This week’s RAW was packed with some big matches. The two biggest championships of the show were on the line as Drew McIntyre defended against Dolph Ziggler and Asuka fought Sasha Banks to get her belt back. Seth Rollins invited Dominik Mysterio to the ring, Street Profits found out who they would be defending their titles against at SummerSlam, and Randy Orton focused on his next target. The Hurt Business had some issues with Mustafa Ali, and Nia Jax voiced her frustrations about not being a champion before she was interrupted by the Queen of Spades. Plenty took place, so let’s dive right in.

Quick Results

Angel Garza & Andrade def. Cedric Alexander & Ricochet and Viking Raiders via pinfall

Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler ended via double count-out

Bobby Lashley def. Mustafa Ali via submission

Murphy def. Humberto Carrillo via pinfall

Drew McIntyre def. Dolph Ziggler via pinfall

A Marked Man

WWE’s greatest heel Randy Orton delivered a killer promo about how successful he had been in his 20 years in the business. He talked about all the matches and factions he’s been a part of, and how guys like The Rock and Stone Cold can’t hold a candle to his own accolades. Drew McIntyre then became his focus as he talked about how he wanted the WWE Championship again. “You have what I want,” said Orton. At SummerSlam, he challenged McIntyre to a match, and quite frankly, I’m already hyped. At this point in his career, he’s as deadly as ever, and without a doubt, he will be the current champ’s biggest mountain to climb since defeating Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania 36.

Later on, Dolph Ziggler was asked if he was worried about what stipulation McIntyre had picked for their match tonight. He said he wasn’t worried at all, and that Randy Orton would have to wait a bit longer as it was his turn first. Before the main event, McIntyre had some choice words for Orton. He said it was official: he would face Orton at SummerSlam. He said Orton was on fire right now, and that he was the biggest threat to his championship. Every one thinks Drew McIntyre is the underdog, and he hopes Orton underestimates him because that’s what Lesnar did before he defeated him at WrestleMania. McIntyre turned his attention to Dolph Ziggler by saying he had a stipulation just for him. Ziggler interrupted him and asked what the stipulation was. McIntyre said they were going to have an Extreme Rules match, then slapped him in the face.

WWE Championship Match: Drew McIntyre (C) vs Dolph Ziggler

McIntyre grabbed a chair, but Ziggler superkicked him before he could use it. He whipped McIntyre into the turnbuckle and tried it a second time, but got hit in the face. Ziggler then got launched into the plexiglass, followed by a series of strikes with a kendo stick. McIntyre hit a side Russian leg sweep into the barricade as the kendo stick was held against his throat. After more damage with the stick, McIntyre threw multiple steel chairs into the ring before saying, “now it’s a party.” He slid a table into the ring and chopped Ziggler’s chest. Ziggler tried to grab a chair, but McIntyre stopped him before hitting him across the back with a chair. He went for another strike, but Ziggler hit a low blow which sent McIntyre to his knees.

Ziggler grabbed a kendo stick of his own and hit it across the champion’s back. He hit his left knee, then his back, then raked it across his eyes. He mimicked McIntyre’s earlier attack by driving him into the barricade, but McIntyre fought back. Ziggler jumped off the apron but was caught. McIntyre then ran towards the barricade and jumped threw it whilst still holding Ziggler. Back in the ring, McIntyre hit a belly to belly, followed by a flying clothesline off the top turnbuckle. McIntyre went for the Futureshock DDT, but Ziggler hit the Fameasser. More carnage followed as McIntyre landed a superplex off the top turnbuckle. Ziggler hit a Zig Zag, but McIntyre kicked out. This was amazing.

Ziggler grabbed a chair, but McIntyre hit a Claymore Kick which sent Ziggler threw the table which was leaning against the turnbuckle. What a main event. Both men gave it everything, pushing each other to the limit. As McIntyre celebrated in the ring, Randy Orton came out of nowhere and delivered an RKO. Orton picked up the belt and held it across his waist before holding it in the air. This one is going to be special, and we don’t have to wait much longer to see it.

Putting Out The Smoke

The Street Profits introduced the teams taking part in the number one contender match. Montez Ford said that it the Viking Raiders were on Wakanda, Thanos would have never had a chance to click his fingers and make everyone disappear. Angelo Dawkins and Ford said Ricochet and Cedric Alexander always bring the smoke, and then they talked trash about Angel Garza and Andrade before they interrupted and hit the ring.

RAW Tag Team Championship Match Number One Contender Triple Threat Match: Viking Raiders vs Cedric Alexander & Ricochet vs Angel Garza & Andrade W/ Zelina Vega

Andrade and Angel Garza cleared the ring before the match had even started, then chilled out against the barricades as Ivar started off against Alexander. Viking Raiders then went after Andrade, whilst Alexander and Ricochet attacked Garza. Ricochet and Andrade teamed up to decimate Erik, but their alliance didn’t last long. Viking Raiders then laid waste to Zelina’s motley crew with a perfect blend of athleticism and power. After the break, Andrade and Garza took out Alexander at ringside. Ricochet worked his magic in the ring by hitting a crossbody off the ropes on Garza, followed by a standing moonsault.

Nobody managed to gain any momentum as tags were flying all over the place and everyone was getting attacked. Ivar then flew through the air to the outside and took out Ricochet, Alexander, and his own partner. Back in the ring, Garza hit the Wing Clipper on Alexander and got the three count. It was a short but sweet match which will see Angel Garza and Andrade take on Street Profits at SummerSlam. I’d much rather have a Fatal Four-Way, but it’ll still be a great match. After the match, Garza and Andrade attacked Street Profits who had been commentating, then ran off to the back.

The Greater Good Will Move Forward

Seth Rollins and Murphy were backstage talking about whether they thought Dominik Mysterio would show up tonight. “The greater good will move forward,” said Rollins, as The Monday Night Messiah and Murphy headed to the ring. Rollins said he should be in a great mood, but he wasn’t because Dominik was on RAW ready to confront him. As the greater good takes two steps forward, they are forced to take a step back when someone gets in their way. Owens, Rey Mysterio, and Aleister Black all stood in their way, and each one came out injured. Rollins said he doesn’t want to be the person that hurts people.

Rollins said he wants tonight to be different, and invited Dominik to the ring. Dominik walked out. Rollins seemed inviting, ordering Murphy to help him with the ropes. Rollins opened his arms to Dominik, but he attacked him and Murphy. It didn’t take long before they got the advantage. They launched him into the barricades outside, then continued to beat the hell out of him. Rollins looked at the steel steps, but before he could do anything, Aleister Black attacked him out of nowhere. Again, Rollins and Murphy got the upper hand and laid waste to Black.

Rollins took off his jacket then planted Black’s face into the floor outside with his foot. He goaded Murphy, slapping him in the face, telling him he knew what he had to do. Murphy pushed Black’s eye into the steel steps. Murphy looked shocked at what he’d done. He went looking for Dominik and got attacked by a kendo stick. Dominik managed to attack both men as they ran to the back. This was a solid segment that looks like we may be getting a match going into SummerSlam where Rollins will face Dominik.

Murphy vs Humberto Carrillo

Carrillo was looking for payback tonight and started off strong against Murphy. He hit a tope con hilo and felt the adrenaline coursing through his body, but as he climbed the turnbuckle, Murphy knocked him to the outside and into the barricade. Murphy hit a big elbow into Carrillo’s back then a headlock. He took an almighty superkick which left both men on the mat. They traded blows in the centre of the ring, which led to Carrillo hitting a missile dropkick, but he could only manage a two count.

Carrillo pump kicked Murphy on the apron and jumped off the turnbuckle, but Murphy hit him with a big knee strike. He hit Murphy’s Law and got the victory. This was the best match of the night and gave Murphy another clean victory. At this point, I’m not sure anybody can stop Rollins and Murphy. They can both play dirty, but when push comes to shove, they can pull out the stops to beat anyone.

The Hurt Business

Backstage, R-Truth talked to Mustafa Ali about being a guest on the MVP Lounge, but Ali corrected him by saying it was the VIP Lounge. Ali would be facing Bobby Lashley later on, and R-Truth said he would be watching, calling Ali Mufasa. What a hero. R-Truth is the gift that keeps on giving. Shortly after, MVP was in the ring with Bobby Lashley and Shelton Benjamin. MVP talked about becoming the real United States Champion, then turned his attention to Mustafa Ali. He said he wanted to show him the light before welcoming him to the ring.

Ali came out, and as MVP talked about hurting Cedric Alexander and Ricochet, Ali talked about being happy, and how he was looking forward to becoming a real champion. MVP said Ali could become happy if he hung out with the right people, but Ali said it wasn’t going to happen. Apollo Crews had similar ideas, but it didn’t work out too well for him. He pushed Ali to make a decision, and of course, he turned him down. Out of nowhere, R-Truth went for Benjamin to regain his 24/7 Championship but was unsuccessful.

Mustafa Ali vs Bobby Lashley

Lashley dominated early on, pounding Ali to the ground and launching him into the air, falling on his stomach. Lashley unloaded kicks and punches into Ali as he was in the corner. He hit a suspended suplex, but outside the ring, Akira Tozawa tried to pin Benjamin. He got dropped by Benjamin as Lashley took out the other ninja in tremendous fashion. As he picked him up on his shoulders, Ali attacked Lashley outside the ring.

It didn’t last long, as Lashley continued to destroy Ali in the ring. Ali went to jump off the apron and into Lashley in the ring but got hit with a fist to the face. Outside, Lashley threw Ali into the turnbuckle, then took him back inside for more punishment. Lashley hit an elevated flatliner, but couldn’t get the victory. He went for the Dominator, but Ali got out and hit a satellite DDT. Ali went for the 450, but Lashley locked in the Full Nelson as Ali tapped out. WWE are really pushing Lashley at the minute, and it’s working. The Hurt Business is an interesting faction, but I’m a bit gutted Ali barely got in any offence at all.

Distract And Dominate

Sasha Banks said no-one likes a bully, and that is exactly what Stephanie McMahon is. She called her jealous that Banks and Bayley ran the whole company. Bayley said they were the show, regardless of whether they were on RAW, SmackDown, or NXT. She then said she did what anyone would have done at Extreme Rules and count to three after Asuka spat green mist in the referee’s face, and how it was now time to end this charade. Before the match began, Sane ran after Bayley and they both headed to the back.

RAW Women’s Championship Match: Sasha Banks (C) W/Bayley vs Asuka W/ Kairi Sane

Asuka got the upper hand first by launching a tirade of kicks into Banks’ chest and back. She locked in an armbar but got a foot on the bottom rope. Asuka charged at Banks in the corner but moved out the way and pulled her leg down onto the second rope. After hitting a backstabber off the ropes, Banks locked in a half Boston crab then stomped her foot into the back of Asuka’s left leg. Banks tried to frame Asuka by throwing her the belt as the referee was distracted, but he wasn’t having any of it.

After the break, Banks continued to work on Asuka’s left leg, but she fought back. Asuka hit a knee strike on Banks, but Banks continued to take advantage of the injured knee. Banks hit a Meteora, but Asuka kicked out. She locked in another half Boston crab, but Asuka got out of it. As Asuka was tied up in the ropes, Banks ran towards her, but Asuka hit her in the face and locked in a leg lock. Banks escaped and hit a double knee on Asuka in the corner.

Asuka hit a German suplex, then a hip attack, but only managed a two-count. Both women fought on the top turnbuckle, and as Asuka got knocked off, Banks hit a frog splash for a near fall. She then locked in the Bank Statement, which almost got reversed into an Asuka lock. Banks bashed Asuka’s injured leg into the announce table and dived into the ring and almost got counted out. After a roll-up attempt, Banks got the Bank Statement locked in again, but Asuka reversed into an ankle lock, then hit a dropkick off the top rope. The big screen then showed Bayley destroying Kairi Sane which distracted Asuka. The referee counted out Asuka as she ran to the back, meaning Banks was officially crowned the RAW Women’s Champion. How smart is Bayley? The Golden Role Models continue to dominate both brands.

Backstage, Bayley and Banks were celebrating in their typically loud and annoying way. They walked off as Asuka walked out of the room where Kairi Sane was being evaluated. She looked as though she was going to burst into tears, but instead screamed and shouted in Japanese. This rivalry is far from over, and both Bayley and Banks better watch their backs as The Empress of Tomorrow is out for revenge.

The Highs And Lows From The Rest Of The Show

Highs

Almost all the matches were well worth watching tonight, but outside the main storylines, there was little else happening. The main event and Murphy and Humberto Carillo had the best matches of the night.

Lows

Nia Jax took to the ring and said she knew exactly how Randy Orton felt, that she woke up wanting to be Women’s Champion. Before she could continue, Shayna Baszler came out and said, “no-one gives a damn what you want.” Jax attacked her, and a handful of refs hit the ring to break things up. Later on, Nia Jax was backstage as it was confirmed they would meet in the ring. Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler fought outside as the referee counted them both out. It was a brawl that never got underway properly. Security tried to break it up but was unsuccessful. It’s an interesting rivalry, but I would have liked it if we saw a proper showdown. What we got was a disappointing match that never amounted to anything.

Final Thoughts

This week’s RAW was a vast improvement from last week, with some great matches. Drew McIntyre and Dolph Ziggler’s Extreme Rules match was well worth a watch, and with Randy Orton’s involvement in the title picture, the next few weeks are going to be exciting. Seth Rollins and Murphy continue to dominate anyone that stands in their way, with Murphy and Humberto Carrillo having a fantastic battle.

The triple threat tag match was good fun, but I would rather have seen them all face Street Profits at SummerSlam. Sasha Banks is now the legit RAW Women’s Champion as well as the legit boss, with some clever thinking by Bayley backstage. These women have a complete monopoly on the entire WWE, and I can’t wait to see what happens next. I’ve grown fond of Bayley and Sasha Banks recently, even if they are overzealous and abrasive.

MVP and The Hurt Business are going from strength to strength. The inclusion of Shelton Benjamin has really upped their stock, and what follows over the coming weeks has me excited for the first time in ages about Bobby Lashley’s future. There was only one negative from the show, and it was down to Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler. I really want Baszler to be in the title picture, but tonight let her down as a match that could’ve been quite good never actually happened.

All images and videos courtesy of WWE