The build-up to this week's episode of Raw was intense.
Firstly, the big announcement from returning Raw Commissioner Stephanie McMahon was announced several days before the show - presumably regarding the Women's Division in WWE.
Also, we were expected Reigns vs Lashley in a rematch from Extreme Rules, The B Team defend their titles against The Deleters of Worlds and Finn Balor was penciled in for a match against fellow European Drew McIntyre.
Here are the results from Raw in Cincinnati, Ohio:
STEPHANIE MCMAHON'S BIG ANNOUNCEMENT
Chairman Vince McMahon opened the show and called Triple H and Stephanie to the ring. Hunter, a now prominent figure backstage, talked up the roster and told them how hard working they all are. He was clearly quite emotional when saying how proud he was.
Stephanie said she remembered the 30-second matches on Raw and the #GiveDivasAChance movement and thanked the WWE Universe for making their voices heard.
Stephanie then made the declaration that the women will be getting their completely own pay-per-view event on the WWE Network called Evolution. On October 28th, 50 women will be on the show and all WWE Women's Titles would be defended including: Raw and Smackdown Women's Championships, NXT and NXT UK Women's Championships and the Mae Young Classic finale will also occur.
This is the first PPV of its kind.
The speeches by Triple H and Stephanie McMahon were extremely passionate and the words were extremely sincere. Vince didn't say too much but he looked pleased. This is so overdue for the women, who work extremely hard on the house show circuit as well as on Raw and Smackdown. The PPV will be great, especially as they have the NXT Women's Championship on the card too.
Potential matches could include a long overdue bout between Bayley and Sasha Banks, as well as Charlotte Flair versus Becky Lynch. Ronda Rousey will presumably be on the card too in some capacity, therefore it has the potential to be a fantastic show.
BRAY WYATT AND MATT HARDY VS BO DALLAS AND CURTIS AXEL (C)
Elias almost began a concert but was interrupted by the entrances of Matt Hardy and Bray Wyatt. The B Team had a funny segment before their entrance where they almost left their belts in the locker room.
Bo Dallas and Bray Wyatt had an early face-off which got the crowd hyped, as they are brothers in real life. The challengers dominated early on, trying to win back the tag titles they lost at Extreme Rules.
Matt Hardy got the hot tag and went on a great run, hitting all his signature moves on Curtis Axel and almost securing a win before Dallas broke it up before the three count was complete. Wyatt came to get Dallas out the ring but instead flew into his partner Hardy - who was then swiftly rolled up and pinned.
The Deleters of Worlds gave their foes a round of applause after the match, seemingly accepting their loss in good taste. However, they hit their finishing manoeuvers on both members of The B Team before leaving the ring without championship gold, teasing a heel turn.
The in-ring work was good here, Dallas and Axel are both underrated in the ring. Matt looked good while attacking and the finish worked well into The B Team's gimmick. The attack after the match teased a heel turn but since they went to town on a team that is currently stuck between face and heel, it is slightly uncertain.
BAYLEY AND SASHA BANKS VS ENHANCEMENT TALENT
The Boss and The Hugger made light work of their opponents this evening. A running attack from Bayley and The Bank Statement from Banks was enough to get a win.
This was more about the storyline between the two ladies as their friendship seems to be back to normal. Before and after the match, they shared a hug and were all smiles.
This feels so forced and surely it is only a matter of time until they begin to fight again. The hugs and looks were extremely cheesy.
BRAUN STROWMAN CANNOT FIND INNER PEACE
Strowman was the next man to interrupt Elias, who was about to perform. Strowman said it doesn't matter who is Universal Champion, he will defeat them.
Kevin Owens came out and played the sympathy card about having a family and almost being destroyed by the cage toss at Extreme Rules. Corbin then came out and said that Strowman needs to find some peace and stop the violence. His answer was Jinder Mahal.
Mahal, now back playing the character he had before his major push in 2017, tried some breathing exercises with Strowman and Sunil Singh but Strowman was less than impressed. He ended up booting Mahal and delivering Singh a Running Powerslam.
After the segment, Owens met with Stephanie McMahon and Kurt Angle alongside Baron Corbin to complain about Strowman. He wanted a rematch with Strowman and got his wish. At Summerslam, Owens and Strowman face off for Strowman's Money in the Bank Briefcase.
This segment just gave Strowman an excuse to squash somebody and this week, the poor soul was Sunil Singh. Strowman is naturally comedic during his promos but he has said the same thing for a number of weeks now. He needs some fresh material and a new feud to carry him before he eventually becomes Universal Champion.
MICKIE JAMES VS NATALYA
Mickie James held plenty of submission holds on Natalya but Natalya was able to reverse plenty of moves to get in some old-fashioned offence. Alexa Bliss caused distractions on the outside and it eventually became too much for Natalya by herself.
Despite flooring the Raw Women's Champion with a Discus Clothesline, James hit a Superkick on Natalya and picked up a rare win.
Natalya feels like she is just in this feud for Rousey to come in and steal her thunder at SummerSlam. Hopefully, Natalya will turn on her friend and training partner to get a real story going.
AUTHORS OF PAIN WANT COMPETITION
Akam and Rezar interrupted Elias' most recent attempt to perform to say they want some real competition who are not called Titus Worldwide.
O'Neil and Apollo Crews hit the ring and said that they learned a lot during their time in WWE whereas AOP are relative newbies. A physical conflict got started and finished by Titus Worldwide.
AOP does not need to have microphone time in order to be giants in the tag division. Their in-ring work should speak for itself without having to say lines which come across as slightly lame. Keep them away from the microphone and keep them between the ropes dominating teams on Raw. It was a shame to see Titus Worldwide have AOP reversing back up the ramp.
MOJO RAWLEY VS TYLER BREEZE
Another rematch from last week and the similar spot that attracted a lot of attention occurred early in the match, with Breeze going flying off the shoulder tackle.
Breeze almost got a roll-up win but Rawley used an Alabama Slam Powerbomb to beat Breeze. During the match, Bobby Roode had a quick interview with Michael Cole, slating Rawley for being a keyboard warrior on social media.
Another rematch and no real extension to Rawley's persona except that it seems as though he will be feuding with Roode in future weeks.
FINN BALOR AND SETH ROLLINS VS DREW MCINTYRE AND DOLPH ZIGGLER
For the fourth time tonight, Elias was interrupted despite being 12th in the album charts on iTunes. Balor's shoulder has a nasty bruise on it, apparently from last week's Triple Threat match.
At first, it was Balor versus McIntyre in singles competition but after a short match going back and forth, Ziggler got involved and forced the referee to stop the match.
A post-match attack led to Rollins running to the ring and making the save. GM Kurt Angle ordered the match to be restarted as a tag match.
Ziggler and Balor dominated the early part, with The Kingslayer especially working at an extremely high tempo. McIntyre used his extreme high and power advantage to dominate the smaller Balor. It took the leader of Balor Club a while to get the hot tag but once he did, Rollins performed a Suicide Dive, threw Ziggler into the barricade and a Springboard Clothesline.
The Showoff saved the match twice as Rollins delivered Superkicks to McIntyre before Drew almost won the match for himself as it reached a brilliant crescendo. Rollins then managed to escape McIntyre's Electric Chair to hit his Stomp on the Intercontinental Champion and secure the win.
It was a good singles match but a better tag match. All four workers are brilliant and the match kept getting more dramatic until it reached its conclusion. Rollins had the crowd on his side as always and with Balor, had the most babyface tag team on the roster at the moment.
EMBER MOON VS LIV MORGAN
Moon was looking to avenge her first defeat on Raw last week, where Riott Squad member Sarah Logan pinned her. This time, she faced fellow Riotter, Liv Morgan.
Moon dominated early on as Morgan bumped very well for the Shemon. Ember won a solid match with her ever-impressive finisher, The Eclipse.
I love seeing Moon in the ring, she is easily one of the best wrestlers in WWE. Her strikes are always legit and she works at 110% every week. Having her lose last week was definitely a wrong decision and she regained some momentum against Morgan this week. As for Morgan, she looked a little lost without some support at ringside from The Riott Squad.
BOBBY LASHLEY VS ROMAN REIGNS
This match was for the opportunity to face Brock Lesnar at Summerslam. Lashley won just two weeks ago at Extreme Rules whereas Reigns looked to face Lesnar for the third consecutive time after their matches at Greatest Royal Rumble and WrestleMania.
Reigns looked to start the match strongly but it seemed as though Lashley had an answer for everything The Big Dog threw at him. A big Spinebuster rocked Reigns and almost put him away but Lashley continued with the lengthy holds to wear down Roman. Both men took each other down with simultaneous Clotheslines.
Lashley locked in a Full Nelson, similar to how Chris Masters used the Masterlock a decade ago, but Reigns was able to escape only to fall into another Lashley submission attempt. Lashley then later threw Reigns back into the ring and hit his Spear, but Reigns got a shoulder up at the last millisecond he could.
Reigns dodged a second Spear attempt and tried one of his own, missing on the first try but eventually getting all of it before pinning Lashley for the 1, 2 and 3. Reigns will go to Summerslam to face Brock Lesnar for the Universal Title.
The match itself was not too bad. The crowd was not into it at all, as they chanted continuously for Dean Ambrose. It was a steady back and forth but the result was clearly due to 50/50 booking as Lashley picked up the win at Extreme Rules. Lashley did look close to winning here but Reigns will face Lesnar again. This will be Lesnar's sixth match of the year, his third against Reigns for the title.News Now - Sport News