Money in the Bank delivered huge surprises and changes to the landscape of WWE. Seth Rollins defeated Roman Reigns cleanly to become WWE World Champion for a matter of seconds before Dean Ambrose cashed in his Money in the Bank title shot to win his first WWE World Championship. The drama of The Shield battling for the title is the main story heading into Raw.
John Cena suffered a loss to A.J. Styles thanks to The Club and that feud is definitely not over. We’ll see how Cena responds. Styles should be presented very well coming off the biggest win of his career. Nothing else of major importance occurred at Money in the Bank but we are likely getting a variety of new feuds tonight. Hopefully Raw brings the entertainment value following the big event.
The show opens with Dean Ambrose celebrating his championship victory. Roman Reigns comes out to congratulate his friend but wants to exercise his rematch clause. The two are cordial but showing signs of wanting to bash each other’s heads in. Seth Rollins interrupts with a more hostile approach and demands a rematch as well. Shane McMahon makes a #1 contender’s match between Reigns and Rollins tonight.
Kevin Owens vs. Sami Zayn
The heated rivalry comes to Raw as Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens face off in their second singles match since coming to the WWE main roster. Owens takes control early until Zayn pulls off a beautiful dive over the top rope. The momentum changed when Owens delivered a sick superkick. Owens couldn’t finish it off and Zayn rolls him up out of nowhere for the quick victory. This was highly entertaining but not as great a match that we would see on a PPV between these two.
Owens attacked Zayn on the stage following the match and they brawled until referees broke it up. Another big PPV match is likely coming, perhaps with a stipulation.
Match Winner: Sami Zayn
Match Rating: 7/10
Zayn and Owens are still fighting backstage following the commercial break.
John Laurinaitis makes a surprise appearance rocking a bright red suit and is campaigning for a job as Smackdown General Manager. Shane McMahon comes out and tells him a corporate “yes man” won’t be in charge of Raw or Smackdown. Pointless segment.
Big Cass and Enzo Amore vs. The Vaudevillains
It wasn’t much of a match rather than just Big Cass and Enzo Amore making a statement with an easy victory. Big Cass cleared house and the faces picked up the win in a couple of minutes. Tough night for the Vaudevillains looking completely irrelevant but they are lucky to have the brand split coming up to split the rosters in half.
Match Winners: Big Cass and Enzo Amore
Match Rating: 4/10
A.J. Styles is here following his big win over John Cena and is sarcastically asking Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows to apologize for interfering in the match last night. The Club are all blatantly lying about Styles not wanting to cheat to win in an obvious heel bit. Cena calls them out on it and demands to face Styles but ends up in a match against Karl Anderson instead due to A.J cowering out of a fight.
John Cena vs. Karl Anderson
The Club interferes shortly into the match and attack Cena. Gallows, Anderson and Styles stand tall after A.J. hits the Styles Clash. Strong night for The Club and we are almost certainly getting another Cena vs. Styles match at Battleground.
Match Winner: John Cena by DQ
Match Rating: N/A
Becky Lynch is interviewed about Natalya turning on her last night and says she is going to fight back. It was a very effective promo in getting across her feelings on having another friend stab her in the back out of nowhere. Natalya attacked her and showed the change of attitude once again.
Baron Corbin vs. Zack Ryder
Baron Corbin obviously got the win over Zack Ryder in a glorified enhancement match but it ran a bit long. This is a problem with WWE. Why book matches with obvious results and intents if you’re not going to fully commit? Corbin should have destroyed Ryder in seconds to get the point across that he’s a future star. The match was utterly pointless and there to fill time. That’s the worst thing anyone can say at this point.
Match Winner: Baron Corbin
Match Rating: 2/10
A vignette for The Wyatt’s Family returned. It will be interesting to see where they fit in the picture. Most of the bigger stars are already in feuds. Who will Bray Wyatt go after? Will he be a face or a heel?
Charlotte vs. Paige
Charlotte is defending her Women’s Championship due to Paige scoring two non-title victories over her in the past month. The two exchange near falls via roll-ups for a full minute before things get sloppy. Dana Brooke almost botched the finish of putting Charlotte’s foot on the ropes to save the match. Charlotte retains via the distraction.
The bigger news comes when Sasha Banks arrives after the match to a huge crowd ovation. Banks gets the better of Charlotte and holds the Women’s Championship in the air as the fans chant “Yes!”
Match Winner: Charlotte
Match Rating: 5.5/10
Another Wyatt Family video airs. They’re here.
Bray Wyatt, Erick Rowan and Braun Strawman come to the ring but Luke Harper is still out with an injury. The fans chant “welcome back” and are showing adoration for the popular faction. Wyatt cuts a hell of a face promo claiming they are stronger than ever. New Day interrupts him.
The New Day start engaging in humor and jokes but the Wyatts aren’t into it. Bray says it will be “New Day falls” instead of “New Day rocks.” It looks like we’re getting a six-man tag match at Battleground. One or both of these factions may be splitting up in the draft for WWE to want to have this match now with little reasoning behind it.
Titus O’Neil cut a backstage promo about wanting to extract revenge on Rusev for humiliating him in front of his children at Money in the Bank.
Rusev vs. Titus O’Neil
The match turns into a fight with Titus getting the advantage. O’Neil brutally beats up Rusev outside of the ring until Rusev runs in the crowd to get away from him. This was very well done. The program between the two was very cold but the personal element has helped make Titus a sympathetic figure standing up for his children.
Match Winner: No contest
Match Rating: 6/10
A video of The Miz and Maryse are shown on the set of The Marine 5. Miz is still filming the D-list movie and losing all momentum of his title reign.
Chris Jericho is shown backstage badmouthing Shane McMahon for having an agenda against him. Shane-O-Mac is referred to as a “stupid idiot” and Jericho is warned to watch his words. There appears to be a small program building between these two that may culminate at the draft.
Roman Reigns vs. Seth Rollins
Dean Ambrose is at commentary to find out who his next challenger is. The two men had an outstanding match at Money in the Bank and continued their luck here with another strong effort. It lacked the “big match feel” that it had on Sunday with good reasoning considering the title isn’t at stake here. Both guys looked great in the back and forth contest showing why The Shield was so successful. The culmination saw Reigns spear Rollins on the Spanish announce table outside the ring. Both stars get counted out and fail to make it back into the ring in time.
Shane McMahon comes out and Ambrose says he wants to fight both men. A triple threat is announced for Battleground. For the first time ever, it will be Ambrose vs. Rollins vs. Reigns with all three Shield members battling.
Match Winner: Double count out
Match Rating: 7.5/10
The brand split is likely forcing WWE’s hand in delivering Roman Reigns vs. Seth Rollins vs. Dean Ambrose for the first time on Battleground. WrestleMania or Summerslam seemed like the best option to run such an important match but they may be on different shows after the draft. The match is years in the making and may be the most important bout all year. Any man can realistically win here and that’s a perfect scenario for a huge main event match.
John Cena and A.J. Styles will continue their feud for the next five weeks leading into Battleground. The most interesting facet is figuring out how Cena neutralizes Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows. Maybe we see Big Cass and Enzo Amore join Cena’s side. It could be a random duo of faces like Cesaro and Apollo Crews. NXT callus like American Alpha could be on the way. Cena can’t overcome all three members this time and he needs someone to join his side.
Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn are bound to continue fighting with a likely stipulation match coming at Battleground. An interesting WWE plan could see them have a brutal fight on the PPV before splitting in the draft but continuing the feud from a distance on each brand to save it for a big WrestleMania match or something bigger down the line.
Sasha Banks is here to save the women’s division. The big match is obviously a singles bout between Banks and Charlotte. WWE can go with it at Battleground or save it as a big match on Summerslam. The latter seems likely with Paige and Dana Brooke still in the mix regarding this story in the short term.
The faction warfare between New Day and The Wyatt Family is going to be difficult to pull off given how successful and beloved both groups are. The draft could mean Battleground is the final team we see one or both squad wrestle together.
Rusev is going to continue his feud against Titus O’Neil. This isn’t the most appealing match on paper but they are doing a nice job adding intensity.
This was the first week WWE has started to hype the upcoming draft and brand split. We still don’t know who the General Managers will be for Raw and Smackdown. The best bet is Shane and Stephanie continuing to co-run Raw but someone new and exciting taking over Smackdown. The long tease means it has to someone great, right? Hooray for optimism!
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