23rd Oct2018

WWE Raw – Oct 22nd 2018: Results & Review

by Phil Wheat

2018-raw-logo

Welcome to this week’s review of WWE Raw… An episode full of surprises and sadness.

Match #1: Finn Balor def. Bobby Lashley

The following is courtesy of WWE.com:

If anyone ever doubted that Finn Bálor is The Extraordinary Man Who Does Extraordinary Things, consider his accomplishment on Raw — perhaps the most unlikely achievement he’s ever recorded: He got Lio Rush to stop talking. How did Finn pull it off? The only way one gets Lio Rush to drop the mic these days: He defeated Bobby Lashley. That, of course, was extraordinary in and of itself, given that The Rocky Mountain-Made Machine’s revamped attitude has rendered him near-unstoppable over the last few weeks, and his constant disrespect of Bálor seemed to be reminiscent of the kind of demoralization that befell Kevin Owens and Tyler Breeze.

As it turns out, Lashley might have been better off not to brush Bálor aside. Hints mounted throughout the bout that The Extraordinary Man would not be as easy to put away as Lashley believed he would be — he even quieted Rush with a late-game rally — but Lashley still put himself in position to win when he evaded the Coup de Grâce. However, when he went to scoop up Finn, the Irishman ensnared Lashley in a rollup to keep the big man down for three. And for Lio Rush, who sings Lashley’s presence so effectively, it was nothing but the sounds of silence.

My Take: Despite Lio Rush’s incessant “Lashley” chants this match turned out to be a decent one on one between Balor and Lashley. Both men had some high spots and both looked strong. Balor rode his “smaller man” underdog vibe all the way to the win – by roll-up! (shock horror ANOTHER roll-up win on WWE). Interestingly it looked like Lashley had no idea he was to lose, sweating at Balor post-win as Finn scrambled out of the ring! A cracking sell if there ever was one.

Match #2: Ruby Riott def. Sasha Banks

The following is courtesy of WWE.com:

The return of Sasha Banks may have given Natalya a much-needed equalizer against The Riott Squad — The Queen of Harts will team with Banks & Bayley to face the Squad at WWE Evolution — but any expectation that The Boss would get right back to her winning ways was dashed by Ruby Riott on Raw in Banks’ singles return. The Riott Squad’s ringleader knocked off the four-time Women’s Champion just six days away from Evolution, taking advantage of The Boss’ rust and benefitting from some clutch interference from the rest of The Riott Squad. Liv Morgan & Sarah Logan had been conspicuous by their absence for most of the match, but that changed once Sasha locked in the Bank Statement. Logan rushed the ring to draw out Bayley, igniting a brawl that quickly roped in Natalya and Morgan.

After the Squad got the better of their foes, Banks left the ring to throw hands, only to find herself booted face-first into the ringpost by Ruby when she attempted to return to the ring. One punishing Riott Kick later, and it was over. The Boss will go into the history books on Sunday no matter the outcome, but with the momentum at Ruby & Co.’s back, Sasha’s road to victory at Evolution is looking longer by the second.

My Take: Sasha Banks is back and looking… gassed. Banks definitely didn’t look on form in the opening of this match, Riott getting the upper hand and looking all the more lethal against Banks’ muted performance. A definite case of ring rust if ever I saw it. Thankfully Riott got the win – she totally deserved it and deserves a push from the WWE finally.

Match #3: Elias def. Apollo Crews

The following is courtesy of WWE.com:

The good news for Apollo Crews is that, after last week, Elias knows who he is. This is also the bad news. The Living Truth, predictably, did not take kindly to his upstaging last week, dispatching the former Titus Worldwide standout in a hard-fought match that came down to the kind of persistence and timing you’d expect from a guitarist. After taking nearly all of Crews’ hardest-hitting maneuvers and kicking out, The Living Truth threw his opponent through the ropes and caught him with a leaping knee to the face as Apollo attempted to re-enter the ring. Drift Away followed, and that was all she wrote.

My Take: Oh great… WWE are burying Apollo again. Losing to the joke that is Elias? Sorry Crews.

Match #4: Ember Moon def. Nia Jax, Dana Brooke and Tamina (Fatal 4-Way)

The following is courtesy of WWE.com:

The field for WWE Evolution’s Battle Royal filled up fast, and despite Dana Brooke’s pre-emptive powerplay last week, another competitor quickly cemented herself as a Superstar to watch in the high-stakes free-for-all. Facing presumptive favorite Nia Jax, eternal hopeful Brooke and comeback player Tamina, Ember Moon made the statement of the night in a Fatal 4-Way, biding her time until she sprang with an Eclipse to drop Tamina and claim the win. An impressive achievement to be sure, but it won’t be as easy as 1-2-3 come Sunday.

My Take: A repeat, of sorts, of last weeks tag team match and yet again these four women put on a great match. Though this time round the right woman got the win and stood tall. Short and sweet but ANOTHER great build for Evolution’s Battle Royale. I’m keeping the ‘e’ on the end of Royal BTW… That’s the right way to spell it!

Match #5: Dean Ambrose & Seth Rollins def. Dolph Ziggler & Drew McIntyre to win the Raw Tag Team Championships

The following is courtesy of WWE.com:

How do you properly honor Roman Reigns as he takes his leave of absence to battle leukemia? According to Dean Ambrose & Seth Rollins, there is only one option: To win. Competing under the name of The Shield, they did just that and won one for Reigns — and then, Ambrose went into business for himself. Yes, The Lunatic Fringe finally snapped after weeks of in-house tension among The Hounds of Justice, unloading a torrent of fists on The Kingslayer after the two brothers in black dethroned Dolph Ziggler & Drew McIntyre to become Raw Tag Team Champions. They got that win thanks in no small part to an assist from Braun Strowman, who came seeking vengeance against Drew McIntyre and took The Scottish Psychopath out of the match by brawling with him through the crowd, leaving Ziggler ripe for a Stomp that sealed the match.

What was shaping up to be an emotional celebration in Reigns’ name, however, turned into Ambrose’s moment in a horrifying hurry. The Lunatic Fringe dropped Rollins with Dirty Deeds and slowly and methodically beat his fellow champion around and outside the ring before finally administering a second Dirty Deeds on the exposed concrete of the arena, ditching his black shirt and walking up through the crowd they had come through. On a night when Roman Reigns made an incredible sacrifice as a Raw Superstar, his brothers had seemingly pulled out all the stops to honor him. Now, Reigns has left. Ambrose has come undone. Those are the facts. Beyond that, it’s difficult to say what anybody should believe.

My Take: I feel like a broken record. Every week these guys fight and every week these guys put on the best matches on the main roster. The same applied tonight. And this s*it isn’t getting dull or repetitive either!

News of the Night:

  1. Roman Reigns relinquiched his Universal Title following the announcement he’s battling leukemeia.
  2. Taker p*ssed off the fans by only appearing on the Titantron, rather than in person, to insult Triple H & Shawn Michaels.
  3. Paul Heyman appeared on TV and hyped Brock Lesnar’s match at Crown Jewel – whilst putting over Roman Reigns, walking a very fine line between promo and hearfelt speech.
  4. Drew McIntrye attacked Braun Strowman furthering their feud.
  5. Dean Ambrose attacked Seth Rollins after their match. With Reigns out, does this mean The Shield are no more?

Final Verdict: 3.5/5

Well that was an odd episode. I’m guessing there had to be some swift changes following Reigns’ announcement, with the entire episode feeling much more sombre than usual. Whatever the re-writes, this episode of Raw was another great one, with only one bad match amongst the bunch. Still could do with MORE matches in the 3 hours though…

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