United States Champion Apollo Crews def. MVP
After being off WWE TV for over a month, Crews has finally returned from wherever he was. It would have been nice for this to be advertised a week in advance, but I'm assuming the company didn't know Crews would be cleared to compete for this show when Raw aired last Monday. The technical difficulties were a bit distracting, but I understand they were done to hook viewers for the rest of the show. The match itself was solid and Crews now gets to keep both belts (though he did allude to his kids keeping the old U.S. title belt in a backstage promo afterward), but it was already announced later in the show that they'll meet in a rematch at SummerSlam. I thought the whole point of this program was to build to Crews vs. Bobby Lashley at some point?
The IIconics Crashed The Kevin Owens Show with Kevin Owens, Ruby Riott and Liv Morgan; Riott and Morgan def. The IIconics
I'm really glad that we at least got an explanation for why Riott and Morgan would team up again after Riott turned on Morgan earlier this year. It's better than Riott and Morgan randomly teaming up out of nowhere without Morgan forgiving Riott first. Hell, Morgan didn't even forgive Riott right away, so that was a nice/realistic touch. Owens saying Sarah Logan "moved on" was considering, yes, she has since gotten pregnant, but she was first released by WWE in April. The match that followed was whatever, but it did serve to get The Riott Squad back on the same page and hopefully in the women's tag team division full-time.
Randy Orton Interrupted WWE Champion Drew McIntyre
In my opinion, McIntyre hasn't gotten nearly enough credit for his above-average mic work so far as WWE Champion. He's been knocking it out of the park with most of his promos by simply being himself and that was evident once again here. Orton was on his game as well and it resulted in an excellent verbal exchange between the two. They successfully left me looking forward to their WWE Championship clash at SummerSlam. On a side note, Ric Flair was back to being with Orton despite his wife recently testing positive for COVID-19.
Pat Buck Indefinitely Suspended Nia Jax
Apparently Pat Buck, who was recently brought back into the WWE fold as a producer after being furloughed in April, has the authority to suspend people now. I wish that had been established prior to that point because most people watching this show probably have no idea who the hell he is. I mean, I'm barely familiar with him myself. I have no idea where this storyline is going and I honestly don't care to find out, but if it gets her off Raw for another few weeks, I have no complaints. It was a fine segment and nothing more.
Akira Tozawa def. R-Truth and Shelton Benjamin in a Triple Threat Match to Win the 24/7 Championship
I don't know how anyone could bring themselves to give a crap about the 24/7 Championship at this point. It was funny at first with how some of the Superstars got creative with it (most notably Truth and Drake Maverick), but the belt wore out its welcome a while ago. At least Benjamin holding it gave The Hurt Business some additional gold, whereas Tozawa regaining it means we're bound to get more of him and his ninjas. Ugh.
Raw Women's Champion Sasha Banks vs. Shayna Baszler Ended in a No Contest (Non-Title)
Banks vs. Baszler is a big enough match that I wish it would have been saved for down the road. Although part of me was happy they didn't deliver a clean finish, the "no contest" was lame, especially because we never found out what exactly caused it. If it was Asuka attacking Bayley at ringside, then that's even worse. What we got from Banks and Baszler was decent, but the bout was cut short before they could reach that next level. Asuka will face Bayley in non-title action next week, and if she wins, she'll get another shot at Banks' Raw Women's Championship at SummerSlam. I liked the seeds being planted for Asuka vs. Baszler as that should be great when it happens eventually.
Angel Garza def. Raw Tag Team Champion Angelo Dawkins; Andrade def. Raw Tag Team Champion Montez Ford by Referee Stoppage
I hate, hate, hate when WWE attempts to further tag team feuds by putting a member of each team against each other in one-on-one action. Garza and Andrade are already singles stars, but I have zero desire to see Dawkins on his own, even though he isn't terrible. Garza vs. Dawkins was decent for what it was, while Andrade vs. Ford was a bit better. The story now is that Ford was poisoned and that was why he couldn't continue competing. That was stupid. It was nice to see Bianca Belair back on the show, though.
Dominik Attacked Seth Rollins and Murphy
I absolutely loved that Samoa Joe came to the aid of Tom Phillips in this segment and stood up to Rollins and Murphy, especially given his history with them from earlier this year. I was hoping that would lead to him getting physical and returning to the ring, but Dominik ambushed the heels before he could, so I assume that isn't the plan. Rollins vs. Dominik is now set for SummerSlam, and admittedly, they have my attention and I'm optimistic it will exceed expectations. Dominik has actually come across really well the last few times he's encountered Rollins and those kendo stick shots were brutal, not to mention that if anyone can get a good match out of a rookie like Dominik, it'd be Rollins.
The two biggest hooks coming into this show had nothing to do with anything I wrote about above but rather the tease of a new faction arriving and whatever Shane McMahon was involved in, which was the "Raw Underground" stuff. I've seen mixed opinions on it, but personally, I didn't care for it except for the awesome ending with The Hurt Business beating everyone up. That was tremendous, but Shane McMahon being back on WWE TV in a regular role does nothing for me. We actually never got a good look at who the new "faction" was aside from when they destroyed a generator outside. That was about it, so I can see people being disappointed by that, especially because I have minimal faith that it will be paid off. Unfortunately, the rest of show was below-average by recent Raw standards. The talking segment with Orton and McIntyre was easily the best part of the program. The other stuff felt like a desperate attempt to garner ratings now that they're at an all-time low.