According to the preview on WWE.com, next week will be the season premiere of Monday Night RAW. That means this week is the season finale, I guess, and we’re getting a Fatal Five-Way Elimination Match featuring AJ Styles, Ricochet, Rey Mysterio, Shinsuke Nakamura, and Robert Roode to see who gets a Universal Championship match next week. We’ll also get Sasha Banks versus Nikki Cross, Chad Gable versus Baron Corbin in a King of the Ring final rematch, and a new Firefly Fun House episode.
I’m Amanda and this is the RAW review.
The Viking Raiders def. The OC
Rusev def. EC3
Sasha Banks def. Nikki Cross
Lacey Evans def. Ember Moon
Chad Gable def. Baron Corbin
Rey Mysterio def. Robert Roode, AJ Styles, Shinsuke Nakamura, and Ricochet
The Key Bits
♦ The Fiend interrupted the opening of RAW this week, distorting the music and picture before his face flashed up. Then we got a brief recap of him showing up at the end of last week’s show.
Seth Rollins opened the show proper and he looked rattled. He said he’s done and seen a lot in the last seven years, but he’s never felt like he did last week with the living embodiment of a nightmare in his face. All he could do was close his eyes and hope it’s a bad dream and he’ll wake up. But it’s not and in two weeks he has to defend his title against The Fiend.
Hell in a Cell is brutal, it shortens careers, and facing Wyatt in there is something else, but he’ll survive and prevail. He did it against Brock Lesnar and against Braun Strowman. He’ll do it again against Bray Wyatt’s Fiend.
Braun Strowman arrived at that point. He and Rollins looked at each other for a long time before Strowman told Rollins if he had something to say he could say it to his face. Strowman is annoyed about the tag title loss and that Rollins said he hoped he didn’t get a rematch.
Rollins said that’s not what he said, he said he was glad he didn’t have to fight Strowman anytime soon because of the beatdown he put on him, but Strowman’s attitude was making him want to fight him.
Strowman asked if that was a challenge, Rollins told him to take it how he likes, so they’re having a match.
♦ Michael Cole had a sit-down interview with Becky Lynch. He asked whether putting the match in Hell in a Cell was a good idea when Banks is on a hot streak (hardly) and has the experience. He also brought up Bayley as a factor.
Lynch said Banks lost the Hell in a Cell match, but Banks on a hot streak is exactly what she wants. The cell is there to keep Banks in not keep Bayley out. Banks tried to run away at Clash of Champions, but in Hell in a Cell the only exit is through her and she can’t wait.
Cole asked about the chair and the subsequent fine. Lynch essentially said things happen. Banks wanted to end her when she came back, and at Hell in a Cell, she gets to try.
Sasha Banks response came via a conversation with Bayley. She’s not concerned about Becky Lynch, she’s going to get back the title she considers hers.
♦ Sasha Banks vs Nikki Cross was interesting, and also great. Cross had Banks rattled enough to take a break on the outside early on, and Cross controlled much of the match with several submissions and pin attempts. When Banks took a second trip to the outside, Cross followed and jumped on her back. Banks had to drop herself backwards on the ramp to make Cross let go. That put Banks in the driver’s seat, but she couldn’t capitalise. It was a long tough match for both, and Sasha Banks was bleeding from the mouth. A baseball slide from Banks allowed Cross to tie her up in the ring skirt, and she would have pinned her from the swinging neckbreaker if Bayley hadn’t got on the apron. Bliss came around to deal with her but Banks intercepted Cross’ crossbody and locked in the Bank Statement for the win.
After the match Banks locked Bliss in a Bank Statement as well. Once Hell in a Cell is done (or maybe before) that’s going to be used to support Banks and Bayley getting a tag title match.
♦ Robert Roode thinks he’ll win the Fatal Five-Way because he was the one who pinned Rollins in the tag match.
Rey Mysterio thinks he’s going to win the five-way because he got over his moment of doubt about his career and he’s doing it for Dominik.
AJ Styles thinks he’s going to win because he’s phenomenal.
We didn’t hear from Shinsuke Nakamura, Sami Zayn babbled on trying to psych him up for it though.
Ricochet thinks he’s going to win because this is his opportunity to soar. It will prove that superheroes can be real and his time has come.
Rey Mysterio vs Ricochet vs Robert Roode vs AJ Styles vs Shinsuke Nakamura, with Sami Zayn – Fatal Five-Way Elimination Match was a lot of fun and total chaos, but would you have expected anything else. Ricochet was out first, courtesy of a Kinshasa from Nakamura. The compulsory tower of doom had Rey Mysterio at the top, but it wasn’t enough to eliminate him, or any of them. Nakamura was the recipient of a 619, but AJ Styles dropped him on the apron before he could capitalise. Styles eliminated Nakamura with a Phenomenal Forearm and almost immediately got pined off a Glorious DDT from Roode.
Mysterio was still down o the outside and Roode rolled him back into the ring. He wound up for the Glorious DDT, but Mysterio got up and set him up for the 619. Roode met him and delivered a spinebuster, but only got two. The end came after a successful 619 and frogsplash from Rey Mysterio.
It will be Rey Mysterio vs Seth Rollins for the Universal Championship next week.
Rollins congratulated him via a backstage interview and said it’s a dream match for him, but he’s very focused on Hell in a Cell.
Firefly Fun House was about… just watch it.
♦ Seth Rollins vs Braun Strowman was non-title. It was good, but I’ve run out of things to say about Braun Strowman and Seth Rollins. Strowman is always going to use his size and power. Rollins is always going to look for ever more creative ways to stop him. They do it well and it’s very entertaining, but I just felt like I’d seen it all too recently. Rollins took a ton of punishment, then came back, then took a ton more, then came back but was unable to keep Strowman down… you know how it goes.
A stumble on the way to deliver his third suicide dive led to Rollins getting caught by Strowman and choke-slammed spine first onto the apron. Strowman ran around the ring and levelled him. He also took a running powerslam on the outside before Strowman put him back in the ring.
Before Braun Strowman could deliver the running powerslam that would secure his victory the Fiend’s arrival was signalled and the lights went out. When the spotlights turned on, Strowman had become the next victim of the mandible claw and Seth Rollins screamed in the corner as The Fiend approached. Strowman tried to get back up and The Fiend pounced on him again, laughing maniacally while he knocked him out with the mandible claw. The show closed with Bray Wyatt’s creepy laugh.
The Other Bits
♦ The Viking Raiders vs The OC was the opening match and it was really very good. The OC have a new entrance theme, which is also good. They brought AJ Styles with them to the ring, but he got caught interfering and got sent to the back. He got as far as the stage before Cedric Alexander attacked him and chased him backstage.
After an ad break, we were back to the match. Gallows getting involved from the outside gave The OC the edge, but they couldn’t put Erik away and Ivar was back up and ready for the tag. Karl Anderson took The Viking Experience while a suicide dive from Erik kept Gallows outside.
♦ Rusev vs EC3 saddened me. Poor EC3 didn’t even get a televised entrance, and the match was little more than a display match for Rusev. EC3 has never been a particular favourite of mine, but he deserves considerably better treatment than that.
♦ Street Profits talked about Brock Lesnar turning up next week and hyped the rest of this show. The Miz joined them to announce he has a new baby girl, Madison Jade Mizanin. He also announced that next week he’ll be hosting Miz TV with Hulk Hogan and Ric Flair. They’re really hyping this season premiere thing. They also played a recap of Lesnar challenging Kofi Kingston and advertised the match, a week from Friday on SmackDown Live’s new timeslot (and channel change in the US).
♦ Lacey Evans vs Ember Moon was a surprise, not least because Ember Moon is a SmackDown superstar. But it did give commentary the opportunity to talk about the draft, and it’s always good to see Ember Moon in the ring. They also showed Natalya watching backstage and reminded us Natalya and Evans are still having a thing. She got to see Evans deliver a Woman’s Right after she caught Moon climbing the turnbuckle for the Eclipse, then tap her out with a Sharpshooter.
After the match, Natalya was asked for her comments. She said imitation was the sincerest form of flattery, but Evans hasn’t mastered the Sharpshooter yet. If she wants a rematch, she better be ready to tap.
♦ R-Truth and Carmella were chased to the ring by the pack and Carmella flipped out. She said she couldn’t do it anymore, all the running and chasing. They hugged and she rolled him up and pinned him. Truth looked at her for a moment, then raised her hand with a smile. The women’s locker room came out to chase Carmella and R-Truth gave her a piggyback so they could run away, leaving the men’s mid-card looking despondent.
♦ Authors of Pain had another promo segment. They said people are asking who the AOP are, so they’d show them, then went out into the backstage area and beat a couple of people up. They still think no one is hard enough to fight them.
♦ Baron Corbin vs Chad Gable happened because Gable destroyed Corbin’s coronation on SmackDown last week. Corbin’s theme has had a remix to account for his new regal status. Does anyone else think it’s a bit sad that Gable hasn’t had a single’s theme yet? Corbin made a lot of short jokes, then reinforced his point when he picked Gable up and launched him over the barricade onto two employees, going into a break. In fact, Corbin manhandled Gable through a lot of the match but he struggled to keep him down. Gable had a great chance with a German suplex and moonsault, which got him two, then dodged and End of Days and slapped on an ankle lock. Baron Corbin would have tapped if he hadn’t reached his sceptre and smack Gable in the face with it. He got disqualified, then gave Gable a few more shots anyway.
Brock Lesnar will be on RAW next week, as are Hulk Hogan and Ric Flair. And Sasha Banks takes on Alexa Bliss. The idea of a season premiere for a show that doesn’t take a break is weird, but I guess RAW have to do something to offset SmackDown’s day change hype. Whatever they want to dress it up as we’ll be here to cover it.