WWE Raw Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from July 9
This Sunday, WWE Extreme Rules 2018 will emanate from PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh, but Monday Night Raw had one last stop in Boston's TD Garden on the road to that event.
From the highly anticipated clash of Roman Reigns and Bobby Lashley to the final battle of Dolph Ziggler and Seth Rollins for the WWE Intercontinental Championship, Raw had huge matches building to Sunday with tension boiling to an all-time high.
How would Kevin Owens react to last week's embarrassing and brutal attack by Braun Strowman via portable toilet? Would Nia Jax get her hands on Alexa Bliss, and how would the latter react to Ronda Rousey's promise to be at ringside for the Extreme Rules match?
All these questions and more were left hanging in the balance as Raw began, setting up a night of surprises and potential explosions.
Roman Reigns and Bobby Lashley Get into a Brawl
Lashley stopped Reigns on the way to the ring to open the show, asking The Big Dog to call him out.
Reigns obliged once he got a microphone in the middle of the ring. Raw general manager Kurt Angle told them to save it for Sunday, but the two still began brawling.
Angle brought out members of the roster to break up the brawl, with The Dominator getting the better of Reigns until The Guy jumped over the top rope into the crowd of stars, including Lashley.
Reigns and Lashley got in a few more shots before being separated.
A pure brawl is always a great sell for a feud, but it's hard to believe Reigns and Lashley already hate each other enough that the whole roster needs to separate them. It was a good segment but at the wrong point in this rivalry.
To this point, these two have just been competitive faces looking to prove who's better. It's not as interesting a story as them hating each other, but the transition to that point should have been more natural.
Alexa Bliss and Mickie James vs. Nia Jax and Natalya
Bliss did everything in her power to keep away from Jax, and it worked as she and Mickie James isolated Natalya.
When Jax finally got the hot tag, though, James was not able to stop her alone and took a military press slam into a running leg drop to give the faces the win.
Immediately after the bell rang, Bliss went on the attack with a kendo stick to the back of both her rivals, but Jax ended up running The Goddess out of the ring and snapping the weapon in half on her knee.
Jax and Natalya def. Bliss and Mickie
For the level of talent, it was disappointing to see this become such a generic short tag team match. The emotion of Jax throughout, looking completely unstoppable, was welcome, though, as she made clear how much the match on Sunday means to her.
The post-match segment could have been the whole focus for the final build to Extreme Rules with Bliss again using her signature kendo stick. It was a solid preview of what to expect of these two women in their title match.
Mojo Rawley vs. No Way Jose
After asking for this match for weeks, No Way Jose came out aggressive in his clash with Mojo Rawley early without making much of an impact.
Mojo threw around Jose with ease. Jose didn't give up as Mojo hit big shots, but El Jefe was caught on the top rope for an Alabama Slam for the three-count.
Mojo def. Jose
This was a strong showcase of the power and speed of Mojo, but it went too long for the crowd to care.
While he has rarely been used well, Mojo has high potential and looks better now than he ever has. The problem is he needs to be paired with faces the fans care about to get real heat.
Seth Rollins Goads Drew McIntyre into a Match
Rollins talked about how excited he was to challenge a great opponent such as Ziggler. The Showoff and Drew McIntyre interrupted, with the WWE intercontinental champion talking up how he was made for something like an Iron Man match.
Rollins turned the conversation around by making fun of McIntyre, who lost it, with Ziggler barely able to contain his friend.
The Scotsman challenged The Architect to a match for later which Rollins accepted before escaping the ring just as McIntyre entered.
The back-and-forth of Rollins and Ziggler here was solid, but it fell apart as The Architect started making awkward jokes about McIntyre based on his heritage that were neither funny nor appropriate for a supposed PG audience.
While this felt like a waste of the talent involved, this segment did set up a potential top-tier clash with Rollins and McIntyre wrestling for the first time later in the night.
Matt Hardy vs. Bo Dallas
Once again, The B-Team made fun of The Deleters of Worlds with their now-signature impressions, but Matt Hardy and Bray Wyatt interrupted to make clear the fun and games were finally over.
It was obvious Matt was driven as he viciously attacked Bo Dallas in their match.
While The Revival watched backstage, Matt tried to suplex Dallas over the top rope to the floor, and Curtis Axel distracted Hardy just long enough for Dallas to hit a dragon screw neck whip to win.
Afterward, the champions attacked the challengers, hitting their signature offense.
Dallas def. Hardy
This was not the most exciting of matches, but the complete product of this segment worked extremely well. Finally, one side in this feud got serious, as Hardy and Wyatt got angry over their repeated embarrassments, but it still didn't stop them from losing.
Even with Hardy and Wyatt getting some revenge, it is clear The B-Team has a distinct advantage and all the momentum before the Raw Tag Team Championship clash.
Hopefully, the tension built up here will make the upcoming match more interesting.
Ember Moon vs. Liv Morgan
Ember Moon brought the fight quickly to Liv Morgan, who could not keep up.
Sarah Logan helped Morgan get back into the match, but one hard shot right into the turnbuckle allowed The War Goddess to take over again.
Moon dropkicked Logan off the apron and then caught Morgan with a jackknife cover for the three.
Moon def. Morgan
All the momentum The Riott Squad built through the feud with Bayley and Sasha Banks is quickly evaporating while Ruby Riott recovers from injury.
By the time Riott returns to action, Morgan and Logan will desperately need her to be more than enhancement talent on the brand.
The match here showed once again that Moon is talented but needs better competition than Morgan, who is clearly still finding her footing in the ring.
Finn Balor and Bobby Roode vs. Baron Corbin and Elias
Elias put on a concert before introducing his friend, Baron Corbin, for a special performance.
In the match that followed, the heels took down Bobby Roode using timely tags, with The Glorious One fighting his way to the corner to finally let Finn Balor into the fight.
The Constable tripped Balor, though, to allow Elias to catch him with a running knee and take over again.
Corbin knocked Balor off the top rope, and then a distraction from Elias allowed The Lone Wolf to hit the End of Days on Roode to take the victory.
Corbin and Elias def. Balor and Roode
This was a solid tag team match that continued to build the tension between Balor and Corbin. The two have done a great job selling every moment of their rivalry even if they do not have clear chemistry yet.
The tag match went long even after an entertaining opening promo with Elias and Corbin. The only star who suffered here was Roode, who still has no direction and took the pin this week. The It Factor could not remotely stand out here, and that may remain the truth for a while.
Seth Rollins vs. Drew McIntyre (If He Loses, McIntyre Is Banned Sunday)
Rollins found himself outmatched for power and unable to get McIntyre down.
It took The Kingslayer a while to finally get momentum going, using his signature offense just to get The Celtic Colossus off his feet. A suicide dive and blockbuster were not enough for three.
Rollins persevered as McIntyre hit his own best shots, including a sit-out powerbomb. The Scot turned a Ripcord Knee into a headbutt and then went to the top rope only to have Rollins turn it around into a buckle bomb.
However, a distraction from Ziggler allowed McIntyre to hit the Claymore for the win.
McIntyre def. Rollins
This was a quality main event clash, particularly for television. The two built the action up to a furious final sequence with McIntyre emerging victorious in impressive fashion. It is clear the Scot is being heavily protected right now as a top star in the making.
Now everything is stacked against Rollins, who lost his chance to take McIntyre out of the equation on Sunday. This was a perfect finish to the night that made clear just how big Rollins vs. Ziggler is for the Raw brand.