WWE rolls into the City of Champions, Pittsburgh, PA tonight as the road to SummerSlam continues. Last week, Kurt Angle set a Fatal Four-Way for the Universal Championship between Brock Lesnar, Roman Reigns, Braun Strowman, and Samoa Joe. Tonight, the three challengers collide in a triple threat match. Which challenger for Brock Lesnar’s championship will gain an advantage? Will the Beast make a surprise appearance to deal with his challengers? Bray Wyatt made his presence known in Finn Balor’s match with Elias Samson last week, and Balor has since invited Wyatt to play. What does that mean, and what does Balor have in mind for the Eater of Worlds tonight?
Show Open, Live from Pittsburgh, PA at PPG Paints Arena;
Laptop issues abound tonight. Then, now, forever. The show opened with a recap of the angle that set up the Fatal Four Way at SummerSlam between Braun Strowman vs. Roman Reigns vs. Brock Lesnar vs. Samoa Joe. They hyped the triple threat main event for tonight between the three contenders.
Kurt Angle’s music hit and he got a huge reaction. He came to the ring and hyped the show for tonight, with MizTV hosting his “son,” Jason Jordan, and the triple threat match. He addressed the fans, thanking them for standing by his side through the years. He went to leave but a familiar tune hit.
Brock Lesnar made his entrance with Paul Heyman. The crowd popped for Lesnar appearing. Once in the ring, Heyman said he saw the angle and knew he wanted to get the title off of Lesnar. Heyman addressed each competitor in the match. He said Angle wanted Samoa Joe to be the champion and that would really stick it to Lesnar.
Heyman said that the three contenders would gang up on Lesnar then fight it out for themselves like they would in the main event tonight. He said Lesnar wouldn’t even have to factor into the fall. He proposed renaming the event “SummerSlam 2017, Brock Lesnar Loses.” Heyman told Angle that if Lesnar loses, he’s gone and Heyman would leave with him.
Heyman promised that Lesnar would not lose to any of the men involved and said that at the end of the night there would be an announcement that Brock had retained his title. Heyman and Lesnar exited and Cole hyped the match and the triple threat main event for the night. Corey hyped Jason Jordan appearing on Miz TV.
A short and to the point promo segment that established Lesnar not being afraid of the three challengers. This most likely won’t be the last we see of him tonight. Heyman is always effective in his mic work. Apologies for lack of detailed promo coverage, as my laptop is finally heading out to the great tech yard in the sky, I think. No shame, as it’s like 8 years old.
They showed the Hardys walking backstage, and Cole said they’re seeking revenge against Gallows and Anderson, next.
Match #1 – The Hardy Boyz vs. Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson;
Winner: The Hardy Boyz
The Reax: Hang in there with me, still suffering tech issues. The Revival was on commentary during the match. The commentary team talked about the ongoing issues between the Revival and the other teams. The Revival staked their claim to the number one contendership to the tag titles. Matt and Jeff hit Poetry in Motion on Anderson in the ring going into a break.
Gallows and Anderson were in control coming out of commercial. The Revival continued to stake claim to the tag titles. Jeff hit the Twist of Fate to break Gallows’ offense but couldn’t make the tag initially. Jeff did tag eventually and Matt ran Anderson to the buckle repeatedly then hit a corner splash and a bulldog for two. A bit later Matt hit a Side Effect for two.
Matt looked for the Twist of Fate, but Anderson cut him off. They set for the Magic Killer but Jeff broke it up. Late, Matt hit the Twist and tagged to Jeff for the Swanton and the victory. The Revival said “they never hit it on us.” Matt and Jeff played to the fans then turned to the Revival. A brawl broke out, with the Hardys getting the better of the other two teams. Matt and Jeff hit Dawson with two Twist of Fates and Jeff hit Poetry in Motion on Dash and Anderson.
This is interesting here, as you have three teams who are vying for that chance to face Sheamus and Cesaro. Whether they go with a multi team match or just doing a one on one with a contender determined over the next couple weeks, there are options and they’re all good ones in my mind. We’ll see where it plays out. Raw’s tag division feels much better than Smackdown’s.
Renee interviewed her husband and started with a recap of Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins vs. The Miz and Miztourage. Renee asked if the two are getting back together. Ambrose said they looked good and it felt like old times. Rollins entered and said it felt real and like old times. Ambrose said he still doesn’t trust Rollins and had to have eyes in his head. He said as much as the fans, and even a small part of himself, wants it, he’s not going to get burned again.
Rollins was walking backstage disappointed, only for Sheamus and Cesaro to approach him. They said they couldn’t stand each other at first, but now their best friends. Cesaro recounted the success of the Shield and said that Rollins’ turn will cause Dean, and others, to never trust him. They made fun of Rollins for riding solo now. Rollins got mad and challenged one of them to a fight. Sheamus told him he’s digging a hole, and the funny thing about holes is that one has to stop digging.
Match #2 – Akira Tozawa, Rich Swann and Cedric Alexander vs. Ariya Daivari, TJP, and Tony Nese;
Winner: Swann, Alexander, and Tozawa
The Reax: Cedric and Tony started the match. They hyped Tozawa vs. Daivari for 205 Live with the winner getting Neville at SummerSlam. Alexander got some quick moves on Nese, who tagged out to Daivari. Swann continued the offense on him, then tagged to Tozawa. After some offense, Daivari attacked the bad shoulder. O’Neil tried to get Tozawa to bow out but he insisted he was okay.
Daivari continued to assault the shoulder until Tozawa came back with a roll-through and a kick. He tagged out to Swann, who went on flurry of offense. A splash got a two count on TJP. Cedric joined the fray, with Swann and Cedric hitting big dives to pop the crowd. Tozawa followed with one of his own on Daviari.
Back in the ring, TJP wanted the Detonation Kick but Swann escaped. After a couple of roll-ups, Swann hit a superkick, and off the tag Tozawa hit his senton to get the win. They hyped Daivari vs. Tozawa for 205 Live as they ran highlights. Titus did a selfie with the three of them.
A good match in terms of the in-ring work. They did a good job of selling the bad shoulder of Tozawa and how it might affect his match tomorrow night on 205 Live. The crowd reacted to the big moments and big spots and popped a bit for the babyface win.
Corey hyped Miz TV with Jason Jordan for next.
Miz and his Miztourage came to the ring for Miz TV. Cole hyped SummerSlam and its sponsors. Miz of course made fun of Pittsburgh then opened the segment. He recounted the reveal of Jordan as Angle’s illegitimate son and welcomed Jordan to the ring. Jordan acknowledged the cheers and boos and said the fans would do what they want. “When it comes to boos, you’re the expert on that, aren’t you.”
Miz asserted himself as the expert on Monday Night Raw, then asked about how he gets opportunities. He put Jordan’s in-ring skill over, then proposed to guide his career. Pittsburgh didn’t like that and Miz shushed them. Miz offered him to join the Miztourage.
Jordan said “thanks, but I’m good.” Miz talked about his accomplishments and said when you main event Wrestlemania you’re bigger than everyone in the locker room. Miz again offered him a chance to work under his guidance, but Jordan refused. Miz played the “father” card, and Jordan snapped back that he asked that he not be given preferential treatment. He said whatever he achieved would be because he earned it.
Miz continued to taunt, saying that WWE would chew him up and spit him out. Jordan said he would rather be chewed up and spit out than associate with Miz. Miz dissed Angle and took a shot at Pittsburgh, to which Jordan said if he insulted Kurt again, he would make Miz regret it.
Dallas and Axel confronted Jordan, but Miz backed them off to a corner. Miz tried to attack, but Jordan caught him and hit a belly to back suplex that sent him straight into Dallas and Axel. Jordan escaped the ring and Miz seethed in the ring.
Feels like they’re heading for a Jordan/Miz program eventually. I can see them having Jordan go through Dallas and Axel to get to Miz, so it’s not something that they should rush into for SummerSlam, in my opinion. Take some time and naturally build Jordan up a bit, and find something else for Miz at SummerSlam if possible.
Cole hyped talking to Roman Reigns about the main event. Reigns said that tonight’s about sending a message. “No matter how hard they try or how much they talk, the Big Dog is still here.” He recounted crashing the ambulance on Strowman and said that Joe only thinks he has Reigns’ number. Reigns asserted this is his yard and he is the one who can beat Brock Lesnar.
Match #3 – Sheamus (w/Cesaro) vs. Seth Rollins;
Winner: Seth Rollins
The Reax: In the opening action, the two men traded offense as the commentary team discussed Ambrose and Rollins teaming last week and whether they would get back together on a regular basis. Rollins sent Sheamus to ringside then teased a suicide dive, but Cesaro cut him off. Sheamus struck Rollins then sent him to the ringside barrier going to break.
Back live, Rollins hammered elbows on Sheamus on the buckle, but Sheamus was able to hit his senton from the ropes for two. Sheamus looked for his Ten Beats but Rollins draped him over the ropes. Seth sprung in but got caught in the Irish Curse backbreaker for two. Sheamus threw a shoulder block and looked for something off the ropes that Rollins avoided. He caught Sheamus and threw him face first to the buckle.
A bit later Rollins and Sheamus exchanged strikes, then Rollins sent Sheamus to ringside and hit a suicide dive. Rollins kept up the pace with a flying clothesline and a slingblade. Rollins went top rope again, changing trajectory to hit Cesaro off the apron. Rollins stacked Sheamus up for the win.
Cesaro jumped the ring and attacked, then Sheamus jumped in to join the beatdown. The fans wanted Ambrose but no such thing. They teamed up for the amplified White Noise move then officials broke things up. Sheamus and Cesaro left the ring. Rollins started to get up, and Cesaro and Sheamus went back to the ring again.
This time, Ambrose ran out for the save. He threw punches at them but the numbers were too much. Cesaro hit Dean with the Neutralizer then Sheamus and Cesaro posed. Ambrose taunted for more, so Cesaro obliged. He threw strikes then Sheamus hit the Brogue Kick as fans booed.
A good match that continues the Rollins/Ambrose story and adds a layer to the tag division. Could you have another “unlikely” pairing with Rollins and Ambrose having trust issues? Seems like that’s where theey’re going. I could see them easily having the Revival, Gallows and Anderson, and the Hardys feud over a future shot, and Rollins and Ambrose go against the champions. Not unrealistic.
They ran a Samoa Joe video package that hyped the match later tonight. They then featured another Special Olympics athlete in a video package then showed him in the crowd.
Bray Wyatt came to the ring to cut a promo.
He said no mortal man can escape the darkness – that’s just the way it is. He called the people pitiful and said they try to hide behind their sin and be something they aren’t, but he can see. “I am Bray Wyatt and I am everywhere.” He said he’s there when people want to stand with pride and say they are part of the Balor Club.
He said they’ve been infected with the sickness of hope and the belief that life can someday be special. He talks of how people vicariously live through Balor. Wyatt said he sees Balor for what he is – the putrid shell of a man who never was. He talked about how the fans speak with voiceless arrogance and laughed at the notion that people say that when they fall they will get up and say they can do it.
He asked how it felt when he twisted Balor’s body and turned him into a broken heap of mangled promises. He asked if they traveled down that road of hope again, or if they realized there’s no point in getting up. Wyatt closed by posing, but the lights went down and the red heartbeat lights blinked.
Balor appeared in the ring. Wyatt laughed then approached. Balor hit him with an overhead kick then took the fight to Wyatt. He roughed him up, hit him with a drop kick through the ropes, then sent him over the wall into the crowd. Balor posed in the ring and played to the fans.
“Blah, Blah, I’m a God, there’s no hope, I’m the eater of worlds…” I love the way Wyatt presents his work but the words are just that – words. He doesn’t have enough significant victories along the way to really make those words hold up. As for Balor – I’m getting the feeling we see an appearance of the Demon for this feud.
We got a video package highlighting Braun Strowman, and the triple threat match will be up next.
Match #4 – Samoa Joe vs. Braun Strowman vs. Roman Reigns; Triple Threat Rules;
Winner: Roman Reigns
The Reax: Joe out first, then Strowman, then Reigns. Reigns of course got heavy boos. Booker made a comment about how Lesnar should want the three of these men to beat the hell out of each other. Reigns took a bit to get to the ring for sure. The three men circled as the bell rang, with Strowman knocking Joe down then striking with Reigns.
Strowman took both men out with running corner splashes. He sent Roman to the floor and yelled “this is my yard” as the show went to break. Joe and Roman teamed up on Strowman, taking him out and sending him to ringside after the break. Joe and Reigns went to work on each other, with Joe locking on an armbar on Reigns. Joe switched to cut off an attempt to reach the ropes, but Strowman grabbed Joe and roughed him up at ringside.
Reigns came to ringside and threw punches at Strowman. The fight moved out into the fans, where Strowman started to rally back. He threw Reigns back into the ringside area, but Joe was right there with the Coquina Clutch. He got Strowman down, but Reigns got back to his feet so Joe broke the hold. Joe reversed a whip to the barrier then hit an enzugiri.
Joe fed Reigns in, but Reigns met him with a kick coming through the ropes. Joe tried for a uranage but Reigns cut him off and hit his corner clothesline spot. Reigns followed with a big boot then called for the Superman Punch, but Joe bailed to recover at ringside. Reigns met him off the steps with a Superman Punch though.
Reigns spotted Strowman stirring, so he called for the spear. Strowman got a boot up to cut him off while continuing to sell the effect of the Clutch. He threw Reigns into the ringpost then took Joe out with a clothesline, then threw Reigns into the steps. Strowman threw a shot at Joe then went back to Reigns, throwing him into the ring.
Strowman threw the steps into the ring then went at Joe, but Joe hit a kick and a senton. He hit the ring for a senton on Reigns for two. Joe perched the steps in the corner. Reigns tried to get a Samoan Drop but Joe escaped and locked in the Coquina Clutch. Strowman hit the ring to break it up then hit Joe with a powerslam for two. Reigns cut the count off.
Reigns smiled at Strowman then Strowman roughed him up in the corner. He eyed the steps up and grabbed them. Fans chanted “yes” for this. Reigns countered with a Superman Punch then struck Strowman with the steps, sending him to ringside. He hit Joe with a spear and pinned Joe for the win. The commentary team recapped the finish.
A solid triple threat match with each guy getting their big moments throughout. Strowman has the out of being struck with steps. It wasn’t flashy, but it was a very solid affair. The fans were into the match pretty much throughout, with Strowman getting fan cheers at various times, especially working with Roman.
They hyped Big Cass vs. Big Show for next. They recapped the angle between Cass and Show at the end of a match with Enzo from last week. Backstage, Enzo apologized for getting him into the mess with Cass and thanked him for having his back. Show said it’s a battle he doesn’t mind fighting and Cass needs a lesson in respect.
Back live, JoJo introduced Elias. Yeah, he doesn’t have a last name anymore. He asked who wants to walk with Elias, then said he laid Balor’s soul to rest last week. He talked about being from Pittsburgh and said it was the people who inspired him to write the song he was about to sing. Of course the song wasn’t complimentary of the town. Graves referred to several local artists like Donny Iris as being better than Elias.
Kalisto made his entrance for the next match.
Match #5 – Kalisto vs. Elias (Samson);
The Reax: Samson used his size to control Kalisto early, but Kalisto locked a headlock in and controlled him. Kalisto tried to do a handstand into a head scissor but Elias swung him into the ropes going to a break.
Back live, Elias was in control, throwing knees to the back. Kalisto hit a jawjacker but got cut off with a big boot then stomped Kalisto down in the corner. He delivered a backbreaker for two. Pittsburgh disappointed me by starting CM Punk chants. We’re better than that, guys. Samson got a two off of a neckbreaker.
Elias used a torture rack, which Kalisto tried to fight out of but got dropped. Kalisto avoided a corner charge and hit an ezugiri. He followed with a springboard senton then a short head scissor. Elias came back with his “Drift Away” finish for the win.
The pace of the match certainly didn’t help the fans’ interest in this one, inspiring the CM Punk chants. Samson’s offense is not flashy, but he’s a solid talent.
Alexa Bliss was interviewed by Charly. She laughed at the notion that she would be facing Bayley at SummerSlam and recounted beating her in her hometown for the title. She mocked Sasha Banks, saying she would be sitting at home like a petulant child for not having the title shot. She noted Sasha was on a promotional tour across the country, which meant no one would be there to save Bayley during her match against Nia Jax. She promised it would be a massacre.
Cole fed it to a clip of a movie that features Shawn Michaels in a role. They ran a short clip of the film.
They recounted the interview segment earlier between Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose, where Ambrose said he didn’t want to get burned again. They moved on to where Sheamus and Cesaro attacked Rollins and Ambrose ran out for the save but got beat down himself.
Backstage, the two of them talked about the earlier situation. Rollins thanked him for earlier. Ambrose said he’s the architect, and he always has a plan. Ambrose told Rollins the next time he picks a fight he needs to be sure he can win it. “Let me guess, you’ll say you’d do the same thing. Like hell you would.” Ambrose left.
Bayley made her entrance and they recapped the match between Bayley and Sasha from last Monday where Bayley won the right to face Alexa at SummerSlam. They hyped that match. Nia Jax made her entrance.
Match #6 – Bayley vs. Nia Jax;
The Reax: Bayley took the fight to Nia early, but Jax cut off the offense with a headbutt. Bayley fought back, and tried to use a springboard move but Jax caught her. Bayley tried to get a sleeper but got slammed down hard. Bayley rolled to ringside going to commercial.
Back with the match live, Jax had a full nelson hold in. Bayley ran the ropes after escaping, then sent Jax to the ropes and following with running knee shots. Bayley tried a move off the ropes, but Nia caught her then locked in something like Beth Phoenix’s Glam Slam. Jax dropped her to the mat and Bayley rolled out. The official checked on her.
Bayley rolled in and Jax continued the offense, hitting a splash in the corner then throwing her in again. Bayley fired off a couple shots then threw some kicks. Nia went for an elbow drop that Bayley avoided. She followed with a bulldog then a drop kick that sent Nia to the apron.
Jax got caught in the ropes, which let Bayley hit a running knee. Jax fell to the floor, then Bayley went out and took her out with another move. Alexa Bliss ran out but Bayley stopped her. Why the official didn’t throw the match out is beyond me. Anyhow, Jax charged but Bayley moved and Jax hit the stairs, which resulted in her getting counted out. Bliss tried to attack her after the match, but Bayley escaped.
The core of the message is that the heel Alexa was going to have Jax do her dirty work to get an advantage on Bayley going into the SummerSlam matchup, but Bayley managed to get the better of the situation. The match was slow, and honestly I wonder if anything after the triple threat match was going to get much heat tonight. It will be interesting to see how they build this match, because Bayley’s character needs help.
Renee interviewed Big Cass. Cass mocked the idea that Show could teach him respect when Show was hanging out with Enzo. Cass said that his grandmother taught him that you are the company you keep, and Big Show is a seven foot pile of excrement. He said he would be the one teaching the lesson in respect.
They recapped the Miz TV segment where Jordan got the better of Miz and threw him into a suplex that took out all three members of the Miztourage.
Enzo made his entrance and did his entrance gimmick. The fans were generally receptive. He addressed Cass, saying he had done terrible things, then admitted he is no angel either. He said in all of his life he had never eaten the brown part of a bruised banana. He said he wouldn’t change. He said he had a guy, and put him over as being rich and he wouldn’t bounce checks. Big Show made his entrance, then Cass.
Match #7 – Big Show (w/Enzo Amore) vs. Big Cass;
Winner: Big Cass by disqualification
The Reax; Show didn’t wait for the bell and started throwing shots. The official backed him off then rang the bell. Show went back on the offense again with the big slaps across the chest and punches to the midsection in the corner. Cass cut a charge off with an elbow, but Show threw Cass hard to ringside over the ropes.
Show dragged Cass up by the hair but Cass threw a knee to the gut. Cass tried to run the ropes but Show shoulder blocked him down then hit a body slam. Show dropped an elbow for two, then threw a suplex. He called for the chokeslam and goozled him, but Cass cut Show off with a kick to the knee then a clip.
Cass started to focus on the leg, locking on a leg hold. Show broke the hold with his other leg but ate a big boot after delivering a slap to Cass’ chest. Cass went for a rope move but ate a slap to the chest. Show threw a couple of clotheslines and a corner splash, but he ate a big boot again.
Enzo jumped in and attacked Cass, throwing punches. Enzo ate a boot. Cass yapped at Enzo, but ate a WMD Punch from Show. Cass sold on the mat as Show got to his feet. They recapped the punch from Show as Show helped Enzo up the ramp. That was it.
If this is in the middle of the show, this is much better placed. As it was, it’s a fine story continuation and I fully expect Show and Cass to have a match at SummerSlam. It just wasn’t the way to send the show home. I think the crowd was a bit deflated after the triple threat match (that seemed to be the peak of the show) and they weren’t into much after that.
Not a terrible broadcast by any stretch of the imagination, but I found it hard to keep my focus on the show. I do have a lot going on outside of wrestling this week (It’s Carlisle Truck Nationals week – so…yeah) so that may have played a factor but this show was structured oddly. I liked the stuff surrounding the Universal Championship especially and think there is some intrigue as to where certain programs are heading as we move toward SummerSlam. But I think not making the triple threat match be the thing that closed the show was a bit of a letdown, personally.
Tell us what you thought! Drew and I will record Ring Rap Audio on Wednesday, and you can hit us on Twitter with your thoughts about this show, your questions, and your Favorite Things in Wrestling as well. We’ll talk about that and more on the show. In the meantime, Drew will be by tomorrow with Smackdown Live coverage and Around the Ring. See you Wednesday!