By Steven Flora
As Universal Champion Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman dropped a bombshell announcement on Raw, The Beast's three SummerSlam opponents collided in a hellacious Triple Threat Match for momentum. Plus, Big Show battled Big Cass for the first time ever and Raw Tag Team Champions Sheamus & Cesaro unleashed a vicious assault on both Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose.
Tonight it's the Big Dog's Yard!
Triple Threat Match: Roman Reigns def. Samoa Joe & Braun Strowman
Strowman misses a charge and Joe and Reigns end up working together to take the monster to the floor. Reigns then starts working over Joe, but Joe works an arm bar to take him to the mat. Strowman breaks that up and drags Joe to the floor. Reigns follows and works over Strowman into the crowd. Strowman tosses Reigns to the floor at ringside, but Joe gets the clutch on Strowman. Reigns attacks Joe, but Joe whips him to the barricade and hits the enziguri. Joe rolls Reigns back in, Reigns fights off the uranage and hits repeated clotheslines in the corner. Reigns looks for the superman punch, but Joe rolls to the floor, and eats a superman punch anyway. Strowman then cuts off Reigns with the big boot on the floor. Strowman starts straight up beasting on Reigns, and flings him into the ring with ease. Strowman gets part of the steps and tosses them into the ring. Joe cuts off Strowman with a kick and senton and then hits a senton on Reigns for a near fall. Joe sets up the steps in the corner, and then locks in the clutch but Strowman takes them both out and powerslams Joe but Reigns makes the save. Strowman works over Reigns in the corner, and then grabs the steps. Reigns cuts him off with a superman punch and hits Strowman with the steps and spears Joe for the win. Winner: Roman Reigns.
Side Note: Really great match that SHOULD HAVE main evented but alas, this was still great and felt like a PPV worthy match. Reigns winning gives him important momentum heading into Summerslam which is needed seeing as though he's been dragged from pillar to post for the last few months courtesy of the 'Monster Among Men'. Joe taking the pinfall was needed because the rise of Strowman would have come to a sudden halt had he been pinned. This fatal 4-way match is quite intriguing because of Lesnar's stance with WWE right now but regardless of all this, I just hope the fatal 4-way match at Summerslam delivers beyond expectations.
If Lesnar loses at Summerslam, he will leave WWE!
Angle then discusses the 21st anniversary of winning a gold medal with a broken fricken neck. But just as happy Kurt was about to leave, BRRRRROCK LESNAAAAAAAAAAAAR arrives with his advocate. Heyman says he knows the game, knows what’s up and knows what Angle is doing; trying to take the title from Brock. He wants to take the title off of Brock by having him face the most stacked lineup of heavyweights in Samoa Joe, Braun Strowman and Roman Reigns. Heyman says if Brock loses he’s leaving, but he won’t lose, and will remain champion when Summerslam is done.
Side Note: Great opening segment to Raw and nice little reference by Heyman to Angle referring to Lesnar's match at Summerslam as the "ULTIMATE" challenge. It's been rumoured for weeks now that Lesnar is jumping ship to UFC to fight Jon Jones and with that still in the air, we could still crown a new Universal Champion. Nonetheless Brock Lesnar's departure would be a great loss on WWE's part because Lesnar is the biggest draw in wrestling today.
Sheamus & Cesaro silences 2/3 of The Shield
Seth Rollins def. Sheamus (w/Cesaro)
Rollins’ music now has someone yelling “BURN IT DOWN” after the intro. This of course plays into his arsonist alter ego captured by the folks at 2K sports. They work a solid back and forth, playing off of the power vs. speed dynamic. Rollins sends Sheamus to the floor, but Cesaro distracts him, allowing Sheamus to take control. They work up top and Sheamus hits the Finlay roll for a near fall. Rollins looks to fire up, springboards in but Sheamus catches him with the Irish curse. Rollins manages to avoid a knee strike, and hits the flatliner to the buckles. Sheamus then punches Rollins in the face, but gets sent to the floor with an enziguri. Rollins hits the suicide dive, and back in hits the springboard clothesline. The sling blade follows, and he then takes Cesaro out and rolls up Sheamus for the win. Winner: Seth Rollins.
Post match Sheamus & Cesaro kick the crap out of Rollins and hit the double team white noise as the crowd chants for Ambrose. The beat down starts again and NOW Ambrose hits the ring to make the save. The champions cut him off, and Cesaro hits the neutralizer as Sheamus & Cesaro stand tall. Ambrose decides he wants more and challenges the champions to come back, so Sheamus hits the brogue kick and Ambrose is down and finally out.
Side Note: Solid match which is obviously working up to a Raw Tag Team Championship match at Summerslam despite Ambrose's concerns of trusting his former brother. For Sheamus & Cesaro this is yet another test in their way to prove themselves as the best tag team in the world today. In regards to Rollins & Ambrose this will be a test to see if they can work together like the cohesive unit they once were. To be honest, the more I see of this, the more I feel the Shield will form in the future, but it will result in Ambrose turning on Rollins. 1, because of revenge and 2, because of the frustration shown in Ambrose's eyes ... it's been like this for months.
Big Show slays Big Cass
Big Cass def. Big Show via DQ
Show attacks Cass as he makes his entrance into the ring. They trade big strikes and Show sends Cass to the floor. Cass fights back hits a knee strike and stuns Show off the ropes. Show then comes right back, hitting a shoulder block and slam. Show strolls wild, looks for the chokeslam but Cass escapes and attacks the knee. Cass beats him down, and works the leg grounding Show. Cass to the second rope but jumps into a chop. Show hits clotheslines and a corner splash. Cass then hits a running big boot. Enzo attacks Cass and that’s a DQ. Cass takes out Enzo, but Show hits the KO punch and lays out Cass. Winner: Big Cass.
Side Note: How on Earth did this main event Raw? Strowman and Show I get but THIS?! This match was only used to further promote Enzo Amore & Big Cass's feud, which should've ended by now. Big Show was pretty much the third wheel in this and this seems as though all of this is leading up to building a star out of Big Cass. The best thing for Big Cass is to be done of this feud and to move on to better things.
The Legend of Elias lives on
Elias def. Kalisto
Hey, Kalisto made it off Main Event! They work some basic back and forth, Kalisto picks up the pace but Elias slams him to the buckles. Elias has Kalisto grounded and is working the heat. Kalisto attempts to fire up, but gets cut off and beat down in the corner and then hits a side back breaker for 2. The suplex follows for 2. Elias works a back breaker, and then slams Kalisto to the mat. Kalisto hits the desperation spin kick, the springboard seated senton connects for 2. Kalisto hits the spiked RANA, but Elias hits drift away for the win. Winner: Elias.
Side Note: This match was flat and though it did surprise me that this turned out to be a competitive matchup it didn't really do much for Elias going forward. Here's hoping for better things for Elias.
Other notable moments
Wyatt says there’s no escape for you, your children or for Balor. No mortal man can escape the darkness. He tells the crowd they are pitiful, but they can’t run from him. Wyatt claims to be everywhere. Balor is an ordinary man who can do some extraordinary things. He sees Balor for what he really is, the shell of a man that never was. Balor lives on borrowed time, yesterday’s dreams and tomorrow’s promises. Last week Wyatt turned Balor into a pile of broken promises, and there is no escape. Balor’s entrance begins, the lights go out and he has tricks too, appearing in the ring with Wyatt. Balor has his back to Wyatt, hits a PELE and sends Wyatt to the floor. Balor sends him into the crowd and the segment ends.
Bayley takes on Nia Jax in Womens' action. Jax looks to overpower Bayley to begin, and then hits a head butt. Bayley fights back; looking to work a sleeper, but then gets slammed to the mat and then to the floor. Bayley tries to fight back and manages to slam Jax to the corner. Bayley looks for the corner elbow, but Jax catches her and hits a double chicken wing slam. Bad landing for Bayley on that. Jax mocks Bayley in the ring as she puts on a side ponytail. Bayley makes it back in, but Jax lays the boots to her and either Bayley is hurt or is just really selling her right arm and shoulder well. Bayley tries to keep fighting, avoids an elbow drop and hits a bulldog. The basement dropkick follows, she stuns Jax in the ropes and hits a running knee strike. Bayley then hits a high cross off the apron, Bliss arrives and Bayley attacks her. Jax saves Bliss, but misses a charge and runs into the steps and Bayley wins via countout. Winner: Bayley.
Miz, Maryse, Axel & Dallas all make their way to the ring. Miz welcomes us to the show and introduces Jordan and his new music. Did Gable keep the old music in the breakup? Miz talks about Jordan’s story and claims some fans are even booing him. After some bland dialogue from Jordan, Miz offers to guide Jordan’s career and to allow him to join The Miztourage. Jordan says he’s good and passes. Miz says he has a lot to offer, he’s a movie & TV star that main evented WrestleMania. Jordan appreciates the offer and passes. Miz says he understand since his dad can hand him anything he wants. Jordan denies this and says he wants to do it all on his own. Jordan would rather fail than be associated with someone like the Miz. Miz runs down Jordan and Angle, saying Angle is a failure, broken down and gave away the best years of his life. Jordan then says not to say shit about Kurt, and if he does, he will make him regret it. Miz tries to attack, fails and Jordan suplexes Miz into Axel & Dallas and bails.
Tag team action as The Hardy Boyz took on Gallows & Anderson. Matt and Anderson to begin. Matt takes early control, and then the Hardys work quick tags, attacking the arm of Anderson. The Hardys work double teams, and we go to a break after poetry in motion on Gallows. Post break, and Gallows is working over Jeff. Jeff hits a twist of fate, but Anderson cuts him off. Anderson misses a corner charge; Matt tags in and runs wild and the running bulldog gets 2. Matt hits the side effect for 2, looks for a twist of fate, but Anderson fights it off and Gallows gets in a cheap shot. Jeff breaks up the magic killer, but Gallows misses a charge, twist of fate and tag to Jeff, the swanton follows for the win. Winner: The Hardy Boyz.
Cruiserweight action is upon us as Akira Tozawa, Rich Swann & Cedric Alexander took on Tony Nese, TJP & Ariya Daivari. Tozawa faces Daivari in a No. 1 contender’s match on 205 Live. TJP & Nese beat Swann & Alexander on last week’s 205 Live. Nese and Alexander to begin. They do some back and forth, Swann tags in and works with Daivari, hitting a RANA and covering for 2. Tozawa tags in and works the arm of Daivari, and hits a running kick and senton for 2. Daivari attacks the still taped-up shoulder of Tozawa, Titus wants to pull him from the match, Tozawa refuses and we take a commercial break. Post break and Daivari is working the arm and shoulder of Tozawa. Daivari manages to get the tag to Swann, who runs wild on TJP. Rolling thunder gets 2. Alexander springboards in to take out Nese; Alexander & Swann hit stereo dives. Tozawa hits the suicide dive onto Daivari. Back in the ring, Swann escapes the detonation kick, tags in Tozawa who hits the big senton on TJP for the win. Winner: Tozawa, Swann & Alexander.
Overall Raw Rating: D
Things to look forward to next week
What's next for Jason Jordan? Perhaps an IC Title run?
Definitely not the Cruiserweights...
Shield Reunion perhaps?
What's next for the WWE Cruiserweight champion Neville?
Will Wyatt bring out Finn's inner Demon?
How will Sasha Banks react to not being on the Summerslam card?