Monday Night Raw – August 21, 2017: Can Brock Smash A Beach Ball Please?

Monday Night Raw
Date: August 21, 2017
Location: Barclays Center, New York City, New York
Commentators: Michael Cole, Booker T., Corey Graves

With Summerslam behind us, it’s time to start heading towards No Mercy, which ultimately leads us to Survivor Series. The big story is a combination of Brock Lesnar retaining the Universal Title and Braun Strowman arriving as the new monster as he manhandled Lesnar last night. If that’s not a title program at some point in the near future, I have no idea where WWE’s head is. Let’s get to it.

Here are Lesnar and Paul Heyman to open things up. Heyman says this isn’t a tape delay because we’re live with Brock Lesnar still your reigning and defending Universal Champion. He talks about the conspiracy against Lesnar, who fought off everyone else last night to keep his title. For the first time in his life, Lesnar was taken off the battlefield in an attempt to get rid of him without having to pin him or make him submit. But Lesnar wouldn’t have any of that and marched back down the aisle so conquering could ensue. As for tonight, there is no one in WWE or UFC history, like Lesnar himself.

Cue Braun Strowman and you can see Lesnar wince a bit. The fans cheer for Strowman as Brock gets in his face. A chokeslam is countered but Braun kicks him in the face and hits a powerslam to put Lesnar down. He starts to get up so it’s another powerslam, leaving Strowman to hold up the title. Strowman is the only person who should be challenging Brock right now and they would be crazy to wait any longer than Survivor Series (and even that’s a stretch) to do this match.

Enzo Amore vs. Big Cass

Street fight as this feud MUST continue. Before the match, Enzo talks about his history with Cass, including the two of them breaking bread together as his family’s house. Enzo grabs a shopping cart full of weapons, which he throws at Cass, who easily dodges and clotheslines Enzo down. A shopping cart shot to the ribs drops Enzo and they head inside with Cass throwing Enzo a chair.

That just earns Enzo a big boot to the face and we take a break. Back with Enzo hitting a jawbreaker but getting crushed in the corner again. A big boot misses though and Cass falls out to the floor. Cass kicks the chair away from Enzo again but seems to have hurt his knee on the fall. The knee gives out and the referee throws up the X and stops the match at 8:55.

Rating: D-. In a way I hope that was legit as I really, REALLY don’t need this feud to continue. Enzo has gone from being entertaining to one of the most annoying people I’ve seen in years as there’s just no point to have him fight Cass over and over again. The match was a squash anyway with Cass losing via basically slipping on a banana peel. He deserves better than that while Enzo deserves a root canal with no medication.

Emma is annoyed at Sasha Banks getting all this attention and complains to Dana Brooke about it. She runs her mouth about Nia Jax as well, who just happens to be standing right behind her. I think you know where this is going.

Nia Jax vs. Emma

Emma goes after her to start but gets run over and crushed with some elbow drops. A dropkick has no effect and it’s the Samoan drop for the pin on Emma at 1:14. So yeah, the division has three active wrestlers of any value but let’s make sure to squash Emma over and over and over to punish her for daring to question the company’s oh so brilliant planning. As usual, WWE would rather cut off its nose to spite its face and then wonder why people stopped caring about the division.

Here’s Elias for a song. He teases singing R-Truth’s song but says he’s kidding and it’s time for some real music. The song mocks Truth so here he is to interrupt.

R-Truth vs. Elias

Truth takes him down to start but runs into an elbow as Booker’s microphone isn’t working properly. Drift Away ends Truth at 1:22.

Here’s Kurt Angle to announce a new surprise: John Cena, who is now back on Raw. Cena isn’t sure why he’s here before saying he was asked to come here by Angle himself. That’s what Cena wanted because he wanted to go face to face with a certain superstar. Cue Roman Reigns and I’m rather curious to see who the fans will boo more. Cena says that’s the man he was looking for but Reigns says Cena has only been running his mouth on Twitter.

Reigns wants to know if Cena will run his mouth to his face. The fans chant for Undertaker, which Cena says is them holding a bit of a grudge. Cena didn’t come here to talk though and the mic’s are dropped. The fight is teased but here are Miz and the Miztourage to interrupt. Miz: “So this is what a sold out Barclays looks like. I wouldn’t know.” He asks how many moments Cena and Reigns get, earning himself a round of applause.

Miz wants to know why the two of them get this time while he was stuck on the Kickoff Show last night. A quick fan poll says Cena isn’t welcome here so Miz says there are 18,000 people wanting him to leave. Cena goes to leave but Miz spins him around and says he’s not done yet. Miz rants about how no one knows what to do with Cena or Reigns and that hurts him, the only champion in this ring. He wants to know when he gets his moment because he’s spent twelve years earning it.

Cena suggests he team up with Reigns to face Miz and either of Miz’s lackeys. Miz says no because that would be a moment for Cena and not him. This brings out Samoa Joe of all people to say that he’s going to be Miz’s partner whether Miz likes it or not. Joe doesn’t want to waste his time on Reigns because he owns Roman one on one.

Instead he slugs away at Cena as Reigns beats up Miz and the Miztourage. The AA is countered into the Koquina Clutch with Reigns making the save via a Superman Punch. Roman and Cena are left alone and the fans tell them that they both suck. I fully support these two singles matches, especially at No Mercy.

Drew Gulak/Noam Dar/Tony Nese/Ariya Daivari vs. Rich Swan/Mustafa Ali/Gran Metalik/Cedric Alexander

No one gets an entrance and it’s Metalik walking the ropes to dropkick Gulak down. It’s quickly off to Ali vs. Daivari for a quick strike exchange. Swann comes in for the threat of a spinning kick to Daivari, which sends him over to the corner. Dar won’t tag in so Nese does it instead, earning himself a dropkick.

Nese runs Swann over though and we take a break. Back with Swann slugging away at Dar but not being able to get over for a tag. The fans are doing the wave as Cedric gets the hot tag and starts cleaning house with kicks to the head. Everything breaks down and Metalik moonsaults out to the floor, leaving Cedric to Lumbar Check Nese for the pin at 8:45.

Rating: D+. So that’s a thing that existed and that’s about all I can say about it. Really, the cruiserweight division is a big waste of time save for maybe the champion and his top challenger, which makes 205 Live an even bigger waste of time. It’s not even an entertaining match where most people didn’t even get involved. Just nothing to say here.

Neville is in the back and says the fans are hilarious for wanting someone else as champion. Cue Titus O’Neil and Akira Tozawa to say Daivari gets his rematch tomorrow night on 205 Live.

Jason Jordan comes in to see Angle and says he wants Finn Balor tonight. Kurt reluctantly agrees.

Here are Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose for a chat. Rollins is glad that they got back together and now they’re champions. Dean says he slept with the title under his pillow last night, which confuses Seth for a second until he says this is one big party. Seth says he wants to get the rematch with Cesaro and Sheamus out of the way but here are the Hardys to interrupt instead. Matt understands that brothers fight and thinks it’s time to make things wonderful. They’ve revolutionized tag team wrestling for twenty five years and it’s time to do it again in Brooklyn. Here’s a referee and we’re ready to go after a break.

Dean Ambrose/Seth Rollins vs. Hardy Boyz

Non-title. Dean headlocks Matt to start but an early double team slows Ambrose down. It’s quickly off to Rollins for a kick to Jeff’s chest for two. The Spin Cycle gets two on Rollins but he drop toeholds Matt into a knee drop from Ambrose for two more. Neither finisher can hit though and it’s off to a stalemate.

A big slugout takes us to a break and we come back with Rollins enziguring Jeff. Matt and Dean come in with both champs being sent outside. Jeff nails Poetry in Motion over the top to drop them both again. Back in and Seth pulls Dean out of the way of the Whisper in the Wind before grabbing a front facelock. We hit the chinlock for a bit until Jeff dropkicks both of them down.

It’s back to Matt as everything breaks down. A Sling Blade drops Matt so Dean can get two before the Hardys are sent outside. There’s the double suicide dive but Matt hits a Side Effect on Rollins on the apron. Another Side Effect gets two on Dean but he comes back with an attempt at a super Dirty Deeds. That doesn’t work of course so it’s the Twist of Fate to set up the Swanton, which hits raised knees. The wind-up jumping knee to the face sets up Dirty Deeds to end Jeff at 17:45.

Rating: B. Good, long match here with Seth and Dean getting a big win over a much more high profile team. They’ve got something with that jumping knee into Dirty Deeds too, which is a lot more than a lot of teams can say. The Hardys definitely seem to be shifting into the role of putting other teams over and there’s nothing wrong with that for them, especially at this point in their careers.

We look at the opening sequence again.

Here’s Sasha Banks for her first comments after winning the title. She may be from Boston but she’s always left her heart right here in Brooklyn. Like when she and Charlotte tore the house down last year at Summerslam, which allows her to wish Ric Flair well. Sasha plans on defending the title the right way but here’s Alexa Bliss to interrupt. She laughs off the idea of Sasha being the right kind of champion but wants nothing to do with a rematch tonight in front of these Brooklyn fanboys. They’ll fight soon enough but for now, Bliss is fine making Sasha wait.

Jason Jordan vs. Finn Balor

Jordan takes him down to the mat to start and a rollup gets two, earning Balor a quick smile. Another technical sequence puts Jordan down, only to have Finn hit a dropkick to stagger Jason. Balor wants nothing to do with a handshake and snapmares him down instead. A leapfrog is countered into a powerslam to give Finn two and we take a break.

Back with Jordan putting him down again and dropping an elbow to the ribs. They fight over a butterfly suplex with the fans very upset about something that seems to be off camera. Balor stops a charge with a boot in the corner before sending Jordan to the floor for a baseball slide. The running apron kick has Jordan in more trouble but Jason comes back with the belly to belly.

The shoulder in the corner looks to set up the wheelbarrow neckbreaker, only to have Finn counter into a crossbody. A Pele drops Jordan again and both guys are down. Jordan drives him into the corner but gets caught with a Sling Blade. The shotgun dropkick puts Jordan in the corner and it’s the Coup de Grace for the pin at 11:45.

Rating: B. Definitely Jordan’s best singles match to date and it made him look like a bigger deal. Balor winning was the right call as Jordan shouldn’t be beating a former World Champion just yet. It was a good, competitive match though and that’s much better than what you usually get from Jordan at this point.

Alexa gets her title rematch next week.

Miz/Samoa Joe vs. Roman Reigns/John Cena

Cena bulldogs Miz to start and the fans are very pleased as it’s already off to Joe. The fans go nuts over something and Cena actually pauses to look at it…..because it’s a freaking beach ball. It seems that the ball is taken away with Cena looking annoyed, earning himself a beating from Joe. Miz comes in to stomp away and it’s time for the wave again. Now Cena joins in the wave, earning himself a quick DDT for two.

The cheering and booing continues as a beach ball is put into play and confiscated as the match continues to be ignored. Cena gets ax handled for two as Miz stops to tell the fans to pay attention. Miz misses a charge and it’s off to Reigns to clean house with clotheslines to no reaction. Roman gets taken down as well for the YES Kicks. The last one is countered into a powerbomb though and both guys are down again.

Joe Rock Bottoms Roman but Reigns heads outside to beat up the Miztourage. Back in and the hot tag brings in Cena for the finishing sequence. Joe cuts off the Shuffle though and it’s off to the Koquina Clutch. Reigns tries a save with the Superman Punch but Joe sidesteps it, causing Cena to get hit instead. The second Superman Punch hits Joe but Cena pops up and grabs the AA to pin Miz at 13:03.

Rating: C+. I hate beach balls, I hate beach balls, I hate beach balls. As usual, whenever you ask a crowd to pay attention for this long (to something they paid for of course), it’s bound to cause them to lose their interest and set off something like this. Naturally their response is screw anyone who doesn’t like it, because wrestling fans are selfish creatures by definition. I couldn’t stand this stuff in Orlando and it’s really annoying now, much like WWE encouraging this nonsense. As for the match, it was exactly what you would expect though Cena pinning Miz made me roll my eyes.

Overall Rating: B-. The wrestling was much better tonight with two very good matches but there was also a lot of stuff that felt like filler. As usual, if you cut out an hour of this show, it gets far better in a hurry, though at least the stuff that was good was very good. Strowman vs. Lesnar should be amazing and it would be even better if Cass’ legitimate knee injury isn’t serious. Good show tonight, which is a positive sign after last night’s hit and miss effort.


Enzo Amore b. Big Cass via referee stoppage

Nia Jax b. Emma – Samoan drop

Elias b. R-Truth – Drift Away

Rich Swan/Mustafa Ali/Gran Metalik/Cedric Alexander b. Noam Dar/Tony Nese/Ariya Daivari/Drew Gulak – Lumbar Check to Nese

Seth Rollins/Dean Ambrose b. Hardy Boyz – Dirty Deeds to Jeff

Finn Balor b. Jason Jordan – Coup de Grace

John Cena/Roman Reigns b. Miz/Samoa Joe – Attitude Adjustment to Miz

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  1. Eric says:

    Your love affair with Cass needs to end. He’s very bad alone as a heel. This is a true case of actually needing someone, kind of like Billy Gunn. Alone there’s just nothing there.

    larisano Reply:

    agree wholeheartedly. I just don’t find Cass interesting at all.

    Eric Reply:

    The other problem, and I don’t know if this is widespread, but my girlfriend feels Cass just looks too friendly to be a bad guy. She’s done acting her whole life and she feels he doesn’t project anger or evil.

    Remember a couple of years ago where you, KB, said that messing with Adam Rose was the dumbest thing they could do? Same thing here. Enzo and Cass could have a job for years cutting promos on low level tag teams, and occasionally get title shots or even titles. People would have fun with it, merch would be sold, everyone would be happy. Instead, we took one look at Cass’ size, and broke the team up. Stupid.

    Greg Reply:

    Cass hasn’t been on his own for years. He’s probably still learning.

    klunderbunker Reply:

    I’d have been fine with them staying together. Now though I want Enzo fed to a wood chipper, after which I’d apologize to the wood chipper.

    Sagar Reply:

    I still don’t understand why WWE broke them up just a year on. Before even winning tag team titles once. Cass may be big and athletic, but he just sounds so generic on the mic when he has to do those heel promos and that is why as a team they were gold with Enzo doing all his schtick. His match last night ended to sounds of crickets in the Barclays arena. And these same 2 men had blown the roof off the same building 2 years in a row just till last year. That shows you clearly something is wrong.

  2. Jay H (the real one) says:

    I don’t think i have ever hated a crowd as much as I did tonight. New York fans can be great but when you are going out of your way to disrupt things it’s no longer about the Show it’s about you and it sickens me to no end.

    Other than blip I thought RAW was good especially the Ambrose/Rollins/Hardys Match and Balor/Jason Jordan. Im also pumped for Brock & Braun at No Mercy.

  3. Mystery Man says:

    Big Cass is awesome

  4. Joe says:

    This joke version of Cena needs to get choked out by Joe.

  5. Sagar says:

    I HATED his goofy reactions to Miz’s promo. That was some HHH levels of burying someone’s promo. Good on Miz for calling him out in the ring for ‘smirking’ and taking it as a ‘joke’.

    Also, I noticed the almost non reaction for the tease of Cena vs Reigns. I mean of course the fans were chanting stuff throughout the segment but I guess WWE and Cena imagined it would be some sort of electric buzz like when Cena and AJ went face to face or when Cena and Rock did. Instead it was hardly 50% of that perhaps. Them chanting “Undertaker” who is not even involved in the feud showed how much the crowd cared about their face-off. The “YOU BOTH SUCK” chant was hilarious.

    Finally, I HATE BEACH BALLS!! Where was Cesaro tonight when you needed him?