WWE RAW Review (7/24/17): Team Gag Reflex
Gather round, wrestling fans. We’re back with the most efficient three hour pro wrestling TV show review in all of the internets. If you’re interested in last week’s write up, you can find that here.
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And now, the July 24th, 2017 Raw review.
Kurt Angle, Dad of the Year
Raw opened this week with general manager Kurt Angle humble bragging about having sex in college, which resulted in him fathering a legitimate division I amateur wrestler who is now a 6’3 250 pound super athlete. Angle announced that Jordan will have his Raw debut tonight, and then attempted to move onto planning the main event of Summerslam. Since this a Raw opening segment, Angle is interrupted three times by three different people: Braun Strowman, Roman Reigns & Samoa Joe.
They all believe they should fight Brock Lesnar for the Universal title at Summerslam, and they all end up getting their wish, as Angle made a Fatal 4 Way main event for the biggest party of the summer. After all the talking, the three challengers to Lesnar’s title decided to start fighting each other, which brought out security guards and half of the locker room. The highlight of the segment for me was Braun launching this security guard into outer space:
While this definitely didn’t need 20 minutes to be set up, I am glad that they’re going with a 4 way at Summerslam. Lesnar doesn’t give a shit about 99% of his matches, so at least we have three guys in there who are going to wrestle like they’re in the main event of a major pay per view.
The Eater of Demons
Elias Samson and Finn Balor have great chemistry, and have had solid matches every time they’ve been paired up. Unfortunately they’ve been paired up A LOT lately, as this is the third straight Raw where they’ve faced other. It defies logic, because there are plenty of other guys for these two to face if you want to simultaneously build them up (cough Goldust cough cough). Why have them face each other three weeks in a row? Again, the match is good, but I’m already sick of watching these two fight. Don’t make me hate Finn Balor vs. Elias Samson, WWE.
Samson does some solid work on Balor’s shoulder, but Finn’s offense is almost entirely feet based, so he has no trouble hitting his running drop kick and the Coup De Gras. Before he can pickup the victory, teleportation master Bray Wyatt showed up and hit him with Sister Abigail, allowing Samson to pick up the win. I should be way more into Balor/Wyatt, but they’ve really trained us to expect the worst with Wyatt’s character, so I’m treading carefully. With that said, the timing of the lights coming back on to show Balor in Wyatt’s arms for Sister Abigail was tremendous.
Enzo vs. Cass, Groundhog Day Edition
Speaking of redundant, Cass beats the piss out of Enzo again, proving…nothing? Cass beat Enzo at Battleground. Cass got beat up a little by Big Show on the following Raw. Cass beat up Big Show last week. Cass beat up Enzo again last night. Who is this helping, exactly? I know it’d be asking too much to have everyone come out of this feud looking better than when it started, but the goal should not be for everyone to tread water. I’m not sure what this says about me, but the highlight of the segment was after Cass beat Enzo, he verbally threatened to snap Enzo’s neck if the Big Show entered the ring. That’s some cold blooded shit. Join us next week when Enzo takes on Cass.
Give Emma A Chance
Earlier in the night, Emma approached Kurt Angle asking for an opportunity. Angle seemed upset by this for some reason, and gave Emma a match against Nia Jax. Nia kills Emma, because we can’t build up multiple women at the same time, and anyone who wants an opportunity should immediately be punished. WWE likes to forget that Emma and Paige were the pioneers of women’s wrestling in NXT. I understand not mentioning Paige at this time, but Emma is on your roster ready to shake shit up. Bayley and Sasha Banks don’t have to be the only two women fighting for a chance at the title. I think Emma explains it here better than I ever could:
Purple Ropes Action
The Cruiserweight division didn’t even get an actual match this week, but at least they’re attempting to build multiple guys at once. Akira Tozawa lost to Neville at GBOF, but felt like he was due a rematch because Neville kicked the ropes into his nuts. In the meantime, Tozawa has been fighting Ariya Daivari, who has made it his mission to destroy Tozawa’s shoulder. While all this is going on, Titus O’Neil is trying to protect 1 of the 2 members of the Titus Brand, so he figuratively threw in the towel during Tozawa & Daivari’s match last week and he had the rematch scheduled for last night canceled.
Tozawa was not happy about this, so he demanded Daivari come out and fight him, which brought out the aforementioned nut kicker Neville. Tozawa bested Neville and hit his top rope Senton, which brought out Daivari to pick up the scraps and hit two vicious clotheslines on both Tozawa and Neville. There’s a lot happening in this storyline, but it also feels like nothing is happening. They don’t even have a match here, but based on Daivari’s attack, it looks like we’re headed for a triple threat match at Summerslam.
Team Gag Reflex
Before we get to the Sasha/Bayley #1 contenders match (which I really enjoyed) I have to mention Alexa’s ‘team gag reflex’ comment. If there is one group of people I don’t trust with using ‘team gag reflex’ to describe two female wrestlers, it’s Vince McMahon and the Raw writing team. Let’s just drop that name immediately. Back to the match – it’s the best match on the show by a mile, and if you needed a reason for Sasha to turn heel, just watch this match.
They don’t wrestle like best friends; they wrestle like there’s a #1 contenders spot on the line, and Bayley & Sasha are so much better in the ring when they’re enemies and not best buddies. Bayley’s best character trait is her ability to garner sympathy, but that’s not possible when her friend Sasha Banks is always saving the day. If you position Sasha as her old Boss character, that leaves Bayley on her own as the underdog with the heart of gold.
As much as I loved the match, I wasn’t a fan of the result, mainly because they’re rewarding Bayley almost immediately after she already lost the title to Bliss. The announce team was talking about how this is a different Bayley than the one we saw at Extreme Rules, but that’s just not true. How is she different? She took one pay per view off, was immediately put into a #1 contenders match because she pinned the women’s champion in a few tag matches, and now she’s #1 contender again. There was no journey. She’s just one of the two women you’ve decided should be in the title picture, and telling us she’s changed without showing us how she’s changed is not cutting it. This would be an ideal spot for Emma, mainly because it would give Bayley some time out of the title picture to work on her character. Instead, they have Emma get murdered and give Bayley another title shot. Good match, wrong result.
Kurt Angle’s super human love child Jason Jordan had his Raw debut last night, and it was a quick, impressive win over Curt Hawkins. If you’ve watched any of American Alpha’s matches over the last few years, you know how impressive Jordan can be, but it’ll be interesting to see how he transitions into a singles star. I think it’ll be similar to how Roman Reigns went from the hot tag machine in The Shield to a singles guy, as Jordan was really only asked to come in like a house of fire and murder dudes with suplexes and spears. It’s hard not to get excited when you see the intensity that Jordan wrestles with, and when you combine that with his actual amateur wrestling ability, you have the makings of a future star.
The Revival vs. The Club
For the second straight week we got a Revival tag team match, which is always a positive. They immediately improve the quality of the tag team division, and if they can motivate The Club to be an actual interesting tag team then Raw will have four solid teams to work with. Cesaro & Sheamus weren’t featured for the second week in a row which was a little odd, but it’s also not the worst thing letting these three teams duke it out to see who should fight for the tag titles. The distraction finish is always going to be lame, especially when the ‘good guys’ are the ones doing the distracting, but it was a competitive match before The Hardy’s showed up. If any combination of these three teams plus Cesaro & Sheamus are given 10-15 minutes to have fun tag matches going forward, I’m in.
The Miz-Tourage vs. The Brothers Without Banners
The 3 on 2 handicap main event featuring the Miz-Tourage against Ambrose & Rollins was a fun match that really picked up towards the end. The finish was never in doubt, but Rollins and Ambrose used actual teamwork to win which is always a plus. If Ambrose & Miz are going to continue their forever feud, adding Rollins would at least freshen things up, especially if they’re headed towards a triple threat IC title match at Summerslam. Ambrose & Rollins have also done good character work the past few weeks, and I appreciate them acknowledging their past and not just being best buds because they have a common enemy. That Shield breakup cut deep, and just because Rollins has been trustworthy the past two weeks doesn’t mean Ambrose is ready to summon the powers of their collective fists again.
That’s it for this week’s show. As always, comment below with your thoughts or tweet us @averagenobodies. See you next week!