Monday Night Raw
Date: August 1, 2022
Location: Toyota Center, Houston, Texas
Commentators: Jimmy Smith, Corey Graves, Byron Saxton
We’re done with Summerslam and things feel like they have been reset around here. We get to see what is going on with the first Raw of the new regime and there is a good chance that there are going to be some changes. That should make for a fun night and that is what the show needs. Let’s get to it.
Here is Becky Lynch, in far more normal clothes and her arm in a sling, to get things going. After a look back at Bianca Belair beating Lynch at Summerslam and the return/debuts of Bayley/Dakota Kai/Iyo Sky (Io Shirai), Becky talks about knowing that she has remembered who she is. Lynch may have separated her shoulder but she knows she gave it her all at Summerslam and knows that no man defines her. She defines the man and now we start a new era, but first she wants Belair out here.
Belair obliges and says that Lynch is the man and respect is shown. Lynch leaves and Belair talks about how much she respect her because she knows what Lynch can do. They shook hands at Summerslam because there is mutual respect and that means something. We cut to the back where Bayley/Kai/Sky have attacked Lynch with a chair, sending Belair running off to check on her.
We get a history on the United States Title, as narrated by JBL, including a bunch of clips of champions over the years, going all the way back to the original days of the title and the modern version. That’s a nice thing to see.
AJ Styles vs. Mustafa Ali vs. The Miz
This is the first of two triple threats tonight, with the winners facing off for a future US Title shot. Miz has his ribs taped up and, after we see a clip of Logan Paul beating him at Summerslam, Paul talks about how much he loved Summerslam and promises to be back in a big way. Miz bails to the floor to start but comes back in to send Ali into the middle buckle.
Styles is sent into the corner as well and there’s the running clothesline to drop him again. Ali gets knocked to the floor, leaving Styles to get belly to back suplexed. The short DDT plants Ali back inside and Miz YES kicks away at Styles’ chest as the dominance (I’m surprised too) continues. Back in and Ali sends Miz to the floor but gets kicked to the apron by Styles.
Ali is back in with a rolling neckbreaker to Styles, who reverse DDTs Miz at the same time. Miz is sent outside again, allowing him to break up the Phenomenal Forearm. Styles sends Miz into the announcers’ table but it’s Ali with a top rope tornado DDT to spike Styles on the floor as well. Back in and Miz gives Ali the Skull Crushing Finale but the ribs mean it’s a very delayed two. Ali gets in a kick to the face and heads up top for the 450….with Styles grabbing him with the Styles Clash onto Miz after the landing for the pin at 8:41.
Rating: C+. That ending was rather cool and a nice twist on the usual “hit a finisher and have someone steal the pin” and I can absolutely go for that. One thing WWE needs to do is offer something fresh and that is what we saw here. Throw in Styles getting a fresh push, or at least a win, and this was encouraging.
We look back at the attack on Becky Lynch.
Lynch is in the trainer’s room and says she just needs some ice, but it seems a bit more serious than that.
Bayley and company says it’s about them and you’ll see more about that in the future. The Usos come in (with Jey seeming to approve of what he sees) and promises to keep the Tag Team Titles later tonight.
Here is Seth Rollins for a chat, albeit after a recap of his recent issues with Riddle. Rollins is rather jovial and says tonight is a celebration because we don’t have to hear from Riddle. It took guts for Riddle to try and attack him at Summerslam but Riddle has crossed the line from crazy to stupid. The silver lining is that Riddle can join his friend Randy with a career threatening injury, leaving Rollins to focus on Roman Reigns.
Cue the Street Profits of all people but Rollins cuts them off and brings up all of the losses they have had lately. Angelo Dawkins brings up them taking the Tag Team Titles from Rollins (which he doesn’t remember) and Montez Ford remembers Cody Rhodes beating Rollins with one “boobie”.
Rollins would love to come up there and stomp both of them but he doesn’t have a partner. That’s cool with Dawkins, because one of them can come down there and beat him. We get a game of Rock, Paper, Scissors, complete with a referee…who is grabbed by Ford and carried to the ring to start the match without any rocking, papering or scissoring.
Montez Ford vs. Seth Rollins
They start fast and head outside with Rollins getting in a shot to the ribs, only to get superkicked for two back inside. Rollins bails outside but gets backdropped when trying a Pedigree. Ford gets posted for two and Rollins chokes him on the ropes for a bit. A gutbuster gets two more and Ford gets caught in a waistlock.
With that broken up, Ford manages to get to the top for a high crossbody and starts slugging away. A standing moonsault gives Ford two and a running Blockbuster is good for the same. Rollins is back with a superkick and a rolling elbow but Ford is back up with a tornado DDT. The delayed cover gets two so Rollins is back with a buckle bomb into a Falcon Arrow for two. Rollins misses a frog splash but Ford misses one of his own, allowing Rollins to hit the Stomp for the pin at 10:41.
Rating: B. It felt like they were going to pull the trigger on Ford with the big win here but not quite yet. The fact that Ford got to hang in there with Rollins for about ten minutes is a nice consolation prize though and it seems that we might be on the way towards the singles push. If not then we’re just stuck with more good Profits matches, though Ford seems primed for that singles run, whenever it starts.
Post match Dawkins saves Ford from another beating.
Long video on Roman Reigns surviving against Brock Lesnar at Summerslam.
Alexa Bliss vs. Asuka
Bliss grabs a quick rollup for two and drops into a pose, meaning she gets shouldered down. An STO drops Asuka and sets up Insult but no Injury as Asuka kicks her in the face. Asuka goes up….but here are Bayley, Kai and Sky for the double DQ at 2:31.
The big beatdown is on but Bianca Belair runs in for the save. Belair wants one of them tonight and Sky seems to accept.
Ciampa vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. Chad Gable
The winner gets AJ Styles for the future US Title shot tonight. On his way to the ring, Gable brags about his Olympic career and superior intellect which will help him become US Champion. Ciampa takes over to start and Ziggler gets double teamed. Gable and Ciampa take turns on the leg and a catapult sends Ziggler into the corner. Ciampa elbows his way out of Gable’s fireman’s carry so it’s a double chickenwing faceplant to put him down instead. Ziggler is back up with the Fameasser for two on Gable as we take a break.
Back with Ciampa grabbing a Crossface on Ziggler and hitting a middle rope White Noise. Gable comes in off the middle rope with a headbutt for the break and all three are down. Ciampa’s running knee is countered into Chaos Theory, with Ziggler grabbing a Zig Zag at the same time for two on Gable. Ziggler gets knocked outside though and it’s the Fairy Tale Ending to give Ciampa the pin on Gable at 10:30.
Rating: C+. This felt a lot more like NXT Ciampa and that is a great thing to see. Above all else, he won the match and moves on to something a little bigger. The easiest way in the world to rebuild someone is to have them win matches and that is exactly what we got here. Not a classic or even memorable, but Ciampa winning his first match on Raw in almost three months is a good sign.
We look back at Edge being thrown out of Judgment Day but returning at Summerslam to cost them a match against the Usos.
Here is Edge, again as the Rated R Superstar (complete with the Tony Chimmel impression on the intro), for a chat. Edge apologizes to the fans for how he has treated them as of late and talks about his intentions with Judgment Day. He wanted to help some underutilized wrestlers but then he got put on the shelf. Now he is back and he promises to end Judgment Day, end of speech.
The Mysterios are ready to win the Tag Team Titles.
Bayley and company are ready to be in full control.
Iyo Sky vs. Bianca Belair
Non-title. Belair jumps over her out of the corner to start and hits a quick dropkick. Sky is back up to send Belair outside though and the Asai moonsault sends us to a break. Back with Belair planting Sky but getting dropped again just as fast. Sky pulls her into something close to a crossface and a Russian legsweep cuts off a comeback attempt.
Belair pulls her out of the air though and hits the release Glam Slam. There’s the handspring moonsault for two and Belair goes up, only to have Kai and Bayley show up for a distraction. Sky snaps off a super hurricanrana but gets planted again. The KOD is broken up and they fight to the apron. Make that the floor, with Belair swinging her hard into the barricade. Bayley and Sky offer another distraction so here are Alexa Bliss and Asuka to even things up as we take a break.
Back with Belair slamming her off the top and hitting a standing moonsault for two. Sky gets her knees up to block another handspring moonsault but a referee distraction lets Kai grab Belair’s leg. That’s enough for everyone else to come in for the brawl and the no contest at 17:19.
Rating: B-. I like the ending as I would much rather have some screwy finish rather than either the champ or the newcomer losing. It’s better to protect the two of them than give one of them a meaningless pin after a bunch of interference. Sky hung in there with Belair the entire time in a good match and that’s a great start to her main roster run.
Post match the brawl is on until referees and officials have to break it up (with the fans approving).
Miz is firing up Ciampa but stops to talk about Logan Paul. Ciampa is ready to crush AJ Styles for the title shot and for helping Paul at Summerslam.
Ciampa vs. AJ Styles
For a future US Title shot, Miz is in Ciampa’s corner and Booker T. is on commentary. Feeling out process to start with Styles getting the better of things. Ciampa sends him into the post though and Miz is right there for the trash talking. Styles snaps off a Lethal Combination to send Ciampa outside, where Miz has to look at his eye. Back in and the drop down into the dropkick sends Ciampa outside for the slingshot forearm and we take a break.
Back with Styles hitting a sliding forearm but having the Styles Clash broke up. Ciampa’s running knee is countered into a broken up Styles Clash attempt so Styles suplexes him into the corner instead. The Phenomenal Forearm is kneed out of the air (that looked great) for two and Project Ciampa is good for the same.
Ciampa up the super White Noise but gets reversed into the Styles Clash. The cover takes some time though, allowing Mi to put Ciampa’s boot on the ropes. Styles gives chase on the floor and has to beat the count back in, allowing Ciampa to hit a running knee. The Fairy Tale Ending gives Ciampa the pin and the title shot next week at 13:41.
Rating: B-. Just like earlier: if you want to rebuild Ciampa, just have him win matches like this one. Ciampa looked like he was hanging with a former World Champion and then he won in the end (with Miz’s help but still). The two wins he got tonight are more than he has done since being called up and that gives me some hope for him. The fact that he is making me interested while still Miz’s lackey makes it all the more impressive, though not exactly surprising.
Bobby Lashley is ready to defend against Ciampa and he’ll do it every week if he has to.
Tag Team Titles: Usos vs. Mysterios
The Mysterios are challenging. Rey wastes no time in sending Jey outside and Dominik adds the big dive as we take a very early break. Back with Rey in trouble and being whipped hard into the corner. A backbreaker gives Jey two so it’s back to Jimmy, who gets sent face first into the post.
The tag brings in Dominik to clean house, including a high crossbody to Jey. Everything breaks down and Jimmy bails to the floor to avoid a 619. The dive is pulled out of the air and Dominik gets posted as we take another break. Back again with Dominik hitting a tornado DDT to set up the tag to Rey.
Something off the top is superkicked out of the air but the 1D is broken up. The 619 into the frog splash gives Dominik two with Jey making the save. Rey and Jey are both taken down, leaving Jimmy to catch Dominik on top. Dominik takes him down and loads up the 610 but Jey is back in with the 1D to retain the titles at 15:34.
Rating: B-. They had me wondering at the end here and that is a nice feeling to have. The Mysterios are still a good enough team to be a threat to the Usos so there was enough drama here to make it interesting. I’m not sure who takes the titles from the Usos, but it’s hard to imagine it doesn’t happen relatively soon.
Post match the Usos leave but the Judgment Day runs in to jump the Mysterios. Edge runs in for the save but Rhea Ripley shoves Dominik in the way of the spear. Dominik gets checked on to end the show.
Overall Rating: B+. And that’s the best Raw in ages. This show worked for a variety of reasons, but the biggest is that there was nothing bad. They didn’t waste time with Dana Brooke and R-Truth running around or have some dumb comedy segment that is only there to fill in time. There is nothing wrong with a joke or two here or there, but when you’re basically stopping the show for a gag, it gets old really fast.
As for the rest of the show, it felt more like an Attitude Era show but in a good way. While it certainly didn’t have the chaos and insanity of an Attitude Era show (thank goodness), you had stories woven through the night and people doing things logically and going after the people they were mad at rather than waiting until their scheduled segment next week. In other words, the wrestlers here were acting like people instead of characters written into a story.
Overall, this show felt energetic and lively rather than the dry, dull and at times soulless stuff that we’ve been getting. I have no idea how long it will last or how many people will watch it, but for one week, it was a show that didn’t feel like it was on for three hours and I was having a good time instead of looking at the clock and dreading what I was going to see. For this week at least, I was happy with Raw, and I can’t remember the last time I said that.
AJ Styles b. Mustafa Ali and The Miz – Styles Clash to Ali
Seth Rollins b. Montez Ford – Stomp
Asuka vs. Alexa Bliss went to a double disqualification when Bayley, Dakota Kai and Iyo Sky interfered
Ciampa b. Dolph Ziggler and Chad Gable – Fairy Tale Ending to Gable
Iyo Sky vs. Bianca Belair went to a no contest when Bayley, Dakota Kai, Alexa Bliss and Asuka interfered
Ciampa b. AJ Styles – Fairy Tale Ending
Usos b. Mysterios – 1D to Dominik
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