Miz TV opens the show this week, which would be fine except that Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman appeared as surprise guests and Lesnar threw Miz and his Miz-tourage around like they were ragdolls. While it’s always good to see Miz and his Job squad get their asses kicked, this was so not the way to do it. Let’s not forget that the Miz is the Intercontinental Champion and it’s hardly a good look to see the holder of Raw’s second-tier championship get absolutely assaulted, even if it is by Brock Lesnar. You can argue that this emphasises that Lesnar is above his competition and is a wild animal but surely there’s a way to show that without totally burying the Intercontinental Championship? Or, at least, follow it through and have Lesnar constantly attack and F5 guys throughout Raw; then you’d be showing that Lesnar doesn’t care who you are and will break you. Instead, Miz gets shit on and I’m left wondering why I should care about his title defence at Summerslam or, indeed, about Jason Jordan potentially beating him for the belt.
Next, Sheamus beat Seth Rollins after a bit of distraction from Cesaro; this match surprised me in that Sheamus went blow-for-blow, move-for-move with the much faster and technically adept Rollins. Perhaps Sheamus is learning some in-ring tips from his tag team partner but this was a good look for Sheamus and the right guy won. Afterwards, Sheamus and Cesaro kicked the snot out of Rollins but, despite the crowd chanting and what happened last week, Dean Ambrose never came out to help his former Shield buddy.
Jason Jordan gets another squash match against some jobber named Jean Pierre Goulet (he was supposed to face Curtis Axel, which isn’t much better, but he got his ass kicked too bad by Lesnar during the opening). Obviously, Jordan got the win. See, this is why Lesnar’s destruction of the Miz-tourage was a bad idea; it makes thematic, narrative sense for Jordan to have to run the gauntlet of the Miz-tourage in his quest towards the Intercontinental Championship, and these confrontations could no doubt involve the numbers game getting the better of him and cast Jordan as being up against the odds. But, no; instead, he beats jobbers and is awarded the title shot by his “Dad” because opportunities are earned in the WWE, after all.
Next, Bayley comes out to bow out of her Raw Women’s Championship match due to a very real and no doubt painful separated shoulder. Rather than receiving sympathy, the crow boos her because Canada is full of trolls, apparently. Due to this, we got two three-way matches to determine who will face each other to replace Bayley. Although Sasha Banks predictably won her match between Alicia Fox and Emma, the good news is that Nia Jax beat Mickie James and Dana Brooke later in the show. The hope, for me, is that Nia steamrolls over Sasha next week to get the shot, and the belt, at Summerslam and then goes on a dominant streak until Bayley is healed up to get a massive babyface win.
Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson then beat Enzo Amore and, apparently, his new tag team partner, the Big Show, after Eno got his teeth kicked down his throat. Afterwards, Big Cass came out to beat up Enzo some more only to get knocked out by the lamest, most pathetic-looking KO Punch I’ve ever seen Show throw. The good news here is that the Club got a win; everything else was crap because Cass needs to look more dominating than this.
Cesaro is not as lucky as his partner, unfortunately, and loses his match to Dean Ambrose in a predictably good, competitive match. I’d much rather see Cesaro get the win but the back-and-forth was so entertaining that I guess it’s okay. Afterwards, Sheamus and Cesaro lay a beat-down on Ambrose only for Rollins to come out and be the bigger man and save his ass. Begrudgingly, Ambrose offers the Shield fist bump only for Rollins to be the one to walk away. I like Rollins acting coy about it but, considering that he’s the one pushing for them to make up, this was a bit weird. I guess we’ll see the proper reunion next week after they both get some payback against the champions.
Akira Tozawa then beat Ariya Daivari, again, because there’s no other cruiserweights for them to have matches against, I guess. But who cares about that because the main event was an absolutely kick-ass last man standing match between Braun Strowman and Roman Reigns. Normally I complain about guys in feuds facing off over and over again, these two work so well together and just knock the shit out of each other that it could, seemingly, never get old. This time, we such great spots as Braun throwing an office chair at Roman’s face and tossing him into the LED screen up on the stage. In the end, though, Samoa Joe came out and slapped the Coquina Clutch onto Reigns, choking him out so bad that he couldn’t beat the ten count before Strowman. Fantastic to see Strowman show his strength and ferocity, and to get another win over Vince’s new golden boy, and Joe looked mental when he went for Reigns. Reigns also looks good because he gave as good as he got and preserved and only lost because of Joe’s interference. Hopefully, next week, the four guys just have a complete brawl rather than any matches against each other just to keep the Summerslam encounter fresh.
John Cena opens the show to give props to Shinsuke Nakamura after their big match last week. However, Mr. Money in the Bank Baron Corbin comes out to talk shit to Cena’s face, only for Daniel Bryan to award him a match against Cena at Summerslam. Okay, well, if they’re not going to have Jinder Mahal get a huge win over Cena at Summerslam, they can hopefully transplant that onto Corbin. As the briefcase holder, he should stay strong and look credible and nothing would help with that more than getting a big win over John Cena. If Cena really is jumping to Raw, he can at least do the right thing by Corbin on his way out.
My fantasy booking comes true as Sami Zayn and Tye Dillinger teamed up in a losing effort to the Usos. Sure, they lost, but these guys aren’t the tag team that the Usos are so it would’ve been strange to have them win, especially as the Usos are still feuding with the New Day. Hopefully the Zayn/Dillinger pairing lasts as SmackDown! Live is in desperate need of tag teams.
Charlotte Flair then squashed Lana, making her tap out to the Figure Eight. I guess Lana won’t ever be taken seriously as a competitor; she should be sent down to NXT for a bit to find a gimmick and work on her wrestling. Next, Shane McMahon promises, despite Kevin Owens showing footage to the contrary, that he can be a trusted, unbiased official. He then gets kicked in the head by AJ Styles by accident when he tires to break up their in-ring scuffle. Again, I’d love to see Shane turn heel in the match and spearhead a Kevin Owens-led stable but I’ll take anything that doesn’t result in Shane having an actual match against Owens because Shane’s place is not in the ring anymore, I don’t care how good he is/was/people think he is/was.
Carmella then pinned Naomi in a non-title match after interference by James Ellsworth. She then leaves, bumping into Natalya as she goes. So…Carmella holds the Money in the Bank briefcase and pinned the SmackDown! Live Women’s Champion and then just left? She could’ve, I don’t know, cashed in right there! Madness!
And the madness continues as Randy Orton not only faced Jinder Mahal again in the main event…he beat him! I mean, in what world does that make sense!? Jinder Mahal, a guy who many are loudly proclaiming does not deserve to be the WWE Champion, needs to be getting wins and looking strong against his opponents. Say what you will about his feud with Orton, at least Mahal (the champion) won the matches but, here, he lost….in a one-on-one match, he got pinned clean as a sheet! Shouldn’t that make Orton the number one contender, rather than Nakamura? Why should I care if Nakamura beats Mahal for the belt? What does it say if Nakamura can’t beat Mahal at Summerslam? Then, to make matters worse, Orton is blindsided by Rusev as he leaves. Why didn’t they have Rusev run out and attack Orton and cost him the match? Hell, make it a title match and have Rusev cost Orton the belt; that would really add fuel to their fire. But, no, instead Orton wins but gets laid out and Mahal looks like a complete bitch. He’s not exactly being booked as a paper champion so stuff like this is ludicrous booking at its extreme worst!