WWE Raw results, recap, grades: 'Stone Cold' Steve Austin steals the show in Madison Square Garden return
'The Texas Rattlesnake' helped make the Madison Square Garden return even more enjoyable
After nearly a decade-long absence, WWE's flagship show made its return "home" Monday night as this week's edition of Raw emanated live from Madison Square Garden in New York. It was a star-studded, action-packed three hours of action on Monday night from start to finish with a wild crowd that made everything all the more memorable. All in all, this show was about as much as could have been asked for with WWE finally returning to the "World's Most Famous Arena" for television as Clash of Champions looms just six days away.
Let's take a look at everything that went down on Monday night as Raw made its long-awaited return to Madison Square Garden.
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'Stone Cold' Steve Austin ignites the MSG crowd
Raw's return to MSG began on Monday night with the shattering of the glass, a momentous pop from the New York faithful and the emergence of "Stone Cold" Steve Austin. The "Texas Rattlesnake" drank some beer and reminisced about some of his personal favorite moments from inside The Garden before Braun Strowman and Seth Rollins were brought out for the Clash of Champions universal title match contract signing to be moderated by Austin.
Both men signed the contract after briefly stating their respective cases for walking out universal champion come Clash of Champions. Before the segment could be put to bed, though, The OC interrupted. United States champion AJ Styles verbally trolled Austin as he made his way down the ramp which prompted the familiar MSG chants of "A--HOLE!" followed by Austin reintroducing the popular line he'd deliver to Vince McMahon amid such chants of, "I don't know how good your hearing is, AJ, but you've got about 18,000 people calling you an a--hole right now!" As Styles continued running his mouth, Austin calmly moved the table from the center of the ring while Strowman took care of Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson. Rollins went to hit the Stomp on Styles but the U.S. champ countered and dumped the universal champ out of the ring. Styles, believing he was out of the woods, taunted Rollins ... but he was far from safe. Styles turned around to eat a Madison Square Garden Stunner from Austin to a huge reaction from the crowd. Austin capped off the segment with, of course, guzzling down a few of his Broken Skull IPAs. Styles _still_ wasn't completely out of those woods, though, as his scheduled match with Cedric Alexander was about to get underway as he was recuperating.
Cedric Alexander def. AJ Styles via disqualification in a non-title match after Anderson and Gallows interfered. The OC were set to beat down Alexander on the outside before The Viking Raiders came out to make the save and clean house of the heels.
Later in the night, the challengers to the Raw tag team championship this Sunday, Dolph Ziggler & Robert Roode, met up with The OC. Ziggler told Styles they have a common enemy and they'll be taking care of business tonight. He asked Styles where they stand, and the two shared smiles and a dap before parting ways. Shortly after, Cedric Alexander, Rollins and Strowman were seen conversing backstage, and it was then announced that we'd see a 10-man tag match pitting Rollins, Strowman, The Viking Raiders & Alexander against The OC, Ziggler & Roode.
Cedric Alexander, Seth Rollins, Braun Strowman & The Viking Raiders def. AJ Styles, Karl Anderson, Luke Gallows, Dolph Ziggler & Robert Roode via pinfall after Alexander laid out Styles with an insane Lumbar Check, likely setting himself up for a United States title shot this Sunday. Immediately following the three-count, the glass shattered once more as Austin made his way out to enjoy some beers with the babyfaces in celebration to close the show on a high note.
If we've learned anything from the past few months, it's that having "Stone Cold" Steve Austin around a little more here and there is an experience to be treasured. Nostalgia acts can become tiresome, but Austin is not one of them and it was the right call to bookend the return to Madison Square Garden with his appearances. It was also a nice touch at the end of the show to have Austin give "the rub" to the present (Rollins and Strowman) and future (Alexander and Viking Raiders) of WWE to send everyone home happy. Grade: A-
What else happened on Raw?
- Charlotte Flair & Becky Lynch def. Bayley & Sasha Banks via pinfall after Flair connected with a Natural Selection on SmackDown women's champion Bayley. The Four Horsewomen were given a decent amount of time to work here in front of the MSG crowd, too.
- Rey Mysterio def. Gran Metalik via pinfall after the 619 followed by a Frog Splash.
- King of the Ring semifinals -- Baron Corbin def. Samoa Joe (via pinfall) and Ricochet to advance to the finals in a terrific television match. Ricochet had the win in his grasp after nailing Joe with the 630, but Corbin was able to pull Ricochet away from the pin, toss him over the barricade and steal the victory for himself.
- Natalya def. Lacey Evans via submission with the Sharpshooter.
- Former New York Knicks star and current Boston Celtics center Enes Kanter won the 24/7 championship from R-Truth on Main Event prior to Raw going on the air as he was being interviewed by Charly Caruso in his old home building. The reign didn't last long, though, as Truth was able to regain the title right back ... again.
- The latest edition of the "Firefly Funhouse" aired. Bray Wyatt was immediately interrupted by Ramblin' Rabbit who was repeatedly screaming, "Stranger Danger!" He was referring to Austin moderating the contract signing between Rollins and Strowman earlier in the night. Abby the Witch pointed out that her clock was stuck on 3:16 since Austin appeared to open the show, and eventually all the puppets all screamed, "Stranger Danger!" in unison. Wyatt told Abby that he would take care of her clock issue, repeatedly smashing it with a hammer as the time changed to 11:19 -- yet another cryptic message. Wyatt said that Austin is just an old rattlesnake that does rattlesnake things, and that strangers are just friends you haven't met yet. He finished by telling Rollins and Strowman that friends won't help them where they're going at Hell in a Cell, and friends may forget, but The Fiend never forgets.
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