RAW comes from Toronto tonight, the city which has been chosen to host SummerSlam weekend, and all the associated activities, next year. It’s Baron Corbin’s first night as acting general manager, and The Shield appears to be back together. That on its own should make for an interesting night of sorts. Braun Strowman, Roman Reigns, Ronda Rousey, and The B-Team are the only superstars mentioned on the preview, so we’ll see what we get.
I’m Amanda, and these are the important bits of RAW.
Baron Corbin def. Finn Balor via pinfall
Sasha Banks def. Dana Brooke via submission
Seth Rollins def. Kevin Owens via pinfall
The Revival def. The B-Team via pinfall
Natalya def. Alicia Fox via submission
Bobby Lashley def. The Ascension via pinfall
Dean Ambrose def. Jinder Mahal via pinfall
Roman Reigns and Braun Strowman def. Dolph Ziggler and Drew McIntyre via disqualification
The Best Bits
– Seth Rollins vs Kevin Owens – Intercontinental Championship open challenge –Kevin Owens answered Rollins challenge, whinged about how unfair his life has been since he came back to RAW, and attributed it to Sami Zayn not being there.
This was easily match of the night. Highlights and high spots galore, the kind of match you only get between superstars who have been fighting each other for many years. Kevin Owens worked over Rollins left arm, to the point Rollins was guarding it at every opportunity, trying to slow the champion down with limited success.
Owens kicked out of a frogsplash and rolled out of the way of the Curb-Stomp, then caught Rollins in a submission attempt. He successfully prevented Rollins reaching the ropes with his hand, but Rollins managed to hook a foot on the ropes instead and the desperation started to show on Owens’ face.
Owens pulled out a stunner to avoid a Stomp and got a two-count.
Seth Rollins carried Owens across the ring for a buckle-bomb. Owens countered with a superkick but still only got two.
Owens went for a moonsault, but Rollins got out of the way and hit the Stomp before Owens could get up. Seth Rollins is still Intercontinental champion.
After the break, Kevin Owens was sat on a chair in the centre of the ring looking upset while the crowd chanted his name. He said, ‘I quit’, then walked out down the side of the ramp.
– Dean Ambrose vs Jinder Mahal – This was set up when Mahal interrupted Ambrose backstage staring into space looking angry, having been pictured conversing with Rollins a few minutes before Jinder Mahal told Ambrose he sensed a great anger from him and offered to guide him to spirituality. He got him to close his eyes and tell him what he saw. Ambrose described beating Mahal until he was crying in pain.
Ambrose has changed his style in his absence. He’s more aggressive, more technical, and there is no hint of the ‘wackiness’ he’d become associated with. It’s like a very welcome reset to early Shield (and pre-Shield) levels of intensity. Dirty Deeds and got him the pin. Ambrose has come back a very angry man. I can’t be long before he wants one of the titles his ‘brothers’ are holding.
– Roman Reigns and Braun Strowman vs Dolph Ziggler and Drew McIntyre –Ziggler and McIntyre told Renee Young, backstage, that they had picked tonight because neither of their opponents could be physically or mentally right. They are wounded animals held together by pride and ready for the slaughter.
Braun Strowman allowed Reigns to start things off and didn’t seem in a particular rush to get involved.
Dolph Ziggler had Reigns in a sleeper and it looked like Reigns might pass out. He backed Ziggler into the corner to get him off, and tipped him over the top rope when he came back at him, but still couldn’t get to Strowman to tag. Ziggler tagged McIntyre kept Reigns isolated while Strowman looked increasingly agitated. Ziggler kept imploring Reigns to do something, so Reigns Superman punched him.
Eventually Reigns tagged out but Strowman didn’t get in the ring. Instead, he watched as Ziggler and McIntyre beat Reigns up until they were disqualified, then he advanced on Reigns himself. He picked Reigns up by the head, screamed ‘I told you I’m not finished with you’ and headbutted him.
Strowman picked Reigns back up, threw him into a corner and gave Ziggler and McIntyre the nod to continue the beatdown. Dean Ambrose ran down to save Reigns, but the three turned their attention to him instead. Seth Rollins arrived a minute later, still guarding the injured shoulder, and also got laid out. Roman Reigns took a running powerslam once Rollins and Ambrose were decimated.
The show finished with The Shield laid out in the ring and Strowman, Ziggler, and McIntyre standing tall.
It has already been confirmed that The Shield will face Dolph Ziggler, Drew McIntyre, and Braun Strowman at Super Show-Down.
Some Other Bits
– The show opened with Roman Reigns wearing a new Shield shirt, and a recap of Ambrose and Rollins preventing Strowman’s cash-in last week. Braun Strowman had tweeted telling Reigns to come alone tonight, and he did.
He said he told Braun Strowman he’d meet him there at 8pm and it was at least 8.05. If Strowman doesn’t want to come and fight he’ll make it The Shield workhorse open challenge.
Strowman did come out. He laughed at Reigns calling himself a workhorse and said mocked him for having Ambrose and Rollins save him last week.
Reigns said Strowman doesn’t get it, The Shield is a brotherhood of workhorses. No-one tells them what to do, not even him. The boys made a choice because they know what it’s like to be at the top of the mountain. Strowman has no clue. All he does is run around and say ‘get these hands’, but the only thing he lifts with those hands is objects, Reigns’ hands have lifted every WWE title available. That’s why he is the guy, and if Strowman ever wants to be on his level he better step up, act like a man, and cash the contract.
Strowman said he’s not cashing in tonight because everyone knows Ambrose and Rollins would try to save him again. Instead, he’ll wait until September 16 in the one place Reigns’ boys can’t interfere. He’s cashing in at Hell in a Cell.
Reigns said Strowman is finally starting to sound like a monster. They shook hands and Strowman held on a little too long and too tight.
Dolph Ziggler and Drew McIntyre came out, whined about SummerSlam and, eventually, challenged Strowman and Reigns to a match.
They agreed, and Baron Corbin came out, confirmed Strowman’s cash-in for Hell in a Cell, and made Ziggler and McIntyre versus Reigns and Strowman sound like it was his own idea.
Corbin took to the ring and praised himself for the job he’s doing before announcing his third match – himself versus Finn Balor, the man not the demon – starting immediately.
Baron Corbin vs Finn Balor – I have the strangest sense of déjà vu, almost like I’ve seen this match before. Honestly, it was much like the rest of their matches. Corbin beat Balor up but couldn’t beat him. Balor fought back and was looking like winning. This time Corbin brought a chair into the ring, hit Balor with it and was disqualified. Instead of taking the DQ loss, Corbin grabbed a mic, declared the match a no-DQ match, hit Balor with the chair again, delivered the End of Days and pinned him.
– The B-Team vs The Revival – non-title match – The B-Team beat The Revival at SummerSlam, then Dawson and Wilder beat Dallas and Axel respectively in singles matches, now they are having another tag match with a view to having another tag title match. It was completely watchable, even entertaining. Curtis Axel took a Shatter Machine for the finish. The Revival came back after the match and gave Bo Dallas a Shatter Machine as well, then grabbed the title belts from the timekeeper’s area.
They took to the mic to say the tag division has been a complete joke because of The B-Team. They’re sick of it and they just proved they can take the titles away any time they want.
– Elias was joined by Trish Stratus, a Toronto native, when she took exception to him insulting her city. Elias was condescending, she told him to shut up. He asked if her match at Evolution with Bliss was going to be a swimsuit model pillow fight, she told him to leave. He suggested she wanted to walk with Elias, but he doesn’t date women in their sixties. Quite rightly, she slapped him. They were cut off at that point by the arrival of Ronda Rousey and Natalya for the next match.
Natalya vs Alicia Fox – Trish Stratus stayed with Rousey and Natalya. Bliss called them Miss Underwhelming, Miss Overhyped, and Miss Completely-Irrelevant, described herself as the woman who replaced Trish Stratus, and challenged anyone to tell her otherwise. She announced she’ll be taking her contractual rematch at Hell in a Cell. She eventually turned the attention to tonight and brought out Mickie James to even the numbers.
The match was shorter than the preamble. Rousey and Stratus chased off Bliss and James after they had attacked Natalya while the ref was distracted. After a two-minute match, Natalya slapped on the Sharpshooter and Alicia Fox tapped out.
Backstage, The Bella Twins greeted Stratus, Rousey, and Natalya. They announced to them that the Bellas are back in action on RAW next week (they’ll face The Riott Squad). Guess they’re floating, since Brie Bella was on SmackDown punching The Miz last week to set up her mixed tag with Daniel Bryan against Miz and Maryse at Hell in a Cell.
There were two other matches. Bobby Lashley vs The Ascension was a handicap match clearly set up as a punishment by Baron Corbin for Lashley beating him last week. Lashley didn’t even find out who his opponents were until he got to the ring. Lashley won anyway.
Dana Brooke vs Sasha Banks was the next instalment of the breakdown of Titus Worldwide. O’Neil set the match up for her. Apollo Crews thought a tune-up (squash) match would have been better. Brooke held her own for a little of the short match but was quickly outclassed and tapped to the Bank Statement.
The best of RAW belonged to the members of The Shield again. There seemed to be a lot of short matches this week. I understand the need to further the storylines, but it’s tough to invest in a sub-five-minute match. Shawn Michaels will be on RAW next week to talk about Triple H versus The Undertaker at the Super Show-Down network special in Melbourne. They are promoting this heavily, even by WWE standards.
All pics courtesy of WWE.com