With his son thriving as a member of the Raw roster and a recent enshrinement in the WWE Hall of Fame, Raw General Manager Kurt Angle had a joyous, celebratory Pittsburgh homecoming. That is, for all of about two minutes until Brock Lesnar came calling.
The reason for the Universal Champion's visit was to protest his Fatal 4-Way title defense against Roman Reigns, Samoa Joe and Braun Strowman at SummerSlam, but The Conqueror opted not to turn the Steel City into Suplex City. Instead, Paul Heyman — believing Angle only sanctioned the bout to put Lesnar in an unwinnable match — expressed his client's displeasure by way of a monumental ultimatum: If Brock loses his championship at The Biggest Event of the Summer, he'll leave WWE and take his advocate with him.
Cesaro & Sheamus may rule the roost as Raw Tag Team Champions, but the competition to rise above the pack has gotten incredibly fierce of late, with The Hardy Boyz, The Revival and Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson all trading wins and jockeying for position over the last few weeks. The latest matchup pitted Matt & Jeff against Gallows & Anderson, and no punches were pulled in this battle of brothers, both biological and “good.”
The Hardys attained the win with their Twist of Fate-Swanton Bomb combo to The Suntan Biker Man but quickly found themselves in a brawl at the top of the stage with The Revival, who were watching from commentary.
Gallows & Anderson joined in on the fracas, but Matt & Jeff stood tall after shoving Gallows into the LED boards, dropping Scott Dawson with a pair of Twists of Fate and shoving Anderson and Dash Wilder off the stage before Jeff swooped down on them from above with Poetry in Motion.
Akira Tozawa's dogged pursuit of the WWE Cruiserweight Title has done him more harm than good of late. The Stamina Monster has been so banged-up by his detour against Ariya Daivari that his benefactor, Titus O’Neil, flat-out asked Tozawa if he wanted to ditch a Six-Man Tag Team Match on Raw to save himself for the showdown with the self-dubbed “Sheik” on tomorrow's 205 Live that will determine Neville's challenger at SummerSlam.
Tozawa, of course, did no such thing. The Stamina Monster endured enough punishment to allow his partners, Rich Swann & Cedric Alexander, to overwhelm Daivari, TJP & Tony Nese with a pair of astounding maneuvers to the outside. And, thanks to a sneaky tag, Tozawa even put the match away by hitting the big senton on TJP after Swann felled The Fil-Am Flash with a kick to the head. Which is all well and good for a tag team match. Tomorrow, with a lingering shoulder injury and no help in sight, might be another story.
Jason Jordan's parentage has been the talk of Team Red ever since Kurt Angle revealed that the former SmackDown Tag Team Champion was his son two weeks ago, and like any Hollywood player worth his salt, The Miz tried to get in on the action for an exclusive “Miz TV” sitdown with the young Superstar. Of course, Miz's passive-aggressive line of questioning ended up getting him into more trouble than the interview may have been worth.
Miz's offer to mentor Jordan and add him to The Miztourage was turned down politely enough, but tensions began to escalate when The A-Lister implied that Jordan would receive preferential treatment from Angle. Miz went so far as to demean The Olympic Hero as a “washed-up jock” pining for long-gone glory.
Jordan threatened action if Miz kept trash-talking his father, and when The A-Lister responded with a cheap shot, Jordan struck, belly-to-bellying The Awesome One into his entire crew.
If Seth Rollins is still The Man, he remains a man without a country, as his continued efforts to mend fences with Dean Ambrose seemingly went nowhere in the early goings of Raw. His night did take a turn for the better when he defeated a trash-talking Sheamus (who, as Raw Tag Team Champions with Cesaro, does have brotherhood on his side), but unfortunately for The Kingslayer, he immediately found himself subjected to a 2-on-1 disadvantage.
Moments after Rollins pinned The Alabaster Gladiator off a rollup, Cesaro joined his partner in a two-pronged mugging of the former WWE Champion. Eventually, The Lunatic Fringe came to his old brother's aid after all, but Ambrose suffered a stomping of his own for his trouble. (True to form, Ambrose incurred extra punishment after eating a Neutralizer and daring the champs to keep it coming).
So, the good news, at the very least, is the former Shield brothers suffered a beatdown together. The bad news is that Ambrose still doesn't trust Rollins and went so far as to accuse The Architect of getting himself cornered so that if The Lunatic Fringe didn't intervene, he'd look like "the bad guy," and he promised Rollins he wouldn't be so quick to help him again.
Finn Bálor said he's ready to play Bray Wyatt's games, and it appears The Reaper of Souls has gotten the worst of the first turn.
One week after striking Bálor down in the middle of the charismatic Irishman's match against Elias, Wyatt arrived on Raw to preach his gospel, decrying the entire Bálor Club as wayward sheep following a “shell of a man that never was.”
At the conclusion of The Eater of Worlds’ speech, the lights went red, the sound of a heartbeat pulsed through the arena and Bálor himself appeared out of nowhere, emphatically driving Wyatt from the ring. Your move, Bray.
Advantage: Roman Reigns. At least for now.
In a Triple Threat that quickly spilled into a street fight, The Big Dog pulled slightly closer to Brock Lesnar in the mad dash for the Universal Championship by taking down his two fellow challengers, Braun Strowman and Samoa Joe. But before he did, in a taste of things to come at SummerSlam, all three heavyweights battled each other to a dead heat: Joe nearly put Strowman to sleep in the Coquina Clutch; Reigns Superman Punched Joe off the steps; Strowman threw Reigns from the arena floor back into the ring.
The Gift of Destruction was poised to claim the win when he seized a set of steps that had been laid in the ring, yet Reigns roared back at the last second, Superman Punching the steel out of Strowman's hand and using the stairs to knock the big man from the squared circle. With only Samoa Joe left to oppose him, Reigns revved up for a monstrous Spear and put The Samoan Submission Machine down for three.
Kalisto may have no interest in walking with Elias, but the wandering balladeer has no desire to let the former United States Champion fly.
When The King of Flight interrupted Elias in the middle of a savage song aimed at his own hometown of Pittsburgh, it seemed he would deliver some comeuppance to the fiendish guitarist. And yet, Elias would not be denied, thwarting the luchador's attack and ensnaring him for his rolling neckbreaker, now dubbed Drift Away.
As it turns out, Alexa Bliss couldn't be happier that Bayley will be the one to challenge her at SummerSlam — she had no desire to face Sasha Banks again and sees The Huggable One as slim pickings after beating her for the Raw Women's Title in the first place.
That Bayley had to take on Nia Jax without Banks in the building seemed to drastically hurt The Huggable One's odds, especially after Nia left her with a banged-up shoulder. When The Huggable One managed to even the odds and take the fight to the outside, Bliss intervened and Bayley managed to hold her off and claim a count-out victory after she olé’d Nia into the steel steps.
Bayley wasn't so bold as to throw down with both Superstars with only one good arm, but perhaps her title hopes aren’t quite as slim as Little Miss Bliss would like to believe.
According to Big Show, respect is something he can teach Big Cass, and he may well have been right, even if a victory over the seven-footer is still slightly beyond the giant's massive grasp.
The World's Largest Athlete had Big Cass on the ropes in Raw's main event clash among giants, even seizing Cass’ gullet in preparation for a massive chokeslam. He even rallied from a grinding attack on his knee, but when Cass blasted Show into la-la land with a boot to the head, Enzo Amore — who had previously apologized to Show for dragging him into Cass’ orbit— jumped on his former tag team partner's back and started throwing haymakers.
Enzo's attack handed Cass the disqualification win, and the big man seemed poised to put another beating on his former buddy after hitting a big boot ... at least until Show roared to life with a KO Punch that felled Cass like timber. Perhaps it's too generous to say that Big Cass has been taught respect, but Big Show seems to have taught him something all the same.
- Numbers in parentheses indicate the length of the match.
- (c) refers to the champion(s) heading into the match.
- Rich Swann, Cedric Alexander & Akira Tozawa (w/ Titus O'Neil) defeated Tony Nese, Ariya Daivari & TJP (8:45)
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