Bayless’ Raw Rundown – 7/31/17

July 31, 2017
From the PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh, PA
Your hosts are Michael Cole, Corey Graves, and Booker T

The show starts off with a video package hyping up tonight’s triple threat match between Roman Reigns, Samoa Joe, and Braun Strowman.

Kurt Angle comes out to start off the live show. He gets a great reaction from his hometown crowd. He talks about planning an incredible show with Big Show vs. Big Cass, Miz TV with guest Jason Jordan, and tonight’s triple-threat match. Angle then tells us today is the 21st anniversary of when he won an Olympic Gold Medal then thanks the crowd and is about to leave but Brock Lesnar & Paul Heyman come out to the ring. Heyman says he knows what Angle is trying to do and that is doing everything he can to take the title off of Lesnar by putting him in a Fatal Four Way match at SummerSlam. Heyman puts over the other competitors and suggests Angle wants the title off of Lesnar in order to protect the RAW brand. Heyman says they might as well name SummerSlam after Lesnar losing the title then says if Lesnar loses the title, he will leave the WWE and Heyman will follow suit. Heyman then tells Angle that Lesnar will not lose his title and storms off with his client.

Solid start to the show with Heyman adding another storyline heading into the Fatal Four Way match at SummerSlam with Lesnar leaving the WWE if he losses. With Lesnar and Jon Jones calling each other out it is very possible that Lesnar can leave the company and compete in UFC after SummerSlam. 

Hardy Boyz vs. Karl Anderson & Luke Gallows

The Revival are on commentary. Anderson and Matt start off the match as The Revival puts themselves over on commentary, stating they are the #1 contenders for the Tag Team Titles. The Hardy Boyz work over Anderson now as the announcers ask The Revival about their Twitter exchanges with the Hardy Boyz. The Hardy Boyz clear the ring after Gallows runs in then we head to commercial. The match returns with Gallows beating on Jeff as we saw him take control during the break with a super kick. Jeff hits Gallows with a Twist of Fate and tries to make a tag but Anderson cuts him off after a tag. However, Anderson misses a charge then Jeff tags out as Matt runs wild. Matt gets a nearfall with a bulldog. Side Effect gets two. Gallows kicks Matt in the back of the head from the apron but Jeff breaks up a Magic Killer attempt. Anderson then gets dumped as Matt hits Gallows with the Twist of Fate then Jeff puts him away with the swanton bomb (9:06) *1/2. After the match, The Revival have words with the Hardy Boyz near the ramp then start brawling. Gallows & Anderson join in as this ends with the Hardy Boyz cleaning house.

Thoughts: The match was disappointing as both teams looked sluggish and appeared to be going through the motions. They spent a lot of time trying to put over The Revival on commentary but the team did not impress all that much on the mic. Anyway, these teams are all feuding with each other and a triple threat tag match between them at SummerSlam is certainly a possibility.

Renee Young is backstage with Dean Ambrose. She shows him footage from last week where he teamed with Seth Rollins to defeat Miz & The Miztourage. However, Dean shoved Seth away after a hug then left him hanging after Seth tried to give the Shield fist bump. Dean said he felt good then is about to answer if he will get back together with Seth, who interrupts. Dean tells Seth he still does not trust Seth and even though the WWE Universe wants it to happen and maybe a small part of him does too, its not going to happen.

After the break, Seth is shown walking backstage where Sheamus & Cesaro confront him as Cesaro says he wishes he could relate to his experience but they are now the best of friends because they trust each other, unlike Seth who stabbed his former friend Dean in the back. They remind Seth that he is alone and could not even be on an episode of “Ride Along” as they suggest he have a show called “Ride Alone.” Seth then says if they want to pick a fight, then to fight and challenges either of them to a match tonight. Sheamus says he will fight Seth.

Cedric Alexander & Rich Swann & Akira Tozawa w/ Titus O’Neill vs. TJP & Tony Nese & Ariya Daivari

Nese and Alexander start off with Alexander getting the best of him. Swann and Daivari are in now as Swann gets a two count with a headscissor takedown. Cole tells us that Daivari is calling himself the “Sheik” of the Cruiserweight Division as Tozawa hits him with a senton. Daivari attacks Tozawa’s injured shoulder as Tozawa screams at Titus, stating he is okay as we head to break. The match returns with Daivari continuing to work over Tozawa’s shoulder. Tozawa comes back with the Shining Wizard then tags as Swann runs wild on TJP. Nese breaks up the pin after a standing frog splash then the match breaks down with Swann & Alexander hitting dives to the outside. Tozawa then flies out with a tope to take down Daivari. Back inside, Swann and TJP mix it up then Swann makes a blind tag and hits a roundhouse kick before Tozawa hits a top rope senton for the win (8:46) **1/4.

Thoughts: The action was decent but the crowd was dead for this match. Tozawa got the win as he heads into tomorrow night’s match on “205 Live” against Daivari to determine who gets to face Neville for the Cruiserweight Title at SummerSlam.

Miz TV with guest Jason Jordan. Miz tells us how he hates Pittsburgh then welcomes Jordan to the ring. He asks Jordan how he feels and about the fans booing him. Jordan says will do what they want and that is cool but when it comes to boos, Miz is the expert. Miz tells Jordan he is great in the ring, similar to his father, then asks Jordan if he can guide his career. He offers Jordan a spot in his Miztourage but Jordan declines. Miz tells Jordan he has main-evented WrestleMania and has the knowledge to keep him from being taken advantage of by the others in the WWE but Jordan still passes. Miz then calls out Jordan for having his dad hand him out opportunities as Jordan says he has talked with “Kurt” and will be earning his opportunities. Jordan then says he would rather take his chances and get chewed up and spit out rather than join the Miztourage. Miz then goads Jordan by ragging on his dad for making bad life choices and gets in another dig at Pittsburgh. Jordan gets up and tells Miz if he says one more word about “Kurt” he will make him regret it then hits Miz with an overhead suplex that wipes out the Miztourage.

The Miz was good here but Jordan really struggled. The crowd is not reacting to him and so far he has been unable to prove he has the chops to thrive in this role. That and the fact he fails to show any personality when given the opportunity. The storyline is bad to begin with and they are playing it straightforward and its just too boring to care about. 

We get a video package promo from Reigns as he talks about taking out Strowman and Joe while reminding us that this is his yard.

Sheamus w/ Cesaro vs. Seth Rollins

Sheamus overpowers Seth to start. Seth fights back then they fight in the ropes with Sheamus landing a cheap shot. Seth dropkicks Sheamus outside then sets up for a tope but Cesaro ran interference long enough for Sheamus to cut him off as we head to commercial. The match returns with Sheamus still in control as Cesaro tells Seth that he does not have any friends. Seth is able to send Sheamus into the corner then fights back. He takes Sheamus outside with an enziguiri then flies out with a tope. Back inside, Seth hits a springboard clothesline then starts to run wild. He heads up top then knocks Cesaro off of the apron. Sheamus attacks Seth from behind but Seth comes back with a rollup for the win (8:27) **1/2. After the match, Cesaro runs in to take out Rollins as the crowd chants how they want Ambrose as the champs walk away after beating down Seth. The champs head back in after Seth got up but Ambrose does run out for the save. The champs outnumber Ambrose and beat him down now with Cesaro hitting the Neutralizer as the crowd boos. Ambrose tells tries to get them to come back and gets destroyed.

Thoughts: Solid TV match as it appears they are setting up these four to face off at some point with the Tag Titles on the line. The story of Cesaro & Sheamus taunting Rollins about being on the same page and friends while not stabbing each other in the back can work well with the current Rollins/Ambrose dynamic.

Now, we get a video package promo from Samoa Joe. He talks about how he took Lesnar to the limit and has Reigns’ number. He then promises to make Strowman pay for interfering in his business before saying someone will be going to sleep tonight.

Bray Wyatt heads out to the ring. He tells us there is no escape for us, our children, and certainly not for Finn Balor. Bray starts getting the “what” treatment from the crowd as rambles on for a bit before calling out the Balor Club for trying to live vicariously through Balor. Bray tells us that Balor is just a “putrid shell of a man” that is on borrowed time. He then talks about beating down Balor last week then poses to the crowd but we then hear the Demon song as the lights go out. The lights come on with Balor standing with his back turned to Bray with his arms extended. Bray laughs then paces around before trying to attack but Balor catches him with a Pele Kick then clears him from the ring before posing to the crowd. I liked Balor getting revenge on Bray but the Bray promos are just the same old stuff and you can tell the crowds are getting sick of them too. This feud has not started off hot.

Braun Strowman is now shown with his video package promo as he talks about doing what he wants, when he wants. He promises to destroy both Reigns and Joe so he can have Lesnar all to himself at SummerSlam, where he will prove that he is a champion among men. All of these promos from tonight’s triple threat competitors have been really good.

Samoa Joe vs. Braun Strowman vs. Roman Reigns

Strowman cleans house to start then screams how this is his yard as we head to break. The match returns with Strowman missing a corner charge as Joe & Reigns rough him up before tossing him outside. Reigns then runs wild on Joe until Joe sidesteps a clothesline and takes Reigns down with an armbar. Joe rolls over to switch arms as Reigns almost grabs the ropes but Strowman drags Joe outside and rams him into the barricade. Reigns heads out and attacks Strowman then they brawl into the crowd. Strowman tosses Reigns back towards the ring but Joe locks him in the Coquina Clutch. Reigns breaks up the hold but Joe reverses an Irish whip and sends Reigns into the barricade. Joe drops Reigns with an enziguiri then tosses him into the ring. Reigns fights back and drops Joe. He then takes Joe down outside with a Superman Punch off of the steps then charges towards Strowman but gets booted in the face. Strowman is still selling the effects of the Coquina Clutch but is able to beat down both men. Strowman tosses Reigns into the ring over the middle rope and tosses in a set of stairs but Joe gets up and fights back. Joe runs inside and almost puts Reigns away with a senton then wedges the stairs into the corner. Joe locks Reigns in the Coquina Clutch but Strowman runs them both over then hits Joe with a running powerslam but Reigns breaks up the pin. A “this is awesome” chant breaks out as Strowman destroys Reigns in the corner. Strowman grabs the steps as the crowd starts a “Yes” chant but Reigns drops him in a Superman Punch. Reigns then whacks Strowman with the stairs and sends him out of the ring before hitting Joe with the spear for the win (13:55) ***1/2.

Thoughts: These three showed why they are at the top of the RAW roster here. Really good TV match the guys beating on each other with Strowman showing off his power. Reigns finally got a pin against Joe and I expect them to face off in another singles match before SummerSlam.

We get a video package of the Enzo Amore/Big Cass/Big Show saga. After that, Enzo approaches Show backstage and thanking him for his help after apologizing for dragging him into his feud with Cass. Show tells Enzo it is fine and he promises to teach Cass some respect tonight.

Elias Samson is in the ring. He tells us his song is inspired by Pittsburgh as he puts down the city despite the fact it is his hometown.

Elias Samson vs. Kalisto

Kalisto works a side headlock to start. And that last for a bit. Kalisto lands a few kicks but Samson tosses Kalisto into the ropes after a headscissor attempt as we head to break. We return with Samson working a chinlock. He hits a backbreaker and a vertical suplex that get nearfalls. Samson works a backbreaker submission but Kalisto escapes. Kalisto hits an upkick then starts to run wild but Samson hits a knee smash then hits the Drift Away for the win (7:25) *.

Thoughts: The announcers were just referring to Samson as “Elias” here as he might be losing his last name. He got some heat with the song but once the bell rang it all went away. Samson showed nothing here and the crowd could not be bothered to care about Kalisto’s comeback. It appears that Samson is someone the company is high on based off of the praise he was getting from the announcers.

Charly Caruso is backstage with Alexa Bliss. Alexa talks about she beat Bayley for the title and how Bayley was afraid to get “extreme” before being upset those are accusing her of intentionally getting herself disqualified at Great Balls of Fire against Sasha Banks. Alexa then tells us Sasha is not here to save Bayley from Nia Jax.

Ambrose & Rollins are in the locker room. Rollins thanks Ambrose for his help but Ambrose says he did not help Rollins and only came out because Rollins is the “architect” and devised a plan to make him look like the bad guy if he did not come out. Ambrose leaves as Rollins looks sad. They are continuing to show how Ambrose still does not trust Rollins, even if his reasoning here for making the save was convoluted.

Bayley vs. Nia Jax

Bayley lands a few kicks but Nia tosses her outside. Bayley heads right back in but Nia takes her down with a headbutt. Bayley remains resilient but gets overpowered and tossed outside right before the break. We return with Bayley escaping from a full nelson but ending up getting slammed down hard. Rough landing for Bayley there, courtesy of Nia being sloppy. She rolls outside where the ref checks on her as Nia mocks Bayley by putting her hair in a side ponytail. Bayley rolls back inside as Nia roughs her up. Bayley fights back and takers her down. She sends Nia onto the apron with a dropkick then takes her off with a knee smash. Bayley takes her down with a plancha from the apron but Alexa runs out and attacks. Bayley fights her off but Nia breaks that up and asks Alexa if she is okay. Bayley then is able to avoid a charge as Nia hits the steps as Bayley rolls herself in and gets the win via countout (8:48) 1/2*. Bayley is able to escape from Nia & Alexa after the match ends.

Thoughts: Bayley tried but this was one of Nia’s worst performances on the roster. The crowd did not care about this match at any point and the finish was terrible too. Why was Nia not disqualified after Alexa ran out to attack Bayley? Bayley got a weak win as she is still an ice cold babyface character heading into her title match at SummerSlam.

Renee is backstage with Big Cass. He says its not possible for Big Show to teach him a lesson in respect since he hangs out with Enzo. Cass then tells us his grandmother told him you are judged by the company you keep. Cass did not impress here whatsoever.

Enzo comes out to the ring. He talks about Cass doing awful things but that he has done some bad stuff too. Enzo then has some bit about not eating the “bruised brown part of a banana” then tells Cass that Show will write him a reality check and will leave him black and blue. Not Enzo’s best work.

Big Show w/ Enzo Amore vs. Big Cass

Cass has new theme music, which still sounds generic. Show attacks Cass as he entered the ring. The ref steps between then the bell rings as Show chops Cass in the corner. Show hammers away then tosses Cass outside. Show tries to drag Cass back inside but Cass fights back and snaps his neck off of the rope. Cass heads back in but Show hits a shoulder tackle. Show drops an elbow for a two count and follows with a suplex. Show signals for the chokeslam but Cass kicks his knee. Cass dropkicks Show’s knees then hammers away. He works the legs on the mat then tries to come off the middle rope but Show chops him down. Cass comes back with a big boot but Enzo jumps on his back for the DQ (5:30) *. After the match, Cass takes Enzo down and charges at Show but runs into the knockout punch.

Thoughts: Forgettable match with a dumb ending. Why they ran this to close the show is beyond me but the finish was weak as Cass did not show anything here to make you think he can succeed as a singles heel act. I guess this storyline continues into SummerSlam.

Final Thoughts: The triple threat match was really good, the Lesnar news was huge, and the Rollins/Ambrose stuff is interesting but the rest of the show was not and the final hour was terrible. They are trying to push newer acts but they all had off nights on this show and this Jordan/Angle stuff is not connecting. The top RAW match at SummerSlam should be awesome but the rest of the feuds on the show are flat for the most part. They have three more weeks to heat things up before the PPV.

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