This week was the Raw brand's "go-home show" ahead of Sunday's Hell in a Cell pay-per-view, but WWE did little to build to the show beyond keeping the featured story between WWE champion Drew McIntyre and challenger Randy Orton moving forward. McIntyre delivered on his promise to show up during Orton's show-ending promo, but fans were not treated to another brawl between the two.
The other big note coming out of the show was Retribution stepping into the ring for their second match as a group -- and first with newly-revealed leader Mustafa Ali. The group came up short against The Hurt Business and also made a terrifying new enemy in "The Fiend" Bray Wyatt.
CBS Sports was with you all night long, providing recaps and highlights of all the action out of WWE Raw. Read on for all the information you need from the Hell in a Cell go-home edition of the WWE's flagship television program.
McIntyre, Orton sent final Hell in a Cell messages
McIntyre cut a backstage promo on Orton. The WWE champion said that Orton was smart for attacking Shawn Michaels, Ric Flair, Christian and Big Show, because he knew it would provoke McIntyre to accept his challenge for a Hell in a Cell match. McIntyre said that at Hell in a Cell, he will go through hell and would put Orton through hell to remain champion. He then suggested that he might show up during Orton's interview later in the night.
Orton closed the show with a promo from inside Hell in a Cell. Orton said that his first time in the Cell was when he realized what he was truly capable of. He then rattled off various men he had defeated in the demonic structure and the titles he had won in the match, culminating in saying he had earned The Undertaker's respect inside the Cell. Before he was able to get any further, McIntyre's music hit to cut him off. Orton taunted him from inside the cell, daring McIntyre to break the lock before the WWE champion pulled a pair of bolt cutters from behind the ringside barricade and cut the chain holding the Cell door closed. As McIntyre pulled the Cell door closed behind him, the show went off the air.
It's a good cliffhanger in a normal show, but seeing McIntyre enter the Cell with Orton for the first time as the show went off the air was a bit anti-climatic, especially when the two are set for a Cell match in less than a week. Still, both men delivered solid promos, as expected, and even if the moment of McIntyre just happening to have planted bolt cutters next to the ring was a little too cute, the Cell has become a trademark part of the career story of Randy Orton, and that point did get across. Grade: B
A rough night for Retribution
The Hurt Business def. Retribution via submission after Bobby Lashley locked T-Bar in The Hurt Lock. The show opened with Alexa Bliss welcoming The Fiend to the ring, but Retribution interrupted, surrounding the ring before the lights went out and The Fiend had disappeared. Mid-match, The Fiend appeared on the Tron, but the show went to commercial and came back without it having any impact on the match. After the match, however, the lights went out and The Fiend appeared on the apron next to Mustafa Ali, before taking out all of Retribution.
Later in the show, Ali cut a promo saying The Fiend and The Hurt Business made a mistake thinking his only power was strength in numbers. He then said that he has the power to take a laptop or a cell phone and cause chaos with a single click. He had been sitting on the sidelines watching people stab each other in the back, before revealing that he was the hacker months ago on SmackDown. Ali said that anyone who tries to stop the truth from being heard will be shut down.
The reveal of Ali as SmackDown's hacker wasn't a surprise in any way, but it was necessary to tie together some different aspects of his character and drive home his purpose in creating Retribution. That said, having the team lose clean in the opening match -- weeks after a weak DQ loss in their debut match -- and then having the group get taken apart by The Fiend afterward left the group feeling very weak. An invading group of a mastermind and his twisted monsters should not be taking losses -- in and outside of competition -- this early in their run, and certainly should not get humiliated in a four-on-one situation. Whatever life the angle had breathed into it with the reveal of Ali as leader was sucked right back out with this booking. Grade: D+
What else happened on WWE Raw?
- AJ Styles def. Matt Riddle via pinfall after hitting a Styles Clash. Styles was accompanied to the ring by new bodyguard, 7-foot-3 Jordan Omogbehin. Omogbehin paid off for Styles, providing distraction outside the ring that allowed Styles to get the victory after a match that featured solid in-ring action.
- Raw Women's Championship -- Asuka (c) def. Lana via submission with the Asuka Lock to retain the title. Lana controlled much of the match before eventually being outclassed. After the match, Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler attacked both women from behind, with Jax putting Lana through the announce table before Asuka knocked Baszler from the ring and escaped any further damage.
- Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler def. The Riott Squad, Mandy Rose & Dana Brooke and Peyton Royce & Lacey Evans via pinfall after Jax hit Evans with a Samoan drop. The match came after Baszler and Jax invited anyone who wanted a shot at them to the ring.
- Elias performed a song with a full band. After the song -- which was performed in full -- was completed, Elias claimed the WWE Universe wanted an encore, at which point a hooded figure played a guitar solo. That man turned out to be Jeff Hardy, who chased off Elias after missing him with a guitar shot. Later in the show, Elias issued a challenge to Hardy to face him at Hell in a Cell.
- Kofi Kingston def. Sheamus via pinfall after Trouble in Paradise. Sheamus tried to run down New Day for being split from Big E, but ended up on the short end of the result. Big E was on a ThunderDome screen during the match and WWE legend Mark Henry also appeared on a screen following the victory.
- The Hurt Business beat down Titus O'Neil. O'Neil suggested joining up with the group, only to be shot down and then beat down by the group.
- Tucker & El Gran Gordo def. The Miz & John Morrison via pinball after Gordo hit Miz with a Vader Bomb. Gordo was Otis in a lucha mask and cape, as Tucker "scoured the world" for a tag partner for the match. Miz was distracted when R-Truth ran through the ring mid-match, trying to get away from Drew Gulak and Akira Tozawa, allowing Gordo to get the win.
- Bray Wyatt hosted a new Firefly FunHouse discussing the move to Raw and making new friends before welcoming Alexa Bliss into the Fun House to close the segment. Bliss simply said, "The fun is just beginning."
- Braun Strowman def. Keith Lee via pinfall after a running big boot. Strowman, who was suffering from injured ribs after his SmackDown match with Roman Reigns, used a headbutt to the groin for a low blow. That set up the finish, but Lee followed up with a punt to the groin after the match, screaming at Strowman that he had picked "the wrong one."