If you were sick of Kurt Angle opening Raw every week, you’re in luck this week as he’s joined by Stephanie McMahon, who makes her triumphant return following WrestleMania and immediately sweeps their issues under the rug. She claims she’s there to oversee the signing of the Raw Women’s Championship contract between Nia Jax and Ronda Rousey, so Roman Reigns comes out to direct his complaints to her directly. She must have been reading my rantings because she’s having none of that shit and books him into a match against Kevin Owens.
Surprisingly, Owens and Reigns worked pretty well together, mostly likely because Owens is so good with his in-ring character work and Reigns…throws a mean right hook? Their efforts were in vain, though, as Jinder Mahal ran out to attack Reigns and cause a disqualification. Seth Rollins makes the save and we get the patented Teddy Long tag team match in another attempt to transfer Seth’s popularity on to Reigns; ironically, Rollins actually got the win here instead of Reigns after hitting the Blackout Stomp on Owens. And yet, after the match, Mahal takes both of the Shield boys out with a steel chair.
Sami Zayn continues to add more ink to his death warrant and also destroy his credibility by bringing some guys dressed in drag out to mock Bobby Lashley; Lashley comes out, the exact opposite of pissed off, and beats them all up to put an end to it. Ember Moon then got a pretty big win over Alexa Bliss; say what you will about her, she is still a former Raw Women’s Champion and had a pretty impressive 2017 so this was a good way to get some momentum behind Ember.
Baron Corbin and No Way Jose clashed again so that the WWE could even things up and give the win to Corbin in a match that was far from the smash-mouth, no-nonsense affair I expect from Corbin. Afterwards, Curtis Axel and Bo Dallas got another surprise win by defeating Tyler Breeze and Fandango, which I guess has earned them a shot at the Raw Tag Team Championships. Good for them but they still haven’t really done anything to deserve that sort of shot.
Steph comes back out to oversee that contract signing and to voice my very real concerns about why Ronda has gotten this shot and exactly what she’s done to earn it; I mean, it’s all about the money but at least have her win a battle royale or something. Anyway, despite her best efforts, the signing goes without a hitch and they’re all pally-pally….for now!
Dolph Ziggler defeated Chad Gable, in a match that attempted to help emphasise Gable as this technical wizard, which is fine but I can’t help but feel like he’s treading water until Jason Jordan comes back. This is seemingly emphasised when, after the match, Drew McIntyre joins the fun and they beat him up.
Next up is another qualifying match for the women’s Money in the Bank ladder match, which saw Natalya outlast Dana Brooke, Liv Morgan, and Sarah Logan. It’s weird how moving to Raw has apparently reinvigorated Natalya’s career and I can’t help but feel like it would’ve been better to put over a different woman and gives someone else a chance here. After that, Elias and Bobby Roode face off in yet another match (it literally feels like they’ve had hundreds of matches at this point) and manages to score a pretty big win. Hopefully this feud kicks into a higher gear and helps both men to ascend beyond the dull mediocrity they’ve found themselves in.
And the main event is my two picks for the men’s Money in the Bank ladder match as Braun Strowman taking on Finn Balor. Balor used his speed to take the fight to Braun but Braun’s power and strength kept cutting him off at every turn until Balor dodged and charged and caused Braun to hit the ring post (that’s becoming a trademark of big-man matches lately). Balor tried to capitalise but Braun planted him with a Powerslam and then followed it up with the Straps-Down-Running-Powerslam to take the win. After the match, Braun completes his babyface turn by hauling Balor to his feet and propping him up in the corner instead of murdering him to cap off a pretty fun and decent match.
The Miz brings the New Day out for Miz TV and to get the exclusive on who they’re going to pick to be in the men’s Money in the Bank ladder match. Miz stirs the pot in his usual way but the joke’s on him as the New Day are more concerned with playing games and dodging the question so, instead of an answer, we get Big E vs. the Miz. Interestingly enough, despite Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods at ringside and on commentary, Miz steals the win after Sheamus and Cesaro even the odds. I guess we’ll be getting a good old fashioned six-man tag team match next week, oh joy!
Someone, somewhere dusted off Lana for another God-awful singles match and, no only that, she won and not only that she earned herself a spot in the women’s Money in the Bank ladder match! Not entirely sure where this suddenly came from but…okay…I guess?
Andrade Cien Almas continues down the path I predicted last week, pinning another complete nobody, before Shinsuke Nakamura and AJ Styles have a face off to find out the match Nakamura wants at Money in the Bank. Their back-and-forth turns into a brawl that Nakamura takes advantage of, laying Styles out with chair shots and a few Kinshasas, before shocking nobody with half a brain and announcing it’ll be a Last Man Standing match…which is interesting considering neither man could answer a ten count in their last championship match.
The Usos and Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson get into it to decide the number one contenders for the SmackDown! Live Tag Team Championships (I literally almost forgot who had the belts just then; must be getting old). Anyway, thankfully for me, the Club got the win to keep the Usos away from the belts a little while longer. As I said with Natalya, it’s interesting that the WWE are now pulling the trigger (or, at least, teasing it) with the Club; I don’t recall if they ever got a shot at the Raw Tag Team Championships and, while I don’t expect them to win, I can only hope for an all-out, smash-mouth war between them and the Bludgeon Brothers.
Naomi also rises from the dead to defeat Sonya Deville and take a spot in the women’s Money in the Bank ladder match before Daniel Bryan and Jeff Hardy face off to determine who will face Samoa Joe next week for a spot in the men’s Money in the Bank ladder match. Again, I am really happy to see the WWE getting these big matches out of Bryan and putting him against guys we never thought he would ever have matches against. Happily, this was a good night for Jeff and he hung in there really well with Bryan; this was, apparently, an effort to get over Bryan’s new leg lock/knee bar thing, which he tied Big Cass up in last week and got the win with here.