Triple H and Stephanie McMahon opening Raw with a promo is really nothing new. What was new was that this was an even bigger waste of time than normal. They literally just ran down some of the SummerSlam card, while announcing like three things for tonight. It's basically like they had 15 minutes to fill and just said, let's go do a SummerSlan infomercial. This led straight into our opener, which pit Randy Orton and Cesaro against Kevin Owens and Sheamus. A fine idea and a relatively fine match but Orton just pins Sheamus with an RKO. Okay. So why should there even be an Orton/Sheamus match at SummerSlam? This should have ended via disqualification or something to not give away a potential SummerSlam finish. That's just poor booking.
They hype an "Undertaker Speaks" segment, but he can't be arsed to come out so it's a backstage one. The promo itself was fine, but man, he looks pretty horrible in his current state. In another example of "there's no reason to watch Smackdown", Roman Reigns faced Luke Harper in a rematch. They were given a fair amount of time and worked through the commercial. Dean Ambrose was alright on commentary, and he took Byron Saxton's chair to give to Bray Wyatt, but he didn't join them. Byron being forced to stand during parts of Raw is becoming a cool running joke. Reigns rallied to overcome the odds and won. Similar to the opener, you now just gave away another pinfall between two guys facing off at the PPV.
With hour two now beginning, it was time for another match in the Divas rivalry. The Bexcellent (yea, I did that) Becky Lynch took on the atrocious Tamina Snuka. It's like, Tamina was only kind of bad and then she got hurt, only to return as one of the absolute worst girls on the roster. I appreciate that they kept it short since Tamina is so bad. Becky made her tap out to win her first singles Raw match. I like that Becky is getting more shine because she's been used less than Charlotte or Sasha Banks so far. For the third or so straight week, Rusev took on Mark Henry next. Rusev won again and Lana, who was on commentary, entered the ring and challenged Summer Rae to fight. She bitch slapped her before calling Rusev in. This led to Dolph Ziggler's return, which the crowd popped for. We also saw Lana bust out a high kick on Summer. Dolph kicked Rusev as well, sending them packing. After a commercial, he challenged Rusev for SummerSlam. Overall, this was a good segment. The crowd reacted better than expected for Dolph, Lana's kick looked good and Rusev continued to be good at everything.
We get told that ESPN is going to broadcast SportsCenter live from the Barclays Center on Sunday, hosted by the Coach. That's kind of cool. Ryback faced Miz in a non-title match, while Big Show was on commentary. They hyped a straight to DVD film that Show has coming out so Miz wisely attacked his acting career on the stick. Show was fine on commentary, but Ryback pretty much destroyed Miz easily. This has been the story for a while now, so why should he even be in the Intercontinental Title match on Sunday. Lazy booking again. Ryback should have squashed someone not on the SummerSlam card, while Miz and Show argued on commentary. Moving on to start hour three, John Cena and Seth Rollins did their contract signing. Seth comes out first and kills on the mic. He says that Cena isn't Superman, he's a villain holding the WWE hostage for a decade. Just excellent stuff. Cena came out and, while I'm glad he wasn't joking around like he normally does, he completely shit on Seth. He called out everything about his title reign and basically said that if Seth doesn't win on Sunday, then he's a joke who doesn't matter. I honestly hate that because now, if Cena wins, Seth does indeed look like a joke. Also, if Cena wins, does it matter? He just called his opponent a joke, so it's a hollow win. I've come to enjoy a fair amount of Cena's work, but his promos still give me issues, especially when he does something like this.
An eight man tag followed, involving the teams in the Tag Title match at SummerSlam. New Day was the only team to get an entrance and they cut a fun little promo. The focus wasn't on the match and was more on El Torito and Xavier Woods at ringside. Kalisto won for his team & the PTP with a rana on a Matador. This was very blah. An excellent video package aired to hype the Stephen Amell/Neville vs. Barrett/Stardust match. Stardust and Barrett cut a promo in the back, where Stardust gave Barrett a "cosmic cape". Stardust is fantastic in this role. Our main event followed as it was Champion vs. Champion, when Sasha Banks faced Nikki Bella, even though Sasha never wears her belt. This should have been promoted much better and made to be a big deal. A match like this would be MASSIVE on NXT because it would be built right. In a decent but disappointing match, Sasha made Nikki tap out. I marked out and while it's a big win, it could have meant so much more if it was handled properly.
Paul Heyman introduced Brock Lesnar for his homecoming and hyped the match for Sunday. Brock gets a massive pop and then Heyman starts singing, which was all kinds of awesome. Unlike Cena earlier, Heyman's promo is masterful at putting over both Undertaker and Brock. Taker appears and kicked Brock in the balls again. I hope he understands that if he does that at SummerSlam, he'll get disqualified. This was basically a repeat of Battleground. I didn't care for it then and I don't care for it now. The fans booed Undertaker hard in the final segment. All in all, this episode felt like it was just there. I didn't really get hyped for SummerSlam, the booking was lazy and the close to the show was disappointing. There was so much more that could have been done with this episode. 4.5/10.