WWE Monday Night Raw comes returns tonight (Oct. 1, 2018) from the Key Arena in Seattle, Washington, and is the go home show to the upcoming WWE Super Show-Down.
Advertised for tonight: Shawn Michaels returns, Ronda Rousey takes on Ruby Riott, Bobby Lashley vs. Kevin Owens, and more!
Check back at the start of Raw (8pm ET) for live coverage and results.
Dean Ambrose kicks things off with what appears to be a slicked down widow’s peak, perhaps prepping for a Lance Storm Halloween costume. He’s here for an interview with Charly, who notes the comments of Ziggler and McIntyre, claiming that he’s unhappy being the beltless mule of the Shield. Ambrose admits there’s some dissatisfaction, and Charly asks if he would ever leave the group. Ambrose says he would, because he considers lots of things, but then he veers into something resembling sarcasm. Ambrose says maybe he ran Roman’s car off the road earlier, and Seattle likes that idea. Well that’s just mean. Ambrose gets defensive, then asks to be judged by his actions. “The Shield is a brotherhood” he says. His music plays for emphasis, so that should be the end of that matter, yup.
Then Baron “Bull Shannon” Corbin’s music hits, and he tries to stir the pot a little further. Corbin gives him three choices for a match: face Rollins for the IC title, Reigns for the Universal title, or Strowman, with no prize at stake. This brings out some serious thought in Ambrose, as it’s actually a good psych game. Ambrose tries to invoke a fourth option, fighting Corbin right now. Corbin makes the choice for him, picking Strowman. That was a nice bit of character work there, showing that Ambrose won’t fight his own brothers, even with gold at stake, though he had to think hard for a moment.
Dean Ambrose vs. Braun Strowman
Strowman throws Ambrose to and fro early on, then smirks at the crowd, just to remind them that he’s supposed to be the heel. Braun twists Ambrose’s neck in a manner most uncomfy, before sledging at his back. It occurs to me at this point that there’s no pink rope, which makes me think it might’ve gotten sent to the wrong state. Damn postal system. Braun yells, “The Shield is never gonna help you!” before striking him angrily across the face. Ambrose finally gets some offense, a guillotine choke, about three and a half minutes into the match. Braun breaks, so Ambrose goes to the knee, and begins to mount an attack, which Braun hastily cuts off. Back from break, Ambrose sticks and moves and dropkicks Strowman, but gets caught and clubbed across the torso. Then out of nowhere, Ambrose manages to hit Dirty Deeds, but being slow on the cover only allots a two count. Suicide dive follows after Strowman rolls outside, and a Strowman charge ends up with Ambrose matadoring him into the steps. Ambrose breaks the count to continue the fight inside, and once both men roll in, Ambrose runs right into a powerslam. However, he wisely rolls outside. Maybe unwisely, because Braun ends up giving chase. Low shoulder block connects, followed by a toss into the barricade. Back inside, another powerslam, but he refuses to cover. Reigns’ music hits, and the beloved Universal Champion hits a Superman punch for the DQ. Fun David vs Goliath match until the non-finish. **1/2 Rollins hits the ring to stagger Strowman with a flying knee. Crowd kinda boos all this. Well yeah, Strowman had the match won fairly, and two guys interfered to save Ambrose. But they’re the faces, yeah. Ziggler and McIntyre come out for back up, but Corbin refuses three-on-three conflict. So it’s Rollins vs. McIntyre later, and Reigns vs. Ziggler after the break.
Rollins tries to chat up Ambrose in the first aid room, and a poor ice bag ends up collateral damage due to Ambrose’s frustration. “I could be Intercontinental Champion right now,” says Ambrose. Corey’s not sure what that means.
Roman Reigns vs. Dolph Ziggler
Non-title, says Corbin. Dropkick from Ziggler early, followed by a quick chinlock. Reigns powers up, but Ziggler leverages him back down and drops an elbow. Then Reigns takes the Road Warrior Hawk Memorial Shoulder to the Post, and falls to the floor. Ziggler gets the jumping leverage DDT on the outside. Back in, a wonky-looking famouser drops Reigns for two. Back from break and Ziggler’s working on another chinlock, which Reigns fights out of. Reigns misses a strike, and Ziggler goes to a sleeperhold. Corbin surely approves of these multiple applications of similar weardown moves. Reigns gets out of it and begins the high-impact comeback sequence, including the corner clothesline barrage. Think John Laurinaitis used to do that in All Japan. Superman punch misses, and Ziggler rolls him up for 2. Series of reversals ensues, Dolph gets an eye rake, and Zig Zag hits for 2. Woulda been funny if one Zig Zag finished, while Brock needed six F5s. Superman punch cuts off a superkick attempt, but only for 2. Ziggler manages to get a sunset flip to counter one spear, but can’t counter a second, and Reigns wins, naturally. Got fun toward the end, but was fairly slow earlier on. **1/2
We see Ronda, Natalya, and the Bellas hanging out backstage, all smiles, except for Ronda, who is shadow-boxing. Seems about right.
Ronda Rousey vs Ruby Riott
That’s a lot of alliteration. Thankfully this match isn’t at the Royal Rumble. Rousey throws Ruby around with reckless abandon, and Ruby quickly bails. Rousey tosses Riott back in and gets kicked in the gut, giving Ruby the advantage. Maybe Bethe Correia should have employed this strategy. You know, wait for Ronda to knock her out of the Octagon, then jump her when thrown back in. Ruby gets in quite a bit of offense, including fish-hooking Ronda’s mouth, which Herb Dean would’ve deducted points for. Rousey blocks the Riott Kick and throws Riott over head with that leg-cradle suplex. Delayed gutwrench slam drops Riott, and Rousey gets distracted by the Squaders, so Riott gets a roll-up for a close 2. Rousey finishes with the swinging Samoan drop and the armbar. Kinda dull for a while, but picked up nicely at the end. **
We get a little hype for the Becky Lynch/Charlotte Flair rematch, which will give Jack something to do while having brunch/lunch.
Bobby Roode vs. Konnor
The Ascension don’t even get the “rise from the wasteland” entrance any more, sadly. At least they get to keep the Duke Nukem BGM-sounding theme. Roode hammers away early on, but runs into a Vader Attack. Jumping elbow drop gets 2 as the crowd gets noticeably quiet. They try to rally Roode a bit during a chinlock. Konnor elbow drop misses, and he gets dropped face-first on the middle turnbuckle. Roode gets a diving clothesline. Middle-rope Blockbuster follows not long after. Roode sets up for the Glorious DDT, but gets distracted by Viktor waylaying Chad Gable at ringside. Konnor uses the distraction to hit a sitout Dominator to win. T’was fine. *1/4. Graves notes that Konnor is getting singles wins, so look for an Ascension split and Konnor mini-push.
We get “A Moment of Bliss”, with Alexa claiming that as a little girl, Trish charging her $50 for an autograph, then tore her book up and stepped on her foot. They’re reeeeeally trying to turn Alexa face with these, because her insincerity is too charming.
B-Team vs. The Revival
The Revival get rewarded for their great match with Ziggler/McIntyre by not even getting an entrance. I like Axel and Dallas, but 1986 Curt Hennig/Mike Rotundo vs. The Revival would be something wild. Speedy double-teams on Axel keep The Revival in control. Bo tries the B-Team chant from the apron, and Wilder tells him to shut up in a nice touch. Axel fights an armlock by running in a circle until he sends Wilder into the buckle. Bo gets the tag and he runs wild until charging into a Dawson spinebuster for 2. The Revival try a rocket launcher, but Dallas gets the knees up, and Dallas cradles Wilder for the pin. Short but fine. *1/4 The Authors of Pain jump the B-Team on the ramp, toss them back in, and hit the Super Collider. At least Drake Maverick’s not dressing like them any more.
Ambrose is still hurting backstage (now *that’s* how you sell a beating) when Reigns approaches. Ambrose insists that he had Strowman beat, then adds that he could be Universal Champion right now. Thankfully, that line didn’t befuddle Graves.
Susan G. Komen video headed by Natalya, with Naomi, Sasha Banks, along with survivors and fundraisers. Dana Warrior’s in the front row, along with some people associated with the charity.
Strowman, Ziggler, and McIntyre debate having Ambrose in their fold, while Strowman looks right at Ziggler whilst saying, “We don’t need any weak links.”
Seth Rollins vs. Drew McIntyre
McIntyre smacks Rollins after a corner break, so Rollins naturally doesn’t take kindly to it and hammers away. McIntyre gets clotheslined up and over, and Rollins follows up with a suicide dive. Not getting paid by the hour, I see. Back inside, Rollins tries for an up and over in the corner, and McIntyre counters with a pele kick to the Ribcage. Very nice. Rollins and McIntyre fight out to the apron, and Rollins tries for a Buckle Bomb out there(!), but gets shoved backward into the post. McIntyre gets creative himself, lifting Rollins on the ring steps and throwing him back first to the apron, as we hit an early commercial. Both men are down on the mat when we come back, instead of a resthold, so they’re just full of swerves. Rollins ducks a clothesline, countering with a slingblade, then hits a Blockbuster for 2. Rollins tries for the Buckle Bomb, but Drew backdrops him. He goes for the reverse Alabama Slam, but Rollins pulls himself up into a victory roll for 2. THAT was impressive. Falcon Arrow also gets 2. To the top rope, McIntyre tries for a Samoan drop, but Rollins drops down and manages the Buckle Bomb in another nice visual. Rollins goes for the superkick, but Ziggler hits the ring, providing enough of a distraction for McIntyre to win with the Claymore. Good match though. *** Reigns hits the ring to even the odds, then Strowman storms the ring. Ambrose runs out with an ax handle and goes bonkers for a spell, before Strowman lays him out. Each Shield member tries to fight back, only to get beaten down summarily. Crowd chants “One More Time” to Braun after he powerslams Reigns. He’s a heel, so he doesn’t oblige.
Elias and KO hang out backstage, and Elias takes exception to the food he asked for, namely the cashews. He asked for almonds, you random backstage peon.
After the break, Elias and Owens share stools in the ring. Poor Owens doesn’t even get a body mic. We get hype for the match at Super Show-Down with John Cena and Bobby Lashley, which is an opening for Elias to make fun of Seattle for losing the Sonics. Geez, it’s been ten years. How about a nice Earl Thomas/holdout joke? But man, the boos for that line last a LONG time. Kudos to Renee for referencing Detlef Schrempf, the best German athlete of all time next to Alex Wright. And holy hell, they are STILL BOOING. They’re gonna pass out from oxygen deprivation if they don’t stop. Three minutes after I wrote that, they are STILL GOING. This is incredible. Finally, Lio Rush arrives to end that nuclear rage session. Crowd’s too busy chanting for the Sonics to really care about Rush’s gab session, so Elias makes fun of them again.
Bobby Lashley vs Kevin Owens
They’re not topping the awesomeness of that Elias insult, no way. Lashley overpowers Owens in the early going, but Owens works him down with a side headlock, which Lashley gets a few pin attempts out of. Shoulderblock takes Owens to the outside, and Lashley introduces his face to each of the buckles once he’s back inside. Lashley delivers a powerslam, then lifts him in a fireman’s carry, only for KO to drop down and send him into the post twice. Lashley’s down on the floor when they come out of break as some fans chant “Fight Owens Fans”. Must be from Oklahoma City. Owens continues the onslaught inside with a running senton splash, and a top wristlock. Lashley gets out of the hold, leapfrogs an Owens charge, and clotheslines him down. Lashley gets a corner-charge barrage to wear Owens down, but can’t lift him for the delayed suplex, due to the shoulder. Lashley does get a thunderous front spinebuster. Outside the ring, Elias accosts Rush, and Owens uses the distraction to roll up and pin Lashley. Decent enough **1/4 Elias and Owens beat Lashley down, and Cena doesn’t make the save, despite promising he would never leave like The Rock does. Rush gets a shot to the face from Elias for attempting to help. Pop-Up Powerbomb leaves Lashley laying as Owens vigorously hugs Elias. Careful Elias – remember the last rocker that Owens treated like a best friend.
Bayley vs Alicia Fox
Some late-in-the-show hype for Mixed Match Challenge. Balor takes part in the Bayley entrance because he’s up for anything. Cole accidentally calls Sunil Singh “Ranjin Singh”, which is something. Bayley gets 2 off of a diving back elbow, but Alicia comes back with a knee to the face. Bridging Northern Lights gets 2, and Alicia de-coils humorously off the kickout. Bayley hits the rope-hang stunner, and the two exchange counters and kicks as Balor is all cheerful. Bayley kicks an interfering Jinder, who then eats a slingblade from Balor. Belly to Bayley finishes Alicia in short order. Fun while it lasted. *1/2
Shawn Michaels joins us for the Main Event Interview, here to hard-sell the last time we’ll ever see Undertaker vs. Triple H because tag team matches at stadium shows don’t count I can’t hear you la la la la la la la. Gotta say, Shawn’s got plenty of spring in his step, still. Shawn talks about the emotions going into a “final” match. It’s kinda funny that he’s plugging an event that begins at 2 AM local time for this crowd. Shawn promises to deliver Sweet Chin Music to Kane if he gets involved, only for Mayor Jacobs’ music to hit. Shawn turns to the entrance way, only for Kane to appear behind him in the ring. He takes Shawn down, and then Undertaker is suddenly on the scene. Undertaker goes to Tombstone Shawn, only for Triple H, dress-shirt and all, to hit the ring for the save. DX ends up eating a double chokeslam from the Brothers of Destruction, as my nostalgic inner child gets all tingly. The pain doesn’t end there, as Triple H gets deposited with Tombstone for good measure. Can’t wait to see who wins while having my third cup of coffee.