This Sunday at SummerSlam, once the fanfare has erupted and host Jon Stewart has kicked off the proceedings, Cesaro will fight Kevin Owens and Sheamus will go toe-to-toewith Randy Orton. But that’s Sunday. On Monday, with The Biggest Party of the Summer approaching and tensions thickening, The Viper & The Swiss Superman united to face the nefarious team of Mr. Money in the Bank and the former NXT Champion Owens to kick off Raw. For the majority of the contest, the two sets of opponents spent their time feeling each other out and getting in some last-minute scouting before Sunday. It ended in a four-way fracas, with Cesaro pounding Sheamus to and fro until Orton tagged in to finish the job. A last-minute bum-rush by Owens went nowhere when Cesaro ran interference, and an RKO to The Celtic Warrior put the match to rest.
Hit Roman Reigns’ brother with a discus clothesline and there’ll be hell to pay. That’s what Luke Harper discovered in his bout against The Big Dog — a match that ended in painfully opposite fashion than both “The Prodigal Son’s” tilt with Dean Ambrose on last week’s Raw and his initial rumble with Reigns on SmackDown. Whereas that match ended in mayhem thanks to an interfering Ambrose and Bray Wyatt, the Reigns-Harper “prelude to a war” unfolded without incident thanks to Ambrose’s watchful eye on The Eater of Worlds. That left Harper free to run rampant over The Big Dog with a Michinoku Driver, a molar-obliterating boot to the face and a bevy of superkicks that would have put a lesser man in the ground. But Reigns came through when it counted, cutting the big man’s discus clothesline off with a Superman Punch and ricocheting straight into a Spear for the win. The prelude is over. Now comes the war.
Lasses and arses were kicked in equal measure when Becky Lynch stepped into the ring in singles action for the first time on Raw, repping PCB against Team B.A.D.’s resident enforcer, Tamina. Even though the Irish spitfire from NXT seemed to be headed for an unenviable ending when Tamina unleashed her power offense against her in the form of a spinning uranagi, Becky stayed smart and kept moving, allowing the powerhouse Diva to punch herself out. When Tamina went to her well one too many times and attempted the uranagi again, Lynch used Tamina’s own momentum against her, taking her to the mat with a crucifix rollup and floating over seamlessly into the Dis-arm-her. Call her the “Lass Tapper.”
Fool Lana once, shame on you. Fool her twice, and Dolph Ziggler comes out to put a long-awaited whuppin’ on Rusev for fooling her in the first place. The Bulgarian Brute had just defeated a game Mark Henry in a contest that, much like last week’s, featured Lana observing on commentary and an altercation between Lana and Summer Rae. The Ravishing Russian even called out Rusev after dispatching Summer. Unlike last week, however, Ziggler was in the house. And with Rusev out in the open, The Showoff hit the ring to defend his lady love’s honor and avenge his own injury. Even with Rusev using Summer Rae as a human shield, the happy couple dispatched their tormentors with a pair of kicks — a roundhouse from Lana to Summer and a superkick from Ziggler to Rusev — and sealed it with a kiss. Just one more thing to make the comeback complete.
Ryback’s back, and The Miz is lunch meat just six days before he and Big Show mount an attempt to take The Big Guy’s Intercontinental Title in a Triple Threat Match at SummerSlam. In what amounted to an appetizer for The Human Wrecking Ball, the champion squared off against the self-dubbed “A-lister” Miz in a non-title bout on Raw and made quick work of his foe, reversing a crossbody into Shell Shocked. He then dared Big Show to step up from his spot at commentary. The giant declined, claiming Ryback doesn’t know what he’s asking for. On Sunday, he’ll find out.
The Champ is … here! After two weeks of “U Can’t See Knee” jokes, John Cena returned to Raw, nose intact, new shirt over his shoulders and pen in hand to sign the contract for his Winner Take All Match against WWE World Heavyweight Champion Seth Rollins. And Cena came back not a moment too soon, storming the signing after Rollins labeled him a “disease.” A focused Cena declined a seat at the signing table, instead dictating his mission statement to Rollins and Triple H. He would take Rollins’ title, tie Ric Flair’s record, and upend the legacies of both The Game and The Architect in the process.
Just because the various contenders to The Prime Time Players’ Tag Team Titles have all been assembled, doesn’t mean all four of the teams involved in SummerSlam’s Fatal 4-Way for the twin titles can’t beat each other up beforehand on Raw. Luckily, none of the teams should be suffering any lingering physical maladies before the big night, as the contest disintegrated into madness very quickly when Xavier Woods of The New Day got into an altercation with El Torito. The New Day–Los Matadores alliance went to pieces soon after and Titus O’Neil, who’d just taken a Backstabber, was free to tag in Kalisto to seal the deal in immediate fashion.
If the line in the Divas division forms behind the champion, then Sasha Banks just jumped to the front. In a tilt between The Boss and Nikki Bella, it was the NXT Champion who proved herself the superior competitor, although she had help from Team B.A.D. in the upset that left the Divas’ queen tapping for mercy on the mat. The interference came on the heels of what had largely been an even affair between Bella and Banks, though Nikki had taken Sasha’s best shots and lifted her into position for the Rack Attack. Naomi sprang up on the apron to distract the official and The Boss took advantage, wrestling Nikki into the Bank Statement to submit the champion in singles combat. Legit.
Brock Lesnar came home on Raw, and found an unwelcome house guest waiting for him when he did. What began as an emotional — or as emotional as it gets with Brock Lesnar — return to The Beast Incarnate’s stomping grounds, complete with confetti, streamers and a singing Paul Heyman was cut short by The Undertaker’s gong. The tolling turned to be a fake-out, which spurred Heyman onto his pulpit for one final oration going into SummerSlam. When The Deadman’s bell rang out again, however,The Last Outlaw appeared in the flesh, low-blowing Lesnar and striking him down with a Chokeslam and Tombstone before making his exit. Next stop, Brooklyn. Undertaker vs. Lesnar. Who ya got?