The John Report: The WWE Raw Deal 08/12/19 Review


Welcome to another edition of the WWE Raw Deal review for the post-SummerSlam edition of Raw. It’s been a busy couple of days for WWE in Toronto so far with Raw and Smackdown still to come. There was WWE NXT Takeover Toronto on Saturday, which I reviewed here. There were great matches all night long, including the outstanding main event with Adam Cole beating Johnny Gargano in a 51-minute main event 2/3 Falls Match. I was surprised by no title changes on that show.
You can check out my WWE SummerSlam review right here in case you missed it. It was a pretty good show with Seth Rollins beating Brock Lesnar in the main event to win back the Universal Title, which I predicted. It was the only title change at SummerSlam. I thought that was the best match of the night with Charlotte Flair beating Trish Stratus and Becky Lynch beating Natalya as the next best matches. It was a good night for the ladies. Bray Wyatt’s in-ring “debut” as The Fiend also got a lot of attention because of how cool it looked. I’m looking forward to seeing where things go with him. The next WWE PPV is Clash of Champions on September 15, so they have over one month to build up to that. Let’s roll.
Live from Toronto, Ontario (for the third night in a row), this is the Raw Deal for episode #1367 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.

The opening video package showed highlights from SummerSlam with Seth Rollins overcoming an aggressive attack from Brock Lesnar to win back the Universal Title after Rollins hit The Stomp three times to win the match.
There was a shot of the crowd in Toronto looking excited about the show. The music of Seth Rollins hit as the new Universal Champion made his entrance in a black dress shirt and jeans. The crowd gave him a nice ovation.
Let’s Hear from Seth Rollins
The fans chanted “burn it down” before Rollins could say a word. Rollins said that last night he didn’t know that he had what it took to beat Brock Lesnar. Rollins talked about how the last two weeks have been tough, he wasn’t 100% and he stared Lesnar right in the eye. Rollins said that in this ring, Lesnar is a freaking beast. The fans chanted “Beastslayer” for Rollins. Seth said when he emptied the tank and had nothing left, something happened because the fans came alive. Rollins said that at that moment, the fans took him to a place to where he’s never been in his entire career and they could only go together. Rollins said in that moment, he knew he had what it took to slay the beast and he remembered he is Seth Freakin’ Rollins. That is why he is standing here as the Universal Champion.

AJ Styles showed up for the interruption along with his buddies in The OC, Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson. Styles is still the US Champion after beating Ricochet once again at SummerSlam. They walked down to the ring with confidence.
Styles told Rollins to wait. Styles said they wanted to be the first to congratulate Rollins as The OC clapped for Rollins. Styles told Rollins that he didn’t have to worry about Brock Lesnar anymore, but he did have to worry about the man standing in front of him. Styles told Rollins he wants to challenge him because he wants to prove that he is much of a better champion than Rollins.
Rollins said that he’s always had a ton of respect for Styles as fans started a “YES” chant. Rollins said he used to have a ton of respect, but not anymore. Rollins told Styles it doesn’t matter how beat up he is because later on tonight, Rollins will gladly teach him a lesson in respect and the challenge was accepted.
Styles wanted a handshake. Rollins was reluctant, so Gallows and Anderson left the ring. Rollins shook AJ’s hand and they had a staredown. There were “AJ Styles” chants from the crowd as the heel Styles backed away with his friends.
Analysis: It was a solid promo segment to set up a big match for later in the show. When Rollins/Styles had a Universal Title match at Money in the Bank this year it was awesome, so any time they set up a match is cool with me. That one was face vs. face, so this will feel different with Styles as a heel. I thought Rollins did a good job of sucking up to the fans in the promo without pandering too much. It was well done.

Still to come: Andrade vs. Rey Mysterio 2/3 Falls, Bliss/Cross vs. Asuka/Sane for the Women’s Tag Team Titles and The Miz vs. Dolph Ziggler.
The Street Profits were backstage wearing Toronto Blue Jays gear talking about Rollins vs. Styles. Montez Ford said that tonight, Raw is getting all of the smoke. Angelo Dawkins said that Seth is awesome and the afterparty went a little late, so Dawkins was dehydrated. Sami Zayn showed up told them to enjoy it while you can because the longer you are there, this place will suck your soul and he called the fans parasites. Zayn called Rollins a “pandering fool.” Zayn said when Becky Lynch became “The Man” it was real, but now it is so manufactured. Zayn told them it happens to everybody. Dawkins asked even Samoa Joe, who was behind Zayn. That led to Zayn mocking Joe for showing sympathy for Roman Reigns. Joe told Zayn not to backpedal now and Joe said since he’s a big softie, he wants Zayn in a match right now. Joe said that maybe Zayn can show his fellow countrymen that he is more than Kevin Owens’ waterboy. Joe shoved Zayn into some boxes and left.
Analysis: That was an easy way to set up a match. Zayn’s heel promos are great, but he loses so much in the ring that fans are never going to think of him as a big star. Joe being positioned against Zayn suggests that Joe might be doing that face turn that was expected after he showed sympathy for Roman Reigns in the parking lot last week.
(Commercial)
A video package aired about the King of the Ring tournament returning next week.

Analysis: There are a lot of choices as the winner of the tournament and after Raw, they announced names that are competing from Raw and Smackdown.
The Raw announce team of Michael Cole, Corey Graves and Renee Young were shown on camera welcoming us to the show.
Samoa Joe made his entrance with fans “Joe” during his entrance. They showed footage of his segment with Roman Reigns last week in the parking lot. Sami Zayn entered for this match against Joe, which was made before the break.
Sami Zayn vs. Samoa Joe
Zayn attacked Joe with punches, but Joe came back with a shoulder tackle and punches. Zayn with a leapfrog, Joe slapped on the Coquina Clutch and Zayn tapped out to give Joe the win after one minute.
Winner by submission: Samoa Joe

Analysis: 1/2* That was quick. Joe gets the dominant win while Zayn continues to be booked poorly. I don’t know if I would rank Zayn as the worst booked person on the main roster, but he is near the top of that list.
Post match, Joe did a promo saying that he will never forgive any of the fans that accused him of attacking Roman Reigns when he had nothing to do with it.
Analysis: Hold off on that face turn. He is still angry Joe, but the face run might be coming soon.
The Miz was shown walking backstage because he’s in a match against Dolph Ziggler up next.
(Commercial)

The Miz was wearing a “Toronto is Awesome” shirt. He’s from Cleveland and lives in Los Angeles, but good job pandering to the crowd. They showed images of Goldberg beating Dolph Ziggler at SummerSlam.
Dolph Ziggler made his entrance to face off against his old rival The Miz, but Ziggler was not in his ring gear. Ziggler was in jeans, a jacket and a Kabuki Warriors t-shirt while limping on his way to the ring to sell Goldberg beating him up at SummerSlam.
Ziggler was greeted with “Goldberg” chants. Ziggler said he hoped Miz was happy and he called him a coward. Ziggler said that everybody knows Miz didn’t have a chance against him at SummerSlam, so Miz sent Goldberg on him. Ziggler said he got speared so many times yesterday (the fans cheered along with The Miz) that he cannot compete tonight. Ziggler said he is not medically cleared to compete even though all these bloodthirsty Canadians would love to see this match. Ziggler said “too damn bad” to that idea.
Ziggler teased leaving, but then he attacked Miz with punches. The announcers were shocked, of course. Ziggler took off his jacket and appeared to want to compete in the match while in his jeans. They went to a break.
Analysis: Ziggler is getting louder reactions for his heel promos now. It’s a combination of genuine hatred from the fans, but I think also that people are sick of Ziggler’s heel persona. Ziggler’s another guy, like Zayn, that gets promo time and tends to lose a lot more than he wins. That’s how a lot of WWE heels are these days, which is why they are lacking in terms of having main event villains.

(Commercial)
The Miz vs. Dolph Ziggler
They started during the break and when they came back, Miz hit a knee to the ribs. Ziggler was wrestling in a tank top and jeans. Miz hit his weak looking kicks, then two double knee attacks and a corner clothesline. Miz went up top leading to a double axehandle. Miz tried a Figure Four Leglock, Ziggler avoided it, Miz charged, Ziggler moved and Miz went shoulder-first into the turnbuckle. Ziggler hit a Zig Zag, which is no longer his finisher, so it was only good for a two count. Ziggler teased the superkick, he went for it, Miz blocked it with double knees to the leg of Ziggler and Miz slapped on the Figure Four Leglock, Ziggler tried to get to the ropes, but Miz pulled him back to the middle and Ziggler tapped out at around four minutes.
Winner by submission: The Miz
Analysis: *1/2 A quick match to continue Ziggler’s run as a guy that talks a lot of shit and loses matches. It’s similar to what Sami Zayn does. Miz rarely wins with the Figure Four Leglock, but it’s good enough to beat Ziggler. The crowd was strongly behind Miz. It wasn't that interesting to me, though.
Post match, Ziggler did a promo saying that Miz couldn’t beat him at SummerSlam and Maryse is a better wrestler than Miz is. Ziggler said that Miz will never be as good as him, so Miz went back in the ring with a Skull Crushing Finale. Miz left again.

Analysis: That was similar to SummerSlam when Ziggler talked trash to Goldberg after the loss. I’m not sure where this is going for Ziggler or if it’s going anywhere at all.
Becky Lynch was interviewed by Charly Caruso with Becky grabbing the microphone. Lynch said she had respect for Natalya, who she beat at SummerSlam. Lynch said she’s coming for anybody that did her wrong. She said that the smart play is for the women to get her before Lynch gets them. That was it.
Still to come: Seth Rollins vs. AJ Styles.
(Commercial)
Elias was in the ring and he was seated on a stool with his guitar in his hands. Elias said he was sick of the interruptions during his concerts, so he said let’s just get it out of the way right away. Elias called for somebody to come to interrupt him as he counted down 3…2…1. Elias started playing his guitar, but Ricochet’s music hit.
Ricochet showed up to say that the reason people interrupt Elias is because he sucks. Elias ripped on Ricochet for dressing up as a comic book character. Elias said they should have a match, so a referee went to the ring to start the match.

Elias vs. Ricochet
Ricochet with a headscissors followed by a dropkick. Elias came back with a back body drop where Ricochet was tossed high into the air. Elias slapped on a headlock to keep Ricochet grounded. Elias tossed Ricochet into the turnbuckle, but then Ricochet came back with a kick and then a rolling dropkick. Ricochet went for a headscissors type move, but they missed it up and Elias bumped into the ropes. Ricochet with a jumping kick to the head, Elias to the floor and Ricochet went for a dive out of the ring, but Elias moved, which led to Ricochet bumping hard on the floor. Elias brought his guitar into the ring, the ref stopped him and Ricochet hit a kick to the head. Ricochet went up top and hit a sunset flip into a pin for the victory after three minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Ricochet
Analysis: *1/2 It was a bit sloppy with that spot where they messed up. The finish was weak because it wasn’t Ricochet’s finisher. I don’t know why they went with a sunset flip into a pin instead of doing the 630 Splash that always leads to a big pop from the crowd. Ricochet got the win since he lost at the PPV on Sunday.
Post match, they showed a replay with Elias’ right shoulder up off the mat. Cole and Graves pointed it out right away, as well as on the replay. They can point it out there, but they completely ignored it during the WrestleMania main event. Just saying.

Analysis: This was a bad first hour for heels like Sami Zayn, Dolph Ziggler and Elias. They all lost matches in four minutes or less. At least they got promo time before they got beat. I just wish WWE built up their heels better.
Rey Mysterio was shown walking backstage for his match against Andrade up next.
(Commercial)
The show returned with a mention that SummerSlam 2020 will be in Boston. That was announced a few days ago.
Rey Mysterio entered for this 2 out of 3 Falls Match. Andrade entered with his business manager Zelina Vega by his side.

Two out of Three Falls Match: Andrade (w/Zelina Vega) vs. Rey Mysterio
Andrade with a running kick to the face. Mysterio came back with a 619 attempt, but when he ran the ropes, Vega grabbed his foot. Andrade with a ROLLUP OF DEATH~! using the tights and Zelina grabbed the feet as well to make it cheap. That was good enough to win the first fall in less than one minute. The referee did not see the cheating.
Andrade leads 1-0.
Mysterio worked over Andrade with a kick that sent Andrade to the apron, then Mysterio climbed to the top rope and hit a hurricanrana that sent both guys crashing to the floor. That was an impressive move that drew a big pop. Back in the ring, Mysterio hit a splash over the top rope. Mysterio jumped off the ropes, Andrade caught him and hit a spinning back elbow for a two count. Andrade stomped away on Mysterio against the turnbuckle. Andrade charged with double knees, Mysterio moved and Andrade went knee first into the turnbuckle. Mysterio jumped off the top and went for a Canadian Destroyer like piledriver, but it ended up more like a Powerbomb where Andrade took the bump on the back of his neck. That looked brutal. Mysterio kicked Andrade to the ropes, Vega distracted to cause Mysterio to hesitate on the 619 and then each guy got two counts. Mysterio dropkicked Andrade to the ropes, 619 kick connected and Mysterio went up top. Mysterio jumped off the top with a Frog Splash, Andrade blocked with his knees up, Andrade with a Hammerlock DDT and he covered Mysterio for the pinfall win. It went about seven minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Andrade (2-0)
Analysis: **3/4 That was a decisive win by Andrade since it was two falls to zero even though the first fall was cheap. Since Andrade is the guy in the prime of his career and Mysterio is the older guy, it was the right call to have Andrade get the win. There was a scary bump on the neck of Andrade, but I’m glad he was okay and he got through the match fine. I think WWE needs to feature Andrade more in the weeks and months ahead because he’s got a good thing going with Vega as his manager. They need heels like him.

Steve Austin was interviewed at home on Skype. Michael Cole asked him what he thought about Seth Rollins beating Brock Lesnar at SummerSlam. Austin said that the win by Rollins was badass. Austin said he wondered who Seth Rollins really is when he says Seth Freakin’ Rollins, but now he knows who he is. Cole asked Austin what advice he gave Rollins at Raw Reunion a few weeks ago. Austin said he told Rollins to stay focused. Austin said that in that match, Seth found a piece of himself that he never knew existed. Austin said he understands what Rollins is all about now. Austin gave Rollins credit for living up to his guaranteed victory. They ended the interview plugging Steve Austin’s new show “Straight Up Steve Austin” on USA Network after Raw.
Analysis: It was just a way to get Austin on the show to endorse Rollins as the new champion on Raw. The idea is if fans see an all-time great like Austin putting over Rollins like that then fans might see Rollins as a bigger star. Plus, it was a way to plug Austin’s new show on USA Network. I have no problem with that.
There was a video promoting the King of the Ring tournament next Monday on Raw.
(Commercial)

Rey Mysterio was shown walking backstage after the loss. Charly Caruso walked up to him saying that maybe Rey has met his match in Andrade. Rey said he has never lost two falls like that in a row. Mysterio said he has no idea where his career he is going. She asked if there was something he was trying to say. Mysterio just said “my family” twice and he walked away.
Analysis: They are clearly teasing a retirement angle with Mysterio, who is 44 years old. He has been wrestling since his teenage years, so it's been about 30 years now. I believe his deal expires at some point next year and he can clearly still compete at a high level, so it’s likely just a storyline for him. I’m not sure when he will retire, though.
The Street Profits were backstage with Montez Ford saying that Rey is a legend that needs to keep his head up. Angelo Dawkins was passed out in a chair looking hungover. Ford said that Angelo’s girl Nikki Cross teams up with Alexa Bliss against the Kabuki Warriors and Cedric Alexander gets Drew McIntyre. Ford asked who he has for that match, but Dawkins had no answer because he was chugging water.

Drew McIntyre was interviewed by Sarah Schreiber behind the curtain. McIntyre said that this issue with Cedric Alexander ends tonight. McIntyre claimed that Alexander thinks he’ll get a big victory over McIntyre, but what’s really going to happen is he’s going to cave Cedric’s skull in and then his fairytale will be over.
Drew McIntyre made his entrance. It was mentioned by Cole that McIntyre and Alexander will be in the King of the Ring tournament next week. This match is after a break.
This week on Smackdown: Roman Reigns vs. Buddy Murphy.
(Commercial)
The show returned with Michael Cole mentioning that Skittles is a new WWE sponsor that is sponsoring Clash of Champions. Cedric Alexander made his entrance. They showed a replay from two weeks ago when Alexander hit a dive off the Raw video screens and hit a cross body block on McIntyre.

Cedric Alexander vs. Drew McIntyre
Alexander with a dropkick to start the match. Alexander knocked McIntyre out of the ring and then he hit a somersault dive over the top to take him out. Back in the ring, Alexander hit a dropkick. McIntyre got a hold of Alexander and gave him a high angle Buckle Bomb into the turnbuckle. It was like a Razor’s Edge into the turnbuckle. McIntyre with a hard chop to the face, a slap and McIntyre slapped on a submission while wrenching on the arm of Alexander. McIntyre with a boot to the face followed by a belly to belly overhead suplex for two. Alexander got free from Alexander and hit a handspring into a jumping kick to the head. Alexander with a back elbow, knee to the chest and Alexander hit a spinning DDT for a two count. They nearly messed that up, but it ended up looking okay. McIntyre got a hold of Alexander on the middle turnbuckle and he a hit a spinning slam off the ropes for a two count. They left the ring with McIntyre hitting a chop to the chest, then Alexander shoved him into the ring post and Alexander followed up with a Lumbar Check while they were on the floor. The referee was doing a really slow count, Alexander got back in first, then he jumped onto Drew on the floor and McIntyre hit an overhead suplex onto the ramp. McIntyre carried Alexander back into the ring. McIntyre set up for his finisher in the corner, but Alexander collapsed to the mat. McIntyre picked him up, Alexander with an inside cradle for two and then they went up top with Alexander hitting a Spanish Fly off the top for a two count. That was a great spot! The fans bought into that as a nearfall. McIntyre with a back elbow to the face, then a running elbow and when McIntyre wanted a reverse Alabama Slam, Alexander rolled through for pinning combination leading to a two count. They ran the ropes, McIntyre hit the Claymore Kick and Alexander sold it with a flip! Wow. That was incredible. The crowd popped big for that. McIntyre covered for the pinfall win after nine minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Drew McIntyre
Analysis: ***1/2 That was a great match that was very competitive with Alexander getting in a lot of offense while most of us assumed McIntyre would win easily. The Spanish Fly off the top is such a cool looking spot and it's even more impressive when a guy as big as McIntyre took the move delivered by a smaller guy. That made Alexander show that he belongs in there with Drew. The finish brought the crowd to its feet because of how well Alexander sold that Claymore Kick. McIntyre had an excellent match against Kevin Owens recently as well, so he’s on a roll right now. They made the most of the time they were given.

McIntyre celebrated the win as the fans cheered the wrestlers for their effort.
Analysis: I think McIntyre is a good pick to win the King of the Ring tournament because that momentum could lead to him getting that main event push.
AJ Styles was talking to his buddies in The OC about his match later in tonight. Styles said that Rollins got so many chances against Brock Lesnar while Styles only got one chance against Lesnar…and he lost. Styles said that after tonight, he’s going to prove he’s the better champion against Rollins.
Paul Heyman was shown walking backstage and he walked in a room that said “Brock Lesnar” on the door.

(Commercial)
Charly Caruso was outside Brock Lesnar’s locker room where she claimed that Paul Heyman will give her an interview in a few minutes.
No Way Jose made his entrance with his conga line joining him at ringside. Robert Roode made his glorious entrance. Roode is from Peterborough, Ontario, which is close to Toronto. They showed Heyman standing by with Caruso in the backstage area.
Robert Roode vs. No Way Jose
Roode stomped away on Jose against the turnbuckle. Jose came back with a back elbow, punches to the head and Roode came back with a spinebuster. The fans chanted “glorious” as Roode did his posing and Roode hit a Glorious DDT on Jose for the pinfall win in under two minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Robert Roode
Analysis: 1/2* It was another short match on this show that has had a few short matches already. I’m not sure if Roode will be pushed after this, or if this was just a way to kill time.

They went backstage to Paul Heyman and Charly Caruso. When Charly mentioned history was made, Heyman mocked her. Heyman said that earlier today, WWE made the statement that his client Brock Lesnar gets no rematches against Seth Rollins. The fans cheered. Heyman wondered how he explains this and then he walked into the locker room.
Analysis: My expectation is that Lesnar will get moved to Smackdown on Fox, but I don’t know how it will be explained. They have less than two months to figure it out. It’s not like WWE has to come up with a complex explanation to do it.
(Commercial)
There was a match going on with the Lucha House Party against The Revival. I missed the beginning of it, but then R-Truth went down to the ring with the 24/7 Title, so there’s no point in writing about the match.
The Revival hit a Hart Attack double team clothesline on Truth and Dash Wilder covered Truth with Scott Dawson on top. The Revival held up the 24/7 Title.
Winners by pinfall and New 24/7 Champions: The Revival (Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder)

Kalisto with a springboard attack and a Salida del Sol on Dawson, but Wilder pulled Kalisto out of the ring. Carmella moved Truth onto Dawson and Truth covered to win the title again for the 12th time.
Winner by pinfall and New 24/7 Champion: R-Truth
Truth and Carmella ran away with midcard wrestlers chasing after them. Drake Maverick was tired of chasing them. R-Truth went back onto the stage with Carmella.
R-Truth and Carmella were backstage with Truth talking about becoming the champion again. He said he’s been champion more times than Ric Flair and his childhood friend R-Truth. Elias walked up behind Truth, Elias hit Truth in the back with his guitar and a referee was there, so Elias covered Truth to win the title. Elias is now a 3-time 24/7 Champion.
Winner by pinfall and New 24/7 Champion: Elias
Analysis: It is more fun when Truth is the champion, but perhaps Elias will have a decent reign with it.

That was the end of hour two. After the break, an update on the Roman Reigns mystery attacker storyline.
(Commercial)
The announcers talked about King of the Ring tournament starting up next week. It will feature eight Raw superstars and eight Smackdown superstars.
They aired clips of the mystery attacks against Roman Reigns over the last two weeks. It was mentioned by Cole that the developing story continues tomorrow on Smackdown.
Natalya made her entrance in street clothes with her left arm in a sling to sell Becky Lynch slapping the Disarmher on Natalya at SummerSlam. They showed images of Lynch beating Natalya at SummerSlam.

Let’s Hear from Natalya
Natalya stood in the ring saying that last night she faced Becky Lynch for the Raw Women’s Championship and she tapped out. Natalya admitted she tapped out and Becky was the better woman. Natalya claimed she had a dislocated elbow and she’s getting an MRI tomorrow. Natalya said that she meant every word that she said about Becky going into the match. Natalya added that she didn’t know when or where, but they will do this again. Natalya said that this morning when she woke up, she remembered in her dreams last night that her dad (Jim Neidhart) spoke to her. She said her dad said, “congratulations Nattie, I’m so proud of you.” The fans cheered. She said that it has been one year since her dad died and as she continued to talk...here comes Sasha Banks.
Analysis: Welcome back to Sasha Banks. Four month vacations are nice to have.

Sasha Banks made her entrance in her ring gear with Cole marking out while Graves said he didn’t miss her at all. Banks, who had her purple hair, went into the ring and she hugged Natalya. Banks walked away and then she turned around with a punch to the face! Heel turn! Banks took off her purple hair to reveal blue hair. Banks beat on Natalya with punches. Banks whipped Natalya into the corner and then she threw her out of the ring. Banks whipped Natalya’s left arm into the steel steps. Fans chanted “Thank You Sasha” for this Banks attack. Banks whipped Natalya into the steel steps.
Banks brought a steel chair into the ring and she stomped away on Natalya. Becky Lynch showed up for the save. Lynch ran down to the ring.
Lynch got into a brawl with Banks in the ring. Lynch hit Banks with two forearms to send her out of the ring. Banks with a punch, but Banks drove Lynch into the barricade with Cole saying that Banks returned with an “evil vengeance” to get over the heel turn. Banks grabbed the steel chair and hit a chair to the back of Lynch seven times. Stop shaking the damn camera. Banks with two more chair shots to Lynch. Three referees got out there eventually and then Banks hit Lynch with the chair two more times. Graves continued to rip on Banks. Lynch tried to fight back, so Banks stomped on her and Banks whipped Lynch into the steel steps.
Banks walked away looking proud of herself. When she got up the ramp, she had a big smile on her face.

Analysis: That was a great angle. The crowd reacted to this in a big way. They cheered Banks a bit because it was a big angle, but obviously, Banks is in a heel role. Cole said the word “evil” repeatedly to tell the audience that this was Banks as a heel. I expected Banks to be back around SummerSlam and putting her in a heel role was the right way to bring her back. Banks hasn’t had a singles push as a heel on the main roster yet. Four years ago, she was an outstanding heel in NXT, so I’m looking forward to seeing her heel work on Raw now. The attack on Natalya was cruel and vicious especially as Natalya was talking about her late father. When Lynch showed up, Banks didn’t let up against her either. The repeated chair shots showed how intense Banks. I thought it was really well done. I think Banks is an awesome heel, so I’m glad she is back in that role again. The Becky Lynch vs. Sasha Banks feud is going to be awesome. Banks is at her best as a heel and will be more motivated than ever. It should be a focus on Raw for the rest of the year. Perhaps a title change is coming soon too.

(Commercial)
There were replays of the Sasha Banks attack on Natalya and Becky Lynch. The announcers were shown on camera. Graves reminded us that he was right because he has always been a critic of Sasha Banks.
The Viking Raiders (Erik and Ivar) vs. Carter Mason and Sebastian Suave
There were double team attacks by the Viking Raiders with Ivar hitting running attacks against the turnbuckle and Erik slammed him into the other guy. Erik with a running knee to put a guy into the barricade. Erik launched the other guy into the air and Ivar hit a powerslam for the pinfall win. It went about one minute.
Winners by pinfall: The Viking Raiders (Erik and Ivar)
Analysis: 1/2* It was a typical easy win for the Viking Raiders. They need a feud. I have said that for a few months now.

Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross were interviewed by Charly Caruso. Bliss said that they were fighting champions. Cross thanked Bliss for everything she has done. Bliss said when it’s them two against the world, they get results…referring to the titles. That title match is after the break.
(Commercial)
There was a plug for Smackdown’s debut on Fox on October 4, which is also a Smackdown 20 Year Anniversary celebration. It will be in Los Angeles. Tickets go on sale this Friday.
Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross made their entrance as the Women’s Tag Team Champions. A replay was shown of their title win last week.
Asuka and Kairi Sane entered as the challengers. A video aired from their manager Paige saying she can’t be there because she has to have another neck surgery. Paige said she was confident that her team can win this match and bring home the titles.

Women’s Tag Team Championships: Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross vs. The Kabuki Warriors (Asuka and Kairi Sane)
Asuka and Sane attacked as soon as the bell rang. Asuka dove onto Bliss off the apron to the floor while Sane jumped onto Cross. They went to break one minute into this.
(Commercial)
Cross was in the ring with Sane, she had her down for a bit, but Sane broke free and Asuka tagged in. Asuka with a knee to the face of Cross followed by kicks to the chest and then a running knee on Cross. Asuka with a German Suplex on Cross. Bliss tagged in, she entered the ring from behind Asuka and hit a DDT as Sane broke up the pin attempt. Bliss threw a tantrum. Cross tagged in and Asuka hit a kick to the face of Bliss followed by a neckbreaker/bulldog combo. Sane with a spinebuster on Cross. Sane went up top, but Cross left the ring, so Sane jumped off the top with a cross body block. That looked great. Sane sent Cross into the ring, Sane jumped off the top and she connected with the Insane Elbow on Cross. Sane covered, but Bliss broke up the pin with a dropkick to the back of Sane. Asuka went after Bliss, who moved and Asuka kicked the ring post. Bliss whipped Asuka into the ring post. Bliss pulled Cross towards their corner, Sane with an elbow to Bliss and Cross hit a neckbreaker on Sane. Bliss up top and she hit Twisted Bliss on Sane for the pinfall win after nine minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross
Analysis: **1/2 It was a solid tag team match. The Asuka and Sane team is so good at everything they do. They make it look easy out there. Bliss and Cross work well together too. Bliss is getting a lot of the spotlight for her team while Cross gets to benefit from teaming with a more established star like Bliss. I think it was the right move to get the titles on Bliss and Cross. I'd love to see a singles push for Asuka or Sane, but I don't see that happening.

Seth Rollins did a backstage promo talking into the camera. Rollins reminded AJ Styles that he beat Brock Lesnar twice and he beat Styles at Money in the Bank as well. Rollins said he’ll remind us who is the champ around there. That match is up next.
A clip aired for Straight Up Steve Austin on USA Network after Raw.
(Commercial)
There was another video for King of the Ring, which starts next week on Raw. It included some of the great King of the Rings in WWE history. They ignored the bad ones (sorry Mabel and Billy Gunn). They showed images of the guys in the tournament, but there were no brackets shown yet.

Analysis: My pick to win is Drew McIntyre, but I may change my mind.
Seth Rollins made his entrance first for the main event. AJ Styles was next as he was joined by his buddies in The OC.
Seth Rollins vs. AJ Styles (w/Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson)
There is no title on the line in this match.
Rollins had taped ribs just like at SummerSlam. Rollins with a dropkick on Styles against the turnbuckle. Styles came back by going after the ribs. Styles was near the ropes, so Gallows and Anderson pulled him out of the ring to save him. Rollins with a suicide dive onto Gallows and he took out Anderson too. Styles picked up Rollins leading to a slam on the floor. Rollins was down as they went to break two minutes into this match.
(Commercial)
The match continued with Styles remaining in control as he worked over the ribs of Rollins. They battled on the apron, Rollins avoided a move and he tripped up Styles on the apron. Back in the ring, Styles with punches, Rollins came back with a Slingblade, a forearm to the face and a Falcon Arrow slam got a two count. They battled by the turnbuckle, Styles with a forearm, he went up top for the Phenomenal Forearm, but Rollins moved and Rollins hit a superkick. Rollins went up top, Anderson on the apron, so Gallows shoved Rollins off the top and referee Chad Patton tossed G&A to the back even though he didn’t actually see what happened. Rollins rolled up Styles for two. Styles missed a Pele Kick and Rollins knocked him down again. Gallows and Anderson went into the ring to attack Rollins for the disqualification after nine minutes.
Winner by disqualification: Seth Rollins

Analysis: **3/4 It felt like half of a potentially great match without a second half. I can understand the DQ finish since Styles had his buddies at ringside. Finishes like that are necessary once in a while to help establish a heel group. I know fans hate it, but it needs to happen once in a while.
The OC trio attacked Rollins, so Ricochet ran out for the save. Ricochet with a jumping kick on Ricochet. Ricochet jumped off the top, Gallows caught him and Anderson hit the Boot of Doom double team move on Ricochet to knock him down. Anderson tossed Ricochet out of the ring. Styles wanted G&A to give Rollins to him, but Braun Strowman made the save.
Braun Strowman went down to the ring, he ran over Anderson with a shoulder tackle. Strowman went into the ring and ran over Gallows with a shoulder tackle as well. Styles kicked Strowman, but Strowman got a hold of him and hit a Powerslam on Styles. Strowman picked up Styles again leading to a Running Powerslam. The fans cheered loudly for everything that Strowman did.
Strowman stood tall in the ring with Rollins. Strowman grabbed the Universal Championship from ringside. Strowman gave the title to Rollins. Strowman extended his hand and Rollins shook his hand. Ricochet went back into the ring to join them. That was the end of Raw.

Analysis: It is nice of WWE to remember that Braun Strowman exists since he hasn’t been featured regularly. Strowman was just one of many big names that had nothing to do at SummerSlam either. Ricochet tried the save, but failed. Strowman was successful in making the save and he looked like a huge babyface in doing so. I’m not sure what they will do at Clash of Champions because Rollins vs. Strowman is a possibility, but perhaps they will do a triple threat with Styles involved where only the Universal Title is on the line. They could even make it a 4-Way with Rollins, Strowman, Styles and Ricochet, but I think Ricochet would need to be built up more in order to be in that spot. They can definitely do Rollins, Strowman, Ricochet vs. The OC next week or soon after.
My guess right now is that they do Rollins vs. Styles vs. Strowman at Clash of Champions. I could be wrong because they might just do Rollins vs. Strowman, but I don't think that's good for Seth since the crowd may support Braun more than him. If I learn more, I will edit this. For now, that's what I think.
After Raw, Styles challenged Strowman to a US Title match next week on Raw.

Three Stars of the Show

  1. Sasha Banks
  2. Drew McIntyre
  3. Cedric Alexander

The Scoreboard
6.5 out of 10
Last week: 6
2019 Average: 5.64 (Smackdown is 6.77)
Last 5 Weeks: 6, 7, 5, 4.5, 7.5
2019 High: 7.5 (January 14, July 1)
2019 Low: 3.5 (May 27)

Final Thoughts
This week’s Raw gets a 6.5 out of 10.
It was a pretty good edition of Raw with the Sasha Banks return and heel turn to set her up for a likely Raw Women’s Title feud with Becky Lynch. As I noted earlier, that can be a long term storyline, perhaps with a title change involved. It was executed perfectly with the crowd reacting to it in a big way.

The matches were just okay this week with the highlight being Drew McIntyre’s win over Cedric Alexander. Great showing by both guys. The Bliss/Cross win over Asuka/Sane was solid. The Rollins/Styles main event match was not a classic match by any means, but it does open up a lot of possibilities for future title contenders with Braun Strowman and Ricochet getting involved. There were some matches that were so short that the word “filler” comes to mind too.
I was very surprised by no Bray Wyatt. He was one of the major talking points coming out of SummerSlam, yet he wasn't mentioned or shown. Perhaps he'll be on Smackdown. I just figured he would be on Raw tonight. Nope. No mention of Wyatt at all.
The return of King of the Ring for next week is interesting. My early pick is Drew McIntyre, but as I said in the review, I may change my mind on that.
The next WWE PPV is Clash of Champions on September 15 where every championship in WWE will be on the line. 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. Thanks for reading.
John Canton
Email: mrjohncanton@gmail.com
Twitter: @johnreport
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