With next week’s edition of Raw being billed as the “season premiere,” then Monday night’s episode of WWE Raw in San Francisco served as the “season finale” as major changes to the main roster loom ahead with the SmackDown move to FOX and the subsequent draft. Monday night’s Raw was again an in-ring heavy, entertaining three hours of action with strong focus being placed on the current universal championship program for the upcoming Hell in a Cell pay-per-view featuring Seth Rollins and “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt.
Let’s have a look now at everything that went down Monday night on another enjoyable episode of Raw that emanated from the brand-new Chase Center in San Francisco.
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The Fiend targets his former protege
Raw began on Monday night with the customary WWE pre-show television intro being distorted by The Fiend yet again before we relived the events of last week. Universal champion Rollins made his way to the ring to officially open the show. Rollins said he’s never felt the way he felt last week on Raw as he was being stalked by The Fiend in his entire career; he wishes it was all a bad dream he could simply wake up from, but it’s not. The champ then pondered what he’s supposed to do inside the demonic Hell in a Cell structure with Wyatt — which turned out to be survive and prevail like he always has. Braun Strowman then interrupted. During his “survive and prevail” speech, Rollins used his Clash of Champions victory over Strowman as an example and the “Monster Among Men” took exception. The two got into a heated back-and-forth exchange before Rollins laid down a challenge for later in the show that Strowman was glad to except, though it’s a non-title contest.
This week’s episode of the “Firefly Funhouse” aired. Wyatt added Kane to his wall of victims as well as a blank picture frame, saying there’s always room for one more. He then turned his attention to Ramblin’ Rabbit and Huskus who were fighting over a Rollins action figure. Ramblin’ Rabbit and Huskus proclaimed their love for Rollins, and Ramblin’ Rabbit said they don’t want to see The Fiend hurt the universal champion. Wyatt said that maybe The Fiend actually wants to protect Rollins before breaking the action figure in half and giving that maniacal stare into the camera. He then smiled before once again signing off with, “See you in hell!”
Seth Rollins vs. Braun Strowman ended in a no contest when The Fiend made his grand appearance for the week. Wyatt took down his former protege Strowman with the Mandible Claw before turning his attention to Rollins, who was cowering in fear in the corner. Strowman eventually regrouped and tried to attack The Fiend but he was met with another Mandible Claw which this time incapacitated him for good. Raw went off the air with Wyatt’s evil laugh ringing out throughout the arena on a loop.
I said it last week, and I’ll repeat the sentiment: there just simply seems to be no ceiling for Wyatt and The Fiend character at the moment as the presentation gets better and better each week. We saw a glimpse of it last week at the conclusion of Raw, but Rollins admitting this week that he’s somewhat terrified of Wyatt’s new persona — as he should be — adds an interesting layer to this program. Rollins preached the whole “survive and prevail” gospel, but his cowering in legitimate fear at the end of the show for the second straight week casts serious doubt on the universal champ — the man who was able to overcome Brock Lesnar — lasting very long in that cell come Oct. 6. This Hell in a Cell universal title showdown is quickly becoming the most anticipated main event of the entire year — if it already hasn’t reached that status. Grade: A-
What else happened on Raw?
- The Viking Raiders def. Karl Anderson & Luke Gallows via pinfall after the Viking Experience to Anderson. AJ Styles was booted from ringside mid-match by the referee, and as he was making his way to the back, he was attacked by Cedric Alexander. Side note: The OC debuted new theme music prior to the match and, eh, it’s not all that bad.
- Raw women’s champion Becky Lynch joined Michael Cole for a sit-down interview backstage. Lynch said she prefers that Sasha Banks be on a hot streak when she faces her. The champ talked up the fact that “The Boss” really has nowhere to run inside the cell, and if Banks wants to take Lynch out of the game, then she’ll get her chance at Hell in a Cell. Banks responded later in the night during a backstage segment with Bayley by her side where she said she looks forward to getting back what’s hers.
- Rusev def. EC3 via submission with the Accolade in a squash match.
- Sasha Banks def. Nikki Cross via submission after Banks was able to counter a crossbody attempt from Cross into the Banks Statement. Lengthy match here with these two women getting the opportunity to get some good work in.
- The Miz announced in a backstage segment with The Street Profits that he’ll be hosting a special edition of “Miz TV” during the season premiere of Raw next week with Hulk Hogan and Ric Flair. Prior to the segment, it was also revealed that Brock Lesnar will be on hand next week in Phoenix, four days before he challenges Kofi Kingston for the WWE title in the main event of the SmackDown on FOX premiere on Oct. 4.
- Lacey Evans def. Ember Moon via submission with the Sharpshooter. Backstage as she was watching on a monitor, Natalya said that if Evans wants a rematch, then she better be ready to tap out.
- 24/7 Championship — Carmella def. R-Truth via pinfall to win the title after she cleverly baited him in. With the ring surrounded by the usual mid-card talent on the chase, Carmella told Truth that she was sick of all the running and hiding. Truth gave her a hug as it appeared they were on the verge of a split, and that’s where Carmella rolled him up for the title-winning victory. From there, a plethora of female stars fled to the ring as Truth and Carmella escaped with the title.
- Chad Gable def. Baron Corbin via disqualification after Corbin utilized his king’s scepter. Post-match, Corbin used the scepter again to lay out Gable with a shot to the neck.
- Another Authors of Pain vignette aired in which they were out to show everyone who AOP is. Dressed again in suits, they made their way out to the hallway where they thrashed Heath Slater and No Way Jose. Akam & Rezar returned to their seats and proclaimed they just showed everyone why no one wants to fight them.
- Rey Mysterio def. Robert Roode (via pinfall), AJ Styles, Shinsuke Nakamura and Ricochet in a fatal-five way elimination match to become No. 1 contender for the universal championship. Mysterio will face off with Rollins for the universal title next Monday during the season premiere episode. Order of elimination: Nakamura def. Ricochet via pinfall, Styles def. Nakamura via pinfall, Roode def. Styles via pinfall, Mysterio def. Roode via pinfall.