Raw opened with a trip back to the Attitude Era as Stone Cold Steve Austin kicked things off to moderate the contract signing between Seth Rollins and Braun Strowman. Just as tensions started to rise, the O.C. interrupted and were instantly bombarded with hatred from the crowd, who were only concerned with Austin. A brawl obviously broke out, which ended with AJ Styles eating a Stone Cold Stunner. AJ couldn’t even recoup some of his heat in his match against Cedric Alexander, which immediately followed this segment, as the rest of the O.C. decided to interfere just to lay a beat down on Cedric that had to be stopped by the Viking Raiders.
The Four Horsewomen exploded next as Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair teamed up against Sasha Banks and Bayley, which saw Charlotte get the win by pinning Bayley so she has some unnecessary momentum heading into Clash of the Champions. I am pretty sure that we’ll see the WWE throw the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championships on one of these two teams in the near future so we can see all four go at it for all the belts, a match that will probably end with Charlotte holding all the gold.
Gran Metalik went one-on-one with Rey Mysterio afterwards; considering he ell to a Frog Splash, I’d say it’s probably best that Metalik sticks to those six-man tag team matches as this was far from a passing-of-the-torch moment between the two luchadores and was, instead, a cruelly-short sprint between two who are capable of a lot more.
Baron Corbin came out on top on the King of the Ring semi-finals triple threat match as he pinned Samoa Joe after chucking Ricochet out into the crowd. It’s interesting that the WWE continues to push Corbin as this asshole heel over and over, to the point where he gets more and more chances to show that he’s a future heel World Champion, and yet have completely given up on Jinder Mahal, who was the WWE Champion not that long ago. If it’s any consolation, if Corbin wins, I feel we’ll see him continue as a smug-bastard heel rather than going towards the main event scene any time soon.
Natalya then made up for the last few weeks of seeing stars or staring up at the lights by tying Lacey Evans into the Sharpshooter to win their match, which would probably mean more if Lacey hadn’t already racked up a win over Nattie.
Raw came to an end with an absolutely clusterfuck of a ten-man tag team match that saw Dolph Ziggler, Robert Roode, and the O.C. team up against the Viking Raiders, Braun Strowman, Seth Rollins, and Cedric Alexander. Tensions rose between Rollins and Strowman part-way through the match after Ziggler and Roode pushed them into each other, leading to a brief argument but, in the end, Cedric was able to hit the Lumbar Check on AJ and get the win, setting himself up as a challenger to AJ’s United States Championship. Afterwards, Austin returned to share beers with all the faces.
Not to be outdone, the Undertaker, of all people, showed up to open SmackDown! Live this week. He randomly talked about the WWE legends of old before Sami Zayn interrupted, talked shit, and got Chokeslammed for his trouble. Not really sure what the point of this was but…Undertaker!!
Andrade and the Miz had the first match of the night; Shinsuke Nakamura was on commentary but only really factored into the aftermath of the match, smacking Miz right in the face with a Kinshasa after he pinned Andrade following a dodgy Skull-Crushing Finale.
Nikki Cross and Mandy Rose went at it afterwards after Mandy cut a promo where she called Nikki ugly…riveting stuff. Anyway, Nikki got her retribution in the best and only way possible: by pinning Mandy. This was swiftly followed by Heavy Machinery destroing some jobbers once again…at least they’re on television, I guess.
Rowan took to the microphone to shout about how he’s actually pretty smart despite being a big, dumb-ass nobody; Roman Reigns arrived looking for vengeance and they ended up brawling into the audience. Rowan ended up smashing Reigns right in the face with a boom camera but Reigns was able to get up afterwards; I’ll give them this, at least they’re going the over-the-top route with this ill-advised story for Rowan.
Bayley defeated Ember Moon after this; Bayley tried to add some hell-ish tendencies to her character and in-ring work but, either it’s a slow burn, or the WWE have already botched her heel turn. After that, Kofi Kingston came out to talk about his biggest moment in Madison Square Garden (that cool spot where hit Boom Dropped Randy Orton through a table) and promptly got to recreate that moment after Orton goaded him into a brawl.
Elias got pulled from the King of the Ring semi-finals due to a legitimate injury and was replaced by non other than…Shane McMahon, who also forced Kevin Owens to be the special guest referee for his match against Chad Gable. Owens immediately screwed Shane over but fast-counting Gable’s pin fall on Shane but Shane promptly made it a two-out-of-three-falls match. This second match saw Shane largely controlling the bulk of the action (because of course) but ended up caught in the Ankle Lock after Owens stopped him using a chair and, thankfully, eventually tapped out when Gable locked in the grapevine.
…Obviously Shane attacked Owens afterwards because we are still not done with that shit!
WWE Cruiserweight Championship Match: Drew Gulak (c) vs. Humberto Carrillo vs. Lince Dorado
Wow, we are getting two new faces in the Cruiserweight Championship scene this month…and I still don’t really care. I’m gonna pick Humberto Carrillo, simply because I know nothing about him and it might shake things up a bit.
WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship Match: Nikki Cross and Alexa Bliss (c) vs. Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville
Considering there’s an ongoing storyline revolving around Nikki and Alexa, I don’t think we’ll be seeing them drop the belts any time soon; instead, I see Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross retaining their titles and then dropping them to some combination of the Four Horsewomen later down the line in service of that match I fantasy booked earlier.
King of the Ring Finals: Chad Cable vs. Baron Corbin
If it was up to me, Drew McIntyre would have won this tournament and, with the win and the prestige, been named the number one contender, destroy Seth Rollins, and go on a dominating Universal Championship reign all the way up until WrestleMania. Instead, he got unceremoniously eliminated early on and is now nowhere on this card so this has got to be going to Baron Corbin. I can even see him pulling off the “King” gimmick, as a self-entitled, smug, shit-eating asshole but I would rather he was all of those things without that lame, cliché gimmick.
Raw Tag Team Championship Match: Seth Rollins and Braun Strowman (c) vs. Robert Roode and Dolph Ziggler
Two sets of non-teams battle for what were, until very recently, a set of tag belts that were beginning to regain a semblance of prestige. I am also pretty annoyed that this seems to totally be in service of adding artificial tension between Strowman and Rollins rather than actually building a compelling storyline between the two revolving around the Universal Champion. As a result, I see Robert Roode and Dolph Ziggler winning the belts (potentially to drop them to the Viking Raiders later down the line) to really ramp up the frustration between Strowman and Rollins, potentially even turning Strowman heel again.
WWE Intercontinental Championship Match: Shinsuke Nakamura (c) vs. The Miz
It’s nice to Shinsuke Nakamura finally back on television and getting involved in feuds, even if he does have Sami Zayn as an unnecessary mouthpiece; however, if eel the Miz has done everything he can possibly do with the Intercontinental Championship so, while I’m not happy to see Miz lose again, I feel Shinsuke Nakamura has to win here to help boost his new alliance with Sami and build his credibility back up.
SmackDown! Live Women’s Championship Match: Bayley (c) vs. Charlotte Flair
It would not surprise me at all if the WWE put the belt back on to Charlotte simply because…it’s Charlotte, and no other reason. However, Bayley just started getting an edge with her quasi-heel turn and what better way to legitimise that than to get a decisive win over the WWE’s golden girl? I don’t like Charlotte as a face but this has to go to Bayley if her heel turn is going to mean anything.
Roman Reigns vs. Rowan
Everyone is always so busy talking shit about Baron Corbin that if eel as though they’ve forgotten about Rowan, a guy who never seems to work when he’s going solo and who I just see no real future in beyond being the muscle behind another guy or “the other guy” in a tag team. I am holding out hope that this is all an elaborate ruse on Daniel Bryan’s part and we’ll get another Reigns/Bryan feud, though, so I think we’ll see Bryan get involved and help Rowan get the win.
SmackDown! Live Tag Team Championship Match: The New Day (c) vs. The Revival
So, are the Revival officially on SmackDown! Live now? I know they’re Randy Orton’s little buddies lately but I didn’t realise they had officially jumped brands, or that they had even earned a shot at the belts. I don’t see the Revival winning here, though, mainly because, well, it’s the New Day, and they only recently finished up a less-than-stellar reign as the Raw Tag Team Champions so I’ll pick the New Day for this one.
WWE Championship Match: Kofi Kingston (c) vs. Randy Orton
Randy Orton has been pushing Kofi Kingston to breaking point since their last match, to the point where you can almost believably see Kofi turning heel. Honestly, though, I don’t think anyone is going to care too much if Orton gets beaten black and blue; it’s hard to feel sympathy for a guy who has done as much stuff and said as much shit as he has so I think we’ll instead see a decisive win from Kofi Kingston to bring this feud to an end, possibly so that Corbin can scoot over to the Blue Brand and take his place.
Raw Women’s Championship Match: Becky Lynch (c) vs. Sasha Banks
As much as I hate to say it, it may be time to see Becky’s unprecedented reign come to an end; Sasha would look pretty weak if she lost here, considering she just returned as a despicable, smug-bitch heel and it would tie into my fantasy booking to see Sasha and Bayley holding all the Women’s Championships. So, yeah, while I’m no fan of hers, I think the only logical thing to do is put the belt on Sasha Banks and let her hold it for longer than five minutes in service of this story.
WWE Universal Championship Match: Seth Rollins (c) vs. Braun Strowman
So, like I say, I’m massively unimpressed with his weak the build to this match has been but I think we’ll see Strowman as a tweener-heel, all pissed off after losing the Raw Tag Team Championships earlier in the night, and give Seth a right mauling. Whoever wins, they get to face the Fiend, Bray Wyatt, at Hell in a Cell and, honestly, this could go either way but I think we’ll see Seth Rollins endure the beating and win, then get laid out by Strowman or Wyatt (or both) afterwards and drop the belt to the Fiend at Hell in a Cell instead.