Dolph Ziggler attacks Seth Rollins to prevent him pinning Drew McIntyre

‘Either Brock Lesnar comes out now, or this is your last night on Monday Night RAW’ – Monday Night RAW – 30/07/2018

SummerSlam is approaching, Ronda Rousey’s suspension is over, and Brock Lesnar is due to make an appearance. Neither of them is likely to have a match, but they’ll be there. Seth Rollins will have a match though, he’s fighting Drew McIntyre again, and Finn Balor faces Baron Corbin – has anyone else got déjà vu?

I’m Amanda, and this is the highlights and low points of Monday Night RAW.

Match Results

Baron Corbin def. Finn Balor via pinfall

Alicia Fox def. Natalya via pinfall

Jinder Mahal def. Braun Strowman via count out

Apollo def. Akam via pinfall

Seth Rollins def. Drew McIntyre via disqualification

The Revival def. Deleters of Worlds via pinfall

Sasha Banks and Bayley def. Liv Morgan and Sarah Logan via pinfall

Brock Lesnar throttles Paul Heyman
Photo credit: wwe.com

The Best Bits

– I’m not sure the continuation of the Roman Reigns and Brock Lesnar saga meets the criteria of best bits based on its quality. But it is the main event storyline for SummerSlam, it both opened and closed the show, and there were some actual developments. It gets in based on importance.

The opening segment was Roman Reigns and Paul Heyman, but no Brock Lesnar, although Lesnar had been shown backstage so we knew he was there. Reigns talked about his lack of respect for Brock Lesnar. Paul Heyman came out and did his spiel. Reigns told him to shut up because everyone just wants to see Brock Lesnar. Heyman said Lesnar will come out if he feels like it. Reigns gave him a message, if Lesnar shows up to SummerSlam he’ll send him back to the UFC. But he won’t be going back as The Beast, he’ll be going back as Roman Reigns’ bitch.

It carried on in pieces through the show. Lesnar was relaxing in his locker room. Heyman asked if he’d seen Reigns’ comments. Lesnar said no because he’s not watching the show. When Heyman tried to show him on his phone Lesnar threw the phone across the room.

Later, Kurt Angle caught up with Paul Heyman backstage. He asked whether it was true Lesnar said he wouldn’t appear live. Heyman tried to say Lesnar had fulfilled his contractual obligations as soon as he walked through the door and if Angle wanted more he could ask Lesnar himself. Angle reminded Heyman that he wasn’t just Lesnar’s advocate he was under WWE contract, and that contract would be terminated if Lesnar didn’t appear.

When Heyman took that back to Lesnar he repackaged the idea of going out in front of the crowd as an opportunity to sell t-shirts and boost network subscriptions. He promised Lesnar would get a hero’s welcome from the crowd. Lesnar said Heyman was getting under his skin and he doesn’t give a crap, then told him to go and get him food.

Backstage, Kurt Angle told Roman Reigns he had to leave the building by order of Stephanie McMahon or he would lose his SummerSlam match. After Reigns expressed his disappointment in Angle, Corbin had security come to escort Reigns from the building. Just as he was leaving, Roman Reigns turned and smacked Baron Corbin in the face.

Finally, with twenty minutes of the show to go, Paul Heyman confessed to Lesnar that if he didn’t go to the ring Heyman would lose his job. He asked Lesnar to please go to the ring, if for no other reason than their friendship. Lesnar grabbed Heyman by the collar and said they’re not friends. Heyman works for him he doesn’t work for Heyman, then asked him how long he’d been leaching off him. He told Heyman to go out there and do his job.

When Kurt Angle came to the ring and called Heyman out it was a very subdued advocate who took to the ring. He told them that Lesnar wasn’t coming out. Angle got angry and said he’d tell him what a real champion does. He shows up he defends his title at all costs and goes the extra mile for the WWE universe. Lesnar does none of that. Brock Lesnar has to be the worst Universal Champion of all time.

Heyman agreed instead of objecting. He said he’d tried to rehabilitate Lesnar, not as the UFC heavyweight champion but as a WWE entertainer. But Brock Lesnar listens to no-one and respects no-one. He tried sucking up by talking about moulding Lesnar in Angle’s image and said any ramifications should be on Lesnar, not him. He respects Angle and would like a better working relationship with him.

Kurt Angle told Paul Heyman that his contract is now terminated and Heyman dropped to his knees begging. Lesnar’s music hit and Heyman was suddenly revived and looking like it was all part of the plan.

Brock Lesnar walked around the outside of the ring before getting in and placing the title belt over Heyman’s shoulder. For once, Lesnar spoke for himself. He asked Angle and Corbin if they had a problem with him but didn’t wait for an answer. He F5’d Angle, Corbin climbed out of the ring after Lesnar looked at him. Heyman and Lesnar laughed together then Lesnar grabbed Heyman by the throat powered him to the floor and choked him a bit. Lesnar walked out alone leaving Kurt Angle and Paul Heyman laid out in the ring.

– Finn Balor vs Baron Corbin was a great match. This entire feud can be summed up as Balor is smaller than Corbin and Corbin doesn’t like it. I’ve seen feuds built on more stupid reasons, and this seems to work. It gives the matches a pattern, Corbin does power stuff, Balor uses speed and skill, but it’s enjoyable to watch.

So, yeah, that was the match. Corbin dominated by using his power and size advantage and Balor dodged and countered with his superior skill.

Balor missed the Coup de Grace and took a Deep Six but kicked out. Following Corbin out of the ring, Balor dropkicked him into the barricade, then into the corner once they were back in the ring. He went for another Coup de Grace, missed again, and succumbed to the End of Days.

After the match, Baron Corbin returned to the ring to punish Balor further. Finn Balor tried to fight back but Corbin threw him from the ring and held Balor’s head against the barricade while he punched him.

– Seth Rollins vs Drew McIntyre was another match we’ve seen before, but it was done well so we’ll give them a pass. It was clearly match of the night. Early on, Drew McIntyre caught Rollins suicide dive and slammed him into the barricade, then followed that up by slingshotting him throat first into the metal supports under the ring.

Rollins had apparently recovered by the time we got back from the ads and hit two suicide dives in quick succession. McIntyre caught Rollins Stomp attempt and turned it into a spinebuster.

After a barrage of exchanges that could, or perhaps should, have been finishers, including McIntyre slamming Rollins into the canvas from the top turnbuckle, Rollins hit the Stomp and had the match all but won but Dolph Ziggler jumped Rollins before the ref could complete the count. They brawled, and Seth Rollins exited the ring via suicide dive to Ziggler. Rollins still won, but by DQ not pinfall.

Rollins said in an interview later that it was frustrating dealing with two superstars but there’s no quit in him and he’ll stop at nothing to take back his Intercontinental Championship at SummerSlam. That was as far as he got before Ziggler and McIntyre jumped him. Really hoping this is leading to a Dean Ambrose comeback as Rollins backup, but it could just as easily be Jason Jordan.

Seth Rollins kicks Drew McIntyre
Photo credit: wwe.com

The Bits That Missed The Mark For Me

Honestly, there was nothing this week that was actively bad as far as I was concerned, but there was a lot that was fairly average.

– Alexa Bliss apparently handpicked Alicia Fox to take Mickie James’ place to face Natalya tonight because James is injured. Bliss was in Fox’ corner and Ronda Rousey was in Natalya’s.

Good match, but everyone was waiting to see what Bliss and Rousey would do. Fox aimed a kick at Ronda Rousey and Rousey got up on the apron. While the ref was dealing with that, Alexa Bliss punched Natalya. Fox finished Natalya off with a big boot.

Ronda Rousey immediately took off her jacket and chased Bliss. When she caught her and started putting an armbar on, Fox kicked Rousey to break the hold and ended up being slammed to the canvas from Rousey’s shoulders. Rousey stopped Bliss hopping the barricade and was stalking her when Fox hit her from behind. Fox threw Rousey into the barricade a couple of times, which allowed them to make their escape.

Backstage Ronda Rousey begged Kurt Angle for a match by saying she’d only get herself suspended again if she has to wait for SummerSlam. Angle agreed, and Rousey’s first Monday Night RAW match will be next week against Alicia Fox.

– Elias didn’t get to sing, again. He talked too much in his opening blurb and said some stuff about Bobby Lashley’s loss to Roman Reigns that Lashley obviously objected to. Lashley interrupted and said he was a big fan he was just there to hear what he had to say. Elias said Lashley doesn’t want to walk with Elias he wants to sing with Elias. He got the crowd fired up about it, then said he’d keep it slow and simple like Lashley. Elias played Rockin’ Robin and Bobby Lashley joined in, badly. Elias hit him from behind but Lashley got the better of him and Elias left.

– Braun Strowman versus Jinder Mahal barely got started before Kevin Owens appeared at ringside, stole the contract and got chased by Strowman. He threw the briefcase at Sunil Singh on the way past and poor Singh got flattened by Strowman, before he continued to chase Owens. By the time Owens got backstage, Strowman had been counted out. Owens had already tried to persuade Constable Corbin to prevent Strowman from cashing in the contract before he has a chance to win it at SummerSlam. I’m not sure what he aimed to achieve with by stealing it.

Bayley and Sasha Banks double team Sarah Logan
Photo credit: wwe.com

The rest of the show was ok. No more but no less. Deleters of Worlds versus The Revival was decent, The B-Team on commentary were amusing, as was the promo segment which led into the match. Dallas and Axel have become one of the most entertaining parts of RAW recently. Sasha Banks and Bayley versus Liv Morgan and Sarah Logan was also good. Banks and Bayley had matching gear and will apparently be known as the Boss and Hug Connection. Apollo vs Akam was short and served only to keep the feud going. Mojo Rawley took a trip into what appeared to be the mid-card locker room and had a scrap with Bobby Roode as well.

This was the déjà vu episode of RAW. There wasn’t much that wasn’t either a rematch or a reworking of a previous feud. On one hand, it’s good to see continuing storylines, on the other, the same matches time and time again get dull if they are repeated rather than built on.