The SmarK Rant for WWE Monday Night RAW – 12.03.19

The SmarK Rant for WWE Monday Night RAW (Hulu Edition) – 12.02.19

The Authors of Pain show up and speak SCARY FOREIGN LANGUAGES when asked why they beat up Kevin Owens.  I bet their books about pain aren’t even written in English.

Live from Kevin Nashville, TN

Your hosts are Vic Joseph & Jerry Lawler & Samoa Joe

Seth Rollins shows up to apologize for last week, but he’s just so gosh darn passionate about this business.  In fact, the guys and gals in the locker room are his brothers and sisters.  Ew, he’s engaged to his SISTER?  Anyway, he calls out Kevin Owens, who smells bullshit.  So this brings out the AOP, who want a tag team match with Owens & Rollins.  Seth is enthusiastically in for this, but Kevin is hip to the room and demands that they just triple team him right now and beat him up instead of going with the pretense of the tag team match.  Kevin as fourth-wall breaking student of wrestling is a neat character, but tonight there shall be no tag team match.  But Kevin still wants a fight with someone.

So after the break, Lana comes out to cut a promo, while an exasperated KO yells about how no one cares about her or anything she has to say.  I love shoot comments that aren’t supposed to be shoot comments.

Kevin Owens v. Lana’s Hot, Hot Boyfriend Bobby Lashley

Yes, it’s a rematch of the epic main event of STARRCADE 2019!  A show that they don’t even mention in passing.  KO slugs away with forearms to start, but Lashley hits him with the spinebuster to take over.  They head to the floor and Owens gets a frog splash off the apron, and we take a break as RAW ROLLS ON.  Back with Owens getting the cannonball for two.  Owens goes up and misses a moonsault, and Lashley pounds away on him and stops to flex.  Always time to pose.  Joe ponders that Rusev must have done something to make Lana as angry as she is, thus instantly putting more thought into the buildup of the storyline than anyone involved in actually writing it.  Lashley with the Dominator for two.  Luckly, Owens is able to create separation from the full nelson, which I shall dub the LASH-LOCK, but AOP runs in for the DQ at 9:09.  ZOOM!  CUT!  ZOOM!  CUT!  SHAKE SHAKE SHAKE!  It’s like I’m being sucked into the reality of the beatdown through the movement of the camera!  Match was OK.  **1/4  And then AOP drag him back to the dressing room and we never hear about any of them again for the rest of the show.

Back from another break and Lashley denies any involvement in the previous shenanigans, but Rusev runs in from the crowd and attacks before departing through the audience again.  So then Lashley goes off on the cops that he paid to protect him, and they arrest him and read him rights live on TV.

OK, so look.  I have no objection to stupid soap opera stories because I’m a wrestling fan who also watches Riverdale religiously and has seen every episode of Melrose Place.  The problem here is that they have 30 failed soap opera and reality TV writers at their disposal, and THIS is the wackiest ideas they can come up with?  Just off the top of my head, I can milk this thing for a month or two.  One week, they decide to go on Jerry Springer to air their issues and a fight breaks out!  That one writes itself.  The next week, Lana takes Rusev to Divorce Court and you can have some goofy cameo appearance for the judge, like Mick Foley or Edge or Tommy Dreamer or whatever.  Then things escalate and the next week you do a “live shoot” from Lana’s house with a Live PD parody where the Fashion Police are the cops.  I’m not even a professional failed reality TV hack and I was able to come up with fun ideas for this thing that don’t involve recycling Steve Austin angles from 1998 in 2 minutes!  If you’re gonna be stupid with it, be STUPID with it.  I guarantee you that doing crazy chair-throwing nostalgia shit on a Jerry Springer-type set will explode all over social media way better than “Lashley gets handcuffed for insulting a Nashville detective”.

Also, what’s this actually leading to?  I presume they’re building to a match at some point, but the closest we’ve ever come to one was the Starrcade thing where they advertised the Last Man Standing match and then didn’t deliver.  Other than that, they’ve never even teased a PPV match or talked about the possibility.  The salesperson in me is screaming CLOSE THE DAMN SALE ALREADY.

During the break, both Lana and Lashley get arrested and Lana threatens a lawsuit.  Ever see the sovereign citizen nutjobs on Live PD?  They should take note of the conversations THEY have with the cops and crib from that.

Drew McIntyre v. Akira Tozawa

Well this is an epic waste of Tozawa.  Drew does the bit where he gets on his knees to accentuate that Tozawa is short, but Akira dropkicks him.  So Drew hauls him around outside and hits him with the Alabama slam on the floor.  Back in, we hit the chinlock and Drew pounds him with chops and flings him across the ring with an overhead suplex, then goes to an armbar.  Tozawa counters him into the turnbuckles and goes up with a missile dropkick, but he tries a rana and gets a rollup instead.  And then Drew hits him with the Claymore kick for the pin at 4:14.  Impressive squash, but Drew has been treading water for months and going nowhere.  *1/2  Speaking of going nowhere, Drew calls out Randy Orton, and this is so earth-shaking that we need to take a break.

Back with Drew still waiting on Orton.  We get some footage of their chop battle from last week and Randy finally comes out, but apparently shows disrespect to Drew somehow and offends him.  So then they argue about who has a problem with whom and jibber jabber about “social media” and I’m not even really sure what the issue is here.  So then the OC comes out and the Good Brothers bitch about how Orton cost AJ the US title last week, although AJ still has great hair.  And then Drew is like “Well, this seems like someone else’s problem, so I’m leaving”.  What even is this segment?  The OC beats down Orton, but now Ricochet saves and they do after him as well.  And then Humberto Carillo tries to save and gets beaten down, and finally Rey Mysterio bails out the others.  What an incredibly convoluted path to a simple six-man match.

Meanwhile, Seth Rollins tries to leave, but Charly ambushes him with the tough questions, like all the people who are supposedly questioning the sincerity of his apology.  Apparently he’s the only one with the GUTS to be a leader.  And he’s gonna be on WWE BACKSTAGE on Tuesday night!  I bet he’ll complain about the people on Twitter!  I can smell the ratings now!

Charlotte Flair v. Asuka & Kairi Sane

But first, the Kabuki Warriors continue our theme of the week by speaking EVIL JAPANESE backstage in their pre-match promo.  It’s a good thing Jim Cornette isn’t on commentary here, he’d have been fired by the first break.  The Warriors attack Charlotte before the bell and beat her so hard that her face is left paralyzed and all waxy as a result!  They double-team her in the corner, but Charlotte knocks Kairi off the apron.  Asuka throws kicks in the corner to take over, but Charlotte dumps her and hits them both with a baseball slide.  Back in, Charlotte tries a move from the apron, but Kairi yanks her down and then Asuka follows with a sliding knee on the apron.  Back in, Asuka throws more kicks, but Charlotte fights back with a big boot and then hits them both with a dive.  More boots, but we take a break.  Back with the champions working her over in the corner, and Sane gets a sliding elbow for two.  Charlotte fights back on Asuka, but Asuka gets a german suplex.  Charlotte fights back again with more big boots and follows with a moonsault, but it hits knees.  Charlotte shrugs it off and puts Sane in the Boston crab, but Asuka saves and goes up with a missile dropkick for two.  Asuka throws kicks but Charlotte is showing THE FACE OF DEFIANCE, which reminds me of the “many faces of Darth Vader” shirts you see because her defiant face looks just as frozen and plastic as all her other expressions.  Asuka with an armbar, but Charlotte slams out of it, and Sane hits her from behind to break it up.  Kairi goes up and Charlotte cuts her off and teases a double suplex of both Warriors.  However, they block it and Sane gets a double stomp from the top rope for two.  Charlotte makes her own comeback and spears both champs, but it only gets two.  Charlotte works on Asuka’s knee, but Sane gets the blind tag and comes in with the Insane Elbow and pins Charlotte at 17:00.  So this was…needlessly long.  Did we really need a million Charlotte big boot comebacks before we got to the ending?  And the tag champions beat a singles wrestler in a handicap match.  Big deal.  I have no idea what this was supposed to accomplish, and I guess it’s leading to something at the PPV (which hasn’t even been mentioned on the show yet) but they made no effort to connect any dots.  **1/2

Rey Mysterio, Humberto Carrillo & Ricochet v. AJ Styles & The Good Brothers

The faces work on Anderson to start and use the POWER OF GYMNASTICS in some nice tumbling exhibitions, but AJ comes in and throws chops on Carrillo.  Carrillo moonsaults him out of the corner for two, but the OC takes over after some cheapshots from the outside.  Rey gets a brief hot tag but the OC cuts him off and runs him into the railing to get the heat on him as we take a break.  Back with the Good Brothers’ trophy still unsmashed at ringside.  If you’re not gonna smash the trophy, what’s even the point of having it?  Rey escapes a chinlock and leverages “Hot Karl” into the corner (can we not use that nickname please?) and it’s hot tag Rick O’Shea as the announcers are all SUPERHERO SUPERHERO SUPERHERO HE’S A REAL LIFE SUPERHERO.  Also, note to Vince McMahon:  Kids like THE AVENGERS.  Not the Justice League.  Kids do not like the Justice League in 2019.  This is why the damn audience is a bunch of old fogies like me.  Ricochet hits Styles with the Recoil for two and everyone hits their big moves, leading to Ricochet reversing the Styles Clash into a rollup for two.  AJ with the Pele and they head to the top, where AJ hits a top rope Styles Clash to finish at 15:09.  Just a bunch of fast-paced stuff that meant nothing.  ***  And then Randy Orton hits AJ with an RKO from behind.  Unless all this stuff is leading to, like, a six-way ladder match at TLC for the US title, I have no idea what any of it was supposed to be accomplishing.

So yeah, just out of curiosity, I checked out the page for TLC on WWE.com, which is on Dec 15 by the way and thus next week’s RAW is the go-home show.  And there’s not even a match listed on it yet, and in fact the only articles are about last year’s show, with names like Dean Ambrose and Ronda Rousey prominently mentioned.  But I can confidently say that this episode definitely had some stuff that I’m pretty sure may or may not have happened.