RETRIBUTION Interrupted WWE Champion Drew McIntyre
McIntyre has been one of the best talkers in all of WWE these past few months, so I was disappointed his promo here was cut short by the RETRIBUTION antics. I haven't been sold on RETRIBUTION up to this point, but at least WWE tried something different with them in this segment and created a compelling hook going into the commercial break. That said, with this being a go-home show, McIntyre's promo should have lasted a little longer than it did.
United States Champion Apollo Crews def. Shelton Benjamin (Non-Title)
Crews told MVP beforehand that if he beat Benjamin then Benjamin and Bobby Lashley would be barred from ringside for the United States Championship match at SummerSlam. Why would MVP just accept that without asking for anything in return if Benjamin won? And why wouldn't he have had Lashley face Crews instead? As a match, this was fine, but the ridiculous interference from R-Truth, Akira Tozawa and the ninjas hindered it.
Angel Garza def. Ivar
Garza and Andrade will be competing for the Raw Tag Team Championship this Sunday, but this match had nothing to do with that whatsoever. Rather, it was about Garza and Ivar both flirting with The Bachelor star Demi Burnett backstage the last few weeks. Who could possibly care? At least it was finally revealed afterward that Zelina Vega was responsible for "poisoning" Montez Ford. The storyline was stupid and didn't make me any more excited for the upcoming tag title clash than I was before.
Natalya def. Mickie James by Count-Out
James made an uneventful return to Raw last week in a backstage segment and this match was even more irrelevant. Seth Rollins and Murphy confronting Samoa Joe at the commentary table about Rey Mysterio completely took away from the action. Granted, I had zero interest in this outing to begin with, but I felt bad for James, especially since she lost.
Shayna Baszler and Asuka def. WWE Women's Tag Team Champions SmackDown Women's Champion Bayley and Raw Women's Champion Sasha Banks (Non-Title)
Firstly, Baszler willingly teaming with Asuka without teasing any tension with her is totally uncharacteristic of her. Secondly, how was Nia Jax attacking her at ringside not grounds for a disqualification yet Asuka randomly attacking Bayley at ringside a few weeks ago (despite neither of them being involved in that night's match) wasn't? The women's division is way too convoluted at the moment. The rest of this match was pretty good and featured solid work from the ladies. The SmackDown Women's Championship matchup at SummerSlam should become a Triple Threat with Baszler after she submitted Bayley here.
Peyton Royce def. Ruby Riott
This has been a decent feud for the women's tag team scene, but I'm ready for the next chapter. The four of them exchanging wins in singles competition doesn't help anybody. Riott and Royce are talented, but this wasn't anything out of the ordinary. The story is that Riott and Morgan aren't officially back on the same page yet as The IIconics keep getting the better of them, but I'm sure it's leading to the reunited Riott Squad beating them in tag team action again eventually.
Rey Mysterio and Dominik Mysterio Attacked Seth Rollins and Murphy
The Eye for Eye crap at Extreme Rules was extremely silly, but Rollins and Dominik have had an entertaining rivalry since then. Dominik has held his own against Rollins and having Rey back here was a nice touch. This was a strong segment before the big Rollins vs. Dominik match at SummerSlam. It also left me looking forward to the inevitable tag team matchup pitting Rey and Dominik against Rollins and Murphy.
The Hurt Business def. United States Champion Apollo Crews, Ricochet and Mustafa Ali in a Six-Man Elimination Tag Team Match
I wish this would have been saved for a future show seeing as how Crews already knocked off Benjamin earlier in the evening. It didn't increase my interest in the United States Championship match at SummerSlam and the eliminations were rushed. That said, Lashley had a hell of a performance here. I wasn't a fan of Crews getting pinned yet again, but I appreciated how badass Lashley came across. That was the sole saving grace of this thing.
24/7 Champion Cedric Alexander def. Akira Tozawa; Benjamin def. Alexander to Win the 24/7 Championship
I liked how MVP once again teased recruiting Alexander after Crews teamed up with Ricochet and Ali and intentionally chose to leave Alexander out because he was injured. Alexander turned down the invitation by pinning Benjamin for the 24/7 title in the middle of the six-man tag. I could have done without this impromptu title defense though, especially since Benjamin took the belt right back from him as soon as it was over. In other words, it was a meaningless match and the 24/7 Championship continues to be a pointless prop.
Raw Tag Team Champion Montez Ford def. Andrade
Yes, Ford has quickly returned to full health and will be good to go for SummerSlam on Sunday. Was there ever any doubt? Similar to the six-man tag team affair, I didn't think this match was necessary after we already saw these guys earlier in the evening. It was well wrestled and all but, again, didn't move the needle for me as far as their upcoming clash for the Raw Tag Team Championship is concerned. It screamed filler to me. On the bright side, I'm glad it wasn't Angelo Dawkins who poisoned Ford because that would have been insanely stupid.
Randy Orton Attacked Shawn Michaels and Drew McIntyre
Michaels' chat with McIntyre backstage on this show was fantastic because of how everything he said rang true. He cut another excellent promo here hyping up the WWE Championship match for SummerSlam and addressing Orton's recent actions before eating an RKO and a punt kick as well. He could have sold it a bit better, as he was sitting up in the corner almost immediately afterward, but this was a well-done angle on the whole. Orton vs. McIntyre is the perfect main event for SummerSlam and what I love most about it is that it could easily go either way, especially with Payback happening one week from Sunday.
Thankfully, Orton, McIntyre and Michaels ended the night on a high note, but it was a weak go-home show all things considered. Raw Underground was shockingly one of my favorite parts and it had nothing to do with SummerSlam. The first hour was awful, the RETRIBUTION stuff was more interesting than usual but has no relevancy to the pay-per-view, and there were too many repeat matches with The Street Profits, Andrade and Garza, Crews and The Hurt Business. I've seen far worse shows this year, but this was definitely not among WWE's strongest efforts in recent memory.