Extreme Rules is over (see the full review here) and we’re heading towards SummerSlam. New Universal Champion, Brock Lesnar, needs a challenger, there will be a “Cross-Branded All-Star Top 10 Battle Royal” to find him one. Competing for the spot will be: Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns, Big E, Braun Strowman, Cesaro, Bobby Lashley, Sami Zayn, Baron Corbin, Randy Orton, and Rey Mysterio. RAW Women’s Champion also needs a SummerSlam opponent. Naomi, Alexa Bliss, Carmella, and Natalya compete for that position in a Fatal Four-way. We’ll also get the fallout from AJ Styles’ victory over Ricochet.
I’m Amanda and this is the RAW review.
Ricochet & The Usos def. The Revival & Robert Roode
The Viking Raiders def. Vinny Gruner & Jackson James
Cedric Alexander def. Drew McIntyre
Samoa Joe def. Finn Balor
Zack Ryder def. Mike Kanellis
The Club def. Lucha House Party
Natalya def. Alexa Bliss, Naomi, & Carmella
Seth Rollins won the Cross-Branded Top 10 All-Star Battle Royal
The Key Bits
» Universal Champion, Brock Lesnar, opened the show with Paul Heyman. After a recap of Lesnar’s cash in at the end of Extreme Rules, Heyman did his introduction and ran through his ‘I told you so’ moments, finishing with him having told WWE to prepare an opponent for Lesnar for SummerSlam. No one listened, and Heyman has ‘all the stroke’ around there at the moment, so he’s organised the 10-man Cross-Branded Top 10 All-Star Battle Royal and announced the names.
After a few digs about emasculating Seth Rollins and a warning that stepping into the ring with Lesnar risks your health, welfare, and manhood, he told us that whoever faces Brock Lesnar becomes one of Brock’s bitches.
Ricochet came out for his match before Lesnar and Heyman had left ringside. Sensibly, he ignored Lesnar, and Lesnar let him.
There were promos from the participants sprinkled through the show. Roman Reigns doesn’t care what anyone says, this is his week. He won at the ESPYs and had the ‘Hobbs and Shaw’ premiere, then beat Shane McMahon & Drew McIntyre with The Undertaker. And he’s going to finish it off by winning the Battle Royal.
Seth Rollins is more hurt by not having his title than by anything Corbin or Lesnar did to him. He said Becky Lynch is one of the toughest human beings he knows and he doesn’t know if she’ll be there tonight but she’s going to be ok. Corbin found out last night what happens when he pushed him too far. That’s just a small taste of what will happen on his way back to Brock Lesnar and the Universal Championship.
Randy Orton has unfinished business with Lesnar and plans to finish it when he wins.
The ‘Cross-Branded Top 10 All-Star Battle Royal’, featuring; Big E, Sami Zayn, Seth Rollins, Bobby Lashley, Rey Mysterio, Baron Corbin, Roman Reigns, Cesaro, Randy Orton, and Braun Strowman closed the show. Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman came out to the stage before it started. Lesnar was carrying a chair, which he sat on to watch.
Cesaro had an impressive early stint, but he didn’t eliminate anyone and became the first person out, courtesy of Lashley. Lashley was the second, thanks to Braun Strowman. Sami Zayn eliminated Big E, then took an RKO and a 619 before being thrown out by Randy Orton. Roman Reigns superman punched Orton out of the ring, but Orton went between the ropes. Baron Corbin eliminated Rey Mysterio.
The final four in the ring were Rollins, Reigns, Strowman, and Corbin. Strowman held Corbin in place for Reigns to deliver a drive-by before Rollins superkicked him and threw him out of the ring.
Reigns speared Rollins when Strowman sidestepped. Strowman grabbed Reigns and put him over the top rope but Reigns held on. Rollins got up and kicked them both out. Seth Rollins thought he’d won until Randy Orton knocked him over the top rope. Rollins hung on and fought back. Orton dragged him back into the ring to give him the draping DDT. Orton took much to long to follow up. He eyeballed and trash-talked Lesnar, posed for the crowd then finally lined up for an RKO. Instead, Rollins kicked him in the stomach, Stomped him and threw him over the top rope.
Seth Rollins will meet Brock Lesnar at SummerSlam. Paul Heyman gave him a lengthy introduction. Rollins told him to shut up and spoke directly to Lesnar, telling him SummerSlam is going to look a lot like WrestleMania when he Stomps his head into the mat.
Lesnar advanced to the ring, chair in hand, with Rollins yelling at him to do it, as the show went off air.
» Finn Balor had a promo segment to talk about losing the Intercontinental title. He said he doesn’t dwell on the past, he looked for a way to keep moving forward. He wants his Intercontinental Championship back and tonight Samoa Joe stands in his way. He doesn’t care if he has to go up, over, around, or straight through Joe, he will find a way to keep moving forward.
In Samoa Joe’s answering promo, he disagreed. He said Balor would need the Celtic heroes of old to smite him down in his stead. But instead, Joe’s just going to beat him.
Samoa Joe vs Finn Balor is a well-trodden path in WWE, but it’s still a good match. Or it usually is. This one was just short, finishing with Samoa Joe picking up the win. Most of the fighting happened afterwards. Joe wanted to deliver more punishment, Balor fought back and Samoa Joe left after taking a Coup de Grace.
When Balor was celebrating the music went weird, then the lights went out. Sounds of fighting could be heard in the darkness and when the lights came back, as shifting spotlights to start with, Bray Wyatt’s new Fiend character delivered a Sister Abigail to Finn Balor. The lights went out and there was Wyatt’s spooky laughter to end the segment.
» Alexa Bliss, with Nikki Cross, vs Carmella vs Naomi vs Natalya – Fatal Four-Way, number one contender’s Elimination match – Bliss and Cross were smiling and hugging during their entrance, so their loss to Bayley last night hasn’t shattered their friendship, yet. Becky Lynch appeared, hobbling slightly, to watch the match. Bliss escaped the ring almost immediately,0 and Carmella was kicked out of it, so it was Natalya and Naomi who got things going. Carmella came back in to try to steal a pin, but both Natalya and Naomi kept kicking out. The first elimination came courtesy of a sneaky roll-up on Carmella by Alexa Bliss. Bliss hadn’t even been in the ring, she just darted in when Carmella’s attention was otherwise occupied.
The second elimination was a long time coming, which was good because the match was decent. It was a bit too long for the crowd though and they got disrespectful. Bliss kept trying to steal sneaky pins and failing. Natalya, eventually, pinned Naomi to leave Natalya and Alexa Bliss as the final two. Nikki Cross got on the mic at the start of the third fall and told the crowd to cheer for Bliss or shut up. All she achieved was a ‘You Suck’ chant aimed at Bliss, or the match, possibly both. The match was fine, it was the crowd who sucked.
A discus lariat aimed at Bliss hit Nikki Cross because Bliss ducked, which meant she wasn’t able to intervene when Natalya locked in the Sharpshooter and Bliss tapped out.
Natalya started to make a speech. Becky Lynch interrupted because The Man had something to say. Lynch said she’s hurting but she’s there to fight and it’s time to give it to her straight. She likes Natalya, but if she thinks she’s meeting her friend when she comes for the title, she’s in for a shock. So she better step up or she will wipe the floor with her. Natalya’s career needs something and Lynch thinks it’s her, but one thing she’s learned is she does a lot better in war than she does in love.
Natalya’s comebacks were childish and silly and designed to make it a war, but it left them shouting at each other in the middle of the ring so I guess it worked.
The Other Bits
» It would appear it was multi-man match night on RAW. Ricochet & The Usos vs The Revival & Robert Roode – two out of three falls – was the first match of the show. Ricochet and The Usos picked up the first fall quickly. The Revival evened things up for their team going into the break when Scott Dawson pinned Jimmy Uso.
The Revival were still in control of Jimmy Uso after the break, but he eventually got to Ricochet. Jimmy Uso had one more job to do, sailing over the top rope to neutralise any remaining threat from The Revival, then Ricochet finished of Robert Roode with a 630.
The Club appeared while Ricochet & The Usos were celebrating. Ricochet didn’t wait for them to attack, he launched himself over the top rope at them and The Usos piled in to help. The Revival piled in as well and chaos reigned until The Usos cleaned house. Robert Roode made his presence and it all broke down again, with Jimmy getting thrown into a barricade, Jey taking a Shatter Machine, and Ricochet taking Roode and The Revival down. It finished with The Club beating up Ricochet though, so I guess that feud is far from over.
» The Viking Raiders vs Vinny Gruner & Jackson James was another disappointingly pointless squash which did nothing to further either storyline of character.
» In a locker room segment, Drew McIntyre laid out all the things he’s planning to do to Cedric Alexander for sticking his nose in and teaming up with Roman Reigns last week. McIntyre made the sort of threats that make you think he’s watched too many gangster movies. Alexander remained unphased.
When Drew McIntyre vs Cedric Alexander started, McIntyre did try to make good on his threats. Alexander still remained unphased. That was fine while he had the freedom to fly around, but McIntyre’s power advantage caught up with him and he found himself grounded. McIntyre was building towards a finish with an Alabama Slam, but Cedric Alexander rolled through and got the win.
» Drake Maverick and his new wife checked into their hotel. She wasn’t happy with him registering them as Mr and Mrs 24/7 Champion but they went up to the room. R-Truth appeared from behind the wall by the reception desk after they’d left. He bribed the receptionist to help, but he asked him to look for a guest under the name Hornswoggle.
Later, R-Truth emerged in Drake Maverick’s hotel room, from under a room service trolley with a disguised ref pushing the trolley, while Maverick was wearing just his underwear and the title. Instead of Maverick getting to consummate his marriage. He got pinned and chased after Truth. Corey Graves cracked Renee Young and Michael Cole up with a small package joke.
» Street Profits were backstage, predicting match results again. I think it’s a clever way of introducing such big personalities to the main roster before the non-NXT-watching crowds are expected to invest in them as a tag team. I hope it works for them because they deserve it.
» Mike and Maria Kanellis had an argument before Mike went out for his match with Zack Ryder. Maria Kanellis said she was taking the match because Mike is a loser and even pregnant she has a better chance. Sadly, she might have been right. Zack Ryder vs Mike Kanellis lasted roughly as long as it took for Ryder deliver the Rough Ryder and the ref to count to three. After the match, Maria berated and belittled him some more.
» The Club vs Lucha House Party was just getting fun when Ricochet interrupted it by pulling Styles off the apron and beating him down at ringside while Lucha House Party kept Gallows and Anderson out of the way. The match was stopped while officials removed Ricochet, to create a break for the ads, and then restarted. No, no one explained why the interference didn’t cause a DQ. It was a good match after the restart. AJ Styles got the win for The Club by tapping out Kalisto with a calf crusher which he kept on long after the bell had rung.
» Dolph Ziggler asked to be a guest on Miz TV. When Miz asked why he’d made the request, Ziggler spouted a lot of stuff about how Miz used to want to be the best but now he’s a company yes man who’s just happy to be there. He said Miz has become everything he used to hate and everything that is wrong with the business. Miz was laughing until Ziggler said, ‘Just like your wife’, then he jumped him and hit him until Ziggler escaped out of the ring.
RAW was fun again this week. There’s an energy to it that has been missing for a while. It’s not perfect, no three-hour show is going to hit the mark with every segment for every demographic, but there’s plenty to be enthusiastic about. Next week is the RAW Reunion Live and we’re promised the biggest reunion show in WWE history.