Hi guys and welcome to my first actual post here on OzWrestling.com. I will try to put up reviews of Raw and Smackdown every week but there are likely no guarantees as to when they will appear due to my own personal commitments and due to time zone differences (I live in Australia).
I thought this Raw turned out to be a pretty good show overall and it was certainly noteworthy. So this is my segment by segment review of the October 8th 2018 edition of Monday Night Raw from Chicago, Illinois.
DX is Back!
The show opened with the announcement everyone had been expecting. Shawn Michaels is back and DX is reforming to take on the Brothers of Destruction at Crown Jewel in Saudi Arabia on November 2nd. This was a good segement as it outlined the story line reasons for HBK return after 8 years of staying true to his retirement. The idea was that, in attacking DX after the match at Super Show Down, the Undertaker had lost HBK’s respect and if he didn’t respect Undertaker then why should he respect his retirement. Of course most people are aware that the real reason he’s coming back is all the Saudi money but this was a good way to give him a kayfabe reason to return. Both Triple H and Shawn’s promos were solid and the announcement was big so i think this segment was a success. What I find strange is that both these promos, and the video package that recapped Super Show Down clearly positioned DX as the faces and the Brothers of Destruction as the heels. This is odd because during that match Triple H was definitely working heel and Michaels was way more involved in the match with DX even double teaming Undertaker for the finish which seems like a heel move.
Kevin Owens vs. Bobby Lashley (w/ Lio Rush)
I groaned when i saw this match was happening again as i expected to see Kevin Owens get crushed yet again by Lashley. What we got here however was a pleasant surprise. The in-ring work itself was nothing crazy (although I did find KO’s fake dive and subsequent actual dive very entertaining) but the story of the match made this segment. Lio Rush spent the entire match on the mic trying to hype up Lashley and get the crowd to cheer. The crowd correctly worked out that he was extremely irritating and booed loudly whenever he tried to start any “Lashley” chants. At first i thought this was teasing a split between Lashley and Rush which i was not a fan of because these two only just got together. However the longer this match went the more it became clear that Lashley was working heel. The more Rush talked, and the more rest holds Lashley slapped on the more annoyed the crowd got and the further they got behind Owens. We could look back at this double turn in 6 months time as a stroke of genius that saved both Lashley and Owens characters. Owens was a cool heel and a great talker that the crowd wanted to cheer anyway and Lashley quickly became stale and uninteresting as a face.
Lashley won after owns tweaked his knee off a Rush distraction and then went back for more after the match, slamming KO’s knee into the ring post. WWE.com are reporting that KO suffered an injury so perhaps he is taking some time off and it seemed like they were setting up Lashley vs. Balor backstage later which i think, if done right, could be good for both guys. They just have to let Balor hold his own rather than get squashed by the bigger Lashley.
Not much to this Elias made fun of Cena’s hair and trashed the Chicago Cubs for some cheap heat before Rousey came out and Elias just disappeared.
Ronda Rousey and the Bellas vs. the Riott Squad
This was every six-woman tag you’ve ever seen. This was just used as a way to show that Ronda is better than all 3 members of the Riott Squad as she tapped out Ruby, the only one she didn’t on Saturday. There were some nice call backs to the Brie/Liv KO spot 2 weeks ago with Liv kicking Brie hard in the face before they brawled. There was a point early on where Ruby and Liv went to run-in on Ronda. She turned to stare them down and despite it being a 2-on-1 they both turned and fled. This is a spot that shows me the bad side of Rousey as every other woman on Raw gets lined up to put her over.
Speaking of which after Ronda tapped Ruby the Bellas attacked her from behind in what was a very long, very unconvincing beatdown, setting up the later announce Ronda vs. Nikki at Evolution. I have no problem with Nikki being on Evolution as long as it doesn’t mean current stars who deserve to be on the show are left behind (Bayley and Asuka spring to mind).
It was at this point I realised that we’d only had 2 matches and 4 people had turned face or heel. Surely that’s a record for a single hour of TV.
Finn Balor and Bayley (B’N’B) vs. Jinder Mahal and Alicia Fox (Mahalicia)
Short match, Fox got the heat on Bayley, hot tag to Balor who runs wild, Fox gets involved Bayley takes her out, Coup de Grace for the B’N’B win.
That shows you how interesting this was. I don’t mind Mixed Match Challenge being part of Raw continuity but this is not really anything of substance. This is very clearly just something for these 4 to do and perhaps a substitute for Bayley because Banks is injured.
Dogs of War backstage
Quick segment teasing that either Ziggler will get kicked out of the group or Strowman will beat up the other two for failing him. I like the teasing between these 3 and the Shield. It puts some question marks on where the story is going next.
Baron Corbin’s Global Battle Royal
This was a solid comedy segment. The idea was that Corbin brought in all these jobbers so he could crush them and qualify for the WWE World Cup in Saudi Arabia. However Kurt Angle infiltrated the match as ‘The Conquistador’, threw out Corbin and won. This was good because it furthers the Angle/Corbin feud and gets a big name like Angle in the Saudi tournament which is much more interesting than Corbin.
Also i didn’t mention earlier but they announced Cena as an automatic qualifier for the World Cup because Cena showing up on Raw to qualify would be akin to Brock Lesnar being on the show at this point. ‘Big Match John’ indeed.
Ember Moon vs. Nia Jax
Not sure why this existed. The match went about 2 minutes and then Ember won by countout. After the match it looked like there might be some tension but then they just hugged. I guess i will revisit this next week and see if it had a point. The only thing i can think of is Jax goes heel but they were still putting over her nomination for the People’s Choice Awards so its unlikely they’ll turn her heel any time soon.
Trish Stratus plugs Evolution
I wasn’t around when Stratus was in her prime but i was not impressed by her talking. She seemed very stilted and awkward especially compared to Bliss who is a great promo. Basically Mickie threaten to team up on Trish so Trish brought out Lita as he tag partner for Evolution effectively merging the two previously announced singles matches. Meltzer (of the Wrestling Observer) says this was always the plan but i noticed that while Alexa was ok putting the boots to Trish she bailed when Lita arrived and didn’t take a bump. Perhaps it was always the plan but perhaps this was done so Mickie can protect and Alexa who is coming back from injury.
The Shield Promo
The Shield cut one of there old school promos where they hold the camera backstage. Generic content to the promo saying they are a brotherhood, they stick together and they are going to win again tonight.
Bobby Roode and Chad Gable vs. The Ascension (ft. AOP)
Yes i also can’t believe this is still happening. This feud has been going for six weeks. This finished the exact same way as the first two time Roode and Gable beat the Ascension. Roode hot tags, has the match won and then Gable tags himself in for the win. They teased Roode might turn but before anything could happen AOP came down and beat up both teams. I pray that Roode and Gable vs. the Ascension is over and now the faces will feud with AOP which seems to be where they are going with this. AOP are very good at beatdowns. They just look scary.
Paul Heyman cuts a random promo
Heyman is a good talker but didn’t have much of substance to say here. The highlight was when he said Lesnar was asleep right now rather than watching Raw.
The Shield vs. The Dogs of War
This was much like the other Super Show Down rematch on the show, every Shield 6-man you’ve ever seen. However i think Seth Rollins is the best on the roster at trying to get the hot tag. The guy throws himself all over the place and really gets the crowd behind him. They teased maybe Strowman would walk out on his team after Drew and Dolph got dispatched before a commercial break and then again when Seth almost made the tag Strowman started choking Dolph and had a staredown with McIntyre before Seth broke it up. It inevitably came to nothing though and the finish came as Ambrose got so distracted helping Roman take out Strowman that he got hit with the Claymore and pinned by McIntyre.
After the match Ambrose walked out on Reigns and Rollins leaving them in the ring looked heartbroken. While i think the long awaited Dean heel turn is a good idea it seems like its been teased so strongly it almost can’t happen at this point. Perhaps they will tease it for a while he will reassure his loyalty everyone will forget and then he can turn down the line but i feel if they actually turn him now it will be so telegraphed that it may lose some of its heat.
There are many different ways people give an overall review. Rather than give a rating i’m going to list what segments from the show i thought were worth watching, a maybe category of segments you might like if your invested in the characters or story, and finally a list of missable segments. This way you know what to catch up on if you missed the show.
Things to Watch
- DX reforms
- Kevin Owens vs. Bobby Lashley
- The Bellas turn on Ronda
- The Shield vs. the Dogs of War
- AOP beatdown Roode and Gable + The Ascension
Things to Consider Watching
- Ronda and the Bellas vs. The Riott Squad
- Dogs of War backstage (to get the full story if there’s a turn here later)
- Corbin’s Global Battle Royal
- Paul Heyman’s promo
- Trish Stratus/ Alexa Bliss talking segment
- The Shield promo (if your nostalgic for the old school Shield promos)
Things to Miss
- Bayley and Balor vs Mahalicia
- Ember Moon vs. Nia Jax
- Roode and Gable vs. The Ascension
That’s it for my review, thanks for reading and i hope you enjoyed. Feel free to check out my other content which won’t exist if you’re reading this the day that i publish it but will be growing over time including a Smackdown review tomorrow.