Monday Night Raw begins with a recap video from last week featuring Roman Reigns destroying A.J. Styles. Reigns and The Usos will face Styles, Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows in an elimination match later tonight. Hooray!
Chris Jericho opens the show with a new edition of The Highlight Reel. Y2J brags about injuring Dean Ambrose and reveals tonight's guest – Mitch, Ambrose’s dead plant. Jericho cuts a hilarious promo talking trash about Ambrose being in the hospital. Big Cass shockingly interrupts Jericho and the two have an entertaining exchange. Cass hits the big boot on Jericho setting up tonight’s main event. It is really cool seeing some of the NXT guys making an instant impact and setting up fresh matchups already.
Baron Corbin vs. Dolph Ziggler
Three-hour editions of Raw need an exciting match to start off the night of action. Baron Corbin and Dolph Ziggler was the wrong choice here. This feud is desperately lacking interest and another lackluster match did not help things. Corbin scored the victory but they are likely going to continuing wrestling every week until the next PPV. Sigh.
Match Winner: Baron Corbin
Match Rating: 5/10
Charlotte and Ric Flair tried to butter up Shane McMahon but he stands by Stephanie’s decision to ban Ric from ringside for Charlotte’s title match at Extreme Rules against Natalya. Shane also bans Flair from ringside tonight during Charlotte’s non-title match against Paige.
Fandango vs. R-Truth
The most pointless feud in recent WWE history continued here. All of these guys have something to offer but the storyline is a mess. The crowd was silent and this match came off like something you would find after intermission on a house show. R-Truth won due to Goldust’s accidental distraction. Waste of television time.
Match Winner: R-Truth
Match Rating: 2/10
Shane and Stephanie make a triple threat match for the Intercontinental Championship at Extreme Rules featuring The Miz, Kevin Owens and Cesaro. Sami Zayn interrupts and wants in. If Zayn defeats Miz later tonight, it will become a fatal four way.
Charlotte vs. Paige
Natalya is out for commentary. Paige is back on WWE television for the first time since WrestleMania. The chemistry between Paige and Charlotte has always lacked but they absolutely brought it tonight. Paige looked very motivated to be back and put out one of her better efforts in quite some time. The finish saw Ric come out to try to distract Paige but Shane-O-Mac arrived in time to get rid of Naitch. This caused Charlotte to be the one distracted and Paige rolled her up for the big win.
Match Winner: Paige
Match Rating: 7/10
The announcers continue to stress tonight’s Jericho vs. Big Cass match is the main event.
The Miz vs. Sami Zayn
Sami Zayn and The Miz have developed great chemistry over the past few months. The string of good matches on WWE television between the two continued here. Miz tried to use the ropes for leverage but the referee stopped him. Zayn hit the Helluva Kick to get the win and enter the Intercontinental Championship match at Extreme Rules.
Match Winner: Sami Zayn
Match Rating: 7/10
Becky Lynch is being interviewed about Emma’s actions against her. Emma distracted Becky for NXT’s Dana Brooke to debut attacking Lynch. Emma and Dana are bringing their tag team act to the main roster.
Kevin Owens and Zack Ryder have an exchange that leads to Shane McMahon making a match between the two for Owens’ spot in the Intercontinental Championship match at Extreme Rules.
Rusev vs. Sin Cara
Kalisto will defend the United States Championship against Rusev at Extreme Rules so it only makes sense his tag team partner Sin Cara represents him tonight. The match was aggressively average with the surprise win for Sin Cara. Kalisto distracted Rusev leading to a rollup by Sin Cara. WWE was trying to get a story going for Rusev and Kalisto but it really just made Rusev look weak and added very little to the title program.
Match Winner: Sin Cara
Match Rating: 4/10
Another vignette for Primo and Epico aired. Did you know they were from Puerto Rico? Wild! They will return to Raw next week.
A.J. Styles, Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows vs. Roman Reigns and The Usos
The entire story revolving around A.J. Styles and Roman Reigns has been excellent. This match was entertaining with the high points definitely featuring Styles and Reigns once their partners were eliminated. Anderson, Gallows and the Usos all interfered after their eliminations leading to a huge brawl. Styles and Reigns had an epic stare down with fans of each performer chanting for their guy. The title match at Extreme Rules is going to be a must-see affair thanks to some of the best WWE writing in years.
Match Winner: No contest
Match Rating: 9/10
Kevin Owens vs. Zack Ryder
Zack Ryder has done a great job in the underdog role as of late. Kevin Owens obviously got the victory to secure his spot in the IC Title match. The match was pretty basic but both characters gelled well for a great face vs. heel crowd response.
Match Winner: Kevin Owens
Match Rating: 6/10
The New Day cut a humorous promo about not knowing how to pronounce the names of the Vaudevillains and their outdated ways. Yes, the Vaudevillains are still a thing and will be challenging New Day for the tag titles in a few weeks.
New Day vs. The Dudleyz
The New Day are usually a can't miss selection for a fun match but this couldn't deliver up to their standards. The nostalgia run by the Dudleyz has reached a point where the crowd doesn't even respond for their entrance with the cool pyro. To make matters worse, the Dudz got the upset victory thanks to interference by the Vaudevillains in the boring match.
Match Winners: The Dudleyz
Match Rating: 3/10
Roman Reigns vs. Luke Gallows is scheduled to be the main event of Smackdown this week.
Big Cass vs. Chris Jericho
The match never takes place as Dean Ambrose attacks Chris Jericho and brings Jericho's "$15,000" jacket into the ring. Ambrose cuts it apart with a pair of scissors after beating up Jericho.
Horrible ending to the show. The entire show was built around Big Cass getting the biggest match of his career and it never even starts. They could have at least let the match go on for a few minutes before Jericho tried to get intentionally counted out and done everything the same. Anything would have been better than the main event featuring zero wrestling and someone cutting a jacket apart with a pair of scissors to close the show.
Match Winner: No contest
Match Rating: 0/10
A.J. Styles and Roman Reigns continue to be the best thing on the show. Hopefully WWE has a great plan for how the Extreme Rules match will end. Both men are at the top of their game and have special chemistry. Styles is the opponent Reigns needs to gain credibility as a champion and Reigns is the opponent Styles needs to prove he's a star. This is wonderful pro wrestling. They could easily have the "match of the year" in a few weeks.
Dean Ambrose and Chris Jericho should have a great match at Extreme Rules but tonight was silly. The entire "Lunatic Fringe" persona sometimes hinders Ambrose's potential and hopefully it won't factor into the story of the big Extreme Rules match.
The Intercontinental Championship picture is highly entertaining with four talents performing quite well. Midcard titles need various credible challengers going after it and this is working out to make everyone look good.
Paige's return was very impressive and she may be the next challenger once the Natalya vs. Charlotte story ends. Charlotte is obviously going to retain over Nattie but they are using Ric Flair far too much to the extent it's taking away from the title program.
New Day is struggling immensely to sell a program with the Vaudevillains and the match will be a tough task to get the crowd invested in come Extreme Rules.
Dana Brooke and Emma work very well together. The secondary storyline with Becky Lynch has the potential to be entertaining. The safe money is on Sasha Banks evening the odds.
Rusev and Kalisto aren't getting any help from the creative but their talent will shine once they finally have their match.
Big Cass didn't get his main event match but the structure of the show was still built around him. This was likely WWE testing to see if the ratings improved or declined with him in the assumed main event. Regardless, this was a noteworthy night in Big Cass being positioned as someone to keep an eye on. The machine may be behind the standout talent and you can't teach that.
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