WWE Raw Results: The Era of McIntyre Is Upon Us and Biggest Takeaways

Erik Beaston@@ErikBeastonFeatured ColumnistOctober 16, 2018

WWE Raw Results: The Era of McIntyre Is Upon Us and Biggest Takeaways

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    Credit: WWE.com

    Women's wrestling, a renewed push and a sinister Scot headlined the October 15 episode of WWE Raw.

    The penultimate episode of the flagship show before WWE Evolution featured its fair share of female Superstars, but the biggest story news was the Raw tag team champion preparing to embark on a singles push that should take him to the top of the industry.

    Find out what the other big takeaways from Monday's USA Network presentation were with this recap.

Drew McIntyre's Monster Push Begins

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    Monday's Raw went off the air with Drew McIntyre exploding across the ring, wiping out an unsuspecting Braun Strowman with a Claymore Kick and standing tall.

    The Scot had built a name for himself since the Superstar Shake-Up episode of Raw, when he returned and aligned himself with Dolph Ziggler. Possessing every tool WWE officials look for in a star, it was only a matter of time before he became an integral part of the company's flagship show.

    McIntyre now finds himself still aligned with Ziggler but more protected than The Showoff and, more importantly, poised for a feud with The Monster Among Men.

    The majority of Monday's telecast had few long-term effects outside of McIntyre. Barring any major booking missteps or personal issues that would halt his push, the Raw tag team champion will likely receive the main event run that eluded him during his first stint with Vince McMahon's wrestling empire.

    And rightfully so.

    McIntyre has been nothing short of a beast between the ropes, bringing intensity and physicality to his matches. His stellar recent work with The Revival and main-eventers like The Shield suggests the prospects of a battle with Strowman are worth getting excited over.

WWE Creative Continues Lackluster Build to Evolution

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    WWE loves to throw around the word "history" in relation to its women's wrestling, particularly as Evolution approaches. It can use buzzwords and pat itself on the back all it wants, but the build to the pay-per-view has been atrocious to this point.

    Lazily announced matches featuring Trish Stratus and Lita were melded together in a single tag team match. A month's worth of storytelling between The Bella Twins and Ronda Rousey was rushed to get the match between Nikki and the Raw women's champion in the ring.

    Monday, Tamina returned to the squared circle for a tag team match that was utilized to hype a thrown-together battle royal with a lazy "future women's title opportunity" stipulation for the winner.

    Sasha Banks returned in a segment dragged down by a horribly produced Natalya vs. Ruby Riott match, setting the stage for a Six-Woman Tag Team match pitting The Queen of Harts, the Legit Boss and Bayley against the Riott Squad, something fans have been watching in some incarnation for the better part of six months.

    WWE Creative had the opportunity to present a truly special pay-per-view to back up everything the marketing machine had touted about the company's new dedication to women's wrestling.

    Instead, it has produced a largely lazy and uninspired card overshadowed by the returns of Brock Lesnar and Shawn Michaels a week later at Crown Jewel.

Apollo Crews' Push Is Already Doomed to Fail

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    Apollo Crews is a gifted athlete who has earned a look from WWE Creative, but Monday's segment with Elias is hardly the way to reintroduce fans to the NXT export and former member of Titus Worldwide.

    Crews was last seen getting bowled over by AOP alongside Titus O'Neil. Suddenly pulling him out of the mothballs for a push without any sort of build and throwing him into the fire with a performer who can talk circles around him is not the way to maximize his strengths.

    Programming him with Elias without allowing him to build any kind of momentum will emphasize his lack of on-screen personality.

    Crews can hang with anyone. He can do things in the ring that Superstars his size should not be able to. No push, though, will ever work as long as the company inexplicably trots him out for segments like Monday's.

    Almost every wrestler who makes it to television is a solid in-ring worker these days, so Superstars need more than wrestling ability to succeed. Creative misfires have prevented Crews from doing that, and no rivalry with the red-hot Elias is going to make up for it.

Finn Balor Needs to Switch Brands

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    Finn Balor beat Jinder Mahal Monday night in two minutes.

    A year ago, that would have meant a ton. The Modern Day Maharaja was the WWE champion and in the midst of a sizable push. Balor was fresh off a win over AJ Styles at Hell in a Cell. Their match would have been a legitimate contender for a main event.

    Monday's match...not so much.

    It was a squash match that both demonstrated how far Mahal has fallen and, worse yet, how woefully mismanaged Balor has been since returning from injury in 2017.

    The first universal champion in WWE history has the charisma and the overwhelming popularity to be a headliner on Styles' level. Instead, he is wallowing on Raw, unable to push past The Shield and Braun Strowman, all of whom the Raw brand's writing staff have valued more.

    The Irish-born Superstar needs a trip to SmackDown, where he can thrive with some of the best wrestlers in the world. More importantly, he can seize some of that opportunity the blue brand so proudly touts and achieve the level of stardom in WWE he has earned.

Ronda Rousey Excels in First Lengthy Solo Promo

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    Until Monday's show, Ronda Rousey had benefited from shorter promos alongside strong talkers. Whether it was Stephanie McMahon and Triple H prior to WrestleMania, the underrated Nia Jax ahead of Money in the Bank or Alexa Bliss throughout the summer, she has always had someone to play off who could carry the segment and make sure she hit all of her lines.

    That was not the case Monday night when she addressed The Bella Twins, themselves not always the most reliable promo. She hit the right tone and never appeared flustered by the moment. She was well spoken, natural and conveyed the right amount of emotion.

    There will be those who are highly critical of WWE Creative using the John Cena relationship as some sort of shaming for Nikki Bella, but it has been utilized before and it fits the "do-nothing Bella" story it is trying to tell. Was it cheap? Absolutely. Low-hanging fruit? Definitely. But it was effective all the same.

    On a night when she needed to come up big to create any semblance of heat for her match with Bella after a strong day of social media back-and-forths, Rousey excelled.