By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
WWE Raw (Episode 1,525)
Live from Washington, D.C. at Capital One Arena
Aired August 15, 2022 on USA Network
[Hour One] A Raw opening video aired to open the show and then pyro shot off on the stage. The broadcast team was Jimmy Smith, Corey Graves, and Byron Saxton, and Mike Rome was the ring announcer. Smith hyped the U.S. Title match as the main event…
“The Judgment Day” members Rhea Ripley, Damian Priest, and Finn Balor made their entrances dressed in non-wrestling attire. Once in the ring, Ripley stood in between Priest and Balor, and the trio soaked up the boos.
Ripley said they run Monday Night Raw and that’s been a harsh reality for the Mysterios week in and week out. Balor stepped in the middle and said everyone loves the Mysterios, but he doesn’t get it. Balor said the Mysterios would not be there because Dominik had his soul crushed last week. Balor boasted that he beat Rey last week and further solidified his own legendary status in the business.
Priest spoke about facing Edge on next week’s Raw. Priest fired up the crowd by asking if they wanted to see Edge confront them. “Well, too bad because he’s not here,” Priest said. He added that Edge was in Toronto promoting his first Raw match in the city in over a decade.
Priest said he would put the final nail in the coffin of Edge’s career. He said Ripley and Balor would not be with him. He said Toronto won’t be known as Edge’s hometown, it will be remembered as the place of Edge’s retirement.
Rey Mysterio entered the ring and dropkicked Balor from behind. Rey also took Balor down with a head-scissors and cleared him from the ring. Ripley stepped up to Rey and encouraged him to hit her. Balor returned with a chair that Rey dropkicked at his face. Rey grabbed the chair and worked over Balor and Priest with it while Ripley headed to ringside.
Rey wound up to hit Balor with the chair, but Ripley returned and served as a human shield for Balor. Priest and Balor recovered and worked over Rey while Ripley taunted him. A brief “We Want Edge” chant broke out. Priest laid a chair over Rey and then Balor performed a Coup De Grace onto the chair. Three referees and a trainer out to check on Rey while The Judgment Day trio mugged for the crowd head into a commercial break… [C]
Powell’s POV: But no one welcome us to Monday Night Raw! Anyway, this was a solid heat segment for Judgment Day heading into next week’s Edge vs. Priest match. It will be interesting to see who ends up being the female wrestler who will counter Ripley. Beth Phoenix is an obvious candidate if she’s interested n returning, as it would be tough to buy Aalyah Mysterio in that role.
The broadcast team spoke at ringside and hyped the U.S. Title match as a first-ever meeting between Bobby Lashley and AJ Styles…
Asuka and Alexa Bliss made separate entrances for their WWE Women’s Tag Team Title tournament match. Yes, Alexa Bliss brought the silly doll to the ring with her. Raw Women’s Champion Bianca Belair made her entrance while Graves hyped the trio facing Bayley, Iyo Sky, and Dakota Kai in a six-woman tag match at WWE Clash at the Castle. Nikki ASH came out wearing a leather jacket rather than a cape, and then Doudrop followed in her own leather jacket…
1. Alexa Bliss and Asuka (w/Bianca Belair) vs. Nikki ASH and Doudrop in a WWE Women’s Tag Team Title tournament first-round match. The tag title belts were on a podium next to the broadcast table. Bliss and Asuka cleared ASH and Doudrop from the ring during the opening minute. [C]
A graphic listed Drew McIntyre as appearing during Raw. Dana Brooke and Tamina were shown watching the match on a backstage monitor. Doudrop performed a running cross body block on Bliss, who rolled to her corner. Asuka allied and knocked ASH off the apron with a Hip Attack.
Doudrop put Asuka down with a Michinoku Driver for a near fall. Doudrop went to the ropes and attempted a second rope splash, which Asuka avoided. Asuka threw a high kick at Doudrop and ran the ropes, allowing Bliss to tag in. Bliss performed a DDT on Doudrop, then Asuka tagged right back in performed a Codebreaker, the rolled Doudrop into an armbar. Bliss stopped ASH from interfering, and then Doudrop tapped out…
Alexa Bliss and Asuka defeated Nikki ASH and Doudrop in 9:00 to advance in to the semifinals of the WWE Women’s Tag Team Title tournament.
After the match, Belair joined Bliss and Asuka inside the ring for their celebration. They left the ring together and then stopped on the stage to play to the crowd. Bayley, Iyo Sky, and Dakota Kai walked out behind them. The two teams bickered and then several people ran out to keep them apart before they could get physical…
Powell’s POV: A nice match. It was hard to buy into the possibility of the heels going over without outside interference, which seemed unlikely with Belair at ringside.
Theory was interviewed backstage by Kevin Patrick on the backstage ring set. Theory had the Money in the Bank briefcase with him and said he made a slight miscalculation at SummerSlam, but he doesn’t make mistakes. He claimed he’s tougher and wiser because of what happened, and started to talk about the next time he tries to cash in.
Dolph Ziggler showed up and said he’s been where Theory is. He said the difference between the two of them is that he earned the contract and it wasn’t handed to him, and that’s why it mattered when he cashed in and became world heavyweight champion.
Theory said Ziggler probably won’t be around when he cashes in. Theory called Ziggler “an over the hill, no title having has-been.” Theory said that once he cashes in successfully, he will keep winning and he won’t screw up the rest of his career like Ziggler has. Ziggler headbutted Theory and they fought heading into a break… [C]
Powell’s POV: I’m not a big fan of the portrayal that Theory didn’t earn the MITB contract. Yes, he was handed a last minute spot in the match, but I hope they remind viewers that he still won the match on his own. Well, unless they want to make him just a pest heel, which would be foolish.
Footage aired of the Theory and Ziggler brawl that continued during the break until they were pulled apart by producers and referees… A video package recapped Bobby Lashley beating Ciampa to retain the U.S. Title last week…
Sarah Schreiber interviewed Ciampa and The Miz backstage. Ciampa said he came to Raw to become a champion and that’s what he’ll do the next time he gets an opportunity. The Miz said Ciampa would be champion if it wasn’t for AJ Styles interfering in the match.
Miz said Styles was given a title match as a reward and he smells collusion. The Miz presented Ciampa with a laminated card featuring the two of them on a chain. Ciampa said it was awesome. “No, we are awesome,” Miz said. The duo headed to the ring in matching colors followed by their opponents.
2. Ciampa and The Miz vs. Mustafa Ali and Cedric Alexander. A pre-tape aired with Ali and Alexander walking through the back and talking about it being a new era and how they would show the world tonight. Alexander went for an early springboard into the ropes, but Ciampa dropkicked his arms out from under him. [C]
Late in the match, Alexander stuffed a Skull Crushing Finale attempt by The Miz and then slammed him to the mat and covered him. Ciampa was on the floor and placed Miz’s foot over the bottom rope to break the pin. Ali performed a suicide dive on Ciampa, who tumbled over the broadcast table.
A short time later, Ali caught Miz with a kick, but Ciampa had made a blind tag. Ali went for his 450 splash finisher, but Ciampa slid in and hit him with a knee. Ciampa followed up with the Fairytale Ending on Ali and then pinned him…
Ciampa and The Miz beat Mustafa Ali and Cedric Alexander in 9:30.
Powell’s POV: The crowd was quiet early on, which is understandable considering how beaten down the babyface duo has been. The fans got into the match as it went on, which is encouraging. The production team did a nice with the finish. It didn’t look like Ciampa’s knee hit Ali the way it was supposed to, so they sped up the replay footage right at that point, making it tough to really get a look at whether it missed.
The broadcast team recapped Kevin Owens taking out Ezekiel with a powerbomb onto the ring apron last week. Smith said Ezekiel had multiple injuries and it would be a long recovery. They showed a photo of Ezekiel in a hospital bed with “family members” (Elias dressed up as various people) at his side. Ezekiel’s father Ernie Jr. (also Elias) spoke and said he would give Kevin Owens a piece of his mind if he ever gets the chance…
Drew McIntyre was walking backstage and walked past a small trashcan that was on fire. A group of producers were gathered around the fire… [C] Washington D.C. imagery was shown, and then rapper Wale was shown in the crowd… A video package aired on the WrestleMania launch party…
Drew McIntyre made his entrance (without the stupid sword!) dressed in a t-shirt and his ring gear.
[Hour Two] McIntyre told the D.C. crowd to let him hear them scream. McIntyre said it was a shock to see him on Raw when he’s technically on Smackdown. He said it would be even more shocking “to see the other guy here tonight,” but they could rectify that at Clash at the Castle.
McIntyre said their match isn’t taking place on Roman Reigns’ fictional Island of Relevancy, it would take place on his island. McIntyre said he would win the championship and then defend it on Raw, Smackdown, and all the live events.
McIntyre said there are reports that he’s suffering from a bit of a back injury. He said it’s true, but it’s mostly because he’s been carrying the load of 20 men for the last three years in and out of the ring. McIntyre said he does it with a smile on his face because it’s not a job, it’s his dream. McIntyre listed some potential challengers he could defend the title against, including Ciampa, AJ Styles, Seth Rollins, and Karrion Kross.
Kevin Owens made his entrance with a mic in his hand. McIntyre mentioned Owens as a potential challenger. Owens said it was convenient that he mentioned him once he came out. Owens accused McIntyre of trying to be something he’s not. He mocked the loud voice he uses and said he sometimes carries a sword and wears a kilt like it’s medieval times.
Owens said he knows who he is and what he is, and he’s as real as it gets in the business. Owens said he got goosebumps on his way to the building because he realized it was the same venue where he and Sami Zayn fought in a match that they still talk about six years later.
Owens said it was time to bring back the version of himself that they call the prizefighter. Owens entered the ring and said he’s going after all the title belts. He said the winner of McIntyre vs. Reigns has a problem because he’s going after the Undisputed WWE Universal Championship.
McIntyre said he knows exactly who he is. He said someone called him The Chosen One. He said he was called that fifteen years ago, got fired, and had to work his way back. He spoke about some of the big names he’s beaten and said he never wants to be called The Chosen One again.
McIntyre said he doesn’t care if Owens is a prizefighter or a superstar, they are wrestlers in a wrestling ring and he challenged him to wrestle. Owens agreed to the match… [C]
Powell’s POV: That was an interesting exchange between two guys who were both attempting to declare themselves as real. It wasn’t seamless in terms of McIntyre having the perfect witting comeback for everything Owens said, but that’s fine because it felt more organic and less scripted.
3. Drew McIntyre vs. Kevin Owens. A referee was in the ring and the match started after the break. Owens got the better of McIntyre by clotheslining him over the top rope and dumping him to ringside. Owens splashed McIntyre off the apron. [C]
Owens went for a Swanton, but McIntyre put his knees up. McIntyre came right back with a falcon arrow for a near fall. Owens rallied and caught McIntyre in a tree of woe, then hit him with a cannonball in the corner. Owens hit a top rope frog splash for a near fall. Owens went up top and hit a Swanton for another near fall. A “this is awesome” chant broke out as Owens showed frustration.
Owens slowly wen tup top again, but this time McIntyre cut him off with a punch. McIntyre put Owens on his back and then hit a second rope version of White Noise for a two count. McIntyre went for his finisher, but Owens beat him with a kick. McIntyre stuffed a Stunner and then hit Owens with a Glasgow Kiss. Owens responded with a superkick. McIntyre turned Owens inside out with a clothesline.
McIntyre and Owens threw punches in the middle of the ring. McIntyre avoided a Popup Powerbomb and then dropped Owens with a Future Shock DDT. McIntyre went to the corner, waited for Owens to get up, but Jimmy Uso and Jey Uso attacked him for the DQ.
Drew McIntyre beat Kevin Owens by disqualification in roughly 16:00.
McIntyre regrouped and cleared the Usos from the ring. Owens returned and caught McIntyre with a kick and then dropped him with a Stunner. Graves said the match ended in a DQ. Owens looked down at the Usos at ringside. “Tell the Tribal Chief he owes me one,” Owen said before leaving the ring.
The Usos returned to the ring and set up for 1D, but McIntyre put Jey down with a Glasgow Kiss and then hit Jimmy with a Claymore Kick. McIntyre looked into the camera and said he would see Roman Reigns on Friday…
Powell’s POV: Wow, that was fun. The competitive match between McIntyre and Owens was pay-per-view worthy, and I’m all for the DQ finish in this case because there was no reason for Owens to lose clean when his character is in the midst of taking a more serious turn, and obviously McIntyre can’t lose clean when he’s challenging for the title at Clash at the Castle. The crowd ate up the match and I’d love to see them run it back at some point.
The broadcast team recapped the Riddle and Seth Rollins drama. Riddle was shown sitting in a room getting ready for his interview. Rollins made his entrance… [C] A Kofi Kingston Superstar Fact graphic was shown…
Rollins stood in the ring and said he was there for a front row seat for Riddle finally doing something smart by announcing his retirement. Rollins said Riddle could finish seventh grade or start a farm because “that industry is very lucrative these days.”
Riddle interrupted with a “Bro, bro, bro” from the big screen. Riddle said he had an update on his condition. Rollins asked the crowd to be respectful and told Riddle to lay it on them. “It’s not easy to say, but I’m medically cleared,” Riddle said. “And the next time I see you, Seth, it’s going to be on.”
Rollins asked if it would be on like the previous times he’s gotten the better of him. Rollins said he’s always three steps ahead of Riddle, and he wished he was there so that he could Stomp his remaining three brain cells out of his head. Riddle stood up and said he was happy to hear that because he wasn’t in his mom’s basement, he was in D.C. and was on his way to kick his ass.
Riddle made his entrance. Rollins tried and failed to Stomp him when he teased entering the ring. Riddle pulled Rollins to ringside and threw punches at him before rolling him inside the ring. Riddle followed and then suplexed Rollins, who rolled to the floor. Riddle went to the apron and was tripped by Rollins.
Rollins threw Riddle over the broadcast table and then threw punches at him. Rollins cleared the table and went for a Stomp, but Riddle avoided it. Riddle blasted Rollins with a knee to the head, sending Rollins over the barricade. Riddle hopped the barricade and chased Rollins up the steps. Riddle stopped and played to the crowd while Rollins ran into the concourse area…
A video package aired on the Bobby Lashley vs. AJ Styles match for the U.S. Championship. The narrator said that the two paths of dominance had never crossed until tonight…
AJ Styles was shown warming up in the backstage area… [C]
Powell’s POV: A strong segment with Riddle and Rollins. Riddle still had his stoner charm, but he was more serious and less cartoonish. I hope that becomes the norm and isn’t only because the tone of his feud with Rollins calls for the change. Meanwhile, the video package for Lashley vs. Styles was top notch and made their match feel special. Not only do I hope to see more of this in WWE, but I think other companies could benefit from taking a similar approach. If you want matches to feel important, then put the work in and make them stand out.
Riddle was shown walking backstage. Kevin Patrick tried to get a word with him, but Riddle cut him off and challenged Rollins to meet him in a match at Clash at the Castle…
4. Veer Mahaan vs. Beaux Keller. Keller’s entrance was not televised. Graves said Keller looked like the guy from The Darkness. Funny. Mahaan dominated the match and blasted Keller with the Million Dollar Arm clothesline. Mahaan finished him off with the Cervical Clutch submission hold…
Veer Mahaan beat Beaux Keller in 1:50.
Powell’s POV: I’m happy they didn’t get too far down the path of turning Mahaan into a romantic goofball or whatever they were teasing before the creative shakeup. He was back in monster heel mode in this match.
Bobby Lashley was shown warming up backstage. Saxton said the U.S. Title match was coming up next… [C] WWE’s Top 10 Instagram photos of the week were shown. NXT Women’s Champion Mandy Rose was featured in the last photo…
Bayley, Iyo Sky, and Dakota Kai were interviewed by Schreiber on a backstage set. Schreiber asked what they could expect from Kai’s first singles match. She said spoiler alert, she wins. After they all spoke briefly, Kai approached Dana Brooke and asked if she was ready for tonight. Brooke said she’s ready 24/7 and said she’s not afraid if they were trying to intimidate her. Kai said fear is a motivator and perhaps she should be a little scared…
AJ Styles made his entrance followed by Bobby Lashley for their U.S. Championship match…
[Hour Three] Graves played up the likelihood of the crowd being split for both wrestlers. Mike Rome delivered introductions for the match from ringside (I wish they would put the ring announcers in the ring in these situations). The crowd cheered both wrestlers.
5. Bobby Lashley vs. AJ Styles for the U.S. Championship. Styles kicked Lashley’s thigh and backed him into the corner to start, but Lashley shoved him away and then knocked him down with a shoulder block. Styles came back with a dropkick. There were dueling chants for both wrestlers.
The match spilled over to ringside. Lashley hoisted up Styles and wanted to swing him into the ring post, but Styles slipped away. Styles caught Lashley with a knee from the apron, and then Styles leapt from the apron and hit Lashley with a flying forearm. [C]
Lashley took offensive control coming out of the break, but Styles cut him off while selling back pain. Lashley rallied with a spinebuster, then threw Styles aggressively into the corner.
The Miz and Ciampa walked to ringside. Lashley whipped Styles into the corner again. Lashley picked up Styles in suplex position and dropped him on the top rope. Lashley followed up with a blow that knocked Styles off the apron.
Ciampa climbed onto the apron and backed down when Lashley spotted him. The Miz teased going after Styles, but he was distracted when a hooded Dexter Lumis hopped over the barricade. Security mauled Lumis and they tumbled onto Graves. The broadcast team all stood up and stopped talking while security pushed Lumis back over the barricade. [C]
Smith acknowledged that Dexter Lumis “tried to make his presence known here at Raw.” Graves cut him off and told Smith not to talk about it because there was a U.S. Title match taking place. Footage aired from during the break of Lashley spearing Miz, which was followed by the referee ejecting Miz and Ciampa from ringside.
Lashley powered up Styles and placed him on the top turnbuckle. Lashley went to the middle rope and set up for a suplex, but Styles slipped between his legs and put Lashley in Torture Rack position, then spun him around and slammed him to the mat with a Rack Bomb before covering him for a two count. A graphic listed Dana Brooke vs. Dakota Kai as coming up next.
Lashley came right back and powered up Styles and then slammed him to the mat and covered him for a two count. Lashley grabbed Styles and rolled to the floor. Lashley put Styles over his shoulders and then drove his head into the ring post casing. Lashley tossed Styles back inside the ring.
Lashley went for a spear, but Styles cut him off with a kick. Styles rolled Lashley into a Calf Crusher. Lashley powered out of the move and put Styles in the Hurt Lock while lying on his back. Styles rolled onto Lashley and got a two count, forcing Lashley to break the hold. A “this is awesome” chant broke out.
Styles went for his Phenomenal Forearm finisher, but Lashley ran under him. Styles landed on his feet and ran the ropes, only to be speared and pinned by Lashley…
Bobby Lashley defeated AJ Styles in roughly 21:40 to retain the U.S. Championship.
Theory was shown standing backstage while a graphic listed him as facing Dolph Ziggler… [C]
Powell’s POV: Another hot match, only this time with a clean finish despite the teases for a cheap finish involving Miz, Ciampa, and Dexter Lumis all appearing at ringside. As much as I hope Styles will be rebuilt, a loss to Lashley is not going to do any further damage. Meanwhile, I assumed that Lumis was going after Styles last week following his win over The Miz, but they went out of their way to put Miz and Ciampa at ringside during this match, so it’s possible that Lumis is going after Miz. If Lumis is going after Miz, then it would likely be an extension of the babyface persona he played in NXT. I’m hoping for a darker version of Lumis, so I actually hope he’s going after Styles.
A teaser aired of the A&E documentary on Edge, and then the broadcast team hyped him facing Damian Priest in his hometown of Toronto next week… Dana Brooke was in the ring and then Dakota Kai made her entrance with Bayley and Iyo Sky…
6. WWE 24/7 Champion Dana Brooke vs. Dakota Kai (w/Bayley, Iyo Sky) in a non-title match. Graves flipped on Smith for stating that Brooke was fighting for all of the veterans, pointing out the experience that Kai and her crew have. Yes, Brooke did her handspring elbow. Kai shoved her face into the middle turnbuckle and then hit her with a running boot to the head and pinned her…
Dakota Kai beat WWE 24/7 Champion Dana Brooke in 1:50 in a non-title match.
A video package spotlighted Edge vs. Damian Priest for next week. Alexa Bliss and Asuka vs. Dakota Kai and Iyo Sky in a WWE Women’s Tag Title tournament semifinal match was also announced for next week’s Raw in Toronto…
Theory made his entrance for his match against Dolph Ziggler… [C]
Powell’s POV: Just when you thought the 24/7 Championship couldn’t mean less. That’s not a complaint. Screw that stupid title. Meanwhile, it’s good to see the Paul Levesque Era trend continue with matches being announced a week in advance.
Dolph Ziggler made his entrance to his shitty entrance theme. Footage aired of Brock Lesnar destroying Theory at SummerSlam while the broadcast team explained that he never actually cashed in his Money in the Bank contract…
7. Theory vs. Dolph Ziggler. Theory’s MITB briefcase was under the ropes in a corner of the ring. Theory blasted Ziggler with a forearm early in the match, which Ziggler sold by falling to the match as if it was a knockout shot. Once Ziggler stood up, Theory ran him through the ropes into the ring post. Rinse and repeat with Theory throwing Ziggler through the ropes and into the post again.
The broadcast team played up the aggressiveness of Theory coming out of SummerSlam as he remained on the offensive. Ziggler rallied and returned the favor by sending Theory through the ropes and into the post. Ziggler worked over Theory with body shots and then placed him on the top turnbuckle.
Theory stuffed Ziggler’s superplex attempt and knocked him off the ropes with a punch. Theory yelled shut up to the crowd, drawing their loudest boos of the match. Ziggler returned and ran up the ropes and performed a facebuster. Ziggler held his right knee and then covered Theory for a near fall. [C]
Theory performed his rolling dropkick and then ran Ziggler through the ropes and into the ring post again. Theory barked at Ziggler that he could do this all day. Theory set up for his finisher, but Ziggler slipped away and caught him with an elbow. Ziggler stood over Theory in the corner and threw rapid fire punches.
Ziggler dropped Theory with a neckbreaker and then dropped an elbow on him and covered him for a two count. Ziggler got to his feet and set up for a superkick. Theory caught Ziggler’s foot to stuff the hold. Theory caught Ziggler on the ropes and then hit him with a spinning sit-out powerbomb for a near fall.
Theory went to the apron and then did his roll through the ropes, but Ziggler hit him with a Fameasser and covered him for a nice near fall. A short time later, Theory set up for his finisher, but Ziggler elbowed his head and performed a sunset flip for a near fall. Theory went for the move again, but Ziggler hit him with the Zigzag for a near fall.
Ziggler went to the corner and tuned up the band. Theory stuffed his superkick attempt, then rolled up Ziggler and tried to use the ropes while pinning him, but the referee spotted it. Ziggler rolled up Theory for a two count. Theory caught Ziggler going for another Fameasser and then dropped him with the A-Town Down (a/k/a ATL) and pinned him.
Theory defeated Dolph Ziggler in 16:15.
After the match, Theory got his MITB briefcase and then took selfies while kneeling next to Ziggler. The broadcast team hyped the two matches that were previously advertised for next week’s Raw while Theory celebrated to end the night…
Powell’s POV: A well worked match. It’s not a match that I’d be happy to see headline a show if I bought tickets to Raw simply due to the lack of star power and meaning, but they worked hard and this crowd was treated to the U.S. Title and McIntyre vs. Owens matches earlier.
Overall, an enjoyable show with two pay-per-view worthy matches and the continuation of the newer programs and women’s tag team title tournament. I will be back with my weekly same night audio review for Dot Net Members (including our Patreon patrons).