This Week in WWE: The Beast looms, The Show-Off returns, Grand Slam Pam shines, 24/7 Rules are back!

RAW

Chris Novak: The Beast in the Bank is kicking things off tonight. Brock Lesnar, from out of nowhere, ran up and swiped away the Money in the Bank contract in the midst of a chaotic ladder match last night at MITB. People had some reactions about it, to say the least. Lesnar came out and held up the briefcase like a boombox on his shoulder, which was actually really delightful and hilarious to be honest. After a recap of last night’s events, we go back inside the arena in Albany.

Robert O’Neill: Paul Heyman was in rare form telling Kofi Kingston and Seth Rollins to be on high alert, referencing his father Tricky Dickie Dangerously. Eventually Seth Rollins came out and tries to goad Brock into cashing in, which Brock doesn’t wanna do. Then Kofi Kingston comes out and says that he’s (actually) a fighting champion and (actually) wants to back it up so he wants Brock to cash in on him instead. Heyman says Brock won’t be cashing in on either one, because they both have other matches tonight. So Brock will bide his time. Hell of a segment here.

Sami Zayn has to face Braun Strowman tonight, so he turns to Strowman’s Super Show Down opponent, Bob Lashley, to see if he’ll help him out. Lashley wants no part of it and Strowman beats up Zayn for a while backstage before they hit the ring and the match gets going and Braun wins in short order.

Chris Novak: That was chaotic and fun. Not much else to add there beyond what you said, Rob. I’m actually kinda enjoying the hijinx here. Maybe it’s prepping up for the… well, championship that’s being introduced later…

We get hype for A Moment of Bliss later, with special guest Becky Lynch. Whew, the banter that will come from THAT.

Lars Sullivan gets interviewed by Charly Caruso. The crowd reacts to this as you’d expect them to. They show a video package. The Lucha House Party comes out and looks formidable at first. Naturally, that doesn’t last long. They’re eventually beaten down. They eventually rescue Lince and pull him away from the scene. I guess this was effective? It would help if I gave a shit about Lars Sullivan. Alas, I don’t.

Robert O’Neill: Ricochet is here and facing Cesaro, who has new music! I liked it.

Unsurprisingly, the two had a very fun short match! Cesaro got the win, but I would like to see that match more, please.

Chris Novak: A tremendous sprint. Really enjoyable match. Ricochet did some of his crazy, acrobatic shit and Cesaro looked like a strong base and a powerhouse. He won with the Neutralizer, which was fun because he rarely doled it out while he was tagging with Shane.

AJ Styles had an interview with Charly Caruso, which was interrupted by Baron Corbin. A couple of barbs between the two later, and Styles slapped Corbin across the face. It looks like we’re getting an upper-card feud between those two. Which… sure, okay. Fine.

Roman Reigns is here, and before he can say anything, Shane McMahon comes out. He says he’s done with The Miz and then talks Roman down for attacking his father. Shane says Roman disgusts him, and Reigns responds by saying he hates spoiled rich kids. Eventually, Roman invites Shane down to squash his beef with him in the ring.

Robert O’Neill: Shane naturally wants no part of that, but will take care of Roman at Super Showdown. That should be exciting.

Up next, The Usos and The Revival square off. This should be excellent, given the two teams.

Chris Novak: What do you know? It was a great match! The Revival got the win after a roll up and the hook of the tights. That is one of the best TV matches of the year to this point, honestly, without much hyperbole. Shocking, just shocking, that The Usos and The Revival put together that kind of match.

I’ll let Rob take it away for what happened next here. Why? You’ll find out.

Robert O’Neill: We went backstage to find Nikki Cross talking to Alexa Bliss, but The Revival interrupted and said THEY should be the next guests on Moment of Bliss. Points were made!

Chris Novak: Rob, that was a segment made JUST ENTIRELY FOR YOU, PAL! Hey, after I got segments made for me last night, it’s only fair that you get one written for you.

Robert O’Neill: Instead, Becky Lynch is on Moment of Bliss with Alexa and Nikki. Before they can get the interview going, The IIconics come out to start shit because they still have two belts. Then Lacey Evans comes out.

Chris Novak: Some banter goes down, and Becky whisfully challenges all three of the ladies on her side. Nikki Cross then offers up her services, which puts Alexa in a real pickle. Becky says she just needs to stand and look pretty, so we have ourselves a six-woman tag team match.

Alexa, though, brought her coffee to the ring. She’s drinking it at ringside.

Robert O’Neill: Our heroes pick up a victory over Lacey and the IIconics, after Becky hits a top rope leg drop (a match being won with a non-finisher? That’s rare!) Alexa never got in but celebrated at the end anyway. Hilarious.

Mick Foley is here and he unveils the 24/7 Title! It’s ugly, but who cares it’s a neat concept. The entire midcard comes out for the scramble and it’s Titus O’Neil that comes out on top! He’s your inaugural 24/7 champion! But as he’s leaving he gets rolled up by Bob Roode! Bob Roode is the champion!

Chris Novak: I, for one, am looking forward to the hijinx here.

Anyways, Miz faces Drew McIntyre next and loses thanks to the dreaded numbers game. Match was really good. Miz was pretty tremendous here, to be honest. Shane went for a post-match Coast to Coast, but Roman Reigns intervened. He destroyed Drew McIntyre with a Superman Punch but couldn’t get his hands on Shane.

Robert O’Neill: Bob Roode is on his way out of the arena, but he’s still being chased! He runs into R-Truth who is about to leave, but Truth helps Roode and hides him from the crowd before it dissipates. Roode gets out of the trunk of Truth’s car and gets rolled up and Truth leaves with the title!

Time for the main event! Seth Rollins and Kofi Kingston are taking on Bob Lashley and Baron Corbin.

This match wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t the best tag match of the night. The faces got the win when Kofi hit Trouble In Paradise on Corbin, but Lashley speared both guys and started in on them with a chair and then Brock Lesnar came out. But… he didn’t cash in. He’ll be back next week, per Paul Heyman.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Robert O’Neill: I loved this Raw. I say that a lot, but everything hit for me. The opening segment was among one of the best ever, the 24/7 belt adds a lot of fun wrinkles, and all the in-ring stuff was good as usual. I don’t want to be too high on this show, but if I’m enjoying it, I’m going to grade it accordingly. A

Chris Novak: Really fun show. There weren’t too many lulls here, which absolutely helps the show’s cause quite a lot. The string of matches down the road in this show helped its cause in a big way, honestly. I’ll give this a strong A-. This really worked for me.

SMACKDOWN LIVE

Chris Novak: SmackDown begins with Elias and Shane. Elias says he wants to be in Shane’s corner, but Shane says he’ll do it himself. But Shane says he’ll be in Elias’ corner, because Elias needs Shane’s help. Something tells me that… is going to be worth watching. Anyways, Big E is back!

Robert O’Neill: Unsurprisingly, this has led to some great interactions, including Kofi taking a shot at Jim Ross saying “I’m supposed to be serious now, let’s be serious”. But Kevin Owens makes his way out, along with his pal Sami Zayn, and the two of them tear down the New Day on the microphone. Kofi’s not having it, though. He’s going to take Sami out later tonight in their match. Fun segment.

Chris Novak: And now we have Andrade vs. Ali, because we are way too lucky to live in these dark times. This match should totally shmang. What a surprise! It was good. REALLY good, actually.

Robert O’Neill: That was awesome. Andrade dominated for a while, but Ali caught him with a small package for the win. It’s clear they have high hopes for both of these guys. Excited to see what happens from here.

Chris Novak: There was so much storytelling in this match for a dang TV match. Andrade wanted to win by any means, but Ali, meanwhile, just wanted to survive by any means. I’m giving that ***¾ on the ol’ spreadsheet. Hard-earned. One of the better TV matches. If it was longer, I may have pushed it up to 4. But it was an awesome TV match, no doubt about it.

Robert O’Neill:  Carmella is helping R-Truth escape with his 24/7 title by dressing him up like her. Excellent stuff there.

Chris Novak: And next, Carmella is facing Mandy Rose. This could be fun.

Prior to this, we’re talking about Lars Sullivan for some reason. Whatever.

Unfortunately this match couldn’t come to fruition. That’s because much of the locker room went after R-Truth, who was dressed up in disguise at ringside. Oh Lordy.

Bayley was interviewed! Typical, run of the mill babyface post-title interview here. She talked her talk and kept it short and simple. No problems here.

Truth and Carmella are still on the run from everyone. Meanwhile, Sami is facing Kofi - next!

Robert O’Neill: The 24/7 title has led to such fun in such a short time. Anyway, it’s time for Sami Zayn vs. Kofi Kingston! But we go backstage and see someone attacked Big E. Oh no!

Chris Novak: Well, that could be dicey. Who knows what this will mean for Kofi tonight against Sami? Regardless, this match should be fun. It was pretty fun! Kofi won with Trouble in Paradise after countering out of the Blue Thunder Bomb. Fun match, although I may have expected a smidge or three more from these guys. That being said, they’ve both done a lot the last couple weeks. So it’s okay.

Robert O’Neill: Paul Heyman comes out after the match to tease a cash-in and then Dolph Ziggler attacks Kofi from behind. What did we do to deserve this?

Chris Novak: I’m… fine with this? Dolph obviously isn’t winning the WWE Championship from Kofi Kingston. So I don’t need to worry about that. There’s a lot of history between these two guys that spans almost a decade. If they REALLY want to, they can tap into that and make this work real well. I’m totally okay with this on the onset. We’ll see how it goes from here.

Anyways, Dolph beat the SHIT out of Kofi, to the point where he had to be stretchered out of the ringside area and to the back. Hell of a way to bring Ziggler back, I’ll say that much. Also it sure is interesting that Big E was hurt in the back… knowing full well that Dolph and Big E were allies at a time…

Anyways. Bayley-Becky vs. Charlotte-Lacey is next.

Elias is on a truck and is singing as Roman Reigns is walking by him.

Robert O’Neill: Bayley and Becky are friends, but there’s also some underlying tension? I like this. This is good.

Chris Novak: Fantastic stuff, and it doesn’t take away from either of them frankly. This will be an interesting tag bout, as I’m not really sure who’s going to take the pin and who needs it the most. Could I see a schmoz finish here? Perhaps. We’ll see though!

Hey! Bayley won the match for her team! Via an inside cradle, the new SDL Champ and the Raw Champ stood tall. Pretty good and fun match. About what you’d expect from these two in this spot. Everyone looked more than fine in this one. Good stuff. Good stuff.

Robert O’Neill: And the tension between Becky and Bayley continued afterwards! I like it.

Chris Novak: R-Truth survived attacks by Jinder Mahal AND The B-Team, and ran off with Carmella into the night. Will he remain 24/7 Champion by the end of the show? The end of the night? We’ll see!

Dolph Ziggler was asked about his intentions by Sarah Schreiber. Dolph said it was an honest question that needed an honest answer. So, he took the mic and went out on stage and talked to the fans. Ziggler pointed out how Kofi took the ball and rolled with it, and how angry it made that it wasn’t him. So that was his motivation for coming out and beating the shit out of Kingston tonight. Honestly? Basic, cut and dry and I think Dolph did a great job here! I really do. I’m sure that’ll be met with criticism. But I really do.

Elias faced off with Roman Reigns in the main event. The main takeaway here, amid the win by Roman Reigns, is that he’s back in his groove. Because this match totally ruled. Shane played a nice factor on the outside and meddled in the match a few times. Ultimately, Reigns won via the Spear. Afterwards, Reigns was beaten up by Shane, but Reigns took him out with a Superman Punch. He went to use the guitar on Shane, but out of nowhere, Drew McIntyre showed up and hit him with a Claymore Kick. So, they’re continuing the story from Monday about Mac being Shane’s hired gun.

Robert O’Neill: This is how they have to tell this story. Shane needs mercenaries if he wants to have a chance against Roman. I would like to see other heels (Rusev and Shinsuke maybe?), but this is an effective way to tell this story right now. Also, echoing what Chris said, Roman looked awesome in this match.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Robert O’Neill: Smackdown was good, but I think I preferred Raw this week. Dolph Ziggler does nothing for me, and his presence makes my viewing experience worse. I wish Kofi/Sami would have been given a little more time, but the Women’s tag and Ali/Andrade really stood out on this show. B

Chris Novak: Holy performative stunts, Batman. This was definitely not a ‘B’ show. This was certainly worth of a very high B+ in my opinion. I’m good with Dolph feuding with Kofi, because chances are it’s gonna be roughly for the next two weeks or so heading into Saudi. So, to me, it is what it is. Plus, Dolph did a great job with his promo, which hyped me up for this feud that has a lot of history that they can VERY easily tap into. Ali-Andrade was excellent, as was Roman-Elias, and the Women’s tag match was indeed good.