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WWE RAWtrospective 7/31/17: The Company We Keep

WWE: Monday Night RAW was LIVE from the PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh, PA on 7/31/17!

Raw General Manager Kurt Angle gets a resounding reaction from his hometown crowd in Pittsburgh. He promises a big show tonight, highlighting scheduled matches and a MizTV featuring his son, Jason Jordan.

He prepares to leave and we cue the Beast! Brock Lesnar, The Universal Champion, and Paul Heyman, his advocate, are out to address the fatal four way match slated to take place at Summerslam.

Heyman doesn’t like the stacked deck, and he says that Angle was “told” to take the belt off of Lesnar. If his client loses, they both leave the fed. Heyman doesn’t plan on that happening, and Lesnar looks as menacing as ever.

It probably will happen, as Lesnar is chomping at the bit for a UFC return against Jon “Bones” Jones, in what should be a classic fight. This will be smart booking and a way to make a future Lesnar return a satisfactory affair. This was a great way to begin the show.

The Hardy Boyz defeat Gallows and Anderson via pinfall after a Swanton Bomb on Gallows.

This was a great match between two very solid veteran teams. The Hardy Boyz recapture needed omentum after crushing defeats over the past few weeks. Dash and Dawson, The Revival, were guests on commentary and after Gallows took the pinfall, a brawl ensued.

The Revival tossed Gallows into the video wall and then the Hardyz stood tall, getting the upper hand after a beautiful splash from Jeff onto members of both teams. Dawson ate two twist of fates and we’ve got the makings of a strong, tag team feud between three very capable teams. I liked this a lot.

Dean Ambrose is backstage and he’s interviewed by his lovely wife, the great Renee Young. Ambrose said teaming with Rollins clicked last week, but he can’t be one hundred percent satisfed with a Shield renuion because he still doesn’t trust Seth. Rollins enters the scene and says what Ambrose said was spot on, but they’ve got to get over their trust issues. Ambrose leaves.

MizTV presents Jason Jordan. The Miztourage flanks the IC Champ, dressed to the nines. Jordan has new music and he’s nervous, but this was a solid segment. Miz was awesome and he talked about the company chewing up Jordan and spitting him out. He then proceeded to run down Kurt Angle and that’s where Jordan drew the line. He said you can say whatever you want about him, but don’t talk about his father.

Miz tried to attack Jordan, but he ate an overhead release suplex into Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel for his efforts. Jordan escaped the fray and got a nice reaction from Steelers nation. It looks like we’re headed for an IC Title match at the Summerfest!

Seth Rollins defeats Sheamus via pinfall with a rollup.

Quality matches continue this evening as Rollins and Sheamus gave us one to watch. Distractions on the outside from Cesaro backfired after Sheamus attempted a White Noise and the rollup got Rollins a trip to the pay window.

The tag team champions handled their business after the match, beating Rollins into the mat. Ambrose rushed out for an attempted save, but he felt the power of “the bar” as well and the champs stood tall. Rollins and Ambrose against the champs at Summerslam? Sign me up for that one. That match has quality written all over it.

“The Eater Of Worlds” is up next. Bray Wyatt cuts a promo as only he can on Finn Balor and we see a minor tease for the immnent return of “The Demon” as Balor plays mind games of his own. Balor sends Wyatt into retreat mode with a well placed dropkick and we set the stage for another Summerslam match after Bray cost Finn a victory over Elias Samson last week.

Roman Reigns defeats Samoa Joe and Braun Strowman via pinfall after a spear on Joe.

This was the right call. Now, before you question my rationale, understand this, Roman Reigns is NOT leaving Summerslam with the title. The smart money is on Strowman or Joe and even Lesnar retaining and taking the Universal Title into the ring against Jon Jones makes more sense. Reigns is the company man and they’ll put the belt on him when they want.

Take nothing away from Reigns here, these three men delivered and it’s so rare to see two heavyweights as athletic and lightning quick as Strowman and Joe. Reigns always delivers in big matches and if this is a sign of things to come for Summerslam? I’ll be along for the ride.

Strowman looked like a million bucks here, disposing of Joe with the steel ring stairs, but Roman took advantage of that and came away with the victory here. It makes sense to give him some momentum heading into the summertime spectacular. This should have been the main event in my opinion.

Enzo Amore thanks the Big Show backstage for standing up for him in the fight against his former partner. Show appreciates the kind words.

Elias Samson defeats Kalisto via pinfall with the Drift Away.

That’s a great name for his swinging neck-breaker as NXT fans chanted that at Samson for months, very clever. Samson continues to develop in the ring. He’s got a great way and this was a credible win over a capable talent. Samson looks like actor Joe Mangienello of “True Blood” fame in my opinion, he’s very marketable. Good for him as he continues to win here.

Alexa Bliss, the women’s champion, is glad that she’s facing Bayley at Summerslam, because “it’s Bayley”. She says Sasha Banks will enjoy watching it while sitting at home and she’ll enjoy watching Nia Jax destroy Bayley tonight.

Seth Rollins thanks Dean Ambrose for coming to his aide earlier this evening, but Ambrose doesn’t like it. He says Rollins set him up and had he not come out to help, he’d be made to look the bad guy. He leaves.

Bayley defeats Nia Jax via countout.

Bayley used a combination of cunning and athleticism to best Jax as she allowed her to post herself on the outside, which was enough to score the countout victory. Bayley racks up another victory as Alexa Bliss gave chase after the match. Bayley escaped and looked strong as she looks to reestablish herself as a legitimate threat to Bliss heading into Summerslam.

I expect Bayley to win the title and then I’ll expect a Sasha Banks heel turn immediately thereafter. We’ll have a feud that can continue for several months and it might culiminate with a Banks title reign and a cocky champion. Could we ultimately see the debut of Asuka at the expense of Banks? I’m all for the rise of the Empress of tomorrow on the Raw brand!

Big Cass is backstage and he says you are measured by the company you keep. He then lambasts Show for hanging out with his former partner. The main event is up next.

Big Cass defeats The Big Show via DQ after interference from Enzo Amore.

This should have taken place earlier as I stated. The crowd wasn’t very into it. They enjoyed words from Enzo, but this was a slow and plodding match, as would be expected. Enzo cost Show the victory after Cass took the low road and Enzo jumped on his back. Cass slung Enzo over his shoulder and down onto the mat like a rag doll.

He turned around and was met with a hard knockout punch by Show for his troubles and we leave this week’s Raw with a rematch on the horizon. All in all a solid show, sans the poor scheduling of this match in the main event slot.

 

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