As WWE RAW took over the CHI Health Center in Omaha, Nebraska, it had the task of tying up lose ends created by the Fastlane Premium Live Event over the weekend, as well as progressing its own stories. It accomplished that, but in doing so, became for me the tale of two babyfaces, who started out with very similar mindsets, but would end up taking divergent paths.

I’m talking of Drew McIntyre and Kevin Owens. Their stories will unfold, and I will show you what I mean, as I share some thoughts on the October 9, 2023 WWE RAW:

  • World Heavyweight Champion Seth “Freakin” Rollins kicked things off with a deservedly huge crowd pop. That was a total war he went through at Fastlane, emerging victorious over Shinsuke Nakamura, so he deserved a bit of chill time, and a parade, not another fight that night.
  • I was happy to see Drew McIntyre come out, knowing that it would lead to a match, and maybe a feud, but not that night. I was right. I’m excited for Seth versus Drew for the title in the semi-main event of Crown Jewel (not the main because you know Roman’s not missing a Saudi payday). The only thing that could make it better would be for Drew to fight it as a full-on heel. They have time to make that happen, but I’m not sure if they will after what happened next.
Drew McIntyre challenges Seth “Freakin” Rollins to a World Heavyweight Championship match at Crown Jewel on WWE RAW October 9 2023
  • Drew doing nothing when Damian Priest attacked Seth from behind, and only stepping up when Dominik Mysterio showed up with the Money in the Bank briefcase made sense, sort of. Except for the fact that the attack was clearly part of a cash-in attempt, so Drew opted for the path of least resistance, by taking out Dirty Dom. That’s a heel move, except taking out Dominik Mysterio is the most babyface thing anyone could do these days.
  • During the Kofi Kingston versus Ivar Viking Rules Match, I kept wondering why Valhalla wasn’t there. And then she showed up, and Xavier Woods dealt with her. They didn’t have the full boat, but then again, it wasn’t a tag match. And I’ll never get tired of seeing a man the size of Ivar doing a Moonsault.
Ivar performing a Moonsault on Kofi Kingston during the Viking Rules Match on WWE RAW October 9 2023
  • So we’re going for Ricochet versus Nakamura as both of their next feuds. I’m happy with that. There’s buildup, there’s story, and the matches could be great.
  • Judgement Day, as a group, weren’t as much a part of this episode as they usually are, and their involvement was mainly backstage, but I’m not complaining. That segment that started with Priest holding up JD McDonagh was pure gold, and when Rhea Ripley ended it by saying she had her own business to take care of, it made me look forward to what was to come.
  • Even without that tipoff, we all knew Nia Jax versus Raquel Rodriguez wouldn’t end with just the two of them in the ring. We barely got a match, and I was fine with that. Rhea vesus Shayna Baszler is the match I really want to see, and we’re going to get it next week. Let’s hope this will only be the first encounter, and the next one’s on a PLE.
  • When everyone’s favorite odd couple, Main Event Jey Uso and Cody Rhodes, won the Undisputed Tag Team Championships at Fastlane, I started getting Rock and Sock Connection vibes, but I also thought about what this means for my fellow Montrealers Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn. I’m glad WWE didn’t waste any time in addressing it. The challenge and acceptance of it during another Michael Cole in-ring interview made sense. Everyone behaved exactly as I would have expected them to. Sami happy for his friends, but still not losing site of his and KO’s interests, and Owens bluntly saying that he wanted the titles back. Both still top babyfaces, ready to fight two other top babyfaces. It’s the kind of match you can only do on RAW, without much buildup, and we were getting it at the end of this show.
Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens challenge Cody Rhodes and Jey Uso on WWE RAW October 9 2023
  • The Triple Threat Match to determine the number one contender for Gunther’s Intercontinental Championship could only have one outcome: Bronson Reed beating Ricochet. It wasn’t Chad Gable’s time to face the Ring General again, but he will get that opportunity, so he needed to be kept strong, and not be part of the decision. Ricochet has faced Gunther a bunch of times already, and he has a whole other feud going on now. So Reed it is. All three impressed during the match, but Reed’s Tsunami sealed the deal. I’m now wondering that Reed versus Gunther will look like. The champ may still have the height advantage, but not the size. Also, will a mid-card heel like Big (there I said it, happy Vince?) Bronson possibly get people cheering for Gunther. I’ve seen it happen live on Smackdown in Montreal when we cheered for Gunther over then-Madcap, now out of the company, Moss.
Chad Gable applies a German Suplex to Bronson Reed as Ricochet tries to get to his feet on WWE RAW October 9 2023
  • Drew McIntyre finished off JD McDonagh pretty quickly with a Claymore, despite Dirty Dom’s attempts to cheat. It was exactly what I expected. My real interest was in how Judgement Day would treat his inevitable loss. And Rhea has an idea, so we’ll just have to wait.
  • After months of hearing and reading various wrestling pundits call for Tegan Nox to get more in-ring time, and a push, I finally get it. She’s great! Nox has the moves, and knows how to tell a story in the ring. Sure, it helps if you’re working with Becky Lynch, someone who could probably put over a potted plant, but still impressive. The NXT Women’s Championship Match had me thinking that Nox might actually win, with her countering a few of Lynch’s Dis-arm-her attempts, and even locking in one of her own on The Man. I even wanted Nox to win, despite being a huge fan of Becky. Lynch was selling beautifully, and eventually locked the Dis-arm-her in and won. Of course this is the best outcome. If Tegan had won the NXT Women’s Championship, she’d probably go to NXT, whereas Becky Lynch can be NXT champ and stay on RAW, because she’s Becky Lynch. So we’ll be able to watch Tegan Nox rise on the red brand over the weeks to come.
Becky Lynch versus Tegan Nox on WWE RAW October 9 2023
  • The Main Event of RAW was, of course, the Undisputed WWE Tag Team Championship Match, with Cody Rhodes and Jey Uso defending against Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn. It was, as Jim Ross used to say, a real slobberknocker. There was even a full-on brawl outside of the ring that made its way to the announce desk. Something that doesn’t usually happen in a babyface v babyface match. After a few false finishes and pin breakups, Jey and Cody won with their 1-D into the Cody Cutter, and then the Crossroads finish, with Owens taking the pin.
  • What everyone was waiting to see was what happened after the match. In particular what Owens would do. He shook Cody’s hand, and then hugged Jey Uso, and him and Sami held up the victors’ arms.
Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn hold up Jey Uso and Cody Rhodes’ arms in victory after their match on WWE RAW October 13 2023

On this RAW, Drew McIntyre made it clear he would be a babyface as long as it suited him, while Kevin Owens showed that he will fight for what he wanted, and felt he deserved, but was a good guy through and through.

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