WWE Raw Recap: July 8, 2019
S27 episode 28 Aired on July 8, 2019

By choosing Gary “The GOAT” Garbutt as Roman Reigns’ tag team partner, Shane McMahon and Drew McIntyre seemed to all but guarantee themselves a victory over The Big Dog just six nights before they face Reigns and The Undertaker in tag team action at WWE Extreme Rules. However, Reigns’ partner was more than he seemed. Find out how the former Universal Champion and a masked ally made a statement against “The Best in the World” and The Scottish Psychopath.

That’s two in a row for Seth Rollins & Becky Lynch, who powered past Andrade & Zelina Vega to earn their second consecutive Mixed Tag Team Match victory, teeing them up for a third at Extreme Rules with their titles on the line. Unsurprisingly, the Twitter beef between Lynch & Zelina carried over into the match, and despite some impressive innovation from La Muñeca, The Man applied the Dis-arm-her to submit Vega, removing her from the bout per Elimination rules.

Lynch was far from a passive presence for the rest of the match, however, brawling with Lacey Evans (her half of Sunday’s challengers) and Vega, while also getting the worst of some incidental contact with Andrade following an outside-the-ring scrap among the four competitors. Rollins’ concern for his partner briefly gave Andrade an opening to hit his running knees, but once Vega was dispatched a second time, The Beastslayer drilled Andrade with the Stomp to win the match. The two champions were not afforded the dignity of a peaceful exit, however: Baron Corbin and Evans resurfaced after the match to lay them out at the top of the stage as a final message for Sunday, and, perhaps, a preview of a world where Seth Rollins & Becky Lynch's Mixed Tag Team Match stands at two impressive wins and one catastrophic loss.

Never let it be said Ricochet doesn’t know what he’s walking into: Although AJ Styles is his opponent this Sunday, the high-flyer is painfully aware that he’ll have to contend with the entire Club if he wants to escape Extreme Rules with his United States Title. The last word of his pre-match interview — “In the end, I’ll just have to fight all three” — ended up being oddly prophetic, as Luke Gallows and then Karl Anderson battled the titleholder in consecutive matches with Styles looming large at ringside.

Even though the U.S. Champion quickly dispatched both Good Brothers, those matches were little more than pretext to wear him down in advance of the inevitable attack from Styles, who slid into the ring and instigated another 3-on-1 mauling the second Ricochet defeated Anderson. In what was as close to a merciful gesture as Styles had to offer, he promised to stop the beating so long as Ricochet stayed down. True to form, the champion did not obey, and Styles did what he promised, dropping Ricochet with a Phenomenal Forearm seconds later.

Gary who? The mystery partner Shane McMahon & Drew McIntyre selected to team with Roman Reigns turned out to be a custodian at the Prudential Center named Gary “The GOAT” Garbutt, who only accepted the gig after Shane and McIntyre promised him a $5,000 payday. In all honesty, Gary — a three-time, three-time, three-time Employee of the Month at Prudential Center who competed in a mask — earned his money and then some, breaking out a frankly astounding sequence of high-flying maneuvers before McIntyre turned him inside out with a match-ending Claymore.

Reigns, who had been waylaid by a trip into the ring post before Gary tagged himself in, drove McIntyre and McMahon from the ring before unmasking “The GOAT” to reveal none other than Cedric Alexander, the former WWE Cruiserweight Champion who apparently assumed “The GOAT’s” identity for reasons yet unknown. Alexander received a busted lip for his troubles, and if Shane’s M.O. is any indication, that may well be the first of many painful lessons he learns … provided, of course, Shane & Drew don’t learn one first from Roman and his other partner this Sunday.

In other action … The Miz & The Usos def. Raw Tag Team Champions The Revival & Elias (2-out-of-3 Falls Match) … Bobby Lashley def. Rey Mysterio (Open Challenge) … Cesaro def. No Way Jose … The Viking Raiders def. Colin Justin & Devin Justin … and Drake Maverick survived the night as 24/7 Champion.

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