Cole referred to last week’s Roman vs. Joe match as the “main event” even though it took place only two thirds of the way in, and wasn’t even the last match on the show.
There was a sign that said “f Dm ****1/2.” I don’t know for sure, but I assume that stands for “F*ck Dave Meltzer. ****1/2” and is in reference to the Okada-Omega match.
The crowd is loudly cheering for Roman… until his music ends, at which point the crowd becomes suddenly quiet, even though I can still hear booing and people chanting “WE WANT STROWMAN!” So not only are they muting the crowd, but now they’re also piping in cheers, apparently.
Am I the only one amused by the fact that no one in this company could ever pronounce “Samoa” in the native way- including the Samoans… but now that two of them are feuding, just those two have started to do so?
Roman says that “Braun Strowman came out here like a coward when I was down and he picked the bones.” That sounds suspiciously like something that Roman did to Strowman a few months ago, doesn’t it? Hypocritical babyfaces are never the way to go.
Roman said that when he was done with Braun and he had successfully locked him in the ambulance, he would “hop in that driver’s seat and take you straight to hell!”
If he’s already thrown Braun in the ambulance then that means he’s won, so why would he “take Braun to hell” afterwards? That seems like excessive punishment. Can you get DQed for excessive punishment and have the result overturned in an Ambulance Match?
Sirens start blaring, and I immediately perked up and thought “Oh sh*t! SCOTT STEINER’S BACK!” Then I sheepishly remembered that Roman had been talking about an Ambulance Match no more than five seconds ago. Damn. Now that I had the thought, I really want to see Scott Steiner vs. Braun Strowman, but I know it will never happen.
An ambulance- lights and sirens on- backed up into that area off to the side of the ramp that is big enough for cars. I’m pretty sure it’s illegal to have your lights and sirens on if there is no legitimate medical emergency. Roman went over to the ambulance and cautiously opened the back doors to reveal no Braun Strowman inside. Then Braun came around from the side and attacked Roman, presumably just having emerged from the driver’s seat, where the driver of an ambulance normally sits, rather than the back, where the patients go. Roman looked a like F*CKING IDIOT here.
Braun beat him up a bit, Roman made a quick comeback but Braun prevailed in the end, throwing him off the stage and into the side of the ambulance, then dumping him in the back and closing the doors. Then the lights and sirens of the ambulance turned on. WHO TURNED THEM ON? Does WWE know that these things don’t happen automatically?
Then the apparently driverless ambulance drove itself out of the arena. Yes, really.
After our first commercial break we get a recap of the previous segment. Cole says that he “still can’t get over what just happened” and I don’t blame him. He saw an ambulance apparently being driven by a ghost!
Wait a minute. What if that really WAS a ghost or magical powers driving the ambulance away? And who do we know that has control over such things and would have reason to want revenge on Roman Reigns, and who we would all love to see team up with Braun to get it?
FINN BALOR & THE HARDY BOYZ vs. SHEAMUS, CESARO, & “THE DRIFTER” ELIAS SAMPSON- 7.25/10
Sheamus & Cesaro were set to join The Drifter in his pre-match singing. I was praying that Cesaro would begin loudly yodeling. That would have been the most awesome thing ever. Instead the Hardys’ music played and they made their entrance.
When we got back from a commercial a few minutes in, Cole once again emphasized to us that this is the first time this combination of wrestlers has ever faced-off in a six-man tag team match. Then we immediately cut away from this supposedly exciting and important event because some supposed celebrity I’ve never even heard of has joined them on commentary. Cole was sure to call him a “Hollywood celebrity” because I guess they think that makes him sound important, but it seems to be that if he was such a celebrity you’d just be able to tell us what band he’s in or what TV show he’s on what team he plays for rather than have to emphasize to us that he’s a “Hollywood celebrity.”
He starts off by saying he’s never been to a wrestling show before (well, he said “one of these events, but I’ll assume he didn’t just mean WWE). Then said that he just met Vince backstage. Well that’s probably going to cause a lot of kayfabe problems when Vince doesn’t come out and use is authority to resolve the various issues that pop up over the course of the show.
He’s apparently here to meet one of his co-stars in an upcoming WWE Studios (why is this even still a thing?) movie. Is it one of the wrestlers? Of course not! It’s some other guy I’ve never heard of. Corey Graves then points out to him that Sheamus will also be in the movie, totally burying Sheamus as being completely beneath this celebrity’s notice.
Cole referred to Sheamus as “a very interesting cat.” (I’ll say! He’s over six feet tall, talks, and walks just two legs!) This caught me by surprise more than anything I’ve heard a WWE announcer say in quite a while. When was the last time you heard Michael Cole refer to someone as a “cat?” Has he ever done it? And now he just randomly picks this one episode of Raw in 2017 to bring back slang from the 1970s?
Booker then told this celebrity he had heard he would be “throwing your hat in the director’s ramp.” WHAT THE F*CK?! “RAMP?” The word that is normally used in this expression- the word Booker screwed up and/or forgot- is “RING!” Like a WRESTLING RING. Like the one Booker is looking at right now!
When we came back from another commercial break the celebrity actually had a thing to say that sounded like he kinda-sorta knew something about wrestling. He said “the Hardy Boyz have been doing this forever. Like, twenty years?” My guess is that someone backstage realized how horrifically this was going and thought that giving this dude a line would make it better. He was silent for most of the rest of the match, and the announcers didn’t do much to engage him, either. This is why you don’t let anyone sit in on commentary unless they’re a wrestling fan.
The match itself was pretty great (they gave it, like, eighteen minutes), but I feel like I’ve seen Sheamus & Cesaro vs. the Hardys so many times at this point that it’s hard to care anymore. In fact, I did some research on this, and since their return to the WWE each Hardy has wrestled eleven matches on TV or PPV- each has had two singles matches and they’ve wrestled as a team nine times, for a total of thirteen matches between the two of them. Want to know how many of those matches have had Sheamus and/or Cesaro as their opponents? TEN. All four singles matches and now six different tag team matches. OVER THREE QUARTERS OF THEM! And one of the mere THREE that wasn’t had them teaming with Sheamus & Cesaro (also, fun fact: in all three matches that they didn’t face Sheamus & Cesaro [and one that they did]) they faced Gallows & Anderson). How do they possibly expect me to get excited to see these two teams again?
And speaking of these two teams facing off again, Kurt Angle STILL has not address the double-count-out finish of the tag title match that took place TWO WEEKS AGO.
GOLDUST PROMO- a good promo to hype up their… whatever exactly it is that is happening tonight. Corey Graves tells me that said thing is going to be a match, and that the match is next.
GOLDUST vs. R-TRUTH- no rating, decent segment.
Goldust has his own cameraman dressed all in gold. He got into the ring, which should have been the first clue something was up. He let Goldust use him as a human shield/distraction so Goldust could jump Truth before the bell. Goldust beat Truth up. The referee kept yelling for him to stop, but that was the extent of the action that anyone took to save poor R-Truth.
CHARLY CARUSO INTERVIEWS PAUL HEYMAN- He says Brock will call Joe out for a fight. Joe grabs Paul from behind and threatens to choke him out. Joe menaces Heyman and then tells him that it’s Brock he will be choking out instead.
They announce that tonight’s main event will be a gauntlet match between all of the kayfabe healthy non-Alexa women to determine who will be the #1 contender at great Balls of Fire. Because I guess Nia Jax needs to earn another title shot even though her last one was ruined by two people she didn’t even want at ringside causing her to get DQed.
Kurt Angle is backstage operating a f*cking hopper and letting each woman pick her spot. Did we really need to see this?
MIV TV WITH THE BALL FAMILY- Including LaVar, which makes this segment a skip for me. Be A Star, kids. But sure, we’ll put an obnoxious, self-absorbed douchebag who makes racist statements towards his son’s teammates and threatening statements towards reports for no reason. That’s definitely someone we want to be associated with. And even worse, give a live mic to.
Something undoubtedly annoying happened. While fast forwarding I saw the Ball family brand of clothing all over sh*t. So WWE is letting people come on their show and plug their sh*t in a desperate plea for attention that will garner absolutely none. I’m aware that this happens all the time, but WWE also sells t-shirts, which makes the Balls’ their direct competitors, so this is just dumb. When I stopped fast-forwarding we came back from commercial in the middle of a six-man tag pitting…
RHYNO, DEAN AMBROSE, & HEATH SLATER vs. CURTIS AXEL, BO DALLAS, & THE MIZ (w/Maryse)- 4/10
The announcers informed me that I missed a ten minute commercial for the Balls’ brand of clothing. Corey Graves also told us that Dean Ambrose was wearing one, confirming my suspicions that only a douchebag would do so.
Dean Ambrose did many standard wrestling maneuvers while Michael Cole insisted to me that he is “as unorthodox as they come.” He also tried to insist to me that Bo & Axel should be taken seriously as competitors. How about if you don’t want the fans to not take a wrestler seriously then maybe you shouldn’t make guys into total clowns and jobbers for years and years?
I decided to do some looking. Do you want to know what Bo Dallas’ record in televised matches on the main roster is?
54-87. And if you think that I’m fudging things by not including NXT, where Bo spent nine months as the champion, you’d be wrong! He actually had a losing record on NXT, too (21-23) where, again, HE SPENT NINE MONTHS AS THE CHAMPION. BO DALLAS IN A COMPLETE AND TOTAL LOSER.
And… he just rolled Rhyno up for the win. Cole is insisting that this victory wasn’t clean because Axel punched Rhyno in the face first, but that sort of thing happens all the time and no one ever says anything about it. You could have pinned Heath Slater, but instead you pinned RHYNO. Dumbasses.
ENZO & CASS VIDEO PACKAGE- GREAT!
ENZO & CASS SEGMENT- WATCH THIS SEGMENT RIGHT NOW!
This was absolutely amazing. I can’t remember the last thing WWE did that was this great. I’m serious. Watch it for yourself.
SETH ROLLINS vs. CURT HAWKINS- 2/10
They let Curt Hawkins cut a promo before the match. He asked who thought he would win and who thought he would lose, then said “I guess we’ll find out.”
He lost to the move that WWE hasn’t come up with a name for in the multiple months Rollins has been using it for, so I will now do their job for them and official name it the “Rain-Faker” for being such a stupid and blatant rip-off.
BRAY WYATT PROMO- snore.
PAUL HEYMAN PROMO- awesome.
JOE -BROCK “BRAWL”- PERFECT!
Brock came out and Joe jumped him from behind on the ramp. Joe locked in the Coquina Clutch. Brock kept ramming Joe into the screen to knock him off but Joe never let up his grip and was clearly about to choke Brock out when the locker room emptied to pull Joe off. This got over every single thing that it needed to.
LINCE DORADO vs. NEVILLE- 2/10
Tozawa is at ringside sitting in a fancy chair in a roped-off area that Titus set up for him. At least he got him some snacks. The match got no time. Neville won clean. Titus came out to announce that Tozawa is getting the next shot at the Cruiserweight Title.
CHARLY CARUSO INTERVIEWS PAUL HEYMAN- AWESOME!
NIA JAX & ALEXA BLISS! BACKSTAGE- Alexa is still trying to suck up to Nia. She actually cut an awesome babyface promo, and Nia threw it back in her face. On the one hand Nia had to do it to show that she’s… well… not a big, gullible idiot… but on the other hand I did feel sorry for Alexa because she was convincing enough that I’m pretty sure she was telling the truth about most of the stuff she said about herself.
They’re advertising an episode of Ride Along with Owens & Jericho. This seems like the sort of thing you should have done BEFORE their feud started.
#1 CONTENDERSHIP GAUNTLET MATCH: Bayley vs. Nia Jax vs. Mickie James vs. Dana Brooke vs. Emma vs. Sasha Banks- 7/10
Despite being in her home state, Bayley barely got a reaction when she came out. Then she spent most of the next few minutes getting her ass kicked before Nia finally pinned her. Same thing happened to Mickie. They Dana came out and got squashed like a bug. So did Emma.
So yes. They had the top babyface be the woman coming in with a big stamina advantage because the other woman had done all of the work… but Nia had been so dominant that it didn’t even feel like it wasn’t a fair fight. Nia dominated Sasha as well. Sasha’s selling was excellent, the hope spots were well-timed, and the finish was GREAT.
POST-MATCH SEGMENT- bad.
Kurt Angle comes out for no reason. Alexa Bliss! comes out for the expected stand-off… and Sasha hits her with a sucker-dropkick, then steals her belt a poses with it. What a heel!
(And yes, I’m quite afraid that the direction they’re going in is to have Sasha beat Alexa at GBOF and then do Sasha vs. Bayley at SummerSlam with the whole angle revolving around Sasha constantly pointing out that she did what Bayley couldn’t by beating Alexa.
A pretty boring first half of the show (even with the opener being as good it was), but then an AWESOME second half!
STUPID ANNOUNCER QUOTES:
1. Booker T referred to Braun’s attack on Roman last week as “an ambush.”
He showed up in a vehicle making a very loud noise, got out of the vehicle, and roared loudly- all within Roman’s sight- then took a good minute or so to slowly walk over to where Roman was. That’s just about the opposite of an ambush.
2. Cole put over Daniel Bryan for booking the SD Women’s MITB match for tomorrow night, which Cole referred to as “making history again, just like we’re making history tonight with the first-ever women’s gauntlet match.”
You can’t MAKE HISTORY “AGAIN” BY DOING THE SAME THING! Not the same way they’re trying to hype up this women’s gauntlet match as the first ever (and like they did with women’s MITB at the PPV). Because if you’re going to call that “making history” then you might as well put over this match for making history as the 19,041st ever six-man tag in the history of Raw (that’s how many there have been. Don’t believe me? Then go count them.)
3. Mere moments after Cole reminded us that Curtis Axel was once the WWE Intercontinental Champion, Booker T insisted to us that Curtis Axel has the potential to be great, “but all he needs is that one big break.”
Way to bury the title, Booker.