Even by his standards, Roman Reigns has a lot of enemies these days. There's Bobby Lashley, who he may or may not be facing at WWE Extreme Rules (pending Kurt Angle's decision). There's The Revival, who Reigns lost to in tag team action with and will be facing again with Lashley as his partner (per Angle's decision). And then, of course, there's Dolph Ziggler & Drew McIntyre.
The Intercontinental Champion and his enforcer, who scrapped with Reigns and Seth Rollins at the end of last week's main event title bout between Ziggler and Rollins, made their presence known when Reigns opened Raw with a few choice words for Lashley. After voicing their displeasure with Reigns’ proclamations of dominance, Ziggler & McIntyre instigated a two-on-one attack that Rollins was forced to break up, evening the odds and forcing a retreat from The Showoff and the Scot.
Even though Reigns already had one match scheduled for the evening, he and Rollins didn't hesitate to seek Angle out backstage, demanding (and receiving) a match against Ziggler & McIntyre as well.
No Woken O's this time: Curtis Axel got a good-natured round of applause from “Woken” Matt Hardy last week after what was deemed a “fluke” victory over the Raw Tag Team Champion, but this week produced a much more decisive — and much more upsetting — victory for the “Son of Perfection.”
Not only did the latest bout of B-Team mimicry (they did “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands”) leave Hardy much less amused than usual, the absence of Bray Wyatt hurt The Woken One down the stretch when Bo Dallas decided to get involved on Axel's behalf. Dallas’ brief distraction as Hardy began to close in on the win gave Axel just enough breathing room to rally and take the match. The B-Team didn't hesitate to partake in one of their now-signature celebrations, though judging by Hardy's reaction, the fun and games are clearly over for him. Whether B-Team gets that message may well determine the final chapter of their Cinderella story.
Two friends who can't stand each other. Stakes are high. There's only one man who can help Bayley and Sasha Banks through the counseling sessions that will determine the fates of their Raw careers: Dr. Shelby.
When the two brawling Superstars found themselves unexpectedly scheduled for the same session, Shelby resurfaced for the first time in years and brought Bayley and Sasha into the “Friend Zone” where he attempted to work the same magic that turned Daniel Bryan and Kane into WWE Tag Team Champions. Clearly, his handiwork has some staying power, though whether Bayley and Banks can abide by the seven tenants of friendship — love, helping, joy, sharing, time, honesty, respect — is a question that might be tougher to address. Between the Superstars' snide imitations of each other during "Honesty Theater" and their constant bickering, the good doctor was left more flustered than usual. Clearly, he has his work cut out for him this time.
Titus Worldwide made it a point last week to try and teach The Authors of Pain the unwritten rules of the locker room. This week, they were the ones learning the lesson.
While Akam & Rezar made themselves scarce before they could throw down in earnest against Titus O’Neil & Apollo Crews last week, the former NXT Tag Team Champions had no such hesitance when it came to pulverizing Titus Worldwide in a match on Raw. Flashes of brilliance from Titus & Apollo aside, the entire contest was basically a showcase for AOP's blistering tag team maneuvers, up to and including the Last Chapter that downed Crews for the victory. AOP may not be well-versed in the classic bylaws of sports-entertainment, but clearly, the old rules may no longer apply.
Roman Reigns & Seth Rollins made it a point to single out Dolph Ziggler & Drew McIntyre, and to their credit, they got the win, albeit by disqualification (more on that in a minute). But the match that ensued was both a reminder of the very legitimate threat Ziggler & McIntyre pose to the Raw locker room as a whole and the kind of effort it will take to even come within striking distance of a victory against them.
The Intercontinental Champion and his enforcer made an example of Reigns at the start; a superhuman rally from Rollins saved the match and slowed their opponents down the stretch. Reigns was ready to make good on his brother's handiwork when The Revival struck from the audience, hauling Reigns off the barricade before he could tag in to bring about the disqualification and leaving Rollins to the mercy of Ziggler & McIntyre.
The performance of Rollins was a stark reminder that, with a 30-minute WWE Iron Man Match on the horizon in two weeks, Ziggler has his hands full. The appearance of The Revival — and the final Shatter Machine they hit on The Big Dog at the end of the beating — was a reminder that, with another match on the horizon in a matter of hours, Reigns does too.
It's been a rocky couple of weeks between Finn Bálor and Baron Corbin, and it doesn't look like the animosity will be cooling off anytime soon. Corbin — who attempted to reframe his recent aggression against The Extraordinary Man as a kind of teaching method — invited Bálor to offer him an apology for throwing hands against The Lone Wolf during last week's tag team match.
The first-ever Universal Champion wasn't about to give Corbin the satisfaction of flexing his managerial muscles, opting to lob a handful of jokes about Corbin's vest and haircut instead of offering the forced apology. When Corbin pushed, Finn finally offered an apology — that Corbin's acceptance of the Constable gig had cost him the respect of his peers — and The Constable responded with a cheap shot that dropped the Irishman to the mat. Despite being floored, Bálor rallied to send Corbin running in the ensuing scrap, and smart money says he won't be apologizing for that anytime soon, either.
Ruby Riott missed Raw with an injury, but the rest of The Riott Squad can still cause plenty of mayhem on their own. (They trashed the backstage area while Elias supplied them with some sweet riffs). Unfortunately, they couldn't close the in-ring gap, though Liv Morgan was very impressive in a loss to Ember Moon that showcased both the potential of the blue-tongued brawler from New Jersey and the heart and skill of The War Goddess. Even though Ember was dropped to the mat by a flailing offensive press from Morgan, the former NXT Women's Champion rallied with a jaw-dropping Eclipse to close out the match.
Roman Reigns gave Bobby Lashley the terms for their match against The Revival: He starts the match, finishes the match and wins the match, and Lashley just stands on the apron and collects the W. Give him this: He started the match, he finished the match, and he won the match — albeit via disqualification — but Lashley wasn't exactly happy about the way it went down.
The Revival were all over Reigns from the jump; the lingering effects of their earlier attack left The Big Dog about three steps slower than usual, and Dash & Dawson didn't hesitate to target his tenderized ribs. And yet, even in his exhausted state, Reigns — who refused to tag in Lashley throughout the entire match — proved a little too much to handle down the line. So, The Revival opted to make a statement rather than get the win when they double-teamed The Big Dog to the tune of a willingly-taken disqualification loss.
Lashley didn't even budge when The Revival continued their post-match mobbing of the former WWE Champion, throwing up his hands and leaving Reigns to suffer a Shatter Machine and Frog Splash from the two-time NXT Tag Team Champions. So, Reigns kept his in-ring promise, and The Revival made good on their own vow to display their tag team efficiency. Of course, Lashley had made a promise of his own: To hold Reigns accountable if the match didn't go their way. Now that Kurt Angle has sanctioned their match at WWE Extreme Rules, the only question is if, and how, he'll do so.
Mojo Rawley has made his feelings on No Way Jose very clear over the last couple of weeks: He doesn't like him, and he thinks he's too jokey to call himself a WWE Superstar. And, as evidenced tonight, while he still has no desire to compete with Jose in a rematch of their bout from two weeks ago, he's more than willing to cheap-shot The Dominican Dancing Machine and antagonize the cheeseburger in his conga line.
The difference this week was that Jose got the chance to fight back after Rawley obliterated the burger, though Rawley quickly snuffed out Jose's flurry when he slammed his nemesis back-first on the ring apron. The beat goes on, but the crescendo of this dance may be soon approaching.
Alexa Bliss didn't seem too perturbed by Ronda Rousey's announcement that she'll be sitting ringside at WWE Extreme Rules with a personally-bought ticket (she's suspended from Raw, not the pay-per-view). The announcement that Bliss’ Raw Women's Title rematch against Nia Jax from the same event would be an Extreme Rules Match left her a little more shaken. But nothing seemed to show Bliss the gravity of her situation than Jax's victory over Alexa's friend Mickie James on Raw.
With Natalya backing up Nia at ringside, The Irresistible Force was a force to be reckoned with against the six-time Women's Champion. If there was any bright spot for Alexa, it was that Mickie's targeted attack of Nia's knee left open a slight window as to how Jax might be beaten, but Jax nevertheless reversed the Mick Kick into a tremendous sitout powerbomb and sealed the win with the Samoan Drop.
The specter of Ronda Rousey looms large in the distance. The reality of Jax poses the more immediate threat. And Alexa Bliss is fast realizing she'll have to deal with both before all is said and done.
Kevin Owens tried everything to get away from a match with Braun Strowman. He tried showing up late to the arena, which landed him in the match in the first place. Then he tried to bribe Kurt Angle with Shania Twain tickets to get the match canceled. (That didn't impress him much). Then he tried to psych himself up with some breathing techniques from Jinder Mahal. Then, when the bell rang, he decided to simply up and run away to placate Strowman with a count-out win. None of it worked.
As Owens should have realized when Strowman flipped his car over last week, once Mr. Monster in the Bank has you in his sights, he won't be satisfied with mere victory. So, he shouldn't have been entirely surprised when, after Owens attempted to hide from Strowman in a portable toilet outside the arena (he refused to give the valet his keys and didn't have them on him when he bailed), Strowman duct taped the door shut, hauled the stall back into the building and plowed it over the stage with KO inside. The former Universal Champion — writhing in pain and covered in the blue liquid from the stall — was extracted from the wreck, and if he's lucky, Strowman will be finished with him. Of course, Kevin Owens hasn't been that lucky for a while now, and the worst thing about this night may end up being that it's only the beginning.
- Numbers in parentheses indicate the length of the match.
- (c) refers to the champion(s) heading into the match.
- Curtis Axel (w/ Bo Dallas) defeated Matt Hardy (9:25)
- The Authors of Pain (Akam & Rezar) defeated Titus Worldwide (Titus O'Neil & Apollo Crews) (w/ Dana Brooke) defeated (2:50)
- Roman Reigns & Seth Rollins defeated Dolph Ziggler & Drew McIntyre by disqualification (15:40)
- Ember Moon defeated Liv Morgan (w/ Sarah Logan) (7:20)
- Bobby Lashley & Roman Reigns defeated The Revival (Scott Dawson & Dash Wilder) by disqualification (7:20)
- Mojo Rawley vs. No Way Jose match didn't get started again
- Nia Jax (w/ Natalya) defeated Mickie James (w/ Alexa Bliss) (9:55)
- Braun Strowman defeated Kevin Owens by Count Out (0:50)
Other on-screen talent