Hello everyone! Welcome back to the Raw Report! I’m @TheMagnumDA. Please forgive me for missing last week’s Raw. I was visiting my family for the Independence Day weekend. I’ve got some thoughts about Great Balls of Fire…I thought that the Ambulance match was well done, but you NEED to commit to the double turn between Braun and Roman. As for Joe vs. Lesnar? I want to see Chapter II. Maybe we will at SummerSlam? I thought the rest of the show felt like a commercial-free episode of Raw.
As for tonight, we are LIVE from Houston, TEY-HASS (that’s Texas). Love this city. I was there for the 25th Anniversary of WrestleMania…can’t beat it. Special hello to my friends Jesse and Erica down there in Katy, TX! The Ambulance Match between Roman Reigns and Braun Strowman is recapped in the show opener before the credits. It was quite the performance from both men. However, as previously mentioned…logic tells you that both men should turn.
We start with Big Cass, who comes out for the opening promo. A small “CASS-HOLE” chant breaks out as he asks, “HOW YOU DOIN’?” He says he’s feeling spectacular today, especially after his win over Enzo last night at the PPV. Cass says, “It doesn’t matter if you’ve seen it or not…” Way to sell your company’s PPV, Colin. Cass recaps the match using still photos, and then shows footage from WWE.com where Enzo gets helped to the back. The CASS-HOLE chants are getting louder. Cass says that one day, he will become Universal Champion. This draws laughs from the crowd. Ouch. Cass goes on to say that he will be headlining WrestleMania, and he will be on the Tonight Show.
Cass finally says nobody can touch him, and that nobody is seven-feet-tall. Of course, this brings out the Big Show. Cass gets in close and then tells Show to headbutt him. Well, that was convenient! Show obliges, and then they “shoot” to the ground. Sloppy. Show gets the upper hand, and Cass runs off like a chicken. This was ugly. Way to debut that new #1 heel. Personally? I see this guy as nothing more than another Test. He needs to gain some traction, and he needs to cut that stringy hair and that scraggly beard. Dude looks like one of my old buddies at the “Wild Turkey” house back in college.
The announcers recap last night’s Ambulance match (this is the second time, for those keeping score), and then they inform us that Kurt Angle will provide an update on Braun Strowman later tonight. Up next, Finn Balor takes on The Drifter!
Match #1 – Elias Samson vs. Finn Balor
The Drifter warbles about Houston having a problem, and Balor interrupts. I bet people in Houston get sick of that Apollo 13 quote. They lock up and Samson slams Balor to the ground. Elias tries another slam, but Balor reverses into a headlock. Balor is tossed into the ropes, and Samson elbows Balor right in the face. Cole goes into a story about Samson attending an Eric Clapton concert. After the concert, The Drifter got into a bar fight with some local rowdies. This explains why Samson has a scar on his elbow. WHAT?! Meanwhile, in the ring, Balor tries to hit the Coup de Grace, but The Drifter rolls out of harm’s way as we go to break.
After the break, Samson chops Balor in the corner and follows it up with a snap suplex for two. Samson catches a rare seated Full Nelson, but Balor turns it into a Victory Roll for two. Balor elbows Samson, but Samson returns with knees to the guts. Samson misses a charge and Balor starts hitting his forearms. Balor attempts a running kick from the apron, but Samson throws his foot inward, propelling Balor to the ground. He lands NASTY on his shoulder, and Samson starts to work on it. Balor fights up and hits Samson with a standing Coup de Grace! Corey and Booker fight over the existence of the word “Contentionship” as Samson rolls Balor up for two. Balor hits a gnarly Overhead Kick and the Sling Blade! Dropkick to the corner by Finn! COUP DE GRACE from the top! One, two, three!
Winner: Finn Balor (**)
I wonder if Balor’s shoulder is legit hurt. Looked really bad when it happened. As Balor exits the ring area, the Hardyz make their entrance. They shake hands with Finn and then make their way down to the ring. Cole says the Hardy Boyz are in action after the break. When they return, the Hardyz are cutting a promo. So are they going to fight, or did Cole jump the gun with his incidental foreshadowing? Both Matt and Jeff channel their “Broken” personalities, but they’re interrupted by Anderson & Gallows. They cut the most vanilla ice cream promo I’ve ever heard. Calling people “Nerds” in 2017 doesn’t get you heat ANYWHERE, Gallows. Not even on the playground. Matt namedrops that he is battered and “Broken” and the crowd pops! Matt challenges the Gaijin Good Brothers, and it’s on!
Match #2 – The Hardy Boyz vs. Karl Anderson & Luke Gallows
Matt and Karl start off, and Matt fights out of the corner with right hands. Matt hits a running shoulder tackle, and Jeff tags in. Double back suplex by the Hardy Boyz to Anderson! Poetry in Motion to Gallows! The Gaijin retreat as we go to break. When we return, Jeff fights out of a headlock, but Gallows is waiting for him with a lariat. Anderson is tagged in as they hit the BOOT OF DOOM! Matt breaks up the three-count, as Anderson gets snippy. Jeff hits a jawbreaker and tags in Matt! HOUSE OF FIYAH! Turnbuckle marathon! DELETE! Anderson pushes Matt out of the corner, but walks into a Side Effect! Gallows breaks it up. Matt hits an elbow from the second rope, but misses the Twist of Fate! Gallows tags in and the Gaijin hit the MAGIC KILLER! One, two, three!!
Winners: Anderson & Gallows (*1/2)
After the match, THE REVIVAL are back! They destroy the Hardy Boyz, culminating in a HUGE knee by Dash! SHATTER MACHINE on Jeff! The TOP GUYS have arrived! Up Next: The Mizzies! Wait, the what?! Before MizTV, we get ANOTHER recap of the Ambulance Match.
The Intercontinental Champion The Miz is here for MizTV! He’s joined by his entourage (Bo Dallas, Curtis Axel, and Maryse) for The Mizzies! Well, if you can’t win an award, you might as well create it. Miz awards his entire group, and it seems like Maryse is really getting emotional over this! They kiss and make up. Miz then trolls the audience by recreating the ending of this year’s Academy Awards, teasing that Dean Ambrose won the “Best Man Ever” award. What an award! Eventually, Miz gives it to himself. Miz says that people like Tozawa, Seth Rollins, and the Hardyz talk tough, but they don’t back it up. Miz does.
Ambrose comes out for revenge, but he gets overwhelmed by a 3-on-1 attack. Seth Rollins comes out to make the save, attacking everyone and throwing a table on Bo Dallas! Whoa! Both men send the Miztourage all the way to the back! Seth and Dean stand tall as this episode of MizTV abruptly ends. Maybe a Shield reunion down the road? After the break, Dean finds Seth backstage and tells him that there’s not going to be any “Shield reunion” because he doesn’t want help. Well, there goes that idea. It’s almost as if Dean was listening to my thoughts. Spooky.
Match #3 – Bayley & Sasha Banks vs. Nia Jax & WWE Women’s Champion Alexa Bliss
Sasha and Alexa start. Banks chases after Bliss and Alexa stays away from her until she makes a tag to Nia Jax. Bayley tags in, but walks right into a headbutt. Sasha finally catches Bliss and attacks her. Jax breaks it up, but this allows Bayley to catch an elbow on the back of Nia’s head, sending her down. The heels retreat as we go to break. After the break, Sasha drives her foot into Alexa’s throat in the corner. Sasha hits a running charge, but she only gets two. Bayley tags in and drills Alexa with a bulldog. Nia gets the tag and catches Bayley in a slam. Bayley counters out and dropkicks Nia’s leg. Bayley hits some running elbows in the corner.
Jax finally comes to and throws Bayley HARD into the corner. Jax ragdolls Bayley to the ground. Then she ragdolls her again, picking her up right into a Cobra Clutch. Bliss tags in, and she hits a running charge in the corner to Bayley. She chokes Bayley on the ropes and gets a two-count. Jax tags back in and drills Bayley with some more headbutts and ANOTHER attempt at the Clutch. Bayley fights out, but misses the tag. Bliss tags in and they coordinate some old southern heel teamwork. Alexa steps on Bayley’s guts, and then hits the Twisted Bliss from the top rope! One, two, no! Outside the ring, Jax misses a charge on Banks as Alexa looks on. This allows Bayley to catch Alexa for the one, two, three!
Winners: Bayley and Sasha Banks (**1/4)
Goldust, with a SWEET new key displaying his name, tells us to get ready for a sequel to The Shattered Truth. The Golden Age…is back! (Snaps teeth)
We get the FOURTH recap of the Ambulance Match in 90 minutes. Vince must’ve loved this bout or something…NOTHING gets four replays in the first 90 minutes of Raw. Unless it’s a Triple H promo. Hiyooo! Afterwards, Booker says that “Roman is a man of his word. He did what he said he was going to do.” Why are they making Roman look like the good guy here? Remember, fellow readers: Reigns commandeered an emergency vehicle (felony), attempted vehicular manslaughter (major felony!), and then ran from the scene of the crime (HOLY SHIT!).
R-Truth comes out and actually does some freestyling! Hey, he has some good lyrics! He mentions sparking up…I guess he never quit smoking that K-2. Better him than me, that’s all I can say.
Match #4 – R-Truth vs. Goldust
After weeks of video packages, this is the Blockbuster Blowoff! They trade shots, and R-Truth hits the Stinger Splash and a powerslam. Goldust tries to come back, but R-Truth gets him in the corner for a 10-punch. Truth gets his legs locked up in the corner, and Goldust slowly pounds on him. He throws Truth into the corner and chops him. Truth starts to fight out, but Goldust catches him in the gut. After an elbow drop, Goldust catches the chinlock as the crowd FINALLY cheers Truth on. Truth gets a running charge, but runs right into a Spinebuster for two. Goldust tries a 10-punch of his own, and Truth turns it into a Power Bomb. No heel should ever try a 10-punch. Fans rally Truth, as he catches Goldust with a series of lariats, followed by the Spinning Elbow. Goldust chop blocks Truth, and then he works on the leg. Truth kicks Goldust off, and then catches him with a scissors kick for two. Goldust comes to, and throws Truth shoulder-first into the corner, and from there he hits a variation of The Final Cut on Truth for the one, two, three!
Winner: Goldust (*)
Kurt Angle, the Raw General Manager, makes his way to the ring! Kurt gives us an update on Braun Strowman: The update is that Kurt doesn’t know when Strowman will be coming back. Some update, Kurt. Thanks for that. Angle then introduces us to the WWE Universal Champion Brock Lesnar, who has Happy Heyman by his side! Paul looks *especially* happy this evening. Angle asks Heyman if he’s interested in discussing the SummerSlam main event, and Heyman declares, “We don’t brainstorm here.”
Roman Reigns interrupts their exit from the ring, and asks why people have a problem with what he did. Roman foolishly says that the destruction he created was reminiscent of a bygone era…the Attitude Era. Angle correctly says, “That was then, and this is now.” SOMEHOW, Reigns rationalizes this as if Angle owes him something (for being able to control Braun…something Kurt couldn’t do). Brock interrupts and ALSO correctly tells Roman (on live TV), “You don’t deserve shit.” That was awesome.
Joe interrupts and the trash talk continues. Joe insults Brock, so Lesnar goes nose-to-nose with him. Brock warns Joe that “this is real” as Reigns eggs them on. Meanwhile, Joe starts insulting Roman for losing to Braun Strowman last night. Everyone starts trading off-the-script barbs at each other, and the crowd LOVES IT. Angle cannot keep order, so he books Joe vs. Reigns for the #1 Contender’s Spot at SummerSlam. Kurt tells both men that if anyone starts fighting…the match is off! They have a standoff as the announcers talk about the match next week.
Corey gets pulled off the announcer’s set for ANOTHER phone ordeal. DUDE, PUT YOUR PHONE AWAY. Backstage, Angle flubs up his lines. Eventually, he tells Corey that he’s going to have to do a tell-all next week to clear the air. It could cost him his career, as well as his family. Jesus, what could be so serious?
My first thought was an affair with Stephanie McMahon, and my second thought was someone taking a picture of Kurt with a beer. That seems low, but I could see them running that kind of story. Something where a dastardly heel tries to trash Kurt’s attempt to be a recovering addict, which would “ruin his career and his family” like Kurt continually mentioned.
Match #5 – Akira Tozawa & Cedric Alexander vs. Noam Dar & Neville
Before this starts, how about that Austin Aries? Couldn’t stand the thought of being second fiddle to Neville, so he bailed on the company after they stopped putting him on TV. Can’t blame him, especially if he was going to be stuck on 205 Live. Anyways, onto the match.
Dar hesitates at first, so Cedric smacks him in the nose with an elbow. Alexander continues with forearms, sending Dar to the outside where Alicia’s arms are waiting. Shortly after the consolation, she is heard loudly screaming again. I swear, Alicia causes more commotion than Alberto Del Rio at an airport. Zing! Back inside, Alexander hits another forearm and tags in Tozawa, who hits the running dropkick for two. Dar’s nose looks broken, but Tozawa continues to stomp him in the corner. This is followed by clubs to the back of the neck. Dar tags in Neville, but he’s sent flying by Tozawa. Akira kicks him in the chest, but his taunting allows Neville to throw him in the corner. The heels stomp down Tozawa in the corner as we go to break.
After the break, Neville has Tozawa in an armbar. Akira fights out, and tries to make a tag. When he gets pulled back into the heel corner, he hits a Mafia Kick on Dar. This opens him up for a kick by Neville. Eventually, Tozawa makes the tag and Cedric is a HOUSE OF FIYAH! Great offense! Cedric heads up top, but a slight distraction allows Neville to drop Cedric on the ropes, crotching him. Neville goes up for the Windham Superplex, but Cedric ends up repaying the favor, crotching Neville! Okay, this really is turning into Great Balls of Fire. Tozawa gets tagged in, and he kicks the top rope where Neville is draped! FLOATING SENTON BOMB by Tozawa onto the champ! One, two, three!
Winners: Akira Tozawa & Cedric Alexander (*3/4)
Charly is backstage with Seth Rollins, when Bray Wyatt interrupts. Bray warns Seth that he will not be denied by anyone, including Seth Rollins. This leads to our Main Event. Cole reminds us that this is a rematch from the “First Ever Great Balls of Fire”. Oh great. So this means we’re going to get “GREAT BALLS OF FIRE 2020”, right? Come on. As a one-time theme, the American Graffiti/Drive-In Theatre idea was good. It’s not good enough to warrant an annual show.
Main Event: Seth Rollins vs. Bray Wyatt
Wyatt does a CRAZY SPINNING move that does nothing. What’s with him? They stumble through a lock-up as Wyatt shoves Rollins to the corner. They lock up again and this lasts 24 minutes. Finally, the ref separates them and Wyatt tries a cheap shot. Seth responds, laying into Wyatt with right hands. Wyatt returns serve with some fists of his own. Rollins hits a huge superkick on Wyatt, knocking him down but getting only two. Wyatt hits the RUNNING SLOPPY ELBOW, and follows this up with a Sister Abigail attempt. Rollins powers Wyatt to the outside, and then tries a suicide dive. Wyatt runs him into the corner post, but he misses a punch that lands right into the post. Ouch. Seth starts working on the hand, stomping on it. Rollins starts trying to break Wyatt’s fingers! Harsh. Rollins sticks his boot in Bray’s face, and then drives Bray’s hand into the corner steps. If Seth REALLY wanted to hurt him, he’d stick his hand between the steps and drop the top step right onto the bottom step. Just an idea. Wyatt catches Seth and hits a Uranage Slam as we go to break!
After the break, we see the crowd doing THE WAVE! I’ve not seen that since WrestleMania VI. God Bless Texas. Wyatt has held Rollins in this chinlock for about 2 decades now. Seriously, there’s some kids in the audience getting their diploma while this chinlock is happening. Rollins fights out and clips Wyatt with a dropkick. Wyatt gets up and throws Rollins to the opposite corner, catching him with a Vader Splash in the process. This only gets two. Wyatt continues to hammer Seth in the corner as the crowd cheers Seth on. Huge Spike DDT by Wyatt gets two…and then we go back into the chinlock. Rollins fights up, but Wyatt runs him into the corner. Rollins is propped on the top rope, but Seth is able to roll out of the situation. Wyatt is waiting for him with a kick to the face. Rollins returns with some kicks of his own, sending Wyatt to the mat. Both men are down, but they get up for one last exchange. Wyatt’s hand gets stomped on, and Rollins hits the Sling Blade! Wyatt retreats, so Rollins sets up another suicide dive! Back inside, springboard clothesline by Rollins gets one, two, no! Rollins runs to the corner and starts nailing Wyatt with forearms. Wyatt counters the whip, but Seth catches him with a boot, as well as a Blockbuster. One, two, no! Suplex by Bray is countered into a Falcon Arrow by Rollins for the one, two, no! During a roll-up exchange, Bray SMASHES Seth right in the eye (a tip to last night’s finish). Rollins is disoriented, leading to a Sister Abigail by Wyatt! One, two, three!
Winner: Bray Wyatt (***1/2)
After the match, the Miztourage surrounds the ring, as Rollins lays in a heap. This turns into another 3-on-1 attack, but this time it’s on Seth! Dean Ambrose makes the save! Ambrose gets a few chair shots on Miz’s spine as Miz is pulled out of the ring. Dean stands tall as Rollins comes to his senses. Backstage, we get our last segment of the night. It’s Kurt Angle on the phone. He tells the person on the other line that they both need to come clean next week. So…they’ll do it together. Kurt ends the convo with, “I love you.” Ooh…if that’s not his wife, then Houston…we’ve got a problem. Zing!
Closing Thoughts: Pretty good show. Lots of talking, though. I really dug the build for next week, though. I’m looking forward to writing it! I’ll see you next week RIGHT HERE on the Raw Report.