Wrestling Review: WWE Raw, August 12 2019 feat. Seth Rollins vs. AJ Styles

Image Source: Wikipedia

It’s the night after SummerSlam 2019, so this had the potential to be a big edition of WWE Raw. Oftentimes, the episode following a Big Four PPV is a chance for the product to receive a reset of sorts, and that proved to be the case on several levels here. Also, check out a recap of last week’s edition to get up-to-speed with all things Raw.

Seth Rollins Promo

The show could only open with one man: Seth Rollins, who dethroned Brock Lesnar as Universal Champion for the second time this year the previous evening. Rollins noted how it was the fans that kept his fire and his ambition going (presumably not the ones who’ve turned on him on Twitter), but his rousing speech was always going to be interrupted by somebody. It turned out to be AJ Styles and The OC who got involved, with Styles suggesting that he remained the top champion on Raw despite Seth’s big win. A non-title bout was made between the two for the main event.

After a video proclaiming the return of the King Of The Ring tournament next week, we had a feature on the Roman Reigns situation and Samoa Joe’s involvement in said activities (or lack thereof). This led to The Street Profits and Sami Zayn having a chat about it, with Zayn criticising Joe, who just happened to be stood behind him.

Sami Zayn vs. Samoa Joe

Of course, this led to a match, and a quick one too as it took Joe little more than a minute to submit Sami to the Coquina Clutch. While I am wondering what the hell is happening with Sami Zayn (who has gone from the voice of reason against the smarks to being just another guy criticising the fans, while getting beat up almost constantly), the most notable point here concerned Joe. It was assumed that him helping Roman last week was the sign of a babyface turn, but instead he noted in a post-match promo that while he forgives Reigns for previous transgressions, he hasn’t forgiven the fans. Either Joe’s face turn has been scrapped already, or he will be slowly morphing into a face, similar to how The Miz slowly turned face in late 2018. Speaking of whom …

The Miz vs. Dolph Ziggler

Miz got his, erm, eagerly-anticipated match with Dolph Ziggler here. Ziggler was supposed to face Miz at SummerSlam, but instead fought (and got pounded by) Goldberg, with Miz’s blessing by the way. Here, Miz had the chance to beat up Dolph himself. Ziggler came out in street clothes feigning injury, only to blindside Miz, allowing the match to take place. It was all Dolph until Miz rebounded, and though his booking hasn’t been great in recent months, he does still have solid fan support. A Zig Zag nearly won it for Dolph, but ultimately Miz triumphed via submission with the Figure-Four Leglock (Michael Cole noted how Dolph stole the superkick from Shawn Michaels, but then praised Miz for winning by using Ric Flair’s finisher; the hypocrisy is huge). Afterwards, Dolph bad-mouthed Miz some more, and got beat up some more as a result.

Elias vs. Ricochet

After Becky Lynch vowed to fight anybody who had a problem with her, Elias said that he would just wait for a legend to interrupt his concert because it was so common. No legends did, but Ricochet did, and when Ricochet told Elias that he sucked, those were fighting words, leading to another sudden encounter. There wasn’t too much to this one (and it had a botch that everybody noticed when Ricochet didn’t quite catch Elias on a running headscissors), with Ricochet winning via a sunset flip despite Elias’ shoulder being up. Usually that suggests a rematch, but this wouldn’t be the last that we saw of either man on the show, and as they would appear in separate segments, it made their interaction here, well, pointless.

Two Out Of Three Falls Match
Rey Mysterio vs. Andrade

If you were a fan of WWE suddenly holding loads of Two Out Of Three Falls matches in June and July, then you were in luck because another such bout happened here between familiar foes Rey Mysterio and Andrade. The action was of a high standard, with the best move being a brutal hurricanrana from Mysterio that sent Andrade to the ringside mats, though they have had better matches previously. Andrade stole the first fall early on with Zelina Vega’s help, but as it turned out, Mysterio didn’t get the second fall, with Andrade instead drilling Rey with a Hammerlock DDT to get a clean sweep. Afterwards, a despondent Mysterio mentioned his family backstage in such a tone that some may have expected him to call it quits right there. That remains to be seen, but in terms of match quality, Mysterio definitely still has it as he proved again here.

We then had a Stone Cold Steve Austin cameo via Skype; Michael Cole asked Austin basic questions about Seth Rollins and his big win over Brock Lesnar, though the real (understandable) purpose seemed to be to promote Austin’s new show (Straight Up With Steve Austin) immediately afterwards on USA Network.

In further backstage shenanigans, The Street Profits continued their hijinks with Angelo Dawkins pretending to fall asleep and then he started chugging water as Toronto fans chanted “CHUG!” Also, Drew McIntyre vowed to decisively conclude his feud with Cedric Alexander in the next match.

Drew McIntyre vs. Cedric Alexander

The match itself was a damn good one, with both men hitting moves that were either spectacular or hard-hitting. It was fought at a fast pace, but with both men taking the time to sell the impact, ensuring that it didn’t degenerate into a clumsy collection of big moves. Instead, it was logically-worked, and with the major spots thrown in there, the upshot was a real gem of an encounter. Cedric nailed a Lumbar Check on the floor and a Spanish Fly off the top (impressive to someone of Drew’s size), but McIntyre had lost enough lately that he needed the victory here, and he got it by booting Alexander into next week, flipping him over with a Claymore Kick to seal the win. They discussed how this would conclude their rivalry beforehand, but after watching this match, I want to see more from these two.

Robert Roode vs. No Way Jose

After some confident words from AJ Styles and The OC, we had the first Raw appearance in a while for Robert Roode. It didn’t take long for him to dispatch of No Way Jose, as he nailed him with a Glorious DDT. I would write more about this match but there really isn’t anything else to say. It is worth mentioning that, post-match, Paul Heyman explained that there would be no automatic Universal Championship rematch for Brock Lesnar, which seems to finally draw a line under his feud with Seth. Heyman had previously walked through a non-functioning security scanner and shouted “BEEP!”, which made me laugh far more than it should have.

Lucha House Party vs. The Revival

This doubles match was not fought under Lucha House rules, which is understandable as that stipulation hasn’t been in effect for ages, but the announcers were slacking for not at least mentioning that aspect. Not that it mattered as the match was quickly interrupted by R-Truth and Carmella, with the 24/7 Champion high-tailing it from all of the wrestlers attempting to seize the gold. Truth’s journey to the ring was mixed, as he was caught by Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder, and a Hart Attack (in Canada no less) crowned The Revival as the first co-24/7 Champions. But a Kalisto dropkick to Dash allowed Truth to pin him to regain the title, but not for long as backstage afterwards, Elias clobbered him with a guitar to win the prize for himself. So, to clarify, Elias is the new 24/7 Champion.

Natalya Promo

Nattie came out with her arm in a sling to discuss her loss to Becky Lynch at SummerSlam, while noting that she would get another opportunity someday. She then began to mention the one-year anniversary of her father Jim Neidhart’s death (fans were awkwardly beginning to chant “Boring!” at their compatriot just as Natalya was going into this part of her speech), before being interrupted by … the returning Sasha Banks! As Corey Graves hilariously scolded her on commentary for various things, Sasha walked to the ring to a huge pop, and hugged Nattie, only to cheap-shot her and remove what was actually a purple wig to reveal new blue hair. As I wondered whether she was the modern-day Marge Simpson, Sasha pummelled Natalya, driving her seemingly-broken arm into the steel stairs at ringside. The assault brought out Becky Lynch, who was suddenly defending the honour of someone who she had ran down for four weeks, but Becky was also pummelled by Banks, with The Boss getting the upper hand, and all of the spotlight to herself. Sasha Banks is finally back, and not only is she likely to face Becky at Clash Of Champions, but I think the odds are high of her winning the Raw Women’s Championship again as well.

The Viking Raiders vs. Carter Mason & Sebastian Suave

Arrive, Destroy, Viking Experience, Leave. Moving on.

WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship Match
Alexa Bliss & Nikki Cross vs. The Kabuki Warriors

Paige was not present as she is having further neck surgery, which will hopefully go well. Kairi Sane and Asuka’s expressions portrayed the message “we’re losing tonight”, and that’s exactly what happened. Despite some cool moves, and amidst Corey Graves apologising for slandering Alexa and Nikki the previous night, BlissCross picked up the victory when Kairi tasted Twisted Bliss. Alexa and Nikki should hold the female double’s titles for a good while, partly because they’ve already beaten the two teams most likely to pose a serious threat to their reign.

Seth Rollins vs. AJ Styles

After a quick backstage promo by Rollins, we had our main event match between the Universal and United States Champions. As one would expect from these two, it was an enjoyable match, though the process of The OC at ringside meant that the focus was more on what Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson were up to. Sure enough, they got involved several times, leading referee Chad Patton to send them backstage, only to rush the ring and beat up Rollins anyway, which was funny. A three-on-one attack brought out Ricochet to help Rollins, only for him to get blasted too. As AJ was set to hit Rollins with an OC-assisted Styles Clash off the ropes, though, Braun Strowman came out to clear house, thus saving the day for Rollins and Ricochet. He also handed Seth his Universal Championship, but not before he gave a quick glance at the belt to imply that he might decide to challenge Rollins in the near future.

This was a fine episode of WWE Raw, with a much-anticipated return and a few strong matches. Becky vs. Sasha is clearly on the cards, while we might get Seth vs. Braun alongside the presumably-continuing AJ vs. Ricochet saga. Add to that some other intriguing developments, and the usual comedy of the 24/7 Championship, and it’s a good time to be a Raw fan right now, with more optimism than there has been for a good while.