Ember Moon def. Raw Women's Champion Alexa Bliss by Disqualification (Non-title)
Rousey's promo to kick off the show was excellent and I was very happy with how she paid tribute to the late, great Jim Neidhart, the father of her friend Natalya. I would suspect that any heel turn that may have been planned for Natalya is off the table for the foreseeable future. Anyway, Alexa Bliss also did a good job with her promo and fans are anxious to see Rousey get her hands on her at SummerSlam. The subsequent match between Moon and Bliss was a blast and I appreciated how much Moon was able to shine against the Raw Women's Champion.
Baron Corbin def. Tyler Breeze
The story here was that Corbin, as the constable of Raw, had the advantage of picking his and Finn Balor's opponents for the night. Of course, he went with someone easy in Breeze. This was a glorified squash match with Corbin going over in decisive fashion as he should have, but I find it funny that Breeze has actually appeared more on Raw as a singles star than he was when Fandango was still around and they were a tag team.
Braun Strowman and Finn Balor def. Jinder Mahal and Kevin Owens
The smart thing about this match was that it allowed Strowman to finally give Mahal his comeuppance after Mahal has technically beaten Strowman on a few different occasions, and it also spared us from seeing them face off one-one-one for the third straight week. It was an entertaining affair and I always enjoy the dynamic that Strowman and Balor share, regardless of whether they're partners or opponents. It would be cool if Corbin attacking Balor post-match meant the return of The Demon at SummerSlam, but I'm not holding my breath.
Bobby Lashley Attacked Ricky Roberts
Roberts was basically the biggest fanboy for Elias out there and attempted to help him promote his upcoming concert over SummerSlam weekend (is that a real thing?). In predictable fashion, Lashley laid out the jabroni after no-selling his guitar shot. He looked like a badass in doing so, but this feud continues to do nothing for me. With three matches already advertised for the SummerSlam Kickoff show, it isn't too likely that Lashley vs. Elias will be added.
Raw Tag Team Champions The B-Team def. "Woken" Matt Hardy & Bray Wyatt and The Revival in a Triple Threat Tag Team Match
To be honest, I had virtually zero interest in this match coming in, if only because the Raw tag team division has been on ice for a while now and The B-Team are a joke as tag team champions (despite how they are slowly getting over with the audience). All three teams put forth a commendable effort here and delivered a better bout than anyone could have expected. Due to The Revival not getting pinned, they will receive another shot at the straps on Sunday.
Universal Champion Brock Lesnar Attacked Roman Reigns
Lesnar seemingly breaking up with Heyman two weeks ago and then Heyman's tearful, brilliant performance last week created genuine intrigue over whether they were truly over or not. Fans questioned whether Heyman would side with Reigns or someone else in the end, and I can't believe they threw that all away days before the pay-per-view, because now it's difficult to care again about their Universal Championship clash. Don't get me wrong, everyone was excellent in this segment and it was among the highlights of the night, but it was revealed to be a ruse with Heyman simply reuniting with Lesnar. That should have been the endgame, but there was no reason to rush to that before the actual match.
Bobby Roode and Titus Worldwide def. Mojo Rawley and The Authors of Pain
Although Rawley does absolutely nothing for me, at least he had a tiny bit of momentum before losing to Roode clean last week. He then lost again to Roode this week. It would be one thing if WWE was finally about to do something of note with Roode, but I don't get that feeling at all. Plus, it was painfully apparent that this six-man tag team match was total filler. Meanwhile, The Authors of Pain continue to be booked like garbage.
Ruby Riott def. Sasha Banks
Riott and Banks had an awesome match against each other a number of months back, but unfortunately, they weren't given much time to have a similar style outing here. Instead, most of the focus was on the shenanigans at ringside with the rest of The Riott Squad and Bayley. As sick as I am of seeing Bayley and Banks feud with The Riott Squad, at least Riott won in her first bout back in the ring.
Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose Attacked Intercontinental Champion Dolph Ziggler and Drew McIntyre
You could see this coming from a mile away once Kurt Angle said earlier in the evening that someone would be standing in Rollins' corner at SummerSlam to counteract Drew McIntyre, but that didn't take away from the amazing moment in the slightest. Ziggler deserves credit as well for his above-average promo running down the audience, which led nicely into Rollins emerging and then Ambrose returning. That was the perfect way to build more anticipation for a match that we have already seen several times by this point. The Lunatic Fringe looks to be in fantastic shape and is even sporting a new look. Is a heel turn imminent?
While this wasn't a home run of a show, it was easily the most tolerable edition of Raw in at least a month or so, which was proper timing considering SummerSlam is this Sunday and they needed a strong go-home show. I can't say I'm that much more excited for the pay-per-view now than I was before, but Ambrose's return was a pleasant surprise to end the evening and the Lesnar and Reigns stuff was actually engaging for once. Most of everything else was mediocre at best, but I applaud WWE for at least trying this time around.
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