Raw Commissioner Stephanie McMahon has been conspicuous by her absence for almost two months, but she got right down to business during her unexpected return in Team Red's opening moments.
First, Stephanie seized control of Kurt Angle's planned contract signing between Raw Women's Champion Nia Jax and Ronda Rousey (a Superstar whom Stephanie claims to harbor no grudge against) under the pretense of providing “guidance” to the General Manager. She also had a few choice words for Roman Reigns, who crashed the confab and made it very clear that he still believes WWE management is trying to keep him away from the Universal Title.
However, an interrupting Kevin Owens inadvertently provided Stephanie with the opportunity to prove she wasn't playing favorites: Even though the Commissioner maneuvered Owens into the qualifier Reigns had originally wanted last week, KO's attempt to position himself as a corporate darling ended in disappointing fashion for the former Universal Champion when Stephanie placed him into an immediate match against Reigns.
Spearing Jinder Mahal through a wall was among the coolest things Roman Reigns has ever done, and if Monday is any indication, The Big Dog will be paying the price for a long, long time. The Modern Day Maharaja both made his presence felt during Reigns’ match with Kevin Owens — where his interference earned Reigns a DQ win — and got the last word after a subsequent tag team match that was sanctioned after Seth Rollins came to his Shield brother's side.
It was almost immaterial that Rollins & Reigns actually won the tag match — Rollins stomped Owens after a wild brawl and a flurry of attempts at his devastating signature move — because Mahal obliterated both of the victors atop the ramp with a steel chair with such ferocity they could barely make it to their feet after. Rollins took a tumble off the stage at The Maharaja's hands, but the former WWE Champion saved a little something extra for Reigns, driving the steel into his rival's gut before making a triumphant exit. The only question now is whether Mahal can withstand Reigns' inevitable retaliation. Luckily, a singles match between the two at Money in the Bank will provide the answer.
Make that “sisters;” quotation marks key. Sami Zayn had planned to “expose” Bobby Lashley's family-man status as a façade by bringing his sisters to Raw, but the Lashley gals didn't seem to be entirely authentic. For one thing, “Frances” was sporting a pretty magnificent mustache. For another, their matching tales of bullying at their brother's hands didn't quite square with the warm-hearted stories the former ECW Champion told during his sit-down interview two weeks ago.
Surprisingly, Lashley thought the whole spectacle was pretty funny — at least until Zayn insinuated his family truly did hate him, threatened to kick him in the face and ganged up on Lashley with his so-called sisters. At that point, Lashley got aggressive in a hurry, taking out the impostors in increasingly humiliating fashion while Zayn made a hasty retreat. Sami brazenly continued the trash-talking from afar to save face, which is fair enough. But if he keeps it up, he may well find that he should have just left well enough alone.
Alexa Bliss would like everyone to know that getting pinned by Ember Moon the night after WrestleMania was a total and complete fluke. Duly noted. But she was notably short on excuses when The War Goddess downed the former Raw Women's Champion a second time, despite a pre-match promise to prove herself as the better woman.
Bliss, to her credit, came to play, targeting Moon's shoulder to prevent the Eclipse and teeing The Shenom up for interference by Mickie James at ringside. But the latter half of that strategy backfired when James got herself ejected from the match, leaving Five Feet of Fury wide open to a picture-perfect Eclipse that hit its mark. With two losses to Moon, Bliss can still claim it's a coincidence, but if she's not careful, a pattern may well start to emerge.
Baron Corbin losing out on a Money in the Bank return may well end up being the worst thing that happened to No Way Jose: With Bobby Roode nowhere to be found, The Lone Wolf instead set his sights on the third Superstar from last week's ill-fated qualifier, taking out his frustration in excessive fashion on The Dominican Dancing Machine. It didn't help that Jose continues prioritize having fun, which brought out Corbin's inner killjoy on top of everything else.
Jose did not go quietly, building nicely on the aggression he displayed last week with a strong opening flurry and an impressive rally down the stretch after Corbin had done some damage. But Corbin would not be denied, thwarting Jose's wind-up punch and earning the win with a one-two combo of the Deep Six and End of Days.
Last week, Curtis Axel & Bo Dallas rebranded themselves as The B-Team and claimed their first-ever tag team win. This week, they proved the victory over Breezango was no fluke by defeating WWE's resident Fashion Police and Royal Wedding tweeters in a rematch, catching a gyrating Fandango with the neckbreaker-backdrop hybrid. The B-Team celebrated in epic fashion, too, taking a victory lap that culminated in a shared slide down the ramp in a single chair. Dallas & Axel may not like what they get if their desired Raw Tag Team Title Match against “Woken” Matt Hardy & Bray Wyatt becomes a reality, but for now, this Cinderella story officially has some legs.
Raw Women's Champion Nia Jax defied tradition last week when she challenged Ronda Rousey to a title bout at WWE Money in the Bank — an unusual instance of a titleholder selecting her own next woman up. And during their contract signing, Raw Commissioner Stephanie McMahon used the opportunity get to the bottom of this very unusual championship situation.
Stephanie didn't hesitate to heighten the tension as much as possible between champion and challenger, dredging up all manner of personal history as she laid out the possible stakes and motivations for Jax and Rousey. But the Commissioner ended up hitting the nail on the head in one regard: Jax, who's fed up with accusations of laziness, had picked Rousey because she wanted to make a name for herself at the expense of The Baddest Woman on the Planet. Rousey responded calmly enough, offering Nia a sportsmanlike handshake. Though, given her promise to take Jax's title and arm, clearly that sportsmanship hits its expiration date on June 17.
Chad Gable has all the heart in the world, but his courage undoubtedly got the better of him when he ran afoul of Dolph Ziggler & Drew McIntyre and found himself mired in a match with The Showoff that came down to some veteran know-how that the former SmackDown Tag Team Champion simply has yet to acquire.
Despite an intense, impressive effort by Gable, Ziggler — who found himself in a closer match than he would have liked — ducked under the ropes to stop the action and caught Gable with a superkick just seconds later for the win. McIntyre provided the exclamation point with a post-match Claymore that left Gable down; Gable may not be among the complacent Superstars Ziggler & McIntyre are looking to expose, but his experience will have to catch up to his heart before he can put a dent in the dominant team's armor.
Natalya and Ronda Rousey's careers have been intertwined for months since the two began training together. Now, The Queen of Harts has her eye on a parallel track. The former SmackDown Women's Champion defeated Dana Brooke and The Riott Squad's Liv Morgan and Sarah Logan in a Fatal 4-Way qualifier for the Women's Money in the Bank Ladder Match, submitting Logan with the excruciating Sharpshooter after a last-ditch rally by Dana fizzled out. Natalya didn't exactly keep her aspirations a secret in a post-match interview in the ring: By the end of Money in the Bank, she expects Rousey to be Raw Women's Champion and herself to be Ms. Money in the Bank.
Whether you believe Elias' boast that he is singlehandedly boosting WWE's stock likely depends on how much you're willing to walk with him. But the resident guitarist of Monday Night Raw has become an undisputable force to be reckoned with inside the confines of the ring. This week, he outlasted Bobby Roode in the latest installment of their ongoing rivalry, a win that was made doubly impressive because he snatched it from the jaws of defeat. Despite a pre-match attack by Elias, Roode rallied to the cusp of a Glorious DDT, but Elias rallied to trip Roode up on the turnbuckle and dispatch him with Drift Away. Unfortunately, his curtain call was denied by none other than Braun Strowman, who trucked Elias atop the stage as he made his entrance for Raw's main event.
Stephanie McMahon sanctioned Raw's main event between Braun Strowman and Finn Bálor in the spirit of friendly competition as the Men's Money in the Bank Match approaches. But Finn got so comfortable with having Strowman as his partner (the pair had initially approached Stephanie for a rematch against Dolph Ziggler & Drew McIntyre) that he forgot what The Monster Among Men does to his competition.
He was quickly reminded. The Monster Among Men didn't hesitate to visit the same kind of otherworldly punishment on Bálor that he made his name on in the days before he won the Raw Tag Team Titles with a middle-schooler and turned These Hands into a T-shirt friendly catchphrase. The former Universal Champion rallied with an outside-the-ring stint that ended in a Coup de Grâce off the barricade, but The Gift of Destruction thwarted the Coup de Grâce proper by hoisting Finn onto his shoulders for a Running Powerslam.
Strowman followed up with a second Running Powerslam before making the deciding pinfall as a message to the rest of the Money in the Bank field. His message to tonight's opponent was a bit more charitable — Strowman scooped Bálor off the mat and propped him up in the corner in a show of respect — but for all the extraordinary things Finn Bálor can do, there's at least one that remains beyond his grasp.
- Numbers in parentheses indicate the length of the match.
- (c) refers to the champion(s) heading into the match.
- Roman Reigns defeated Kevin Owens by disqualification (13:00)
- Roman Reigns & Seth Rollins defeated Kevin Owens & Jinder Mahal (w/ Sunil Singh) (14:00)
- Ember Moon defeated Alexa Bliss (8:40)
- Baron Corbin defeated No Way Jose (4:10)
- The B-Team (Bo Dallas & Curtis Axel) defeated Breezango (Fandango & Tyler Breeze) (1:40)
- Dolph Ziggler (w/ Drew McIntyre) defeated Chad Gable (4:30)
- Natalya defeated Dana Brooke, Liv Morgan & Sarah Logan in a Fatal Four-Way match by submission in a Money in the Bank Qualifying match (4:00)
- Elias defeated Bobby Roode (8:30)
- Braun Strowman defeated Finn Bálor (10:35)
Other on-screen talent