Just one week into his alliance with AOP, Seth Rollins has laid down the law: Follow him or pay the price. Claiming that he is still the visionary and trailblazer he’d been heralded as since his time in NXT, The Architect promised to lead Raw and the sports-entertainment industry into the next decade “by hook or by crook.” Kevin Owens, in that case, was little more than a casualty of history — someone who Rollins claimed resisted and was made an example of.
Going forward, Rollins set the same terms for all who label him a false leader. “Whether you like it or not, you are coming with me,” and he promised that AOP will deal with those who think otherwise. Speaking of which, The Architect left the WWE Universe with an ominous warning that some unnamed score would be settled before the night was over. “You’re not going to like it,” he told the audience, ending on a note in the unsettling sweet spot between an apology and a threat. “For what we have to do tonight,” he said, “I’m sorry.”
The O.C. have had two main talking points when it comes to their superiority as a tag team: That shiny Best Tag Team in the World trophy and the fact that they’re the only team to pin The Viking Raiders. And just one night after it was starting to look like that win might have been a fluke, the good brothers did it again.
Erik & Ivar now have two losses since coming to Raw, both of which have come at the hands of the official, the original and the only club that matters. And this one was even more demoralizing, as it didn’t come at the end of a Tag Team Turmoil Match. Despite a furious comeback at the tail end of a long, brutal fight, Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson dispatched Erik from the apron, hoisted big man Ivar up for the Magic Killer and let ‘er rip, scoring the 1-2-3 with no chicanery and no tricks. The win left the Raiders furious and looking more than a little energized, though they would do well to add a little more strategy to the fight if these teams collide in the future. After all, they’ve suffered two losses, so it can no longer be considered an anomaly. If they want to stay champions, they’ll need to stop it from becoming a trend.
One day, we will know what is in Erick Rowan’s cage. But the cost in locals paid to attain that knowledge will be beyond counting. In Rowan’s defense, however, the competitors who get wrangled to fight him seem to be actively courting their own demise, willingly trying to uncover the mysteries of Rowan’s precious cargo before the inevitable. This guy, Dante Leon, created some distance between Rowan and himself by crawling under the ring to get closer to the pen, but the second he approached it, Rowan came running, and it was only a matter of time. Unfortunately for Dante, not much time.
Bobby Lashley said that once he got past Rusev, he was going to propose to Lana, and that’s exactly what he did. Kind of. With his (ill-gotten) Tables Match victory behind him, the two-time Intercontinental Champion got down on one knee for his conniving lady love, popping the question in front of the WWE Universe, though he wasn’t the one who actually popped the question.
Instead, Lana produced the little black box, asking The All Mighty to ask her to marry him. And while Lashley briefly teased some dissent by saying he didn’t like people telling him what to do, he gladly made an exception for Lana, getting down on one knee and giving The Ravishing Russian a truly heartfelt proposal and promise to rule over WWE as the foremost power couple in the company. It was just like she had him rehearse, and of course, she said yes, promising the wedding would take place on Lana Day. Save the date accordingly.
The question of who would challenge United States Champion Rey Mysterio was supposed to be answered in a Gauntlet Match featuring 24/7 Champion R-Truth, Akira Tozawa, Ricochet, Matt Hardy, Humberto Carrillo and Andrade. But the match quickly turned from a contest into a bramble patch of grudges and unpaid debts, all of which boiled over into a pair of heinous attacks.
The first such assault came at the end of the Gauntlet Match itself. After Tozawa pinned Truth and Ricochet posted consecutive wins over The Stamina Monster and Matt Hardy, Humberto Carrillo pinned the high-flyer to bring it down to himself and Andrade. But Andrade, clearly out for retribution rather than a win after a pair of losses to Carrillo, instead ambushed the up-and-comer before the match, drilling him into the exposed concrete of the arena with a Hammerlock DDT that brought out Mysterio to assist.
But just as Humberto was being taken up the ramp in a stretcher, Seth Rollins and AOP appeared. Rollins was brandishing Mysterio’s signature steel pipe, which he gave to Kevin Owens to assist in KO’s pursuit of Rollins and AOP last week. Suddenly, Rollins’ unsettled score became clear, and after Akam & Rezar administered a brief beatdown of The Ultimate Underdog, the former Universal Champion seemingly granted him clemency for just one night … only to turn around at the last second and nail him with a Stomp. The only reason it wasn’t worse, according to Rollins, was then if Rey had been hospitalized, he wouldn’t be able to answer a challenge to defend United States Title against Rollins himself on next week’s show — a challenge that Rey decided to accept, despite his very sore temptation to fight Andrade instead. Rollins' effectiveness as a "leader" may be a matter of opinion, but clearly, his new strategy is getting results.
What happens when Asuka has run out of Raw Superstars to devour? Send ‘em in from NXT! The Empress of Tomorrow flew solo on Raw and made quick work of “The Virtuosa” Deonna Purrazzo, who put up a good fight with the help of a pre-match cheap shot, only to be dispatched down the stretch with the Asuka Lock. It was proof that The Empress can switch between singles and tag competition in seamless fashion — something that Becky Lynch seemed to think was forgotten by WWE’s powers that be.
In the wake of Asuka’s victory, a sit-down interview with The Man revealed that Lynch saw her recent move to the tag team division as a tactic by WWE management to “protect” her since they now view her as the “golden goose.” But all it did was bring her dirty secret to the forefront: Asuka remains one of the only Superstars that Lynch has yet to beat. And while most of Lynch’s prospective opponents need a match with The Man, she might be approaching a situation where the opposite is true.
Can you end a night on a loss and a high note at the same time? The O.C. certainly did. True, AJ Styles dropped a grueling match to Randy Orton, but the good brothers stood tall in a post-match scrum that roped in The Viking Raiders.
That’ll do more than enough to wash out the disappointment of a loss by The Phenomenal One, who pitched a perfect game by targeting Orton’s leg but still sprang headlong into an RKO in the match’s final moments when he got a little too emboldened by his own success. Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson quickly rushed the ring to overwhelm The Apex Predator, and while The Viking Raiders briefly evened the odds in a bid for retribution from earlier in the night, Gallows & Anderson rallied to drop the Raw Tag Team Champions for the second straight time this evening. The O.C.’s dominant showing proved that it doesn’t necessarily matter how you start a night, or even the unfortunate turns it might take. How you finish it is the only thing that matters.
- Numbers in parentheses indicate the length of the match.
- (c) refers to the champion(s) heading into the match.
- Humberto Carrillo vs. R-Truth vs. Akira Tozawa vs. Matt Hardy vs. Ricochet vs. Andrade in a United States Championship #1 Contender’s Gauntlet Match ended in a No Contest
- Akira Tozawa eliminated R-Truth
- Ricochet eliminated Akira Tozawa
- Ricochet eliminated Matt Hardy
- Humberto Carrillo eliminated Ricochet
Other on-screen talent