By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
WWE Raw on the USA Network
Aired live on October 15, 2018 from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania at Wells Fargo Center
[Hour One] Braun Strowman, Drew McIntyre, and Dolph Ziggler made their entrance while the broadcast team of Michael Cole, Corey Graves, and Renee Young checked in. Ziggler said his trio is the best three-man team in wrestling history. McIntyre said they don’t need a fancy name or tactical vests. Strowman set up a video package showing their win over The Shield, and Ambrose questioning himself.
McIntyre said they didn’t just beat the Shield, they broke the Shield. He said Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins are the only people who benefit from the Shield and now Ambrose’s eyes have been open. The trio transitioned into discussing Crown Jewel (in SAUDI ARABIA). McIntyre said he will prove he’s the best in the world via the World Cup. Ziggler mentioned that he could be in the tournament too and their paths could cross. McIntyre said it would be a shame for Ziggler because he’s the best in the world. Ziggler laughed and said the would cross that bridge if they come to it.
The Shield music played. Rollins and Reigns walked onto the stage without Ambrose. Rollins said he would prove he is best in the world against McIntyre later in the show. Ziggler mocked them for Ambrose not being there. Rollins said Ambrose always shows up. Reigns said he would beat Strowman at Crown Jewel and then Strowman would go to the back of the line. Rollins said he’s always like Philly and said he and McIntyre could have their match on the spot. Cole hyped the World Cup qualifier for after the break… [C]
Powell’s POV: Another week with some combination of these guys working against one another. They work well together and I’m sure tonight will be no exception, but creative is running the risk of overexposing the feud if they want it to be a long term program.
1. Drew McIntyre vs. Seth Rollins in a World Cup tournament qualifier. Rollins was getting the better of McIntyre at ringside when Ziggler came to ringside and rolled into the ring. McIntyre took advantage of the distraction heading into a break. [C]
Rollins performed a superkick. He went for a springboard move and landed on his feet when McIntyre moved and stumbled a bit, but he bounced right back. Rollins went up top and was cut off by McIntyre. Rollins came back moments later with a superplex, but it was McIntyre who came right back with a falcon arrow for a two count.
Ziggler got involved and Rollins ended up performing a suicide dive onto him, then he raced over and performed the same move on McIntyre. Back in the ring, Rollins was running the ropes when Ziggler held the rope down. Dean Ambrose ran out and attacked Ziggler until McIntyre hit him from behind. Rollins put McIntyre down with a Stomp and then returned to the ring and won via count out.
Seth Rollins defeated Drew McIntyre via count-out in 13:30 to qualify for the World Cup tournament.
A graphic showed Rollins added to the World Cup qualifiers John Cena, Kurt Angle, Randy Orton, and Jeff Hardy…
Nikki Bell and Brie Bella were shown sneaking around backstage, presumably to avoid Ronda Rousey. The Bellas ducked into their locker room… Trish Stratus and Lita were shown talking. Bayley ran up and hugged them both… Cole hyped a look back at the “historic announcement” of DX returning to face Undertaker and Kane… [C]
Powell’s POV: The usual quality match from Rollins and McIntyre. With five entrants in the tournament, there’s still not a non-American in the World Cup. Rey Mysterio will face Shinsuke Nakamura on Smackdown, so there will at least be one foreign born wrestler in the tournament. If this were the soccer World Cup, the U.S. would still find a way to lose.
Cole read a plug for the Red Cross for Hurricane Michael relief…
Rollins, Reigns, and Ambrose were walking backstage. Rollins spoke about Ambrose working on “lunatic time”. Ambrose took offense to being called a lunatic and questioned if he’s just good for a couple of laughs to them…
Cole set up the DX clip while hyping Crown Jewel without mentioning SAUDI ARABIA. Footage aired from last week’s segment and once again featured no mention of SAUDI ARABIA…
An Undertaker and Kane video aired. They said their respect for DX was built on a bed of lies. Undertaker said Shawn Michaels staying in retirement was based on fear. They said the Brothers of Destruction would unleash hell on DX for the first time ever and all of Michaels’ fears would come true. Kane said DX had three words for them and they have three words in response. “Rest in peace,” Undertaker said…
Graves hyped DX vs. Brothers of Destruction for the first time ever at Crown Jewel. Cole said it would take place in three weeks. Neither man mentioned that the event will be held in SAUDI ARABIA…
Ember Moon and Nia Jax made their entrance for a tag match… [C]
2. Ember Moon and Nia Jax vs. Dana Brooke and Tamina. Brooke and Tamina’s entrance was not televised. Cole announced that there will be a battle royal at Evolution and the winner will earn a future title shot. All four women and Alicia Fox and the Iiconics were shown in the graphic for the battle royal. Jax and Tamina squared off at one point and Tamina powered up Jax for a Samoan drop, which the broadcast team really put over. Tamina sold it by struggling to get to her corner to make a tag. Moon tagged in and hit her Eclipse finisher on Brooke and pinned her…
Ember Moon and Nia Jax beat Dana Brooke and Tamina in 4:50.
After the match, Moon tried to make peace between Jax and Tamina. It resulted in Tamina superkicking Jax, then Moon and Tamina dumped Jax over the top rope together. Moon and Tamina then attempted to throw one another over the top rope, but Brooke ended up dumping both women to ringside…
A video package aired on the Bellas attacking Ronda Rousey last week… [C]
Powell’s POV: Tamina has been sidelined since undergoing surgery on her rotator cuff after the Royal Rumble, so it was nice to see her back. The post match bit was the old “every woman for herself” bit, not a heel turn by Moon on Jax. By the way, multiple readers have pointed out that Mysterio was born in California. I assumed he was born in Norway (not really). Anyway, there’s still a chance for an all American World Cup. I would go back and correct my mistake, but I get a kick out of seeing which readers are polite about making a correction and which readers display an odd sense of superiority in the comment section. Good times.
[Hour Two] Raw Women’s Champion Ronda Rousey made her entrance. She called for the Bellas to come out and give her an explanation for attacking her. Nikki and Brie walked onto the stage and claimed no one paid to see her. Brie said Ronda disrespected what they did in the business. Nikki said it made her cringe to see Rousey at the forefront of the evolution. She called Rousey a loser and said she didn’t deserve a title match.
Nikki said they and other women made the word Diva strong and powerful. and made the world want to see them and women’s wrestling. Rousey said she tried to be respectful even though everything the Divas stood for made her sick to her stomach. She said she’s chalked it up to the Bellas just doing the best with what they had.
Rousey said she thought they could be at the forefront of the movement, but they are the embodiment of a stereotype. She said the only thing that impresses her is how far the Bellas were able to go with a minimal amount of talent. She said they leach off their men and plagiarized their movesets. She said they are no pioneers, they are relics of the past. She said the both know she could rip their arms off both of them. Rousey said she will ruin the Bellas.
Brie said anyone who thinks the way Rousey does about them is jealous. She said the name Bella did more last week worldwide than she has all year. Nikki said they are groundbreakers who knocked down doors. Rousey said she has knocked down doors in her entire career in judo, Strikeforce, UFC, and in WWE. “The only door you ever knocked down was to John Cena’s bedroom, and he eventually threw you out of that exact same door.”
Ronda challenged them to come to the ring. Nikki and Brie teased going to the ring, then stopped. Nikki did the pole dance as security came out and walked in front of them. Rousey met security at ringside and beat them up. Rousey’s music played to end the segment…
Powell’s POV: An amazing segment. Ronda’s lines were fantastic and she nailed the delivery. It’s now Modern Woman vs. Divas. Nikki and Brie deserves a lot of credit for being good sports given how hard Rousey went at them. WWE just sold me on the Evolution main event.
A recap of Kurt Angle winning last week’s battle royal was shown… Bobby Roode and Chad Gable told Angle they loved his knew look. Angle was shown dressed like he was going to a Jimmy Buffet concert. No Way Jose and his Rosebud Wannabes showed up and danced with Angle briefly. Baron Corbin showed up and pointed out how stacked the World Cup is and asked when Angle’s last singles match in WWE was. Angle said about 12 years. Corbin booked him in a handicap match against AOP…
Cole hyped Trish Stratus and Lita appearing. Cole also plugged the breast cancer charity that WWE works with… Dean Ambrose made his entrance for his World Cup qualifier… [C]
3. Dean Ambrose vs. Dolph Ziggler in a World Cup qualifier. Ziggler’s entrance was televised. Ziggler caught Ambrose on the top rope and performed a facebuster heading into a break. [C] McIntyre came out and tried to help Ziggler. Rollins ran out and fought with McIntyre. Ambrose dove onto Ziggler. Rollins helped Ambrose to his feet, but Ambrose shoved him down. Ambrose returned to the ring and ate a superkick from Ziggler, who pinned him. Cole questioned if Ambrose realized who had ahold of him when he shoved Rollins…
Dolph Ziggler beat Dean Ambrose in 9:40 to qualify for the World Cup tournament.
After the match, Rollins entered the ring and looked at Ambrose, who shoved him and headed up the ramp. Rollins went after Ambrose and spun him around to ask him what his problem was. Ambrose and Rollins pushed and shoved one another. Reigns came out and stood between them. Corin came out and claimed the last thing he wanted was for the Shield to dissolve on his watch. Corbin booked them in a rematch with Strowman, McIntyre, and Ziggler for later in the show. Reigns glared at Corbin, who smirked… [C]
Finn Balor and Bayley made their entrance for Balor’s match against Jinder Mahal. Cole hyped the season premiere of NXT UK for Thursday… [C]
Powell’s POV: I really hope we get a big development in the Shield or Strowman, McIntyre, and Ziggler teams soon. Again, they all work well together, but they are dominating way too much television time these days.
Backstage, McIntyre told Strowman to focus on crushing Rollins and Ambrose while making Reigns watch. Strowman asked if McIntyre thinks he’s dumb. He said he knows how to beat the Shield. He also threatened McIntyre and Ziggler and said they better not screw up…
4. Finn Balor (w/Bayley) vs. Jinder Mahal (w/Sunil Singh, Alicia Fox). No televised entrance for Mahal and his crew. Balor hit a Coup de Grace and scored the clean pin.
Finn Balor pinned Jinder Mahal in 1:50.
Immediately following the match, Bobby Lashley and Lio Rush came out to new music. Cole noted that Kevin Owens will undergo knee surgery this week and blamed Lashley’s attack from last week. Rush entered the ring and said he knows Balor wished he looked like Lashley. Lashley flexed in front of Balor and then walked away and posed on the ropes. Rush told Lashley that he looks and smells like money. Balor and Bayley simply left the ring. Cole said Lashley would be in action after the break… [C]
5. Bobby Lashley (w/Lio Rush) vs. Tyler Breeze. The bell rang and Rush said over the house mic that Lashley wasn’t ready. Lashley flexed and posed, then destroyed Breeze while Rush spoke over the house mic. Lashley won by pinfall…
Bobby Lashley defeated Tyler Breeze in 3:30.
Powell’s POV: Lashley is the new Narcissist? Rush was super annoying with a live mic, which is obviously the idea. I just hope he tones it down once it’s time for Lashley to work longer matches because there is the potential for it to become go away heat. I’m digging them as heels so far.
Cole noted that Titus O’Neil made the Ebony Power 100 list…
[Hour Three] Trish Stratus and Lita made their entrance while Cole hyped their Evolution match against Alexa Bliss and Mickie James. Lita called Philadelphia her old friend and said it was good to be back home. Bliss’s music interrupted. Bliss and James walked onto the stage. Bliss and James acted like Trish and Lita were going to express fear over facing them.
James said that Trish and Lita hadn’t been in a WWE ring in a long time and while they were kicking back, she and Bliss were kicking butts. Bliss said it would be a cakewalk. James mocked them for thinking they could beat them without any practice. Trish and Lita went into Allen Iverson mode by playing on his practice speech, then said maybe they were right and invited them to the ring. Bliss and Mickie teased taking them up on the offer before turning around…
Backstage, Riott Squad mocked Bayley… Young hyped Natalya vs. Ruby Riott for later in the show. Graves hyped the sit-man tag main event… [C]
Powell’s POV: So I guess Bayley is going to help Natalya? Meanwhile, the practice bit was a play on former Philadelphia 76er Allen Iverson’s famous press conference rant from 2001. It didn’t get much of a reaction. This segment didn’t really click.
A Conquistador was in the ring. AOP and Drake Maverick made their entrance for the handicap match…
6. AOP (w/Drake Maverick) vs. The Conquistador in a handicap match. Baron Corbin took a seat on the stage to watch the destruction of Kurt Angle.” The Conquistador failed to apply the ankle lock. Graves said he wasn’t convinced it was Angle. AOP roughed up the Conquistador and pinned him. After the match, AOP unmasked the Conquistador and it was an independent wrestler. Angle came out and gave Corbin and Angle Slam on the stage…
AOP beat The Conquistador in 1:00.
Backstage, Riott Squad squirted ketchup and mustard onto Natalya’s locker room door…
Powell’s POV: No, not ketchup and mustard. Anything but that, you soulless monsters! This show has taken a major turn for the worse.
Riott Squad was in the ring when Natalya came out and said she brought backup. Bayley came out. Graves asked if Bayley was going to hug them to death. Natalya said she wasn’t finished and then introduced the returning Sasha Banks, who didn’t get much of a reaction…
7. Natalya (w/Sasha Banks, Bayley) vs. Ruby Riott (w/Sarah Logan, Liv Morgan). Natalya had Riott in the Sharpshooter when Logan ran in and clipped Natalya’s knee for the DQ. Afterward, the babyface trio worked over Riott Squad and cleared them from the ring…
Natalya beat Ruby Riott by DQ in 3:00.
Backstage, Elias got upset with a crew member who couldn’t find his green guitar pick… [C]
Powell’s POV: Sasha’s return didn’t get much of a rise out of the live crowd. As someone who enjoys Sasha’s work, I can’t blame the fans given that WWE hasn’t done anything meaningful with her in a long time. Are they setting up a six-woman tag match for Evolution or next week’s Raw?
Ring announcer JoJo introduced Elias, who played his guitar briefly. He said his eyes are like a crystal ball and fans are looking into the future. He said John Cena knows that WWE stands for (fans inserted Walk With Elias).
Elias claimed he went to lunch with Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz and asked him about the knee injury he suffered last season. and whether it hurt. He claimed Wentz said true pain is pretending to care about the depraved and shameful city of Philadelphia. Elias also mocked the Philadelphia Flyers mascot. Elias played his guitar and was quickly interrupted.
Apollo Crews came out. Elias asked him what he was doing. Crews said so many people interrupt Elias that he figured it was his turn. Elias said this was not the night he would make a star out of him. Crews said he doesn’t play the guitar or sing and he’s not funny, but none of that matters once he’s in the ring. Elias said he’s heard that Crews is talented, but he’s never actually seen it. He compared it to Bigfoot or the Flyers winning the Stanley Cup. Crews said he’s sick of Elias putting people down. Elias went for a clothesline. Crews ducked it and caught Elias with a kick and then pressed him over his head and dropped him…
Backstage, Reigns was shown speaking with Ambrose while Cole hyped the main event… An ad aired for WWE Crown Jewel without mentioning the host country of SAUDI ARABIA… [C]
Powell’s POV: Well, the crowd is still awake…at least for Elias. The segment was fun and I assume this sets up a match for next week.
An ad aired for Smackdown 1000 and the broadcast team hyped the returning names… Ring entrances for the main event took place. The Shield entered through the crowd. Meanwhile, the broadcast team hyped Crown Jewel matches without mentioning SAUDI ARABIA…
8. Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins, and Dean Ambrose vs. Braun Strowman, Drew McIntyre, and Dolph Ziggler. Graves praised Corbin for making this match again. Strowman barked at Ziggler to start the match and show him something. Rollins and Ambrose worked together early on. Ziggler shoved Rollins into Ambrose. Reigns tagged himself in and got some light boos as he got between Rollins and Ambrose. Strowman ran over and clotheslined Rollins and Ambrose into Reigns. Ziggler performed a DDT on Reigns for a to count heading into a break. [C]
The heels isolated Reigns. Strowman barked at McIntyre in their corner. McIntyre tagged himself in. Strowman returned the favor and McIntyre told him to just get the job done. Reigns was about to make the tag when McIntyre and Ziggler knocked Rollins and Ambrose off the apron. McIntyre and Ziggler hit their finisher on Reigns, but Rollins returned to break up the pin. Reigns caught McIntyre with and uppercut and then made a tag. Rollins and Ambrose worked over the heels together.
[Overrun] Ambrose had McIntyre pinned, but Ziggler shoved Rollins into Ambrose to break the pin. Ambrose was pissed. Rollins tried to talk him down. Ambrose turned away. Rollins spun him around. Ambrose kicked him and teased Dirty Deeds, but didn’t go through with it. Ziggler hit his finisher on Ambrose and got a two count.
McIntyre and Ziggler set up Ambrose for their finisher, but Reigns broke it up. A short time later, McIntyre accidentally took out Strowman with a Claymore Kick. A short time later, the Shield hit their triple powerbomb on Ziggler and then Ambrose pinned him.
The Shield defeated Braun Strowman, Drew McIntyre, and Dolph Ziggler in 15:00.
The Shield trio left the ring. Strowman recovered and entered the ring and glared at McIntyre, then grabbed Ziggler and recalled saying if he screwed up then he was going to get these hands. Strowman gave Ziggler a running powerslam. McIntyre hit Strowman with a Claymore Kick and left the ring while Strowman sold it by stumbling around the ring a bit before getting back to his feet. Cole and company recapped the match and the post match angle.
Powell’s POV: The usual good main event from these teams. I like the post match angle and I hope this means they are turning the page on this program. It’s worth noting that the crow didn’t have much angst for Reigns. He was booed by some, but it wasn’t nearly as bad as we’ve heard in the past in Philadelphia. The highlight of the night was the hard hitting Rousey promo on the Bellas, I can’t praise it enough. I will have more to say about that promo and the rest of the show in my members’ exclusive audio review later tonight.
Check below for the latest Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell and guest Chris Harrington.