It’s the last edition of Raw heading into Sunday’s Money in the Bank pay-per-view. Here’s what WWE has announced going into the show:
* Braun Strowman vs. Finn Balor vs. Bobby Roode vs. Kevin Owens
* Sasha Banks vs. Ember Moon vs. Natalya vs. Alexa Bliss
* Roman Reigns vs Jinder Mahal
* Raw Women’s Champion Nia Jax and Ronda Rousey in a “face to face” confrontation that is not like most girls. I added that last part.
Live from Little Rock, Arkansas, this is the Raw Deal for episode #1307 of Monday Night Raw. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport. Thanks to Melo Man for the banner up top.
Let’s Hear From Money in the Bank Ladder Match Competitors
Raw began with eight ladders in the ring with the two Money in the Bank briefcases hanging above the ring. The four men (Braun Strowman, Kevin Owens, Finn Balor, Bobby Roode) and four women (Sasha Banks, Alexa Bliss, Ember Moon, Natalya) in the Money in the Bank ladder matches from the Raw brand were standing on the ladders.
Kurt Angle, the Raw General Manager, appeared on the stage to a great ovation from the crowd. Fans chanted “you suck” for him as usual out of respect. Angle put over the two Money in the Bank matches. He was interrupted by Baron Corbin.
Corbin shaved his head. That was a good decision on his part. Corbin reminded Angle he is the Constable of Raw that is representing Stephanie McMahon.
The women on the ladders started arguing with Bliss talking about her injuries. Banks questioned Bliss’ injuries. Moon said she’ll be hurting Bliss. Angle mentioned Natalya was cleared with her knee injury and Natalya said she’ll win to face the next Raw Women’s Champion Ronda Rousey, which got a good pop. Natalya keeps mentioning Rousey, which plays into the idea that Natalya may turn on her.
Owens spoke up to say that the briefcase should raise for when Strowman climbs the ladders. Angle said the briefcases will be the same height. Owens sucked up to Corbin saying he liked his new look. Strowman yelled at Owens and talked about how he’s going to take that Money in the Bank contract and he’s going to cash in on Brock Lesnar to become Universal Champion. Finn Balor and Bobby Roode joined in the argument.
Bliss screamed to shut everybody up to say they all sound like the Real Housewives of WWE. Bliss said she knows her Mixed Match Challenge partner Braun Strowman is going to win. Banks said she thinks her MMC partner Finn Balor was going to win. Balor said he thinks Banks will win Money in the Bank. Everybody was yelling like children. Strowman yelled and said that this Sunday, somebody is “going to get these hands.” Fans cheered and Braun’s music played to end it.
Analysis: It was a decent opening promo where WWE used the visual aids of ladders in the ring to try to tease Sunday’s PPV. None of the comments really stood out, but I thought Owens was good as a whiny heel complaining about Strowman. Using Strowman at the end to shut everybody up was the right move.
The women’s Fatal 4-Way match is up next.
PLUG TIME: I reviewed this past Saturday’s New Japan Pro Wrestling Dominion show only for TJRWrestling. It was a five-hour show and the review is over 8,000 words, but I’m glad I did it. It was an incredible show with possibly the best match I’ve ever seen with Kenny Omega vs. Kazuchika Okada in the main event wrestling for over one hour. Chris Jericho also had a memorable performance as well. This show was amazing. I anticipate writing about more NJPW events in the future as well.
Three women were in the ring and then Alexa Bliss got her full entrance. They made her go to the back to give Bliss her own entrance. That’s nice.
Analysis: Natalya was selling the right knee last week in the match with Nia Jax where she hurt it and they were taking the boot off. This week it’s the left knee that is bandaged. Normally for worked injuries they have the wrestlers sell the left, so that’s what it is happening. It’s a little thing, but I thought I would point it out for those of you that care about those little things.
Alexa Bliss vs. Natalya vs. Sasha Banks vs. Ember Moon
The first fall wins this match.
Bliss dumped Natalya out of the ring. Bliss did her fake hamstring injury routine again leading to her leaving the ring. Bliss backed right into Natalya, who whipped Bliss into the barricade. Moon hit an impressive dropkick on Natalya. Banks got a rollup on Moon. Banks and Natalya each got rollups. Natalya hit a discus clothesline on Moon to knock Moon out of the ring. Bliss with a double knee attack on Natalya. Banks and Natalya battled in the ring, Banks kicked Natalya out of the ring and Moon got in the ring with a rollup on Banks. Banks went up top and hit a somersault dive onto Natalya on the floor. Moon with a suicide dive on Banks that sent Banks crashing into the barricade. That was a rough landing for both women. Bliss with a punch to Moon. Bliss back in for a two count pin attempt on Banks.
The match returned with Bliss applying a leg submission on Natalya’s injured knee. Bliss continued the work on the knee including a kick to the back of the knee. Banks got back in with a knee on Bliss. Banks with a double knee attack in the corner for two. Moon with a springboard cross body block on Banks and Bliss. Moon with an enziguri. Moon jumped off the ropes and hit a suplex for two as Bliss made the save. Moon drove Bliss into the corner and Bliss connected with a sunset flip into a pin for two as Banks nailed a double knee attack on Bliss for two. As the women lay in the ring, a split screen showed a commercial for Money in the Bank. Banks and Moon set up Bliss on the top for a suplex, so Natalya got back in the ring and Natalya did a double Powerbomb on both women. Bliss jumped off the top with Twisted Bliss on Banks, but Banks got the knees up. All four women were down. Another break.
Back from break, Bliss had a pin attempt on Banks and Banks turned it into a Bank Statement submission. Natalya broke up the submission. Natalya hit a running dropkick as she favored her injured left knee. Natalya sent Bliss out of the ring. Natalya with a Sharpshooter on Banks and Moon broke it up with a kick to the back. Moon with an elbow smash on Natalya against the ropes. Moon jumped off the top and hit the Elicpse on Natalya. Bliss broke up the pin attempt. Bliss and Moon had a quick battle leading to Bliss sending Moon into the steel steps. Banks broke up the pin. Banks was sent out of the ring. Natalya managed to slap on the Sharpshooter on Bliss and Bliss tapped out to the Sharpshooter. The crowd loved that. The match went 21 minutes.
Winner by submission: Natalya
Analysis: ***1/2 That was an excellent match. It showed us what Raw can be every week if only the talent is given time to have quality matches like this. It was the WWE creative team saying: “Here’s 20 minutes, let’s see you do your thing” and these women had one of the best women’s matches on WWE TV this year. The crowd was into it. I thought Natalya did a great job of selling the knee (even though it was the other knee last week) and I’m a little surprised that she got the win in this match just because of the injury. Moon was impressive the entire match. Her speed is incredible and she works really well with Banks. Bliss fit in smoothly as the cheap heel that tried to take advantage of situations. I was leaning towards picking Natalya to win the MITB match on Sunday, but I’m not sure if I’ll stick with that pick since she won here. I’ll figure it out in our preview later in the week.
The Raw announce team of Michael Cole, Corey Graves and Jonathon Coachman were shown on camera. They promoted the Money in the Bank lineup.
Finn Balor was in the locker room getting ready. Kevin Owens showed up with olives (because he didn’t have an olive branch) that he wanted to extend to him. Owens talked about how they are both former Universal Champions and neither of them got the rematch they deserve for that title. Owens wondered what happens if Strowman wins that Money in the Bank contract and cashes in the MITB contract. Owens said we know Balor can’t beat Braun, but Owens thinks he can probably beat him. Owens suggested that they work together with Bobby Roode to take out Braun Strowman. Owens suggested that tonight, maybe it should be every man against monster. Owens told him to enjoy the olives and left.
Analysis: Good segment to set up the main event later. Owens thrives in segments like that.
Still to come: Reigns vs. Mahal and Rousey goes face to face with Jax.
The Breezango/Fashion Police duo of Tyler Breeze and Fandango made their entrance. Breeze grew a beard.
Dolph Ziggler and Drew McIntyre made their entrance. They still have separate entrances. The announcers mentioned their bad performance in the battle royal last week. That was poorly booked.
Breezango (Tyler Breeze and Fandango) vs. Drew McIntyre and Dolph Ziggler
Ziggler with an elbow drop on Breeze. McIntyre knocked down Breeze with a hard chop. Ziggler went back in with a lot of trash talk, so Breeze hit him with an enziguri kick. Fandango got the hot tag to no reaction from the crowd as McIntyre also tagged in. Fandango got in some chops, but his offense was stopped quickly by McIntyre and Ziggler knocking him off the top. Breeze jumped off the turnbuckle, McIntyre caught him and hit Breeze with Powerbomb on Fandango’s back. Ziggler tagged in, superkick for Breeze. Ziggler and McIntyre hit their Claymore Kick/Zig Zag finisher for the pinfall win with Ziggler pinning Fandango. It went about three minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Drew McIntyre and Dolph Ziggler
Analysis: *1/2 It was an easy win for McIntyre and Ziggler as expected as soon as the match was set up. The double team finish is impressive.
Post match, Ziggler said their loss in the battle royal was a fluke and told us to get over it. McIntyre called Breezango exhibit A and exhibit B of what they can do. Ziggler said this is proof of what they can do. Ziggler mentioned some of the teams saying that this is their future while pointing at the fallen opponents. McIntyre said they aren’t just there to take over the division, they are going to save this bloody division by taking every other team out.
Analysis: That was a good promo. I’m all for anybody doing what they can to help the tag team division. I think McIntyre should be wrestling in singles and getting a push, but I’m okay with them being a team for now.
Roman Reigns was interviewed by Charly Caruso. Reigns said that Jinder’s an idiot and Reigns doesn’t listen to what he has to say. Reigns talked about how he wasn’t in the Money in the Bank match because of Mahal, so he can’t win the MITB contract to cash it in and become Universal Champion. Reigns said that Mahal deserves this ass whipping. Their match is next.
This week on Smackdown: Four women in the Money in the Bank Ladder match are having a “summit” plus Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Jeff Hardy.
They showed a graphic about Brock Lesnar’s Universal Champion reign lasting 435 days, which is the longest major title reign in WWE in over 30 years. Graves said people complain about people not liking the amount of title defense Lesnar has, but Lesnar and Heyman are about making money.
Analysis: The number of days for Lesnar beat the 434 days of CM Punk’s WWE Title reign earlier in the decade. They did not mention Punk, of course. Lesnar has had way less title defenses, which upsets people. I don’t think it’s helping WWE programming right now at all.
Jinder Mahal made his entrance with Sunil Singh. Mahal did a pre-match promo. Mahal said he challenged Reigns to a match tonight to prove a point. Mahal talked about Reigns is a multiple time champion and he has main evented WrestleManias, but the winds are changing. Mahal claimed that at Money in the Bank, he sees Reigns suffering and unable to keep up with Mahal. Mahal said he sees Reigns being beaten and exposed. Roman’s music interrupted.
Roman Reigns made his entrance to a big reaction. It sounded like more cheers than boos at least at the start of it. Coachman said this is a PPV quality match, Cole said yeah because it is a PPV match on Sunday. This commentary team bothers me sometimes. I like Graves, though.
The match was about to begin, but Mahal had the microphone in his hand and told Reigns that his own failures are starting to cloud his judgment. Mahal asked Reigns if he thought he was going to face him. Mahal said the match wasn’t against him. Mahal said that Roman’s opponent is another great Indian, who is fearless and stands shoulders above all competition…it’s the Great…Sunil Singh.
Analysis: I’m not surprised that WWE would change what they teased because Reigns vs. Mahal has been advertised for Money in the Bank for weeks. They lied and that’s okay. I’m fine with not seeing it twice.
Roman Reigns vs. Sunil Singh (w/Jinder Mahal)
Reigns nailed Mahal with a punch to knock him off the apron. Reigns with a Superman Punch and a Spear. Reigns pinned Singh to win the match in under one minute.
Winner by pinfall: Roman Reigns
Analysis: 1/4* Two moves in the match. No surprise that Reigns won easily.
As soon as the match was over, Mahal went into the ring and hit Reigns with The Khallas. Mahal pulled Singh out of the ring and they left with Coach putting over Mahal for a smart plan. Reigns was down on the mat selling a shoulder injury while Mahal celebrated what he did.
Analysis: It gives Mahal the upper hand going into their match, which isn’t that much of a surprise because I think Reigns will win at Money in the Bank. The segment was okay. It’s a basic storyline with a heel getting in a cheap attack.
There was another promo for the Fatal 4-Way later and the Rousey/Jax face to face.
The B-Team duo of Curtis Axel and Bo Dallas made their entrance. They are against Heath Slater and Rhyno, who were already in the ring. Slater’s tank top says “Rhyno Made This” on it.
A clip aired (sponsored by Golden Corral) of The B-Team winning the tag team battle royal last week to earn a shot at the Raw Tag Team Titles.
The B-Team (Curtis Axel and Bo Dallas) vs. Heath Slater and Rhyno
Slater with a running shoulder tackle followed by a forearm to Axel. Dallas tagged in with a clothesline for two on Slater. Dallas slapped on a chinlock. Slater with a jawbreaker. Dallas went after Rhyno by sending him into the turnbuckle. The B-team ended up double teaming Slater with a double team neckbreaker for the pinfall after two minutes.
Winners by pinfall: The B-Team
Analysis: * A short match to put over The B-Team since they are getting a mild push. Rhyno never tagged in for his team, so it was an easy night at work for him.
The Raw Tag Team Champions of Matt Hardy and Bray Wyatt appeared on the screen giving The B-Team a standing ovation because the win was marvelous. Wyatt said “we’re here.”
Hardy and Wyatt appeared on the stage. Hardy called them obsolete mules that think they are worthy suitors for the Raw Tag Team Championships. Wyatt told them to look around them because they are surrounded by the woken and fireflies. Wyatt said they are always watching them. Wyatt talked about how they had fear of him because they bought the ticket and now they are going to have to take the ride. Hardy called them obnoxious ants. Hardy said when this is finished they will eat them and delete them. Hardy’s music played to end it.
Analysis: There isn’t much of a story for this feud, but at least WWE is trying to make people care about the tag team division. Two minute matches don’t help. Good matches do.
A replay aired of Elias pinning Seth Rollins in a tag team match last week so he can “build momentum” (a favorite term in WWE) going into their Intercontinental Title match at Money in the Bank.
Elias was shown backstage with his guitar. Elias said that tonight’s performance will be a struggle for him because he’s not used to performing in front of Arkansas hillbillies. The fans booed as the show went to break.
A commercial aired for NXT Takeover Chicago on Saturday. I’m excited about that show and I’m going to write a live review of it on TJRWrestling on Saturday night.
Let’s Hear From Elias
Elias was in the ring for his weekly “concert” with the fans booing him before he could say anything. Elias told us to remember this moment right now because we are seeing a once in a lifetime performer in his final moments before he becomes the Intercontinental Title. Elias said that at Money in the Bank, Seth Rollins will find out that WWE stands for Walk With Elias (the crowd said it twice). Elias told the fans to silence their cell phones, hold their applause (people clapped to annoy him) and Elias told them to shut their mouths. Elias played the guitar while singing about Seth Rollins saying “The Architect” and “Freaking” are the worst nicknames around. Elias called Rollins a tool for doing crossfit. Elias called Little Rock a “toilet” so the crowd booed him. Elias sang a song about Seth walking with him. Shockingly, there was no interruption.
Elias put down the guitar and said that he’s got something to show us all. Elias got another guitar that had the Intercontinental Title painted on it. Elias claimed that the guitar was given to him by John Mayer. Heels lie. Elias said he won’t bless us with another performance (the fans cheered), but he claimed that next week he’s going to play his greatest song with the IC Title guitar and the IC Title around his waist. Here comes the interruption from Rollins.
Rollins walked out with the IC Title around his waist. Rollins went into the ring and hit a back drop to send Elias over the top to the floor. Elias went up the ramp. It was obvious what was coming.
Rollins asked Elias when he’ll get some guts. Rollins told Elias he’s not a hard man to find because he’s in the same spot every week on Raw in the middle of the ring. Rollins said all Elias had to do was ask. Rollins told Elias that he can do it all, he’s got a cool thing going, he’s got songs and he’s got guitars…which led to a pause.
Rollins looked at the guitar that had the IC Title on it. The fans cheered as Rollins stared at it. Rollins grabbed the guitar that had the IC Title painted on it. Rollins held up the guitar up in the air. Rollins suggested a charity auction right here in Little Rock with several people volunteering to bid on it. Rollins talked about how he wouldn’t do it. Rollins said that this guitar from John Mayer must be special to him, so Rollins laid it in the ring. Rollins teased stepping on the guitar, but he stopped. Rollins said he had a song with three words, so fans chanted “burn it down” and Rollins did The Stomp onto the guitar. Coachman said that guitar was a gift from a great hip hop artist and Graves pointed out that Mayer was not hip-hop. I have to assume Coach only did that to be stupid and that he knew what kind of singer Mayer was. Rollins posed with the broken guitar.
Analysis: I liked that segment, but that dragged on so long. It was obvious what was coming when Rollins was alone in the ring with the guitar. The fans were into it. It’s not like they really added to this rivalry, though. It was fine for what it was intended to be.
Bobby Roode was shown looking in a mirror getting ready. Kevin Owens showed up to talk about what happened last week. Owens said we know that none of them can beat Braun by themselves, so if Braun wins the Money in the Bank contract he’s going to be unstoppable. Owens suggested that they all work together or Roode can go at it alone and end up broken like that ladder last week. Owens left while Roode contemplated what Owens said to him.
Analysis: It was another good backstage discussion with Owens to set up the main event.
Bayley made her entrance for a match against Ruby Riott.
The Riott Squad trio was shown walking backstage. They knocked things down. Riott went up to some guy with a tie and she cut it with scissors. Is that their gimmick? Riveting television.
Ruby Riott made her entrance with Sarah Logan and Liv Morgan.
Bayley vs. Ruby Riott (w/Sarah Logan and Liv Morgan)
Riott was in control early on. Bayley came back with punches and Riott nailed aback elbow. Knee to the face by Riott. Bayley came back with a Thesz Press followed by punches. Bayley whipped Riott into the turnbuckle followed by a bulldog. Bayley hit an elbow smash off the middle turnbuckle. Riott’s friends checked on her outside the ring. Bayley tried some dropkick on the floor while sliding across the apron, but she didn’t connect with it. That looked bad. Bayley hit a belly to back suplex on the floor and the show went to break three minutes into the match.
Back from break, Bayley with a dropkick to the knee. Riott came back by using her feet to drive Bayley face first into the middle turnbuckle. The crowd was cheering for Bayley as a Money in the Bank commercial aired while Riott applied an armbar. Bayley drove Riott into the turnbuckle. Bayley with a running forearm followed by a running knee on Riott against the turnbuckle. Bayley went up and jumped off with the elbow drop, but Riott moved out of the way. Riott got a rollup for two. Bayley came back with two rollups, Riott with a rollup and Bayley hit a knee lift to the face. Morgan on the apron, Logan on the other side and Riott sent Bayley into the ring post. Riott with a Riott Kick for the pinfall win after 10 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Ruby Riott
Analysis: **1/4 The match was okay with a predictable outcome where Bayley was booked like an idiot that was distracted by women on the apron and Riott capitalized to win. It was the most obvious finish you would think they would do in that match. Kudos to the women for having a competitive match, but there’s no storyline direction for either woman. It just felt like an average Raw match.
Ronda Rousey was shown backstage clearly looking at a monitor waiting for a cue and Rousey put on her leather jacket. Natalya showed up to hug Rousey. Natalya told her to be ready for anything. Rousey thanked her.
Rousey and Jax face to face is next at the top of the third hour.
Nia Jax and Ronda Rousey Face to Face
Jonathon Coachman was in the ring moderating this segment.
Ronda Rousey was introduced. They mentioned Rousey being inducted in UFC’s Hall of Fame next month. Rousey was in her usual black leather jacket and black attire. Good pop for Rousey as usual. Rousey sat in a leather chair in the ring.
Nia Jax, the Raw Women’s Champion, entered with a purple shirt that was her “Not Like Most Girls” Shirt. Jax sat in the chair in the ring. Coachman sat in the leather chair in between them.
Jax said she has pushed Rousey’s buttons the last few weeks to see how she would react. Jax said that while Rousey is popular with a stellar reputation, she’s still new to WWE and there are things you can do in WWE that you couldn’t do in UFC like headbutts, strikes on the ground and other moves.
Rousey said that she doesn’t game plan, she likes to improvise and she’s going to improvise Jax’s arm off. Coachman pointed out Rousey has only had one match in WWE that was a tag team match. Rousey has wrestled in tags at live events, but they aren’t going to mention that.
Jax pointed out that Rousey’s one match was against a part timer that doesn’t compete regularly. Jax said she has been there for years grinding. Jax said she’s not Stephanie McMahon, she’s Nia Jax – the Raw Women’s Champion. Jax said come Sunday she’ll take Rousey’s reputation and when she’s done with Rousey, they will call Jax the baddest woman on the planet. Jax said she knows she’ll beat Rousey, which is why Jax challenged her. Jax told Rousey that at the end of the day, she’s just not ready.
Rousey talked about things she’s done in her career in judo, Strikeforce, headlining events and how people thought she wasn’t ready to be UFC Champion, but now she is going into the Hall of Fame. Rousey reminded Jax who she is and said that she was born ready. Rousey threw her jacket on the chair.
Jax held up the title in Rousey’s face. Jax went for a punch, Rousey grabbed her arm and Jax hit a headbutt that knocked Rousey down. Coachman left the ring. Rousey came back with an attempted armbar, but Jax had her hands lock to block it. Jax tapped out on Rousey’s leg while Rousey had her in the hold. The bell rang for some reason. Jax rolled to the floor. Rousey’s music played to end it. Rousey left while Jax was down at ringside.
Analysis: That was good once it got physical. The dialogue wasn’t great and even awkward at times, but when Jax went for the punch and hit the headbutt it was exactly what this match needed. I would have held off on Rousey doing the armbar for the tapout because that’s something that should be saved. I get that WWE did it to show that Rousey can do it. I’m probably picking Rousey to win the title at Money in the Bank even though it’s too soon. I think WWE knew about Rousey’s UFC Hall of Fame induction next month, so they want to have her go into that with the WWE Raw Women’s Title on her shoulder as well.
Curt Hawkins was shown backstage. No Way Jose walked up to him with his conga line. They are in a match up next. They plugged some Hawkins article on ESPN.com because WWE works with them.
There was a commercial for WWE 24 on the Hardy Boyz that debuts on WWE Network after Money in the Bank on Sunday. It talked about their highs, lows and return to WWE while showing clips of them playing with their kids. I love the WWE 24 series. That should be great.
A clip aired about Stephanie McMahon on Undercover Boss on CBS this Friday.
No Way Jose made his entrance with the conga line. The announcers ripped on some of the characters in the conga line.
Curt Hawkins’ music played, but he didn’t go out right away. Hawkins is on a 200-match losing streak. The music played twice. No Hawkins. The ref counted Hawkins out, but Hawkins snuck up behind Jose. Hawkins was in the conga line.
No Way Jose vs. Curt Hawkins
Hawkins with a rollup for two. Jose nailed a forearm to the face and pinned him to win this match in about twenty seconds.
Winner by pinfall: No Way Jose
Analysis: I can’t believe they gave away the WrestleMania main event so early. I’m not sure what the plan is for Hawkins or if there even is a plan. It just keeps going and going.
Finn Balor walked up to Bobby Roode. They talked about what Owens said to them. Balor said he didn’t trust Owens. Roode said maybe they should listen to what Owens said. Balor said he’ll keep his eye on Owens and Roode.
There were crew workers setting up some obstacle course that Sami Zayn was setting up for Bobby Lashley in the next segment.
There was a video feature about an athlete in the Special Olympics USA Games.
Obstacle Course Competition
Sami Zayn was introduced by Renee Young, who asked Zayn why he challenged Lashley to this obstacle course competition. Zayn said last week all he did was ask if Lashley was really in the army. Zayn claimed he got bombarded by people showing pictures of Lashley in the army, but Zayn doesn’t believe the legitimacy of it. Zayn said the only way Lashley can prove it if Lashley can beat him in this obstacle course competition.
Zayn talked about what they had to do by showing a tire on the ramp that they had to flip. There was a low crawl bridge type structure that they had to crawl under. There were three walls that they had to climb that Zayn named after Lashley’s three sisters. Next up were the monkey bars. Zayn said the last task is the dreaded rope climb where there’s a bell that you have to hit to stop the timer. Zayn said that the green berets do this obstacle course in two minutes, but Zayn did it in a minute and a half. Zayn complained about his right hand injury caused by Lashley. Zayn said when he finishes this obstacle course, he’ll dedicate this to the real greatest military…to Canada. Thank you for that last part, Sami.
Bobby Lashley made his entrance looking ready to go. Renee asked Lashley his reaction to Zayn’s challenge. Lashley said that he’s going to beat Zayn in this obstacle course and then he’ll beat Zayn’s butt this weekend. He should say Sunday, not this weekend, but close enough.
Renee flipped a coin, they said it was heads and that means Lashley must go first. We did not see the coin, of course.
Lashley began the obstacle course competition with a clock on the screen. Some fans chanted “Bobby” for Lashley. Lashley flipped over the tire two times. Lashley did the crawl easily. Lashley jumped over the three walls easily. Lashley did the monkey bars very quickly as well. Lashley went to the rope, climbed up without using his legs (not easy to do) and hit the bell. It went about 45 seconds.
When Lashley got down from the rope, Zayn ambushed Lashley from behind with a forearm to the back. Zayn threw Lashley into the stand holding the rope. Zayn hit a Helluva Kick and knocked down Lashley on the floor. Zayn celebrated by swinging across the rope.
Analysis: Lashley was impressive in the obstacle course, which was smart because it showed off what he can do as a great athlete. Zayn’s cheap attack fit his character perfectly. It was the best way to have Zayn get the upper hand on Lashley, so it was a productive segment in that sense. I thought the whole concept was a bit of a stretch, but by the end it worked out fine. Lashley beating Zayn at Money in the Bank seems like a lock.
The trio of Owens, Balor and Owens were talking backstage. Owens gave them instructions. Strowman walked up to them. Strowman said his great idea is that the three of them team up on him and Strowman yelled at them.
The Fatal 4-Way is next: Strowman vs. Owens vs. Balor vs. Roode.
The four men made their entrances for the main event. Finn Balor was up first, Bobby Roode was next, Kevin Owens was third and Braun Strowman was last. Owens is the only heel of the four men. The match started at 10:46pmET, so there’s plenty of time left.
Fatal 4-Way: Finn Balor vs. Bobby Roode vs. Kevin Owens vs. Braun Strowman
Strowman splashed Owens against the turnbuckle and took control by tossing Roode across the ring while punching Balor in the chest. Owens bailed to the floor. Balor did too. Strowman was left alone in the ring as the show went to break with Owens telling Balor and Roode they need to work together.
The match returned with Strowman alone in the ring while the other three guys worked together against Strowman. With Strowman trapped against the corner, Balor and Roode held Strowman and Owens hit a running clothesline. Strowman fought back by hitting Balor with a sidewalk slam and a punch to Roode’s back. Strowman followed Owens out of the ring, so Balor hit a dropkick on Strowman. The three men tried to keep Strowman down, but Strowman knocked them all down. Owens ran to the back and Strowman brought him back onto the stage. Strowman with a headbutt for Owens, kick to Balor and an uppercut punch on Roode. Strowman whipped Owens into the screen that was on the stage. Strowman cleared off the announce table that was beside the stage. Strowman picked up Owens, so Roode hit Strowman in the ribs with a ladder and Balor/Roode hit Strowman in the ribs with two ladder shots. They went over to the announce table. Owens pulled a ladder over to the announce table. Strowman was placed on the table. Owens told them to hold the ladder. Owens climbed the ladder and Owens hit a Frog Splash on Strowman through the table. Commercial time.
— WWE Universe (@WWEUniverse) June 12, 2018
Analysis: That was a big spot. It was set up well.
The match returned with Roode working on Balor in the ring with an armbar. Strowman was down after the broken table while Owens was selling a rib injury after he did the huge Frog Splash. Replays aired of the Owens splash on Strowman. Balor and Roode had a battle with Roode hitting a forearm and Balor nailed an overhead kick. Balor charged at Roode when Roode was going to the top rope and Balor kicked Roode out of the ring. Back in the ring, Roode with a forearm and a Blockbuster got a two count. Balor with a dropkick that sent Roode into a turnbuckle. Balor set up for the double foot stomp off the top, but Owens was back into the match. Balor sent Owens to the floor again. Roode tripped up Balor on the top turnbuckle to crotch Balor. They did the Tower of Doom spot out of the corner with Roode delivering the superplex while Owens did the Powerbomb part of it. Strowman slowly got back to his feet. Strowman marched down to the ring. He knocked down Balor and Roode easily. Owens left the ring to get away from Strowman. Strowman chased after Owens and brought Owens back into the ring. Strowman hit three shoulder blocks in a row on Balor, Roode and Strowman. Those were down while outside the ring. Strowman with a corner splash on Owens and Roode against the turnbuckle. Balor with a kick to the head and up top with a double foot stomp to Strowman’s back. Strowman with a shoulder tackle on Balor. The three guys worked together to stagger Strowman. Owens hit a superkick. Owens rollup on Roode, Roode spinebuster on Owens, Balor with Slingblade on Roode and Strowman. Balor with a dropkick on Strowman. Balor up top with the Coup de Gras double foot stomp on Strowman, but Roode broke up the pin. Roode sent Balor into the ring post. Roode hit the Glorious DDT on Strowman for a two count as Owens made the save. Owens sent Roode out of the ring. Owens up top and he hit a Frog Splash on Strowman for two. The fans chanted “this is awesome” for them. Owens grabbed a ladder from under the ring. Owens hit Strowman in the ribs with the ladder two times. Strowman came back with a Chokeslam on Owens. Strowman gave Owens a Running Powerslam on the ladder. Strowman covered to pin Owens after 26 minutes of action.
Winner by pinfall: Braun Strowman
Analysis: ***3/4 Awesome match. One of the better main events this year. It was a well-constructed match with Strowman at the center of it. Strowman was dominant early, then Strowman was taking out by the three guys with Owens putting him through the table and then it was all about Strowman making the big comeback for the win. The cool thing about it is that Balor hit his finisher, Roode hit his finisher and Owens hit another Frog Splash, but Strowman was able to survive. I just liked the way they told the story. The winner doesn’t matter that much although it continues the usual tale of Strowman looking like he’s unbeatable and nobody can find a way to beat him, so how can they do it at Money in the Bank? Strowman is the biggest favorite, but I don’t think I’ll pick him. I’ll save that pick for Friday’s preview.
The show ended with the announcers plugging Money in the Bank and Strowman celebrating the win. Raw signed off at 11:13pmET, so it was a few minutes later than usual.
Three Stars of the Show
- Braun Strowman
- Kevin Owens
5.5 out of 10
Last week: 4
2018 Average: 5.89
Last 5 Weeks: 4, 5, 5.5, 6, 6.5
2018 High: 8 (February 19)
2018 Low: 4 (June 4)
I give it a 6 out of 10.
The highlights of the show were the two 4-Way matches, which were both given a lot of time and told good stories. The rest of the show had some decent segments while others felt like filler that were just there to fill the three hours.
Some of the non-wrestling segments were tough to get through as well as the short matches. I liked Rousey’s aggressiveness a lot, but I don’t think having Jax tap out was the smart move. I wouldn’t have done it the same way.
One thing I can say WWE did well on Raw is promote MITB heavily. They mentioned all of the matches, they are airing commercials during matches and plugged the PPV a lot. That’s good.
THIS SUNDAY is going to be 🔥🔥🔥
— WWE (@WWE) June 12, 2018
The next WWE PPV is Money in the Bank in Chicago on June 17. We will have a preview up on Friday. Here’s the lineup so far.
WWE Championship Last Man Standing Match: AJ Styles vs. Shinsuke Nakamura
Raw Women’s Championship: Nia Jax vs. Ronda Rousey
Men’s Money in the Bank Contract Ladder Match: Braun Strowman (Raw), Kevin Owens (Raw), Finn Balor (Raw), Bobby Roode (Raw), The Miz (SD), Rusev (SD), Samoa Joe (SD), One member of The New Day (SD)
Women’s Money in the Bank Contract Ladder Match: Ember Moon (Raw), Alexa Bliss (Raw), Natalya (Raw), Sasha Banks (Raw), Charlotte Flair (SD), Becky Lynch (SD), Lana (SD), Naomi (SD)
Roman Reigns vs. Jinder Mahal
Intercontinental Championship: Seth Rollins vs. Elias
Daniel Bryan vs. Big Cass
Smackdown Women’s Championship: Carmella vs. Asuka
Bobby Lashley vs. Sami Zayn
Smackdown Tag Team Championships: The Bludgeon Brothers vs. Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson
I assume that Hardy/Wyatt vs. Dallas/Axel will be added as well, but it’s not official yet.
You can contact me using any of the methods below. See ya next time for the Smackdown review. Go Los Angeles Rams. Thanks for reading.
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