Seth Rollins made it back to the mountaintop last night by defeating Brock Lesnar for the Universal Title, and right on cue, here comes AJ Styles to knock him down. Fresh off an impressive retention against Ricochet, the United States Champion stepped to The Beastslayer in Raw’s opening moments, laying down a Champion vs. Champion challenge. Rollins, still riding the high of his victory and finally out of Lesnar's reach — as Paul Heyman revealed, Lesnar will not get a rematch against Rollins — agreed to teach The Phenomenal One a “lesson in respect.” As if to preserve the integrity of the match, Styles sent The O.C. out of the ring to imply it would be a one-on-one encounter … though Rollins would be wise not to take him at his word. Ever since Styles “came to his senses,” respect has been something of a one-way street with him.
Sami Zayn is still lurking, raining on whatever parades he can find. This week he was lecturing The Street Profits in the backstage area on how their fun, freewheeling style would eventually lose its luster, but the self-dubbed Critic of the Critics expressed one opinion too many this week when he implied Samoa Joe had gone soft, blissfully unaware that the big man himself was standing right behind him.
Joe, of course, offered Zayn the chance to test Joe’s alleged softness in the ring and quickly dispelled any notion that he’d lost his edge, submitting the former NXT Champion with the Coquina Clutch in short order. Lest you think this was the beginning of some sort of altruistic streak on the part of Samoa Joe, he was happy to inform the audience otherwise: He hasn’t forgotten the WWE Universe labeling him the prime suspect in the attacks against Roman Reigns, and he's certainly not about to forgive them for it either.
Give Dolph Ziggler this: He did not go quietly against Goldberg at SummerSlam, insulting the icon to the bitter end and beyond to the tune of three Spears and a Jackhammer. The prideful display, however, left The Showoff at an obvious disadvantage going into his match with The Miz. If he could barely walk when he got to Raw, how was he going to survive against a bitter rival who had been waiting for weeks to put Ziggler in his place?
The short answer is that he could not. Despite a well-laid fake-out where Ziggler convinced Miz he wasn’t cleared to compete and suddenly pounced on The Awesome One with a series of blistering strikes, The Showoff might have done better to actually fight another day. When he revealed his ruse, the match was started in earnest, and Miz had a bullseye to target, hammering the former World Heavyweight Champion’s ribs to such a degree that Dolph couldn’t close even after hitting a textbook Zig Zag. The Showoff’s attempt at a superkick was thwarted, as Miz snatched the ankle, locked in the Figure-Four Leglock and forced a submission despite Ziggler nearly muscling his way to the ropes.
Of course, Ziggler wasn’t about to let this loss stand, either: The Showoff grabbed hold of a mic and screamed that The A-Lister was a coward — among other things — as Miz tried to make his exit, and the former WWE Champion decided to follow Goldberg’s example, strutting down to the ring and hitting the Skull-Crushing Finale to silence The Showoff. So The Miz gets his payback, and Ziggler’s win-loss record takes a hit — though clearly, his pride will endure, for better or worse.
All things considered, SummerSlam Week was a little less than kind to Elias, who got Speared by Edge, whacked with a chair by Kevin Owens and pinned by Ricochet all within the span of 24 hours. The Living Truth even went into Raw prepared for some kind of humiliation, literally counting down the seconds in anticipation of what has become a customary interruption of his performances. Ricochet eventually obliged, informed Elias he keeps getting cut off because, quote, “you kinda suck,” and riling up Elias to the point of an impromptu match.
Despite his recent misfortunes, The Living Truth came out strong against his high-flying opponent, tossing Ricochet around in an impressive display of power before grinding him to the mat in a headlock. Unfortunately, he suffered not one but two indignities to end the match: He failed to reach a guitar in the corner that might have dealt some damage to his opponent and was rolled up for a pinfall despite having a shoulder up beyond the ref’s vision. All of which left Ricochet with the win, while Elias was forced to sing the saddest song of all: What might have been.
Late last year, Andrade began to make his mark at the expense of Rey Mysterio on SmackDown LIVE, and he seems to be doing so again on Raw, earning his third consecutive victory against the former World Heavyweight Champion — or, technically, his third and fourth: Andrade ran the table in a 2-out-of-3 Falls Match against The Master of the 619; about the best thing that can be said for Mysterio was that his mask escaped untouched, but the loss was still demoralizing enough that The Ultimate Underdog was seemingly questioning his future in a backstage interview.
Andrade’s future, however, looks bright. The former NXT Champion pinned Mysterio almost immediately for the first fall, with Zelina Vega handing an assist from the outside by holding Mysterio’s foot to the ropes. Rey rallied back to connect with the 619, but Andrade countered a Frog Splash with his knees, rolled his legendary opponent to his feet, and struck with the Hammerlock DDT. The loss hit Mysterio hard; during the backstage interview, he tearfully admitted that he was unsure where his career was headed at this point, and he walked off with more questions than answers — for us, and for him.
For a few weeks now, Cedric Alexander has begun to gain some steam by being the one Superstar who’s been able to catch Drew McIntyre on his back foot. McIntyre technically brought that hot streak to an end with a victory over Alexander on Raw, but the WWE Cruiserweight Champion certainly made it difficult, stringing together two impressive sequences that left the towering Scotsman struggling to keep up.
By the end of the match, a crowd that had seemingly resigned itself to the inevitable was completely behind Alexander, and when he executed a Lumbar Check to McIntyre on the outside, it seemed like he might escape with a count-out. The Scot made it back to the ring to keep the action going, only to suffer a top-rope Spanish Fly that left him on wobbly legs. The former NXT Champion claimed victory by a split-second margin, thanks to a Claymore out of nowhere that turned Cedric end-over-end and proved enough to earn the three-count, to McIntyre’s visible relief.
Of course, it’s unlikely Alexander will stay down for long, as he and McIntyre are headed for next week’s rebooted King of the Ring tournament. Given the look on McIntyre’s face at the end of this match, at least one of them was looking like he’d be perfectly happy if they never met again.
Leaving Canada without an appearance from Robert Roode would have been a missed opportunity of the highest order, and The Glorious One capitalized on his homefield advantage with an emphatic victory over No Way Jose. The Dominican Dancing Machine’s “Vote for Jose” campaign may yet get its legs, but he was decidedly outmatched by the former United States Champion, who planted him with the Glorious DDT to mark an impressive showing for The Great White North’s most glorious son — and, perhaps, the start of a bright new chapter.
Perhaps the biggest surprise of SummerSlam Week was that R-Truth got through it without losing the 24/7 Championship. He wasn’t so lucky on Raw, getting caught by The Revival in the middle of a scrum during a match between Lucha House Party and the former Raw Tag Team Champions. The “Top Guys’” simultaneous pin of Truth landed them a historic win — they’re the first co-24/7 Champions — but the accomplishment was short-lived, as Kalisto leveled Scott Dawson with Salida del Sol and Carmella pulled Truth on top of Dawson to help him reclaim his title.
Unfortunately for Truth, things took a turn for the worse from there: Despite some clever misdirection that confused his pursuers, the champ was thwarted by Elias before he could escape from Canada with the championship. Creeping through the backstage area as Truth and Carmella were enjoying a celebratory dance, The Living Truth finally got to smash his guitar over someone’s back, walloping the beloved Superstar to win his third 24/7 Championship.
Sasha Banks is back with electric blue hair and a vengeance to go with it, making her first appearance since WrestleMania with a brutal statement against two of Raw’s toughest Superstars. The first to feel The Boss’ wrath was Natalya, sporting an apparent dislocated elbow after her SummerSlam loss and square in the middle of paying tribute to her late father, Jim "The Anvil" Neidhart, on the one-year anniversary of his passing. The Boss initially embraced Natalya in friendship before dropping her and going to work on her arm, an attack that was only stopped by the appearance of Becky Lynch.
The arrival of the Raw Women's Champion was certainly to the benefit of Natalya, who put some much-needed distance between herself and Banks. But Becky fared no better than her former opponent: Despite being driven by a desire to come after everyone who had done her wrong, The Man found herself subjected to several vicious steel chair strikes and slapped her across the face before a crew of officials intervened. The final image of Sasha's return to Raw was The Boss exiting the arena with a satisfied strut up the ramp, a smile across her face and two enemies to her name. Just the way she likes it.
At some point, The Viking Raiders will have their fill of locals and begin their raid through the tag team division. Today, however, is not that day, and Erik & Ivar joyfully dismantled yet another pair of hometown products without a hope in the world, pinning their foes with the Viking Experience after a gleefully extended obliteration. There was, however, one interesting wrinkle to this conquest in the form of a pre-match interview where they promised everyone would “inevitably” fall at their feet. Again, that wasn’t today. But it’s coming.
The WWE Women’s Tag Team Title reign of Alexa Bliss & Nikki Cross is shaping up to be an eventful and successful one: Just 24 hours after defending their titles against The IIconics, the champions turned back a challenge from The Kabuki Warriors, who came inches away from winning the titles in last week’s Fatal 4-Way Elimination Match instead of Bliss & Cross.
There was some emotional fuel to the efforts of Asuka & Kairi Sane: Their business manager, Paige, is set to undergo another neck surgery and wasn’t present at Raw. Unfortunately, the pair’s attempts to win one for Paige were for naught. While The Pirate Princess connected with her signature InSane Elbow on Cross, Bliss broke up the pinfall, dispatched Asuka at ringside and left Sane at a 2-on-1 disadvantage she could not overcome. The former NXT Women’s Champion found herself dropped by Cross’ swinging neckbreaker and square in the drop zone for Twisted Bliss, which hit its mark and extended the champs’ reign by another week. And given the way things are going, it could end up only being the first of many.
So who’s the better champion on Raw? Seth Rollins is definitely the more honorable, having fought AJ Styles down the middle despite the lingering threat of The O.C. at ringside; Styles, on the other hand, is probably the more opportunistic, willingly taking a disqualification loss that cost him the match but gave him the chance to knock The Beastslayer down a few pegs. But while The Phenomenal One was, perhaps, the cleverer champion, he definitely turned out to be the unluckiest of the two.
It wasn’t that Ricochet came to The Beastslayer’s aid in an attempt to even the odds against the good brothers — despite his best efforts, the high-flyer was dispatched quickly by a Boot of Doom from Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson. Braun Strowman’s arrival proved to be the final nail in AJ Styles’ night; The Monster Among Men singlehandedly took out Gallows & Anderson before planting Styles with a Running Powerslam. Rollins, understandably, was wary of the big man’s presence, especially when Braun hungrily eyed the Universal Title at ringside. But Strowman’s decision to hand the title to Rollins and shake his hand — and Styles' post-show issuing of a U.S. Title challenge to The Monster Among Men — proved to be a much-needed sigh of relief. In a world where he’s got a target on his back, it must be comforting for Seth Rollins to know that regardless of whether Strowman accepts The Phenomenal One's challenge, The Monster Among Men doesn't appear to be looking his way. For now.
- Numbers in parentheses indicate the length of the match.
- (c) refers to the champion(s) heading into the match.
- Samoa Joe defeated Sami Zayn (0:45)
- The Miz defeated Dolph Ziggler (3:50)
- Ricochet defeated Elias (3:25)
- Andrade (w/ Zelina Vega) defeated Rey Mysterio [2:0] in a Best Two Out Of Three Falls Match (5:35)
- Andrade beat Rey Mysterio (0:25)
- Andrade beat Rey Mysterio
- Drew McIntyre defeated Cedric Alexander (8:40)
- Robert Roode defeated No Way Jose (1:25)
- Lucha House Party (Gran Metalik & Lince Dorado) (w/ Kalisto) vs. The Revival (Scott Dawson & Dash Wilder) ended in a No Contest (1:25)
- The Revival defeated R-Truth (c) to win the WWE 24-7 Championship
- R-Truth defeated Scott Dawson (c) to win the WWE 24-7 Championship
- Elias defeated R-Truth (c) to win the WWE 24-7 Championship
- Alexa Bliss & Nikki Cross (c) defeated The Kabuki Warriors (Asuka & Kairi Sane) to retain the WWE Women's Tag Team Championship (8:45)
- Seth Rollins defeated AJ Styles (w/ Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson) by DQ (9:20)
- Dark Match: Braun Strowman, Ricochet & Seth Rollins defeated The OC (AJ Styles, Karl Anderson & Luke Gallows)
Other on-screen talent