WWE RAW Review (8/14/17): Fist Bump City
RAW was live from Boston last night for the final show before Summerslam. Tonight we got a mini Shield reunion, a new number one contender for Alexa Bliss’s Women’s title & a new Cruiserweight champion.
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And now, the Raw review for August 14th, 2017.
Fist Bump City
Raw opened with Dean Ambrose, followed by Seth Rollins, reminiscing on their shared friendship/brotherhood and a whole lot of fist bump teases. Ambrose doesn’t trust Rollins, Rollins doesn’t trust himself, and both guys definitely seem more comfortable being alone than they do linking back up and being forced to trust each other again. They’ve been teasing this reunion for weeks, so I could go without the constant fist bump teasing, but I do like that the story is that they’re teaming up out of necessity.
Cesaro & Sheamus will not stop running down to the ring and beating the shit out of Rollins & Ambrose, and it’s clear that neither of them are going to win that battle two on one. They might not be cohesive enough to beat the tag champs as a team either, but they definitely stand a better chance when they join forces. Also, that visual of them finally touching fists was pretty badass, and it’s clear the crowd has been ready for some type of Shield reunion for the last four years. Cool opening segment, and the tag title match has a very good chance of stealing the show at Summerslam.
WWE provided a somewhat hopeful update on Ric Flair after the opening segment. Flair had been hospitalized over the weekend due to heart issues, and it looks like he still has a long road ahead of him. Thoughts and prayers with the Nature Boy & his family.
#1 Contender’s Match
The #1 contenders match between Sasha Banks and Nia Jax was exactly what it should’ve been. Nia should dominate every match she’s in, and that’s what happened here. Nia squashed Sasha from the opening bell, swinging her into the barricade and overpowering her at every turn. Sasha knows there’s a slim chance that she’ll be able to keep Nia down for a three count, so her best bet is to lock in the Banks Statement and pray Nia can’t take the pain. After taking a beating the entire match, Sasha finally locked it in. Nia almost got to the ropes, but Sasha did a great job kicking Nia’s hand away.
Nia almost powered out of it, but Sasha turned that into a sweet DDT, locked the Banks Statement in again and Nia was forced to tap out. Sasha vs. Alexa is the better matchup for Sunday, especially when you remember that Bliss had promised Nia a future title shot. Will Nia interfere to help Alexa keep the title & secure her future title shot? An interesting factor to consider for what should be a great title match.
Also, I love Alexa Bliss’s lifeguard throne. She should just sit there silently judging every Raw match until the end of time.
Elias vs. Beantown
Elias (no known last name) was conspicuous by his absence last week, and he either loves Toronto and couldn’t bear to come up with a diss song or WWE couldn’t come up with something interesting for him. Considering they had R-Truth come out to get beat up tonight, I’m going to go with option 2. Elias’s Boston song was interrupted by Truth’s rambling, and having Truth follow Elias would be like having Freddie Mercury open for William Hung. I like to keep an open mind when it comes to Raw, but Elias vs. R-Truth is not high on the list of matches I want to see.
Big Cass, Actual Smart Wrestler
After weeks and weeks and weeks of Enzo, Cass & Big Show yelling and fighting each other, we’re going to get Cass vs. Show with Enzo suspended in a shark cage above the ring at Summerslam. The whole feud is based around Cass being fed up with Enzo, who keeps running his mouth and not being able to back it up. Cass would always be left cleaning up Enzo’s messes, and now that Cass has broke off on his own, Big Show has taken his spot. Cass (who was not well received by the Boston crowd) cut a promo about how he’s going to beat Big Show Sunday and prove that he’s the best big man in wrestling today.
It was one of his better promos, and naturally he was interrupted by Enzo, who ran his mouth, brought out the Big Show and got kicked in the face multiple times while Big Show got attacked by Cass, Gallows & Anderson. Once again, Enzo runs his mouth and was nowhere to be found when his bigger friend was getting beat up. It’s always more fun watching smart wrestlers, which is why I enjoyed this segment so much. 99% of Big Show’s offense is his right hand, so why wouldn’t Cass slam his hand into the shark cage? If Big Show isn’t able to choke slam or knock out Cass, he’ll be at a huge disadvantage. Adding Gallows & Anderson into the mix is interesting, especially if it turns Cass into their leader. Will Enzo & Show find someone to even the odds? We’ll find out Sunday.
Cruiserweight Title Match
WWE has 6 hours worth of programming blocked off for Summerslam, so it was confusing to see Neville vs. Tozawa for the Cruiserweight title and Finn Balor vs. Bray Wyatt tonight. The first of those was Neville vs. Tozawa, and while it was a good match, Neville deserved a better end to his reign as champion. He’s been the high point of the division for this entire year, and while Neville will get his rematch at Summerslam, I would’ve preferred to just see this match on Sunday. Pay per views should be different than Raw’s & Smackdown’s, not literally the exact same match card.
Between this match and the match at GBOF, it’s clear that Tozawa & Neville work well together. At the very least, their match Sunday should be fun to watch.
While I appreciate WWE giving us a reason for Finn to bring out The Demon this Sunday, I don’t think it had to be at the expense of a Balor/Wyatt match. Wyatt won the match clean, which I will always love because he needs to win more matches, but again, why would the average fan tune into to watch this match again at Summerslam? Finn bringing The Demon out is always cool, but he doesn’t really wrestle any different as The Demon. It’s really just a cooler entrance and some sweet face & body paint.
It would have been more effective if Balor fought someone else tonight, won clean & then Wyatt attacked post match with a Sister Abigail and his oddly, readily available bucket of blood. That way both guys look good heading into Summerslam, we don’t waste a pay per view match on Raw and Finn still has a reason to bring out The Demon. A man can dream.
Give Emma A Chance
Here are my thoughts on Emma vs. Mickie James:
Emma has been asking for more opportunities on social media lately, and she’s been rewarded for that by losing quickly and cleanly to Nia Jax, tapping out to Sasha Banks and losing quickly and cleanly to Mickie James. I guess the lesson here is don’t ask for an opportunity?
Team USA Extreme
Jason Jordan took on The Miz and had the match won when Axel & Bo Dallas interfered and started a 3 on 1 attack on JJ. That brought out the Hardy’s, and if the Revival didn’t get hurt, we probably would’ve gotten a badass Revival/Hardy’s match at Summerslam. Instead the Hardy’s have been added to the Miz-Tourage/Jordan feud, and the 6 man tonight was actually pretty fun. Jason Jordan continued to look great in the ring, and while his theme song is still the shits and the crowd isn’t into him yet, there’s only so many times you can watch him suplex guys out of their shoes and zip across the ring to spear guys before you start rooting for him.
The last couple minutes of this match were super fun, and my only issue with this is that The Miz continues to look awful. It’s one thing to get eaten alive by Brock Lesnar, but it’s another to get your ass handed to you by Jason Jordan. I understand wanting Jordan to look strong, but doing it at the expense of your only mid card champion is not the right call. They should be building up The Miz & JJ simultaneously, so if/when JJ wins the title, he’s beating someone worthy.
The Main Event
Brock Lesnar will defend his Universal title against Braun Strowman, Samoa Joe & Roman Reigns at Summerslam. As a preview for that main event, the main event of Raw was a face off of sorts between the four men. Heyman & Lesnar opened up the segment and sold the match like only they could. The stipulation of Lesnar leaving the WWE if he loses mixed with the real life story of Lesnar heading back to the UFC as soon as he legally can make this match one of the more unpredictable main events WWE have put on this year. Lesnar can lose the title without being pinned or submitted, which is always ideal, and I can picture scenarios where Strowman, Reigns & Joe win. Lesnar could always pull out a win too, but I don’t think that’s going to happen. After Joe & Strowman came out to talk some trash, Reigns joined the party and decided to spear Samoa Joe instead of talking on the microphone. No nonsense Roman is always the best kind of Roman, and Raw went off the air with the locker room trying to separate Braun and Brock.
Besides showing their hand with two matches that will be on the Summerslam card, this was a solid go home show for the WWE. Make sure to check back here Friday morning for our official Summerslam preview.