Braun Strowman and Bobby Lashley Saved Roman Reigns From Jinder Mahal, Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn
It really bothers me whenever Reigns gets booed (as expected) in cities such as Montreal and then the commentators say that it's because it isn't your typical crowd. How the hell do they explain Hartford booing him out of the building just two weeks ago? Hell, there was even a portion of the audience in Saudi Arabia that booed him at Greatest Royal Rumble! Nonetheless, this segment was pretty paint-by-numbers, but least Owens and Zayn received raucous reactions from their hometown crowds. The six-man tag team match that was announced involving these men screamed filler.
Elias vs. Bobby Roode Ended in a No Contest
We all figured these two would have a rematch following Elias' victory over Roode last week, and as a match, this was perfectly fine. I also figured Roode would get his win back, and thankfully, that was not the case (50/50 booking helps no one). That said, I'm not sure what to make of the finish we got instead. Roode's throat was apparently hurt, and then the contest was called off even though the bell never rang. I guess we're officially getting a Elias vs. Roode feud out of this.
The Authors of Pain def. Jean-Paul and francois
It's rare local athletes receive a televised entrance, but perhaps it was done to remind the audience that they're Canadian and therefore should feel sympathy for them. Despite that, this was a total squash as it should have been with Authors of Pain winning in under a minute. I'm totally cool with them continuing to squash jobbers for the foreseeable future before they wind up in a real rivalry.
Intercontinental Champion Seth Rollins and Finn Balor Attacked The Miztourage
The standing ovation Rollins received during his promo spoke volumes as to how over he truly is at the moment. Balor got a favorable reaction as well, but Rollins has been killing it lately. I enjoyed the back-and-forth they had on the mic, setting up their Intercontinental Championship clash for later in the night. The Miztourage were completely pointless here, but it did lead to Balor laying out Rollins.
Ruby Riott def. Sasha Banks
I was pleasantly surprised by how much time these women ended up getting and they more than made the most of it. The crowd may not have been too hot for the match until the final few minutes, but this was still very well-wrestled. The Riott Squad had to interfere toward the end, so Banks was protected in defeat. Oddly enough, Bayley was nowhere to be seen, so I don't know what's next for that storyline.
Braun Strowman, Bobby Lashley and Roman Reigns def. Kevin Owens, Sami Zayn and Jinder Mahal
It's so blatantly obvious that this match was meant to kill time for all six Superstars before Backlash, where Strowman and Lashley will once again meet Owens and Zayn in tag team action. Although this was a fairly formulaic matchup, the crowd was super into anything Owens, Zayn or Strowman did, so that made this more entertaining for me as a result. The final stretch or so was a blast thanks to the flurry of finishers and Strowman destroying everyone in sight.
No Way Jose def. Baron Corbin
After what happened earlier in the evening backstage between Corbin and Titus O'Neil, you had to know O'Neil was going to cost Corbin the victory here, and that was exactly what happened. The match itself was forgettable, but it's cool WWE capitalized off all the attention O'Neil received for his epic botch at Greatest Royal Rumble by giving him the spotlight on Raw. I don't know if it will be more than a one night thing, but if he's still getting cheered next week, I don't see why he shouldn't be.
Natalya def. Mickie James
I realize Natalya is a Canada native, but Ronda Rousey completely overshadowed her here. I hardly paid attention to the match, which was brief anyway, but what I saw was decent. Rousey chasing Alexa Bliss around the ring was hilarious and actually made me want to see them in a match against each other eventually. Nia Jax then fended off Bliss, and considering she has done that every week since winning the title at WrestleMania, I'm wondering whether Bliss will wind up taking the title back at Backlash.
Intercontinental Champion Seth Rollins def. Finn Balor
Yes, we've seen this match multiple times over the past number of months, but they always work well together and rip it up every time they're in the ring, so why bother complaining? Rollins was already scheduled to defend his Intercontinental title against The Miz at Backlash, but Balor going for the gold six days ahead of that event put that bout in jeopardy. Sure enough, they produced a hell of a main event that kept the crowd on the feet even after a long three hours. Following Balor's shortcoming at Greatest Royal Rumble and now on this show, I'm beginning to think that a heel turn for him is imminent.
It makes no sense to me that the Superstar Shake-up took place before two inter-promotional pay-per-views, whereas they could have waited until afterward. Either that or they clearly didn't think things through because these Raw and SmackDown Live shows have felt meaningless in recent weeks. Nothing will matter until next week, but this was a good episode largely due to the hot Montreal crowd. I don't currently find myself excited for the extremely predictable Backlash card, but perhaps it will exceed expectations.
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