By Jason Powell
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WWE Raw on the USA Network
Live from Baltimore, Maryland at Royal Farms Arena
[Q1] Raw opened with a recap video of recent events involving the WWE Universal Championship and the setup for the Kevin Owens vs. Roman Reigns match as tonight’s main event… The Raw opening video aired… Michael Cole, Corey Graves, and Byron Saxton were on commentary…
Powell’s POV: In case you missed it, there’s a story on the main page about WWE reporting that Vince McMahon requiring surgery after being injured while training.
Mick Foley stood in the ring and hyped Clash of Champions and the Raw main event. He said he believes Raw still offers the premiere women’s division, then introduced Charlotte, who walked out with Dana Brooke. Charlotte said an apology was in order after last week. Brooke said she doesn’t have to apologize.
Charlotte said she would never apologize to Brooke. She said it was all Brooke’s fault that she lost to Bayley. She said Brooke should apologize for the match with Bayley and tapping to the Bank Statement. Charlotte said she either apologizes or their friendship is over. Brooke apologized. Foley said the women’s championship will be defended at Night of Champions.
Sasha Banks made her entrance and said she is the face of the women’s division and the only legit Boss in WWE. Once in the ring, she said she is taking the title back at Clash of Champions. Charlotte said it’s okay because she’s the one with the title.
Bayley made her entrance and joined them all in the ring. Bayley said she would love to see Sasha compete for the championship tonight, but she did beat Charlotte last week.”So maybe, maybe the person who deserves the title shot is me,” Bayley said. Sasha said she and Bayley go back to NXT and Bayley had her back at Battleground, but she has no friends when it comes to that title.
Sasha said Bayley needs to get to the back of the line because she has unfinished business with Charlotte. Charlotte said she gave Sasha the career ending beating at SummerSlam. Sasha took her jacket off and tossed it at Charlotte.
Foley said neither Charlotte nor Sasha decide when Charlotte defends her title. Foley said Sasha was going to have her rematch at The Clash, but now he’s having second thoughts. Brooke said Sasha and Bayley should be competing in a best of seven series to see who is worthy of facing the queen. Charlotte said she didn’t ask for her opinion and threatened to slap the taste out of her mouth.
[Q2] Foley booked Sasha Banks vs. Bayley to determine which one of them will challenge Charlotte at The Clash. Charlotte told Brooke that it’s all her fault. Brooke slapped Charlotte. Foley then added Brooke to the match and said it would be Sasha vs. Bayley vs. Brooke in the contenders’ match coming up after the break… [C]
Powell’s POV: Well, I guess it’s a good thing that all three participants were wearing their ring gear! A good segment. I like that Bayley was not acting as confident as she had been on Raw, as it makes her character so endearing. I assume Brooke is there to lose so they didn’t have to give away a finish between Sasha and Bayley. It’s too bad Brooke isn’t more likable or fans may actually rally behind her given the way Charlotte treats her. I just hope the slap isn’t the latest oddball swerve.
1. Sasha Banks vs. Bayley vs. Dana Brooke. Charlotte joined the broadcast team on commentary and was holding the side of her face to sell the slap. Cole mentioned the Four Horsewomen of NXT and that Becky Lynch won the Smackdown Women’s Championship.
At 4:00, they teased the first Sasha and Bayley exchange. Brooke tried to attack them, but they quickly disposed of her and then the show went to commercial. Ugh. [C] Coming out of the break, Brooke was getting the better of Bayley. They aired footage from the break of Brooke slamming Sasha’s back into the edge of the ring.
Sasha returned to the ring and got the better of Brooke while also holding her lower back. Sasha stacked up Brooke on the middle rope and Bayley on the ropes below. Sasha did the knee press on Brooke, but Bayley avoided it. Bayley performed a cross body on Sasha for a two count.
[Q3] Brooke set up for a superplex, then Sasha snuck underneath her and powerbombed her, causing Bayley to take the superplex at the same time. A short time later, Sasha applied the Bank Statement on Brooke, but Bayley broke it up with a kick. Bayley performed her finisher on Brooke and covered her, but Sasha recovered and rolled Bayley over for the three count. Charlotte and Sasha had a long distance staredown…
Sasha Banks defeated Bayley and Dana Brooke in 12:25 in a Triple Threat to earn a women’s championship match.
The broadcast team noted that Cesaro won the fourth match of his best of seven series with Sheamus during a match that was held in London. They hyped the fifth match for Raw and the Owens vs. Reigns match… [C]
Powell’s POV: An entertaining match aside from the cut to commercial just when it seemed like we were about to get the two standouts in the ring together. I really like the finish with Bayley losing. I’ve been saying for the last few weeks that they were going too aggressive with her push and losing touch with the underdog element that clicked so well in NXT. She acted shy and less confident in the verbal exchange, and now she lost this match. All of this helps her more than hurts her.
Backstage, Dana Brooke apologized to Charlotte, who told her to shut up and get her bags…
The Shining Stars pushed a timeshare in Puerto Rico on R-Truth. He was about to hand them a check when Goldust stopped him and took him away. Enzo and Big Cass entered the picture and called the Stars a couple of cheating conmen. Epico claimed they won fair and square last week. Enzo told Epico they have unfinished business…
Backstage, Tom Phillips interviewed Kevin Owens, who assumed Phillips wanted him to say something controversial such as Seth Rollins being jealous because Triple H figured out that Owens is better, or Roman Reigns not belonging in the same ring with him, or Foley trying to stack the deck because he is jealous and was never on the same page as Hunter. Owens said he would never say those things. He said he is going to beat Reigns and walk out of Clash of Champions as WWE Universal Champion.
[Q4] After Owens walked away, Chris Jericho showed up and told Phillips that the real story is that Foley pulled Owens out of The Highlight Reel. Jericho announced Sami Zayn would be his guest instead, and he will let the world know who the real Sami Zayn in…
Bo Dallas made his entrance with is campaign sign… [C]
2. Bo Dallas vs. Brandon Scott. Bo had a rhyme about how only he can Bo-Lieve in Bo. Scott had a brief offensive run, and Cole said it would be a huge upset if he won. You know, because no one beats Bo Dallas. Bo won with his neckbreaker…
Bo Dallas beat Brandon Scott.
Graves hyped the Highlight Reel with Zayn… [C]
Powell’s POV: The Dallas push didn’t feel as tongue in cheek as it did last week. It’s still hard to take a guy seriously when he’s carrying a Bo-Lieve campaign sign to the ring with him.
Cole plugged the Conor’s Cure fundraiser…
Chris Jericho headed to the ring for the Highlight Reel segment. After a comical introduction, Jericho brought out Sami Zayn. Jericho called Zayn a lowlife and said that’s why Owens dumped him as his best friend and now walks by him without looking at him backstage.
[Q5] Jericho said he thought about the Owens and Zayn relationship and realized that the problem is Zayn. Sami said he doesn’t care about Owens, but he does care about the WWE Universal Championship. Zayn said Jericho is truly a stupid idiot if he thinks Owens is his best friend and brother.
Jericho said Zayn was a condescending, rude, name caller just like the people. He said Zayn is a taker, while he is a giver. Jericho was about to give them the gift of Jericho, but Zayn said that gift sucks. Jericho said Zayn is jealous of Owens being the longest reigning Universal Champion in WWE history (awesome) “and you, well, you’re just Sami Zayn.”
Zayn asked if there’s any semblance of the old Chris Jericho left in him. He said that guys like Jericho, Dean Malenko, and Eddie Guerrero were the reasons that he and Owens travelled the world to make it where they are. Zayn said Jericho is a six-time world champion, but now he’s relegated to being nothing more than Owens’ bitch.
Jericho looked bothered by what Zayn said. he told him he got a text from Owens, who warned him about what Zayn would say. Jericho said he would show Zayn, then slammed his phone on his head. Jericho put Zayn down with the Codebreaker and then left the ring…
The broadcast team hyped previously advertised matches… [C]
Powell’s POV: A strong segment with Jericho continuing to be a great douchey heel, and Zayn cutting him off with some strong words in response. I like that Jericho got the better of Zayn here because it sets up the need for a match between the two, which should be fun.
3. Cesaro vs. Sheamus in the fifth match of the best of seven series. Footage aired of Cesaro winning the match in London, and they headed into this match with Sheamus up 3-1 in the series. There was a pre-match promo from Sheamus acting cocky about needing only one more win to take the series.
[Q6] Sheamus punched the taped lower back of Cesaro to start the match. Cesaro fired back with a big uppercut. He went for the Sharpshooter, but Sheamus rolled to ringside. Cesaro leapt off the apron and landed on Sheamus on the floor. Back inside the ring, Cesaro covered Sheamus for two. [C]
At 8:15, Sheamus performed a nice rolling senton for two. Cesaro came back with the springboard corkscrew uppercut for a two count of his own. Moments later, Cesaro applied the Sharpshooter. Sheamus powered to the ropes to break the hold. Cesaro went for the Swing, but acted like his back gave out. Sheamus performed an Irish Curse for two.
Sheamus set up for the Irish Curse. Cesaro slipped out and then dodged a charging Sheamus. Cesaro rolled up Sheamus and used the ropes for leverage while getting the pin. Sheamus now leads the series 3-2…
Cesaro defeated Sheamus in 10:00 to win the fifth match of the best of seven series.
Powell’s POV: A good match with solid crowd support. Cole did a good job of playing up the idea that teams rarely come back from 3-0 deficits, but he didn’t help sell me during the match on the possibility that Cesaro was at risk of losing the series.
Backstage, Seth Rollins said he had a bone to pick with Mick Foley. Rollins said he thought they were coming around last week, but then Foley gave Roman Reigns a chance to get into the match. Foley claimed it was about fairness. Rollins said he is the man and Reigns is not. Rollins said he beats Reigns every time they are in the ring together.
Rollins said that if Foley is going to let this play out, then maybe they should talk to Stephanie. Foley said she is at a conference in Singapore. Foley said she didn’t know about Hunter’s actions and has nothing against Rollins. Rollins accused Foley of being in Stephanie’s pocket and said he’s not afraid to take matters into his own hands.
Foley got upset and told him not to question his integrity and to tell him that he’s not going to interfere in the Reigns vs. Owens match. “Or what, Mick, you gonna suspend me?” Rollins cracked. “I won’t question your integrity, but if you’re going to continue to support Stephanie like you have… then you’re the fool”…
Powell’s POV: So are we supposed to like or dislike Rollins at this point? Are we supposed to look at Foley as being loyal to a babyface Stephanie or as a fool for falling for her latest scheme?
[Q7] Cole announced Chris Jericho vs. Sami Zayn for Clash of Champions…
Alicia Fox headed to the ring for a match. Her issues with Nia Jax last week were recapped. Backstage, Nia told Tom Phillips that she would beat up Nia Jax until she can’t get up or gives up…
4. Nia Jax vs. Alicia Fox. Jax used her power early. Fox caught her with a punch and then went to the ropes. Jax pushed Fox off the ropes to the floor. Jax followed and Fox caught her with a kick. Fax quickly recovered and whipped her into the barricade by the hair repeatedly. When Fox stood up, Nia drove her into the timekeepers area. Nia headed backstage without an official announcement regarding the finish…
Nia Jax defeated Alicia Fox via apparent ref stoppage in 2:05.
Powell’s POV: This was great. Nia looked like an absolute monster. The crowd gasped several times at the way she tossed Nia around like a rag doll, and the broadcast team did a good job of putting over Nia’s strength.
The broadcast team narrated highlights of Nia destroying Fox. Cole said Fox was being evaluated and they did not know the extent of her injuries…
New Day made their entrance. They handed out bowls and then Big E poured BootyO’s from his boots into the bowls. Cole hyped their tag title match against Anderson and Gallows for Clash of Champions. Once in the ring, Xavier Woods paused to milk the cheers. Woods mocked Anderson and Gallows for trying their hands at entertainment. “Entertainment is our thing,” he said. “Don’t touch our thing.” Big E yelled, “No touching.”
[Q8] Woods set up a clip of the Old Day skit, but then New Day said they burned the footage so no one will ever have to see it. They said the time Anderson and Gallows wasted was five minutes and 38 seconds. They spoke things that fans could have been doing during that time. Woods said Anderson and Gallows took the fans’ time and turned it into a dumpster fire.
Anderson and Gallows made their entrance and spoke from the stage. Anderson said they were pandering to a stupid crowd in Baltimore. Gallows said they will rip the stupid horns off their heads and beat them unconscious with them and take the tag titles. Cole said the SummerSlam rematch with Anderson and Gallows vs. Woods and Kofi Kingston was up next…
Powell’s POV: I can think of a few skits that New Day should probably apologize for, but they are more hit than miss. WWE easily could have simply forgotten that segment, but instead they’ve had the Raw pre-show crew and now New Day point the finger of blame at Anderson and Gallows. Is it all being done to remove any possible stank from New Day? Either way, I dig Woods holding the mic sideways and coming off even more confident than usual.
5. Xavier Woods and Kofi Kingston (w/Big E) vs. Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson in a non-title match. Cole noted that Demolition held the tag titles for 478 days. Graves said Anderson and Gallows remind him of Demolition in that they are smash mouth and are not there to make people laugh (even though they’ve been trying to make everyone laugh lately).
Gallows caught Kingston with a kick to the head that knocked him off the apron. Graves said Anderson and Gallows look nastier than he’s seen them since they arrived in WWE. Kingston made a hot tag to Woods, who had a nice run of offense on Anderson.
[Q9] Woods performed a top rope elbow on Anderson and had him pinned, but Gallows broke it up. In the end, Anderson caught Woods with a nice kick, then Anderson and Gallows hit the Magic Killer for the win…
Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows beat Kofi Kingston and Kofi Kingston in a non-title match in 9:50.
Backstage, Phillips asked Reigns what was going through his mind going into the match with Owens. Reigns said the only thing on his mind is getting to Clash of Champions and winning the title. He said the only way he’s going to do that is by kicking KO’s ass… [C]
Powell’s POV: The idea of the rematch was that Anderson and Gallows said they were promised a match with just Kingston and Gallows, but Big E got involved at SummerSlam. With that in mind, it was kind of odd that Big E was at ringside. On the plus side, it seems like they are finally giving up on the idea of Anderson and Gallows being comedians. Cole called it back to basics for the duo. Woods lost the match, but his offense felt fresh because we don’t see him work as often as his partners.
A WWE Cruiserweight Classic ad aired. Dot Net’s Zack Zimmerman will be in attendance at the show, so join me on Wednesday night for live coverage of the CWC finale… The broadcast team spoke in front of their desk. Cole said he wishes he could be in the shoes of Mauro Ranallo and Daniel Bryan because they get to call the finale. They also hyped the cruiserweights debuting on Raw next week…
Jinder Mahal headed to the ring and delivered a promo to explain his absence. He said he felt hate and rage, but he has learned to let that all go. He said he trekked in the Himalayas and spent time in the monasteries and now he found peace. He said peace is the gift he wants to share with the fans. Jack Swagger apparently hates peace, as he interrupted Mahal and headed to the ring…
6. Jack Swagger vs. Jinder Mahal. The fans chanted USA. Late in the match, Swagger went for the Swagger Bomb, but Jinder put his knees up. Mahal performed his finisher (who knew he had one) and scored the clean pin…
Jinder Mahal beat Jack Swagger.
[Q10] Backstage, Enzo Amore and Big Cass walked down a hallway while Byron said a couple of G’s were headed to the ring. Saxton hyped Enzo’s match for after the break… [C]
Powell’s POV: Jinder seems to be a heel because he has a dark complexion, wasn’t born in the United States, and believes in peace. Sad.
Backstage, Phillips approached Swagger and said it’s no secret that his Raw contract expires soon. “I just wanted to ask…” Swagger glared at Phillips, who didn’t follow through with his question…
Enzo and Big Cass made their entrance and performed their usual mic work from ringside. They cut to a couple of kids who were saying Enzo’s words right along with him. In the ring, Enzo said Eskimo ‘Zo ain’t sweating Epico. Enzo said Epico will take a dirt nap and will soil himself. Enzo said he will plant the little flowers that Epico loves. Cass ended it with the sawft line…
7. Enzo Amore (w/Big Cass) vs. Epico (w/Primo). Epico and Primo came out carrying their timeshare brochures and passed them out to fans. Graves said he went to the Stars’ resort and it was great. He said there was only three walls because the rooms were under construction. Graves also said they don’t want Enzo to visit because he drives property values down.
Enzo put Epico down with a top rope DDT. Enzo went to the top rope and had to wait for Primo to come over to distract him. Cass hit Primo with a big boot. Epico dove onto Cass. Enzo went up top and dove onto Epico. Enzo tried to suplex Epico back inside the ring, but Primo tripped him up and held his leg down while Epico got the win. Cole said it’s the second straight week that Enzo and Cass have been outsmarted by Primo and Epico…
Epico beat Enzo Amore in 3:15.
[Q11] A Braun Strowman video package aired… [C]
Powell’s POV: A good play-by-play voice calls out the heels for cheating. Michael Cole praises them for outsmarting the babyfaces. I’m not a Cole hater by any means, but this continues to be a huge flaw with his approach to calling matches.
Backstage, Kevin Owens was walking when Seth Rollins approached him. Rollins said he wouldn’t dream of putting his hands on Owens. He said he wants him to win so that he can get his one-on-one match with Owens. Rollins said that since Triple H won’t show his face around here, he can’t think of better revenge than tearing his golden boys to pieces.
Owens said he thought Rollins would want Reigns in the match so that he could do all the work and then Rollins could sneak in and steal the glory. Owens said Rollins has always had someone helping him, including Triple H. Owens said Rollins is just hurt that Hunter saw the light and realized that he is better.
Owens said Rollins has failed to capture the title repeatedly since he returned to WWE, whereas he won it on his first try. Owens brought up Rollins’ catchphrase and said it’s more like “Redesign, rebuild, replaced.” Mick Foley entered the picture and told Owens that’s enough. Owens mocked Seth’s laugh as he walked away. Foley told Owens there will be consequences if Rollins gets involved in the main event…
Cole explained that Foley was doing what he could to preserve the integrity of the “massive main event.” Roman Reigns made his entrance for the main event, then Kevin Owens was shown from behind walking through the curtain and made his entrance on the stage… [C]
A WWE Network commercial touted the world’s largest “sports entertainment library” and the home of The Rock…
8. Kevin Owens vs. Roman Reigns in a non-title match. Reigns earns a spot in the WWE Universal Championship match at Clash of Champions if he wins. The bell rang and Owens went to ringside. Reigns followed and caught him with a punch and roughed him up. Back inside the ring, Owens came back and stood on the air of Reigns while pulling him up by the arms.
[Q12] Owens wore down Reigns with a chinlock, that Reigns broke out of with a slam. At 6:30, Reigns set up for the Superman Punch, but Owens rolled to ringside. Reigns went to ringside and went for a move off the ring steps, but Owens caught him with a superkick and then ran his head into the ring post. [C]
Owens ran Reigns into the barricade and then into the ring steps. Owens boasted on the ring steps. Seth Rollins ran out and attacked Owens from behind for the DQ. Rollins pounded on Owens until referees and agents talked him down.
Foley came out and barked at Rollins, who smiled while saying he does what he wants. Foley said Rollins will do what he says. Foley said he asked Rollins for one favor and he couldn’t do it, so now they’re going to have a talk. Finlay stood between Foley and Rollins, then they went backstage. Foley announced that the match would not end like that and restarted it.
[Overrun] At 17:00, Reigns set up for a superplex. Owens bit Reigns got avoid the move. Reigns recovered and went for the superplex again. Owens countered into a fisherman’s buster off the middle rope and got a two count. Owens went up top and frogsplashed Reigns for another near fall.
At 19:30, Owens superkicked Reigns and then mocked his war cry before going for a cannonball, which Reigns avoided. A short time later, Reigns went for a spear, but Owens caught him with a knee. Reigns hit him with a Superman Punch and got a good near fall.
Owens hit a couple of cnanonballs and then went for the Popup Powerbomb. Reigns avoided it and slammed Owens down for a two count. Rusev came out and Reigns hit him with a Superman Punch, then Owens hit a Popup Powerbomb for the win…
Kevin Owens defeated Roman Reigns in 23:10.
Owens left the ring and then Rusev blasted Reigns with a kick to the head. Rusev pulled Reigns up by his vest and threw repeated punches at his head. Lana stood on the stage holding the U.S. Championship. Rusev stomped on the back of Reigns and then applied the Accolade. Rusev released the hold and stood tall to end the show…
Powell’s POV: A very good main event. There was good drama in terms of the outcome and Owens kept things fun with his antics. The sequence involving Foley and Rollins was mildly intriguing. Rusev’s attack was logical in that it reignites his feud with Reigns, who will presumably face him at Clash of Champions now that he’s out of the Universal Championship match.
WWE did not phone in this episode despite airing opposite the football doubleheader on ESPN. They delivered a strong show and good hype for the Clash of Champions pay-per-view. It will be interesting to find out how many people saw it, as it’s not like they advertised much outside of the main event and the latest best of seven series match. I will be by on Tuesday with my WWE Raw audio review. Thanks for watching along with me (or for checking in while you watched the games).