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It’s Week 3 of the brand split with Smackdown GM Daniel Bryan visiting Raw GM Mick Foley to discuss the Brock Lesnar vs. Randy Orton situation two weeks away from Summerslam. …
WWE Raw TV Report
August 8, 2016 – Episode #1,211
Live in Anaheim, Calif.
Report by James Caldwell (@JCTorch), PWTorch assistant editor
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- Week 3 of the Brand Split – Raw run by Stephanie McMahon & Mick Foley
- Smackdown GM Daniel Bryan visiting Foley
- Brock Lesnar vs. Randy Orton SSlam hype video
- Seth Rollins addresses Finn Balor
- Cesaro vs. Sheamus
- WWE tag champion Kofi Kingston vs. Luke Gallows
- The Dudleys vs. Neville & ???
- U.S. champion Rusev & Lana honeymoon on Raw
- Summerslam PPV build-up
Last Week on Raw: Finn Balor and Seth Rollins went face-to-face before their Universal Title match at Summerslam, Roman Reigns picked a fight with new U.S. champion Rusev, and Randy Orton crashed Brock Lesnar’s Raw TV return with an RKO Outta Nowhere. Then, on Smackdown Live, Lesnar returned the favor with an F5 to Orton.
Live at the Honda Center, Raw kicked off with full pyro and fireworks. Michael Cole said the New Era has come to the West Coast for Raw. The announcers hyped a video package on Brock Lesnar vs. Randy Orton leading into Summerslam. Plus, Mick Foley has invited Daniel Bryan to Raw. And, Puff Daddy guest-stars on Raw.
Enzo Amore’s music then played to bring out Enzo and Big Cass to kick off Raw. Enzo did the pre-match ring intro before they hit the ring to continue the rap. Enzo said he came out here last Monday on Raw and tried to get close to Women’s champion Sasha Banks. Cass, she was smitten. Cass said Enzo was like catnip to a kitten. Enzo said the chemistry in the ring was like a science fair. Cass said it was like Mike Trout hitting a dinger. (Apparently there were some Dodgers fans mixed with Angels fans in the crowd based on a mixed response.)
Enzo said he was on the track and ready to hit a home run when Chris Jericho interrupted. He said Jericho’s scarf & no shirt makes him want to puke a little bit. Enzo told that “Axl Rose wannabe” that he’s going down.
Chris Jericho’s music interrupted. Jericho bounced out on-stage telling Enzo that the only reason why he’s still here in WWE is because he has a seven-foot maid to clean up his messes. Jericho said Enzo feels like he can run his mouth because he has Cass backing him up. Well, guess, what, I have back-up too.
Out came Kevin Owens to a big reaction back in SoCal where he was part of PWG for several years. Owens and Jericho marched down to the ring to stand opposite Enzo and Cass for a stare down.
Jericho said he and Owens are close Canadian brothers now. And no matter what he does, Owens has his back. Owens was just standing there not moving with his arms folded. Kevin, you got my back? “Yeah,” Owens finally answered. Cass asked if they’re like Bert & Ernie scrubbing each other’s backs. Jericho said only a stupid idiot would think that’s funny. Cass told Jericho to do something about it.
Owens took over. He said he used to like Cass when they were in NXT because he could relate to him carrying around dead weight as a tag partner. But, he got rid of his dead weight (Sami Zayn) before coming to Raw. Owens said now he has to listen to Enzo spit non-sensical garbage every week. So, now he doesn’t like Cass and he doesn’t care that Cass is seven-foot-tall because he’s going to hurt him.
Cass towered over Owens, who backed down verbally, noting if he’s not going to hurt Cass, then Chris Jericho is going to hurt him. Jericho was like, um, well, maybe not. Jericho got some confidence and said he’ll hurt Cass all right. Cass wanted to fight right now.
[Q2] Jericho comically redirected toward Enzo, saying he’s ready to fight him. And you’re going to get … It. Enzo said he doesn’t know what “it” is, but when he finds out what it is, he’s going to shove it down Jericho’s throat. Enzo’s music played to end the promo exchange. Cole said they’re going to settle “it” next on Raw.
[Commercial Break at 8:17]
1 — CHRIS JERICHO (w/Kevin Owens) vs. ENZO AMORE (w/Big Cass)
Jericho opened with offense, then Enzo answered with a dropkick and series of armdrags into an armbar. Enzo worked the armbar until Jericho slapped him across the face. Chop to the chest followed. Enzo answered with a head scissors, but he ran into a knock-down clothesline from Jericho. Owens then cheap-shot Enzo from the outside behind the ref’s back.
Enzo tried to fire back with right hands to Jericho, but Jericho cut him off with a dropkick. Jericho talked trash to the crowd, then tossed Enzo over the top rope, but Enzo skinned the cat back into the ring. Enzo then dumped Jericho over the top rope to the floor. Enzo followed with a baseball slide, then all four men squared off on the floor heading to break.
[Commercial Break at 8:24. A local spot for Raw TV in Houston on August 29 advertised Reigns vs. Rollins.]
Back from break, Jericho and Enzo traded close nearfalls before the crowd fired up with the Enzooooo Amoreeee sing-song. Enzo then charged Jericho looking for a huracanrana, but Jericho caught him and transitioned to the Walls of Jericho. Enzo fought the hold, then crawled toward the bottom rope for a break. Jericho argued with the ref, thinking he won.
[Q3] Jericho rolled to the floor to talk to Owens, then Enzo splashed Jericho with a plancha. Enzo rolled Jericho back into the ring, then Owens grabbed Enzo from behind. Cass charged Owens to dispute his involvement, meanwhile Jericho dropped Enzo with a Codebreaker. Cass sensed Enzo in trouble, so he charged the ring and big-booted Jericho right in the face. The ref called for the bell and Jericho was declared the winner via DQ. Owens and Jericho celebrated up the ramp as Enzo recovered in the ring.
WINNER: Jericho via DQ at 11:11.
Post-match, Cass took the mic and called out Kevin Owens. He said if you want to stick your nose in our business, then why don’t you fight us in our backyards at Summerslam in Brooklyn? Owens and Jericho shouted from the stage that they’re on, and Owens vowed to kick their asses. Because they’re winners! From the ring, Cass said they’re going to prove there’s only one way to describe them – S-A-W-F-T! Cole said Stephanie McMahon and Mick Foley will have to make it official for Summerslam.
Tonight: U.S. champion Rusev and Lana celebrate their marriage.
Authority’s Office: Mick Foley was on the phone – it was Stephanie McMahon. He said he got rid of the clipboard and was using the tablet (while holding the clipboard). Women’s champion Sasha Banks then walked into the room. Foley said The Boss is here. No, not your dad, it’s Sasha Banks. Foley hung up on Stephanie.
Sasha had a proposal for Foley – a handicap match at Summerslam with Charlotte and Dana Brooke facing her because she wants to get rid of Dana once and for all. Foley had a different idea. He proposed Sasha face Dana tonight, and if Sasha wins, then Dana is banned from ringside at Summerslam. But, if Dana wins, then it will be a handicap Women’s Title match at Summerslam.
[Commercial Break at 8:35]
In-ring: Back from break, Braun Strowman kind of limped out on-stage. Strowman then marched down to the ring as Byron Saxton was standing by with his opponent tonight. Backstage, Saxton was standing by with Jorel Nelson. Nelson had no words to explain why he took the match. Nelson got his own ring music and was introduced from Anaheim. Cole said he’s just trying to make a buck in the industry. Meanwhile, Strowman looked very hungry.
2 — BRAUN STROWMAN vs. JOREL NELSON
Nelson had second thoughts and tried leaving the ring, but Strowman bumped him off the ring apron to the floor. Strowman dragged him back into the ring, then nailed a lariat and reverse one-hand chokeslam for the pin and the win. Strowman was still hungry after the match.
WINNER: Strowman at 0:50.
Authority’s Office: Mick Foley was now on his tablet. Puff Daddy then walked in to boos from the live crowd. Diddy said he and his group are going back on-tour and he presented Foley with some front row tickets. New Day’s Xavier Woods and Kofi Kingston then walked into the room to talk about the “WWE 2K17” video game soundtrack.
Diddy wanted to get down to business wanting to know how Big E.’s nuts are doing. Foley said you can’t say that on TV. Kofi got fired up talking about The Club being the Vanilla Ice of the tag division. Woods calmed him down, then New Day suggested they talk to Big E. on the phone. Diddy and Foley shook hands to wrap the bit.
[Q4] [Commercial Break at 8:46]
Back from break, Titus O’Neil, Darren Young, and Bob Backlund were hanging out in the ring. They replayed Titus cheating to win against D-Young last Monday on Raw. Backlund flipped out on Titus, drawing in Young to punch Titus in the face.
3 — TITUS O’NEIL vs. DARREN YOUNG (w/Bob Backlund)
Titus and D-Young came face-to-face once the bell sounded. Young slapped O’Neil in the face, so Titus smashed him in the nose. Young fell to the floor, where Titus destroyed Young with power offense. The fight moved back into the ring, where Titus slapped Young across the head. O’Neil then smashed Young in the face with a clothesline.
O’Neil continued to punish D-Young, who flew off the second rope trying a desperation cross-body splash, but Titus caught him in mid-air. D-Young slid down Titus into a roll-up, then he hooked the tights and scored a three count. Backlund celebrated with Young, who flashed a wry smile to O’Neil. They replayed Backlund having his back turned to the action when Young cheated to win, so he had plausible deniability.
WINNER: D-Young at 1:58. Looks like a Best-of-Three series ending next week on Raw or at Summerslam.
Up Next: Seth Rollins has something to say about Finn Balor.
NXT Preview: Asuka vs. Bayley for the Women’s Title at Takeover: Brooklyn. This Wednesday, it’s the contract signing on WWE Network.
[Commercial Break at 8:55]
The Cruiserweights are coming to Raw. Date TBA.
Seth Rollins Promo
Seth Rollins’s music played two minutes before the top of the hour to bring out Rollins with something to say before facing Finn Balor for the Universal Title at Summerslam. Rollins stood in the ring listening to the crowd before beginning his promo.
[Q5 — second hour] Rollins said the New Era is here and he’s learned a few things. Yes, even The Great Seth Rollins. Notably, his opponent at Summerslam, Finn Balor. He said he’s been following his career and he thought he was just a knock-off version of himself. Then, after last week, he was forced to re-evaluate his opinion of Finn Balor.
A video package recapped the high-points from last week’s promo exchange when Rollins vowed to beat Balor at Summerslam, Balor vowed to hand him his ass, and Rollins went for a cheap-shot that Balor blocked before clearing Rollins from the ring.
Back live, Rollins sold internal anger re-living that. He said Balor is athletic and a potent striker, but he is a supreme athlete who would have more Gold Medals than Michael Phelps if being great was an Olympic sport.
Rollins wanted to take more about Finn Balor, saying that isn’t even his real name. He said he thinks he’s a famous demon warrior king. And, the more he gets to know Balor, the more he doesn’t like him. Rollins said Balor has not shown him proper respect since coming to Raw. He is not a regular person, because this is his arena and his ring.
Rollins said Balor stood in this ring and told him that he was going to beat him for the Universal Title. Well, he worked harder than everyone else for the very top spot in WWE. And he is not ignorant like Balor. He said he doesn’t need to surround himself with myths and legends to prop himself up. “I know who I am. And I know what I am capable of!” Rollins said. “I am The Man!”
Rollins said in 200 years, parents will be telling kids about Seth Rollins. He said they will tell stories about Rollins crushing the face that runs the place, conquering the Roman Empire (pop), and he will add to his legend at Summerslam by beating Finn Balor to become the first-ever Universal champion. Rollins threw down the mic and extended his arms.
Still to come: An in-depth look at Rollins’s opponent at Summerslam, Finn Balor.
Announcers: Michael Cole, Corey Graves, and Byron Saxton were shown on-camera standing at the new announce position. Cole hyped Brock Lesnar vs. Randy Orton for the first time on PPV at Summerslam.
Last Monday: Randy Orton hit Brock Lesnar with an RKO out of nowhere.
Still to come: D-Bryan on Raw to address the Orton-Lesnar situation.
What’s the main event of Raw tonight?
[Commercial Break at 9:09]
Summerslam hype: Over on Smackdown, it’s Dean Ambrose vs. Dolph Ziggler for the WWE Title.
Announcers: Cole, Saxton, and Graves hyped the new Scooby-Doo WWE movie. Saxton was so excited about the movie, while Graves and Cole rolled their eyes. Cole said this man is also part of the film…
Sheamus’s music played to bring out Sheamus with a full ring introduction. Sheamus posed in the ring before Cesaro’s music played for the full James Bond ring introduction. Cole recapped Cesaro winning last week trying to impress Mick Foley, who booked a re-match tonight. According to Cole, apparently Cesaro winning the match wasn’t good enough, as he didn’t feel like it established who was physically dominant. Then, why did they erect a ring in an arena, assign a referee to a match, and have two guys wrestle from the sound of one bell to the sound of a second bell?
4 — CESARO vs. SHEAMUS
Sheamus took control heading to an early break. “Are you not entertained?” Sheamus shouted toward the crowd heading to break.
[Commercial Break at 9:18]
Michael Cole back from break: “Cesaro won a victory last week against Sheamus. But, a brawl after the match-up didn’t leave a clear winner.” In the ring, Sheamus continued to dominate. But, he couldn’t put Cesaro away.
Sheamus then bumped heads with referee Rod Zapata, who slammed his fist on the mat in anger. Sheamus spun him around and the ref yelled at Sheamus that he hit him in the head. Cesaro then rolled up Sheamus for a three count. Post-match, Cesaro flashed a sheepish smile after getting the win. Meanwhile, Sheamus and the ref continued to argue after the match, with the ref really giving it to him.
WINNER: Apparently it doesn’t matter, but Cesaro at 11:00. And, according to the premise of the re-match, the feud will continue since Cesaro wasn’t “physically dominant” winning the match.
Still to come: Brock Lesnar vs. Randy Orton hype package.
[Q7] [Commercial Break at 9:29]
Smackdown plug: Stuff is going to happen tomorrow. They’re just not sure what.
Announcers: Cole, Graves, and Saxton were shown on-camera to hype Brock Lesnar vs. Randy Orton – a match 15 years in the making…
- July 7, 2016 – The match was announced.
- 15 years earlier – Randy Orton talked in the present about meeting Brock Lesnar at OVW. Orton said Lesnar showed up as big as a house and the competition was something else at the time with John Cena, Shelton Benjamin, and Batista.
- WWE showed video of Lesnar and Orton from the early 2000s, including their “youngest ever” World Title wins. Orton said Lesnar decided to leave WWE and that pissed him off.
- Now to Lesnar and Paul Heyman. Lesnar said he doesn’t care about Orton and he doesn’t have real history with him. Lesnar said what he’s accomplished far exceeds anything Orton could dream about accomplishing. Lesnar said he became a mega-Superstar, while Orton became just a star.
- Back to Orton, who vowed to rip apart Lesnar at Summerslam. Lesnar called Orton just another guy, like the rest of the locker room. Heyman said Orton is the best surfer on the beach, but The Shark is coming for him.
- Orton said Brock is under-estimating him, and it’s going to cost Lesnar a trip to Viperville.
- Lesnar said he’s like a robot – he trains, eats, and s— this.
- Orton vowed to kill the legend of Brock Lesnar.
Next Week: Brock Lesnar was announced for the final Raw before Summerslam. Corey Graves said Corpus Christi, Texas is going to turn into Suplex City. There is a large body of water next to the arena to bring forth the surfer & shark analogy if necessary.
In-ring: The Dudleys were introduced for the next match. Cole noted The Dudleys confronted Neville on the Raw Pre-Show. Now, they find out Neville’s tag partner next.
[Commercial Break at 9:39]
In-ring: Neville was introduced to the ring first to face The Dudleys. After a review of the Dudleys-Neville confrontation on the Raw Pre-Show, Raw returned to introduce Neville’s tag partner … Sin Cara. The crowd was nonplussed.
5 — THE DUDLEYS (BUBBA RAY & DEVON) vs. NEVILLE & SIN CARA
Sin Cara was the focal point early on. Cara wrestled circles around the Dudleys, but then Bubba bumped him off the ring apron hard into the guardrail. Back in the ring, the Dudleys picked apart Sin Cara. Very slow, methodical pace.
Devon missed a corner attack, then made it across the ring to tag in Neville. Neville flew at Devon with offense, then Devon accidentally wiped out Bubba when Bubba charged the ring. Neville rolled up Devon for a close two count, then he flew over the top rope with a splash to Bubba on the outside.
Back in the ring, Neville dropkicked Devon, then he waited for Devon to scoot into position (off-camera) to take the top-rope Red Arrow. Neville pinned Devon for the win.
Post-match, Bubba looked down at Devon selling frustration over the loss and mid-match miscommunication. They replayed Neville beating the Dudleys. Back live, Bubba walked away from ringside a distance away from Devon.
WINNERS: Neville & Sin Cara at 5:18. Another Dudleys split coming?
Locker Room: U.S. champion Rusev was shown preparing to celebrate his love with Lana. It’s up next.
[Commercial Break at 9:51]
Backstage: Daniel Bryan was shown walking into the building. Bryan is here to clear the air with Mick Foley.
Rusev & Lana Ceremony
The ring was decorated for a wedding ceremony. Rusev’s music played to bring out the U.S. champion dressed in a tuxedo vest and pants. He stopped on the stage, then wedding music played to bring out Lana dressed in a formal gown. Rusev and Lana walked down to the ring as the music continued to play. After the announcers finished sounding like 10-year-olds with their analogies, the music stopped for Rusev and Lana to talk.
[Q9 — third hour] Lana spoke that Rusev gave her everything a princess could ever dream of. The crowd was quick with the “What?” chants after Lana spoke. “Hey, you respect my wife!!!” Rusev shouted. Lana said today is the audience’s lucky day because they will re-live and re-enact their very special occasion with everyone watching.
Rusev shouted that Lana is all hers, then he flexed his biceps muscle for Lana to kiss. Lana said they will give the audience a chance to re-experience their wedding day. This is what true love looks like. A video rolled with photos from the the wedding day (subtly plugging Season 6 of “Total Divas” for follow-up) set to soft piano music.
Back live, the piano music turned into “boring” chants. Rusev shouted back that he knows they want more pictures, but that’s all they get. Lana said they rented a private beach for their ceremony, which is something you Americans cannot even fathom. She said Rusev is a real man. Rusev said this is why he trains so hard to provide for his wife.
Rusev then addressed the custom-made cakes on a table in the ring. He said these are worth more than what everyone here makes in a month. Lana added that they got mainstream coverage from TMZ, E!, and Fox capturing the best moments of her life when they became husband and wife.
Lana wanted to re-live their wedding vows. She told everyone to get up and take pictures of them. Take pictures now! Rusev said you are all booing because you are jealous, American pigs.
On cue, Roman Reigns’s music played to bring out Reigns with something to say about this. Reigns slowly walked down to the ring as Lana freaked out in the ring. Meanwhile, Rusev looked like he was ready to explode on Reigns. Reigns took his sweet time walking onto the ring apron before slowly entering the ring to audible boos.
Reigns did his bit telling Rusev to take it easy and relax. Reigns looked around the arena trying to find support from the crowd. He said he’s not out here to fight him and ruin this. He said Rusev didn’t even have a best man for this. Who doesn’t have a best man? So, he figured he needed to be the Best Man. Reigns wanted to toast them and have a few drinks. “I don’t need your stupid toast!” Rusev shouted back.
Reigns said he has another option – U.S. Title challenge at Summerslam. Rusev sneered. He said no to that, too. Rusev said he is The Greatest Champion. Reigns said if he’s not going to take his challenge, then he’s going to give a toast. Reigns started pouring champagne. Lana said from the background to get out.
Reigns took a drink of champagne, then tossed the glass. He said he would like to toast Rusev & Lana. First, thank you, thank you so much for a marriage between a Bulgarian Sasquatch and a mail-order bride. They freaked out. Rusev started unbuttoning his vest, prompting Reigns to tell him to calm down.
Reigns said he was expected so much more from Reigns, just like Lana was expecting more on their wedding night. Rusev had enough and punched Reigns right in the gut. Rusev pounded Reigns into the corner, then Reigns fought back. Rusev poudned him into the opposite corner as Lana cheered on Rusev from behind. Rusev checked on Lana, then told her to leave, but Reigns bumped into Rusev, who bumped into Lana, who ate the cake. “I hate you!” Lana shouted at Reigns.
Reigns left the ring as things got a little too hot in the ring. Rusev tried to check on his wife as Reigns walked away from ringside. Rusev started throwing cake toward Reigns, who smirked from the stage about what he did. Rusev kicked the ring ropes and vowed to give Reigns his comeuppance. No word on whether this is actually happening at Summerslam.
Up Next: Sasha Banks vs. Dana Brooke.
[Commercial Break at 10:12]
[Q10] Moments Ago: Roman Reigns interrupted Rusev and Lana’s wedding re-enactment ceremony. And, Lana ended up eating a replica of her wedding cake.
Backstage: Lana was freaking out. Rusev tried to calm her down, then Mick Foley walked in telling Rusev that he can work out his anger at Summerslam against Roman Reigns. For the U.S. Title. Rusev rolled his eyes, then went back to checking on Lana.
In-ring: Sasha Banks was introduced to the ring for the next match. Cole said it’s “crunch time” for The Boss trying to eliminate Dana Brooke from the Women’s Title match equation at Summerslam.
Dana Brooke was out next, followed by Charlotte for a close look at the action.
6 — Women’s champion SASHA BANKS vs. DANA BROOKE (w/Charlotte) — Dana is banned from ringside at Summerslam if Sasha wins
Dana smashed Sasha right in the face to start the match. She continued to punish Sasha as Charlotte clapped approvingly. Dana then went for a corner shoulder tackle, but Sasha moved and kicked her in the face. Sasha followed up with Del Rio’s two-foot corner stomp, but without the histrionics to look more effective. Sasha covered Dana for the win.
WINNER: Sasha at 2:43. It’s Sasha vs. Charlotte one-on-one at Summerslam.
Video Package: Nia Jax.
[Commercial Break at 10:25]
Great Upsets in WWE History: 1-2-3 Kid (Sean Waltman) upset Razor Ramon in a deal sponsored by Ben-Hur.
Video Package: Finn Balor was shown sitting on a bench in a dark room with Undertaker-like fog and smoke. Balor leaned forward and spoke quietly and slowly about Seth Rollins’s claims. Do you know my history? Do you know about the legends and the myths? WWE flashed to art from Irish myths and legends. Balor said these are not just stories, Seth, but his inspiration for battle. He said he can tap into these myths for a battle greater than his own. “At Summerslam, you’ll meet the Demon King,” Balor ominously said. The camera zoomed in on Balor’s eyes, which opened up and flashed to the Demon character.
After a few thoughts from the announcers, WWE cut to a gimmick of Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows posing at doctors to reinforce their injury to Big E. last week on Raw. Dressed in doctor coats and standing in front of a doctor’s office green screen, Karl & Doc said they have discovered Ringpost-itis. Gallows said the results of Big E.’s tests were kind of nuts. And testy. Anderson said tonight they collect another sample from Kofi Kingston.
[Commercial Break at 8:35]
Cruiserweights plug: The tournament continues this Wednesday on WWE Network.
Back in the arena, WWE and Little Caesars upgraded a family to better ringside seats. The mom was wearing a Seth Rollins t-shirt.
In-ring: WWE tag champions Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods were introduced to the ring. Big E. was not there. Michael Cole said he was at home recovering from last week’s injury. The Club was out next still sporting the doctor coats over their ring gear. “Doc” Gallows and Karl Anderson hit the ring as New Day seethed in the background.
7 — WWE tag champion KOFI KINGSTON (w/Xavier Woods) vs. “DOC” LUKE GALLOWS (w/Karl Anderson)
Karl Anderson got involved early on, so Xavier tried to attack Karl, but Karl sent Xavier face-first into the ringpost. Back in the ring, Gallows slammed Kofi hard to the mat with a modified facebuster. Gallows covered and got a quick win. The announcers made it seem like New Day is in trouble of losing the Tag Titles at Summerslam.
WINNER: Gallows at 1:32.
Post-match, Karl and Doc were not done with Kofi. They wanted to post Kofi crotch-first, but Xavier charged The Club with a chair. Xavier slammed it against the post to scare away The Club. Xavier checked on Kofi as Gallows called out “Where’s Big E.?”
Earlier Today: Goldust found R-Truth in the Mystery Machine bus. Scooby-Doo was hanging out with Truth, who freaked out that he’s being replaced by a dog. Goldust told him that he’s still his tag partner. He said they should all go watch the WWE & Scooby movie right now. Truth did the sign-off, then closed the van door.
[Q12] Back in the arena, Mick Foley’s music played after the Scooby segment ended. Cole said Foley will welcome Daniel Bryan to the ring next.
[Commercial Break at 10:46]
Back in the arena, Mick Foley started his speech. Foley said his philosophy of ear-for-ear and tooth-for-tooth seems archaic after his career. In the spirit of brotherhood, he welcomed out the Smackdown GM Daniel Bryan.
Bryan’s music and arrival woke up the crowd doing “Yes!” chants. Bryan joined Foley in the ring to ask the crowd if Foley has been doing an excellent job running Raw. The crowd mildly cheered. Foley reciprocated, then hyped his work with Mauro Ranallo on the Cruiserweight show.
Bryan said he’s impressed that Foley invited him to Raw since Smackdown has been so impressive. Foley cut off Bryan trying to plug Smackdown to apologize for Brock Lesnar crashing his show last Tuesday. Bryan said he doesn’t need to apologize since Smackdown fired the first shot since Randy Orton fired the first shot with an RKO outta nowhere! to Brock Lesnar last week.
Foley told Bryan to knock it off. He rolled footage from last Tuesday on “Talking Smack” when Bryan knocked the creation of the WWE Universal Title. Back live, Bryan said that was taken completely out of context. Foley didn’t want to joke about this.
Suddenly, Rusev’s music played. Out came the U.S. champion dressed to wrestle. Rusev said Raw doesn’t need another champion because Raw already has a champion. He buttered up Foley, prompting Bryan to ask Rusev if he’s really trying to suck up to Foley to get out of a match against Roman Reigns at Summerslam?
Suddenly, Cesaro’s music interrupted. Cesaro, now back in his James Bond outfit, said he thinks he proved last week and this week that he deserves a title shot. Foley said he doesn’t think Cesaro was very impressive in his victory tonight, though. Cesaro said that’s strange because he thought Foley was a man of his word. Bryan snuck in a line over Foley’s shoulder that he is being way under-utilized on Raw. Foley told him to cut it out, then made it happen. Rusev vs. Cesaro right now and the winner faces Roman Reigns at Summerslam. It’s next.
[Commercial Break at 10:56]
Next Week: Brock Lesnar on the final Raw before Summerslam. Also, Seth Rollins calls out the Demon King, Finn Balor’s alter-ego.
[Q13 — over-run] JoJo was standing by to formally introduce the U.S. Title main event. Rusev demanded to be introduced first as the defending champion. Cesaro ripped off his James Bond suit during his portion of the intro. Rusev was reluctant to hand over the title belt before referee John Cone called for the opening bell.
8 — U.S. champion RUSEV vs. CESARO — United States Title match
Rusev charged Cesaro, who ducked a clothesline and teed off on Rusev in the early-going. Cesaro followed with a cross-body splash for a two count. Cesaro wanted an early Neutralizer, but Rusev blocked. Rusev then posted Cesaro, who sold re-injuring his left shoulder. Rusev continued to post Cesaro, who winced in pain. Rusev nearly got himself DQ’ed in the process.
Rusev wrapped Cesaro’s right shoulder around the ringpost, trying to take away both of Cesaro’s arms. Rusev pounded Cesaro’s mid-section in the corner, nearly getting DQ’ed again for pushing a five count. Rusev then applied an armbar targeting the left shoulder.
Suddenly, Cesaro deadlifted Rusev into the air to break free. He couldn’t follow up, though, because of the shoulder work. Rusev then kneed him in the gut before kicking Cesaro in the face for a close two count. Rusev tried to calm himself down, then he stalked Cesaro to crush him. Rusev kicked Cesaro in the back, then tried to apply The Accolade, but Cesaro blocked the application. Cesaro slipped underneath Rusev, then powered him into the air with an electric chair.
Both men sold on the mat as the crowd rallied behind Cesaro. Rusev came up punching Cesaro in the face. Cesaro answered. Corkscrew elbow from Cesaro. He wanted to take Rusev on a Big Swing, and he got Rusev in the air with his bad shoulders. Cesaro then dropped Rusev to the mat and slapped on the Sharpshooter.
Suddenly, Sheamus stormed the ring. Cesaro released the hold to smash Sheamus off the ring apron, then he turned around to take a superkick to the face. Rusev covered Cesaro, but Cesaro kicked out. Sheamus got involved again, this time causing the ref to be bumped. Cesaro dropped Rusev with the Neutralizer, but the ref was KO’ed and did not make a count. Sheamus got involved for a third time, this time allowing Rusev to kick Cesaro in the face, taking the air out of the building after the crowd started to believe Cesaro might win. Rusev covered Cesaro for the win.
WINNER: Rusev at 9:36 to retain the U.S. Title.
Post-match, Sheamus smirked as he walked away from ringside pleased with himself. Rusev took his U.S. Title belt and celebrated out of the ring done with his night. Suddenly, Roman Reigns showed up after three instances of interference from the heels to spear Rusev on the floor. Reigns stood over Rusev, who was flat on his back KO’ed on the ground.
WWE cut backstage to show Dean Ambrose preparing to talk to “Stone Cold” Steve Austin on WWE Network. WWE cut back to the arena to show Rusev KO’ed and Roman Reigns standing tall on the stage to close Raw 13 minutes past the top of the hour.
OVERALL REAX: Way too much talking and not enough important wrestling this week until the main event … three hours into the show. It was a maintenance show two weeks out from Summrslam, but too much like pre-Draft Raws with a bunch of talking taking the crowd down. And, Sami Zayn, the guy wins a big feud against Kevin Owens and is nowhere to be found a few weeks later.
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