WWE Raw results, recap, grades: The Undertaker surprises, Extreme Rules build kicks into gear
The Extreme Rules build got off to an interesting start on Monday night
On the heels of what was a better-than-most-expected Stomping Grounds pay-per-view on Sunday night, WWE remained in The Evergreen State as Raw emanated from inside the the Angel of the Winds Arena in Everett, Washington. The build to Extreme Rules is off and running beginning with Monday night's show, and the outlook for the final pay-per-view before SummerSlam is ... interesting, to say the least.
A rollercoaster episode of Raw on Monday featured a little bit of everything as the Extreme Rules build darted out of the gate, including a shocking return that no one saw coming heading into this week's episode as well as both the universal and Raw women's championships being put up for grabs within the same match.
Let's take a look at everything that took place on Monday's Raw.
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Extreme Rules mixed tag match with high stakes
Pro wrestling's newest power couple, Seth Rollins and Becky Lynch, kicked off Raw this week. The universal champ gave credit to Baron Corbin for being clever when it came to choosing Lacey Evans as the referee, but he failed to realize that he had the best backup on the planet. Lynch said that she wouldn't allow Evans to steal the title from her man in the main event of Stomping Grounds, so "The Man" was forced to come around.
Corbin's music hit but it was merely a distraction that allowed Evans to attack Lynch from behind. Evans and Lynch brawled in the ring which allowed Corbin to join the fray against Rollins. The universal champion and the Raw women's champion eventually took care of the heels, and Corbin grabbed the microphone on the outside to propose that he and Evans face Rollins and Lynch at Extreme Rules in a mixed tag team match. Lynch accepted on their behalf, but she did emphasize that should Corbin and Evans fall short again, it's the last opportunity they get at either her or Rollins. Corbin added in another proposal that the bout be contested as a winners-take-all, with both Rollins and Lynch's titles on the line. The match was announced as official for Extreme Rules shortly thereafter.
The conclusion of Stomping Grounds made the announcement of this match inevitable, and WWE wasted no time in the opening segment on Monday night to set the table for Philly next month. The added stipulation that the top Raw titles will be on the line adds some much-needed drama, especially considering it provides the opportunity for a rift to form between the real-life couple should one end up being responsible for costing the other their title. Despite the drama, though, it's unlikely that scenario occurs heading into SummerSlam. Still, the suspense will remain high as Brock Lesnar continues to have possession of that Money in the Bank briefcase, keeping this entire universal title angle as a whole interesting enough. Grade: B-
Roman Reigns gets a shocking ally
Roman Reigns vs. Shane McMahon & Drew McIntyre ended in a no contest: The numbers game was very much on display as McMahon and McIntyre brutalized Reigns inside and out of the ring. They toyed with Reigns, hitting multiple finishers while refusing to make the pinfall, wanting to keep the abuse ongoing. With a limp Reigns placed in the corner, McMahon climbed the opposite corner looking to hit the Coast to Coast. That's when we were treated to the shock of the night.
Just as McMahon was set to make his trademark leap across the ring, the arena went dark and the infamous gong blared over the loud speakers. When the lights came back on, McMahon was staring dead in the face of his WrestleMania 32 Hell in a Cell nemesis: The Undertaker. "The Phenom" proceeded to make the save for the man who defeated him at WrestleMania 33, clotheslining both McIntyre and McMahon over the top rope. The Undertaker stood tall in the ring following yet another stunning return as Reigns continued to recuperate in the corner.
We're all guilty of complaining about predictable booking when it comes to WWE. That said, in my mind, we have really no room to whine when a legitimate surprise is delivered -- and make no mistake about it, The Undertaker emerging to aid Reigns was a legitimate stunner. Sharing history with both Reigns and McMahon recently, one would hope that a logical explanation is headed our way in the near future as to why the legendary figure has decided to get back to work. A lot of questions remain, and the answers -- as well as the impending match -- may very well disappoint and this entire program could be headed directly off the rails. But just for tonight, credit where it's been earned to WWE for following through with a moment that left you in awe and awaiting those aforementioned answers. Grade: C+
What else happened on Raw?
- The Usos won an eight-man elimination tag match, and that win should now trigger the tag title program between The Usos and The Revival. New Day served as The Usos' partners, while Daniel Bryan & Rowan partnered with The REvival Order of elimination: New Day def. Bryan & Rowan via pinfall; Revival def. New Day via pinfall; Usos def. Revival via pinfall
- 24/7 Championship -- R-Truth (c) def. Drake Maverick via pinfall to retain the title after Maverick, still donning his wedding attire, interrupted Truth's segment on "Miz TV" to plead for a rematch. All other superstars were banned during the duration of the match, and after Truth picked up the win in seconds, the mid-carders ran out but Truth and Carmella escaped. Maverick walked to the back in tears.
- Braun Strowman def. Bobby Lashley in a tug-of-war, but as soon as Lashley was pulled past the middle of the ring, he attacked Strowman. After wrapping the rope across the face of Strowman, Lashley finished off the attack on the outside with a shove into the barricade despite Strowman's best comeback effort of a shoulder tackle.
- The Viking Raiders def. The Good Brothers via pinfall: Prior to the match backstage, Gallows & Anderson were again chastised by AJ Styles while participating in No Way Jose's conga line.
- R-Truth managed to escape as a nine-time 24/7 champion despite losing the title to Heath Slater, then winning it back moments later before losing it Cedric Alexander. The former cruiserweight champion was pinned by EC3, who then promptly dropped it right back to Truth with the assistance of a Carmella distraction on the ramp -- all of this taking place in the segment intended for Slater to face Mojo Rawley.
- Kofi Kingston def. Sami Zayn via pinfall after the WWE champion surprised with a rollup for the victory. Kevin Owens took the mic afterwards and challenged Kingston, who obliged.
- Kofi Kingston def. Kevin Owens via countout, but the post-match happenings took an interesting turn. As Kingston was heading to the back, he was brutally assaulted from behind by Samoa Joe, who put the champion out at the top of the ramp with the Coquina Clutch.
- Alexa Bliss def. Naomi via pinfall. Bliss and Nikki Cross attacked Naomi post-match, with the latter reluctantly taking part. Natalya came out for the save, setting up a tag match.
- Alexa Bliss & Nikki Cross def. Natalya & Naomi via pinfall. Cross hit her finisher but Bliss made the blind tag to steal the pin.
- There was no "Firefly Funhouse" on Monday night, but Bray Wyatt's presence was still prominent. As Miz was making his entrance through the back earlier in the night, Abby the Witch was ominously lurking in the background. Later in the evening, Mercy the Buzzard was spotted in the back behind WWE champion Kingston.
- AJ Styles def. Ricochet via pinfall in a non-title match. Styles was able to evade the 630 attempt from Ricochet and then connect from the outside with the Phenomenal Forearm for the victory that should firmly place him in line for a U.S. title shot. Gallows & Anderson showed up ringside during the match but Styles forced them to go backstage so as not to ruin the bout.
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