It’s nostalgia trip time this week on Raw, which kicked off with John Cena paying a lot of lip service to the WWE and how it’s his home and all that baloney. The Usos interrupted and initiated a bit of a rap battle, then wheeled out Rikishi, but they all got interrupted by the Revival and…D-Von Dudley (because…nostalgia…?), which, of course, led into a tag team match between the Revival and the Usos. Rikishi and D-Von teased a fight on the outside, rekindling that…great…rivalry they had from back in the day? Man, I dunno. Anyway, the Usos won, because of course they have to be slotted back into the Tag Team Championship scene.
Drew McIntyre destroyed Cedric Alexander on the outside before their scheduled match could even begin, delivering a sick-looking Reverse Alabama Slam on the apron and, presumably, setting up Cedric’s storyline for the immediate future.
The Viking Raiders destroyed Curt Hawkins and Zack Ryder, because we need to spend our time gazing at random WWE legends and old school personalities in backstage skits rather than having actual matches. Seriously, the 24/7 Championship jumped between Drake Maverick, Pat Patterson, Gerald Brisco, Kelly Kelly, Candice Michelle, Medusa, and Ted DiBiase before Drake won it back again by the end of the night despite being chased by the jobbers and legends.
Anyway, Samoa Joe crowed about how stupid it is to be wheeling out the legends, which earned him the ire of Roman Reigns; they brawled and ended up in a match, which Reigns won in a solid effort but it’s pretty much impossible to view Joe as a legitimate threat any more, really. He’s quickly become the modern version of Kane; bring him out as a big, dominating, menacing threat who’ll choke you out and threaten your family and attack you outside the ring but, once that bell rings, he is staring up at those lights like a moth to a flame.
Seth Rollins was the Miz’s guest on Miz TV this week; he talked shit about Brock Lesnar again and owed to beat him at SummerSlam in the standard Lesnar’s-Next-Challenger promo, before Sami Zayn also talked shit about the legends and ended up in a match with Rey Mysterio for his troubles. Zayn tried to take a powder but got blocked by Kurt Angle, the Hurricane, Sergeant Slaughter, and, surprisingly, current Impact Wrestling alumni Rob Van Dam. As soon as Zayn got back in the ring, Rey hit the 619 and a Five-Star Frog Splash for the win.
AJ Styles and Seth Rollins were up next; Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson were in AJ’s corner (they now refer to themselves as “the O.C.”) and ended up distracting Seth so much that Triple H, Shawn Michaels, Road Dogg, X-Pac, Kevin Nash, and Scott Hall all stumbled down to ringside to even the odds. Despite this, the O.C. attacked Rollins before he could pin AJ, which led to D-Generation X and the nWo chasing them away (way to make your modern-day equivalents look like a bunch of pussies…).
Mick Foley came out for a chat after that and ended up being attack by Bray Wyatt, still rocking the Fiend persona; Wyatt choked Foley out with the Mandible Claw while spooky music played and the lights flickered. I have to say that I really dig Wyatt’s Fiend mask and how the WWE is handling this new gimmick; in just a few segments, Wyatt is once again relevant and looks intimidating.
Natalya and Becky Lynch got into a pull-apart-brawl on A Moment of Bliss to help extend their storyline, then Bran Strowman took a massive step backwards as he just destroyed some no-name jobbers, and Stone Cold Steve Austin wrapped up the show with a big ol’ toast to Raw, the fans, and the WWE legends.
Shane McMahon opened the Blue Brand…again…and talked shit about Kevin Owens. Owens interrupted to throw some barbs Shane’s way, which also made their match at SummerSlam official (because that’s obviously what the world wants to see…), though he also booked Owens to face Reigns later in the night.
Shinsuke Nakamura took on and defeated Apollo Crews after all that bullshit; Crews got a good chance to show his ability, though, making this more of a competitive match and showcase for Crews than a complete burial. Nakamura even attacked Crews after the match, potentially setting him up as a potential challenger for Nakamura’s belt. I am glad to see Apollo actually getting some direction and purpose and being involved in something significant.
The Miz chatted with Shawn Michaels on Miz TV but they got interrupted by Dolph Ziggler to help further his recently-revisited issues with the Miz. Ziggler and Shawn got into a verbal altercation, which led to HBK getting a Superkick to the face.
After that, Ember Moon pinned Charlotte Flair in less than a minute…which was really surprising. It helps to give Ember a lot of momentum and credibility ahead of her title match with Bayley but you just know that Charlotte is going to end up getting six more quick-fire reigns to make up for this embarrassing moment.
Kofi Kingston then came out to officially announce that he is willing to face Randy Orton at SummerSlam; Orton showed up so they could talk about their past and get into a dick-measuring contest, and then Kofi had a match with Samoa Joe. Despite Kofi’s fired-up offense, Joe grounded him, worked over the shoulder, and largely dominated the contest; right as Kofi was making his big babyface comeback, Orton attacked him to cause a disqualification and got laid out with a Trouble In Paradise for his trouble.
After that, Finn Balor talked about Bray Wyatt, who appeared on the TitanTron in the Firefly Funhouse in his more docile persona to accept Finn’s SummerSlam challenge, before SmackDown! Live ended with Reigns and Owens. Elias was the special guest timekeeper, Drew McIntyre was the special guest referee, and Shane was the special guest ring announcer. After a bit of a scuffle, the heels just started attacking Reigns, which led to Owens helping him out and Shane taking a Superman Punch and a few Stunners to send everyone home happy.