Chaos Ensued Between Braun Strowman, Dolph Ziggler, Drew McIntyre and The Shield
As everyone else has been saying, Strowman did what any other babyface would do by leveling the playing field and enlisting help against The Shield. Despite that, he is being portrayed as a heel because of who he aligned with, and it was all but confirmed here that he's a heel when he insulted the audience. I appreciated that he at least explained his actions, but there's little logic behind the turn, especially when you consider how over he was as a face. Nevertheless, this was a solid segment and the hot brawl between the two trios kicked off the night on a high note.
The Bella Twins def. The Riott Squad
I realize this was designed to be a warm-up for The Bella Twins ahead of WWE Super Show-Down and Evolution, but this wasn't good whatsoever. Nikki looked decent in the ring, whereas Brie's performance was pretty deplorable. Then again, I'm well-aware that she has wrestled a real match outside of the women's Royal Rumble in over two and a half years, so perhaps it will take time for her to get better again. I laughed when it was immediately announced afterward that it will be the Bellas and Ronda Rousey against The Riott Squad at Super Show-Down. If the Bellas could decisively defeat them here, why would they need Rousey's help?
Bobby Roode and Chad Gable def. The Ascension
Are Roode and Gable a random tandem? Absolutely. Am I here for it, though? Absolutely. Both of them have been spinning their wheels for months, so they might as well join forces and enter the tag team ranks. Unfortunately, the crowd couldn't have cared less about this due to how dead of an act The Ascension are, but I do think Roode and Gable have potential as a pairing. They won't exactly be Beer Money, but it could be just as fun given how hilarious their pre- and post-match antics were.
Alexa Bliss def. Natalya
Since this episode emanated from Bliss' native Ohio, it was smart to have her come out during Elias' concert and join him in trashing the city. It definitely helped turn the audience against her. It also made sense since both of them have beef with Trish Stratus from last week. The actual bout between Bliss and Natalya was way too brief to be anything of note, not to mention Bliss' armbar on Natalya (a shot at Rousey) didn't look like it hurt in the slightest. I don't understand how viewers are supposed to see Bliss as a threat to Rousey when Rousey gets the better of her almost every time they interact.
Dolph Ziggler and Drew McIntyre def. The B-Team to Win the Raw Tag Team Championship
The Revival were originally scheduled to vie for the Raw Tag Team Championship on this show, but due to being ambushed backstage beforehand, Ziggler and McIntyre replaced them as The B-Team's opponents. At that point, it became painfully obvious The B-Team weren't retaining their titles. I'm actually shocked The B-Team lasted as long as they did against Ziggler and McIntyre, so props to them for putting up a hell of a fight before eating defeat. I'm not sure how much of a boost Ziggler and McIntyre will provide to the depleted tag team division on Raw, but if nothing else, it's a step in the right direction.
AOP def. Keith Thompson and Jimmy James
Needless to say, The Authors of Pain should have never been split from Paul Ellering in the first place, but instead of bringing him back to manage AOP again, the duo was put with 205 Live general manager Drake Maverick instead. It's an extremely odd fit on paper and Maverick looked ridiculous wearing the same vest as them. However, he could wind up being a great mouthpiece for AOP, so time will tell. As for the match, it was a complete squash.
The Undertaker Interrupted Shawn Michaels
The first half of Michaels' promo was exactly what you'd expect with him shilling his merchandise, the WWE Network, WWE Super Show-Down and picking Triple H to beat Undertaker. He was already being advertised for Raw, so it was cool to save Undertaker as a surprise. I remember reading reports ahead of the show that there was a chance Undertaker might resurface, but apparently not everyone else read those same reports because the reaction to his return was huge. Their verbal exchange was easily the best thing on the entire episode and certainly seemed to suggest that Michaels might come out of retirement eventually. I don't think he has anything left to prove by doing so, so here's hoping it was merely a tease and nothing more. Nonetheless, this was a strong segment.
Sasha Banks and Bayley def. Dana Brooke and Ember Moon
Titus O'Neil once again wanted to give Brooke an opportunity to showcase her skills, so he landed her a tag team match with Moon (I guess because she was the only other woman that didn't appear earlier in the evening?) against Banks and Bayley. It turned out to be total throwaway and was over within a matter of minutes. I'm not compelled by the Brooke storyline, and Banks and Bayley continue to be wasted.
Kevin Owens Attacked Bobby Lashley
Everything about this was incredibly frustrating. First of all, putting Lashley and Jinder Mahal in a segment together so Lashley could work on his "anger issues" (according to Baron Corbin) made for some boring television. Lashley smiling the whole time didn't help his cause, either. To make matters worse, Owens is back on Raw one week removed from him "quitting" the show. There was actual intrigue from fans regarding how Owens would return to TV, but all of that momentum was ruined within a week.
Braun Strowman def. Finn Balor
These two had a pair of highly enjoyable matches in the build-up to Money in the Bank a few months back and they had that same quality chemistry here as well. The interference from Ziggler and McIntyre was predictable and annoying, but it was an entertaining encounter otherwise. I figured The Shield would resurface afterward after being arrested at the start of the show, but the heels laying them out for the second straight week was refreshing. I don't agree with turning Strowman heel, of course, but the effort is being made to get heat on him.
I appreciated that WWE advertised a handful of matches and appearances for this Labor Day edition of Raw knowing not many people would watch as a result of the holiday, but it still wound up being a fairly flat show outside of the tag titles changing hands and the Undertaker-Micheals interaction. All in all, this was a weird episode, and admittedly, I'm not convinced Raw has their shit together as the fall/football season (which is traditionally a dead period for WWE) quickly approaches.
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