Monday Night Raw Recap – August 29th 2016

Apologies for the lack of a Raw recap last week, but technical issues got the better of me. Long story short, I thought it was a poor show but had sympathy with WWE due to Finn Bálor’s injury derailing their plans for the evening. Thankfully, this week’s Raw saw a notable improvement, giving us one of the best shows of the year with an absolutely thrilling finale. Let’s get into it.



Not too long ago, we put out an article detailing why Kevin Owens is the best thing going in WWE, and last night proved us right. The build up to Raw’s main event for the Universal Championship was masterfully done. The night opened with the four men involved sat in the ring, staking their claim for the belt, with Owens by far garnering the strongest reaction. It was clear that he had been chosen as the people’s champion, but there was still the sense that WWE would re-tread old ground by putting the title on Rollins or Reigns. Throughout the night, video packages were aired that expanded on the journey took by Owens, Reigns, Rollins and Big Cass. This was some great stuff, it made the belt feel important despite being just over a week old. This kind of prestige is key to the Universal Championship’s development after the somewhat botched introduction of its design at SummerSlam.

The match itself was stellar, a four-way elimination match that had drama and suspense, you couldn’t have asked for a better Raw main event. All four men looked strong, and even though Big Cass ate the first elimination, he looked like he belonged with the top talent. After some rather typical Reigns domination, the stunning climax fell into place as Triple H made his first TV appearance since WrestleMania 32 (not counting his cameo at the Cruiserweight Classic two weeks ago). After nailing Reigns with a Pedigree on the outside and practically gifting the title to Rollins, something magical happened. Triple H turned on his protégé and sent The Architect packing, giving Kevin Owens his first world championship in WWE. This was awesome stuff and was one of the top moments of 2016. The sight of KO lifting that belt above his head with The Game’s endorsement made me grin from ear to ear, solidifying this as one of the best Raws of the year.



Man, The Club have lost an ungodly amount of heat since their debut a few months back. Despite dismantling The Dudley Boyz last week during the latter’s send off, they are constantly playing second fiddle to The New Day. Gallows and Anderson ditched their doctor gimmick for a retirement home one, and it’s just getting more and more painful to watch. Add Dana Brooke into the equation, who walked on screen dressed as a nurse in what looked like the start of an adult film, and it’s clear that these guys are outmatched by the champs.

Gallows and Anderson were monster heels in Japan and are being positioned as a comedy act in the WWE, it’s not doing them any favours and doesn’t make them look like a threat. At this point in time, I don’t want them taking the belts off New Day as there’s no way I’d buy into it. Anderson took a clean loss to Big E last week and the two of them teamed with Dana Brooke jobbed out to Kofi, Big E and Bayley last night. Right now I honestly feel that New Day should keep the belts until The Revival get promoted from NXT, as they’re the only heel tag team in the company that I can take seriously at the moment.



After losing to Owens last week, Neville took a pin from the new champ’s partner Chris Jericho last night, and it hurt to watch. Neville is simply one of the most dynamic talents on the roster right now and needs to be properly utilised. Losing to a man who has a reputation for putting younger guys over, this seems like a step backwards. It may lead to some kind of feud between the two men, after all, Neville’s ankle injury earlier this year occurred during a match with Y2J. But what Neville needs more than anything is the cruiserweight division.

Three weeks from now, many of the CWC competitors will be joining the Raw brand to bring some high flying variety to the show, Neville needs to be the centrepiece. He’s one of the best cruiserweights in the world today and should be the foundation on which this new division is built. We obviously all expect the likes of Kota Ibushi and Zack Sabre Jr. to have great success in WWE, but Neville has put in the work and deserves to be treated as a big deal. They need to make him the John Cena of the cruiserweights, the guy that you have to go through if you want to be considered top tier, here’s hoping that’s what happens.



The bizarre best of seven series between two of the company’s heaviest hitters rolled on this week, and I’m actually not bored yet, which is a good sign. These two had a strong back and forth match in which Sheamus picked up the win by submission, further establishing Cesaro as the pursuing babyface. This was fine storytelling and is helping to make Sheamus come across as more of a threat, although the mohawk really can’t be defended. My only worry is that if they do indeed go the full seven (which I imagine they will seeing as this isn’t a legitimate sporting contest), then the matches will become repetitive to the point where we’re seeing the same bout every week. Having a submission victory was a clever way to mix it up, maybe we’ll see some count-out or disqualification finishes further down the road to keep us guessing. For now though, this is entertaining stuff.

UPDATE: WWE have announced that Cesaro received an injury during the match, but have been deliberately vague about it. Whether the injury is legit or a work remains to be seen, hopefully it’s the latter, the last thing Cesaro needs is getting hurt again.



A Paul Heyman promo is always welcome on Raw, even more so when he’s battling it out with the more ferocious of the McMahon siblings. Paul and Stephanie have top notch chemistry and they sold the hostility between Brock Lesnar and the McMahon family as real. There is still the worry that this is heading towards a match between Shane and Brock, which really shouldn’t happen, but this was a wonderful verbal joust. There wasn’t a lot of story progression, no doubt because we won’t see Brock again until Royal Rumble season and they don’t want to play their cards too early, but Heyman and Steph knocked it out of the park. Paul provided his usual diatribe about being an advocate and all those other wonderful buzzwords that we lap up like hungry dogs when he opens his mouth. But Stephanie is the one who shined through here, everything from her menacing expression to her spiteful delivery created a real feeling of discomfort and threat. The fact she accepted Heyman’s apology and then left suggests she is plotting something devious to exact her revenge on The Beast Incarnate, and I’m looking forward to seeing where it leads to.


The Smaller Stuff

-Sami Zayn put away Jinder Mahal in a throwaway match. It seems that neither of these guys have much direction at the moment, which is a damn shame.

-Braun Strowman and Nia Jax were on Raw this week and the universe didn’t implode, turns out a building can contain their combined intensity.

-New Day are officially the second-longest reigning tag team title holders in the history of the company at 373 days as of this writing. Whether or not they’ll catch Demolition’s record of 478 days remains to be seen.

-Rusev was nowhere to be found, which made sense as outside interference was banned during the main event and he’s currently feuding with Roman. Still, his absence was notable.

-Darren Young and Titus O’Neil are still going at it apparently, this story needs to die, it’s going nowhere.


A very strong show with some good highlights throughout, but most of its brilliance comes from the outstanding main event. Kevin Owens has finally arrived and this could mean big things for WWE’s “New Era”. Good luck topping this one, SmackDown.

Some of the coverage you find on Cultured Vultures contains affiliate links, which provide us with small commissions based on purchases made from visiting our site.