I've talked before about how brawls can be an effective tool to build a feud. RAW took that idea for Brock Lesnar/Undertaker and took it up a notch.
WWE is in an interesting position with Lesnar and Undertaker. They've built Lesnar up as an unstoppable force, one of the most dominant superstars in the history of wrestling. Not only that, the last time he faced Undertaker, he beat him in a lopsided affair, and made it so we didn't see Undertaker in any form until the next year's WrestleMania.
Yet, they have to find a way to make Undertaker a threat to Lesnar. Granted, he's the Undertaker. He will always have credibility in fans' eyes. However, Lesnar is on another plane. So how do you build the credibility in the match? You have a brawl. Not just a brawl, but a multi-segment brawl that featured most of the roster.
Undertaker and Brock Lesnar went toe-to-toe for two segments, as Brock first came out to defend Paul Heyman. They brawled in the ring, and once the locker room emptied to separate the two, they brawled at ringside. After a commercial break, as both men were being escorted out, they started brawling in the backstage area as well. It definitely built Undertaker as a credible threat to go punch for punch with Lesnar, and between the desperation to get to each other, and the threats that they were yelling, it established how badly each of them wanted to get in the ring. That's a must for this feud, the desire to actually destroy each other if we're going to buy it.
The brawl, in addition to adding to the feud, added a degree of realness to the show. These are two of the stiffer punchers, so to see them just punching each other for about 15 minutes just makes the show look good. Sometimes you need a reminder that this is supposed to be combat. Few people do that better than Undertaker and Brock, and to just let them loose reminds people of that, and builds the match better than any promos, even from Paul Heyman, would.
We'll have to see if this build leads to a good match at SummerSlam, but so far, so good.
The Rest of RAW:
--While we're not totally sure about what Seth Rollins is going to do at SummerSlam, we got a big hint on RAW. As Rollins was celebrating that he retained his title, John Cena came out to confront him. Cena talked about how one of the reasons that he was allowed to shine for the past few months, and the US title gained so much prestige, was because Rollins had been such a bad and weaselly champion. He challenged him to fight, but Rollins declined. While nothing has been announced, that certainly hinted at a Cena/Rollins match at SummerSlam. Later, Cena helped his team win a 6-man tag.
This will be an interesting decision by the WWE. On the one hand, it makes sense. Cena is basically the last guy on the roster that Rollins needs to beat. (You could say Roman Reigns, too, but they're holding off on that for now). Here's the problem with the decision. Cena has gained a lot of goodwill over the past few months. If you put him back in the title match, in Brooklyn of all places, that goodwill is going to be instantly erased. People like Cena away from the main event. They especially don't like him in a title match in the second biggest show of the year. They need to wait on this match. They at least need to wait until Cena doesn't have the US title anymore. People were looking forward to the US title match at Summerslam. To not have one would be a big disappointment, and would create an even more awkward situation in Brooklyn.
--For the first time in quite a while, the divas had not only two matches, but two pretty quality matches, showing their dedication to this new divas division. First, Charlotte beat Brie Bella in a match. Of all the girls involved, Brie might have the most questions about whether she can hang. At Battleground she spent most of the night on the outside selling injuries. However, she didn't do terribly on RAW in a loss to Charlotte. Later in the night, we had a tag match that had Naomi and Sasha Banks beat Paige and Becky Lynch. If they continue to feature all the new divas, and give the division some time, it'll improve by leaps and bounds.
--Roman Reigns beat Luke Harper by DQ after Bray Wyatt got involved. Before the match, when it looked like Reigns would be on his own, Dean Ambrose came out to even the odds. I'd say that this would be a tag match for SummerSlam, but it doesn't quite seem big enough. It will be interesting to see who, if anyone, is added to this feud in the next few weeks.
--Los Matadores beat the Prime Time Players after the New Day distracted them. Here's the awkward thing about the division right now. Los Matadores almost never win, but they were basically the only team that could be there for that role. Granted, it's not the WWE's fault that the division was struck down by injuries, but they may need to tap into NXT or elsewhere for some reinforcements. Either way, more Prime Time Players/New Day is never a bad thing.
--Big Show beat Miz, and then challenged Ryback again.
Thoughts? Questions? Leave them in the comment section, email me or find me on Twitter: @TheAOster. You can also find my podcast, Jobbing Out, at https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/jobbing-out/id998790026?mt=2