Monday Night Raw
Date: October 15, 2018
Location: Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Commentators: Michael Cole, Corey Graves, Renee Young
We’re two and a half weeks away from Crown Jewel from…..wherever WWE wants to announce it from being at the moment. Tonight we have more World Cup qualifying matches, which seems to be the main force of the entire show. Other than that, expect the tall old guys to talk about the smaller old guys. Let’s get to it.
Here are Braun Strowman, Dolph Ziggler and Drew McIntyre to open things up. McIntyre declares them the greatest three man group in WWE history and they didn’t need matching suits to do it. We look at the end of last week’s show with Dean Ambrose walking out. After the show, he said he doesn’t think he fits in anywhere anymore. Back in the arena, McIntyre says they’ve broken the Shield.
Finally, Ambrose has had his eyes forced open and the Shield is broken. Strowman says that means there is no one watching Reigns’ back at Crown Jewel. Speaking of Crown Jewel, McIntyre is ready to qualify and win the tournament. Ziggler doesn’t know about that, because they might have to face off in the finals. McIntyre says it would be a shame if that happened because Ziggler isn’t him.
Cue Reigns and Rollins to say the team is fine. Ziggler asks where Ambrose is because he might just have to win in a forfeit. Rollins says Ambrose always shows up and Reigns talks about Strowman going to the back of the line. The fans start booing so Rollins sucks up to Philadelphia by talking about cheese steaks and how this is a fighting town. Let’s just do the qualifying match right now. This was longer than it needed to be and really didn’t change anything.
World Cup of Wrestling Qualifying Match: Seth Rollins vs. Drew McIntyre
Non-title. McIntyre headlocks him to start and holds onto that for a bit longer than you might expect. A shoulder puts Rollins down so he jumps up and starts an exchange of kicks to the face. Rollins hurricanranas his way out of a powerbomb to send McIntyre outside, of course meaning the suicide shove. Since it’s the most obvious move in the world, McIntyre catches him and hits a belly to belly.
McIntyre pulls the ring skirt up but gets sent into the barricade so here’s Ziggler for a distraction. That’s enough for Rollins to be pulled into the exposed steel underneath the ring to bang up his arm. Back from a break with McIntyre working on the arm (as he should be doing) but getting superkicked down. The reverse Alabama Slam is countered into a victory roll for two, followed by the Blockbuster for the same.
Rollins heads up top and catches Drew in the Tree of Woe, so of course McIntyre sits up and pulls him down by the head. You know, because he can just do that. Rollins is fine enough to run the ropes for a superplex into the Falcon Arrow (big pop) but McIntyre Falcon Arrows him first for two off a great counter. Back up and Rollins turns on the fire with a clothesline to the floor and back to back suicide dives to Ziggler and McIntyre. Ziggler breaks up the Stomp and here’s Ambrose from the crowd to even things up. McIntyre jumps Ambrose but gets Stomped on the floor. Only Rollins beats the count back in for the win at 13:30.
Rating: B-. Good match with Ambrose coming in for the help, though I’m not sure what the point was in having him walk out to end the show and be back here like nothing happened just half an hour in. I’m very relieved that they didn’t have McIntyre lose clean here, and at the same time the Intercontinental Champion doesn’t take another bad loss. This was actually thought out booking for once, which is always well received.
Post break Rollins and Reigns are glad Ambrose showed up on Lunatic Time. That’s not cool with Dean, who says he’s only good for some laughs until they need to be bailed out. Reigns and Rollins say that’s not what they meant as Dean leaves to get read for his match.
Stills of Undertaker vs. HHH and its fallout at Super Show-Down.
We see D-Generation X reuniting last week.
We go to the bowels of some building where Undertaker and Kane talk about the lack of respect. Michaels didn’t stay in the shadows out of respect but out of fear. They will unleash everything on DX for the first time ever and all of Shawn’s fears will be realized. HHH can crawl back to the board room and Shawn can hide in retirement. DX had three words for them, so they have three words for DX: Rest In Peace.
There will be a battle royal at Evolution with the winner getting a future Women’s Title match.
Ember Moon/Nia Jax vs. Dana Brooke/Tamina
I actually forgot Tamina worked here. Her not having a match since the Royal Rumble might have something to do with that. Tamina takes Ember down into a chinlock to start and we go split screen to mention a bunch of people in the battle royal, including Torrie Wilson as we continue the false narrative that Torrie ever had any business in the ring.
Tamina shoves Ember across the ring and it’s off to Jax for a power battle that no one was asking for. They headbutt each other and Tamina escapes the Samoan drop. She can’t pick Nia up though and it’s a headbutt to stagger Tamina instead. The second Samoan drop attempt works but Tamina can’t cover. It’s off to Dana, who takes the Eclipse for the pin at 7:36.
Rating: D-. This is one of the things I’ve been dreading about Evolution: the pretending that certain people are any good or belong on such a stage. Torrie was eye candy who could barely do more than two moves and Tamina is the least interesting wrestler in years. I know they need to fill in the roster, but can we please stop pretending that all of the past women are important or that a lot of them belong anywhere near a major show? There were some incredibly talented female wrestlers, but that doesn’t mean they’re all on the same level because they wrestled here at the same time.
Post match Tamina superkicks Jax and teams up with Ember to throw her over the top. Ember tries to throw Tamina out but Dana eliminates them both.
We look back at the Bella Twins turning on Ronda Rousey. And no Cole, the world hasn’t been talking about this. Just stop.
Here’s Rousey to say that the Bellas at least owe her an explanation. Cue the Bellas with Nikki saying the people paid to see them and not her. They don’t owe her an explanation because this is show business and not show friends. Ronda disrespected them and disregarded everything the two of them have done for this business. It disgusts them to see Rousey as the face of the women’s revolution because Nikki deserves to be champion.
They made the term Divas mean something and children look up to her. If that’s the case, the future of America is worse than I thought. The Women’s Title wouldn’t exist without the Divas Title. What is she going to do? Try to break their arms? Fans: “YES! YES! YES!” Ronda says she tried and thought they were friends, but now she knows they’re just a pair of do nothing Bellas.
They were there because of the men they were with and at Evolution, their arms are coming off. The only thing that is going to stop her is a referee and that hasn’t gone well in the past. Brie says the two of them have knocked down more doors in a week than Rousey ever has.
Rousey lists off the places she’s dominated before getting in the line of the promo with “the only door you ever broke down was to John Cena’s bedroom.” BIG gasp on that one. Rousey wants to fight now but Nikki just does her dance as security comes out to get rid of Ronda. They get taken down as well and Ronda calls the Bellas (now gone) out here again.
This was REALLY bad (save for that Cena line) with terrible delivery of awful lines and a story that no one with a brain is going to accept as realistic. Everyone came off looking worse here and it went on a good ten minutes longer than necessary. But hey, I’m sure TMZ will be talking about it.
We look back at Kurt Angle winning the battle royal last week.
Angle, dressed as Jimmy Buffett for some reason, is in the back with Bobby Roode and Chad Gable. He’s enjoyed his vacation and is ready for the World Cup. The two of them leave and No Way Jose comes up for some dancing. Baron Corbin comes in and says Angle can have a warmup match tonight….against AOP. Gee I wonder what’s going to happen.
World Cup of Wrestling Qualifying Match: Dolph Ziggler vs. Dean Ambrose
They waste no time here with Ziggler suplexing him down and grabbing an early sleeper on the mat. Dean fights up and takes him to the floor for a whip into the barricade. Back in and Dean can’t get a Cloverleaf so he heads up top, only to get caught with a super X Factor for a big crash.
We come back from a break with Ziggler missing a suplex and getting catapulted into the post. Now the Cloverleaf works but Ziggler is able to make the ropes. Ambrose gets two off a chickenwing facebuster but here’s McIntyre to interfere, only to have Rollins follow him out for the save. Rollins helps Ambrose up but Dean shrugs him away (it’s not clear if Ambrose knew who it was), allowing Ziggler hit a superkick for the pin at 9:36.
Rating: C. This didn’t have the time to go anywhere and for once, they went with the right idea by not extending a match that didn’t need to be extended. They wrestled for a bit and then went to the finish to advance the storyline. You don’t need to do anything more than what’s going on here and that’s the right idea.
Post match Ambrose shoves Rollins away and leaves but Seth follows him up the ramp and gets in a shoving match. Reigns comes out to break it up so here’s Corbin to make Shield vs. McIntyre/Ziggler/Strowman later tonight. Third time in ten days.
Strowman, McIntyre and Ziggler are ready for the Shield. McIntyre wants Strowman to destroy Ambrose and Rollins but Braun doesn’t want to hear the lecture. If either of them screw up, they’ll get these hands.
Jinder Mahal vs. Finn Balor
OH MY GOODNESS ENOUGH ALREADY!!! You have TEN TEAMS in this tournament and there is no other combination you can have to do the weekly preview??? Sumir Singh is back from his injury. Mahal takes Balor down into a very early chinlock but Balor is right back with the Sling Blade and a running corner dropkick. The Coup de Grace finishes Mahal at 1:50. Well they made good time.
Post match here are Bobby Lashley and Lio Rush with the latter saying Balor knows he wishes he looked like Lashley.
Bobby Lashley vs. Tyler Breeze
Rush says hang on a second because Lashley needs to pose a bit more first. After a minute plus of showing off the muscles, Lashley takes Breeze into the corner but misses a right hand. Breeze gets shoved down but hits an enziguri to stagger the big man. Breeze’s middle rope crossbody is countered into the delayed vertical suplex. Rush starts up the chanting again and Lashley puts on a full nelson. Bored of that, it’s a powerslam to cut off Breeze’s comeback and it’s the twisting Dominator for the pin at 3:27.
Rating: D. Just a squash to establish the heel character here and the Rush heel act is starting to grow on me. It’s so easy to hate and as long as they don’t do anything stupid with it, they should be fine. Lashley has all the tools and if you can keep him away from a microphone, he’s that much better.
Here are Trish Stratus and Lita for a chat. Lita talks about having fun in Philadelphia but here are Alexa Bliss and Mickie James to interrupt. They take some shots at Trish and Lita, including Lita making fun of the lips and Mickie mocking Trish’s point. It’s been a long time since Trish and Lita have been in the ring but they can go through their closets and find the wrestling gear box. Mickie: “It’s WAY in the back.”
Trish and Lita make Allen Iverson “we talking bout practice” jokes (the original quote is over sixteen years old) and say maybe they should practice now. Mickie: “They’re serious. They took their jackets off.” No fighting ensues of course. Who in the world wrote the women’s promos tonight?
The Riott Squad makes fun of Bayley.
AOP vs. Kurt Angle
Angle is in the full El Conquistador body suit, including the mask. I’m sure that includes the boot inserts that make him taller than Angle usually is. Corbin comes out as Angle dances to start. A German suplex doesn’t work and the ankle lock can’t even go on. Rezar boots Angle down as Graves thinks something is off. The powerbomb/neckbreaker combination is good for the pin at 59 seconds.
Post match the mask is ripped off to reveal some no name. The real Angle runs out and Angle Slams Corbin on the stage.
The Riott Squad spray condiments on Natalya’s door.
Ruby Riott vs. Natalya
Hang on though as Natalya says she isn’t coming alone so here are Bayley and the returning Sasha Banks. Riott takes her down into a chinlock as Renee compares the Squad to the witches in Hocus Pocus. Graves: “Is that a Bette Middler movie? I think they’re a little more talented than Bette Middler.” Renee: “…WOW.” A cravate keeps Natalya in trouble and Ruby hits some shoulders in the corner. Riott talks some trash but gets tripped down into the Sharpshooter, drawing Logan in for the DQ at 2:58.
Post match the fight is on with Banks saving Natalya from a triple team. The Squad gets knocked to the floor so the new friends can stand tall.
Elias yells at a production guy for not having a green guitar pick.
Here’s Elias to talk about how everything here is built on a truth that even John Cena knows is true: WWE stands for WALK WITH ELIAS. Earlier today he was at lunch with Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz, who said true pain is psychological. True pain is going out there and pretending that you care about this horrible city.
After insulting the Eagles’ mascot, he’s ready to play the song but Apollo Crews of all people interrupts. Apollo says he figured it was his turn to interrupt Elias since everyone else has. They trade some barbs and Elias says this is what happens when you interrupt him. Elias misses a right hand and Crews hits an enziguri, followed by a very delayed gorilla press to send Elias bailing.
Shield vs. Drew McIntyre/Dolph Ziggler/Braun Strowman
Shield does their entrance through the crowd after using the stage earlier. Strowman tells Ziggler to start the match and show him something so it’s Dolph vs. Rollins to get things going. Ziggler takes him down with a headlock, saying he could do this all day. Ambrose and Rollins have an accidental collision and the ensuing argument lets Strowman run everyone over. Reigns gets dropped as well and we take a break.
Back with McIntyre still in control of Reigns and Ziggler coming in for the chinlock. Reigns shrugs him off but it’s McIntyre coming in and taking a clothesline. Strowman cuts him off with a corner splash, only to have McIntyre tag himself in and stomp away. That’s not cool with Strowman, who tags himself in and yells at McIntyre a bit. A missed charge in the corner lets Reigns muscle him up for the Samoan drop (not as effective since we saw the same spot earlier in the night) but McIntyre and Ziggler knock Rollins and Ambrose to the floor.
The Claymore/Zig Zag combination gets two with Rollins and Ambrose making the save. The hot tag brings in Rollins, who clotheslines McIntyre and tags Ambrose in to start cleaning house. Strowman blocks the double suicide dives but Reigns comes off the apron with the Superman Punch. Back in and Dean rolls McIntyre up for two with Ziggler making the save. Dirty Deeds hits McIntyre but the referee takes forever to cover, allowing Ziggler to shove Rollins into the cover for the break.
That means another fight and Ambrose tries Dirty Deeds but Rollins shoves him away. Ziggler shoves them together and gets two off the Zig Zag on Ambrose. Reigns breaks up the Claymore/Zig Zag combination and Strowman goes shoulder first into the post. McIntyre Claymores Strowman by mistake (he seemed to miss but they moved the camera just in time to cover it) and a spear cuts McIntyre down. The TripleBomb finishes Ziggler at 14:34.
Rating: C+. This was nowhere near what they did last week and that’s probably because it’s the third time this match has taken place in about ten days. Ambrose and Rollins’ issues can take a backseat for another week, but it’s pretty clear that this isn’t over yet. That being said, the interesting thing here is Drew, who seems all but poised for the big turn after kicking Strowman in the face.
Post match Strowman powerslams Ziggler but eats a Claymore (and a great one at that), allowing McIntyre to leave to end the show. To quote JR: “Oh I like this. I like this a lot.”
Overall Rating: D. We went back to the old days here as this show felt like it lasted about nine hours. I don’t know if it was the HORRIBLE women’s segments (with bad writing and bad delivery) or the feeling that we had seen so many of these matches before but I don’t remember a show being this interminable in a very long time. It doesn’t help when you’re building to two shows and a lot of what’s going on at one of the shows has nothing to do with what happened here. There were some good parts here, but the pacing and overall feel of the show were disasters. And don’t let the Bellas or Rousey near a mic for a long time.
Seth Rollins b. Drew McIntyre via countout
Ember Moon/Nia Jax b. Dana Brooke/Tamina – Eclipse to Brooke
Dolph Ziggler b. Dean Ambrose – Superkick
Finn Balor b. Jinder Mahal – Coup de Grace
Bobby Lashley b. Tyler Breeze – Twisting Dominator
AOP b. Kurt Angle – Powerbomb/Neckbreaker combination
Natalya b. Ruby Riott via DQ when Sarah Logan interfered
Shield b. Drew McIntyre/Dolph Ziggler/Drew McIntyre – TripleBomb to Ziggler
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