Six days away from the Hell in a Cell Live pay-per-view, in New Orleans, Louisiana, RAW is on edge. While there are some bright spots—like Renee Young making history as the first full-time female commentator in WWE—there is still the aftermath of last week’s destruction of The Shield. So before the celebration for Renee’s new position can get underway even a little, the announce team is immediately interrupted by the brand-new RAW Tag Team Champions, Dolph Ziggler and Drew McIntyre. But two’s not enough, as the third member of their pack—Braun Strowman—is right behind them. Talk about an intimidating team. As well as a team that controls the locker room, as they have those members of the RAW roster who helped them take down The Shield last week join them as they make their way to the ring. Talk about a powerful, intimidating team.
Naturally, Ziggler has to let out a few “WE TOLD YOU SO”s for the entire crowd. And Strowman agrees that the trio beat down The Shield, and like McIntyre said they would, “we feast on their bloody carcasses.” The pack is quite pleased with themselves—and understandably so. But for Strowman to call Roman Reigns “a coward” who can’t handle things on his own when he has his own “Dogs of War” (to compete with the “Hounds of Justice”)? Come on, son.
Ziggler also praises the members of the RAW roster who “stood up for [themselves]” against the “bullying” of The Shield. (Honestly, as great as The Shield are, they’re also kind of bullies. It’s two things.) “Now we are in control,” says McIntyre. “Now we are running wild.” Ziggler and McIntyre have a tag team title defense against The B-Team tonight, and Strowman will force Reigns to receive his hands on Sunday, but those are just formalities.
Then again, why wait until Sunday? The Shield arrives to remind everyone they’ve taken on the whole roster before—both on RAW and SmackDown, with the latter situation truly explaining the whole bully thing—and they have no problem taking them all on again.Oh, and Dean Ambrose brought a duffel bag full of axe handles to really even the odds. You know, classic lunatic stuff.
And in terms of the evening of the odds, that works perfectly, as The Shield end up in the center of the ring, while the Dogs of War are off to higher ground at the top of the ramp. Looks like #ProtectTheYard is in full effect.
Well this looks familiar: The Shield and the actual police. While Acting GM “Constable” Baron Corbin claims he doesn’t want a repeat of last week, he’s still pretty quick to find a way for The Shield to have to vacate the premises. In this case, if they don’t voluntarily leave (and ditch those axe handles), both Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins will have to vacate their championship titles, and the whole Shield will be going to jail “for a long, long time.” (The assumption on Corbin’s part is that they would assault cops. Obviously they could take these cops, but they couldn’t guarantee that the cops wouldn’t snitch.) So with a little calming down from Seth Rollins, The Shield leaves RAW. (Spoiler alert: This is not the end.)
Nikki Bella def. Ruby Riott
Earlier today, The Riott Squad vandalized The Bellas’ locker room, to prove that “RIOTT MODE” is in fact greater than “BRIE MODE.” According to Michael Cole, “the juvenile pranks gone too far this time,” but honestly, that just sounds like he doesn’t understand the Riott girl lifestyle. Nikki Bella doesn’t care to understand it at all, as she plans to teach Ruby Riott a lesson once and for all.
No matter whose side you’re on, there’s something very exciting about this being a first time match-up in the WWE women’s division (and in the entire sport). Nikki Bella has the support of the NOLA crowd, as the “LET’S GO, NIKKI! LET’S GO!” chants start up pretty early. But Ruby Riott has her own cheering section, as Liv Morgan and Sarah Logan make sure to celebrate every bit of dominance Ruby gets in this match. And luckily for The Riott Squad—but maybe a bit surprising for anyone who’s not familiar with Ruby Riott’s entire career as a sports entertainer—this match up is definitely 50/50. So it’s no wonder Ruby Riott thinks she deserves to be on the same levels as the Bellas in terms of notoriety, opportunity, and even fame outside of the WWE.
Unfortunately for Ruby Riott, the “juvenile delinquents” of The Riott Squad should have known better than to mess with the innovators of “Twin Magic,” as Liv Morgan’s attempt to save Ruby Riott from Nikki Bella’s Rack Attack 2.0 only ends with Brie Mode stepping in and taking her out. Advantage: Bellas.
AOP (Akam & Rezar) def. Ronnie Ace & Nathan Bradley (local talent)
Sadly, Drake Maverick’s not rocking the tactical gear this time. But he still has proper guidance for AOP, as their new manager: “You will not be ignored. You will not be overlooked.” Obviously, Maverick feels the same way about himself, as he’s reportedly acknowledged that he “wants to expand his portfolio,” and AOP is one hell of a way to do that. It’s a new chapter for all three men. (And for poor Renee Young, who now just can’t watch AOP matches with her hands covering her eyes.)
So, this match. Well, it’s more of a massacre than an actual match. A few seconds of destruction and a Super Collider later, it’s over.
After Shawn Michaels and The Undertaker decided to argue the outcome of Super Show-Down last week, Triple H appears at RAW to put things into his own words (as, unlike Michaels, he’s actually in this era-ending match against Taker).
As Michaels pointed out all the WWE legends who are betting on Taker last week, it becomes even more insulting when you look at the WWE poll about who will win at Super Show-Down: Triple H got 19% of the vote to Undertaker’s 81%. Wow. But Triple H, surprisingly, isn’t going to dwell on that. Instead, he’s on top of the world. Because what he actually saw last week—seriously, forget the poll—was a broken down Taker, who’s “just a reputation.” That’s the only thing that can explain why he threatened Shawn Michaels last week, all over his opinion. According to Triple H, that night, he realized that “The Undertaker had lost respect for himself.” And it happened after those four matches, those two WrestleMania matches against Shawn Michaels and then those two WrestleMania matches against Triple H himself.
But Triple H still some respect for Taker. And out of that respect, he’ll gladly put the Deadman down at Super Show-Down. That’s all he has to say: Short and (too) sweet.
Dolph Ziggler & Drew McIntyre (c) def. The B-Team (Curtis Axel & Bo Dallas)
You know what? Maybe Seth Rollins should have let The B-Team (before they were The B-Team) join The Shield a few months ago. Then they’d at least have allies on the roster and maybe they’d stand a better chance against Ziggler and McIntyre. The Dogs of War dominate most of this match, with poor Curtis Axel gets the brunt of the punishment. Why there’s hope that The B-Team will make for a Cinderella story yet again, that unfortunately Is not the case. Bo Dallas tries his best, but he ends up falling to the Claymore/Zig Zag combination.
At least Ziggler and McIntyre don’t really get to celebrate, as Ambrose and Rollins show up to burn it down! Luckily for Ziggler, McIntyre saves him from the Stomp (and then saves the titles), but… Now what’s going to happen? “Constable” Corbin said they’d be arrested and have to forfeit their titles if they returned to the arena…
Ha ha ha! Semantics!
While Corbin is ready to have Ambrose and Rollins arrested, Rollins points out “The Shield” didn’t come back: Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose did. Look, they’re not ever wearing their Shield gear. In his frustration, Corbin accidentally lets it slip that he was the one who had them arrested last week, leading Seth to point out that in the world of Monday Night RAW and WWE, plenty of people don’t get arrested for a little roughhousing. Just look at the Dogs of War. He also brings up the concept of Corbin possible falsifying a police report to get around the whole thing. And look who they have here: the NOLA Sheriff, to arrest Corbin. Corbin says, “You got no proof,” which makes you wonder if he knows he runs a three-hour television show. He does know, however, this Sheriff is reading him his rights, so he decides to talk to Seth in private.
Outside Corbin’s office, Dean chats up the Sheriff about running a stoplight and, you know, little Ambrose things. Speaking of, check the Sheriff’s name tag: “Ambrose, G.” But apparently Corbin never noticed that, because Rollins comes out pretty soon after to let them know that everything’s all good. So basically, “Constable” Corbin fought the law, and the law won.
This also leads to Ziggler and McIntyre having to defend their RAW Tag Team Championship against Ambrose and Rollins at Hell in a Cell, and Strowman “going Big Dog-hunting” backstage. (So while Elias is verbally abusing production staff, Strowman ends up physically abusing them, all in his dogged pursuit of Roman Reigns.)
Kevin Owens vs. Tyler Breeze went to a No Contest
Kevin Owens’ reaction to the Rollins/Ambrose shenanigans? Not a fan. So he takes that disgust out on poor Tyler Breeze, attacking the man during his entrance and making very quick work of him with a powerbomb on
Apparently, according to Owens, but Corbin “begged” him to reconsider immediately after his quitting. Because “Baron Corbin recognizes my value as the true MVP of Monday Night RAW.” So they made a deal: Owens would come back under one condition: He’ll longer held accountable for what he does to his opponents. From now on, Owens’ standard of going to far—like what he just did to Breeze—is him “just doing [his] job.” Now he can do whatever he wants, when he wants. And according to him, this is all Bobby Lashley fault—both for Owens quitting and for him returning—for intentionally injuring Owens’ best friend, Sami Zayn. This is only the beginning of Kevin Owens’ new and improved mean streak. He also promises, this is still The Kevin Owens Show, and the WWE Universe can expect three things from it: “Anarchy, agony, and destruction. And it is all Lashley’s fault.”
Bobby Roode & Chad Gable def. The Ascension (Konnor & Viktor)
After last week’s impressive debut as a tag team, Bobby Roode admits he’s no longer skeptical of “this kid,” Chad Gable. He’s given opportunity to work though, because the excitable Gable is even more overzealous than he was last week, immediately tagging in before Roode can start the match, getting destroyed by The Ascension early on, and then tagging back in pretty quickly after Roode saves him. But hey, he still wins them the match, and that is simply: GLORIOUS. Right?
Natalya & Ronda Rousey def. Alexa Bliss & Mickie James
You can read more about the match here.
You can also read more about the Elias/Mick Foley confrontation here.
Braun’s STILL looking for Roman, tearing up the backstage area as a result…
Finn Balor def. Elias
While Foley would have just been content with special guest referee status at Hell in a Cell, Stephanie McMahon gave him one more gift: the power to book a match on Monday Night RAW. So Elias has to face Finn Balor, temporarily renewing their rivalry. He’d probably have rather suffered the fate of Mr. Socko. On the plus side for Elias, he’s able to avoid Balor’s patented double stomps throughout the match. But he still comes up on the losing side, because when in doubt, small package.
Renee Young also a great point on commentary during this match: Has Finn Balor ever had a beignet? Would he even allow himself to?
Earlier today, 205 Live
As Charly Caruso tries to get some information out of Braun Strowman, he ends up turning the tables on her and starts asking questions himself. Questions like: “Where is Roman Reigns?” With the best answer Strowman’s clearly heard all night, Charly suggests he goes to the ring, and Reigns will find him there. It’s actually pretty obvious and ends up being the case. You know, Charly’s lucky “The Monster Among Men” would never throw a woman. Unless his Mixed Match Challenge partner Alexa Bliss asked him to…
Strowman makes his way to the ring, does some light threatening of Roman Reigns (and Mick Foley), and promises that The Shield won’t be able to help inside that cell. He’s sending Reigns to Hell, and he’s never coming back. That’s what Reigns takes offense to, and his music hits. It takes a moment for Strowman to find “The Big Dog,” but he ultimately does—right on top of the announce table. While it looks like Reigns is getting these hands six days early, with Strowman ultimately looking for payback for the Shield triple powerbomb on table from weeks before, Reigns is able to Samoan Drops him off the stage and stand tall to end RAW. These past couple of years between Reigns and Strowman will finally come to a head on Sunday.