Seth Rollins and Dominik Mysterio Signed Their SummerSlam Contract
The build to Rollins vs. Dominik at SummerSlam is off to a strong start. Rollins carried this contract signing with his quality mic work, Dominik showed nice fire, and Samoa Joe was the perfect person to serve as the moderator because he kept this thing together. As badly as I want him back in the ring, he's excelling in this role for now. They succeeded in leaving me excited for their upcoming encounter.
Seth Rollins def. Humberto Carrillo
Like Aleister Black, Carrillo has been involved in this saga with Rollins and Rey Mysterio for months, but unlike Black, he hasn't come to the aid of Rey or Dominik as consistently as he has. Hell, he didn't even save Black when he was being attacked by Rollins and Murphy a few weeks ago! Thus, I can't say I have any sympathy for him losing in a matter of minutes here to Rollins. The match did what it needed to do in putting over Rollins as dominant ahead of SummerSlam. The real focus was on Rollins and Murphy's post-match assault on Dominik, which was absolutely brutal. Seriously, those welts were unreal. Props to Dominik for enduring such a hellish initiation.
Raw Tag Team Champion Angelo Dawkins def. Andrade
After Dawkins already faced and lost to Angel Garza last week, I had no desire to see him in action on his own again this week. He better hope The Street Profits never break up (or at least not any time soon) because he would be doomed as a singles competitor in my opinion. The match was uninteresting and Dawkins should not have defeated a former United States Champion. This was a waste of time and felt like filler before Bianca Belair took on Zelina Vega.
Bianca Belair def. Zelina Vega
I applaud these two and WWE for thinking outside the box by having them further their feud over the weekend with Belair breaking into Vega's house and crashing her Twitch stream. Vega doesn't wrestle nearly often enough to be taken seriously as a threat, so while I didn't think this needed to last as long as it did, it was a fine showcase for Belair and the result was the right one as Belair remains undefeated on Raw.
United States Champion Apollo Crews Interrupted The Hurt Business on The VIP Lounge; Shelton Benjamin def. Crews (Non-Title)
I've largely enjoyed the feud between Crews and The Hurt Business over the past two months, but it feels like it's run its course. I simply don't have a ton of interest in another outing between Crews and MVP for the United States Championship. What's worse is that Crews losing a non-title affair to Benjamin here. I'm all for Benjamin winning more matches and this was well-wrestled, but no champion should be losing when their title isn't on the line unless it's absolutely necessary.
Ricochet, Cedric Alexander and The Viking Raiders def. Akira Tozawa and His Ninjas
Man, Raw's tag team division sucks. I realize Andrade and Angel Garza are getting the next title shot at SummerSlam, but Ricochet, Alexander and The Viking Raiders are completely directionless at the moment. That's nothing new for Ricochet and Alexander, but The Viking Raiders were featured pretty prominently on the show up until recently. This was total throwaway and I continue to question what purpose the stupid ninjas are supposed to serve. Also, how confusing is it that they're practically wearing the same thing that RETRIBUTION are?
Peyton Royce def. Liv Morgan
The Riott Squad seemingly reunited last week and beat The IIconics, but they clearly aren't on the same page just yet. Part of me likes that not everything is peachy for them after winning one match, but I also want Morgan to build momentum again and a quick loss to Royce isn't going to do her any favors. I realize the story is that she thought Riott interfered and cost her the victory, but wouldn't watching a quick replay prove that Riott was innocent? Anyway, the rivalry will resume, but I hope Riott and Morgan come out on the winning end of this so they can eventually beat Bayley and Sasha Banks for the WWE Women's Tag Team Championship.
Asuka def. SmackDown Women's Champion Bayley to Earn a Raw Women's Championship Match Against Sasha Banks at SummerSlam
Although the outcome was never in doubt, this was easily the best bout on the entire show as Asuka and Bayley never cease to work well together. They made the most of their time and put together a terrific match. Asuka vs. Banks is now set for SummerSlam, and only in WWE would beating one champion earn you a title shot against another champion and not the champion they beat.
Randy Orton def. Kevin Owens; Orton Attacked Ric Flair
The last half hour or so of this show was fantastic. First off, Orton vs. Owens was a great match. They haven't worked a ton of matches together over the years, so this felt fresh. Plus, the action was entertaining and Owens looked strong in defeat. Orton winning clean was the right call considering he'll be vying for the WWE Championship at SummerSlam. Then, Orton telling Flair to stick around until after the commercial break was smart to keep viewers hooked going into the final few minutes of the show. Everyone knew Orton turning on Flair was inevitable, as it was more a matter of when and not if it would happen. It finally happened here and the execution couldn't have been better. Both guys cut phenomenal promos and Flair clearly still has it on the mic. Orton has been in his element in this role all year round and he shined once again in this segment. If they weren't going to show the punt kick to Flair (for obvious reasons), the lights going out because of RETRIBUTION was a clever way of working around it. This was spectacular stuff.
Some quick notes on stuff I didn't mention above. Raw Underground was a bit better this week than it was last week and I'm glad they dropped the strippers part of it. I'm more open to the concept than I was originally, but it has to evolve eventually. I'm not as optimistic about the stuff with RETRIBUTION, though, as I thought it was lame for the second straight week on this show. Meanwhile, I'm glad Mickie James has returned, but I hate how her first feud back apparently will be with Lana and Natalya. The rest of this edition of Raw was a mixed back. The opening and the ending were highlights, but everything else in the middle (aside from Asuka vs. Bayley) wasn't as hot in my opinion.