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WWE Raw results, live blog (April 23, 2018): Brock Lesnar returns

WWE Monday Night Raw comes waltzing back into our lives tonight (April 23, 2018) from the Scottrade Center in St. Louis, Missouri, featuring the go home show to the upcoming Greatest Royal Rumble event set for this Friday night in Saudi Arabia.

Advertised for tonight: The Beast is back, all the final angles headed into Greatest Royal Rumble, the first show post-Superstar Shakeup, and more!

Come right back here at 8 p.m. ET when the Raw live blog kicks off once the show starts on USA. It will be below this line here. (REMINDER: NO GIFS OR PICS ARE ALLOWED IN THE COMMENTS SECTION. OFFENDERS WILL BE BANNED.)


Oh Shenandoah, I hear you calling... far away you rolling river. Roll down the mountain side, on down, on down, go lassie go. Oh, tell me the legends of long ago, when the kings and queens would dance in the realms of the Black Rose. Play me the melodies so I might know so I can tell my children, oh, but in the meantime, I’m gonna liveblog this here pro wrestling show for you, folks.

The show opens with a graphic in memory of the late, great Bruno Sammartino.

Live in the arena, the roster is on the stage decked out in Bruno shirts and we get a ten bell salute for the longest-reigning WWE Champion of all time. This feeds in turn into the obligatory and excellently put together tribute video package in his memory.

Brock Lesnar then makes his entrance, flanked by Paul Heyman as always, and we go to break.

Back from commercial, Paul Heyman begins, pausing for boos from the crowd before launching into his usual introduction.

He says we all think they’re out here to gloat and tell us he told us so and it was just like when Brock conquered the Undertaker’s undefeated streak, but when it comes to Brock Lesnar, nobody stands a chance any more than any of the wannabe tough guys in attendance tonight. He doesn’t offer predictions, he gives spoilers, and they don’t have to gloat, because Lesnar doesn’t gloat, he conquers.

Paul Heyman gloats all night long, though, about how Brock used non-PG elbow smashes to scar up Roman’s face, took him to Suplex City, hit multiple F-5s and left Reigns in a heap like a piece of Samoan trash to be thrown out the next morning. Brock doesn’t dwell on the past, he looks forward to the future, especially when the future is Friday in Saudi Arabia at the Greatest Royal Rumble.

Heyman goes on about how Brock’s gonna leave Roman laying again and says that the steel cage on Friday was actually Brock’s idea and how he’s stepping in the cage with the greatest fighter in the history of the... sigh... Brocktagon, and Lesnar is going to shred Reigns piece by piece, limb from limb, so that Roman will come back to the United States in multiple boxes as a former WWE superstar and victim at the hands--

Enter Roman Reigns. He gets in the ring and squares up with the Beast, who is jovial and jawing at him as Roman stands firm and stares on. The Big Dog gets on the mic and admits Brock is right, he doesn’t know how he’s getting back, but he does know one thing, he’s coming home with the Universal Championship and you can believe that.

Commentary hypes up the Sami & Kevin Show with Kurt Angle later as well as a ten-woman tag team match. We cut to Elias walking backstage and go to break.

Back from commercial we get a bumper of social media posts in memory of Bruno Sammartino.

Elias is in the ring to play us a song... and is instantly interrupted by his opponent.

Bobby Roode vs. Elias

Collar and elbow, Elias with a side headlock, Roode shoots him off, takes the shoulder block, drop down, elbow smash from Bobby takes the Drifter off guard. Chops in the corner, whip reversed, Samson runs into a boot, ducks the blockbuster, Roode comes up lame but hits the Manhattan Drop into a dropkick for two! Armbar applied, dropping a knee to the bicep, arm wringer and the Drifter hits a right to break.

Chops against the ropes, whip, Glorious DDT blocked but Bobby clotheslines him to the floor and taunts to send us to break.

Back from commercial, Elias is in control and backing Roode into the corner, but the former US Champion turns him around and fires off a few chops. Whip, back body drop scouted and the Drifter clobbers him with an elbow to the back of the neck and puts him shoulder first into the ringpost. Trapezius claw applied, trying to grind the Glorious One down but he gets to his feet and they trade blows.

Elias with boots in the corner, boot to the midsection, he floats to the floor and smashes Bob’s face into the apron before following it up with a running knee and taking him back in the ring for a nearfall! Crossface into a reverse chinlock, Roode struggling to his feet, the Drifter takes him back down but Bobby counters with a back suplex and both men are down and out.

Right hand blocked, Roode fires back, chops and punches, whip reversed but he takes the Drifter down with a flying forearm. Lariat, another in the corner, setting up the swinging neckbreaker and Bobby is fired up! Perching up top, diving lariat connects and Roode calls for it but Elias counters with a back body drop, roll through, sunset flip... NOPE!

Struggle in the corner, diving blockbuster connects, to the floor, back in, Elias wrenches Roode across the middle rope...

Elias wins by pinfall with an overrotated schoolboy pin.

Matt Hardy is in the blue room and he says he’s spoken to the Oracle at Delphi and the future is clear. At the most humongous rumble of royalty, they will procure the tag titles, but before they celebrate and traverse the Atlantic, they have to descend into the abominable wasteland! He asks Bray if he’s prepared and the lights dim and Wyatt appears.

Bray says without dark there can be no light, and together they’ll cast a shadow that will engulf all living things. They share a moment and turn to tell the camera to run to send us to break.

Back from commercial we’re informed of the birth of the Rock’s newest child.

Bray Wyatt & Matt Hardy vs. the Ascension (Konnor & Viktor)

Viktor and Hardy to start, circling, collar and elbow into a cartwheel from Viktor and Matt decrees it wonderful! Duck a lariat, side Russian legsweep, tag to Wyatt. Double whip into a double back elbow, leg drop / senton combo, a stomp, Viktor blocks the big Rock Bottom and makes the tag. Konnor in with punches, Bray drops him with a lariat and makes the tag!

Shoulder block, “DELETE!” fingers, kick to the midsection, Twist of Fate blocked and Viktor tags back in as the Ascension beat his Broken Brilliance down. Quick tags, isolating him, big elbow drop from Konnor, Viktor drops a fist, cover ocmes up empty and he goes to a reverse chinlock. Matt to his feet, jawbreaker escape, tag to Wyatt! Running him over with a larait, palm strikes into a big right, big boot, duck a lariat, HUGE flying crossbody block!

Fired up in the corner, tag made, Side Effect... NOPE! Going for Twist of Fate, Konnor breaks it up, Bray in with Sister Abigail, tag made...

Bray Wyatt & Matt Hardy win by pinfall with an assisted DDT on Viktor.

Commentary hypes up the Sami & Kevin Show and we go to break.

Back from commercial we get some more social media posts in memory of Bruno Sammartino.

Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens make their entrance and welcome us to their show.

Owens says last week a great void was created with the departure of the Miz, but who better to step up and fill that voice than the two of them? And who better to win the Greatest Royal Rumble than one of them? KO asks if Sami knows why it’s called the Greatest Royal Rumble, and it’s not because Rusev’s wife gave him permission to wrestle the Undertaker, it’s because they’re going to win and prove how great they are.

Sami says they’re gonna prove why Stephanie McMahon picked them as the crown jewels of Raw and Owens points out that’s probably rubbing their guest the wrong way, and as a token of appreciation for their guest they came up with a song. It is, of course, the chorus of “You suck!”s that go with Kurt Angle’s theme.

Mr. Angle makes his entrance. They get a lawn chair out for him and ask how he liked the song, to which he says they shouldn’t quit their day jobs. KO admits they got off on the wrong foot, and he’d probably be bitter if his boss had his manhood in a little jar somewhere. Sami plays it off like they’re kidding and says SmackDown was a toxic work environment.

They recount Shane McMahon’s personal vendetta and this leads Angle to point out that if it wasn’t for him, Ronda Rousey would be under Steph’s thumb and McMahon would have full use of her arm. Sami and Kev point out that this isn’t the best tack to take given he has his five or six kids to worry about. (Zayn forgot Jason Jordan, you see. But that’s no big deal because Kurt forgot about him for years, too.)

Enough about the past, Kev wants to talk about the future and what Kurt is going to do to give them the opportunity to maximize Stephanie’s investment in them. Angle says he appreciates the way he’s been treated and wants to repay it, which is why he’s going to be in the Greatest Royal Rumble alongside Daniel Bryan, Chris Jericho, and every other superstar they’ve endeared over the years.

But that’s Friday, and this is Raw and he wants to repay them tonight as well. So he makes a tag team match between them on one side and Bobby Lashley and Braun Strowman on the other.

In the locker room, Seth Rollins is smiling at his phone when the Miztourage rolls up. Bo Dallas says they said goodbye to Miz last week and Curtis Axel drops Rollins’ catchphrase before they reveal they’re wearing Monday Night Rollins shirts. Bo suggests they could be the new Shield and they hold their fists out as Seth starts to let them down gently before informing them it’s a hard no.

Commentary shills for the WWE Network by way of hyping Greatest Royal Rumble up before reminding us of our ten-woman tag and telling us that Dolph Ziggler and Drew McIntyre will speak to us after the break.

Back from commercial in time for entrances.

Dolph Ziggler & Drew McIntyre vs. Titus Worldwide (Apollo Crews & Titus O’Neil)

Ziggler and O’Neil to start, Titus shoves Dolph into the corner and clubs his chest in! Stomps in the corner, tag to Crews, a lariat connects, standing moonsault follows, only good for two! Back elbow, tag to McIntyre, he runs Apollo over with a boot, shoves him into the corner and chops away! Big belly-to-belly out of the corner, trapping Crews in the corner, tag made and a superkick into the inverted Alabama Slam!

Tag back to Drew, hauling Apollo up, jawing at him, off the ropes...

Dolph Ziggler & Drew McIntyre win by pinfall with the Claymore / Zig Zag combination on Apollo Crews.

Interviewed after the match, Dolph says nobody ever had his back but now he’s got McIntyre watching his back and he’s dangerous. Drew says he’s right, he is dangerous, and especially dangerous to a locker room that’s gone soft. He walks around and sees no fire, no ambition, people just collecting checks and it makes him sick. This is what a superstar looks like and how he speaks and he’s got all the credentials in the world to back it up.

Times are a-changing, and he’s not what WWE wants, he’s the reality check this place desperately needs. Dolph says they don’t give a damn about stealing the show because this right here IS the show!

Kurt Angle is shown watching backstage and Chad Gable rolls up to tell him he’s not wasting the opportunity of being here and asks about Jason Jordan. Angle says Jordan’s doing well but he brought him here to be a singles performer. Chad says he’s gonna scratch and claw--

Jinder Mahal rolls up to complain about being forced to defend his title on short notice last week and pledging to regain it from Jeff Hardy on Friday. He demands to be sent back to SmackDown, they jaw, and Gable tells him maybe he should learn some respect. Jinder puts him over as Nicholas all grown up and jacked before he realizes his mistake and points out Mini-Me just passed away, so it can’t be him.

Chad shoves him and Angle insists they settle it in the ring right now, and we go to break.

Back from commercial, Sunil Singh gives his man his usual big introduction.

We get entrances for our match, but Jinder attacks before the bell and puts Gable into the barricade! Rolling him back in the ring, stomps, referee Rod Zapata backs him off and checks on Chad. He’s game to fight and we’re on!

Chad Gable vs. Jinder Mahal

Sidestep the charge, right hands, a takedown, leg pick, Jinder kicks him off and levels him with a superkick! Drawing the Olympian up, back suplex, Gable floats over into a crossbody for one! Low bridge sends Mahal to the floor where he runs Chad over with a lariat that sends us to break!

Back from commercial, Jinder is in control with a rear chinlock. Shifting to a half nelson chinlock, wrenching it in before throwing some knees to break. Snap suplex into a cover, only good for two and the Modern-Day Maharaja throws a crossface and a brain chop before finishing with stomp. Gable rallies, rolling kick comes up empty, hard whip puts him chest-first into the turnbuckles!

Overhead elbow, into a rear chinlock again before choking the Olympian over the ropes and crushing him with repeated knee drops. Gable gets a boot up, duck a lariat, rolling Koppo kick connects and he goes to town on Jinder’s leg, wrenching and tearing, dragon screw, hamstring kicks, Mahal cuts him off, fireman’s carry, Gable escapes, O’Connor roll denied, Hot Shot into a running knee and Jinder’s back in control!

Setting up Khallas, Chad blocks with his leg, steps up the turnbuckles...

Chad Gable wins by pinfall, reversing the cobra clutch into a pin.

Renee Young is backstage to interview the Riott Squad. Ruby Riott says they weren’t exclusively sending a message to Bayley and Sasha Banks, but to the entire women’s division. Liv Morgan says they came here to disrupt, and Sarah Logan adds that she grew up hunting and tracking animals, and every woman in the locker room is looking over their shoulder and jumping at shadows.

Morgan adds that if Alexa Bliss and Mickie James get too familiar, they’ll get the same treatment. Ruby suggests that they’re like tear gas, equal opportunity agitators that send people to their knees begging for help, messy and unpleasant, just how they like it.

And so we go to break.

Back from commercial we get another round of social media posts in memory of Bruno Sammartino.

This is followed by a recap of our opening segment, because Raw is three hours long. (Three hours long.)

We get a handcam promo from Samoa Joe talking about how Roman Reigns claims he’s returning as Universal Champion. He has his own grand prognostication, and he’s worried about not having an opponent at Backlash. He’s heard Roman tell this tale, and if history is any indicator, Brock’s going to leave Reigns buried in the Arabian desert.

Commentary then shills for the WWE Network some more.

We go backstage with the Miztourage, pitching someone else on an alliance. Finn Balor, as it turns out, but he wasn’t thinking anything like allying. Bo and Curtis reveal shirts and suggest that it’d be Too Sweet to team up and get the ol’ thanks but no thanks. Balor doesn’t leave them hanging, though, and heads over to push their hands down.

Dallas asks Axel if he’s thinking what he’s thinking, but Curtis has no idea.

Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens are walking backstage ahead of their tag team match, after the break.

Back from commercial in time for entrances.

Bobby Lashley & Braun Strowman vs. Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn

Owens and Zayn bail simultaneously at the bell and have a discussion on the floor as Lashley and Strowman do a pincer. They roll back in, trade places, but Strowman was a step ahead and puts Sami into the barricade and Kev in the ring to face Bobby! Corner lariat, off the ropes, big spinebuster before drawing him up for a right hand, shoulder thrust in the corner, repeated elbows to the head give way to stomps and a choke until referee Chad Patton backs him off.

Lashley with another overhead elbow, whip, KO with a boot and he gets in the corner for a tag and Zayn comes in with chops only to get clobbered by Walking Armageddon. Snap suplex into a cover, elbows in the corner, off the ropes but he runs right into a boot from Sami! To the corner, another tag, Owens in with punches and kicks, quick tag back to Zayn but Bobby comes off the ropes with a boot, clears Kev, Snake Eyes for Zayn, big crossbody... NOT ENOUGH!

Shoulder thrust in the corner, off the ropes-- low bridge from Owens into a senton on the floor that sends us to break!

Back from commercial, Zayn is still in control on Lashley, throwing chops in the corner as Braun mean mugs him from the corner. Bobby with a belly-to-belly suplex and suddenly things are wide open again! Crawling, crawling... Owens gets the tag and cuts Lashley off! Mounted punches, a stomp, running senton... THE KNEES ARE UP! Sami trying to block the tag with a reverse chinlock, Bobby stands up, steps, reaching, he stumbles, powers himself back up... back suplex!

Both men down and out... KO pulls Strowman from the apron! Braun’s just pissed off and gets back up! Lashley clears the apron off a whip, knocks Zayn down... TAG MADE! Braun runs around the floor... POUNCE FOR OWENS! Back inside, a big lariat, Strowman heads back outside and pounces KO again! Another lariat back in the ring, outside again... HUGE DROPKICK TO KEVIN OWENS AND BRAUN IS FIRED UP!

Zayn stumbling, weak on his legs, he runs for it but Lashley catches up to him and throws him back in to the monster among men. Clubbing blow gives Sami those hands! Shove to the corner, Stinger splash, Zayn begs off, trapped, Braun puts him in the corner and makes the tag! Biel, Bobby picks him up... DELAYED VERTICAL SUPLEX, ONE-HANDED, LEAVING HIM TO THINK ABOUT IT BEFORE DROPPING HIM DOWN!

Strowman tags back in...

Bobby Lashley & Braun Strowman win by pinfall with the running powerslam from Strowman on Sami Zayn.

Lashley and Strowman celebrate while Owens and Zayn lay in agony.

Commentary hypes up our ten-woman tag again as well as Rollins & Balor vs. the Miztourage before going to break on another vignette for Baron Corbin.

Back from commercial we get some hype for World Wish Day.

No Way Jose makes his entrance for a match, conga line in tow.

Baron Corbin makes his entrance and gets on the mic, pointing out that the conga line is clearly a setup for five or six of his guys to jump him from behind while he’s grinding him into a stain on the mat. He gets it, he’s here to have fun, but Baron’s idea of fun is ruining other people’s fun. Unlike No Way, he’s here to be champion and Jose just isn’t on his level.

As long as he’s running around with a group of freaks, he says no way to a match, Jose. No Way gets on the mic and says just because Corbin doesn’t want them to have fun doesn’t mean the party has to stop, and he and his entourage conga their way out of the arena...

BUT BARON BLINDSIDES NO WAY AFTER THE PARTY DEPARTS! Running kick to the ribs, a smile on his face as he puts Jose into the LED boards! Lying in wait... CHOKEBREAKER!

This is followed by a public service announcement from Alexa Bliss on how bullies thrive on silence and you should speak up. One time she was out with Nia Jax when a sweet homeless woman rolled up and she gave her her burrito bowl, which Nia then stole and gobbled up. She’ll never forget the look on her face nor the sound of Nia laughing and chewing and she did nothing, and she’s gonna have to live with that for the rest of her life.

She pleads with her opponents in the ten-woman tag to abandon Jax and let them make the world a better place together.

Finn Balor makes his entrance, his match will be after the break.

Back from commercial we get some video footage of John Cena training on his birthday.

Finn Balor & Seth Rollins vs. the Miztourage (Bo Dallas & Curtis Axel)

Balor and Dallas to start, circling, collar and elbow, Bo with a side headlock, Finn shoots him off and takes the shoulder block. Dallas raises a fist high and bumps with Axel for the tag. Curtis in, circling, collar and elbow, side headlock, drop down, shoulder block connects on the second try and Axel throws the Too Sweets up. Back to the lockup, Balor with a waistlock, back elbow breaks, whip reversed, sunset flip but Finn rolls through and hits the dropkick for a one count.

Arm wringer, wristlock, Curtis breaks with a punch and clubs and chokes Balor in the ropes before tagging Bo back in. Knee drops to the face, reverse chinlock applied, locking Finn down, Pele kick connects as he breaks free and both guys are down... tags all around! Rollins in with a diving lariat, clear the apron, Sling Blade connects! Lariat Axel to the floor, off the ropes for a suicide dive!

Back in, boot up in the corner, Curtis stumbling and the blockbuster connects! Seth tunes the band up, superkick for Dallas, Axel takes advantage, Perfectplex blocked, off the ropes... BLACKOUT! Tag to Balor, Rollins with a plancha to take Bo out, Finn perches up high...

Finn Balor & Seth Rollins win by pinfall with Coup de Grace from Balor on Curtis Axel.

Backstage, the babyface women in our main event after having a strategy session. Natalya holds court and solicits opinions in turn, including a PSA from Nia Jax that mocking her his bad for your health. Everyone leaves except for Sasha and Bayley, who have a moment, Bayley leaving first to send us to break.

Back from commercial we get another round of social media remembrances of Bruno Sammartino.

Alexa Bliss, Mickie James, & Riott Squad (Liv Morgan, Ruby Riott, & Sarah Logan) vs. Bayley, Ember Moon, Natalya, Nia Jax, & Sasha Banks

Morgan and Banks to start, Liv ducks a forearm and tags Logan in to beat the Boss down! Mounted forearm scrapes, Sarah fired up, knees to the midsection, Sasha blocks a kick and fires one of her own back! Up and over to the apron, big knee, Banks slingshots over into a knee strike, only good for one! Kneeling armbar, Logan fights to her feet and breaks with a forearm, tag back to Morgan.

Whip to the corner, boot up, Matrix evasion but Sasha catches her and comes off the ropes with a slap that gets a one count! Shoulder armbreaker, arm wringer, double wristlock and a tag to Moon. Arm wringer of her own, a cover comes up empty, whip to the corner, handspring forearm smash into a springboard crossbody... NOPE! Off the ropes... SUICIDE DIVE WIPES LIV OUT AND WE GO TO BREAK!

Back from commercial and the Riott Squad is in control, Logan with a grounded cobra clutch in on Banks. Wrenching her around, Sasha tosses her off, reaching for a tag but it’s blocked and Sarah throws forearms to the head. Tag from James, boots to the midsection into a choke. Snapmare into a reverse chinlock, jawing at Bayley before breaking after a while, to the corner, Sasha desperate, tag to Natalya!

Discus lariat, running lariat, snap suplex, another, snapmare, off the ropes for the running stomp and into a basement dropkick, catch a leg, trip, Sharpshooter applied! Logan runs in, chop block takes Neidhart out and referee John Cone checks on her. Nattie pulls herself up the ropes and tags Bayley in, which draws Mickie over to kick her leg in!

Referees and a trainer come down to check on Natalya as Bayley hits a back suplex on Riott. Whip denied, lariat ducked, STO connects for a nearfall! Reverse chinlock applied, wrenching it in, the Hugger posting to her feet, elbows to try and force the break before just picking Riott up and backing her into the corner for a tag from Jax! To the corner, Stinger splash, fireman’s carry into the military press drop!

Off the ropes, she drops the leg and the heels break it up in unison! Babyfaces flood the ring and clear it for a Pier 6 brawl on teh floor... NIA WITH A DIVING SPLASH OFF THE APRON INTO THE CRUSH! Natalya gets tentatively to her feet... and James hits a baseball slide to wipe her out! Putting boots to her...

RONDA ROUSEY MAKES THE SAVE! Mickie attacks Ronda, Rousey heads in the ring, judo throw into an armbar...

Alexa Bliss, Mickie James, & Riott Squad (Liv Morgan, Ruby Riott, & Sarah Logan) win by disqualification.

Ronda helps Nattie to the back.

That’s the show, folks.

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