The short version: “We told you so.” But Paul Heyman is never one for brevity, and so his and Brock Lesnar's return to the champions’ circle was one long, insidious victory lap, with The Advocate gleefully recounting the weeks in which he told the WWE Universe and Seth Rollins that Lesnar would cash in the Money in the Bank contract, emphasizing the fact that that any failure to take him seriously was more their fault than his.
As far as SummerSlam is concerned, Heyman, in his self-proclaimed genius, turned his attention to the Cross-Branded All-Star Top 10 Battle Royal, where Seth Rollins, Randy Orton, Cesaro, Braun Strowman, Rey Mysterio, Baron Corbin, Sami Zayn, Bobby Lashley and Roman Reigns will all vie for the chance to challenge The Beast at SummerSlam. With a talent pool like that, we can all agree that no matter who wins, The Biggest Event of the Summer will feature a marquee main event. But as far as Heyman's concerned, none of these prospective opponents stands a chance against The Conqueror. And if it turns out he's right, we can't say we weren't told that, either.
Ricochet might have lost the United States Championship to AJ Styles last night, but The Club aren’t quite done with the former champion. Looking to add insult to injury for the young Superstar, Styles, Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson ambushed Ricochet at the conclusion of a 2-out-of-3 Falls Six-Man Tag Team Match in which Ricochet & The Usos teamed up to defeat The Revival & Robert Roode.
For The Usos, who lost their Raw Tag Team Title bid to Dash & Dawson last night, the victory is a welcome gust of wind in their sails that may yet again carry them to the “Top Guys’” doorstop. But the win proved to be little balm for Ricochet, who found himself sized up by The Club moments after he scored the decisive fall of the match against Roode. Ricochet came out swinging, darting into Styles with a suicide dive that instigated an all-out brawl among all nine Superstars. Ultimately, however, it was Styles who got the last word, downing Ricochet with a Phenomenal Forearm and feeding his foe into a Magic Killer from Gallows & Anderson. Ironically, Ricochet had seemed to be taking his loss in stride before The Club came calling, but he clearly won’t be afforded the luxury of a positive outlook. The beatings will continue until his morale doesn’t just fall, but ceases to exist altogether.
At this point, local tag teams who agree to be on Raw might as well just feed themselves into the meat grinder and be done with it, because The Viking Raiders have been racking up homebred hopefuls for several weeks and didn’t hesitate to add another duo to their collection on Raw. Vinny Gruner & Jackson James served mainly as playthings for Erik & Ivar’s unique offense, with the final Viking Experience acting as more of a mercy blow than anything else. And with bodies piling up in The Viking Raiders’ wake, it's looking more and more like this savage, unpredictable duo simply can't be stopped. They can only be fed.
On paper, Cedric Alexander is the perfect rebound opponent for a reeling Drew McIntyre: One night after being embarrassed by The Undertaker & Roman Reigns, what better pickings are there for the former NXT Champion than the man who almost humiliated him the previous week on Raw? The size and power difference seemed to make this one a foregone conclusion, but unfortunately for McIntyre, the former WWE Cruiserweight Champion came ready to play. Despite suffering a series of power maneuvers from McIntyre, Cedric slowly picked the Scot apart with high-flying offense before sealing the match with a roll-up reversal of McIntyre's reverse Alabama Slam. And just minutes after McIntyre promised to tear Alexander limb from limb, he's left with more questions than answers, while Cedric is looking like the one who opponents underestimate at their peril.
Samoa Joe and Finn Bálor both lost at WWE Extreme Rules, so a comeback win was crucial for the two former champions looking to regain their footing — and, in Bálor's case, the Intercontinental Championship — in time for SummerSlam. But only Joe was able to channel his frustration into a victory, and Finn found himself in a world of trouble he didn't quite see coming.
While the Irishman got some bragging rights by landing a Coup de Grâce on Joe during a scrap in the wake of his loss, his moment was cut short when his music ground to a halt and the lights cut out in the arena. The sounds of a scuffle could be heard in the darkness, and when the lights came back up, they revealed Bray Wyatt in his horrifying Fiend mask and duster, with a limp Bálor in position for Sister Abigail. The former WWE Champion planted his foe mercilessly into the mat before making his exit, and that Intercontinental Title is looking farther away by the second — though that's probably the least of Finn Bálor's problems right about now.
Theoretically, father-to-be Mike Kanellis should be the happiest man in the world. Unfortunately, he's married to Maria Kanellis, who seems dead set on unmanning her husband by berating him, insulting him and openly questioning the parentage of her child. There could be an argument that this is all some kind of motivational technique, but the overwhelmed Kanellis found himself defeated by Zack Ryder in a matter of seconds following a backstage argument with Maria where she deemed him too inept to compete and tried to battle The Ultimate Broski in his stead. Then again, given the relish with which Maria insulted Mike after the match, this may have been the result she wanted all along.
If there was any doubt The Club was going to do things right this time around, they certainly put it to rest on this week's Raw when they won their first Six-Man Tag Team Match since their reunion, overwhelming The Lucha House Party and nearly crippling Kalisto with a match-ending Calf Crusher that AJ Styles refused to release. With that being said, their win wasn't exactly seamless, thanks to an appearance from Ricochet in the middle of the match that briefly threw the bout into chaos.
Ricochet's interference, where he repaid The Club's earlier ambush by attacking Styles, clearly weighed on The Phenomenal One for the remainder of the match; he competed with a little extra fire, and even his torturous submission on The King of Flight seemed to stand as a message. But Styles feeling the need to reply in such a fashion is also a statement of sorts about Ricochet, and the manner in which he finally decided to repay his weeks of cheap shots at the hands of Styles. It may well end up being that anything AJ Styles can do, Ricochet can do, too — perhaps even better.
Your SummerSlam match for the Raw Women's Championship will be Becky Lynch vs. Natalya, and it's shaping up to be a very, very personal affair. That's somewhat surprising for a match involving Natalya — The Hart Dungeon graduate is about as respectful as it gets — but The Man did more than enough to bring out The Queen of Harts’ inner trash-talker, confronting the former SmackDown Women's Champion moments after she won the Fatal 4-Way Elimination Match that sent her to SummerSlam.
Natalya had certainly shown her in-ring bonafides before she went face-to-face with Becky, eliminating Naomi and Alexa Bliss en route to victory (Alexa eliminated Carmella to score the first ouster of the match). And yet, The Man seemed more than a little unimpressed with her new challenger, declaring that she was the special something Natalya's career needed and dispelling any notion that their match was going to be some kind of contest among friends.
The Queen of Harts took the hint, firing back with some trash-talk of her own — “I’m gonna rip that greasy orange mop off your head” was just a sampling — and going nose-to-nose with the champion in a heated confrontation WWE officials were quick to break up before they came to blows. As much as these two respect each other, it's fair to say they liked each other a lot more before this match was made. Much like the challenger herself, that's about as old-school as it gets.
Extreme Rules wasn't Dolph Ziggler's best night — he lost to Kevin Owens in a matter of seconds — so it was somewhat odd that The Showoff requested time on “Miz TV” to discuss the last few twists and turns his career has taken. It quickly became clear, however, that he had come to Raw for the express purpose of picking a fight with The Miz, who he accused of turning into a corporate yes-man type instead of the hungry, Cleveland-born outsider who forced his way to the upper echelon of WWE. For Ziggler, that was a fate worse than any 17-second loss, but Miz was happy if somewhat confused to absorb the insults ... at least until The Showoff mentioned Miz's wife. The A-Lister threw hands the second the words left Dolph's mouth, driving him from the ring and handing The Showoff yet another embarrassment, as well as a reminder of just how gritty he can be.
A night of pleasure turned to pain for Drake Maverick when R-Truth struck, reclaiming the 24/7 Championship moments before Maverick was set to complete the long-awaited consummation of his marriage to Renee Michelle. In and of itself, that's about the most demoralizing conceivable end to Maverick's second reign, but the fashion in which Truth relieved Maverick of the title was a brutal twist of the knife all its own: With the referee disguised as the room service attendant at the Mavericks’ hotel, Truth smuggled himself into their room underneath a champagne tray, emerging to crossbody Drake on top of the rose petal-covered bed to score the pinfall. Truth took the title and bounced, leaving Maverick to frantically chase after the love of his life and leave his beautiful wife behind.
Say this for Seth Rollins: He doesn't stay down for long. In a lightning-quick rebound from his Extreme Rules loss — and in an odd mirror to the Royal Rumble Match win that netted him a Universal Title bout at WrestleMania — The Architect triumphed in a Cross-Branded All-Star Top 10 Battle Royal featuring 10 Superstars from Raw and SmackDown LIVE, setting himself up for another Universal Title bout against Brock Lesnar at SummerSlam.
That's not to say he didn't have competition: Cesaro ran through the field with the Uppercut Express; Randy Orton dished out RKOs to anything that moved, Big E hoisted Braun Strowman up for a Big Ending before Sami Zayn scored an upset elimination of the SmackDown Tag Team Champion, and Baron Corbin was ousted by Rollins, Strowman and Roman Reigns after unceremoniously tossing Rey Mysterio.
Rollins suffered an errant Spear by Reigns in the final stretch of the match, but he recovered quickly enough to eliminate The Big Dog and Strowman, who were in a deadlock on the apron. Orton, however, had been biding his time after being sent through the ropes, and he immediately struck from behind, narrowly eliminating the unsuspecing Rollins. The Architect recovered again, administering a Stomp to The Apex Predator and tossing him over the ropes to win the match and send himself to SummerSlam, where Lesnar lies in wait.
Paul Heyman was quick to attempt to get in Rollins’ head from his and Lesnar's perch atop the stage, sneeringly announcing The Kingslayer as both the winner of the match and the sacrificial lamb for The Beast Incarnate. Rollins countered with some fiery words of his own and a promise that he would repeat his WrestleMania triumph come SummerSlam. Given that Lesnar briefly stalked to the ring with a chair in hand, it's fair to say he's taking Rollins seriously this time around. And if Seth Rollins recaptures the title, Brock Lesnar won't be able to say he wasn't warned.
- Numbers in parentheses indicate the length of the match.
- (c) refers to the champion(s) heading into the match.
- Ricochet & The Usos (Jimmy Uso & Jey Uso) defeated Robert Roode & The Revival (Scott Dawson & Dash Wilder) [2:1] in a Best Two Out Of Three Falls Six Man Tag Team Match (10:32)
- The Viking Raiders (Erik & Ivar) defeated Vinnie Gruner & Jackson James (2:11)
- Cedric Alexander defeated Drew McIntyre (5:44)
- Samoa Joe defeated Finn Bálor (2:21)
- Zack Ryder defeated Mike Kanellis (0:04)
- The Club (A.J. Styles, Karl Anderson & Luke Gallows) defeated Lucha House Party (Kalisto, Gran Metalik & Lince Dorado) in a Six Man Tag Team Match (8:56)
- Natalya defeated Alexa Bliss (w/ Nikki Cross) and Carmella and Naomi in a Fatal Four Way Elimination Match to become #1 contender to the WWE Raw Women's Championship (17:45)
- R-Truth defeated Drake Maverick (c) to win the WWE 24-7 Championship
- Seth Rollins defeated Big E and Sami Zayn and Bobby Lashley and Rey Mysterio and Baron Corbin and Roman Reigns and Cesaro and Randy Orton and Braun Strowman in a Ten Man Battle Royal to become #1 contender to the WWE Universal Championship (8:33)
Other on-screen talent