By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
WWE Raw on the USA Network
Aired live on July 29, 2019 from North Little Rock, Arkansas at Verizon Arena
[Hour One] A video package focused briefly on the WWE Championship, then noted that a new era was born on May 20, 2019 thanks to the WWE 24/7 Championship. The narrator said it was the only title that is on the line at all times and there are no times for celebrations. All sorts of zany 24/7 Title footage was shown…
Powell’s POV: I actually bought in and thought they were going to put over their major championships in a significant way. Silly me. I should have known better than to have expected that from WWE.
A group of wrestlers were around the ring for the WWE 24/7 Championship matches while Drake Maverick and Renee Michelle were making their entrance. The broadcast team of Michael Cole, Corey Graves, and Renee Young checked in briefly from their desk, then R-Truth and Carmella made their entrance…
1. R-Truth and Carmella vs. Drake Maverick and Renee Michelle in a mosh pit mixed tag match for the WWE 24/7 Championship. Maverick said Maverick’s wife refuses to consummate their marriage unless he regains the championship. Cole said the belt is on the line during the match and the wrestlers at ringside were not allowed to go after the title during the match, but they could be a factor afterward.
Maverick was sent to ringside and a group of wrestlers caught him and ended up walking him around before tossing him back into the ring (hence the mosh pit?). Carmella and Renee had a brief catfight style brawl. Maverick backed his wife into the corner and said he had it under control, then turned and was slapped by Carmella. Truth pinned Maverick moments later.
R-Truth and Carmella defeated Drake Maverick and Renee Michelle in 1:55 in a mosh pit mixed tag match to retain the WWE 24/7 Championship.
After the match, all of the wrestlers at ringside entered the ring and dog piled onto Truth. The referee counted to three. Somehow, Mike Kanellis emerged with the title and ran to the back. Mike Kanellis was named the new WWE 24 Champion by ring announcer Mike Rome. Kanellis was shown searching for a place to hide backstage. The group spotted him and he entered a room marked “WWE Officials.”
The wrestlers pounded on the door. Maria sold up and held her stomach, then all of the male wrestlers backed off. Maria pounded on the door and demanded that Mike let her in. Mike questioned how he should know it was his wife and not someone pretending to be his wife. Maria threatened to “kick you in your vagina” if he didn’t open the door. Mike opened the door and let Maria inside the room with him…
The broadcast team hyped previously advertised matches and segments… Rey Mysterio made his entrance for the gauntlet match. A graphic questioned whether Andrade, Ricochet, Cesaro, or Sami Zayn would start the gauntlet match with Mysterio after the break… [C]
Powell’s POV: Are there a lot of vagina insults on other PG shows? Don’t get me wrong, I’m not offended by any means, but I was surprised to hear that line so early in the show. I’m a fan of a more serious product in most cases (though I admittedly get a big kick out of Toru Yano in the G1 Tournament) so the 24/7 Title still isn’t doing much for me, but there’s clearly an audience for it.
Cesaro made his entrance as the second entrant in the gauntlet match…
2. Rey Mysterio vs. Cesaro vs. Ricochet vs. Sami Zayn vs. Andrade (w/Zelina Vega) in a gauntlet match for a U.S. Title shot at SummerSlam. Mysterio and Cesaro started the match. Graves claimed that there is no rest periods or breaks in a gauntlet match. AJ Styles was shown watching on a backstage monitor.
Mysterio performed an early headfirst slide from the ring onto Cesaro, who was on the floor. Back inside the ring, Mysterio performed a huracanrana and set up for a 619, but Cesaro rolled to ringside. Mysterio performed a huracanrana that sent Cesaro into the barricade. [C]
Powell’s POV: If this match is any indication, it looks like Vince McMahon’s awful edict that prohibited wrestling during commercial breaks has been scrapped. Hallelujah! I never thought I’d be so happy to see commercials during a match.
Mysterio remained on the offensive until he performed a springboard into an uppercut, which led to Cesaro getting a two count. Mysterio came back with a huracanrana that sent Cesaro through the ropes and into the post. Mysterio went up top, but Cesaro recovered and hit him with another uppercut at the 10:00 mark.
Cesaro put Mysterio on his shoulders and climbed to the middle rope. Mysterio went for a huracanrana, but Cesaro blocked it. Eventually, Mysterio performed a bulldog from the ropes. Mysterio hit a 619 and then performed a frogsplash onto Cesaro and pinned him. Rey Mysterio pinned Cesaro in 11:10 to eliminate Cesaro from the gauntlet match.
Sami Zayn ran out and attacked Mysterio, who came right back and caught him in an inside cradle for the three count. Mysterio eliminated Zayn from the gauntlet match at 11:50.
Andrade was the next man out and was accompanied by Zelina Vega. They cut to commercial while the Andrade and Vega were headed to ringside. [C] An ad for Smackdown touted Trish Stratus appearing on Jerry Lawler’s King’s Court.
The referee called for the bell coming out of the break and the live crowd was noticeably quiet (dammit, a restart). At 20:30 (still original match time despite the stupid restart), Andrade performed the Three Amigos suplexes. Andrade went for a moonsault, Mysterio moved, but Andrade landed on his feet and performed a standing moonsault for a near fall. Mysterio came back and went for a 619, but Andrade caught him, performed a backbreaker, and a hammerlock DDT for the win. Andrade eliminated Mysterio at 20:45.
Afterward, Andrade tore the front of Mysterio’s mask off. Ricochet ran out and cleared Andrade from the ring and then checked on Mysterio. Cole said the final contest in the gauntlet match was coming up after the break… [C]
Powell’s POV: Cole got confused because even though the referee clearly counted to three, he essentially made the baseball safe sign and Cole thought he was waving off the three count for some reason. Unfortunately, the restarts are still happening despite Graves saying there would be no breaks in between falls and that encouraging moment with the match continuing during its first set of commercial breaks.
The referee restarted the match coming out of the break. Andrade dominated for a stretch. Ricochet came back with a reverse huracanrana for a near fall. Ricochet went up top, but Andrade cut him off. Ricochet fought Andrade off the ropes and performed his 630 splash and scored the pin…
Ricochet defeated Andrade in 32:25 to win the gauntlet match to earn a U.S. Title shot at SummerSlam.
After the match, Kayla Braxton entered the ring and congratulated Ricochet for punching his ticket for the title shot. Ricochet said no one could believe it when he beat Samoa Joe to become the U.S. Champion and he could hardly believe it himself. Ricochet said people only seem to believe what they can see. Ricochet said that when he beats Styles at SummerSlam then everyone will believe and so will he. Styles was shown having a belly laugh backstage…
Powell’s POV: They are laying it on really thick by trying to make Ricochet out to be such an underdog. I don’t think people found it all that shocking that he beat Joe, so it feels like they are rewriting history. It was also an oddly booked match given that the goal was to make Ricochet look good going into the title match. He was the favorite given his ongoing feud with Styles, and making him the last man to enter made it seem like he benefitted from the luck of the gauntlet draw. It won’t hurt Ricochet going forward, but the approach they took didn’t really help him either. On the bright side, it was nice to see a lengthy match on Raw despite the restarts.
Backstage, Mike Kanellis told Maria that she can finally be proud of him and she can look at him with respect. Maria told him to get on his back like he usually does. She brought a referee into the room. Mike asked what she was doing. Maria said she was pinning Mike so that “my unborn child has a champion for a parent.” Maria ordered Mike to lay down, then placed her foot over him while the referee counted to three.
“First ever pregnant champion,” Maria boasted. Maria left the room and walked past No Way Jose, who wanted nothing to do with going after a pregnant woman. Maria got in Titus O’Neil’s face. Curt Hawkins, Zack Ryder, Mojo Rawley, EC3, Heath Slater, and other stood by as the pregnant champion celebrated her win…
Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross were shown walking backstage. Cole said Alexa claimed to have shocking footage that fans wouldn’t want to miss… [C] The broadcast team ran through the SummerSlam lineup…
Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross came out and sat at the “A Moment of Bliss” talkshow set. Bliss gave a shoutout to Maria for winning the 24/7 Title while pregnant. She said it’s an example of women in WWE breaking down boundaries. Nikki was excited about Raw Reunion and seeing Steve Austin. Bliss said Austin had it right when he said WWE is a big family. Bliss said Dolph Ziggler betrayed his family by superkicking Shawn Michaels.
[Hour Two] Bliss said she was appalled by Ziggler’s behavior. Bliss said he’s not the only WWE wrestler without a moral compass. Footage aired of a pre-show training session. Becky Lynch entered the ring and kicked Finlay, then put Natalya in her Disarmer finishing hold. Fans chanted for Becky, then Bliss scolded them for condoning her bad behavior. Bliss said she would knock The Man down a few pegs when they wrestle later.
Becky Lynch appeared on the big screen and mocked Bliss for talking big when there was distance between them. She also called out Cross for coming all the way from Scotland “to be a coffeemaker for this dope.” Lynch said there will be nowhere for Bliss to hide and said she’d see her later…
The Usos made their entrance for the Raw Tag Title match and walked past Bliss and Cross. They said they weren’t missing Raw for nothing. Yes, one of them welcomed viewers to the Uso Penitentiary… [C] A “Hobbs & Shaw” movie sponsored ad focused on The Rock and Steve Austin feud…
Powell’s POV: Did You Know? The last time one of the Usos was arrested, the brothers ended up winning the tag titles days later at a pay-per-view. A bonus Did You Know? The Usos are not eligible to play in Vince McMahon’s XFL due to their legal records.
The remainder of the entrances for the tag title match took place with The OC duo first, followed by the The Revival…
3. “The Revival” Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder vs. Jimmy Uso and Jey Uso vs. Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson in a Triple Threat for the Raw Tag Titles. Mike Rome delivered in-ring introductions for the title match. Two men were allowed in the ring at a time and it was a one fall match. Jey Uso was dumped to ringside by Wilder, then Gallows dropped off the apron and clotheslined Jey at ringside heading into a break. [C]
AJ Styles was shown watching the match on a backstage monitor. Jey was isolated by both teams, including for a prolonged stretch by Anderson and Gallows. Jey made a hot tag at 12:10. Jimmy worked over all of his opponents and performed a cross body block on Wilder, who rolled through, but Jimmy performed a Samoan Drop for a near fall.
Jimmy set up for a move on Wilder, but Dawson grabbed his hair. Dawson made a blind tag moments later. Wilder put Jimmy on his shoulders and then Dawson bulldogged him. There was a series of spots that led to nearly everyone being down at ringside. Jey went to the ropes, but Dawson recovered and cut him off and then slammed his head on top of the ring post casing. They fought on the ropes and eventually Jimmy superplexed Dawson onto the pile of wrestlers below.
Jimmy shoved Dawson back inside the ring while Cole noted that they were the legal men in the match. Jimmy went for a top rope splash, but Dawson avoided it and Jimmy rolled through. Gallows tagged in. The Revival hit the Shatter Machine on Jimmy. Jey took out The Revival with a cross body block. Anderson hit a spinebuster on Jey. Anderson and Gallows hit the Magic Killer on Jimmy, and Anderson pinned him…
Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson defeated The Usos and The Revival in 17:20 in a Triple Threat to win the Raw Tag Titles.
Cole hyped Rollins vs. Ziggler, Lynch vs. Bliss, and the Samoan Summit as “three main events” for later in the show… [C]
Powell’s POV: It’s hard not to be disappointed as someone who enjoys the The Revival, but creative treated them like vulnerable joke champions rather than using the blueprint for success that NXT created. This gives The OC trio a boost, as they now have the U.S. Championship and the Raw Tag Titles. It feels like a big boost for Anderson and Gallows, but let’s see if they are booked strongly going forward or if they will be the latest heel tag champions to lose a bunch of televised non-title matches.
Styles was preparing a spread for a celebration. Kayla Braxton tried to interview him, but Gallows and Anderson returned and loudly celebrated the win. Styles jumped on the table and held up a champagne bottle as if he wanted to spray it on them even though the bottle wasn’t open, then he picked up a tray of shrimp. A strange celebration…
The broadcast team set up a recap video of the Raw Reunion (it did not include John Cena rapping about the Usos being arrested just a couple days before Jimmy’s latest arrest)…
Cole said the fun of the reunion lasted only 24 hours. He set up footage of Dolph Ziggler superkicking Shawn Michaels on Miz TV. Cole called it one of the most disgusting and despicable things he can remember. Graves said Rollins would be standing up for Michaels and the respectful members of the locker room during his match against Ziggler. The Viking Raiders were shown doing their weird pre-match bit in front of a red light… [C]
Powell’s POV: Disgusting and despicable? Michaels returned to the ring last November. It’s not like he’s a broken down elderly former wrestler. If they are laying it on this thick for Ziggler’s attack, I can’t even imagine what they will say about Bray Wyatt attacking Mick Foley.
Graves thanked The Black Keys for “Go” being the official theme of SummerSlam…
4. “The Viking Raiders” Erik and Ivar vs. Cole Carter and Johnny James. Graves said Erik and Ivar spent the weekend in Denmark training with thousands of Vikings. Erik attacked Carter. James tried to leave, but Ivar attacked him at ringside. In the end, the Raiders hit the Viking Experience on James, and then Erik pinned him…
The Viking Raiders beat Cole Carter and Johnny James in 1:30.
Powell’s POV: WWE is in Minnesota three weeks from now. The Viking Raiders should get some “Skol” chants from the Minnesota Viking loving locals, but every other crowd seems to be greeting them with silence.
The Street Profits were shown backstage recapping the show. Montez Ford noted that Maria won the 24/7 Championship and said she was untouchable. Angelo Dawkins seemed intrigued. Ford wondered if Dawkins is the real father of her baby. Dawkins grabbed Ford by the collar and said that’s not funny.
Seth Rollins showed up and greeted the Street Profits. Rollins stopped Ford from saying his “Burn It Down” catchphrase. Rollins said it’s his thing, then told them to put some stank on it and they all said it together…
Becky Lynch was shown walking backstage while Cole hyped her match with Bliss for after the break… [C] The broadcast team recapped the 24/7 Title developments…
Ring entrances for the Lynch vs. Bliss match took place…
5. Becky Lynch vs. Alexa Bliss (w/Nikki Cross). Lynch put a hand behind her back and leaned in and pointed at her chin to taunt Bliss. Lynch jumped out to the early advantage.
[Hour Three] Bliss avoided the Disarmer a couple times. Bliss knocked Lynch down with a punch and then Cross cheered from ringside. Bliss dropped double knees on Lynch twice, then did a backflip into dropping both knees on her.
Bliss clutched her ankle a short time later. Lynch performed an exploder suplex. Bliss cried while holding her ankle and the referee backed off Lynch. A trainer checked on Bliss. The trainer ruled that Bliss could not continue the match, and the referee passed along word to Mike Rome, who shared it with the fans.
Becky Lynch defeated Alexa Bliss via ref stoppage in 6:45 in a non-title match.
After the match, Cross climbed onto the apron and jawed at Lynch. Cole said Cross challenged Lynch to a match. They squabbled going into a break… [C]
Powell’s POV: Bliss is fine. This is their way of telling the latest chapter of the Bliss and Cross story.
6. Becky Lynch vs. Nikki Cross (w/Alexa Bliss) in a non-title match. Bliss remained at ringside seated on a chair while resting her “injured ankle” on another chair. Lynch performed a Manhandle Slam and scored the clean pin.
Becky Lynch beat Nikki Cross in 2:35.
After the match, Bliss made a miraculous recovery and attacked Lynch from behind. Cross joined in on the beatdown. Natalya ran out, causing Bliss and Cross to leave the ring. Natalya put Lynch in a Sharpshooter and eventually released the hold and headed to the back…
Backstage, Braxton interviewed Natalya, who said it seemed like her friendship has been permanently damaged. Natalya said it’s not about being friends, it’s about being professional. She said that Lynch won’t want to shake her hand after she beats her at SummerSlam, and she wouldn’t shake Lynch’s hand anyway because she doesn’t trust her. Natalya said she’s like to challenge Lynch to face her in a submission match, but she doubted The Man would have the guts to do it, so she wasn’t going to issue the challenge after all… [C]
Powell’s POV: Lynch’s character just isn’t as hot as she should be and a big part of the problem is that she doesn’t have a strong supporting cast of heels who were built up to be strong challengers. Yes, fans like Lynch, but what has she been involved with since WrestleMania that has truly excited her fans?
Maria Kanellis was posing with the WWE 24/7 Title at a photoshoot when Braun Strowman showed up behind her. Maria asked if Strowman was crowding her, then scolded him for not knowing what a pregnant woman goes through. Strowman let out a growl as she walked away… [C]
Seth Rollins made his entrance and then footage aired of Ziggler superkicking Shawn Michaels. HBK’s entrance music played. Cole and some gullible fans in the building freaked out, only to have Ziggler come out doing a Michaels dance. Ziggler worked in another jab at Goldberg, saying he and Michaels are both pathetic. Ziggler said Rollins gets to see the real main event, headliner, and show stealer…
7. Seth Rollins vs. Dolph Ziggler. Rollins attacked Ziggler and quickly sent him to ringside. Ziggler ended up DDT’ing Rollins on the apron. Cole tried to convince viewers that Rollins was in trouble heading into a break. [C] Late in the match, Ziggler tuned up the band, but Rollins beat him to a superkick. Rollins stomped his foot to set up for his finisher. Brock Lesnar’s entrance music played and he walked to ringside with Paul Heyman. Lesnar entered the ring and clotheslined Rollins for the DQ.
Seth Rollins beat Dolph Ziggler by DQ in 9:35.
Lesnar beat up Rollins afterward and F5’d him into a ring post. Lesnar threw Rollins back inside the ring and then grabbed a chair, which he slammed over the back of Rollins. Lesnar set up the chair and sat down on it while looking down at Rollins. Lesnar smiled as Rollins struggled to use the ropes to get up. Lesnar stood up and gave Rollins and F5 onto the chair. Rinse and repeat. Heyman entered the ring and Lesnar celebrated with the title belt, then performed another F5 onto the chair while Heyman pleaded with him to stop. Rollins “bled” from the mouth as EMTs and a referee tried to place him onto a stretcher at ringside… [C]
Powell’s POV: Lesnar appearing was likely a legitimate surprise to a lot of viewers. I just wonder how many of them missed it because they didn’t take the Rollins vs. Ziggler match seriously. No one takes Ziggler as a real threat to beat main event talent. WWE officials just have to accept this. We don’t need a rematch or an angle or anything. Just move on from Rollins vs. Ziggler. Anyway, the Lesnar beatdown was solid and it may turn out to be a good story if Rollins beats him at SummerSlam, but I can’t say any of this left me feeling more excited about seeing their SummerSlam match.
Rollins was being stretchered through the backstage area. He was wheeled by Becky Lynch, the Usos, and Roman Reigns. Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson attacked the Usos. Reigns tried to help, but Samoa Joe attacked him. The heels left Reigns and the Usos lying. The cameras showed Rollins being placed in the back of the ambulance, which started to leave and then stopped. They cut to the front where Lesnar stood in front of the ambulance and ordered the drive not to move.
Lesnar went around and (and the driver stayed parked like a moron), opened the door, and rolled Rollins and the stretcher out of the back. Lesnar tipped over the stretcher, put the boots to Rollins, and then gave him an F5 onto the stretcher…
Powell’s POV: Is the idea that Rollins is so beat up that he either can’t work the SummerSlam match or that he has an out for losing the SummerSlam match? If I had to put money on it then I’d assume they are just trying to make Rollins look sympathetic and the match is on, but I figured I’d just throw it out there since this beatdown is so over the top. Does bloody mouth Seth count as the “blood and guts” style that Vince McMahon accused AEW of using during his conference call last week?
The Usos interviewed Roman Reigns in a sponsored clip about his role in “Hobbs & Shaw”…
Samoa Joe made his entrance for the Samoan Summit while the broadcast team recapped Lesnar attacking Rollins. Graves said he didn’t want to watch it again and questioned why they were glorifying Lesnar. In the ring, Joe announced that the Samoan Summit had been cancelled. Joe said he came to fight and called out Reigns to come out so he could continue the beatdown he started in the back.
Reigns made his entrance. Reigns and Joe ended up fighting at ringside. Joe threw Reigns into the ring steps. Reigns came right back and threw a piece of the steps at Joe. Drew McIntyre came out and attacked Reigns, who quickly dumped McIntyre over the barricade. Reigns went after him and they fought in the crowd and then back to ringside. Joe and McIntyre roughed up Reigns.
Cedric Alexander came out and cleared McIntyre from the ring. Alexander set up for a dive, but Joe cut him off with a clothesline. Joe dumped Alexander to ringside. Joe and McIntyre brought Reigns and Alexander to the stage. McIntyre threw Alexander off the short stage. Joe and McIntyre set up to put Reigns through the broadcast table, but The Usos came out to stop them. Anderson and Gallows came out to help the heels. Alexander reappeared on top of a piece of the stage set, and then dove onto the heels.
Alexander and McIntyre fought into the ring. Alexander dodged a Claymore Kick and set up for a top rope move, but Anderson and Gallows cut him off. Reigns hit Superman Punches on Anderson, Gallows, and McIntyre, then Alexander performed a flip dive onto McIntyre. The Usos double superkicked Joe, then Reigns speared Joe. Reigns, Alexander, and the Usos stood tall to close the show…
Powell’s POV: A good show ending brawl and one of the more actioned packed endings to Raw in recent memory. Unfortunately, we’re right back to where we started with Lesnar as the dominant heel while all of the other heels come off like they can’t hang with Reigns in a fair fight. It’s nice to see Alexander in this mix, but beating McIntyre doesn’t mean what it should because his push was stuck in second gear for so long. So the babyfaces stand tall and there wasn’t a real hook for next week’s SummerSlam go-home edition of Raw unless you’re looking for an update on Rollins.
Overall, the show had more in-ring action than usual and Vince wasn’t 100 percent firm on not having matches continue during commercial breaks. There were some things to like, but they need to create some meaningful heels who feel like they are real threats to Reigns, not guys he’s already beaten several times. I will have more to say in my weekly same night Raw audio review coming up later tonight for Dot Net Members.
The new edition of the Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell features Vice TV's "Dark Side of the Ring" executive producers Evan Husney and Jason Eisner discussing the March 24 second season premiere focusing on the Benoit family tragedy, plus their pro wrestling fandom, the show's name and origins, highlights of season two, Chris Jericho becoming the narrator, and much more...