WWE Raw Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from August 3
Desperate times call for desperate measures, a lesson the WWE Universe learned Monday night on Raw with the return of Shane McMahon and the introduction of a brand new faction aimed at shaking things up amid record-low television ratings.
Those two newsworthy developments headlined a show that also featured the long-awaited showdown between Apollo Crews and MVP for the United States Championship, as well as Drew McIntyre and Randy Orton sharing the same arena since The Viper's callous RKO to the WWE Champion at the end of last week's broadcast.
What developments occurred, how did they shape the road to SummerSlam on August 23, and what did it mean for the Superstars involved?
Find out with this recap of this week's USA Network broadcast.
Announced ahead of time for tonight's broadcast are:
- WWE Champion Drew McIntyre and Randy Orton come face-to-face
- Shane McMahon returns to Raw
- United States Championship Match: Apollo Crews vs. MVP
Crews vs. MVP was promised at The Horror Show at Extreme Rules, but a storyline injury prevented Crews from competing. While the contest is unlikely to be a classic in-ring encounter, it should continue the ongoing growth and evolution of MVP's "Hurt Business" faction, also involving Bobby Lashley and 24/7 Champion Shelton Benjamin.
McIntyre and Orton's face-to-face confrontation should be interesting, if only because it will give the audience an indication as to what the tone of the feud will be leading into SummerSlam.
United States Championship Match: Apollo Crews vs. MVP
Moments after lights mysteriously dimmed, prompting an apology from commentator Tom Phillips, United States Champion Apollo Crews hit the ring for his title defense against MVP. The lights went out and Phillips, again, blamed weather and production issues.
MVP dropped a "truth bomb" on the WWE Universe, referring to himself as the real United States Champion and claiming the beef he has with Crews is over when the referee counts three.
As the challenger gained the upper hand, the lights again flickered on and off, clearly figuring to play a key role in the night's events.
Crews took his opponent down with a snap suplex and worked the arm. The challenger escaped and blasted Crews with a straight kick to the face. The champion answered with a barrage of forearms to the face. The Hurt Business' Bobby Lashley and Shelton Benjamin pulled their mouthpiece to safety, but Crews launched himself over the top rope with a plancha as the show headed to break.
Back from the break, MVP worked over Crews with a cravat then turned him inside out with a big clothesline.
Crews finally fought back, unloading on MVP and downing him with a spinebuster for two. He followed up with the toss powerbomb for the win and successful title defense.
After the match, MVP cut a scathing promo blaming the lighting issues and "unsafe working conditions" on his loss before issuing a challenge to Crews for a rematch at SummerSlam.
Crews defeated MVP
The match itself was fine enough for what it was.
MVP is still a solid worker, but there is definitely a ceiling on what he is capable of as a singles worker at this point in his career. Crews looked solid, hardly missing a step as he successfully defended his title. He was clearly a step or two ahead of his opponent and, in reality, probably should be working with Lashley instead.
The lighting issue is clearly a precursor for this new faction revealed by WWE across social media. That, or it is tied to whatever Shane McMahon has going on tonight. Either way, it was a solid way to tease something significant going on later in the show.
Asuka, Shayna Baszler Send Messages to the Golden Role Models
Backstage, Sarah Schreiber joined The Golden Role Models for a backstage promo.
Sasha Banks and Bayley threw it to a video package that recapped the former's victory over Asuka for the Raw Women's Championship last week. It ended with The Empress of Tomorrow promising that "revenge...will be...sweet."
From there, Shayna Baszler interrupted and said she has a problem with what Banks did because she has waited in line long enough. She decked The Boss, leaving her on the ground before walking off.
No matter how much the video package tried, it could not make up for the horrific booking surrounding the finish of last week's match.
With that said, this was incredibly effective, setting up Asuka's path of vengeance while also introducing Baszler to the title picture.
We have yet to see The Queen of Spades vs. Banks so, if anything, it is at least a fresh match that fans can get excited for.
The KO Show; Ruby Riott and Liv Morgan vs. The IIconics
The Kevin Owens Show was up next, but before the namesake of the talk segment could introduce his guest, he brought up the return of Shane McMahon, prompting his microphone to cut out.
He did, eventually, introduce Ruby Riott, who discussed her recent wins over The IIconics before saying she wished Liv Morgan had been there to celebrate. Owens produced the former Riott Squad teammate, who had little patience for her former partner.
Owens talked them up, putting over their friendship and admitting that he made many mistakes regarding former partners and friendships. He didn't know if it was worth it, so he implored Morgan to listen to Riott.
An emotional Riott recalled her journey over the last six months before Peyton Royce and Billie Kay interrupted. They talked trash, despite more microphone malfunctions, before slapping the hell out of Owens. "Ladies...a little help, please," Owens said as Riott and Morgan jumped The IIconics heading into the break.
Following the commercial, we got the predictable tag team match.
The IIconics worked over Riott until a hot tag to Morgan sparked the comeback. The New Jersey native fended off her opponents and rolled Royce up for the win.
After the match, Riott and Morgan worked together to take out Kay before leaving together, reunited despite some obvious hesitance.
Morgan and Riott defeated The IIconics
The Kevin Owens Show segment should have been the end of this, with the match coming on next week's show. Instead, WWE Creative jam-packed it all into this two-segment block, and the result was a rushed match that was nondescript for the most part.
Riott and Morgan rekindling their partnership is the right move for both women, who are too talented to be wasted to the extent that they have been for the last handful of months. That WWE Creative is at least taking the initiative to tell a story rather than just randomly putting them together is a welcome change of pace.
Also, Owens should replace Ellen on network TV. KO brings people together. That's all.
Drew McIntyre and Randy Orton Come Face-to-Face
WWE Champion Drew McIntyre made his way to the ring for a face-to-face confrontation with his No. 1 contender, Randy Orton.
McIntyre recapped Orton's promo from last week and discussed the dichotomy between him and The Viper. He wasn't catered to and didn't ride in limos with Evolution. He was fired, he worked his ass off to get back, and he achieved greatness on his own.
Orton interrupted and said he's there because he wants to be—because he likes dropping people with RKOs and punt-kicking people in the skull.
Orton agrees that he should have been fired a long time ago, but he wasn't. Why? Because he's more valuable to WWE than McIntyre ever will be. He implored Drew to come up with an original thought of his own.
McIntyre recalled The Last Ride documentary and Orton telling the story of The Undertaker reaching down and pulling him to his level. McIntyre asked about the last time Orton has ever reached down and pulled anyone to his level.
"I see a selfish prick," Mcintyre said before vowing to kick Orton's head off his shoulders at SummerSlam. And The Viper is "damn sure going to see it coming."
This was a great promo segment, fueled by Orton's continued excellence and some raw emotion from McIntyre.
In fact, McIntyre really should be given some leeway to be himself and let his personality show more frequently. It was obvious he was somewhat uncomfortable breaking from the script, but that is through no fault of his own. When you live a scripted professional life, breaking from the restraints of the written word creates uneasiness.
At the same time, it is clear he has the chops to carry a promo segment by being himself. Let him roam free and maybe he could get over at that next level that fans have not really seen since CM Punk almost a decade ago.
Nia Jax Is Suspended Indefinitely
A week after putting her hands on backstage producer Pat Buck, Nia Jax stood in the center of the ring with the former wrestler and denounced the idea of an apology. Instead, she challenged Buck to a match. She bullied him, refusing to take his "no" for an answer.
Buck indefinitely suspended Jax without pay.
The Irresistible Force headbutted Buck to the mat then kicked him out of the ring, her frustration and anger boiling over.
Then, despite being suspended indefinitely, her music played as she made her way to the back.
This was a thing that happened.
Why Jax was brought back and then written right off television again is a question that needs to be answered. Just a week ago, she was firmly in the midst of the women's title picture, ready to feud with Baszler over the next title opportunity.
Now, she's gone.
Hopefully, for her sake, she is not dealing with an injury after finally returning to the company post-WrestleMania earlier this year.
Triple Threat for the 24/7 Championship
Shelton Benjamin's 24/7 Championship was up for grabs in a Triple Threat Match against Akira Tozawa and R-Truth next.
Benjamin pummeled Tozawa and the ninjas that tried to interfere before joining Lashley at ringside for a beatdown of the black-clad martial artists. The distraction allowed Tozawa to capitalize on a fallen Truth, deliver his senton and pick up the win and title.
Tozawa defeated Benjamin and Truth to win the title
The novelty of the 24/7 title has worn off.
Even if Truth remains one of the most consistently excellent performers on the roster, the creativity is gone, and the title is being traded back and forth every week between the same handful of Superstars.
It's repetitive at this point, the antithesis of what the title was originally intended to promote.
Shayna Baszler vs. Sasha Banks
The product of the backstage confrontation from earlier in the evening, Raw Women's Champion Sasha Banks battled Shayna Baszler in singles competition.
Baszler frustrated Banks early, but The Blueprint responded, taking advantage of a distraction by Bayley. The Queen of Spades fought through, though, and trapped Banks in the sleeper. Banks fought out and applied the Bank Statement, but Asuka attacked Bayley at ringside, drawing a disqualification.
The Empress cleared the ring heading into the break.
After the match, Charly Caruso joined Asuka in the center of the ring for a promo.
Asuka laid down a challenge for a match with Banks at SummerSlam, only to be interrupted by Baszler, who said she was rooting for The Empress of Tomorrow because she wants to pick her apart for the title.
Banks and Bayley interrupted, and The Blueprint told Asuka she would receive her title opportunity...if she beat Bayley next week.
Did Baszler just get disqualified because Asuka jumped a woman not in the actual match?
The match was fine before the lazy finish, and the setup for next week's match between Asuka and Bayley could not have been any clunkier.
Why not just book the damn rematch without some sort of unnecessary promo segment to get to that point?
It's another case of WWE overthinking things and making them more complicated than they need to be.
Raw Underground Debuts
Shane McMahon introduced us to the debut of Raw Underground.
There was shoot fighting, a dingy warehouse, poor lighting and strippers in the company's latest attempt to recreate attitude.
The artist formerly known as Babatunde in NXT debuted as DABBA-KATO and bulldozed two unnamed, unfortunate souls.
McMahon declared his night over and said Raw Underground would return later.
And it did, with The Viking Raiders' Erik bowling over another unknown competitor.
At least it's different.
With that said, if WWE thinks this is the content its fans long for and something that will bring them back to the show, it is so incredibly disconnected from reality that it would be better off selling to someone who actually wants to be a part of the pro wrestling business.
Instead of changing up the presentation of his stale product, he goes completely off the rails and tries to present something not at all related to wrestling.
Was it a change of pace? Sure, but it's not sustainable and will probably be gone in two weeks.
Angelo Dawkins vs. Angel Garza, Montez Ford vs. Andrade
The rivalry between Raw Tag Team Champions The Street Profits, Andrade and Angel Garza continued this week in two singles matches as Angelo Dawkins battled Garza and Montez Ford battled Andrade.
Dawkins rolled over Garza early in their match, but Ford inexplicably collapsed during the match, inadvertently distracting Dawkins and allowing Garza to pick up the win.
Back from the break and apparently cleared to compete, Ford battled the former United States Champion, Andrade.
Ford sported a glazed-over look for much of the match, especially after El Idolo blasted him with a hard right hand. Running on pure adrenaline, Ford exploded back into the match, using his raw athleticism and a fury that caught his opponent off-guard.
Just as Ford fired up, he again collapsed, forcing the referee to call for the bell.
Garza defeated Dawkins; Ford and Andrade fought to a no-contest.
Ford goes down in a very scary moment, apparently adversely affected by some sort of drug or health condition, and WWE's production team...throws it to a backstage promo featuring footage of one guy maybe losing an eye.
Sure, Ford passing out is probably tied to this mysterious new faction we're supposed to see tonight, but that does not excuse this for what it really was: shock TV and an attempt at boosting TV ratings. It wasn't good, it benefited no one, and it isn't the type of storytelling that needs to happen on this show.
Dominik Attacks Seth Rollins
After Dominik Mysterio issued a challenge for a match at SummerSlam earlier in the night, "Monday Night Messiah" Seth Rollins made his way to the ring alongside Murphy.
Before addressing the challenge, Rollins turned his attention to Tom Phillips. "Do you consider yourself a professional? Do you consider yourself an unbiased journalist? Do you take pride in your job?" Rollins asked the clearly terrified commentator.
Rollins chastised Phillips for cheering Dominik on last week when he attacked the messiah with a kendo stick. "I think it's time to find a new voice of Monday Night Raw." He ordered Murphy to take Phillips, but Samoa Joe stood up in defense of his partner and threatened physical retaliation.
Joe removed his headset and entered the ring, gleefully ready to confront Rollins and his disciple.
Dominik hit the ring and unloaded with a kendo stick on both heels then blasted Rollins with a 619. He wiped both of his rivals out and stood tall in the center of the ring. Rollins accepted the match for SummerSlam.
In consecutive weeks, Dominik has saved Joe and Aleister Black, two badasses who certainly do not need rescuing. Add to that the fact that he cleared the ring of two of Raw's top heels and you have a push that may be a bit too much, too soon for the second-generation competitor.
With that said, he has a date at SummerSlam with Rollins in what will be the most significant moment of his young professional career. Luckily for him, he has a dance partner who, like him or not, is as consistently great in the ring as anyone in the company.
The Hurt Business Is Boomin
Moments after Dolph Ziggler showcased the amateur wrestling skills that have so rarely been seen on a grand scale in WWE, MVP, Bobby Lashley and Shelton Benjamin arrived at Raw Underground.
They beat the unholy hell out of anyone in their path before standing tall in the ring to close out the show.
"We are The Hurt Business, and business is boomin'," MVP said.
Is Raw Underground perfect? Not by a long shot. It still smells like a concept not fully fleshed out, but as a vehicle for The Hurt Business to build itself into a major force on Raw, it could prove invaluable.
This was the best the trio has looked, really taking the spotlight and shining.
Lashley, in particular, looked like a total badass. He looked like he should have from the start of his most recent WWE run.
While there was plenty not to like about the underground stuff, the silver lining was just how badass The Hurt Business looked to close out the show.