After a month leading up to WWE Survivor Series that focused less on “Raw programs” and more on the developments ahead of the Raw vs. SmackDown themed pay-per-view, it was time to get back to business as usual. That’s exactly what happened on Monday’s edition of WWE Raw, a show centered around championships — and men battling to become contenders.
A large chunk of the show was taken up by a series of matches to begin to lay the groundwork for who would be the No. 1 contender for Drew McIntyre’s WWE championship heading into December’s TLC: Tables, Ladders and Chairs pay-per-view. This was good news for fans of competitive, hard-hitting action as the three featured matches of the night all delivered in the ring.
CBS Sports was with you all night, bringing you recaps and highlights of all the action. Read on for everything you need to know from the Survivor Series fallout edition of Raw.
No. 1 contender tournament kicks off
Adam Pearce opened the show in the ring with the men’s Survivor Series team. The members of the team all made their pitch for getting a shot at the WWE championship. After AJ Styles, Riddle, Keith Lee and Sheamus got on the microphone to make their pitch, Braun Strowman made his case by grabbing Pearce and screaming that he be made “the guy” before delivering a headbutt to the WWE official. Later in the show, Pearce said that if it were up to him, he would fire Strowman. Before he could deliver his decision on the next man up for a title shot, he was interrupted by Bobby Lashley, who said he needed to talk business after being the only Raw champion to win at Survivor Series. Later, Pearce said that Lashley made a compelling case, but was again cut off, this time by the arrival of Randy Orton. Pearce would eventually say there would be a series of singles matches tonight, with the three winners battling in a triple threat match next week.
Riddle def. Sheamus via pinfall by countering the cloverleaf into a pinning combination. After Sheamus tried to grind on Riddle with early arm work, Riddle fired back with big strikes. Sheamus cut off Riddle’s offense with a big lariat and went right back to focusing on Riddle’s arm. The hard-hitting battle continued to amp up in intensity, with both men hitting big moves in between strike exchanges. Sheamus drove his own shoulder into the ring post, creating an opening for Riddle to land a big series of kicks, but Sheamus drilled him with a sidewalk slam. Riddle hit a springboard twisting dive to the outside on Sheamus down the stretch, but Sheamus caught him coming off the top rope with a crossbody and turned it into a swinging uranage suplex. Riddle countered the 10 Beats of the Bodhran with a kimura in the ropes, but still the brutal match continued, with Riddle able to kick out of White Noise from the second rope. Riddle managed to counter the cloverleaf into a pinning combination to score the victory and advance to next week’s triple threat.
Keith Lee def. Bobby Lashley via disqualification after interference from MVP. As expected, this got hard-hitting in a hurry, with Lee and Lashley going right after each other. Lee was distracted by MVP at ringside early and got blindsided by Lashley while stalking the Hurt Business founder. Lashley was busted open on the side of his head , drawing a decent amount of blood. Lashley pulled off some big feats of strength, including carrying Lee on his shoulders and ramming him into the ring post and hitting a massive vertical suplex. Lashley’s first attempt at the Hurt Lock didn’t work out, with Lee easily powering out before it could get locked in and shortly after pouncing Lashley from the ring. Lee again managed to fight off the Hurt Lock, and after driving Lashley into the canvas, MVP ran in to make the save, giving Lee the win by disqualification.
AJ Styles def. Randy Orton via pinfall after a Phenomenal Forearm. Styles got off to a fast start, but after dropping Orton with a dropkick, Styles was caught by an Orton eye poke. Styles would get an assist from Olmos, with the bodyguard tossing Styles onto the ring apron to deliver a running kick to the face of Orton. After a commercial break, Styles was eating a series of right hands from Orton, but managed to hit a chop block to set up some leg work on Orton. Orton avoided Style’s first attempt to lock in a calf crusher after having his leg softened up for the hold. Styles would eventually lock in the hold after countering Orton’s hanging DDT, but Orton got to the ropes to escape the hold. Styles countered an RKO with an enziguri and the action went outside the ring when The Fiend’s music hit and The Fiend briefly popped up from behind the ringside barricade. Orton was only briefly distracted before hitting the hanging DDT. Before he could capitalize, the lights went out and The Fiend appeared behind Orton on the ring apron. The lights went back out and Styles connected with a Phenomenal Forearm for the win to take the final spot in next week’s triple threat match.
The opening segment wasn’t great, with Team Raw looking a bit goofy as they debated their merits as potential title contenders, but it’s hard to complain much when the end result was three high-quality matches on a single show. Having slightly screwy finishes for two of the three matches is a little frustrating, but are somewhat understandable in WWE not wanting to have United States champ Lashley pinned clean and having bigger plans for Orton and Wyatt that could be furthered through the final segment. Next week’s triple threat between Styles, Lee and Riddle should be excellent. Grade: B+
What else happened on WWE Raw?
Raw Tag Team Championship — The New Day (c) def. The Hurt Business via pinfall after Xavier Woods hit Shelton Benjamin with a code red. The match was set up when Hurt Business threw down a backstage challenge earlier in the day. It would initially end in a count out win for Hurt Business (though it appeared both teams were counted out), but they demanded the match be restarted and it was. Hurt Business controlled much of the match, largely focusing on the knee of Kofi Kingston, but New Day was able to pull it off when Kingston took out Cedric Alexander on the outside and Woods hit a variation of a code red for the victory.
Raw Women’s Championship — Asuka (c) def. Lana via disqualification after being attacked by Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler. Lana was interviewed backstage about being the sole survivor in the women’s Survivor Series elimination match. She was asked if she thought she should get a title shot and just said that it would be a dream come true. Asuka later told Lana she accepts her challenge despite Lana saying she hadn’t made one. Early in the match, Jax and Baszler, who were ringside on commentary, attacked Asuka for the disqualification. As Jax was about to Samoan drop Asuka through the announce table, Lana made the save.
Asuka & Lana def. Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler via pinfall when Asuka pinned Baszler with a schoolboy pin. This match, of course, came about as a result of how Asuka’s match with Lana ended. Baszler and Jax brutalized Lana for the early stretch of the match before the eventual hot tag to Asuka. Lana ducked out of the way of Jax’s attempt to steamroll her outside the ring, sending Jax spilling over the announce table. Baszler reached outside the ring to lock Lana in the Kirifuda Clutch, leaving the opening for Asuka to get the schoolboy for the win.
Alexa Bliss def. Nikki Cross via pinfall after a modified Sister Abigail. Bliss and Bray Wyatt hosted a Firefly FunHouse earlier in the night talking about how Cross was a bad friend. Cross would later say that she hadn’t given up on Bliss, but was planning to “beat the Fiend out of her.” An emotional Cross brutalized Bliss during the match, but Bliss kept smiling and laughing as she was attacked. Eventually, Bliss began to cry and acted shocked when she realized the outfit she was wearing. This was, of course, a set-up, as Bliss hit a modified Sister Abigail and grinned while scoring the pinfall.