Monday Night Raw
Date: August 27, 2018
Location: Scotiabank Arena, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Commentators: Michael Cole, Corey Graves, Jonathan Coachman
I’m interested in where the big story goes this week. Last time around Shield came in and cost Braun Strowman the chance to cash in his Money in the Bank briefcase, which in theory should make them villains. I mean, Strowman told everyone what he was going to do and Reigns knew he was there but Shield came out anywhere. Maybe we’ll get something this week, especially with the Cell coming up. Let’s get to it.
Here’s Roman Reigns to open things up and the fans aren’t exactly thrilled. He does however do the always cool fist bump to a very excited kid. Cole recaps last week’s match with Finn Balor, calling it a “thirty minute barn burner”. Eh, nineteen minutes, thirty minutes. Close enough. Cole also talks about Reigns defending the title over the weekend at live events, which is a nice touch.
Reigns says he told Braun Strowman to meet him out here at 8pm and it’s 8:05. If Strowman isn’t out here, the open challenge is on because he won this title to defending it. Cue Strowman to say he doesn’t think much of Reigns because of how he got out of trouble last week. Reigns says the Shield is a brotherhood of workhorses. All Strowman knows how to do is say GET THESE HANDS, but those hands never raise titles. Reigns has won everything there is to win around here so cash in that briefcase and let’s have this title match.
Strowman isn’t doing that tonight because he knows Rollins and Ambrose will run straight in for the save. Instead, he’ll cash in on September 16 inside the Cell, where no one can help Reigns. That’s cool with Reigns, but here are Dolph Ziggler and Drew McIntyre to interrupt. Ziggler says Summerslam was a crime because the Intercontinental Title was stolen from him. He’ll cash in his rematch clause on his terms, but for now he needs a new challenge.
Drew says Reigns and Strowman are at the top of them mountain and now they have to come tumbling down. That’s a challenge, but Reigns wants to do it right now. Baron Corbin comes out, approves Strowman’s cash-in for the Cell, and makes the tag match that was just announced.
I’m split on the Strowman vs. Reigns announcement. I really, really like the idea of announcing the cash-in in advance to mix things up for a change, but Strowman is done when he loses again (which he will). It’s almost like having Reigns wait an extra four months to get the title was a really bad idea as Reigns is going to keep the belt for a LONG time, meaning Strowman still isn’t going to win and we spent over a year waiting on him to get a grand total of nowhere. But hey, at least Reigns had another crowning moment, because winning the World Title in the main event of Wrestlemania was just a thing.
Corbin comes to the ring and announces himself vs. Finn Balor, right now, meaning he’s ready and Balor isn’t.
Finn Balor vs. Baron Corbin
Corbin runs him over and does the slide underneath the ropes clothesline. The chinlock (take a shot) goes on as the fans think Corbin can’t wrestle. Balor fights up and jumps over the ropes, only to get knocked to the floor. Back in and we hit the chinlock again (that has to be a rib of some sort) before Corbin throws him outside again. A Sling Blade on the floor puts Corbin down and we take a break.
We come back with, you guessed it, Corbin holding a chinlock. The second slide underneath the ropes is cut off by a forearm but Deep Six gets two. Corbin gets knocked outside for the big flip dive but he can’t hit the Coup de Grace. Instead Corbin hits him with the chair for the DQ at 11:10. Actually hang on as Corbin says he forgot to mention that this was No DQ. More chair shots set up the End of Days for the pin at 12:38. So Balor goes from squashing Corbin at Summerslam to nearly winning the Universal Title to losing to Corbin in a pretty weak match to continue their already too long feud. Thanks for that WWE.
Rating: C-. This can be added to the list of matches I never need to see again. That being said, I could probably see the match coming up again at the pay per view, possibly even in the Cell. The problem continues to be that WWE seems to have no idea how to end a feud, because there’s no good reason to keep this going after the destruction at Summerslam. Give Balor ANYTHING else to do, like feud with Ziggler or McIntyre for example. Actually we can’t do that either, because their several months long feud with Rollins is still going. See how this is a problem?
Clip of HHH’s big speech against Undertaker last week.
Various legends (Jeff Jarrett, Ric Flair, Kevin Nash, Christian and Mick Foley) have weighed in on the match. It’s not that big of a deal.
Dana Brooke and Apollo Crews talk about flips and getting Dana on Evolution. Titus O’Neil comes in and says she has a match tonight. It’s against Sasha Banks. Dana is nervous and leaves as Apollo thinks Titus is nuts. Titus believes in her though and Apollo goes along with it.
Sasha Banks vs. Dana Brooke
Dana rolls her up for one to start and seems to let Banks up before the kickout. The threat of a Bank Statement sends Dana bailing to the floor but it’s time to pose back inside. A step up enziguri gives Dana two and she hammers away with some right hands. The top rope Meteora drops Dana and the Bank Statement is good for the tap at 2:31. Dana got in some offense here and it was nice to have Banks and Bayley get away from the Riott Squad for a bit.
Jinder Mahal comes up to Dean Ambrose and talks about all the anger inside him. Meditation is offered and Dean sees himself breaking a lot of Mahal’s bones. That’s enough for Mahal.
Here’s a well received Seth Rollins for a chat. He looks at the Shield shirt and says it’s time for the family business. They’re proud of being workhorses (second member of the team to say that) so let’s have an Open Challenge. Cue Kevin Owens to a MONSTER pop to say that his return to Raw has been a nightmare. If he had his best friend at Summerslam, he would be Universal Champion right now. The terrible summer ends tonight because he isn’t leaving here without a title, even though he’d rather be in Montreal. Owens speaks some French
Intercontinental Title: Seth Rollins vs. Kevin Owens
Rollins is defending and Owens is still rather popular here. Feeling out process to start with Rollins hitting a clothesline to put Owens on the floor. Back in and Rollins hits a slingshot Fameasser onto the middle rope. A clothesline off the steps puts Owens down and we take a break.
We come back with Owens holding a chinlock and getting two off a backsplash to the arm. The armbar goes on and Rollins starts to scream. They head outside with Owens missing the Cannonball into the barricade, allowing Rollins to chop away. Back to back suicide dives have Owens in trouble but he blasts the third attempt with a right hand. Rollins hits the other dive anyway and we take a second break.
We come back with Rollins hitting the frog splash, stopping to shake his bad arm, and then getting two. Owens sends the bad arm into the post and puts on a Crossface. As Rollins crawls to the ropes, Owens turns it into something like a camel clutch to keep Rollins in trouble. A foot on the ropes gets Rollins out of trouble and frustration is setting in. Some right hands to the face just annoy Rollins and he jumps over the Pop Up Powerbomb. A low superkick rocks Owens but he counters the Stomp into a Stunner of all things for two.
The fans are WAY into this and Owens takes him up top, only to get reversed into a running buckle bomb. Owens no sells it and superkicks Rollins for a hot near fall and they’re both down. It’s Owens up first but Rollins catches him on top and they slug it out. Rollins gets shoved down and lands on the arm but is still able to avoid a moonsault. The Stomp retains the title at 22:11.
Rating: B+. Heck of a fight here and I was actually buying the chance that the title was going to change. Owens is someone who can bring the great stuff when he’s given the chance and that’s what happened here. It’s amazing how much better Rollins is when he doesn’t have Ziggler doing the same stuff every week as this was a nice change of pace.
Post match, Rollins nods at him in respect.
Kurt Angle isn’t sure if his vacation is permanent or not.
We recap the opening segment.
Strowman officially gives Corbin the briefcase to confirm the cash-in.
Back from a break with Owens sitting in the ring in a chair. He says he quits and leaves, taking the tape off his hands as he goes.
Ziggler and McIntyre are ready to face Strowman and Reigns because there is no way they’re healthy either physically or mentally after last week. It’s time to change things around here.
B Team vs. Revival
Non-title and JoJo seems to laugh during the B Team’s entrance. Scott Dawson really isn’t happy with B Team holding the titles and sent out a tweet apologizing to the Midnight Express for allowing it. Axel gets sent into the corner to start but comes back with a running dropkick. The announcers talk about Owens, which does mean more at the moment. Revival is sent outside and we take a break. Back with Dallas trying to fight out of a chinlock but getting taken down with a drop toehold.
A tornado DDT doesn’t work though and Dallas hits his hanging swinging neckbreaker. Wilder seems to be holding his neck and brings Dawson in while laying on the apron. The hot tag brings in Axel to clean house but Wilder breaks up the PerfectPlex. A small package has Axel covered but Dallas turns it over again, just like at Summerslam. Unlike at Summerslam, this one is only good for two and the Shatter Machine finishes Axel at 8:50. That’s the B Team’s first loss and thankfully Wilder seems fine.
Rating: D. Another match that just came and went as WWE gets to show off its creative muscles by using option B to set up a title match. The whole point of the B Team is they use dumb luck to win matches and now they’re just losing clean in a short match on Raw. That’s the result of their face turn though, because WWE doesn’t know many ways to book a face act.
Post match the Revival holds up the titles and says we went from the Road Warriors to the Andersons to this. They can take the titles whenever they want them so keep the them warm. Top guys out.
Here’s Elias for some guitar. He talks about how things will get tough but never stray from the truth: WWE stands for Walk With Elias. The fans seem to agree but it’s time for Elias to sing. Actually hang on as Elias just had a moment of clarity. When Drake said he started from the bottom, he meant Toronto. Cue Trish Stratus of all people to interrupt and of course that gets a reaction. Elias makes this seem like a big deal for her and Trish says she’s a fan.
Trish tells him to hold his applause and shut his mouth but Elias says another performance in Toronto is like the Maple Leafs winning the Stanley Cup: it’s never happening in their lifetimes. Trish: “Kind of like you winning a WWE Championship.” She talks about ending her career here in Toronto but she’s coming back to face Alexa Bliss at Evolution. Elias says he’s looking forward to the swimsuit pillow fight so Trish tells him to get out. She clearly just wants to walk with Elias but he doesn’t date women in their 60s. That’s good for a slap and here are Ronda Rousey and Natalya as Elias bails.
Natalya vs. Alicia Fox
Before the match, Alexa Bliss says Trish is looking great but all that Stratusphere Yoga isn’t going to get her ready for the beating at Evolution. For tonight though, Bliss says she’s invoking her rematch clause against Rousey at Hell in a Cell. Of course it’s not here because she doesn’t like Canada and those accents freak her out. Mickie James comes out to keep an eye on Trish and we’re ready to go.
The threat of an early Sharpshooter freaks Fox out so Natalya dropkicks her in the ear instead. Back in and Fox knocks her down for two and asks WHAT IS GOING ON. The chinlock doesn’t last long and it’s the Sharpshooter to make Fox tap at 2:15. Like the Canadians were losing here.
Post break Trish, Ronda and Natalya run into the Bellas and take a picture.
More legends speak on HHH vs. Undertaker.
Corbin is calling for a masseuse when Bobby Lashley comes in to laugh at him. Therefore, Lashley can face someone next.
Bobby Lashley vs. Ascension
Lashley runs Viktor over with a shoulder to start but Konnor gets in a shot from behind to take over. Viktor’s front facelock has almost no effect and gets thrown away. The spinebuster gives Lashley the pin at 2:26.
Dean Ambrose vs. Jinder Mahal
Dang he looks a lot like HHH. Ambrose clotheslines him outside in a hurry and chops Mahal up against the barricade. Back in and Mahal knees him in the face, followed by a knee drop for two (I guess they’re both like HHH). Ambrose drops him ribs first on the top rope, shrugs off the Khallas, and finishes with the Dirty Deeds at 3:48.
Rating: D. The match was nothing but happy days are here again with Jinder being treated like the jobber that he always should have been. A win over him doesn’t mean anything but Dean gets to look dominant after a competitive match last week. Thankfully they didn’t try to make this competitive because Mahal is right back where he was two years ago, but with a big line on his resume.
Strowman and Reigns don’t like each other but they’ll work together tonight. In 20 days, Strowman destroys him. Reigns says in 21 days, Strowman is waking up.
Next week: Bellas vs. Riott Squad, B Team vs. Revival for the titles and Shawn Michaels talking about HHH vs. Undertaker.
Dolph Ziggler/Drew McIntyre vs. Roman Reigns/Braun Strowman
Roman and Ziggler start as it’s already after 11pm. A clothesline puts Ziggler on the floor and Strowman approves. The apron dropkick rocks Ziggler but McIntyre kicks Roman in the face to take over. Back in and Ziggler gets two off the running DDT, followed by the sleeper. The big jumping elbow gets two and it’s right back to the sleeper.
Reigns finally shoves him away and the big boot drops Ziggler. The hot tag attempt is broken up by McIntyre, who throws Reigns with an overhead belly to belly. Reigns Superman Punches Ziggler out of the air and Strowman gets the hot tag….but doesn’t get in. Reigns gets stomped down as Strowman watches from the apron. The referee disqualifies…..I’m not sure actually but the match ends at 8:50.
Rating: D+. Just an angle and there’s nothing wrong with that. There’s something wrong with wasting the last year plus on Strowman for the sake of having him be Reigns’ first victim, but that’s another rant for another time. As usual McIntyre looks better in ten second than Ziggler looked working most of the match, but that goes without saying.
Post match Strowman says he’s not finished with Reigns and beats him down. Ziggler and McIntyre join in until Ambrose comes in for the failed save. Rollins runs down and gets beaten up as well. A bunch of powerslams leave the Shield laying and Strowman poses with his new friends to end the show.
Overall Rating: C-. I’m not sure what to think of this show. I wasn’t bored and they kept things moving, but there were so many issues in it that the good took some hits. First of all there’s the big angle, which makes me shake my head at how long we waited on Reigns to win the title, all while Strowman was the most popular guy in the company. I’m so glad that we spent all that time, just so Reigns can have a big name victim. It’s nice that they have something in mind, but this company really doesn’t buy into the concept of striking while the person is hot.
Then there’s the women’s stuff, which was more of the “oh we’re all sisters and love each other” between the Bellas and Rousey and Natalya, which is really just rather annoying. Then again that may be the Bellas in general (I guess wine and lingerie weren’t paying the bills now that Cena is gone).
Evolution is turning into one of the weirder builds they’ve done in a long time, especially since it’s over two months away and there are two other big shows in the middle. I’m curious about where Lashley and Owens’ stories are going, though at the same time you have Balor vs. Corbin killing interest every time the non-Demon version of Balor is out there.
It’s like they’re trying to focus on everything at once and that doesn’t really work when the stories aren’t the greatest in the first place. The show wasn’t bad, but I could go for them cooling it with Super Show-Down and Evolution for a week or two. At least until after the Cell, which should be a bigger deal than it’s being made out to be with two and a half weeks of shows left.
Baron Corbin b. Finn Balor – End of Days
Sasha Banks b. Dana Brooke – Bank Statement
Seth Rollins b. Kevin Owens – The Stomp
Revival b. B Team – Shatter Machine to Axel
Natalya b. Alicia Fox – Sharpshooter
Bobby Lashley b. Ascension – Spinebuster to Viktor
Dean Ambrose b. Jinder Mahal – Dirty Deeds
Roman Reigns/Braun Strowman b. Dolph Ziggler/Drew McIntyre via DQ when Ziggler and McIntyre double teamed Reigns
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