We have a NEW Universal Champion! I will not reveal who for those who did not watch SummerSlam/are not watching Raw and want to read my report word-for-word. What lies ahead now for the Raw flag-bearer? Also, one return happened last night with a semi-shocking result to me; and one heavily-talked about did not, so will they show up tonight? Again, no spoilers.
Raw is in Brooklyn tonight, so it should be a raucous crowd, and if like last year’s post-SummerSlam show, hopefully a few surprise! Read on to find out!
Monday Night Raw TV Report for August 22nd, 2016 – “Universally Challenged”
Introduction Segment: Video Promos and Welcoming
A recap of the Universal Championship match from SummerSlam starts, then the regular Raw video plays, and the pyro explodes in the Barclay’s Center. (Note: Same set as SummerSlam.) Michael Cole greets us, along with Byron Saxton and Corey Graves. He announces that Finn Balor, the NEW Universal Champion, severely injured his shoulder at SummerSlam from a powerbomb into the barricade. Clips of this are shown, alone with tweets about the injury. Unfortunately, it is bad enough that he will not be able to wrestle for six months! Commissioner Stephanie McMahon and General Manager Mick Foley have “accepted Finn Balor’s relinquishing of the WWE Universal Championship.”
Segment #2: Arena Promo
We go to the ring, where McMahon and Foley are. They bring out the Universal Champion, who has his right arm in a sling. Following loud “you deserve it” chants (hopefully referring to his championship win and not his injury) he gives a goodbye speech, for now. The fans call out “thank you, Finn” repeatedly, and then “no, no” chants when he gives up the championship. Balor vows to “be back, and this title is the first thing that I’m coming for!”
Mick slowly takes the title from Finn, holds up Balor’s left arm, and Finn walks away to adoration. As he gets to the ramp, Seth Rollins, who was his challenger at SummerSlam, walks out with a smile. He proclaims himself to be “the true winner at SummerSlam,” and boasts about his previous relationship with Stephanie and titles. He wants to be given the championship right now, but another NXT alumni interrupts; Sami Zayn struts out with a smile on his face too!
“The underdog from the underground” faces off, but doesn’t say anything as Chris Jericho saunters to the ring. He begins to beg with the Commissioner and General Manager, but his new-found friend, Kevin Owens, also joins. Those three argue while Seth looks on, and then Enzo and Big Cass interject. They storm for Jericho and Owens, and also Mick and Steph.
Roman Reigns now enters, and Foley makes a decision. He announces a “series of matches,” that will finish next week with a NEW Universal Champion. McMahon sets up Sami taking on Seth to start! All walk away, and Rollins attacks right away!
Match #1: Single – Seth Rollins VS. Sami Zayn
(Stipulation: Winner advances on in the Universal Championship Series)
Sami is in total control for awhile, despite the earlier assault. He hits numerous punches/forearms in the corner, and a moonsault from the corner of the barricade! As they get back in the ring, Rollins kicks Zayn hard and takes over. He chops in the corner, but Sami hits a clothesline back. Zayn reverses a whip and springboards off the middle rope, but lands awkwardly and has injured his right leg. Sami wants to continue though, and somersaults over the ropes onto the floor! They are back in the ring where Seth springs off the top rope with a knee, but Zayn kicks out of the subsequent cover!
Sami battles back, but Rollins hits him with an enziguri, however he only gets a two-count! “The Architect” furiously forearms in the corner, but Zayn pushes him off of the turnbuckle, and then sunset-flip-powerbombs him from the top turnbuckle! 1 – 2 – Seth gets his shoulder up! Rollins blocks a move and goes for The Pedigree, but Sami reverses into a jackknife-cover for two! Sami gives Seth an exploder-suplex into the corner and runs for the Helluva Kick, but Rollins counters with a knee!
Seth focuses on Zayn’s leg with a grapevine-hold, but Sami makes it to the ropes and stomps out of it. He goes for a suplex, but Rollins reverses into The Pedigree, and covers to receive the victory!
Winner via Pinfall and ADVANCING: Seth Rollins
Match #2: Single – Kevin Owens VS. Neville
(Stipulation: Winner advances in the Universal Championship Series)
They start out with a test-of-strength, but Neville quickly gains the upper with kicks! He boots Owens from the apron and follows with a 450-splash onto the floor! Kevin makes it to the opposite side, but Neville follows again with another soaring dive! Jericho marches out, distracting Neville and allowing Owens to slug him.
Owens is wearing Neville down with a rear-chinlock, but Neville comes back with a German suplex! (Thanks, Cole!) Kevin goes for a Frog-Splash from the top turnbuckle, but Neville rolls out of the way! Neville slowly German suplexes with a pin, but Owens raises his shoulder! Kevin goes for the Pop-Up powerbomb, but Neville reverses into a victory-roll for two! “The Man That Gravity Forgot” hits a jumping enziguri, and goes to the top turnbuckle. He’s looking for his Red Arrow twisting-splash, but Chris distracts, and Owens crotches him. He brings Neville from the turnbuckle in a Torture-Rack position, and drops him to the canvas with a neckbreaker. 1 – 2 – 3!
Winner and ADVANCING: Kevin Owens
Post-match, the commentators make it known that the Universal Championship will be wrestled for in a Fatal-4-Way next week. Rollins and Owens are a part of it, and later tonight, Big Cass meets United States Champion Rusev, and Roman Reigns wrestles Chris Jericho to fill in the last two spots.
Up next, Tag-Team Champions The New Day – all three – will be out!
Segment #3: Arena Promo
Tag-Team Champions New Day – Kofi Kingston, Xavier Woods, and Big E. – dance out. They celebrate three-hundred and sixty-five days as Tag Team Champions until Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows halt it; Big E. is going to take on Karl, next!
Match #3: Single – Tag-Team Champion/New Day member Big E. (with Tag-Team Champions/New Day members Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods) VS. Karl Anderson (with Luke Gallows)
Big E. controls for a while until he goes for a dive-through-the-ropes and Anderson counters. Xavier and Kofi take out Gallows on the outside, and Big finishes Karl with a spinning Big Ending!
Winner via Pinfall: Tag-Team Champion/New Day member Big E. (with Tag-Team Champions/New Day members Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods)
Segment #4: Arena Promo
Titus O’Neil rips on his former tag-team partner, Darren Young. He says that Darren was keeping him from excelling, and he can’t understand why former WWF Champion and current Hall-of-Famer Bob Backlund would help Young out. Backlund charges down and fights Titus, even clutching him in the crossface chicken wing! O’Neil gets out of it and scoop-slams (weakly) Bob, and then plants Darren with his Clash of the Titus sit-down spinebuster, who ran out to help his mentor.
Segment #5: Video and Backstage Promo
Footage of Brock Lesnar and Randy Orton’s SummerSlam match is shown; Stephanie concurs that Brock has “crossed the line.”
Match #4: Single – United States Champion Rusev (with Lana) VS. Big Cass (with Enzo) (Non-Title)
(Stipulation: Winner advances to the Universal Championship Fatal-4-Way next week.)
Cass gets the upper hand quickly, hitting Rusev in his taped-up ribs. He kicks the U.S. Champ hard and puts him to the floor.
Big makes a comeback and becomes angry when Rusev kicks Enzo. He picks apart Rusev, slinging him into the steel steps. Rusev kicks again, but Cass kicks back! “The Bulgarian Brute” goes to the outside and backs away, not getting in the ring before ten!
Winner via Count-Out and ADVANCING: Big Cass (with Enzo)
Segment #6: Backstage Promo
Tom Phillips is with Kevin Owens and Chris Jericho; he inquires what would happen if both Owens and Jericho are in the Fatal-4-Way. Chris and Owens agree that Jericho “will make a great champion,” and slightly bicker about who’s going to really win and who looks after the other!
Segment #7: Arena Promo
NEW Women’s Champion Charlotte and Dana Brooke swagger to the ring. Charlotte brags on her victory at SummerSlam over Sasha Banks, and declares “’The Queen’ has reclaimed her throne.” Dana holds the ropes for Charlotte, but GM Foley stops them from leaving.
He gives props to Charlotte, and says that when Sasha’s back is healed, she gets her title shot. Charlotte tries to get out of defending her championship, but Mick announces her potential next challenger…. he welcomes a new member of the Raw roster and Women’s Division ….
NXT’s genuine sweetheart transfers to Raw, amid loud “you deserve chants.” Bayley is in awe and excited to be here, and hugs Mick “right here, in Brooklyn!” Charlotte is not as happy to see her, insinuating that Bayley is not up-to-par since it was a year after Charlotte, Sasha, and Becky were called up. She tells Bayley to “get in line,” and Foley thinks that’s a great idea; he books Bayley against Dana, next!
Match #5: Single – Dana Brooke (with Women’s Champion Charlotte) VS. Bayley
They lockup to begin and Bayley slings Dana over with a headlock take-down. Bayley twirls around Brooke’s back and then waistlocks her, but Dana breaks the hold. Brooke rams Bayley’s head into the turnbuckle, but Bayley reverses and does the same more times! She springboards from the middle ropes into an armdrag, but is kicked in the gut and out of the ring.
Dana shoves her into the barricade and then stretches Bayley with a bow-and-arrow in the middle of the ring. Bayley boots Dana away, but Brooke pounds back with mount-punches. Bayley runs Dana into the turnbuckles and elbow-splashes! She jumps from the middle turnbuckle with a tornado-elbow, and then gives her the Bayley-to-Belly (belly-to-belly suplex) and receives the victory!
Winner via Pinfall: Bayley
Segment #8: Backstage Promo
Tom Phillips interviews Roman Reigns; Roman asserts that he will make it to the Fatal-4-Way for the Universal Championship next week.
Segment #9: Backstage Promo
We see that Sheamus defeated Cesaro in Match #1 of their Best-of-Seven series during the SummerSlam Pre-Show; Sheamus is questioned on that and states that he is “a winner.” They will continue with Match #2 next week!
Match #6: Johnny Knockout VS. Braun Strowman
A small effort happens for Johnny, but Braun is too strong and plants Knockout with his reverse-chokeslam to take this!
Winner via Pinfall: Braun Strowman
Post-match, Braun slams Johnny down again and orders the referee to count another three.
Up next, The Dudley Boyz will “say goodbye.”
Segment #10: Arena Promo
The Dudley Boyz make their entrance, and after “ECW” chants, Bubba Ray starts. “I don’t get very emotional, but uh, tonight might be a little bit different. One year ago, in this very building, in this very ring, in OUR VERY CITY, that pyro went off, me and my brother D-Von came to this ring, we kicked some ass, we put people through tables, and The Dudley Boyz were back home in the WWE. It’s been a hell-of-a year; some ups, some downs, some wins, some loss. Sometimes you guys have loved us; sometimes you guys have hated us. But, at the end of the day, we knew in our hearts, that every single one of you always respected us because busted our ass for you twenty-years!”
Following “testify” calls, D-Von takes a microphone. “You know, it’s been one hell-of-a year; it’s been one hell-of-a career. Twenty years I’ve been up-and-down the highway with this man, creating history. Creating history in legendary matches like the TLC match; which people around the world still talk about today as being ‘one of the greatest matches of all-time.’ Creating that history with guys like Edge and Christian; and The Hardy Boyz. And you know something? Every bump we took in that ring, every ladder, every chair-shot, if I had a chance to do it again, I would do it again, right now, TONIGHT! The WWE has been my home, and it always WILL BE! If it wasn’t for you, the ‘WWE Universe,’ there would be no Dudley Boyz.”
“You know D-Von, most of the time, it’s them cheering for us. You know what? Everybody get on your feet; give yourselves a round of applause. Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you.” “In this business, and in this industry, you don’t get to go out on your own terms. And even though things did not go perfectly for us this year, being able to say ‘goodbye’ to you, our brothers and sisters, in our backyard, this is our ‘own terms.’ Thank you very, very, very, much.”
“And without any further ado, ‘oh my brother,’ testify! OH TESTIFY!”
The Shining Stars interrupt and offer The Dudleyz a trip to Puerto Rico; after comically telling them what/who they can have, Primo and Epico are given a 3-D and What’s Up diving headutt! Bubba calls the crowd to “get the tables,” but before they can 3-D Primo through it, Anderson and Gallows attack! They brawl with Bubba and D-Von, and drive D-Von through the table with their Magic Killer finisher!
Up next, Reigns and Jericho wrestle for the last spot in the Fatal-4-Way!
Match #7: Single – Chris Jericho VS. Roman Reigns
An elbow/collar tie-up begins, and as Jericho jaws at Roman, “The Guy” over-powers after a clothesline! He punches away in the corner, but Jericho pokes Reigns in the eye and punches off of that. Roman has trouble with his vision.
“Y2J” is still governing, pressing his knee against Reigns on the ropes. Jericho stands on Roman’s hair, but is given a headbutt and punch. He counters with a dropkick but only gets two! Chris clamps on a grounding rear chinlock to work over Reigns.
Roman works out of it with a headbutt, but is booted out of the turnbuckle. Jericho goes to run Roman against the opposite turnbuckle, but Reigns chucks him crotch-first into the middle turnbuckle! Roman repeatedly clotheslines Jericho in the corner and then measures for the Superman Punch, but “Y2J” ducks and trips him into a Walls of Jericho position. Reigns twirls Jericho out of it, but gets his shoulder up after an enziguri and cover from Chris.
“The Ayatollah of Rock N’ Rollah” dives from the top turnbuckle but is punched in the gut. Roman follows with his Drive-By running front-dropkick from the floor to the apron! Jericho reverses a backdrop with an elbow, but Reigns gets his knees up as Jericho landed for a Lionsault. Roman hits his Superman Punch, but only gets a near-fall!
Reigns roars for his Spear, but Jericho counters with a boot and goes for his Codebreaker. Roman catches him and sit-down powerbombs! 1 – 2 – Chris kicks out! Reigns looks for the Spear again, but Kevin Owens runs down and gets his attention! Jericho takes advantage with a roll-up and holds his pants, but Roman still kicks out! Reigns tries a third time for a Spear, but Jericho reverses into a proper Walls of Jericho! Roman struggles but manages to the ropes! As the referee is distracted, Kevin kicks Reigns hard, and Jericho drives Roman with the Codebreaker! 1 – 2 – Reigns just lifts his shoulder!
Chris slaps Roman, which “Superman” takes big umbrage with. Reigns slaps back a few times, and then Superman Punches Owens off of the apron, and Spears Jericho! He covers and gets the victory!
Winner via Pinfall and ADVANCING: Roman Reigns
Post-match, Roman poses from the win as the commentators go over next week’s Fatal-4-Way to close the show.
End of Raw.
This was a pretty-good Raw following SummerSlam. With some situations that happened over the weekend, they followed up well and presented an interesting new direction. However, there was also some missing people and peculiar ways of going about this that I would’ve done different. Read below!
Excellence; promos by Finn Balor, Seth Rollins, New Day, Titus (for the most-part), Charlotte, Bayley, The Dudleyz, and Shining Stars. Matches between Sami/Seth, Neville/Owens, Bayley/Dana, and Jericho/Reigns.
To make up for Finn’s loss, liked how they are going to determine a new Universal Champion. This time, they are actually having more than two wrestlers compete for it legitimately, instead of just “hand-picking” the contestants. Interesting matchup too; no offense to Cass, but I would’ve picked another non-primarily tag partner, however, and make it that much more unpredictable (it’s going to come down to Rollins and Reigns!).
Glad Finn and Bayley got the ovations they deserved; that was an awesome promo/farewell from Bubba and D-Von!
Bogus: promos by Titus (for some of it) and Roman Reigns. Match ending between Cass/Rusev didn’t work for me. Where was Heath Slater and Nia Jax – especially after the build-up of both over the last few weeks? Big misses for me!
As much as I’ve loved her in NXT and know she will be awesome on Raw, I think they should’ve held off Bayley’s Raw debut until after the Clash of the Champions PPV; she just finished with NXT this past Saturday, so I think it would’ve benefited her in terms of an even bigger reaction and meaning to be out of sight for a little bit, and then be reintroduced. Plus, I think Nia Jax should’ve been next as they had been having her dominate and that build seemed to be for the Women’s Championship.
Huge losses due to injury/potential injuries of Finn, Sami, and Sasha. I wish God’s blessings for speedy recoveries!
All-in-all, a good Raw and I hope they continue with “the new era” by having Owens win the Championship. Until Smackdown! Live, Be Excellent Wrestling-Online Fans!