WWE Raw: Dec. 9, 2019
Lana and Rusev's divorce leads to chaos, Seth Rollins joins forces with The AOP, The Viper comes calling and more just days before WWE TLC.
Rusev divorces Lana, but gets something in return
GREENVILLE, S.C. — In the end, it was about as amicable as you could have asked for between the two parties involved. It was only the third party who caused problems.
Despite an epic shouting match, an argument over who kept the dog, and Lana’s wild accusations that the WWE Universe was to blame for the dissolution of a marriage, Lana and Rusev signed their divorce papers, but Rusev wanted something in return. No, he didn’t want Lana to stop calling him a monster. He didn’t even get a guarantee that he’d keep the dog. What he wanted, above all things, was a match with Bobby Lashley — the same Bobby Lashley who emerged in the middle of the signing and tried to rub salt in Rusev’s wounds by promising to marry Lana himself once the divorce was finalized. The Super Athlete didn’t even try to fight Lashley on that one — “She’s all yours!” he yelped — but he insisted on getting the chance to battle Lashley in the ring in any kind of match The All Mighty wanted.
It was only then that Rusev threw hands with Lashley, and he got the better of the two-time Intercontinental Champion with a belly-to-belly suplex through the divorce table — a move, which, oddly enough, may well be a sign of things to come in the match he ultimately received.
McIntyre serves up kicks and insults to Matt Hardy
Drew McIntyre has been a new man since Survivor Series, dishing out chops to the chest, kicks to the mush and insults to the face of anyone who dares cross him. The latest unlucky recipient of all three was Matt Hardy, who has been working to get some momentum going since his own return a couple of weeks back.
Unfortunately for the former Raw Tag Team Champion, a round of adrenaline fueled by some pointed insults toward Matt’s (newly expanding!) family wasn’t enough to take down his towering opponent. Even though Hardy cut McIntyre down to size with a Side Effect and a trip into the ringpost, his attempt to execute a backslide was reversed into a Future Shock DDT, and a Claymore moments later was all she wrote.
Street Profits answer Viking Raiders' open title challenge
The Viking Raiders have been feasting on an endless string of locals more or less since they debuted on Raw, so it made sense that Erik & Ivar would issue an open challenge to see if there was anyone who could stand toe to toe with them. As it turns out, there was. The Street Profits answered the Vikings’ call for a title bout and nearly supplanted the champs, putting on an impressive performance that cemented them as a team to watch even in defeat.
Much like the champs, The Street Profits employed a strategy to come out swinging. Montez Ford pancaked Erik with a Frog Splash just seconds into the match, and big man Angelo Dawkins sent Ivar tumbling with an exploder suplex. The Viking Raiders rallied to hit the Viking Experience on Ford for the win, but the effort by the young team was noted. Erik & Ivar shook the hands of The Street Profits after the match, clearly signaling that they’d welcome another fight down the line. It's not a title victory, but safe to say the Profits achieved a win of sorts all the same.
Owens goes looking for AOP and finds ... Zayn and Rawley?
Kevin Owens came to Raw looking for AOP. Instead, he ran afoul of a truly unlikely duo: Sami Zayn and Mojo Rawley.
Throughout his quest to find Akam & Rezar, which was aided by a steel pipe given to him by Rey Mysterio, Owens came across Mojo Rawley in the backstage area and slapped him across the face after a brief confrontation. Moments later, KO took the ring to confront Seth Rollins, who claimed he had come to the ring to settle his own unfinished business with AOP. Of course, Owens still suspected Rollins of some sort of secret alliance with AOP, so The Beastslayer made the "unpopular decision" to make himself scarce. That's when Mojo resurfaced alongside Sami, who had apparently been granted a manager’s license that allowed him to move freely across Raw and SmackDown. But Zayn’s presence didn’t endear Rawley to Owens at all. In fact, KO Stunned Rawley, rained blows on his back with the pipe and sent Sami skulking off.
As for AOP, they did appear ... briefly, on the TitanTron, sneering at Owens in their native tongues but pointedly refusing to come to the ring. So, after dispatching Rawley, Owens did exactly what you’d expect him to do: Kept looking.
Aleister Black downs Akira Tozawa in fast-paced brawl
The bad news is that Aleister Black has to wait a few more days for the fight he wants against Buddy Murphy. The good news is that he got a hell of a fight from Akira Tozawa. This should be no small consolation for the battle-hungry Black; Tozawa has looked so good the last few weeks that it’s easy to forget he’s on a bit of a losing streak, and this one could have gone either way until the deciding moments when Black snatched victory from the jaws of defeat. He did so by turning Tozawa’s momentum against him, countering The Stamina Monster’s suicide headbutt with a jumping knee and sealing the match soon thereafter with a Black Mass.
Andrade and Vega butt heads after Carrillo scores upset
Ladies and gentlemen, we have ourselves an upset. Humberto Carrillo, whose win-loss record hasn’t always matched up with his heart, got one over on the white-hot Andrade, who hasn’t lost a match in a month and a half and has been all but untouchable in the weeks since his Raw debut in the wake of the WWE Draft. Needless to say, he did not take the loss well.
Ironically, Andrade seemingly went looking for this fight, confronting Carrillo moments into an interview that introduced him as the hottest newcomer on Team Red. Andrade clearly wasn’t impressed by what he saw, and he made an example of Carrillo early in the match. But the young Superstar lived up to his billing by kicking out of everything Andrade threw at him, including a vicious elbow that all but floored Humberto. After the former NXT Champion accidentally knocked Zelina Vega off the ring apron, Carrillo made his move, rolling up Andrade for three to the assembled disbelief of all involved. No one was more shocked than Andrade, who got in a post-bout shouting match with Vega and blamed her for the loss.
Murphy downs Ryder ahead of fight with Aleister Black
With an upcoming fight against Aleister Black, it’s put up or shut up time for Buddy Murphy. With that in mind, his match with Zack Ryder was as much of a potential dry run for Murphy as it was a signal to The Dutch Destroyer that Murphy is no laughing matter. It was a resounding success either way you look at it. Murphy came out swinging against The Ultimate Broski and, despite eating a Broski Boot that almost relieved the Australian of his bicuspids, distracted Zack with a cheap shot to Curt Hawkins at ringside and put the match away with a jumping knee and Murphy’s Law. Looks like Buddy Murphy is in a fighting mood. Good. Then he and Aleister will both get what they want.
Rollins speaks his mind and joins forces with AOP
It took a long time, but Kevin Owens found exactly what he was looking for: AOP … and Seth Rollins with them. Yes, The Beastslayer seems to be well and truly in cahoots with the former Raw Tag Team Champions, joining them in a parking lot ambush of the former Universal Champion. Akam & Rezar flung the door of their van into KO’s head and Rollins Stomped his newfound nemesis into the cement before The Beastslayer took the Raw stage to turn his ire to the WWE Universe, whom he said drove him to make the decision.
Clearly at the end of his rope, Rollins demanded to know what he’d done wrong and what about his efforts over the past year wasn’t enough for the audience. He also revealed that he hadn’t been allied with AOP at the start of all this, but the crowd’s prevailing negativity in the face of his sacrifices — battling through injuries, defending WWE in the media, bringing the Universal Title to Raw — had “turned fiction into fact” and led to a true alliance between the three. And with Owens strapped to a stretcher and loaded into an ambulance, there’s little doubt as to what might come next for Rollins’ enemies in this next chapter.
Kabuki Warriors issue title challenge after dominant display
Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair both dislike The Kabuki Warriors, and rightly so given the events of the past couple of months. But as Raw made clear, they’re only going to get so even — or collect so many debts, as The Man might put it — fighting one on two.
Yes, even after refusing Charlotte’s offer to join forces against the WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions, The Man seemed to have Asuka & Kairi Sane figured out, maneuvering The Pirate Princess into the Dis-arm-her for a near submission win. But the numbers advantage kept Lynch from sealing the victory, at least until Asuka decided she’d had enough and drilled Becky with a steel chair, netting the Raw Women’s Champion a disqualification win. Sane followed up with a demoralizing InSane Elbow that drove Becky through a table.
The champs weren’t done for the night either, attacking The Queen with a steel chair in the locker room area following Flair’s tense backstage confrontation with The Man in the trainer’s room. And, clearly feeling themselves after a dominant night, the champs were willing to take the will-they-or-won’t-they out of Becky and Charlotte’s hands altogether, challenging The Man & The Queen to a title match this Sunday at WWE TLC. For the first time, Lynch and Charlotte agreed, provided they upped the ante by not just challenging at TLC, but in a TLC Match.
Rowan brutalizes local who steals his pen
The local competitor who faced Erick Rowan instantly won the title for the bravest, most foolish man in Greenville when he stole Rowan’s beloved pen and placed it atop the ramp in the hopes of baiting the big man into a count-out loss. It did not work. In fact, it had the opposite effect, provoking Rowan to unleash an onslaught that included three Iron Claws and forced the ref to stop the match. Not that it prevented Rowan from continuing his attack after the bell and repeatedly accusing the local grappler of trying to hurt someone he loved. Points for strategy and originality to this man, if nothing else, but the mystery remains unsolved. The only thing we know at this point is what Rowan will do if you try to solve it.
Orton rears his head and Mysterio retains against Styles
As far as AJ Styles is concerned, the United States Championship is O.C. business. A few other people would disagree, most notably Rey Mysterio, who defeated The Phenomenal One to retain the title in Raw’s main event. Another dissenter is Randy Orton, whose mere presence ensured that The Ultimate Underdog would earn the victory even though The Viper never laid a hand on Styles, his new rival.
He picked the perfect moment to appear, rearing his head the second after The Phenomenal One executed a Styles Clash that presumably would have netted the win. Orton left the ring without incident, however, and the incensed AJ was ripe for the picking, as Mysterio jumped on him with a roll-up pin. With Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson having previously been dispatched by The Master of the 619, there was no one to save Styles and no one to stop Mysterio from earning the three-count. So The O.C.’s centerpiece championship moves beyond its clutches. But they know who caused it to do so. And now, O.C. business has changed.
Rey Mysterio to defend United States Championship against AJ Styles
AJ Styles’ world got turned upside down when Rey Mysterio relieved him of the United States Championship — albeit with a little help from Randy Orton — and now, “Uncle Allen” will have the opportunity to right the ship. Following his victory in Monday’s Six-Man Tag Team main event, Styles has been named the first challenger to Mysterio’s reign, giving him the chance to ensure The Ultimate Underdog’s second stint with the U.S. Title ends just as quickly as his first.
His victory is obviously not a foregone conclusion. Mysterio has been on something of a tear since his son Dominik convinced him not to retire a few months ago; the odd loss aside, he’s been a near-constant source of dominance ever since. And, of course, there’s always the threat of Orton still lurking on the periphery — though given that The O.C. has never had a problem interfering on Styles’ behalf, we can probably place things on something of an even keel in the outside interference department. In that case, Monday’s stage is set as simply as possible: Mysterio vs. Styles. May the best man win.