As announced on last week's RAW, Charlotte had to defend her title against Sasha Banks this week. And in a bit of a surprise -- but one that we probably should have seen coming -- Sasha once again regained the women's title.
The two first clashed at the top of the 9 p.m. hour. This encounter didn't last long though, as the two fought to the outside to a double-countout. Mick Foley quickly came out and announced that the two would go to the back, and that later in the night (as it turned out, in the main event spot) the two would fight in a No DQ, falls count anywhere match.
While they waited for the match, Sasha cut a promo towards Bayley about how this was bigger than any wrestler, and brought up how Charlotte disrespected Ric Flair months ago (why this was suddenly relevant wasn't really explained, but it fed into later in the night), and then dedicated the match to Ric. Then, the match unfolded, and finally, after the two beat the hell out of each other all around the arena, Sasha locked Charlotte in the Bank Statement while Charlotte was folded around a stair railing to force her to tap out. Then, as Sasha was celebrating, the Nature Boy himself came out to hug Sasha and raise her arm in triumph.
It needs to be said that this was an excellent match, and in my opinion was the best match the two have had. I had a bit of a reservation about having this match, considering they had a long feud that seemed like it should end with the Hell in a Cell match. However, with some feelings around the Hell in a Cell match, and the quality of this one, I can understand it. It took a lot of the risks that they took in Hell in a Cell, but with more of a flow to it. At times it felt like they were just trying to work spots into the match at Hell in a Cell, while on Monday night everything flowed into each other, and it really worked.
The question is where do we go now? Much of the commentary after the match revolved around the game of hot potato that Sasha and Charlotte have been playing with the title. In four months, the title has changed hands five times now. Interestingly, Sasha has won all the RAW encounters, while Charlotte won the pay-per-view matches.
I don't think this is necessarily a bad thing. If done well, it can sell a perfectly even rivalry, which this is. I don't remember fans complaining about The Rock and Mick Foley throwing the title back and forth back in 1999. However, at some point it has to come to an end. I'd strike the sequence dead at this moment. After a Hell in a Cell match, and a brawl around the arena, there's nowhere to go from here but down. One final blowoff wouldn't top what we've already seen. Unfortunately, I don't see that happening, and they'll have an ill-advised match after this.
Sasha's previous two reigns have each only lasted 27 days. We'll just have to see now if they're ready to truly let her be The Boss on RAW.
The Rest of RAW:
* The women's match was the biggest news, but it wasn't the only bit of big news on the show. We now know the No. 1 contender to the title will be Roman Reigns, after he beat Kevin Owens in a match to earn his shot at Roadblock (or Roadblock: End of the Line as it's now known. Not sure why it needs a subtitle, but there are weirder things WWE has done).
Reigns had a shot at Owens, and beat him cleanly without anyone else around to interfere. Earlier in the night, Seth Rollins had taken out Chris Jericho, who was having problems with Owens, in the parking lot, so it seems like that will be another feud going into Roadblock. So, without Jericho as backup, Owens didn't have much of a chance against Reigns. Owens' reign is falling into some of the same traps that Rollins' reign did, and they need to be careful about completely neutering the guy.
* Paul Heyman had his first address since Survivor Series. The incredibly emotional advocate (seriously, there were tears) explained how he and Brock Lesnar took Goldberg way too lightly. However, he said that would just put Lesnar in a more driven mindset. He pointed out that if Lesnar has accomplished all this already, what could he do if he's more driven? He also said that Lesnar would join Goldberg in the Royal Rumble match.
* If you didn't know already, Monday night drove home the fact that the one thing that's guaranteed at this point is that wrestlers will lose in their hometown. Besides Charlotte losing in the Queen City, Cedric Alexander also took the loss in his hometown, as he lost to Tony Nese. It wouldn't shock me if Rich Swann, who beat Noam Dar, won the cruiserweight title and Nese became one of his first contenders.
* Braun Strowman beat Goldust in a match. After the match, he continued to assault Goldust, only to be interrupted by Sami Zayn. For the second straight week, Strowman got the advantage, and looked to injure Zayn, but Mick Foley came out to intervene. That caused a confrontation between Foley and Sami where Sami accused Foley of not treating him well and not allowing him to fight his own battles. It's interesting to see the growing number of wrestlers on both brands having problems with the authority figures on the show. You have to think that will come to a head soon.
* The New Day once again successfully defended its titles, this time against The Club. The finish happened when Anderson tried to roll up Xavier Woods while grabbing tights, and Woods reversed it and grabbed Anderson's trunks for the pin. They're still continuing to cheat, but at least this time is nowhere near as egregious as last week. In other tag news, Sheamus and Cesaro seem to be jelling more, as they worked together to dispatch a bar full of hecklers.
* Enzo came out and verbally ran down Rusev again, making more innuendos about Lana. That caused Rusev to viciously attack Enzo during their match, and then hit him with a low blow. I have to say, Rusev was in the right on this one.
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