9/3 Powell’s WWE Raw Live TV Review: Labor Day edition with Shawn Michaels on the last Undertaker vs. Triple H match, The Bellas vs. Riott Squad, B-Team vs. The Revival for the Raw Tag Titles

By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)

WWE Raw on the USA Network
Aired live on September 3, 2018 from Columbus, Ohio at Schottenstein Center

[Hour One] Raw opened with Braun Strowman, Drew McIntyre, and Dolph Ziggler all coming out to Strowman’s entrance theme. They all stopped and raised their arms together just as Strowman does for his solo entrances. The broadcast team of Michael Cole, Corey Graves, and Renee Young checked in from their desk. Cole noted that Jonathan Coachman was on assignment. In the ring, Strowman directed the fans to watch a video package on the big screen that recapped his turn from last week.

Strowman laughed at the conclusion of the video package. “That’s what I call justice,” Strowman said. He explained that he tried to do things face to face or monster to man by looking Roman Reigns in the eye when he cashed in his Money in the Bank contract. Strowman said Reigns runs in a pack and his brothers had to come out and save him. Strowman said the WWE Universal Championship would be his if it wasn’t for The Shield, and he also knows that it never would be his with The Shield working together.

Strowman said he doesn’t give a damn what the fans think and will show them that it’s his yard. He said he would dismantle Reigns inside the Hell in a Cell structure. McIntyre told the fans to look at the three of them. McIntyre said The Shield had their time but it’s over. “You’re looking at the new kings of the jungle around here and we’re going to feast on their bloody carcasses,” McIntyre said. Ziggler said they will be the most dominant force in WWE history. He said The Shield started it and the three of them will end it.

The Shield music played. Reigns, Seth Rollins, and Dean Ambrose made their entrance through the crowd. Baron Corbin rand out and he was followed by a group of main roster wrestlers. Corbin sent the first wave to the ring where they were roughed up by The Shield. Corbin sent another wave and they were also fought off. The Shield entered the ring and traded punches with Strowman, McIntyre, and Ziggler. A third wave of wrestlers ran out and were joined by the other wrestlers in pulling the trios teams apart. The heel trio were forced up to the stage while a “let them fight” chant broke out. The Shield broke free and ran backstage heading into a commercial break… [C]

Powell’s POV: Both of these factions could be cast as the heels based on their recent actions. After all, Rollins and Ambrose saved Reigns from Strowman legally cashing in his MITB contract. Strowman forming a trio to combat The Shield could easily be portrayed as a babyface move. Obviously, that’s not the direction the company went with. If there was any question about whether Strowman was a heel coming out of last week it was answered when he told the fans he doesn’t give a damn what he thinks. It’s all well and good for now because The Shield are popular, but there’s still no guarantee this will lead to Reigns being cheered as a singles act.

The broadcast team recapped the opening segment… A group of security guards placed Reigns, Rollins, and Ambrose in handcuffs in the back of a transport vehicle… The Riott Squad trio stood in the ring. JoJo gave a big introduction for the Bellas while sneaking in a plug for the season premiere of Total Divas on September 19… [C]

1. Nikki Bell and Brie Bella vs. Liv Morgan and Sarah Logan (w/Ruby Riott). The broadcast team played up the long layoff for the Bellas and Brie returning after having a child. Brie threw Yes Kicks at Logan that were fairly well received by the live crowd. Brie yelled out “Brie Mode” before working over both opponents. Brie went for what turned out to be the worst suicide dive attempt in the history of Raw. Somehow, Brie ended up sliding awkwardly on the middle rope and waiting for Logan to hit her, which she finally did as they went to a break. [C]

Brie took another crack at a suicide dive. This time she cleared the ropes, but she came up short of her Logan and Riott at ringside. Ouch. Morgan tried to take advantage of the distraction by rolling up Nikki and got a two count. Nikki came back with a Rack Attack on Morgan and pinned her…

The Bella Twins defeated Liv Morgan and Sarah Logan in roughly 11:30.

Powell’s POV: A really rough outing for Brie in particular. The first suicide dive botch may have been miscommunication since it looked like she expected to be hit from the floor. The second one appeared to be a case of Brie just coming up short. Mistakes happen and I’m admittedly guilty of playing Captain Hindsight, but even the length of the match felt like it was a bit much for the Bellas after their long layoff.

Cole announced Ronda Rousey and The Bella Twins vs. Riott Squad for the WWE Super Show-Down event (Australian stadium show). He also hyped Shawn Michaels appearing later to discuss the Undertaker vs. Triple H match. Graves hyped Natalya vs. Alexa Bliss for later in the show, and Young hyped the Raw Tag Title match…

Backstage, Baron Corbin told Stephanie McMahon via telephone that everything was back on track and The Shield had been taken into custody. After Corbin hung up, he turned and saw Finn Balor smiling at him. Balor asked for a rematch while complaining about the way he changed the rules during their match last week. Balor said no trick or games, just two men equally prepared to find out who the better man is. Corbin agreed and booked the match as the main event… [C]

Powell’s POV: The main event?!? This match has been run into the ground and they are telling people it will be the main event? I guess we’ll see if it sticks, but this seems like a strange call.

Graves hyped the Balor vs. Corbin match for later in the show. Cole hyped the Connor’s Cure charity drive…

Backstage, Charley Caruso spoke with Bobby Roode and Chad Gable about their tag team debut. Gable said he’d been captivated by the way Roode carries himself in the spotlight and thought to himself that he wants in on that. Plus, Gable said tag team wrestling is what he does best…

Roode made his entrance. Gable popped up as Roode was posing on the stage. The Ascension were already at ringside. They entered the ring with a mic. Konnor said Roode couldn’t make it in the singles division and Gable is a “sawed off duck butt”…

2. Bobby Roode and Chad Gable vs. “The Ascension” Konnor and Viktor. The Ascension isolated Roode early on. Gable eventually tagged in and worked over both opponents. Gable eventually put away Viktor with a German suplex into a bridge while Roode stood in the corner smiling…

Bobby Roode and Chad Gable beat The Ascension in 4:55.

Elias was shown talking with a guy who had the Elias album on his phone. Cole said it was time to Walk With Elias after the break… [C]

Powell’s POV: I don’t see much natural chemistry between Roode and Gable, which leaves me wondering if they will be a short-term team and eventually feud with one another.

Elias sat on a stool and sang before saying he strongly dislikes women who hit men. He said Trish Stratus embarrassed herself last week. Elias heeled on the Ohio State Buckeyes and praised the rival Michigan Wolverines. Elias said he wrote a song about Columbus.

[Hour Two] Alexa Bliss, Mickie James, and Alicia Fox interrupted Elias. Bliss pointed out that she is from Ohio and graduated high school in the venue they were in. She led the crowd in an Ohio chant. Bliss turned on her hometown by agreeing with Elias and saying she couldn’t get out of “this dump” quickly enough.

Bliss said she wants to walk with Elias and asked if he would sing her the song he was about to play. Raw Women’s Champion Ronda Rousey made her entrance. Natalya joined her on the stage and they headed to the ring for her match… [C]

3. Natalya (w/Ronda Rousey) vs. Alexa Bliss (w/Mickie James, Alicia Fox). The match was joined in progress. Natalya was in charge early, but Bliss blasted her with a forearm in the corner and then went on the offensive. Bliss distracted the referee, allowing James and Fox to take cheap shots at Natalya’s arm. Bliss DDT’d Natalya, then applied an armbar and got the submission win…

Alexa Bliss beat Natalya in 3:10 of television time.

After the match, Rousey went after Bliss, but Fox stopped her. Rosey tossed Fox around like a rag doll. Bliss chop blocked the back of Rousey’s leg and then worked her over. Rousey fought back with a few punches to the body, causing Bliss to take a powder…

Powell’s POV: I don’t really get the approach of trying to sell viewers on Bliss being a threat to take the title back from Rousey only to have Rousey get the better of her by the end of the segment.

The broadcast team recapped the opening segment. They aired a Mike Rome tweet graphic that noted The Shield were processed and fingerprinted…

Backstage, Corbin barked at a production crew member to clean and polish his Rolex watch. Strowman, McIntyre, and Ziggler showed up looking for competition. Ziggler wanted a tag title shot with McIntyre. Corbin pointed out that he already booked a Raw Tag Title match. They questioned what would happen if the Revival were unable to compete. McIntyre and Ziggler headed away while Strowman glared at Corbin and told him to find him some competition…

Backstage, Caruso interviewed The Revival, who were quickly attacked by McIntyre and Ziggler and left lying… [C]

Powell’s POV: Will Corbin give his scheduled match with Balor to Strowman?

B-Team made their entrance for the tag title match. JoJo introduced The Revival, but they did not come out. McIntyre and Ziggler made their entrances and took the match…

4. “B-Team” Curtis Axel and Bo Dallas vs. Drew McIntyre and Dolph Ziggler for the Raw Tag Titles. The B-Team duo actually cleared the challengers from the ring heading into a brea at 1:25. [C] The challengers isolated Dallas until he made a hot tag. Axel performed a Perfect Plex on Ziggler, but McIntyre broke it up. Ziggler caught Axel with a superkick and then tagged in McIntyre. Ziggler and McIntyre performed their Claymore Kick and Zigzag combo finisher on Axel, then McIntyre pinned him to win the match and the tag titles…

Drew McIntyre and Dolph Ziggler defeated Curtis Axel and Bo Dallas in 10:10 to win the Raw Tag Titles.

A shot aired of the Authors of Pain walking with Drake Maverick, who was also wearing their gear… Cole set up Connor’s Cure video on a young cancer patient…

Powell’s POV: I feel bad for The Revival being overlooked again. I like McIntyre and Ziggler as tag champions. I suspect this is being done to put Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose into chase mode more than it is to provide a boost to the other teams in the division.

The Authors of Pain and Drake Maverick headed to the ring together. Maverick introduced himself and noted that he’s the 205 Live general manager and is also the manager of AOP. He said he would make them the Raw Tag Team Champions. There were a couple of boos and mostly crickets…

5. “Authors of Pain” Akam and Rezar (w/Drake Maverick) vs. Keith Thompson and Jimmy James. AOP dominated all the offense in the match and won after a Super Collider…

Authors of Pain beat Keith Thompson and Jimmy James.

Powell’s POV: Maverick, who played Rockstar Spud in TNA, is a terrific talker and I’m happy to see the company recognized that someone needs to talk for Akam and Rezar. That being said, the pairing doesn’t jump out at me as a natural fit. I want to give this a chance to grow on me because the three three men involved are so talented.

A video package spotlighted the legends making their predictions on the Undertaker vs. Triple H match. Cole hyped HBK for after the break… [C]

Backstage, Natalya complained to Rousey that she’s sick of the game. The Bellas showed up. Natalya said she wasn’t herself and needed a minute. The Bellas gushed over Rousey and said she will be the best women’s champion they’ve ever had. Nikki said Rousey inspired them to return to WWE. They offered to be her training partners. Rousey said Natalya has been terrific. Nikki offered other advice as well…

Shawn Michaels made his entrance to a good reaction. “Who’s your daddy?” Michaels yelled. The fans responded with an HBK chant. He told the fans to go ahead and shower him with praise, then said he couldn’t take anymore. HBK pointed out his new t-shirt and also pimped WWE Network and WWE Super Show-Down.

Michaels said he’s so excited about the last Undertaker vs. Triple H match that he will be traveling to Australia to see it in person. He said it’s something we’ll never forget and he can “almost” guarantee it. Michaels said he was surprised to see how many of the legends predicted an Undertaker win. Michaels said he would have understood if the WrestleMania streak was still intact. Michaels noted that he and Steve Austin agree that Triple H will win the match.

[Hour Three] Michaels admitted that Hunter is his best friend, but he said it’s purely professional. HBK said Undertaker needs to know that Hunter is still The Game and the Cerebral Assassin. Michaels said he thinks Hunter has a lot more left in the tank than Undertaker does.

The gong sounded. Undertaker made his entrance. Once in the ring, Taker said he thinks it just became personal. He noted that Hunter and Michaels have been best friends for 20 years. Taker said he took the best that they both had during those two decades “and I put you both down.”

Taker said he took part of their souls and their egos can’t accept it. Taker said he took the thing that was most important to Michaels – his career. “Is that what you think this is about?” Michaels asked. He said he’s a man of his word. He said somebody had to restore faith in the system and be committed to the words he spoke. He said everyone else can turn around on a dime and go back on his word.

“I have stayed away and stayed true to my retirement because I am a man of my word,” Michaels said. He added that he did so out of respect for the system, the fans, and Undertaker. A loud “one more time” chant broke out. Michaels said he hears those chants whenever he steps foot into an arena. Taker asked if he was talking about self respect.

Michaels said his door is beaten down every year for a dream match. He said he turns down literally millions of dollars for one more match. Michaels said he stayed retired out of respect for Undertaker. “Is it respect…or is it fear?” Taker asked. Michaels glared at Taker. “Because if you had ever chosen to come out of retirement, there would have only been one person to come for, me.”

Taker said he would have put Michaels down all over again. “You know it, I know it, they know it, and there’s one other thing you know, in Melbourne, Australia, I’m going to put your buddy Triple H down again.” Taker’s music played and he left the ring…

Powell’s POV: It seemed like it was going to be a pretty tame HBK appearance initially, but then Taker came out and they stole the show with their verbal exchange. Yeah, there’s roughly an hour left including the overrun, but I’ll be very surprised if anything comes close to topping that exchange. This will definitely create a ton of buzz over the possibility of Taker vs. HBK one more time at WrestleMania. Let the speculation begin. Oh, and for the obsessed loons, nothing about this was a hint that you’ll get the Taker vs. Sting match that you so desperately want to see. Now get off my lawn.

Backstage, Corbin said he was too busy with his general manager duties to compete in their match. Corbin informed Balor that he would be facing Braun Strowman instead…

Cole read a Rome tweet about how the Shield had been formally arraigned on charges of inciting a riot and disorderly conduct…

6. Ember Moon and Dana Brooke (w/Titus O’Neil, Apollo Crews) vs. Sasha Banks and Bayley. Banks performed a Meteora on Brooke, who rolled to ringside as they went to break just 30 seconds into the match. [C] Brooke had Banks in the corner. She looked to her corner for advice, but Titus and Crews were bickering with different advice. She told them she had it. She performed her usual handspring move and Banks moved out of the way, then rolled her up and pinned her.

Sasha Banks and Bayley beat Ember Moon and Dana Brooke in 5:45.

After the match, the bickering between Titus and Crews continues. “I’ve had it with both of you,” Brooke said. “I’m done.” Brooke stormed off, leaving Titus and Crews at ringside…

Powell’s POV: But how will Titus and Crews find a new statistician that is talented enough to count their many, many losses?

They ran the wrong graphic for the new main event…

Backstage, Bobby Lashley smiled as he stood outside Corbin’s door reading a sheet of paper. Caruso asked him what happened inside his office. Lashley said it wasn’t much of a meeting. He said Corbin handed him the sheet of paper. Caruso noted that it was a performance review. She read it out loud. Lashley must attend a special in-ring meditation with Jinder Mahal. Lashley said he feels too tense sometimes and looks forward to finding his inner peace…

Mahal and Sunil Singh made their entrance heading into a break… [C] Lashley’s music played before Mahal could speak. Lashley joined Mahal and Singh in the ring and unfortunately his music stopped playing. Mahal said he could help Lashley find inner peace. Mahal sat down and invited Lashley and the fans to do the same. Lashley sat down between Mahal and Singh. Mahal told him to repeat after me. Lashley repeated that line.

Mahal was leading Lashley through the breathing exercises when Kevin Owens showed up and attacked Lashley from behind. Owens ended up powerbombing Lashley on the edge of the ring.

Powell’s POV: The crowd was very flat for the segment and perhaps more surprisingly the attack. KO quitting lasted all of one week?

A sponsored flashback clip featured John Cena vs. Batista in a Last Man Standing match from Extreme Rules in 2010. It was the dreadful duct tape finish…

The broadcast team set up a recap of the Undertaker and Shawn Michaels segment. Cole announced that Triple H will appear on next week’s Raw. Graves added that Mick Foley will appear on Raw to celebrate the 20th anniversary of his HIAC bump. Young announced Rousey and Natalya vs. Bliss and Fox for next week. Graves noted that The Shield had been released from the police station…

Ring entrances for the main event took place. The crowd was especially flat for the second Strowman entrance of the night…

7. Braun Strowman (w/Drew McIntyre, Dolph Ziggler) vs. Finn Balor. Strowman dominated the offense early until Balor sent him over the top rope. Balor kicked Strowman through the ropes and then double stomped Strowman’s back heading into a break. [C]

[Overrun] Balor performed a flip dive onto Strowman and Ziggler. Back in the ring, Balor went up top, but Strowman grabbed him by the throat. Balor countered awkwardly into a triangle. Strowman powered him up and slammed him down. Strowman picked up Balor and powerslammed him for the win…

Braun Strowman beat Finn Balor in 11:30.

After the match, Strowman, McIntyre, and Ziggler set up for a Triple Powerbomb of Balor onto a section of the ring steps. They were interrupted by the sounds a police siren. The transport vehicle from earlier in the night backed into the arena. Roman Reigns exited the driver’s door. He opened the back and Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose exited.

The Shield music played and they stood on the ramp for a bit. Just as they started to head towards the ring, they were attacked from behind by a big group of Raw heels that included Kevin Owens, AOP, Jinder Mahal, Elias, and others. Rollins was thrown off the stage and at the transport vehicle window. A small piece of it shattered and Rollins suffered a cut on his left arm. Ziggler rammed the vehicle’s rear door into the face of Rollins. Reigns was roughed up by Strowman and others at ringside. McIntyre gave Ambrose a Clayore kick. Strowman, McIntyre, and Ziggler stood tal in the ring while the other heels remained on the floor with the fallen Shield members to close the show…

Powell’s POV: I guess all of the babyfaces were busy? Anyway, Strowman was arguably the most popular wrestler on the Raw brand last week. They turned him for Reigns (because it’s all for you, Roman, it’s all for you) and the crowd responded to Braun’s first match since the turn with a very flat reaction. Granted, they saw Strowman earlier in the show and they were hot for the initial brawl with The Shield, but the flat reaction at the end of the night and even during the big Shield beatdown angle is alarming.

Overall, the show was clearly stolen by the Undertaker and Shawn Michaels segment. Putting that aside, the company didn’t work hard enough to create a big hook going into football season unless you’re a huge fan of The Shield. It’s basically The Shield against the world at this point and that doesn’t do much for me. I will have more to say in my members’ exclusive audio review later tonight and in my Raw Hit List on Tuesday.


Readers Comments (18)

  1. Nooooo, please God not Balor vs. Corbin. That’s it. I’m watching football. That click you hear is wrestling fans all over the world turning the channel to anything but same crap every week..

    • It’s the best 176 out of 351 falls series between Corbin and Balor. Not excited? Lol. Anyone got the score, by the way? I think Balor’s up by two.

  2. I can’t, it’s the creative team hitting repeat week after week. Wrestling outside wwe is the best it’s been since the death of wcw and meanwhile wwe creative is the worst it’s been since 1995 , the Corbin/Balor story was stale from the start.

  3. You know I didn’t think of Balor vs. Corbin yet again. I actually thought that something that has to stop is having the Superstars come out and try to break up a fight.

  4. Tremendous Segment with The Undertaker and HBK. They are treating Super Showdown better than they did Greatest Royal Rumble.

    Drake Maverick with AOP? They needed a mouthpiece I guess but if this Maverick character crosses over to 205 Live, we do not need yet another heel authority figure.

    • Absolutely agree that AOP needed a mouthpiece. I’d also be inclined to agree with Jason, all three are talented guys. I’m not much on the pairing off of first impressions, though. I think part of it was Maverick in the gear that just looked odd. We’ll see where it goes, I guess. I’m going to try to keep an open mind to it, too.

  5. “Oh, and for the obsessed loons, nothing about this was a hint that you’ll get the Taker vs. Sting match that you so desperately want to see. Now get off my lawn.”

    LOL..hmmmm sounds like Castle Powell must sit comfortably on the edge of lake Minnetonka 🙂 I guess being the king of pro wrestling dot net has it’s advantages:)

  6. This show is soooo slowwww! Can’t take it.

  7. Crapping on the Cena-Batista finish? I disagree, that was a very unique and creative way to end a last Man standing match

    • It was a cheap way to get out of delivering a real finish. I don’t applaud many of those because they damage the gimmick matches. Remember when the cage match actually meant something?

  8. I don’t know about the finish. I mean why did all those guys come out? KO, Elias. But, AOP, Mike Kanellis and even Drew Gulak?

  9. Drake Maverick looks like Glenn Gulia.

  10. Remember all the build up the Riott Squad were getting and how they are unstoppable when they have the numbers advantage? How they had Sasha’s and Bayley’s number? And tonight they job to the worst tag team in the history of WWE. Tremendous booking and continuity.

  11. Wow… Aside from the taker and Shawn segment this Raw was boring as shit.

    Coming off of ALL IN i was dreadfully bored

  12. They should move Renee to the Smackdown announce team and take Overexposed Corey off it. Why are the Bellas coming back around Evolution time since they probably won’t be sticking around long after? They should both retire, especially Nikki with her neck issue (and here she is doing the Rack Attack move still that helped cause it).

  13. The Shield’s first act after posting bail was stealing a police van, apparently. I guess that is the end of this angle as they will now be going to prison.

  14. VERY lackluster show, yet get ready for all the “hits”….

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