8/15 Powell’s WWE Raw Live TV Review: Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman appear, Seth Rollins on Finn Balor’s Demon, final push for SummerSlam

newrawlogo1By Jason Powell

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WWE Raw on the USA Network
Live from Corpus Christi, Texas at American Bank Center

[Q1] Raw opened with a recap video that touched on Roman Reigns, Rusev, and Lana, and Seth Rollins and Finn Balor… Michael Cole, Corey Graves, and Byron Saxton were on commentary…

A shot aired of Seth Rollins standing outside the building. He spoke about being six days away from becoming the first ever WWE Universal Champion. He said he had business with the Demon King and then called him out. Rollins laughed when nothing happened. He said the Demon King is too scared to find the man, so the man is going to find the Demon King…

Rusev and Lana were in the ring. Lana announced that they would not leave the ring. She said the fans will listen to what they have to say. Rusev said Roman Reigns ruined their historical wedding event. He said there won’t be a Raw until Reigns comes out and apologizes. The fans chanted USA.

Mick Foley made his entrance and motioned from the floor for the two of them to exit the ring. The fans chanted Foley. Rusev said he knows it’s Foley and said he’s the “so-called general manager of Raw.” Rusev said he is the greatest U.S. Champion and demands respect.

Foley said off-mic that the viewers don’t want to see Rusev, they want to see matches. Foley said they had all the time they needed last week. Rusev recalled saying Foley was the best GM last week. “I lied because you suck,” Rusev said. He complained that Reigns doesn’t deserve a title shot, then complained that he gets “opportunity after opportunity after opportunity.” Rusev called for Stephanie McMahon to come out instead of Foley.

Stephanie McMahon made her entrance and said his behavior is unacceptable. Stephanie said no one deserves respect more than Foley, and she supports all of his decisions. Rusev barked that he deserves respect, then said maybe he’ll call Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan.

Roman Reigns’ music played and he made his entrance to boos and cheers. Reigns said he would apologize if that would end this. He said he’s sorry Rusev found that website where he met his wife. It actually got some laughs. He said he’s sorry they will make Sasquatch babies.

Reigns said he didn’t feel like waiting to fight until SummerSlam. Foley stood between the wrestlers. Rusev said the match is about his wife’s honor. Foley said SummerSlam is about Rusev vs. Reigns for the title, but tonight is about Rusev vs. Reigns with Rusev defending his wife’s honor…

The broadcast team hyped SummerSlam, Brock Lesnar appearing on Raw, and Rollins calling out The Demon King…

Powell’s POV: I must admit that the pre-show announcement of Rusev opening the show did nothing for me given that long wedding segment last week, but this was okay. I wish Rusev was more of a badass monster because his matches would feel bigger. That said, his sense of humor and comedic antics are entertaining. Is anyone else shocked that Stephanie is endorsing Foley rather than slapping him at this point?

[Q2] [C] Sheamus was interviewed by Byron Saxton prior to a match with Sami Zayn. Sheamus said he proved that he’s more dominant than Cesaro. He said he is moving on to greener pastures. Shemaus questioned who Zayn is and said he’s a brave man on Twitter who makes comments about him. Sheamus played into “you look stupid” chants and said the fans paid to see him, then asked who is stupid now. Sheamus said Zayn can say what he wants on Twitter, but he’ll take his head off. Zayn made his entrance for the match…

1. Sheamus vs. Sami Zayn. They showed Zayn’s tweet which basically said nobody likes Sheamus. Sheamus kicked Sami’s hat, then Sami threw his jacket at Sheamus before the bell. Cesaro joined the broadcast team for the match. Later, Zayn went for a tornado DDT off the apron, but Sheamus caught him and threw him face first into the ring post heading into the break. [C]

Sheamus delivered his ten forearm shots to the chest of Zayn while standing on the apron. The fans chanted along to ten. Zayn came back and knocked Sheamus to the floor, then performed a running flip over the top rope onto Sheamus on the floor.

[Q3] Zayn performed a Blue Thunder Bomb for a two count. Zayn went for the Helluva Kick, but Sheamus caught him and performed the Irish Curse. Sheamus set up for his finisher. Cesaro left the broadcast table and walked up the ring steps behind Sheamus. Zayn caught a distracted Sheamus with a Helluva Kick and pinned him…

Sami Zayn pinned Sheamus in 10:15.

Powell’s POV: The outcome of the match was more about furthering the program between Sheamus and Cesaro than it was about Zayn. It’s nice to see him get a win, but it would be even nicer to see him in a real program. He’s just floundering since his pay-per-view match with Kevin Owens.

Backstage, Tom Phillips interviewed Chris Jericho and Kevin Owens. Jericho said the Owens vs. Big Cass match is not a one-on-one match because he has KO’s back. Owens said he and Jericho are closer after one week than Enzo and Cass are now. Owens said you can’t teach Cass how to spell properly because there’s now A or W in soft.

They called Phillips various first names. Jericho did the “watch it” routine and Phillips played along. Owens said that by it, Jericho means watch him beat Cass tonight and then humiliate Enzo and Cass in their hometown at SummerSlam… [C]

Powell’s POV: Fun backstage comedy. Owens and Jericho found a nice balance of heeling on the babyfaces and being comedic.

Backstage, three referees stood between Sheamus and Cesaro as they bickered. Mick Foley entered the picture and said both men answered the questions he had about them, but he won’t have them interfering in matches. Foley booked them in a best of seven series that starts at SummerSlam…

Powell’s POV: Cool. I enjoy a good best of seven series and I believe these guys are up for the challenge.

2. Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods vs. The Dudley Boyz in a non-title match. Before the match, Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson appeared on the big screen doing their doctor schtick again. They told more ball jokes. No one in the building laughed and then the match started. D-Von accidentally clotheslined Bubba Ray. A short time later, Kingston hit Trouble in Paradise on D-Von and pinned him…

New Day beat The Dudley Boyz in 1:35.

They cut back to the Anderson and Gallows skit where they were trying to find a cure for what ailed Big E. They determined that they need more test subjects, then put empty jars labeled Kingston and Woods next to the one for Big E.

[Q4] Kingston and Woods finally got upset. They said Big E was seriously hurt and yet Anderson and Gallows think it’s a game. Well, Woods still did the hip swivel bit while boasting about being tag champions…

Cole hyped Nia Jax for after the break. Somewhere Dot Net staffer Will Pruett is singing, “I’m not like most girls”… [C]

Powell’s POV: It’s nice to see New Day sell something, though it’s still odd that they were involved in the nut joke skit with Sean Combs last week. The Anderson and Gallows skit was more of the same from last week. The most interesting part of this segment to me was that D-Von accidentally hit Bubba a week after we saw Bubba glaring at D-Von following a loss.

Seth Rollins was shown searching for Demon King backstage. He walked by a couple of crew members going over paperwork (writers?) and said they were useless. Rollins encountered Neville, who said he has been in the ring with Demon King, and Rollins isn’t ready for him…

3. Nia Jax vs. Rachel Levy. Before the match, Byron interviewed Levy, who said the Olympics have taught her that she can do anything that she sets her mind to. She said she was taking home the gold. Jax destroyed Levy and put her away with her finisher…

Nia Jax beat Rachel Levy in 1:05.

Powell’s POV: Levy is better known as Delilah Doom on the independent scene.

A shot aired of Paul Heyman knocking on Brock Lesnar’s locker room door and then entering the room. Graves said Lesnar and Heyman were up next… [C]

[Q5] Footage recapped the Randy Orton and Brock Lesnar feud, then Cole hyped their match for SummerSlam…

Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman made their entrance. The fans chanted “Suplex City” and Lesnar nodded and thanked them while Heyman waited to start his promo. Heath Slater’s music played and he walked onto the stage.

Heyman said he didn’t know who put Slater up to this or if he was listening to the voices in Orton’s head. Slater addressed them as Mr. Heyman and Mr. Beast and said he is the hottest free agent in sports entertainment today. Slater walked toward the ring as he spoke about how the Smackdown Live crew wouldn’t know talent if it slapped them in the face. Slater said that’s why he had to go to Heyman.

Heyman laughed and said he’s not laughing with Slater, he’s laughing at him. Heyman laughed at the thought of advocating Lesnar and Slater. Slater told him to laugh it up. Slater said what he was trying to say was that he was getting another opportunity get a WWE contract. “All I have to do is beat your client one-on-one tonight,” Slater said. Slater asked if he could please go one-on-one with Lesnar. The fans chanted “Yes!”

Heyman said Slater is doing way too much partying on the Freebird tour bus in Texas. He said the joke is over. He told the production truck to cut Slater out of the picture. Heyman delivered his self introduction. Slater climbed onto the apron and yelled, then told Heyman not to disrespect him. Slater said he has kids that he has to feed.

“My two little girls at home and all the other kids that I have are relying on me,” Slater said. He indicated that he doesn’t want to get his ass whooped by Lesnar, but he has to. Heyman said he was trying to save him. Slater said he has kids who depend on him.

Lesnar took the mic and cut off Slater. Lesnar said he can appreciate what Slater was saying. Lesnar said Slater has responsibilities, has to put food on the table, has mouths to feed, and has kids. “I have kids too, man,” Lesnar said.

Brock called for Slater to join him in the ring. Lesnar approached Slater and said he doesn’t give a (censored) about Slater’s kids. Lesnar told Slater he could walk out on his own two feet or stand there and keep pissing him off. Lesnar dropped the mic.

Slater teased leaving, then charged at Lesnar, who clotheslined him. Brock took Slater to Suplex City with some German Suplexes and an F5. The crowd was quiet, but then they broke into a Suplex City chant.

Heyman said Slater deserves credit for having the guts to go against Lesnar. Heyman said Orton doesn’t measure up to Lesnar. Heyman said his job is to promote SummerSlam. He said he’s a hype artist. He said he’s supposed to sell you on Orton having a chance, but if he said those words then Lesnar wouldn’t believe anything he said. Heyman said this is “the summer of The Conquerer, and The Beast is in heat.”

Heyman spoke about Lesnar’s “unparalleled dominance” in the Broctagaon. He said Lesnar is the box office at SummerSlam because there’s no one in the locker room who can stand up to him. He said not even a future Hall of Famer, a WrestleMania main eventer, and the owner of the RKO can stand up to Lesnar.

Heyman said the hype is that fans have the chance to see the “once ever athlete” who will have an official match with an official result that will go down in the history books. Heyman said you have a chance to see The Beast in action live…

A shot aired of Enzo Amore and Big Cass backstage while Cole hyped Cass vs. Kevin Owens for after the break…

Powell’s POV: Lesnar was his usual badass self while talking to Slater and then when he destroyed him. I was curious to see how Heyman would sell the match and I don’t think there is a better way than the approach he took. The average fan doesn’t see Orton as a threat to Lesnar. Sure, there are some fans questioning whether “WWE will punish Lesnar by having him lose to Orton” but Heyman’s hype should be the same even if that were the case (which I don’t believe it is).

[Q6] [C] Enzo and Cass made their entrance and delivered some forgettable (by Enzo’s standards) mic work. The heels made their entrance…

4. Big Cass (w/Enzo Amore) vs. Kevin Owens (w/Chris Jericho). Owens sent Cass to ringside, then Jericho took a cheap shot. Owens rammed Cass into the post heading into the break. [C]

Cass sold more coming out of the break. He started to make a comeback. Jericho shoved Enzo into the ring steps. Jericho took another shot at Cass on the floor for the DQ finish. The heels worked over Cass while Enzo was still selling at ringside…

Big Cass beat Kevin Owens by DQ in 6:20.

Powell’s POV: Recent WWE television has reminded us that running someone’s nuts into the post causes devastating injury, but running someone’s head into a steel post merely dazes your opponent going into a commercial break. The heels getting heat going into the pay-per-view match was logical. It just didn’t feel like they went far enough to generate any true heat that fans will be anxious to see the babyfaces avenge. It shouldn’t be a major issue, though, as that Brooklyn crowd is going to be red hot for Enzo and Cass.

[Q7] Backstage, Phillips interviewed Roman Reigns, who shaved the beard and is back to the goatee look. Rusev attacked Reigns from behind. Lana watched form a distance while Reigns fought back. Rusev ran Reigns into a garage door and then tossed him onto a couple of catering tables. Producers and referees ran in to pull Rusev off…

Powell’s POV: I had to laugh at all the producers and referees running into the picture to save Reigns given all the fan talk of how much Reigns is protected by WWE.

The broadcast team hyped SummerSlam Week on WWE Network…

5. The Primetime Players (w/Bob Backlund) vs. The Shining Stars. Prior to the match, footage aired from the Raw Pre-Show of Titus initiating the reunion for one night only. O’Neil turned to take advice from Backlund when Young accidentally hit him. Young hit Primo with a discus punch. Titus entered the ring and put Young down with Clash of the Titus, which led to the Stars getting the win…

The Shining Stars beat The Primetime Players in 2:40.

Cole hyped Rollins calling out the Demon King… [C]

Powell’s POV: This did nothing for anyone involved. Titus got more of a babyface reaction when he played to the fans with his seal bark at one point than Young has received since the brand split. I’m not sure why they are hellbent on making Young the babyface in this feud, but it’s just not working. By the way, if the live crowd seems quieter than usual tonight, it’s possible that it’s due to the heat. Dot Net correspondent Ernest DLG noted before the show that there was a power outage at the building this afternoon, and the venue was hot and the floor was slippery at the start of the show.

[Q8] A video touted that the cruiserweight division is coming to Raw…

6. Jinder Mahal vs. Neville. Graves said Jinder spent time in the monasteries of the Himalayas getting in touch with his inner being while he was away from WWE. Late in the match, Neville knocked Jinder down with a kick and then went up for his finisher. Neville took more time than usual getting set and then performed the Red Arrow for the win…

Neville beat Jinder Mahal in 2:50.

Powell’s POV: Neville so much time on the top rope that I thought Jinder would move or put his knees up. It’s nice to see Neville get a win. Perhaps Jinder should try at monastery in Montenegro.

Foley told Stephanie that comedian Jon Stewart would be their guest at SummerSlam. Seth Rollins entered the room and said that if the Demon King wasn’t in their room, then he’s officially looked everywhere for him. Rollins asked for the night off. Stephanie was about to give it to him, but Foley suggested that Rollins call out the Demon King from the ring. Rollins agreed after Foley said it’s okay if he declined because he was afraid. Foley used a walkie-talkie to have production hit Seth’s music… [C]

Powell’s POV: Has anyone warned John Cena that the former Daily Show host will be in the building?

Seth Rollins stood in the ring and said he’s been searching for the Demon King all day and can’t find him. Rollins said there is nothing and no one that can stop him from becoming the first WWE Universal Champion. Rollins called for the Demon King to come out and face him so that he could kick him off of the throne he’s sitting on.

[Q9] Rollins said Finn Balor is trying to intimidate him because he’s afraid of him. Rollins said he would be afraid of himself too. Rollins said the Demon King is just another chapter in the book of Rollins. He said the Demon King won’t come out and look in his eyes because he’s terrified.

A fan entered the ring and caught Rollins off-guard. Rollins watched as the fan was presumably taken out. Cole said Rollins was in a trance (no, we just saw that on Impact). Rollins started talking again and Cole stopped trying to fill with that bad line.

Finn Balor made his entrance as The Demon King and had words written on the right side of his body. Once in the ring, he stood on the ropes as fog shot off behind him. Balor stood in mid-ring and removed his headdress. Rollins, who had bolted to ringside, was cautious as he reentered the ring. There was a “holy shit” chant.

Balor and Rollins went face to face. There was a “this is awesome” chant. Rollins took a swing at Balor, who quickly took control. Rollins caught Balor with a kick. Balor returned the favor. Balor performed a running dropkick. Balor went for the Coup de Grace, but Rollins rolled to the floor. Balor performed a flip dive onto him on the floor, then rushed back to the ring to pose as his music played…

The broadcast team spoke while standing in front of their desk. Graves spoke about how deep in the mind of Balor is a door and when he opens it he goes through a metamorphosis. Graves said it’s an other worldly aggression that Balor unleashes when he gets into this form…

Cole set up footage of the wedding ceremony angle from Raw last week… [C]

Powell’s POV: How is it that NXT had a much better entrance for The Demon than they had on Raw? This was cool, but the fog on the stage seemed a little light. Are they holding something back for Sunday? Either way, the live crowd’s reaction was certainly encouraging in terms of them being wowed by the Demon King’s first appearance.

[Q10] 7. Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson vs. Goldust and R-Truth. Anderson and Gallows wore their lab coats to the ring and carried out the egg in the Big E bottle. They placed it on a tray next to the empty jars reserved for Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods. Gallows had to break up Goldust pinning Anderson. Moments later, though, Anderson and Gallows hit the Magic Killer for the win…

Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson beat Goldust and R-Truth in 2:20.

After the match, Kingston and Woods attacked Anderson and Gallows from behind. Kingston held up Anderson’s legs and Woods swung his trombone at his balls, but Gallows pulled Anderson to ringside…

Powell’s POV: Yes, Cole referred to their finisher as the Magic Killer after calling it something else in recent weeks. Yes, this feud is more about testicles than tag titles. Ugh.

The broadcast team stood in front of their desk and hyped WWE Network. Graves pushed Holy Foley, Byron pushed the on demand section, and Cole directed viewers to the network to start their free month…

Backstage, Dana Brooke apologized to Charlotte for being banned from ringside. Charlotte said she gets it. She said she knows she was Brooke’s inspiration at NXT and then she allowed her in her orbit. Charlotte asked Brooke why she failed her when it mattered the most. Charlotte said she is Meryl Streep, and Brooke is Anne Hathaway. Charlotte said she will beat Alicia Fox by herself on Raw. Charlotte said once she wins the title, she just might ask Stephanie to replace her with someone who isn’t an epic failure…

Powell’s POV: Why does Charlotte have to ask Stephanie McMahon if she can replace Brooke? Aside from that odd line, Charlotte was good here, but there’s only so much heat you can generate while tearing into someone whose character has shown no redeeming qualities while on Raw.

An ad aired for NXT Takeover: Brooklyn II, which airs Saturday (join us for live coverage)…

8. Charlotte vs. Alicia Fox. Sasha Banks sat in on commentary an Cole hyped that she will be interviewed on ESPNews on Wednesday night. Charlotte used Natural Selection and got the clean pin…

Charlotte pinned Alicia Fox in 1:30. 

[Q11] After the match, Charlotte motioned for Sasha to come to the ring. Sasha obliged. Dana ran in and distracted Sasha, then Charlotte clipped Sasha’s leg. Charlotte applied the Figure Eight, and Brooke put the boots to Sasha. One referee held off Dana, and another tried to get Charlotte to release the hold. Charlotte eventually let go, and Sasha sold her knee…

Byron hyped Reigns vs. Rusev for after the break… [C]

Powell’s POV: The match was nothing special, but the post match angle was well done and drew “Charlotte sucks” chants from the live crowd. By the way, they haven’t shown any love to Smackdown tonight. There’s been plenty of WWE Network and SummerSlam ads, but we’re not getting the usual Smackdown ads.

They had a sponsored trivia question that asked which wrestler held the U.S. Title for 351 days. It was Dean Ambrose… The broadcast team set up a Braun Strowman video package…

Lana stood in the ring and introduced Rusev by saying he would crush Reigns while defending her honor. Rusev got good heat and a “USA” chant. Reigns made his entrance to a mostly favorable reaction.

Reigns came out and attacked Rusev. They fought to ringside. Rusev came back and had Reigns down while Saxton questioned whether the match would actually start… [C]

[Q12] 9. Rusev (w/Lana) vs. Roman Reigns in a non-title match. The match was joined in progress. Cole never said the match was officially underway, but he did narrate footage that showed Rusev ramming the left arm of Reigns into the post. Cole said Rusev had been working over the arm ever since.

Reigns made a comeback. Rusev cut him off and slammed the bad arm onto the ring steps, then ran him into the steps. Rusev placed Roman’s hand on the steps and stomped on it. Reigns picked up the U.S. Championship and wanted to use it as a weapon, but Reigns caught him with a punch. [C]

After the break, Rusev had the mic and told the crowd to keep cheering for the Russian Bulgarian. Rusev continued to work over the bad arm. There was a faint “Thank You, Rusev” chant. Reigns came back and hit a clothesline from the second rope. Reigns dodged a charging Rusev and then hit him with ten clotheslines in the corner.

[Overrun] Reigns went for a Superman Punch, but Rusev blocked it and went after the bad arm again. Rusev performed a spin kick and covered Reigns for two. Rusev scored a couple more two counts and then showed frustration. There was a “Roman” chant.

Reigns sent Rusev to ringside and then followed. Reigns went for a move off the steps, but Rusev caught him with a kick. Back in the ring, Reigns connected with a Superman Punch for a two count. Rusev came back and got yet another two count and showed more frustration.

Reigns went for another Superman Punch from the corner. Rusev cut him off with a shoulder block. Rusev applied the Accolade. Reigns reached the ropes to break the hold. A short time later, Reigns speared Rusev and pinned him…

Roman Reigns beat Rusev in a non-title match.

Powell’s POV: I was right there with Rusev when he showed frustration over not being able to put Reigns away. It’s not that I cared who won, it’s that I just wanted the match and this marathon show to end. They worked hard and this would have been a perfectly acceptable match at SummerSlam. I’m just not into the feud enough for this to leave me excited about seeing a rematch just six nights from now. And before Vince McMahon and company start getting overly excited about this crowd having more Reigns fans than Reigns haters, let’s see how he fares on Sunday in Brooklyn.

Overall, Raw was decent at best. The highlight was the Demon King and Seth Rollins segment. It’s really the only SummerSlam match that that I came away more excited about seeing than I was going into Raw. Fortunately, SummerSlam is loaded on paper. Join us for live coverage of all the major SummerSlam weekend events, including the Ring of Honor pay-per-view on Friday night. I’ll be back with a member exclusive audio review later tonight.


The new edition of the Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell and guest Colt Cabana on his role in ROH, the state of the independent wrestling scene, the future of his podcast, the ROH Global Wars tour, the new ROH television format, Starrcast III, and much more...


Readers Comments (3)

  1. How is Rusev the heel in this?

    – Demands respect be shown to his fiance/wife like any honorable man would.
    – Defends his title by destroying people cleanly and convincingly.
    – He is the only Singles Champion on RAW, he has all the right in the world to pull a power play to be shown respect from his Authority figure.
    – What the fuck did Roman do to earn a title shot? Last match he had he was pinned cleanly by Finn Balor.
    – He interrupted Rusev/Lana, insulted both of them, and then mocked them after Lana went into the cake.
    – Came out at the end of RAW last week and speared Rusev on the ramp just to be a cunt, Rusev hadn’t so much as laid a hand on him.

    Seriously WWE, I know your creative is shit, you constantly manage to take the best wrestlers in the world and put them into totally shit stories.

    But could you at LEAST cut THIS shit out? We went through Hogan & Cena both being total cunt babyfaces that people turned on. It’s like they TRY to get a negative reaction for their top babyface. It’s so dumb.

    • Give this man a porterhouse steak dinner

    • Ohhh, you must have very big penis!
      We are very simple people with very small penis.
      We cannot achieve so much with such small penis, but you American wow, penis so big, so big penis!

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