Acting Raw General Manager Baron Corbin Interrupted The Shield
Raw opening with any combination of The Shield, Corbin, Braun Strowman, Dolph Ziggler and Drew McIntyre has become so damn predictable by this point and sets the wrong tone for the rest of the night. In order to spice up the six-man tag team match that will be taking place at WWE Super Show-Down between the two trios, the heels started to tease Dean Ambrose turning on his partners, which has been rumored for weeks. I'm sure that will happen eventually, but because WWE is now pushing that as a possibility, it won't any time soon. After all, The Shield just reunited and to break them up this early in their reunion would be a mistake.
Finn Balor def. Jinder Mahal
Both Balor and Mahal couldn't be more directionless at the moment. Mahal not doing anything of note doesn't bother me as much as Balor, who has been spinning his wheels for months. They're involved in the Mixed Match Challenge and this was designed to serve as hype for that, so in that respect, it was a success. It was a fine match on the whole, only made memorable by Mahal attacking the healthy Singh Brother afterward. Considering he did the same thing a year ago and nothing came of it, however, I doubt it will lead anywhere.
The Riott Squad def. Natalya and The Bella Twins
I question the decision to hold a match so similar to what we'll be seeing at Super Show-Down in less than two weeks, with Natalya replacing Ronda Rousey. From an in-ring standpoint, it was passable, but Brie Bella nearly injuring Liv Morgan with two legitimate kicks to the face was simply inexcusable. On the bright side, The Riott Squad winning was the right result because them losing would have made the Super Show-Down encounter irrelevant.
Konnor def. Chad Gable
As much as I like the pairing of Gable and Bobby Roode, The Ascension do absolutely nothing for me and I immediately lose interest in anything they're involved in. Gable hitting his signature spots is always a treat to watch, but this was total throwaway and the crowd sitting on their hands was hardly surprising. Konnor picking up the victory was a real head-scratcher, even if the end result is Roode turning on Gable sooner rather than later.
Raw Tag Team Champions Dolph Ziggler and Drew McIntyre def. The Revival
I was wondering why The Revival didn't demand the shot at the Raw Tag Team Championship they earned weeks ago instead of sitting on the sidelines, but at least they finally got it here. Yes, two heel teams facing each other was a bit confusing at first, but the audience in attendance came alive for the action nonetheless and it turned into a terrific match. Hopefully The Revival's performance turned some heads in the back and they're given more chances to shine in the future.
Bobby Lashley def. Elias by Disqualification
Lashley received his loudest pop since returning back in April, but only because this episode emanated from his hometown. Hey, it's better than nothing! At any rate, this was more of the same from last week with Lashley and Elias doing their thing and the focus mainly on Lio Rush and Kevin Owens at ringside. As I said last week, Rush and Lashley are the perfect pairing together and I could really see them taking off if they continue to be spotlighted on the show.
Nia Jax def. Alicia Fox
The Raw women's division revolves around Rousey and The Bella Twins right now and everyone else is treading water. Of course, the brand has a wide array of women's talent, but most of their matches feel pointless from week to week, like this one did. It was a solid showcase for Jax one week removed from her Raw return, but I can't say I'm overly excited for her likely match with Mickie James next week.
The Shield def. Acting Raw General Manager Baron Corbin and AOP
I figured The Authors of Pain would be chosen to be Corbin's tag team partners and I'm glad they were given the opportunity in the Raw main event slot. Granted, they didn't win, but they didn't need to. They had a strong showing against the established trio and were protected in defeat with Corbin getting pinned. The Shield's six-man tag team matches were a recurring highlight on Raw from 2013 to 2014 and I'm all for them doing the same this time around (especially considering how flat Raw has been in 2018). Unfortunately, the post-match angle with WWE teasing that Ambrose was torn between siding with The Shield and Strowman, Ziggler and McIntyre felt forced and unnecessary. Did anyone honestly believe that he would leave Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins so close to Super Show-Down?
WWE has done a commendable job of building toward Super Show-Down early next month and attempting to get fans excited for the event, but if it's anything remotely like Greatest Royal Rumble, it will be a waste of time. We shall see, but Raw isn't any more compelling in the meantime. To the company's credit, the main event was entertaining, I liked the Raw Tag Team title match, and the three hours didn't drag as much as they normally do, but it was still pretty par for the course (or, in other words, completely uninteresting). On a side note, I didn't even bother devoting an entire paragraph to the Connor's Cure stuff from this show because it's what we see from WWE every year, but it was well done and obviously a feel-good moment for the kids involved.
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