By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
WWE Raw on the USA Network
Aired live on August 27, 2018 from Toronto, Ontario at Scotiabank Arena
[Hour One] Roman Reigns made his entrance to loud boos. Michael Cole, Corey Graves, and Jonathan Coachman checked in on commentary. Cole referred to Reigns as the most polarizing figure in WWE today. He also noted that he defended the WWE Universal Championship on the weekend house shows.
Reigns said he told Strowman to meet him in the ring and he wasn’t there yet. He said they would have a Shield workhorse open challenge if Strowman didn’t come out. Braun Strowman made his entrance and laughed at Reigns saying workhorse. “You sure could have followed me when you had to have your boys come out here and save you when I came a callin’ last week.”
Reigns said The Shield is a brotherhood of workhorses. “Nobody tells us what to do, not even me,” Reigns said. He said Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose made the chose they did because they have been to the top of the mountain and understand the shoes he’s standing in. He said Strowman has no clue. Reigns brought up the “get these hands” catchphrase and said his hands have been on all the gold in WWE.
Reigns told Strowman to step up and be a man by cashing in his Money in the Bank contract in Toronto. The crowd cheered. Strowman said he wasn’t cashing in. The fans booed. Strowman said everyone knows that if he did then his boys would come out and save him again. Strowman said he would make Reigns a deal. He said he would not cash in his contract until September 16. “I’m going to cash my contract in and I’ll see you in Hell in a Cell,” Strowman said. Reigns said Braun is finally starting to sound like a monster. Reigns offered Strowman a handshake, which Strowman accepted.
Dolph Ziggler and Drew McIntyre came out. Dolph complained about having the Intercontinental Title stolen at SummerSlam. Reigns asked if being “curb stomped” and pinned is considered stealing. Ziggler said that when he invokes his rematch clause then it will be on his terms because they’ve proven themselves to Rollins and Ambrose. McIntyre said Reigns and Strowman is a different story. Ziggler said they need a new challenge and it’s Reigns and Strowman. McIntyre explained that they sit on top of the Raw mountain and the only way to go is tumbling on down. Ziggler challenged them to a match tonight. Reigns invited them to do it on the spot.
“Acting General Manager” Baron Corbin made his entrance. Corbin approved Strowman cashing in at Hell in a Cell. Corbin said his second announcement is a match that Kurt Angle couldn’t dream of. Corbin booked Reigns and Strowman vs. Ziggler and McIntyre. Strowman looked at Reigns and said he would get the Universal Championship at Hell in a Cell, but Ziggler and McIntyre would get these hands tonight…
Cole clarified that Reigns and Strowman will meet inside the HIAC structure. As the broadcast team was talking, Corbin spoke over the house mic while standing in the ring by himself. Corbin booked himself in a match against Finn Balor the man rather than The Demon. Corbin said he prepared for the match for a week while Balor just found out. Corbin said the match would start on the spot. When Balor didn’t come out right away, Corbin called for him to put his little jacket on and get to the ring. Balor made his entrance (with his little jacket on)… [C]
Powell’s POV: There was a lot to take in during that opening segment. I like that Reigns explained that Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose acted on their own last week and it wasn’t something he asked them to do. I didn’t care for Reigns talking down to Strowman or Strowman just standing there and taking it only to shake the hand of Reigns at the end of the promo. Ziggler’s mic work always feels a little bit off. It would be wise to lean on McIntyre to carry the bulk of their talking segments.
1. Baron Corbin vs. Finn Balor. Graves praised the work of Corbin as general manager. Cole spoke about how two of the matches were handed to him. Corbin caught Balor with a punch and that led to the second of two “you can’t wrestle” chants from the crowd. Balor came back with a sling blade clothesline at ringside heading into a break. [C]
Balor performed a flip dive onto Corbin on the floor. Corbin grabbed a chair that ended up on the apron. Balor spotted it and delivered a kick to the head of Corbin. Corbin avoided the Coup de Grace and then hit Balor with the chair for a DQ. However, Corbin announced over the house mic that he forgot to mention that it was a No DQ match. Corbin restarted the match and performed his End of Days finisher for the win…
Baron Corbin defeated Finn Balor in 12:30.
Powell’s POV: And I’m quickly reminded why I have not missed heel authority figures.
The broadcast team hyped Reigns and Strowman vs. Ziggler and McIntyre, Natalya (w/Ronda Rousey) vs. Alicia Fox, B-Team vs. The Revival, and an Elias musical performance. Graves said legends and Hall of Famers are weighing in on the final Undertaker vs. Triple H match for the WWE Super Show-Down and we’d hear from them after the break… [C]
Cole set up a recap of Triple H’s promo regarding his final match with Undertaker at WWE Super Show-Down. The broadcast team spoke about the match and set up a video package with legends and Hall of Famers talking about the match. The comments came from Ric Flair, Christian, Mick Foley, Jeff Jarrett, Kevin Nash via selfie videos or by phone in Nash’s case…
Shawn Michaels will appear on next week to address the final Taker vs. Hunter match…
Powell’s POV: They are doing a good job of doing their best to make this match feel huge. It’s still an uphill battle for those who sat through the Greatest Royal Rumble event and suspect that the Australian stadium show could turn out to be just as forgettable in terms of its importance as a pay-per-view type of event. Even so, I applaud the effort. It’s a lot better than just throwing the match out there and not giving it any type of hype.
Backstage, Apollo Crews told Dana Brooke not to worry about flipping and focus on the fundamentals. He told her that she deserves to be on the WWE Evolution show. Titus O’Neil showed up and said Brooke had a match tonight. He said she would be facing Sasha Banks. Brooke looked apprehensive. Crews noted that Brooke hasn’t won a match in the last nine month and Banks isn’t a warmup match. Titus said he believes in her and Crews…
Sasha Banks and Bayley made their entrance heading into a break… [C] Titus Worldwide made a televised entrance…
2. Sasha Banks (w/Bayley) vs. Dana Brooke (w/Titus O’Neil, Apollo Crews). Brooke avoided Sasha’s early attempt at a Bank Statement and rolled to ringside. Banks eventually applied the hold and got the submission win. Crews wasn’t happy and checked on Brooke afterward while Titus watched from ringside…
Sasha Banks beat Dana Brooke in 2:30.
A shot aired of Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose bumping fists backstage. Graves said Rollins would appear after the break… [C]
Powell’s POV: I’m not sure where they are going with Titus Worldwide, but I’m for just about anything that leads to the trio splitting up.
Backstage, Jinder Mahal tried to lead Dean Ambrose in his breathing exercises and told him to close his eyes and tell him what he saw. Ambrose said he saw himself kicking his teeth, breaking his face, breaking his ribs, and Mahal was crying and in great pain. “Get out of my face,” Ambrose said after opening his eyes. Mahal walked away…
Seth Rollins made his entrance.
[Hour Two] Rollins looked to the crowd and listened to their “Burn It Down” chant. Rollins said he likes where their head is at. He said last week was about taking care of family business. He said this week is about Intercontinental Championship business. Rollins said he thought he’d have to deal with Ziggler or McIntyre, but his dance card is wide open. Rollins issued an open challenge to a title match.
Kevin Owens made his entrance to a big pop from the Canadian crowd. Owens said while he was on Smackdown he wished he was back on Raw, but now things aren’t so good. He said he would have beaten Braun Strowman if he had his best friend Sami Zayn by his side. Owens said Zayn is at home because he was injured “by some brute.” Owens said his terrible summer ends tonight because he would not leave without a title. Owens mentioned that they were in Toronto. He started to say he couldn’t think of a better place, but then he heeled on them and said Montreal would be better and then spoke in French. Owens said he would take Rollins title now…
3. Seth Rollins vs. Kevin Owens for the Intercontinental Championship. JoJo delivered in-ring introductions for the title match. They fought to ringside. Rollins leapt off the steps and clotheslined Owens heading into an early break. [C] Rollins performed a couple of suicide dives. He went for a third and Owens caught him with a punch from the floor at 11:00. Rollins fought back and hit the third suicide dive heading into another break. [C]
Rollins connected with a superkick. Rollins ran the ropes for the stomp, but Owens caught him with a Stunner for a two count. There was a loud “holy shit” chant. A short time later, Rollins performed a buckle bomb. Owens responded with a superkick for a great near fall.
Rollins and Owens fought for position on the ropes. Rollins caught Owens with a kick from the mat while Cole noted that the first IC Champion Pat Patterson was in the building. Rollins went back to the ropes and was shoved to the mat by Owens. Rollins avoided a moonsault from Owens and then performed the Stomp for the clean win. Rollins looked down and nodded at Owens afterward, which Graves took as a sign of respect…
Seth Rollins defeated Kevin Owens to retain the Intercontinental Championship in 22:20.
Powell’s POV: A very entertaining and pay-per-view caliber match from Rollins and Owens. The post match sign of respect by Rollins is interesting and left me hopeful that we will be getting a KO babyface turn in the near future. Either way, it was nice to see him working a competitive match again rather than being Strowman’s crash test dummy.
Cole gave credit to Corbin for the job he’d done so far (even though the Rollins match was an open challenge). The broadcast team set up a recap of the opening segment that set up the main event tag match…
Backstage, Strowman handed Corbin the Money in the Bank briefcase. “There’s your contract,” he said before adding that he better bring it to Hell in a Cell. Cole said the match is official for HIAC. Graves hyped the main event tag team match, and Coachman hyped the other advertised segments… [C]
A teary-eyed Owens sat in the ring on a chair. “I quit,” Owens said. Owens dropped the mic and left the ring. Owens removed his wrist tape as he walked upt he ramp and then to the side of the stage while fans along the guardrail protested his decision…
Powell’s POV: Neville vs. KO at All In?!? Yes, I’m kidding. Well, at least about KO being there. We’ll see when it comes to Neville.
Backstage, Renee Young said it was a strange move by Owens. She then welcomed Ziggler and McIntyre for an interview. Ziggler said to change the game you have to make a move at just the right time. He said there’s no way Reigns and Strowman can last as a team with the HIAC structure hanging over their heads. McIntyre said they are ripe for the slaughter…
4. Raw Tag Champions “B-Team” Curtis Axel and Bo Dallas vs. “The Revival” Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder in a non-title match. B-Team was in offensive control heading into an early break. [C] Axel performed Charlotte’s Natural Selection as a random move again (because it is!). Axel set up for a Perfect Plex, but Dawson avoided it. After a tease of another inside cradle fluke with for B-Team, Dawson kicked out. He tagged in Wilder and they hit Shatter Machine on Axel for the win.
The Revival beat B-Team in 8:55 in a non-title match.
The Revival stuck around afterward and gave Dallas the Shatter Machine. They went to ringside and took the title belts from the timekeeper and then returned to the ring with mics in hand. Dawson said the tag division is a joke. Wilder said they are tired of B-Team making a mockery of sacred tag team history. They dropped the title belts by B-Team before leaving the ring…
Backstage, Elias had a production team member pick up a stool and then gave him orders while Cole hyped a Elias performance for after the break… An ad for NXT hyped Ricochet and Pete Dunne vs. Kyle O’Reilly and Roderick Strong…
Powell’s POV: The B-Team winning streak is over. Here’s hoping this is a prelude to a Revival tag team title reign, which is exactly what the tag division needs.
Cole noted that the SummerSlam 2019 events will be held in Toronto next year…
[Hour Two] Elias sat on his stool with his guitar. The fans gave him a prolonged “Walk With Elias” chant and then he ripped into Toronto. He spoke of someone telling him that there’s no bigger disappointment in life than going from New York to Toronto.
Trish Stratus’s music hit and she headed to the ring to a strong ovation from her hometown crowd. He said it was nice that she took a break from changing diapers to spend a minute with him. He said a lot of things have changed since she left and he’s kind of a big deal now.
Trish took offense to Elias mocking Toronto. She told him to silence his cellphone, hold his applause, and shut his mouth. Elias said he speaks the truth. He said an Elias performance in Toronto is like the Stanley Cup “they’ll never see it in their lifetime.” Trish responded that it’s kind of like him winning a WWE championship.
Stratus said that things have changed since she left. She spoke about entering the WWE Hall of Fame and never would have imagined that they are only a couple of months away from WWE Evolution. She mentioned that she would be facing Alexa Bliss. Elias said she’s just like the thousands of women who want to walk with Elias. He told her that he doesn’t date women in their sixties. She slapped Elias.
Ronda Rousey’s music played. Elias left the ring. Rousey and Natalya made their entrance for Natalya’s match heading into a break… [C]
Powell’s POV: A nice surprise and a fun segment involving Trish. She looks great and I’m genuinely looking forward to her match with Bliss.
Alexa Bliss and Alicia Fox made their entrance. Bliss cut a promo on Rousey, Natalya, and Trish, who were all in the ring. Bliss announced that she would invoke her rematch with Rousey for the Hell in a Cell pay-per-view. Bliss also introduced the returning Mickie James as someone Trish knows “all too well.”
5. Natalya (w/Ronda Rousey, Trish Stratus) vs. Alicia Fox (w/Alexa Bliss, Mickie James). Bliss and James worked over Natalya while Fox distracted the referee early on. Natalya came back and applied the Sharpshooter for the win…
Natalya beat Alicia Fox in 2:15.
Coachman hyped another segment with legends commenting on Undertaker vs. Triple H… [C]
Powell’s POV: Basic stuff with Natalya getting the win while Cole noted that Natalya pointed to the sky to pay homage to her late father Jim Neidhart afterward.
The trio of Rousey, Stratus, and Natalya were walking backstage when The Bellas approached them and they all hugged. Nikki and Brie announced that “the Bellas are back in action” on Raw next week. Natalya took a photo of them all…
Cole set up another batch of legends talking about Undertaker vs. Triple H. The legends included Steve Austin, Booker T, Big Show, and Dallas Page… Graves hyped HBK for next week’s Raw again…
Backstage, Corbin was on the phone with Stephanie McMahon and said he would talk to Kevin Owens and get everything ironed out. Corbin told a production staffer that he needed a masseuse. Bobby Lashley mocked him over that and for changing the stipulation during his match. Corbin told Lashley that he had a match lined up for him. He said he couldn’t think of the name of his opponent because he had so much going on, but it was coming up next… [C]
Bobby Lashley made his entrance. Corbin appeared on the big screen and informed Lashley that he had two opponents…
6. Bobby Lashley vs. “The Ascension” Konnor and Viktor in a handicap match. Cole said Corbin is punishment Lashley for beating him up last week. Lashley pinned Viktor…
Bobby Lashley defeated The Ascension in 2:30.
Dean Ambrose was shown walking backstage. Cole announced Ambrose vs. Jinder Mahal for after the break…
Powell’s POV: The broadcast team were in a tough situation in that they had to act like the only people in the world who were surprised by Lashley beating both members of The Ascension. Meanwhile, I’m surprised they didn’t make a bigger fuss out of Ambrose returning to the ring for his first televised singles match since his long injury layoff. UPDATE: I had it in my head that Ambrose worked a tag match last week, but he actually worked a singles match. My apologies.
7. Dean Ambrose vs. Jinder Mahal (w/Sunil Singh). Mahal’s entrance was not televised. Ambrose and Mahal fought on the floor. Ambrose shoved Singh. When Ambrose tried to return to the ring, Mahal caught him with a knee and took over the offense. Ambrose avoided Mahal’s finisher and performed Dirty Deeds for the win…
Dean Ambrose beat Jinder Mahal in 3:45.
Powell’s POV: The Mahal act is ice cold. I know some would say that it always has been, but this peace loving heel gimmick is significantly worse than his previous gimmick, which is really saying something.
Backstage, Braun Strowman told Roman Reigns that while they don’t like each other the only thing being slaughtered would be Ziggler and McIntyre. Strowman said Reigns would have 20 days to think about how he will destroy him and take the Universal Championship. Reigns said Strowman will wake up on day 21 and realize that he just couldn’t get the job done… [C]
The broadcast team hyped the Bellas Twins returning to the ring for a match against Riott Squad, and B-Team vs. The Revival for the Raw Tag Titles, and Shawn Michaels appearing next week…
Powell’s POV: WWE is wisely delivering big hype to next week’s show as it will be their last Raw without NFL competition until New Year’s Eve.
Reigns and then Strowman made their entrances for the main event.
[Overrun] McIntyre and Ziggler made their entrances…
8. Roman Reigns and Braun Strowman vs. Dolph Ziggler and Drew McIntyre. Ziggler kicked Reigns and then asked what he was going to do about it. Reigns responded with an uppercut. Fans chanted “we want Strowman” as Reigns and Ziggler were at ringside. McIntyre caught Reigns with a boot to the head and rolled him into the match where Ziggler performed a DDT. Ziggler covered Reigns, but Strowman broke it up.
The heels isolated Reigns and made the fans wait for Strowman. Reigns finally made the tag. Strowman didn’t check into the match. Strowman stood and watched as McIntyre and Ziggler put the boots to Reigns until the referee called for the bell and the apparent DQ.
Roman Reigns and Braun Strowman defeated Dolph Ziggler and Drew McIntyre by apparent DQ in 8:50.
Strowman glared at the heels afterward, then got Reigns to his feet. “I told you I’m not finished with you,” Strowman yelled. Strowman headbutted Reigns and then picked him up and whipped him into the corner with one hand. Strowman nodded at McIntyre and Ziggler, who worked over Reigns.
The Shied music played. Dean Ambrose ran out and was quickly outnumbered. Seth Rollins’ music played and he ran out hold his arm at his side to sell a shoulder injury from the match with Owens. Strowman, McIntyre, and Ziggler quickly got the better of Rollins. Strowman performed a powerslam on Rollins, Ambrose, and then Reigns. There were boos when Strowman, McIntyre, and Ziggler stood in the ring and raised their arms at the end of the show…
Powell’s POV: I guess we can’t have a pesky little thing like the fans preferring Strowman to Reigns get in the way of Vince McMahon’s quest to make everyone love Roman. Strowman is a good heel and they were able to turn the crowd against him to a point, but it also takes away one of WWE’s stop babyface draws and moves him over to the heel side. Sure, it sets up a trio of strong opponents for The Shield, but is it really worth it? I will have more to say in my members’ audio review later tonight and in my WWE Raw Hit List on Tuesday. Thanks for watching along with me.
If WCW still existed, I would have flipped channels to Nitro because I’m sick of Balor vs Corbin for the billionth time.
I was thinking the same thing. Only thing they could do to make it interesting is have Corbin ban The Demon character.
I just switched to the network and watched old Nitro episodes instead.
Yeah, but this was Finn Balor the man, not the demon. You’ve only seen this match 750 million times.
I wish Nitro was still on!
Strowman will become a Heyman guy at some point. At least he should as itd get Heyman on tv and give Strowman a needed mouth piece. It’d also give Raw a much needed heel with heat
Omg that’s hilarious… I’m dying… I watched a little Hannity tribute to McCain
Welp, so much for fhe good work done with the Strowman face character, all to make Roman look strong. I don’t watch WWE anymore. All I do is read recaps and news. It’s a tough habit to break, but I am glad I don’t watch.
I’m done with Raw, evidently creative is too stupid to realize what fans really want… Strowman is a great face. Turn Reigns for God’s sake. Nope double down on the same ol same…. I’m a Smackdown guy now until they screw that up… Thanks Josh Powell for your hard work. Your articles will be how I keep up with Raw. I won’t waste my 3 hours anymore.
This wasn’t Dean’s first match back. That was last week.
Nikki Bella needs to get a new look as she has been rocking the backwards red hat for a long time. Baron Corbin has zero charisma-why does this dude have a job? Let alone be the acting general manager where his boring self gets a lot of air time? Oh that’s right, Vince likes tall dudes.
This was a perfect opportunity to have Strowman cash in if they really wanted to turn him heel. A perfect setup to get the title easily, setting up a great stable feud between the Shield and the… Sword? Axe? Hammer? Either way WWE missed a golden opportunity as usual.