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WWE Raw Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from July 16 | Bleacher Report - YACINEWS
0 of 10 Credit: WWE.com The Universal Championship picture became unmuddied Monday, thanks to a major announcement regarding Brock Lesnar‘s availability for the upcoming SummerSlam pay-per-view and the first two of three matches to determine his No. 1 contender. Bobby Lashley, Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins, Elias, Drew McIntyre and Finn Balor all had the opportunity to cash their own tickets to next week’s show but only two were successful. Who emerged from Monday’s show one match away from headlining SummerSlam against The Beast Incarnate, the top prize on the Raw brand within their grasps? Throw in an impromptu match from Dolph Ziggler, an unexpected appearance from Ronda Rousey and a huge announcement regarding her SummerSlam plans, and you had a noteworthy broadcast on the heels of an Extreme Rules pay-per-view extravaganza. 1 of 10 Just 24 hours removed from Extreme Rules, Raw general manager Kurt Angle kicked off the July 16 episode in the squared circle. He thanked the Superstars of Raw for showing up and competing at the pay-per-view, something Brock Lesnar has not done. As Angle began to announce his decision to strip Lesnar of the Universal Championship, Paul Heyman interrupted, marking the first time the advocate for the Beast Incarnate had been seen since April. Heyman admitted that Lesnar was not in the building but assured Angle that his client loves being in WWE, takes being universal champion seriously and wants to win the UFC Heavyweight Championship while representing WWE. Angle announced Lesnar will defend his title at SummerSlam or he is no longer the champion. Heyman agreed and told Angle the only question now is who Angle will choose to be beaten by Lesnar. Bobby Lashley interrupted the proceedings and said he accomplished his first goal of beating Roman Reigns at Extreme Rules and now, he wants to accomplish part two by beating Lesnar at SummerSlam. Drew McIntyre interrupted and said phase one of his return was ensuring the Intercontinental Championship remained around the waist of Dolph Ziggler and now, he wants to accomplish phase two: win the Universal Championship. Seth Rollins interrupted and came face-to-face with McIntyre before announcing his candidacy for a match with Lesnar. Elias was out next as the stream of Superstars continued. He touted his debut album as the reason he should face Lesnar at SummerSlam. Out next was Finn Balor, who used his status as the first universal champion to cement his status as a legitimate contender. Roman Reigns interrupted, the last man to enter the squared circle, drawing a huge chorus of boos. Angle announced two Triple Threat matches (McIntyre vs. Reigns vs. Balor and Rollins vs. Elias vs. Lashley) and the winners would battle for the right to challenge Lesnar at SummerSlam. The first of those Triple Threat matches would begin immediately. Grade B+ Analysis Sure, it was another convoluted promo segment that set up two big matches but it at least introduced new blood to the title picture, including Elias and McIntyre, so all is forgiven. Or most of it is, at least. It was a long segment that could have stood to shave five-to-10 minutes off, and more Heyman but for what it was, there have been many worse and more predictable in-ring promos to kick off recent episodes of WWE television. 2 of 10 Credit: WWE.com McIntyre, fresh off helping Dolph Ziggler successfully retain his intercontinental title at Extreme Rules, dominated the early moments of Monday’s opening contest. He used his drive, determination, focus and size to overwhelm Balor and toss Reigns around. The sinister Scot controlled the bout heading into the break. Reigns and Balor fought back into the match but it was an insane dive over the top rope by the big man that wowed fans. Recovered, Balor paired off with Reigns as the Scotsman reeled at ringside. Balor scaled the ropes for a Coup de Grace but McIntyre blasted him with a steel chair. The heel sent Reigns shoulder-first into the ring post ahead of yet another commercial. McIntyre continued to dominate Reigns until Balor returned the favor from earlier, unloading with a chair across the back. An equal opportunity ass-kicker, Balor wore Reigns out with the chair as the crowd came alive for the first universal champion. A dropkick sent McIntyre into the barricade as Balor rolled. Luckily, the former NXT champion moved out of the way as Reigns launched himself with a spear, crashing into McIntyre and through the timekeeper’s position. Balor sprinted across the ring for a dropkick attempt but Reigns blasted him with a Superman Punch for a near-fall. Balor recovered and delivered the Coup de Grace but McIntyre pulled him out of the ring before the Irishman could score the pinfall victory on Reigns. A Claymoore from McIntyre wiped Balor out, a Superman Punch sent the heel to the floor and a spear to Balor cashed Reigns’ ticket to next week’s No. 1 Contender’s match. Result Reigns defeated McIntyre and Balor Grade A Analysis The finish was not at all smooth but the action that preceded it was fantastic and representative of the three enormously talented Superstars involved. Reigns bled hard way, unintentionally putting over the raw physicality of the match. McIntyre looked like a beast and Balor came out of the bout looking best of the three, coming one second away from pinning Reigns had it not been for the third man in the contest. It is a testament to the booking and the performances of the three Superstars involved that any of them could have won and been credible enough to move onto next week’s No. 1 contender’s bout. A great star to tonight’s show, which already feels more noteworthy and significant than any of the last month’s broadcasts. 3 of 10 Credit: WWE.com At Extreme Rules, Dolph Ziggler narrowly escaped a 30-Minute Iron Man match with the Intercontinental Championship still in his position, thanks to Drew McIntyre’s well-timed interference costing Seth Rollins the...