Welcome to another edition of the WWE Raw Deal review as we prepare for WWE’s King of the Ring tournament to get underway. Plus, we should learn more about what WWE has planned for Clash of Champions next month. Here’s what WWE has advertised for Raw this week:
United States Championship: AJ Styles (c) vs. Braun Strowman
Sasha Banks will be a guest on the “King’s Court” talk show hosted by Jerry Lawler.
King of the Ring Round One: Cesaro vs. Samoa Joe
King of the Ring Round One: Cedric Alexander vs. Sami Zayn
It was also reported by Pro Wrestling Sheet that Vince McMahon isn’t at Raw this week. The production meeting was run by Raw Executive Director Paul Heyman, WWE Executive VP of Talent, Live Events and Creative Triple H and Executive Producer Kevin Dunn. However, Vince still has final say on everything in WWE of course and likely gave direction via phone/text/video/whatever, but it could lead to some differences in the show. We have to watch to find out.
Live from St. Paul, Minnesota, this is the Raw Deal for episode #1368 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.
There was a shot of the live crowd in St. Paul, Minnesota and Roman Reigns made his entrance to start the show. Michael Cole streaked about the “Big Dog” being on Raw. The announce team for this week is Michael Cole, Renee Young and Jerry “The King” Lawler is there replacing a vacationing Corey Graves.
Reigns did his posing in the ring, which led to a video package showing the random attacks against Reigns over the last month. Last week on Smackdown, Daniel Bryan said that he will reveal the culprit this week on Smackdown.
Dolph Ziggler entered as Roman’s opponent, so we start with a match instead of a promo. That’s fine with me. This was set up via Twitter trash talk.
Ziggler did a promo saying he’s glad that Roman is okay. Ziggler doesn’t get all the attention for all these things almost happening to him and fans chanted “you suck” at Ziggler. Ziggler complained about getting Speared by Goldberg three times, then he had DZ-wannabe HBK superkick and Maryse’s husband (The Miz) beat him with Ric Flair’s move. Ziggler said everybody here knows that “The Big Dog” should be him. Ziggler hit a superkick to put an unsuspecting Reigns down on the mat. The referee checked on Reigns as fans chanted “Goldberg.” Reigns got back up to start the match.
Roman Reigns vs. Dolph Ziggler
Reigns punched Ziggler in the jaw to knock him out of the ring. Ziggler to the floor, Reigns wanted a Superman Punch, Ziggler avoided him and shoved him into the barricade. Ziggler hit a Zig Zag on the floor leading to a break one minute into the match.
The match returned with Ziggler charging at Reigns and Roman launched him over the top to the floor. Reigns with a Drive By kick on Ziggler on the apron. Reigns with a leaping clothesline. The crowd was solidly behind Reigns as Roman unloaded with the ten corner clotheslines and a boot to the face. Ziggler came back with a rollup for two followed by a jumping DDT for another two count. The announce team thought that was it even though Ziggler never wins with that. Ziggler with a sunset flip on Reigns for two. Ziggler went for the Fameasser, Reigns caught him, Ziggler landed on his feet, Reigns missed a charge and Ziggler hit another Zig Zag for a two count. As I point out in Ziggler matches, that is not Ziggler’s finisher anymore. Ziggler set up for the superkick, Reigns back up, he caught the foot and hit a Superman Punch for two. Reigns set up in the corner, he charged and Ziggler countered with a Fameasser. Ziggler trash talked Reigns, so when Ziggler charged at him, Reigns hit a Spear and pinned him for the victory after 12 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Roman Reigns
Analysis: ***1/4 Good match with a result that was no surprise. They had some nice counters in the match, especially that Fameasser spot they did. Nobody watching this thought that Ziggler was going to win, which hurts the match a bit, but the crowd was into everything they did. It wasn’t as awesome as the Reigns/Murphy match last week on Smackdown, but it was another Reigns match that got over 10 minutes and was definitely above average. Reigns is good at selling, so by having Ziggler attack before the bell, it made it easier to believe when Reigns was selling for most of the match.
They plugged the matches still to come. Up next is “King’s Court” with Sasha Banks as the guest.
A video package aired about Sasha Banks attacking Natalya and Becky Lynch. Banks is now a heel with blue hair instead of purple hair.
Becky Lynch did an “earlier today” promo talking about how last week Sasha Banks beat her “stupid” with a chair. Lynch said that she wants the best, most aggressive version of everyone coming after her title. She wants everybody at their best and that’s what Sasha Banks is at the moment. Lynch said that Banks ran away crying away from WWE because her career was cold as ice, but now she’s hotter than ever. Lynch said what did Banks do after her vacation? Nothing. Lynch said that it took her a couple of press interviews to mention Banks. Lynch talked about how she put more work to get Banks back into WWE than Sasha did. Lynch said that the greats seek out and crave it because they dare the entire locker room to come after them. Lynch said she’ll give Banks something to go run home and cry about.
Analysis: That was excellent. I loved the intensity of that Lynch promo. No interviewer. Just a wrestler talking to the camera about Sasha Banks. It’s an old school wrestling promo the way it used to be when many of us were kids watching these shows. We need more of those because you can do them as a pre-tape and it feels more authentic than some of the interviews they do. Plus, for Lynch as a fighter type of character, it works well for her.
Jerry “The King” Lawler was in the ring talking about the King of the Ring tournament. He spoke about the wrestlers that have won King of the Ring in the past like Steve Austin and Brock Lesnar. They showed the brackets on the video screen. Lawler said on the Raw side it’s going to come down to Cedric Alexander and Ricochet. From the Smackdown side, the lights flickered and Lawler said “oh no” and he’s seen this before. Lawler left the ring. Lawler went up the ramp.
When Lawler was on the stage, there was a spotlight shining on Lawler. The crowd reacted to that in a big way. The Fiend Bray Wyatt was there and he put the Mandible Claw on Lawler. The lights came back on, referees checked on Lawler and fans chanted “Yowie Wowie” (Wyatt’s catchphrase) for it.
Analysis: The Mandible Claw is the perfect move for Wyatt because he can do it on the older guys like Lawler, Angle, Foley and whoever they want to bring in to take the move. The fans pop huge for everything Wyatt does as The Fiend, so clearly the new gimmick is working well for him. I liked that.
They replayed The Fiend attacking Lawler on the stage with Cole noting that usually The Fiend attacks in the ring, but this time he showed up on the stage.
The announce team was joined by Vic Joseph, who is the play-by-play guy from 205 Live and NXT UK, to fill in for Lawler, who was filling in for Graves.
Ricochet made his entrance for a tag team match. Cole said they are still hoping to get that interview with Sasha Banks. The Miz entered as Ricochet’s tag team partner. Drew McIntyre and Baron Corbin entered as the heel team.
Analysis: Next week in the King of the Ring tournament it will be Ricochet vs. Drew McIntyre and The Miz vs. Baron Corbin.
The Miz and Ricochet vs. Baron Corbin and Drew McIntyre
There was a red spotlight on the ring for a few seconds to start the match. Miz and Ricochet worked well together to send the heels out of the ring. Miz with a dropkick through the ropes followed by Ricochet hitting a moonsault off the middle ropes. That led to a break one minute into the match.
The match returned with Corbin working over Miz with punches. Corbin took off his waiter’s dress shirt and was wrestling in a tank top, which is better than a dress shirt. McIntyre with an overhead belly to belly suplex on Miz. McIntyre with a clothesline after Miz bounced off the ropes. The fans were distracted by something and not paying attention. Corbin with a running clothesline and McIntyre with a spinebuster for two. The fans were paying attention again as Miz hit a DDT on McIntyre. Ricochet tagged in against Corbin with a forearm, then a jumping kick to the head and an enziguri kick. Ricochet kicked McIntyre into the barricade, Corbin avoided an attack and Ricochet with a kick to the head of Corbin followed by a dropkick. Ricochet with another kick to the head and a springboard clothesline followed by a standing moonsault on two. McIntyre broke up the pin, he kicked Miz in the face and McIntyre tossed Ricochet across the ring. Ricochet with a superkick on McIntyre, Miz with a Skull Crushing Finale on McIntyre and Corbin with a Chokeslam on Miz. Corbin wanted a Chokeslam on Ricochet, but Ricochet landed on his feet and Corbin hit a Deep Six slam for a two count. The fans chanted “Corbin sucks” as Corbin set up Ricochet on the top rope. Ricochet jumped off the middle ropes with a dropkick, Corbin sent him to the ropes, Miz pulled Ricochet to safety and Ricochet hit the Recoil (Codebreaker) for the pinfall win after about 10 minutes.
Winners by pinfall: The Miz and Ricochet
Analysis: *** It was a solid tag team match with the faces getting the win to make the fans happy. Ricochet getting the hot tag was the right call and it was a bit of a surprise to see him not use the 630 Splash, but it’s okay because they want to establish the Recoil as a finishing move option for Ricochet as well. I think Drew not getting pinned was a wise choice. I would be surprised if Ricochet beat McIntyre next week in the King of the Ring tournament.
The US Title match with AJ Styles facing Braun Strowman is next.
Analysis: That was an entertaining first hour with two very good matches, solid promos and The Fiend appearance was fun.
Sasha Banks was shown backstage sitting down on a chair with cameras in place for an interview.
They did a Skype interview with Michael Cole interviewing Booker T. Booker talked legends getting attacked by The Fiend and how scary Bray is. Booker spoke about the King Booker run that he had (in 2006) with Booker saying it catapulted him to new heights. Booker’s pick for King of the Ring 2019 is Drew McIntyre. That was my pick too.
Analysis: It was just a way to kill a few minutes. Perhaps WWE is getting paid by Skype for this.
Braun Strowman made his entrance to a big pop. They showed highlights of him and AJ Styles having issues last week. Styles entered with the US Title around his waist while Raw Tag Team Champions Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson were with him.
United States Championship: AJ Styles (w/Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows) vs. Braun Strowman
Styles tried a chop block to the legs, but that had no effect and Strowman with a shoulder tackle. Styles ran around the ring, Strowman chased and Styles punched him. Styles kicked the leg, but Strowman hit a back body drop to knock him down. Strowman punched Anderson and Gallows off the apron. Styles with a forearm, then he did a springboard attack leading to Strowman with a chop to the chest. Gallows went into the ring and kicked Strowman in the face for the DQ finish. That was all for the match in under two minutes.
Winner by disqualification: Braun Strowman (Styles remains US Champion)
Analysis: 1/2* A short match as expected. I didn’t expect a clean finish. They tried to tell the story of Styles working on the legs, then Strowman no sold most of it and kept coming back, so that led to the DQ.
Post match, Gallows and Anderson whipped Strowman int the ring post. Gallows kicked Strowman in the head. G&A whipped Strowman into the ring post again. Seth Rollins ran out for the predictable result. Rollins was in jeans and a t-shirt. Rollins with superkicks followed by a clothesline that sent Anderson and Gallows out of the ring.
Rollins helped Strowman back to his feet, they shook hands, Braun held on for a bit leading to a staredown and Seth’s music played to end it.
Analysis: This will set up an obvious tag team match.
Samoa Joe was shown walking backstage for his match up next.
This week on Smackdown: Daniel Bryan vs. Buddy Murphy, plus two King of the Ring matches: Apollo Crews vs. Andrade and Kevin Owens vs. Elias. Plus, Daniel Bryan might reveal who attacked Roman Reigns. My guess is that it will be revealed that it was Bryan although they might not say it this week.
Braun Strowman was shown walking backstage. Seth Rollins walked up to Strowman saying that if it was up to him then it will be him vs. Strowman for the Universal Title. Rollins said they can worry about that later, but tonight he wants to do Rollins and Strowman vs. Gallows and Anderson for the Raw Tag Team Titles. Strowman nodded in approval, so Seth left to ask for the match.
Analysis: There’s the obvious tag team match that I (and I’m sure most of you reading this) was expecting.
Samoa Joe made his entrance. He did a pre-taped promo about being King of the Ring. Cesaro was up next as Joe’s entrance. I really like how cool Cesaro’s entrance is. Cesaro did a pre-tape promo as well.
King of the Ring Tournament – Round One: Samoa Joe vs. Cesaro
They are both heels, but Joe turning face has been rumored. There was a running forearm by Cesaro for a two count. Joe came back with a running elbow. Cesaro with a corkscrew forearm off the ropes. Joe with a running elbow smash against the ropes and then a jumping kick to the face. Joe with a suicide dive into a forearm smash that sent Cesaro over the barricade and into the crowd.
They got into a slugfest as they exchanged chops, but Joe hit a clothesline to knock him down. Joe slapped on a chinlock and then a forearm put Cesaro down again. Joe tried a running splash, Cesaro moved and Joe hit the mat. Cesaro with running forearms against the turnbuckle followed by a running kick to the head of Joe for two. Cesaro tried a suplex on Joe, but he couldn’t get him up enough and then Cesaro followed up with the suplex. Are fans that celebrate botches going to mock these guys? I won’t. They are great. Cesaro with a running forearm to the face, Joe to the floor and Cesaro with a running uppercut. Cesaro up top with a cross body block on Joe for a two count. Cesaro charged, Joe caught him and hit a uranage slam followed by a running senton for two. Cesaro with forearms to the chest, then a swing for about four rotations and Cesaro slapped on the Sharpshooter submission. Joe tried to get to the ropes, so Cesaro slapped on a Crossface and Joe covered for two to get out of that. Cesaro went for a springboard attack, Joe caught him in the Coquina Clutch and Cesaro tapped out. It went about 10 minutes.
Winner by submission: Samoa Joe
Analysis: ***1/4 It was a physical match with some good counter wrestling from both guys. You could tell that Joe had no problem with Cesaro laying in those stiff uppercuts and Joe gave it back to him. When it looks like more of a fight instead of guys just going through spots it’s more fun to watch. The suplex spot was a bit of a slip up, but it wasn’t a bad botch. It didn’t hurt the match at all. They are two veterans that know eachother well. I was hoping Cesaro would get a good run in the tournament, but I don’t mind Joe getting a much needed win either.
Joe celebrated the win. He gets the winner of Ricochet/McIntyre in the next round of King of the Ring.
Later on Raw: Gallows and Anderson vs. Rollins and Strowman for the Raw Tag Team Titles.
There was a clip of WWE 24/7 Champion Elias in the recording studio. Elias was playing the piano, Drake Maverick in a disguise tried a rollup, so Elias tossed kicked him out of a recording studio and beat him up.
Elias was seated in the ring with his guitar. The audio was messed up as Elias told the fans to pull your loved ones close because tonight is his farewell performance. Elias said he had so much going on his life as the audio issues continued. Elias said he can’t risk being out there live every week. The audio problems continued as he told the fans to shut their mouths. Elias asked for a better guitar. Elias told a guy to get in the ring to hand it to him. It was a guy in a hood – it was R-Truth. The guy handed Elias the guitar and the lights went back on to reveal it was R-Truth. There was also a referee in the ring as Truth got the rollup for two. Truth with an inside cradle for two. Truth with a Scissors Kick for a two count. Truth had the guitar, he swung it and Elias left with the title.
Analysis: I was bored by this. I guess it’s a way to set up an R-Truth rivalry with Elias. Why aren’t other wrestlers around to try get the title from Elias? I know it’s a comedy title, so asking a serious question is a waste of time. I just want some consistency with how they book it because there are some weeks where the midcard guys are chasing after the title and then other weeks like this where nobody seems to care.
Up next is The New Day vs. The Revival.
There was a shot of Rey Mysterio walking backstage because he will be interviewed after a break.
Rey Mysterio Interview
Rey Mysterio was interviewed backstage by Charly Caruso, who is about the same size as Rey. Caruso noted that Mysterio indicated there might be something going on with his family. Mysterio thanked her for this forum to let everyone know what’s going on. Mysterio said that he has been a fortunate man, he has a beautiful family and a wonderful career. Mysterio said he’s been wrestling from when his uncle trained him when he was a little boy and he’s met people he considers not just fans, but his friends. Mysterio said that things aren’t clicking for him and what Andrade did was a disgrace. Mysterio said Andrade ripped his mask off, in our culture that’s the biggest insult and what sucks is that he hasn’t been able to do anything about it. Mysterio talked about for some reason his body doesn’t seem to respond to what he’s envisioning in the ring. He knows he has had a lot of injuries because he’s faced bigger men, but he thinks maybe those injuries have finally caught up to him. Mysterio was emotional saying he knows that this day has to come to everyone at some point, but he didn’t expect that one day to come to him today. Mysterio said it’s time to hang up the mask and let today’s generation of superstars make their way in. Rey’s son Dominick showed up to say that when Dominick debuts, he will be Rey’s partner. Dominick said that Rey got to be in the ring with his uncle and Dominick said he’ll be able to tell his children that he got to be in the ring with the great Rey Mysterio. Dominick told his dad not to stay retired and he told him he will make him proud. Rey told Dominick he’ll do it for you, they hugged and Rey told his son he loved him. The crowd cheered.
Analysis: That was well done. I don’t think anybody watching this really believed Rey was going to retire in a backstage interview. Dominick has been training to wrestle for the past year or so and there were reports that WWE has either signed Dominick or wants to sign him. This probably means he is going to continue his training at WWE’s Performance Center unless he’s already started there. Anyway, this should lead to a long term angle with Rey teaming up with Dominick. They will probably win one of the Tag Team Titles at some point. I’m sure some fans will expect Dominick to turn heel on his dad as well because that’s pro wrestling.
The New Day’s Big E and Xavier Woods entered with the Smackdown Tag Team Titles. The Revival duo of Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder entered with snakeskin boots in honor of their friend, the “Viper” Randy Orton.
Analysis: There aren’t many teams on Smackdown for New Day to face, so Raw’s Revival has a rivalry with them.
The New Day’s Big E and Xavier Woods vs. The Revival (Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder)
This is not for the Smackdown Tag Team Titles. Big E with a shoulder tackle and back elbow on Dawson. Woods tagged in with a clothesline on Dawson. New Day hit a double team clothesline to send both Revival guys over the top to the floor.
The match continued with Woods hitting a dropkick on Dawson. Big E tagged in with his usual hot tag offense with two overhead belly to belly suplexes, the side belly to belly on Wilder and a running splash. Dawson shoved Woods off the top rope. Big E knocked Dawson off the apron. Big E charged at Wilder, but Randy Orton showed up out of nowhere with a RKO on Big E! That was awesome. Disqualification finish after seven minutes.
Winners by disqualification: The New Day’s Big E and Xavier Woods
Analysis: ** It was okay while it lasted, but this was about setting up the surprising RKO finish and the post match angle.
Post match, Kofi Kingston went in the ring with a clothesline on Orton. Kingston knocked down Dawson and Wilder as well. Orton came back with a RKO on Kingston. Woods back in, but the Revival lifted up Woods into a RKO by Orton. Dawson slapped on a leglock on the left knee of Woods and Wilder jumped off the ropes with a stomp onto the left knee of Woods. While that was going on, Orton held down Kingston make him watch what was happening to Woods. Orton did his pose on the ropes with The Revival joining him. Woods was in pain selling the left knee injury.
Analysis: This trio of Orton and The Revival are a great fit. They are old school wrestlers that have the same kind of heel mentality, so they work well together. Orton is a Smackdown guy and The Revival are on Raw, so if WWE goes back to following the brand split then they would have to do something to get them on the same show again. I like them as a group. They could even add a fourth guy to it if they find the right person, but I’m fine with just three guys for now. Anyway, all of this was done well in terms of making the heels look strong.
Sasha Banks Interview
Sasha Banks was seated backstage for an interview with Michael Cole asking her to explain her actions. Banks said it has been a crazy week. Banks said that blue is her hair color and it’s all over social media because everybody is talking about her hair. Banks said she looks good. Cole pointed out that nobody cares about her hair while mentioning Sasha’s attacks on Natalya and Lynch last week. Banks looked into the camera and said: “You’re welcome.” She left.
Analysis: A heel doesn’t have to be polite during interviews. It’s a way to make them come off as more of a jerk. They can save the Banks confrontation with Lynch for another week. Don’t give it all away at once.
Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross entered with their Women’s Tag Team Titles.
The lovely Mandy Rose entered with Sonya Deville for this team that is called Fire N Desire. It’s weird not hearing Corey Graves going crazy for Mandy and Alexa in the same match because Corey isn’t there. Corey is likely doing fine with his girlfriend Carmella, though.
Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross vs. Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville
This is not for the Women’s Tag Team Titles. Both teams are heels, but sometimes Bliss and Cross are like faces. Deville and Rose worked over Bliss with Rose hitting a forearm to the face. Rose hit a cartwheel, then a dropkick and rose hit a running knee to the face for two. Cross caused a distraction, so Rose hit her with a forearm. Bliss kicked Rose to knock her down on the floor. Cross with a running splash on Rose, Bliss with a punch and Cross grabbed the arms of Rose. Bliss back in, she charged and Rose hit a knee to the face. Deville tagged in against Cross with neither side getting a reaction. Deville with kicks, then a running knee and Cross with a boot to the face. Cross tossed Rose into the ring post. Deville with a spinebuster on Cross. Bliss with a distraction, Deville knocked her down and Cross hit a neckbreaker on Deville for the pinfall win after four minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross
Analysis: *3/4 It was a competitive match designed to establish Bliss and Cross as the champions. The problem was both teams are heels, so the crowd didn’t care that much. It’s nice to see champs not get pinned in a non-title match. Rose and Deville work well together as a team. They will win the titles in the future as long as they aren’t broken up too soon.
The team of Seth Rollins and Braun Strowman were backstage in the locker room. While Rollins was talking, Strowman was staring at the Universal Title. Rollins said before they get to that, they need to focus on tonight. Rollins told him to follow his lead and they’ll become Tag Team Champions. Strowman told Rollins to follow his lead because then they’ll walk out the Tag Team Champions tonight. Strowman left.
Cedric Alexander made his entrance and they showed a pre-tape promo from him. Sami Zayn did his ridiculous dancing routine for his entrance. They also showed a pre-tape promo from him complaining about how it’s been loss after loss for him.
King of the Ring Tournament – Round One: Sami Zayn vs. Cedric Alexander
Zayn was in control early with a backbreaker for a two count. Zayn slapped on a chinlock, Alexander got back up and Zayn hit a Michinoku Driver sitout slam for a two count. Alexander worked over Zayn with chops to the chest, then a back elbow and a running forearm. Alexander got his feet on Zayn’s shoulders, Zayn fell over, then they did the spot with a headscissors to the floor and Alexander with a suicide dive on Zayn on the floor. Alexander with a handspring kick to the head and a Lumbar Check for the pinfall win after four minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Cedric Alexander
Analysis: *3/4 This had the potential to be really good, but it was so short and Zayn looked like such a loser. If they are only getting three minutes, they should have Zayn do more than grabbing headlocks. Zayn could be doing so much more. I’m happy with Alexander getting more TV time and the decisive win is good for him. It’s just a shame that they didn’t get more time.
The win by Alexander means he gets Miz or Corbin in the next round. It will probably be the heel Corbin against the face Alexander.
— WWE Universe (@WWEUniverse) August 20, 2019
The Street Profits duo of Montez Ford and Angelo Dawkins talked about King of the Ring. Ford said he got both matches right while Dawkins got it wrong because he had Cesaro in the finals. Dawkins wondered why there wasn’t a Tag Team King of the Ring. Ford said he’s already got a crown on. They hyped up the Raw Tag Titles being on the line in a match up next.
The OC team of Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson were shown backstage complaining about Strowman and Rollins not deserving a Tag Team Title shot. AJ Styles gave them a pep talk saying that Strowman and Rollins are no match the official, original and only club that matters.
Natalya was shown backstage for a promo with her left arm in a sling. Natalya said it’s been one week since she bared her soul in front of the entire world on Raw. She spoke about how she expected SummerSlam to be an emotional week because of her match with Becky Lynch and her late father, but she did not expect Sasha Banks. Natalya said that Sasha was one of her closest friends and that’s why she can’t wrap her head around what Banks did to her. That led to Banks showing up with another attack. Banks whipped Natalya back first into an equipment case. Banks slammed the left arm of Natalya into some case. Banks: “Go to hell Nattie and tell your dad I said hi.” A guy went into the room to check on Natalya.
Analysis: It was another cheap attack from Banks to get some heat on her as a heel. The line about going to hell and Nataly’s dad Jim Neidhart being there is mean, but that’s again another way to get Banks more heat. Natalya’s arm injury is just a storyline. This will probably lead to Banks beating Natalya in a match on Raw and then Banks will get the Raw Women’s Title against Becky Lynch at Clash of Champions. They still have four weeks to get there.
Seth Rollins, the Universal Champion, made his entrance to a nice ovation. Braun Strowman got a big pop for his entrance as well. The show went to break there.
There was a plug for “Straight Up Steve Austin” on USA Network after Raw.
The OC trio of Luke Gallows, Karl Anderson and AJ Styles made their entrance. Both teams stood in the ring so that ring announcer Mike Rome could do the championship introductions. There are about 15 minutes left in the show.
Raw Tag Team Championships: Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson (w/AJ Styles) vs. Seth Rollins and Braun Strowman
Gallows worked over Rollins with punches to the ribs because Rollins had his ribs taped. Rollins with a kick to the chest of Anderson, a suplex attempt didn’t work and Gallows got the tag. Rollins kicked Anderson off the apron followed by a jumping knee to the face of Gallows. After Rollins lost his focus for a moment, Gallows drove Rollins ribs first into the top of the barricade two times. That led to a break.
The match returned with Anderson hitting a spinebuster. Rollins came back with a Blockbuster neckbreaker off the ropes. Gallows tagged in with a double axehandle to the ribs of Rollins. Styles distracted Strowman, so Gallows shoved Strowman into the ring post and hit Braun with a boot to the face. Rollins with a superkick on Gallows, then a Slingblade on Anderson, who was legal. Rollins went for running splash attacks, but then he sent Gallows out of the ring and hit a suicide dive. Rollins with a Falcon Arrow slam on Anderson for a two count. Rollins punched Anderson down, Rollins up top and Styles tripped him up. Gallows tagged in leading to a double team neckbreaker on Rollins for a two count. Rollins fought out of a double team suplex attempt, Anderson sent him out of the ring and Strowman got back into it with running shoulder tackles on Styles and Gallows on the floor. The crowd loved that. Strowman got the hot tag on Anderson with two running shoulder tackles, a running splash, a running shoulder tackle on Gallows and a running splash on Gallows on the floor. Strowman with a running Powerslam on Anderson. Rollins hit The Stomp on Styles to prevent the interruption and Strowman covered Anderson to win the titles. It went 12 minutes. Big pop for the title change.
Winners and New Raw Tag Team Champions: Braun Strowman and Seth Rollins
Analysis: *** Good match with Rollins putting on an awesome performance as the face in peril while Strowman was on fire after getting the hot tag. Every time Strowman is in a tag match it’s the same formula where they build up to a hot tag for Braun. In this match, Rollins wrestled for over ten minutes until Strowman was finally able to get the tag. Gallows looks dominant when he’s offense while Anderson sells everything really well. I was surprised by the title change because G&A didn’t hold the titles for that long, but I think WWE wanted to go with the whole “unlikely champions” angle with Rollins and Strowman for a few weeks just because WWE knows the crowd is going to love that until they fall apart.
Rollins and Strowman celebrated with the titles as the fans cheered loudly for them. The fans loved it. The announcers wondered who could beat Rollins and Strowman for the titles. Rollins and Strowman celebrated on the stage, they held up their titles and while they did that, Strowman was looking at the Universal Title as well. Rollins stared back at him. That was it for Raw.
Analysis: They are obviously teasing the idea of Strowman vs. Rollins for the Universal Title at Clash of Champions. I still say it will be a better match if AJ Styles is added to it to make it a three-way perhaps with the Universal Title and US Title on the line. If it’s just Rollins vs. Strowman, I don’t think it will be as good since they are both faces. Anyway, we still have less than four weeks to find out what they are going to do.
On Tuesday morning, WWE announced NXT moving to USA Network. Read about that here.
Three Stars of the Show
- Roman Reigns
- Dolph Ziggler
- Samoa Joe/Cesaro
7.5 out of 10
Last week: 6.5
2019 Average: 5.70 (Smackdown is 6.80)
Last 5 Weeks: 6.5, 6, 7, 5, 4.5
2019 High: 7.5 (January 14, July 1)
2019 Low: 3.5 (May 27)
This week’s Raw gets a 7.5 out of 10.
This was a very good show with strong matches for most of the night. It also ended on a happy note with Rollins/Strowman beating Gallows/Anderson for the Raw Tag Team Titles in what was a well-booked match with Strowman looking dominant after the hot tag. I wish Alexander/Zayn got more time, but you can’t have it all. We also got to see The Fiend again while Sasha Banks didn’t give too much information to explain her heel turn, which is okay because that pisses the fans off. There was solid storyline progression for most of the show with segments like Randy Orton continuing to work with The Revival. I like that trio a lot.
I thought promos were excellent all night long from Becky Lynch’s fired up speech, Rey Mysterio’s retirement tease and more. They cut back on in-ring promos big time and instead, they delivered them more in pre-tape segments. That’s smarter. That’s probably the Paul Heyman influence of coming up with other ways to have people talk instead of the same interview format we see all the time.
The next WWE PPV is Clash of Champions on September 15 where every championship in WWE will be on the line. There’s nothing official yet, which isn’t that concerning because they have three more weeks of Raw to build it up.
You can contact me using any of the methods below. See ya next time for the Smackdown review. Thanks for reading.