The Best And Worst Of WWE Raw 9/30/19: Lashley Madison

Previously on the Best and Worst of Raw: It was the “season finale!” And they did it Game of Thrones style, where the final episode of the season is the super boring one where nothing important happens.

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And now, the Best and Worst of WWE Raw for September 30, 2019.

Best: Raw’s New Coat Of Paint

Welcome to the New Era® of Monday Night Raw, featuring a new set that looks like a big half-pipe. Man, how do you guys build a giant skate park on your wrestling show and not independently-contract Darby Allin? First WWE Superstar who learns how to skate gets a raise.

There’s also a new opening theme song — Skillet – ‘Legendary,’ which I’m pretty sure you can buy at Denny’s or find in Breath of the Wild — and the new announce team of Vic Joseph, Dio Maddin, and confused grandpa Jerry ‘The King’ Lawler. You could really tell that Lawler hadn’t watched Raw in months from how he was shocked at Ivar’s cartwheel and referred to one half of the tag team challenging for the championship as, “that Otis guy from Heavy Machinery.” The highlight of the night was Lawler awkwardly trying to work in all of his corny dad jokes and being stonewalled by Maddin and Joseph, who are either disinterested because they aren’t 50, or too nervous on their first day to say anything that wasn’t being screamed in their ear.

Another highlight of the night is the return of pyro, which they seemed to get over really quickly and forget about after the first hour. Still, Brock Lesnar’s entrance felt a hell of a lot better with a bunch of fireworks exploding around him, and even Becky Lynch was audibly thrilled to see Becky Lynch get her steam back.

Best: Brock Lesnar Gains Custody Of Dominick

I was so ready to love this episode of Raw, and they started off strong with Rey Mysterio showing up in a Halloween Havoc ’97 tribute mask and jacket — I want them both — to get his soul eaten and watch his whole son get murdered by the randomly occurring coward Brock Lesnar. This was hot, and set the perfect tone for the rest of the evening. Why the rest of the evening didn’t pick up that tone and run with it is a question for another time.

Still, Rey Mysterio taking Brock Lesnar bumps is SCARY. Brock can throw Roman Reigns-sized people around like they’re Rey Mysterio, so he can do some pretty inhuman things to Actual Rey Mysterio. And huge shout-out to Dominick for being all in on the ass-beating and taking some monster bumps here. Dominick truly looked like a small child who’d accidentally fallen into the bear pen at the zoo. At one point he tossed this 22-year old teenager out of the ring like he was skipping stones:


Glorious, extended Brock Lesnar beatdowns are my favorite. The downside to this, however, is the fact that Rey had to accompany Eddie Guerrero’s son to the Local Medical Facility and was unable to compete in the, you know, advertised Universal Championship dream match everyone was looking forward to. It’ll take us a few steps to get there, but trust me, if you missed it, it’s much, much worse than expected! Monday Night Raw is dead, long live Monday Night Raw!

Worst: The Saudi Prince Definitely Asked For Ric Flair Vs. Hulk Hogan, Didn’t He

Here’s a clip of Flair and Hogan on Miz TV:

Sorry, wrong link.

I’ll be honest with you, I was pretty into this segment when I thought Ric Flair had gotten drunk like 15 minutes before they went live and was just threatening old man-shooting on Wood. I was worried Hogan was gonna fuck up and accidentally manslaughter Ric Flair on live television. Instead, the whole thing is to set up an old man fight by way of a 10-man proxy tag at WWE Crown Jewel. It’s “Team Flair” versus “Team Hogan,” and no, Team Hogan is not Brutus Beefcake, the Nasty Boys, and the Harris Twins like you were expecting.

Seth Rollins is supposed to be involved in a Universal Championship main event and should honestly have a better reaction to BROCK LESNAR showing up and mauling his opponent than, “aw man I can’t believe that happened, anyway, I will win at Hell in a Cell.” He shows up in this goofy nostalgia segment for the benefit of the Saudi Royal Family to be the first member of “Team Hogan,” and get hilariously burned when Randy Orton shows up and tells him to crawl out of Hogan’s ass. Nothing makes me accidentally love Randy Orton more than when he points out how worthless and inconsistent all the characters on his show are.

This leads to one of the most confusing images I’ve ever seen on a wrestling show: Baron Corbin showing up dressed like a Game of Thrones king, walking down the ramp between a confused Hulk Hogan and Jimmy Hart and a bunch of production guys carrying a carpet over their head. He seriously should’ve made them roll out the carpet for him as he was walking to the ring. But yeah, Corbin shows up to help Orton beat down Rollins, which brings out Rusev (?) of all people, and we have our first two members of each team. Hogan, Rollins, and Rusev pose on the stage in a great moment if you’re somehow still five years old and it’s 1986. What, your team doesn’t want Sami Zayn, Aleister Black, Daniel Bryan, and the Boss ‘n’ Hug Connection? I wonder why!

Best: Better Call Paul

All of this sets up Rusev, of all people, as the fill-in challenger for Rey Mysterio in the Universal Championship match. Why? Because he said he wanted it to happen in a promo. There was like, an hour when anyone on the show could’ve found Charly Caruso wandering around backstage and yelled I WANT TO BE IN THE MATCH into her microphone and gotten a shot. Weird that the guy who bailed Rollins out and is tagging with him later this month wants to start feuding with him. Rollins is super into fighting his own tag team partners these days. Rusev also foreshadows “problems at home” with Lana, which becomes important later. “Important” is probably a stretch.

Somewhere in the middle we get this very good promo from Paul Heyman, who points out that WWE is to blame for Brock Lesnar’s violence because he’s in “fight mode,” and is going to turn Kofi Kingston into a pancake-scented smear on the mat on Friday Night Smackdown. Whether or not Rey Mysterio or Brave Ser Dominick show up to cost him the match remains to be seen. I just wanted to say something nice about Paul and point out how good this promo is, because he’s in the charge of the show now and the show is about to get very, very bad.

Worst: Christ, Almighty

Before the main event, a mysterious limousine pulls up to the arena.


Nothing says WCW Monday Nitro like a mystery limo! This is Nitro, isn’t it?

Rusev wrestles Seth Rollins and it’s good while it lasts, but it being “good” and a “match” are irrelevant. The point is that Bobby Lashley has returned in time to get one of those big sacks of gold coins with a dollar sign on the front from the Saudi government, and he’s brought his new strawberry-flavored girlfriend LANA with him.

Yes, folks, there’s an entire cuckolds division on Raw now. Rusev went from being involved in the Mike and Maria Kanellis x Maury Povich “who is the father of Maria’s baby” angle to standing around watching his real-life wife do hard, extended makeouts with Lashley. Monday Night Raw turned into the Playboy Swingers House so gradually I didn’t even notice.

Look, I don’t know if it’s Paul Heyman who is super into cuck angles and thinks WE would be super into cuck angles, but this is two in like three months, and this one’s in the main event at the expense of the Universal Champion and REY MYSTERIO. It’s one thing when your porn searches are ruining the storytelling in the 24/7 division — Drake Maverick not being able to have sex with his wife as long as R-Truth is 24/7 Champion is technically THREE cuckold angles on the same wrestling show — but can you like, keep your JOI out of the title picture? Jesus Christ.

Oh, also, The Fiend shows up. Did he get super horny and have to stick his fingers in somebody’s mouth about it?

Best: Twelve Minutes And Thirty Seconds Of Good Wrestling In Three Hours

That’s all your getting. They’re all in a row, in the middle of hour three. Be happy with it.

Up first is Cesaro vs. Ricochet, which you’ve seen several times over the past few months, now in Reader’s Digest form. It’s a hell of a little match, but it’s only two minutes and 45 seconds long. That’s the kind of match time you get when a 70-year old man has to yell at a 66-year old man for a full quarter hour and your main event’s devoted to a cool video you saw on Spankbang.

The story is that Ricochet overhears Cesaro talking shit (into a microphone, on live television) about Rey Mysterio, and sticks up for him. Cesaro wrestles the match in capri pants, for some reason, because I guess that’s the look they want for him now. Ricochet wins with a springboard Dragonrana, which should probably be celebrated beyond, “he did the West Coast Pop,” which he did not. Mysterio could hit a 619 and then throw a punch and they’d call the punch a “West Coast Pop.”

After that is the only actually good match of the night, AJ Styles vs. Cedric Alexander. As previously mentioned, Alexander got this United States Championship match by quickly losing a United States Championship match on the Clash of Champions kickoff show, and then getting easily pinned by the champ again the next night. It’s fine, they’re both great at wrestling, let them wrestle.

This has a ton of great counter-wrestling in it, especially in the closing moments, culminating with this extremely dope counter from Styles:


If nothing else, I hope the new era of Raw continues to book AJ Styles as a guy who is a heel because he’s a shithead who’s better than everybody else at wrestling, and doesn’t need to survive via constant run-ins. His championship run would’ve been improved by that, too, and the babyface version of, “he can win or lose matches without wacky circumstances and referee mistakes and dumb stunts.” Of all the wrestlers in the world, you’d think AJ Styles would come with a user manual that’s just “HE’S GOOD AT WRESTLES, LET HIM DO THE WRESTLES, PEOPLE WILL LIKE IT” written on a posterboard in black magic marker. It works, y’all.

p.s. never ask him about the Claire Lynch story, you’ll like it too much

Worst: This Finish

I don’t know if the real-life issues between Alexa Bliss and Sasha Banks are too much for them to work together for more than a few minutes or what, but WWE booked the match and did everything they could to avoid having to watch it. Becky Lynch shows up almost immediately and sits in on commentary, but then stands up on the table to taunt Sasha the entire time instead of doing commentary. So instead of Lynch just talking over the match, we have to cut back to her standing there doing nothing 15 times. Then there’s a commercial break. THEN we hear random ambulance sirens, which I guess are supposed to signal Dominick leaving the building? They might as well have dropped money from the ceiling to keep people from paying attention.

Then the match ends like this:



lol, all right. Just don’t do the match next time.

Best: Does This Mean The Feud Is Finally Over?

Lacey Evans vs. Natalya was about as good as you’d expect it to be. Evans wins by raking the eyes and then rolling Natalya up. Does that mean the feud is over? CAN it mean the feud is over? Better yet, can you bring back Tyson Kidd and have him make out with Lacey Evans while Natalya stands around looking confused? And then Lacey Evans’ husband can come on the show and French Rusev? What if instead of the ring, it was a couch?

Also, Some Tag Teams Wrestled

Cheer Money have a perfectly acceptable Raw Tag Team Championship defense against Heavy Machinery, as Tucker and Otis continue to explicitly point out how Otis is a huge star and Tucker probably shouldn’t be on television. Otis is a big fat Scotty 2 Hotty who is gonna be a millionaire because he looks like the palm of somebody’s hand became a man. Tucker looks like he should be jobbing to Brutus Magnus on an episode of Impact! Xplosion.

Also on the program, the Viking Raiders take on The O.C. again. They like this match so much they just keep doing it. Jerry Lawler is super surprised by all of the Raiders’ offense, because he’s never watched Raw or NXT before, and The O.C. are so boring they make Tucker look like Otis. The crowd is so dead here you’d think they’d just been suplexed by Brock Lesnar for five minutes.

he who smelt the pain, dealt the violence
he who denied the pain, supplied the violence

violence is the path to the dark side
violence leads to violence
violence leads to violence
violence leads to violence

(Did you guys stop being “hard?” Talk about being hard more. It’ll get you a spot on Raw!)

Best: Top 10 Comments Of The Week


fingers crossed that Ric’s captain is Sting and this entire match they’re promoting is an elaborate plan to turn on Sting ONE MORE TIME

Clay Quartermain

Wyatt: “it’s like a world without chocolate!”
Like Team Hogan?


Hogan: ok brother, i’m ready to choose the rest of my team

Ricochet: oh

Big E: really

Kofi: Interesting

Xavier: Do go on

Titus: would love to hear it

Cedric: what are you waiting for

Montez: i’m sure you’ve thought this through…

Angelo: fam

R-Truth: where am i



Rusev better be making out with Lio Rush next week


Michael Cole has his first Monday night off in years. I bet he’s watching Raw from his couch in his Boss Time pajamas yelling “vintage” at the TV.


Savage Charly: Where is Lana and why does a stud like you not have a real woman like me and my muscles? Ditch that zero and get with this hero

The Real Birdman

The Old Janitor is Cedric Alexander. Watch the show, Dawkins

Not A Crook

everyone chanting one more match should be legally required to sit through it

Mr. Bliss

Rusev calls Mike Kanellis to apologize for last week. Mike crosses Rusev’s name off his list and applies lipstick while ELO plays in the background.


I hope the Rock cuts a long-ass promo on Friday about how Cena can’t be bothered to show up anymore.


That’s it for the season premiere of Raw. Thanks for sticking around for three hours for THIS!

As always, your patronage is appreciated. If you can give us a share on social media, we’d be happy, and if you’d like to drop down into our comments section and let us know what you thought of the show, we’d be happy to skim it later and hope you aren’t calling us names.

The rest of this week is going to be HUGE, though. AEW Dynamite and NXT TakeOver: Counter-Programming on Wednesday, Friday Night Smackdown’s debut on Friday, Hell in a Cell on Sunday, and like a dozen suddenly appearing wrestling shows in-between. Be here for all of it! See you then/always!