RAW is on tour this week, emanating from Manchester, England, and pre-taped earlier in the day. The advertised matches are Finn Balor versus Bobby Lashley, again, and Bayley, Sasha Banks, and Natalya vs The Riott Squad, again. Also announced; Ronda Rousey’s response to Becky Lynch, Braun Strowman looking for revenge on Baron Corbin, more from Nia Jax and Tamina, and they’ll address the fact Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose are still RAW tag team champions.
I’m Amanda and I’ll be your guide through RAW.
Sasha Banks, Bayley, and Natalya vs The Riott Squad ended in a weird no contest
Apollo Crews def. Jinder Mahal via pinfall
AOP def. Seth Rollins via pinfall – Title change
Elias def. Dolph Ziggler via pinfall
Nia Jax def. Ember Moon vis pinfall
Bobby Lashley, with Lio Rush def. Finn Balor via pinfall
Drew McIntyre def. Kurt Angle via submission
The Best Bits
» The show opened with the roster on the stage and security surrounding the ring. After a recap of the match, Baron Corbin welcomed everyone to RAW and said not to be alarmed by the security, it was normal for someone of his status. We’re coming up to Survivor Series, the one night where RAW and SmackDown compete. Brock Lesnar will face AJ Styles, Ronda Rousey will face Becky Lynch. There will also be the traditional five on five elimination matches. Every match is a chance for RAW to show it is the dominant brand. There is also the extra incentive of settling a score with Shane McMahon for stealing the title of Best in the World. That situation will be addressed next week by Stephanie McMahon.
Corbin said RAW will come out at the dominant brand, and he thinks that might be enough to secure him the General Manager’s job permanently. He’s made himself as a team captain but won’t be competing. Dolph Ziggler Drew McIntyre and Braun Strowman are the first team members. He understands Braun might be upset with him but thinks, in the end, he’ll understand that what he did was a lesson. Strowman needs to learn to respect authority. Corbin thinks that once Strowman gets that in his head he will be the team member that they need at Survivor Series.
As for the women’s team, he needed a manager with great skills – he chose Alexa Bliss.
Bliss thanked ‘future permanent general manager Corbin’. She will also be taking a management role instead of competing. Her unprecedented success as a five-time champion and the fact she’s a natural leader makes her the perfect person to lead the RAW women to victory. She’ll be watching matches very closely and she wants them to show that they have the killer instincts to do whatever it takes to win because they will not be losing to the B-show. And that starts with the Evolution rematch between The Riott Squad and Sasha Banks, Bayley, and Natalya.
Kurt Angle came out and said, competing in the World Cup lit a fire in him. He led team RAW to victory last year and he wants to compete again.
Corbin said this year he makes the decisions. He paused, then told Angle to take a permanent vacation.
Angle said when he was in charge they settled things in the ring, and he would step up and compete. He challenged Corbin to a match. If Angle wins he not only gets a place on the team, he gets to be captain. When Corbin didn’t answer Angle called him an embarrassment to Monday Night RAW.
Corbin agreed to the match, and if he wins he gets what he wants, but the only way he can see Angle going to Survivor Series is if he buys a ticket.
Angle said Corbin will be going on crutches after he snaps his ankle.
Bliss started to speak, but Braun Strowman’s music hit. Strowman stormed to the ring, took the security out, then chased Corbin up the ramp. Jinder Mahal got levelled for getting in his way then the rest of the heel half of the roster piled on.
A brawl broke out and Strowman went backstage while everyone was fighting. He was still looking for Corbin when we went to the ads.
Corbin was interviewed later and asked why he’s running from Strowman. He said he’s not scared and if Braun wants a wrestling match he’s there, but he doesn’t, he wants to destroy him. Charley Caruso asked why, if he’s not scared, is he’s set up a studio in a storage room. He told her off for telling everyone where he is, but it was too late. Strowman was already there and took out Corbin’s security. Corbin got away.
Caruso found Corbin again as he was leaving. He told her to tell Kurt Angle he has an emergency appointment and Angle’s match is now against Drew McIntyre. Corbin opened the car door as Strowman appeared, and only just escaped.
» Seth Rollins brought the tag belts to the ring. He said things didn’t go his way in the world cup and the scumbag acting General Manager helped Brock Lesnar win the Universal Championship. For everything Roman Reigns worked for, everything he’s fighting for now, that’s a slap in the face. It’s a slap in the face to Roman, to Seth, to the everybody in the locker room, and to everyone else. He’d tell Lesnar to his face, but Lesnar isn’t there.
But Dean Ambrose is there. It’s hard to believe that just a few weeks ago The Shield was on top of the world. Last week he called Ambrose out to tell him why he put the knife in his back and he didn’t have the guts. He’d call Ambrose out again, but he doesn’t want to waste everyone’s time, and Ambrose doesn’t have the bollocks.
Instead, he wants to talk about the tag titles. Much as he’d like to it’s probably impossible for him to defend two titles.
Corbin cut in by video and said he disagreed. In fact, he’d set up a tag title defence for Rollins, to start immediately, against AOP.
Seth Rollins vs AOP was everything you’d expect. Rollins fought hard, and for longer than one man on his own should last against AOP. There was even a moment or two when Rollins could possibly have won. Drake Maverick distracted the referee and enabled an AOP double team and even after that Rollins got a pin attempt. Eventually the numbers were too much, and Rollins succumbed to another AOP double team.
Dean Ambrose wandered through the crowd while Rollins was recovering. He got in the ring to ‘you sold out’ chants, knelt by Rollins, and said, ‘You want to know why I did what I did?’ then stood up. Rollins tried to drag himself to his feet and ask why. Ambrose dropped him with a Dirty Deeds and left. He was clearly emotional, and he stopped at the top of the ramp for a final look back.
Michael Cole asked Renee Young if she could provide any more information, on account of her relationship with Ambrose. She said she’d tried to talk to him about it but he won’t.
» Drew McIntyre vs Kurt Angle started before the bell with an attack from Angle. Once the bell rang McIntyre quickly took over with a huge headbutt that looked like it actually rocked Angle. As soon as Angle fought back into it, McIntyre rolled out of the ring. McIntyre hit the Claymore, but sat back and waited for Angle to struggle to his feet instead of pinning him. He taunted Angle into going for him, then stomped on his head. Again, he offered his leg to Angle to try to take him down, and again he beat on Angle when he tried.
Drew McIntyre got hold of Angle’s head and told him to look him in the eye. He called him a coward and an embarrassment to himself and his family. That was enough to fire Angle up and he dived for McIntyre’s leg and got the ankle lock. McIntyre managed to flip over and break the hold. Drew McIntyre beat Angle with his own moves, an Angle Slam followed by an ankle lock. Sad end to the show.
Some Other Bits
» Sasha Banks, Bayley, and Natalya vs The Riott Squad – Pre-match Natalya revealed she was wearing her dad’s sunglasses to the ring for luck and dedicated the match to him. The Riott Squad started things off with a three on three attack which ended with Natalya catching the Riott kick and ending up in a Sharpshooter. She would have tapped if Sarah Logan hadn’t kicked Natalya. It settled down after that. Natalya and Bayley both took huge amount s of punishment in a match largely dominated by The Riott Squad. Natalya managed to get a Sharpshooter on Logan but Ruby Riott grabbed the sunglasses and broke them in half then stamped on the pieces before collecting Logan and Morgan and leaving. Natalya was left crying with Bayley and Sasha Banks comforting her, while the match was seemingly abandoned.
» Apollo Crews vs Jinder Mahal – Crews had decided he’s a human highlight reel and he’s going to start stacking up victories. Mahal was down to a single Singh brother, and for once he wasn’t instrumental in the result. Sadly, for Mahal, that meant he lost after Crews pressed him, dropped him on his face, then followed up with a standing moonsault.
» Dolph Ziggler came to the ring to talk about Crown Jewel. He said, despite how things ended in the WWE World Cup, Shane McMahon is not the Best in the World, he is. He blamed a conspiracy for his loss, evidenced by Drew McIntyre being ejected, Miz jumping him from behind, then Shane McMahon entering the finals of a tournament he wasn’t even in.
Elias interrupted Ziggler from the stage. The crowd chanted, ‘oh, walk with Elias’, and Elias played it on his guitar. He called Ziggler a loser and said he’s been talking to Liam and Noel Gallagher and if he plays the song he wrote about Ziggler then Oasis will reform. He played almost an entire verse before Ziggler invited him to the ring.
Dolph Ziggler vs Elias was a very good match. Both had plenty of chances. Ziggler got frustrated when Elias got his foot on the rope and spent too long pleading with the ref. Elias hit the Drift Away and got the pin. Interestingly there was no sign of Drew McIntyre.
» Ronda Rousey addressed Becky Lynch’s promo last week. She said Becky Lynch says she’s going to rip her arm off. That’s adorable and it’s easy to see why everybody loves her. She’s the man, figuratively. At Evolution Lynch put on the performance of a lifetime. Without question, she has Rousey’s respect. But never mistake Rousey’s respect for weakness. While Lynch’s alarm was getting her up for school Rousey’s mother was waking her up by trying to break her arms. While Lynch was at clown college, Rousey was training for the Olympics. And while Lynch was a stewardess serving snacks, Rousey was in the middle of the most dominant title reign MMA has ever seen. Becky Lynch has changed, a whole new Becky with a whole new attitude and it’s awesome. But it’s going to take a lot more than a new attitude to beat her. Rousey is a natural born killer, beaten to a fine edge after years of waking up every single morning wanting to be the greatest athlete of all time. Two weeks until Survivor Series and Rousey wants her to bring all her angst, rage, and pent-up resentment because Rousey wants a challenge. And Lynch may say she’s the man, but Rousey is the baddest bitch on the planet.
Nia Jax came out after Rousey’s mic drop, with a big smile on her face. She said look at Rousey all fired up. Survivor Series is just like Evolution, you’re not just fighting for yourself, you’re fighting for the entire RAW locker room. You’re fighting for the most dominant brand in sports entertainment and Jax knows she won’t let them down. But, after she makes Becky Lynch tap out at Survivor Series, she’ll be waiting for her. Rousey didn’t answer because Ember Moon came out for her match with Jax.
Ember Moon vs Nia Jax – Anyone else have déjà vu? The story is still that Moon is skilled, fast, and strong enough to beat Jax if she can stay away from Jax’ power moves, but that’s the hard bit. Moon got close, but Jax finished it with a Samoan drop.
Tamina came out after the match and Samoan dropped Ember Moon. Jax didn’t seem to know what to do then Tamina put Moon in a Boston crab and Jax hit Moon with three elbow drops. Jax and Tamina hugged and Jax celebrated.
» Bobby Lashley vs Finn Balor – Lio Rush told Lashley to show everyone his favourite pose, and Lashley bent over to show off his glutes, it was weird. The match was fine. Lio Rush was a factor again, grabbing Balor’s foot to trip him and hand Lashley the advantage, then getting up on the apron to stop Balor going for a Coup de Grace. Instead of taking a suicide dive opportunity on Lashley, Balor dropkicked Rush. When he went to follow up, Lashley grabbed him and slammed him into the barricade. He rolled Balor back into the ring and slammed him into the mat for the win.
Drew McIntyre came down to the ring at the end of the match, ready for his match against Angle, and got nose to nose with Lashley. Bobby Lashley left, and Drew McIntyre pulled Balor to his feet in an apparent show of respect, then Claymore kicked him.
Michael Cole announced that Triple H has a suspected torn pectoral muscle and will need surgery if it’s confirmed. Triple H later confirmed it in a tweet.
A very talky episode of RAW tonight. Stephanie McMahon and Brock Lesnar will be on next week’s show, and Alexa Bliss will announce the women’s team for Survivor Series.