By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
WWE Raw on the USA Network
Aired live on October 1, 2018 from Seattle, Washington at Key Arena
[Hour One] Dean Ambrose was introduced. Ambrose made his entrance while Michael Cole, Corey Graves, and Renee Young checked in on commentary and hyped WWE Super Show-Down and the previously advertised Raw matches. Charly Caruso interviewed Ambrose in the ring.
Ambrose said there was some truth in what Braun Strowman, Drew McIntyre, and Dolph Ziggler said last week. He acknowledged that Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins have titles and he does not. He also said Rollins replaced him quickly in their tag team after he suffered the injury. Caruso asked if he’s considered leaving The Shield. “Sure,” Ambrose said before listing other hypothetical thinks he thinks about.
Ambrose teased the possibility that he is waiting for just the right time to stick the knife in the backs of Reigns and Rollins. Caruso set up footage of Ambrose at the the end of last week’s show and asked what the was thinking. He assumed she wondered why he returned to Raw when he could have went to Smackdown or that he’s just plain over The Shield. Ambrose said to stop trying tot analyze him and judge him by his actions. He said he did what he always does by standing by his brothers and family. Ambrose said The Shield is not a brand, it’s a brotherhood and they will always rise together. Ambrose started to leave the ring.
Acting general manager Baron Corbin walked onto the stage. Corbin said that since Ambrose wants to be judged by his actions then he would give him three options. 1. Challenge Rollins for the Intercontinental Championship. 2. Challenge Reigns for the WWE Universal Championship. 3. Face Braun Strowman. Corbin asked if it would be his brothers or his career. Ambrose asked for the fourth option of facing Corbin on the spot. Corbin made the choice for Ambrose by booking him in an immediate match against Strowman, who made his entrance… [C]
Powell’s POV: I like that they are continuing to tease the the possibility of Ambrose turning on Reigns and Rollins going into Super Show-Down. It gives the six-man tag match a hook. The choices were actually interesting until Corbin made the call for Ambrose.
1. Braun Strowman vs. Dean Ambrose. Strowman was dominant early. Young said Ambrose is touch to read even for her and sometimes she needs to let him go off and think about things. Ambrose showed some fight before Strowman cut him off and was back in offensive control going into a break. [C]
Ambrose once again started to get some offense in only to have Strowman shut him down. Ambrose hit Dirty Deeds for a near fall at 10:30. He followed up with a suicide dive onto Strowman on the floor. Ambrose threw punches a Strowman, who then charged him. Ambrose moved and Strowman crashed into the ring steps. Ambrose broke the referee’s count and then both men returned to the ring.
A dazed Strowman slammed Ambrose. A short time later, Strowman worked over Ambrose at ringside and then threw him back inside the ring and performed a powerslam. At 13:30, Roman Reigns entrance music played and he headed to the ring. Reigns entered the ring and hit Strowman with a Superman Punch for the DQ.
Braun Strowman defeated Dean Ambrose by DQ in 13:55.
Seth Rollins ran out and helped Reigns clear Strowman from the ring. Drew McIntyre and Dolph Ziggler walked onto the stage with Strowman. Corbin came out and booked Rollins vs. McIntyre for later in the show, then said Reigns would face Ziggler on the spot… [C]
Powell’s POV: The match was fine for what it was and it interesting that they protected Ambrose by having Rollins and Reigns save him here. I wonder if they would have made the same decision had he not put over McIntyre recently. Raw is all about these six men and Ronda Rousey, and they are cruising through the singles matches between The Shield and Strowman’s crew.
Backstage, Ambrose was icing his shoulder and being tended to by a trainer. Rollins entered and asked if he was okay. Ambrose wasn’t happy about Reigns interfering. Rollins said said Reigns came out when he had to. “Yeah, he sure did,” Ambrose replied sarcastically. Ambrose told Rollins that he could be Intercontinental Champion right now…
Baron Corbin came out and said he decides when Reigns puts his title on the line. Corbin announced that both the Reigns and Rollins matches would be non-title matches. He added that Reigns would not be allowed to defend the title until the WWE Crown Jewel event…
Powell’s POV: Let me get this straight, the heel authority figure is punishing the babyface champion by not booking him in title matches?
2. WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns vs. Dolph Ziggler in a non-title match. Young said something was clearly getting to Ambrose based on his comments. Ziggler caught Reigns with a DDT on the floor. Back inside the ring, Ziggler performed a Fameasser for the usual two count. [C] Reigns came back with ten clotheslines in he corner and a big boot.
Ziggler came back with a Zigzag for a two count. Ziggler tuned up the band, but Reigns caught him with a Superman Punch for a two count. You knew it wouldn’t be the finish because Cole asked if Reigns got all of it. Reigns went to the corner and received some boos before letting out the war cry. Ziggler performed a sunset flip for two. The camera inexplicably cut to a kid in the crowd and then they came back just in time for Reigns to spear Ziggler and pin him…
Roman Reigns defeated Dolph Ziggler in 12:40 in a non-title match.
Powell’s POV: A good match and the live crowd enjoyed it. Even so, it felt a little formula to me in that you knew there was no chance of Ziggler winning an even match with Reigns. I still can’t get over the idea that the heel GM is punishing Reigns by making sure he’ll be champion for the next month. And, no, I don’t expect there to be a storyline twist of Corbin stripping Reigns of the title due to the 30-day rule since it’s never actually enforced anymore.
The Bella Twins and Natalya were shown hanging out backstage. Ronda Rousey stood next to them shadow boxing. Cole hyped Rousey vs. Ruby Riott… [C] An ad for Smackdown questioned what repercussions awaited Samoa Joe and what happened with Lana in the sex party capital of Milwaukee…
The Bella Twins made their entrance onto the stage and then Ronda Rousey came out and they escorted her to the ring. Riott Squad came out next…
3. Raw Women’s Champion Ronda Rousey (w/Nikki Bella, Brie Bella) vs. Ruby Riott (w/Liv Morgan, Sarah Logan) in a non-title match. A Riott Squad pre-tape aired with the trio spoke about finding beauty in non conventional places, including handing Rousey her first loss.
[Hour Two] There was a nice sequence with Riott catching Rousey with a kick as she was returning to the ring. Riott pulled Rousey into the ring post and then shoved her into the barricade.
Riott and Rousey returned to the ring. Riott tossed Rousey to the floor. Morgan and Logan teased an attack but stopped when the referee saw them. Riott brought Rousey back to the ring and rubbed her face on the mat and then covered her for two. Rousey came back. She kicked at Morgan through the ropes and was rolled up for a good near fall. Rousey hit her toss and then applied the armbar for the win…
Ronda Rousey defeated Ruby Riott in 6:50 in a non-title match.
Powell’s POV: Rousey has been very dominant in her matches prior to this one so it was cool to see Riott get so much offense in. But I’m not a fan of the finish. Rousey is plowing through opponents and there’s just no reason why this couldn’t have been a DQ finish to save the singles rematch for a later date. Cole didn’t do the match any favors. Rather than give this a big fight call and marvel over Riott’s performance, Cole was reading plugs for upcoming segments and Saturday’s event. In fairness, he also put over Riott, but the plugs took me out of the moment. He also questioned what a win by Riott would do for the Riott Squad heading into Saturday. Who cares? Rousey’s first loss would have far bigger ramifications than affecting a meaningless six-man tag match.
The broadcast team set up a video package on the Becky Lynch vs. Charlotte match at WWE Super Show-Down. They also plugged the previously advertised segments…. Bobby Roode and Chad Gable made their entrance. Cole said Roode would face Konnor after the break… [C]
4. Bobby Roode (w/Chad Gable) vs. Konnor (w/Viktor). A Roode and Gable pre-tape aired. Roode said Konnor is the size of a grizzly bear and has a mean streak to match. Gable did the Glorious bit again. The Ascension received a televised entrance for the second straight week. An Ascension pre-tape aired. Konnon said the mentor will fall like the student. Roode performed a Blockbuster and was setting up for his finisher when he was distracted by Viktor attacking Gable at ringside. Konnor used the same finisher as last week and scored the pin…
Konnor defeated Bobby Roode in 4:15.
Powell’s POV: So that’s happened twice now. If this keeps up, Baron Corbin just might have to reward Konnor by not giving him a title match against Reigns.
A “Moment of Bliss” segment aired. She said everyone has heroes and listed Wonder Woman, Nelson Mandela, and herself. She said even she had a hero in Trish Stratus. She said she can’t believe she will face Trish at WWE Evolution. She also said she can’t believe what happened the first time she met Trish as a seven year-old fan. She said she asked Stratus for an autograph only to have Trish burp in her face and ask for $50. She said Trish ripped up her autograph book and made her cry all night… B-Team made their entrance heading into a break… [C]
5. “B-Team” Curtis Axel and Bo Dallas vs. “The Revival” Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder. The match was joined in progress. Young noted that it’s Axel’s birthday. The Revival performed a Rocket Launcher onto Dallas, who put his knees up and then pinned Wilder…
The B-Team defeated The Revival.
After the match, the AOP ran out and attacked B-Team. The Revival left the ring and then AOP performed their Super Collider on Axel and Dallas. Drake Maverick entered the ring and surveyed the damage before raising his team’s arms…
Powell’s POV: So much for The Revival getting some creative love after their entertaining tag title match last week. Viktor of The Ascension is getting wins and The Revival just keep on losing.
Backstage, Ambrose was selling back pain when Reigns approached him and asked if he was okay. Ambrose ignored him, then tensed up when Reigns touched him. Ambrose said he was fine. He said he was fine in the ring and could have put Strowman away. Ambrose also said that if he wasn’t such a nice guy he might be the WWE Universal Champion… The broadcast team hyped previously announced segments… [C]
Corbin congratulated AOP and told them to keep up the good work…
Charly Caruso set up a video package on the company’s work with the breast cancer charity. She introduced Dana Warrior, who was at ringside with a doctor, a fundraiser, and a breast cancer survivor. The crowd applauded them all. Caruso asked fans to support the charity…
Backstage, Ziggler said he can feel it and this could be the last time The Shield are together. Strowman put over Ambrose as a tough bastard and a winner. He told McIntyre he needed him to go out and win against Rollins. He looked at Ziggler and said they don’t need any weak links. Strowman walked away. Ziggler turned and looked at McIntyre, who then walked away… Seth Rollins made his entrance… [C]
6. Intercontinental Champion Seth Rollins vs. Drew McIntyre in a non-title match. McIntyre’s entrance was televised. Rollins performed an early suicide dive. Back in the ring, Rollins went up in the corner only to have McIntyre kick him in the gut, which drew a gasp from the crowd. At 3:50, McIntyre carried Rollins as he walked up the steps and then dropped him on the ring apron. [C]
Corbin was shown watching the match on a backstage monitor. McIntyre set up for a reverse catapult type of move when Rollins countered into a victory roll. Rollins went for a Stomp, but McIntyre moved. Rollins performed a falcon arrow for a two count. McIntyre caught Rollins on the ropes. Rollins slipped off his back and hoisted him up in powerbomb position and then ran all the way across the ring and delivered a buckle bomb. Dolph Ziggler’s music hit and he ran to the ring and dodged a Rollins stomp. McIntyre gave Rollins a Claymore Kick and pinned him.
Drew McIntyre defeated Seth Rollins in 11:10 in a non-title match.
[Hour Three] After the match, McIntyre and Ziggler worked over Rollins until Reigns ran out for the save. Strowman’s music played and he came out. McIntyre hit Reigns from behind and then he and Ziggler roughed him up. Strowman made it to the ring when Ambrose’s music hit. Ambrose ran out with an axe-handle and used it as a weapon until Strowman cut him off. Rollins recovered and fought Strowman until Ziggler superkicked him. McIntyre and Ziggler hit their finisher on Ambrose. Strowman powerslammed Reigns…
Powell’s POV: Well, it’s a damn good thing for Rollins that Corbin punished him by not letting him defend his championship. Seriously, what a ridiculous storyline. The beatdown angle was logical in that it puts heat on the heels going into Saturday’s event.
The broadcast team set up a brief video on the AJ Styles and Samoa Joe feud. They also hyped previously advertised segments…
Elias strummed his guitar backstage when Kevin Owens approached him. They checked out his spread of food and water. Elias said he asked for almonds and threw a bowl of cashews at a crew member… [C] Cole set up a sneak peak of the WWE video game that comes out next week…
JoJo introduced Elias and Kevin Owens, who sat on stools in the ring. When Elias asked who wants to walk with him, Owens pointed at himself. Owens said they are a couple of great guys. He said their Saturday opponents John Cena and Bobby Lashley don’t belong together. Elias said it doesn’t make sense and added that it’s like having a basketball team in Seattle. The boos were loud and went on for some time. Elias said he gets putting a team in Oklahoma City.
Powell’s POV: As far as I’m concerned, you can take the Timberwolves whenever you want, Seattle. This would be a great time for John Cena to come out rocking an old school Gary Payton jersey.
The boos continued while Owens and Elias had to yell over them together to get their lines in. The production crew turned up the lights to show the fans booing. Elias barked at production to turn off the lights because he didn’t want to look at the people. They continued to talk and the fans continued to boo.
Lio Rush came out and the fans went silent. Rush defended Cena in response to some of the things the heels said. A “SuperSonics” chant broke out. The fans finally cheered when Rush mentioned their city right before he introduced Bobby Lashley… [C]
7. Bobby Lashley (w/Lio Rush) vs. Kevin Owens (w/Elias). Owens was in offensive control going into a break. [C] Owens targeted the shoulder of Lashley after running into the post earlier. Lashley came back with a clothesline that turned Owens inside out. Lashley couldn’t get Owens up for a suplex, but he was able to perform a spinebuster. Elias went after Rush and caught him. Owens rolled up a distracted Lashley and pinned him.
Kevin Owens pinned Bobby Lashley in 10:50.
After the match, the heels worked over Lashley. Rush went up top. Owens pointed him out to Elias, who swatted Rush when he leapt off the top rope. Owens powerbombed Lashley and then hugged Elias. Cole hyped John Cena and Lashley vs. Owens and Elias for Saturday…
Graves hyped Bayley vs. Alicia Fox for after the break… [C] The broadcast team laughed a Fox’s antics in an ad for WWE Mixed Match Challenge. Cole instructed viewers on how to find the WWE Mixed Match Challenge app or something…
8. Bayley (w/Finn Balor) vs. Alicia Fox (w/Jinder Mahal, Sunil Singh). Yes, this is the preview for the Bayley and Balor vs. Fox and Mahal match on WWE MMC. Bayley was running the ropes when Mahal reached in and grabbed at her foot. Balor took out Mahal with a sling blade, then Bayley hit her finisher on Fox and pinned her…
Bayley defeated Alicia Fox in 3:40.
Powell’s POV: Congrats to Balor and Bayley for apparently being traded to the Mixed Match Challenge division. Seriously, these two have no other stotrylines going right not.
Shawn Michaels made his entrance to a strong reaction. Cole hyped the Undertaker vs. Triple H match for Saturday. The fans chanted HBK. Michaels said the fans make him feel good to come home again.
[Overrun] Michaels spoke about the emotions that come with “last time ever”. He said he’s felt all those emotions right along with the fans leading up to Saturday. HBK said he bought a ticket and intended to be there as a fan up until a couple weeks ago. “And then it got personal,” Michaels said.
HBK said Undertaker put him in a position where he had to make a choice by making him say who he expected to win the match. HBK said he has nothing but the utmost respect for Taker, but any day of the week and twice on Sunday he will pick his best friend over anyone. He said that upset Undertaker. “You made this personal and now it is,” Michaels said. “You’ve got your brother Kane in your corner. Well, I got news for you, Triple H has got his brother in his corner.”
Michaels said that if Kane or anyone else get too close to the ring he will brush them back with some Sweet Chin Music. Kane’s music played and he appeared behind Michaels, who was staring at the ramp. When Michaels turned around, masked Kane put him down with a punch to the face.
Undertaker’s gong sounded and the lights went out. The gong sounded again and the lights turned on and Taker was standing in the ring. Taker looked down at Michaels. Taker hoisted up Michaels on his shoulder. Triple H’s music played and he ran out to save Shawn and threw punches at Taker and Kane. Taker and Kane ended up performing double chokeslams on Triple H and Michaels. The fans popped big for all of this.
Taker and Kane were about to leave the ring as the fans chanted Taker’s name. Taker stopped as he spotted Hunter getting to his feet. Taker gave Hunter a Tombstone piledriver. Taker stood over Hunter for a moment and then left the ring with Kane to close the show…
Powell’s POV: A hot angle to close the show. The legends continue to outshine the current stars and they have done a tremendous job of taking a match that felt cold when it was announced and turning it into something the fans seem legitimately excited by. The overall show featured more of the same. It continues to be about The Shield, Strowman, McIntyre, Ziggler, and Rousey, and everyone else is just everyone else. I will have more to say in my audio review for members later tonight.
The new edition of the Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell and guest Will Pruett on the Roman Reigns whodunnit angle, WWE heading into SummerSlam, AEW's October 2 premiere on TNT, the New Japan Pro Wrestling G1 Climax Tournament through Day 11, and more (77:45)...