By Steven Flora
WWE’s European tour ends up in the United Kingdom as London hosts Monday Night Raw. A cocky No. 1 contender, a glorious goddess and a vicious vixen look set to make an impact within WWE.
Reigns assaults Strowman
Braun Strowman vs. Kalisto ends in a no contest
The big story coming out of Raw was indeed the injury sustained by Strowman due to the attack by Roman Reigns. Strowman is out in his sling, takes the mic, telling Ambrose to shove it and that he won’t accept this match due to injury. He also runs down Reigns. The bell rings and Strowman just lays the boots to Kalisto, but Reigns is here and makes his way to the ring. Reigns is all taped up still and the crowd is not happy to see him at all. Reigns attacks the arm of Strowman, hits some Superman punches and Strowman rolls to the floor. Reigns follows and charges, but runs into a big boot by Strowman. Braun then runs into the post on the bad arm, (STOP RUNNING AT THINGS BRAUN). Reigns then works over the injured arm on the post, he grabs a chair and lays in shots to the injured arm as Strowman scampers away.
Side Note: Forgetting everything about Kalisto, this is one of the fiercest rivalries that I can remember in recent memory. It gives the feeling that both men just do not like each other and bluntly want to kill one another. With Strowman rumored to be out for 4-8 weeks, this puts the rivalry on hold, however, this has potential to main event this year’s SummerSlam.
The Miz sets his sights firmly on the Intercontinental Championship
Bray Wyatt def. Dean Ambrose (non-title match)
Miz is out on commentary. They locked up, Bray overpowered him early but Ambrose followed up with chops. Bray then choked him out in the ropes, but Ambrose low bridges him to the floor and follows with the suicide dive. Back in and Ambrose teases dirty deeds, but Bray drops to the floor and suplexes Ambrose through the ropes and to the floor. Back in and Bray covers for 2. Post break, Bray works the heat, beating down Ambrose and covering for 2. Ambrose looks to fire up but Bray hits a DDT for 2. Ambrose hits a jawbreaker, but runs into a lariat and Bray covers for 2. Bray to the second rope and misses the senton. Both men are down. Miz hits Ambrose with the IC Title and that allows Bray to roll him in and cover for 2. Sister Abigail finishes it.
Side Note: An underwhelming finish to Raw though this does build some much needed anticipation for the Intercontinental Championship match next week in Newark. As for Bray Wyatt, this does nothing for him, and without any interaction from Balor, the feud as well as Wyatt seems dead in the water at the moment.
Tag Team Turmoil match
Sheamus & Cesaro def. The Golden Truth to become No. 1 contenders for the Raw Tag Team Championships
This is gauntlet rules, with the last team standing being the winners. Enzo & Cass vs. Sheamus & Cesaro start things off. Sheamus and Cass brawled back and forth to begin; Cass took control with a corner splash and slam, the Empire elbow followed; the Hardys watched on from the back. Enzo and Cass used some double teams, with Enzo hitting a high cross for 2. Sheamus then hit a back breaker to cut Enzo off. Post break, Cesaro kicked the shit out of Enzo like he owed him money. Enzo eventually avoided him, and Cesaro posted himself. Enzo hit an enziguri but Sheamus cuts off the tag by posting Cass. Cesaro hit the uppercut and locked in the sharpshooter and he tapped. I liked that, because the sharpshooter can now be a good false finish. Slater & Rhyno are out next, but Sheamus & Cesaro attacked as they made their entrance, isolating Rhyno. Slater tried to fight back, but got beat down and tossed back into the ring. Cesaro worked over Slater, he tried to fight back but Sheamus cut him off and then made sure to keep Rhyno on the floor. Slater slammed Sheamus into Cesaro, but it did no good as Sheamus finished him with the brogue kick. Anderson & Gallows are out now. Post break, Cesaro worked over Anderson until he missed a charge and ate a kick. Anderson and Gallows then took control, working double teams and taking the heat on Cesaro. Cesaro would fight back, hitting a delayed suplex on Gallows and then tagging in Sheamus. Sheamus then ran wild, but when he went up top he jumped into a superkick by Gallows. It broke down, leading to all four men being down. Sheamus fights back, hitting white noise on Gallows for a near fall. Cesaro saves Sheamus from the magic killer, allowing Sheamus to hit the brogue kick on Gallows to eliminate them. The Golden Truth are the final team. They hit the ring like a house of fire, sending Cesaro to the floor and working double teams on Sheamus. Goldust ran wild on Sheamus for a bit, hitting the snap slam for a near fall. Cesaro is back, tags in and slams Goldust knee first onto the barricade. Back in and they work the leg of Goldust. Cesaro then locks in the sharpshooter again but Truth makes the save. Goldust makes the tag, Truth runs wild off a good hot tag and even picks up a near fall. Truth eventually misses a corner splash and Cesaro cradles him for the pin with the tights. Winner: Sheamus & Cesaro
Side Note: A great match which clearly shows Sheamus & Cesaro’s dominance over the rest of the Raw tag team division. I liked how The Golden Truth had a decent amount of time fighting with Sheamus & Cesaro, instead of treating them like a jobber team. No doubt that Sheamus & Cesaro vs. The Hardy Boyz will be a physical contest and it will be great to see how The Hardyz will respond to their new challengers next week in Newark.
Nia Jax eyes up the Raw Women’s Championship
Alexa Bliss (c) def. Mickie James (non-title match)
Jax is out with Bliss, while Bayley is out with James. The crowd is singing for Bayley as the match begins. Bliss attacks, but it just pisses James off. Bliss tries to hide behind the ref, but James catches her and hits a neck breaker for 2. Bliss tries to bail, but James follows her to the floor and attacks. Post break, Bliss took control, scoring a near fall; Bliss then worked the arm in the ropes. James cuts her off with a back elbow and RANA. Bliss goes back to the arm, maintaining control and covering for 2. Bliss then misses a knee drop, James follows with a lariat, knee strike and spin kick. The clothesline follows for 2. James looks for the DDT, but Bliss counters, but walks into a flapjack. James to the ropes, Jax distracts her and Bayley then takes out Jax. Bliss slams James off the ropes and steals the win.
Side Note: A solid match between two good workers of the business. The story itself is more to further the feud between Bayley and Bliss, however, with Jax vying to become the new champion, Bliss may need to keep her friends close and her enemies closer.
Samoa Joe gets even
Seth Rollins def. Samoa Joe via DQ
They brawled right away, Joe took the early control but Rollins cut him off with a flatliner in the corner and they then brawled to the floor. Joe would cut off the attack of Rollins, but when they returned to the ring, Rollins hit sling blade for the near fall. Joe then got annoyed; he then ran over Rollins with an elbow and then laid in the strikes. Joe then lays in chops and hits the snap slam for the near fall. Joe looks for a power bomb, but Rollins escaped and hit the falcon arrow (HE DID IT) for the near fall. Joe again looked for the choke, but Rollins again escaped, hitting an enziguri. Rollins pulled off the buckle pad, hits a superkick and covers for 2. Rollins looks for the ripcord knee strike, but Joe sends Rollins to the exposed buckle. Joe then slams Rollins to the exposed buckle once again, and that’s a DQ. Post match, Joe locked in the clutch and then stood tall.
Side Note: The ending of the match really annoyed me. If you have a great match that lasts 15 minutes, you’d expect a great finish. The match itself was great and both workers are starting to produce great chemistry together which makes for a better visual for the audience at the arena and at home. I’m expecting this feud to carry on to Great Balls of Fire, but then I’m hoping Samoa Joe challenges for a title because he’s not really progressing much on the main roster.
Other notable moments
TJP took on ‘Gentleman’ Jack Gallagher in a short but solid matchup. TJP dabs in Gallagher’s face, so Gallagher hits the head butt for a near fall. TJP then tries to run, but Gallagher catches him and works him over with uppercuts TJP cuts him off by slamming him to the steps, and then back in, TJP hit the slingshot senton for 2. TJP then grounds Gallagher, working the butterfly lock. Gallagher escapes, hitting uppercuts, dropkicks and suplexes. Gallagher escapes the detonation kick, but TJP rolls him up and grabs the tights for the win. Winner: TJP.
Finn Balor took on The Miz in a great opener to Raw. Miz took the heat after a distraction by Maryse. Miz worked a solid heat, but Balor hit the PELE and started to put some offense together, firing up with chops and a running dropkick to send Miz to the floor. Balor then hit a PK off of the apron, rolled him back in and Miz begged off. Maryse took the ref and The Miz slammed Balor into the ref and then Miz DQ’d Balor. BUT WAIT, Ambrose is here and orders the match to continue with Maryse banned from ringside. Balor attacked Miz, took him back to the ring, hit sling blade and the coup de grace for the win. Winner: Finn Balor.
Sasha Banks took on Alicia Fox in a forgettable match. This is fallout from last week’s women’s tag match. Fox slaps Banks and they go crazy fists early. Fox hits the northern lights suplex for 2. Fox looked to ground Banks, but she fought back, hitting the head scissors. Double knees by Banks, but Fox fights off the Banks statement. Fox sets her up top, but Banks shoves her off and hits meteora, Fox slips out but the ref counts three anyway, because they are supposed to “call it like a shoot.” Winner: Sasha Banks.
Miz to Ambrose – “So what next? Jack & Coke on a pole match?”
Miz to Michael Cole – “Who are you? Didn’t you use to be my biggest fan?”
Overall Raw Rating: C-
Things to look forward to next week
After Strowman’s legit injury, what’s next for Roman Reigns?
Who will be the next rising star to take on Neville for his Cruiserweight title?
Who will challenge Lesnar for the Universal title?
Will Elias Samson ever wrestle?
What's next for Finn Balor?