Since Raw is in the home of Elvis Presley, it’s only fitting that the show began with not a hound dog, but a Big Dog. And it was one with a suspicious mind, no less, as Roman Reigns basically walked to the ring at the top of the broadcast looking for satisfaction after Rusev attacked him last week. He got it courtesy of Raw’s power team of Stephanie McMahon and Mick Foley, who both gave Reigns a United States Title opportunity against Rusev at Clash of Champions and confirmed that The Bulgarian Brute would battle Seth Rollins on Raw. The showdown would be their punishment for interfering in the main event the previous week.
Moreover, Foley, who felt he was GM’ing for his job after weeks of insurgency from the Raw roster, attempted to rectify the situation by sanctioning a rematch between Reigns and WWE Universal Champion Kevin Owens later in the night. That, of course, didn’t sit well with Owens, who popped up to openly question The Hardcore Legend's decision-making process. And while Stephanie managed to placate Owens with a non-title qualifier, Foley still put a capper on the bout by adding a steel cage stipulation.
What with his ravishing bride, U.S. Championship and two weddings, it’s hard to imagine Rusev as being short-changed in any way. Yet that was exactly the feeling of The Bulgarian Brute, who was fuming over his U.S. Title Match against Roman Reigns on Sunday and decided to take it out on a heavily overpowered Seth Rollins in Raw’s opening contest. The two-time WWE World Champion was subject to all manner of physicality from The Super Athlete, and it seemed, early on, like Rusev would (wait for it) crush Rollins before he even made it to Clash of Champions by targeting his lower back.
But, of course, they don’t call Rollins “The Architect” for nothin’. A worked-over Rollins tapped into his speed, peppering his foe with kicks, forearms and just enough power moves to close the gap. A pair of suicide dives sent Rusev stumbling out of the ring and Rollins pursued his foe past the count of 10, stopping the match. But even though the match might have ended in a tie, The Architect got the last laugh by avoiding a powerbomb through the commentary table and flattening Rusev with a crossbody off the stage.
Even on The Kevin Owens Show, Kevin Owens can’t win ’em all. The WWE Universal Champion’s main-event battle with Roman Reigns didn’t quite end as well as last week’s did, though the victory was hardly as decisive as Reigns would have preferred. After dishing and absorbing an equal amount of punishment, The Big Dog and The Prizefighter both resorted to escape attempts from the cage. Reigns, who climbed over, won by the skin of his teeth against Owens, who attempted to crawl through the door.
Things really got interesting after the match, however, as Rusev thundered down to the ring and, with Owens’ help, incapacitated Reigns inside the cage and locked the door. Enter Seth Rollins, who scaled the side of the steel and took to the skies, flattening Owens and Rusev with a crossbody off the top of the cage, leaving everyone down as Raw came to an end. Like we said, they don’t call him The Architect for nothin’.
In other action... Braun Strowman def. Sin Cara... Raw Women’s Champion Charlotte & Dana Brooke def. Sasha Banks & Bayley... Bo Dallas def. Gary Graham... Cesaro def. Sheamus; Best of Seven Series tied 3-3... Raw Tag Team Champions The New Day, Sami Zayn, Enzo Amore & Big Cass def. Chris Jericho, Luke Gallows, Karl Anderson & The Shining Stars... and Brian Kendrick def. Gran Metalik, Cedric Alexander and Rich Swann to become No. 1 Contender to the WWE Cruiserweight Championship.
Season 2016 episode guides
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