Dolph Ziggler and Drew McIntyre Interrupted Universal Champion Roman Reigns and Braun Strowman
He's only eight days into his Universal Championship reign and Reigns already feels more like a fighting champion than Brock Lesnar ever did. I don't think he will ever be universally cheered by the audience, but WWE is doing the right things with him right now, especially with The Shield reuniting. I appreciated him acknowledging that here and Strowman deciding to wait until Hell in a Cell to cash in his Money in the Bank contract. Ziggler and McIntyre did fine with their promos as well, setting up the main event tag team match nicely.
Baron Corbin def. Finn Balor in a No Disqualification Match
I had hope that Balor bringing back his Demon persona and decisively defeating Corbin at SummerSlam would put their pointless program to rest, but apparently it's not over yet due to Corbin being a full-fledged authority figure and having the ability to restart matches. He and Balor had a decent bout before Corbin intentionally got himself disqualified so he could restart it as a No Disqualification matchup and win with ease. Does this mean more matches between them? Ugh.
Sasha Banks def. Dana Brooke
The story here was that Titus O'Neil wanted to give her Titus Worldwide buddy Brooke an opportunity to shine on her own, so he got her a match against Banks. Obviously, it didn't end too well for Brooke, who lost in a matter of minutes. It was a nothing matchup that really didn't do anything to benefit anyone involved, but at the very least, it didn't overstay its welcome.
Intercontinental Champion Seth Rollins def. Kevin Owens
After being basically squashed by Strowman at SummerSlam, Owens desperately needed to rebound in some form or fashion, and although he fell short of capturing the championship here, he had a hell of a showing in defeat. He and Rollins have worked well together in the past and this was another exceptional outing from them. You had to know Owens wasn't winning the title, but they definitely had the crowd with them throughout despite that. Rollins' nod to Owens afterward was interesting, as was Owens "quitting." I don't what the endgame is supposed to be, but color me intrigued.
The Revival def. Raw Tag Team Champions The B-Team (Non-title)
There's no denying that B-Team are getting over as underdog babyfaces through their comedic antics, but I'm ready for their run as Raw Tag Team Champions to be done with. The Revival would be a much better fit in the role, to be honest. There wasn't anything about this match that stood out as special, but thankfully, it had the right result. Here's hoping it isn't long before the belts are transitioned onto Revival.
Trish Stratus Interrupted Elias; Natalya def. Alicia Fox
Elias was doing his usual shtick before being interrupted by Stratus, who is set to face Alexa Bliss at Evolution in a few months and of course is a Canada native. Her back-and-forth banter with Elias was highly entertaining and has me excited for when she and Bliss go at it on the mic eventually. The subsequent match with Natalya and Fox was fairly forgettable, but it was nice for Natalya to score a victory and paid tribute to the late, great Jim Neidhart.
Bobby Lashley def. The Ascension in a 2-on-1 Handicap Match
Corbin abusing his power to make Handicap matches has already gotten old and it's only been one night. It looks like Lashley will be Corbin's next rival, and based off their encounter last week, I can't say I'm excited for that. Lashley vs. The Ascension sounds like the cure for insomnia on paper and that's exactly what this ended up being. The crowd sat on their hands for this and I don't blame them one bit. Who thought it was smart to save this for the third hour?
Dean ambrose def. Jinder Mahal
I was a little disappointed there wasn't any follow-up with the Shield guys together, but Ambrose was allowed to maintain momentum with another win here. The match itself didn't light the world on fire, largely because Mahal is as bland as they come, but the audience was into everything Ambrose did and that's all that mattered. As I've said before, I appreciate him switching up his appearance a bit since being back to send the message that he isn't the same wacky Lunatic Fringe we remember from years past.
Universal Champion Roman Reigns and Braun Strowman def. Dolph Ziggler and Drew McIntyre by Disqualification
I understood what they were going for with Hell in a Cell opponents Reigns and Strowman teasing tension and Ziggler and McIntyre being the cohesive unit, but I honestly don't remember much about the match at all and I'm writing this shortly after it happened. I'm sure it was solid, but it merely existed to set up the post-match angle with Strowman seemingly aligning with Ziggler and McIntyre to lay out all members of The Shield. I'm not convinced it's a heel turn for Strowman just yet. In fact, he was totally justified in doing that after what happened last week, so we'll see where it goes. If this somehow was designed to turn him heel, what an incredibly stupid idea that would be.
I tend to enjoy the annual editions of Raw emanating from Canada if only because we're guaranteed a great crowd every time, and that was the case with this show for the most part. Unfortunately, they weren't given much to be hot for. Lashley vs. Ascension? Balor vs. Corbin again? A meaningless main event? This was a very lethargic episode that stood out for two reasons: Rollins vs. Owens (which was tremendous) and the show-closing angle. Stratus showing up was a fun surprise, too, but otherwise, I was bored by these three hours. On the bright side, there was some hype for Hell in a Cell, WWE Super Show-Down, and Evolution.
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