WWE: Monday Night Raw was LIVE from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY on 8/22/16!
Right out of the blocks, it was announced that Finn Balor, The Demon King, would have to relinquish the Universal Title ONE night after winning it. Unreal. This guy worked a very impressive hard-hitting schedule in NXT and has performed all over the world. Seth Rollins is a premiere athlete who has a mastery of the in-ring craft, but two injuries via a buckle bomb variant? “The Icon” Sting was a legendary performer and albeit an older hand, had a hard landing with the same move. Balor, no spring chicken himself, despite the booking as such, was injured by trying to break a bad landing with his shoulder. They have KILLED the new Era momentum with this now. They certainly have to look at shelving the buckle bomb variant just to avoid further injury, that way we can enjoy more scintillating matches from these two for years to come.
During the pre-show, Booker T. said Finn should have taken the brunt of the blow, but if you watch the positioning, he would have landed on the upper back or neck, tough to say who really is at fault, or if he really would have not been injured despite a proper landing, but a freak accident looks to be shelving Finn for at least six months, unreal.
Raw starts with that very relinquishing of the title. Stephanie McMahon and Mick Foley stand in front of a fan’s Harambe sign. Wow. Balor comes out with his right arm in a sling and with the Universal Title slung over his left shoulder. He makes his way to the ring with a smile on his face. Very classy to see that despite the horrendous news. We all appreciated a fine match between two premiere athletes and similar to Zayn and Cena for the US Title a few months back, kudos to Finn for sticking it out and delivering a very watchable match alongside Rollins. Huge “Finn” and “You Deserve It” chants. Yes he does, folks, yes he does. From NJPW Jr. Heavyweight and tag team champ, to NXT Champ, and now, albeit for a single evening, the first ever Universal Champion. He says despite a tremendous match, there was a sacrifice. He thanks the WWE fans, he thanks the boys, and he thanks Seth Rollins for giving him the match of his life. Very classy. “Thank You Finn” chant and he says he should be thanking the fans. He says he will relinquish the title, but rest assured when he’s fit and healthy, the title is the first thing he’s coming for. Michael Cole references the fact that despite the setback, he will be forever known as the first Universal champion. That is one hundred percent true.
Seth Rollins music hits and he comes out grinning like a goose. Way to sell the moment, but you know he’s got to feel horrible about the accident. Seth says what a shame, what a pity, and let’s not live in the past, we know who the true winner from last night is now. He says to turn the frowns upside down and he tells Steph that they’ve been a part of some great celebrations in the past. He puts the horrible title design over which is just the ultimate in trolling. Love it. Sami Zayn’s music hits and he comes out to interrupt the moment. Chris Jericho comes out to get involved in the developing situation. His scarf is especially classy tonight. Kevin Owens music hits and to be frank, with Finn injured, if there is ANY justice in this world of sports entertainment, he’ll be wearing the strap by the end of the evening or the next Raw brand PPV. Enzo Amore and Big Cass join the rapidly growing party clamoring for an opportunity. Roman Reigns music hits and the former “big dog” inserts himself into the equation. There a “We Want Slater” chant as well. They’ll start a series of matches with the new Universal Champion being named next week and they’ll start things off with Seth Rollins and Sami Zayn in a singles contest.
Seth Rollins defeats Sami Zayn with the Pedigree. In either some of the most brilliant or tasteless booking in the world, they teased an ankle injury for Sami Zayn midway through the match. Zayn sold it beautifully and the two put together a tremendous match to start the show. Seth Rollins will advance to Houston next week to get another crack at the Universal Title that evaded him due to the victory by Balor at Summerslam. Seth Rollins is a very consummate professional, keeping the fans entertained despite the fact that you know he’s gotta feel terrible about that injury as I said earlier. Either way, a great contest to start the show between he and Zayn.
Kevin Owens defeats Neville with a torture rack neckbreaker. Some other faces involved in the tournament. Neville brought his A-game, but KO’s tag team partner in JeriKO, Chris Jericho, was out at ringside to provide an ample distraction. This led to Neville getting crotched and then put away. Neville executed a beautiful apron 450 splash at one point and a second rope phoenix splash variant. Very cool display. We find out that next week’s match will be a Fatal Four Way and the other two matches will be Roman Reigns against Chris Jericho and Rusev vs. Big Cass for the final two spots. Up next, we’ll have the Reunited New Day!
The New Day is out and they are in a celebratory mood. Big E. trumpets his return and then Kofi puts over how they’ve been champions for 365 days. That is darn impressive and they are one of the most entertaining tandems in recent federation history to be quite frank. Kofi thanks the fans for their support. He appreciates the fans sticking with them through the good times and the bad. Big E. cracks on their terribad gospel style promos that had them introduced as babyfaces. They introduce a unicorn pinata loaded with Booty O’s but they are interrupted by The Club. Gallows says the whole celebration is stupid. Anderson agrees. They trash Brooklyn, and then Anderson calls Kofi the stupidest. He says Kofi is talking about magic, but they ask if he enjoyed the Magic Killer. Big E. cuts the Club off and he says he’s had enough of the “flim flam” and the “booty chatter” and tonight they’ll show the Club why NEW DAY ROCKS! Singles action up next!
Big E. defeats Karl Anderson with the Big Ending. A good match between two great hands leads to the comeback victory for Big E. as the two teams further their feud. A measure of revenge for Big E. after he recovered from the case of “ringpostitis”.
After a break, Titus O’Neil is standing in the ring with a live mic. He stumbles through his opening sentence and the fans let him have it. He mentions that before the Dudleyz made their comeback, the Primetime Players were the world tag team champions. He trashes “broke boys” and “hipsters” and he comments on the past. He says the best day of his life was dropping the titles and removing the baggage that was Darren Young. He said there is no episode of “Ride Along” with the two because there was only one Primetime Player. He cracks on Jay-Z not being relevant without Beyonce. That’s just a foolish statement. Jay-Z was and still is a pioneer in hip hop music and a business mogul. He says if it wasn’t for Bob Backlund, Darren Young wouldn’t matter either. Titus blames Darren for the fact that he’s not in the main event and that he’s not the world champion. Bob Backlund heads down to the ring and at first, he gets O’Neil in the crossface chicken wing, but Titus turns the tides with a big scoop slam. Darren Young runs down and eats a Clash Of The Titus and the villian stands tall.
Brock Lesnar’s decimation of Orton and the F5 of Shane is shown after a commercial and Stephanie comments after the fact that there will be repercussions. Lana is standing in the ring, somber, and she asks that we put our hands on our hearts and welcome the US Champion, Rusev, who will be the next Universal Champion. Rusev and Big Cass will be engaging one another in singles action next, the winner heading to the fatal fourway match for the title! Enzo leads Big Cass out with their introductory shtick. Enzo cracks on the two being from Bulgaria. He isn’t sure where it’s at. Cass said he’s gonna finish the job that Reigns started last night. He calls him S-A-W-F-T SAAAAAAAAAWFT and they get ready to get after it!
Big Cass defeats Rusev via countout. I don’t even understand the booking. I mean, don’t get me wrong, Big Cass winning is huge for fans of the new era, and I’m a huge fan of Rusev as well, but having a fighting champion lose by countout when he has a chance at the richest prize in the game is puzzling to say the least. Cass is in though and that’s gotta excite some folks!
Tom Phillips is backstage with Chris Jericho and Kevin Owens talking about the Universal Title fatal four way and of course, it leads to egos and the two partners bickering. Jericho “your welcome” for the assistance he gave KO earlier against Neville. They both keep saying “me” when asked who is going to win. Jericho says Reigns won’t even make it to the fatal four way. He’s gonna get “it”. He then calls him a “stupid idiot” and KO steals his pocket square. Classic. The new WWE Women’s champion, Charlotte, flanked by Dana Brooke, is headed to the ring next to talk about her victory. Hopefully with Sasha being out recovering from nagging injuries, we’ll see the debut of Bayley on the RAW roster. Asuka sealed the deal with an NXT: Takeover victory after the two had a tremendous match.
Charlotte heads to the ring and Dana Brooke starts a solo “you deserve it” chant. That’s amazing. Charlotte says damn right she deserves it and says she’s better than Simone Biles, Serena Williams and Sasha Banks. Charlotte silenced New York when she exposed Sasha for being all flash and no cash. Charlotte says the Queen has reclaimed her throne after trashing Sasha. Her music plays and she’s set to leave, but the GM, Mick Foley, has other plans and he heads out onto the stage. The chant starts before Foley can even announce what we expect to happen. Foley says when Sasha is back, she’ll be granted a rematch for the title. Charlotte says she’ll break her back again. She says after her performance, doesn’t she deserve the night off? She says there is nobody worth her time. Foley says he’s signed the hottest free agent to the women’s division and IT’S BAYLEY! Monster pop and well deserved for the gifted athlete and she is overjoyed to be there, slapping hands with the “Hugger Section”. Bayley, Charlotte and a healthy Sasha in a few months can take all my money everynight. Bayley has a mic and Charlotte and Dana are not pleased to see the former NXT women’s champion. “HEY, WE WANT SOME BAYLEY” chant and I’m with them. She says she can’t believe this is really happening. A very well timed “you deserve it” chant and yes, she does. Finn deserved it. Bayley deserves it. She has worked so hard to get there. Bayley says that they should seal the deal with a hug. Mick says a hug? And Bayley says a hug, right here in BROOKLYN, NY! They hug and the crowd pops. Charlotte mocks the signing. Charlotte says Mick needs to get in touch with reality, there is a reason that Bayley got left behind. Bayley says she would never try to upstage her, but Bayley straight up challenges her for the title and it seems that the chase is on! Charlotte says that she needs to get in line and earn a shot to face the very best. Charlotte says that she taught her protege to be ready for a fight and it looks like we’re getting Bayley vs. Dana next!
Bayley defeats Dana Brooke with the Bayley-to-Belly suplex. Impressive debut for the newest addition to the Raw roster. Kudos to Dana as well because the young star seems to be getting better with each week. It certainly can’t hurt to be under the learning tree of names like Charlotte and Sasha either. Bayley gets a monstrous reaction and after the victory, they pan backstage to show Roman Reigns and then a graphic of their match which will take place later tonight. There’s yet another absurd “you can’t wrestle” chant for Reigns. Okay, and I suppose Cena is still doing the five moves of doom despite a MOTY candidate with Styles where he busted out a code red, a tornado DDT and a plethora of other maneuvers. Reigns certainly deserves to work his way back up and should have too following his PED pop, but I still don’t get that chant for him. He’s always had watchable matches with his opponents and the dude works. Everyone is a paying fan and certainly welcome to their opinion, but sometimes those opinions and a buck fifty will get you a cup of coffee.
Promo for the Cruiserweight Classic and they show clips of Rich “All Night Long” Swann, Noam Dar, THE Brian Kendrick, and TJ Perkins. Hmm, no Ibushi. That’s troubling. I know that Sabre Jr. makes a ton of cash on the indies and so does Ibushi, I’m just hoping they put dry ink on a contract soon, because that’s a huge get for them. Either way, all the beforementioned are sensational athletes and great signings, especially my hometown boy, Rich Swann!
Backstage segment with segment where Sheamus is interviewed about the best of seven series. He tells Andrea that he’s gonna win it all. We head to the ring where Byron Saxton is interviewing “Johnny Knockout” about his forthcoming match with Braun Strowman. He says he loves big, sweaty men. That was gold.
Braun Strowman defeats Johnny Knockout with the reverse chokeslam. Another squash match with a brilliant “let’s go jobber” chant. Okay Brooklyn, you redeemed yourself with that chant. Golden. Strowman continues to work over the enhancement talent after the match after he executes the sideout powerbomb. I always thought it would make for the better finish, but whatever works I guess. Strowman still looking for his first real feud on Raw. Cole talks about the Dudleyz retiring tonight LIVE on Raw and they show a clip of them returning last year as the New Day were in the ring.
The Dudleys are out for the “retirement” and Bubba shakes hands with the commentators. He thanks the fans and says it’s been a hell of a year. He says sometime the fans have loved them and sometimes they’ve been hated. They’ve busted their tails for twenty years. D-Von says a few words as the crowd chants “testify”. This just screams Mark Henry turn for me with the return of “Bully Ray” if you will. They talk about the TLC match, referencing Edge and Christian and the Hardys. Huge “Delete” chant by the Brooklyn fans. Awesome! I was thinking the same thing. “Broken Matt” and “Brother Nero” would appreciate that. Bubba asks that the fans come to their feet and thank themselves for being an amazing audience over the years. Bubba says in this industry, you don’t get to go out on your own terms, he says despite the shortcomings, they will do just that. He says thank you very much, and D-Von says “Oh my brother, Testify!”. The retirement is cut short by the Shining Stars, who by the way, are undefeated on Raw thus far if I’m not mistaken. Primo and Epico talk about the Dudleys being washed up, and behind every dark cloud, there is a silver lining. Huge “we want tables” chant. The Hibiscus clutching natural athletes say they got them tickets to Puerto Rico! That’s a heck of a gift in my opinion. They have to hit a local Taco Bell for dobledillas and papas fritas suprema. A whole ‘nother world there folks. They continue to mock the Dudleys talking about having them retire in Puerto Rico. Right hands fly and Primo and Epico are unceremoniously dumped as a 3D takes place and then the “Wassup” spot from the top. Bubba clamors for D-Von to get the tables. D-Von obliges and brings it into the ring. Before they can put Primo through the table, Gallows and Anderson hit the ring and execute the Magic Killer on Bubba Ray down on the floor. The crowd boos heavily and to b frank, if this is an obvious work, I would expect Bubba to join the Club or something of the sort. D-Von eats a Magic Killer through the table and the good brothers leave the ring standing tall. I suppose we’ll see what happens with this one. Up next, Reigns and Jericho in the main event for the final spot in the fatal four way match next week.
Roman Reigns defeats Chris Jericho with the spear. It was a good match, but it looks like we’ve got the return of super Roman because he overcame interference from Kevin Owens and the Jericho onslaught. Somebody on the writing team decided that bringing Rusev out to continue their story-line probably wasn’t good business either because it would have made too much sense. Nevertheless, the fatal fourway will be Rollins vs. Big Cass vs. Kevin Owens vs. Roman Reigns. One of those four men will call themselves champion in Houston. That’s all she wrote folks!