And here comes Roman Reigns; this week, he’s brought a handkerchief because he has something else to cry about: Jinder Mahal (of all people) upset Roman by attacking him last week. Luckily, Kurt Angle tells Reigns that he’s not getting any more chances at the Money in the Bank ladder match because he lost his opportunity, so Reigns goes backstage and takes his aggro out on Mahal. Apparently, this is all part of the newest attempt to convince us that Roman is being “held back by management”…maybe if Vince McMahon or Triple H had come out and cost him his match at WrestleMania, he’d have a point but they didn’t. He lost, and lost again, so exactly how is he being “held back”?
Seth Rollins puts the Intercontinental Championship on the line against Kevin Owens as part of his ongoing effort to be the highlight of every show and a fighting champion. Quite how Owens earned this shot, though, has somehow slipped past me. This was a great match between these two; Owens really stepped it up to match Rollins move for move. It’s almost as if being put into competitive matches where he can showcase his ability helps to make him look like a competitor we should actually care about and reminds us that he is a former Universal Champion. In the end, Rollins gets the win following a Blackout Stomp as Owens was crawling back in the ring and cements himself as atop tier star on Raw.
We get another Money in the Bank qualifier match, this time between Bobby Roode, Baron Corbin, and…No Way Jose? Seriously? Having a bit of a tiff with Corbin is enough to get him a chance at the Money in the Bank? Say what you will about Corbin and Roode, who are either miscast in their roles or a bit lacklustre, but Jose is another one of these guys that I just don’t get it with. I mean, fun is fun but can his gimmick really go that far on the main roster? Remember Adam Rose? No? Exactly! Anyway, Roode gets the win after pinning Jose with the Glorious DDT; I like him being in the match and winning the briefcase could be a good opportunity for him but I’m sticking with Finn Balor to win for now.
So, Curtis Axel and Bo Dallas have rebranded themselves as the B-Team and demanded a Raw Tag Team Championship match. Angle said they’ve never won shit so they have to earn it, so they got a shocking win over Tyler Breeze and Fandango and, apparently, that’s enough to make them the number one contenders? Oh, also, they’re faces now?
The obligatory six-woman tag team match follows next, which sees Natalya, Sasha Banks, and Ember Moon defeated Ruby Riott, Liv Morgan, and Sarah Logan, moving on, Matt Hardy and Bray Wyatt took on the Revival and won following a Double Sister Abigail; again, I have to question the logic of pushing teams like Axel and Dallas and Titus Worldwide over legitimate tag teams like the Revival but Vince doesn’t like pushing those NXT tag teams, I guess.
Alexa Bliss outlasted Bayley and Mickie James to earn a spot in the women’s Money in the Bank ladder match, which sucks for Bayley, Reigns Spears Mahal “through a wall” backstage to remind us that feud is apparently not going away any time soon, and then Braun Strowman and Finn Balor lost to Drew McIntyre and Dolph Ziggler. Bobby Lashley is apparently getting into a feud with Sami Zayn, meaning he wasn’t in this match, and that may have contributed to the loss. During the match, Strowman hit Drew with a shoulder barge and accidentally wrecked his prestigious Greatest Royal Rumble trophy, what a tragedy!
Finally, Owens is back in action again to fight for a spot in the Money in the Bank ladder match against Elias and Lashley. Luckily for Owens, he’s got Sami watching his back and Sami wants to die so he ran out to attack Lashley and take him out of the equation. This was enough of an assist for Owens to hit the Frog Splash onto Elias and secure his spot.
It’s Daniel Bryan talky-talky this week and Big Cass is about to tell him that he’s determined to put a stop to Bryan’s big comeback, no matter what, so Bryan makes him look like a complete chump by attacking his knee and taking him to school. Bryan locks Cass up and makes him tap and scream like a bitch until the referees and all those guys have to tear them apart. Not a great look for Cass but Bryan looked amazing here and the crowd was molten for him, which should transfer to some nuclear heat when Cass beats him later down the line.
Xavier Woods and Big E took on Sheamus and Cesaro, with the winning team getting to pick a man to be in the Money in the Bank ladder match. They played this like any team could win at any time which, considering the calibre of both teams, isn’t really stretching the realms of possibility that far. When it was all said and done, though, Big E took out Sheamus and Woods took the win after pinning Cesaro. Apparently, this is the WWE’s first step towards giving Big E a big singles push, which is great but it’s quite a few years too late, maybe, and is apparently coming at the detriment of a Cesaro push.
Andrade “Cien” Almas makes his main roster debut by beating some jobber and then pulls the “I want competition” line, which basically guarantees that he’ll be beating a bunch of jobbers for a while, maybe disappear off TV for a bit, and then come back with no heat behind him. Afterwards, Paige interrupted Carmella’s celebration to announce Asuka as her next challenger, and then Becky Lynch vindicated herself by beating Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville to get into the women’s Money in the Bank ladder match.
The main event saw AJ Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura go head-to-head, again, in a non-title match where the winner gets the name the stipulation for their next match at Money in the Bank. Kind of weird that the WWE chose to have these guys face off against each other to decide that; we could have got a couple of gauntlet matches or some kind of tag match but, in the end, this resulted in what was probably the best match between these two and actually resulted in a definitive end for a change. To be fair, it almost didn’t look that way: Styles kicked out of the Kinshasa, the referee almost got bumped, then Nakamura punked Styles out by faking a nut shot, landed the Reverse Exploder, and pinned him after another Kinshasa. From what I’ve heard, it seems like Nakamura will make the title match a Last Man Standing match, which is pretty cool as that’s a stipulation the WWE hasn’t ran into the ground just yet.