Paul Heyman Interrupted Roman Reigns
Although I appreciate his intensity, every promo Reigns has ever cut on Brock Lesnar is virtually the same, so his mic work here was nothing new. Heyman at least tried to switch things up in hyping Reigns vs. Lesnar for SummerSlam, but it still sounded like a retread. If nothing else, they did a decent job of telling viewers that Lesnar would appear in front of the audience at some point during the show and that they'd have to tune in throughout the night to find out when.
Baron Corbin def. Finn Balor
I can honestly say I couldn't have cared less about their encounter at Extreme Rules, and although their feud hasn't exactly heated up a ton since then, this was a much better bout from them for whatever reason (perhaps because it belonged on Raw to begin with). They were given a pleasantly surprising chunk of time and made the most of it by putting together a nice matchup. Corbin desperately needed a clean victory, but unfortunately this means we're in for a rubber match at SummerSlam.
Alicia Fox def. Natalya
It's crazy to think that both of these women have been a part of the company for over a decade by this point, yet they do nothing for me as characters. It was a fine enough match, but it merely existed to give Fox a victory (her first in a long, long time). The crowd was behind Ronda Rousey, though, and I like that she'll be making her in-ring Raw debut next week against Fox because it should be an easy day at the office for Rousey and it's an effective ratings draw.
Bobby Lashley Attacked Elias
I was wondering what would be next for Lashley following his loss to Reigns on last week's Raw, and it looks like we have an answer. I'm an Elias fan, but this feels like a feud we should have gotten when Lashley initially returned to the company. It's also a lose-lose because both men need wins at this point. I'd be shocked if Lashley vs. Elias made it past the SummerSlam Kickoff show.
Jinder Mahal def. Braun Strowman by Count-out
This was a follow-up to Strowman laying out Mahal on last week's show, and thankfully, this wasn't much of a match at all (it would have been the cure for insomnia otherwise). Instead, it acted as an angle with Kevin Owens distracting Strowman by stealing the Money in the Bank briefcase at ringside and costing him the victory. It's pretty obvious Owens isn't winning at SummerSlam, so playing up how he could lose by count-out or disqualification is smart.
Apollo Crews def. Akam
Raw's tag team division is on ice at the moment and this "rivalry" (if you can even call it that) is one of the reasons why, because why should anyone give a crap? Crews is grossly underrated, but he's not going to be able to showcase his skills in brief, pointless matches with members of The Authors of Pain. By the way, I realize Authors of Pain remain undefeated in tag team competition, but they don't feel as dominant as they should, especially coming off this loss.
Seth Rollins def. Drew McItnyre by Disqualification
Rollins and McIntyre had a hell of a match a few weeks ago and this was an equally enjoyable encounter from them, even if they weren't given nearly enough of time. Dolph Ziggler interfering for the disqualification was inevitable, but at least it protected McIntyre in defeat. I'm sure Rollins vs. Ziggler at SummerSlam will be solid, but it would definitely benefit from McIntyre's involvement and probably be a more exciting matchup, too.
The Revival def. "Woken" Matt Hardy and Bray Wyatt
The B-Team did well during their pre-match promo with Charly Caruso, but I don't have the slightest clue whether I'm supposed to be cheering for them at the moment or not. The same can be said for The Deleters of Worlds, but what I do know is that I desperately want their program to end because their matches have been mediocre at best. On the bright side, it's refreshing to see The Revival back in the tag title mix, and more importantly, they reigned supreme here. That said, I imagine all three of these tandems (and possibly more) will clash at SummerSlam in some sort of multi-team matchup for the Raw Tag Team Championship.
Sasha Banks and Bayley def. The Riott Squad
Despite the graphic showing Ruby Riott in the corner of Liv Morgan and Sarah Logan for this match, she was nowhere to be seen, so apparently her injury was worse than expected because she hasn't appeared on programming in a month. At any rate, Banks and Bayley are a full-fledged partnership now with a name for their tag team and everything, so I don't expect them to split up any time soon. They work well together, though, and they got as good of a matchup as they could have out of The Riott Squad.
Universal Champion Brock Lesnar Attacked Raw General Manager Kurt Angle
Lesnar sitting in the back throughout the night reading the world's longest magazine was a stupid storyline if only because everyone knew he'd show up at some point and that Heyman wouldn't actually be fired, along with Lesnar hitting Angle with an F5 (I had to remind myself it wasn't 2003 for a second). However, Lesnar physically threatening Heyman at the end was a cool twist, showing that the tension teased between them on this show wasn't a ruse after all. Ideally, I wouldn't break up Lesnar and Heyman because they're the perfect pairing, but if it leads to Heyman aligning with a heel Reigns, they'd definitely have my interest.
For whatever reasons, I found this edition of Raw to be a bit more bearable on the whole than most weeks, and that could have been because not everything that happened in between the beginning and end was totally meaningless. Lesnar's return to Raw was slightly disappointing yet still somewhat compelling, while Rollins vs. McIntyre was a treat and Balor vs. Corbin (shockingly enough) was very well-wrestled. It wasn't an amazing episode by any means, but it was marginally better than usual, which at least is a step in the right direction.
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