Welcome To Monday Night Raw, a week away from the 2018 Money In The Bank PPV!
It’s a new week and a new episode of Monday Night Raw. I think it’s fair to say that the past few weeks of Raw has been lacklustre…to say the least. I think it feels like there is no heavyweight scene right now, so we’re stuck with three hours of mid-card and less. More than a year with a part-time Champion has truly hurt Raw and the belt in my opinion, and I think the novelty of Brock having it has worn off. Raw really needs the title so that feuds actually matter and it feels like there is a ladder to climb, not just a pool of Intercontinental title contenders. And with that in mind, tonight will give us one more night of Money In The Bank ladder match hype and momentum building; with Finn Balor facing Kevin Owens and Braun Strowman facing Bobby Roode.
Also on tonight’s show, Nia Jax will face Natalya. Jax has quickly devolved into the bully heel that Alexa Bliss said she was a few weeks ago, and she has been doing-so to Ronda Rousey. Natalya, a friend of Rousey, stepped-up and is ready to defend her friends honour. The two will face-off tonight but I don’t think Natalya stands much of a chance, while Ronda may be in Nattie’s corner.
Elsewhere on tonight’s show, we’re still in need of title contenders to The Deleter’s of Worlds, Bayley and Sasha continue their slow-burn feud, and will Roman Reigns return? All that and (hopefully) more on tonight’s Raw. Let us know what you’re excited to see by downloading the Ringside Talk app, and enjoy the show!
Monday Night Raw opens with Elias sitting in the middle of the ring and the fans boo loudly as he is introduced.
Elias goes through his introductory schtick and plays a few licks for the fans, for which he receives some applause. He says it should be no surprise that he is the first face they see tonight because he is the company’s most valuable asset, and he will become even more valuable at Money In The Bank, when he takes the Intercontinental Championship. He reminds us of what WWE stands for and that last week he smashed Seth Rollins with one of his favourite guitars last week. He says he turned the pain of losing that guitar into a song that he will sing right now.
As Elias plays we see replays of the attack last week. His song says Rollins has fallen, just like the Houston Rockets. It isn’t long before Seth Rollins interrupts Elias and is walking gingerly to the ring. Elias tosses his stool and velvet coat aside, grabs his guitar like a weapon and waits. Rollins walks around the ring and bides his time as the fans chant his name. Rollins lifts the apron up and pulls out a chair, an equaliser! Elias looks scared and starts to back-off as Seth climbs onto the apron. Rollins gets into the ring and they have a stand-off until they swing at the same time and Elias’ guitar flies out of his hands. Seth backs him into the corner but out of nowhere, Jinder Mahal and Sunil Singh attack Rollins from behind.
Rollins is beaten down until Roman Reigns returns and sprints to the ring to make the save. Reigns helps Seth to his feet and out comes Kurt Angle. Worth mentioning that Corey Graves referred to them as “former-Shield brothers”, so I guess that reunion is over before it ever really began. Angle tells Mahal and Elias not to go anywhere because they have to face Rollins and Reigns, right now! I swear the “right now” match gimmick has been used so much recently.
Rollins starts the match with Elias but he tags in Jinder, who then tags out again. Rollins and Reigns eventually attack both in frustration. Rollins hits Mahal with a plancha while Reigns sends Elias into the barricade. Rollins gets Mahal in the ring and dropkicks him and the match properly begins.
Reigns tags in and gets booed loudly. Reigns whips Rollins into Mahal, who hits a running forearm. Rollins then sends Mahal into Reigns, who hits him with a back elbow. Rollins tags in, and they slam Mahal down. Elias tags in and attacks Rollins from behind. Elias hits a snapshot off the top rope. Elias sends him into the ropes for a clothesline. Elias then applies a neck vice. Rollins tries to fight out, so Elias applies a chin lock to keep him grounded. Rollins tries to fight up, but Elias quickly takes him down and cinches in the chin lock. Rollins fights out and goes for a suplex, but his neck is too hurt. Elias goes for a knee drop, but Rollins moves. Mahal tags in and tries to stop Rollins, but he’s sent over the top rope.
Reigns is tagged in, and he hits a pair of clotheslines followed by a leaping clothesline. Reigns punches Elias off the apron and clubs away at Mahal in the corner. Reigns hits the ropes, but Mahal boots him. Reigns hits the ropes and boots Mahal, who makes the tag to Elias, who also and eats a big boot from Reigns. Reigns gets set up for a Superman, but Mahal distracts him, so Reigns punches him instead. Elias gets out of the ring to recover. Reigns leaves the ring and goes to hit Mahal with a Drive By Dropkick, but Elias comes out of nowhere to clothesline him. And the heels regain control as we head to the break.
We come back from the break to see Reigns trapped in a chin lock applied by Elias. Reigns eventually fights out, but Elias clobbers him with right hands. Mahal tags in and snaps Reigns off the top rope for a two count. Elias tags in and punches away at Reigns before knocking Rollins off the apron. Reigns makes a comeback, but Elias quickly drops him with a back elbow. Mahal tags back in and kicks Reigns in the ribs. Mahal applies a chin lock, but Reigns fights up. Mahal knees him in the ribs, but Reigns quickly comes back with a Samoan Drop.
Rollins and Elias are tagged in. Rollins hits a Lou Thesz Press and punches away at him before hitting a Sling Blade. Mahal is knocked off the apron. Rollins goes to the second rope for a blockbuster on Elias for a two count. Rollins gets up holding his neck. Elias drops him on the apron. Rollins springboards off the ropes and rolls when Elias moves. Rollins avoids a kick and hits the falcon arrow. Mahal breaks up the pin. Mahal goes for the Khallas, but Reigns comes in and levels him with a Superman Punch. Reigns then hits Elias with a Drive By Dropkick. Rollins superkicks Elias and sets up for the Stomp. Sunil Singh gets on the apron and leaps off before Rollins attacks, but he leaps right into Reigns.
Mahal quickly attacks Reigns from behind and sends him into the steel steps. Mahal then sends him into the crowd. Elias rolls Rollins up for a two count. Rollins hits a step-up enzuigiri on Elias before hitting Mahal with a suicide dive. Rollins grabs his neck in pain at ringside. Singh grabs a steel chair, but Rollins turns and he doesn’t want any. Singh runs into the ring and drops the chair and runs out the other side. Rollins slides back in and Elias takes advantage: hitting a DDT on the chair in front of the referee. Elias then hits the Drift Away for the win.
Well I think it’s fair to say neither Mahal or Elias will win on Sunday, hence why they won here. We see replays of the match as they celebrate on the ramp.
Later tonight, Nia Jax faces Natalya, Braun Strowman faces Bobby Roode, and we have a seven team battle royale!
We return and see Bruce Prichard in the front row, with a ad for his Network podcast show.
There are a table of taco’s outside of the ring and Curt Hawkins stands within. He says tonight is a big deal because he is currently at 0-199, but tonight will not be his 200th loss. Hawkins says when he wins, everyone gets a free taco. He introduces his opponent, a local jobber by the name of James Harden.
They lock up, and Hawkins powers Harden to the corner before punching him. Hawkins whips him hard into the corner before hitting a body slam. Harden avoids a splash in the corner, but he soon eats a kick and is turned inside out with a clothesline.
A “We want tacos” chant fires up. Baron Corbin’s music then hits, and he comes out smiling and clapping. Corbin gets in the ring and hits Harden with the End of Days to cost Hawkins the match.
Hawkins isn’t happy about losing his 200th match in a row. Corbin hits him in the face with the taco and bounces him off the table. Corbin then dumps the table of tacos onto Hawkins before walking off.
Natalya is warming up with “Rowdy” Ronda Rousey – funnily, Ronda is showing her how to punch properly; with your elbow tucked at hour side to minimise telegraphing. Natalya faces Nia Jax, next.
We return to see Baron Corbin walk into Kurt Angle’s office and says he sees what’s going on here. He reckons he is being overshadowed and not given any opportunities. Corbin spoke directly to Stephanie McMahon, who wanted him to give Angle a message. Corbin pulls out a letter and reads; McMahon says she is establishing a checks and balances system. Corbin is appointed as the new Constable of Monday Night RAW. Corbin is her personal representative. Angle reads the letter for himself and doesn’t seem pleased.
Ronda Rousey makes her way to the arena and receives a hero’s welcome. Rousey joins the commentary team for the upcoming match. The Women’s Champion, Nia Jax, is out next.
Collar-and-elbow tie-up starts the match and Nia quickly slams Nattie to the mat face-first. They take a second and Natalya grabs her for a headlock. Nattie looks to flip Nia to the mat but can’t get her over and Jax throws her off. Natalya runs into Nia over and over before rolling from the ring to regroup.
We come back from the break to see Natalya trapped in a chin lock. Natalya fights up and hits a jawbreaker. Natalya kicks her and goes for a body slam, but she can’t gets Jax off her feet. Jax head-butts her down. Natalya fights back and counters a wheelbarrow slam into a botched bulldog.
Natalya then dropkicks her back. Rousey is doing well on commentary right now, they’ve given her way more to talk about than usual. Natalya fights back, but she can’t whip Jax. Natalya avoids an avalanche from Jax and hits a discus clothesline for a two count. Natalya tries to get the quiet crowd fired up. Natalya hits the ropes, but he knee twists and I think she may be legit hurt. Jax then hits a Samoan Drop for the win.
Natalya is struggling to get up, and Jax looks kinda worried. Rousey tells the commentary team to hold her headphones, and she heads down to the ring. Rousey checks on her friend. Rousey keeps Jax away from her. Jax bumps her, so Rousey gets in her face. Rousey tells her to leave the ring. Jax continues to pace around in the background as Ronda tends to Nattie, who slaps the mat in frustration. Rousey and the referee help Natalya to the back.
Renee Young interviews Bobby Roode backstage. She asks him about his mindset heading into his first ever Money in the Bank Ladder Match. Roode says he’s ecstatic. Roode is two weeks away from the most life changing match in WWE. Roode is looking forward to making history. When he wins, it’ll be absolutely glorious. She then asks him about facing Braun Strowman. Roode says he doesn’t know. He’s been in the business twenty years, but has never seen a man like Braun Strowman. Roode will have to use all his tricks to beat him. To be honest, Roode’s goal is to survive.
Braun Strowman’s music hits, and he makes his way to the ring for his match against Bobby Roode, next.
They lock up, and Strowman immediately powers him down before flexing. Roode applies a side headlock, but Strowman throws him off. Roode sidesteps an avalanche, but Strowman soon grabs him and throws him across the ring. Roode quickly boots him back and goes to the second rope, but Strowman grabs him by the throat and picks him up.
Roode slides off and attacks the knee. Roode goes for a Glorious DDT, but Strowman flapjacks him. Strowman grabs him and hits a massive suplex before posing for the crowd. Strowman licks his lips and charges, but Roode elbows him and boots him. Roode then lets Strowman do his favorite spot: the running shoulder into the ring post. Roode goes under the ring and grabs a ladder. Roode sets up a ladder bridge from the ring apron to the barricade.
Roode gets in the ring and goads Strowman into chasing him around the ring. Roode tries to run Strowman into the ladder, but he stops. Roode mocks him. Strowman clubs the ladder and breaks it in half! Roode is stunned! Strowman chases him around the ring and sends him into the barricade. Strowman sends him into the ring and hits a Running Powerslam for the win.
Kevin Owens is watching backstage when Dasha Fuentes interviews him about his thoughts. Owens doesn’t care about anyone that stands in his way on the way to the Money in the Bank contract. As for Finn Balor, he’ll prove that he’s nothing more than a made up Irish myth. Owens takes on Finn Balor later tonight.
We return to see Natalya backstage has ice on her knee in the trainer’s room, telling Ronda Rousey she felt a pop. Rousey helps her to her feet. Nia Jax comes in and apologizes about the knee. Rousey says she’s done enough already. Jax says this isn’t ballet and Natalya is as much her friend as Rousey’s. Natalya says she knows Jax didn’t mean to hurt her, but she needs a minuter to herself. Natalya hobbles off on crutches, leaving Nia and Ronda staring at each other.
We go back to the arena, where Renee Young introduces the RAW Tag Team Champions, Matt Hardy and Bray Wyatt, to the ring. The Deleters of Worlds make their entrance. She asks how it feels to watch the entire Tag Team Division fight for a shot at their titles. Wyatt says any team that has the audacity to face off against the Deleters of Worlds should understand they will not be facing men. They’ll be facing Woken Warriors. They will be facing Fireflies. They will be facing gods. Then they will truly understand what it means to be… WOKEN! “WOKEN” Matt Hardy says they are magic. Their essences have traveled and transcended space and time. Now they stand before them all as the RAW Tag Team Champions. They are unparalleled and unstoppable. They’ve woken the entire WWE Universe. Hardy asks if Young considers herself woken. Renee says, “Yeah… yup.” Hardy says that is WONDERFUL and gets the crowd to give her an ovation. It is time for this Battle Royale to commence. Wyatt shouts, “WAIT!” Let it be known that no matter what team wins tonight, first they will suffer, and then be DELETED! The RAW Tag Team Champions pose.
Coming up next, we’ll have a #1 Contender’s Tag Team Battle Royal.
The brawling starts before JoJo even starts her introductions, so there was some miscommunication there. Zigger and McIntyre go through the middle ropes and watch from the apron for a few. McIntyre then gets in and unloads on Viktor. O’Neal nearly eliminates Ziggler, but he holds on. Konnor nearly gets Slater out of the ring, but Rhyno saves him. Scott Dawson holds McIntyre for Dash Wilder to punch. Tyler Breeze then eliminates Ziggler!
Dolph Ziggler & Drew McIntyre Eliminated
McIntyre unloads on whoever is around him. Ziggler joins in, and they hit Bo Dallas with a Zig-Zag/Claymore combo. We head to a break – why on earth would WWE eliminate those two, now they look as weak as every other team in the match.
We come back from the break to see the brawl still going on. Titus Worldwide were eliminated during the break by The Revival.
Titus Worldwide Eliminated
Fandango attacks Viktor and quickly eliminates him, and therefore Konor as well.
The Ascension Eliminated
Scott Dawson then eliminates Fandango as The Revival start to dominate the match, which usually means they won’t last much longer.
The Revival concentrate on Rhyno and pick him apart. They go for Shatter Machine on Slater, but Rhyno grabs Wilder and eliminates him, much to the dismay of Dawson.
The Revival Eliminated
Slater superkicks Dawson for good measure. The B-Team attack them. Dallas boots Rhyno back before Axel DDTs him. They get Rhyno on the apron, but Slater makes the save. Slater picks Dallas up and accidentally hits Rhyno with his legs, knocking him off the apron. The B-Team wins!!
The B-Team will face The Deleters of Worlds for the WWE RAW Tag Team Championship. They celebrate like crazy after their big win. No offense to either team but it’s hard to imagine it wasn’t that long ago that we had The Bar Vs. The Uso’s, hard to see how we ended up here.
Bobby Lashley will respond to Sami Zayn, next.
Out comes Captain Charisma, Bobby Lashley. The former Champion gets into the ring and says that where he comes from, men settle their differences face-to-face, so he invites Sami Zayn out to the ring and talk to his face. Zayn’s music hits but he’s nowhere to be seen.
We hear Sami talk and the camera finds him standing in the crowd. Bobby rhetorically asks if Bobby wants him in the ring, to which Zayn then says last time he was in a ring with Lashley, he almost got his hand broken. He says that he’s so intelligent and Instagram has helped him get some insight into Bobby Roode. Zayn makes fun of Lashley posting inspirational quotes on Instagram, showing them on the titantron and laughing at them.
Zayn continues making fun and says simple folk, like the Texans in the arena, would see the quotes and think it’s great, that Bobby is a nice guy. However a smart man like him digs a little deeper. He says he created a fake Instagram account and commented on the post, expecting a response from Lashley, but instead, he got a link to Bobby’s fan club, where he could buy expensive merchandise. Zayn walks up the steps in the crowd to leave. Lashley asks him where he’s going and what the point of that was. He asks him to come back and talk to him face-to-face. Zayn replies that he doesn’t do that with liars. Lashley says he understands that Zayn is trying to hype the match but why at the stake of his reputation? Zayn baulks at the idea of Lashley’s reputation. He says Lashley is a liar, and questions if he has sisters or if he ever even served in the army. That ticked Lashley off, and he removes his jacket. Zayn and Lashley have a big staredown from across the arena before Lashley’s music plays. Michael Cole points out that Lashley definitely did serve in the army and questions Sami’s sanity.
We see replays of tonight’s opening tag team match. The commentators discuss Money In The Bank. Charly Caruso is backstage with Jinder Mahal. She asks him about the rivalry with Roman Reigns, to which Jinder says Reigns is a jealous man who envies his power. He says Reigns has been given opportunity after opportunity, which should have been given to him. He says the winds are shifting and Roman will find that a storm of change is coming. She sends us over to Renee Young, who is with Roman. He laughs at the idea that he is bitter and jealous of Jinder Mahal. He tells Jinder to check his resume, but if you look at Mahal’s, he hasn’t done anything of late and he expects everything. Mahal cuts-in and can’t believe that Roman said that. Roman then tells him to shut-up, or better, he’ll come find him. Roman stomps off in search of Jinder and we follow him through the arena. Roman finds Jinder, who throws Sunil at him but Roman tosses him aside. Roman and Sunil start brawling backstage and Roman throws him into a garage door before they’re separated by officials.
Alexa Bliss makes her way to the ring, for a six-woman tag team match.
Alexa’s teammates are out next, Sasha Banks and Ember Moon – I find it hard to buy that Alexa is just a babyface all of a sudden.
We start things off with Ruby and Ember. They lock-up and Ruby flips Ember over with a monkey toss. After a quick exchange of reversals, Ember then flips out of a takedown by Ruby.
They exchange more reversals and holds until Ember lands a nice leaping plancha from the apron. Ember takes charge and tags-in Alexa. Bliss grabs Ruby with an wrist-lock, then throws her to the corner. Alexa jumps over Ruby in the corner but lands and immedaitely falls, grabbing her knee. She crawls from the ring and leaves up the ramp, limping. Sasha Banks climbs into the ring as we go to the break. Guess I don’t have to buy Alexa as a babyface.
We come back from the break to see Liv Morgan on top of Moon. Sarah Logan tags in and head-butts Moon for a two count. Riott tags in and rag dolls Moon. Moon then runs her face-first into the ropes. Moon goes for a tag, but Riott takes her down. Moon gets away and makes the tag.
Banks and Morgan tag in. Banks cleans house before Morgan drops her on the apron. Morgan flapjacks her and slams her down for a two count. The Riott Squad makes frequent tags to stomp Banks. Morgan applies a full nelson to Banks. Banks gets out and kicks Morgan in the face before hitting a neckbreaker. Logan pulls Moon off the apron, but Moon fights her off, along with Riott. Moon gets on the apron, but Morgan knocks her off. Banks rolls her up for a two count. Morgan attacks and tags Riott in. Banks fights Morgan off and hits Riott and Logan with a Meteora off the ropes.
Bayley’s music hits, and she runs down and climbs on the apron. Bayley tags in and cleans house against Morgan before hitting Bayley-To-Belly for the win.
Apparently anyone can run down and join a match now. Seriously, how the heck does she just enter a match, win it, and get her hand raised, that was so dumb.
Backstage, Baron Corbin is not happy with what just happened in this match. Kurt Angle says it’s none of his business. Corbin says it is his business. Nowhere does it state that a WWE superstar can enter a match that has already started… or does Kurt want to ask Stephanie? Corbin tells Angle to tell Bayley, Banks, and Moon that their win doesn’t count. Angle walks off. Thank God they rectified that finish.
We return to see Bayley, Banks, and Moon walking backstage. Sasha says Alexa pretended to be injured as always. Ember says they won because of Bayley, and Sasha agrees. Sasha attempts to apologise but Bayley tells her not to. Ember tells them they need to hug-it-out but before they can do that, Kurt Angle walks-up and tells them the Riott Squad won by DQ. Ember storms off. We also see Baron Corbin backstage with the referee and he’s giving him crap for the call.
We return to the arena to see The Big Show on stage with Team Texas, part of the USA Special Olympics Games. He welcomes the team as they will compete in the 2018 Games in Seattle. He says he has the privilege of getting to know these people and they inspire him to be a better person. He says he is proud to stand by their side and together they can make a difference. He asks the WWE Universe to stand-up and support Team Texas. The fans give a standing ovation.
Finn Balor comes out on stage and performs his entrance, along with Team Texas, who then give him the “Too Sweet” hand gesture. Balor makes his way to the ring as the commentators remind us of his recent run-in’s with Kevin Owens. They will go one-on-one next!
Kevin Owens is out next and he is in the zone.
They lock up, and Owens powers Balor into the corner. Balor ducks a right hand and chops him. Owens quickly puts himself through the ropes to keep Balor back. Owens applies a waistlock and takes him down before slapping him in the back of the head. Balor gets to his feet and kicks away at Owens’ legs. Owens quickly rolls out of the ring to recover.
Owens takes his time getting back into the ring as Balor awaits frustrated. Balor stalks him around the ring. Owens quickly kicks and clubs him down before applying a chin lock. Balor tries to whip him off, but Owens hangs on. Owens connects with a headlock takeover and cinches in the side headlock. Balor fights up and whips him off, but Owens shoulder blocks him down for a two count. Owens immediately goes back to a chin lock and grounds Balor again. Balor fights up and gives Owens an arm drag. Owens fights up and backs Balor to the corner before punching him in the midsection and stomping him. Owens shouts that this is his show.
Owens goes for a sunset flip, but Balor rolls through and catches him with a dropkick. Balor applies an armbar and backs him to the corner. Owens elbows Balor in the face and stomps him. Owens Irish whips him hard into the corner, and Balor collapses. Owens picks up a two count. Balor sidesteps an avalanche, goes to the apron, and hits a slingshot kick. Balor goes to the top rope, but Owens rolls out of the ring to recover as we head to the break.
We come back from the break to see Owens taking Balor down with another chin lock. Balor fights up and takes him down with a diving forearm. Owens fights back and goes to the top rope, but Balor comes right back with a step-up enzuigiri. Balor goes to the top rope, so Owens leaves the ring. Balor then hits a summersault dive over the top rope. Balor gets him in the ring, but Owens rolls right back out. Balor pulls him up to the apron, so Owens snaps his arm off the top rope. Owens attacks the arm and stomps it. Owens works on Finn’s arm, slamming it on the mat before applying an arm bar. Owens keeps him grounded with a hammerlock. The crowd is turning on this match with the overuse of rest holds. Balor fights up, but Owens slams him down. Owens goes for a senton splash, but Balor moves. Balor shakes his arm and gets to his feet, but Owens soon kicks him and takes him down. Owens tries for a powerbomb, but Balor takes him down and hits a double stomp to the midsection.
Both men are down and the referee counts. They slowly get up and Balor takes him down with a Sling Blade for a two count. Balor goes for another Sling Blade, but Owens counters into a roll-up for a two count. Owens superkicks him in the face for another two count. Balor soon gets to his feet and hits a Sling Blade. Owens struggles to get to his feet, and Balor dropkicks him hard into the corner. Balor goes to the top rope, but Owens crotches him up there. Owens ties him up in the tree of woe and stomps away at him. Owens continues stomping at him as the ref counts, so it’s called off!
Owens rolls him to the center of the ring and hits a frog splash. Owens goes under the ring and grabs a ladder. Owens sets it up under the Money in the Bank briefcase hanging over the ring. Owens climbs the ladder and looks at the briefcase, but then he turns and looks at Balor as it to jump. Owens signals for a frog splash, but he’s afraid of heights. Owens goes down a few rungs, but he’s still too nervous to jump. Balor quickly gets to his feet and pulls Owens off before dropkicking him into the corner. Balor climbs to the top of the ladder and hits a Coup de Grace off the ladder! Balor then climbs back up the ladder and grabs the briefcase. Balor holds the Money in the Bank briefcase to close the show.
That’s it for this week’s Raw. This Sunday is Money In The Bank but before that we have SmackDown Live tomorrow night. You can find all your coverage right here and on the Ringside News app! Until next time, safe travels!