WWE debuted their new RAW Underground concept during tonight's taped RAW episode.
Earlier in the night WWE had one of Shane McMahon's own security guards standing outside of his office at the WWE Performance Center. This was WWE Performance Center recruit Jordan Omogbehin, who recently played the role of one of WWE 24/7 Champion Akira Tozawa's ninjas. The announcers noted on commentary that Shane would be revealing his new "brainchild" on the show.
WWE later went to a warehouse setting with Shane on the mic. Three female dancers were dancing on a stage while there was a large ring in the center of the room. The ring had no ropes and was covered with a black apron. The "shoot-style" fights featured one referee in the ring while two competitors went at it in MMA or street style fights, but they were worked just like WWE matches always are. Shane did play-by-play commentary for some of the fights, while male and female people surrounded the ring, beating on the mat. Some were waiting for their turn in the ring and some were just cheering the fighters on. It looked like most of these male and female extras were WWE NXT talents.
Shane touted that RAW Underground is where there are very little rules, lots of carnage and chaos, and lots of other things he likes to see. The first fight saw Shane introduce the 7-foot-tall Babatunde Aiyegbusi, who has been with NXT since 2016. His new name is Dabba-Kato. Dabba-Kato destroyed two random opponents in street clothes before Shane asked who was next. He then said RAW Underground would be back.
RAW Underground returned later in the show with Erik of The Viking Raiders in the ring. Ivar was there to cheer him on. Erik easily defeated his opponent in a fight ended when Shane called it due to knee strikes to the face of the loser. The show went back to the regular RAW broadcast and was praised by the announcers, on more than one occasion.
The last RAW Underground segment of the night was for show-closing main event segment. Shane introduced Dolph Ziggler in the ring while he grounded his opponent. Shane mentioned how Ziggler was a top collegiate wrestler at Kent State, to explain why he would be competing at RAW Underground. Ziggler also won his fight by submission.
This is where The Hurt Business interrupted - MVP, Bobby Lashley and Shelton Benjamin. The trio was in a bad mood after their rough night on RAW, which saw MVP lose a title shot to WWE United States Champion Apollo Crews, and Shelton lose his WWE 24/7 Title to Akira Tozawa. Lashley quickly dominated an opponent and MVP did the same. It looked like some of the ringside extras were walking out due to The Hurt Business taking things over. MVP commented that The Hurt Business would be running RAW Underground until further notice. Shelton then went at it with former RAW announcer and current NXT Superstar Dio Maddin, and got the win by driving him off the platform with knee strikes.
MVP continued ranting on the mic, asking if there were any more fighters to step up. They attacked the male extras at ringside before Shane took the mic and called it amazing. Shane said The Hurt Business proved their point, but they're welcome to hang around at RAW Underground, and would be welcomed back in the future. Shane then commented that this is how it goes at RAW Underground - anything goes. WWE aired replays once again and Shane called the action insane. He then noted that RAW Underground had an auspicious debut this week, and he can't wait to see what the concept does next week. RAW went off the air with MVP declaring that they are The Hurt Business, and business is booming.
There's no word yet on where WWE is going with RAW Underground, or how long it will be used before Vince McMahon changes his mind and does away with it. It's believed that Shane has had similar ideas for WWE storylines going back several years. It is important to note that these fights were worked just like regular WWE matches are.
Stay tuned for updates on RAW Underground. Below are several shots from tonight's debut: