WWE Raw results, recap, grades: Seth Rollins wins another title, Sasha Banks attacks
A solid three hours of action ended with Rollins again donning two titles
The SummerSlam weekend festivities in Toronto now in the rearview mirror, Monday's episode of Raw in St. Paul, Minnesota, put us firmly on the road to the upcoming. This week, WWE continued the trend we've been seeing lately under the new regime of delivering three hours of sports entertainment that doesn't feel like a never-ending marathon.
To say that Raw on Monday night was noteworthy could actually be interpreted as an understatement. In those aforementioned three hours, we ceremoniously welcomed back the King of the Ring tournament, watched Sasha Banks continue to shine in her traditional comfort zone and, to cap the entire night off, universal champion Seth Rollin became a dual-champion for the third time in his career.
Let's have a look now at everything that went down on an eventful episode of Raw on Monday.
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Unlikely tag team champions
United States Championship -- Braun Strowman def. AJ Styles (c) via disqualification due to interference from Luke Gallows. The trio was angling to give Strowman a beatdown before universal champion Rollins returned the favor from last week and made the save. Rollins and Strowman shook hands in the middle of the ring as Rollins said they're even.
Backstage, Rollins caught up with Strowman and told him that he knows he should be the next challenger for the universal title. First, though, they obviously have some business to take care of. Rollins said he was headed to set up a match for tonight ... for the Raw tag team championship against Gallows & Anderson. Strowman told Rollins that he was in. Later in the night, Rollins was attempting to give Strowman a pep talk, but he was laser-focused on the universal championship sitting in the locker room. Strowman promised, though, that they would walk out with the tag titles.
Raw Tag Team Championship -- Braun Strowman & Seth Rollins def. Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson (c) to win the titles after Strowman put Anderson away with the running powerslam. Styles attempted to make the save from the pinfall, but Rollins thwarted that effort with the Stomp. Rollins and Strowman closed the show celebrating as the new Raw tag team champions.
WWE pulled out the old-school tactic of placing the tag team championship on two men destined to be showcased in the main event scene feuding for the top title sooner rather than later, and that's just fine for the direction in which this is all obviously headed. This inevitable Rollins-Strowman feud is getting a nice slow build with different layers thrown into the mix, with tonight's title win being the most recent addition. Admittedly, the initial thought of Rollins putting his title on the line against Strowman held very little appeal to me. But in just one week's time, I'm beginning to become more and more sold on this program. Grade: B-
Sasha Banks attacks again
Becky Lynch cut an incredible pre-taped promo where she welcomed Banks as a challenger because she's at her peak right now. Lynch said Banks did nothing to help herself during her four months away, but all it took was a few media callouts from her to place Banks right at the top again. She said she warned Banks that this is a cat-and-mouse game, and she'll give her something to go home and cry about. Banks was scheduled to make an appearance during a "King's Court" segment, but that never came to be -- and you can find out exactly why below.
Banks did, however, sit down backstage for an interview later in the night with Michael Cole. "The Boss" sarcastically referred to her blue hair as the topic everyone has been buzzing about for the past week. Cole called her out and pressed her on why she attacked Natalya last week on Raw during her shocking return. We didn't get an explanation, though. Banks arrogantly glared into the camera and simply stated "you're welcome" before taking her mic off and ending the interview. Prior to the main event, Natalya was cutting a promo backstage wondering why her former friend Banks did what she did last week, and out of the frame came Banks to attack. She beat down Natalya again, slamming her injured arm into a drawer. Banks grabbed Natalya by the hair and said, "Go to hell, Nattie, and tell your daddy I said hi."
Lynch's promo early in the night was fantastic and added some more fuel to this fire, but the spotlight here was clearly on what a breath of fresh air it is to have our beloved heel Sasha Banks back. WWE had a tall task ahead of itself in following up on how well the shocking comeback and return to heel form was executed last week, and quite frankly -- mission accomplished. The remark regarding Natalya's late father, Jim "The Anvil" Neidhart, showed that Banks is willing to go to some uncomfortable places, which will only add to the thirst fans have for wanting to see "The Man" finally get her hands on "The Boss" when the time comes. Grade: A-
What else happened on Raw?
- Roman Reigns def. Dolph Ziggler via pinfall in the opening match after catching Ziggler in mid-air with a vicious spear. Reigns was out to open Raw, and Ziggler followed while continuing the trend of running his mouth. He paid for it ... again.
- "The Fiend" took out Jerry "The King" Lawler with the Mandible Claw. Lawler, who also began the night filling in for Corey Graves on commentary, was in the ring getting set for his scheduled "King's Court" segment with Banks. As he was running down the King of the Ring bracket, the power began to shut down, of course signaling the imminent arrival of Bray Wyatt's new alter-ego. Lawler exited the ring and attempted to escape up the ramp, but at the top of the stage is where he was met by "The Fiend," becoming the latest legend to fall victim to an attack.
- Ricochet & The Miz def. Baron Corbin & Drew McIntyre via pinfall after Ricochet connected with the Recoil on Corbin.
- Booker T joined the show via Skype where he weighed in on Wyatt's attack on the legends as well as the King of the Ring tournament returning. The 2006 King of the Ring winner picked McIntyre to come away as the victor when all is said and done.
- King of the Ring First Round -- Samoa Joe def. Cesaro via submission with the Coquina Clutch. He advances to face the winner of next week's first-round bout between Ricochet and Drew McIntyre.
- R-Truth interrupted Elias' "farewell performance" by sneaking into the ring disguised as a guitar handler along with a referee. Elias was able to escape the ambush with his 24/7 title and retreat up the ramp right before Truth was going to put one of the guitars to use.
- Rey Mysterio addressed his struggles in a backstage interview with Charly Caruso. Mysterio wondered whether the years of competing against bigger men and the injuries that he accumulated had caught up to him, and he was about to take off his mask as a symbol of retirement. He was stopped by his son, Dominic, who convinced him to retract the decision when he said he's always dreamed of making his debut by teaming up with his father.
- The New Day def. The Revival via disqualification after Randy Orton interfered and took out Big E with an RKO out of nowhere. WWE champion Kofi Kingston came out for the save but ended up eating yet another RKO from Orton as this feud continues. Xavier Woods tried to gain the upper hand, but he, too, fell victim to an RKO with an assist from Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder. Taking matters a step further, The Revival attempted to break Woods' leg while Orton made Kingston view the carnage.
- Nikki Cross & Alexa Bliss def. Sonya Deville & Mandy Rose via pinfall in a non-title match after Cross put Deville away with her neckbreaker.
- King of the Ring First Round -- Cedric Alexander def. Sami Zayn via pinfall with the Lumbar Check. He advances to face the winner of next week's First Round bout between The Miz and Baron Corbin.
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