WWE RAW Review (8/7/17): Presented By Mercury Insurance
Happy Tuesday everybody. Last night’s Raw was live from Toronto, and was the second to last episode before Summerslam on August 20th. Brock Lesnar showed up, but The Revival are hurt again, The Hardy’s & Elias Samson were MIA and Goldust is still stuck in a dark room somewhere. If you want to read last week’s review, you can find it here.
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And now, the review of the August 7, 2017 WWE RAW.
Paul Heyman Likes To Role Play
Now that The Miz has seemingly moved away from Dean Ambrose, I can fully appreciate him again. He’s the best guy Raw has on the microphone, and his small posse of cronies has given him even more confidence than normal, which is a delight. Miz opened last night’s show demanding Jason Jordan get in the ring and face the consequences for suplexing Miz into Dallas & Axel last week. Instead of JJ, Kurt Angle came out to announce Curtis Axel vs. JJ for the later in the night, and also announced that Miz had two very special guests: Paul Heyman & Brock Lesnar.
Miz, Axel & Dallas sold the arrival of Lesnar perfectly, who always brings with him the sense of impending doom. Miz did his ‘when my hand goes up your mouth goes shut’ bit before Heyman could introduce his Beast, which was timed perfectly & also unexpected. Remember that mega confidence I was talking about earlier? Miz had it here, as he foolishly ran down Heyman & Lesnar, proclaiming Brock will lose at Summerslam & leave the WWE. Heyman’s response was to tell everyone watching that he loves to role play, and thankfully he meant in the wrestling ring & not the bedroom. Lesnar proceeded to murder Miz and his -tourage, and I’m always going to enjoy a segment where Brock throws guys around rather than standing/bouncing in place, so this opening segment worked for me.
Groundhog Day Part 1
Seth Rollins took on Sheamus last week because Cesaro & Sheamus rightfully pointed out that Rollins had zero friends. When you break up The Shield, it’s going to take a long time before people want to be your friend again, Seth. Rollins won via rollup but got annihilated post match by The Bar, and since Raw is just one big, continuous loop, we got Seth Rollins vs. Sheamus again last night. Sheamus won this match via a rollup, Rollins tried to take them both out post match but ended up getting annihilated again instead. Rollins confronted Ambrose backstage because Dean didn’t make the save, and please remember that confrontation later on when Ambrose takes on Cesaro.
“Let’s Go Jobber”
Jason Jordan was supposed to take on Curtis Axel, but Brock Lesnar beat him up so badly in the opening segment that he wasn’t cleared to wrestle. That’s probably the most realistic thing that’s happened on Raw in months. Since Axel couldn’t compete, we were able to get a peek inside of Kurt Angle’s mind and see how he books matches, which we now know is him frantically looking around until he sees someone in wrestling gear. Axel’s replacement is Jean-Pierre Goulet, and if you didn’t watch the match last night or don’t’ feel like watching the video above, just picture a grizzly bear fighting your elderly neighbor. Jordan beats him quickly, and if you want to know how much the Toronto crowd was into JJ, they chanted ‘let’s go jobber’ during the match. Jordan is still a can’t miss athlete, but they need to switch up his theme and give him one of Kurt Angle’s finishers ASAP. If he’s supposed to be Angle’s son, at least give him something of Angle’s that the crowd would recognize. As far as his theme goes, he could come out to a recording of people screaming in pain and it would be an improvement.
The Tragedy of Bayley
Bayley faced Nia Jax last week and took a nasty bump on her shoulder that looked more like an injury than a wrestler selling something for a match, and it turns out it was a legit injury. She’s out of the Women’s title match at Summerslam, and there were two triple threat matches to determine who would fight in a one on one number one contender match next week. Before the first triple threat, Bayley came out to thank the WWE Universe for their well wishes, and it turned out that none of those well wishes came from Toronto. The crowd booed her pretty consistently, and people online who got upset at that need to remember that the crowd is booing the character, not the person. Booing Bayley’s character is probably the nicest thing you can do at this point, because she’s been a pile of garbage for pretty much the entire year. You never want to see anyone get hurt, but Bayley needs some time to make a lot of adjustments if she’s going to be successful on Raw.
The first triple threat featuring Sasha, Emma & Alicia Fox is the better of the two, but neither match was that impressive. I know Alicia Fox is more lanky than your average human, but it baffles me that she can’t keep her shoulders on the mat when someone is trying to pin her. The referees are taught to treat each match like a shoot fight, so they’re only counting pins if both shoulders are down. Alicia flails around so much that she almost never has two shoulders on the mat, and it causes the ref to awkwardly pause before he starts counting. The finishing sequence was pretty slick, as Sasha had Alicia in the Banks Statement, but Emma ran in to roll up Sasha. After a two count, Sasha countered the pin fall into another Banks Statement on Emma to pick up the win.
Groundhog Day Parts 2 & 3
I’m going to link these two segments together because they’re the same thing we saw last week in the case of Wyatt & Balor, and in the case of Big Show, Cass & Enzo, it’s the same thing we’ve seen since the late 60’s. I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m firmly on team Cass. Enzo came out last night to introduce the Big Show/cut a promo on The Club and then proceeded to have the Big Show basically fight a handicap match against Gallows & Anderson.
Show does good until Big Cass shows up to cause a distraction which allows Gallows & Anderson to take out Show. Since Enzo can’t do anything on his own, he immediately gets laid out and loses the match. So Cass’s big speech last month about Enzo running his mouth and not being able to back it up continues to be true, and Big Show has replaced Cass as the guy who has to continually fend off 2 on 1 attacks because his smaller, louder friend won’t shut up.
In case you thought this feud couldn’t get any worse, it’s announced later in the night that Big Cass will take on Big Show at Summerslam with Enzo Amore suspended above the ring in a shark cage. The only way that match would interest me is if there were actual sharks in the cage with Enzo.
Finn Balor and Bray Wyatt play a game of teleportation musical chairs, and the only thing of note during this segment was Balor’s fixation on popping his collar after every movement. I was hoping we’d see Demon Finn at Summerslam, but at this point there’s no reason to bring back the Demon unless Wyatt does something that warrants it.
Presented by Mercury Insurance
The best match of the night by a mile is Cesaro vs. Dean Ambrose, which was oddly presented by Mercury insurance:
It’s one thing to have a brand sponsor a segment, but it’s another to have an obscure insurance company sponsor a segment. Tune in next week when Twin’s Pizza presents Seth Rollins vs. Cesaro (little Rhode Island joke). The match itself was very good, and whenever Cesaro is given 15 minutes or more of ring time, it always makes me wonder why he isn’t ALWAYS given 15 minutes or more of ring time. If he can get a good, engaging match out of Dean Ambrose then he’s a modern day miracle worker, and even though the finish was lame the match itself was good enough to make up for it.
Since Sheamus beat Rollins with a roll up earlier, it would only make sense for Ambrose to beat Cesaro via a roll up after a botched distraction from Sheamus. The Bar proceed to beat up Ambrose again until The Man Who Has No Friends™ Seth Rollins comes out for the save. Remember that backstage segment where Rollins yelled at Ambrose for not helping him and telling him to get over the fact that he beat up his two best friends with steel chairs to join The Authority? Well Dean decided he’s over it, and extended his fist for an old fashioned Shield fist bump, only for Rollins to refuse it and walk away. WHAT IS HAPPENING.
Ariya Daivari & Akira Tozawa fought each other again, and it was another meaningless, two minute Cruiserweight match. I’ll never understand how WWE has 3 hours every Monday night yet can’t give us an exciting 10-12 minute Cruiserweight match. Or why they’ll pick Daivari & Tozawa to fight each other when Rich Swann, Cedric Alexander, Neville, Gran Metalik & Mustafa Ali are all on the roster.
Nia Jax, All Day Everyday
Once Sasha won her match earlier in the night and you saw that Nia Jax was facing Mickie James & Dana Brooke in the second triple threat match, it was pretty clear who would be facing Sasha next week. You could’ve thrown Jean-Pierre Goulet back out there and Nia still would’ve wrecked everybody. The match is short and sweet, which it should be when these three are involved, and although Nia vs. Sasha was extremely predictable, it’ll end up being a good #1 contender’s match next week. Will there be a clean winner, or are we headed towards a triple threat title match at Summerslam?
Goldust is still stuck in a dark room somewhere talking to a camera, and while I’d rather watch him feuding with somebody in the ring, at least it looks like we’re going to get some type of debut at Summerslam. Goldust teased the unveiling of his latest masterpiece and that it could be a man or a woman. Are we getting a debut? Repackaging of someone already on Raw? You’ve got my attention, Golden One.
Last Monster Standing
We’ve seen Strowman vs. Reigns a lot this summer, and it’s always good to great. Last night’s Last Man Standing match started off slow but picked up the pace when they got outside the ring, and the highlight of the match (and night) was Strowman’s chair throw:
You knew Joe was going to interfere because he’s also in the Fatal 4 Way and we hadn’t seem him all night, but it didn’t really make sense to have interference in this match. Nobody came out looking that good: Joe sneak attacked and choked out Reigns; Reigns loses the match; Strowman should have lost the match, but only won because someone else took out Reigns and he stood up before the 10 count. Speaking of standing up before the 10 count – why did the referee stop the count on Strowman when Joe attacked Reigns? It’s a no DQ match, so Joe attacking Reigns shouldn’t have stopped the count on Strowman, and the ref was already at 8 before Joe started to choke out Reigns. Strowman was down for another 10 seconds or more after the Joe attack, so the match should’ve ended there. If WWE is going to book these stipulation heavy matches, they should at least come up with an ending that make sense. Give me more chair throwing and less guys winning because they stood up faster.