It’s ‘go home’ show time, for one of the biggest weekends on the calendar. Renee Young joins Corey Graves and Michael Cole on commentary for tonight’s show, becoming the first woman to call an entire episode of RAW. It’s well deserved and long overdue. Among the segments Young will be calling, is a triple-threat for the tag titles. We can also look forward to contract signing chaos with Dolph Ziggler and Seth Rollins, plenty of build for the SummerSlam matches, and something from Paul Heyman.
Alexa Bliss versus Natalya was originally scheduled but was cancelled due to the death of Natalya’s father, Jim ‘The Anvil’ Neidhart. We would like to offer our condolences to the Neidhart family at this time.
I’m Amanda, and I’m here to guide you through the RAW before SummerSlam.
Ember Moon def Alexa Bliss via disqualification
Baron Corbin def Tyler Breeze via Pinfall
Braun Strowman and Finn Balor def Jinder Mahal and Kevin Owens via pinfall
The B-Team def Deleters of Worlds and The Revival via pinfall
Bobby Roode and Titus Worldwide def Mojo Rawley and Authors of Pain
Ruby Riott def Sasha Banks
The Best Bits
– The B-Team vs The Revival vs Deleters of Worlds – This was the match of the night, by a decent margin. The chaos of the three-team format makes for an entertaining time and there were high spots galore, including Matt Hardy suplexing Scott Dawson off the turnbuckle to the outside, onto of the rest of the participants.
Bray Wyatt took a Shatter machine but neither of The Revival were legal because Curtis Axel had tagged himself in on Scott Dawson. He threw Dawson out and pinned Bray Wyatt.
The B-Team versus The Revival has been announced for the SummerSlam Kickoff show. It is heavily suggested that we may have seen the last of the Deleters of Worlds as a tag team.
– Roman Reigns did his in-ring promo ahead of the title match on Sunday. He said his aim was to leave this place better than when he found it and as he can’t do that while Lesnar is still around, he’s ending this on Sunday. Paul Heyman came out and made an impassioned plea for Reigns to make use of his services. The part of the Paul Heyman interview that wasn’t shown last week was him saying, ‘unless’, then walking away while Renee Young tried to ask for clarification. The ‘unless’ was offering Lesnar’s secrets. He also tried playing to Reigns’ ego and even brought his history with Reigns’ father and uncle into it.
Reigns looked sceptical throughout and told Heyman he doesn’t need him. He really wasn’t buying the spiel but the stuff about his family clearly affected him.
He handed Roman Reigns a preliminary agreement to look over and as Reigns looked at it Heyman sprayed most of a can of pepper spray in his face. Lesnar’s music hit and out came the beast to take advantage of a blinded Reigns. He left him semi-conscious once, then came back to deliver and F5 just to push his point home.
Reigns was later shown having his eyes washed out in the trainer’s room.
– The final segment of the show was the contract signing between Dolph Ziggler and Seth Rollins for the Intercontinental title match at SummerSlam. They’d spent the whole night saying Rollins had travel issues and hadn’t arrived and he apparently still wasn’t there at the beginning of the segment.
Kurt Angle stalled for time by talking about Lesnar and Heyman’s attack on Roman Reigns, and how much he wants Reigns to beat Lesnar at SummerSlam and bring the title back to RAW.
Ziggler and McIntyre came out just as Angle was calling Lesnar the worst champion of all time. They tried to get Angle to call the match off because Rollins wasn’t there. Angle introduced Rollins twice, but he didn’t show. Ziggler and McIntyre suggested he’d chosen not to come back because of the beatings they’d given him.
Ziggler and McIntyre talked a lot, about work rate, about respecting Seth Rollins (which they allegedly do), and about how working for the love of the WWE universe is a mistake.
Ziggler signed the contract and it looked like Rollins would be forfeiting the match (not sure why he couldn’t just sign it in private). Of course, that didn’t happen. Rollins came out and said he had been there for a while, but he’d waited until Ziggler had signed the contract because he was worried he’d change his mind when he heard what he had to say. He was dealing with travel issues, they just weren’t his. And if Ziggler is going to have a psychopath in his corner, it’s only right that Rollins has a lunatic in his.
DEAN AMBROSE IS BACK!!! New haircut, and he’s bulked up some while he’s been away. The pop was incredible, as well it should be.
Rollins and Ambrose ran down and cleared the ring, finishing with Dirty Deeds to McIntyre and a Shield fist-bump to close the show.
Some Other Bits
– The opening segment of the show featured Ronda Rousey. She started with the announcement of Jim Neidhart’s death, and a nice speech about fathers and how important they can be, concluding with a message of support for Natalya. She quickly moved on to talking about Alexa Bliss and brought out Ember Moon who’s replacing Natalya in tonight’s match against Bliss. Rousey was obviously sincere in her sentiments but the whole thing came across as very awkward, especially the transition into the promo.
Bliss came out with Alicia Fox, called Rousey an overrated overhyped rookie, and said she was sick of her. She made some valid points about the Universal title match being protected at all costs, with Reigns being sent home a couple of weeks ago in order to avoid him interacting with Lesnar, while Rousey has been allowed at ringside for Bliss’ matches. So Bliss spoke to Constable Corbin and now she’s got a security team to protect her.
Security formed a wall between Bliss and Rousey until Ember Moon turned her back to have a final few words with Rousey before the match. Alexa Bliss shoved Moon face first into the turnbuckle, which sent Rousey flying off the apron to the floor. Rousey tried to get past the security but they blocked her so she took them out. She threw Fox out as well and that led into the ads.
Ember Moon vs Alexa Bliss – Do we really need the split-screen ads during matches in addition to the oh so frequent ad breaks? Nothing quite says we don’t care about this match like a hype package for the Universal title match played over the top of it.
Meanwhile, there was a good match going on in the ring. Ember Moon is consistently impressive and can engineer decent in-ring chemistry with just about any opponent. It wasn’t really about tonight’s match though.
Fox got up on the apron and Ronda Rousey chucked her into a barricade. Bliss got out of the ring and did the same to Rousey. When she was back in the ring, Ember Moon hit the Eclipse, but Alicia Fox broke the pin and caused Bliss to be disqualified. Fox went after Moon and found herself on the receiving end of enough throws from Rousey that she ended up out of the ring.
RAW did eventually do a proper tribute to Jim ‘The Anvil’ Neidhart, halfway through the third hour of the show. It might have taken them a while to get there, but it was a very nice tribute package.
– Baron Corbin vs Tyler Breeze – Corbin assigned himself this match. He and Kurt Angle argued about it beforehand. Corbin got a little more than he bargained for with Breeze, but a Deep Six finished the match for him. Then he announced that his SummerSlam opponent, Finn Balor, had a match against Jinder Mahal. When Mahal came out Corbin said that Mahal wasn’t Balor’s only opponent and brought out Kevin Owens. Kurt Angle came out as the match was about to begin and said he might not be able to cancel the match, but he could add to it. So he changed it to a tag match and brought Braun Strowman out as Balor’s partner.
Finn Balor and Braun Strowman vs Jinder Mahal and Kevin Owens – Mahal and Owens were fine with inflicting punishment on Balor, neither of them was too keen on coming face to face with Braun Strowman though. It was a strong motivation to keep Balor isolated in their corner and it worked for a while, but they couldn’t keep Strowman out forever.
Balor and Strowman performed an interesting double team move when Strowman picked him up and slammed him onto Mahal. Interesting because Balor didn’t seem to know it was going to happen. Strowman eventually finished it with a powerslam on Mahal.
After the match, Braun Strowman chased Kevin Owens up the ramp and Baron Corbin reappeared to hit Finn Balor from behind with the End of Days and left him lying in the ring.
– Sasha Banks vs Ruby Riott – Ruby Riott’s first match back from injury and her pre-match promo said she was planning to find out if Bayley and Sasha Banks’ friendship could withstand a riot. Somehow, Sasha Banks got her hand caught in the ring steps. Riott tried to capitalise on it and it gave her a definite advantage, for a while anyway. Riott kept checking her nose, even after the match. She took a hit there, hopefully there is no damage.
There was nothing wrong with the match, it was actually pretty decent. Banks and Riott could have a good feud if someone bothered to write them a storyline.
There was a little interference from the outside, right at the end. As a result, Ruby Riott pinned Sasha Banks with a roll-up.
There wasn’t much else to report. ‘Local talent’ and Elias wannabe, Ricky Roberts, appeared as a lead-in for Elias to talk about himself, his merch, and Bobby Lashley. Lashley, of course, came out. Roberts hit him in the back with his guitar and got slammed into the mat.
The match we haven’t talked about was Authors of Pain and Mojo Rawley vs Titus Worldwide and Bobby Roode was a mash-up of two feuds crammed into a six-man tag. It started unannounced with commentary still talking about the Reigns/Lesnar segment, then cut to a split screen promo for Alexa Bliss versus Ronda Rousey at SummerSlam. We saw maybe a minute and a half of the match. It was enough. Bobby Roode pinned Mojo Rawley with a Glorious DDT.
All in all, a fairly strong episode of RAW to lead into SummerSlam weekend. Renee Young did great. They’ve had some trouble filling that third commentary spot but Renee Young seems to be a really good fit. It was widely noted that she didn’t say a word after Ambrose’s return, which was the right decision. It is the one area where she is going to be criticised no matter what she does. Saying nothing is probably her best bet. Hopefully, she’ll take the third spot full time.