This weeks episode of Monday Night Raw comes from KeyBank Center in Buffalo, New York.
The show kicks off with General Manager, Kurt Angle who thanks the Superstars who competed at Extreme Rules last night, he then proceeds to run down Lesnar for his lack of dedication. Just as Angle is about to strip Lesnar of the Universal Championship, Paul Heyman arrives and puts a stop to that. Angle cuts him off and says Lesnar needs to come out here and stop wasting his time. Heyman goes into his routine, and it looks as though he's about to introduce Lesnar… but of course, he’s not here. Angle teases stripping Lesnar again and Heyman begs him not to. We get “strip the title" chants. Heyman then says that Lesnar loves being in WWE, and loves being Universal Champion. He says Lesnar wants to represent the WWE Universe with the Universal title around his waist, because he wants to win the UFC heavyweight title as a current WWE champion. Angle says Lesnar will defend the title at Summerslam or he will no longer be the champion. Angle demands an answer now to which Heyman agrees. Heyman plays it up to the crowd and thanks them for wanting more Lesnar, to which they boo. Heyman says that Lesnar will defend, but against who? Lashley is out now, and says he had goals when he returned. One was defeating Reigns, which he did and the other is to defeat Lesnar. The big Scotsman, Drew McIntyre now arrives, this is eerily similar to the TNA main event scene in 2016. Drew wants the Universal Championship. BURN IT DOWN! Seth is out now, and he says that he wants a title shot. Elias is out next. He says that his debut album drops next week, and feels Angle should take advantage of his popularity. Finn Balor is next to join this growing list of talent. He wants a shot since (yeah, you guessed it) he was never defeated for the Universal title in the first place. The Big Dog is here. Roman wants to fight someone tonight. Angle decides to make two triple threat matches, and the winners of each match face off next week for a shot at Lesnar at Summerslam
A good start to Raw with a slow but steady build to Summerslam. It's interesting that Lesnar is finally beginning to get heat for not showing up, which is what WWE have been going for. Still a bit confused as to why Roman and Seth are involved since they both lost at Extreme Rules.
Constable Corbin runs down Angle for his decision-making skills. Corbin is upset he didn’t get into a triple threat match.
Drew McIntyre vs. Finn Balor vs. Roman Reigns
The match starts off with a tonne of action as Balor tries to use his speed to plays hit and run. He clears the ring and wipes out the big lads with a tope. Back in and McIntyre cuts off Balor and hits an overhead toss on Reigns for 2. McIntyre maintains control, using his power and size, and hitting a suplex for 2 on Reigns. He sends Balor to the floor, and hits a neck breaker on Reigns for 2. Post break, and McIntyre is beating down Reigns. He starts working over Balor as well, Balor fires back as does Reigns. Balor cuts off Reigns, but Reigns quickly fires back and take him down with a clothesline. Balor counters the drive by and hits an apron double stomp. McIntyre then wipes out Reigns with a wild tope! Balor knocks him into the steps and follows with a dropkick. Back in and he double stomps Reigns and covers for 2. Balor hits an enziguri, but McIntyre cuts him off with a chair shot. Reigns cuts him off, but McIntyre avoids the charge and Reigns posts himself. Post break, and Reigns is working over McIntyre with clotheslines. The big boot follows and McIntyre counters the superman punch into a spinebuster for 2. Balor returns with chair shots to McIntyre, getting some revenge. He then attacks Reigns with chair shots and hits McIntyre in the floor. Reigns then spears McIntyre as Balor sidesteps him. Sling blade by Balor on Reigns, back in and another sling blade follows. running front kick is cut off by a superman punch for 2. Balor cuts off the spear and hits a running drop kick, Balor up top and the double stomp connects but McIntyre makes the save. Reigns superman punches McIntyre and then Balor. McIntyre cuts him off and Claymores Balor, Reigns takes him out and spears Balor for the win. Roman Reigns wins @ 21:48 via pin [****]
Terrific match to kick off the show, probably better than any match at Extreme Rules with lots of action and everyone getting a chance to display their strengths and look great The crowd was hot the entire time. Very impressive.
Bayley meets with Angle, and they discuss their counseling, and Bayley says it didn’t go well. She doesn’t think that she and banks will be friends again. So Angle books a match between Bayley and Banks versus Brooke and Fox. He says if they can’t get along, one of them will be traded to Smackdown. Kurt Angle continues to be awkward in his role.
The Intercontinental Champion Dolph Ziggler arrives. Ziggler says he put on a clinic at Extreme Rules. He claims to be an iron man, and still the IC Champion. He then brags about main eventing the PPV and takes full credit for it. He respects Rollins for helping to build the IC title, but says he’s no Dolph Ziggler. He beat Rollins 5 times in one night. Bobby Roode makes his entrance. Roode says Ziggler should thank Drew since he’s the only reason he retained. He then mocks Ziggler’s comedy career, so Ziggler mocks Roode for not making it on the PPV last night. Roode says it sucked, and then challenges Ziggler for the title to which Ziggler accepts, for a non-title match.
IC Champion Dolph Ziggler vs. Bobby Roode
They lock up and Ziggler grounds things. Roode battles back, taking Ziggler down and taking control. Ziggler fights to his feet, escapes, and he then grounds things. Roode escapes and dumps Ziggler to the floor. Roode follows, slams Ziggler to the barricade, and then back in, Ziggler backs off and ends up dumping Roode to the floor. Roode back in and Ziggler hits a dropkick and again grounds the action. The neck breaker follows for 2. Roode battles back, hitting a clothesline. Post break, and Ziggler has things grounded once again. Roode escapes, hits clotheslines, and then a uranage for 2. The blockbuster follows and Roode looks for the DDT, Ziggler counters and covers for 2. They trade roll ups, both grabbing the tights, but Ziggler hits zigzag and that gets 2. Ziggler now sets for a superkick, countered; Roode catapults him to the corner and hits a spinebuster for 2. Ziggler now stuns Roode off the ropes, but Roode cuts him off but tweaks his knee. Superkick by Ziggler and he wins. Dolph Ziggler defeats Bobby Roode @ 13:12 via pin [***]
This was a pretty damn solid match, the crowd didn’t care didn't care much for it. Probably because we've seen this a million times on Smackdown back when Roode first got called up to the main roster. Also, booking heel Ziggler as the valiant babyface overcoming his iron man match to overcome the fresh Roode lacked logic.
Lashley cuts a promo about tonight’s match, ayinghgh that he can and will defeat Lesnar at Summerslam.
Bobby Roode is walking backstage and he looks upset. Mojo Rawley mockingly claps for him and laughs. I guess we'll be getting a match with these two next week, oh joy!
Mojo Rawley vs. Tyler Breeze
Mojo attacks at the bell, Breeze hits a dropkick and takes him to the floor. Mojo cuts him off, back in and Mojo covers for 2. Mojo grounds things, and again covers for 2. Breeze battles back, hits an enziguri but Mojo hits a corner clothesline and pounce. The running forearm follows and then an Alabama slam finishes it. Mojo Rawley defeated Tyler Breeze @ 2:58 via pin [NR] Mojo is getting a mini push lately, and I'm not a fan of it. They have to use him somehow I guess. Breeze looked really good and he bumped his butt off to make Mojo look good. Breeze could do well on 205 Live, maybe send him over there while Fandango is out with his injury.
Bayley & Sasha Banks vs. Alicia Fox & Dana Brooke
Brooke and Fox are probably just happy to be on TV. Bayley and Fox to begin. Bayley gets roll up for 2. Fox now hits a big boot and cuts off Bayley, covering for 2. Brooke tags in and hits the springboard elbow in the corner. She misses another, but knocks Banks to the floor. Bayley fires up and lays in clotheslines. Brooke cuts her off, and dumps her. Fox attacks and Banks makes the save and also takes out Brooke. Alicia Fox and Dana Brooke defeat Bayley and Banks @ 2:19 via DQ [NR] Banks did save Bayley, but the lose means that sadly this feud will probably continue.
Bayley and Sasha talk backstage, and Banks says she loves Bayley. Ugh.
We see highlights of Kevin taking the Mick Foley tribute bump from last night. Renee interviews Braun. He regrets not being able to congratulate Kevin on his win. When asked about not competing for a shot at Lesnar, he reminds us he has the MITB case.
The B Team vs. The Ascension
The Revival are watching the match backstage as Axel hits a flatliner for 2. Viktor tags in and runs wild. Axel dumps Konnor, and the double team neck breaker finishes Viktor. Champions The B Team defeated The Ascension @ 2:17 via pin [NR] While it’s nice to see the B Team keep momentum, this was a completely pointless match.
Matt and Bray cut a promo and they announce that they'll be getting their rematch next week.
Alexa Bliss and Mickie James are up next. Alexa gloats about remaining champion, and completed the story with Jax, defeating the bully. She’s dominated the division, due to her smarts. Outsmarting Jax wasn’t hard. So now, she’s beaten everyone in the locker room. She says Rousey doesn’t count because she’s suspended. She runs down Rousey, as a fan, attacking her last night. Rousey arrives through the crowd and Alexa looks to bail. Rousey cuts her off and chases. She gets Mickie, slams her down and arm bars her. Officials make the save but Rousey charges and attacks Alexa & Mickie. She drags Alexa to the ring and arm bars her until Angle arrives to stop the insanity. Angle says she has two days left on her suspension, and needs to go home. Corbin arrives and says she needs reprimanded. Angle adds another week onto her suspension, and Corbin gets pissed, saying Stephanie won’t like it. He’s going to call Stephanie and tell on him. Angle stole his phone, and says he’s making the match, it's going to be Rousey versus Alexa at Summerslam. This was fine and the expected next step in the feud. Rousey brings a great energy to her segments and I'm looking forward to seeing more of these two together.
Charly Caruso interviews Seth Rollins ahead of tonight’s triple threat match. He says that he plans to win his way to Summerslam, he loves and respects Reigns, but if he has to go through him to get what he wants, he will.
The Authors of Pain vs. Titus Worldwide
Apollo attacks, but is instantly cut off. They take out Titus and post him. Apollo fights back with dropkicks, gets cut off and the full nelson slam follows. The AOP control, working quick tags and double teams. The Last Chapter finishes Apollo. The Authors of Pain beat Titus Worldwide @ 2:05 via pin [NR] I am fine with AOP squashes, but why is Apollo taking these beatings?
Ember Moon vs. Sarah Logan
Liv failed two weeks in a row to beat Moon, so Logan now gets the chance. They lock up and Logan gets a takedown. Moon quickly fights back, and gets a cradle for 2. Logan lays in elbow strikes, and then dumps Moon to the floor. Back in and Logan lays in ground and pound. Liv gets in a cheap shot and Logan covers for 2. Moon counters into a roll up for 2. Logan then gets a delayed cradle suplex for 2. Logan grounds things and works a cobra clutch. Moon escapes, counters a suplex and drops Logan with a big right. Moon fires up, lays in knee strikes, and hits a flatliner. She takes out Liv, but Logan rolls her up for 2. Superkick by Moon and the cover gets 2. Logan to the floor, and Moon hits the suicide dive. Back in and she covers for 2. Moon heads up top, Liv distracts her, and Logan cuts off Moon and covers for the win. Sarah Logan defeated Ember Moon @ 6:45 via pin [**½] I don't think that they should have had Moon end her winning streak. She was on a good roll and actually had momentum and now it feels like she’ll just be another woman in the division that gets lost in the shuffle.
Elias vs. Seth Rollins vs. Bobby Lashley
Elias performs but it isn't long before he gets interrupted. The winner here faces Roman Reigns next week. The winner of that match goes onto face Brock Lesnar at Summerslam for the Universal Title. Elias attacks Rollins during Lashley’s entrance. Lashley takes out Elias and dumps him to the floor, Rollins looks to ground Lashley now. Lashley powers up and takes control, keeping Elias on the floor. Rollins cuts him off with a dropkick, Rollins springboards in but gets cut of. Elias takes out Lashley and covers Rollins for 2. Rollins hits a RANA, but Elias cuts him off with a knee strike as Angle, Corbin, & Heyman watch on from backstage. Post break, and Lashley and Rollins work over Elias. Lashley fires up with clotheslines and suplexes. The neck breaker on Rollins follows. Rollins cuts off Lashley but runs into a powerslam. The spinebuster to Elias follows. They work to the floor and Lashley gets posted, Elias avoids the Rollins dive and posts Lashley again. Back in and Elias hits an elbow drop and Rollins hits high fly flow, but Elias dumps him and covers Lashley for 2. Elias works over Rollins with strikes, they battle back and forth and Rollins hits the blockbuster for 2. They work up top and Elias knock Rollins to the mat. Lashley back in and Rollins joins in and buckle bombs Lashley. The superplex and falcon arrow does the deal on Elias for a great near fall. Elias & Lashley to the floor, and Rollins hits a suicide dive on Elias and then one on Lashley. Sling blade to Elias follows. Rollins sets for black out, hits it but Lashley makes the save. Rollins and Lashley trade strikes, Rollins takes control until Lashley turns him inside out with a lariat. The delayed suplex connects. Lashley sets, but Rollins avoids the spear and hits a superkick, but Elias pulls him to the floor. Spear by Lashley on Elias and he wins. Lashley wins @ 17:10 via pin [***½] This was an overall pretty good and fun main event. They all worked hard, but it lacked the heat and crowd investment of the first triple threat. Probably because that match went on first and it was just more exciting.
Next week we get Roman Reigns vs. Bobby Lashley, with the winner going onto face Brock Lesnar at Summerslam.
End of show.