Live from Verizon Arena, North Little Rock, Arkansas!
Going into the show, all the talk throughout the week had been about the huge Main Event between Finn Balor and Roman Reigns, just 6 days before Money In The Bank.
Having felt overshadowed by Roman Reigns recently, Finn Balor last week snapped, hitting Roman Reigns with a Slingblade following a successful tag team victory for the pair. Resulting in a heated backstage brawl, the Main Event was made by General Manager Kurt Angle. In the opening of the show, the two men spoke in “pre-recorded” promos, hyping up the Main Event of Raw.
Coming down to the ring, Kurt Angle would continue to talk about Balor / Reigns tonight, informing Jinder Mahal that he would be barred from ringside for that match tonight. Angered by this, Jinder Mahal would make his way to the ring.
Announcing that Sunil Singh is still injured, Jinder Mahal questioned why he was the one being punished and not “those thugs” Braun Strowman and Roman Reigns, who took Singh out in back to back weeks. Kurt Angle would explain that Sunil only had himself to blame, but agreed that something should be done. Mahal agreed with Angle, until he was informed that the action being taken was already in motion, and would take the form of a one on one match between Braun Strowman… and Jinder Mahal. Braun Strowman would then come to the ring, telling his opponent that he’s more than ready for the “punishment” that Jinder has in store for him.
Caught completely off-guard, Jinder Mahal struggled from the very moment that this match began. Eventually giving up on making any headway in the match, against the dominant Braun Strowman, Jinder Mahal looked for the exit, leaving the ring. Catching up with Jinder on the ramp, Braun Strowman made the “Modern Day Maharaja” pay for his decision, taking his unique brand of physicality to the outside of the ring. Eventually returning between the ropes, Braun Strowman defeated Jinder Mahal with a Running Powerslam. On commentary, it was put over that Jinder Mahal’s cowardice had cost him, suggesting that a vastly different approach will be required for his match with Roman Reigns at Money In The Bank.
Braun Strowman bt. Jinder Mahal
Switching gears quite dramatically, The Deleters of Worlds cut a promo on Breezango, talking about the current “Fashion Files” case and their attempts to help the investigation. This was followed by a “Previously on The Fashion Files” package, where viewers were reminded of the current case.
While Matt Hardy & Bray Wyatt defeated Breezango, both teams were met with the threat of The Authors of Pain after the bell.
Looking to target Breezango on the ramp, Akam & Rezar were left frustrated as the Raw Tag Team Champions backed up Breeze and Fandango on the outside. Once again forced to back down, The Authors of Pain’s honeymoon period appeared to be well and truly over.
Sasha Banks would then take on the challenge of Ruby Riott and The Riott Squad, having been left out of Nia’s charge against them last week.
The Riott Squad ran Banks down before the match, telling “The Boss” that nobody likes her. Whether this was true or not, Riott would go on to defeat Sasha, who was left to fight off the involvement of Liv Morgan and Sarah Logan alone. Sat in the ring on her own, Banks was left to reflect on the actions which led her to this point. Later in the evening, she would approach Nia Jax, questioning the supposed camaraderie between the Women’s Locker Room. The Raw Womens Champion told Sasha Banks straight that if she doesn’t have their back, then she can’t expect the rest of the roster to have her’s.
Opening the second hour of the show with a Seth Rollins based performance, Elias was cut off by the furious Intercontinental Champion, who ran “The Drifter” out of the ring. Running down Elias’ time wasting, ear bleeding performances, Seth Rollins said that the people were here for action, and as Intercontinental Champion he can give them that. Rollins then issued an Open Challenge, which was accepted by Bobby Roode.
Seth Rollins (c) vs. Bobby Roode
Giving Seth Rollins a competitive match, this time was used to talk about Bobby Roode’s mixed fortunes in recent weeks, particularly with one of Seth’s rivals Elias. Having teamed together weeks ago, the two men showed a great deal of respect to each other throughout the match, and they both came close to victory on a number on occasions. Going on for over 15 minutes (including commercial breaks), the match put over the endurance of both competitors, and took a lot out of them. Eventually, following a back and forth sequence at the end of the match, Seth Rollins was able to hit a Curb Stomp, securing the successful title defence.
Seth Rollins bt. Bobby Roode
Later, Seth Rollins would approached Kurt Angle, fired up from his match with Bobby Roode. Demanding a match at Money In The Bank, Seth Rollins told Kurt Angle that he wanted to defend the Intercontinental Championship, and he wanted a match with Elias. Kurt Angle praised Seth Rollins’ recent performances, and made the match.
Back in the ring, Sami Zayn talked about his involvement in the Money In The Bank, as well as Kevin Owens’ actions last week. Calling his best friend out, Zayn wanted to clear the air between the two men in a public forum.
Sami Zayn reminded Kevin Owens that they went into the Pay-Per-View with a plan, and right now it is still on course. Zayn will ask Owens if they are still doing this together, because if they are, he needs to know that KO will have his back on Sunday. Kevin Owens looked detached once again, and Sami Zayn pleaded with him to look at the big picture. As it appeared that Owens was ready to answer, he was cut off by Lashley.
Bobby Lashley told the two that their little argument could wait until after Money In The Bank, because whether it was Owens, Zayn or both of them, there is no chance that they win the match this Sunday. Sami Zayn would fire back, but Lashley would make it clear that he is gunning for the Briefcase and there was nothing KO & Sami could do about it. Owens said that while that might be true, there is something they can do right now. This led to a two-on-one attack, with the pair looking to take Sami’s opponent out quickly. As the attack went on, Braun Strowman made another appearance.
Storming down to the ring, Braun Strowman was quickly able to pick the two men off, removing them from the ring with ease. Strowman would then help Bobby Lashley to his feet, with the commentators putting over that all month it has come down to the two of them standing face to face, making it clear that the two biggest competitors in the match were also the favourites for victory.
Just 6 days before Money In The Bank, Titus O’Neil faced Dolph Ziggler, ahead of Titus Worldwide’s six man tag team match at the Pay-Per-View. Throughout the night, there was no sighting of Apollo Crews or Dana Brooke, leading to concern from No Way Jose and Titus O’Neil. This would affect Titus during his match, and he would go down to Dolph Ziggler. After the match, Baron Corbin came down to the ring, joining Drew Galloway and Dolph Ziggler in attacking the two remaining members of Titus Worldwide.
At the top of the final hour, Nia Jax would make her way to the ring, with the Female “Money In The Bank” Briefcase hanging above the ring. One by one, the competitors in the Money In The Bank made their entrances, joining the woman who’s title they wish to take.
While not in the match, Mickie James also had some comments for the Raw Womens Champion, but she was quickly shot down. Arguing in the ring, the women involved in the match were all given the chance to stake their claims, desperate for the huge opportunity which awaits them. When Alexa Bliss and Mickie James began to command the floor, they took shots at Ronda Rousey, who Alexa Bliss said wasn’t a “real enough competitors” to take part in a Ladder Match. This of course drew Rousey out, and Alexa and Mickie looked for cover behind their fellow Superstar.
Unsurprisingly, the women parted, leaving Ronda Rousey to go face to face with Mickie James. Calling the two women cowards, Rousey told Mickie that she isn’t going to do anything to her right now, because she doesn’t need to. Instead, the WWE Universe will get to see her get physical with Mickie James - this Sunday at Money In The Bank. Leaving the ring as she came, Ronda Rousey had made her message to Mickie loud and clear.
Alexa & Mickie would then have to switch their focus to a match with Bayley & Ember Moon, a Tag Team match which they would win by questionable tactics. Celebrating arrogantly in the ring, Alexa Bliss & Mickie James wrongly believed they were out of the firing line. Returning to the ring, Ronda Rousey made a beeline for Mickie James. Alexa Bliss spotted this, and got out of the way, leaving Mickie James to be put in the Armbar by Ronda Rousey. While Rousey had Mickie James exactly where she wanted her, she stopped short of breaking the arm, telling her rival that she will finish the job at Money In The Bank.
The Revival then scored another victory, as they continue to rebuild momentum in the Tag Team Division. Scoring a victory over The Ascension, Dash & Dawson ran down the teams who are trying to “turn this division into a joke”, saying that they’re gunning for the Raw Tag Team Championships!
Heavily promoted throughout the night, this Main Event match was given a long amount of time for the competitors to take themselves to their physical limits. Before the match, Kurt Angle had reminded Jinder Mahal not to get involved, and “The Modern Day Maharaja” was all too happy to wait for Money In The Bank to get his hands on Roman Reigns. However, there was some involvement in the Main Event, as Sunil Singh made an appearance - despite claims he was unable to be at the show due to injury. Looking to ruin the Main Event, at a time when it appeared to be reaching it’s crescendo, Sunhil Singh came between the two competitors as they looked to return to their feet.
Reaching his feet first, Finn Balor seemed set to make the first move. Instead, he was held back by the referee, who asked him to hold on while he dealt with Singh. While Sunil didn’t lay a hand on Roman Reigns, he did approach him, only to be hit with a Uppercut. Tired of waiting, Finn Balor approached Reigns and Sunil, but was held back again by the referee. It was as Finn Balor began to lose his temper that Roman Reigns literally threw Sunil Singh across the ring. It was due to his heated discussion with the referee that Finn Balor failed to spot this action, with Singh crashing into him, knocking him to the ground. Sunil Singh would then roll out of the ring, allowing Roman Reigns to focus back on Finn Balor. With Singh’s involvement having backfired, Finn Balor was prone. Hitting him with a Spear, Roman Reigns was able to score the victory over Finn Balor.
Roman Reigns bt. Finn Balor
Standing tall in the ring, Roman Reigns looked dismissively down at Finn Balor on the canvas. Sunil Singh on the outside scrambled up the ramp, and was joined when he reached the top by Jinder Mahal.
Staring down at Roman Reigns, Jinder Mahal made it clear that he was ready for their match in 6 days time. Neither man willing to back down, the show ended with Jinder Mahal and Roman Reigns’ focus locked on each other.