The John Report: The WWE Raw Deal 07/15/19 Review

Welcome to another edition of the WWE Raw Deal review for post-Extreme Rules edition of Monday Night Raw. You can check out my WWE Extreme Rules review here in case you missed it. It featured a lot of good matches over the course of four hours, but not a single that I would say was outstanding or a must-see match. Nothing was bad, though. It was also newsworthy because Brock Lesnar cashed in Money in the Bank on Seth Rollins to win back the Universal Championship. Some people might say Lesnar as Universal Champion again is bad and I can’t say I’m thrilled about it either. Rollins wasn’t that interesting as the champ, though, so I can see why WWE made the change. I just hope Lesnar’s reign isn’t too long. Also, AJ Styles beat Ricochet to become the United States Champion thanks to some help. We are officially on the road to SummerSlam, which is less than four weeks away on August 11 in Toronto (go Raptors).

Live from Long Island (Uniondale), New York, this is the Raw Deal for episode #1363 of Monday Night Raw. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport. Please visit TJRWrestling.net daily for our regular updates on the wrestling business featuring WWE news coverage along with reviews about wrestling’s past and present.

Raw began with a shot of the crowd with Michael Cole welcoming us to the show.
Let’s Hear from Brock Lesnar…But Really Paul Heyman
Brock Lesnar’s music hit as the three-time Universal Champion Lesnar made his entrance. Lesnar put the title by his ear like a boombox as a joke like he did with the Money in the Bank briefcase. Lesnar had Paul Heyman with him as usual. A video package aired showing the main event of Extreme Rules with Lesnar cashing in the Money in the Bank contract on Universal Champion Seth Rollins, which led to Lesnar leaving with the Universal Championship again.
Heyman introduced us saying that he’s been waiting to say this for several months…AND NEW reigning, defending, undisputed Universal Heavyweight Champion…Brock Lesnar. The crowd had a mix of boos and cheers. Heyman said that what amazes him is you tell people the truth and they would rather you tell them a lie. Heyman said “we told you so” and reminded us that he said it last week on Raw that Lesnar would cash in the Money in the Bank contract. Heyman told us at Extreme Rules as well and Lesnar did it. I missed a few minutes of the speech due to some technical difficulties on my end. I’m sure it was just Heyman bragging.
They talked about the 10-man battle royal for a shot at Lesnar at SummerSlam. There were graphics shown on the video screen featuring these ten men: Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns, Baron Corbin, Sami Zayn, Cesaro, Braun Strowman, Bobby Lashley, Rey Mysterio, Randy Orton and Big E. He didn’t read the names in that order, but I just felt using what I had above. When Zayn’s image was on the screen, Heyman joked that he hoped Zayn wins the battle royal.

Heyman said that last night at Extreme Rules, Rollins strode into Philadelphia like he was Becky Lynch’s stud and when Lesnar got through with Rollins, Seth was nothing more than a gelding. Heyman said that if you don’t understand the reference, Google it because he’s not there to educate especially here in Long Island. Heyman said that when you step in the ring with Lesnar, you risk your health, your welfare and your very manhood. Heyman said this is a guarantee, a promise, a threat, a spoiler – if any one of you ever had the opportunity to step into the ring with Brock Lesnar, you’d be risking your health, your welfare and your manhood because in this universe you’re all Brock’s bitches.
Analysis: It was the usual bragging promo by Heyman about how Lesnar is the greatest. We have heard it many times over the last five years since Lesnar has dominated the WWE Championship and Universal Title picture. I was surprised that there was no Rollins interruption, but I guess the story there is that Seth would be getting ready for the battle royal later in the night.

As Lesnar left the ring with Heyman, Ricochet’s music hit and former US Champion made his entrance. Ricochet ran into the ring as Lesnar looked at him doing his flips in the ring. Cole mentioned that Ricochet could be a future Universal Champion. Ricochet didn’t really stare back at Lesnar.
Analysis: I wonder if that Ricochet and Lesnar tease is a potential long term storyline that WWE might be looking to do at some point later this year or early next year.
Still to come: Women’s Fatal 4-Way, Finn Balor vs. Samoa Joe and more.
(Commercial)

The Revival, who are the Raw Tag Team Champions, were in the ring with Robert Roode. It’s a full beard look for Roode instead of the mustache look. The Raw announce team is Michael Cole, Renee Young and Corey Graves as usual.
The Usos made their entrance to team up with Ricochet. They did a quick pre-match promo about how they are teaming with “Ricky” tonight.

Two out of Three Falls Match: The Usos (Jimmy and Jey Uso) and Ricochet vs. The Revival (Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder) and Robert Roode
The first fall was over quickly with Ricochet hitting the Recoil (Codebreaker) followed by a standing Shooting Star Press on Dawson for the pinfall.
The Usos and Ricochet lead 1-0.
Ricochet hit Roode with a hurricanrana and a dropkick. There was a graphic with Hulk Hogan on it that was promoting Raw Reunion next Monday. Roode with a spinebuster on Jey Uso for a two count. Wilder tagged in choking Jey over the top rope. Wilder with a body slam, but Jey avoided an elbow smash. Jimmy tagged in with a kick to the ribs followed by a Samoan Drop on Wilder. Jimmy decked Roode with a punch, Dawson tagged in and hit a flapjack on Jimmy for the pinfall. Really? That was surprising as a move that would get a pinfall. I figured they would hit their finisher, but it was just a flapjack. Anyway, that led to a break for the third fall.
The match is tied 1-1.
(Commercial)

The bell rang to begin the third fall, so we are to assume Jimmy was hurt from a flapjack for three minutes? Sure. Anyway, Dawson worked over Jimmy with an elbow drop and Wilder tagged in for a double team catapult that sent Jimmy throat first into the middle ropes. Wilder tried to keep Jimmy from tagging out, Jimmy punched him and Wilder tried an abdominal stretch, but Jimmy hit a hip toss. Dawson tagged in, Jimmy kicked him away and Ricochet got the hot tag against Roode. Ricochet with a kick to the face of Roode and a springboard clothesline. Ricochet dropkick on Dawson. Wilder got sent to the floor, so Jey hit him with a dive over the top onto Wilder. Ricochet hit the Recoil knee to the face of Roode. Ricochet went up top and hit the 630 Splash on Roode for the pinfall win after 12 minutes.
Winners by pinfall: The Usos and Ricochet
Analysis: ***1/4 Good match to put the faces over after they lost at Extreme Rules. I think it was done mainly to give Ricochet some positive momentum after he lost the US Title to AJ Styles. All six guys did well with Ricochet really getting a chance to stand out with his aerial moves. The 630 Splash always looks cool and the crowd responds loudly to it. I like the Recoil name for the Codebreaker, which Ricochet is using with Chris Jericho’s permission as far as I know.

After the match, AJ Styles walked out to ringside with Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson. Ricochet hit a dive onto Styles on the floor. The Usos hit superkicks on The Revival and Gallows/Anderson, but then Roode got into the mix. The Revival hit one of the Usos with a Shatter Machine. Ricochet went back into the ring with a cross body block onto The Revival and Roode. Styles hit a Phenomenal Forearm off the top onto Ricochet and Ricochet sold it with a flip bump. Wow that was amazing. Gallows and Anderson hit the Magic Killer double team move on Ricochet as the heels stood tall over Ricochet.
Analysis: It was another reminder of how united The Club is as a trio. I like how they have been booked so strongly since they have been a group. There will probably be a six-man tag between Ricochet and perhaps the Usos on his side against Styles, Gallows and Anderson. By doing this attack, it likely means the Styles feud with Ricochet will continue.

The Viking Raiders were shown backstage because they were up next.
(Commercial)
The Viking Raiders team of Erik and Ivar made their entrance. They did a pre-tape promo saying it was time to join the raid. Their opponents were unknown wrestlers that were called Vinny Bruner and Jackson James.
The Viking Raiders (Erik and Ivar) vs. Vinny Gruner and Jackson James
There was destruction as soon as the bell rang including a running splash against the turnbuckle. Ivar could have covered a guy, but he picked him up. Erik gave a guy a stomach buster and then Ivar hit a clothesline off the ropes into the German Suplex. They grabbed the other guy (names don’t matter) and hit the Viking Experience double team move for the pinfall win after one minute.
Winners by pinfall: The Viking Raiders (Erik and Ivar)
Analysis: 1/2* Easy win to put over The Viking Raiders as usual. Their offense is impressive. I look forward to when they have a feud. A quick note on the Vinny Gruner name is that Billy Kidman's real name is Peter Gruner and he has worked backstage in WWE for many years.

There was a video package showing highlights of The Undertaker and Roman Reigns beating Shane McMahon and Drew McIntyre at Extreme Rules even with Elias there trying to help. Undertaker pinned Shane to win the match.

The announce team was on camera with Cole saying Undertaker was better than ever. That’s not true. It’s ridiculous to tell fans that a 54-year-old Undertaker is better than he was in his prime, but obviously, that’s what they want the fans to think because there will be more Undertaker matches in the future. Undertaker did have a good showing for somebody his age.
There was a video from earlier today with Drew McIntyre walking into a locker room. Cedric Alexander was there with Finn Balor, The Street Profits and No Way Jose. McIntyre got in Alexander’s face saying that last week he said when he finished his business, he was going to come after Cedric and now is that time. McIntyre told Alexander he’s going to humble him and he’s going to eviscerate him. Alexander said that he has been told he’s been very humble, but tonight the joke will be on Drew.
Analysis: It was nice of WWE to remember Cedric Alexander last week and now he has a match this week, so that’s great. He’s a talented guy.

(Commercial)
The entrances took place for Drew McIntyre and Cedric Alexander.
Drew McIntyre vs. Cedric Alexander
McIntyre with chops to start, Alexander hit a cartwheel into a kick that sent McIntyre out of the ring. Alexander hit a dive over the top onto McIntyre on the floor. Back in the ring, McIntyre caught Alexander and hit an overhead belly to belly suplex into the turnbuckle. McIntyre threw Alexander across the ring again with another overhead suplex. McIntyre picked up Alexander for a vertical suplex and tossed him across the ring. McIntyre tried a suplex, Alexander with a knee and a spinning elbow to the face. McIntyre charged, Alexander moved, McIntyre up top, he jumped off and Alexander hit a dropkick to counter whatever Drew was trying. Alexander tried a cartwheel move, but McIntyre hit him with a headbutt to stop him. McIntyre with a reverse Alabama Slam, but Alexander rolled him up and hooked the legs for the win after four minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Cedric Alexander
Analysis: ** I thought they might do the upset win and that’s what happened. Alexander is a very good worker with a lot of energy, but the crowd barely reacted to him. The pinfall did lead to a bit of a pop. Drew should be one of WWE”s top heels and in some ways he is, but he really needs some meaningful wins to get some momentum going. I assume they will do a rematch with Drew getting the win back next week.

There was a replay from the Extreme Rules kickoff show where Shinsuke Nakamura beat Finn Balor for the Intercontinental Title.
Finn Balor did a promo backstage about how he lost the IC Title to Nakamura. Balor said he doesn’t dwell on the past, he looks forward and he wants his title back. Balor said that tonight, Samoa Joe stands in his way. Balor said that he will keep moving forward.
Samoa Joe responded to the promo saying he’ll explain what will happen. Joe said that he will be waiting to hand Balor another loss.

Samoa Joe made his entrance for this match against Finn Balor.
(Commercial)
There was another replay of Paul Heyman talking about the battle royal that is coming up later.
Roman Reigns said that this is his week after the ESPYs, the Hobbs & Shaw premiere, winning last night with The Undertaker and then winning this battle royal tonight. Reigns said then he’ll go on to face Brock Lesnar to win the Universal Championship.
Finn Balor made his entrance. Joe had to wait in the ring for about six minutes for this match to start.

Samoa Joe vs. Finn Balor
This is a match between two guys that lost at Extreme Rules. Balor grabbed a side headlock, Joe came back with a chop and Balor with a kick to the chest. Balor went for a move off the ropes, Joe hooked the arms and held him down for a three count. The match went one minute.
Winner by pinfall: Samoa Joe
Analysis: 1/2* That was a surprisingly short match. I was expecting a Joe win, but not that quickly.

Post match, Joe went for the Coquina Clutch, but Balor fought out of it. Balor with a Slingblade followed by a dropkick that sent Joe into the turnbuckle. Balor went up top and hit the Coupe de Grace double foot stomp on Joe, who left. Balor’s music played even though he lost a match.
After the match, Balor was doing his celebrating with the crowd and then the lights went out in the arena. There was the sound of a body being slammed in the ring. When the lights partially came back on, Bray Wyatt was in with his creepy mask (The Fiend) on his face. Wyatt hit Sister Abigail on Balor and the lights flickered as they zoomed in and out on Wyatt’s face. The fans chanted “Holy Shit” for it. The lights went out, Wyatt’s laugh was heard in the arena and they went to break.
Analysis: That was awesome. It was simple and that's all that it needed to be with Wyatt showing up, laughing and dropping Balor with the Sister Abigail neckbreaker. The fans reacted to it in a big way with the “holy shit” chants. This could lead to Wyatt vs Balor at SummerSlam with Balor going over. There was a report that Balor asked for two months off after SummerSlam, so they can have Wyatt beat him and Balor can take a break.

(Commercial)
A commercial aired for Raw Reunion next week from Raw in Tampa.
There was a shot of Drake Maverick and his wife Renee Michelle checking into a hotel. Maverick registered them as “Mr. 24/7 Champion” leading to Renee complaining about it and he said that it was for their protection. Maverick said they were going to consummate the marriage. Maverick gave the guy at the desk some cash. R-Truth showed up with the referee asking if “hornswoggle” was registered at the hotel since that’s what he calls Maverick. Truth gave the guy at the desk some money to get Maverick’s room info.
Analysis: I like how Maverick had to tell his wife that putting 24/7 Champion gives them privacy while there is a camera guy right there filming them. I know that they aren’t supposed to acknowledge the camera guy, but it’s just funny when they have dialogue like that in that situation.
The Street Profits duo of Montez Ford and Angelo Dawkins were backstage watching R-Truth at the hotel. They laughed about Maverick not consummating the marriage yet with Dawkins saying there was a reason why guys don’t put their height in their Tinder profiles. Ford asked who is going to win the Women’s 4-Way match and Dawkins picked Bliss because she has Cross with her. Dawkins seems to like Cross. Ford asked who he is with in the battle royal. Dawkins said he’s with Big E and Ford said his pick is Rollins. They did their “we want the smoke” singing routine.

Zack Ryder was in the ring as the fans gave him a nice applause when it was mentioned he is from Long Island.
Mike Kanellis was back in Gorilla Position with Maria coming up to him saying he was a loser. She said she has a better chance of defending their unborn child better than Mike does. Maria shoved Mike and walked down to the ring, but the referee stopped her. Mike said he’s got this match.
Zack Ryder vs. Mike Kanellis (w/Maria Kanellis)
Ryder ducked a charge by Kanellis and Ryder hit a running Rough Ryder leg lariat on Mike for the pinfall win. It went about ten seconds.
Winner by pinfall: Zack Ryder
Analysis: There’s no point in that rating, but kudos to Zack Ryder for a rare win. I know the story is all about Mike losing. I just wanted to put over Ryder a bit.

Maria did a promo saying that their unborn child and said “her” unborn child had a better chance in that match than him.
Analysis: I’m not sure what the long-term plan is, but at this point, Mike Kanellis is booked like the biggest loser in WWE. Maybe there will be a payoff one day. Right now it's just boring to me and I would think a lot of fans would turn the channel when the Kannelis segments come.
The Club trio of AJ Styles, Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson were shown getting ready for the next match.
(Commercial)

This week on Smackdown, Shane McMahon will allow the Smackdown roster to speak their mind.
The Club trio entered followed by Lucha House Party as the opponents.
AJ Styles, Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson vs. Lucha House Party (Gran Metalik, Kalisto and Lince Dorado)
Styles worked over Metalik a bit. Anderson tagged in, but then Metalik walked across the ropes leading to a dropkick. Gallows worked over Metalik with punches. Metalik chopped Gallows and Gallows came back with a headbutt. Anderson tagged in, Metalik with a kick on Gallows and Anderson with a running kick. Ricochet showed up at ringside and attacked Styles. Ricochet whipped Styles into the barricade. Referees and producer Adam Pearce pulled Ricochet off, which led to a break.
Analysis: It was a way to pause the match so they can stop action from continuing during the break. I like the way Ricochet has been booked during Raw this week.

(Commercial)
The match continued with Styles hitting a dropkick on Dorado. Anderson tagged in with a body slam on Dorado as they replayed Ricochet showing up earlier. Dorado with a springboard Stunner on Anderson. Kalisto got the tag, he knocked Styles and Gallows off the apron followed by a running kick on Anderson for two. Kalisto with a headscissors, Anderson to the floor and then there were double suicide dives followed by Kalisto hitting a dive over the top onto Anderson with Kalisto’s legs hitting Anderson in the head. Styles grabbed the legs of Kalisto, so when Kalisto jumped into the ring, Anderson caught him and hit a spinebuster. Gallows tagged in, Anderson ran the ropes and they hit the Boot of Doom. Gallows kicked Dorado off the apron. Styles tagged in, the fans booed him and he slapped the Calf Crusher on Kalisto, who tapped out quickly. It went about ten minutes.
Winners by pinfall: AJ Styles, Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson
Analysis: **1/2 The push of The Club continues. We know Gallows and Anderson signed new contracts recently, so they are going to continue to be pushed strong along with Styles. The Lucha House Party guys are good workers, but they barely get a reaction anymore and the fans know they are there to do the job. Gallows and Anderson may have a rivalry with The Usos because Raw is lacking in face teams.

After the match, Styles held onto the Calf Crusher as he worked over the knee of Kalisto while Gallows and Anderson kicked the LHP guys out of the ring. Kalisto was grabbing the knee. Styles kicked Kalisto out of the ring. The Club celebrated the victory.
Analysis: That worked as a cheap heel tactic by Styles holding onto the Calf Crusher for longer than usual.

There was another replay of Extreme Rules showing Brock Lesnar winning the Universal Championship. That’s the second time they have shown that in less than two hours.
Seth Rollins was interviewed by Sarah Schreiber. Rollins complained about what happened saying that Lesnar is walking around with a title that he didn’t deserve. Rollins said he is possessed. Rollins said that Becky Lynch is one of the toughest people he’s ever met, but she’s going to be okay. Rollins said he didn’t know if she would be there. Rollins said Corbin found out what happens when you push him too far. Rollins said he’ll fight anyone and beat anyone until he fights Brock Lesnar and beat Brock Lesnar. Rollins left.
Analysis: It was a solid babyface promo where Seth talked about wanting revenge for what happened at Extreme Rules.
There was a replay of Bray Wyatt’s attack on Finn Balor and they didn’t edit out the “Holy Shit” chants surprisingly.
Alexa Bliss made her entrance with her friend Nikki Cross. The Fatal 4-Way was announced as an elimination match, which is a way to make the match longer and go through commercial breaks. Carmella was next. Graves was excited for Bliss, but he doesn’t get excited about his girlfriend Carmella due to his heel character. Naomi was next with her glow entrance. She has not been used very much at all. Natalya was last to enter the match.
Becky Lynch made her entrance with the Raw Women’s Championship. Lynch limped down to the ring because she was selling from Extreme Rules when Baron Corbin hit her with one move. That match is next.
(Commercial)

Fatal 4-Way Elimination Match: Alexa Bliss (w/Nikki Cross) vs. Naomi vs. Carmella vs. Natalya
The winner of this match gets to face Becky Lynch for the Raw Women’s Title at SummerSlam. Lynch was seated at ringside.
Naomi and Natalya cleared the ring. Naomi with a sunset flip off the ropes, Natalya avoided a corner charge and slammed Naomi. Natalya and Naomi did a double dropkick followed by a double clothesline. Carmella pulled Bliss off the apron to knock her down. Carmella went for pin attempts on both women that were unsuccessful and then she screamed in frustration. Carmella tossed Natalya out of the ring. Cole said that Carmella said earlier tonight: “I’m ready for this.” What great insight! Now that’s sarcasm. Carmella hit a headscissors on Naomi for a two count. Carmella hit her spinning headscissors on Natalya leading to a bronco buster into the corner. Bliss stayed on the floor. Naomi wanted Rear View, Carmella ducked it and hit a superkick on Naomi and a superkick on Natalya. Bliss went into the ring for the ROLLUP OF DEATH~! while grabbing tights to eliminate Carmella.
Carmella eliminated by Alexa Bliss
Naomi got back into it with a jumping kick to Bliss followed by a body slam and Naomi kicked Natalya out of the ring. Naomi worked over Bliss with kicks to the arm and a kick to the chest for a two count. Bliss flipped out of a slam attempt leading to a clothesline for two. Bliss kicked Naomi followed by a slap to the face and then they did a double clothesline. They went to break during the match. Good. Keep the match going.

(Commercial)
The three women were standing in the ring as the match continued. Bliss and Natalya were sent out of the ring, Natalya brought Naomi to the floor and Naomi hit a blockbuster neckbreaker on Natalya off the stops. Cole had a funny line about Graves being thrown off because Carmella was eliminated. Bliss with a forearm to the back on Naomi for a two count and then a chinlock. Naomi hit a full nelson slam on Bliss leading to a two count. Naomi with a legsweep on Bliss followed by a legdrop for two. Naomi with a bulldog that sent Bliss face first into the turnbuckle. Natalya went back into the ring with a discus clothesline on Naomi. Natalya slapped on a surfboard submission on Natalya as some fans chanted for Becky because they didn’t seem interested. Bliss tried to steal the pin, but Natalya kicked out barely. Naomi with kicks, Natalya with a leg whip and Naomi with a kick to the face. Naomi went for the moonsault, Bliss grabbed her and Natalya hit a spinning Powerbomb on Naomi for a two count with Bliss joining on the cover attempt. Bliss wit ha rollup on Natalya for two. Bliss with a forearm to Natalya’s face to send her out of the ring. Bliss grabbed another headlock on Naomi, Bliss attacked by the turnbuckle and Naomi with a kick to the head for a two count. Bliss whipped Naomi down and grabbed another headlock. The fans were getting bored, so they chanted “this is awful” and that was not nice of them. Natalya back into the ring, Bliss sent her into the turnbuckle. Bliss pulled Natalya down by the hair. Naomi with a kick on Natalya and a kick on Bliss. Natalya countered a sunset flip into a pin on Naomi to eliminate her.
Naomi eliminated by Natalya
The last fall will take place after another break.
Analysis: I don’t like that “this is awful” chant. It’s not a great match, but it’s fine and they are working hard. I think it’s disrespectful to chant that at wrestlers putting their bodies on the line to entertain us.

(Commercial)
The bell rang for the third fall after 20 minutes. Nikki Cross grabbed the microphone and told the crowd to cheer for her best friend Alexa Bliss. The fans booed, so Cross told the fans to shut up. Bliss kicked Natalya, the fans chanted “you suck” and Bliss pulled down Natalya by the hair. Bliss with double knees to the ribs two times for a two count. Natalya slammed Bliss down, then Bliss to the floor and Natalya took down Cross with a clothesline by accident because Bliss moved. The fans were bored, so they chanted “Let’s go Cena/Cena Sucks” and also “boring” chants. Back in the ring, Natalya slapped on the Sharpshooter on Bliss in the middle of the ring and Bliss tapped out for the submission. The match went 23 minutes.
Alexa Bliss eliminated by Natalya
Winner by submission: Natalya
Analysis: *1/2 They had a poor match that went too long. I like everybody involved here, but it just didn't work. I think it went too long for this crowd that turned on the match due to some of the match dragging too much. It’s weird with how some fans respond to the women’s matches because they worked hard, but it never reached the point where it was that exciting. I feel like they may have gone to the finish earlier than planned based on the crowd reaction because it felt like a quick finish. Bliss seemed lost at times and kept grabbing headlocks that just killed the crowd even more. If this match got half the time then it would have been a lot better. Natalya getting the win made sense since Bliss just had a title shot against Bayley. Naomi hasn’t had much to do for the last year or even longer than that, so I hope that there’s some storyline for her soon.

Natalya was interviewed by Charly Caruso in the ring. Natalya said that Lexie sucks to get some heat on Bliss. Natalya said that a lot has changed in the last year in her life and she’s happy to be going to Canada to face her friend Becky Lynch. Becky said her friend had something and corrected herself saying “The Man” had something to say.
Lynch congratulated Natalya. Lynch said that she doesn't care that she's hurting because nothing makes her happier than fighting. Lynch said it's time to drop the smiles and let her know that if she thinks she is meeting her friend Becky when Nattie comes for the title then she's in for a shock. Lynch said Nattie's career needs something and "I'm it." Lynch said that she does a lot better in war than she does in love. Natalya: "Well you must not be a very good lover then, bitch!" Natalya told Becky that she's got a war and she's going to rip the greasy orange mop of her head (referring to Becky's hair) and "I'm gonna pull the horseshoe out of your ass and kick the living hell out of you." The crowd reacted well to that as the women had a staredown until Natalya left to end it.
Analysis: Great trash talk by both women with Natalya coming in strong with the intensity. It’s not a surprise that Natalya mentioned being in Canada for SummerSlam because I’m sure WWE knows that she’ll get a strong reaction from the crowd. It’s a face vs. face match for now, but if Natalya were to turn heel before the match that might add some more intrigue to the match. Even though Natalya is a favorite of mine, I think Lynch will keep the title at SummerSlam.

Randy Orton did a quick backstage promo saying that after he wins the battle royal, he has unfinished business with Brock Lesnar and he’ll say the beast with the three most destructive letters in sports entertainment…RKO.
The Miz made his entrance to host Miz TV and he was in his ring gear, which usually meant he was in a match...but he was not on this show.
(Commercial)

Miz TV with Dolph Ziggler
The Miz introduced Dolph Ziggler, who sat in a chair in the ring with Miz. No ring gear for Ziggler. Ziggler talked about how Miz used to be a hard worker, but now he’s just a company shill. Miz sucked up to the crowd saying they’re in Long Island and he’s happy to be there. Ziggler said that Miz is just happy to be there and he doesn’t try to be the best. Ziggler asked Miz if it’s worth it to kiss all that ass and not be on the pay-per-view. Miz said he’d rather be off the PPV than lose in 17 seconds like Ziggler was when he lost to Owens. Ziggler said that was bad and said it was “Goldberg bad.” Ziggler talked about how Miz is just a shill that isn’t even from Hollywood because he’s from Cleveland. Ziggler told Miz that he’s a walking Yes-man that is everything that he always hated and all he gives a damn about is fortune and fame…just like your wife. Miz punched Ziggler and Ziggler left the ring. Miz was so mad at Ziggler that he wouldn’t leave the ring to go after him.
Analysis: The Miz hasn’t had anything interesting to do since he put over Shane McMahon twice, so it seems like WWE is going back to the Miz/Ziggler feud. They had a great feud on Smackdown in late 2016 when Ziggler was the face and Miz was the heel. They are also very close friends that are both from the Cleveland area, so they work well together. I just don’t know if there’s a need for them to feud again. This segment got a decent reaction, but nothing special. Miz got mad when Dolph mentioned Maryse and that led to the brief fight. Miz should have kept going after him with referees breaking it up. Instead, it ended too soon.

There was a shot of Drake Maverick in his hotel room and Graves claimed that Drake would consummate his marriage…next.
(Commercial)
Drake Maverick was in the bedroom asking if his wife she was ready for him. He took off a robe to show the 24/7 Title was on around his crotch. Renee was mad at him wearing the title, yet she’s okay with the camera. I guess I should stop mentioning that. There was a knock on the door, room service showed up because she claimed she ordered champagne. The room service guy was a WWE referee, then Truth emerged from under the cart and Truth rolled up Maverick for a two count. Truth with a cross body block onto the bed and he took the 24/7 Title from Maverick, who was left in his white undies. Renee was left in the bed yelling for her husband as Drake ran away.
Winner and New 24/7 Champion: R-Truth
Analysis: Congrats to R-Truth on winning the title again. That was mildly funny, but there have been funnier segments in the past with this title. I give Drake a lot of credit for really committing to the bits for the 24/7 Title because he cares about it just like Truth does.

There was a video package showing Roman Reigns winning the first ever WWE ESPY award last Thursday.
Roman Reigns was shown stretching backstage because the main event battle royal was up next.
(Commercial)
There was another commercial for Raw Reunion next week with WWE calling it the biggest reunion in WWE history.
The introductions took place for the main event with Big E, Sami Zayn, Seth Rollins, Bobby Lashley, Rey Mysterio, Baron Corbin (with Rollins staring at him because he wants revenge for what Corbin did to Becky Lynch), Roman Reigns, Cesaro, Randy Orton and Braun Strowman was last. Strowman had a brief promo saying that these nine guys are going to get these hands.
Brock Lesnar made his entrance with the Universal Championship around his waist. Lesnar sat on a chair on the stage with Paul Heyman standing by his side.

(Commercial)
The bell rang to start the match with about 11 minutes left in the show.
All-Star 10-Man Battle Royal: Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins, Rey Mysterio, Baron Corbin, Sami Zayn, Big E, Cesaro, Randy Orton, Bobby Lashley and Braun Strowman
The winner gets to challenge Brock Lesnar for the Universal Title at SummerSlam.
Rollins went after Corbin, which was a bad move because Corbin dropped Rollins with a Chokeslam. Strowman picked up Lashley, Corbin saved Lashley and the heels double teamed Strowman. Cesaro with uppercuts on nearly everybody in the ring and there were about 15 of them. Cesaro with a Cesaro Swing on Mysterio followed by a catapult over the top, but Mysterio hung on. Big E went after Cesaro, then Lashley with a cross body block on Cesaro and Lashley tossed Cesaro out of the ring to eliminate him with a press slam. Strowman tossed Lashley over the top to the floor. Big E stood up to Strowman in the ring with Big E hitting a running clothesline as fans chanted “New Day Rocks” for Big E. Strowman with a shoulder tackle on Big E. Big E sent Strowman into the turnbuckle and he hit the Big Ending. Orton followed that with an RKO on Big E and Zayn eliminated Big E. Zayn celebrated, he turned around and Orton hit an RKO on Zayn. Mysterio with a 619 kick to Zayn and Orton tossed Zayn out of the ring. Reigns turned Orton around and Orton hit an RKO on Reigns. Mysterio with a 619 kick on Reigns and Reigns hit a Superman Punch on Orton, who went out through the middle ropes. Corbin grabbed Mysterio and eliminated him easily. There were five guys left although Orton was not in the ring. The trio of Reigns, Rollins and Strowman cornered Corbin in the ring. Strowman punched Corbin, then Reigns hit a Drive By dropkick, Rollins with a superkick and Rollins eliminated Corbin to big cheers from the crowd.

The final four in the battle royal are Rollins, Reigns, Strowman and Orton. Strowman attacked both guys. Reigns went for a Spear, Strowman moved and Reigns hit Rollins with a Spear. Reigns grabbed Strowman in a headlock and Rollins shoved both guys out of the ring. Rollins thought he won, but Orton went back in the ring and tried an elimination. Rollins stayed on the apron and Orton with a draping DDT on Rollins. Orton told Lesnar he’s going to take that title. Orton set up for an RKO, but Rollins kicked him in the ribs and hit The Stomp. Rollins picked up Orton and eliminated him to win the match after eight minutes.
Winner: Seth Rollins
Analysis: **1/2 It was fine for a battle royal that was short. They did a good job of putting over Rollins by having him eliminate the last three guys. When a face like Rollins is getting the win, it’s important to book him strong like that. I thought Strowman was going to win because it feels like a good time to give him a push again. Going with Rollins is okay because he’s had a lot of history with Lesnar. I just don’t think that WWE fans were clamoring for a Lesnar/Rollins WrestleMania rematch, yet that’s what we’re getting.

After the match, Paul Heyman did a promo announcing Rollins as the winner and he said he’s going to be victimized and conquered by Lesnar.
Rollins told Heyman to shut the hell up. Rollins said he’s talking to Brock Lesnar now. Rollins said he told Lesnar he’s a man possessed, he’ll fight anyone until he got to fight him and beat him. Rollins said that SummerSlam will look a lot like WrestleMania when he stomps his head into the mat and stand over him as the reigning, defending, undisputed WWE Universal Heavyweight Champion. The fans had some mild cheers, but it was not loud. Seth’s music played to end it.
A replay aired of the end of the battle royal with Rollins eliminating Orton.
Rollins celebrated in the ring as they showed a graphic letting us know it’s Lesnar vs. Rollins at SummerSlam. Lesnar grabbed a chair, went down to the ring, hit the apron with it and left while Rollins told him to bring it. Time ran out and that was the end of Raw for this week.
Analysis: I liked the intensity that Rollins showed in that promo. I am just concerned that WWE is going to have a tough time getting people to care that much about Lesnar vs. Rollins again. They have less than four weeks. It needs to be more than a regular match, so maybe No Holds Barred to allow them to have more of a brawl. My early prediction would be for Lesnar to retain.

Three Stars of the Show

  1. Bray Wyatt – I’m glad he’s back in the ring. It was brief, but it popped the crowd huge.
  2. Ricochet – I like how he was booked all night from getting two falls in the six-man tag to getting revenge on Styles later in the show.
  3. Seth Rollins

 

The Scoreboard
5 out of 10
Last week: 4.5
2019 Average: 5.57 (Smackdown is 6.73)
Last 5 Weeks: 4.5, 7.5, 6.5, 7, 5.5
2019 High: 7.5 (January 14, July 1)
2019 Low: 3.5 (May 27)

Final Thoughts
This week’s Raw gets a 5 out of 10.
It was just an average Raw this week. There were three matches that were under one minute, then the women’s match went too long with the crowd losing interest and the only match I liked a lot was the opening six-man tag that put over Ricochet in a big way. I thought Bray Wyatt's appearance was definitely the highlight of the show. The fans popped huge for it, so clearly all of the Firefly Fun House segments worked in terms of re-introducing Bray with a fresh persona.
The main event was built up well in terms of being a big match, but I don’t get too excited about battle royals. If they did a Fatal 5-Way or something with the bigger names involved then it might have worked better as a memorable main event match. I’m not sure that doing Lesnar vs. Rollins again is the right call. I would have done a 4-Way or something different because it feels too repetitive.

The next WWE PPV is SummerSlam on August 11 in Toronto. Here’s what we know so far.
Universal Championship: Brock Lesnar (c) vs. Seth Rollins
Raw Women’s Championship: Becky Lynch (c) vs. Natalya
There will be many more matches added in the weeks ahead.
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You can contact me using any of the methods below. See ya next time for the Smackdown review. Thanks for reading.
John Canton
Email: mrjohncanton@gmail.com
Twitter: @johnreport
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