Raw was live from London, where the crowd was lively for most of the night. There were some good matches and decent promos, but overall the show will mostly be known for the forming of The B-Team.
We open the show with the news that Nia Jax challenges Ronda Rousey, the WWE decided that we needed to see the interview four times through the night.
The London crowd let him have it. Boos erupted as the show starts with Roman’s music. He demands to get a match with Jinder, Angle comes out and tells him that he will not get anymore chances. Roman went to the back and got into a brawl with Jinder Mahal, ending up on the titantron, accompanied with a host of boos. Jinder gets “injured” and is in the back for most the night. Later, as he gets clearance from the doctor and heads to the ring, Roman spears him through a “wall”. Putting him out for the night and forcing a change to the main event.
I honestly have no idea what WWE is doing. I may not be a booker but I don’t see how your still pushing Roman as a face. Crowd reaction is almost all negative now, and he acts like a douche most of the time. If correctly used he could be a huge heel, maybe even bigger than Brock. People want him to lose as a face, might as well make him heel and run with it.
Seth Rollins and Kevin Owens put on a great opening match. Slow at times, but plenty of high spots to get the crowd back into the show after the Roman segment. Owens owned the early segment of the match, thumping Rollins with big blows. Eventually catching Seth on a suicide dive and driving him into the ringpost. It looked like it was all Owens, until Seth hits a Falcon Arrow on the apron. A fast pace back and forth match breaks out, until Seth and Owens hit the outside. Seth crawls in first and as Owens rolls in, he is hit with the Curb Stomp. 1,2,3 and your winner and defending Intercontinental Champion, Seth Rollins.
Seth of course delivers as he always does. At this point he is the Raw working champion and dammit if he isn’t working his ass off.
The Rise of the B-Team
So pretty unexpectedly, Curtis Axel and Bo Dallas are all over the episode. Early in the night cutting a promo with Angle about team names. After suggested the A-Team, they go with the B-Team. The next time we see them they are wearing white T-shirts with a crudely drawn on B.
Then they picked up a win over Breezango during a cut heavy match. (Kevin, can you please stop watching movies, you don’t need to cut on every impact). Later, we see them studying in the back during the Hardy/Wyatt match.
Honestly, this might not go anywhere, but I am really hopeful that these second generation talents finally get something other than a lacky for a bigger star.
Roode is Glorious
A triple threat Money in the Bank qualifier saw Roode take on No Way Jose and Baron Corbin. For all intents and purposes, Jose was just there as a body to take the pin and save Corbin’s monster persona. It was a decent match, with Corbin mauling Jose on the outside for most of it. The ending came when Roode threw Corbin out of the ring and hit a glorious DDT on Jose. 1,2,3 Roode is going to MitB.
Roode should be getting set up for a major push here soon. Would make sense to win MitB for him and catapult him into the title picture.
Nat taps Liv
The Riott Squad vs. Sasha Banks, Ember Moon and Natalya was a pretty good match. It kept a good pace and the Riott Squad did a good job of working as a team and keeping Sasha in the ring for most of the match. It eventually breaks down as Sasha and Ember hit dives to the outside, leaving Natalya to slap on a sharpshooter, forcing Liv to tap. Your winners, Natalya, Sasha Banks, and Ember Moon.
Wasn’t the worst match, Riott Squad did a good job of storytelling, but could really use a true face team to face off against.
Hardy/Wyatt delete The Revival
The Revival don’t get an entrance since Hardy/Wyatt’s takes 3 full minutes. Overall, a pretty good match with some actual storytelling. The Revival worked Hardy’s left leg for most of the match, before Bray hit and cleared the ring. Hardy hits Dash with the Twist of Fate, before both men hit a double Sister Abigail on Dawson to finish it. 1,2,3 and your winners Matt Hardy and Bray Wyatt.
I still don’t know what to think about the pairing of Wyatt and Hardy. Feels like they are lost on Wyatt and just shoving him with Hardy hoping some of the “over” would rub off.
Mickie James, Bayley and Alexa Bliss had a meh match. Wasn’t terrible but if I didn’t write it down, I would have forgotten most of it only an hour later. The match started with Mickie and Alexa ganging up on Bayley. Trying to take her out. Mickie was the first to go for a pinfall on Alexa as she was distracted, but that didn’t change their strategy. Still, double teaming Bayley for a few more minutes until Bayley finally turns the tides. A double crossbody, followed by a double rope stunner, Bayley had all the momentum. She hits Alexa with a Bayley to Belly and goes for the cover, only to be pulled off by Mickie. Mickie goes for the cover and Bayley pulls her off. They brawl outside until Bayley gets the upper hand. She rolls back into the ring, greeted by a stiff right hand from Alexa. Bliss DDT’s Bayley. 1,2,3 and going to Money in the Bank, Alexa Bliss.
I have no idea where any of this is going at the moment. With the Nia Jax/Rousey being prepped for Money in the Bank, whoever wins the briefcase is either cashing in that night or having to wait quite a while.
Ziggler/McIntyre steal one.
My personal favorite new idea, Ziggler and McIntyre faced off against Finn Balor and Braun Strowman. Ziggler and Balor start the match. Going back and forth, until Ziggler tags in McIntyre. As he enters the ring he taunts Braun, only to tag Ziggler back in. Balor and Ziggler go at it again before McIntyre re-enters. He beats down Finn while talking to Braun on the outside. Just an observation, McIntyre and Braun are very close in size, leading me to call bullshit on Michael Cole saying McIntyre is only 6’5” if Braun is billed at 7 foot. McIntyre tags Ziggler back in, but Balor finally gets some separation from Ziggler and tags Braun. He clears the ring very fast. Setting up Balor for the Coup De Grace, but as Balor climbs to the top, Braun trucks through McIntyre on the floor and sending him tumbling into Braun’s trophy. With Balor distracted, Ziggler knocks him off the rope and quickly rolls him up, stealing the win. 1,2,3 and your winners Dolph Ziggler and Drew McIntyre.
Give me more McIntyre vs. Braun. I know this is a possible future title match, but like Veruca Salt. I want it now.
Owens pulls double duty
With Jinder being forced out, who would be put in? Elias is out first, setting up to sing, when Kevin Owens music interrupts him. Being put into the match by Stephanie McMahon. Very reminiscent of both of the earlier qualifiers. Owens and Elias team up to take on Lashley, but he is too much for them. Dominating most of the match with brute force. Lashley hits Elias with the Dominator, and goes for the pin, but he is pulled off by Sami Zayn. (Zayn cut a promo earlier attacking Lashley and telling the audience he will expose the true Lashley through his sisters next week.) Owens hits a splash and pins Elias. 1,2,3 and Kevin Owens qualifies for Money in the Bank.
Owens has to be applauded for not only working a high spot heavy match earlier, and then coming in here to bump all over the place. Zayn and Owens are the most over heels on the roster and they showed us why tonight.
Seth Rollins def. Kevin Owens to retain Intercontinental Title
Bobby Roode def. No Way Jose and Baron Corbin to Qualify for MitB
The B-Team def. Breezango
Natalya, Ember Moon and Sasha Banks def. The Riott Squad
Matt Hardy and Bray Wyatt def. The Revival
Alexa Bliss def. Bayley and Mickie James to Qualify for MitB
Dolph Ziggler and Drew McIntyre def. Finn Balor and Braun Strowman
Kevin Owens def. Elias and Bobby Lashley to Qualify for MitB