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WWE MONDAY NIGHT RAW PRIMER
SEPTEMBER 24, 2018
DENVER, CO. AT THE PEPSI CENTER
AIRS ON USA NETWORK, 8:00 P.M. EDT
BY FRANK PETEANI, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Arena / Last Week’s Recap
WWE returns to the Pepsi Center in Denver, CO. for the first time since last October when Raw, Smackdown, 205Live, and Main Event (that still exists?) all appeared in the same week. Our attention is now in MULTIPLE directions as Super Showdown, Evolution, and Crown Jewel are all upcoming within the next six weeks.
Last week Roman Reigns successfully defended the Universal Championship over interim G.M. Baron Corbin. Earlier in the evening Seth Rollins retained the Intercontinental Championship over Dolph Ziggler. Nia Jax made her return to WWE television to team with Ember Moon and defeated Mickie James and Alicia Fox. Drew McIntyre defeated Dean Ambrose in a one-on-one which to me was one of the most significant moments of Raw.
Tonight, we have three matches on tap including a Raw Tag Team Championship.
Raw Tag Team Championship: Dolph Ziggler & Drew McIntyre (champions) vs. The Revival
The Revival, Scott Dawson & Dash Wilder, finally get their earned Raw Tag Team Championship match as they take on champions Dolph Ziggler & Drew McIntyre. To quickly recap, several weeks ago The Revival were to challenge the then-champions B-Team when they were attacked backstage by Ziggler & McIntyre. Instead of getting arrested as the Shield were that night, our fearless leader interim G.M. Baron Corbin swapped them into the championship match. They won the titles and will finally have to defend against the Revival tonight.
Frank’s Analysis: On a serious note, Scott Dawson and his family have been dealing with Hurricane Florence as according to his Twitter page he lives in Kill Devil Hills, N.C. Their last appearance was on Labor Day, a week before the storm hit. It’s somewhat possible WWE gave the Revival time off knowing it was coming to at least let Dawson be with his family and help out in the community. As far as the tag team championship I don’t see any reason for the titles to change tonight. It’s always interesting to see two heel teams go at it although as a result of the attack I mentioned earlier, the Revival could be going babyface. Unless you consider Chad Gable & Bobby Roode formidable, there are NO babyface tag teams on Raw. The B-Team has not been on TV since losing the championship to Ziggler & McIntyre.
Bobby Lashley vs. Elias
In a rematch from their no-contest last week, Bobby Lashley will take on Elias. It’s expected that Lio Rush will be in Lashley’s corner, as he was a guest commentator during last week’s encounter. Kevin Owens came out and taunted Rush, but Rush got away and made his way towards the ring with Owens in pursuit. Both got involved in the match with Lashley and Elias and it was eventually ruled a no-contest. Tonight, they will have their rematch.
Bear in mind at Super Showdown on Oct. 6, Lashley will team with a returning John Cena to face Kevin Owens and Elias.
Frank’s Analysis: I’m with Wade Keller on this as I don’t know what to make of the situation, but if it means less talking from Lashley accompanied by a heel turn then sign me up! I resisted Rush at first, but he can certainly talk. For now, Lashley is still a babyface with Rush as his manager although that hasn’t been officially acknowledged. Drake Maverick hasn’t been acknowledged as the Authors of Pain’s manager either. It makes me wonder if Vince McMahon wants to have his cake and eat it too, meaning he doesn’t like “managers” but realizes their effectiveness however doesn’t want to acknowledge them as “managers.” As far as the match tonight I don’t have a ton of expectations, but I do wonder if we will get a surprise appearance by John Cena either tonight or next week. There has been no build for the tag match upcoming at Super Showdown. Owens has called out Lashley for taking out his best friend Sami Zayn. Cena and Elias do have minimal history. It would be nice to have some build.
Brie Bella vs. Ruby Riott
Brie Bella goes one-on-one with Ruby Riott of the Riott Squad tonight. A few weeks ago, Brie and her sister Nikki returned as a tag team to Raw and defeated Sarah Logan & Liv Morgan, also of the Riott Squad. Last week, the Squad foiled Natalya’s attempted answer to Ronda Rousey’s Raw Women’s Championship open challenge by apparently attacking her backstage and dragging her out to the arena with her music playing. Riott said she was answering the open challenge instead and then the Squad went after Rousey. Nikki & Brie would come out and make the save. At Super Showdown, Rousey teams with Nikki & Brie to take on the Riott Squad.
A feud could be budding between Riott and Rousey perhaps leading to something towards the end of the year. Here’s Riott on Twitter trash talking Rousey:
A fighting champion?! @RondaRousey I’m pretty sure that all the names you dropped, wouldn’t cheap shot someone who was accepting their “open” challenge.
— Ruby Riott (@RubyRiottWWE) September 18, 2018
Frank’s Analysis: Is Brie Bella the top WWE women’s wrestler as she gets to appear on both Raw and Smackdown? I haven’t heard WWE acknowledge her as a “free agent” or anything of the sort. As far the match tonight it’s really just a way to keep Rousey on TV without her having to wrestle as was last week’s segment. I’m certain she will be lurking somewhere about as a result of the upcoming six-woman tag at the Super Showdown. I thought her promo was effective last week, especially her declaring the expectations she has for herself. Look for tension to start to build with the Bellas and Rousey especially if the rumored match between Nikki and Rousey is a go for Evolution coming Oct. 28.
Ready, Willing, And…
Don’t look at me, this is what WWE.com is advertising. Last week, Chad Gable with Bobby Roode in his corner defeated Viktor of the Ascension. It looks like this partnership is going to hold, and the feud with the Ascension will continue.
Frank’s Analysis: It was reported by The Sun that Jason Jordan’s neck injury may be more serious than originally diagnosed, and thus he may be forced to retire. This is a shame no matter what you thought of Jordan’s character and the storyline with Kurt Angle. I thought at some point he would return to be Gable’s partner, re-igniting American Alpha which in my opinion never got a fair shake on Smackdown upon their callup in 2016. With nothing of substance on the docket for Bobby Roode, I would imagine this is why WWE is going forward with this partnership. It’s another odd-couple team, but I still say this leads to a Roode heel turn.
G.M. Baron Corbin and The Shield
I talked about Corbin losing a Universal Championship match to champion Roman Reigns last week. He was DQ’d after throwing a chair at Reigns, however he used his G.M. authority to restart the match as a no-DQ. The Dogs of War, Braun Strowman & Dolph Ziggler & Drew McIntyre, all attempted to interfere but were foiled by Reigns’s Shield partners Seth Rollins & Dean Ambrose.
Earlier in the evening, Reigns touted how he was still Universal Champion despite the no-contest with Strowman at Hell in a Cell. He called out Brock Lesnar, whom if you recall was the one who interfered in Strowman & Reigns’s match at Hell in a Cell. Instead of Lesnar, Strowman came out frustrated, saying if it wasn’t for Lesnar he would be Universal Champion. He said when he done with Lesnar he’s coming for Reigns. Corbin came out and announced that a triple threat had been set for WWE’s next Saudi Arabian show, Crown Jewel taking place Nov. 2. Reigns will defend the Universal Championship against both Brock Lesnar and Braun Strowman. Strowman said that sucked along with Reigns, Corbin, and everyone in the building. Paul Heyman would surprise us all and introduce us to “Brock-o-nomics,” talking about WWE getting a record TV deal and soaring stock price during Lesnar’s recent Universal Championship run. Following Heyman’s promo, Corbin announced the match with Reigns for later in the evening.
It would appear Strowman is more focused on Lesnar than Reigns:
The Beast opened the door to hell, But he forgot he just let a MONSTER out. We’re FAR from done with this….I’m not finished with you!!!
— Braun Strowman (@BraunStrowman) September 17, 2018
Tonight, we’ll see if the Shield faces repercussions following Corbin’s unsuccessful attempt at winning the Universal Championship.
Frank’s Analysis: There’s a ton to unpack here. Reigns should have been outraged at the no-contest. Strowman should have been furious about cashing in his Money in the Bank contract for nothing and should have DEMANDED rematch last week. There should be a moratorium on GMs putting themselves in matches as in storyline, it’s a conflict of interest. Brock-o-nomics is interesting, however I don’t buy into the notion that WWE got their TV deal and saw their stock price soar because of Lesnar being Universal Champion. I’m not an expert in the financial industry, but I do listen to my company’s earnings calls. It all boils down to the balance sheet, incoming revenue, expenses, company growth, forecasts, and things of that nature. Then we get to another Saudi Arabian show. Isn’t it nice that WWE is going there only five days after their first all-women’s PPV, Evolution takes place? This is another case of them wanting things both ways.
I say again, I’m just the messenger. As I said earlier Nia Jax made her return to team with Ember Moon and defeated the team of Mickie James and Alicia Fox, with Alexa Bliss in their corner. As you may recall, Bliss won the women’s Money in the Bank contract back in June of this year and cashed in on then-champion Jax during the same night while she was defending against then-challenger Ronda Rousey. They have not crossed paths since, but it appears something is on the horizon.
It was announced by WWE.com that Bliss was pulled from the Mixed Match Challenge, where she was teaming with Braun Strowman. They say the injury took place during the match she had with Ronda Rousey at Hell in a Cell, and thus it could be storyline even though she was replaced by Ember Moon in the MMC. If the injury is legitimate, it’s unknown how long she will be kept out of the ring. Bear in mind, Bliss will take on WWE Hall of Famer Trish Stratus at Evolution on Oct. 28.
Frank’s Analysis: My head hurts doing this primer as we have SO MANY shows upcoming on the WWE network. The sad part is it seems Evolution has taken a back seat when it should be discussed more prominently, especially with it being the first all-women’s WWE PPV. Bliss is taking on someone in Trish Stratus, whom in many views is the greatest women’s wrestler of this era. It should be talked about in a much higher regard. They could be holding off because of the injury, but it’s hard to know for sure. As far the feud with Jax it was announced she won the Association of National Advertisers #SeeHer award for recognizing challenges that Jax has overcome in the portrayal of women and girls in the media. This could be a launching point to re-ignite the feud with Bliss, which was mostly centered around Bliss calling out Jax for her size. See Wade Keller’s Raw report from last week, where he had a thought about Jax winning this award.
Other Items from Last Week’s Raw
- The Undertaker appeared to respond to Triple H regarding their match at the Super Showdown on Oct. 6. He said he will have his former Brothers of Destruction partner Kane in his corner, while Triple H will have Shawn Michaels in his corner. He discussed Triple H being more of a corporate figure these days and will take his soul and put him down.
- The Authors of Pain won another squash match with their new manager, Drake Maverick at ringside. According to Corey Graves, AOP is unstoppable with Drake in their corner. Well, if you can successfully manage 205Live as Drake does I suppose you can do anything.
- Bayley, with Sasha Banks in her corner, defeated Dana Brooke. Banks also fell to the injury bug and was replaced by Mickie James in her Mixed Match partnership with Bobby Lashley. WWE.com did not specify when the injury took place, nor did they offer a timetable for her return.
Start Time & Matches Advertised
The arena’s website is advertising a start time of 5:30 p.m. local time with doors opening at 4:00 p.m. A six-man tag is advertised featuring The Shield vs. Braun Strowman & Dolph Ziggler & Drew McIntyre. They also show Bobby Lashley and Alexa Bliss appearing.
Follow me on Twitter @FrankPeteani and ask any question you may have. Thank you for reading!