WWE Raw on Monday night was the victim of very unusual circumstances as differences over creative decisions between WWE women’s tag team champions Naomi and Sasha Banks and WWE officials led the duo to walk out on the show. That decision left WWE scrambling for a new main event as the pair were both scheduled to take part in a six-woman tag match to crown a No. 1 contender to the Raw women’s championship.
WWE eventually settled on a match between Becky Lynch and Asuka for the main event with Asuka emerging victorious. She’s now in line to face Bianca Belair for the Raw women’s title at Hell in a Cell. Still, the story that will dominate the headlines for days to come is the decision by Banks and Naomi to walk out of a show as it was on the air.
CBS Sports was with you all night with recaps and highlights of all the action from Scope Arena in Norfolk, Virginia.
Chaos results in main event change, Asuka earns No. 1 contender
During the show open, it was mentioned that the night’s main event was to be a six-woman match to determine the next challenger for Belair. Less than an hour into the show, Becky Lynch was shown backstage with WWE official Adam Pearce, stating Naomi and Sasha Banks had left the arena ahead of the match only for Pearce to say she would now meet Asuka for the right to battle Belair. Details would later emerge that the situation was legitimate as Banks and Naomi took issue with the creative direction and left the arena during the taping.
Asuka def. Becky Lynch via pinfall with mist to the eyes and a buzzsaw kick. Belair was seated at ringside, leading to Lynch repeatedly being distracted by her presence. Late in the match, Lynch threw Asuka into Belair before attempting to hit Asuka with an umbrella. Asuka responded by spitting mist into Lynch’s face before hitting a kick and scoring a win to secure a match with Belair at Hell in a Cell.
Obviously, the story of the night is the chaos surrounding Banks and Naomi abandoning the show in progress. It’s a complicated situation of which we do not know all the details. WWE had to adjust on the fly and landed on a match between two of the most talented women on the roster. As far as on-the-fly adjustments go, WWE fans could be treated to far worse. Asuka vs. Belair is going to be outstanding, regardless of the unconventional route to the match. Grade: B+
What else happened on WWE Raw?
- Bobby Lashley def. Omos in a cage match. Cedric Alexander attacked Lashley from behind during Lashley’s entrance. Omos joined in the attack before WWE officials broke up the melee. Lashley then stormed into the ring and demanded the match begin. MVP and Alexander interfered repeatedly throughout the match. Lashley would ultimately win when Omos threw Lashley into the cage, breaking the wall and allowing Lashley to get both feet on the floor for the win.
- Veer Mahan def. Mustafa Ali via submission with the cervical clutch. Ali was supposed to face Theory before Theory introduced The Miz as the special guest referee and then said Ali would face Mahan instead. Miz got in the way of Ali during the match, leading to the finish and a continued attack on Ali until the Mysterios ran in to make the save.
- Riddle def. Jimmy Uso via pinfall with a roll-up. The referee caught Jey Uso trying to help Jimmy cheat to score the pin, setting up the finishing roll-up.
- AJ Styles & Finn Balor def. Los Lotharios via pinfall when Balor hit Humberto Carrillo with the Coup De Grace. The match came after a promo from The Judgement Day targeted at Styles, Balor and Liv Morgan (who was ringside with Balor and Styles).
- Alexa Bliss def. Sonya Deville via pinfall with a DDT. Deville slapped the referee after the match.
- Cody Rhodes challenged Seth Rollins to a match inside Hell in a Cell. Rhodes was upset with Rollins’ claims that Rhodes “took something away” from him after winning two matches over Rollins. Rhodes then threw down a challenge for Hell in a Cell, which Rollins appeared on the Tron to accept.
- Ezekiel def. Chad Gable via pinfall with Kevin Owens and Otis at ringside. The trio failed to execute a DNA test to prove Ezekiel is actually Elias when Otis spilled barbecue sauce in the sample.
- Lacey Evans cut an in-ring promo talking about her military service before saying no one in the locker room is as good as her.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism