The Big Takeaway —
Kevin Owens is the new WWE Universal Champion by winning the Fatal Four-way elimination match after HHH returned to Raw for the first time since March. HHH gave Roman Reigns a Pedigree on the floor, allowing Seth Rollins to pin him.
HHH acted like he was going to give Rollins a free path to the championship by also giving Owens a Pedigree, but instead HHH turned on Rollins and gave him a Pedigree, setting up Owens for the pin. The place went crazy for Owens winning. Mick Foley and Stephanie McMahon, who earlier said everyone from ringside would be barred from the main event, were shocked to see HHH back and didn’t appear happy with him afterwards. It was the only thing of note on the show.
Show Recap —
The show was dedicated to the memory of Mr. Fuji.
Corey Graves opened the show in the ring with the Fatal Four-way participants seated in the ring on stools. Reigns got booked beyond belief when he appeared on the TitanTron. Rollins said if it wasn’t for what he did to Balor, none of them would be out there right now. Rollins said he was the favorite to win the Universal Championship tonight, and he felt benevolent tonight and wanted to donate the time he had to speak to Owens.
Owens complimented Graves for his show on the WWE Network, “Culture Shock,” because it helps him sleep. Fans chanted “Fight Owens Fight.” Owens thought Graves wanted everyone to be nice to each other like it was a group therapy session, and with Sami Zayn out of the picture he can focus on the Universal Championship. He said he’s a prize fighter and tonight the prize is as high as it gets. Owens said Reigns fights hard, but he fights smart. As for Big Cass, Owens says he’s just really tall. Owens was surprised that Cass could talk for himself because he thought Enzo Amore pulled a string out of Cass’ back and then Cass started speaking.
Cass wondered if Chris Jericho gave Owens that line. Cass said he knew where he stood because he’s the new guy on Raw. But that means he has nothing to lose. No one expects him to win. Rollins joked even Enzo betted against Cass. Cass said he’s not the underdog, he’s the biggest dog in this fight. Fans booed that line. Cass said contrary to what Rollins has thought over the last few years, size does matter.
Rollins said the match was elimination rules. He vowed to send Cass and Owens packing. If it came down to Rollins vs. Reigns, there are three certainties in life: death, taxes and Rollins beating Reigns every single time.
Rollins ordered Graves to ask Reigns how he will win tonight. Reigns got up and slapped Owens. That led to a brawl. Reigns threw Rollins down. Cass and Reigns had a stareoff, but Rollins kneed Reigns in the back, and Reigns collided with Cass. Reigns recovered to throw Cass out of the ring and delivered a Superman Punch to Rollins as the fans continued to jeer.
Michael Cole announced that Stephanie McMahon has ordered Paul Heyman to address Brock Lesnar’s actions at SummerSlam tonight.
Jericho did a standup interview with Tom Phillips before a match with Neville. Jericho said Neville was like Mighty Mouse and asked “Phil” what Neville was going to get. Phillips said “It.” Jericho said Neville wasn’t going to get “it” because that made no sense. He said Neville was going to get the drink of Jericho, “drink it in, man.”
Chris Jericho defeated Neville by submission (10:50)
Jericho won with the Walls of Jericho for the tapout. Neville attempted the Red Arrow but Jericho rolled out of the way. Then Neville tried to counter with a hurricanrana, but Jericho countered for the finish. Neville constantly found counters to Jericho’s trademark smarks throughout the match. Neville hit a standing shooting star press, then followed with a Asai Moonsault after Jericho rolled out of the ring.
Bayley wandered around backstage hugging various people. She ran across the New Day, who were happy to see her. Dana Brooke walked in and said Bayley was being unprofessional and said she didn’t belong her. Big E. spoke up and reminded Bayley beat Brooke last week.
Brooke said she had been talking to Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson lately. Kofi Kingston spoke up and said to bring on the negative Nancy’s. Brooke says she’ll bring them, but Bayley spoke up and said it’s already been brought, a line from the movie “Bring it On.” New Day hoisted Bayley on their shoulders.
They acknowledged the Rock as being the top-grossing movie star in the world.
Nia Jax defeated Ion (1:17)
Nia Jax won with the fireman’s carry into a powerslam. Andrea D’Marco did an interview with Ion where it sounded like they were reciting a script one syllable at a time. Just another squash.
Gallows and Anderson did a promo saying they were once doctors, but they’re now in the retirement business. They run an organization whose acronym spells out “OLD FART.” They showed highlights of their destruction of the Dudley Boyz last week, and said Bubba Ray and Devon were now enjoying like ping-pong and Matlock reruns. They introduced the retirement center’s new nurse, Dana Brooke, who walked in and put on rubber gloves. This set up a trios mixed tag team match later.
Sami Zayn defeated Jinder Mahal (3:06)
Zayn won with the Helluva Kick. Jinder Mahal got some offense because Zayn continued to sell his ankle that was “injured” in his match with Rollins last week.
Charlotte was at the commentator’s table. They showed footage of Lita interviewing Sasha Banks about her back injury. Banks called Charlotte a coward and accused her of trying to end her career, but now Banks was more focused than ever on getting her belt back and she was coming back better than ever.
Bayley, Kofi Kingston and Big E. defeated Luke Gallows, Karl Anderson and Dana Brooke (13:27)
Bayley pinned Brooke with the Bayley-to-belly. Kingston got the heat and set up the hot tag to Big E., but Anderson pulled Big E. off the apron. It broke into a six-way brawl where Kingston did a flip tope on Gallows that almost missed him completely. Bayley got to do the Unicorn Stampede spot, then danced with Big E. and Kingston while Xavier Woods played the trombone. Brooke specialized in taking bumps long before Bayley had even started reaching for her. Bayley motioned to Charlotte that she wanted a title shot after getting the win.
Cesaro did an interview about the second match of the best-of-seven series with Sheamus. He said he didn’t like Sheamus, Phillips didn’t like Sheamus, and no one liked Sheamus. Tonight, he was going to spin him around and around.
The company congratulated Fifth Harmony for winning two MTV Video Music Awards last night. At WrestleMania, they performed “America, the Beautiful.”
They did a promo piece on Cass saying how all the work he’s put into his career was work it because he made it to the WWE. He said he feels jacked up when he’s in front of the fans, like he could run through a brick wall.
Sheamus did an interview running down Cesaro saying he’s never done the things he’s done, like win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship or star in a top-grossing movie. He said Cesaro has spent his whole life trying to become a WWE champion but failed, and how is he going to feel in the end when he fails?
Sheamus defeated Cesaro by submission to take a 2-0 lead in their best-of-seven series. (11:12)
Cesaro did the Kazuchika Okada dropkick where Sheamus fell to the floor off the top rope. Sheamus ran for an uppercut on the floor, but Sheamus backdropped Cesaro into the post. Sheamus rolled Cesaro back into the ring and clamped on the Cloverleaf for the quick tapout. Things got interesting after Cesaro hit the springboard spinning uppercut after Cesaro ducked the Brogue Kick. Cesaro went for the Giant Swing, Sheamus made the ropes, so Cesaro used a pull-out power bomb for a two count.
Cole introduced a tribute video to Harry Fujiwara. They mentioned his various managerial exploits, saying he was perhaps best known as the manager of Yokozuna. Of course, no Fuji tribute video would be complete without an excerpt of “Fuji Vice.” There was also highlights from “Fuji Hospital,” where Don Muraco couldn’t keep a straight face while Fuji recited his lines. Very nice tribute.
The weekly Strowman squash match was with Americo, a Luchador. When Byron Saxton asked him why he was taking the match, Americo started to answer. Then Strowman’s music started and Americo was stunned into silence. Cole said he looked like Max Moon.
Braun Strowman defeated Americo (:56)
Strowman pinned Americo with a Manhattan Drop, then unmasked Americo, which actually got some heat.
Stephanie came out to address the SummerSlam situation with Heyman. Stephanie said she didn’t take any glee on what happened to her brother Shane at SummerSlam even though they’re in competition with each other. Heyman interrupted her. Stephanie ordered him to get in the ring and apologize.
Fans chanted “ECW.” Stephanie took credit for that because she claimed to have purchased ECW in 2001. Heyman said Lesnar’s victory over Randy Orton was in fact a victory for Raw. But when Lesnar gave Shane an F-5, it was over the line. So Heyman wanted to pay his client’s $500 fine. Heyman pulled out a brickload of money and tried to pay off with $1 bills. Stephanie slapped the money out of his hands and wondered what value Heyman had to the company. Stephanie said there was a storm coming Heyman’s way.
Heyman said the storm was his client Brock Lesnar. Heyman said Lesnar put Stephanie in a compromising position with the Board of Directors, which Stephanie must answer to. Heyman said they put Stephanie in a compromising position with her father because Lesnar was the only fighter she had. Heyman said Stephanie was the only heir to the boardroom. He asked her to accept the fine and accept the apology. She said apology accepted. Heyman had a devlish look in his eyes. Cole said “Perhaps Mr. Heyman dodged a bullet.” The purpose of this segment was for Stephanie to make it clear that she has power over Heyman, but Heyman making it clear that Lesnar is her most prized client. I think.
They showed an update about Balor, including his shoulder surgery. He’s counting the days until he can return on Twitter.
They did a profile on Reigns, just as they did the other three participants in the main event. The noteworthy thing was Reigns was the only one who didn’t get any interview time in his video. It was comprised only of highlights from previous matches.
Darren Young defeated Titus O’Neil (4:01)
Darren Young won after Titus O’Neil got a near fall, then started arguing with the referee. Young hit a crucifix for the banana peel pin. O’Neil jumped Bob Backlund afterwards with a kick to the chest. O’Neil laid out Young and screamed “You both owe me!” Dead silence for all of this.
Mick Foley told Stephanie he should have been out there with her earlier. Stephanie said she can take care of herself. Foley shifted the subject to the main event and recommended that everyone be barred from ringside for the match. Stephanie agreed. Rollins walked in and said he felt like this would be his night and he wouldn’t let Stephanie down. Stephanie said she knew he wouldn’t and they hugged.
Owens eliminated Cass at 12:41 with the frog splash. There were several toe-to-toe showdowns between Cass and Reigns, the final one ending with Reigns hitting a backbreaker, but Cass using the Big Boot to send Reigns over the top rope. Cass also fell over the top rope and went to the floor hard. Rollins followed with a tope, but Owens dropped Rollins across the barricade. Then Reigns flew over the top rope with a tope onto Owens and Rollins, neither of whom made much of a catch.
Rollins eliminated Reigns at 23:48. The second segment of the match opened with Reigns hitting a Power Bomb on Rollins, who hit a superplex on Owens for the Tower of Doom spot. Owens kicked out at two. Rollins hit the Falcon Arrow on Reigns for another near fall. Later, Rollins went for the springboard knee, but Rollins caught him in mid-air with the Superman Punch, but Rollins kicked out. Rollins kicked Reigns, but Owens superkicked Rollins.
Owens gave Rollins the Cannonball. He attempted one on Reigns, but Reigns caught him with a Superman punch for a two count. Rollins went for a Pedigree on Reigns, but Reigns reversed it into a schoolboy cradle, then hit the one-armed power bomb for another great near fall. “This is Awesome” chants. Reigns hit another Superman Punch to Owens outside the ring, then a Spear to Rollins.
Then out of nowhere, HHH came out of the crowd and gave Reigns a Pedigree on the floor. Crowd erupted. HHH put Rollins back in the ring and Rollins pinned Reigns. Not counting his cameos in various promotional packages, this was HHH’s first Raw appearance since the WrestleMania go-home show.
Owens pinned Rollins to win the WWE Universal Championship at 25:03. HHH rolled a beaten-down Owens into the ring, making it appear that HHH wanted the Universal Championship on Rollins. HHH lifted Owens up, then turned to his right and kicked Rollins in the gut.
The place went crazy as HHH gave Rollins the Pedigree. A stunned Owens watched in disbelief as HHH ordered him to cover Rollins, which he did to win the championship to a monster babyface pop. Foley and Stephanie were shocked as HHH took the Universal Championship off Foley’s shoulder and gave it to Owens. HHH glared at Foley and Stephanie before he walked away. The show went off the air with the crowd chanting in unison “You deserve it.”