The Shield was (almost) back on Monday and, not coincidentally, so was WWE's episode of Raw in a well-told story that bookended the three-hour episode. For the first time since 2014, top superstars Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins appear headed back to the same side of the battle lines after all three absorbed enough beatings at the hands of The Miz, Cesaro and Sheamus to plant the seeds of where things appear to be heading.
But aside from The Shield soap opera delivering, the majority of the remaining episode was a clear step up from what was produced one week ago with Enzo Amore and the cruiserweight division once again proving worthy of closing the show.
Raw continues tease for full Shield reunion
Seeking revenge for the beating he absorbed last week, Reigns didn't waste any time before the start of his intercontinental title match against The Miz by attacking Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel with chairs. A three-segment match ensued that was full of pay-per-view intensity and dramatic near falls. The finish turned out to be a disqualification as Sheamus & Cesaro emerged (after beating up Rollins and Ambrose earlier in the show) to pull Reigns from the ring and attack him. Miz quickly joined in the three-way assault. Inside the ring, Reigns absorbed a Gotch Neutralizer, Brogue Kick and Skull-Crushing Finale to leave him beaten. After the trio of heels shook hands and exited the ring, crowd chants of "Shield" caused them to stop. Miz turned to Cesaro and said, "They want Shield?" This led to a triple powerbomb on Reigns and the trio mocking the Shield's fist gesture.
To close Raw, an injured Reigns sat in the locker room coughing. He stood up as Ambrose and Rollins approached on opposite sides. They looked into each other's eyes, Ambrose nodded and then they split as the credits rolled.
There's something to be said for giving the audience exactly what it is that they want. A full Shield reunion is exactly that, and for as predictable as it was assembled, it still played out brilliantly. The simplicity of having the former teammates look at each other without saying anything spoke greater volumes than any other gesture or words they could've shared. WWE can start printing T-shirts now because it will be printing money once these three main event stars pick up where they left off three years ago.
Enzo closes show for second straight week
Beginning his promo by telling his doubters "they can go to hell," Amore reminded the crowd that he put 205 Live on the map. He also produced a contract clause from general manager Kurt Angle that stated if anyone puts their hands on him, they will be fired. Out came half of the 205 Live roster to put a scare into Amore. The other half emerged from the front row of the crowd to pin him inside the ring.
With his clause in hand, Amore took turns verbally undressing every member of the division. He even threw in a shot at announcer Corey Graves, who has feuded with him of late on Twitter. Angle's music hit and the Raw GM slightly amended his earlier clause by saying, "The rules don't apply to the newest member of the cruiserweight division that just signed." Out came Kalisto to enter the ring and attack Amore, flooring him or good with a Salida del Sol.
For the second straight week, the idea of cruiserweights in the main event shouldn't have worked. And for the second straight week, it delivered hot fire when it mattered. Amore's verbal assaults upon his fellow cruiserweights are becoming Raw's gift that keeps on giving. And while the crowd pop for Kalisto didn't equal what WWE had likely intended, the decision makes more sense than any other the company has made with 205 Live. Somehow and some way, the Amore experiment continues to be the best thing to happen to the division since the Cruiserweight Classic.
Bray Wyatt summons past evil
Finn Balor entered the ring to cut a promo in which he called Wyatt a coward and added that he's "afraid that despite all your games, you can't beat Finn Balor." After being challenged to come out and face Balor, Wyatt appeared on the video screen, manically rocking in his chair while repeating, "She never lied to me." Clearly rattled, Wyatt called Balor a liar for saying he created a demon. He then challenged Balor to bring his demon and said, "I will strip back his flesh to reveal the true nature of his dark side."
Wyatt then stared into the camera to announce that Sister Abigail "is alive and she is dying to meet you." His face suddenly changed amid the special effects of smoke to reveal his flesh had been supernaturally stripped away. In place of his normal face was presumably that of a demon -- or Sister Abigail as Wyatt let out an evil laugh.
The booking in this feud certainly hasn't matched the creativity or dialogue, but this was a positive step forward. It was also creepy as all heck, too, which was obviously the goal. But after years of teasing Abigail, the spirit of evil that drives him (and may or may not be his character's dead sister), getting close to some kind of reveal feels like a big moment in Wyatt's arc. If that reveal ends up being a physical one (in the form of someone like Paige or NXT's Nikki Cross), this could be the missing link – aside from consistent booking – that Wyatt has needed.
What else happened on Raw?
Braun Strowman def. Seth Rollins via pinfall: After Strowman dominated early, Rollins rallied with a series of aerial moves to floor him. But Strowman quickly reversed the momentum to hit Rollins with a running powerslam for the 1-2-3. Out came Ambrose to incite a brawl, which ended with Strowman hitting a pair of chokeslams. Cesaro and Sheamus then came out to pick the bones.
Elias def. Titus O'Neil via pinfall: Before the match, Elias sang his displeasure for the Denver fans to the tune of Alice in Chains' "Nutshell." He then overcame a physical rally from O'Neil to put him away by hitting his Drift Away rolling neckbreaker.
Mickie James secures title shot: After finding a walker and box of Depends in her locker room, James' attempt to confront Raw champion Alexa Bliss was intercepted by Nia Jax, who is suddenly on Bliss' side again. James fought Jax later and was ready to win after a tornado DDT, but Bliss broke up her pin attempt, handing James a disqualification win. A brief brawl ensued outside the ring with James hitting a Mick Kick to floor the champ. Angle later rewarded James backstage with a title match against Bliss at Tables, Ladders and Chairs on Oct. 22.
Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson def. Matt Hardy & Jason Jordan via pinfall: Jordan, wrestling in trunks instead of a singlet, rallied late to force a hot tag to Hardy. But chaos quickly ensured with all four men in the ring. It ended with Gallows & Anderson hitting Hardy with a Magic Killer for the 1-2-3.
Sasha Banks & Bayley def. Emma & Alicia Fox via pinfall: This two-segment match ate up a ton of time in the third hour. But after Banks pushed Fox into Emma in order to free herself up for a hot tag to Bayley, Emma became enraged. She blew off Fox's tag attempt and said, "I'm out," before walking away. A Bayley-to-Belly on Fox to give the babyfaces a win.