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This week’s Raw continues the journey on the road to SummerSlam. The two things that have been hyped up the most are Stephanie McMahon’s “historic” announcement plus Roman Reigns vs. Bobby Lashley to determine who will face Brock Lesnar for the Universal Championship at SummerSlam. They also announced Finn Balor vs. Drew McIntyre earlier on Monday.

Live from Cincinnati, Ohio, this is the Raw Deal for episode #1313 of Monday Night Raw. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport. Thanks to Melo Man for the banner up top.

Raw began with the roster of talent standing on the top of the ramp. There were Smackdown women on the stage and even Nikki Cross, who is not full time on the main roster, but she has worked house shows. No Charlotte Flair, who has been off the road with an injury. Anyway, it’s a lot of people.

Historic Announcement Featuring Vince McMahon, Stephanie McMahon and Triple H

Vince McMahon, the WWE Chairman and CEO, was in the ring to welcome us to Raw like he has done many times in the past. Vince introduced WWE COO Triple H and his Vince’s daughter the Raw Commissioner Stephanie McMahon

Stephanie said it’s rare to make history and create a moment for the rest of our lives. Triple H said that before we get started, he wanted to acknowledge WWE superstars. They turned to look at the talent on the stage. Triple H thanked the talent for their work and said nights like this happen because of them. Triple H said they don’t do it alone because it’s a giant team. Triple H asked for the women to step up.

All the women stood together on the ramp. Triple H pointed out that the men behind them support them. Triple H said that the WWE Universe has supported them through history to the first Ironman, Hell in a Cell, Money in the Bank, Royal Rumble, Elimination Chamber and right through to every single main event that they have worked so hard to earn. Triple H said that they have stood in awe sometimes with a tear in their eye as they have stolen the show again and again. Triple H: “I just want to let you know that we are so proud of you.”

Stephanie said that these moments don’t just happen because of one person, it’s because the fans deem it as being it important and something that we love. Stephanie talked about how fans started a hashtag called #GiveDivasAChance that trended for 3 days and 30-second matches became main events while the women have become superstars (since WWE dropped the name diva).

Stephanie said because of us, on October 28, over 50 women will be called Evolution will be the first ever all-women’s pay-per-view. The event will be streamed live on WWE Network, of course.

The women on the stage all hugged and applauded the news while Triple H, Stephanie and Vince looked like proud parents.

The announce team of Michael Cole, Corey Graves and Jonathon Coachman were shown on camera welcoming us to the show. The women’s show called Evolution is in the Nassau Coliseum in Long Island, New York. It will feature matches for the Raw Women’s Title, Smackdown Women’s Title, NXT Women’s Title and the Finals of the Mae Young Classic on October 28.

Analysis: That was the expected announcement based on rumors over the last few weeks. There are rumors that there will be women’s tag team titles added at some point in the near future, but that was not announced yet. There’s a lot of time to get to that point. I’m happy for the women on the roster. I realize that this is probably done because the Greatest Royal Rumble event in April was men’s only, but that reason really doesn’t bother me. I’m just happy for the women getting the spotlight because they have earned it and WWE has done a great job of booking the women in the last three years especially. The women likely knew what the announcement was, but they reacted to it like they just found out. Good job by Triple H, Stephanie and Vince announcing it even though Vince barely said anything. I’m not a huge fan of the “Evolution” name. I know why they picked it, but that’s also one of the best stables in the history of WWE. They should have been more creative with the name.

Still to come: Reigns vs. Lashley. Up next is Hardy and Wyatt vs. Axel and Dallas for the Raw Tag Team Titles.

Matt Hardy and Bray Wyatt let Cincinnati know they are here and the show went to break.

(Commercial)

Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel were in the locker room. Axel was excited about the Evolution pay-per-view event. Axel said let’s defend the titles. Dallas said these last few weeks have been amazing. They hyped eachother up with Axel saying that B stands for “brother” and Dallas called him the brother he never had. Poor Bray Wyatt. Dallas said that B stands for “Best” team. They left, but they forgot their titles, so they went back to get their titles.

Elias was on the stage ready to play a song, but Matt Hardy and Bray Wyatt made their entrance while Elias was sitting on a stool on the stage. Elias had his “album” out even though it’s only four songs.

The B Team duo entered as the champs.

Raw Tag Team Championships: The B Team (Curtis Axel and Bo Dallas) vs. Deleters of Worlds (Bray Wyatt and Matt Hardy)

Bo Dallas started with Hardy, so Wyatt tagged himself in. Graves mentioned that Dallas was very familiar with Wyatt without saying that they are brothers. Wyatt hit a running cross body block. Hardy and Wyatt were both in the ring, so Dallas and Axel bailed to the floor as the show went to break one minute into it.

(Commercial)

The heel champs The B Team were in control with Axel hitting a knee to Wyatt leading to two count for Dallas. Wyatt nailed Dallas with a huge clothesline. Hardy got the tag against Axel with Hardy getting an elbow to the chin, a clothesline and Hardy sent Axel into the turnbuckle ten times. Hardy with a clothesline and a Side Effect for two. Hardy to the middle rope with an elbow to the back. Hardy connected with a Twist of Fate, but Dallas broke up the pin. Wyatt went after Dallas, who moved and Wyatt went crashing onto Hardy and Axel, so Axel flipped Hardy over to pin him for the win after 8 minutes.

Winners by pinfall: The B Team (Curtis Axel and Bo Dallas)

Analysis: ** It was a decent match with a fluky finish, which is how most B Team wins are where they somehow find a way to get the job done. In this case, it was because Wyatt accidentally landed on top of Hardy and Axel rolled him up. The crowd reacted well to the win, so at least we can say the booking of The B Team has worked.

After the match was over, Hardy and Wyatt applauded, but it didn’t last. Hardy and Wyatt dropped the champs with a Twist of Fate and a Sister Abigail. Hardy and Wyatt posed over the fallen champs.

Analysis: That was a heelish attack from Wyatt and Hardy. I don’t know if that means they are going to turn because fans want to cheer them, but fans are liking Dallas and Axel too. I think this was just done to set up another match even though this was the rematch for Wyatt and Hardy.

Still to come: Balor vs. McIntyre and Reigns vs. Lashley.

(Commercial)

Replays aired of what happened before the break.

The rock band O.A.R. was shown at ringside. I’ve never heard of them. They are supporting Connor’s Cure.

Chad Gable and Finn Balor were shown talking backstage. They talked about the Evolution show. Some guy went walking by with a suitcase that was Balor’s. Another guy had Balor’s jacket, who told Balor that he was given strict orders from Constable Corbin to give Balor a new locker room. Balor walked to the new locker room that was a kid’s playhouse. Constable Corbin walked up to him to say that this locker room was perfect for somebody of his stature. Balor told him he always wanted to have his own Finn’s Funhouse. Corbin told Balor to enjoy his match against Drew McIntyre.

Analysis: The Balor match with McIntyre was already announced, but this was done as if they were just announcing it. It was already mentioned earlier on Monday. Balor posted a pic in his funhouse.

A replay aired of last week with Sasha Banks saving Bayley and then later in the show, Banks told Bayley she loved her.

Bayley and Sasha Banks were watching on a TV backstage. Charly Caruso walked up to interview them. Bayley said since last week, she has had a long talk with Sasha. Bayley noted that they have their differences, but those differences make their friendship strong. Banks talked about how excited they are about the Evolution pay-per-view. Bayley said it meant a lot for Banks to say what she said last week and Bayley said let’s go take over the world.

Analysis: They are back on the same page, but for how long? Let’s find out together.

(Commercial)

Sasha Banks and Bayley made their entrance against two unknown women. The announcers mentioned legends like Lita, Trish Stratus and Beth Phoenix being part of the Evolution PPV event.

Sasha Banks and Bayley vs. Samantha Simon and Karen Lundy

Bayley with a back elbow. Banks tagged in with a running knee attack against the turnbuckle. Bayley tagged back in, hard kick to the face and Banks with a Bank Statement submission for the win. The match went about two minutes.

Winners by submission: Sasha Banks and Bayley

Analysis: 1/2* It was an easy win to show that Banks and Bayley are on the same page again. I assume that if there are women’s tag team titles, they will be contenders to win them.

After the match was over, Banks and Bayley hugged eachother with big smiles on their faces.

Braun Strowman is up next.

This week on Smackdown: Becky Lynch vs. Carmella and Paige will announce AJ Styles’ opponent at SummerSlam. I hope it’s Samoa Joe.

(Commercial)

Elias was on the stage trying to do one of his songs, but he was interrupted by the entrance from Braun Strowman, who had the Money in the Bank briefcase with him. Images were shown from Strowman on a media tour in India over the last week.

Let’s Hear From Braun Strowman

Strowman said that it seems like the WWE Universe is talking about two things tonight: The announcement about the all-women’s pay-per-view in October and Strowman congratulated all the WWE women in the back, especially his Mixed Match tag partner Alexa Bliss.

Strowman said the other thing people talk about is all this commotion between Roman Reigns and Bobby Lashley. Strowman said that tonight they go one on one to see who will face Brock Lesnar for the Universal Championship at SummerSlam. Strowman said it didn’t matter if it was Reigns, Lashley or Lesnar because sooner or later a monster is going to come calling because he has this…the Money in the Bank contract. Strowman asked the WWE Universe how he’d look as the new Universal Champion. The fans cheered. Strowman posed for the fans. Kevin Owens’ music started for the interruption.

Kevin Owens appeared on the stage with tape on his left arm along with other tape on his right arm up to his neck. Owens said after what Strowman did to him at Extreme Rules where he threw Owens off a cage through an announce table, Strowman comes out here like nothing happened to talk about the Universal Championship. Owens yelled “no” about it, so fans chanted “yes” at him. Owens said when he tried to befriend Strowman it was out of kindness, but also because his 10-year-old son thought it was a good idea because of that Nicholas kid that became tag team champions with Strowman. Owens said that Strowman crushed that dream while crushing KO’s spine. Owens said that his son and daughter are scared to see him go down the stairs because they see the pain in KO’s face. Owens said he had a family to take care of and Strowman tried to take everything away from him. Owens talked about how he’s going to take everything away from him. Strowman told him to try. Owens pointed out that he won their Extreme Rules match. Owens told Strowman that his problems have only just begun.

Baron Corbin made his entrance in his suit to join Owens on the ramp. Corbin said that Stephanie McMahon has empowered Corbin to handle this situation. Corbin said that what Strowman did was legal in the match, but what he did was morally reprehensible. Balor made a short joke about Finn Balor. Corbin said he found somebody that he thinks can help Strowman control his temper.

Jinder Mahal made his entrance with Sunil Singh. Graves was excited because Mahal can teach Strowman some yoga. Mahal and Singh went into the ring with Strowman.

Mahal said he wanted Strowman to help him find the calm. Mahal said far too much damage and far too many injuries have been caused. Mahal said that Stephanie McMahon and Baron Corbin have appointed Mahal in helping Strowman find inner peace. Mahal told Strowman to close his eyes, breathe and repeat: “Shanti.” He said it repeatedly. Strowman told them that this isn’t working.

Strowman said he knows he has a temper, but he has a mantra of his own. Strowman told Sunil to come here. Strowman gave him the microphone to hold. Strowman told them to close their eyes and everybody in the WWE Universe needs to close their eyes, breathe deep and repeat after him: “Get These Hands.” The fans chanted along with him.

Strowman kicked Mahal in the face and knocked him down. Strowman launched Sunil into Mahal to knock Mahal out of the ring. Strowman picked up Sunil and he hit a Running Powerslam on Sunil. Strowman celebrated to end the segment.

Analysis: That was about ten minutes of nothing. I don’t know if that’s supposed to get people excited about Strowman wrestling Jinder Mahal. Maybe Owens will try to form an alliance with Corbin and Mahal to try to take care of Strowman every week and fail miserably? I’m not sure what the plan is here. This felt like a way to get Strowman’s “Get These Hands” catchphrase over more than anything.

A replay aired of the announcement of the women’s only PPV Evolution on October 28. Tweets were shown from women involved in WWE about how excited they are.

Up next is Natalya vs. Mickie James. Good.

(Commercial)

PLUG TIME: I’ve been in a retro writing mood of late. I’m going through 2005 PPVs in order (started with 2003 last year) and I recently posted Taboo Tuesday 2005 along with Survivor Series 2005…I’m also finishing what I started last year by continuing my SummerSlam reviews with a new review of SummerSlam 2001, which was a great show carried by an incredible Steve Austin vs. Kurt Angle match for the WWE Title. The whole card is pretty good too. It was fun to watch that one.

This Wednesday on NXT: Aleister Black vs. Tommaso Ciampa for the NXT Title. WWE has already spoiled that result, but I am still excited about it.

A video aired about Ronda Rousey attacking Alexa Bliss last week on Raw leading to Rousey challenging Bliss at SummerSlam for the Raw Women’s Title.

Mickie James was already in the ring with Alexa Bliss. I guess they made their entrance during the video package.

Natalya made her entrance alone, so I guess Nia Jax doesn’t want to hang out with her anymore.

Mickie James (w/Alexa Bliss) vs. Natalya

Natalya hit her step on the back move, Bliss went on the apron and James took over with forearm to the back. James kicked Natalya in the ribs. James slapped on a headlock. When Natalya got back up, James yanked her down by the air for a two count. James slapped on a headlock. Natalya came back with a boot to the face followed by a Russian leg sweep. James with a slap, so Natalya hit a suplex. Natalya drove her shoulder into James’ gut repeatedly. James with a back elbow, Natalya caught her on her shoulders and Natalya dropped down in an Electric Chair Job. Nice scream by James just before she landed. Natalya did on the step on the back move followed by a basement dropkick for a two count. James kicked Natalya to the apron, Bliss pulled Natalya down off the apron, Natalya hit a Natty by Nature clothesline and James capitalized on that with a superkick on Natalya for the pinfall win after about four minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Mickie James

Analysis: ** Good match by two of my favorite women in the company. They are great workers that could have an awesome match if they got more time, but they made the most of what they were given. The booking was basic with Bliss distracting, Natalya took care of her and that allowed James to come back with a superkick for the win. James needed a win like that, so I’m glad it happened that way.

Post match, James checked on Bliss on the floor with Bliss telling her that she was okay.

There was a video about WWE winning some award with Roman Reigns accepting it.

Roman Reigns was interviewed backstage by Charly Caruso. Reigns has a visible shiner under his left eye. She mentioned Reigns lost to Lashley at Extreme Rules. Reigns said that he lost to Lashley, but he’s going to beat him this time and he’s going to SummerSlam. Reigns said that people can like him, hate him or complain about him being shoved down our throats, but he’s going to SummerSlam, he’s going to take that championship and whoop Brock Lesnar’s ass.

Analysis: It was a short promo from Reigns full of intensity. It was interesting that he would mention people complaining about him getting pushed down our throats, but he did. I like that he addressed it.

Still to come: Lashley vs. Reigns and Balor vs. McIntyre.

Elias was doing one of his concerts again. He plugged his debut album again and he was interrupted again…this time by the Authors of Pain. They are in a match up next.

(Commercial)

The Authors of Pain duo of Akam and Rezar were in the ring asking for some competition. They said they wanted anybody other than Titus Worldwide because they are done with them.

Titus O’Neil, Apollo Crews and Dana Brooke aka Titus Worldwide walked out there. O’Neil put them over for being impressive. Crews was the only one in ring gear. Akam and Rezar asked them what O’Neil can do for them while mocking O’Neil’s famous fall. O’Neil and Crews got into the ring. Crews said that ever since he worked with Titus he has taught him a lot about establishing himself. Crews said that Titus has been there for a long time and he knows what it takes to be successful. Crews told them they can become champions and people that are champions too. The AOP guys said that Titus can retire.

Titus and Crews attacked AOP with punches. They knocked the AOP guys out of the ring with clotheslines. Titus and Apollo stood in the ring while AOP was on the floor as the segment ended.

Analysis: The Authors of Pain beat Titus Worldwide easily in the past, so this was done to try to make Titus Worldwide look like they could be a threat if they meet again. I doubt it’s going to lead to AOP losing a match to those guys.

Stephanie and Kurt Angle were shown in the parking lot by the limo. Angle said the Evolution show was great and Angle is proud to be the Raw GM right now. Corbin walked up with Owens about the Braun Strowman situation. Stephanie asked Owens if he is okay. Owens said that he is not well and life’s been hard due to the Braun Strowman vendetta against him. Owens blamed Angle and Corbin said that this is out of control because of Angle. Owens said that what Strowman did to him could have ended his career. Owens talked about how he wants to take everything away from him. Owens said he wanted to face Strowman at SummerSlam and if Owens wins, he gets the Money in the Bank contract. Owens said it doesn’t matter how he loses whether it’s by pinfall, submission, countout or disqualification, he gets the Money in the Bank contract. Angle thought it was absurd. Stephanie said she liked it and told Kevin he’s got his match. They shook hands. Owens hugged Corbin. Angle opened the door for Stephanie and she left in the limo.

Analysis: That’s an interesting match. I doubt Strowman is going to lose, but by making it a match where Strowman could lose the contract by pinfall, submission, countout or disqualification does make it seem like a possibility. Owens got the win at Extreme Rules by escaping the cage (after Strowman threw him through a table), so I expect Strowman to win at SummerSlam. I also think Strowman will leave SummerSlam as Universal Champion because I expect a Money in the Bank cash-in from him.

Still to come is Lashley vs. Reigns.

A tweet from Ronda Rousey was shown about the Evolution PPV.

(Commercial)

Tyler Breeze was in the ring to lose a match. Mojo Rawley is the opponent in a rematch of last week.

Mojo Rawley vs. Tyler Breeze

Rawley hit a running shoulder tackle that knocked down Breeze. It’s like the Pounce that Monty Brown used to do. Bobby Roode was interviewed in a split screen talking trash to Rawley, who has ripped on Roode in recent weeks. Rawley grounded Breeze in an armbar. Breeze with an enziguri kick. Rawley sent Breeze into the turnbuckle. Rawley went for a forearm attack, Breeze moved and Breeze got a rollup. Rawley drove Breeze into the turnbuckle. Rawley hit a sitout Alabama Slam on Breeze for the pinfall win after about two minutes.

Winners by pinfall: Mojo Rawley

Analysis: * Easy win for Rawley like last week. They are building to Rawley vs. Roode in a match, but that’s probably just a TV feud rather than something that will lead to SummerSlam.

Dolph Ziggler and Drew McIntyre did a promo backstage while McIntyre held a cell phone. Ziggler said they were there to take over Raw. McIntyre complained about how last week, Finn Balor lost a triple threat match that McIntyre was in. McIntyre said that he’s going to wipe the ridiculous smile off Balor’s face permanently.

Finn Balor vs. Drew McIntyre is up next in a match sponsored by Burger King.

(Commercial)

This week on 205 Live: TJP vs. Mustafa Ali vs. Hideo Itami vs. Drew Gulak. That should be great.

Elias was on the stage again trying to sing. Elias said that he was sick and tired of being interrupted, so here comes Finn Balor with his entrance. Cole plugged the success of Elias’ album.

Drew McIntyre made his entrance along with his buddy Dolph Ziggler, who is the Intercontinental Champion.

Finn Balor vs. Drew McIntyre (w/Dolph Ziggler)

Drew is Scottish and Balor is Irish, so they are two of WWE’s best European wrestlers. McIntyre used his size advantage early with a punch to the back of Balor followed by two chops. When McIntyre ran the ropes, Balor hit him with a dropkick that sent McIntyre out of the ring. Balor followed up with a somersault dive over the top to take out McIntyre on the floor. They went to break less than two minutes into the match.

(Commercial)

Back from break, McIntyre was in control with a suplex for two. McIntyre slapped on a chinlock. Balor with a running forearm attack on McIntyre and Balor hit a sweet spinning DDT for a two count. They battled on the apron with Balor hitting a kick that knocked down McIntyre. When Balor went up top, McIntyre got up, Balor hit a Slingblade and a dropkick that sent McIntyre into the turnbuckle. Balor went up top, so Ziggler tripped up Balor on the top rope. The ref called for the bell for the disqualification after seven minutes.

Winner by disqualification: Finn Balor

Analysis: **1/2 It would have been nice if they had a full match, but we only got about four minutes of action before the predictable disqualification. I like their chemistry. It hope they can have a more meaningful match with more time.

Ziggler and McIntyre tried to double team Balor, but before it could get going, Seth Rollins made the predictable save. Rollins knocked McIntyre out of the ring. Rollins went after Ziggler, but Ziggler went out of the ring.

Here’s Kurt Angle for the predictable holla holla tag team match playa. Angle ordered a tag team match right now.

Analysis: That was very predictable. It happens way too often for many years now. I’m fine with the tag team match, though. I like all four guys.

Seth Rollins and Finn Balor vs. Dolph Ziggler and Drew McIntyre

Balor and Rollins went after Ziggler and McIntyre. It led to a slugfest in the ring. Balor sent Ziggler out of the ring. Double clothesline by Rollins and Balor hit a clothesline that sent McIntyre out of the ring. Rollins hit an arm drag on Ziggler.  Rollins worked over Ziggler with chops followed by a slingshot dive onto Ziggler on the floor.

(Commercial)

The match returned with the heels in control of Balor. McIntyre slapped on an armbar on Balor. McIntyre with a hard whip that sent Balor into the corner. They left the ring, McIntyre picked up Balor and dropped him throat first onto the top of the barricade. Ziggler tagged in leading to Balor hitting a kick to the face. McIntyre tagged back in to prevent a tag for Balor, but Balor broke free and tagged in Rollins. Rollins with a clothesline that sent McIntyre to the floor. Rollins with a suicide dive that took out McIntyre and Ziggler on the floor. Rollins sent Ziggler into the barricade. Rollins hit a clothesline off the top on McIntyre. When McIntyre ran at Rollins he was met by a big boot by Rollins. Rollins followed up with a Blockbuster neckbreaker off the top rope. Rollins set up for The Stomp, Ziggler interfered, Rollins rollup on Strowman and Rollins hit a superkick on McIntyre for two as Ziggler broke up the pin. Balor with a Slingblade on Ziggler, but Ziggler came back with a superkick. Rollins kicked Ziggler. McIntyre back elbow on Rollins and McIntyre hit a reverse Alabama Slam on Rollins for two. That was a good nearfall. Fans chanted “This is awesome” for them. Ziggler got the tag, he punched Ziggler to crotch him off the top and Rollins hit a hurricanrana on McIntyre. Rollins hit The Stomp on Ziggler and pinned him after 12 minutes of action.

Winners by pinfall: Seth Rollins and Finn Balor

Analysis: ***1/4 That was a really good tag team match with Rollins on fire after the hot tag. I thought that maybe Balor would be the one to get the pin on Ziggler to try to get Balor back in the IC Title mix, but it was Rollins to show that maybe he’s not done with Ziggler just yet. This show needed a good match like that and the crowd was really into it, which always helps.

Bobby Lashley was interviewed by Charly Caruso. Lashley said that the reason he’s back is for matches like this. Lashley pointed out that Reigns has failed against Brock Lesnar. Lashley said he’ll beat Reigns and he’s going to get in Lesnar’s face next week to tell him he’s the man he’ll fight.

Still to come is Reigns vs. Lashley.

There was another replay about the announcement of the women’s Evolution PPV on October 28. They showed more tweets from WWE women that are excited about Evolution.

Ember Moon made her entrance for a match.

(Commercial)

They showed a pre-match promo from Ember Moon for this match.

Liv Morgan entered alone because Ruby Riott is hurt and Sarah Logan is apparently banned from ringside. This is their third match in four weeks.

Ember Moon vs. Liv Morgan

Moon was really aggressive early on. When Morgan left the ring, Moon attacked, but Morgan took control when they got back into the ring. Morgan jumped on Moon’s back while she was against the ropes. Morgan with a head whip got a two count. Moon came back with a face first slam. Morgan wanted a superplex, Moon gave her a front suplex and Moon set up on the top rope. Moon hit an Eclipse for the pinfall win after about four minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Ember Moon

Analysis: *1/2 Easy win by Moon. She lost to Sarah Logan last week, but she beat Morgan three times in the last four weeks. The Eclipse is one of the best finishers in WWE.

Seth Rollins was interviewed backstage by Mike Rome, who looked way shorter than he really is.

Roman Reigns vs. Bobby Lashley is coming up next.

A clip aired from the movie Mission Impossible Fallout starring Tom Cruise. The reviews for this movie have been great. I look forward to it.

(Commercial)

A clip aired from Total Bellas with Nikki crying like she does every week it seems in these previews. She’s not sure if she can marry John Cena. I can’t pretend to care.

The announcers were back with Coach saying Total Bellas was his favorite show. Of course it is. That’s how you suck up at your job, kids.

A video package aired to show the story between Roman Reigns and Bobby Lashley over the last month. That led to Extreme Rules eight days ago with Lashley beating Reigns clean in that match.

Elias was on the stage to sing one of his songs. Kurt Angle showed up to interrupt to say that he’s not there to interrupt. Angle told him that the floor is his to allow Elias a chance to play one of his songs.

Elias gave a shoutout to the O.A.R. band sitting in the front row. He called them his friends. Elias said they looked up to him for a long time. Elias said he’s the biggest musical act on the planet. Heels lie. Elias did his “Walk With Elias” bit saying that it’s the title of his album.

Elias sang his song for about a minute. He stopped to say that Cincinnati may have been the grossest collection of human being he’s ever seen.

Analysis: I don’t have an interest in the music of Elias, but good for him getting that done. I wish him the best.

Bobby Lashley made his entrance for the main event.

(Commercial)

Next week on Raw in Miami: Ronda Rousey returns from suspension. Finn Balor vs. Baron Corbin again. Seth Rollins vs. Drew McIntyre. Also, Brock Lesnar is back with the Universal Title. It will be Lesnar’s first time on WWE TV in three months.

Roman Reigns made his entrance for the main event. There was a mixed reaction for him as usual.

Roman Reigns vs. Bobby Lashley

The winner of this match faces Brock Lesnar for the Universal Title at SummerSlam. It started at 10:53pmET.

Reigns was aggressive early on with a leaping clothesline. Reigns hit a clothesline that sent Lashley over the top to the floor. Reigns rolled Lashley back into the ring. Fans chanted “We Want Ambrose” I think. That’s because they are in Cincinnati where Ambrose is from. Back in the ring, Lashley hit a clothesline that sent Reigns over the top to the floor. Reigns with a punch while they were on the floor. Reigns charged in, Lashley caught him and hit an overhead belly to belly suplex on the floor. That led to a break.

(Commercial)

Back from break, Lashley hit a spinebuster for a two count. They replayed the Pick Up Spinebuster again. It looks so impressive and is better than most finishers in WWE. Reigns got back up, they charged at eachother and hit a double clothesline to knock eachother down. They got into a slugfest, the crowd didn’t seem to care, Lashley with a leap frog and a clothesline. Lashley with an overhead belly to belly suplex. Lashley with a shoulder tackle on Reigns against the turnbuckle. Reigns went for a Samoan Drop, but Lashley held onto the ropes. Reigns tried to dump him to the floor like last week only for Lashley to land on the apron. Reigns charged in with Lashley hitting a clothesline to knock him down. Reigns came back with a leg drop to the back of the neck of Lashley for a two count. Reigns set up for a Superman Punch, the crowd was booing and Lashley avoided it. Lashley slapped on a Full Nelson submission. Reigns backed Lashley into the corner to break the hold. Lashley with a slam into a head/arm submission. The fans chanted “Let’s Go Roman/Roman Sucks” as Reigns countered into a two count. Lashley charged, Reigns moved and Lashley hit the turnbuckle hard. Reigns followed up with the ten clotheslines against the turnbuckle. Reigns ran the ropes and Lashley hit a spinning powerslam for two. Lashley got to his feet and charged in only for Reigns to hit a Superman Punch that barely grazed Lashley leading to a two count. Lashley with a punch and Reigns hit a Superman Punch, so they repeated the spot to make it look better. Reigns tried to feed off the crowd, so Lashley rolled to the floor. Reigns left the ring and went for a Superman Punch, but Lashley caught him. Lashley launched Reigns back into the ring. Lashley hit a Spear on Reigns. Lashley covered Reigns and Reigns got his left shoulder up barely. Very good nearfall. Lashley charged in again, Reigns hit a Superman Punch for the third time and Reigns went for a Spear, Lashley kicked and Reigns hit another Spear for the pinfall win after 18 minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Roman Reigns

Analysis: ***1/2 That was a very good main event match with a lot on the line. The first ten minutes or so were pretty boring, but then they were able to crank it up to the next gear with both guys getting nearfalls that were believable. The best nearfall was Lashley hitting the Spear for a two count. It’s the same move Lashley did to win at Extreme Rules, so when Reigns kicked out it meant something. I could tell that the announcers were hyping up Lashley so much that a win for Reigns was obvious. Plus, Lashley winning at Extreme Rules proved to be meaningless and just a way to set up Reigns to get this win.

After the match was over, Reigns sat up holding his ribs with a nod of respect for Lashley.

Lashley went up to Reigns and extended his hand for a shake. Reigns shook the hand. Lashley left the ring after the handshake. Reigns celebrated in the ring while Lashley was very frustrated about the loss.

Reigns’ music played to end the show with Cole noting that Lesnar and Reigns will both be on Raw next week in Miami. Raw ended at 11:14pmET with Reigns alone in the ring.

Analysis: I want Braun Strowman to leave SummerSlam as Universal Champion. There are options. They could make it a three-way. Put the title on Roman by having him beat Brock and have Braun cash in. It’s better than the other options. It’s what the fans want too. Listen to the fans.

 

Three Stars of the Show

  1. Seth Rollins – I know he wasn’t in the main event, but his work in that tag match stood out the most to me.
  2. Roman Reigns
  3. Bobby Lashley

 

The Scoreboard

6 out of 10

Last week: 6.5

2018 Average: 5.83

Last 5 Weeks: 6.5, 5, 4, 7, 5.5

2018 High: 8 (February 19)

2018 Low: 4 (June 4, July 2)

 

Final Thoughts

I give it a 6 out of 10.

The big news early on was the announcement of the women’s Evolution show. That’s huge. I’m happy for the women of WWE getting that chance to have their own PPV.

The main event was good and so was the tag match with Rollins pinning Ziggler. None of the other matches were that memorable. There was some solid storyline progression throughout the night.

I find it weird that on a show where Stephanie McMahon talked about women’s matches getting more time, the three women’s matches totaled about 10 minutes on this show. I know that most weeks they get more time, but not this week.

The next WWE PPV is SummerSlam on August 19. Here’s what we know so far.

Universal Championship: Brock Lesnar (c) vs. Roman Reigns

Raw Women’s Championship: Alexa Bliss (c) vs. Ronda Rousey

For the Money in the Bank Contract: Braun Strowman vs. Kevin Owens

Intercontinental Championship: Dolph Ziggler (c) vs. Seth Rollins

There will be more to come in the weeks ahead.

You can contact me using any of the methods below. See ya next time for the Smackdown review. Go Los Angeles Rams. Thanks for reading.

John Canton

Email: mrjohncanton@gmail.com

Twitter: @johnreport

Personal Facebook and TJRWrestling on Facebook

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