The John Report: The WWE Raw Deal 10/29/18 Review

This week’s edition of WWE Monday Night Raw is a follow up to Sunday’s excellent Evolution show that was the first ever all-women’s PPV in WWE history. I thought it was awesome with several outstanding matches and I think most people enjoyed it. Check out my detailed review of the whole show right here if you haven’t done so already. You can also read my 10 Takeaways from Evolution article at The Comeback with more thoughts on the matches, plus my feelings on the announce team, the look of the show, the fans booing Crown Jewel graphics and more.

Live from Charlotte, North Carolina, this is the Raw Deal for episode #1327 of Monday Night Raw. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport. Thanks to Melo Man for the banner up top.

This week’s Raw began with a video showing the Roman Reigns speech from last week when he told us that he had to go home to fight his battle against leukemia. It also meant that Reigns had to relinquish the Universal Title. It’s the same video package that aired on Smackdown last week. It’s certainly understandable why they would air that to start this week’s show.

Let’s Hear From Baron Corbin
Baron Corbin, the acting General Manager of Raw, was in the ring with the Universal Title on his left shoulder. Corbin said that last week was one of the toughest of his career, but that was last week and life goes on. Fans booed him for being a jerk. Corbin said that personally he hopes Reigns beats leukemia, but if he comes back professionally he hopes it is not on Raw. Corbin said the title on him looks good. Corbin said that Reigns made his job very difficult and here comes Brock Lesnar with Paul Heyman.

Lesnar made his way around the ring with Heyman walking behind him while Michael Cole plugged Lesnar challenging for the vacant Universal Championship at Crown Jewel this Friday. Lesnar had a bit of a beard. Lesnar and Heyman got in the ring with Corbin. Corbin asked the crowd to give an ovation for Lesnar, so there was a mild ovation. Heyman told Corbin to stop.

Heyman did his usual introduction letting us know he’s the advocate for the beast, the conqueror Brock Lesnar, who smiled at Heyman’s introduction. Heyman said that we live in historic times because four days from now, history will be made once again when his client Brock Lesnar takes that championship back home and places it over his massive shoulders. Heyman said that in order to do that, Lesnar has to beat Braun Strowman. Heyman told us that Lesnar will beat Strowman and claimed that’s a spoiler and guarantee. Heyman asked how often we get to know that history is going to happen. Heyman claimed that Lesnar was going to F5 Strowman to become Universal Champion again. Heyman said that we’ll witness history at Crown Jewel.

Braun Strowman made his entrance and marched down to the ring with a purpose. Strowman got in Lesnar’s face, said that at Crown Jewel he’s going to become Universal Champion and told Lesnar he’s going to get these hands. Corbin tried to stop Strowman from doing something, Strowman shoved him away, Corbin punched Strowman in the back and Strowman hit a Powerslam on Corbin. Strowman picked up Corbin again and gave him another Powerslam while Lesnar picked up the Universal Championship. The fans chanted “one more time” so Strowman picked up Corbin again and hit another Powerslam. When Strowman got back up, Lesnar picked up Strowman with a F5 that led to boos from the crowd. Strowman sold it like he was hurt from it. Lesnar held up the Universal Title leading to boos from the crowd again. Lesnar left. As Lesnar reached the top of the ramp, Strowman got back up and said he’ll see him Friday.
Analysis: It was a simple segment designed to give Lesnar the advantage going into Crown Jewel on Friday. It was what you would expect in a segment like that with Lesnar as the heel doing the cheap attack right after Strowman hit Corbin with a third Powerslam, which left Strowman vulnerable. I don’t expect Lesnar to leave with the Universal Title at Crown Jewel because it’s the right time to put it on Strowman with Lesnar focusing on his UFC career after Crown Jewel. The crowd is also firmly against Lesnar, so that’s the reaction WWE wants with Strowman back in the face role.

The announce team of Michael Cole, Corey Graves and Renee Young welcomed us to the show. Cole set up a highlight of the end of Raw last week. The clip aired from last week’s Raw when Dean Ambrose attacked Seth Rollins after they won the Raw Tag Team Titles. Ambrose hit Rollins with a Dirty Deeds DDT in the ring and a Dirty Deeds on the floor as well. Later on Raw, Rollins is demanding answers.

It was announced that Triple H, Shawn Michaels, Kane and The Undertaker will all be on Raw. There’s also a big 10-woman tag team match with Trish Stratus, Lita, Bayley, Sasha Banks and Natalya facing Mickie James, Alicia Fox and the Riott Squad trio.

Finn Balor made his entrance with Baron Corbin shown getting helped up the ramp by two referees. Balor did the “too sweet” hand gesture to him. That was funny. They went to break there with Balor in a match after the break.
(Commercial)
There were images shown from Sunday’s Evolution event.

Finn Balor was in the ring ready for his match. A replay aired from last week with Balor beating Bobby Lashley getting the ROLLUP OF DEATH~! for the win, so it’s time for a rematch.

Lio Rush did a pre-match promo hyping up Bobby Lashley. He managed to rip on the city of Charlotte as well. Bobby Lashley made his entrance looking ready to go.

Finn Balor vs. Bobby Lashley (w/Lio Rush)
Lashley with shoulder tackles to the ribs of Balor followed by a sidewalk slam with Rush leading the annoying “Lashley” chants. Lashley slapped on the vice grip on the neck of Balor. Rush kept on talking to interrupt the announcers. Lashley picked up Balor for a slam, but Balor came back with a dropkick that sent Lashley out of the ring. Balor with a somersault dive over the top to take out Lashley on the floor as the show went to break about two minutes into the match.
(Commercial)
The show returned from break with Lashley in control with an elbow to the head followed by a waistlock takedown with Rush saying that Lashley smells like money. Lashley slapped on that vice grip on the neck of Balor again. Lashley whipped Balor into the corner, Balor with the feet up, a forearm by Balor and another running forearm connected for Balor. Lashley wanted a Powerbomb, Balor landed on his feet leading to back body drop and Balor with a double stomp on Lashley’s chest. Lashley caught Balor in the air, put him on his shoulder and slammed Balor off his shoulders for a two count. That’s a move that Lashley has used to win matches of late. Lashley wanted a vertical suplex, Balor landed on his feet, Balor hit the Slingblade neckbreaker, Balor with a dropkick that sent Lashley into the turnbuckle and Balor went up top, but Rush distracted. Balor with a kick to the face of Lashley. Balor up top and Rush shoved Balor into the top rope leading to Balor crashing to the floor, which meant a disqualification ending. It went about nine minutes.
Winner by disqualification: Finn Balor
Analysis: **1/4 It was a decent match cut short due to the disqualification from Rush. The match was dominated from Lashley, Balor made the comeback and that’s when Rush felt the need to cause the DQ. The story is that Balor has beaten Lashley two weeks in a row although it's not like they are decisive wins.

Post match, Lashley picked up Balor and drove Balor back first into the ring apron as well as the barricade. Lashley slapped on a Full Nelson on Balor. Rush trash talked Balor saying he didn’t look extraordinary now. Rush slapped Balor and Lashley tossed Balor down. Rush slapped Balor again. Lashley’s music played. Rush checked his phone because something was happening, so they left.

Analysis: It was a way to keep the feud going with Lashley doing the cheap attack after losing the match. I don’t mind it because these guys had nothing to do before this rivalry, so building up a feud between them is fine with me.

Up next is a look back at Evolution.

A commercial aired for WrestleMania tickets going on sale on November 16. I’ll pass. Maybe SummerSlam next year since it’s close to me in Toronto.
(Commercial)
A commercial aired for Total Divas. Paige and Nia Jax work at a pizzeria. That looks terrible.

Bobby Lashley and Lio Rush were shown walking backstage. They walked into the trainer’s room with Raw GM Baron Corbin holding his ribs. Corbin thanked Lashley for beating up Balor (remember that Corbin has had issues with Balor). Corbin told Lashley that he gets to be in the World Cup tournament at Crown Jewel and Lashley said he thought that it was full with eight guys. Corbin said it was full, but he’s giving Lashley the spot of John Cena, who didn’t qualify. Lashley was happy about it, so he and Rush left. The fans booed the announcement.
Analysis: There was a rumor of Cena wanting out of Crown Jewel, so there’s the explanation for it. I didn’t expect WWE to come up with much of a reason other than having Corbin replace him. It’s not like WWE is going to tell us that Cena didn’t want to go to the show.

A clip aired from Evolution’s post-show interview with Ronda Rousey when Becky Lynch showed up to congratulate Rousey. Lynch told Rousey that she’ll be seeing her soon and Lynch left.

It was announced that Ronda Rousey will face Becky Lynch at Survivor Series, which is the show where they do some Raw vs. Smackdown matches. That’s huge. Neither title is on the line.

Analysis: That’s going to be interesting to see. I expect Rousey to win, but Lynch should look good in defeat.

The face women made their entrance for the tag team match with Lita, Trish Stratus, Sasha Banks, Bayley and Natalya on the team. The show went to break there.

(Commercial)

The heel team of Mickie James and Alicia Fox with Alexa Bliss entered along with the Riott Squad trio.

Lita, Trish Stratus, Natalya, Sasha Banks and Bayley vs. Ruby Riott, Sarah Logan, Liv Morgan, Mickie James and Alicia Fox (w/Alexa Bliss)
Stratus started the match with Logan with Stratus taking her down with a headscissors. Morgan tagged in, Stratus whipped her into the corner, Lita tagged in and Lita jumped off Trish’s back leading to a clothesline on Morgan. That didn’t look perfect, but it got the job done. Lita with a headscissors on Morgan. Lita hit a DDT on Morgan. Lita went up top, but the Riott Squad pulled Morgan out of the ring, so Sasha and Bayley with a baseball slide on the Riott Squad. Bayley and Banks hit cross body blocks to take out James and Fox on the floor, which led to a break two minutes into it.
(Commercial)
The faces were in control with Stratus and Banks doing a double team elbow on Fox. Banks with a snapmare on Fox, Banks ran the ropes, James grabbed the foot of Banks and Fox took control. James tagged in with a headlock on Banks while the faces clapped to get the crowd into it. James with a knee lift to the ribs of Banks. When Banks tried to tag out, James hit her with a double axe to the back to stop it. Logan tagged in with a suplex attempt that Banks turned into a pin attempt and Logan hit a dropkick for two. Logan slapped on a headlock along with some screaming. Logan prevented Banks from tagging out and kept her in the heel corner. Riott tagged in with stomps on Banks as Cole said he believes he’ll be a Women’s Champion, which he says every match. Cole is very repetitive. Riott with a cheap shot to Lita to prevent a tag while Riott mocked the Stratus point. Riott mocked Banks, Riott charged in, Banks moved and Fox tagged herself in. Banks kicked Fox into her own corner. Natalya got the tag with a clothesline on Fox, Natalya slammed Fox down and the step on the back leading to a dropkick. Natalya with a clothesline on Fox for a two count as Logan made the save. Stratus with a neckbreaker on Logan. Stratus with a headscissors on James and Banks off the top with the double knees on James. The match was out of control. Lita and Bayley each hit a Twist of Fate on Riott Squad members. Bayley went up top and hit a diving elbow on Riott. Lita hit a moonsault off the top on Morgan. Lita held up Fox and Natalya hit a Hart Attack clothesline on Fox for two. Natalya slapped on the Sharpshooter on Fox leading to Fox tapping out to give Natalya’s team the win after 12 minutes.
Winners by submission: Lita, Trish Stratus, Natalya, Sasha Banks and Bayley

Analysis: *** It was a pretty good match that was a lot of fun with the faces cleaning house in the final two minutes to get the win. The crowd was into it. I don’t know if Natalya getting the win means anything in terms of a push, so it was likely just done that way since it was Banks that got the pin at Evolution. The heel side lost two tag team matches at Evolution, plus this match, so all of them look like losers. Next week there will probably be some tag team match where the heels get the win because that’s typical WWE booking.

There were images shown of Nia Jax winning the battle royal at Evolution to earn a championship match.

Nia Jax was interviewed by Kayla Braxton backstage. Jax said that Ronda has Becky Lynch at Survivor Series, so he’ll face Ronda at some point after that. Ember Moon was interviewed as well with Braxton putting over that Moon eliminated five women in the battle royal. Jax wasn’t a fan of Moon being interviewed at the same time, so Moon said that they have teamed up in the past and Moon challenged Jax to a match. Jax accepted the challenge while reminding Moon that she eliminated Moon in the battle royal.

Analysis: They have had a friendly rivalry for a few weeks. It seems to be a respect feud to try to build up Moon.

Another replay aired of Ambrose attacking Rollins last week. They are still to come.

A replay aired from Super Show-Down showing the issues between Triple H, Shawn Michaels, The Undertaker and Kane to set up their Crown Jewel tag team match. They are on Raw later.

The guitar string of Elias was heard because he is up next.

There was a Twizzlers commercial featuring The B Team and Alexa Bliss where they tried to impress her with Twizzlers. She was impressed, but she had no intention of joining The B Team. Twizzlers is a WWE sponsor now.
(Commercial)
There were more images shown from Evolution including a shot of Ric Flair with Charlotte Flair, Becky Lynch, Bayley and Sasha Banks aka WWE’s Four Horsewomen. At least Charlotte and Becky weren't beside eachother for kayfabe reasons.

Let’s Hear from Elias
Elias was in the ring with the spotlight on him as he played the guitar while the fans cheered him because he might be a face after last week’s guitar attack on Baron Corbin. Elias said that he’s the living truth and the truth shall set you free. Elias said that this company will be hoisted on his shoulders. Elias said that he came to Charlotte early because Ric Flair wanted to hang out while adding that Flair was so happy with what Elias did to Corbin last week while adding that Flair wanted to see it again, so Elias asked for it to air again.

Elias said that as much as it pains him to break one of his guitars, that felt good. Elias said that he wanted to call out Corbin, but Corbin is probably hurting after what Strowman did to him earlier. Elias said he’s going to bring his music right to Corbin’s face. Elias told a fan that he knows he paid for an Elias performance and he’s going to get one. Elias walked to the back.

Elias was shown walking backstage when Dana Brooke showed up to ask if he can play her a song. He said “For you? No.” Elias walked up to the office of Corbin and he knocked on the door. Corbin told him to go away. Elias played his song against the closed door of Corbin. Elias sang about how Corbin was a wolf in sheep’s clothing and a coward, so Elias showed the world that Corbin was a taller, stupider version of Kurt. Corbin opened the door selling a rib injury. Elias sang that Corbin used to be the lone wolf, but now he is Stephanie’s…and Corbin left before Elias could say "bitch" there. Jinder Mahal attacked Elias from behind. Mahal kicked Elias in the ribs. Corbin walked out of the room to tell Elias he had a match with Jinder up next.
Analysis: The gimmick of Elias will work fine as a face and booking him against heels that the fans really hate like Corbin and Mahal is a good way of getting Elias that crowd support. The fans were into Elias’ act as a face, so that’s a good sign.

(Commercial)

Both wrestlers were in the ring as the ref called for the bell to start the match.

Jinder Mahal (w/Sunil and Samir Singh) vs. Elias
Elias with a running shoulderblock on Mahal. Mahal came back with a belly to back suplex and the Singh’s caused a distraction. Mahal slapped on a chinlock, knee to the ribs by Mahal on Elias and Mahal with a waist lock to work on the ribs of Elias. They got into a slugfest, Elias with a mule kick out of the corner and Elias fired up with punches. Mahal put Elias on his shoulders, Elias broke free and Elias sent Mahal into the turnbuckle. Elias hit the Drift Away neckbreaker for the pinfall win after about four minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Elias
Analysis: * A boring match that’s typical for most Mahal matches. Mahal worked on the ribs a bit, Elias broke free, hit that Drift Away and that was it. Elias needs to get used to working as a face to have better matches. It was effective in terms of putting Elias over to give him some momentum as a new face.

A replay aired of Lesnar dropping Strowman with a F5 earlier in the show. They meet at Crown Jewel on Friday.

Up next, a video about Kurt Angle’s career to promote Crown Jewel.
(Commercial)
There were images shown from Evolution with media websites covering it. I don’t write for any of the sites, so I’m not plugging them. That’s how I roll.

The brackets for World Cup tournament at Crown Jewel: Rollins vs. Lashley and Angle vs. Ziggler on Raw. On Smackdown it’s Jeff Hardy vs. The Miz and Mysterio vs. Orton.

Analysis: There are some fresh matches like Angle vs. Ziggler, plus an old rivalry renewed with Mysterio facing Orton. I think Rollins should win the tournament, but I’m not sure who it should be. I'll go with Rollins vs. Miz as a final prediction with Rollins winning, but I may change my mind when I do a preview in a few days.

A video package aired about Kurt Angle’s incredible career.

Kurt Angle did a cell phone promo from the gym talking about how he’s not out of his mind in thinking he can win the World Cup. Angle pointed out how he won King of the Ring in 2000, he won the WWE Title in his first year (No Mercy 2000) and he won a gold model with a broken neck in the 1996 Olympics. Angle talked about the Raw guys saying that they better be ready because Angle isn’t proving he has one more match, he’s going to prove he is the best in the world.
Analysis: I believe Angle is one of the best wrestlers ever. When you can spend several years as the best in the world (Angle was arguably the best overall wrestler in WWE from 2001 to 2006 or so), that makes you qualify to be in the discussion among the best ever. Angle spent seven years in WWE and over a decade in TNA/Impact, but he’s still one of the best to ever be in a WWE ring. Angle is among my top three favorite wrestlers ever along with Shawn Michaels and Steve Austin.

The Ascension were in the ring for a triple threat tag team match. Bobby Roode and Chad Gable entered as another team in the match. The AOP team led by Drake Maverick were up as the third team.

The team of Roode/Gable attacked one of the AOP guys by sending him into steel steps. The Ascension took out the other AOP guy by sending him into the ring post. The show went to break there with the match coming up.
(Commercial)
The match began during the break.

AOP (Akam and Rezar) w/Drake Maverick vs. Bobby Roode and Chad Gable vs. The Ascension (Konnor and Viktor)
The first pinfall or submission wins this match. Konnor hit a spinebuster on Gable. Konnor got in a grunting match with a AOP guy, so Gable dropkicked Konnor to send the AOP guy out of the ring. Gable with a rolling German Suplex on Viktor, who was legal, with Roode hitting a neckbreaker and that was good enough to win the match after about two minutes that were shown.
Winners by pinfall: Bobby Roode and Chad Gable
Analysis: 3/4* That was incredibly rushed. I don’t know why WWE is unable to find time on a three hour show for a tag team match. Cut back on the replays of things and give these guys some time to have an actual match.

Post match, Akam and Rezar beat up the other teams including a Super Collider double Powerbomb.
Analysis: It gives AOP an out after they lost a match even though they were not pinned.

There was a clip of Roman Reigns visiting the Children’s Medical Center in Dallas with other WWE superstars. They showed a clip of those kids that Roman met in the hospital and the kids had positive messages for Reigns with one of the kids holding a “You Got This Roman” sign. The fans in the arena chanted “Roman” after the video aired.

Cole cued up a video saying that what he witnessed last week was one of the most selfish acts that he’s ever seen while he was standing right beside Dean’s wife Renee.

That led to another video package showing the Ambrose turn on Rollins. They are up next at the top of hour three.

Analysis: This show is full of video packages. Too many them. It's so awkward seeing Cole rip on Ambrose with Renee there while she must have been told to not talk about it, which is silly.

(Commercial)

Let’s Hear from Seth Rollins
Seth Rollins, the Intercontinental Champion, made his entrance to a positive reaction from the crowd. Rollins had the IC Title around his waist. Rollins did not have the Raw Tag Team Title with him.

Rollins did a promo thanking the fans for the support they have shown Roman Reigns. The fans started a “Thank You Roman” chant. Rollins said that positivity makes him happy and feel good. Rollins said that last week, he became Raw Tag Team Champion for the third time. Rollins said that it makes him feel sad because he should be celebrating with his partner Dean Ambrose, but there’s no celebration because Ambrose turned his back on all of them.

Rollins said that he has been feeling a little guilty because he’s been wondering if it wasn’t his fault. Rollins said that maybe what he did four years ago led to Ambrose doing what he did. Rollins said that he feels frustrated, he’s confused and the only person that has the answer to his questions is Dean Ambrose. Rollins noted that he didn’t call or text, but one thing he knew for sure is that he could find Ambrose here tonight. Rollins called out Ambrose to tell us why he did what he did to Rollins last week.

The music of Dean Ambrose started up, but Ambrose did not enter by walking down the ramp. Ambrose was in the crowd where The Shield used to make their entrances. Rollins told Ambrose to walk to the ring to face Rollins like a man to give him the answer he deserves. Rollins said that at least when he put the knife in Ambrose’s back, he stared him in the eyes to tell him why he did it. Rollins yelled at Ambrose to walk down the stairs to face him like a man.

Ambrose stood on the steps in the crowd and Ambrose had a microphone in hand as he made angry faces at the crowd. Ambrose teased saying something while the fans booed him. Ambrose didn’t say something. Rollins yelled about how when Roman announced he had leukemia, Ambrose made it all about himself. Rollins was fired up yelling at Ambrose saying that he’s going to make his life a living hell. Rollins said that maybe it’s not a nickname, maybe Ambrose is a soulless lunatic. Rollins said he’ll go up there to beat an answer out of Ambrose. That led to Ambrose leaving without saying a word. Rollins was frustrated about it as the segment ended right there. It went about ten minutes.
Analysis: Rollins did a good job of being the noble babyface at the start of the promo and then he showed a lot of intensity when he was yelling at Ambrose for some answers. There was a tease of Ambrose giving some answers, but he didn’t say a word. That’s going to piss off some fans, which is a way to get Ambrose heat by having him refuse to say a word. It’s notable that Renee Young, who is Dean’s wife, has said nothing about her husband’s actions whenever it has been mentioned. I assume that she was instructed to just avoid talking about it. There was also nothing done about the Raw Tag Team Title situation with Rollins and Ambrose as the champs that are now against eachother. It’s a slow build to a Rollins vs. Ambrose match, which is fine.

The duo of Lashley and Lio Rush were interviewed by Charly Caruso. Rush said that Lashley’s going to dominate the World Cup while adding that Lashley has done it all. Rush said that Lashley is money and will prove he’s the best in the world as well.

A video aired about Triple H and Shawn Michaels setting up the Crown Jewel match when they were on Raw a few weeks ago.
Analysis: It feels like this week’s Raw has had more videos from moments from the past than any week in a long time. I know that they need to air them sometimes, but it’s hurting the quality of the show with less action in the ring.

Nia Jax made her entrance for her match after the break.
(Commercial)
Ember Moon entered for the match against Jax.

Nia Jax vs. Ember Moon
Jax was aggressive early on with a corner splash. Moon went up top, Jax put her on her shoulders, Moon got back to her feet and Jax hit a running clothesline to put down Moon. Jax stomped on the chest of Moon followed by Jax. Clothesline by Jax. Bearhug applied by Jax, Moon broke free and Jax tossed Moon across the ring. Jax charged, Moon moved and Jax went shoulder first into the ring post…sort of. That looked awkward. Moon to the middle ropes leading to a somersault dive onto Jax on the floor. Jax with a headbutt and she rolled Moon into the ring. Tamina’s theme music played as she walked down to the ring. Jax decked Moon with an elbow to the head and Jax hit a leg drop on Moon for the pinfall win after three minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Nia Jax
Analysis: * Easy win for Jax. It made Moon look like such a loser one night after the fans wanted Moon to break out by winning the battle royal. Jax matches bore me.

After the match was over, Tamina got in Jax’s face and had a staredown. Tamina left.

Analysis: It looked like maybe Tamina and Nia would align as a heel duo, but that didn’t happen. Perhaps it will happen in the future because I think Jax is better as a heel especially as a future opponent of Rousey.

The announcers went over the lineup at Crown Jewel on Friday. I have the full lineup at the bottom of this post. I think I’ll write a preview up by Wednesday and then a live review will go up on TJRWrestling on Friday when it airs. The start time is 12pmET/9amPT.

Still to come we’ll see Degeneration X and Brothers of Destruction in the main event segment.

The Raw debut of the Lucha House Party is up next, so they have graduated from 205 Live. A video aired showing them in action.
(Commercial)
This week on Smackdown there’s a face off between AJ Styles and Daniel Bryan ahead of their WWE Title match at Crown Jewel.

Analysis: There’s a rumor that Bryan doesn’t want to be a part of Crown Jewel, so maybe there will be some injury angle on Smackdown this week.

The Lucha House Party trio of Kalisto, Lince Dorado and Gran Metalik made their entrance. They had pinatas with them while leading the crowd in “Lucha” chants. They face The Revival duo, who did not get a televised entrance.

Lucha House Party (Kalisto and Lince Dorado) w/Gran Metalik vs. The Revival (Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder)
Kalisto was on fire with a dropkick that sent Wilder out of the ring. Dorado hit a cross body block to take out Dawson on the floor. Back in the ring, Wilder took control with a belly to back suplex on Kalisto. Dawson worked over Kalisto by stretching him across his back. Dawson hit an uppercut on Kalisto. Dawson decked Kalisto with a clothesline. Kalisto popped back up, he hit the Salida del Sol on Dawson (Metalik distracted Dawson) and Dorado hit a cross body block on Wilder. Kalisto pinned Dawson to win. It went about three minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Lucha House Party (Kalisto and Lince Dorado)

Analysis: *3/4 It was another short match on a show full of short matches. The matches don’t seem like a big deal this week at all. The Raw tag team division is weak, so adding the Lucha House Party was a smart move. The bad thing about it is The Revival need to be booked better, but you can’t have everybody win every week. I don’t mind the addition of Lucha House Party to the tag team division although I have my doubts that WWE will push them far.

Dolph Ziggler is up next.
(Commercial)
There were more images shown from Evolution on Sunday.

Dolph Ziggler walked out with his buddy Drew McIntyre, who was also in his ring gear even though he’s not in a match. Ziggler’s part of the WWE World Cup at Crown Jewel where he will face Kurt Angle.

Ziggler did a promo saying this Friday is WWE Crown Jewel and he knows he’s got his eye on the prize. McIntyre said that now that they have finally broken The Shield, their full undivided attention and then he specified his undivided attention will be on Braun Strowman vs. Brock Lesnar for the Universal Championship. Ziggler said that whoever wins that match will have a target on their back and a Claymore Kick ready for them.

Ziggler spoke about how during his entire career, he’s looked up to Kurt Angle. Ziggler talked about what Angle did in collegiate wrestling and in the Olympics where he won a gold medal with a broken freakin’ neck. Some fans chanted “USA” so he paused. Ziggler said that without Kurt Angle, guys like Ziggler wouldn’t exist in WWE and Ziggler said that he’s Ziggler while Kurt is not. Ziggler said that all the years of hard work stealing show after show, he will cement his legacy and win the World Cup. Ziggler said that tonight you’ll get an example of what will happen. Ziggler said he’s the best thing to happen in this business and he is the best in the world.

Analysis: It was a confident promo from Ziggler while McIntyre made it clear he’s going after the Universal Title. Strowman should win the Universal Championship, so Strowman vs. McIntyre will be the next feud for that title. I’m fine with it because it’s fresh and I like both guys.

Here comes Apollo Crews to no reaction and that match is after a break.
(Commercial)
The match began during the break.

Dolph Ziggler (w/Drew McIntyre) vs. Apollo Crews
Ziggler was in control as the match was joined in progress. Crews hit a kick to the face followed by a jumping clothesline. Crews with another kick to the face as the announcers did their usual spiel about Crews having so much potential. You have said it for several years, WWE. Let him show it. Crews went up top, Ziggler tripped him up and got a pinfall for a two count. Ziggler went for a superkick, Crews caught the foot and Crews hit a Gorilla Press Slam on Ziggler. Standing moonsault by Crews got a two count. Crews with a slow climb up top, Ziggler went after him, Crews shoved him down and Crews went for a splash, but Ziggler got the knees up to block the splash. Ziggler hit a superkick on Crews for the pinfall win after about four minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Dolph Ziggler
Analysis: *1/2 It was a simple win to put over Ziggler to show that he’s ready for Crown Jewel. Crews got in a bit more offense than I would have expected, so that’s nice to see. Ziggler winning was the obvious finish. I'm glad that McIntyre didn't interfere because Ziggler should have won this on his own.

The foursome of Triple H and Shawn Michaels along with The Undertaker and Kane are up next in the main event segment.

(Commercial)

Main Event Old Guys Segment
Kane, the mayor of Knoxville, made his entrance for the main event segment. The Undertaker joined his storyline brother as they slowly walked down to the ring and it took them about three minutes to get to the ring.

Analysis: I had a guy recently complain to me for making fun of Undertaker for writing how long his entrance. I wasn’t making fun. I was giving details to the reader. It was one of the weirdest complaints I’ve ever read and there have been some weird ones.

The purple light was on the Brothers of Destruction in the ring. Undertaker did a promo saying that it’s not easy to say goodbye or reach the end, but when the reaper calls, no matter how hard you fight, it’s your time to go. Kane said that in the distance, they can hear their names being whispered and as time went by, it got louder. Kane said that the whisper has now become deafening. Undertaker said this Friday at WWE Crown Jewel (that drew boos), he said the Brothers of Destruction will take DX to the fiery gates of hell. Undertaker said that it won’t be swift, it will be slow, agonizing pain. Taker said that it will not just be the end of era, it will be the end of their error. Kane said that is this Friday and tonight, Triple H and Shawn Michaels are being summoned to this ring right now. Undertaker said that they can take their souls for eternity so that they can never rest in…and “Are you Ready?” hit at 11:06pmET for the DX entrance.

The Degeneration X music played as Triple H tossed some glowsticks into the crowd. Hunter looked behind him for Shawn Michaels, then Hunter walked back to the entrance and Kane left the ring. Michaels showed up from behind Undertaker, who turned around, and Michaels hit Undertaker with a superkick. Shawn and Hunter celebrated their actions in the aisle while Undertaker sat up leading to a pop from the crowd.

The Undertaker’s music played leading to the staredown between the two teams. Undertaker did his throat slash with the tongue out as Raw ended at 11:08pmET with Cole hyping up Crown Jewel this Friday on WWE Network.
Analysis: That was okay. It's just simple stuff to get people interested in the tag team match. I thought the Brothers of Destruction would go over at Crown Jewel since Triple H beat Undertaker at Super Show-Down anyway, so that booking with DX getting the advantage makes me more sure of the Brothers pick.

I’m not that interested in the tag team match after how old Hunter and Undertaker looked at Super Show-Down, but maybe these old dudes have something left in the tank to entertain us. I guess we’ll find out at Crown Jewel.

Three Stars of the Show

  1. Seth Rollins
  2. Finn Balor
  3. Brock Lesnar

It was tough to pick anybody. It was a poor show.

 

The Scoreboard
3.5 out of 10
Last week: 6
2018 Average: 5.75
Last 5 Weeks: 6, 5, 7, 6.5, 6.5
2018 High: 8 (February 19)
2018 Low: 3.5 (October 29)
 

Final Thoughts
I give it a 3.5 out of 10.
This felt like a below average show from the beginning. It's my lowest score for a Raw this year and I swear I'm not even in a bad mood today. I was just bored by this Raw. I know they are reeling on Raw after the Roman Reigns news from last week. It just feels like they don’t have much direction. The opening segment was very basic just like the closing segment. People may have tuned in for the Dean Ambrose heel turn explanation, but there was nothing to that.

It's such a weird period for WWE because they spent a lot of the show hyping Crown Jewel, yet it doesn't feel like a big deal at all. It just feels like a random big show where WWE is getting paid a lot of money to put it on. Even with the guarantee of a new Universal Champion, Raw is not that exciting of a product right now.

In terms of matches, there was nothing that stood out at all although I liked the women’s tag team match. Everything else was either too short or had a bad finish. It was not a good night for in-ring action.

Here’s the updated lineup for men’s only Crown Jewel taking place this Friday, November 2. The start time is 12pmET for me, so I plan to write about live on Friday afternoon.
Universal Championship Match for the Vacant Universal Championship: Brock Lesnar vs. Braun Strowman
Triple H and Shawn Michaels vs. The Undertaker and Kane
WWE Championship: AJ Styles vs. Daniel Bryan (The match may not happen with Bryan reportedly not wanting to work the show.)
WWE World Cup: Seth Rollins vs. Bobby Lashley, Kurt Angle vs. Dolph Ziggler, Jeff Hardy vs. The Miz and Randy Orton vs. Rey Mysterio. The winners face off in the semifinals and then the winners of that face off in the finals.
Smackdown Tag Team Titles: The Bar (Sheamus & Cesaro) (c) vs. The New Day (Kofi Kingston, Big E and Xavier Woods)

I'll have a preview up on Wednesday most likely as well.
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You can contact me using any of the methods below. See ya next time for the Smackdown review. Go Los Angeles Rams, Toronto Raptors and Toronto Maple Leafs. Thanks for reading.

John Canton

Email: mrjohncanton@gmail.com
Twitter: @johnreport
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