Drew McIntyre Takes One Step Closer to World Title

The go-home Raw before Clash at the Castle featured a new stipulation for the world heavyweight championship match, Liv Morgan continuing to entice Dom Mysterio, and the rise of Chad Gable as a villain

10. Damian Priest issues a challenge to Drew McIntyre

Drew McIntyre kicked off last night’s Monday Night Raw, the final Raw before this Saturday’s Clash at the Castle, where he will challenge for the World Heavyweight Championship in his home country of Scotland.

McIntyre spoke about how Damian Priest is complaining that The Judgment Day is always around to help him win. McIntyre didn’t have the opportunity to say much more as Priest, followed by Judgment Day teammates Finn Balor and JD McDonagh, interrupted. Priest argued that he did not require The Judgment Day to be world heavyweight champion, and McIntyre was once again blaming anyone but himself for his own failures.

Sick of hearing excuses, Priest proposed McIntyre face Balor one-on-one later that night, with a stipulation. If McIntyre won, The Judgment Day would be banned from ringside during their match at Clash at the Castle. Priest took a big risk putting his teammates’ presence at ringside on the line, but he was confident in Balor’s ability to beat McIntyre.

9. Liv Morgan tries to seduce Dominik Mysterio

Notably absent from Priest’s side in the opening segment was Dominik Mysterio. Backstage, he was seen walking into the Judgment Day clubhouse, only to find Women’s World Champion Liv Morgan already comfortable. Morgan promised to take everything from Rhea Ripley on her revenge tour, and the next item on her checklist appears to be Ripley’s boyfriend, Mysterio. Mysterio has resisted Morgan’s advances, including last night when she invited him to her hotel room and slid him a keycard.

Later, Mysterio explained what happened to the rest of the group. He laid the card on the table, and they all agreed not to worry about it–and that it was just a distraction Morgan was using to get inside their heads. Priest showed up later and was the last to be clued in, but by the time he showed up, the keycard had disappeared.

8. Iyo Sky frustrated with Lyra Valkyria

Iyo Sky took on Lyra Valkyria in a Queen of the Ring tournament rematch. These two first met in the second round of the tournament, and Valkyria eliminated Sky. Sky was enraged, and sought to not only redeem herself, but also make Valkyria pay.

Sky and Valkyria were pretty evenly matched, but Valkyria very nearly won the match the same way she did the first time around. Sky was ready for it and kicked out of the pin, but Valkyria was still in control of the match. She delivered a devastating nightwing to Sky, but she was too close to the edge of the ring where Sky’s Damage CTRL teammates, Dakota Kai and Kairi Sane were waiting to yank Valkyria off and break up the pin.

Lyra Valkyrie battled Iyo Sky on Raw
Lyra Valkyrie battled Iyo Sky on Raw / WWE

The match continued, and Sky ended up winning with Damage CTRL’s help. In the aftermath of Valkyria’s defeat, Kai and Sane attacked her while she was down. They began to leave, but Sky wasn’t done and ran back into the ring to continue the assault. Valkyria would not be outnumbered for long, though, as former tag team champions Kayden Carter and Katana Chance rushed to her aid, forcing Damage CTRL to back off.

Later backstage, Sky exploded in a fit of rage and declared “Damage CTRL has to change!”

7. Sami Zayn talks sense into Otis

Intercontinental Champion Sami Zayn ran into Maxxine Dupri and Akira Tozawa backstage.

Last week, Zayn inadvertently injured Dupri and Tozawa when Chad Gable knocked him into them, and was punished for it by Otis. Zayn apologized and cleared the air, making sure they knew who was responsible for them getting hurt. Zayn turned around and came face to face with Otis. In the aftermath of last week’s incident, Zayn and Otis were scheduled to compete against each other last night. Zayn tried to leave, but Otis stopped him to explain himself.

For weeks, Zayn has been trying to convince Otis that he does not have to sit and subject himself to Gable’s abuse. He could not understand why Otis continued to put up with it. Otis explained that Gable helped him when he was at his lowest and helped him find a family in Alpha Academy. He feels that he owes everything to Gable, and that without him, he’s nothing. Zayn reminded Otis of how untrue that was, of how much he is worth, and the “Otis” cheers from the live audience backed up his claim.

6. LWO’s victory over The Judgment Day

LWO and The Judgment Day clashed once again, this time in a six-man tag match. Accompanied by Zelina Vega, Dragon Lee and Rey Mysterio teamed up with Braun Strowman to take on JD McDonagh, Dominik Mysterio, and prospective Judgment Day member Carlito. The dynamic bout was full of back-and-forth action, with two skilled teams it was really anyone’s game. In the heat of the match, Liv Morgan appeared on the ring apron to get Dominik’s attention. He slid to the outside and tried to get her to leave, but Vega bumped Morgan off the apron and onto Dirty Dom.

Morgan didn’t mind the position she’d landed in, but Vega clearly took issue as she grabbed her off of Dom and started throwing hands. The two had to be pulled apart by Rey and McDonagh. Strowman took advantage of the chaos at ringside to tag in and take out everyone. He then helped Lee onto his shoulders and walked towards the middle of the ring, where Lee delivered a high-impact splash to Carlito and pinned him to secure the win for LWO.

Back in the Judgment Day clubhouse, the missing keycard turned up in Dominik Mysterio’s possession. He insisted he did not know how it got there, and that Morgan must have planted it on him during the match. Balor calmed the chatter by reminding everyone that Morgan was using mind games to try and tear them apart, and they needed to redirect their focus to tonight’s main event. While no one was looking, Balor slid the keycard into his own pocket.

5. Otis attacks after losing to Sami Zayn

Ahead of Gable’s match against Zayn for the IC title at Clash at the Castle, the champion took on Gable’s number one guy, Otis. Before the match, Zayn talked to Gable directly, calling out his manipulative behavior towards his Alpha Academy students.

Alpha Academy
Alpha Academy / WWE

Gable insisted that not only were Otis, Dupri, and Tozawa happy, but they love and trust their master. One look at their expressions told an entirely different story. Zayn reiterated that they would not be happy until they left Gable behind. Gable assured Zayn that Alpha Academy was a family, and so no one would be left behind. He also warned that the version of Otis which Zayn would be facing is one that does not care about who he hurts–and one who obeys his master.

In fact, the version of Otis we saw in the ring was the same Otis who listened to Gable berate him during the match, and he was distracted because of it, which cost him the victory again. Gable immediately attacked Zayn while Dupri and Tozawa checked on Otis. Gable shooed them away and forced Otis to stand up and help him in his assault on the Intercontinental Champion.

Otis hesitated, and Gable tried to slap some sense into him. He finally worked up the courage to attack, and nearly slammed into Gable as he threw his whole body weight against Zayn. Gable was pleased with the assault, but his smile quickly faded as Otis turned in anger towards his coach. He backed into the corner of the ring and pleaded for mercy, and Otis lowered his fist, unable to bring himself to betray Gable.

4. Awesome Truth defend the World Tag Team Championships from AOP

The Miz searched everywhere for R-Truth, fearful of what kind of trouble Truth might get the duo into while wandering the arena halls. When Miz finally found Truth, he told him that he had seen a fortune teller, and the fortune said that they would have a world tag team title match against APA, Bradshaw and Faarooq. Miz knew this could not be the case, as APA had not wrestled a match since 2004, but Truth insisted. The “fortune teller” who “predicted” the match was actually Scarlett, and she explained to Miz that Awesome Truth had a match against AOP, the Authors of Pain.

The champions were overpowered for much of the match but found a way to use distractions to their advantage.

Recently, Karrion Kross has been trying to convince Xavier Woods to leave his New Day teammate Kofi Kingston and join The Final Testament, but Woods has not been responsive to the idea. During the match last night, The New Day interfered and attacked The Final Testament, taking AOP’s focus off of the match.

R-Truth tried to use his title belt as a weapon, but it was ineffective in dealing any physical harm to Akam. It was effective in the sense that Akam was too angry at truth to see The Miz sneak up behind him, and Miz rolled Akam up for the pinfall victory, retaining the tag titles.

3. Isla Dawn and Alba Fyre face Shayna Baszler and Zoey Stark ahead of Clash at the Castle match

On Saturday at Clash at the Castle, Women’s Tag Team Champions Bianca Belair and Jade Cargill will defend their titles in a triple threat match against Alba Fyre and Isla Dawn and the team of Shayna Baszler and Zoey Stark. Last night, the champions watched as Fyre and Dawn faced Baszler and Stark.

Raw set up a triple threat tag title match for Saturday
Raw set up a triple threat tag title match for Saturday / WWE

In this preview of Saturday’s match, the Scottish team of Fyre and Dawn were defeated by submission, but could the outcome be different with their home country crowd on their side?

2. Bron Breakker breaks Ricochet

After rushing to Ricochet’s defense last week, Ilja Dragunov faced his attacker, Bron Breakker.

Breakker’s ruthless barbarism has destroyed every opponent put in front of him so far on Raw, but he had not yet faced an opponent with the passion of Dragunov. It was no surprise that two of the most hard-hitting and intense wrestlers on Raw delivered such a spectacular performance.

Bron Breakker and Ilja Dragunov
Bron Breakker and Ilja Dragunov / WWE

As much as Breakker brutalized Dragunov, it only seemed to make Dragunov push harder. Unfortunately for Dragunov, his ribs were still weakened from Breakker’s previous attacks, and he could not kick out after three consecutive spears. The action did not stop when the bell rang, either. Breakker celebrated briefly, and started towards Dragunov to continue dealing more damage, but he was thwarted by Ricochet descending from above. Ricochet had told Dragunov before the match that he would have his back just like Dragunov did for him last week, and he made good on that promise.

Bron Breakker demolishes Ricochet
Bron Breakker demolishes Ricochet / WWE

Though he saved Dragunov from Breakker’s wrath, Ricochet could not save himself. Breakker found Ricochet helping Dragunov get around backstage and attacked Dragunov, but Ricochet fought him off. The two fought into the loading bay, where Breakker tossed Ricochet like a lawn dart into the sides of trailers, and launched him onto a car, shattering the windshield in the process.

The savage attack resulted in Ricochet being taken away in an ambulance, with his tearful fiancée and ring announcer Samantha Irving accompanying him.

Bron Breakker
Bron Breakker / WWE

1. Match stipulation set for Clash at the Castle

In the night’s main event, Drew McIntyre faced Finn Balor. The match stipulation was that if McIntyre won, The Judgment Day would be banned from ringside during his World Heavyweight Championship match at Saturday’s Clash at the Castle. Every title defense of Damian Priest’s so far has been won with the help of Judgment Day interference, so this stipulation could make or break McIntyre’s chances at regaining the title.

Finn Balor and Drew McIntyre
Finn Balor and Drew McIntyre / WWE

A sharp disadvantage was on the line, and McIntyre sure fought like it. Balor is one of the best in the world, and there were several points in the match where it looked like he would get the job done for Priest. However, McIntyre wanted it too much.

Drew McIntyre with a Claymore
Drew McIntyre with a Claymore / WWE

With the victory, McIntyre should have a fair title fight at Clash on Saturday.

Noelle Perry