HomeTelevisionMonday Night RAW in Lexington: Money in the Bank Set-Up Continues

Monday Night RAW in Lexington: Money in the Bank Set-Up Continues

Written by Michael J. Vacchiano

Some Burning Questions Before We Head Into RAW:

Which men and women will represent the Red Brand in this year’s Money in the Bank ladder matches?

What new feuds (or alliances) will begin to take shape after the recent Superstar Shake Up?

Where the hell is Sasha Banks, and will she actually be here?!

The answers to these questions and more tonight on WWE Monday Night Raw!

A Moment of Bliss

The MITB briefcases hang above the ring as Alexa Bliss saunters down the aisle to reveal the participants in said ladder matches this year. Braun Strowman, Ricochet, Drew McIntyre and Baron Corbin are the four men introduced as the competitors. The latter two start mouthing off about how they’ll be victorious, with McIntyre lashing into Corbin for stealing the win in last week’s triple threat contenders match. Ricochet interjects before the heels start making remarks about the One & Only being vertically challenged. Braun roars that none of them can stop him from winning the briefcase, but still makes a challenge for a tag team match right now. Time to get these hands!!!

Braun Strowman and Ricochet vs. Baron Corbin and Drew McIntyre

Corbin and McIntyre spend most of the match keeping Ricochet isolated, wearing down their smaller opponent with power moves and rest holds aplenty. Braun tries to get involved and chases Baron around ringside, only to get caught by a vicious Claymore Kick from the Scottish Psychopath. Ricochet attempts a small comeback with some of his high- octane offense, but a brutal Glasgow Kiss headbutt courtesy of Drew put the brakes on it. Corbin again tried to steal the win himself by blind tagging in, but his attempt to finish the match was thwarted by a hot tag to Strowman from Ricochet. The Monster Among Men went full steam ahead on his opponents, which proved too much for Corbin who looked to his partner for help. His answer? A hard right hand from McIntyre, who had enough of the former GM and left him alone to succumb to a Braun and Ricochet double team. A running powerslam and top rope shooting star press combo put Corbin down for the 1-2-3.

Winners: Braun Strowman and Ricochet

The Usos vs. Gallows & Anderson

Jimmy and Jey utilize their usual mix of dives and quickness against their larger opponents. However, the former members of the Bullet Club (can I say that in WWE?) come back with their rugged blend of power and technicality. Highlights included Gallows’s stiff corner jabs, and a beautiful spinebuster by Karl Anderson. In the end, the penitentiary guards got the duke with a double superkick and a top rope splash. After the match, the Usos showed a video of who they’re choosing to face next: The Revival’s Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder shaving each other’s backs in the shower. Yep, you read that right. Oh, Jimmy and Jey…pranksters since Day One Ish.

Winners: The Usos

Miz TV w/ Bobby Lashley

The Awesome One welcomes everyone to the show, getting the crowd super pumped up before bringing out his Almighty guest. Lashley is all business and not in the mood for games…and now speaks completely in the 3rd person. Really? Really? Miz praises his guest for his athletic ability but asks Lashley if he thinks he’s lived up to his potential. The two get into a verbal fight over their respective accolades, with Miz delivering the hilarious death knell: “If anything, I’m an overachiever. I mean, have you seen my wife?!” Lashley then pushed his interviewer over the edge by bashing his loss to Shane at Wrestlemania, and mocking his father as well. The Real World alumni had enough and laid into Lashley, which led to an impromptu match.

The Miz vs. Bobby Lashley

The bout didn’t last thing as Shane O’Mac shuffled his way down to ringside to provide some distraction. Miz’s concentration was blurred even further when an unflattering picture of George Mizanin went up on the ‘Tron. He was immediately turned inside out with a nasty spear from Lashley for the easy pin. Shane then slapped on an inverted triangle choke, trash talking on the mic before Miz went lights out.

Winner: Bobby Lashley

The Viking Raiders vs. Lucha House Party

Kalisto & Co. got the jump on the Viking War Raiders Experience Whatever during their entrance. Their advantage was merely a blip as Erik and Ivar quickly overmatched the luchadors with some high-powered tandem offense. The warriors from the North mercifully ended the slaughter after about two minutes with a tandem pop-up into a catching powerslam in midair. As Good Ol’ JR would say, “Get the spatula!”

Winners: The Viking Raiders

A Moment of Bliss, Part II

Little Miss Bliss is now on her normal setup on the stage to announce the ladies in the women’s MITB ladder match. Natalya, Dana Brooke, and Naomi are revealed as the first three competitors. Their smack talk towards each other is interrupted right away by their hostess, who after a long pause introduces the fourth and final participant…herself! Naomi’s challenge for a match right now is refused by Alexa, who claims she’s not dressed to fight. The Glow girl asks if she’s afraid, to which Five Feet of Fury accepts.

Naomi vs. Alexa Bliss

Despite not wearing proper wrestling attire, Alexa uses her scrappy heel tactics to gain the upper hand and keep the athletic Naomi grounded. A little too much taunting from Little Miss Bliss allows her opponent the opening to fight back, that and stumbling in her dress shoes. Naomi stays on Alexa’s heels…before taking them off her feet (see what I did there?) and unleashing the glow. The Rear View leads to a great-looking split legged moonsault for the pinfall.

Winner: Naomi

Firefly Funhouse

Welcome to Mr. Wyatt’s Neighborhood! Bray taps into his inner Bob Ross to show us an eerie painting he’s finishing up, that of a burning farmhouse with people inside. He’s also joined by some more of his creepy puppet friends including Abby the Witch. Wyatt continues to educate his young viewers by teaching them the word of the day: S-O-C-I-O-P-A-T-H. The Eater of Worlds ends his deranged episode by reminding his little fireflies to always “let me in”. Side note: I am both in love and afraid of this angle at the same time! Bray Wyatt continues to reinvent himself and amaze.

Becky Lynch is in the ring with Charly Caruso to discuss her two separate title defenses at Money in the Bank. The crowd cheers loudly for Becky Two Belts as she runs down her respective opponents, Lacey Evans and Charlotte Flair. Lynch talks about her hard-fought road to become the Champ Champ, and how she wasn’t handed anything as opposed to her challengers. Becky tells the bearer of the Women’s Right that she picked a fight with the wrong Man. The former Marine is called out by Lynch, who responds by initiating a straight up brawl. Referees and backstage officials separate the two women until cooler heads prevailed. The lovely smile of the sassy Southern Belle is replaced by gritted teeth as she stares down the fiery Irishwoman.

Zack Ryder & Curt Hawkins vs. The Revival

With chips on their freshly-shaved shoulders, Dawson and Wilder employ their solid smashmouth tandem offense on the Raw tag team champs. Hawkins is isolated by the Top Guys for several minutes until he’s able to tag in Ryder, but the Long Island native was stopped by some Revival double teaming. However, caught up in their own flaring tempers due to the crowd’s “Shave Your Back!” chants, Dawson fell victim to a surprise Ryder roll up to give the champs the win.

Winners: Zack Ryder & Curt Hawkins

Sami Zayn dances down to the ring to begin his latest spiel against the WWE Universe. After unloading on the fans for their feelings of “greed and entitlement”, he gets even further heat by telling them how he made a five-year-old kid cry by refusing him an autograph. Jerk. Zayn then explains that while he’d love to quit WWE, he’s making it his personal mission to be on Raw every week and chastise the fans. From now on, they’re only getting “what he gives them”. Arrogant smirk and mic drop.

Samoa Joe vs. Rey Mysterio

Desperate for redemption after his one-minute loss at Mania, Rey immediately takes it to the U.S. champ. His classic offense of strikes and aerial moves is still incredible to behold. But one of his newer maneuvers, the bodyboard sliding splash to the outside, was countered by Joe with knees to the gut. The Samoan Submission Machine then wore Mysterio down with his own mix of strikes and holds before Rey’s comeback. A 619 attempt was countered into a Coquina Clutch, which Mysterio was able to escape. This showdown of SoCal superstars ended with a Joe uranage revered into a Rey sunset flip for the pin!

Winner: Rey Mysterio

The night concludes with the contract signing between Seth Rollins and A.J. Styles for their Universal Championship match at Money in the Bank. Seated across from each other, the Architect and the Phenomenal One discuss their mutual respect and admiration. Things soon get heated as neither one backs down in their claims of being the better man. After signing the contract, Seth and A.J. lock eyes as the latter offers his hand to shake. Rollins just holds up the title belt and continues jaw-jacking with Styles until they come to blows. The champ knocks A.J. out of the ring and hit a beautiful tope suicida almost to the bottom of the aisle ramp. Unfortunately for Seth, the challenger surprises him and literally rebounds with a Phenomenal Forearm that puts both men through the signing table! Incredible.

Final Thoughts

With three weeks left until the annual Money in the Bank PPV, Raw did a pretty decent job laying the groundwork for its side of the card. You can officially add Miz vs. Shane inside a steel cage to the lineup, which was confirmed later in the show. Though the set up may be a little corny (seriously, body hair grooming?), Usos/Revival could be an awesome match if it’s booked. Wyatt and Zayn are doing amazing heel work right now, and they’re both succeeding at being fresh and original. But where was Cesaro? Last week, we got a taste of the Swiss Cyborg being all no-nonsense, all-business Terminator in the ring, and I want more! Ditto the freshly mustachioed Robert Roode, who is finally the Glorious heel he should be.

The MITB ladder matches themselves took shape, and I’m excited to see who represents Smackdown Live in said bouts. Either way, my money is on McIntyre to win the men’s briefcase. Pun intended. Becky continues to show why she is one of the biggest stars in the company, but I feel she may be dropping one of those titles soon. Since Raw needs more top-level women right now, I see it being the belt of the Blue Brand but who knows?

Also, the dream match we’ve all wanted between Rollins and Styles had even more fuel added to the fire with Raw’s closing segment. This should be straight-up pure wrestling nirvana for any fan, as these two guys were the MVPs of their respective brands for the past year plus. I personally thought they were gonna build it slowly towards maybe next year’s Mania, but now I can’t wait for their first ever one-on-one match to get here. Expectations are high, and Rollins and Styles can easily surpass them to deliver a possible match of the year candidate. Let’s do this!   



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