Baron Corbin took his authority over Monday Night Raw to new levels, naming himself “General Manager-Elect,” putting his adversaries in unfair Handicap Matches and ensuring himself a forfeit victory over an injured Braun Strowman at WWE TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs. Who can stop the power-hungry Lone Wolf?
Here’s a hot take from Nia Jax: Ronda Rousey hasn’t been the same since facing her at WWE Money in the Bank last summer. It’s a bold statement, but despite Rousey’s Raw Women’s Title victory, the two Superstars have undergone respective reversals of fortune. Though still undefeated, Rousey has been mauled by Charlotte Flair and Becky Lynch, and Jax is a resurgent Superstar with a title match at WWE TLC in her future and a face-breaking fist in her arsenal. As far as Nia's concerned, she’s the one sitting at the top of the mountain.
Rousey, of course, wasn’t going to stand for such trash-talk, and she attempted to goad Nia into an instant title bout. The Irresistible Force, however, has clearly learned from her hasty challenge of Rousey this past spring: The challenger kept Rousey’s attention long enough for Tamina to flank her, though Nia’s attempt at an ambush quickly turned chaotic when Natalya attempted to make the save … only to be thwarted by The Riott Squad, who had been lying in wait for The Queen of Harts. Rousey and Natalya fought off Ruby Riott and company, but they concluded their night surrounded enemies: The Riott Squad atop the ramp and Nia and Tamina in the ring — maybe not atop the mountain, but looking down on Ronda all the same.
Dean Ambrose has gotten very creative in his mind games with Seth Rollins — this week, he got vaccinated — but The Kingslayer isn’t about to let The Lunatic Fringe worm any deeper into his head. Or so he says. Despite reinstating his Open Challenge to prove he was above Ambrose’s tricks, Rollins was a step slower than usual, and his challenger, Dolph Ziggler, was quick to capitalize.
The Showoff was clearly looking to take advantage of Rollins’ struggles by catching him off-guard in an Open Challenge for the second time this year, and it didn’t hurt that Ziggler is actually coming off a win against Rollins in their series. As such, the match was mostly all Dolph until Rollins began to slowly claw his way back into it. By the time The Architect had built up a full head of steam, Dolph was scrambling to keep up — Drew McIntyre was conspicuous by his absence here — but when he finally had Rollins where he wanted him, Ziggler went to the top turnbuckle to make a statement instead of putting the match away quickly. The big gesture gave Rollins time to recover, scale the ropes and execute the superplex-Falcon Arrow twofer for the win. So Rollins reclaims a little pride and retains his championship, but make no mistake: The true test is yet to come.
In retrospect, Finn Bálor probably should have seen this coming. After The Extraordinary Man Who Does Extraordinary Things overwhelmed Baron Corbin in The Lone Wolf’s first match as “General Manager-Elect,” Corbin grabbed the microphone to announce that this was now a Handicap Match, and Drew McIntyre was his partner.
Given that Bálor was worn down from a full match before Corbin pulled the rug out from under him, it was obviously going to be a tall task for the first-ever Universal Champion to get the win. He fought hard, as Finn Bálor always does, but a fresh McIntyre and the numbers advantage were too much to overcome, so The Scottish Psychopath's match-ending Claymore was all but elementary. The bell had barely rang when Bobby Lashley quickly got in on the fun, subjecting Bálor to the second three-on-one beating of the night from the GM-Elect and his enforcers. McIntyre provided the coup de grâce, so to speak, with another Claymore, before which he, Lashley and Corbin shared a victorious pose — not for the first time and, if Corbin gets his way, certainly not the last.
In other action … “General Manager-Elect” Baron Corbin announced the fate of his TLC Match with Braun Strowman … Bobby Lashley def. Elias … The Lucha House Party def. The Revival (Lucha House Rules Match) … Raw Tag Team Champions AOP def. Bobby Roode & Chad Gable … Ember Moon def. Alicia Fox … Jinder Mahal def. No Way Jose … and Alexa Bliss hosted an "Open Forum" with Sasha Banks and Bayley.