Raw made its final pitch for their portion of the SummerSlam card. How did the WWE do?
For the final time before SummerSlam, Monday Night Raw had the opportunity to sell its marquee pay-per-view. With Brock Lesnar advertised, it was shaped up to be a solid episode, putting the final touches on the Raw side of the SummersSlam card.
This edition of Raw saw a new match get added to the card, while some bad blood was added into all the main feuds. The main title picture saw the Demon King make his WWE television debut, and Roman Reigns and Rusev’s feud took another step last night as well.
The opening segment
Rusev opened up the show in the ring, alongside Lana. The current United States Champion was not happy, looking for revenge for last week’s altercation with Roman Reigns. It was Mick Foley, not the number one contender, meeting him in the ring, and Foley tried his best to get Rusev to the back. Rusev demanded he get respect, and wanted Stephanie McMahon to come out. To the surprise of many, the commissioner of Raw did show up and supported Foley 100 percent. She added that Rusev needed to give Foley respect.
That did not go over well with the champion, who snapped before Reigns came out to cut a promo. After a back and forth, Rusev said he wanted to defend his wife’s honor, and Foley connected with that. He said that while they will have their title match at SummerSlam, they will have a match tonight on Raw.
First, we had to go back to the Authority segments to open the show? There was a referee in the ring with Rusev and he was talking about taking over the show and not allowing Raw to go on. The thought of Rusev kicking security guards and not letting Raw start until Reigns came out would have been so much better. Have Rusev take out some guards and some jobbers (looking at you, Sin Cara) before Reigns comes out; they can brawl. The show could’ve had a “chaos” like feel to it. And it wouldn’t have had that stupid main event match set up, which we’ll get to later.
The Demon King arrives on Raw
Oh what a mistake this was. Since the ‘new, new era’ began, there has been a lot to re-book about Raw. None of it would enter the category of being a mistake. Those things weren’t good, and needed fixing, but none of them were considered a mistake.
The decision to put the Demon Finn Balor on Raw was a mistake.
The Demon King version of Finn Balor came out to confront Seth Rollins before their WWE Universal Title Match on Sunday. The idea of this, I guess, was to sell the idea of the Demon for Sunday’s match, but doing so changed exactly what the Demon was supposed to be about.
The Demon character didn’t appear on random episodes of NXT. He showed up for the big fights, and those big moments. Instead, the WWE could have aired a package of the Demon that was taped, showing off that side of Balor and what the Demon could bring to the table. Then Balor could have appeared at the top of the ramp, as himself and a stare down/brawl could ensue, hyping the match. Keeping the Demon King off of television for as long as possible would have been better for Balor’s character long-term.
Reigns vs. Rusev
I really don’t know what to say here. When this match started, I thought they were going to find a way to get out of it with a brawl that led to a tag match of some kind. Something that kept Reigns and Rusev from fighting before their big title match on Sunday. After their little brawl, the match went on and they had a 20 minute non-title television match. That’s right, Rusev and Reigns fought for 20 minutes on the Raw before SummerSlam.
On top of that, Reigns beat Rusev clean in the ring, giving away the probable finish for Sunday. What else is there left for them to do on Sunday? They surely aren’t getting more than 20 minutes then, right? Very easily, the locker room could have cleared, including superstars that are in feuds for Sunday, setting up a tag match. Sheamus and Rusev vs. Reigns and Cesaro would have made sense kayfabe wise after last week. Finn and Seth who were fresh, they could have been in the mix. There were options instead of giving away a finish and a whole match just six days before the pay-per-view.
It had a very Sheamus/Reigns TLC feel from the go-home Raw to that pay-per-view in December.