One night removed from the Clash of Champions pay-per-view, WWE returned to the ThunderDome inside Orlando’s Amway Center for Raw. While the show was light on story developments, there were some meaningful matches through the night, including three bouts with championships on the line.
Drew McIntyre opened the show by issuing an open challenge to anyone who had yet to face him for the championship. This would lead to a surprise return of a former NXT champion and an unsurprising victory to retain the title for McIntyre. Also on the line over the course of the show were the Raw women’s and 24/7 titles, neither of which changed hands in the ring, though the 24/7 belt did change hands three times through the show.
CBS Sports was with you all night long, bringing you recaps, highlights and grades of all the action, which you can view below.
Drew McIntyre issues an open challenge
The show opened with Ric Flair, The Big Show, Christian and Shawn Michaels all making their entrances before welcoming WWE champion Drew McIntyre to the ring. McIntyre spoke about his history with all four men before Randy Orton interrupted the proceedings, saying that he won’t be finished with McIntyre until he is WWE champion. Before apparently leaving the building, Orton said he won’t have to beg for another title match, he will simply be given one because he is Randy Orton, while also saying he would remind everyone that there is a price to be paid for crossing him. McIntyre then said, being surrounded by legends, he realized the kind of champion he wanted to be and issued an open challenge for later in the show to anyone he had not yet defended against.
WWE Championship — Drew McIntyre (c) def. Robert Roode via pinfall after a Claymore to retain the title. Dolph Ziggler approached Adam Pearce earlier in the night to pitch an idea for a challenger. Before the match, Ziggler introduced the returning Robert Roode as that man. Roode gave a fine enough challenge, but got some help from Ziggler, who pulled him out of the ring before McIntyre pulled Ziggler into the ring, ready to attack before Roode hit the champ with a chop block. McIntyre continued to sell the injured leg, providing openings for some Roode near falls — including hitting a Glorious DDT — before McIntyre eventually hit the Claymore for the finish. After the match, just before the show went off the air, Randy Orton was disguised as a janitor backstage, removing a steel chair from his cart and donning night vision goggles before sneaking into the “Legends Lounge” where Show, Flair, Christian and Michaels were playing poker. He shut off the lights and several chair shots could be heard.
The opening segment with the legends was awkward and a little too jokey, and the image of Orton in night vision goggles at the end of the night is meme fodder. Add to that a fairly “blah” surprise opponent in Roode, and this wasn’t the strongest night for segments involving the WWE champion. The match was perfectly fine, but this just felt like a stay-busy night as the feud between the champ and Orton drags along. Grade: C
Mysterio family drama escalates
The Mysterio Family were interviewed in-ring by Jerry Lawler, addressing last week’s family drama. Aalyah Mysterio clarified that she was upset at her father for calling her naive last week, but that Seth Rollins is a bad person and anyone who hangs around him is making bad choices. Rollins then appeared on the Titantron and showed direct messages between Aalyah and Murphy — whose phone Rollins had taken earlier in the night. The messages were generally harmless, including Murphy offering to listen if Aalyah needed anyone to talk to and her sending him a “happy birthday” text. But it was enough to send Dominik Mysterio into a rage before he stormed backstage and brawled with Murphy to set up the match later in the night.
Murphy def. Dominik Mysterio via pinfall with a schoolboy pin. Mysterio was furious as he walked to the ring and immediately took the fight to Murphy. The two continued to brawl inside and outside the ring before Mysterio looked under the ring and found a kendo stick. As he tried to get in the ring, Aalyah came to ringside and begged Dominik to stop. With Dominik distracted, Murphy rolled him up for a pin. Dominik delivered a few shots with the kendo stick before Aalyah again stepped in. Dominik called her naive, saying their father was right before she slapped him and stormed off.
The age difference between Aalyah and Murphy is an understandable sticking point for many people. It’s not entirely clear this is actually a “romance angle,” but it does have all the early story beats of being one. Dominik continues to shine in the ring in the very early days of his career, but he and Aalyah put some of the worst kinds of “WWE acting” on display through the night. Those rough edges may smooth out eventually, but that’s a weak point in the game of the young Mysterios right now. Grade: B-
What else happened on WWE Raw?
Raw Women’s Championship — Asuka (c) def. Zelina Vega via submission with the Asuka Lock to retain the title. As was the case when the two met at Clash of Champions, Vega gave a spirited effort, returning her focus to Asuka’s arm as she had the night prior. But Vega came up short when Asuka countered a moonsault into the Asuka Lock to get the finish and retain her title.
Keith Lee def. Andrade via pinfall after a Spirit Bomb. After Vega’s match, Andrade entered the ring and ran down his former manager for dragging him down in the past. After Vega left, Andrade asked someone to come out and face him, drawing out Lee. Lee made relatively easy work of Andrade before hitting a Spirit Bomb for the win.
The 24/7 championship traded hands three times in under a minute. A ninja approached R-Truth backstage. He handed Truth a note from Akira Tozawa, stating that he had been eaten by a shark — as implied last week. The ninja then gave Truth a black belt, Truth celebrated and Tozawa crawled out from under a table to pin Truth to win the title. The first ninja then pinned Tozawa to win the title, revealing himself to be Drew Gulak. Truth then pinned Gulak to win the title back.
Mandy Rose & Dana Brooke def. Lana & Natalya via pinfall when Rose hit Lana with a jumping knee. Lana and Natalya claimed they should be awarded the women’s tag titles after Shayna Baszler and Nia Jax were unable to defend at Clash of Champions. Adam Pearce said that no such thing would happen, but the duo could earn their way toward a title shot by facing the newest tag team on Raw: Rose and Brooke.
Kevin Owens def. Aleister Black via disqualification. Before the match, Black cut a backstage promo blaming Owens for not being there for him when his eye was injured by Murphy and Rollins. The match itself was an all-out brawl between the two before Black accidentally hit the official, drawing the disqualification. Owens hit an irate Black with a stunner after the decision was announced.
24/7 Championship — R-Truth (c) def. Drew Gulak & Akira Tozawa via pinfall after hitting an AA on Gulak onto Tozawa. After the rapid-fire title changes earlier in the night, a triple threat was held, with Truth retaining the belts in match that was more entertaining than most “real” matches for the 24/7 belt.
Apollo Crews, Ricochet & Mustafa Ali def. The Hurt Business via pinfall after Ali hit MVP with a 450 splash. Early in the match, the lights flickered and the Retribution’s logo showed on the ThunderDome screens, but nothing came of it and the match went along until Ali scored the big victory.