Following last week’s hard-hitting contest that saw AJ Styles defeat Baron Corbin via count-out, the two ran it back tonight on SmackDown LIVE. Just as he did last week, United States Champion Kevin Owens, who will potentially defend his title against Styles at WWE Backlash if he can retain it against Chris Jericho at WWE Payback, sat in on commentary.
They fooled you! They fooled all of you! Whatever your personal thoughts on the elaborate ruse Jeri-KO concocted to both keep the WWE Universal Title on Kevin Owens and have him win the match against Roman Reigns at Roadblock: End of the Line, you have to admire its deviousness: After weeks of seemingly teetering on the verge of implosion, the two best friends played their ace in the hole and came to Raw stronger than ever, with championship hardware still in tow.
The disunity between Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan came to the forefront during AJ Styles' main event showdown against Sami Zayn, leading to a huge Royal Rumble WWE Title Match announcement. Elsewhere, Shelton Benjamin & Chad Gable finally got their two-on-two opportunity at SmackDown Tag Team Champions The Usos.
Raw kicked off Monday with the heist of the century, as Chris Jericho stormed to the ring and demanded the return of his precious “List of Jericho,” which had been pickpocketed by an unknown Superstar. Jericho refused to compete until the List was returned, and even Kevin Owens and Raw Commissioner Stephanie McMahon couldn’t bring Jericho down to earth when they attempted to calm the six-time World Champion in advance of his and Owens' Triple Threat main event against Seth Rollins.
They say behind every great man is a great woman. And we have known for some time that Lana is the mastermind behind Rusev’s dominance. So it was no surprise that The Ravishing Russian took some family business into her own hands on Raw by demanding Roman Reigns give The Super Athlete a United States Title rematch off the heels of last week’s chaotic non-conclusion.
At least, there can be no debate: Roman Reigns is here to stay as United States Champion. In what was essentially The Big Dog’s second 12-round slugfest in two days, Reigns picked up where he left off against Rusev at WWE Clash of Champions, throwing bombs left and right throughout the majority of the title rematch that Rusev evoked.
She may be the daughter of 16-time World Champion Ric Flair, but Charlotte Flair is carving out a path of greatness all her own.
The bad news first: Raw’s first show of the New Era began without a heavyweight title to call its own, as Dean Ambrose won the Shield Triple Threat at WWE Battleground and took the WWE Championship with him to SmackDown Live. The good news second: Raw Commissioner Stephanie McMahon and General Manager Mick Foley came prepared by announcing the creation of a new WWE Universal Championship, hot-shotting Seth Rollins into one of the contention spots, and announcing two Raw Fatal 4-Ways to determine his opponent.
On this, surely we can agree: If there is one thing that screams “America,” it’s the right to stockpile enough hamburgers, hot dogs and bratwurst to cripple a Clydesdale … and then throw it all at your friends, enemies and co-workers. The WWE locker room’s Fourth of July cookout was off to a relatively peaceful start until The Vaudevillains attempted to sing and Aiden English was promptly caked in the face.
View photos from WWE Raw.