If this week’s RAW just had an appearance from Sting and the Dudley Boys, it would have been enjoyable, but with a Divas Beat the Clock Challenge for a shot against Divas Champion Nikki Bella at Night of Champions, as well as another match in the Kevin Owens and Antonio Cesaro feud and the in-ring debut of Braun Strowman, the longest reigning episodic television show ever was well-paced and full of cool moments.
The final segment with John Cena and Seth Rollins, where Cena got a rematch for the United States title at Night of Champions, was just the cherry on top.
With just three weeks to go before Night of Champions, the card continues to develop and already seems like it’ll be a far better show than what you’d normally think. Although NOC isn’t and never will be one of the promotion’s better buzz-worthy pay per views, with Sting and Rollins already confirmed, the WWE has already exceeded expectations.
Dolph Ziggler w/Lana vs. Rusev w/Summer Rae: A lengthy match that saw Rusev dominate with Kicks, Submissions and Suplex variations. However, after Rusev locked in the Bear Hug, Ziggler showed some signs of life with his trademark Spike DDT and some Clotheslines. Russell countered with his signature Spinning Heel Kick and a Snake Eyes, but Ziggler snuck in a Super Kick for a near-fall. After both competitors tangoed on the outside and nearly got counted out, Rusev hit a Bicycle Kick, but Ziggler hit the Zig-Zag, countering the Accolade. However, Ziggler was unable to get the win via pinfall, due to outside interference from Summer Rae, instead getting the victory by DQ. After the bell, Lana made sure she got in a few licks of her own on Summer.
#1 Contender’s Diva Title Beat the Clock: Becky Lynch w/Paige and Charlotte Flair vs. Alicia Fox w/Divas Champion Nikki Bella and Brie Bella: After a few minutes of minor offense and pandering, Fox nearly got the win with Rollup variation, but Lynch got the win at 3:21 with the Disarmer.
Intercontinental Champion Ryback vs. The Big Show: Hitting strikes and the Final Cut, Show surprised in the early going. At one point, with the fans chanting “Please Retire,” Show even grabbed a mic and told fans that no one could retire him. Ryback eventually woke up with a Shoulder Block and a Thesz Press and after he countered a Show Chokeslam, nearly won with the Spinebuster. Going for the Meathook Clothesline, Show countered and nearly won with a Chokeslam. With Ryback down, Show went to the Top Rope, but Ryback threw him off. Going for the Meathook again, Show hit the Spear for another near-fall. But after an attempt at the Knockout Punch and help from The Miz, who was ringside, Ryback hit the Shellshocked for the win.
#1 Contender’s Diva Title Beat the Clock: Charlotte Flair vs. Brie Bella: Flair missed an opportunity to latch on the Figure-Eight but hit the Natural Selection for the win at 1:40.
Antonio Cesaro vs. Kevin Owens: Cesaro was the aggressor early on, thanks to European Uppercuts and Suplexes. Once the action went to the outside, Cesaro maintained control and once back inside, Cesaro scored a near-fall with a Steamboat-styled Cross Body. A kick to Cesaro’s back got Owens back in the match and after the Cannonball in the corner, Owens was ready to finish Cesaro off. After he threw Cesaro into the second turnbuckle shoulder first, Owns scored a near-fall with the Roode Bomb. After the commercial break, Cesaro hit a beautiful Top Rope Gut Wrench Gordbuster for a near-fall. After three European Uppercuts, Cesaro nearly won again with a modified Argentine Slam, but after a failed attempt at the Sharpshooter, Owens hit the Super Kick. With the advantage, Owens missed the Cannonball and after Cesaro countered Tornado DDT in a modified Front-Face Slam, Cesaro locked in the Crossface, but Owens escaped. Owens then sent Cesaro ribs first to the announce table. In visible pain, Cesaro tried to go for the Swing, but after another Kick, this time to the ribs, Owens got the win with the Pop-Up Powerbomb.
Dean Ambrose w/Roman Reigns vs. Braun Strowman w/Bray Wyatt and Luke Harper: Strowman used huge strikes and Shoulder Blocks to keep Ambrose at bay. While Ambrose tried to fight back, he was severely outpowered. Once the action went to the outside, Reigns got involved in getting the match thrown out, but Strowman continued to dominate the both of them. Hurling Reigns into the ring, Strowman put Reigns in his Submission, before Ambrose hit Strowman with a chair, which had no effect. After Harper took out Reigns with a Super Kick, Strowman put Ambrose out with his Submission before he hit Ambrose with a version of the Dominator. Wyatt then cleaned up the scraps, hitting Reigns with the Sister Abigail.
#1 Contender’s Diva Title Beat the Clock: Paige vs. Sasha Banks w/Naomi and Tamina Snuka: Paige hit the Ram-Paige, but Naomi and Snuka pulled Banks out of the ring. Paige tried to latch on the PTO, but the time ran out.
The Dudley Boys: D-Von Dudley and Bubba Ray Dudley vs. WWE Tag Team Champions The New Day: Big E. Langston and Kofi Kingston w/Xavier Woods: The New Day vowed to not let the Dudley’s break any more tables before the match and guarded the last one outside the ring. Ray and D-Von dominated the action early, with strikes and double-team maneuvers. TND bounced back thanks to quick tags, but once Bubba Ray got the hot tag, the Dudley’s were back in control. After the Sideslam and Bionic Elbow, Kingston tried to fight back, but the Dudley’s then hit the 3D for the win. After the match, the Dudley’s tried to put Langston through the table, but Woods pulled him out.