WWE Monday Night Raw comes returns tonight (Oct. 8, 2018) from the Allstate Arena in Chicago, Illinois.
Advertised for tonight: Triple H & Shawn Michaels respond to The Undertaker and Kane’s assault at WWE Super Show-Down, Trish Stratus is scheduled to appear and Ronda Rousey seeks an opponent for WWE Evolution.
Check back at the start of Raw (8pm ET) for live coverage and results.
“King of Kings” leads us off, whose all-black leather and denim ensemble make him look like Viking Goldberg. Shawn Michaels is in tow, and neither looks particularly happy. Hunter gives us a mountain climbing analogy to describe how he and Shawn stood tall on Saturday, only for their moment to be ruined. I mean, Hunter *did* beat Undertaker on Raw in 2002, and beat him to win a Chamber match in 2009, but sure, Saturday was the breakthrough, I guess. We get a highlight package from Saturday, and then Hunter goes into a speech about respect, and Shawn talks about the long flight home, stewing over the way it ended. Then Shawn goes into honoring his retirement, but now he doesn’t respect Undertaker. Hunter asks Undertaker and Kane if they’re “ready” for Crown Jewel on November 2, and Shawn affirms that DX is, in fact, ready. Shawn gives the “two words” catchphrase, and he and Hunter reveal DX shirts under their outer attire. Cole and company seem surprised, which leads me to believe they’re not Observer subscribers.
Bobby Lashley vs. Kevin Owens
Hey, Lio Rush and Kevin Steen, battle of CZW eras. Big reaction for Owens in Chicago. Lashley gets the power edge early as Lio taunts Owens from a mic. Chilly reaction to that. Lashley continues to be the aggressor while Rush continues to berate Owens. He even tries to lead a “Lashley” chant, which the crowd boos. Owens even hits a flip dive onto Lashley, which the crowd cheers…and Cole acknowledges it! Clearly, Rush being an annoyance is by design. Owens calmly sidestepping a Lashley spear into the rail is pretty funny stuff. Lashley regained control of the match during commercial, and the crowd still boos Rush’s forced “Lashley chant. Owens gives chase, catching him (to a mighty cheer), only for Lashley to make the save. Wait til they put Lashley, with Rush, against Reigns. Owens tries to make the comeback, but runs into a high front spinebuster. Delayed suplex…gets only 2, Lashley hooks a full nelson, but Owens manages to break, following up with a superkick, then a stunner, but only for 2. Owens goes for a moonsault, but Lashley crotches him, causing Owens to fall back and tweak his knee. Lashley works the leg, then finishes with a rolling cutter. Decent action, though Rush was grating (which is the point). **1/4 After the match, Lashley hits the ring and clips Owens knee for seemingly no reason. He smashes KO’s knees against the post a few times for good measure. Guess that’s a heel turn.
Video hyping John Cena’s participation in the World Cup tournament at Crown Jewel. He doesn’t have to win a qualifier, which I guess means he’s from the host nation?
Finn Balor and Bayley hype a rematch with Jinder Mahal and Alicia Fox, which gets interrupted by Lashley and Rush, whose mere presence gets a collective groan. Apparently, Lashley’s destruction was “too sweet”. Hey, he stole that from the You–er, the nWo!
Elias is out next, complete with Steve Van Zandt headband. He’s still got a beef with John Cena, and wants to sing about his misfortunes from Super Showdown. Pretty sure these are spoilers for anyone that keeps a normal sleep schedule. He gets in a dig about Cena’s hair, and rips on Chicago, though I don’t think they’re topping the Sonics diss from last week. Then he rips on the Cubs losing the Wild Card, which makes half the town happy, one would think. Rousey interrupts in anticipation of her upcoming match as we hit commercial.
Ronda Rousey/Bella Twins vs. The Riott Squad
The Riott Squad are now unified by matching hats. Liv smacks Brie to open things up, which could be a receipt, who’s to say? The two scratch and claw to the floor, prompting the other four to come running over to separate them. Rousey and Logan tag in, and Rousey administers a beating before scaring an interfering Morgan and Riott off. Back from break, where the Bellas double team Ruby. Brie tries for the “Brie Mode” knee, though Ruby’s partners pull her to the floor. Brie follows, but gets dropped with an STO. Back inside, Logan takes over on Brie, getting a hiptoss that Brie flips over wonkily on. Brie gets beaten down in the corner during this extended heat segment, but she fights her way out and dropkicks Ruby down. She makes the hot tag to Rousey, though Ruby gets a near fall on a roll-up. Rousey comes back with a strike barrage and swinging Samoan drop. Everyone else is late on the “save prevention” spot (Logan had to manually fall down in front of Brie without even being tripped), and Rousey finishes Ruby with the armbar. Formulaic but fine. ** Afterward, the Bellas turn on Rousey by jumping her, though Ronda quickly takes Brie out. Nikki gets destroyed in short order, though the Bellas manage a double-team, sending Ronda into the post. Ronda continues trying to fight back, but to no avail. Faint “Cena Left Nikki” chants spring up.
Finn Balor/Bayley vs. Jinder Mahal/Alicia Fox
Sadly, Balor isn’t out there to do the tube-guy summoning with Bayley this time. Shame, that was the highlight of last week’s show, aside from the Sonics insult. Apparently, Braun Strowman and Ember Moon’s MMC team name is Monster Eclipse. If only Madison Rayne was on the main roster; her and Strowman could’ve been Monster Rayne, and given us a Jim Norton cameo. Mahal and Balor start, and Balor gets a low dropkick out of a sunset roll-through. An irritable Alicia tags herself, but Balor and Bayley double-team, which I’m pretty sure is illegal. Back from break, as Corey asks why every team’s name has to begin with “Team”. THANK YOU. Stupid teenage vampire movies and their Team What’s-His-Face crap. Alicia gets flung through the ropes after trying to swing Bayley by her hair, and we get a tag to Balor, bringing Jinder in. Take down and double stomp to Mahal’s gut, though Mahal boots Balor down on a corner charge. Alicia makes the save, but Bayley clears her out in short order. Coup de Grace finishes Mahal. Decent little crowd-pleaser. ** I would like to hear more of Corey’s rant on Team Teamnames being the scourge of society, though.
Strowman, Ziggler, and McIntyre have a natural-looking conversation with their faces and torsos all facing the camera. Strowman lays down the law, telling them to quit their bickering, because he wins the Universal title, it’s the best for the three of them.
First Corbin appearance, as he’s confronted by Heath Slater, who wants in on the World Cup. Corbin tells him he’s just not any good. D’aww.
World Cup Battle Royal
A bunch of random guys are in stereotypical costumes inside the ring, and people seems confused. There’s a a fake Russian, a guy in a chef’s hat (who’s Belgian), a luchador in a sombrero, a Conquistador, etc. Corbin puts himself in it and, after some early difficulty, beats up the assorted messes, throwing them out….except for the Conquistador, who was laying in wait. He gives Corbin some rolling Germans (who could it be?), followed by El Slam de Angle! Corbin gets dumped, and of course, it’s Angle under the mask. Not quite Dean Malenko disguised as Ciclope, but that was pretty damn cool. *** for both the swerve and for making me laugh a few times (Stanislaus the Squeezer!)
Nia Jax vs. Ember Moon
Nia blocks an armdrag, and jerks her up into a clothesline. Ember comes back with a step-up enzuigiri, but a crossbody attempt results in Ember being shoved to the mat. Nia crushes Ember in the corner, and Ember spirals off of a hair toss. Ember comes back with a sleeper attempt, which Nia escapes. Ember gets a hurrachanrana and knocks Nia to the floor. Suicide dive follows, and Ember actually bounces off like a rubber bullet. Second dive doesn’t go well. The brawl continues outside, and Nia charges, only to smash into the LED board. Ember gets in to beat the count. Huh, that was abrupt. *1/2 for some fun stuff. Nia’s not happy, but raises Ember’s hand anyway. Guess you can’t do two turns in one night.
Trish Stratus is here to lead off the third hour, as we get some build for Evolution. She calls last week’s Moment of Bliss to be a “Moment of BS”. Bliss actually gets a bigger reaction for her entrance, as her and Mickie come out for some trash talk. Crowd begins to turn on the segment, but cools a bit when Bliss says that Trish sucked as a wrestler. Mickie brings up the fact that she beat Trish in Chicago, and Mickie suggests a tag team match at Evolution. And wouldn’t you know it, Lita just so happens to be there, with her music cued up. Fight ensues, and the faces get the upper hand, though Alexa pulls Mickie out before a possible Litasault. Weird segment, as Trish seemed kinda disinterested. Picked up when Lita got involved, though.
We get an old-school Shield handheld cam promo (Wait, old school? They started this in 2013, didn’t they?). They lay down the law to Strowman and company before the six-man tag rematch.
Bobby Roode/Chad Gable vs. The Ascension
The feud we all demanded continue. Konnor gets a pre-match promo, so they must have something planned for him. He manhandled Roode early, but there’s a blind tag, and Gable gets a missile dropkick for 2, with Konnor pressing him out of the ring. Suddenly, out of nowhere, Cole’s like, “Guys, DX reformed tonight!”, which is carny for, “Don’t change the channel, fans, there’s exciting stuff on this show, too.” “CM Punk” chants, which half the crowd boos. Heh. Gable plays face-in-peril for Viktor, as the commentators establish the Konnor’s been the one getting the wins. Roode tags in and swings the momentum. Glorious DDT on Viktor is blocked, but Gable tags himself in and gets the Chaos Theory German suplex to pin Viktor. Simple enough. * Then the AOP hit the ring an slaughter everyone.
Ronda Rousey and Nikki Bella is made official for Evolution, as is Lita/Trish vs. Alexa/Mickie.
To liven the show up, Paul Heyman is here to talk. He promotes tonight’s six man tag, while noting how much Reigns and Strowman have been beating the hell out of each other, while noting that Lesnar even isn’t watching this show. He hasn’t been alone these last couple weeks. Maybe Brock has 700,000 TVs in his Cave Mansion, and they’re all on Manifest, and that explains Raw’s struggles. He closes his phlegmy sales pitch in time for the Shield’s music to hit.
The Shield vs. Braun Strowman/Dolph Ziggler/Drew McIntyre
McIntyre and Rollins kick things off, and Rollins gets clotheslined almost out of his boots after a series of reversals. Tag to Ambrose, and the duo double suplex McIntyre for 2. Strowman gets the tag, and plows over Ambrose with a shoulderblock. Braun misses a corner charge, and the tag is made to Roman, who seems to get more cheers than boos. Huh, in Chicago? Reigns staggers Strowman with strikes, but goes for a Samoan drop and gets clubbed down. Ziggler and McIntyre try for a suplex on Rollins, but he gets pulled down by his partners, and the champs are clotheslined to the floor. Strowman shouts at his teammates out of frustration. Back from break, and Strowman avalanches Reigns in the corner. Apparently during the break, Braun prevented a Reigns Drive-By by chokeslamming Reigns on the apron. Nice touch. Ziggler tags in, but doesn’t fare well for long. Braun tags back in and misses a corner charge, giving Chicago the old Road Warrior Hawk shoulder-to-the-post spot. Reigns gets that Samoan drop after all. Double tags are made to Ziggler and Rollins, and Seth goes wild, flattening McIntyre with a suicide dive, and hitting Dolph with a springboard clothesline for 2. Curb Stomp is prevented, Rollins counters the Famouser into a buckle bomb attempt, which Ziggler counters into a sunset pin for 2. Then Rollins deadlifts him into a horrifying looking buckle bomb for 2, broken up by McIntyre. Chaos breaks out, with Rollins and Ambrose landing dual suicide dives. Strowman grabs them, and Reigns gets a REAL suicide dive onto the pile. Nice! Back from a second commercial and it’s Rollins in peril at Strowman’s hands. You’d think the finish would’ve come shortly after that dive flourish, but there’s still time to kill. Rollins tries to make the hot tag, but McIntyre muscles him back to prevent it, then boots him down for 2. Rollins manages to counter a Ziggler dropkick with a slingshot, but McIntyre stops another tag attempt. Rollins enzuigiris him down, but Strowman knocks both Shield members off the apron. Then he yells at Ziggler for being a failure, and when Dolph argues back, Braun grabs him by the throat. McIntyre gets in Braun’s face, and Rollins uses the distraction to roll McIntyre up for 2. Tag is made to Ambrose and various chaos ensues, including Rollins and Ziggler busting out the Bret/Dynamite out-of-the-ring suplex spot. Sweet. Reigns spears Strowman outside. In all the confusion, McIntyre finishes Ambrose out of nowhere with the Claymore. Whew. Match went on a bit too long (crescendo seemed to be the series of dives earlier), but it was a lot of fun otherwise. ***1/2. Guess this will only stir Ambrose’s angst at being the only beltless member. Afterward, Ambrose leaves without his brothers, as Reigns and Rollins express concern.