WWE heads north of the border tonight to Toronto, Ontario Canada and the Air Canada Centre for this week’s edition of Raw. The Road to SummerSlam is winding down with only 13 more days to go to the Biggest Party of the Summer. Previously, Bayley won the right to face Alexa Bliss for the Raw Women’s Championship, but news came out that she has a shoulder injury. Will she be able to compete? Will someone end up taking her place? Will that someone be Nia Jax, or Sasha Banks? Also, Bray Wyatt got a taste of the mind games of Finn Balor last week. Will Balor continue to manipulate the Eater of Worlds? Roman Reigns and Braun Strowman are set to clash in a Last Man Standing match just 13 nights before the Fatal Four Way for the Universal Championship. Who gains an advantage?
Show Open, Live from the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario Canada
Then, now, forever. It’s been a long, taxing, but rewarding weekend. I will try to stay focused for you all. We got the Raw opener then checked in to the arena with Michael Cole, Corey Graves, and Booker T on the call. They hyped the Reigns/Strowman last man standing match.
Miz is in the ring for Miz TV with all his crew. It’s Canada, so there’s a mixed reaction. He said he wasn’t in the mood, which drew boos. He said the show will not start until he gets what he wants, and that’s for Kurt Angle to come to the ring right now. He said he’s tired of being blindsided and cheap shotted on his show and re-extended the interview “so I can finish what he started.”
No Jason Jordan, instead it’s Kurt Angle to a big pop and “you suck” chants. He loves it. Angle told Miz that Jordan wouldn’t be on the show, and had a match with Axel later. Angle told Miz he had a guest for Miz that would exceed his expectations, and Brock Lesnar’s music hit. Big reaction for Lesnar, who circled the ring eyeing up everyone in it. Cole said Heyman appeared on Facebook earlier and said they had a lot to get off their chests.
Miz looked like he was about to shit himself as fans chanted “Suplex City.” Miz cut Heyman off before he could even say a word and said it’s his show and he runs things. Miz said Lesnar is pretty much guaranteed to lose at SummerSlam and it’s not a matter of if he does but who walks out with the title. Miz blamed Heyman for it and called it an unprecedented situation where an unbeatable champion will walk out an ex champion. Heyman and Lesnar chat off mic while Miz recounted that Heyman said both Heyman and Lesnar would leave the company.
Miz said he would put his money on Roman Reigns, Braun Strowman, or Samoa Joe. Toronto loves Joe and chanted for him. Miz said one of them would walk out the champion, and Lesnar would take his ball and go home. “Good riddance to bad rubbish. Is there anything you would like to add, Mr. Advocate?”
Cheers for Heyman as he picked up the mic. He introduced himself and called himself the advocate for Lesnar. “On behalf of my client and not to be too personal, do you and your lovely wife ever role play?” Heyman said he’s all about role play. This is weird. He makes Dallas Roman Reigns, Miz into Samoa Joe, and Axel into Braun Strowman. He said in this game of role play, Lesnar would preview SummerSlam.
Lesnar starts ripping everyone apart. Clotheslines to Dallas and Axel, suplexes for everyone, and F5’s for everyone. Cole said Lesnar just took out the trash. Everyone’s left laying but Lesnar, who posed with the belt to cheers. Graves said once it’s the real men, Lesnar’s job will be harder.
A hot moment to start the show as Lesnar got a great reaction. The segment fulfilled the point of Lesnar being dominant, though Graves does make a good point that it would not be so easy against the actual players in the match. Miz carried out his mic work well, and no one was really hurt by Lesnar mowing through them.
Seth Rollins walked backstage, and he would be up for the first match. After a commercial, Rollins made his entrance. There’s a “BURN IT DOWN!” yell to start his music now. As Rollins came to the ring they recounted what happened between Rollins, Dean Ambrose, Sheamus and Cesaro after Rollins defeated Sheamus last week.
Sheamus and Cesaro made their entrance, and Cole noted that they went the exact opposite of Rollins and Ambrose by going from bitter enemies to best friends. Booker said Rollins is finding out it’s lonely at the top.
Match #1 – Seth Rollins vs. Sheamus (w/Cesaro);
The Reax: Rollins fired off fast on Sheamus with stomps, fought his way out of an attempted move at ringside, then took it to Sheamus at ringside. He hit Sheamus with a springboard clothesline and kept up the offense until Sheamus crotched him across the top rope. Rollins rolled to ringside as fans started chanting that Sheamus looked stupid. Rollins threw a chop but ate the ring apron going to break.
Back live, Sheamus controlled the match with a headlock but Rollins tried to fight back with strikes. Sheamus set up for the Ten Beats of the Battern, but he only gave a couple then hit a rolling senton. Sheamus called for the Brogue Kick but Rollins ducked and threw a superkick. Sheamus kneed him but ate an enzugiri. Both men sold.
Sheamus shoved Rollins off with double boots then flipped himself up to the top rope. Rollins met him on the buckle but Sheamus fought him off once. Rollins went up again and hit a huracanrana then followed with a superkick for two. Rollins followed with rapid short kicks and a slingblade. Cesaro got on the apron but Rollins discarded him. In the end, Rollins went top rope and Cesaro caused another distraction which let Sheamus roll him up for the win.
After the match, Rollins dove on a celebrating Sheamus and Cesaro and attacked, but it turned into a 2 on 1 attack. They threw him into the barriers a couple times then threw Rollins in the ring. Sheamus and Cesaro kept looking for Ambrose, but they hit the double team White Noise. No help from Ambrose this time, and Cole said he was shocked by this. Sheamus and Cesaro posed with their belts and left.
A good match with the normal heelish shenanigans with Cesaro at ringside. It feels like they’re heading to something with Rollins and Ambrose overall. The picture I have is the two being reluctant partners and eventually one turning on the other. We’ll see if they add to this story later as I expect they will somehow.
Cole hyped Strowman vs. Reigns, calling their rivalry extremely physical and said they would meet to determine who could not answer a ten count later.
Rollins was hobbling backstage when he came across Dean Ambrose. Ambrose said he told him not to do it again, and he supposes he looks like a real jerk. Rollins said it’s three years and a lot has come and gone. It has…remembering an old friend today…ugh. Anyhow, Rollins asked what he had to do, and Ambrose said he didn’t know, but he wasn’t sticking around to find out. He called the teaming a one-time thing and welcomed Rollins to going it alone. He said he would have Cesaro later, and as usual, go it alone.
Jason Jordan came to the ring for his scheduled match against Curtis Axel, but Axel was laid out from the Lesnar segment earlier. Kurt Angle sent out Jean Pierre Goulet for the match, who got a huge reaction for the match.
Match #2 – Jason Jordan vs. Jean Pierre Goulet;
Winner: Jason Jordan
The Reax: Fans chanted “let’s go Jobber” as Jordan controlled the early going. Goulet got a couple elbow shots in for cheers, but Jordan finished him off with a neckbreaker to boos. Goulet is from Quebec City, so the reaction was to be expected.
Typical squash match to continue to get Jordan over. Hard to do here because of facing a hometown guy.
Cole noted Bayley was injured last week on Raw and would be out of the SummerSlam match against Alexa Bliss. She walked solemnly backstage as Cole noted she would be out next to address the fans.
Bayley made her way to the ring after a break with her arm in a sling. Cole noted that she was injured against Nia Jax last week and she is out of SummerSlam. Charly interviewed her in the ring about the injury and fed it to footage of what happened.
The fans booed when Charly noted she would be out of the match. Bayley said it made her angry and knew something was wrong in the moment, but said she needed to finish the match and defeat Nia to show that she was a contender to Bliss. She said it’s really hard to be happy and dealt with the emotions, but she said she saw the fan interaction on social media (which drew boos, and Graves called it Bizzaro World) and those who supported her she was thankful for.
Charly noted two triple threat matches would take place to determine the replacement, and Bayley said it would be her friend Sasha Banks. Banks made her way to the ring and hugged Bayley, and Cole hyped the first triple threat match being next.
After a break, Alicia Fox and Emma made their entrances for the match. Alexa Bliss joined commentary for the match.
Match #3 – Sasha Banks vs. Alicia Fox vs. Emma; Winner advances to a match next week for the title shot at SummerSlam;
Winner; Sasha Banks, advances to next week’s #1 Contender’s Match
The Reax: In the early action, Fox missed a shot on Sasha and got decked. Emma jumped Sasha from behind, but Sasha sent her to the floor. Fox missed a running kick and Sasha got two. Emma tripped Sasha at the ropes, pulled her out and sent her to the apron hard.
Emma sidestepped a Fox attack on the apron and got back in the ring. Emma kept Fox at the ropes, but Fox countered back and worked her over. Fox hit a Northern Lights suplex for two, then Emma came back with offense of her own but Sasha ran in for a shining wizard on Emma.
Banks hit double knees in the corner on Fox. Emma stole the pin, and it was a very good near fall but the fans started chanting “ref you suck” like it was a mistake. A bit later, Banks re-entered and Fox schoolgirled her for two. Sasha avoided an Axe Kick and hit the Backstabber into the Bank Statement. Emma re-entered and rolled Banks over, but Banks rolled it right over to the Bank Statement and Emma tapped out.
A good match with the expected result. Emma shined here though and I’m hoping they start to do more with her going forward.
Renee Young asked Braun Strowman how important the last man standing match was tonight. Strowman said he liked hurting Roman Reigns and liked seeing the hope leaving his eyes when he beats on him. He said the Big Dog is nothing but a puppy and he vowed to win the Universal Championship at SummerSlam. “Tonight, I will be the last monster standing.” Cole hyped the match up, and Graves hyped Cesaro vs. Ambrose for later as well.
Back from break, Enzo Amore made his way to the ring doing his normal entrance routine. Toronto liked him. He introduced Big Show to the ring. Enzo and Show talked about Cass needing to be taught a lesson in respect. Show said Cass’ chin is soft.
Gallows and Anderson came to the stage and asked if Enzo and Show were good brothers. “Nope.” They asked why they were celebrating anything when they lost. They offered to wrestle Enzo and Show and they could add their names to the list of teams the Good Brothers have beaten, taking out a team of nerds. Enzo said the two looked like Dr. Evil and Mini Me, and the match was on.
Match #4 – Big Show and Enzo Amore vs. Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson;
Winner: Gallows and Anderson
The Reax: Big Show shoved Anderson down early, then shoved Gallows down as well. Gallows and Anderson regrouped at ringside going to a break. The show returned with Gallows and Anderson controlling Enzo.
Cass made his way to the ring and Show looked at him. The distraction let Gallows hit a big boot on Show, and Cass just looked on. They set Enzo up for the Magic Killer, but Enzo escaped and rolled up Gallows but he wasn’t legal. Anderson hit a big boot and covered for the win.
Cass attacked Show afterward, beating him down. He roughed up Enzo and threw him in the ring, but Enzo escaped and walked around the ring. Show met Cass there with a WMD punch. Show and Enzo celebrated, and Cass sold the punch by staggering to the ramp.
This was what it was to advance the Show/Enzo/Cass dynamic. They haven’t made the match official yet, but I certainly do expect that to come sooner than later.
They recounted the angle between Balor and Wyatt from last Monday with a video package. After a break, Finn Balor made his entrance for a promo. Balor recounted the segment from last week and asked how the fans liked him kicking Wyatt’s teeth down his neck. He said Wyatt likes to talk in riddles and gives him the creeps.
Balor said Wyatt strikes him as a guy that likes to hurt people rather than care about wins and losses. He said he learned a long time ago to stand up and kick fear in the face when it comes knocking. He said Wyatt better not miss the next time he comes at him, and whether it’s at SummerSlam or tonight, he will finish whatever Wyatt starts.
Wyatt sounder. He was in the ring when the lights came back up, and Balor sat on the buckle. The two exchanged some quick moves, with Finn getting the better of him. He hit the Slingblade and set for the shotgun drop kick but the sounder hit again and Wyatt vanished.
Wyatt laughed and appeared on the Tron. He said that he understood why the fans liked Finn, because when he flies they fly with him. Wyatt said when he plucked Finn from the heavens they will all fall with him. “Run.”
A short and to the point promo for Finn and a meaningful exchange that can set up a SummerSlam match between them, which is where I expect it to go.
They hyped Cesaro vs. Dean Ambrose for next. Back from break, Cesaro made his entrance with Sheamus, and he tripped along the way. Corey tried to cover for him. Dean Ambrose made his entrance to a good reaction. Commentary recounted the earlier match with Rollins and Sheamus and the Ambrose/Rollins interaction.
Match #5 – Dean Ambrose vs. Cesaro (w/Sheamus);
Winner: Dean Ambrose
The Reax: Cesaro and Ambrose tied up in the early going and felt each other out. Corey called Booker out for being on opposite sides of the same issue at the same time. Cesaro pushed Ambrose down out of a test of strength grip for a couple rapid two counts. Ambrose sent Cesaro flying.
Booker is way off on commentary tonight. Cesaro started delivering uppercuts to Ambrose, who came back with right hands of his own. Cesaro picked Ambrose up in a power bomb position and dropped him on the buckle. Two count. Cesaro hit a big clothesline for a two count then locked in a headlock.
Ambrose hit a swinging neckbreaker then sent Cesaro to ringside, following with a dive. Sheamus distracted Ambrose long enough to let Cesaro hit a big uppercut by the barrier to take control back. After a commercial, Cesaro used an abdominal stretch, then draped Ambrose over the ropes. He went top rope but Ambrose met him there to try for a superplex. Cesaro fought him off at first, but Ambrose came back.
Cesaro got on the post itself and fought off Ambrose. The two continued to fight and Cesaro looked around like he was going to go outside the ring with this, but Ambrose quickly hit a superplex of his own inside the ring. Ambrose continued to fire off strikes, but got caught in a rope running sequence when Cesaro hit a backbreaker. He continued to work the back.
The two started striking, then Cesaro loaded a backbreaker. Ambrose slipped out and threw strikes and a clothesline. He set a charge but Cesaro avoided and hit an uppercut for two. Cesaro followed with two straight gutwrench suplexes for a near fall. Cesaro looked for the Neutralizer but Ambrose countered.
A few moments later, Cesaro looked for the Sharpshooter to the approval of the fans but Ambrose countered out. Ambrose looked for Dirty Deeds but Cesaro slipped out. Moments later, Ambrose pulled the ropes down and Cesaro tumbled to ringside. Ambrose set a dive but Cesaro hit a big uppercut for a near fall.
A little later, Cesaro looked for another superplex but Ambrose escaped by dumping him to the mat face first. He cradled Cesaro for a near fall. The two started striking again, with Cesaro throwing rapid fire body shots, but Ambrose came back with the Lunatic Lariat. Ambrose looked for Dirty Deeds but Sheamus distracted him, and Cesaro locked in the Sharpshooter. Ambrose forced the break by getting into the ropes, staring down Sheamus.
Cesaro paintbrushed Ambrose then charged, but Ambrose sent him to ringside. Ambrose followed with his standing elbow shot off the buckle. Ambrose fed Cesaro in then went top rope. Sheamus distracted him, but Ambrose got the roll up for the win.
Sheamus attacked Ambrose after but Rollins ran out for the save. He backdropped Cesaro at ringside then roughed up Sheamus and sent him to the floor as well. Ambrose continued to sell as Rollins jawed at Sheamus and Cesaro. Rollins stared at Ambrose as the fans started to cheer and chant “yes.” Ambrose got to his feet and stared at Rollins.
Ambrose held out his fist in the old Shield moment. Rollins stared, then shook his head and walked away. Ambrose looked up the ramp.
A good match between Ambrose and Cesaro. They continue to tease the reunion of the two former Shield mates, and I expect that we’ll see a culmination of it coming sooner than later if they plan on doing a match at SummerSlam between Rollins and Ambrose and Sheamus and Cesaro.
They recapped the Miz TV segment with Brock Lesnar roughing up Miz and the Miztourage. They then went on to hype the Last Man Standing match. The commentary team then recapped 205 Live when Akira Tozawa faced Ariaya Daivari to win the right to face Neville at SummerSlam.
Backstage, Titus Worldwide celebrated. He said the hyperbaric chamber was the best investment he ever made and said the title would be coming home to Titus Worldwide. Neville entered and said he was there to scout his competition at SummerSlam, if he makes it. Titus objected, then Neville said that it seemed risky that he would face the same opponent whose dreams he just crushed. “But what do I know?” Neville said he was sure Tozawa had his reasons for going through with the match and left.
Match #6 – Ariya Daivari vs. Akira Tozawa (w/Titus O’Neil);
Winner: Akira Tozawa
The Reax: They cut to a pre-taped promo from Daviari during his entrance where he promised revenge. Daivari backed Tozawa to a corner and hit an elbow. Daviari started to attack the bad arm with headbutts, then hit a backbreaker. Tozawa started to fire back but Daivari hit a corner splash. He locked in a full nelson then covered for two.
Daivari locked a hammerlock on the bad arm. Tozawa got the fans to do his “ah!” thing by stomping his foot. In a rope running sequence Tozaaw threw a huracanrana then cut off Daivari at the ropes and sent him to the floor. Tozawa followed with a suicide dive and threw Daivari in for a two count. In the end, Tozawa hit his senton to get the victory. They recapped the end of the match, then O’Neil and Tozawa did a selfie.
Fine for what it was. I would have expected more story development between Neville and Tozawa with only two weeks yet to go to SummerSlam, but I’m assuming we’ll get a lot more out of it next week on the go-home show.
They went to Roman Reigns for comments on the last man standing match. Renee asked for his reaction on Brock Lesnar appearing earlier. Reigns said he doesn’t care what Lesnar does or if he stays or goes. He said he wasn’t scared to retire Undertaker and he isn’t scared of Lesnar. He promised to be the last man standing tonight and he said he would win the Universal Championship at SummerSlam.
Match #7 – Nia Jax vs. Mickie James vs. Dana Brooke; Winner Faces Sasha Banks next week for the right to face Alexa Bliss;
Winner: Nia Jax to advance to face Sasha Banks next week to determine who the #1 Contender is
The Reax: Late in this one, Jax hit a fallaway slam on Dana, then Mickie came off the top and hit a senton on Nia. She covered Dana for two before Nia sent her to ringside. Dana jumped on Nia’s back and tried to lock in a sleeper but failed. Late in the match, Nia hit a big leg drop to pin Dana for the win.
I missed part of this match, so I can’t say a lot about it. I did expect the result though, and wouldn’t be shocked if they end up going triple threat somehow at SummerSlam.
The commentary team hyped NXT Takeover: Brooklyn and SummerSlam. There’s a 2 hour pre-show and a four hour pay per view. Wow, that’s a lot of content. They hyped the Last Man Standing match yet to come this evening.
Back live, we got a Goldust promo in his director style. He says he has so much love to give that he’s about to burst. He’s ready for his next big production and talked about SummerSlam, asking if he would find his next hero, villain, or new starlet. No matter who it is, they will shine like gold. “The Golden Age, is back.”
The commentary team recounted the Big Show/Enzo/Cass segment from earlier. Cass entered Kurt Angle’s office and asked for Big Show at SummerSlam, on the condition that Enzo is in a shark cage above the ring. He said he wanted Enzo to watch him turn Big Show into seven feet of failure. Kurt makes it official, then after Cass leaves he said he hopes Enzo isn’t afraid of heights.
Braun Strowman made his entrance for the main event. JoJo ran down the rules for the match. Cole hypes Raw from Boston for next Monday then gave some sell for the match as we went to break. After commercial, they announced that Finn Balor vs. Bray Wyatt is official for SummerSlam, and hyped Sasha Banks vs. Nia Jax for the right to face Alexa Bliss at SummerSlam. More sell for the four way Universal Championship match. Boos for Reigns as he entered.
Match #8 – Roman Reigns vs. Braun Strowman; Last Man Standing;
Winner: Braun Strowman
The Reax: They didn’t wait to get to the ring as this fight started on the ramp. Strowman sent him to the barrier then threw him into the ring. Reigns tried to load a Samoan Drop but Strowman cut him off and continued the offense. Fans chanted for both men.
Strowman sent Reigns hard to the buckle and the official started the count. Reigns got up then took a facebuster on Strowman’s knee. Strowman swatted him back down with some blows. Reigns started to run the ropes but Strowman hit a body block that sent Reigns to the floor then played to the fans. Reigns got to his feet at ringside as we went to a break.
Strowman threw the steps in the ring coming out of break, then threw Reigns in. Strowman dominated during the break. Reigns started to fire back with his corner clothesline spot then a big boot, then a second. Reigns grabbed the steps and hit Strowman with them. The official counted three, then Reigns hit him three more times with the steps and the official started again.
Reigns called for the Superman Punch but Strowman caught him. Reigns fought out of the hold, but then Strowman hit a reverse slam of sorts and got an eight count on Reigns. Strowman looked for his powerslam but Reigns escaped and set up a rope move but Strowman met him and tossed him up. Reigns hit the Superman Punch out of it. Reigns set for a spear but Strowman hit a drop kick (!?).
Moments later, Strowman tried a charge but Reigns moved out of the way and Strowman hit the post then the floor. Reigns went out and hit a Drive By kick then went under the ring for a table. Reigns went for a second but Strowman met him with a clothesline. Strowman went to the ring and got the table set up as Reigns got to his feet.
Strowman set Reigns up for something but Reigns started firing off strikes. Reigns picked Strowman up and hit a Samoan Drop through the table. Count started again. Strowman rolled to ringside and landed on his feet by an 8 count and Reigns pulled himself up in the ring. Reigns charged looking for a spear, but Reigns threw an announcer’s chair at Roman. Ouch! Reigns barely beat the count.
The fight started out into the crowd and back to the commentary table. Reigns bounced Strowman off the table then hit a Drive By. Reigns and Strowman both pulled themselves onto the stage. Strowman threw Reigns into the LED board and the count began on Reigns. Rinse and repeat as Reigns answered the count.
Strowman cleared off the announce table then retrieved Reigns. He escaped Strowman’s move and hit two Superman Punches then called for a big spear but Strowman got a boot up to cut it off. Reigns got up and ran the ramp and hit a big spear by the ring. Reigns pulled himself up by the ramp, but Samoa Joe was there to lock in the Coquina Clutch on Reigns.
Officials came to ringside to get Joe out, but Graves noted it was legal. The officials kept Joe away as the count re-started. Strowman sprung up right at the last moment to win the match. Joe jawed at Reigns as Strowman celebrated in the ring to end the show.
The match was what Last Man Standing matches are – big spot, big move, count to ten. It was fine in that regard. Strowman comes off looking like a monster for surviving so many of Reigns’ big moves, and Reigns was protected in that Samoa Joe was there to intervene and give the assist to Strowman so he got the win. Right now, Strowman looks like he has the edge as far as contenders. We shall see how they build on this with not much time left to the SummerSlam event.
This show felt slow to me tonight. I don’t know if it was how hectic my weekend was or if the pace was just simply that slow tonight. For the most part the work of the show made sense to me and builds toward SummerSlam pretty well though. I like the dynamic between Ambrose and Rollins, and I think the build to the Fatal Four Way is going pretty well.
I’ll have more to say about this show in a special Tuesday appearance on Around the Ring. Drew will have your Smackdown coverage as they move toward their side of the SummerSlam card tomorrow night. He and I will get back together on Wednesday to talk about all things pro wrestling on Ring Rap Audio. Don’t forget, we’re always looking for your Favorite Things in Wrestling and any other talking points you might have, so hit us up on Twitter @RingRap to let us know what’s on your mind. See you Wednesday.