The Extraordinary Man Who Can Do Extraordinary Things lived up to his moniker on Raw, when he put a punctuation mark on his brawl with Kevin Owens by executing a stunning Coup de Grâce from atop a ladder onto his bitter foe. Was this a spectacular preview of what awaits in less than two weeks in the Men’s Money in the Bank Ladder Match?
Natalya’s battle with Nia Jax was a twofold opportunity for The Queen of Harts: Not only could she potentially shock the Raw Women’s Champion, she provided a chance for her training partner, Ronda Rousey, to scout The Irresistible Force before their title match at WWE Money in the Bank. Unfortunately, Natalya illustrated the perils of facing a Superstar such as Jax when she tweaked her knee just as she began to roll, and Nia, who didn't see the injury occur, capitalized with a merciless Samoan Drop to earn the win.
Jax seemed genuinely concerned about a potential injury to the veteran Superstar once she realized what had happened, but she didn’t get to help Natalya out all that much: Rousey left the announce desk, entered the ring and successfully warned Jax away from Natalya’s side with little more than a glare and some pointed words. (Natalya herself later cooled a similar confrontation in the locker room before she left the arena for further evaluation.) Ronda may not be able to turn Nia back so easily come bell time on June 17, but for tonight, it was enough.
One does not defeat Braun Strowman so much as survive him. As realistic as Bobby Roode was about this fact, he couldn’t escape the nasty, brutish fate that awaited him against The Monster Among Men. The Glorious One certainly employed a creative stick-and-move strategy against Strowman, even going so far as to block Strowman’s around-the-ring pursuit with a ladder propped between the ring and the barricade. Strowman replied by breaking the ladder clean in half with his bare fists, and from there it was just a few short seconds until Roode was finally ensnared by These Hands and subjected to an emphatic Running Powerslam for the 1-2-3.
Kevin Owens isn’t as impressed with Finn Bálor as everybody else is, and it seemed for much of their main-event battle on Raw that the second-ever Universal Champion made it his personal mission to puncture the mystique around the first-ever Universal Champion. In response, The Extraordinary Man did one of the most extraordinary things of his career at the end of their match.
Owens picked his target wisely, zeroing in on Bálor’s arm and forcing him to fight out of what was looking like a very deep hole. When Finn clawed his way back, Owens subjected him to a good old-fashioned mugging, one that led the ref to hand Bálor a disqualification win to The Extraordinary Man after Owens refused to stop putting the boots to his adversary into the corner.
Hoping to further demoralize his opponent, Owens retrieved a ladder from under the ring and attempted to symbolically retrieve the Money in the Bank briefcase while Finn watched prone from the floor, only to change his mind and tee Bálor up for a Frog Splash from the rungs. But KO hesitated a little too long, allowing Finn to rally, bring Owens down to earth and administer an astonishing Coup de Grâce from near the top of the ladder. As a final statement of his own, Finn scaled the ladder and snatched the briefcase with ease in a potential preview of the Men’s Money in the Bank Match.
If Owens’ goal was to expose flaws in Bálor’s game plan, he certainly succeeded. In terms of demystifying Bálor, however, it’s safe to say he fell short. Bumps and bruises aside, it’s difficult to argue that the Irishman didn’t look as extraordinary as ever when all was said and done.
In other action … Elias & Jinder Mahal def. Intercontinental Champion Seth Rollins & Roman Reigns … James Harden def. Curt Hawkins via Disqualification … The B-Team won a Tag Team Battle Royal to earn the right to challenge “Woken” Matt Hardy & Bray Wyatt for the Raw Tag Team Championship … Sami Zayn confronted Bobby Lashley … The Riott Squad def. Sasha Banks, Ember Moon & Bayley via Disqualification … and Big Show introduced the Special Olympics athletes of Team Texas.