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WWE Raw results, recap, reactions (July 29, 2019): A massive improvement

I try to get clever with review titles sometimes, mainly for my own amusement. This one’s just straight up the truth and what I think would get you to click on the review, Cagesiders. This episode of Raw was a massive improvement. And it all starts with Brock Lesnar vs. Seth Rollins.

I admitted to you last week that I was on the verge of tuning out on this feud because Lesnar’s just...he’s got a formula – or he’s had a formula – for quite a while now. Ever since beating the Undertaker at WrestleMania, really. He’s this final boss that’s never really that interesting in the build. The match is fun, but no one expects people to beat him, and then we find another challenger.

The Lesnar Carousel, if you will.

Well, this man tried to murder Seth Rollins on this show. And I’m not entirely convinced that Rollins is still breathing.

It started with the promoted match of Dolph Ziggler vs. Rollins coming off the rails early. Ziggler entered to Shawn Michaels’ music for obvious, troll-ish reasons. It was also an awesome use of an old trope. Rollins was quickly getting the upper hand until Lesnar came out and absolutely eviscerated the man. Suplex after suplex, F5 after F5.

But then it got dark in a way Lesnar’s stuff usually doesn’t. Like an animal, he usually sates his thirst for violence, gets bored, and leaves.

This time? He refused to stop. He grabbed a chair, smacked Rollins with it, opened it up into a seated position, and then F5’d his opponent onto the exposed back. Over, and over, and over, and over...

Rollins was gasping for air and coughing blood by the end of it.

And after a commercial break, we got an anarchic scene backstage. Roman Reigns and Becky Lynch looked on helplessly as Rollins was carted to an ambulance, only for the former to be ambushed by Samoa Joe and The OC. As that was happening, Lesnar attacked AGAIN to rip Rollins off the stretcher and to F5 him one more time.

You know. Wanna make sure he’s properly dead and all.

And now I’m rambling and bleeding segments together, but then we got this massive 8-man brawl to end the show. Cedric Alexander jumped off the damn tron. It was awesome and everyone looked good from it.

What was this show?! Where did this come from?


GAUNTLET

Speaking of awesome things that did a great job characterizing the participants, hey a Gauntlet match!

Rey Mysterio and Cesaro started this thing off with a US Championship shot on the line for SummerSlam. And if you thought Mysterio vs. Cesaro sounded amazing...spot on.

A springboard into an uppercut? Nuts!

Mysterio’s crucifix and top rope counters? Absurd!

The transition to a top rope bulldog? Cesaro and Mysterio are you two SERIOUS?!

Rey won with the 619 into a Frog Splash. I wanted to see Cesaro hit a 619 in this match – or at least try to – but that’s like...the smallest complaint ever. These two are crazy good at this wrestling thing.

Sami Zayn was next and got beaten in no time at all. His situation was probably the only one I’m concerned with/not into. Where’s this going for Zayn? Will it help his own story moving forward? If not, couldn’t we have done something else?

Afterwards, we got Andrade vs. Mysterio which is always one of the best things ever. However, they didn’t go with the surreal spots this time as much as they tried to get Andrade some heat. And it worked! He mocked Mysterio, mocked Eddie Guerrero with the Three Amigos, and then ripped Mysterio’s mask off his face after the match for the hell of it.

When Ricochet came down, he had the crowd firmly in his corner. It made his job so much easier, and he delivered with gusto.

I really loved his promo at the end as well. He seemed very vulnerable, as if even he couldn’t believe he had won the US Championship from Joe. But this time, he actually believes in himself. I can dig it.


The OC win the Raw Tag Team Championships

The OC has OG: Only Gold.

...That was lame. Sorry.

So! Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows showed some actual character progression on this episode! For weeks before their heel turn, AJ Styles berated them for becoming soft. He scolded them for their showboating and for losing their edge.

In this triple threat tag match, they stopped doing all the stupid stuff. They never showboated. They were content to lurk around the outskirts of the match. And in the end, Gallows made a sneaky tag to put the Usos and the Revival down for good.

That’s great! That’s the sort of stuff we need more of: characters having a flaw and doing something to fix it. That’s storytelling in a nutshell, honestly. And it’s great for a tag division that’s essentially been the Usos and Revival for an extended period.

Another awesome thing – this match was very good. The OC can go. So not only did we get a story that made sense, but we’ve got a tag team that can put on entertaining matches.

That’s all I can ask for.


The Rest

A Moment of Bliss - I like how this one was fairly calm for once! Bliss and Nikki Cross just did their thing and talked about some stuff that happened last week in a way that isn’t the frying pan to the skull that WWE usually bashes us with. Becky showed up on the jumbotron to basically say “I’ve got receipts for your trash talk. Also, Cross? You’re an embarrassment.” Perfect build to a match on the same show.

Becky Lynch def. Alexa Bliss. And then Becky Lynch def. Nikki Cross – Which led to two matches to show the sheer dichotomy of this Bliss/Cross relationship. Bliss faked an injury, complete with crocodile tears, to get out of her match. Cross, incensed to defend her friend’s honor, challenged Lynch right then and there.

Cross has the potential to be a hell of a babyface when the turn comes.

What made this better was how well it set up Natalya to come down and look badass. She drove off the heels and left a parting gift for Lynch catching her with a submission before the show.

24/7 Championship highlights -

The show started with a continuation of the R-Truth vs. Drake Maverick feud. They and their prospective partners had a mixed tag match where Maverick got destroyed. The usual gang was there to capitalize and somehow Mike Kanellis walked away with the title.

He also laid down for his wife, Maria, to put her heel on his chest and to win the title for him. And as much as the emasculation stuff is just downright odd...it’s kinda worth it for Maria walking down the hall happily screaming “Pregnant Champ!”

It’s a really, really weird dynamic all around. But hey, wrestling.

Viking Raiders def. Local Talent – Amidst all the other insanity happening, these guys just don’t stick out that much to me. And again, that’s a shame because their tag moves are really cool.


So much of these reviews is based off of expectation. My expectations influence the grades, and for a while now I haven’t expected much of WWE. 1-2 good segments? Hey, I’ll take it. B or C or whatever.

I was blown away this week. I had no idea the show could be this engaging.

Grade: A

In Heyman We Trust, Cageside?

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