Welcome to Monday Night RAW!
MATCH: Roman Reigns vs. Rusev (with Lana) – United States Championship Match
We’re thrust right into the action as Roman Reigns, our new United States Champion, makes his way to the ring for a rematch with Rusev. Lana is wearing the same cute little outfit that she was last night at Clash of Champions.
- Back and forth from both men until Rusev gets Roman down into a submission. Roman kips up to break the hold, and Rusev takes him down again with a double leg takedown.
- Pair of suplexes from Rusev to Roman, really working Roman’s back.
- Roman with corner clotheslines on Rusev, then transitioning a roll-up into a powerbomb – except his back is hurting too much to manage, and he has to drop Rusev instead of powerbombing him.
- When we’re back from commercial, Rusev rebounds Roman off the ropes then grabs him around the waist. Roman creates separation and goes for some strikes, and Rusev hits a standing dropkick.
- Splash from Rusev for a two-count, and then transitioning into another waistlock.
- Roman catches a strike from Rusev, then counters with a series of clotheslines.
- Rusev blocks a Superman Punch, and both men topple over the ropes to the outside.
- After another ad break, Roman is kicking out of a cover at two.
- Rusev sets Roman up on the turnbuckle, then climbs up after him. Lana is watching suspiciously at ringside clasping her hands in that way that makes me think she’s secretly texting Summer Rae some gossip about this match. Roman knocks Rusev down with headbutts before he can get the superplex.
- Samoan drop from Roman, for another two-count.
- Strikes back and forth, then a spin kick from Rusev for another nearfall. Rusev is looking furious and desperate, here.
- Headbutt from Rusev to Roman’s chest for another nearfall, then Rusev up on the top rope. Roman knocks him down with a right hand before he can do anything, then Roman with a wrecking ball dropkick after him.
- Both men back in the ring, and Rusev takes Roman to the mat with a kick for another nearfall.
- Rusev with a series of kicks to Roman’s spine to loosen him up for the Accolade, but Roman rolls over and catches Rusev’s foot.
- Superman punch! But Rusev kicks out.
- Roman in the corner signals for the Spear, but Lana is up on the apron and distracting Roman. Rusev rolls away, and Roman hits a Drive By.
- Roman and Rusev end up brawling on the outside, and then into the crowd, and the bell rings – double count-out!
Rusev throws Roman into the barricade over and over, then picks up a chair and puts in more of a beating on Roman. Rusev throws Roman back into the ring and waves the chair around like he’s going to do something with it, but Roman takes him down with a Spear. Roman sets up the steel chair for a nice sit down after that long match, which I suppose he does deserve, and raises the US Title above his head triumphantly.
It’s not over yet, though – Roman picks up the chair and hits Rusev with it just to undercut the point before hoisting the title again, and Lana looks very unhappy as she and Rusev walk from the ring together.
Next up, Mick Foley is in the ring to talk about the final match in the Cesaro/Sheamus best of seven series. This means that the Best of Seven series officially ended in a draw. Both of the men make their way out to the ring, and Sheamus reminds Foley that he promised that the man who was more physically dominant would get a title shot, and even though he didn’t technically win, Sheamus was more physically dominant. Cesaro counters that he was at least standing in the ring, while Sheamus was being escorted away by medical personnel.
Foley agrees that he promised the winner a championship opportunity, so since he can’t in good conscience declare one of them the winner, they can both have a championship opportunity – they can fight together for the tag-team championship.
The New Day make their way out to the ring and Cesaro starts to just walk away in disgust, soon followed by Sheamus. Before they can make their way out, though, Gallows and Anderson come out because they have already been granted a rematch against the New Day for tonight. Sheamus and Cesaro eye them off for a moment, before they leave.
MATCH: Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson vs. Kofi Kingston & Big E (with Xavier Woods) – Tag Team Championship Match
We cut to commercial after that segment, and when we come back the match is underway.
- Kofi Kingston and Karl Anderson in ring together, and Kofi flings himself over the top rope to take out Luke Gallows before climbing back in the ring and sending Anderson into the corner to commence a Unicorn Stampede.
- Gallows knocks Big E off the apron so he can’t tag in for the Stampede. Kofi goes after him, and goes down to a clothesline.
- Anderson drags Kofi back into the ring, and Gallows makes the tag. Kofi tries to springboard into a move, but Gallows catches him with a chokeslam.
- When we’re back from commercial, Anderson is back in the ring, powerbombing Kofi for a nearfall, before tagging in Gallows again.
- Gallows with a big boot taking Kofi down, then up onto the second rope – Kofi gets his legs up to counter, though, and Gallows tags Anderson back int.
- Kofi makes the tag to Big E, who hits Anderson with a pair of belly-to-belly suplexes, then gyrates over his body before knocking Gallows off the apron.
- Kofi attacks Gallows on the outside, and Anderson tries to get a roll-up on Big E while he’s distracted, but E is able to kick out.
- Big E spears Anderson through the second rope, then drags him back into the ring and tags Kofi in for the Midnight Hour. Gallows breaks up the pin.
- Kofi tags E back in then Anderson hits a neckbreaker on Big E from the top rope, then tags Gallows for the Magic Killer. Kofi breaks up the pin.
- Anderson and Kofi back in, and Kofi hits a DDT on Anderson. Gallows makes his way in, but Kofi sends him back out of the ring.
- Kofi with Trouble in Paradise, and the New Day retain!
Xavier is in the ring holding and supporting Kofi, then pushes Big E into the ring so they can celebrate together. The New Day look beaten down, but remain victorious!
Quick recap of the championship match from last night at Clash of Champions – Seth got a successful Pedigree on Kevin, and probably would have gotten a successful pin, were it not for Kevin’s best friend maneuvering to make sure Kevin got a rope break. Kevin retained with the Pop-Up Powerbomb. We are further informed that Seth cracked his ribs in the event, and is not medically cleared to return at this stage.
But we’re in for a treat tonight – Jericho’s got his bestie on the Highlight Reel later on tonight!
Backstage somewhere, Mick Foley is encouraging Sheamus and Cesaro to at least put in the effort to try to make it work as a tag-team, because they’re both talented enough that they should be able to do this if they respect each other enough to work together.
MATCH: Bayley vs. Anna Fields
Now that Nia Jax is doing things, I suppose it’s Bayley’s turn to get the squash matches! Someone in the crowd has a “move over Izzy, I’m the #1 Hugger” sign which I actually find a little creepy.
- Anna Fields straight in with offense, beating on Bayley in the corner then pinning her in the corner with her long legs.
- Anna with a two-count on Bayley, as the crowd starts chanting “Hey, we want some Bayley!”
- Bayley throws Anna into the corner, then a few more times just for good measure, following up with an elbow to the spine and a running clothesline.
- Bayley-to-belly Suplex, and Bayley takes out the local talent!
Tom Phillips comes out to have a chat with Bayley once the match is over, reminding her that she didn’t do quite as well in the triple threat at Clash of Champions, and all she has to say is that Sasha and Charlotte are kidding themselves if they think they’re not going to see Bayley in the title picture again.
Stephanie is hanging about on her phone in her office, when Mick Foley comes in. He thinks it’s a bit suspicious that Stephanie came out with a replacement referee in time for Kevin Owens to hit the Pop-Up Powerbomb, but only after Jericho ran around twirling his moustache and interfering at length. That, and Triple H came to pick her up after and asked her how it went?
Well, yes. He’s her husband who picked her up after work and he didn’t get to watch the PPV, so he wanted to know if it was good, so Foley is off-side, in Stephanie’s opinion. Not to mention, it was Mick Foley’s job to do that, and she had to step in because he was busy messing around checking on Cesaro and Sheamus, which is not his job because he is not medical staff, he’s the General Manager.
MATCH: Rich Swann & Cedric Alexander vs. Drew Gulak & Lince Dorado
Alright, terrible confession to make – I didn’t really watch the Cruiserweight Classic, having only caught two episodes, so I fear that I have yet to find my footing in this division. Swann and Alexander promise to go hard and party on Monday Night RAW.
- Lince and Swann start in the ring together, and Dorado drops Swann with a hurricanrana, but then Swann drops Dorado with a hurricanrana, and they both go for a dropkick.
- Dorado with a gorgeous moonsault, then we cut to commercial.
- When we’re back, Gulak has tagged in, and has Swann in a chinlock. Swann powers to a vertical base, and Gulak pushes him into his corner to tag in Dorado.
- Corner dropkick from Dorado to Swann, and Swann scrambles to tag in Alexander but Dorado grabs him by the leg. Swann kicks him away, so Dorado tags in Gulak as well.
- Alexander and Gulak in the ring, Alexander with an enzuigiri on Gulak, then a splash from the turnbuckle for a nearfall.
- Suplex from Gulak to Alexander, and Alexander tags Swann back in. Swann kicks out of the cover just in time.
- Rich Kick from Swann, into a bridging cover, for the win!
All four men in the ring after the match, to celebrate a very neat and tidy match!
MATCH: Cesaro & Sheamus vs. Nick Cutler & Willis Williams
Cesaro and Sheamus appear a little undecided over who is going to make their way out to the ring first, but they get there for their local talent match to learn how to play nice.
- Cesaro takes a long time about the vertical suplex on Cutler, showing off, and Sheamus is looking for the tag. Cesaro turns around to tag him in, and Sheamus jumps off the apron instead, laughing.
- Cesaro tags Sheamus in anyway, and Sheamus is forced to hit Cutler with several strikes.
- Cutler tags in Williams and Cesaro tags back in, and Cesaro tries to start an uppercut train, but Williams slides out of the ring.
- Cutler tags back in for a double axe-handle on Cesaro, and Cesaro sets up for the Neutralizer. Williams tries to interfere, but Sheamus drops him with a boot. Sheamus and Cesaro argue for a moment about who is the legal man and who is getting the pin, but Cesaro pins Cutler for a three count.
The two men celebrate on the turnbuckles but are almost immediately back in each other’s faces.
TJ Perkins is our Cruiserweight Champion, so we get a video recapping his story before he’s backstage somewhere with Tom Phillips being interviewed. He’s about to make his Monday Night RAW debut, and has a few things to say, but is distracted by Brian Kendrick wandering in to make fun of him. Kendrick wants Perkins to know that the belt was resurrected for him so Perkins won’t be holding it forever. Perkins looks legitimately confused and surprised by this, but takes Kendrick remarkably in stride.
Charlotte and Dana make their way down to the ring, so Charlotte can celebrating retaining her championship. She’s still wearing the gorgeous black cloak, which I admire deeply. Charlotte describes Sasha and Bayley as “two of the greatest female athletes”, but notes that she was still able to beat them, because she can not only talk the talk abut also walk the walk. Charlotte is not the huggable Bayley or the Internet darling Sasha, she’s just straight up the moneymaker of the division.
Sasha comes out to interrupt, demanding that she get her one-on-one rematch for the title immediately. Charlotte dismisses her, and calls the crowd ‘peasants’, before conceding that she will give Sasha a title match. Not tonight, though – NEXT week. Charlotte and Sasha try to talk over each other for a minute, before Sasha lays Charlotte out with a slap, then hits Dana Brooke with the backstabber into the Bank Statement. Charlotte interrupts the submission, but Sasha is still able to kick Charlotte out of the ring and throw Dana after her, leaving the Boss standing tall in the ring.
Sweetheart count: 1. That wasn’t so bad.
Backstage, Seth is having a chat with Mick Foley. Nothing is going to stop him from crashing Kevin Owens on the Highlight Reel, even though he’s not medically cleared, because he knows that some nonsense went down. He finds it highly suspicious that a person would get into a limousine with their spouse like Stephanie and Triple H did last night, and he’s going to solve this mystery.
MATCH: TJ Perkins vs. Tony Nese
I love TJ Perkins so much. I want him to be my best friend. I want to have the relationship with him that Jericho does with Kevin Owens. He’s having a rematch against Brian Kendrick for the title next week on RAW (did Clash of Champions mean nothing? Every title defended on that show is getting an almost identical rematch either this week or next) but this week he’s facing off with Nese in his RAW debut.
- Nese with a waistlock takedown on Perkins, Perkins able to maneuver out and attempt a headscissors takedown on Nese.
- Vertical suplex attempt from Nese, but Perkins gets out. Waistlock, standing switch, and then Nese has Perkins in an attempted submission but Perkins makes a ropebreak before he can lock in properly.
- Nese over the top rope after Perkins, for a two-count once they’re back in the ring.
- Perkins with Nese in an octopus hold, but Nese counters into a gutwrench suplex.
- Hurricanrana from Perkins, as he looks to rally, and then goes into an atomic drop into a spin kick.
- Perkins with a double chickenwing into a gutbuster, and Nese is looking much less formidable than he was moments ago.
- Perkins climbs up onto the turnbuckle, and Nese comes after him with a strike and then tries to set up for the superplex; Perkins blocks, and then attempts to go for a tornado DDT, but Nese counters.
- Commentary is calling this match just fine, but the crowd respects this match by chanting for CM Punk.
- Standing dropkick to Nese’s spine, then a wrecking ball dropkick.
- Perkins locks in the kneebar, and Nese has to tap.
Jericho makes his way down to the ring so he can host the Highlight Reel with his buddy, and apparently he’s made an enemy of Ashton Kutcher because he claimed he was better friends with Owens than them. Jericho is ridiculously angry about this, because no one is better friends with anyone than he is with Owens. Then, he has to get angry at the cameraman for not shooting Jericho from his best side. Ashton Kutcher, the cameraman, and Seth Rollins have all made the list of Jericho.
Jericho basically hates everyone except Kevin Owens, who he loves more than life itself. And here he is, our longest reigning Universal Champion himself! Kevin and Jericho embrace, and all I can hear is Corey’s indignant, “Don’t mock that, Byron! That’s genuine affection!”
Kevin has a few things to say. For a start, he’s not wearing a suit tonight, because they’re in Cincinnati, and he’s not wearing a suit to the town that spawned Dean Ambrose. Jericho and Kevin bond a little over the fact that they just really hate Dean, before Kevin goes on a further rant. Kevin is the man, because he beat Seth, and he injured Seth, which serves Seth right for injuring John Cena, Sting, Finn Balor… basically, Kevin is the most dangerous man now because he took out the most dangerous man, Seth Rollins.
On cue, Seth tries to come out, but a whole mess of security guards and Mick Foley come out to stop him. Kevin calls people stupid idiots some more, because when you have a relationship like he and Chris do, you know, you learn from each other and become a little more similar.
Jericho taunts the crowd as Seth is led away, and suddenly Enzo and Cass make their way out to the ring. The crowd takes up in an enormous “how you doin'” chant, and Jericho explains that yes they are doing fine because they are best friends and they are Universal Champion. What a polite man. However, he also adds Enzo and Cass to the list, and Kevin teaches him how to spell their names, because he’s the best friend a guy could hope for. Cass asks if this makes Jericho Santa Claus, and Jericho counters by saying he’ll come sit in Big Cass’s lap. Everyone goes quiet except Cass asking “what did you say?”, and Jericho is ashamed and blustering about how he wants to punch Cass in the face. I mean, I understand, Chris. We all want to sit on Cass’s lap, but we don’t say things like that out loud.
They harp on it a bit more, Cass insisting that Jericho did say he was going to sit on his lap, which doesn’t even make sense because that’s not what Santa Claus does. Kevin comes to his bestie’s defense and all of this is build-up for them to have a match tonight.
MATCH: Enzo & Big Cass vs. Chris Jericho & Kevin Owens
We have little time left in this episode, so I can’t imagine this match is going to amount to much as we cut to commercial. When we’re back, the bell rings and the match can begin. Jericho is wrestling in long pants today, not tiny trunks. Just thought you’d like to know that. He hands his scarf to Kevin, who throws it on the ground when Jericho isn’t looking.
- Enzo and Jericho start in ring together, and Jericho knocks Enzo off his feet and taunts him, taking a dropkick from Enzo after he wastes too much time.
- Jericho goes to the corner and grasps Kevin by the hip, and Kevin patiently pats him before making a proper tag.
- Enzo makes the tag to Cass, and Cass beats on Kevin in the corner before Cass tags in Enzo to throw at Kevin, sending him out of the ring. Jericho flies after him, and Cass throws him out of the ring too, before throwing Enzo onto the both of them.
- Cass and Kevin back in the ring, and Kevin hits Cass with a knee to the midsection before tagging in Jericho for several strikes.
- Cass hits Jericho with a sidewalk slam, then as Kevin interferes, he hits Kevin with a sidewalk slam too. Cass goes for a big boot to follow up, but Jericho sends him to the floor instead, where he takes more of a beating from Kevin Owens.
- When we’re back from commercial, Kevin and Cass are in the ring together. Cass makes the tag to Enzo, and Kevin hurriedly tags in Jericho.
- Enzo with a knee to Jericho’s midsection in the corner, then a clothesline.
- Enzo up on the turnbuckle for a crossbody, Jericho kicks out at two. Enzo knocks Kevin off the turnbuckle before anything else can happen.
- Enzo tries to climb up on the turnbuckle again, but Kevin knocks him off. Jericho attempts a roll-up, but Enzo kicks out.
- Kevin holds Enzo in place for Jericho to hit a springboard dropkick on him, then throws him into the barricade. Kevin actually tags in, and lays in some strikes on Enzo in the corner.
- Jericho tags back in, hitting a very ostentatious vertical suplex on Enzo.
- Enzo up on the turnbuckle, flying at Jericho, but meeting a dropkick coming the other way.
- Kevin tags back in with a scoop slam and then a senton, Enzo kicking out at two and a half.
- Jericho back in, and Enzo is kicking out weakly, but still kicking out! A clothesline, then a Lionsault – but Enzo’s knees are up, and Jericho and Enzo both make a quick tag.
- Shoulder tackle from Cass, then a fallaway slam, then a Stinger Splash on Kevin. Jericho meets a boot as he tries to interfere, then Cass hits the Empire Elbow on Kevin.
- Jericho goes down to the East River Crossing, then another Stinger Splash to Kevin.
- Cass tags in Enzo for the Bada Boom Shaka Laka, but Jericho is back in again, slapping Cass, and taking a big boot for his trouble.
- Enzo goes for the DD-G on Kevin, but Kevin is able to kick out.
- Powerbomb from Kevin, for a three-count.
Kevin and Jericho celebrate together in the ring, Jericho wrapping his arms around Kevin, and Kevin hoisting his championship. That’s all for tonight, though – we’ll see you tomorrow for SmackDown Live!