It’s time for another episode of WWE Raw. We’re just 24 hours removed from the Extreme Rules, which received mixed reviews, but will be remembered for 2 reasons; Roman Reigns losing his yard to Bobby Lashley, and the clock being the most over thing in the whole show. We need to also remember that last week’s Raw was the lowest rating in its history. What can they do to steady the ship? Let’s find out in 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1….. EEEHHHHHH!!!!!
We kick off Raw with General Manager Kurt Angle in the ring. He says it’s been 24 hours since his ultimatum for Brock Lesnar to appear or arrange a title defence, but he’s heard nothing, so he’s stripping Brock of the….. WAIT! Here’s Paul Heyman! Kurt says Brock needs to come out, but apparently he’s not here. Kurt tries to strip him again, but Heyman cuts him off.
Heyman gets into the ring, and says Kurt and the WWE Universe has it all wrong. We believe Brock doesn’t care about being champ, and his only focus is becoming UFC champ, but that’s not true. Brock wants to represent the WWE by challenging for the UFC title with the WWE one around his waist. They talk shite, and Heyman says Brock will defend at Summerslam. Now Kurt has to decide who will face him… oh sweet Jesus, that’s Lashley’s music!
Bobbo had 2 goals when he returned: beat Roman, and win the Universal title. Drew McIntyre is here to save the day! He says he didn’t come back to just fill a roster spot or stand in Dolph Ziggler’s corner, he came to make a change. Step 1 was Dolph winning the IC title, and step 2 is him winning the Universal Title. Is it getting hot in here? That’s because it’s time for THE KINGSLAYER!
Rollins says he wants the title shot, and we hear a strum of a guitar that can only mean it’s time to Walk With Elias, who comes to the ring and does his usual stuff until Finn Balor comes out. Finn thinks it makes sense that he gets the shot, since he’s the first Universal champ… but HERE COMES THE BIG DOG! Kurt says we’re going to have 2 triple threat matches tonight, and the winners face each other next week. It will be Elias, Seth & Bobby in one, and Balor, Roman & Drew in the other.
In the first of the qualifier matches, Finn Balor faced Drew McIntyre & Roman Reigns. Balor controls most of the early stages, using his speed to his advantage, and he hit a dive without us going to break. They take the action back to the ring and Drew takes control, keeping Balor grounded as he works over Reigns. Roman goes for a driveby on Balor, but he dodges it and hits a slingshot stomp onto the apron, and Drew dives out over the top onto Roman… NICE! Balor nails a diving stomp to the back of Drew, and tries to roll Roman back in, but only gets a 2 count. We get big “Let’s Go Balor” chants.
Balor goes up top for the Coup de Grâce, but Drew clatters him with a chair. He goes to hit Roman, but eats a punch in the face. Roman goes into the ringpost, and Drew gets a a near fall. We go to break and come back to Drew being in control again, until Balor smashes him with a chair. Finn starts laying into Roman with it. He sends Drew into the barrier, then Roman spears Drew, and Finn hits a Slingblade on Roman. Roman with a Superman Punch, but Finn kicks out! Finn hits a Coup de Grâce, but Drew drags him out of the ring!
Drew nails a Claymore on Balor, Roman Superman Punches him, and Spears Balor for the win! Please do not give us Lesnar-Roman again…
Booby Lashley has a backstage promo where he says Lesnar has never faced a man like him. Ah, I see we’re being selective about what aspects of his UFC tenure are part of WWE canon, so Cain Velasquez, Overeem & Carwin don’t exist! Seth has a promo where he talks shit too, but seems to get cut off mid-sentence.
As Lashley makes his way to the ring for the main event Elias jumps Rollins. The match starts and they fight for a bit, until Rollins turns his focus to Lashley. We get a few more minutes of good Rollins-Elias action, and we see Heyman, Angle & Corbin watching backstage.
Elias controlled large chunks of the match, with one of the others rallying from time to time. Rollins hits a Frog Splash at one stage, but Elias only gets a 2 count. Rollins with a Blockbuster on Elias, but that only gets a 2. Buckle Bomb to Lashley, followed by his Falcon Arrow combo to Elias, but again a 2 count. Rollins hits the Curb Stomp on Elias, but Lashley breaks up the pin. Seth goes for a stomp on Lashley, Elias cuts him off. Spear to Elias, and Lashley wins. He’s moving on to face Roman next week. You know, the exact same match the fans didn’t give a shit about just 24 hours before this aired?
Dolph Ziggler comes out and says Robert Downey Jr needs to move over, because he’s the real Ironman. He says last night the IC title main evented a PPV for the first time in 17 years – I think they’re referring to when the Two Man Power Trip faced the Brothers of Destruction for all the titles at Backlash 2001, so while it’s technically true, the IC title wasn’t really the focal point of that match.
Dolph says he respects Seth Rollins and everything he done for the IC title, but he’s no Dolph Ziggler. He didn’t just beat him once, he pinned him 5 times. Yay, here comes Bobby Roode! Bobby says McIntyre needs some credit since he helped Dolph keep the title. Dolph asks how it felt sitting on the sidelines watching him defending the title, and Roode says it sucked. That’s why he’s out here to challenge for the title right now. Dolph says no, but Roode goads him by saying he’s scared to compete on his own. Didn’t we have this feud on Smackdown a few months ago? Can’t they come up with new feuds?
The match itself is pretty decent, albeit a bit too similar to their previous matches. Both guys are always solid and don’t have bad matches, but it wasn’t exactly spectacular either. Dolph gets the win after a nice closing sequence.
Raw Women’s Champion Alexa Bliss comes out to address her victory last night. She lists all the obstacles and weapons she overcame at Extreme Rules, and says nobody thought she could win. She says that was the final chapter, and it ended the way good stories do; the bully ate her words, and the goddess stands victorious. Apparently outsmarting Nia Jax was not that difficult, and now Bliss has defeated every woman in the locker room… Rousey doesn’t count because she’s suspended. Bliss calls for the suspension to be extended, since Ronda interfered in the match last night. Hmm who is that in the crowd? HERE’S RONDA!
Alexa & Mickie go to leave, but Ronda cuts them off at the top of the ramp. They try to run away but Ronda gives chase and grabs Mickie (teehee). She hits her swinging Samoan Drop, and goes for an Armbar but Alexa and officials drag her out. Ronda takes off after them and lays everyone out on the stage. She leads Alexa back to the ring by her hair, hits her with a vicious throw, and goes for the Armbar until Kurt Angle appears.
Kurt says there’s 2 days left on her suspension, and she needs to go home and wait it out. Corbin comes out and says she needs to be reprimanded, and Kurt needs to put his foot down. Kurt adds another week on to it, and Corbin isn’t happy, so he’s going to ring Stephanie, but can’t find his phone because Kurt has it. Kurt says Ronda can have a match with Alexa at Summerslam, but Ronda needs to behave between now and then.
Kurt talked to Bayley in his office about her and Sasha’s friendship counselling. Bayley said she tried, and maybe Sasha did too, but she doesn’t think they’ll be friends again. Kurt says they went about things the wrong way, but tonight they’ll try to get on the same page in the ring, when they team against Alicia Fox & Dana Brooke, and if they can’t, one of them is going to Smackdown.
It’s great to see Foxy back in the ring after her injury, and happy to see Dana get some TV time too, even if it’s on Boss Time. The match itself was Bayley in the ring the whole time, as Fox & Dana kept her from the corner and knocked Sasha off the apron. Eventually Sasha attacks both of them on the outside to protect Bayley, and I think they give the win to Dana & Foxy, but there’s no announcement of the winners…
Backstage afterwards Sasha goes to leave but Bayley stops her. Sasha says it’s one thing for her to beat Bayley up, but nobody else can. She hates talking about her feelings. She likes loads of things about Bayley, how nice she is, etc., but Bayley doesn’t get it…. Sasha loves her. Wow, was not expecting that! Where the fuck are they going with this? Their track record with sensitive subject matter is dodgy at best (See; Eugene, Katie Vick)
Roman Reigns def Finn Balor & Drew McIntyre
Bobby Lashley def Seth Rollins & Elias
Sarah Logan def Ember Moon
Alicia Fox & Dana Brooke def Bayley & Sasha Banks (I think)
Dolph Ziggler def Bobby Roode
B Team def The Ascension
AOP def Titus Worldwide
Mojo Rawley def Tyler Breeze
I risk sounding like a stuck record here, but it’s another week of decent inring work surrounded by poor storytelling. The Ronda stuff is amazing, and I’m intrigued to see where Drew goes in the long run, but beyond that it’s hard to get invested in these “stars”. Ember Moon continues to make everyone she works with look like a million bucks, Seth Rollins & Finn Balor are putting in great performances every week, but they’re being overshadowed by storylines featuring other people that have either been dragged out for too long or the crowd don’t care about. It shouldn’t be this difficult with the amount of TV time they have to give people something they can actually get invested in.
And just remember, our main storyline going into Summerslam, at a time with the most talented roster ever at their disposal, is a champ we haven’t seen in months facing either the guy he’s beat repeatedly over the past 3 years, or a guy who was a shitty, budget-version of him in the WWE and MMA worlds over the past decade. This has to be setting up a Strowman cash-in, surely?! And what the fuck is going on with Sasha & Bayley??? Answers on a postcard please…
While you’re here, make sure to check out ‘The Alleged Wrestling Podcast’ where we have the craic looking back over the wrestling events of the past week! (It’s also on iTunes and Stitcher and all those nice things)
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