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Finn Arrives and Sasha Wins Big (Raw Recap 25/07/16)

Raw this week comes from Pittsburgh, PA at the CONSOL Energy Centre for the first episode of the New Era of Raw!

The show was opened by Stephanie and Mick, who were addressing the entire roster, and blamed Roman Reigns for the lack of a world championship. They announced two fatal four-way matches would take place tonight, involving Sami Zayn, Sheamus, Chris Jericho, Cesaro, Roman Reigns, Rusev, Kevin Owens and Finn Balor. The winner of each of the two Fatal Four Ways will face off against each other tonight in the main event. The winner of that match will then face Seth Rollins at SummerSlam for new brand new WWE Universal Championship. They also announced that Charlotte will be defending her title tonight against Sasha Banks.

The first fatal four way of two opened the action, and this one involved Cesaro, Rusev, Kevin Owens and Finn Balor. The matchup began with Balor immediately targeting his former NXT rival, Kevin Owens. Meanwhile, Cesaro was brawling with Rusev on the outside before he hit the Bulgarian Brute with a ruthless bowling ball from the apron. The action returned after a commercial break to Finn getting beaten down by Rusev and Kevin Owens, as the two took turns to hit Finn with various suplexes.

The unlikely duo continued to work well together, taking out Cesaro before Finn began to work his way back into the match. The two who had been working so well together then turned enemies, as they brawled in the middle of the ring. It didn’t take long for Cesaro to get back into the match, as he then invited all three men he was up against to an uppercut party. Balor then proceeded to launch himself through the air and take out all three men on the outside.

Owens then continued to target the debuting Balor, hitting him with a pop-up powerbomb before Cesaro broke the pin attempt up. Rusev then placed Owens in the Accolade, before Cesaro yet again intervened and hit Rusev with a standing suplex. Cesaro then sent Rusev swinging, before attempting a sharpshooter. Balor then reappeared, hitting Rusev with a missile dropkick and then a massive Coup De Grace from the top rope to pick up the win and earn himself a place in the night’s main event. What a massive Raw debut for the young man.

Next up, it was time for the debut of Nia Jax, who was facing off against Brit Baker. It took Nia seconds to show her impact, slamming the unknown jobber against the turnbuckles. She then brutally hit the defenceless Baker with two leg drops and pinned her whilst still sat on her face. A very impressive win from the debuting Nia Jax.

It was then time for the second fatal four way of the night, this time involving Sami Zayn, Sheamus, Chris Jericho and Roman Reigns. The match began with Roman being beaten down by all three men, getting rid of the biggest threat immediately. The three men then began to brawl inside the ring, before Roman recovered and made his way back into the ring. Roman began fighting Sami Zayn in the ring, as he looked to gain some momentum. He then took flight toward the outside, where he took out all three men. 

The match returned after the break to Sheamus and Jericho yet again working on Roman, as they had been doing the entire battle. Roman then began to fight back, before Sami returned to hit him with a massive blue thunder bomb, but Roman was able to kick out at two. The men then all exchanged finishers, before Reigns took advantage again as he hit all three men with superman punches. He then hit a battling a Jericho with a huge spear, and was then able to pick up the win. He will now face Finn Balor in the show’s main event for the chance to be in the first ever WWE Universal Championship match.

Next up was the New Day’s celebrating their record-breaking reign of 337 days, bragging about how amazing they are. They’re not wrong in fairness. And if you think they suck, you are booty. They then announced they’d select on lucky member of the crowd to be an honorary member of the New Day for one night only. They continued celebrating with their guest in the ring before they were attacked by Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson, who sent a clear message to the Tag Team Champions. 

It was then time for the in-ring return of Neville, who had been out for four months with a fractured ankle, facing off against Raw’s very own Mr Irrelevant, Curtis Axel. Neville started the matchup on top, allowed Axel to get very little offence in. Mr Irrelevant did get back into the match, however ugly it was. He hit Neville with a nasty knee to the spine, but Neville still prevailed. He was able to hit Axel with his finishing move, the Red Arrow, and pick up the win in a very impressive return to action. 

Next was the Women’s Championship match, with the champion Charlotte defending against the Legit Boss, Sasha Banks. The matchup began with both women jostling for control. Sasha then attempted the first quick pinfall of the night, but charlotte easily kicked out. Sasha then applied the straight jacket hold, but Charlotte was able escape early again. Charlotte was able to get back into the match quickly however, as she viciously stomped Sasha in the chest. 

The match returned after the break to Dana Brook being ejected from ringside by referee Mike Chioda as she had interfered in the match one too many times. The two competitors then exchanged forearms in the middle of the ring before Charlotte took advantage, hitting a swinging neck breaker. Charlotte then landed a massive moonsault to the outside, planting Sasha to the ground.

Charlotte then battled out of the bank statement once, only for Sasha to lock in it again following an almighty backstabber. Charlotte, writhing in agony tapped out! TITLE CHANGE ON RAW! SASHA BANKS IS THE NEW WWE WOMENS CHAMPION! Finally, there is a new women’s champion, and her name is Sasha Banks.

Next up, Braun Strowman faced off against James Helsworth. The match was basically a televised assault, with Strowman crushing him in seconds. This Five-foot-something no mark was tossed around the ring like a lion tossing a mouse. Braun then slammed his face into the mat, before picking up the inevitable win.

It was then time for Enzo and Big Cass to take on the Shining Stars. The Shining Stars started out on top, but Enzo was able to make big tag to Cass. Cass entered the ring, destroyed both men and picked up an easy win in what was an extremely pointless matchup.

It was then time for the main event on the night, with Finn Balor facing off against Roman Reigns for a chance to compete for the WWE Universal Championship at SummerSlam against Seth Rollins. The matchup began with Roman taking the fight straight to Finn Balor, tossing him around the ring like a rag doll. Roman tried to continue the assault, but Finn began getting back into the match up, hitting Roman with a stomp to the chest on the outside, before again hitting him in the chest, this time with a missile dropkick. 

The match resumed after the break, and unfortunately Roman was back in control. He attempted a superman punch, but Finn was able to dodge. Finn began to gain momentum, but as he ran at Roman, he landed the fateful punch. The match looked to be over, but Balor was somehow able to pluck his arm up at the last second and kick out of the pinfall. Finn, who was looking almost out of the match by this point, was able dodge a spear, reverse it and land a momentous Coup De Grace! Finn pinned him… One, Two, Three! Finn did it! Finn Balor is going to SummerSlam to face Seth Rollins for the new WWE Universal Championship!

What a momentous night for Sasha Banks and Finn Balor. The New Era starts off with a bang.

Liam’s Raw Rating: 9/10

Liam Shone

Liam is a WWE/Football writer for the site and supports the Oakland Raiders and Liverpool FC. He's been writing for Realsport since March 2016 and began a degree in Sports Journalism in September 2016 at Southampton Solent University.

Finn Arrives and Sasha Wins Big (Raw Recap 25/07/16)

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