Such a Herculean display meant The Monster Among Men opened up Raw with a victory lap of sorts, crowing about annihilating Reigns so severely he wouldn't be appearing on Raw. But Raw General Manager Kurt Angle quickly cut the celebration short, announcing that he had sanctioned a match between Reigns and Strowman for WWE Payback. After a brief outburst, Strowman seemed more or less okay with the prospect of sending Reigns to his "funeral," but he was less than happy with The Olympic Hero telling him to take the night off. He demanded the WWE Hall of Famer present him with competition before dropping those two little words that tend to lead to very big consequences: “Or else.”
In two weeks, Samoa Joe will attempt to finish what he started against Seth Rollins when the two battle at WWE Payback. But before then, The Samoan Submission Machine had a G.O.A.T. to take care of: Joe went one-on-one with Chris Jericho on Raw, and the former U.S. Champion was out for a little payback of his own after Joe helped put him through a table a couple of weeks back.
The long and short of this tangled web, however, ended up in Joe’s favor this time around when he powered out of the Walls of Jericho to lock in the Coquina Clutch. While Jericho briefly managed to bridge his way into a defensive pinfall attempt, Joe adjusted position and submitted his foe before promising to defeat Rollins at Payback as retribution for The Kingslayer’s defeat of Triple H at WrestleMania.
With The Revival’s wrecking-ball slowed (for now) by an injury to Dash Wilder, the tag-team field is wide open on Team Red and Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson are right back in the thick of it. Even though Enzo Amore & Big Cass stepped up to the former champs after Braun Strowman took out The Golden Truth, the good brothers showed no signs of slowing down despite losing the Raw Tag Team Titles at WrestleMania.
The match was a pitch-perfect strategy session by Gallows & Anderson, who cut Enzo off from Big Cass for the majority of the ring and reacted appropriately when the seven-footer finally made his way in. Gallows intercepted Bada Boom Shakalaka and occupied Big Cass while Anderson disposed of legal man Enzo with a reverse Snake Eyes-type maneuver, bouncing him hips-first off the top turnbuckle for the win.
The Miz is back on Raw, which means “Miz TV” has come with him. And for his first guest, The A-Lister hosted fellow Superstar Shake-up ship-jumper Dean Ambrose, who welcomed Miz to Raw last week by planting him with Dirty Deeds.
The Lunatic Fringe was surprisingly nonplussed at Miz’s various insults, including but not limited to The Awesome One’s claim that Ambrose was too lazy to shatter the glass ceiling, retorting simply that his record and reputation speak for themselves. But then, Maryse made the mistake of insinuating that Ambrose was too much of a “boy” to take the Intercontinental Championship to the same heights Miz himself had before The Lunatic Fringe defeated him for it. So Ambrose tackled Miz to the ground and mauled him relentlessly; The A-Lister only got away when Maryse whacked Ambrose on the back with a microphone and gave Miz a moment to escape.
TJ Perkins is in a weird place right now. He’s kind of Neville’s protégé, or at least his potentially unwitting helping hand against Austin Aries, but he’s also a competitor in his own right, and on Raw he squared off against the beloved Gentleman Jack Gallagher in a 205 Live rematch that threatened to spill into a brawl at any moment thanks to the presence of both Neville and Aries at ringside.
Well, that, and the match got personal in a hurry — after Gentleman Jack mocked TJP with a dab, The Fil-Am Flash threw William the Third onto the arena floor. After Jack gained momentum by retrieving William and using the umbrella for an assisted top-rope senton, TJP, threw Gallagher into Aries, causing A-Double to nearly rush the ring until Neville knocked him off the apron. While the ref was preoccupied, Perkins kicked the middle rope into Gallagher’s eyes and finished him off with a Detonation Kick before making himself scarce, with Neville standing firm as a human shield between him and Aries. Curiouser and curiouser.
Well that didn’t take long, did it? Alexa Bliss made good on her Superstar Shake-up trade value in one week, defeating two Raw stalwarts and a SmackDown LIVE transplant to become No. 1 contender to the Raw Women’s Championship, potentially setting herself up to be the first Superstar to have held the Women’s titles of both brands.
While fellow competitors Mickie James and Sasha Banks initially worked together to help neutralize wild card Nia Jax, Bliss picked her spots and mostly stirred the pot, either provoking Nia or staying down to allow James and The Boss to attack each other in the interim. But after Jax shoved Mickie off the turnbuckle and took out Banks with a Samoan Drop, Alexa dropkicked her out of the ring and covered The Boss for a sneaky, yet impactful, victory.
Last week, Big Show confronted Curt Hawkins, and this week the giant is in the main event. By the transitive property, Curt Hawkins is therefore a star-maker and so the former WWE Tag Team Champion challenged any Superstar with main-event aspirations to face him and elevate themselves accordingly. He got inaugural Universal Champion Finn Bálor, and things went south very, very quickly. Bálor made quick work of his foe, peppering Hawkins with kicks, wrenching him down with a Sling Blade and finally executing the coup de grâce with, well, a Coup de Grâce. See you in the main event..
The Hardy Boyz said they were excited to be a part of WWE’s New Era. But if they’re not careful, that New Era may end up derailing their comeback: Jeff Hardy squared off one-on-one against one of the Hardys’ No. 1 contenders, Cesaro, and despite the dream-match stakes of the contest, The Charismatic Enigma found himself upended and outsmarted right until the very end of the match.
Hardy found himself outmuscled too, as The King of Swing’s prodigious strength allowed him to gain control of the match for the vast majority — at least until Jeff turned on the jets and clawed his way back. Cesaro continued to roll, but Hardy attacked wisely, unleashing a Whisper in the Wind, catching Cesaro with the Twist of Fate, and finally wrapping things up with the Swanton Bomb. It was enough to earn a handshake of respect from their challengers, but in two weeks, all of that goes out the door.
Maybe they should have reinforced the ring again: After Braun Strowman’s quest for competition put him square in the path of Big Show, The Monster Among Men battled the giant in such colossal fashion that the ring couldn’t stand the weight of it.
Strowman initially walked right into harm’s way by bum-rushing Show before the bell, allowing the giant to put a solid beating on him before the bell rang. Strowman once again broke out the science to even things out when the match began in earnest — arm drags! — and things quickly turned into which Superstar could physically overpower the other.
After a barrage of slams, suplexes and chops, it ended up being Strowman who landed the decisive blow. Show went up top in frustration when The Gift of Destruction kicked out of the KO Punch, but Strowman sprang up and administered a superplex that turned the ring to rubble and brought the match to a halt. And yet, Strowman still got to his feet and screamed in primal fashion to the crowd. There may have been no winner here, but someone certainly came out on top.
- Numbers in parentheses indicate the length of the match.
- (c) refers to the champion(s) heading into the match.
- Gallows and Anderson (Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson) defeated Realest Guys (Enzo Amore & Big Cass) (10:45)
- Alexa Bliss defeated Mickie James, Nia Jax & Sasha Banks in a #1 Contendership Match for the WWE Raw Women's Championship (13:45)
Other on-screen talent