The road to WWE SummerSlam continues as the Raw brand offers up a bit of a preview of the Universal Title match at SummerSlam. On this week’s show it’s Braun Strowman vs. Samoa Joe vs. Roman Reigns. All three men will challenge Brock Lesnar in the Fatal 4-Way Universal Title match at SummerSlam on August 20. Also advertised on this week’s show is Jason Jordan as a guest on the Miz TV talk show. Let’s get to it.

Live from Pittsburgh, PA this is the Raw Deal for episode #1260. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport. Thanks Melo Man for the creative banner up top.

I missed the first five minutes. It was a video package.

Kurt Angle entered to a huge ovation in his hometown of Pittsburgh. Angle was really happy as he entered the arena to the “You Suck” chants out of respect. Angle entered the ring with the crowd going wild for him. The announce team of Michael Cole, Booker T and Corey Graves welcomed us to the show.

Angle announced some of the things coming up on Raw this week: Big Show vs. Big Cass, Miz TV with Jason Jordan as the guest and Braun Strowman vs. Roman Reigns vs. Samoa Joe in a triple threat match.

Angle said that today marks the 21st anniversary of him winning a gold medal with a “broken freakin’ neck.” Angle said he wouldn’t be here right now if it wasn’t for each and every one of the fans. Angle was about to leave, but Brock Lesnar’s music hit as Lesnar walked out with Paul Heyman.

Lesnar, the Universal Champion, had the title around his waist as he walked around the ring with Heyman. Good reaction to Lesnar like usual.

Lesnar entered the ring with Heyman. Lesnar stared at Angle while Heyman told Angle that he thinks he has to take the Universal Title off Brock Lesnar. Heyman wondered why else would Angle put Lesnar in a Fatal 4-Way at SummerSlam. Heyman said it was the “most stacked” division in WWE history. I wouldn’t go that far. Heyman did the part of his promo where he mentioned Braun Strowman, the Undertaker slaying Roman Reigns (boos from the crowd) and Heyman claimed that Angle hoped Samoa Joe is the Universal Champion.

Heyman continued on saying that all three of the title worthy candidates are going to gang up against Lesnar and fight amongst themselves to determine the new champion. Heyman said that at SummerSlam, Lesnar doesn’t have to be in the equation to lose the championship. Heyman said let’s just rename it “SummerSlam 2017 – Brock Lesnar loses the Universal Title.” Heyman said that Angle has been told to make Brock Lesnar pay the “ultimate” (as in UFC) price. Heyman added that Lesnar will leave WWE if he loses the Universal Title and so will Heyman. Heyman claimed that Lesnar is not going to lose his Universal Title at SummerSlam. Heyman said at SummerSlam it will be: “Your winner and still reigning, defending, undisputed Universal Champion…Brock Lesnar.”  Heyman dropped the microphone and he left with Lesnar as Brock’s music played.

Analysis: I was waiting for the interruption as soon as Angle was out there. Lesnar and Heyman being mad about Angle making a 4-Way match makes sense because Lesnar may lose the title without getting pinned. I think that’s going to happen and so do a lot of people, but Heyman was confident in saying that Lesnar was going to win that match. Heyman did a good job of dropping the “ultimate” word in there since Jon Jones mentioned Lesnar at the UFC event on Saturday and there are rumors Lesnar may head back to the UFC at some point in the near future. I liked the way Heyman delivered the promo. He’s one of the best on the microphone as always. After what Heyman said I’m less sure of my prediction that Lesnar is going to lose the Universal Title at SummerSlam, so kudos to Heyman for delivering a quality promo again.

Later on Raw: Reigns vs. Strowman vs. Joe. Miz TV with Jordan is later. Hardys were shown walking backstage they’re up next.

This week on Smackdown it’s John Cena vs. Shinsuke Nakamura. I wrote a column about it with some thoughts on if it’s the right call to do a “dream match” on Smackdown instead of saving it, so check it out here. Also, Styles vs. Owens for the US Title again.

(Commercial)

The Hardy Boyz entered to a big pop. Dash Wilder and Scott Dawson, who are known as The Revival, are on commentary for this match. It’s Gallows and Anderson against the Hardys this week. Clips aired of the issues between all three teams in the last couple of weeks.

The Hardy Boyz (Matt & Jeff) vs. Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson

Matt started with Anderson while Dawson bragged about how they are on a roll by being undefeated on Raw. Cole mentioned the Twitter battle between The Revival and Matt while The Revival mentioned that they beat the Hardys so the Twitter beef doesn’t matter and that’s true. Jeff tagged in leading to a double team splash and leg drop by the Hardys. Gallows in the ring, so the Hardys did the Poetry in Motion double team move. The heels bailed to the floor, so the show went to break two minutes into it.

(Commercial)

Back from break, the heels worked over Jeff because the heels are usually in control as the match returns from a break. Jeff came back with a Twist of Fate on Gallows. Anderson stopped Jeff from tagging out, but Anderson missed a corner attack and Matt got the hot tag. Matt sent Anderson’s head into the turnbuckles ten times (with “delete” chants), then a clothesline and bulldog for two. Elbow smash by Matt to the back of the neck followed by the Side Effect slam for two. When the ref was distracted by Anderson, Gallows hit a kick to the back and Anderson hit a running knee. Jeff saved Matt from a double team move and walked into a punch from Gallows. Boot to the face by Gallows, who was the legal man, against Matt. Gallows missed a corner attack, Matt hit the Twist of Fate, Jeff tagged in and Jeff hit the Swanton Bomb for the pinfall win after eight minutes.

Winners by pinfall: The Hardy Boyz

Analysis: **1/4 It was a decent match to put over the Hardys after they had been on the losing end of some matches in the last few weeks. The heels worked over Jeff, Matt got the hot tag and Jeff got the final tag leading to the pinfall win. Pretty routine in terms of the action.

After the match, the Hardys celebrated on the stage. The Revival said “sweet clapping.” The Hardys had a staredown with them, so The Revival went over to start brawling with them. Anderson and Gallows joined the fight. Hardys sent Gallows into the video screen. Hardys knocked Anderson and Wilder off the stage. Each Hardy hit a Twist of Fate on Dawson. Jeff hit a Poetry in Motion attack on Anderson and Wilder to end the segment. The crowd loved it.

Analysis: Good post match angle to show that the issues between these three teams continue. It should lead to some triple threat tag match in the near future.

Dean Ambrose was interviewed backstage by his wife Renee Young as highlights aired of Ambrose & Rollins beating Miz, Axel & Dallas last week. Ambrose admitted they looked good out there last week. Ambrose wasn’t sure about getting back together with Seth. Rollins walked into the screen saying it was special and felt like old times. Ambrose said before Renee or anybody else gets their hopes up, Dean still doesn’t trust Seth. Dean said he’s been burned by Seth before and it’s not going to happen to him again.

Analysis: The “hard to trust” story continues. Rumor is that Seth and Dean will challenge Sheamus and Cesaro for the Raw Tag Team Titles, so the story is about building up to Seth trying to earn Dean’s trust.

(Commercial)

Rollins was shown walking backstage with Sheamus and Cesaro standing there with their Tag Team Titles. Sheamus said that they are the opposite of Seth and Dean because they didn’t like eachother, but now they are the best of friends that trust eachother. Cesaro pointed out that Seth came into WWE like brothers with Dean and now Dean won’t trust him because Seth stabbed him in the back. Cesaro suggested Rollins get a new show on WWE Network called “Ride Alone.” Rollins got in their face to say he’ll challenge one of them to a match later tonight. Sheamus said it will be him.

Analysis: I just mentioned the Seth/Dean vs. Cesaro/Sheamus rumor and they followed it with a segment right after the break. I swear I didn’t edit in that comment. Looks like the rumor is going to be true.

It’s time for a cruiserweight tag team match. Tozawa vs. Daivari on 205 Live this week with the winner getting a shot at Neville for the Cruiserweight Title at SummerSlam.

Akira Tozawa (w/Titus O’Neil), Rich Swann & Cedric Alexander vs. TJP, Tony Nese & Ariya Daivari

Alexander with a headscissors followed by a dropkick on Nese. Swann took down Daivari with a headscissors. Tozawa has his left shoulder heavily taped while Booker T wondered what Titus is doing out there. Tozawa hit a senton splash for a two count on Daivari and Daivari did an arm wringer working on the arm. O’Neil wanted Tozawa to quit to not risk further injury, but Tozawa told him he was okay as they went to break two minutes into it.

(Commercial)

Back from break, Daivari slapped on another armbar on Tozawa’s left arm. Tozawa broke free and tagged in Swann, who hit a running clothesline on Perkins. Flipping leg drop by Swann on Perkins followed by a splash for two. Alexander hit a leaping clothesline on Nese to take him out. Alexander and Swann hit dives onto TJP and Nese on the floor. Tozawa hit a suicide dive on Daivari on the floor as well. Back in the ring, TJP and Swann got pinfall attempts on eachother. Tozawa tagged in, Swann hit a superkick on TJP and Tozawa hit the senton bomb off the top on TJP for the win after eight minutes.

Winners by pinfall: Akira Tozawa, Rich Swann & Cedric Alexander

Analysis: **1/2 Solid match to put the faces over similar to the first tag match of the night in terms of how the match was structured and how it ended. Good to have Tozawa go over since he’s currently being pushed more than the other guys in the match. I think Tozawa will beat Daivari on 205 Live because no reason to do heel vs. heel at SummerSlam. It might be Tozawa that beats Neville for the Cruiserweight Title too. I would have picked Cedric Alexander earlier this year, but WWE hasn’t pushed him that hard yet.

Post match, the faces took a selfie with O’Neil to celebrate the win.

Miz TV up next with Jason Jordan as the guest.

(Commercial)

Miz TV with Jason Jordan as the guest

The Miz walked out in a suit and the Intercontinental Title on his shoulder. Miz had his wife Maryse along with the Miztourage duo of Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel with him.

The Miz said he can’t tell the fans how much he hates the city (Cleveland fans don’t like Pittsburgh). Miz welcomed us to Miz TV and said that nothing has the WWE Universe buzzing more than Kurt Angle’s illegitimate son. Miz welcomed Jason Jordan, who has a new theme song with trumpets. No lyrics. I guess Chad Gable won the American Alpha song in the “divorce” of their team.

Miz asked Jordan how it feels to be Kurt Angle’s son and when Jordan tried to answer, Miz cut him off. Miz pointed out that some fans were booing Jordan while Jordan said that Miz is an expert in terms of being booed. Miz said he’s an expert on Raw. Miz said that Jordan is going places and his in-ring ability is amazing. Miz offered to guide Jordan’s career. Jordan laughed while Miz told the crowd to shut up. Miz said he’s offering Jordan the opportunity to join The Miztourage. Jordan said “thanks, but I’m good.” Miz said he’s done it all including TV, movies and he’s main evented WrestleMania. Miz said that in that locker room, there are vultures that will try to leach off Jordan’s new found lineage. Miz: “You need my help.”

Jordan said it’s a really tempting offer that he appreciates, but he thinks he is going to pass. Miz said of course because Angle can hand Jordan anything he wants. Jordan said he’s going to earn everything and Miz told him he’s naïve. Miz told Jordan not to be foolish and told him that this company will chew you up and spit you out. Jordan said that maybe it will, but he doesn’t want to be associated with somebody like Miz. That led to Miz saying that Jordan has to latch onto a different Olympian every week and said Angle got his GM job out of pity. Miz said that Angle is like Pittsburgh that is broken down and pining for glory days that are never coming back.

Jordan said that Miz can say what he wants about him, but if he says another word about Kurt he will make Miz regret it. Axel and Dallas got in Jordan’s face. Miz told them to back off. Miz attacked, Jordan hit a belly to belly suplex on Miz that knocked all three heels down. Jordan left the ring as his music played.  Fans cheered him. Not huge, but the crowd was behind him.

Analysis: That was pretty good with Miz doing a fantastic job of getting the crowd to hate him. They always hate him anyway, but ripping on the city like he did was a smart way to start the promo and he continued it as the promo continued. Jordan wanting to do the right thing by saying he’s going to prove himself and not have anything handed to him is the noble thing to say. Having a heel like Miz doubt that is the perfect counter to Jordan at this point. I thought the entire thing was booked exactly as it should have. This will set up the rumored IC Title match at SummerSlam between Miz and Jordan.

Later on Raw is Reigns vs. Strowman vs. Joe.

Reigns did a promo from backstage as highlights aired about him. Reigns said he drove Strowman straight to hell once and he’ll send him back there for good. Reigns said that if you take away distractions he stands tall every time. Reigns mentioned he’s the guy that put the Deadman (Undertaker) to rest, so it’s his yard and he’s the only guy that can beat Brock Lesnar. Reigns said he’ll walk out of SummerSlam as the new Universal Champion.

Analysis: Solid promo from Reigns. They keep bringing up the win over Undertaker as a huge thing, which shows how much respect WWE has for Taker.

Seth Rollins was shown walking backstage for his match.

(Commercial)

Sheamus made his entrance with his fellow Tag Team Champion Cesaro.

Seth Rollins entered. They added the words “Burn It Down” to his theme song at the start of it. Rest of it is the same. It’s a slight improvement, but still feels like a generic rock song to me.

Seth Rollins vs. Sheamus (w/Cesaro)

Sheamus with a shoulder tackle, Rollins came back with knees, a kick to the face and a running dropkick. Cesaro provided a slight distraction as they went outside the ring. Sheamus attacked outside the ring, sent Rollins into the barricade and the show went to break there two minutes into it.

(Commercial)

Back from break, Sheamus hit a rolling senton slam off the middle ropes for a two count. Rollins hit a neckbreaker using the top rope for an assist, but Sheamus came back with a backbreaker for two. Sheamus up top, he jumped off, Rollins moved and Rollins sent Sheamus into the middle turnbuckle. They exchanged punches and Rollins connected with a jumping kick to the head. Rollins hit a suicide dive that sent Sheamus into the barricade. Back in the ring, springboard clothesline by Rollins and a Slingblade neckbreaker. Cesaro with the distraction on the apron and Rollins came back with a rollup using his upper body to put (not a rollup of death) for the win after nine minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Seth Rollins

Analysis: **1/2 It was just an okay match. I expected better from them, but they didn’t get a lot of time and there were few nearfalls to make it seem exciting. Sheamus was on offense for about 80% of it with Rollins getting the surprise pin leading to the post match again.

Post match, Cesaro attacked Rollins from behind. Sheamus joined in the attack. The champs did the double team White Noise with Cesaro jumping off the middle rope to assist. Fans chanted “We Want Ambrose” but there was no sign of him as referees told Sheamus and Cesaro to leave, so the champs did. Rollins got to his knees, which led to Cesaro and Sheamus to go back in the ring. Ambrose ran out for the save. Ambrose punched both heels, but the champs double teamed him with punches. Cesaro hit the Neutralizer on Ambrose to leave him laying. Rollins and Ambrose were both out in the ring with the champs stood tall. Ambrose wanted more, so the champs delivered with Cesaro holding Ambrose while Sheamus hit a Brogue Kick on Ambrose. The champs left with their titles.

Analysis: That was better than the match because it was focused on getting the heels over as a cohesive unit that’s going to be tough to beat. The crowd chanting for Ambrose before he got out there was the reaction WWE wanted for that booking. I’m glad the faces never made the comeback. Save it for another week. This should lead to a Raw Tag Team Title match at SummerSlam on August 20.  I’m just glad Ambrose is feuding with somebody other than Miz.

Samoa Joe did a promo while highlights aired of him in action. Joe talked about how he took Brock Lesnar to the limit and nobody has dominated Roman Reigns like him. Joe said Reigns is on a collision course with him. Joe said he’ll make Strowman pay for getting in his business. Joe said he’s not scared of anybody whether it’s Roman, Braun or Lesnar. Joe said he’s going to make a statement and that somebody is going to sleep.

Analysis: I like hearing from the guys in the main event in promos from earlier in the day. It builds up the match in more than a usual main event.

Bray Wyatt is up next.

There was a video about Special Olympics athlete Justin “JJ” Jones since WWE works with them. Justin and his family were shown at Raw. They received a nice ovation.

(Commercial)

Let’s Hear From Bray Wyatt

Wyatt made his entrance with his lamp as the arena was filled up with light from the “fireflies” holding their cell phones in the air. Wyatt stood in the ring with a spotlight on him.

Wyatt said there is no escape for you, your children and not for Finn Balor. Wyatt said that no mortal man can just escape the darkness because that’s just the way it is. Wyatt told the people in Pittsburgh they are pitiful that try to hide behind their scenes. Wyatt said they can’t hide from him because he’s Bray Wyatt and he is everywhere. Wyatt said he’s right there when you want to proclaim yourself as part of the Balor Club and people think they can vicariously live through Finn Balor while thinking your life can be special. Wyatt spoke about how Balor was an ordinary man that can do these extraordinary things and when you watch him fall you can feel his pain. Wyatt said he sees Balor for what he truly is – a putrid shell of a man that never was. Wyatt said that Balor exists off of borrowed time, off of tomorrow’s dreams and yesterday’s promise. Wyatt mocked the people that think they can get right back up after they fall down and he laughed at the notion of people that say “I can do it.” Wyatt asked how it felt last week when he took our hero (Balor) and turned him into a mangled heap of broken promises. Wyatt said when life knocks you down there is no escape of Bray Wyatt. Wyatt posed in the ring, but the red light flashed in the arena and the lights went out.

Balor’s music hit briefly and when the lights came on, Balor was in the ring posing in his ring gear. Wyatt laughed about it. When Wyatt grabbed him, Balor hit an overhead kick that sent Wyatt out of the ring. Running dropkick by Balor sent Wyatt over the barricade. Balor stood on the ring steps while Wyatt laughed from a seated position in the crowd.

Analysis: It was a typical Wyatt promo about how he’s a superior being and laughing at the normal people out there. I liked Balor appearing in the ring after the lights went out. For a moment I thought he might be in the Demon Balor body paint, but it’s fine to save that for a bigger moment. Balor getting the revenge after Wyatt attacked him was the right way to book it.

Cole said coming up in a matter of minutes is the triple threat match. Replays aired of the Balor dropkick on Wyatt that sent Wyatt into the crowd. Balor posed in the ring with the crowd doing his arm poses with him.

Braun Strowman did a promo as they showed highlights of him in action. Strowman said he breaks things, he causes chaos and goes further than most men care to imagine. Strowman said he wants to hurt Roman Reigns again. Strowman laughed about Samoa Joe because he’s not worried about what he can do to him. Strowman said he wants Brock Lesnar and he’ll show he will won’t just be the monster among men, he’ll the champion among men.

Analysis: Decent promo. It would have been better if it Strowman said he’s not going to talk about what he’s going to do and just left saying you can watch the match to see what I’ll do. Let him be different than the others.

(Commercial)

Samoa Joe entered first to mostly boos. Braun Strowman got a mixed reaction. There was a pause and then Roman Reigns made his entrance to the loudest reaction that was full of boos with some cheers in there too.

Analysis: The most viewers for Raw most weeks is end of hour two in this spot for Reigns vs. Joe vs. Strowman. So maybe that’s the WWE logic with putting it on earlier in the night. Only other match announced that could main event is Big Cass vs. Big Show. That doesn’t excite me, but shows WWE pays attention to the numbers.

Braun Strowman vs. Roman Reigns vs. Samoa Joe

Strowman dumped both guys out of the ring within one minute and they went to break.

(Commercial)

Back from break, Joe hit a leaping kick to Strowman and Reigns hit a punch to knock Strowman down. Joe and Reigns sent Strowman out of the ring. Reigns hit two clotheslines on Joe and Joe came back with an armbar on the left arm. Strowman pulled Joe out of the ring and sent him into the barricade. Reigns went brawling with Strowman into the crowd as Cole noted no countout in triple threat rules. Strowman brought Reigns back to the ringside area, which led to Joe slapping on the Coquina Clutch submission, but Joe couldn’t lock it in. Reigns went after Joe, so Joe sent Reigns into the barricade and Joe hit a leaping kick to the head. Back in the ring, Reigns kicked Joe followed by elbow smashes and clotheslines in the corner. Reigns knocked down Joe with a boot to the face. Joe bailed to the floor, so Reigns went after him with a running Superman Punch off the steel steps. Reigns charged at Strowman outside the ring and Strowman kicked him to stop his momentum. Strowman worked over both guys on the floor by sending Reigns into a steel steps. Strowman hit a running knee lift on Joe outside the ring. Strowman threw Reigns back into the ring under the top rope. Strowman threw the top half of the steel steps into the ring. Joe recovered with a kick to the head of Strowman and a senton splash.

Back in the ring, Joe hit a senton splash on Reigns for a two count. Joe wedged the steel steps against the turnbuckle. Joe slapped on the Coquina Clutch on Reigns, but Strowman ran over both guys to break that up. Strowman hit a Running Powerslam on Joe for a two count as Reigns made the save. The fans chanted “this is awesome” for them. Strowman whipped Reigns into the turnbuckle back first repeatedly. Strowman grabbed the steps, the crowd chanted “Yes” and Reigns hit a Superman Punch to avoid the attack. Reigns grabbed the steps and knocked Strowman out of the ring with them. Reigns hit a Spear on Joe for the pinfall win after 16 minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Roman Reigns

Analysis: ***1/2 That was great match that benefited from the ability to brawl around the ring and utilize weapons. They told a physical story where they tried to wear down eachother rather than going for a lot of finishers and nearfalls. Strowman hit his finish, but that was broken up. I’m not surprised that Joe took the pin. They want to protect Strowman in a match like that and that’s what they did. Does the result of this match really matter in terms of who is going to win at SummerSlam? Nope. Absolutely not. However, it was a nice preview of that match by showing how physical they can be when they are able to brawl outside the ring.

Reigns celebrated the win while Cole hyped up SummerSlam with these three challenging Brock Lesnar for the Universal Title at SummerSlam on August 20.

Analysis: Right now I’m leaning towards Samoa Joe as my pick for next Universal Champion, but it’s not easy to call. I may change my mind before August 20.

Highlights aired of Big Cass beating Enzo last week and Cass beat up Show again. This is supposed to make us care about Cass vs. Show later? It doesn’t make me care.

Big Show was in the locker room. Enzo showed up to apologize for Show getting into this mess with him. Enzo told him he appreciated it. Show said that Enzo got him into it, but it’s okay because Show can teach Cass a lesson in respect. Show left to get ready.

Analysis: Quick segment to show that Big Show is a good guy willing to stand up to the jerk Cass.

(Commercial)

Elias was in the ring with his guitar. They dumped his “Samson” last name, so he’s just Elias. When he said “who wants to walk with Elias?” the crowd cheered because he noted he was from Pittsburgh. Elias said the people of Pittsburgh inspired him to write this song. Elias ripped on the city of Pittsburgh saying the people are garbage, but at least you can hear his voice. The fans booed him. He was interrupted by Kalisto’s entrance.

Analysis: I don’t know why they dumped the Samson name, but that’s what WWE does sometimes. We have seen it in recent years with the likes of (Alexander) Rusev, (Antonio) Cesaro, (Adrian) Neville and others where it seems odd at the time, but we end up getting used to it. The name change isn’t a big deal.

Elias vs. Kalisto

There was no reaction to Kalisto. There was some athletic offense from Kalisto early on, but Elias sent Kalisto out of the ring one minute into the match.

(Commercial)

Back from break, Elias applied a chinlock. Elias stomped away in the corner and hit a backbreaker. Suplex by Elias for a two count. Elias slapped on a submission with Kalisto on his shoulders and Kalisto fought out of it. Kalisto came back with a spinning kick to the head, a leaping kick and a senton splash off the top. Snap rana by Kalisto. This crowd is dead quiet for this match. Knee to the face by Elias and a neckbreaker with Graves saying Elias calls that Drift Away. It went seven minutes. No crowd reaction at all.

Winner by pinfall: Elias

Analysis: *1/2 They went seven minutes and it should have been three minutes. The crowd doesn’t care about Kalisto at all. Putting Elias over is fine, but it’s not a good sign when the crowd completely dies during a match.

Alexa Bliss, the Raw Women’s Champion, was interviewed by Charly Caruso in the interview area. Bliss said she was happy she gets to face Bayley again and laughed about how Sasha Banks lost to Bayley. Bliss mocked Banks and Bayley while noting that Bayley has to face Nia Jax and that it will be a massacre.

Analysis: It feels like we have seen Bayley vs. Jax too many times, but WWE loves to repeat matches and unlike on Smackdown, they do a poor job of using the whole division on Raw.

Bayley vs. Nia Jax is up next.

The announcers shilled the Shawn Michaels movie “Pure Country, Pure Heart” that has Willie Nelson in it. I have less than zero interest in it. Negative interest.

(Commercial)

Replays aired of the Seth/Dean segments from earlier.

Ambrose was shown in the locker room. Rollins thanked him for helping him. Ambrose said that he wasn’t there to help him. Ambrose told Rollins that he knows that Rollins is the architect that always has a plan and Rollins wanted to help him because if Ambrose didn’t it would make Ambrose look like a bad guy. Ambrose cut off Rollins before he could say that he (Rollins) would have saved him. Ambrose left while Rollins was left looking sad.

Analysis: The tough love continues between the former buddies. Slow build is good. I like that it hasn’t been rushed.

Bayley made her entrance to a good ovation. Bayley challenges Alexa Bliss for the Raw Women’s Title at SummerSlam.

Nia Jax made her entrance looking angry because she’s not like most girls. It’s in the song.

Bayley vs. Nia Jax

Jax with a headbutt. Bayley jumped on her back and Jax slammed her down with a snap mare. Jax sent Bayley out of the ring one minute into it.

Analysis: Six matches on the show. Six matches gone to commercial in first two minutes. “Repetitiveness is my job.” – Bart Simpson

(Commercial)

Back from break, Jax with a headlock. Bayley came back with running knees. Jax blocked elbow attempts, lifted Bayley up and slammed her down. The ref checked on Bayley, who was grabbing her shoulder. Bayley slowly got back in the ring favoring her right shoulder. Running splash in the corner by Jax and Jax whipped Bayley into the turnbuckle. Bayley kicked away, Bayley hit a punch, kicks and Jax hit a shoulder tackle. Jax missed an elbow drop and Bayley hit a bulldog followed by a dropkick that sent Jax onto the apron. Bayley with a neckbreaker using the rope followed by a knee lift that sent Jax to the floor. Bayley jumped onto Jax on the floor with a cross body block to take her down. Alexa Bliss ran down to ringside, Bayley knocked her down and Jax sent Bayley into the barricade. Jax charged at Bayley, who moved and Jax went into the steel steps. Bayley went back in the ring to win by countout. It went about eight minutes.

Winner by countout: Bayley

Analysis: *1/4 I’ve seen them wrestle many times and that was one of their most boring matches. The crowd was dead for all of it too. Bayley did a good job of selling the shoulder (assuming it’s not a legit injury), but the crowd barely got behind her during the comeback. The finish was WWE’s lame way of protecting Jax even though she has failed to win the title in over a year of being on Raw. I’m not sure she needs to be protected that much.

Post match, Bayley left before the heels could attack and she was still favoring her right shoulder.

Analysis: At least Bayley wasn’t booked like an idiot and avoided an attack for a nice change.

Big Cass was interviewed by Renee Young. Cass did a promo ripping on Big Show for the main event.

(Commercial)

There was a plug for 205 Live with Akira Tozawa facing Ariya Daivari and the winner gets a shot at Neville’s Cruiserweight Title at SummerSlam.

A replay aired of Jason Jordan getting the upper hand against Miz and his cronies earlier in the night.

Enzo Amore did a promo to try to wake up the crowd. They were awake for his intro bit. Enzo had some line about a banana peel and keeping it real, but I’m not that interested. Enzo introduced his buddy, the world’s largest athlete the Big Show.

Big Cass got some new music. It’s still generic rock music with no lyrics, but it sounds better.

Big Show (w/Enzo Amore) vs. Big Cass

Show attacked as soon as Cass got in the ring and the ref had to separate them to start the match. Show worked on Cass with a chop to the chest. Back elbow by Cass. Show launched Cass over the top to the floor with Cole noting Show was in best shape of his career because he’s got abs. It’s true even though Show is in his mid-40s and moves slow. Cass stunned Show by sending him neck first into the top rope. Back in the ring, Show hit a shoulder tackle. Show hit a weak looking body slam that Cole called a “power slam.” Elbow drop by Show for two. Cass went after the left leg of Show and applied a knee bar submission although it didn’t look that good. Enzo put his hands on the mat to try to wake up the crowd. Show hit a chop and Cass came back with a boot to the face. Cass went for a double axe off the middle rope, so Show chopped him in the chest and two clotheslines. Show ran the ropes and Big Cass hit a big boot to the face. That looked great, but it drew no reaction. Enzo jumped on Cass’ back leading to the disqualification after five minutes.

Winner by disqualification: Big Cass

Analysis: *1/4 Boring match with a cheap finish that was done to set up another Cass vs. Show match likely at SummerSlam. I figured they wouldn’t do a clean finish because it felt like it was too soon for this match. Cass needs to get better by working with smaller wrestlers that can bump for him. Working with Big Show doesn’t help Cass that much because how boring both of them are.

Big Cass got Enzo off his back and Cass nailed Enzo with a big boot to knock him down.

Show got back to his feet, Cass charged in and Show hit Cass with a KO Punch to knock out Cass. Replays aired of what happened.

Show walked out with Enzo and that was it for Raw as they signed off the air at around 11:08pmET.

Analysis: I really don’t need or want to see another Show vs. Cass match again, but Vinny Mac loves big guys and they have “Big” in their name, so of course we will get it again. Booking Cass to beat Show here would have been better than what they did.

Also, as I pointed out throughout the review, the crowd was dead for most of this show and they were even more dead for this main event. Come on Pittsburgh, you can do better.

 

Three Stars of the Show

  1. Roman Reigns
  2. Braun Strowman
  3. Samoa Joe

 

The Scoreboard

4.5 out of 10

Last week: 6

2017 Average: 5.81

Average since brand split starting July 25/16: 5.84 (Smackdown is 6.75)

Last 5 Weeks: 6, 6.5, 5.5, 6.5, 6

2017 High: 8 (April 3)

2017 Low: 4 (Jan. 9, Feb. 27 & June 12)

 

Final Thoughts

I give it a 4.5 out of 10.

I wanted to like this show. I was in a good mood when it started. They started off well in the first hour and the three-way match was great, but the third hour bombed. The dead crowd didn’t help either.

I thought the build to the likely IC Title (Miz vs. Jordan) and Tag Team Title (Sheamus/Cesaro vs. Ambrose/Rollins) matches at SummerSlam were done well.

Reigns beating Joe and Strowman was clearly the highlight of the show. It should have been the main event.

The main event sucked. It was one of the worst main events on any WWE TV show this year that was designed to build to a rematch. I don’t want to see it again.

Please deliver a better show next week because I’ll be there in Toronto. At least I know the Toronto crowd will be louder.

The next pay-per-view is SummerSlam on August 20. Here’s what we know so far.

WWE Universal Championship: Brock Lesnar vs. Roman Reigns vs. Samoa Joe vs. Roman Reigns

Raw Women’s Championship: Alexa Bliss vs. Bayley

Smackdown Women’s Championship: Naomi vs. Natalya

That’s it for official matches. Other likely matches are The Miz vs. Jason Jordan for the IC Title, Sheamus/Cesaro vs. Rollins/Ambrose for the Raw Tag Team Titles, Big Cass vs. Big Show and more. More matches will be added in the next month of course.

That’s all for now. See ya next time for the Smackdown review.

You can contact me using any of the methods below. Thanks for reading.

John Canton

Email: mrjohncanton@gmail.com

Twitter: @johnreport

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