The build to No Mercy is well and truly in full swing. Heading into Raw this week we were less than two weeks away from the red brand only pay-per-view. No matter which way you look at it, the card has a bigger feel to it than your average, non-big four show. For starters, it has two WrestleMania worthy matches taking place on it. Speaking of which, all four men involved in those two matches were under the same roof for Raw this week with two of them facing off against one another, so you could rest assured that fireworks were going to ensue.
The episode of NXT finally aired and the word is officially out. Asuka relinquished the brand's Women's Championship and she is on her way to the main roster. Until Monday we didn't know where The Empress of Tomorrow will land. Mid way through Monday night's show, however, WWE aired a simple vignette of Asuka in a darkened room, cutting between her two signature masks, followed by the warning "Asuka, coming soon." That's right, Asuka is a member of the Raw roster. It's going to be an extremely big deal when it happens and it's good to see that WWE is treating it that way. An onlooking Nia Jax didn't seem too impressed though.
WWE has a habit of putting matches on in a confusing order sometimes. Whether it has something to do with certain Superstars needing to leave, or just that WWE legitimately thinks certain matches should actually be placed that high on the card, we'll never know, but there was definitely a case of that on Raw this week. While the big time match of John Cena versus Braun Strowman took place at the end of hour two, an eight man tag closed out the show. Raw Tag Team Champions Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose teamed with The Hardy Boyz to take on Sheamus, Cesaro, Karl Anderson, and Luke Gallows. There was a lot of action in this one, but after the European pair decided to back off and head up the ramp, it was just a matter of finishing things up for The Hardys and the champions. A knee to the face, Dirty Deeds, and a three-count later, and the win was theirs. It was a good match, but baffling that it main evented ahead of Cena vs. Strowman.
Last week on Raw, Roman Reigns wasn't too impressed with John Cena's showing against Jason Jordan. The former American Alpha man took the 16-time champion to his absolute limit. This week, Reigns went about proving that Cena shouldn't have struggled, only to be taken just as far by Jordan. Naturally, Cena came to the ring afterwards to address the fact, and another war of words ensued, and this one wound up getting maybe even more personal than any of the ones that have come before. The best Reigns had to offer were some quips about Cena's foray into Hollywood while Cena had some fire comebacks. He saved the best one for, last however, telling Reigns that at No Mercy he will be like a drug test, because The Big Dog won't be able to get past him.
Cena and Reigns isn't the only marquee match taking place at No Mercy, of course. Brock Lesnar and Braun Strowman are also set to clash for the Universal Championship. The Monster Among Men has Brock's number so far, and that didn't change on Monday night. The champ and his advocate came to the ring to address the No Mercy match, and they actually called out Strowman. Big mistake. Although Brock finally managed to land a German suplex on the mammoth of a man—something he couldn't pull off at SummerSlam—Braun simply bounced back to his feet before Lesnar even turned back around. One powerslam later, and it was Strowman standing tall, Universal title in hand, and his foot planted firmly on the chest of a prone Beast Incarnate.
Braun Strowman's dominance over Brock Lesnar wasn't even the highlight of the Monster's night. Later that evening Strowman had a first time ever match with John Cena, a man from each of No Mercy's main events going face to face.Cena has come up against some big challenges in his fifteen years with the company but never anyone quite like Braun Strowman, and he quickly discovered that on Monday night. Despite a few rallies from Big Match John, Strowman had most of the offense. Cena did land an impressive AA on Brock's next opponent, however, but it only angered The Monster Among Men. Strowman then took it upon himself to bring the steel stairs into play, hitting Cena with them before delivering a power slam on top of them to boot. It resulted in a disqualification, of course, but Strowman didn't particularly seem to care.
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