Monday Night Raw – August 20, 2018

Monday Night Raw
Date: August 20, 2018
Location: Barclays Center, New York City, New York
Commentators: Corey Graves, Jonathan Coachman, Michael Cole

We’re starting a new stretch for the company as Summerslam has come and gone. The big story from last night is Roman Reigns taking the Universal Title from Brock Lesnar to finally end his ridiculously long reign. Other than that, Braun Strowman still has the Money in the Bank briefcase, which likely means at least one title shot going forward. Let’s get to it.

Here’s Reigns to open the show, receiving exactly the kind of reaction you would expect him to get. After a little booing, Reigns says he’s a man of his word because he beat Brock Lesnar last night. He also said that when he won the title, he would be a fighting champion, which starts tonight. There’s a man who won the Universal Title right here in Brooklyn and never got a one on one rematch. Finn Balor can come out here and have a title match tonight. Now that’s a little more interesting.

Balor does indeed come out and the title match is official, but here’s Baron Corbin to say this doesn’t work. Last night, Balor breached his contract by fighting as the Demon and due to all of the smoke and lights, Corbin couldn’t even hear the bell ring. Therefore, the match never even happened. Reigns laughs him out of the building and here’s Kurt Angle to say the title match is on. Oh and Corbin can have a match right now.

Baron Corbin vs. Bobby Lashley

Corbin is already in trouble early on as Lashley wrestles him down and sends Corbin face first into the corner. That’s enough to send Corbin bailing to the floor but Lashley throws him back in, only to clothesline him right back out. Corbin gets in a ram into the barricade and puts on a chinlock but Lashley fights up and clotheslines him down. Someone is bleeding as Corbin sends Lashley hard to the floor (nearly getting hurt hitting the ropes/apron so hard), followed by a clothesline as we take a break.

Back with Lashley hitting a spinebuster but getting popped in the jaw with a right hand. The fans find this boring (that’s a little unfair) as Lashley knocks Corbin off the top but dives into a chokebreaker for two. Corbin’s slide underneath the ropes is broken up and Lashley loads him up for a Dominator before spinning Corbin down face first for the pin at 12:48. Was the spinebuster really that bad?

Rating: D+. Nothing to see here as Corbin’s offense really doesn’t work very well. They were smart to keep this at least somewhat shorter than Corbin’s most recent Raw outings. Lashley is someone they could easily build up for a title shot down the line so giving him a win here is the right idea. Not terrible, but too much from Corbin.

Paul Heyman comes in to see Angle and asks about a rematch for Lesnar. Angle says no, so Heyman says it can be at Hell in a Cell. That’s a big no as well, as Angle says he wants a fighting champion and not someone who shows up when they feel like it. Something tells me we’re not done with this yet.

Corbin comes in to yell at Angle about not being fair. Angle doesn’t think much of it, but Corbin says Stephanie is here tonight and he’s going to tell her about it. So tonight, we have three authority figures here and they’re arguing about the chain of command.

Video on HHH vs. Undertaker at Super Show-Down in October. They’re really going long term with the hype to these fall shows.

HHH is here tonight. There are now FOUR authority figures on this show.

Bayley/Sasha Banks/Ember Moon vs. Riott Squad

Banks is fired up to start and hammers on Riott before handing it off to Moon for a kick to Logan’s face. Everything breaks down and the Squad bails to the floor, allowing a series of dives to take them out, with Moon’s being left about a foot short. Back from a break with Riott sending Bayley to the floor for an STO to take over. Logan gets in a cheap shot to give Morgan two and it’s off to the chinlock.

Bayley’s comeback is cut off by a headbutt from Logan (makes sense for her to use something like that) and it’s another chinlock to keep up the quota. The jawbreaker doesn’t get Bayley far enough out of trouble as Logan forearms Moon off the apron. It’s off to Riott, who gives up the hot tag to Banks a few seconds later as everything breaks down. Bayley gets dropped with a clothesline on the floor, only to have Banks take Logan down with a Meteora. Back in and the Riott Kick finishes Banks at 10:11.

Rating: C-. Cool, now next week Bayley and company gets their win back and we keep going for weeks on end. I really don’t get where any of this is supposed to go but that hasn’t stopped WWE yet. There’s not much of a story here other than a trio is better than Banks/Bayley and whomever they have have with them that week. Lucky for us.

Here’s HHH for a chat. The fans chant for NXT and HHH talks about them blowing the roof off the place. He was on the edge of his seat Saturday night because he’s been a fan his entire life. Weekends like this give him the itch though and he wants to lace up his boots one more time. HHH got a call about facing the Undertaker in Australia and at first he said no. The truth is because he can’t forget the moment at the end of the Cell match where he, Undertaker and Shawn Michaels all hugged on stage.

That moment is as real as it gets in this business and none of them will ever forget it. That moment changed all of them because they knew it was the end of an era. Right after that, Shawn was gone, the Streak was dead (two years later), the Undertaker would leave his hat in the ring and disappear (five years later) because everything changed. They’ve talked about that and everything has changed since then. Their era was something special and now he’s saying yes to face Undertaker. In Melbourne, Australia, the feeling and the era are back, and it’s happening one last time.

That was….long, as HHH continues his tradition of taking forever to get his point across. I’m sure the match will be good though as the big, one off show matches have tended to be, though I hope they wait a little while before plugging this again. I don’t think I can take six weeks of HHH putting himself and the old days over like this.

Stills of Reigns vs. Lesnar from last night.

Dean Ambrose vs. Dolph Ziggler

Seth Rollins and Drew McIntyre are at ringside because this feud is continuing. They actually go to the mat to start with a headlock keeping Ziggler in trouble. A shoulder knocks him to the floor and things slow down a little bit. Ambrose chops away but McIntyre grabs the leg, meaning it’s time to have a big staredown, allowing Ziggler to score with a dropkick.

Back from a break with Ambrose fighting out of a chinlock and hitting his string of clotheslines. Dean is limping a bit but uses the bad knee to take Ziggler down. The Zig Zag is countered into a fall away slam of all things but Dean gets knocked to the floor. The four way fight is on until Dean sends Ziggler back inside. The running DDT is countered into Dirty Deeds for the pin at 9:48.

Rating: C. This had two benefits as they get Dean back with a bang and help continue the feud for a likely tag match at the pay per view. Of course your individual miles on the feud continuing may vary, but at least it’s a logical continuation. I’m more curious about the teams splitting, but we’ll get to that in time. A very long time given the nature of this feud, but you can probably guarantee both of the splits.

Elias yells at his helpers, saying he’s the special one and to not steal his spotlight.

Braun Strowman comes in to see Balor, saying he won’t cash in as a surprise tonight. He wishes Balor luck but holds up the briefcase. Balor gets serious and nods.

Here’s Elias for a song. After a little guitar, he talks about how he knows someone is trying to sabotage him. He’s already fired three of his assistants and knows it can’t be the quality Fender guitar. His doctor has warned him to not come back to Brooklyn because these people are bad for his health. Elias starts playing….and here’s Curt Hawkins to interrupt.

Hawkins knows that Elias wants to be #1, but maybe he can be the first guy to lose to him in a long time. Elias doesn’t think so because Hawkins is a loser just like everyone around here. He tells Hawkins to get out and Hawkins starts walking up the ramp, but stops to say Elias is hiding behind the guitar and a goofy scarf. The match is on.

Curt Hawkins vs. Elias

Hawkins gets two off an early rollup but Elias is right back with a great looking jumping knee to the face. Elias drops an elbow but gets rolled up for two more. The fans chant what sounds like YOU CAN DO IT….and Drift Away ends Hawkins at 1:36. I want to see Hawkins win eventually but putting him over Elias would have been nuts so this was the right call.

Titus O’Neil comes up to Dana Brooke and Apollo, who seem to need a quick excuse to hide whatever they were talking about. Dana has an idea for the Authors of Pain.

Titus Worldwide vs. Authors of Pain

Joined in progress with Titus being driven into the corner, followed by Akam forearming him in the back. A suplex gets Titus out of trouble and Apollo comes in, only to be front facelocked in short order. The side slam/middle rope stomp combination gets two but Rezar charges into an elbow in the corner. Rezar slaps the jumping enziguri away so Apollo goes with a middle rope moonsault press. A standing shooting star gets two as everything breaks down. Apollo can’t roll Rezar up and the Last Chapter is good for the pin at 5:01.

Rating: D. Egads how has WWE screwed the Authors up this badly? First they can barely get on TV, then they can’t get away from these two schmucks. I have no idea why we’re coming up on the third month of these teams feuding, especially when the story seems to be about Titus Worldwide instead of the Authors.

The women’s division is around the ring (including the Bellas) for the presentation to Ronda Rousey and here’s Stephanie strutting to the ring to soak in their applause. After putting over Evolution, we see a package on Rousey destroying Alexa Bliss last night to win the title. Stephanie is proud of Rousey because this never would have happened without Stephanie’s business prowess. She shined Rousey up like a diamond and now everyone around the ring wants to be like Stephanie and Ronda.

Here’s Rousey but Stephanie wants to know why the fans aren’t chanting for her. Rousey says this isn’t about Stephanie for once and wants to know why the women aren’t all in the ring. They get on the apron and Rousey cuts Stephanie off again, saying that this is about everyone instead of just one person. Rousey puts over Natalya as the cornerstone of the division and the Banks vs. Bayley match from Takeover a few years back. She’s not Brock Lesnar because she’s going to be a fighting champion.

Stephanie says it’s true that Rousey isn’t Lesnar because this isn’t the Rousey who wanted to break people’s arms. Just look at poor Alexa Bliss, like in this clip where Rousey dislocated her elbow. Rousey wants to break everyone’s arm and take all of the spotlight. Actually that’s not true as Rousey is only going to break the arms of those who deserve it.

Stephanie gets her arm barred again (with the elbow being regularly bent, meaning it shouldn’t hurt that much) and since it’s not Wrestlemania, it works just fine. The face women, including the Bellas, pose with Rousey and it’s a big group hug because they’re all sisters or something. I’m not sure why this was necessary but at least it ended well.

We recap the opening segment.

Bo Dallas vs. Scott Dawson

Before the match, Dallas talks about how crazy life can be. Until a few weeks ago they had never won a single match but then one single letter changed everything. Tonight, these singles matches are dedicated to the fans, because the B in B Team stands for Brooklyn. Dawson wastes no time in snapping Dallas’ throat across the top rope and catapults him face first into the bottom buckle. A neckbreaker is reversed into a backslide to give Dallas two and the fans hit the Wave. The hanging swinging neckbreaker is broken up and a fisherman’s DDT gives Dawson the pin at 2:28.

Dash Wilder vs. Curtis Axel

Well at least they’re not waiting for next week. Axel challenges Wilder to a match right now, even though he himself announced it three minutes ago. The announcers laugh at Curtis as we take a break. Joined in progress with Wilder getting two off a backbreaker and bending Axel’s back over his knee. Axel gets out and stops a charge in the corner with a raised boot. The middle rope elbow misses though and a Gory Bomb gives Wilder the pin at 2:17.

Post match Dallas says they’re still champions.

Reigns isn’t worried about Balor or Strowman tonight because he’s going to defend his yard.

Stephanie is getting her arm looked at with Corbin and Bliss in the trainer’s room with her. Angle comes in and Stephanie yells at him, saying he needs a vacation. Stephanie makes Corbin the new acting General Manager. If that means one less boss, fine. I’m so sick of this story anyway that I’ll take any change at this point.

Universal Title: Roman Reigns vs. Finn Balor

Reigns is defending and runs Balor over to start. Balor does his jump over the top to avoid a charge but gets punched in the face to send us to a break. Back with Balor fighting out of a chinlock (good grief come up with something else) and kicking Reigns into the barricade. The running apron kick is broken up and Reigns drops him onto the apron. A hard whip sends Balor into the corner and Reigns yells at him a bit.

Balor takes him down though and scores with the double stomp to the chest. That’s all for the comeback as Reigns takes him into the corner for the clotheslines but Balor knocks him to the floor again. A good looking running flip dive has Reigns in trouble and we take a break. Back with Reigns hitting an uppercut but getting caught by a Pele. Balor gets all fired up and stomps away with an aggression you don’t often see from him. Reigns is right back with a sitout powerbomb for two but the Superman Punch is countered into an Eye of the Hurricane for a very hot two as the fans are completely into this one.

There’s the Sling Blade but the shotgun dropkick is blocked with a Superman Punch for another near fall. The spear is cut off with a knee and Reigns hits…I’m assuming the Superman Punch as the camera was on a fan’s reaction. Cue Strowman before the spear though and there’s another Sling Blade. The Coup de Grace misses though and it’s the spear to retain the title at 19:40.

Rating: B+. The fans helped carry this one and they had me believing that a title change might happen. I mean, that went away as soon as Cole kept saying “HE’S GONNA DO IT!” but they had me for a few seconds. Reigns needs a win like this and as usual, when he’s putting in the effort, the match was very good. Really strong main event and the post match stuff is going to be a big deal.

Post match Strowman is in the ring and kicks Reigns down as the cash-in is…..hang on a second as we’ve got Shield music (and no bell, meaning the cash-in didn’t take place). Cue Rollins and Ambrose in the Shield gear as the fans are VERY pleased. Strowman goes after Reigns but the triple beatdown is on. The trio knocks Strowman outside but he fights off the TripleBomb, only to get speared down. Now the TripleBomb connects to end the show.

I’m not sure what the thinking here is, but Strowman looked like a face with the cash-in and Shield looks like heels by thwarting the cash-in, but since Shield won’t be booed, they’re going to wind up being the faces no matter what. It should be fun seeing WWE try to twist Strowman into a heel, especially when he was willing to fight Shield on his own and Reigns welcomed the challenge of a cash-in.

Overall Rating: C+. They did a good job with the followup to last night’s huge show and that’s a positive sign for things going forward. There were some bad moments on here (the B Team vs. Revival, feuds that just keep going and the rotating bosses) but they did another good job of (mostly) keeping the fans from taking over the show. It’s another case of trying to escape from Brooklyn without the crowd doing whatever they want with the show and on that front, well done.


Bobby Lashley b. Baron Corbin – Spinning over the shoulder faceplant

Riott Squad b. Bayley/Sasha Banks/Ember Moon – Riott Kick to Banks

Dean Ambrose b. Dolph Ziggler – Dirty Deeds

Elias b. Curt Hawkins – Drift Away

Scott Dawson b. Bo Dallas – Fisherman’s DDT

Dash Wilder b. Curtis Axel – Gory Bomb

Roman Reigns b. Finn Balor – Spear

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