In a reversal of what the WWE Universe witnessed last week, Braun Strowman interrupted Kane’s main event clash against Finn Bálor and crushed The Big Red Machine’s throat with the aid of a steel chair and the ring steps.
Cesaro & Sheamus were on top of the world two weeks ago after reclaiming the Raw Tag Team Titles, but it’s been rough going for The Bar ever since — and there might be rougher waters ahead yet.
One week after Dean Ambrose knocked off Sheamus, Seth Rollins piled on his partner’s success by defeating Cesaro in singles action, bringing it to three straight L’s for The Bar since they once again became champions. With Sheamus on sabbatical in Ireland and Ambrose away on his honeymoon, The Kingslayer and The King of Swing were both operating without their safety nets, and the match came down to a war of attrition in the final minutes.
Rollins edged Cesaro by the narrowest of margins, superkicking his opponent out of the air in the middle of a springboard spinning uppercut and landing a ripcord knee for the pinfall. As if the loss wasn’t enough for The Swiss Cyborg to stomach, Rollins made it very clear after the match that The Shield remained a united front, and he and The Lunatic Fringe would be invoking their rematch clause against Cesaro & Sheamus on next week’s Raw to potentially land a title for all three Hounds of Justice.
Consider Roman Reigns’ first week as Intercontinental Champion a success — with one big asterisk.
The win came in The Big Dog’s title defense against Elias, who put up a formidable fight in the biggest opportunity of the young Superstar’s career. Competing for his first title, Elias stuck to the ground-and-pound strategy that had brought him to the dance, and The Miztourage did their part at ringside, distracting Reigns as he pulled ahead and allowing his challenger to get back in the thick of things with a picturesque elbow drop.
Reigns tilted the contest back his way by reversing Drift Away into a roll-up attempt, and despite Elias countering one Spear with a knee to the face, The Big Dog’s second attempt at the move seconds later hit its mark and sent the champ home victorious.
As for the asterisk? Right as Reigns was making his exit, he turned to thank the WWE Universe once more and was bulldozed from behind by Samoa Joe, who trapped The Big Dog in the Coquina Clutch, delivering a stark reminder that the life of a fighting champion is a long, hard one with no end in sight.
Finn Bálor came to Raw looking for a fight with Kane, and he wasn’t the only one. The first-ever Universal Champion had given The Big Red Machine such a battle that Kane hit Bálor with a chair to end their bout in a disqualification, but a grisly post-match beatdown on Finn led to the re-emergence of Braun Strowman, who shrugged off a chair swing with such impunity that Kane retreated in terror.
The Monster Among Men, of course, showed no quarter to his enemy, brutalizing The Big Red Machine outside the ring and delivering a Running Powerslam atop the steel steps before jamming the chair into Kane’s throat twice — turnabout from last week’s savagery. The Devil’s Favorite Demon was forced to flee through the WWE Universe to escape Strowman, who surprisingly didn’t pursue the former WWE Champion to inflict more punishment. For now, it seems, getting even was enough. But that doesn’t mean he’s finished just yet.
In other action … Elias and The Miztourage confronted Intercontinental Champion Roman Reigns … Samoa Joe def. Titus O'Neil … Paige, Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville confronted Sasha Banks … Bray Wyatt def. Matt Hardy … Rich Swann def. Akira Tozawa, Noam Dar and Ariya Daivari … Intercontinental Champion Roman Reigns def. Elias … and Asuka def. Dana Brooke.