Paul Heyman Answered Raw General Manager Kurt Angle's Ultimatum
Angle's ultimatum for Brock Lesnar was an excellent hook for this show considering how low the Raw ratings have been recently and thus it was a fitting way to start the show. It can be argued that WWE should have played up this storyline with Lesnar rarely appearing as Universal Champion months ago, but better late than never, I suppose. Everyone interrupting each other was pretty pedestrian stuff, but almost all of them have a claim at the championship, so I didn't mind it too much. The segment also set the stage for the night's two Triple Threat matches in an effort to determine the new No. 1 contender to the Universal Championship.
Roman Reigns def. Finn Balor and Drew McIntyre in a Triple Threat Match to Advance to Next Week's Universal Championship No. 1 Contender's Match
We haven't seen much of McIntyre against either Reigns or Balor since his return to Raw, so this felt fresh and all three competitors worked well together. They were given a ton of time and I liked how McIntyre dominated a majority of the match early on, so he lost nothing in defeat, especially considering Balor was the one who was pinned. Reigns winning was fairly predictable since he has been pegged to face Lesnar at SummerSlam for months, but that doesn't necessarily mean he'll beat Bobby Lashley next week (more on that later...).
Intercontinental Champion Dolph Ziggler def. Bobby Roode (Non-title)
Remember when these two had that boring feud with each other late last year on SmackDown Live? Sadly, it seems nothing has changed since then. They just don't have great in-ring chemistry and that was evident in this outing as the crowd sat on their hands for most of it. They picked up the pace a bit down the stretch, but that was about it. At least Ziggler managed to maintain momentum with a win one night removed from his victory in the main event of Extreme Rules. Meanwhile, Roode desperately needs to turn heel. In other news, the sky is blue.
Mojo Rawley def. Tyler Breeze
Unfortunately, Breeze's tag team partner Fandango was recently sidelined with an injury, so it looks like Breeze will be flying solo in the Raw undercard for the foreseeable future. Who would have guessed years ago when these two were both in NXT that Rawley would be getting the main roster push over Breeze? I know that might sound silly to those who weren't watching NXT back then, but Breeze was a far bigger player in NXT four years ago than Rawley. At any rate, this was another standard squash match for Rawley where Breeze did his best to make him look good.
Dana Brooke and Alicia Fox def. Sasha Banks and Bayley by Disqualification
I don't understand why Angle is so adamant about getting Bayley and Banks on the same page. It shouldn't make a difference whether they're friends or rivals. Angle threatening to send one of them to SmackDown if they can't coexist would be extremely illogical because he should want to keep both big stars on his brand. Plus, they've teamed up no less than a dozen times this year, so this was nothing new. The non-finish further established this as total throwaway. And yes, Alicia Fox is still employed, shockingly.
Raw Tag Team Champions The B-Team def. The Ascension (Non-title)
Michael Cole mentioned at one point that this was a title match, but I doubt it was considering The Ascension didn't do anything to deserve a shot at the straps and their entrance wasn't even televised. Additionally, I'm confused as to whether The B-Team are supposed to be babyfaces or heels, because The Ascension were heels the last time I checked. Therefore, I don't blame the crowd at all for barely reacting to the post-match promo from "Woken" Matt Hardy and Bray Wyatt that aired on the Titantron. I simply want this feud to end because it has produced nothing of substance so far.
Ronda Rousey Attacked Raw Women's Champion Alexa Bliss and Mickie James
Bliss said during her promo that she had defeated everyone in the Raw women's division, and while I realize that was designed to lead into Rousey opposing her, it made me think of Ember Moon since she has yet to get a crack at the Raw Women's Championship (not to mention Moon beat her on Raw not too long ago). Nevertheless, the crowd was solidly behind Rousey in her assault on Bliss and James. I'm fine with Bliss vs. Rousey being added to the SummerSlam because it makes the most sense, but it was weird for Angle to reward Rousey for breaking her suspension with a title match.
The Authors of Pain def. Titus Worldwide
I feared WWE already lost interest in pushing Authors of Pain once they were left off last week's edition of Raw, so I was glad to see them back in action on this show. Unfortunately, this wasn't the most impressive outing from Authors of Pain because this featured a few sloppy spots. The third hour may not have been the best time to hold this, either, considering how dead the crowd was for it. If nothing else, Authors of Pain continued their winning ways.
Sarah Logan def. Ember Moon
Moon has knocked off Liv Morgan twice one-on-one, so it was Logan's turn to take on Moon this week. Mogan was able to showcase some of her skills for a change, but this was once again all about Moon and getting fans familiar with her offense. Similar to the previous match, putting this in the third hour was not the smartest idea because of how the crowd couldn't have cared less at this point in the show. Worse yet, Logan's win came off as flat. I would have waited until Ruby Riott was healthy to have her hand Moon her first main roster defeat, because this was beyond random.
Bobby Lashley def. Seth Rollins and Elias in a Triple Threat Match to Advance to Next Week's Universal Championship No. 1 Contender's Match
Elias obviously wasn't going to win this thing, but he had an awesome showing and held his own against Lashley and Rollins, nevertheless. Plus, he and Rollins had a very fun match at Money in the Bank so we knew what they could go together, while Lashley gelled well with the two of them as well. The frantic pace kept things exciting and reinvigorated the crowd, so props to them for that. Lashley and Rollins realistically could have won, so the nearfalls in the final few minutes were definitely suspenseful. Rollins winning would have been ideal, but Lashley was a logical choice given his history with Reigns. I could see Lashley vs. Reigns ending in some sort of a no contest to plant the seeds for another Triple Threat title match at SummerSlam.
Despite this being a post-pay-per-view edition of Raw, it didn't feel like it was nearly as hot as it should have been. The two Triple Threat matches were above-average and I'm happy the build to SummerSlam is already underway, but the rest of the three hours left a lot to be desired. There were just too many matches that were either meaningless or weren't all that exciting. The absurd amount of filler dragged down this show considerably, but that can be chalked up to most of the top talent being in matches with each other.
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