braun Strowman Confronted Brock Lesnar
Even before Roman Reigns' announcement last week, WWE had been doing an abysmal job of building up the Universal Championship match for Crown Jewel, so this last-minute attempt to make Strowman vs. Lesnar mean something ran hollow for me. On the bright side, Paul Heyman's mic work was above-average per usual and the crowd was behind babyface Strowman, but I still don't find myself looking forward to the matchup, especially considering how dull their last one-on-one encounter was at No Mercy 2017.
Finn Balor def. Bobby Lashley by Disqualification
This was another quality contest from Balor and Lashley, but Lio Rush's live mic remains a major annoyance. It makes me want to change the channel more than it makes me want to boo him and Lashley. It was weird of Lashley to lose clean last week and then lose by disqualification this week (following interference from Rush), only to be added to the upcoming WWE World Cup by Baron Corbin immediately afterward. He'll be replacing John Cena, who reportedly wants no part of Crown Jewel and I can't say I blame him.
Trish Stratus, Lita, Sasha Banks, Bayley and Natalya def. Mickie James, Alicia Fox and The Riott Squad
I realize the company likely wanted to capitalize off the buzz Evolution received on Sunday night by combining two matches from the pay-per-view into one giant multi-woman tag team match, but I was a bit disappointed the in-ring returns of Stratus and Lita on Raw didn't receive more fanfare. Even a pre-match promo would have gone a long way in helping make this feel more special. The babyfaces won once again, so there's really no reason for these feuds to continue.
Elias def. Jinder Mahal
Well, if it wasn't already apparent after last week, Elias is officially a babyface. I have faith he'll do well in the role, and if nothing else, it's a refreshing chance of pace for him after floundering for so many months. He had the crowd in the palm of his hand during the pre-match segment where he bothered Corbin backstage, but the subsequent match wasn't anything to write home about. Thankfully, Elias won as he should have.
Bobby Roode & Chad Gable def. aOP and The Ascension in a Triple Threat Tag Team Match
Man, the Raw tag team division is in shambles right now. I mean, the newly crowned champions didn't even acknowledge that they were the champions on this show! I like Gable and Roode as a tandem, but it looked like they were going to split up weeks ago, so it's strange that they're all of a sudden back on the same page. The Ascension are just a waste of space on the roster, but at least AOP are being built back up properly (for the most part). They'll probably take on Roode and Gable eventually after attacking them post-match here.
Intercontinental Champion and raw Tag Team Champion Seth Rollins Called Out Raw Tag Team Champion Dean Ambrose
I really loved how Rollins wasn't outright angry when he first came out as much as he was distraught over Ambrose's actions from last week. It wasn't until Ambrose refused to respond to Rollins that Rollins threatened to chase after Ambrose in the audience and brawl with him. I also like the idea of holding off on Ambrose saying anything, because you know that first heel promo of his is going to be a gem. The renewal of this rivalry is off to a strong start.
Nia Jax def. Ember Moon
Moon was the last woman eliminated in the Evolution Battle Royal before Jax emerged victorious, so this was a logical foll-up to that. Unfortunately, the match left a lot to be desired. Nothing about it stood out as special, and worse yet, I'm not sure who the heel was supposed to be here, or if they're just both babyfaces. I wouldn't be surprised if WWE wanted Jax as a heel again before she faces Ronda Rosuey at some point, but either way, the Jax vs. Tamina feud in the interim does nothing for me.
The Lucha House Party def. The Revival
Kalisto, Lince Dorado and Gran Metalik have virtually done it all on 205 Live over the last few years, and if tag team titles aren't going to implemented on that show, then bringing them to Raw is the next best thing. They can be a true breath of fresh air in that depleted division and have some exciting matches with the rest of the roster. As for this outing, it was fun while it lasted, but it could have been so much better with more time.
Dolph Ziggler def. Apollo Crews
Before the bout, Ziggler addressed his upcoming clash with Kurt Angle in the WWE World Cup. That has the potential to be a barn-burner if given the time it deserves. Ziggler vs. Crews, on the other hand, was the exact opposite. Both men are excellent athletes, but Crews has been positioned as a enhancement talent in the past and thus it was obvious that this would be nothing more than a glorified squash for Ziggler in order to give him momentum ahead of Crown Jewel.
D-Generation X Attacked The Brothers of Destruction
I realize DX vs. Brothers of Destruction is the real attraction on the Crown Jewel card, but this program peaked right before Super Show-Down and hasn't been nearly as compelling since. I honestly can't recall anything The Undertaker or Kane said in this segment, and the quick Sweet Chin Music from Shawn Michaels to 'Taker wasn't enough to get me excited for the match. At this point, I just really want this rivalry to wrap up, but I fear we'll be getting Michaels vs. Undertaker soon enough as well.
Evolution was an absolute treat on Sunday night, but WWE was already in Crown Jewel mode by Monday night and this was their attempt at getting fans to look forward to that pay-per-view. They were not successful. The stuff with Rollins and Ambrose was well done, but almost everything else fell flat and the three hours dragged horribly on the whole. This was a pretty bad edition of Raw, and I can't stress enough how much I want Crown Jewel to be over so we can move on. However, if WWE is planning on bringing back the Raw vs. SmackDown Live rivalry for Survivor Series (and it appears that will be the case based off Rousey vs. Becky Lynch being announced for Survivor Series), I have little faith for the future of this program, at least for now.
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