Monday Night Raw featured a number of huge returns as Stephanie McMahon, Samoa Joe, Nia Jax & Braun Strowman made their returns to TV. Stephanie McMahon made a huge announcement regarding Survivor Series and added massive implications to the match. Kane continued his path of destruction and we saw both the Intercontinental Championship & Raw Women’s Championship defended.
Kurt Angle Apologies to the Raw Roster before Commissioner Stephanie McMahon Returns! Grade: A- The General Manager apologised to his roster for being caught underprepared last week by Smackdown before Stephanie McMahon made her return to TV. She was as strong and vindictive as ever on the mic absolutely thrashing Kurt Angle. Making Angle the Captain of the Raw Team and putting his job on the line at Survivor Series instantly makes that match must see and adds much higher stakes to the match as opposed to this brand loyalty that just came out of nowhere.
Nia Jax Returns and defeated Bayley. Grade: B- A big win for Nia Jax in her return in an impressive performance. Alicia Fox as the Captain of the Raw Women’s Team was as entertaining as ever with her Captains hat as after the match she announced Nia Jax would be the first member of her team. The next few weeks with Foxy are going to be a whole world of fun. The only negative here is what on earth they are doing with Bayley at the moment.
Samoa Joe Returns and defeated Apollo Crews. Grade: B- Joe lambasted the fans for not caring about him during his absence saying that while other stars were followed around for great documentaries etc. he received absolutely nothing. This immediately gives Joe something to play off on his return as he proceeded to destroy both Apollo Crews and Titus O’Neil post-match.
The Miz Retains the Intercontinental Championship against Matt Hardy. Grade: A- These two had the fans in the palm of their hand towards the end of the match and they earned it throughout. The entire show was built around the Miz and rightfully so. At times Matt Hardy seems a good step behind what he was and what everyone else is and yet he somehow still manages to engage the audience as well as anyone. A great television championship match.
Asuka squashed Stacie Cullen. Grade: B+ This was exactly what Asuka should have done to Emma in her first two WWE Main Roster matches, particularly if WWE were going to release Emma. Asuka thrashed her opponent with sheer brutality.
Finn Balor defeated Cesaro. Grade: B. On paper this has the potential to be a 5-star classic and while they were never going to have that kind of match in the middle of Raw, the two men put on a solid performance. The match was played up as having Survivor Series implications and with the babyface winning and Kurt Angles job on the line it seems Balor is destined to join Team Raw.
Kane attacks Daniel Bryan Backstage. Grade: C. Smackdown Live General Manager appeared on Raw to apologise to Kurt Angle for last week. Angle wasn’t buying it and promised to bring his Gold Medals and his best at Survivor Series. As Angle left, the lights went out and Kane appeared to chokeslam Bryan. I understand the idea here having Kane take out the beloved Daniel Bryan, but there was just too much wrong with this. Would it kill WWE to have Bryan (and everyone else) actually make a phone call during these segments, instead of just having their phone on a blank screen during a phone call? In the dark and with the brightness up you couldn’t miss the fact he wasn’t actually on the phone. We also all know that Daniel Bryan isn’t allowed to take any bumps otherwise he’d be wrestling, so are we to believe anything that actually happened here? I understand the intention, but why?
Kane defeated Seth Rollins. Grade: C- I understand the Kane push, but feeding both Finn Balor & the Raw Tag Team Champions to him is just puzzling. I got slaughtered by fans for comments about Kane & Balor last week, but I stand by it and feel the same way about Rollins. This wasn’t quite as bad as at least Cesaro & Sheamus had a part to play this week.
Heath Slater & Rhyno as Mr & Mrs Claus defeated Karl Anderson & Luke Gallows as Tex2Badd from Southpaw Regional Wrestling in a Halloween Trick or Street Fight. Grade: F. Remember when Heath Slater was once one of the most over guys on the roster, and is as of now the only member of Nexus still active in the WWE, there’s a story to be told there. Remember when Rhyno was Goring people as a straight killer in ECW? Remember when Anderson & Gallows were arguably the best tag team on the planet in NJPW? That’s all that needs to be said here.
Elias & Jason Jordan Continue their feud. Grade: D+ This really hard to care about this, Elias provides enough fun with his signing and guitar but there is just no reason to be invested in this feud at all. At least they weren’t throwing vegetables at each other on a PPV this week, so were improving.
Kalisto defeated Drew Gulak. Grade: C+ I could listen to Drew Gulak talk all day! Once again he cut an excellent promo with Enzo Amore and did Enzo’s SAWFT promo only to spell it correctly SOFT to Enzo’s disgust. The match was nothing special however, just another win for Kalisto as unfortunately it seems this Enzo/Kalisto feud continues.
Alexa Bliss Retained her Raw Women’s Championship defeating Mickie James. Grade: B- I loved this feud and would have loved this match to be saved for another PPV, however unfortunately it seems with Survivor Series and the Raw vs Smackdown Matches this wasn’t possible. The match still was building well but came to a very abrupt end with a forearm from Bliss getting the win. If this feud is now over for good, please can we have Alicia Fox as the next challenger for Alexa Bliss.
Braun Strowman Returns and Destroys the Miztourage. Grade: B. Throughout the night The Miz was paranoid of Braun Strowman as he found a bag of garbage in his locker room. He spent the night trying to find protection and trying to leave early in a number of entertaining backstage segments. Strowman emerged from a Garbage Truck and battered the Miztourage, essentially murdering Curtis Axel with a number of Running Powerslams! While this was definitely great, perhaps it lacked just that little bit of extra intensity to make it really memorable.
Nothing from Brock Lesnar, nothing from Paul Heyman, nothing from Jinder Mahal. Merely a video package recapping the last few weeks to hype the World Champion vs World Champion match at Survivor Series; slightly disappointing.