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KELLER’S WWE RAW REPORT
AUGUST 26, 2019
NEW ORLEANS, LA.
AIRED ON USA NETWORK
Announcers: Michael Cole, Corey Graves, Renee Young
-Cole proudly announced Raw was coming from New Orleans as the camera panned the crowd. Sasha Banks made her ring entrance. Cole said she’d be wrestling Natalya later. They went to a nearly four minute video package on Sasha’s return with clips of Becky Lynch’s promo from last week’s Smackdown reacting to Sasha.
Back live in the ring, Sasha’s music faded and she absorbed some boos, but mostly silence. Graves said he can’t wait for her explanation. “So everybody wants to know why,” she said. “And where has Sasha Banks been, huh?” She said for four months she was gone, out of site, minding her own business, not talking to anybody, yet everyone kept talking about her. A “Becky!” chant started. Sasha paused. She said people said she threw a fit. “I did.” She said people said she was seen crying at WrestleMania at the locker room floor. “I did,” she said. She said people said she took her ball and went home. “You’re damn right I did,” she said. She said it wasn’t for reasons they assume. “I was relegated to a WrestleMania tag team match I cared absolutely nothing about, defending tag team titles that meant even less, while Becky Lynch got to headline WrestleMania against Ronda Rousey.”
She said she went on a couple of amazing vacations with her WrestleMania paycheck. She said Becky’s check was a lot larger for main eventing, though. She said she came back to work, but she had a plan. She said she waited for the perfect moment, which was when Natalya was standing in the ring two weeks ago. She said she gave her a big hug and lied to her face when she told her that her dad would be so proud of her. Boos. She said Becky came out, right on cue, to save the day.
She said now she is the center of attention yet again, like she deserves. She said she is the standard of the Women’s Division and she is the talk of the Women’s Division. She said she deserves all the glory. Natalya charged out to her music and tackled Sasha. They rolled around at ringside. “This thing is heating up in a hurry!” yelled Cole. Referees and officials ran out and separated them. It took them a while to pull them apart. Graves said he’s been warning people about who Sasha Banks really was for years. [c]
-The Street Profits hyped the rest of Raw, including the King of the Ring and a Tag Team Turmoil match. They explained the rules with help from an on-screen graphic. The winning team gets a shot at the tag titles at Clash of Champions against Seth Rollins & Braun Strowman. They listed the participating teams. They closed with a song.
(1) RICOCHET vs. DREW MCINTYRE – King of the Ring Tournament First Round match
Ricochet’s ring entrance took place. Cole said, “He believes he’s a superhero.” A soundbite aired with Ricochet who said he grew up idolizing King of the Ring winners. He said he’ll move the mountain that is Drew to move ahead. Drew said when he is king, all of the unworthy Superstars will be exiled from his kingdom. Cole reviewed the brackets which showed that the winner of this match faces Samoa Joe. The bell rang 19 minutes into the show. They fought to ringside a minute in. Drew gave Ricochet a running side slam onto the ring apron off the steps. They cut to a break. [c]
Back from the break, Ricochet made a comeback and landed a corkscrew dive over the top rope onto Drew at ringside. Drew took over with sustained offense for a few minutes. He pressed Ricochet above his head, but Ricochet slipped out and then caught a diving Drew and gave him a Northern Lights Suplex. Drew countered and just salto tossed Ricochet to the mat. Both were slow to get up. Ricochet landed a springboard clothesline. He let out a yell and landed a standing moonsault for a two count. Ricochet climbed to the top rope a minute later, but Drew knocked him to the floor with a hard elbow to the side of his head. Ricochet landed a step-up enzuigiri on the ringside steps to slow Drew’s momentum. He dove off the steps, but ate a Glasgow Kick. Drew threw Ricochet back into the ring and charged at him, but Ricochet caught him with a superkick. He landed two roundkicks to a kneeling Drew, but then Drew popped up with a surprise clothesline. Ricochet took a 360 degree bump. Drew followed with a sitout powerbomb for a near fall. The kickout got a pop. They fought back and forth until Ricochet landed a Recoil. Ricochet climbed to the top rope and landed a 630 for a clean three count.
WINNER: Ricochet in 14:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: Good match. That’s a big win for Ricochet and a big of a setback for Drew, who no longer seems on course to be a top tier heel. He just hasn’t been protected lately in the way that top heels usually are if they’re on a main event trajectory.)
-Renee plugged Miz vs. Baron Corbin. Cole hyped a Seth Rollins and Braun Strowman interview next. [c]
-They showed postcard shots of New Orleans.
-Backstage an unnamed blond woman interviewed Braun and Seth backstage. She asked about their title defense at the Clash, and how Seth will have to defend both of his titles at the Clash because every title is defended at the Clash. Braun was preoccupied with Seth’s Universal Title, staring longingly at it. Braun finally said they’ll defend their tag titles against anyone, but he asked who Seth is going to defend the Universal Title against. Seth said they have a talented locker room. Seth asked Braun if he’s challenging him right now. Braun said they just won the titles last week, so he wants to make sure he’s on the same page. “Partner, of course I’m challenging you for the Universal Championship.” Seth said he doesn’t back down from a fight, so challenge accepted.
-They went to the announcers on camera. Graves reacted, saying this is a first-time situation that has taken shape.
-Miz made his ring entrance. [c]
-Miz stood mid-ring and touted his resume of title wins and plugged “Miz & Mrs.” He said in his 13 year career, people always ask what he wants. “The answer is simple,” he said. “I want it all.” He said these are the first steps to becoming “King Awesome!” Graves said that doesn’t have a ring to it.
(2) THE MIZ vs. BARON CORBIN – King of the Ring Tournament First Round match
As Corbin came out, Graves said Corbin is the best qualified person for the job because he’d be a fair ruler of the WWE Universe. Cole cackled. Cole said Corbin told “WWE Digital” that his motivation is that the WWE Universe doesn’t want him to win and that if he won, it’d upset so many people. Corbin hit a clothesline and scored a two count and they cut to an early break. [c]
After the break, Miz rallied. Cole said to ask Steve Austin and Triple H what it means to win King of the Ring. Miz scored a two count after a double axe handle. They showed Cedric Alexander watching the monitor backstage. Corbin came back with a Deep Six for a two count. Miz countered a chokeslam with a roll-up for a two count. Miz blocked an End of Days and landed a DDT for a two count. Graves said Corbin is motivated by the desire to shut down his detractors. Cole said, “He won’t really be a ruler, you get that, right?” Graves and Renee both stammered a bit. Miz surprised Corbin with a Skull Crushing Finale for a near fall. Corbin rolled to the floor. Miz threw him back into the ring, then springbaorded at him, but Corbin caught him with a sudden End of Days for the win.
WINNER: Corbin in 10:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: This was a pretty obvious finish if only because Miz vs. Cedric Alexander doesn’t feel like a match WWE would book in round two, as it doesn’t really have a hook.)
-Cole talked about the brackets and said Smackdown would feature Ali vs. Buddy Murphy and Chad Gable vs. Shelton Benjamin in two “intriguing match-ups.” Corbin admired the throne and lifted the crown on the stage. Graves said, “This is like a glimpse into the future.” Renee said, “That’s got to be bad luck.” Corbin sat on the throne and smiled. He said when he showed up at the building, he was asked about a “ridiculous poll” where the WWE Universe voted that they wanted anyone but him to win King of the Ring. He said he’s never cared what they think anyway. “None of you actually matter to me.” He said on their very best day, they couldn’t accomplish a single thing he has. He said he is where he is because of one person – himself. Cole said, “We might have to get used to that sight.”
(Keller’s Analysis: They are setting up the match with Cedric nicely. The crowd should be super-into Cedric beating Corbin. Given how hard they’re pushing the possibility of Corbin winning, it makes me think he’s losing. But will it be in round two?)
-Backstage Kayla Braxton interviewed Karl Anderson & Luke Gallows. Anderson said Seth & Braun “earned a title match out of thin-air.” Gallows said it’s ridiculous that they have to participate in a Tag Team Turmoil match to earn a rematch. Anderson said they’ll prove tonight they’re the only club that’s ever mattered.
-Bayley made her ring entrance. [c]
-Cole said: “The ground-breaking gritty show that caused a revolution is coming to USA Network.” He called NXT “the little engine that could.”
(Keller’s Analysis: Could things Cole is scripted to say and the way he says them possibly be any more counter-productive? Man, that was patronizing and made NXT sound lame.)
-They went to Rey Mysterio teasing retirement last week on Raw when Dominic asked him not to. Cole on camera said next week Rey returns to Raw.
(3) BAYLEY vs. NIKKI CROSS
Bayley won clean with a top rope flying elbow. Cole called it a “gutsy victory.”
WINNER: Bayley in 5:00.
-Graves plugged the Styles vs. Braun match for the U.S. Title later. Cole said Anderson and Gallows are barred from ringside.
-Kayla interviewed Braun backstage. She could barely reach high enough with the mic to reach his mouth. He said he and Seth will win the tag titles, then he’ll beat Seth for the Universal Title, then he’ll successfully retain the U.S. Title. “That’s what I call Winner Takes All, and it feels good.” He said no one can stop him later from getting the U.S. Title and Styles from “getting these hands.”
-The Viking Raiders began their ring entrance. [c]
(4a) THE VIKING RAIDERS vs. THE B-TEAM – Tag Team Turmoil match
WINNERS: Raiders in 1:00 with the Viking Experience finisher.
(4b) THE VIKING RAIDERS vs. KARL ANDERSON & LUKE GALLOWS
The ref lost control after a minute and DQ’d both teams.
WINNERS: Double DQ, so both teams eliminated.
(Keller’s Analysis: That finish isn’t done enough in WWE, so it felt hasty and contrived.)
-Robert Roode and Dolph Ziggler came out to their own entrance music. Cole wondered who they’d face. [c]
(4c) ROBERT ROODE & DOLPH ZIGGLER vs. LUCHA HOUSE PARTY (Lince Dorado & Gran Metalik w/Kalisto)
The match was joined in progress after the break. Rapid-fire action ended with Ziggler hitting Lince with a superkick on a back elbow attempt.
WINNERS: Roode & Ziggler in about 3:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: These rapid-fire finishes are so phony in these types of matches.)
(4d) ROBERT ROODE & DOLPH ZIGGLER vs. THE REVIVAL (Dash & Dawson)
This was an absolute marathon, with Roode pinning Dawson clean.
WINNER: Roode & Ziggler in 5:00.
-Cole said they’d “find out live” who will face Roode & Ziggler next.
(4e) ROBERT ROODE & DOLPH ZIGGLER vs. ZACK RYDER & KURT HAWKINS
WINNERS: Roode & Ziggler in about 2:00.
(4f) ROBERT ROODE & DOLPH ZIGGLER vs. HEAVY MACHINERY (Otis & Tucker)
Roode tried to call a timeout just as the bell was about to ring. Tucker chased them down at ringside and threw them into the ring. Tucker scored an early near fall on Ziggler. Otis charged Ziggler and Roode in the corner with running splash against the turnbuckles. Then Otis did the Caterpillar to Ziggler. They set up Roode for their Trash Compactor next, but Ziggler intervened with a superkick and then Ziggler gave Otis a Zig Zag onto Tucker. Roode then gave Tucker his Glorious DDT for the win. Cole said Ziggler & Roode won four matches in their first-ever night teaming together to get a title match at the Clash.
WINNERS: Ziggler & Roode in 7:00 to earn a WWE Raw Tag Team Title match at Clash of Champions.
-The announcers on camera hyped Sasha vs. Natalya. Then they threw to a video package on the Roman Reigns whodunit storyline. Graves said Daniel Bryan and Rowan have demanded an apology from Reigns on Smackdown now that they’ve “proven they were falsely accused.”
-An ad for NXT’s premiere on USA Network aired. [c]
-Cole hyped the premiere of “Total Divas” which will feature Ronda Rousey, Sonya Deville, and last year’s cast members.
(5) SASHA BANKS vs. NATALYA
Sasha made her ring entrance first. They aired clips of Sasha’s interview earlier in the show and the brawl that broke out with Natalya. Natalya then came out with her left elbow taped. The ref held Natalya back from going right after Sasha before the bell. Natalya threw Sasha hard to the mat with a released German suplex. Cole yelled, “Sasha landing hard, she may be out!” It was good for a two count. Sasha took over at ringside, tossing Natalya into the ringpost. Graves said he has known Sasha is not a good person since she arrived in NXT, but now that she’s not pretending to be anyone but her real self, she’s especially dangerous. “She’s been acting like something she is not,” he said. “We are finally seeing the true colors of the real Sasha Banks.” Sasha caught Natalya with a mid-ring Bank Statement. Natalya crawled toward the bottom rope. Sasha yanked her injured arm across her chin. Natalya tapped out from the pain.
WINNER: Sasha in 4:00 via submission.
-A trainer checked on Natalya’s arm after the match. Sasha left the ring, but then got a sinister look and returned to the ring and re-applied the Bank Statement. Cole said she had a sick smile on her face. “What the hell has happened to her?” he said.
-Braxton backstage interviewed Styles. Styles said Anderson & Gallows were screwed earlier. He said nobody believes he can defend the U.S. Title against Braun. He said he can thrive even without Anderson and Gallows in his corner. He said Braun intimidates everyone he faces except for him. He said Braun can’t walk out of the Clash with all the gold because he won’t win the U.S. Title tonight.
-Cole plugged Cedric vs. Cesaro. [c]
-Cole hyped “Straight Up Steve Austin” with Baker Mayfield, the quarterback of the Cleveland Browns.
(6) CEDRIC ALEXANDER vs. CESARO
Cesaro caught Cedric diving through the ropes with an uppercut mid-air a minute into the match. He gave Cedric a gut-wrench suplex next and then scored a two count. They cut to a break after the action spilled to the floor. [c]
They showed Corbin watching on a monitor backstage. They continued to battle back and forth, with Cesaro concentrating on Cedric’s legs with half crabs with a ton of torque. Cedric came back with a sudden Lumbar Check for the win. Cole wondered how hobbled Cedric would be when he faces Corbin in the King of the Ring tournament round two match.
WINNER: Cedric in 12:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: Really good match. The reason for this seemingly random match revealed itself at the end there when Cole said Cedric might be less than 100 percent after Cesaro’s focus on his legs in that grueling match.)
-They showed Styles warming up backstage. [c]
-WWE Fact: Raw was the most social show on TV last week.
-Cole threw to a clip of Elias at a Fox Sports event last week when Drake Maverick showed up, and then R-Truth rolled Elias up to win the 24/7 Title. Drake was then caught in the path of a ton of footballs being thrown at him. Truth then scored a basket before chasing after Drake. They almost literally played the Benny Hill Theme during highlights. They showed Truth chatting with hosts on the set of Fox College Football. One of the Fox hosts, Rob Stone, the pinned R-Truth with a roll-up. Elias then rolled him up to regain his title. Elias then fled. Truth told Stone, “It ain’t easy being the champ!”
-The mystery blond woman interviewed Ziggler & Roode backstage. She asked how the team came together. Ziggler said he saw a twinkle in Roode’s eye that indicates he wants it more than anyone else in that locker room, so they gravitated toward each other. He said Braun and Seth will face each other first, then defend against them later “because we’re the cream of the crop.” He said they won’t be in any mood to work together by then. Roode said they’re the most talented and best looking tag team in WWE.
(Keller’s Analysis: Ziggler has found someone else who likes to “YELL UNNECESSARILY” just like he does to share interview time with.)
-Back to the Street Profits backstage. Angelo Dawkins was dressed up with beads and a Mardi Gras hat. He said he was ready for the afterparty. Fans cheered. Montez Ford then hyped the U.S. Title main event next. They stopped when they noticed Braun heading toward the entrance stage right past them.
(Keller’s Analysis: It’s a small thing, but they acted surprised Braun was there, yet when the camera panned back, it was clear he had to be there all along because Braun was backed against a garage door and other crates right by the Street Profits, maybe ten feet away.) [c]
-They went to the announcers on camera who talked about NXT going to USA next month. They showed Triple H’s tweet saying how proud he is. Graves threw to a “Firefly Funhouse” montage. He said it was a trip down memory lane to show how it all began.
(7) A.J. STYLES vs. BRAUN STROWMAN – U.S. Title match
Styles made his ring entrance first. They threw to clips of last week’s angle that led to this match-up. Then Braun. Then came formal ring introductions for the title match with 13 minutes left in the show. Strowman tossed Styles over the top rope to the floor two seconds into the match. Then he grazed his shoulder and Styles bumped like he was shot with a cannon ball. He sprinted around the ring and knocked Styles down a second time. Back in the ring, Styles caught a charging Strowman with a boot. Strowman caught Styles flying at him off the ropes with a chokeslam for a two count, with Styles putting his boot over the bottom rope. Strowman then knocked Styles off the ring apron with a boot to the head. [c]
Back from the break, Styles applied a sleeper. Styles stayed on offense and applied an ankle lock. Strowman powered out and headbutted Styles for a two count. Styles avoided a charging Strowman, who went shoulder-first into the ringpost. Styles knocked Strowman into the ref, who crashed to the floor. Then Styles gave Braun a low-blow. Graves said no matter how big and tough you are, your eyes “and that area” are vulnerable. Styles entered with a chair, but Strowman blocked Styles and then gave him a sudden powerslam for a visual three count. The ref was still down and out. Anderson and Gallows ran out and attacked Braun. Braun fought them off and then hit Anderson and Gallows with the chair Styles brought into the ring. When Styles saw Braun had a chair, Styles fell backwards and sold like Braun hit him. The ref saw Braun with the chair and called for the DQ despite Braun’s protests that he did nothing with the chair. The ref said he heard the chairshots. “That’s garbage,” said Renee.
WINNER: Styles via DQ in 12:00 to retain the U.S. Title.
-Braun took out his frustrations on Styles, Gallows, and Anderson. He powerslammed Styles and then picked up the U.S. Title belt. His music played and he went off the air with his arms raised.
FINAL THOUGHTS: A decent show start to finish. No big highs or big lows. I’m off to live podcast about this episode.
NOTE: For another perspective on this episode, check out Zack Heydorn’s “alt perspective” coverage of Raw right here at PWTorch.