WWE Raw Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from September 25
The fallout from No Mercy engulfed WWE Raw Monday night.
The brand wasted little time establishing new rivalries and putting added emphasis on those undercard programs that will form the foundation of Raw for weeks and months to come.
The cruiserweights took center stage thanks to new champion Enzo Amore, Roman Reigns earned the wrath of The Miztourage, and Braun Strowman destroyed everything in sight.
The Reigns developments, specifically, are of the utmost interest as The Big Dog has engaged a trio in a rivalry. If only he had two friends he could rely on for backup.
While it is too early for talks of a Shield reunion, the seeds were planted Monday.
What else went down in sunny California?
Find out with this recap of the September 25 episode of WWE's flagship show.
Miz TV with Roman Reigns
Celebratory intercontinental champion The Miz kicked off the show, braggadocious as ever about his victory over Jason Jordan at No Mercy on Sunday night.
He introduced Roman Reigns, who arrived to his typically raucous ovation.
Miz asked Reigns about John Cena, referring to their No Mercy match as a "passing-of-the-torch moment." Reigns said he respected Cena now and called it the biggest win of his career.
Miz scoffed at the idea of Reigns being "the guy" and then referred to himself with that title after his win over Jordan.
Reigns told Miz he wins because he has help, and he then asked Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel to fetch him a beer.
Miz told Reigns he rode the coattails of two other Superstars and if The Miztourage were around five years ago, no one would remember or care about The Shield.
Reigns announced his intentions to challenge Brock Lesnar for the Universal Championship. The Miz TV host recalled the moments Reigns has choked often of late, bringing up losses to Samoa Joe, Braun Strowman and Lesnar.
Miz claimed to have carried the show since he returned to Raw.
Him, Dallas and Axel left the ring but were interrupted by Kurt Angle. The Raw general manager said he loved the idea of Reigns vs. Miz. Not only would that match take place, Axel and Dallas will battle Matt Hardy and Jordan next.
Nobody delivers the egotistical rant like Miz and that was on full display here.
His interactions with the cool, calm and collected Reigns were entertaining. Reigns' nonchalance in relation to Miz infuriated the champion and created a scenario where the A-lister talked himself into a match later in the night.
A fun opening segment that may resemble every other edition of Miz TV but was strengthened by the dynamic of the performers involved.
Jason Jordan and Matt Hardy vs. Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel
With Jeff Hardy sidelined due to injury, Matt Hardy teamed with Jason Jordan to battle Curtis Axel and Bo Dallas.
The heels isolated Jordan momentarily, working him over until a hot tag to Hardy.
Matt hit the ring and unloaded on the opposition. After a flurry, he delivered a Twist of Fate to Dallas, while Jordan neutralized Axel, scoring the win for the babyfaces.
Matt Hardy and Jason Jordan defeated Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel
Unfortunately, this felt too much like a match for a match's sake.
There was no advancement or development of any kind, and Jordan wasn't even allowed to score the pin.
The Miztourage, which would figure heavily in the show later in the night, looked weak at a time when they could least afford it.
A questionable booking decision, to say the least.
Apollo Crews vs. Elias
Elias scored a big pinfall victory over Apollo Crews during the No Mercy Kickoff Show. Monday night, he would attempt to make it two-for-two, scoring another win over the Titus Brand client.
Motivated by defeat, Crews unloaded early and wiped his opponent out at ringside. Elias provided a distraction, though, kicking Titus O'Neil in the knee. Back in the ring, Elias delivered Drift Away and scored the victory.
After the match, Elias attempted to further assault O'Neil, but the former Florida Gator unloaded on him, sending The Drifter scurrying for the protection of the arena floor.
Elias defeated Apollo Crews
The match did not live up to Sunday's, but that can be forgiven if the idea here is to set up a sustained feud between Elias and Titus Worldwide.
Midcard rivalries that give talented wrestlers something to keep busy with will always be a solid win with this writer.
Elias is too hot of a heel to be ignored at this point. If his heat can be used to get Titus Worldwide over, the WWE Creative is wise for utilizing him in that role.
Braun Strowman's Warpath
Curt Hawkins was in the ring awaiting the next Superstar to add to his unprecedented losing streak, when Braun Strowman arrived and beat the unholy hell out of him.
The Monster Among Men delivered a chokeslam to Hawkins, through the announce table at the top of the stage, and he then powerslammed him through the entrance stage.
Medics checked on Hawkins while Strowman claimed to be on a path of destruction that will not stop until someone comes to the ring and gives him a fight.
Dean Ambrose's music played and The Lunatic Fringe hit the ring, unafraid of the monster before him.
Establishing Hawkins as the lovable loser is a wise move that keeps him relevant.
Confirming Strowman is a pissed-off beast after losing to Brock Lesnar at No Mercy is an even better decision.
Booking him against the fearless Ambrose, who is too eager to fight rather than surveying the situation and realizing he is in over his head, is icing on top of the proverbial cake.
Dean Ambrose vs. Braun Strowman
Just 24 hours after enduring a shoulder injury during his and Seth Rollins' defense of the Raw Tag Team Championships against Sheamus and Cesaro, Ambrose was faced with the unenviable task of battling Strowman in singles competition.
Pummeled for the majority of the match, his injured shoulder an obvious target for the big man, Ambrose mounted a late comeback that included a big DDT on the arena floor.
Strowman was the victim of a series of clotheslines but was able to withstand the assault of the former WWE champion long enough to plant him with a massive powerslam to score the victory.
Braun Strowman defeated Dean Ambrose
Booking Strowman over an established, popular babyface such as Ambrose is a smart choice on WWE Creative's part.
Allowing him to win the match in what was relatively dominant fashion with minimal comeback by Ambrose was another wise step in rebuilding Strowman's credibility following a lackluster conclusion to Sunday's title bout.
Still, it is difficult to erase him falling to The Beast Incarnate after one F-5.
Alexa Bliss Promo
Raw women's champion Alexa Bliss hit the ring just one night after defeating Emma, Bayley, Sasha Banks and Nia Jax in a Fatal 5-Way match to retain her title.
Bliss claimed she always considered herself and the fans to be friends. She was understandably disappointed when she checked her phone and noticed a lack of congratulations.
Bliss claimed to have cleaned out the women's division until Mickie James interrupted, with mic in hand.
James was unimpressed by Bliss' claims, reminding the champion she did not beat her.
Bliss said James used to be her favorite, even cracking a MySpace joke to show how long it has been since the former women's champion was relevant.
The champion said she didn't want to see Mickie break a hip, again mocking her age. James responded by saying she has beaten women since before Bliss was wearing a bra...which is still working for the champion, she quipped.
Bliss reiterated her words from Raw Talk on Sunday night, calling James an "old lady."
James caught her with a slap and cleared her out of the ring.
One of the biggest issues with the Raw women's division has been the repetitive use of the same handful of competitors.
James is a fantastic wrestler who is in the best shape of her career. As seen Monday night, she also has a way of getting over with the audience and creating buzz about what she is involved in.
Fans of SmackDown Live have seen her mix it up with Bliss before and know the potential for a strong match is there. As a placeholder for the incoming Asuka, she is an excellent choice. How she has managed to go so underutilized for so long is the real question.
Seth Rollins vs. Sheamus
An hour or so after partner Dean Ambrose lost to Braun Strowman, the other half of the Raw tag team champions, Seth Rollins, battled Sheamus—who was accompanied to the ring by Cesaro.
Sheamus overwhelmed Rollins early, working him over with his distinct power advantage.
The Celtic Warrior trapped The Kingslayer in a Cloverleaf and nearly forced a tapout. The resilient Rollins fought his way to the ropes, necessitating a break.
Sheamus attempted the Brogue Kick, but Rollins caught him with a knee for the win.
Seth Rollins defeated Sheamus
This was a surprisingly underwhelming match.
Sheamus and Rollins have solid chemistry, but the structure of the match was a bit too formulaic and the result was a one-dimensional match that didn't make either guy look any better or worse than they did before the match.
It was just there, and on a night following what was a reasonably hot pay-per-view, that is never ideal.
Roman Reigns vs. The Miz
The Miz sought to continue building momentum for himself after Sunday's victory as he stepped inside the squared circle with Roman Reigns, who was also attempting to score a consecutive win.
The intercontinental champion controlled a portion of the middle part of the match, keeping Reigns grounded and cutting off his strength advantage.
Reigns fought back, but Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel provided enough of a distraction for Miz to wrest control back from his opponent.
Eventually, Reigns unleashed a flurry of Superman Punches to his opponent and his lackeys. He followed with a spear to Miz for the win.
After the match, The Miztourage beat Reigns down. After one Skull-Crushing Finale, Miz returned to the squared circle and delivered another—this time on to a steel chair—to send an emphatic message to The Big Dog.
Roman Reigns defeated The Miz
The match was a solid one with a totally predictable finish, but the strength of this segment was the post-match beatdown.
It is amazing what giving Miz and Co. a little credibility through an intense beatdown can accomplish.
The trio suddenly has momentum and looks like a force that convincingly combats Reigns. That is, until The Big Dog recruits a few old friends and battles The Miztourage at Tables, Ladders and Chairs because you know that is where this whole ordeal is leading.
Finn Balor vs. Goldust
After Goldust beat down Finn Balor backstage earlier in the night, taking exception to the Irishman seeing him as a victim a few weeks back, the Superstars squared off in singles competition.
Balor unloaded on The Bizarre One early, pummeling him at ringside. Goldust seized control by sending him into the ring post, though.
The competitors traded blows and signature offense before the Sling Blade and Coup de Grace earned Balor the victory.
After the match, the lights flickered and "He's Got the Whole World In His Hands" played while Goldust was nowhere to be found.
Finn Balor defeated Goldust
Make it stop. Like, really.
Balor vs. Bray Wyatt is over and teasing it will continue is the worst decision WWE Creative made all night.
Balor decisively beat Wyatt at No Mercy and continuing the rivalry only serves as evidence that a lazy writing team has nothing else better to do with either man.
The interaction between Balor and Goldust was a nice play on the events that led to Sunday's pay-per-view, but unfortunately it appears to serve in the latest chapter of a story that overstayed its welcome a long time ago.
Sasha Banks and Bayley vs. Emma and Nia Jax
In the wake of the Fatal 5-Way match for the Raw Women's Championship, the four women unable to dethrone Alexa Bliss battled in tag team action as Bayley and Sasha Banks squared off with Emma and Nia Jax.
The action broke down late in the match.
Bayley, after being beaten down and having her shoulder targeted throughout the match, shoved the unstoppable Jax into the ring post, neutralizing her momentarily.
Inside the ring, Banks delivered a nasty knee to the sternum. Bayley, having tagged herself into the match, delivered a Bayley-to-Belly suplex on Emma and scored the victory.
Bayley and Sasha Banks defeated Emma and Nia Jax
It is disappointing to see Jax wasted in such a manner just 24 hours after the finest performance of her career.
With that said, this was all about setting the stage for the breakup of Bayley and Banks.
Bayley tagging herself in and robbing Banks of a victory will certainly create dissension between them after No Mercy, where they took turns costing each other the women's title.
Emma taking the fall is of no great concern considering WWE Creative cannot be bothered to come up with anything even remotely interesting for her to do.
Enzo Amore's Championship Celebration
New cruiserweight champion Enzo Amore wrapped up this week's episode of Raw with a championship celebration in which he ran down the entire division, poking fun at the likes of Rich Swann, Cedric Alexander and Jack Gallagher as they interrupted the proceedings.
Touting his status as a star and merchandise seller, Amore stood across the ring from Neville and claimed he was the reason for the division getting the main event spot on this week's show.
Having warned Neville of a clause he signed stating the former King of the Cruiserweights would never get his rematch if he attacked The Certified G Monday night, Amore thought he was safe.
He was not.
Neville beat the unholy hell out of the new champion, leaving him lying to the applause of his fellow cruiserweights.
So...is Neville the babyface or is Amore?
It is confusing because Amore was in full heel mode as he ran down his fellow cruiserweights, but the beating he endured is something typically reserved for babyfaces.
The fact commentator Michael Cole did not denounce the actions of Neville, though, seems to suggest the company has opted to turn both competitors.
Amore made a good point; he is the reason for the cruiserweights being in the main event.
That said, he is insufferable, a motormouth fans will be eager to see silenced. And with that, maybe WWE has found its Honky Tonk Man of the cruiserweights.
Only time will tell.