The John Report: The WWE Raw Deal 08/13/18 Review

Welcome to another edition of the WWE Raw Deal. We are on the road to SummerSlam, which takes place in six days from now. Rather than that talk about that, there was some sad news earlier on Monday when we found out that WWE Legend and former Tag Team Champion Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart died at the age of 63.

I grew up as a child of the 1980s and started watching wrestling at a time when the Hart Foundation were a top tag team. I think one of the underrated aspects of Jim "The Anvil" Neidhart as a wrestler was that he understood how important it was in wrestling to be a character. He had that unique look with the beard and the memorable laugh that we'll never forget. You have to do things like that to stand out and he did it so well. The Hart Foundation worked so well as a team because they were different with Bret as the speed/technician and Anvil as the power guy. They were so successful as heels and then as faces. They are truly one of the best teams ever and left a legacy to be proud of. If you think of the best singles wrestlers, most of them are great at being faces and heels. Same goes for tag teams. The Hart Foundation transitioned easily. I liked them as bad guys, but then I loved them as good guys. When The Hart Foundation beat Demolition at SummerSlam 1990 it was huge.

I met Jim a few times in person and I was able to get a picture with him and Bret Hart in 2014 at the Wrestlecon event. I was also lucky enough to talk to them for a few minutes and it was so cool just to thank them for entertaining us during their careers. I'll cherish that memory forever.

Neidhart was married to Ellie Hart of the famous Hart family. They have three daughters together including WWE star Natalya, who I'm blessed to call a friend for about a decade. They're great people. Jim's family, friends and all of us fans are mourning this loss together. Thoughts and prayers to all. Rest in peace, Anvil. This pic below makes me so sad knowing Bret is the only one still alive. Loved this group in 1997. Gone too soon.

Live from Greensboro, North Carolina, this is the Raw Deal for episode #1316 of Monday Night Raw. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport. Thanks to Melo Man for the banner up top.

The announce team was shown on camera with Michael Cole, Corey Graves and Renee Young filling in for Jonathon Coachman, who is on assignment this week for his golfing job. Renee said she’s happy to fill in.

Let’s Hear From Ronda Rousey

Ronda Rousey made her entrance. Rousey got in the ring as the fans chanted her name. Rousey mentioned that Natalya’s father Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart passed away. Rousey said that any loss is heartbreaking, but our fathers are our pillars of strength in a hostile world and our reassurance that everything is going to be okay. Rousey said when that reassurance is ripped away, our fathers have been raising us to be the pillars of strength our families need when they are gone. The fans cheered. Rousey: “Stay strong, Natalya Neidhart. We all love you.” The fans cheered. Rousey said that Nattie was the first person to welcome her to WWE and Ronda be the first to defend Nattie in her absence.

Analysis: There was no "In Memory of" graphic for Jim Neidhart, but that's okay since Rousey talked about him. It was a bit awkward because it sounded like she was reciting lines that didn't sound that natural, but the crowd supported her. Perhaps there will be a video package later (there was). I would have put an "In Memory of" graphic at the start.

Rousey said that Alexa Bliss has cheated to beat Natalya time and time again (I'm pretty sure Natalya beat Bliss clean in late June), but this Sunday at SummerSlam, Rousey will beat Alexa to become the new Raw Women’s Champion. Rousey introduced the “She-nom” Ember Moon, who faces Bliss.

Analysis: It was originally Natalya, but she’s at home with her family, so Moon is filling in.

Alexa Bliss made her entrance with the Raw Women’s Title around her waist with Alicia Fox by her side. Bliss ripped on the fans for thinking that the SummerSlam match will be a foregone conclusion. Bliss said that Rousey has only had three matches, Bliss is a 5-time Women’s Champion and Rousey is an overhyped rookie. Bliss said that SummerSlam will be Rousey’s utter humiliation rather than her crowning achievement. Bliss said she’s sick and tired of hearing about Rousey with the angry face that she makes. Bliss mocked the face. Bliss complained about Kurt Angle protecting everybody except his Women’s Champion. Bliss said that she’s not taking the chance of Rousey pulling her arm out like she did to Fox last week. Fox has tape on her left arm. Bliss said that she spoke to Constable Baron Corbin, who suggested that Bliss hire her own personal security. Four indy wrestlers in security shirts stood beside Bliss and Fox on the ramp. Bliss said Ronda shouldn’t think about trying anything.

The four security guys went into the ring in between Rousey and Bliss. Rousey left the ring, so Bliss shoved Moon into Rousey, who was on the apron and Rousey went down. Rousey went back into the ring, but the security guys got in front of Rousey. Rousey took down the security guys with arm drags and a kick to the head. The fourth guy ran out of the ring. Rousey took down Bliss with an arm drag, so Bliss and Fox left the ring. Bliss vs. Moon is next.

Analysis: Any time you see security guards around a face in WWE like Rousey you can expect them to get beat up, so of course that’s what happened. The crowd was into it and Rousey remains as popular as ever. I thought Bliss’ promo was fine, but nothing special. It was the same kind of thing she always says about people doubting her.

(Commercial)

Alexa Bliss (w/Alicia Fox) vs. Ember Moon (w/Ronda Rousey)

This is not for Alexa’s Raw Women’s Title.

Bliss was in control with a leg scissors around the head. Moon with an arm drag followed by an armbar. Bliss came back with a headlock as we got a split screen with a commercial for Reigns and Lesnar at SummerSlam. Moon took down Bliss with a shoulder tackle. Bliss came back with a hard slap to the face. Moon with a headscissors takedown followed by a neckbreaker variation for a two count. Moon with a baseball slide dropkick that sent Bliss into the barricade. Back in the ring, Bliss kicked Moon and she drove the left shoulder of Moon into the mat. Bliss with a dropkick. Moon came back with a step up enziguri leading to Bliss bailing to the floor and the show went to break about five minutes into the match.

(Commercial)

Back from break, Bliss with kicks and Moon got a rollup for two. Bliss tripped up Moon followed by the Bliss knees to the ribs. Rousey got the crowd into it as Moon hit a jawbreaker, but Bliss cut her off with a clothesline. Another chinlock by Bliss. Moon got back into it with another rollup for two. Bliss with another dropkick that put down Moon for two. After several more nearfalls, Bliss slapped Moon and Bliss blew a kiss to Rousey to taunt her. Moon fired up with two forearms, an enziguri kick and a running back splash. Moon with a suplex out of the corner for a two count. Fox on the apron, so Rousey tripped her up and threw Fox into the barricade. Bliss hit Moon in the back, Bliss hit Rousey in the back and tossed Rousey into the barricade. Back in the ring, Moon with a gutbuster on Bliss. Moon up top with the Eclipse on Bliss, but Fox broke up the pin. The match went 13 minutes.

Winner by disqualification: Ember Moon

Analysis: **1/2 The match was okay. They were given a lot of time, but it never really cranked up to that next gear where I would call it a great match. Too many rest holds by Bliss, whose offense is really boring to me. The crowd did fire up when Moon made the comeback, so that is good. I hope the day comes soon where Ember Moon gets a strong push for the Raw Women's Title because the crowd really likes her and her comebacks are great. Plus, the Eclipse is an awesome finisher. I'm a big fan of hers.

Post match, Bliss left the ring. Fox with a kick on Moon. Rousey back in with three arm drags to Fox leading to Bliss and Fox sitting together on the floor while Rousey talked trash at them.

Analysis: All of this was expected with Fox causing the disqualification and Rousey cleaning house after the match. If you would have asked my prediction before the segment that’s what I would have guessed. It’s typical booking. I’m probably picking Rousey to beat Bliss for the title on Sunday, but I’m not sure about it.

Still to come: Rollins and Ziggler have a contract signing while there’s also a triple threat Tag Team Title match.

(Commercial)

PLUG TIME: It’s SummerSlam season and I’m writing reviews of every SummerSlam in WWE history. I’m posting one per day. I just posted the 2011 review today with the controversial CM Punk vs. John Cena main event and an awesome Randy Orton vs. Christian match. You can find all the reviews only on TJRWrestling in the SummerSlam archive right here.

This week on Smackdown, the three women in the Smackdown Women’s Championship match will be in one ring, plus Samoa Joe and AJ Styles and the return of Jeff Hardy. They aren’t advertising any matches.

The announce team was shown with Cole talking about Smackdown 1,000 on Tuesday, October 16 in Washington, DC. Cole transitioned to talking about Brock Lesnar.

The video package aired from Raw two weeks ago when Lesnar beat up Kurt Angle and threatened Paul Heyman as well.

The clip aired from last week’s interview with Paul Heyman and Renee Young with a bonus clip. Heyman ended the interview saying against this Brock Lesnar, Roman Reigns doesn’t stand a chance. Then Heyman said “unless” and ended the interview.

Analysis: That was a tease of something that could happen at SummerSlam like Heyman siding with Reigns.

There’s something called “Big Stakes for the Big Dog” later with Reigns talking about the SummerSlam match.

Kurt Angle and Baron Corbin were arguing in the office. Angle complained about something Corbin did. Corbin said he got matches approved from Stephanie McMahon. Dolph Ziggler and Drew McIntyre showed up saying that the rumor is they are waiting for Seth Rollins to arrive. Angle said that Rollins was coming back from a PR tour in China, which was true in the sense that Rollins was in China in the last week. Ziggler and McIntyre left.

Baron Corbin made his entrance for a match in his TGI Friday’s shirt that is also his wrestling gear. Cole plugged NXT Takeover on Saturday with some tickets still available. That Takeover is going to be amazing. I won't be able to see it live, but hope to get the review up later on Saturday night.

(Commercial)

Tyler Breeze made his entrance as Corbin’s opponent. Corbin is against Finn Balor at SummerSlam and Breeze is a similar size to Balor, so the story is that Corbin picked this match.

Baron Corbin vs. Tyler Breeze

Corbin slapped on a chinlock with Graves saying that Corbin does a great job and Young saying that Corbin abuses his power. Breeze broke free with a basement dropkick. Corbin left the ring, Breeze jumped into his arms and Corbin whipped Breeze into the barricade. Back in the ring, Corbin stomped away on Breeze. Another chinlock by Corbin followed by a head whip that took down Breeze. Clothesline by Breeze sent Corbin over the top to the floor. Breeze tried a slingshot attack, but Corbin moved and Breeze hit the floor. Breeze with a step up enziguri. They went back into the ring, Breeze ran the ropes and Corbin hit the Deep Six slam for three after about four minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Baron Corbin

Analysis: *1/2 Easy win for Corbin. Boring match at times with Corbin’s chinlocks in such a short match. Breeze got in a bit of offense, but nobody believed he was going to win. Corbin winning with the Deep Six slam is rare because it usually gets him a two count. His finisher is usually the End of Days slam. Corbin getting the win leading to SummerSlam makes sense since Breeze is not a part of SummerSlam.

Corbin did a promo after the match about how good he is. Corbin said now we get to see how good Finn Balor is because he’s up against Jinder Mahal. When Mahal got into the ring, Corbin said he wasn’t finished. Corbin said that he thinks Balor would be fine handling two superstars in a handicap match. Corbin said Balor’s other opponent is a close friend of Corbin, it’s Kevin Owens. Owens made his entrance to join the heels in the ring.

(Commercial)

Corbin introduced Balor as the “little engine that can’t” and Balor got a good ovation from the crowd. When Balor got into the ring, Angle said that he can’t cancel the match, but he can add to it. Angle said it’s going to be a tag team match and the partner is…Braun Strowman. Baron Corbin was not happy about it. Somewhere Teddy Long was saying "hollla holla holla tag team match playa."

Braun Strowman made his entrance with the Money in the Bank briefcase in his hand. There was a big ovation for Strowman. Fans chanted “Get These Hands” for Strowman as well.

Kevin Owens and Jinder Mahal (w/Sunil Singh) vs. Finn Balor and Braun Strowman

Mahal with a running shoulder tackle on Balor, but Balor came back with a basement dropkick. Owens tagged back in with a knee to the back of Balor. Owens slapped on an armbar on Balor. Quick tags from Balor and Mahal, Balor got his feet up and Strowman tagged in. Owens tagged out, Strowman knocked Mahal off the apron and Strowman tossed Mahal back in. Mahal with punches, but Strowman came back with a palm strike to the chest. Kick to the ribs by Strowman as the fans chanted “get these hands” for Strowman. Strowman whipped Mahal into the corner, running splash by Braun and Owens jumped off the apron again. Strowman with a running shoulder tackle on Mahal. Balor tagged back in, Strowman picked him up and slammed Balor onto Mahal for a two count. Mahal with a jawbreaker, but Balor hit a dropkick that sent Mahal out of the ring. Balor ran the ropes, Owens distraction, Strowman stalked Owens on the floor and Balor hit a somersault dive onto Mahal and Owens on the floor. Commercial time about five minutes into the match.

(Commercial)

The match returned with Mahal controlling Balor with an armbar. Owens tagged in with elbow drops on Balor. Owens slapped on a chinlock leading to a split screen SummerSlam commercial for NXT Takeover on Saturday. Mahal back in with a knee drop followed by another armbar. Balor fought back with punches, Mahal prevented a tag and Balor dumped Mahal out of the ring. The referee was giving Balor some sort of cue. Owens tagged in and Balor hit a Slingblade on Owens. Strowman got the hot tag against Mahal with two shoulder tackles for Strowman followed by a running clothesline. Strowman ran outside the ring, he picked up Sunil Singh and ran over Owens. Back in the ring, Mahal avoided a corner attack and running knee. Strowman picked up Mahal and hit a Running Powerslam for the pinfall win at around 13 minutes.

Winners by pinfall: Braun Strowman and Finn Balor

Analysis: *** Good tag team match that followed the usual tag team formula with the heels working over Balor for most of the match with the dreaded chinlocks, Strowman getting the hot tag and getting the win for this team. It was what I expected after Strowman lost by countout and disqualification in terrible “matches” the last two weeks. Strowman winning here may mean that he’s losing at SummerSlam, but I am going to roll with him because I think he should keep the MITB contract and become WWE Champion at SummerSlam. That’s what I would do anyway.

After the match, Owens avoided an attack from Strowman by running away. Corbin went into the ring and hit the End of Days on Balor to leave him laying.

Analysis: I’m probably going to pick Balor to beat Corbin at SummerSlam to put an end to that rivalry.

The announce team plugged things that are still to come.

Angle was shown in the office calling Rollins and telling him to call him. Ziggler and McIntyre showed up to talk to Angle. McIntyre said maybe they have finally broke Seth Rollins. Ziggler laughed about it. Ziggler asked Angle if he could look at the contract to see if anything fell through the cracks. Angle handed Ziggler the contract. Ziggler joked that’s not how you spell Ziggler, Angle said “what” and Ziggler laughed about it and the heels left.

Bobby Lashley was shown warming up backstage.

(Commercial)

There was a quick video with Seth Rollins talking about his journey to WWE in a segment sponsored by Subway.

There was somebody in the ring named Ricky Roberts with a guitar and a microphone. He said his favorite musician in the entire world is WWE’s own Elias. He said that he can’t play the guitar, but one day he’s gonna get so good that he’ll find himself in the Country Music Hall of Fame. He said one said one day Elias will come to him and say those wonderful words, which led to Elias saying: “Hello, I am Elias.” That led to Elias walking out with the guitar while he sat on a stool on the stage.

Elias talked to Ricky in the ring telling him that you are looking at the only Elias in the world. Elias wondered if Ricky was a big enough fan of Elias that he would buy an Elias wristband. Elias told Ricky he can impress Elias if he beats and humiliates Bobby Lashley. Elias claimed he sold out WrestleMania, he sold out Madison Square Garden three times, he has done documentaries, he’s got an album and this Saturday he’s got a concert at the Gramercy Theatre in NYC, which is true. Elias said it’s all because the universal truth that WWE stands for…and the fans chanted the “Walk With Elias” part. Elias said Tar Heels are a strong people and a resilient people because it must take strength and resilience knowing you live in a pile of garbage known as Greensboro.

Bobby Lashley made his entrance for his match. Lashley walked past Elias on the stage and he went into the ring. Cole pointed out that Renee is wearing an Elias wristband, so Graves questioned that. Lashley told Ricky to try something new because they already have a guitar playing clown like Elias.

Roberts hit Lashley in the back with the guitar, which broke the guitar. Lashley no sold it and stared at poor Roberts with a menacing look. Lashley picked up Roberts and gave him a spinebuster. There was a referee in the ring, but he just left.

Analysis: It was a boring segment designed to have Elias plug all of his stuff. I really have no desire to see Lashley vs. Elias even though that’s what they have been trying to build for over a month now. It’s just not that interesting to me while reminding me that this show is too long and they have too much time to kill.

The B Team duo of Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel were in the locker room. Dallas figured out that they have a 33.3% chance of winning the triple threat match. Axel said if their teamwork fails, it has been the best run of their lives. They held up the Tag Team Titles and yelled “B Team.”

Matt Hardy and Bray Wyatt made their entrance for the Raw Tag Team Title match.

A clip aired of the movie Mile 22 starring Mark Wahlberg and Ronda Rousey. Wahlberg, Rousey, director Peter Berg and others talked about the action movie and how exciting it is. The movie is in theatres on Friday.

(Commercial)

The Revival duo of Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder made their entrance.

The B Team duo of Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel made their entrance. They are the Raw Tag Team Champions. The “B Team, B Team, go go go” song is catchy and annoying at the same time.


Raw Tag Team Championships: The B Team (Curtis Axel and Bo Dallas) vs. The Revival (Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder) vs. Matt Hardy and Bray Wyatt

Two guys are in the ring, the other four are on the apron and the first fall wins the match.

Dawson with a suplex on Dallas. Wilder tagged in and Dallas hit a forearm on him. Hardy tagged in. Hardy sent Wilder into the turnbuckle repeatedly. Corner clothesline by Hardy followed by the Side Effect for two. Hardy hit a running splash to the back of Wilder. Hardy to the middle rope with an elbow to the back of the head of Wilder. Dawson with a blind tag and they did a Hart Attack double team clothesline like the Hart Foundation. Nice tribute to Jim Neidhart. Dawson with a clothesline on Hardy. Dawson slammed Wilder onto Hardy for a two count as the show went to break.

(Commercial)

Back from break, Hardy with a neckbreaker on Wilder. Wyatt got the tag against Dawson with Wyatt hitting a running shoulder tackle on Dawson. Wyatt with a corner splash followed by a uranage slam, a uranage slam for Wilder, a uranage slam on Dallas and Axel fought it off. Dawson with a sunset flip on Wyatt, who gave Axel a German Suplex. Wilder tried to attack Wyatt on the floor, but Wyatt hit a uranage slam on the apron. Dallas took out Wyatt with a leaping clothesline. Hardy teased going up top, but Dawson stopped him with a punch. Hardy gave Dawson a suplex off the top onto the other four guys on the floor. All six guys are down with the fans chanting “this is awesome” for them. The ref wasn’t counting them out because there are no countouts in a triple threat. I noticed Matt Hardy’s family sitting in the front row since Raw is in his home state of North Carolina. Dawson and Wyatt were legal, but Axel tagged in on Dawson. The Revival hit a Shatter Machine on Wyatt, Axel dumped Dawson out of the ring and Axel covered for the pinfall win at 10 minutes.

Winners by pinfall: The B Team

Analysis: **3/4 It was a solid match with the champs retaining in lucky fashion like they usually do. Axel stole the pin after The Revival hit their finish on Wyatt, so it was another fluky win for the B Team, which is their gimmick. The suplex spot onto the floor was very risky and also well done. I also like the Hart Attack double team clothesline by The Revival. It was nice to see that as a tribute to the Anvil. As for the future, The B Team’s hot streak continues.

Roman Reigns was shown walking backstage. The B Team walked by him celebrating with the titles. They told him not to be sleeping on the B Team. Reigns is up next at the top of hour three.

(Commercial)

Angle was in the office with Ziggler and McIntyre talking about the contract. Ziggler mentioned something in there about Rollins being allowed to have somebody in his corner for the match to counter McIntyre. Ziggler wasn’t sure about it at first and then said it was fine. He gave Angle the contract back.

Let’s Hear From Roman Reigns

Roman Reigns made his entrance. There was a loud reaction for him. It was a mix of cheers and boos as usual, but it sounded like more cheers this time around.

Reigns said “leave this place better than I found it” twice. He said that’s something he tells himself every day in this position. Reigns said that he’ll never be able to accomplish that goal with Brock Lesnar here, so that means it’s time for Lesnar to go. Reigns said he’s sick of talking about him, hearing about him, he’s tired of the rumors and it ends this Sunday at SummerSlam. Reigns said that at SummerSlam he’s taking back his Universal Championship. Reigns talked about how he’s going to send Lesnar so far into the UFC that he’s going to find his head stuck up Dana White’s ass.

Analysis: Good line at the end of the promo.

Paul Heyman made his entrance doing his “ladies and gentlemen” bit followed by saying “it’s a new day, yes it is.” Heyman said that if he was stealing a line from somebody on Smackdown it would be The Usos since they are the future of the tag team division (Reigns is the Usos cousin, so Heyman was sucking up to Reigns). Heyman said now he’s laying his eyes on the #1 contender for the Universal Title. Heyman got into the ring. Reigns said last week Heyman tried to cry on cue and now he wants to hear what Heyman has to say.

Heyman said that Reigns can start making history right here, right now…tonight. Heyman mentioned his “unless” line during the interview he did last week. Heyman said that “unless” is having Heyman telling Reigns all of Lesnar’s big, dirty secrets. Heyman said that if Reigns had Heyman in his corner, he would beat Brock Lesnar at SummerSlam to become the Universal Champion. Some fans cheered that thought. Heyman extended his hand for a shake. Reigns did not want to shake his hand.

Reigns said that he already knows all of this and added that he beat Lesnar at Saudi Arabia. Reigns said that Lesnar wouldn’t have made it out of the cage if Reigns didn’t Spear him through it while pointing out that it would have ended quicker if not for Heyman. That led to Heyman saying he was guilty and that Reigns was right. Heyman said that he sees the future exactly one week from this moment on Raw.

Heyman told Reigns to stand side by side with him, but Reigns wouldn’t do it. Heyman said this could happen next week at this time: “Ladies and gentlemen, my name is Paul Heyman and I am the advocate for the reigning, defending, undisputed, Universal Champion…Roman Reigns.” Reigns wouldn’t shake his hand.

Reigns said that he was groomed to be in this position since he was young. He said his father taught him about sharks in this business while telling Heyman that he’s drowning and not worth saving. Reigns said “good luck in your future endeavors” to Heyman. That led to Heyman saying he was drowning when he was 15, 16, 17 years old riding in the car with Roman’s father Sika and uncle Afa. Heyman talked in Samoan or at least that’s what he said. Heyman brought out a piece of paper. He said it’s an agreement in principle. He told Reigns to look it over. Heyman gave Reigns the paper and said to give him an answer at SummerSlam. While Reigns looked at that, Heyman sprayed something in Reigns’ eyes with Reigns grabbing at his eyes. The announcers thought it was pepper spray.

Brock Lesnar made his entrance while Reigns was selling that he couldn’t sell. The crowd reacted to it in a big way. Lesnar handed the Universal Title to Heyman in the aisle. It was all a trick from Heyman.

Lesnar went into the ring with Reigns and Lesnar kneed Reigns in the ribs repeatedly. Reigns was on the mat trying to see. Lesnar slapped on a tight guillotine headlock on Reigns to make him pass out. Lesnar stood over a fallen Reigns. Graves said what a set up while Young pointed out that Heyman planned it the entire time and Cole said it was pathetic. Lesnar left with the Universal Title, Reigns was out in the ring selling what happened and Lesnar smirked as he left.

Lesnar went back into the ring while Reigns was on his knees. Lesnar picked up Reigns and hit a F5 in the middle of the ring. Lesnar celebrated. Some fans chanted “one more time” because they are not Reigns supporters. Lesnar left again this time for good.

Analysis: That was a long segment that went about 15 minutes. It was effective in terms of getting heat on Lesnar and Heyman when everybody realized that Heyman was fooling people in terms of the issues some people thought he had with Lesnar. I liked the pepper spray spot or whatever spray they want to say it was. That was a cheap way to weaken Reigns only for Lesnar to assault a weakened Reigns. It got sympathy for Reigns even though some fans were chanting “one more time” when Lesnar hit the F5. Will this lead to cheers for Reigns at SummerSlam? I have my doubts about that, but this was classic heel booking that would have worked if this was a traditional feud, but fans don’t react to Reigns in a traditional way.

(Commercial)

The replays aired of what happened before the break.

Six men were in the ring for a tag team match.

Apollo Crews, Titus O’Neil and Bobby Roode vs. Akam, Rezar and Mojo Rawley

The heels worked over Crews for a bit as a split screen was shown with a commercial for Bliss/Rousey at SummerSlam. Crews tried to break free with a kick, but Rawley tagged in and knocked O’Neil off the apron. Roode got the tag from Crews with a clothesline off the top. Roode got his feet up to block a Rawley attack followed by a Blockbuster for two. Rezar broke up the pin, O’Neil took care of Rezar and Rawley hit O’Neil in the back. Roode hit a Glorious DDT on Rawley for the pinfall win after about two minutes.

Winners by pinfall: Apollo Crews, Titus O’Neil and Bobby Roode

Analysis: That was a quick match. They must have had their time cut because going only two minutes for a six man tag is silly. Raw has so much filler, yet they don’t have time to go longer for a tag? Weak. I don’t really agree with Rawley getting beat by Roode again, but maybe Rawley will get him next time.

There was a shot of Roman Reigns in the trainers room as they

Coming up next is a video celebrating Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart.

(Commercial)

A video aired about Triple H being the smartest superstar sponsored by some shampoo.

There was a video package for the late, great Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart. It told the story about Neidhart starting with WWE in 1985 when he teamed up with Bret Hart to form the iconic Hart Foundation. There were clips showing the Hart Foundation in action. There was a clip of Bret talking about how fun Jim was. It also talked about how Jim was proudest of his daughter Natalya with a nice clip of Jim with her. More photos were shown of Jim with his family including Natalya, Tyson Kidd, Jim's wife, his two other daughters, his grandsons and more.

When the video ended, the fans in the arena clapped for it.

Analysis: I thought the video was well done. It would have been nice if they touched on the 1997 Hart Foundation group. They did show a pic of them together, though.

The announcers went over the SummerSlam card. A new match was announced for the SummerSlam Kickoff Show: The B Team vs. The Revival for the Raw Tag Team Titles. The other Kickoff Show matches are Cedric Alexander vs. Drew Gulak for the Cruiserweight Title and Rusev/Lana vs. Andrade Almas/Zelina Vega. The rest of the matches are on the main show. I have the full list at the bottom of this post. There are 13 matches in all. Good luck to the crowd staying hot. We will have an in-depth preview up on Friday.

Sasha Banks entered for a match up next with her buddy Bayley by her side.

(Commercial)

Ruby Riott made her entrance with Sarah Logan and Liv Morgan. A cell phone promo from the Riott Squad was shown from earlier in the day. Riott wondered if Sasha and Bayley can withstand a Riott.

Sasha Banks (w/Bayley) vs. Ruby Riott (w/Sarah Logan and Liv Morgan)

This was Riott’s first match on Raw since she missed about two months with a knee injury. Riott got a rollup for two, Banks countered into a Bank Statement submission and Riott got to the ropes. They left the ring with Banks hitting a kick to the face. Riott with a weak whip into the ring steps. Banks had her hand caught in the steel steps hole and Riott kicked the steps. Back in the ring, Riott kicked Banks in the arm. Banks got an inside cradle for two. Riott stomped on the left hand and a kick for two. Riott worked on the left hand of Banks with a knee drop as the show went to break.

(Commercial)

Back from break, Banks worked on the left arm of Banks with Graves trying to say that Banks and Bayley have issues while Young was telling him to stop with that. Banks fought back with slaps to the face, deep arm drag by Banks and a back elbow by Banks. When Banks ran the ropes, she hit a suicide dive on Logan, but Morgan pulled Banks off the apron. Bayley with a clothesline on Morgan. Riott kicked the hand of Banks and Riott with a ROLLUP OF DEATH~! for the pinfall win after about nine minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Ruby Riott

Analysis: **1/2 It was another match finish on this show that was obvious because it followed the usual pattern. Riott had the numbers game advantage outside of the ring, it led to Banks being distracted and Riott did the dreaded ROLLUP OF DEATH~! that is so deadly you can’t kick out of it. The finishes on the show this week were very predictable.

There were images shown of Seth Rollins in Shanghai in the last week to promote a WWE live event in September.

Angle was in the office with Corbin. A guy in a headset showed up, Angle asked if Rollins had arrived and the guy said no. Corbin told Angle that it’s his fault and told Angle he can’t wait any longer. Angle left.

The Ziggler/Rollins contract signing is next.

(Commercial)

The commercial aired for NXT Takeover Brooklyn IV on Saturday. It should be an amazing show.

Contract Signing for Intercontinental Title Match

Kurt Angle was in the ring with a table in there along with the contract.

Angle addressed the Lesnar/Reigns situation from earlier while noting that Reigns can still compete at SummerSlam. Angle said he’s not going to suspend Brock Lesnar because he wants Reigns to kick Lesnar’s ass. Angle said that Lesnar is the worst champion of all time…but here comes Ziggler.

Dolph Ziggler made his entrance along with his buddy Drew McIntyre. Ziggler was in street clothes while McIntyre was in his ring gear. McIntyre said that if Reigns isn’t healthy then Angle would make him perform to save Angle’s job.

Ziggler wondered if he still had to have this match at SummerSlam and then said he could do a comedy set at Caroline’s comedy club instead.

Angle introduced Seth Rollins. No response. Angle said “Seth Rollins” again. Ziggler said that Rollins isn’t coming out and Angle knew that. McIntyre said that Rollins' “travel issues” were just Seth wanting to get away from them. Ziggler said there’s no blueprint to figure this out, so Rollins quit. McIntyre said that they respect Seth Rollins. McIntyre talked about how they were there to bring change to Raw. McIntyre said they respected Rollins because he fought to prove he was the best and that made them work harder to prove they are better, so in the end, Rollins was the architect of his own downfall.

Ziggler said that Rollins pushed himself too hard for them meaning his fans. Ziggler complained about the fans. Ziggler said that the fans used to love when Ziggler stole the show, but Ziggler said it means nothing because the second the fans feel slighted, they turn their back on Ziggler and they’ll do it to Rollins as well as the next guy, the next guy after that and the vicious cycle will never end because of the fans. Ziggler said that it’s easy to be around during the fun times, but not for the hard times. Ziggler talked about how for the first time in his life, somebody has his back. Ziggler said that McIntyre eggs him on and pushes him every night for the betterment of the company and the entire world. Ziggler said he doesn’t care about any of the fans or the guys in the back. Ziggler talked about how they do whatever they want and they took the whole damn thing over.

Ziggler told Angle to hand him the contract to officially make it a Seth Rollins forfeit. Angle handed Ziggler the contract. Ziggler signed it. Fans chanted “burn it down.”

The music of Seth Rollins hit at 11:06pmET and he was in his ring gear.

Rollins said he’s sorry he’s late and sorry that we had to sit through that Dolph Ziggler therapy session. Rollins said that he’s been there for a little while, but he didn’t want to go out there until Ziggler signed the contract. Rollins said that he was dealing with travel issues, but they weren’t exactly his travel issues. Rollins said you know about that clause in the contract about somebody in his corner and he said that was put there for a particular reason. Rollins said he knows that Ziggler will have the Scottish Psychopath in his corner at SummerSlam, so Rollins figures he ought to have a lunatic in his. The crowd cheered because they knew what that meant.

Welcome back Dean Ambrose! Ambrose had a shorter haircut and more of a beard. Ambrose looked more muscular in the upper body. Ambrose walked down to the ring with Rollins. Ambrose tossed Ziggler out of the ring. Ambrose jumped on McIntyre, Rollins with a superkick on McIntyre and Ambrose hit the Dirty Deeds on McIntyre. The crowd exploded for Ambrose and Rollins in the ring together.

Ambrose handed Rollins the contract, Rollins signed it and the Intercontinental Title match is official at SummerSlam with Ambrose there to support Rollins. Ambrose and Rollins celebrated to end Raw.

Analysis: The segment dragged on a lot with that Ziggler promo taking a long time, but the payoff was nice with Ambrose making his return. The crowd exploded for Dean’s return, which is great because he’s awesome performer and it was nice to see him again. Ambrose looked to be a bit more muscular than before, which is not a surprise when you’re off for nine months and have a lot of time to work out. I’m glad Ambrose is back. That was a nice way to end the show. The Ambrose return was rumored for weeks. He looks bigger in arms, which isn't a surprise because a wrestler is going to work out a lot when they are on the shelf for nine months. Good for Dean. I hope he is better than ever and he was already very good before.

It's worth noting also that Ambrose's wife Renee Young didn't talk during Ambrose's return, which was a bit of a surprise. I figure she would say "yes" or something, but maybe she just chose silence in that situation. That's fine.

 

Three Stars of the Show

  1. Dean Ambrose – It’s his first time on the show in nine months. I have to put him here.
  2. Paul Heyman
  3. Braun Strowman

 

The Scoreboard

5 out of 10

Last week: 4

2018 Average: 5.74

Last 5 Weeks: 4, 5.5, 6, 6.5, 5

2018 High: 8 (February 19)

2018 Low: 4 (June 4, July 2, August 6)

 

Final Thoughts

I give it a 5 out of 10.

It felt like an average Raw this week. They built some of the SummerSlam stories well, but matches were not that interesting. I really liked the Heyman/Reigns/Lesnar segment and the main event segment ended up good because of the return of Ambrose.

I thought Renee Young did well on commentary. She countered Corey Graves most of the night and didn’t do it in an annoying way like Coachman or Booker would do. She fit in very well. I’d rather see here there every week instead of Coachman.

Here's the SummerSlam lineup for this Sunday, August 19 in Brooklyn. There are 13 matches.

Universal Championship: Brock Lesnar (c) vs. Roman Reigns

WWE Championship: AJ Styles (c) vs. Samoa Joe

Raw Women’s Championship: Alexa Bliss (c) vs. Ronda Rousey

Daniel Bryan vs. The Miz

For the Money in the Bank Contract: Braun Strowman vs. Kevin Owens

Intercontinental Championship: Dolph Ziggler (c) vs. Seth Rollins

United States Championship: Shinsuke Nakamura (c) vs. Jeff Hardy

Smackdown Women’s Championship: Carmella (c) vs. Becky Lynch vs. Charlotte Flair

Smackdown Tag Team Championships: The Bludgeon Brothers (c) vs. The New Day

Baron Corbin vs. Finn Balor

Raw Tag Team Championships: The B Team (c) vs. The Revival (Kickoff Show)

Cruiserweight Championship: Cedric Alexander (c) vs. Drew Gulak (Kickoff Show)

Rusev and Lana vs. Andrade “Cien” Almas and Zelina Vega (Kickoff Show)

That's probably the whole card. They also announced an Elias segment, so Lashley will probably beat him up again.

---

You can contact me using any of the methods below. See ya next time for the Smackdown review. Go Los Angeles Rams. Thanks for reading.

John Canton

Email: mrjohncanton@gmail.com

Twitter: @johnreport

Personal Facebook and TJRWrestling on Facebook