Oh Ambrose. It took about 10 seconds to remember how freaking incredible you are.
Dolph Ziggler and Drew McIntyre crashed into Kurt Angle’s office early in the show to ask where Seth Rollins was. They were supposed to have a contract signing, you see, and Rollins was late getting back from a public relations tour of Asia.
This story was hit on throughout the night. In their second segment, Ziggler revealed a clause in the contract saying that Rollins was allowed a man in his corner for the SummerSlam match.
Curious. And a wonderful tease throughout the show for what became the main event.
The final segment featured two great promos from McIntyre and Ziggler. McIntyre made it clear that they respected Rollins. Rollins wasn’t complacent, as they’ve claimed the Raw locker room is in the past. He kept coming at them, iron sharpening iron. In the end, though, they were simply better.
Ziggler chalked that up to the fans, by the way. He claimed that Rollins was breaking his body for the fans, “Burning it Down” just like Ziggler himself used to “Steal the Show.” And in the end, where did that get him?
The bitterness is new. Or rather, it’s never been so palpable from Ziggler. And the dichotomy of McIntyre in wrestling gear and Ziggler dressed in a freaking palm tree button down is a great touch to their story.
But of course, that’s not THE story, is it?
Rollins’ music hit in the nick of time and he revealed that his absence was all a ruse. He just wanted to wait until Ziggler had signed the contract so he couldn’t back out.
Because how do you counter a Psychopath? With a Lunatic.
Dean Ambrose is back, y’all.
On one hand, I’m surprised they did it on Raw. I figured they’d tease it and make us wait for Sunday. Either way, holy hell does Ambrose look fantastic.
He’s had a Ciampa-like growth in muscle mass and his haircut has him looking like the love child of Triple H and Jason Statham. McIntyre can call himself a Psychopath all he likes, but there’s no matching the prowling, plotting Ambrose.
Speaking of Ambrose...that adds a whole lot of intrigue to SummerSlam, does it not? Because it’s just another wild card in this ridiculous Universal Championship scene.
I mean “ridiculous” in a good way, by the way.
Roman Reigns flubbed a line on this show, but his point was great nonetheless. He admitted that Paul Heyman’s a shark – and a drowning one at that. And a drowning shark is the most dangerous.
Reigns trash-talked Lesnar before Heyman appeared and tried to ingratiate himself with Reigns, but none of that is all that interesting besides Greensboro voraciously cheering for the pairing.
No...what’s interesting was Heyman’s written proposal.
When Heyman made his first offer to Reigns, Reigns rejected him by citing his family and how they taught him to be around the right people. But then Heyman name dropped Reigns’ father and started speaking Samoan. He shouted at him before revealing a written proposal.
And Reigns gingerly took it and started reading. He was engrossed – and none of us know what was on those papers.
Heyman pepper sprayed him, but all of that could have honestly been a ruse. Who’s to say that Heyman didn’t warn him on that paper? And yeah, my imagination might be running away from me, but didn’t Reigns just say that a drowning shark is the most dangerous?
How can Heyman go back to Lesnar after what that man did to him?
Heyman’s too good of an actor, man. I could see him working with Lesnar at SummerSlam or betraying him. I could see a cash-in happening. And I could also see Dean Ambrose interfering. I have no idea what’s going to happen.
“Why is she dressed like kale?”
Ronda Rousey opened the show with a brief promo to announce the passing of Jim Neidhart. She called fathers “pillars of strength” and said that they raise us to be the pillars of strength when they are gone. And if you know anything about Rousey’s childhood and her father, she put herself out there with that promo. I respected how vulnerable she must have felt talking about that.
Rousey endorsed Ember Moon and announced her to the ring to start the show. Moon was scheduled to have a match with Raw Women’s Champion Alexa Bliss.
Bliss came out and said words, but Alicia Fox’s hat, though. How could anyone listen to Bliss when that hat was on screen?!
The match was fun. Moon was especially impressive – that Gutbuster! - and got the crowd behind her when she rallied. What I found interesting was that she had the victory sealed; it took a DQ from Fox to keep Bliss from suffering a pin fall.
I think the main takeaway from all this though is that WWE had to replace both secondary pieces in this feud on short notice and literally nothing changed. The story is still that Bliss is a snivelling little coward and Rousey has to chase her. Luckily, it’ll be fantastic when Rousey finally gets her.
Speaking of getting people, Rousey decked Bliss’ security team – did you see that last dude’s expression before he dived out of the ring to preserve his life?!
That’s great pro wrestling.
Best of the Rest
Corbin def. Tyler Breeze – BREEZUS! I loved how Renee called Breeze an “unsung hero” of WWE. He surely is, man. Got a nice pop too. Of course, Corbin had to go be a jerk and ruin it by winning with a Deep 6. I liked that, actually; we don’t see signature moves win matches nearly enough.
Anyway, this was a fun match. I enjoyed it and would looooove to see more Tyler Breeze on my screen. Thanks in advance, WWE!
Braun Strowman and Finn Balor def. Jinder Mahal and Kevin Owens – This was actually a clever bit of booking. Balor’s recently called himself “twice as good” recently, so Corbin abused his power to try to make him prove it. Kurt Angle made the save and added Strowman to the match to make it a tag team.
Biggest takeaways from this match? Balor and Strowman are an excellent tag team; Balor gets ragdolled and sells so well that the pop for Strowman’s tag is gargantuan. Speaking of pops – the Greensboro crowd loved Strowman. This was a fun match that pretty much served as a way to get all Strowman’s cool stunts in. He chased off Owens after the match and Balor got hit with an End of Days when Corbin snuck up behind him. Ho hum for Balor fans.
Elias has a Fanboy – Well, I mean. Not just one. We’re all fanboys for Elias, aren’t we? I’m telling ya man, I got Rock vibes from him when he said “what am I looking at, here?”
And obviously that needs a lot of prefacing, but the point stands. Elias is a stud.
Lashley, at the current point in time, is not. Elias’ chaps-clad fan got wrecked my Lashley. This sold their match at SummerSlam, apparently?
The Tag Division is an embarassment – I don’t mean the wrestlers, by the way. But the fact that these men had a title match and it got no special attention or a prime television spot is ridiculous. They had such a fun match too!
And now they’re destined for the SummerSlam preshow. For shame.
Titus Worldwide and Bobby Roode def. The Authors of Pain and Mojo Rawley – Roode pinned Rawley in a short, nothing match.
Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart Tribute – Jim was before my time as a wrestling fan. I hate when I have to admit that, by the way; with that said, he seemed like an extremely loveable human being and I wish nothing but the best for his family. I think we all can relate to losing a parent or loved one and it’s just...words can’t even describe it. Send love their way if you can.
Ruby Riott def. Sasha Banks – After returning from an injury, Riott had an excellent match against Banks and introduced the idea that maybe the two best friends won’t stay best friends if they face adversity. So this is still going for some reason.
The main stories delivered. The undercard was alright to mediocre.
Can we talk about Renee Young’s debut on commentary for a second? I thought she was extremely impressive for her first night on Raw. WWE did everything they could to set her up for success and I think Cole and Graves did a fantastic job allowing her to say her piece and give her something to work off of. I think Young needs to work on providing that journalistic insight that she’s gotten so good at in backstage segments, but if she does that, she’s got a definite role moving forward.
What about you, Cageside?