Welcome to the WWE Raw Deal review right here on TJRWrestling. It’s the post-SummerSlam edition of Raw as we head towards another WWE PPV called Payback this coming Sunday, August 30. I don’t know why they feel the need to do another PPV so close to SummerSlam, but here we go. Also, a happy 75th birthday to WWE's Chairman Vince McMahon. If I make it to that age, I certainly won't be working as hard as him!
Here’s my WWE SummerSlam review from Sunday night in case you missed it. In addition to that, I also reviewed the WWE NXT Takeover XXX event from Saturday night right here. This was a rare occasion where I actually thought the Raw/Smackdown PPV was better than a Takeover. It wasn’t better by that much because if you look at my scores it was very close, but Takeover is usually better. I just really liked SummerSlam a lot this year and I hope the positive momentum from that shows continues into this week.
From the Amway Center in Orlando, Florida, this is the Raw Deal for episode #1412 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, insightful columns from our team along with reviews about wrestling’s past and present. Let’s roll.
The Raw intro video aired to begin the show. That was followed by an impressive pyro display inside the WWE ThunderDome at the Amway Center in Orlando. The virtual video wall of fans was there to welcome us to the show. The Raw announce team of Tom Phillips, Byron Saxton and Samoa Joe gave us a rundown of some matches coming up this week.
Let’s Hear from Drew McIntyre
The WWE Champion Drew McIntyre made his entrance in street clothes as he had the WWE Championship in his hands after retaining the title against Randy Orton at SummerSlam. There was a nice pyro display for Drew in the ring and the ThunderDome crowd was cheering the champion. They showed SummerSlam highlights with Drew beating Randy with a backslide pin after a great match that went about 20 minutes. I really liked it.
McIntyre welcomed us to the first Raw from the WWE ThunderDome. Drew wanted a thumbs up from the crowd, most of the fans did it and Drew said it was good while saying “what a difference” as a comparison to the WWE PC shows. McIntyre spoke about how he went up against the evil Randy Orton and he’s still the WWE Champion. McIntyre said he pulled it off because he’s hungrier than Orton, he works harder than Orton and he steps up while pushing forward because he is so damn proud to be WWE Champion. McIntyre said that he knows what it’s like to go through hard times, to feel desperate and wonder where your next paycheck is coming from. McIntyre said that Orton doesn’t know that feeling because he’s naturally gifted. McIntyre noted that Orton was great when he started, he got better and he’s the absolute best, but last night Drew McIntyre was that much better. McIntyre stared into the camera saying that at Backlash, Randy won a match called the Greatest Match Ever and then Randy bragged about being the greatest wrestler ever, so what does that make Drew? Drew noted that he beat Randy with a wrestling maneuver. Drew said if Randy wants to step in the ring again then he will do what he didn’t do last night – kick his head off and send his ass to Claymore Country. McIntyre posed for the ThunderDome crowd and he left the ring.
McIntyre posed on the stage with the WWE Title and of course there was Orton with a forearm to the back to knock McIntyre down. Never forget that babyface wrestlers have to be booked like dumbasses sometimes. They went fighting into the backstage control center known as the Gorilla Position, Orton did an eye gouge and sent Drew into a wall. With McIntyre down, referees made Orton go back and then Orton hit The Punt on McIntyre to knock him down. After Orton was made to move back again, Orton did The Punt again. Drew was selling like he was knocked out.
Analysis: I liked Drew’s promo a lot. It was a confident promo from a babyface champion that has worked to get what he has and it’s easy to like a guy like him. The attack from Orton was obvious as soon as McIntyre turned his back to the stage. I thought it might happen in the ring, but I don’t mind how they did it. When Orton does The Punt, he doesn’t even the touch the guy at all, so it’s all in how the person taking The Punt sells the move. The first one looked better than the second one. It was obvious they would continue the rivalry based on the SummerSlam finish. That’s fine with me.
Following replays of Orton’s attack, a groggy Drew McIntyre had trouble getting back to his feet as WWE Officials like Adam Pearce, Sonjay Dutt and a referee helped him. Drew said he was fine as he stumbled away. The announcers talked about what happened saying it was incredible that Drew was trying to walk after that.
A video aired about the Raw debut of “Limitless” Keith Lee, who is a former NXT Champion and NXT North American Champion. Lee lost the NXT Title this past Saturday and now he’s on Raw. It will be cool to see him there.
Nia Jax was shown walking backstage with Sarah Schreiber asking what she’s doing and Jax noted that she was reinstated. Jax said all she had to do was apologize to WWE Official Pat Buck. Shayna Baszler walked up to Jax saying they are counting down the moments until Nia does something to get kicked out of there. Nia noted Shayna had a match with Bayley, Nia said she could call her if she needed help, then Baszler compared her looks to Haystacks Calhoun and Jax insulted her back. Baszler welcomed her back.
Analysis: Welcome back to Nia Jax, I guess. Did anybody miss her? It’s not like she was gone for that long, but the suspension angle is over.
The duo of Smackdown Women’s Champion Bayley and Sasha Banks made their entrance. They are the Women’s Tag Team Champions as well. They did not look happy about Banks losing the Raw Women’s Title at SummerSlam. Shayna Baszler entered for the match. Nia Jax also entered to watch the match.
I will also add while this was going on that WWE announced that at Payback, “The Fiend” will defend the Universal Title against Roman Reigns and Braun Strowman at Payback on Sunday. I will probably pick Reigns to win.
Bayley (w/Sasha Banks) vs. Shayna Baszler
The first match on Raw begins about 27 minutes after the show began. Baszler was going for armbars, so Bayley bailed to the floor. Jax was watching from the ramp. Bayley with a side headlock, then she bounced off the ropes and Baszler hit her with two forearms. Baszler with a pump knee on Bayley against the turnbuckle. Bayley tried a cover, but then Baszler went for a head/arm submission, Banks distracted and Banks hit Baszler in the back to knock her down. Bayley with a suplex for two. Banks with a couple of elbow strikes for a two count. Baszler with some kicks and Bayley dumped her out to the floor. Jax grabbed Baszler and punched her in the face for the DQ ending after about five minutes.
Winner by disqualification: Shayna Baszler
Analysis: *1/2 It was okay until it ended abruptly. That finish didn’t surprise me because having either woman take a pin or submit in a match like that would have been a poor decision. Sometimes the DQ ending makes the most sense even though fans hate it. It's weird seeing Baszler as a face in a match like this, but that's what it felt like here.
The fight continued with Baszler flipping Jax over and then Jax came back with a strike to the head. Bayley and Banks were laughing about it. Jax punched Baszler in the head. Jax and Baszler stopped what they were doing, then they left the ring and stared down Bayley and Banks while on the ramp. The music of Baszler played to end it.
Analysis: It seems like they are going to do the tag team match with Banks/Bayley against the unlikely team of Jax/Baszler just based on that staredown at the end.
Kevin Owens was shown walking around backstage with a tie on his tank top KO Show shirt. Owens asked a guy named Chris where Aleister Black was and Owens went to the room that was dark. Owens said he will see him out there.
The KO Show with Aleister Black
Kevin Owens was in the ring hosting the Kevin Owens Show and he really liked the ThunderDome environment wit the fans on the screens behind him. Owens said that this is not a guest that we are used to hearing from, but they have had a common enemy and now he’s returning to Monday Night Raw tonight…Aleister Black. This segment was announced Sunday at SummerSlam.
Aleister Black made his entrance in all black and he had headgear on that was like a bandana covering his right eye after Murphy drove his eye into the steel steps. Black sat in the chair in the ring with Owens.
Owens thanked him for being there and he said that people have been concerned about what happened to Black when Murphy shoved Black’s eye into the stairs. Owens asked how he’s doing. Black said let’s just show the footage, Owens didn’t want to and then they showed the footage of Murphy driving Black’s eye into the steel steps last month.
Owens said that Seth Rollins and his disciples can get in your head to question why you are even here. Owens said you can ask Rey and Dominik too because it’s something Seth loves to do. Owens didn’t want to show the footage because every time you look at it, then Black acted like he was hurt from the eye injury, Black elbowed Owens in the head and Black hit a Black Mass kick to KO to knock him down.
Analysis: It looks like heel Aleister Black and I’m all for it. While I wish Black was booked better as a face on Raw, perhaps being a heel is the right path for him to become more of a top guy. I think he could do well in either role. A feud with Kevin Owens will be cool to see especially since both guys could use a rivalry like this. I’m all for it.
Sasha Banks and Bayley were shown backstage. Charly Caruso tried an interview with them. They just did their usual spiel about how Banks is going to beat Asuka and then they’ll take out Baszler/Jax too.
This Friday on Smackdown, the trio of “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt, Braun Strowman and Roman Reigns have a contract signing for the Universal Title match at Payback. This company loves contract signings. Find somebody who loves you loves you as much as WWE loves contract signings.
There’s a Fatal 4-Way for the 24/7 Championship as if this is a coveted title.
24/7 Championship: Shelton Benjamin vs. Cedric Alexander vs. Akira Tozawa vs. R-Truth
There was a cool sequence with Benjamin and Alexander that led to Benjamin hitting a knee to knock Alexander to the floor. Benjamin caught Tozawa, slammed him over the top onto the pile of ninjas and then Truth knocked Benjamin out of the ring. Tozawa got a rollup on Truth and won the title after about two minutes.
Winner by pinfall AND NEW 24/7 Champion: Akira Tozawa
Analysis: * If this title went away, I wouldn’t miss it. That’s all I have in terms of analysis.
Post match, Tozawa ran away while Benjamin looked angry about losing the worst title in WWE history.
Randy Orton was shown walking backstage with Sarah Schreiber asking if he cared to comment about what Drew said about him and Randy’s attack. Orton answered “yes I do” and he’s up next at the top of hour two.
There was a replay from earlier in the night with Randy Orton’s vicious attack on Drew McIntyre with Randy hitting The Punt two times.
Let’s Hear from Randy Orton
Randy Orton entered the ring for a promo. Orton said that he has done what he wants to do when he wants to do. Orton said he promised us that he would RKO Drew McIntyre, kick him in the skull and take his title…but he didn’t do it. Orton said that you can call him a lot of things and that’s a long list, but he will forever be a man of his word. Orton talked about how he would kill the legend of Edge, Christian, Big Show, Ric Flair and Shawn Michaels and that is exactly what he did. Orton said that’s because he’s the Legend Killer. Orton said that Drew McIntyre came out there earlier, so the opportunity presented itself and Orton did it not once, but twice. Orton said that Drew offered a rematch out of pity and he didn’t like that. Orton reminded him he is Randy Orton, he is the Legend Killer, he is the greatest and BASK IN HIS GLORY…it’s Keith Lee.
Keith Lee entered the ring to introduce himself to Randy Orton. Lee said he wanted to offer Orton this opportunity to bask in Keith’s glory. Lee noted that Orton has been called many things like The Viper, Apex Predator and Legend Killer. Lee said that he’s been called a gamechanger, anomaly and he is Limitless. Lee said that since the Limitless One is on Raw and Orton is looking for a fight the likes of which no one has ever felt, with respect to his friend Drew McIntyre, Lee said he is willing to step up for a challenge right here and right now. They were both in their ring gear.
Orton asked Lee if he wants to fight him right here, right now. Orton said: “Maybe later.” Orton bailed to the floor.
Analysis: I liked the promos from both guys. Orton is a great villain while Lee had a lot of confidence. That’s a fresh match for later. It shows how serious WWE is going to be about pushing Keith Lee since he’s facing a top heel in his first Raw match. They could have started him out smaller and booked him to win a short match over a midcard heel, but I think a bigger match against Orton is the right way to go no matter what the outcome is.
Charly Caruso was standing backstage with Zelina Vega standing by with Angel Garza and the Demi Burnett woman that has been backstage for weeks. Vega claimed she didn’t do anything to poison Montez Ford and Garza tried to speak up, but then Vega told him to shut up. Vega said she had a match up next. Garza told Demi, who mentioned Ivar briefly, that she could watch his match. Garza told Charly she could check out his match too. Charly was not impressed as Garza left.
Angel Garza entered with Andrade and Demi Burnett, who was seated at ringside. Montez Ford had Raw Tag Team Championship partner Angelo Dawkins by his side as usual. Nice pre-match promo from Street Profits referencing Kobe Bryant on 8/24 Day (Kobe’s numbers).
Montez Ford (w/Angelo Dawkins) vs. Angel Garza (w/Andrade and Demi Burnett)
Ford did some impressive leapfrogs followed by a dropkick. Ford went up top, jumped off with nothing and Garza hit a dropkick for a two count. Garza with a running kick, Ford missed a kick and Garza kicked Ford to the apron. Ivar walked down to the ring to hit on Demi Burnett and he gave her a turkey leg. Ivar escorted Demi to the back, which Garza didn’t like while Dawkins was laughing about it. The ladies love Ivar, as we know. Ford avoided an attack, a kick to the chest and when Ford was on the top, Garza hit a rising kick to his face. Ford punched Garza down, then jumped off the top with the Frog Splash where he turns in the air and got the pinfall win after three minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Montez Ford
Analysis: * A quick match to advance the Garza/Ivar storyline about them loving the ladies. That star is for the finishing move that looks so impressive because of how much height Ford gets for that Frog Splash. It looks amazing.
Shayna Baszler was shown backstage with Nia Jax saying that they could become the Women’s Tag Team Champions because Jax wants those titles. Baszler said if she helps with that, then she wants Jax to leave her alone. Jax shoved her and Baszler did a hard slap to the face and left. It’s a weird mutual respect thing.
Liv Morgan and Ruby Riott walked into the screen with Bianca Belair joining them. They are in tag team action up next.
It’s official for WWE Payback on Sunday: Sasha Banks and Bayley defend the Women’s Tag Team Titles against Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler. Congrats on earning a title shot even though you have never teamed together before.
Liv Morgan, Ruby Riott and Bianca Belair vs. Peyton Royce, Billie Kay and Zelina Vega
The heels took control early as Kay whipped Riott right into Kay, who hit a boot to the face. Vega with a boot to the back of Riott along with a running double foot attack for a two count. Belair got the tag, she landed on her feet to counter a headscissors and Belair hit a move similar to the Glam Slam. Belair with a moonsault on Vega with a moonsault for two as the IIconics made the save. Riott and Morgan with double enziguri kicks. Vega with a rollup on Belair, but Belair got out of that, a punch to the face and the KOD slam finished it for Belair after about three minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Liv Morgan, Ruby Riott and Bianca Belair
Analysis: * Belair continues to impress although they have yet to give her a storyline or anything to make her stand out. I liked some of the tag team moves of Morgan and Riott in the match. It would have been nice if they got the next title shot.
Ricochet and Cedric Alexander were testing out the arm wrestling table. Mark Henry got some guys to get it out to the ring. MVP walked over to talk trash to Ricochet and Alexander with Cedric telling him he already told him no. MVP said that Alexander was wasting his prime years hanging out with a guy that calls himself the One and Only. MVP is going to tend to this US Championship business and he left.
Analysis: They continue to tease the idea of MVP recruiting Alexander to join the group. I like that it has continued for several weeks now, which could mean that Alexander will join or maybe Ricochet is the one that does it and he turns on Cedric. I’m just throwing it out there as a possibility.
There were highlights shown of Apollo Crews beating MVP on the SummerSlam Kickoff Show in Apollo’s US Title defense.
Arm Wrestling Challenge Hosted by Mark Henry
The WWE Hall of Famer Mark Henry was in the ring hosting an arm-wrestling competition, which was fitting since Mark was known as the Strongest Man in the World in his career. It’s Bobby Lashley and Apollo Crews as the competitors in this competition because Crews defends the US Title against Bobby Lashley at Payback on Sunday.
Henry said he told all of their friends not to come down to ringside for this. Lashley said he’s going to beat Crews here and then he’s going to beat him up, but not too badly because he wants him to be able to compete at Payback on Sunday. Crews showed confidence in saying that he thought he was going to win.
Lashley and Crews locked up for the arm wrestling contest, but then Lashley took off his jacket and backed away. Crews stepped on Lashley’s foot under the table and then Crews did a fast arm slam to “win” this contest. Lashley tried an attack, but Crews was ready with a kick that sent Lashley out of the ring. Crews hit a somersault over the top onto Benjamin and MVP when they ran down to the ring. Crews left as the winner with Lashley complaining to Henry about it.
Analysis: This felt incredibly rushed and I’m not sure why when there’s a three-hour show. They didn’t even lockup correctly, yet it was over just like that. I think there’s a very good chance that Lashley is going to win the US Title at Payback since Crews has had a lengthy run and I can see WWE wanting to get a title on Lashley to give him more credibility as a top heel.
A video was shown of Seth Rollins beating Dominik Mysterio in a Street Fight at SummerSlam on Sunday. Good showing by Dominik in his first match.
Rey Mysterio, Dominik and Rey’s wife Angie were standing backstage with Charly Caruso there for an interview. Rey said he’s proud of his son, he gave Seth hell and he couldn’t ask for more. Dominik said he was absolutely terrified, but he knew he had his family in his corner and that gave him the courage to do what he had to do. Mysterio said that one day Seth will have a family of his own and he will understand what Seth put Rey and his wife through. Rey said that the family is together, so now Seth has to deal with the consequences for the rest of his career because last night Dominik became a man. Rey said that he’s so proud of Dominik and Rey told his son he loved him. Rey said he has been dreaming of getting the chance to team up with his son. Rey said that Seth likes to talk about the bright future of Monday Night Raw and told Seth you’re looking at him…Dominik.
Analysis: It went a bit long, but they got the point across that Rey was proud of his son.
Let’s Hear from Natalya and Lana
The duo of Natalya and Lana were in the ring in all white outfits with Lana in a dress and Natalya had a white outfit as well. They talked about how they were going to pay tribute to a true trailblazer that’s a six-time WWE Women’s Champion, Mickie James. Natalya said tonight they retire the Chick with the Kick. They put together this video package for Mickie. They pointed to the video screen and nothing played.
That led to Mickie James running out there and she shoved Natalya on her ass. Lana stepped up, so James hit her with a spin kick to the face. James left to end the segment. James talked some trash as she left. This whole thing went about three minutes.
Analysis: Mickie and Natalya are two of my favorites, so it’s great to see them interact, but this felt rushed. It was nice to see Mickie knock them on their asses to shut them up although I would like to see a more meaningful promo and more of a storyline. When you only get a few minutes, it’s hard to make much of an impact in a segment. They did the best they could in the time given, but I want them to get more time in the future.
Keith Lee vs. Randy Orton is up next.
Shane McMahon was shown by the Raw Underground door with Bobby Lashley, MVP and Shelton Benjamin walking up to Shane with Bobby saying he wants a fight. Shane said he came to the right place and they went into the room.
Bobby Lashley beat up some random guy easily.
Dolph Ziggler stepped up to face Dolph Ziggler. These guys started in OVW together in the mid-2000s I think. Ziggler tried a takedown, Lashley knocked him down and kicked him. Ziggler jumped on the back of Lashley with a sleeper, but then Lashley slammed him off. Lashley ran into Ziggler and knocked him onto a pile of dudes.
MVP and Benjamin tossed a random guy towards Lashley, Bobby kicked him and tossed him out.
Analysis: Bobby Lashley was furious about losing the arm wrestling contest to Apollo Crews earlier, so this was about putting over Lashley by having him beat up few guys in short fashion.
Randy Orton made his entrance while looking over his shoulder at the top of hour three. They showed a recap of Orton beating up Drew McIntyre earlier in the show. The idea was that Orton was looking back because he thought that McIntyre might attack him.
Keith Lee made his entrance for his first match as a member of the Raw roster. They gave him new theme music. I'm not a fan of that because I liked his song.
Randy Orton vs. Keith Lee
Lee was wrestling in tight take top and shorts instead of the gear that he wore in his NXT days. I’m not sure if that’s his choice or the bosses, but it's like the bosses. I don't think it's an improved look and I know there was a lot of griping on Twitter about it.
Orton with a headlock, Lee got out of it, he did a leapfrog and hit a shoulder tackle. Lee blocked a punch by holding Orton’s hand and squeezing the hand, so that was a unique way of blocking a punch. Lee with a standing overhead belly to belly suplex with Orton bumping to the floor. Orton avoided a slam on the floor and shoved Lee into the ring post. Orton grabbed a headlock, Lee stood up from it and backed Orton into the turnbuckle. Lee with a running splash against the turnbuckle and a running cross body block that took down Orton. Lee bounced off the ropes with a running shoulder tackle that sent Orton out of the ring again. Lee sent Orton back in, kick to the chest by Orton and the draping DDT by Orton. That was set up in a way that was too obvious. Orton set up for the RKO, but Drew McIntyre showed up to pull Orton out of the ring and that led to the DQ finish. It went about five minutes.
Winner by disqualification: Randy Orton
Analysis: ** I was intrigued by how they would book this because I wasn’t sure if either guy was going to lose and then we end up getting the DQ. That means that Lee loses his Raw debut, but he was basically an afterthought because it was about Drew and Randy. The good thing is that Lee did get in plenty of offense and looked dominant for a few minutes with Orton doing a nice job of selling Keith’s power moves. It’s just that if you expected some great match here, this wasn’t close to that. We found out later they'd have a match at Payback as well, so maybe it will be better there.
Post match, McIntyre sent Orton into the barricade and then Orton ran away through the back part of the arena. McIntyre was on his feet, but he was stumbling around to sell the injury from the kicks to the head.
Analysis: Orton running away fits his heel persona. McIntyre did a nice job of staggering around to show that he was banged up from the attack from Orton earlier in the night.
There were some stats shown about the ThunderDome and then the announcers talked about how cool it is.
A video package aired about the end of SummerSlam with Roman Reigns returning to attack new Universal Champion “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt and the former champion Braun Strowman. It was Roman’s return after being at home for the last five months.
The Universal Championship match at Payback on Sunday is “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt defending the title against Roman Reigns and Braun Strowman in a No Holds Barred match.
Drew McIntyre was shown walking backstage with Charly Caruso asking him about what happened. Drew said he was happy his friend Keith Lee is there, but he didn’t need Keith to fight his battles. McIntyre said that Randy tried to end his career, then he said if Randy is watching this and Randy attacked Drew from behind again with a punch to the back. Orton hit The Punt to Drew’s head again, so that was the third time on the show.
Analysis: The punting continues. More heel heat for Orton while McIntyre is weakened again heading into their next match, whenever that is.
There was another replay of Randy Orton hitting The Punt on Drew McIntyre.
Charly Caruso was shown outside the Doctor/Trainer room with Drew McIntyre getting looked at. She said she heard a doctor say it could be a skull fracture for McIntyre or something serious.
Raw Women’s Championship Lumberjack Match: Asuka vs. Sasha Banks
Banks got a rollup right away. Asuka sent Banks out of the ring near Ruby Riott, so Banks shoved Riott. Banks on the apron, Asuka knocked her down and the show went to break one minute into the match.
The match returned with Banks in control of Asuka with an attack on the floor. They went back into the ring, Asuka with a boot to the face and Asuka jumped off with a DDT for a two count. Asuka went for an ankle lock, Banks got out of it by sending Asuka out of the ring. Banks went for an attack on the floor, Asuka moved and Banks took out Liv Morgan and Ruby Riott. Asuka went after Bayley on the floor, Bayley kept on hiding behind heel women and Asuka knocked them all down. Banks got a cheap shot to the back of Asuka. Back in the ring, Banks hit a Frog Splash off the top for a two count. That was a good nearfall. Banks wanted a chair from Bayley, but when Bayley got it, Baszler prevented Bayley from using it. Asuka slapped on the Asuka Lock on Banks for the tapout win after about eight minutes.
Winner by submission: Asuka
Analysis: **1/2 It was okay although not nearly as good as what they did at SummerSlam. The match was shorter than SummerSlam and this was more about the story with Baszler there to prevent Bayley from cheating to help Banks. That's why it was a Lumberjack match - to have Baszler stop Bayley. Asuka beating Banks again puts an end to this story for now.
There was a backstage scene with Drew McIntyre getting loaded into an ambulance. Charly Caruso said that doctors called for the ambulance to get some tests done at the local medical hospital or hospital as us sane people like to say. Keith Lee was there saying it was tough to see his friend getting taken away on a stretcher and he said that Drew is one of the toughest men he’s ever met, so he’ll be okay. Keith said he can’t say the same about Randy Orton. Charly said we’re still awaiting more details on Drew’s condition.
Analysis: The updates on the situation did seem believable, so I appreciate that. Nice words from Lee wanting revenge on Orton as well.
Rey and Dominik Mysterio were shown walking backstage for their first tag team match together in the main event.
This week’s guest on WWE Raw Talk on WWE Network: Keith Lee, Dolph Ziggler and Shayna Baszler.
Bobby Lashley was in the ring with Cedric Alexander. Lashley did a huge lifting slam and then Lashley applied an armbar along with elbows to the head. Ivar of the Viking Raiders went into the ring, then Erik was there and it turned into a big brawl. Lashley worked over Ivar with knees and an armbar led to Ivar tapping out. Benjamin and MVP beat up Erik as well. The Hurt Business trio celebrated that dominated showing.
It’s official for WWE Payback on Sunday: Keith Lee vs. Randy Orton.
Rey and Dominik Mysterio made their entrance for their first tag team match together. It is also Dominik’s first match on Raw and he’s in the main event. Seth Rollins and Murphy entered together. There was a cheap attack on Rey before the match, so Dominik was left alone.
Rey and Dominik Mysterio vs. Seth Rollins and Murphy
Dominik with a headscissors on Murphy, then he sent Rollins out of the ring, Dominik kicked Rollins down and Dominik hit a back body drop on Murphy over the top to the floor. Rey knocked down Rollins on the floor. The Mysterios sent both heels out of the ring, so Dominik went up top and hit a cross body block on Rollins/Murphy on the floor. Rey and Dominik celebrated as the show went to break.
The match returned with the heels in control (that’s the usual for a match returning from a break) with Rollins working over Rey and then Rollins punched Dominik off the apron. Mysterio fought out of the corner with a kick to Murphy off the apron and a bulldog on Rollins. Murphy tagged in, Rey kicked him in the head and Dominik tagged in. Dominik avoided a corner attack, then two clotheslines and Dominik hit a springboard cross body block for two. Dominik jumped off the middle ropes leading to a headscissors into the turnbuckle. Dominik hit a spinning DDT for a two count as Rollins broke up the pin. Great looking DDT by Dominik there. Murphy with a shot to the back of the left leg of Dominik. Rollins tagged in, Dominik punched his way free and Rey jumped off the top with a seated senton. Mysterio sent Rollins into the ropes, Murphy tagged in and got a rollup for two. Mysterio with a dropkick to the knee of Murphy, then Dominik got the tag and the Mysterios hit a double 619 on Murphy. That was great. Dominik went up top and the lights were flickering. Rollins shoved Dominik off the top. That led to Retribution showing up to surround Dominik in the ring. There were some bigger guys in the group this time. The match was over there after about 10 minutes.
Match Result: No Contest
Analysis: **1/2 It was good while it lasted and I would have loved to see a conclusion, but there’s the Retribution group to get the heat for ending a competitive tag team match. Dominik looked impressive again with Rollins and Murphy selling for him to show that Dominik is very capable in the ring. This is a tag team match that they can go back to in the future and hopefully book a real finish for it.
The announce team left when Retribution showed up. The Retribution members attacked Rey and Dominik. Rollins and Murphy watched from the stage and they were smiling about it. They did a move where they picked up Dominik and whipped him across the ring. Rey was slid under the bottom rope and sent to the floor, which is a bump that Rey did a lot of the time. Two of the taller Retribution guys picked up Rey and launched him into the ring post/turnbuckle. The six Retribution members stood on the ring apron as Rey and Dominik were down on the floor. That was the end of Raw.
Analysis: It was the usual Retribution attack with the masked wrestlers going after Rey and Dominik in this case. It was very noticeable that two of the Retribution guys were much taller than previous members of the group, so maybe that’s going to lead to speculation that former NXT star Dominik Dijakovic is going to be a part of it. As I have said in the past, just because people are in the masks here does not mean they have to be part of the reveal whenever that happens. I’m just saying that there were noticeably taller men this time around.
Three Stars of the Show
- Randy Orton
- Drew McIntyre
- Rey and Dominik Mysterio
I want to give Keith Lee a spot here, but he didn’t get a chance to do enough.
5.5 out of 10
Last week: 4.5
2020 Average: 6.31
This was a weird show with a lot of short matches, rushed segments and plenty of chaos. The best parts of the show were the promos/segments involving Randy Orton and Drew McIntyre as they build to a rematch. Orton hitting McIntyre with The Punt three times really puts over that move as a big deal while McIntyre is out selling the injury. I thought Keith Lee’s debut was okay in the sense that he faced off with Randy Orton (and they meet at Payback on Sunday), but I didn’t like his music change. His gear changed too, so that will take getting used to. Asuka beating Banks again puts an end to that rivalry with Shayna Baszler preventing Bayley from cheating for Banks. A lot of other matches felt rushed.
The Retribution group took SummerSlam off and then waited until the last five minutes of Raw to make their presence felt. The tag match with Rey/Dominik vs. Rollins/Murphy was the best and longest of the night, but the lack of a finish just made me groan. I’m sure we’ll see that tag match somewhere soon.
There were reports that Vince McMahon (on his birthday) changed a lot of things on this show late in the day, which seems to be a regular thing. I’m not surprised by it because after watching this episode, there were a lot of sloppy things about it creatively. This show was just not that interesting to me although they did build to some matches at Payback on Sunday at least.
The next WWE pay-per-view is Payback, which is this Sunday, August 30. Here’s what we know so far:
Universal Championship No Holds Barred Match: “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt (c) vs. Roman Reigns vs. Braun Strowman
Keith Lee vs. Randy Orton
Women’s Tag Team Championships: Sasha Banks and Bayley (c) vs. Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler
United States Championship: Apollo Crews (c) vs. Bobby Lashley
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