The Shield Confronted Braun Strowman and Raw Tag Team Champions Dolph Ziggler and Drew McIntyre
For the second straight week, the trio of Strowman, Ziggler and McIntyre kicked off the night, called out The Shield, and a big brawl ensued. It was a solid start to the show and all, but it felt like deja vu from last week. Except this time, the undercard heels Strowman, Ziggler and McIntyre enlisted to be their backup were annihilated with ease by The Shield. I would be more fine with it if Kevin Owens and The Authors of Pain weren't among the crop of competitors that were made to look weak.
Nikki Bella def. Ruby Riott
If The Riott Squad have been built up in recent months only to be fed to The Bella Twins, then what a shame, because when The Bella Twins inevitably leave again, the Raw women's division will be worse off. But hey, that's solely my opinion. Anyway, this was a decent match and a much better affair from Nikki than what we saw last week, though that was largely Brie's fault. Expect her to vie for the Raw Women's Championship at Evolution against Ronda Rousey.
AOP def. Ronnie Ace and Nathan Bradley
Drake Maverick thankfully ditched the dumb vest this week that made him look like a kid on Halloween night, but he's still sporting the rest of the AOP gear. Why not just have him wear a suit like Paul Ellering used to? At any rate, his pairing with AOP is gradually growing on me. AOP are impressive in the ring and their decimation of these two scrubs was fun to watch, but they desperately needed a mouthpiece and Maverick could be the key to their success. He's been doing an amazing job lately as 205 Live general manager, but his abilities deserve to be showcased on a bigger stage such as Raw as well.
Triple H Addressed The Undertaker
For as much as I admittedly don't care about Undertaker vs. Triple H happening again in Australia (especially when there's nothing at stake and no real consequences), the build to the bout has been very well done. Undertaker and Shawn Michaels sparked interest in the match from fans last week with their confrontation, and Triple H's latest promo was also excellent. Undertaker will be on Raw next Monday to respond and I assume WWE is saving their first face-to-face in years for the final Raw before Super Show-Down.
Raw Tag Team Champions Dolph Ziggler and Drew McIntyre def. The B-Team
Let's face it, The B-Team are no threats to Ziggler and McIntyre, so it was puzzling that they looked so competitive against the new tag champs both last week and this week. It was an average outing on the whole, but of course, the outcome was never in doubt. On the bright side, we can finally move away from B-Team as championship challengers. Plus, Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins vs. Ziggler and McIntyre at Hell in a Cell (which was reportedly set for the card weeks ago) is now for the Raw Tag Team Championship.
Kevin Owens vs. Tyler Breeze Went to a No Contest
As much I like this aggressive side of Owens, we've seen it briefly before and then he'll go right back to being booked like a coward, so I don't have high hopes. Furthermore, his explanation for "quitting" Raw two weeks ago only to return the very next week was exactly what many expected: he blames Bobby Lashley for putting his best friend Sami Zayn on the shelf. It would have been worse if he didn't say anything at all about it, and while I know he said he wasn't technically helping out Strowman last week by beating up The Shield, it's still stupid that he would even tease aligning with the guy who basically buried him left and right for four months.
Bobby Roode and Chad Gable def. The Ascension
As I said when they first formed their alliance last week, I'm optimistic that this Roode and Gable pairing can work. They work off each other well personality-wise and they had another entertaining showing here. Their match with The Ascension was no different, mind you, but it is important to note that Roode didn't seem pleased with Gable tagging him from behind. A heel turn for Roode has been rumored for a while, so this could be what finally gets us to that point in the near future.
Raw Women's Champion Ronda Rousey and Natalya def. Alexa Bliss and Mickie James
I'm glad WWE isn't running Rousey's matches on Raw into the ground by having her wrestle every week but rather once in a while. This felt special as a result, even if it wasn't a mat classic. Everyone played their roles well, Rousey and Natalya pulling off the Hart Attack halfway through was a nice nod to her late father, and Rousey maintained momentum with the win. Bliss hasn't been able to get much over Rousey going into Hell in a Cell, so although Bliss' kick to Rousey's midsection afterward was appreciated, I doubt it was enough to convince viewers she has a fighting chance of beating Rousey.
Mick Foley Revealed He Would Be the Special Guest Referee for Roman Reigns vs. Braun Strowman at Hell in a Cell
Well, this was random. Don't get me wrong, I always enjoy seeing Foley on WWE TV and he brings the goods on the mic more often than not like he did here, but making him the special guest referee for Reigns vs. Strowman at Hell in a Cell is an odd move. I guess the idea was to add more intrigue to the match, and it worked, but it is pretty sad that they have to throw Foley into the mix out of nowhere because not many fans care about the bout as it currently stands.
Finn Balor def. Elias
Balor could not be more directionless at the moment. Yes, he's had his feud with Baron Corbin since the summer, but that isn't saying much because nothing about that program compels me in the slightest. At this point, he's just competing in meaningless matches, and thus it's difficult to care. He and Elias had a fine match together, but I'd be laying if I said I paid attention the entire time. If nothing else, Balor scored a much-needed victory after losing to Reigns, Corbin and Strowman in recent weeks.
Universal Champion Roman Reigns Attacked Braun Strowman
The hook for this show was whether Strowman would finally get his hands on Reigns after what Reigns and the rest of The Shield did to embarrass him at the beginning of the night. Well, Reigns did indeed answer the call, but instead of Strowman exacting revenge on him, it was the other way around. Sure, Reigns putting Strowman through a table off the side of the stage was a cool visual, but I don't think Strowman is winning the Universal title at Hell in a Cell, so it was strange that he wouldn't get the upper hand on the champion ahead of the event.
I'm sorry, but as a go-home show for Sunday's Hell in a Cell pay-per-view, this edition of Raw sucked. The highlights were far and few between, the three hours dragged, and there wasn't one match that stood out as must-see (with the possible exception of the women's tag bout). And once again, the old-timers (Triple H and Foley) stole the show with their respective promos, which reflects poorly on the current talent. I can't say I'm excited for Hell in a Cell outside of the stuff that SmackDown Live has to offer.
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