All the talk in the run-up to this week’s RAW has been about Stephanie McMahon’s big announcement, and fair enough because it was a doozy. That wasn’t all we got though. There was a tag title match, a Universal Championship number one contender’s match, two and a half women’s division matches, and a bunch of other fun stuff as well.
I’m Amanda and I’m still trying to get my head around the new review format so bear with me.
The B-Team def. Deleters of Worlds via pinfall – RAW Tag Team Championship match – Decent match, Wyatt and Dallas got some ring time together. Curtis Axel pinned Matt Hardy. After the match, Hardy and Wyatt applauded Dallas and Axel, then attacked them.
Sasha Banks and Bayley def. Samantha Simon & Karen Lundy *jobbers* via submission (Bank Statement).
Mickie James def. Natalya via pinfall– Mickie James got the pin while Natalya was still distracted from dealing with Alexa Bliss interference.
Mojo Rawley def. Tyler Breeze via pinfall – Ok, so Rawley won, but it was nice to see Breeze reminding people how good he is again.
Finn Balor def. Drew McIntyre via disqualification – Balor was winning when Dolph Ziggler got involved and caused the DQ. Seth Rollins saved Balor from the post-match beatdown and Kurt Angle restarted it as a tag.
Seth Rollins and Finn Balor def. Dolph Ziggler and Drew McIntyre via pinfall – Seth Rollins hit the Stomp on Ziggler for the win.
Ember Moon def. Liv Morgan via pinfall – Sarah Logan was banned from ringside, so Morgan was alone for the first time. Moon finished it with the Eclipse.
Roman Reigns def. Bobby Lashley via pinfall – Universal Championship Number One Contender’s match.
The Best Bits
– The opener for the show had the entire roster stood on the stage, including NXT’s Nikki Cross, and some of the 205 Live roster. Vince McMahon was already in the ring and he brought out Triple H and Stephanie McMahon.
Triple H took a moment to talk about the superstars, pointing out that all brands were represented. He said there is a bond that is created when you step in the ring when you put your trust in someone else’s hands, and he’s never seen that bond stronger than it is with today’s superstars.
Then he asked the women to step forward and said, ‘Ladies, the men that stand behind you, I want you to know how much they truly support you’. And they already know how much the WWE universe supports them. He listed off the firsts that have already been achieved. He said they’ve stood in awe watching them steal the show again and again, and they’re so proud of them.
Stephanie McMahon got to make the announcement. She said these things don’t just happen they happen because we (fans) make it happen. She talked about the ‘give divas a chance’ hashtag and how things have improved already. Eventually, she got to the point. The first ever all women’s PPV will happen on October 28, it will be called Evolution and will feature over 50 women from the past and present of WWE (Then. Now. Forever).
Michael Cole filled us in on some of the details. The RAW, SmackDown Live, and NXT women’s championships will be defended, and the final of the Mae Young Classic will be on the show. It was heavily discussed throughout the show.
– Finn Balor and Seth Rollins vs Drew McIntyre and Dolph Ziggler – The match started as Balor vs McIntyre in singles competition, and that was good. But it got even better when McIntyre’s DQ led to a tag match. I could wax lyrical about the highlights and high spots, but it was just a really enjoyable match featuring four superstars on top of their game with great in-ring chemistry. Seth Rollins kicked out of being flipped face-first into the canvas over Drew McIntyre’s head and got the pin off a Stomp to Dolph Ziggler.
– Bobby Lashley versus Roman Reigns. Both had pre-match promos. In Roman Reigns backstage interview, he was asked why tonight is going to be any different from Extreme Rules. Lashley beat him and that will be on his resumé forever, but he’s the most decorated superstar of his generation. All the people saying Roman is getting crammed down our throats can learn to like it or close their mouths. He’s not only taking back his Universal Championship, he’s going to whoop Brock Lesnar’s ass.
Lashley’s answering promo said he came back for matches like this. Before he left he main evented WrestleMania and he won. Roman Reigns failed twice and will fail again. When Brock Lesnar comes back he’s going to get in his face and tell him he’s the man he’ll face at SummerSlam. He hopes Lesnar is rested up because there’s no sleep until Brooklyn.
The match itself was much like their others, and no worse for it. Reigns started off taking it to Lashley to try to compensate for his Extreme Rules loss. Lashley gained momentum by suplexing Reigns at ringside.
However you feel about either as a personality, they’re well suited in the ring. The crowd amused me by chanting, we want Ambrose’ – but it is his hometown and he’s been gone much too long.
Reigns tried to finish things with a superman punch, Bobby Lashley caught him in a full nelson. You don’t see that so often any more. Lashley spent a lot of the match trying for submissions. He doesn’t just want to beat Reigns again, he seems to want to make him quit.
Lashley was dominant for the majority of the match, Reigns looked like the underdog for significant portions of it. When Lashley went for a spear and Reigns jumped to avoid it he appeared to knee Lashley in the head (it looked weird, but it did something). Bobby Lashley still managed to kick out of the superman punch though.
It looked to be over when Reigns fell awkwardly into the ring, landing on his neck, then took a spear, but Roman Reigns kicked out. Lashley went for another spear but took a superman punch instead. Bobby Lashley blocked Reigns first attempt at the spear, but the second one connected and Reigns got the win.
Lashley offered Reigns a handshake after the match, and they parted with a grudging respect.
The bits that didn’t resonate with me
– Bayley and Sasha Banks appeared to have made up in a backstage interview. Bayley said they’ve had a really long talk and decided that their differences are what makes their friendship so strong. They are two different people, but two different people with the same dream and their dreams just keep getting bigger with Stephanie McMahon’s announcement. They’re more ready than ever to be on the same page. For some inexplicable reason, they gave them a squash match. They did some double team stuff to show how unified they are and hugged at the end of the match.
– Braun Strowman congratulated the women on the new PPV, especially Alexa Bliss, then talked about Bobby Lashley and Roman Reigns. It doesn’t matter which one of them faces Lesnar though because, eventually, a monster will come calling. Kevin Owens came out and told Strowman he couldn’t believe, after everything he did to him at Extreme Rules, he could just come out and talk about the Universal Championship. Strowman has broken Owens. He said his kids used to think he was indestructible but now they’re scared every time they see how much pain he’s in just walking down the stairs. Apparently, Owens’ son had dreams of being tag champions with Strowman one day but now those dreams are crushed, like Owens’ spine.
Anyway, the point of it all was that he’s going to take everything away from him He brought out Constable Corbin who told Strowman that what he did was morally reprehensible. But he thinks he can help Strowman to control his temper. Jinder Mahal was his solution. Mahal tried to get Strowman to do breathing exercises. Strowman said it wasn’t working for him. Braun Strowman kicked Jinder Mahal in the face, threw Sunil Singh at him, then gave Singh the running powerslam.
– Authors of Pain did an in-ring promo. They said they won’t wait forever, give them someone, anyone. Anyone but Titus Worldwide because they’re done with them. Titus Worldwide came out and said Authors of Pain are two of the strongest on the WWE roster, but they’re also some of the youngest which means they’ve got a lot to learn. Titus O’Neil tried to make it a teachable moment, and Apollo tried to big up O’Neil’s credentials, but it ended in a big brawl. O’Neil and Apollo managed to throw Authors of Pain out of the ring.
There were some interesting and/or amusing nuances that don’t fit anywhere else. Bo Dallas describing Axel as the brother he never had, while about to head to the ring to face the one he does have, and then having to come back for the belts because they forgot them. Baron Corbin moving Finn Balor’s gear to a kids’ playhouse and Balor being thrilled he had ‘Finn’s funhouse’.
Elias was interrupted repeatedly, by Deleters of Worlds, Braun Strowman, Authors of Pain, and Finn Balor. He did eventually manage to tell everyone his album is out now. Kurt Angle did interrupt him on his final attempt, but only to tell him the floor was his to play a song from the album. He talked a lot, sang a little bit, then said he wasn’t really feeling the vibe and insulted Cincinnati instead. Bobby Lashley’s entrance cut him off at that point.
WWE won the ESPN Sports Humanitarian Award.
SummerSlam is starting to take shape. Roman Reigns versus Brock Lesnar is happening again. I’m a Reigns fan and I’m even I’m starting to get sick of seeing this match. Kevin Owens asked Stephanie McMahon and Kurt Angle if he can face Strowman at SummerSlam for the Money in the Bank briefcase. Angle said that was absurd, Stephanie McMahon said she liked it and gave him the match. And Seth Rollins has been given another Intercontinental Championship match against Dolph Ziggler.
All in all, a high energy episode of RAW. The announcement of the women’s PPV seemed to give everyone a lift. Not everything will work for everyone, that’s the trouble with catering to a wide demographic, but there’s a lot to look forward to in WWE at the moment.