WWE Raw results, recap: Braun Strowman returns, Big Cass finally turns heel
Roman Reigns and Enzo Amore suffered a couple beatdowns tonight in Raw's big moments
It was obvious from the start that Raw would be a headline-making show, but despite WWE's best efforts, some of its big developments wound up rather flat in the end. Monday night included a big-time return with Braun Strowman arriving in an ambulance and a rare heel turn as Big Cass finally admitted to attacking Enzo Amore.
Still, there were multiple times on Monday when it was obvious that WWE could have booked its big moments better. The opening of Raw was the best segment of the night, and the formation of a new faction provided a bit of a swerve. Perhaps most importantly, the show created a bunch of potentialon July 9, including a co-main event to Brock Lesnar vs. Samoa Joe.
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WWE Raw results
In the ring -- Roman Reigns and Samoa Joe: A cocky Reigns opened by noting fans would either hate or love his announcement before going on to say he cannot be defeated one-on-one. He pointed to the litany of top talent he has defeated, including The Undertaker, as proof and also bragged about how he main evented three WrestleManias in a row. Reigns then declared himself the No. 1 contender for the universal championship at SummerSlam no matter who wins at Great Balls of Fire. He also downplayed Samoa Joe as a real contender to Brock Lesnar, brushing him off as "some guy named Joe," which brought the Samoan out to the ring. Samoa Joe properly pointed out that Reigns has never beaten him, to which Reigns saidone from the last he would never be "Samoa Joe" to him but rather "just Joe." That led to Joe attacking Reigns and getting the most of him outside the ring before Reigns responded with a Superman Punch. After the commercial break, a match was announced for later in the night.
This is the best Reigns has performed on the mic in ages. His cockiness was purposeful. It's one thing to declare you're the best, and it's another to break down why in an effective manner that generates both face and heel heat. Reigns accomplished that, and Samoa Joe continued to look bad-ass by standing up to him and landing the first blow.
The Hardy Boyz def. Karl Anderson & Luke Gallows via pinfall: Jeff Hardy nearly hung himself up by the neck while hitting Whisper in the Wind on Anderson & Gallows but just barely missed. The heels took advantage late, but a blind tag by Jeff led to a Twist of Fate by Matt Hardy followed by the Swanton Bomb for the 1-2-3.
Vignettes -- Goldust and R-Truth: A repeat of every other one from the last few weeks, again pointed at R-Truth. This time, Goldust said he wanted to go face-to-face next week. An hour later, R-Truth responded with another one of his segments.
In the ring -- Elias Sampson and Finn Balor: Sampson delivered his usual schtick, but as he was playing, decided to stop and tune his guitar. Thi sled to Balor making an entrance, flipping his collar and staring him down, quickly leading to Sampson's exit.
Finn Balor def. Bo Dallas via pinfall: Sporting long hair, an improved physique and no visible gimmick, a returning Dallas attacked Balor before the match and remained aggressive. Balor took exception to this and responded in kind, taking Dallas outside the ring and throwing him into the barricade from one side to another. He then wrapped things up with the Slingblade, horizontal falling dropkick into the turnbuckles and Coup De Grace for the victory.
It would be hard for a fan to ignore how much Dallas now resembles his real-life brother Bray Wyatt. It is also strange for him to suddenly be back on TV and looking so different. For those reasons, it certainly seems like WWE may be headed down the path of uniting the brothers in some manner. Balor made his return to Raw after missing back-to-back weeks.
Backstage -- Kurt Angle, Corey Graves, Enzo Amore & Big Cass: Prior to the commercial break, Graves left commentary to head backstage. After the break, he approached Angle. "It's too bad you didn't have a good Father's Day. I know why. I got the same text you did," he said. That's when Enzo & Cass showed up. Angle first admonished Enzo for tweeting at Conor McGregor, to which he replied, "Let me tell you, Kurt, I've stepped over bigger guys than Connie." The tag team then declared there were bigger issues at hand with Enzo saying The Revival has been attacking them, while Cass disagreeing and saying he's sure it was the Big Show. Angle promised there would be resolution to the attacks tonight. After the following segment, Graves returned to the announce desk and provided a statement of support for Angle. Later in the night, in two separate backstage look-ins, Angle was shown talking to The Revival and Big Show separately.
Glad that this will be reaching a resolution, but it feels forced with WWE scheduling it rather than letting it go down naturally. Similar to what happened with Breezango at Money in the Bank on Sunday.
In the ring -- Seth Rollins and Bray Wyatt: After saying he was thrilled to be on the cover of WWE's new video game, Rollins said he accomplished a lot after selling out a year ago but was glad he turned things around and atoned for those mistakes. Just as he began making promises to the fans, Wyatt appeared on the TitanTron to call him two-faced and point out that he's still being a corporate conformist. Rollins responded by calling Wyatt a coward, and Wyatt promised Rollins would be punished for taking his name in vain. The lights went out and Wyatt made his entrance, but as he approached ringside and blew out his lantern, Rollins jumped from the top rope and knocked Wyatt down. Rollins was cut on the cheek and Wyatt bled from the mouth afterward.
Backstage -- Finn Balor and Elias Sampson: Asked what was next for him, Balor said he was focused on the universal title. As he provided a preview for tonight's main event, Balor was attacked by Sampson, who demanded that he never be upstaged again.
Akira Tozawa def. TJP via pinfall: Before the match, Titus O'Neil made his way to the ring and served as announcer/hype man for the bout. Neville appeared at the midway point to scout Tozawa. An increasingly successful Tozawa landed a tremendous senton for the victory. O'Neil took the mic again after the match and promised Tozawa that he would become the next cruiserweight champion if he signs with the Titus Brand. This brought anger out of Neville, who said he was tired of being disrespected.
Backstage -- Bo Dallas, Curtis Axel and The Miz: A depressed Dallas was receiving a pep talk from Axel in the locker room when Miz stopped by and noted that both went from action stars on "Marine 5" to bit players on Raw. Miz offered both the chance to become his entourage, promising he will make them stars they deserve to be -- that their families will be proud of. That led to both men considering the possibility.
Backstage -- Samoa Joe: Telling the producers to run footage of his debut on Raw four months ago, Samoa Joe pointed out that he has already beaten Reigns, promising that the former champion will walk out a broken man by the end of the night. "I'm going to teach Roman Reigns my name, and he better put respect on it anytime he says it. I am Samoa Joe."
Samoa Joe def. Roman Reigns via submission: In the battle of two Samoans named Joe, it was the one using the moniker who had complete advantage going into the break. The action was furious throughout. Samoa Joe locked in the Coquina Clutch late, but Reigns reversed it into a spear only for Samoa Joe to get his foot on the rope to break the count. As Reigns was preparing for another spear, an ambulance was shown backing up on the TitanTron. Braun Strowman emerged and headed to the ring as a distracted Reigns got caught in the Coquina Clutch.
In the ring -- Braun Strowman and Roman Reigns: Taking advantage of a choked-out Reigns, Strowman entered with a mic and simply declared, "Oh Roman, you seem to have forgotten I'm - not - finished - with - you!" Strowman then picked Reigns up and slammed him to the canvas. "If you think you're man enough, then I'll see you at Great Balls of Fire pay-per-view in an ambulance match," he added afterward.
The crowd popped huge for Strowman on the TitanTron and again when he laid out Reigns. The ambulance match challenge was a bit strange coming from Strowman. With weeks to go until the PPV, it could have come next week as a response from Reigns or mandate by Angle.
MizTV with Maryse and Dean Ambrose: In the ring with The Miz was champagne, a person-sized large red box and two bear mascots with apology signs. Inside the box was a repaired grandfather clock that Miz used to ask for forgiveness from his wife; of course, she accepted and kissed him. Ambrose then interrupted, and just as he entered the ring, Miz pushed Maryse in front of him, causing her to spill her champagne all over her face and dress. Miz went to attack Ambrose and instead ran into the grandfather clock, breaking it again. Miz kept apologizing but Maryse left, and Ambrose clothesliend him over the top rope. Afterward, Ambrose was attacked by the two bears, which were revealed to be Dallas and Axel, appearently the new members of Miz's entourage.
OK, so much for Dallas linking up with his brother. Fine segment and good way to introduce the entourage angle. Once again something that could have been spread out and built over two weeks, however.
Sheamus & Cesaro def. Apollo Crews & Titus O'Neil via pinfall: The underdogs got some offense in, but the tag team champions were dominant throughout. An illegal Cesaro connected on an European uppercut on Crews with the referee's back turned, and Sheamus tagged him for a double team White Noise finisher.
Next week -- Brock Lesnar returns to Raw: A pre-taped promo with Lesnar and Paul Heyman aired, and it was announced for the second time in the show that Lesnar would be back on Raw next week.
Nia Jax def. Sasha Banks via disqualification: The match quickly became anarchy as the entire women's division eventually wound up in the ring. Bayley showed aggression, taking out Alexa Bliss and Emma before being dispatched by Nia Jax. Eventually the four faces teamed up to knock Jax out of the ring.
In the ring -- Kurt Angle cracks the case: Angle introduced Enzo & Cass, who performed their normal introduction. He then brought out The Revival and Big Show. First up was Show, who flatly denied the attack, called them Sawft and threatened Big Cass. Show was so insulted that he suggested he didn't need to be on Raw anymore and left the ring, to which Cass said sayonara. The Revival also claimed they had solid alibis, which Angle supported. That led Corey Graves to take the mic from his announce position and claim Cass was lying about his injuries; he then showed security footage on the TitanTron that showed Cass setting it up to look like he was attacked when no one touched him.
A stunned Enzo turned around to face Cass, who admitted to the attack and claimed he did so because Enzo was getting on his nerves. Cass said the only reason he stayed with Enzo and put up with his crap was because no one else liked him, and Cass felt bad for him. Cass continued to cut a promo on Enzo, basically calling him dead weight and blaiming him for being the only reason he's never won a title. "I'm the future. I'm where the money is. And you -- your mouth just writes checks that your ass can't cash," he said before kicking him in the face in front of Angle.
It was strange that WWE played out a month-long angle this way. They very well could've had Cass viciously attack Enzo this week and then explain it with the same promo he delivered next week with seven days between for fans to wonder why he turned on his partner. Instead, Cass cut an entire promo and then delivered a kick. Womp womp. Turning Cass heel was certainly the right decision, but it could have been done so much better. That's the theme of this entire episode of Raw.
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