WWE Raw Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from Oct. 30

Ryan Dilbert@@ryandilbertWWE Lead WriterOctober 31, 2017

WWE Raw Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from Oct. 30

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    Credit: WWE.com

    Monday's WWE Raw mostly moved along at a swift pace, gathering momentum. It was a night of surprises and returns, as Braun Strowman, Nia Jax, Samoa Joe and Stephanie McMahon all returned to the red brand after absences of varying lengths.

    Although there was plenty to dislike, from Halloween sight gags to Kane's mega push, one can't deny that this was an eventful episode.

    The Miz fought to keep the Intercontinental Championship in his grasp. Alexa Bliss defended the Raw Women's Championship in the night's main event. Kurt Angle found out that his job will be on the line at Survivor Series.

    And Strowman strode atop a limo with bloodlust in his heart.

    WWE added intrigue ahead of the Survivor Series pay-per-view. But the road to that Nov. 19 event wasn't without its potholes.

    Read on for a full breakdown of Monday's show.

Kurt Angle Addresses the Raw Roster

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    With the Raw roster standing on the entrance ramp, general manager Kurt Angle apologized for allowing the invasion to happen last week. Stephanie McMahon stepped in early on in his speech to interrupt.

    She berated him for allowing her brother and SmackDown to storm into their show.

    McMahon announced Angle will be the team captain for Raw's Survivor Series squad. She noted that if Team Red lost, he would lose his job as GM.

        

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    • "Admit it. You missed me just a little bit."—McMahon to fans.
    • "It takes 20 years to build a reputation and only 20 seconds to lose it."—McMahon.

        

    Grade

    B+

        

    Analysis

    McMahon was back being her same old vindictive, heartless self. She was entertaining here as she deftly moved from smiling to snarling.

    The move to put Angle on Team Raw is a smart one. It allows fans to see him in action again, making the event bigger but without asking too much of him physically. Plus, the match added instant high stakes with this Angle subplot.

    His livelihood being on the line is a far more tangible element than brand loyalty.

Bayley vs. Nia Jax

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    Alicia Fox was supposed to be Bayley's opponent, but she claimed she was too busy with her captain duties. She called on Nia Jax to take her place.

    Bayley charged at her foe, leaving Jax reeling in the early going. The powerhouse, though, soon took over. She bowled over Bayley with an overwhelming, methodical offense.

    The Huggable One charged back briefly, but the heel flattened her.

    Fox, who had been watching nearby, told the winner she was her first pick for the Raw Survivor Series team. Samoa Joe stomped past everyone soon after.

        

    Result

    Jax wins via pinfall.

        

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    • Fox dons a ship captain's hat.
    • Bayley leaps off the ring apron to knock down Jax.
    • Jax hits Bayley with a Kevin Owens-esque cannonball move.

        

    Grade

    B-

        

    Analysis

    A short, solid match from these two. Jax looked a touch quicker than usual. And she resumed her dominant ways against a babyface whom WWE has apparently put on the backburner.

    Fox was fun in her brief appearance. She's going to make this captain's role something to remember.

    And it's always great to see wins matter. Jax had to earn her way into Survivor Series. As it should be.

Samoa Joe vs. Apollo Crews

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    Joe trashed the fans for not caring about him. He promised to think of them when he was beating up his foes.

    Apollo Crews soon arrived with Titus O'Neil at his side. The announcers explained Crews asked for this match as a chance to prove himself following SmackDown's invasion.

    Joe dominated his smaller opponent. Crews was unable to lift him for a suplex. The Destroyer, however, didn't have any issue driving his foe into the canvas.

    Aggression from Crews helped him prolong the bout and keep Joe at bay. A Coquina Clutch put an end to his hopes of victory, though. O'Neil stepped in after the bell, getting a taste of Joe's submission hold, as well.

        

    Result

    Joe wins via submission.

        

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    • "I haven't missed any of you."—Joe.
    • Joe throws his gum at O'Neil.

        

    Grade

    B-

        

    Analysis

    The layout allowed Crews not to look like a pushover while still playing up Joe as a force of nature. The Destroyer didn't look like he has a bit of ring rust on him after recovering from his knee injury.

    After devouring a few victims on Crews' level, he must charge right back into Raw's top tier. He's been great at every turn and needs to be showcased.

The Miz vs. Matt Hardy (Intercontinental Championship)

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    The moment the bell rang, Matt Hardy was all over The Miz, going for a number of pinfalls. The champ was able to slow things down and keep Hardy on the mat.

    The Miztourage took cheap shots when the referee wasn't looking.

    Hardy slugged his way back into the bout. He had The Miz on the ropes until the champ hit the Skull-Crushing Finale.

        

    Result

    The Miz wins via pinfall to retain the Intercontinental Championship.

        

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    • The Miz smashes Hardy's sternum onto the ring apron.
    • The Miz kicks out of a side effect.
    • Hardy hits a beautiful moonsault.
    • "And scene!"—Corey Graves.

        

    Grade

    A-

        

    Analysis

    Hardy is a lot slower than he once was, but he remains a skilled storyteller. He and The Miz had the fans buzzing here.

    Title matches thrown into the mix are always welcome, especially ones that feature fresh pairings of Superstars.

    Giving The Miz airtime needs to continue being a priority. And matches like this help give him a platform to play the lucky, crafty heel champion role he's so damn good at.

Asuka vs. Stacie Cullen

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    Asuka clobbered enhancement talent Stacie Cullen. She grinned as she took her foe apart, strike by strike.

    The match was over in a hurry.

        

    Result

    Asuka wins via submission.

        

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    • "Asuka might put this young lady to sleep."—Graves.

        

    Grade

    B

        

    Analysis

    This was a better showcase of what Asuka is than her two matches with Emma, even if this bout was of lesser quality.

    She came off as dangerous and special. Her yelling at her foe in Japanese was a nice touch. She gobbled up Cullen and looked like she was having a blast doing it.

    This is the way to introduce her to a new audience.

Finn Balor vs. Cesaro

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    Credit: WWE.com

    The announcers sold this match as having possible Survivor Series implications, as Angle would be watching with a Team Raw spot on his mind.

    Finn Balor and Cesaro kept things on the mat early on. Things grew more physical as The Swiss Superman took to uppercutting his opponent.

    A distraction from Sheamus gave Cesaro the edge.

    He battered and wrenched Balor, but the former universal champ refused to quit. Balor fought off Sheamus' interference and hit a diving stomp to the back of Cesaro's head for the three-count.

    Kane emerged after the match and attacked Balor.

        

    Result

    Balor wins via pinfall.

        

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    • Balor hits Cesaro with a running kick on the apron.
    • Cesaro lands his patented from-the-apron superplex.
    • Balor dives over the top rope onto both Cesaro and Sheamus.
    • Kane Tombstones Balor on the stage.

        

    Grade

    B+

        

    Analysis

    It would be next to impossible for these two to have a bad performance against each other, but this wasn't nearly as electric as it could have been. Lots of distractions and commercial breaks subdued this to a degree.

    And a qualifying match would have been better than the vaguer "jockeying for position" route.

    Still, Balor getting a hard-fought win was a good move. And pitting him against Cesaro was a smart way to appeal to the diehards.

Seth Rollins vs. Kane

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    SmackDown general manager Daniel Bryan appeared backstage to try to make peace with Angle. The lights later went out, and Kane soon attacked him in the dark.

    Seth Rollins darted around the ring until Kane bowled him over and went to work. The Big Red Machine batted his foe around as Dean Ambrose cheered Rollins on from ringside.

    Cesaro and Sheamus showed up and didn't take long to mix it up with Ambrose.

    Kane dominated for the most part. He fought off Rollins' aerial offense and chokeslammed his way to victory.

    Ambrose dropped Kane after the bell before a brawl broke out. The Devil's Favorite Demon laid out both the Raw tag champs by the end of it all.

        

    Result

    Kane wins via pinfall.

        

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    • Rollins falls on his head during a suicide dive attempt.
    • "The Big Red Machine is releasing hell on Earth."—Graves.

        

    Grade

    C

        

    Analysis

    It's clear what WWE is trying to do here. It's building up Kane to set up a feud with Braun Strowman. The process just hasn't been fun to watch.

    Kane being an unstoppable monster at his age is hard to swallow, and he's not nearly as intimidating a presence after we've seen his comedy work and corporate alter ego.

    His bout with Rollins here was fine, a match with a clear story but little electricity.

Heath Slater, Rhyno vs. Luke Gallows, Karl Anderson (Trick or Street Fight)

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    Credit: WWE.com

    Heath Slater and Rhyno slugged it out with Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson with Halloween-theme props all around them.

    The foes hit each other with pumpkins until The Club cost itself the match. The heels wore pumpkins on their heads, which allowed Rhyno to get the advantage and the victory.

        

    Result

    Slater and Rhyno win via pinfall.

        

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    • Gallows and Anderson dress up as Tex2Badd from Southpaw Regional Wrestling.
    • Gallows and Anderson smash into each other with pumpkins on their heads.
    • Slater smacks The Club with candy-corn kendo sticks.
    • Rhyno suplexes Anderson through a table.

        

    Grade

    F

        

    Analysis

    No one benefited from this silly, slapstick matchup featuring two teams with no history. This felt random, a thrown-in bit of filler to check the Halloween box off WWE's booking list.

    This was played for laughs but wasn't funny. It will surely be one of the moments everyone mentions when recalling how the company missed the boat with Gallows and Anderson.

Elias and Jason Jordan Meet Again

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    Credit: WWE.com

    Elias mocked Jason Jordan in song form. Jordan, though, showed up looking for a fight.

    The former SmackDown tag champ suplexed Elias before the guitar-toting Superstar tried to retreat. Jordan broke his guitar.

        

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    • "I am the last harbinger of truth in this world."—Elias.
    • "The only guy in worse shape is Joe Flacco."—Elias.

        

    Grade

    C-

        

    Analysis

    Elias and Jordan's latest clash did its job in that it moved the story along. But it's hard to get too excited about their feud.

    Elias has been fun as the antagonizer. Jordan hasn't made nearly as much of an impact, though. The sum of it all is a bland narrative with a few chuckle-worthy moments.

    And fans seem more invested in the heel here than in rooting for Jordan.

Drew Gulak vs. Kalisto

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    Credit: WWE.com

    Drew Gulak talked up Enzo Amore before the action began.

    His size advantage had Gulak in control early. Kalisto buzzed around, hitting him with high-flying offense. A Salida del Sol ended the bout early.

    Amore attacked Kalisto post-match.

        

    Result

    Kalisto wins via pinfall.

        

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    • "If you talking incompetent, you're talking Kalisto."—Amore.
    • Gulak butchers Amore's "sawft" shtick.

        

    Grade

    C-

        

    Analysis

    Gulak's comic relief work here saved the day. A blink-of-an-eye match and nothing much from Amore on the mic made this segment forgettable. Gulak was the star, overpronouncing Amore's catchphrases.

    The Kalisto-Amore feud has been a disappointment thus far.

Alexa Bliss vs. Mickie James (Raw Women's Title)/Braun Strowman Returns

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    Credit: WWE.com

    Backstage, The Miz saw a bag of garbage and thought it was a sign that Braun Strowman was back. He spent much of the show running around looking for protection, growing increasingly paranoid.

    In the ring, Mickie James had Alexa Bliss on the run as the match kicked off.

    The champ took over, though, punishing James in the center of the ring. James was able to stun Bliss, but the heel recovered and took her down.

    The cameras cut to The Miz, who desperately tried to leave the building. A garbage truck dumped its contest onto his limo. Strowman chased him and The Miztourage before walloping them.

        

    Result

    Bliss wins via pinfall to retain the Raw Women's Championship.

        

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    • Bliss smashes James into the ring post.
    • Strowman scampers across the roof of a limo.
    • Strowman sends Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel sliding down the entrance ramp.
    • "This ain't Hollywood, monsters are real."—Graves.

        

    Grade

    B

        

    Analysis

    Bliss vs. James didn't really get going until the final third of it. This showdown didn't have the energy and hype of their first encounter despite being the main event.

    And it will be interesting if Bliss' running forearm smash becomes her new finisher. It would be an odd choice for someone her size.

    As for Strowman's hunt, it was equal parts corny and cool. There was a horror-movie vibe to the scene.

    Stowmam's vengeance underwhelmed, however, as it felt dragged-out and didn't have the kind of exclamation point we're used to seeing from him.