Reviews

TJR: WWE Raw Live Event “Sunday Stunner” Review (London, Ontario) Aug. 21, 2022

wwe raw live event aug 21

This is a review of a WWE Raw brand live event from London, Ontario on Sunday August 21, 2022 featuring Bianca Belair vs. Bayley and Riddle vs. Seth “Freakin” Rollins in the main event.

I had the pleasure of going to a WWE Raw brand live event tonight in London, Ontario at our big arena in town called Budweiser Gardens. If you don’t know about London, we have about 400,000 people here and growing fast. We’re about two hours west of Toronto (where Raw is on Monday) and two hours east of Detroit (where Smackdown is on Friday). I’ve been going to house shows here since I was a kid. In the non-COVID years, WWE usually comes here once a year, but I can remember them coming twice a few times. Plus, I’ve been to many shows in Toronto, Detroit and other places in this area.

I sat ringside in Row A on the right side. They were free tickets. Thanks to the woman that has the most wins in WWE history for the great tickets as she has done for over the last decade at live events. I went with one of my best friends Steve, who does my graphics here on TJR, and he brought his two boys Taeden (he’s 10) and Austen (he’s 7). It was their first WWE show, so they were really excited. They had a great time. We all did. The photos you see here are from my iPhone. They turned out pretty well.

Since I tweeted a lot during the show I’m going to just insert the tweets about the matches because then you click on the photos that way if you want to view. Otherwise, it would be a pain to upload dozens of photos.

The show started right at 7pm ET with “O Canada” playing to start the show. I believe the WrestleTix Twitter noted there was just under about 4,000 people there. It’s a good building that holds about 10,000 people for hockey games. Let’s get to the review.

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The show began with ring announcer Mike Rome welcoming us to the show. WWE Official Adam Pearce was also there as he informed us that he was appointing the Canadian WWE Hall of Famer Trish Stratus as a special WWE Official for this event.

There was an interruption by Bayley, IYO SKY and Dakota Kai. SKY & Kai were in their ring gear while Bayley was not. Bayley insulted the crowd while announcing that this weekend was her return to live events and SKY & Kai starting on live events. After a bunch of Canada insults, Trish Stratus entered to a big pop. Bayley and Trish got into a war of words with Trish standing up for the fans. Trish announced SKY & Kai would face Alexa Bliss & Asuka in a tag team match while Bayley would wrestle Bianca Belair later in the show.

Match #1: Asuka & Alexa Bliss defeated IO SKY & Dakota Kai

This was a really good match. I wasn’t timing it, but I think it went in the 12-15 minute range. It was cool seeing Asuka & SKY oppose eachother in a match since we haven’t really seen that in the past. The finish saw Asuka & Bliss do a double team move on Kai followed by Asuka applying the Asuka Lock on Kai, who tapped out. As you can see below, I got a really good shot of SKY yelling when her teammate Kai tapped out. The crowd really liked Asuka & Bliss as a team while SKY & Kai knew how to get heat.

Match #2: Finn Balor (w/Damian Priest) defeated Mustafa Ali

Ali entered first and when it was time for the Judgment Day music, Priest walked out alone while Balor did attacked Ali from behind. Priest did a promo about how he was going to beat Edge on Raw. This was a fast-paced match with Ali/Balor doing some cool moves. There aren’t a lot of highspots at house shows, but Ali did do a couple of suicide dives. Priest interfered a lot to help Balor during the match. Balor got the win.

Match #3: Dana Brooke retained the 24/7 Title in match involving Nikki A.S.H. & Tamina

It was a triple threat match for Dana’s 24/7 Title as she wrestled Nikki and Tamina. I thought Nikki was very entertaining as a heel that trashed our city while saying she liked London, England better (she’s from Scotland). Anyway, they had a competitive match and some comedy spots as well. One of the comedy spots saw referee Shawn Bennett win the 24/7 after doing a ROLLUP OF DEATH~! and the other referee Danilo counted the pin. I don’t remember how many pinfalls or who pinned who, but Dana left with her title. The crowd loved the referee winning the title briefly.

Match #4: Theory defeated Dolph Ziggler

My friend’s sons had a “This is my first live event” sign at ringside, so Dolph pointed to it saying: “Me too!” Funny guy. This was a good match just like what we saw on Raw last week. Theory really played to the crowd a lot while arguing with kids at ringside, which is always funny. The interesting thing about that is I’ve been to many shows where Ziggler was that cocky heel. There were some good nearfalls like Ziggler hitting the Fameasser and Zig Zag for two counts. Theory took a turnbuckle pad off, then he tried to hit Ziggler with the briefcase, but it didn’t work. Theory ended up getting the with the A-Town Down.

After the match, Theory said he wanted to take a selfie with Trish Stratus, who was called Canada’s Greatest Export. Trish brought out Kevin Owens saying he was Canada’s Greatest Export and then they did a bit where they agreed they both deserve that honor. Anyway, Owens was cheered heavily. KO was in full babyface mode in front of his fellow Canadians and mocked Theory for some of the things he said. At one point Theory said he didn’t care that we were in KO’s hometown and Owens was like Canada’s a country, not a hometown. KO’s hometown would be Montreal for since he’s from Quebec. Owens went down to the ring, easily beat up Theory and gave him a Stunner to pop the crowd.

The best part of the night was next when Owens left the ring because he saw my buddy Steve with me at ringside holding a sign he made about Owens as the Prime Minister. Owens loved it. He took it in the ring, the fans popped for it and Owens/Stratus took a selfie over a fallen Theory. I tweeted about it and WWE posted it on their Instagram, so I’ll include both of those below. That was my favorite part of the whole show. It was so cool of Owens to do that. Owens did not wrestle on this show, but he was cheered heavily by the Canadian crowd even though he’s a heel on Raw these days.

Here’s the Instagram video:

Intermission was next. I think it was about 15 minutes or maybe 20 minutes. I was talking with people sitting around me and working on writing this recap on my phone.

Match #5: The Street Profits (Montez Ford & Angelo Dawkins) defeated Alpha Academy

Chad Gable did one of his “SHOOSH PLEASE” promos ending with “Thank Yoouuuuu” to get some heat. He had some funny lines about how Otis hasn’t found a good place to eat in this country all weekend and he was in a grumpy mode. Otis was pretty funny interacting with the crowd. I was hoping to see Ford win with the Frog Splash because he gets so much height when he does it, but Gable moved out of the way. Ford ended up winning with the ROLLUP OF DEATH~!, which we saw many times in the 24/7 Title match. I enjoyed the match. They had some comedy spots at times with Ford mocking Gable after he took a big bump. Dawkins was really good after getting the hot tag. The fans were into it and the Street Profits were cheered heavily.

Match #6: Bianca Belair defeated Bayley by disqualification to retain the Raw Women’s Title

I was really looking forward to this because Bayley is back in action after tearing her ACL over a year ago. Belair got one of the loudest pops of the night. She was really good in terms of having that positive babyface energy while Bayley did a nice job of scowling at us or yelling at us. The fans were on her a lot. Bayley’s ring gear was different than what she has worn in the past. They worked well together just like we have seen them do on television over the past few years. One of the photos below is from when Bayley was running around the ring, so Belair chased her and passed her on the other side of the ring. It was funny seeing it live. Anyway, the match ended in a disqualification when SKY & Kai attacked Belair right in front of the referee. It was great to see Bayley in the ring again. She looked healthy and happy being a heel.

Post match, Trish was back out for the third time as she called Asuka & Bliss to help Bayley. The three faces easily beat up the three heels. Belair did a handspring off the ropes into a moonsault press onto the three women (Bayley, SKY & Kai). Belair celebrated with Stratus, Bliss and Asuka. That’s what I used as my main pic. It was so great seeing Trish live like that. I have seen her on WWE shows many times, but I’ve never been that close. I joked with a friend that I didn’t faint. God damn pal, forever my favorite woman in wrestling of all-time…that I don’t know anyway.

Note: There are a lot of diehard Bayley superfans on Twitter that want me to post more photos of her return. It’s nice to interact with them. They really did miss Bayley a lot. Bayley is probably in my top favorite women in WWE right now.

Match #7: Riddle defeated Seth Rollins in a Street Fight

They called it a “London, Ontario Street Fight” to get a cheap pop. They lowered most of the lights in the crowd for this match while the lights were on more for the other matches. I was really impressed by the pop Riddle got when his music hit…bro. The fans popped huge for him. When Riddle kicked his flip-flops into the crowd, the guy that works for WWE at ringside made a fan give him back a flip flop.

Rollins did an excellent job of getting heat throughout the match while the fans loved Riddle. I was trying to shout at Rollins about his beloved Chicago Bears (since I had my LA Rams Super Bowl hat on), but he didn’t react to me. There was some guy sitting in the front row with us that fought Riddle in UFC and Riddle is the one that got him the free tickets. Riddle interacted with that guy’s kids throughout the match. Early in the match, they Anyway, they used weapons like a kendo stick (Rollins introduced it), a steel chair and of course a table. At first Rollins teased using a table, but then he didn’t do it so the fans could boo him. Riddle was the one that brought a table into the ring and the fans popped HUGE for the table! Riddle did a bunch of Randy Orton moves including the powerslam and DDT off the ropes. Rollins tried a Powerbomb through the table, Riddle got out of it and gave Rollins a Powerbomb through the table. Riddle hit the RKO after that for the pinfall win. This was probably in the 15-20 minute range.

After the match, Riddle greeted a lot of fans around the ring while signing autographs and taking photos with them. Riddle signed the signs that Taeden & Austin bought while also taking photos with them along with other kids at ringside.

Considering marijuana is legalized in Canada and we have dozens of stores open in this province, I’m sure Riddle will find a way to have a good time.

I think the show ended at around 9:35pm ET so it was around 2 hours, 35 minutes runtime.

 

Final Thoughts

As I wrap it up, I’ll say what I always say about how much fun it is to go to live events. If you go to Raw or Smackdown, it’s hard to know what you’re going to get. On a live event, it’s going to be mostly babyfaces getting wins or moments to make the fans happy. Predictable? Sure, but I don’t care about that. When I sit up close like I got to do it’s really all about trying to interact with the wrestlers and have fun with them. Everybody worked hard in front of a vocal crowd that hasn’t seen WWE live in four years, so we were hot all night long.

I think in terms of the best match, it was probably Riddle beating Rollins or the opening women’s tag with Asuka/Bliss beating Kai/SKY. I liked Belair/Bayley too, but the DQ ending hurt that a bit.

For the loudest pops, I would go with Kevin Owens/Trish Stratus in that segment they were in together, plus Riddle and Bianca Belair.

For most boos, it was probably Bayley, Seth Rollins and Theory.

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Thanks for reading. Please check out my reviews of every WWE PPV ever listed in order. Go Toronto Blue Jays. My contact info is below.

John Canton

Email mrjohncanton@gmail.com

Twitter @johnreport