CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas - Last week, Lana got her face inadvertently shoved into a wedding cake. Now, it’s her husband’s turn to get himself mired in a messy situation. Despite retaining his United States Title against Cesaro last week, Rusev was still fuming over Roman Reigns’ disrespect, and he vowed to hijack Raw until the No. 1 contender apologized. He even threatened to defect to SmackDown Live when Raw General Manager Mick Foley and Commissioner Stephanie McMahon refused to back up his one-man crusade. Reigns showed up, of course, but all he did was stir the pot by insulting Lana, which led to Rusev vowing to avenge his wife’s honor … and Foley giving him an opportunity to do so in a non-title bout against Reigns later tonight.
It’s been a couple of weeks since Sami Zayn has graced Raw with his presence, but give The Underdog from the Underground props for a water-cooler worthy return. After throwing some Twitter shade at Sheamus, Zayn was placed into a one-on-one bout with The Celtic Warrior that was something of a must-win for both men. Zayn needed a big win to re-establish himself, and the Irishman was coming off two straight losses to Cesaro.
Zayn certainly proved his fearlessness when he threw his jacket in the Irish brawler’s face, and he proved his resilience when he hung tough down the stretch despite being thrown into the ringpost. But, ironically, Cesaro gave The Celtic Warrior his third straight “L” in as many weeks by distracting Sheamus when he lined Zayn up for the Brogue Kick. Zayn rallied by blasting Sheamus with a Helluva Kick of his own, and the win was his. (¡Olé!) As for Cesaro and Sheamus, their war is far from over, though they at least have new marching orders: Mick Foley placed them into a Best of Seven Series to determine the better man, with the first bout to take place at SummerSlam.
Even though Big E (and his groin) were stricken with ringpostitis, The New Day’s prognosis remains strong: The down-a-man W. W. E. World. Tag. Team. Champions. managed to defeat The Dudley Boyz in a straight-up, two-on-two tag team match when D-Von Dudley, again, accidentally took out Bubba Ray with an errant clothesline. New Day looked good, too, despite their No. 1 contenders Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson sending a dispatch from the “Gallows Organization for Nether Area Diseases” (get it?) to once again toss some thinly veiled threats in the direction of ya boys’ nether regions. For what it’s worth, New Day wasn’t sweating it, and promised the good brothers they didn’t have the stones, or the skills, to take away their New Day rocks. (Get it?)
If you noticed Nia Jax was conspicuous by her absence last week, fear not: The Women’s division powerhouse is back, and she has another decimated local to show for it. This one, a blue-haired mighty mite named Rachel Levy, attempted to channel the can-do attitude of Olympians like Simone Biles, but her efforts ended up more on the side of the Filipino diving team. Jax tore her apart without an iota of mercy, shoving her over the ropes before hauling her unconscious body back to the ring to finish her off.
You know the phrase “a man will do anything for his family”? Well, for Heath Slater, that includes interrupting Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman’s final, pre-SummerSlam message to Randy Orton to call The Beast out, as Raw management had promised the hottest free agent in the game a Team Red contract if he took on Lesnar and won.
There’s something to be said for bravery, and Lesnar, for what it’s worth, admitted he respected Slater’s guts before annihilating him. And annihilate Slater he did, sending The One Man Band to Suplex City and F-5 alley before Heyman took hold of the mic and did what he does best. Heyman hyped SummerSlam by promising unparalleled dominance on behalf of The Beast Incarnate and a beatdown for Randy Orton that would go down in the record books.
OK, so you can’t teach being 7 feet tall. Understood. But Kevin Owens & Chris Jericho — aka “Jeri-KO” — might know a trick or two that Enzo Amore & Big Cass could stand to learn. In this case, it’s some good, old-fashioned deception, as Jericho came to his partner’s defense at every available turn. Owens first occupied with the referee, allowing Jericho to cheap-shot Big Cass on the outside to give Owens plenty of breathing room. Then, when Big Cass started to gain momentum back, Jericho took out Enzo and both men glommed onto the raging 7-footer to bring the match to a disqualification halt, dispatching “Don Parmesan” with a superkick-Codebreaker combo.
Last week, Darren Young’s march toward greatness (again) took him on a slight detour through a dirty win against Titus O’Neil. Fair enough; The Big Deal did the same to him the week before, so it was an eye for an eye, we suppose. But Young hit yet another roadblock this week in a match that began with him and O’Neil reforming The Prime Time Players at The Big Deal’s request. It culminated in O’Neil turning against his own partner when D. Young accidentally knocked him off the apron. With Young incapacitated by a Clash of the Titus, The Shining Stars were free to claim the win for themselves and, by extension, Puerto Rico.
A couple of weeks ago, Jinder Mahal defeated Heath Slater to earn a Raw contract, denying The One Man Band an offer in the process. That didn’t sit well with Slater’s former fellow Social Outcasts on Raw Pre-Show, so The Maharaja set out to prove his worth by doing what “Mr. Irrelevant” Curtis Axel could not and defeat Neville. Spoiler alert: He did not succeed, though Jinder did give The Man That Gravity Forgot an impressive challenge. But Neville’s momentum since his return was simply too strong to deny, and the Red Arrow that spelled Mahal’s doom was too perfect to recover from.
If there’s one thing to be said about Seth Rollins, it’s that he can certainly talk the talk. And “The Man” certainly made a big show out of scouring the backstage area for Finn Bálor in an attempt to coax “The Demon King” persona into a fight before they battle for the WWE Universal Championship on Sunday. And even though he only took his quest to the ring under pressure from Mick Foley, The Architect certainly didn’t hold back in his second consecutive round of trash talk.
That is, until the Irishman revealed his infernal alter ego in full. And though Rollins didn’t tuck tail and run the second Bálor appeared in the ring, he certainly didn’t get the better of the transformed Superstar. The Demon King unloaded a series of kicks on his foe, and while Rollins dodged the Coup de Grâce, he was sent reeling from an over-the-top-rope dive all the same.
The good news is, R-Truth finally put down Pokémon Go. The bad news is, The Golden Truth fared about as well against Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson as a Bulbasaur against a Charizard. All of which is to say they got beaten pretty handily, though it was not for a lack of effort on the part of Truth & Goldust. Gallows & Anderson’s confidence and aggression was simply too high for the fan favorites to answer, and they were able to dispatch Goldust with the Magic Killer in short order. The New Day quickly sent them running when they rushed the ring, though. Seeking payback for Big E’s injury, Xavier Woods made ready to whack Anderson right in the good brothers with Francesca II, coming within an inch of delivering some Trombone-itis until Gallows pulled his partner to safety.
There might be some trouble in the Charlotte–Dana Brooke camp thanks to the latter’s loss to Sasha Banks last week. But the second-generation Superstar is doing just fine on the in-ring side of things, as she made quick work of a very game Alicia Fox on Raw. Charlotte dispatched Fox with Natural Selection to send herself into SummerSlam on the back of a win, and she was even feeling bold enough to call The Boss into the ring for a fight. Dana then totally redeemed herself, jumping The Boss from behind and allowing Charlotte to cheap-shot the champion’s knee, locking Banks in the Figure-Eight Leglock to potentially leave her at a disadvantage going into Sunday.
Rusev demanded satisfaction against Roman Reigns. Well, hopefully he’s satisfied with himself now that The Big Dog defeated him in a non-title match, leaving The Super Athlete to stumble into SummerSlam on a skid and Reigns to swagger into Brooklyn, N.Y., on the back of a much-needed victory. The Bulgarian Brute certainly did not hold back in his effort to defend Lana’s honor, targeting Reigns’ arm and using his fearsome kicks to stop Reigns dead in his tracks on multiple occasions. The former WWE World Champion had more fight in him than Rusev expected, mightily fighting to the ropes to break an Accolade and, somehow, administering a Spear out of left field to notch the pin. Roman Reigns as U.S. Champion? After this, we can believe that.
- Numbers in parentheses indicate the length of the match.
- (c) refers to the champion(s) heading into the match.
- Sami Zayn defeated Sheamus (10:14)
- The New Day (Kofi Kingston & Xavier Woods) defeated The Dudley Boyz (Bubba Ray & D-Von Dudley) (1:35)
- Nia Jax defeated Rachel Levy (1:02)
- Big Cass (w/ Enzo Amore) defeated Kevin Owens (w/ Chris Jericho) by DQ (6:18)
- The Shining Stars (Primo & Epico) defeated The Prime Time Players (Titus O'Neil & Darren Young) (w/ Bob Backlund) (2:41)
- Neville defeated Jinder Mahal (3:05)
- Gallows & Anderson defeated Golden Truth (Goldust & R-Truth) (2:16)
- Charlotte defeated Alicia Fox (1:28)
- Roman Reigns defeated Rusev (w/ Lana) (20:33)
- Dark Match: Dean Ambrose & John Cena defeated Seth Rollins & Chris Jericho
Other on-screen talent