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KELLER’S WWE RAW REPORT
AUGUST 5, 2019
AIRED ON USA NETWORK
Announcers: Michael Cole, Corey Graves, Renee Young
-They opened with a gathering on the stage of the wrestlers with the outlines of Texas and Ohio above them with the words “We Stand With You” as the ring announcers acknowledged the victims of the shootings this weekend in El Paso, Tex. and Dayton, Ohio. There was a ten bell salute.
-The new Raw opening aired to Papa Roach’s “Born for Greatness.” The first four wrestlers featured: Brock Lesnar, Seth Rollins, Becky Lynch, and Drew McIntyre. And then Robert Roode.
-Samoa Joe interrupted the opening and got in the faces of the announcers. He said he was interrupting to “right a hideous wrong.” He said they’re probably going to talk about what happened to Roman Reigns last week. He said people are accusing him of trying to take Roman out. He said the announcers have been blaming him, and while Roman didn’t say it, he isn’t denying it was him. Joe yelled that he has been wrongly accused. Graves said the official word is it was an accident, but he has to understand why people think he maybe had something to do with it. “So that makes me guilty?” said Joe. Cole said more than 80 percent of the WWE Universe believe it wasn’t an accident. Joe said as far as he is concerned, 80 percent of the WWE Universe are idiots. Joe pointed to the big screen to show the angle at the end of Smackdown last week. (They showed all of the camera angles that ruined it last week by making something presented as spontaneous feel way overproduced and orchestrated.)
Back live, Joe asked if anyone saw him at the scene. He said his good name has been besmirched, so he’s waiting until Reigns arrives. Then he’s going to march to the ring and shut down the show until he gets the apology he deserves. Becky Lynch’s music interrupted. She walked onto the stage and held up her WWE Raw Title belt.
As ring entrances began for the women’s opening tag match, Graves said Becky and Charlotte won’t be able to get along. He chided Becky for not opening the ropes for Charlotte as she arrived at the ring. The referee did. (The referee’s shouldn’t do that, either.) As Natalya came to the ring, they hyped a four-way women’s tag team match later, plus Brock Lesnar would appear live. They showed a clip of Brock dropping Seth on the gurney last week. Trish then made her ring entrance. [c]
(1) BECKY LYNCH & CHARLOTTE vs. NATAYLA & TRISH STRATUS
Cole noted that the Becky-Natalya match at Summerslam has been turned into a submissions match. Fans chanted “Becky!” at the start as she battled Natalya. Graves said Natalya’s time in the Hart Family Dungeon will pay off on Sunday. When Natalya put Becky in an armbar, the announcers said she might have picked that up training with Ronda Rousey. Charlotte worked over Natalya, then teased tagging Becky. She pulled her hand away and slapped her ass, then went back to work on Natalya. Charlotte stopped Natalya from tagging out to Trish. Charlotte took a swing at Trish, but Trish dropped to the floor. Natalya rolled up Charlotte from behind. Becky slapped Charlotte on the back of her head to blind-tag in. Charlotte was fuming and then hit Becky from behind. She then walked out on the match. “Queen doesn’t need this sort of headache,” said Graves. Natalya then tackled a distracted Becky and put her in a Sharpshooter. Becky yelled in pain as Charlotte looked over her shoulder from the ramp. Becky grabbed the bottom rope, but Natalya didn’t break the hold. The ref DQ’d her. Afterward, Trish entered to pull Natalya off of Becky. Natalya shoved Trish.
WINNERS: Natlaya & Trish via DQ in 7:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: That was fine in terms of getting the wrestlers involved in the two big singles matches at Summerslam some TV time to build tension. It doesn’t explain storyline-wise who put the match together with such odd pairings. Trish never tagged in, by the way. After last week’s odd angle where Becky attacked Natalya for “daring” to train for their match, this set up Natalya as more heelish. I’m curious who Toronto fans side with. I figure Becky, but Natalya’s so known for her connections to Canada.)
-The announcers commented on a clip of Andrade tearing apart Rey Mysterio’s mask. They showed Rey backstage. Cole said he has a chance at revenge next. [c]
-As they showed a postcard shot of Pittsburgh’s skyline, Cole hyped upcoming Raw happenings.
(2) ANDRADE (w/Zelina Vega) vs. REY MYSTERIO
Graves said Andrade knows what another signature victory over Rey would do for his career. Rey knocked Andrade to the floor and then slid under the bottom rope and sunset bombed Andrade hard into the barricade. They cut to a break. [c]
When Cole called it “vintage Rey,” Graves said it’s vintage if by vintage you mean constantly reinventing himself. Andrade caught a charging Rey with a fast hard back elbow and scored a near fall. They replayed it in slo-mo from the reverse angle. Andrade then climbed to the second rope. Rey knocked him off balance. Andrade hung Rey upside down and hit the double-stomp. (That was one of the better executed versions of that move which usually looks orchestrated to the point that the babyface looks like an idiot for holding themselves in position for the move for several seconds during the set-up.) That was good for a two count. Fans chanted “6-1-9.” Andrade caught Rey going for a springboard, but Rey countered with a crucifix driver for a two count. A minute later Rey hit the 6-1-9. Zelina slowed Rey’s climb to the top rope. Andrade then lifted his knees on the Rey splash and scored a two count. Rey surprised Andrade with a small package for a two count. Andrade came right back with a suplex attempt, but Rey escaped. Andrade powerbombed Rey a second later and then went fo tr his mask again. The referee pried Andrade off. As the ref scolded Andrade, Zelina snapped Rey’s neck over the middle rope. Andrade then gave Rey his signature hammerlock DDT for the win.
WINNER: Andrade in 12:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: Terrific match start to finish.)
-Cole hyped Cedric Alexander vs. Drew McIntyre with Kurt Angle as special referee. Also, Miz TV features a contract signing for Miz vs. Dolph Ziggler. Renee noted Shawn Michaels will make a special appearance. Cole pivoted to talking about the 24/7 Title change last week.
-They went to Mike Kanellis and Maria Kanellis “earlier today at 2 p.m.” at the OBGYN waiting room. Maria said Mike has one job – to protect her, her unborn child, and “most importantly, my 24/7 Championship.” Mike promised he wouldn’t let her down. “That’ll be the day,” she said. Mike looked dejected and grabbed a magazine. Maria was called into the office. Mike at first didn’t get up. Maria told him to follow her.
(Keller’s Analysis: That was the least convincing doctor’s office waiting room ever. One wall was a giant purple tarp.) [c]
-The camera followed them into the exam room. Mike was massaging Maria. She was irritated and told him to stop because it was making her tense. Mike made out with her. Maria leaned back and enjoyed the caressing. The doctor slapped Mike’s back three times and then awarded him the 24/7 Title. The crowd popped. They cut back to the doctor’s office where Mike celebrated his win. “The plan actually worked!” Mike said. Back in the waiting room, R-Truth then revealed himself in a robe and a woman’s wig. Truth said his water broke and he proceeded to give birth to a baby doll. Mike caught the baby, and then Truth rolled him up for the pin. Truth said, “You got your baby and I got mine!” He then ran off.
-Charly Caruso said she can’t believe just saw the 24/7 Title change hands twice in an OBGYN office. She said on a more serious note, she would now interview Becky Lynch. She asked Becky about Natalya’s home field advantage. Becky said she hopes the whole Hart Family is there to see her lose. She said she has let Canada down her whole career, so why stop now. She said Natalya complains that The Machine has gotten behind Becky, but not Natalya. Becky said she gave them no choice but to fall into line. “I fought and I won,” she said. She said she gave them no option but to highlight what she was doing. She said she’s not walking around like a good girl hoping everyone likes her and doesn’t fire her. She said while she was out in the ring changing the business, Natalya was on a reality show changing her bikini. She said while she was fighting with a broken bloodied face, Natalya was on Instagram. Becky said she is the one thing her career is missing, and in Toronto she’s going to give her people a new hero. Caruso threw to Sarah Schreiber with Natalya for a response.
(Keller’s Analysis: Really good. I loved how she said The Machine pushing her was simply highlighting what she was doing. It wasn’t some half-baked kayfabe-breaking “they gave me a push and booked me to win” message.)
-Natalya told Schreiber that the Sharpshooter tonight was just a small sample of what she’s going to give her on Sunday when she beats her. She said Becky could break her arm and she still won’t tap.
(Keller’s Analysis: That was one of Natalya’s better promos.)
-They showed Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman walking backstage. Cole said they were next. [c]
-Lesnar and Heyman made their ring entrance. The fans booed as Lesnar and Heyman stood mid-ring. Heyman introduced himself and then his client. He laughed maniacally. Heyman said his client has instructed and ordered him to educate each and every single one of the fans.
Heyman asked if Seth was supposed to be the Beast Slayer, the Conquerer’s Conquerer, the one man who had Brock Lesnar’s number, and the architect of the arson that would burn down Suplex City. He said the answer to all of those questions is in a video. He pointed to the big screen. They replayed last week’s Seth-Lesnar angle. They came back to a smiling Lesnar. Heyman said he dropped to his knees last week and begged a merciful beast to show some mercy on Seth. He said he knew in his heart that what WWE needed was a new hero. He said the beating last week was borderline criminal. He said he found out insider info moments ago that Seth is in the building. Fans cheered. Brock acted like he wasn’t the least bit concerned. Heyman scolded the fans for cheering Seth on to go down in a blaze of glory. He said Seth has “more balls than brains.” Seth’s music played. Lesnar smirked. Seth limped out with a chair in hand, resembling Becky in the build to WrestleMania earlier this year. Heyman taunted Seth by holding up the Universal Title.
Seth climbed onto the ring apron. Heyman warned him to back away. Seth entered the ring and leaped at Lesnar. Lesnar easily kicked him and took the chair. Lesnar then hit Seth with the chair. As Lesnar toyed with Seth, Cole said Seth shouldn’t have shown up tonight. He gave him an F5, then stood over him holding up the Universal Title belt. [c]
-A Smackdown commercial hyped Kofi Kingston would respond to Randy Orton plus The KO Show would feature Shane McMahon as Kevin Owens’ guest.
-They showed that during the break, Lesnar gave Seth another F5. Two referees checked on Seth as paramedics waited at ringside with a gurney. Seth asked for a mic. He said it’s gotten to a point where he’s had to ask himself if this is worth it. He milked the moment, then said when you love something so much, you’d do anything to protect it and keep it safe, even if that leads to you getting beaten to a pulp week after week. He said for him, the answer is yes. Not much of a pop. He said this is all he has. He said every second of every day, this is all he’s ever wanted and all he’s got. He said he will be at Summerslam and he will beat Brock Lesnar. “I guarantee it,” he said. He dropped the mic. There wasn’t much pop. Fans seemed into it, but not vocal. A small “Burn it down!” chant started. He said he wouldn’t go out on a stretcher.
-Caruso interviewed Kurt Angle. He walked up to her smiling in his referee shirt. He gave a shout out to his hometown, Pittsburgh. The Street Profits showed up with the NXT Tag Team Title belts. They introduced themselves to Angle. They talked about Angle’s three I’s. They beat boxed Angle’s theme song and then pulled out some milk from a cooler. Angle said he promised his wife he wouldn’t do anything too crazy. “Are we talking to Kurt Angle or Mark Kanellis. (Yes, Montez Ford said “Mark” instead of Mike). Angle gave in and said, “Okay, just one.” In walked Drew. He said he couldn’t help but overhear the hilarity and he was concerned his sides were literally going to split. He reminded Kurt that he hasn’t forgotten what happened the last time they were in the ring together. He warned Kurt to call it down the middle. He asked the Profits if they saw him beat Angle. He said if Angle steps out of line, he’ll take his boot and crack his skull open. “Oh, it’s true. It’s damn true,” Drew said.
(Keller’s Analysis: That worked. Drew was really good there, with a softer touch to his words which seemed more intimidating as a result. The milk stuff was funny.)
(3) THE VIKING RAIDERS vs. JAY ALEXANDER & ERIC ABRAHAM
WINNERS: Raiders in 1:00 with the Viking Experience finisher.
-Cole acknowledged the death of Harley Race by saying, “Last week, Sports Entertainment lost a true legend.” A slideshow of Twitter comments were shown from various wrestlers and McMahons along with pictures of Race over the years with those making comments about him.
(Keller’s Analysis: At least Cole didn’t call Race a “sports entertainer.”) [c]
-They went to the announcers on camera. Cole talked about meeting Race for the first time and called him one of the all-time greats. A video package aired on Race. It included soundbites with Jerry Lawler, Jake Roberts, John Cena, Steve Austin, and others. They cut to the crowd applauding. A “Harley!” chant broke out.
(Keller’s Analysis: Nicely done. I’m glad they dedicated that much time to Race.)
-Angle’s music played. The “Harley” chant shifted to a “You suck!” chant. Cedric made his ring entrance. Drew attacked him from behind on the ramp. Cedric came back with a tornado DDT off the barricade onto the floor. The lights then went out and it was time for “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt. He put Angle in a Mandible Claw. Then Bray’s laughter filled the arena.
(Keller’s Analysis: If The Fiend keeps going after legends such as Foley and Angle, that could set up Bray for some big-name matches for the next few years if they pace themselves.) [c]
-They showed Titus O’Neal at a Tampa Bay Buccaneers sponsored charity event.
(4) THE NEW DAY (Xavier Woods & Big E) vs. THE OC (Karl Anderson & Luke Gallows w/A.J. Styles)
During The OC’s ring entrance, they replayed Anderson & Gallows winning the tag titles last week from The Revival. Styles interfered a few seconds into the match attacking Xavier.
WINNERS: New Day via DQ in under 1:00.
-The OC attacked New Day three-on-two. Ricochet made the save. Cole said that was The OC’s plan all along. Xavier, Big E, and Ricochet called The OC back to the ring.
(Keller’s Analysis: Is Gallows auditioning for The Ascension? He’s got faceprint now.) [c]
(5) THE NEW DAY (Xavier Woods & Big E) & RICOCHET vs. THE OC (Karl Anderson & Luke Gallows & A.J. Styles)
C0le said many people believe Styles vs. Ricochet will “steal the show, so to speak.” Graves said athletically-speaking, it has a chance to stand out above all others. Cole acknowledged the “new look and new attitude” for Gallows. Back and forth and fast-paced action. Ricochet knocked Styles out of the ring, but Gallows threw him hard into the barricade. Styles tripped Xavier into the arms of Anderson, which led to the Magic Killer for the win.
WINNERS: The OC in 7:00.
-A backstage worker informed Samoa Joe that Roman was on his way. Joe said Raw now officially shut down. [c]
-They replayed last week’s angle with scaffolding falling onto Reigns.
-Joe walked to the ring. In a bit of an about-face from earlier, Graves said he understands Joe’s frustration for being accused. He said people are jumping to conclusions even if things look a little suspect. He said he is giving Roman a chance to walk to the ring and apologize to him. No response. Joe said they’ll play it Roman’s way. Joe grabbed a chair and threw it into the ring. Then he sat on it and said, “Ladies and gentleman, Raw is officially shut down until Roman Reigns walks down here and apologizes to me in person.” He said he was giving Roman to the count of three. He said he has all day and he’ll keep everyone waiting all night. “We’re holding it all up for you,” he said. He told the fans not to blame him. He said the reason they’re all sitting on their hands is because Roman is too much of a coward to apologize. A “C.M. Punk!” started. It got really loud quickly. Joe bent over and talked with a worker at ringside who said Reigns has arrived. He said he’s going to go greet Roman’s ass. Cole said Joe is in a foul mood.
Joe walked to the parking lot and began yelling as a car drove up. Reigns stepped out of a black Chevy. Suddenly a car sped up to Reigns as he stepped out of the car. Reigns leaped back into the car and the other car rammed into the side of the Chevy. Joe looked stunned. [c]
-They replayed the “breaking news” and “developing situation” of attempted vehicular homicide. The car, which had darkened windows, then sped away. They aired footage from during the commercial where Joe told Reigns to stay down and yelled for a medic. “Stay down!” said Joe, who actually appeared concerned for Reigns’s well-being. Reigns sat up. Then they showed Triple H checking on Reigns and helping him out of the car. Reigns reached and held his neck.
-They went to the announcers on camera. Cole said at least Reigns is conscious and able to stand. Cole said last week was supposedly an accident, but this clearly wasn’t. They shifted to hyping the Summerslam line-up.
-Ring entrances took place for the women’s four-way tag. [c]
(6) THE IICONICS (Peyton Royce & Billie Kaye) vs. KABUKI WARRIORS (Asuka & Kairi Sane w/Paige) vs. ALEXA BLISS & NIKKI CROSS vs. MANDY ROSE & SONYA DEVILLE – Elimination Match for the Women’s Tag Team Titles
The IIconics cleared the ring a couple minutes in. Mandy attacked them from behind. A minute later Mandy pinned Kaye. Cole said they are guaranteed new tag team champions. [c]
They “reset and restarted” as a triple threat. After a flurry by the Kabuki Warriors, Sonya went to tag Mandy. Mandy passed, so Bliss tagged in. Graves said Mandy might be afraid of scurvy because Kairi fancies herself a pirate. He and Cole cracked up. Cole said that’s the first time scurvy has ever been brought up on Raw. (Someone fact-check that.) Kairi and Bliss had a staredown. Eventually Asuka tapped out Bliss with a submission. [c]
It came down to Bliss & Cross vs. Kabuki Warriors. Bliss and Kairi each hot-tagged in. Kairi rallied against Bliss and took a shot at Nikki on the ring apron. Asuka tagged in and went for a submission, but Bliss countered with a leveraged two count. Asuka kicked Bliss as she charged, then Asuka tagged in Kairi. Kairi climbed to the top rope. Nikki shoved her down as the ref was occupied with Asuka. Asuka and Nikki battled at ringside. Bliss dropkicked Asuka from behind. Kairi knocked Nikki off the ring apron, then Bliss threw a right at Kairi. It seemed to miss, but Kairi collapsed. Bliss then landed a Twisted Bliss for the win. Cole asked what the odds were and said their partnership is odd. Graves said it should be celebrated. Graves said they displayed teamwork befitting best friends. Renee said they got the job done. Paige consoled Kairi and Asuka at ringside.
WINNERS: Bliss & Nikki to capture the WWE Women’s Tag Team Titles.
(Keller’s Analysis: Nice match. I strongly suspect the Women’s Tag Team Titles won’t be ignored now that Bliss & Cross have the belts. Good action. The Kabuki Warriors were really good in this.)
-Cole threw to a replay of Heyman and Lesnar and Seth earlier. Miz began his ring entrance. [c]
-An ad aired for “Straight Up Steve Austin” debuting on USA Network next week after Raw.
-Cole plugged “The Day Of: Raw Reunion” with behind the scenes heartwarming reunions and friendships rekindled.
-Miz TV: Miz introduced the segment. He said he requested this formal contract signing. He said he wanted to be sure Ziggler shows up on Sunday, so he wants to witness him put pen to paper. He then introduced Shawn Michaels. Michaels danced to the ring and then posed and flexed. Miz put his arm around Michaels who wore what is now his new signature, a baseball cap. Ziggler walked out looking dapper. They replayed Ziggler kicking Michaels on Smackdown two weeks ago. Ziggler said he’d rather be a pariah any day of the week doing what needs to get done than an ass-kisser like them. He said he’s been stealing shows and carrying this company on his back, even when he wasn’t supposed to, for the last decade. He said he’s the best thing to happen to pro wrestling since “you lost your smile and you lost your balls.” He said he’s the only legend in the ring, brother. He told Miz if he thinks he can beat him at Summerslam, good luck.
He said when he wins at Summerslam, he’ll finally get the adulation and appreciation he deserves by becoming a living breathing legend. Miz soaked it up, then turned to Michaels. Ziggler signed the contract. Miz said what’s amazing is this has been Ziggler’s M.O. since he arrived. “You poke, you prod, you push buttons, and you call names.” He said if he wants adulation and appreciation, it’s not the fans or wrestlers or legends who are to blame. “It’s you!” he said. He said he can’t wait to get his hands on him next Monday night on Raw. Ziggler looked confused. Miz revealed that Ziggler didn’t read the fine print of the contract. Miz said he’ll have many Summerslam Moments in his career, but the man he’s signed to face won’t have many more chances. He revealed Ziggler just signed to face someone else. Michaels then revealed, “It’s not me.” Miz smiled. Fans began chanting “Goldberg.” Goldberg’s music played. “Oh my!” exclaimed Cole. Goldberg walked out. “He’s here!” said Cole. Goldberg entered the ring and signed the contract. “Goldberg!” chanted the fans. Goldberg yelled, “Dolph Ziggler, guess what, son? You’re next!” Michaels then gave Ziggler a Sweet Chin Music on the stage.
(Keller’s Analysis: That gives a little extra spice to Summerslam. The “Make Up for the Saudi Arabia Debacle Legends Tour” continues this summer. The bad part is fans clearly would rather see Ziggler vs. Michaels, which was overtly teased before the reveal.)