August 29, 2016
From the Toyota Center in Houston, TX
Your hosts are Corey Graves, Byron Saxton, and Michael Cole
Before the show we get a graphic in memory of Mr. Fuji.
We get clips from last week’s show were we saw the four men who will face off tonight in an elimination match to crown the WWE Universal Champion.
The live show starts the camera zoomed in on the WWE Universal Title. It pans out to show Corey Graves with Kevin Owens, Roman Reigns, Big Cass, and Seth Rollins to hype tonight’s title match. Rollins cuts Graves off then talks about being the first pick of the draft and how he will win. He then donates his speaking time to Kevin Owens, who the crowd loves. Owens acts all nice and happy in a funny little bit then talks about how he will fight smart and with Sami Zayn out of the picture, something Rollins takes credit for, he will win the title. Owens dismisses Cass as someone who is just tall and congratulates Cass for being able to speak without Enzo as Cass talks about no one expecting him to win and that he is the biggest dog in this fight. Graves asks Reigns if he wants to speak so Reigns slowly gets up and looks around before knocking Owens off of his stool. Everyone brawls as Cass and Reigns are left in the ring, staring each other far apart for the belt to be clearly showcased, then Rollins knees Reigns from behind.
I thought it was a decent segment. Owens got a lot of mic time here and did well, as did Rollins. Owens also did a better job at trying to stir things up. He also struggled to contain how elated he was here. Cass seemed a bit nervous here and had lame material to work with but the crowd likes the guy and he appeared more comfortable as this went along. Reigns only using his fists are for the best but he did get booed quite a bit at first. Rollins played up how Reigns has never beat him, making you think the finals could come down to them.
Before his match against Neville, Chris Jericho is backstage with Tom Phillips. He congratulates Owens in his match tonight then runs down Neville for being a freak before making fun of Phillips. He closes by promising to give us the gift of Jericho. I have to say that Jericho has been highly entertaining in this role.
Neville vs. Chris Jericho
Neville takes it to Jericho to start. He slingshots Jericho to the floor then pulls up on a dive as Jericho starts yelling at the fans. Neville heads up and taps Jericho on the shoulder and kicks him in the gut. Back inside, Neville hits a flying body press for two as Jericho hides behind the referee in the corner. Jericho finally gains the advantage by raking Jericho in the eyes then he hits mounted punches on the mat as we head to break. The match returns as Jericho hits a back elbow smash from the middle rope for two then works a chinlock. Neville escapes and drops Jericho down. Jericho fights back and heads up top but Neville catches him with a kick. Neville uses a standing shooting star press for a nearfall then Jericho pulls up after an Irish whip and heads outside. Neville takes him down with a kick from the apron then follows that up with a quebrada. Back inside, Neville heads up top but Jericho cuts him off. Neville comes back with a springboard missile dropkick for another nearfall then eats boot on a charge. Neville then blocks a bulldog attempt and picks Jericho up for a German suplex but Jericho turns that into a victory roll for two. They work a reversal sequence that ends with Neville hitting a super kick. Neville heads up top for the Red Arrow but Jericho rolls away then puts Neville in the Liontamer shortly after that and gets the win (10:50) ***1/2.
Thoughts: A damn good match. Neville got a lot of shine here but at the end the veteran used his experience to get the win. I think Neville is just biding time until the cruiserweight division officially launches as Jericho’s character is pretty damn great at the moment.
Bayley is walking through backstage and sees the New Day. She is elated and even gyrates with them as part of the “WWE Tag Team Champions” routine. Dana Brooke comes in to stop their fun and tells Bayley she is being unprofessional. Brooke then tells Bayley that she does not belong here as Big E correctly points out how Bayley beat her last week. Brooke then talks about being in contact with Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson as Kofi tells her to bring along the “negative Nancy’s.” Brooke says she will bring them as Bayley takes a line from the film “Bring it On” to say its already been brought as the New Day pick her up and celebrate. A harmless segment that showcased Bayley as a fun-loving person. I thought Brooke did good as an instigator here too. She might not be much in the ring but does have a strong presence.
Nia Jax vs. Ion
Before the match, Ion was shown cutting a promo that seemed to be intentionally bad as she put over her hometown of Houston. Jax runs Ion over and beats her in the corner. Jax continues her assault until getting the win with a fireman’s carry slam (1:16).
Thoughts: A really sloppy match but the goal is to build up Jax as a monster and this match stayed on that track.
Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson say they used to be doctors but now they are in the business of retirement. They talk about putting the Dudley Boyz in retirement and how they are going to do the same to the New Day. Dana Brooke then comes out as a nurse, wearing a scrub top, put on a rubber glove. Looks like we are getting a mixed six-person tag tonight. And sadly, more bad comedy added to the Tag Team Title feud.
We get a video package to hype up Seth Rollins heading into his title match tonight.
Jinder Mahal vs. Sami Zayn
Zayn starts off by working the arm. He uses a springboard leapfrog and hobbles a bit as the announcers acknowledge Zayn’s bad ankle, which he hurt last week. Mahal grabs Zayn by the ankle and pulls him outside. Mahal roughs up Zayn then targets his ankle as they head back inside. Zayn fights back then drills Mahal with the Helluva Kick for the win (3:05) 3/4*.
Thoughts: They continued the injured ankle story from last week with Zayn. The crowd did not seem to care much about him, however.
Next, we will get the Bayley & New Day vs. Gallows & Anderson & Brooke. And, later on we will get a medical update from Sasha Banks.
We get a clip from the RAW pre-show where they interviewed Sasha Banks about her injury. Sasha says she is more focused and better than ever as she vows to reclaim her Women’s Title. We cut back to Charlotte, who is with the announcers and not impressed with Charlotte.
Big E & Kofi Kingston & Bayley w/ Xavier Woods vs. Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson & Dana Brooke
Brooke and Bayley start off with Brooke in control. The announcers tell Charlotte how she looked worried when Bayley made her debut last week as Charlotte says Bayley is not “genetically superior.” Bayley then takes control as Brooke tags Anderson, who runs into a belly-to-belly suplex from Big E. The New Day work over Anderson until Brooke provides a distraction to allow Gallows to attack Big E from behind. Gallows tags in and works over Big E until missing a leg drop as Big E makes the tag to Kofi, who runs wild on Anderson. The New Day use the Unicorn Stampede on Anderson as Bayley rallies the crowd. Bayley evens gets to kick Anderson as Brooke runs in only to get dropkicked (Dana actually sold for the move before Bayley left her feet). The heels bail outside as the New Day and Bayley dance in the ring as we head to break. We return with the announcers talking as the action is going on in the bedroom. Charlotte actually puts over Bayley a little as we are back to the match. Anderson catches Kofi with a spinebuster then tags Gallows as he dropkicks Kofi while he was in the tree-of-woe. The crowd rallies behind Kofi as he tries to make the tag but Gallows knocks him down again. Kofi rolls away from a knee drop and almost makes the tag but Gallows yanks Big E off of the apron. Kofi then hits Anderson with the Mushroom Stomp then makes the tag to Bayley. The crowd goes nuts as Bayley runs wild on Dana. Kofi then dives to the outside with a plancha and just splats on the floor. Back inside, Dana tries a rollup but that fails as Bayley hits the Belly-to-Bayley for the win (13:25) **1/2.
Thoughts: The match was fun at times and dead in some spots. Bayley’s run off the hot tag at the end was great though and the finish looked great. If Dana is going to be with Gallows & Anderson for now on, then it’s for the best because her partnership with Charlotte is a dead end.
Backstage, Cesaro is with Phillips. He is asked about being down 1-0 against Sheamus in their best of seven series. Cesaro talks about how he was originally promised a title shot by Mick Foley then goes on about how everyone hates Sheamus and vows to put him in the swing. Not much of a promo to be honest.
We get a video package about Big Cass.
Before the match, Sheamus tells Saxton that Cesaro has tried his whole life to become WWE Champion while getting the “what” treatment from the crowd. Sheamus then wants to know how Cesaro will feel at the end of the day, when he is the better man.
Best of Seven Series: Sheamus (1-0) vs. Cesaro (0-1)
Cesaro takes control to start. The crowd rags on Sheamus as Cesaro knocks him off of the apron. Cesaro heads out and hits a few uppercuts then Sheamus begs for mercy in the ring and claims his arm is injured but Cesaro starts working it over. Cesaro then clotheslines Sheamus to the floor as we head to break. The action comes back with Sheamus in control. Cesaro fights back and hits a springboard corkscrew uppercut after an Irish whip sequence as both men are down. Cesaro is up first and signals for the swing but that fails. Cesaro stays in control but Sheamus rolls through a crossbody for a nearfall. Cesaro uppercuts Sheamus in the corner then Sheamus comes back with a rollup and puts his feet on the the ropes for leverage but the referee catches him in the act. Cesaro hits more uppercuts then places Sheamus up top and takes him off with a dropkick. Cesaro charges outside but Sheamus backdrops him into the ring post. Dear lord that looked painful. Back inside, Sheamus quickly applies the Cloverleaf and gets the win (11:12) ***1/4.
Thoughts: Another good TV match tonight. The end makes the series interesting now as Cesaro has to come back from being down 2-0 with a back injury. I really liked the booking here and how after the match they focused on Cesaro’s frustrations while hurt on the mat.
We get a video package on the career of Mr. Fuji.
Now, a video package on Kevin Owens.
Saxton is in the ring with Americo, a tiny masked wrestler. He is Braun Strowman’s opponent for tonight.
Americo vs. Braun Strowman
Americo is pertrified as he gets backed into the corner. Strowman picks Americo up and slams him into the corner a few times before using a flapjack for the win (0:56). After the match, Strowman yanks off Americo’s mask as the announcers want to know how you can stop Strowman.
Thoughts: Fine showcase for Strowman, who came off like a jerk at the end for unmasking his opponent. I suppose this could lead to a match against Sin Cara next week to let Strowman beat a name opponent. Anyway, these squash matches have done a great job at repackaging Strowman.
We get another Cruiserweight Division hype video as the division will arrive in three weeks.
Stephanie McMahon heads out to the ring. She puts over tonight’s show for being historic then address Brock Lesnar’s actions at SummerSlam. She claims that no one messes with her family but Paul Heyman interrupts. Stephanie is disgusted then makes a crack about an ECW while Heyman talks about Lesnar’s win was a victory for her brand and that RAW won SummerSlam as a result. Heyman says he gets it that Lesnar crossed a line after hitting his brother with an F5 and is here tonight to pay the $500 fine, which he calls reasonable. Heyman pulls out huge stacks of cash and counts it while tossing the bills on the mat but Stephanie stops him and throws it around. Stephanie tells Heyman that Lesnar provides value to RAW but that he does not. Heyman then warns her what will happen if she unleashes the Lesnar storm as Heyman talks about Lesnar putting her in a compromising position as the entire WWE Universe questions her integrity then begs Stephanie as his money as a fine paid and a sincere apology. Stephanie angrily accepts as Heyman walks away.
This segment got very confusing towards the end. Its one to get people thinking but this turned into a bunch of nonsense that rarely made sense and I do not see how you can be on the edge of your seats waiting to see what happens next week. Part of me thinks they might make Stephanie a babyface out of this due to the fact that Heyman is a slimeball trying to get his way but who knows where they will go.
Titus O’Neill vs. Darren Young w/ Bob Backlund
They start with some brawling that just looked awful. Titus bails then comes back in where Young drops him with a flyin forearm. Young chops Titus in the corner but gets whipped and dumps over the top rope. Young is hurt on the floor as Titus talks trash before rolling Young inside. Titus gets two off of a powerslam then works the neck by primarily using restholds. Young then surprises Titus with a crucifix and the ref counts to three very slowly as Young gets the win (4:04). After the match, Backlund comes in to celebrate but Titus takes him out then hits Young with the Clash of the Titus.
Thoughts: Just an awful match. The crowd did not care and the finish contained the slowest crucifix I have ever seen in my life. Titus was embarrassingly bad here too. For my money, this is the worst WWE feud of 2016.
Backstage, Mick tells Stephanie he should have had her back but she tells him its alright. Mick then suggests they protect the integrity of tonight’s title match by banning all partners from ringside. Rollins comes up to tell Stephanie all of the faith she has in him will be rewarded tonight when he wins the Universal Title. Stephanie then tells Rollins she believes in him as they hug.
Mick Foley, with the Universal Title over his shoulder is with Stephanie at ringside. Big Cass comes out last with Enzo and gets promo time as he promises to shock the world and become the WWE Universal Champion. The crowd
Elimination Match for the WWE Universal Title: Roman Reigns vs. Kevin Owens vs. Seth Rollins vs. Big Cass
Owens bails as Cass clotheslines Rollins over the top rope Cass and Reigns face off again but Rollins and Owens run in from behind as all four men are brawling as Cole notes there are no countouts or disqualifications as this is under “Fatal Four Way” rules. Cass hits Rollins with a suplex for a two count then we get more brawling until Reigns and Cass finally square off, with the crowd firmly behind Cass. Reigns takes control but Cass sends him out with a big boot as his momentum also sends him over the top rope. That was an awesome spot. Rollins flies out with a tope and we get more big moves until Reigns hits a plancha as we head to break. The action returns with everyone still outside. Owens rolls Cass inside and hits a clothesline for a nearfall. He tries for the cannonball but Rollins pulls him out and sends him into the barricade. Rollins heads in and mocks Cass until Reigns runs in and beats him down and runs wild until Cass takes him down with a big boot to massive cheers. Cass takes everyone out but Rollins sneaks up from behind with a rollup for a nearfall. Owens then hits Cass with a frogsplash for the elimination (12:41) as we head to another break. The match returns as Owens sets Rollins up for a superplex but Reigns ducks underneath and tosses them both down but is unable to score a pinfall. Reigns clotheslines Rollins in the corner then kicks him in the face. He sets up for the Superman Punch but that gets blocked. Rollins dumps Reigns and tries for a tope but gets cut off. Reigns heads back in as Rollins hits him with the Falcon Arrow for two. Rollins then tries for the Pedigree but Reigns blocks that. Rollins then heads up top but Reigns caught him in midair with a Superman Punch in an amazing spot as that almost puts Rollins away. Rollins cuts off a spear and hits an enziguiri but Owens comes in and takes them both down. Owens hits a pair of cannonballs then Reigns comes back with another Superman Punch for a nearfall. Owens then sets up for the Pop-Up Powerbomb but Reigns breaks it up with a Superman punch. Rollins tries for the Pedigree but Reigns blocks that and uses a rollup and deadlifts Owens for a powerbomb as that gets two while the crowd yells “this is awesome.” Reigns hits Rollins with the Drive By then spears him on the floor. All of a sudden, Triple H runs out and pedigrees Reigns. The crowd goes mental as he rolls Reigns inside and wakes Rollins up. Rollins then heads in and covers Reigns for the elimination (23:48). Triple H rolls in Owens and helps Rollins up……….but instead puts him position for the Pedigree. Triple H looks over at Owens, who is shocked, and hits the Pedigree. Owens looks up at Triple H then covers for the win and the Universal Title (25:03) ****. Triple H then hands Owens the Universal Title after taking it off of Foley’s shoulder as Owens looks at it still in shock. Even Stephanie and Mick are in shock as the show ends with the fans chanting “you deserve it” to Owens, who is celebrating.
Thoughts: Wow. This was awesome. From Triple H’s shocking return to Owens becoming the champion and the match itself, which was great. Cass got to shine before getting eliminated and Reigns was fantastic in this match. He worked his ass off here. A great ending to cap off a show that had its highs and lows.
Final Thoughts: Well, with a main event and ending like this show had, you have to consider this a good show. You can also go a few different ways here now, like having Reigns & Rollins re-unite against HHH or just have HHH vs. Rollins as a potential feud. Also, is HHH back on his own and not part of the RAW brand? And what about Owens relationship with Jericho? There are a lot of directions they can go now with HHH returning.
Speaking of Owens, I am happy for the guy. Maybe it was just me but he looked beyond happy in the beginning of the promo and I felt it almost gave away the fact he was winning as a
The Stephanie/Heyman interaction did not get any clearer even after the main event as I have no idea where they are going with that. The Tag Team Championship feud is filled with too much bad comedy and the sooner Darren Young and Titus O’Neill end their feud the better. The show did have some low points that were tough to get through but the good outweighed the bad.
Besides the fantastic main event, we had two other good matches and a fun mixed tag match. I’d certainly check those all out. Overall, a good show tonight with a memorable main event.
Now, lets see what they do heading into the Clash of the Champions PPV.