Live from Chicago, Triple H kicks off Monday Night RAW—in ass kicker attire, not a CFO suit—alongside his best friend Shawn Michaels, and neither man is pleased after Super Show-Down. No smiles, no dancing or strutting around; despite entering to standing ovations, they’re not happy. Because as Triple H says, “25 years is a long time to climb a mountain.” But the reason you do it is that it’s “the biggest, baddest, most deadliest” mountain. (Psst. He’s talking about The Undertaker. It’s a metaphor. Stick with it.) According to Triple H, he and Shawn “should be standing on top of the world right now … but the avalanche that fell on us after we made it to the top of that mountain, makes us question if that mountain was a lie the whole time.” (Basically, he’s calling out the fact that The Undertaker—and Kane—couldn’t just lose gracefully at Super Show-Down. Kind of like I pointed out last week on RAW, when they decided to jump Shawn Michaels.)
“It takes a lot to earn our respect,” Triple H notes. “Respect is when you stick to your word, even when everyone tells you not to.” Triple H clearly has a lot of respect for Shawn, and that’s who he ends up talking
Triple H and Shawn Michaels had a long flight from Australia to Chicago to think about the beat down they took at Super Show-Down, and Shawn also used that time to think about “the last eight and a half years” of honoring his word (of retirement) out of a respect to Taker that was never a two-way street, a respect “that never existed at all.” So when they touched down in Chicago, Triple H asked Shawn Michaels three words: “ARE YOU READY?”
Only, the question was really for the Brothers of Destruction. Specifically at WWE Crown Jewel, because as Shawn points out, “D-Generation X is ready.” And DX is apparently back again. And if you don’t know, now you know:
Tonight, it’s a night of Super Show-Down rematches, as The Shield face off against The Dogs of War and The Riott Squad take on the Ronda Rousey/Bella Twin trio. Will the results be the same as they were in Melbourne?
Bobby Lashley def. Kevin Owens
After a temporary separation at Super Show-Down, Bobby Lashley and Lio Rush are back together here on Monday Night RAW. And now we can see just how Lashley stacks up against Kevin Owens (or Elias) when John Cena isn’t around to bat clean up. (Sorry, but that’s what happened.)
Surprisingly though, Kevin Owens comes alone. And during the match, Lio Rush gets on the microphone from the sidelines, which clearly frustrates Owens—and the WWE Universe—far more than Owens frustrates Lashley. It makes you wonder why would anyone cheer for Lashley with Lio Rush running his mouth? And the Chicago crowd answers pretty quickly that they won’t cheer for Lashley because of this. Especially when Rush starts a “LASHLEY” chant, which only makes them boo. And especially when Rush starts running his mouth (more) and says Owens isn’t an athlete—as Lashley shows off his freaky athleticism during this match—only for Owens to show off just the type of stellar athlete he is with some jumps and dives of his own.
At a certain point, Lashley is very much on top of offense, but he’s also very much surprised by how much the crowd likes Owens instead of him. Can you really blame them with all the chatter coming from Lio Rush? They’re even happier when Owens decides to just go after Rush, but boos come again as Lashley saves his hype man. After that, Rush gets bold again: “Don’t you ever touch me! Put the boots to him, Lashley!” But Owens listens to the “FIGHT OWENS FIGHT” chants from the WWE Universe, and perhaps that’s what fuels him to kick out of the vertical suplex (the one that put his best friend Sami Zayn out of commission). After that, he finally gets the closest to a win he’s been in this match, with a superkick/stunner combination that leads to a 2.9 count. But as Owens goes to the top rope for something high-risk, a distraction from Rush allows Lashley to get him into the Tree of Woe, and then Lashley just goes for the knee that got hooked in that predicament. Lashley just keeps going after that knee, and then he puts Owens down for the win.
Post-match, after making the referee—who was checking on Owens—raise his hand, he continues to go after Owens’ knee. Then he leaves… only to come back and go after the knee again. Only, this time, Owens tries to fight back before getting destroyed for good. You know what? This proves Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens were right about Bobby Lashley all along. YEP!
At WWE Crown Jewel in Saudi Arabia, there will be a WWE World Cup, featuring four men from RAW and four men from SmackDown. In the weeks leading up to it, there will be qualifying matches—including tonight, in Baron Corbin’s Global Battle Royal—but one man is already in, no qualifier needed. And his name is John Cena.
As Team B&B talk about being “two peas in a pod”—as opposed to their opponents tonight, Team Mahalicia, who are obsessed with captain stuff—Lio Rush and Bobby Lashley interrupt them, to gloat about how Lashley just dominated Kevin Owens. In fact, Rush and Lashley consider themselves the ones who are “Too Sweet.” Well, there’s something else for the Chicago crowd to boo.
While I was afraid Kevin Owens was going to turn on Elias, I should’ve known better: Elias’ ego clearly just allowed him to move on from caring about his “brother” Kevin Owens. That’s the only thing that explains him not coming out with Owens earlier and not coming to his rescue after the match. In fact, it’s surprising he doesn’t blame Owens for the fact that they lost at Super Show-Down (even with the fact that Elias was the one who was pinned)…
…he just blames John Cena’s hair, the Australian accents (sorry, IIconics), the food, and even the fact that he had to be in Chicago after being in Australia. In the present, he points out real quick that everything Triple H, Shawn Michaels, Kane, and Undertaker have been talking about—WWE, in general—is them talking about Elias, whether they realize that or not. (See? The ego.) And John Cena knows that too, at least, deep in his heart. He knows WWE stands for “Walk With Elias.”
But Elias should know the only way he’s ever going to have an uninterrupted concert is if the entire WWE roster ends up out with food poisoning. So before he can completely run down Chicago and sing, the RAW Women’s Champion Ronda Rousey comes out for her six-woman tag team match.
Ronda Rousey & The Bella Twins (Nikki Bella & Brie Bella) def. The Riott Squad (Ruby Riott, Liv Morgan, & Sarah Logan)
While Rousey and The Bella Twins successfully took on The Riott Squad again, post-match, things took a turn for the worse. You can read more about the match and the aftermath here.
Team B&B (Finn Balor & Bayley) def. Team Mahalicia (Jinder Mahal & Alicia Fox)
This is mixed tag team action, which is not to be confused with Mixed Match Challenge action… especially since this match-up actually happened at Mixed Match Challenge last week. (And Mahalicia lost, putting them at 0-2 there. Luckily, this match here doesn’t count toward that win-loss record.) Jinder Mahal, Alicia Fox, and Sunil Singh are still not on the same page, so Bayley ends up taking out both Fox and Singh, while Balor has already proven on more than one occasion he can handle Mahal.
In The Dogs of War’s locker room, Dolph Ziggler tries to rally the troops, saying that “one little slip up” is what cost them the match at Super Show-Down. Yeah, he’s trying to be the player-coach now, despite being the one who lost them the match. And Drew McIntyre even calls that out when he tells Ziggler he’s tired of him calling the shots; instead, Ziggler should “worry about pulling [his] own weight around here.”
Ziggler tries to blame The Shield for the current drama their team is having, but Braun Strowman tells both of his partners to shut up. Because the only reason they’re even here is to help him win the Universal Championship. Somehow, that’s what’s best for all of them, although Strowman hasn’t quite made that reasoning clear. He just makes it clear that they need to stop whining.
As Baron Corbin walks backstage, Heath Slater stops him to let the Acting GM know that he wants to be in the WWE World Cup and is willing to qualify in tonight’s Global Battle Royal. But Corbin tells him no, because: “You’re just. Not. Any. Good.” Then he walks away from Slater, instead of just firing or trading this guy who’s “not any good” away.
The Conquistador won the Global Battle Royal to be part of the WWE World Cup
But then the Global Battle Royal is underway, and now it makes sense: Heath Slater actually is good, especially in comparison to all the scrubs (including a long-lost Los Conquistador!) Baron Corbin found for this match. And naturally, Corbin—one-time Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal winner—puts himself in this match as well, clearly to stack the deck and go to the WWE World Cup easily.
In the global scrubs’ defense, they all smartly decide to gang up on Corbin—as he is the biggest man in the match—but that fails, and they all fall one-by-one. Except for the Conquistador, who takes a siesta outside the ring the whole time.
Because of that, once Corbin’s eliminated every man in the ring, he thinks he’s won. But the Conquistador comes in, hits a familiar looking trio of German suplexes, and even more familiar Slam, and then eliminates Corbin. The Conquistador’s music plays! He won!
Then he reveals his true face: It’s Kurt Angle, and he’s gonna be in the WWE World Cup. He’s still on vacation though.
Ember Moon def. Nia Jax, via Count-out
Ember Moon and Nia Jax are friends, so this match isn’t antagonistic. But they are both competitive, and ouch. Ember obviously gives Nia all that she has very early on—because she’s a smart wrestler who knows she has to take down a bigger competitor—but Nia is honestly just able to treat her like a ragdoll. Eventually, a well-timed hurricanrana allows her to get Nia to the outside, but when Ember tries to capitalize with the suicide dive, she basically just bounces off of Nia. And when she’s about to go for another one, Nia pulls her back to the floor. That’s… not very friendly. Nia then tries to bench press and toss Ember to the ground, but Ember escapes and is able to think quickly when Nia charges at her. Meaning, she sidesteps and Nia crashes right into the LED ring apron when the referee is at a count of eight. Then she rushes back into the ring.
It’s not exactly a decisive victory, but it’s a smart victory.
Post-match, Nia Jax approaches Ember Moon and hugs her buddy. She even raises her hand for outsmarting her. But also,
While Alexa Bliss (or “Little Miss Brat,” as Trish Stratus calls her) had time last week to provide “A Moment of Bliss,” she doesn’t take too kindly to Trish Stratus’ attempt to fire back with “A Moment of Stratusfaction.” In fact, she and Mickie James immediately interrupt Stratus when she gets started.
Again, Bliss talks about growing up idolizing Trish Stratus and how she watched and studied every single thing the seven-time WWE Women’s Champion did in her Hall of Fame career. And now that they’re face-to-face and going to have this dream match at WWE Evolution? One thing’s for sure:
“I can finally tell you, woman-to-woman: You sucked. Like, really sucked.”
Bliss even adds that, had she been wrestling in Stratus’ heyday, “You wouldn’t have been able to step in the ring with me. … You would’ve been an afterthought.”
With that, Stratus is honestly ready for Bliss to prove it right here tonight. And surprisingly, Bliss (and Mickie) come to the ring. But Mickie actually stops a fight from happening, because: “These people don’t deserve it. … Besides, Trish—you and I both know, nothing good ever happens in Chicago.” Stratus accepts that (sorry, Chicago), but she does tell her former rival to truly let Bliss know what it’s like to be in the ring with a seven-time champ. This actually gets Mickie James fired up, and she decides to challenge Trish Stratus to a fight at Evolution. Now, the way Mickie says it, it sounds like she meant a 2-on-1 handicap situation, but Stratus is definitely down for a tag team match. In fact, she has just the partner:
All four women brawl in the ring, and while Mickie James and Alexa Bliss are able to walk out on their own two feet, it’s clear the Hall of Famers get the upper hand in this encounter.
The Shield come in with a classic handheld video somewhere deep in the bowels of
Rollins: “We are the one true constant.”
Ambrose: “We are the Hounds of Justice.”
Reigns: “We are The Shield. Believe that.”
Chad Gable & Bobby Roode def. The Ascension (Konnor & Viktor)
How does one get as hyped as Chad Gable? Even Mojo Rawley may not know.
And oh look, he and Bobby Roode are facing The Revival. Again. Pre-match, Konnor grabs a microphone and asks if it was GLORIOUS when he beat them both, back-to-back. It’s kind of a rhetorical question, as he informs them that he and Viktor are going to “send [them] straight to the Wasteland—for good.” We know the Wasteland is gluten-free, but what other horrors reside there?
Gable looks like he might end up finding out, as he starts the match, but Roode is eventually able to get in and get on a roll… which only ends because Gable tags in as soon as he possibly can. He’s lucky he’s able to get Viktor with the rolling German suplex and the win. No Wasteland for Roode and Gable.
But before Roode can really process what just happened—and if he’s more frustrated or happy with what Gable just did—the AOP show up, run through Konnor, and then beat the crap out of the GLORIOUS duo. Roode and Gable try to fight back but fail, and then Gable and Viktor (who is still in the ring with them) eat a Super Collider.
Before the main event, Paul Heyman shows up just to let everyone know how excited he is to see Braun Strowman and Roman Reigns “beat the high holy hell out of each other” again for the crowd’s enjoyment… all while Brock Lesnar rests at home. Because Brock doesn’t have to worry about entertaining a crowd, nor does he have to worry about any “WE” stuff (see: all The Shield and The Dogs of War’s issues)—when it comes to Brock, it’s only “ME.”
He has a point… except for the part where he ignores how “WE” has more of an advantage in a no DQ match—which triple threat matches are—and how, if he’s worried Braun and Roman were ganging up on Brock before, he might have a big problem when The Shield and The Dogs of War can come in and legally interfere at Crown Jewel. Because you know Ziggler and McIntyre won’t have any problem helping the Strowman-shaped part of their “WE.”
But it’s not like he’s given a chance to possibly acknowledge that, as The Shield finally hear enough and come out for their six-man tag team match.
The Dogs of War (Drew McIntyre, Dolph Ziggler, & Braun Strowman) def. The Shield (Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins, & Roman Reigns)
The match starts off with both teams facing off, creating a figurative line in the center of the ring. But that line is obviously crossed pretty early on.
While The Dogs of War do well to get an advantage against The Shield throughout the match, when they’re—well, McIntyre and Ziggler—not perfect, Strowman absolutely lets them know.
Honestly, I don’t know if Drew McIntyre is the type of person who will take this kind of piling on for too long. But Strowman definitely does a lot of the heavy lifting in the match to shift the momentum in the Dogs’ favor—like chokeslamming Reigns on the apron or just basically shaking off a shoulder-into-ringpost situation (like the monster he is). The Shield are on the same page though, zipping and diving—yes, even Roman Reigns—and getting in that tandem offense they’ve always been known for. Eventually, Rollins gets the most punishment though, and the WWE Universe chants “WE WANT AMBROSE.” They eventually get that once the Dogs start in-fighting, with Strowman getting on Ziggler for not pulling his own weight and making excuses, Ziggler trying to speak up, McIntyre getting in Strowman’s face, and Rollins finally making the tag. And it’s here that you can see again just how evenly-matched Dean Ambrose and Drew McIntyre are.
But when all is said and done, McIntyre ends up getting the pin on Ambrose, essentially proving Ziggler’s “slip up” point right. So no weak links there.
With The Shield, however, Ambrose leaves his two brothers behind, seemingly blaming himself for their loss.