Four weeks before they battle in the Men’s Money in the Bank Ladder Match, Braun Strowman and Finn Bálor met one-on-one in a blockbuster Raw main event. Which of these elite Superstars gained crucial momentum before their huge opportunity on Sunday, June 17?
Make that “sisters;” quotation marks key. Sami Zayn had planned to “expose” Bobby Lashley’s family-man status as a façade by bringing his sisters to Raw, but the Lashley gals didn’t seem to be entirely authentic. For one thing, “Frances” was sporting a pretty magnificent mustache. For another, their matching tales of bullying at their brother’s hands didn’t quite square with the warm-hearted stories the former ECW Champion told during his sit-down interview two weeks ago.
Surprisingly, Lashley thought the whole spectacle was pretty funny — at least until Zayn insinuated his family truly did hate him, threatened to kick him in the face and ganged up on Lashley with his so-called sisters. At that point, Lashley got aggressive in a hurry, taking out the impostors in increasingly humiliating fashion while Zayn made a hasty retreat. Sami brazenly continued the trash-talking from afar to save face, which is fair enough. But if he keeps it up, he may well find that he should have just left well enough alone.
Raw Women’s Champion Nia Jax defied tradition last week when she challenged Ronda Rousey to a title bout at WWE Money in the Bank — an unusual instance of a titleholder selecting her own next woman up. And during their contract signing, Raw Commissioner Stephanie McMahon used the opportunity get to the bottom of this very unusual championship situation.
Stephanie didn’t hesitate to heighten the tension as much as possible between champion and challenger, dredging up all manner of personal history as she laid out the possible stakes and motivations for Jax and Rousey. But the Commissioner ended up hitting the nail on the head in one regard: Jax, who’s fed up with accusations of laziness, had picked Rousey because she wanted to make a name for herself at the expense of The Baddest Woman on the Planet. Rousey responded calmly enough, offering Nia a sportsmanlike handshake. Though, given her promise to take Jax’s title and arm, clearly that sportsmanship hits its expiration date on June 17.
Stephanie McMahon sanctioned Raw’s main event between Braun Strowman and Finn Bálor in the spirit of friendly competition as the Men’s Money in the Bank Match approaches. But Finn got so comfortable with having Strowman as his partner (the pair had initially approached Stephanie for a rematch against Dolph Ziggler & Drew McIntyre) that he forgot what The Monster Among Men does to his competition.
He was quickly reminded. The Monster Among Men didn’t hesitate to visit the same kind of otherworldly punishment on Bálor that he made his name on in the days before he won the Raw Tag Team Titles with a middle-schooler and turned These Hands into a T-shirt friendly catchphrase. The former Universal Champion rallied with an outside-the-ring stint that ended in a Coup de Grâce off the barricade, but The Gift of Destruction thwarted the Coup de Grâce proper by hoisting Finn onto his shoulders for a Running Powerslam.
Strowman followed up with a second Running Powerslam before making the deciding pinfall as a message to the rest of the Money in the Bank field. His message to tonight’s opponent was a bit more charitable — Strowman scooped Bálor off the mat and propped him up in the corner in a show of respect — but for all the extraordinary things Finn Bálor can do, there’s at least one that remains beyond his grasp.
In other action … Raw Commissioner Stephanie McMahon returned and confronted Kurt Angle … Kevin Owens & Jinder Mahal def. Intercontinental Champion Seth Rollins & Roman Reigns … Ember Moon def. Alexa Bliss … Baron Corbin def. No Way Jose … The B-Team def. Breezango … Raw Women’s Champion Nia Jax and Ronda Rousey signed their championship match contract … Dolph Ziggler def. Chad Gable … Natalya def. Dana Brooke, Liv Morgan and Sarah Logan to qualify for the Women’s Money in the Bank Ladder Match … and Elias def. Bobby Roode.