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SPOILER WARNING: This article contains full show match results for WWE Monday Night Raw from the Scottrade Center in Saint Louis, Missouri which aired on Monday, April 23, 2018.
A week after the Superstar Shakeup on Monday Night Raw and SmackDown Live that followed WrestleMania 34, and it feels like we’re properly back into things.
Coming up on Friday is the Greatest Royal Rumble, and while there aren’t any women on the card for that quirky pay-per-view (the [R]evolution takes a pause, it seems, in Saudi Arabia), there are plenty of titles on the line.
On that bill is Brock Lesnar vs Roman Reigns III, with the Universal Title up for grabs, in a Steel Cage. Before that (final?) rematch, The Beast turned up at Raw for a change. Here are six things we learned.
1. WWE warms up for a woman-free pay-per-view with an almost woman-free Raw
Before WrestleMania 34 we were often complaining about how few women’s matches, segments and angles were on WWETV, and especially on SmackDown Live.
OK, the women main evented last night, but it felt like ahead of the Greatest Royal Rumble, it was still something of a step back.
Ten amazingly talented women, each with their own stories bubbling (Alexa Bliss vs Nia Jax, Sasha Banks vs Bayley, the newbie Ember Moon, Nattie’s ongoing quest for the respect of her experience, etc etc) jammed into one multi-woman match.
And then the deciding moment comes from Ronda Rousey getting involved to help out her pal Natalya and dish out an armbar.
Kurt Angle tried to sell us the match as the same spotlight the men got on Raw, but that wasn’t the only men’s match on the card, so it’s really not the same.
At least we got Alexa Bliss’s public service announcement where she confirmed that she’ll invoke her rematch against Nia Jax at WWE Backlash 2018.
We hope they can actually build that a bit on WWETV for the next fortnight.
2. Brock Lesnar apparently WANTED a rematch with Roman Reigns
This one has been confusing us. Why on earth has Roman Reigns got a rematch with Brock Lesnar in Saudi Arabia?
Reigns won at Elimination Chamber to earn his title shot at WrestleMania 34, but he lost lost lost lost (despite kicking out of around 233,350 F5s on the night).
He wasn’t the champion going in, so that should have been that.
Paul Heyman claims that when Brock Lesnar was re-signing to the WWE, he used his leverage to secure a rematch in a Steel Cage, to better suit the former UFC champ.
We’ll just note that despite it not being straightforward, Lesnar managed to beat Reigns without the cage at Mania, and he doesn’t even need to fight him again.
Perhaps The Beast is sick and tired of Reigns badmouthing him, and thinks that putting him down in a cage will finally put an end to his hopes and dreams.
And when it’s all done, Reigns (or what’s left of him) still has to worry about Samoa Joe at WWE Backlash 2018.
3. Monday Night Raw has MASSES of talent right now but not all that much focus
After the Superstar Shakeup, both brands are spoiled for talent.
And as fans, the WWE Universe is being spoiled for brand new, utterly fresh match-ups.
The beauty of call-ups and shakeups is that the WWE can break out of its rut, separating stale tag partners (and feud partners), and offer us something new.
And from No Way Jose vs Baron Corbin to Chad Cable vs Jinder Mahal, that’s what we’re getting.
It’s great, and we’ve got no complaints about seeing it, but everything does feel a little lacking in focus at the moment.
Perhaps it’s the impending Greatest Royal Rumble, coming so hot on the heels of WrestleMania 34 and being a weird PPV/House Show hybrid (we’re not getting any WWETV build for The Undertaker/Rusev or John Cena/Triple H).
Maybe it’s also the after-effects of the Shakeup needing a bit of time to settle.
Call us traditionalists, but we’re looking for a more deliberate build to each pay-per-view once the Rumble is out of the way and Backlash is coming up.
Those monthly dual-brand pay-per-views are a great opportunity to really focus the weekly episodes of WWETV and make them must-watch, and we really want the E to take it.
4. Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn have come back to Raw with a bump (and a new show)
Stephanie McMahon overruled Kurt Angle, and Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn are now permanently on Monday Night Raw, as predicted.
They’ve also got their own segment with The Sami and Kevin Show, which is sure to be a regular highlight for as long as this pair stay together.
But they aren’t quite the centre of attention as they were on SmackDown Live for so long.
They were sandwiched in the middle of the show last night and, perhaps more painfully, sandwiched between Bobby Lashley and Braun Strowman after dissing Kurt during their new segment.
They did their very best to stay out of Braun’s way but after just about surviving Lashley, Strowman was tagged in and that was that.
We’re not entirely sure where KO and SZ fit in on Raw right now, but we know from their SDLive stint that they’re fully capable of stealing any show they’re on together.
Given the strength of their partnership, we think it makes sense to have them as a legitimate Tag Team, going for gold.
5. We’re still missing Dean Ambrose and are counting down the months
You have to take a WWE prognosis with a pinch of salt sometimes, but we’re already wishing for September and the return of Dean Ambrose.
Yes, the Raw roster is PACKED with so much talent and potential right now, but as the (former?) Miztourage told Seth Rollins that they wanted to form a new Shield, we couldn’t help but think of the old one.
One of the greatest stories in recent WWE history came with the forming, dominance and dissolution of The Shield, and the all-out war between Seth and Dean.
We thought the reunion came too soon and was unearned, but the three men somehow won us over almost instantly on their comeback. That chemistry is too good to snark at.
But Dean’s injury put him on the shelf for nine months, and Seth and Roman Reigns have seemingly moved on.
We don’t quite know what will happen when Dean Ambrose does eventually return (he may not even end up on Raw), but we’d be lying if we didn’t have some hope of seeing The Shield again at some point.
6. Dolph Ziggler and Drew McIntyre should be a bit careful of one another
Among all the debuts, returns and shook-up Superstars, this is one of the most intriguing combinations.
Despite his 3MB stint, Drew McIntyre has the aura and vibe of a standalone superstar, and you could always say that about Dolph Ziggler too… they don’t call him the Show Off for nothing.
For now, they’re teaming together and doing pretty well.
Titus Worldwide didn’t stand a chance against that mixture of strength and flair, but being brutally honest, this isn’t a partnership we can see lasting.
For us, the real question isn’t if they part ways, but when, and we’d wager it’ll be sooner rather than later.
And beyond that, we can’t help but wonder how that split will happen.
An amicable parting is certainly possible, but we think it much more likely that one of these two men will use the other as a springboard for his own solo ambition.
Watch your backs, boys.
WWE Monday Night Raw full show match results – Monday, April 23, 2018
- Bobby Roode vs Elias
- The Ascension (Viktor and Konnor) vs ‘Woken’ Matt Hardy & Bray Wyatt
WINNERS: ‘Woken’ Matt Hardy & Bray Wyatt
- Dolph Ziggler & Drew McIntyre vs. Titus Worldwide (Titus O’Neill and Apollo)
WINNERS: Dolph Ziggler & Drew McIntyre
- Chad Gable vs Jinder Mahal
WINNER: Chad Gable
- Braun Strowman & Bobby Lashley vs. Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn
WINNERS: Braun Strowman & Bobby Lashley
- Seth Rollins & Finn Bálor vs. The Miztourage (Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel)
WINNERS: Seth Rollins & Finn Bálor
- Alexa Bliss, Mickie James & The Riott Squad vs Nia Jax, Sasha Banks, Bayley, Natalya & Ember Moon
WINNERS: Alexa Bliss, Mickie James & The Riott Squad (by DQ)
What did you think of Monday Night Raw – let us know at @digitalspywwe.
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