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WWE RAW Review (8/14/17): Fist Bump City

Photo: WWE

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.

Average Nobodies note: make sure to follow us on Twitter – @averagenobodies and like us on Facebook – Facebook.com/AverageNobodies. We love talking pro wrestling, so you can comment on this post or reach out to us on social media if you want to join the discussion. You can also find all of our wrestling content by clicking the ‘wrestling’ tab under the banner on our home page.

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.

WOOOO!

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.

Demon Hunter

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.

-Ryan

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WWE RAW Review (8/7/17): Presented By Mercury Insurance

Photo: WWE

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.

Average Nobodies note: make sure to follow us on Twitter – @averagenobodies and like us on Facebook – Facebook.com/AverageNobodies. We love talking pro wrestling, so you can comment on this post or reach out to us on social media if you want to join the discussion. You can also find all of our wrestling content by clicking the ‘wrestling’ tab under the banner on our home page.

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:

Photo: Twtter

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.

Cruiserweights

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?

Golden Surprise

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.

-Ryan

WWE RAW Review (7/31/17): Beast Of Burden

Photo: WWE

Happy Tuesday, everybody. WWE invaded Pittsburgh, PA last night for the final Raw of July, and I’m here to provide you with a beautifully crafted, written word review.

Average Nobodies note: make sure to follow us on Twitter – @averagenobodies and like us on Facebook – Facebook.com/AverageNobodies. We love talking pro wrestling, so you can comment on this post or reach out to us on social media if you want to join the discussion. You can also find all of our wrestling content by clicking the ‘wrestling’ tab under the banner on our home page.

And now, the July 31st, 2017 edition of WWE RAW.

Goodbye Beast?

It’s no secret that Brock Lesnar wants to fight in the UFC again, and after Jon Jones called him out after his victory at UFC 214, it seems like it’s only a matter of time before Lesnar is  back in the octagon. After proud Pittsburghonian (?) Kurt Angle came out to welcome the crowd to Raw and announce a couple of matches for the night, he was rudely interrupted by the Universal champion and his advocate Paul Heyman.

Heyman & Lesnar are not pleased that the title match at Summerslam is a Fatal 4 Way, and it’s tough to blame them. Even someone as overpowering as Brock has to see that match as a disadvantage, because he can lose his title without ever being pinned or submitted. The biggest news of the segment (and the entire show) is that IF Lesnar loses his title at Summerslam, he and Heyman will be leaving the WWE. Brock’s contract isn’t up until April 2018 and he can’t fight in the UFC until he re-enters the drug testing pool, but it certainly looks like his current WWE run is coming to an end. If that’s the case, who takes the title at Summerslam? Hint: he’s a big dog and this is his yard.

The Club is Broken

This was a really odd match for me. The Hardy’s absolutely dominated the entire thing and picked up a clean win, which is strange when you only have four tag teams in your division. This would’ve been perfect spot for a jobber team composed of local talent, because I understand the need to get the Hardy’s back on track, but it shouldn’t be at the expense of one of your other four teams. The highlight of the match for me, outside of the fun albeit quick post match brawl, was Graves throwing a Ricky Bobby reference at Booker T. Just because you say with all due respect doesn’t mean you can say whatever you feel like, Book. It almost defies logic how bad Booker T is at commentating. He’s as bad at commentating as he is good at actual wrestling.

The match itself was eh, but the post match brawl was at least a little exciting. The Hardy’s came out on top, and I’m into the Hardy’s/Revival as the 1b storyline in the tag division. Just get The Club as far away from them as possible.

Cruiserweights

We didn’t get any Neville this week, but we did get a preview of what the Cruiserweight division SHOULD be. My biggest complaint with the presentation of the Raw version of the cruiserweights is that they wrestle the same style of match as everyone else on the roster. It’s the one division where you can get away with minimal psychology and storytelling because the guys are insanely athletic and talented, yet they have them wrestle matches like they’re 400 pound monsters.

The six man tag was fun, but all I could think of was why aren’t Cedric Alexander and Rich Swann in a #1 contender’s match for Neville’s title? They were far and away the most exciting part of the match, and are consistently the best part of every match they’re in. As fun as it is watching Titus O’Neil and Tozawa argue about whether Titus should throw in the towel for every Tozawa is in, I’d much rather be watching Swann & Alexander duke it out.

An Actual Heel vs. Face Feud

If WWE is going to push Jason Jordan as a face, then there is no better wrestler on the roster to pair him with than The Miz. He’s one of the rare guys on the roster who doesn’t care about being cool and he’s a heat magnet on the microphone, which he proved again last night. Miz tried to get Jordon to join the Miz-Tourage but Jordan declined, so Miz decided he would run down Jordan’s father Kurt Angle.

Miz is great at blurring pro wrestling storylines and reality in his promos, and he brought up some real life points on Angle, including the very real fact that he threw away the best years of his career because of his personal problems. Jordan doesn’t mind getting ridiculed, but he’s not going to stand for Miz talking trash about his dad, especially in his dad’s hometown, so he suplexes Miz into Axel & Bo Dallas and smartly slides out of the ring to avoid the 3 on 1 beat down. When WWE switches guys up it always feels so refreshing because we’re so used to seeing the same two guys fight each other (I’m looking your way, Ambrose & Miz) and that’s how I felt watching this segment. Plus, Jordan is a game changer in the ring, so if you can put him up against Miz who excels at making guys look like stars, it’s a perfect combo.

I do have two negatives for this segment: 1. Bo Dallas is starting to dress normal again. If he loses the one black glove I’ll be inconsolable. 2. Jason Jordan’s theme song is TERRIBLE. It sounds like Kurt Angle’s theme song if it was remixed to be played at a funeral. Give me a song that gets me hyped to watch Jason Jordan suplex people out of their shoes.

Lovers & Friends

Earlier in the night Dean Ambrose & Seth Rollins had a backstage interaction centered around them ‘getting back together’, and this storyline is starting to sound like a lovers quarrel instead of the resurrection of 2/3 of one of the greatest factions ever. Lovers quarrel aside, I enjoyed the Rollins/Sheamus match, even if it felt like it ended just as things were picking up. The match was obviously secondary to the post match attack, which simultaneously reminded us how dangerous and vicious the tag champs can be and inserted Ambrose & Rollins into the tag team scene.

I’m OK with Rollins beating Sheamus too, because Rollins is a guy used to fighting 1 on 1 while Sheamus should be used to relying on his partner in matches. We haven’t seen The Bar in action in almost a month, so I’m glad they were featured last night. Rollins & Ambrose vs. The Bar in the title scene while the Hardy’s & Revival fight in a secondary feud is as good as the tag division has been in a long time.

Prophet vs. Demon

Welp, looks like I’m talking myself into a Bray Wyatt feud again. I’ve never been as down on Wyatt as a lot of people are, because he’s such a good character that he can break out of his funk at any minute. The biggest issue is the way his feuds end, as he usually has the upper hand throughout the build, sounds dangerous and intimidating during his promos and then loses all his momentum when he loses the blow off match.

That could certainly happen here with Finn Balor, but I’d have to be a real piece of shit to not get excited for Bray Wyatt vs. The Demon Finn Balor. Wyatt is still a little too wordy with his promos, especially for someone with a history of not being able to back it up, but if they keep it simple storytelling wise and avoid anything resembling the house of horrors or bugs projected on the ring mat, this could be a special feud. Remind me I said this when Wyatt loses clean as a whistle at Summerslam.

Triple Threat

When it was announced last week that Braun Strowman, Roman Reigns & Samoa Joe would be facing each other in a triple threat match, I automatically assumed that would be the main event for tonight’s show. For some reason it wasn’t, and this is the second straight Raw with a peculiar main event. Last week’s show ended with Rollins/Ambrose vs. Miz & the Miz-Tourage, while Bayley vs. Sasha Banks for the #1 contendership was slotted in the middle of the show. This week’s show ends with another Big Cass/Big Show fight, while the triple threat got thrown into the middle of the show.

The match is very physical and a good preview for the Fatal 4 Way at Summerslam, and it’s exciting to picture the triple threat last night, only longer, with the title on the line and with Brock Lesnar included. The star of the match was Reigns, and if this was the final Raw before Summerslam I’d be a little nervous that Reigns was going to win the title with minimal effort. Since we still have two Raw’s to go, I’d like to see Strowman and Joe get the same treatment going forward, so each man in the match enters with a legitimate chance to win.

Elias, No Known Last Name

Vince McMahon’s fascination with wrestlers only having one name continued last night, as Elias Samson is now known as Elias. He did the same thing with Big E Langston (now Big E), Antonio Cesaro (now Cesaro) & Adrian Neville (now Neville) and it makes me wonder what other wrestlers had two names before they even debuted. Was Sheamus originally Peter Sheamus? The world may never know.

Elias, who is actually from Pittsburgh, wrote and performed a nice little song about how horrible the city is before he’s interrupted by Kalisto, and I sincerely want to know how long Elias would play if he was uninterrupted. Would it be hours? Days? Similar to Peter Sheamus, we may never know. What we do know is that Elias continues to impress, and that crossroads-esque finisher looked brutal last night. Elias’s journey from my least favorite NXT wrestler to one of the best parts of Raw continues to befuddle me.

Bayley vs. Nia Jax, Part 20

The Women’s division got the short end of the stick last night, as they got only one segment, and it was a match that ended on a count-out. Bayley took on Nia Jax for what seems like the 20th time, and Nia dominated pretty much the entire way. There was an awkward spot where Bayley landed on her shoulder, and Bayley is either better at selling than I thought or she legitimately hurt her shoulder. I’m leaning towards the latter because the match after that spot was really clunky and sloppy, and ended in a count-out win for Bayley after Alexa Bliss came down to interfere. The interference made no sense, because Nia was dominating the entire match, but ‘making no sense’ and ‘women’s division’ go together like peanut butter & jelly.

Battle of the Bigs

The main event saw Big Cass take on Big Show with Enzo Amore at ringside, and if you’re wondering what Big Cass is going to do after he’s done fighting Enzo & Show, you may never find out because it seems like this feud is going to last forever. The match is the same thing we’ve seen for the past month, with Show & Cass trading blows and knock downs. Enzo eventually interferes and gets his head kicked off, as does Big Show. Big Show recovers to knock out Cass, and we got 50/50 booking within the same segment, which is usually something the WWE reserves for a multi week feud. Why this was the main event, we may never know.

The show peaked at the triple threat match, and is another shining example that Raw would be a million times better as a two hour show.

-Ryan

WWE RAW Review (7/24/17): Team Gag Reflex

Photo: WWE

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.

Average Nobodies note: make sure to follow us on Twitter – @averagenobodies and like us on Facebook – Facebook.com/AverageNobodies. We love talking pro wrestling, so you can comment on this post or reach out to us on social media if you want to join the discussion. You can also find all of our wrestling content by clicking the ‘wrestling’ tab under the banner on our home page.

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.

Jason Jordan

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!

-Ryan

 

 

WWE RAW Review (7/17/17): Kurt Angle’s Secret

Photo: WWE

Welcome back to the best late Tuesday morning Raw review in all of the internet. If you’d like to check out last week’s review, you find it here.

Average Nobodies note: make sure to follow us on Twitter – @averagenobodies and like us on Facebook – Facebook.com/AverageNobodies. We love talking pro wrestling, so you can comment on this post or reach out to us on social media if you want to join the discussion. You can also find all of our wrestling content by clicking the ‘wrestling’ tab under the banner on our home page.

Sierra Hotel India Echo Lima Delta

IF (and this is a big, capitalized if) The Miz & Dean Ambrose are going to continue to feud and we’re going to forget that any other male mid card wrestler exists, then at least we have the Miz-tourage and Seth Rollins to make things more interesting. I’d still rather see The Miz move on to someone who the crowds actually care about (cough Finn Balor cough) but the Miz-tourage is legitimately entertaining and I’m never going to complain about seeing any type of Shield reunion. This was also a nice bit of character work from Seth Rollins, and while it’s about 3 years too late, it was a big step for him to apologize face to face to Ambrose, and offer him a free chair shot.

Ambrose refusing to hit him brought back all those fleeting Shield memories too, and it’s nice to see good guys in the WWE actually be good guys once in awhile. Now if Rollins and Ambrose could just have a talk with their former partner Reigns and stop him from trying to vehicular manslaughter wrestlers we’d be in good shape. Corey Graves was also great here, pointing out that Ambrose announced earlier in the day that he’d be opening the show, so why wouldn’t The Miz create a steel chair themed plan to take him out? The Miz-tourage stands tall to end the segment, which sets up a 3 on 2 handicap match for next week. How big of an FU would it be for the WWE to put The Shield back together only to have them fight the Miz-tourage on a random RAW in July?

Heyy We Don’t Want Any Bayleyy

If you want to know how important this match was, head on over to the official WWE website and try to find a write up of it in the results section of last nights show. HINT: it’s not there. It’s becoming borderline sad to watch main roster Bayley. She’s lost her way from a character standpoint, and rarely gets a chance to wrestle longer than a few minutes, so we’re not seeing any in ring progression either. Her feud with Alexa Bliss was not only one sided, it was awful. Instead of starting over and having her work her way back into the title scene, she pins Alexa Bliss two weeks in a row and now is in a number one contender’s match next week. It’s very poor storytelling, and strips away any consequences of being a shitty character and losing title matches. Can we not throw Emma or Mickie James in there for a month? I understand holding off on the Nia/Alexa feud, but forcing Bayley into the title mix again is a bad move.

Cruiserweights Part 1

There’s not much to say about these two minute Cruiserweight matches. Mustafa Ali is literally inside of the ring for three seconds during this match, and while his inverted 450 splash is a thing of beauty, all I can think of is how underutilized all these Cruiserweights are. Ali should use Jack Gallagher as a human white flag and signal for help.

Enzo & The Giants

When I was thinking of a title for this segment, the first thing I thought of was Enzo & The Giants, and know all I want is for Enzo, Cass & Big Show to start an Alt Rock band and tour the country. I really enjoyed the Enzo/Cass storyline heading into GBOF, and I thought the actual match played out exactly as it should have, but it’s clear WWE has no idea what to do now. All the sympathy Enzo built up was eroded last night, as he lured Big Cass out only to have Big Show fight the battle for him. Isn’t that exactly what Cass was complaining about? That Enzo ran his mouth and couldn’t finish the job? I can buy Enzo as this scrappy underdog who yaps a little to much but doesn’t know any better than to fight until he collapses. That’s a character I can get behind. But why would I root for a guy who needs other people to fight his battles? I understand Cass is 7 feet tall and Enzo’s not, but this segment moved the story backwards for me.

The Demon Drifter

This is another story where WWE hit a brick wall and doesn’t know how to move forward. I’m not going to complain about a Finn Balor/Elias Samson match, because these two have shown great chemistry and have consistently the best in ring wrestling part of the show, but Finn beat Samson clean last week. Why are they fighting again? So Samson can smash Finn in the head with a guitar and set up a No DQ match for next week? WWE loves to get in these holding patterns during the build up to big pay per views, and that’s exactly what’s’ happening here. After GBOF, Enzo and Cass should’ve moved on, Ambrose & Miz should’ve moved on and after last week, Balor and Samson should’ve moved on. Instead, they’re all still feuding, and will most likely continue feuding in some form or another until Summerslam, which is still four RAW’s away. As a side note – hey Elias, please take care of sweet baby Finn better than this:

Bray Wyatt showed up on the big screen to say spooky things to Finn Balor after the guitar attack, and it’s literally more interesting staring at a gash on Finn Balor’s head than it is to listen to Bray Wyatt give another dark room promo.

Cruiserweights Part 2

If you enjoyed the two minute Cruiserweight match earlier in the night, then you probably loved Titus O’Neil stopping the match between Tozawa and Daivari because Daivari was performing wrestling moves on Tozawa’s shoulder. I’m assuming Tozawa is still the #1 contender for Neville’s title since WWE loves doing pointless rematches, so if they fight for the title again and Neville hurts Tozawa’s shoulder, is Titus going to stop that match too? I’m definitely putting more thought into this than WWE creative put into the actual segment, which is not something I should be saying about WWE TV.

Kurt Angle’s Secret

So. Kurt Angle & Corey Graves have been involved in whispery text message secret conversation for months, and it all centered around something that had the potential to destroy Kurt’s personal and professional life. If you’ve ever watched pro wrestling in the past, your wrestling senses should have gone in one of two directions: Kurt has a mistress or Kurt has a secret kid. I honestly thought they were going to go the mistress route, and it would turn out to be either Stephanie McMahon or Dixie Carter. I’m glad they didn’t do that, and I also didn’t hate this segment as much as a lot of people on the internet did.

Any long running mysterious storyline is always going to fall a little flat, because people are always going to jump to the biggest/least realistic solution and then be mad when that doesn’t happen. Also, WWE has a track record for letting us down in these type of situations. Stone Cold gets run over at Survivor Series. After months of speculation, it was Rikishi. Mr. McMahon has a secret son. After months of speculation, it was Hornswoggle. In the grand scheme of things, Kurt Angle’s secret being that his bastard son is Jason Jordan, a legitimately exciting athlete who can now separate himself from the pack as Kurt Freaking Angle’s son, is pretty dope. Is it the greatest thing in the world? No. Is WWE going insane by separating literally every baby face tag team? Seems that way. But Jason Jordan wrestling like a 6’3 athletic freak version of Kurt Angle is not something I’m going to be upset about.

Broken Brilliance

Depending on what website you read and who you believe, the Hardy’s either have the right to their Broken characters or they don’t. The way things have played out over the last two weeks on RAW, it sure seems like they’re on the path to Broken Brilliance, and that was reinforced slightly again last night. First of all, how wonderful was it to see The Revival wrestling again? They seem incapable of having bad tag team matches, evidenced by last night’s random ass tag with the Hardy’s that they turned into a tag team clinic. What separates them from other teams is their timing and their selling. They’re always in the right spot, and they execute the last minute hope spot better than anyone. They’re also not afraid to sell for the team they’re facing, which is why a Matt Hardy forearm can look like a death blow. The Hardy’s lose for the second straight week, and it’s definitely looking they will need to delete themselves in order to be reborn as something broken.

The Main Event

The last 45 minutes of RAW featured some terrific wrestling, which is always a welcome sight. After the Revival/Hardy’s tag match, Roman Reigns took on Samoa Joe in a #1 contender’s match in the main event. I shouldn’t have to tell you this, but Reigns and Joe have terrific chemistry, and they both excel when they’re facing someone who doesn’t mind getting knocked around. It was a physical battle, and as much as I didn’t like a #1 contender’s match for the most important title ending in a no decision, it’s always fun watching Braun Strowman throw guys around. It also made more sense in context, and continued to showcase Strowman as this otherworldly monster who can’t be kept down by someone trying to literally murder him. Do I smell a fatal four way championship match for Summerslam? A triple threat #1 contender’s match before that? I’m in either way.

-Ryan

#WWERAW Results (7/10/17): A Big Dog, A Beast & A Samoan Badass

Photo: WWE

Welcome to the first Raw recap post in quite some time. WWE Great Balls Of Fire has come and gone, and while it was a solid show from a wrestling standpoint, not much has changed on the Red team. All the champions retained and Roman Reigns tried to literally murder Braun Strowman. You know, just another night. Let’s get to the recap!

Average Nobodies note: make sure to follow us on Twitter – @averagenobodies and like us on Facebook – Facebook.com/AverageNobodies. We love talking pro wrestling, so you can comment on this post or reach out to us on social media if you want to join the discussion. You can also find all of our wrestling content by clicking the ‘wrestling’ tab under the banner on our home page.

The Battle of the Bigs

Raw kicked off with a great Big Cass promo, and apparently by defeating Enzo Amore Sunday night he absorbed some of his passionate promo powers. This was just as good as his heel turn promo a few weeks ago, and while he’s got a long way to go before he’s going to be challenging Brock Lesnar or whoever happens to be holding the Universal title, there’s no harm in having 7 feet worth of confidence.

It seems like Enzo Amore is only capable of befriending people over 7 feet tall, because Big Show comes out to cut Cass’s promo short and they engage in a physical takedown battle. Big Show was really laying into Cass with knees and strikes, and although the brawl was quick, you got the sense that these two really hated each other. I’m torn on whether it was a smart move to have Big Show gain the upper hand, but I’m willing to let this play out and see how Cass responds. Big Show did a hell of a job putting over Braun Strowman in the past, so hopefully he can do the same for Cass.

The Drifter vs. The Ab King

The first match of the night saw Finn Balor take on Elias Samson. I’m not sure why these two weren’t featured on the GBOF card, but they had a solid match to open the show. Finn Balor is the best pure baby face that WWE has right now, and he’s the perfect mix of being cool as hell but also fighting like an underdog. With his size he’s almost always going to be fighting from underneath, like he did here against Samson, but his aura and charisma makes him impossible to look away from. He’s got a great entrance, he’s in phenomenal shape, and he’s single handedly inspired me to start wearing leather jackets with the collar popped and no shirt underneath (unrelated note – I was immediately fired from my job).

Samson continues to thrive on the main roster as well, and even though he takes the clean loss here, losing clean to Finn Balor is not the worst thing in the world.

Broken Brilliance Time?

With Enzo/Cass & Goldust/R-Truth officially done, The Hardy’s are not only the best baby face tag team on Raw, they’re the only one. It’s no secret that the fans (& The Hardy’s) prefer to be their Broken counterparts, and the pre match promo from Matt and Jeff was the closest they’ve come to that since joining the WWE. The follow up match against Gallows & Anderson might’ve pushed them even farther into Broken territory, and the post match beat down by The Revival sped things up even more.

The Hardy’s have no shortage of heel teams to feud with, especially when you add The Revival into the mix, and I’m glad Gallows & Anderson picked up the win here. The Hardy’s were banged up and clearly not 100%, so they can justify the loss, but it’s safe to say no team needed a clean win more than Gallows & Anderson.

The Mizzies

Any Miz TV that doesn’t feature Dean Ambrose is good to great, which is why the first part of this segment was exactly that. Miz hands out the first ever ‘Mizzies’, which is definitely a name they came up with a 858PM, and it’s entertaining until Ambrose shows up to ruin everything. I loved Bo Dallas’s closing line of his acceptance speech (“let’s change the world”) and I think it should be a requirement that Bo Dallas get at least a few minutes of promo time every week. I’m a big time Bo-Liever, and IRS must’ve put something in his kid’s cereal to make them both so great on the microphone.

If you’re looking for a reason why The Miz has been so good lately, just listen to the end of his promo last night. He calls out all the frauds – Seth Rollins, Akira Tozawa, The Hardy’s – all of whom said they would win at GBOF but fell short. The Miz said he would retain his title and Dean Ambrose would cave under the pressure, and he was right. Granted he got some help from Bo Dallas, but a win’s a win. He also puts over Ambrose as one of the toughest guys in the WWE, which is always the best talking point. If Ambrose is one of the toughest guys in the WWE, that makes Miz even better for defeating him.

Speaking of Ambrose, he’s ‘crazy’ and a ‘lunatic’ so he charges the ring and gets the shit kicked out of him because he’s outnumbered 3 on 1. That brings out Seth Rollins for the save, and I’m sure that the Miz-tourage won’t try and retaliate on Rollins in the main event.

Raw Women’s Merry Go Round

The Raw Women’s division was not prominently featured last night, as they got only this tag team match. The match was really of no consequence, which is the worst thing wrestling can be. Sasha Banks lost to Alexa at GBOF after Alexa intentionally got herself counted out. She wants a rematch because of it, but now Bayley has a pin fall victory over Alexa too. Nia Jax was also promised a title shot by Bliss, so it looks like we’ll get a four way match at Summerslam. While that match could rule, I’m not interested in the Bayley or Sasha characters at all right now. Nia Jax is the best and Alexa is a wonderful heel, but in order for the match to be special Sasha and Bayley need to be characters that someone who’s not a little girl will root for.

The Golden Truth

Goldust turned on R-Truth on the May 15th episode Raw. That was almost two months ago. If they had done this match the following week, or even the week after that, I think the crowd might’ve been more invested. Instead the match was delayed to last night, and the crowd couldn’t have been less interested if Goldust and Truth were taking a nap in the ring. Raw is three hours every week, so there’s no excuse for running months worth of pre taped promos and then expecting anyone to give a shit when they fight 8 weeks later. If Balor is done with Samson and Goldust is done with Truth, I need a Balor/Goldust program like I need air to breathe.

Fireworks Factory

If I had to recommend one segment from last night’s show, it would be this one. Kurt Angle & Brock Lesnar in a WWE ring is always great to see, but things really heat up when Samoa Joe confronts Lesnar. Look at Lesnar and Heyman’s faces when Joe’s music hits. They are SHOOK, and they should be, because Joe beat up Brock Lesnar more than anyone has since the mid 2000s. Goldberg might’ve pinned Brock, but that was a two move, one minute match. Joe beat Brock’s ass last night, and Joe put it perfectly: Brock didn’t win, he escaped. The intensity between Joe and Lesnar was off the charts, and it’s always great to see Lesnar step up his game when his opponent can match his intensity. I loved Brock getting some mic time too, and it also reinforced my belief that Lesnar can’t say 10 consecutive words without one of them being a swear.

You know who was the odd man out here? Roman Reigns, who was supposed to have a title shot at Summerslam because…he wants one? Reigns laid back promo style stuck out like a sore thumb here, and he looked out of place. I’m sure WWE wants Reigns/Lesnar, but they’d be foolish to pass up on Joe/Lesnar again. Joe and Reigns will fight in a #1 contender’s match next week, and I’ll be rooting for Joe all the way.

The (Kurt Angle) Secret

So Kurt Angle has a secret. He’s going to come clean next week, and during the closing segment of Raw, he was telling whoever was on the other end of the phone that he loved them. The consensus is that WWE is bringing Dixie Carter into the mix, and that fire was only fueled when she appeared in the WWE 24 special on Angle after last night’s Raw. It could also be Stephanie McMahon, which could lead to the rumored Angle/HHH match. It could also be Hornswoggle. Let the speculation begin!

Cruiserweight Division

Similar to the Women’s division, the cruiserweight’s only segment was a tag match between Neville/Noam Dar & Akira Tozawa/Cedric Alexander. Neville & Noam Dar were representing the very best and the very worst of the division, while Tozawa and Alexander were representing Neville’s title challengers. The match was fine, but nothing really happens outside of a reversal of fortunes from GBOF. Apparently there weren’t enough testicle related finishes at the pay per view, so Neville got straddled on the top rope for a comically long length of time. Tozawa won with his beautiful Senton splash, and around and around we go.

The Main Event

The main event was a GBOF rematch between Bray Wyatt & Seth Rollins. I enjoyed this match more than the PPV bout, and it mostly had to do with the finish. The story was that Rollins only lost last night because Bray Wyatt poked him in the eye, because even when Bray Wyatt wins it has to be something due to something ridiculous. They play off the eye injury here, but instead of a thumb glove being the deciding blow, it’s a head butt. The head butt not only makes Wyatt looks smart for taking advantage of Rollins’ injury, but it’s a more vicious move that sets up Sister Abigail. +1 to Rollins for his sell of Sister Abigail, because it looked brutal:

I always tell myself I’m not going to get sucked into rooting for Bray Wyatt, but two wins in a row is an improvement. If he starts winning matches at pay per views that don’t have the word balls in the title, I’ll get interested again.

The Miz and his -tourage show up after the match to pick the bones of Seth Rollins, but Dean Ambrose runs them off after a few chair shots. Hey, at least he brought a weapon this time!

That’s it for this week’s show. Join us next week to learn Kurt Angle’s secret and who will challenge Brock Lesnar for the Universal title at Summerslam.

-Ryan

Your Average WWE Great Balls Of Fire Preview & Predictions #WWEGBOF

Photo: WWE

If it seems like WWE has been running a lot of pay per views lately, that’s because they are. Since April 30th (including this Sunday’s show) WWE has had five pay per views. Add that onto the 5 hours of live programming that Raw and Smackdown Live bring to the table every week, and you have a metric shit ton of wrestling.

That brings us to the latest Raw pay per view, the hilariously named Great Balls of Fire. Nothing is going to get that precious 18-35 demographic ready for a pro wrestling show like a 53 year old rock and roll song. As silly as the name of the show is, the match card is anything but silly. 5 titles will be on the line, including Brock Lesnar defending his Universal championship against Samoa Joe. Let’s get to the preview and predictions!

Quick note: we’re going to start featuring more wrestling content on the blog, and hopefully that will include pay per view previews/reviews plus Raw & NXT reviews and any other newsworthy items. You can click the ‘wrestling’ tab under the banner on our homepage to find all of our wrestling related posts. Also make sure to follow us on Twitter (@averagenobodies) & Facebook (www.facebook.com/AverageNobodies) and talk to us about how much you love pro wrestling. Or literal great balls of fire.

Photo: WWE

Cruiserweight Championship Match – Neville (C) vs. Akira Tozawa

Ever since he returned to the WWE at Roadblock in December 2016, Neville has been the literal and figurative King of the Cruiserweights. He won the Cruiserweight title a month later at the Royal Rumble, and has been dominant ever since. After Austin Aries was unable to dethrone Neville, the newest challenger to face the King will be Akira Tozawa. Akira was a CWC standout and a veteran of the Dragon Gate promotion who is finally getting his shot on the WWE main roster.

Tozawa has been paired up with Titus O’Neil and the Titus Brand recently, which takes the pressure off of him to deliver some of the over scripted dialogue that would be written for him. Tozawa and Neville match up pretty well, and both possess an explosive style that is hopefully highlighted during this pre show match. While it’s nice to see a fresh matchup for Neville, his reign has been too impressive to end on a challenger’s first title shot. If WWE is smart, they’ll keep building Neville until a worthy challenger (Mustafa Ali?) will finally take his title.

Prediction: All hail King Neville

Photo: WWE

Enzo Amore vs. Big Cass

The Enzo Amore character has been a tale of highs and lows. He doesn’t look like a professional wrestler, but thanks to his unending charisma and self proclaimed gift of gab, he’s made a name for himself both in NXT and on Raw. He and Big Cass were one of the most popular teams in NXT, and while they never did win the NXT tag titles, their overall run was a resounding success. During their early run on Raw, that success translated to the main roster, but as the weeks and months went on, it was becoming clear that seeing Enzo’s shtick every Monday night was starting to get old. Enzo & Cass lost match after match as the Raw tag team division struggled to find it’s identity, and then the mystery attacker angle started.

By the time Cass revealed he was the one attacking Enzo, I understood Cass’s vantage point more than Enzo’s, because everything Cass was saying was rooted in truth. Enzo was holding the team (and Cass) back and he continued to run his mouth with no sign of ever being able to back it up. Enzo’s performance during the initial reveal and his promo’s over the last two weeks have reminded me why I loved NXT Enzo so much, and now all I want to see is Enzo duke it out with his former best friend & partner. Enzo has always been a better character when he’s allowed to mix in the funny catchphrases with his very real passion for pro wrestling, and that’s exactly what he’s done during the build to this match. I don’t know how well these two will mesh in the ring, but the build up has been terrific. These two have to have fight again in Brooklyn where the crowd will be on fire, so I’m expecting some sort of double DQ here.

Prediction: Double DQ brawl

Photo: WWE

Seth Rollins vs. Bray Wyatt

Seth Rollins vs. Bray Wyatt is the anti Enzo vs. Cass. There’s been no buildup outside of Rollins asking if Wyatt is a God or a coward, and the two have barely been in the same arena together. The character of Bray Wyatt is a wrestling tragedy, and the main reason for that is the monotonous build to all of his matches. He’ll sneak attack someone via spooky teleportation, cut dark room promos on them for weeks, and then lose the match at a pay per view. Rollins called Wyatt a false prophet, Wyatt attacked Rollins and has now spent the last two weeks talking about his god-like powers, including a bizarre, sweaty rant in the desert on Monday night. If you think this is going to end with anything besides Bray Wyatt losing clean to Seth Rollins, you haven’t been paying attention.

Prediction: Seth Rollins

Photo: WWE

Ambulance Match: Roman Reigns vs. Braun Strowman

The Braun Strowman/Roman Reigns rivalry has been one of the highlights of many 2017 Raw’s, and outside of the bizarre booking of Strowman during WrestleMania season, Braun has looked like a legitimate monster against WWE’s new top dog. Whenever I’m trying to analyze a Reigns match, I look at it the same way I would a John Cena match. Reigns isn’t your prototypical wrestler, and there’s always a chance he’s going to power up and win the match, but his odds always decrease when there’s a wacky stipulation involved.

Enter the AMBULANCE MATCH, where you can only win by stuffing your opponent in the back of an ambulance where he’s presumably driven to the hospital (or just left in there for all eternity). The stipulation definitely favors Strowman because 1. he’s consistently gotten the better of Reigns and laid him out and 2. he doesn’t have to pin Roman to win. With this being Braun’s first PPV match since his return from injury, I think he has to pickup a victory and regain his momentum heading into Summerslam.

Prediction: Braun Strowman

Photo: WWE

30 Minute Iron Man Raw Tag Team Title Match: Cesaro & Sheamus (C) vs. The Hardy’s

Cesaro/Sheamus & The Hardy’s have been feuding since WrestleMania, and this 30 minute iron man match can go one of two ways. 1. Cesaro/Sheamus outlast The Hardy’s, defend their titles and move onto some Top Guys or 2. the match ends in a draw and we stretch this feud out until Summerslam where we’ll hopefully get a match with a definitive ending. I think a lot of this hinges on how soon Matt Hardy gets the rights to his broken gimmick, and judging from his Twitter account, it could be very soon:

Matt is very active on social media and has been using his broken character almost exclusively since this tweet on Sunday. As good as the Hardy’s still are as a team, I think there’s more legs in singles runs for both guys, especially if Matt is given the creative freedom to be his insane alter ego. The only thing that could delay the broken transformation is the lack of depth in the Raw tag division. Enzo/Cass & Goldust/R-Truth split up, so that literally leaves Revival, Gallows/Anderson & Cesaro/Sheamus as the only teams on Raw if the Hardy’s go their separate ways. With such a severe lack of depth, my pick is for this match to end in a draw and culminate at Summerslam.

Prediction: Time limit draw

Photo: WWE

IC Title Match: The Miz (C) vs. Dean Ambrose

Watching paint dry. Driving in traffic. Lighting all my worldly possessions on fire. Sorry, I was just listing all the things I enjoy more than watching another Miz/Dean Ambrose match. The most frustrating thing about this feud is how GREAT Miz has been since being paired back up with Maryse, which shows you how awful the Dean Ambrose character is. Miz tore Ambrose down on Raw with a great promo about how he can’t handle pressure and can never win the big match, and Ambrose responded by slouching in the announce chair and pretty much agreeing with him.

The only looney thing about his character is that people still care about him, and all I can think about his how much better a Miz/Elias Samson or Miz/Finn Balor program would be. Hopefully the plan is for whoever comes out on top of the Balor/Samson feud to pair up with Miz next, and Dean Ambrose can move onto literally anything else.

Prediction: Miz

Photo: WWE

Raw Women’s Title Match: Alexa Bliss (C) vs. Sasha Banks

Alexa Bliss has been the best women’s wrestler on the main roster for 2017, but unfortunately she’s been paired with the neutered versions of both Bayley and Sasha Banks for the last few months. Bayley is out of the title picture for what should be the foreseeable future, but Sasha Banks is currently the #1 contender to Bliss’s Women’s title. As much as I love Bliss, it’s tough to get into this match when there’s been negative momentum on Raw lately. The gauntlet match was pretty great, but there’s no character progression from anyone outside of Nia or Bliss, and every time you hear that Sasha is already a 3 time Women’s champ, it reminds how often the title has been switched around.

The best story in the women’s division is still Bliss/Nia Jax, so I hope she retains here and Sasha and Bayley can be paired up as something other than insufferable friends and hopefully get some of their NXT magic back in their characters.

Prediction: Alexa Bliss

Photo: WWE

Universal Title Match: Brock Lesnar (C) vs. Samoa Joe

When Samoa Joe became the #1 contender at Extreme Rules, it seemed like a bittersweet moment. Joe has been incredible in both NXT and on Raw, but the majority thought was that he’d be a minor speed bump for Brock Lesnar on his way to facing Reigns or Strowman at Summerslam. The booking leading up to this match has changed my mind dramatically, and Samoa Joe now looks like a valid threat to Lesnar.

The best part is that Lesnar hasn’t lost any of his shine either, because he can dismiss all of Joe’s actions as sneak attacks. And while he’s technically correct, Joe has still not backed down from Lesnar, and he still choked him out on the entrance ramp, and he still has outsmarted Brock at every turn. There’s still a chance that Lesnar destroys Joe, but it wouldn’t make sense when you look at how this feud has progressed. This is one of the most well built main events for a ‘B’ PPV in a long time, and I can’t wait to see these two destroy each other.

Prediction: As great as Joe has been, 100% healthy Brock Lesnar isn’t mortal. Lesnar retains in a brutal fight.

 

Mankind & Will Friedle Reunited At Comic Con & It Was Glorious #BoyMeetsWorld #WWE

If you were between the ages of 10-16 during the 90s and early 2000s, there’s a solid chance you watched WWE or Boy Meets World (or if you’re super cool like me, you watched both). On one magical episode of Boy Meet World, the world of pro wrestling invaded the world of the Matthew’s family and gave us a pretty memorable moment:

As a fan of the WWE, seeing one of their wrestlers on a popular cable TV show was pretty awesome, and it goes to show you how popular WWE was in the late 90s. They employed a lot of larger than life personalities, and some of those personalities were able to cross over into mainstream pop culture. 18 years later, Mick Foley (who portrayed the Mankind character) met back up with Will Friedle (who played Eric Matthews) and all my childhood memories came rushing back:

If Eric Matthews shows up on Raw, I might lose my mind.

-Ryan

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