Raw is...a mess. Both figuratively and literally.
This show’s main storyline was absolute garbage.
For starters, Braun Strowman’s officially a heel, folks. Forget about cheering the most over guy on Raw - he’s now employing faulty logic to justify his idiocy and calling his turn on Roman Reigns last week “justice.” He tried to cash in face-to-face and if it weren’t for those meddling kids Shield brothers, he’d be the Universal Champion.
Full delusion, like I said. He also snapped at the crowd, introduced his own “pack” in Dolph Ziggler and Drew McIntyre, and stole Roman’s catchphrase.
That led to the Shield strolling through the crowd, Corbin sending out the locker room to break it up – INCLUDING BALOR OBEYING HIM ARE YOU SERIOUS – and none of that worked.
The Shield got arrested for their efforts and that storyline was crazy, as well. Mike Rome was acting as an investigative journalist and providing updates. Apparently the Shield was in front of a judge and charged within two hours. As we all know, the American judicial system is a streamlined juggernaut of justice.
Can’t even type that with a straight face. Aren’t judges off on Labor Day, too? Anyway, some stuff happened, plans were changed, and Balor was set to face Strowman in the main event.
We got a really good match from these two; Balor and Strowman are magic together. Balor always does a fantastic job of countering Strowman’s signature spots in different ways. But of course, Strowman eventually prevailed and his new trio beat Balor up after the bell. They went to hit a Triple Powerbomb on him the steps when the Shield returned with Reigns driving the police van...only for 20 heels to jump out and gang up on them. Yes, it’s as trash as it sounds.
The entire locker room couldn’t contain the Shield to start the show...and yet some low card heels can do it? And get this - Kevin Owens was one of them! He quit the show last week, returned, and helped the dude who literally made his life hell for months.
I have no words.
I mean I get what they were going for in terms of Hell in a Cell. Balor and Reigns had a great match a few weeks ago and Strowman beating Balor was meant to do something for that storyline. I guess. But y’all. Y’all.
There were consecutive segments on this show that developed the corruption surrounding our new general manager. Strowman, McIntyre, and Ziggler approached Corbin and ordered him to provide them with competition. Since Rollins was in prison, Ziggler said, he and McIntyre deserved a tag team championship match. Corbin said no, because he’d already booked a championship match with the Revival.
...Unless they were unable to compete, Corbin clarified. In that case, he’d need to make new plans.
Wink wink. Nudge nudge. In the next segment, Ziggler and McIntyre blindsided the Revival, took their spot.
The B Team brought everything they could, but they were no match for their opponents. They were the first victims of this new regime of corruption. But of course, no one was really all that invested in them.
Shawn Michaels promotes Super Show Down
Michaels is my favorite wrestler ever, but let’s call his portion of the program what it was: a prolonged advertisement.
So with that in mind, thank god for Undertaker.
After Michaels picked his friend Triple H to win in Australia, Undertaker appeared to tell his former rival off. Undertaker claimed that Michaels and Triple H have been like this forever. They’re egotistic and neither can accept the fact that he owns them. He has taken a piece of their souls. In essence, they resent him, so it makes sense that Michaels would pick his friend.
The topic quickly changed to Michaels’ retirement, however, and that’s when it got interesting. Michaels said that Undertaker has got it all wrong. He’s stayed retired, for example, because he respects the Undertaker so much. He’s honored his word because of that respect. Undertaker countered by claiming that it wasn’t respect that kept Michaels retired. It was fear.
Undertaker claimed that the reason Michaels turns people down is because there’s only one person that Michaels would want to fight. And if they fought, Undertaker would defeat him once again. On one hand, Undertaker vs. Michaels is one of the best feuds in wrestling history. Their WrestleMania matches were iconic. With that in mind, I’m at least interested.
But on the other hand...this show has so many flaws. I don’t know if utilizing this much show time for two men in their fifties is wise.
The Rest of the Show
Corbin’s a coward – Balor went into Corbin’s office early in the show and laid down the challenge for one final match to set things square. He wasn’t happy with Corbin’s lies, accused him of “compensating for something,” and Corbin pretty much proved him right by booking himself in the main event. And then Strowman got in Corbin’s face later in the show and he wilted.
Bella Twins def. The Riott Squad – This match was essentially a promotion for WWE Evolution and also a return for Nikki and Brie Bella. I thought the match was fairly fun for a show opener. Brie nearly killed herself on two dive spots. The Bella’s team attack on Sarah Logan’s arms was neat, though.
The Bellas had a backstage segment with Rousey though that was interesting. They seemed to be trying to usurp Natalya as Rousey’s best friend. Curious.
Glorious Gable def. The Ascension - Okay I’m all in on the Glorious Gable. Chad Gable is the most endearing guy ever and these two are both strong talkers and wrestlers. The Ascension’s 30 second elevator feud pitch was weird as hell and didn’t work, but that’s fine. Just more Gable, honestly. All the Chad Gable. Never enough Gable.
Alexa Bliss trolls Columbus, Ohio, def. Natalya – Elias was out for a segment and did his usual bit by poking fun of the local crowd. In this case, Elias mocked the Ohio State’s mascot and claimed that a wolverine would be a much better one.
Because, you know, the Michigan Wolverines. We’re all slaves to collegiate rivalries.
Alexa Bliss interrupted and got cheered by her hometown crowd. She led them in an O-H-I-O chant before turning on them as well. “Don’t act like you don’t agree with me because you’re stuck here! I couldn’t get out of this dump quick enough,” she claimed. She then beat Natalya in short order. Ronda Rousey send Bliss and her cronies scurrying after the match. This segment did feature a funny moment where Corey Graves called Bliss a “sports person” and Young called him on it, though!
Drake Maverick is the Authors of Pain’s new manager – I guess this happened to promote 205 Live better? It feels...weird to me. They beat some local talent.
Dana Brooke’s done – Brooke was in a tag match with Ember Moon against Sasha Banks and Bayley. It was short and the story was Apollo Crew and Titus O’Neil meddling and costing her the match. I’m interested to see where this goes, but I didn’t think the finish was performed very well.
Bobby Lashley’s finding his stride – I pledge my undying support of sarcastic Bobby Lashley. Oh yeah, Kevin Owens returned and attacked Lashley as Jinder Mahal was giving him a meditation appointment. So much for that quitting thing.
Can I be blunt, Cageside? I’m not enjoying Raw right now.
And to be fair, WWE is facing a lot of new challenges. They’re trying to promote two special events in Evolution and the Super Show-Down. I get that. But they’ve also got Hell in a Cell in two weeks and this show’s not doing anything to build excitement for that network special.
The show has boiled down to one overarching storyline. A corrupt management is allowing bad guys to do bad guy things. If only we had a trio of combat pant wearing heroes to save us!
It’s essentially a Shield sequel, and sequels are always less interesting than the original — especially when the villains aren’t nearly as compelling. I’m sorry, but Strowman/McIntyre/Ziggler/Corbin are nothing in comparison to Evolution, the Wyatt Family, and the other obstacles from the Shield’s past.
And what would you call the next most important feud on the brand? Rousey vs. Bliss? That feud isn’t progressing at all, nor is it getting enough time. Balor vs. Corbin? That feud shouldn’t even be on PPV at this point.
After this show, it has to be Undertaker vs. Triple H, right? That’s...that’s not okay.
I didn’t want to fail this show because there are a few fun things happening. Gable and Roode’s tag team looks promising. Lashley’s new approach is winning me over. Nikki Bella was fun as well. But here’s the thing: WWE has the most talented roster in their company’s history. This show should be better than it is. Your turn.