WWE Monday Night Raw recap: Literally burn it down

Seth Rollins prepares to destroy the Firefly Fun House on the October 14, 2019 edition of Monday Night Raw. Photo: WWE.com
Seth Rollins prepares to destroy the Firefly Fun House on the October 14, 2019 edition of Monday Night Raw. Photo: WWE.com /

The final night of the WWE Draft came to a close — and maybe the Firefly Fun House did too, on Monday Night Raw this week.

Given the rather lackluster Friday Night SmackDown which marked the first night of the WWE Draft (aside from Bayley completing her heel turn), the expectations for the second and final night of the draft, taking place on Monday Night Raw, weren’t very high.

But it’s possible that WWE is getting the memo and actively making improvements to at least its flagship Monday show. This week’s Raw was packed with in-ring action  punctuated by quick draft-pick segments and culminated in the company’s attempt to right the wrongs of the Hell in a Cell main event by giving the fans something kinda sorta actually shocking (but still didn’t really get the taste of HIAC completely out the mouth).

Here’s what went down on WWE Monday Night Raw for Oct. 14, 2019.

Draft results

Six rounds of the WWE Draft took place on Raw. Here are the results:

Round 1: Raw selected Universal Champion Seth Rollins, Charlotte Flair and Andrade (with Zelina Vega); SmackDown selected WWE Champion Brock Lesnar and The New Day (all three members.

Round 2: Raw selected the Women’s Tag Team Champions, The Kabuki Warriors (noting that while the titles can be defended on any brand, when/if The Kabuki Warriors lose the titles, they are contracted to Raw), Rusev and Aleister Black. SmackDown selected Daniel Bryan and SmackDown Women’s Champion Bayley.

Round 3: Raw: Cedric Alexander, Humberto Carrillo, Erick Rowan; SmackDown: Intercontinental Champion Shinsuke Nakamura (with Sami Zayn), Ali.

Round 4: Raw: Buddy Murphy, Jinder Mahal, R-Truth; SmackDown: Bobby Roode and Dolph Ziggler, Carmella.

Round 5: Raw: Samoa Joe (fell due to injury), Akira Tozawa, Shelton Benjamin; SmackDown: The Miz, Baron Corbin.

Round 6: Raw: Rey Mysterio, Titus O’Neil, Liv Morgan; SmackDown: Chad Gable, Elias.

The only real head-scratcher among these decisions is to put Mysterio on Raw; he just recruited Cain Velasquez to avenge Lesnar’s attack on himself and his son, Dominic(k), but all of that takes place on the blue brand, while Mysterio just … is no longer considered the catalyst to the storyline? A bit of an odd choice, but, such is life. Breaking up R-Truth and Carmella was the real crime.

The matches

There were seven matches over the course of Raw this week, and while some were longer than others, none were objectively bad. The first of the night was initially set to be Becky Lynch (representing Raw) versus Sasha Banks (representing SmackDown) for the No. 1 draft pick of the night.

However, Banks was not medically cleared to compete, which led Charlotte Flair (who would eventually be drafted to Raw later in the evening) to take her place. And though we’ve seen Lynch and Flair take each other on innumerable times, it remained a thrilling contest this week, rife with the two women’s history and thus intense and high-stakes in ways that simply battling over which brand will draft first couldn’t deliver on its own.

Lynch won with a quick rollup while Flair was sitting in the ring agonizing with frustration after being unable to put Lynch away with Natural Selection; thus did Raw get the No. 1 pick in the draft on Night 2.

The second match featured Andrade — who had just been drafted to Raw — taking on Ali and was just about as good as it could have been given the time it was allotted. Both men looked great, Zelina Vega was able to show off some of her actual pro wrestling skills and Andrade picked up the win via Hammerlock DDT.

Just like on Friday Night SmackDown, we also got a title change, with The Viking Raiders defeating Robert Roode and Dolph Ziggler for the Raw Tag Team Championship. It was a highlight of the night, featuring Roode and Ziggler trying to work on Erik’s leg, a Zig Zag into chairs on the outside of the ring, hot tags that got the crowd suddenly and firmly behind The Viking Raiders (yielding “let’s go Vikings” chants, in fact) and finally, a Viking Experience on Ziggler to result in the title change.

Most notable is that Ziggler and Roode are later drafted together as a team and are heading to SmackDown. Sure, their pairing and subsequent championship reign both were inexplicable, but apparently they are a team now for real and aren’t just conveniently broken up upon dropping the belts.

The next three matches were rather quick; Aleister Black defeated Eric Young via submission, Ricochet defeated Shelton Benjamin via Recoil and Buddy Murphy defeated Cedric Alexander with Murphy’s Law. The only major misstep in the ring this week was Natalya choosing Lacey Evans — her longstanding rival — as her partner to take on The Kabuki Warriors. This goes as well as one would expect and ends as it should, with the champions winning (even in a non-title match).

The only worry is that the night of matches was done as a way to showcase draft picks without needing to build new storylines immediately, as it was the final night for the blue and red brands to commingle. As such, we could settle into the same old pattern on Raw next week, with this week’s episode an anomaly and not the new normal.

Hey, a contract signing

Speaking of “the old pattern,” Raw this week featured Braun Strowman and Tyson Fury signing the contract for their fight on Oct. 31. At least it wasn’t the “main event.” This goes as expected — Strowman would like for Fury to get his hands, Fury is interested in throwing his own fists, given he’s a professional boxer. Brawl. And scene.

They do want some smoke

It appears that The O.C. (Karl Anderson, Luke Gallows and AJ Styles) and The Street Profits are on a collision course, based on their backstage interactions this week. Here’s to hoping that once it finally goes down (and likely, more than once), it happens as it could and should, no matter how we’ve seen the opposite go down in what should be promising feuds.

“This is so much fun.”

We are not convinced, Bobby Lashley.

Fiend hunting

WWE desperately needs to reset the fans’ thoughts on Bray Wyatt’s The Fiend and Seth Rollins’ feud after the Hell in a Cell finish and the “pulled-to-hell-under-the-ring” moment from SmackDown. This week’s attempt was set up early on Raw, when Rollins realizes that no matter that he and Wyatt were drafted to different brands that The Fiend, in particular, won’t stop following him. Therefore, he has decided to go “Fiend hunting” to end Wyatt’s hunt of him.

This all comes to a head at the end of the night, when Rollins enters the Firefly Fun House and confronts a confused Wyatt (as in, not The Fiend and someone who thinks he’s Rollins’ friend). Rollins is, of course, wound up and, as someone who has long claimed to “burn it down,” this time literally did, destroying and then setting fire to Wyatt’s Fun House.

This certainly takes the Wyatt-Rollins story in a new direction and brings back the “what’s next?” aspect of Wyatt’s character that, in part, made it so compelling over the spring and summer. But the crowd has not forgotten what happened at HIAC — Rollins mentioned it once and the Denver crowd booed loudly.

Still, Wyatt and The Fiend aren’t going to take kindly to Rollins turning Wyatt’s place of safety and comfort into kindling. Rollins has gone too far and Wyatt is going to make him suffer the consequences. Here’s to hoping they can reboot this story and avoid making similar mistakes that led us to what happened earlier this month.

Next. How will the WWE Draft impact 205 Live?. dark

That wraps Monday Night Raw for this week. Again, it’s possible that this edition marked a shift in the tone of the show; if so, then things are looking up. But it’s also possible that this was mostly a showcase for the night’s draft picks and that we’ll get back to business as usual next week. Regardless, it was one of the better episodes in recent memory. Let us know your thoughts on Raw in the comments below.