RAW #3 [Birmingham, United Kingdom]
This weeks show kicked off straight into the first match...
Match #1 - Dolph Ziggler O def. Rusev X
Rusev entered the stage alone. Having shed Aidan English previously, the Lion of Bulgaria cut a much more serious demeanour, and the crowd loved it.
Ziggler made the first advance as he blind-side Rusev with an elbow to the back of the head before the bell. Rusev quickly evened the odds, dodging a third elbow drop from Ziggler and hit a ferocious Sambo Kick.
As Rusev caught his breath, the tenacious Ziggler pounced again with a Swinging Neck Breaker, getting a two count before following it up with a top rope Body Splash. Ziggler, clearly angered by the Bulgarians resistance, hit him with a multitude of vicious stomps and a Jumping Elbow Drop. This time, instead of doing more damage, Ziggler motioned to the crowd and pointed as Rusev and clearly mouthed the word “LOSERS!”
He pulled Rusev to his feet and looked to go for a Piledriver, which the Bulgarian Brute blocked, picking Ziggler up into an Alabama Slam... smashing the Show Off into the corner turnbuckle. Ziggler rolled out of the ring clearly stunned and in pain as Rusev got his wind back, and started to round up the crowd.
Ziggler made his way up onto the apron and caught Rusev with an elbow. With the Bulgarian stunned, he attempted a Springboard Rana. Rusev though, caught him and reversed it into a mighty Power Bomb to leave Ziggler in a heap. When Rusev picked up Ziggler, the Show Off managed to reverse the attempt and caught the Bulgarian with a Super Kick out of nowhere sending them both to the mat. Ziggler was the first to his feet and prowled around Rusev as he groggily pulled himself up on the rope. Ziggler attacked with the Zig-Zag and covered Rusev for the win.
We next headed backstage where Charly Caruso was talking to general manager Ted DiBiase:- “Mr DiBiase, the fans have been asking online all week about The Miz. You mentioned last week that he’d be here tonight. Is there any update?”
DiBiase answered “I’m happy to confirm that The Miz was released from hospital late last week and is due to be here tonight.”
Charley then enquired about his condition and if he was fit to perform before DiBiase answered “We still don’t know if he’s 100% so we won’t be making any decisions until our doctors have seen him. I’m sure he’ll let everyone know when he’s ready!”
We then cut to Almas stood talking to Zelina Vega. The pair were clearly mocking those around backstage when Bobby Roode interrupted; “Oh you think you’re better than everyone else ey?! Well you are clearly not even worthy to shine the boots of The Glorious one!” He then looked past Almas and gave a nod and wink at Vega.
Almas was immediately pissed and motioned to Roode “How dare you, you dog!" and took off his suit jacket. He then turned to Vega “Here hold my jacke...” but then threw the jacket over Roode's face and hit him with a cheap punch before quickly making a getaway with Vega.
Roode ripped off the jacket and, in a rage, started after Almas.
Match #2 - The Revival [Scott Dawson O & Dash Wilder] (c) def. The Authors of Pain [Akam & Rezar X]
Another heated match between these fierce rivals was next. With the champs already in the ring, AOP were stood outside motioning to them when both Wilder and Dawson ran and dove at them through the ropes, starting an almighty brawl. The Revival, with the upper hand now, sent a battered Akam into the ring where the match officially started.
For a long spell, Dawson worked his opponents legs in an attempt to slow the brutes movement. After some heavy punishment however, Akam managed to hit Dawson with a Discus Clothesline and get a tag to Rezar. Dawson also just about managed to tag in his partner, with Wilder going straight after his opposite number. Rezar threw Wilder into the corner, but the champ got a boot up into the face of the onrushing monster, and in one swift action put himself onto the middle turnbuckle, leaping over the head of his opponent into a beautiful Sunset Powerbomb;
1...2.. kick out!
Wilder quickly tagged in Dawson who hit his own middle rope Leg Drop on the downed Rezar. Dawson then hit a Back Breaker and continued to work the legs of Rezar. However, Rezar was able to land a kick to Dawson’s face to stun him enough for the big man to get to his feet. Dawson was then sent into the corner and hit with a devastating Body Smash, as Rezar followed that up with a bottom rope assisted Splash.
After another huge body check, Rezar attempted to land a Big Boot, but Dawson slid out of the way at the last moment. Dawson hit a few elbow shots on Rezar before he was promptly stopped in his tracks with a Back Body Drop and falling Elbow Drop. Rezar set up Dawson for the Camel Clutch, but Dawson slid out and reversed it into a Figure-Four Leg Lock. Having worked Rezar's leg throughout the match, it wasn’t a surprise to see the big man tap-out to give the win to The Revival.
Only time will tell how much further this feud can go...
A shot of a limousine was seen pulling into the arena next and when the door was opened, out stepped a sharp looking Miz, who receives a massive cheer from the Midlands crowd.
He’s joined by Maryse as they walk arm-in-arm along some prepared red carpet into the arena.
Match #3 - Jake Roberts O def. Adam Cole & Sting X
As soon as we returned from the break, our third match was underway with a mouthwatering triple threat.
Early on, Cole and Roberts went at it after Sting was sent outside by Cole with a Clothesline. Cole hit Roberts with two Snap Suplexes before delivering several stomps to his arm. Sting got back into the action, but Cole took him out again with a DDT, before then picking up Sting into a Suplex on top of a prone Roberts and unbelievably attempted to pin BOTH of his opponents at the same time - he only managed a one count, but the fans were absolutely loving it.
Cole didn't get a chance to bask in the adoration for long though, as Sting grabbed his leg and hit a Dragon Screw, following this up by picking Cole up for a Powerbomb. As soon as Cole hit the mat, the now recovered Roberts landed a Knee Drop and pushed Cole to the outside. The alliance of Roberts and Sting was short lived however, as they immediately went at each other, trading chops and staring each other down to rapturous applause! Roberts hit Sting with a Gut Kick and fired him into the corner. At this time, Cole slid back into the ring and grabbed the distracted Roberts, hoisting him up and delivering a Patella Brainbuster. He then turned immediately to Sting, and sent him to his knees with a Corner Dropkick. Cole followed this up with the Last Shot, immediately pinning Sting for the 2.9 count.
The crowd were sure Cole had this one in the bag...
A desperate Cole then attempted to pick up Roberts, but The Snake scouted his attempt and reversed into a Drop Toehold, sending Cole face first into the canvas. Roberts got Cole to his feet and dumps him to the outside with a Running Clothesline. Roberts then picked up a still-dazed Sting and hit his legendary DDT for what seemed surely to be the win, but no, The Icon managed to avoid defeat with the help from Adam Cole who pulled Roberts off at the last second.
With Sting flat out, Cole delivered a kick to Roberts that sent him to one knee. In a flash, Cole was up on the second rope and delivered a textbook Panama Sunrise to the Snake. 1...2......Break.
Somehow, Sting managed to muster the strength to break the pin. Following this, Sting reversed Cole's attempt to pull him to his feet and hit a quick and devastating Scorpion Death Drop. Sting collapsed on Cole for the pin 1...2... but Cole got his foot up onto the rope to break the count. At this point the crowd were shouting “THIS IS AWESOME” and “FIGHT FOREVER”.
Roberts sent Cole to the outside again and hit Sting with a second DDT, this time the ref getting to count to 3 for a win.
What a match; the drama and resiliency on show was amazing!.
Jinder Mahal was backstage in the locker room, when the lights went out and a laugh reverberated around the arena. A confused Jinder shouted out to the person there, but he received no reply. Instead, we heard a fracas and when the lights returned Jinder was laid out having been driven through the massage table.
It seemed Jinder's elusive mystery fued continues...
Charly Caruso caught up with WWE Universal champion, Braun Strowman, next and asked him; “Ahead of your match with Baron Corbin later tonight, does the arrival of The Miz threaten to distract you from concentrating fully on the match?”
Braun laughed heartily at this and replied “Oh Miz is here tonight? That’s cute! I’ll be sure to see if he’d like another trip to A&E after I’m done with Corbin. Now, if you don’t mind, I have to go shine my championship”
And with that, Braun walked away.
Match #4 - Shinsuke Nakamura O def. Samoa Joe X
With Joe in the ring, Nakamura wasted no time in running down the ramp to confront the Samoan following the weeks of heat building between the two. Last weeks disgusting attack after Nakamura faced Braun Strowman has pushed Nakamura over the edge, and he took down Joe and proceeded to hammer his head into the mat with elbows.
The ref eventually managed to pull Nakamura off to get the match officially started, but Joe's nose was already bleeding profusely so the ref stopped to allow a medic to patch him up. Nakamura, incensed, pushed the ref aside and leapt over the medic hitting Joe with another hard elbow to the face. Joe managed to push away Nakamura and just smiled at him with blood running down into his mouth.
Joe truly is a machine.
They charged each other and Joe took Nakamur to the ground with a Headlock, following this up with his own barrage of punches to the top of Nakamura’s head. He then rolled down to Nakamura’s feet where he locked in a single leg Boston crab, with the King of Strong Style just managing to reach enough to get a finger on the rope for the break.
After dragging Nakamura away from the rope, Joe landed his signature Back Senton and when up on one knee, gave an evil smirk to the camera. He then went for another, but Nakamura managed to move just enough so Joe hit the canvas hard. Nakamura got to his feet and hit Joe with a Boot to the face as he rose, then delivered a Jumping Knee across the throat of the Samoan Submission Machine. The crowd were behind Shinsuke and cheering him on to which he responded “COME ON!” He teed up Joe, and ran at him to hit the Kinshasa, but Joe moved and sent Nakamura into the corner with a thud. Joe quickly capitalised, hitting an Elbow followed by a Reverse Enziguri to send Nakamura to the mat.
Joe set about Nakamura with a Reverse Dragon Sleeper and it looked like he might get the submission. However, The King of Strong Style got a knee up and into Joe's injured nose, sending him reeling backwards. Temporarily dazed, Joe was then hit with a Flying Elbow and Front Kick to the targeted nose - the blood was everywhere at this point! The ref called for another stoppage, but Joe refused. Using the ref to block Nakamura’s view, he pushed the official into Nakamura, sending them both to the floor.
At this moment, Joe noticed his towel still draped on the turnbuckle and grabbed it. He wrapped it around Nakamura’s neck and started to choke him. He quickly tossed the towel to the corner as the ref got back to his feet, and attempted to put Shinsuke in a Coquina Clutch. Nakamura though managed to grab Joe's leg and use his momentum to roll him up and surprise him with the 1...2...3.
A furious Joe immediately threw the ref out of the ring and again grabbed his towel. This time, he used it as leverage to choke Nakamura in the corner until the King of Strong Style was almost unconscious.
Joe then wiped the blood from his face and threw it at the prone Nakamura. Joe then exited the ring as officials checked on Nakamura.
Match #5 - Braun Strowman (c) O def. Baron Corbin X
Strowman signalled his intent immediately with a Running Shoulder Charge which sent Corbin flying into the corner. Braun then hit a Running Corner Clothesline and grabbed Corbin around the front before tossing him into the middle of the ring.
Braun clearly wasn’t messing around here.
Corbin, clearly shaken, pleaded with Braun to take it easy, to which he was greeted with a Powerbomb. Braun picked up Corbin and delivered a Running Power Slam and pinned him for an impressive win.
As Braun moved to the corner to collect his belt, he was ambushed by The Miz, who had appeared from nowhere with the belt. He then smashed Braun in the face with his own championship from the outside. Miz slid into the ring and gave a dazed Braun a Skull Crushing Finale for good measure, before leaving the ring and shouting “WHO'S CUTE NOW!” as the show ended.