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The biggest talking point going into Raw this week was the announcement made that Brock Lesnar and Roman Reigns would go one on one at SummerSlam for the Universal Championship, and their face-to-face which was set for the show. Opening the show, the commentators discussed the reaction to the match being made, which has been a major talking point between the WWE Superstars and the WWE Universe. Following a recap of last week’s show, which looked at how Braun Strowman’s Helicopter ride into Extreme Rules could cost Kurt Angle his job, as well as Strowman dropping Roman Reigns at the end of the show, Seth Rollins made his entrance.
Seth Rollins put over the Main Event of SummerSlam, saying that while he would have loved to have been chosen himself, he supports Roman Reigns as the man to make sure the Universal title is held by a “fighting Champion”. Speaking about himself in similar terms, and moving on to the opportunities he has given out for the Intercontinental Championship, Seth Rollins was cut off by Finn Balor.
Finn Balor didn’t have such an understanding outlook, questioning why a match was made without a Number One Contendership process. Calling out his GM, Finn Balor wanted answer from Kurt Angle, as to why Roman Reigns was getting the shot.
While Kurt Angle did put over Roman Reigns as a worthy challenger, he also admitted when pressed by Finn that he had no say in the match being made. Kurt Angle looked hurt as he told Finn Balor this, confessing that week by week, “they” are taking more and more decisions “out of [his] hands”. Kurt did however say that he is making the matches for tonight, informing Finn Balor he would go one on one with Dolph Ziggler. In the opener, Seth Rollins would defend the Intercontinental Championship against Drew McIntyre.
WWE Intercontinental Championship Match
Coming down to the ring, Drew McIntyre had words for Seth Rollins (and Finn Balor, who left ringside before the match began). Once again, Drew McIntyre made it clear that in the WWE, you can’t ask for opportunity, you take it! This is what he looked to do in this match, and he would have stood a good chance in doing so, as Dolph Ziggler helped him out. As has been the case in the last few weeks, Dana Brooke has joined Dolph Ziggler at ringside, as the pair continue to work on their “business arrangement”.
It was Dana (who Drew appears to have zero involvement with) who played a key part in the finish of the match, botching an interference that cost Drew McIntyre. Her involvement was an attempt to follow up the successful cheating done by Dolph Ziggler, but resulted in McIntyre’s first defeat since returning to the WWE.
Seth Rollins (c) bt. Drew McIntyre
Between that match and the next, the commentators further promoted the WWE Universal Championship match set for SummerSlam, showing media coverage of the announcement earlier in the week. They also put over the “controversial nature” of the match being made, saying that in the WWE Universal and amongst the Superstars, opinion is split. This was highlighted in tweets made by Finn Balor, Seth Rollins and members of the WWE Universe.
Going into the match, footage was shown from the previous week, as Sasha Banks slapped Nia Jax across the face. Heated from the opening bell, the match was cut short of what it could have been due to outside interference. Making her first appearance since losing to Banks at Extreme Rules, Bayley got involved.
Running down to the ring, as Sasha Banks looked to be gaining steam, Bayley allowed her emotions to get the better of her, taking “The Boss” down. This resulted in a DQ defeat for Nia Jax.
Sasha Banks bt. Nia Jax (DQ)
Following the match, the attack from the emotionally vulnerable Bayley continued. While Sasha Banks attempted to get away, it was eventually Nia Jax who broke the fight up. Allowing Banks to escape, Nia Jax confronted Bayley, annoyed that she had cost her the match. Bayley was still fired up, and pushed Nia. This had little effect on Jax, who showed understanding despite also being angry. Walking away from Bayley, Nia Jax managed to stay calm, leaving the ring.
Moving on from that, viewers were informed that Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman were in the building.
Returning from the break, Paul Heyman was interviewed. During the interview, Paul Heyman confirmed that Brock Lesnar was here tonight, and was ready for Roman Reigns.
The set up to another match at SummerSlam appeared to be warming up after this, as Alexa Bliss called out Ronda Rousey. Earlier in the night, Kurt Angle had told Alexa to stop complaining and find a resolution to their rivalry. When she did, Ronda was all too happy to offer a solution.
Getting Alexa alone, Ronda Rousey said that she agreed with Kurt Angle. Her idea was simple, as she explained that she didn’t want to keep chasing Bliss, she just wanted to fight her. Ronda Rousey then made a challenge to face Alexa Bliss at SummerSlam. Alexa Bliss replied to the challenge, speaking in a way which led viewers to believe she was going to accept the challenge. However, she finished her promo by saying “Alexa Bliss… Ronda Rousey… at SummerSlam. I… I… I acce… I’ll think about it”. Alexa then left the ring with a smile on her face, having frustrated Ronda once again.
After promoting 205 Live on the show last week, Drave Maverick was shown in the arena at Raw. Interviewed about his attendance, Drake thanked Kurt for the spot last week, and said he had a meeting with Kurt. After speaking with Jason Jordan in the back, as he offered to deal with Kurt’s “Owens & Zayn problem”, Angle welcomed Drake to his office.
The two exchanged pleasantries, before Kurt asked “what can I do for you?” Drake Maverick said that he came here for “a favour” but having spoke with some of the guys backstage tonight, he needs “more than a favour” telling Kurt “I need a miracle…”
Following up last week’s attack, The Authors of Pain defeated Titus Worldwide with relative ease. After the match, Bray Wyatt & Matt Hardy appeared.
Wanting revenge for the assault last week, and looking to prove their victory at Extreme Rules wasn’t a fluke, the Tag Team Champions challenged The Authors of Pain to a match next week on Raw.
Later on, Jinder Mahal continued to mock and taunt Bobby Roode, claiming that “The Glorious One” was facing Sunil Singh tonight because it was deemed he wasn’t on the level of Jinder Mahal.
After picking up an easy win, Bobby Roode went after Jinder Mahal, but had his leg grabbed by Sunil Singh. This allowed Jinder Mahal to get the better of the exchange, which ended when “The Modern Day Maharaja” was able to hit a Khallas to Roode.
Returning to Kurt Angle’s issues with the ungovernable Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn, Chad Gable took to the microphone to defend the Raw GM, who the duo mocked, and claimed lacked the respect of the Raw roster. While Gable looked to talk up his respect for his boss, Jason Jordan came out behind him.
Speaking over Gable, much to his annoyance, Jason Jordan decided his story was more important to tell. Jordan then talked about Kurt Angle being his father, and promising that if anybody can beat some respect into Owens & Zayn, it’s him.
It was however Chad Gable who went one on one with Kevin Owens. Soon it became clear that Chad Gable was wholly uncomfortable with Jordan at ringside, who the commentators said “isn’t the same man that Chad knew in American Alpha”. Thrown off his game, Chad Gable was defeated by Kevin Owens. After the match, Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn stood tall in the ring.
While Kurt Angle may not like them, it was made clear that he had no choice but to deal with “Stephanie McMahon’s personal projects”, who continue to do well on the show.
In a silly skit that opened the final hour of Raw, Elias looked for his missing Guitar ahead of a scheduled performance. When he eventually found the Guitar, Heath Slater was using it to teach Rhyno, telling his partner “I used to be in a band”. Once Elias got the Guitar back, he went to go out and perform, only to be told it was too late, and he would be unable to make the appearance.
Ruby Riott then looked to prove herself once more, after taking out her frustrations on her Riott Squad companions last week. Telling them to stay in the back, Ruby fared no better as she went one on one with Ember Moon.
Without her partners pulling the strings, Ruby stood even less of a chance, and was defeated following an “Eclipse” from Ember Moon.
Put over as a generational clash, the commentators highlighted the competitors as two of the most athletic Superstars in WWE history. This showed in the ring, as the two men - each with something to prove - went all out to steal the show. While Dolph Ziggler showed his wiley experience, Finn Balor’s determination shone through as he fought against the odds. Despite the presence at ringside, Balor was able to overcome Dolph Ziggler, pinning him following a Coupe De Grace. It was made clear after the match that the result really could have gone either way.
Finn Balor bt. Dolph Ziggler
Just seconds after having his hand raised in the ring, Finn Balor was jumped from behind by Drew McIntyre.
Clearly angry about their unsuccessful night, Dolph Ziggler soon joined his partner in the attack. Aggressively laying into Finn, Drew McIntyre and Dolph Ziggler appeared ready to take him to the outside, looking to take the attack up another level. However, before they could do too much damage, Seth Rollins ran down to even the odds.
Whether it was about saving Balor from the assault, or getting a measure of revenge for earlier, Seth Rollins’ presence saved the former WWE Universal Champion from certain disaster. Managing to run off the two men, who clearly had ruthless intentions, Seth Rollins checked on Finn Balor, who appeared more receptive to the help than he had been in recent weeks.
Promoted heavily throughout the entire evening, the show closed with a meeting between the Champion and the Challenger, who will go one on one for the WWE Universal Championship at SummerSlam.
Relying heavily on the history between the two men, a hype video earlier in the night recapped the controversial ending to their match at “The Greatest Royal Rumble”. Bizarrely, just moments before he was set to go out and mediate the face-to-face, Kurt Angle received a call. Seemingly taking instruction from his superiors, Kurt Angle was ordered to stay in the back, much to his frustration. This allowed Paul Heyman to control the first interaction between Brock Lesnar and Roman Reigns, since the confirmation of the Main Event of SummerSlam.
Doing his best sell job, Paul Heyman put over the indecisive nature of the finish to their last match, as well as the importance of proving his dominance to Brock Lesnar. While Brock Lesnar didn’t initially want to face Roman Reigns again, he changed his mind after hearing the rewriting of history by Roman Reigns himself. Speaking to Brock Lesnar, and not Paul Heyman, the challenger’s attempts to get a rise out of Brock Lesnar failed. Lesnar instead made it clear that he had no concerns about going through Reigns again at SummerSlam.
Throughout his promo, Paul Heyman made a number of allusions to the WWE Universe’s discontent with the match being made once again, making it clear that “controversial decision” by Raw’s management to make the match was very much a part of the story. Playing on the idea that the WWE Universe doesn’t want to see Roman Reigns as the one to dethrone Brock Lesnar, Paul Heyman went as far as to say that “for every member of the WWE Universe that is complaining about this match… another 99 are signing up to the Network to watch Brock Lesnar kick the last few drops out of the Roman Reigns cash cow”.
These bizarre references to the criticism of the WWE’s booking continued, with Paul Heyman eventually being cut off by Kurt Angle.
Paul Heyman warned Kurt Angle that he had been specifically told by his superiors to stay away, but the Raw General Manager didn’t care. Saying that he’d had enough, Kurt Angle declared that if they’re going to fire him, he might as well give them a reason to. Kurt Angle’s breaking point had been reached, and he told Paul Heyman that going above his head is going to bite him on the ass. Paul Heyman attempted to discourage Kurt Angle with the threat of violence from Brock Lesnar, but Kurt Angle told Paul Heyman that he didn’t come alone.
Pointing behind him, Kurt Angle said that Paul might be willing to “Unleash The Beast”, but he has opened the doors to “The Monster Amongst Men”. Having once again broken the ruling that he be barred from the building, Braun Strowman’s appearance angered Paul Heyman. Lesnar and Reigns however seemed ready for whatever was to follow.
Holding his “Money In The Bank” Briefcase, Braun Strowman nodded at Kurt Angle, as Michael Cole suggested that this was the plan they spoke about last week. This time, as Braun came to the ring, Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman stayed put, knowing that with Roman Reigns also in the ring, Strowman would be reluctant to cash in, and would more than likely fail if he tried to do so.
They need not have worried anyway, as Braun Strowman left his Briefcase on the Steel Steps, instead entering the ring with a microphone. Cutting off the “Champion and Challenger” segment, Braun Strowman got in Brock Lesnar’s face. Unflinching, Brock Lesnar stared Strowman in the eyes, as The Monster Amongst Men told him, “Brock… we’re sick of the same old crap!”
Looking to use the fan’s disdain towards the idea of Brock Lesnar and Roman Reigns going one on one at SummerSlam to get him cheered, Braun Strowman continued, adding “we’re tired of Brock Lesnar vs. Roman Reigns… we’re tired of you holding the Universal Championship… and we’re tired of waiting for you to ‘Get These Hands’!” Feeling left out, Roman Reigns grabbed Braun Strowman by the shoulder. Braun Strowman would then give it to Roman Reigns both barrels, saying “you’re just as bad as he is, Roman!”
“The WWE Universe don’t want see you get this shot… and neither do I!” Braun Strowman would then grab his “Money In The Bank” Briefcase from ringside, returning to stand between Brock Lesnar and Roman Reigns. Braun Strowman would then close the show by saying:
“You can have your Brock Lesnar vs. Roman Reigns… but at SummerSlam, I’m cashing in this Case - and you’re both gonna ‘Get These Hands’!” He then turned specifically to Brock Lesnar, adding “...and I, I’m gonna get my
hands on the WWE Universal Championship!”
Seth Rollins bt. Drew McIntyre
Sasha Banks bt. Nia Jax (DQ)
Authors of Pain bt. Titus Worldwide
Bobby Roode bt. Sunil Singh
Kevin Owens bt. Chad Gable
Ember Moon bt. Ruby Riott
Finn Balor bt. Dolph Ziggler