Ronda Rousey with Stephanie McMahon in an armbar

‘Once again, the game has been changed’ – Monday Night RAW – 20/08/2018

It’s the Monday Night RAW after SummerSlam. Triple H is set to make an appearance, and Dean Ambrose faces Dolph Ziggler in Ambrose’s first match since he returned from injury. Other than that, it’s going to be all the fallout from SummerSlam. It should be a good show.

I’m Amanda and I’m here to give you the important stuff from RAW

Match Results

Bobby Lashley def. Baron Corbin via pinfall

The Riott Squad def. Sasha Banks, Bayley, and Ember Moon via pinfall

Dean Ambrose def Dolph Ziggler via pinfall

Elias def. Curt Hawkins via pinfall

Authors of Pain def. Titus Worldwide via pinfall

Scott Dawson def. Bo Dallas via pinfall

Dash Wilder def. Curtis Axel via pinfall

Roman Reigns def Finn Balor via pinfall

Dean Ambrose suplexes Dolph Ziggler
Photo credit: wwe.com

The Best Bits

– The show started with new Universal Champion, Roman Reigns. He’s a man of his word, he said he’d beat Brock Lesnar and he did. The crowd chanted, ‘you still suck’, he ignored them and said he’d promised to defend the title when he won it, and he’s going to start tonight. He could open it up and let anyone have a go, but he has someone in mind. Someone who won the title in Brooklyn then got hurt and never got another chance – Finn Balor.

Balor came out and accepted his challenge, and said he’s taking back the title tonight. They shook on it to make it official.

Baron Corbin appeared and told everyone to calm down because, as exciting as the match would be, it’s not going to happen. If Balor thinks he’s going to get rewarded for the stunt he pulled last night he’s mistaken. Corbin was set to face Balor the man and Balor no-showed and sent the demon instead. It was unprofessional and a breach of contract. And with all the smoke and noise Corbin didn’t even hear the bell so as far as he’s concerned the match never happened.

The crowd were booing, and Corbin said they were booing Balor in agreement with him.

Reigns said they were booing Corbin’s dumb ass and if he’d sucked that bad last night he’d try to forget it too.

Kurt Angle came out and told Corbin he’d let the title Constable go to his head. Angle makes the matches on RAW. Reigns versus Balor will be the main event and Corbin got the first match of the night, against Bobby Lashley.

Baron Corbin vs Bobby Lashley was an ok match, the crowd were almost completely quiet for most of it, largely because there is nothing to invest in. There was nothing wrong with it, it just happened. Lashley won.

Later, in Kurt Angle’s office, Corbin got angry with Angle for not giving him the matches he wanted and stropped off to tell Stephanie McMahon.

– Dean Ambrose vs Dolph Ziggler – Seth Rollins accompanied Ambrose to the ring wearing Ambrose’s merch. Drew McIntyre accompanied Ziggler. Honestly, this would have been in the best bits even if the match had been rubbish, Ambrose has been gone too long and it’s great to see him back. Luckily, the match was great. Apparently, Ambrose has said we’re going to see a different Dean Ambrose now he’s back and he wasn’t the chaotic whirlwind of activity we’re used to. Instead, he took a more calculating approach and showed off some impressive power moves. That was working fine until McIntyre grabbed his leg and Ambrose got out of the ring to square up to him. Rollins managed to refocus Ambrose and sent him back to the ring. Unfortunately, Ziggler dropkicked him in the face as he got back on the apron and he fell to the floor as we went to the ads.

When we came back, they settled into a top-quality contest.

Ambrose ended up on the outside and Rollins protected him from McIntyre. They ended up brawling and Ziggler got involved to throw Rollins into the barricade. Ambrose wasn’t going to stand for that. He hit McIntyre from behind and slung Ziggler back into the ring.

They got back to fighting and Rollins suddenly ran right between them and hit McIntyre with a suicide dive.

Dean Ambrose caught Ziggler in mid-air as he launched himself at him and hit the Dirty Deeds to mark his first match back with a win.

– Roman Reigns vs Finn Balor – Universal Championship match – In segments before the match, Braun Strowman made it clear to Balor he was planning to cash in tonight. And Roman Reigns was asked whether he had any reservations about putting his title on the line. He said no, Balor deserves the opportunity, he’s waited a long time, so Reigns is going to give it to him. As for Strowman, he didn’t bother Reigns last night, he won’t bother him tonight. It’s his yard and he’s going to defend it.

The match itself was great, I could get used to RAW having its main title back, especially if it leads to matches of this calibre. Reigns and Balor threw everything they had at each other for a good twenty minutes.

Towards the end of the match. Braun Strowman’s music hit and Balor took advantage. He hit a sling blade, dropkick and missed the Coup de Grace. Reigns kicked out and hit a spear for the win.

Braun Strowman kicked Reigns to the mat then handed over the contract. Just as he was about to start, before the bell rang, the Shield music kicked in and Ambrose and Rollins arrived in full Shield gear. Strowman went after Reigns anyway and Ambrose and Rollins piled on him. Reigns hit a Superman punch, Ambrose took out his leg and Rollins superkicked him.

Reigns tipped Strowman out of the ring and Dean Ambrose cleared the announce desk. Strowman kicked Reigns and threw Ambrose and Rollins aside. Reigns hit him with the spear and they gave him the triple powerbomb. The classic Shield pose finished the show.

Dean Ambrose, ROman Reigns, and Seth Rollins in Shield pose
Photo credit: wwe.com

Some Other Bits

– Sasha Banks, Bayley and Ember Moon vs The Riott Squad was a good match, but I feel like I’ve been watching some combination of these six women every week for months. There is literally nothing left to say that hasn’t been said about every possible combination. Ember Moon was as impressive as ever. The Riott Squad’s teamwork is impeccable. Ruby Riott pinned Sasha Banks from a Riott kick after Ember Moon had taken herself and Liv Morgan out, and Sarah Logan had flattened Bayley on the outside.

– Elias said it’s clear after last night that someone is trying to destroy him. He was supposed to perform last night, but that didn’t happen, so he was going to do it tonight. He didn’t get to play because Curt Hawkins came out and offered to make Elias number one, as in the first person to lose to him and end his 218-match losing streak. Elias said Hawkins was born a loser and would die one, just like every member of the crowd. He told Hawkins to leave and started to play, Hawkins asked him if he was going to hide behind the guitar and scarf or fight him. So, Elias vs Curt Hawkins happened, and Hawkins losing streak is now 219 matches.

– Stephanie McMahon hosted a special presentation of the RAW Women’s Championship with the entire women’s division stationed around the ring (actually, Nia Jax and Mickie James were missing, but the Bella twins were there) After a big hype package McMahon said that last night Rousey became the first woman to hold UFC and WWE champion. She is especially proud of Rousey because without her vision and business prowess Rousey wouldn’t be there. She described her as a media darling and her protégé and said she stands above all the rest.

Rousey came out before Stephanie McMahon finished the introductions. The crowd chanted for Rousey and McMahon said in her head she could hear them chanting ‘Steph’.

Rousey said it’s not about Stephanie McMahon it’s about all the women. She made the women get up on the apron and said it’s not about one champion it’s about all of them. She singled out Natalya, Sasha Banks, and Bayley for their contributions.

She said she’s not Brock Lesnar, she’s going to be a fighting champion, competing every night, and she can’t wait to get in the ring with all of them.

McMahon accused Rousey of just wanting to break people’s arms and pointed out Bliss in her bright pink sling.

Rousey said she’s not there to break their arms, only those who deserve it, then put the armbar on Stephanie McMahon. Not a single woman stepped in to help her, although the Riott Squad, Alexa Bliss, and Alicia Fox comforted her on the outside.

Somehow, in the trainer’s room Stephanie McMahon, with some helpful input from Baron Corbin, made it all Kurt Angle’s fault. McMahon said Angle should have prevented this and the general manager’s job is getting to him. She gave him a ‘vacation’ and made Corbin acting general manager.

Ronda Rousey in the ring with the Bellas, Natalya, Dana Brooke, Sasha Banks, Bayley, and Ember Moon
Photo credit: wwe.com

There were two notable talking segments. Paul Heyman appeared in Kurt Angle’s office to tell Angle that Brock Lesnar wants his contractually obligated rematch. Angle said there was nothing in the contract to specify when the rematch should take place. Now he’s got a fighting champion he has no intention of going back to an absent one. Heyman suggested Hell in a Cell, Angle said it will be a cold day in hell before Lesnar’s rematch happens.

Triple H will face The Undertaker in Melbourne, at the big Super Show-Down network special, for the last time ever. Triple H came out and talked about what a wonderful weekend it’s been. He sat watching on the edge of his seat because he’s a fan and he’ll work until the day he dies to make sure this is here for everyone. But they also give him the itch to lace up the boots and become The Game again, so he was happy to be asked to work the Melbourne show. Then he was asked to fight Undertaker and he tried to say no. He didn’t want to do it because the moment of mutual respect at the end of the ‘End of an Era’ hell in a cell match, when the three of them stood at the top of the ramp, was as real as it gets in the business and it changed them all. After that match Shawn Michaels was gone, Taker’s streak ended, and Triple H put the suit on for good. Their era was something special, but it was over.

But that respect is the same reason he called Vince McMahon back and said he’s in. He’ll put on his boots and tape, Undertaker can put on his hat and coat and be the phenom one more time. For one last time, in Melbourne, the era is back.

The other matches were nothing to shout about, but not actively bad. Authors of Pain vs Titus Worldwide happened again. I don’t know why. Pre-match Titus O’Neil found Apollo and Dana Brooke talking backstage and there was awkwardness. Authors of Pain won the match. After the match, there was more awkwardness between O’Neil and the other two. Tag team split incoming. The B-Team and The Revival had one on one matches. Scott Dawson vs Bo Dallas lasted under three minutes before Dawson pinned Dallas. Dash Wilder vs Curtis Axel started during an ad break, but it wasn’t much longer than the first one. Dash Wilder won.

The best of this week’s RAW belonged to the members of the Shield, but it was a strong show overall. The Triple H promo was something of a masterclass in building a match in one shot. There’s a lot to be hopeful about on RAW right now. Let’s hope it all works out.

All pics courtesy of WWE.com