This Week in WWE (8/6, 8/7): Ronda's star shines in the main event of RAW

The road to SummerSlam is nearing its end! Rob and Chris are here to dish on the first episodes of Raw and SmackDown Live of August. 

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Christopher Novak: An “intriguing” show awaits us tonight. Ronda’s in singles action on Raw for the first time ever, as she’s facing Alicia Fox. Also, The Revival is facing the B-Team in a non-title match, Bobby Roode will take on Mojo Rawley and Boss ‘n Hug faces The Riott Squad once more.

Robert O’Neill: Will it keep me entertained to the point where I don’t go watch Better Call Saul after the first hour and catch up later on DVR? We’ll see!

Christopher Novak: Kurt Angle and Stephanie McMahon’s Personally Appointed Constable Corbin are starting off the show tonight after last week’s chaotic finish. Kurt talks about how Ronda's RAW in-ring debut is tonight, and takes a shot at Brock Lesnar in the process. He says Ronda and everyone except Brock is a champion in his book. Corbin tells Kurt to watch it, but Kurt says he's getting this off his chest. He says Brock has no class and that he's a man of his word. Since Heyman could get him to the ring, his job is still intact.

He mentions that Heyman will be interviewed by Renee Young later. He goes to add on to what he was going to say about Brock, but Roman Reigns' music hits and out comes the #1 contender. Roman says Kurt should've known better, and says he shouldn't have kicked him out, because "If the Big Dog is out, then who's gonna protect the yard?" Corbin makes a face, but Roman questions him about what he did last week. He says Corbin ran (which he did!) away. Kurt says he hopes that Roman kicks Brock's ass. Corbin says a GM shouldn't pick favorites, which begs the question: Do you WATCH the product, Baron? 

Baron says he didn't do anything because he was worn out from fighting Finn Balor. Corbin reminds Roman that Finn won the Universal Title and that Roman didn't. Kurt says he could've acted like a man last week. Baron questions whether Kurt is the "man" here and says he just makes matches. Kurt says Corbin's right, he just makes the matches, and says that we're going to get Corbin vs. Roman... right now! 

Robert O’Neill: It really is amazing how much this gimmick change has worked for Corbin. He’s so excellent now.

Christopher Novak: The match, so far, is going about as you'd expect it to. Which is to say that it's pretty solid enough to keep our attention here. Huge Deep Six towards the conclusion of the match leads to a near fall. Corbin then inadvertently nails a cameraman and walks into a Superman Punch. NEAR FALL, however. Corbin then decides to leave the ring and walk away… until FINN BALOR shows up! He, essentially, corners Corbin who walks into ANOTHER Superman Punch! Roman rolls him into the ring, Spear, you know the rest.

Robert O’Neill: I enjoyed it. Reigns’ TV matches are back to where they used to be a couple months ago after he was kinda meh for a few weeks.

Christopher Novak: Yeah, the match was perfectly fine. 

Kurt Angle is backstage with Seth Rollins, who wants to take care of both Drew Mac and Dolph Ziggler. Angle requests he find a partner… Gee, I wonder… who he… could pick… to help… him… out…

Mojo Rawley and Bobby Roode are here to fight now.

Robert O’NeIll: Bob got the win. It was an alright match I just… don’t care about him, ya know? It’s not his fault. They’ve just done nothing to make him interesting him his time in the main roster. It’s all just the music.

Hey, it’s Elias! Perhaps he’ll get to play his music uninterrupted for once.

He did for a little bit! But now Bob Lashley is here, of course. Elias has his own camera crew because he’s a star now, and he’s not happy that Bob is stealing his spotlight. Bob gets the upper hand though as he beats Elias down and makes the personal camera crew film it. 

Christopher Novak: I suspect we’ll get a SummerSlam match announced out of this at some point down the road.

Robert O’Neill: So Seth Rollins needs a tag team partner tonight against Drew and Dolph! Tyler Breeze offered (and pitched the name CROSSFIT BREEZUS) but Roman stepped in and said he’d be the partner instead!

Meanwhile Titus O’Neil is facing Rezar, and Rezar authored some pain. No surprise there.

Christopher Novak: None whatsoever. AOP gets their dose of “revenge” after what happened last week when Akam lost to Apollo Crews. Anyhow, The Kevin Owens Show is about to return. Jinder Mahal is the guest. Let’s see what happens!

So, what happened was Owens talking himself up, how he’s going to be “KO IN THE BANK” and then saying Jinder is facing Strowman. Mahal didn’t seem to like that… and Strowman didn’t show. At FIRST at least. Turns out that Strowman was creeping up from behind and tipped over the stage they were on.

Braun vs. Jinder will occur after the break. It was a short match, and Jinder won by DQ. Jinder didn't seem like he MEANT for that to happen and, naturally, Braun went after him. Sunil Singh then took the briefcase and... ummmmmmmmm he got BOOTED to Gainesville. 

Robert O’Neill: They did a pre-taped interview between Roman Reigns and Corey Graves. Later they have an interview between Renee Young and Paul Heyman. Neat.

Christopher Novak: The video package was REALLY good. But that’s par for the course.

Robert O’Neill: According to Stephanie McMahon via Baron Corbin, Roman can’t team with Seth, so the tag match is now a handicap match. Or is it…

Christopher Novak: Before we find out, let me just say: Roman punching Corbin in the ribs was absolutely hilarious.

Robert O’Neill: So it goes on as a handicap match and Dolph and Drew win and… no one saves Rollins. Thought it would be Ambrose, but no.

Christopher Novak: Well, Cole DID explicitly say that Ambrose wasn’t coming back. I guess they did mean that and they weren’t trying to pull a fast one on us.

Robert O’Neill: The B-Team has new music and it’s excellent. And they’re facing The Revival! Neat. After a few minutes, Deleters of Worlds beat down all four guys. The tag division is still kinda just there. 

Christopher Novak: No idea what they do with this situation except putting the belts on Revival and letting them cook after. Besides that? Don’t even have a clue.

Robert O’Neill: Renee interviews Paul Heyman, who brings some real good emotion as to why he doesn’t know what Brock Lesnar is thinking and how violent he’s been. Good stuff.

Chris Novak: Heyman has turned it up a notch recently and isn’t giving the same old promo every week. I’ll commend him for that.

Robert O’Neill: Bayley and Sasha are teaming up again against the Riott Squad. And as Bayley and Sasha get some momentum rolling, someone pulls Liv Morgan out of the ring to safety, and it’s Ruby Riott! And in the midst of this distraction, Sarah Logan rolls Sasha Banks up for the victory.

Christopher Novak: That is definitely one way of making things Even Steven between the two. Hoping this means a match at SummerSlam - whether it’s on the Kickoff Show or the main card.

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Robert O’Neill: Time for our main event! Alicia Fox vs. Ronda Rousey. This isn’t gonna go well for Alicia.

Christopher Novak: No they… are… definitely setting things up for Alicia to get massacred. Although so far… Alicia is holding her own. That is until Ronda gave her THAT GLARE. She threw Fox down a few times and eventually made her tap out. Ronda then was nearly attacked by Alexa, but she threw her out of the ring. She then said it didn’t matter what Alexa did, because at SummerSlam, the Women’s Championship belongs to her.

Robert O’Neill: That was a really good way to end the show. Ronda’s a star.

GRADES

Robert O’Neill: Ya know, that was a fine show. I was entertained for the entire three hours and didn’t really find much to complain about. I mean, Roode/Mojo wasn’t my cup of tea and I think the Elias/Lashley stuff was unnecessary but all in all it was a fine show. B-

Christopher Novak: Like most Raws lately, the good stuff was pretty good; the stuff in the middle lied in the middle; and the forgettable stuff was quite forgettable. This Raw was just... kind of there. I'll give it a C+/B-. Nothing inoffensive, but nothing out of this world, either.

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Christopher Novak: And we’re off! Fun show on the horizon here. New Day vs. The Bar will go down to see who faces The Bludgeon Bros. at SummerSlam. Also, Becky Lynch & Charlotte will try to coexist against the IIconics, AND we’re hearing from AJ Styles and Randy Orton. Speaking of Orton, he’s kicking off the show. He got a mega pop from the Orlando crowd which… sure, I suppose that makes sense, even if he IS playing as the villain.

Orton says he’s going to become so violent, you will want to change the channel. He, however, says they won’t change the channel because the people still believe in superheroes, like Jeff Hardy, to save the day. But according to Orton, he won’t. Orton says he will erase all the superstars that get more respect than him. I didn’t realize that Orton was starring in a remake of The Eraser. Eat your heart out, Arnold Schwarzenegger. He then starts to go and list all of his accomplishments, and says nobody respects him even with all that said.

He says everyone has made their choice and so has he.

Robert O’Neill: Randy Orton is bad. That’s my contribution. Meanwhile Becky and Charlotte are backstage having a discussion about their tag team match against the IIconics tonight and Becky isn’t thrilled with Charlotte, but Charlotte tells her it’s fine. But is it?

I guess it is! Because Becky and Charlotte got a win and looked cohesive.

Christopher Novak: That is not the result I expected but it’s the result we were given.

Kofi did a hilarious impersonation of an interviewer with Big E and Xavier. The New Day are still damn good. This is an evergreen statement.

AJ Styles is here now to respond to Samoa Joe’s comments last week, and Styles says Joe made it personal when talking about his family. Styles says he wants to be one of the best WWE superstars for his family, and while it doesn’t make him special because all parents make sacrifices, it’s what he’s supposed to do. He says he wants to be there for his kids when they’re in peril, but it’s what angers him the most.

He points out that Joe knows his kids and his parents, and calls back to a time before SmackDown Live, the two of them shared an apartment. But he threw it away because he mentioned the family name. He says he won’t let Joe get his hands on this title, and at SummerSlam, he’s not walking out as WWE Champion, and in fact, he’ll be lucky to walk out at all.

Robert O’Neill: That was some unsurprisingly excellent promo work. I’m really quite excited for this feud to continue.

Time for the Zelina/Lana rematch!

Zelina picks up yet another win after Aiden English tries to help Rusev with Almas on the outside, and inadvertently knocks Lana off the top rope. Seems like trouble in paradise for Rusev Day.

R-Truth wants a shot at Shinsuke Nakamura at Summerslam, and says he’s going to do it the same way everyone gets a shot -- by pinning Carmella! That was hilarious. Anyway, he’ll face Shinsuke later.

Miz is doing an interview “from the set of Miz and Mrs.” in which he runs down all the reasons why Daniel Bryan is awful, but Bryan attacks him from behind! I’m beginning to think he wasn’t on the set of Miz and Mrs. after all!

Christopher Novak: Bryan got the upper-hand for a moment, but after trying to fend off some security guards, Miz smashed a plant pot over his head and walked out on his own two feet. Bryan, meanwhile, was left reeling. Miz cut a pretty sensational promo and this match will more than likely rule at SummerSlam. I'm here for it.

Robert O’Neill: Shinsuke beat R-Truth, so no title shot for Truth, but he was entertaining as always!

Christopher Novak: R-Truth is, absolutely, sensational to be honest. To be moving like that at 46 years old is a credit to him.

Robert O'Neill: The Bludgeon Brothers beat THREE local talents in a tag team handicap match!

Christopher Novak: I enjoyed the ribs on commentary during this match. It was hilarious.

Robert O'Neill: New Day and The Bar closed out the show (and the Smackdown #1 contender tag tournament) and holy cow it did not disappoint. They went for about 30 minutes and the New Day picked up the victory after a hell of a match. They’ll face the Bludgeon Brothers at Summerslam!

Christopher Novak: An absurdly good tag team match. Easy MOTYC and among the best TV matches we’ll see this year. Good Lord, tag team wrestling is fun when it’s THAT good.

GRADES

Christopher Novak: Enjoyed the show as usual. The tag team match at the end of the night makes me want to give this an A-, so I will. A couple other things here and there were okay but this show was great yet again. SmackDown Live continues to hit the right notes.

Robert O’Neill: Smackdown was excellent as usual! I think A- is right where I was with it as well. Excited to continue to see the Summerslam build.