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WWE RAW- July 25, 2022

by Doc Allen


Live from Madison Square Garden in New York, New York. This is the second WWE show since Vince McMahon retired in disgrace, and presumably the first with Triple H running creative. This could play out in so many different ways, I just had to sit down and watch Raw for the first time in a year out of sheer curiosity.

Cold open has Logan Paul and The Miz brawling in the ring. I have no idea what their issue is, although you don't need a good reason to want to beat up Miz. Agents and refs manage to pull them apart.

WWE World/Universal Champion Roman Reigns (with Paul Heyman and the Usos) come to the ring to talk. Vince might be gone, but the ridiculous CGI effects are still here. Production blatantly pipes in loud booing, because everyone in the crowd looks happy to see them. Despite the fake booing, the crowd applauds Roman and pops for the "Acknowledge me" catchphrase. Paul welcomes the fans to the island of relevancy, and makes fun of production for the glitchy microphone, in fact, he wants the sound guy's name because he'll be next out the door. Paul knows that Brock Lesnar is a serious threat because he's ruined other WWE parties, like Undertaker's Wrestlemania streak. Paul is sick of Lesnar riding on Roman's coattails and it's time to send him packing back to Saskatchewan. They're interrupted by Mr. Money in the Bank Austin Theory, cue more fake boos. The fans give Theory the WHAT! treatment as he dangles the briefcase around. Roman isn't impressed and dares Theory to get into the ring to acknowledge the tribal chief. Theory looks nervous, Roman tells the fans to go easy on him because it's "his first time." Roman advises Theory to analyze the situation because his "daddy isn't here anymore." The crowd LOVES that line and chants "Who's your daddy?" Roman declares that he runs the garden now and strolls out. Theory wacks Usos with the briefcase instead, but the Bloodline treat him like a nuisance and not a threat.

Back from commercials, Austin Theory is still in the ring for more talking. He's immediately cut off by Drew McIntyre, still wielding that gawdawful sword.

Drew McIntyre vs. Austin Theory

Drew tears into Theory at the bell with loud chops. Drew hits a nifty deadlift vertical suplex. Theory no-sells and hits a series of ineffective punches and chops. Drew throws him into the buckles for a barrage and then tosses him across the ring. Theory hits a chinbreaker, and now his punches and kicks seem to do some damage. Drew answers with a mean lariat and overhead release suplex. Drew hits the Future Shock DDT, but Theory rolls out to avoid the Claymore. Drew drops Theory onto the announce table to send us to commercials. Back from break, Drew is still in control, at least until Theory throws him over the ropes for a possible countout. Drew gets up so Theory sends him into the steps. Drew hits a gutsy suplex and they slug it out. Spinebuster by Drew gets 2. Drew is poised for the Claymore, but Sheamus leads his buddies in for a beatdown and DQ at 9:38. Just filler to burn through two segments, **.
Winner via DQ: Drew McIntyre

Bobby Lashley rushes in to save Drew and they clear out all the jabronis. If this restarts as a tag team match during the commercial I might not be able to get through it.

Drew McIntyre and United States Champion Bobby Lashley vs. Austin Theory and Sheamus (with Not Pete Dunne and the other guy)

Yep, this restarted as a tag match during the commercials. The Triple H era feels a lot like business-as-usual thus far. Drew is struggling against the fresh Sheamus, who hits poses while hitting a spinebuster. I zone out until Lashley makes the hot tag and runs wild to a polite crowd response. Sheamus intercepts Lashley at ringside with a knee to the head. "Butch" and Ridge Holland interfere, but Drew suplexes Butch onto Holland, and they're ejected. Time for another commercial. Back from break, Theory is working Lashley over with rest holds. Lashley survives to hit Sheamus with a spinebuster. Drew gets a hot tag and runs wild through Theory. Lashley returns with a chokeslam on Theory, but Sheamus helps with a diving knee drop. Sheamus hits Drew with White Noise at ringside. Theory is poised to win, but lets himself get distracted by Dolph Ziggler at ringside, and Lashley puts him in a Full Nelson for the win at 12:13. Theory loses, so he's probably winning something at Summerslam. The tag match was crisp, yet formulaic, **½.
Winners: Bobby Lashley and Drew McIntyre

Theory celebrates his loss on the stage and gets ambushed by the Usos. Roman Reigns saunters out and condescendingly puts the MITB case on Theory's chest.

Rey Mysterio video package, celebrating his 20 years in WWE.

Cryptic video package with candles, spooky lighting, clocks, and bloody writing. Sure looks like Bray Wyatt, but we'll have to wait and see.

Backstage interview with Dolph Ziggler. He is targeting Austin Theory because he needs to learn a lesson. He's joined by AJ Styles, who appreciates what Dolph is doing. They're interrupted by Alpha Academy, and Chad Gable thinks Theory has already exceeded both of them. I smell a tag team match.

Rey Mysterio and Dominick come to the ring to celebrate Rey's 20 years in WWE. Fans chant "Thank you, Rey" for real. Rey credits himself for breaking the stereotype of what a small guy could be in the business. He lists all of his top rivals and gets a bit emotional mentioning Eddie Guerrero. He thanks his family and the fans for 20 of the "dumpest" most awesome years. The good vibes end when Finn Balor shows up in the crowd offering insincere applaus. Damien Priest comes in from the rear and, ah shucks, it's time for some commercials.

Rey and Dominick Mysterio vs. Finn Balor and Damien Priest

The match started during the break, we join them just in time for Rey's hot tag. He takes Finn down with a rana, and the Mysterios double team him with a tandem powerbomb for 2. I look away for two seconds and suddenly Priest is in control of Rey with methodical offense. Rey hits Finn with an enziguri and Dominick storms in on a hot tag. Dominick still doesn't look comfortable performing difficult moves in front of a live crowd. Priest cuts Dom off and throws him into the barricade, and it's time for more commercials. Back from break, Dominick survives long enough to make yet another hot tag. Rey shows off with a springboard crossbody onto Priest, followed by a flying seated senton. Rey hits a rana on Priest, but Finn cuts him off with an ambush lariat. Shotgun dropkick by Balor, followed by Coup de Grace, but Dominick saves the match. Priest brings in a chair, and Finn rips off the old Eddie Guerrero possum trick. Rey reverses the trick and sets up Balor and Priest for double 619's! Rey finishes Finn with a frog splash at 11:35 (shown). Another solid, yet formulaic match, but this one had the crowd eating out of their hands by the end, ***.
Winners: Rey and Dominick Mysterio

Raw Women's Champion Bianca Belair is all smiles walking around backstage.

The Mysterio family meets Rey and Dominick backstage for a party. They share some adult beverages and gift Rey special purple gear to honor his classic Halloween Havoc match. Rhea Ripley wanders in wearing Eddie's "I'm Your Papi" t-shirt and attacks Dominick. This leads to an ambush by Balor and Priest, and they powerbomb Rey through a table, which totally makes us all forget they just jobbed fair and square in the ring. Also, despite there being about 20 friends and family in the next room, not a single one of them tries to help.

Bianca Belair comes out to talk, her entrance is interrupted with a video package highlighting her feud with Becky Lynch. Real life Becky immediately shows up, but Bianca talks over her about how great she is, and they end up brawling.

Backstage interview with Alexa Bliss, who's still carrying around that stupid Lily doll. She isn't embarrassed to be hanging out with a doll, in fact, Lily makes her money on merchandise. Alexa throws her name into the title hunt.

Alexa comes to the ring for her match, but in the meantime there's commercials and another beatdown on Mysterio.

Alexa Bliss vs. Doudrop (with Nikki ASH)

Nikki messes with Lily, so Doudrop hits a crossbody block for 2. Doudrop hits a suplex for another 2 count, and there's something silly about Alexa's selling but I can't quite put my finger on what it is. Doudrop works a chinlock and gets upset when a routine slam doesn't get a pinfall. Alexa finds an opening to fly, but Nikki knocks her from the top ropes. Alexa reverses into a DDT to win at 4:22. This was total crap, DUD.
Winner: Alexa Bliss

AJ Styles chats with Logan Paul, apparently a big fan of his Miz hating lifestyle.

Logan Paul comes back to the ring for ImPaulsive TV. He gets booed for mentioning that his brother will be fighting in MSG next weekend. I think he's supposed to be a babyface, but the fans hate him. He calls out The Miz, but gets no initial response. Instead, he gets Maryse, who doesn't appreciate the way he's talking about her awesome, amazing reality show. I think he was actually talking about her stupid husband, but I digress. Maryse orders Paul to never talk about her kids again or her man's gen…genit…er, package. Fans chant "F*ck you, both." Maryse thinks the average penis size is 1.8 to 2 inches, so her husband is perfectly average, and Logan wants to know who measures their testicles. This segment is complete death. Miz finally shows up to declare that not only does he measure his testicles, but so does every man in this arena. That doesn't sound right. Logan wants to fight, but speculates that Maryse has bigger balls than her husband. Ciampa rushes in with a sneak attack on behalf of Miz. This is the worst wrestling segment I've seen in quite some time.

Backstage interview with the Street Profits, WWE Tag Team Champions The Usos, and special referee Jeff Jarrett, who will be calling their match at Summerslam. The Profits are planning on giving the Usos a Summerslam preview in the main event. They'd like to fight, but Jarrett tells them to shut up and keep the peace.

AJ Styles and Dolph Ziggler vs. Alpha Academy (Chad Gable and Otis)

Chad cuts a promo comparing AJ and Dolph to the New York Knicks, which are fighting words, and they take it to Gable in the early going. Styles wipes Gable out with a dive to send us to commercials. Back from break, Alpha Academy hit Styles with a double team back body drop. AJ flips over Otis to make the hot tag. Ziggler gets a lukewarm reaction and gets flattened by Otis. Gable hits a rolling German suplex on Ziggler. Gable misses a moonsault, and Dolph hits a superkick. Otis helps, but gets taken out by AJ's Pele kick. Zig Zag on Gable ends it at 7:29. Decent TV match that got swallowed whole by commercials, **.
Winners: Dolph Ziggler and AJ Styles

Bloodline (WWE World/Universal Champion Roman Reigns and WWE Tag Team Champions Jey and Jimmy Uso, with Paul Heyman) vs. Matt Riddle and Street Profits (Montez Ford and Angelo Dawkins)

Apparently, this is Roman's first Raw since Wrestlemania season, and he's been their champion since then too. Not sure how the Raw stars have kept busy in the meantime, but that's not my problem. Dawkins mixes it up with an Uso, and manages a dropkick for 1. Ford enters with a dropkick, and Dawkins slams him onto the Uso. The Usos trap Ford in their corner, and Roman gets some cheap shots in. Ford comes back with a dropkick and tags in Riddle for some stiff kicks. Riddle dumps the Usos for a dive from Ford to send us to commercials. Back from break, Riddle has found himself trapped as the face in peril. Roman makes a dramatic first tag and beats the snot out of Riddle. An Uso misses a corner splash and Ford gets a hot tag. Roman cuts Ford off with an ambush uranage. Ford takes a turn getting isolated in Bloodline's corner and even gets busted open. Back from another commercial, Bloodline is wearing Ford down to fill time. Ford hits a desperation lariat on Roman and Riddle gets another hot tag. I feel like I've typed "hot tag" a lot tonight. Riddle turns it up a notch with a springboard cannonball senton to outside. Roman tags himself in for a Superman punch on Riddle, but Ford breaks the pin. Ford takes out an Uso with a slingshot dive, but then gets wiped out by the other Uso. Dawkins tackles the Usos over the rails, but then Roman sends him into the steps. Riddle meets Roman in the ropes for a draping DDT! Riddle goes for the RKO, but Roman blocks and nails a spear to win at 19:25. With all the breaks, this felt much longer than 20 minutes. There was some good stuff here, with Ford looking heroic while losing blood, and Riddle teasing an upset, but this mostly felt like formulaic filler, **¾.
Winners: Bloodline

Seth Rollins shows up for a convenient attack on Riddle. He hits a curb stomp onto the ring steps, because he is eeeeeeeevil.

Final Thoughts: There was some good stuff here and there, more so than the last few times I've checked out Raw. I really enjoyed the opening segment with Roman being allowed to make thinly veiled Vince references. After that, we got one of my most hated booking tropes of a singles match that ends in interference to set up an instant tag match, which only serves to burn up TV time on a dumb 3 hour show that after 10 years, they STILL DO NOT KNOW HOW TO FILL. The Mysterios match was pretty good, the Miz stuff was dreadful. Overall, it's hard to recommend Raw, and if you're expecting change with Vince McMahon gone, you're going to have to wait.

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