Monday Night Raw
Date: July 16, 2018
Location: Keybank Center, Buffalo, New York
Commentators: Michael Cole, Corey Graves, Jonathan Coachman
Now it’s time for a big show with the possibility of Brock Lesnar showing up. With the UFC return looming and Lesnar still as the Universal Champion, there’s a very good chance we’ll find out what he’s going to do next tonight. I could go for having him lose the title on TV but I don’t think WWE would actually do it, even if it would fix a lot of their problems. Let’s get to it.
In Memory of Masa Saito. I still want to know why Matt Cappotelli was ignored.
General Manager Kurt Angle is in the ring to start and gets straight to the point about Brock. Angle says he hasn’t heard from Lesnar or his representatives so he is stripping Lesnar of the title….and here’s Paul Heyman to interrupt. Kurt: “Everybody knows who you are Paul.” Heyman does his reigning, defending bit before saying Lesnar isn’t here tonight. Angle again is ready to strip him but Heyman cuts him off a second time. A very loud STRIP THE TITLE chant starts up as Heyman is sounding nervous.
Heyman thinks Angle and the fans have it all wrong when they think Lesnar only cares about being UFC Champion again. Angle: “Then why doesn’t he show up???” What Lesnar wants to do is challenge for the UFC Title with the Universal Title around his waist so he can represent WWE. Angle appreciates the goal but Lesnar is going to defend the title at Summerslam or he’s no longer champion. Heyman panics but agrees to the title match.
He’s not done though as he calls Angle a highly intelligent General Manager. All that is left now is to determine the #1 contender so here’s Bobby Lashley. When he came back to WWE, he had two goals: beat Roman Reigns and beat Lesnar. He accomplished one of those last night and now it’s time to accomplish the other. Hang on though as here’s Drew McIntyre (without Dolph Ziggler) to interrupt. He didn’t come back to make up roster numbers or stand in Ziggler’s corner.
Phase one was keeping the Intercontinental Title around Ziggler’s waist but now it’s time for phase two. Next up is Seth Rollins to a big reaction to say he’s right here to be Lesnar’s opponent. Now it’s Elias with the guitar to a weaker reaction but the catchphrase gets a roar. Elias likes the sound of being Universal Champion and since his album comes out next Monday, he should be facing Lesnar at Summerslam.
We’re not done yet though as it’s Finn Balor coming out to say he was the first Universal Champion and deserves another shot. Then it’s the one you’ve been waiting for as Reigns is here to the incredible heat you would expect. Reigns doesn’t have any excuses and just wants to fight someone tonight. Angle makes two triple threat matches for tonight with the winners facing off next week for the Summerslam shot. First up it’s Elias vs. Rollins vs. Lashley. The other will be Reigns vs. McIntyre vs. Balor and that’s right now.
Post break Baron Corbin complains to Angle about not having Stephanie’s permission to make those matches and not putting Corbin in one of them. Angle says Corbin lost last night and leaves.
Roman Reigns vs. Drew McIntyre vs. Finn Balor
McIntyre chops both of them to start but Balor knocks them both to the floor for a big flip dive. Back in and McIntyre takes over again, including a big boot to the corner on Reigns. Balor gets knocked to the floor and McIntyre hammers on Reigns as he’s been by far the most dominant so far.
We come back from a break with McIntyre still in control but Reigns makes the fired up (well the Raw version of Reigns being fired up) comeback. The apron dropkick hits McIntyre but Balor stomps him down. McIntyre follows it with a big flip dive over the top so Balor double stomps him as well. Back in and the Coup de Grace is loaded up but McIntyre chairs Balor off the top. Reigns gets sent into the post and we take another break.
Back again with Reigns’ Superman Punch being countered into a spinebuster for two. Balor is back in with the chair to McIntyre though and then unloads on Reigns with the chair. Instead of covering him though, Balor goes outside to dropkick McIntyre, who gets speared through the barricade. Back in, Reigns Superman Punches Balor for two but Balor dropkicks him into the corner.
The Coup de Grace gets two with McIntyre making a last second save. Reigns and McIntyre mistime a sequence where the Claymore was supposed to be Superman Punched, instead making it McIntyre stopping to get punched. The spear ends Balor to give Reigns the pin at 22:01.
Rating: B. I’m trying really hard to believe that Reigns won’t be getting the title shot and while I’m still not convinced that he will be, you never can put it past WWE. I do like the idea of McIntyre moving up to the main event scene, even if this is just a one off time. At least he didn’t take the pin and it’s not like anyone buys Balor as a top star anymore. Reigns winning was pretty obvious though and while it’s annoying, you have to know it’s coming.
Bayley is in Angle’s office but Sasha Banks won’t come in. She thinks the friendship counseling failed but Angle disagrees. Say it with me: THEY’RE TEAMING UP TONIGHT IN A TAG MATCH! If they can’t get along, one of them is being traded to Smackdown. So yes, trades can officially happen in WWE. Remember that when someone is floundering and desperately needs to be moved to another show. Maybe a loser leaves Raw match at Summerslam?
Here’s Dolph Ziggler with something to say. He did everything he said he would do last night because he is IRON MAN and still the Intercontinental Champion. Last night the Intercontinental Title main evented a pay per view for the first time in seventeen years and it wasn’t because of Rollins. Ziggler respects what Rollins did for the title but last night, he beat Rollins five times.
Cue Bobby Roode (egads I had forgotten he existed) to say he didn’t hear Ziggler thanking McIntyre for getting him through last night’s match. Ziggler laughs it off because Roode wasn’t even on the show and Roode agrees that the sidelines suck. That’s why Roode is here with a challenge for a title match right now. Ziggler says get a referee out here right now.
Dolph Ziggler vs. Bobby Roode
Non-title by Ziggler’s orders. Roode headlocks him down and Ziggler reverses into one of his own. A trip to the floor goes nowhere so Ziggler scores with a dropkick for two. Ziggler’s swinging neckbreaker gets the same and it’s off to a break. Back with Ziggler holding a chinlock until Roode throws him off without much effort.
The Blockbuster looks to set up the Glorious DDT but Ziggler reverses into a rollup for two. More rollups get more twos until the Zig Zag gets a close two. The superkick is countered into a catapult into the corner and Ziggler is rocked again. Roode tweaks his knee coming off the middle rope so Ziggler “hits” a superkick (it wasn’t even close) for the pin at 13:36.
Rating: C+. Roode is such a weird case as he screams heel and has good matches but can never come close to getting anywhere as a face. There’s just nothing there for him and aside from a forgettable US Title run, I can’t really picture him getting anywhere else without switching to the other side where he belongs.
Lashley says he’ll win.
Roode is in the back when Mojo Rawley comes up with a slow clap.
Mojo Rawley vs. Tyler Breeze
Breeze dropkicks him to the floor to start but gets run over with a football block to take him down. Back in and the chinlock keeps Breeze in trouble until he fights up and sends Mojo outside. Mojo jumps from the floor to the apron and then over the top, setting up another tackle. The running corner right hand set sup an Alabama Slam for the pin at 3:09.
Rating: D+. I know he’s not the most popular guy in the world but I still like Rawley and they seem to at least be giving him a little something. Rawley vs. Roode isn’t much to see and while I would imagine Roode losing, Rawley has the bigger upside, if nothing else just due to age and more charisma.
Bayley/Sasha Banks vs. Alicia Fox/Dana Brooke
Bayley sends Fox into the corner to start as Cole gets a text from Goldust of all people who wants to be Banks and Bayley’s therapist. Dana misses a handspring elbow and everything breaks down with Fox jumping Bayley on the floor. A very fired up Banks goes over for the save and beats the heck out of Fox and Brooke until it’s a double countout at 2:33.
Post break Sasha is trying to storm off and yells at Bayley about how she can’t handle anyone else being mean to her. She knows Bayley is a good person and has always cared about her. Banks says she loves her and leaves. I’m not sure if they’re going where it seems that they are, but that would be a heck of a big step if they do.
Braun Strowman doesn’t care about the triple threats because he can cash in his briefcase anytime.
Ascension vs. B-Team
Non-title. Joined in progress with Konnor being sent shoulder first into the corner but kicking Axel away for the tag to Viktor. Everything breaks down and Konnor gets sent to the floor, leaving Viktor to take the belly to back suplex neckbreaker combination for the pin at 2:18.
Post match Matt Hardy and Bray Wyatt pop up to say their rematch is next week.
Video on Nia Jax vs. Alexa Bliss from last night.
Here are Bliss and Mickie James to brag about beating Jax again last night. Bliss says it wasn’t hard to outsmart Jax last night and she has now beaten everyone in that locker room. Ronda Rousey doesn’t count because she’s suspended and therefore not in the locker room. Cue Rousey through the crowd to cut them off before they can leave though, meaning it’s the spinning Samoan drop to James.
Bliss pulls her away from the armbar just in time but Rousey isn’t done and jumps onto the two of them and the referees. That means an armbar for Bliss but Angle comes out to calm things down. Angle tells her to go home and sit out her suspension so here’s Corbin to say make a decision. Kurt extends the suspension by a week but Corbin freaks, saying he’ll call Stephanie RIGHT NOW. Well he will once he finds his phone. Angle has the phone and says Rousey can have the match with Bliss at Summerslam for the Women’s Title, provided she doesn’t attack Bliss again before then.
We recap the opening segment and the first triple threat.
Rollins is ready for tonight, next week and Summerslam.
Authors of Pain vs. Titus Worldwide
The Authors waste no time in sending Titus into the post to the floor. Back in and an atomic drop/big boot combination drops Crews, followed by a double gutbuster. The Last Chapter ends Crews at 2:07.
No Way Jose and the Conga Lina meet the Riott Squad and nothing happens.
Ember Moon vs. Sarah Logan
Logan takes her down to start as Cole talks about Logan thinking she’s a viking. A running forearm knocks Moon to the floor and Morgan gets in a cheap shot from the floor. Moon gets two off a small package before getting pulled down into a chinlock. Ember fights up after a long while and kicks Logan in the head for two of his own. The Eclipse is loaded up but Morgan offers a distraction so Logan can pull Moon down into a crash for the pin at 3:57.
Rating: D+. Well that was surprising. Logan being pushed as the new star of the team while Riott is out makes more sense than having the inexperienced Morgan. The match was short and the ending wasn’t clean, but my goodness tell me they’re not already hitting the brakes on Moon. She came in hot and it’s only been three and a half months. Pull the trigger on someone already.
Seth Rollins vs. Elias vs. Bobby Lashley
Elias jumps Rollins on the floor before the bell but Rollins says start it up anyway. Rollins sends him outside so Lashley headlocks Rollins down. That goes nowhere so Elias gets knocked off the apron again, leaving Lashley to send Rollins to the floor. The springboard is kicked out of the air, only to have Elias come back in with a jumping knee. Another knee gets two on Rollins and we take a break.
Back with Elias getting beaten up by both guys until Lashley snaps off a belly to belly. Rollins and Elias are sent to the floor with Lashley following, only to be sent into the post to slow him down for the first time. Elias gets two off a top rope elbow and Rollins follows with the frog splash.
Lashley rolls outside, leaving Elias to counter the superplex attempt. There’s no followup though as Lashley takes Rollins’ place on top, only to get buckle bombed by Rollins. Now the superplex into the falcon Arrow can get two on Elias so there’s the delayed vertical suplex on Rollins. The spear hits post so Rollins rolls him up for two. The Stomp is loaded up but Elias pulls Rollins to the floor. That delay allows Lashley to spear him down for the pin at 17:36.
Rating: C+. Much like in the first match, they got the ending right and Lashley vs. Reigns should be good again. I mean, assuming they don’t go with the triple threat, which wouldn’t be a surprise in the slightest. Rollins has been on enough of a roll that he deserves a chance, but I could see him facing Ziggler in a ladder match for the Intercontinental Title.
Overall Rating: C+. Now that’s a bit more like it. It’s remarkable to see how much easier this show is to watch when there’s an actual point and something to build towards. Just having the goal of getting the title shot against Lesnar felt like a breath of air and it made the show so much better. They got a lot of stuff in there too with short matches, which is a good way to get things going when you’re starting fresh. Nothing may have been great on here, but just having a goal made it that much better though and it actually felt refreshing. Just keep things going until you get to Summerslam, which is the hard part.
Roman Reigns b. Finn Balor and Drew McIntyre – Spear to Balor
Dolph Ziggler b. Bobby Roode – Superkick
Mojo Rawley b. Tyler Breeze – Alabama Slam
Bayley/Sasha Banks vs. Alicia Fox/Dana Brooke went to a double countout
B-Team b. Ascension – Belly to back suplex/neckbreaker combo to Viktor
Authors of Pain b. Titus Worldwide – Last Chapter to Crews
Sarah Logan b. Ember Moon – Small package
Bobby Lashley b. Elias and Seth Rollins – Spear to Elias
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