By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
WWE Raw on the USA Network
Aired live on September 24, 2018 from Denver, Colorado at Pepsi Center
[Hour One] A limo arrived at the building. This used to mean big things, but now it means it’s a McMahon family member. Sure enough, it was Stephanie McMahon. Baron Corbin was there to sing happy birthday to her. Triple H stepped out of the limo and Corbin stopped singing. Hunter headed off while Stephanie busted Corbin’s balls about giving himself a title shot and failing to control The Shield. Stephanie told Corbin to find two partners to face the trio and threatened that Kurt Angle might return from vacation sooner than Corbin thinks…
Michael Cole, Corey Graves, and Renee Young were on commentary (JoJo was the the ring announcer). The Shield made their entrance while Cole framed it as a blockbuster announcement that they would be wrestling together on Raw. Dean Ambrose said he, Roman Reigns, and Seth Rollins are the three workhorses in WWE. He said they may have lost some battles, but they have never lost a war.
It was all cheers until Reigns took the mic and spoke and then he was booed. He looked a little surprised. Reigns and Rollins held up their title belts. Reigns said the only men who deserve the championships are the men standing in the ring. Rollins said Braun Strowman wants to take them down so bad that he recruited “a pack of jackasses” to take them down at Super Show-Down. Rollins said he’d love to see “the world’s largest substitute teacher” bring out a couple of partners and show them who is boss on the spot.
Corbin walked onto the stage and stuttered while saying Stephanie’s name and then noted that it’s her birthday. Corbin said he wouldn’t let Raw erupt into madness. “I’m putting my foot down,” Corbin said. He added that he and his partners would throw around The Shield like rag dolls and he would impress his boss. Corbin said The Shield are selfish individuals and no one in the locker room likes them, “including these guys…”
Braun Strowman, Drew McIntyre, and Dolph Ziggler made their entrance. Strowman told Reigns to shine up the belt real nice because he wouldn’t be wearing it long. Strowman said he can see the cracks forming and it’s only a matter of time before The Shield implodes. Strowman mistakenly said “WWE Super Show” and said “it will be the two of you against the four of us.” Rollins questioned what he meant. Strowman said Ambrose is starting to see the light.
Ziggler told Corbin that The Shield needs him, but he doesn’t need The Shield. Ziggler said Reigns and Rollins have everything while Ambrose has nothing. McIntyre said Ambrose pushed him to his limit last week and he was lucky to come away with the win. McIntyre said Reigns and Rollins don’t appreciate him and he deserves more. Ziggler wondered if Reigns and Rollins refer to him as “Disposable Dean” behind his back. Ziggler pointed out examples of Ambrose sacrificing himself for Reigns and getting nothing in return. He also noted that Rollins quickly replaced Ambrose with Jason Jordan as a tag partner.
Ziggler said Strowman will beat Reigns for the title at WWE Crown Jewel. He said that if Ambrose hangs with them then the Intercontinental Title can be all his. Reigns told them to shut up already. He said the fans didn’t pay money to see them bump their gums, they paid to see The Shield whip their asses. Reigns challenged them to come to the ring. The heels started to oblige, but Corbin stood between them and tried to talk the heels down. Corbin reminded McIntyre and Ziggler that they have to defend the Raw Tag Titles, and he said he and his partners would take care of The Shield…
Graves hyped McIntyre and Ziggler vs. The Revival for the Raw Tag Titles, and Young hyped Bobby Lashley vs. Elias. Finn Balor was shown backstage. Bayley showed up and hugged him. Cole noted that they are WWE Mixed Match Challenge tag partners and she will be in his corner when he faces Jinder Mahal, who will have Alicia Fox in her corner… [C]
Powell’s POV: Creative gave the otherwise meaningless six-man tag match at Super Show-Down an extra hook by planting the seeds for a potential Ambrose turn. Strowman, McIntyre, and Ziggler said everything the Ambrose character could have pointed to if he turned. It’s a nice hook to give the match and they played it well by having Ambrose remain quiet, but I don’t see the turn happening in that match.
1. Finn Balor (w/Bayley) vs. Jinder Mahal (w/Sunil Singh, Alicia Fox). Cole noted that Mahal and Fox are also MMC partners. Balor performed a flip dive onto Mahal at ringside heading into a break. [C] Singh reached in and grabbed Balor’s foot from the floor, allowing Mahal to take advantage off the distraction. Bayley returned the favor by grabbing Mahal’s foot. Fox confronted Bayley and tried to slap her, but Bayley blocked it and punched her. Singh walked toward Bayley, who put him down with her finisher. Balor rolled up a distracted Mahal and pinned him…
Finn Balor beat Jinder Mahal in 9:55.
After the match, Mahal blamed Singh for the loss and threw him inside the ring. Fox encouraged Mahal, who then did his breathing exercises. Mahal and Fox sat down in the ring together and then Mahal joined them in doing the breathing exercises…
Powell’s POV: A decent match along with hype for WWE MMC. Mahal going after Singh afterward is a new twist. I’ve always pushed the idea of giving the Singh Brothers individual characters by having Mahal favor one while the other desperately tries to gain his respect. By the way, WWE officials are way to proud of their “an extraordinary man who can do extraordinary things” tagline for Balor. It sounds so forced and it seems like the broadcast team members say it at least twice whenever he’s wrestling on Raw.
The broadcast team narrated highlights of the Ronda Rousey segment from last week that led to the Bellas saving her from a Riott Squad attack… Natalya and The Bella Twins made their entrance… [C]
2. Natalya, Brie Bella, and Nikki Bella vs. “Riott Squad” Ruby Riott, Liv Morgan, and Sarah Logan. A sponsored video showed past clips of Riott Squad trashing things, then Cole hyped their match against Rousey and the Bellas for Super Show-Down. Graves noted that Rousey is away on a publicity tour this week.
Brie threw Yes! kicks at Morgan, who appeared to lean face first into the last one. Brie spoke to her and let her push her back into the Riott Squad corner. Riott tagged in while Logan took Morgan to ringside. The broadcast team noted that Morgan was shaken up. Both women returned to the apron a short time later, though Morgan remained on one knee for a bit. Morgan returned to the ring and took part in the triple suplex that the babyfaces performed on Riott Squad. Riott returned to the ring and ended up knocking Brie to ringside heading into a break. [C]
Morgan was not in the corner coming out of the break. Cole said she’d been taken to the trainer’s room for evaluation. Late in the match, Natalya whipped Logan into the ropes and Riott made a blind tag. Natalya put Logan in the Sharpshooter. Riott kicked Natalya to break it up and then hit a Riott Kick for the win…
Riott Squad defeated Natalya, Brie Bella, and Nikki Bella in 10:30.
The broadcast team hyped some previously announced matches, then Cole noted that the latest Connor’s Cure segment was coming up after the break. Meanwhile, a bunch of babyfaces and heels all made their way onto the stage. Cole said there would be a special presentation after the break… [C] A Smackdown ad focused on the AJ Styles and Samoa Joe contract signing…
Powell’s POV: The spot with Morgan taking the kick to the face was a mess. It looked like Brie caught Morgan with one kick and dazed her, then Morgan seemed to lower her head and then take the final kick even more directly. I was surprised that Morgan was allowed to even return to the ring for the suplex spot before the break. Meanwhile, despite becoming a handicap match, the heels had to win or it would have made their match against Rousey and the Bellas at Super Show-Down feel pretty pointless.
The Raw wrestlers stood on the stage. Triple H and Stephanie McMahon stood in the ring. Stephanie spoke about how WWE is produ to drive funds, research, and money to pediatric cancer research in the name of Connor Michalek. Stephanie noted that over $2.5 million has been raised thus far, then spoke about this year’s “superstars of tomorrow” campaign.
[Hour Two] Hunter spoke about some of the kids and said they define what it means to be a superstar. Stephanie said they are proud to have a new tag team partner, then set up a video package. Kids and wrestlers were shown putting their hand prints in paint on a car. The tag partner referenced by Steph is Hyundai. The “Hope On Wheels” car was shown in the building.
Stephanie introduced kids Carter and Elizabeth, who walked out with the guy from Hyundai, and they all joined Hunter and Steph in the ring. Hunter said the kids are the definition of champions, then presented them with two WWE title belts. The live crowd chanted “you deserve it” and the little girl teared up. Hyundai guy took his turn talking and said they are putting a smackdown on pediatric cancer. Hyundai guy unveiled a check for $200,000 for Connor’s Cure. Cole encouraged fans to help via the Connor’s Cure website… [C]
Ziggler approached Ambrose backstage. Ambrose grabbed him by the jacket. Ziggler begged off and reiterated the points he made earlier and said Rollins and Reigns don’t give a damn about him. Ziggler said he and his partners would be watching the main event and all Ambrose has to do is given them the signal and they will take care of the rest…
3. Chad Gable (w/Bobby Roode) vs. Konnor (w/Viktor). A pre-tape aired with Gable gushing over Roode again. Konnor received a pre-tape too and said Gable got a warning and should have walked away. Late in the match, Konnor picked up Gable in an inverted body vice (Jesse Ventura style) and slammed him down before pinning him…
Konnor defeated Chad Gable in 2:35.
Powell’s POV: Really? I was surprised when Konnor received a televised entrance so imagine my surprise when he actually won.
Triple H and Stephanie McMahon were about to enter their limo when Charly Caruso showed up and asked for a comment about what Undertaker said last week. Hunter said that if Undertaker is worried about a suit then he’s already lost. Hunter said they won’t be fighting in a boardroom. In response to Taker claiming he took his soul, Hunter said, “I sold that a long time ago.” He said the end is near for Taker. Hunter got in the limo with Stephanie and they left the building… McIntyre and Ziggler made their entrance… [C]
4. Drew McIntyre and Dolph Ziggler vs. “The Revival” Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder for the Raw Tag Titles. The Revival’s entrance was not televised. Wilder performed a running cross body block on Ziggler by the ropes and they both tumbled to ringside. Wilder charged at Ziggler, who moved, causing Wilder to crash into the ring steps. Ziggler tagged in McIntyre, who was on the offensive going into a break less than five minutes into the match.
Dean Ambrose was shown watching the match on a backstage monitor as Wilder was getting near falls on Ziggler. Ziggler came back with a Fameasser on Wilder, who was apparently supposed to catch him, but instead they fell to the mat. Wilder hoisted up Ziggler and tagged in Dawson, who performed a clothesline from the ropes and got a near fall that the fans really bought into. A “this is awesome” chant broke out.
There was a spot with Ziggler avoiding the Shatter Machine on a fluke and stumbling into his corner to make what Graves called a lucky tag. McIntyre went on the offensive. He took a near fall off a missile dropkick from illegal man Dawson, but then hit both opponents with big boots. McIntyre tagged in Ziggler and they hit their Claymore Kick into the Zigzag on Dawson and got the win…
Drew McIntyre and Dolph Ziggler beat The Revival to retain the Raw Tag Titles in 12:30.
The broadcast team hyped previously advertised matches going into a break… [C]
Powell’s POV: A good match that got the live crowd to care even though it was an awkward match involving two heel tag teams. The Revival are an excellent team and hopefully the crowd’s reaction to the match will be remembered by WWE officials more than the stumble on the Fameasser spot.
A graphic touted that WWE Network has over 11,000 hours of wrestling from various promotions. Cole encouraged viewers to join them on the network for the WWE Super Show-Down event. Graves hyped the return of John Cena on the show. Young said she’s so excited to be part of his return. Cole hyped Cena and Bobby Lashley vs. Kevin Owens and Jinder Mahal for the show…
Elias sat in the ring and strummed his guitar. He said he is a breath of life in an otherwise lifeless world. He said Denver doesn’t deserve an Elias performance. Elias said he was passing it on to an intelligent man he can have a conversation with and the man happens to be his partner at Super Show-Down. Elias introduced Owens, who made his entrance and took his seat at the Kevin Owens Show set that was next to Elias in the ring.
Owens introduced Lio Rush as his guest. Rush came out with a mic in hand and spoke from the stage. Owens told him to join them in the ring. Rush said he and Lashley made them look like fools last week and now they want to make up for their failures. Rush said he might be young, but he’s not naive, so he would remain on the stage.
Elias pointed out they had special seating for Rush. Owens pulled out a booster seat from behind his desk, and Elias put it on the guest chair. Rush introduced Lashley as a “Rocky Mountain made machine.” Lashley received a big ovation from the live crowd. Cole hyped Lashley vs. Elias for after the break… [C]
5. Bobby Lashley (w/Lio Rush) vs. Elias (w/Kevin Owens). Elias escaped a fallaway slam attempt and clipped the knee of Lashley.
[Hour Three] Lashley sold the knee by hopping on one leg before clotheslining Elias to ringside. The fans were just starting a Bobby chant when Elias kicked him off the apron heading into a break. [C] With Lashley and Elias on the floor, Owens chased Rush and ended up catching Lashley with a knee for the DQ. Owens tried to powerbomb Rush afterward, but Lashley stopped him…
Bobby Lashley beat Elias by DQ in 13:05.
Powell’s POV: If only WWE could pass off every city as Lashley’s hometown. Anyway, these guys worked hard and this was a better match than I expected it to be.
Seth Rollins approached Drew McIntyre backstage and told him he is the one being used. Rollins said Strowman is just using McIntyre to get what he wants, and everyone knows Ziggler is the weak link for their team. Rollins pointed out how many IC Title matches Ziggler gets and asked if that should be him. He told him to look in the mirror and ask himself who is really being used. Rollins walked away. Ziggler showed up and asked him what that was about. “Don’t worry about it,” McIntyre said…
Nia Jax and Ember Moon made their entrance. Cole said Jax would face Alicia Fox after the break… [C] Cole set up a movie promotion piece with Kevin Hart asking Tiffany Haddish the proper way to enter a WWE ring. He said it’s going over the top rope, while she pointed out wrestlers who go through the ropes. She also answered a question about Bobby Heenan, and said Naomi is the best dancer in WWE. Nia Jax and Ember Moon were shown laughing in the ring and then Fox and her crew made their entrance…
6. Nia Jax (w/Ember Moon) vs. Alicia Fox (w/Alexa Bliss, Mickie James). A pre-tape aired with a corny talk between Moon and Jax talking about the award that Jax was nominated for. Jax tossed Fox around the ring during the opening minute and they pulled her to ringside. Moon performed a cannonball onto James, then Jax threw Fox back inside the ring. Fox caught Jax returning to the ring to set up her run of offense. Jax eventually came back and hit a Samoan Drop for the win.
Nia Jax defeated Alicia Fox in 2:55.
Backstage, McIntyre approached Ambrose and told him that Rollins took everything he said to Ambrose earlier and applied it to him. He teased the possibility of Rollins looking for a replacement for Ambrose. He said he might be overreacting, then said it’s not like Rollins has ever stabbed Ambrose in the back before… Cole hyped a Triple H and Undertaker video for after the break… [C]
Cole set up the Undertaker and Triple H video… Shawn Michaels was announced for next week’s Raw event…
Powell’s POV: WWE seems to be shying away from telling viewers the start time for the Super Show-Down event. I’m not sure why they don’t just play up the idea that fans can either way it live or watch it whenever they feel like it on the network.
The Shield made their entrance. The broadcast team read a tweet from Kurt Angle about watching Baron Corbin get his butt kicked. Cole worked in a plug for WWE Crown Jewel as if they haven’t already asked viewers to remember enough. Cole played up the mystery of who Corbin’s partners will be…
Powell’s POV: How about AOP as Corbin’s partners? There’s a way to make them look strong and have Corbin take the loss.
Graves hyped Bobby Lashley vs. Kevin Owens for next week’s Raw. Young announced Ronda Rousey vs. Ruby Riott for next week…
Corbin walked onto the stage with a mic in hand. He said it was the Shield’s first match together on Raw in over a year. He said it might also be their last. Corbin said they are smiling now, but everyone sees the breakup coming. Corbin said his partners have been decimating the roster since they were called up. AOP and Drake Maverick came out…
7. Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins, and Dean Ambrose vs. Baron Corbin, Akam, Rezar (w/Drake Maverick). Before the match, Strowman’s music played and he, Ziggler, and McIntyre walked onto the stage with chairs in hand. They set the chairs up and sat down to watch the match. The crowd was up for Reigns and Rezar going face to face when they tagged into the match, Reigns punched him a couple of times, but Rezar picked him up and shoulder blocked him into the corner.
Rezar picked up Roman in Samoan Drop position, but Reigns slipped away and punched him again. Reigns caught Rezar with a running clothesline. Rezar popped right up. The partners all entered the ring and traded punches. The Shield cleared the heels from the ring. Strowman, McIntyre, and Ziggler picked up their chairs and walked toward the ring. Corbin and AOP used the distraction to their advantage and hit the Shield members from behind. Strowman and his crew backed off. [C]
[Overrun] AOP and Corbin isolated Rollins. They also worked over Reigns at ringside and AOP performed their Last Chapter move on him. In the ring, Rollins took a Deep Six from Corbin for a two count. At 17:15, Rollins made a hot tag to Ambrose, who worked over Corbin and eventually clotheslined him to ringside. Ambrose kicked AOP and Corbin through the ropes, then threw Corbin back inside the ring. Ambrose went up top, but Akam cut him off. Ambrose bounced back quickly and performed his elbow off the top rope on Corbin and had him pinned, but AOP broke it up.
Cole noted that it was essentially a three on one because Reigns and Rollins were down. AOP set up for their finisher, but Reigns returned to break it up. Rollins also returned and stomped Corbin, then performed suicide dives on the AOP members. Ambrose hit Dirty Deeds on Corbin. Ambrose ran the ropes and Reigns tagged in. Ambrose performed a suicide dive on AOP while Reigns speared and pinned Corbin.
The Shield defeated Baron Corbin and Drake Maverick in 20:00.
After the match, Reigns and Rollins stood tall in the ring. Ambrose was down at ringside. Graves said Ambrose was left out in the cold. Strowman, McIntyre, and Ziggler waited for Ambrose to give them the sign, but he returned to the ring. The Shield did their fist bump and then Ambrose hugged both his partners while the heel trio watched from the floor…
Powell’s POV: A good main event. The payoff of Ambrose choosing Reigns and Rollins over giving Strowman’s crew a sign was very well received by the live crowd. That was never really in doubt in my mind, but creative deserves credit for coming up with that hook as well as the hook of who would team with Corbin to face the Shield in the main event. We’ll see if it pays off in the ratings tomorrow. Overall, full-time male outside The Shield, Strowman, McIntyre, and Ziggler feel unimportant. WWE is still banking too heavily on this program. I will have more to say in my members’ audio review later tonight. Thanks for watching along with me.