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WWE Raw results, recap, reactions (Aug. 3, 2015): Heart of darkness

WWE returned to the USA network for Monday Night Raw last night (Aug. 3, 2015) from San Jose, California with all the latest build to the upcoming SummerSlam pay-per-view (PPV) scheduled for later this month in Brooklyn. That included Paul Heyman grabbing a microphone and selling Brock Lesnar vs. Undertaker like only he can.

Click here to get full results with the live blog. Let's get to reacting to all the night's events.


Smarm style

Seth Rollins challenging John Cena to a match for the WWE world heavyweight championship and the US title at SummerSlam just one week after he broke his nose is a great angle to take for a champion who, for all intents and purposes, is the biggest chickenshit titleholder over the past 20 years. He found the edge and now he's trying to take advantage of it.

It sets up perfectly for Cena to overcome the odds once more.

And, whether you buy in or not, whether you like the character or not, whether you even like the man or not, you know damn well that's what should happen. Hell, realistically WWE television would likely improve a great deal with Cena as flag bearer.

This Rollins title run has been awful.

That said, he's had two matches with Neville within it that have shown that glimpse of easy bake storytelling followed by outstanding matches that NXT so often delivers. Rollins issues an open challenge but sets parameters that dictate so ridiculous that JoJo believes only El Torito fits the bill. But he forgets about Neville, who he needed to cheat to defeat the last time they squared off for the title, though I don't remember commentary bringing this up, sadly.

The ensuing match is outstanding, because of course it would be, and features one of the best false finishes I've seen in years, with Neville hitting the Red Arrow -- one of the most protected finishes on the roster -- and scoring a three count with it but with Rollins sneaking a foot over to the ropes. It was so sneaky, in fact, that I completely bought in to the finish until a replay showed what was plainly true.

Neville missed the second Red Arrow attempt after regaining his composure following such a close call, and Rollins took advantage with a Pedigree for the pin. Everyone is better off for having matches like this, with great wrestling, compelling action, and a clean finish.

Well done all around.


Live in fear

If there's one thing I've learned to love about Brock Lesnar's booking since he returned to WWE for part time work it's that they play it smart with him. You could argue they waste time trotting him out to stand around and look tough while Paul Heyman cuts promos putting him over, but I feel like that misses the point.

I actually think the fact that they've done it so often has added to the mystique of the man.

Take last night, for instance. Lesnar walks out after Heyman introduces him and before he gets in the ring he stops and starts looking around. And if you've been around for all of Brock's appearances in WWE over the past couple years, this TERRIFIED you. That's because if we've learned anything about Brock Lesnar in that time, it's that everything he does is scary as hell with a raw power we still cannot comprehend. What makes it that much more impactful is we can never really know just what the hell he's going to do.

All he did this time was grab the steps, take them in the ring, and stand atop them. But let's be real: When he lifted them up over his head, there was a part of you that thought it at least possible he would just chuck them into the crowd and injure multiple people. Or if you didn't immediately have the thought, you wouldn't have been the least bit surprised had he actually done it.

Now consider we have no one else on the WWE roster like this, not even the guy they try to book that way.

Also, how great was Lesnar's reaction to Heyman's promo? If it wasn't already clear, I think we can be sure that Brock keeps him around at this point just because Paul gets him pumped like no one else can.


All the best to all the rest

Eight-Man Tag Team Action: The tag team division has now gone full Divas, what with WWE doing its best to get everyone on screen simply by throwing them all out there at the same time. Not that that's a bad thing. These matches are always chaotic and chaos in pro wrestling is ALWAYS fun. Also, it meant Xavier Woods got to drop gems on the Prime Time Players working alongside Cole, JBL, and Saxton: "Commentary? Again? You are guys are fighting champions!" Never change, Xavier. Still, why is WWE so hesitant to go with any team other than The New Day? I'm not complaining at the continued exposure for them -- they're great, and deserve as much -- but I'm still on board the Lucha Dragons train and waiting patiently for Kalisto to get a push.

Team Bella vs. Submission Sorority: You read that right, folks. Paige, Becky Lynch, and Charlotte are now known as the Submission Sorority. I'm scared of what happens when the Internet sinks its teeth into it. Hey, at least they ditched the "Team" nonsense. The match was good, all things considered, with the Bellas doing great as the heel team, Charlotte was solid in the hot tag slot, and they established her as a contender by having her tap Nikki for the win. This was good.

Miz TV with Kevin Owens & Cesaro: This is already one of the most compelling feuds on WWE television. Owens takes his jabs at Cesaro for having been more successful in a shorter period of time while Cesaro is a wrestler's wrestler and he's had enough of Owens being a stuck up douche who just bails on matches when they aren't going his way. What's great about this? They've both got a legitimate angle to attack and they're both really great wrestlers who are going to put on really great matches. Meanwhile, The Miz was THE BEST just standing in the background reacting to it all. I would legitimately hire him to hang out for activities in my life where he would just stand in the background and react to things. I've never been a bigger fan of Miz than in this segment.

Rusev vs. Mark Henry: Even though Rusev is the guy doing the squashing, I'm beyond sad that Henry has become a victim. The Hall of Pain is getting vandalized and it's looking increasingly unlikely he'll ever get the chance to clean it up and restore it to its former glory before he just bails for good and lets WWE bulldoze it. They're well on their way.

Zack Ryder vs. King Barrett: The live crowd couldn't have cared any less about this and neither could I. Bring back Bad News.

Paige vs. Naomi: This match put me in this weird position where I feel like I have to defend WWE for simply giving the women a second match on this show and ample time to work it. The problem? The match was just sort of there, it didn't advance much of anything, and the audience was struggling to care. At what point does the fact that they're getting the time mean less than what they do with it? Are we at that point now? It feels like we're really close if we're not already.

Et tu, Roman: When Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose did a backstage interview, the former referred to the latter as "crazy" and Ambrose looked at Reigns like he was none too fond of the distinction. I really, really want to be seeing something they'll build on with that, namely added depth to Dean's character.

Six-man chaos: In the absence of the major stars to run major angles, WWE went with a Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose, Randy Orton vs. Bray Wyatt, Luke Harper, Sheamus six-man tag main event to push two stories on the road to SummerSlam. And then they had a match and it wasn't bad but wasn't great and then the show just ended, more or less on the babyfaces just celebrating looking all hot and sweaty. So that was that.

This was a good enough show.

Grade: B-

That's it from me, Cagesiders. Now it's your turn to sound off in the comments section below with all your thoughts on last night's show. How did you like it, if you liked it at all?

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