WWE Raw Results: Winners, Grades, Highlights and Reaction from October 21
Just over a week from Crown Jewel in Saudi Arabia, Seth Rollins faced the possibility of real retaliation from Bray Wyatt after burning down the Firefly Funhouse to close out last week's broadcast. With a showdown with The Fiend upcoming at the pay-per-view event, what awaited The Beastslayer as he arrived to the arena Monday night?
Ric Flair announced the final member of Team Flair, Sin Cara battled Andrade, and The O.C. battled The Street Profits and a mystery partner to round out the night's lineup.
Relive all that went down on the show, how each segment graded out and what it means for those involved with this recap of the October 21 episode of WWE's flagship.
Ric Flair's Final Team Member vs. Ricochet
The legendary Ric Flair kicked off Monday's show, prepared to introduce the final member of Team Flair for the upcoming massive Crown Jewel tag match.
He cut a promo hyping the match before introducing Drew McIntyre, who returned to Raw for the first time in weeks. McIntyre spoke briefly before Ricochet's music played and The One and Only made his entrance for the night's first contest.
Back from the break, McIntyre controlled the action, stomping at his opponent in the corner. The Scottish Psychopath continued to overwhelm Ricochet until an enzuigiri allowed the babyface to create some separation. During the break, though, McIntyre sent him crashing into the ring post, regaining control of the bout.
McIntyre sent his opponent flipping into the corner, continuing his punishing assault. In an interesting production change, Flair was interviewed on the floor in the middle of the match. He sent a message to Hulk Hogan as McIntyre grounded-and-pounded the former United States champion.
Ricochet finally mounted a comeback, dropping McIntyre with a high-flying springboard clothesline. A springboard moonsault netted the same outcome in the form of a two-count.
The sinister Scot cut off the offensive onslaught with a buckle bomb and a sit-out powerbomb for another near-fall.
The competitors traded offense, neither really establishing dominance late in the bout. Ricochet failed to put down McIntyre with one Death Valley Driver, but a second connected. A Shooting Star Press followed, but McIntyre shot his shoulder off the mat in time to evade defeat.
Ricochet attempted the 630 splash, but McIntyre rolled out of the way. Ricochet went for the Recoil, but the heel sent him to the floor. McIntyre slammed the babyface's right shoulder into the post and set up for the Claymore Kick.
He delivered it perfectly, turning Ricochet inside out and scoring the pinfall victory.
After the match, the winner pummeled Ricochet, sending him into the steel steps as a chorus of boos spilled from the stands.
McIntyre defeated Ricochet
In a perfect world, this would mean more to the Raw brand and universal title picture than serving as hype for a tag team match that is insignificant beyond an October 31 WWE Network special.
McIntyre looked ruthless and unbeatable here, absorbing Ricochet's best before putting him away. The post-match assault only further solidified him as one of the most unstoppable forces on the brand.
Ricochet, as he has consistently since April, was the consummate underdog. There are some who contend that he has lost considerable momentum since his rivalry with United States champion AJ Styles wrapped up, but he has remained a prominent player and squared off with top stars up and down the card.
He will be just fine going forward, while McIntyre, left for dead after his role as Shane McMahon's muscle ended, desperately needed to be re-established as a significant threat on Mondays.
Aleister Black vs. Jason Reynolds
Aleister Black made his first appearance as an official member of the Raw roster, squaring off with local competitor Jason Reynolds.
Small in both height and weight, Black utilized his athleticism, agility and speed to keep the opposition off guard.
Reynolds managed to get a few shots in, but Black fought back with a series of strikes. A jumping knee stunned the unknown competitor, and the former NXT champion put him away with Black Mass.
Black defeated Reynolds
Squash matches will help Black get over with the audience far more than theatrical promos about knocking on doors ever would. His Black Mass kick, like the RKO, can be executed from out of nowhere, and crowds eat that kind of thing up.
The only complaint with this one was that Black should never sell for an unknown competitor like Reynolds. Even if it was short-lived. He should be dominant and put the opponent down with his finisher. It was not enough to hurt the effectiveness of the match but a small hiccup that should be corrected going forward.
"King's Court" with Rusev
Jerry "The King" Lawler welcomed Rusev to "The King's Court," where he ran down the recent issues between him, wife Lana and her torrid affair with Bobby Lashley.
Rusev responded, blaming "Bob" Lashley for poisoning Lana's brain and vowing to crush him. Rusev reiterated that he still wears his wedding ring, but before he could continue, Lana and Lashley interrupted from a restaurant.
Lashley swore not to make the same mistakes Rusev did, fulfilling Lana's needs. Lana criticized her husband for not taking her where she wanted.
"Out with the old, in with the new," Lashley said.
Rusev said he knew exactly where the happy couple were and wanted to deliver his message personally.
This is a terrible storyline, but Paul Heyman and WWE Creative get bonus points for trying something different from the monotonous angles, vignettes and matches presented on the flagship over the last handful of years.
Rusev has always been at his best when he can be the dominant badass or the comedic babyface, and this offers neither. If anything, it feels like a star vehicle for Lana, and thus far, she has not had enough of an opportunity to shine in the vignettes and videos to justify the time given to the story.
That may change later, if Rusev's reaction was any indication.
Sin Cara vs. Andrade
"Sin Cara has one of the biggest hearts in all of WWE," Vic Joseph said of the masked luchador before the match, somehow making him less interesting than he was entering the bout. Still, Sin Cara caught Andrade off guard early, diving over the top rope and wiping out El Idolo on the floor.
A well-timed distraction by Zelina Vega allowed her business partner to seize control of the match.
Sin Cara mounted a comeback, wiping his opponent out with a moonsault from the top rope to the floor as the show headed to break.
Back from the break, Andrade planted Sin Cara and scored a near-fall, much to the dismay of Vega. A trio of suplexes and a mocking homage to Eddie Guerrero set Andrade up for a frog splash. Sin Cara stopped him, and the fight spilled to the outside.
Another distraction from Vega, though, allowed Andrade to score the hammerlock DDT and pick up the hard-fought victory.
Andrade defeated Sin Cara
If Sin Cara had not been so poorly booked over the years, this would have meant more than it did. It was nice to see him get a longer television match and one that showcased his chemistry with Andrade. Unfortunately, fans have been so conditioned to him losing that no one really believed he had a chance in hell of beating the former NXT champion.
Andrade really did not benefit from the win so much as the television time. He is an immensely talented wrestler whose best days still feel like they are ahead of him. Hopefully, his jump to Raw earns him more TV time and an expanded role in the WWE Universe.
The Viking Raiders vs. Zack Ryder and Curt Hawkins
In a preview of the Tag Team Turmoil match to determine the best tag team in the world at Crown Jewel, current champions The Viking Raiders battled former titleholders Zack Ryder and Curt Hawkins.
Erik wasted little time establishing dominance, tossing Ryder and Hawkins around the ring. The champions used their own bodies as weapons, throwing themselves around with reckless abandon as they punished their opposition.
Ryder and Hawkins showed why they were former champions, working over Erik. They grounded him, taking away his base and thus negating his power advantage.
The big man created separation with a wicked knee to the face of Hawkins. From there, Ivar joined his partner in putting him away with the Viking Experience.
The Viking Raiders defeated Hawkins and Ryder
Why did Ryder and Hawkins get so much time to work over Erik if the finish was going to be so abrupt and nondescript, with Ivar getting very little in the way of ring time? Worse yet, why even have the champions sell as much as Erik did for a team that, admittedly, was all too often labeled the underdogs?
Nothing about it made sense or benefited anyone involved.
The result? A match that existed for the sake of having a match.
Rusev Confronts Lana and Lashley
In a brief follow-up to the segment earlier in the show, Rusev arrived to the restaurant to confront Lana and Bobby Lashley.
Instead, he was met by police, who hauled The Bulgarian Brute off to jail while The All Mighty comforted Lana amid the chaos.
They devoted a promo segment earlier in the show to set up the confrontation, and instead of delivering anything even remotely interesting, Rusev was taken to jail, leaving the heels to gloat some more.
It is interesting booking, to say the least, the likes of which may not convince the fans who were previously invested to stick around.
Rey Mysterio Promo
The Master of the 619 said he was training Velasquez and getting him ready to face Lesnar at Crown Jewel. He thanked the fans for their support and for their concern over Dominick, too.
Paul Heyman interrupted and promised pain for both Velasquez and Mysterio on October 31. Mysterio cut him off but was, himself, cut off by Shelton Benjamin.
The former intercontinental and tag team champion hit the ring and reminded Mysterio and the WWE Universe of his relationship with Lesnar and their history together as tag partners. He bullied Rey and asked where Velasquez was to save him now.
The MMA legend made his arrival, wasted little time bumping Benjamin around and put him to sleep with a choke.
Velasquez checked on Mysterio as Benjamin limped to the back.
Little things like recalling Benjamin's partnership with Lesnar are a nice touch on occasion and at least resulted in Mysterio and Velasquez's appearance making sense within the context of what was going on.
Time will tell if Cain is ready for the bright lights and monumental stage that awaits him in Saudi Arabia, but he has been explosive if nothing else in his two appearances on TV.
Mysterio is the perfect mouthpiece for him and has done a fantastic job of bridging the gap between MMA and WWE fans by standing by Velasquez's side.
Seth Rollins vs. Humberto Carrillo
Humberto Carrillo's backhanded comment about Seth Rollins earlier in the night led to the former 205 Live Superstar's biggest match to date, against the universal champion.
Rollins dominated early, surviving a back-and-forth to secure control of the match with suplexes on the arena floor.
Arrogance set in as Rollins talked trash to his opponent, uncharacteristically so. A jawbreaker by Carrillo, though, turned the tide in his favor, even if momentarily. Rollins answered with a Falcon Arrow for two as fans voiced their desire for an appearance by The Fiend.
Rollins delivered a buckle bomb and a short superkick but was unable to put his opponent away, much to his shock.
The crowd booed him as he attempted to play to it. Carrillo mounted offense, soaring through the air in an attempt to score the biggest upset of his career.
Rollins, though, got his boot up and halted the last of his momentum. He delivered the Stomp to score the win.
Rollins defeated Carrillo
Carrillo shined in his first shot at a high-profile TV match. Unfortunately, he had zero credibility among the WWE Universe entering the bout, so convincing fans he had a chance in hell against the universal champion was an uphill battle he did not necessarily win.
A post-match handshake will not do it, either.
Instead, this was more indicative of the fans' boredom with the Rollins character, which has not evolved or grown in any measurable way since his WrestleMania push earlier this year.
Bray Wyatt is fresh and exciting; Rollins is not. The crowd made its preference known throughout.
Six-Man Tag Team Match: Street Profits and Mystery Partner vs. The O.C.
Billed as a Six-Man Tag Team match pitting The Street Profits and a mystery partner against The O.C., the main event of the show resembled more of a straight tag match, with Montez Ford and Angelo Dawkins battling Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows while United States champion AJ Styles watched from the arena floor.
The heels controlled the match, cutting off the early energetic offense of the former NXT tag team champions with their ruthlessly aggressive onslaught. The heels isolated Ford from his partner, looking to put the smaller of the babyfaces down for the count.
The hot tag to Dawkins sparked a babyface comeback and had the tandem rolling when Styles interfered. As the official made the call to eject The Phenomenal One, Kevin Owens' theme song played and the former universal champion made his return to Raw.
He fought off Styles while Ford delivered a beautiful frog splash to Anderson in the ring for the Profits' first main roster victory.
The Street Profits defeated The O.C.
Heyman and WWE Creative did a tremendous job of making The Street Profits feel like a major league act. They headlined the show, they picked up the win and they energized the crowd in a way few acts do today. Their win was a big one, as it came against a consistently high-profile O.C., even if it was not necessarily the advertised six-man bout.
With that said...Owens vs. Styles again?!
The summer of 2017 featured an ungodly amount of matches between the two. They were not particularly great and never reached the lofty expectations those two Superstars set for themselves. The last thing we need to see is another series between them when there are so many other talented competitors for them to work with.
WWE Creative needs to stop beating certain pairings into the ground. Otherwise, they will turn off fans who would rather watch Tom Brady obliterate the New York Jets than catch the same match with the same guys they have witnessed countless times over the last handful of years.