Night of Champions is over and we now look to the future, and we start here, with Raw at the MVP Arena in Albany, New York.
A video recap of what went down at Night of Champions (if you haven’t already, feel free to have a look at my review from Night of Champions to see what happened and my thoughts on it).
In Ring Segment:
Seth Rollins makes his way to the ring through the crowd with the crowd singing along to his entrance theme. Once Rollins gets to the ring, he tells the crowd that it was a long road to get here, but Raw finally has a champion that wants to be on Raw and a champion that wants to fight. Out comes AJ Styles. AJ says he gave Rollins everything he could, but Rollins doesn’t deserve it, Rollins EARNED it. AJ and Rollins shake hands. The Judgement Day’s music hits. Judgement Day talk about how they run Raw, and since the Bloodline imploded, they now run the entire WWE. They tell Rollins to not get too comfortable with his title as it will be one of Judgement Day who takes the title from him. Rhea even declares that it could be “her Dom Dom”. Rollins and AJ crack up laughing at that idea. Judgement Day then challenge AJ and Rollins to a tag team match later tonight and Rollins and AJ accept.
We see Adam Pearce and he is on the phone. He says that he understands that it goes against the brand split and the draft, but it is a match that the fans want to see. Rollins and AJ speak with Pearce and tell him that they want this match and to get the match approved.
Match 1: Money in the Bank Qualifying Match - Ricochet vs The Miz
Ricochet starts fast and sends Miz outside, only to have Miz come back with a running hurricanrana and a big boot. With Ricochet on the floor, Miz drops him onto the announcers’ table, followed by a top rope axe handle back inside. We take a break and come back with Miz hitting a springboard crossbody to knock Ricochet down. A Codebreaker out of the corner and a DDT get two on Ricochet, who comes back with a kick to the face. The standing Sliced Bread sets up a shooting star press to finish Miz. Ricochet has qualified for the Money in the Bank Ladder Match.
A good opening match. I don't think the Miz has actually won a match this year (I could be wrong but it doesn't seem like he has). He was pulling out some very different moves and bragging about what he was doing which fits his character perfectly. Ricochet winning this one wasn’t much of a surprise to me, but a very good match. Grade B
In Ring Segment:
Trish Stratus comes to the ring. She tells the crowd that their “Thank you Trish” chants mean nothing to her. Trish tells the crowd that she told us that she would win because that is what you do when you are the best. She says that Becky can now go away and let the real stars shine through. Trish says that she is proud of someone who helped her, even though she didn't need the help, but that person wanted to help her. She continues to say that this person reminds her of herself from years ago.
Out comes Zoey Stark, she says that she is here to learn from someone as legendary as Trish. Zoey then brings up the bruising on Trish’s chin. Trish then threatens that if Becky Lynch shows up, Zoey will deal with her. Becky Lynch’s music hits and out she comes, still wearing her gear from Night of Champions. Becky mentions that seeing as though she is still in her gear and so is Trish, they should restart the match. Trish sends Zoey after Becky, but Becky is able to get to Trish until Zoey is able to make the save. Zoey hits Becky with the Z360, they then put Becky into the corner and put Zoey’s “Thank you Trish” shirt on Becky.
Match 2: Indus Sher w/Jinder Mahal vs Local Enhancement Talent
Indus Sher jump their opponents before the bell even rings. One of the enhancement talents gets sent into the corner and the bell rings to start the match. Veer kicks him in the head. The second enhancement talent is then thrown into his partner, setting up a leg drop/side slam combination and Indus Sher get the win.
A predictable squash match. I really don’t care about Indus Sher, maybe if they had decent matches against actual talent from the roster, I might start to become interested in them, otherwise it's just the same thing all the time and it is boring. It seems that the crowds in attendance agree with me as well because there never seems to be any kind of crowd reaction to their matches. Grade D-
We see Jimmy Uso turning on Roman Reigns at Night of Champions, seemingly he has left the Bloodline. Jey Uso’s future is still not clear at this point.
In Ring Segment:
Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn come to the ring. Sami says that he is happy that they won their match at Night of Champions because that means they have ruined Roman Reigns’ life. They are then interrupted by Imperium. Ludvig Kaiser begins to brag about Gunther but Owens cuts him off, Owens goes on a rant about how there is an unwritten rule, no one mentioned their names, so why are they out here. Sami agrees that they shouldn't be out here because they were not mentioned. Sami brings up the fact that Imperium were beaten by Owens, Zayn and Riddle. Kaiser calls Riddle an embarrassment. Owens says that he is tired of hearing from “Slenderman” (Kaiser) and “the one with the ears” but they never hear from “baldy” (Vinci). Kaiser isn't happy about this, but he is interrupted by Alpha Academy. ALpha Academy and Imperium have a match tonight. Owens asked Gable to say the thing he likes and Gable responds with a big “Thank you”.
Match 3: Imperium vs Alpha Academy w/Maxxine Dupri
Gable is taken into the corner but comes out with a flying headscissors and a headlock takeover/flying headscissors combination. Valhalla comes out to chase off Maxxine Dupri and this allows the distraction to let Imperium take over with the double dropkick to Gable in the corner. Gable arm drags his way to freedom and kicks Vinci away, setting up the diving tag to Otis. The Caterpillar hits Kaiser, with Vinci making the save and low bridging Otis to the floor. It’s back to Gable, who gets caught with a spinebuster. The Imperial Bomb is enough to finish Gable.
A decent tag team match. Imperium continue to push themselves as a solid tag team and Alpha Academy were their usual reliable selves. Grade C+
Raquel Rodriguez and Shotzi are being interviewed, they are asked if they think they have developed enough chemistry as a team when they are interrupted by Bayley and Io Sky. Damage Ctrl tries to mock Raquel and Shotzi, but Raquel reminds Bayley that she is the only member of Damage Ctrl to not win any gold since creating the group. Raquel then tells Bayley when Damage Ctrl loses, Bayley needs to take a look in the mirror to see why that is.
Candice LeRae is highlighted in this video package, she tells us that she wears her fairy wings to signify the fairytale that her life has become.
Match 4: Fatal 4 Way Tag Team Match for the Women's Tag Team Championship - Raquel Rodriguez & Shotzi vs Damage Ctrl (Bayley & Io Sky) vs Chelsea Green & Sonya Deville vs Ronda Rousey & Shayna Baszler
Rodriguez powers Bayley around to start until an elbow to the face cuts her off. Bayley tags in Green, who really doesn’t want to be involved. Green gets thrown into Baszler and out to the floor as we take a break. Back with Rodriguez coming in to clean house until Rousey gets the tag.
Rousey takes Rodriguez down into the armbreaker but Bayley makes the save with a top rope elbow. Green tags herself in and sends Rodriguez into the post, setting up I’m Prettier to Rodriguez. A running knee gives Deville two but it’s Sky coming in for the running knees in the corner.
Shotzi makes the save and hits a heck of a suicide dive on Bayley. Rodriguez tags Shotzi in and it’s a Tower Of Doom, with Rousey taking the worst of it. The top rope backsplash is pulled into the armbreaker though and Shotzi immediately taps to crown Rousey & Baszler the new Women’s Tag Team Champions.
An OK tag team fatal 4 way match. It seemed a little too predictable that it was going to be Ronda and Shayna winning this one, but I personally wouldn’t have had them win. It seems like they are never on any show and they only show up when it's a ‘big’ match. I know they appear to be the more dominant team, but I would probably have had the Chelsea/Sonya team win, just for the fun side of it. Then go on to have them in a feud with any of the other teams. But, I digress, Shayna and Ronda won, so hopefully we will get a decent showing from the new champions with some good title defences. Grade C-
Match 5: Dolph Ziggler vs JD McDonagh
Ziggler takes McDonagh into the corner to start but McDonagh sends Ziggler throat first into the rope. They head outside with McDonagh sending Ziggler into the steps. It’s enough of a beating that McDonagh is disqualified.
McDonagh continues the beatdown on Ziggler until the referees break it up.
A very short ‘match’. Clearly this was just a way to have McDonagh look strong coming to Raw. Not much to really comment on. Grade D
In Ring Segment:
Cody comes to the ring, arm in a sling, to talk about his match with Brock Lesnar at Night of Champions. Cody says that people told him not to compete in the match but he did it anyway. Cody says that he didn't tap out because that's not the kind of man he wants to be. Cody says he wants to talk to Lesnar, but Lesnar isn't here. Cody then issues an open challenge to Lesnar, listing the cities that he will be in. Cody says that Lesnar is beast enough to break his arm, but he wasn't man enough to make him tap out. Cody says that Lesnar is afraid of him.
Matt Riddle talks about how he wants to win Money in the Bank. He is interrupted by Gunther, who wishes him luck, because he wants to see Riddle win, then challenge him for the Intercontinental Championship so he can beat and humiliate Riddle.
Ronda Rousey and Shayna Baszler are happy to be champions and they are happy with their win. They say that they are here to hurt people. They say that they are loyal to each other and loyalty is everything.
Match 6: Money in the Bank Qualifying Match - Shinsuke Nakamura vs Bronson Reed
Nakamura manages to knock Reed to the outside to start but Reed is back in with a big shoulder. The rolling splash crushes Nakamura but he’s right back with the kicks. The sliding German suplex is blocked though and Reed kicks Nakamura in the face. A leg sweep on the apron takes Reed down though and there’s the running knee to the face.
We take a break and come back with Reed running Nakamura over again for two and there’s a backsplash to crush Nakamura again. Back up and Reed misses a charge, allowing Nakamura to hit the running knee. Reed is back with a powerslam but the Tsunami misses. Nakamura knocks him to the apron and knees him down, followed by Kinshasa for the pin.
A good match, very hard hitting. It was a bit of a surprise that Nakamura went over in this one, especially with how Reed has been presented lately. But a really good match nonetheless. Grade C+
Judgement Day are preparing for tonight's main event. They say they are proud of Rhea for winning her match at Night of Champions. Byron asks which two of them will compete in tonight’s main event match, but they will not say (all members of Judgement Day are in their wrestling gear).
We get a Memorial Day video package.
Main Event Match: Judgement Day (Finn Balor, Damien Priest, Dominik Mysterio & Rhea Ripley) vs Seth Rollins & AJ Styles
It appears that it will be the team of Dominik Mysterio and Damien Priest, nevermind, Finn Balor jumped AJ and Dominik left the ring. Rollins slips away and runs to the floor, where he puts his arm around Rhea seemingly like a call back to when Shawn Michaels did the same to Melina. Back in the ring and Priest elbows Rollins down and we hit the armbar. Rollins kicks him off and brings Styles in to clean house, including a running forearm in the corner.
Dominik breaks up the Phenomenal Forearm though and Priest knocks Styles over the announcers’ table as we take a break. Back with Styles trying to fight out of trouble but getting sent outside instead. Rollins gets into it with Ripley on the floor, leaving Styles to Pele his way out of trouble. The tag brings in Rollins, who small packages Balor for two but is quickly knocked down for the same.
Priest comes back in and is superplexed, only to come back with the Falcon Arrow. Balor misses the Coup de Grace and gets superkicked, leaving Balor and Rollins down. Everything breaks down and Rollins and Balor go over the announcers’ table. The Phenomenal Forearm doesn’t work as Priest backs up and the Razor’s Edge plants Styles. Rollins cuts Priest off though and the diving tag brings in Rollins for the Stomp to finish Priest.
A good main event match. Just a nice, simple match. It was good to see Rhea being shown as an equal to the men. No major notes to give on this match, it was just enjoyable to watch. Grade B.
Overall, a good episode of Raw. We are getting ready for Money in the Bank with the qualifying matches and we are seeing rivalries continuing and possibly some new ones starting. An enjoyable show, especially considering I usually don’t think Raw is a good watch.