August 14, 2017
From the TD Garden in Boston, MA
Your hosts are Michael Cole, Corey Graves, and Booker T
We get a video package on Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins as it recaps their relationship over the past few weeks.
Ambrose comes out to the ring as we kick off the show. He yells for his music to get cut then tells us he is wondering what is going on between Rollins and himself, much like the rest of us, before bringing Rollins to the ring. Ambrose tells Rollins he is sick of playing games and wants to know what he is doing. Rollins wants to know why Ambrose keeps showing up to save him then says deep down Ambrose wants to team with him and that the two of them can own the place. Rollins sticks out his fist as the crowd goes nuts while a conflicted Ambrose paces around. Ambrose then says last week Rollins burned him and that leads to Rollins saying he cannot even trust him and thinks it might be a stupid idea for them to team up. Rollins then says maybe their differences make them such a great team and how together, no one can touch them. Rollins is about to leave but Ambrose grabs his arm then looks around before sticking out his fist. Rollins makes a fist then goes to leave but Ambrose grabs his arm again then the two have a shoving match ending with Ambrose taking him down. Ambrose yells “what is your problem” before the two spill outside. However, Cesaro & Sheamus run out and beat them down. Ambrose is tossed over the barricade then the champs drag Rollins inside and beat him down. Ambrose gets up and runs in but is quickly outnumbered. Rollins manages to hit a crossbody onto Sheamus then they fight back and clear the champs from the ring. Ambrose and Rollins stare each other down then Ambrose starts looking crazed and sticks out his fist but pulls back as Rollins does not reciprocate. Rollins then sticks out his fist as he apparently wants to be the first one to initiate this and the two briefly go back-and-forth until finally bumping fist as the crowd goes mental. GM Kurt Angle then comes out and tells us that Rollins & Ambrose vs. Cesaro & Sheamus for the RAW Tag Team Titles will happen at SummerSlam.
Good segment. Rollins seemed to struggle a bit on the mic at the beginning but the crowd was red hot and they built up a lot of interest in these two teaming up again over the past few weeks. The fist bump got a huge reaction and they now have a big title match for this Sunday.
Back from break, Michael Cole tells us that Ric Flair is facing multiple medical issues at the moment but did have successful surgery today.
RAW Women’s Championship #1 Contender’s Match: Nia Jax vs. Sasha Banks
Alexa Bliss comes out and sits in a lifeguard chair that is in the middle of the aisle. Nia runs over Sasha then we head to break. We return with Nia in control but Sasha fights back. Sasha tries to hit a hurricarana on the outside but is caught and flung hard into the barricade. Nia rolls her inside for a two count then works a bearhug. Nia tosses Sasha around a few more times then gets a nearfall with a leg drop. Sasha counters a possible chicken wing gutbuster attempt with a rollup then gets on Nia’s shoulders and works a rear chinlock. Nia breaks that up with a Samoan Drop that gets two then she hits another one but Sasha rolls outside to avoid getting pinned. Sasha gets back in and manages to avoid an elbow drop as we head to a second commercial. The action returns with Sasha hitting Nia with rapid-fire knee strikes in the corner. Nia catches Sasha with a big boot though then tries to pick her up but Sasha pulls her down and locks on the Banks Statement. Nia almost makes it to the ropes but Sasha spins around and locks it on from the other side. Nia gets up and tries a side slam but Sasha flips over and takes Nia down with a DDT then locks on the Banks Statement in the middle of the ring as Nia has no choice but to tap out (14:54) **.
Thoughts: I thought this started off painfully slow but picked up towards the end with Sasha finally getting Nia down in order to lock on the Banks Statement. With Bayley out due to injury Sasha is the best choice as a replacement.
Backstage, Angle is happy about what he just saw. We then see the Hardy Boyz as Angle tells them that Scott Dawson’s injury means they will not be facing them at SummerSlam. Matt talks about having a “delightful” time at SummerSlam but Miz and The Miztourage interrupt. They are upset over being attacked by Brock Lesnar as Miz tells Angle he will be facing Jason Jordan tonight instead of Axel but then a referee runs over to say there is a problem between Finn Balor and Bray Wyatt as we head to break.
After commercial we see Balor and Wyatt brawling as several officials are trying to separate them. They refuse to wait until SummerSlam to wrestle then Angle says that means SummerSlam is coming early.
Elias Samson is in the ring. He then asks who wants to walk him in then talks about Fenway Park being a dump but it did inspire him to write a song. Elias sings about the people in Boston being disgusting and how he cannot wait to leave because it is “wicked cursed” but R-Truth interrupts. Elias then attacks R-Truth as soon as he entered the ring. Elias then asks for his guitar and puts hit over his shoulder as his theme plays. Elias got a lot of heat here and does a great job doing so with his prematch routine but needs to work on maintaining that from bell-to-bell.
Big Cass comes out as the shark cage that Enzo Amore will be suspended above ringside at SummerSlam is in the ring. We are shown a replay of Big Show knocking him out last week then Cass tries to talk but is booed whenever he tries to speak as the crowd is ragging on him something fierce. Cass keeps stopping when the booing gets loud and says he will stay all night. He finally speaks and talks about facing Big Show at SummerSlam as the booing continues, which Cass says he’ll talk over them. Cass then tells us how Enzo Amore needs to stand behind someone so they can defend him from all the people he pisses off in the locker room. Cass then says Big Show needs his “jester” to come out in order to stay relevant. Cass then makes fun of the crowd for laughing at Enzo’s awful jokes then talks about Enzo getting to see Show get destroyed while locked inside of a shark cage. Cass then promises to prove how he is the “best big man” in the game today but Enzo interrupts. Enzo does his shtick then mocks Cass by speaking then stopping as he says Cass is rambling like a man that has been knocked out two weeks in a row. Enzo starts mocking Cass by dancing in the aisle as Cass tells him to come and say this to his face. Enzo then asks Cass if he is seeing “stars” but jokes that he is looking at one right now before bringing out the Big Show. Both men are behind the cage as Cass knocks Enzo off of the apron. Show attacks Cass but then Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson run out and attack Show, who fights them off until getting hit with a big boot from Cass. Cass ties a belt around Show’s wrist and Gallows holds it as Cass slams the door on the hand then starts stomping it as Anderson has grabbed the legs of Show to help hold him down. Cass then holds up his arm as the crowd boos while a few officials check on Big Show.
Cass ended up getting a ton of heel heat here. I really liked the end with Cass targeting the hand that knocked him out as with Gallows & Anderson helping out its clear what Cass’s plan was when suggesting Enzo get suspended above the ring.
Clips of last week’s Last Man Standing match between Roman Reigns and Braun Strowman that saw Samoa Joe choke out Reigns to cost him the match.
Graves lets us know that Titus O’Neill has gotten Akira Tozawa a Cruiserweight Title match tonight against Neville.
WWE Cruiserweight Championship Match: Akira Tozawa w/ Titus O’Neill vs. Neville
Tozawa manages a quick rollup for two then they end in a stalemate. They get in each other’s faces before Tozawa catches a kick and follows with a dropkick. Tozawa hits several chops but Neville boots him in the gut. Tozawa dropkicks Neville off of the apron after a reversal sequence then knocks him down with a right after Neville prevented a dive attempt as we head to commercial. The action returns with Neville hitting a missile dropkick for a two count. Neville targets the shoulder an arm while Booker T talks about Tozawa being trained by Ultimo Dragon. Tozawa escapes and hits a Saito suplex then flies out with a tope. Tozawa heads back inside for a second one then rolls Neville in as that gets two as Titus is all fired up now too. Tozawa avoids a dropkick then kicks Neville in the face. Tozawa heads up top but Neville cuts him off and they fight up top until Neville hits a superplex as both men are down. Neville hits a few kicks but Tozawa snaps off a hurricarana then hits an enziguiri. Tozawa heads back up top but Neville gets to his feet. Neville then uses the ref as a shield before yanking Tozawa down by the shoulder. Neville targets the shoulder for a bit longer then heads up top for the Red Arrow but Tozawa moves out of the way and climbs up top slowly and hits the senton for the win and the Cruiserweight Championship (11:29) ***1/4. After the match, Apollo Crews runs out to join the celebration as Graves compares this upset to Buster Douglas beating Mike Tyson as Titus parades around the ring with Tozawa on his shoulders.
Thoughts: Neville’s dominant title reign ends here on RAW. The match was good but a bit slower paced than you would expect from the two. The crowd gave Tozawa a good ovation after his victory too. A nice moment for Tozawa and the Titus Brand.
Replay of Cass, Gallows, and Anderson destroying Big Show’s hand. After that, we see Show & Enzo in the trainer’s room as Show learns his hand is broken. Enzo tells Show not to worry about SummerSlam but he tells Enzo that he has fought bigger and hurt worse before as he will be wrestling at SummerSlam. I liked Show’s promo a lot as a worried Enzo will have to watch his new friend while locked inside of a cage.
Emma and Mickie James are in the locker room. Emma is upset over social media blowing up about Sasha’s win as she was screwed out of the title opportunity last week. Emma then rambles on about being part of the “Women’s Revolution” until Mickie cuts her off. Mickie reminds Emma that she tapped out last week and likes to write her own history. She then tells Emma to put her phone down and challenges her to a match for tonight.
Bray Wyatt vs. Finn Balor
Balor starts kicking the legs of Wyatt then grabs a side headlock as he is starting off in an aggressive manner. Wyatt cuts off a springboard move with an uppercut then taunts the crowd after a shoulder tackle. Balor uses Wyatt’s momentum to take him outside then hits a soccer kick from the apron as we head to break. The match returns with Wyatt taking Balor down with a side headlock. Wyatt hits a gutbuster for two as the announcers talk about him being threatened over Balor’s “Balor Club” because he believes he is a god. Wyatt uses a chinlock but Balor escapes. Balor hits a few kicks in the corner then runs wild. Both men collide and are down for a bit but Balor comes back with a sling blade. Wyatt sidesteps a shotgun dropkick attempt and gets two with a senton. Wyatt taunts the crowd then sets up for the Sister Abigail but Balor escapes then hits a stomp. Wyatt rolls outside but Balor runs out and dropkicks him into the barricade. Back inside, Balor heads up top but Wyatt cuts him off and hits the Sister Abigail for the win (11:31) **1/4. After the match, Balor tries to pull himself up by Wyatt’s leg but gets hit with another Sister Abigail instead. The lights go off then turn back on with Wyatt is holding a bucket of red paint that he pours all over Balor, who is rolling around while Wyatt screams then laughs.
Thoughts: Man, the crowd was dead for this match. In a show where Big Cass and Elias got a lot of heel heat, Wyatt could not get much of anything. Plus, having Balor lose clean was moronic. Its obvious the end was leading to The Demon being brought back but at least have a screwy finish that sees Wyatt cheat to win instead of losing clean as a sheet. While Wyatt’s promos are repetitive, his ring work has taken a noticeable step back this year.
Emma vs. Mickie James
Emma works a side headlock to start. Mickie escapes and lands a few kicks then a pancake but gets cut off the top rope and spills outside. Emma rolls Mickie back in and covers for two as the announcers talk about SummerSlam. Emma locks on a full nelson but Mickie escapes. Emma takes her back down with a clothesline and follows with some mounted punches before pulling the hair. She hits a double underhook suplex for two but runs into a super kick. Mickie heads to the middle rope but gets yanked off as Emma tries a few pin attempts but cannot get the win. Mickie then ducks an attack and hits a roundhouse kick for the win (4:08) 3/4*.
Thoughts: This was rough. The match was disjointed and the crowd was silent and did not care one bit. For someone who has been regarded as underutilized, Emma has shown nothing at all while on the main roster to show she is worth getting a bigger opportunity.
We get a special look at the film “The Hitman’s Bodyguard.” They used clips of WWE partners that disagreed with each other to supplement the film clips.
Balor leaves Angle’s office and is interviewed by Charly Caruso. He talks about having a rematch against Wyatt at SummerSlam then mentions that he has his demons too. The sooner this feud ends the better for Balor because feuding with Wyatt is going nowhere.
Miz w/ Maryse & The Miztourage vs. Jason Jordan
Cole says a win tonight could put Jordan in contention for the Intercontinental Title. Jordan uses his amateur wrestling skills to take control early. Miz reaches the ropes then Jordan sends him outside with a dropkick. Miz huddles with the Miztourage but Jordan avoids a sneak attack then spears Miz in the corner. He sets up for his pop-up neckbreaker but The Miztourage run in for the DQ (1:33). They beat down Jordan until the Hardy Boyz make the save as we go to break.
Thoughts: Just a set up for what we saw after the break.
Miz w/ Maryse & The Miztourage vs. Jason Jordan & The Hardy Boyz
This match was made by Angle during the commercial break. The Hardy Boyz work over the arm of Axel to start as the crowd does “delete” chants when Matt is in the ring. Jordan gets in and also works the arm until Axel knees him in the gut. Bo is in and is taken quickly taken down. Matt hits a DDT then works the arm too as the announcers talk about Matt Hardy using the word “woken” and how they put The Revival out of commission. Miz is in now as Jordan works him over. Jordan charges in the corner but Axel yanks Miz out of harms way as we head to break. The match returns as Matt is beating on Axel. Matt gets distracted and knocks Miz & Bo off of the apron but that allows Axel to attack from behind. The Miztourage cuts off the ring then Miz tags in and knocks Jordan off of the apron. Miz runs into a clothesline then is able to tag out as Jeff runs wild. He gets a nearfall with the Whisper in the Wind then heads back up top but Miz cuts him off then Bo hits a draping Roll of the Dice but Jordan makes the save. Jordan runs wild then Jeff hits Bo with the Twist of Fate that Axel breaks up. Jordan is in and tosses around Axel and Miz then the Hardy Boyz put Bo away with the Twist of Fate/Swanton combo (14:19) **.
Thoughts: The crowd loved the Hardy Boyz but this was a really slow match until the final minutes. Jordan showed great fire but really proved to me that he is better suited in a tag team running wild off of a hot tag than he is a singles performer. At least now anyway. He is still not over though and the storyline remains poor as Angle and him have barely been on screen together since the reveal. The other story being played up was Miz being afraid of Jordan and his amateur ability.
Cole then breaks the news that “The Demon” Finn Balor will be back at SummerSlam. Hopefully that gets over with the crowd because the feud is ice cold.
Tomorrow night on “205 Live” we will see Tozawa’s championship celebration. Also, Neville revoked his rematch clause and will be facing Tozawa at SummerSlam. I really hope this was not done just as a “moment” so Neville can win it back at SummerSlam.
Angle is in the ring. He has security surrounding ringside as he welcomes out those involved in the Universal Title Fatal Four Way match at SummerSlam. Brock Lesnar & Paul Heyman are out first as Heyman talks about no matter how much security there is all hell will break loose. Heyman then tells us that Lesnar will take care of all three challengers. Samoa Joe comes out next and even shoves a security guy in the back before entering the ring. Joe tells Lesnar he does not fear him and at SummerSlam he will rip the Universal Championship from his hands after putting him to sleep with the Coquina Clutch. Braun Strowman comes in now sporting a new shirt as he tells both men he is always the last man standing. Joe interrupts to remind Strowman that he was the one who put Reigns out and that Reigns was beating him down before that happened. Joe then says Strowman was barely able to stand up as he was putting Reigns down. Reigns comes in and immediately spears Joe but Strowman hits Reigns with a powerslam. We are left with Strowman and Lesnar in the ring now as security runs in to stop any potential confrontation. Security struggles to keep the guys apart then get tossed outside until its just Strowman and Lesnar. The locker room empties as they separate the two. Both guys each break free to land a few punches then the show ends. I liked the mic work by Heyman and Joe here and the pull apart between Lesnar and Strowman. It looks like they are going for Reigns/Joe and Strowman/Lesnar as post-SummerSlam feuds.
Final Thoughts: The first half of this show was solid but it really died down after that. Tozawa winning and the Ambrose & Rollins fist bump were great to see and they did hype up a few other midcard matches at SummerSlam. However, the Wyatt/Balor stuff was poor and deflated the crowd.
As far as SummerSlam is concerned on the RAW side, the Universal Title match should be a blast as they’ve built up all four men as credible threats. Its also the biggest match on the show. The Tag Title match should be another good one and I’d say the same for the Cruiserweight Title match too. Alexa and Sasha had a good match last time out and hopefully their chemistry continues.
Anyway, the direction that RAW heads after SummerSlam is intriguing with the rumors of another “Superstar Shakeup” on the horizon and especially with the stipulation of the Fatal Four Way where Lesnar has to leave the WWE if he loses the title.