Kurt comes out and gives us a recap of his big announcement last week before announcing that Jason Jordan will have his first match on Raw tonight. He is then about to announce who will face Brock at SummerSlam when Braun Strowman comes out and tells Kurt “the next words out of your mouth had better be ‘Braun Strowman’ or else. Because unlike Roman Reigns and Samoa Joe, I won my match at Great Balls of Fire.” He’s a big giant badass, and awesome promo, and he understands booking! All he needs to do is start using a Chokeslam as a finisher and Braun Strowman will become my new favorite wrestler!
Braun says that he’s not afraid of Brock. In fact, he insists that it is Brock who is afraid of him. Then Samoa Joe came out and cut a great promo on Braun and demanding that he get the WWE Universal Title shot at SummerSlam (suggesting that Kurt book Braun and Roman against each other to finally settle their issues at that show). Then Roman Reigns came out and bragged about everything he has done in his career so far, saying several things like “I won the Royal Rumble in Philly, and boy was it loud that night” that could not possibly serve any other purpose then antagonizing the fans. He said that neither of the other two have done anything yet, although that’s a little unfair when you realize that Joe has been on the main roster for a scant six months, while Braun hasn’t even been up for two years yet, and neither of them have really been given many chances to earn title shots. I think Joe’s loss to Brock has been his only one, while almost all of Braun’s actual title shots have been ruined by Roman interfering.
Kurt said that all three of these men had valid points, which really isn’t true. Only Braun had truly valid point. Joe’s touched on validity, but, like Roman’s list of his accolades, did nothing to prove that he deserved another shot at the title. Kurt declares that Brock will defend the title against all three of them, but rather than say it like that, he says “Brock Lesnar will face Samoa Joe… and Roman Reigns… and Braun Strowman.” I guess he decided to draw it out just for the sake of annoying Braun and Roman?
Kurt left despite Joe complaining that this wasn’t fair. Then Brain said “I don’t care if it’s one-on-one, two-on-one, or a Fatal Four-Way. All I care about is piling bodies.” I think I might actually vote for Braun for Best on Interviews at the end of the year. Roman then got a smug look on his face, told Braun to “shut up” and then sucker-punched him. I am struggling to come up with any sort of poetic device to express how baffled I am at WWE’s inability to understand why their booking is failing to get Roman over as a babyface.
Joe and Roman teamed up to go after Braun and dumped him over the guardrail. Then Joe hit Roman with what Michael Cole described as a “cheap shot” although it was no more cheap than Roman’s shot on Braun, which was not called a cheap shot, just like Roman’s attempted vehicular homicide has not been criticized, because apparently WWE thinks that the way to get Roman over is to have him act like an asshole and then give him special treatment where he is never called out for doing so but those he does battle with are.
Braun came back and beat them both up. Kurt came back out with some security to try to break it up but Braun beat up all of the security guys, including giving one of them a crazy-ass biel from the top rope to the floor. Joe grabbed Braun from behind and locked in the Coquina Clutch. Kurt called for the whole locker room to come out and try to break it up, but Braun rammed Joe into the turnbuckle, sending a half of the undercard flying as he did so. While the rest of them attempted restrain Braun, Roman came in and hit the restrained Strowman with a spear. Isn’t this exactly what we were supposed to be angry at Samoa Joe for doing to Brock Lesnar during a brawl just last month?
Braun made another comeback and laid Roman out with a powerslam, so at least the babyface was standing tall at the end.
NO DISQUALIFICATIONS MATCH: Finn Balor vs. “The Drifter” Elias Sampson- 6.25/10
Finn’s shoulder is taped up. Booker says that putting on tape is stupid because it acts as a bullseye for your opponent and “a little tape isn’t going to help.” So yeah, Booker just buried a good chunk of the roster, who have all worn athletic tape during matches for a long period of time.
Michael Cole said that “it’s been said that Elias is a gambler. He loves to take bets; play blackjack and poker.” Um… is someone f*cking with Cole’s notes of something? No one has ever said any of those things about Elias. They’ve said the is a “drifter” and that he loves to play guitar. That’s much different from the things Cole is saying. (The whole reason for this was so Cole could create a stupid backstory for “a charm that Elias sometimes wears around his neck.” And really… who has a lucky charm that doesn’t wear it all the time in a situation where they might need luck?)
These two put on a pretty good match with The Drifter working the injured arm, but it was brought down by the fact that every last person knew that finish was going to be Bray Wyatt interfering. We all knew this because WWE decided that rather than just have Bray get a clean win on last week’s show to make him look strong, it would be a lot better to have him randomly cut a promo on Balor in which he telegraphed tonight’s interference, killing the surprise, making the announcers look like idiots for not expecting it even though Bray made it pretty obvious what his intentions were, and giving this match a lame-duck feel. To make matters worse, these same idiots decided that to make sure The Drifter was helped as little as possible by this win by deciding that Bray’s interference should only came after Finn hit his finisher and was about to beat Sampson. Finn didn’t need to have the win stolen from him here. He’s already losing due to interference. You don’t need to protect him even more by making him look like the clearly superior wrestler here when The Drifter needs to be given some shred of credibility a lot more than Finn needs to get a win stolen from him by interference. GRRRRRR!
BAYLEY & THE HARDYS PLUG SONIC- the fast food joint, not the hedgehog (unfortunately).
I really hate these commercials that happen backstage at Raw, like they’re trying to trick you into thinking it’s part of the show. A corny commercial featuring wrestlers as spokespeople is fine. It’s a commercial. It’s allowed to be corny. This, though…
Look. WWE backstage segments have atrociously lame dialogue as is, so until I see the product placement, I often can’t tell whether it’s a lame Sonic commercial or a worse than usual WWE backstage segment. That does not say good things about WWE at all. Also, this has got to be the least cool the Hardys have ever looked in their lives (well… barring any of Jeff’s Willow The Wisp stuff), which only makes me less likely to cheer them later.
KURT ANGLE/JASON JORDAN VIDEO PACKAGE- from what I can gather from this, they apparently came off pretty naturally in their WWE Network exclusive sit-down interview with Renee Young last week. Speaking of Kurt Angle and Renee Young…
RENEE YOUNG INTERVIEWS KURT ANGLE- what is Renee doing on Raw? Isn’t she a Smackdown personality? And if the interviewers aren’t exclusive to the brands then why hasn’t she been on Raw before? You’d think she would have started showing up on Raw, too, once her kayfabe f*ck-buddy/shoot husband Dean Ambrose was moved to Raw. And you’d also think that they would have been bringing Charly Caruso to Smackdown so we could have two good interviewers on each show rather than Charly having to do all of the interviews on the longer show herself while Smackdown has Renee splitting time with Dasha, who I’m pretty sure can’t actually speak unless you pull the string on her back that makes her ask “what are your thoughts?”
Kurt said stuff. Then Emma showed up and asked Kurt why she never gets booked. It’s a valid question. She suggests that perhaps she will start dating Jason Jordan. Wow. First his dad is Kurt Angle and now that makes Emma want to date him? Jason Jordan is a lucky dude!
I assume that the implication here was supposed to be that Kurt getting his son booked in a match right away is somehow showing favoritism, but they could have done a better job of getting that across. In fact, in this case I think it might have been best to just outright say it. Either way, Kurt gets annoyed at Emma and books her against Nia Jax later tonight.
ENZO & BIG SHOW BACKSTAGE- apparently Enzo’s match against Cass is next. I could have sworn that they said Jason Jordan’s match would be next.
ENZO AMORE PROMO- much shorter than previous weeks, which was good, but it still felt unnecessary.
ENZO AMORE vs. COLIN CASSADY- DUD!
Enzo got completely obliterated, just like at the PPV.
POST-MATCH SEGMENT- bad.
Cass went to attack Enzo but Enzo’s new large friend, Big Show, came out to save him. Cass used Enzo as a human shield, then beat up Big Show. This would have been find except that it went on for WAY too long.
I absolutely despise that SummerSlam logo with the big star. It looks so cartoony. It’s something that says “goofy, happy, fun,” not “MAJOR COMBAT SPORTING EVENT.” It’s the kind of logo I’d expect to see on some sort of Nickelodeon game show.
RENEE YOUNG INTERVIEWS ALEXA BLISS!- great!
Alexa gloats about how Bayley and Sasha’s friendship will be ruined after tonight’s match. She also referred to them as “Team Gag Reflex.” I giggled. Also, I didn’t realize Tom Phillips was on the Creative Team.
Unlike a heel would usually do on WWE in this situation, Alexa actually said things designed to incite Sasha and Bayley to each want to win even more than they otherwise would have by pointing out the great shames they would face if they each lost, and even hinting on reasons why one might turn on the other in case of a loss.
NIA JAX vs. EMMA- DUD!
Emma’s new thing is apparently going to be taking credit for starting the
This was an almost completely pointless squash match (and if nothing ever comes from Emma’s earlier segment with Kurt, it will have truly been completely pointless). Nia squashed Emma like a bug. And I really do mean squashed. Nia got the win with a flipping senton, and based on the referee’s reaction, I think she might have actually squashed Emma.
CHARLY CARUSO INTERVIEWS TOZAWA/SEGMENT WITH TITUS- wonderful!
Basically, Daivari injured Tozawa’s already-injured sholder on 205 Live last week, injuring it even more. His shoulder is heavily taped, but he still wants a match with Daivari tonight, and apparently one was booked, but Titus showed up and said that, as Tozawa’s manager, he got the match cancelled because he doesn’t want Tozawa to risk further damage to his shoulder. Tozawa got very angry at Titus for this basically told him to f*ck off and headed out for the ring anyway. Titus followed right behind him and they argued the whole way. This was great, and came off extremely natural. I love how both guys are coming off as babyfaces here.
TOZAWA & NEVILLE SEGMENT- Tozawa calls out Daivari, but instead Neville comes out to cut a promo on him, taking credit for all of his recent failures and trying to drive an even bigger wedge between Tozawa and Titus. Neville got in Tozawa’s face so Tozawa snapped and started to kick his ass. He then went up and actually hit Neville with his senton, but this aggravated his shoulder injury. Daivari then came out and attacked Tozawa, but hen surprisingly (this is WWE, after all) he also laid out Neville. GREAT segment all around, but especially Neville and Tozawa.
SASHA & BAYLEY BACKSTAGE- good. This did its job of planting seeds for issues between these two. Sasha calling Alexa “that little troll” twice came off as her having quite the lack of wit, though.
RENEE YOUNG INTERVIEWS JASON JORDAN- It turns out he’s wrestling Curt Hawkins tonight, so now I’m a lot less excited to see this match. Jordan’s interview was pretty good.
ROLLINS COMES ACROSS AMBROSE TAPING HIS FISTS IN THE LOCKER ROOM- GREAT!
Seth wants to have a game plan but Dean doesn’t. Seth points out how dumb Dean is for this. Seth reminded Dean that “we have three guys to worry about” to which Dean responded “you have three guys to worry about. I have four.”
#1 CONTENDERSHIP MATCH: Sasha Banks vs. Bayley- 8/10
Alexa Bliss! came out to do guest commentary, which might be the first time in recorded history that someone coming out to do commentary hasn’t annoyed me on principle. Corey Graves puts over Alexa’s wit, saying that he would wear a “Team Gag Reflex” t-shirt. I guess he and Tom Phillips are more than just best friends.
The camera spent way too much time cutting to Alexa, ignoring the important action in the ring (and this is ME saying that). These two had an awesome match, but the finish was one of those odd ones where the person who just got hit with a move winds up getting the pin. In this case, Sasha showed her great respect for her hero, the late great Eddie Guerrero, but hitting his finisher and then immediately getting pinned. Alexa came down to the ring to stick her title belt in Bayley’s face.
That “Sabrina go to bed” sign is a fine example of bad parenting. It sets a terrible example for your daughter to go on national TV with your sign missing a comma.
RENEE YOUNG INTERVIEWS CURT HAWKINS- shockingly good.
JASON JORDAN vs. CURT HAWKINS- no rating, good squash.
From the time Jordan stepped out through the curtain, not more than five seconds had elapsed before Michael Cole had uttered the phrase “Kurt Angle’s son” twice.
CHARLY CARUSO INTERVIEWS THE REVIVAL IN THE RING- Oh. Right. There’s a tag team division on this show. Charly was out here just so she could be shooed off, but Scott Dawson so polite about it that there’s no possible heat that could come from this. They started to cut a good promo before they were interrupted by Gallows & Anderson, who they are scheduled to face tonight. Gallows & Anderson cut a good promo as well, aside from the end, in which Gallows called The Revival “nerds.” I am certain that this is the first time in his life that someone has called Scott Dawson a nerd.
THE REVIVAL vs. LUKE GALLOWS & KARL ANDERSON- 5/10
Cesarmus watched the match from backstage. I believe this was their first appearance on TV since the PPV. These are your tag champs. This match ended when the Hardys came out to cause a distraction allowing The Revival to hit the Shatter Machine on Anderson for the win. Then the Hardys attacked The Revival. I did not like this at all. It feels like wheel-spinning, and it a fairly unique match-up away from us.
MIZ-TOURAGE & MARYSE BACKSTAGE- Miz and Maryse’s criticism of the lack of creativity in Hollywood seemed pretty spot on to me. Then Miz gave his guys an awesome (no pun intended) pep talk.
HANDICAP MATCH: Seth Rollins & Dean Ambrose vs. The Miz-Tourage (w/Maryse)- 6.25/10
Babyfaces work perfectly together and win despite the numbers disadvantage. Sooo… feud over, right? After the match Seth and Dean celebrated together, but Dean walked out when Seth wanted to do the Shield fist symbol.
A (rare) pretty good show from WWE.
STUPID ANNOUNCER QUOTES:
1. Booker T referred to a simple back elbow as “innovative.”