You can’t Get These Hands if Braun Strowman can’t give them, and you can’t lose to him if he can’t fight. Baron Corbin certainly put himself in the position to defeat Strowman and seize the permanent General Manager job by default when he engineered the maiming of The Monster Among Men in a Six-Man Tag Team Elimination Match orchestrated by Stephanie McMahon.
Corbin’s team played the scenario perfectly, whittling Strowman’s squad down to The Monster after securing eliminations via Claymore (Finn Bálor) and count-out (Elias, who ill-advisedly turned his attention to Lio Rush on the outside and wandered into a Spear from Bobby Lashley). When Strowman threatened to run the table, Drew McIntyre brought out a steel chair and went to work, dismantling The Gift of Destruction with the weapon until Corbin performed the final touch of a prolonged beating outside the ring by smashing the steel steps atop Strowman’s right arm while Lashley held him down, shattering his elbow in the process. (The technical outcome was a no-contest). It’s early in the game, but that permanent GM position might just be Baron Corbin’s for the taking.
Ronda Rousey technically claimed the victory against Charlotte Flair at Survivor Series, but after being taken to the woodshed by the six-time Women’s Champion, it’s a stretch to say The Baddest Woman on the Planet was the winner of the evening. Rousey surely knew this, so the open challenge she issued on Raw (over the protests of Acting General Manager Baron Corbin) wasn’t so much about retaining her title as reasserting herself as a Superstar worthy to hold the Raw Women’s Championship in the first place.
The challenger was Mickie James, who hoped to take advantage of Rousey’s wear-and-tear to net her seventh Women’s Championship. She landed a few swift kicks up and down Ronda’s bruised torso, but The Baddest Woman on the Planet quickly answered with a trifecta of Piper’s Pits. The Armbar was hardly necessary at that point, but Rousey applied it anyway. She earned the win, but at considerable cost: The champion was clearly worn down by the effort as she made her way back up the ramp, much to the delight of her WWE TLC challenger Nia Jax. Waiting atop the ramp with Tamina at her side, The Irresistible Force polished up her fist in Rousey’s face and walked away with a smile as a warning of things to come.
Seth Rollins will finally get his hands on Dean Ambrose when he defends the Intercontinental Title at WWE TLC, but Rollins has still been denied one key point of satisfaction: He doesn’t know why The Lunatic Fringe turned on him. Despite his best efforts on Raw, that seems unlikely to change.
When Rollins again demanded an explanation, Ambrose instead threw a barrage of riddles Rollins’ way — he implied that The Shield were all doomed to pay for their sins and that he was just the instrument of Rollins’ comeuppance — and led The Kingslayer on an increasingly manic chase throughout the night, leaving Rollins frazzled and wild-eyed. Not unlike, as Ambrose pointed out, a lunatic.
The Architect decided that he wouldn’t allow himself to be played and left the building, but that turned out to be a ruse to lure Ambrose into the ring. Once The Lunatic Fringe had turned his attention to berating the audience, Rollins struck, briefly getting the better of his former brother with a barrage of punishing strikes. Ambrose caught him, however, with a filthy low blow, a pair of Dirty Deeds and a warning to never interrupt him again. With a diatribe about the hypocrisy of the WWE Universe and the general stench of the “L.A. garbage” in the arena, Ambrose certainly has plenty to say. And he’ll certainly give his old brother a fight. But it’s looking more and more like Seth Rollins, win or lose, might not get what he truly wants.
In other action … Braun Strowman challenged Acting General Manager Baron Corbin to a Tables, Ladders and Chairs Match … Nia Jax & Tamina def. Sasha Banks & Bayley … The Lucha House Party def. The Revival (Lucha House Rules Match … Bobby Roode & Chad Gable def. Raw Tag Team Champions AOP … and Natalya def. Ruby Riott.