WWE Raw Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from September 20
Big E shocked the world with his WWE Championship victory over Bobby Lashley a week ago and looked to keep momentum on his side when he teamed with New Day teammates Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods to battle SmackDown's Universal champion Roman Reigns and tag team champions The Usos in a blockbuster six-man tag team main event.
The contest headlined a show that also featured a high-stakes match between Jeff Hardy and Sheamus, the women's tag team titles up for grabs and all of the final hype for Sunday's Extreme Rules pay-per-view extravaganza.
Who emerged victoriously from the night's top matches, what storyline developments did WWE have in store for its fans and would Big E be able to do what few have done and blemish Roman Reigns' win-loss record?
Find out now with this recap of the September 20 broadcast.
The New Day Kicked Off Raw
The new WWE champion and the reunited New Day kicked off the show, hitting the ring to a big pop.
Big E thanked the fans for their response to his title win and shed light on his late friend Brodie Lee, drawing chants of "Brodie." He mentioned the business they had with The Bloodline tonight, only for Roman Reigns and The Usos to make their way to the ring.
Commentator Corey Graves hyped the match as one to behold before heading to break.
Big E is absolutely ready to be the face of this company. He is dynamic, energetic and can bring emotions when the time calls for it. Add to that an explosive in-ring style, and you have a guy who is the well-rounded performer those in management hoped he would be when he first arrived on the main roster back in 2012.
The mention of Brodie Lee and the chants that followed was a beautiful moment and apropos considering how close Big E was to the late Superstar.
Reigns and The Usos interrupting heading into the commercial was absolutely the right call, as it set the stage for the dream tag match just in time for the start of Monday Night Football.
6-Man Tag Team Match: The New Day vs. The Bloodline
Kofi Kingston found himself on the defensive, forced to fight from underneath as he was isolated from teammates Big E and Xavier Woods. At one point, he found himself manhandled and tossed over the announce table by Roman Reigns and, following another timeout, remained at the mercy of the heels.
After enduring punishment from Jey Uso and his brother, Kingston brought Jimmy to the mat and made the much-needed tag to Big E. The most buzzed-about star in WWE right now exploded into the match, absorbing Reigns' clubbing right hands and responding with those of his own.
The action broke down, with Big E, Kingston and The Usos down at ringside. A vengeful Bobby Lashley, still seething after the loss of his WWE title last week, attacked all four of them, leaving a distracted Woods open for a spear from Reigns, who added another victory to a long list of them here in 2021.
After the match, Lashley flattened The Head of the Table with a spear, leaving him lying before adding one last spear, this time to Big E through the timekeeper's position. The All Mighty stood tall to close out the segment.
The Bloodline defeated The New Day
The mid-match commercial break robbed this one from reaching its fullest potential, but it was still a damn fun tag team match that highlighted both teams and really put the emphasis on Big E and Reigns. Their titanic clash in the closing moments was a nice tease for a potential showdown at Survivor Series in a battle of world champions.
The involvement of Lashley was to be expected, especially as Raw has yet to announce a WWE title match for Extreme Rules and will likely use it to justify a one-on-one battle.
Reigns scoring the win is no biggie, if only because he's the top star in the industry and the circumstances surrounding the finish protected the babyfaces. No harm, no foul, and an energetic, high-profile start to a show that almost never has them.
Doudrop vs. Eva Marie
Backstage, an irate Bobby Lashley barged into Adam Pearce and Sonya Deville's office and ranted about Big E's title win last week and suggested he could beat both E and Reigns at the same time if given the opportunity.
Elsewhere, Riddle joined Randy Orton for more RK-Bro high jinks, culminating in The Viper telling his tag team partner to focus on Omos and let him handle AJ Styles later tonight.
In the arena, Eva Marie and Doudrop wrote the latest chapter of their rivalry in a rematch no one asked for. Before the match, the heel took cheapshots at Doudrop's physique and forced her opponent to chase her around the ring. Doudrop finally got her hands on her former mentor, delivering a slam, senton and big splash for the pinfall victory.
Doudrop defeated Eva Marie
For the show that often leaves its fans wondering why the hell something unnecessarily happened on any given broadcast, this takes the proverbial cake.
We watched Doudrop put an end to her relationship, definitively, with her victory over Eva Marie last week. Why run it back this week with literally nothing new to speak of? We get it: Eva Marie is no match for her former protege. She talked a big game but got her ass kicked when it counted most. Now, let's move on.
Let Doudrop mix it up in the women's division, an area of the Raw brand that could desperately use some freshening up.
Randy Orton vs. AJ Styles
Backstage, Pearce and Deville informed Paul Heyman that tonight's main event would be Big E vs. Reigns vs. Lashley in a Triple Threat match.
In the arena, the rivalry between RK-Bro and former tag team champions AJ Styles and Omos wrote its latest chapter as Randy Orton battled Styles. Orton eliminated the threat of outside interference, pointing out to the official that Omos tripped him up. The referee responded by ejecting the big man from the ringside area. Omos laid out Riddle on his way to the locker room, irate over the decision.
After the commercial break, Orton capitalized on Styles eating the middle turnbuckle, dropping him with a big uppercut in the corner. Styles kicked the injured knee of The Viper, but Orton responded with a snap powerslam for a two-count.
Moments later, despite a reinvigorated Styles offensive, Orton faked him out during a Phenomenal Forearm attempt and dropped him with a DDT. The third-generation star delivered an RKO for the pinfall victory.
Orton defeated Styles
Orton and Styles are such smart performers with such incredible in-ring chemistry that they're simply never going to have a bad match. This was no different, as the grizzled veterans worked a solid, creative, psychology-heavy match with a great finish.
Orton faking out Styles to get him to abandon the Phenomenal Forearm was great stuff and added to the cerebral nature of the third-generation competitor.
The idea of RK-Bro vs. Styles and Omos yet again may not be the most appealing for fans tired of the repetition, but if it leads to more creative excellence like the last few minutes of this match, sign this writer up for more.
Shayna Baszler vs. Nia Jax
A video package recapped the latest dissension between former women's tag team champions Shayna Baszler and Nia Jax. The longtime partners took to the squared circle for their one-on-one contest moments later.
What started as an intensely physical match descended into a one-sided ass-kicking by The Queen of Spades, who put Jax down with the Kirifuda Clutch for the victory via referee stoppage.
After the match, Baszler further brutalized her partner, stomping her hand and wrist in the steel steps and then adding a sickening stomp to her bent arm. Jax screamed out in agony as officials checked on her, a hint of remorse painting Baszler's face.
Baszler defeated Jax
The story leading into the match was a mess, but this was as effective a way to rehabilitate Baszler after months of questionable booking as one could possibly imagine. The former NXT women's champion and tag team titleholder beat the hell out of Jax and looked like an absolute killer while doing so.
That she continued the assault only enhanced the crowd's reaction to her sudden return to form and left the fans showering her with jeers.
Jax played her role well and probably even earned herself some sympathy, even if by default.
An impressive bit of booking and an even better post-match beatdown helped this exceed expectations.
Mustafa Ali and Mansoor vs. Angel Garza and Humberto Carrillo
The debuting team of Angel Garza and Humberto Carrillo, former enemies who have united in the name of family, battled Mustafa Ali and Mansoor in tag team action.
Despite the babyface's experience in teaming together, it was Carrillo and Garza who dominated the match. Garza sent Ali face-first into the ring post. Back inside, Carrillo applied a bridging neck vice and Garza added a dropkick to the face before scoring the mostly uncontested win over Ali.
Garza and Carrillo defeated Ali and Mansoor
This was a short, sweet squash match that immediately established the new team as a threat not just to Ali and Mansoor, but to the entire Raw tag team division. They obliterated the opposition here, never appearing in danger of losing the contest.
The intensity on display from Garza, in particular, was great and really put over the urgency with which the team is approaching its in-ring opportunities.
Hopefully, the new team has the chance to actually leave an impression and isn't forgotten about in a few weeks.
Women's Tag Team Championship Match
Moments after Nikki A.S.H. and Rhea Ripley dedicated their match to Connor's Cure and the children the charity has helped, they found themselves on the receiving end of an attack by women's tag team champions Natalya and Tamina.
The latter sent Ripley to the floor, leaving A.S.H. to fend for herself. Tamina attempted a top-rope splash, but the cape-wearing babyface got her knees up. Moments later, Ripley returned to the ring and A.S.H. scored the win and titles with an inside package.
Ripley and A.S.H. defeated Natalya and Tamina to win the titles
Remember when Shotzi Blackheart and Tegan Nox beat Natalya and Tamina three weeks in a row and got their title shot?
A.S.H. and Ripley winning after their dedication earlier was the right call, sure, but the women's tag title continues to be the most uninspired in the entire company. Matches happen, and loosely defined "feuds" play out over weeks or months, but no one really is any better (or worse) off for having competed for or won the championships.
They are merely there to keep the participants involved busy without having to devote any real, meaningful creativity to them. It's a shame, too, because Natalya and Tamina's run started hot before devolving into mediocrity and ending not with a bang, but with a whimper in favor of a team with all of three weeks' experience as a tandem under its belt.
Charlotte Flair Joins Alexa's Playground
Alexa Bliss welcomed Raw women's champion Charlotte Flair to Alexa's Playground ahead of their match Sunday night at Extreme Rules.
Flair begged for the old championship contender Bliss to come back. The top contender questioned what The Queen really is without a championship to keep her relevant. After a series of back-and-forth jabs, things broke down, leading to a brawl.
Flair ripped the head off her Charly doll, the momentary distraction allowing Bliss to shake off a big boot to the face and send the champion scurrying to the sanctuary of the floor. Bliss stood tall to close the show.
Flair and Bliss setting aside the parlor tricks and magic was exactly what this program needed to drum up excitement for Extreme Rules. There's not a ton of history to build from, so booking supernatural nonsense wasn't going to work. Fans needed something beyond the high jinks to sink their teeth into, and this did just that.
Bliss taking shots at Flair's insecurities and suggesting she uses championships to cover them up was great, while Flair propping her own ego by demanding the return of the Bliss who was once one of the best in her field was equally as good.
Sunday's match has the potential to surprise and maybe even steal the show for some fans who will not be expecting the level of intensity that will be on full display. Flair will retain, but Bliss may very well be the woman fans are talking about more, thanks to a performance that reminds them of why she was a five-time champion before.
Jeff Hardy vs. Sheamus
A victory for Jeff Hardy in his match with Sheamus on Monday night would earn him a place in the United States Championship match at Extreme Rules. Beating The Celtic Warrior would be much easier said than done, though, as Sheamus fought with an aggression far too many Raw competitors have experienced.
Hardy answered, busting Shemaus' nose up and leaving the former champion with blood spilling into his beard. Sheamus appeared to be rolling late, but Hardy, the crafty veteran and former WWE champion, caught him with a sunset flip for the upset victory.
After the match, a furious Sheamus confronted U.S. champion Damian Priest at ringside and blamed him for the loss. A brawl broke out, leaving referees and agents to pull the foes apart.
Hardy defeated Sheamus
This was fine, a physically intense match with some hard-hitting spots that put over the urgency of it all, but it felt like every other Hardy-Sheamus match we've seen over the last year.
Without any real expectation that Hardy can actually win the title Sunday, or the belief that he is there for any other reason than to eat a pin, there's no reason to be excited for any of this.
That the post-match brawl hammered home the idea that the issues are between Priest and Sheamus did not help create any further expectation that Hardy stands a chance Sunday night in Columbus, Ohio.
Triple Threat Match
Three elite competitors clashed in the Triple Threat main event of Monday's show as WWE champion Big E, Universal champion Roman Reigns and Bobby Lashley waged war in the continuation of their interaction from earlier in the show.
Lashley and Reigns sought to establish dominance but repeatedly cut each other off. When it looked like Reigns was about to deliver a superplex that would have driven the air out of The All Mighty, Big E reentered the scene and joined them for a high-impact tower spot heading into the final break of the night.
Back from the commercial, Big E unloaded on The Head of the Table, tossing him around the ring. Lashley pulled the WWE champ out of the ring and sent him into the barricade. Back in the ring, Lashley downed Reigns and then took him up and over with a delayed vertical suplex.
The action broke down as the match entered the final stretch. Big E delivered the Big Ending on Reigns, but Lashley pulled him to the floor and then proceeded to put him through the commentary table. Reigns rocked Lashley with a Superman Punch, and Big E reentered the match.
The WWE champion speared Reigns through the ropes and delivered another Big Ending. Lashley grabbed a chair and blasted Big E repeatedly, unloading a week's worth of fury. Reigns seized the opening, delivered the spear and earned the hard-fought win.
Reigns defeated Lashley and Big E
This was a PPV-quality main event, six days before an actual PPV that two of these three competitors are not fighting at. Reigns, Lashley and Big E tore the house down in a superb Triple Threat match that featured an ending that absolutely made sense within the context of the story presented.
Lashley was irate over losing his WWE title and understandably unleashed on Big E. His emotions got the best of him, though, as he took his eye off Reigns and paid the price for it as The Head of the Table speared him for the win.
Big E was shielded from the loss, Lashley only was defeated because he took his eye off the prize for one moment and Reigns earns yet another quality victory that solidifies his place atop the WWE mountain.
The question is whether Big E and Bobby Lashley are merely going to be left off Sunday's Extreme Rules card. As of the end of this show, they are not on the card, and nothing was announced ahead of time. Then again, there were also no gimmick matches announced for a show that lives and breathes on them, so this may prove to be the most uncharacteristic edition of Extreme Rules that we've ever seen.
Booking a match this good could backfire as fans will come to expect it, but given the wealth of talent on the roster, there is no reason the company could not give its fans something comparable every week, rather than the dull and repetitive shlock they are subject to most outings.