Alexa Bliss will be announcing the RAW participants for the Money in the Bank matches tonight. To be honest, that’s the only non-cryptic thing on the preview. Expect to hear from AJ Styles, Becky Lynch, Samoa Joe, and Bray Wyatt. Other than that, who knows?
I’m Amanda and this is the RAW review.
Ricochet & Braun Strowman def. Baron Corbin & Drew McIntyre
The Usos def. Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson
Bobby Lashley def. The Miz
The Viking Raiders def. Lucha House Party
Naomi def. Alexa Bliss
Zack Ryder & Curt Hawkins def. The Revival
Rey Mysterio def. Samoa Joe
The Key Bits
» Alexa Bliss opened the show. After confirming there will be two Money in the Bank matches again this year, one for the men and one for the women, she explained the format of the matches – eight participants in each match, four from RAW and four from SmackDown Live. The superstars representing RAW in the men’s match are Braun Strowman, Ricochet, Drew McIntyre, and Baron Corbin. Corbin, Ricochet, and McIntyre argued. Strowman got bored, told everyone to shut up and informed them none of them have what it takes to stop him, then challenged Corbin and McIntyre to a tag match, pressing Ricochet into service as his partner.
Baron Corbin & Drew McIntyre vs Ricochet & Braun Strowman was fun. Ricochet was very much the target for McIntyre and Corbin, their number one priority was to keep him from tagging in Strowman. Corbin threw Ricochet to the outside then attacked Strowman from behind when he went to check on his partner. Strowman chased Corbin and ran right into a Claymore from McIntyre. With Strowman down, they were free to focus on punishing Ricochet, but Strowman made it back to the apron at the perfect time for the tag. He came in and levelled McIntyre then got tagged out again when McIntyre dodged his charge into the corner. A headbutt from McIntyre left Ricochet ripe for the Claymore, but Corbin tagged himself in, messed up, and allowed Ricochet to tag out. Drew McIntyre had had enough and punched Corbin in the face. Strowman powerslammed him, and Ricochet delivered a Shooting Star Press for the win.
» Alexa Bliss got a second Moment of Bliss to announce the Women’s Money in the Bank match participants. Natalya, Dana Brooke, and Naomi were the first three out. They started arguing and Bliss quietened them down to announce the fourth. It’s her. Naomi challenged her to a match, but Bliss turned her down. Naomi goaded her a bit and she accepted.
Naomi vs Alexa Bliss was fine. Bliss wasn’t dressed to wrestle and her shoelaces kept coming undone. Naomi ended up holding Bliss’ shoes at one point. Bliss used that to her advantage and sent Naomi flying into the corner. Bliss took a moment to argue with the ref, took a rear view and a split legged moonsault and got pinned.
» Becky Lynch had an in-ring interview with Charly Caruso about her decision to defend both titles at Money in the Bank. Lynch said there was nothing impulsive about her decision. She has two options, she can try to protect all that she has, or fight all, and she only knows how to fight. She doesn’t care about the odds. A year ago nobody thought she could main event WrestleMania, but she did. And a month ago, Ronda Rousey was unbeaten and many thought she was unbeatable, until she beat her to become “Becky Two Belts”. Her whole career has been a longshot but nothing has been by accident. She ran her mouth about Flair holding the division hostage and she’s not going to do that, even if it puts her at a huge disadvantage. She didn’t make history by dodging anybody, she made it by beating everybody. As far as she’s concerned she has Flair’s number, and she’s really not concerned about Lacey Evans.
After being shown the footage of Evans sneak-attacking her last week, Lynch called Evans out. Evans appeared, said a lot of words, then ripped her skirt off and ran to the ring. Lynch was waiting for her at ringside and they brawled until officials separated them. They needed more officials for Becky Lynch because she got free twice and launched herself back onto Evans before Lacey Evans was dragged away. Halfway up the ramp Evans got free and ran back for the fight and they had to be pulled apart again.
» The final fifteen minutes of the show was given over to the contract signing for Seth Rollins and AJ Styles’ Universal Championship match at Money in the Bank. Michael Cole introduced them both and asked Styles what winning the title would mean to him. Styles said it’s the whole reason he came to RAW. SmackDown Live was the house that AJ Styles built for two years, but RAW is where it’s at. He’s always liked Rollins, but he’s got something Styles wants. They’ve known each other for many years and people say that Rollins will be the new AJ Styles, he’s stronger, younger, but he’ll never be the Phenomenal AJ Styles.
Rollins said that’s fine, but as much of a compliment as it is, he never wanted to be the next AJ Styles or anyone else, he wanted to be the first Seth Rollins. And Styles is going to have to be more than phenomenal if he wants to take the Universal Championship from him.
Styles tried to get in his head. He said he knows how much the title means to him, and how much it has cost him, then asked how Rollins was holding up without Ambrose and Reigns. Rollins went through hell at WrestleMania and Styles doesn’t think he has much left, but Styles is ready to go now. He’s going to be that bulldog nipping at Rollins’ heels and at Money in the Bank he’s going to latch on and not let go until he’s standing over him as Universal Champion.
Rollins said Styles isn’t understanding him. They are similar in some ways, but there are differences. Styles like to build things up, Rollins likes to burn them down. Rollins has beaten Lesnar and Styles never has. He was at his best when he beat Lesnar and he’ll be at his best when he beats Styles.
AJ Styles picked the belt up off the table when Rollins put it down to sign, then handed it back and held out his hand. Rollins didn’t take it, just held the belt over his head. There was trash-talk then Styles punched Seth Rollins in the face and kept punching. He stopped to take his jacket up and Rollins retaliated, kicking Styles out of the ring and landing a suicide dive on him before getting back in the ring. When Rollins picked up the belt, Styles got back on the apron and landed a phenomenal forearm that sent Rollins through the table.
The Other Bits
» The Usos vs Gallows & Anderson was unexpected. Gallows & Anderson have jumped ship from SmackDown Live. If I’m honest, I’d forgotten they were there. Hopefully, the fresh start on RAW will mean actual tv time for them. The match was great. It was The Usos versus Gallows & Anderson, what else was it going to be. Jimmy Uso pinned Luke Gallows after Jey Uso took Karl Anderson out with a suicide dive.
After the match, The Usos showed footage of Dash Wilder shaving Scott Dawson’s back while both were wearing only towels. The Revival came to the stage and called them out for invasion of privacy, then Dawson gave us the TMI on his body hair. Dawson and Wilder backed out of turning it physical because they had a match later, but we can wait for something that’s going to be that good. Even if the build-up is getting weird already.
» Miz TV featured Bobby Lashley, without Lio Rush. Lashley tried to set ground rules by saying he’s only going to answer the questions he wants to and was talking about himself in the third person. Miz asked Lashley to comment on the possibility he’s not reaching his full potential. Lashley said he’s been back in WWE for one year and is already two-time Intercontinental Champion. Then he asked what Miz had done. Miz gave him a quick list and told him to check Wikipedia. Bobby Lashley just wanted to talk about Miz losing at WrestleMania, and Miz snapped when he mentioned his father. Miz pounded on Lashley even when Lashley was driving him into the corner, then kicked him out of the ring and threw the furniture at him.
Because this is RAW, The Miz vs Bobby Lashley was in progress when we returned from the break. It was dominated by Shane McMahon coming out and trying to distract Miz. It took a few attempts, and Shane McMahon putting a picture of Miz’ father on the screen, but it worked. Lashley caught Miz with a spear and pinned him.
Shane McMahon kicked and punched Miz when he was down. Miz launched himself at him and pounded on him until Lashley dragged him off and slammed him into the canvas. Then Shane McMahon got to do the beating. He finally choked Miz out.
Miz was later asked about what happened. He said Shane McMahon made this personal by bringing his dad into it and that’s why they fought all over the arena at WrestleMania. At Money in the Bank he wants them to stay and fight in the ring. He challenged Shane McMahon to a Steel Cage match.
Shane McMahon later accepted via tweet.
» The Viking Raiders vs Lucha House Party was a match, just about. It was more the systematic destruction of Lucha House Party by The Viking Raiders despite Lucha House Party attacking them from the air before they got to the ring.
We got to see the second episode of the Firefly Fun House. Bray Wyatt was painting a house on fire and talking to a stuffed rabbit and the ventriloquist’s dummy witch. It was educational too. We learned to spell the word of the day, sociopath. Normal day on RAW then…
» Zack Ryder & Curt Hawkins vs The Revival was good. The Revival got ‘Shave Your Back’ chants from the crowd. Zack Ryder got the pin on Scott Dawson by reversing a lazy pin attempt.
» Sami Zayn had more to say about how toxic WWE fans are. He’s been learning about psychology and sociology and talked about the principle of entitlement. Apparently, we’ve all been corrupted by the idea that the customer is always right and now we throw tantrums if we don’t immediately get what we want. He told a story about refusing to sign a small child’s action figure at the airport. Sami Zayn doesn’t owe us anything. Giving us seventeen years of five-star matches and three shoulder surgeries was more than generous, now we’re going to get what he wants to give. It has been suggested he quit WWE and he thinks that would be amazing, but what would be more amazing is to come out every week and hold everyone accountable. He’s going to be the critic of the critics.
» Samoa Joe grabbed a mic before his match. He told Rey Mysterio his son is clearly ashamed of him. Apparently, Samoa Joe is a very angry man. Samoa Joe vs Rey Mysterio was a very good match, but it’s not the fresh new match-ups we were expecting from the shake-up. It served as redemption for Rey Mysterio though, after what is best described as a rough few weeks. He got caught and put down a few times by Samoa Joe, but he had an answer for everything Joe threw at him and rolled him up for the pin.
Mysterio’s son Dominik met him on the stage and put him on his shoulders.
That was not the most exciting episode of RAW. The matches were all fine or better, but it’s that post-WrestleMania, post-Shake-up, rebuilding phase. Overhanging storylines need to be wrapped up and new ones established. It’ll settle down again and Money in the Bank is shaping up to be a very good PPV.