WWE Raw Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from September 5
One week after the most shocking Raw moment of 2016, the red brand celebrated the start of the Kevin Owens era on Monday night.
That is, until Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns made their desire to take the WWE Universal Championship away from him apparent.
Raw commissioner Stephanie McMahon and general manager Mick Foley faced a volatile issue on Monday night, the top of the card unraveling before their very eyes. How would they maintain order? What would they say to suggestions by Rollins that they were in on the unexpected betrayal from a week earlier?
Elsewhere on the show, Sheamus looked to take a commanding 3-0 lead in the best-of-seven series against Cesaro, Bayley sought a non-title win over Charlotte and Bo Dallas returned to relevancy.
No, one of those things is not like the others.
Relive Monday's broadcast with this look back at the winners, analysis, grades and highlights from Sept. 5.
The Kevin Owens Show
After a video package that revisited the epic conclusion to last week's broadcast, Stephanie McMahon and Mick Foley introduced new WWE universal champion Kevin Owens to the ring for a grand celebration.
Balloons fell from the ceiling and pyro exploded from the top of the entrance ramp as chants of "you deserve it" rained from the stands.
"They chanted, 'you deserve it,' and they're absolutely right," Owens started before taking exception with the fans for what he considered their attempt to hijack his moment. "I've known I've deserved it from the moment I stepped foot in this ring," he said.
An enraged Seth Rollins arrived and silenced Owens before unleashing his frustration on McMahon. He said he blew out every ligament in his knee for the company and for her, then asked how she could allow it. He called Owens a puppet and denounced the claims of innocence by the Raw commissioner and general manager.
Owens claimed Rollins had created a blueprint for failure. The Architect responded by clearing him from the ring.
McMahon tried to suspend Rollins, but Foley defused the situation and gave Rollins a title opportunity at Clash of the Champions on Sept. 25. Owens responded with expected anger.
This was a red-hot way to kick off the show and hopefully set the tone for the broadcast.
Owens looked like a star from the moment he stepped through the curtain, his choice of suits meshing with the balloons and pyro to give the appearance of a performer management is completely invested in. He held up his end of the deal on the microphone and was more than solid during his coronation segment.
Rollins was outstanding, striking the right chord as the frustrated former chosen one tossed to the side in favor of Owens and damn angry as a result. He made sense, never came off as too over the top, and the result was a Rollins fans have not seen in quite some time.
The teased tension between Foley and McMahon gives the show that "feuding authority figures" storyline fans expected from the get-go, for better or worse.
Non-Title Match: Bayley vs. Charlotte
Charlotte vowed to show Dana Brooke how to get the job done as she battled Bayley in a non-title match, ordering her to take notes from ringside as she battled her former NXT rival.
The WWE women's champion controlled the fight early, but Bayley fired up and sent Charlotte face-first into the top turnbuckle. The second-generation competitor bailed to ringside and, after a brief chase, regained control with a big forearm to Bayley on the arena floor.
Charlotte worked over the knee of her opponent, working the limb after a botched spot earlier in the match led to an injury the champion could exploit. She trapped the potential top contender in a single-leg crab but could not secure the submission.
Bayley mounted a comeback, and a failed attempt at interference from Brooke allowed the babyface to score the win off the Bayley-to-Belly Suplex.
Bayley defeated Charlotte.
A good match, for sure, but one that felt like it never got out of neutral. Both women are talented enough to have an extraordinary bout, though they may be saving their best for whatever WWE Creative has planned come Clash of Champions.
Charlotte looks like a legit champion plagued only by her sidekick, while Bayley looks like the resilient babyface she always has been.
An effective segment that puts heat on a future title match while simultaneously writing the next chapter in the Charlotte-Dana Brooke story.
Bo Dallas vs. Kyle Roberts
A Bo Dallas in significantly better shape than the last time the WWE Universe saw him obliterate Kyle Roberts in a squash match on Monday night.
Serious, intense and dangerous, he pummeled Roberts before finishing him off with the Roll of the Dice.
Bo Dallas defeated Kyle Roberts.
The match was garbage, but fans got a look at a new Dallas they had never seen before.
The ridiculous smile and motivational speeches were gone. In their place was a Superstar clearly tormented, his eyes offering a look into his tortured soul.
Or something like that.
Who knows? WWE Creative may forget that it rebooted the character by this time next week, so I would not get too invested in anything that happened here.
Seth Rollins vs. Chris Jericho
In the first of the matches announced by McMahon and Foley after the night's opening segment, WWE universal champion Kevin Owens' best friend, Chris Jericho, battled Seth Rollins in singles competition.
A motivated and infuriated Rollins attacked Jericho at the bell, stomping away and unleashing a series of chops to the chest of his opponent. He exploded through the ropes with a suicide dive, withstood a flurry of offense from Jericho and attacked the six-time world champion at ringside.
Jericho had control of the match coming out of the break, but it was short-lived as Rollins delivered the Sling Blade and scored a near-fall. He caught a charging Jericho with a big boot to the face and executed a rare blockbuster for another count of two.
Rollins tried for the springboard knee, but Y2J caught him and applied the Walls of Jericho. Rollins made it to the ropes and proceeded to catch Jericho with an enzuigiri kick for another count of two.
Jericho rolled out of the way of a frog splash and delivered a Lionsault, but he could only keep The Architect down for two in a strong near-fall.
Rollins countered a clothesline and delivered a Pedigree for the victory.
Seth Rollins defeated Chris Jericho.
The match started slowly but picked up significantly down the stretch. The Pedigree was the right choice for the finish given the story told by announcers, who put over the message Rollins was sending to Triple H. Of course, they completely missed the fact that he has been using that finisher for years now, but who is counting?
Rollins worked as a babyface and Michael Cole went from hesitant to full-on hype machine for him, suggesting that the full-fledged turn is on the horizon.
Cesaro vs. Sheamus
Down 2-0 in the best-of-seven series, Cesaro made his way to the ring with a supremely cheesy James Bond ripoff graphic following him on the stage.
Cesaro was selling the back injury suffered in last week's match, his strength undeniably affected by the pain and instability in his spine. Sheamus delivered the Irish Curse, sending his knee into that injured back as the official repeatedly asked The Swiss Superman if he wanted to quit.
Admirable in his defiance, Cesaro rose to his feet and was obliterated with a Brogue Kick that allowed Sheamus to take a 3-0 lead into Wednesday night's match in London.
Sheamus defeated Cesaro.
This was more storytelling than match, and there is nothing wrong with that.
Cesaro needs to have a character fans can invest in. By having him hurdle obstacles, shake off injuries and overcome insurmountable odds, he can do just that.
Throw in a neon T-shirt, and WWE Creative may even have the next franchise star on its hands.
Cesaro has been lacking an engaging character. This could be his ticket into the hearts of fans and a more significant spot on the roster.
Enzo Amore and Big Cass vs. The Shining Stars
The Shining Stars were in the ring following the break and cut a brief, unimportant promo about summers in Puerto Rico when Enzo Amore and Big Cass interrupted to an electric reaction by the WWE Universe.
"Listening to you speak is so painful it makes me feel like I'm in labor," Amore said of Primo and Epico.
The babyfaces cut an electric promo about childbirth before taking the fight to the heels, leaving them lying at ringside courtesy of a suicide dive by Amore as the show went to break.
Back from commercial, Primo and Epico scored a humongous upset win with a schoolboy rollup.
The Shining Stars defeated Enzo Amore and Big Cass.
What just happened?
The Shining Stars won a match in 2016.
Sure, some will say, "it's good for the tag division," but it is never OK for a heatless act like Primo and Epico—recipients of a beatdown courtesy of the retiring Dudley Boyz—to go over a duo like Enzo and Cass, who are as popular as any other act on the roster.
A questionable decision at best.
Ann Esposito vs. Nia Jax
Ann Esposito had the unenviable task of squaring off with Nia Jax on Monday, becoming the latest victim on the former NXT star's win-loss record.
Jax withstood a sleeper and tossed her opponent around with reckless abandon. Then she followed up with a running hip attack to the face.
She finished Esposito off for another dominant victory moments later.
Nia Jax defeated Ann Esposito.
It is time to progress the Jax character or risk boring the audience.
The one bright spot in this segment was the revelation that Esposito is a friend of Alicia Fox, perhaps setting up Jax's first legitimate feud on the red brand.
New Day, Old Day...Who Cares?
Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows, retirement specialists, expressed their desire to retire The New Day as tag team champions at Clash of Champions.
They introduced The Old Day, which entered on wheelchairs and walkers as the No. 1 contenders openly mocked the costumed frauds.
The segment died a horrible death, painfully unfunny and uninspiring as the crowd sat on its hands waiting for something entertaining to happen.
Kofi Kingston, Big E and Xavier Woods appeared, contemplated the idea that the Old Day members were their grandparents and proceeded to chase Gallows and Anderson off. The champions danced until an ill-advised "attack" by the impostors, to which The New Day responded by laying waste to the nobodies.
This may have been the worst segment on WWE television all year.
That covers a lot of ground.
Gallows and Anderson are not charismatic enough to carry a promo segment like that, and it shined through in the worst way imaginable here.
The content was unfunny, the performances uninspired and the result was a miserable bit of television.
Darren Young vs. Jinder Mahal
Titus O'Neil sat in on commentary as Darren Young made his way to the ring for a match with Jinder Mahal.
Young put on a showcase and scored the win via Gut Check.
After the match, Young attacked O'Neil at ringside. Michael Cole used the word "snapped," suggesting Young has learned more than just his in-ring game from Bob Backlund.
Darren Young defeated Jinder Mahal.
The post-match attack from Young was entertaining, but the feud between former Prime Time Players teammates has done nothing to generate interest in them or their issues. It is a third-hour time-filler at best—nothing better or worse.
As a team, they could have accomplished great things in a weak division. As singles, they are also-rans on a crowded roster.
Sin Cara vs. Braun Strowman
Braun Strowman sought to continue his winning ways on Monday night as he battled his toughest test to date, Sin Cara.
The action spilled to the outside, where Strowman sent Sin Cara into the guardrail before beating the count of 10, winning by count-out.
Braun Strowman defeated Sin Cara.
Is this show over yet?
This did nothing to help Strowman. If anything, it makes him look like a beast of a competitor capable of beating the puniest of competitors, but not when it comes to name talent.
Even if that "name talent" is Sin Cara.
Sasha Banks Addresses the WWE Universe
After a cryptic tweet earlier in the afternoon, Sasha Banks entered the arena to a big pop, the weight of the world on her shoulders as she addressed the WWE Universe.
The Boss discussed The Women's Revolution and what the business means to her personally. Just as she was about to make an important announcement regarding a meeting she had with doctors earlier in the day, Dana Brooke's music played and the former NXT standout promised to make it up to Charlotte by sending Banks packing.
Instead, she found herself on the receiving end of The Bank Statement.
Banks told Brooke to inform Charlotte that at Clash of Champions, she is coming for the WWE Women's Championship.
This was way too long for what it was, a copout of a segment that neither intensified the popularity of Banks nor did anything else for Brooke that was not already accomplished earlier in the night.
The string of nonsensical and abhorrently mediocre segments continued on.
Sami Zayn vs. Kevin Owens
Sami Zayn, determined to set aside the the directionless few weeks he has experienced of late, threw caution to the wind as he battled former friend and WWE universal champion Kevin Owens in the main event.
Zayn soared through the air, wiping Owens out on both sides of the ring as he seized control of the bout. He attempted a suplex on the ring apron, but Owens hung him up on the top rope and delivered the cannonball.
The Underdog from the Underground countered a Pop-Up Powerbomb with a suplex that sent Owens crashing onto the back of his neck.
Outside the squared circle, Zayn hurt his ankle. Back inside, he attempted a Helluva Kick, but the injured joint gave out. This provided Owens with the opening to deliver his finisher and score the win.
Roman Reigns arrived after the match and confronted Owens only to have Chris Jericho appear.
Mick Foley announced Reigns vs. Owens for next week. If the former wins, he gets a title shot at Clash of Champions.
Reigns laid out Jericho with a Spear to close out the show.
Kevin Owens defeated Sami Zayn.
There is never going to be a bad Zayn-Owens match at this point in their careers. They are virtuoso workers responsible for some of the best matches of the last two years and are deserving of every accolade they receive.
Monday's match, though nowhere near their epics from earlier this spring, was still laid out extremely well.
They told a story that led to a logical finish, and after 60 minutes of hot garbage that preceded it, that is all one could ask.
The Roman Reigns stuff was unnecessary and would have been hotter had it been Seth Rollins. Why put the former champion in there when he has no real claim to the title and is without a satisfactory conclusion to his feud with Rusev?
That is a question that will, hopefully, be answered come next Monday night.