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Monday Night RAW in Richmond: The Women’s Gauntlet & The Requisite Holiday Food Fight

The Memorial Day episode starts off with a video package to honor Veterans, before diving straight into some action with Braun Strowman.

Strowman flexes in the ring for a while about how he can’t wait to be Mr. Monster In The Bank and how nobody can stop him. He lists off other wrestlers who have been in his way – like Finn Bálor, who he faced last week – and how Brock Lesnar is going to get these hands. I was wondering which of the wrestlers he trashed were going to come out and stand up for themselves, and it is none other than Finn, the first Universal champion, here to remind everyone that he never technically lost the title and is itching to take it back. He slaps Strowman after Strowman says “You put up a good fight, for a little guy,” and the two tussle.

Kurt Angle is clearly excited to see this animosity, because he comes out and declares that the two will have an official match, right here right now. The match isn’t anything spectacular. If anything, both wrestlers seem like they’re still a little tired after their match last week. Bálor eventually gets Strowman down and goes for a double coup de grace but never gets to hit it.

While this match goes on, the announcers are joined at the booth by Kevin Owens. At first I didn’t find him a welcome addition. He talks so fast and without taking a breath that listening to him talk makes me instinctively reach for my inhaler. Throughout the match he takes the opportunity to trash talk a lot of people, as well as goad both Strowman and Bálor, before eventually getting too restless and attacking Bálor, ending the match. He goes for Strowman as well, but Strowman throws a ladder at him and Owens runs away.

Backstage, Elias is warming up on his guitar. Also backstage: Kevin Owens is sill rattled by Strowman and is trying to take off before he can find him. He yells at the valet, who is totally a real valet, to go get his car but is interrupted by Kurt Angle. Bobby Roode isn’t too pleases by the comments Owens made while he was announcing, and Angle lets him know that the two now have a match set for later this evening.

Elias does his thing, much to the crowd’s displeasure. He calls himself a Renaissance Man (“not that anybody in Richmond would have any idea what that is”) and tells the audience he will sit there all night if he has to for them to shut their mouths.

Seth Rollins comes out for his title match against Jinder Mahal, and since Elias is still in the ring, he makes a point by throwing his stool out of the ring. Elias leaves without an issue, which feels a little suspicious. It’s a high energy match where Rollins seems to take an early lead, and feels like it’s going on just a tiny bit too long before Sunil Singh tries to interfere by hitting Rollins with a chair. Rollins takes him out by throwing him into Mahal, and in a moment of frustration, grabs that same chair and hits Mahal with it, resulting in a disqualification. The consensus from the announcers is that he disqualified himself rather than lose, which may be true. As Rollins stands by their booth in triumph, he gets bashed over the head with a guitar on Elias and ends up on a stretcher with a neck brace, begging medics to let him walk away on his own.

Nia Jax faces Michelle Webb and uses the entire match as an opportunity to antagonize Ronda Rousey, who is sitting ringside at the announcer’s booth. She has Webb try to put her in Rousey’s signature armbar, only to prove how easily she can get out of it. She has Webb come back at her several more times only to completely waste her, all while making eye contact with Rousey. It’s a great segment that sees Jax showboat and exude confidence, gettin Rousey to inevitably enter the ring with her for a stare down. Very few words from Rousey, who seems to ultimately cower to Jax when given the chance to defend herself, something I think was good for Rousey to do in that moment.

The very confusing but equally exciting tag team that is Matt Hardy and Bray Wyatt faces The Ascension. Ascension starts with a lead over Hardy, but in the end, Hardy and Wyatt come through with a “kiss of deletion” and seal their victory.

Backstage, the B-Team has a hard time interpreting Kurt Angle’s advice to them. They end up thinking that the only way they’ll win the approval of all the other tag teams is by hosting a BBQ. I’m so game for this.

Bobby Roode gets his chance to defend himself against Kevin Owens. Owens is taking all his frustration over tonight’s turn of events out on Roode, which gives him the upper hand. Roode tries to counter with his own burst of aggression, but it seems like it was too much as once for him and Owens ends up getting the win. As he celebrates, Strowman arrives to get his revenge from earlier and hits him with several running powerslams as Roode cheers on. Not wanting to leave without making sure Roode sees those hands, he takes out Roode as well.

Sami Zayn requests a segment so that he can apologize for his stunt from last week. He admits what he did and offers the WWE management an apology, a sure sign he wants the company not to suffer due to his actions. He unravels, though, saying that Bobby Lashley is the true bully. Lashley comes out and offers an apology of his own- one for everything he plans to do to Zayn at Money In The Bank.

A super quick match between Drew McIntyre (accompanied by Dolph Ziggler) and Chad Gable. McIntyre wins, which isn’t surprising.

The B-Team BBQ is everything I hoped it would be. They serve up some lackluster food that the other tag teams seem to enjoy nonetheless. As they’re all celebrating, the B-Team try to slyly inform the others that enjoying the BBQ is a tacit endorsement of B-Team jumping to the front of the line and getting the chance to face Matt Hardy and Bray Wyatt for the titles. This causes a bit of a conflict, which ends in a food fight, which ends in Rhyno going through a table.

Backstage, the B-Team lose it on Kurt Angle, who decides to give them a proper match next week: a battle royal. The winning team will face Bray and Matt.

The headlining match is the women’s gauntlet match for Money In The Bank. Bayley enters at number one. Number two is Liv Morgan. Bayley literally eliminates Morgan immediately, and Sarah Logan comes out as number three. Logan puts up a fight, but Bayley pins her before Liv Morgan comes back out to team up with Logan. Next out is Ruby Riott, who eliminates Bayley. Dana Brooke vs Ruby Riott is where we’re at now. Brooke shows off some great athleticism and makes me seriously root for her over Ruby, but she pins Brooke and eliminates her to face Mickie James, who is competing in her hometown. She puts up a fight but loses to Riot.

Last up is Riott v. Sasha Banks. I’m feeling a little robbed this isn’t a Sasha v. Bayley or Sasha v. James match, but it is what it is. It’s a good matchup that looks like it could go either way, but Banks gets Ruby to tap out with a bank statement, even despite attempted interference from Morgan and Logan.

Melissa Jouben
Melissa Jouben
Melissa Jouben is an enthusiastic young writer who can usually be seen performing or enjoying live comedy in New Jersey and New York. She has a very limited range of interests which can be summed up by the following list, in no particular order: comedy, cartoons, toy collecting, wrestling, limited edition varieties of soda, and Billy Joel. She was born and raised in New Jersey and can’t wait to leave so she can brag to all her new neighbors about how great the ocean smells at low tide.

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