The Monster Among Men took a step forward in his quest for WWE gold.
Braun Strowman defeated Kevin Owens in a qualifier for the Money in the Bank Ladder match.
Here’s how it all went down.
It’s that time of year again, where a simple briefcase can hold the key to the kingdom.
It is of course, Money in the Bank, and qualifiers are now underway in both men’s and women’s divisions.
On RAW, Ember Moon took on Sasha Banks and Ruby Riott in a Triple Threat match.
Here’s what happened.
Ruby Riott def. Bayley via pinfall (Kickoff Show)
Another continuation of the Bayley/Sasha storyline that has rumbled on for the last couple of months.
While the length of the tease should result in a bigger pop when the inevitable heel turn happens, this one feel more and more drawn out.
Sub-plot here is the Riott Squad continues to grow in strength, and could really use a more sustained feud to give some exposure.
Intercontinental Championship — Seth Rollins (c) def. The Miz via pinfall to retain the title
As expected, a show stealer.
Rollins continues to outshine pretty-well everyone on both rosters, and the Miz is so much more than just a man on the mic.
A great match, and the undoubted high point of the show.
With both on different brands, it’s a shame we won’t see more of them together, but Rollins and Balor will always hit the heights together, while the ultimate payoff for Miz is a long-term battle with Daniel Bryan.
Raw Women’s Championship — Nia Jax (c) def. Alexa Bliss via pinfall to retain the title
A Mania re-match that would have put this line to bed regardless of the shoulder injury suffered by Alexa Bliss.
Interesting to see where WWE take Jax now with RAW loaded with faces, and no main-event worthy heels at the moment.
The injury will take Bliss out of the picture for a while, which may be no bad thing – she’s had a lot of air-time in the last 12 months and the break, and subsequent return, will only serve as fuel to get her back into the upper echelons.
United States Championship — Jeff Hardy (c) def. Randy Orton via pinfall to retain the title
A pretty regulation match, and finish.
Hardy wins clean, as expected, with more meaty storylines to follow now for sure.
Daniel Bryan def. Big Cass via submission
After what has been a pretty short feud, this one had the feel of a pretty conclusive ending – until the aftermath.
Cass losing by submission, after all the big guy/short guy set-up was a little odd, with Bryan pretty much putting on a clinic to fell the bigger man.
The beatdown after the match however will keep things alive for a while longer. This will be part of the run until Bryan is ready to step back into the title picture.
SmackDown Women’s Championship — Carmella (c) def. Charlotte Flair to retain the title
Pretty smart piece of booking here.
Carmella needed to retain, but being able to do so for her without outside interference is huge.
The injured knee makes Charlotte look strong in defeat, and still very much in the title picture.
WWE Championship (No Disqualification) — AJ Styles (c) vs. Shinsuke Nakamura ends in a draw
Low-blow city saw a dramatic, if pretty unfulfilling twist at Backlash.
That’s two consecutive matches that have ended on false-finishes now between the two after the double count out at the Greatest Royal Rumble.
Here, they were able to show a mix of in-ring ability, paired with brutality – but the finish felt flat.
Imagine this happening once more, with AJ winning clean and everyone moving on with their lives.
Braun Strowman & Bobby Lashley def. Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn via pinfall
The WWE is currently finding matches for Strowman rather than storylines, and this needs to change for one of the company’s major crowd-favourites.
While pretty functional in nature, this was never going to hit the heights for anyone concerned.
The two monsters went over, while some cracks showed in the Owens/Zayn dynamic.
A Lashley heel turn would have been fun to set up a super-sized feud.
Roman Reigns def. Samoa Joe via pinfall
Putting this at the top of the card raised some ire amongst fans, and the outcome won’t do much to win them back.
With a match like this, WWE is not listening to the fan base, and while the narrative of Reigns continually battling against the odds is clearly one they want to pursue – it’s just not working.
This match had some pretty decent, high octane, stuff at the front and back ends of the match, but that sadly had a huge amount of rest time in the middle – punctuated by low tempo holds for the two to catch a breather.
Not the end of a PPV we were looking for.
Reigns will now get Lesnar back in his sights, while Joe must lever his way into the Styles/Nakamura conflict.