The John Report: The WWE Raw Deal 08/20/18 Review

It’s the Raw after SummerSlam, which should be an eventful show considering there’s a new Universal Champion in Roman Reigns, a new Raw Women’s Champion in Ronda Rousey and a new (again) Intercontinental Champion in Seth Rollins. All three are faces and current Raw Tag Team Champions, the B Team, are booked like faces too, so all four titles on Raw are held by faces. That could lead to Raw having a bit of a different feel.

Here’s my SummerSlam review in case you missed it. I liked a lot of the booking decisions and there were a few good matches too. I didn’t even mind the short matches either. It means less writing for me, so more of them please! I also wrote more about SummerSlam for The Comeback with 10 Takeaways on the show where I dove deeper into the matches and plenty of thoughts on the Charlotte Flair/Becky Lynch storyline that I’m very intrigued about.

There was more than SummerSlam as well because NXT Takeover Brooklyn took place on Saturday night. As usual with a Takeover, it was an outstanding event with one five-star match and several others that I enjoyed too. The NXT Takeover events continue to be the best thing going in WWE.

Live from Brooklyn, New York (for the third night in a row), this is the Raw Deal for episode #1317 of Monday Night Raw. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport. Thanks to Melo Man for the banner up top.

The show began with a shot of the crowd in Brooklyn looking ready. Michael Cole opened up by saying that Sunday was the most watched SummerSlam in history. Is that true? I don’t know. There’s no real way of knowing.

Let’s Hear From Roman Reigns

Roman Reigns, the new Universal Champion, made his entrance with the title in his right hand and he held it up in the air. Reigns carried the title in his left hand over his shoulder. The Raw announce team of Michael Cole, Corey Graves and Jonathon Coachman (I miss Renee Young) were shown at ringside, so they are back there likely because of the setup of the arena for the third straight night.

Reigns stood in the ring with the Universal Title proudly displayed in his left hand and on his shoulder. Reigns soaked in the reaction that was a mix of cheers and boos.

Reigns began by saying “I’m a man of my word” with some fans booing. Reigns said that he was going to beat Brock Lesnar and he did. Reigns paused again with some fans chanting “you still suck” at him. Reigns said when he won the title he said he would defend it and that means he’ll defend it tonight. Reigns said normally he’d open it for anybody that wants to step up, but he has one man in mind. Reigns mentioned one man he was thinking about that won the title in Brooklyn, but he never got an opportunity again and Reigns said since he won the title in Brooklyn, he’s going to defend it tonight against Finn Balor.

Finn Balor made his entrance to a loud ovation from the crowd. Balor went down to the ring. Balor said that he accepts the challenge and he’s going to take back his title. Reigns said let’s make it official, so they shook hands.

The “Constable” Baron Corbin made his entrance saying that this match is not going to happen. Corbin got into the ring to say that he was said that he was set to face Finn Balor the man, but he no showed and sent The Demon instead. Corbin complained that it was cowardly and in breach of contract. Corbin talked about how he couldn’t hear or see, so he never heard the bell ring. Corbin said as far as he’s concerned, that match never happened. Corbin noted that he’s tonight he’s facing Balor the man. Corbin claimed the fans were booing, Reigns pointed out that the fans were booing Corbin’s dumbass and after seeing Corbin’s performance last night, Reigns would boo him too. Corbin told Reigns the only reason he’s champion is because Brock Lesnar was concerned with Braun Strowman more than Reigns. That led to Reigns dropping his microphone and getting in Corbin’s face. Here comes Kurt Angle.

Kurt Angle, the Raw General Manager, appeared on the stage to soak up the “You Suck” chants. Angle told Corbin that he makes the matches. Angle said he didn’t care about what Corbin thinks, but he cares what Brooklyn thinks and the fans cheered. Angle officially made Reigns vs. Balor for the Universal Title. Angle told Corbin he has a match right now and his opponent is this guy…Bobby Lashley.

Analysis: It was a solid opening segment with Reigns getting his usual mixed reaction and then doing the noble thing by saying he was going to defend the title. That’s a smart move because of Lesnar’s absentee reign as champion. The crowd will be behind Balor later in the night. Corbin’s whining was lame, but it got heat and allowed for Reigns to get in a few good lines. The crowd was hot for that opening segment, so that’s a good sign.

(Commercial)

There were images shown from SummerSlam.

Bobby Lashley vs. Baron Corbin

Lashley with a neckbreaker early on. Lashley worked over Corbin with punches. Corbin left the ring, Lashley followed him and sent him back in. Lashley with a clothesline that sent Corbin over the top to the floor. Lashley rolled Corbin back in, but Corbin kicked him in the knee to send him out of the ring. Corbin whipped Lashley ribs first into the barricade at ringside. Back in the ring, Corbin slapped on an armbar. Lashley broke free with a clothesline. Lashley teased going for a big suplex, so Corbin shoved Lashley out of the ring. Corbin ran out of the ring with a running clothesline as the show went to break about four minutes into the match.

(Commercial)

Back from break, Corbin had Lashley grounded in a chinlock. Corbin whipped Lashley hard into the turnbuckle and ring post, so Lashley returned the favor by whipping Corbin into the ring post. The ref was wearing the gloves, so somebody was bleeding. Lashley with a belly to belly suplex, corner clothesline, Corbin with a back elbow and Lashley with a spinebuster for two. Corbin bailed, they went back in the ring and Corbin took over with a punch. The crowd was quiet for this match. Corbin was setting up for something on the turnbuckle and I think there was a “boring” chant, but not sure. Lashley jumped off the top rope, Corbin caught him and hit a Chokeslam backbreaker for a two count. Lashley came back with a power move where he picked up Corbin on his shoulders and flipped him over wit ha slam for the pinfall win after about 12 minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Bobby Lashley

Analysis: *3/4 It was a boring match in front of a crowd that had no interest in it because it was two guys thrown together without any history. Lashley isn’t that interesting to watch right now while Corbin has boring matches. Lashley going over was the right call. I don’t know if WWE will care about the “boring” chants, but those are never a good sign especially after the crowd was hot in the opening segment.

Kurt Angle was in his office as the Raw GM. Paul Heyman was there, so Angle asked him what he’s doing there. Heyman said that his client Brock Lesnar would like to invoke his contractually obligated rematch clause for the Universal Championship. Heyman said that nobody’s complaining, there’s no excuses and Heyman noted that Angle thinks that Lesnar might be in UFC by now, but Lesnar goes where he wants. Heyman said that Lesnar wants his rematch. Angle said that he’s got a fighting champion now and it will be a long time until Brock Lesnar gets his rematch. Heyman said he’s not envisioning it happening next week. Heyman said that Lesnar gets his rematch at Hell in a Cell. Angle said it will be a cold day in hell or as they say in Brooklyn “fuggetaboutit” and the fans liked that.

Analysis: The future of Lesnar in WWE is unknown right now, so it’s hard to know if there will be a rematch or if Lesnar will just walk away. It seems like this was a way to write him out of storylines. Good interaction by Angle and Heyman to keep people tuned in throughout the night. Lesnar was advertised for this Raw, but he flew home after SummerSlam and was not there.

Still to come: Reigns vs. Balor for Universal Title, Ronda Rousey is there with the Raw Women’s Title and a video will air about Triple H vs. The Undertaker in October.

A commercial aired about Miz TV on Tuesday night.

(Commercial)

Angle was in the office on his phone like usual and Baron Corbin showed up to complain. Corbin said he’s not a dog that just does tricks. Corbin said he’s tired of Angle not giving him what he wants. Angle said he’s there to do what’s best for the WWE Universe, not what’s best for Corbin. That led to Corbin saying he was going to see Stephanie McMahon because she’s there.

A video aired about Triple H vs. The Undertaker at the Super Show-Down event in Australia on October 6 on WWE Network. They aired the same video at SummerSlam.

Analysis: Their last match was a Hell in a Cell match at WrestleMania 28, which I was at and I thought it was a great, five star match. The match in Australia is being hyped as the “Last Time Ever” because they are both old and The Undertaker may retire someday soon, but we have also thought that before. Anyway, it should be a nice treat for the Australia fans.

Coming up later: Triple H is on Raw.

Sasha Banks and Bayley made their entrance with Cole calling them the Boss N Hug Connection while Graves and Coach ripped on the name for being stupid. They were joined by Ember Moon for a six-woman tag team match. They also plugged tickets on sale for the women’s Evolution PPV on October 28.

The Riott Squad trio of Ruby Riott, Sarah Logan and Liv Morgan made their entrance. It feels like they have wrestled Banks and Bayley every week, but I could be wrong on that. I’m just saying we have seen it a lot.

Bayley, Sasha Banks and Ember Moon vs. The Riott Squad (Ruby Riott, Liv Morgan and Sarah Logan)

The face trio were in control early with Banks and Bayley nailing cross body blocks onto Riott and Morgan. Moon ran the ropes, she went for a suicide dive, Logan was too far away and Moon barely touched her, but Logan sold it like she was hit hard. Good for her that she sold it like that. They went to break one minute into this match.

(Commercial)

The match returned with Bayley working over Morgan with a knee against the turnbuckle. Logan distracted, so Morgan hit a punch and Bayley oversold it by going to the floor. Riott tagged in with a STO on the floor to send Bayley hard into the ground. The blue tongued Morgan slapped on a headlock on Bayley. Corner splash by Morgan, shoulder tackle by Riott and Logan tagged back in with a knee to the face. Logan punched Moon off the apron. Logan did one of her yells because she likes to yell a lot. Riott back in, Bayley rollup and Banks got the tag. Banks with a running dropkick on Riot, knee to the face, Banks with a double knee attack and a pinfall attempt got a two count as Morgan got a two count. Moon back in to throw Morgan out of the ring. Moon with a suplex on Morgan on the floor. Banks with a knee to the face of Riott, Logan grabbed Banks’ foot and Logan with a clothesline on Bayley followed by another loud yell by Logan. Riott took advantage with a lefty kick to the head for the pinfall win after nine minutes.

Winners by pinfall: The Riott Squad

Analysis: **3/4 Good tag team action with the Riott Squad getting the win because they are the more established team. Banks lost to Riott last week and Riott pinned her again here, so clearly there’s a push for Riott even though it’s not that significant. It just feels like they are trying to book Riott stronger. Banks was pushed so strongly a few years ago and now she can’t seem to get going. I thought the finishing sequence was well done although it was weird that Moon hit an offensive move and couldn’t recover to make a save for the finish. My fave part of the match is that the announcers seemed to have stopped with the "Logan is a Viking" gimmick, so so that's good.

The Riott Squad celebrated the win. The announcers pushed the idea that the Riott Squad won because they are used to teaming up while the others were not as cohesive a unit.

Triple H is up next at the top of the second hour.

(Commercial)

PLUG TIME: SummerSlam is over and I’m happy to say that I finished my reviews of all 31 editions of SummerSlam. Each review averages over 8,000 words, there have been 31 of them, so that’s around 250,000 words in total. It’s crazy to think about it like that, but I am glad I was able to get it done this year. In the reviews , you can see my star ratings for every match, ratings out of 10 for every show and it’s all listed so you can see what I thought the best SummerSlam was and the best matches. You can find all the reviews only on TJRWrestling in the SummerSlam archive right here. I may write a column later in the week with a listing of them as well, so be on the lookout for that. If not, it’s because I passed out from way too much writing in the last week.

There were images shown from SummerSlam.

Let’s Hear From Triple H

Triple H made his entrance wearing a suit. Nice beard with the grey in it. The fans cheered him. There was a graphic plugging Triple H vs. The Undertaker in Australia on October 6.

The fans chanted “NXT” as Triple H stood in the ring. Triple H said it’s been a great weekend and NXT blew the roof of the place on Saturday night. He said SummerSlam was incredible. Triple H talked about how the truth is, just like us he loves this and this is in him to the core. Triple H said he will work until the day he dies to make sure this is here for us.

Hunter said that weekends like this make him get that itch, it makes him tape back up, lace up the boots and make him want to be the game again. Hunter talked about Vince called him up a few weeks ago about wrestling in Australia in front of 80,000 people in Australia at Super Show-Down and then Vince said that they wanted him to step in the ring with The Undertaker. Triple H said “hell no” at first, but for a different reason than we think. Triple H talked about of all the great things he did in his career, the moment at the end of the Hell in a Cell match with he and The Undertaker, so then he, Undertaker and Shawn Michaels stood at the top of the ramp at the end of the night for a famous pose together. That’s a very famous image from that night. Hunter said that moment is about as real as it gets in this business and it was a moment of mutual respect between them. He said that he was standing there with Shawn Michaels and The Undertaker, who you can say are as responsible for this as much as anybody. Hunter said that we knew this was the end of an era, but it did something to them inside. Right after that happened, Michaels was gone, The Streak would be dead (two years later) and then Undertaker would put his hat and gloves in the ring and disappear. Triple H said he would take off his tape, take off his boots and he would leave and he would be over (I guess he's forgetting that he and Undertaker each put over Roman Reigns at WrestleManias in the main event). Hunter said the era had ended. He said for the three of them, everything changed, the sound was gone, the feeling was gone, the goosebumps they would all get was gone and without sounding like a bitter veteran, our era was something special. That is damn true. The fans chanted “you still got it” at him.

Hunter said for the same respect reason that he said no, he called Vince McMahon and told him to tell the guys in Australia that he is in. Hunter said he will take off the suit, put the tape on, put the boots on and be The Game again…if The Undertaker will be The Phenom one more time. Triple H got into his yelling wrestler voice plugging the October 6 show saying the sound will be back, the feeling will be back, the goosebumps will be back because the era is back. “Melbourne, Australia, The Undertaker and The Game one last time.” The fans cheered as Hunter’s music played and he left.

Analysis: It was all about Triple H plugging the Australia show on October 6. He was serious for much of it, he talked about how much that End of an Era match meant to him in 2012 and how it was hard to do it again. It was smart for him to end it using the YELLING WRESTLER VOICE to show he was ready for the match. They will likely do more promos about the match over the next six weeks or so. I figure Triple H did it here because WWE knows they’ll have more viewers on the Raw after SummerSlam.

There were highlights from SummerSlam showing Reigns beating Lesnar for the Universal Title while Lesnar beat up Braun Strowman, who was planning on cashing in the Money in the Bank contract. Reigns pinned Lesnar with a Spear to win the Universal Title.

Still to come: Reigns vs. Balor and Ronda Rousey is there.

Seth Rollins made his entrance with the Intercontinental Title as the third new champion on the Raw brand. Dean Ambrose made his entrance because he’s in a match against former IC Champion Dolph Ziggler after a break. The fans cheered Rollins and Ambrose loudly as expected.

(Commercial)

This week on Smackdown: Randy Orton vs. Jeff Hardy, The Bludgeon Brothers vs. The New Day in a No DQ match for the SD Tag Team Titles, an AJ Styles interview and Becky Lynch explains her actions against Charlotte Flair. The SD GM Paige said it was one of the biggest Smackdowns of the year.

Dolph Ziggler made his entrance with Baron Corbin. Corey Graves said that Dean Ambrose is as loyal as any man walking the Earth. Foreshadowing for the future? Maybe.

Dean Ambrose (w/Seth Rollins) vs. Dolph Ziggler (w/Drew McIntyre)

This is Ambrose’s first match in about eight months since arm surgery in December. Ambrose wrestled in a tank top and some grey jeans. They got into a bit of a slugfest early on. Ambrose with a body slam. McIntyre grabbed Ambrose’s foot, so Ambrose left the ring and Rollins went over there to calm Ambrose down. Ambrose on the apron, Ziggler dropkick and Ambrose went to the floor as the match went to break about two minutes into it.

(Commercial)

The match returned with Ziggler trash talking Ambrose, so Ambrose crushed him with two clotheslines. Knee to the ribs by Ambrose. A charge by Ambrose, Ziggler with a boot and that got two as Ziggler got his feet on the ropes. Ambrose caught Ziggler in his arms and hit a fallaway slam. Ambrose with a catapult into the corner and Ziggler hit his hand against the ring post to make some noise. Ziggler sent Ambrose into the turnbuckle. McIntyre walked over to Ambrose, Rollins got in his face to tell him to mind his own business, so McIntyre dared him to hit him and Rollins punched McIntyre. Ziggler with a forearm to the back of Rollins. Ziggler and McIntyre whipped Rollins into the barricade. Ambrose hit McIntyre in the back. Back in the ring, Ambrose ducked a Fameasser, Rollins into the ring and Rollins hit a suicide dive on McIntyre. Ziggler wanted a DDT, Ambrose launched him up in the air and Ambrose hit a Dirty Deeds DDT for the pinfall win after about nine minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Dean Ambrose

Analysis: *** That was a lot of fun. It was nice to see Ambrose back in action. Ambrose showed off some power moves like a fallaway slam that he didn’t do before. There were some other moves in there too. Ziggler is one of the best at selling, so it was the right opponent for Ambrose. Good for Ambrose working on his physique and getting in great shape. The reason there was no DQ in the match is because McIntyre and Rollins didn’t actually hit the guys in the match. They were attacked, but they didn’t actually attack. This should set up a tag team match with these four men in the near future.

Ambrose celebrated with Rollins while the announcers put over Ambrose doing some different moves during the match to show off his power game.

Elias was shown backstage talking to some backstage workers telling them to make sure there are no problems tonight. Elias is up next.

A clip aired of Steve Austin’s memorable grocery store fight with Booker T in 2001 in a segment sponsored by Domino’s Pizza. That was a classic. “Price check on jackass” was a nice line by Austin at the end of it.

(Commercial)

Finn Balor was shown getting ready in the locker room. Braun Strowman went up to him saying he does things face to face and he wished Balor good luck while holding up the Money in the Bank briefcase contract.

Elias was in the ring doing one of his concerts. Elias complained about somebody messing with him at SummerSlam and he did his “Walk With Elias” bit. Elias ripped on the fans and told them to shut their mouths.

Curt Hawkins, the man with the losing streak, made his entrance with a microphone and his walking stick. Hawkins said that Elias can be the first guy that loses to Curt Hawkins. That led to Hawkins issuing a challenge while saying this is certainly not his town and Hawkins said they should end his 218 match losing streak right here, right now, tonight in Brooklyn. Elias called Hawkins a loser just like the people in Brooklyn, so he told Hawkins to go.

Hawkins was about to leave and then he stopped on the ramp. Hawkins asked Elias if he’s going to hide behind the guitar and that goofy scarf or is he going to fight Hawkins because Hawkins is challenging him to a match right now. Elias said okay let’s do it. A referee ran down to the ring to start the match.

Elias vs. Curt Hawkins

Rollup by Hawkins got two. Elias with a jumping knee to the nose of Hawkins. There was another rollup attempt from Hawkins. Elias sent him into the ropes, Hawkins with a forearm, clothesline and a running dropkick. Elias with a knee lift to the chest of Hawkins. Elias hit the Drift Away neckbreaker for the pinfall win after two minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Elias

Analysis: 1/2* It was nice of WWE to remember to put Hawkins on Raw because he’s really not on that often. Perhaps they are building to some storyline where he actually wins a match, but it wasn’t here. Elias could use a meaningful feud.

The loss means that Hawkins has lost 219 matches in a row.

Titus O’Neil was shown walking backstage. Apollo Crews and Dana Brooke were shown talking. O’Neil said that he was looking for them, then Dana said that they were talking strategy and it looked like Dana and Apollo were not including Titus in their plans, which could be something.

The Authors of Pain entered for yet another match against Titus Worldwide.

(Commercial)

The match began during the break.

Titus O’Neil and Apollo Crews (w/Dana Brooke) vs. Authors of Pain (Akam and Rezar)

The AOP guys were working over O’Neil and O’Neil managed to hit a suplex. Crews got the tag, Rezar avoided an attack and Akam hit Crews in the back. There was a double team front slam from the Authors of Pain. Rezar slapped on a headlock on Crews. Brooke tried to get the cried into it, but they didn’t care. Akam back with a kick off the middle ropes for a two count. O’Neil was out on the floor with Brooke checking on him as Akam slapped on a headlock. Crews fought back with punches, Akam with a fireman’s carry, Crews with an elbow and an enziguri kick on Rezar on the apron. Crews went for a kick on Akam, but Akam avoided it and knocked Crews down. AOP set up Crews on the top, Crews broke free and hit a cross body block off the top and then a standing SSP by Crews for two, but Akam broke up the pin attempt. Rezar knocked O’Neil out of the ring. Rezar picked up Crews with a hard whip into the turnbuckle. Akam tagged back in and AOP hit the Last Chapter for the pinfall win after about five minutes.

Winners by pinfall: Authors of Pain

Analysis: *1/2 Easy win for AOP. This match has happened a few times with the same result pretty much every time.

After the match was over, Brooke went over to Crews to check on him and she noticeably pushed O’Neil away when O’Neil was checking on him.

Analysis: That seems to tease the idea of a split with Brooke being linked with Crews perhaps as heels. Maybe there will be a romance there. I don’t know. Just throwing it out there. I think Crews has a lot of talent and Brooke could be doing a lot more, so it makes sense. It’s not like Titus Worldwide is a big success.

Ronda Rousey is up next at the top of hour three.

(Commercial)

Ronda Rousey Women’s Championship Celebration

Stephanie McMahon, the Raw Commissioner, made her entrance. The other women in the Raw Women’s division were shown at ringside with Alexa Bliss wearing a brace on her arm to sell the match at SummerSlam. The Bella Twins were there too.

Stephanie talked about the women’s division in WWE, the all-women’s Evolution pay-per-view event and how she is proud of everything the women are doing in WWE.

A clip aired of Ronda Rousey winning the Raw Women’s Championship at SummerSlam along with all the press that Rousey’s win garnered after SummerSlam.

Stephanie did this over the top heel promo about how Rousey is just like her and Stephanie even tried to claim that Ronda was her protégé.

Ronda Rousey made her entrance. Good ovation for her. When Rousey got into the ring, Stephanie tried to shake her hand, Rousey didn’t do it and Rousey just grabbed a microphone. The fans chanted “Ronda Rousey” and Stephanie said in her ears she’s hearing “Steph, Steph, Steph.”

Rousey asked Stephanie what she’s doing and said this isn’t about her. Rousey said this is about the women on Raw, the women in WWE and Rousey told Stephanie the women should get up to the ring along with them. The women stood on the apron. Stephanie said this is unbecoming of a champion.

Rousey said this is about all of them, this is about the women’s evolution and it’s about all of them. Rousey told Nattie she’s the cornerstone of the women’s division. Fans chanted “Nattie” for her. Rousey said Sasha and Bayley, if it wasn’t for their Takeover match right there in Brooklyn, this whole movement may not have gone off the ground. Rousey said that she is not Brock Lesnar, she said she’s going to be a fighting champion and compete against all of them.

Stephanie said that this was not the Rousey she was talking about earlier, this is a Rousey that wants to break people’s arms. Stephanie cued up the clip of Rousey pulling on the arm of Bliss. We all know that Bliss is double jointed and she is fine, but Stephanie said that is pain and she didn’t know what that was. Stephanie went up to the women telling them that Rousey wants to break their arms so that Ronda can stand there in the spotlight.

Rousey said that she is not there to break their arms…only those who deserve it. Rousey stared at Stephanie with a serious look on her face as she said that. Rousey pulled on the arm of Stephanie and slapped on an armbar on the left arm of Stephanie. Stephanie tapped out. The heel women checked on Stephanie out of the ring while the face women went into the ring with Rousey to celebrate with her. Rousey held up the title to end it.

Analysis: It was segment designed to get heat on Stephanie for being a bitchy boss that somehow takes credit for the things that Rousey does even though it has nothing to do with Stephanie. Rousey gets the spot of being able to call Stephanie out on her bullshit, which none of the other women get to do, and they even let Rousey beat up Stephanie like she did here. It was fine, but it didn’t really accomplish much. It did position Rousey as a leader that is going to be a fighting champion, yet they didn’t announce a match or give any indication of when Rousey may wrestle again.

Still to come is Roman Reigns vs. Finn Balor.

(Commercial)

There were more images of SummerSlam.

A replay aired of the line from Rousey saying that she’s not there to break arms, only those who deserve it and then they showed Rousey slapping the armbar on Stephanie.

The B team duo of Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel made their entrance. They are the Raw Tag Team Champions. They are also faces now.

Bo Dallas said life has some twists and turns. Dallas talked about how only a couple of weeks ago they didn’t even win a single match on Raw, but then a single letter changed the WWE Universe forever and now The B Team is undefeated as the Raw Tag Team Champions. Curtis Axel said they are dedicating their two singles match to each and every one of the fans. They said “B” stands for Brooklyn. I told you they are faces.

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

Scott Dawson (w/Dash Wilder) vs. Bo Dallas (w/Curtis Axel)

Dawson sent Dallas into bottom rope by the turnbuckle. Dawson with an elbow to the face of Dawson. Dallas got a back slide on Dawson for a two count. Dallas with a back elbow, forearm smash, running kick and forearm smash. The fans started the wave to entertain themselves. Dawson whipped Dallas into his foot. Dawson picked up Dallas and dropped him with a cradle DDT for a pinfall win after two minutes.

Winners by pinfall: Scott Dawson

Analysis: * A quick match to put over Dawson to give The Revival some momentum after losing at SummerSlam. Standard stuff. The crowd didn’t care.

Axel challenged Wilder to a match while the announcers laughed about it because the match was already set. That’s after a break.

(Commercial)

Here’s the second match with these teams.

Dash Wilder (w/Scott Dawson) vs. Curtis Axel (w/Bo Dallas)

Axel with two clotheslines, a dropkick and an elbow smash against the turnbuckle. Axel did the Mr. Perfect necksnap called a “look at that” by Cole. Wilder charged, Axel got the feet up to knock him down and Axel missed an elbow off the middle ropes. Wilder hooked Axel on his back and planted him face first in a move similar to a Gory Bomb for the pinfall win after about two minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Dash Wilder

Analysis: * A quick match just like the match before it. Putting both Revival guys over was done to put them back in the title picture.

Post match, Dallas said that they may have been defeated in singles matches, but Dallas reminded them they are still the Raw Tag Team Champions.

Analysis: This feud bores me. I like The Revival a lot, but this rivalry is not working that well.

Roman Reigns was shown backstage getting ready for his match. Renee Young walked up to him for an interview while mentioning Braun Strowman is lurking with the Money in the Bank briefcase. Reigns said that he fought hard for this title. Reigns mentioned that Balor deserves it, but he’s going to lose and go back to the line. Reigns isn’t concerned with Strowman because it’s his yard. Reigns looked as confident as ever.

Reigns vs. Balor is up next. It’s 10:29pmET so it’s going to get a lot of time.

(Commercial)

There was a shot of Stephanie McMahon getting looked at by a doctor with Baron Corbin and Alexa Bliss there with her. Kurt Angle showed up. Stephanie complained about Angle not being out there to stop Rousey. Corbin said that Angle has to keep superstars in line. Corbin said Raw is in chaos with Angle in charge. Stephanie says it’s wearing on Angle, it’s been a year and a half and maybe he needs a little time off. Stephanie said that Kurt needs a vacation, but not a permanent vacation. Stephanie says that Corbin is the acting GM of Raw and he is in charge.

Analysis: It’s just what the world needs…more Baron Corbin. I’m kidding. I don’t mind him, but I think the average fan thinks of Corbin as a boring guy and putting him on more is a negative rather than a positive. Angle has had multiple DUIs, so maybe he has trouble getting into Canada and Raw is in Toronto next week, so that makes sense. Angle will also miss a few Raw's after that I think just to give the character a break and have a heel in charge.

Finn Balor entered first in his regular gear. No Demon look for Balor even for a championship match. I guess they could say he had no time to get the paint on, but it's not like WWE is going to mention it at all. The crowd was strongly behind Balor. Cole mentioned that Balor never got a singles match for the Universal Championship after he gave it up two years ago on Raw.

Roman Reigns entered as the Universal Champion for his first defense of that title. There was a mixed reaction for Reigns as usual. The bell rang at 10:40pmET, so they are going to get a lot of time for this match.

Universal Championship: Roman Reigns vs. Finn Balor

Reigns with a shoulder tackle on Balor. There was a sunset flip by Balor for a two count. Balor went for an enziguri kick, but Reigns punched him on the apron as the show went to break one minute into the match.

(Commercial)

The match continued with Reigns going for a rollup and Balor hit a dropkick. Balor sent Reigns out of the ring followed by a kick, but Reigns blocked a kick and sent Balor face first into the apron for two. Reigns with a hard whip into the turnbuckle. Balor got back into it with a running forearm and a double foot stomp to the chest. Balor with a chop, Reigns no sold it and Reigns unleashed with clotheslines against the turnbuckle with Cole busting his “vintage” term for it. Reigns ran the ropes and Balor hit a running dropkick that sent Reigns out of the ring. Balor ran the ropes and hit a somersault dive over the top to take out Reigns on the floor. That looked great. Back into the ring, Balor got a two count as they went to commercial for a second time about ten minutes into it.

(Commercial)

There was something going on in the crowd, which the fans were looking at Reigns. The guys got into a slugfest with Balor hitting a jumping kick. The fans chanted “asshole” at something in the crowd, so it was probably somebody killing a beach ball. Balor stomped away on Reigns to get the crowd behind him and Reigns did his rollup into a sitout Powerbomb spot. Cole reacted to it as if Reigns doesn’t do it nearly every match. Reigns set up for a Spear, Balor kicked him the gut and Balor hit an elbow to the chest for a two count. The crowd reacted to that as if it was close even though Balor never wins with that. Balor with a kick, Reigns back up and Balor with a Slingblade. Balor with a running attack and Balor hit him with a Superman Punch for two. The crowd was popping for all of these nearfall spots. Balor with a knee to the face, then a rollup and Reigns with a Superman Punch to Balor. The director missed it because they were showing a fan in the crowd. Braun Strowman’s music hit. Balor took advantage with a dropkick that sent Reigns into the turnbuckle. Balor up top with a Coup de Grace, but Reigns moved to avoid the double foot stomp. Reigns got back up, Reigns hit a Spear and pinned Balor for the pinfall win at 20 minutes.

Winer by pinfall: Roman Reigns

Analysis: ***3/4 That was a very good main event match with Balor getting a lot of offense, he came close to winning a few times and they used the Strowman appearance to set up the finish that can give Balor an excuse for why he lost. I’m glad they had a lot of time to have a competitive match. The match will be forgotten because of the angle that came after it, but I enjoyed it. Nice work by Roman and Finn in a quality main event match.

Strowman went into the ring with the Money in the Bank contract. Strowman handed the referee the contract, Jojo announced the cash in and then The Shield’s music hit as Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose made their entrance to support Reigns. Rollins and Ambrose were in their black Shield gear. The fans chanted “Holy Shit” as Strowman was surrounded by The Shield. The bell did not ring to start the match.

Strowman tried an attack, but The Shield worked together with Ambrose clipping the knee of Strowman, superkick by Rollins and Reigns hit a clothesline on Strowman that sent him over the top to the floor. Ambrose cleaned off the announce table. The Shield trio tried to pick up Strowman, but Strowman kicked Reigns. Reigns came back with a Spear on Strowman. Rollins and Ambrose picked up Strowman, Reigns grabbed him and Reigns hit a Powerbomb that sent Strowman through the table with The Shield’s Triple Powerbomb.

The Shield celebrated with the fists together in their signature pose as Strowman was down on the broken table. The crowd was cheering at the sight of The Shield being together again. That's how Raw ended at 11:05pm ET.

Analysis: Wow. What an ending. It was a memorable moment that this show needed. Some people may think The Shield trio are heels now, but I don't think so. It seems like a bit of a stretch, but I like blurring the lines and keeping people guessing. I have my doubts about that since Reigns and Rollins are pushed so strongly as faces, plus Ambrose is back as a face. I think the story will be that Rollins and Ambrose promised Reigns they had his back, so they did what they needed to do to keep Strowman from cashing in. That story works. Strowman did not cash in the briefcase officially because the bell never rang, so he can still use it in the future.

I’m sure people will ask about it all week and provide theories all week, but I think The Shield guys will remain faces. That was a hell of a way to end the show.

About ten minutes after Raw ended, WWE was already shilling new Shield merchandise, which again shows they will be faces. I know some heels have merch, but I really doubt The Shield will be heelish.

 

Three Stars of the Show

  1. Roman Reigns
  2. Finn Balor
  3. Dean Ambrose

 

The Scoreboard
6.5 out of 10

Last week: 5
2018 Average: 5.75
Last 5 Weeks: 5, 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 6.5 out of 10.

It’s a tough Raw to rate this week. A lot of the show bored me and match quality was just decent for most of it, but the last 30 minutes were great with Reigns/Balor for 20 minutes and that memorable ending. That Shield reunion where they attacked Strowman and put him through a table was awesome. It’s one of the best endings to Raw this year.

The next WWE PPV is Hell in a Cell on September 16. Nothing has been announced yet.

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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
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