For the second week in a row, Raw opened with a match as Seth Rollins and Becky Lynch took on Andrade and Zelina Vega in a bit of mixed tag team action. To add a bit more spice, this was an elimination match, which meant that Zelina was ejected from the contest after tapping out to the Dis-Arm-Her. This allowed Rollins and Andrade to put on a nice little show; when Zelina tried to interfere, Becky took her out and Rollins was able to capitalise with the Stomp to get the win, though they did both get jumped by Baron Corbin and Lacey Evans after the match. Interestingly, I actually feel as though this whole Rollins and Becky angle would be better served being geared towards a feud with these two, given that Andrade puts on more entertaining matches than Corbin and Andrade and Zelina are actually an active duo.
The Miz teamed up with the Usos to take on the Revival and Elias in a two-out-of-three falls tag team match afterwards…which kind of feels like the same stipulation for two matches in a row…anyway, although Elias took a powder, the Revival still got the first fall with a Shatter Machine but, without their third man to help out, they ultimately fell to the Skull-Crushing Finale and, finally, a bit of the Usos’ patented double team moves. I guess that helps protect them a little bit but I would have much preferred to see the Raw Tag Team Champions put up a bit more of a fight, or even get a victory.
Bobby Lashley made short work of Rey Mysterio in the following match, Spearing him out of his boots with Roman Reigns’ super-bouncy-ropes-Spear and then beating him up after the match. Remember when Rey was the United States Champion and going toe-to-toe with Samoa Joe? Nah, me neither…
After that, Cesaro and No Way Jose finally had that match they teased last week…Cesaro destroyed him in just over a minute with the Uppercuts, the Cesaro Swing, and the Sharpshooter. I’m all for Cesaro getting wins and looking dominant but does it really matter when it’s No Way Jose? Couldn’t Cesaro and Lashley have swapped opponents and Rey and Cesaro had a bit more of a competitive match?
Another squash match followed as the Viking Raiders destroyed some faceless jobbers before Ricochet got into it with Luke Gallows to try and get a bit of payback from the beat down he received last week. They brawled a bit before Gallows planted Ricochet with a Chokelsam but, despite nearly dying from a Clothesline, Ricochet was able o roll Gallows up for the shock win. He was then forced to immediately face Karl Anderson, which was a slightly more competitive contest due to the size difference being a bit less of a factor; Ricochet eventually was able to overcome AJ Styles and Gallows trying to distract him to hit the 630 Splash and win again only to get beaten down by AJ and the Club after the match.
Bayley and Sarah Logan were up next, thought the crowd lost all interest part way through and started chanting for CM Punk. Bayley got the win and, after the match, Nikki Cross and Dana Brooke when at it was Nikki getting a victory and then getting into a verbal altercation with Bayley after the match.
Raw ended with Roman Reigns being forced to team up with “Gary El Janitor” to face Shane McMahon and Drew McIntyre; Drew countered the Superman Punch with a headbutt to take control and forced Gary El into the ring. Gary El, however, started busting out Enziguri’s and a Springboard Clothesline, which took the wind out of Shane’s sails but, in the end, he got smashed with a Claymore and pinned by Shane. After the match, Reigns chased the heels away and Gary El unmasked, revealing that it was Cedric Alexander all along but, as he did little to help and even got pinned in the match, they may as well have kept the mask on or just put Reigns in a handicap match for all the help he was.
Dolph Ziggler and Kevin Owens got into a bit of a verbal dick-measuring contest at the start of the show, which included Owens talking all kinds of shit about Shane McMahon and how he is holding back the actual wrestling talent (he’s not wrong) as he was ejected from the arena. This quasi-face turn for Owens has kind of come out of nowhere; I could have sworn that he and Sami Zayn were advocating Shane just the other week…
Finn Balor finally made it onto television to face-off with Shinsuke Nakamura (so two big television returns this week); Nakamura kept Balor grounded and wore him down with the Strong Style Strikes. Every time Balor tried to build some momentum with the Sling Blade or a succession of moves, Nakaumra was right there to cut him off and ground him down again. In the end, Nakamura walloped Finn off the post a couple of times, hit a Kinshasa on the outside, slammed him into the steel steps, and finally finished him off with a Kinshasa on the inside, presumably to make himself the new number one contender to the Intercontinental Championship.
Nikki Cross and Bayley got into it during the contract signing for the championship match at Extreme Rules; although Bayley tried once more to talk some sense into Nikki, she signed the contract anyway, vowing to reign as co-champions with Alexa Bliss after the handicap match. This then led to Nikki and Carmella having a bit of a match, which Nikki actually won; I am legitimately shocked as it would be classic WWE to have Nikki immediately lose after signing on to a championship match.
After the New Day ran their mouths a bit and upset Daniel Bryan, Rowan, and Heavy Machinery, Bryan, Xavier Woods, and Otis went at it in a triple threat match. This largely served to paint Otis as an unstoppable monster as he tossed both guys around and they were forced to begrudgingly work together to try and cut him down but, in the end, Otis got the win, giving Heavy Machinery some real momentum heading into Extreme Rules.
SmackDown! Live finished up with Roman Reigns taking on Dolph Ziggler…with Shane McMahon, Elias, and Drew McIntyre all at ringside. Despite a strong start by Reigns, Dolph surprisingly took control all by himself and then went into a ground game after Reigns got distracted with the goon squad on the outside. Still, Reigns kicked out of the Zig-Zag, took out the goons with a big Suicide Dive, and won with the Spear after Owens took Shane out with a Stunner. I guess that’s it for Ziggler’s latest main event push…
WWE Cruiserweight Championship Match: Drew Gulak (c) vs. Tony Nese
Ah…yes…the Cruiserweight Championship. I am totally up to date with this situation…
Drew Gulak to retain…?
SmackDown! Live Tag Team Championship Match: Daniel Bryan and Rowan (c) vs. Xavier Woods and Big E vs. Heavy Machinery
So, this is an interesting one; while there has been a fair amount of screen time devoted to reminding people about this match, I don’t think there’s really been enough build or hype to justify a title change just yet. I kind feel like Xavier and Big E will be busy supporting Kofi going forward as well and expect to see Heavy Machinery get a better push towards the belt in a standard tag team match so I’m going to pick Daniel Bryan and Rowan here.
WWE Championship Match: Kofi Kingston (c) vs. Samoa Joe
It’s surprising how quickly this has developed into a blood feud; I guess that’s Samoa Joe’s gimmick these days, though. He just shows up, chokes out fools, threatens their friends and family, and muscles his way into a title shot. I think we’ll see Samoa Joe win but not capture the title; I think we might see some referee stoppage or a disqualification or something to lead into a rematch later on that will help to further galvanise Kofi’s new attitude.
Last Man Standing Match: Braun Strowman vs. Bobby Lashley
I’ve been calling for these two to up the ante in their feud and it looks like we’re finally getting their with this match, despite all the bullshit arm wrestling and stupid challenges these two have endured. Still, though, it does feel like both guys are just kind of spinning their wheels; maybe the winner of this match should become Seth Rollins’ next challenger, to help justify the feud? In which case, just to see a new face in the mix, I’m going to pick Bobby Lashley to win.
Aleister Black vs. Cesaro
For weeks now, Aleister has been begging someone to pick a fight with him and, this week on SmackDown! Live, Cesaro answered the call. On paper, this sounds like a great prospect given the talent of both these men but the question is will it led to something? Will Aleister and Cesaro randomly become a tag team after wards? What isn’t up for debate, though, is that Aleister Black is winning.
WWE United States Championship Match: Ricochet (c) vs. AJ Styles
The reunion of the Club appears to spell doom for Ricochet’s first title reign on the main roster but I think we’ll see Ricochet sneak a win out of nowhere here to set up a bigger rematch (maybe involving a ladder) later on.
SmackDown! Live Women’s Championship Handicap Match: Bayley (c) vs. Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross
Again, it seems like the writing’s on the wall for Bayley but, considering all the drama that’s been boiling around Nikki and Alexa, I think we will probably see Nikki strike out on her own and that cost her, leading to Bayley getting the win and setting up a one-on-one title shot for Nikki.
WWE Raw Tag Team Championship Match: The Revival (c) vs. The Usos
Yep, well, once again we’re seeing how lacklustre and thin on the ground the WWE’s tag team division is as, as always, the Usos are getting a title shot despite the fact that this would have been a good opportunity to give Zack Ryder and Curt Hawkins some screen time and a storyline about trying to regain their belts. I can only assume this is all part of the WWE’s plan to keep the Revival happy and, as a result, I’ll pick The Revival to retain.
No Holds Barred Match: Shane McMahon and Drew McIntyre vs. The Undertaker and Roman Reigns
Why do I have a horrible feeling this will end up being the main event? In any case, it’s kind of weird that we’ve seen more of the Undertaker this year than we had at all in the build up to the last few WrestleMania’s. I like the Undertaker embracing his role as the “Conscience of the WWE” and getting involved when authority figures get out of control but it’s a bit late in the day for that and we haven’t really heard anything from him or Reigns about why they’re so happy to forget their issues. I actually think this might play into the match and we’ll maybe see Undertaker screw Reigns over, allowing Drew McIntyre and Shane McMahon to get the win and set-up a rematch between ‘Taker and Reigns.
WWE Universal and Raw Women’s Championship Winner Take All Mixed-Tag Team Match: Becky Lynch (c) and Seth Rollins (c) vs. Lacey Evans and Baron Corbin
Here’s some spice for your sauce; how do you get people to care about Baron Corbin? Chuck him in an intergender program with the most popular female competitor of the modern era, I guess. This is a weird one as, if it were just a straight up one-on-one between Becky and Lacey, I would have picked Lacey to win via shenanigans but I have to believe that there’s no way Corbin is becoming Universal Champion any time soon, especially as I just said I wanted Lashley to be Seth’s next opponent. Therefore, I think we’ll see Becky Lynch and Seth Rollins retain their belts here.