The show opens with a video package of Roman Reigns winning and defending the Intercontinental Title. The purpose of this seems to be to hype up Reigns vs Samoa Joe. So naturally tonight Reigns defended the title against…Cesaro. Cool.
Joe starts us off with a promo. Basically he is not scared of any of the members of the Shield. He wants a match with Reigns, so naturally it is not going to happen any time soon. Finally Reigns comes out for a fight, and he gains control before Sheamus and Cesaro run out to gain the advantage. Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose run out for the save, but it does not matter. Joe and The Bar stand tall in the end.
Bayley and Mickie James vs Paige and Mandy Rose
Paige got a huge reaction when her music hit. Whoever writes Sonya Deville’s promos need to stop. They are terrible.
This match was a mess early on. No one seemed to know what was going on.
This was a very by-the-books American-style tag team match where the heel team wins. In the end, Rose pins James for the win.
Woken Matt and Bray Wyatt both appear on screen before another commercial break. When they come back, Wyatt and Matt ramble back and forth about complete nonsense. The Great War has commenced.
Enzo Amore and Drew Gulak meet backstage. They have announced that due to Rich Swann’s arrest, there will be another fatal four way match, with the winner facing Gulak in a #1 contenders match next week.
Finn Balor vs Curtis Axel
Axel and Bo Dallas beat the heck out of Balor before the bell.
This was an average, short match. There was a rest hold, Balor made his comeback, hit the coup de grace, and won.
Seth Rollins vs Sheamus
It feels like we have seen this match at least a hundred times by now.
Sheamus is dealing with spinal stenosis, and it clearly looks like he is limited in what he can do in the ring. Rollins controlled the majority of the match. Both guys did their regular stuff, with a bit of a slower pace due to Sheamus’s injury. This match ended up being pretty long, and Sheamus took more bumps than I would have expected him to. Rollins won after hitting the rip-chord knee.
At this point, the show has not been exciting at all. Three hours is too damn long for a wrestling show.
Cedric Alexander vs Mustafa Ali vs Ariya Daivari vs Tony Nese
Winner of this match faces Gulak next week in a #1 contenders match for the Cruiserweight Championship.
The heels get thrown from the ring immediately to let Alexander and Ali tire themselves out. This match was everything wrong with the cruiserweight division: a bunch of small high-fliers doing rest holds and other “big guy” moves. JUST LET THEM DO CRAZY FLIPS WWE.
They did some flippy stuff…and then more rest holds. Ali is a wonderful athlete who is being held down by these match agents.
Towards the end the crowd actually got into this match when guys started doing all their exciting moves.
In the end, Alexander won with the lumbar check on Daivari. So next week it will be him against Gulak, with the winner facing Amore for the title.
Backstage, Gulak and Amore meet up again. It seems that they are teasing an eventual Gulak face turn with the amount of animosity between the two men.
Roman Reigns vs Cesaro – Intercontinental Championship Match
All the exciting moves happened during the first commercial break. Brilliant work, WWE. There are a lot of rest holds in this match.
Cesaro worked over Reigns’s arm for the entire match with holds, submissions, strikes etc. This ended up being a fun, hard hitting match. The crowd got very into it with a series of moves that led to a Reigns powerbomb. After a while, Reigns hit the spear for the win.
Asuka vs Alicia Fox…or maybe not?
Fox is shown backstage selling some mild elbow pain. Absolution comes out to confront Asuka. They attack her three on one, but Asuka fights back. She does well, but the numbers game proves too much. Then the entire RAW women’s division comes out to take care of Absolution. They all surround Rose before she escapes.
Backstage, Jason Jordan meets with Kurt Angle. This was easily the biggest tease of a Jordan heel turn yet. He wants a match with Joe but Angle denies it.
Dean Ambrose vs Samoa Joe
Jordan comes out and sits on the ramp before the match starts.
These two had a fun little match. Who would have thought two really good performers who have never faced each other would be a breath of fresh air.
Jordan and Joe get into it with words, which allows Ambrose to take advantage. Joe puts him in coquina clutch, but Ambrose dives on both men. Jordan made himself a fixture in the end of this match. He teases a suplex to Ambrose, somehow that is not a disqualification, but ok.
Joe locks in the clutch on Ambrose, and Ambrose passes out for the win.
Backstage, Titus O’Neil and Apollow Crews welcome Dana Brooke to Titus Worldwide. Gallows and Anderson show up and call them nerds, before Braun Strowman storms by them all and they scatter.
Braun Strowman vs Kane
There is a video package recapping these two men’s rivalry. This just shows how much more RAW needs a pay per view on Sunday than Smackdown.
Strowman is not only freakishly big and strong, but freakishly athletic, as he hit Kane with a dropkick.
Both guys hit their power moves. This felt like a Paul Heyman type of match: big move after big move in a short match. There were so many chokeslams by both men. They went through the barricade and the match ended in a double count out. Welp.
After the bell, they kept beating the hell out of each other, including a joust with steel steps that Strowman won. They continued beating each other up with weapons, including a chair and a table. Eventually Strowman stopped selling and powerslammed Kane through the table.
The show goes off the air with Strowman standing tall as the one true monster of WWE.