WWE Raw Recap: April 22, 2019
S27 episode 17 Aired on April 22, 2019

After winning their respective Triple Threat Matches on Raw, AJ Styles and Baron Corbin clashed in a brutal main event for the right to challenge Seth Rollins for his Universal Championship at WWE Money in the Bank. Will The Phenomenal One take down The Beastslayer when they clash for the very first time on May 19?

Like the proverbial bad penny, Baron Corbin just will not go away. The former General Manager of Raw, Golden Gloves champion, former Money in the Bank contract holder, former United States Champion defeated The Miz and Drew McIntyre to advance to Raw’s make-or-break main event, where he’ll face AJ Styles with a Universal Title opportunity on the line. "Des Moines' favorite son" might be pushing it, but he certainly is the city’s luckiest inhabitant at the moment, because this one was looking like it was going to The Miz.

Despite facing a pair of heavy-hitters in Corbin and McIntyre, The A-Lister somehow willed the match into his favor almost from the jump. He rallied from a Celtic Cross variation on a Tower of Doom to trap McIntyre in a Figure-Four Leglock, kicked out of Corbin's Deep Six and escaped the End of Days; by the match’s midpoint, the crowd was firmly behind him. Corbin, however, was just a little bit smarter. After Miz accidentally sprinted full-bore into a Claymore from McIntyre, The Lone Wolf shoved the Scotsman out of the ring and stole the pinfall. Even taking Triple Threat rules into account, the win was something of a highway robbery, but Corbin’s haters shouldn’t take it for a given that Styles will send him packing: The only thing more ominous than Baron Corbin getting another opportunity is the moment you realize he tends to make the most of them.

On paper, Becky Lynch vs. Lacey Evans is something of a mismatch. The latter is still something of an unknown, while the former sits at the undisputed head of both Women’s divisions thanks to her dual possession of the Raw and SmackDown Women’s Titles. Factor in that Lacey is getting on Becky’s last nerve, and the forecast seemed to be a rout in favor of The Man. If Raw is any indication, that prediction might be a little off.

True, Lynch backed up her championship pedigree with a victory over Alicia Fox, who put up a very impressive fight against the twice-over titleholder. But the moment The Man submitted Fox with the Dis-arm-her, Evans stormed the ring and clocked The Man with the Woman’s Right. Becky staggered to her feet, only to wander into a second right from The Lady of WWE that put the Irishwoman on her back and, possibly, gave her a very harsh preview of WWE Money in the Bank. For all Lynch's well-earned confidence, Lacey Evans might not just do what Ronda Rousey and Charlotte Flair couldn't, she might do it backwards and in heels.

AJ Styles is going to WWE Money in the Bank, and Baron Corbin made him earn it. While the main-event clash that decided Seth Rollins’ challenger for the Universal Title wasn’t quite the unstoppable force and the immovable object, Styles vs. Corbin was still a dead-even confrontation between two Superstars who consistently find a way to win, albeit under very different circumstances. That Styles prevailed wasn’t exactly a surprise — it’s kind of his thing — but it was somewhat surprising given the way the bout was going.

Fittingly, both Superstars continued with the same strategies that won them their respective Triple Threat Matches earlier in the night: Styles gritted his way through tall odds after suffering a mid-match injury, while Corbin exploited whatever weakness he could find by targeting that same injury. Corbin’s size made it impossible to execute the Styles Clash, which took away one of The Phenomenal One’s signature weapons. The Lone Wolf didn’t hesitate to capitalize, but a Calf Crusher left the big man a step slower, and a Phenomenal Forearm sealed the deal.

Perhaps recognizing the magnitude of the victory — and certainly recognizing the magnitude of the challenge ahead of him — Seth Rollins came out for a respectful handshake with his new challenger that nonetheless had an air of tenseness about it: Respect or otherwise, Rollins worked hard to take this house back. It’d be unwise to let AJ start putting his feet up just yet.

In other action … AJ Styles def. United States Champion Samoa Joe and Rey Mysterio to advance to Raw’s main event … Naomi def. WWE Women’s Tag Team Champion Billie Kay … Sami Zayn addressed the WWE Universe … Cesaro def. Cedric Alexander … NXT Tag Team Champions The Viking Raiders attacked The Lucha House Party … and Robert Roode def. Ricochet.

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