WWE Raw results, live blog (July 23, 2018): Stephanie McMahon's Huge Announcement

What could Steph's announcement possibly be?

WWE Monday Night Raw returns tonight (July 23, 2018) from the U.S. Bank Arena in Cincinnati, Ohio, featuring all the latest build to the upcoming SummerSlam pay-per-view (PPV) which is now less than a month away.

Advertised for tonight: Stephanie McMahon makes an historic announcement, The Deleters of Worlds vs. The B-Team for the Raw tag team titles, Roman Reigns vs. Bobby Lashley in a Universal title number one contender match and much more!

Our Raw live blog kicks off at 8PM so check back tonight!

The entire roster is on the stage as the show starts for the "historic announcement", with Vince standing in the ring, though he's merely here to introduce his daughter (who gets an entrance, yet Triple H doesn't). Hunter thanks everyone across all brands for their dedication. He asks the women to step forward on the stage. Stephanie makes the announcement of WWE's first ever all-women's PPV called Evolution, which will occur on October 28, live from Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, NY.

Curtis Axel meets up with Bo Dallas and is all jazzed up about that Evolution pay-per-view. Bo's more focused on the Tag Team title match. Live for the moment, that's what Matt Hardy used to say. Or at least, his old song did. "You're the brother I never had!" says Bo.

Elias is here, but gets disrupted by Woken Matt's entrance. Guess Elias didn't see the graphic that the Tag Team title match was "UP NEXT". Doesn't anybody watch their own show?

Raw Tag Team Title Match: The B-Team vs. The Deleters of Worlds

We get the Rotunda Battle seconds into the match, which ends badly for Dallas following the flying elbow twister. The champs bail after a combo Spider Walk/Delete taunt, as we hit a quick commercial. We come back to Axel hitting his papa's old running neck snap for 2. The Revival are looking on backstage, continuing their streak of traveling across the country just to watch Tag Team title matches on different TVs. Hardy gets the hot tag (lively crowd so far) and he goes to town on Junior Perfect. Side Effect gets only 2. Twist of Fate drops Axel, but Dallas breaks up the pin. Shortly after during a scrum, Dallas knocks Wyatt back into Matt, causing Axel to roll Hardy over into a crucifix pin, keeping the belts with the champs. Decent TV match. ** Afterwards, the Deleters applaud the B-Team, only to attack and hit their finishers in stereo on the champs. Looks like poor sportsmanship to me.

Balor and Gable are chatting excitedly about the women's PPV (so excited that Balor cuts off Gable's catchphrase), and Balor learns that his stuff is being moved into a new locker room...which is a child's playhouse. That'll go over well with the fans who hated their feud and PPV match, I'm sure.

Bayley and Sasha continue to make nice, and plug the Evolution pay-per-view. I presume Little Lungs will be plugging the pay-per-view in a commercial later on.

Sasha Banks and Bayley vs. Samantha Simon and Karen Lunde

Names are an inside rib on Dean Malenko and Arn Anderson, respectively. I'm sure they're like, "Ohhhh, you guys!" backstage. Banks Statement finishes one of them after a matter of moments, anyhow. The two share a big hug afterward. A friendly, platonic hug. Don't get any ideas, some of you.

Hogan/Andre footage being used to plug the new Mission Impossible. Pretty sure featuring Hogan footage itself was once mission impossible.

Braun disrupts Elias' second attempt at a song, as we have our established running gag of the night. He notes the Evolution pay-per-view for the deaf people in the 93rd row, before getting to the Lashley/Reigns situation. He warns that no matter who the champion is, they're gonna get these hands. Fans like the sound of that, but that leads to Kevin Owens, walking gingerly, re-emerging. Owens is still upset about the whole "nearly being thrown to his death" gag. Owens claims that his son was the one that who wanted him and Braun to be friends, so that maybe one day he could team with Braun just like Nicholas did. Owens vows to take everything away from Braun, and brings out Corbin, who in turn brings Jinder out to help control Braun's murderous rage. Braun making a frightened Sunil hold the mic while he does his own peaceful incantation is pretty funny. This leads to Jinder and Sunil getting their asses kicked. Kind of a waste of a long segment, though Braun was pretty funny as usual, and Owens' fiery promo was good.

Natalya vs. Mickie James

Mickie James looks like a bumblebee. A beautiful bumblebee, but alas. Mickie works a chinlock of sorts. A slapfest develops and Natalya takes Mickie over a snap suplex. Mickie headscissors is countered in an electric chair drop from Nattie, which Mickie sells with an exasperated scream. Natalya gets tied up with Alexa Bliss outside, then runs back in and gets hit with the Mick Kick to give James the win. Short but fine. *

Footage of Reigns accepting a humanitarian award on WWE's behalf leads to a Reigns backstage interview, in which he's immediately booed. Sooo close.

Elias attempt three is disrupted by The Authors of Pain. I was hoping for the Toxic Turtles. They want to fight anyone, sans Titus Worldwide, since they've already beaten them. But alas, we get Titus and Apollo anyway. The AoP haven't plugged Evolution, so I assume they're in trouble politically. Crews and Titus give some sort of life lesson to the Authors as the crowd just dies off. The Authors tell Titus to retire, and a fight ensues, which leads to the Authors getting run off.

Angle and Stephanie have a pow-wow, which seems like a rather inconsequential way to bring the two back together. Ahh, but here are Corbin and KO to stooge Angle out for his biases and indiscretions. Owens wants Braun at SummerSlam in a match where the briefcase is at stake, no matter what manner in which Braun may lose. Angle balks, but Stephanie grants it.

Mojo Rawley vs. Tyler Breeze

Graves: "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different results." Where was he when the Revival were facing Reigns/Lashley for like six months in a row? Faint "CM Punk" chant, as this match is just so exciting. So exciting that we got a Bobby Roode insert interview. Breeze eats the buckle on the slingshot, but avoids the corner elbow. Sitdown Alabama Slam finishes for Rawley. Decent little squash, even if the fans are flatlining.

Ziggler/McIntyre selfie promo follows. They blame Balor for costing McIntyre a chance to get one step closer to the Universal title. I take that to mean that Balor's in charge of booking Brock.

Elias, attempt four. Hey, speaking of "insanity".

Finn Balor vs. Drew McIntyre

Well, this should bring the crowd back. Elias sadly waving at Dolph, who ignored him, has been the best part of the show so far. Balor's sporting a nasty bruise near his right armpit. A nice dropkick sends McIntyre outside, which Balor follows with a flip dive as we hit an early commercial. McIntyre's working an armbar as we come back, because he knows how TV works. Balor tries to come back with a forearm barrage, and reverses a side suplex into a spinning DDT for 2. Awesome spot. Graves steals Cole's "in the drop zone" line, but McIntyre avoids the Coup de Grace once. A second attempt sees Dolph crotch Balor for the DQ. Was going great until the abrupt finish. ** Rollins hits the ring to make the save. This brings Theodore R. Angle out to make this a tag team match. Playa.

Finn Balor and Seth Rollins vs. Drew McIntyre and Dolph Ziggler

Rollins planchas onto Ziggler while the fans cheer Seth on. See, Cincy > Pittsburgh in everything except football. Back from break as Ziggler and Balor in a give-and-take, until Balor gets put in the corner and McIntyre takes over. Has to be said that the crowd's awful lively for ten minutes into the third hour. Maybe Cincinnati should get Raw every week. Balor gets blocked from making the big tag, but he manages to take Ziggler down with an overhead kick. McIntyre gets tagged and he, too, prevents the hot tag. But only temporarily, as Rollins gets tagged, and he goes nuts, suicide diving onto both men. Back inside, Rollins gets a springboard clothesline on McIntyre, and follows with a second-rope blockbuster for 2. Rollins teases the superkick, and ultimately gets it after preventing Ziggler's interference. McIntyre drops Rollins with that awesome-looking face-first Alabama Slam for 2. That move is money. The heels try some Doomsday type move, which Rollins manages to escape. Curb Stomp finishes Ziggler. Hot crowd and some nicely paced action make this the show highlight so far, easily. ***1/4. Balor had little to do with the finish, it should be noted, as Rollins got out of a jam on his own.

Lashley gets some promo type, and the crowd's not exactly feeling him either. Not even a Beastie Boys reference can save him.

Ember Moon vs. Liv Morgan

Would The Riott Squad entering first screw up their system? I mean, they could still wildly pound the mat, but they'd only be menacing the ref. Liv does the apron-smack alone, as Sarah Logan's barred from ringside. Cole on Liv: "She considers herself a juvenille delinquent". Wouldn't her wrestling be a violation of child labor laws? Fortunately, Corey puts Cole in his place. Facefirst STO gets 2 for Moon. Moon drops Morgan with a front suplex from the top rope, then follows with the Eclipse. Decent little match *1/2

Rollins does an interview, informing us that he gets Ziggler for the IC title at SummerSlam. At least there'll be no clocks.

Elias V: A New Beginning. He gets a few chords out before Kurt Angle interrupts, only to tell people they want to hear him sing.That was...odd. This time, Elias manages to sing a few verses before the idea of entertaining the city of Cincinnati disgusts him. Lashley mercifully ends it.

#1 Contender's Match: Bobby Lashley vs. Roman Reigns

Reigns gets the early advantage by taking Lashley to the outside as we get what sounds like "We want Ambrose" chants. Lashley catches a drive-by outside and ends up tossing Reigns on an overhead belly to belly.. Back from break as what sounded like a grueling battle of attrition is significantly shorter than expected. Lashley gets 2 off of a front spinebuster, and works a standing surfboard. Reigns gets free, but both men clothesline each other after about 8 minutes into the match. Fight Forever punches earn some noticeable boos. Reigns halts a Lashley flurry by lifting him into a Samoan drop, but Lashley prevents the out of ring throw. Lashley misses a spear inside and gets flung through to the outside. Reigns gets an elevated leg drop as he climbs back in for 2. Lashley avoids the Superman punch, and gets a full nelson. Lashley then gets a side triangle, but Reigns rolls him into a pinning combo for 2. Crowd's kinda into it, but mostly when it looks like Reigns is about to be pinned. Reigns gets, uh, something to counter the spear for 2. Superman punch gets 2. Lashley rolls to the floor to get away from a spear attempt, but Reigns uses the opportunity to try for a Superman punch off the stops, blocked by Lashley. Lashley harshly throws Reigns back inside and gets the spear, only for 2. Cincy ain't happy. Reigns counters another spear with the Superman punch. Spear finishes to send Reigns to SummerSlam. People aren't gonna be happy, but that turned into a helluva TV match. ***1/2 The Reigns/Lesnar hype will be more tolerable than the faux excitement for the Evolution PPV, at least. Lashley shakes his hand to rather loud booing.

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Written by Cultaholic