SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
WWE RAW TV REPORT
AUGUST 15, 2022
WASHINGTON, DC AT CAPITAL ONE ARENA
AIRED LIVE ON USA NETWORK
REPORT BY DANNY DOUCETTE, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Commentators: Jimmy Smith, Corey Graves, & Byron Saxton
Ring Announcer: Mike Rome
-A new intro video played featuring the Raw superstars. Then, the blacked out arena was shown as pyro went off on the stage.
-The Judgment Day’s music played as Damian Priest, Finn Balor, and Rhea Ripley made their entrance. As they entered, a side-by-side recap was shown of the match between Balor and Rey Mysterio last week. Prominently highlighted was Ripley bringing a beat-up Dominik Mysterio to the stage.
Ripley said the Judgment Day runs Monday Night Raw. Ripley continued, saying that she proved that she is Dominik’s papi as she destroyed his soul. Balor then mocked how everyone seems to like the Mysterios. Balor said Dominik’s soul was crushed and he beat the legendary Rey Mysterio. Balor called for Priest to address his match with Edge next week. Priest asked the fans if they wanted to see Edge face the Judgment Day tonight. The fans cheered. Priest said it won’t happen because Edge isn’t there. Priest said he doesn’t need Ripley or Balor as backup and he won’t have them at ringside for the match. Priest continued saying that Toronto won’t be known as Edge’s hometown anymore, but where Priest retires him. Priest said this time retirement won’t be making TV shows or wack movies. It will be Beth Phoenix wheeling him around and feeding him through a tube. Suddenly, Rey attacked from behind and disposed of Priest and Balor. Ripley stepped up and challenged Rey to strike her. The fans seemed to urge Rey to hit Ripley and he seemed to be considering it. At that moment, Balor came from behind with a chair. However, Rey dropkicked the chair into Balor’s face. Rey grabbed the chair and attacked Balor, then Priest. Rey went to attack Balor again, but Ripley got in the way and grabbed the chair. Priest booted Rey in the face and began to overpower Rey. Ripley DDT’ed Rey onto the chair as the fans chanted, “We want Edge”. Balor hit a Coup de Gras with a chair placed on Rey’s chest. The Judgment Day posed as referees tended to Rey. [c]
(Doucette’s Analysis: The Judgment Day has been leagues better than before Ripley came back and even when they were with Edge. For the first time, they looked like a dominant group and not cheesy. Priest is doing well in running down Edge and Ripley looks like the alpha. Balor in this heel character is still an adjustment for me, but it seems like he’s getting more comfortable.)
Back from the break, the commentators hyped an upcoming match between Bobby Lashley and A.J. Styles for the U.S. title.
-Asuka and Alexa Bliss made separate entrances for a match in the tag team title tournament. Bianca Belair also made her entrance to support Bliss and Asuka as a graphic as the six-woman tag team match was hyped for Clash at the Castle.
Nikki A.S.H. and Doudrop entered next as Smith noted that Nikki was not wearing her cape as she was wearing a leather jacket gifted from Doudrop. A split-screen was shown with highlights of Iyo Sky and Dakota Kai along with Raquel Rodriguez and Aliyah advancing in the tournament.
(1) ALEXA BLISS & ASUKA (w/Bianca Belair) vs. NIKKI A.S.H. & DOUDROP
Bliss and Asuka got the better of Nikki and Doudrop first, sending them to the outside. Bliss, Asuka, and Belair hyped up the crowd as Nikki and Doudrop attempted to regroup. [c]
Back from the break, Nikki had Bliss in a straight jacket chokehold. Bliss fought out and tagged in Asuka. Asuka landed a German suplex on Nikki for a near fall. Drew McIntyre was advertised to make an appearance later in the night as Nikki took out Asuka to shift momentum. Doudrop hit a Michinoku Driver on Asuka for a near fall. Doudrop attempted a Vader Bomb, but Asuka moved. Bliss and Asuka made a few quick tags to get offense on Doudrop. Asuka locked Doudrop in an armbar for the submission victory.
WINNERS: Bliss & Asuka in 10:00.
-Belair celebrated with Asuka and Bliss in the ring. Bliss and Asuka advanced to face Kai and Kai in the next round. Belair, Asuka, and Bliss walked up the stage and turned around to find Bayley, Sky, and Kai there to confront them. The referees broke things up before a brawl could break out.
-Kevin Patrick introduced the returning Theory for an interview backstage. Theory ran down his list of accomplishments and said he made a slight miscalculation at SummerSlam, but he doesn’t make mistakes. Theory said he is tougher, wiser, and more dangerous. Dolph Ziggler interrupted and said Theory has been getting crushed by everyone. Ziggler said he earned the Money in the Bank contract and it mattered when he cashed in. Theory sarcastically said he loves that Ziggler was Mr. Money in the Bank and World Heavyweight Champion. Theory then called him an over the hill has-been and that he won’t screw up the rest of his career like Ziggler did. Ziggler head-butted Theory and they began to brawl. They crashed into the camera and it went to black. [c]
(Doucette Analysis: Ouch. Theory dropped some harsh words on Ziggler. I’d be mad too. This was also a nice method to cut away from the brawl. This is exactly how Theory should be presented though. A trash talking heel that you want to see get beat up.)
-Smith threw to footage of Theory and Ziggler still fighting during the break backstage. Adam Pearce and other officials broke things up.
-A video package was shown of the match last week between Ciampa and Lashley.
-Backstage Sarah Schreiber interviewed Ciampa and The Miz. Schrieber said Ciampa came close to winning and asked how he would move forward. Ciampa said unfortunately there are no participation awards for coming close, but next time he gets the opportunity, he will win. Miz interrupted as Ciampa looked exasperated. Miz blamed Ciampa’s loss on A.J. Styles. Miz then said Styles was rewarded for his actions with a U.S. title match tonight. Miz said he smells collusion. Miz gifted Ciampa a “handmade necklace” which contained a picture of him and Ciampa hugging. Ciampa said it was awesome and Miz said no they are awesome.
-Ciampa and Miz made their entrance for an upcoming tag match. Cedric Alexander and Mustafa Ali made their ring entrances as their opponents. A quick pre-tape was shown of Ali and Alexander excitedly walking backstage and saying they want to show the world what they can do.
(2) THE MIZ & CIAMPA vs. CEDRIC ALEXANDER & MUSTAFA ALI
Alexander and Ciampa started things off. Alexander nailed a dropkick on Ciampa. Ali and Alexander had the advantage until Miz grabbed Alexander’s hair and Ciampa dropkicked Alexander’s knee. [c]
Back from the break, Miz and Ciampa worked on Alexander in the corner. Alexander was able to execute a suplex on Ciampa and make the tag to Ali. Ali hit Ciampa with a dive on the outside sending him flying over the announcer’s desk. Miz tried a sit down pin on Alexander using the ropes, but Ali dropkicked him into an Alexander roll up for a two count. Ali super kicked Miz and went for the 450, but Ciampa hit him with a knee mid air. Ciampa then got the win with the Fairytale Ending.
WINNERS: Miz & Ciampa in 10:00.
(Doucette’s Analysis: This was a really good match with an awesome finish. Some slow-burning dissension continues between Miz and Ciampa. It’s nice to see Ali and Alexander get some T.V. time as well.)
-A recap aired of Kevin Owens injuring Ezekiel with a powerbomb onto the apron last week. Smith said Ezekiel suffered multiple injuries and will spend a long time recovering. Smith noted Ezekiel’s family is by his side. A split-screen of a photoshopped picture of Ezekiel in a hospital bed surrounded by his “family members” (Ezekiel dressed up as Elias and other people, including a child) on one side. The other side featured a video of Ezekiel’s dad “Ernie, Jr.” who said Owens will get a piece of his mind.
-McIntyre was walking backstage towards the ring. In the background, some officials used an extinguisher to put out a fire in a trash barrel. [c]
-Washington D.C. was briefly highlighted as rapper Wale was shown in the front row. Some highlights were shown of the WrestleMania 39 launch party at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles.
-McIntyre made his entrance and he seemed to have a hitch in his step.
– McIntyre continued where he left off before he was interrupted on Smackdown. McIntyre said the island of relevancy isn’t a real place, it’s in Cardiff, his territory. McIntyre said he will beat Roman Reigns and show up to every Raw and Smackdown because that’s what the fans and the titles deserve. McIntyre also addressed the rumors of his back injury to which he said he has been carrying the load of twenty men on his back for three years. McIntyre said he is proud to do it because it is his dream. McIntyre polled the fans to see if they wanted to see him vs. Ciampa, Styles, Seth Rollins, or Karrion Kross. The crowd seemed to most positively respond to everyone except Ciampa who got only a minimal reaction. Owens’ music interrupted as McInytre said he would like to face Owens as well. Owens said it was convenient that McIntyre mentioned him after he came out. Owens said McIntyre pretends to be something he is not. Owens mentioned McIntyre speaks in a loud voice, sometimes with a sword or a kilt. Owens said this isn’t Medieval Times. The fans laughed.
Owens said he has been the same person his entire twenty-two year career. Owens rejected the notion that McIntyre had carried the company. Owens said for the past few years he’s been having a good time, but something dawned on him when he came to the arena. Owens said this was the arena where he and Sami Zayn tore down the house at Battleground six years ago. Owens said it’s time to bring back the prizefighter. Owens said he hasn’t held a title in five years, but enough is enough and it’s time for a change. Owens continued saying everyone with a title is a target. Owens said he’s coming for the Undisputed title regardless if Reigns or McIntyre has it. McIntyre said he’s sick of people making stuff up for a reaction. McIntyre said he knows exactly who he is. McIntyre said he was the chosen one fifteen years ago but got fired. McIntyre said he worked his way back and earned everything ever since. McIntyre told Owens not to pull that B.S. again. McIntyre said he doesn’t care if Owens is a prizefighter or sports entertainer, they are wrestlers. McIntyre challenged Owens to wrestle. Owens said McInytre is no prize, but accepted. Owens and McIntyre circled the ring. [c]
(Doucette’s Analysis: This was excellent and the crowd seemed to eat it up. The word “wrestling” being dropped is sure to make some people happy. Great, intense promos from both men. Owens is newly focused and one of the best in the business on the mic. McIntyre rose to the challenge and held his own as well. This is everything hardcore fans have been waiting years to see more of.)
(3) DREW MCINTYRE vs. KEVIN OWENS
The two competitors battled back and forth to start. Owens ran McIntyre into the ring post and then hit a splash from the apron to the floor. [c]
Back from the break, Owens had McIntyre in a chin lock. Owens went for a Swanton Bomb, but McIntyre got his knees up. McIntyre tried a suplex, but Owens stopped the attempt. Owens hit a Frog Splash and another Swanton Bomb for a near fall. McIntyre recovered an executed White Noise from the second rope on Owens for a two count. McIntyre set up the Claymore, but Owens super kicked him. Owens tried the Stunner, McIntyre countered with the Glasgow Kiss, Owens super kicked him again, and McIntyre clotheslined him. Both men were out. They both recovered and traded punches. Owens tried a Pop-Up Powerbomb, but McIntyre nailed a Future Shock DDT. McIntyre set up for another Claymore, but The Usos interfered causing the disqualification.
WINNER: McIntyre by disqualification in 14:00.
-After the match, the Usos super kicked McIntyre and tried a splash, but McIntyre fought them off. McIntyre tried to clothesline Jimmy, but he didn’t get over the top rope. Jimmy slid to the outside under the bottom rope. McIntyre clotheslined Jey out successfully and Jey landed awkwardly on Jimmy. Owens hit McIntyre with a Stunner. The Usos went to attack McIntyre again, but McIntyre hit the Glasgow Kiss on Jey and a Claymore on Jimmy.
(Doucette’s Analysis: This was another great match. It made sense for The Usos to break things up and the McIntyre-Owens match can be revisited later without either man having to take a loss.)
-A recap of Rollins injuring Riddle from a few weeks ago was shown. Riddle was being mic’d up for his interview in an undisclosed location. Rollins made his entrance down to the ring in a see-through shirt, sunglasses, and tie-dyed pants. [c]
-Rollins was in the ring with a microphone. Rollins called himself a visionary and a revolutionary. Rollins said he wanted a front-row seat to witness Riddle retire. Rollins said maybe Riddle can go to finish seventh grade or high school. Riddle interrupted Rollins from the big screen and said he has a medical update. Rollins told everyone to be quiet as he seemed convinced Riddle was going to answer his retirement. Riddle said he is medically cleared and the next time he sees him it’s on. Rollins mocked how the last few times Riddle called him out, he stomped him. Rollins said he’s always three steps ahead of him and he wishes he was there so he can stomp out the rest of his brain cells. Riddle said he was there and was backstage. Riddle stood up and ran down to the ring. Riddle slid into the ring and Rollins tried to go for a stomp, but Riddle moved. Riddle attacked Rollins as they brawled. Rollins tripped up Riddle and he fell onto the apron. Rollins threw Riddle onto the announce desk and hit him with strikes. Rollins went for a stomp on the announce desk, but Riddle hit Rollins with a knee strike which sent Rollins into the crowd. Riddle chased Rollins through the crowd, but Rollins got away. Riddle stood in the crowd as the fans chanted “Bro!”
(Doucette’s Analysis: Of course Riddle was there, but it was a good kind of predictable. Riddle got a little bit of revenge, but not quite enough so you still want to see them have a match. As Wade suggested, Riddle didn’t do the goofy stoner routine Rollins made fun of and was much more serious.)
-A video package narrated by Graves aired to hype the match between Lashley and Styles. [c]
-Patrick caught up with Riddle backstage and attempted to ask about his return. Riddle interrupted and challenged Rollins to a match at Clash at the Castle.
-Veer Mahaan made his entrance to the ring to face an enhancement talent, revealed to be named Beaux Keller. Smith said the last time we saw Mahaan he was attacking the Mysterios.
(Doucette’s Analysis: Actually, the last time we saw Mahaan, he was “flirting” with Sarah Schreiber. Before that, he was giving a terrible promo on the stage. However, I’m willing to forget it and give him a fresh start too.)
(4) VEER MAHAAN vs. BEAUX KELLER
Keller dodged a few charges by Mahaan. Keller actually landed a dropkick, but got tossed over the top rope by Mahaan. Mahaan tossed Keller into the ring through the bottom rope. Mahaan hit Keller with a big clothesline and jumped on his back. Mahaan locked in the Camel Clutch for the submission victory.
WINNER: Mahaan by submission in 3:00.
-Lashley was shown warming up backstage as the U.S. title match was hyped as next. [c]
-Schreiber interviewed Kai along with Sky and Bayley. Schreiber asked Kai what we can expect from her first Raw singles match. Kai said Schreiber shouldn’t ask that, if she’s been paying attention. Schreiber asked them to clarify. Bayley mockingly asked Kai to clarify. Kai said spoiler alert, she wins. Iyo spoke in Japanese, which Bayley translated as her saying to expect more winning from them. Kai began to speak again, but trailed off as she spotted Dana Brooke. Kai approached Brooke and asked if she’s ready for tonight. Brooke said she is ready 24/7 and is not afraid of them. Kai said fear is motivating, maybe she should be a little scared.
-Styles made his entrance to the ring first and Lashley entered last.
(5) A.J. STYLES vs. BOBBY LASHLEY – U.S. Title match
The beginning of the match was fairly even between the two competitors. The action moved outside where Styles hit Lashley with a sliding knee on the apron, followed by a Phenomenal Forearm to the floor. [c]
Back from the break, Lashley tossed Styles back-first under the bottom turnbuckle into the ringpost. Styles was hampered by his injured back from that point. Lashley continued to dominate with a spinebuster and a hard Irish whip into the top of the ringpost. At that point, Ciampa and Miz walked down to ringside. Lashley continued to have the upper hand on Styles. Lashley knocked Styles onto the floor from the apron. Ciampa distracted Lashley and the referee. Miz went to attack Styles, but Dexter Lumis jumped out of the crowd. Miz backed off after seeing this and security tackled Lumis. [c]
Back from the break, Smith tried to explain what happened with Lumis. Graves cut him off saying it didn’t deserve the time of day. During the break, Lashley speared Miz and then Ciampa and Miz were ejected from ringside. Styles made a comeback with a Rack Bomb for a near fall. Styles tried the Styles Clash, but Lashley countered with a back bodydrop. Styles caught Lashley in a Calf Crusher, but Lashley reversed into a grounded Hurt Lock. Lashley didn’t get all of it and Styles rolled out. Styles tried a Phenomenal Forearm, but Lashley hit a spear for the win.
WINNER: Lashley in 21:00.
(Doucette’s Analysis: This could have been better. It was slow to start and the Lumis/Miz/Ciampa shenanigans dragged it down further. The last few minutes were very good.)
-Theory was backstage warming up as a match between him and Ziggler was hyped for later. [c]
-Brooke was already in the ring for the next match. Kai entered next flanked by Bayley and Sky.
(6) DANA BROOKE vs. DAKOTA KAI
Kai dominated for the most part until Brooke began to get in some offense. Brooke hit a handspring splash in the corner on Kai. Kai slammed Brooke’s head into the turnbuckle and hit her with a kick in the corner for the win.
WINNER: Kai in 3:00.
-A recap aired of Edge returning at SummerSlam and his rivalry with the Judgment Day. Saxton hyped Edge-Priest and Graves hyped Kai/Sky-Asuka/Bliss for next week in Toronto.
-Theory made his entrance for the match against Ziggler. [c]
Ziggler made his entrance as a recap was shown of Theory attempting to cash in at SummerSlam.
(7) THEORY vs. DOLPH ZIGGLER
Ziggler tackled Theory to start and hit him with punches. Ziggler put Theory in a bodyscissor choke. Theory recovered and nailed Ziggler with a hard punch. Ziggler was knocked out and Theory began throwing him into the ring posts repeatedly. Ziggler recovered with a jumping DDT and threw Theory into the ring post. Ziggler tried a superplex, but Theory fought him off. Ziggler recovered and caught Theory with a facebuster off the top rope for a two count. [c]
After the break, Ziggler and Theory battled back and forth. Ziggler countered Theory’s rolling dropkick with a Fameouser for a near fall. Theory came back with a big clothesline and went for A-Town Down, but Ziggler fought out. The two traded near falls. Ziggler hit a Zig-Zag, but it only got a two count. Ziggler went for a superkick, but Theory rolled up Ziggler for a near fall with his feet on the ropes. The referee saw and stopped the count. Ziggler tried a roll up of his own for a two count. Ziggler tried another Fameouser, but Theory countered into A-Town Down for the win.
WINNER: Theory in 17:00.
(Doucette Analysis: Another match that started slow and picked up late. Also, the crowd was dead, but became slightly engaged towards the end. Theory showed some aggression and still looks like a star. This was the right call to continue building him with a hard fought win against a veteran. Said veteran is perennial loser Dolph Ziggler, but hey, you have to take what you can get.)
-Theory took selfies with a fallen Ziggler as the commentators hyped matches for next week.
FINAL THOUGHTS: This was a really good show for the first two hours. However, things slowed down in the third hour. The crowd was hot and then ran out of steam as well. Overall, it was an enjoyable Raw. Owens and McIntyre’s segment and match were the clear highlights of the night. Wade’s “life by a thousand rays of light” analogy fits the show well here as previous annoyances have been minimized. There’s more focus on wrestling and the backstage skits are short and straightforward. Even with a weak third hour, things continue to look promising for the Levesque era-WWE.