WWE Raw Recap: May 7, 2018
Aired on May 7, 2018

In the second Men’s Money in the Bank Qualifying Match on Raw, Finn Bálor defeated both Roman Reigns and Sami Zayn to join Braun Strowman in the Men’s Money in the Bank Ladder Match on June 17. Learn how The Extraordinary Man conquered two elite Superstars, and find out who interfered to target The Big Dog.

The Men’s Money in the Bank Ladder Match has only just begun to take shape, but there may already be a frontrunner. Braun Strowman became the first Superstar to punch his ticket to the make-or-break bout, defeating Kevin Owens in a qualifying bout that stemmed from a confrontation between the two Superstars in Raw’s opening moments.

In Owens’ defense, he came to Monday night with a legitimate gripe — apparently, he wasn’t legal when he was pinned by Strowman in a tag team match at WWE Backlash — but KO overplayed his hand when he tried to strong-arm Raw General Manager Kurt Angle into automatically placing him into the Money in the Bank Match as a make-good.

Angle sanctioned the qualifier instead, and Owens, realizing he was in over his head, twice attempted to finagle a count-out victory to send himself to Money in the Bank. He even stayed competitive after The Monster Among Men caught wise to KO’s strategy. But when his last best shot — a Frog Splash — came up empty, Owens got desperate, and Strowman got comfortable. The Gift of Destruction’s second wind carried him through Owens’ defenses (literally — he trucked KO three times outside the ring) and culminated in a Running Powerslam for the victory.

The good news for Sasha Banks is that Bayley finally supplied the backup The Boss needed to nullify The Riott Squad. The bad news is that it ended up doing little to help Banks win her Triple Threat Money in the Money in the Bank qualifier, as an astonishing last-gasp effort from Ember Moon denied Banks and Ruby Riott to send The War Goddess to Money in the Bank instead.

Before The Huggable One came calling, however, the match was looking like Ruby Riott’s to lose thanks to a combination of The Riott Squad’s presence at ringside and an impressive performance by Riott that kept both Banks and The War Goddess in check. After Banks began to surge, The Riott Squad made their move, breaking up a pinfall and kicking off a beatdown that Bayley quickly disrupted.

With The Riott Squad occupied, Banks attempted to maneuver Ruby into position for the Backstabber that precedes the Bank Statement, but Moon reappeared with a sudden, two-for-one Eclipse that put Riott down for three. In a backstage interview, The Shenom rightfully described the effort as "Skill, honor and heart." It might just be money as well.

Whether Roman Reigns gets another crack at the Universal Title remains to be seen, but at least one avenue back to Suplex City has officially been closed off to the self-dubbed “uncrowned Universal Champion.” Reigns missed out on qualifying for the Money in the Bank Ladder Match on Raw, coming up short under Triple Threat rules after Finn Bálor capitalized on a bum-rush from a disgruntled Jinder Mahal.

Up until then, however, Reigns, who was riding high off his victory over Samoa Joe at WWE Backlash, was firmly in control. Reigns powered his way into the advantage until the brawl spilled into the WWE Universe, where Sami Zayn and Bálor ganged up on him with a Helluva Kick over the barricade and a Coup de Grâce off of it. When Reigns fought his way back into the fray, he began to roll, landing a Superman Punch on Bálor after The Extraordinary Man missed on a Coup de Grâce.

When The Big Dog revved up for the Spear, however, The Maharaja — apparently still smarting over Kurt Angle's refusal to add him to the match — appeared out of nowhere and yanked Reigns down to the mat. The shocked Reigns was easy pickings for a Helluva Kick from Zayn, who met his end when Bálor booted him into the turnbuckles and dispatched him with the Coup de Grâce to earn the victory.

Given the recent controversies surrounding his matches with Lesnar, Reigns may well be the uncrowned champion. But the line to The Beast’s throne is long, and he may have to take the long way to get to the top. All Bálor has to do, meanwhile, is climb.

In other action … Baron Corbin & The Revival def. No Way Jose & Titus Worldwide … Bobby Lashley revealed his family history to Renee Young … Jinder Mahal def. Chad Gable … Dolph Ziggler & Drew McIntyre def. Heath Slater & Rhyno … Bobby Roode def. Elias … and Intercontinental Champion Seth Rollins def. Mojo Rawley.

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