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By Josh Coulson @BristolBeadz
Before Raw, reports were circling that the injuries Braun Strowman suffered at the hands of Roman Reigns were going to sideline him for up to six months. Well General Manager Kurt Angle opened the show on Monday night by confirming those reports. He also had another blockbuster announcement. At Extreme Rules there will be a Fatal 5 Way match with the winner going on to face Brock Lesnar at a later date for the Universal Championship. The competitors? Roman Reigns, Finn Balor, Bray Wyatt, Samoa Joe, and Seth Rollins. That of course prompted all five members of the freshly booked bout to emerge and say their piece one by one. Naturally once all five men were present chaos soon followed. Bray went for Finn. Roman went for Bray. Seth of course went for Joe. It was Balor who stood tall at the end of the segment though, finishing things off by diving over the top rope and onto Rollins and Reigns.
The first match of the night showcased the latest chapter in the rivalry between The Hardy Boyz and Sheamus & Cesaro. At Extreme Rules the teams will once again do battle for the Raw Tag Team Championships but on this night it was just Jeff versus Sheamus. Despite The Celtic Warrior’s attempts to knock out another of Jeff’s teeth plus some distractions from ringside, it was the Hardy who picked up with win following a twist of fate and a swanton bomb on Sheamus.
Last week Sasha Banks defeated Alicia Fox. Well it turns out on closer inspection Fox actually got her shoulder up before the three count, so this week she was granted a deserved rematch. Alicia was clearly upset about the injustice as she came out swinging. She kept that momentum going as well and actually beat The Boss. A huge win for The Foxy One who celebrated with Noam Dar after the bout.
Thanks to some big money matches made by Kurt Angle earlier in the night (Reigns vs Balor and Rollins vs Wyatt) the match we thought would be the night’s main event took place at the end of the first hour. Dean Ambrose versus The Miz for the Intercontinental Championship. Despite a Skull Crushing Finale and two failed attempts by Maryse to protect her husband, Miz did not leave with the title. He did win the match though. The continuous attempts to cheat wound Dean up so much that he delivered a low blow to his opponent, meaning he was disqualified but belt his championship. Hardly an honourable victory for The Lunatic Fringe and there’s bound to be a rematch in the offing.
The Raw Women’s Champion has been on a bit of a tear ever since her arrival on WWE’s flagship show. This week Alexa Bliss made her way to the ring to do a little bragging about it but was interrupted by former champion, Bayley. The Leader of Hug Life informed Five Feet of Fury that she was cashing in her rematch clause for Extreme Rules. Bliss’s retort? That Bayley couldn’t handle an Extreme Rules match with the champ. Turns out she may be right. Bliss grabbed a kendo stick and cracked Bayley across the back with it, giving her a taste of what she’s gotten herself in for at Extreme Rules.
No waiting until the third hour of Raw for cruiserweight action this week. A tag team match a long time in the making as Austin Aries teamed up with Jack Gallagher to take on TJ Perkins and Neville. The Cruiserweight Champ and TJP make quite the formidable heel pairing. Just as Gentleman Jack was about to finish off Perkins, Neville grabbed the foot of Gallagher to distract him just long enough for TJ to turn the tables and plant a Detonation Kick to pick up the win.
As per Kurt Angle earlier in the evening, time for what Michael Cole was billing as one of two main events. Finn Balor versus Roman Reigns. A match we saw in Finn’s first night on Raw, and one that he won back then. Before the match Roman commented on Balor’s incredible amount of heart, and that he’d need more than that to take down The Beast. Well that heart was certainly on Show in their match on Monday. Finn and Roman brought the house down and just as The Demon looked as if he was going to plant his patented Coup de Grace on The Big Dog and pick up the win, he was foiled. Reigns knocked Finn from the turnbuckle and delivered a spear, earning him an extremely hard fought win.
Were you sick of The Golden Truth? Well I’ve got some good news for you. Goldust finally had enough of being the butt of every joke on Raw and attacked his partner R-Truth right before they were due to compete in tag team action. Clearly losing out on a tag team title shot was the last straw for Goldie last week and Monday nights now have one less tag team.
Next up came our weekly dose of The Titus Brand, something Apollo Crews still seems to reluctantly be a part of. Well O Neil got the wrong end of the stick this week and after interrupting Enzo and Cass wound up in a one on one match with the bigger half of that duo, and Titus had to do it in a $3100 suit. The match did not last long. About 90 seconds and one Big Boot later it was Cass whose hand was being raised. Looks like Crews may be developing a soft spot for The Titus Brand though. When Amore attempted to take a selfie with the beaten O Neil post match, Apollo sent him careening from the ring with a kick to the head.
Time for the night’s second main event. Not a concept I particularly agree with but one the announce team hammered home. Seth Rollins up against Bray Wyatt, for the first time ever! While I’d give Finn and Roman the award for match of the night, this one was certainly eventful. Once again though Samoa Joe simply couldn’t help himself. The Destroyer emerged from the crowd to his Rollins like a truck and throw the match into disarray. So another disqualification win for The Architect. Then Joe and Bray noticed each other and for a split second it looked as if we were about to see a disturbing friendship begin to blossom. Wyatt saw to that though and continued to demonstrate that if he doesn’t have his Wyatts, he doesn’t want anyone by his side. A Sister Abigail to Joe and one for good measure to Rollins left The Eater of Worlds winning the first battle in the build to the Fatal 5 Way at Extreme Rules in a few weeks time.