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KELLER’S WWE RAW REPORT
AUGUST 22, 2022
AIRED LIVE ON USA NETWORK
Commentators: Jimmy Smith, Byron Saxton, Corey Graves
Ring Announcer: Mike Rome
-After the “Then, Now, Together, Forever” brand stamp, the Raw opening “Feels Like Greatness” opening aired. It still doesn’t feature the Undisputed Unified Champion Roman Reigns.
-Jimmy Smith introduced the show as they cut live to the arena as pyro blasted. They cut to a camera that was running backstage to catch Seth Rollins and Riddle brawling. Producers, referees, and Adam Pearce pulled them apart as Michael Hayes sat in the background directing traffic.
-They cut the announcers at ringside, but they were interrupted by Riddle and Seth brawling out from the back and into the crowd. Officials continued to try to separate them. When they were separated, Riddle broke free and leaped over the ringside barricade onto Seth and several officials at ringside. They were separated, but Riddle broke free yet again. They were finally pulled apart and kept apart. Back to the announcers at ringside, they hyped Edge vs. Damian Priest later in the show, plus the Women’s Tag Team Title Tournament semi-final match. They restarted the pyro. Trish Stratus’s entrance then played.
-Trish entered the ring as Smith said she’s in a class by herself. Graves said she was Toronto’s own and getting a huge ovation from the crowd. She paused to soak up more cheers, then said it felt good to be there. “It feels so good to be home,” she said. “And I’m not just talking about Toronto. I’m talking about this ring.” She said it’ll never not feel like home between those ropes. Fans began chanting “One More Time!” She said she has been doing a lot of thinking lately. Bayley’s music then interrupted. Bayley walked out with Iyo Sky and Dakota Kai. They cut to a break as they approached the ring. [c]
Bayley, Sky, and Kai were in the ring talking to Trish when they returned from the break. Bayley acted honored to be sharing the ring with Trish. Sky said she is a big fan and jumped up and down excitedly. Bayley said they just were wondering what she’s doing there. Trish said there’s a big match happening later with fellow Torontonian Edge. She said she was on the verge of saying something when they rudely interrupted. Sky said they don’t care what she says. Sky said, “I don’t like you.” Bayley said they’re sick of her riding their coattails all weekend long. Bayley said this is their show now, whereas Trish is in the past. She asked who she thinks she is. Bianca Belair’s music interrupted.
Belair made her way to the ring, doing less dancing and braid twirling than usual. Belair entered the ring and said Bayley isn’t in the same stratosphere as Trish. Belair said Bayley should be thanking Trish because there’d be no Bayley without Trish. She said Trish is a trailblazer and a legend and this is her city. Fans cheered. “So stop being disrespectful,” Belair said. She put her arm around Trish. Fans chanted “EST! EST!” Belair said Trish can defend herself.
Trish stepped up to Bayley and said she can go real quick from “I am retired to I was retired if you don’t stop running your mouth.” She pulled off her jacket. Bayley took off her jacket and said she’s outnumbered three-to-two. She said that she and Belair make two, but then suddenly Alexa Bliss’s music played. Bliss and Asuka walked out. Trish said it’s now four-on-three. Bayley said she’s lucky she’s feeling very generous and she’ll let her slide tonight, but they’ll see them at Clash at the Castle. Trish’s music started again. Asuka began instantly dancing to it.
(Keller’s Analysis: They did a decent job not leaning on Trish for too long to carry the talking as that’s not her strength. Bayley & Co. were obnoxious, and Belair seemed more grounded in a real person and not a caricature of a wrestler so hopefully that was intentional.)
(1) DAKOTA KAI & IYO SKY (w/Bayley) vs. ASUKA & ALEXA BLISS (w/Trish Stratus, Bianca Belair) – Women’s Tag Team Title Tournament semi-finals
The bell rang 18 minutes into the show. Sky gathered herself at ringside after an early flurry by Asuka. The ref got to eight before she returned. Asuka knocked her off the ring apron right away, though. Bliss then kicked Kai when she got involved. Bliss and the ref celebrated in the ring and they cut to a break less than a minute in. [c]
Asuka and Sky tagged in against each other after the break. Sky landed a side kick to Asuka’s throat and then tagged Kai. A corner graphic advertised Finn Balor vs. Dolph Ziggler later in the show. Smith touted the crowd totaled 16,683. They showed Dana Brooke & Tamina watching on a monitor in the back. axton said they have their eyes on “that second-chance opportunity.” They cut to another break at 9:00 with the heel duo in control. [c]
Asuka rallied after the break. They showed Aliyah, Doudrop, and Nikki A.S.H. watching the monitor backstage. At 17:00 Bliss leaped off the top rope with a Twisted Bliss, but Kai lifted her knees. Sky dropkicked her out of the ring, Asuka had blind-tagged in and she went after Kai with spinning backfists. Asuka then applied an Asukalock, but Kai had tagged out. Kai tapped and Asuka released her grip. Asuka celebrated like she just won, but Sky rolled up an unsuspecting Asuka for the three count.
WINNERS: Sky & Kai in 18:00 to advance to the Women’s Tag Team tournament finals.
(Keller’s Analysis: Solid tag match, and continuing with Paul Levesque booking longer TV matches since he took over.)
-Kevin Patrick interviewed Ziggler about bouncing back from his loss to Theory last week and overcoming Finn Balor tonight. Ziggler said Theory has great potential, but he so arrogant about it. Balor interrupted Ziggler and said he attaches himself to younger up-and-coming wrestlers to keep himself relevant. Balor said, “Well, you know what? You can’t teach me nothing, kid.” Ziggler said, “We’re like the same age.” He then slapped Balor. Balor went down. Ziggler’s music played and he headed toward the stage. But he paused and told Balor he’ll see him in the ring if he gets up off his ass.
-Ziggler made his ring entrance. [c]
(2) DOLPH ZIGGLER vs. FINN BALOR (w/Rhea Ripley)
Balor came out with Rhea Ripley. They cut to a break at 3:00 after Balor reverse-whipped Ziggler hard into the corner turnbuckles. [c]
Ziggler blocked an 1916 from Balor and then landed a Fameasser for a near fall that popped the crowd. Ziggler avoided a Balor attempt at a Coup de Grass and then landed a Zig Zag for a near fall. Both were down and slow to get up. They stood and swung wildly at each other. Ripley took a cheap shot at Ziggler as the ref was checking on Balor. Balor then dropped Ziggler with a 1916 and a Coup de Grace for the win.
WINNER: Balor in 13:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: Good match as you’d absolutely expect with these two. Ziggler freezing in place waiting for Ripley to hit him felt a little corny, but otherwise, solid stuff.)
-Sarah Schreiber interviewed Aliyah backstage about making the semi-finals of the tournament. Bayley, Kai, and Sky interrupted. Bayley asked if she’s ready to face the winners of the second-chance Fatal Four-way match on Friday. She asked where Raquel was. Aliyah said it’s none of her business. Bayley said she’s either really brave or really stupid to show up alone. Trish walked up and said, “Who said she’s alone?” Trish asked when she’ll be returning to action. Aliyah challenged her to a match tonight. Bayley agreed instantly. “Alright, see ya’ out there,” she said.” As they left, the camera caught Adam Pearce holding a photo of Dexter Lumis. He was with two security guys looking like they were focused on something going on.
-Otis and Chad Gable made their ring entrance. [c]
-Gable and Otis stood mid-ring. Gable said “Shoosh, please.” He said for the first time since it’s inception, the Alpha Academy has decided to accept new students. He said he decided to start his search in Canada. He then ripped on the Canadian fans being ex-hockey players missing teeth and hooked on Al Horton’s restaurant food. He then told Canada to send him any fighter they want and they won’t measure up. Kevin Owens’ music played and he made his way to the ring.
(3) KEVIN OWENS vs. CHAD GABLE (w/Otis)
Owens dominated early. A few minutes in he set up a powerbomb on the edge of the ring apron, but Gable backdropped out of it and then back suplexed KO onto the apron. KO fell to the floor as they cut to a break at 3:30. [c]
Back from the break, Gable was in control. They showed that KO had landed a cannonball in the corner during the break. KO stood favoring his left knee. Fans briefly chanted, “Kevin Owens!” KO dropped Gable’s neck over his knee, then leaped off the top rope with a frog splash for a near fall at 8:00. Gable avoided a Pop-Up Powerbomb, but Gable countered and landed a German suplex into a bridge for a near fall. Gable landed a top rope headbutt for a two count. KO countered Gable’s attempt at a top rope suplex with a turning leaping suplex of his own. He scored another two count. KO then hit the Pop-Up Powerbomb for the win.
WINNER: Owens in 11:00.
-Afterward, Otis attacked him. Fans chanted for Sami. KO hit a stunner on Otis to stop the attack and then he powerbombed Gable onto Otis. Smith said the question now is who wants a piece of the Prize Fighter after this.
(Keller’s Analysis: Not sure if this is a one-off babyface role for KO in Toronto or if Levesque is shifting him to a full-fledged babyface role. Good match, again as you’d expect with these two.)
-Ripley, Priest, and Balor said they run Raw and they’ll keep beating people up until everyone realizes it. Balor said Rey is “6-1-mine.” Ripley and Priest laughed. Priest said tonight will be Edge’s last return to Toronto because he’s sending him back into retirement. He said his family and friends will be screaming once he meets his Judgment Day.
-The announcers hyped Edge vs. Priest.
-Aliyah made her ring entrance. [c]
-They went to the announcers who updated the Women’s Tag Team Tournament brackets. Smith explained that on Smackdown, Gigi Dolan suffered an injury and she won’t be medically cleared this Friday. As a result, they’re having a Second Chance Fatal Four-way with all four teams that lost in the previous round, the winner facing Aliyah & Rodriguez to advance to the finals against Kai & Sky.
(4) BAYLEY vs. ALIYAH
As Bayley made her entrance, Smith said June 25, 2021 was the last time they saw Bayley in the ring. Graves said Aliyah is setting herself up for disappointment by challenging Bayley tonight. Saxton called him a pessimist. Graves said he’s an optimist. Bayley took control a minute in. A dueling chant of “Let’s Go Bayley! / Bayley sucks!” broke out briefly. Graves and Saxton got into it. Graves said he wants to punch Saxton in the throat. “I wish you’d try,” Saxton said, unexpectedly. “I’ve seen you wrestle.” Graves didn’t engage further. Aliyah threw Bayley through the ropes to the floor. When she went for a slidekick, Bayley blocked it. Aliyah slammed Bayley’s face onto the mat at ringside, then threw her back into the ring where she applied a single leg crab. Bayley cried out in pain, then yanked on Aliyah’s hair to break the grip. Bayley then landed a monkey flip and a Rose Plant for the win. Afterward, Kai and Sky met her and congratulated her.
WINNER: Bayley in 7:00.
-They showed A.J. Styles & Bobby Lashley walking together backstage. Graves said they’ll join forces tonight.
-Ciampa made his entrance alone. He wore the photo of him and Miz that Miz gave him around his neck. Miz then made his ring entrance. [c]
(5) A.J. STYLES & BOBBY LASHLEY vs. MIZ & CIAMPA
At 2:00, Lashley tossed Ciampa over the top rope onto Miz at ringside. [c]
Styles took a beating after the break, but eventually hot-tagged in Lashley. Lashley went to work on Ciampa. He set up a spear, but Ciampa rolled to the floor. Lashley went after him at ringside and rammed his head into the ringpost. Lashley clotheslined a charging Miz at ringside, but then Ciampa gave him a Widow’s Bell as he re-entered the ring. Lashley avoided a Fairy Tale Ending and then speared Ciampa for a near fall. Miz broke up the cover. Styles leaped at Miz with a Phenomenal Forearm on the floor. A guy in a black hoodie grabbed Styles. Security dragged him away. He appeared to be wearing a mask but maybe not. The announcers wondered who it was. Then elsewhere at ringside, Miz hit Styles. A guy in a helmet stood up and unmasked. It was Dexter Lumis. He grabbed Miz from behind and dragged him away into the concourse. “What in the hell is happening?” Graves asked. “Why was this psychopath allowed in the arena again?” Ciampa tried to keep fighting, but Styles landed a forearm and then Lashley speared him. The match was declared over because Miz was dragged away. Graves said Dexter doesn’t even work there.
WINNERS: No contest in 14:00.
-A video hyped the Edge vs. Priest match as a first-time ever match-up.
-They showed Priest warming up backstage. [c]
-Johnny Gargano made his unannounced surprise ring entrance. When he entered the ring and his music stopped, a “Johnny Wrestling” chant broke out. He played to the cheering crowd. He thanked them for reminding him who he is. He introduced himself to those who don’t know him. “I was kind of a big deal back in NXT,” he said. He listed his accolades there. He talked about his his baby at home and being out of the ring for nine months. He talked about not being sure what was next for him, but he said he always dreamed of being IC Champion, U.S. Champion, WWE Champion, and wrestling at a WrestleMania. He said he wanted to show his son that you should chase your biggest dreams. He said if you work hard enough, you can get anything out of this life. He said he is betting on himself. Theory’s music interrupted him.
Theory asked, “Is this real right now? What’s it been? Like nine months?” He entered the ring. Fans chanted “Who’s your daddy?” Theory said a lot has happened in the last nine months. Gargano said he’s changed a lot of diapers and he’s watched Theory, too. “You’ve changed a lot,” he said. Theory said he’s become the youngest U.S. Champion and has competed at WrestleMania already. He said with the Money in the Bank briefcase, he’s on his way to becoming the WWE Champion. He said it’s almost like all the things Gargano has dreamed of, he’s already done. He said he couldn’t have done any of it without him. He said he took him under his wing in NXT. He said only idiots are shouting “What?” at him. It continued as he continued. Theory said now he’s the veteran and Gargano is the rookie. He said he can carry his bags or even the briefcase. He said he can hand it to him right before he cashes it in. “I can show you the way,” he said. He said if he doesn’t want to stand behind him and support him, maybe he should just go away. He said for old-time’s sake, they could do the high-five. Gargano superkicked him in the chin instead. Gargano celebrated and stood over Theory who was out on his back. Gargano then left as his music played.
(Keller’s analysis: That was fun, and not a surprise even though it was a surprise in the sense that Levesque has been bringing some of his favorites back to Raw and Smackdown lately, plus putting an emphasis on longer matches. Gargano is a good piece in that formula. Given Gargano’s story, it’s great he’s getting this chance to catch on with his largest audience yet.)
-They plugged Riddle vs. Seth Rollins for next week’s Raw. Saxton also plugged Kurt Angle would be on Raw next week.
-Damian Priest made his ring entrance alone first. Smith said Priest has embraced the darkness and claims it will envelop Edge tonight. Saxton said Priest has to back it up. Edge then made his entrance to a huge pop. They cut to a break after his entrance. [c]
(6) EDGE vs. DAMIAN PRIEST
The bell rang 38 minutes into the hour. A few minutes in, Edge took it to Priest at ringside. He powerbombed him over the edge of the barricade. They cut to a split-screen break at 4:00. [c/ss]
Priest took over during the break. Edge side-stepped his top rope move as they returned from the break. Edge leaped off the top rope onto Priest on the floor at 9:00. Fans chanted “Holy shit!” Both were down and slow to get up. Priest powerbombed Edge onto the announce desk. They cut to another split-screen break. [c/ss]
Priest dominated during the break. Priest stopped an Edge comeback with a kick and an Unprettier (which Graves called by that name). Edge caught Priest with a boot to the face and then a leaping DDT. Priest came back with a Reckoning. Instead of going for the cover, he set up an Edge-style spear out of the corner, but Edge countered with a South of Heaven near fall. Priest countered a sharpshooter attempt by kicking Edge, who knocked ref Charles Robinson out of the ring. Priest then hit his South of Heaven. Priest grabbed two chairs. He put one under Edge’s head and then swung the other, but Edge moved. Edge tripped Priest, then broke a support rung off the chair and used it in Priest’s mouth in a crossface. Edge shoved the chairs out of the ring and then set up a spear. Priest hit Edge with the chair piece. The ref returned to the ring in time for a believable near fall. Edge caught Priest with Canadian Destroyer and a spear for the three count.
WINNER: Edge in 20:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: What you’d expect from these two, I suspect. Not a classic, but good effort from both with some big dramatic spots in the closing minutes.)
-Afterward, Edge set up a chairshot against Priest, but Ripley hit Edge from behind between his legs. Balor then gave Edge the Coup de Grace. Beth Phoenix got up and yanked the chair away from Balor. She entered the ring and threatened Ripley with it. The heel trio backed away