The conclusion of Raw last week left us with one of the more eye-opening cliffhangers in recent weeks as we all pondered whether not only a full-on Seth Rollins heel turn was on the horizon sooner rather than later but also if he had found some new friends in the form of the Authors of Pain. Monday night's follow-up didn't give us the definitive answer, but it did a solid job of keeping the suspense at an entertaining height while we anticipate what many believe to be the inevitable.
Aside from the Rollins drama with AOP and Kevin Owens, Monday night's edition of Raw didn't do a whole lot in terms of setting much in stone for the TLC event which takes place on Dec. 15, but it was yet another episode that didn't leave you feeling as if you had to dig deep down in your soul the complete a three-hour marathon. The in-ring action was once again highly enjoyable as the midcard of Raw continues to shine with its bright, young talent and we even received quite the hilarious twist in the ongoing Rusev-Lana-Bobby Lashley saga which has regained some steam of late.
Let's have a look now at everything that went down on Monday during Raw in Nashville.
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Seth Rollins delivers his apology
Raw kicked off on Monday night with the Authors of Pain arriving in the parking lot. Charly Caruso pegged the duo about their attack on Kevin Owens last week, and each of their respective responses were delivered in Albanian and Punjabi. When Caruso requested a translation, Akam simply replied, "Charly, you look lovely tonight," before AOP walked away. Inside the arena afterwards, Rollins was out to delver his promised apology to the roster in the ring. He said that maybe he was too harsh in telling everyone they sucked last week, while still pointing out they did all suck, and also reiterating how much he loves his family on Raw; Rollins noted that it's his responsibility to get the best out of everyone. Rollins apologized to the fans, the roster and, more specifically, Kevin Owens whom he invited to the ring to make amends in person. Owens called out Rollins potentially having a relationship with AOP, which the former two-time universal champ denied. As Owens flat-out called Rollins' apology "bullsh--," AOP's music hit. Akam & Rezar, at the top of the ramp, laid down a challenge to Rollins and Owens for later in the night. Sensing an obvious 3-on-1 beatdown coming, Owens declined, welcomed the attack to "get it over with" and Rollins walked up the ramp as AOP smiled and let him through to the back. Owens called out AOP to the ring for a fight, but the two just teased heading down before leaving.
Dressed for a fight and now standing in the ring, Owens called for anyone to come out and face him. Lana entered to the top of the ramp. Lana and Owens went back and forth with one another on the mic, with Lana pointing out that Rusev had another restraining order placed on him in Tennessee. She eventually brought out Bobby Lashley to answer Owens' call with police officers in tow in the event Rusev attempts to show up.
Kevin Owens def. Bobby Lashley via disqualification: The match reached its conclusion as AOP marched down to the ring and began attacking Owens. Akam & Rezar laid a beating on Owens all the way up the ramp before they each took an arm and dragged his lifeless body to the back.
Caruso caught up with Rollins as he was leaving the building. He said that he didn't help Owens during the attack because Owens made it clear he didn't want his help. Rollins then claimed that he's in a no-win situation because, no matter what, it's always his fault. It was also announced later in the show that Rollins will be appearing as a guest Tuesday night on this week's edition of "WWE Backstage" on FS1.
We didn't get the full heel turn from Rollins that maybe some were expecting, but WWE did a commendable job of keeping the drama alive and well. Barring some major swerve, the inevitable conclusion is Rollins eventually revealing that he is indeed aligned with AOP in this crusade to make Raw better, and the journey to that point thus far has created some interesting Monday night viewing. Rollins continues to come off as insufferable as possible while Owens is the natural fit as protagonist. It's also a major breath of fresh air to see AOP handled in such high regard, which is exactly how Akam & Rezar should be presented on the flagship show. The most underrated -- and sort of hilarious, at least to me -- part of everything that went down on Monday night, however, had to be Rollins, who is on this mission to prove what a tremendous locker room leader he is ... leaving in the middle of the show! Grade: B+
What else happened on Raw?
- Bobby Lashley and Lana were arrested as the tables turned on WWE's newest couple this week. Back from commercial following the Owens match, Lana was ranting again on the mic as Rusev emerged from the crowd to nail Lashley with a Machka Kick before running back off through the fans without the police attempting any sort of pursuit. Outside the ring, a livid Lashley shoulder-bumped one of the cops who said that they do things differently in Tennessee, an act that landed him in handcuffs. Incensed, Lana slapped the same officer across the face before she, too, was slapped in cuffs and the two were taken away. Lana was, of course, suing everyone in existence.
- Drew McIntyre def. Akira Tozawa via pinfall after a vicious Claymore kick. Post-match, McIntyre called out Randy Orton, saying that he has a problem with him and it's time to hash it out. McIntyre called out Orton for doing whatever he wants, whenever he wants, to which Orton replied that he's earned that right and offered to settle the problem right there. The OC then interrupted after Orton cost AJ Styles the United States title last week. McIntyre bailed, and as The OC were attacking, Ricochet, Humberto Carrillo and the champion Rey Mysterio were out for the save. Backstage, Orton thanked the three for their assistance but insisted that he didn't need it. A short time later, the six-man tag was announced for the main event.
- Aleister Black def. Tony Nese via pinfall after a Black Mass. Buddy Murphy was watching on a monitor backstage, and he told Caruso that he's here to expose Black as someone who takes himself way too seriously.
- Andrade def. Eric Young via pinfall after the Hammerlock DDT.
- 24/7 Championship -- Kyle Busch def. R-Truth via pinfall to win the title after a rollup. Busch, seated ringside with fellow NASCAR star Michael Waltrip, helped Truth hide behind the barricade as the champ was being chased. Waltrip eventually revealed a referee shirt, and the reigning NASCAR Cup Series champion got the pin and the title.
- Erick Rowan def. No Way Jose via pinfall after the Iron Claw Slam. No, we did not find out what Rowan is carrying in the cage.
- The Kabuki Warriors def. Charlotte Flair via pinfall in a 2-on-1 handicap match. As Flair had Asuka locked in the Figure Eight, she never saw the tag that was made, leading to Kairi Sane landing the InSane Elbow for the victory after an exciting match.
- The Viking Raiders (c) def. Mark Sterling & Mitchell Lyons via pinfall after the Viking Experience in a non-title squash match.
- The OC def. Ricochet, Humberto Carrillo & Rey Mysterio (c) via pinfall after Styles hit a Styles Clash from the second rope onto Ricochet. As Styles was celebrating the victory, Orton emerged from behind and laid him out with an RKO.