WWE Raw fires up LIVE from Houston, TX, starting at 8PM EDT, and we will have live coverage of the show as it airs. We are getting the ball rolling heading into Summerslam,
Brock Lesnar has been named the #1 Contender for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, and will face John Cena at Summerslam. Will the two meet eye to eye tonight? How will Cena react to the news?
Plus, an update from Stephanie McMahon following her arrest last week, follow-up on Bray Wyatt's attack on Chris Jericho, and more!
Follow us on Twitter @RingRap!
- We open with a recap of the most important story of last week... Stephanie McMahon getting arrested. It was a good segment, but Brock Lesnar is probably more important. Just saying.
- Oh, nevermind. We've got Brock covered.
- John Cena opens the live show, both belts slung across his neck. He's got that towel you can buy too. He throws the belts into the ring. Every time I see him do that, I get a little more pissed at the disrespect.
- Mix of boos and cheers for Cena. He speaks very somberly about Brock Lesnar being his opponent at Summerslam. "I am a marked man by The Authority." He says they've hired a mercenary. His opponent is "THE" Brock Lesnar.
- Cena talks about the cheers Lesnar got, and Cena says "Maybe the WWE Universe wants to see Brock Lesnar beat the hell out of me." Mixed reaction.
- Cena puts Lesnar over as the most devastating force in WWE. "His destruction is seismic." Cena says 40 men have been able to say they were champion, but one man has defeated The Streak. Cena says he's aware he'll get the beating of a lifetime. He encourages the fans to cheer it up. Cena goes into Preacher Mode - He says he's not going to lay down. He's going to fight, and he will beat Brock like he did in 2012. Cena says the fans don't realize what will happen to the title if Brock wins. He doesn't know who will be able to stop him.
- Paul Heyman interrupts. "Ladies and gentlemen, my name is Paul Heyman." The fans say it with him. "At Summerslam, my client Brock Lesnar will conquer John Cena, and take away from him the WWE World Heavyweight Championship." Heyman says it's courageous of him to realize the beating that's coming his way, but those are mighty big words from a man that's about to be turned into a victim. Heyman says Cena has never been victimized. He tells him to ask The Undertaker what it's like, except he can't because noone has seen or heard from The Undertaker since Wrestlemania.
- Heyman says Cena is on the defensive, and he needs to survive Lesnar, but Lesnar is on the offensive, and will conquer Cena. He's not going to just F5 Cena, pin Cena, he's going to victimize John Cena. Heyman talks about how Cena loves representing the fans - even those that say "Cena Sucks." Lesnar can't wait to inflict pain, and when Cena wakes up from the beating at Summerslam, he'll be "beaten, victimized, conquered."
- Cena says he's sick of Heyman's crap, and he wants to talk to him real for one second. Cena talks about passion and leads the fans in an ECW chant. Those who chant ECW can even stir a smile out of Heyman. Cena says he's passionate too. He loves this place, he has passion for (the title). He says Brock Lesnar has no passion for anything but himself. What separates Cena from Brock is heart. Cena says he's heading into Summerslam champion, and he's walking out "with this son of a bitch."
- Cesaro's music hits and he walks out. He hugs Heyman and takes the mic. He says even though he and Heyman have gone separate ways, he won't allow Cena to insult his friend. "Look at you. You're not a wrestler. You're a big, muscled up, walking billboard." Cena approaches. Cesaro asks him where he got those shoes, K-Mart? "You can't wrestle in sneakers. Oh wait, you can't wrestle." Cesaro challenges him to a match. Cena obliges. Paul Heyman tries to put over the match and Cena cuts him off. Cena says he's going to wrestle circles around Cesaro. We go to commercial.
Well... that was a red hot way to start the show off. Both Cena and Heyman were at the top of their game tonight. Cena didn't do any stupid crap, either. He kept it serious and to the point. Cesaro was also strong here, and the match should be great.
- The bell rings after our break, and we get a classic test of strength. Cesaro starts to get the better of it. He lifts Cena up for a slam, but Cena turns it into an arm drag, then locks in a headlock. Cena is definitely wrestling a different style tonight. Cesaro locks in a headlock takedown. Cesaro slams Cena down, then strikes in the corner. Divided crowd here. Cena hits a clunky hurricarana. Two-count. Cena eats an elbow in the corner. Cesaro strikes to the gut. They trade punches on the apron. Cesaro shoulders Cena through the ropes and sends him to the floor. Cena back in the ring, Cesaro dominates as we go to break.
- We come back, and Cena is hitting flying shoulders on Cesaro. Cesaro into a DDT for two. Nice reversals here, Cena hits a powerbomb for a near fall. Cena goes up top. Cesaro hangs him on the ropes and boots him in the face. Impressive deadlift super-plex from the apron, over the ropes. That move boggles my mind. Cesaro gets a two-count. Cesaro gets kicked in the face, but catches Cena in mid air and hits the Cesaro Swing. He sets him down and rolls him into a cloverleaf of sorts. Cena reverses it and goes for the STF. Cesaro kicks out, Cena drops him and goes for the Five Knuckle Shuffle. Cena puts Cesaro on his shoulders and carries him up top. Cesaro headbutts out and dives off the top for a cross-body. Cena rolls through and picks Cesaro up and over. He goes for the AA. Cesaro flips out, kicks the arm, and lifts Cena for the European Uppercut. Two-count. He teases a Neutralizer. Cena flips him over, Cesaro lands on his feet. Boot to the face from the apron. Cesaro goes up top again. Cena catches him and goes up for the AA. Off the top rope, he nails Cesaro with it. Three count. John Cena wins.
Wow. What a great match to start off Raw. They kept the ball rolling from a hot promo and gave us a main event worthy match. It gives me hope for a real feud between these two down the line. Cesaro looked very strong in defeat.
- Backstage, Steph and Trips are having a chat. Steph is having second thoughts. She says she can't go back there. She says she can't see the look in her daughter's eyes again. Triple H says he can't let this bother her. Randy Orton interrupts. He's upset about the original plan not happening. Triple H says plans change, when Roman Reigns attacked him, he changed the plans. Triple H says Reigns cost him his title shot. If he wants another shot, he needs to finish off Roman Reigns. Orton wants to finish him off tonight, but Reigns has a match against Kane tonight. Orton says he's got a problem with Kane, with Roman Reigns, and now a problem with Triple H. We go to break.
- We get an "NWO-ized" WWE Did You Know fact, promoting the WWE Network.
- Paige walks out to the ring. She skips, a la AJ Lee. We recap her heel turn last week. Paige says she's young, so sometimes she lets her emotions get the better of her. She still thinks of AJ as her best friend in the whole world. Last week she thought of AJ as someone that took her title, not her friend. "I promise I will never act that way again."
- AJ's music hits, and she skips to the ring. AJ calls Paige her "sweet young, Casper-looking crumpet." Paige interrupts her, but AJ wasn't finished. AJ says she gets why she's mad. AJ says she doesn't play little girl games. "I don't smile in front of someone and whisper behind their back." She says she'll talk crap about her to her face "like a real woman." Paige swears she's her real friend "and if you don't believe me then I guess you're crazy." AJ gets that look. You know. The look. Paige lays on the false compliments. AJ says Paige mispoke and it happens to all of us, even those a little off their rockers. She attacks Paige and the fight spills outside. Paige backs off as the audience chants for CM Punk. Ok then. AJ raises the title up high in the ring and tells Paige to "come and get it."
Paige's character needs to stop being "I'm really your friend, no really!" It doesn't suit her.
- After break, Triple H comes out to the ring, with Stephanie McMahon by his side. He whispers to her, trying to cheer her up. Recap of the slap heard 'round the world, followed by the handcuffing. Back in the ring, Steph looks like she's holding back tears. Triple H says we (the audience) has shared a lot of moments together. He's never been more disappointed that he was last Monday night. He's disgusted, angry. He's upset that the fans laughted at Steph when she was arrested last week. "You found it funny that the mother of my children was handcuffed." He rips into the audience for laughing at her when she was thrown into a cruiser like a "common criminal." He says he will never forgive us for that. Triple H says this entire thing was over a simple misunderstanding. Steph was just defending herself. He says Brie Bella was asking to be slapped. Triple H says all the charges have been dropped. Everything was dropped except for the assault and battery charge. Brie Bella refuses to let that one go, so they are here to try to reconcile and they've invited Brie to be here to put it all behind them.
- Triple H hands the mic to Stephanie, who struggles to speak. She asks Brie to come out to "get it over with." Instead, Chris Jericho comes out. He apologizes for interrupting, but he feels terrible about what happened last week. He wants to give his sympathies with a song - the song from "Cops." Funny. The audience takes off it with. Steph plugs her ears. Triple H fake laughs, then asks him if he thinks it's funny. Jericho says it is, and says it's 2014 - Orange is the New Black. These are the moments why the WWE Network were created, so we can watch it happen over and over and over and over...
- Jericho gives Triple H credit, for sticking by her side, and he insults his features. Jericho asks him why he didn't leave the arena with her. He says it's because Stephanie is "a filthy, dirty, brutal, bottom feeding trash-bag ho." Triple H tells him he should be paying attention to Bray Wyatt. Jericho says he wants Wyatt tonight, but Trips says he'll have to wait for Summerslam. As for tonight? Well... Seth Rollins attacks him with the briefcase from behind. Jericho vs. Rollins, later tonight!
- Another video recap of Cena and Heyman. Roman Reigns vs. Kane later tonight, also confirmed.
The Triple H/Stephanie segment was fine for what it was. Honestly, Jericho kind of ruined it, but it was fun hearing him insult Stephanie again.
- Back from break, and our Intercontinental Champion The Miz comes out. White suit, head to toe. He's teaming up with Curtis Axel and Ryback. They're facing off against Dolph Ziggler and The Usos! Miz and Ziggler start it off, but Miz tags Ryback in blindly. Ryback attacks Ziggler, then tags in Axel. Backstage, Big E, Kofi, and Xavier Woods watch. I looked away for a moment and an Uso brother is in. I didn't catch who. All six men are outside the ring staring each other down as we go to break.
- We return to Ryback and Jimmy Uso. Miz tags in and locks in a chin-lock. Big E, Kofi, and Woods are now at ringside, observing. Miz takes out Uso with a knee. Tag to Ryback, who quickly tags in Axel. Axel works over Uso, knees him in the face. Miz in, he gets kicked in the gut by Uso. Hot tag to Dolph, but Miz grabs the leg. Jimmy kicks him off and makes the tag. Ziggler and Ryback now, Ziggler is on fire. Neckbreaker, jumping elbow. Ryback catches him and sets him up, but Ziggler gets out. DDT for a near fall, Miz breaking it up. Jey Uso nearly kicks Miz in the face. He and Jey run the ropes and go diving onto Axel. Miz catches one of the brothers on the ropes. He tricks in Ziggler, but Ryback catches him. Out of nowhere a Zig Zag by Ziggler for the win.
Wow, tough match to keep up with. Lots going on, very fast paced. Good match.
- We come back from break, and we get a rare R-Truth sighting! He's rapping his way to the ring. The ear monitors seem to be working, too. Looks like he's facing Bo Dallas. Bo takes a mic and says everyone knows that he cannot be undefeated like him. "Actually, you've lost a lot of matches in your career." He knows one day he'll be victorious. All he has to do is Bo-Lieve. Truth looks pissed. Dallas hits a shoulder block or two. He runs a victory lap. He turns his back on Truth, and Truth gets a roll-up victory out of nowhere! R-Truth wins! Truth dances and Bo looks on in disbelief. Bo shakes his hand, then grabs a mic. "I can't Bo-lieve that you were the first to beat me." He attacks Truth with the mic out of nowhere. He hits him with seven clotheslines in the corner, tosses him down, then covers him up with the apron and strikes him in the back repeatedly. Underhook DDT to end it.
Nice heat for Dallas. He needed to show that mean streak.
- Rusev and Lana are in the ring after the break. Lana tells the fans to shut up pretty quickly. She puts down the American Flag. Surprisingly she still does the Vladimir Putin stuff. She puts down President Obama, and then rips on former President George Bush. Jack Swagger and Zeb Colter interrupt. He tells her to look at the flag - it's a real flag. 50 stars and 13 bars. But what does it represent to a Real American? He talks about a family surviving another year, a family sitting around a football game, families cooking together, pick-up trucks and beer. "We the People." But to him, it represents the thousands of men and women that fought and died for the flag. He leads the fans in a "We the People" chant. Swagger runs out to the ring, and Rusev meets him at the floor. Swagger takes Rusev out and they fight, but Rusev slams Swagger into the barricade. He rolls Swagger into the ring, then heads up. Lana tells him to Crush! Swagger plays possum and rolls over for the Patriot Lock. He boots Rusev in the face and knocks him off the apron. Swagger stands in the ring, holding the flag up high.
Solid segment hyping up their rematch at Summerslam, which hasn't been announced yet, but... well it's gonna happen.
- Back from break, Damien Sandow comes out to the ring wearing a NASA Astronaut costume. He cuts a promo on Houston, and it's pretty funny. "One small step for man, one giant leap in the toilet for mankind." Adam Rose comes out for his match against Sandow, full intro. Rose calls him a sour little space man. He tells him to come back down to Earth "Right here in Houston, Texas!" Don't be a lemon, etc. Sandow says noone can hear you scream in space. He wants to see if that's true on Earth. He attacks Rose, the ref separates them, rings the bell, and Rose hits the Party Foul to end the match immediately.
Sandow is entertaining in this role, but I hope it has a purpose somewhere down the line.
- Kane heads down to the ring to face off against Roman Reigns. Reigns walks out through the crowd, and Orton attacks him from behind. They brawl through the crowd before Orton gets tossed over the barricade. Reigns attacks Kane, then Orton, but Kane stops him. Reigns hits a Samoan Drop on Kane in the ring, clothesline in the corner, until Orton attacks from behind. Superman Punch to Orton, but Kane nails a chokeslam. Kane bails out of the ring and Reigns is left to Orton. Orton attacks and hits him with punches to the face. He stomps on him. The assault spills outside the ring. Orton slams Reigns into the steps and jaws with the crowd. He throws him into more steps, then out into the crowd. DDT off the barricade. Roman Reigns is laid out. He rips apart the steps and slams his face into the steps. Orton tears up the announcer's table, slams Reigns head-first into the stairs again. "You cost me my title shot. You're not gonna get off that easy." Orton tosses Reigns onto the table, then stands up with him. RKO on the table. It doesn't break. He stands him up again. RKO once more... this time it does. He talks more trash, then poses.
Strong segment from Orton here. He needed to reestablish his edge, and he's done so with this segment. Roman Reigns did a fantastic job getting his ass kicked.
- Back from commercial, Roman Reigns is still selling the assault by Randy Orton. There are officials tending to him at ringside as he struggles to stand.
- In the ring, it's Fandango. He's facing off against Diego, who is accompanied by both Summer Rae, and Layla, who hold the cape for El Torito. Silliness. The ladies are having so much fun! Fandango is not amused. They're distracting him, and Diego uses the advantage. Fandango hits a nice dropkick for two. Suplex, and he goes up top. El Torito does too, from the other turnbuckle. Fandango jumps down to approach him, and Diego hits a springboard roll-up for the win.
Not sure where they're going with this story, but it sure is stupid.
- Fandango asks the ladies "Why?" before getting gored off the apron by El Torito.
- Stephanie McMahon knocks on the Divas locker room, and Nikki Bella comes out. Steph says she wants to express herself. Nikki says Brie will be expressing herself. Nikki says there's not many times people like Steph eat a plate of crap. Nikki hopes Steph likes the taste of it. We go to break.
- Backstage, Stardust is doing math on a blackboard. Goldust interrupts him. Stardust is looking for the "Cosmic Key." Goldy writes "They Have It" on the blackboard when he's not looking. Weird.
- Natalya and Naomi team up against Alicia Fox and Cameron in a tag match. Fox hits some nice moves on Nattie. Natalya gets the advantage, tag to Naomi, who gets in some clunky offense before diving off the apron onto Cameron. Fox rips her off and rolls her back into the ring. Fox hits an axe kick to the back, and only gets two. Tag to Cameron. Cameron pulls the hair and hits a couple of neck whips. She's talking a lot of trash. She throws Naomi into the turnbuckle, goes for a cover, gets two. Out of nowhere, Naomi locks in a head/body scissors on Cameron, and Cameron taps out. Natalya and Naomi win.
- After a brief plug for Summerslam, Chris Jericho's music hits. Recap of the assault from last week, and from earlier. We go to break!
- Seth Rollins comes out after the break. I can't help but hear a boss battle theme for an RPG game every time he comes out. Jericho attacks early on, and Rollins ducks out of the ring. Jericho follows him, slamming him into the barricade. Back in the ring, Jericho still on the offense. He chokes Seth on the ropes. Rollins hits a nice dropkick out of nowhere. He tosses Jericho into the ropes and Y2J holds on but Rollins flips in place too. Jericho hits a shoulder block off the apron and the action spills outside as we go to commercial.
- After the break, Rollins is in charge. He's working over Jericho's arm, then chokes him on the apron. Rollins misses a dive in the corner. Tackles from Jericho, and he lands on the apron. Top rope double axe handle. Rollins hits a nice spinning takedown for two. Rollins hits a series of headbutts. Jericho hits some chops in the corner. Rollins slams him face first into the turnbuckle. Rollins goes up top, Jericho takes out the legs. Jericho's suplex gets blocked. Rollins goes for a sunset flip but Jericho turns it into a back body drop. Cross-body off the top for a very near fall. Rollins hits a series of punches, Jericho clotheslines him upside down. He misses a Lionsault. Rollins hits a bucklebomb in the corner, then goes for the Curb Stomp. Jericho avoids it and rolls him up for two. Jericho goes for the Walls of Jericho. Rollins gets to the ropes and then kicks Jericho in the face. Rollins goes for a springboard, but Jericho hits a Code Breaker mid-air! Then the lights go out...
- When they come back on, The Wyatt Family is in the ring. Luke Harper and Erick Rowan attack him while Bray Wyatt looks on. He gets crazy eyed and hits Sister Abigail on Jericho. Wyatt kneels in front of Jericho. "Follow the Buzzards."
Great match, but a predictable ending. I hope they let these two feud somewhere down the line. They could have some awesome matches together. Rollins looked great in there with Jericho, and Jericho is turning out some fine work to help elevate the future star.
- Backstage, Stephanie McMahon approaches the ring to meet with Brie Bella... after the break!
- Stephanie McMahon walks out to the ring by herself. More recaps of the events leading up to this point. She says she stands before us a humbled woman. Getting arrested is a "life altering experience." She says she represents four generations of McMahons, the company, the corporate sponsors, and they cannot look her in the eye without thinking she's a common criminal. She says the experience has affected her professionally and personally. Her daughters cannot understand why it happened. Her kids are getting teased at camp. Etc. Brie Bella approaches the ring from the audience.
- Brie says she's heard enough, so let's get to the point. She calls Steph a whiny "rich bitch." Steph is asking her to drop all charges. Steph says she doesn't deserve this. Brie says as far as she's concerned, she deserves to go to hell. Steph admits to taking advantage of Nikki Bella "in some regards." She says she'll treat her fairly from now on. Brie doesn't buy it. Steph offers a raise to Nikki. Brie says she can accept that, but she has demands of her own too. She wants her job back. Steph says she needs to be reasonable. "One Bella in WWE is enough." Brie starts to walk away. Steph says ok... if you agree to drop all charges, I'll give you your job back. "Ok, awesome. Done deal." Steph walks away. Brie stops her. She's not done. Brie wants a match at Summerslam. Steph says ok! A divas title match? A Total Divas match? Nope. Brie wants a match against Stephanie!
- Steph tries to weasel out of the match, says she hasn't wrestled in over 10 years. She'll give Nikki the raise, she'll give Brie her job back, but not a match. Brie says "See you in court." Steph starts to beg and plead. She gets teary eyed. She won't lower herself to that level. Brie starts to leave again. Steph stops her once more. Brie reiterates that she will drop ALL charges. Steph cries then agrees to the match. She says at Summerslam... SLAP! She knocks Brie off the apron to the floor. "At Summerslam, I'm gonna make you my bitch!" Brie runs in and attacks her and it's a pull-apart brawl! The agents run out to the ring, Triple H too. Brie stands in the ring as Steph laughs and smiles as the show ends.
Hot segment to end a pretty hot Raw. Stephanie has been fantastic in her role lately, and this was no exception. Brie did some of the better acting she's been doing lately as well. Summerslam is already starting to have a big feel to it and I like it. Strangely enough, I'm sort of looking forward to seeing how this catfight plays out in a few weeks as well.
Overall, thumbs up for this edition of WWE Raw. We will have lots more to discuss in a few days with Ring Rap Audio. Be sure to tune in then! Thanks for following along with me today folks... I'll see you next week!