The final Raw before the brand split was LIVE from The Dunkin Donuts Center in Providence, RI on 7/18/2016!
Shane and Stephanie McMahon are out first. Steph to resounding boos and Shane to a great pop. They are set to pick their respective show GM’s. Steph starts off by mocking Shane pandering to the crowd and Steph tells him to soak it up, being that it’s his last night on Raw.
“Lady Balls are a hell of a lot bigger than testicles.” -Stephanie McMahon
That’s a heck of a line to comeback on Shane for his crack at her not being born a man. Stephanie McMahon introduces her new GM, the “HARDCORE LEGEND” MICK FOLEY! A fine choice for sure and a tremendous commissioner once upon a time! Mick gets his cheap pop and plugs the new era and how it will resemble the attitude era. He says that Raw will be taken to new heights and he makes a reference to being ruthless and being the fan who helped put the final nail in the WCW coffin. Shane introduces his GM, the leader of the YES movement himself, DANIEL BRYAN! What a fine pick and something that pretty much cements me covering Tuesday’s WWE properties for the Scrum Sports! The crowd is going bananas to quote the late, great Gorilla Monsoon! YES chants a plenty and Bryan getting a massive and well-deserved response from the Northeastern crowd. He can’t even get a word in edgewise! Bryan says did you guys miss me or something?! YES! YES! YES! He says he’s missed the crowd. Steph says, why just you just bow like Shane does? Daniel says Steph can’t pander because she’s never been cheered. She says she did once. Bryan says the battle lines have been drawn and he wants to make Smackdown live the place for his comeback and a place to establish new stars. I don’t even know who’s on the roster yet, but I’m having images of the Heyman Era of Smackdown all over again. “Thank you Daniel” chant from the crowd. He plugs his victory over Triple H at Wrestlemania 30 and he says that he did it with the crowd. He says if the crowd joins him, Smackdown will beat Raw every single week! Shane and Stephanie trade barbs again and he says the only reason she stayed relevant was by marrying a WWE superstar. Ouch. That’s a low blow there. Bryan gets a YES chant going to end the segment and we get Raw off to a brilliant start!
They plug a huge 12 man tag for later in the show which will pit the Wyatts and The Club against The New Day, John Cena and Enzo Amore and Big Cass! Wow! After the break, we’re told that we’ll be enjoying tag team action featuring Kevin Owens and Chris Jericho against Sami Zayn and Cesaro!
Tag Team Match:
Kevin Owens/Chris Jericho vs. Sami Zayn/Cesaro
Entrances are made and of course, highlighted, by Cesaro’s Bond style entrance. Cesaro and Jericho start things off. Cesaro showcasing the power early with the delayed gutwrench suplex. Uppercut by Cesaro and Sami Zayn is tagged in. Chops are exchanged and Jericho with a headlock and a shoulder tackle after he shoots Zayn into the ropes. Two deep armdrags by Zayn as he applies the grounded armbar on Jericho. If I recall, it’s a hold that the master of 1004 holds is able to showcase on occasion himself. Kevin Owens is on the apron and Zayn puts on the brakes only to receive a double axhandle from Jericho. KO in and he unleashes some high poweered offense before a commercial. Once they return, the heels are in control up until Zayn puts Jericho into the barricade. Zayn gets the tag to Cesaro who is in with uppercuts a plenty. He works Jericho over in the corner and he dropkicks KO. The uppercut train leaves the station and he eventually covers Jericho for a two count. Jericho counters a big swing into a victory roll for a two count. Springboard uppercut by Cesaro and a two count of his own. Inzaguri by Jericho as he looks for the tag. Hot tags made and it’s a slugfest. KO destroys Zayn with a running knee to the side of the head and a wicked clothesline. KO looks for the popup powerbomb, Jericho is in with the blind tag and he nails Zayn, but Cesaro with a blind tag and a cross body for two. Jericho tries for a slingshot, but Cesaro turns it into the big swing. Zayn is back in and KO is taken down with a top rope walk tornado DDT and Jericho, still the legal man, succumbs to a rollup and a victory for the faces!
Winners: Sami Zayn/Cesaro
Backstage, Daniel Bryan is chatting with members of the Golden Truth and then Titus O’Neil playing for Smackdown opportunities. Stephanie McMahon then walks he and Brie living off the land and planting peaches. Daniel Bryan says he is back like a remix. Stephanie compares him to “Chucky” and that she pulls his string to say “YES”. He says it’s better than goat-face. Daniel Bryan says good job ruining Monday Night Raw and it’s great to see her. Commercial.
Back with highlights of the Battle Royale from last week which saw Darren Young win the number one contendor’s spot. We see Alberto Del Rio in the ring as Darren Young makes his entrance along with the legendary Bob Backlund. The IC Champ himself, The Miz, along with his lovely wife Maryse, is on color commentary for the singles bout.
Alberto Del Rio vs. Darren Young (w/ Bob Backlund)
Del Rio with the early offense, as he rams Young into the corner turnbuckle and then covers for a one count. Armbar applied as ADR stays in control until Young counters him out of the corner. Young with some sound offense and he nails ADR with a right hand after an atomic drop. ADR rolls up Young, but the ref is distracted. Young takes advantage of the Miz causing trouble on the apron for a rollup of his own. It’s enough to get the three count and a victory heading into Battleground!
Winner: Darren Young
Backstage, we see Daniel Bryan and Shane McMahon chatting up The Big Show. We see that Sasha Banks and Becky Lynch will take on Charlotte and Becky Lynch later, but the enormous 12 man tag is up next!
12 Man Tag Team Match:
The New Day/John Cena/Enzo Amore and Big Cass vs. The Club/The Wyatt Family
DOO DOO DOO DOO! And his name is…JOHN CENA! The first legendary Pokemon to hatch apparently too! The 15 time world champion makes his entrance followed by his enormously talented compadres. Cena hypes Raw and the Draft and says…but wait, there’s more! He talks about Battleground as a #BeatupJohnCena chant breaks out in the background. Cena puts over Enzo and Big Cass who make their way out next. A great reaction for the young upstarts and Enzo is as frantic and awesome as always. They do their shtick as Enzo tells John he’s got something to say. He calls the Club “herbs” with some insecurities. He says he judges a book by its cover, and he won’t read that book. He says without ugly, there would be no beauty in the world. He tells Luke Gallows thanks for the sacrifice. He says the only time women open their mouth for him is to yawn. Ouch. He says AJ Styles has a soccer mom haircut and he calls Karl Anderson times new roman because he’s so generic. Cold blooded. Enzo pulling no punches. He says if the heels wants sympathy, he says grab a dictionary and look between spit and syphilis. Big Cass says they are like the great teams. He references Wu-Tang Clan, Destiny’s Child and others. Cena is confused, but he says they gotta get serious. Cass says they like to have fun, but when push comes to shove, they like to get serious. He calls the Club S-A-W-F-T, but before they can finish spelling it out for us, the Club is out. AJ’s music is one of my favorite things on earth. Nakamura’s is another one. AJ says that teaming up with Enzo and Cass is setting himself up for failure. He calls him a turd in a punch bowl. Anderson says they’ve got good chemistry. Gallows says the Club has spilled blood and sold out arenas all over the world together-ski. Anderson says the Club has some #squadgoals and they not only get to #beatupjohncena but they get to beat up the other faces as well. Name dropping brings out the world famous two time champs. It’s time to FEEL THE POWER! The New Day is out to a great reaction and this match into is gut splitting and absolutely fantastic. Kofi says the Club loves to talk about things they like to beat. Big E. says speaking of “jerks”, they reference the Wyatt compound battle. AJ tries to stir up some fear. Xavier Woods says they aren’t normal men and they are prepared to show the Wyatts why they are champs. Woods says he is a level 21 Pokemon trainer and then says #teamvalor for life. Truth my good brother. Woods names off generation one Pokemon with the “how u doin” line from the crowd. Trevor of the Scrum Sports is probably about to explode with rage at the poke-references. The Wyatts are out as they pan to commercial. Back and Cena is making the comeback on Erick Rowan as Luke Gallows is tagged in. Cena tries for a shoulder tackle, but Gallows drills him. Big E. is in. Big E. taunts Gallows and then he nails a belly to belly suplex. Braun Strowman is in and he and Big E. get after it. Strowman is scary strong. Enzo Amore tags himself in. Enzo and Strowman have a stare-down as Woods plays Francesca 2 on the outside. Enzo is drilled, but Cass tags himself in. Cass and Strowman have a stare-down with a huge “How U Doin” chant from the crowd. Strowman pushes Cena off the apron as a melee erupts and the referee loses control. Cass and Strowman the last two standing and Cass lights up Braun with right hands and a big boot. Strowman still on his feet. Kofi tags himself in and takes flight, but he is caught and driven into the mat with a running powerslam. After another commercial, Cena and Bray are mixing it up. Bray does the Exorcist kip up as Cena prepares for the five knuckle shuffle, and Cena is taken off his game, leading to Bray taking charge. Rowan is back in,a dn he covers Cena for a two count. Cena is nailed by a dropkick from Rowan, which was quite impressive. AJ is tagged in and he is all over Cena. AJ showboats and Cena tries for the comeback, but Gallows is on the apron and AJ nails the Ushigorishi, shades of New Japan’s Hirooki Goto, a sensational hand in the ring. Anderson is in for a cup of coffee before Gallows comes back in to work Cena over more. Gallows misses a big splash as Cena looks for the tag before another commercial. Back with Bray Wyatt continuing the assault on Cena. Cena looking for the hot tag yet again, Big Cass and AJ Styles are both in as Cass is a house of fire. Empire elbow on AJ and then a big splash. Strowman comes in and destroys Cass but a Trouble in Paradise and then Big E. take Strowman out. Bray Wyatt in with a Sister Abigail and then Xavier Woods takes out the whole family with a high risk maneuver! Crazy run ins and high risk moves leave Enzo and AJ in the ring as the legal men. The New Day and The Wyatts fight up the ramp as the action continues in the ring. A miscommunication between Enzo and Cena sees Enzo nail Cena and then eat a Styles Clash for a three count as the Club and the heels come away with a victory after one hell of a match! What a pleasure to both recap and enjoy!
Winners: The Club/The Wyatt Family
Stephanie McMahon and Mick Foley are backstage having a conversation with Apollo Crews as they cut to a graphic hyping the world title match between Ambrose and Rollins that will take place later in the show.
After the break, there is an empty arena segment where Seth Rollins talks about the Shield. He references walking down the stairs together and how they ultimately were just pawns in his game. He said he’s always two steps ahead like anybody with a great mind. He kept Dean around to take the beatings and Roman around to dish them out. When the time was right, he won the title until his knee caved from carrying the company on his back. He questions Roman’s confidence and he wonders how the WWE universe will react when Reigns comes back. He calls Ambrose a thief and a coward. He says he worked hard to come back and win the belt, only for Ambrose to steal it away. Every night, there was a piece of him that wants to push his brethren down the stairs, but tonight he’ll have the opportunity to regain his title and stand over a beaten Ambrose. Seth says as far as the Shield was concerned, he was always the man. Back to ringside for a Draft plug again and highlights of the GM picks. Mick Foley is backstage with Breezango as Shane walks up and congratulates Mick on being named the new GM. He is baffled by Mick aligning with Steph. He thinks Mick will be manipulated and it’ll last six months. Mick thinks she’s ruthless and he quotes GM. Mick says he knows the real Stephanie, he sees a passionate woman. Mick is off to scout talent.
Baron Corbin vs. Sin Cara
We are both with Corbin’s music playing and both men in the ring. Corbin with an early assault as he turns Cara’s mask sideways. Corbin eats a springboard back elbow as we are informed that the Cruiserweights will be returning and they’ll be exclusive to Monday Night Raw! Wow! Now I’ve got reason to enjoy both shows. Corbin with a quick comeback and he destroys Cara with the End of Days. Three count and a victory as Kalisto runs down to the ring to make the save for his good friend. Both men will enter the draft as singles. Corbin backs up the ramp before assaulting Kalisto and taking him out as well.
Winner: Baron Corbin
Sasha Banks and Becky Lynch are shown heading to the ring for tag team action between they cut into a preview of Batman vs. Superman to sell some airtime.
Tag Team Match:
Sasha Banks/Becky Lynch vs. Dana Brooke/Charlotte
Had a dream, I had made it! Sasha Banks out first to a great reaction and Becky Lynch follows to a decent reaction as well. The heels follow as we prepare for tag team action. Sasha works Dana over early, stalling her out with a back elbow. Becky is tagged in as they hit a double team move and then Becky nails an armdrag. Becky is up and over a Dana charge and she puts her down with a single leg dropkick. Pinfall attempt and a two count. Sasha back in with arm arm wringer and then she whips Dana into the corner. Charlotte nails a forearm, but she is knocked off the apron. The match is broken up as Natalya runs down the ramp and assaults Becky, causing the DQ. Charlotte and Dana work over The Boss. Dana throws Sasha into a huge boot from Charlotte. Natural Selection follows as they continue to speculate on who Sasha’s partner will be. Let’s hope it’s Bayley. We’ll find that out tomorrow. Charlotte’s music plays as the women’s champion heads up the ramp all grins along with Dana.
Winners: Sasha Banks/Becky Lynch (Via Disqualification)
Daniel Bryan and Shane O’Mac are backstage with the Demon Kane. Team Hell No reunited? Dean Ambrose, the world champion, is shown holding a shaky cam. Ambrose speaks on both Reigns and Rollins with the title slung over his shoulder. He says no matter what happens, expect him to still be holding the title heading into Battleground.
Back and we’ve got “The Ravishing Russian” Lana, who asks us to stand up and place our hands on our hearts for the US Champion, Rusev. She says that being that he’s her fiancee, the “Bulgarian Brute” is the only man that can have her. The fans react accordingly as the champ makes his way down the ramp. He is then joined by the “Celtic Warrior” Sheamus for a tag team match.
Tag Team Match:
Rusev/Sheamus vs. Zack Ryder/Dolph Ziggler
-Ziggler heads out first for the faces and Ryder follows as the bell sounds and Lillian makes the introductions. Back and forth action until Rusev runs Ryder into the barricade on the outside. Sheamus nails a rolling senton on Ryder to follow that up. Another rolling senton follows as the heels roll Ryder back into the ring. Sheamus with a massive boot and then the “Are You Not Entertained?” line as the “You Look Stupid” chant follows. He continues his assault on Ryder before grounding him with a headlock submission. Rusev clamoring for the tag as Ziggler stomps the apron and wills on Ryder. Ryder with a quick turnaround as the tags are made. Ziggler is in with a big splash and a rocker dropper by Dolph. Sheamus breaks up the pinfall as Ryder and Sheamus spill over the top rope. Dolph is hung up on the ropes as Rusev kicks him into the back and slaps on the accolade and we’ve got the tapout and the victory by the heels.
Winners: Rusev/Sheamus (Via Submission)
After another break, the show clips of John Cena at the ESPY’s. I heard he did a fine job, I didn’t enjoy the show however. Oooh. I loved the spot with Lebron James being shown as the good, then the bad, then the bad guy. They showed my dude Kevin Durant as the new bad guy. I wish him great success, but yes, he’ll have more heat than Miami and that is the honest truth. Cena appears to have done a good job. It was nice to see the great Steph Curry without that ridiculous mouthpiece that he’s always chewing. They cut to Mick Foley having an awkward conversation with members of the Ascension. Foley and Daniel Bryan have words about their respective shows. Bryan and Mick talk about the respect they have for one another and it seems like competition is really going to heat up. They share a love of flannels, they have underdog charisma. Daniel says it’s like looking in a mirror, a fun house mirror. Foley calls Bryan a “wee fella”. Foley says they both overcame and outlasted anyone who stood in their way. Foley and Bryan say they both are standing in each other’s way. Foley says let the games begin. Should be great business. We cut to the ring and the music of the world champion! Ambrose out first to a monster reaction as the Lunatic fringe prepares to defend the world title in the Raw main event against Seth Rollins.
World Title Match:
Dean Ambrose (c) vs. Seth Rollins
-Rollins heads to the ring after the break and the two men get ready to get after it. Lillian Garcia makes the introductions as Shane, Steph, DBry and Foley are shown at ringside. JBL says Roman Reigns is a cage animal about ready to be unleashed no matter who wins this match. Right. I appreciate Roman, but I hope he enjoyed his thirty days off while these guys continued to work their tails off and keep after it on the straight and narrow. Ambrose in charge early with some sound offense as Rollins takes a quick breather. The two men are back after it, as Dean Ambrose turns a hammerlock into a headlock takedown. Rollins with a shoulderblock and then Ambrose with a deep armdrag as Seth again takes a moment to regroup. Ambrose with some scientific wrestling early in this match. Rollins back in with boots and rights as the Architect then stomps away at Ambrose in the corner. Ambrose back yet again and another exchange leads to Ambrose clotheslining Seth over the top rope and onto the floor. Ambrose to the outside and he drives Seth into the barricade. Dean with a clothesline and then he’s up on the apron with another clothesline as they pan to commercial. Back with Rollins in charge and they follow up with the news that the Cruiserweights will be exclusive to Raw as of next week. JBL plugs the efforts of Kota Ibushi and Cedric Alexander and this is precisely why I love JBL. Saxton says what if the commentators end up on different shows and JBL says he hopes Saxton is drafted to the Mars expedition! Rip. Both Ambrose and Rollins are down in the ring after a collision. Dean back in control with rights and chops and then he hits a clothesline. He nails a fisherman’s suplex and only gets a two count. Ambrose gets another nearfall after a neckbreaker. Ambrose tries for that pushoff clothesline, but he eats a single leg dropkick. Ambrose counters a pedigree attempt and Rollins is taken out to the floor. Ambrose takes flight with a suicide dive as both men are down outside the ring. Ambrose misses a wild clothesline as Rollins puts him into the barricade. Buckle bomb variation by Rollins but he uses the barricade. He rolls Ambrose back into the ring and he gets a two count after a beautiful frogsplash. After the final commercial break, we see Rollins about to buckle bomb Ambrose, but Ambrose counters into a hurricanrana that puts Rollins into the corner turnbuckle. “This Is Awesome” chant from the crowd. Even with the commercials, this has been a good match. Rollins catches Ambrose with a high kne but he misses a frogsplash. Critical moment for Ambrose, Michael Cole’s words, not mine. Mixed chants for both men. Hard to dislike either one of these men. Rollins backs Ambrose into the corner. Forearms to the jaw, but Ambrose charges back in with one of his own. Rollins with rapid fire strikes with his right foot. Ambrose fires back. Buckle bomb again by Rollins, but Ambrose bounces off the buckle and counters with Dirty Deeds! That was incredible. He covers, but he only gets two as Seth has his foot on the bottom rope. Ambrose throwing chairs in front of all the GM’s and Commisioners. Ambrose has Rollins on the Spanish announce table. Rollins rolls out of harm’s way and he’s back in the ring. Ambrose about to eat a pedigree on the apron, but he counters and takes Rollins down with headbutts. Rollins hits the pedigree off a counter, but somehow Ambrose kicks out of the pedigree! Rollins tries for another, but Ambrose counters with a jacknife cover and a two count. Ambrose headed up top. Rollins pushed off the top and into the referee for the bump. Superplex off the top by Rollins and Dean traps the leg and we’ve got the ole’ double pin to end the show. The referee calls for Rollins. After some controversy, Stephanie announces Seth Rollins as the new world champion. Ambrose is confused and I can only assume this is going to lead to Smackdown having its own world title. I suppose we’ll see, but for now, we’ll call a spade a spade and the Architect is the new world champion?
Winner: Seth Rollins (New World Champion as Declared by Stephanie McMahon)
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