WWE Raw Results: Jinder Mahal's Resurgence and Top Takeaways
On the heels of an unsatisfying Backlash pay-per-view, the Raw brand hit the USA Network airwaves with its sights set on the June 17 Money in the Bank event.
Jinder Mahal returned to prominence, interfering in the main event and costing Roman Reigns a spot at the Money in the Bank Ladder match.
Kevin Owens reminded fans that, when not feuding with general managers or teaming with Sami Zayn, he is still the same Prizefighter who previously won the Universal Championship.
Chad Gable continued his breakout, Seth Rollins once again proved why he is the best wrestler in WWE and Sasha Banks and Bayley's disintegrating relationship took another turn.
What do each of these Superstars and their exploits on Monday's show mean for the brand in the six weeks to come?
Jinder Mahal Finds New Life in Roman Reigns Feud
Jinder Mahal exploded onto the scene last spring in the lead-in to Backlash 2017, and he solidified himself as a main event star by capturing the WWE Championship at the post-WrestleMania spectacular.
One year later, in the wake of the 2018 edition of the event, he finds himself regaining momentum and preparing to do battle with the Superstar many consider the new face of WWE, Roman Reigns.
Mahal defeated Chad Gable, making up for last week's upset loss, but it was his involvement in the night's main event that raised eyebrows.
After making more than one reference to Reigns earlier in the show, The Maharaja interfered in the Triple Threat Money in the Bank qualifier and cost The Big Dog the match.
The sudden change of fortune for Mahal is interesting.
He lost all his matches in his first month of his Raw, including dropping the United States Championship to Jeff Hardy. Then, without any sort of warning, he explodes back into the main event scene by targeting Reigns.
It was a very sudden about-face, most likely designed to give Reigns an opponent WWE fans will actually dislike more than him.
Regardless of the motivations for Mahal's return to prominence, it is a second chance to thrive at the top of the card after it appeared the Canadian-born competitor may not be lucky enough to get that opportunity.
Strong performances against the face of the company could result in Mahal's permanent place in the main event scene on Monday nights.
At the same time, disappointing returns could result in a banishment back to the midcard.
Seth Rollins' Continued Excellence
From the moment Seth Rollins defeated Triple H at WrestleMania 33, he has been the best wrestler in all of WWE.
The Kingslayer has consistently delivered between the ropes against opponents of all sizes and abilities. Since the start of 2018, everything he has touched has turned to gold. From gauntlet matches to championship thrillers, he has consistently wowed audiences and made a strong claim that Raw should be built around him.
It continued Monday night, when Rollins issued an open challenge for his Intercontinental Championship. Mojo Rawley answered, and what ensued was the best singles match of the former Hype Bro's young career.
Rollins delivered his second above-average match in as many nights and continued to boost the legitimacy of the secondary title.
Rollins' current run is reminiscent of Bret Hart's in 1994 and Shawn Michaels' in 1995 in that his sheer determination to be the absolute best is fueling him to have the best matches of his career.
Now the question remains whether or not management will take notice of his consistent greatness and push him accordingly.
Kevin Owens Breaks Out of Slump
Kevin Owens has spent so much time embroiled in rivalries with authority figures like Shane McMahon and Kurt Angle, and wasted in tag team matches with partner Sami Zayn, that it is very easy to forget just how damn good he is on his own.
Fans got a taste of the old Owens, the man once known as The Prizefighter, when he squared off with Braun Strowman at the top of Monday's show.
He not only battled The Monster Among Men in a singles match, he was presented as Strowman's equal. He pushed the big man to his limit, nearly upsetting Strowman and cashing his ticket to Money in the Bank.
Owens ultimately lost, predictably, but earned some much-needed momentum.
At a time when it appears as though his partnership with Zayn is crumbling with every passing week, Owens could find himself a babyface for the first time in his WWE career.
A strong performance against an otherwise unstoppable opponent will earn him the respect of fans.
More importantly, it served as a reminder that the former universal champion is a legitimate singles wrestler after a year of wasted opportunities and talents on SmackDown Live.
Chad Gable, Not Jason Jordan, Is the Breakout Star of American Alpha
WWE management pushed Jason Jordan hard throughout the summer and fall of 2017, the last two weeks have shown it is Chad Gable who will be the real breakout star of American Alpha.
Jordan was the recipient of a mega-push that failed to capture fans' attention, primarily because they saw right through the charade. He was forced down their throats, and they regurgitated him in short order.
Gable, on the other hand, has drawn strong reactions from fans who appreciate his in-ring work and the plucky underdog nature of his character.
While never the biggest or strongest Superstar in the squared circle, he is oftentimes the fastest and most technically proficient. He counters and reverses even the most decorated Superstars and has taken everyone from John Cena to Jinder Mahal to the limit.
While he has not quite been rewarded with the push that his former tag team partner was, his connection with fans will ultimately get him over quicker than Jordan, who never was able to translate his ring work to genuine popularity.
Even in defeat to Mahal Monday night, Gable again demonstrated the tools that will lead him to big things in singles competition sooner than later.
Sasha Banks and Bayley Is Low-Key the Best Story in All of WWE
There has been more attention paid to Nia Jax, Alexa Bliss, Charlotte and Carmella in recent months, but the best storyline in either Raw or SmackDown's women's division is Bayley and Sasha Banks' deteriorating friendship.
For months, the tension has built. Bayley, frustrated after Banks so nonchalantly tossed aside their relationship in favor of advancing her own career, has struck back and engaged The Boss in an escalating war of emotion.
Enter The Riott Squad, which has actually managed to force them back together in the name of self-preservation.
Monday night, Bayley came to the aid of Banks, wiping out Liv Morgan and Sarah Logan while Banks turned her attention to Riott. As they tangled in the ring, Ember Moon capitalized on the momentary distraction and delivered an Eclipse on Riott to cash her ticket to Money in the Bank.
Even in rescuing Banks from a three-on-one numbers disadvantage, Bayley intensified the issues between her and Banks, inadvertently distracting The Boss and costing her the match.
It was another strong chapter in a story as engaging and interesting as any in WWE right now.