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It’s Week 4 of the brand split with the final Raw show leading into Summerslam, featuring Brock Lesnar on Raw. …
WWE Raw TV Report
August 15, 2016 – Episode #1,212
Live in Corpus Christi, Tex.
Report by James Caldwell (@JCTorch), PWTorch assistant editor
APP ALERT: If you are reading the Report on our new App, visit the mobile version of the report by HARD-PRESSING THIS LINK for the most frequent updates. VIP MEMBERS: Access your ad-free version by HARD-PRESSING THIS LINK.
- Week 4 of the Brand Split – Raw run by Stephanie McMahon & Mick Foley
- Brock Lesnar returns to Raw
- Final Summerslam hype for Raw brand
- Seth Rollins vows to call out Finn Balor’s alter-ego, Demon King
- U.S. champion Rusev vows to crush Roman Reigns
- Big Cass vs. Kevin Owens
- Neville vs. Jinder Mahal
Raw started with footage of Seth Rollins standing outside of the building “earlier today.” Rollins, surrounded by palm trees, talked into the air that he’s calling out Finn Balor’s alter-ego, Demon King, right now! Rollins looked around his surroundings trying to find him. A car revved in the background. Rollins chuckled to himself. He’s not here. Rollins vowed to find the Demon King tonight. And there’s the American Bank Center.
Live in the building, U.S. champion Rusev and Lana were ranting and raving in the ring. Rusev cut off his music and demanded some justice for last week’s cake attack from Roman Reigns. Lana grabbed and mic and said they are not leaving this ring. Rusev said last week Roman Reigns ruined an historical event.
Rusev, who was dressed to wrestle, said there will be no Raw. No Raw. No matches. None of your stupid Superstars. Until Roman Reigns comes out here and apologizes. Rusev kept shouting for Reigns. The crowd filled in with a “USA” chant. Rusev shouted down the chant in anger. Suddenly, Mick Foley’s music played to bring out the Raw GM.
Foley marched down to the ring waving Rusev towards the back, but Rusev wouldn’t listen. “Foley, Foley” chant after his music stopped. Rusev said he knows who this person is – the so-called GM of Raw. Rusev spoke in his language, then called himself the greatest U.S. champion ever. He demands respect. Rusev needed his respect right now. Foley spoke from ringside to get out of the ring. Rusev told Foley that he sucks.
Rusev took exception to Foley scheduling a U.S. Title match at Summerslam. He said Reigns gets opportunity after opportunity, while he gets no respect. Rusev told Foley to get a real person out here, Stephanie McMahon. Come on, bring out Stephanie. Rusev and Lana celebrated Stephanie’s arrival, but Steph looked upset.
Awkward pause before Foley and Steph eventually entered the ring. Rusev said Stephanie knows what it’s like to be married to a great star. Steph cut a promo on Rusev, telling him that he needs to show respect to Foley, a great champion who has given his life and career to this business. Rusev shouted back that she needs to show him respect, too. He said maybe he will call little Daniel and Stephanie’s brother Shane to see if they appreciate his talent on Smackdown.
Suddenly, Roman Reigns’s music played. Reigns walked out looking tired. It appeared to be because of a shiner under his eye. Reigns continued his speech from last week about Rusev being ugly and Lana being a mail-order bride. Rusev shouted back that Reigns is an ugly pig who looks stupid. Reigns had enough and wanted to fight tonight before Summerslam.
Rusev and Reigns got within inches of each other, but Foley intervened. Rusev shouted that this is about his stupid U.S. Title Summerslam match, but about defending the honor of his wife. Foley said he has an idea. Rusev vs. Reigns tonight, to defend Lana’s honor. Rusev continued shouted over music as Raw cut to break with the match impending.
[Q2] [Commercial Break at 8:14]
Back live, Sheamus was in the ring. Byron Saxton was also in the ring to interview Sheamus, who stopped the interview to yell at the crowd. Sheamus said everyone here bought a ticket to see him. So, chanting “you look stupid” at him means you’re stupid! Sheamus then called out Sami Zayn for taking shots at him on Twitter. This brought out Zayn to face Sheamus in singles action.
Before the bell sounded, Sheamus kicked Zayn’s hat away, so Zayn threw his jacket at Sheamus. The scrap was on, folks. The referee finally got some separation, then called for the bell.
1 — SHEAMUS vs. SAMI ZAYN
The fight kept going in the ring, looking like a shoot-fight. Sheamus and Zayn spilled to the floor while Cesaro joined the commentary position to discuss this match. Sheamus took control on the outside heading to break.
[Commercial Break at 8:23]
Back from break, Sheamus was in control of the match back in the ring. Meanwhile, the announcers talked to Cesaro about whether he’s interested in jumping to the Smackdown brand. Back in the ring, Sheamus blasted Zayn with ten forearms to the chest.
[Q3] Sheamus started to set up for the Brogue Kick, taking his time, so Cesaro decided to leave the broadcast position and make his way down to ringside. Cesaro hopped on the ring apron to distract Sheamus, who then turned around to take the Helluva Kick right in the face. Zayn covered Sheamus for the pin and the win, thanks to Cesaro.
WINNER: Zayn at 10:14. It looks like Cesaro vs. Sheamus at Summerslam. And, with Zayn doing something.
Backstage: Tom Phillips brought in Chris Jericho and Kevin Owens. Jericho, whose facial hair is heelishly out of control, cut off Phillips’s line of questioning about Owens facing Big Cass one-on-one tonight. See, Jericho has his back tonight. Jericho also wanted to know who certified Enzo Amore as a G. Owens wanted to know who taught Big Cass English since he doesn’t know to spell soft. He said Enzo & Cass are a cancer in the locker room. Is that funny, Steven? Huh, Tim? Jericho said Cass better watch “it” tonight. “Watch what?” Phillips replied. And by “it,” James, watch us humiliate them in their backyard at Summerslam. Jericho told Nathaniel to ask better questions next time. Ya dig? Tom remained silent. They walked off.
[Commercial Break at 8:35]
Back from break, Sheamus and Cesaro were yelling at each other as refs tried to separate them. Raw GM Mick Foley intervened, screaming at them to calm down. He said Cesaro’s shoulder is fine and Sheamus’s head is back in the game (uh, he just lost), so he wants to see them fight again and again. Foley booked a Best-of-Seven Series, with the first match happening this Sunday at Summerslam.
Back in the arena, The Dudleys were standing by in the ring for tag action. New Day’s music brought out two-thirds of the tag champions Xavier Woods and Kofi Kingston to face the Dudleys. But, first, another green-screen research update from The Club’s Karl Anderson & Luke Gallows about having possession of Big E.’s ball and doing research on how to cure ringpositis.
2 — WWE tag champions NEW DAY (XAVIER WOODS & KOFI KINGSTON) vs. THE DUDLEYS (BUBBA RAY & DEVON) — non-title match
Chaos in the ring, then Kofi smashed Devon with Trouble in Paradise. Kofi covered for a quick win. Post-match, Bubba Ray just stared down at his tag partner following another loss.
WINNERS: New Day at 1:35.
Post-match, WWE cut back to The Club, who smashed an egg in their microwave testing. Gallows said they need more test subjects. They pulled out jars with Xavier and Kofi’s names on them.
[Q4] Back in the arena, Kofi and Xavier asked for mics. Kofi said Karl and Gallows traveled all over the world to make it to WWE, and now they’re blowing up eggs in microwaves? This isn’t a game. Xavier said last year’s Summerslam is where they became your WWE World Tag Team champions. So, they’ll be damned if you baldies are going to beat them at Summerslam. Kofi said they do not have the power to take the titles from them at Summerslam; Xavier added that Club won’t be able to lay a finger on their New Day rocks. New Day’s music played as the tag champs fired up in the ring.
Up Next: Nia Jax.
[Commercial Break at 8:48]
Somewhere backstage: Seth Rollins was looking for the Demon King. Some dudes holding papers had not seen him. Rollins kept walking down the hallway. Hey, Neville, have you seen him? Neville instead offered Seth some advice. You might think you’re ready for the Demon King, but you’re not ready. Seth took exception. He shouted over his fears that Neville needs to go back to his hole.
Back in the arena, Nia Jax’s music played. The camera focused on Nia Jax’s eyes as she stomped down to the ring with eyes locked on the ring. Saxton was standing by in the ring with Rachel Levy. Levy, who was a wig short of looking like a clown, said she’s been watching the Olympics non-stop and she believes she can beat Jax after being inspired by Team USA, especially the diminutive Simone Biles.
3 — NIA JAX vs. RACHEL LEVY
Jax was much more aggressive in this squash match, pushing Levy hard out of the ring to the floor. Jax then brought her back into the ring to squash her with a front slam for the pin.
WINNER: Jax at 1:02. Danger, danger. Jax vs. Sasha Banks down the road should be good after building up Jax with this format.
Backstage: Paul Heyman knocked on Brock Lesnar’s door. Lesnar is next.
[Commercial Break at 8:55]
Brock Lesnar Summerslam Promo
Brock Lesnar’s music played back from break to bring out Lesnar and Paul Heyman one minute before the top of the hour. Lesnar shot off pyro as he entered the ring. Meanwhile, Michael Cole recapped Lesnar’s previous Raw appearance two weeks ago ending with Randy Orton hitting Lesnar with an RKO outta nowhere to close the show. But then Lesnar crashed the next night’s Smackdown to drop Orton with an F5.
[Q5 — second hour] Back live in the arena, the crowd was red-hot and fired-up for Brock, who seemed surprised and genuinely touched. It seemed like Randy Orton was going to come flying out of the ring and Lesnar didn’t see it coming or something. But, the crowd was hot for Lesnar, who nodded back as if to say thanks. “Suplex City” chant as Lesnar seemed emotional.
Suddenly, Heath Slater’s music played. Heyman spoke that he doesn’t know who put Slater up to this or if he’s listening to the voices in Randy Orton’s head, but why are you out here interrupting The Beast Brock Lesnar? From the stage, Slater said he doesn’t know if they know this, but Heath Slater is the hottest free agent today. Slater said that’s why he came to Paul.
Heyman laughed and said he’s not laughing with him, but at him. Heyman said there is no way he would ever advocate for Brrrrrock Lessssnar and Heeeeath Slater. Slater told him to laugh it up because he’s been given another opportunity to get a Raw contract and Summerslam spot … and all he has to do is beat Brock Lesnar tonight. So, what he’s saying, Paul, is that he would like to go one-on-one with Brock Lesnar. “Yes! Yes! Yes!” chant from the crowd.
Heyman said Slater is doing way too much partying on the Freebirds Bus in Texas, but the joke is over. Heyman told the production truck to get rid of Slater and re-focus on where the money is – his client, Brock Lesnar. Suddenly, Slater shouted over Heyman not to disrespect him. Slater told Paul to look in his eyes. He said he needs this. “I have kids that I need to feed!” Slater shouted. He said his two little girls and all other kids depend on him. Slater said he doesn’t want to go one-on-one with Brock Lesnar because Lesnar is going to whoop his ass, but he has to fight Brock. Heyman said he’s trying to save his ass right now. He’s at the wrong place at the wrong time. Slater said if he has to go against Brock Lesnar to get a contract, then …
Suddenly, Brock Lesnar interrupted to a pop. Lesnar said he can appreciate where Slater is coming from. He’s got guts. You gotta food on the table? Mouths to feed? You got kids? I do. Brock said he has kids, too, man. Brock welcomed him into the ring. I feel you. Let’s talk about your kids. Brock walked up to Heath: “I don’t give a s— about your kids.” (USA bleeped out the curse.) Brock told Heath he has two options. (1) Leave on his own two feet. (2) Stay here and keep pissing him off. Brock got right in Heath’s face. Heath turned around to leave the ring, then he charged Brock, who saw it coming and destroyed him with a lariat. Brock followed with two suplexes, then an F5 to Heath Slater. Brock kicked Heath out of the ring, then stood tall by himself in the ring.
Brock glared into the crowd, then Heyman resumed his promo, now wearing Slater’s shades. Heyman gave Slater credit for being willing to go face-to-face with Brock Lesnar. Paul tossed down the shades, then cut a promo about Brock facing Randy Orton, who doesn’t have the guts to face Brock face-to-face. Heyman said Orton can’t measure up to Brock Lesnar. He said his job is to promote Summerslam and hype Orton having a chance to beat Brock, that he’s savvy, quick, sudden, and one RKO away from victory, except if he were to do that, his client, Brock Lesnar, would not believe anything that he just said.
“Ladies and gentlemen, this is the Summer of the Conqueror and The Beast is in heat. From once again ascertaining his unparalleled dominance inside the Brocktagon to the Massacre that awaits Randy Orton this Sunday at Summerslam, you want me to hype the box office of Brock Lesnar vs. Randy Orton at Summerslam?” Brock Lesnar is the box office this Sunday at Summerslam. Because, not one single member of that locker room can stand up to this once-ever main-eventer.”
Heyman said no one can stand up to Lesnar. Why should you buy the WWE Network to watch Summerslam? It’s to see this man, Brock Lesnar, in an official match with an official result to go down in the history books. He said it’s a rare opportunity to see a rare athlete live, live, live in action. The conqueror live in action. The Night-mayor of Suplex City live in action. “Brrrrock Lesssnar!” And, with that, Brock jumped out of the ring and Heyman followed behind.
[ Reax: Wow, what a segment. The inclusion of Slater really freshened up the promo hype and created a good reason for Brock to talk and get over his b.a. status heading into Summerslam. Slater really showed something in this role, and helped sell the PPV. It just felt like real people having real emotions, which was refreshing for WWE TV. ]
Up Next: Carl’s Jr. presents Big Cass vs. Kevin Owens. WWE cut backstage to show Cass super-focused walking down the hallway as Enzo walked next to him.
[Q6] [Commercial Break at 9:15]
In-ring: Enzo Amore’s music played to bring out Enzo and Big Cass. Enzo did the pre-match intro mic work before they stood together in the ring. Enzo hyped their match against Jericho & Owens at Summerslam on Sunday. And it’s going to be a BBQ. Cass: What are we cooking? Wienes. Zucchinis. Sausage. Burgas. Frankfurters. But, the main course is going to be those two pieces of Canadian bacon. Cass said at the end of the day, there is still one word to describe them. S-A-W-F-T!
Kevin Owens’s music provided the retort to bring out Owens and Jericho for a Summerslam warm-up match. Owens chuckled to himself after listening to Cass’s promo, while Jericho flashed his out-of-control heel facial hair on the way to the ring.
4 — BIG CASS (w/Enzo Amore) vs. KEVIN OWENS (w/Chris Jericho)
Owens bailed from the ring after the opening 30 seconds. Owens then yanked Cass throat-first across the top rope. Owens smashed Cass to the outside, then Jericho kicked Cass in the head. Owens posted Cass as Raw cut to break.
[Commercial Break at 9:24]
Back from break, the match resumed with Owens trying a powerbomb across the ring apron, but Cass back-dropped out of the career-altering bomb. Suddenly, Jericho shoved down Enzo Amore from behind. Cass charged ringside trying to track down Jericho, then he re-directed and clotheslined Owens. But, Jericho attacked Cass from behind, causing a DQ.
WINNER: Cass via DQ at 6:18.
[Q7] Post-match, Jericho and Owens shoved Cass into the guardrail and punished him while Enzo continued to sell on the other side of the ringside area. The heels rolled Cass back into the ring, where Cass tried to fight back on his own. But, Owens superkicked Cass into a Codebreaker from Jericho. The heels stood tall over Cass before Jericho’s music played. They showed Enzo still selling on the floor.
Backstage: Tom Phillips caught up with Roman Reigns to ask what kind of fight he’s expecting from Rusev tonight. He said he’s ready for a food fight, a wedding cake fight, any type of fight. Suddenly, Rusev smashed Reigns from behind. The fight was on near a table full of food. This isn’t going to end well. Rusev whipped Reigns into a garage door, then smashed him in the mid-section. Rusev followed with a hip toss across the food table. Suddenly, Fit Finlay, other agents, and refs spilled out to separate Rusev and Reigns. Rusev was an uncaged animal wanting to fight Reigns, who caught his breath as Raw cut to break.
[Commercial Break at 9:33. And WWE is counter-programming the C.M. Punk doc on FS1 with Roman Reigns.]
Back from break, Michael Cole, Byron Saxton, and Corey Graves were shown standing at their new announce location to introduce the Summerslam Week programming schedule on WWE Network.
In-ring: Titus O’Neil’s Prime Time Players music played to bring out … Bob Backlund. Darren Young was out first, followed by Titus O’Neil. They set up a one-time PTP reunion on the pre-show, and Backlund tried to join in the Millions of Dollars dance on the way to the ring. Already in the ring were two local talents. Check that, it’s the Shining Stars. WWE replayed the pre-show exchange of Titus suggesting a one-time reunion, which doesn’t seem like a good idea…
5 — TITUS O’NEIL & DARREN YOUNG (w/Bob Backlund) vs. SHINING STARS (PRIMO & EPICO)
Titus dominated early on, tossing Primo across the ring before giving him a big splash. Tag to D-Young, and Titus suplexed Young onto Primo. Primo fought back with a kick to the face, but Young answered with a clothesline. Suddenly, Titus and Backlund had a strange exchange on the ring apron. It led to D-Young accidentally bumping into Titus. And, Titus returned to the ring to drop Young with Clash of the Titus.
Titus left the ring as Backlund yelled at Titus, wondering what he’s doing. Meanwhile, the Shining Stars seemed shocked to have a win staring at them in the face. Primo eventually woke up and covered Young for the win. Afterward, Backlund returned to the ring to check on his protege.
WINNERS: Shining Stars at 2:41. What’s the modern-day equivalent of something being telegraphed? Whatever it is, that’s what this was. And the crowd was unmoved.
Still to come: Seth Rollins calls out the Demon King (not to be confused with Demon Kane).
[Commercial Break at 9:42]
[Q8] The Cruiserweights are coming. The Cruiserweights are coming. Date TBA.
In-ring: Jinder Mahal’s music played to bring out Mahal as an angry person from India. Xenophobia at its finest. Neville was out next to face Mahal. WWE cut to a low-angle camera shot to present Neville as taller than he is, which was a nice touch.
6 — NEVILLE vs. JINDER MAHAL
Neville quickly knocked Mahal down to the floor, then smashed him in the face with a moonsault. Back in the ring, Neville wanted the Red Arrow, but Mahal rolled away from the corner. Mahal got down on both knees and begged Neville, suckering him in to deliver a kick to the face.
But, Neville responded with a corner attack. Neville climbed back to the top rope looking for the Red Arrow, and he took a while to set up before delivering it for the pin and the win. Neville seemed to be winded or injured as he got up to celebrate the win.
WINNER: Neville at 3:05. And, Mahal is back to where he was before he left WWE.
GM Office: Mick Foley and Stephanie McMahon had a chat. Foley said he just got off the phone with John Stewart, and he will be their guest at Summerslam. Um, the guy fictionally ruined the Summerslam main event last year. Foley celebrated getting him back at Summerslam this year.
Seth Rollins then walked in looking for Finn Balor or the Demon King. Rollins said he should get the night off. Steph said Creative … er … they doesn’t have anything for him tonight, so she’s good with him having the night off. Is that okay, Mick? Mick said he thinks Seth should go to the ring and call out the Demon King. Unless you’re scared. Yeah! Go do it, Seth, Go get ’em. Foley pulled out a walkie-talkie and asked for Seth’s music to play. Seth’s music played in the background as Raw cut to break.
[Commercial Break at 9:54]
Seth Rollins Calls Out The Demon King
Back live, Seth Rollins was in the ring with his music playing out. Rollins stood in the ring selling indignation. He said he has never been so insulted before in his life. Rollins said Finn Balor talked about legends and myths last week, but there’s nothing to it. He said he wants every news organization to pay attention to what he’s about to say.
“There is nothing and no one that can stop me from becoming the first-ever WWE Universal champion,” Seth declared. “I promise you that. I am on another level right now!”
Seth said he searched all over this place for Demon King, so he’s going to give him one more chance right here, right now to come down to the ring and face him. So, he can kick him off whatever throne he thinks he’s sitting on. Come on down. Nothing. Seth said Finn Balor is just trying to intimidate him because Finn Balor is scared of him. He said he would be afraid of himself, too, if he weren’t Seth freakin’ Rollins.
[Q9 — third hour] Seth called Balor just another chapter in the Book of Rollins. And in his story, the Demon King won’t come out to the ring and look into his eyes. Because he’s terrified. Seth said at Summerslam, you’ve got nowhere to run and nowhere to hide. Suddenly, what appeared to be a fan ran into the ring. Seth shoved him down and stared down at the person. Is that the Demon King? That’s nothing.
Suddenly, modulated, demonic-like voices played and the arena flashed like Taz’s old entrance, but with red lighting. Suddenly, Finn Balor as the Demon slithered out on-stage and posed in a red spotlight. The lights came up to reveal Balor’s face painted in his trademark black and white colors. Not the full bodypaint, just the facepaint and his chest covered in paint. But, he had text painted across his body. Balor charged the camera like an animal, then slithered onto the ring apron doing the light show with the crowd.
Balor posed on the corner turnbuckle, then looked around the arena. Rollins was nowhere to be found. Balor continued his ring entrance in the darkenss, then dramatically removed the headgear to reveal his face staring into the hard camera. Balor turned to look toward Rollins, who freaked out at the sight of Balor as the Demon King. Balor then exploded out of the corner to stare down Rollins.
Rollins tried to atack Balor, but Balor kicked him across the ring. Balor delivered a two-foot dropkick into the corner before measuring Seth for the Coup de Grace, but Seth rolled out of the ring to get out of the way. No matter, as Balor flew off the top turnbuckle with a dive onto Rollins. The lights went back out and Balor posed in the darkness as Rollins freaked out from the entrance stage. WWE went to back and forth shots of Balor and Rollins as Cole asked Graves and Saxton for more insight on Balor’s metamorphosis from Finn Balor to Demon King.
Video Recap: Roman Reigns and Rusev feud involving a lot of food and bad jokes.
Still to come: Rusev vs. Reigns non-title before their U.S. Title match at Summerslam.
[Commercial Break at 10:10]
Back from break, Goldust and R-Truth were in the ring finishing up their rap. Suddenly, The Club’s music played to bring out Drs. Anderson and Gallows for tag action. Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows came out in white coats holding a jar with Big E.’s ball inside.
7 — THE CLUB (KARL ANDERSON & LUKE GALLOWS) vs. R-TRUTH & GOLDUST
Michael Cole: “The Club are a real threat to the Tag Titles” as R-Truth hip-tossed Anderson to the mat. And, Truth, who plays a goofball playing on his phone during matches, continued to attack Anderson. Gallows then cut off Truth with a boot to the face to give Club the advantage. Truth made a tag to Goldust, who teed off on Anderson. Goldust bulldogged Anderson, then punched him in the corner. Snap powerslam from Goldust, but Gallows broke up a pin attempt.
[Q10] Gallows and Anderson got back on the same page isolating Goldust before delivering the Magic Killer. Gallows covered Goldust for the win before Truth could make it back into the ring.
WINNERS: Club at 2:16. A very unimpressive victory for The Club, who continue to be knocked down little by little before challenging for the Tag Titles at Summerslam.
Post-match, Xavier Woods and Kofi Kingston charged the ring to take out The Club. Suddenly, Anderson was alone in the ring and Xavier had a trombone. He wanted to do unspeakable things to Anderson, but Gallows pulled Anderson out of the ring at the last moment. Kofi indicated they were this-close to getting revenge for Big E.
Announcers: Cole, Saxton, and Graves were shown on-camera to hype Summerslam Week on WWE Network.
Backstage: Charlotte was shown warming up in the hallway. Dana Brooke walked in to apologize for letting her down last week. Charlotte said she let Dana in her orbit and share her spotlight, but then she failed her when it mattered the most. But, Charlotte. No buts. Charlotte said this isn’t their spotlight anymore; this is her spotlight. She vowed to wear gold again on Sunday. Charlotte said she will beat Alicia Fox tonight, then next Monday ask Stephanie McMahon to replace Dana with someone who isn’t an epic failure. “Oh, are you going to cry?” Charlotte taunted before walking off as Dana hung her head in shame.
[Commercial Break at 10:22]
Back from break, Alicia Fox was in the ring, Women’s champion Sasha Banks was at the commentary position, and Charlotte was introduced to the ring by herself.
8 — CHARLOTTE vs. ALICIA FOX
Charlotte dominated from start to finish. WWE was on a cut-away to Sasha Banks at the commentary position when Charlotte hit Natural Selection for the pin and the win on A. Fox.
Post-match, Charlotte called out Sasha Banks, telling her to join her in the ring. Banks left commentary and strutted down to the ring proudly displaying the Women’s Title belt. Sasha hit the ring when suddenly Dana Brooke charged the ring and distracted Sasha. That allowed Charlotte to clip Sasha from behind and slap on the figure-four leglock as Dana taunted Sasha. Refs spilled out to try to get separation. Charlotte eventually left the ring and mocked Sasha’s knee injury on the way out.
WINENR: Charlotte at 1:28. And, they continue to go back to the same well of Charlotte teasing breaking up with Dana to lure in an unsuspecting babyface.
[Q11] Up Next: Rusev defends the honor of his wife, Lana, up next on Raw.
[Commercial Break at 10:32]
Back on Raw, Cole & Co. played WWE Trivia. They somehow segued to a video package on Braun Strowman’s path of destruction, trading the squash match formula with Nia Jax this week.
Back in the arena, Lana was standing by in the ring to introduce her man, the U.S. champion Rusev. But, frist, Lana cut a promo on Roman Reigns. She then told the audience to get up and welcome out the man that will crush Roman Reigns tonight. And then defeat Reigns to remain U.S. champion at Summerslam. Lana presents: Russsssev!
The U.S. champion marched out on-stage and locked eyes with Lana in the ring, marching down to the ring prepared to defend the honor of his wife. Rusev proudly held up the U.S. Title belt, then his music stopped. Loud boos for a combination of Rusev and anticipation of Reigns’s arrival. Roman Reigns’s music then played to a mixed reaction. Reigns marched out on-stage, then marched down to the ring looking to fight. And they wasted no time fighting before the bell sounded.
The un-official fight continued down at ringside, where Reigns big-booted Rusev in the face. Reigns tossed Rusev back into the ring, then Rusev rolled out of the ring again. Reigns tried to whip Rusev into the barricade, but Rusev reversed and smashed Reigns back-first into the railing. Cole asked if this match is going to start as Raw cut to break.
[Commercial Break at 10:42]
9 — U.S. champion RUSEV (w/Lana) vs. ROMAN REIGNS — non-title match
Apparently the match officially started during the break, according to Cole. Rusev picked apart Reigns as Lana watched intently from ringside. Reigns tried to fire back, then finally landed a knock-down clothesline. Reigns delivered another clothesline, then got fired up to a mix of cheers and boos. But, Rusev posted Reigns, sending him reeling to the outside.
Down on the floor, Rusev smashed Reigns’s left arm across the ring steps. More work on the left arm, trying to take away a limb. Rusev then grabbed his U.S. Title belt and thought about using it on Reigns, drawing a reprimand from the referee. That allowed Reigns to fight back against Rusev. But, Rusev smashed him back down to the ground leading to another break.
[Commercial Break at 10:50]
Back from break, Rusev had a mic down at ringside. Rusev shouted at the crowd for cheering him. Or something. It wasn’t clear. He returned to the ring to continue working on Reigns. Rusev kicked him in the chest, then ran over him with a hard knock down. Rusev continued to pick apart Reigns as fans played rock, paper, scissors in the background facing the hard camera.
Reigns mounted a comeback, then sold on the mat for a while. Rusev was the first man to his feet, but he airballed a corner attack. Reigns landed consecutive lariats as Saxton noted there wasn’t much behind the blows after the work from Rusev. Reigns then covered Rusev for a close two count.
[Q13 — over-run] Reigns tried to fire himself up as they hit the top of the third hour. Reigns cocked his fist looking for the Superman Punch, but Rusev yanked his bad arm and nailed a spin kick for a close two count. Rusev then climbed to the top turnbuckle and nailed a diving headbutt for another nearfall. Reigns sold being exhausted and worn out from the work. Two more second-rope headbutts from Rusev, and Reigns kicked out of each one.
After consulting with Lana, Rusev delivered a fourth diving headbutt, but Reigns kicked out again. For some reason, Rusev didn’t go for The Accolade after these headbutts. And, he tried a fifth diving headbutt, but Reigns rolled out of the way. Both men sold for a while and Rusev came to his feet first. They traded blows until Reigns clotheslined Rusev over the top rope to the floor.
On the outside, Rusev kicked Reigns in the ribs, then rolled him back into the ring. Rusev stalked Reigns and vowed to crush Reigns, but Reigns hit him with a Superman Punch. Reigns covered Rusev for a close two count. Reigns got up first and ran into a superkick to the face. And another one, but Reigns kicked out of another pin. Rusev freaked out being unable to put away Reigns. The Accolade?
Rusev consulted with Lana again, then decided 18:30 into the match to try The Accolade. Rusev tried to lock in The Accolade, but Reigns fought the hold and scooted out. Rusev kicked Reigns in the back of the head, then slapped on The Accolade. Reigns fought the hold as Rusev pulled back on the hold. Reigns tried to reach the bottom rope and finally fell into the bottom rope to get a break. Lana was stunned.
At 20:00, Rusev stood up and stomped the mat in frustration. Rusev had no Plan B at this point. Rusev decided to charge Reigns and they kind of collided. And here comes the spear from Reigns. He connected. Reigns fell on top of Rusev for the pin and the win.
Post-match, Lana sold being exhausted from trying to cheer on Rusev to victory. Rusev was the first man to his feet collecting himself on the outside while Reigns sold in the ring. Reigns eventually got up and posed for his fans in the corner turnbuckle. Rusev complained to Lana about what happened as Raw signed off six minutes past the top of the hour with Reigns standing tall in the ring heading into a U.S. Title shot at Summerslam.
WINNER: Rusev at 20:33. That was a painfully bad Raw TV main event three hours into a PPV lead-in show. You would think WWE learned their lesson with Reigns in a long-form match at WrestleMania, but apparently not. And, at the end of the day, even after the suspension, it’s still the Roman Reigns Show. It’s just not as obvious with Reigns in a U.S. Title feud. The robotic-like presentation and execution really stood out on the same show WWE presented something that felt authentic and realistic between Lesnar & Heath Slater. The other way of looking at this match positioning is WWE admitting defeat against the Olympics and after 21 straight weeks of third hour viewership declining from the second hour by giving away their #6 or 7 Summerslam feud in a long-form Raw main event and putting Balor’s dramatic Demon King debut at the end of the second hour/top of the third hour when there are the most viewers. Overall, the Raw brand seems unsettled in the babyface pecking order until they decide the Universal champion on Sunday.
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