Even though Kevin Owens attempted to transform Raw’s Fatal 4-Way Match main event into a three-man bout by taking Braun Strowman out of the equation, The Monster Among Men rallied in a big way. Will Strowman similarly dominate the seven other Superstars clamoring for the contract in the Men’s Money in the Bank Ladder Match this Sunday?
Over the weekend, it appeared Jinder Mahal wouldn’t be waiting until this Sunday to throw down with Roman Reigns when he challenged the former WWE Champion to a match. But it seems Reigns was a little too eager to get his hands on The Modern Day Maharaja to realize Mahal had never clarified who the opponent was going to be.
Mahal got Reigns into the ring and immediately pulled a bait-and-switch on The Big Dog, subbing himself out at the last possible second for Sunil Singh. Reigns, of course, quickly feasted on The Maharaja’s acolyte and got the 1-2-3 after a Spear, but Mahal took advantage of his foe’s brief preoccupation by attacking The Big Dog after the match and planting him with the Khallas. Underhanded to be sure, but given that a motivated Reigns is tough to beat in a straight-up fight (and given that Mahal cost The Big Dog a Money in the Bank opportunity, he is certainly motivated), The Maharaja may well have figured out the way to beat him on Sunday. Then again, of course, he might have just made him madder.
Nia Jax has claimed for weeks that her strength advantage renders her immune to Ronda Rousey’s armbar. Having finally found herself in the hold on Raw, The Irresistible Force might be reconsidering her position.
The first throwdown between the Raw Women’s Champion and her relatively untested (in WWE at least) challenger came at the end of a face-to-face confrontation that started respectful enough, but soon turned tense after Jax claimed she only challenged Rousey for WWE Money in the Bank because she believed the former UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champion wasn’t truly ready for the headbutts, hair-pulls and elbows that are hallmarks of WWE-style competition. Given all that, she believed victory was a foregone conclusion and announced her goal to take Rousey's reputation.
The Baddest Woman on the Planet understandably bristled at the assertion she was “not ready” to challenge for a title in WWE, and even though Nia dropped her with one of those headbutts, Rousey took The Irresistible Force down to the mat and muscled her way into the armbar, leading the champion to tap out almost instantaneously once the hold was applied. Jax is right that Rousey might not be as familiar with the lay of the land as she could be, but the challenger possesses one great equalizer. If she unleashes it on Sunday, Jax could be in for a long night and a short match.
It’s tough to imagine any scenario in which Braun Strowman isn’t the automatic favorite of any fight he’s in, including this Sunday’s Men’s Money in the Bank Match. Kevin Owens knew as much, and even though he proved to be smarter than the average bear when it came to handicapping The Monster Among Men in a Fatal 4-Way among Raw’s Men’s Money in the Bank competitors, it was all for naught once the dust settled.
Owens’ strategy was simple: Marshal Bobby Roode and Finn Bálor — both of whom have suffered hard times at the hands of Strowman over recent weeks — into ganging up on The Gift of Destruction and take him out of the running entirely. (Strowman openly invited them to do so before the match.) The trio managed to briefly neutralize Strowman when Finn and Roode rammed him with ladders and Owens put him through the commentary table with a Frog Splash that took nearly as much out of him as it did Strowman. But The Monster Among Men nonetheless roared back from the ashes and took advantage of a late-game scramble among the four competitors to pin Owens with a Running Powerslam onto a ladder.
He did this, it must be mentioned, despite suffering a Coup de Grâce, a Glorious DDT and a second Frog Splash, all of which served to bang up Strowman’s ribs. Owens' game plan was enough to take a piece out of Strowman, true, but three Superstars couldn’t get it done. Maybe seven will be enough. Maybe.
In other action … Natalya def. Sasha Banks, Alexa Bliss and Ember Moon … Dolph Ziggler & Drew McIntyre def. Breezango … The B-Team def. Heath Slater & Rhyno … Intercontinental Champion Seth Rollins destroyed Elias' custom guitar … Ruby Riott def. Bayley … No Way Jose def. Curt Hawkins … and Sami Zayn challenged Bobby Lashley to an obstacle course.