The Hurt Business (United States Champion Bobby Lashley, MVP, Shelton Benjamin and Cedric Alexander) def. RETRIBUTION (Mustafa Ali, T-Bar, Mace and Slapjack)
The show started with RETRIBUTION attempting to attack The Fiend and Alexa Bliss before the lights went out. The segment ended with The Fiend showing back up in the ring and staring down The Hurt Business at ringside. The match itself was decent, but the decision to have T-Bar tap out clean was highly questionable. Listen, I'm not heartbroken about them losing, but I don't understand why you'd build up a group and reveal Ali as their leader if you going to feed them to The Fiend. Speaking of whom, I have no clue who fans are supposed to cheer for in a feud between him and The Hurt Business?
AJ Styles def. Matt Riddle
Styles and Riddle had a pair of great matches on SmackDown over the summer, and while this was good for the time given, it was more about the introduction of Jordan Omogbehin (who I believe previously served as a masked ninja and as the bouncer for Raw Underground) as Styles' manager. Let the record show Styles cut a promo beforehand about beating Jeff Hardy and Seth Rollins in a Triple Threat last week, yet he never explained why Omogbehin was there. I think Styles was perfectly fine on his own, but if they wanted him to have a heavy, why fire Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson? On a side note, I'm sad Joseph Park isn't in that spot instead, but I guess that wouldn't have had the same effect.
Raw Women's Champion Asuka def. Lana
Lana has zero credibility to the point that it would have been unrealistic for this to last longer than two minutes. Thankfully, that was exactly what happened, which left me wondering why WWE bothered to advertise this in advance or give Lana the shot in the first place. Reports over the weekend indicated that she was a babyface now, but I fail to see how that makes sense. Maybe because she's had her ass handed to her every week for months now and we're supposed to feel bad for her, but that doesn't make me want to cheer her. Rather, it just reinforces that she's a loser. It's possible either Shayna Baszler or Nia Jax are being set up for the next title opportunity considering they attempted to attack her afterward, and if so, I really hope it's Baszler because Jax vs. Asuka has been done to death over the years.
WWE Women's Tag Team Champions Shayna Baszler & Nia Jax def. Lacey Evans & Peyton Royce, The Riott Squad, and Mandy Rose & Dana Brooke in a Fatal 4-Way Tag Team Match (Non-Title)
Holy shit, this was a mess. The entire women's tag team division is a mess and this just proved that. Baszler and Jax are a temporary team, The Riott Squad are on SmackDown and already lost in their title opportunity, Rose and Brooke are a makeshift team, and Evans and Royce should absolutely not be long-term. I mean, why the hell else would they break up The IIconics if Royce is going to be in another tag team? This was a waste of time, especially since the champions won and no new contenders were crowned.
Jeff Hardy Interrupted Elias' Concert
I was surprised Elias was able to get through a few songs in his concert without anyone interrupting. Maybe this run on Raw really will be different for him. Then again, Hardy cut him off before he could do an encore, so maybe not. I'm typically not a fan of live concerts on Raw, but this was well done and served its purpose in both plugging Elias' upcoming album and furthering his feud with Hardy. They'll face off one-on-one at the Hell in a Cell pay-per-view.
Raw Tag Team Champion Kofi Kingston def. Sheamus
No reason was given for why this match happened, though I assume it was because they clashed in six-man tag team action last week on SmackDown. Despite not having any stakes, this was terrific. They were given a bunch of time and more than made the most of it. I couldn't believe it when Tom Phillips said that this marked the first singles matchup these two have had on Raw since 2011, but that simply goes to show that their chemistry is still as strong as it was back then. Losing to Kingston won't kill Sheamus, but he's a bigger singles star than Kingston is and has a brighter future on his own.
"El Gran Gordo" and Tucker def. The Miz and John Morrison
WWE refuses to give up on this silly storyline with Otis, Miz and the Money in the Bank briefcase. I wish they'd have Otis drop it to Miz and move on already. By the way, we're a week removed from the Draft and a SmackDown Superstar has already appeared on Raw. It very well could have been a one-off, but I wouldn't be shocked if it wasn't, just because Tucker, Mandy and even his archrivals are on the red brand. The match was what it was, even though the interference from R-Truth and the rest of the 24/7 Championship goofs was dumb. Miz and Morrison can't win to save their lives it seems.
Braun Strowman def. Keith Lee
WWE hyped up this match for a full week following their heated brawl last week on Raw. It ended up being no more than five minutes. It can be argued that was for the better, as dragging this thing out may have made this matchup boring, but the real problem was with the finish. Lee was low-blowed by Strowman, yes, but all it took for Strowman to put him away was a big boot. The feud will obviously continue, but that's not how I would have booked someone who's on the rise like Lee. Granted, Strowman hasn't won in a while, but Lee should be considered a bigger priority at this point as he has more to offer in my opinion.
WWE Champion Drew McIntyre Interrupted Randy Orton
Orton has a ton of history inside Hell in a Cell and you don't truly realize how many Hell in a Cell matches he's had until he rattles off the names of all of his opponents. This was a solid final promo hyping up his WWE Championship clash with McIntyre on Sunday, but the show closing before they could go at it was weak. I understand that it was designed to get viewers excited to see their Hell in a Cell match, but logically, why would the camera stop rolling? And what happened afterward? These guys have done it all over the last three months, so I don't know how much this moved the needle for people who are on the fence about purchasing the pay-per-view/signing up for WWE Network.
First and foremost, the "season premiere" tagline is stupid. I say it every year, but at least SmackDown made their "season premiere" feel special and delivered a strong show. The same can not be said, however, for this edition of Raw. It was a mediocre episode on the whole, but worse yet, it was also a go-home show for Hell in a Cell on Sunday that did very little to build toward the event. Hardy vs. Elias was added to the card, but that's about it. The same thing happened with last year's installment and it wound up being one of the worst events I've seen in years, so hopefully Sunday is a different story. Kingston vs. Sheamus was the best bout of the night, but nothing else was remotely memorable and the show suffered as a result. Also, I'm no fan of the new opening music for Raw. I loved "Legendary" by Skillet for the year it was around for and am going to miss hearing it at the start of the show.