ATLANTA - Fulfilling the girlhood dream was only half the battle: In her first Raw as WWE Women’s Champion, Sasha Banks found herself put on her heels — and her back — by the Superstar she beat to win the title in the first place, Charlotte. Granted, the circumstances of her defeat were unique: For one, a face-off between Charlotte and Sasha was interrupted by Chris Jericho and, later, Enzo Amore, leading to Raw General Manager Mick Foley setting up the first Mixed Tag Team Match of the New Era.
For another, Kevin Owens, of all people, wandered down to commentary to throw some shade Enzo’s way for stealing his thunder on WWE Draft Center a couple weeks back. And finally, both Dana Brooke and Chris Jericho interfered right as The Boss entered the home stretch. Sasha disposed of Dana easily, but she spent a little too long slapping Jericho across the face, and Charlotte capitalized by kicking out her knee and striking with Natural Selection. Jericho got the last word of the evening, however, when he hit Enzo with a post-match Codebreaker, though he made himself scarce when Big Cass stomped down to the ring in response.
A wise man once said that any man with two hands has a fighting chance. Turns out that didn’t apply to Evan Anderholm, the latest ham-and-egger to be obliterated by former Wyatt Family heavy and #ThickBrother extraordinaire, Braun Strowman. Anderholm, who claimed he’d receive a $5,000 purse if he defeated Strowman (he got $1,000 just for showing up) didn’t pose the slightest bit of a threat to the man-mountain, who tossed his opponent about the ring before flattening him with a splash in the corner and reverse chokeslam.
Last week, R-Truth’s obsession with “Pokémon Go” doomed The Shining Stars to defeat. This week, it ensured their victory. Facing The Golden Truth in a payback match of sorts for last week’s shenanigans, Primo & Epico upended the loony tandem with an unlikely assist from the accursed app. Thanks to Truth’s continuous checking of his phone, Goldust was left to go it alone against The Shining Stars, who overpowered him by force of sheer numbers and, ultimately, pinned him thanks to a springboard sunset-flip powerbomb from Primo. The good news is, Truth eventually caught something on the Stars’ discarded hibiscus flower. And hey, since they won, it’s likely that The Shining Stars would be delighted to take Golden Truth to Puerto Rico. We hear they have lots of Vaporeons.
Finn Bálor has arrived, and all he has to do is get past Seth Rollins to become the very first WWE Universal Champion. Seth, of course, isn’t buying the hype, and he laid out a case for his own superiority under the caveats that he was the first of the two to achieve all of Bálor’s signature accomplishments. Finn countered that he’s beaten no shortage of competitors who referred to themselves as “The Man,” and he was the only of the two of them to earn the Universal Title Match at SummerSlam, as Rollins was handed his own spot. That riled Seth up good, but his attempts to sucker-punch the Irishman landed him a boot to the gut and a Pele Kick to the dome.
As you may have heard, Rusev and Lana got married over the weekend, which technically means The Super Athlete's United States Title retention against Mark Henry is part of his honeymoon. And he certainly earned it, withstanding a turn-back-the-clock performance from a reinvigorated Henry, who wasn’t willing to go quietly into the “mentorship” role Stephanie McMahon and Mick Foley envisioned for him. His attempts to reopen the Hall of Pain nearly ended with Rusev defeated, though a kick to the back of Henry’s head allowed The Super Athlete to lock in the Accolade and retain his prize.
And then, things got interesting. As Rusev got on the mic to proclaim himself unbeatable, Roman Reigns swaggered down to the ring and threw hands with The Bulgarian Brute, ultimately laying him out with a Superman Punch off the steps as the big man tried to run. That honeymoon might be over sooner than Rusev would like.
If Bob Backlund is going to Make Darren Young Great Again, that means he has to instill the values of honest competition in his protégé. Unfortunately, D. Young’s old tag-team partner Titus O’Neil has no such moral restrictions on his strategy. The Big Deal not only questioned any prior greatness Young might have had on Raw Pre-Show but, in need of a shot in the arm himself following a failed bid for the U.S. Title, made sure he did everything necessary to make himself great again against Mr. No Days Off. That included ultimately defeating his tag team partner by grabbing a handful of to score an underhanded pin when Young proved too difficult to put away fairly. Hey, nobody said the march towards greatness didn't have a pothole or two.
Not to be outdone by Braun Strowman’s continuous obliterations, Nia Jax notched her second consecutive trouncing this week, a quick victory over a local competitor named Ariel Monroe. In all fairness to Miss Monroe, she gave Nia a solid fight, scoring a little bit of offense with a double boot to the imposing Superstar off the second rope. But when she dared to throw a forearm to Nia’s face, that’s when Jax kicked into high gear, shaking off the effects of the attack and trouncing Monroe in short order.
Despite being laid out by Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson last week, The New Day were forced to face the good brothers on Raw with the caveat that one of their numbers would be banned from ringside, a development that is booty by almost every conceivable measure. The unlucky unicorn turned out to be Xavier Woods thanks to a loss in a backstage game of “Match the Fruit,” but Big E & Kofi Kingston didn’t have any trouble picking up the slack in hometown hero Woods’ absence.
In fact, Big E got the pin rather quickly, taking down Karl Anderson while he was preoccupied with Too-Sweeting “The Suntan Biker Man.” Gallows & Anderson didn’t take that too well; they disposed of a returning Woods and blasted Big E with two Boots of Doom before wishboning his legs against the ring post as a way to, potentially, position themselves as potential No. 1 contenders to the WWE Tag Team Titles. Not bad for a loss.
Sheamus and Cesaro have been two unexpected question marks since the beginning of the New Era, and they’re not happy about it. Which explains why they got in Stephanie McMahon and Mick Foley’s face about it, but the surprise came in the Raw showrunners’ reaction: The Hardcore Legend not only offered explanations for their current predicaments — he thinks Sheamus hit a plateau following his Money in the Bank cash-in, and Cesaro fell in the draft due to his injury history — he offered them the chance to impress him in a one-on-one bout, with a twist: Whichever was the most impressive would receive a championship match down the line.
Extra incentive is all well and good, of course, and true to form, The King of Swing delivered. After a brutal back-and-forth, the bout of one-upsmanship swung (get it?) in Cesaro’s favor when he spun his way out of a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker and applied the Neutralizer for the win, though the two Superstars brawled after the match to such a degree that a cavalcade of referees had to separate them.
Not only is Heath Slater still a free agent, but also The One Man Band has been continuously upstaged by other free agents making their way back to WWE. On SmackDown Live, it meant eating a Gore from Rhyno. On Raw, it meant taking a loss to his fellow former 3MB bandmate Jinder Mahal, whom he initially brought in as a potential partner to sweeten the deal for himself. But Slater ended up having to battle Mahal after Mick Foley dangled the cherry of the last remaining Raw contract to the winner. While Slater protested Foley’s desire to “break up the band,” The Maharaja struck, booting Slater in the head soon as the bell rang and scoring the pin. The lesson? In the New Era, not even Heath Slater can hinder Jinder.
Know this about Seth Freaking Rollins: He will not be humiliated twice in one night. After landing on the wrong end of a tussle with Finn Bálor, The Architect saved face in a one-on-one bout against Sami Zayn later in the night, though The Underdog from the Underground proved a tougher opponent than Rollins might have liked.
Riding off the confidence of having beaten Kevin Owens at WWE Battleground, Zayn rallied from nearly every big move Rollins threw his way. He seemingly had the bout won after he gritted his way to a late-game Blue Thunder Bomb, tightrope DDT and plancha to the outside. But The Architect’s last-second dodge of a Helluva Kick offered all the opening he needed, as Zayn bounced off the turnbuckle straight into the waiting embrace of a Pedigree. It marked a big win for Rollins on his road to SummerSlam, but it was probably closer than he hoped.
Ever since Raw and SmackDown Live were split into two separate fiefdoms, it was only a matter of time before one Superstar was brazen enough to cross enemy lines. That being said, it’s unlikely anybody expected it to happen two weeks in, and even fewer people could have expected it to be at the expense of Brock Lesnar. Making his grand return, The Beast Incarnate was basking in his own glory while Paul Heyman offered a soaring proclamation of Lesnar’s superiority, capped off by the declaration that Randy Orton would never and could never hit an RKO outta nowhere on his client.
Moments later, of course, Randy Orton hit an RKO outta nowhere on his client. The Apex Predator hopped the barricade, stormed the ring and planted The Beast with his signature maneuver before fleeing through the crowd while Lesnar stewed in the ring and Stephanie McMahon and Mick Foley attempted to restore order. And why wouldn’t Lesnar be mad? Suplex City — and Monday Night Raw — just got annexed into Viperville.
- Numbers in parentheses indicate the length of the match.
- (c) refers to the champion(s) heading into the match.
- Chris Jericho & Charlotte defeated Enzo Amore & Sasha Banks (9:58)
- Braun Strowman defeated Evan Anderholm (1:01)
- Shining Stars (Epico & Primo) defeated Golden Truth (Goldust & R-Truth) (2:01)
- Rusev (c) (w/ Lana) defeated Mark Henry by submission to retain the WWE United States Championship (6:35)
- Titus O'Neil defeated Darren Young (w/ Bob Backlund) (3:56)
- Nia Jax defeated Ariel Monroe (1:09)
- The New Day (Big E & Kofi Kingston) defeated The Club (Anderson & Gallows) (1:20)
- Cesaro defeated Sheamus (5:54)
- Jinder Mahal defeated Heath Slater (0:14)
- Seth Rollins defeated Sami Zayn (11:39)
- Dark Match: Dean Ambrose, John Cena & Roman Reigns defeated Seth Rollins, Kevin Owens & AJ Styles
Guest star of SmackDown Live:
Other on-screen talent