Following the calamity at Dana Brooke and Tamina’s bachelorette party last week, the “only certified marriage-ing guy” R-Truth is ready to preside over a Double Commitment Ceremony, wherein Brooke and Reggie will marry, and Akira Tozawa and Tamina will tie the knot. Kevin Owens is obsessed with proving that Ezekiel, “Elias’ younger brother,” is not who he says he is. As a result, KO will carry out a lie detector test. Also, Austin Theory has once again used his mentor’s pull to secure a title opportunity, receiving a United States Championship Match with Finn Bálor. WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions Sasha Banks and Naomi will defend against Liv Morgan and Rhea Ripley. With so much to talk about (irony), let’s not waste any more time and see what went down as we check out Monday Night RAW. Tonight is Monday Night Nygma (which night is not Nygma…).
Big RAW things happening this week:
- The show opened with Seth Rollins welcoming us to Monday Night Rollins. He said it’s a party tonight and no one wants to party alone, so he’s got an invitation to his WrestleMania Backlash opponent – Mr. Nightmare himself. Rollins went on with the invite and out came Cody Rhodes. He got pyro and “Cody!” chants. Rollins encouraged fans to keep the chant going. Rollins asked Cody how it feels to be standing on top of the world. Rhodes said this all feels so familiar – he and Rollins in this ring, in this city. For those who don’t know the story, he would say Buffalo is Rhodes Country. Rhodes went on and asked Rollins what he wants to talk about. Rollins said there’s been a lot on his mind since WrestleMania and Buffalo might be Rhodes Country, but this is about respect. Fans chanted for Cody to interrupt Rollins as he started talking about how he called Cody out here and respects him. Cody played to the crowd for another interruption and Rollins warned him, don’t ever do that again. Rollins went to speak and Rhodes did it again. Rollins said he was going to tell Cody of the respect he has for his family name, his brother and his father, his journey away, and how he came back as The American Nightmare, but the truth is Rollins made Cody a star in one night. Cody told Rollins to get to the point. Rollins said, at WrestleMania, Cody had an unfair advantage, Cody came in as Mr. McMahon’s hand-picked opponent. Rollins didn’t have the advantage, so he lost and that’s a tough pill for him to swallow. What’s even worse is Cody and some of these people think Cody is better than Rollins. Rollins can’t live with that because the fact is he’s better than Rhodes in every single way. Rhodes may be the Flavour of the Month, but he is not the future of this industry. Rollins went on about how he’s better than Rhodes in various ways. Cody came back to win the WWE Title, which is admirable, but Rollins has been to the mountain top and that makes him better than Cody. Cody said Rollins has been to the mountain top 4 times, against his 0, but that doesn’t change what happened at WrestleMania. Rhodes said he learned about mediation while working in upper management while away from WWE. He suggested they introduce a third party to this back and forth. Rhodes asked the fans if they think he is better than Rollins. Some fans chanted “yes!” Rollins suggested Cody work the main event tonight, against a surprise opponent hand-picked by Rollins. Rhodes said that’s a great idea and Rollins and the fans already know the answer, he didn’t come back to WWE to run from challenges, so absolutely yes. Rhodes and Rollins faced off in the middle of the ring.
- WWE Women’s Tag Team Titles Match Naomi and Sasha Banks defeated Liv Morgan and Rhea Ripley to retain the titles (not the belts…). After the match, Liv and Rhea argued in the middle of the ring now. Rhea turned to leave but Liv grabbed her arm and kept talking. This angered Rhea who yelled at Liv for failing when she needed her. Liv went to leave but Rhea decked her from behind. Ripley beat Liv down and unloaded on her. Ripley connected with a big Riptide to Liv in the middle of the ring.
- Backstage, Sarah Schreiber asked Ripley for comments. She lashed out and asked what entitles Schreiber or anyone else to an explanation. Ripley stormed off.
- In the ring, Sonya Deville said she’s heard chatter in WWE about how she’s misused her power to get a title shot from RAW Women’s Champion Bianca Belair. Deville must remind us that first and foremost she’s a performer. She was forced into this authority position so she could find her way back to being a WWE Superstar. Did she make the most of the opportunity by leading those around her with her natural ability? Absolutely, and when she saw an opportunity, she took it. Deville said she knew when Belair won the title at WrestleMania 38 that Belair was who she wanted to be in the ring with because Belair is the best. Deville wanted to win the title from the best, and nothing less. Everyone can scrutinize her for using her power, but the bottom line is Belair wanted a challenger, and Deville gave her one. It’s nothing personal, just business. Belair was ready to fight but Deville cut her off and said she knows Belair is excited, but she reminded her she will be disciplined for assaulting a WWE official figure if she goes too far. Belair wanted to have the match tonight. Deville refused and proposed to do the title match in Belair’s hometown of Knoxville, TN next week. Deville said at least Belair will have her family there to console her. Deville taunted Belair. Belair rocked her and scooped her for the KOD, holding her on her shoulders. Deville screamed and threatened to fine, suspend, and strip Belair of the title unless she puts her down. Belair put her down but she landed hard. Belair stood tall and taunted Deville as she exited the ring.
- Veer Mahaan defeated Jeff Brooks. After the match, if we can call it a match, Veer attacked Brooks and applied the submission again, rag-dolling Brooks. Officials rushed the ring and break it up but Veer applied the submission one more time. Veer finally broke and exited the ring. Brooks was later seen in an ambulance.
- Backstage, Sonya Deville confronted Adam Pearce and wanted to know about the repercussions that Bianca Belair is now facing after what just happened. Pearce said Deville needs to be worried about her own repercussions as WWE higher-ups are looking into her own conduct with an official investigation. Deville said it makes no sense why her conduct is being looked into, and not Belair’s. Pearce said he already handled Belair’s fine, but he won’t say how much it’s for. Belair interrupted and Deville told her to leave because they’re handling official WWE business. Belair said she was here to pay her fine. Deville told her to send the wire to WWE HQ, but Belair pulled out a $1 bill instead. She laughed, but not Deville. Pearce told Belair he hopes she learned her lesson, and she says she sure did, a whole $1 worth. Belair stormed off and Deville accused Pearce of being the one who really abused his power. Pearce said he did it by the book and walked off.
- The KO Show with Kevin Owens and Chad Gable is sitting down with the lie detector test. Owens declared he hates liars, and we have a new talent in the locker room who is a liar, insisting he’s Elias’ little brother. Owens said he got the smartest person to administer this lie detector test, which is why Gable is out here. Gable will defeat Ezekiel right after the lie detector test. Gable said he will find out the truth tonight, and if Ezekiel lied, then Gable will beat the truth out of him after it was over. Owens went on and introduced his guest. Owens called him Elias, but out came Ezekiel. He appreciated being here but Owens has it all wrong, he is not Elias, he is the younger brother of… Owens cut him off and ranted some more about how this is really Elias. Ezekiel really wanted to do this test here, but he had one question tonight for the people in Buffalo – who wants to hear Zeke speak? Owens told them not to respond to that because it’s the same thing as that “Walk With Elias” thing. They went on and Gable hooked Ezekiel up to the machine. Gable started off with a few control questions but got distracted and lashed out at Gable Steveson for what he did at WrestleMania 38. Owens told him to focus. Gable asked Ezekiel if his first name is Ezekiel. Ezekiel hesitated but said yes. Gable said he’s telling the truth. Owens couldn’t believe it and Gable asked again for the same result. Owens said Gable is asking the questions wrong, do it better. They asked another question and Owens wondered if Ezekiel is paying Gable. Owens dismissed Gable. Zeke said he’s had enough of Owens, he’s tired of playing law and order, and being called a liar by the biggest liar in all of WWE, Owens. Ezekiel is excited about having his first match here tonight. Owens said Ezekiel will admit right now that he is Elias, or else. Or else, what? Zeke stared Owens down now.
- Ezekiel defeated Chad Gable via DQ after Otis attacked Zeke from behind. After the match, Otis decked Zeke some more, then exited the ring with Gable as Zeke was recovering and looking on from the corner.
- The Street Profits defeated RAW Tag Team Champions RK-Bro. After the match, The Profits stood tall and celebrated. The replay showed how The Profits waved to the back for The Usos’ music to be hit. After the replays, The Profits took the mic on the stage and warned Orton and Riddle to watch their backs.
- After a replay of AJ Styles and Damian Priest brawling backstage last week, we went backstage to WWE Hall of Famer Edge and Priest now. Edge was sitting on his throne and Priest was standing next to him. Priest said people are wondering why they want to make AJ’s life so miserable. He said they have to remind everyone who they are and what they’re capable of. Edge said last week was mind games, but this side of him was always there, just dormant. These seeds were planted more than 20 years ago when he was in The Brood and The Ministry of Darkness, but he’s so much more dangerous now. People wondered why this is happening, and AJ can’t understand because he is a man of the people. He went on and said he and Priest haven’t lived up to their true capabilities. Edge recalled how Priest played a supporting act to Bad Bunny, and if it weren’t for Priest, Bunny would’ve been smeared across the mat, but Priest had no WrestleMania match this year. And Edge, he had to beg for a WrestleMania opponent this year. Edge fought for years to get back where he is now and it took the WWE Universe two years to start complaining about him. Edge went on and said they will pass judgment on anyone who stands in their way, and so far only AJ has. He’s finally decided not to care about what you think, and to take back what he never lost. Edge challenged AJ for WrestleMania Backlash and said he will stab this point through his heart like a stake. They have finally decided to seize the day and that’s bad news for the rest of WWE, but for AJ it means that this is his judgment day. Edge laughed and looked on to end the segment.
- Backstage, Sarah Schreiber caught up with AJ Styles, asking about Edge’s WrestleMania Backlash. AJ accepted the challenge and went on to address Edge but lightning starts flashing in the locker room. AJ told Schreiber she has to go. The lights went out and came back on, and we saw AJ surrounded by Edge and Damian Priest. They beat AJ down and destroyed him. Priest held AJ down while Edge slammed a cabinet door onto his shoulder several times. Edge and Priest laughed at AJ while he groaned in pain.
- Austin Theory defeated Finn Balor to become the new WWE United States Champion. After the match, Theory stood tall. Otis, Chad Gable, Shelton Benjamin, Cedric Alexander, T-BAR, Commander Azeez, and Apollo Crews all came out to celebrate with Theory. Azeez and T-BAR put Theory on their shoulders, then paraded him around the ring to mixed reactions from the crowd. The “No Chance” music hit and out came WWE Chairman & CEO Vince McMahon to the stage. Vince applauded as Theory brought the title to him on the stage. Theory took a selfie with Mr. McMahon. Vince then shook Theory’s hand and congratulated him. Vince raised Theory’s hand in the air with the title.
- Backstage, Seth Rollins refused to tell Kevin Patrick who Cody Rhodes’ opponent might be tonight. Rollins received a phone call and it was Rhodes’ opponent. He walked off to take the call.
- The Double Commitment Ceremony with R-Truth to officiate the ceremony. R-Truth was in the ring with Reggie and Akira Tozawa. He reminded us that WWE 24/7 Title changes are on hold until after the ceremony. He introduced the brides and out came Dana Brooke and Tamina Snuka, accompanied by WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions Sasha Banks and Naomi as their bridesmaids. Dana shared her vows, Reggie said it was beautiful. Tamina just said, “What she said!” in a reference to Dana. Tozawa said, “Same.” R-Truth asked if there are any objections to the Double Commitment. Tamina objected. She switched the grooms, then put Tozawa with Reggie, then she stood with Dana. Dana offered her hands to Tamina. R-Truth made sure everyone was with who they wanted to be and told the crowd to keep their objections to themselves. Truth said by “the power in his vest” he announced that the couples are both committed. Reggie reminded Truth about the rings, and they did the rings. Tamina and Tozawa kissed first, then Dana and Reggie. Reggie kissed Dana to the mat and pinned her for the WWE 24/7 Title as a referee appeared. Reggie turned around to a big kick from Tamina who pinned Reggie for the title but Tozawa went under her dress as she celebrated, then pinned her to win the title. Tozawa turned around to Dana hitting a crossbody from the top for the pin to win her title back. Dana hopped on Truth’s back and rode him up the ramp.
- Backstage, Bobby Lashley was with Sarah Schreiber, who had a message recorded earlier today. Schreiber showed footage of MVP speaking earlier today, where he said Lashley is about to find out how big of a mistake he made. Omos appeared beside MVP as MVP talked about how he’s moved on from Lashley to bigger and better things. Omos is now under MVP’s learning tree, and MVP will teach him everything he taught Lashley. MVP went on ranting and said Omos would like to challenge Lashley to a test of strength, in the form of an arm-wrestling match. Omos showed his large hand and said the era of The All Mighty is over. Lashley told Schreiber this is no surprise. If he wants to get to MVP, he has to go past Omos, and he guaranteed he can do that. Lashley said we’ll find out next week if Omos is stronger because he accepted the arm-wrestling contest. He will show them why he’s still called The All-Mighty.
- Cody Rhodes defeated Kevin Owens via count-out. Owens walked away as Rollins was yelling at him, telling him to get his fat ass up. Owens yelled back at Rollins, telling him this is your match, not mine. After the bell, Cody stood tall but was disappointed to win by count-out. Rollins came from behind and shoved Rhodes from the top to the floor. Rhodes immediately sat up and clutched his ankle.
The Nygma Note: Only 6 matches in 3 hours… Austin Theory is “given” the US title… Cody is possibly injured… I’m sorry but that doesn’t work for me. These long and wordy segments, this “Benny Hill” show-style wedding, all of this hurt my eyes badly. WrestleMania Backlash will be exactly what it is supposed to be, a PPV made of rematches from Mania. Except Rollins has a new enemy and should be 0-2 against Cody Rhodes and Edge has a new friend, which could lead him to a 2-0 against AJ Styles. I am sad that Rhea Ripley turned her back on Liv Morgan but that could lead to a nice series of matches between the 2. One positive note out of a ton of negative ones.
All pics and videos courtesy of WWE