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The Rise of Skywalker is Bad Storytelling: Reimagining Episode IX without the Emperor
Cover of “The Art of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker”submitted by tiMartyn to TrueFilm
Two years ago when The Last Jedi released, I published a piece in which I reimagined the film with new conflicts of interest and intersecting motivations for Rey, Luke, and Kylo Ren. By doing so, I changed the core story of Episode VIII while maintaining most of its themes and satisfying readers who were let down by questions that were dismissed from The Force Awakens.
Just as The Last Jedi threw away Episode VII, The Rise of Skywalker throws away Episode VIII. Unlike many criticisms of Last Jedi, my previous analysis did not focus on issues with how the film might have “broke canon” or contradicted other elements of the saga. This time, I believe the ways in which Episode IX retcons previous films has implications which hurt this trilogy’s narrative, as well as the original trilogy.
In attempting to make itself a conclusion to all eight preceding episodes, IX blatantly undercuts the stories of both Luke and Anakin Skywalker. By bringing the Emperor back to life, the premise of IX steals away the merit of Vader’s sacrifice for his son in Return of the Jedi, the film which was initially intended to be the final chapter. As many state that Rise of Skywalker is disrespectful to everything Rian Johnson brought to the franchise, this film is even more dismissive of George Lucas’ vision for the saga.
In this article, I am going to reimagine the whole of Episode IX without the Emperor, while pointing out faults in the film’s storytelling. Although I think The Last Jedi had the bones of a good story, this one requires rebuilding from the ground up. I will continue to develop the themes and character arcs carried over from VIII, and attempt to deliver a better rounded conclusion to this trilogy, rather than even try to wrap up all three trilogies at once.
I will follow up Kylo Ren’s lie to Hux that Rey murdered Snoke, make the Knights of Ren relevant to the story, suggest a completely new way to explore a redemption arc for Ben Solo, and attempt to bring some coherency to these movies. This version titled “The Heirs of Skywalker” can be read as either a followup to my take on Episode VIII or Rian Johnson’s actual film.
Diagnosing Problems: Character Development & Consequences
Partly due to the intense pace, Rise of Skywalker speeds past character arcs so that screenwriters J.J. Abrams and Chris Terrio can get Rey and Kylo Ren wherever the plot requires. The previous two films contained minimal characterization of its protagonists, which puts additional pressure on this one to make the audience feel satisfied with where the cast ends up.
Similar to The Last Jedi, this installment would like its audience to believe that Rey is tempted by the dark side and that she might give into her alleged true nature at any moment. Unfortunately, it does an even worse job than its predecessor in trying to make us think Rey is anything other than a bland hero archetype with pure intentions.
This problem is partly the result of Rey’s depicted actions lacking any meaningful consequences. When it seems as if her anger has caused the death of Chewbacca, it’s revealed a moment later that he’s perfectly fine. During the short time that Rey is under the impression she has killed Chewie, she only feels temporary guilt and lacks any major development.
Continuing a trend set by Last Jedi, even death isn’t a stake that the audience can take seriously. On top of Chewie’s fake-out death, there are several instances of storytelling ping-pong, in which events that should be devastating get brushed aside by Terrio and Abrams like dust off Luke’s shoulder. In a film that should be all about consequences, there aren’t many of them. For instance, C-3P0 sacrifices his memory to translate a forbidden language, but it’s restored in a matter of minutes. Zori Bliss and Babu Frik are presumably blown up with the rest of their planet, until they needlessly show up again in the final battle. Rey has her life drained by the Emperor, until she’s resurrected a moment later.
Kylo Ren’s Rushed Redemption
The only character development in this film which has a genuine impact on the plot is the underwritten redemption arc of Ben Solo. In The Force Awakens, Kylo Ren is a conflicted villain, eventually killing his father Han Solo in an attempt to prove himself as a formidable foe. The Last Jedi expanded on Kylo Ren’s conflict and eventually cemented him as a seemingly irredeemable villain when he murdered Snoke and took on a new role as Supreme Leader.
In The Rise of Skywalker, Kylo Ren has his life saved by Rey, recalls the last conversation he had with Han, and suddenly decides he doesn’t want to be a bad guy anymore. We are led to believe that his mother Leia even calls out to him in the Force, although it remains unclear quite exactly what happened. It feels like the movie just wants to get this plot point over with. Since the two previous films had built up Kylo Ren as a villain, it is a sorely missed opportunity that his redemption is not properly fleshed out over the course of the whole film. Instead, it occurs abruptly at the beginning of the second act.
It comes across that Abrams and Terrio didn’t understand that Kylo Ren could not be as easily redeemed as Darth Vader. The reason for this is threefold. Unlike Return of the Jedi, the audience does not feel any personal stakes between the hero and the villain. When Vader threw the Emperor into the Death Star core, we felt the emotional weight of his repentance because we saw it through his son Luke’s perspective. Their relationship had a new dynamic since the big reveal of Empire, which made us identify with Luke and anticipate what would happen when he faced his father again.
Although Rise of Skywalker tries to tell the audience that Kylo Ren and Rey have a romantic connection, it is jarring to believe and difficult to connect with. Since Rey is severely underwritten, it feels impossible to experience the story through her eyes. It is also tough to see Kylo’s point of view, as the audience cannot empathize with a character they have not forgiven.
When Ben throws his lightsaber into the ocean, we should feel a sense of triumph. Instead, his alleged epiphany feels empty. This is likely because we have seen Kylo Ren nearly choose redemption twice before, and both of those moments contained more gravitas than this one.
Both moments were also witnessed by other characters, who helped give us perspective, showing us how to feel about what was going on. When Kylo dropped his helmet and handed over his saber, we wanted to see what Han and Rey wanted so badly to see. We wanted to experience their relief. When that was suddenly taken away from them as Kylo ignited his saber, we felt it just the same.
Similarly, when Kylo Ren killed Snoke and teamed up with Rey, we felt the same triumph and satisfaction that she did. A moment later when Rey is informed that Kylo hadn’t switched sides after all, we felt her disappointment. If a redemption occurs when nobody is there to witness it, does the audience feel an impact?
In approaching Ben’s redemption, Abrams and Terrio should have recognized the ways in which Kylo differs from Vader. Although the Sith was clearly a villain, he didn’t kill characters that the audience had grown to love over the years. It becomes increasingly difficult to root for a character’s rehabilitation when they are both killing their own family members, as well as characters who feel like family to the audience.
Return of the Jedi could afford Vader’s vindication because it could earn both Luke’s forgiveness and the audience’s forgiveness. Likewise, the script for IX needed to earn both the characters’ forgiveness and the audience’s forgiveness toward Ben Solo, but compromised for a simple change of heart.
Reimagining Themes & Character Arcs
In Rise of Skywalker, both Poe and Finn receive little to no character development, despite having mostly significant parts in the previous two installments. As IX attempts to tackle so many story points, it puts its main characters on the back burner. This film had an opportunity to bring their arcs full circle, but failed to follow through.
In a reimagined Episode IX, Poe and Finn are on a mission together. After receiving intel from a stormtrooper spy, the Resistance learns of a sect of stormtroopers who are rising up, hoping to take down the First Order from the inside. As a defected stormtrooper himself, Finn feels it is his responsibility to step away from the luxury of the Resistance and go back to help those who have been trapped within the evil regime. Seeing Finn’s selfless spirit, Poe decides to go with him. Since the Resistance was previously reduced to a few dozen members, taking down the First Order by sparking a civil war from the inside might be their best chance at victory.
As a way to expand on themes and arcs set up by The Last Jedi, my reimagining of IX doesn’t feature a reconstructed Kylo Ren mask, or a lightsaber that was fixed between films, or even a “Force dyad” — whatever that means. This retelling follows a nihilistic Kylo Ren determined to create his own path, not held back by the failures of the Jedi or the Sith. Kylo ignores the past at his detriment, choosing his own way instead of learning from those who came before him.
This is the point in which Rey and Kylo’s arcs intersect. Throughout the trilogy, Rey has learned to trust others and become a part of a surrogate family which is the Resistance. Meanwhile, Kylo has rejected those same people in pursuit of a new destiny. This story should focus on the events that lead to Ben’s surrender of power, returning to the family he once ran away from all those years ago.
A New Story
Despite a significant gap of time between VIII and IX, The Rise of Skywalker should pick up where the previous film left off. Since the last we saw the Resistance, they have been traveling across the galaxy from planet to planet, village to village, spreading the story of Luke Skywalker like missionaries. Only a few of those they encounter join the Resistance, but many more are inspired by the tales they bring with them.
In the actual film, the Resistance is rebuilt primarily offscreen between movies. Such offscreen developments feel unearned, so it’s important that we spend time seeing things from their perspective, while also following through with the ramifications of Last Jedi.
Along the way, Rey encounters Force sensitives, continuing the storyline hinted at in the final shot of Episode VIII. She spends time with them, sharing what she’s learned from Luke and the ancient texts. She might not be fully prepared, but Rey is slowly transitioning from student to teacher. This is her arc throughout this reimagining, as she realizes it is her responsibility to influence and encourage others now that Luke isn’t around.
When Rey tells a young girl about him, the girl notices Rey’s new lightsaber on her belt and asks, “Are you his daughter?” She smiles and tells the child, “No, but I am his student.” This doesn’t dismiss Last Jedi, but expands on its ideas, and does something Rise of Skywalker tried but failed to do. You don’t need to be related to someone to learn from them or continue their legacy.
The following sequence depicts Luke Skywalker returning in a nightmare of Kylo Ren, as it was previously alluded that he would be seeing his uncle again. Kylo wakes up in the middle of the night in his room, inside a palace belonging to the First Order.
Kylo gets up from his bed and goes to a council meeting room, which resembles the Jedi Council chamber from the prequels. Inside, he sits down as a hologram of a Knight of Ren is projected onto another seat. He tells Kylo that the Knights have found something, a Force-related artifact in some obscure village. Normally, they would destroy such relics, but this time is different. Before the Knights of Ren leave the planet, they take the town’s children with them, bringing them to the First Order to one day become stormtroopers.
Although this version of the film does not involve non-stop fetch quests for daggers or “Wayfinders,” it depicts Kylo Ren with a reverence for the Force. However, he believes his devotion to the ancient mysticism is unbiased, separating him from the Jedi and Sith traditions.
At the same time, Kylo Ren wants to remove all record of the Force and those associated with it from the galaxy. He hopes by gatekeeping such knowledge that he will be able to maintain power as Supreme Leader. Ever since Kylo obtained his title, he has become increasingly insecure that he might lose his authority at any moment. This pursuit is in opposition to the Resistance’s mission to spread stories of hope through old tales of the Jedi.
It is soon revealed that the artifact recovered by the Knights is a key to an ancient doorway, which leads to the World Between Worlds. In the recent animated series Rebels, “the World Between Worlds” was introduced as a Force dimension that allows visitors to access the past and the future. However, it would not be depicted as full-fledged time travel in this reimagining. For the purposes of this story, it would fulfill a similar function to the cave on Dagobah or the endless mirror scene in Last Jedi. This secret doorway is the ultimate representation of Kylo’s lust for power and desire to spread misinformation that the Force is only a fairy tale.
Upon entering the cave that leads to the World Between Worlds, Kylo Ren encounters a dimly lit figure who he can’t make out. As Kylo approaches the person, he ignites his lightsaber, angered by the idea that someone would dare stand in his way. He strikes the phantom, realizing it’s just an illusion.
The figure is revealed to be a vision of himself from the future, representing who he might become if he continues down the path he is going. Kylo’s older self is physically scarred, and has a robotic hand resembling Vader. The vision looks at his counterpart with deep sadness and regret in his eyes. Kylo assumes it’s a trick of the Force set by the World Between Worlds, trying to keep away intruders who aren’t worthy of possessing its power. The thought of becoming like the Sith he once tried to emulate has become his greatest fear, as his grandfather was too weak to maintain his reign over the galaxy.
Whereas the actual film largely dismisses Last Jedi, I believe there was missed potential in expanding on plot points that had been previously set up. In fact, the central conflict in Rise of Skywalker should have hinged on one scene in particular from Episode VIII. When Kylo Ren wakes up aboard the Supremacy in Snoke’s throne room, he’s confronted by Hux.
“The girl murdered Snoke.”
This quickly forgotten exchange between Hux and Kylo Ren in The Last Jedi should have been the inciting incident of this film. As General Hux looks for any opportunity he can to work against his Supreme Leader, he eventually discovers that Kylo Ren lied: Rey didn’t murder Snoke — Kylo did.
From Hux’s perspective, Kylo killed Snoke to steal his power, committing treason against the First Order. Finally, Hux has a reason to turn his military against his much despised tyrant boss.
General Hux relays this information to his second-in-command, Lt. Pryde, who advises him that they should send a Knight of Ren to assassinate Kylo. After Hux gives the order to a Knight, he turns away assuming their interaction is finished, when all of a sudden — he’s pierced through the stomach with the Knight’s weapon. Unlike the film, the Knights’ loyalties lie with their master, Kylo Ren, and not the First Order. This could have gone either way in Rise of Skywalker and I believe it went the less interesting route.
Following this sequence, the Knights of Ren warn their master of what has transpired. The newly self-promoted General Pryde has taken over the First Order’s military and is turning them against their Supreme Leader.
The conflict of Episode IX could have been this simple. There was no need to dredge up the Emperor for one last hurrah, only to take away meaning from the saga and compromise new life for this trilogy. The dismissal of Kylo’s lie from VIII is a sorely missed opportunity that should have been the linchpin in this final installment.
The Prodigal Son
Ever since Kylo Ren was introduced in The Force Awakens, it was clear that his story was drawing inspiration from the Biblical parable about the prodigal son. The ancient story focuses on a father whose son abandons their family in pursuit of his own desires, and eventually becomes miserable as he experiences suffering alone in exile. Continuing on the idea that this film should have taken advantage of Kylo Ren’s differences from Vader, Rise of Skywalker would have benefited from further emulating the parable. The story of the prodigal son will influence this retelling’s treatment of Kylo Ren.
After General Pryde turns the First Order against the Supreme Leader and his Knights of Ren, Kylo is put in a position he has never been in before. He had inherited Snoke’s authority with Hux’s military at his disposal. He was a king, but now he’s being hunted by his kingdom. Even growing up in the New Republic, he was privileged as a Solo and a Skywalker. Now, he has lost the thing he most feared he might lose: power. Much like the prodigal son’s exile before he returns home, Kylo is put in a desperate situation.
Soon, Kylo tries to reach out to Rey over a Force Skype session. Much to their surprise, it works even though their previously established connection had been created by Snoke. Rey asks, “How are you doing this?” “I’m not sure.” Unlike before, she assumes the worst and instantly ignites her lightsaber, revealing a blue blade. She had repurposed the kyber crystal from Luke’s saber which was previously exposed when it was broken in two.
As they fight, Rey is pulled into Kylo’s surroundings projected by the mystical cave, transporting them to a variety of planets including Mustafar, a sequence originally hinted by the upcoming “Art Of” book’s cover. Throughout their duel, Kylo tries to make it clear that he doesn’t want to fight her. He wants Rey’s help, or at least to tell her what has transpired.
When he manages to get her attention, he communicates that he is no longer devoted exclusively to the dark side, and hasn’t been for some time. It is revealed that the title “Ren” used by the Knights of Ren and Kylo himself is an ancient term that predates any Force-related institution. “Ren” is the original name that once referred to the Force. It is less defined, communicating a general idea of a spirit rather than a power. Kylo had implemented these practices lost with time when he joined Snoke. However, his initial intensions to learn the ways of Ren were sidelined as he focused on becoming who Snoke wanted him to be: “a new Vader.”
As Kylo grows, he comes to realize that even though he is devoted to this idea of “Ren” and not the dark side alone, his motivations aren’t much different from the Sith. The warning vision he saw is coming true, echoing Anakin’s premonitions in Episode III. Although Kylo has been forging his own path, he is making the same mistakes as those who came before him. He is turning into the thing he swore he would destroy. While the road might be different, the destination remains the same. He slowly starts to question himself.
The parable of the prodigal son ends with the son returning home, telling his father that he’s willing to make it up by working as a hired servant without pay. He tells his father he doesn’t deserve to be treated as his son, and thinks he should be disowned. To the son’s surprise, his father embraces him and tells the servants to prepare a celebration now that he has returned. “For my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost and is found.”
This sense of humility by the son who doesn’t believe he’s entitled to his sonship was missing from Ben Solo’s rushed redemption. Just because he threw his red lightsaber into the sea, he shouldn’t be immediately eligible to become a Jedi. Due to the way he has been developed in previous films, we need more than this one action to side with him.
In this retelling, Ben comes to deny himself access to the power he had craved found in the World Between Worlds. He leaves the cave and gives the key to Rey, believing only she can be trusted with it.
Ben should also understand that he has dishonored the “Solo” and “Skywalker” names, no longer worthy of such a legacy. This is a reversal from the entitled attitude that he’s had throughout the trilogy, from claiming that he should be the one to possess Luke’s lightsaber, to his attempt to gate-keep the Force. A character must first have the self-awareness that they are not entitled to a second chance before they can be given one. For this reason, he continues to use the name he chose, Kylo Ren. He isn’t just going to prove to Rey that he can be trusted, he will also be striving to prove it to himself.
The Final Act
Anton Chekhov once wrote, “If in the first act you have hung a pistol on the wall, then in the following one it should be fired. Otherwise don’t put it there.” This rule has often been referred to as “Chekhov’s gun.” In Rise of Skywalker, there are quite a few guns that never go off, or at least not in satisfying ways. For instance, we are introduced to a small resistance of former stormtroopers, but their only function is to ride space horses into battle during the final act.
In this reimagining, there might be even more setup that needs to be paid off. As the eleventh hour approaches, Finn and Poe’s plan to infiltrate and build upon the stormtrooper revolts comes to fruition. Across several star destroyers, stormtroopers turn on one another, managing to take control of entire ships and their commanding officers. The children who were taken from their homes to be raised as soldiers see their chance to rise up and help bring the First Order down. This reversal of roles echoes the plot line from Last Jedi following the indentured child servants on Canto Bight.
Elsewhere, the Resistance has recruited enough of a following to take on tie fighters, working alongside the newly claimed star destroyers controlled by defected troopers. Even the Force sensitives who heard the stories about Luke join in, wielding lightsabers they created in a raid on the First Order palace.
Meanwhile, Rey and Kylo lead the Knights to General Pryde’s ship. They learn that he has left, in pursuit of the power that Kylo Ren had previously been after and abandoned. Joined by a fleet of specially equipped stormtroopers, Pryde is on his way to the World Between Worlds.
In this turn of events, Pryde essentially becomes an Indiana Jones villain, trying to possess something he doesn’t fully understand or believe in. Arriving at the cave, Kylo, Rey, and the Knights take on the large battalion of troopers wielding electro-staffs. After Pryde manages to obtain the key and unlock the gateway, he radios tie fighters to blast the cave, killing all of those inside while he escapes through the World Between Worlds.
As the door opens, several phantoms appear from the Force dimension, surrounding Pryde and his battalion. They are the spiritual embodiments of those who discovered this place thousands of generations ago, the Force users who once called the mystical power by its other name, “Ren.” Many of the ghosts wield weapons similar to the Knights, and some hold cross-guarded lightsabers, indicating these are the warriors who influenced Kylo. All of a sudden, they step out from their blue glow, revealing themselves in the flesh as immortal protectors of the gateway.
In this moment, Kylo realizes that even if Pryde and the rest of the First Order is defeated, the World Between Worlds remains vulnerable to someone else finding it and using it for evil. To ensure this doesn’t happen, he recognizes it is his calling to join with those who came before him that followed the ways of Ren. Continuing in this reimagining’s trend of borrowing from Indiana Jones, Kylo makes things right by becoming one of the cave’s immortal guardians. In this final act of selflessness, Kylo Ren earns both characters’ forgiveness as well as our forgiveness by serving his penance in exile.
As more tie fighters blast the cave from above, the roof begins to collapse. Rey yells out to Kylo to come with her, but he tells her he won’t be making it. “If I do this, they will be at my side,” he says, referring to the Knights of Ren. He is grateful for everything she has shown him, but knows it’s his time to leave.
Rey is conflicted, but upon hearing Luke’s distant voice calling out to her, she realizes soon she will be needed elsewhere. This is how Rey and Kylo Ren bring a sense of balance to the Force — not by continuing in the traditions of the Jedi, but by honoring the old while establishing the new.
Kylo turns to face the Knights of Ren, one of them nodding, ready to follow his master into the great unknown. They are in this together. More rubble starts to fall faster as Kylo and the Knights approach the opening door. When they enter the World Between Worlds, Kylo encounters a figure in the distance. It is his father, a phantom gift from the Force. In their final moment together, Han declares that his son has returned. Similar to the parable, the father restores his son’s identity following his imposed exile. “Ben… That is your name.” The slow progression of Ben’s selfless actions leading up to this point allow us to agree that he is worthy of a second chance.
Following the Resistance’s victory, Poe and Finn reunite the children taken by the First Order with their families. Once again, the entire galaxy celebrates the fall of an evil regime. On a jungle planet, Rey continues to tell stories about the Jedi to groups of kids. Now, she includes the legend of Ben Solo and the Knights of Ren, peacekeepers of the Force.
Rey, Poe, and Finn come together once again, joining in with the party of the Resistance. Finally, we see General Leia who has been offscreen up until this point. It is subtly revealed that it was Leia who had managed to connect her son through the Force with Rey, tying up the mystery of their last Force Skype.
In Leia’s final scene, she bestows Rey with her brother’s lightsaber, which she has fixed since the last time we saw it. Now that the kyber crystal has been removed, the saber will serve as a reminder of the generations who helped bring the galaxy to where it is today.
Jumping a year into the future, the reconstructed saber is displayed on a mantle commemorating Jedi Master Luke Skywalker. As the camera pans back, we realize we are inside a new Jedi training house. Rey is among a few teachers who train some of the Force sensitives who were previously introduced. Finn joins the students, as he has recently discovered his own connection to the Force.
The two of them are called over by another teacher, notifying them of a transmission coming in from the revitalized New Republic. A hologram of Poe appears, keeping them in the loop and providing an update about their mission to restore and maintain freedom across the galaxy.
When Rey walks outside to continue teaching her students, we realize they are in the same jungle as the previous scene. Rey turns and sees Luke standing at the stairs of the training house. She smiles at him, watching over her as she teaches the ways of the Force to a new generation of Jedi.
Illustration by Cristi Balanescu
Whereas the actual film ends with a lonely scene of Rey at the Lars homestead on Tatooine, this version concludes with a hopeful promise. Although Luke is gone, his spirit lives on in the galaxy through the legacy he leaves behind in Rey and the reformed Jedi Order. The stories of the Jedi and the inspiration they spread will never come to an end.
Over the course of this reimagining, Rey goes from inheriting a family to becoming a teacher, helping others find the same belonging that she’s found. She shows her students their potential, encouraging them down a path that she wasn’t provided. Rey essentially becomes the person who she needed when she was younger.
Instead of grouping Poe and Finn together without much to do besides share fun dialogue, they are now central to the conflict. Their actions have an impact on the plot, and are no longer the result of coincidentally running into Lando, or stumbling across a dagger. Like Rey, Finn also becomes the person he needed to show him the way at the start of The Force Awakens. Meanwhile, Poe’s progression into a mature frontman of the Resistance is complete, as his strengths are no longer limited to an X-Wing.
Unlike the film, we now spend time with Kylo Ren as he evolves back into Ben Solo. His redemption is no longer reduced to one scene, and we can grow to forgive him just as Rey does. Ben’s actions matter to the story and ultimately earn him his name back. He is not diminished to a plot device. Ben’s death is also meaningful, and isn’t tacked on as an afterthought to tie up loose ends.
This reimagined version of The Rise of Skywalker uses its predecessor The Last Jedi to its advantage, making specific scenes integral to its premise, unlike the actual film which largely dismisses it. The central themes expand upon ideas set up by previous films, providing optimistic answers to daunting questions. Rather than feeling detached from the first two installments, this conclusion attempts to bring closure to the larger narrative.
The Rise of Skywalker had a unique challenge of tying together an improvised trilogy of movies, each one dismissing the previous installment to their detriment. Unfortunately, this finale was not anywhere near as thrilling and emotionally satisfying as the one created by George Lucas and Richard Marquand in 1983. Hopefully, the next time Star Wars returns to the big screen, the franchise will have learned from its failure as Luke did and move on from repeating such mistakes.
Thank you so much for reading! I wrote this article and also posted it on my Medium.
Post Raw 8/12/2019 Show Discussion Thread
|Samoa Joe||Cocquina Clutch||Sami Zayn|
|The Miz||Figure 4||Dolph Ziggler|
|Andrade w/ Zelina Vega (2)||Hammerlock DDT||Rey Mysterio (0)||2 out of 3 falls|
|Drew McIntyre||Claymore||Cedric Alexander|
|Robert Roode||Glorious DDT||No Way Jose|
|The Revival||NO CONTEST due to 24/7 Title Interruptions||Lucha House Party|
|The Revival||Shatter Machine||R-Truth (c)||24/7 Title Match|
|R-Truth||Selida Del Sol from Kalisto||Dash Wilder (c)||24/7 Title Match|
|Elias||Guitar Shot||R-Truth (c)||24/7 Title Match|
|Viking Raiders||Viking Experience||Local Talent|
|Bliss and Cross (c)||Twisted Bliss||The Kabuki Warriors||Women's Tag Title Match|
|Seth Rollins||DQ after Gallows and Anderson attack||AJ Styles w/ Gallows and Anderson|
- Kickoff with the new Universal Champion Seth Rollins who makes his way down to the ring. Seth says last night he didn't know if he had what it took to beat Brock, the last few weeks he wasn't at 100% but he stared Brock right in the eyes knowing full well the beast he is. When his tank emptied last night the crowd came alive and brought him to a place he's never been before, where he couldn't go on his own, where he could only go with their help. In that moment he remembered that he is Seth Freakin' Rollins and that is why he is now Universal Champion. AJ Styles comes out flanked by Gallows and Anderson and tells Seth to hold on. AJ says The OC want to be the first to congratulate him, but here's where it gets tricky, even if he doesn't have to worry about Lesnar anymore he now has to deal with him. AJ says since he's come to his senses he has a lot to proof, so tonight he wants to challenge Seth to prove he is a better champion. Rollins says he had always respected AJ but not anymore. Even if he's beaten down he'll gladly teach Styles a lesson in respect later tonight. AJ motions for Gallows and Anderson to leave and extends his hand for Seth to shake which he does. AJ stops The OC from entering the ring when Seth tenses up.
- Montez Ford is hyping up the Raw card when Angelo Dawkins says he is a bit dehydrated from the Summer Slam afterparty. Sami Zayn comes by and says this place will suck the soul out of you, just look at Seth he now just repeats pandering catch phrases. Even Becky Lynch doesn't have the fire anymore. Angelo asks if it even happens to guys like Samoa Joe as we see Joe is right behind Sami. Sami says Joe is no longer a Samoan destroyer, now he is simpering and worrying about Roman. Joe shouts and surprises Zayn before challenging him to back up his words in the ring right then.
- KING OF THE RING TOURNAMENT STARTS NEXT WEEK!
- After his victory Samoa Joe says his forgiveness only applies to Roman Reigns, not to any of the people who believed the lies and slander about him. Because of that he will never forgive the fans.
- Before his scheduled match with Miz, Dolph Ziggler comes out in street clothes and congratulates Miz on being a coward, saying he had Goldberg face Ziggler because he knew he couldn't face Dolph. However because of the beatdown last night Dolph says he can't compete so Miz's plan won't work. Ziggler is about to leave but attacks Miz from behind. After the match Dolph calls Miz a coward who couldn't beat him at Summer Slam and tells him that he isn't even the best wrestler in his family, Maryse is. Ziggler says this is just flesh wound and that Miz is just a reality show star wanna be. Miz hits him with a skull crushing finale.
- Becky is interviewed backstage and says she didn't come here to celebrate. She gives props to Nattie for last night but now she is moving on, Beckys says this division is like a game of cat and mouse and ladies need to get her before she gets to them.
- Elias comes out and says after last night he's noticing the pattern of legends interrupting him when he has a performance and tries to count it down from 3. After a couples of 3 counts no one appears and Elias says this is history in the making since it will be the first time no one will interrupt him. As he starts to play Ricochet makes his way to the ramp and says people come out here to stop Elias because he simply sucks.
- Michael Cole interviews Steve Austin via skype. Steve says Seth's performance last night was off the charts after getting his ass kicked for weeks and the week was bad ass. Seth proved this was all worth it, now Austin knows who Rollins is, he is committed to being the best in the world. Steve says he told Seth to just stay focused and use his determination, everyone lives and dies by the crowd but what really happened in the match with Brock was that Seth found a hidden piece of himself.
- Rey is interviewed backstage and says he has never lost 2 falls in a row like that and begins to tear up, saying he doesn't know where his career is going and has a family to support. He mumbles something about his family before walking off.
- Drew says his feud with Cedric will end tonight, it's all part of a made up fairy tale Cedric made up that will end with him beating McIntyre. The truth will be Drew kicking his head in.
- AJ is talking to Gallows and Anderson about last night and commends Seth for beating Brock Lesnar which Anderson says AJ wasn't even able to to. AJ says he only got one chance against Brock when Seth got several. Tonight he'll easily beat Seth to prove he's the better champ.
- Paul Heyman is interviewed backstage. He mocks the interviewers saying history was made last night and he has the real exclusive scoop. Earlier today WWE declared that Brock will get no rematch against Seth Rollins. Paul stammers about how unfair this is and how he can't explain this to Brock before going back into Brock's locker room.
- R-truth and Carmella are being chased by the 24/7 title horde and interrupt a title match. Truth loses the title to The Revival but is able to regain it when Kalisto hits him with a Selida Del Sol. Truth and Mella run off and are able to evade their pursuers backstage. Truth says he is now a 72 time champ, beating Cena and Flair's records. Elias sneaks up on Truth and nails him with a guitar shot to win the title.
- Nattalya comes out with her arm in a sling and says last night she faced Becky and lost fair, Lynch was the better woman. Nattie has a dislocated shoulder and apparently this is when she's supposed to take back what she said about Becky but says she wouldn't change a thing and promises to fight Becky again. Nattie wants to share something with everyone, in her dream last night her dad said he was proud of her and it was year ago today that he passed. SASHA BANKS RETURNS TO INTERRUPT! Michael Cole gives a hearty "It's boss time!" She hugs Nattie and motions for a mic but attacks Nattie instead! The purple hair turns out to be a wig, revealing new blue hair! Sasha throws Nattie's injured arm into the ring post then throws her out of the ring. Sasha mocks Nattie for missing her dad before sending her into the ring steps. She picks up Nattalya once more and slams her arm into the steps. Sasha takes a steel chair into the ring and gives a few kicks to Nattie before she's interrupted by Becky Lynch. Becky and Sasha start to brawl. Sasha gets the upper hand on the outside and sends Becky into the barricade before grabbing the chair. She rains down several chair shots on Lynch's back and abdomen before officials try to get her to stop. She continues her assault then throws the chairs at the officials. Sasha throws Becky into the stairs as well before walking to the back.
- Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross are interviewed backstage. Bliss says unlike the IIconics they are fighting champions, and Nikki says this is more than she could ever imagine and she has Lexi to thank for all that. Bliss thanks her for the credit and says they will keep their run going tonight.
- Seth says if AJ wants to lead by example then he has to listen up, because he did something AJ never could, beat Brock. He asks if AJ forgets what happened at Money in the Bank and vows to send a reminder to him.
- Gallows and Anderson attack Seth to cause a DQ and continue to beat him down after the match. Ricochet comes down to make the save but the numbers game catches up to him and he his hit with the Boot of Doom. The OC re-focus on Seth and AJ has Gallows and Anderson set Seth up for an avalanche Styles Clash until Braun comes down to make the save! Braun clears the house of Gallows and Anderson then hits AJ with the powerslam before picking him up for another one. Braun grabs the Universal Title from the timekeeper and hands it to Seth, but stops to stare at it first. The two shake hands to end Raw.
- WWE didn't upload any Raw clips at time of writing
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