WWE Raw Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from September 3
Braun Strowman changed the game last week on WWE Raw when he aligned with Dolph Ziggler and Drew McIntyre, turning heel and creating a stable that could compete with The Shield. This power struggle promises to define the red brand for months to come.
The September 3 edition of Monday Night Raw would continue that war, with Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose expected to make an emphatic statement. Elsewhere on the card, Shawn Michaels was booked to appear and speak on two men who have defined his career: Triple H and The Undertaker.
The Bella Twins also returned to action officially in a tag team match against The Riott Squad. In perhaps the most important match of the night, though, The Revival earned its second shot at The B-Team, challenging for the Raw Tag Team Championships.
With Hell in a Cell rapidly approaching on September 16, this was only the beginning of a night that would hopefully reveal fully Raw's direction toward a dangerous and brutal WWE event on the horizon.
The Locker Room Must Empty to Stop The Shield Fighting Strowman's Pack
Strowman opened the show with Ziggler and McIntyre at his side, explaining that he chose to align with the heels to form his own pack to make sure his fight with Reigns was fair. As The Showoff bragged about the new trio's coming dominance, The Shield headed to the ring.
The Raw locker room was emptied to stabilize the situation, and the wrestlers slowed the fighting enough to push the six to the backstage area where The Big Dog, The Architect and The Lunatic Fringe were arrested and driven away from the area.
While a little silly, there's nothing that sells heat like a pull-apart brawl. These two teams instantly came off as hungry animals ready to destroy each other when they get in the same ring without interference. You'd think the six-man tag was set for Hell in a Cell with this tension already built.
Strowman trying to talk down the crowd felt unnatural, but otherwise the promos before the fight worked. This heel trio has already been established as one of the biggest threats to The Shield in its entire run, hopefully leading to great matches such as The Hounds of Justice's wars with The Wyatt Family and Evolution.
The Bella Twins vs. The Riott Squad's Liv Morgan and Sarah Logan
The Bella Twins took some time to get going, with Brie Bella getting caught by Sarah Logan during a suicide dive.
However, Nikki Bella got the hot tag, and Brie managed to eliminate Ruby Riott and Logan from the equation so Nikki could hit the Rack Attack 2.0 on Liv Morgan for the win.
Brie and Nikki def. Morgan and Logan by pinfall
This wasn't a bad tag team match, but it was sloppy, especially Brie's offense. While Nikki looked to be in good shape after her time off, Brie did not look comfortable and hesitated on two suicide dives that both went wrong.
WWE is clearly treating The Bellas as big stars and featured attractions in the women's division with their return, but they will need to be better than this to earn that spot. Raw is already overflowing with good performers. Brie needs to be better to take time away from more talented women.
Bobby Roode and Chad Gable vs. The Ascension
Before they came out for their match, Chad Gable and Bobby Roode were interviewed, with Gable saying he wanted in on Roode's infectious energy. The Ascension made fun of its opponents and, once the bell rang, isolated The Glorious One.
When Gable got the hot tag, he was unstoppable. He ran through Konnor with ease and then hit a rolling German suplex for three.
Roode and Gable def. Ascension by pinfall
It's hard to say what to make of this new tag team. Roode and Gable are both individually talented stars who should be regularly used on Raw. If this is the only way they can get on TV, this needed to happen, but it is such an awkward pairing to sell.
Roode and Gable might just add energy and excitement to the Raw tag team division, which needs quality contenders with new tag team champions crowned later in the night. Gable's enthusiasm in this match was infectious.
Alexa Bliss vs. Natalya
Elias had a special song for Columbus, Ohio, that Alexa Bliss interrupted to hear up close because she hated her hometown.
However, Ronda Rousey and Natalya did not let The Drifter perform, coming out to face down The Goddess before The Queen of Harts' match with the former champion.
Natalya dominated and viciously went after Bliss until Mickie James and Alicia Fox attacked her behind the referee's back. This allowed The Goddess to hit a DDT and then lock in an armbar to get a tapout.
Afterward, Rousey came to her friend's aid. While she wiped out Fox, the former UFC star could not stop Bliss from getting a few shots on her. The champion recovered enough to send Bliss running up the ramp.
Bliss def. Natalya by submission
This was a solid overall segment. Elias' involvement with the women's division is a bit odd, especially since it has distracted from his second attempt at a rivalry with Bobby Lashley, but he and Bliss worked well off each other.
The match was over a bit too quickly, but the heat between both wrestlers was clear. The post-match back-and-forth also sold that Bliss might be starting to get the best of Rousey, especially with Fox and Mickie in her corner.
The B-Team vs. Dolph Ziggler and Drew McIntyre (Raw Tag Team Championships)
After demanding a championship match from Baron Corbin, Ziggler and McIntyre took out The Revival backstage to "earn" their title shot. They took Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder's spot in the Raw Tag Team Championships match, and they did not take Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel seriously.
This allowed the champions to get in impressive shots only for the heels to always get back in control. Axel got the hot tag and hit the Perfect-plex on Ziggler, but McIntyre broke up the pinfall. The Scottish Psychopath took out Dallas, and then the two hit the Zig Zag/Claymore for the win.
Ziggler and McIntyre def. Axel and Dallas by pinfall to become the new Raw tag team champions
The Raw tag team division has been the weakest link on both brands for months now, and this was the perfect move to liven up the whole scene. Main event stars steamrolled The B-Team, with The Revival also getting taken out.
The whole division has been turned upside down, and now there's real excitement around it. While it is possible Ambrose and Rollins take the titles off the heels quickly, it would be more exciting if the whole division had to step up its game to take down Ziggler and McIntyre.
The Authors of Pain (w/ Drake Maverick) vs. Local Competitors
Drake Maverick announced before The Authors of Pain's match that he would now be managing the tag team. They made quick work of their local competition, hitting the Super Collider for the win.
Akam and Rezar def. local competitors by pinfall
This was a pure squash, so it was not all that interesting and fairly unnecessary. However, pairing AOP with Maverick is a smart idea even if it could have been executed more smoothly. The duo needs a manager, and the 205 Live general manager can play that role perfectly.
The Undertaker Calls Shawn Michaels a Coward
Michaels laughed at the idea that Triple H would lose to The Undertaker at Super Show-Down.
He made clear 'Taker had lost his magic with his WrestleMania streak, and this brought out The Deadman.
Undertaker called HBK a coward who lost a piece of soul to him and never recovered.
What did this segment accomplish? While it was great to have 'Taker and Michaels going after each other again on the mic, this whole segment said almost nothing about Triple H, who is the one actually fighting The Deadman soon.
It was a fun nostalgic moment, but unless The Showstopper is going to fight Undertaker again (which he shouldn't), this did nothing for the current product.
Sasha Banks and Bayley vs. Ember Moon and Dana Brooke
In a match organized by Titus O'Neil through general manager Corbin, Dana Brooke teamed with Ember Moon against Sasha Banks and Bayley.
Moon held her own against both faces until she got the hot tag to Dana, who was distracted by Titus Worldwide at ringside and got rolled up by Banks for three.
An angry Dana yelled at both men, telling them she was done with them.
Banks and Bayley def. Moon and Dana by pinfall
This was more a segment than a match, rushed to a finish. No one really got a chance to do anything beyond the development of Dana's conflict with Titus and Apollo Crews. It seems she is breaking up with the stable, which doesn't mean much unless she is used more.
Kevin Owens Assaults Bobby Lashley During His Attempt to Find Inner Peace
Corbin required Lashley to meet Jinder Mahal in the ring for a special meeting where The Modern Day Maharaja tried to help him find his inner peace.
After The Destroyer made fun of Mahal and Sunil Singh, he was assaulted from behind by Kevin Owens.
KO stomped on Lashley and then sent him hard onto the apron with a powerbomb.
This was a mixed bag of a segment. Lashley is not that great on the mic, but his interaction with Mahal was somewhat funny. It wavered just long enough for Owens' assault to be a big boost to the scene. It felt like the old KO, taking out his competition with an apron powerbomb.
Owens made clear last week that Sami Zayn's injury was the reason he didn't win the Universal Championship, so it makes sense he would target Lashley. However, this makes KO quitting last week less impactful, coming off as a cheap stunt rather than an actual story.
Finn Balor vs. Braun Strowman
Finn Balor showed an impressive game plan early in this match, using sleeper holds and suicide dives to wear down The Monster Among Men.
However, after The Extraordinary Man locked in a triangle, Strowman lifted him up effortlessly for a powerbomb and then running powerslam for the win.
Ziggler and McIntyre looked to inflict further damage on Balor, but The Shield returned in a police transit car.
Reigns, Rollins and Ambrose marched to the ring only to be assaulted by the heel side of the Raw locker room, who laid them out and left them bloodied and battered as Strowman, Ziggler and McIntyre stood tall.
Strowman def. Balor by pinfall
Strowman and Balor have tremendous chemistry, but this was far too short. Their last match together was a more complete competitive showcase. This time, it felt like the Irishman was not quite a match for The Monster, coming off as an underdog just trying his best.
Still, it was a strong main event followed by a great segment. Reigns, Rollins and Ambrose seemed like they would be unstoppable reforming as champions, but it now seems like all of Raw has turned against them. Until general manager Kurt Angle returns to restore order, they may be vastly outnumbered.
It is fair to ask why the other faces on Raw don't stand up to this injustice, but it is better storytelling for Reigns, Rollins and Ambrose to fight for only each other.