August 8th, 2016
From the Honda Center in Anaheim, CA
Your hosts are Corey Graves, Byron Saxton, and Michael Cole
The show starts with Enzo & Big Cass heading out to the ring as the crowd was happy to see them. Enzo talks about coming out to greet Sasha Banks on RAW last week then quotes the band Sublime as he talks about how they had great chemistry and how “Jon Bon Jericho” robbed any chance he had with her by interrupting. Enzo then accuses Jericho of breaking the “man code” for wearing a scarf without a shirt. Enzo then makes more references to bands and songs before telling Jericho he is going down. Jericho himself comes out and tells Enzo he is more irritating than “Achy, Breaky, Heart.” He then makes fun of Enzo & Cass and tells them he now has someone watching his back too as Kevin Owens comes out. They head out to the ring together where Jericho claims that Owens and himself are closer than brothers. Owens tells Jericho he does have his back after being asked then Cass makes a joke about them sharing the same bathtub. Jericho calls the crowd “stupid idiots” for laughing as that as Cass tells him to do something about it then. Owens talks to Cass and says that he was one of the few guys in NXT he liked because he could relate to him because they both carried around friends that were dead weight but unlike Cass, he got rid of the dead weight as Owens is pissed about having to hear Enzo speak on RAW. Owens then tells Cass he is going to hurt him as Cass approaches and towers over him. Owens then says if he does not hurt him, Jericho will. Jericho then told Cass he will hurt him as Cass challenges him, only for Jericho to say he was looking at Enzo and wanted to fight him as Cass points out that Jericho was looking right at him. After that, Enzo & Cass’s music hits.
Solid segment to start off the show. Here, they played up the Owens & Jericho alliance as two guys uniting because they cannot stand Enzo but still really only care about themselves while attempting to get the other one to go after Cass, who is clearly being positioned as the force here. I do not have a problem with Cass getting a push either as he is someone who is worth taking a chance with based off what we have seen so far.
Chris Jericho w/ Kevin Owens vs. Enzo w/ Big Cass
Jericho takes down Enzo to start. Enzo comes back with a dropkick and a pair of armdrags. Enzo then works the arm until Jericho makes it to the ropes. Jericho uses a cheap shot after the break and lights up Enzo in the corner. Enzo comes back with a pair of headscissors but runs into a clothesline as Owens taunts him from the floor. Owens cheap shots Enzo behind the referee’s back then Jericho gets two off of a snap suplex as he uses a cocky cover. Jericho cuts off a comeback with a dropkick but Enzo skins-the-cat before backdropping Jericho to the floor. Enzo then sends Jericho into the barricade with a baseball slide as we head to commercial. We return with Jericho in control. Enzo catches Jericho with a boot then jumps off of the top with what was supposed to be either a facebuster or DDT as both men are down. Enzo makes his comeback after that but the crowd is quiet. Jericho blocks a hurricarana attempt and turns that into the Walls of Jericho as the crowd awakes to rally behind Enzo, who reaches the ropes. Jericho thinks that Enzo tapped and complains to the ref as Enzo hits a flying body press for a nearfall. Jericho rolls outside for a breather but Enzo takes him out with a pescado. Jericho distracts the ref as Owens holds on to Enzo’s leg. Cass chases Owens away but Jericho hits Enzo with a Codebreaker. Cass then runs in to hit Jericho with a big boot as the ref rings the bell for the DQ (11:11) **. After the match, Owens pulls Jericho out and yells how they won because they have each other’s back. Cass then gets on the mic and challenges them to a Tag Team match at SummerSlam. Owens accepts and says they will win as Cass does his SAWFT routine, with Owens blocking Jericho’s ears and saying that is not how to spell the word.
Thoughts: This match was not too good. These guys struggled to get on the same page and the crowd was not into most of the match. However, at least it led to these guys facing off at SummerSlam, which should be a better match than this was.
Tonight, Rusev and Lana will celebrate their wedding.
Backstage, Mick Foley is on the phone with Stephanie McMahon. He mentions it was his idea to invite Smackdown GM Daniel Bryan to tonight’s show. Mick also mentions how he loves his new tablet, while holding his clipboard, then Sasha Banks walks in as Mick said the boss has arrived then tells Stephanie its Sasha and not her father. He hangs up as Sasha tells Mick she is sick of Dana Brooke interfering on Charlotte’s behalf and wants to face them both in a handicapped match at SummerSlam. Mick tells Sasha that she will face Dana tonight. If she wins, then Dana is barred from ringside at SummerSlam but if she loses, then it will be a handicapped match. This segment did not make a whole lot of sense here as Sasha beat them with a surprise partner and defeated Charlotte for the Title.
We return from break as Braun Strowman heads out to the ring. We then see Byron Saxton backstage with Jorel Nelson, Strowman’s opponent for tonight. He wrestles on the West Coast and is part of Championship Wrestling From Hollywood. Nelson is unable to tell Saxton why he took this match then comes out to the ring looking scared to death.
Braun Strowman vs. Jorel Nelson
Nelson is afraid to get into the ring to Strowman knocks him off of the apron. He then tosses Nelson back inside and finishes him off with the reverse chokeslam (0:50).
Thoughts: This crowd was into Strowman and the gimmick is fun but he has to show the ability to wrestle in an actual match and based on what we have seen so far, he is a long, long way from getting there.
Foley is backstage on his tablet when Puff Daddy enters. Daddy talks about the WWE treating them like family and offers them tickets to the Bad Boy Family tour. Xavier Woods & Kofi Kingston enter as they congratulate Daddy for producing the soundtrack for WWE 2K17. Daddy asks how Big E’s nuts are doing as they tell him he cannot say that word as Xavier & Kofi tell him he is badly hurt. He was billed as the host and this was his only appearance. This was largely a waste of time.
Titus O’Neill vs. Darren Young w/ Bob Backlund
This is a rematch from last week when Titus cheated to beat Young. Match starts with Young surprising Titus with a slap to the face. Young then lands a few more shots until getting caught with a knee smash. Titus sends Young outside and rams him into the ring apron. Back inside, Titus slaps Young around and roughs him up as he looks over at Backlund. Young fights back and floats over to roll up Titus and grabs the tights for the win (1:58) 1/2*.
Thoughts: This match wasnt much and the fans do not seem into this feud. However, it looks like we are going to get another match between these two, perhaps on the SummerSlam Kickoff Show
Another video hyping up the Cruiserweight Division. Still no word exactly when it will make its debut on RAW.
Seth Rollins heads out to the ring. He tells the crowd that he has learned a thing or two about Finn Balor. Rollins originally thought Balor was a cheap imitation of himself, like the Jared Leto to his Heath Ledger. We are then shown clips of their interaction from last week and after that, Rollins tells us he is not a normal man and was able to get up after what happened. He then talks about the whole world knows he is great but they do not about much about Balor. Rollins tells us that Finn Balor is not even his real name and how it means “Demon King” while saying its ridiculous and how he should call himself Seth “Rambo Apocalypse” Rollins. He also calls Balor one of the most disrespectful human beings he has ever met and says this is his place. Rollins then flips out over Balor’s comment that he was handed his title shot and had not earned anything and says he knows who he is and what he is capable of, stating he is the man. And after 200 years, parents will tell their kids stories about his legacy. The crowd cheered when he brought up how he conquered the “Roman Empire.” Rollins then closes by saying that at SummerSlam, he will add to his legacy when he becomes the first-ever WWE Universal Champion.
Excellent promo by Rollins, who displayed a tremendous amount of arrogance and delusion here. He’s been great on the mic since his return from injury.
Replay off Randy Orton surprising Brock Lesnar with an RKO last week, with Cole letting us know we will see what Lesnar did to Orton on Smackdown later on in the show.
Sheamus vs. Cesaro
Last week, Cesaro beat Sheamus as beforehand they were told the one who looked more impressive would get a future title shot. Now, they are told to have another match tonight as no one was impressive enough. Sheamus starts by beating on Cesaro then works a side headlock. Cesaro comes back with a dropkick then clotheslines Sheamus to the floor where he flies out with a tope. Back inside, Sheamus takes control but Cesaro deadlifts him for a vertical suplex as that gets two. Cesaro then unloads on Sheamus in the corner but Sheamus cuts him off the top and hits a rolling senton as we head to break. The match returns with Sheamus working a chinlock. Cesaro fights back with uppercuts then they trade strikes until Cesaro gets two with a flying body press. Cesaro signals for the swing but Sheamus blocks that and hits a reverse neckbreaker for two. They work a nifty reversal sequence that ends with Cesaro ducking a Brogue Kick by taking out Sheamus’ leg and rolling him up for two. Sheamus then catches Cesaro with the Irish Curse for a nearfall. Sheamus is seething as a “this is awesome” chant breaks out as he hits the White Noise but still cannot put Cesaro away. He heads up top where Cesaro cuts him off and they trade strikes until Cesaro knocks him to the floor with a dropkick. Cesaro hits a charging uppercut on the floor then starts the uppercut train in the ring but Sheamus uses the ref as a shield. Sheamus then uses a cheap shot and rolls up Cesaro but the ref got hit in the process. Sheamus yells at the ref but Cesaro surprises Sheamus with a revere rollup for the win (11:00) ***1/2. After the match, Sheamus is pissed as Cesaro celebrates his win.
Thoughts: Very good hard-hitting match. The crowd loved Cesaro and really got into this as it went along. Cesaro is getting some momentum going with his second straight win over Sheamus.
Now, we are shown the clip of Brock Lesnar hitting Randy Orton with an F5 on last week’s Smackdown Live.
We get a video package hyping up the Lesnar vs. Orton match at SummerSlam. We are shown a lot of highlights from OVW and their WWE careers. They played up that Orton was pissed that Lesnar decided to leave the WWE because he did not like people as Lesnar talks about there not being any relationship between the two and who cares that they trained together. The package itself was great but selling the match on the premise that its been something brewing since OVW comes off a bit too manufactured.
Dudley Boyz vs. Neville & Sin Cara
Sin Cara was the handpicked mystery partner by Neville, who was challenged by the Dudley Boyz to find a partner for this match during the RAW Pre-Show. Sin Cara has new black attire but still has the Lucha Dragons theme music. The announcers talk about the Dudleys being upset with the New Era. The Dudleys work over Sin Cara to start the match. Bubba takes Neville off of the apron then Sin Cara flies out with a tope con hilo. Back inside, Sin Cara hits a quebrada but ends up wasting time on the apron getting into D-Von’s face as Bubba knocks him off in an odd spot. Bubba mocks the Lucha chant as Sin Cara fights back then makes the tag. Neville runs wild on D-Von then dodges an attack as D-Von accidentally clotheslines Bubba, who rolls outside. Neville then flies out to take out Bubba then heads back inside to hit a springboard missile dropkick before getting the win with the Red Arrow (5:18) *1/2.
Thoughts: The match itself was fine and Neville looked great. The end of this seemed to be leading to the split of the Dudley Boyz as Bubba looked pissed at D-Von for losing. Bubba has a singles heel would be better than teaming up with D-Von, who really does not offer much of anything at the moment. I have no idea if Neville & Sin Cara will be a team going forward but for the moment, it can at least get both guys on the show as they had nothing going on as solo wrestlers.
Daniel Bryan is shown walking backstage as the announcers tell us Foley invited him on to “clear the air.”
Now, Rusev and Lana come out to generic wedding music. Rusev is wearing a vest and pants while Lana wears a white dress. The ring features champagne and a wedding cake. Lana tells us all she got a fairy tale wedding that none of us could attend because it was VIP only. The crowd gives her the “what” treatment as Rusev yells at them to respect his wife. Lana tells us all we will get to see them re-experience their wedding day after she kissed his bicep as we are shown photos from their wedding. After that ends, we hear a boring chant break out as Rusev tells the crowd he knows they want more photos then they both make fun of the crowd for how expensive their wedding was and how poor they are while Lana demands the crowd take out their phones as they re-declare their marriage vows. Now, Roman Reigns interrupts as he strolls down to the ring. The crowd boos Reigns, who tells Lana & Rusev to relax. He says he is not out here to ruin their moment then tells Rusev he noticed there was no best man and he should step up and fill the role. He then offers to give them a toast but Rusev says he does not need it as Reigns then wants him to accept his challenge for the U.S. Championship at SummerSlam. Reigns then says if he will not accept the challenge, he will hear his toast as he pours some drinks. Reigns thanks them both and cracks a joke about Lana being a mail-order bride before saying he is disappointed, like Lana was on their wedding night. This infuriates Rusev, who then attacks Reigns as that triggers a brawl and as Rusev told Lana to leave, Reigns bumped into Rusev, who bumped into Lana, sending her into the cake. Lana then screams and flips out as she tells Reigns she hates him as Rusev tries to calm her down. Reigns then leaves with a smirk on his face.
I wasnt the biggest fan of this segment. However, Reigns at least came off better here than he did in the past when having to do comedy. He acted like a dick here and if he did that all of the time, you’d have a top heel on your hands. Before he came out, the segment was dragging terribly, despite the best efforts from both Lana & Rusev. I thought Lana was really good in selling her anger over getting knocked into the cake.
After the break, Lana and Rusev are backstage flipping out as Rusev demands that Foley do something about this. Foley tells Rusev he can do so by facing Reigns in a match at SummerSlam. Foley leaves as Rusev screams in Bulgarian.
Sasha Banks vs. Dana Brooke w/ Charlotte
Dana attacks a distracted Sasha from behind to start. Sasha comes back with a hiptoss and a double knee smash but Dana hotshots her on the turnbuckle then fires away. She now puts Sasha in a Japanese strangle hold but Sasha escapes and hits a few clotheslines. Sasha eats boot on a charge then gets clotheslined for a nearfall. Dana gets a few other nearfalls and slaps Sasha around then they work a terribly mistimed spot where Charlotte accidentally slapped Dana. Sasha then takes Charlotte down and takes Dana off the corner with a double knee smash for the win (2:43) 1/4*.
Thoughts: This match was bad and the finish looked horrific. Since getting called up, Dana has bombed on the main roster and the result of this seemed to be a way to write her off the show and hopefully rebuild her character.
We get a promo from Finn Balor, sitting in a dark room with a fog machine in the background. He tells Rollins that he has some misconceptions about who he is as then proceeds to tell us about Irish mythology before ending with Balor telling Rollins that at SummerSlam, he will meet the Demon King as his eyes turn into his demon character as the segment ends.
I liked how Balor came off here and the how this was presented but once they talked about the mythology it got too corny for my liking. Even still, they’ve done a fine job at building up Balor as something special since his debut on RAW.
Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson are dressed up as doctors talking about the condition known as “ring post-itis” as Anderson shows up a jar that is supposed to be Big E’s testicles as they tell us about how they will need another sample tonight from Kofi Kingston. More bad comedy here.
Kofi Kingston w/ Xavier Woods vs. Luke Gallows w/ Karl Anderson
In a nice touch, Gallows & Anderson wear their doctors coats to the ring. Gallows beats on Kofi to start. Kofi pulls the ropes down on Gallows and flies out with an attack. Back inside, Anderson distracts Kofi until Xavier makes the save but Anderson sends Xavier into the barricade then Gallows attacks Kofi and brings him back inside to hit a Flapjack for the win (1:37) 1/2*. After the match, Gallows & Anderson are about to give Kofi some ringpost-itis but Xavier makes the save by slamming the post with a chair as Gallows & Anderson leave and taunt them by asking Big E’s whereabouts.
Thoughts: This was not much of a match at all as the story here is how its unlikely that the New Day can retain the titles against Gallows & Anderson without Big E.
Earlier today, we see Goldust looking in the parking lot for R-Truth. He runs into Scooby Doo and the Mystery Machine Bus. R-Truth comes out and believes Goldust has replaced him with Scooby Doo. R-Truth and Scooby almost get into an altercation until Goldust intervenes and suggest they all watch the new WWE Scooby Doo film. R-Truth then does a Scooby Doo impression as they all leave. This was an incredibly lame to hype up the movie. And at this point of the show, a lot of the audience for whom this movie is designed for are likely in bed.
After the break, Mick Foley is in the ring. He talks about the wedding we saw tonight being “fresh” while referencing Hammurabi’s Code before bringing out Daniel Bryan. Both guys put over each other and the work they have been doing before putting over their own brands. We are now shown a clip of Bryan making fun of RAW on “Talking Smack” for them having the Universal Champion. Bryan then says that was taken out of context as Foley takes offense then Rusev comes out. Rusev tells us RAW has a champion in himself and puts him arm around Foley, who he calls the greatest GM ever. Bryan calls out Rusev for sucking up to Foley in an attempt to get out of his match against Reigns at SummerSlam. Rusev tells Bryan he will squash him or any other Smackdown competitor as Cesaro comes out. Cesaro says he has an idea to make Rusev’s night even worse and that is deserves a title shot. Foley tells Cesaro he did not think he was very impressive tonight while Cesaro challenged him by saying he thought he was a man of his word. Bryan even tells Cesaro he thinks he is being underutilized on RAW as the crowd starts the “yes” chant while Foley decides to make Cesaro vs. Rusev for the U.S. Championship, with the winner facing Roman Reigns at SummerSlam.
They teased more conflict between Foley and Bryan, which all came off awkward, and continued the story of Cesaro being underutilized. Maybe I am in the minority but I do not care for Bryan in the GM role. For the most part, its a lot of smiling and tripping over his lines. This was a pro-Cesaro crowd so that part got over well here at least.
WWE United States Championship Match: Rusev (c) vs. Cesaro
Rusev demanded that ring announcer Jojo introduce him first. Cesaro starts off with the uppercut train and tries for the swing but Rusev reaches the ropes. Rusev ducks outside as Cesaro takes him down with a senton from the apron. Back inside, Cesaro gets two with a flying body press. Rusev blocks the Neutralizer and tries a slingshot but Cesaro lands on the middle rope. However, Rusev sidesteps a crossbody then takes control of the match. He targets the injured shoulder of Cesaro for a while until Cesaro ends up deadlifting Rusev with one arm for a slam. Both men are down as Cesaro is up first and hits a few uppercuts. Cesaro gets two with a tornado DDT but his shoulder his still hurt as Rusev gets two with a super kick. He tries for the Accolade but Cesaro powers out with an electric chair drop as both men are down. The crowd rallies behind Cesaro as he slugs it out with Rusev. Cesaro his the springboard corkscrew uppercut then pumps up the crowd before hitting the swing. Cesaro then applies the Sharpshooter as Sheamus runs out and jumps up on the apron. Cesaro chases him off but ends up walking into a super kick as that gets two. Rusev tries for another Accolade as Cesaro ducked underneath and shoved Rusev, who runs into the referee. Cesaro then hits the Neutralizer and covers but the referee is down. Cesaro drags the ref closer and he count but Rusev just manages to kick out. Rusev then thumbs Cesaro in the eye and Sheamus boots Cesaro in the face as he was hunched over on the ropes then Cesaro walks into a roundhouse kick as Rusev gets the win (9:36) ***1/4. After the match, Rusev is on the floor celebrating but Reigns runs out and hits a spear. We then see Steve Austin with Dan Ambrose backstage for the Stone Cold Podcast as the show ends.
Thoughts: Good match and I would love to see a longer bout between the two. The end here could result in a tag match next week or even a Four Way at SummerSlam. Cesaro was protected well in defeat as he had the champ beat but unable to win due to constant interference.
Final Thoughts: Overall, the show as okay I suppose. They did a good job at hyping up the top matches at SummerSlam and I thought they made Cesaro appear as a bigger threat than before as he had two very good TV matches against physical opponents.
However, a lot of the backstage and in-ring talking segments were not good. A lot of bad comedy here tonight. Plus, this is the 3rd RAW after the draft and they continue to show us Cruiserweight Division hype videos yet fail to let us know when the division will make its debut.
Its also interesting to see Roman Reigns in the midcard. I actually thought he showed a lot more presence here than he has in a while, even though it was a lame segment. Towards the end, the fans were not booing him nearly as much. Going forward, he should act like that.
Anyway, SummerSlam is shaping up to be a great show on paper anyway as they have one more live show before the PPV.