When last we left Seth Rollins and Kofi Kingston, they were standing on the sidelines of Brock Lesnar’s waiting game, and it doesn’t look like things are going to get any better for them. The Beast Incarnate was scheduled to select which World Champion he was going to call his shot against as the Money in the Bank contract-holder, but in typical Lesnar fashion, he opted to zig rather than zag at the last second after Rollins left the ring in protest over The Conqueror’s disrespectful flaunting of his case, now a fully functional "Beast Box" with the ability to control the sound in the arena. (He kept using it to play his prospective challengers’ theme songs.) As a result of The Beastslayer’s defiance, Lesnar and Paul Heyman announced they were putting off their decision, leaving the two champions to twist in the wind just a little while longer.
This was of particular frustration for Kingston, who Wild-Carded over from SmackDown LIVE for the sole purpose of goading Lesnar into a cash-in that The Dreadlocked Dynamo hoped to win and cement his legacy. That he apparently did so for nothing was inconvenient enough, but things somehow got worse for the beloved WWE Champion after Lesnar exited and a street-clothes clad Dolph Ziggler slid into the ring and ambushed Kofi in an echo of last Tuesday’s unexpected bushwhacking. Luckily, this time, Xavier Woods was on hand to prevent The Showoff from doing too much damage, though Kingston suffered a crushing Zig Zag on the ramp before Woods chased off Ziggler.
Should Dolph Ziggler be WWE Champion? The question is not a new one, though The Showoff’s recent tactics seem to suggest he’s done asking: Hot on the heels of a second straight ambush of Kofi Kingston, whom The Showoff regards as having stolen a WrestleMania moment that should have been his, Ziggler made an example of Xavier Woods, who came to Kofi’s aid and was rewarded with a beatdown throughout the arena floor. Kofi saved his brother from a steel chair head-vice at the last second, but Ziggler re-emerged atop the ramp for another fire-spitting missive.
His face mangled from the physicality with Woods, Ziggler chided Kingston for worrying more about Brock Lesnar than himself, insisted Kofi celebrate as best he can for the next 11 days, and reiterated that as good as Kingston is for the WWE Championship, he believes it still should have been him. At Super ShowDown, Ziggler insisted, it will be him, and the fans who look up to Kofi Kingston will be left with nowhere to turn. Whether hypothetical WWE Champion Dolph Ziggler will be loved as he predicted is yet to be seen, as is whether he’ll win the title at all. But even if his strategy isn’t earning him the respect he craves, it is commanding attention. And that’s a start.
Shane McMahon’s victories over The Miz were as much mental as they were physical — more so, if we’re being honest — so it’s no surprise that “The Best in the World” would attempt to replicate his strategy against Roman Reigns. With no ringside father to torment, however, McMahon insulted The Big Dog’s heritage by beating up a cousin of Reigns, Lance Anoa’i.
The match, ostensibly sanctioned as an exercise in respect, turned out to be a bit more competitive than expected despite Drew McIntyre savaging Lance around the outside of the ring. Lance’s resistance didn’t just earn him one triangle from Shane that ended the match, but a second after the bout concluded, all the better to make an example of Reigns’ dynasty and heritage. Alas for Shane, the display brought out The Big Dog, and if not for a last-second assist by McIntyre, Shane-O-Mac would have been downed in short order by a Spear. Even though Shane escaped the arena by the skin of his teeth, he finds himself in a position unfamiliar to him, both as a McMahon and “The Best in the World”: A disadvantage.
Among the many advantages to having Paul Heyman as your advocate? He makes a point of reading the fine print.
When Seth Rollins got in Brock Lesnar’s face in an attempt to goad The Conqueror to cash in his Money in the Bank contract — and was seemingly on the verge of succeeding — Heyman made a show of removing the contract itself and reading the legalese out loud to referee John Cone … and Lesnar had a lightbulb moment when The Advocate read out the part that he had a full year to cash in the contract. Newly aware that he had no ticking clock to force his hand, Lesnar whacked Heyman upside the head with the contract, laughed in Rollins’ face, and walked away to The Beastslayer’s visible dejection. And he has every reason to be dejected: He gave it his best try, played Brock like a fiddle … and he’s still stuck with the specter of Mr. Beast in the Bank, to whose beat he’ll have to dance for the considerable future.
The IIconics' reign as WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions has been delightfully petty outside of the ring and somewhat touch-and-go within it, as the Australian beauties have struggled against nearly every opponent they’ve faced since winning the titles at WrestleMania. That was a grim before they raised the ire of Becky Lynch and it didn't improve this week when the Raw Women's Champion teamed with Nikki Cross to hand Peyton & Billie their second consecutive loss following a Six-Woman Tag Team bout on last week’s show.
Despite having been insulted by The IIconics last week, Lynch ceded the bulk of the match to Cross, who is fast coming into her own after several weeks of being a “utility player,” as Corey Graves described her. That said, The IIconics still exploited her relative inexperience, and The Man was more than happy to bat cleanup, pinning Peyton Royce with her new Manhandle Slam finisher while Cross tended to Billie Kay. Even the post-match presence of Lacey Evans wasn’t quite enough to ruin Becky’s victory lap — though it certainly came close, at least until Nikki pulled Becky away from her rival’s pageant walk and back into the limelight.
The first reaction out of most people’s mouths after Ricochet and Cesaro’s barn-burner last week was mostly along the lines of, “So when’s the rematch?” They didn’t have to wait long: The two locked up for the second time this week, and the result did not disappoint — except, perhaps, for the Cesaro Section, who saw The Swiss Cyborg narrowly fall to his foe in an astounding display of top-tier athleticism.
Recapping each reversal and feat of strength in this match would take up too much real estate, suffice it to say that a reversal train of a hurricanrana into a powerbomb into a Canadian Destroyer only got two and wasn’t even the most amazing thing that happened in the match. That would be the deciding moments, when Cesaro, slumped against the ropes, found himself surprised by Ricochet, who fought through a still-injured midsection to handstand his way up the apron, perch atop Cesaro’s shoulders, hip-switch his way into a hurricanrana and spike his opponent into the mat for the win.
So … best of three?
Rey Mysterio’s United States Championship victory two weeks ago has turned out to be something of a hollow one, and not just because Samoa Joe had his shoulder up on the deciding pinfall. The Ultimate Underdog suffered a separated shoulder during Joe's post-match beatdown, leaving the status of his reign somewhat uncertain. On Raw, it was revealed that Mysterio’s stint as titleholder would end before it began, as the injury will force him to relinquish the title on Raw next week. This was of great satisfaction to Joe, who emerged in the wake of the announcement to claim that he would be waiting to take back what was rightfully his.
Baron Corbin pulled off what may have been his greatest trick yet in a career that is fast becoming full of them when he ambushed a beaten-down AJ Styles, took the Fatal 4-Way Elimination berth The Phenomenal One’s injury forced him to abdicate and then won it, earning himself a Universal Championship Match at WWE Super ShowDown. The man is good at what he does.
Less fortunate (and less happy) were Braun Strowman, The Miz and especially Bobby Lashley, all of whom were vying for the personal and professional validation that comes with challenging for the Universal Title. The All Mighty went out on a limb by re-forming his on-and-off alliance with Corbin to devastating effect, though he focused on his Super ShowDown foe Strowman instead of the victory and ended up brawling into the backstage area with The Monster Among Men. With the match effectively down to two, The Miz, who had been a house on fire all night, unloaded on Corbin with running knees to the corner but unwittingly sprinted headlong into a decisive End of Days that handed Corbin the victory.
So, to recap: Baron Corbin took out his rival, won a match he wasn’t scheduled to be in and might be Universal Champion two weekends from now. He might not be your hometown's favorite son, but with those results, maybe he should be.
Welcome back to Firefly Fun House, where playtime is continuing, despite the reveal of Bray Wyatt’s grotesque alter-ego, “The Fiend.” As Wyatt explained, The Fiend is here to protect the Fun House, and while Bray finds it hard to be brave, turning into The Fiend allows him to be anything he wants. This was all very distressing to Abby the Witch, who insisted Wyatt was trying to hide his true nature as a “sicko” and moaned that she no longer wanted to exist in “limbo.” Wyatt gleefully explained that he would never let her rest and diagnosed Abby as a bully. And as for limbo, he indulged in an impromptu game, where he spider-walked beneath the stick held aloft by two of his dead-eyed fireflies, as the face of The Fiend flashed horribly across the screen once more.
Rivalries clashed and tempers flared during The Usos’ Memorial Day party outside the arena, where one attempt to keep the peace and the other to evade hostilities ended in a wild clash among several Raw Superstars. For one, Naomi’s attempt to broker a truce between The Usos and The Revival by inviting the latter to the shindig blew up when a game of Cornhole turned hostile between the two teams. For another, the ongoing chase of 24/7 Champion R-Truth brought the entire party to a halt when a slew of Superstars pursued Truth through the arena and into the thick of the festivities — in short, Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson are still at odds, Titus O’Neil and Robert Roode are still hunting for retribution and Drake Maverick draws closer by the second — though the champion narrowly escaped several roll-up pinfalls with his would-be usurpers in tow.
Have you ever wanted to ask a WWE Superstar an uncensored question on live television? Here’s your chance.
In the debut of the “Electric Chair,” Sami Zayn sat in the ring and fielded questions from the thick of the WWE Universe. Unsurprisingly, he found the queries lacking, batting away snarky questions about his retirement date (he asked if the guy’s parents were related), whether he misses his “Ginger Snaps” team with Becky Lynch (the young lady’s parents were chastised), and how it feels when Braun Strowman destroys him (he threatened to punch the guy in the face, thereby forcing him to rely on American healthcare). A question about why Zayn hasn’t won the Universal Title seemingly set him off for good, as he was expecting and ready for questions about literally anything else, but an errant bit of trash-talk about Seth Rollins brought out the Universal Champion himself, who chased Zayn from the ring, laid waste to the electric chair, and squared up for their main-event match.
It’s been a roller-coaster of a night for Seth Rollins, and the best thing you can say about The Beastslayer’s evening was that it ended on an up note. Facing Sami Zayn, Rollins fought through a hellacious effort by The Critic of the Critics to cement himself as Monday Night Raw’s pre-eminent workhorse/standard-bearer, drawing yet another parallel between himself and Brock Lesnar.
While Rollins was gritting it out in the ring, battling through a legitimately impressive performance by the former NXT Champion, Mr. Beast in the Bank was conspicuous by his absence, visible only in brief cutaways to his private locker room, where he watched the match with contract in hand and a blank stare on his face. Rollins seemed cognizant of the fact that The Conqueror could rear his head at any second, and a Figure-Four Leglock from Zayn did considerable damage to his surgically-repaired knee. But The Beastslayer still caught Zayn with a Stomp as he slid through the ropes, only stopping to scream “This is my life!” — perhaps more at Lesnar than Zayn — before administering a second for the win.
The victory appeared to give The Kingslayer no peace. He visibly asked himself where Lesnar was as the camera lingered over the post-match scene, and while uncertainty turned to joy in Raw’s closing moments as The Beast failed to appear, the feeling may be unsustainable. As good a night as it was for Seth, Lesnar has a full year to make his move. There’s plenty of time left.
- Numbers in parentheses indicate the length of the match.
- (c) refers to the champion(s) heading into the match.
- Shane McMahon (w/ Drew McIntyre) defeated Lance Anoai
- Becky Lynch & Nikki Cross defeated The IIconics (Billie Kay & Peyton Royce) (9:55)
- Ricochet defeated Cesaro (9:45)
- Baron Corbin defeated The Miz and Bobby Lashley and Braun Strowman in a Fatal Four-Way match to become the #1 Contender for the WWE Universal Championship (16:10)
- Seth Rollins defeated Sami Zayn (19:56)
Other on-screen talent