By Jason Powell, Prowrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
WWE Raw on the USA Network
Aired live on August 6, 2018 from Jacksonville, Florida at Veterans Memorial Arena
[Hour One] A video package recapped the drama involving Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman from last week… Michael Cole, Corey Graves, and Jonathan Coachman were on commentary. JoJo was the ring announcer…
Raw general manager Kurt Angle and constable Baron Corbin made their entrance to Angle’s theme song. Angle hyped the Raw in-ring debut of Ronda Rousey and added that she has no problem competing on Raw “unlike some other former UFC Champion.”
Angle said that Ronda and every Raw wrestler who shows up every week is a champion in his book unlike Lesnar. “Watch it, Kurt,” Corbin warned. Angle said Paul Heyman remains employed because he got Lesnar to the ring before the end of last week’s show. Angle was about to address Lesnar attacking him last week when he was interrupted.
Roman Reigns made his entrance while Cole hyped his match with Brock Lesnar for the WWE Universal Championship at SummerSlam. There were plenty of boos for Reigns once he got in the ring and the music stopped. Reigns told Angle he has a lot of respect for him as the Raw general manager, but he should have known better. “If you kick the Big Dog out, who is gonna protect the yard?”
Reigns asked Corbin what he was smiling at. Reigns said Corbin just stood there when Angle was attacked by Lesnar, then ran when Lesnar looked at him. Angle cut Reigns off and said no one in WWE from the top on down liked what Lesnar did last week. Reigns said Angle better not mean they are going to suspend Lesnar and postpone his match at SummerSlam. Angle said that would not happen because he made sure that Lesnar did not get suspended and the match would occur.
“I just hope you kick his ass,” Angle told Reigns. Corbin said it was unprofessional of Angle to pick sides and play favorites. Corbin said he chose to be the bigger man last week when he left the ring. He said he was worn out from beating “little tiny” Finn Balor, “the guy who actually won the Universal Championship unlike you.” Corbin said he couldn’t think of what else he could have done. Angle said he could have acted like a man.
Corbin took offense and said Angle acts like Raw is his show when it’s actually Stephanie McMahon’s show. He said Stephanie put him in charge of watching over Angle because he can’t be trusted. Angle said he just makes the matches, but he also saw one. Angle booked Reigns vs. Corbin in an immediate match. Corbin took a cheap shot at Reigns. For some reason the bell rang even though there wasn’t a referee in the ring…
1. Roman Reigns vs. Baron Corbin. Reigns got back to his feet and hit Corbin with a Superman Punch and covered him. The referee entered the ring and counted to two. Cole hyped the Rousey match heading into the first commercial break. [C] Corbin was on the offensive and slowed the pace heading into another break roughly nine minutes into the match. [C]
Reigns battled back and performed the ten clotheslines in the corner with some fans counting along. Reigns went for a Superman Punch, but Corbin stuffed it. Corbin hit the Deep Six for a near fall that would have been solid if anyone believed Reigns might actually lose the match by pinfall.
Corbin went to ringside and bumped into a cameraman, then returned to the ring and ate a Superman Punch for a two count. Reigns set up in the corner. Corbin rolled to ringside and started to back up the ramp. Finn Balor came out and blocked his departure path. Reigns punched Corbin on the floor and rolled him back inside the ring. Reigns speared Corbin and pinned him…
Roman Reigns defeated Baron Corbin in 18:45.
Reigns and Balor bumped fists as Reigns was heading to the back. Balor entered the ring and hit Corbin with a running dropkick in the corner, then went up top and connected with a Coup de Grace…
Ronda Rousey was shown talking with Natalya backstage while Cole hyped her match against Alicia Fox. The graphic showed that Natalya will be in Rousey’s corner while Alexa Bliss will be with Fox… Bobby Roode was shown putting his robe on while Graves said his match with Mojo Rawley would be up next… [C]
Powell’s POV: The opening match was decent. It suffered a bit from the lack of drama regarding the outcome and thus overstayed its welcome a bit. The post match angle made sense as it wasn’t just Balor attacking Corbin as revenge for losing last week. Rather, Corbin roughed him up after that match. As such, Balor didn’t come off looking like a poor sport as much as he did someone who was out for revenge. It’s worth noting that the live crowd seems to favor Reigns over Lesnar in the opening segment. Dot Net reader AJ is in attendance at the show and noted that the fans booed whenever Lesnar was shown on the big screen and cheered louder for Reigns. Progress is being made with some fans, but I still don’t think it will help them with the Brooklyn crowd, and I can’t help but wonder how many fans who favor Reigns over Lesnar now will turn on Reigns if he wins the Universal Championship or whenever he moves on to face another wrestler the fans like.
The broadcast team recapped footage of the recent Seth Rollins, Dolph Ziggler, and Drew McIntyre saga…
Backstage, Rollins told Angle about his problems with McIntyre getting involved and said he’d like to take care of both of them tonight. Angle told him to find a partner and he would face them in a tag team match…
2. Bobby Roode vs. Mojo Rawley. Footage aired prior to the match of the backstage fight last week that set up this match. Roode was on the offensive heading into an early break. [C] Rawley stuffed Roode as he was going for his Glorious DDT finisher. However, Roode came back a short time later and hit the move for the win…
Bobby Roode beat Mojo Rawley in 9:10.
Backstage, a small production crew was with Elias, who told them to do their job and everything will be perfect. Cole said Elias has one documentary out and it looks like they are shooting another. Cole hyped Elias for post break… [C] An ad for Smackdown hyped AJ Styles returning and questioned whether best friends Charlotte and Becky Lynch will become bitter foes… [C]
Powell’s POV: I never thought I’d write this, but I’m disappointed that Roode beat Mojo. The Roode babyface persona is so flat, whereas Rawley had his first sign of momentum coming into this match.
Elias played his guitar in the ring.
[Hour Two] Elias said WWE got his documentary wrong on WWE Network, so he has his own crew so they could do it his way. Elias instructed his production trio where to stand and then to circle around him like he’s the sun and the center of the WWE Universe. Funny.
Elias figured out why he wasn’t happy. “It’s the audience,” Elias said. He asked them to use CGI to blur their faces out so he wouldn’t have to see them or do anything that would help him forget that he was in Jacksonville. Elias barked at the cameraman for walking into his spotlight, then bitched about Bobby Lashley interrupting him last week.
Lashley made his entrance. Lashley said he saw Elias’s documentary and he thought it was an actual depiction of who he really is. Elias said it had its moments, but at times it portrayed him as egotistical, out of touch, and vain. “As opposed to what?” Lashley asked. Elias told his crew to keep the camera on him, then accused Lashley of trying to steal his spotlight.
Elias said Lashley’s entire comeback has been a joke. Lashley said Elias’s album, documentary, and everything about him has been a joke. He said the next time his name comes out of Elias’s mouth it won’t be a joke. Elias told his crew that Lashley was in a bad mood so they would take the shoot to the back.
Elias took a clipboard from one of the crew members, tossed it toward Lashley to distract him, and then attacked him. Lashley came back with a spinebuster. Lashley had Elias’s production guys rejoin them in the ring and had them shoot his vertical suplex on Elias…
The broadcast team hyped an interview with Paul Heyman for later in the show. A shot aired of Dolph Ziggler and Drew McIntyre while the broadcast team questioned who would team with Seth Rollins in his match against them. Cole said it would not be Dean Ambrose, who is still recovering from triceps surgery. Coachman hyped Rousey’s match…
The Authors of Pain made their entrance. Cole hyped Rezar facing Titus O’Neil for after the break… [C]
Powell’s POV: Jacksonville has been a babyface company friendly crowd to the point that there was a “Bobby” chant for Lashley. The broadcast team told viewers that Ambrose would not be teaming with Rollins. I hope they let the live crowd know that too if it’s not going to be him since they could be disappointed if it’s someone else.
Tyler Breeze approached Seth Rollins in the locker room and offered to be his tag team partner. Breeze called himself gorgeous and said Rollins is passable. Breeze stuck his first out Shield style. Roman Reigns entered the ring and said he would have Rollins’ back…
Powell’s POV: Well, there you go. The live crowd was shown that footage on the big screen. And now it actually seems odd that they mentioned Ambrose if they were going to reveal Reigns as the partner so quickly. Perhaps there’s more
3. Rezar (w/Akam) vs. Titus O’Neil (w/Apollo Crews, Dana Brooke). The broadcast team noted that 31,000 fans showed up at Titus’s charity event at Raymond James Stadium over the weekend. Titus hit an awkward splash in the corner, then ran into a big boot. Rezar performed a big spinebuster and pinned O’Neil…
Rezar beat Titus O’Neil in 3:05.
Kevin Owens was going over notes with Jinder Mahal and Sunil Singh. Cole said the KO Show would return with Mahal as his guest after the break… [C]
Powell’s POV: Tag team parity booking in singles matches with the teams trading wins over the last two weeks. As generous as this crowd has been, they didn’t seem all that fired up about this match.
Cole hyped Reigns and Rollins vs. McIntyre and Ziggler for later in the show…
Kevin Owens hosted his talkshow segment on a small platform set up next to the stage. He had three director’s chairs and a velvet rope along with two “Kevin Owens Show” signs. Owens introduced Mahal as his personal guru. Singh accompanied Mahal onto the platform. Owens thanked Mahal for helping him eliminate the pain that was caused from the cage match bump.
Owens boasted that he achieved the impossible by beating Strowman in a cage match. He noted that Mahal’s win was just a count-out, but it was a win nonetheless. Owens boasted that he would be KO in the Bank if he beats Strowman at SummerSlam and then he will reclaim the Universal Championship. Owens said he hasn’t been himself since he lost the title. Owens suggested Mahal face Strowman again. Jinder didn’t look pleased.
Owens introduced Strowman, who didn’t come out. Owens said the monster is nowhere to be found. The platform they were on started moving and was eventually pushed over by Strowman. “Braun Strowman did it again!” Cole exclaimed. Strowman played to the crowd while the broadcast team assumed that he would be facing Mahal after the break… [C]
Powell’s POV: I was hoping that the location of the KO Show was an attempt to do something more with a talkshow, but my guard was up for the latest Strowman stunt.
The broadcast team recapped Strowman pushing over the stage. Cole said Angle booked the Strowman vs. Mahal match during the break…
4. Braun Strowman vs. Jinder Mahal (w/Sunil Singh, Kevin Owens). Owens encouraged Mahal to go get some payback. Mahal was apprehensive. The fans chanted “get these hands” briefly. Owens grabbed the MITB briefcase, but Strowman spotted him and chased him around the ring until he dropped it. Owens ran to the stage. Strowman returned to the ring before the ref could count him out.
Owens took the briefcase again and ran up the stage. Strowman caught him on the stage and punched him. Strowman picked up the briefcase and swung around and hit Mahal with it on the stage. The bell rang. The referee disqualified Strowman for hitting Mahal even though Graves said he thought it was an accident.
Jinder Mahal defeated Braun Strowman by DQ in 1:45.
After the match, Strowman wound up to hit Mahal with the briefcase, but Singh grabbed it. Strowman kicked Singh. Mahal hopped the barricade. Strowman called for Owens or Mahal to join him in the ring, but Strowman’s music played to end the segment…
Powell’s POV: A weak night for Strowman. They are obviously telling the story that Strowman is at risk of losing his MITB contract if he loses to Owens by DQ or count-out at SummerSlam, but the stunt and the match were forgettable.
Cole set up footage of Reigns and Rollins making a special fan an honorary member of The Shield at Sunday’s live event…
Corbin was shown talking on the phone with Stephanie McMahon and then he passed it to Angle. Kurt listened and tried to object before giving in and saying he’d take care of whatever she told him…
Powell’s POV: Is Stephanie going to rule that Reigns can’t team with Rollins to open the door for the return of Ambrose? Just a shot in the dark. It may not have anything to do with that tag match.
Footage aired of Graves interviewing Reigns about his history with Lesnar. Graves noted that Lesnar’s camp denied his request for a similar interview. Graves asked Reigns about losing to Lesnar in the past and why this time would be different. Reigns said there’s no shame in losing to Lesnar, but noted that he’s beat his ass too. He pointed out that Lesnar didn’t beat him when Seth Rollins cashed in his MITB contract. He said Lesnar simply got the best of him at WrestleMania this year.
Footage aired of the finish of their match at the Greatest Royal Rumble. Reigns said that regardless of the outcome, he beat Lesnar and walked out of the cage as the true Universal Champion. Graves asked Reigns to comment on Lesnar not caring about anyone in the WWE Universe. Reigns said he’s sick and tired of people disrespecting his lifestyle and his family business and it has to end.
Graves asked what happens to Reigns and the Universal Championship if he succeeds in beating Lesnar at SummerSlam. Reigns said he would earn the right to defend the Universal Championship every night and set a true standard. Reigns said Lesnar is a beast who has knocked down a bunch of men including him, but he keeps getting up because he has to win…
Drew McIntyre and Dolph Ziggler made their entrance for the tag match… [C]
Powell’s POV: The Reigns interview was good piece of production that makes two of Roman’s losses to Lesnar feel unfair while also playing to fans who want to see the Universal Championship defended more often. How great would it be if Reigns turned out to be a total hypocrite by turning heel and declining to defend the championship on a regular basis? Let me dream.
Baron Corbin informed Roman Reigns that Stephanie McMahon wasn’t allowing him to wrestle twice in one night because it could jeopardize the SummerSlam main event. Reigns was going to work anyway, but Corbin informed him that he’d forfeit his tile shot if he did. Rollins told Reigns that he’d figure it out. Corbin said Rollins would go it alone in a handicap match. Reigns asked Corbin if his ribs were okay, then punched him in the ribs.
Rollins made his entrance while Cole questioned what Rollins could do about the X Factor known as McIntyre. Graves said Rollins needed someone to watch his back.
5. Seth Rollins vs. Drew McIntyre and Dolph Ziggler. The bell rang and Cole announced Balor vs. Corbin was official for SummerSlam.
[Hour Three] Rollins used his quickness to jump out to a quick start. McIntyre tried to catch Rollins coming off the ropes and fell down. McIntyre picked up Rollins and gave him a backbreaker. Later, Rollins dodged McIntyre, who ran into the post and stayed down at ringside. Rollins got the better of Ziggler and performed a suicide dive onto him.
Back in the ring, Rollins hit a buckle bomb and set up for his finisher, but McIntyre returned and clotheslined him. Rollins battled for a bit, but Ziggler eventually hit him with a superkick and pinned him. The broadcast team said McIntyre was the legal man so the referee should not have counted the pin…
Drew McIntyre and Dolph Ziggler beat Seth Rollins in a handicap match in 7:05.
Graves hyped Renee Young’s interview with Paul Heyman, and Cole hyped the Rousey vs. Fox match by singing the praises of Fox… The B-Team made their entrance for their match against The Revival heading into a break… [C]
Powell’s POV: No Ambrose in this match, but everything is pointing toward him being in the corner of Rollins at SummerSlam. The question then becomes how long he will remain aligned with Rollins and Reigns. In other words, will we finally get the Ambrose singles heel run in WWE? By the way, the B-Team entrance theme is a keeper.
6. Raw Tag Champions Curtis Axel and Bo Dallas vs. “The Revival” Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder. A Revival pre-tape aired. It was magic themed and they said they would make the B-Team disappear. At 2:45, the Wyatt video flashed while Dallas and Dawson were crawling toward their corners. Wyatt and Hardy ended up replacing Axel and Wilder in the corners. Hardy and Wyatt attacked Dallas and Dawson to end the match and left them lying…
Curtis Axel and Bo Dallas fought The Revival to an apparent no-contest in a non-title match in 3:10.
Paul Heyman was shown being mic’d up on the interview set heading into a break… [C]
Renee Young interviewed an emotional Heyman and asked him where he and Brock Lesnar stand. “I don’t know,” Heyman started. He said Lesnar disconnected his phone number and he can’t reach him through intermediaries and thus he hasn’t spoken with Lesnar since last week. “It’s not that I haven’t wanted to, but obviously he doesn’t want to take my phone calls,” Heyman said.
Heyman spoke to someone off-camera and said he has a problem with this. “Brock’s not going to like this,” he said. He said it’s a private matter and this will piss him off more. Young recalled Lesnar saying Heyman is an employee. Heyman asked if she was enjoying this. She said she was just trying to get to the bottom of it. “So am I,” Heyman said sternly.
Heyman said he considers Lesnar a friend. He said he envisioned the two of them riding off into the sunset together. Heyman sobbed. Young asked Heyman if Lesnar still needs him. When he didn’t reply, Young asked if he needed a break. “Come on, just do it,” Heyman said. Young asked if Heyman had his eye on someone else as a potential client.
Heyman said it was inconceivable a week ago. He said the whole situation is inconceivable. He asked how he could just go with somebody else. Young asked him who would leave SummerSlam as the Universal Champion. Heyman said he’s been with Lesnar for 16 years and has been through every up and down with him. He said he’d never seen him more driven, focussed, or violent. “Against this Brock Lesnar?” Heyman asked. “Roman Reigns doesn’t stand a chance”…
The broadcast team spoke about the Heyman interview. Cole said he’s known Heyman for 20 years and he’s a showman who uses propaganda to sell tickets because that’s his job, but he’d never seen him like that. Cole said Heyman’s final words about SummerSlam were chilling. Cole shifted the focus to recapping the Strowman small stage stunt, then they ran through the SummerSlam lineup… The two healthy members of Riott Squad made their entrance… [C]
Powell’s POV: Another brilliant performance by Heyman. I wasn’t sure what to expect from him tonight, but that was perfectly logical and so well performed. He’s mastered his promo style. This showed real range as a performer and he nailed it.
7. Sasha Banks and Bayley vs. Liv Morgan and Sarah Logan. The babyface duo’s entrance was televised. Graves said Banks and Bayley getting along with a facade. Cole disagreed. Coach said he wanted to see if they could get along through SummerSlam so he wasn’t buying in for a couple more weeks. Cole shifted the talk to Sarah Logan being a viking whose family pays homage to Oden. [C]
The heel duo isolated Bayley. Banks took a hot tag and worked over both heels. Banks placed Logan on the top rope and then tagged Bayley back into the match. Bayley performed a huracanrana. Banks performed a Meteora and had the pin, but Logan broke it up.
Bayley threw Logan to ringside and set up to hit her with a move from the apron. A person in a black hoodie moved Logan out of the way, causing Bayley to crash and burn. The mystery person revealed herself to be Ruby Riott. Banks was distracted and rolled up by Logan and for the pin…
Liv Morgan and Sarah Logan beat Sasha Banks and Bayley in 10:45.
Cole set up a video package on Ronda Rousey and Alexa Bliss’s issues at and coming out of Money in the Bank… Rousey and Natalya were shown emerging from a locker room heading into a break… [C]
Powell’s POV: It’s good to see Riott back for the first time since she suffered a knee injury just over a month ago. Are they building to a handicap match or will Banks and Bayley find a partner?
Coach announced B-Team vs. The Revival vs. Hardy and Wyatt in a Triple Threat for the Raw Tag Titles for next week’s Raw…
Alicia Fox and Alexa Bliss made their entrance for the main event. Charly Caruso entered the ring and tried to interview Fox. Bliss cut her off and mocked the idea of another question being asked about Rousey.
[Overrun] Bliss told Caruso to put her journalism degree to good use and come up with a question. She asked Fox how she prepared to face the baddest woman on the planet. Fox assumed Rousey was still banged up from the beating she gave her the week before. Highlights aired of Fox running her into the barricade. Fox rambled about Rousey’s accomplishments and asked if she was captain of the Survivor Series team. Ugh.
Bliss took the mic from Caruso and dismissed her. Bliss said they wouldn’t be having WWE Evolution if it wasn’t for women like Fox paving the way for her and others. Bliss thanked Fox for her contributions on behalf of herself and everyone in the locker room other than Rousey. Bliss said Rousey isn’t thankful for anything. Bliss asked Fox if she spent the last decade of her life sacrificing to let an overrated rookie steal her thunder. Rousey and Natalya made their entrance…
8. Ronda Rousey (w/Natalya) vs. Alicia Fox (w/Alexa Bliss). JoJo delivered in-ring introductions. Fox received loud boos while Rousey was cheered. The bell rang and Fox remained in her corner leaning against the ropes at first. She started jawing at Rousey, who glared at her. Fox swung at Rousey, who blocked it and shoved her to the mat. Fox rolled to ringside.
Fox returned to the ring, then ducked to the mat and rolled back to ringside. Bliss climbed onto the apron. Natalya pulled her down and pointed her finger at her. When Natalya turned around, Bliss ran her into the post. Fox went after Rousey, but the referee stood in the way. Bliss tripped Rousey. Fox went after Rousey with punches in the corner until the referee pulled her off.
Rousey flashed the scowl while Fox was laying to the crowd. Rousey threw a series of puncehs at the head and body of Fox and took her down aggressively by the arm a few times. Fox rolled to ringside and Rousey played to the cheering crowd. Rousey went to ringside and threw Fox into the barricade in what Cole called payback for last week.
Rousey dumped Fox onto the apron. Bliss caused another distraction. Fox tried to take advantage of it, but Rousey caught her and tossed her across the ring. Rousey looked at Bliss while applying the armbar for the quick submission win…
Ronda Rousey defeated Alicia Fox in 3:40.
Cole played up the fear in the eyes of Bliss. Rousey and Natalya hugged. Bliss snuck over and checked on Fox. Caruso entered the ring for an interview. Rousey said she felt great and was now ready to focus on SummerSlam. Bliss tried to attack her from behind, but Rousey flipped her over by the arm. Bliss rolled out of the ring. Rousey told her the tile is hers at SummerSlam…
Powell’s POV: A good segment for Rousey in terms of looking aggressive and dominating the fight. The armbar was clunky with Fox bending her elbow rather than having it straight. Despite that and Fox’s absurdly over the top persona, the fans were hot for Rousey, and Bliss has done enough that casual fans will want to see her put in her place. My guard remains up for the Natalya turn. It feels like it’s only a matter of time, but they have not foreshadowed it happening at SummerSlam for whatever that’s worth.
Overall, Raw was highlighted by the Paul Heyman interview. Rousey came off well in the main event, and I liked the Reigns sit-down interview. That said, the show dragged as they focussed on some of the feuds that aren’t really clicking in a big way. I will have more to say in my members’ exclusive audio review. Check out my interview with Brian Blair regarding his WrestleMania 2-4 experience and much more below in the Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell.