Roman Reigns def. Dolph Ziggler
Apparently Ziggler's new gimmick is that he has a death wish, and unsurprisingly, I don't care about him any more than I did before. They worked hard in the 10 minutes they were allotted, but I can't imagine anyone actually saw Ziggler as a serious threat to Reigns despite how close he came to pinning him toward the end. I'm honestly not sure what purpose this was supposed to serve since both guys are SmackDown Live Superstars and have nothing to do with each other at the moment.
"The Fiend" Bray Wyatt Attacked Jerry "The King" Lawler
Lawler was originally scheduled to welcome Sasha Banks to King's Court so she could explain her actions from last week, but while he was giving his predictions for the King of the Ring tournament, the lights went out and Wyatt attacked him before he could make it backstage. I appreciated that Lawler tried to run up the ramp instead of waiting around in the ring like a moron for Wyatt to come after him. Meanwhile, I love that The Fiend has been kept strong so far.
Ricochet and The Miz def. Baron Corbin and Drew McIntyre
This served as a nice preview of what we can expect in next week's King of the Ring first round matches when Ricochet faces McIntyre and Miz takes on Corbin. Speaking of Corbin, I don't believe he's been on Raw in over a Raw, and quite honestly, it's easy to forget he's been gone. At any rate, this was an entertaining tag matchup with both teams working well together and the babyfaces scoring some momentum heading into the tourney.
Braun Strowman def. United States Champion AJ Styles by Disqualification
I don't think many people expected the title to change hands coming into this contest to begin with, but the fact that it happened halfway through the show made the outcome obvious. It went all of one minute, so there really isn't anything I can say about it aside from how it effectively set up the night's main event of Strowman and Seth Rollins vs. The O.C. for the Raw Tag Team Championship. No, it was never explained why it'd be for the belts, but I guess it was a decent hook for the rest of the show, if nothing else.
Samoa Joe def. Cesaro in a King of the Ring First Round Match
Heel vs. heel matches are rare in WWE nowadays, so I thought this was a refreshing change of pace. I don't think we'd ever seen Joe vs. Cesaro one-on-one in a WWE ring before and the crowd wasn't as quiet as I assumed they would be. I enjoyed every second of this hard-hitting affair and I'm happy that Joe advanced to the next round. If this bout was any indication, the rest of this tourney should be a blast.
R-Truth Interrupted Elias
Although this was billed as Elias' final concert so he could focus on his duties as 24/7 Champion, I highly doubt that will end up being the case. In predictable fashion, Truth showed up dressed as a stage hand and attempted to pin Elias for his title but was unsuccessful. Elias remains 24/7 Champion for now, but it'll be interesting to see if he can hold onto the gold past Tuesday's SmackDown Live since he'll have a match with Kevin Owens.
SmackDown Tag Team Champions The New Day def. The Revival by Disqualification (Non-title)
It's super cool that the commentators brought up several times that New Day have never defeated Revival. That'll make New Day's eventual victory over Revival mean that much more and I hope they'll continue feuding through Clash of Champions. It was fun while it lasted and Orton's RKO out of nowhere on Big E was an awesome spot. Orton and Revival proceeded to viciously attack all of New Day (including Kofi Kingston), showing tremendous chemistry in the process. I'd definitely be down for an alliance between Orton and Revival. Is there any way we can get Bobby Roode in there, too?
Michael Cole Interviewed Sasha Banks
Everyone wanted to know why Banks did what she did last week on Raw and I'm a fan of her holding off on giving answers for another time. She talked about her blue hair here before saying "you're welcome" in regards to her attacks on Natalya and Becky Lynch. I'll be supremely disappointed if she doesn't bring up her lengthy absence at some point and explain why she was away. I think blurring the line between storyline and reality would make her an even stronger heel.
WWE Women's Tag Team Champions Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross def. Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville (Non-Title)
Bliss and Cross have been a pretty good team for the last few months, but I'm confused as to whether fans should be cheering them or booing them. It isn't clear one one way or the other. From an in-ring standpoint, this match was perfectly fine, but I can't say it did anything to get me excited about the women's tag team division. On one hand, I'm happy Bliss and Cross are winning consistently (unlike The IIconics), but then again, they've wiped out all of their possible challengers in the span of eight days. I have no clue who's left for them to defend against.
Cedric Alexander def. Sami Zayn in a King of the Ring First Round Match
It's worth noting that Zayn acknowledged his recent losing streak before the bout, so while he lost again here, fingers crossed it'll lead somewhere eventually, like a face turn or something along lines. Alexander and Zayn had quality chemistry and produced a solid match despite not having a ton of time to work with. Kudos to WWE for giving Alexander more television time of late. It seems to be paying off as he gradually gets more and more over with the audience.
Universal Champion Seth Rollins and Braun Strowman def. The O.c. to Win the Raw Tag Team Championship
Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson weren't Raw Tag Team Champions for month and they've already lost the straps. Of course, I expect them to regain the gold as soon as next week because that's usually the formula WWE follows with this "reluctant partners" nonsense, but I don't think it does the titles or the division any favors. The match was entertaining and it closed the show on a notable note with the crowd getting sent home happy, but it felt like a short-term move that did more to damage The O.C. than help Rollins and Strowman. As of now, I don't have high hopes for Rollins vs. Strowman at Clash of Champions if that's the direction they go in.
Aside from the questionable title change at the end there, I dug this edition of Raw on the whole. I won't go so far as to say that I think it'll be the norm going forward, but for one week, I liked most of what I saw. The King of the Ring matches were handled nicely while The Fiend attacking Lawler, Banks' appearances, and Orton and Revival laying out New Day were among the highlights of the night for me. The three hours went by quicker than usual, so let's see if they can keep it up in the weeks to come.
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