Welcome aboard folks, it’s time for another week of WWE Raw. Last Monday we saw Roman Reigns become the #1 Contender for Brock Lesnar’s title (again), and we saw the introduction of Finn’s Fun House, which isn’t half as kinky as it sounds. What will this week bring? Probably disappointment. But let’s jump into the action and find out….
We kicked off the show with a strange looking man holding what looks like a red version of AJ Styles’ WWE Championship. Apparently that is a “Universal Championship”, and that’s Brock Lesnar, who is the champion… never heard of him. After that we cut to the ring and out comes THE BIG DOG, Roman Reigns.
They mention that Roman apparently should have won the cage match in Saudi Arabia, and the whole “uncrowned champ” stuff. Loud chorus of boos for Poochie here. Roman gives a shoutout to Lashley and says he respects him. Apparently that’s a lot more than he has for Lesnar. He calls him a fool, says he never shows up, and mentions that he shows up in UFC. They mention the showdown with Daniel Cormier (it’s all a work). There’s a pause, and out comes Paul Heyman.
Heyman goes through his usual stuff, and says “Definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”. It’s like he’s describing this feud. He says Brock will run through Roman, then he’s off to UFC and will become a 2 sport champ.
Roman tells him to shut up, and says we’re here to see Brock, so bring him out here. Paul says Brock is indeed here (we know, we saw him on screen), and he will come out when he feels like it. Roman says if Brock shows up at Summerslam, he’ll send him back to UFC as his bitch. An ok opener, but would have been better if we hadn’t seen it so many times before
Throughout the night we saw some more of Brock Lesnar backstage reading magazines. Heyman asks if he heard what Roman said about him. Brock says he didn’t, he doesn’t watch the show. Paul shows him what was said, but Brock throws the phone against a wall, and goes back to his comic book.
Later on Kurt Angle catches up with Heyman and says Brock is contractually obligated to appear. Paul says he fulfilled that when he arrived at the arena, and if Angle wants more, he can go talk to Brock. Kurt says he controls Paul’s contract, so if Brock doesn’t appear in the ring, Paul is fired.
There’s another locker room bit where Paul is trying to persuade him to go to the ring, talking about merch sales, network subscriptions, etc. Brock tells him he’s getting under his skin, and he doesn’t care about the WWE Universe. He’d rather be at home on his own couch, and sends Paul to get him a steak.
Later in the night Stephanie calls Corbin and asks to speak to Kurt. She’s trying to protect the Summerslam match, and she sends Kurt to Roman’s locker room to remove him from the building. Roman asks how long we’re going to keep doing this (we’ve been saying that for years), and says Kurt isn’t a yes man. Roman cheapshots Corbin on his way out, and that segment is the kind of Roman fans might actually get behind, if he’s not already damaged beyond repair.
Heyman’s last attempt to persuade Brock is asking him to go to the ring, bow, say hi and goodbye and leave. Brock asks if he got his money. Paul comes clean about the fact that he needs Brock to go out to the ring to save his job, and he’s asking for this as Brock’s friend. Brock grabs him and says he’s not his friend, Paul works for him, and asks how long Paul has been leeching off him.
Kurt Angle goes to the ring with Baron Corbin, and calls out Heyman to produce Lesnar. Out trots Heyman, and he says Brock will not be appearing. Kurt snaps and says that a real champ shows up, defends his title at all cost, does things for charities, and Brock does none of it. He calls Brock the worst Universal Champ of all time, which gets huge cheers.
Heyman says he agrees, he tried to remold Brock as a WWE star, but Brock doesn’t respect anyone, even him. He tried to build Brock in Kurt’s image, so if Kurt has ramifications for anyone it should be Brock. Kurt fires him, and Heyman falls to his knees pleading with him, but out comes Brock.
Brock hands Paul the title, and takes the microphone. He gets in Kurt’s face and asks if he has a problem with him. Brock F5s Kurt, then stares down Corbin, who steps out of the ring. Paul hands him the title, but Brock grabs him by the throat and forces him to the mat, telling him to look at what he done to Angle, as we close the show. We also get “We Want Roman” chants from the higher pitched portion of the audience.
Our first match of the night is Finn Balor vs Constable Baron Corbin. Balor comes out to a ridiculous pop, and his reactions have been getting louder and louder despite the terrible childish booking of this feud. Fast start from Balor, and Corbin throws him from the ring a few times but Finn lands on his feet. Balor with a middle rope dropkick to send Corbin to the outside. Nice spot where Balor is on the apron and Corbin is in the ring and they both block attempts to ram them into the turnbuckle, ending with Balor getting clotheslined to the outside.
We come back from break and Finn is in control, but Corbin then recovers and lays Balor out. Balor rallies but Corbin does his slide around the ring post spot, which I always love. They trade blows back and forth, and Balor with a dive to the outside, as we go to another break.
Back from break and Balor rushes Corbin in the corner but gets caught for a Chokeslam Backbreaker. Finn counters an End of Days into a DDT, and an Enziguiri. Corbin moves out of the way of a Coup de Grâce and hits a Deep Six. Finn with a Shotgun Dropkick into the barrier. He goes up top again, but Corbin moves again and hits the End of Days for the win.
Really good match, and a shot in the arm this feud needs, even though it’s 50/50 booking. After the match Corbin continues the beatdown.
Ronda Rousey is back from suspension, and she is going to corner Natalya when she faces Alicia Fox, who will have Alexa Bliss in her corner. Apparently Mickie James is hurt, so Bliss picked Foxy to take her place. Crazy Foxy tells Bliss she’s going to hurt Nattie so bad her cat is going to say “Me-owww!”. Ah I missed Crazy Fox!
For some reason we get Rousey’s music for Natalya’s entrance for the match. I get she’s the bigger star, but this is Nattie’s match. As expected the match is more about the women outside the ring than the ones in it. There’s a nice spot where Fox pulls the ring skirt from under Nattie to trap her and get a few cheap shots in. Fox locks in a “modified” abdominal stretch, which just looks like a botch to me. I see through your bullshit Cole!
Fox with a nice Northern Lights Suplex, and she takes a swing at Rousey, which turns the ref’s back for Bliss to get a cheap shot in. Big Boot from Foxy and she gets the win! As Fox & Bliss celebrate Ronda chases them. She catches Bliss with a beautiful throw, but Fox breaks up the Armbar. Spinning Samoan Drop to Fox, and she’s off after Bliss again. Another cheap shot from Fox, and sends Ronda into the barrier, allowing them to escape.
Ronda is a star, and this was a great showing from Fox. Backstage afterwards Ronda says she’s fed up of it all, and Kurt tells her next week she’ll face Fox in her first ever Raw match. Didn’t he say last week if Ronda attacked Alexa again she’d lose her shot at Summerslam?
Constable Corbin runs into Kevin Owens backstage. Kevin congratulates him on his win earlier, and says Corbin is now his son’s favourite wrestler. Corbin is happy to hear he inspires him. Owens says the Lesnar situation is concerning him because it’s Kurt undermining Stephanie McMahon’s authority. He’s worried Braun will cash in his briefcase tonight, so Owens can’t win it at Summerslam. Corbin says he’ll see what he can do, but until Summerslam it does belong to Braun.
Braun Strowman is scheduled to face Jinder Mahal. Jinder is scared of Braun, and Braun overpowers him early. Jinder tries his “Ashanti” stuff again, to no avail, and then Kevin Owens appears. He grabs the contract and taunts Braun with it. Braun takes off after him, Owens throws it to Sunil Singh, Braun runs him over, grabs the briefcase and takes off up the ramp after Owens. This gives Jinder the countout win… stupid babyface syndrome folks!
Seth Rollins is set to face Drew McIntyre in singles competition. Fast start from both guys, Seth goes for a dive, but Drew catches him and drives him into the barrier. Drew with a slingshot into the steel support under the ring as we go to break.
Back from break and Seth hits a suicide dive this time. They go back and forth for a few minutes, with Drew dominating large parts of it. There’s a nice spot where Seth goes for a Satellite DDT but instead hits a Falcon Arrow. Drew hits a White Noise off the middle rope for a 2 count. A loud “This is awesome” chant breaks out. Drew goes for his slingshot facebuster but Seth counters into a rollup for a 2 count of his own.
Seth hits a Curb Stomp, but Ziggler jumps him before he can attempt the pin. Rollins tries to rally, sends Ziggler to the floor and hits a huge dive to end the segment. Good match, and simple storytelling with the beat down and then challenger overcoming the numbers game. Later in the show they both jump Seth during an interview with Renee Young and leave him laying.
The B Team come out to the ring to chat to Charly Caruso. Bo says the B in B Team stands for “Dream”. They call the WWE Universe their teammates, and Charly reminds them the Deleters of Worlds aren’t too happy with their title reign. Axel said it was weird how they applauded last week but then laid them out, and would love to see them come out and get in their faces.Cue the lights, and the Deleters appear in the ring.
Matt calls their success a “cosmic anomaly”, and it’s up to the Deleters to correct this. Bray says their dreams are fleeting, but their nightmares are real, their real fears. They are the B Teams nightmares. Matt starts a delete chant, but The Revival’s music hits.
Dawson says he doesn’t know what the Deleters just said, but they don’t know how these guys are the top teams in the division. They are the team that beat Lashley & Reigns, so the Deleters should step aside and leave the Top Guys get their business. Bo offers to step aside since they obviously want to talk to Matt & Bray. Bray pushes him into Dawson and it all turns into a brawl between Revival & Deleters. Tag team match, playa playa!
The impromptu tag match between the Deleters and Revival was pretty decent. The commentary is barely focusing on the match, instead focusing on the B Team, which is irritating me. Some gobshites start a CM Punk chant and a Rusev Day chant… Miami, I ask that you please get fucked! Revival get the win after a Shatter Machine on Bray. Good showing for Revival, who have really raised their stock over the past 2 months.
Sasha Banks & Bayley teamed up again to face Liv Morgan & Sarah Logan. Makes a nice change from Riott Squad facing Ember Moon, I suppose. Some nice double team moves from “Hug Life”, including a double whip into the corner that causes a nice whiplash effect. Sasha with Meteoras from everywhere, and they’re in control as we go to break,
Back from break and Logan is controlling Banks. She keeps her grounded and isolated, and tags in Liv, who gets a 2 count. Hot tag to Bayley and she runs through Liv for a minute or so. Hurricanrana-Meteora sequence from “The Bank Bayl-Out”, but Logan breaks up the pin. Bayley clears the ring, backstabber from Sasha into a Bayley to Belly, and the Scissor Sisters get the win.
Baron Corbin def Finn Balor
Alicia Fox def Natalya
Jinder Mahal def Braun Strowman (countout)
Apollo Crews def Akam (for some reason)
Seth Rollins def Drew McIntyre (DQ)
Revival def Deleters of Worlds
Bayley & Sasha Banks def Riott Squad
I don’t know what to make of this show, to be honest. The Lashley singing bit was horrible, but it had Elias so I didn’t hate it. The Balor-Corbin match had 50/50 booking, which is completely formulaic, but it was a good match. They dragged another week out of the Rollins-Ziggler feud, but then Ronda Rousey came back to a great reaction.
However this whole show seemed to just be built on Brock Lesnar, and while Brock was terrific throughout the show, there wasn’t much thought gone into anything else. It will be interesting to see where they go from here with his relationship with Heyman, but at the same time I couldn’t care.
The whole thing feels like they’ve spent the past few months or even past year building Brock up to be the worst possible champ ever just to get Roman chants and cheers. However half the crowd don’t want any of it, and then when some people actually chant “We Want Roman”, he doesn’t appear…What the fuck are you doing, WWE?!
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