Strangely enough, Raw opened with an actual match this week…unfortunately, it was simply to extend the 24/7 Championship narrative, which feels more like something for mid-way through the show. Anyway, yeah, R-Truth and Carmella teamed up against Drake Maverick and his wife, Renee, with all the usual 24/7 losers surrounding the ring (laughingly referred to as the “Mosh Pit”); the moshers didn’t really do much, except to catch Drake when he got tossed outside, and R-Truth pinned him without any real fuss. Mike Kanellis attacked R-Truth after the match, though, and won the belt but, later in the night, he got his balls busted by Maria, who pinned him to become the champion.
Real stuff followed this, though, as Sami Zayn, Andrade, Rey Mysterio, Ricochet, and Cesaro went at it in a gauntlet match to determine the next contender to the United States Championship. Mysterio and Cesaro started the match, which gave Rey a significant challenge to overcome; he did, though, and time immediately pinned Zayn (because fuck Sami Zayn, am I right?), before having another extended contest with Andrade that resulted in Rey being pinned and attacked further afterwards. Ricochet made the save, though, and overcame Zelina Vega’s distraction, knocked Andrade off the top rope, and won the match with a 630 Splash.
After Nikki Cross, Alexa Bliss, and Becky Lynch exchanged a few words, the Raw Tag Team Championships were on the line as the Revival defended against the Usos and the O.C.; as you might expect, the Usos were there primarily to be isolated and beaten down by the heels while the Revival tried to retain their belts. In the end, though, Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson surprised everyone by sneaking in, hitting the Magic Killer, and winning the belts. I’m glad that this happened, as the O.C. were made to look like right losers last week and lately, and now that they hold a bunch of gold, this really helps to boost their status quite a bit…I just wish there had been more of a story behind it and I know that they’re just going to end up feuding with the Usos…
Or are they? As the Viking Raiders decimated some no-name jobbers afterwards, lest we forget about them, before Becky Lynch took on Alexa Bliss; Nikki Cross was at ringside and helped Alexa to take control at one point but, once Becky started building her momentum, Alexa started complaining about her ankle so much that the referee stopped the match and Nikki stepped in to replace Alexa. Nikki threw a load of strikes at Becky and largely overwhelmed her, but Becky still pinned her with the Man-Handle Slam, which kind of made Nikki look a bit weak. Nikki and Alexa attacked Becky after the match and then Natalya joined the party and tied Becky up in the Sharpshooter, turning heel (or, at least, tweener) in the process).
Seth Rollins and Dolph Ziggler were up next; continuing the run-in Ziggler had with Shawn Michaels last week, Ziggler even came out to HBK’s theme like he was revisiting that stupid imitator gimmick he had a while back. Rollins started off like a house on fire and, although Ziggler did fight back and use the ropes for leverage a bit, this was pretty much all Rollins from start to finish until Brock Lesnar got his fat-ass involved and tore Seth to shreds with Suplexes and F5s onto steel chairs.
Samoa Joe and Roman Reigns then closed the show with a good, old-fashioned chit-chat about their building issues…which immediately became an all-out brawl as they fought around the ringside area. Drew McIntyre decided to get involved but Cedric Alexander made the save (is anyone else finding Cedric’s sudden friendship with Reigns really jarring?). Joe took his head off with a Clothesline and Drew then beat him up by the LED boards until the Usos and the O.C. showed up to turn it all into a right old slobberknocker. Amidst the chaos, though, Reigns hit everyone with Superman Punches and hit Joe with a Spear so the faces could stand victorious.
Kevin Owens opened the show to talk about his match with Shane McMahon at SummerSlam; he basically promised to win, rather than quit (they keep banging on about the “quitting” thing, which makes me think they’ll be having an I-Quit match), and drew the ire of Drew McIntyre.
Drew attacked Owens and then surprised him with a match; although Owens held his own to start with, McIntyre soon took control and kept him grounded, taking a commanding position after some ringside shenanigans. McIntyre teased smashing Owens through the announce table but Owens fought back, hit a Superkick, and won with the Stunner.
Bayley and Ember Moon then teamed up to take on Nikki Cross and Alexa Bliss; surprisingly, despite Ember getting the hot tag and running wild, Alexa got the win for her team after hitting Ember with the Twisted Bliss. After the match, Bayley hit Ember with a Bayley-To-Belly to continue her rocky road straddling the line between face and tweener.
Jerry “The King” Lawler showed up to interview Trish Stratus; however, when Charlotte Flair interrupted, a match between then two women was all but announce right there and then. I’m glad that Charlotte is actually being kept away from the Women’s Championship scene for a change but it’s easy to see this “Once In A Lifetime” match/feud overshadowing the belts and her peers.
Finn Balor and Dolph Ziggler were up next; they went toe-to-toe for a bit but, just as Balor started to build momentum to a victory, the lights went out and the Fiend, Bray Wyatt, taunted Finn, allowing Ziggler to hit the Superkick and get the win.
This was immediately followed up with Ali taking on Shinsuke Nakamura; it seems, in spite of his recent vignettes and promos and such, Ali is still very much a babyface. Hopefully, getting into it with Nakamura over the Intercontinental Championship will help to get his push back on track and his shock win here (countering the Kinshasa into a roll-up) should go a long way to helping with that.
Randy Orton stoked the fires of his renewed feud with Kofi Kingston via a video package that didn’t really say anything much different to their interaction last week, before Kingston closed out the night with a match against AJ Styles. This was a quality contest, with the New Day and the O.C. both getting involved and brawling at ringside. Kofi was able to get the win after kicking AJ with a Trouble In Paradise right as he was flying in for the Phenomenal Forearm. While this was a great way to continue shining a light on Kofi, it’s again not so great for AJ or the O.C. to be losing matches when their stable is just starting to make some ways.
SmackDown! Live then went off the air with Roman Reigns nearly getting crushed by some falling equipment backstage…it was probably Daniel Bryan.