Finn Balor def. Karl Anderson
Kudos to WWE/Triple H for making me care about The Judgment Day lately much more than I did a month or two ago. They seem to be finally finding their footing as a group, which is an encouraging sign for their future. The verbal exchange that preceded the match was well done and the match itself was entertaining. Balor and Anderson getting a chance to do their thing on the WWE stage was cool and they worked as well together as you'd expect. Anderson is actually very talented on his own, it's just his team with Luke Gallows I don't care about. Speaking of Gallows, Rhea Ripley slamming him at ringside was damn impressive.
R-Truth def. The Miz
The segment started with Miz giving his side of the story as to why Dexter Lumis has been targeting him in recent months and Johnny Gargano coming out to call him a liar. We still didn't find out exactly what happened, but the Charlotte crowd was happy to see Truth back on Raw for the first time in many months. He and Miz obviously have history from years ago and I appreciated hearing that acknowledged by the commentators. The subsequent match was whatever and the crowd was quiet for it, but they did (somewhat) move the Miz-Lumis storyline along.
Damage CTRL Attacked Candice LeRae During a Backstage Sit-Down Interview
LeRae has had a fine run on Raw so far, but she suffered from not having that one definitive promo that established who she was for anyone in the audience unaware of her from NXT. This brief backstage sit-down interview with Cathy Kelley helped with that before being interrupted by Damage CTRL. This was simple stuff to further LeRae's feud with the faction and put more sympathy on her.
Austin Theory def. Mustafa Ali
These two feuded over the United States Championship back in the spring. Theory has won the Money in the Bank Ladder match since then, but Ali is the one on the ascent at the moment now that he's entered the U.S. title picture again. This was an unfortunate case of both guys needing victories, but Theory is the one with the briefcase and it was logical for Seth Rollins to cost Ali the victory. WWE needs to do more to get Ali over with the audience, but the last two weeks have been a nice effort. This was a well-wrestled affair with another less-than-enthusiastic crowd.
Omos def. Local Athletes in a 4-on-1 Handicap Match
Omos vs. Braun Strowman was made official for Crown Jewel last Friday on SmackDown, so this was supposed to showcase Omos' dominance before then. Of course, Omos is abysmal, but at least they're trying to make him look like a threat to Strowman. The most notable part of this squash was that one of Omos' opponents was Sal the Pal a.k.a. Sal Rinauro from the NWA.
Elias def. Chad Gable
Elias had a handful of matches with Gable during his brief run as Ezekiel earlier this year, so this wasn't exactly anything new. Gable can bring the best out of anyone, but I don't blame the crowd for sitting on their hands for this one. It was a fairly basic bout that didn't serve much of a purpose outside of giving Elias a win. The final few minutes had some energy, though. I can't say I'm thrilled about Matt Riddle apparently transitioning into a tag team with Elias.
Baron Corbin def. Johnny Gargano
Fun fact: Gargano and Corbin first (and last) interacted in a Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic match all the way back in late 2015 in NXT (when Gargano still wasn't signed). I really like the dynamic that these two have and thought they had quality chemistry together. I just wish the crowd was into the action more than they were, but Gargano did his best to wake them the hell up. They were given an ample amount of time and had a competitive contest. JBL costing Gargano the win was a fine way to set up an eventual rematch.
Bayley def. Raw Women's Champion Bianca Belair (Non-Title)
This was a very different match than the one they had at Extreme Rules because the title wasn't on the line and there were no gimmicks. It was a straight-up wrestling match and I thought it was great with all of the nearfalls down the stretch. Unfortunately, the crowd again didn't share those sentiments. The interference finish wasn't ideal, but it did give Bayley a much-needed win over Belair and reintroduce Nikki Cross as Nikki Cross without the dumb superhero shtick. It's worth noting she attacked everyone, so it's not as if she's joining Damage CTRL.
As you could probably tell by most of what I wrote, the Charlotte crowd sounded like they were asleep for a majority of this show. Some of it was understandable, but they really should have been louder. The lousy atmosphere hindered my enjoyment of the episode, but it was still a solid show on the whole (which also featured a nicely-produced hype package for Brock Lesnar vs. Bobby Lashley at Crown Jewel). Gargano was involved in a ton of segments throughout the show, so if you weren't into his stuff and were bored by everything else, you probably thought the show sucked. I didn't despise it as much as most, but the three hours were definitely a lot less energetic than usual.