Last night’s episode of Monday Night Raw proved to be an eventful one, as it came loaded with good promo and backstage segments, a stellar main event that saw Rusev cost Roman Reigns a chance to fight for the Universal title at Clash of Champions, and even some meaningful developments in the lower card.

“Bulgarian Brute” Rusev returns with a vengeance

The main event of Monday Night RAW was, as previously confirmed, a match between reigning WWE Universal Champion Kevin Owens and Roman Reigns, which would allow Reigns to face Owens and Seth Rollins for the Universal Championshipat Clash of Championsshould he win the match.

Ignoring RAW general manager Mick Foley’s warning that he shouldn’t interfere in the match, Rollins ran in to attack Owens, giving “KO” the victory by disqualification. That angered Foley, who had security take Rollins backstage as he restarted the match.

With the match restarted, it appeared as if Reigns had the upper hand, but he was distracted by the surprise arrival of Rusev, who waspreviouslywritten off television so he and real-life wife Lana could have a second wedding in his home country of Bulgaria. After Reigns landed a Superman Punch on Rusev to knock him off the ring apron, Owens took advantage of the distraction, hitting his Pop-Up Powerbomb finisher to come away with the win. This effectively denied Reigns of his chance to make it a three-way dance for the Universal title at Clash of Champions, but also restarted his rivalry with the "Bulgarian Brute," possibly with Rusev'sUnited States Championship still up for grabs.

Non-wrestling segments moved stories forward

Aside from the main event, the in-ring and backstage segments on RAWmade last night’s show a strong episode. The tension between Rollins and Foley continued, as it would appear the recently-turned Rollins is being built up as an anti-authority babyface with a serious, aggressive edge.

Sami Zayn also had an excellent appearance on Chris Jericho’s “Highlight Reel” talk show segment, where he accused the veteran of kissing up to his new “best friend” Kevin Owens, but warned him that Owens is only looking out for himself, and may betray him in the end. The segment, as one may expect, ended with Jericho attacking Zayn to close out the talk show.

What proved to be most interesting was how the opening segment pushed the RAW women’s division stories forward. Dana Brooke finally had it with current RAW Women’s champion Charlotte bossing her around, while Bayley and Sasha Banks argued about who deserves to face Charlotte for the title at Clash of Champions. Foley would decide this by booking Brooke, Bayley, and Banks in a three-way match for number one contendership, with Banks winning and getting her title rematch against Charlotte at the upcoming pay-per-view.

Lower-card more interesting than usual

Although lower-card matches are mostly seen as throwaways, last night’s RAW was unusually busy for those farther from the main event than others.

Bo Dallas, for starters, crushed another local jobber as he continued the more poetic, yet more aggressive reboot of his “inspirational” gimmick. Jinder Mahal, seemingly brought back to occupy the bottom of RAW’s totem pole, pulled off an upset win over hardly-used Jack Swagger, and after the match, interviewer Tom Phillips made reference to Swagger’s RAW contract expiring soon. Could this be a reference to the former World Heavyweight champ’s real-life contract? Finally, Nia Jax beat down on Alicia Fox – her first-ever non-“local” opponent on RAW – so badly that their match was declared a no-contest.

Quick results:

Sasha Banks d. Dana Brooke and Bayley (number one contender match for RAW Women’s Championship)

Bo Dallas d.

Brandon Scott (local wrestler)

Cesaro d. Sheamus (Sheamus leads best-of-seven series, 3-2)

Nia Jax and Alicia Fox in no-contest

Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson d. The New Day

Jinder Mahal d. Jack Swagger

Epico d. Enzo Amore

Kevin Owens d. Roman Reigns

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