Monday Night RAW was live from St. Paul, Minnesota this week. On the stage was a throne because King of the Ring starts this week. Jerry Lawler replaced Corey Graves on commentary for this show.
Roman Reigns vs. Dolph Ziggler
The program started with Roman Reigns coming to the ring. As a refresher, we were shown a video package about his struggles lately. Reigns has been targeted by someone recently, and he doesn’t know who it is. Buddy Murphy was pressured into telling Reigns that Rowan was the attacker, but on Smackdown last week we found that Murphy lied. Smackdown ended last week with Daniel Bryan saying he knows who did it, and that he’ll reveal who it is next week. When Dolph Ziggler’s music hit, we found out a singles match was going to start off the show. Ziggler called out Reigns earlier in the week on Twitter. Before the match, Ziggler got on the mic and said he doesn’t understand why Reigns gets attention while he doesn’t. Ziggler said “I know you almost got hit by a car, but do you know how it feels to be speared by Goldberg?” That line made me chuckle.
Ziggler continued to talk about his recent troubles. While talking to Reigns, Ziggler landed a superkick which caught him off guard. When the fight officially started, Reigns gave Ziggler a punch which knocked him out of the ring. Reigns jumped off the steel staircase, but Ziggler dodged him. Ziggler landed a ZigZag on the floor before we went to break. Back from the break, Ziggler had Reigns in a headlock. Reigns threw Ziggler outside the ring. Reigns hit a Drive By then put Ziggler back in the ring. Reigns started to gain momentum. After a few moves, Reigns tried for a Superman Punch but Ziggler reversed it into a roll-up. Reigns kicked out, and then was hit with a DDT for another two-count. Ziggler tried for a ZigZag but couldn’t get it. He tried for another roll-up but Reigns kicked out. Ziggler jumped up but was caught. He escaped, then threw Reigns into a cornerpost. He hit another ZigZag for a two count. Wow, the ZigZag must be a really weak move. Ziggler called for a Sweet Chin Music Superkick. He tried for one, but was caught and then hit with a Superman Punch. Ziggler kicked out at two. Reigns tried for a Spear, but Ziggler hit his Famouser move instead. Reigns kicked out at two. Ziggler tried for something after taunting for a long time, but was hit with a Spear for the win.
This match was really good, but should Ziggler really be giving Reigns a run for his money like this? Ziggler has been completely jobbing himself out recently, so kicking out of finishers of Reigns and nearly winning either makes it seem like he’s gotten way better in a week, or Reigns isn’t as good as we thought. But besides that, it was a fun match to watch.
The King’s Court featuring Sasha Banks
After Sasha Banks returned last week, in a segment where she attacked Natalya (don’t forget Natalya was at the time talking about her father who died a year ago) and Becky Lynch, she got interviewed by Jerry Lawler this week on The King’s Court. Before the segment, we saw a recap of last week, and then a promo from Becky Lynch.
Jerry Lawler was in the ring with two thrones. Before he brought out Banks, he talked about the King of the Ring tournament. The bracket was shown on the screen. Lawler kept talking, but was interrupted by ominous noises. He knew it was what introduced The Fiend (F.K.A Bray Wyatt), so he left the ring. He went to the stage, where The Fiend was behind him. When he turned around, The Fiend put a hand in his mouth and choked him out. Lawler’s speech about the King of the Ring was amazingly boring, so it was sort of nice that this happened. Cool that they’re keeping the appearances of The Fiend to a minimum while keeping him on TV. The commentary did a sad little update after the break, with Vic Joseph replacing Lawler for the rest of the night, and I don’t know. Is it possibly too picky to complain about how this felt similar to when Lawler was actually taken off TV due to a heart attack? It could totally be an unintentional move, but it very much reminded me of that.
Ricochet & The Miz vs. Drew McIntyre & Baron Corbin
In the next match, the four RAW wrestlers that are a part of the King of the Ring match who aren’t fighting tonight competed in a tag team match. The Miz did a baseball slide to the outside onto their opponents, and Ricochet did a moonsault off the top rope to the outside before the break. After the break, McIntyre gave Miz a belly-to-belly german suplex. While these two battled, the crowd became focused on something happening in the crowd. They were booing something that was happening. Miz hit a DDT to escape the long-lasting pressure from McIntyre. Ricochet got the hot tag against Corbin. Ricochet landed a standing moonsault for a two-count. McIntyre came in the ring and tossed Ricochet across the ring. He was setting up for a Claymore Kick, but was hit with a kick himself. The Miz gave McIUntyre a Skull Crushing Finale. It was just Ricochet and Corbin in the ring again. Corbin hit a Deep Six for a two count. Ricochet did a dropkick off the second rope and then jumped into a corner where Corbin dodged. Corbin charged into the corner but The Miz moved Ricochet out of the way. Ricochet hit the Recoil to end the match. Fun and quick matchup.
Braun Strowman vs. AJ Styles w/ Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson (WWE United States Championship Match)
After the break we saw Sasha Banks backstage. She was setting up for an interview which will happen later this week. Before the next match, Booker T Skyped in to the show to talk about King of the Ring. The next match was a US Title match, which AJ Styles challenged Braun Strowman to last week. Styles slapped Strowman. He was hit with a shoulder tackle then went outside the ring. Strowman chased Styles around the ring. With Strowman in-between the ropes, Styles threw some kicks. Strowman tried for a choke slam but Styles go out. Strowman did a back body drop where Styles fell somewhat awkward. Styles kicked Strowman when the big man charged into a corner. Styles went off the ropes but was hit with a slap. Strowman tried for a running powerslam, but Gallows and Anderson came in to intervene, and of course end the match via DQ. Seth Rollins did a run-in to save Strowman. He took out Gallows and Anderson. Rollins shook hands with Strowman in the ring. After the break, Rollins asked Strowman if they want to team up to face Gallows and Anderson for their titles later tonight. I was waiting for that, because I knew the biggest program on the show wouldn’t be just five or so minutes on the show.
Samoa Joe vs. Cesaro (King of the Ring First Round Match)
The first of eight first round King of the Ring matches was Samoa Joe versus Cesaro. At the very start of the match, Cesaro landed an uppercut which caught Joe off guard. Joe kicked out. Joe hit a few moves, and then Cesaro did a corkscrew off the ropes. Cesaro was thrown over the guardrail into the front row as we went to break. After the break, Cesaro was back in the ring and trading blows with Joe. Later on, Cesaro dodged a Senton and then landed uppercuts in the corner. He got a big boot for a two count. Cesaro did a crossbody off the top for a two count. Joe reversed with a uranage and then a senton. Cesaro did his famous Cesaro Swing, but did it for a very small amount of time before putting in a Sharpshooter. He transitioned into a crossface but couldn’t get it. Cesaro jumped off the ropes but was put in a Cohena Clutch to end the bout. These guys put on a fun one to be honest.
Elias’ Defends The US Championship
Elias did a performance in the ring. He had microphone issues throughout the performance. He said this was his last performance because he can’t risk being on the show live due to being the WWE 24/7 Champion. When he started playing the guitar, it was out of tune. He was thrown a new guitar. Elias asked the person to hand him the guitar. The lights went up, and it was R-Truth. He went for a roll-up, but couldn’t get it. He tried again, and Elias kicked out. He landed a move and failed with another pin attempt. R-Truth grabbed a guitar and swung it, but Elias got out of the ring. A funny touch to this segment was while R-Truth took off his outfit, a referee got in the ring and took off the same outfit.
Rey Mysterio Gets Interviewed
In a backstage segment, Rey Mysterio was interviewed by Charly Caruso. Mysterio talked about the issues he’s struggling with recently. He mentioned how Andrade ripped off his mask. He also talked about how his injuries have caught up to him. He started to choke up as he was teasing his retirement. Just as he was about to unmask himself, his son came into the shot and said he wants to partner with him and pleaded him not to retire. Mysterio seemed persuaded by this. While Mysterio had some pretty good acting in this scene, his son didn’t.
New Day (Big E & Xavier Woods) vs. The Revival (Scott Dawson & Dash Wilder)
The next match on the show was The New Day versus The Revival. We were told by commentary that The New Day have never beat their opponents. The Revival were wearing snake boots which were gifted to them by Orton. At first I was confused, because it sounded like a knock on Orton. After a break, Big E had a hot tag, giving both Revival members belly-to-belly suplexes. He did a standing frogsplash onto Dawson. He tried for a double team ove with Woods, although Dawson threw Woods off the top. As Big E was about to hit a move, Randy Orton came in the ring and gave Big E and RKO. Orton is seemingly forming a new trio where he has two henchmen. Kofi Kingston did a run-in and took out The Revival but was hit with an RKO for his troubles. Woods was given a triple team RKO. Orton made Kingston watch as The Revival did a double team move to Woods. Woods sold the move like a leg was torn off.
Sasha Banks Interview
Sasha Banks was interviewed next. She was backstage while the commentators were at their desk. Michael Cole asked her to explain her actions last week. While we expected her to talk about attacking Natalya and Becky Lynch, she talked about her hair colour change. Cole asked more specifically. but Banks walked off set. Okay, cool. It felt like this killed the momentum from last week, although I didn’t like the segment last week either.
Nikki Cross & Alexa Bliss vs. Mandy Rose & Sonya Deville
In the next match, WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions Nikki Cross and Alexa Bliss defeated Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville. Cross got the win for her team with the Cross Neckbreaker.
Cedric Alexander vs. Sami Zayn (King of the Ring First Round Match)
In the final King of the Ring match of the night, Cedric Alexander fought Sami Zayn. Zayn started fast in the match, but couldn’t get a pinfall. Alexander did a dive to the outside later. He followed it up with a kick off the ropes and lumbar check to win the match. Zayn got pretty squashed in this match. Backstage we had the Street Profits comparing their brackets for King of the Ring. They hyped up some of the upcoming matches in the tournament.
Backstage we saw Natalya cutting a promo about Sasha Banks. She had an arm in a brace. While she was talking, she was jumped by Banks. After the beatdown she said “Go to hell Nattie, and tell your daddy I said hi.” Ew. Just like last week, I don’t like the references to her actual deceased father. Just makes the show look trashy.
Braun Strowman & Seth Rollins vs. Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson w/ AJ Styles (RAW Tag Team Championship Match)
In the main event of the evening, Braun Strowman and Seth Rollins challenged for the RAW Tag team Championships. Gallows and Strowman started off the match. Strowman got a shoulder tackle, and then did a double team move, tagging in Rollins. Rollins was isolated in his opposite corner, where Anderson was tagged in. Rollins gave Gallows a knee right after he tagged in which sent him outside the ring. Rollins also sent Anderson outside the ring. In not so wise of a move, Rollins tried beating up both of them outside of the ring, and because of the numbers game, got beat up. After the break, it was Anderson and Rollins in the ring. Rollins was given a spinebuster, stopping the momentum he was building up. Anderson put Rollins on the top rope. Rollins reversed a Superplex, knocking Anderson off the ropes. He hit a blockbuster but couldn’t get a hot tag as Gallows got tagged in and stopped it. Outside the ring, Strowman got distracted by Styles. Gallows threw Strowman into a ringpost, then got back in the ring where he was hit with a Superkick by Rollins. Anderson got tagged in, and was hit with a Swingblade. Rollins got Gallows out of the ring and did a dive. Back in the ring, Rollins gave Anderson a Falcon Arrow for a two count. Weird how Strowman getting hurt almost won Rollins the match. Rollins went to the top, but when the referee wasn’t looking, Styles knocked him off the top rope. Gallows and Anderson hit a double team move which Rollins kicked out of. They tried for another double team move, but Rollins fought out of this one. Anderson threw Rollins outside of the ring, where Styles was going to hurt Rollins. Strowman finally reappeared, taking out Styles and Gallows. Strowman got a hot tag against Anderson, hitting tons of shoulder tackles and other moves. Stroman gave Anderson a Running Powerslam while Rollins fended off Styles with a Curbstomp. Strowman got the pin, winning the belts for him and Rollins.
While this match was very good, man it made Gallows and Anderson look like idiots. They threw everything at the trio, but none of it worked. Strowman gave Rollins subtle stares throughout this show, obviously teasing that he’s gonna turn on him eventually. I mean, that’s obvious.
This was a good RAW. To be honest, this show pointed out the issues that WWE has. While this show produced many great matches, the logic and reasoning behind a lot of storytelling is odd or just doesn’t make sense. The best part of the show was probably the King of the Ring matches, which were both pretty good matchups.