WWE Monday Night Raw comes returns tonight (Oct. 22, 2018) from the Dunkin Donuts Center in Providence, Rhode Island.
Advertised for tonight: Ronda Rousey & Nikki Bella, DX return to the red brand, and Braun Strowman addresses last week’s attack by Drew McIntyre.
Check back at the start of Raw (8pm ET) for live coverage and results.
Reigns’ music kicks things off, and it’s a mixed reaction from the first “DOO-doot.” But that’s not important, because to everyone’s shock, he announces that he had leukemia 11 years ago, and now it’s back. My apologies for not transcribing his words with more detail, but I’m actually in shock writing this. He relinquishes the belt, but vows to “whoop leukemia’s ass” and come back to show everyone, especially his family, that he can overcome even the worst adversity. Thankfully, most of the crowd is respectful and encouraging (save for a few jackasses that booed). Ambrose and Rollins meet Roman on the ramp to share a group hug, and Rollins is openly devastated. Best of luck to Roman on this one; hopefully he comes through.
Finn Balor vs. Bobby Lashley
Lio Rush has an unenviable task here. Pretty much anybody wrestling going forward tonight has that same task, but Rush’s job is to be a punchable dick, so being a “distraction” is something he’s gotta do in two different senses. Lashley takes control while Rush keeps up the incessant hype. Balor tries a comeback, but gets caught in a Dominator attempt, only to escape and land the standing double stomp. Lashley powers his way back and gets two off of a Samoan drop. Balor drops out of the vertical suplex and lands the Sling Blade. Rush starts up the Lashley chants again, but Balor drops out of the rolling cutter and gets an elementary roll-up for the win. Graves sourly mocking the LASH-LEY chant after the match is pretty funny.
McIntyre lets Ziggler know that he’s going “Monster hunting”.
Sasha Banks vs. Ruby Riott
Hype for the six-woman tag at Evolution. Sasha gets an early Meteora for 2, and the other Squaders help provide a distraction that turns the tide for Ruby. Sasha knocks Ruby off the apron and goes for a dive, but the Riott Squad pull Ruby away. A stand-off between the factions occurs at ringside and Sasha gets taken down, heading into break. Back from commercial, Sasha tries to mount the comeback, but gets STO’d for 2. Sasha gets a clever spring-up headscissors pull in the corner, and a clothesline exchange breaks out. Sasha gets the Meteora off the second rope and tries for the Banks Statement. Logan jumps in, but Bayley cuts her off and the four outsiders brawl on the floor. Sasha saves her partners, but gets kicked coming in, and hit with the Riott Kick to give Ruby the win.
DX is out for an interview to hype Crown Jewel. They talk about the essence of the word “nostalgia”, how it basically just means “old”, but since Halloween is the #1 movie in a America, and 70,000 fans filled the stadium to see Melbourne, so maybe old just means “they’re better.” Eh, as a nostalgia-freak, I kinda see Hunter’s point. They go to hit the catchphrase, but some weird lighting goes off, and Undertaker’s music hits. We’re treated to a video of Undertaker and Kane by a gravesite. They have some fighting words for DX. There are even headstones with Hunter and Shawn’s names on them. Rest in peace, sayeth the Brothers of Destruction.
Paul Heyman is out for promo time, giving some sincere well-wishes for Roman. He manages to segue into the Crown Jewel title match hype with his usual Heyman-like deftness. It’s Lesnar vs. Strowman now, and Heyman rants about Lesnar being the best possible representative for the now vacant gold. Heyman puts down Braun, only to incur the presence of the beast himself. “Get these hands” chants, so at least fans haven’t forgotten how cool he could be as a hero. Braun vows to give Roman the first shot when he’s healthy. After Braun hits the catchphrase, McIntyre arrives to lay him out with a Claymore. Think that might be telegraphing the Tag Team title match finish.
Elias vs. Apollo Crews
Crews starts fast with a dropkick after a quick exchange. Elias gets knocked outside and Apollo wipes him out with a moonsault off the apron. Back from an early break and Elias works a chinlock. A corner mule kick is what felled Apollo during the break. Crowd seems distracted, but tonight’s going to be a wash anyway. Crews fights back and gets a step-up enzuigiri. Crowd actually boos Apollo’s comeback. To be fair, he *did* interrupt Elias’ tangent. Standing shooting star gets 2. Fallaway Samoan drop also gets 2. Elias manages to stun Crews with a jumping knee (Flying V Trigger?) and Drift Away to finish.
Angle promotes the World Cup tournament at Crown Jewel, and runs through the competitors.
Back from break, and we get more from Elias, who’s now on the stage for an encore. This time, Baron Corbin interrupts to try and move the show along. Elias blows Corbin off, and takes exception to Corbin’s patronizing attitude. Elias refuses to follow Corbin’s instructions and sings anyway, freestyling about Corbin being Steph’s puppet. Corbin has Elias cut off, and Elias leaves…only to come back and smash Corbin across the back with his guitar. Guess that’s a face turn.
Onto the contract signing between Ronda Rousey and Nikki Bella, which I’m sure will end without incident. The Bellas bail when Ronda hit the ring, not wanting conflict tonight. Ronda gives her assurance that she won’t attack. The Bellas continue talking trash, trying to goad Ronda into breaking her word. Then Nikki smacks Ronda, which prompts the death stare, followed by an easy-going laugh, because she’s going to save the beating for Sunday.
Ambrose and Rollins speak earnestly about the situation, and say that tonight, they’re going to do what they do best, which is win. Rollins dedicates the Tag Team title match to Roman.
Nia Jax vs. Dana Brooke vs. Tamina vs. Ember Moon
Hype for the battle royal on Sunday. Tamina and Nia play bully. Dana tries a shock roll-up on Ember, getting only 2. Nia tries a Samoan drop on Tamina, but she drops down and superkicks Nia. Ember flies in with the Eclipse on Tamina to win. Well, that was brief.
RAW TAG TEAM TITLES: Dolph Ziggler/Drew McIntyre vs. Dean Ambrose/Seth Rollins
Ambrose and Rollins make the Shield crowd entrance, understandably. Shield take control early, clearing the ring of the champs. Back from break and Rollins wipes out the opposition with a suicide dive. McIntyre turns the tide by shoving Rollins off the ropes moments later, and Ziggler gets a Famouser for 2. Rollins fights out of a sleeper with a back suplex and struggles to make the tag, but gets cut off by McIntyre. Rollins drops him with an enzuigiri, but is still cut off from tagging. A superkick knocks McIntyre over the ropes, but Ziggler pulls Ambrose off the apron before Rollins can tag. McIntyre recovers and drops Rollins with a reverse Alabama Slam, getting 2. Back from a second break and Ambrose is now in, attempting a superplex on McIntyre, but gets cut off. Ambrose tags Rollins and drops Drew with a neckbreaker. Rollins frog splash gets 2 on McIntyre, as Ambrose dives onto Ziggler outside. Rollins and McIntyre have a skirmish on the top rope that ends with McIntyre getting a sit-up German throw out of a tree of woe. Rollins recovers enough to get the superplex/falcon arrow on Ziggler for 2, which the crowd was totally buying as the finish. Rollins tries to buckle bomb Dolph at Drew, who catches him. A whole lotta stuff goes on and the run ends with Ziggler hitting Rollins with the Zig Zag for 2. Ambrose breaks up the Clay-Zag, as Braun’s music hits. In the chaos, the ref gets bumped. Braun stares down McIntyre on the approach, and the two big men begin brawling into the audience. A desperate Dolph tries to use a belt, but Ambrose stops him. Curb Stomp connects and Ambrose tosses the ref back in to make the count to give us new champions. Nice moment with the two winning for their brother…
…and then Ambrose drops Rollins with the Dirty Deeds. Crowd goes deathly silent for a bit, as I wonder why they’d do that tonight. There’s better be one hell of angle out of this, because that’s some bad room-reading otherwise. Ambrose mauls Rollins further like a maniac, as fans express both confusion and horror. I mean, Ambrose as a heel is a good direction, but tonight of all nights? For good measure, Ambrose peels the mats back at ringside, then drops Rollins with Dirty Deeds on the concrete. They managed to find some truly distraught fans for the pan around at least. And the heat was something else, so they may have something here.