Six days away from Battleground and the WWE Universe was live for Monday Night Raw at the Philips Arena in Atlanta, Georgia.
Here’s how the go-home show went down:
Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman are out first to a massive pop from the live crowd. Heyman talks about Lesnar and his championship accomplishments in WWE and UFC – claiming that this Sunday, Lesnar will once again win the title. Seth Rollins and Kane interrupt Heyman’s speech. Rollins – upset about Lensar’s actions last week – states his intentions of burning Suplex City to the ground. Kane announces that a contract signing between Seth Rollins and Brock Lesnar will take place later in the night. (Are contract signings still necessary?)
Randy Orton and Ryback vs. Sheamus and Big Show
Plenty of strong action from Orton, Ryback, and Sheamus throughout this match while Big Show was just being Big Show. RKO from Sheamus followed by a top rope splash from Ryback and this one is over.
Match Winners: Randy Orton and Ryback
Match Rating: 6/10
Backstage: Seth Rollins and Kane discuss the upcoming contract signing. (Rollins seems worried)
Dean Ambrose vs. Bray Wyatt
Roman Reigns attacks Bray Wyatt – unleashing a physical assault until Wyatt uses his lantern as a weapon and escapes the onslaught of Reigns.
Match Result: No Contest
The Bella Twins are out with Alicia Fox. Nikki delivers a promo about her championship reign before being interrupted by Stephanie McMahon. Stephanie discusses the revolution of women in sports – stating that the Divas Division needs a change. Stephanie introduces Paige followed by Beck Lynch and Charlotte – who will join forces with Paige in her crusade against Team Bella. This brings out Naomi and Tamina who also want in on the action and Stephanie is not done with the Women of NXT because out next is the current NXT Women’s Champion, Sasha Banks – leading to a nine women brawl inside of the ring. The NXT Women put on a wrestling clinic and have already ignited a new flame on the main roster.
The New Day vs. Prime Time Players and Mark Henry
Decent tag team action with nothing overly spectacular. Mark Henry eventually scores the pinfall.
Match Winners: Prime Time Players and Mark Henry
Match Rating: 5/10
King Barrett vs. R-Truth
Quick match that would see R-Truth pick up the victory – once again declaring himself King following the match.
Match Winner: R-Truth
Match Rating: 3/10
-John Cena U.S. Open Challenge-
Rusev is out to accept this week along with his new lady, Summer Rae. Rusev blames his loss of the United States Championship on Lana. Before the match can get going, Kevin Owens comes out to instead accept the challenge which also brings out Cesaro to toss his name into the mix.
Kevin Owens vs. Cesaro vs. Rusev (Winner Will Face John Cena)
Three unique in-ring styles that clashed really well during this match of international superstardom. Owens would eventually walk out on the match (yelling about Sunday) and leaving Rusev and Cesaro to finish the bout one-on-one which would eventually go to Rusev.
Match Winner: Rusev
Match Rating: 8/10
John Cena (c) vs. Rusev (United States Championship)
Rusev – worn out from the Triple Threat match – manages to find the strength to put up a fight against John Cena. Rusev eventually locked in the Accolade but Kevin Owens interferes; costing Rusev the match.
Match Winner: Rusev via DQ
Match Rating: 5/10
The cast of Tough Enough are out on stage and Lita is back on Monday Night Raw to officially introduce the cast to the WWE Universe.
Satrdust cuts a strange promo prior to his match against Neville.
Stardust vs. Neville
Exciting contests between two quick competitors. Stardust steals a victory with a roll up and handful of tights.
Match Winner: Stardust
Match Rating: 6/10
Seth Rollins ensures the WWE Universe that he is not afraid of Brock Lesnar and that he will be responsible for the destruction of Suplex City ... Out comes The Beast and The Advocate. Paul Heyman talks about himself and the fans wanting to see someone get their hands on Seth Rollins. Heyman informs Rollins that this Sunday night he is going to get his ass kicked. Rollins and Lesnar sign the contract before Lesnar flips the table and discovers a hidden axe handle (presumably placed there for Rollins). Lesnar places the axe handle down on the table for Rollins to recover before unleashing his attack. Kane would eventually take Lesnar off his feet before assaulting The Beast with steel steps. However, Lesnar fights back; taking out Kane with an F-5 on the floor and smashing his ankle with the very steps Kane used moments earlier as a weapon.
Raw ends with Brock Lesnar holding the WWE World Heavyweight Championship in the middle of the ring; walking out of the Philips Arena as rightful conqueror before Seth Rollins takes to the mic to deliver a speech on how and why he will defeat Brock Lesnar. Before leaving the arena, Rollins takes out his frustrations on Kane who was laid out in pain outside the ring.
Brock Lesnar vs. Seth Rollins remains up in the air. WWE giving Lesnar the championship once again could be a long shot considering the number of dates Lesnar is scheduled to work. However, if Rollins retains on Sunday, there is little chance that he does so in a clean manner. The only logical victory for Rollins comes from dirty tactics.
Count on the rubber match between Kevin Owens and John Cena to make for another classic match. This has definitely been the best feud produced by WWE in recent memory. Kevin Owens winning the United States Championship this Sunday would be the ideal outcome.
Ryback has been looking good in the ring as of late – pleasant surprise.
R-Truth is funny despite the cheese factor.
Bray Wyatt and Roman Reigns has been the quiet background feud heading into Battleground. Expect a solid match to take place between these two men on Sunday.
Cesaro is exceptional inside of the squared-circle – a true natural.
The Women of NXT have finally arrived! This was the highlight of Raw (for me anyway and surely many others) as the Divas Division – if only for the night – felt as though it mattered again. Hopefully, going forward these three women (Charlotte, Lynch, and Banks) will help revolutionize the division.