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Monday Night RAW in Albany: A Monster of a Main Event, MITB Qualifiers & Lashley’s Sisters

Written by Michelle Coraci

The night started with Kurt Angle greeting the crowd. He announced that Ronda Rousey will be competing in her first title match against Nia Jax during the Money in the Bank PPV. To everyone’s surprise, Stephanie McMahon appeared. This was her first appearance since the week after WrestleMania, when Rousey dislocated her arm. She told Kurt Angle that everything that happened back during WrestleMania between him and Ronda, and her and Triple H, was “water under the bridge” and that he could be a better general manager, However, his emotions get in the way sometimes, so she would be the one presiding over the contract signing between Nia and Ronda.

Roman Reigns made his way to the ring and was greeted by the deafening roar of boos. The cameraman frantically found the thee audience members who had Pro-Roman Reigns signs and panned across them. Steph told Roman that if he let his Samoan temper gets the best of him, he’d have to look for another job, to which Roman threatened all of Steph’s “favorite stars.” She reminded Roman that he lost his qualifying match against Jinder Mahal and that he should take it up with Jinder himself, and then Roman said that he already did.

Instead of Jinder Mahal, Kevin Owens came out and told Roman that he was going to say exactly how he felt about him, which was that he really likes Roman Reigns. He tried to get the crowd to chant “Thank you, Roman” to no avail. Kevin said that Stephanie doesn’t play favorites and placed his arm on her shoulder followed by a glare from Steph and a “Do not do that ever again. Do not touch me”. She set up the first match of the night between Roman Reigns and Kevin Owens.

Roman Reigns got a number of good hits on Kevin Owens in the beginning. Just when you thought Kevin Owens was going to turn it around, Roman completely knocked him out of the ring. They attempted a few pins on each other but had no such luck. Kevin rolled out of the ring and Roman gave chase.

Meanwhile, Jinder Mahal came out of nowhere and attacked Roman. Because of this, the match was disqualified due to interference. Jinder threw Roman into the ring and started beating on him. Kevin got back in the ring and assisted Jinder Mahal. And just when we think Roman Reigns is out of luck, we hear the music “BURN IT DOWN!” blare and Seth Rollins ran into the ring to Roman’s rescue.

During the commercial break, Kurt Angle turned the match into a tag team match between Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins against Kevin Owens and Jinder Mahal. It was immediately apparent that Seth and Roman were more in sync while being a team opposed to Jinder and Kevin who haven’t tagged together before. Jinder and Kevin pulled some classic tag team chicanery, like how Jinder jumped in the ring before being tagged, or when Jinder pulled Seth off the ringside before Roman could land the tag on him. Roman was the legal man for a good portion of this match, until he finally tagged Seth in. Seth landed a Sling Blade on Jinder.

After some abuse from Seth, Jinder rolled out of the ring. Rollins Suicide Dived out of the ring and onto Mahal. He threw Mahal back into the ring and did a Blockbuster to him, followed by a pin attempt, but Jinder kicked out. Samir Singh distracted Seth so Jinder caught him by surprise and attempted a pin, but it didn’t land. Kevin tagged in and landded a Gut Buster on Rollins. Kevin attempted to pin Rollins but Roman came to the save. Seth did The Stomp (previously known as The Blackout) to Kevin’s head, and landed a pin. The winners were Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins.

The fun didn’t end there. While Roman and Seth were walking up the ramp to head backstage, Jinder came out from the back with a folding chair and attacked the two unsuspecting men. A number of referees came out and shouted at Jinder to stop, but it was only after both Seth and Roman were on the ground that Jinder decided to leave.

Sami Zayn made his way to the ring with the promise of interviewing Bobby Lashley’s three sisters, Francis, Kathy, and Jessica. His hope was to expose Bobby as a liar for stories he told during his interview with Renee two weeks ago. Sami called out Lashley for being “not entirely accurate” during his interview and said that Bobby’s sisters would tell the truth. We heard music and three men in drag walked out.

One, “Kathy,” wore a dress and a painfully costume-esque blonde wig, while holding a broom, told her story. She claimed how she needed the broom to defend herself against Bobby. Next was “Francis” who had a dress, wig and mustache. Francis was holding an army helmet. Apparently, she used the helmet in defense so that Bobby couldn’t hit her on the head. Then there was “Jessica” who was wearing a dress and makeup while holding a dirty towel. She said she had the towel because Bobby would make her cry so much that a tissue just wasn’t enough.

The ruse continued where the men in drag told false stories about Bobby Lashley. They lied about how Lashley treated them and how he treated his parents. Sami was super animated while calling out Bobby and it was only a matter of time before Bobby Lashley came out to confront Sami. “My sisters!” he laughed and played along with the ‘sisters’ and the act. He seemed to be a good sport about the whole joke until Sami threatened him and told him that his family thinks he’s garbage. Then there was a noticeable mood shift in Lashley. Sami and the ‘sisters’ started assaulting Lashley.

The ‘sisters’ held Bobby back while Sami attacked him, but Lashley powered out and managed to get all four of them down. Lashley towel-whipped “Jessica.” He stuck the broom stick between the legs of “Kathy.” And he put the helmet on “Francis” and punched her on the head. Meanwhile, Sami ran to the entrance and seemed upset that his plan failed.

The next match was Ember Moon vs Alexa Bliss. Mickie James walked out with Alexa Bliss. Alexa seemed to have control of the match from the very beginning. Ember started making a comeback, landing a few hits and kicks. Mickie made her way into the ring and threatened to hit Ember with her high heel, but the referee caught her before she had the chance. The ref was distracted while he removed Mickie from ringside and Ember kicked Mickie out of the ring, which was the last we saw of her. Alexa attempted a pin on Ember but failed. Ember got to the top rope and landed a Total Eclipse on Alexa which completely knocked her out. Ember then landed the pin and won the match.

After the match, they cut to backstage where we saw Stephanie with a basket of fruit. Braun Strowman and Finn Balor approached her, asking for a match. She offered the two men fruit and although Finn declined, Braun took an apple. Steph ended up setting up a match between the two men as the headlining match of the night. The match was set in the spirit of “friendly competition” as Steph said. Braun held up the apple he took from her, and he crushed it in his giant hand and said, “I like competition.” The camera then panned to Finn Balor’s ‘What did I get myself into?’ face.

NO WAY JOSE! NO WAY JOSE! Tonight, the fun, dance-loving wrestler was up against the lone wolf, Baron Corbin. Jose started off with control of the match, but Corbin quickly turned it around. The announcers told us that Baron Corbin collects human skulls, which is a fact I could have went the rest of my life without knowing. Baron Corbin landed an End of Days on Jose and pinned him, winning the match.

We then see Kurt backstage who was approached by Chad Gable. Dolph Ziggler and Drew McIntyre came in and threw some shade on Kurt and Chad Gable. A match was set up between Dolph and Chad. As Dolph and Drew walked away, Kurt turned to them and said “Jackass,” which was just great.

The ‘B Team’ made their way to the ring and they were up against Breezango for the night. Before the match started, they showed a clip of Breezango talking about the B Team. You can’t help but notice in the background there’s a paper that says the B in ‘B Team’ stands for Bleh. Shortly after the match started, the B Team ended up outside of the ring and both members were looking inside, contemplating if they even wanted to continue the match.

After a short bout, Axel managed to make a pin on Fandango, resulting on the B Team’s first official win. It was actually pretty fun to watch the two men jump around the ring and celebrate. They started jumping all over the announcer table and were really celebrating this win.

Stephanie McMahon made her way into the ring. The ring was set up with a table and 2 black leather chairs, the classic contract-signing setup. Nia Jax was the first one to make her way out. Steph congratulated Nia on her win and then introduced Rhonda Rousey to the ring. Rhonda asked Steph how her arm was doing, which was such a power play since she was the one who dislocated it. Steph asked Nia why she chose to challenge Rhonda. She claimed that Nia was using Rhonda to just make a name for herself. Stephanie started putting a lot of words into Nia’s mouth about why she wanted to challenge Rhonda. Then Steph did the same for Rhonda. Putting a lot of words into her mouth about why she wants to challenge Nia. She called Nia lazy. Nia shushed Stephanie and seemed to make a heel turn by confirming everything Steph said, which is a shame because Nia was a really great face. Rhonda shook Nia’s hand and then claimed she would take the title as well as take Nia’s arm. Then the two competitors had an intense stare down.

It was finally time for the match between Chad Gable and Dolph Ziggler, which started during the commercial break. Drew McIntyre was standing ringside. The match was fairly quick and predictable. Dolph Ziggler ended up getting the pin on Chad Gable. After the match was over, McIntyre made his way into the ring and landed a Claymore on the already laid out, Chad Gable.

The next match was a Women’s Money in the Bank qualifying match between Natalya, Dana Brooke, Liv Morgan, and Sarah Logan. It’s been awhile since we’ve seen Dana Brooke wrestle, since she usually walks out with Titus Worldwide. Liv Morgan and Sarah Logan start the match by teaming up against Natalya and Dana Brooke. After beating on Natalya and Dana, Liv Morgan and Sarah Logan end up alone in the ring and viewers wondered if they’d turn on each other. The two laughed with each other and pulled Natalya back into the ring and teamed up on her. From outside the ring, Dana Brook dragged Liv Morgan out by her leg. Thanks to that, Natalya was able to focus on Logan. Natalya got Sarah Logan into a Sharpshooter which caused her to tap out and means that Natalya is now qualified for the Women’s Money in the Bank match.

Elias sang a song, where he got the crowd to chant “I love Elias” and then proceeded to say that the feelings were not mutual. He did his usual heel move of making fun of the city they’re in, and Albany was no exception. Elias was then interrupted by Bobby Roode’s glorious intro music. Elias attacked Roode from behind before the match even started. Bobby didn’t even have time to remove his robe. Once the bell rung, Bobby threw his robe into Elias’ face, which knocked Elias down, and Bobby just started wailing on him. Roode had gained early control of the match but couldn’t keep it up. Elias won by landing a Drift Away on Bobby.

Elias didn’t make his way fully to the back before Braun rushed out and charged him like a bull. It didn’t seem like a personal attack as much as it felt like Elias was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

The Headline match was Braun Strowman vs Finn Balor. Finn landed a few hits, but Braun shortly gained complete control of the match. Braun seemed to be upset that Finn Balor was the reason they lost during last week’s tag team match. “Show me the fighting Irish!” was a fun line that Braun shouted at Finn during the match. Finn landed a flying kick on Braun Stroman which forced Braun over the barricades. Finn also landed a Coup de Gras from the barricades onto Braun. Finn has made it back into the ring and was hoping to win via count-out, because any win against Braun is a victory. Braun made it back into the ring by the 9th count and shoulder tackled Finn. Stroman went to tackle Finn again and Finn dodged last minute causing Braun to go right into the turnbuckle. After two back to back Powerslams, Braun pinned Finn Balor.

After the match was over, Braun moved Finn into one of the ring corners. It could have been assumed that Braun Stroman was going to land some extra hits on Finn Balor, but instead he just sat Finn upright in the ring. It felt like a sign of respect, which would be understandable, since Finn put up an amazing fight against Braun and that’s all Braun Stroman ever really wants.

Pop-Break Staff
Pop-Break Staffhttps://thepopbreak.com
Founded in September 2009, The Pop Break is a digital pop culture magazine that covers film, music, television, video games, books and comics books and professional wrestling.

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