Monday Night Raw – July 3, 2017: Let’s (Get Ready to) Light It Up

Monday Night Raw
Date: July 3, 2017
Location: Talking Stick Resort Arena, Phoenix, Arizona
Commentators: Michael Cole, Corey Graves, Booker T.

It’s the go home show for Great Balls of Fire and the question becomes which match WWE is treating as the featured attraction tonight. In other words, it depends on if Brock Lesnar is here tonight or not, as tends to be the case all the time. Sunday’s show is suddenly a bit more interesting amid rumors of Roman Reigns vs. Lesnar at Summerslam instead of Wrestlemania so let’s get to it.

We open with a recap of Enzo Amore pleading with Big Cass to keep the team together and Cass teasing to do so, only to lay Enzo out again. Still the absolutely right call.

Here’s Enzo to open the show. He lists off all the bad things that have happened to him in the last year and says that all happened while Cass was behind his back. Cass watched all that time because he never had Enzo’s back. Cass wanted to take advantage of the silver tongue but now he has to face the fists that come with it.

Enzo is grateful for everything that’s happened to him and he’d shove his dad down a wishing well before he joined the dark side. He’s grateful to every kid out there wearing his gear. They’re the people who help put food on his table because he believes in the good that he’s doing. It’s something you just can’t teach. He walks in and out of a room with confidence because he knows who he is and he knows where he’s going. He’s been in holes a lot deeper than seven feet before and Cass is nothing more than a catchphrase that Enzo wrote.

Cass said his mouth writes checks that he can’t back up but no one goes harder than him. Next time, don’t be surprised if that merchandise check is for ZERO DIMES. Unless he starts wearing a Casshole shirt. Enzo is ready to go but comes back to say he’s ready to fight on his own because it’s all him now. This was an INCREDIBLE promo but there’s not much of a way around the fact that he has nothing to back it up with in the ring.

Cass says Enzo can’t talk the talk because on Sunday, he won’t be walking at all. He’s ready for Sunday but Enzo jumps him from behind and the fight is on. It’s quickly broken up but that was some good fire.

Sasha Banks/Bayley vs. Nia Jax/Alexa Bliss

Nia throws Bayley into the corner to start but gets dropkicked a few times. That just earns Bayley a modified Snake Eyes so it’s off to Banks for a double dropkick. Another dropkick puts Nia on the floor but she grabs Bayley off the apron and crushes her against the barricade. Back from a break with Bayley having been taken to the back from being crushed. Sasha stomps Alexa in the corner but Nia just crushes her with a backbreaker. Bliss stands on Banks’ hair for a bit until Sasha fights up and kicks Jax in the knee. The Bank Statement ends Bliss out of nowhere at 10:15.

Rating: C-. I’d love to see how much further they could make Bayley look worthless. At this point they’re setting her up for a heel turn and really, that’s about all they can do for her as she’s been treated as the biggest loser I’ve seen in a long time. Banks just beat the monster and the champ on her own but I’m supposed to care about Bayley? Really?

Braun Strowman tells Kurt Angle that he’s dealing with Roman Reigns tonight.

Long video on Samoa Joe vs. Brock Lesnar with Brock saying he’s not worried about Joe just because he put his hands on Heyman.

Noam Dar vs. Cedric Alexander

These two have spent more time being done fighting than they spent fighting in the first place. Alicia Fox makes her return and gets to see Cedric clothesline Dar to the floor. Back in and Dar gets in a kick to the chest for two. Dar starts in on the arm but Fox gets on the apron for an accidental distraction, allowing Cedric to hit the Lumbar Check for the pin at 2:09. NOW NEVER TALK TO EACH OTHER AGAIN.

We look at the attention the Ball Family got from their MizTV appearance last week. Ignore no one talking about wrestling and talking about Ball acting like an idiot but any publicity is good publicity right Vince? When is that Chris Benoit retrospective coming?

It’s time for MizTV with Curtis Axel and Bo Dallas behind Miz and Maryse. Last week, Miz exposed the Ball Family as the overrated acts that they are and Lonzo will prove it again when he’s an NBA bust. The only bigger bust than Lonzo is Dean Ambrose, who the Ball Family would be crazy to have as a representative. When Ambrose debuted, he was going to be the next Roddy Piper and the breakout star of the Shield. Now though, we know that Ambrose can’t handle success. Dean is going to be the biggest joke in WWE but here he is to interrupt.

Ambrose wants his rematch for the Intercontinental Title and wants it tonight. Cue Heath Slater and Rhyno though with Heath saying he’s never had a shot at a singles title in eight years. He’s always telling his kids that he’s got this and things will be ok but in reality, he has no idea if he’s got this. Dean: “You’ve got kids?” Miz says no but here’s Angle to say Miz is defending against Slater tonight and Ambrose on Sunday. Let’s have tonight’s match…..now.

Intercontinental Title: Miz vs. Heath Slater

Miz is defending and wearing a suit while Ambrose is on commentary. Slater grabs a rollup to start but we go with a headlock to slow things down instead. Some right hands have Miz in trouble as Dean talks about the delicious food that he hears Slater’s wife makes at the trailer. Miz bails to the floor off an atomic drop and we take a break.

Back with Miz holding a front facelock and sending Heath outside where Rhyno and the Miztourage get in a staredown. Ambrose: “Miztourage. That’s so bad. That’s almost as bad as Great Balls of fire.” Back in and Miz hits the YES Kicks until a flapjack takes him down. Slater slugs away and hits a jumping knee to the face for two.

The neckbreaker out of the corner gets two more and Slater powerslams him off the top for a nice counter. Rhyno goes after Dallas and Axel for getting on the apron to distract the referee, earning himself a posting. The distraction lets the Skull Crushing Finale retain the title at 12:48.

Rating: C+. Better than I was expecting here with Slater giving it a go but coming up short due to the numbers game. The Miztourage is a nice upgrade for Miz, who could only get so far with Maryse in his corner. Of course it doesn’t matter as he’s fighting Ambrose AGAIN, which feels like he’s been going on for a year now.

Ambrose hits the ring for the save but gets beaten down as well.

We look back at Strowman taking Reigns out last week.

Titus O’Neil wants Apollo Crews to face Braun Strowman for the sake of his daughter. Crews actually falls for it with Titus saying the power of freaky daddy strength is enough to beat Strowman. If FREAKY DADDY STRENGTH isn’t a shirt by Thursday, I worry about this promotion’s future.

Here’s Goldust to talk about his new film: the Shattered Truth. This film wouldn’t be possible without everyone in this arena. All the little people you see. With this film, he’s done the impossible and turned R-Truth into a star. The film is a highlight reel of last week’s non-match, shot something like a trailer with footage from the cameraman Goldust brought with him. When the film is done, Truth is behind Goldust, munching on some popcorn. Goldust is quickly chased to the floor.

Sheamus and Cesaro come into Angle’s office so he can give them their stipulation for Sunday’s title match against the Hardys: a thirty minute Iron Man match. EGADS are they trying to give me an aneurysm with these guys feuding forever?

Seth Rollins vs. Curt Hawkins

Hawkins polls the fans on who is going to win here. After Rollins tells him to shut up, it’s the windup jumping knee to the face for the pin at 9 seconds.

Post match Rollins grabs the mic and calls Bray Wyatt a coward. Whenever he’s ready for a fight, Wyatt is nowhere to be seen. Wyatt always talks about how he’s a god and ready to destroy everything but on Sunday, Seth is going to expose him for what he is. The only question will be if Bray is a man or a coward.

Samoa Joe and Brock Lesnar are live via satellite for a sitdown interview. Joe rants about being tired of answering questions because he’s ready to fight. Lesnar calls him a coward but Joe says Brock can never get his hands on him. Joe is ready to fight so Lesnar lists off all the names he’s beaten. That’s fine with Joe, who has a list of names he’s choked out. Lesnar and Heyman chuckle so Joe walks out and goes to find Brock. Angle tries to talk him down but security pulls Joe away from Lesnar’s room. I know Joe loses on Sunday but this is the best build of a Lesnar opponent in longer than I can remember.

Neville vs. Mustafa Ali

Non-title. Ali snaps off a running hurricanrana but it’s too early for the inverted 450. Instead Neville loads up a reverse belly to back superplex, only to have Ali land on his feet. The running tornado DDT plants Neville for two but he shoves Ali off the top for a crash. Ali’s head hits the barricade so Neville stomps away and tosses him into the air for the crash. For some reason Ali tries another rolling neckbreaker and eats a heck of a clothesline. The Rings of Saturn makes Ali tap at 6:20.

Rating: D+. The cruiserweights manage to kill another little piece of my soul. The matches are usually good but the show feels like it’s coming to a grinding halt whenever they show up. The 205 Live stuff is better but the matches here range from long to not interesting and that’s not good when they happen twice a week most of the time.

Bray Wyatt is in the desert and talks about people worshiping the sun. It’s been less than 100 days since Wrestlemania and things have been chaos ever since. The Beast has been made a mortal and there’s no stopping Bray now. On Sunday, Rollins will learn what it’s like to burn in the sun. This was as rambling of an interview as Bray has ever given and I have almost no idea what the point was supposed to be.

Bliss is leaving and says she let Sasha beat her as a strategy for Sunday.

Finn Balor vs. Cesaro

The Hardys jump in on commentary as part of a continuing trend tonight. Cesaro powers Balor up and hits a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker to take over. Some chops in the corner rock Cesaro but Balor gets thrown to the floor in a heap as we take a break. Back with Finn getting two off a sunset flip but Cesaro muscles him up with a gutwrench suplex.

Finn fights back and kicks Cesaro away, only to have Elias Samson come out for a distraction. Swiss Death gives Cesaro two and another uppercut rocks Finn. It doesn’t rock him enough though as Finn kicks him off the apron. Samson breaks up a dive so the Hardys get off commentary to brawl with Samson and Sheamus. Finn dives onto everyone and we hit various finishers until Balor throws Cesaro back inside for the Coup de Grace and the pin at 15:05.

Rating: D+. I wasn’t feeling this one but Cesaro and Sheamus have become a black hole of charisma and the Hardys aren’t exactly helping things. At the same time the tag division continues to die, American Alpha continues to sit in the black hole underneath Smackdown and the Revival was on Main Event last week and will be again this week. Just throwing that out there.

We run down the pay per view card. “Order now and get two pay per views for FREE” is the best pitch they could have for the Network.

Here’s an ambulance plus Braun Strowman to talk about how much he loves to hurt Roman Reigns. Titus O’Neil comes out to introduce Crews for the slaughter.

Apollo Crews vs. Braun Strowman

Crews does what he can to start but is quickly thrown outside as soon as Strowman gets his hands on him. We hit the neck crank before Crews is sent outside again. Titus fires him up enough that two enziguris stagger Strowman. The standing moonsault is broken up with Strowman kicking Apollo across the ring in an awesome block. Three straight powerslams finally put Crews away at 4:13.

Rating: D. This was just a step above a squash and that’s all it needed to be. Strowman is gearing up for the second biggest match at Sunday’s pay per view and it makes sense to have him squash someone. At least it was someone fresh and not the same stuff we’ve seen a dozen times.

Post match Titus tries to save Apollo from a worse beating but takes one himself. Apollo gets thrown into the ambulance but it won’t drive away. Of course Reigns is the driver (Thanks for having Crews’ back earlier you jerk) and he spears Strowman off the stage. Strowman is on his feet before the show is over.

Overall Rating: D+. Tonight felt like one of the longest shows I can remember in a good while. Parts of it were good and they’ve actually done a solid job of building up what should have been a nothing pay per view. Lesnar vs. Joe looks like a blast and I’m sure the ambulance match will be fun too. The problem here was the wrestling, which really didn’t do much for me and added even less to the show. It wasn’t the worst show in the world but it needed a good match in there to help carry things.

Results

Bayley/Sasha Banks b. Alexa Bliss/Nia Jax – Bank Statement to Bliss

Cedric Alexander b. Noam Dar – Lumbar Check

Miz b. Heath Slater – Skull Crushing Finale

Seth Rollins b. Curt Hawkins – Windup jumping knee

Neville b. Mustafa Ali – Rings of Saturn

Finn Balor b. Cesaro – Coup de Grace

Braun Strowman b. Apollo Crews – Powerslam

Remember to follow me on Twitter @kbreviews and pick up the Histories of Saturday Night’s Main Event and Clash of the Champions, now in PAPERBACK. Check out the information here:

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18 comments

  1. Aeon Mathix says:

    2 things:

    1. Balor vs Cesaro got a D+?? Really? i didn’t watch tonight but that just stunned me thinking about it.

    2. This is why the brand split is shitty. We sat through Ambrose vs Styles and Charlotte vs Sasha and the combination of reigns, rollins, owens, and jericho for around 6 months last year. Now we have the Hardys against Shesaro for months along with Ambrose and Miz. I know WWE kept matches going for months on end before the brand split but this is ridiculous.

    [Reply]

    klunderbunker Reply:

    It was too messy for my taste, between mainly focusing on the Hardys (including looking at them multiple times) and then the ending being a big mess.

    [Reply]

  2. Jay H (the real one) says:

    Aren’t go home Shows suppose to be more about building to the upcoming PPV than more about the Wrestling? I thought that was accomplished in spades in my opinion but Finn Balor/Cesaro was very good i thought.

    The build to Great Balls Of Fire has been tremendous and it should be a fun Show on Sunday.

    [Reply]

    broken james gracie Reply:

    #LOLJayH #ItsAlwaysSunnyInWWE

    [Reply]

    Ted Reply:

    So good the show still isn’t sold out and hundreds of tickets are still available?

    [Reply]

    klunderbunker Reply:

    That happens almost every month. They’ll do a lot of last minute deals/walk up business.

    [Reply]

  3. BJ says:

    I’m rooting 4 Joe Sunday. Who else is rooting 4 him n a hard knockdown dragout figth?

    [Reply]

    Greg Reply:

    I’m rooting for the English language to eventually beat you.

    [Reply]

    Ovelesky Reply:

    LOL.

    [Reply]

    BJ Reply:

    I’m also rooting 4 u 2 STFU and get off my dick

    [Reply]

    Greg Reply:

    You’re rooting for what? I’m sorry, I cannot read what you wrote.

  4. Dragon says:

    The Enzo promo was overlong and repetitive. Only thing i disagree with you on another good review.

    [Reply]

  5. Poopsie says:

    How about that segment where Cass smelled Enzo’s feet??? That was incredible… He was an awesome segment.. I do think that the best segment by far was where Triple H was giving Stephanie a foot massage and we see Goldust creeping from behind watching.. How crazy was that???

    [Reply]

    Ovelesky Reply:

    foot fetish?

    [Reply]

  6. BJ says:

    I am also rooting for you to shut the fuck up and get off my dick asshole

    [Reply]

    Greg Reply:

    Woah there bucko. You forgot a period.

    [Reply]

    BJ Reply:

    . There’s your period fucker.

    [Reply]

    Ovelesky Reply:

    are you on periods BJ?

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