I’ve got to admit, it was far more interesting to watch the start of the National Championship Game than watch Raw live. Randy Orton is the first one that greets us on TV. He invites AJ Styles to the ring. Styles accepts the invitation. He’s butt hurt about being tricked last week. Drew McIntyre comes out to put in his two cents. He proposes a three way match. They run with it. Karl Anderson pops up and eats an RKO. Claymore kick on Luke Gallows. McIntyre German Suplexes Orton who was trying to superplex Styles. Ouch. Future Shock DDT on Styles. He spends too much time playing to the crowd. Orton drop kicks him. Styles and Orton inadvertently work together to take out McIntyre. Styles gains control and goes for RKO. Orton reverses it. ORton connects with a Styles Clash. Styles kicks out at 2. Orton goes for an RKO but Styles reverses. Orton ends up getting an RKO next move. McIntyre comes in and Claymores Orton. McIntyre pins Styles to win. That was not the outcome I was expecting.
Seth Rollins comes in and talks to the AoP. They are ready for the “fist fight” which is still one of the weirdest gimmick matches. It’d make sense in New Japan where throwing fists is uncommon. Rollins wants us to embrace the plan of the Monday Night Messiah.
Ricochet is taking on Mojo Rawley. Jerry Lawler and Vic Joseph have to pretend like Rawley is a threat. Ricochet has to pretend like he’s a threat too. Recoil is followed up with a 630 for the win.
Angelo Dawkins & Montez Ford are doing their show overview. Dawkins isn’t paying attention though. He was working on his Oscars picks. Woof. As much as I like those guys and think they have chemistry, those segments are not good.
Charlotte is taking on Sarah Logan. Charlotte starts off witha Big Boot. It devolves into a brawl again. Logan rolls Charlotte back into the ring first. Charlotte takes advantage. Figure 8 for the win. Charlotte gets dressed again. Charlotte almost leaves, thinks better of it and tosses Logan over the top rope.
Kevin Owens is worried about the rules of a “Fist Fight.” Samoa Joe tries to talk KO down. Big Show comes down and accomplishes that mission.
Brock Lesnar & Paul Heyman kick off the 9p hour. Heyman tells the crowd that his client does not in fact suck. They get upset and pretend like they’re going to leave. I would have been amused if they did. With what he’s saying, they may as well have. The Truth will set you free. R Truth‘s music hits. He comes out and declares for the Royal Rumble. Heyman informs Truth that he will not be in the match. Truth then un-declares for the Rumble. Truth tries to talk and dance his way out of a beating. It does not work. F5 caps the beating.
Mojo Rawley attacks R Truth on his way to the back. Rawley is the new 24/7 Champion.
Charley Caruso tries to needle Lana & Bobby Lashley. They shut her down as they should. At a minimum, the first huasband/wife were real interlopers. Rusev doesn’t get promo time. He is looking great. I swear he’s trying to get a six pack. Rusev gets to go on the offensive early. Lashley turns it around right before the break. Rusev turns it back around dropping Lashley into the middle turn buckle. Matchka Kick sets up an Accolade. Lana jumps up on the apron. Lashley takes out Rusev’s knee. Liv Morgan comes down and asks Lana “to do it.” Lana throws a drink in her face then throws her against the barricade. The ladies distracted Rusev. Lashley Spears Rusev for the win.
Charley has her time interrupted by Bobby Lashley & Lana. They complain about Liv Morgan’s menacing. Lana makes a mixed tag team match for next week.
The Viking Raiders have an Open Challenge. The Singh Brothers answer the challenge. The Singhs do too much dancing for the Raider liking. They attack on the outside. They continue the assault inside the ring. Viking Experience for the win.
Liv Morgan really sells that she has a vendetta against Lana now for spurning her again.
Becky Lynch comes out for her contract signing with Asuka. Lawler is the moderator. Asuka comes out screaming in Japanese. She signs the contract without much fuss. Lynch looks pensive for a moment then signs rather quickly. Mist to the face. Lynch really selling the stinging effects. Lynch gets the mic and said now she’s really fired up for this match. If Lynch is going down, she going to do it swinging.
We get a recap of the Rey Mysterio and Andrade & Zelina Vega. They finally let her go on the mic. It really helps when they have a championship. Andrade goes off, mostly in Spanish. It sounds and looks great. Rey Mysterio gets to answer and say that he will defend his honor and family next week.
Buddy Murphy and Aleister Black have another good match. The big point in the match is when Murphy grabs the tights of Black. The referee catches him and stops the count. Murphy gets caught with a high knee by Black. We get only a two count. Black gets rocked by a swinging kick to the face. Black retaliates with a kick that knocks Murphy from the top to the barricade. Black unleashes with a variety of strikes. Murphhy kicks Black moonsaulting. Murphy’s Law only gets two when Black puts his foot on the rope. Black flops before a second Murphy’s Law attempt. Murphy goes for Blackmas. Black reverses and connects with Blackmas. Murphy barely kicks out. Second Blackmas for the win.
Buddy Murphy is still moping at ring side while Erick Rowan destroys someone. Claw Slam for the win.
We starts the proceedings for the Fist Fight. It’s basically a multi-man Last Man Standing Match except the referee gets to call the end to this match. Big Show and Rollins fight in the ring. Akam is fighting Kevin Owens. Razar and Joe are paired off. Owens runs up the Titantron and flips onto the AoP. Buddy Murphy is still at ring side. Rollins implores him for help. After a moment of decision, Murphy agrees. They jointly take out Big Show. Meanwhile, KO gets Spinebustered through the announce desk with Joe laying on it. Stomp on Big Show in the ring. The ref calls the match. Rollins and Murphy enjoy a hug after the match. I can dig Murphy joining that group.