Intercontinental Champion Seth Rollins def. Raw Tag Team Champion Drew McIntyre by Count-out to Qualify for the WWE World Cup (Non-title)
Another week, another opening segment with The Shield, Braun Strowman, Dolph Ziggler and McIntyre. I honestly couldn't care less about any of the material, but the match that followed it was the usual excellent effort from Rollins and McIntyre. The count-out finish protected McIntyre in defeat while allowing Rollins to qualify for the World Cup. Speaking of which, is it really a World Cup if there aren't any international talent involved whatsoever as of now?
Ember Moon and Nia Jax def. Dana Brooke and Tamina
I would ask when Tamina was traded to Raw, but it's been made clear by this point that WWE has no regard for the rules of the Brand Split. Anyway, a Tamina and Brooke tag team sounded disastrous on paper, and sure enough, this match was no good. I also can't get into the Moon and Jax pairing and I doubt that will change even after Evolution. By the way, a Jax vs. Tamina feud does nothing for me. The matches alone would be enough to convince me to change the channel.
Raw Women's Champion Ronda Rousey Called Out The Bella Twins
Rousey has never been the strongest talker and has always thrived in the "silent but deadly" role. As obvious as it was that Rousey's lines were scripted, I commend her for making the most of the material with her delivery and the crowd popped huge for everything you'd expect them to react to (including any shots taken at Nikki's former relationship with John Cena). I can't say I'm overly excited for their Evolution match, but the effort was there and there's no denying that this was a hot segment.
Raw Tag Team Champion Dolph Ziggler def. Dean Ambrose to Qualify for the WWE world Cup
Similar to Rollins and McIntyre, Ziggler and Ambrose work well together and produced yet another enjoyable encounter here. The interference from Rollins and McIntyre dragged it down a little, but it was necessary as they continue to tease tension between Ambrose and the rest of The Shield. Baron Corbin also announced afterward that The Shield would take on Strowman, Ziggler and McIntyre again later on in the night. Personally, I didn't find that to be much of a hook considering we had already seen it twice before.
Finn Balor def. Jinder Mahal
Balor and Bayley vs. Mahal and Alicia Fox is the new Bobby Roode and Chad Gable vs. The Ascension. There is seemingly no end in sight to this nonsense. Balor deserves better, but you already knew that, so I won't bother repeating it. On the bright side, this was kept short and sweet with Balor winning in decisive fashion. Afterward, Balor and Bobby Lashley crossed paths, teasing a future feud that I could totally get behind.
Bobby Lashley def. Tyler Breeze
Don't get me wrong, I love the idea of a Lio Rush and Lashley heel pairing, but Rush with a live mic during Lashley's matches is going to get old real quick. In fact, it was incredibly annoying during this match in particular. Yes, it generates heat, but it will turn into the wrong kind of heat before long. Other than that, this was a standard squash for Lashley. He shined as a heel in IMPACT for several years and I hope he can find similar success in WWE with that same gimmick.
Alexa Bliss and Mickie James Interrupted Trish Stratus and Lita
As I noted last week, I much prefer the tag team match pitting Stratus and Lita against Bliss and James over the previously announced singles matches. That said, the build to the bout has left a lot to be desired so far. I feel as if the only appeal of the matchup is Stratus and Lita teaming up for the first time in years and nothing more. Their back-and-forth in this segment was solid, but it didn't make me any more excited for that outing than I was before.
AOP def. El Conquistador in a 2-on-1 Handicap Match
When Corbin said earlier in the evening that Angle would be competing in his first match on Raw in over a dozen years against AOP, my jaw almost dropped that it wasn't advertised in advance. Plus, having him face AOP in his in-ring return on Raw was hardly compelling. Thankfully, someone else was under the Conquistador mask instead this week, which allowed Angle to lay out a distracted Corbin on the stage.
Natalya def. Ruby Riott by Disqualification
I don't know how anyone could possibly take The Riott Squad seriously after they were absolutely annihilated by Rousey and The Bella Twins on countless occasions over the last month. Now we're apparently supposed to be thrilled to see The Riott Squad rekindling their rivalry with Sasha Banks and Bayley for the third time this year. Ugh. Natalya vs. Riott was fine, but I'm positive it could have been better with more time.
Apollo Crews Attacked Elias
Crews has quietly been building momentum on Main Event for weeks now, ever since breaking away from Titus Worldwide. However, as Elias alluded to, you would never know the guy had untapped potential because he hasn't been able to showcase his skills on Raw in ages. I'm happy he had the chance to mix it up with Elias here, even though it will likely lead to a match next week that will be won by Elias.
The Shield def. Braun Strowman and Raw Tag Team Champions Dolph Ziggler & Drew McIntyre
If you saw the last two matches these trios had against each other, then this was nothing new for you, even though it was entertaining from both an in-ring and storyline standpoint. Ambrose nearly turned on Rollins at one point, but he resisted and eventually picked up the victory for his team. The crowd bought into Ambrose almost betraying Rollins, so I guess it worked. Virtually nothing was accomplished by this other than The Shield getting back on the same page, but it is worth mentioning that Strowman attacked Ziggler post-match before McIntyre hit Strowman with his finisher.
The heavy focus on The Shield, Strowman, Ziggler and McIntyre has been boring me for weeks now, so seeing as how this edition of Raw mainly revolved around them, I was not a fan of this show. Sure, it had some bright spots and a handful of above-average matches, but by and large, it's same stuff week after week and far too much talking. The Rousey segment stole the show, while everything else paled in comparison and can be easily skipped over.
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