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WWE RAWtrospective 7/24/17: Believe In The Shield?

WWE: Monday Night RAW was LIVE from the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C. on 7/24/17!

A father and his long-lost son bring us into the heart of the Nation’s capital to begin this week Raw broadcast. Kurt Angle, the Raw GM, talks about catching up this past week with the “son he never knew he had”. Jordan sees singles action later tonight.

Speaking of opportunities, Samoa Joe and Roman Reigns had an opportunity last week and their confrontation was interrupted by Braun Strowman. So, as it relates the Universal Title at Summerslam, BRAAAAAUN! Strowman warns Kurt to put him in the match “or else”. He says Brock Lesnar fears him and he’ll break him in half at Summerslam.

Samoa Joe takes issues with this and he makes his way out. Joe tells Strowman he’s lucky that they never crossed paths and he doesn’t fear him. Joe says that Roman and Braun need to handle their business and Angle needs to give the beast to him to tame.

Here comes Roman Reigns. He mocks Joe, saying that he hasn’t done anything around here. He says Braun has been here about as long as a hiccup. He lists his credentials and then he takes a subtle shot at the hostile crowd. He ends by saying his retired the Undertaker to a chorus of boos. He then challenges the two men to list their accomplishments and then he threatens to take action.

Kurt Angle intercedes and he books Brock Lesnar against Samoa Joe, Braun Strowman and Roman Reigns in a fatal four-way match. The crowd marks out huge for Strowman, something to keep your eyes on. Joe calls out Angle for the booking and then Strowman says all he cares about is piling bodies.

Reigns tells him to shut his trap and he fires off a right hand. A brawl ensues. Joe and Reigns dump Strowman and then Joe cheapshots Reigns. It continues and security runs out and Braun decimates them. Joe slaps on the Coquina Clutch and finally, the roster rushes out to separate this. Reigns is back with a spear and the three men clear the ring again! Joe is finally held down as the segment ends with Strowman powerslamming Reigns. That was intense and it had to be incredible for live fans. What a great opening segment!

Elias Samson defeats Finn Balor via pinfall in a No DQ match after interference from Bray Wyatt.

A song from “The Drifter” brings us into the segment and it’s interrupted shortly thereafter by Balor. Balor is out to a massive pop and he’s sporting a taped shoulder, working through strain on the former injury this evening. Balor starts off hot and he works the crowd into a frenzy with high impact offense before the first break.

As we return to the No DQ match, Balor is still firmly in control. He surely hasn’t forgotten the guitar shot from last week. Samson counters a move and takes charge of the situation. Samson works over the injured shoulder of Balor with evil intentions and he grabs a metal folding chair to cause further issues. Balor eliminates the chair with a counter. Balor goes back to work and he grabs the chair, only to have it kicked away and then slammed down on the shoulder by Samson.

After a second break, Balor makes a brilliant comeback. Folks, this was a heck of a match, go back and watch it. Balor slays the “Drifter” with a steel chair and then he hits the corner dropkick and the Coup De Grace. The jump cut leads to Bray Wyatt in the ring and Balor on his back. Samson covers and gets the three. “The Eater Of Worlds” smiles and leaves, but all this does is make this feud incredibly legimate. Balor looked sensational in this one as did Samson. This was an incredible opening match. I, as a fan, am very much looking to the development on this story involving Balor and Wyatt. Kudos to Samson for continuing to get better each week. It worked for Strowman and it’s working for Samson.

Enzo Amore tells The Big Show backstage that he’s just going to wing it against Big Cass next.

Big Cass defeats Enzo Amore via pinfall with a Yakuza Kick.

Cass buried Enzo. I appreciate establishing Cass as a dominant new talent on the singles roster, but what are their plans for Enzo? He barely got any offense and unless he transitions to the Cruiserweight division, this looked like glorified punishment for backstage dissent. The Big Show came out to save his little buddy after the match. Cass threatened to break Enzo’s neck and he then tossed Enzo towards Show before dominating the big man as well. Welcome to the big time Cass.

Alexa Bliss says that she really doesn’t care who wins the match between Sasha Banks and Bayley, aka team gag reflex, in their match later. She says she’s the real winner because their friendship will take the hit and she’ll defeat whomever wins as is.

Nia Jax defeats Emma via pinfall with a somersault senton.

Nia buried Emma in this match as Cass did with Enzo before this. I don’t know what is going on, but Emma has been very vocal about not being established as a legimate threat on Raw either, but this seemed to be a form of punishment as well. I don’t write the product, I just watch it. Quite frankly, this is what I’m taking note of though.

Akira Tozawa, taped shoulder and all, has a heated discussion with Titus O’Neil backstage. Titus is trying to protect his investment and a new talent representing the Titus brand. It leads to Tozawa defying a cancelled match request and heading to the ring.

He and Ariya Daivari never have a match as Neville, the Cruiserweight Champ, comes down to call Tozawa all sorts of heinous things and he gets dropped and senton bombed for his efforts. Tozawa had shoved Titus before all this transpired and Daivari came out and took out both men. He held up the Cruiserweight title, announcing himself as a threat in the division. Good for him, he’s very talented.

Bayley and Sasha Banks interact backstage before their match and they talk about Bliss trying to divide them. Sasha says it won’t work and she’ll go on to beat her at Summerslam. Bayley says that Sasha needs to focus on tonight and says that she hopes that the best woman wins. Sasha says, don’t worry, she will.

Jason Jordan goes full on “Lex Express” babyface backstage and says he has butterflies in his stomach as he looks to debut in singles action later tonight. He looks to impress his father and the Raw fans. He’s facing Curt Hawkins. This just screams heel turn, sooner, rather than later.

Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins are backstage and Rollins wants to “game plan” for tonight. Ambrose wants to wing it. Seth says that’s always been the problem with Ambrose. Ambrose has the line of the night when he says that he isn’t facing three people tonight, he’s facing four. The crowd liked that. Ambrose walks off.

Bayley defeats Sasha Banks via pinfall with an inside cradle to become the number one contendor to the women’s title.

Bayley and Sasha Banks tear the house down as only they can. Alexa Bliss was on commentary for the entire match and their were plenty of near falls and submission exchanges between these enormously talented women. Banks went to the top rope, and in honor of her hero, the late, great Eddie Guerrero, she hit a beautiful frog-splash. The ref’s hand went down for two and Bayley countered it into a pinning predicament for the three count.

Bayley and Alexa will do business at Summerslam and we can only assume that Bayley will win the title and we’ll have a Sasha Banks heel turn shortly thereafter. Either that, or Bliss will retain due to a backfired attempt from Sasha and Bliss will go on to face Nia Jax and the heel turn will still happen.

Between Balor and Samson and this matchup, we’ve seen two quality matches tonight. Kudos to all four partipants for their hard work.

Curt Hawkins gets a rare interview backstage and he says he’s going to ruin the Raw debut of Jason Jordan, which is up next. Watch that happen, that would be hilarious.

Jason Jordan defeats Curt Hawkins via pinfall with a back suplex into a neckbreaker.

That was quicker than a hiccup. Very impressive debut for Jordan as a singles star. I was really worried that Jordan was going to get caught sleeping and they’d go that route with the angle, but Jordan looked great. He hit all of his signature spots that we saw after a hot tag during his run with Chad Gable and he maneuvered them into a potent singles offense. Congratulations to Jordan for getting the victory on his Raw debut.

“Top Guys” tell Charly Caruso how it is in the ring. Dash and Dawson, the Revival, talk about being the best tag team on Raw and what they plan to do going forward. Gallows and Anderson come out and take issues with with these “nerds” and say that they’ve done everything first-ski. The crowd is firmly behind the Club as they come out and get under the skin of the former NXT tag team champions. The bell sounds and action gets underway for a scheduled tag team match.

The Revival defeat Gallows and Anderson via pinfall with a Shatter Machine.

As would be expected, this was another very good match tonight. Two very sound teams and in-ring technicians, they entertained DC fans working a very physical style against one another. Towards the end of the match, the Hardy Boyz came out and distracted both teams, as they’ve had issues with both. Gallows and Anderson dump the Revival as they wait for Matt and Jeff to make a move and the wait is for naught. Gallows is dumped and Anderson eats the Shatter Machine as “Top Guys” notch another victory into their belts.

The Miz, the IC Champ, is backstage and he gives a pep talk to the members of the Miztourage as they setup for their handicapped match tonight. He references his performance in Marine 5 and he mocks Tom Cruise in the Mummy reboot. He says that Ambrose and Rollins are looking to reboot an old franchise in The Shield. The Miz is the best, let’s just make that known.

Next week on Raw, we’re informed that we’ll have a triple threat match between Samoa Joe, Roman Reigns and Braun Strowman. Jason Jordan will also be a guest on MizTV. Both of those should line us all up to enjoy another solid Raw broadcast. Tonight has been pretty good so far. The main event is up next.

Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose defeat The Miztourage via pinfall after a Dirty Deeds.

Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel are involved in a Raw main event. This is one of the main reasons why it’s always nice to have factions around and to give under-utilized talent a chance to shine. Both of these guys are talented and they just needed the right fit. Miz, along with his partners in crime, put on a solid match against two very capable hands in the former champs, Ambrose and Rollins.

The handicapped match left the faces in peril for much of the match, and after they made the roaring comeback. Curtis Axel had an awesome moment before that however, as he hit a huge move and then yelled towards the crowd about how good the move was. That was very funny stuff. The faces got things rolling and took out every element of the heel tandem and it ended after Ambrose hit the Dirty Deeds for the pinfall. Rollins put the fist out for the classic Shield fist bump, but was left hanging as the broadcast went off the air.


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