WWE Champion Drew McIntyre Attacked Randy Orton Backstage
I typically don't like it whenever Raw opens up with a promo, but this was done differently, as Orton talked about beating up the legends last week while sitting in the back. It was a silly angle, but his explanation mostly made sense and his delivery was excellent. I also appreciated how McIntyre sought him out and brawled with him before accepting his invitation for a WWE Championship rematch at Hell in a Cell later in the show.
Raw Women's Champion Asuka, Mandy Rose and Dana Brooke def. Zelina Vega, Natalya and Lana
Despite Asuka already beating Vega twice in the last eight days, they were on opposing teams here. In other words, WWE is clearly killing time with Asuka until the Draft starts on Friday. This was perfectly fine but nothing out of the ordinary. I still don't understand why Rose is teaming with Brooke other than the company wanting to add more depth to the depleted women's tag team division. It just feels like a massive downgrade for her coming off her hot feud with Sonya Deville this summer. Also, WWE is definitely going out of their way to bury Lana for her husband going to AEW and you can't convince me otherwise. Why else would Shayna Baszler and Nia Jax put her through a table three times no apparent reason?
Seth Rollins and Murphy def. Humberto Carrillo and Dominik Mysterio
I'm all for Rollins and Murphy teasing tension and the two of them going their separate ways (Murphy has serious singles potential if they actually booked him properly), whereas I couldn't care less about the stuff with the Mysterio family. That's just dumb drama in my opinion. This was a fun little match while it lasted, but with Dominik suffering yet another loss (even though he wasn't pinned here), I question why WWE continues to put him positions to lose. He may as well report to NXT at this point because he's a complete loser on Raw.
Kevin Owens Hosted The KO Show with Bray Wyatt Before Being Attacked by Aleister Black
I've been digging the stuff with Alexa Bliss and The Fiend lately on SmackDown, so I thought this was a solid segment with quality performances from both men. They effectively built up their upcoming clash on Friday's SmackDown and Black was able to further his feud with Owens by ambushing him from behind as Owens was making his way up the ramp. The Owens vs. Black feud hasn't lit the world on fire, but if and when they face off again, Black needs to win decisively to avoid losing any further steam (assuming he has any left).
Braun Strowman vs. Keith Lee in an Exhibition Match Ended in a Double Count-Out
Strowman stormed up to Adam Pearce (who is apparently the new general manager for both Raw and SmackDown) backstage and demanded a fight. Pearce said he couldn't give him a formal match because Strowman isn't a member of the Raw roster, yet Wyatt appeared on the program earlier in the evening. Has Pearce not heard of the Brand-to-Brand Invitational? Ugh. I'm not even sure what made this an "exhibition" considering everything about it screamed standard singles match. Thankfully, it didn't last long and what they did afterward was cool enough to make it worthwhile. It wasn't Strowman-Bobby Lashley levels of cool, but I enjoyed it. You can bet a rematch is happening at some point.
The Hurt Business (United States Champion Bobby Lashley and Shelton Benjamin) def. Apollo Crews and Ricochet
Crews' rivalry with The Hurt Business will simply never end. Worse yet, he's lost to them almost every time since Payback, so it's ridiculous WWE continues to book him against the faction if the outcome isn't going to change. Don't get me wrong, this was well-wrestled, but it's almost impossible to care at this point. All we can hope for is that Crews ends up on a different show than The Hurt Business in the Draft so this feud can be put to rest once and for all.
Seth Rollins Attacked Murphy
After Murphy walked off on Rollins following their tag team win earlier, Rollins gave Murphy until the start of the second hour to apologize to him. Unless Murphy joins back up with Rollins next week and acts like none of this ever happened, it appears they've finally broken up with the way they went at it here. This played out nicely, but again, I lose interest any time Aaliyah or the rest of the Mysterio family get involved. It simply serves no purpose in my opinion. Murphy can get over as a babyface on his own without associating himself with a... *checks notes* 19-year-old girl.
WWE Women's Tag Team Champions Shayna Baszler and Nia Jax def. The Riott Squad
Ruby Riott and Liv Morgan debuting new matching gear was a nice touch. I felt bad they didn't get their long-awaited WWE Women's Tag Team Championship at Clash of Champions before the bout was bumped from the card, but oh well. I applaud the effort from everyone involved here as they told a solid story with The Riott Squad fighting from underneath throughout and Baszler and Jax doing well while on offense. I didn't view the babyfaces as a legitimate threat to the titles, but this turned into a pretty decent match and I can't complain about that.
Mustafa Ali vs. MVP Ended in a No Contest
This was essentially an extension of the stuff we got with Hurt Business earlier in the show as MVP offered Ali, Ricochet and Crews a last-minute spot in the group. Obviously, they declined, but little did we know that Ali actually had something else up his sleeve. He and MVP were having a passable albeit forgettable match when RETRIBUTION showed up and surrounded the ring. Instead of helping Hurt Business fend them off, Ali revealed he was the leader of RETRIBUTION and ordered them to lay out Hurt Business. I certainly didn't see that swerve coming and it might give the faction the life it desperately needs. I'm not immediately sold on RETRIBUTION or anything, but this was a smart move, as Ali has been doing nothing for a while now and this could make sense, especially if we find out he was The Hacker over on SmackDown as well and that was what led to RETRIBUTION coming in.
Randy Orton, Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode def. WWE Champion Drew McIntyre and The Street Profits
McIntyre has successfully defended his title against each of the heels in recent months, so this was a logical main event. The action was entertaining and they kept the pace consistent throughout. It may not have been a blow-away bout by any means, but it served its purpose and ended the show on a high note. The heels winning was the right call as it gives Orton a much-needed momentum boost and likely sets up Ziggler and Roode for the next shot at the Raw Tag Team Championship.
It's no secret that Raw has been abysmally bad for weeks (if not months) now, but admittedly, this wasn't too terrible of a show. Granted, part of that may have been because I watched after the fact and thus I didn't have to deal with the commercials, but there was more that I liked than usual, aside from the countless rematches and repetitive rivalries. Along with RETRIBUTION (who at least have a new leader), that's easily the worst part about the program at the moment. I'm hoping that will change come the Draft this Friday and next Monday.