Live from Evansville, Indiana this is the Raw Deal for episode #1254. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport. Thanks Melo Man for the creative banner up top.
There was a shot of the arena, we got a welcome from Michael Cole and Roman Reigns’ music hit as Reigns walked down to the ring. Typical mixed reaction from Reigns. The announce team of Cole, Corey Graves and Booker T welcomed us to the show.
Roman Reigns Has a Big Announcement
Reigns stood in the ring to soak up the mix of cheers and boos. Reigns said some of you may like it and some of you may not, but Reigns thinks he can’t be beaten one on one. Reigns said to ask Bray Wyatt, Finn Balor and Seth Rollins. Reigns added Braun Strowman and said he put him out of commission (Strowman won their last PPV singles match). Reigns noted that he main evented his third WrestleMania in a row and he retired The Undertaker. That led to “Undertaker” chants.
Reigns said that after Great Balls of Fire, he said he is the number one contender for the Universal Championship at SummerSlam. Reigns said it was his yard and he makes the rules around here. Samoa Joe’s music hit.
Analysis: It was more of a heel promo than a face promo, but it’s not like WWE is going to book him like a heel. I think they just want him to talk like a heel to fire up the haters.
Samoa Joe walked down to the ring to get in Roman’s face. Joe said that Reigns seemed to have forgotten his name. At first Joe was offended and he reminded Reigns that Joe’s name wasn’t on that list because Reigns has never beaten him. Joe: “Allow me to re-introduce myself, my name is Samoa Joe and I am the true number one contender and the next Universal Champion.”
Reigns said that he never thought he would agree with Paul Heyman because Samoa Joe would never be Samoa Joe to him – he would always be just Joe.
Joe hit Reigns with a headbutt that sent him out of the ring. Joe sent Reigns into the barricade and the steps. Joe sent Reigns into the ring. Joe went for the Coquina Clutch, Reigns fought out of it and Reigns hit Joe with a Superman Punch. Joe left the ring. End segment.
Analysis: The Reigns announcement was just his desire for a Universal Title match at SummerSlam. There will probably be a wrinkle in place to prevent that from actually happening when Braun Strowman returns, but it makes sense that Reigns would want that. I like how Joe is being booked as a heel that will get right in people’s faces to deliver a message. Too many guys do promos from a distance. I like that Joe goes face to face a lot of the time. It makes him look tougher. Reigns getting the upper hand in the brawl made sense.
The Hardy Boyz were shown walking backstage for a match against Gallows & Anderson up next.
It was announced that Roman Reigns would face Samoa Joe later in the evening.
Analysis: It’s not exactly breaking news when a Raw opening segment sets up a main event match. Happens way too often.
Good ovation for the Hardy Boyz with Matt doing the “Delete” hand gesture a lot. Anderson & Gallows were up next.
The Hardy Boyz vs. Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson
Double suplex by the Hardys on Anderson early on. Sheamus & Cesaro, the Raw Tag Team Champions, were shown watching on a monitor backstage. Gallows missed an elbow on Matt, Jeff tagged in and hit the Poetry in Motion corner attack on Gallows for two. The heels worked on Jeff in the corner, Jeff tried a comeback and Anderson knocked him off the top rope with Jeff landing hard on the mat as the show went to break.
Back from break, G&A isolated Jeff in their corner. Anderson went for a corner attack, Jeff moved and Anderson was crotched on the middle turnbuckle. Jeff knocked Gallows down and hit a spin kick to knock down Anderson. Gallows tagged in, Jeff fought out of the corner and hit the Whisper in the Wind attack off the top rope on both heels. Matt got the hot tag and was cleaning house. Matt sent Anderson’s head into the turnbuckles, corner clothesline, boot to the face and elbow to the back by Matt. Side Effect by Matt on Anderson earned a two count as Gallows made the save. Matt hit a clothesline on Gallows to send him over the top to the floor. Gallows boot to the face of Jeff on the floor. Ref held Anderson back, so Gallows got a punch and Anderson with a clothesline. Gallows tagged in and the heels hit the Boot of Doom into a slam for a two count as Matt got his shoulder up. Jeff knocked down Anderson on the floor. Jeff tagged in, Gallows didn’t know, Matt hit Twist of Fate and Jeff hit the Swanton Bomb on Gallows for the pinfall win after about 11 minutes.
Winners by pinfall: The Hardy Boyz
Analysis: *** Good match by two awesome teams that are consistently great at what they do. I really liked the nearfall with the Boot of Doom and Matt kicked out at the very last second. I thought maybe the Hardys would lose to put them on a losing streak, but they found a way to get the win. Jeff really connected on Gallows with that Swanton Bomb. I assume Luke is okay with it since he’s a bigger dude. There’s a lack of depth in Raw’s tag division at the moment although The Revival’s return helps.
Post match, the crowd was cheering loudly for the Hardys while G&A were mad about the loss.
Still to come: Reigns vs. Joe.
Goldust did a “Shattered Dream Productions” promo like he has done for four weeks. He spoke about how he’ll be flying into the City of Angles next week on Raw. Goldust invited R-Truth to the debut of his motion picture “The Shattered Truth.” He said “the golden age is back” and did the chomp to end it.
Analysis: At least they made some progress by having Goldust invite R-Truth to Raw next week in LA. After a month of these promos, at least they might have a match some day soon.
Elias Samson did his usual guitar playing routine while insulting the fans in Evansville. Fans booed and chanted “what” at him. Samson asked for complete silence so that he could tune his guitar, which is another way to earn boos. He was interrupted by Finn Balor’s music.
Finn Balor made his entrance wearing his black leather jacket and he was in his ring gear.
After Balor made his entrance, Samson walked away and left the ring. Balor’s music played again as the show went to break and Balor’s in a match against somebody else.
Analysis: I thought they were having a match. Nope. It should lead to something later, though.
The match didn’t start. Bo Dallas was in the ring and he attacked Balor before Balor could take his jacket off. The ref checked on Balor, who said it’s okay to start the match.
Finn Balor vs. Bo Dallas
Dallas hit a clothesline. Balor was outside the ring with his head against the barricade and Dallas hit a running knee to the face. Balor got a boot up, elbow by Dallas and Balor hit an overhead kick to knock down Dallas. Balor with a punch to the kidney followed by stomps to the chest. Balor with a clothesline that sent Balor over the top to the floor followed by a running kick from Balor. Balor sent Dallas into the barricade three times. Slingblade from Balor followed by a running dropkick. Balor went up top and hit the Coup de Grace double foot stomp for the pinfall win after four minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Finn Balor
Analysis: *1/2 Easy win for Balor as expected. I liked the aggressiveness shown from Dallas early on. The problem is it only lasted for about two minutes when Balor made his comeback. I think Dallas is the kind of guy that could do well if they ever book him right. I’m not sure when that is going to happen. He’s only in his mid-20s, so there’s plenty of time for him.
The announce team was shown on camera. Corey Graves was shown reacting to something on his headset and he left the announce position to go backstage.
Analysis: The mystery angle for Graves continues. We don’t know what it is yet and that’s okay. Keep building it.
The trailer aired for the WWE 2k18 video game that was released earlier on Monday. It’s well done. The 2K guys always produce great trailers for these games. Seth Rollins is on the cover of the game, which was announced earlier in the day.
Back in the arena, Cole and Booker talked about how Rollins was on the cover of the WWE 2k18 game. Watch the trailer here.
Rollins is up next on Raw.
There was a commercial for Smackdown Live on Tuesday with some sort of resolution for the women’s Money in the Bank ladder match. Cole and Booker talked about it.
Kurt Angle was shown in his office backstage on his phone talking about Money in the Bank being controversial. Corey Graves showed up to try to talk to him. Enzo Amore & Big Cass showed up to talk to Kurt. Angle asked Enzo why he would send a tweet like that to Conor McGregor. Cass said they have been attacked week after week and now Kurt wants to ask about a tweet? Enzo said the common theme has been The Revival. Cass said he thinks it’s Big Show. Kurt said by the end of the night they’ll know who attacked them both. Graves talked to Angle as the scene faded out.
Analysis: Angle claiming they will have a resolution to the mystery attacker story is pretty random. How does he know for sure?
Seth Rollins Celebrated His WWE2K18 Video Game Cover
Seth Freakin’ Rollins made his entrance at the top of hour two. Rollins said he grew up playing video games and sports games were his favorite. Rollins talked about great athletes like Michael Jordan, Peyton Manning and Shawn Michaels. Rollins noted he has the privilege of joining that crew as a cover athlete on WWE 2K18. Rollins paused as the fans chanted “You Deserve It” at him. Rollins sucked up to the fans saying that the fans gave him a second chance and no material possession can be worth that…not ever. Rollins said it’s not his cover, it’s “our” cover. Rollins said he wanted to make a promise to us…but Bray Wyatt appeared on the video screen.
Analysis: Good job by Rollins pandering to the fans. He needs to do that more often. Most of the faces need to do that.
Wyatt said that Rollins speaks about how he’s grown as an individual, but he also talks about his material possessions. Wyatt talked about how Rollins said he is his own man, yet he shills this corporate stuff. Wyatt told Rollins he is still conforming to whatever it is that all those people want Rollins to be. Wyatt said that Rollins can wear the clothes of a good, honest man, but they both know deep down that Rollins isn’t that man.
Rollins said he’s not that man, he’s THE man. Rollins said he’s been around the most egotistical men in the history of the business, but Wyatt thinks he knows everything and life doesn’t work that way. Rollins told Wyatt that the truth about Gods is they only exist in our minds, so in Bray’s world he might think he’s a God and Rollins called him a coward. Wyatt told Rollins he warned him and anybody that takes his name in vein will be punished. Wyatt said it’s time to make a sacrifice. Wyatt said “I’m here” and blew out his lantern.
The lights were out in the arena as Wyatt made his entrance. As Wyatt made his way down to the ring, Rollins jumped off the top rope and knocked Wyatt down. Rollins’ music played and he walked up the ramp after it was over. Rollins had some blood on his cheek and Wyatt had some on his mouth, so somebody got cut open. (It was Rollins. Small cut on left cheek.)
Analysis: They will likely have a match at Great Balls of Fire, so this adds to their story. It’s pretty basic with a face in Rollins saying Wyatt is not a God. Isn’t that how every Wyatt feud goes? The other guy says that Wyatt isn’t a God and Wyatt ends up wrestling him because of it. I guess Bray Wyatt is the worst heel in WWE since he can do that disappearing act sometimes, yet here he is walking to the ring and getting attacked. It’s hard for me to explain the way WWE books Wyatt. He should be so much more than what he is and even when they did push him in February, he did not have a long run as WWE Champion. It’s back to normal shitty booking for him.
Coming up: Angle solves the Cass/Enzo mystery and Reigns vs. Joe.
There was a replay of Rollins attacking Wyatt.
Graves said that Angle did a great job as GM of Raw and he stands beside him. Booker just stared at Graves during his sucking up to Angle.
Finn Balor was interviewed by Charly Caruso. Balor talked about how he’s focused on getting back the Universal Title. Balor spoke about how when Samoa Joe locks in the Coquina Clutch, it’s lights out and said Roman Reigns is the Big Dog. Elias Samson showed up to attack Balor with a punch to the back. Samson kicked Balor in the ribs and said don’t interrupt him again. D-Von Dudley showed up in a suit as an agent to break it up.
Analysis: They had the minor incident earlier in the show with Samson leaving the ring and here’s the cheap attack from Samson. Basic wrestling booking to set up a future match, which is likely going to be at Great Balls of Fire.
Akira Tozawa and TJP entered for a cruiserweight match. Titus O’Neil made his entrance saying this match needed the proper hype, the proper brand and the proper man. O’Neil set up the match while introducing TJP first and doing a better job of Tozawa, who he wants to recruit for the Titus Brand. Titus led the crowd in Tozawa-like yells.
Analysis: Titus definitely has a little bit of LaVar Ball in him with some of the things he says. It’s over the top and funny.
Akira Tozawa (w/Titus O’Neil) vs. TJP
Tozawa with an arm drag takedown followed by his yelling to get the crowd behind him. TJP took control with a headscissors. Tozawa came back with a hurricanrana. TJP went up top with a sunset flip, but Tozawa got a kick and a splash attempt failed because TJP got his knees up. Neville’s music hit as the Cruiserweight Champion walked over to the announce table. Neville said he was there to take a look at Tozawa, who O’Neil claimed was the next Cruiserweight Champion. The show went to break there.
TJP was in control as the match returned from break. Neville was sitting on a leather chair on the ramp, but he was not on commentary. Tozawa hit a kick to the face and TJP came back with a springboard cross body block for two. TJP applied a headlock, Tozawa fought out of it and hit a running pump kick to the face. Tozawa went up top for an attack, TJP went to the floor and Tozawa hit a suicide dive to take out TJP on the floor. TJP sent Tozawa into the middle turnbuckle and hit a chickenwing gutbuster for a two count. Tozawa hit a spin kick and a snap back suplex. Tozawa went up top and hit a senton bomb back splash onto TJP for the win after 11 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Akira Tozawa
Analysis: **3/4 Pretty good match that was given more time than most cruiserweight matches on Raw. Tozawa does a good job of selling and his comeback was well done too. TJP is a consistently solid worker that always has entertaining matches. Made sense to have Tozawa win since he’s likely the next challenger for Neville.
Post match, O’Neil hyped up the win for Tozawa. O’Neil mentioned he and Apollo Crews will face Cesaro & Sheamus later. O’Neil claimed Tozawa was close to signing with the Titus Brand. Neville stood on the announce table to call O’Neil a peasant. Neville warned Tozawa to tread very carefully because if he disrespects the king of the cruiserweights then Tozawa will be annihilated. O’Neil said that Neville was a scared little boy rather than a king. O’Neil said that Neville will be annihilated by the power (said it like “powa” to rhyme with Tozawa) of Tozawa to end it.
Analysis: I like Tozawa as the next opponent for Neville. Tozawa is a good worker and I like that O’Neil has become a part of the act. He’s been a nice addition to this story.
Still to come: Samoa Joe vs. Roman Reigns.
Kurt Angle was shown talking to The Revival backstage, but we couldn’t hear the conversation.
There was a promo from R-Truth saying he accepted Goldust’s invitation for Raw next week. Truth said there will be no movie premiere next week and claimed that next week, Goldust is going to get got.
Analysis: This means that R-Truth, a Raw wrestler, will be at Raw next week. Breaking news? Not exactly.
Bo Dallas was in the locker room. His buddy Curtis Axel was there with him. Dallas looked sad about his loss. The Miz showed up with the IC Title on his shoulders. Miz said that on The Marine set they were action stars and now they are bit players. Miz talked about how if Axel were to hit him then Axel won’t be on Raw like usual. Miz asked them to be in his entourage while claiming that he could make them stars and told them to think about it. Miz left while Axel and Dallas stood there thinking about it.
Analysis: I like it. Give the lower card wrestlers something to do as allies of The Miz. It’s better than doing nothing every week. If it works out it could really revive the careers of Bo and Curtis while potentially setting them up as a credible tag team too.
Samoa Joe was interviewed by Charly Caruso backstage. Joe asked for a clip of what happened when he last faced Roman Reigns in a singles match and it was a win for Samoa Joe. That was four months ago according to the graphic. Joe said that Reigns is going to leave a broken man. Joe told Reigns to be careful what he asks for and Joe said he’s going to lock Lesnar in the Coquina Clutch. Joe said that Reigns better show him respect when he says his name.
Analysis: Joe is the most believable heel in the entire WWE. He doesn’t try to make jokes or suck up to the fans. He’s a badass heel that is there to kick people’s ass. It’s a gimmick that works very well for him.
Roman Reigns made his entrance.
Analysis: I thought it would main event the show. Nope. It’s taking place at the end of hour two.
A replay aired of Roman Reigns’ promo from earlier.
Samoa Joe made his entrance for this big match.
Roman Reigns vs. Samoa Joe
There was a slow start to the match with each guy trying to show their power. Reigns hit an uppercut punch that knocked Samoa Joe out of the ring. Joe came back by whipping Reigns into the corner and hit a leaping kick to the head. Reigns slipped out of the Coquina Clutch attempt and bailed to the floor. Back in the ring, Joe worked on Reigns with headbutts. Reigns came back with a Samoan Drop as Cole said that Reigns had a “sports entertainment family” even though most sane people would say “wrestling family.” Joe sent Reigns into the post and hit a running senton splash on Reigns on the floor. Commercial five minutes into it.
Back from break, Samoa Joe was still in control of the action as he slapped on a chinlock. Reigns to his feet, Joe with a headbutt and Joe missed a senton splash as both guys were down in the ring. Joe missed a corner attack, Reigns with two clotheslines and a boot to the face for a two count. Reigns hit ten clotheslines in the corner and a leaping clothesline as most of the fans booed with some cheers as well. Joe bailed to the floor, so Reigns went after him and hit the Drive By dropkick. Reigns sent Joe back into the ring. Joe caught Reigns, hit an atomic drop, boot to the face and a senton splash earned a two count. Reigns countered a uranage and hit a Superman Punch for two. Joe blocked a Spear attempt with a kick to the face followed by a Uranage slam for a two count. Joe went for the Coquina Clutch, but Reigns fought out of it. Reigns hit a Spear and Joe got his foot on the bottom rope. Joe rolled to the floor while the fans chanted “this is awesome” for them. They are right. Joe rolled back in under the bottom rope before the ten count. There was a shot of an ambulance backing up in a parking lot. Reigns was looking at it on the video screen. Braun Strowman emerged from the ambulance and he let out a loud yell. Crowd cheered. Me too. Back to the ring, Joe attacked Reigns with the Coquina Clutch, he locked it in and Reigns passed out. The match went 18 minutes.
Winner by submission knockout: Samoa Joe
Analysis: ***1/2 That was an awesome match with a cheap finish because WWE isn’t going to want have Reigns lose clean that often. It was smart to have Joe get the win since he’s facing Brock Lesnar at Great Balls of Fire for the Universal Title. I liked how they worked at a slow pace early on and the last five minutes were full of believable nearfalls for both guys that the crowd was really excited about. They did a really good job of building up the big moments and the right Samoan guy won.
There were replays of the finish and Samoa Joe left.
Braun Strowman walked down to the ring while Reigns was in the ring. Strowman didn’t even have a brace on his surgically repaired arm.
Strowman entered the ring while Reigns was helpless on the mat. Strowman: “Roman, you seem to have forgotten…I’m not finished with you!” Crowd cheered. Strowman picked up Reigns and slammed him down stomach first onto the mat. Strowman: “If you think you’re man enough, then I’ll see you at Great Balls of Fire pay-per-view in an Ambulance Match.” Reigns was still out on the mat as Strowman left.
Analysis: Good to see Strowman back as expected. I think Strowman will win that match against Reigns (it will be a cheap win most likely) and then move on to face Brock Lesnar at SummerSlam.
Miz TV up next with Maryse as the guest.
There were replays of the Strowman attack on Reigns. The match at Great Balls of Fire is official: Strowman vs. Reigns in an Ambulance Match.
The Miz was in the ring with two dudes dressed as bears in the ring holding “I’m Sorry” and “Please Forgive Me” signs in their hands asking Maryse to forgive Miz for Miz destroying a grandfather clock on Raw two weeks. There was also a red present in the middle of the ring.
The Miz introduced Maryse, who walked out to her “Pourquoi” song. The Miz apologized to Maryse for what happened two ago with the clock and last week when he accidentally knocked her off the apron. Miz asked Maryse to open up the present. It was the grandfather clock that she originally gave him. He said he fixed it.
The Miz said that they are perfect together and the Intercontinental Title is like their baby. Miz said she is his heart, soul and life. Miz told Maryse he loved her and he is so sorry about everything that has happened these last couple of weeks. Miz told Maryse the clock is timeless just like them. Miz asked Maryse to forgive him. Maryse leaned in for a kiss and Dean Ambrose’s music hit.
Ambrose went into the ring, Miz pushed Maryse in front of him and she spilled champagne on herself. Miz charged at Ambrose, Dean moved and Miz ran into the box that had the grandfather clock. Maryse was mad about it, so she shoved Miz way. Maryse left the ring angrily, so third straight week where she was mad at Miz.
Ambrose hit a clothesline on Miz that sent him over the top to the floor. The two guys in the bear costumes attacked Miz from behind. It was Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel. Miz hit a boot to the face on Ambrose while Dallas and Axel held up Ambrose. Miz hit a Skull Crushing Finale on Ambrose. That was it.
Analysis: It’s nice to see Axel and Dallas as part of The Miz’s entourage because as I said earlier it gives them something meaningful to do. The story with Miz continually screwing up with Maryse week after week is getting to be pretty funny just to see how they book it all the time. It may lead to something where she teases going against him and ends up being with him. That’s not an act that should end. I am sick of Miz vs. Ambrose matches, but it looks like that rivalry is going to continue.
Kurt Angle was shown talking to Big Show because of the Enzo/Cass attacker story, but we couldn’t hear them.
There was a tag match set to begin as Cole mentioned Brock Lesnar will be on Raw in Los Angeles next week.
Cesaro & Sheamus vs. Titus O’Neil & Apollo Crews
This is not for Cesaro & Sheamus’ tag team titles.
The champs worked on Crews for about a minute until Crews hit an enziguri kick on Cesaro. O’Neil got the hot tag with shoulder tackles and he launched Cesaro across the ring. O’Neil with a corner splash on Cesaro. Sheamus got the tag, O’Neil kicked Cesaro and Sheamus went for a top rope clothesline. Crews tagged in as O’Neil hit a splash, O’Neil with a slam and Crews hit a standing moonsault for two as Cesaro made the save. Crews dumped Cesaro out of the ring and got a rollup on Sheamus. Cesaro with an uppercut while the ref was looking at Sheamus. Double team White Noise by the tag champs on Crews as Cesaro got the pin for his team. It went four minutes. Crowd was dead for all of it.
Winners by pinfall: Cesaro & Sheamus
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Analysis: * Quick match to put over the tag champs. When there’s a hot tag one minute into it you know it’s rushed. Three of the guys were heels with Crews as a face, so the crowd didn’t care at all. At least champs won non-title. That’s a positive at least.
Coming up next they set the stage for Lesnar vs. Joe at Great Balls of Fire.
The announce team set up a video package for Lesnar vs. Joe at Great Balls of Fire.
The video package aired showing Samoa Joe’s win at Extreme Rules to earn the Universal Title match against Brock Lesnar. It featured comments from Samoa Joe talking about how he’s not afraid of anything. Lesnar commented saying that he had a mission in life to be the best and he think he’s pretty damn good at it. Lesnar said he loves going at it in the ring and that’s who he is. They showed the clip of Joe attacking Heyman and Lesnar called him a “punk ass bitch.” Joe said when he fought with Lesnar it’s everything he ever wanted. Lesnar said he’ll go through Samoa Joe like a freight train on fire. Joe said he knows what Lesnar is capable of doing to keep his championship, but Joe knows what he’s willing to do to take it from him. Lesnar ended it: “Samoa Joe at Great Balls of Fire, welcome to Suplex City, bitch.”
Analysis: That was fantastic. Lesnar doesn’t talk very much in the ring, but when he’s in segments like this he comes across as a badass. Lesnar is so great at talking shit about his opponent and looking confident while doing so. Calling Joe a “punk ass bitch” and welcoming him to Suplex City was great. I’m surprised they waited so long to air a video like that. It should have been earlier in the night.
It was announced that Brock Lesnar returns to Raw next week in Los Angeles.
Sasha Banks made her entrance as they showed clips from last week when Banks made Emma tap out to the Bank Statement. Banks is against Nia Jax, who made her entrance. There was a plug for Maryse, Kelly Kelly and Eve Torres on Table for 3 airing on WWE Network after Raw. Alexa Bliss entered and she’s on commentary.
Analysis: It took two hours and 50 minutes for the Raw women’s division to get on this show. Way too late into it.
Sasha Banks vs. Nia Jax
They returned from break, Jax tossed Banks across the ring. Banks got in some kicks and went up top as she connected with a double knee attack that knocked women down Jax. Emma walked up to Bliss on commentary, so Bliss ran down to the ring. Emma went to kick Bliss, she moved and Emma accidentally kicked Jax, so DQ about one minute into this joke of a match.
Winner by disqualification: Nia Jax
Analysis: No rating because it was more of an angle than a match.
After the match, the heels worked together. Mickie James and Dana Brooke ran down to the ring. Bayley made the save for the faces. Bayley hit a nasty running knee attack. The faces worked together to knock the heels out of the ring as they hit dropkicks on Jax to send her out. Cole was obviously being rushed on commentary as they went to break with Cole hyping Kurt Angle in the main event.
Analysis: That was so rushed. They needed about ten minutes to do all of that and have it work out well, but they were only given a few minutes. It didn’t really benefit anybody.
There was a plug for Smackdown Live. The announcers talked about the controversial women’s MITB ladder match.
Kurt Angle Attempts to Solve the Mystery Attack Story
Angle received a nice ovation from the crowd as he made his entrance for this main event segment. Angle spoke about how for the last month there were mystery attacks and they can’t have that. Angle said “entertainers” at first and then said “wrestlers” instead of sports entertainers. He called out Enzo & Cass.
Enzo Amore and Big Cass made their full entrance together. The crowd was into their routine as usual.
Kurt Angle brought out some of the suspects involved in this situation.
The Revival duo of Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder walked out in their ring gear.
Big Show made his entrance to a nice ovation and he was in his ring gear too.
Angle mentioned to Big Show that when Big Cass got attacked from behind it felt like a powerful punch to the head. Show told Enzo & Cass that they’re both “SAWFT” but if he was going to attack them he would do it to their face. Show warned Cass not to look at him like that and called him a “kid.” Show got mad at Angle for thinking that he might have done that and Show said maybe he shouldn’t be on Raw anymore. Show left. Cass reminded them the medical team saw a big lump on the back of Cass’ head.
Analysis: I love how Big Show, a man that has turned about 15 times in his career, is shocked that anybody would accuse of him something like that.
Angle brought up The Revival while noting that ever since they have been on Raw the attacks started. Scott Dawson said they had nothing to do with it. Angle pointed out that after talking to referees, producers and officials he doesn’t think it was The Revival.
Corey Graves spoke up from the announce table. Graves pointed out that Big Cass claimed that he had a lump on the back of his head and Graves pointed out that none of the medical team checked on him at all. Cass said that EMTs checked on him, not WWE’s medical team. Graves said that he knows what happened to Cass last week. Graves said he had security camera footage of what happened last week.
The footage aired in black and white. It was Big Cass alone in the backstage area. There was nobody around Cass, so Cass gently moved some metal staging material around. Cass kicked a box (to make a loud noise) and then laid down on the ground. Graves asked for it to be paused with Cass laying on the ground. Graves pointed out that nobody ever attacked Cass and Graves said that Cass attacked Enzo.
Cass: “You’re damn right I did it!”
It led to Enzo facing off with Cass in the ring. Enzo was shocked. Cass talked about how Enzo constantly runs his mouth about God knows what every single minute of the day and even with Conor McGregor. Cass said he didn’t attack Enzo for months because he felt bad for Enzo and he felt bad because people in the back didn’t like Enzo. Cass spoke about how he put up with Enzo’s crap every single day until finally he snapped. Cass admitted that it felt damn good when he attacked Enzo from behind. Cass said he wanted to watch Enzo suffer because of all the crap he had to put up with in NXT, and on Raw – he wanted to watch Enzo suffer. Cass pointed out that he cooled things down when the finger was pointed in his direction because he wanted to see how smart Enzo was. Cass called Enzo dumb and said he was even dumber than Cass thought. Cass talked about how Enzo has been holding him down, he said Enzo is the reason Cass hasn’t held a title in WWE and that Cass is the star where the money is. Cass told Enzo that “we are through” and kicked him in the head. Cass stood over him and said “and you can’t teach that.”
Cass left to boos from the crowd while Angle checked on a fallen Enzo in the ring. Cass left the ring and the camera focused on him as Raw ended at 11:18pmET.
Analysis: That was great. The heel turn was obvious and it’s the right move because this team went as far as they could even though they failed to win the titles. You can tell that Vince McMahon has dollar signs dancing in his head with Big Cass. He’s seven feet tall after all and he’s a pretty good talker. Why keep him in a tag team for longer? It was the right time. The angle could have been done better, but it worked well enough.
I thought Cass did an awesome job on the heel promo as he explained himself well. Everything he said made a lot of sense from his perspective since Enzo has a big mouth and Cass was often left to fight people because of what Enzo did. The part about Cass wanting to live up to his potential felt like something Vince McMahon and the office believes because they know Cass could be a main event player. It would have been nice if they had Enzo say something in his defense, but that can happen at a later date. Cass dropping him with a boot to the face followed by the catchphrase was a nice touch.
Cass should beat Enzo in their matches and then Cass will likely feud with Big Show for a few months. Vince McMahon will be orgasmic having two seven footers in a feud.
I would have put Reigns vs. Joe on last with the Strowman return. This didn’t feel like a main event angle at the same level as that. It could also be WWE realizing that the viewing patterns show a lot of fans tune out in hour three, so putting a bigger angle on earlier in the night is smarter.
Do we really need this show to end at 18 minutes past the top of the hour? It’s too damn long. Plan it out better so it gets maybe seven minutes past 11pmET if WWE insists on doing that out of habit. Smackdown goes two hours exactly and leaves us wanting more while Raw goes on for way too long.
Three Stars of the Show
1. Samoa Joe
2. Roman Reigns
3. Big Cass
6.5 out of 10
Last week: 4
2017 Average: 5.8
Average since brand split starting July 25/16: 5.84 (Smackdown is 6.76)
Last 5 Weeks: 4, 7, 5.5 6, 5.5
2017 High: 8 (April 3)
2017 Low: 4 (Jan. 9, Feb. 27 & June 12)
I give it a 6.5 out of 10.
Really long show, so don’t have much more to add. I’ll just say it was mostly a good show with some solid in-ring action and I liked the show closing angle as well. Good to see Strowman back too.
IT'S OFFICIAL! #TheBigDog @WWERomanReigns will go toe-to-toe with #MonsterAmongMen @BraunStrowman in an #AmbulanceMatch at #WWEGBOF! #RAW pic.twitter.com/OjJs0l5CX5
— WWE (@WWE) June 20, 2017
Here’s the lineup for Raw’s Great Balls of Fire show on July 9.
WWE Universal Championship: Brock Lesnar vs. Samoa Joe
Ambulance Match: Roman Reigns vs. Braun Strowman
Some of the other likely matches are Rollins vs. Wyatt and Balor vs. Samson.
That’s all for now. See ya next time for the Smackdown review.
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