Fans wanting good in-ring action on Monday night's edition of WWE Raw got their wish. There were outstanding matches up and down the card, including a pair of matches for the WWE championship, with Big E defending the belt against Bobby Lashley.
Big E and Lashley opened the show with a match for the title only to see The Hurt Business reunite in support of Lashley, leading to a no-contest. WWE made things right in the main event, having Lashley and Big E settle things inside a steel cage, resulting in a dramatic win for Big E to cap off a great night of action on the final Raw before the WWE Draft begins on Friday Night.
CBS Sports was with you all night with recaps and highlights of all the action from Heritage Bank Center in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Big E and Bobby Lashley go to war twice in one night
WWE Championship – Big E (c) vs. Bobby Lashley ended in a no-contest. The title match kicked off the show, as was promised during Sunday night's Extreme Rules card. Lashley stayed in command of the match for a long stretch, with Big E only getting small hope spots only to be cut off by the power and aggression of Lashley again and again. As Big E started to make his comeback, Cedric Alexander and Shelton Benjamin came to ringside in Hurt Business gear, apparently reforming the group with MVP sidelined with a knee issue. Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods ran in to make the save, leading to a pin break after a Lashley spear and forcing the referee to call for the bell. WWE official Adam Pearce announced that Big E and Lashley would settle their differences later in the night in a steel cage match.
WWE Championship – Big E (c) def. Bobby Lashley via pinfall in a cage match to retain his title. Lashley attacked Big E before the champion could get into the cage. Lashley drove Big E into the barricade and into the outside of the cage several times to get a huge advantage before the match even began. After a commercial break, both men were finally in the cage to begin the match. Big E tried to get a quick start by countering a Lashley charge but Lashley quickly took control back before starting to attempt to leave the cage to score the win. Big E managed to knock Lashley from the cage before nearly climbing out himself when The Hurt Business ran in to knock Big E back. The New Day ran in to slam the cage door on Lashley's head before brawling with Benjamin and Alexander, with Kingston leaping off the cage and onto the Hurt Business members. Officials ejected all four men from ringside to leave it as a one-on-one match again. Lashley repeatedly tried to walk out of the cage only to have Big E grab his wrist. Lashley kicked out of a Big Ending once, but not a second one delivered off the second rope as Bg E retained his title. After the match, Drew McIntyre arrived to issue a silent challenge to Big E as the show went off the air.
In what was a very good episode of Raw, Lashley and Big E delivered the goods in both the opener and the main event. Big E needed a clean win to really establish himself as the true champion and that's exactly what happened. Big E now has three pinfalls over Lashley, which should be enough to move on, though McIntyre isn't the most exciting option. Still, all credit to Big E and Lashley for their work over the night. Grade: A
What else happened on WWE Raw?
- Angel Garza def. Erik via pinfall after hitting a Wing Clipper.
- 24/7 Championship -- Reggie (c) vs. Ricochet ended in a no-contest after interference from Drew Gulak and R-Truth. 24/7 rules were suspended during the match, so the attack was a set-up to try and allow Akira Tozawa to win the belt from Reggie, but Reggie was able to escape the ambush with his title.
- Keith Lee def. Akira Tozawa via pinfall after the Big Bang Catastrophe. Lee was again announced as Keith "Bearcat" Lee.
- United States Championship -- Damian Priest (c) def. Sheamus via pinfall with Reckoning. As expected, this was a brutal match that saw some big moves, such as a Sheamus White Noise from the ring apron through a table at ringside. After more tables, kendo sticks and steel chairs, Priest was able to get the win and retain his title in a match that left both men badly bruised.
- Jinder Mahal, Veer & Shanky def. Jeff Hardy, Mustafa Ali & Mansoor via pinfall after Veer hit Ali with a lariat.
- Karrion Kross def. Jaxson Ryker via submission with the Kross Jacket.
- AJ Styles def. Riddle via pinfall after a Styles Clash. Randy Orton was out for the week, leaving Riddle without support, but Styles was able to win clean without interference from Omos. Omos did, however, hit Riddle with a chokeslam after the match.
- Raw Women's Championship -- Charlotte Flair (c) def. Doudrop via pinfall after hitting Natural Selection. Doudrop seemed to have the match in hand when she was distracted by Eva Marie's music, allowing Flair to score the win and retain her title. Eva Marie cut a promo in the ring after the match only to have Shayna Baszler brutally attack her, choking her out before stomping on her arm.
- Goldberg vowed revenge on Bobby Lashley. Goldberg said he hopes to get lucky enough to kill Lashley for putting his hands on his son.