7.20.15 Raw Highlights: Brock & Taker Brawl, Two Long Women’s Matches, Cena/Orton/Cesaro v. Rusev/Owens/Sheamus

Last night’s episode of Raw was a solid show. There were some notable moments, the main event was set for SummerSlam, and the show kept my attention for three whole hours, which is a saying a lot these days. Below are some video highlights and what you missed from the 7.20.15 airing.

The show opened with Undertaker’s explanation of his actions at Battleground, where he “rose from the ashes” and cost Brock Lesnar a WWE World Heavyweight Championship victory. I thought WWE missed an opportunity to be logical by excluding Lesnar’s attack on Kane as a reason for Undertaker seeking vengeance.

Charlotte and Brie Bella had a lengthy match, with Charlotte picking up the victory. WWE is going all-in on the new women’s movement and while we haven’t seen an NXT-level classic yet, the call-ups are doing a wonderful job so far.

After Paul Heyman spoke negatively of the Undertaker on behalf of Brock Lesnar, the Dead Man appeared in the ring and was ready to take it to the advocate. Then Brock Lesnar showed up and all hell broke loose. The in-ring brawl was really good, helped by the announcers high-tailing it out of there and letting the action speak for itself. Lesnar yelling, “I’ll kill you!” and Taker respinding with, “You’re going to have to!” was a great moment.

The brawl spilled backstage before “authorities” were finally able to pull Brock Lesnar away and zip-tie his hands. Triple H was then shown saying no charges would be pressed but Lesnar was cooling off.

With Undertaker and Brock Lesnar out of the building, Seth Rollins came to the ring to cut a promo. John Cena interrupted and was very angry that Rollins didn’t win all his matches fairly, because John Cena is the most noble man in wrestling history and hates evil doers. My guess is this leads to a match between the two at SummerSlam and I wouldn’t be shocked if Rollins loses the strap to SuperCena.

Our second lengthy women’s match of the night was a tag team bout featuring call-ups Becky Lynch and Sasha Banks. Banks continues to carry herself like an absolute star and her Bank Statement finisher if one of the best there is right now. It looks very believable and she actually locks it in, unlike another notable submission performed by a guy mentioned in the previous paragraph.

The final match of the show was a six-man tag featuring John Cena, Cesaro and Randy Orton v. Rusev, Sheamus and Kevin Owens. owens and Sheamus both abandoned Rusev midway through the contest.The crowd was really hot for this match and popped huge for the finish, which saw Cena hit an AA on Rusev into a Cesaro swing, who then did a slingshot setup for Randy Orton to hit an RKO. The sequence was really good and it felt like a dark match or house show ending.

Ringside Rewind: HBK, Goldberg & RVD v. Batista, Randy Orton & Kane: Raw, December 2003

Ringside Rewind is an occasional feature where we take a look back at a match or moment from the “good old days.”

On the December 2, 2003 edition of Monday Night Raw we got an interesting six-man tag team match featuring a cross-section of wrestling. One team was comprised of Shawn Michaels, Goldberg and Rob Van Dam. RVD was still on the rise but was perhaps the biggest star to come out of ECW. Goldberg, whose time in WWE was certainly not as exceptional as many expected, was one of the biggest names during WCW’s run on top. And Shawn Michaels was already one of the best to ever come out of WWE and would become one of the best of all time.

The other side featured an up-and-coming Batista and Randy Orton, both of whom were on their way to multiple World Championships. Joining them was Kane, a holdover from the Attitude Era and another of the key players in WWE’s victory over Ted Turner and Eric Bischoff.

Video: Becky Lynch, Charlotte and Sasha Banks Debut on Raw

The much-rumored call-ups of Becky Lynch, Charlotte and Sasha Banks from NXT to the main roster happened last night on Raw, when Stephanie McMahon played babyface for a moment and infused some new life into the Divas Division. Technically, of course, this wasn’t Charlotte’s debut on Raw, since she lost and “blink and you’ll miss it” match to Natalya on Raw in December.

At the risk of sounding too hyperbolic, pretty much everything about this moment was great.

Stephanie did a good job of building each woman up before introducing them to the crowd. Each introduction got a pop, with each growing a bit louder than the one before it. Again, Stephanie helped this by teasing who each person was before the reveal. My only nitpicks is that Sasha Banks, despite being introduced as the NXT Women’s Champion, did not come out with the title.

The ensuing brawl was solid and gave us the great visual of Lynch, Charlotte and Banks performing their signature moves, hopefully an indication that the future of the WWE Women’s Division is indeed here.

John Cena’s US Championship Open Challenge Continues to be the Best Thing About Raw

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It’s been said before but it’s worth repeating: John Cena’s US Championship Open Challenge has been the best thing about Raw for weeks now.

Since winning the US Title at WrestleMania, John Cena has defended the championship against Dean Ambrose, Stardust, Bad News Barrett, Kane, Heath Slater, Sami Zayn and Neville on Monday Night Raw.

Aside from the PPV-caliber matches he’s been having with almost all the people on that list, knowing there will be an open challenge answered every Monday creates an anticipation to at least part of each broadcast, which is needed especially during the “post-WrestleMania slump.” Now that we’re eight weeks into the Open Challenge, it creates an excitement and suspense of who will be next.

This week, the Twitterverse nearly cried in happiness when Kevin Owens answered the challenge, cut a promo on Cena, laid him out and stomped on the US Championship while raising the NXT Title high above his head.

Even without the match, it was the best segment on Raw.

Video: Neville, Lucha Dragons Debut on Raw

There were rumors heading into Monday’s Raw that an NXT call-up would debut on the show. Instead we got two debuts, Neville and the Lucha Dragons. While Sin Cara has, of course, been on Raw before, this was Kalisto’s first time.

Unfortunately, WWE couldn’t resist its desire to drop the first name of wrestlers, removing “Adrian” from Neville’s name.

Either way, it’s cool to see an NXT favorite getting his well-deserved shot on the main roster. The same goes for the Lucha Dragons, who will add some spice to the tag team division.

Video: Sheamus Returns as a Heel with a New Look

WWE announced before the show began that the Celtic Warrior Sheamus would be returning on Raw and he did just that following the Daniel Bryan v. Dolph Ziggler Intercontinental Championship match as Wade Barrett was attacking Bryan.

Barrett retreated and the new look Sheamus then nailed Daniel Bryan with a brogue kick and followed that up by beating down Dolph Ziggler.

Video: Brock Lesnar Goes Nuts, Destroys Commentary Team and Cameraman After Seth Rollins Refuses WWE World Heavyweight Championship Rematch

This was beautiful.

Brock Lesnar is an absolute monster. Seth Rollins is such a great heel. And everyone else sold this to make it look amazing. From Paul Heyman’s facial expressions and reactions to Michael Cole selling an F5 like a champ, this was a great segment on a very good episode of Raw.

Sting Appears on Raw to Help John Cena Get Ryback, Ziggler and Rowan Their Jobs Back

“The Vigilante” Sting appeared at the close of last night’s Raw Reunion show to distract Seth Rollins and the rest of the Authority just long enough for John Cena to get a roll-up pinfall on the Money in the Bank briefcase holder. The win – against Rollins, Kane and Big Show – means Ryback, Erick Rowan and Dolph Ziggler all get their jobs back, thanks to the stipulation agreed upon earlier in the night. Had Cena lost he would have had to forfeit his spot in the WWE World Heavyweight Championship match at this Sunday’s Royal Rumble.

The appearance of Sting would seem to make a Sting v. Triple H WrestleMania match a lock and that’s definitely not a bad thing. Triple H makes the most sense to face Sting given the current situation. He’s still in incredible shape and can most likely put on a better match with Sting than Undertaker can at this point in his career.