WWE Raw Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from August 31

Kevin Berge@TheBerge_Featured ColumnistAugust 31, 2020

WWE Raw Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from August 31

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    Credit: WWE.com

    After an action-packed night at WWE Payback, Monday Night Raw promised an opportunity for new stories on the August 31 episode.

    Rey Mysterio and Dominik Mysterio defeated Seth Rollins and Murphy together at Payback, but The Master of the 619 was far from done with The Monday Night Messiah. Demanding further payback, Rey challenged Rollins one-on-one.

    Keith Lee pulled off a shocking and memorable victory over Randy Orton, winning in less than seven minutes. While The Viper is certain to have an answer, what matters more is what The Limitless One will do next.

    Shayna Baszler and Nia Jax managed to work together and capture the WWE Women's Tag Team Championships, ending the dominant reign of Bayley and Sasha Banks. No one knew who would step up next to the champions.

    Raw Underground returned once more. With new competitors stepping up every week, who would make their mark in Shane McMahon's backstage fighting pit?

    This show had everything it needed to be a blockbuster. WWE Payback set the stage for big moments, and nothing was promised ahead of time. It could be massive chaos or one of the biggest shows in the WWE ThunderDome to date.

No. 1 Contender Qualifier: Keith Lee vs. Dolph Ziggler

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    Commentary announced a series of matches to determine the No. 1 contender to the WWE Championship. Keith Lee vs. Dolph Ziggler, Randy Orton vs. Kevin Owens, and Seth Rollins vs. Dominik Mysterio (because of injuries suffered by Rey Mysterio at Payback) would lead to a Triple Threat finale in the main event.

    The Viper mocked Drew McIntyre while saying that he should not be in the tournament. He should already be No. 1 contender. The Limitless One reminded Orton that he lost at Payback. The Showoff ambushed Lee as The Viper retreated.

    Ziggler thought he had the match in the bag, wearing down the newcomer with sleeper holds. However, even the Zig Zag would not keep The Limitless One down. Lee planted Ziggler with the Spirit Bomb for the win.



    Lee def. Ziggler by pinfall to earn a spot in the No. 1 contender Triple Threat match.






    Orton continues to be fantastic on the mic. His cadence has improved immensely since he became The Legend Killer again. The weird photoshop of all his victims in the hospital was awkward, but the rest worked. Lee calling out Orton for skirting over his loss sold how scared The Viper is of The Limitless One.

    Lee vs. Ziggler was not going to be the most exciting matchup, but it was a solid encounter. The Showoff got to work a competitive match that mattered for the first time in a while. The Limitless One picked up another big victory to add to his growing main roster resume.

Asuka Wants a New Challenger; Mickie James vs. Lana

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    Credit: WWE.com

    Asuka interrupted Shayna Baszler and Nia Jax as the new champions argued. The Empress of Tomorrow wanted to know her next challenger for WWE Clash of Champions.

    The Raw women's champion demanded a challenger in the ring, and Mickie James walked out. Lana and Natalya interrupted, stating that The Queen of Harts deserved the title as the leader of the locker room. A brawl broke out with Asuka and Mickie standing tall.

    Mickie looked to shut up Lana in the match that followed. While The Ravishing Russian dominated early, the veteran planted Lana with the Mick Kick to win. Afterward, Asuka made clear she wanted to face Mickie soon.



    Mickie def. Lana by pinfall.






    Forcing Asuka into a lifeless feud between Mickie and the odd pairing of Natalya and Lana feels like a missed opportunity. She needs interesting challengers, and Mickie could be one. However, the former women's champion needs to move beyond her current story first.

    Lana and Natalya are not working as a pairing. The Ravishing Russian is not adding anything to The Queen of Harts, who still feels uncertain of her position on Raw. She is just a talented worker, ready to put other talent over.

    A Lana match is not pulling in viewers. This was unexciting and sloppy, mostly because of The Ravishing Russian dominating the match time in a short contest.

No. 1 Contender Qualifier: Randy Orton vs. Kevin Owens

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    Credit: WWE.com

    Randy Orton walked out of Aleister Black's locker room just ahead of his qualifier match. It was quickly clear what he had wanted from The Dutch Destroyer as Black attacked Kevin Owens from behind before he could enter the ring.

    KO took a Black Mass and could barely stand, but Owens refused to give up his spot. The bell rang, and he chopped The Viper. However, that was all he had, falling to the RKO.



    Orton def. KO by pinfall to earn a spot in the No. 1 contender Triple Threat match.






    Rather than giving fans another helping of Orton vs. KO out of the blue, WWE saved it for a later date and focused on the stories Raw is developing. Black is now outright targeting Owens, laying him out from behind before a huge title opportunity.

    The segment even teased the idea of Orton and Black working together, but these stories feel separate. Orton moves on without breaking a sweat, while KO is cheated out of the biggest opportunity he has earned this entire year.

Bobby Lashley, Shelton Benjamin and MVP vs. Cedric Alexander and Viking Raiders

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    Backstage, Demi Burnett gave Ivar a good-luck kiss and told Cedric Alexander that he should be proud of himself for turning down The Hurt Business.

    MVP introduced the new United States champion Bobby Lashley for a major edition of "The VIP Lounge." After The All Mighty promised to get Apollo Crews back for attacking him after WWE Payback, Shelton Benjamin promised that he would put down the former U.S. champion on Raw Underground.

    MVP addressed Alexander, who walked out. However, instead of finally joining The Hurt Business, he revealed he had brought some friends along to assist him. The Viking Raiders evened the odds to begin a fight on the outside.

    The brawl that ensued led to a six-man tag team match. After a physical back-and-forth clash, Alexander pulled off a surprise victory after rolling up MVP. Afterward, The Hurt Business applauded the victory.

    Backstage, The Hurt Business attacked Alexander to teach him a lesson.



    Alexander and The Raiders def. The Hurt Business by pinfall.






    The Hurt Business has truly been established on Raw. MVP, Lashley and Benjamin feel dangerous. It's just a matter of if someone else joins them. The trio doesn't need a fourth member, but MVP has been after one for a while with Crews and Alexander.

    This was another great tease with Alexander. He could use the rub of joining MVP, but it seems like the time has passed. It would make more sense for Ricochet or Mustafa Ali to pull off the swerve and turn against Alexander.

    This six-man tag match was solid, but MVP is certainly the weak link in the ring for The Hurt Business. He is a manager that wrestles too much. That could be another benefit of adding a fourth member. Perhaps MVP would give his guys more time to shine on their own.

No. 1 Contender, Loser Disbands: The IIconics vs. The Riott Squad

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    The IIconics explained backstage that they had worked together forever. They would never break up, especially against a makeshift team like Ruby Riott and Liv Morgan.

    The truth was a nightmare for Peyton Royce and Billie Kay. Morgan took out Royce, leaving Riott to surprise Kay with a roll-up for three. The IIconics threw a fit after the match.



    Riott Squad def. IIconics by pinfall. Royce and Kay must disband, while Morgan and Riott become the new No. 1 contenders to the WWE Women's Tag Team Championships.






    After a surprisingly good tag team match at Payback, this was underwhelming. The women got less time again, and the action was sloppy. It made sense to build to such a big moment for the rivalry, but this was far too rushed.

    The IIconics went from a cohesive tag team Sunday to disbanded by the end of the night Monday. It was an awkward transition. While this did a good job selling that The Riott Squad is back, setting the duo up for a title shot, breaking up Royce and Kay should have taken more time.

No. 1 Contender Qualifier: Seth Rollins vs. Dominik Mysterio

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    Seth Rollins chastised Murphy for costing them the tag team match at WWE Payback. He told The Disciple to go to the back and leave him to win this on his own.

    While The Monday Night Messiah clearly had the advantage throughout this contest, Dominik Mysterio fought back with the fire of a committed underdog. In the end, he was just outmatched, and Rollins hit the Stomp for the win.

    Afterward, Rollins hit the Stomp once again on Dominik as Rey Mysterio and his wife and daughter looked on from the back.



    Rollins def. Dominik by pinfall to earn a spot in the No. 1 contender Triple Threat match.






    Dominik continues to overachieve in every performance. Despite clearly still needing to work through his inexperience, he moves smoother than most in WWE. This was a fantastic showcase of his talent in some ways more so than his SummerSlam clash.

    The main issue here was the lack of drama. It never felt like Dominik had any chance. He fought back valiantly, but this was never his fight to win. Rollins has been established as clearly better than either Mysterio on his own, but he needs a new tag team partner.

    Hopefully, Murphy finds his swagger or a new story beyond The Messiah. He is immensely talented but has too often played the role of lackey to Rollins, losing matches he should be able to win.

Tornado Tag: The Street Profits vs. Andrade and Angel Garza

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    The Street Profits confidently made fun of Andrade, Angel Garza and Zelina Vega ahead of the tornado tag team match.

    El Idolo and Garza let their actions speak for them as they isolated Angelo Dawkins in the ring. Montez Ford finally jumped into the action to save his partner.

    Just as Ford was turning the tide, the lights went out and Retribution arrived. Garza got his ringside guest Demi Burnett out of the arena, leaving The Profits, Andrade and Vega to get beat down.



    The Profits vs. Andrade and Garza goes to a no-contest.






    This was a solid tornado tag match, but it never got to reach its ending. With a finish to the match, it would have been a quality encounter. Instead, there is more ambiguity in this endless tag team feud. It is time for The Profits to move beyond Vega's crew.

    Retribution has truly run its course without any kind of reveal. What is the point of any of this? The group skips out on SummerSlam and Payback and then chooses to randomly interrupt this contest. It is time to do something with the group or quietly write it off.

Raw Underground: Marina Shafir, Jessamyn Duke Dominate; Benjamin vs. Crews

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    Titus O'Neil made his Raw Underground debut, taking out a pair of Performance Center wrestlers. Riddick Moss stepped up to him, and the two brawled until Moss went low and got a knockout.

    Jessamyn Duke dominated a woman and then kicked her out of the ring. This set off another female competitor, whom Marina Shafir cut off and took down in seconds. Peyton Royce then sent Billie Kay into the ring alone to get beat down by Duke and Shafir.

    In the Raw Underground main event, Apollo Crews walked in confidently with Ricochet and Cedric Alexander. He faced Shelton Benjamin, only for the brawl to quickly break down. The Hurt Business took out the trio of faces and stood tall.






    The best thing that will come out of Raw Underground is established talent. Moss has developed more from his dominant performances backstage than he ever had as 24/7 champion. Duke and Shafir work much better in this format than a straightforward wrestling match.

    It will also help to have a main event contest for Raw Underground each week. This gives some structure to the short segments. Maybe soon it will lead to longer fights.

    The Hurt Business has certainly benefited from becoming the final boss crew of Raw Underground. It's one thing to win the U.S. title. It's another to take over an entire segment of Raw every week.

No. 1 Contender: Randy Orton vs. Keith Lee vs. Seth Rollins

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    Randy Orton and Seth Rollins looked ready to work together until The Viper refused to get his hands dirty early. The heels eventually realized they could only take down Keith Lee together and managed to wear him out by slamming him onto the announce table and through the steel steps.

    The Limitless One refused to be denied. He threw The Viper across the ringside area and then focused on The Messiah. Lee turned the Stomp into a Spirit Bomb, only to take a surprise RKO. Orton chose to pin Rollins over Lee to take the win.



    Orton def. Rollins and Lee by pinfall to become the new No. 1 contender to the WWE Championship.






    The talent in the ring was astounding. It's a shame the contest was rushed out, but Rollins and Orton showed they are among the best in the business. Meanwhile, Lee showed that he can do more than just hang with the best. He can be one of the best.

    What surprised most was how entertaining this was. Orton constantly tried to get every small advantage, which led to so many fun small moments. Both men sold for Lee like he was the ultimate destroyer. The finish was perfect, showing The Viper's fear of Lee to the point that he didn't try to pin Lee after an RKO.

    It only makes sense to go with Orton vs. McIntyre at Clash of Champions. The finish protected if not elevated Lee, who looked better than two multiple-time world champions. The future is bright for him, even if Raw's immediate focus is still The Viper.