The July 16, 2018 Edition of RAW is a Professional wrestling television show of the WWE's RAW brand, which took place on July 16, 2018 at KeyBank Center in Buffalo, New York. This was the RAW after Extreme Rules which took place at the PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Last night, Kurt Angle offered Brock Lesnar an ultimatum: Come to Raw, agree on a time and place for his next Universal Title challenge, or be stripped of the championship. The Beast didn’t obey Angle’s command to the letter — a flustered Paul Heyman emerged instead to insist Lesnar’s ultimate goal was to win the UFC Heavyweight Title while representing WWE as Universal Champion — but the message was nonetheless received. Thanks to Angle’s “hard bargain,” Lesnar will defend his title at SummerSlam, and while the challenger has yet to be determined, a familiar face is back in the running.
That would be Roman Reigns, the self-proclaimed “uncrowned Universal Champion” who won the first of two Triple Threats to advance him to a win-and-you’re-in match next week. In Reigns’ battle were Finn Bálor, who wanted to reclaim the title he never lost, and Drew McIntyre, who was looking to launch “Phase Two” of his master plan after helping Dolph Ziggler retain the Intercontinental Title. (The other three potential contenders — Bobby Lashley, Elias and Seth Rollins — were placed in the second Triple Threat).
For his part, Reigns said he wanted a fight at the beginning of the show. He certainly got one, as the match was, for the most part, a showcase for McIntyre’s newfound ruthlessness. Much of McIntyre's efforts were focused on Finn, but when The Scottish Terminator turned his attention to Reigns in the closing match, the Claymore intended for The Big Dog ended up rocking Finn instead. Reigns Superman Punched McIntyre out of the ring, flattened the punch-drunk Bálor with a Spear, and that was that.
Dolph Ziggler may have needed Drew McIntyre to survive a WWE Iron Match last night, but The Showoff went a long way toward dispelling the notion that he can’t win without The Scottish Terminator by beating Bobby Roode in a match The Glorious One goaded him into after mocking the champ’s seeming reliance on the “psychopath” at his flank.
Though Ziggler made a point of refusing to place the Intercontinental Title on the line, he nonetheless brought all his tricks to bear in a match where his pride was at stake. One of those tricks decided the bout when Dolph targeted Roode’s knee after The Glorious One tweaked it coming off the top rope. With Roode staggered, Ziggler uncorked a frozen-rope Superkick that dropped his foe to the mat and earned him the win. Underhanded? Debatable. Opportunistic? For sure. But he did it all by himself.
Having powered past No Way Jose, Mojo Rawley is on the hunt for fresh chum once again, with Tyler Breeze as his prey of choice on this week’s Raw. Rawley feasted on Prince Pretty in an impressive display, though Breeze certainly held his own even without the injured Fandango in his corner.
Rawley finished Breeze off with a sprinting forearm and a ring-shaking Alabama Slam, but never one content with making just one enemy in a night, he seemed to set his sights on the next rung up the food chain as well: Before his match against Breeze, he made a point of seeking out Bobby Roode in the backstage area and mocking him for his loss to Dolph Ziggler.
Friendship counseling didn’t go so well for Bayley and Sasha Banks, but that doesn't mean there's no friendship to save. Kurt Angle tried a different tactic to get the two Superstars back on the same page, threatening to trade one of them to SmackDown LIVE if they couldn’t coexist in tag team action against Alicia Fox & Dana Brooke. To their credit, The Huggable One and The Boss didn’t break down entirely, though an aggressive effort by Banks to save Bayley from a ringside attack got the duo disqualified.
A confrontation between the two behind the curtain provided some window into Banks’ mentality. First off, she wouldn’t allow anybody else besides her to beat up Bayley. And, despite their issues, The Boss still loves Bayley for a variety of reasons, from her comfort with her own emotions to her desire to be friends with everybody, to the fact that she always cares. It took a lot out of the notoriously guarded Boss to admit all that, and judging by Bayley's look after their conversation, the message was well received.
Curtis Axel & Bo Dallas’ surprise Raw Tag Team Title win at WWE Extreme Rules cemented the former lackeys’ transition into a top-flight tag team, and The B-Team showed they’re here to stay with a victory over The Ascension to solidify themselves as the tandem division’s pace-setters on Raw. Of course, they’re not out of the woods yet as far as challengers go. Not only were The Revival watching from backstage once again, deposed former champions “Woken” Matt Hardy & Bray Wyatt appeared on the TitanTron following The B-Team’s match to announce they were invoking their rematch clause for next week’s Raw. The B-Team had better hope their momentum holds, or their reign will be OVAH before it even starts.
Ronda Rousey came a fingertip away from finally getting her hands on Alexa Bliss last night, and now, The Baddest Woman on the Planet finally has a time and a place for when she’ll get to fight her for real — provided she serves a little extra time first.
Rowdy Ronda made her presence known during Bliss’ snarky victory lap in the wake of her WWE Extreme Rules victory over Nia Jax, emerging through the audience despite having two days left on her 30-day suspension. This time, Rousey caught Bliss as she attempted to flee, and it was only the arrival of Kurt Angle that prevented her from snapping The Goddess’ arm in the armbar.
Given that Rousey had violated her suspension, Angle had no choice but to extend her sentence by another week. (“Constable” Baron Corbin pushed for more, and when he threatened to protest to Stephanie McMahon, Angle stole The Lone Wolf’s phone to lead him on a wild goose chase). But Angle offered a carrot in addition to the stick: A match against Bliss at SummerSlam for the Raw Women’s Championship. All Rousey has to do is toe the line. Whether that's too much to ask of her, of course, remains to be seen.
Having been bulldozed by The Authors of Pain, Titus Worldwide came to Raw looking to take care of business against their tormentors. It didn’t quite go down that way. Akam & Rezar ran roughshod over Titus O’Neil & Apollo Crews once again, taking out The Big Deal in the early goings by ramming his head into the turnbuckle before systematically dismantling his partner and culminating the onslaught with a hellacious Last Chapter.
If anything has been made abundantly clear from their backstage anarchy, The Riott Squad are stronger together than they are apart. So it stands to reason that they finally got a win over Ember Moon by employing their inherent numbers game advantage, a strategy that carried Sarah Logan across the finish line against Moon and answered The Shenom’s two consecutive wins against Liv Morgan.
Logan kept the match competitive, countering Moon’s speed with her strength, with Morgan popping up intermittently to keep Ember on her toes. The former NXT Women’s Champion rallied to set up the Eclipse, and Liv made her boldest move of the match, tripping Moon up on the top turnbuckle. The force of the impact stopped Ember dead in her tracks, and Logan quickly pounced for the pin.
Bobby Lashley claimed he returned to WWE to make a play for the Universal Championship. He’s now one step closer to that goal, having defeated Elias and Seth Rollins in the night’s second Triple Threat, earning himself a second date with Roman Reigns where a SummerSlam title match with The Beast hangs in the balance.
That said, Elias certainly did his best to steal Lashley’s thunder, as The Living Truth dished out knees to anything with a pulse to gain an early lead. Elias stayed steady in the eye of the storm even as the chaos of the Triple Threat began to build and Rollins kicked into overdrive in response, targeting both his opponents at once. But thanks to a last-second breakup of the Stomp by Lashley, the fight rolled on, and the former ECW Champion scored the win with a Spear to Elias after the guitarist hauled Rollins out of the ring. One more win, and Lashley has Brock Lesnar. Two more, and he has the Universal Title.
- Numbers in parentheses indicate the length of the match.
- (c) refers to the champion(s) heading into the match.
- Roman Reigns defeated Finn Bálor & Drew McIntyre in a Triple Threat match (22:00)
- Dolph Ziggler defeated Bobby Roode (13:05)
- Mojo Rawley defeated Tyler Breeze (3:10)
- Bayley & Sasha Banks vs. Alicia Fox & Dana Brooke ended in a no contest (2:20)
- The B-Team (Bo Dallas & Curtis Axel) defeated The Ascension (Konnor & Viktor) (2:10)
- The Authors of Pain (Akam & Rezar) defeated Titus Worldwide (Titus O'Neil & Apollo Crews) (2:15)
- Sarah Logan (w/ Liv Morgan) defeated Ember Moon (6:45)
- Bobby Lashley defeated Seth Rollins & Elias in a Triple Threat match (17:00)
Other on-screen talent