If you watched Raw carefully tonight there were some very weird things going on behind the scenes.
Firstly, there was some kind of car crash backstage.
Secondly, a squad of security guards or police officers went running past some superstars backstage.
Thirdly, at the end of the show as AJ Styles was celebrating his win in the ring there was some kind of scuffle at ringside with what looks like security guards or police officers arresting someone. It was purposely caught on camera and distracts Styles who remains inside the ring.
It appears that it is Dexter Lumis who is led away.
What could it all mean? What do I look like? Hercule Poirot? What I do know is that its a pretty cool way to reveal some kind of angle.
While I may not know the answer to those related incidents Raw has been getting better under the guidance of Triple H. Could this week be another big step in the right direction?
Let’s see, shall we?
To open the show Bayley and her buddies come waltzing down to the ring. Bayley teases some bratty kid on the way down. I am liking her more already.
The trio are roundly booed.
“We are so happy to see your dumb smiley faces too,” Bayley responds.
Bayley says she created Control to reinvigorate an uninspired women’s division. She cannot believe the fans liked watching Becky Lynch “play dress-up” every week or cheer Bianca Belair as champion. Lynch playing “dress-up” is right. She acted like such a tool.
“Bianca would be nothing without me!” says Bayley. “We are bringing back what is missing.”
Bayley gets Dakota Kai’s name wrong and lashes out at the crowd for laughing at her.
Asuka, Bianca Belair and the useless Alexa Bliss come down to the ring. They really need to make Bliss a manager. She just doesn’t cut it in the ring any more. Asuka needs to stop acting like a goof, dancing like a moron and be the serious bad ass she is.
Bliss warns Sky and Kai that if they win their tournament match tonight they will face her and Asuka next week.
Bayley challenges Asuka, Bliss and Belair to a three-way match at Clash at the Castle.
So, we are back to superstars making their own matches again? Great.
Things devolve into another brawl. Bliss leaps off a barricade onto everyone taking them out. Once again, Bliss looks so tentative executing the simplest of moves. It is like she is constantly afraid of being injured or something. Make her a manager already, HHH, before she devolves any further.
Almost 30 minutes gone and no wrestling yet.
Seth Rollins versus Angelo Dawkins
Rollins dances out like a twit. What is it with WWE superstars having to dance to the ring? Are they auditioning for Dancing with the Stars? The angle is that Dawkins is pissed Seth tried to stomp Ford’s head through the ring last week.
There are actually fans in the crowd wearing Chad Gable ‘Shoosh’ shirts? Really humanoids? Really?
Rollins goes for his stomp early on but misses. Rollins is out on the floor. Ford starts twitching in front of him like he just stepped on an electrified cable. No idea what that’s about. These WWE superstars are becoming more and more like cartoon characters.
While Rollins is distracted Dawkins just bulldozes him with a tackle that knocks him over the announce table. Rollins gets Ford ticked off. Ford rushes into the ring with a steel chair. The official gives him a warning. Ford advances on Rollins so he is ejected from ringside. The crowd boos because the official enforced the rules. Jabronis.
Rollins misses his stomp twice more and Dawkins powerbombs him for a two count. Rollins just drops out of the ring to the floor in slow motion. Dawkins charges Rollins and is thrown into the steel stairs. Rollins wins with the Pedigree. Rollins hits his stomp on Dawkins. Ford arrives too late to be of any help. Was he taking a nap in the back? Did he not learn from last week? What’s up with that?
Winner: Seth Rollins
The Mysterios are backstage. Edge takes a week to apologize for the goof-up on the last episode of Raw. Rey has known Edge for 20 years. He accepts his apology no questions asked. Dominik stares at Edge with furious anger. He shoves him. He cannot believe Rey is taking Edge’s side. “You have known me for 25 years!” shouts Dom before stomping off.
Kevin Patrick interviews The Miz and Ciampa. Ciampa says: “Believe in Ciampa! You know who believed in me? Harley Race. I am dedicating my win to ‘The King’ Harley Race!” he says.
Ezekiel versus Kevin Owens
Are we doing this again? I thought we moved past this stupid angle. That waste of space Ezekiel is already in the ring. He gets no entrance. Owens goes nuts throwing Zeke into the announce table, the barriers, gives him a powerbomb on the apron. The official calls for help. Zeke is out of it. Owens gets back into the ring and stares down at Zeke as Adam Pearce and paramedics arrive with a stretcher. Owens laughs and smiles in the ring. I hope this means we don’t see Ezekiel ever again. Enough with the constant clown shows, WWE.
Winner: Match thrown out.
Almost 50 minutes in and we have eight minutes of actual wrestling.
Finn Balor versus Dominik Mysterio
This is a really good match between the two. Balor is accompanied to the ring by Damian Priest. Priest officially challenges Edge to a match in Toronto at Raw in two weeks to “end things for good” in front of Edge’s friends and family. Rey meets with Edge before be heads out to the ring. Rey cannot find Dom. Edge offers to come to the ring to give Rey some back-up. Rey thanks Edge but says that will just anger Dom more and he doesn’t want to do that. Dom will come to his senses. He always does. Dom doesn’t come to ringside.
Rey dives off the ropes. Balor dodges and Rey wipes out. Balor stomps the crap out of Rey. Balor mocks Rey attempting the Three Amigos suplex. Rey reverses the last one ruining things for Balor. Priest interferes allowing Balor to slap Rey’s head into a steel post. Balor and Rey battle on the top rope. Rey slides out of the ring powerbombing Balor into the ringside barricade. Priest starts jawing with Rey. Priest trips up Rey knocking him off the apron. Edge races to the ring kicking the stuffing out of Priest. They brawl into the stands. Balor counters the 619 with a clothesline, shotgun drop kick but misses the Coup de grâce.
Rey is about to go for the 619. Ripley appears with Dom on the entrance way. He is battered, bruised and bleeding. His shirt is ripped and torn. Balor beats a distracted Rey with a 1916 and the Coup de grâce. Rey reaches for his son in the ring as Ripley and Balor stand over him.
Winner: Finn Balor.
Tamina and Dana Brooke chat backstage. Control make their presence known. The two sides blither and blather.
Tamina and Dana Brooke versus Dakota Kai and Io Sky – Women’s Tag Team Championship Tournament Match
Tamina just bludgeons Kai and Sky. Her suplex has Kai and Sky conferencing on the floor. Brooke splashes them. Bayley wanders over. She tells Brooke: “They don’t need me.” Sky whips Brooke into the ringside barricade. Kai and Sky just destroy Brooke with their double-teaming. They block Brooke from tagging in Tamina.
The crowd starts cheering…Bayley sucks!
Brooke finally tags in Tamina who smashes Sky and Kai. Kai has to save Sky after a Samoan Drop. Brooke and Kai battle on the floor. Bayley pulls Kai out of the way so Brooke collides with the barricade. Tamina and Sky goof up in an awkward sequence. Tamina jumps off the top rope, lands on her feet but Sky has her knees up. They lock eyes not sure what to do next. Sky pins Tamina with her moonsault from the top rope.
Winners: Dakota Kai and Io Sky
An hour and 42 minutes of Raw. approximately 25 minutes of wrestling.
Dom is being attended to by medical personal. A worried Rey stands by as he is examined. I say it again…if he is that hurt why isn’t he at the hospital?
Bobby Lashley (c) versus Ciampa – United States Championship Match
Ciampa is wearing a robe worn by Harley Race himself. Very, very cool.
The Miz is at Ciampa’s side. Ciampa quickly pummels Lashley. Lashley just tackles Ciampa to the mat. A standing suplex has Ciampa rattled. Lashley points to The Miz warning him not to interfere. Ciampa cuts Lashley down to size with a chop block.
Ciampa rolls out of the ring before Lashley can splatter him with a tackle. Lashley is about to slam Ciampa into a steel post. The Miz stands is in his way so Lashley just heaves him into The Miz. A shoulder tackle and a clothesline in a corner takes some spring out of Ciampa’s step.
Ciampa reverses a slam from Lashley into a reverse DDT. Lashley escapes the Fairy Tale Ending to spear Ciampa. The Miz puts Ciampa’s foot over the ropes to stop the count. AJ Styles comes out of nowhere to chase off The Miz. Ciampa rips off a turnbuckle pad. The Miz and Styles run into the ring as Lashley goes for the Hurt Lock. Ciampa rams Lashley’s head into the exposed turnbuckle and the steel post. Lashley still kicks out! Lashley kicks out of Willow’s Bell. Lashley slams Ciampa and puts him in the Hurt Lock. Ciampa taps out.
Winner: Bobby Lashley
Miz and Styles continue to fight in the backstage area until officials come to break them up. Tonight: Styles and The Miz in a No DQ Match.
Omos versus Andrea Guercio and Spencer Slade
Omos dispatches these two body bags easily.
There will be an exclusive interview with Riddle next week. nSeth Rollins crackles backstage. Seth is enraged he is being asked about Riddle. He thought he was done with him. “I am the gatekeeper of this industry,” declares Rollins. Rollins says Riddle is the best at flushing his potential down the toilet. “If you don’t believe me ask Dana White,” he laughs. Rollins warns Riddle to retire from the business next week or he will “Cody Rhodes” him out of the WWE.
Chad Gable versus Dolph Ziggler
Who is this Dolph Ziggler and why is he still in WWE? He has always been about as interesting as plain white toast without any butter on it. Why is this match given so much time and why are we watching this? Ziggler and Gable mat wrestle around, take each other down for minutes on end. Zzzzzz. Ziggler hits a nice DDT but Dolph cannot put Gable away. Ziggler is trapped in the ankle lock. He fights out of it. Misses a famouser and is put in another ankle lock. Ziggler wins with a super kick. Otis moves to attack. Ziggler limps out of the ring.
Winner: Some dude named Dolph Ziggler.
Alexis Bliss and Asuka versus Niki ASH and Doudrop WWE Women’s Tag Team Tournmanert Match is set for next week. Gee, guess who will win that one? As Control, Asuka and Bliss trade verbal barbs an entire squad of security motors by as Styles just saunters by.
AJ Styles versus The Miz – No DQ Match
Cleveland’s own The Miz is in the main event. The fight goes to the floor immeditaely. Styles slams Miz’s head into the announce table. Miz throws Styles into the ring stairs. Style hits Miz with a running knee off the apron. Styles pulls out a Kendo stick and tosses away. He takes out a steel chair. He throws that aside. He begins to slide out a table. Miz blasts him with a kick to the skull. Back in the ring, Miz labels him with said Kendo stick. A clothesline sends Miz over the top rope. Miz throws Styles off the announce table and over a ringside barricade to the floor. Styles sets up a table on the floor. Miz hits him with a Kendo stick for doing so, over and over again. The Miz puts the stick under Styles’ throat trying to choke him out. Styles elbows his way out of the hold. Styles picks up the stick and it is his turn to whip Miz and crotch him. A Sandman-like Russian Leg Sweep with the stick gets Styles a two. A Phenomenal Forearm has Miz pinned. Ciampa pulls the official out of the ring. Styles goes after Ciampa. A running forearm sends Ciampa off the apron and through a table. Miz throws a steel chair into Styles’ face as he goes for another Phenomenal Forearm and hits the Skull Crushing Finale. Styles kicks out. Miz attempts a figure four. Styles kicks him off into a steel chair propped up in a corner. A Styles Clash pins The Miz.
Winner: AJ Styles
On a three hour wrestling show we had approximately 53 minutes of actual wrestling.
August 8th, 2002
While it may not be perfect and probably never will be, Raw is improving under the new regime. The problem is they are saddled with a three hour wrestling show most people would rather be two. The “background” storyline was innovative and creative storytelling. I really liked those pieces linking up. The match quality though wasn’t nearly as good as last week’s show. The angles were all solid though. Nothing was left dragging or felt out of place. The pieces did all fit. It was a cohesive show. Raw has a long way to go but it has also come a long way in a very short period of time.