WWE Raw Recap: July 23, 2018
S26 episode 30 Aired on July 23, 2018

In a hard-fought Raw main event, Roman Reigns conquered Bobby Lashley, earning the right to challenge Brock Lesnar for the Universal Championship at SummerSlam. Can The Big Dog finally defeat The Beast Incarnate and bring Team Red’s premier title to his “yard”?

A historic announcement was promised, and a historic announcement was delivered. With almost the entire roster assembled atop the ramp, including the Cruiserweights and SmackDown LIVE Superstars — and with an intro from Mr. McMahon himself — Stephanie McMahon and Triple H took to the ring at the opening of Raw and made an announcement that marked the greatest leap forward yet in the Women's Evolution.

The Game beckoned the women to step forward and, after emphasizing the support from their male contemporaries and the WWE Universe, emotionally thanked them for “stealing the show” time and again. Upon taking the mic, Stephanie recapped the arc of the Women’s Evolution from its grassroots beginnings in the #GiveDivasAChance hashtag to its largest showcase yet.

Against all odds, The B-Team defeated “Woken” Matt Hardy & Bray Wyatt for the second time, this time in a defense of their Raw Tag Team Titles with a victory that represented the most definitive statement that their run has some legs in it yet. In fact, while The-B-Team’s magic continues to flourish, The Deleters of Worlds’ suffered an unusual glitch. (All this under the watchful eye of The Revival backstage, no less).

The challengers wisely centered their strategy around Bray Wyatt, who started the contest after being neutralized in their earlier loss. Hardy proved adept as a closer, dropping Curtis Axel with the Twist of Fate. But when interference from Bo Dallas brought Wyatt in to even the odds, Bo bounced Bray off the turnbuckle and straight into Hardy, who Axel rolled up in a crucifix pin for the 1-2-3. Though The Deleters seemed to offer a show of respect with a Woken O after the match, the gesture quickly turned hostile as Hardy took out Dallas with a Twist of Fate and Wyatt dispatched The Axe Man with Sister Abigail. Two things remain abundantly clear: The B-Team's reign is far from OVAH, and their business with the challengers might just be far from finished.

For months, Roman Reigns has called himself the uncrowned Universal Champion. Now, the throne is once again finally within his grasp. The Big Dog outlasted Bobby Lashley in a WWE Extreme Rules rematch to earn a Universal Championship Match against Brock Lesnar at SummerSlam, setting up the fourth one-on-one confrontation between the two since their first tussle at WrestleMania 31.

To get there, Reigns had to overcome a Superstar who convincingly defeated him just eight days ago and was well on his way to doing so again, thwarting Reigns’ strategy at every step and wearing him down in an attempt to neutralize The Big Dog’s more powerful maneuvers. Much like at WWE Extreme Rules, Reigns fought back to turn the fight into a war of attrition that could only be ended with a Spear, and like WWE Extreme Rules, Lashley landed the move first.

Unlike WWE Extreme Rules, however, Reigns kicked out, and Lashley quickly reset to line up a second Spear to put Reigns away. The Big Dog thwarted the move with a Superman Punch, and while Lashley was able to swat Roman away once as a last gasp, he was too drained to stop the Spear that followed and ended the bout. Reigns gave due credit to Lashley for a big fight with a handshake, but Lashley's goal will have to wait. Reigns is going to Brooklyn, and The Beast awaits.

In other action … Raw Tag Team Champions The B-Team def. “Woken” Matt Hardy & Bray Wyatt … Sasha Banks & Bayley def. Samantha Simon & Karen Lundy … Kevin Owens confronted Braun Strowman … Mickie James def. Natalya … Titus Worldwide confronted The Authors of Pain … Mojo Rawley def. Tyler Breeze … Seth Rollins & Finn Bálor def. Intercontinental Champion Dolph Ziggler & Drew McIntyre … and Ember Moon def. Liv Morgan.

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