WWE heads to our nation’s capital tonight as Raw is broadcast from the Verizon Center in Washington, DC. Last week, Roman Reigns and Samoa Joe attempted to settle the question as to who would face Brock Lesnar for the Universal Championship at SummerSlam, but Braun Strowman had something to say about that. That leaves GM Kurt Angle in a lurch – who gets that title shot? Angle promised in an interview last week after Raw that he would answer that question. Speaking of Angle, now that we know he has a “son” in Jason Jordan, what will Jordan’s impact be on the roster? What impact does that announcement have on Angle’s tenure? Also, Sasha Banks and Bayley are set to meet this week to see who faces Alexa Bliss at that show as well for the Raw Women’s Championship. Will Bliss, or Nia Jax, make their feelings known and interject in the match?
Show Open, Live from Washington DC at the Verizon Center:
Then, now, forever. Hitting the highlights tonight, folks – still reeling from that Battleground pay per view from last night. Seems most are really down on it – and with reason. Anyhow, the show opened tonight with a dramatic recap of Roman vs. Joe in last week’s main event with Braun Strowman interfering at the end. This is stuff that WWE does so damn well and it feels like that match was a huge deal as a result.
Kurt Angle made his entrance to hearty “You suck!” chants but he loves it. Cole recapped briefly that Angle revealed his son, Jason Jordan, last week and Corey Graves noted he must feel like the weight of the world off his shoulders. Angle recapped that same matter to start his promo, saying it was a private matter that he dealt with for months then decided to make it public. He said he was terrified at first but knew when he walked down the aisle that he did the right thing.
He said he gave Jordan an opportunity and the rest is up to him. He turned the corner to talk about Roman and Joe the chance to face Brock Lesnar, but Strowman interfered. He said he made a decision and Lesnar would be facing….
Braun Strowman made his entrance and stared at Angle. “The next words out of your mouth better be Braun Strowman, or else. Because unlike Roman Reigns and Samoa Joe, I won my match at Great Balls of Fire.” Strowman continued that he is not afraid of Lesnar, and in fact Lesnar fears him. He promised to break Lesnar in half.
Add Samoa Joe to the fray. Booker said Samoa Joe’s stock went up when he faced Lesnar. Joe said Strowman and he hadn’t crossed paths but introduced himself and said he came to within seconds of putting Lesnar to sleep. He said he doesn’t fear Lesnar and he definitely doesn’t fear Strowman. He told Strowman all he did was stop Roman from losing a third time straight to Joe.
Joe said Strowman and Reigns still have a lot to settle and should do so, “but at SummerSlam, Kurt, you need to give the Beast to me.” Roman Reigns decided to join the fray at this point and made his way to the ring.
Reigns addressed Joe and said he talks about what he almost did, and he hasn’t done anything. He said Strowman hasn’t done anything either, then ran down his accomplishments over the past five years. He took a cheap shot at Smackdown’s event last night by saying he won the Royal Rumble in Philly where it was loud that night. He asked for Joe and Strowman to speak up with their accomplishments, and they had nothing.
Roman wanted to fight, but Angle cut him off. He said he changed his mind again, and made a fatal four way between Lesnar and the three men in the ring. “It’s true, it’s damn true.” Angle went to leave but Joe yelled at him and said he wanted it one on one. Strowman said he didn’t care if it was one on one, two on one, or fatal four way, all he cared about was piling bodies. Roman Reigns told him to shut up and the brawl was on.
Joe and Roman teamed up and took out Strowman, dumping him over the barrier. Officials ran out to stop the fray, but Reigns and Joe started brawling. Strowman re-entered and Angle called for security to calm the situation, and that was about worthless because Strowman disposed of them with ease. The locker room emptied as Samoa Joe locked the Coquina Clutch on Strowman. Reigns hit a spear on Strowman, knocking him and Joe down at the same time. Strowman fought off the locker room, dumping them to ringside. He hit Reigns with a powerslam and guys dragged Reigns to ringside to hold him back as Strowman left.
A hot start to the show and a setup into the main event of SummerSlam. We speculated that this might happen and it seems that’s the direction things are going. It’s a safe way to have Lesnar lose the belt without momentum loss because he doesn’t have to eat the pin. Saves what’s left of his mystique, one could say.
The commentary team hyped up matches on the card, including Sasha Banks vs. Bayley for the right to face Alexa Bliss, Enzo vs. Big Cass, and Finn Balor vs. Elias Samson in a no DQ match for next.
JoJo introduced Elias, who was going to sing us a song and asked who wanted to walk with Elias. Some cheers, some boos. He talked about hurting one of his babies (the guitar) but he got a new one. Fans chanted for Balor. He sang a song for Finn, but Balor’s entrance cut it off.
Match #1 – Finn Balor vs. Elias Samson, No DQ Match;
Winner: Elias Samson
The Reax: Balor has “it,” it would seem as fans react positively to him everywhere. Balor fired off fast punches on Samson then a drop kick through the ropes. He kept up the pressure, hitting Samson with a leaping blow to the back as the show went to break.
Balor continued to be the aggressor out of the break, slamming Samson off the barrier then feeding him in. Samson got a clothesline off a rope running sequence. Samson started to attack, focusing on the shoulder. Balor momentarily fought back but Samson took him back down and did a knee drop to Balor’s shoulder. He kept the assault up, wrapping the arm off the post.
Samson retrieved a chair from ringside, but Balor cut him off and knocked the chair to ringside. Balor rolled through a pinfall and hit a kick, but Samson went back to the shoulder. Samson tossed Balor to the corner but ate boots on the charge. Balor started to fire off kicks and strikes on Samson. He got the chair, but Samson cut him off and hit him with it going to a break.
Samson sent Balor to the floor coming out of break, and Balor hit the shoulder first. Back in the ring Samson hit a shoulder breaker for two. Samson set the chair up in the corner and tried to throw Balor to it, but Balor reversed it and Samson ate the chair. Balor threw a couple punches then the overhead kick.
Balor threw chops, then Samson hit a boot and threw Balor out. Balor caught Samson in the apron and opened up a can on him with stomps and punches. When Samson emerged he took a running kick to the face, then Balor followed with a running drop kick to the barrier. He fed Samson in then went and got the chair again.
Balor opened up on Samson with the chair, then hit a flying low kick in the corner. A second laid Samson out, and he went top rope. Coup de Grace connects, but Wyatt cuts in and hits Sister Abigail. Cole recounted that Wyatt warned him he would summon all power available. Samson crawled to the cover and won while Wyatt hung upside down in the corner.
Wyatt did his crab walk after, laid down next to Balor and said “follow the Buzzards” and posed. Cut out took him out of the scene.
A good match that made Samson look pretty good overall. He’s a big physical talent that has something to offer the mid-card. Definitely going to a Wyatt/Balor feud for SummerSlam, and my bet is on the Demon making an appearance at SummerSlam as well. I think they could get something out of that feud, but Wyatt feels so meaningless overall.
They hyped Jason Jordan making his Raw debut.
Machine Gun Kelly’s “Go for Broke” is the SummerSlam theme. Get ready to hear it way too much. The commentary team then set up a recap of the Kurt Angle/Jason Jordan angle from last Monday. They showed clips of the post-show interview with Jordan and Angle as well.
Renee Young talked to Angle live. He said that Jason wanted to prove himself and wanted to show he can be a successful WWE superstar. Angle admitted to having butterflies about tonight. Emma interrupted and asked when she would have the chance to prove herself, saying she’s been watching the women who looked up to her while she sat on the sidelines. She said maybe she would get noticed by dating Angle’s son. Angle booked her against Nia Jax.
Enzo was walking backstage and came across Big Show. Show asked if he wanted to do this and Enzo said he had to do it. Enzo said his plan was “screw it, there is no plan” and he headed to the ring. Show looked conflicted.
Enzo made his entrance and did his gimmick. He addressed Cass in a pre-match promo, saying the things that drive him drive Cass crazy. He said he has a full tank of passion and the key that starts his engine are the fans. He said Cass lost the key to success and his tank is empty. He quoted Drake and said there’s one word to describe him – the fans spelled out SAWFT.
Match #2 – Enzo Amore vs. Big Cass;
Winner: Big Cass
The Reax: Corey said he would live vicariously through Cass and hope he shut Enzo up. Enzo quickly went at Cass’ leg then threw punches after jumping on Cass’ back. Cass swatted him down and threw clubbing blows, then threw Enzo across the ring. Enzo came back with a sleeper but Cass backed him off in the corner. Cass caught Enzo jumping off the ropes and chokeslammed him.
Cass dropped a couple elbows while the fans chanted Cass-Hole. Cass mocked the fans singing as he stepped on Enzo’s head, then perched Enzo across the buckle and beat on him some more. Enzo kept fighting though, throwing punches to the midsection. Cass grabbed his hair and rammed him to the buckle, then stomped on Enzo in the corner. Cass picked him up and hit a big boot and covered to win.
Cass picked him up by the beard after the fact and continued the assault. Big Show came out for the save, and Cass grabbed Enzo. He yelled at Show that if he entered the ring he would snap Enzo’s neck. Show entered anyhow, and Cass threw Enzo into Show and followed with a boot. Cass hit the Empire Elbow about 14 times it seemed then stomped on Big Show by the ropes. He taunted and kicked him in the ribs then stomped on him some more. Cass posed to boos and yelled how he’s the man.
Looks like the program going forward is Cass vs. Show for SummerSlam. They’re definitely trying to set the stage for Cass to become a new big man in the company and having him go over Show would make sense to put him on that path going forward. Feuding with Enzo isn’t really working.
Renee interviewed Alexa Bliss. She said she’s not worried about SummerSlam and that we’d see a friendship destroyed tonight over the honor to lose to her at SummerSlam. She said Sasha’s ego can’t handle sitting at home watching SummerSlam and Bayley would be crying and eating Twinkies if she loses. She said neither woman is the winner tonight – the real winner is Alexa Bliss.
WWE TapMania is apparently a pretty big deal. I’m not downloading apps these days. Emma was in the ring waiting for Nia Jax to make her entrance.
Match #3 – Emma vs. Nia Jax;
Winner: Nia Jax
The Reax: Cole proposed that Emma saying she would date his son got her into this match. Emma got some shots in early but Nia plowed her back down. Emma went at the leg and tried to throw some punches but got mowed down. Nia went into full control of the match, hitting splashes and finishing it with a cartwheel splash. Say WHAT?! Jax smiled as she left.
Simple squash. I’m guessing Emma got roughed up for complaining about not being utilized. Anyhow, that finish was really impressive for a woman of Jax’s size. She definitely has some athleticism.
Charly interviewed Akira Tozawa, and they chronicled the damage to his shoulder. Tozawa said “now you see why I want a rematch with Daivari.” Titus O’Neil entered and said that both men know that his shoulder is a liability. He said he’s in it for Tozawa’s health and went to Kurt Angle and the doctors to cancel the match. “I had to do it.” Tozawa got mad and said he was going to the ring for the match. They bickered as Tozawa made his way to the stage.
Tozawa made his entrance, with Titus following and begging him not to go through with it. Tozawa slapped Titus going to a break. After, Tozawa called out Daivari to come out and face him like a man. Neville made his entrance instead.
Neville said Tozawa forgot who he is. He said his shoulder and his shattered confidence are because of him. He cautioned him to not stand toe to toe with him in his current state. He said he warned Tozawa but he opted to trust Titus’ false promises. He asked where it got him, and Neville said it got him “what stands before me in this ring is pathetic, a joke. Tozawa, you’ve become a shell.”
Tozawa attacked him, taking Neville down. He went up and hit his back senton and sold his shoulder injury. Daivari hit the ring and attacked Tozawa, taking him out with the clothesline finish. He grabbed Neville and did likewise to him, then grabbed the title belt and taunted Neville.
A good segment that seems to be setting up Daivari into the title picture. I’m not sure how that works with him and Neville being heels in this, but it does bring a fresh face up. He came off looking vicious and opportunistic, and the fans definitely were against him.
Sasha and Bayley talked backstage about Alexa Bliss’ comments earlier. Bayley told Sasha to not let it get to her and said they’ve been friends through other matches and would continue to after tonight. Sasha asserted that she would go on to shut Alexa up and become a four time champion, then Bayley said she wanted to be champion just as badly. “May the best woman win,” Bayley said. Sasha agreed, with a wink.
They ran a memory featuring the return of Shane McMahon, then recapped the opening segment. They hyped the Fatal Four Way, and Corey said Lesnar has to be fuming.
Renee Young talked to Jason Jordan and she asked how he felt about his first match on Raw. Jordan said he’s grateful for the opportunity and knows all eyes are on him because he’s Angle’s son. He admitted to having butterflies. Young asked about him finding out Angle was his father and Jordan called it amazing. He said his hero is his father. He talked about how finding out one of his dreams came true and being overjoyed. He promised to go win his first match on Raw.
Elsewhere, Dean Ambrose was taping up. Seth Rollins entered and said the first time of them teaming up in a couple years is a big deal. He talked about getting worked over by Miz and his crew so they needed a plan. Ambrose said he would go out and do what he knows how to do. Rollins laughed and said that Miz has help and the team has three guys. Ambrose said Rollins has to worry about three guys, while he has to worry about four.
Match #4 – Bayley vs. Sasha Banks; Winner gets Alexa Bliss at SummerSlam;
The Reax: Bayley made her entrance before a break, then Sasha made hers after. Bliss made her way out to watch the match from commentary. Banks and Bayley tied up in the ring then backed off. Sasha got a quick cover, then Bayley got a leg sweep and a quick cover. A couple quick covers from Bayley in sequence. Banks tried a drop kick off of Bayley running the ropes but Bayley held on so Sasha missed.
After a corner clothesline, Bayley covered for two. Bayley hit a kick and a back body drop for two. Bayley went to the buckle, but Sasha caught her and dumped her to ringside. After the break Sasha was in control. Bayley tried to fight her off but Sasha sent her to the corner. Bayley started a rally, planting Sasha face first as she was draped through the ropes with a two count.
Bayley tried a backslide but Sasha countered and threw a knee strike, then moments later hit double knee strikes then locked in the Bank Statement. Bayley rolled over for a pin predicament but Sasha maintained the chinlock. Bayley tried the Bayley to Belly but Sasha countered. The two stared at each other then a strikefest ensued. Sasha hit double knees in the corner.
Sasha went top rope but missed on a flying knees. Bayley hit a strong running knee shot, but Banks hit a shining wizard that took both women down and the fans applauded the effort. The two dragged themselves to their feet then started exchanging strikes. After some striking in the ropes, Sasha went top rope. Fans chanted for both women as Bayley went up top and tried for a superplex. Sasha fought her off and sent her to the mat then followed with a frog splash for a good near fall. Bayley reversed it and got the pinfall for the win.
Graves said this wasn’t the same Bayley Bliss faced before. The commentary team recapped the finish of the match, then they went back to the ring with both women selling. Meantime, Bliss had made her way to ringside and held up the title in front of Bayley. The two exchanged words briefly before Bliss left.
A good match between the two women. There’s an easy path to take here if they choose, and that’s Sasha turning heel because of being frustrated that she can’t get to the title again. Hard to say which way they will want to go. Though I really felt this should have gone the other way anyhow, and Bayley should stay away from the title for a while.
Renee interviewed Curt Hawkins. He said he doesn’t care about Jason Jordan and promised to give people something else to talk about. He said he would slap him in the face and beat him, and everyone would be talking about him tomorrow. Jordan’s match comes up next.
Cole fed it to a video package highlighting Cornell Gray, a Special Olympics athlete. They showed him seated at ringside.
Match #5 – Jason Jordan vs. Curt Hawkins;
Winner: Jason Jordan
The Reax: Nice reaction to Jordan. Hawkins took a cheap shot which angered him. After the bell it was all Jordan in the early going, throwing cross-face strikes and a belly to back suplex. Hawkins rolled to ringside to get a breather. Hawkins got a shot in, then got back in the ring and threw some punches. Jordan fired up with a belly to back belly suplex, a big spear in the corner, then his toss up neckbreaker finish to win.
An expected debut match. Jordan looked good with his offense, and Hawkins sold for him well. Jordan has a lot of upside and promise and I’m hoping we get to see him make a name for himself on the roster.
The commentary team recapped the situation between The Revival and the Hardy Boyz. Backstage, the Revival were walking down a hallway and Corey said they would be up next.
They hyped matches for 205 Live, featuring TJP and Tony Nese vs. Cedric Alexander and Rich Swann, and Neville vs. Ariya Daivari.
Charly Caruso was in the ring to introduce the Revival for an interview. They excused her and said they had this. Dash said they’re special not only because they dominated NXT and now that they’re on Monday nights to take their spot as the future of the tag division. Scott said they sent New Day packing, dispatched the Hardys, and Enzo and Cass broke up because of them. Anderson and Gallows made their way out.
Anderson said they couldn’t listen to this, nor could the people. “Washington DC is a good brother town.” Anderson said they did it all first. Gallows said they don’t see a couple of top guys, they just see a couple of nerds.
Match #6 – Gallows and Anderson vs. The Revival;
Winner: The Revival
The Reax: After some early teases, the Revival got the better of Anderson. Anderson fed Dawson to the ropes and shoulder blocked him down, then dragged him to his corner to tag to Gallows. There was some posturing that distracted the official, which let the Revival double team Gallows. They showed Sheamus and Cesaro watching backstage. The Good Brothers fought back, simultaneously clotheslining the Revival to the floor.
Back live, Dawson controlled Anderson and hit an uppercut. He tagged to Wilder, who ate a leg lariat. Wilder sent Anderson to his own corner, and that let Gallows tag in. He fired off a flurry of offense, hitting a big boot. He and Anderson set up for the Boot of Doom, but Wilder cut Anderson off. The Hardy Boys emerged to watch from the stage.
Late, the Revival hit the Shatter Machine and won. Gallows and Anderson tossed the Revival out and taunted the Hardys, but the Revival came back and cleared the ring again. The Hardys charged and battled with the Revival, hitting Poetry in Motion. Matt hit the Twist of Fate, but the Revival escaped the Swanton.
A decent tag match, with a bit of a weird twist. Not sure where the championship picture is going with Sheamus and Cesaro watching on from backstage with three other teams in the picture, but I am mildly intrigued. The three contending teams all have issues with each other, and all want the titles. So what happens going forward will be interesting to see unfold. The Revival does stand out in a good way though, and I like what they bring to the table.
Because of a laptop burp, I didn’t get all of it, but backstage Miz gave his team a pep talk for their match against Rollins and Ambrose. He called them untrusting dogs while his team was a family. He compared Rollins and Ambrose to a reboot of a Hollywood franchise and said they would be successful because they are an original.
Miz TV will feature Jason Jordan next week. Triple threat in Pittsburgh, PA next week will see Strowman vs. Reigns vs. Joe. They showed Wale in the crowd.
Match #7 – Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins vs. The Miz, Bo Dallas, and Curtis Axel (w/Maryse), 3 on 2 Handicap Match;
Winner: Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins
The Reax: Rollins and Ambrose made their entrances first. They hyped Rollins’ betrayal three years ago and questioned how they could trust each other. The Miztourage made their entrance second. The commentary team asked if Rollins and Ambrose could coexist for this match tonight.
Miz teased going against Ambrose early but tagged to Axel. Ambrose put the boots to Axel early with strikes and elbows. Rollins tagged in and fired off on him with a slam and a flying knee. Cesaro and Sheamus watched on for this match too. Interesting. Rollins sent Axel to ringside and hit Dallas with a high hip toss. Dallas cut Rollins’ offense off and tagged to Miz.
Rollins ducked a Miz clothesline a bit later and hit a slingblade of his own. Miz stopped him with a jawjacker but Ambrose tagged. Miz rolled out of the ring to avoid him, and in the meantime tagged to Axel. Ambrose took the fight to Axel, then Rollins got a tag. Rollins disposed of Axel with a drop kick then he and Ambrose took out Dallas to ringside. Miz got in the ring but backed off when he saw the odds. The show went to break with the commentary team hyping that Ambrose and Rollins were rolling.
Back from the break Rollins was in trouble but hit a neckbreaker. Miz cut off a tag attempt and the heels continued to control the action. Miz trash talked Ambrose then locked in a front facelock. Miz hit his backbreaker/neckbreaker combination for two. The heels continued to work quick tags to control Rollins. Dallas got a two count and Booker dropped that backstage term when he said everyone was looking to get a rub.
Rollins fought out of the wrong corner but walked into a short DDT for two. Miz threw the Daniel Bryan “Yes” kicks (not the “it” kicks, Corey Graves, fuck you), and missed the big one and Rollins rolled him up. Both men sold. Rollins caught Axel with a face-plant to the corner then avoided a Dallas move to get the tag to Ambrose.
Ambrose unleashed a flurry of offense, diving on Miz at ringside. Back inside, Ambrose rolled Dallas up then hit a clothesline. Ambrose went top rope but Axel met him there. Ambrose fought him off and hit his elbow anyhow. Miz tried to break the count but Rollins took him to ringside. Axel met him there and ran Rollins to the barrier.
Action picked up fast and furious toward the end. The heels ended up at ringside, and Rollins and Ambrose hit stereo dives. Miz escaped back to the ring. He tried to set Ambrose up for the Skull Crushing Finale, but Rollins dove off and hit his flying knee. Ambrose hit Dirty Deeds and pinned Miz for the win. Ambrose and Rollins celebrated, then Rollins asked for the old Shield fist bump. Ambrose left without reciprocating as Cole sent the show home.
A solid main event match that played into the tensions between the former Shield mates for Rollins’ past “crimes” when he betrayed the group. One has to wonder if they’re possibly setting them up for a run at the tag titles as reluctant partners? Is this the end of the road for these two against Miz and his guys? Hard to tell, but with Jason Jordan being on Miz TV next week, one has to think so as that could be a possible future matchup.
It’s hard for me to say that this show was bad, but it felt really long. I don’t know if that has to do with covering the pay per view last night, or being a bit tired, or something else, but it felt long to me. Nothing on it was awful. We got setup for some SummerSlam matches – like the Fatal Four Way for the Universal Championship, the Women’s Championship, and possibly Balor vs. Wyatt. So the SummerSlam card seems to be starting to take shape from the Raw side anyhow. But it just felt like a long show to me.
Maybe with fresh eyes come Wednesday I’ll feel differently. In the meantime, Drew Koscelek will have your Smackdown coverage with all of the fallout from Battleground on Sunday, and he and I will get back together to bring you Ring Rap Audio on Wednesday. I’ll see you then.