Monday Night Raw
Date: July 17, 2017
Location: Bridgestone Arena, Nashville, Tennessee
Commentators: Michael Cole, Corey Graves, Booker T.
For the first time in a good while we have a major announcement to look forward to. This week will see the reveal of whatever Kurt Angle’s big secret has been and there’s going to be someone here with him to reveal it. There are multiple rumors floating around about what it could be and it should be interesting to see which, if any, is accurate. Let’s get to it.
Long recap of the Angle situation.
Here’s Dean Ambrose with a chair to open things up. He goes off about his issues with Miz but here’s Seth Rollins to interrupt. Seth talks about everything he’s done with Miz as of late but Dean says he doesn’t want anyone’s help. Rollins’ question is if Ambrose will be in his way or by his side.
Dean talks about Rollins breaking up the Shield and how they were brothers. Seth actually apologizes for what he did, which he never did before. While it’s true that he turned on Ambrose and Roman Reigns, Seth remembers tearing into Ambrose inside the Cell. He still wants to have Dean with him but Ambrose isn’t convinced.
Seth has an idea though and turns his back on Dean, saying take as many shots with the chair as you need. Ambrose can’t do it so here are Miz and the Miztourage to interrupt. Miz laughs this off because neither of them have what it takes to do this on their own. The fight is on and the numbers get the better of Rollins and Ambrose. A series of chair shots leaves our heroes laying.
Miz and company leave in a hurry.
Bayley vs. Alexa Bliss
Non-title. Bliss slaps her in the face to start and gets driven into the corner for some aggressive stomping to send Bliss to the apron. Cue Nia Jax though and we take a break. Back with Bliss stomping away but missing a charge to send her outside. A Stunner over the ropes slows Bliss down (those Steve Austin show appearances paid off) and the top rope elbow makes things even worse. Bayley chases her to the floor but Jax cuts her off, allowing Bliss to take over. Cue Sasha to take out Jax though and it’s the Bayley to Belly to pin Bliss at 8:13.
Rating: C. I’m assuming we’re setting up Bayley vs. Banks for the #1 contenderdship or one of their beloved four ways because screw storytelling for a one on one match when you can just throw them all together. Bayley is being rebuilt but I wish they could come up with a way to do it besides pinning Bliss in back to back weeks.
Graves gets a text and bails.
Clip from the ESPY’s with a wrestling fan winning an award for courage. Stephanie also received an award at the Sports Humanitarian Awards. Guess which speech gets more time.
Video on Roman Reigns.
Angle is panicking and isn’t sure if he should do this. Graves says do it because it’s going to get out somehow anyway. That seems to convince Kurt.
We recap Akira Tozawa vs. Neville.
Titus O’Neil gives Titus Worldwide a pep talk. Ariya Daivari, who was in a match with Tozawa last week, comes in and challenges him for a rematch later tonight.
Brian Kendrick/Drew Gulak vs. Jack Gallagher/Mustafa Ali
Kendrick bails away from Gallagher to start so we’ll go with Drew instead. Jack works on the knees but Drew pops up and knocks Ali off the apron. One heck of a chop drops Gallagher for two but the headbutt puts Kendrick down. It’s off to Ali for the inverted 450 and the pin at 2:35.
Here’s Enzo Amore for a chat. He knows he lost at Great Balls of Fire but he knows you have to keep getting up if you believe in what you’re fighting for. He’s not done with Big Cass, who may be much bigger and stronger but Enzo has the heart. Cass threw him fourteen feet to the floor but Enzo got back up and kept going. They were friends for years with Enzo making sure Cass stuck with it because Cass is S-A-W-F-T like a big comfy couch.
Cue Cass to chase Enzo off because Enzo says he’s smarter than the average bear. Enzo grabs a seat in the crowd with an Enzo fan to watch this. Cue Big Show for a brawl but Cass kicks him in the face. The fight is on with Show getting the better of it via a hard chop to the chest. Cass sends him into the post twice in a row though and Show’s ribs are hurt. Kicks to the ribs make them even worse and Show is down. Enzo tries to come in and eats a big boot for his efforts. This was another well done Cass segment as I’m very glad they didn’t have Show chase him off. Let Cass look dominant and then win the match. It’s that simple.
Reigns says tonight is all that matters because he wants Lesnar at Summerslam.
Ambrose and Rollins are banged up but still want Miz and company. Angle comes in and offers them a tag match with any two of the three next week. Dean says let’s just make it all three in a handicap match so Angle agrees.
Elias Samson is ready to sing about Nashville but Finn Balor cuts him off.
Finn Balor vs. Elias Samson
Cole tells a story about Elias following NXT around Florida and eventually getting arrested for loitering, only to have Dusty Rhodes bail him out. Graves is of course livid about the story, only to have Elias slam Balor into the corner to cut them off. Balor fights up without too much effort but gets caught in a sitout powerbomb for two. Finn comes back again and takes it outside for the running dropkick into the barricade, only to have Samson BLAST him with the guitar for the DQ at 5:05.
Rating: D+. This was more of an angle than a match though I still wonder why Balor is stuck with Samson. Elias has been better than I was expecting but sweet goodness Balor is a former World Champion and one of the best talents on the roster. Why is he stuck in this midcard feud instead of fighting for the Intercontinental Title at worst?
Bray Wyatt pops up on screen to say Balor didn’t see that coming. Wyatt feels the need to hurt Balor and brings up the Irish mythology. Bray isn’t just a myth though and promises to bring his full powers against Finn. He’ll even enjoy it.
Video on Samoa Joe.
Angle is on the phone when Bayley and Sasha come in, both wanting to fight Bliss at Summerslam. Kurt makes a #1 contenders match between the two of them for next week.
The announcers preview Battleground.
We look back at the Revival attacking the Hardys last week.
Revival attacked the Hardys just because they’re the Hardys. No one has flipped around more than the Hardys so it’s time to use some fists on them.
Akira Tozawa vs. Ariya Daivari
The ropes are still red here. Daivari dedicates this match to an Iranian gold medalist from the 2016 Olympics. Tozawa starts fast but bangs up his shoulder to give Daivari a target. The shoulder is sent hard into the corner and Daivari talks a lot of trash, only to get caught in a hurricanrana. A Codebreaker to the arm gives Daivari two and the shoulder goes into the corner again. That’s enough for Titus who tells the referee to stop it at 2:56.
Tozawa is livid and says Titus never cared about him.
Here’s Angle for the announcement. Everyone is supporting him in this decision and he’s glad to get this off his chest. When he was in college he was dating a woman but then they broke up. Then nine months later, she had a child, which Kurt didn’t find out until recently. It turns out that the kid was a very talented athlete who had several offers to play various sports.
Instead he went to college and earned a degree, followed by pursuing a career in professional wrestling. That son is now a WWE superstar and the newest member of the Raw roster. His name is……Jason Jordan! Jason comes out and hugs Kurt several times but nothing is said.
Revival vs. Hardy Boyz
It’s a brawl to start with Revival bailing to the floor before the bell. We officially get going with Matt headlocking Dawson down, only to get pummeled by Wilder. Matt does his ten rams into each buckle and everything breaks down with the Hardys cleaning house again. They even bust out the Spin Cycle (picking up someone by the arms and legs from the mat and flipping them from their face onto their back), which Booker calls new, though it’s really just brought out of mothballs.
Back from a break with Matt in trouble and Dawson putting on a standing leglock. Wilder gets in some leg work of his own but Dawson is kicked outside, allowing the hot tag to Jeff. A quick splash gets two but Matt has to save his brother from the Shatter Machine. The Twisting Stunner gives Jeff two more, only to have Wilder crotch him to break up the Swanton. Dawson grabs a rollup and jeans for the pin at 13:21.
Rating: C+. The right team won and that’s what matters more than anything else. The Hardys don’t need to win much of anything at this point so having them put over a team like the Revival is best for everyone involved. On top of that it was a good match and that’s just scratching Revival’s surface.
Samoa Joe gives a very intense interview about being ready to beat Roman Reigns again because it gives him another shot at Brock.
Video on a Special Olympian who is in the front row.
Tozawa is in Titus’ locker room and repeats that he didn’t quit. Titus can accept Tozawa being mad at him but Tozawa needs to understand that Titus was looking out for his future. Tozawa seems to accept it but wants a match with Daivari tomorrow night on 205 Live.
Samoa Joe vs. Roman Reigns
Winner gets Lesnar at Summerslam. They trade shoulders to start and it’s Joe being knocked outside as we take an early break. Back with Joe hitting his enziguri in the corner and we’re off to the neck crank. That eats up a long time until Reigns fights up and hits a running clothesline for two. That’s some of Reigns’ only significant offense so far as this has been almost all Joe in the first half.
They head outside with Joe clotheslining him so hard that Reigns lands on the apron. Reigns hits a clothesline of his own to put both guys down as we take another break. Back with Joe talking trash until Reigns comes back with a Samoan drop. One heck of a boot to the face drops Joe again but he’s right back up and blocking a belly to back suplex.
The Rock Bottom is broken up and there’s the Superman Punch for two. With both guys down, cue the returning Braun Strowman to pull Joe out and beat up Reigns for the no contest (though it should be a DQ victory for Joe, who was the first one to be touched) at about 19:00.
Rating: B-. This was definitely the kind of match where they were filling in time until the storyline ending and there’s nothing wrong with that. Neither guy was pinned and it was pretty even when Strowman came in. This is likely setting up what could be a very interesting four way at Summerslam and I’m ok with that.
Reigns and Joe beat on Strowman but both eventually fall victim to powerslams.
Overall Rating: C+. I dug this episode more than most weeks and that’s a good sign. The Angle announcement felt short but big while the main event felt big but long and ultimately meaningless given how things ended. I still liked the show tonight though, which isn’t something I get to say that often. If nothing else they’ve announced THREE matches for next week, which might be a modern day record. Nice show here and better than several they’ve done in recent weeks.
Bayley b. Alexa Bliss – Bayley to Belly
Jack Gallagher/Mustafa Ali b. Brian Kendrick/Drew Gulak – Inverted 450 to Kendrick
Finn Balor b. Elias Samson via DQ when Samson hit him with a guitar
Ariya Daivari b. Akira Tozawa via referee stoppage
Revival b. Hardy Boyz – Rollup with a handful of jeans
Roman Reigns vs. Samoa Joe went to a no contest when Braun Strowman interfered
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