Live from Value City Arena, Columbus, Ohio!
Raw opened with footage from the end of last week’s episode, looking back at the moment that Bobby Lashley “connected” with Braun Strowman, hitting him with a Spear in the middle of the ring. The reaction to the moment was also looked at by the commentators, who said that they had never seen Braun Strowman taken down like that. Coming off the back of that, Bobby Lashley was the one to open the show.
Bobby Lashley didn’t want to say too much, instead pointing to the screen as the moment was played back once again. Lashley said that what happened last week was simple, he proved that he is more than capable of “connecting”. Lashley went on to say that he’s been told ever since he returned that his job is to connect with the WWE Universe, but last week he got a better idea. Instead of connecting with the WWE Universe… he connected with their Champion!
Lashley then commented on the “shocked reaction” that he was able to take Braun Strowman down, saying that it is more proof that these people don’t know a thing about who he is. For that reason, Bobby Lashley requested an exhibition match tonight, where he would educate the WWE Universe. Saying that he didn’t even bother asking who would be the person put against him, Lashley called out whoever his opponent may be.
Looking to build momentum off the back of an up and down spell, Finn Balor was happy to challenge “The Destroyer”, looking for a huge victory to set him on the right path. Finn Balor was always going to struggle with Bobby’s strength, and dealt with it by using his superior speed. Of course, Bobby Lashley is no slouch, and kept up with the agile Finn Balor every step of the way. While the newly focussed Lashley would be favourite going into the match, Balor did worry him. However, the match turned around when Lashley hit Balor with a Spear on the apron.
From there, Lashley took control of the match, rolling Balor back into the ring due to him falling to the outside. Bobby Lashley would pick his spots, and while Finn Balor tried to get back into the contest, a second Spear put him down for the count.
Bobby Lashley bt. Finn Balor
As Bobby Lashley stood tall, having backed up his words from the start of the show, Braun Strowman came down to the ring to confront him.
The WWE Universal Champion approached Bobby Lashley, who is one of the few men who wouldn’t run away from a fight with Braun Strowman. While Strowman was clearly angry, Bobby Lashley didn’t move an inch, standing firm, as the man he hit with a Spear last week entered the ring.
It was then a case of who would move first. Engaging in an intense staredown, Braun Strowman and Bobby Lashley were prevented from coming to blows by the arrival of Drake Maverick.
Coming between the two men, the comically small Drake Maverick entered the ring somewhat sheepishly, trying to make sure both men were as calm as they could possibly be. Maverick then asked Strowman not to look for his revenge tonight, because he would have that opportunity at Battleground. Lashley nodded his head at this, but Strowman asked “why not both?” Drake Maverick tried again to talk Strowman out of getting physical with Lashley, reminding him that he too was already scheduled for action tonight, going up against Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn in a 2-on-1 Handicap match.
Returning from the break, a recap of what had happened on Raw so far was followed by an interview with Braun Strowman. Just moments ago, it was announced Braun Strowman would face Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn in the main event. Asked for his reaction to the “deck being stacked against him”, Braun Strowman’s reaction was unexpected.
Revealing that he was the one who requested the match tonight, Strowman said that there was nothing underhanded going on. Instead, he simply wanted to kill two birds with one stone, because he doesn’t have time to take them both out separately. Strowman said that in the past he may have had a little fun with Owens & Zayn, but now he’s WWE Universal Champion, he hasn’t got time for that!
Moving away from the WWE Universal Championship picture, Elias made his return to the WWE, having been out with an injury for several weeks.
Clearly still annoyed with Slater & Rhyno (who caused the injury), Elias performed a song where he ran down the tag team. During the performance, Elias was joined by Bo Dallas & Curtis Axel.
Facing off against Rhyno, Elias picked up a conclusive victory, showing the anger towards his opponent he had sang about. Following the match, Dallas & Axel brought Heath Slater into the ring, offering him up to the returning Superstar. However, before they were able to do too much damage, the trio were ran off by Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins.
While the pair didn’t have any particular reason to save Slater & Rhyno, Dean Ambrose explained that he had simply seen enough of them. Especially when he and Rollins had something to say. Ambrose then talked about Roman Reigns, saying that while he knows he’s going through a lot at the minute, his decision really shouldn’t be that difficult. Dean said that with The Authors of Pain, Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn and Jason Jordan sniffing around, the last thing they need is to be doubting their “brother” Roman Reigns.
Seth Rollins echoed this, before moving on to look at Battleground. Rollins said that the upcoming event was the perfect opportunity for them to get their hands of The Authors of Pain, calling on the match to be made. From that, Seth Rollins switched focus to tonight, saying that before Battleground there is a couple more shows. Rollins recalled something called the “Intercontinental Championship Open Challenge” that he used to do, saying that he is ready against to open up that opportunity to any Superstar. Closing the first hour of the show, Seth Rollins issued the challenge to anybody from the roster.
Intercontinental Championship Match
Returning from the break, Dean Ambrose had left ringside and Drew McIntyre emerged to face Seth Rollins. It was noted that this was the second time Drew had taken the challenge, albeit this time he was not joined by Dolph Ziggler. Competing in a back and forth match, the two men were desperate to prove that they could give as good as they got, and it appeared as though the match was on track to steal the show. However, Dolph Ziggler eventually came down to the ring, somewhat taking away the match’s focus.
Drew McIntyre wasn’t all too pleased to see his partner, but remained solely focussed on the ring. Eventually, as Seth Rollins appeared to be getting the better of Drew McIntyre, Dolph Ziggler decided to get involved. While Rollins had been edging towards victory, Dolph Ziggler’s interference backfired, making Seth’s job easier. Having distracted his partner by getting involved, Ziggler could do little as Rollins pushed McIntyre into him, before rolling up his opponent for the victory.
Seth Rollins (c) bt. Drew McIntyre
While Drew McIntyre stormed off after the match, furious at Dolph Ziggler, The Authors of Pain did the opposite. Returning to the ring, The Authors of Pain targeted Seth Rollins.
Once again attacking the Intercontinental Champion, Akam & Rezar looked to inflict damage on Seth, laying into him in the ring. As with earlier attacks, it didn’t take long before backup arrived. Running down to the ring, Dean Ambrose appeared to make the save.
This time however, The Authors of Pain were prepared for Ambrose, and stood waiting. The reckless Ambrose tried to fight off the two huge men, but struggled with their strength and numbers. This ultimately led to Seth and Dean falling victim to a Super Collider from The Authors of Pain. As they stood tall, with Ambrose and Rollins at their feet, “Interim General Manager” Drake Maverick appeared.
Remaining at the top of the ramp this time, Drake said that he hoped Ambrose & Rollins could hear him, because at Battleground they are going to get their wish, when they face The Authors of Pain… in No Disqualifications match!
Straight off the back of that, Drew McIntyre was shown walking through the back. Clearly angry, his mood took a turn for the worse as Dolph Ziggler tried to catch up with him.
McIntyre told Ziggler in no uncertain terms to stay out of his business, warning that Ziggler would “regret it” if he didn’t. By this point, Dolph Ziggler had heard enough from Drew McIntyre, finally giving it back to Drew. Clearly tired of being put down by McIntyre, Ziggler looked ready to blow. The only thing that stopped him from doing so was Dana Brooke, who arrived to lead him away from McIntyre.
Later in the evening, as Dana Brooke appeared to be scouting a focussed and serious Bobby Roode (who turned down the chance to dance with No Way Jose, before beating him), Dolph Ziggler approached her. Giving her the “it’s not you, it’s me” speech, Dolph Ziggler said that Drew McIntyre was right, and he does need to regain focus. Ziggler then told Dana that he needed to move on. Dana was clearly upset by this. Not wanting to dwell on Dolph breaking off their arrangement, Dana Brooke quickly looked to “rebound”, approaching Bobby Roode about a potential agreement.
Talking to him in the back, Brooke suggested that they went somewhere more private, in order to hammer out the details of their arrangement.
Back from a commercial break, it was announced that Randy Orton was returning to Raw. His first official appearance as a member of the roster would come in 13 days… at Battleground!
Facing off for a second time, Bayley and Sasha Banks looked to go all out, as they closed out the second hour of Raw. Going back and forth, the two women looked to once again recreate their classic matches from NXT. This match was slightly shorter than their match at Extreme Rules, but the outcome was the same. Despite a number of nearfalls for both competitors, Sasha Banks just had the slight edge. The finish to this match was different however, as Sasha Banks scored a pinfall victory, following the rarely used “Bankrupt” Neckbreaker.
Sasha Banks bt. Bayley
After the match, Sasha Banks celebrated a decisive victory, with the commentators saying that she has proved herself to be the better of the two, whether they like it or not. Bayley remained in the ring after the match, looking completely deflated as Sasha Banks stood over her.
Later in the evening, Nia Jax was interviewed by Renee Young, who spoke to her about the Raw Women’s Championship match at Battleground. Renee then introduced the challenger Sasha Banks.
Sasha Banks was confident as she squared off with the dominant Champion, making it clear that she felt Battleground was her time to become a 5 time Women’s Champion.
Into the final hour, the Raw Tag Team Champions had spoken, responding to the attack from The Authors of Pain last week.
Bray Wyatt and Matt Hardy made their message fairly simple and clear, albeit in their own cryptic way. Boiled down to it, they told Akam & Rezar that they were ready for the challenge, and it was just up to The Authors of Pain to show their faces.
Prior to their scheduled match, Jinder Mahal looked to fire up Chad Gable, hoping to take his eye off the ball. This appeared to work, not necessarily because of Jinder Mahal’s words, but more as a result of Sunil Singh’s involvement. Once again grabbing at the leg of Chad Gable, Singh allowed Mahal to hit the Khallas that has put down so many competitors.
Still out with an injury, Jason Jordan once again addressed the WWE Universe. This time, he did so in a “Cribz” style video. Jordan said that a lot of people commented on his house last week, and he decided he would take the time this week to show them around.
Living in a large house, Jason Jordan showed around the building, including introducing the WWE Universe to his own personal chef. As well as a pool, Jason Jordan also had a basketball court on the property. With a smug look on his face, Jason Jordan said that ever since Kurt Angle brought him to Raw last year, he’s been making “Main Event money”. He said that in a way, he has his dad to thank for all of this around him. Clearly making light of his betrayal of his father, Jason Jordan said “thanks dad”. With that smile, Jason Jordan took a basketball onto the court, and was joined by fellow Raw Superstar Mojo Rawley.
The two began to play basketball as the vignette ended, with Jason Jordan showing little sign of the injury that is keeping him out of action…
Before the match, Braun Strowman talked about how much he was looking forward to tearing apart the “two headed jackass” that call themselves Sami Zayn & Kevin Owens. The pair responded to Braun Strowman by making fun of his pandering to the WWE Universe, and promising to beat him. They added that after they beat him, they will both be at the front of the line to face either Braun Strowman or Bobby Lashley at Battleground. Zayn pointed out that if all you have to do to earn a title shot is beat up the Champion, then that’s exactly what they intend to do!
Of course, intent and actuality are two different things. The numbers advantage did help Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens, in as much as it allowed them both to rest up between beatings from Braun Strowman. Eventually, the two men appeared to get it together, and managed to begin breaking down the Universal Champion. While Braun Strowman was under pressure, he managed to fight out of it, and the match spilled to the outside. Appearing to both have similar ideas, Zayn & Owens and Braun Strowman seemed content to take the match up the ramp. Once they reached the top of it, the referee realised he had lost control. While the bell wasn’t rang, it appeared the match as we knew it was over.
Moving towards the announcer’s desk, the commentators got out of the way, as Owens & Zayn looked to set up Braun Strowman to be put through their table. Fighting off whatever they had planned, Braun Strowman headbutted Kevin Owens, before hitting a Big Boot to Sami Zayn. Strowman then seemed to have a plan of his own, lifting Owens & Zayn up on his shoulders. Stacking the two men up, it seemed like Strowman wanted to put them both through the table together. This was a difficult task, that eventually became impossible.
This wasn’t because the two men were too heavy for Strowman, but rather because of somebody else’s involvement. Having heard something, Braun Strowman turned away from the commentary table, and allowed Owens & Zayn to slip down his back. Happening extremely quickly, Braun Strowman had barely turned around when a sprinting Bobby Lashley crashed into him!
Hitting Braun Strowman with a Spear even more impactful that the one from last week, Bobby Lashley sent both himself and Braun Strowman flying off the stage. Crashing down onto the ground below, neither man moved from the moment that they hit the floor. Braun Strowman was laid out flat once again, this time joined by Bobby Lashley who laid face down and motionless on top of him.
Having had a lucky escape, Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens put over the huge Spear, looking in wide eyed disbelief as they propped themselves up against the commentary table. In a state of shock, Owens & Zayn looked at one another, totally taken aback by what Bobby Lashley had just done. Raw went off the air with both Bobby Lashley and Braun Strowman out cold, as EMTs rushed to the scene. With the announce team having vacated their position during the match, the final scenes of Raw were played out without any accompanying commentary. This allowed viewers to hear the medical personnel, who were clearly deeply concerned for both men’s wellbeing.
Bobby Lashley bt. Finn Balor
Elias bt. Rhyno
Seth Rollins (c) bt. Drew McIntyre [Intercontinetal Championship]
Bobby Roode bt. No Way Jose
Sasha Banks bt. Bayley
Jinder Mahal bt. Chad Gable
Braun Strowman vs. Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn went to a No Contest