If you were expecting another mundane three hours of Raw strewn with terrible Halloween gimmicks because it fell on Oct. 30, 2017, think again. OK, so there was a Trick or Street Fight midway through the show, but aside from that, WWE actually managed to show some restraint when it came to a holiday show for once. Instead, we were treated to a blockbuster Raw where the three-plus hours really did fly by, and that doesn't often happen. Two title matches, and more returns than you could shake a stick at, and a whole lot more made for an extremely entertaining edition of WWE's flagship show.
The first hour of this week's Raw showcased almost too many returns than we could keep up with. First up was Stephanie McMahon. We hadn't seen the Raw Commissioner since she accompanied her husband to the ring at WrestleMania 33, at least not on Raw. McMahon dropped the bombshell that Angle will be Raw's team captain at Survivor Series. In the first match of the night, we saw another return, Nia Jax. Jax has been absent from the roster since before TLC amidst rumors that she had followed the same trail as Neville. Thankfully, Jax picked up a win over Bayley before being added to Raw's women's team at Survivor Series. The third and final return came in the form of Samoa Joe. Absent since SummerSlam, The Destroyer declared his return to WWE programming by picking apart and defeating Apollo Crews.
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Once Kurt Angle got backstage following the whirlwind opening segment with Stephanie McMahon, he wasn't in the best mood. An encounter with The Miz was the last thing he would have wanted, and The Awesome One's big mouth landed him in a match he, in turn, wouldn't have wanted. A testy Angle put Miz in an Intercontinental Championship match against a mystery opponent. That opponent turned out to be Matt Hardy. With his brother Jeff out injured, Matt needs things to do. It's good to see that WWE isn't letting the veteran wrestler go completely to waste, but it was never very likely that we were going to see an IC Title change on Monday night. Nevertheless, Hardy had an excellent showing, as you'd expect. A Twist of Fate would have likely proved to be enough had Miz not had the awareness to roll onto the apron afterward. Once he recovered, he planted Hardy with a Skull Crushing Finale and successfully defended his championship.
It was only last year that women main eventing a Monday night Raw was considered headline news. The business has come so far in that short time that now when it happens and it's almost commonplace. Two of Raw's females were featured in the main event this week as Alexa Bliss defended her Women's Championship against Mickie James. James is a six-time Women's Champion and is dead set on making that seven, thereby equaling Trish Stratus's record. Well, she'll have to wait a little while longer for that milestone. Bliss debuted a new look on Raw but also debuted what may be a new finisher. The Goddess of WWE nailed James with a hard forearm and it proved enough to win her the match and keep her atop of Raw's Women's division.
He's rendered Braun Strowman out of action, defeated Finn Balor, and on Monday night, Kane really kicked his comeback tour up a notch. The Big Red Machine started his evening by taking out a visiting Daniel Bryan. The SmackDown Live General Manager had come to try and make good for what Shane McMahon had unleashed on the Raw roster last week, instead, he left the building on a stretcher courtesy of The Devil's Favorite Demon. Kane then made his way to the ring for a match with Seth Rollins, bumping into his newest foe Finn Balon on the way. The Irishman felt the wrath of Kane for a second week in a row, this time in the form of a Tombstone Piledriver. All of that before Raw's Only Monster had even had his match. Thanks to Sheamus and Cesaro sticking around at ring side it was one that Kane won. The former Tag Team Champions distracted Rollins enough—by attacking Dean Ambrose—to lose him the match as he was caught by Kane for a chokeslam.
While there were a lot of returns at the beginning of Raw on Monday night, WWE made sure to save the biggest for last. OK, Braun Strowman has only been gone eight days, but judging by the reaction he got when he emerged from the garbage truck this week on Raw you would have thought it had been eight months. The Miz had been terrified all evening that The Monster Among Men would return with revenge on his mind and it turns out, he was right to be scared. The roster should know by now that nothing keeps Strowman down for long, and apparently, that includes compacting him in the back of a garbage truck. Braun chased all three members of The Miztourage back to the ring and then began to monster handle them all. Everyone took their fair share of punishment, but poor Curtis Axel took a whole lot more. The Axe Man was left stranded in the ring with Strowmsn and became the victim of more Powerslams than anyone before him. One of them even wound up being through the announce table, and thankfully that's where Strowman decided to call it a night.
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