The previously announced Falls Count Anywhere Match between Braun Strowman and Bobby Lashley came to an abrupt halt when both Superstars went crashing through the LED board following a brawl throughout the American Airlines Arena, leading to a medically-induced match stoppage.
Strowman caused the chaos, charging the former Intercontinental Champion through the boards and setting off a shower of sparks that briefly blacked out the arena. Despite Strowman initiating the collision, however, the impact did not spare The Monster Among Men in any sense of the word; both he and Lashley were incapacitated when WWE officials hit the scene, and EMTs quickly arrived to extricate the two Superstars from the wreckage.
With WWE workers and stagehands looking on, Strowman and Lashley were each loaded onto stretchers and carted out of the arena, presumably to a local medical facility for evaluation.
Samoa Joe struck again in emphatic fashion on Raw, first with a Coquina Clutch to Xavier Woods that forced a disqualification stoppage of The New Day vs. The Viking Raiders (leading to a victory for New Day), and then after the match was reconfigured into a Six-Man that teamed Joe with the Raiders and roped in all three members of The New Day opposite them.
The addition of WWE Champion Kofi Kingston back to their ranks slightly reinvigorated ya boys against the trio of hosses, but The Viking Raiders proved near immovable against the titleholder’s arsenal. The big men occupied New Day’s attention for almost the entirety of the second match, forcing them to change course and take Erik & Ivar out of action to give them any hope of winning. Kofi cleared the decks with a Trouble in Paradise to Ivar on the ring apron, but his team’s preoccupation with the Raiders left them blind to a tag from Joe, who snuck up behind Kofi and put the finishing touches on the bout with a Coquina Clutch that put Kofi to sleep in the center of the ring.
As epic as it is that The Undertaker will team with Roman Reigns against Shane McMahon & Drew McIntyre at Extreme Rules, the one lingering question surrounding The Deadman’s return was why the legendary Superstar decided to team with the man who sent him into self-imposed exile for a full year. On Raw, we got our answer.
Amidst rumors of his imminent arrival, Undertaker confronted “The Best in the World” and the Gaelic giant at his side with some clarification as to why they had roused the reaper. (Pointedly, both men scurried out of the ring despite beating their chests about their fearlessness just seconds earlier.) The Deadman revealed that he didn’t target Shane out of some kind of loyalty to Roman Reigns, as The Big Dog had never asked him for the favor. He returned for the sole reason of putting Shane-O-Mac in his place, as the prodigy he’d battled at WrestleMania in a Hell in a Cell Match had been consumed by an ego grown monstrous and run amok. Proclaiming himself as the “reaper of wayward souls,” The Deadman declared he was coming to collect, and Shane & McIntyre would suffer nothing less than damnation at his hands.
In two weeks, Baron Corbin and Lacey Evans have a rare opportunity to win two titles in one fell swoop — Seth Rollins’ Universal Championship and Becky Lynch’s Raw Women’s Title — and Raw gave the audience something of a preview as to how that dynamic might work come bell time at Extreme Rules. While Evans was the only one of the two to compete, Corbin was an active coach in The Sassy Southern Belle’s effort against Natalya and even got involved when the comparatively inexperienced Evans found herself at the mercy of the veteran Natalya.
Corbin tripped up The Queen of Harts as she started to roll, allowing Evans to recover and clock the Canadian with the Woman’s Right. It was both a savvy interference to boost Evans’ confidence and a statement from Corbin. After all, his status as Universal Champion might come down to a woman who’s been notable for “almost” beating Becky Lynch. Clearly, he’s not going to allow “almost” to be the last word this time around.
For all The Miz’s righteous indignation following Shane McMahon’s betrayal a few months back, The A-Lister has been short on victories against his former partner, to say nothing of Shane’s various henchmen and goons. That changed in a major way on Raw, as the former WWE Champion defeated Elias not once but twice in a 2-out-of-3-Falls Match that gave Miz some hard-earned vindication after months of coming up heartbreakingly short.
The A-Lister came out swinging, dispatching Elias with a Skull-Crushing Finale for the early first fall. The Living Truth answered with Drift Away quickly thereafter, but it became clear in Fall No. 3 that Elias suffered by not having Shane at ringside this time around. With the bout on an even keel, Miz’s heart kept him in the fight, and when Elias’ knee collided with the ring post after an errant charge on the apron, Miz quickly forced The Living Truth to tap out to the Figure-Four Leglock. And given everything he’s been through lately, you could perhaps give Miz some slack for applying the hold a little bit past the bell or for smiling as he strolled up the ramp with Elias writhing in his wake. After all, it’s been months of tough nights. It’s about time he had himself an awesome one.
Mike Kanellis has been on something of a quest to boost his star on 205 Live of late; if Raw is any indication, he and his wife Maria might be biting off more than they can chew, as the husband-and-wife-duo challenged Seth Rollins & Becky Lynch to a Mixed Tag Team Match in the hopes of supplanting them as WWE’s pre-eminent power couple. It did not go well for them.
Rollins overwhelmed Mike and forced him to tag in Maria, thereby summoning Becky in per Mixed Tag roles. Becky gladly would have thrown fists had Maria not weaseled out of it by grabbing the mic at ringside and claiming she was pregnant before berating Mike for not being man enough to be the father. Becky quickly changed course by submitting Mike with the Dis-arm-her, though his troubles were just beginning: Maria got in the ring and unloaded on her husband for his perceived lack of manhood, claiming the only “man” in the ring was Lynch, and she might have been better off if Becky was the father of her children. And if you're Mike Kanellis, after tonight, the workplace grievances of 205 Live are probably looking pretty tame in comparison right about now.
Okay, maybe “confronted” is a strong word, but the NXT Tag Team Champions were out and about backstage at Monday Night Raw, dripping swag and initiating an oddly intense encounter with Paul Heyman, who was trumpeting the latest will-he-or-won’t-he warning about Brock Lesnar when The Street Profits came calling. Unfortunately for them, Heyman was none too moved by The Street Profits messing with his outfit and rubbing his head, and he opted to take his leave — though he did go out of his way to avoid the champs while exiting. Angelo Dawkins & Montez Ford concluded they’d “overstayed their welcome,” though they might have been a bit hard on themselves. After all, Heyman just wasn’t receptive to them. It doesn’t mean they shouldn’t come back sometime soon.
Is Alexa Bliss playing Nikki Cross? Carmella seems to think so, and she may have inadvertently proven her point by beating The Goddess in an impromptu match stemming from a confrontation on “A Moment of Bliss” where Carmella questioned why Cross' defeat of Bayley on SmackDown LIVE led to a title match for Bliss instead of Nikki herself. The Princess of Staten Island’s flash pin of Alexa led Nikki to challenge Carmella instantly thereafter, and Cross dispatched Mella with the swinging neckbreaker in a matter of minutes. Alexa was quick to join in the spotlight, raising her hand alongside Cross and declaring “We won!” That she lost her own match made no difference. After all, a win for Nikki Cross is a win for Alexa Bliss.
Let’s say you’re Drake Maverick. Your wedding day went down in flames after R-Truth relieved you of the 24/7 Championship; your marriage similarly immolated until you accepted your wife’s offer to go on a honeymoon (over the protests of EC3, one might add); and now you’re faced with the ultimate choice: Your bride or the “love of your life.” What do you do? If you’re Drake, you try to do both, and you succeed.
The 205 Live General Manager brought his bride, Renee, to Raw as a stopover before their trip that seemed as though it would be a thinly-veiled, last-ditch effort to win back the title. When Renee told Drake he’d have to choose between her or the championship, Truth was more than happy to rub salt in the wound by taunting Maverick with his continued reign. To his credit, Maverick stood strong, even refusing to budge from his ringside seat when the usual suspects chased Truth through a planned No Way Jose vs. Cesaro match that never materialized thanks to the shenanigans. But in Raw’s waning moments, Drake made his move, hitting Truth in the back with a suitcase and pinning him in the backstage area to win the title before getting out of dodge with his wife, who was too stunned to register everything that had just happened. Sometimes, you really can have it all.
AJ Styles’ non-title victory last week over Ricochet was as much an appetizer as it was a shocker — here was a Superstar returning from injury, defeating a newly-crowned champion and seemingly seizing next-man-up status — but what happened in the follow up(s) this week was a statement.
Still trying to bring out “the real AJ Styles,” Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson stoked some backstage scuttlebutt to turn the friendly rivalry between Styles and Ricochet into a heated battle with the title at stake. During the title fight in Raw’s main event, The Phenomenal One seemingly pinned Ricochet to become United States Champion, but the decision was reversed after a review, as Ricochet’s foot had been under the ropes. Hence, the bout was restarted.
With his victory taken from him, Styles was left flustered and out of sorts for several reasons — the looming presence of Gallows & Anderson at ringside being one and Ricochet’s persistence the other. Nothing Styles did seemed to be enough to keep the champ down; he had taken AJ’s best shot, and the challenger struggled in orchestrating a follow-up. A Brainbuster and rack bomb couldn’t get the job done, but a dizzying rollup by Ricochet did, and he scored the 1-2-3 against Styles for a title retention.
Styles seemed to begrudgingly accept the results of the bout, even once again shaking Ricochet’s hand. But when Gallows & Anderson climbed on the apron to mean-mug their good brother, Styles surprised everyone by seemingly agreeing that he wasn’t quite being himself. The Phenomenal One turned around and decked Ricochet, kicking off a three-pronged beating that included a Magic Killer from The Good Brothers and a second-rope Styles Clash from AJ. It goes without saying that Ricochet showed his mettle tonight. But there’s an argument to be made, in hindsight, that he didn’t quite know who AJ Styles was. It’s a mistake painfully rectified and dearly paid for.
- Numbers in parentheses indicate the length of the match.
- (c) refers to the champion(s) heading into the match.
- Braun Strowman vs. Bobby Lashley in a Falls Count Anywhere match ended in a no contest
- The New Day (Big E & Xavier Woods) defeated The Viking Raiders (Erik & Ivar) by disqualification (2:40)
- The Viking Raiders (Erik & Ivar) & Samoa Joe defeated The New Day (Big E, Kofi Kingston & Xavier Woods) (7:15)
- Lacey Evans (w/ Baron Corbin) defeated Natalya (3:30)
- The Miz defeated Elias [2:1] in a Best Two Out Of Three Falls Match (4:39)
- Seth Rollins & Becky Lynch defeated Mike & Maria Kanellis (3:30)
- Carmella defeated Alexa Bliss (w/ Nikki Cross) (0:06)
- Nikki Cross (w/ Alexa Bliss) defeated Carmella (2:45)
- Drake Maverick defeated R-Truth (c) to win the WWE 24-7 Championship
- Ricochet (c) defeated A.J. Styles (w/ Karl Anderson & Luke Gallows) to retain the WWE United States Championship (3:30)
Other on-screen talent
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Braun Strowman v Bobby Lashley
The New Day v The Viking Raiders
The Viking Raiders & Samoa Joe v The New Day
The Undertaker confronted Shane and Drew
Lacey Evans v Natalya
The Miz v Elias
Seth Rollins & Becky Lynch v Mike & Maria Kanellis
The Street Profits confronted Paul Heyman
Carmella v Alexa Bliss
Nikki Cross v Carmella
Drake Maverick v R-Truth
Ricochet v A.J. Styles