8/7 Powell’s WWE Raw Live TV Review: Braun Strowman vs. Roman Reigns in a Last Man Standing match, Brock Lesnar advertised, Bayley update, the road to SummerSlam continues

By Jason Powell

WWE Raw on the USA Network
Live from Toronto, Ontario at Air Canada Centre

[Q1] The Raw opening montage opened the show… Michael Cole introduced the show and noted that it’s just two weeks away from SummerSlam. Cole was joined on commentary by Corey Graves and Booker T. Graves hyped the Last Man Standing match. JoJo was the ring announcer…

The Miz, Maryse, Bo Dallas, and Curtis Axel were in the ring for a Miz TV segment. Miz told the Toronto fans that he wasn’t in the mood. He said Raw would not begin until he gets what he wants – Jason Jordan to come to the ring immediately. Miz said he’s tired of being cheap shotted on his own show. Miz, Dallas, and Axel removed their jackets.

Kurt Angle made his entrance and led the crowd in the usual “you suck” chants. Angle said Jordan would not be a guest on Miz’s show this week. Angle said Jordan would face Axel. Angle said he secured a guest for Miz that will meet and exceed Miz TV standards.

Brock Lesnar’s music played and Miz looked nervous. Lesnar and Paul Heyman walked to the ring as the live crowd erupted. Heyman was about to talk, but Miz said “when my hand goes up, your mouth goes shut, Paul.” Heyman tossed the mic aside. Miz delivered a Heyman-like introduction of Lesnar and said he’s pretty much guaranteed to lose at SummerSlam.

The Miz said the question is who walks out of SummerSlam as the WWE Universal Champion. Miz pointed out that Lensar doesn’t even have to be involved in the finish to lose the title. Miz questioned whether the match is Heyman’s fault. Miz recalled Heyman saying that he and Lesnar will leave WWE if Lesnar loses at SummerSlam. Miz said that if he were a gambling man, he’d put his money on the challengers. There were loud “Joe” chants after Miz mentioned Samoa Joe.

Miz asked “Mr. Advocate” if there was anything he’d like to add. Heyman picked up the mic and said that after being put in his place by Miz, he was humbling introducing himself and Lesnar. Heyman asked Miz if he and his wife ever role play. Heyman said he’s all about the role play. Heyman said Miz is Reigns, Dallas is Joe, and Axel is Strowman. Heyman said that in the game of role playing, Lesnar was giving a preview of SummerSlam.

Lesnar clotheslined Dallas and Axel, then gave Miz a German suplex. Heyman threw shoulders at Dallas. Axel attacked him from behind, but Lesnar quickly gave him and then Dallas German Suplexes and F5’s. Miz stumbled to his feet and took an F5 of his own…

A smiling Seth Rollins was shown walking backstage. Graves said Rollins would be in action after the break… [C] An ad for SummerSlam focussed on the Jinder Mahal vs. Shinsuke Nakamura match for the WWE Championship…

Powell’s POV: A fun opening segment. It’s fairly rare to see Lesnar get physical on Raw, and the live crowd was certainly hot for it. I did find it odd that Angle’s character booked Lesnar and Heyman for Miz’s talkshow given that Heyman blamed Angle and the WWE power structure for putting Lesnar in the four-way last week.

[Q2] 1. Seth Rollins vs. Sheamus (w/Cesaro). Rollins attacked Sheamus the moment the bell rang. He caught him with a springboard forearm for a two count. Sheamus came back by crotching Rollins on the top rope and had offensive control going into a break at 2:05. [C]

Rollins came back with a superkick for a two count at 8:00. Rollins delivered rapid fire kicks to the head of Sheamus, who backdropped Rollins, who landed on his feet. Rollins went up top only to be distracted by Cesaro, which led to Sheamus rolling up Rollins for the win…

Sheamus defeated Seth Rollins in 8:35.

[Q3] After the match, Rollins fought with Cesaro, but he was quickly outnumbered. The Raw Tag Champions beat up Rollins at ringside and then looked at the stage to see if Dean Ambrose was coming out. When he did not, they continued to work over Rollins inside the ring and left him lying. Cole said he was a bit shocked that Ambrose didn’t come out to help Rollins…

Cole hyped Strowman vs. Reigns as footage of their past matches aired… [C]

Powell’s POV: Ambrose not coming out to help Rollins is more compelling to me than him running out and making the save and agreeing to team with Rollins at SummerSlam. It’s seems like it’s only a matter of time before that match is booked, but I’m really enjoying the way they have dragged this out rather than having Ambrose simply forgiven and forget.

Graves mentioned that a Machine Gun Kelly song is a SummerSlam theme…

Backstage, Ambrose told Rollins that he told him not to do that again and now he looks like a real jerk. Rollins got fired up and said that’s because he is a real jerk. Rollins said he’s done everything he can and now it’s up to Ambrose. Ambrose said he’s not sticking around to get burned by Rollins again. He said he would face Cesaro and he would go it alone like always…

Jason Jordan headed to the ring for his previously announced match with Curtis Axel. Backstage, Axel was shown lying on a table and being tended to by a trainer. “Is he ready to go?” Angle asked. Um, no. Angle found a guy backstage who said his name is Jean Pierre Goulet. Angle told him this was his big chance and to go to the ring to face Jordan…

2. Jason Jordan vs. Jean Pierre Goulet. The fans chanted “Let’s go jobber.” They cheered when Goulet landed a couple of punches and booed when Jordan came back. Jordan tossed Goulet into the air and performed a neckbreaker on the way down for the win…

Jason Jordan beat Jean Pierre Goulet in 1:20.

Cole announced that Bayley is out of SummerSlam due to a shoulder injury. Bayley was shown walking backstage with her arm in a sling. Graves said she would be out after the break…

Powell’s POV: Did creative want Jordan to be booed because they intend to turn him heel or did they mistakenly book him in a lousy spot? Meanwhile, Angle seeing Axel down and out and still asking the trainer if Axel was ready to go was the unintentional laugh out loud moment of the night thus far.

[Q4] [C] Bayley headed to the ring with her right arm in a sling. Cole noted that Bayley suffered a dislocated shoulder last week. Bayley was joined in the ring by Charly Caruso, who had the production crew air footage of Bayley suffering the injury last week. Caruso noted that Bayley didn’t look up once when the footage was airing and said it was totally understandable.

Bayley said it sucks and watching the footage would just make her mad. She said she knew something was wrong with her shoulder last week, but she had to continue. She said she’s normally a happy person. However, it was hard to be happy given the circumstances. She acknowledged some of the boos from the crowd and said she was thanking the fans who tweeted her. Graves called it Bizarro World.

Caruso noted that there would be two women’s Triple Threat matches and asked who she thought would replace her at SummerSlam. Bayley said her friend Sasha Banks deserves it. Sasha made her entrance and hugged Bayley once she arrived in the ring. Cole said the first Triple Threat qualifier was up next… [C]

Powell’s POV: It seemed like Bayley was gaining some momentum before she suffered the injury, so I’m surprised the live crowd was so tough on her.

3. Sasha Banks vs. Alicia Fox vs. Emma in a Triple Threat match. The winner of the match will face the winner of the other Triple Threat match next week and the winner of that match will challenge for the Raw Women’s Championship at SummerSlam. Fox and Emma both received televised entrances. Before the bell, Alexa Bliss made her entrance and joined the broadcast team.

Emma performed a German suplex on Sasha at ringside that drove her onto the ring apron. Sasha sold at ringside while Fox and Emma fought in the ring. The vocal fans backed Emma. Sasha returned to the ring with a shining wizard on Emma. She followed up with running knees on both women.

[Q5] The crowd booed when Fox kicked out of an Emma pin at the last moment. Emma covered Fox again, but Banks pulled her to ringside and punched her. Fox caught Sasha in an inside cradle for a two count. Moments later, Banks performed the Backstabber and followed up with the Bank Statement. Emma returned to the ring and rolled up Banks, who countered into the Bank Statement on Emma for the submission win…

Sasha Banks defeated Emma and Alicia Fox in a Triple Threat in 4:45.

Powell’s POV: It was nice to see the live crowd get behind the horribly underutilized Emma. Banks going over was hardly a surprise. I assume Nia Jax will win the other Triple Threat match, but we’ll see.

Backstage, Renee Young interviewed Braun Strowman, who said he likes hurting Roman Reigns. He said he liked hearing his bones crack and hearing him whimper. He also said he likes to see the hope leave Roman’s eyes. He said the Big Dog is nothing more than a puppy when he’s around. “I’ve broken his body, tonight I break his spirit,” Strowman said…

Cole hyped the Reigns vs. Strowman match, and Graves hyped Ambrose vs. Cesaro for later in the show… [C]

Enzo Amore made his entrance. After doing some of his usual schtick, Enzo introduced Big Show. Enzo told Show he looked great and said they are like the dream team and dropped a Drake reference for the locals. Show spoke about teaching Cass a lesson in respect.

[Q6] Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson interrupted Enzo and Show. Anderson said if they were looking for a challenge, the former Raw Tag Champions were there. Enzo referred to them as Dr. Evil and Mini-Me. Ugh…

4. Big Show and Enzo Amore vs. Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson. Gallows and Anderson fled to ringside to avoid Show during the opening seconds of the match. [C] Cole acknowledged the Scott Dawson injury. Graves and Booker agreed that Enzo is “riding the world’s largest coattails” by teaming with Show.

Anderson and Gallows isolated Enzo. Big Cass walked onto the stage. Show spotted him and was distracted long enough for Gallows to catch him with a big boot. Anderson and Gallows set up for their finisher, but Enzo fought his way out of it and rolled up Gallows. Anderson blasted Enzo with a boot to the face and pinned him…

Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson beat Big Show and Enzo Amore.

After the match, it was time for the weekly Big Cass and Big Show beatdown. Cass got the better of Show. Enzo dove onto Cass, who quickly regrouped and tossed Enzo into the barricade. Cass threw Enzo inside the ring. Enzo rolled out the other side. Cass followed Enzo and ended up taking a knockout punch from Big Show. Cass sold the punch by stumbling around while the referee tried to keep him on his feet…

Powell’s POV: It’s nice to see Gallows and Anderson get a win, but I feel like I’m watching a rerun with Show, Enzo, and Cass.

The broadcast team set up footage of Finn Balor getting the better of Bray Wyatt last week… Balor was shown putting his jacket on backstage. Graves said Balor would be in the ring after the break… [C]

[Q7] Finn Balor made his entrance to a good reaction. Balor said everyone knows Wyatt loves to talk. He said Wyatt talks in tongues, speaks in riddles, and gives him the creeps. Balor said Wyatt seems to worry less about wins and losses than hurting people and making people fear him. Balor said that when fear knocks, you stand up and kick it in the face. Balor said the next time Wyatt comes at him he better not miss. Balor said that whatever Wyatt starts, he will finish it.

The Wyatt video flashed and Wyatt was standing in the middle of the ring. Meanwhile, Balor was sitting on the top rope. Wyatt charged and Finn leapt over him. Balor caught Wyatt with a kick to the head and followed up with a sling blade clothesline. The Wyatt video flashed again and Wyatt was gone. Wyatt laughed and was shown on the big screen. Wyatt said the fans like Balor because when he flies, they fly. He said that when he rips Balor down from the heavens the fans are going to fall with him…

Graves hyped Ambrose vs. Cesaro for after the break… [C]

5. Dean Ambrose vs. Cesaro (w/Sheamus). An insurance company sponsored the match. Graves called Booker on his inconsistencies and told him to pick a side. Booker stammered a bit, and Cole said he was throwing him a life preserver by saying they need to get back to calling the match.

[Q8] Ambrose took offensive control. Sheamus distracted Ambrose, allowing Cesaro to hit him from behind heading into a break. [C] There was a cool visual with Cesaro standing on the ring post and headbutting Ambrose, who was standing on the top rope. Cesaro teased suplexing Ambrose from the post, but Ambrose reversed it and performed a superplex into the ring.

Cesaro went for a superplex, but Ambrose pushed him off. Ambrose rolled up Cesaro for a two count at 15:55. Ambrose performed a Lunatic Lariat and then set up for his finisher. Sheamus climbed onto the apron and Ambrose went after him. Cesaro took advantage and put Ambrose in the Sharpshooter.

[Q9] Ambrose reached the ropes to break the hold. At 19:00, Ambrose went up top. Sheamus distracted him again, but Ambrose was still able to roll up Cesaro for the win…

Dean Ambrose beat Cesaro in 19:15.

Sheamus immediately attacked Ambrose after the match. Seth Rollins ran out for the save and cleared the heels from the ring. Ambrose continued to sell his injuries. Rollins looked down at Ambrose, who looked up at him. The crowd cheered loudly and then chanted Yes. Ambrose got to his feet and looked at Rollins. The fans continued to cheer. Ambrose finally offered Rollins the fist bump, which Rollins declined, leaving Ambrose in the ring with his fist out…

Powell’s POV: I love it! The crowd was hot for Ambrose and Rollins finally getting on the same page, but they left them hanging again. by having Rollins decline the fist bump this time around. Great stuff.

The broadcast team recapped Lesnar destroying Miz and his sidekicks during the opening segment… Graves hyped the Reigns vs. Strowman match for the main event. Cole set up footage from 205 Live of Akira Tozawa defeating Ariya Daivari to earn a WWE Cruiserweight Championship match at SummerSlam…

Backstage, Tozawa celebrated with Apollo Crews and seated Titus O’Neil. Neville showed up and said he wasn’t there to fight, he was there to scout his competition. Neville played up Tozawa ruining Daivari’s SummerSlam dream and said now he faces a man who has nothing to lose… [C] An ad for Smackdown hyped Naomi vs. Carmella…

6. Akira Tozawa (w/Titus O’Neil) vs. Ariya Daivari. A pre-taped Daivari promo aired as he made his entrance. Titus sat in on commentary and Cole acted downright giddy about it. Tozawa worked without his shoulder wrap.

[Q10] Tozawa knocked Daivari to the floor and then performed a suicide dive. Back in the ring, Tozawa performed a suplex and followed up with a top rope senton for the win…

Akira Tozawa defeated Ariya Daivari in 3:55.

Backstage, Renee Young interviewed Roman Reigns, who was heavily booed. Reigns said he doesn’t care what Lesnar says or whether he stays in WWE. He said he wasn’t afraid to retire Undertaker and he won’t be afraid to do the same to Lesnar. Reigns boasted that he beat Samoa Joe last week and he’ll be the last man standing this week. Reigns said he’s leaving SummerSlam as the Universal Champion…

Mickie James made her entrance for the second women’s Triple Threat heading into the break… [C]

Powell’s POV: Titus played up Tozawa’s shoulder being fully recovered, while Booker played the skeptic. Meanwhile, Reigns was a little more upbeat on the mic than he’s been playing it lately. He was getting so gloomy on the mic and with his mannerisms for a while that I was beginning to wonder what the fans who cheered him had to latch onto, so this approach seems better.

An NXT Takeover ad aired and hyped Bobby Roode vs. Drew McIntyre, and Asuka vs. Ember Moon. A graphic read “celebrate the homecoming” and showed Bayley, Sasha Banks, Sami Zayn, and other alumni…

7. Nia Jax vs. Mickie James vs. Dana Brooke in a Triple Threat. The winner of the match faces Sasha Banks on next week’s Raw to earn a title shot at SummerSlam. Brooke’s entrance was not televised. Bliss sat in on commentary again and said she is best friends with Jax and claimed she would love to face her at SummerSlam.

Jax jumped out to the early advantage, but James and Brooke avoided her charging at them in the corner. Jax tumbled to the floor and then James and Brooke fought. Banks was shown watching the match on a backstage monitor. In the end, Jax performed a legdrop on Brooke and pinned her…

Nia Jax defeated Mickie James and Dana Brooke in a Triple Threat match in 3:00.

[Q11] Cole hyped Sasha Banks vs. Nia Jax for next week’s Raw, then the broadcast team hyped WWE Network and SummerSlam weekend. Graves spoke about the NXT homecoming and said he would be there along with a litany of talent. Booker announced that there will be a two-hour Kickoff Show, and Cole said SummerSlam will be a four-hour event… [C]

Graves hyped Rich Swann vs. TJP for 205 Live…

Goldust was featured in a Shattered Dreams video. He delivered a line from “The Graduate” and then spoke about how he has so much love to give that he’s about to burst. He said he will be watching SummerSlam very closely and questioned whether he would find his next hero, villain, or a beautiful new starlet. He said whoever it is will shine like gold…

Powell’s POV: It’s Jason Jordan and Goldust cast him in the role as Kurt Angle’s son. Now he’ll transform into Jordust. No? Okay, not really.

Backstage, Cass told Angle he wants a match against Big Show at SummerSlam with Enzo Amore banned from the state. Angle questioned if Cass wanted him in a shark cage or something. Cass said that sounded good. He said he wants Enzo to see him turn Show into seven feet of failure. Angle booked Big Cass vs. Big Show with Cass in the shark cage for SummerSlam. Kurt said he hoped that Enzo isn’t afraid of heights…

Powell’s POV: The babyface is locked in the shark cage? Weird.

Strowman made his entrance for the main event. Cole hyped Raw for Boston as the final Raw before SummerSlam… [C]

[Q12] Graves announced Finn Balor vs. Bray Wyatt as being official for SummerSlam. Cole hyped the Banks vs. Jax match again for next week’s Raw in Boston… Reigns made his entrance to far more boos than cheers…

8. Braun Strowman vs. Roman Reigns in a Last Man Standing match. Strowman went to ringside as Reigns was making his entrance. Reigns caught him with a couple of uppercuts and then the bell rang to start the match. Strowman tossed Reigns inside the ring. Strowman took offensive control. Reigns ended up at ringside and the ref counted to five before Reigns got back to his feet before the break. [C]

Reigns battled back and the crowd booed. At 11:45, Reigns connected with a Drive-By. Cole said Strowman was in serious trouble and Reigns had all the momentum.

[Overrun] Reigns pulled a table out from underneath the ring and drew some cheers. Reigns went for another Drive-By, but Strowman knocked him down. Strowman set up the table in the ring while Reigns sold in the corner. Strowman welcomed Reigns to his playground. Reigns started firing punches and the fans booed again.

Reigns picked up Strowman and performed a Samoan Drop that put Strowman through the table. “How can you not be impressed by Roman Reigns?” Cole asked. Reigns got back to his feet. Strowman rolled to ringside onto his feet to avoid being counted down at 15:05. Cole said both men are spent.

Reigns let out a war cry and then ran toward Strowman, who threw an office chair at his face. The fans popped huge and Cole said it was one of the most incredible things he’s ever seen. Reigns pulled himself up using the barricade to beat the count. Strowman follwed Reigns into the hard camera side on the main floor where they traded punches at 17:00.

Reigns and Strowman ended up on the stage. Strowman picked up Reigns and tossed him into the video screen. Strowman told Reigns to stay down. Reigns got back to his feet. Strowman drove him into the video screen again. Strowman tore the broadcast team’s table apart as Reigns got back to his feet.

Strowman set up for a powerbomb, but Reigns slipped out and connected with a Superman Punch. Reigns connected with a second Superman Punch. Reigns charged Strowman with the intent of spearing him. Strowman put his boot up and knocked Reigns down again. Strowman headed back to ringside. Reigns jumped up, ran down the ramp, and speared Strowman at 20:30.

Samoa Joe showed up and put the Coquina Clutch on Reigns at ringside. Strowman was still down. Fans chanted “Thank you, Joe.” The referee started counting down both men. Strowman got back to his feet while Reigns remained out…

Braun Strowman beat Roman Reigns in a Last Man Standing match in 21:55.

Powell’s POV: A very good main event. I was starting to feel like the feud had been overexposed as I watched the early part of the match, but they definitely won me over long before the finish. The shot of Strowman throwing the office chair at Reigns (who wisely put his hands up) was fantastic. This was a fun match and the Joe interference was expected, yet logical given that he lost last week. I will have more to say about this show in tonight’s WWE Raw audio review for members, and in Tuesday’s WWE Raw Hit List. Grade the show in our weekly poll on the main page. Thanks for watching along with me.

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Readers Comments (3)

  1. I have two questions about last night’s show:

    1. Why did the referee stop counting Strowman when Joe attacked Reigns? He was still down at that point, and in total was down for a count of about 25.

    2. I know some of her booking has left a lot to be desired, but how much of a dick do you have to be to boo Bayley?

    • 1. Good question.

      2. Not the first time. Sadly, they have not done a good job of booking her on the main roster.

      • She has been booked badly, but that isn’t her fault. I feel very sorry for the kids in the audience who were probably wondering why their heroine was being booed by fat guys with beards for thanking her well-wishers.

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