Last week’s RAW was essentially a dud. So why not kick this one off right? No setup, no warning, just a gimmicky match! Ring full of guys so one might assume this will be a Battle Royal. Apollo Crews enters and from out of nowhere we hear the voice of our IC champion, The Miz. He’s standing on the announce table walking back and forth. He welcomes everyone to Day 98 of his IC World Tour and announces that the winner of this Battle Royal will be the #1 Contender and will face him at Battleground.
We can see Baron Corbin’s Andre the Giant trophy so he’s somewhere in that ring. Michael Cole informs us that Corbin wanted the trophy out there to intimidate and remind everyone what happened last time he was in one of these brawl for alls. The other news is that Bob Backlund is at ringside watching his protege compete for the first time on LIVE TV!! Darren Young is here! Is he great enough to win? Let’s see.
All Social Outcasts and tag team partners have got to go. Guys without a gimmick and guys who haven’t been on LIVE TV (Darren Young is the exception here) are all tossed out. I’m sorry if I burst your bubble but that’s just how these things go. The Usos know this too. That’s probably why Jimmy tried a sneak attack to toss out Jey. After seeing a few rarely used Superstars, the Vaudeviallains, The Usos, The Dudleyz, the Social Outcasts and The GoldenTruth eliminated, we’re down to the final five: Baron Corbin, Dolph Ziggler, Apollo Crews, Alberto Del Rio, and Darren Young. Crews eliminates Del Rio, Corbin tosses Ziggler out like a piece of litter, and we’re down to the last three. Young is still feeling the effects of a Deep Six from a bit earlier. Corbin is still staring at Ziggler. Crews runs up on him and tries to flip him over. They both end up going over the top and Darren Young wins without really eliminating anyone! I’m telling you, Darren Young can be a great IC champion and this is his first step. We get to see him on a big stage against a proven vet. I can’t wait.
The McMahon Siblings
It’s been a while since we’ve seen both Shane and Stephanie on RAW at the same time. Sibling rivalries never quell. They’re still playfully arguing over who should run SmackDown. It’s been reported that Vince will be here in person and no one knows what if or what he plans to address. Roman Reigns? Brock Lesnar? Or maybe SmackDown and who will be in control? Before things get heated, Seth Rollins intrudes. He says he has some news on Roman Reigns that they might be interested in. How Roman is disrespectful and doesn’t care about the WWE Universe. Shane and Stephanie both like the idea of letting Seth speak to the Universe. Shane offers the Ambrose Asylum as a forum. Neither Seth nor Stephanie are feeling that idea. Seth has his own idea. Why not allow HIM to have a show? If Ambrose can do it, how hard can it be? Stephanie likes it and Shane agrees. Tonight we will witness the first ever installment of The Rollins Report.
Quick recap of this past weekend’s win for the WWE, Brock Lesnar. Lesnar defeated Mark Hunt at UFC 200 by unanimous decision. It was also reported that Lesnar will be taking on ‘The Viper’ Randy Orton at SummerSlam. We haven’t seen either Superstar in action for a while now. It’s been rumored that Orton would be returning for months now and it seems we now officially have a date. Orton will be on the Battleground edition of The Highlight Reel with Chris Jericho. And now, we wait.
Looking For Trouble
Zack Ryder is crazy. I mean, he’s confident which is a good thing, but stepping to Rusev the way he did? Okay let’s rewind. We see Ryder walking down a hallway. He spots Rusev and approaches him. When he gets to him, he doesn’t just call Rusev’s name, he grabs his arm and makes him turn and face him. He repeats what he said on SmackDown and asks Rusev for a match. While he waits for a response, he’s blindsided by Sheamus. I guess the Celtic Warrior is still bitter about his loses to Ryder last week. He kneels over a wounded Ryder and tells him that the two of them have a match and it’s next. Ryder will have to wait to get a piece of the US champ.
Sheamus Vs. Zack Ryder
Zack Ryder came into the match with fire. A little banged up from having just been attacked, it didn’t matter. At one point, Sheamus had what looked like a genuine Ric Flair moment. He was on his knees telling Zack to calm down. Zack has a really taken a step closer to the spotlight in the past week. Maybe this ruthless aggression will be enough to catapult him into a bigger role in this New Era?
Sheamus was able to counter a Broski Boot once but not twice. When Ryder connects he climbs to the top turnbuckle in hopes of landing The EL-BRO drop like he did last week. Sheamus is able to get up and knock him down. Ryder crawls away in pain. When he stands up he catches a Brogue Kick that flips him upside down and inside out. Three count.
After Sheamus scores the win, Rusev’s music hits. He storms down to the ring and Ryder immediately pounds away at him. A brave act that ended with him being Belly to Bellied and then becoming a victim to The Accolade. Rusev stretches waaay back like how he did to Kalisto and screams, “I ACCEPT! I ACCEPT YOUR CHALLENGE!” So Rusev and the new and improved Zack Ryder will have a title match soon. Maybe at Battleground? We’ll see.
Breezango Vs. The Lucha Dragons
We see a clip from earlier today where The Lucha Dragons play a trick on Breezango, but more specifically Tyler Breeze. They get water all over his fur which he says is Mongolian Chinchilla and that leads to them having a match tonight.
Breezango is looking like they’re finally figuring things out as a tag team in the ring. They’re working over Sin Cara and not allowing him to make a tag. When Sin Cara finally makes a move and tags in Kalisto, Kalisto botches a flip off the second rope. Breeze picks him up and Kalisto goes for it again and connects. The initial FAIL may not have been planned but it was definitely a telling sign. Kalisto would find himself in a compromising position on the top rope facing away from the ring. Breeze would tuck his head under the turnbuckle and hit him with a Super Kick before pulling him down and rolling him up for the win.
The Rollins Report
In a seemingly predictable segment, Seth shows us his video editing skills. He recorded himself asking hard hitting questions and used augmented segments of previous Roman Reigns interviews to answer them. WWE Champion Dean Ambrose had seen enough. He comes down the ramp and tells Rollins to his face to shut up. Shut up about Roman Reigns, losing the title, and crying about there being a Triple Threat Match. Ambrose does some of the best mic work I’ve ever seen him do. It felt real and from the heart. He talked about everything he’s been through to make it to this spot and how not even God himself can take the belt from him. He issued a One on One challenge for the title right then and there. Rollins sounded like he was ready to go but backed out of the ring. He told Ambrose they would fight when HE says so and left.
It WILL Happen
Next week, Dean Ambrose will defend his title against Seth Rollins LIVE on RAW! The outcome doesn’t really affect the Main Event at Battleground so there’s no reason for this match not to happen. Next week guys!
Kevin Owens Stands His Ground
Sami Zayn comes out to do commentary for Kevin Owen’s match. He sits down, puts his headphones on, and says hi to the crowd. Kevin’s music hits but no Kevin Owens! Everyone is confused until we see footage from the back. Three referees are trying to get Kevin to come out to the ring. He refuses to come out until Sami Zayn leaves ringside. Stephanie steps in and demands that the refs do their job and remove Sami Zayn so that Owens can come to the ring and fight. They hustle out and surround Zayn. He tells everyone that Shane gave him the okay to be out there. He didn’t want to be any trouble so he left peacefully. As soon as he gets to the ramp, Owens music hits again. He comes down and grins at Zayn and that sets him off. The two brawl out on the ramp but the refs break it up. Owens runs to the ring and taunts Zayn some more. Zayn leaves.
Mr. McMahon Speaks
Mr. McMahon is here!! He steps out of his car and immediately into a microphone. He explains that he’s here to name the Commissioner of SmackDown. He says he’s not sure of his selection and might change his mind before he gathers everyone at the ring and makes the official announcement.
Kevin Owens Vs. Cesaro
You should expect nothing less than an excellent showing from these two. In fact, I’ll just post some pictures here and let you be the judge of how the match went. One thing I’ll say ahead of time is that the scuffle with Sami Zayn did not manifest itself as an injury heading into the match. All was good.
The best part of this match to me was the ending. Owens won it without using his finisher. This is what I’ve been craving. A little creativity. Some realism. Since when does a Superstar have to use his finisher to win every match? It weakens the move when you see it or it’s used all the time. Show me you can beat someone without it. Kudos to Owens and Cesaro for quite possibly putting on the match of the night.
After the match, KO bullies Byron and takes his headset. He begins to brag and boasts about how great he is until Sami Zayn flies from the crowd and takes him out. He starts pounding on him and Owens escapes to the ring. Well Cesaro is still around and he has some spare time on his hands. Time to swing! Sami loves it and gives him some dap while Owens tries to remember where he is.
The Club Interview
Renee Young is here to ask The Club questions, but The Club is here to act goofy and crack jokes. They pledge to teach Enzo & Cass a lesson and poke fun at John Cena for having to practice for his hosting gig at the ESPYs on Wednesday. A real humorous segment.
Heath Slater Vs. Titus O’Neil
The Social Outcasts come out and the man I believe is the leader, Heath Slater, is ready for some action with his old buddy Titus. I’m still waiting for a Titus/Ziggler matchup or maybe Titus/Del Rio. I want so badly for Titus and everyone on the roster to progress and contend. Until that happens, easy wins for Titus including tonight.
Sasha Banks Interview
Sasha is geared up and ready to rumble for her match with Dana Brooke tonight. It’s been almost 2 hours and we have yet to see a woman other than Renee and Stephanie. What happened to giving them a chance? Anywho, Sasha talked about watching Snoop on Celebrity Family Feud and getting her hair done on Saturday. The hairdressers told her to shut Dana’s mouth and she’s more than capable of doing just that. After the way Charlotte and Dana mocked her on SmackDown, she can’t wait to get in the ring and throw down. Boss Out.
Views From the Compound
We see New Day in the woods and they have flashlights. It’s late so it’s dark. A little girl with a sheep mask holding a lantern appears, then disappears. They look around. Lights all around them. Headlights! Are there a million Wyatts or is this an illusion? The three Wyatts we were all expecting come out of a car with weapons in hand. New Day drop their flashlights and pick up weapons too. The two crews run at each other. The Wyatts get the better of Kofi and Big E but Xavier manages to escape. He’s in hiding until Bray strays away himself and finds him. They are a little ways off from the battlefield. He pummels Woods, throwing him into trees and water.
Back at the battleground, New Day has made a comeback. Kofi flings water in Strowman’s eyes causing him to rush recklessly into a car. Big E hits Rowan with what looks like a trash can. Things are looking good until Bray returns with an unconscious Woods. He drops his motionless body on the ground. The Wyatt Family take advantage of the numbers game and then take advantage of New Day. They slam E on the hood of a car and Bray orders Braun to climb on the roof. It looks like Strowman is going to jump down on him! In a flash, Xavier Woods jumps in and starts bashing Rowan in the back with a trash can lid. Kofi takes out Braun with a foreign object and Bray and Woods go at it with fists. Bray gets the better of Xavier and throws him in the back of a car. Xavier escapes out the other door and New Day retreat into hiding. Bray is forced to take his frustrations out on a car, busting the windshield with a pick axe and breaking all the windows. He asks aloud, “Where’s your power of positivity now?”
Xavier sneaks into the frame and punts Bray in the face. Kofi and E appear and the three back Bray into the field where the battle started. Bray falls to his knees and begins laughing. We see Rowan and Strowman. The cars are still there but this time we see lights around them that look like giant fireflies, and masked people all around. Bray’s laughter gets more maniacal and the New Day back away. Creepy segment over.
The Club (Karl Anderson & Luke Gallows) Vs. Enzo & Cass
The Club enter the ring first. Out come Enzo and Cass. Cass gets on the mic and further elaborates on what he was saying last week.
“We ALL want John Cena’s spot. The only difference is that me and Enzo are going to work for it and do it the right way.” Cass says something of that nature and Enzo agrees. They of course call them SAWFT but add on boneless. They won’t wait around for The Club to use the numbers game and take them out. They want to bring the fight to them. AJ Styles warns them that John Cena doesn’t care about them and that Anderson and Gallows will take them out. AJ tells them to turn around and leave or catch a beat down in this tag match. There’s no chill or give in Enzo and Cass so they enter the ring.
The match is going like a lot of Enzo & Cass matches go. Enzo’s in the ring doing work, Enzo gets blindsided, Enzo’s hurt, Enzo needs to make a tag, and Enzo tags in Cass to save the day. Cass comes in and cleans house. One man wrecking crew. Cass hits Anderson with all his best stuff and sets up for the Bada Boom Shakalaka. Enzo lands but he’s still hurt from the beating he took. He doesn’t immediately go for the cover.
Cass spots Styles on the apron. He rushes over and goes for the boot. AJ pulls the top rope down. At the same time, Enzo goes for the pin. Gallows comes in to break it up. AJ takes a cheap shot at Cass and throws him over the barricade. The ref saw it and called for the bell. Enzo & Cass win by DQ but we’re not quite done here.
The Club corners Enzo. Cass is still nowhere to be seen. Things aren’t looking too good for the Certified G, until a familiar tune hits…
It’s John Cena!!! Here to save the day and just in the nick of time. Cass has gotten up and joined in on the fight as well. Cena and crew clean house and send The Club packing. AJ is livid.
Dana Brooke w/Charlotte Vs. Sasha Banks
The Boss came out in game mode. She charged at Dana and put her on her back from the jump. Dana rolls out the ring to regroup. She takes her time and gets some advice from Charlotte. She gets back in the ring and Sasha chases her out again. Sasha is ferocious! After another pep talk from Charlotte, Dana gets back in and looks ready to go. Banks still shows that maybe she just has Dana’s number. They get tangled up in the corner and Dana flips Sasha out to the apron. Sasha goes for a shoulder thrust between the 2nd and 3rd rope but Dana moves. Brooke kicks Sasha and makes her fall to the floor and hit her face on the apron on the way down. This is Dana’s opportunity to put Banks away and she squanders it! Sasha makes a comeback and forces a tap with the Bank Statement.
Charlotte isn’t impressed. She takes to the microphone to voice her opinions. She asks Sasha if she thinks she’s a worthy contender for the Woman’s title. She says one lucky victory does not a contender make. Any fool can buy a lotto ticket and get lucky once. In order to see if Sasha is worthy of a title shot she asks her to face Dana one more time on SmackDown later this week. The plot thickens even more.
Who Will Be Commissioner?
Shane comes out, and then Stephanie. Stephanie mocks Shane and the WWE Universe as they wait for their father to come out, and here he comes. Mr. McMahon steps into the ring and yells for the music to be cut. He’s ready to get straight to the point. He starts off by saying how disappointed he is in both of his children. He sarcastically questions if they’re even his kids. He wanted backstabbing and arguing and fighting. He’s just a disappointed old man. He thinks Stephanie is too sweet and Shane lost his WrestleMania match so by default shouldn’t be here. He tells each of his kids to plead their case. Stephanie tries to bury Shane by throwing him under the bus and Shane tries to win his dad over by pandering to the crowd. Vince has heard enough and he’s ready to make his decision.
The person who will run SmackDown is…..
Shane McMahon! Of course he has to relinquish his power on RAW, and Stephanie will still be running that, but he’s excited! Stephanie will run RAW, Shane will run SmackDown, but neither will do it alone. Vince wants an all out war. He wants them to compete in ratings, sells, merchandise, and PPV numbers. In order for that to work, they will both have to select General Managers. That means we should expect two familiar faces very soon. As soon as next week on RAW to be precise. That’s their deadline to choose a representative or Vince stated he will select the GM himself. Vince leaves the siblings in the ring to reflect and the two go back and forth picking at and dissing each other. Stephanie slaps Shane and walks away. The draft is next week.