Monday Night Raw – July 31, 2017: Hang On, We Have To Take A Break

Monday Night Raw
Date: July 31, 2017
Location: PPG Arena, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Commentators: Michael Cole, Corey Graves, Booker T.

We’re in Kurt Angle country tonight and it’s already a stacked show. As announced last week, we’ll be seeing Roman Reigns vs. Braun Strowman vs. Samoa Joe in a triple threat match, along with Jason Jordan appearing on MizTV. If that’s not enough for you, Brock Lesnar is here too. Let’s get to it.

We open with a long recap of last week’s announcement of the four way for the Universal Title at Summerslam.

Opening sequence.

Here’s Angle for the hero’s welcome to open the show. Angle is glad to be here and runs down tonight’s card. On a more personal note, it’s twenty one years to the day that he won an Olympic gold medal WITH A BROKEN FREAKING NECK. He wouldn’t be here without any of us and he thanks the fans before leaving….and here’s Lesnar.

Heyman knows what Angle is up to and sees the “angle” that he’s playing here. Kurt has to get the title from Lesnar so he put him into a four way with the most stacked heavyweight division in WWE history. There’s the power of Strowman, the Undertaker slaying Reigns and the Samoan disgrace, the latter of whom Heyman thinks Angle favors.

Angle’s bosses want to make sure that Lesnar loses the title so all three of the challenges are going to beat him down at once. Heyman thinks Angle has been told to pay the “ultimate” price so how about this: if Lesnar loses the title, he and Heyman are both gone from WWE. It won’t matter because Lesnar is going to be winning at Summerslam, whether Angle likes it or not.

Hardys vs. Anderson and Gallows

Revival is on commentary as we hear about the three way feud between these teams. Apparently Matt has been calling Dash an obsolete mule on Twitter. The brothers start in on Karl’s arm with a variety of wristlock. House is quickly cleaned and Poetry in Motion to Gallows sends us to an early break.

Back with Jeff Twist of Fating his way out of trouble but Anderson breaks up the slowest crawl to a corner ever. Karl misses a charge though and Matt gets the hot tag to clean house. Another Twist is broken up and Gallows kicks Matt in the back of the head. Dash: “See, we would never fall for that.” The Magic Killer is broken up and the Twist into the Swanton puts Gallows away at 9:09.

Rating: C. Not a bad match and the three way feud helps a bit, but I could still go for another face team besides just the Hardys. As long as this doesn’t wind up with ANOTHER ladder match I’ll be fine as the story isn’t bad, but it could use a few tweaks to really make it work better.

Post match the Hardys get in a brawl with the Revival. Anderson and Gallows come up to the stage as well, only to have all four villains sent to the floor for a big dive from Jeff.

Renee Young asks Dean Ambrose if he’s getting back together with Seth Rollins. Ambrose isn’t sure but Rollins come up. Dean says the people might want it and even Dean does to a degree, but he’s not getting burned again.

Post break Sheamus and Cesaro laugh at Seth for having no friends. He could even star in his own episode of Ride Along. Seth challenges either of them for tonight and Sheamus accepts.

Rich Swann/Cedric Alexander/Akira Tozawa vs. TJP/Ariya Daivari/Tony Nese

Only Tozawa gets an entrance. Cedric headscissors Nese around to start and snatches Ariya in an armdrag. Tozawa comes in and adds a backsplash but Ariya goes after the bad arm to take over. Back with Daivari holding the bad arm in an armbar for a bit until the diving tag brings in Swann. House is cleaned and everything breaks down with Alexander and Swann busting out stereo dives to put Nese and Daivari down. Tozawa adds one of his own, leaving Swann to trade rollups with TJP. A big kick to the head sets up Tozawa’s top rope backsplash for the pin at 8:48.

Rating: C. Not bad here, though Daivari continues to feel out of place with his really basic style compared to these high fliers. Tozawa is pretty clearly getting the next title shot against Neville, though I’m not sure he’s going to be the guy to get the title off of him. Why Cedric can’t get a shot isn’t clear but it could make for a good story.

It’s time for MizTV with the Miztourage out in full. Jason Jordan is brought out as the guest but Miz keeps cutting him off to ask about the fans booing Jordan. Jason says he’s ok with the booing because he’s just going to keep going. Miz likes the attitude and offers him a spot in the Miztourage. Jordan says thanks but he’s good. We hear Miz’s resume but Jordan passes again. That’s cool with Miz, who thinks Jordan is cool with his dad handing him everything.

Jason would rather be chewed up and spit out than be associated with someone like Miz. That’s not cool with Miz, who doesn’t have to latch on to a different Olympian every week or rely on someone who was given a job out of pity. Jordan gets in Miz’s face over the Kurt insults but Miz calls off the Miztourage. A charge at Jason is countered into a belly to belly, sending Miz straight into the Miztourage and Jordan bailing before he gets destroyed.

Good but not great stuff here from Jason, who is still finding his rhythm with the talking. Having him hit the one suplex and bail is a good idea as him cleaning house wouldn’t have made the most sense. I could live with him winning the title, though a clean win over Miz would be a big stretch at this point.

Roman says tonight is about sending a message. No matter what those two do, the Big Dog isn’t going anywhere. He’s the only one who can beat Lesnar and tonight he’s going to prove it.

Sheamus vs. Seth Rollins

Seth’s music now features a voice screeching BURN IT DOWN. Just….no. I didn’t like the song in the first place and that makes it even worse. Sheamus headlocks him down to start as the announcers compare their careers. A Cesaro distraction sends Seth outside though and Sheamus posts him to take us to an early break.

Back with Sheamus hitting a super Regal Roll for two, only to get sent face first into the middle buckle. An enziguri knocks Sheamus to the floor and there’s the suicide dive. The Sling Blade sets up….a shot to knock Cesaro off the apron, followed by a rollup to put Sheamus away at 8:30.

Rating: C. I could go for these two having a longer high flier vs. power brawler match but as it is, this was just watchable. I don’t think there’s any secret to what’s coming post match so the match was more along the lines of just a time filler to get to that point. Ambrose and Rollins vs. Sheamus and Cesaro should be fine at Summerslam but I hope we don’t have a bunch of singles matches to get there.

The beatdown is on with Rollins being left laying. Ambrose FINALLY comes out for the save but takes a beating as well. Ambrose tells them to bring it so Cesaro beats him down some more.

Samoa Joe says he’s been putting people to sleep for twenty years and that’s what he’ll do to Brock at Summerslam.

Video on a Special Olympian.

Here’s Bray Wyatt for a chat. There is no escape for anyone, including Finn Balor. Everyone is held down by humanity’s shackles, doing everything they can to deal with pain. You can’t hide from him though because Bray Wyatt is everywhere. He’s right there when the honest man tries to validate stealing and he’s right there when everyone declares themselves as part of the Balor Club.

It’s a sickness that makes everyone think their life can be special. People think they can be like Balor and rise from the ashes but Bray sees Balor as the shell that he’s always been. Bray laughs at this I CAN DO IT attitude and here’s Balor, who appears behind Wyatt in the ring. Wyatt laughs at this as Balor poses with his back to Bray. An enziguri drops Bray to the floor and the brawl is on in a hurry. A dropkick sends Bray into the crowd and Balor stands tall without even taking off his jacket.

Strowman isn’t like most men because he breaks things when he doesn’t like people. Tonight he’s turning Reigns into a pile of broken bones.

Roman Reigns vs. Braun Strowman vs. Samoa Joe

Strowman starts running both of them over in the early going, sending both of them out to the floor. Back with Strowman missing a charge and getting kicked in the head for his efforts. Joe kicks Strowman in the head and gets in a fight with Roman, who he pulls down into a Fujiwara armbar. The fight heads outside for a bit with Joe grabbing the Koquina Clutch on Strowman over the barricade.

Strowman is almost out but Joe lets go to fight Reigns inside. The Rock Bottom is broken up and Reigns loads up the Superman Punch, only to have Joe roll outside in a smart move. That’s fine with Roman who hits the Superman Punch off the steps but Strowman is back up to block a spear with a big boot. Strowman LAUNCHES Reigns from the floor back inside but Joe gets in another kick.

The steps are put inside as Joe grabs the Clutch on Roman with Strowman making the save. There’s the powerslam for two on Joe as Reigns has to make a save this time. Strowman is back up with the steps but a Superman Punch knocks them away. The steps knock Strowman outside and the spear ends Joe at 14:38.

Rating: B. I certainly don’t think this means that Reigns wins at Summerslam but MY GOODNESS they have more guts than I thought if they actually go with that. Joe was the only option to eat the pin here (unfortunately) because you don’t want Strowman losing more than he ever has to. Reigns winning is another attempt to troll the fans (in theory) but I’d really hope they don’t mess this up at Summerslam.

We recap Big Cass vs. Big Show.

Enzo comes in to see Show and apologizes for getting him into this. Show says Cass needs to learn a lesson and he can teach that.

Here’s Elias (yes just Elias now), who happens to be a hometown boy. He grew up here and it was the people of Pittsburgh that inspired him to write this song. Of course it rips on the town and its sports teams until Kalisto cuts him off for a match.

Elias vs. Kalisto

Elias starts fast and throws Kalisto to the floor for a break about a minute in because THAT’S HOW EVERY MATCH HAS TO GO NOW. Back with Elias holding a chinlock and booting Kalisto square in the mask. We hit an over the back backbreaker before Elias just drops him down. Kalisto gets in a few kicks and a springboard seated senton sets up the hurricanrana driver. He might have hurt his back though and it’s a quick swinging neckbreaker (Drift Away) to give Elias the pin at 8:13.

Rating: D. Is it just me or has almost every match tonight followed the exact same formula, even down to the same time frame? Samson winning is a good thing though they actually had me believing they might pull the trigger on the upset. I’m still not sure what they’re going to do with Elias but he’s certainly being protected, at least a lot more than he was in NXT.

Alexa Bliss mocks Sasha Banks for the loss to Bayley last week. Banks isn’t here tonight so there’s no one to help Bayley against Nia Jax.

Rollins comes in to thank Ambrose for what he did but Dean still doesn’t buy it. He knows Rollins wouldn’t have done the same for him and walks off.

Bayley vs. Nia Jax

Nia throws her to the apron but Bayley slips back in and scores with a shot to the jaw. That just earns her a headbutt and an attempt at a powerslam. Nia slams her down hard and throws her outside for, say it with me, a break a little over a minute in. Back with Nia grabbing a double chickenwing and dropping Bayley flat on her face.

With Bayley on the floor, Nia throws her hair up in a side pony tail for a somewhat odd look. Bayley’s arm is banged up but she’s able to fight back with a bulldog and a dropkick. Another dropkick puts Nia on the floor and there’s a crossbody from the apron. Cue Alexa for a failed distraction though and Nia goes into the steps for the countout at 8:39.

Rating: D+. As usual, WWE shows they have no idea how to use Bayley. Down in NXT, Bayley got over so strongly because they treated her like an underdog. Now on the main roster she’s already had all those big moments (the title win, successful defense at Wrestlemania) and THEN lost to Bliss.

The problem though is instead of having her be the fallen hero who has to fight her way back to the top, she just started winning again and is suddenly in a huge match at a major show. Characters aside, that’s poor storytelling. Outside of some videos on YouTube, we didn’t ever hear Bayley talking about how she had to rise back up the card or how she had to get back to her roots or how devastated she was. It’s Point A to Point D or so with nothing in between and that doesn’t work.

Big Cass is ready to teach Show a lesson.

We recap MizTV.

Big Cass vs. Big Show

Before the match, Enzo says he’d rather eat a banana peel before he associates with Cass again. Show jumps Cass during the entrances and hammers away, including the loud chop in the corner. Cass can’t whip him so Show sends him outside instead. It’s too late for a break though so an elbow drop gives Show two. Cass starts taking out the leg though and it’s off to a leglock. A big boot to the jaw just seems to wake Show up though and he chops Cass out of the air. Another big boot drops Show….and Enzo comes in for the DQ at 5:07.

Rating: D. What the heck was that? I guess we’re setting up a handicap match at Summerslam, which could be a good win for Cass though I’m really not needing to see Enzo vs. Cass again. Cass has already proven himself over Enzo and there’s no need to keep doing the same thing over and over again.

Post match Cass throws Enzo down but walks into the KO Punch to end the show.

Overall Rating: D+. The show really needed some variety and it was showing badly here. There were five matches that all ran within about 45 seconds of each other in time and each one featured a toss to the floor leading to a break about a minute to a minute and a half in. The other problem is that if they kind of ran out of stuff to do after the triple threat as the last hour or so really wasn’t that interesting. They also need to start add some more stuff to the pay per view because the title matches are only going to carry them so far. Not a horrible show here but it REALLY needed to lose an hour or so.

Results

Hardys b. Anderson and Gallows – Swanton Bomb to Gallows

Rich Swann/Akira Tozawa/Cedric Alexander b. TJP/Ariya Daivari/Tony Nese – Top rope backsplash to TJP

Seth Rollins b. Sheamus – Rollup

Roman Reigns b. Samoa Joe and Braun Strowman – Spear to Joe

Elias b. Kalisto – Drift Away

Bayley b. Nia Jax via countout

Big Cass b. Big Show via DQ when Enzo Amore interfered

Remember to follow me on Twitter @kbreviews and pick up the Complete 2002 Monday Night Raw Reviews in either E-Book or Paperback. Check out the information here:

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9 comments

  1. Jay H (the real one) says:

    If you had to pick a winner who do you think wins the 4 Way at Summerslam? I know they dropped the hint of if Brock loses he might be gone but i wouldn’t say it’s a given he’s gone. Again i think either one of the 4 could win that Match. Im sure besides the Title Matches we’ll get Finn Balor/Bray Wyatt and Big Cass vs Big Show once again or the Handicap idea to fill out the RAW side of things.

  2. Joe says:

    The women are so boring right now.

  3. Bloodbuzz Bunk says:

    At least the story building is improving. They are building this Rollins and Ambrose reunion brick by brick which is smart and compelling. All the matches besides the main event are getting about the same 8 minutes in length which keeps the segments from being to awful long. I think there might be something to the rumor that Ryan Ward( Forner NXT, allegedly former Smackdown writer) is now the primary writer for Raw.

  4. Syd11 says:

    Seriously thought that WWE was going to pull a major swerve with the Cass vs. Big Show match, especially since it was the closer. Was anticipating Show to also turn on Enzo and have Cass/Show end the evening with both their hands raised and indicating the union of two giants with a beaten and dejected Enzo laying on the mat.

    Mike M. Reply:

    That would have made zero sense, and I would have loved every second of it. I can’t stand Enzo.

  5. BJ says:

    KB I’mma play a lil what if: what if at SS Ambrose/Rollins win tag titles early n da event and then help Reigns win Universal title and reunite The Shield??!!

    Greg Reply:

    Dey ain’t got nuff opps w/a splt rstr.

  6. BJ says:

    Good point Greg

  7. BJ says:

    They don’t have enough opponents with a split roster Greg?