8/8 Powell’s WWE Raw Live TV Review: Daniel Bryan appears per Mick Foley’s invitation, Sean Combs guest appearance, SummerSlam hype continues

newrawlogo1By Jason Powell

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WWE Raw on the USA Network
Live from Anaheim, California at Honda Center

A recap video opened the show… The Raw opening video aired… Michael Cole, Corey Graves, and Byron Saxton were on commentary. Graves hyped a feature on the intertwining history between Brock Lesnar and Randy Orton. Cole noted that Mick Foley invited Daniel Bryan to Smackdown to “clear the air.” Saxton hyped Sean Combs appearing as a guest star…

Enzo Amore and Big Cass made their entrance. The crowd responded with “How You Doin'” chants before they even said a word. Enzo recalled “spitting some game” at Sasha Banks. Cass said she was loving it. Enzo said she was smitten. Cass said Enzo was like catnip to a kitten. Enzo spoke about their chemistry, and Cass compared him to MLB star Mike Trout.

Enzo said Chris Jericho came out and robbed him of a home run by hitting him with a Codebreaker. Enzo said the only code that Jericho broke is the man code by wearing the scarf. Enzo said he and Cass are Anaheim Angels on their way to heaven, whereas Jericho is on a highway to hell. Enzo dropped a “Welcome to the Jungle” reference and said Jericho is going down.

Chris Jericho made his entrance and said Enzo spitting out song titles is worse than “Achy Breaky Heart.” Jericho called him Enzo Annoying and said Cass has to clean up his messes. Jericho said he also has someone watching his back. Kevin Owens made his entrance. Jericho said he and Owens had issues, but now they are close Canadian brothers.

Jericho spoke about how Owens has his back no matter where he goes. “You got my back, right?” Jericho asked. Owens paused and then said he thought it was a rhetorical question, then assured him. Cass said it’s like Bert & Ernie scrubbing each other’s backs in the same bathtub. Jericho said only a stupid idiot would think that is funny. Cass told him to do something about it.

Owens said was one of the only guys he liked when he was in NXT. Owens said he had a waste of space as a best friend who turned out to be dead weight holding him down. Owens said he got rid of the dead weight, whereas Cass brought his to Raw. Owens said he doesn’t like Cass anymore because now he has to listen to Enzo on Raw. “I don’t care that you are seven foot tall, I’m going to hurt you,” Owens said.

Cass stepped up and Owens didn’t back down. Owens said if it’s not him who hurts Cass, Chris Jericho will. Jericho agreed. “Then let’s go right now,” Cass said. Jericho said he wasn’t talking to Cass, who reminded Jericho that he was looking right at him. Jericho said he was talking to the hip hop hobbit. Jericho said Cass is going to get it. Enzo said he doesn’t know what the “it” that Jericho keeps talking about is, but he’s going to shove it down his throat once he finds out…

[Q2] Cole said it looked like Enzo and Jericho would settle it coming up after the break… An ad aired for Dean Ambrose on the Stone Cold Podcast… [C]

Powell’s POV: Another opening segment for Enzo Amore and this time with Big Cass. It’s great that WWE recognizes that these guys are bringing a cool factor to Raw that has been missing. I also love Jericho and Owens as their likely SummerSlam opponents. By the way, stick around after Raw for my live coverage of the Dean Ambrose appearance on the Stone Cold Podcast.

1. Enzo Amore (w/Big Cass) vs. Chris Jericho (w/Kevin Owens). Graves said Jericho wasn’t ducking Cass, he just played everyone. Jericho knocked Enzo down with a clothesline, leading to Owens taunting him from ringside. Cass walked over. Owens claimed he was just giving Enzo some encouragement. Owens took a cheap shot at Enzo moments later. Enzo skinned the cat and then sent a charging Jericho to ringside. Enzo followed up with a baseball slide. Owens pulled Jericho away. [C]

Graves asked viewers if they could imagine if Enzo beat Jericho. Cole called Enzo a gnat that just won’t go away. Jericho applied the Walls of Jericho, but Enzo reached the ropes. Jericho acted like he thought he won the match, then barked at the referee before running into a fist from Enzo. Amroe performed a cross body block for a two count. Jericho fled to ringside, but Enzo dove over the top rope onto him.

[Q3] Owens grabbed Enzo’s leg while the ref was distracted. Jericho used the distraction to hit the Codebreaker. Cass entered the ring and performed a big boot on Jericho for the DQ. Owens and Jericho celebrated at ringside together afterward…

Chris Jericho defeated Enzo Amore by DQ in 11:10.

Afterward, Big Cass challenged Owens and Jericho to a tag match “in our backyard at SummerSlam.” Jericho told them to be careful what they wish for, then he and Jericho accepted the challenge. Owens said he’s going to kick their asses because “we’re winners.” Cass led the crowd in a sawft chant…

Cole hyped Rusev and Lana celebrating their wedding with the fans on Raw…

Backstage, Mick Foley was on the phone telling Stephanie McMahon that they had to nip the Daniel Bryan and Randy Orton issues in the bud, and that’s why he invited Daniel Bryan to Raw. Sasha Banks entered the room and Foley let Stephanie go. Sasha said she wanted a handicap match with Charlotte and Dana Brooke. Foley booked her in a match against Brooke. If Sasha wins, then Brooke is banned from ringside at SummerSlam. If Sasha loses, then it will be a handicap match at SummerSlam. Foley wished her luck, but she said The Boss doesn’t need luck… [C]

Powell’s POV: A fun match with Enzo being cast as the plucky underdog, and Jericho gleefully taking the cheap win. The dynamic between the two teams is great and that was a fun way to burn 30 minutes of television time. Meanwhile, I guess the idea was that Banks was frustrated by Brooke that she was willing to take a handicap match. It’s not as dopey as Dolph Ziggler putting his title shot on the line on Smackdown last week, but it’s not far behind.

A Ben-Hur movie video aired with

Braun Strowman made his entrance. Backstage, Byron Saxton asked Jorel Nelson why he took the match with Strowman. Nelson had no words. Nelson then received a televised entrance and was introduced as being from Anaheim…

2. Braun Strowman vs. Jorel Nelson. Nelson headed to the ring apron after the bell sounded. Strowman went after him and tossed him back inside the ring where he hit a big clothesline. Strowman followed up with the face-first chokeslam for the win…

Braun Strowman beat Jorel Nelson in 0:48.

Powell’s POV: I like the jobbers getting televised entrances. In this case, it was all about showing the look that Strowman was giving Nelson as he made his entrance.

[Q4] Backstage, Foley was on his iPad when Sean Combs entered the room. Combs told Foley that the new general manager gig looked good on him. Combs invited Foley and his family attend the first night of his Bad Boy concert tour. Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods entered the room and congratulated Combs on being in charge of the WWE 2K17 video game. He ate BootyO’s. Combs asked about Big E’s nuts. Foley said he can’t say that on television. Kingston called Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson the Vanilla Ice of WWE and said they call them “Bald Boy Entertainment.” Woods said they were going to call E…

Powell’s POV: Seven year-olds and Vince McMahon are laughing at Combs asking about Big E’s nuts. E is selling the move, but it’s comedy business as usual for his tag partners, which kills the heat on Anderson and Gallows.

Footage aired of Titus O’Neil pulling the tights of Darren Young while pinning him, and then of the backstage segment with the two of them and Bob Backlund…

3. Darren Young (w/Bob Backlund) vs. Titus O’Neil. Young started the match by slapping O’Neil, then Titus caught him with knee (there was some serious miscommunication on that spot). Young rolled to ringside. O’Neil followed and worked over Young on the floor before rolling him back inside the ring. Later, Young slipped away from a running power slam and rolled up Titus and held the tights while pinning him…

Darren Young beat Titus O’Neil in 2:00.

The broadcast team hyped Seth Rollins vs. Finn Balor for SummerSlam, and Rollins commenting on Balor after the break… An NXT TV ad hyped an Asuka and Bayley contract signing for the Takeover show… [C]

Powell’s POV: I wasn’t sure last week, but Titus is the heel based on the way the broadcast team called this. They acted surprised that Titus threatened Backlund, and then heel Graves wasn’t happy about Young holding the tights while getting the pin. I don’t get the sense that very many fans actually care about this feud aside from Backlund meltdown promos.

A video hyped the cruiserweight division coming to Raw…

Seth Rollins made his entrance for a promo. He paused and let the crowd react once he was in the ring.

[Q5] Rollins spoke about how the new era is upon them and it’s been a learning experience even for him. Rollins said he thought he knew everything there was to know about Balor. He called Finn the Jared Leto to his Heath Ledger. Rollins said he was forced to reevaluate his opinion of Balor after what happened last week. Footage aired of their verbal segment from last week’s show.

Rollins said that if being the best was an olympic sport then he would have more gold medals than Michael Phelps (my girlfriend laughed after overhearing that line from the other room). Rollins said Finn means “warrior” and Balor means “Demon King.” Rollins said the name is as ridiculous as if he were to call himself Rambo Apocalypse. Rollins said the more he learns about Balor, the more he dislikes him.

Rollins said Balor was arrogant when he stood in his face on his show and told him he was going to beat him at SummerSlam. “Are you kidding me?” Rollins asked. He said Balor won two matches in WWE. He said that those wins were over good opponents, but they were no Rollins. Seth said Balor is disrespectful, arrogant, and ignorant “and I am none of those things.” Rollins said he knows his own place in WWE and it’s right at the very top.

Rollins said he doesn’t have to surround himself with myths and legends and pomp and circumstance. Rollins said he is the myth, the legend, and the man. Rollins said that 200 years from now, parents will tell stories of him. Rollins said he will add to his legend at SummerSlam by beating Balor to become the first ever WWE Universal Champion…

The broadcast team stood in front of their desk and hyped SummerSlam matches, then set up a recap video of Randy Orton hitting Brock Lesnar with the RKO last week. Saxton hyped the Foley and Bryan segment… [C]

Powell’s POV: A very good promo by Rollins, but the live crowd just wasn’t playing along. The biggest reaction Rollins received was when the fans cheered as he boasted that he beat Roman Reigns. I don’t know if it’s because Rollins is facing a guy in Balor that a lot of fans don’t know well or if it’s a sign that his heel run is played out. I still believe Rollins should have returned as a babyface, but if he is going to stay heel, then I really hope they breathe some new life into his heel act by making him the new leader of The Club and by putting all the gold on the trio at SummerSlam.

Byron Saxton hyped the new WWE and Scooby Doo DVD. Cole is in the movie and he noted that the man who was about to be introduced is also in the movie. Sheamus made his entrance for a match against Cesaro…

Powell’s POV: Nothing sells DVDs quite like a one, two punch of Michael Cole and Sheamus.

[Q6] 4. Sheamus vs. Cesaro. Cesaro is still doing the tearaway stripper suit gimmick. [C] Graves dropped a Mighty Ducks movie reference. At 8:20, Cesaro ducked the Brogue Kick and rolled up Sheamus for a two count. Sheamus came back with the Irish Curse for a two count of his own. There was a “this is awesome” chant from some fans. Sheamus performed White Noise for two. Sheamus showed frustration.

Late in the match, the referee ended up between the two wrestlers. Sheamus used the distracted to punch Cesaro and had him pinned, but the referee was down (from nothing). Sheamus went to the official, and Cesaro rolled him up and pinned him…

Cesaro pinned Sheamus in 10:55.

Footage aired from Smackdown of Brock Lesnar performing an F5 on Randy Orton. Saxton hyped a look at the parallels between their careers for after the break…

Powell’s POV: It’s nice to hear some of the fans voicing their interest in the hard hitting Cesaro vs. Sheamus match. The fans were very quiet early on, but some fans clearly enjoyed it.

[Q7] [C] A generic ad for Smackdown aired… The broadcast team stood in front of their desk and set up the Lesnar vs. Orton video package. The video featured footage of the duo from Ohio Valley Wrestling. Orton spoke about how he just started in OVW and when Lesnar showed up, everyone asked “what the hell is that?” Orton said the competition was fierce in OVW and Lesnar motivated him to get better. Orton said they both went on to win titles and were soaking it up together “when he decided to leave because he doesn’t like people.” Orton said that pissed him off.

Lesnar and Heyman commented from a different sit-down setting. Lesnar said he knows who Orton his, but he doesn’t have a relationship with him, “nor do I give a f— about Randy Orton.” Lesnar said everything he accomplished is what Orton could only dream of. Lesnar said he became a mega star and is in a different universe than Orton.

Orton spoke about attacking Lesnar last week. Orton said he did what he had to do to provoke him. Orton said he wanted Lesnar to know that he’s the conquerer and he’s going to rip him apart at SummerSlam. Lesnar said Orton is just another guy, just like all the guys in the locker room. “He’s not the guy to beat Brock Lesnar,” Lesnar said. “It ain’t gonna happen.” Heyman said Orton is the best surfer on the beach and Lesnar is the shark that will take him down. Orton said Lesnar is underestimating him and it will cost him. He said one RKO will take him to Viperville. Lesnar cussed more as he spoke about how he trains, eats, and destroys opponents…

The broadcast team hyped Brock Lesnar appearing on next week’s show, and Foley and Bryan for this show…

The Dudleys made their entrance for a match against Neville and a partner… [C]

Powell’s POV: An excellent piece of production work. If the Orton vs. Lesnar match didn’t feel big before then it should now. If it still doesn’t feel big to you, then I don’t even know what to tell you. Lesnar shines in the sit-down setting and I love that he’s cast as the one guy who is out of control enough to get away with dropping censored f-bombs.

Neville made his entrance, then an all black attired Sin Cara made his entrance…

[Q8] 5. Neville and Sin Cara vs. The Dudley Boyz. Late in the match, Neville took out Bubba with a big dive on the floor, then performed the Red Arrow on D-Von for the win…

Neville and Sin Cara beat The Dudley Boyz in 5:20.

A shot aired of Rusev primping his hair backstage for the wedding celebration… [C]

Powell’s POV: I don’t know why three of these four men are on Raw, and I don’t know why they haven’t given up on the masked guy’s failed gimmick. Was it just me or were they going out of their way to show Bubba glaring at D-Von?

A generic ad aired for Smackdown… Daniel Bryan was shown walking backstage…

Rusev walked onto the stage as wedding music played. Lana came out wearing a wedding dress. They headed to the ring where a wedding theme had been set up on a table. Lana said none of the fans were at their wedding because it was VIP only. When some fans booed, Rusev barked that they should respect his wife.

[Q9] Rusev said Lana was beautiful, then boasted that she’s all his. Lana wanted a kiss. Rusev flexed his bicep, which he was showing off thanks to his sleeveless shirt. Lana gave fans the gift of reliving their wedding day. Photos from the wedding were shown as piano music played. The fans chanted “boring.” Rusev said they were chanting “more, more, more” but that was all the pictures they had for the fans.

Lana said her husband is the greatest man of all time. Rusev said this is why he trains so hard and fights to hard. He said it’s so he can give his wife everything. Lana said they wrote their own vows and were going to relive the special moment. Fans booed. Rusev once again barked at them to respect his wife. Lana told the fans to “get up and take pictures of us.”

Once the crowd had been properly bored, Roman Reigns made his entrance. Reigns headed to the ring and told Rusev to relax. He said he wasn’t there to fight him. He said he noticed that Rusev didn’t even have a best man in his wedding. Reigns said he figured he better step up and take on the duty of being Rusev’s best man. He offered to pour drinks and toast the couple. Rusev said he didn’t need Roman’s toast.

Roman said that if Rusev wouldn’t accept his toast, then he should accept his challenge for a U.S. Title match at SummerSlam. “I’ll say no to that,” Rusev said. Roman said he would deliver his toast then. Roman poured champagne. He said he’s never had a chance to see a marriage between a Bulgarian Sasquatch and a mail order bride. Roman said he expected more from this, just as Lana expected more on their wedding night.

Rusev attacked Reigns and got the better of him briefly, then Reigns threw a punch and ended up knocking Rusev into Lana, who went face first into the cake. Lana threw a fit. Reigns left the ring while Rusev tried to console Lana, and Graves complained about Reigns ruining a beautiful thing…

The broadcast team hyped Banks vs. Brooke… An ad aired for Ambrose on the Stone Cold Podcast… [C]

Powell’s POV: Well, that was one horrible segment. It seemed like the idea was to bore the crowd to sleep with the wedding antics and then hope that they would be excited to see Reigns end their misery. It worked on some fans in the live crowd, yet others were still anti-Reigns. Sadly, the segment didn’t get much better once Reigns came out.

[Q10] Backstage, Rusev and Lana threw a fit while Foley told Rusev that he technically bumped into Lana. Foley booked Rusev vs. Reigns for the U.S. Championship for SummerSlam…

Cole congratulated WWE Network for surpassing 6,000 hours of on demand content. Graves said you could watch eight hours a day and it would take you two years to watch everything…

Powell’s POV: I feel like I’ve been watching this edition of Raw for eight hours.

6. Sasha Banks vs. Dana Brooke. If Sasha wins the match, then Brooke is banned from ringside at SummerSlam. If Brooke wins, then the SummerSlam bout is a handicap match. Brooke caught Banks with a nice clothesline and then slapped her several times. Charlotte tried to interfere and accidentally slapped Brooke, then Banks took out Charlotte. Sasha performed the double knees to the gut of Brooke and pinned her…

Sasha Banks beat Dana Brooke in 2:45.

Cole said Nia Jax will be waiting for the winner. A Jax video package aired… Cole hyped that Finn Balor will let viewers in on the myth behind the man… [C]

Powell’s POV: Wow, that was a quick and uneventful match. It didn’t leave me any more excited about Sasha vs. Charlotte at SummerSlam aside from the fact that Brooke can’t interfere. I still question what purpose Brooke really serves in the Charlotte act and whether she’d be better off on her own or at least being placed with Emma again once she returns.

Footage aired of 1-2-3 Kid beating Razor Ramon on Raw in 1993. There was a Ben-Hur promotion included…

[Q11] The broadcast team set up a Finn Balor promo. Balor was shown sitting on a bench in a dark room with a fog machine. He said Rollins had some misconceptions about him. He said that what Rollins calls disrespect, he calls honesty. He said what Rollins calls arrogance, he calls confidence. What Rollins calls ignorance, he calls irony.

Balor gave a brief rundown of his namesake and demons. He asked if Rollins knows who Balor is. He said that when his evil eye opens, the world ends. Balor said they are a source of power. He said when a warrior enters a great battle, he can tap into these creatures and become a man greater than himself. Balor said he knows Rollins has his demons, but he has never seen a demon like this. “At SummerSlam, you will meet the Demon”…

The broadcast team spoke about how unreal it is when Balor taps into that demon power…

Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson were featured in a pre-tape playing doctors. They boasted about “ringpostitus”. Footage aired of Big E having his balls run into the ring post. They said they did surgery on Big E and the results were nuts. They said they would collect another sample from Kofi Kingston… Another generic Smackdown ad aired… [C]

Powell’s POV: WWE is going for a new record for testicle jokes on a single episode of Raw. This might be mildly effective if Big E’s own partners didn’t engage in nut jokes earlier. Everyone involved in this seems to be more consumed with telling jokes than building to a match.

7. Luke Gallows (w/Karl Anderson) vs. Kofi Kingston (w/Big E). Anderson and Gallows wore their doctor coats to the ring. The crowd chanted “New Day Rocks” early on. Woods played the trombone, but Anderson ran him into the ring post. Gallows pinned Kingston clean. After the match, Anderson and Gallows set up Kingston for a corner nut shot, but Woods recovered and chased them off with a chair…

Luke Gallows defeated Kofi Kingston in 1:15.

Footage aired of Goldust waiting for R-Truth, who exited the Mystery Machine with a person in a Scooby Doo costume. Truth and Scooby were about to fight about something when Goldust suggested they go watch the movie and eat some Scooby snacks.

Powell’s POV: I could go for some Scooby snacks after sitting through this segment.

[Q12] Mick Foley made his entrance… [C] The fans chanted for Foley. “That wedding was fresh,” Foley said. They stopped. Foley spoke about how he competed eye for an eye and and ear for an ear, but it seems barbaric. He introduced Daniel Bryan in the spirit of brotherhood. Bryan came out and the led the crowd in a loud Yes! chant.

Bryan said it pains him to say it, but Foley has been doing a great job of running Raw. Foley said that Bryan is doing a great job as the GM on Smackdown Live, and he said the work he and Mauro Ranallo are doing calling the Cruiserweight Classic is also very good. Bryan spoke about how impressive Smackdown Live has been. He claimed the people agree with him. Bryan started a plug, but (the show isn’t written so) Foley cut him off.

Foley apologized for Brock Lesnar showing up on Smackdown. Bryan apologized for Orton slaying the beat on Raw. Foley told him to knock it off. Foley set up footage of Bryan mocking the WWE Universal Championship. “Now, that was taken completely out of context,” Bryan said. He said they could have done an interspecies championship. Foley said their title is not a joke.

Rusev’s music interrupted Foley. Rusev said he would crush Bryan for the greatest GM ever. Bryan asked if Rusev was trying to suck up to Foley to get out of his match with Reigns. Rusev said he was going to crush Bryan. Cesaro made his entrance and recalled Foley saying that he could have a championship match. Foley said Sheamus nearly had Cesaro for a moment. “Oh, I’m sorry, I thought you were a man of your word,” Cesaro said. Bryan said Cesaro is completely underutilized on Raw. Foley told him to stay out of it. Foley said Reigns will get his shot at SummerSlam, but Cesaro will face Rusev for the U.S. Title on the spot… [C]

Powell’s POV: It’s always nice to see Daniel Bryan, and there’s no doubt that he was the most over guy on the show thus far. However, did they really have him cross the brand split line just for that?

Cole hyped Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman appearing on Raw next week. Saxton hyped Seth Rollins calling out the Demon King next week…

[Overrun] 8. Rusev vs. Cesaro for the U.S. Championship. JoJo handled the in-ring introductions. Rusev insisted that she introduce him first. Rusev ran Cesaro’s bad shoulder into the ring posts a few times. Cesaro came back with some uppercuts and a tornado DDT for a two count. Rusev went for the Accolade. Cesaro got to his feet with Rusev on his shoulders and performed the electric chair.

Cesaro performed the corkscrew uppercut off the middle rope. Cesaro followed up with the Swing, then applied the Sharpshooter. Sheamus ran out. Cesaro saw him coming and knocked him off the ring apron. Rusev kicked Cesaro and covered him for a good near fall. The ref was tied up with Sheamus when one of the wrestlers was shoved into him. REF BUMP!!!! Cesaro performed the Neutralizer and had Rusev pinned, but the ref was down. Cesaro woke up the ref and got a two count. Rusev gouged the eyes of Cesaro, then Sheamus kicked him from the floor. Rusev performed another kick and got the win…

Rusev defeated Cesaro to retain the U.S. Title in 9:45.

Rusev celebrated his win at ringside. Roman Reigns returned and speared Rusev on the floor. Dean Ambrose and Steve Austin were shown on the Stone Cold Podcast set. Reigns stood on the stage to end the show…

Powell’s POV: An entertaining match with some good near falls. I suspected Rusev would win since he already had the match booked with Reigns, but I couldn’t completely rule out a Cesaro win and then a Triple Threat at SummerSlam. Sheamus interfering was logical and likely sets up another match for SummerSlam. Overall, a weak show. Join me on the main page for live coverage of the Stone Cold Podcast with Dean Ambrose.


Readers Comments (1)

  1. Rains iz da man

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