Monday Night Raw
Date: August 19, 2019
Location: XCEL Energy Center, St. Paul, Minnesota
Commentators: Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler, Renee Young
It’s royalty night with the first round of the King of the Ring tournament kicking off. That means we should be in for some good wrestling, but it could also mean that we’re in for some annoying booking. This would also apply to the likely announcement of NXT moving to USA to fight off the combined forces of Marko Stunt, Orange Cassidy and Sonny Kiss. Let’s get to it.
Here’s Roman Reigns to open things up. After we see a long recap of the whole Whodunit story, here’s Dolph Ziggler before anything can be said.
Roman Reigns vs. Dolph Ziggler
Hang on though as Ziggler insists that he is NOT a Twitter warrior like the fans and is worried about what is happening to Reigns. Ziggler goes into a rant about how he was beaten up at Summerslam and even lost to Maryse’s husband last week. Now it should be him, and there’s a superkick to Reigns before the bell.
Reigns takes his time getting up for the bell but manages to knock Ziggler outside. The clothesline off the steps misses though and Ziggler hits the Zig Zag on the floor as we take a break. Back with Reigns backdropping him to the floor and hitting the apron kick. A big boot drops Ziggler again but Ziggler scores with the running DDT for two.
The Fameasser is countered into a powerbomb attempt with Ziggler slipping over the back and hitting the Zig Zag for two more. The superkick (with Cole calling it Sweet Chin Music) is blocked with a Superman Punch. Back up and the spear is countered into the Fameasser for two as it’s the friendly exchange of moves. Ziggler shouts about being better than Reigns and how Roman blew his chance. The Stinger Splash is cut off by the spear to end Ziggler at 10:55.
Rating: C+. Yeah fine. This was pure Ziggler and that’s why the interest wasn’t there. It’s the EXACT SAME THING that Ziggler always does to the completely nothing returns. I know he’s been around for a long time now but what does WWE see in Ziggler from a character standpoint? I don’t remember the last time he did anything different and I don’t see that changing anytime soon.
Video on Sasha Banks returning last week and attacking Natalya and Becky Lynch.
Becky talks about how everyone is coming for the title, including Banks, who just vanished for four months. It took Becky a few interviews to do what Banks never did: become the top dog in the division. Why did it take Becky to unleash the real Sasha? The real great ones don’t need to be provoked. This is a cat and mouse game and Becky is going to give Sasha something to go home and cry about.
Here’s Jerry Lawler in the ring for the King’s Court. Before he brings out Sasha Banks as his guest, he talks about the King of the Ring and how important it has been to some careers. We see the bracket, with Lawler picking Cedric Alexander and Ricochet on the Raw side….and there go the lights for Bray Wyatt. Lawler is smart enough to bail before the lights go out in full but the Fiend pops up behind Lawler on the stage. Cole: “TURN AROUND KING!” Yes so the Fiend can give him the Mandible Claw, which is exactly what happens.
Vic Joseph has replaced Lawler on commentary.
Ricochet/The Miz vs. Drew McIntyre/Baron Corbin
On the prospect of Baron being King, Renee says “for the love of God, someone please stop Baron Corbin.” Ricochet starts fast with a springboard crossbody to McIntyre as there is some weird red light in the ring. The fans are happy when it goes off as the villains are sent outside. Ricochet adds the big middle rope moonsault and we take a break. Back McIntyre throwing Miz with a suplex and cranking on the arm.
It’s off to Corbin, who is now in a black tank top, which looks at least somewhat less stupid. Corbin does the slide around the post for the clothesline to set up McIntyre’s spinebuster for two. Miz gets in a DDT and brings in Ricochet for the fast paced kicks. A rolling dropkick gets one on Corbin and the running shooting star gets two.
McIntyre is back in to throw people around but the Claymore is broken up. The Skull Crushing Finale hits McIntyre but Corbin chokeslams Miz. Another chokeslam to Ricochet is broken up so Corbin settles for two off the Deep Six instead. Miz pulls Ricochet out of the way of a charge in the corner though and the Recoil finishes Corbin at 10:20.
Rating: C-. Baron Corbin, who main evented pay per views earlier this year, has made his biggest impact by changing his shirt. What does that tell you about the level of interest this guy has? I have a bad feeling he’s going to go far in the tournament though and him winning it wouldn’t be out of the question. It would be out of the realm of something that makes fans happy, but that’s always the case with Corbin.
Booker T. joins us via Skype to talk about the Fiend being a monster. As for King of the Ring, he likes Drew McIntyre. There’s nothing significant to these interviews but they’re a nice little change of pace for two minutes a week.
US Title: AJ Styles vs. Braun Strowman
AJ is defending and has the rest of the OC with him. This is fallout from Strowman running in last week to save Seth Rollins from a beatdown last week. AJ slaps him in the face to start and tries a chop block, which has no effect. A chase to the floor doesn’t work well and it’s Strowman backdropping AJ. The OC is knocked off the apron but Strowman charges into a boot in the corner. The Phenomenal Forearm is knocked out of the air but the OC comes in for the DQ at 1:50.
Post match the beatdown is on but Rollins runs in for the save. With the OC cleaned out, Rollins shakes Strowman’s hand, but Strowman takes his time letting go. Eventually he does and nods at Rollins, who doesn’t look sure about this.
Post break Rollins comes up to Strowman in the back and says Strowman should be the next challenger. Strowman sounds intrigued but tonight, Rollins thinks they should become Raw Tag Team Champions. Strowman growls in what seems like an agreement.
King of the Ring First Round: Samoa Joe vs. Cesaro
Joe says that he’ll win and let his actions do the talking. Cesaro says the tournament plays to his strengths so the King of Swing can be the King of the Ring. Cesaro’s running uppercut gets two about five seconds in so Joe elbows him right back. The springboard spinning uppercut gives Cesaro two more but Joe sends him outside and over the barricade as we take a break.
Back with Joe knocking him down again and cranking on the neck. The backsplash misses though and Cesaro kicks him in the face. A suplex gives Cesaro two more and the high crossbody is good for the same. Joe knocks him out of the corner though and drops the backsplash. That just earns him an uppercut into a Crossface but Joe slips out and pulls him into the Koquina Clutch for the win at 10:11.
Rating: C-. Good, hard hitting match with Joe getting a not very surprising win. Cesaro is mainly in WWE to put people over these days so there is only so much that can be done to make him a convincing challenger. Joe winning the tournament isn’t out of the question as he is always a threat, which is a very valuable thing to have.
Cole talks about some matches coming up later and mentions the Wild Card Rule for the first time in probably a month.
Over the weekend, Drake Maverick tried to attack Elias in a recording studio and got beaten up.
Here’s Elias for a song. Hang on though as his microphone keeps messing up. With that out of the way, Elias says hang onto your loved ones because this is his farewell performance. He has too much going on, from the 24/7 Title to being King of the Ring that he doesn’t have time to perform. The guitar is out of tune though so he needs a replacement as the mic keeps messing up. The assistant gets in the ring and even Renee know what’s going on here. It’s R-Truth and a referee but the rollup only gets two. Truth gets smart by hitting the ax kick for two more but the big guitar shot misses. Elias bails and escapes for now.
Rey Mysterio talks about having a beautiful family and a wonderful career. He’s had the chance to meet people all over the world and considers them his friends. Things haven’t been clicking for him recently though and Andrade ripped his mask off. When he’s in the ring, he knows what he needs to do but his body isn’t responding to it.
His biggest fear though is that his injuries have caught up with him and he didn’t expect it to come so soon. It’s time for him to hang up the mask (big gasp for that) and let the new generation step in. Rey goes to unmask but his son Dominick stops him. With Rey crying, Dominick says he wants to be Rey’s partner. Rey says he’ll stay for Dominick. Good promo here, with Rey showing as much emotion as I’ve ever heard from him.
New Day vs. Revival
Non-title. Revival is wearing snake skin boots, courtesy of Randy Orton. Big E. shoulders Dawson in the corner to start and it’s off to Woods for a change. Everything breaks down early on and the Revival is clotheslined outside as we take an early break. Back with Big E. cleaning house and loading up the dive to the floor, only to have Orton run in for the RKO for the DQ at 6:20. Not enough shown to rate but the action was entertaining while it lasted.
Post match Kofi Kingston runs in to fight off all three of them but walks into the RKO. Woods gets back in but runs into a three man 3D. They’re not done yet though as Revival goes old school and crushes Woods’ knee, with Orton making Kofi watch.
Sasha Banks joins us from the back for an interview with Cole. Banks talks about how crazy of a week it has been for her and she would like to explain from the beginning. Last week she looked in the mirror and realized that blue is her color and now it’s all over social media. She looks good and feels even better. Cole: “No one is talking about your new hair.” When asked about attacking Becky and Natalya last week, Banks says you’re welcome and walks off. If that microphone offended her, it might be three months before we see Banks again.
Alexa Bliss/Nikki Cross vs. Fire And Desire
Non-title. Sonya gets some early rollups for two each on Bliss to start and it’s off to Mandy, who cartwheels over Bliss and poses a bit. Mandy gets knocked outside with Bliss not looking happy with her. It’s back to Cross for a crossarm choke but Bliss comes back in very quickly, earning herself a knee to the face from Mandy. The hot (?) tag brings in Sonya for some strikes of her own and a spinebuster to Bliss. Cross is right back with the Purge for a very sudden pin at 4:20.
Rating: D+. That ending was out of nowhere and it seemed like they were told to go home in a hurry. Bliss and Cross are already doing more with the titles than either of the previous champions and while I wasn’t really looking forward to seeing the titles on TV more, this is a lot better than what we’ve seen before from them.
Rollins tries to talk strategy with Strowman, who keeps looking at the Universal Title. They argue over who should follow who’s lead.
King of the Ring First Round: Cedric Alexander vs. Sami Zayn
Cedric says he’s a man of action and it’s time to raise the Age of Alexander. Sami says he’s been losing for months now and it turns around tonight. Zayn is aggressive to start and kicks Alexander down for some early one counts. A backbreaker gives him some near falls and we hit the chinlock. The chinlock doesn’t last long so Zayn goes with a Michinoku Driver for another two. Alexander fights back up and hits the spinning elbow to the face, followed by the anklescissors. That means a suicide dive to the floor and the Neuralizer connects back inside. The Lumbar Check finishes Zayn clean at 3:38.
Rating: C-. I like the Alexander push though my goodness whose dog did Zayn kidnap and sell for Pop Tarts cereal? He’s not just losing a lot but he’s losing in fast matches. At least he did get some offense in here though and looked aggressive, but it seems that they might be leading somewhere with these losses. I hope so at least.
The Street Profits (minus the NXT Tag Team Titles) check their brackets. Ford is 2-0 but Dawkins’ is already busted. They preview the rest of the first round but Dawkins wonders why we can’t have a tag team King of the Ring tournament. Ford: “We’re already kings.” I mean, he is wearing a crown. They’re ready for the Tag Team Title match tonight when Seth Braulins can win the gold.
AJ Styles gives the OC a pep talk.
Natalya has just seen the WWE doctor again but needs to rant about Sasha for interrupting her last week. Cue Banks to jump Natalya again and send her into an anvil case. Banks: “Go to h*** Nattie. And tell your daddy I say hi.” That was a good line.
Tag Team Titles: Seth Rollins/Braun Strowman vs. OC
The OC is defending and has AJ with them. Strowman runs Gallows over to start and it’s off to the taped up Rollins to work on Gallows’ arm. Anderson comes in but a quick tag brings Gallows back in, meaning Rollins has to knee him to the floor. A running kick to the head puts Anderson outside as well but the numbers catch up with him.
That means Gallows gets to drop Rollins ribs first into the barricade a few times and we take an early break. Back with Anderson hitting a spinebuster on Rollins, but Anderson gets knocked off the top. That means the Blockbuster, but Rollins bangs up the ribs again. With the hot tag near, Gallows is smart enough to post Strowman and cut him off. Gallows comes back in as everything breaks down, with Rollins getting to clean house again.
A low bridge puts Gallows on the floor, leaving Anderson to take the Falcon Arrow for two. The numbers catch up with Rollins again as AJ crotches him on top but it’s Strowman back up to run over AJ and Gallows. Back in and Rollins rolls over for the hot tag to Strowman and it’s time to wreck things. Rollins cuts Styles off with the Stomp and Strowman hits the running powerslam on Anderson for the pin and the titles at 12:04.
Rating: B-. Good match here with a surprise ending and that’s not a bad thing. This seems to be the way to set up the Strowman vs. Rollins match next month so odds are we’ll be seeing the OC get the titles back pretty soon. It’s a booking trope that has been done for years and it’s going to work fine enough here.
Strowman and Rollins celebrate to end the show. There is NO announcement about NXT.
Overall Rating: C+. It was another acceptable show where it felt like things were happening. That’s what makes a show work so much better and the show never felt long. What mattered here was they’re setting things up for Clash of Champions and it feels like we’re seeing some fresh names getting a chance. For so long it was the same people over and over so that’s the best thing that could happen to the show. Good night here, and I’m curious to see where things are going for the first time in a long while.
Roman Reigns b. Dolph Ziggler – Spear
The Miz/Ricochet b. Drew McIntyre/Baron Corbin – Recoil to Corbin
Braun Strowman b. AJ Styles via DQ when the OC interfered
Samoa Joe b. Cesaro – Koquina Clutch
New Day b. Revival via DQ when Randy Orton interrupted
Nikki Cross/Alexa Bliss b. Fire and Desire – Purge to Deville
Cedric Alexander b. Sami Zayn – Lumbar Check
Seth Rollins/Braun Strowman b. OC – Running powerslam to Anderson
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