June 19, 2017
From the Ford Center in Evansville, IN
Your hosts are Michael Cole, Corey Graves, and Booker T
The show starts off with Roman Reigns heading out to the ring as we await his announcement of his plans at SummerSlam. He tells us some of us might hate and some might love it but when it comes down, no one can beat him one-on-one as he lists off the list of people he beat. He also talks about main-eventing his third WrestleMania is a row, where he retired the Undertaker. Reigns says he does not care where Brock Lesnar or the guy they call “Joe” wins at the Great Balls of Fire PPV as he is the #1 Contender to the Universal Championship at SummerSlam. Samoa Joe interrupts and tells Reigns he heard him forget his name. Joe then said he also heard how his name was not on the list because Reigns never beat him. He then reminds Reigns about being the real #1 contender and agrees with what Paul Heyman said last week about him being “Just Joe” so Joe responds by knocking Reigns out of the ring. Joe rolls Reigns back inside for the Coquina Clutch but Reigns breaks free and hits a Superman Punch.
I liked the brawl and it came off great but I do not get the purpose of Reigns acting like a jerk then declaring himself the #1 Contender at SummerSlam. Unless he is turning heel, which is likely not the case, then what’s the point? Whether he is the #1 contender or not at SummerSlam is still not official but seems that was his announcement and the direction we are heading to at the moment.
The Hardy Boyz are shown walking backstage before their match against Karl Anderson & Luke Gallows.
Corey Graves breaks the news that Kurt Angle has made Samoa Joe vs. Kurt Angle for tonight.
Hardy Boyz vs. Karl Anderson & Luke Gallows
The Hardy Boyz beat on Anderson to start as we see Cesaro & Sheamus watching backstage on a monitor. Anderson drives Matt into his own corner then tags out as Gallows lands a few shots. Matt avoids an elbow drop then makes the tag as Gallows is hit with Poetry in Motion or a nearfall. Jeff is trapped in the wrong corner now. Anderson cuts him off the top rope as Jeff splats down on the mat just before commercial. We return with Gallows & Anderson beating down Jeff. Anderson misses a running kick in the corner and crotches himself then cuts off a tag attempt. Gallows runs in and knocks Matt off of the apron and follows with a corner splash but Jeff fights back and hits both men with the Whisper in the Wind before making the tag. Matt runs wild as the crowd is really behind the Hardy Boyz tonight. Gallows breaks up a pin attempt after a Side Effect then the match breaks down a bit as Anderson almost rolls up Matt for the win. Gallows then grabs Matt from the floor as Anderson attacks from behind. Matt is just able to kick out of the Boot of Doom then Jeff comes back and makes a blind tag after taking out Anderson then Matt hits Gallows with the Twist of Fate and Jeff finishes him off with the Swanton Bomb (10:32) ***.
Thoughts: Good match. The crowd was hot for the action as the Hardy Boyz were insanely over. Gallows & Anderson also had a solid showing.
We get a Goldust promo talking about the glitz and glamour of Hollywood and how its a city were dreams come true. He then talks about the other side of the city were dreams are shattered like broken glass and has been there but put himself back together before telling us he will debut his newest picture, the “Shattered Truth” as he once again declares that the Golden Age is back. He will be facing R-Truth next week in Los Angeles.
Elias Samson is in the ring. He tells a story about his father and how he drifted into a crappy town like Evansville while getting the “what” treatment from the crowd. He then demands silence so he can tune his guitar so we get the song we deserve and takes his time but is interrupted by Finn Balor. They have a staredown then Samson leaves as we head to break with Cole telling us Balor is in action tonight. Samson got some heel heat here.
Finn Balor vs. Bo Dallas
Bo attacks Balor before the bell then the ref intervenes. Bo yells for the bell to be rung and when it does he charges with a clothesline then chokes Balor out against the ropes. He takes Balor outside and runs him into the barricade then follows with a running knee smash. Back inside, Balor fights back and takes down Bo with an upkick. Balor hits a flurry of strikes to take Bo down then stomps away. He hits a running soccer kick from the apron then tosses Bo into the barricade a few times. Back inside, Balor hits a sling blade then knocks Bo down with a shotgun dropkick before the Coup de Grace gets the win (3:32) *1/2.
Thoughts: The action was fine while it lasted. Bo’s look his different and he appears to have more upper body strength. I liked the increased aggression for him too as it plays into what we see later on in the show. Anyway, Balor recovered quickly and got the win.
A trailer for the WWE 2K18 video game airs then Cole tells us that Seth Rollins will be on the cover of the game and talk about it after the break.
Kurt Angle is backstage on the phone telling someone how controversial the Money in the Bank show was last night. Graves comes in to interrupt and says they both get the same text messages. Enzo Amore & Big Cass come in as Angle requested to speak with them. Angle is upset over Enzo’s Tweet about Conor McGregor then Enzo believes he was attacked by The Revival while Cass thinks that Big Show was behind his attack as Angle promises to find out who is responsible by the end of the night.
Seth Rollins comes out to the ring. He talks about how cool of a day he is having and how like most WWE fans grew up playing video games. Seth talks about how this almost ended up not happening due to taking The Authority’s offer a few years back then gets a “You Deserve It” chant. Seth then puts over the fans for giving him a second chance and says this is not just his over but rather “our” cover. He says the tag line is “Be Like No One” and talks about how that’s how to live your life but is interrupted by Bray Wyatt, who appears on the screen. Bray laughs at Seth’s claims that he’s is own person because he is still conforming but this time its to what the fans want him to be as he laughs. Seth says he is not that man but rather “the man” and tells Bray about his exciting past couple of years then talks about gods and how they only exist in our minds as he says in his world, Bray is nothing. Bray then yells at Seth for saying he warned him then says he is here. The lights go off as Bray comes out to the ring. Seth ends up taking Bray out with a tope then leaves while Bray is shown laughing on the floor.
Seth got over at first with the crowd by pumping them up about the video game cover but this feud isn’t really clicking and the stuff about “gods” is not holding my interest.
We are back to the announcers table as Cole & Booker T stare at Graves, who states that Kurt Angle is doing a great job as a GM and he stands by him 100%.
Charly Caruso is backstage with Finn Balor. He talks about doing everything in his power to reclaim the Universal Title. Balor is then asked about the Reigns vs. Joe match for tonight and talks about both men until Samson attacks from behind. Samson then grabs Balor and says never upstage him again as we see road agent D-Von Dudley yelling for help. Looks like we are getting a Balor/Samson feud, which is at least new.
Akira Tozawa vs. TJP come out to the ring for their match. However, Titus O’Neill comes out to interrupt and says a match of this magnitude deserves a proper introduction. He refers to Tozawa as a future Cruiserweight Champion then does his chants.
Akira Tozawa vs. TJP
Tozawa takes TJP down after an Irish whip sequence then works the arm. TJP breaks with a headscissors then dabs as he works that on the mat. TJP cheap shots Tozawa in the corner but Tozawa floats over and snaps off a hurricarana. Tozawa rolls through a sunset flip and hits a kick but TJP gets his knees up on a senton attempt. Neville comes out now and sits at the announcers table as he talks about getting a look at Tozawa, the man Titus foolishly claims will be the next Cruiserweight Champion as we head to break. The action returns with TJP in control. He gets a two count with a slingshot senton then cranks Tozawa’s neck. TJP comes back with a springboard forearm smash after getting kicked in the face then stretches out Tozawa. Titus rallies the crowd behind Tozawa, who floats over on a back suplex then catches TJP with a bicycle kick as both men are down. Tozawa heads up top but TJP is able to roll outside. However, Tozawa flies out to the floor with a tope then rolls TJP back inside. TJP lures Tozawa into the corner and follows with a chicken wing gutbuster for a nearfall. Tozawa escapes from a Detonation Kick and takes TJP down with a Saito suplex before getting the win with a top rope senton (10:34) **1/2.
Thoughts: The first half was focused on everything but the match then it got good after the break. Tozawa is clearly being pushed as the #1 Contender and gets a win over a credible opponent tonight.
After the match, Titus tells the crowd to give it up for Tozawa then hypes his tag match with Apollo Crews against Cesaro & Sheamus and how it will be a celebration. Titus then tells Tozawa how the money will be flowing after he wins the Cruiserweight Championship. Neville has enough and cuts them off as warns Tozawa to tread very,very carefully unless he wants to be annihilated. Titus then calls out Neville for being a “little boy” and the “Neville Level” will be overcome by the “Power of Tozawa.” If you want to get the Cruiserweights over, then you got to stop making most of this storyline about Titus O’Neill, who is far from the solution to help the ailing Cruiserweight Division.
We now get an R-Truth promo as he quotes “Batman” and tells Goldust he is going down next week when they are in Los Angeles. He then tells him he “gone get got.”
In the locker room, Curtis Axel consoles an angry Bo Dallas. The Miz then interrupts and tells both guys they are not looking too hot right now and have no one to blame but themselves. Miz says both of them were stars on the “Marine 5” set and then puts down their WWE characters before telling Axel he’ll continue to have matches backstage against “catering” and then offers both men a spot in his entourage. Miz was ruthless on the mic in how he put down both men but did seem to light a fire in them at the end.
Charly is backstage with Samoa Joe and asks him about how he is preparing for Reigns tonight. Joe says the question should be how will Reigns prepare for a match against himself since he beat him once already as we see the finish of that match. Joe then says its real simple as Reigns forgotten past will cause him to leave here tonight a broken match then promises to never let go of the Coquina Clutch at Great Balls of Fire against Brock Lesnar so he will become the Universal Champion. Excellent promo by Joe, who has been bringing the goods.
Roman Reigns vs. Samoa Joe
They go back-and-forth for a bit then try to knock each other off of their feet. Reigns takes Joe down with a shoulder tackle after they traded strikes then Joe rolls outside for a breather. He heads back in and lures Reigns into the corner. Reigns fights back until Joe whips him into the corner and follows with an enziguiri. Reigns bails as Joe was about to put him in the Coquina Clutch then heads back inside where Joe cuts him off then yells “What’s my name” before landing a few headbutts. Reigns catches Joe with a Samoan Drop then heads out and attempts a Drive By but Joe gets off of the apron then rams Reigns into the post. Joe follows with a running senton on the floor as we head to break. The match returns with the action back in the ring as Joe is still in control. He puts Reigns in a chinlock then hits a senton but misses a second attempt as both men are down. Reigns dodges a corner charge then hits a clothesline as he starts to run wild. He gets two with a super kick then hammers away in the corner. He now sets up for the Superman Punch but Joe sees it coming and bails. Reigns stalks Joe outside and knocks him down with the Drive By before rolling him inside. Reigns sets up for the Superman Punch again but Joe catches him and hits an atomic drop. Joe follows with a boot to the face and hits a senton for a two count. Reigns counters an uranage with an arm drag then finally hits the Superman Punch but Joe is just able to kick out. Joe cuts off a spear attempt with a knee smash then gets two with an uranage. Reigns fights off a Coquina Clutch attempt then hits a spear but Joe was just able to get his foot on the ropes, which was really telegraphed with how they positioned themselves on the landing. Joe rolls outside then just beats the ten count then Reigns sets up for another spear but we hear the sound of a truck backing up then see Braun Strowman pop out of an ambulance backstage. He starts screaming then Joe puts a shocked Reigns in the Coquina Clutch as Reigns is fading away then the ref calls for the bell as Joe put him out (18:08) ***3/4.
Thoughts: A really good match that was hitting its stride until the finish. Joe needed the win and got his finisher over so that was good as Reigns was protected in defeat. Not the worst finish here either as the company has done a nice job in building Joe back up as a top contender.
After the match, Braun Strowman heads out to the ring. He tells Reigns that he is not finished with him then hits a front chokeslam and yells. The crowd chants for him to do it again then as Strowman tells Reigns if he is man enough, he will see him at Great Balls of Fire in an ambulance match. The crowd was into Strowman’s return and watching him scream after opening the Ambulance door was cool.
Back from break, we learn that Reigns vs. Strowman will happen at Great Balls of Fire.
Miz TV with his wife, Maryse, as the guest. We are shown clips of the past two weeks with Miz upsetting his wife, leading to her walking out on his match last week. He has two bear mascots holding up signs for his wife and a giant present behind him. Miz tells us he owes his wife an apology as he comes out but is not happy. Miz talks about how he is a man who can admit that he is wrong as he apologizes for destroying the grandfather clock giving to him two weeks ago and knocking her off of the ring apron last week. He then has her open the giant gift and reveals the broken grandfather clock that he claims to have fixed by watching videos on YouTube as her mood improves. He then expresses his love to her and vows never to put her in harms way ever again. Dean Ambrose comes out now as Miz accidentally dumps champagne on Maryse when he pulled her in front of him to be his shield. Miz apologizes then tries to run after Ambrose but misses and knocks over the clock as Maryse is pissed and leaves again. Miz then gets hit with the Dirty Deeds but the bears end up attacking Dean then unmask to reveal Dallas & Axel as Miz finally joins them and they pose in the ring. I do not know if this was done to write Maryse off of TV as Miz now has a pair of lackeys. The end of this was fine but the rest was pretty bad to be honest. The Miz/Ambrose feud is ready to end soon.
Titus O’Neill & Apollo Crews vs. Cesaro & Sheamus
Cesaro takes down Crews but after that is hit with a dropkick. Cesaro fights back and hits an uppercut before tagging out as the Hardy Boyz are shown watching this match in the locker room. Cesaro & Sheamus cut off the ring then Cesaro works a chinlock. Crews hits a dropkick then tags out as Titus gets zero reaction. He beats on Cesaro then Crews is back in and gets a nearfall with a standing moonsault. The match breaks down as Cesaro uppercuts Sheamus behind the ref’s back and the champs put Crews away with an assisted White Noise (4:13) *.
Thoughts: Crowd was just dead for this whole match. Apparently, they decided to turn Titus into a babyface tonight but no one seemed to care in this crowd. Nothing more than third-hour filler.
We get a video package on the WWE Universal Championship Match at Great Balls of Fire between Samoa Joe and Brock Lesnar. Both men will be on RAW next week too. I though this was well produced.
Sasha Banks vs. Nia Jax
At 10:48pm EST we get our first appearance from the RAW Women’s Division. Alexa Bliss joins on commentary as this match started during the break. We return with Nia in comtrol as she tosses Sasha in the corner. Sasha fights back then hits a meteora as both women are down. Emma then confronts Alexa on commentary and yells at her for walking out last week as Alexa runs into the ring to hide beiind Alexa. Nia then puts Alexa in front of her but Alexa moves away then Nia gets pissed at Emma and knocks her down as this is ruled a no contest (1:07) Dana Brooke & Mickie James run out as Nia easily disposes them but Bayley makes her return and runs wild on Alexa and Emma until Nia takes her down. Bayley fights back then Sasha, Mickie, and Dana join to take Nia out of the ring.
Thoughts: Just a random, throwaway segment to build to a multi-person match at some point. They really positioned the Women’s Division as a complete afterthought tonight. For some reason, Emma & Alexa were teaming up during the brawl despite the fact that Emma chased Alexa into the ring. I really feel bad for the women on this roster as the RAW Women’s Division has been booked like garbage since the “Superstar Shakeup” and they all try hard and deserve much better than what we have witnessed.
Angle comes out into the ring. He talks about the attacks that have happened to Enzo & Cass and promises to get to the bottom of this as he will not let RAW devolve. Enzo & Cass now come out to the ring as Cass promises to find out whoever has been behind the attacks before going into the SAWFT routine. Angle then brings out some of the suspects he has been talking with tonight. The Revival come out then the Big Show is next. Angle asks Big Show if he did this as Show is offended then tells Enzo & Cass they are soft and do not need to attack them from behind as he can just punch them in the mouth. Show is then offended that Angle thinks he is reduced to this so he decides to walk away as he leaves RAW. Cass claims that Show is lying because he had a lump the size of the baseball on the back of his head and was told that by the medical team. Scott Dawson speaks of his innocence and Angle confirms that The Revival are innocent but Graves notes that he spoke with medical staff and Cass was never checked out by them. Cass then claims he was seen by the EMT’s so Graves shows us security footage of Cass by himself backstage as he looks around carefully before laying down materials then stomps the ground to pretend that he got attacked. Graves then calls out Cass for attacking Enzo then Cass finally snaps and yells how he did it due to how much Enzo runs his mouth. Enzo is distraught as Cass says there have been so many times he wanted to knock out Enzo himself but felt bad for him because everyone hates Enzo in the locker room. Cass talks about putting up with Enzo’s crap for years until he finally slapped and how it felt damn good when he attacked him from behind. Cass then says he could have snapped his neck like a twig but wanted to see him suffer due to all the crap he put up with dating back to NXT. Cass then says he realized Enzo is dumb and nothing but dead weight holding him down then says they’re through as he boots Enzo in the face.
Cass as the attacker was predictable but he delivered a really good promo here. He was justified in being frustrated with Enzo but staging his own attacks while ambushing his friend from behind is enough to be positioned as a heel no matter how obnoxious your partner can be and the fans booed him at the end. Enzo also shed some tears too as the show ended at 11:17pm EST with Cass walking up the aisle alone.
Final Thoughts: This show had its moments with a really good match in Joe vs. Reigns and Cass turning at the end. However, some of these feuds are not working and doing stuff like having two people who were about to fight team up a minute later and deciding to make Titus O’Neill a face out of the blue leaves you scratching your heads. The storytelling still sucks and the creative team is failing at their jobs to make compelling characters and stories. Its what turns people off from watching on TV.
The build for Lesnar vs. Joe has been fantastic though and Strowman vs. Reigns in another match should also be really good but the rest of Great Balls of Fire seems ice cold and I do not see how you can remedy that in two weeks. Maybe they make Balor vs. Samson interesting but thats about the only other potential match that has a chance.