Braun Strowman and Kevin Owens Interrupted Raw General Manager Kurt Angle
Angle announced that there will be two Money in the Bank Ladder matches at this year's Money in the Bank pay-per-view: one for the men and one for the women, and both will feature stars from SmackDown Live and Raw. That's the way it should be, so I'm hoping the rumors of a third Ladder match are false. He was soon interrupted by Strowman and Owens, who played off their issues from Backlash the night prior and set up their MITB Ladder match qualifier for after the break.
Braun Strowman def. Kevin Owens to Qualify for the Men's Money in the Bank Ladder Match
If nothing else, Owens wasn't completely squashed by Strowman, so that's a plus. He scored some offense against The Monster Among Men, but Strowman's streak of dominance continued as he heads to Chicago to be a part of the men's MITB Ladder match. Owens is basically bulletproof at this point, but it is worth noting that Owens' sole televised victory in 2017 came against Dolph Ziggler on an episode of SmackDown back in February. That's terrible.
Baron Corbin and The Revival def. No Way Jose and Titus Worldwide
When Jose scored the upset victory over Corbin last week on Raw, I figured it was merely a matter of when and not if Corbin would get his win back, and that was what purpose this match served. It's a shame because Jose seemed to have a bit of momentum after beating Corbin and appearing at Backlash, but it's clear he'll be nothing more than an enhancement talent on the main roster just like he was in NXT. I mean, WWE couldn't have Corbin pin either member of Titus Worldwide instead?
Ember Moon def. Ruby Riott and Sasha Banks in a Triple Threat Match to Qualify for the Women's Money in the Bank Ladder Match
The crowd sat on their hands for the action early on, which was disappointing because this was a terrific Triple Threat. Granted, Banks hasn't exactly endeared herself to the audience lately, but Moon is a fresh face and Riott is excellent, so they deserved better. I was happy they received an ample amount of time to go all out and the final stretch was fantastic. I could certainly see Moon becoming Ms. Money in the Bank in Chicago given her potential.
Renee Young Interviewed Bobby Lashley
I have no clue why Lashley didn't receive this type of treatment the week he returned to WWE, because giving viewers a reason to care about him was long overdue. The video package highlighting his background was well done and I liked his sit-down interview with Young. Not everyone is going to be a fan of him talking about his family the entire time, but I think it humanizes him a bit and proves he isn't just a muscled-up meathead. He has actual motivation and character depth.
Jinder Mahal def. Chad Gable
Gable's surprise win against Mahal two weeks ago gave me the slightest bit of hope that WWE was actually going to be doing something of note with him on Raw compared to his tenure on SmackDown, but apparently, that was merely designed to tell the story of Mahal being on a losing streak before he redeemed himself here. This wasn't nearly as fun as their initial encounter, and I really couldn't care less about Mahal being involved in a MITB Ladder match.
Drew McIntyre and Dolph Ziggler def. Heath Slater and Rhyno
Ziggler and McIntyre have impressed me so far as a tandem and this was another successful showing from them here, squashing Slater and Rhyno. It helps that they have chemistry as partners, too, and they aren't a mismatch on paper. That said, I'm curious what the endgame is with them or if they're simply there to add to the Raw tag team division. Outside of possibly winning the tag titles eventually, McIntyre should be pushed as a singles star sooner rather than later before fans start to lose interest.
Bobby Roode def. Elias
In all honesty, I haven't cared too much about this feud because it has been fairly standard stuff and the matches have been mediocre. This was probably their best encounter to date, though that isn't saying much. 50/50 booking struck again with Roode beating Elias, though it seems Roode has his sights set on qualifying for the MITB Ladder match based off his post-match promo. That's perfectly fine, but he needs an overhaul of some sort (i.e. a heel turn) to become a real player on Raw.
Intercontinental Champion Seth Rollins def. Mojo Rawley
I can totally get behind Rollins doing his own open challenge gimmick with the Intercontinental Championship every week. He's an awesome fit as the fighting champion and it could lead to some exciting matches on Raw. He had the tough task of getting a good match out of Rawley here, but to his credit, Rawley held his own and gained something in defeat by getting so much in before eating defeat.
Raw Tag Team Champions "Woken" Matt Hardy and Bray Wyatt def. Curtis Axel and Bo Dallas (Non-title)
Hardy and Wyatt can be even better as a unit if they're allowed to travel to the Hardy Compound or do strange stuff backstage, but as it is, at least they're winning consistently and getting over with the audience. Dallas and Axel claimed in a pre-taped promo before the bout that they're no longer The Miztourage, but rather to "stay tuned." I petition for them to join Hardy and Wyatt in the "Woken" Universe because it could be a blast.
Finn Balor def. Sami Zayn and Roman Reigns in a Triple Threat Match to Qualify for the Men's Money in the Bank Ladder Match
Even in Long Island, Reigns is absolutely despised. The early work from the three men was great, but it didn't truly pick up until after the commercial break. Balor and Zayn putting their difference aside to take out Reigns elicited a positive reaction from those in attendance, only for Reigns to resurface toward the end and nearly secure the win. Mahal became a babyface almost instantly by preventing Reigns from coming out on top, but a Mahal vs. Reigns feud sounds atrocious on paper. Anyway, Balor joining the men's MITB Ladder match is wonderful and he's my current pick to capture the briefcase.
Thankfully, WWE didn't focus much at all on Backlash. They must have known it didn't receive the most stellar feedback from fans online and opted to move on, so that was smart on their part. They're already setting the stage for Money in the Bank and that tends to be one of the better pay-per-views the company produces each year. The qualifying matches made this a newsworthy show, but it wasn't without its questionable booking decisions at times.
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