The rest of this show was all over the place. Reading that it was rewritten a few hours before it went live didn't surprise me in the slightest and the overabundance of rematches were a big reason why the three hours dragged as much as they did. The McIntyre vs. Orton feud is losing steam, the tag team division is in shambles, and the Mysterios vs. Murphy and Rollins rivalry has officially reached its expiration date. There was decent hype for next week's episode, but Alexander's heel turn was the sole highlight of the night for me.