Roman Reigns made his first appearance on WWE Monday Night Raw since he was handed a 30-day suspension for violating the WWE’s Wellness Policy last month. Since that time, Raw and SmackDown have become exclusive brands, with Stephanie McMahon and Mick Foley taking the reins of the Raw brand and drafting it’s exclusive roster at last week’s WWE Draft as part of SmackDown Live on Tuesday night. Reigns and Seth Rollins were unable to win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship from Dean Ambrose at WWE Battleground last night, so McMahon and Foley had to come up with something new for guys like Reigns and Rollins to set their sites on: the WWE Universal Championship.
Flying somewhat under the WWE radar since his huge win against Mark Hunt at UFC 200 — complete with a drug violation scandal with questions of doping and the use of anti-estrogen — Brock Lesnar was also drafted to Monday Night Raw. With Brock Lesnar vs. Randy Orton already scheduled for WWE SummerSlam 2016 next month, Orton took a shot at Lesnar on The Highlight Reel last night at WWE Battleground by dropping the line “no enhancements needed” when describing the effects of the RKO. Brock Lesnar returns to Monday Night Raw next week, August 1.
Members of the WWE Universe who have been keeping up with weekly episodes of WWE NXT were also looking forward to the Monday Night Raw debuts of Finn Bálor and Nia Jax, who were both selected by the red brand during the WWE Draft. Bálor is fresh off of programs with NXT Champion Samoa Joe and the ultra-hot Shinsuke Nakamura, and landed in the main event during his first appearance on Raw. Additionally, former NXT Women’s Champion Bayley was revealed as Sasha Banks’ tag team partner at Battleground last night against WWE Women’s Champion Charlotte and her protege Dana Brooke. While Bayley had her hands full with Nia Jax recently in NXT while trying to earn another shot at current NXT Women’s Champion Asuka, it is unclear how the “un-drafted” NXT Superstar will fit into the already-stacked WWE Women’s Division on Monday Night Raw — or whether she’s even a part of the roster yet.
WWE Monday Night Raw results
The following includes the results of all the matches and segments from WWE Raw on July 25. This is the first episode of Monday Night Raw to feature the exclusive roster drafted by Commissioner Stephanie McMahon and General Manager Mick Foley. This historic episode of Raw was taped live at the CONSOL Energy Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Monday Night Raw Pre-Show
While it was mentioned that the Raw and SmackDown pre-show will be airing live every Monday and Tuesday night on the WWE Network, not much of the content was essential this week. The show was mostly recaps of WWE Battleground and the WWE Draft. It was officially announced that Stephanie and Mick would be kicking off Raw, and Enzo and Big Cass were interviewed by the Pre-Show panel (Scott Standord, Lita and Jerry Lawler) via Skype.
WWE Raw started off with a new intro video, complete with WWE Superstars exclusive to the Raw brand and a new theme song to go with the new logo. The show was introduced by the new Monday Night Raw commentary team, Michael Cole, Byron Saxton and Corey Graves. The newly-named Commissioner Stephanie McMahon was accompanied by new General Manager Mick Foley to kick off the new era of Raw. Foley introduced the newly-exclusive Monday Night Raw roster, who gathered at the top of the ramp. Conspicuous by her absence was Bayley, who apparently isn’t considered a full-time Raw competitor just yet.
Stephanie blamed Roman Reigns for not winning the WWE World Heavyweight Champion at Battleground, claiming that Seth Rollins “had it in the bag” for Raw before Reigns screwed it up. Foley then announced that tonight’s episode of Raw would feature two Fatal 4-Way Matches that included Sami Zayn, Sheamus, Chris Jericho, Cesaro, Roman Reigns, Rusev, Kevin Owens and Finn Bálor. The winners of those two matches will face off in a singles match in the Raw main event. The winner of that match will go on to face Seth Rollins at WWE SummerSlam 2016 for a new WWE world title exclusive to the red brand: the WWE Universal Championship.
They also announced that WWE Women’s Champion Charlotte would be forced to defend her title against Sasha Banks on the first episode of Raw‘s new era.
Finn Bálor defeated Kevin Owens, Cesaro and Rusev — Fatal 4-Way Match
What better way for the WWE Universe to be introduced to Finn Balor’s in-ring skills that by putting him in a Fatal 4-Way with the like of such grapplers as Kevin Owens, Cesaro and Rusev? Having won this match full of NXT alumni, he advances to the main event during his first Raw appearance to face the winner of Roman Reigns vs. Sheamus vs. Chris Jericho vs. Sami Zayn.
Nia Jax defeated Britt Baker
In her own Monday Night Raw debut, Nia Jax made very short work of the completely unknown Britt Baker, delivering a second leg drop finisher when it clearly wasn’t necessary. It should be safe to assume that she’ll remain undefeated on the Raw roster until she challenges for the WWE Women’s Championship.
Roman Reigns defeated Sami Zayn, Chris Jericho and Sheamus — Fatal 4-Way Match
As he pinned Chris Jericho to advance to the main event, Roman Reigns received a fairly Cena-esque mixed response from the WWE Universe in Pittsburgh. While the idea of Finn Balor vs. Sami Zayn to determine Seth Rollins’ opponent for SummerSlam would make a lot of fans drool, the result of this match means there could be a Seth Rollins vs. Roman Reigns rematch in August.
The Club interrupted and attacked The New Day
In typical New Day fashion, the WWE Tag Team Champions celebrated breaking the record for the longest reign of said titles by announcing that Booty-O’s cereal would soon be available to consume as actual cereal. Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows cut the party short, showing that they can be a force of destruction without the presence of AJ Styles. It would seem that The New Day will defend their belts against The Bullet Club at SummerSlam.
Neville defeated “Mr. Irrelevant” Curtis Axel
Because he was the final selection of the WWE Draft, Curtis Axel is being given the same nickname as the NFL Draft’s final pick, “Mr. Irrelevant.” Having been introduced with his own music and unaccompanied by either Heath Slater or Bo Dallas, it would seem that the Social Outcasts have officially disbanded. Neville made short work of Mr. Perfect’s son in his return to action on Raw. Billed at 194 lbs, he could compete in the Cruiserweight Division once it has been implemented on Monday nights.
Sasha Banks defeated Charlotte — WWE Women’s Championship Match
In a spectacular match, Sasha Banks became the new face of the WWE Women’s Division. Banks pulled an old trick used by Eddie Guerrero to get Dana Brooke sent to the back, and was able to get Charlotte to tap out to the Bank Statement once she had her one-on-one. She was so emotional after the match that she was barely able to cut a promo when being interviewed in the ring.
Braun Strowman defeated James Ellsworth
Similar to Nia Jax’s squash match, Strowman made very quick work of this local talent, who was actually interviewed in the ring by Byron Saxton while the former member of The Wyatt Family made his way to the ring. With word on the street being that Vince is a big fan of Braun, it might not be long before he’s going after the WWE Universal Championship.
Enzo & Big Cass defeated The Shining Stars
This match was just one of several places that R-Truth and Goldust showed up trying to “catch ’em all,” and it provided a brief distraction that led to Cass connecting with a big boot for the win. Don’t be surprised if The Shining Stars face off against The Golden Truth next week on Raw.
Finn Bálor defeated Roman Reigns — WWE Universal Championship Qualifying Match
While there may not have been a Roman Reigns heel turn at WWE Battleground, Reigns has been buried in his first two matches since returning to in-ring action following his suspension. On Sunday night, he took the fall at the hands of Dean Ambrose. On Raw, he put over the main roster rookie, showing respect for the Irish superstar after the match. At SummerSlam, it will be Seth Rollins vs. Finn Bálor for the chance to become the first-ever WWE Universal Champion.
- Brock Lesnar will make his return to Monday Night Raw next week, presumably to address his match against Randy Orton at SummerSlam.
- It was announced that WWE World Heavyweight Champion Dean Ambrose will be a guest on the Stone Cold Podcast in two weeks.
- In a backstage segment, Bob Backlund and Darren Young confirmed that they are still trying to win the WWE Intercontinental Championship from The Miz, despite the fact that the current IC champ was drafted to SmackDown Live.
- Golden Truth were shown sporadically throughout the show in backstage segments trying to catch Pokémon on Goldust’s phone.
These WWE Raw results will be corroborated by WWE’s official Monday Night Raw page.
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- What’s Next For Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins & Bayley? [WWE News]
Updated WWE SummerSlam Card
WWE SummerSlam 2016 is set for Sunday, August 21. It will air exclusively on the WWE Network.
- Brock Lesnar vs. Randy Orton
- Seth Rollins vs. Finn Bálor — WWE Universal Championship Match
- The New Day vs. The Club — WWE Tag Team Championship Match (unconfirmed)
- Sasha Banks vs. Charlotte — WWE Women’s Championship Match (unconfirmed)
Unless otherwise noted, the matches above were confirmed on WWE’s official SummerSlam preview page.
Where To Watch
WWE Battleground 2016 can be streamed on-demand exclusively via the WWE Network. It originally aired live on Sunday, July 24. WWE SummerSlam 2016 will air exclusively on the WWE Network on August 21 and will also be available to stream on-demand immediately.
WWE Monday Night Raw airs live on the USA Network at 8/7c. Replays of WWE Raw aren’t made available on the WWE Network until several weeks after the original air date. However, a 90-minute version of Monday Night Raw is available to stream on-demand the following day with a Hulu Plus subscription.
[Image via WWE]