Right, then. To business. Alexa Bliss wasted no time giving the people what they were waiting for on Raw, opening the show with a “Moment of Bliss” installment that brought out Team Red's participants in the Men's Money in the Bank Ladder Match one by one: Drew McIntyre, Ricochet, Baron Corbin and Braun Strowman.
And, true to form, the competitors immediately began butting heads. Even though Ricochet and McIntyre found some common ground in dunking on Corbin's various shortcuts (stealing McIntyre's victory last week) and shortcomings (failing to win the WWE Title when he cashed in his Money in the Bank contract in 2017), the confab largely consisted of chest-puffing and promises of victory to come. Strowman was conspicuous by his silence until he could take no more, shutting down all arguments by forecasting the return of “Mr. Monster in the Bank” and offering a “preview” of the festivities by challenging McIntyre & Corbin to a tag team match against himself and Ricochet. They immediately accepted, despite their differences — and, perhaps, against their better judgment.
Among the long, long list of Drew McIntyre's superior attributes — hard head, wicked kick — we can now add one more: He has a very long memory. Still smarting over the win Baron Corbin stole from him last week on Raw, The Scottish Psychopath straight-up bailed on the former Constable in Raw's opening tag team match, leaving him to the mercy of Ricochet and Braun Strowman.
For what it's worth, however, Corbin had a chance to settle up with the former NXT Champion, as the two worked well in the early goings. McIntyre even had a chance to claim the win, setting Ricochet up for a Claymore. But Corbin stole the tag, Ricochet recovered to tag in Strowman, and McIntyre decided their partnership of convenience was no longer convenient. Rather than back up The Lone Wolf against Strowman, McIntyre administered a hard right that sent Corbin staggering into a Running Powerslam. Ricochet finished things off with a Shooting Star Press, and Corbin got a hard reminder of the Money in the Bank Match's every-man-for-himself foundation — as well as, perhaps, a lesson: Making enemies is all well and good, but he'd do well to work on his timing.
Anyone who was worried that The Usos were going to slow-burn their way into the thick of Raw's Tag Team division can rest easy: Jimmy & Jey are taking to the red waters just as expertly as they took to the blue, even notching something of a twofer in their third week as Raw Superstars by upending one team in the ring and worming their way into the psyche of another.
The team they beat? Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson, back on Raw and looking for a big win against the team they ambushed on their very first night in WWE. For the most part, they made a statement, ground-and-pounding The Usos into a ditch that they narrowly escaped with stereo superkicks to Gallows and a splash from Jimmy to the big man's torso for the 1-2-3. But the meat of their evening was the reveal of something the WWE Universe had allegedly “never” seen: A video of The Revival's Dash Wilder shaving his partner Scott Dawson's back.
To their credit, Dash & Dawson hit the stage and mounted a passionate defense of the arrangement — Dawson's back is so wide as to make shaving it himself scientifically impossible, and Wilder is his best friend, so of course he'd ask his help — but The Usos’ continued mockery started to chip away at the “Top Guys’” pride. Nonetheless, they opted to put a pin in this one, at least until after their match later tonight against Raw Tag Team Champions Zack Ryder & Curt Hawkins. After then? Jimmy & Jey are fair game.
Bobby Lashley: Underachiever? That was the thesis The Miz presented during “Miz TV’s” Raw return, but The A-Lister ate his words when he fell victim to The All Mighty in a match that stemmed from Lashley's insults of Miz's father. Though Lashley (who is now referring to himself in the third person) benefitted from an assist courtesy of The A-Lister's old rival, who does not seem to be moving on from Miz anytime soon.
That would be Shane McMahon, who made his presence known right as Miz began to roll against Lashley. As The Prodigal Son inched closer and closer to the ring, Miz found himself forced to play defense and offense, though Shane finally got Miz's attention by pulling up an unflattering picture of Mr. Miz on the TitanTron. Lashley capitalized, plowing Miz with a Spear for the win, and Shane did the rest, raining blows on The A-Lister and trapping him in a triangle until he went to sleep. Clearly, Miz isn't getting rid of Shane anytime soon, and The A-Lister had an idea of how to settle the score and keep Shane-O-Mac where he can see him: By challenging Shane to a Steel Cage Match. And good news; he accepted.
One week after The Viking Raiders obliterated The Lucha House Party in a statement beating, the NXT Tag Team Champions notched an official win over the masked trio — one that was never really in doubt despite the Luchas fighting with a little extra fire in the wake of their humiliation last week.
The House Party jumped Erik & Ivar before the match in a bit of turnabout, becoming the first team to leave the Raiders reeling. It also had the unintended side effect of setting them off, so Kalisto & Gran Metalik's speed-centric strategy just meant they ended up in the Raiders’ clutches all the quicker. (Erik & Ivar are pretty light on their feet themselves; the latter was flying around the ring quite easily). The King of Flight suffered the pinfall via The Viking Experience, Lince Dorado's gritty last stand was snuffed out moments later after the bell, and with each passing week, it's looking as though displays like this are going to become frighteningly, effortlessly routine.
To business, once more: With the Men's participants in the Raw Money in the Bank Match already announced, Alexa Bliss turned the spotlight on Team Red's representatives in the women's field in a “Moment of Bliss” follow-up that held not one but two surprises. Naomi and Natalya were seemingly shoe-ins, but Raw will also field perennial underdog Dana Brooke and the surprise addition of Bliss herself, whose in-ring appearances have been on the sparse side for most of 2019.
The Goddess all but declared herself the pre-emptive winner upon announcing her name (moments after calling for a moment of decorum among the bickering participants, no less). Naomi, looking to take Bliss down a notch or two, challenged her to an impromptu match, and despite some minor hurdles — Alexa didn't have her boots — provoked Bliss into agreeing to the bout.
Welcome back to “Firefly Fun House,” where Bray Wyatt decided to educate the audience on the joys of painting — a way for him to express his suppressed feelings, as well as protect himself. After all, “when you’re expressing yourself, no one can ever truly hurt you.” At the request of the meddling Rambling Rabbit, Bray revealed his masterpiece — an image of a burning house with someone trapped inside — though Abby the Witch was unamused. Bray, she said, didn't “learn his lesson” and was once again being a “bad boy.” Luckily for Bray, the audience forgave him, and as he explained to Rambling, Abby's grumpiness wasn't her fault. She was just an example of what turned out to be Wyatt's Word of the Day: Sociopath.
There's an old sports-entertainment adage that you should always have a pair of boots close by. Alexa Bliss, bereft of hers and forced to compete in unlaced Chuck Taylors, ended up on the wrong end of that old chestnut thanks to Naomi, who had no patience for Bliss’ continued attempts to tie her laces and no mercy when it came to capitalizing on her equipment issues. Bliss, ironically, had a chance to put this one away when she shoved Naomi face-first into the turnbuckle, but her insistence on yelling about her shoes to the ref led to her being leveled with a Rear View and split-legged moonsault. Her fortunes could change at WWE Money in the Bank, but Bliss might need to start over if she wants to become a two-time contract holder. A pair of boots would be a good first step.
Facing Charlotte Flair at WWE Money in the Bank isn't necessarily a death sentence for Becky Lynch's reign as double champ: She's been there, done that and has The Queen's number. Lacey Evans, on the other hand, has more or less had The Man's number over the last several weeks, placing “Becky Two Belts” into something of a defensive posture as she prepares to defend her Raw Women's Title against The Lady of WWE.
To ask Becky, though, everything is going according to plan. She wouldn't have pursued both titles if she couldn't defend them, and she never met a punch she didn't enjoy taking. To prove her point, Lynch attempted to bait Evans into a fight and got what she asked for, as The Lady emerged, declared she was “done talking” and immediately swarmed The Man in a ringside scrap so vicious that it took 10 officials to finally separate the two on the second attempt.
The good news for The Revival is that they put on the kind of tag-team clinic on which they have built their reputations against Raw Tag Team Champions Zack Ryder & Curt Hawkins. They even managed to silence the “shave your back” chants directed at Scott Dawson with a two-pronged mugging of The Ultimate Broski. The bad news is that they lost, with Ryder reversing a defensive pinfall attempt by Dawson into a crucifix rollup. All in all, not the best night for the “Top Guys,” who, despite an impressive in-ring performance, find themselves with only a loss to show for it; that it was a razor-thin one will likely be cold comfort indeed.
Sami Zayn's back, and he's not slowing down anytime soon with his lecturing — he would most likely call it education — of the WWE Universe. The former NXT Champion grounded this week's sermon in the concept of “psychological entitlement,” or the idea that someone feels they should get whatever they want. The self-dubbed “critic of the critics” says the affliction has spread all across the WWE Universe, from the fans in attendance to the 5-year-old he turned down for an autograph at the airport.
But as far as he was concerned, three shoulder surgeries and 17 years of classic matches were more than enough for him to give. From now on, he vowed, the Universe would take what he gave them and like it. And as far as that idea of him quitting WWE? He'd love to; he really, really would. But the only thing better than leaving WWE, according to Sami, is holding the audience accountable each and every week and “taking the power back.” It's the little things.
Let's be charitable and say WrestleMania was not Rey Mysterio's finest hour. Nor had things improved for The Ultimate Underdog upon his arrival to Raw, where he was devoured by Lars Sullivan and defeated by AJ Styles in a Triple Threat Match in consecutive weeks. WWE's Littlest Big Man seems to have finally gotten his groove back, however, as he got sweet redemption for his WrestleMania trouncing with a gritty victory over the man who defeated him at The Show of Shows in the first place: United States Champion Samoa Joe.
In a pre-match diatribe, Joe proclaimed the match as his opportunity at redemption, given that he indirectly blamed Rey for costing him a Universal Title opportunity last week. But The Samoan Submission Machine was a step too slow against Mysterio, who fought with a little more fire than the titleholder and, save for a rough spot here and there, never seemed to be quite out of control of the match. Even Joe's kickout of Rey's fateful stack-up came a beat later than usual, and The Ultimate Underdog walked away with a win — much to the pride of Rey's son Dominick, who met his father atop the stage. Joe, meanwhile, was looking somewhat justifiably shaken: He tends to think of himself as invincible, and he's not wrong. But now Rey knows he can beat him. And usually, that's all he needs to know.
Seth Rollins has something AJ Styles wants, and as The Phenomenal One made clear at the outset of their Universal Title Match contract signing, he's willing to do some unexpected things to get it. And indeed, Styles was noticeably more arrogant than usual throughout the confrontation, insinuating that Rollins — a Superstar Styles admitted had all the tools to be champion — had spent all his energy on winning the Universal Title from Brock Lesnar and left himself with nothing in the tank to defend it ... and, with The Shield gone, no brothers to back him up.
Rollins remained unimpressed, reminding Styles that he had accomplished what the two-time WWE Champion could not when he slayed The Beast in the first place. And given that he was at his best against Lesnar and will be again at WWE Money in the Bank, Rollins said his challenger would have to be “better than phenomenal” to take his title. Even that wasn't enough to humble Styles, who brazenly laid hands on The Beastslayer's title, handed it back to him and slugged Rollins across the face after the champion refused his offer of a handshake and raised the championship over The Phenomenal One's head.
A brief brawl ensued, and despite a suicide dive from Rollins that put Styles on his back, The Phenomenal One got the last word, plowing The Architect through the signing table with a Phenomenal Forearm. Brazen? Yes. Brash? Definitely. Surprising? Not quite. True, dropping a man through a table is a bit of a far cry from the humble workhorse of the past two years. But as Styles said, Seth Rollins has something he wants. And if you didn't expect this, at the very least, you haven't been paying attention.
- Numbers in parentheses indicate the length of the match.
- (c) refers to the champion(s) heading into the match.
- Braun Strowman & Ricochet defeated Drew McIntyre & Baron Corbin (14:02)
- The Usos (Jimmy & Jey Uso) defeated Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson (11:30)
- Bobby Lashley defeated The Miz (2:45)
- The Viking Raiders (Erik & Ivar) defeated Lucha House Party (Kalisto & Gran Metalik) (w/ Lince Dorado) (1:50)
- Naomi defeated Alexa Bliss
- Curt Hawkins & Zack Ryder defeated The Revival (Scott Dawson & Dash Wilder) (4:20)
- Rey Mysterio defeated Samoa Joe (7:20)
Other on-screen talent