With Extreme Rules done and SummerSlam on deck, it felt like Raw would be a pivotal show. It was, but maybe for the wrong reasons.
WWE hung the idea of Kurt Angle stripping Brock Lesnar of the Univeral champion in front of us which made the show must watch. While we did confirm Lester will defend his big red belt in Brooklyn, the rest of Raw was dedicated to finding his opponent.
And while WWE certainly took steps towards doing that, it was in a direction many fans are already rejecting.
So let's break it down. Here are Eight Tiny Thoughts on Raw:
Some Applause for Paul Heyman
Raw proved that WWE's campaign to demonize Brock Lesnar is working just fine. Never has the Universal Champion been booed so universally.
And a lot of that is thanks to Paul Heyman.
Lesnar's perpetual absence has finally worn down fans. His UFC cameo probably bothers a few people too. But Heyman is crucial to making sure Lesar's relationship with the WWE crowd only worsens.
He did that last night by acting as the greasy attorney for a client who is clearly guilty. Heyman and Lesnar have done their part in this story already. We're ready to see them leave, now WWE just has to find the right hero to slay The Beast.prevnext
Triple Threat: Part I
Roman Reigns, Drew McIntyre, and Finn Balor opened Raw in a Triple Threat Match in the name of finding Brock Lesnar's SummerSlam opponent. Like any match in 2018, Reigns entered the favorite and extied the winner.
While many fans are tired of the Roman Reigns experiment, I think this was the right call. Balor will never be Universal Champion again, and McIntyre needs a little more time to simmer.
Reigns winning was WWE's only choice here. Besides it was who he'd fighr next week that had us all staying tuned in.prevnext
Triple Threat; Part II
Bobby Lashley defeated Seth Rollins and Elias for the right to meet Reigns next week to determine Lesnar's Brooklyn opponent.
This seems like a bad idea.
People aren't into Lashley. The only time he's gotten cheered is when he fires wobbling insults at Reigns. Fans were delighted to see him pin Reigns at SummerSlam, but no one is ready to digest the idea of him possibly becoming Universal Champion.
But he and Reigns will duke it out next week for that exact opportunity and I can't help but feel WWE just passed on a massive opportunity with Seth Rollins.prevnext
Speaking of Seth Rollins...
As much as I hoped Seth Rollins would become the next Universal Champion, it's not happening. However, he still may be on deck.
It appears Rollins is done chasing Dolph Ziggler and the Intercontinental Championship. It also look like Drew McIntyre and Ziggler are ending their partnership. I'll guess Rollins and McIntyre find a way to fight at SummerSlam. With the winner getting first dibs on the new Universal Champion.prevnext
Rousey Gets Her Shot
Even though it came from Kurt Angle's wonky announcement, Ronda Rousey will fight Alexa Bliss for the Raw Women's championship at SummerSlam.
Part of me thinks that Rousey should have been demanding this math be made rather than Angle saying "you're suspended another week and, oh, yeah, here's a title shot." Regardless this match is happening. And despite its awkward formulation, it a very big deal.prevnext
WWE Made SmackDown Look Bad
Sasha and Bayley can't figure out a way to be nice to one another. Since therapy didn't work, Kurt Angle thinks a solution lies in one of them being traded to SmackDown.
While this might be a good idea, Bayley seemed crushed by the thought of leaving Raw.
Jokes on you FOX, you just paid $1 billion for a show WWE belittles on live TV!
And if it doesn't work out, there could be SERIOUS repercussions! pic.twitter.com/6JcOssHH1E— WWE (@WWE) July 17, 2018
Who Had the Worst Raw?
My vote is Bobby Roode.
His match with Ziggler was fun, but he was neutered beforehand. After being forced to admit he's a bench player, he was bait and switched by Ziggler into a non-title match which he lost.
Moments later, Roode was mocked by Mojo Rawley — who will spend the next month beating him.prevnext
Who Had the Best Raw?
My answer? Finn Balor.
For the most part, Balor with no Demon gimmick is just a quite gay with an impeccable body. For some that's enough to clap for, but I think it's bad strategy to become Universal Champion.
That said, Balor was great on Raw. While he ended up taking Roman Reigns' pin, Balor showed a fire that made it easy for the crowd to get behind. Too much of Balor has been "happy to be here." But when he ignites himself, he's interesting.
I hope there's more of this to come.prev