Almost Live, Definitely Half Assed Review of WWE Raw – 23 April ’18

The Wainwright Building in St. Louis MO. It was designed by Adler & Sullivan. Picture saved from

The WWE starts off with a great tribute to Bruno Sammartino.

Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman are the first ones to come to the ring. Booker T is in for Jonathan Coachman this week. (Next Day Note: Other than Corey Graves & Michael Cole busting on Booker for having a “word of the week” like Coachman, I really didn’t notice Booker on commentary.) Lesnar is getting plenty of boos in St. Louis. I’m confused because Heyman is going for the “bait.” I put that in quotations mostly because I don’t think Heyman changed course of his promo because of some mild booing. Hilarious that Heyman almost goes with Chris & I’s line of thinking about the extent to which Lesnar is traveling for The Greatest Royal Rumble. I’m more confused by the fact that Lesnar proposed this match with Roman Reigns that will happen there. I mean, Reigns finally has to win, right? The guy is toast if he loses again. Reigns says he’s “Coming home, St. Louis” with the Championship. Does Reigns have ties to St. Louis?

Bobby Roode interrupts Elias. Heel on heel violence. Except Roode is still being cheered. Elias works over Roode early. Roode starts firing up. When did a top rope clothesline become one of his regular moves? Elias rolls outside. Elias yanks him against the ropes. Elias rolls him up for a win. Seriously, that’s how a win happened?

Woken Matt Hardy is ready to procure the Raw Tag Team Championships with Bray Wyatt. Now they’re basically Cesaro & Sheamus except with a much weirder gimmick. The Ascension are their opponents. Their fortunes will not change by moving brands. This match took too long but I suppose The Ascension was always a hard out simply because of their size.

The Sami (Zayn) & Kevin (Owens) Show starts. They’re stepping up for The Miz. Zayn getting in a shot about the Lana/Rusev/Undertaker match. Kurt Angle is their first guest. Angle is still getting mileage out of Rousey beating Steph. The heels are still getting mileage out of the Jason Jordan story line. He gives them a match against Lashley & Braun Strowman.

Seth Rollins is smirking back stage. Bo Dallas & Curtis Axel are going to hitch their wagon to him. Rollins politely turns him down. His facials were worth a watch.

Drew McIntyre & Dolph Ziggler are ready to beat Titus O’Neil & Apollo Crews. Dana Brooke is in a very attractive outfit. Claymore into the Zig Zag for the win. Ziggler is pumped that someone finally has his back. McIntyre is tired of the people slacking in the back. Ziggler is finally not worried about stealing the show. They are the show.

Chad Gable is excited about his opportunity. Angle is making it clear they’re keeping him in the singles division. Jinder Mahal interrupts him. Jinder is mad about not getting a return shot at Jeff Hardy. He starts chirping Jordan calling him Nicholas from Wrestlemania. They scuffle then Angle makes a match between them.

Sunil Singh distracts Gable so that Mahal can attack from behind. Mahal works over Gable as the match wears on. Gable gets moving finally. Gable starts working over Mahal’s left leg. Mahal shuts it down with a running knee. Gable flips out of a Khallas and pins Mahal. More of Chad Gable gets a big thumbs up from me.

The Riott Squad is being interviewed. They each get a small shot on the mic with Ruby Riott starting and ending. The group still has cohesion problems. It seems like they’re real friends but it doesn’t come across the way they are compartmentalized in their group.

Samoa Joe wonders if he’ll have an opponent for Backlash.

Finn Balor gets approached by Bo Dallas & Curtis Axel too. He turns them down too.

Braun Strowman & Lashley are set to take on Sami Zayn & Kevin Owens. Lashley provided the offense early. Owens low bridges him to create an opening for the heels. Owens stops a tag by Lashley by cutting him off once and then by pulling Strowman off the apron. Strowman eventually gets the hot tag.

No Way Jose comes out with his conga line. Baron Corbin is here for serious competition. He leaves because some of Jose’s entourage may attack. Corbin ends up attacking as Jose comes up the ramp.

A Moment Of (Alexa) Bliss – It’s a PSA about not being complicit in bullying. Nia Jax supposedly ate food in front of a homeless person. That was not a good segment.

Finn Balor & Seth Rollins get to mow through Bo Dallas & Curtis Axel. Stomp followed by a Coup De Grace for the win.

Natalya is leading the ladies speeches. Ember Moon is in second place. Nia Jax is in third. Bayley & Sasha Banks get left not say anything to each other. They are taking on Sarah Logan, Liv Morgan, Ruby Riott, Mickie James & Alexa Bliss. Banks takes a quick beating from Morgan & Logan. Moon gets to show off more including a suicide dive in which she really drives through Morgan. Natalya gets Mickie in a Sharpshooter. Logan chop blocks her to break up the submission. Bayley tags in but Mickie kicks Natalya who bumps off the apron. Natalya sells the knee injury. Jax finally tags in against Riott. Press Slam followed by a leg drop is broken up. A brawl breaks out. Jax jumps off the apron onto everyone except Mickie James. She goes back after Natalya. Ronda Rousey comes out. She tries to help up Natalya. James low drop kicks her. Rousey recovers and rolls into the ring. James attacks her. Judo Throw into an Key Lock for the tap out. The announcers call it a DQ for the faces. No one really cares. The win doesn’t do anything for anyone in that match. – Kevin DiFrango

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