The BIG DAWG~! himself, Roman Reigns, opens the show (which, I’m sure, will be how every Raw will open for the foreseeable future) and calls out Braun Strowman so, naturally, here comes Braun Strowman. Strowman’s kinda pissed off the Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose interfered in his business last week and calls Roman out for being a coward who needs his Shield buddies to watch his back; well, he’s not wrong. Anyway, Strowman decides that he will officially cash in…at Hell in a Cell, which is a nice change of pace for the Money in the Bank concept. Dolph Ziggler and Drew McIntyre come out to complain about their recent troubles and challenges Strowman and Reigns to a tag team match in the main event. Baron Corbin (now the acting general manager after last week, apparently) redundantly comes out to make all this official and then decides that we must see him face Finn Balor….again…in a match that then immediately happens. Balor looked to have the match won but then Corbin whacked him with a steel chair for the disqualification, but then made it a no disqualification match, hit Balor again, and pinned him after the End of Days. I guess this feud will continue on to Hell in a Cell but, realistically, we’re done here, surely? How many times can Balor beat Corbin and, more to the point, why does every Baron Corbin feud involve him losing loads?
Dana Brooke finally gets back in the ring (possible because the first-ever, historic all-women’s pay-per-view is coming up!) to face Sasha Banks…I mean, obviously Dana lost but the real story was that Apollo Crews and Titus O’Neil had a bit of an argument while Apollo was checking on her. I am so scared for the seemingly-inevitable feud between these two.
Seth Rollins issues an open challenge that is answered by Kevin Owens, who cut a decent promo about how things haven’t gone his way lately so he’s going to change that with a title win. This was a fantastic match; Rollins is really bringing some credibility back to the Intercontinental Championship as you can now always be guaranteed of a decent title match when he’s involved. There was a great spot near the end when Owens busted out the Stone Cold Stunner, but only for a two count; after John Cena kind of tried to bring that back the other year with his Rebound Stunner, are we finally moving towards the Stunner becoming a near-fall signature move? Anyways, Owens missed a sweet-looking Moonsault and lost when Rollins hit the Stomp. After the match, Owens announced that hew as quitting and walked out; didn’t we see this shit from Ziggler not that long ago? I’m guessing Owens will be back within a couple of weeks, for no real reason.
Next up, the Revival take on the B-Team in non-title action which, obviously, means that they win this time. After the match, they beat the B-Team up a bit more and claim that this win means they can win the belts whenever they want…even though they couldn’t do that the last time they fought for them.
Elias insults Toronto, so Trish Status comes out to slap him after he then insults her (so, I guess they want Elias to be a singing version of the Miz circa 2017 now where he just comes out and insults people but doesn’t really fight anyone?). This transitions (seamlessly, I might add) into a match between Natalya and Alicia Fox, which is all part of Alexa Bliss’ attempt to get a rematch against Ronda Rousey at Hell in a Cell, which Natalya wins with very little effort.
Baron Corbin decides to punish Bobby Lashley by booking him into a handicap match against…the Ascension. So…I guess the Ascension are heels again now? Lashley defeats them in record time, throwing yet more dirt on their graves. The irony is that I could totally get into a little stable of Corbin, Konnor, and Viktor, especially if the Ascension became Corbin’s flunkies. But, no, instead they got decimated by one man so we simply cannot take them seriously even if we wanted to.
Dean Ambrose and Jinder Mahal get into it next, which saw Ambrose counter the Khallas into the Dirty Deeds and get the win in less than five minutes. And yet Jinder went so long with the WWE Championship not that long ago; he really is the JBL of this generation.
Anyway, the main event saw Roman Reigns and Braun Strowman take on Drew McIntyre and Dolph Ziggler. This match saw Reigns take the brunt of the attack and stay in the ring for the majority of the match, therefore allowing him to play that awkward, miscast face-in-peril role they like to lumber him with. Reigns finally hit Ziggler with a Superman Punch and made the dramatic tag out to Strowman…but Braun decided to just stand there and watch as Ziggler and McIntyre kicked the crap out of Reigns so much that they got disqualified. Strowman then joined in the fun and, when Rollins and Ambrose tried to make the save, they got some of it as well, leaving Strowman, Drew, and Ziggler standing tall. I’m not entirely sure how I feel about this new alliance; I don’t think Strowman needs any help, even against three men, and turning him heel simply to feud with Reigns is a terrible idea. This should have just been two massive, prideful guys butting heads with tensions rising and rising to breaking point each week, not some weird, random heel turn.
The New Day are here to celebrate becoming five-time tag team champions, a statistic that irks me no end, but here comes another five-time champion, King Booker, to encourage a group Spin-A-Roonie. I guess this is great for people who like the New Day’s stupid, mindless fun but we could have used this segment to establish their next contender. Instead, we’re getting another tag team tournament; first up is the Colons (who are, apparently, still around) against the Club and the Bar in a triple threat tag team match. In good news, the Bar got the chance to re-establish their presence by winning the match but this isn’t really a great outcome for me as I wanted to see the Club get the win, win the belts, and then get into a hopefully-memorable feud with the Bar. I guess we could still see a version of that but I’m fairly certain the Club are still considered to low down the pecking order for any kind of title run.
Jeff Hardy and Randy Orton had words again, which basically set up a Hell in a Cell match between the two at Hell in a Cell, which could very well be the last time Jeff ever competes in a match if he isn’t careful. Billie Kay then defeated Naomi…
Anyways, Brie and Daniel Bryan come out to build some more hype for their intergender tag team match against the Miz and Maryse at Hell in a Cell and get interrupted by Andrade “Cien” Almas and Zelina Vega, who have apparently moved on from Lana and Rusev. Paige then books Bryan against Almas, which resulted in a cracking match between the two. I’m not sure what it is about Almas; he seems like he wouldn’t be that great (kinda bland-looking and small) but he’s brilliant in the ring and a guy like Bryan really helps showcase how Almas could be a top-level heel champion on SmackDown! Live at some point…however, I have no faith in the WWE to realise this and fully expect him to end up in a tag team with Rusev or someone equally stupid. Anyway, Bryan had Almas in the Yes! Lock and Brie neutralised Zelina but the Miz attacked for the disqualification; Almas seemed okay with this, though (which was weird as you’d think he’d want to win), and worked with the Miz and Maryse to attack Bryan and Brie after the match.
AJ Styles and Samoa Joe have another war of words, with Joe again playing mind games involving AJ’s family, which is apparently really getting to AJ, before the main event between Carmella and Charlotte Flair for the SmackDown! Live Women’s Championship. Carmella actually looked somewhat credible in this match, which was all about establishing Charlotte as the queen of the castle once again; Carmella held on in the Figure Eight for ages, longer than even Asuka did at WrestleMania, but eventually tapped out. Becky Lynch immediately attacked Charlotte after the match to thunderous applause and vowed to take the belt back; she even called Charlotte a bitch and the crowd ate it up!