OMAHA, Neb. - The Ayatollah of Rock ’n’ Rolla opened Raw with his first Monday night “Highlight Reel” in a month to berate the “slovenly barbarians” of WWE Universe for the crime of disrespect. Specifically, their barrage of Twitter eulogies for “Mitch the plant” that ignored the fact that the fauna only shuffled off the mortal coil because Jericho smashed him over Dean Ambrose’s head and sent The Lunatic Fringe to the hospital. It was Jericho’s own disrespect of WWE’s New Era, however, that brought out Big Cass, who offered to show him what the New Era was all about in a fight. “The Best in the World at What He Does” wasn’t having it, but Stephanie McMahon was all for it. How you doin’?
No flukes this time — just a fight and a winner. And oddly enough, it’s probably better for Dolph Ziggler that his long-brewing rematch against Baron Corbin ended in a win for The Lone Wolf. He might at least be spared any further sneak attacks from the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal winner, who’s spent much of the last two weeks brutally insinuating his loss to The Showoff at WWE Payback was an aberration.
It’s not that veteran instincts didn’t almost give Ziggler the edge a second time. After The Lone Wolf stopped to mug for the camera after an earth-shaking Deep Six, Ziggler almost sealed the deal with a rollup. Give Corbin credit for kicking out, and for turning the tide with an impressive maneuver of his own by bouncing The Showoff face-first off the top turnbuckle, then unleashing the End of Days for the win.
This Thursday on SmackDown, a tag team showdown months in the making will go down when The Gorgeous Truth (that’s R-Truth & Tyler Breeze) battles GolDango (that’s Goldust & Fandango). But in advance of that epic confrontation, Truth squared off against Fandango on Raw, and things got a little … messy. Not only did Fandango get distracted gyrating with Goldust, but Truth also accidentally knocked Breeze off the ring apron before Lie Detecting Fandango for the win. All of which should make for a happy Truth, but based on the look he gave the bickering GolDango after the win, the conflict in his soul might just be epic enough to match the one in the ring.
Rough night for Charlotte, folks: Not only did the WWE Women’s Champion drop one to her longtime rival (and former teammate) Paige, but Ric Flair also got hauled away with impunity for breaking the Shane McMahon–mandated stipulation that he stay away from ringside. It was a soft run for Charlotte’s title match against Natalya at Extreme Rules, where Flair will be similarly barred, and if tonight is any indication, things are looking murky for the Dirtiest Family in the Game come May 22. To be fair to Flair, The Nature Boy only interfered because Natalya was pretty close to swinging the match after she sprang up from the commentary table. But Shane-O-Mac had “Naitch” ejected all the same, so Paige capitalized by rolling the champion up for a win.
The WWE Universe got a glimpse of Sami Zayn as Intercontinental Champion last week, and they liked what they saw. The problem is, Zayn didn’t have any definitive wins over the last few weeks to merit a spot in what was initially a Triple Threat dance for the title between Cesaro, Kevin Owens and reigning champion The Miz. So the McMahons devised a compromise: Zayn vs. Miz on Raw, win and he’s in.
Long story short, he’s in. But if it’s specifics you’re after, Miz had Zayn reeling after he tossed him over the ropes and face-first onto the steps, yet Zayn’s persistence led Miz to attempt a rope-assisted pin, which referee John Cone was having none of. While Miz stomped around and kicked dirt in frustration, The Underdog From the Underground rallied, hit Miz with an exploder suplex into the corner and rammed him with the Helluva Kick. Like we said, he’s in. Olé!
Becky Lynch lost to Emma last week off an illicit poke to the eye, but that’s about the least of Maiden Ireland’s worries now. During a backstage interview with Renee Young about the questionable loss last week, Emma unveiled her new secret weapon: Dana Brooke, the powerful Superstar who teamed with her in WWE NXT and seems primed to do so again, reuniting the two teammates under a new moniker: EnD.
Do not adjust your browser: Rusev really did lose on Raw, and Sin Cara was the man who beat him. Give Kalisto credit for the assist, though. The Bulgarian Brute was in the middle of a prolonged dismantling of The International Sensation when Kalisto and Lana both climbed onto the apron at the same time. While the referee was preoccupied with The Ravishing Russian, The King of Flight, who'll defend his U.S. Title against The Bulgarian Brute at Extreme Rules, nailed Rusev with a kick to the face to give Sin Cara the win with the rollup.
There was a time when Six-Man Elimination Tag Team Matches were Roman Reigns’ bread and butter. Well, The Club just went and ate his lunch. The freshly reunited trio of AJ Styles, Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson showed why they were a dominant force in Japan in their six-way rumble with The Big Dog and his family, drawing first blood when Gallows right-handed Jey Uso into a tights-assisted pin by Anderson.
Anderson paid the price only minutes later when Jimmy Uso rolled him up, but Styles landed a Phenomenal Forearm to oust Jimmy and make it a 2-on-1 affair. A Spear took out Gallows and then it was down to Reigns and Styles, who picked up where they left off last week, down to Reigns setting Styles up for a trip through the commentary table. Gallows returned and smashed Reigns with a chair to end the match in a disqualification, but the ensuing brawl ended with a standoff between the Extreme Rules opponents over a steel chair. This particular confrontation ended in an armistice, but perhaps, like a certain black-clad trio of old, The Club is simply biding its time for the proper moment.
Give Zack Ryder credit: He does not go down without a fight. Following Sami Zayn’s earned entry into the Intercontinental Title Match at Extreme Rules, the miracle man of WrestleMania 32 managed to successfully lobby his own win-and-you’re-in match against Kevin Owens. Ryder took the title from Owens at The Show of Shows, but never technically beat … and KO would lose his own spot in the Extreme Rules Match should Long Island Iced-Z defeated him.
Unfortunately, that was as far as The Ultimate Broski got. But he came really damn close to sealing the deal against The Prizefighter. He evaded or reversed all of Owens’ greatest hits and landed several of his own, including an outside-the ring Broski Boot against the guardrail and an El-Bro Drop that got a good two-and-a-half count. Alas, Owens ducked out of a do-or-die Rough Ryder, and later sprang with a Pop-up Powerbomb to deny Ryder. For now, at least.
Maybe The Vaudevillains really are products of a bygone era: While The New Day start their contests with entertaining addresses to the WWE Universe, their No. 1 contenders prefer to strike with brute force when the moment is right. They employed said strategy on Raw and not only left New Day a man down, but also cost the W. W. E. World. Tag. Team. Champions. a match to The Dudley Boyz in the process.
Big E and Kofi Kingston had their bout with D-Von and a gyrating Bubba Ray Dudley well in hand, when The Vaudevillains jumped a tromboning Xavier Woods at ringside. This threw the champions off their game and allowing D-Von to pin Kingston with a hellacious clothesline while Bubba dispatched Big E on the outside. The ’villains weren’t done yet, however: When the match was over, they swarmed a downed Kingston for one final exclamation point of #manly aggression against the champions.
You didn’t think “Mitch the plant” was going to go un-avenged, did you? Chris Jericho disrespected Dean Ambrose by disposing of his pet plant, so Ambrose repaid The Ayatollah of Rock ’n’ Rolla in kind by destroying his most prized possession on Raw: his $15,000 — yes, $15,000 — light-up jacket. The Lunatic Fringe jumped Jericho before his main-event match with Big Cass and strolled down to the ring with the jacket lighting his way, tearing it up before Jericho’s eyes.
The six-time WWE World Heavyweight Champion got a couple licks in and saved the jacket, but Big Cass barred his exit and, after suffering a slap to the face from Jericho, fed The Ayatollah of Rock ’n’ Rolla to a waiting Ambrose. With Jericho taken out, The Lunatic Fringe took a scissors to the $15,000 — yes, still $15,000 — jacket while Shane McMahon and a scheming Stephanie McMahon watched from backstage in approval of their second show together. They have a point. Chris Jericho might have taken a — can’t stress it enough — $15,000 hit, but that’s a moment money can’t buy, baby.
- Numbers in parentheses indicate the length of the match.
- (c) refers to the champion(s) heading into the match.
- Baron Corbin defeated Dolph Ziggler (8:00)
- R-Truth (w/ Tyler Breeze) defeated Fandango (w/ Goldust) (2:12)
- Paige defeated Charlotte (7:43)
- Sami Zayn defeated The Miz (w/ Maryse) to be the #1 Contender in a Fatal 4-Way match for the WWE Intercontinental Championship (12:49)
- Sin Cara (w/ Kalisto) defeated Rusev (w/ Lana) (3:46)
- Roman Reigns & The Usos (Jimmy & Jey Uso) defeated AJ Styles, Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson by DQ (11:40)
- Karl Anderson eliminated Jey Uso (2:39)
- Jimmy Uso eliminated Karl Anderson (4:44)
- AJ Styles eliminated Jimmy Uso
- Roman Reigns eliminated Luke Gallows (9:20)
- AJ Styles was DQed (11:40)
- Kevin Owens defeated Zack Ryder to be the #1 Contender in a Fatal 4-Way match for the WWE Intercontinental Championship (4:05)
- The Dudley Boyz (Bubba Ray & D-Von Dudley) defeated The New Day (Big E & Kofi Kingston) (w/ Xavier Woods) (5:07)
- Chris Jericho vs. Colin Cassady ended in a No Contest
Other on-screen talent