by “Gorgeous” Garrett Smith
Monday Night RAW opened with a pleasant surprise this week. Braun Strowman, not Roman Reigns began the show. He was joined by Finn Balor and they discussed the Money in the Bank ladder match that they will both be competing in. After an unprovoked slap from Balor, a Kurt Angle made a match between the two right there. Last week the two had a great match and this week was no different. Both were being booked strong. Balor was declared the victor after interference from Kevin Owens caused a disqualification.
Other RAW Highlights Include:
- Elias was unable to sing a song due to the crowd not following instructions.
- Seth Rollins retains Intercontinental Title after DQ finish with Jinder Mahal.
- Nia Jax demonstrated what she would do to Ronda Rousey (who was on commentary) at MITB against local enhancement talent.
- Bray Wyatt and Matt Hardy defeat The Ascension.
- Kevin Owens defeats Bobby Roode.
- Sami Zayn apologizes for his horrendous segment last week and is challenged by Bobby Lashley to a match at MITB.
- Drew McIntyre defeated Chad Gable.
- A food fight broke out at the B-Team’s Memorial Day BBQ.
The main event was a last chance gauntlet match for the women to determine who would take the final spot in the MITB ladder match. It was a fine match for what it was, however it suffered due to lack of time. Once the match got going there was roughly 15 minutes to go in the show, not counting the extra time that RAW typically goes over. If you remember the last gauntlet match that RAW put on a couple months ago it last over an hour and made Seth Rollins even more of a star than he already was. This went less than half of that and was a wasted opportunity to make another star in the process. Bayley entered first and eliminated Liv Morgan, followed by Sarah Logan. The Riott Squad entered 2, 3, and 4, as Ruby Riott came in next and had a good showing by eliminating Bayley, Dana Brooke, and Mickie James. Sasha Banks entered last and had a good showing with Riott before forcing her to submit to the Bank Statement.
Samoa Joe kicked off Smackdown Live by simply climbing a ladder and retrieving a Money in the Bank briefcase. He spouted off some biblical nonsense, but he made it work. It wasn’t until he started talking about Daniel Bryan’s family that he was joined by him in the ring and they began to talk about their qualifying match for later in the evening. It was going to be a dream match revisited, until Big Cass entered the fray and was re inserted into the spot that was originally his to begin with until he got hurt a couple weeks ago. So, the main event was turned into a triple threat that turned into a very good showing for all three competitors. It ended just as Samoa Joe predicted it would: him putting Daniel Bryan to sleep. So, Joe is the final man in the MITB ladder match.
Other Smackdown Live Highlights Include:
- Shinsuke Nakamura defeats Tye Dillinger.
- Lana and Naomi have a dance off that ends in a brawl.
- The New Day defeated The Miz, Cesaro, and Sheamus in 6-man tag team action.
- The Bludgeon Brothers continue to confuse with a terrible promo backstage towards Gallows and Anderson.
- Asuka defeats Mandy Rose via submission.
205 Live Highlights Include:
- The Brian Kendrick and Jack Gallagher defeat Lince Dorado and Kalisto.
- Cedric Alexander retains his Cruiserweight title by defeating Buddy Murphy in a classic A+ match.
Ricochet had a match against Chris Dijak, which he won. However, what mattered more was post-match. Ricochet grabbed the microphone and called The Velveteen Dream a punk, which in turn brought Dream from the backstage area. “…The Dream will see you in Chicago” was a great nonchalant line that I enjoyed. As well as him telling Ricochet “.anything you can do, The Dream can do better.” Which prompted Ricochet to do a somersault over the ropes of the ring and land on his feet at the foot of the ramp right in front of Dream, he looked shocked kayfabe or not, as it was very impressive. This match at Takeover: Chicago is going to steal the show. I can’t wait for it and it could very well end up being a match of the year contender.
Other NXT Highlights Include:
- Lars Sullivan confronts Alestier Black to inform him he will be facing him at Takeover: Chicago for the NXT Championship.
- The War Raiders win a squash match.
- EC3 defeats Fabian Aichner.
- Johnny Gargano shows the crowd his signed contract for him and Tommaso Ciampa’s street fight for Takeover: Chicago.
- A video package of Bianca Bel Air played highlighting her journey to NXT.
- Ricochet defeats Chris Dijak.
NXT Women’s Champion retained her title against Dakota Kai very easily, and then things got bizarre. Baszler continued to attack Kai after the match which prompted Nikki Cross to run out and make the save. She then stole the belt when Baszler attempted to leave and challenged her for the title right there… with Dakota Kai as the referee. This was most definitely not an official match just to be clear. When Baszler went for her belt Cross hit her finisher on her and went for the pin. A shocked Dakota Kai counted to three for the “pin” and cross ran away with the belt as if she had actually won it. It was funny and weird at the same time as Cross has always been portrayed as a crazy character and Baszler was acting very confused during the whole ordeal. These two are now on a collision course for Takeover: Chicago.
“Gorgeous” Garrett is Mark Set Go’s Head Writer and a former SmackDown Predictions Champion. To stay up to date on his latest thoughts on WWE and much more, follow him on twitter@SmithGarrett91