Tonight’s top attraction is Universal Champion Seth Rollins versus Wild Card Superstar Daniel Bryan. With this being the go-home show for Stomping Grounds, the likelihood of interference from Baron Corbin (Rollins’ PPV opponent) is high. On the subject of Stomping Grounds, Samoa Joe’s United States Championship challenger will be decided in a fatal Five-Way featuring Braun Strowman, Ricochet, The Miz, Bobby Lashley, and Cesaro. We’ll get the final build for the other PPV matches as well, and we should find out if R-Truth made it safely to RAW after he was last seen being loaded into a truck in a packing crate.
I’m Amanda and this is the RAW review.
Ricochet def The Miz, Braun Strowman, Cesaro, and Bobby Lashley
The Viking Raiders def. Russ & Randy Taylor
The New Day def. Baron Corbin, Sami Zayn, & Kevin Owens
The Usos def. Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson
The IIconics def. Alexa Bliss & Nikki Cross
Seth Rollins def. Daniel Bryan
The Key Bits
» Elias opened the show by insulting Los Angeles, then revealed that Baron Corbin has asked him to be the special guest referee at Stomping Grounds. That was about as far as he got before Seth Rollins attacked him with a chair and kept hitting him with it until he rolled out of the ring.
Rollins said that after everything he’s been through with Brock Lesnar, he’s done playing games. Corbin has to find himself a special guest referee before Sunday, but what he did to Elias was a message to and preview for anyone who chooses to side with Baron Corbin. He urged them to choose wisely, and left the ring.
» The Miz vs Bobby Lashley vs Cesaro vs Ricochet vs Braun Strowman – Elimination match to become Samoa Joe’s Stomping Grounds opponent – was the first match of the night, but there was a bit of entrance time entertainment.
Elias had stumbled back into the ring by the time Miz got there, so Miz gave him a Skull Crushing Finale. Bobby Lashley speared him. Cesaro swung him. Ricochet hit him the Codebreaker. Finally, Braun Strowman delivered a running powerslam. Samoa Joe watched at ringside. The early part of the match was everyone focused on trying to get Strowman out. It didn’t work. Cesaro got him up on his shoulders and slammed him, but Strowman slammed Lashley onto Cesaro and eliminated Cesaro. A little later he also eliminated Lashley, then ran through Miz and Ricochet at ringside. Miz got bulldozed twice.
Lashley and Cesaro came back in and beat on Strowman while he was trying to eliminate Miz and Cesaro delivered a neutraliser. Ricochet hit the 630 onto Strowman and Lashley and Cesaro helped Ricochet pin him. Strowman was unhappy with being eliminated. He threw Ricochet over the top rope at Lashley, Lashley into the barricade, and Cesaro into the backboards on the stage.
When we got back from a break, Ricochet was back up and fighting. They apparently had a two-minute break period during the ads. Miz took control of the match with a DDT and managed to keep Ricochet in a figure four for a long time. Ricochet reversed it but Miz reversed the reversal and Ricochet had to get to the ropes. An inside cradle almost got a pin with an inside cradle, but took Miz down with a codebreaker and finished him with a 630.
Samoa Joe attacked Ricochet from behind while he was celebrating, but Ricochet tipped him over the top rope and dived on him.
» In the locker room, Alexa Bliss gave Nikki Cross a present. It was an invitation to join her for a tag title match against The IIconics. Bliss hinted at more drama with Bayley, then changed the subject and said tonight was all about Nikki Cross. She also suggested Cross might want to try decaf next time, Cross responded with an appropriately disgusted expression.
Bayley was with Natalya and Naomi when she was asked about a post on social media suggesting she refused to take a picture with a fan who was wearing a Nikki Cross t-shirt. Bayley said that Bliss had written all over it and she was going to shut her up. After she left, Natalya speculated about whether Bayley really refused.
The IIconics vs Alexa Bliss & Nikki Cross – WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship match – started with The IIconics doing their spiel. Bayley came down before the match got underway and sat at the bottom of the ramp. Bayley and Bliss got into it on the outside after Billie Kay shoved Bliss off the apron. The IIconics retained because Bayley prevented Bliss from getting into the ring to break the pin on Nikki Cross. Does this mean there will be no Women’s tag title defence at Stomping Grounds?
Backstage after the match, Bliss tried to apologise to Nikki Cross. Cross said they’d be Tag Team Champions if it wasn’t for Bayley and Bliss was right about her not being what she seems. Bayley crushed her dreams tonight so she wants to see Bliss do the same to her at Stomping Grounds, and she’ll be in Bliss’ corner for the match.
Baron Corbin was asked how much he was scrambling to find a special guest ref now Elias didn’t want to do it. Corbin said he isn’t. He’s already got someone in mind, and he’ll reveal who on the Kevin & Sami show. As the interview finished, Seth Rollins attacked Corbin from behind with the chair.
» On The Kevin & Sami Show, with Baron Corbin, the first thing Owens and Zayn did was to withdraw their names from consideration for being special guest referee. Corbin said that’s ok, he had a line of people wanting to help but the person he’d chosen was EC3. EC3 got as far as the stage before Rollins attacked him with the chair. Corbin accused Rollins of taking away up and coming Superstars’ opportunities. Then Rollins went away, and New Day arrived. Big E laid his jacket over EC3’s prone body.
Sami Zayn asked them to leave because they weren’t invited. Kofi said he’s the WWE Champion and he goes where he wants when he wants. Owens told Kofi Kingston that he’ll take the title away at his next opportunity. Kingston said Owens didn’t manage it last time, and Ziggler won’t manage it next time.
Corbin suggested a match, the three of them against New Day. New Day picked EC3 up off the floor to act as referee. He was apparently still unconscious but they puppeted him sanctioning the match then dropped him back on the ramp.
New Day vs Baron Corbin, Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn became a two out of three falls match during the break, and it was good. Xavier Woods got the first pin, on Sami Zayn. The team of Corbin, Zayn, and Owens broke down after Corbin accidentally clotheslined Zayn. Owens and Corbin had a bit of a shove at each other, then Owens superkicked Corbin and he and Zayn left. Kofi Kingston delivered the Trouble in Paradise and pinned Corbin to get the second and final pinfall.
Eric Young was asked to be special guest ref by Baron Corbin and told him he’d think about it. He ran straight into Rollins and told him he was turning the offer down. Rollins said they’d known each other a long time and he knows Young wouldn’t do anything to jeopardise their friendship. Young started to walk away, then Rollins hit him with the chair anyway.
» Seth Rollins vs Daniel Bryan main evented, because anything else would be gross disrespect. Unfortunately, it lasted seconds before Rowan slammed Rollins on the apron and got Daniel Bryan disqualified. When Bryan and Rowan started the beatdown, New Day ran down to help. The Revival joined in, as did Kevin Owens, Sami Zayn, and The Usos. Eventually, the extras, including Rowan, cleared themselves out and it was announced that the match would restart with no one allowed at ringside.
When it restarted, it was a great match. Daniel Bryan had the edge after a suplex put Rollins out of the ring, and a running knee from the apron put Rollins down hard. But he was back up in time to punch Bryan into a sitting position on the turnbuckle. It took him a couple of attempts, but Rollins brought them down with a superplex. He tried to follow up with a falcon arrow but Bryan countered into the LeBell Lock and Rollins barely made it to the ropes.
The Yes kicks put Rollins down again, but Bryan took too long waiting for Rollins to get up and took a bucklebomb and superkick. Daniel Bryan got his knees up for Rollins’ frogsplash and locked in the LeBell Lock again. Rollins got out and connected with an enzuigiri and the Stomp for the win.
Daniel Bryan can never again say Seth Rollins has never beaten him.
Baron Corbin attacked Rollins with a chair on the stage and beat him back down the ramp with it. He got Rollins in the ring and delivered the End of Days then stood over Rollins holding the Universal Championship belt.
The Other Bits
» Becky Lynch appeared to deliver her address before Stomping Grounds. I’m not sure why WWE are taking every opportunity to highlight Becky Lynch and Seth Rollins’ relationship, but they did it again this week, twice, and it’s weird. Leave their personal life alone. She started by calling out Lacey Evans. Week after week, she’d had to listen to Evans droning on about what she deserves, so the next time she comes within striking distance of The Man she’ll get exactly what she deserves. Evans says she’ll do whatever it takes and that she likes to curry favour, so how about Lynch does everyone a favour and kick her ass all over Los Angeles.
Evans came out and said nobody cares. Once again Lynch has got it wrong. Evans makes her mad because she doesn’t understand her. It got long and drawn out, with a bit of Evans’ personal history thrown in (just her background in the Marines, nothing new). It got interesting again when Lynch grabbed Evans as she tried to climb into the ring and gave her a Bex-ploder, then left with Evans’ hat.
» Shane McMahon had a private VIP room set up. Drew McIntyre and The Revival were in there with him, but he doesn’t have any other friends.
Later, Heath Slater arrived. He was asked for a raise and was turned down and asked to leave. Drew McIntyre followed him out and acted like he was going to give him money but dropped the cash. When Slater bent to pick it up for him, McIntyre punched him and kept punching him until The Revival arrived to drag him away. The Revival pocketed the cash when no one was looking.
Roman Reigns popped over from SmackDown Live and, from the ring, asked Shane McMahon to come and have a match with him. McMahon appeared via video and told Reigns he shouldn’t be ashamed of losing to the best in the world. He declined Reigns request for a match and told him he should be more worried about Drew McIntyre. McIntyre was stood next to him and basically said he was going to beat him up until he sent him home to his kids, mutilated. Mentioning his kids might have been a mistake because Reigns stormed backstage. He quickly took out The Revival and entered the VIP room. McIntyre was put through the food table and Shane McMahon ran away. Roman Reigns chased him through the backstage area, through the crowd and caught him at ringside. When he finally got McMahon in the ring, Reigns delivered a superman punch and a spear. Finally, Roman Reigns stood over Shane McMahon, said, ‘Crawl to the back and tell Drew I’m going to whoop his ass on Sunday’, dropped the mic on Shane’s chest, and left.
» Daniel Bryan, with Rowan, said he completely understands why WWE had to bring him in as a Wild Card tonight, because both RAW and Los Angeles suck. They’re there to excite and lift everyone, and they’ll do that by him destroying Seth Rollins. That will prove that just one half of the SmackDown Live Tag Champs is better than the whole roster and that he and Rowan are the greatest tag team.
Viking Raiders came out for their match as he finished, but apart from a bit of eyeballing, nothing happened. Viking Raiders vs Russ and Randy Taylor was a basic and entirely pointless squash match.
R-Truth and Carmella were spotted in disguise after the match and the chasing pack appeared. He hid under the ring for a while then they ran off with the pack in hot pursuit.
» Backstage there was a reunion between AJ Styles and Gallows & Anderson. Styles talked up their achievements, then accused them of getting comfortable and called The Usos the greatest tag team on the planet. He told them they need to get serious and asked them when they last won a match. It fired them up for their match against The Usos by the looks of it.
The Usos vs Gallows & Anderson was a good match that would almost certainly have been great if it was longer. Styles’ pep talk did Gallows and Anderson the world of good because they were in control for the majority of the match. Sadly for them, they didn’t get the bit that mattered, double superkicks on Luke Gallows handed The Usos the win.
» Paul Heyman was back again this week. He commented that Seth Rollins’ behaviour made him uncomfortable being out there and made a point of saying he wasn’t going to be the special guest referee on Sunday and was no physical threat to Rollins. It didn’t stop him taking verbal shots at Rollins, but he was mainly there to remind everyone that Lesnar still has the briefcase and no one knows when he’s going to use it.
» Bray Wyatt’s Firefly Fun House… Nope, still no words. It has to be seen. Don’t blame me if you have nightmares…
The Wild Card Rule feels more like the end of the brand split at the moment. Everyone shows up wherever and I’m starting to forget who is supposed to be where. There are good and bad points to a potential end to the split, but it would be nice to know for sure what’s happening. Stomping Grounds looks like it could be a decent PPV though. Enjoy it, and join me next week to pick through the fallout.