WWE Raw results, recap: Brock Lesnar's return triggers brawl in uneven episode
Lesnar and Samoa Joe continue to tell an exciting story ahead of their Great Balls of Fire match
WWE's part-time universal champion returned with a full-time bang on Monday in his first appearance since the night after WrestleMania 33 in April. And for at least one segment, all was right again in the world of WWE Raw.
Business picked up in a hurry as Brock Lesnar opened the show by responding to Samoa Joe's violent message from the previous week, sparking a physical brawl that took half of the locker room break up. The intensity between the two felt genuine and continued to properly tease their July 9 main event at Great Balls of Fire.
The segment's placement on the broadcast was a smart one by WWE, opening Raw with a bang before the start of the NBA Finals game it competed against. Unfortunately, Monday's broadcast featured a series of alternating highs and lows from that point forward, including a main event which featured the kind of disappointing booking that was par for the course throughout the evening.
WWE Raw results
In the ring – Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman: Lesnar's advocate cut a typically strong promo on Samoa Joe, calling him "the one Samoan all the other Samoans want nothing to do with." Out came Joe to stare down Lesnar. Joe landed the first strike with a headbutt, which sparked a brawl. The security guards sent out by general manager Kurt Angle were quickly beaten down. Finally, Angle motioned for the entire locker room to break up the fight. Joe broke free to kick Lesnar in the face. Lesnar later escaped to land a right hand outside the ring.
No one raises the rent on Raw quite like Lesnar, who looked great with the universal championship around his waist. While the brawl was almost an exact rehash of Lesnar's pre-SummerSlam melee with The Undertaker in 2015, the intensity was welcomed.
Elias Samson def. Dean Ambrose via pinfall: "The Drifter" serenaded the crowd with insulting lyrics like, "Louisiana, the laughing stock of the good ol' U-S-A. Cajuns should be caged up and I can't get away." During the match, a late run-in from The Miz caused a distraction on the apron but Samson could only get a count of two on a rollup. Ambrose rallied with a clothesline before heading outside to attack Miz. But upon his return to the ring, Samson dropped a double knee to his back and connected with his rolling neckbreaker for the pin.
Vignettes -- Goldust and R-Truth: After delivering more movie references, Goldust told a "jealous and scared" R-Truth that he never understood him. "None of you did," Goldust said, before proclaiming, "The Golden Age is back." R-Truth responded later in the show.
Backstage -- Kurt Angle and The Miz: An angry Angle yelled at Miz for interfering with Ambrose's match. The Miz cryptically mentioned how Angle's "personal problems" are affecting his job, which caused the GM to stop in his tracks. Angle responded by telling Miz not to speak to him that way and that, if he has a problem with Ambrose, he should "do something about it yourself."
The storyline surrounding Angle and the text messages with Corey Graves continue to tease at the possibilities. Here's to hoping that it ends with a big program and an Angle match heading into SummerSlam.
Cedric Alexander def. Noam Dar via pinfall: Before the match, Alexander approached Dar in the locker room to tell him he's done with his "ratchet ex-girlfriend" Alicia Fox. Little did Alexander know, Dar had been talking with Fox on FaceTime the entire time. Dar walked to the ring still arguing on with Fox on the call, which was broadcast to the arena. After Dar put the phone down in the corner, Alexander immediately hit him with the Lumbar Check for the 1-2-3.
In-ring confrontation – Bray Wyatt and Seth Rollins: After saying that the world is collapsing in its own sin, Wyatt reiterated that he's the only savior and that those who deny him, namely Rollins, will be judged. Out came Rollins, who heckled Wyatt for his thin skin before calling him a coward. Wyatt warned that Rollins' pride would betray him. "When you look at yourself in the mirror, you see a man," Wyatt said. "When I look at you, all I see is a man that is beneath me." After warning Rollins that he "doesn't want this fight," Wyatt disappeared. When the lights came back on, Rollins was alone in the ring and Wyatt spoke to him on the video screen, saying, "You may have found the power to slay a king, but a God lives forever. So face your fear, man, and run."
Strong work here overall for Wyatt, who did well to warn Rollins of what is ahead of him in this feud. Wyatt was booked strong, which he often is off the start, but the program will ultimately be judged on whether he will be allowed to do anything other than lose.
Backstage -- The Hardy Boyz: Matt and Jeff Hardy told Charly Caruso that Raw tag team champions Sheamus and Cesaro might be the toughest physical matchup they have ever faced. "They may believe they are the bar," Matt said. "But we're about to break the bar," Jeff added.
Apollo Crews def. Kalisto via pinfall: Titus O'Neil continued his recruitment of Akira Tozawa, who was seated in the front row. Crews wrapped up a relatively quick match by landing his spin-out powerbomb finisher for the pin. After the match, O'Neil picked up a confused Tozawa from his chair and literally threw him into the ring before taking an awkward Titus Brand selfie.
Backstage -- The Miz, Heath Slater & Rhyno: After criticizing Angle, The Miz attempted to recruit Slater to join his entourage by promising him an intercontinental title shot "someday." Rhyno, with a plate full of crackers and spray cheese in hand, shot down the idea and challenged Miz to find a partner for a tag team match.
In the ring -- Alexa Bliss and the women's division: Unhappy she was forced to defend her title last week against Jax instead of a holding a celebration, the Raw women's champion continued the night's theme of ripping Angle. Out came Jax, forcing Bliss to backpedal and change her tune. From there, the segment quickly fell apart as Mickie James and Dana Brooke, followed by Emma and then Sasha Banks, came out in succession. After telling "Little Miss Bliss" that she has it "all twisted," Banks clocked her in the mouth, setting off a brawl.
Sasha Banks, Mickie James & Dana Brook def. Alexa Bliss, Nia Jax & Emma via pinfall: It didn't take long for an angry Bliss to refuse a tag from Emma and exit the ringside area to boos. The babyfaces quickly took advantage. After James hit Jax with a Thesz press from the top rope onto the floor, Banks put Emma in the Banks Statement to force the tap.
Outside of humorous trash talk between Bliss and James, this segment (and match) was a train wreck. It went on for too long -- with no real purpose -- and felt too much like SmackDown's awful Welcoming Committee angle from the past month, which succeeded only in getting as many women onto the screen as possible.
Interview -- Bayley and Corey Graves: In a backstage sit down taped before Raw, Bayley explained her reluctance in using a Kendo stick against Bliss, saying she's here to put smiles on people's faces and not bruises on people's backs. She said she's not going to change from being 100 percent herself for anyone and closed the segment by asking Graves for what became an awkward hug.
Heath Slater & Rhyno def. The Miz & The Bear via pinfall: The Miz's mystery partner, who wore the same bear costume as last week, came out on a child's tricycle and later put Slater in a bear hug. Miz was suspicious throughout and ultimately beat The Bear down before removing his mask to expose him as an unnamed jobber. Later in the match, a new Bear entered the ring without Miz noticing and hit Slater with Dirty Deeds. After revealing himself as Ambrose, The Bear scared Miz into accidentally knocking Maryse from the ring apron, causing her to angrily exit for the second straight week. Ambrose then hit The Miz with Dirty Deeds before placing Slater on top of him for the pin (and placing the Bear mask on Miz's head).
Any remaining buzz from last week's advancement of the Miz-Ambrose story was lost by this tired and silly waste of time. There were also purposely awful puns on the broadcast throughout the segment.
Neville vs. Rich Swann ends in a no contest: Before this scheduled cruiserweight match could start, Neville attacked a still-dancing Swann. After placing him in his Rings of Saturn submission, using Swann's jacket to choke him out, Neville's hold was finally broken by the referee. Neville grabbed the microphone to read off his recent list of victims before warning Tozawa to tread carefully or bend his knee and kneel before him.
Backstage -- Sheamus and Cesaro: The Raw tag team champions heckled The Hardy Boyz in an interview with Caruso by pulling out their autobiography and referencing how they "inspired kids to wear panty hose on their arms."
Backstage -- Big Cass attacked: For the second straight week, it was Cass -- and not Enzo Amore -- attacked backstage before a match. "One shot to the head -- the hardest shot I've ever been hit with in my entire life," Cass said of the attack. This time, Cass refused to go to a local medical facility because he didn't want Amore to find another partner (like when the Big Show filled in last week). The Revival were shown in the background laughing to each other as Cass struggled to get up.
Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson def. Enzo Amore & Big Cass via pinfall: Against referee's orders, Cass insisted on taking part in the match; he started in the ring and was woozy throughout. After Anderson sent Cass over the top rope with a kick to the head, the Good Brothers made quick work of Amore by hitting their Magic Killer for the pin. A second Magic Killer was interrupted by the Big Show, who made the save and hugged Amore just as a revived Cass made his way to the ring apron and gave a dirty look.
Backstage – The Big Show & Enzo Amore: After thinking Show for helping him (again), Amore questioned whether he had a hand in Cass' attack. "For my piece of mind, I've got to bro," Amore said. Big Show was angered by the question and called Cass "S-A-W-F-T" before walking off.
The whodunnit angle continues to hold my attention, especially with the continued tease of The Revival's involvement. But the time for the big reveal is now. There's only so many times the same wrestlers can be knocked cold with no witnesses and the same suspects before it gets old.
Backstage -- Samoa Joe: In an interview with Mike Rome, a passionate Joe said his beef with Lesnar "has never been about the words, it has been about the actions." He closed by saying he will put Lesnar to sleep and become champion.
Tag Team Championship (Best 2-of-3 Falls) -- Sheamus & Cesaro (c) vs. The Hardy Boyz ends in a no contest: Sheamus scored an early fall on Jeff Hardy after tripping him up on the top rope and landing a Brogue kick to the heart. Matt Hardy evened things up with a Twist of Fate on Cesaro after weakening him with a tornado DDT. With the end of the show near, Jeff looked poised to win the titles back with a Swanton Bomb on Sheamus, but Cesaro broke up the pinfall. All four men took the action to the floor where they brawled to a double count out for the third fall.
Talk about an unsatisfying conclusion to a main event that was constantly hyped throughout the show. Nothing was accomplished with this finish. Nothing.
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