WWE Raw Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from July 20
The Horror Show at Extreme Rules promised disaster or triumph on Sunday, but the event did not quite deliver on either and left more questions than answers for fans.
However, the July 20 edition of WWE Raw promised some answers that could change the complexion of the company on the road to SummerSlam.
Did Bayley help officially crown Sasha Banks as the Raw women's champion, or would The Legit Boss be forced to hand back the title to Asuka? Is MVP the United States champion due to Apollo Crews' injuries at the hands of Bobby Lashley?
How would Seth Rollins react after heinously ripping out Rey Mysterio's eye? Where would Drew McIntyre go next after dominantly defeating Dolph Ziggler to retain the WWE Championship?
Moreover, the main event was set to feature a battle that could rival anything at Extreme Rules as Randy Orton fought Big Show in an Unsanctioned match. Could the veteran avenge his friends, Edge and Christian? Would The Viper continue to end the legacy of many of the greatest WWE legends of all time?
From a focused reaction to Extreme Rules to a show in its own right, including a huge main event, Raw promised a lot. This review will explore just how successful it was in doing that.
Seth Rollins vs. Aleister Black
Seth Rollins, flanked by Murphy, walked out to address Rey Mysterio. He explained that his actions were driven by the WWE Universe and blamed them for the horrible thing he had to do to The Master of the 619.
The Monday Night Messiah wanted to look to the future with nothing in his way, but Aleister Black interrupted and said he would have no absolution from his guilt.
In their subsequent match, Rollins showed the wear from his fight at Extreme Rules, allowing The Dutch Destroyer to dominate with strikes.
Black connected on a Black Mass, but Murphy got in the way and took a Black Mass of his own, which allowed The Messiah to slip outside. Rollins ducked the next Black Mass and connected on a pair of superkicks.
Rollins survived the onslaught and snuck away with the win thanks to the Stomp. Afterward, he and Murphy continued to attack Black, badly injuring his left hand.
Rollins def. Black by pinfall.
This whole segment took up 30 minutes, but it worked well. It was the rare Raw segment truly worth watching all the way through.
Rollins sold the effects of his Eye for an Eye match in his promo and in-ring work. He gave Black the focus in the contest, even though he needed to win to continue building momentum. Explaining away his violence by calling it necessary gives him a fresh angle compared to other top heels.
Rollins can understand that he is dangerous but will not take the blame for what he does. He puts that responsibility on the WWE Universe.
Bobby Lashley, MVP, Shelton Benjamin vs. Cedric Alexander, Ricochet, Mustafa Ali
R-Truth ran into MVP and Bobby Lashley backstage. After Truth insulted MVP for claiming he was United States champion, Shelton Benjamin attacked Truth from behind to become the new 24/7 champion.
MVP offered to fight Cedric Alexander and Ricochet in a tag team match including any two members of The Hurt Business since Apollo Crews was still injured. Instead, the faces revealed Mustafa Ali as their third man.
MVP's stable isolated and dominated the high-flying trio, forcing Alexander and Ricochet into their corner repeatedly. Ali finally got the hot tag and ran over MVP.
The faces took Lashley out of the action, and Ali connected on a corner neckbreaker and 450 splash for the win.
Ali, Ricochet and Alexander def. MVP, Lashley and Benjamin by pinfall.
This was a second straight good match on Raw. It took some time to get going, but Ali's involvement sparked a fire in the participants. He was flying around the ring in a way few could match. But his partners can match up when WWE allows them to get going.
Ali is great and needs to do something on one of the brands, and the same is true of Ricochet and Alexander. However, the former 205 Live star is now allied with two men who have struggled to stand out lately. He may need to separate himself from them to thrive.
Christian Puts His Support Behind Big Show
Randy Orton cut a promo backstage on Big Show. He promised to continue destroying every legend in his path including all his old friends.
Samoa Joe interviewed Christian from his home. Captain Charisma admitted he was hurting but he would go through it all again to get to this moment. He could not wait to watch Show put The Viper in his place.
After promising an appearance from Christian, this wasn't the most exciting use of his talents. Keeping him involved sets up the possibility that he still has one more match in him. He deserves that chance.
Despite everyone hyping up the main event as best they could, it was hard to get excited about another Orton vs. Show match. The two have fought too many times.
Just because Christian was sure The World's Largest Athlete would win, it did not change the fact that the match was missing any sense of excitement.
Ruby Riott vs. Peyton Royce
Bianca Belair explained backstage that she was back and ready to rise straight to the top.
Peyton Royce interrupted the interview and insulted The EST. Ruby Riott got involved as well while The IIconics star explained teammate Billie Kay was on business for the night.
This left Riott to fight Royce one-on-one. It was a competitive contest, but the advantage was in Riott's corner. She connected on the Riott Kick to win.
Riott def. Royce by pinfall.
The IIconics vs. Riott remains one of the laziest feuds in WWE. Kay and Royce only have flat insults to throw out each week, which leads to unfocused segments and short matches. On a night when the opening matches each got over 10 minutes, these two did not even get three.
It was nice to see Riott picking up a win, but she can show more with time. Royce has also displayed clear improvement. These two could have done so much more with five more minutes.
The Street Profits vs. Andrade and Angel Garza
The Street Profits attacked Andrade and Angel Garza backstage for what they did the last time the two teams faced off.
In the non-title clash that followed, Montez Ford and Angelo Dawkins came out swinging, but the latter pushed himself too far and got isolated by the heel team. They stomped on the high-flier, refusing to let him tag out.
Dawkins finally got the hot tag and completely changed the match. After catching a breather, Ford got back into the fight and hit a rotating frog splash on Garza for the win.
Zelina Vega yelled at her clients, who told their manager they had no problems.
The Street Profits def. Andrade and Garza by pinfall.
It was nice to have The Street Profits back in action. Ford looked fantastic after time away. He is an unreal athlete, who shows that especially with his ability to fly off the top rope. His finish in this match was the greatest frog splash in recent memory.
It was surprising to see Andrade and Garza lose, but they have always been less than consistent as a team. It would not be shocking if they got another shot at the Profits next week and won. These two teams have more story to tell.
Stephanie McMahon Announces Asuka vs. Banks Next Week; Bayley vs. Kairi Sane
Sasha Banks bragged about winning the Raw Women's Championship, while Bayley was glad to hype her up.
However, Stephanie McMahon appeared on the titantron and announced The Legit Boss was not the champion after Sunday's contest but she could become champ next week on Raw in a title rematch.
In the contest that followed, Bayley took the fight to Kairi Sane early, beating her down. The Role Model mocked and belittled The Pirate Princess as she focused on her right elbow.
The camera cut backstage where Shayna Baszler was watching. She said she was interested in this contest because she deserved a match on Raw but had not got one. She warned that she was watching the match like a shark hunting prey.
Sane fought back with a series of impressive kicks and connected on the InSane Elbow, but she hurt her elbow more on the impact, giving The Role Model time to get her foot on the bottom rope.
Bayley hit her own diving elbow for two, but The Pirate Princess then caught the champion with a roll-up for three.
Sane def. Bayley by pinfall.
Since returning to action, Sane has looked better than she ever has on Raw. She was focused and fluid, and she had clear chemistry in the ring with Bayley. These two could have a great match for the title.
This is assuming The Pirate Princess will stick around. If she chooses to leave, Baszler was perfectly set up as the one to retire her. Sane would be going out on a high, though, with some big wins and performances in recent weeks.
Drew McIntyre Agrees to Give Dolph Ziggler One More Match
Drew McIntyre taunted Dolph Ziggler, stating that The Showoff fell short as always. He wanted a worthy competitor for SummerSlam on August 23.
Ziggler came out demanding a second shot, but the Scot said he was done with him.
The Showoff tried to cheap shot and got knocked down. As McIntyre walked up the ramp, his rival begged for another shot, agreeing to fight the WWE champion any time with any stipulation.
McIntyre decided to accept those requirements and said he would give Ziggler a match but only tell him the stipulation right before the bell.
This was a fine segment, but it felt unnecessary with SummerSlam on the horizon. McIntyre should be looking forward not back. This would have been the right time to begin setting the stage for the likely battle between the Scot and Randy Orton.
There is no reason to doubt McIntyre will win. He was working on a higher level to The Showoff at Extreme Rules.
This does work as a story, though. Ziggler, who is growing desperate, put himself in the impossible situation McIntyre faced, while the WWE champion was glad to put his former tag team partner in his place.
Unsanctioned: Randy Orton vs. Big Show
Backstage, Big Show explained his history with Randy Orton. He compared himself to a tiger, promising to strike back now that he was cornered.
Andrade and Angel Garza got involved early before The Viking Raiders ran down to make the save. Show took over the action, throwing Orton around with ease. The World's Largest Athlete then made a mistake and crashed through a table on a Vader Bomb.
The Viper stalked Show and hit an RKO, but shockingly the veteran kicked out at two. After a top rope draping DDT, Orton hit a second RKO to win. Afterward, he connected on the punt kick.
Orton def. Show by pinfall.
It was good to get the overbooking in the contest out of the way early, leaving the two veterans to tell their story together.
It was not up to the level of Edge vs. Orton at Backlash, but it was never expected to be. However, this was a solid No Disqualification match.
The main problem was a lack of suspense. Once Show lost control of the contest, Orton dominated the rest of the way. It would not have worked as a match on a major WWE show.