7/16 Powell’s WWE Raw Live TV Review: Brock Lesnar’s WWE Universal Championship ultimatum given by Kurt Angle, the fallout from Extreme Rules, the build to WWE SummerSlam begins

By Jason Powell, Prowrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)

WWE Raw on the USA Network
Aired live on July 16, 2018 from Buffalo, New York at Keybank Center

[Hour One] A graphic acknowledged the death of Masa Saito… The broadcast team was Michael Cole, Corey Graves, and Jonathan Coachman…

Kurt Angle stood in the ring and praised the efforts and dedication of the Raw wrestlers at Extreme Rules. He said one wrestler who has shown very little dedication is Brock Lesnar. Angle recalled giving the ultimatum that Lesnar had to appear on Raw, agree to a title match, or he would strip him of the WWE Universal Championship. Angle tried to announce that he was stripping Lesnar of the championship.

“Ladies and gentlemen,” Paul Heyman called out. Heyman walked onto the stage and introduced himself. Angle said everyone knows who he is and who he represents. He said that if Lesnar doesn’t come right now then Heyman was wasting his time. Heyman said it was interesting that Angle was saying it that way. Heyman gave the big buildup introduction for Lesnar before saying he was not there.

Angle was about to strip Lesnar of the title when Heyman rushed to the ring. The fans chanted what sounded like “take the title.” Heyman said Angle and the fans have the misconception that Lesnar doesn’t care about being the WWE Universal Champion and cares more about winning the UFC Heavyweight Championship. Heyman said Lesnar loves being in WWE and being the WWE Universal Champion. “They why the hell doesn’t he show up?” Angle asked.

Heyman said that Lensar wants to wear the WWE Universal Championship title when he challenges for the UFC Heavyweight Championship. He said Lesnar wants to represent WWE by becoming a two-sport champion just as Angle challenged for all of the WWE titles with the Olympic gold medal strapped around his neck. Angle said more power to Lesnar if that’s his goal, but he will defend the WWE Universal Championship at SummerSlam or he is no longer champion.

Heyman paused and then said Angle drives a hard bargain and is a tough negotiator. “Brock Lesnar will defend the Universal Title at SummerSlam,” Heyman said. He turned his attention to the fans and congratulated them for having their voices heard. He said they all screamed that they want more of Brock Lesnar. The fans booed. Heyman said the only thing left is for Angle to decide who will be beaten, victimized, and conquered.

Bobby Lashley’s music interrupted Heyman and he made his entrance. Once in the ring, Lashley said that he had two goals in mind when he returned to WWE. He said he accomplished the first when he beat Roman Reigns at Extreme Rules. “Now it’s time to accomplish the other,” Lashley said. He walked toward Heyman and said, “That’s to beat Brock Lesnar and win Universal Title.”

Drew McIntyre’s music played and he walked onto the stage. McIntyre walked toward the ring and said he didn’t come back to WWE to take a roster number or to stand in Dolph Ziggler’s corner. He said phase one was putting the Intercontinental Title around Ziggler’s waist. “And now I think it’s time for phase two,” McIntyre said as he entered the ring. “The Universal Championship.”

Seth Rollins made his entrance and went face to face with McIntyre while the fans chanted “burn it down.” Rollins said indicated that he wanted the shot at Lesnar. Elias made his entrance and said his debut album drops next week and he wants to ride that success into SummerSlam and face Lesnar. Finn Balor made his entrance. Balor reminded everyone that he was the first Universal Champion and therefore it should be Balor vs. Lesnar. Roman Reigns made his entrance to boos. Reigns said he had no excuses (for losing to Lashley) and he doesn’t care about Lesnar, he just wanted to fight someone on the show.

Angle announced that there would be two Triple Threat matches on Raw with the winners of those matches meeting next week to determine who will challenge Lesnar at SummerSlam. The matches will be Elias vs. Rollins vs. Lashley, and McIntyre vs. Balor vs. Reigns. Angle said the first triple threat match would take place after the break…

Powell’s POV: I guess no one else wanted a title shot. Anyway, it was a solid segment and Lesnar has more heat than anyone in the company. The fans are clearly tired of the long gaps between his appearances and the absence of the WWE Universal Championship. My guess is that they somehow end up having a multi-person match rather than a singles match so that there’s some mystery in terms of who walks away as champion. Keep in mind that Braun Strowman is also an option for the match or a cash-in due to his status as the Money in the Bank contract holder. On a side note, the Reigns promo didn’t make much sense. Since when doesn’t he care about Lesnar? Isn’t he obsessed with beating him? And if all he wanted was a match, then why did Angle reward him with a spot in the Triple Threat?

Backstage, Baron Corbin asked Angle what he was doing. He complained about Angle not running the Triple Threat scenario by Stephanie McMahon. Angle said he didn’t think he needed to. Corbin was also pissed that Angle didn’t give him a spot in one of the Triple Threats. Angle pointed out that Corbin lost to Balor the night before at Extreme Rules…

1. Roman Reigns vs. Drew McIntyre vs. Finn Balor in a Triple Threat for a spot in the No. 1 contenders match. Balor performed an early flip dive onto both opponents. McIntyre got a two count on Reigns heading into a break at 4:45. [C] With Reigns and Balor fighting at ringside, McIntyre did a flip dive onto Reigns while Balor ducked out of the way. Balor ran McIntyre into the ring steps. A short time later, Balor had Reigns down inside the ring and was going up for his finisher when McIntyre returned and hit him with a chair. Cole noted that it was legal in a Triple Threat. [C]

Balor returned to the ring and hit McIntyre with a chair, then hit Reigns with it repeatedly across the back. At ringside, Balor dropkicked McIntyre into the barricade. Balor avoided a charging Reigns, who speared McIntyre through the barricade and into the timekeepers area. Balor hit Reigns with a sling blade clothesline.

Back in the ring, Reigns caught Balor with a Superman Punch and covered him for a top notch near fall. Cole questioned whether Reigns was doubting himself after everything that’s happened over the last six months. Reigns shook the ropes and looked to the crowd, which drew boos. He let out the war cry only for Balor to work him over. Balor ended up hitting the Coup de Grace and covered Reigns, but McIntyre pulled Balor to ringside and ran him into the ring steps.

McIntyre returned to the ring and set up for a Claymore, but he ended up running into a Superman Punch. Reigns also hit a returning Balor with a Superman Punch. McIntyre went for a Claymore Kick on Reigns, who moved, causing Balor to take the kick instead. Reigns took out McIntyre with a Superman Punch, then Reigns speared and pinned Balor. Reigns had a bloody eye afterward…

Roman Reigns defeated Finn Balor and Drew McIntyre in a Triple Threat 22:00 to earn a spot in the No. 1 contenders match for the WWE Universal Championship.

Powell’s POV: A really good Triple Threat match. Yes, Reigns going over is predictable, but the wrestlers did a good job of creating suspense along the way. I’m happy they protected McIntyre by having Balor take the pin. Balor has lost enough in WWE that one more loss isn’t a difference maker.

Backstage, Kurt Angle spoke with Bayley, who wondered where Sasha Banks was. Angle asked about counseling. Bayley said they both tried and it just didn’t work. Bayley said she didn’t think she and Banks would be together again. Angle said thinks she’s wrong. Angle booked the two of them in a match against Dana Brooke and Alicia Fox. Angle said that if they can’t get along then one of them will be traded to Smackdown…

Powell’s POV: Gee, no, anything but being traded to Smackdown. Hey, here’s an idea, if they can’t get along then how about booking them in a match against one another? None of this makes any sense and it was bizarre to come off that hot opening match and cut backstage where the GM wasn’t buzzing about it.

Dolph Ziggler was shown backstage having a guy polish his title belt. Cole hyped Ziggler for after the break.. [C] Sponsored Bobby Heenan classic footage aired and labeled him the smartest superstar…

Intercontinental Champion Dolph Ziggler made his entrance. His shitty entrance music played on and on while the broadcast team spoke as still shots of the IC Title match from Extreme Rules were shown. Ziggler boasted that he is Iron Man. He noted that an IC Title match headlined a pay-per-view for the first time in 17 years. He said that sure as hell wasn’t because of Seth Rollins. Ziggler said he respects what Rollins did to help make the title what it is today, but he’s no Ziggler. Dolph boasted that he beat Rollins five times.

Bobby Roode’s entrance music interrupted Ziggler’s promo. Roode said he noticed that Ziggler didn’t give any credit to Drew McIntyre. Roode entered the ring and said if it wasn’t for McIntyre then Ziggler would be at a standup comedy club telling bad jokes. Ziggler asked how fun it was for Roode to watching him headline a pay-per-view from the sidelines. Roode said the sidelines suck. Roode challenged Ziggler to an immediate IC Title match. Ziggler agreed and called for a referee.

[Hour Two] Ring announcer JoJo started to introduce the match as a title match, but Ziggler stopped her and said it was a non-title match…

2. Dolph Ziggler vs. Bobby Roode in a non-title match. Cole said the title wasn’t on the line, but it was a great opportunity for Roode to put himself in line for a title shot. Ziggler pulled Roode face first into one of the bottom turnbuckle pads heading into a break around 5:30.

Later, Ziggler avoided a Glorious DDT attempt and hit a Zigzag for a two count. Roode came back with a spinebuster for a near fall of his own. Roode acted like he tweaked his knee when he leapt off the middle rope. Moments later, Ziggler superkicked and pinned Roode…

Dolph Ziggler beat Bobby Roode in a non-title match in 13:05.

Powell’s POV: A good match that the fans were slow to warm up to. Roode just isn’t clicking in a meaningful way as a babyface. He does his best work as a heel and yet there is no hint of a turn being in the works.

The broadcast team recapped the opening angle with Kurt Angle and Paul Heyman, and the first of the two Triple Threat matches. They also hyped Rollins vs. Lashley vs. Elias for later in the show with the winner facing Reigns next week for the WWE Universal Title shot at SummerSlam…

Bobby Lashley was shown shadow boxing backstage. He stopped and looked into the camera and said that while they say the Best fears no man, the beast has never fought someone like him. Lashley said he has the skill and ability to slay the beast at SummerSlam. “I will be the Universal Champion,” Lashley said… [C] An ad for Smackdown hyped Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Jeff Hardy for the U.S. Championship…

Roode was shown walking backstage. Mojo Rawley mockingly applauded him. “And you’re supposed to be glorious?” Rawley asked. Roode seethed as Rawley walked away…

3. Mojo Rawley vs. Tyler Breeze. Breeze’s entrance was not televised. Cole noted that Breeze is flying solo while Fandango recovers from shoulder surgery. Breeze sent Rawley to ringside and followed only to take a shoulder block from Rawley, who then rolled him back inside the ring. Late in the match, Rawley threw a running punch in the corner and yelled “lights out.” Rawley followed up with an Alabama Slam and scored the pin…

Mojo Rawley defeated Tyler Breeze in 3:10.

Powell’s POV: The broadcast team spent the match putting over Rawley’s college football career and discussing his change in attitude from the hype days. While I’d rather see Roode work as a heel, he can definitely help with Rawley’s progression if they are going to feud with one another.

A shot aired of Sasha Banks and Bayley walking together uncomfortably while Graves hyped their match against Alicia Fox and Dana Brooke… [C]

4. Sasha Banks and Bayley vs. Alicia Fox and Dana Brooke. The entrances of Fox and Brooke were not televised. Graves said they are unbeaten against teams who have been to therapy within the last two weeks. Funny. Banks took exception to Fox attacking Bayley at ringside. Brooke took a wicked bump when Banks pulled her off the apron at 2:05. Banks worked over both women at ringside and dove onto them. The referee called for the bell. Banks looked at Bayley and then walked to the back…

Alicia Fox and Dana Brooke beat Sasha Banks and Bayley by an apparent DQ in 2:20.

The broadcast team hyped the Triple Threat and an update on Kevin Owens after his bump off the cage at Extreme Rules… [C]

Powell’s POV: I guess the idea is that Banks ignored the referee, but shouldn’t the referee have been counting everyone out?

Backstage, Bayley asked Banks what that was all about. Banks said it’s one thing for her to beat up Bayley, but she’ll be damn sure if anyone else does. “So that means that you care?” Bayley said. Banks confirmed that she does care while saying that Bayley knows she hates talking about her feelings. Banks said she loves that Bayley is a good person who loves everyone and wants to be friends with everyone and little girls look up to her. “I love you,” Banks said. “I always have and I always will. There I said it.” Banks stormed out of the locker room…

Powell’s POV: So does this mean that Banks and Bayley are going to get an apartment together when this all gets sorted out?

The broadcast team spoke about Braun Strowman throwing Kevin Owens off the cage. Backstage, Renee Young asked Strowman if he had any regrets for what he did to Owens. Strowman said he regretted not having an opportunity to congratulate Owens on his win. She asked him why he didn’t make a play to face Brock Lesnar. “Because I have this,” Strowman said while holding up the Money in the Bank contract. “No matter who wins one of those matches tonight or who wins at SummerSlam, I have a contract for a Universal Title opportunity any time, any place…

Cole said Owens suffered a bruised shoulder, bruised ribs, and a neck strain and will be reevaluated next week…

New Raw Tag Champions “The B-Team” Curtis Axel and Bo Dallas made their entrance while the broadcast team recapped all of the places they celebrated their win. Cole said they would be in action after the break… [C]

5. Raw Tag Champions Curtis Axel and Bo Dallas vs. The Ascension in a non-title match. The match was joined in progress without the Ascension a televised entrance. In the end, the duo hit a double team neckbreaker on Viktor, who was pinned by Axel…

Curtis Axel and Bo Dallas beat The Ascension in a non-title match in 2:10 of television time.

After the match, Bray Wyatt and Matt Hardy appeared on the big screen. Wyatt said he hopes they enjoyed their moment of glory but it would not last. Wyatt said they will get a rematch and take back “what is ours” next week…

Powell’s POV: I’m going to keep asking until we get an answer. Does the company want fans to cheer or boo the B-Team when they face Wyatt and Hardy?

A video package recapped the Raw Women’s Championship match from Extreme Rules… Alexa Bliss and Mickie James were shown walking backstage. Cole said they would be out after the break… [C] A graphic boasted that Extreme Rules was all socially active and things…

[Hour Three] Raw Women’s Champion Alexa Bliss and Mickie James made their entrance. Bliss boasted about keeping her title and said that outsmarting Nia Jax wasn’t all that hard. She boasted that she has now beaten every single woman in the entire locker room. There were some people yelling for Ronda Rousey, but Bliss said she doesn’t count. She said Rousey should be suspended indefinitely.

Ronda Rousey walked through the crowd. Bliss said goodnight and tried to leave. Rousey ended up meeting them on the stage and following them to the ring where she hit her new move on James. Three referees tried to walk Bliss and James to the back, but Rousey ran out up the ramp and took them all out with a dive.

Rousey brought Bliss to the ring and was about to put her in an armbar when Kurt Angle came out. Rousey released the hold. Angle said Rousey needed to calm down, especially after what she did last night. Angle said she had two days left on her suspension and she needed to go home to wait it out.

Baron Corbin came out and said Rousey needed to be reprimanded for her actions. He suggested that Angle put his foot down and do his job. Angle said Corbin was right and added a week to Rousey’s suspension. Corbin complained that it was only a week and said he was going to call Stephanie McMahon.

Corbin said he left his phone backstage. Angle held up a phone and said it was the one Corbin was looking for. Angle told Rousey that he would give her a title match with Bliss at SummerSlam, but she could kiss the match goodbye if she pulled another stunt. Rousey was all smiles while Bliss and James fumed on the stage…

Angle’s POV: You made a mockery of the suspension I issued by showing up at Extreme Rules and again tonight. Well done. Here’s a high profile title shot.

The broadcast team recapped the opening segment and the first Triple Threat match…

Backstage, Charly Caruso interviewed Seth Rollins about the Triple Threat and potentially facing Reigns next week. Rollins said it wasn’t his night at Extreme Rules, but tonight, next Monday, and SummerSlam will all be his night. He said he has all the respect in the world for Reigns and he loves him, but if he has to go through him then he will. Rollins said if he knows Reigns then he would say the same thing about him… [C]

Powell’s POV: There hasn’t been this much love on WWE television since Bruce Prichard was in costume.

Lio Rush vs. Akira Tozawa was hyped for WWE 205 Live…

6. The Authors of Pain vs. Titus O’Neil and Apollo Crews. A pre-taped promo aired with Titus and Crews talking about how AOP need to earn respect. Crews said they’re not stagehands. Graves noted that the crowd was watching the match “in shocked silence.” AOP hit the Last Chapter on Crews and pinned him. Graves compared watching AOP matches to watching Kimbo Slice beat people up in backyard fights in that you know it’s wrong but there something fun about it…

The Authors of Pain beat Titus O’Neil and Apollo Crews in 2:15.

Powell’s POV: So will AOP or The Revival end up being the team to take the tag titles from the B-Team?

Sarah Logan was carrying Liv Morgan on her back while walking through the backstage area. They were stopped by No Way Jose’s awful conga line. Coachman hyped Ember Moon vs. Sarah Logan for after the break… [C]

7. Ember Moon vs. Sarah Logan (w/Liv Morgan). Cole said he received a strange email from Logan, who informed him that she has viking blood running through her veins. Morgan delivered a cheap shot from ringside that led to Logan getting a two count. Logan powered up Moon for a nice suplex for a two count. Moon came back with a big punch. Morgan climbed onto the apron. Moon knocked her down.

Logan rolled up Moon for a two count. Moon came back with a kick for a two count of her own. Moon tossed Logan to ringside and performed a suicide dive before rolling her back inside the ring for a two count. Moon went up top. Morgan distracted her. Morgan ended up pinning her off the distraction…

Sarah Logan beat Ember Moon in 6:45.

Backstage, Elias had a crew member adjust his headpiece microphone… [C]

Powell’s POV: So is Sarah Logan the daughter of Keith Millard or Chris Hovan? Anyway, I suspect we’re about to see the parity booking that I praised them for not doing with Moon and Morgan.

The broadcast team hyped the Raw Tag Title match for next week…

Elias sat in the ring and said he was depressed once he realized he was in Buffalo. He sang a song mocking Buffalo, Lashley, and Rollins. Elias was interrupted by the introduction of Rollins… [C] Lashley made his entrance. Elias attacked Rollins before Lashley got to the ring…

8. Bobby Lashley vs. Seth Rollins vs. Elias in a Triple Threat for a spot in the No. 1 contenders match. Elias was dumped at ringside, leaving Rollins and Lashley to face off in the ring. Rollins connected with a nice dropkick, but then did a springboard leap into a boot from Lashley. Elias returned to the ring and hit a high knee on Rollins for a two count. Heyman, Angle, and Corbin were shown watching the match on a backstage monitor. [C]

Elias ran Lashley into the post and then brushed off a Rollins suicide dive before running Lashley into another post. Back in the ring, Rollins performed a frogsplash on Lashley. Elias threw Rollins aside and covered Lashley for a two count. Rollins came back with a Blockbuster on Elias for a two count. A short time later, Rollins caught Lashley on the ropes as he was punching Elias, who was seated on the top rope. Rollins gave Lashley a buckle bomb, then rushed over and superplexed Elias and hit him with a falcon arrow before getting a near fall.

[Overrun] Rollins performed a suicide dive on Elias and rolled him back inside the ring. Rollins performed a suicide dive on Lashley and then raced back to the ring where he hit the Stomp on Elias. Rollins had the pin, but Lashley rushed back to the ring to break it up.

Lashley performed a vertical suplex on Rollins and then went to the corner. Lashley went for a spear, but Rollins leapt over him and rolled him up for a two count. Rollins set up for the Stomp. Elias pulled Rollins to the floor and rushed into the ring where Lashley ended up spearing him. Cole hyped a “big fight” between Reigns and Lashley for next week’s Raw in Cincinnati…

Bobby Lashley defeated Elias and Seth Rolilns in a Triple Threat to earn a spot in the No. 1 contenders match for the WWE Universal Championship.

Powell’s POV: It was questionable to have Rollins in this match. Obviously, Rollins helped make it a quality Triple Threat, but if WWE officials want fans to embrace Lashley then it wasn’t a wise move to have him prevent the popular Rollins from being in the No. 1 contenders match. That probably explains why the crowd was so flat for the finish. Overall, this show lost momentum earlier than usual. There was a lot of filler between those two Triple Threat matches, perhaps by design with the MLB Home Run contest airing as competition on ESPN. I will have more to say in my members’ audio review later tonight and in the WWE Raw Hit List on Tuesday. Thanks for watching along with me.

Check below for my one-hour interview with Impact Wrestling play-by-play voice Josh Mathews, who discussed his start on WWE Tough Enough, whether he enjoyed the on-air bickering with Jeremy Borash when they were both on the broadcast team, working with Don Callis, and Sunday’s Slammiversary event.


Readers Comments (9)

  1. Baron Corbin is the voice of reason on RAW. Can we make him GM?

    Angle’s just all over the place. He’s apparently also a kleptomaniac.

  2. You made a mockery of the suspension I issued by showing up at Extreme Rules and again tonight. Well done. Here’s a high profile title shot

    ROFLMAO….No kidding…well it is WWE and their version of entertainment.

  3. Jack C Catalano July 16, 2018 @ 11:04 pm

    Does it really shock you? Didn’t Angle give Reigns a title shot last year after almost destroying Braun Strowman?

  4. And my interest in Summerslam is out the window. Reigns/Lashley part two, to face Lesnar? YAWN

    I have no love for Ronda Rousey either, she bores the s**t out of me, and is taking the spot of Tenille Dashwood (my personal bais).. And I think both Bayley and Sasha would benefit from a move to Smackdown.. Rousey’s Raw or Charlottle’s Smackdown, where would you go?

  5. I wonder if Kurt or anyone in creative reads the material before it’s spoken. Kurt immediately stripped Lesnar of the belt if he isn’t at Raw. Then, a 2nd time, he strips Lesnar if he doesn’t walk out after Heyman. Either strip him or don’t but don’t keep the false promises only to immediately ignore that they’re made. Elias has more charisma in his little finger than Reigns does in his whole body but is better suited for the mid card. Maybe Elias doesn’t even need a belt since he is so over.

  6. So Corbin didn’t get a spot in a triple threat because he lost the night before? Well so did Seth and Roman but they got spots?

  7. So Angle’s reason for not putting Corbin in the Triple Threat was that he lost to Balor the night before? And yet, Reigns was gifted a spot even though he didn’t care about facing Lesnar and he also lost the night before. At the very least, if you are going to put a PPV loser in the matches it should be the one that wants to be in them. No logical sense.

  8. It doesn’t matter who wins or who has the title at SummerSlam. Braun Strowman is gonna eat whoever it is and take the title with that MITB contract.

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