After Cedric Alexander pinned United States Champion AJ Styles in the final moments of a truly chaotic 10-Man Tag Team Match, "Stone Cold" Steve Austin celebrated with the winning team of Seth Rollins, Braun Strowman, The Viking Raiders and Alexander. Earlier, Charlotte Flair sealed a win for her and Raw Women's Champion Becky Lynch in a battle of the Four Horsewomen and Baron Corbin booked a trip to the final match of the King of the Ring tournament.
Unusual times make for unusual allies, and with The Boss ‘N’ Hug Connection broken bad, it fell to a very, very unlikely team to put them in their place: Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair. That they did it in a tag team bout that pit the “Four Horsewomen” against each other speaks well to at least half of the victors’ chances this weekend at WWE Clash of Champions, where Becky will defend the Raw Women’s Title against Sasha Banks, while Charlotte challenges for Bayley’s SmackDown Women’s Championship — though it goes without saying a Sunday sweep is far from a sure thing.
For one, Bayley and Banks gave their opponents fits throughout the match, leaning on their tag team experience — remember, they’re the first WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions — to put the impromptu pairing on their heels. Becky also made a point to target Banks outside the ring in the middle of the match, putting the fate of the bout in jeopardy when all four women brawled around the ring. But Charlotte, who was calm, cool and collected throughout, played closer in ruthless fashion: The nine-time Women’s Champion blocked a top-rope elbow drop from Bayley and nailed Natural Selection to prove that, at the very least, The Queen might be a step ahead of the SmackDown Women’s Champion as their title bout approaches. Whether Becky can say the same about Sasha, however, is a question still to be answered.
Two weeks ago, “King Corbin” was a joke, a boast, a braggadocious dress-up play by a man who remains so utterly loathed by the WWE Universe that they simply did not allow themselves to believe it could come true. Now, it’s one match away from becoming a reality: Baron Corbin is in the King of the Ring Final, having won the first Triple Threat in tournament history to leave Ricochet and Samoa Joe in his dust, and the throne just inches from his grasp.
Corbin’s victory was unlikely, and not just because of his crowd support. In the final stretch of a match that had been, for the most part, a dead heat, The Lone Wolf found himself locked in Joe’s Coquina Clutch and fading fast before Ricochet took out both his opponents at once with a moonsault off the apron. With The Lone Wolf seemingly dispatched, Ricochet escaped a Clutch of his own to hit Joe with the 630, but unbeknownst to him, Corbin had recovered and picked his moment to strike: The former Constable threw Ricochet over the barricade and brazenly stole the pin, earning — or rather, taking — his spot in the tournament final, where he’ll face either Elias or Chad Gable for the throne.
Perhaps we should have seen this coming: For all the disdain heaped on Baron Corbin by the WWE Universe, the man has assembled some truly impressive honorifics. Should he prevail, history won’t look back on him as the Superstar whose reign nobody saw coming, but as the one who perhaps should have been the favorite all along.
It took a little longer than anticipated, but Cedric Alexander got his man: The former WWE Cruiserweight Champion pinned United States Champion AJ Styles in the final moments of a truly chaotic 10-Man Tag Team Match that encompassed champions, challengers and grudge matches all in one.
On the side of the victors were Alexander, Seth Rollins, Braun Strowman and The Viking Raiders; the losing side encompassed the entire O.C. as well as Dolph Ziggler & Robert Roode, who’ll challenge Rollins & Strowman for the Raw Tag Team Titles on Sunday. It was The Viking Raiders who proved to be the difference-maker — in particular, Ivar, who took out the entire field with a top-rope cannonball to the outside near the end of the match. That astounding maneuver brought things down to Alexander and Styles, and Cedric pounced with a lightning-quick Lumbar Check to seal the match. Right on cue, the glass shattered and “Stone Cold” Steve Austin re-emerged to kick off a Broken Skull IPA beer bash with the winners, ending Raw in truly classic fashion.
Lost in the well-deserved thrill of victory, however, was one interesting wrinkle: Braun Strowman had the match all but won earlier on, until Rollins was shoved on top of him to break up the pinfall. The miscue lead to the first friction between the Raw Tag Team Champions and Universal Championship opponents, and, perhaps, a hint of stormy skies for this weekend. For now, however, “Stone Cold’s” here, the IPAs are flowing, and all is well. Anything beyond that is a problem for Sunday.
In other action … The O.C. confronted Seth Rollins, Braun Strowman and “Stone Cold” Steve Austin during the Universal Championship Match contract signing … Cedric Alexander def. United States Champion AJ Styles via Disqualification … Roman Reigns introduced the Connor’s Cure Superstars of Tomorrow … Raw Women’s Champion Becky Lynch & Charlotte Flair def. SmackDown Women’s Champion Bayley & Sasha Banks .. and Rey Mysterio def. Gran Metalik.