Seth Rollins and Finn Balor

THE RAW RECAP – 30/04/2018

Welcome to the latest recap of Monday Night RAW. We’re looking at a night dealing with the fallout from Greatest Royal Rumble, and build-up to Backlash. Expect more on the controversial ending to Roman Reigns vs Brock Lesnar, weirdness from the new RAW tag team champions as we enter the ‘Era of Wokenness’, and the next steps for Braun Strowman, Seth Rollins, and Finn Balor. There are also hints of a Ronda Rousey appearance.

I’m Amanda, and I’ll be your guide through tonight’s RAW.

The Opening Segment

After a lengthy highlight reel of Greatest Royal Rumble, Roman Reigns opened the show. RAW was in Montreal tonight, and the crowd were loud. While he made his entrance, commentary showed stills from the controversial ending of the Brock Lesnar match, and a tweet from the referee acknowledging he made a mistake.

Reigns said he’s not going to make any excuses because he has no need to. We’ve seen the footage, and the referee’s tweet, which makes him the true Universal Champion.

He had to pause for a round of boos and a ‘Roman sucks’ chant from the crowd. He should be the Universal Champion but he’s not. He’s a man of his word, he beat Lesnar in the cage and he will never lose faith in himself. He’d tell Lesnar right now, but everyone knows he’s not there. So, instead, he’ll concentrate on the man he’s going to face on Sunday.

Samoa Joe appeared on the big screen said no-one had any faith in Reigns to begin with. He told Reigns he’d lose, and on Sunday he’s going to put his downward spiralling career to sleep.

Jinder Mahal arrived on stage, with boos almost rivalling Reigns’, and said the one thing he can’t stand is someone who makes excuses for his shortcomings. Reigns lost fair and square to Lesnar, at Backlash he’ll lose to Samoa Joe, but tonight he’ll lose to the modern-day Maharaja.

Someone the crowd did like was next – Sami Zayn. He said Bobby Lashley had caused him to suffer vertigo, and that’s why he wasn’t at Greatest Royal Rumble. But he’s feeling better and he wants to fight Roman Reigns. Both Reigns and the crowd seemed to like that idea much more.

We weren’t done yet though, Kevin Owens was next out. Unsurprisingly, the Canadian crowd love him too. I don’t speak French, so I can’t translate what he said, but he also wants to fight Roman Reigns. He suggested that, as everyone wants to fight Reigns, they have a popularity contest. The crowd shouted loudest for Owens, so he won.

Reigns getting beaten down
photo credit: wwe.com

Roman Reigns smacked Owens in the face, and everyone piled in.

Bobby Lashley ran down to make the save, but he fell foul of the numbers game as well.

Braun Strowman came to sort things out, and the numbers were no longer a problem. Lashley threw out Owens, Roman Reigns slapped Mahal out of the ring, and Strowman tossed out Sami Zayn then finished by throwing Sunil Singh at everyone else.

A six-man tag – Owens, Zayn, and Mahal vs Reigns, Strowman, and Lashley – was announced for later.

The Other Stuff

– Elias vs Bobby Roode – Elias actually got to sing enough of his song to insult Montreal before Roode’s entrance kicked in. After all the talking of the opening segment, we got a long first match. Elias landed a kick to Roode’s throat which affected Bobby Roode for the rest of the match. The match ended after Elias sent him chest first into a turnbuckle. Roode was seen by medics due to trouble breathing, and Elias declared himself the winner.

Bobby Roode clutching his throat
photo credit: wwe.com

– Authors of Pain vs Jean-Paul and François – The ‘local enhancement talent’ were given a backstage interview where they said they’d requested the match because they are proud French-Canadians who never back down from a challenge. Standard squash finished with the Supercollider and Last Chapter. After the match Authors of Pain said the book of pain remains open and there will be a chapter for every team on Monday Night RAW.

– Seth Rollins came out and said the crowd were wild, like the last month of his career has been wild. They were a loud crowd and they really like Rollins. He clearly enjoyed the praise, even saying thanking then in French. He said he’d been thinking about what kind of champion he wants to be, and he doesn’t want to be like Brock Lesnar, he wants to be a fighting champion. Cue, Finn Balor. Balor got more or less straight to the point and challenged Rollins to a match. They’ve had four singles matches and won two each. Rollins let the crowd decide and they were into it. Miz’ music hit, and Dallas and Axel came out. They said not to worry about what the crowd want, worry about what’s best for themselves. They shouldn’t be fighting each other they should be fighting together, they should all be fighting together, and revealed shirts with all four of their faces on. They want to be the new four horsemen. Rollins and Balor went to talk it over, then said no. Dallas and Axel turned to leave, attacked, and got dealt with. As Balor and Rollins stood together, Balor dropped Rollins on the back of his head.

Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel
photo credit: wwe.com

– Ruby Riott vs Sasha Banks – Banks had a pre-match interview where she was asked if she’d tried to make up with Bayley to have her in her corner. She said she hasn’t heard anything from Bayley. Another longish match and the pairing of Riott and Banks has some serious potential. As Sasha Banks got Ruby Riott in the Bank Statement, Sarah Logan got in the ring and distracted the ref while Liv Morgan pulled Riott out of the hold. Banks distracted herself dealing with Logan and Morgan and got caught with a right hand and a Riott kick which finished the match.

Ruby Riott and Sasha Banks
photo credit: wwe.com

– Another ‘Moment of Bliss’ segment – This story was about going to Disneyworld with Nia Jax and Jax spending the day making fun of Bliss’ height, asking attendants if Bliss was tall enough for the rides, and insisting she got a kid’s menu in the restaurant. But at Backlash, Bliss won’t let the ‘bully’ win.

– Titus O’Neil had a backstage interview with Renee Young to discuss his epic slip at Greatest Royal Rumble, which they’d shown numerous times by that point. He tried to style it out for a few seconds then said he just fell and tried to use it as an inspirational moment to show that it’s not the falling but the getting back up that’s important. Baron Corbin butted in and said it would have been more inspirational if he hadn’t fallen in the first place and told Young he didn’t know why she was wasting her time with him.

– Matt Hardy told a tale of how the story of Matt Hardy and Bray Wyatt has been told throughout time. Wyatt joined him and said they are the darkness and light. They are the Deleters of Worlds.

– Sami Zayn, Kevin Owens, and Jinder Mahal vs Roman Reigns, Braun Strowman, and Bobby Lashley – Zayn, Mahal, and Owens spent the first minute tagging in and out until Reigns got bored and started slapping Zayn around. Really good, fun, match as long as you don’t think too much about the heel/face dynamic. Another nice long one as well. Roman Reigns got the majority of the time and split it between being beaten down and beating people up, Lashley got his bit, and Strowman was kept out until the last moments. When he finally came in he took out Owens and Zayn on the outside before trying to deal with Mahal. Jinder Mahal dodged Strowman, with the help of Sunil Singh, sending him into the post, hard. A few moments of chaos later, Strowman grabbed Kevin Owens as he went for a cannonball and pinned him with the running powerslam.

Kevin Owens hitting Roman Reigns
photo credit: wwe.com

– Baron Corbin vs No Way Jose – Corbin gave us the low-down on why he’s great and everyone else isn’t before Jose congaed to the ring. Titus Worldwide came out a few minutes into what could have been a good match, complete with a goofy bit with Dana Brooke making sure the ramp wasn’t slippery and Titus O’Neil taking a pratfall on the apron. That distracted Corbin long enough for Jose to get the pin. No Way Jose left with Titus Worldwide.

– Mickie James, with Alexa Bliss vs Natalya, with Ronda Rousey –  Nice match from the veterans of the women’s division. Sadly, the focus was always going to be pulled by the companions on the outside. Bliss tried to cause a distraction by getting on the apron, which allowed James to kick Natalya’s injured leg. Rousey made her pay for it by chasing her around the ring and part way up the ramp. While that was going on, Natalya pinned Mickie James. Alexa Bliss was still on the ramp when Nia Jax music hit, so she ran back to ringside and hopped the barricade. Jax climbed into the ring, looked Rousey and Natalya up and down, then raised their arms.

Natalya and Mickie James
photo credit: wwe.com

– Braun Strowman and Lashley vs Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn has been added to the Backlash card.

– Promo from Drew McIntyre and Dolph Ziggler. They didn’t come to steal the show, they’re just going to take it.  – What’s the difference?

The Closing Segment – Seth Rollins vs Finn Balor – Intercontinental Championship match

I know Balor said earlier that they’ve had four singles matches against each other, but there have been numerous tag matches as well, and it feels like they’ve shared a ring every week for months. They never disappoint, the matches are always great, but they’ve been going on forever.

Considering the brutality of the ladder match they had on Friday, they didn’t hold anything back. They know each other’s move-sets inside out, so it was counter after counter after counter. They just can’t surprise each other anymore.

Rollins hit the superplex, but it was Balor that delivered the falcon arrow follow up. Attempts at the Stomp led to roll-up counters. Rollins got out of the way of the Coup de Grace more than once, and there was a highlight reel of their favourite moves. Fantastic match.

Seth Rollins finally hit the Stomp and retained the Intercontinental Championship.

Seth Rollins and Finn Balor
photo credit: wwe.com

Nice long matches this week, and they were all the better for it. All the expected recaps from Greatest Royal Rumble and adverts for Backlash as well, of course. It didn’t really feel like a go home for Backlash, but I guess this counted as a tour show, and they’re always a bit different. I’m sure Backlash will be great anyway, and I’ll be back next week with all the fallout.