The news wasn't necessarily that Roman Reigns used the Wild Card Rule to shuffle his way over to Raw for the second straight week. The news might have been that The Big Dog played the card much more cannily this time, switching from last week's bull-in-a-China-shop strategy to a slow burn attempt on “Miz TV,” to transform The Miz from genial pitchman (though that Miz-Reigns buddy comedy does have promise) to the chair-swinging brawler who threw hands with Shane McMahon.
The ploy worked, to a point. Reigns successfully pulled out Miz's inner fire-breather throughout the interview, but it also brought out Shane, along with two enforcers — Raw's Bobby Lashley and SmackDown LIVE Wild Card Elias — who attacked Reigns and Miz from behind to set up a tag team match in which they mostly held the former WWE Champion at bay.
Interference from Shane at a crucial juncture handed Reigns & Miz a disqualification victory, which itself was little more than a cue for an all-out stomping from Lashley & Elias, with the former SmackDown Commissioner getting some licks in as well. Despite their numbers disadvantage, Reigns & Miz achieved a moral victory from the ashes of the post-match beatdown when Reigns took out the entire opposition with a dive over the ropes and Miz helped chase Lashley and Elias away with a steel chair. If we’re talking wins and losses, Reigns & Miz probably saw things going a bit more decisively. But the Wild Card Rule seems to be more about making a statement, and this one is going to be hard to refute.
Mojo Rawley finally re-emerged from his self-imposed exile last week with a new look, a new mentality and a new mission. You might have missed it, as it didn't air during Raw. This week, however, was a different story.
Rawley's aggression was on full display after Apollo Crews Wild-Carded onto Team Red to challenge Rawley and the SmackDown LIVE Superstar suffered the misfortune of a tweaked knee. The former Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal winner didn't hesitate to captialize, chop-blocking Crews’ legs right out from under him, clobbering Apollo with a sprinting forearm in the corner and sealing the match with an Alabama Slam. Was a little bit of luck involved in the victory? Sure. But the ruthlessness is the headline here; through his solitude, Mojo Rawley seems to have finally figured out who he is. That's good news for him, and bad news for everyone else.
Double-champ Becky Lynch's chest-puffing campaign across Raw and SmackDown LIVE has gotten her some major style points against Lacey Evans (who'll challenge for the Raw Women's Title on Sunday) and Charlotte Flair (who'll contend for the blue jewel) over the last few weeks, but that same trash talk backed Lynch into a corner when she faced off with both atomic blondes in a two-pronged contract signing.
It wasn't that Lynch was wrong on any of the points she raised during the confrontation — Lacey probably can't afford to lose her first title match, and Charlotte probably can't afford to lose another — but Charlotte proved to have the most prophetic statement of the night after she said that Becky's desire to live up to her reputation as a fighting champion may have led her to pick one more fight than was good for her.
For tonight, at least, The Queen hit the nail on the head: Becky's attempt to throw hands with both women after civility inevitably broke down led to her being double-powerbomed through the signing table by Flair and Evans. Of course, Sunday is not a done deal yet, and Becky Two Belts may once again pull off the impossible. But if she walks out of Money in the Bank as Becky One Belt — or Becky No Belts — it won't be hard to identify where it all went wrong.
With a tall ladder to jump off and lots of bodies to land on, Ricochet seems to be tailor-made for the Money in the Bank Ladder Match, perhaps more so than all his opponents. But we’re not quite at the Money in the Bank Ladder Match, and the former NXT North American Champion will head to Sunday's event coming off an L at the hands of prospective two-time contract winner Baron Corbin.
It's the first loss Ricochet's taken since being named to the match, and while it certainly looked like the high-flyer would continue to roll after last week's victorious slugfest with Robert Roode, Corbin played to his own strengths — power and patience — to simply pulverize Ricochet once his opponent started to heat up.
Ricochet didn't go quietly, but Corbin's clobbering rendered him a step slow and a touch desperate as well. Corbin's reversal of a hurricanrana into the End of Days sealed the win, though Ricochet got the last word by knocking Corbin off a ladder he attempted to climb in a symbolic display of post-match dominance. That, at least, bodes well for Ricochet's chances on Sunday — loss or not, he understands what the true objective is — but as Corbin made clear tonight, he might have to climb a little farther and harder to get there than he anticipated.
It's been a while since we saw Nikki Cross, and anyone who expected the rabid banshee of months past, was likely surprised when Alexa Bliss — sans ring gear thanks to an apparent travel mishap — encountered a much more muted version of the Scottish screamer and convinced her to take The Goddess’ place in a Fatal 4-Way among the Raw competitors in the Women's Money in the Bank Match.
Seemingly energized by the opportunity (some might say manipulation), Cross tapped into her inner honey badger come bell time, and her opponents struggled to find an answer. While Naomi came the closest and Dana Brooke proved to be the smartest by breaking out a ladder — legal under Fatal 4-Way rules — and swooping down on everyone with a crossbody to the outside, Nikki simply wanted it more. In the match's final moments, The Twisted Sister took advantage of a late-game surge by Natalya to catch her in a hanging spinning neckbreaker through the ropes, earning the victory in the process. Never one to pass along the credit in full, Alexa — who had been watching from commentary — came down to the ring after the match, where Nikki eagerly set up the ladder so The Goddess could climb and pose.
There is, of course, no way of knowing if Alexa really did suffer a luggage disaster or somehow pulled the strings to get an under-looked competitor to take damage she otherwise might have accrued. But either way, it's difficult to paint this as anything other than a rousing success for both women. Not only did Nikki take out Alexa's opposition, she inarguably capitalized on her moment in the spotlight — and, crucially, remembered who gave it to her.
Rey Mysterio beating Samoa Joe seemed like an impossibility as recently as six weeks ago, when the latter trounced the former at WrestleMania. Now, on the back of two wins against dangerous opponents — Joe himself two weeks ago and Cesaro tonight — The Ultimate Underdog is looking like something of a favorite in his United States Title rematch this Sunday.
The remarkable turnaround is a testament to the unpredictability of the field — anything can happen in WWE! — and the foolishness of writing off Mysterio, which it certainly seemed like Cesaro was doing when he chose to question the parentage of Rey's son Dominick in the backstage area.
The Swiss Cyborg definitely made good on his cockiness in the ensuing bout, subjecting Mysterio to a dizzying Cesaro Swing and a European uppercut that nearly knocked his mask into Wales; by any measure, this was the rare match where the loser looked as impressive as the winner. But Mysterio still pulled out the win, countering Cesaro's attempt at a Swiss-19 with the O.G. 619, dropping the dime and sending himself to WWE Money in the Bank on the winds of a hard-earned victory. Joe still looms large in the distance, but with one superman already under his belt, Mysterio certainly seems to be cruising toward redemption, if not destiny.
Welcome to “Firefly Fun House,” where Rambling Rabbit is alive somehow, Mercy the Buzzard is impatient, Abby the Witch is grumpy and Bray Wyatt has a secret. The former WWE Champion opened the latest installment of his eerie children's show by promising to play “Secret Time,” where he offered to show what he'd really been working on during his time away — learning how to harness and control the darkness rattling around in his noggin. And with the apparent blessing of his fireflies, he let his new self in, transforming from a genial fellow in a sweater into a ghoulish figure in striped pants, a leather duster and a fanged mask. Yowie wowie, indeed.
The Men's Money in the Bank Ladder Match picture was shaken up in a major way in Raw's main event, when Sami Zayn rode an assist from Baron Corbin and Drew McIntyre to defeat Braun Strowman in a Falls Count Anywhere Match where The Monster Among Men's “Money” berth was on the line.
How we got there is a little convoluted — Zayn ran his mouth about last week's dumpster incident in the presence of Strowman and Shane McMahon to get the match sanctioned — but while the former NXT Champion now faces an enormous opportunity, the contract is by no means assured. If anything, the bout was probably the starkest lesson yet of the every-man-for-himself makeup of the Money in the Bank Ladder Match: Alliances are temporary, friendship does not exist, and all that matters is the contract.
Fittingly, while Corbin and McIntyre showed up at every single opportune moment to help Zayn convert — he was mostly running away from Braun and chucking beers in his face to delay the inevitable before they appeared — the alliance was very clearly one of convenience. The two previously-announced Money in the Bank competitors (correctly) identified Strowman as the biggest threat in Sunday's match and were openly doing whatever was necessary to get him out of it. “Whatever was necessary” turned out to be a lot, as a double suplex through a ladder, Claymore from McIntyre and three-man stack finally kept The Gift of Destruction down for three — and that isn't even counting what they did to Zayn after the bell.
Looking to handicap the man who had taken the monster's place, Corbin threw Zayn right back into Strowman's clutches, and The Monster Among Men concluded Raw by chokeslamming his opponent through the commentary table in a reminder of what Sami Zayn won tonight: One golden opportunity, yes. But Zayn started Raw with only one enemy to his name. Now, he has eight.
- Numbers in parentheses indicate the length of the match.
- (c) refers to the champion(s) heading into the match.
- The Miz & Roman Reigns defeated Bobby Lashley & Elias (w/ Shane McMahon) by disqualification (11:10)
- Mojo Rawley defeated Apollo Crews (1:15)
- Baron Corbin defeated Ricochet (9:35)
- Nikki Cross defeated Naomi and Dana Brooke and Natalya in a Fatal Four Way Match (9:25)
- Rey Mysterio defeated Cesaro (10:40)
- Sami Zayn defeated Braun Strowman in a Falls Count Anywhere match (14:40)
- Dark Match: AJ Styles defeated Drew McIntyre by disqualification
- Dark Match: Seth Rollins (c) defeated Baron Corbin to retain the WWE Universal Championship
Other on-screen talent