We enter Monday Night Raw with a video package highlighting the events of Payback. Vince McMahon gave Shane McMahon and Stephanie McMahon equal control of Raw in an effort to find out if they will work together or “slit each other’s throats.” Roman Reigns of course retained the WWE Championship over A.J. Styles in a controversial match. The McMahons started the “new era” by announcing a rematch between Styles and Reigns at Extreme Rules in three weeks.
The McMahon children open the show in the ring as expected but are trying to play nice to make the new era work. Kevin Owens interrupts and demands an Intercontinental Championship match citing he never received a rematch after losing it at WrestleMania 32. Cesaro interjects as well and states his desire for another title shot after Owens and Sami Zayn’s unintentional distraction ruined his chances at Payback. This leads to Cesaro facing Owens with a future title shot against Miz on the line.
Cesaro vs. Kevin Owens
Two exciting performers will always give you an entertaining match. Cesaro and Owens have faced each other numerous times but they still find ways to amaze us with moves like a somersault senton off the barricade or frog splash off the ring apron. The Miz and Maryse were on commentary for the important match and that led to the predictable interference to end the match. Owens trying to use Miz’s title as a weapon progressed into Cesaro shoving Miz and Miz attacking Cesaro. All three men battled until Sami Zayn arrives to clear house. Zayn holds the Intercontinental Championship to a big ovation to end the segment.
Match Winner: No contest via Miz interference
Match Rating: 7/10
Stephanie McMahon agrees to be a guest on The Ambrose Asylum later in the show after Ambrose is skeptical she has changed her ways.
Roman Reigns and The Usos invade the locker room of A.J. Styles, Karl Anderson and Doc Gallows. Reigns doesn’t think Styles can beat “The Guy” (we get it, Roman) and we have a six-man tag match later tonight.
Goldust vs. Tyler Breeze
Remember Tyler Breeze? Well, Prince Pretty is now teaming with R-Truth and Fandango is teaming with Goldust in the very forgettable Truth/Goldust storyline. R-Truth’s version of a selfie stick features him duct taping his phone onto a tree branch. That’s the highlight of the match. Breeze wins via roll-up within a couple of minutes.
Match Winner: Tyler Breeze
Match Rating: 2/10
The New Day cut a typical silly promo and expresses well wishes to Enzo Amore following his scary concussion at Payback. The Vaudevillains, Dudleyz and Big Cass (without Enzo) all come up for a war of the words. This sets up…
New Day and Big Cass vs. The Vaudevillains and The Dudleyz
The worst thing about three-hour editions of Raw is there’s always at least one match sent out specifically to fill time. It is a near no-win spot and this exemplified that. The match dragged on and struggled to remain compelling until Big Cass cleared house and got the pin for his team at the end. Poor job building up The Vaudevillains for the upcoming tag title shot but Big Cass looks credible on his own until Enzo is cleared to compete again.
Match Winners: New Day and Big Cass
Match Rating: 4/10
We saw a recap of the “screwjob” finish to last night’s Charlotte vs. Natalya match along with clips of Charles Robinson playing Lil Naitch during his WCW storyline as Ric Flair’s apprentice. Riveting stuff.
Emma vs. Becky Lynch
A feud no one knows about finally comes to Raw. Becky Lynch and Emma have been at war through WWE online videos and smaller shows but the two underrated women are having their big match here on Raw. Emma looked amazing and may be the best heel in the women’s division right now. The match lacked an excitement factor that should have come at the end but was still worth watching. Emma picked up the upset victory over Becky. Hopefully they have another shot to deliver a better match.
Match Winner: Emma
Match Rating: 6/10
Dean Ambrose hosts The Ambrose Asylum with Stephanie McMahon and it goes as you would expect it. Ambrose verbally jabs Stephanie claiming she’s still the evil woman she’s always been and is jealous of Shane’s popularity. Stephanie cancels The Ambrose Asylum and brings back Chris Jericho’s Highlight Reel talk show.
Jericho and Ambrose have an interesting brawl with the great payoff of Jericho shattering Ambrose’s plant “Mitch” over the back of Ambrose’s head. We are definitely getting a hardcore stipulation between these two at Extreme Rules in what will most likely be Jericho’s final match for a while.
#1 Contenders Battle Royal for United States Championship
Kalisto is on commentary sporting a dashing suit to find out who gets a title shot for his United States Championship. Most of the midcarders are in this match, including a returning Titus O’Neil following his suspension. The early eliminations of Apollo Crews and Baron Corbin were puzzling to say the least. Both NXT stars are already becoming forgotten additions to the main roster and this hurt them both. The closing moments were at least exciting with Rusev and Zack Ryder as the final two. St. Louis badly wanted Ryder to win which made it even more heartbreaking when Rusev eliminated him to earn the title shot.
Match Winner: Rusev
Match Rating: 7/10
Note: Ryback was in the graphic for this match but did not appear.
Charlotte and Ric Flair came out to address last night’s rehashing of The Montreal Screwjob. Referee Charles Robinson denied that he screwed Natalya and claims she verbally gave up. The segment was a chore to watch. Nattie attacked Charlotte and slapped Ric to set up the rematch. This was far too dry and predictable to warrant Payback’s horrible ending to the Women’s Championship match. Stephanie scheduled Natalya vs. Charlotte in a Submission Match for Extreme Rules with Ric Flair banned from ringside.
A.J. Styles, Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows vs. Roman Reigns and The Usos
Everything you would want from a six-man tag involving these three happened here. It was action packed and full of energy due to the crowd loving Styles and hating Reigns. Styles pinned one of the Usos to get the win for the former Bullet Club trio.
Match Winners: A.J. Styles, Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows
Match Rating: 8/10
The road to Extreme Rules for A.J. Styles and Roman Reigns is truly becoming must-see television. Styles refusing to use the chair on Reigns and Reigns not showing any remorse in attacking Styles has added more layers to this story. The ultimate culmination has to end with one of the men completely turning heel or Finn Balor debuting.
Sami Zayn, Kevin Owens, Cesaro and The Miz are each firing on all cylinders. The Intercontinental Championship program is in good hands for a likely fatal-four-way match at Extreme Rules. Zayn’s crowd reaction when holding the title may be a good indication he’s best served as the next champion.
The New Day have their work cut out for them trying to make The Vaudevillains look like credible challengers by Extreme Rules. There isn’t enough Booty O’s cereal in the world to pull off that task.
Natalya and Charlotte have the talent to pull off a great match but the story is absolutely atrocious and doing them no favors at all.
Rusev challenging Kalisto is the best option. The Bulgarian Brute was an amazing heel a little over a year ago and tonight’s heat following the elimination of Zack Ryder reminded us of his potential. The styles and size difference can only help add another fun unique match for the United States Championship at Extreme Rules.
There’s clearly a long end game for the Shane and Stephanie storyline that probably won’t come until Summerslam or maybe even later. Triple H vs. Shane anyone?
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