WWE Raw Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from October 15
The October 15 edition of WWE Raw promised major forward momentum toward two huge events, Evolution and Crown Jewel.
The Undertaker and Kane were expected to make an appearance to respond to the challenge of Triple H and Shawn Michaels for a tag team match.
The World Cup continued to build up contenders, with Kurt Angle, John Cena, Jeff Hardy and Randy Orton already announced for the one-night tournament. This week, Seth Rollins would face Drew McIntyre, and Dean Ambrose would clash with Dolph Ziggler to name the final two Raw competitors.
The Bella Twins promised an explanation for their vicious attack on supposed friend Ronda Rousey that led to the announcement of the Raw women's champion fighting Nikki Bella at Evolution on October 28. Bobby Lashley was also set to show more of his new attitude brought on by manager and hype man Lio Rush.
With only weeks left before these events, there was room for many more major segments. The Evolution card still had space for more women to step up, with everyone vying for consideration. Roman Reigns and Braun Strowman were also certain to appear ahead of their Triple Threat title match on November 2, which will also include Brock Lesnar.
While nothing stood out clearly going into Raw, this was an important night that could decide what was coming at the end of the month, with looming controversy over Crown Jewel certainly on everyone's mind.
Seth Rollins vs. Drew McIntyre (WWE World Cup Qualifier)
Strowman, Ziggler and McIntyre opened the show bragging about destroying The Shield last week until Reigns and Rollins came out to contest the claim that their trio was done. The Architect then challenged The Scottish Psychopath to start their World Cup Qualifying match early.
The Showoff reappeared during the bout to distract the intercontinental champion so McIntyre could send him hard into the steel underneath the ring. After some brilliant counters by both sides, Rollins took out Ziggler and McIntyre with suicide dives.
The #Heel tripped The Architect as he went for a Curb Stomp, sending him to the floor. In response, Ambrose appeared to attack Ziggler, and his appearance allowed Rollins to recover just enough to beat McIntyre back to the ring and win by count-out.
Afterward, The Shield talked backstage with Ambrose taking exception to his brothers calling him a lunatic, and he walked off again.
Rollins def. McIntyre by count-out to advance to the WWE World Cup
This all felt a little too familiar. This Shield vs. Strowman and Co. feud has become highly repetitive, but that does not take away from the overall strength of the opening promo and match. The heels were in top form and hinted at potential dissension down the line.
Rollins vs. McIntyre is too often Raw's go-to match, which has diluted the impact of a potential show-stealer. This was easily their best clash in months, with the two pulling out some phenomenal sequences down the stretch with a clever finish that protected the Scot.
The Brothers of Destruction Promise to Make D-Generation X Rest in Peace
In a pretaped promo, Undertaker and Kane stood together in a boiler room where they called out the hypocrisy of Triple H and Michaels, who had cheated heavily to win at Super Show-Down.
They promised to make D-Generation X pay for their insolence at Crown Jewel and put them back where they belong.
This was a better way for The Brothers of Destruction to respond than having them appear on Raw and waste an extra five minutes saying the same thing. The editing here showcased the eerie threat The Deadman and his brother represent.
Even if this feud feels too little, too late to work, the veterans still know how to represent themselves as larger-than-life personalities outside the ring.
Nia Jax and Ember Moon vs. Tamina and Dana Brooke
Before this match, it was announced Evolution would have a Battle Royal that would include all four of these women.
The returning Tamina worked with Dana Brooke to beat down Ember Moon early in this tag match. The powerful second-generation star looked impressive against Jax, hitting a Samoan drop on the former women's champion.
However, the move took too much out of both wrestlers, and they were forced to tag in their partners with Moon catching Brooke with a quick Eclipse to win.
Afterward, Tamina superkicked Jax and Moon, and she threw The Irresistible Force over the top rope before Brooke threw them both out as well.
Jax and Moon def. Tamina and Brooke by pinfall
It was great to see Tamina back, and despite a lack of pageantry surrounding her return, she looked good here. The match was nothing special, but it did hint at the potential interest in a future Jax vs. Tamina power struggle on Raw.
The post-match action ruined this, though, as Moon's actions took away from any potential genuine heat building between the two friends. It came off as a turn at first before it was revealed the whole thing was just to hype the Battle Royal, throwing away any real stories.
The Battle Royal at Evolution feels like a waste of talent, but it is WWE's modus operandi to use such a bout to force as many stars on a card as possible rather than making genuine stories.
Ronda Rousey Tells The Bella Twins the Truth of Their Careers
Rousey called out The Bella Twins to get an answer for their attack, and Nikki and Brie answered. They questioned how The Baddest Woman on the Planet could steal their spotlight, with the two taking credit for establishing the power of the "Diva" label.
The Raw women's champion called the Bellas talentless while leeching off the success of John Cena and Daniel Bryan.
After a few more incisive comments, the twins headed toward the ring only after bringing out their own security. Rousey dispatched the security easily, but the Bellas ran backstage.
This segment was written well, with both sides establishing the dynamic. The crowd enjoyed it for the most part. Rousey struggled at times to deliver her end of the comments, though. She's never been a great promo but is getting better, although it was asking a lot of her to pull this off.
It is honestly a wonder that the segment did not completely collapse, as it was clear Rousey was not confident in playing a Cena-like role, burying the heels with scathing truths and overwhelming charisma.
Dean Ambrose vs. Dolph Ziggler (WWE World Cup Qualifier)
Ambrose looked dominant in this match, throwing around and beating up Ziggler. However, The Showoff refused to stay down. When it started to look bleak, The Scottish Psychopath got involved, with Rollins cutting him off.
The Architect helped Ambrose to his feet, but The Lunatic Fringe pushed him off and slid back into the ring right into a superkick that gave Ziggler the win.
Afterward, Rollins and Ambrose got into an argument that Reigns tried to calm, only for Baron Corbin to appear and announce a rematch from last week's main event as the tumultuous Shield trio would have to work together to wrestle Strowman, Ziggler and McIntyre again.
Backstage, the heels struggled to get on the same page as The Monster Among Men refused to listen to his partners.
Ziggler def. Ambrose by pinfall to advance to the WWE World Cup
Ambrose's new moves add much more of a spark to his matches than he had near the time he got injured, and it made his match with The #Heel far more interesting than it looked to be on paper. Ziggler bumped a ton for The Lunatic's power moves.
Another strong finish also helped this contest stand out, as Rollins and Ambrose look to be on a collision course. As they've proved many times, these two are phenomenal together as partners and rivals.
Finn Balor (w/ Bayley) vs. Jinder Mahal (w/ Alicia Fox and The Singh Brothers)
Finn Balor and Jinder Mahal once more fought, with their Mixed Match Challenge partners in their corners.
While The Modern Day Maharaja did not go down too easily, he still fell to the Coup De Grace in short order. Afterward, Bobby Lashley ruined Balor's celebration with Lio Rush mocking the winner.
Balor def. Mahal by pinfall
At one time, it seemed Mahal might have decent chemistry with Balor, but these repeated matches have worn through any novelty the bout once had.
There's no drama as the former WWE champion has returned to an enhancement role, and there's not even a story here despite so much time put into this supposed rivalry.
Bobby Lashley vs. Tyler Breeze
As Rush continued to drum up cheers for his man, Lashley seemed almost unfazed by any offense Tyler Breeze mustered.
While Breeze got in a few nice dropkicks, he was quickly caught and slammed to the mat in the midst of a small rally.
The Dominator finally decided to put this away by hitting his finisher for the win.
Lashley def. Breeze by pinfall
While Lashley and Rush got off on the right foot last week with their surprise turn, this segment showcased why this act has a short leash. The big man just felt flat here, with his manager coming off annoying. The crowd basically went silent throughout the match.
If the plan is for Balor vs. Lashley soon, that may help this act work because fans will have someone to cheer for. If he continues to squash lower-level talent, though, it will lead to many flat segments.
Alexa Bliss and Mickie James Almost Start Evolution Early vs. Trish and Lita
Alexa Bliss and Mickie James interrupted Lita and Trish Stratus, and they made clear their experience over the past decade would make it easy for them to win their bout at Evolution.
The Hall of Famers did not seem fazed by the idea they would have ring rust, asking Bliss and James to help them practice.
While the heels teased starting their tag team match a few weeks early, they backed off, leaving the legends standing tall and waiting for a future fight.
This was nothing special, but it did its job. Both sides got in their best shots, but the fighting should wait until Evolution.
It is odd just how much James has transformed into Bliss' partner, as you would assume The Goddess was the one who had been wrestling since 1999 based on their dynamic.
The Authors of Pain vs. The Conquistador
With Corbin watching from the stage, The Authors of Pain made quick work of The Conquistador, who the acting general manager assumed was Kurt Angle.
They unmasked the victim, who was apparently a local competitor. Angle then Angle Slammed Corbin on the stage.
AOP def. Conquistador by pinfall
This was short enough that it didn't matter that it felt fairly flat.
The idea of the Olympic gold medalist trying to overcome Akam and Rezar had some merit. Instead, it was just a way for Angle to attack Corbin again and felt unnecessary.
Natalya (w/ Bayley and Sasha Banks) vs. Ruby Riott (w/ The Riott Squad)
Before she walked down the ramp, Natalya revealed she had brought friends to even the odds as Bayley came out followed by the returning Sasha Banks. It was clear, with the numbers even, The Queen of Harts had this match firmly in hand.
She locked in the Sharpshooter, but Morgan caught her with a chop block to cause a disqualification. A fight broke out, with the faces clearing the ring. However, Natalya was hobbled by the attack again.
Natalya def. Riott by disqualification
Because of how many segments were packed into Raw this week, Riott looked more out of sorts fighting Natalya rather than Rousey. It was awkward how quickly she was almost defeated.
It was nice to see The Boss back, though, and this was as exciting as a Riott Squad feud segment has been in a while.
Apollo Crews Refuses to Let Elias Take His Spotlight
Elias was interrupted by Apollo Crews, who wanted to make his mark.
The Drifter continued to insult Crews until the young star lost it, refusing to let WWE ignore him anymore. He press-slammed the musician and stood tall.
Elias is always fun to watch, but it was great to see him move into a genuine angle again.
Crews has not done much for a long time, but he showed here he has been improving on the mic. He's also always been good in the ring. He's a freak athlete who could be a star with the right angle.
The Shield vs. Braun Strowman, Dolph Ziggler and Drew McIntyre
Reigns was isolated in this match, taking the brunt of the dysfunctional heels' wrath.
Strowman and McIntyre fought over tagging in, which allowed The Big Dog to almost Samoan drop his way to a hot tag. After a timely assist from Rollins and Ambrose in the corner, though, the tag went to The Architect.
Looking like former tag team champions again, The Lunatic Fringe and Rollins went for side-by-side suicide dives, and their dynamic set up a Dirty Deeds on McIntyre only for Ziggler to throw The Architect into Ambrose to break the pin.
The two began shoving each other until Ambrose took a Zig Zag for a near-fall.
Reigns returned just in time to save the match, with The Scottish Psychopath accidentally hitting The Monster Among Men with a Claymore. McIntyre took a Spear, then Ziggler got destroyed by a triple powerbomb with The Lunatic taking the pinfall win.
Afterward, Strowman hit The Showoff with a running powerslam only to take another Claymore from McIntyre, who walked out to the stage alone.
The Shield def. Strowman, Ziggler and McIntyre by pinfall
This was an unnecessary third act to this six-man tag trilogy that was easily the weakest of the three. Reigns and Strowman were the only fresh men, and it showed. The action was slow for a long time before picking up in the final five minutes.
It was helped by the post-match action, as the heels truly fell apart.
It is tough to say what is happening with all six of these men right now. Everyone looks ready to turn on everyone else. It would be great to see McIntyre journey out on his own, but he is still a tag team champion at the moment.