The SummerSlam contenders for the Universal and Raw Women’s Champions were named on this week’s edition of Monday Night Raw.
Extreme Rules is in the rear-view, and while Raw Women’s Champion Becky Lynch managed to retain her title in the mixed-tag main event alongside Seth Rollins, Rollins ended up falling victim to a contract-cashing-in Brock Lesnar and losing his Universal Championship.
Now, Monday Night Raw will feature a 10-man battle royal to determine Lesnar’s opponent at SummerSlam. Not to be outdone, Carmella, Naomi, Alexa Bliss and Natalya will face off for the right to be Lynch’s SummerSlam challenger in a four-way elimination match.
So, how did things play out on Raw for July 15?
What’s next for Brock Lesnar?
The new WWE Universal Champion Brock Lesnar — accompanied by Paul Heyman — are first up on the night. The things-that-aren’t-boom-boxes-being-used-as-boom-boxes is still part of Lesnar’s repertoire.
Heyman handles the talking, savoring that his client is the “new, reigning, defending Universal Champion.” Heyman is also in “we told you so,” mode; he did, after all, tell us a week ago and also a night ago that Lesnar would be cashing in his Money in the Bank contract and win. The crowd? Displeased.
Heyman also lets us know what we already know — how Lesnar’s SummerSlam opponent will be determined. That’s happening later tonight via a 10-man “Cross Brand All-Star Top 10 Battle Royal,” per WWE (and now Heyman). That’s a lot of words. Could have just went with “battle royal,” but hey.
Our 10: Seth Rollins, Randy Orton, Big E, Cesaro, Braun Strowman, Rey Mysterio, Baron Corbin, Sami Zayn (Heyman’s personal pick to win), Bobby Lashley and Roman Reigns.
A promise, a threat, a spoiler from Heyman closes the segment: Facing Lesnar will put your health, welfare and manhood at risk.
Ricochet and The Usos vs. Robert Roode and The Revival
Ricochet is fresh off of losing the WWE United States Championship to AJ Styles at Extreme Rules (with a little help from The Good Brothers). And though he’s admittedly banged up from said match, he’s in action on Raw in the first match of the night.
Ricochet is pairing up with The Usos to take on Robert Roode and The Revival in a … you guessed it … two-out-of-three falls match. Ricochet picks up the first fall, over Scott Dawson, in literal seconds, with the Recoil.
Dawson picks up the second fall over Jimmy Uso, with fall No. 3 coming after the commercial break. At some point, WWE is going to have to let someone win two consecutive falls during these matches. Just because the show is scripted and predetermined does not mean it needs to be predictable.
Anyway, the third fall is also Ricochet’s, with a Recoil followed by a 630 to pin Roode. Styles and The Club come to the ring and Ricochet dives onto them. The Revival, Usos and Roode all get involved. Finally, it’s Styles with a Phenomenal Forearm Ricochet and The Good Brothers with a Magic Killer, both on Ricochet, signaling Styles’ rivalry with Ricochet appears not at an end.
The Viking Raiders vs. Local Talent
The Viking Raiders are continuing down the squash match road, taking care of another pair of local talent. They win easily via Viking Experience. Let’s get Erik and Ivar some real competition, no?
Backstage, a group of Superstars led by Cedric Alexander are making fun of Drew McIntyre. Alexander and McIntyre will face off thanks to Alexander meddling with McIntyre’s tag match against Roman Reigns a week ago.
Drew McIntyre vs. Cedric Alexander
While Alexander got in a bit of offense early, McIntyre quickly became the dominant competitor. Though things managed to become a bit more back-and-forth, McIntyre held most of the control. Alexander, though, snagged the upset win by reversing an Alabama Slam into a pin. Welcome, finally, to Raw, Alexander. We know you’ve missed wrestling.
Backstage, Finn Balor says he wants his Intercontinental Championship and he will go both through and over Samoa Joe tonight on his path to doing so. Joe, elsewhere backstage, refutes Balor’s claims.
Finn Balor vs. Samoa Joe
Joe picked up the win over Balor in surprisingly quick fashion via a backslide. Joe then engaged in a post-match beating on Balor but Balor countered the Coquina Clutch attempt and hit a Coup de Grace.
Balor’s music is set to play him out, but instead it’s warped and then cuts out. The lights in the arena also go out, the sounds of a beating still ongoing. The buzzards begin sounding and it’s Bray Wyatt — as The Fiend — to take out Balor with a Sister Abigail.
Let’s just pencil in The Demon versus The Fiend at SummerSlam, shall we?
This, by the way, is legitimately terrifying:
The honeymoon continues
Drake Maverick and Renee Michelle check into their hotel as “Mr. and Mrs. 24/7 Champion,” and Renee is not pleased. But the hotel is nice and the newlyweds have yet to consummate their marriage, so Renee is ready for a romantic night.
R-Truth, though, is lurking with a referee in the hotel lobby and gives the front desk attendant a big of cash for him to reveal Maverick’s room. The Street Profits are backstage watching this unfold and then go on to talk about the women’s fatal four-way match to determine the No. 1 contender for Becky Lynch’s Raw Women’s Championship and the 10-man battle royal — er, the Cross Brand All-Star Top 10 Battle Royal. Whew.
It appears that the Street Profits’ role on Monday and Tuesday nights is to serve as some sort of Greek chorus to move stories forward and to preview the matchups. While this may not be the best use of the NXT Tag Team Champions, it at least seems like we know what their role is.
Zack Ryder vs. Mike Kanellis
Long Island hometown boy Zack Ryder is set to face Mike Kanellis and Maria tells Mike that she’d rather take the match, pregnant as she is, because she feels like she’s better equipped to win a match than her husband. Mike doesn’t let this happen, and loses in “less than one minute” to Ryder (the third time for a match to do so on the night).
Maria reiterates that she should have been the one to wrestle. “Her unborn child,” she says, would have done better against Ryder in the ring. Let the emasculation continue. What’s below buried? Mike Kanellis would like to know.
The Club (AJ Styles, Karl Anderson, Luke Gallows) vs. Lucha House Party
We get another six-man tag match, with The Club taking on Lucha House Party. Most of the early part of the match features the brutalization of Gran Metalik.
Ricochet eventually sneak-attacks Styles, the officials escorting him to the back ‚— the perfect pretense for a commercial break, since wrestling-during-commercial-breaks remains on WWE’s banned list.
With Ricochet sent packing, the match continues following the break. The Club’s dominance over the Lucha House Party also continued.
Kalisto eventually cleans house, and he, Metalik and Lince Dorado all dive to the outside to take out Anderson and Gallows. Though Styles was also neutralized by being driven into the barricade, Anderson and Gallows recover quickly, hit Kalisto with a Boot of Doom, tag in Styles and Styles submits Kalisto with the Calf Crusher.
Backstage, Seth Rollins is interviewed about his losing the Universal Championship and his part in the 10-man battle royal. Essentially, he’s ready to win tonight to get another crack at Brock Lesnar and get the title back.
Fatal four way: Alexa Bliss vs. Carmella vs. Natalya vs. Naomi
Next up is the fatal four-way elimination match to determine Becky Lynch’s SummerSlam opponent. Alexa Bliss (with Nikki Cross), Carmella, Natalya and Naomi are the four Superstars tapped for the bout.
After all four competitors reached the ring, Lynch arrives — somewhat of a surprise given being hit by Baron Corbin’s End of Days the night previous — ostensibly to scout her potential opponents.
Natalya and Naomi are the first two to face off in the ring and they went move-for-move; this, however, allowed for Carmella to come in and attempt numerous pins on both women.
Bliss, who was hiding on the outside of the ring, saw a moment of opportunity, rolling up Carmella and eliminating her. After the break, all three remaining women traded control of the match, with Bliss in particularly trying to be the most opportunistic.
Mind: This was the longest match of the night thus far, and the only one to get a “this is awful,” chant, though it certainly was not an awful match — it was, though, overlong and considering the matches that didn’t get time, the crowd’s response isn’t surprising.
Anyway. Natalya rolled up Naomi, eliminating Naomi and leaving things one-on-one between Natalya and Bliss after the break. Despite all signs pointing toward Bliss getting yet another title shot, it was Natalya to tap out Bliss with the Sharpshooter.
Is this … something we want? At SummerSlam? Unless the build becomes something transcendent or unexpected, this isn’t quite a blockbuster matchup. Is this happening because the event is in Canada? This just feels lazy, but Lynch ain’t wrong: Natalya’s career needs something, and Lynch is that something.
MizTV featuring Dolph Ziggler
The Miz’s guest on MizTV this week is Dolph Ziggler, per Ziggler’s request. Ziggler wants to know if the rumors are true about The Miz, that he’s become a “yes man,” and The Miz immediately wonders what Ziggler’s motivations are.
Ziggler says that The Miz “is just happy to be here,” and is not trying to better himself any longer. Ziggler chides him for not being on Extreme Rules, while Miz counters that he would rather not be on the show than lose to Kevin Owens in 17 seconds.
Ziggler claims that The Miz has become everything he hates — he’s not Hollywood, he’s Cleveland-born like Ziggler. You “have become everything you hate,” is Ziggler’s new refrain, having moved beyond “It should have been me!” apparently, as he repeats it or a variation of it at least a dozen times.
Anyway. Ziggler insults The Miz’s wife, Maryse, which angers The Miz and, apparently, sets up some Cleveland-on-Cleveland violence heading into SummerSlam.
Drake Maverick is scattering rose petals on his hotel room bed in preparation for his honeymoon with Renee Michelle to actually get underway. Maverick is also nude except for his 24/7 Championship and maybe hyperventilating.
Maverick and Renee Michelle are interrupted by what is supposed to be room service with champagne. The room service attendant, however, is the referee who accompanied R-Truth, and Truth is in the room service cart. Truth rolls Maverick up for a two count initially, and then rolls him up on the bed a second time, this time for a three count.
R-Truth is 24/7 Champion once again, Maverick goes back on the hunt and Renee Michelle has been left terrorized. There are no winners, only victims, of the 24/7 Championship.
The too-many-words battle royal
The Cross Brand All-Star Top 10 Battle Royal Where 10 Men Enter But Only One Man Exits Even Though Nine Exit And One Kinda Stays Only To Get Back In The Ring In August Against Brock Lesnar At SummerSlam — phew! — is obviously the main event of this week’s Raw.
Lest we forgot, the competitors are Braun Strowman, Bobby Lashley, Randy Orton, Sami Zayn, Big E, Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins, Baron Corbin, Rey Mysterio and Cesaro. Lesnar also brought a chair (and Paul Heyman) to sit atop the ramp and watch the action.
Given that all 10 men in the match have interweaving storylines, understandably Rollins and Corbin attacked each other immediately, as did Lashley and Strowman. Cesaro, meanwhile, has an uppercut that does not discriminate, going corner-to-corner to strike all nine opponents.
Lashley, though, eliminates Cesaro just moments later, followed by Strowman then eliminating Lashley. Big E then showed off his strength, delivering a Big Ending on Strowman.
However, Orton then hits Big E with an RKO and Sami Zayn capitalizes, eliminating Big E. Orton goes outside, but through the second rope, and Corbin eliminates Mysterio. After everyone remaining in the ring attacks Corbin, Rollins ultimately eliminates him.
As Rollins and Reigns try to take out Strowman, Reigns accidentally spears Rollins. Reigns attempts to take out Strowman, and Rollins manages to eliminate them both. This leaves just Orton and Rollins.
Rollins is outside the ring, Orton in it as the pair battle for the chance to face Lesnar. Orton hits Rollins with a DDT and turns his attention to Lesnar on the ramp, staring him down. Rollins counters the next RKO attempt with a stomp and dumps Orton over the top rope.
Rollins will now face Lesner for the Universal Championship at SummerSlam. He vows to win back his belt, naturally.
While a Raw jam-packed with in-ring action, it also featured extremely truncated matches, with the exception of the women’s four-way, which itself felt overlong. It was like a strong overcorrection from what has been dragging Raw down for months than a complete resetting or reimagining of the format.
What did you think of this week’s Raw? Did The Fiend thoroughly freak you out, too? Let us know in the comments below.