WWE makes it three nights in a row at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY as Raw is the first brand to deal with the fallout of SummerSlam. Brock Lesnar withstood the challenge of three men to retain his Universal Championship in a physical main event. It’s said that Lesnar will be on the show tonight. Who is going to step up and be his next challenger? Will it be one of the three men that he battled last night? Will it be someone off of the radar? We also saw three new champions crowned last night. Sasha Banks defeated Alexa Bliss to win the Raw Women’s Championship. Bliss will surely want her rematch, but what about former contender Bayley and the division’s monster Nia Jax? Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose are now the tag champions, but can they continue to function as a team?
Show Open, Live from Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY;
Then, Now, Forever. Abbreviated short form coverage tonight is the plan – been a lot of seat time for us all weekend long. Immediately we get Paul Heyman and Brock Lesnar, smiling, coming to the ring. The commentary team recapped the match last night and discussed the brutality. Heyman said that we weren’t watching a tape delay and were indeed watching live from Barclays Center. He gave the big buildup introduction of Lesnar.
Heyman said he doesn’t make predictions but gives spoilers and he gives the fans what’s going to happen in advance. He said he knew there was a conspiracy against Lesnar and it unfolded last night. He recounted how Lesnar got assaulted and taken out of the match, and said for the first time in his life – not his career – he was carted out. He said Lesnar’s three “pretenders” could then compete for Lesnar’s title and sneak off with the title.
“So what did Brock Lesnar do?” Heyman said Lesnar refused medical attention and returned to the match “where you know, and we know, that championships are decided.” Heyman hyped that Brock Lesnar pinned Roman Reigns in the main event. Brooklyn loved that.
Heyman said that we all needed to get on the same page and said if there is beating to be done, it will be done by Brock Lesnar. Heyman hyped Lesnar up as the conqueror and said there is no one like Lesnar. Braun Strowman made his way to the ring and Cole said he was responsible for Lesnar being carted out.
Lesnar and Strowman stood face to face, with Lesnar gloating that he has the title. Strowman tried for a chokeslam but Lesnar escaped, only to eat a big boot. Strowman powerslammed him and stalked. He loaded a second and hit it then grabbed the title belt. Strowman taunted Heyman with the belt then left. Booker hyped it as Strowman staking his claim as Lesnar sold.
Looks like we’re going to a Lesnar/Strowman program heading to No Mercy. There’s this part of me that is not interested in seeing Strowman hold the title, but then again it transitions it from one monster to a second if they go with a title change. Curiously, there was strong emphasis on Lesnar pinning Reigns. I am curious as to how Strowman would handle a high profile program like this, though. He has progressed well.
Graves hyped Cass vs. Enzo in a Brooklyn Street Fight, up next.
Back live, they recapped some still shots of Summerslam matches, then talked about the opening segment a second time. They said Strowman made a statement and is coming for the title. Big Cass made his entrance and the commentary team recapped the match between Big Show and Big Cass.
Match #1 – Big Cass vs. Enzo Amore; Brooklyn Street Fight;
Winner: Enzo Amore by medical stoppage
The Reax: Enzo made his way out and cut his normal promo, touching on how he and Cass became friends in Brooklyn and broke his family’s hearts. He noted that this is where the story would end. We can only hope. Enzo went and retrieved a shopping cart from backstage and the match got underway. Cass immediately went to him on the stage and started to attack. Cass roughed Enzo up then threw him in and then got a chair and tossed it to Enzo. Cass hit him with a boot before he could even get up.
Cole said it was a slaughter as we came back live. This feud needs to end, seriously. Big Show, well, that program could work for more than a pay per view to help build Cass. That said, Cass is getting jeered and getting heat during the match. Enzo got in a hope shot but Cass beat him down again. Cass looked for another big boot but Enzo pulled the rope down and Cass crashed hard. Enzo went for the chair, but Cass returned to the ring and stomped on Enzo’s hand.
Cass tried for the Empire Elbow, but his leg gave out. The referee called for the doctor and that ended the match. Enzo won by medical stoppage. Enzo celebrated the win while they replayed what happened to Cass.
The replay showed Cass landing very awkwardly on that boot, and here’s hoping that it’s nothing serious. I’m also hoping that this does not mean that the Cass and Enzo feud continues as a result of Cass not winning here.
They hyped Sasha Banks winning the women’s championship last night and the reactions in media to it. Emma and Dana Brooke talked backstage and Emma said she should have been the one in that match. She taunted about Nia Jax being led around by Alexa Bliss and said she’s not the sharpest tool in the shed. Nia was standing behind her though. Nia told Emma that the trend on Twitter would be #GiveEmmaCPR. Those two go at it next.
Match #2 – Nia Jax vs. Emma;
Winner: Nia Jax
The Reax: Emma’s a pretty underutilized talent in the women’s division here. She tried to take the fight to Nia early but Nia turned the tide quickly with some avalanche splashes in the corners. Emma ducked one, and she fired off a drop kick. Jax came back with a Samoan Drop to win. Scrape Emma off the mat. Such a shame. But it does keep Nia looking dominant, which is what WWE apparently wants right now.
Elias was walking backstage, and Cole was giddy that he had a new song tonight. He’s next.
JoJo introduced Elias, who had a song for us. Of course he wanted to know who wants to walk with him, and he got cheers. He talked about watching the eclipse and then said he was going to sing a song about Brooklyn but most don’t want to live there. Boo. Anyhow, he said his song would be about R-Truth, and he sang accordingly. He mocked R-Truth’s entrance first. Truth cut his song off with his entrance.
Match #3 – R-Truth vs. Elias;
The Reax: Truth is the kind of guy that can be a stepping stone for the up and coming Elias. Truth got the better of Elias in the early going. Cole was suddenly all enamored with Elias on commentary, which I don’t quite understand. Elias hit Drift Away to get the quick win. I keep saying it – Elias has a good look and some good moves. I think he can amount to something in the middle of the card.
Cole put over four straight nights at Barclays, and said SummerSlam was great. They hyped the championship changes and said all three new champions would be on the show. Corey noted that Kurt Angle hyped on social media earlier that he had a huge announcement, and it would be next.
They ran more stills of SummerSlam from last night, then Kurt Angle made his entrance to a big reaction. From the stage he said he promised a surprise tonight, and for the first time in over a year he asked fans to welcome JOHN CENA!!! Damn!
Free Agent Cena got serenaded accordingly and he hit the ring. Big reaction and the commentary team gushed over his return. Cena got a mic and acted out of sorts about the noise, saying the fans were all over the place. He asked if they weren’t expecting him and gauged the reaction. He played to it and held the mic up to soak in the reaction.
“Why am I here?” He said he saw Kurt at SummerSlam and Kurt asked if he would like to come over to Raw. He said yes, not because Smackdown is bad, but because for a long time he had wanted to stand in the ring on Raw and be face to face with a certain star. Cue Roman Reigns to a chorus of boos, while Cena acted surprised.
Cole called them “the two most polarizing figures in WWE today” as Reigns made his way to the ring. Booker put over Reigns’ confidence and Corey said Reigns can’t be 100 percent after last night. “You both suck” chants got started but not a lot of traction. Cena was in goofball mode, but said he is exactly who he was looking for.
“You’ve been looking for me? The only time you’ve looked for me is when you run your mouth on Twitter.” Reigns said that now that Cena is in his yard, would he run his mouth to his face. “Undertaker” chants got a lot of traction and the two let that play out. Cena said he didn’t come to Raw to talk, and he got ready to fight.
Cue The Miz and his group, dressed to talk and not fight. Miz made a joke about seeing what a sold out Barclays looked like and wouldn’t know. Cena mocked him for not being able to speak. Miz hyped Cena and Reigns being in the ring at the same time and said the roof was coming off. He asked how many moments the two of them get. The fans cheered him for saying it.
Miz talked about how if people work hard and chip away their moment would come. He said that he was tired of the two of them getting moments every week while he doesn’t get his. He said he would steal their moment and make his own. He lamented being on the bench at SummerSlam and asked why Raw needed an addition. He put it to the fans and a strongly mixed reaction came forth. Miz said 18,000 people said no.
Cena said he would show himself out but Miz stopped him. He continued to rant, addressing Cena’s smirk by saying Cena turned everything Miz said to a joke. Miz continued to rant about missed opportunities and had the fans behind him in an interesting turn of dynamics for his character. Cena proposed a tag match between Miz and one of his lackeys and him and Reigns, but Miz turned it down.
Samoa Joe joined the conversation and stared at Cena. Miz and the Miztourage exited. Joe said he had an opinion on this, and said that Miz’s partner wouldn’t be Dallas or Axel, but would be him. He said he was sick and tired of Reigns calling this his yard and said one on one he owns Reigns. “Your his bitch” chants. Nice.
Joe stared at Cena and said “as for you…John Cena…” Joe attacked Cena in the corner and threw punches. Miz and the Miztourage hit the ring but Reigns took them out. Cena loaded the AA, but Joe countered out and locked in the Coquina Clutch. Reigns hit the Superman Punch to break the hold. Reigns and Cena stared at each other with “You both suck” chants echoing. Cole hyped that if Kurt makes the match official it would happen.
Interesting and newsworthy moment to have Cena come over to Raw. Looks like eventually it’s going to go to a Cena vs. Reigns program, which has been rumored out there in the past. The main event should be strong for sure with Joe in the fray. Miz was saying a lot of things that I think are opinions among the fans regarding how he is positioned and how the title is positioned. I definitely have seen a drop in where he’s been of late.
They hyped Rollins and Ambrose as the new tag champs and Sasha Banks as the new Raw Women’s Champion and said both would be on the show. After a break, Cole said that the match was official, and it would be Cena and Reigns vs. Miz and Joe.
Match #4 – Gran Metalik, Cedric Alexander, Rich Swann and Mustafa Ali vs. Ariaya Daivari, Noam Dar, Drew Gulak and Tony Nese;
Winner: Metalik, Alexander, Swann and Ali
The Reax: Eight men in one match. I guess they’re trying to put them on TV. In the early going, Ali hit a moonsault on Daivari for a two count then tagged to Swann. Daivari wanted to tag Dar but he begged off. Nese tagged in and took the offense to Swann going into a break.
Back live, Gulak was controlling Swann with a leg hold. He kept Swann from the tag until Swann was able to deliver a kick. The fans were doing the wave, so that gauges interestin the match. Alexander tagged in and started kicking everyone’s head off. He covered Nese for a count but Gulak interrupted. A bit later, Metalik hit a nice springboard moonsault outside the ring. In the ring, Alexander hit the Lumbar Check to win.
As the action broke down toward the end the fans really invested into it and reacted to the finish strongly. There were points though where the fans went into business for themselves and chanted about how things were boring though. This was a time filling match.
Charly interviewed Neville backstage and called it surprising that he won the title back last night. My Sling feed stopped, so, I missed part of this. When the feed came back, Titus and Akira Tozawa were in the frame with him and said that sticks and stones might break their bones, but words don’t hurt. They had one word for Neville – Rematch, on 205 Live tomorrow. Neville looked distressed.
Logical to burn through a rematch quickly, but I really don’t see the title changing. Then again, I said that about Raw last Monday too. Ug. I do like that the match will be on the show and it should be a good one.
They hyped Rollins and Ambrose appearing next. After commercial, we got more still shots from SummerSlam. Backstage, Kurt was checking texts when Jason Jordan entered. He said he wasn’t looking for preferential treatment but he wanted a match. Kurt said Miz was in a match already, and Jordan said he would get back to him. Jordan said he wanted Finn Balor, and Kurt was wowed by that. He asked if he felt ready for that, then agreed to the match.
Rollins and Ambrose made their entrance as the new tag champions, to their separate themes. As they headed to the ring we got still shots of their match with Cesaro and Sheamus. Rollins said it felt good to stand in the ring with Ambrose “holding up these.” The fans chanted “yes.”
Rollins said they got back together, they run the show, and they’re the champs. Ambrose said it feels good and he’s been wearing the belt all over town. Rollins said it felt like old times a bit and said he wasn’t sure he believed this could happen. He said the fans believed, and tonight’s a party and the entire arena’s invited.
Ambrose said that excluded Cesaro and Sheamus and noted they’ll come for their rematch. He said they’ll take on anyone, anytime, anywhere. The Hardy Boyz made their entrance to a good reaction. Jeff said they didn’t want to ruin the party but wanted to congratulate them. Matt said sometimes brothers fight, but when they put their differences aside and fight together it’s beautiful. Matt challenged them to a match.
Rollins said they idolized those guys growing up. Matt said the fans chant because for a quarter century they have revolutionized the division. He said he and Jeff want to do it again tonight in Brooklyn. “Let’s do the damn thing.” A referee ran out.
Match #5 – The Hardy Boyz vs. Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose;
Winner: Rollins and Ambrose
The Reax: Rollins and Ambrose controlled the early going, then the Hardys started to rally. Matt tried for the Twist of Fate but Ambrose countered and tried for Dirty Deeds. The teams stared each other down, then started brawling. Jeff hit Ambrose and Rollins at ringside with a dive from the ropes, then he and Matt held the ring going to a break.
Back live, Jeff was going top rope when Rollins shoved Ambrose out of harm’s way. Rollins controlled Jeff to prevent the tag, hitting a suplex and floating into a cover. Rollins tagged to Ambrose to keep the offense going while the commentary team praised how well Rollins and Ambrose were working. Jeff took advantage of a mistake to hit Whisper in the Wind and tag to Matt.
Matt ran his turnbuckle strikes then hit a corner splash and running bulldog, then followed with an elbow to the neck. Ambrose blind-tagged in and he and Rollins teamed up for an elevated slingblade. Jeff broke the pin up. They sent the Hardys to ringside and followed with double suicide dives. Good match going on so far.
Matt and Ambrose back to the ring, where he draped Ambrose over the rope. He hit Rollins with a Side Effect on the apron, then countered a Dirty Deeds attempt with a second Side Effect. Matt went top rope but Ambrose caught him then went up top. He teased Dirty Deeds from the top but headbutted Matt down instead.
Matt hit Dean with the Twist of Fate, and Jeff tagged to hit the Swanton. Rollins cut Jeff off momentarily and that let Ambrose get his legs up. In the end, Rollins hit his knee strike and fed Jeff into Dirty Deeds. Rollins covered for the win.
A really good tag match here. No play in by the former champions here, though they were shown watching backstage. You have to figure that rematch is coming, possibly at the next pay per view. The Raw tag division is definitely in a good place with several viable contenders.
They recapped the opening segment when Braun Strowman took out Lesnar. Angle made it official – Lesnar vs. Strowman in a one on one match at No Mercy in Los Angeles next month. Oooo, boy. Corey Graves hyped the main event.
Backstage, Miz said there was something special about Joe and credited him for stepping up to be part of Miztourage. He said that he knows Joe owns Reigns and he owns Cena. Joe told him to shut up, and told Axel and Dallas to be a presence outside the ring and Miz to do his thing in the ring. “Any questions?”
Joe’s a man of few words and an ass kicker. That’s how it should be.
Back from commercial Sasha Banks made her entrance. Christ, Cole, quit saying “It’s Boss Time.” As Sasha made her way to the ring they recapped the match over still shots. No Mercy is coming up next for the Raw brand. She said she might be from Boston but she has left her heart in Brooklyn. She recounted her matches in Brooklyn – pausing to send wishes to Ric Flair.
Sasha said she proved last night that there is no goddess and only one legit boss. She said she planned to defend the title the right way. She said she didn’t need to talk her way out of a match or have Nia Jax fight her battles – she has the fans. Bliss made her entrance.
Bliss said Sasha never successfully defended a title, saying that she loses every time she defends the title. Sasha said that Bliss either ran away or tapped out every time they faced. Sasha challenged her to her rematch right now. Bliss teased it, but “how about no.” She said Brooklyn didn’t deserve it, but she would do it next week. She said Sasha wouldn’t be known as the legit boss, but the legit loser.
Short and effective to set up next week’s match, assuming it becomes official. Didn’t overstay its welcome.
Match #6 – Jason Jordan vs. Finn Balor;
Winner: Finn Balor
The Reax: Jordan got new entrance music apparently, and he made his entrance going into a break. More still shots coming back from break. Balor made his entrance after those shots, and they recapped Balor’s match with Bray Wyatt last night. This matchup is intriguing because I believe Jordan has a lot of skills and Balor of course is very talented. The two worked go-behinds and chain wrestling in the early going.
Off a rope running sequence Balor hit a drop kick. Jordan offered a handshake but Balor kicked him and took him down. Jordan caught Balor on a leapfrog and slammed him in a pinning predicament. Balor came back and sent Jordan to ringside and set up his apron kick but Jordan escaped. Commercial.
Balor attacked the leg of Jordan, who came back with a couple of waistlock takedowns and an elbow drop. Jordan threw an overhead suplex. Jordan came back with a butterfly lock that Balor worked his way to his feet in. Jordan tried for another suplex, but Balor stopped it.
Balor started on a flurry, throwing Jordan to ringside and hitting a drop kick through the ropes. Balor called for the fans and hit his apron kick. A beach ball started to get a lot of love – don’t let that near Cesaro, we all know how that ends. Jordan came back with a throw and hit his corner charge. Balor countered the neckbreaker finish for two, then hit an overhead kick. Both men sold.
Jordan drove Balor to the corner repeatedly, then set up his charge again. Balor cut it off with a boot then hit the slingblade, then hit his shotgun drop kick. Balor went up top and hit the Coup de Grace for the win. Booker put Jordan over even in the loss, adding that Finn continues to gain momentum.
A solid match between the two. The crowd was definitely being entertained by something in the arena, and there were some chants for a beach ball. I do think Balor got them back for the finish of the match though. I do think Jordan showed well here, even though he lost. He’s got work to do, but I think he can become something special down the line somewhere.
They hyped the main event, then showed a clip for the film “Birth of the Dragon,” which will come out this Friday. It’s a WWE Films movie.
Back live, they hyped Raw next week and said the women’s championship match would be official. They hyped Neville vs. Tozawa on 205 Live tomorrow night. Time for entrances for the main event. Joe got a strong chant from the crowd. Cena and Reigns of course got their mixed reactions.
Match #7 – The Miz (w/Maryse, Bo Dallas, and Curtis Axel) and Samoa Joe vs. John Cena and Roman Reigns;
Winner: Reigns and Cena
The Reax: Graves put over the reaction in the arena as “surreal” as Reigns made his entrance last. Raw is commercials, so we go to another break before the match started. Cena hit Miz with a bulldog and he tagged out to Joe. Cena played to the crowd, who was all about a beach ball. Joe used that to get the better of Cena, then tagged back in Miz.
Miz ranted to the crowd, Roman Reigns, and anyone else who would listen. The crowd was in full throat with beach balls and the wave again, as Cole reminded us Miz said that Raw is his show. Cena played to the crowd but Miz jumped him from behind to score a quick cover. Joe and Miz continued to control Cena.
Cena avoided a corner clothesline spot and made a hot tag to Reigns. Reigns worked Joe over with his clothesline spot after taking Miz out. He booted Joe down then called for the Superman Punch. Joe countered with a uranage for two. Miz tagged in, threw Reigns to ringside, and Dallas met Reigns there with a clothesline. Miz got a two count.
Miz hit the “Yes” kicks, but Reigns rolled him up on the big wind-up kick. Reigns powered Miz up and bombed him to the mat, and both men sold. Joe tagged in and kept Reigns from tagging. Reigns fired back with punches but ate a corner splash that scored him two. Miz tagged back in and kept up the offense.
Miz tossed Reigns to ringside, where he met Dallas and Axel and took both of them out. Reigns got the tag to Cena who opened up with his trademark offense. Five Knuckle Shuffle set up, but Joe cut him off. Joe locked in the Clutch. Reigns went for the Superman Punch on Joe, but hit Cena instead of Joe.
Reigns took Joe to ringside with a punch off an attempted Joe dive. Miz stalked Cena for the Skull Crushing Finale, but Cena countered and hit Miz with the AA for the victory. Cena sold the jaw from the punch as the official raised their hands. Cena and Reigns stared at each other, and Reigns said “that’s my bad” as the commentary team recapped it. Cena and Reigns exchanged words as the show ended.
The crowd got kind of “night after Wrestlemania” there for a bit with a beach ball bouncing around as well as the wave and all of that, but they seemed invested in the action throughout. This was a solid main event and it sets the stage for a future Cena/Reigns confrontation, which is a match that has been discussed before in the rumor mills.
I don’t know if I like that it came at the expense of Joe and Miz though. Joe has been hot lately, and Miz needs traction again. I felt like his promo earlier in the show was pretty inspired and accurate as to the positioning of him and the title lately. I blame booking for not having guys that Miz could work with more ready so that he doesn’t have to be in this position right now. They have roster depth to work with. Maybe I need to sleep on that one a bit more.
Overall though, a decent show that set up some direction for No Mercy, the next Raw pay per view event that comes up in September. I didn’t expect to see them give a lot away tonight, but we’re starting to see the pieces already. Strowman vs. Lesnar will be an interesting build as Strowman looks unstoppable. Will this be his time, or will they stick with Lesnar? Time will tell.
Drew has your Smackdown coverage tomorrow night and Around the Ring during the day tomorrow sometime. He and I will team up for Ring Rap Audio on Wednesday night to recap all of the weekend’s happenings and whatever else you guys want to hear us talk about with your Favorite Things in Wrestling and your questions. See you then.