By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
WWE Raw on the USA Network
Aired live on October 8, 2018 from Chicago, Illinois at Allstate Arena
[Hour One] Michael Cole welcomed viewers to Raw and was joined on commentary by Corey Graves and Renee Young… Triple H made his entrance to a big pop. Once on the apron, Hunter turned toward the entrance and then Shawn Michaels made his entrance.
Hunter said 25 years is a long time to climb a mountain. He said he and Michaels should be on top of the world because they made it to the top of the mountain. Hunter said that after what transpired after the WWE Super Show-Down match left them wondering if the mountain was just a lie the entire time. A video package recapped Triple H vs. Undertaker and the post match attack by Taker and Kane on Hunter and Michaels.
Triple H said it takes a lot to earn respect from him and Michaels. Hunter looked at Michaels and said that respect is when you stick to your word even though everyone tells you not to and you are given every opportunity not to. Michaels said sometimes you respect a person for what they used to represent.
Michaels noted that it’s a long flight from Melbourne and it gave him a long time to think about the beatdown they took at Super Show-Down. Michaels said it made him think about the last eight-and-a-half long years of him honoring his word out of his respect that never existed at all. Michaels said that Hunter approached him as they were about to walk off the plane and asked three words that he never thought he’d hear again.
“Are you ready?” Triple H asked. He said that question isn’t for Michaels because he knows he is. He said the question is for Undertaker and Kane. “Crown Jewel, the question is are you ready?” Michaels stated that Degeneration X is ready. “I say this with absolutely no respect at all, if you’re not down with that, we’ve got two words for you.” The crowd filled in the “suck it” line. Hunter and Michaels tore their shirts off to reveal their DX shirts. The broadcast team gushed over the return of DX while the duo posed and played to the crowd.
Cole said he was there when Taker retired Michaels and he’s turned down offers for years, but apparently Taker and Kane have awoken something in him. The broadcast team shifted to hyping The Shield vs. Braun Strowman, Drew McIntyre, and Dolph Ziggler, and Ronda Rousey and The Bellas vs. Riott Squad, Trish Stratus appearing later in the show, and Bobby Lashley vs. Kevin Owens for after the break… [C]
Powell’s POV: Man, the WWE t-shirt folks sure can make those DX t-shirts quickly. Anyway, you had to know this was coming. The crowd was receptive and the broadcast team put it over huge. Does this mean Undertaker and Kane are going to be positioned as heels? Probably not since WWE seems to be in “let the fans decide” mode.
1. Bobby Lashley (w/Lio Rush) vs. Kevin Owens. Cole plugged Royal Rumble tickets going on sale on Friday. Lashley won an early strength battle with Owens. Rush had a mic and sang the praises of Lashley. “Someone gave the hype man a mic tonight,” Cole said unenthusiastically. Owens came back and teased a suicide dive. Lashley simply moved aside and turned the other way as Owens stopped. Owens went to the floor and punched Lashley in the face. Lashley came right back.
Rush tried to lead the crowd in chanting for Lashley, which drew boos and not chants. Owens performed a flip dive onto Lashley at 2:45, which drew a big pop from the crowd. Rush told Lashley he had to get up. Owens and Lashley traded punches on the floor and the live crowd booed Lashley’s punches. Lashley went for a spear on Owens against the barricade, but Owens moved and Lashley crashed and burned heading into a break. [C]
Rush tried to lead another Lashley chant and was booed again. Owens rolled to ringside and went after Rush and eventually caught him. Lashley broke it up and the crowd booed. Lashley ran Owens into the steps. Rush told Owens not to touch him and told Lashley to put the boots to him. Rush chanted for Lashley and was booed.
Back in the ring, the crowd cheered Owens punching Lashley, who put him down with a spinebuster. Lashley performed his vertical suplex for a near fall. The crowd popped when Owens kicked out. Owens came back with a superkick for a two count. Rush kept talking and chanting for Lashley. Owens went up top and faced Rush only to be tripped up by Lashley, who then targeted the knee of Owens. Lashley performed The Dominator for the win. Graves said Lashley was very impressive regardless of what you think about his hype man.
Bobby Lashley defeated Kevin Owens in 13:00.
After the match, Lashley returned to the ring and worked over the knee of Owens again by wrenching it around the ring post. Rush told him to go back again. Lashley chased the referees away and then ran Owen’s other leg into the post. Lashley played to the crowd and was booed…
Powell’s POV: A double turn? Rush with a live mic was a major turnoff and not even in a good heat kind of way. Even so, I’m all for Rush and Lashley becoming heels and even more excited about the possibility of Owens working as a babyface if that’s what they have in mind.
The broadcast team spoke about the WWE World Cup eight-man tournament for Crown Jewel. Cole said one man who doesn’t have to qualify for the tournament is the man he believe is the best ever. A John Cena video package aired. The broadcast team read tweets from Big Show, Finn Balor, Lashley, and Jinder Mahal about the tournament. Graves said acting general manager Baron Corbin would announce the other qualifiers later in the show…
Elias strummed his guitar. Cole said Elias was up next… [C]
Backstage, Finn Balor and Bayley were interviewed about their Mixed Match Challenge match with Jinder Mahal and Alicia Fox. Lio Rush and Bobby Lashley interrupted the promo and said Lashley was the real interview. Bayley said it was their time. Lashley spoke about destroying Owens. Rush said it was too sweet…
Powell’s POV: Interrupting a worthless promo about the Mixed Match Challenge? I guess Lashley and Rush are still babyfaces. Wait, that was meant to be a heelish move?
Ring announcer JoJo introduced Elias, who sat on a stool in the ring and played his guitar. He worked in a mention of Undertaker, Kane, Triple H, and Shawn Michaels, then spoke about John Cena. Elias said he’s always willing to admit when he’s wrong, but what happened in Australia wasn’t his fault. Elias sang a song about it. He sang about being distracted by many things, including John Cena’s hair. He also took a jab at Chicago and the Cubs not being in the World Series.
Ronda Rousey’s music interrupted Elias and she made her entrance while Cole hyped the six-woman tag for after the break… [C] The Bella Twins and Riott Squad made their entrances…
2. Ronda Rousey, Nikki Bella, and Brie Bella vs. “Riot Squad” Ruby Riott, Liv Morgan, and Sarah Logan. Brie and Morgan started the match. It seemed meaningful to roughly ten people in the crowd despite the online outrage. Cole brought up their incident. Morgan ducked a kick and they had an ol’ ECW catfight style fight to the floor and had to be pulled apart their partners. Rousey and Logan checked in and Rousey performed a big arm drag. Riott and Logan teased entering the ring, but Rousey got in their faces and asked what they were doing to do. Both women backed down. Ugh. [C]
[Hour Two] Brie was isolated in the Riott Squad corner. Rousey eventually took a hot tag and worked over Riott. Rousey ended up putting Riott in an armbar while the Bellas stopped Morgan and Logan from returning to the ring.
Ronda Rousey, Nikki Bella, and Brie Bella beat Riot Squad in 10:30.
After the match, Rousey celebrated with the Bellas. Nikki hit Ronda from behind with a forearm. Both Bellas put the boots to Rousey in the corner. Rousey took Brie down and then glared at Nikki before taking her down. Nikki escaped the ring. Rousey went after her and was censored when she yelled at her. Nikki ran Rousey into the post and then the Bellas went back to kicking Rousey at ringside.
Rousey grabbed Brie by the throat only to have the Bellas run her into the ring steps. Nikki picked up Rousey and ran her into the barricade. The Bellas rolled Rousey back in the ring and placed one foot each on her while playing to the crowd. Nikki picked up the Raw Women’s Championship belt and dropped it on Rousey… [C]
Powell’s POV: A good angle and another necessary heel turn. I’m thrilled that the rumored Evolution main event between Rousey and Nikki won’t be a babyface vs. babyface match. It will be interesting to see how this affects Daniel Bryan on Smackdown.
The broadcast recapped the Bellas attacking Rousey. Graves said all three women were cool with one another on the plane and acted shocked by the turn…
3. Finn Balor and Bayley vs. Jinder Mahal (w/Sunil Singh) and Alicia Fox. Cole noted that Balor and Bayley will face Braun Strowman and Ember Moon on this week’s MMC. The babyfaces were in offensive control heading into a break. [C] In the end, Balor performed the Coup de Grace on Mahal and pinned him…
Finn Balor and Bayley beat Jinder Mahal and Alicia Fox in 7:20.
Powell’s POV: The crowd enjoyed the match. Meanwhile, I sat here feeling sorry that Balor and Bayley in that their roles are tied to the MMC and nothing else.
Backstage, Dolph Ziggler spoke about having one slip-up in Australia. He tried to pump up Braun Strowman and Drew McIntyre, but McIntyre said he’s getting sick of him trying to call the shots. He told Ziggler to start worry about pulling his won weight. Strowman told them to shut up and said he’d heard enough of them bickering. He said they need to remember that they are there to watch his back because him winning the title was good for all of them. He said he didn’t want any more excuses out of either one of them…
Baron Corbin was booed as he was shown walking backstage. Heath Slater said he wants a shot at getting into the World Cup tournament and representing the state of Virginia in the global battle royal. Corbin told him the only problem was that he’s not very good… [C]
The broadcast team spoke about the WWE Network lineup on Wednesdays and then set up a recap of the opening segment.
4. Global Battle Royal. There were a bunch of independent wrestlers in the ring wearing bad hats and/or gear to make it seem like they are from other countries. One of the wrestlers wore a Conquistador outfit. Corbin came out and said he wanted to prove himself by winning the first global battle royal to earn a spot in the World Cup tournament. Corbin read the list of wrestler names while claiming they were all from other countries.
All of the independent guys surrounded Corbin and tried to eliminate him. The Conquistador went to ringside and took a seat on the floor while Corbin fought off everyone and eliminated them. Corbin celebrated what he thought was a win. A referee pointed out that the Conquistador was still legal. The Conquistador gave Corbin three German suplexes and an Angle Slam. The crowd roared. The Conquistador eliminated Corbin. Afterward, the Conquistador unmasked and revealed himself to be Kurt Angle…
“The Conquistador” Kurt Angle won the Global Battle Royal.
Powell’s POV: A fun payoff to the silliness. The broadcast team said that Angle will be in the World Cup tournament at Crown Jewel, so that’s another legend on the show.
The broadcast team noted that Cena and Angle are in the World Cup tournament. Backstage, Charly Caruso asked Angle about it. He said he’s technically still on vacation and then walked away…
5. Nia Jax vs. Ember Moon. Moon’s entrance was not televised. Jax tossed Moon around and dominated her early. Moon applied a sleeper, but Jax flung her to the mat. Moon dropkicked Jax to ringside and performed a suicide dive, but Jax didn’t leave her feet. The women fought on the floor. Jax tossed Moon on the ground. Jax charged a Moon, who moved, causing Jax to run into the apron. Moon rolled back inside the ring to win by count-out. Afterward, Jax hugged Moon and rubbed her head and then raised her arm…
Ember Moon defeated Nia Jax by count-out in 3:00.
Cole said Trish Stratus was up after the break… [C]
Powell’s POV: Well, that was strange. It’s likely building to something at Evolution so we’ll see where it goes. I’m just not a fan of making Moon about to be the plucky little buddy so hopefully whatever whatever they have in mind won’t keep her in that role.
Trish Stratus made her entrance to a favorable reaction. She did her usual point to the crowd and they mistakenly cut to the fans who were just sitting there. Ouch. Trish, who wore her WWE Hall of Fame ring, said they would be making history in just three weeks at Evolution. She said Alexa Bliss’s “Moment of Bliss” last week was a load of BS. She said she was there to enlighten Bliss with a moment of Stratusfaction.
[Hour Three] Alexa Bliss and Mickie James walked onto the stage and said the only people who care about Trish is the dullards in the crowd. Stratus mocked her for calling people dullards despite her math issues last week. She said it’s not the only area where she comes up short.
Austin Aries’ POV: See?!?
Bliss said she finally has a chance to tell Stratus face to face that she sucks. She said Trish is lucky she wasn’t around then because she would have spent her career living in her shadow. Stratus invited her to step in he ring. Bliss and James headed to ringside and entered the ring. James cut in front of Bliss and said his wasn’t happening because the people don’t deserve it. James said she and Trish both know nothing good ever happens in Chicago.
James suggested she and Bliss should team up at Evolution. Stratus pondered the thought of a tag match and said it was an extremely difficult decision to make. “How about this person right here?” Stratus asked. Lita made her entrance and was kicked by Bliss as he got into the ring. Bliss rolled away to avoid Lita. James was left in the ring to take a kick from Stratus. Lita went up top for her moonsault, but Bliss pulled Lita to ringside…
Powell’s POV: So instead of two singles matches they are going with a tag match at Evolution? No complaints. It’s easier on the legends and I like the idea of the Trish and James sharing the ring together given their storyline history.
The Shield cut a promo into a handheld camera backstage. Roman Reigns said they are not an alliance or a friendship, they are a brotherhood. Ambrose said their opponents think they are vicious and have done ruthless things, but they are not the bad guys. “We are the bad guys,” Rollins said. Reigns said it doesn’t matter if they are in Melbourne or Chicago, the story stays the same. Rollins said they don’t crack or stop, they are the one true constant. Reigns closed by saying, “We are the Shield, believe that”…
Bobby Roode and Chad Gable made their entrance for a tag match against The Ascension… [C] Cole hyped that John Cena will appear on NBC’s Tonight Show on Tuesday…
6. Bobby Roode and Chad Gable vs. “The Ascension” Konnor and Viktor. The Ascension entrance was televised again. Konnor took the mic and asked Roode and Gable if it was glorious when he beat them. He said the Ascension would send them to the wasteland for good. Gable made a blind tag and performed a missile dropkick on Konnor. Gable went for a cover and Konnor did the super kickout that resulted in Gable ended up at ringside.
At 3:50, Roode performed a blockbuster on Viktor. Konnor ran in, but he ended up tumbling over the top rope. Roode was setting up for his finisher when an overzealous Gable tagged himself in and hit his finisher on Viktor for the win.
Bobby Roode and Chad Gable beat The Ascension in 4:15.
After the mach, AOP and Drake Maverick ran out. AOP double shocker blocked Konnor at ringside. They entered the ring and laid out Gable, Roode, and Viktor. They finished it off with a Super Collider on Gable and Viktor…
Powell’s POV: Let’s see if I can sum up the story being told. Konnor is a mountain, Viktor is weak, Gable is dorky, Roode is annoyed, and AOP are badasses.
Cole spoke about WWE’s work with the breast cancer charity…
The broadcast team recapped The Bellas attacking Rousey. Cole announced Rousey vs. Nikki for the Raw Women’s Championship, and the Trish and Lita vs. Bliss and James match for Evolution. Cole set up another recap of the opening segment with DX. Cole announced “DX” Hunter and Michaels vs. Taker and Kane for Crown Jewel. A DX video aired on some of their past antics. The broadcast team also hyped AJ Styles vs. Daniel Bryan for the WWE Championship, and the Roman Reigns vs. Brock Lesnar vs. Braun Strowman mach for he WWE Universal Championship…
Paul Heyman made an unadvertised appearance on the stage. Heyman said he was there to see a fight when The Shield face Strowman, McIntyre, and Ziggler. Heyman said he finds it ironic that Reigns and Strowman beat the hell out of each other, which takes it’s toll, then flew 20 hours to Chicago to beat the hell again. Heyman said that’s what they do in World Wrestling Entertainment is fly around the world seven days a week and twice on Sunday and beat the hell out of each other just to put smiles on the faces of the WWE Universe.
Heyman said Brock Lesnar isn’t watching the promo because he’s sleeping in his own bed, eating a home cooked meal, and running a full mile to the Death Clutch Gym training center that he constructed with the goal of becoming the first two-sport champion by holding both the WWE and UFC titles. Heyman said Reigns is part of a stable and has to wash his brother’s backs, and Strowman is part of a team of weak links. Heyman said Lesnar never says we, he says “me, me, me, me, me.” Heyman said that’s why Lesnar will once again be he WWE Universal Champion.
The Shield music played after Heyman wrapped up his promo. Heyman looked around nervously for the trio, who entered through the crowd… [C]
7. Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins, and Dean Ambrose vs. Braun Strowman, Drew McIntyre, and Dolph Ziggler. The heel team’s entrance was televised. Reigns tagged into the match early and was booed, but we’ve heard far worse from Chicago. The Shield cleared McIntyre and Ziggler from the ring, then glared a Strowman, who dropped off he apron and scolded his team heading into a break. [C]
The heels had Reigns isolated coming out of the break. Reigns tagged in Rollins, who performed a suicide dive onto McIntyre and worked over legal man Ziggler. Rollins went for a Stomp, but Ziggler avoided it. Rollins performed a buckle bomb on Ziggler. McIntyre broke it up and was quickly cleared from the ring by Ambrose. Strowman grabbed Rollins and Ambrose by the throats. Reigns hit him with a Superman Punch. Strowman was cleared to ringside. Rollins and Ambrose performed suicide dives onto McIntyre and Ziggler, then Reigns performed a big dive over the top. [C]
[Overrun] Rollins was isolated by heels. Rollins showed signs of life, but Strowman ran over and knocked Reigns and Ambrose off he apron. Strowman ran Reigns into the ring steps. Strowman told Ziggler that’s how you carry your weight, not making excuses. Ziggler jawed back at him, and Strowman grabbed him by the throat. McIntyre spun Strowman around and glared at him and then they exchanged words. Rollins hit them both from behind and rolled up McIntyre for a two count. Rollins made the hot tag to Ambrose.
McIntyre had Ambrose pinned, but Reigns returned to break it up. Rollins suplexed Ziggler over the top rope and they both tumbled to ringside. Reigns went for a Superman Punch on Strowman on the floor. Strowman caught Reigns and ran him into the post. Ambrose took out Strowman with a DDT. Strowman got to his feet and was speared by Reigns. Ambrose returned to the ring. Rollins clotheslined Ziggler and they both tumbled to the floor. McIntyre caught Ambrose with a Claymore Kick and pinned him…
Braun Strowman, Drew McIntyre, and Dolph Ziggler defeated Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins, and Dean Ambrose in 22:40.
Strowman, McIntyre, and Ziggler raised their arms on the stage. In the ring, Ambrose showed frustration by leaving the ring on his own while Reigns and Rollins watched him head up the stage and to the back to end the show…
Powell’s POV: A strong main event. The heel trio get a needed win and now we’re right back to Ambrose looking frustrated. This was the most newsworthy show in some time. The legends returning for Crown Jewel and Evolution are definitely helping, but hopefully they do more to heat up the full-timers for when things go back together less than a month from now.
One negative of the show is that the reveal of Shawn Michaels returning to the ring left a lot to be desired. It was implied by Triple H and then he was shown in a graphic. There wasn’t a big “will he or won’t he?” moment and it just felt like it should have been much bigger even though DX was well received. I will be by with my members’ exclusive audio review about an hour from now. Join us on our ad-free website via PWMembership.net.
Check below for a free audio review of the WWE Super Show-Down event hosted by Jason Powell and Jake Barnett.
The Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell features Kenny Herzog discussing his journalism career, his new Outside Interference podcast, doing a feature story on CM Punk, pro wrestling in the pandemic, WWE talk on Retribution, The Hurt Business, Roman Reigns as a heel, and much more...