In 2012, Brock Lesnar appeared, unannounced, to kick-start his second run in WWE. Tonight, Brock Lesnar, despite having been advertised, refused to come to the ring and confront his SummerSlam challenger, Roman Reigns.
Such has The Conqueror’s power grown since becoming Universal Champion, and his decision to simply stay in his private locker room instead of going nose-to-nose with Reigns has been consistent with his actions over the past several months. Ever since re-signing with WWE after WrestleMania, Lesnar has flouted his dominance and used his championship as something of a contractual bargaining chip en route to his desired goal of becoming a two-sport titleholder across WWE and UFC. According to Heyman, The Beast isn’t exactly sweating Reigns following his (controversial) win over The Big Dog at the Greatest Royal Rumble.
This isn’t to say Lesnar wasn’t there. As Paul Heyman pointed out to Reigns when he emerged in his client’s stead, The Beast was indeed in the building, though he would not come to the ring until and unless he felt like it. So, Reigns opted to give Heyman an aggressive pre-SummerSlam message to dictate to his client. Heyman obliged, but Lesnar didn’t just disregard the message, he destroyed it, whipping Heyman’s cell phone across his locker room when the advocate attempted to show him what Reigns had said.
Baron Corbin has made it a goal to demean and insult Finn Bálor over, among other things, their height difference across the past few weeks. The Extraordinary Man hasn’t exactly broken down over the insults, but Corbin did use his size to his advantage in his victory over the first-ever Universal Champion in a rematch of their bout from WWE Extreme Rules.
Corbin, much he did in the first match, focused on a ground-and-pound strategy that put Bálor firmly on the defensive. Bálor dug deep as the match progressed, even setting Corbin up for the Coup de Grâce after employing a stick-and-move counter to Corbin's aggressive press. But The Constable dodged Bálor and sprang with the End of Days to earn the victory — pausing only briefly after the match before returning to mug Bálor some more.
Alexa Bliss remains the undisputed master of mind games in the Raw Women's division, this time exploiting Ronda Rousey's aggression to swing a match that neither were competing in to cost Rousey's training partner Natalya a potential victory in the process.
Rousey had been at ringside to support The Queen of Harts in her match against Alicia Fox, who boasted Bliss in her own corner. (Mickie James was out of action for the evening). Alicia was in the driver’s seat when she swatted at Rowdy Ronda, causing Rousey to climb up on the apron and distract the ref. Alexa took advantage by blasting Natalya with a hard right, teeing Alicia up for an easy win. When Ronda pursued Bliss after the match, Alicia again capitalized, jumping Ronda from behind and setting Rousey up for an overwhelming two-on-one-attack.
Clearly, Rousey's aggression was building to critical mass (by her own admission), and Raw General Manager Kurt Angle had a solution: Next week, Ronda would have her first-ever Raw match against Alicia Fox.
Last week, Bobby Lashley interrupted Elias’ performance, thus preventing The Living Truth’s debut album from a permanent perch atop the charts. (At least, according to Elias). This week, Lashley didn’t just interrupt another performance; he played a tune of his own on the chart-topping Superstar.
Initially irritated by Lashley’s arrival — spurred by some trash-talk from the guitarist — Elias goaded Lashley into a duet of “Rockin’ Robin” that seemed designed to embarrass him. To Elias’ surprise, Lashley was no slouch in the vocal department. Upstaged and infuriated, The Living Truth jumped Lashley from behind, but he paid dearly for the sneak attack: Lashley quickly turned it around on Elias and sent him retreating up the ramp after a brief scrap.
Braun Strowman has long been a proponent of disregarding wins and losses in favor of causing as much destruction as possible, but those carefree days may be short-lived for Mr. Monster in the Bank: Not only does he have a match looming against Kevin Owens where any kind of loss will cost Strowman his Money in the Bank contract, but his tunnel vision landed him on the wrong side of a count-out loss to Jinder Mahal on Raw.
Stemming from Strowman’s decimation of Mahal and Sunil Singh on last week’s Raw, the match began as you might expect — with Strowman heading toward a rout of the former WWE Champion, despite The Maharaja’s attempt to Shanti Strowman into passivity. Then, Owens appeared, stealing Strowman’s Money in the Bank briefcase and leading The Gift of Destruction on a mad chase that gave Mahal a count-out win. Strowman seemed a bit more shaken up than usual by this loss and with good reason. If it happens at SummerSlam, he loses the contract. Clearly, he’ll have to be something he usually isn’t when it comes to his rivalries: Careful.
The Authors of Pain’s rivalry with Titus Worldwide persists, largely because Titus Worldwide refuse to roll over for the ascendant powerhouses. So, Akam decided to zero in on Apollo Crews to forcibly extract deference from the veteran tag team. It didn’t quite go the way he’d hoped. After Crews proved to be harder to put away than expected, Akam got desperate and accidentally charged into the turnbuckle, leaving him to stumble backward straight into a match-ending rollup.
Usually, it’s Drew McIntyre who plays spoiler during Seth Rollins’ matches against Dolph Ziggler. This time around, the roles were reversed: After McIntyre’s dominant performance was cut short by an out-of-nowhere Stomp from Rollins, the Intercontinental Champion provided an eleventh-hour save of his hulking enforcer, saving McIntyre the humiliation of a pinfall loss at the hands of The Kingslayer.
Unfortunately, Ziggler’s interference also cost McIntyre the match, albeit via disqualification. The Showoff took advantage of the surprise to briefly put Rollins on his back, though The Kingslayer rallied to hit a suicide dive on the champion and leave in one piece. Of course, by that time, McIntyre had gotten back to his feet and given Rollins a stare that indicated The Architect isn’t quite as in the clear as he thinks.
As it turns out, he wasn't: Later in the show, Rollins was only seconds into a backstage interview when Ziggler & McIntyre struck, mobbing The Kingslayer and leaving him in a heap.
For weeks, The Revival have been scouting the Raw Tag Team Title picture as the championships shifted from the clutches of “Woken” Matt Hardy & Bray Wyatt to the jubilant hands of The B-Team. Now, the “Top Guys” are making their move.
After crashing a confab between The B-Team and The Deleters of Worlds, Dash & Dawson threw a wrench into the Tag Team division when they defeated Hardy & Wyatt in an impromptu match stemming from the confrontation. They used their time-honed tactics to do it, too, with Dash Wilder grabbing a handful of Wyatt’s dreadlocks before he could suffer Sister Abigail. With The Reaper of Souls thrown, Scott Dawson tagged in, and the team executed a textbook Shatter Machine to close out the match, a feat that was best summed up by The B-Team on commentary: "That's a big win."
You’d never think they had to go to counseling. Bayley & Sasha Banks earned their second consecutive victory as a team this week, this time toppling The Riott Squad despite an impressively fought contest from Liv Morgan & Sarah Logan.
Building off their matches with Ember Moon over the previous few weeks, Morgan & Logan turned in one of their crispest performances yet, battling back as Bayley & Sasha steadily began to roll. Once Logan was tossed out of the ring, however, Morgan found herself at a numbers disadvantage that became too much to overcome, and Banks & Bayley put her down with a combo of a Backstabber into a Bayley-to-Belly.
All throughout Raw, Kurt Angle tried everything he could to get Brock Lesnar to come to the ring — he even had Roman Reigns banned from the building at Stephanie McMahon's request — but his biggest threat was that he would fire Paul Heyman if The Beast failed to show. Surely, if anything would rouse The Beast into action, it would be the defense of his most strident and loyal advocate, right? Not necessarily.
Not only was Lesnar completely unmoved by Heyman's plight — he made it perfectly clear that he tolerates Heyman's "leeching" because it gets him paid during a tense backstage meeting — he only treated Heyman slightly less roughly than he did Angle when The Conqueror finally emerged from his locker room.
Heyman had been reduced to a pleading mess before Brock made his presence known, frantically admitting Brock is a bad champion and claiming he tried to “rehabilitate” The Conqueror in Angle’s image before falling to his knees and pleading for mercy from the Raw General Manager. Brock's music hit, and a relieved Heyman slipped right back into hype man mode as The Beast Incarnate dropped Angle with an F-5 after almost zero warning. (Constable Baron Corbin, having already been punched in the face by Reigns after The Big Dog was banned, wisely hit the bricks).
As he so often has, Heyman celebrated the champion's dominant display, only for Lesnar to grab him by the face and shove him down to the mat while the WWE Universe rained chants of “We want Roman” down on the Universal Champion. Of course, Reigns wasn’t there anymore, and it remains clearer that Brock Lesnar answers to no one. Not the General Manager. Not his advocate. Not the Constable. If anybody wants him to stop, the solution is as simple as it is daunting: Somebody needs to stop him. The question is whether anybody can.
- Numbers in parentheses indicate the length of the match.
- (c) refers to the champion(s) heading into the match.
- Baron Corbin defeated Finn Bálor (20:15)
- Alicia Fox (w/ Alexa Bliss) defeated Natalya (w/ Ronda Rousey) (5:00)
- Jinder Mahal (w/ Sunil Singh) defeated Braun Strowman by count out (1:35)
- Apollo Crews (w/ Titus O'Neil & Dana Brooke) defeated Akam (w/ Rezar) (1:55)
- Seth Rollins defeated Drew McIntyre (w/ Dolph Ziggler) by disqualification (8:15)
- The Revival (Scott Dawson & Dash Wilder) defeated The Deleters Of Worlds (Matt Hardy & Bray Wyatt) (6:05)
- Bayley & Sasha Banks defeated The Riott Squad (Sarah Logan & Liv Morgan) (8:50)
Other on-screen talent