WWE announced earlier the RAW Women’s Champion Becky Lynch will be opening the show with her title defence against Bianca Belair. The only other thing that’s on the preview is a question of what Seth Rollins will have planned for Big E this week.
I’m Amanda and this is the RAW review
Becky Lynch def. Bianca Belair
Austin Theory def. Rey Mysterio (DQ)
Carmella & Queen Zelina def. Rhea Ripley & Nikki A.S.H.
Finn Balor def. Chad Gable
The Dirty Dawgs def. The Street Profits
Damian Priest def. T-BAR
Big E def. Kevin Owens
Somehow, despite declaring they were starting with a match, WWE still managed to start RAW with a few minutes of talk.
♦ Sarah Schreiber grabbed a few words with Bianca Belair before the match. Belair admitted she wasn’t ready to face Becky Lynch when she walked out at SummerSlam, but she was excited because she likes her. Then, 26 seconds later, she was left wondering what happened. But she’ll never regret her mistakes because they’re opportunities to make her stronger. She thinks Lynch has lost sight of what it takes to be a champion and doesn’t even see her as a threat. Lynch is always trying to play down her accomplishments, but she’s used to that, and she always shows up and shows out. And there is no match bigger than a match for the RAW Women’s Championship.
Schreiber also spoke to Lynch, who gave Belair credit for her rise but reasserted that it was only because she wasn’t there. She talked a lot about how hard it was to come back better than ever, and said she doesn’t think people realise how hard it is to be her and juggle her new life with being champ. Some people have even booed. That’s ok. She’ll use it as motivation to beat Belair again.
Becky Lynch (C) vs Bianca Belair – RAW Women’s Championship match – did get underway after the interviews. It was a disrespectful start, but Lynch turned tail and tried to get out of the ring after seeing the look one round of trash-talk put on Belair’s face. Lynch tried to use Belair’s braid to pull her into the ringpost on the outside, but Belair was too strong and Lynch hit the post before taking a ringside delayed vertical suplex.
Lynch was back in it after the break and had a half-chance with a modified Dis-Arm-Her into a pin, but there was a long way to go. She turned the double chicken-wing facebuster into a roll-up attempt, Belair countered the Dis-Arm-Her by just standing up and taking Lynch with her. A win by roll-up seemed a popular option, but Belair ended Lynch’s next attempt by powerbombing her into the mat. Belair pressed Lynch over her head and dropped her but Lynch got her knees up for the moonsault and tried to roll her up again.
Becky Lynch hit the Manhandle Slam, but Belair got a foot on the ropes. Trying to follow up with a baseball slide, left Lynch hoisted onto Belair’s shoulders and dropped on the announce desk, but she kicked out by the time Belair got her back in the ring.
Bianca Belair got Lynch on her shoulders for the K.O.D. but Lynch grabbed the turnbuckle padding and ripped it off as she wriggled free. She smashed Belair’s head into the exposed metal and pinned her with a handful of tights.
♦ Rey and Dominik Mysterio had an interview with Kevin Patrick about Austin Theory, which Theory interrupted. He promised to get his selfie with Rey after he beats him like he beat his son. Rey told him he’d teach him some respect and show him why the Mysterio name is still there after all the others who tried to make a name against him have faded.
Rey Mysterio, with Dominik, vs Austin Theory was good, and really helped solidify how much of an arrogant asshole Theory is. Any time he was in control, he was taunting Dominik. Which goes some way towards excusing Dominik for spinning Rey while he was on Theory’s shoulder, allowing him to deliver a ringside DDT. Theory climbed to the top to attempt a superplex, but Rey slipped out and kicked his legs out from under him, dropping him onto the post. He took another trip into the post, courtesy of a hurricanrana.
Theory took a moment to kick Dominik on the outside. Dominik slapped him a moment later when Rey set him up for a 619. The ref saw it and disqualified him… but not until after Theory took the 619.
♦ Seth Rollins was dressed as several Magic Eye pictures this week. He won the ladder match last week. RAW is his show. He was drafted to become the face of RAW and the only thing missing is the title. The contract he was carrying is his guarantee that will soon be rectified.
Big E arrived to take issue with that when Rollins started to look at the fine print. He was quite upset that Rollins refused to shake his hand at the end of last week’s show, but he’s been advised that Rollins’ mind is touched.
In the row, Rollins told Big E he just isn’t on his level and belittled Xavier Woods and Kofi Kingston. That riled Big E up, and he suggested they have the title match tonight. The crowd loved the idea, but Rollins wasn’t happy. He did a little tease that they might get what they want, but Rollins said it was just a trap because he’s not 100% from last week. It will happen on his terms.
Kevin Owens joined them and Rollins got irate. Owens said he didn’t care. He wanted to talk about who the face of RAW is going to be. Rollins thinks it’s him because he’s a delusional dumbass. Big E has a strong claim, so do Bianca Belair and Becky lynch. But the bottom line is, it should be Kevin Owens. Things haven’t worked out for him in a while, but he’ll keep getting back up and showing up, and he’ll keep fighting. Every time he’s on RAW he’ll try to give the WWE Universe something to remember. So if Seth Rollins doesn’t want to fight Big E, then he thinks they should give the people a first time ever one on one between him and Big E.
Big E accepted.
♦ Carmella and Zelina Vega have formed a mutual appreciation society. Vega still has the demo-mode accent going on. They ran into Rhea Ripley and Nikki A.S.H. and insulted Nikki within earshot. Ripley called them on it and they were unrepentant. So we got a match.
Rhea Ripley & Nikki A.S.H. vs Queen Zelina & Carmella became a Championship Contender’s match between set up and start. I’m still uncomfortable with Carmella’s entire “personality” being about her looks, and it doesn’t bring out the best in commentary (I know she and Graves are engaged, but still). Dana Brooke, Doudrop, Tamina, and Liv Morgan were shown watching from backstage. They got to see Nikki deliver a crossbody from the apron and take down both opponents heading into the break.
Credit where credit’s due. This match got a reasonable amount of time, as did Belair and Lynch. It was good as well. Nikki would have pinned Vega with a swinging neckbreaker if Carmella hadn’t kicked her in the head. Ripley chased Carmella out of the ring. Carmella shoved Ripley into the ringpost and threw her into the barricades.
With Ripley out of the way, Vega pinned Nikki A.S.H. with a sunset bomb, after a little help from Carmella.
♦ Veer is now Veer Mahaan, and he’s coming soon.
♦ Alpha Academy approached Big E, so Chad Gable could offer his help to make Big E’s reign mean something, and to tell everyone about the master’s degree he just obtained (he was Valedictorian as well). Big E said no thanks and Gable told him to watch what happens to Finn Balor if he doubts him.
Finn Balor vs Chad Gable, with Otis, was great. With him being so annoying outside the ring, it’s easy to forget how good Gable actually is. He did a lot of damage to Balor’s leg over the course of the match. So much so that getting his knees up for Gable’s moonsault and delivering a dropkick hurt him as much as it hurt Gable. It made Balor so slow to climb for the Coup de Grace that Gable followed him up and brought him down with a superplex. Balor hung on and pinned him in a small package.
♦ Titus O’Neil has had a school in Florida named after him in honour of all the work he’s done in the school system.
♦ The Dirty Dawgs stopped Riddle in the corridor. They wanted him to pay attention while he and Orton are on commentary for their match against The Street Profits. Last week was a fluke and a little unfair to them because they’d already wrestled. So they’re going to beat Ford and Dawkins tonight, then they’re coming for RK-Bro.
The Dirty Dawgs vs The Street Profits was fun. Riddle got a ‘Randy’ chant going, which Orton looked surprised about. Sadly, RK-Bro on commentary meant we had to listen to Riddle talk. Orton talked about how impressive Gable had been against Balor, and cited Alpha Academy as a team to watch. There was a little RK-Bro Street Profits standoff going to the ads, after Ford and Dawkins had laid Roode and Ziggler out at ringside.
The match was fun, and Riddle and Orton added more to the commentary than they detracted from it, which is a nice change. Dawkins took a trip into the post before Ford wiped out everyone on the outside. There was a broadcast signal glitch, and Ziggler was pinning Montez Ford. Omos was there, and I suspect he had something to do with it.
Omos wiped out Dawkins and Ford into different barricades and dropped Riddle onto the apron from a great height. Orton was pissed and waving away officials, but as he went for Omos, the cameras cut to a recap of last week’s Damian Priest vs T-Bar. Weird cutaway.
♦ Damian Priest told Kevin Patrick he felt disrespected by T-BAR throwing a chair at him. He tries to keep the side of him that came out last week at bay because once he shows up, people get hurt. Tonight is no disqualification, so T-BAR has a chance to get very well acquainted with the “Damian” in Damian Priest.
Damian Priest vs T-BAR needed the no-DQ stipulation almost immediately. There are few enough guys as big who can leap around like cruiserweights, that having two face each other is a novelty. Big lads flying at each other will never not be entertaining. We got to see a lot more of what T-BAR is capable of, which is long overdue. Then Priest unleashed with a chair and chokeslammed T-BAR off the apron through a table. It took him ages to get T-BAR back in the ring, but he didn’t go straight for the pin. Instead, he dragged him into the centre of the ring for The Reckoning.
Apollo Crews and Commander Azeez came to the stage after the match and made it clear he’s next for the United States Championship.
♦ John Morrison is still meditating, but he told Reggie he’s nearly there. R-Truth, and Akira Tozawa and Drake Maverick chasing Reggie probably disturbed his peace a bit
♦ Becky Lynch gave her second interview of the night to Sarah Schreiber to deny her tactics were nefarious and complain about people booing her. As she was telling Schreiber it’s time for Belair to go to the back of the line and for someone else to step up, Liv Morgan stepped up.
♦ Seth Rollins offered to help Kevin Owens cheat to win in return for giving him the first title shot when he’s champ. Owens told him if he even thinks for a second about interjecting himself into his match, he won’t like it.
♦ Big E v Kevin Owens was a first time ever match, and it was worth the wait. Seth Rollins came out just before the final ads, which was annoying. Happily, he just sat on his own and pulled faces or yelled the odd comment to commentary for things like Big E kicking out of Owens’ senton from the top. The next time Owens went for the move, Big E got his knees up and Rollins winced. He clapped for Big E’s suicide dive spear off the apron though.
Owens resisted the Big Ending, but they clashed heads and both ended up reeling. Seth Rollins punched Big E while the ref wasn’t looking, but Owens saw. He looked to be in two minds about taking advantage of the pin, Maybe he should have followed his instincts because Big E rolled him into a crucifix and pinned him.
Big E called Owens out for trying to take advantage. Owens apologised to him, said he was half knocked out and didn’t know what he was doing. He challenged Rollins to a match next week and went back to apologising to Big E. I don’t think the apology was accepted, but the Big Ending might make them even.
A very enjoyable episode of RAW tonight. We got some good long matches and not too much filler again. The women’s division got longer than three minutes a match. And we got a first time one-on-one main event. These are the episodes of RAW that aren’t a chore to watch. The episodes where wrestling fans get to enjoy wrestlers having wrestling matches. More of that, please.