7 Ups & 5 Downs From WWE Raw (8 Aug)

Ciampa vs. Lashley and Dexter Lumis (!) highlight another solid Triple H-helmed Raw.

Dexter Lumis

Cleveland, Ohio hosted Triple H's second Raw episode unhindered by existing SummerSlam story commitments last night - and it passed without an appearance from hometown hero Johnny Gargano.

Tipped for a WWE comeback following Vince McMahon's resignation and Triple H's ascent to creative power, the former NXT Champion didn't show up for what would've been a huge, popping appearance, instead making way for a former stablemate. Dexter Lumis crept back into the company through a night of angles atypical of WWE, as the transition from Vince-approved content to Hunter-helmed black-and-gold-isms continues.

Like last week's table-setting Raw, this was a good, solid night of wrestling that made a lot more sense than most to come from McMahon's mind over the past few years. The increased focus on what happens between the ropes and the absence of misfiring comedy remain highlights. Ciampa and Bobby Lashley's United States Title fight was a triumph, too, and the women's division feels revitalised and refocused.

But for all Raw's triumphs, the show also brought key challenges to the forefront. This is fine - Triple H's creative transformation was always likelier to be an evolution than a revolution - and it's clear he has much work to do.

Let's find out where...

Senior Reporter
Senior Reporter

Andy has been with WhatCulture for six years and is currently WhatCulture's Senior Wrestling Reporter. A writer, presenter, and editor with 10+ years of experience in online media, he has been a sponge for all wrestling knowledge since playing an old Royal Rumble 1992 VHS to ruin in his childhood. Having previously worked for Bleacher Report, Andy specialises in short and long-form writing, video presenting, voiceover acting, and editing, all characterised by expert wrestling knowledge and commentary. Andy is as much a fan of 1985 Jim Crockett Promotions as he is present-day AEW and WWE - just don't make him choose between the two.