July 25, 2016
City: Pittsburgh, PA
Venue: Consol Energy Center
Commentary: Michael Cole, Byron Saxton, Corey Graves
Ring Announcer: Jojo
Clips of Dean Ambrose (and SmackDown) retaining the WWE Title at Battleground.
“Enemies” by Shinedown
Michael Cole welcomes everyone to the new RAW, new commentary area, and new commentator: Corey Graves.
Mick Foley and Stephanie McMahon are already in the ring. Foley brings out the entire RAW roster to the stage and says he will do everything he can to make the most exciting show every week.
Stephanie talks about Roman Reigns losing the WWE Title for RAW and screwing things up for Rollins. She calls him a loser. She also says RAW needs a heavyweight champ, and there will be one. Tonight, there will be two fatal-four-ways, the winners of each facing off in the main event. The winner of the main event will go on to face Seth Rollins at Summer Slam for the new title: the WWE Universal Championship. Mick then announces the eight competitors for tonight.
Stephanie then calls Charlotte forward. Mick reminds her that she tapped out to Sasha at Battleground, and he makes a title match tonight between the two ladies.
Fatal Four Way Match
Cesaro vs Rusev (US Champ) vs Kevin Owens vs Finn Balor
(referee: Darrick Moore)
Result: Finn Balor pins Rusev after Coup De Grace and advances to tonight’s main event
Time: 13:34 (2 breaks)
Really good match and a great kickoff to the new RAW. Everyone fought everyone and there were plenty of good sequences. No one really stood out as outdoing anyone else. They were all great and I would have been okay if any of them had won.
Nia Jax vs Britt Baker
(referee: Dan Engler)
Result: Nia Jax wins via pinfall after a running leg drop
A complete squash. She’s big and hits hard. That’s about all you get from this match.
While Sasha warms up, Golden Truth plays Pokemon Go. Tom Phillips then asks Sasha about pressure. Sasha says that she finally gets to fulfill her dream (and expose Charlotte) when she wins the Women’s Title tonight.
Fatal Four Way Match
Chris Jericho vs Sheamus vs Sami Zayn vs Roman Reigns
(referee: John Cone)
Result: Roman Reigns pins Chris Jericho after a spear
Time: 13:52 (1 break)
Good match. This one took a little bit to get going, but it was good and had a different feel than the earlier fatal four way. The other one was more even, this one had four very different guys. Sami was the underdog and had some exciting moments, Jericho and Sheamus were tough heels in different ways, and Reigns was the powerhouse that had to keep getting shut down before he could really get a hold of anyone.
New Day heads to the ring for a celebration. They have been champs for 337 days. To show how fantastic they are, they made a video package. They then choose a guy from the crowd to be an honorary member of New Day. His name, apparently, is Sonny Boy. As New Day dances with Sonny, Anderson and Gallows attack, dispatching Kofi and Xavier on the floor and hitting a Magic Killer on Big E.
Curtis Axel is already in the ring, and Jojo announces him as “Mr. Irrelevant” (because he was the last person drafted).
Curtis Axel vs Neville
(referee: Chad Patton)
Result: Neville wins via pinfall after Red Arrow
Pretty good match. It was a bit of an exhibition for Neville, but regardless, it’s good to see him back.
Darren Young is upset about not winning the IC Title at Battleground. Bob Backlund tries to redirect his feeling when Golden Truth comes in, still playing Pokemon Go. Backlund freaks out.
A video package introducing Finn Balor.
Tom Phillips welcomes Charlotte and Dana Brooke. Charlotte says that Sasha is all alone tonight, unlike Battleground. Sasha will bow down to the queen.
Women’s Title Match
Sasha Banks vs Charlotte (Women’s Champ) w/ Dana Brooke
(referee: Mike Chioda)
Result: Sasha Banks wins via submission with the Bank Statement to become the new Women’s Champion
Time: 13:50 (1 break)
Really great match filled with great moments. Where was this Charlotte for the past few months? Why did we need to watch her do tricks and shenanigans all the time? She can wrestle, and wrestle she did, as did Sasha. Charlotte and Sasha put together a hard-fought, hard-hitting, exciting, and intelligent wrestling match. This should have been the main event.
Braun Strowman vs James Ellsworth
(referee: Rod Zapata)
Result: Braun Strowman wins via pinfall after a reverse chokeslam
Squash. And practically a comedy match. Braun Strowman is going to flounder outside of the Wyatt Family.
A video package re-introducing Roman Reigns.
Golden Truth is still playing Pokemon Go. R-Truth mistakes the Penguins logo for a Pokemon.
Enzo and Cass head to the ring. They like it raw. The Shining Stars interrupt Cass’ list of raw food.
** I think Enzo and Cass used up their good material for the week at Battleground. This one was a little lackluster. **
Enzo Amore & Big Cass vs The Shining Stars
(referee: Dan Engler)
Result: Big Cass pins Primo after a big boot
A pretty fast match. I’d like to see more for The Shining Stars. The best part of the match was Golden Truth playing Pokemon Go through the middle of the ring.
Finn Balor wishes Roman Reigns luck. Reigns reciprocates.
WWE Universal Title Number One Contender Match
Finn Balor vs Roman Reigns
(referee: Mike Chioda)
Result: Finn Balor wins via pinfall after coup De Grace
Time: 10:00 (1 break)
Good match. This is the kind of match where Reigns can look good. He can just do his power stuff, and the smaller and more agile underdog can help make them both look good. There were some tense moments in this one, but it worked well considering the outcome. This is just the beginning for Balor.
Tom Phillips approaches Reigns and asks him if he as anything to say. Reigns says he wants Balor to beat Rollins, and he wants to face Bolr again. He respects him.
I quite enjoyed the show. There were more squash matches than I usually like, but they balanced the four short matches with four really good, lengthy matches. So it worked well as a whole show. I’m glad that they’re pulling the trigger on some new directions, but I hope it’s not just a short-term thing because this is the first Raw after the draft. Hopefully it really is a fresh start.
I like the Cesaro thing. I’m fine with him not winning tonight, it’ll just make him work that much harder. But they’ll have to find a good balance of actually letting him do what he’s talking about. Which is to build his character through wrestling.
I also wonder what it must feel like for people who got drafted to RAW, but they didn’t get to do anything on the show even with local talent filling some of tonight’s spots. That seems kind of messed up to me.
And even after watching the whole show, the Women’s Title match should have been the main event. Absolutely no question. The show should have ended with Sasha talking about the new era and the era of women’s wrestling. If they want the Women’s title to feel as important as the main title (the Universal one, I guess), then a Women’s Title match should place higher than a number one contender match.
Match of the Night
Sasha Banks vs Charlotte