This week’s episode of Raw comes to us Live from The State Farm arena in Atlanta Georgia.
In Ring Segment:
Cody Rhodes makes his way to the ring. Huge pop from the crowd as always. Rhodes begins, as he usually does, with “So, Atlanta, my home… what do you guys want to talk about?” Cody says that they don’t really have to talk because there is a large shadow that looms over this sold out arena. It is the same shadow that looms over every arena they go to. He says that he is talking about Brock Lesnar. Cody says that Brock should come out and accept his challenge for SummerSlam. Cody waits, but Lesnar doesn’t appear. Cody says that Brock is scheduled to be here, but that he will probably be late. Cody says that it does not matter what time Brock shows up, he will still be there waiting for him. Cody then brings up that his mum is in the front row of the crowd. Cody tells us that his mum was the one who taught him to get up out of the mud and be a fighter.
Cody goes back to talking about Brock. He says that his relationship with Brock is complex and can be described with only two words. He says that these are two words he doesn’t use very often, but they fit this situation, and that is “Hard Times”. Cody says that when Lesnar shows up tonight, it won't be hard times for him in his home state. It will be hard times for Brock. Cody then tells the crowd to enjoy Monday Night Raw. Cody then leaves the ring and embraces with his family.
Brock Lesnar’s music hits. Cody stands at the foot of the ramp, prepared to fight. Lesnar doesn’t come out. Cody heads up the ramp and turns to the crowd.
Brock’s music hits again and Cody waits for Brock to come out. Brock still doesn’t come out. Cody runs backstage. Suddenly, a chair flies out from the Gorilla Position. Brock shoves Cody back onto the stage and hits Cody in the back with the chair. Brock then bends the chair over Cody’s back and throws him into the apron. Brock then throws Cody into the ring post and then lifts him onto his shoulders. Brock then F5’s Cody in front of his mum. Brock then smiles at Cody’s family and then applies the Kimura Lock on Cody.
Brock releases the hold, then rolls Cody back into the ring. Cody’s mum shouts “You suck!” at Brock. Brock gets into the ring and applies the Kimura Lock to Cody again. Brock then releases the hold, stands over Cody and shouts “Challenge accepted. I’ll see you at SummerSlam, bitch.” Brock walks off.
Match 1: Matt Riddle vs Gunther (Imperium are banned from ringside)
The bell rings, the match begins and they lock up. Riddle quickly grabs the arm, but Gunther twists out. Gunther backs Riddle to the corner and hits his chest with a pair of chops. Riddle fights back and goes for a guillotine. Gunther tries to get Riddle on his shoulders, but Riddle is able to counter into a sleeper hold attempt. Gunther flips Riddle off his back and goes for a rear naked choke. Riddle fights out and goes for an armbar. Gunther rolls Riddle up to counter it for a two-count. Gunther ducks a kick, and Riddle flips through a back suplex. Riddle catches Gunther with a flying triangle choke attempt, but Gunther fights it. Gunther powers Riddle up, but Riddle elbows him and pulls Gunther over the top rope. Riddle kicks Gunther in the chest from the apron. Riddle charges and jumps off the steel steps, but Gunther chops him out of midair. Gunther then hits a scoop slam on the floor as we go to the break.
We come back from the break to see both men down. Moments ago, Riddle hit Gunther with a top rope superplex. Both men get to their feet and exchange chops. Riddle kicks Gunther’s arm away, but Gunther still chops him. Riddle knocks Gunther to the corner with an overhead kick. Riddle hits a pair of running forearms in the corner before going for an exploder. Gunther fights it and hits an uppercut. Riddle manages to catch him with an exploder before kicking him in the spine. Gunther blocks a kick and hits Riddle with a chop. Riddle fights back with some kicks, but Gunther continues to attack him with chops. Gunther hits a German Suplex. Riddle pops up, so Gunther knocks him down with a lariat for a near fall.
Riddle catches Gunther with a ripcord knee before hitting a second knee to the face. Riddle knees him in the back of the head and covers for a near fall. Riddle steps on Gunther and goes to the top rope. Riddle goes for a Floating Bro, but Gunther gets the knees up. Gunther catches him with a dropkick and follows up with a Powerbomb, covers Riddle and gets the victory.
A hard hitting match from these two. Gunther continues to look incredibly dominant. I’m assuming we are leading up to Drew McIntyre vs Gunther at SummerSlam, so having Gunther defeat Riddle clean here, is a great way to go about knocking Riddle out of title contention. Grade B
After the match, Gunther puts his title around his waist and stands on the commentary table. Gunther tells the crowd that they can boo him all they want, but it doesn’t change the fact that tonight is the greatest night of their sad little lives. They are seeing the greatest Intercontinental Champion of all time. Gunther then tells the crowd that Matt Riddle is done. Gunther is building his legacy. He says that if Drew McIntyre wants to ride on his coattails, then he can be his guest. But just like everyone else, Drew will fall victim to the Ring General. Gunther then holds the championship high in the air.
Jackie Redmond is backstage with the Women’s Tag Team Champions Raquel Rodriguez and Liv Morgan. Jackie asks them what will be the deciding factor in their match against Sonya Deville and Chelsea Green. Liv says that they are prepared for anything and they won't back down from anyone. Rhea Ripley walks up to them and tells Jackie to leave. Raquel gets in Rhea’s face and says “not even you”. Liv begins to talk to Rhea, but Rhea hits her with a headbutt, knocking her down. Rhea and Raquel begin to brawl until officials separate them. Rhea kicks Raquel in the knee, taking her down.
In Ring Segment:
Judgement Day is in the ring. Rhea Ripley says that the Judgement Day is stronger than ever. She asks if anyone thought they would break up. SHe says that anyone with half a brain cell knows that they are better than everyone else. They are not fragile or shattered because someone’s ego got bruised. She says that now no one can stop them, they not only run Monday Night Raw, they dominate it. She says that Raquel Rodriguez has just found that out, because Rhea is the most dominant woman here in this industry. She says that she is unbeatable as the Woman’s World Champion. She says that Finn & Damian will become World Champions, and tomorrow night, her Latino Heat will become the NXT North American Champion. The crowd boo very loudly just at the mention of Dominik.
Dominik attempts to speak, but he is booed very loudly by the crowd. He says that tomorrow night at NXT, he will beat Wes Lee, again he is booed very loud by the crowd. Damian says all the boo’s won’t change the fact that Dominik will become NXT North American Champion tomorrow. He says that all those boo’s won’t change the fact that he is guaranteed to be World Champion. Finn reminds Damian that he gets first shot at Seth Rollins.
Finn says that he loves Damian. He says that whatever Seth has to say later, he will be listening. Seth needs to remember that the issues between them will never be over until Finn’s arm is raised as the new World Heavyweight Champion. Dominik attempts to start talking again, but once again he is booed by the crowd.
Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn come out onto the stage. Sami says that he has a pretty good relationship with the WWE Universe. He knows what they like and dislike, but just to make sure they’re on the same page, he just wants to ask the fine people of Atlanta if they paid their hard-earned money to come here and listen to Dominik talk. The crowd boos. He asks did they pay their hard-earned money to see someone shut Dominik’s mouth for him? The crowd loudly cheers. Sami says they’re in luck because Damian and Dominik will battle the Undisputed WWE Tag Team Champions.
Damian says they have been focused on individual championships, but he sees two titles that would look great in the Judgement Day. He says if they’re so confident, why don’t they put their titles on the line. Owens rubs his eyes. A “YES” chant begins from the crowd. Sami wants his partner to weigh in on this. Owens looks agitated after listening to Judgement Day for the last five minutes. Owens looks surprised that Sami wants him to comment. Sami says, “Let ‘er rip.” Owens confirms that he can lead with his heart. Owens says he’ll put the titles on the line as long as he gets to stun Damian Priest and put his fist down Dominik Mysterio’s mouth.
Liv Morgan and Raquel Rodriguez are in the trainer's room with Adam Pearce.The trainer says that Raquel is technically cleared to wrestle, but he would prefer if she got a scan. Raquel and Liv decline the scans. Adam Pearce says that if she is cleared, then the match is official.
Match 2: Women’s Tag Team Championship Match - Liv Morgan & Raquel Rodriguez vs Sonya Deville & Chelsea Green
Liv Morgan starts the match against Sonya Deville. Sonya catches Liv with a bicycle kick as soon as the bell rings. Chelsea Green tags in. Chelsea and Sonya hit Liv with a double-team delayed vertical suplex. Chelsea drops an elbow for a two-count. Chelsea puts Liv in the corner headfirst and tags Sonya back in. Sonya punches away at Liv before the referee backs her up. Liv fights Chelsea and Sonya off and goes for a tag, but Sonya holds her back. Liv gets away and hits a step-up enzuigiri.
Raquel Rodriguez, who is limping from the attack by Rhea Ripley, runs over Sonya before hitting snake eyes. Raquel picks her up and hits a fallaway slam. Chelsea tries to get involved, but Raquel sends her out of the ring. Sonya quickly sends Raquel shoulder-first into the ring post. Sonya applies a single-leg crab to the injured leg. Raquel screams in pain and reaches for the bottom rope, but Sonya pulls her away. Sonya really cinches it in until Liv breaks it up.
Liv and Chelsea tag in. Liv hits a pair of shoulder tackles before avalanching her in the corner. Liv hits a step-up knee in the corner and throws Chelsea down. Liv comes off the second rope with a flying codebreaker. Liv connects with Ob-Liv-ion and covers, but Sonya breaks it up with a nasty knee to the face. Sonya pulls Raquel off the apron and hits a chop block. Liv fights Chelsea off and rolls her up for a two-count. Sonya punches Liv in the face after Chelsea’s kick out. Chelsea hits the Un-Pretty-Her, but Liv kicks out at two-and-a-half. Sonya tags in. Liv attacks Chelsea and rolls Sonya up for a near fall. Chelsea hits a second Un-Pretty-Her on Liv, and Sonya immediately follows up with a knee to the face, covers Liv and picks up the win. We have new Women’s Tag Team Champions.
It seems that once again, the Women’s tag team championships are being passed around very quickly. This wasn’t a bad match. It served its purpose of getting the titles onto Sonya and Chelsea, they do have nice chemistry together. It also leaves the opportunity for Raquel to maybe have a feud with Rhea. Grade C
Byron Saxton is backstage with the New Women’s Tag Team Champions, Sonya Deville & Chelsea Green. Byron mentions that they had a 2-on-1 advantage in their match, but Sonya says that she doesn’t want to hear about Raquel’s fake injury. They are the champions now, and they have been champions since they first began teaming together. Chelsea says that she has so many people to thank for this, like her fans, her family. Sonya cuts her off and says that earned this victory. Chelsea then thanks her friends from the tanning salon. Sonya says that they are going to run this division and everyone better respect them.
Seth Rollins is backstage with Byron Saxton. Seth says that he has big plans for the World Heavyweight Championship at SummerSlam. He says the title deserves a marquee match. He says that it is a short list for challengers, but Finn Balor has definitely earned his place on the list. So has Damian Priest, Drew McIntrye and Gunther. Finn Balor then interrupts and sends Byron Saxton away. Finn says that he wants a rematch. He says that he doesn’t care how many other contenders there are. The line begins with him. Seth knows, and Finn knows that the issues between them are far from over. Finn says Seth should do what he has to do, talk to Adam Pearce and make the match. Seth says he understands where Finn is coming from, but he needs to stop living in the past. Finn says he is not living in the past, he is living in chaos and that is how he will take the title. Finn says he will do to Seth what Seth did to him. Finn will hurt him and then laugh in his face before taking his career and altering it forever.
Seth says that he will say this only once: the World Heavyweight Championship is more than Finn’s personal agenda. The title is bigger than both of them. He says if they want to settle the score, they don’t need a match for that, they can do that right here, right now. Seth tells Finn to take his shot, or get out of his face. Finn gets up, he looks down at Seth and walks away. Seth asks if the interview is over. Out of nowhere, Finn attacks Seth. Finn stomps Seth and tells him to make the match.
Match 3: Viking Rules Match - Alpha Academy (Chad Gable & Otis) w/Maxxine Dupri vs The Viking Raiders (Erik & Ivar) w/Valhalla
Titus O’Neil is on commentary for this match.
In a Viking Rules Match, there are no rules and falls count anywhere.
As the Viking Raiders make their entrance, Otis flips Gable onto them. Maxxine dropkicks Valhalla, taking her down. Otis attacks the Viking Raiders, but Ivar sends Otis into the ring post. Erik then scoop slams Ivar off the “ship” and onto Otis.
The bell sounds and the match is official. Erik is able to escape out of an ankle lock, so Gable flips the bow of the ship onto Ivar. Otis and Gable send Ivar crashing into one of the Viking Shields on the ring apron. Otis shouts for Gable to get the tables. Gable gets a table out from under the ring, but is attacked by Erik. Ivar knocks Otis down, he then avalanches him against the bow of the ship. The Viking Raiders go for a double team move, but Gable is able to escape. Ivar springboards off the middle rope, but he is caught by Otis who plants him with a World’s Strongest Slam as we go to a break.
Back from the break, we see Erik breaking up a pin attempt on Ivar and he hits Gable with a knee. Ivar takes Otis down and he goes to the top rope. Ivar hits a moonsault and goes for the cover, but that is broken up by Gable with a moonsault of his own. Gable then hits Ivar with a rolling German Suplex, pins him, but that is broken up by Erik.
Ivar rolls onto the bow of the ship to recover. Gable and Erik exchange blows in the centre of the ring. Erik flips Gable over, but Gable fights him off. Gable kicks him and hits the ropes, but Erik rocks him with a punch. Gable immediately answers with an exploder. Gable gets to his feet and nods to the crowd. Gable goes to the top rope and leaps three-quarters of the way across the ring with a diving head-butt. Valhalla breaks up the pin. Maxxine hits Valhalla with a diving crossbody block. Gable retrieves her varsity jacket and puts it on Maxxine. Maxxine poses until Valhalla spears her through a table leaning in the corner.
The Viking Raiders send Gable headfirst through a pair of Viking shields. Otis gets in the ring and takes out Ivar with an elbow. Otis rolls under a clothesline from Erik and takes him down. Otis hits Ivar with a scoop slam before hitting Erik with an exploder. Otis avalanches Ivar and knocks Erik back with a head-butt. Otis hits a big powerbomb on Erik. Otis hits Ivar with the Caterpillar and goes to the second rope. Valhalla slaps Otis in the face. The Viking Raiders then hit Otis with the Ragnarok for the win.
A strange one, but also a very good and enjoyable match. They are clearly leaning on the goofy, fun side of things. But that doesn’t take away from the ability of all the participants. Very well done on this one. Grade B-
Match 4: Shayna Baszler vs Nikki Cross
The bell rings, and Nikki goes right after Shayna with punches. Shayna shoves her off and sidesteps an avalanche in the corner. Shayna applies the Kirifuda Clutch for the submission victory.
Well, that was a short match. I can understand making Shayna look dominant heading into this feud with Ronda, but that match seemed too quick, even for that. Grade D
After the match, Ronda Rousey shouts, “And the crowd goes mild!” Ronda says Baszler has criticised her for being handed an opportunity. She didn’t go through the indies, go to the Performance Center, and work for years to make it to the main roster. Ronda instead got an Olympic Gold Medal in Judo, had an earth-shattering MMA career, and then was thrown to the wolves in WWE with no training or experience, only to emerge as a future Hall of Famer within a year. She has done everything Shayna has invested her time in and eclipsed her every time. Shayna challenges Ronda to get in the ring. Ronda declines and invites Shayna to make her. Shayna gets in the crowd and charges toward Ronda, but security stops her. Ronda says she’ll help Shayna’s career like she’s done before and actually get her booked on SummerSlam. Ronda says she’ll face Shayna in the Motor City and calls her a “bitch” before walking off.
Jackie Redmond is backstage with Ricochet. Ricochet says Logan Paul doesn’t get it. In the social media world, everyone is a joke to Logan Paul. However, here in WWE, Logan Paul is the joke. Last week, he brought the real fight to Logan, but he ducked out. Ricochet challenges Logan Paul to meet him in Tampa, Florida, next week. Ricochet says he will hurt his ego.
In Ring Segment - Miz TV:
The Miz is in the ring and welcomes everyone to the show. Miz brags about being in a celebrity golf tournament. He says his guest has been on a downward spiral. Miz introduces Becky Lynch.
Becky Lynch makes her entrance. Miz says Becky lost to Trish Stratus, lost Money in the Bank, and lost to Zoey Stark. Has The Man lost a step? Becky throws the two chairs out of the ring and gets in Miz’s face, backing him up into the ropes. Becky says she’s lost a lot of things this past year. One thing she hasn’t lost is a step. She’s seen this show and knows he’s going to bring out Trish Stratus and Zoey Stark. She tells him to do so before he loses his “tiny testicles.” Miz says that was a bit much and introduces Trish Stratus and Zoey Stark.
WWE Hall of Famer Trish Stratus and Zoey Stark make their way to the ring. Becky shouts for Trish Stratus to give her the rematch. Trish tells Becky to settle down and stop being a child. She thought Rue was in the ring. Becky tells Trish to keep her daughter’s name out of her mouth. Miz already pointed out that she beat Becky. Zoey Stark mentions that she beat Becky as well. Trish says they’re done with Becky. They’re moving on.
There’s just one thing. Trish wants Becky to thank her. Becky says she brought Trish back. She let Trish in, and Trish hit her when she was at her lowest. Trish hasn’t done as much as Becky has. If Trish is as good as she says, then she’ll give her the rematch. Becky runs Trish down until Trish shouts that she’ll give her the rematch under a few conditions. Becky has to go through Zoey Stark. Becky says, “Done.” If Becky loses to Zoey, she has to thank Trish. Becky again says, “Done.” Finally, she’ll have to get “Thank you, Trish” tattooed across her chest. Becky says, “Done.” Trish and Zoey laugh at her.
Trish and Zoey go to attack her, but Becky fights them off. Becky grabs Trish’s face mask before dropping it. Becky punches Trish down before knocking Zoey down. Becky puts the face mask on and head-butts Zoey. Becky stands tall.
Match 5: Bronson Reed vs Shinsuke Nakamura
The bell rings, and they each avoid offence from the other. Reed soon takes Nakamura down and mocks him in the corner as he digs his foot into him. Nakamura fights back and goes for a knee drop on the apron, but Reed moves. Reed then runs him over with a diving shoulder tackle off the apron as we go to the break.
We come back from the break to see Nakamura taking it to Reed with some stiff kicks. Reed doesn’t go down and sends Nakamura to the corner. Nakamura avoids an avalanche and takes Reed down with a dragon screw. Nakamura kicks Reed in the back of the head, covers him for a two-count. Nakamura knees him in the back and applies a chin lock. Reed powers Nakamura up and hits a Death Valley Driver for a near fall.
Reed heads to the top rope, but Nakamura kicks him in the head. Nakamura knees him in the ribs and comes off the second rope with a flying kick for a near fall. Nakamura sizes Reed up for a Kinshasa, but Reed runs him over with an avalanche. All of a sudden, Tommaso Ciampa attacks Reed and knees him in the head to knock him out of the ring.
A meh match. It seems like they are just redoing the same storyline as they were doing before Money in the Bank, just replacing Ricochet with Ciampa. I didn’t really enjoy this one, maybe because it's been done a lot lately. Grade D+
After the match, Nakamura is not happy with Ciampa and he kicks him down. Nakamura shouts at Ciampa and walks off.
Byron Saxton is with Shinsuke Nakamura. Byron asks him about what just happened. Nakamura says that he is tired of everyone getting into his business.
Main Event Match: Undisputed WWE Tag Team Championship Match - Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn vs Judgement Day (Damian Priest & Dominik Mysterio) w/Finn Balor & Rhea Ripley.
After the ring introductions are made, Seth Rollins runs in through the crowd, gets in the ring, and hits Finn Bálor with a suicide dive. Seth and Finn brawl up the ramp.
The bell rings, and Sami and Owens attack Damian and Dominik. Sami is left in the ring with Damian and stomps him in the corner. Sami chops the chest and punches away at him in the corner. Damian powers out and slams Sami into the turnbuckles. Sami knocks him back and hits a flying elbow to the head. Damian quickly comes back with an uppercut before putting him in the corner. Damian punches Sami down and tags in Dominik. Dominik applies a side headlock to Sami. Sami whips him off, drops down, leapfrogs him, and clotheslines him down. Sami wrenches the arm and tags Owens in. Sami hits Dominik with a drop-toe-hold, and Owens follows up with a senton splash. Owens poses and hits a second senton splash before telling Damian to “suck it.” Owens punches Dominik to the corner and hits a Vader Bomb elbow drop for a two-count. Sami tags back in and punches Dominik. Dominik pushes Sami to the corner, and Dominik tags in. Damian attacks Sami and hits him with a right hand. Dominik tags back in and comes off the second rope with a double axe handle to the arm. Sami reverses a whip and hits a back body drop. Sami punches Dominik and sends him into the ropes. Dominik quickly pulls himself out of the ring.
Sami goes after Dominik at ringside and bounces him off the commentary table. Rhea Ripley gets in Sami’s face. Dominik then hits a baseball slide. Damian comes in and hits Sami with a chokeslam on the apron as we go to a break.
We come back from the final break of the evening to hear the crowd coming unglued as Owens gets them fired up from the apron. Sami fights back at Damian and desperately crawls away for a tag, but Damian stops him. Sami tries to punch out, but Damian claps his ears. Sami gets out of a suplex and tags Owens in.
Owens runs in and knocks Dominik off the apron before taking Damian down and punching away at him. Owens clotheslines Damian over the top rope and knocks Dominik to ringside. Owens runs over Dominik with a clothesline at ringside, followed by one on Damian. Owens hits Damian with a senton splash on the floor. Owens gets on the apron and crushes Dominik with a frog splash on the floor. Owens gets in the ring and goes for a Stunner on Damian, but Damian pushes him off. Owens sends Damian shoulder-first into the ring post and hits him with a cannonball. Owens heads to the top rope and goes for a Swanton Bomb, but Damian has the knees up. Dominik tags in and hits Owens with a Frog Splash. Sami is able to break it up.
An irate Damian attacks Sami. Sami quickly sends Damian over the top rope. Dominik then knocks Sami over the top rope. A “Dom, you suck,” chant picks up. Dominik goes after Owens. Owens goes for a Stunner, but Dominik gets out. Owens instead catches him with a Pop-up Powerbomb, but Damian breaks up the pin at the last possible moment.
The crowd chants, “This is awesome!” Sami and Damian tag in. Sami chops the chest and scales the ropes for a tornado DDT for a near fall. Sami goes to the top rope, but Damian cuts him off. Damian punches Owens off the apron. Damian misses a kick to the skull, so he instead hits a top rope hurricanrana for a near fall. Rhea shouts at the referee.
Damian kicks away at Sami, but Sami knocks him back with a kick. Dominik blind tags in. Sami knocks Damian out of the ring. Dominik dropkicks Sami into position for the 619. Sami counters with a back body drop to the floor. Owens hits Damian with a rolling senton off the apron. Sami then takes Dominik out with a somersault senton. Sami gets Dominik in the ring. Rhea sends Owens into the steel steps. Damian grabs Sami and snaps him off the top rope. Dominik rolls Sami up for a near fall.
Rhea is furious and gets on the apron to yell at the referee. All of a sudden, Liv Morgan runs down and pulls Rhea off the apron. Liv attacks Rhea and tackles her into the timekeeper’s area. Sami hits Dominik with an exploder into the corner. Dominik runs in, but Owens hits him with a Stunner. Sami then rearranges Dominik’s face with a Helluva Kick for the win.
A good main event to close the show. Sami & Kevin are definitely making the tag titles mean something, they are happy to defend them and don’t shy away from matches. To say Judgement Day is supposed to be a dominant force within the WWE, they don’t win a lot of their matches. Grade B
Overall, another show with a lot of filler. I don’t think we needed to see the Brock Lesnar attack on Cody Rhodes every 10 minutes, but that's what it felt like we were getting. I don’t understand the WWE’s obsession with replaying everything so many times within the same show. It just screams that they cannot fill the 3 hour show. Most of the matches were good, others not so good. But hopefully now we are leading up to SummerSlam, we will get a good built show.