This week Raw began with a moment of silence following the horrific tragedies this past week in El Paso and Dayton.

After the Raw intro video package ran, Samoa Joe hopped on top of the announcer’s desk and cut a fiery promo about being wrongly accused of being the man responsible for what happened to Roman Reigns last week on Smackdown.

Joe replayed the incident and emphatically denied he was the culprit. Joe then said he would take over the entire show until Roman came down to the ring and personally apologized to him.

Right as Joe was saying, “If anyone has a problem with that…” Becky Lynch’s music hit and ‘The Man’ briefly stared Joe down before making her way to the ring for her tag team match.

This was an excellent opening to Monday Night Raw, as we saw yet another example of how great Samoa Joe is on the mic.  The visual of him jumping on the announcer’s desk, interrupting the start of the show, and trying to clear his name with an impassioned promo was a great start to Raw.

Below is the rest of what took place Monday night, as I rank the segments from best to worst with my Raw rating down at the bottom.

Roman’s career nearly ended by a car: 

Like Samoa Joe promised, he came down to the ring to “shut down” Monday Night Raw. He blamed Roman for this and called him a coward for not coming down and apologizing to him.

Joe got word from someone ringside that Roman was arriving, so he went to the parking lot to meet Reigns there. But just as Joe went to confront Roman, a car came from out of nowhere (no it was not Randy Orton driving) and smashed into the side of Reigns’ car then sped away.

Joe quickly turned his attention to Roman, who narrowly avoided the accident. Joe screamed for a medic and looked pissed that this happened to Roman. A possible babyface turn?

My guess is that this is the work of Daniel Bryan.

Andrade and Mysterio steal the show (again):

At this point, I firmly believe these two superstars cannot have a bad match. Right from the opening bell, these two went after each other. Mysterio hit an incredible move when he went for his pattened penguin slide and turned in into a sunset flip on Andrade outside the ring.

The final five minutes of this match was incredibly fast-paced, with both competitors hitting big-time moves and kicking out at the last second. But the finish was not clean, as Zelina Vega assisted Andrade in picking up the win. I would have liked to see Andrade pick up the win without assistance from Vega, but this was still an incredible match.

The Fiend strikes again: 

Kurt Angle entered the arena to his famous “You Suck” chants, as he was the referee for Drew McIntyre vs. Cedric Alexander. This match never got underway officially as McIntyre would strike Alexander from behind, and these two brawled outside the ring.

That is when the lights dimmed, and the sound of the Fiend echoed throughout the arena. This time, Bray Wyatt used the Mandible Claw on Angle. The Fiend is getting booked tremendously, and I would not be shocked to see him run through Finn Balor on Sunday in two or three minutes. WWE has gold here with this act.

Dolph Ziggler is next: 

Miz TV had a special guest this week, and it was once again the Heartbreak Kid Shawn Michaels. But the real reason for this segment was for Dolph and Miz to sign their contract for Summerslam.

Dolph got all worked up again, calling himself the only legend in the ring, and quickly signed the contract. Miz had a trick up his sleeve though, as the contract was not for Dolph to face Miz this Sunday, Ziggler will instead face a legend.

They briefly teased a Michaels/Ziggler match, before Shawn said it was not him and the iconic music of Goldberg played throughout the arena.

Goldberg came down to the ring to massive cheers, signed the contract, declared Ziggler is next. Dolph received some ‘Sweet Chin Music’ from Michaels right as the show closed. Great closing angle to Raw.

Women’s tag match gives up Summerslam preview:

Longtime rivals Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair were actually tag-team partners here on Raw, as they took on their opponents for Summerslam, Natalya, and Trish Stratus.

Lynch and Natalya kicked the match off, and each teased locking in their submission move early, since their title match on Sunday is a submission match. But just as ‘The Man’ went to put the Dis-Arm-Her on Natalya, Charlotte tagged herself in the match.

Flair worked over Natalya for a good portion of the match, not letting her opponent for Sunday, Trish Stratus, come into the ring. Just as Flair got rolling, Lynch tagged herself in, giving Charlotte a taste of her own medicine. This action displeased ‘The Queen,’ and she left the ring, leaving her “partner” to fend for herself.

Natalya locked in the sharpshooter, and despite Becky getting to the ropes, she did not release, and the match ended in a DQ win for Lynch & Flair.

This angle drove home the submission match between Natalya and Becky, and this match has gained some momentum going into Summerslam, Nattie even mentioned ending Becky’s career come Sunday. As for Charlotte and Trish, guess we will wait until Sunday for those two titans of the Women’s division past and present to square off.

The OC stands tall: 

The New Day made their way to Raw and were set to take on Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson. However, along with AJ Styles, the ‘Original Club’ beat down Xavier and Big E, until Ricochet came down to even the odds.

Thanks to the help of Styles, Gallows, and Anderson were able to hit the ‘Magic Killer’ on Xavier Woods to pick up a big win heading into Summerslam.

What is Seth Rollins doing? 

Just a week after suffering a horrific beatdown at the hands of Brock Lesnar, Seth Rollins limped down to the ring to face ‘The Beast’ just six days before their Summerslam match. Rollins had a steel chair in hand but was quickly overcome by Lesnar, who tossed Rollins around the ring again. You could hear Paul Heyman shouting at Seth, “What the hell is wrong with you?”

Once Lesnar was done laying Rollins out, Seth gathered himself enough to sit up and cut a promo. Rollins seems borderline possessed on regaining the Universal Title, even if costs him months of his career. Rollins finals words were that he guarantees he’s winning the title on Sunday, he’s a confident man, but Seth may be in over his head here.

New Women’s Tag Team Champions: 

After the IIconics won the tag team titles at Wrestlemania, they have rarely been seen in action. In fact, this was only their third defense of them since April. In this four-way elimination match, the IIconics were first to be knocked out which got the crowd into the match.

In the end, it came down to the Kabuki Warriors and Cross & Bliss. These two teams fought it out and had quite a good back-and-forth match. Bliss & Cross would pick up the win and are the new Women’s tag champions. Hopefully, WWE will nowß actually do something with the Women’s tag division.

Street Profits run into a Hall of Famer: 

In another well-crafted backstage segment, the NXT tag team champions ran into Pittsburgh’s own Kurt Angle, who was set to be a special guest referee. Just as the three were about to toast with some ice-cold milk, Drew McIntyre appeared in the background to remind Kurt that he tapped him out with his ankle lock and warned Angle he better call his match down the middle.

Another week with more 24/7 Title chaos: 

Last week Mike Kanellis came away with the 24/7 title, only to have to give up the belt to Maria as she became the first-ever pregnant champion. I was looking forward to see how they got the belt off of Maria, thinking they would let the story play out over a couple months.

However, while Maria was at her OBGYN appointment, Mike went in for a hug which was actually a pin, and the doctor turned out to be a referee and Mike was once again 24/7 champion. Mike’s reign did not last long though, as R-Truth, who was disguised as a woman, was waiting for Mike. He would distract Mike with a fake baby and then pin him to take back to 24/7 title.

Like I said, I was looking to see where they went with the Maria storyline, but it is back on R-Truth once again.

Viking Raiders dominate again: 

Not much has changed with what the Viking Raiders have done on Raw in the last month. They beat up a pair of local jobbers who were half their size. WWE is trying to get this duo over as an unstoppable tag team but will need to beat more than just local enhancement talent moving forward if they really want to make noise in the tag team division.

I was impressed with this go-home episode of Raw. The Becky/Natalya feud is really one that picked up momentum these last couple weeks, and the angle with Roman/Joe was one of the better segments I have seen this year. Then WWE closing with the return of Goldberg was a great way to cap off the night.

My rating: 4 out of 5.

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