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By Josh Coulson @BristolBeadz
The last two editions of Monday Night Raw have been pretty action packed. Two weeks ago saw the Raw after Mania then last week we had the organised chaos that was the Superstar Shake-up. A turbulent couple of weeks paired with a holiday edition of the red brand pointed towards perhaps a slightly less eventful Raw this week. You never know though, and in all fairness the dust had far from settled with the shake up being only a week old. So let’s get started!
Braun Strowman was expectedly given a hero’s welcome by Ohio State University when he opened Raw on Monday. The ovation only got louder when he announced that the injuries he inflicted upon Roman Reigns would be keeping him off of this week’s show. Well following that Braun declared that his path of destruction would continue even without Roman to take the brunt of it. Kurt Angle attempted to block that path by giving The Monster among Men the night off, bad idea. Braun demanded competition, or else. Kurt inadvertently opted for or else, and if history has taught us anything that is most definitely not a good thing.
In two weeks at WWE Payback Chris Jericho will do battle with Kevin Owens while Samoa Joe goes one on one with Seth Rollins. Well on Monday night Joe and Jericho would first have to focus on each other as they renewed hostilities. No arguments here, I’d watch Jericho wrestle anybody. And Joe for that matter. Joe’s Payback opponent was watching eagerly from the announce table and upon The Samoan Submission Machine’s tap out victory over Y2J Joe had a message for The Kingslayer. Both he and Seth wanted to make sure that they were both aware that their upcoming pay per view is extremely personal.
Gallows & Anderson were due to face Golden Truth but turns out Braun Strowman got to them first. Braun personified ‘or else’ back stage by laying waste to Goldust and R Truth. That left The Good Brothers in the ring and opponent-less. Well Enzo & Cass obliged. Well the former NXT pair are probably wishing Golden Truth had been able to make their appointment. Despite Enzo managing to weather the storm for quite a while, eventually he would succumb to a unique move from Karl Anderson who picked up the win for himself and Luke Gallows.
To those of you who only watch Raw, I’m afraid to announce that The Miz is back and he’s brought Miz TV along with him. You may be forgiven for thinking you were accidentally watching SmackDown Live though. Dean Ambrose was also traded to Raw last week and the two former team blue stars have begun their latest raw tenure by feuding with each other. Over a title that Dean has brought from Tuesday nights no less. As expected it did not take long for the latest edition of Miz TV to break down into anarchy. Miz’s mistake was continuing his tirade while Dean clearly readied himself for a fight. Thanks to an interruption from Maryse though Miz managed to just about escape the intercontinental champion’s clutches and avoided a Dirty Deeds for the second week in a row.
Last week on 205 Live Jack Gallagher became one of the first victims of TJ Perkins’ new, bad attitude. Seems as if The Brit is a glutton for punishment as on Raw this week he found himself in a rematch with cruiserweight champ Neville at ring side. Never fear as Austin Aries also ventures to ring side to level the playing field. Nevertheless TJP picked up a second win over Gallagher in less than a week. After Perkins shoved Jack in to Aries, the referee became distracted and the winner of the CWC kicked the middle rope into his opponent’s eye to pick up the win via a technically illegal advantage.
The Raw women’s division may have been shaken up more than anything else last week. Charlotte left Monday nights while Alexa Bliss and Mickie James took her place. This week those new acquisitions got themselves acquainted as they participated in a fatal four way along with Nia Jax and Sasha Banks. At stake? A shot at Bayley’s Raw women’s title. All signs pointed towards a win for the continually dominant Nia Jax but we were thrown a curve ball. Jax nailed Banks with a Samoan drop only for Bliss to send Nia careening from the ring and steal the cover to pick up the win. Bliss versus Bayley at Payback it would appear. I’m very much a fan of that.
Rumour had it this week that Finn Balor would be missing around a month of action after suffering a concussion. Well consider us fooled because Finn was very much present on Raw this week. The first ever Universal champion answered the challenge of Curt Hawkins and defeated him in extremely short order. Still nothing much doing in the grand scheme of things for Balor as I assume he will just continue to wait for Bray Wyatt to be finished with Randy Orton.
Speaking of which the man living across both brands, Bray that is, had a message for his Payback opponent. The two will face off in a House of Horrors match, what that is exactly is still unclear. Whatever it is, if Bray Wyatt’s message is anything to go by it won’t be pretty and Orton should be prepared for something pretty creepy.
Jeff Hardy versus Cesaro? Talk about awesome matches you never thought you’d see! With The Hardy Boyz continued momentum and the pair facing off for the first time ever on a throw away Raw, it was really everything we could have expected it to be. A solid match from the pair which saw Jeff pick up the win. Plenty of respect between all four men involved in this feud and their tag team title match at Payback should be a good one.
Braun Strowman continued his ‘or else’ threat by dragging new Raw recruit Kalisto around back stage before eventually throwing him into a dumpster. Cue Big Show slamming Braun into a shutter and telling the man mountain to pick on someone his own size. Well that he would as the match was made for the two forces of nature to clash in the night’s main event. Show and Strowman have headlined Raw before and it exceeded expectations. This time the match itself may not have been as impressive, but it certainly had a blockbuster ending. Throughout the main even the pair teased a superplex, and considering their sheer size of course we never believed that would actually happen. Well, it did. Braun suplexed Show off of the top rope in an amazing feat of strength and the ring imploded upon impact. Match abandoned, naturally. Raw’s closing image? A battle tested Strowman making it back to his feet despite the carnage as Big Show remained lifeless in the demolished ring.