WWE Raw Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from October 19
The new era of WWE Raw began Monday night, with a roster full of fresh faces and new rivalries for the flagship faithful to sink their teeth in.
The show, headlined by the final hype for Sunday's Hell in a Cell pay-per-view, featured a championship clash and a monster mash featuring two of the biggest and baddest on the roster.
Who emerged from the night's matches victorious, which storylines captured the attention of fans moving forward and how did the brand balance hyping the upcoming extravaganza while looking forward?
Find out with this recap of the October 19 broadcast.
Announced ahead of Monday's show:
- Keith Lee vs. Braun Strowman
- Raw Women's Championship match: Asuka vs. Lana
- Eight-Man Tag Team match: The Hurt Business vs. Retribution
- Matt Riddle vs. AJ Styles
- Kofi Kingston (with Xavier Woods) vs. Sheamus
- The latest edition of "The Firefly Fun House"
The Fiend Arrives; The Hurt Business vs. Retribution
The season premiere of WWE Raw kicked off with a new opening, set to NF's "The Search," before giving way to the arrival of "The Fiend" Bray Wyatt, introduced to the WWE Network by Alexa Bliss.
The former Universal champion made his way to the ring, joining Bliss hand-in-hand before Retribution's music played and the renegade faction made its first appearance under the guidance of Mustafa Ali. The arena darkened, and when the lights came up, The Fiend and Bliss disappeared. The Hurt Business' music played, and a brawl between the factions broke out.
MVP, Cedric Alexander, Shelton Benjamin and Bobby Lashley cleared the ring as the show headed to break.
After the commercial, Lashley started off the advertised Eight-Man Tag Team match for his team, taking T-Bar down with a Flatliner. Alexander teed off on Slapjack, catching him with a knee and kick for two. A momentary distraction by his teammates allowed a wobbly Slapkack to tag Ali into the match and seize control of the bout for Retribution.
The Fiend appeared on the video screen as the show headed back to the break, halting Ali and his followers' onslaught.
Back from the timeout, The Hurt Business worked over Mace, cutting him off from his partners. The action broke down, and Lashley applied the Hurt Lock to T-Bar for the win.
After the match, The Fiend reappeared and laid waste to Mace, Slapjack and T-Bar, who rescued Ali from punishment at the hands of the masked madman of Monday night. The Fiend stood tall as a video of Bliss aired on the video screen, Bray Wyatt's voice dubbed over hers, "let me in" sounding throughout the ThunderDome.
The Hurt Business defeated Retribution
The Fiend is never not a compelling part of whatever show he is a part of, and here, we got a feel for what his run on Raw is going to look like. Is he a heel or babyface? Who will he target? It looks like he will be a bit of a tweener and that anyone is fair game for The Fiend's wrath.
As they should be.
An unhinged entity straight out of a John Carpenter flick, he should not be bound by dated storyline tropes or formulas. He should be free to be unpredictable and chaotic, not impaired by the idea of heels and babyfaces.
He was off to a great start here.
Not off to a great start was Ali's Retribution, which was soundly defeated by The Hurt Business and wiped out by The Fiend. It feels like an act dead in the water, already destined to be beaten down and rebooted as WWE Creative appears uninterested in continuing the act as it currently stands.
Perhaps that is for the best, as the names alone doomed the group to mediocrity, at best.
Matt Riddle vs. AJ Styles (with Jordan Omogbehin)
Flanked by his massive new bodyguard Jordan Omogbehin, AJ Styles made his way to the ring to cut a braggadocious promo about his return to Raw in last week's WWE Draft. This brought out Matt Riddle, also formerly of SmackDown, for their scheduled match.
After a minute or two of the referee insisting the former bouncer for Raw Underground leaves the ring, the action kicked off with Riddle dominating. A brief encounter with the giant stunned Riddle, allowing Styles to take control during the bout.
Following the break, Riddle fought his way back into the match, delivering a wicked Fisherman Buster into a cradle for two. The Original Bro found himself knocked to the floor, where he was again distracted by Omogbehin.
Back inside, Styles capitalized and delivered the Styles Clash for the hard-fought pin-fall victory.
Styles defeated Riddle
Riddle and Styles aren't going to have very many bad matches. Both are quality workers whose styles mesh well. They could conceivably have an above-average match with their eyes closed.
The added element of the enormous bodyguard is intriguing, to say the least, but is not necessarily one Styles needs. He can talk, he can work and he is perceived as a main eventer. And therein lies why he is the perfect choice to pair with Omogbehin.
WWE clearly wants to get the big man on television, and what better way to convince the audience that he is a big deal, both literally and figuratively, than by teaming him with a guy the WWE Universe has been conditioned to buy into as a legitimate main event talent?
The newcomer will benefit exponentially, and Styles will have the opportunity to freshen things up a bit at a time when his character could probably use it. A win-win for all involved.
Except for Riddle, who ate another clean pin in a string of them of late.
Raw Women's Championship Match: Asuka vs. Lana
After an impassioned promo from WWE champion Drew McIntyre ahead of his title defense against Randy Orton at Sunday's Hell in a Cell, Lana made her way to the ring for a Raw Women's Championship match against Asuka, earned by way of her victory in last week's Dual-Brand Women's Battle Royal.
Lana scored a quick counter early, but Asuka reversed that into an Asuka Lock attempt, forcing the challenger to scurry to the ropes for the break. The Ravishing Russian executed a few more surprising takedowns and reverses before The Empress finally trapped her in the submission for the tapout victory.
After the match, Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler attacked Asuka. The former delivered a Samoan Drop to Lana, driving her through the announce table for the fifth consecutive week before Asuka fended them off to close out the segment.
Asuka defeated Lana
Well, that was anticlimactic.
All of that effort into setting up Lana's clever win last week gave way to an excuse for Jax to put her through the damn table again.
Leave it to WWE to beat that angle into the ground.
This seems to be setting up a potential Women's Tag Team Championship match pitting Jax and Baszler against Asuka and a partner of her choice (maybe Lana?), and while there are worse options, it feels like a poor use of two different titleholders when they could be utilized against the wealth of women's talent the Raw brand suddenly finds itself with.
Fatal 4-Way Women's Tag Team Match
Shayna Baszler and Nia Jax asserted their dominance in a promo and issued a challenge to anyone in the locker room refuting their reign over the Raw and SmackDown women's divisions. Mandy Rose and Dana Brooke, The Riott Squad (now of SmackDown) and the new team of Lacey Evans and Peyton Royce all answered, giving way to a Fatal 4-Way nontitle match.
A chaotic brawl saw Royce, Evans, Ruby Riott and Liv Morgan soar through the air, wiping the opposition out ahead of the break.
Back from the break, the action eventually broke down, with each competitor getting the opportunity to shine through some signature offense. Morgan and Riott rolled, the latter delivering a Riott Kick that nearly scored the win.
Baszler pulled her to the floor and put her to sleep with the Kirifuda Clutch before Jax tagged in and delivered the Samoan Drop to Evans for the win.
Jax and Baszler defeated Evans and Royce, Riott Squad, and Rose and Brooke
What, exactly, was the point of this?
To put Jax and Baszler over as an even more unbeatable force? We get it. They've steamrolled everyone. They beat The Golden Role Models. They demolished The Riott Squad. They have conquered any and all competitors, and this was no different.
That Riott and Morgan were again sacrificed to accomplish something we have seen countless times before is proof positive that some things never change in the WWE Universe. Their stars have already dimmed as they embark on a run on Friday nights.
Elias Performs, Jeff Hardy Crashes the Proceedings
Elias returned to the stage this week, promising the greatest concert of all time ahead of the release of his new album, Universal Truth.
He performed a medley, beginning with his new single, "Amen."
Elias plugged his album again and ended with, "Goodnight...I love none of you." He teased an encore and demanded his guitar, only for Jeff Hardy to reveal himself as a mysterious guitarist. "I didn't hit you with that car, man, and you know it!" he exclaimed after recklessly swinging said guitar.
Elias retreated to close out the segment.
There was music. And singing. And a sneak attack by Hardy, but absolutely nothing that makes anyone want to see these two have a lengthy, drawn-out midcard program.
Does working with Hardy help elevate Elias? Absolutely, but he's worked with everyone from Undertaker to Roman Reigns. He's always been a big deal and upper-midcard act. A Hardy feud will not change that.
What might help is that musical performance. Elias rocked it, and the result was a three-minute break from the mat game that established the sinister songster as a legitimate vocal performer. A much better singer than wrestler, even.
Kofi Kingston (with Xavier Woods) vs. Sheamus
Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods hit the ring, making their first appearance on Raw since being drafted a week ago. Sheamus interrupted their promo, and after some back-and-forth that included "Johnny Appleseedin'," The Celtic Warrior faced Kingston in a battle of former world champions.
Sheamus used his strength advantage to seize the upper hand heading into the break, grounding Kingston and pounding him with unforgiving strikes.
With Big E watching as part of the ThunderDome audience, Kingston fought his way back into the match and scored a near-fall off a Boom Drop. Sheamus regained control with a uranage for his own near-fall. The Irishman delivered a big Alabama Slam as he pulled out every weapon in his arsenal in the name of a much-needed victory.
Kingston answered, delivering a Russian leg sweep from the middle rope for a two-count. Both men fought to their feet, and Kingston delivered Trouble in Paradise for the hard-fought victory.
Kingston defeated Sheamus
This was an unexpectedly physical and long match.
Sheamus turned in his typically solid performance, and Kingston broke out some fresh offense. The result was a fun match between two guys who know each other very well.
There's no indication this will continue beyond tonight, nor should it. New Day has exorcised its Sheamus demon, and now it is time to move on to new things. Still, this was a fun match between two grizzled vets who have been atop the WWE mountain, back down and all around for the last decade.
Tucker and 'El Gran Gordo' vs. the Miz and John Morrison
Backstage, Ali cut a promo on behalf of Retribution in which he revealed that he was the SmackDown hacker and that his motivation is to expose the greed and corruption within WWE. He vowed to shut down anyone who opposed them.
Elsewhere, Titus O'Neil proposed joining The Hurt Business, only to catch a beatdown from the faction.
John Morrison and The Miz made their way to the ring for a tag team match with Tucker, whom they challenged to find a partner earlier in the night. He did, introducing the WWE Universe to "El Gran Gordo," one of the most famous luchadors in the world.
A luchador who looked and sounded a hell of a lot like Otis.
Miz cut a scathing promo on Otis, calling him a joke and claiming he has bucked the system to this point and will continue to do so until he wins the court case that will deliver him Money in the Bank. Tucker and Gordo hit the ring and cleared the heels out.
Back from the break, Miz and Morrison worked over Tucker as the match got underway. They cut the ring off, isolating him from Gordo. The oversized luchador finally tagged into the match, bowling over the competition.
Midway through the match, R-Truth, Akira Tozawa, Drew Gulak and Lucha House Party interrupted, leading to Gordo delivering the Caterpillar and a Vader Bomb for the win.
Tucker and Gordo defeated Miz and Morrison
Take every Heavy Machinery vs. Morrison and Miz match you have ever watched, throw in a cameo from Truth that no one asked for, and you have this mess of a match that did nothing to help anyone.
Miz and Morrison lose despite being labeled one of the best picks in last week's draft, Tucker is completely overshadowed on the show he was drafted to and Otis continues to wallow in overly jokey segments despite holding a Money in the Bank briefcase that feels more like a prop than a gateway to bigger and better things.
This was a miss on a night where there have not been many of those.
Keith Lee vs. Braun Strowman
Bray Wyatt introduced the latest edition of "The Firefly Fun House," with a theme of fresh starts and new friends. It ended with poor Ramblin' Rabbit getting devoured by Mercy The Buzzard and our host welcoming Alexa Bliss to the set.
Braun Strowman made his way to the ring for the night's main event, a heavyweight battle with Keith Lee.
The former Universal champion tried to steamroll Lee on the floor, but the NXT alumnus was barely fazed by his decorated opponent. Lee targeted the ribs of Strowman, who was still impaired by the beating he endured Friday at the hands of Roman Reigns.
A resourceful Strowman delivered a creative low blow, blasted Lee with a big boot to the face and scored the win by dubious means. After the match, Lee delivered his own low blow and warned Strowman that he had messed with the wrong man.
Strowman defeated Lee
It has to get better, right?
Strowman and Lee wrestled a strike-heavy match that was neither interesting nor particularly good. Nor was it intended to be. This, like their first match, was a means to an end, that end being the continuation of a feud that has not been defined or explained to any extent.
Strowman used a low blow to pick up the win. Lee returned the favor. So, like, I guess they keep fighting?
Apparently so, even as neither man can really afford a loss at this point.
The Viper's Final Words of Warning
Randy Orton made his way to the ring for the final promo before Sunday's Hell in a Cell pay-per-view. Surrounded by the steel structure, The Viper relived his encounters inside Hell in a Cell, recalling the match in which he earned The Undertaker's respect.
WWE champion Drew McIntyre interrupted. He came face-to-face with Orton, staring his rival down through the steel mesh of the cage before producing a pair of bolt cutters and breaking his way into the structure.
McIntyre entered the cage as the show faded to black.
It may have been a bit anticlimactic for the big go-home angle to feature no physical interaction, but the promo from Orton was his typical excellent stuff, while the tense showdown and tease of a war inside the structure surely drummed up some interest in their battle this Sunday night.
Was it a segment that should have been so heavily hyped throughout the show? No, but it was still respectable stuff that put a nice bow on the main event of Hell in a Cell.