Hey everybody! It’s @TheMagnumDA with another edition of the Raw report. After last night’s Money in the Bank PPV, there’s a lot to discuss! If you checked out the PPV Pick’em yesterday, you’ll see that Colin kept his lead with 40 points, and I took it on the chin BIG TIME, scoring only 4 points the entire show! Even worse, my prediction for a cash-in couldn’t even take place because the WWE Championship match happened before the MITB Ladder Match! Oh well, life goes on. 😀
ON WITH THE SHOW!
Bad Ass Opening Segment: Raw GM Kurt Angle has a presentation of the Money in the Bank briefcase AND the Women’s Championship. Angle introduces the NEW Women’s Champion, Alexa Bliss! If you missed it last night, Alexa Bliss won the MITB briefcase in an awesome ladder match that featured some sickening bumps for some of the ladies on Raw and Smackdown. Later that night, Ronda Rousey and Nia Jax were attacked by Bliss during their title match, causing a DQ victory for Rousey. After Bliss laid out both participants, she cashed in her briefcase on Nia Jax (who was already motionless in the ring) and became the three-time WWE Women’s Champion. We learn that Alexa demanded this presentation, which is pretty hilarious. Angle explains that Nia Jax will get her rematch at Extreme Rules, which upsets Alexa. Apparently, she doesn’t want to talk about next month, because tonight calls for a celebration!
Before the celebration goes any further, Ronda Rousey storms down to the ring. Angle cuts off Ronda before she can get to Bliss, as the crowd chants “let them fight!” Bliss brags about the welts she left on Rousey’s back from the briefcase, and then she accuses Rousey of being an overhyped rookie. That set Ronda off. She tackles Bliss and starts laying into her! Angle tries pulling off Rousey, but she turns around and gives him an awesome judo throw! Bliss went after Rousey with the briefcase, but Ronda was ready with a fist to the gut. Rousey nails Bliss with the MITB briefcase as the crowd is going completely nuts. Angle tried to intervene once more, but Ronda starts nailing HIM with the briefcase! At this point, the refs come down to break things up. Rousey starts laying them out too! As a final crescendo, Rousey hits the Power Bomb on Alexa through a table! This was one of the best opening segments of the entire year. Incredible. Five stars.
When we return from commercial, we find out that Kurt Angle has suspended Ronda Rousey for 30 days because of her actions. After this announcement, Seth Rollins comes out for his Intercontinental Championship challenge, which is answered by…the former five-time IC Champ, Dolph Ziggler!!
Match #1: Dolph Ziggler (w/Drew McIntyre) defeated Seth Rollins to become the NEW Intercontinental Champion. (****1/4) Wow, WWE backed up that opening segment with an outstanding match that concluded in a shocking finish. Seriously, the crowd was stunned and so was I. But you know what? I loved it. I’ll explain why in the “Good, Bad, Ugly” section at the end. The finish came out of nowhere after nearly 20 minutes of solid action, including a Superkick counter by Rollins that you have to see to believe. Rollins hit the Buckle Bomb on Ziggler, but McIntyre came up on the apron to distract Rollins. After Rollins ran him off, they did a roll-up sequence where each man’s pin was countered twice before Ziggler grabbed the tights and held on for the stunning three-count. This is Dolph’s sixth reign as the Intercontinental Champion. The facial expressions of the crowd reminded me very much of WrestleMania XXX. Fantastic.
Match #2: Bobby Roode defeated Curt Hawkins. (1/4*) Roode hit the Spinebuster and the Glorious DDT for the win. Lasted under a minute. I think this losing streak has run its course.
Braun Strowman and Kevin Owens Promo: Strowman is introduced as “Mr. Monster in the Bank.” Silly. Braun tells the audience that all Brock Lesnar has to do is show up, and he will gladly cash in his briefcase to become the Universal Champion. This brings out Kevin Owens, who was still selling his injuries from last night. KO congratulates Braun, and tells him that he knew he’d win the match, which is why he tried to have everyone gang up against him. KO comes off as an honest man here…and then we find out what his true intentions are. Kevin explains that with Sami Zayn out, Braun should be his new tag team partner. KO says that he will continue to have Braun’s back until he cashes in the contract to become champion. In return, KO would get the first shot at the title. KO goes to shake on it, and Strowman lifts him into the air the same way Sloth lifted Chunk from The Goonies.
Meanwhile, backstage…Bayley commiserates with Sasha Banks over losing their ladder match at Money in the Bank. Banks is inconsolable, and in an odd moment…Bayley says that she was humiliated by the Riott Squad last week, and wanted to get revenge with Banks backing her up. Bayley asked for a fresh start, and put her hand out to shake on it. Banks obliged. So…why is Banks being dragged into this?
Match #3: Raw Tag Team Champions Matt Hardy & Bray Wyatt defeated Heath Slater & Rhyno in a non-title match. (*) In another strange moment, The B-Team showed up on the video screen to mock Wyatt and Hardy. As in…they dressed up like them and did impressions of the champs. Their impressions are…well, they’re actually not that bad. The finish came when Wyatt and Hardy hit their team finisher on Heath Slater. So…are we going to see B-Team vs. Hardy and Wyatt at Extreme Rules? They’ve never really said when this match was going to happen.
Angle and Constable Baron Corbin are backstage. I feel like a fool even saying that. “Constable” Baron Corbin. I can only imagine that Vince loves it. Corbin, holding a phone, tells Angle that Stephanie McMahon is pleased with his decision regarding Ronda Rousey. Angle says that he didn’t do it for Stephanie. Uh oh. Corbin hands Angle the phone (with Stephanie on the line the whole time). After the commercial, Angle is talking to Stephanie, who tells him that she has big news. Angle tells her that he’ll make the announcement with Corbin later tonight.
Match #4: Jinder Mahal (w/Sunil Singh) defeated Chad Gable. (*) In yet another strange turn of events, as Mahal is now a “man of peace.” Um, okay then. Match was under three minutes. Mahal hit the Kallas after a jarring boot to the face. Boy, I feel bad for Gable. Might as well reunite him with Jason Jordan when he comes back from injury.
They show the Riott Squad acting like ANARCHISTS backstage. They destroyed a laptop and then wrote an “R” in lipstick on a nearby mirror. F*CK THE ESTABLISHMENT!!!
Match #5: The Riott Squad (w/Ruby Riott) defeated Bayley & Sasha Banks. (**) The finish came when Banks went for a tag, but Bayley was fighting Logan outside the ring and was nowhere near the apron. As the referee tried to break up the fracas outside, Sarah Logan blindsided Sasha with a cheapshot. Shortly after this, Liv Morgan rolled up Banks with the schoolboy (and the tights) for the pin.
After the match, Sasha Banks is PISSED. She gets in Bayley’s face, but Bayley inexplicably gets back in Sasha’s face! The staredown ends with Sasha tossing Bayley to the ground and walking off. Backstage, the argument continues! Sasha says that she is done with Bayley. Bayley then ATTACKS her! They brawl, as Banks gets the best of it. So let’s recap: Bayley brings Sasha Banks into this fight…Sasha is beaten and humiliated with Bayley nowhere to be found, and then when Sasha tries to break it off for good with Bayley…Bayley decides to attack her backstage. As the late WCW referee Pee-Wee Anderson used to say, “WHO’S SUPPOSED TO BE DAH HEEL HERE?”
Announcement by Kurt Angle: Kurt Angle came out with the Constable to make an announcement. Angle stated that they’ve come to an agreement on the date of Brock Lesnar’s next Universal Championship defense. The problem is, Angle does not have a #1 Contender in place. This brings out Roman Reigns, who promises to defend the Universal Title every Monday on Raw. Before he went any further, Bobby Lashley came out to stake his claim at the gold. Lashley says that he’s wanted a piece of Lesnar ever since the “Big Dog” was just a pup. Angle tells both men that there will be a match at Extreme Rules to determine the #1 Contender, and both Reigns and Lashley will be in the match. The other participants will be named later. Oddly enough, this brings out The Revival, who mock both men for requesting title matches instead of earning them. They challenge both men to a tag team match, which Roman gladly accepts. Roman says that “Bob” might be able to learn something if he pays attention. They have a brief staredown, but Angle breaks it up and makes the match. Man, Angle is a serious party pooper tonight! Let these people fight!
Match #6: Roman Reigns & Bobby Lashley defeated The Revival. (*1/2) Incredibly, they gave Wilder a near-fall on Roman! If you’re keeping score, that’s the FIFTH person who’s grabbed a handful of trunks tonight. I know a couple of guys who would NOT be happy to see such chicanery.
The match ends with Roman in position to hit the Spear, when Lashley tags himself into the match to hit his own version of the Spear and the pin. A little “can you top this” between the two most hated heels in the company. Er..I mean “good guys.” Why doesn’t Vince just embrace these guys as monster heels?
After this match, there was another weird segment where Finn Balor, Kevin Owens, and Baron Corbin bicker with each other over who deserves to be in the Extreme Rules #1 Contender Match. Finn warns KO that he doesn’t even know when danger is behind him, and sure enough…there’s Braun Strowman. Braun takes up for Finn, which seemingly leads to our main event tag team match for tonight. Unfortunately, Angle forgot the line that actually ANNOUNCES the match, so everyone was left in a state of confusion. On camera, no less.
Match #7: Mojo Rawley defeated No Way Jose. (3/4*) This was a nothing match, but I was stunned at how far No Way Jose has fallen. He went from a breakout star in the shake-up to a jobber in the death slot, and it only took two months! The finish saw Rawley hit the running punch that he calls, “LIGHTS OUT!” Afterwards, he dropped Jose with a Fireman’s Carry into a Flapjack for the pin. When the match was finished, Charly was in the ring with Mojo for a promo. Mojo stated that “WWE is more competitive now than it’s ever been, and you need to do more to achieve success.” Just ask Curt Hawkins!
We go backstage, yet again, to find Bayley STALKING Sasha Banks. She was literally waiting for Sasha to leave the arena. Bayley yells that she’s not finished with Sasha, but Sasha said that she’s definitely done with Bayley. As Sasha got into her car and drove off, Bayley banged on the car windows and followed her! Bayley is quickly turning into Mickie James 2.0, wouldn’t you say? That, or Glenn Close from Fatal Attraction. Either one works.
From there, we get Elias who is already in the ring. He sings a song that includes some insults at Seth Rollins, continually throwing out the question, “What Would Elias Do?” Man, he should really run with that song, “Walk With Me.” I thought that was the tops. Of note: During the song, Elias makes a few vague threats at Brock Lesnar, suggesting that Elias may be in the Extreme Rules main event. After his performance, Seth Rollins is interviewed by Renee Young. Seth mans up and says, “I’m not one to make excuses…I lost.” From there, he invokes his rematch clause for next week. It’s on! Can’t wait.
Main Event Tag Team Match: Kevin Owens & Constable Baron Corbin defeated Finn Balor & Braun Strowman. (***1/4) This was actually a damn good main event, with yet another surprising finish. There was a standoff between Strowman and Corbin (who is now dressed like the demented lovechild of Corporate Kane and IRS). That ended when Strowman missed a shoulder charge into the post, leading to a tag from Balor. Finn hit the standing Coup de Grace on Corbin, but KO broke up the pin. Strowman knocked KO to the outside, and they had a brief chase that ended with Corbin wiping out Strowman with a splash from the apron to the floor. From there, Balor hit a dropkick on Corbin and went for another Coup de Grace from the top rope. Corbin blocked this, and drilled Balor with the End of Days for the 1-2-3! Cole went crazy putting over Corbin, so I guess ANOTHER push is in order for Corbin. They go to credits.
Opening Segment = GOLD: Man, did I love that opening segment. All of the major players were great here. From Alexa DEMANDING a Championship Presentation, to the way Rousey destroyed everyone in sight, to the eventual 30-day suspension that explains her time off from WWE. I thought the whole thing was well-produced, well-acted, and it had an incredibly satisfying finish, where Ronda destroyed Little Miss Bliss with a thunderous Power Bomb through the table. Wonderful stuff.
Surprising Finishes: I actually loved the ending of the IC title match, as well as the main event. I know, I know…the first thought in your mind will be, “Magnum. It’s Corbin and Ziggler. Why are you gushing about this?” To those fans, I say this: I guess all it takes is Drew McIntyre, a haircut, and a clean, white dress shirt to revitalize your career. 😀 In all seriousness, it’s good to see these guys getting a push after making a few tweaks to their character. They came off like stars tonight. You gotta give credit to Balor and Rollins for their willingness to put them over, giving their careers a much-needed shot in the arm.
Wild & Crazy Night for the Gold Medalist: Kurt Angle was right when he said that his show was “falling apart”, but not in a bad way. This was a completely batshit episode of Raw, and I mean that in the best way possible. Angle had to deal with two different women’s brawls (Rousey and Bliss, Bayley and Sasha). Just when it couldn’t get worse for Kurt, Stephanie’s announcement for the main event of Extreme Rules was interrupted by Reigns, Lashley, AND The Revival. Also, who could forget…those hooligans from the Riott Squad are just making a MESS backstage. 😀 All kidding aside, Kurt’s got his hands full, and that makes for good TV.
Bayley and Sasha: I actually like the slow burn of this feud, but the problem is…we haven’t clearly established who is evil in this feud. I truly believe that Bayley has good intentions, but man…she is acting like a crazy brat with Sasha. Bayley dragged Sasha into her war with the Riott Squad, abandoned her, and then stalked her as she was leaving the building! What more needs to be said? Bayley’s a nutcase! Most astute fans should pick up on this, but I’m not sure if they are.
Awkward Moments in Television Production (Starring Kevin Dunn): I’ll be brief with this…there were two INCREDIBLY awkward moments during the broadcast last night. First, when the B-Team finished with their mock-up of the Wyatt/Hardy tandem, the camera simply panned away because they wouldn’t take Dallas and Axel off the Titantron. What the hell was that? Later, when Angle forgot his lines backstage with the teams involved with the main event, they just kept the cameras rolling while the guys had no idea what to do. Again, what the hell was that? Also, those power zooms when a guy hits an impact move…stop. You’re going to make someone lose their supper.
That’s going to do it for me! I’ll see you tomorrow night for Smackdown Live! The main event features a gauntlet match tomorrow to determine Styles’ opponent at Extreme Rules. The participants for this match will be Rusev, Samoa Joe, Big E, Daniel Bryan and The Miz. Sounds like a good time! See you then. @TheMagnumDA signing off.