Welcome to another Monday Night RAW recap. Backlash was yesterday but RAW has already moved on. The first question posed by the preview is whether Roman Reigns has earned another shot at Brock Lesnar, although that may be answered by the second item. Tonight’s show has two triple-threat qualifiers for Money in the Bank. Ember Moon, Ruby Riott and Sasha Banks face off in the women’s division qualifier. Roman Reigns, Sami Zayn, and Finn Balor will compete for a place in the men’s match. Other than that, we can look forward to updates on the friendship status of Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens, and Bayley and Sasha Banks.
I’m Amanda, and I’ll be your guide through the highs and lows of RAW.
The Opening Segment
Kurt Angle opened the show to talk about Money in the Bank and announce the format. There will be two Money in the Bank ladder matches this year, one for the men and one for the women with superstars from RAW and SmackDown competing in them. He talked about tonight’s matches, then was joined in the ring by Braun Strowman.
Strowman told a story about the boys in his neighbourhood building a treehouse without him. Because he was excluded he waited for them all to get into the treehouse and then knocked down the tree. No prizes for reading between the lines there.
Kurt Angle said Strowman has been on a roll and deserves a shot at Money in the Bank.
Before he could get any further, Kevin Owens appeared on the stage and said if anyone deserves to be in the ladder match it’s him. He’s only been there a few weeks and even though Angle didn’t want him he’s RAW’s MVP. The wrong person was pinned last night, so the decision should be reversed, and he and Sami Zayn should be declared the winners, so he’s on a roll, not Strowman. He should go straight into the Money in the Bank ladder match without qualifying. Strowman be sent to a giant corner for a time out to reflect on what a bad monster he’s been.
Kurt Angle said he was just about to put Strowman in a qualifying match. Owens said Strowman doesn’t deserve it and Angle should remember Stephanie McMahon is watching and make the sensible decision to declare him the first entrant into the match.
Angle said Braun Strowman will have a qualifying match, against Owens, starting immediately.
Braun Strowman vs Kevin Owens – Money in the Bank qualifying match
Kevin Owens’ tactics in this match seemed to be to alternate between aggressive offence and running away. Neither worked well for him in the early part of the match, Strowman kept knocking him over and throwing him around.
Things were looking good for Owens for a while after he hit Strowman with a tornado DDT. It lasted just about long enough to start believing he might just pull off the win, but it all went wrong when he went for the pop-up powerbomb. Strowman blocked it, shook his head, and that was the end of any offence from Owens.
Strowman decimated Owens inside and outside the ring, then hit the running powerslam no-one gets up from to qualify for the Money in the Bank ladder match.
The Other Stuff
– Backstage interview with Roman Reigns about his mindset going into the MITB qualifying match. He said he feels he’s the uncrowned Universal Champion, he’s been screwed over by WWE management and he’s sick of it. He can’t control that, but he can control what happens in the ring. He’s going to win tonight and go on to claim what’s rightfully his.
– Bayley, Breezango, Goldust, and Jinder Mahal all declared their interest in Money in the Bank. Bayley wants to hug the briefcase, Breezango are as beautifully confused as ever, Goldust is… Goldust, and Jinder Mahal thinks he’s entitled to be in the qualifier. He isn’t happy Roman Reigns is getting another opportunity. He left after being told he has a match against Chad Gable tonight, and if he wins, Angle might consider the MITB request.
– No Way Jose and Titus Worldwide vs Baron Corbin and The Revival – Apparently this was a ‘we like fun’ vs ‘no fun’ match. The no fun team won after a decent match. Baron Corbin pinned No Way Jose with the End of Days.
– Sasha Banks vs Ruby Riott vs Ember Moon – Triple-threat Money in the Bank qualifying match – This one was brutal, skilful, messy, and incredible. The mess was courtesy of Liv Morgan and Sarah Logan, who kept getting involved. In the end, it did them no good, Ember Moon hit the Eclipse on Ruby Riott and Sasha Banks at the same time and pinned Riott to qualify for the ladder match. An interesting side note which is bound to come up later – Morgan and Logan were beating Sasha Banks up so badly Bayley ran down and tried to rescue her.
– Backstage, Ember Moon said she has proved she is skill, honour, and heart. And she’s going to get the Money in the Bank contract.
– Renee Young had a sit-down interview with Bobby Lashley, preceded by a ‘getting to know you’ package. He’s apparently extremely blessed because he has a good family. He talked about his sisters for a few minutes, said the WWE universe is now part his extended family, and that was it. I’m a bit confused.
– Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens argued in the locker room about who’s hardest done by and about Zayn slapping Owens at Backlash. Sami Zayn apologised and tried to get Owens to agree to help him out in the triple-threat. Owens agreed but wasn’t convincing.
– Jinder Mahal vs Chad Gable – Not a bad match at all. Nothing spectacular. Jinder Mahal won with the Khallas. After the match Gable put shoved Sunil Singh while Singh was trash-talking him and earned himself an extra beating.
– Alexa Bliss, The Ascension, and Zack Ryder declared their interest in the Money in the Bank matches. Jinder Mahal interrupted Ryder’s pitch to try and get him to make the triple-threat into a fatal four-way. Angle said no, but in the style of Zack Ryder. He didn’t give Ryder a match either, but Ryder didn’t seem to notice.
– Heath Slater and Rhyno vs Drew Galloway and Dolph Ziggler – Ziggler and McIntyre could be an interesting team going forward, they do seem to compliment each other. Enjoyable, if short, match. McIntyre and Ziggler won with their double-team Claymore/Zig-zag combo.
– Elias vs Bobby Roode – Elias complained about all the interruptions last night when he was trying to sing. The crowd chanted ‘Rusev Day’ at him. He wasn’t happy. He got to insult them in song before Roode interrupted him for their match though. Elias has won their last two matches, which begs the question – why have another? It was a good enough match though, and Bobby Roode managed to get one back by pinning Elias off the Glorious DDT. After the match, Roode said he wants a qualifying match for MITB.
– Seth Rollins came out to talk about his match at Backlash. He gave The Miz credit for taking him to his limit, then said Miz had shown him what kind of champion not to be. Rollins is going to be a fighting champion. He’s not interested in Money in the Bank this year, he’s focused on making the Intercontinental title the title on RAW. So he issued an open challenge, which was answered by Mojo Rawley. Rawley said this was the RAW debut he deserved. He wants to turn it into Monday Night Rawley by winning the Intercontinental Championship then the MITB match. The crowd were trying to wind him up by chanting for Zack Ryder.
– Seth Rollins vs Mojo Rawley – Intercontinental Championship open challenge – Rollins appears to be staking an early claim for wrestler of the year. He got brutalised by Rawley for the early part of the match though after Rawley got out of the way of a suicide dive. Longer match than I expected, and probably Rawley’s best performance to date. He got increasingly frustrated at his failure to put Rollins away. Let’s face it, it was never going to happen. Rollins finished it with the Stomp after a very decent match. Rollins celebrated by swinging the belt around.
– Deleters of Worlds vs Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel – Dallas and Axel told us they are no longer supporting actors, they are leading men in their breakout role. It didn’t help them in this match. We did get to see Bray Wyatt kick his brother (Bo Dallas) off the apron, but it would have been nice to see them in the ring together properly. Hardy and Wyatt won with a double team on Curtis Axel
– Natalya and Baron Corbin declared their intentions to win the MITB briefcases.
The Final Segment – Finn Balor vs Sami Zayn vs Roman Reigns – Triple-threat Money in the Bank qualifying match
Roman Reigns started with attitude, sending Sami Zayn out of the ring, slapping Balor out of the air, and then dealing with Zayn again. He dominated the early part of the match enough for Balor and Zayn to work together to take him out.
They went into the crowd. Sami Zayn Helluva kicked Roman Reigns int the technical area, Finn Balor followed it up with a Coup de Grace to make sure Reigns was out of it. Alliance over, Zayn attacked him and dragged back to the ring.
Reigns didn’t find his way back to the ring until Sami Zayn and Finn Balor had worn each other down for a while, a nice reminder of how great a program between the two would be. Zayn had Balor down against the barricade and Reigns just flew over it. Balor threw Reigns into the steps, and we were back to Zayn and Balor one-on-one
Roman Reigns had hit Balor with the superman punch and was waiting to go for the spear when Jinder Mahal appeared at ringside and pulled Reigns over from outside the ring. That gave Sami Zayn enough of a window to hit him with a Helluva kick as he got to his feet.
Finn Balor dropkicked Zayn followed up with the Coup de Grace then pinned him. Another excellent match.
A very good episode of RAW this week. It feels like there’s a lot going on, which can only be a good thing. Michael Cole informed us that the MITB ladder matcher will each have eight participants. Four each from RAW and SmackDown. Braun Strowman and Finn Balor have already qualified for the men’s match. Ember Moon has qualified for the women’s match. With so many superstars expressing a desire to be included, the next few weeks of qualifiers should be excellent.