7/31 Powell’s WWE Raw Live TV Review: Braun Strowman vs. Samoa Joe vs. Roman Reigns in a Triple Threat, Brock Lesnar advertised locally, Jason Jordan on Miz TV, the road to SummerSlam continues

By Jason Powell

WWE Raw on the USA Network
Live from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania at PPG Paints Arena

[Q1] After a recap, the opening video aired… Michael Cole, Corey Graves, and Booker T were on commentary. Cole immediately hyped the Triple Threat main event…

Kurt Angle’s music played and the Pittsburgh native was serenaded by “you suck” chants from his hometown crowd. Angle headed to ring for a promo while ring announcer JoJo introduced him as the Raw general manager. Fellow Pittsburgh native Graves worked in a reference to the Stanley Cup Champion Penguins.

Angle welcomed fans to Raw and said he had an incredible show planned with SummerSlam around the corner. He announced Big Show vs. Big Cass, and Jason Jordan on Miz TV, and the Triple Threat main event with Roman Reigns vs. Samoa Joe vs. Braun Strowman.

Angle said this is the 21st anniversary of when he won a gold medal. “I didn’t just win a gold medal, I won a gold medal with a broken freaking neck,” Angle said. He added that he’s had his ups and downs over the years, but he wouldn’t be there without every single one of the fans. Angle started to leave, but he was interrupted.

Brock Lesnar’s entrance theme played. The WWE Universal Champion and Paul Heyman walked out. Once in the ring, Heyman said he understands the strategy and the angle that Angle is playing. Heyman said Angle has to get the title off of Lesnar and that’s why he booked him in a four-way match.

Heyman ran through Lesnar’s four-way challengers. Heyman would be a champion in any other era. Fans booed Reigns, yet they showed one lady holding up a Reigns sign. Lesnar smirked. Heyman once again ripped into Joe. Heyman said Angle answers to the board of directors and they want the title off Lesnar. Heyman sold the possibility of Lesnar losing without being pinned or submitted.

“Why don’t we just rename this SummerSlam 2017: Brock Lesnar loses the title,” Heyman said. He accused Angle of being told to make Lesnar pay “the ultimate price.” Heyman said that if Lesnar loses the title at SummerSlam, then Lesnar leaves WWE and Heyman will go with him. However, Heyman said Lesnar will not lose the title…

The broadcast team hyped Matt Hardy and Jeff Hardy as coming up next as they were shown backstage… [C] An ad for Smackdown hyped Shinsuke Nakamura vs. John Cena with the winner challenging Jinder Mahal for the WWE Championship at SummerSlam, plus AJ Styles vs. Kevin Owens for the U.S. Championship…

Powell’s POV: A really good piece of business from Heyman. First, he made it seem like Lesnar’s title reign is in serious jeopardy. Then he stated that he and Lesnar will leave WWE if Lesnar loses his title, which is a believable scenario for viewers because of the buzz that Lesnar and Jon Jones have created by hyping their potential UFC fight. This is a great hook for SummerSlam.

[Q2] [C] 1. Matt and Jeff Hardy vs. Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows. “The Revival” Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder sat in on commentary for the match. They said they reported the Hardys to Twitter for a terms of service violation because Matt referred to them as obsolete mules. The Hardys were in offensive control heading into a break. [C]

Gallows took a shot at the back of Matt’s head from the apron, which allowed Anderson to take offensive control. Anderson and Gallows set up for their finisher. Jeff broke it up. Matt hit Twist of Fate on Gallows, then tagged in Jeff, who performed a Swanton Bomb for the win…

Matt and Jeff Hardy pinned Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson in 9:05.

[Q3] After the match, the Hardys went to the stage and celebrated their win. They ended up fighting with the Revival. Anderson and Gallows joined in on the brawl. The Hardys cleared Wilder and Anderson from the stage, then hit Twist of Fates on Dawson. Then Jeff ran and leapt off the back of Jeff and dove onto Wilder and Anderson off the stage…

Powell’s POV: A nice momentum building win and post match angle for the Hardys. Despite taking the loss, the post match angle left me assuming that Anderson and Gallows are still involved in this apparent three-way storyline that could become a four-way storyline if they want to cram all the teams into one Raw Tag Title match at SummerSlam.

Backstage, Renee Young interviewed Dean Ambrose and started by showing him footage of him and Seth Rollins winning their match last week, yet leaving Rollins hanging when he went for a post match fist bump. Ambrose admitted they looked good out there. Rollins said last week was special and felt like old times. Ambrose said he doesn’t trust Rollins and had eyes in the back of his head last week. Ambrose said that as much as the WWE Universe and even a small part of him wants it too, he was burned by Rollins once and it’s not happening to him again… [C] An ad for NXT hyped Aleister Black…

Powell’s POV: The Ambrose and Rollins storyline didn’t do much for me initially, but they did a really good job with it last week by having Ambrose act reluctant to realign with Rollins despite their win in the handicap match. This was a good follow exchange to last week’s angle and I’m genuinely curious to see where it goes from here.

Rollins was approached backstage by Sheamus and Cesaro, who recalled that they couldn’t stand each other initially, yet they are now the tag champions. They mocked him for Ambrose not trusting him or anyone else ever again. Sheamus said they couldn’t even be on an episode of Ride Along. Cesaro said his new show could be “Ride Alone.” Rollins got fired up and challenged either one of them to face him in a singles match. Sheamus got serious and set up their match for later in the show…

Powell’s POV: Well, so much for the four-way tag title match scenario. I hope they plan is to go with a Triple Threat with the other three teams and make Sheamus and Cesaro vs. Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins a standard tag match for the Raw Tag Titles.

Cole hyped Ariya Daivari vs. Akira Tozawa for 205 Live with the winner getting a shot at the WWE Cruiserweight Championship at the pay-per-view…

2. Akira Tozawa (w/Titus O’Neil), Cedric Alexander, and Rich Swann vs. Ariya Daivari, Tony Nese, and TJP. Tozawa still had his left shoulder heavily wrapped. Daivari wrenched it on the mat. Tozawa sold pain, but insisted that he was okay when Titus checked on him. [C]

[Q4] Swann and Alexander performed stereo dives onto TJP and Nese. Tozawa performed a suicide dive onto Daivari and came up holding the bad shoulder. In the end, Tozawa performed a senton bomb on TJP and pinned him clean…

Akira Tozawa, Cedric Alexander, and Rich Swann beat Ariya Daivari, Tony Nese, and TJP in 8:45.

Graves hyped Miz TV with Jason Jordan for after the break… [C]

Powell’s POV: A momentum building win for the babyface heading into his No. 1 contenders match on 205 Live. They were able to get the crowd into this more than a lot of the cruiserweight matches thanks to those big dives.

The Miz hosted Miz TV in the ring and had Maryse, Bo Dallas, and Curtis Axel with him. “I can’t tell you how much I hate this city,” Miz started. Funny. Miz introduced Jason Jordan as his guest. Jordan came out to blah entrance music and a flat reaction. Miz asked Jordan how it felt that some fans are booing him.

[Q5] Jordan said the fans are going to boo, cheer, and do whatever they want and that’s cool. He said Miz is the expert on being booed. Miz praised Jordan’s in-ring ability and then offered to guide his career as a member of the Miz-tourage. “Thanks, but I’m good,” Jordan said. Miz boasted about appearing on television and in movies and main eventing WrestleMania. Miz said he could help Jordan navigate the WWE waters inside and outside the ring. He said Jordan needs his help.

Jordan said it was a tempting offer, but he still passed. Miz accused Jordan of being able to get anything he wants because his father is the general manager. Jordan defended himself and said that he told Angle he didn’t want any special treatment. Miz said the company will chew him up and spit him out. Jordan said maybe it will, but he didn’t want to be associated with someone like Miz.

Miz called Angle a “washed up old jock” and said he got his job out of pity. Miz said Angle wasted the best years of his life and it’s no wonder he’s from Pittsburgh because he’s sad, broken down, and pining for glory days that are never coming back. Jordan stood up and said Miz could say what he wants about him, but if he said another word about “Kurt” then he would make him regret it. Miz acted like he was calming down the Miztourage, then tried to take a cheap shot at Jordan, who performed an overhead belly-to-belly suplex that launched Miz onto Dallas and Axel…

A Reigns video aired with Roman talking about Joe and Strowman, retiring Undertaker, facing Lesnar, and said he would walk out of SummerSlam as the new champion… A shot aired of Rollins walking backstage. Graves hyped Rollins vs. Sheamus… [C]

Powell’s POV: The Miz did his best to get some cheap heat from the locals, but Jordan came across very bland again. At this point, it looks like Jordan’s in-ring work will need to be dynamic enough to get him over because he is very vanilla on the mic thus far. Granted, they are portraying him as Mr. Nice Guy, but it’s not like he showed great mic skills during his American Alpha days.

3. Seth Rollins vs. Sheamus (w/Cesaro). Cole asked if Ambrose could let bygones be bygones, adding that it was three years ago and he believes Rollins learned his lesson.

[Q6] Cesaro distracted Rollins as he was about to run the ropes. It gave Sheamus a chance to recover and he ran Rollins into the barricade heading into a break. [C] Late in the match, Rollins performed a sling blade clothesline on Sheamus. Rollins went up top and dove onto Cesaro, who climbed onto the apron. Moments later, Rollins rolled up Sheamus and pinned him…

Seth Rollins pinned Sheamus in 8:15.

After the match, Sheamus and Cesaro put the boots to Rollins. They were about to leave, but headed back to dish out more punishment. Dean Ambrose finally ran out for the save, but he was quickly outnumbered. Cesaro performed the Neutralizer on Ambrose, who eventually motioned for more. Cesaro obliged by ripping off his shirt and wrapping it around his face to hold him in position, then Sheamus caught Ambrose with a Brogue Kick…

Powell’s POV: A good heat building segment for the tag champs, and now Rollins and Ambrose have a reason to reunite to face them.

A Samoa Joe video package aired. He spoke about putting people to sleep for over 20 years all around the world. He said he took Lesnar to the limit and no one has Roman’s number like he does. He said he will make Strowman pay regardless of how big and scary he might be. Joe said he will make history at SummerSlam, and he’ll make a statement in the Triple Threat by putting someone to sleep…

Graves hyped Bray Wyatt for after the break… The broadcast team was shown at their desk. Cole set up a Special Olympics video package on Justin “JJ” Jones, who was then shown clapping excitedly in the crowd…

[Q7] [C] Bray Wyatt came to the ring for a promo and said there’s no escape for your children or Finn Balor. He said he saw Balor for what he truly is – the putrid shell of a man who never was. He mocked the notion of being able to fall down only to get right up and do it by laughing maniacally. He said there’s no getting up when the Eater of Worlds knocks you down and there’s no escape. Wyatt dropped the mic and struck a crucifix pose.

Finn Balor’s music was teased and the lights went out. When they came back on, Balor stood in the ring with the crucifix pose and his back to Wyatt, who laughed when he saw him. When Wyatt approached, Balor delivered a kick and ended up clearing him to ringside and then kicking him over the barricade. Balor’s music played and he played to the crowd…

Powell’s POV: I thought they might be giving viewers the Demon persona rather than saving it for SummerSlam.

A Braun Strowman video package aired. Strowman spoke backstage about how he’s not like most men. When he has a difference of opinion, he breaks things. He creates chaos and does what he wants to who he wants and he wants Reigns again. Strowman said he walked away from the ambulance angle and questioned what Joe could do to him. Strowman said he wants Lesnar all to himself… Graves hyped the Triple Threat as coming up next…

[Q8] [C] Ring entrances for the Triple Threat took place. Joe had his left elbow taped. Strowman came out and Joe showed no intimidation. They did a big pause before Reigns entered to more boos than cheers…

4. Samoa Joe vs. Roman Reigns vs. Braun Strowman in a Triple Threat. Cole noted there are no DQ matches in a Triple Threat, and Graves mentioned the rules of the SummerSlam four-way are similar. Joe glared at Reigns. Strowman knocked Joe down with a forearm to start. Strowman performing running clotheslines on both men in opposite corners and then dumped them both to the floor. Strowman yelled that it’s his yard. [C]

Reigns and Joe fought into the crowd. Graves reminded viewers that it was all legal and there were no DQs or count-outs. Strowman tossed Reigns back to ringside. Joe grabbed Strowman and applied the Coquina Clutch, which he released once Reigns got back to his feet. “What a break for Strowman right there,” Booker said. Joe caught Reigns a kick that laid him out on the floor.

[Q9] Reigns blocked Joe’s uranage attempt in the ring and worked him over with elbows and clotheslines before connecting with a kick. Reigns set up for a Superman Punch, but Joe rolled to ringside. Reigns followed and leapt off the stage and connected with the Superman Punch on the floor. Reigns spotted Strowman next to the barricade and charged for a spear, but Strowman booted him in the face at 9:25.

Strowman coughed and held his throat while selling the Coquina Clutch. Strowman ran Reigns into the post and then put Joe down with a clothesline. Strowman ran Reigns into the ring steps. Strowman tossed Reigns over the middle rope and back inside the ring. Joe caught Strowman with a kick and a senton. Joe returned to the ring and performed a senton on Reigns for a two count.

Joe set up a piece of the ring steps in the corner of the ring. He tried to whip Reigns into the steps, but Reigns stopped it. Joe applied the Coquina Clutch on Reigns. Strowman broke it up. Strowman powerslammed Joe and covered him, but Reigns broke it up. Strowman picked up the ring steps, but Reigns tagged him with a Superman Punch. Reigns knocked Strowman to the floor with the ring steps. Reigns speared Joe and pinned him…

Roman Reigns beat Samoa Joe and Braun Strowman in 14:25.

The broadcast team hyped Big Show vs. Big Cass. A graphic showed Enzo Amore with Show. The broadcast team recapped footage of last week’s Cass vs. Enzo match and the post match angle with Show…

Backstage, Enzo thanked Show for having his back. Show told him he likes him because he keeps it real. Show said Cass needs a lesson in respect… An ad aired for Bring It To The Table and hyped Jon Jones and Brock Lesnar as one of the topics… [C]

Powell’s POV: Here comes the hate from Samoa Joe fans. I can’t say I’m a big fan of the finish. I actually expected some type of interference or something that would help them avoid a clean finish. I liked the story of Joe having Roman’s number even though those wins actually occurred due to Strowman interference. That said, Joe losing here could play into the idea of him seeming somewhat vulnerable if he wins the championship at SummerSlam.

[Q10] JoJo introduced “Elias”, who has apparently lost his last name. A graphic listed him the same way. He noted that he grew up in Pittsburgh. He said the thing that stands out to him the most are the people of Pittsburgh, who inspired him to write his song. Elias sang that it’s a city of bridges, a city of pits, a place with no hope. He called the people garbage and said it gets worse every time. He was cut off by Kalisto’s entrance music…

5. Elias vs. Kalisto. Samson tossed Kalisto to the floor heading into an early match break. [C] Booker and Graves bickered about the way Graves badmouths Elias. Kalisto backflipped to avoid a punch from Elias and then caught him with a kick. Kalisto performed a huracanrana that spiked a kneeling Elias into the mat, but he held his back in pain. Elias rebounded and performed his “Drift Away” neckbreaker for the win…

Elias defeated Kalisto in 8:15.

Powell’s POV: Farewell to Samson. Give our best to Langston and other abandoned last names.

Backstage, Alexa Bliss was interviewed about Bayley earning a title shot at SummerSlam. Bliss was happy because she’s dominated Bayley in the past. Bliss also denied intentionally being counted out in her Great Balls of Fire match against Sasha Banks. Bliss noted that Sasha was on a promotional tour and that meant no one would be there to bail out Bayley when she faced Nia Jax later in the show…

Graves hyped the match as coming up next… The broadcast team set up footage from the movie “Pure Country, Pure Heart” featuring Shawn Michaels and Willie Nelson… [C]

[Q11] The broadcast team recapped the developments in the Rollins and Ambrose saga…

Backstage, Rollins thanked Ambrose for coming out to help him. Ambrose said Rollins won the match without his help. Rollins asked why he came out to help him. Ambrose said Rollins is the architect and put himself in the position where he had to come out or he would look like a jerk. Ambrose assumed Rollins was going to say he would have done the same thing for him. “The hell you would,” Ambrose said before storming away…

Powell’s POV: Nicely done. I assumed the segment earlier was going to bring them together, but I like that they are taking their time with this. It will mean a lot more when/if Rollins and Ambrose end up on the same page.

6. Bayley vs. Nia Jax. Bayley threw a few quick strikes, but Jax grabbed her by the ponytail. Bayley slipped away. Jax put her down with a headbutt. Jax tossed Bayley to ringside heading into a break. [C]

[Q12] Jax continued to dominate the match coming out of the break. Bayley sold shoulder pain at ringside. The ref checked on her while the broadcast team spoke about Bayley being less than three weeks away from challenging the title. Bayley threw punches with one arm while holding her bad arm.

Bayley performed a bulldog on Jax and then a running dropkick. Bayley knocked Jax off the apron with a running knee. Bayley dove onto Jax. Alexa Bliss showed up and tried to blindside Bayley, who saw her coming and worked her over. Jax hit Bayley from behind. Jax attempted to hit Bayley against the ring steps, but Bayley avoided it. Jax crashed into the steps and was counted out…

Bayley defeated Nia Jax by count-out in 9:40.

Backstage, Big Cass said his grandmother said you’re judged by the company you keep, which makes Big Show a miscreant…

Powell’s POV: Bayley seemed to be regaining some momentum over the last couple weeks, but the crowd was really flat here. Of course, that may have a lot to do with the timing of his match in that it is late in the three-hour marathon. Even so, having her sell an injury and be dominated before winning via count-out in front of a dead crowd did not help her cause.

Graves hyped the Tozawa vs. Daivari match for 205 Live… The broadcast team spoke at their desk and recapped the Jordan segment on Miz TV…

Ring entrances for the main event took place. Enzo Amore came out first and did his pre-match routine. Once in the ring, Enzo said Cass has done some terrible things. He took a long road to getting to a line about it being the city of black and yellow, which was good for a small pop. Big Show was out next.

[Overrun] Big Cass made his entrance to generic peppy rock music…

7. Big Cass vs. Big Show (w/Enzo Amore). Show went right after Cass before the bell. The ref split them and then called for the bell. Show worked over Cass in the corner and delivered a big slap to the chest. Cass made a brief comeback, but Show stopped him in his tracks and tossed him over the top rope to the floor at 1:00.

Show grabbed Cass by the hair and pulled him onto the apron, where Cass took a couple of shots before running into a shoulder block. Show slammed Cass and then dropped an elbow on him for a two count. Show motioned for the chokeslam, but Cass kicked his knee and then delivered a running kick to the knee. Cass targeted the knee of Show.

Show battled back with clotheslines and a splash in the corner before running into a big boot at 4:50. Cass waited in the corner and was attacked from behind by Enzo for the DQ.

Big Cass beat Big Show by DQ in 5:05.

Cass quickly dumped Enzo to the mat and taunted him. Show got to his feet and Cass ran into his knockout punch. Both big men fell to the mat as Graves called it a desperation knockout punch. Show’s music played to end the segment and close the show…

Powell’s POV: We’ve seen some really good big man matches in WWE lately and this one didn’t measure up. There was nothing really wrong with it, but the crowd continued to be flat at the end of this marathon, so it wasn’t just a Bayley vs. Jax thing. That said, I suspect the Triple Threat that aired earlier in the show would have won this crowd over more than Show vs. Cass did. I will be back late tonight with an All Access audio review of this show at PWAudio.net.



The Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell features Jake Barnett co-hosting the Boom and Dot Net Weekly combo show. Jason and Jake discuss Becky Lynch announcing her pregnancy, Alberto Del Rio being accused of sexual assault, WWE's IC Title tournament, Mike Tyson appearing at AEW Double Or Nothing, Undertaker's Last Ride documentary, AEW Dynamite and NXT TV thoughts, and more...


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