On a special edition of Raw that WWE promoted as “In Your Face,” Keith Lee was given a chance to potentially punch his ticket to his first main roster title match when he faced off with WWE champion Drew McIntyre in the ThunderDome. The duo brawled throughout the night before finally entering the ring to face off in the night’s main event.
Instead of picking up the biggest win of his career, Lee’s moment was stolen by Retribution. The group of masked invaders made their presence known, running in and attacking both men before eventually being confronted by The Hurt Business. At the end of the night, Lee and McIntyre would stand tall side-by-side, though the issues have clearly not been settled between the two.
Let’s have a look now at everything that went down Monday night during this week’s edition of Raw.
Retribution interrupts main event
McIntyre opened the show by taunting Randy Orton over hitting him with three Claymores last week before issuing a challenge to make their match at Clash of Champions an ambulance match. Adam Pearce walked to the entrance ramp and announced that Orton may not be medically cleared to wrestle at the pay-per-view, and said that meant the match later in the evening between Lee and McIntyre took on added weight with Lee earning a title shot at Clash if he secured a victory. Lee came to the ring, shook McIntyre’s hand, but didn’t let go before pulling McIntyre in for a staredown. Lee would later interrupt a McIntyre backstage interview, leading to tensions escalating before McIntyre punched Lee and the two brawled back and forth as security separated them.
Drew McIntyre vs. Keith Lee ended in a no contest after Retribution attacked. Before the match, it was confirmed that McIntyre and Lee would meet in an ambulance match should Orton not be cleared for the PPV. As expected, the battle was hard-hitting, big-boy action. Lee ruthlessly targeted McIntyre’s fractured jaw throughout the match, but as things were hitting the final stretch, Retribution ran in and attacked both men. As the attack continued, The Hurt Business’ music hit (see below for information on their turn to being hired WWE security) and the group charged forward and attacked despite being outnumbered roughly three-to-one. Lee and McIntyre ended the situation as they executed simultaneous dives onto everyone on the outside, standing tall as the show went off the air.
There’s a weird failure in logic to have the show go off the air with the Retribution members down and out and not have Lee and McIntyre ripping off masks, but you have to put logic away for most of the Retribution storyline. The ramping up of the issues between Lee and McIntyre through the show was well done, though the idea of a Lee vs. McIntyre ambulance match made no real sense given the stipulation for McIntyre vs. Orton came from each man being sent to the hospital during the rivalry. The real winner in the final stretch was The Hurt Business, with the group looking great as they charged into danger after an old western movie moment preparing to go against the odds. Grade: B-
Seth Rollins defeats Dominik Mysterio in the cage
Before the match, Rollins spoke with Murphy backstage, asking if he was ready for his very important role during the match. After Murphy said yes, Rollins slapped him multiple times before grabbing him by the throat and shoving him into a locker. Murphy’s special role, he said, was to stay backstage and away from the match.
Seth Rollins def. Dominik Mysterio via pinfall in a steel cage match after two Stomps. Murphy ran out to the cage early in the match and slid a kendo stick into the cage to Rollins. After Mysterio began to make a comeback, Rey Mysterio returned the favor, sliding his own stick into the cage to his son. As Dominik was climbing toward the open cage door, Rey tried to help pull him out, drawing Murphy over to pull Rey away. After attacking Rey, Murphy did not look before turning to slam the cage door, accidentally slamming it onto Rollins. The action would continue until Rollins hit two consecutive Stomps to score the victory. After the match, Rollins attacked Murphy, asking when he was going to learn to listen before slamming the cage door into him as payback for the earlier mistake.
Rollins’ attack on Murphy, both verbal backstage and physical post-match, felt truly intense. A program between the two could be explosive and filled with great moments. The cage match was entirely fine, and Dominik has proven more than capable of holding up his side of the match, but the sooner he moves on to something else and can show what he can do without being paired with Rollins, the better. There was an interesting moment after Rollins left the ring where Aaliyah Mysterio reached down and checked on Murphy, which could be a tease of interesting changes to come. Grade: B
What else happened on WWE Raw?
The Street Profits (c) def. Shinsuke Nakamura & Cesaro (c) via pinfall after Angelo Dawkins hit Cesaro with Cash out. A very nice champions vs. champions match that built well to the surprise finish of Dawkins being the one to hit the finishing frog splash to get the victory.
Andrade and Angel Garza brawled backstage following an argument. After Zelina Vega yelled at the two that she couldn’t take it anymore and stormed off, Andrade and Garza attacked each other.
Cedric Alexander def. Ricochet via pinfall after a Lumbar Check. Before the match, Ricochet and Apollo Crews argued with Alexander after his turn to join The Hurt Business last week. During the match, Erik of The Viking Raiders ran to ringside and brawled with Bobby Lashley ahead of their match later in the evening.
Retribution cut a backstage promo. The lights went out after the match between Alexander and Ricochet and things cut to a Retribution promo where they once again talked about taking out superstars who sold their souls to the machine. Later in the night, MVP offered up The Hurt Business to work as WWE security to deal with the problem.
Raw Women’s Championship — Asuka (c) def. Mickie James via referee stoppage to retain the title. James put up a spirited effort, giving Asuka a stiff challenge from the opening bell and making numerous comebacks. Asuka locked in the Asuka Lock and James reversed into a pin, but the referee called the match off, saying James could no longer compete rather than making the count. A very strange ending to an otherwise very good match. After the match, Zelina Vega made her way to the ring and told Asuka she was coming for the title before delivering a slap to the champion.
Bobby Lashley def Erik via submission after securing the Hurt Lock. A no-doubter for Lashley after just a few minutes of action.
Braun Strowman made his Raw Underground debut. Strowman showed up backstage and demanded to be let into the Underground. He interfered in a fight between Riddick Moss and Dolph Ziggler. Titus O’Neil tried to fight Strowman but was quickly choked out as Strowman dominated anyone and everyone who stepped into the ring, including Ziggler and Moss again. Finally, Dabba-Kato stepped into the ring and Shane McMahon stopped them from fighting to end Raw Underground for the night.
Kevin Owens def. Alistair Black via pinfall after a Stunner. Black jumped Owens before the match and was dominating the match until the lights flickered, distracting Black and allowing Owens to hit the stunner for the win.
The Riott Squad def. Natalya & Lana via pinfall after Ruby Riott hit Lana with a Riott Kick. After the match, Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler — who were on commentary for the match — attacked Lana, putting her through the announce table to help build toward their Clash of Champions title match with the Riott Squad.