WWE Raw and Smackdown Live Thoughts – July 31st & August 1st, 2017
This week seemed like an average week for WWE programming although we had three massive matches on both programs. We had ups and downs for both shows, surprises, and, of course, questions about why WWE Creative did what the did. Here’s my run-down!
The big news on Raw was the surprise appearance of Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman at the beginning of the program. Rumours over the past week and a bit have been about Lesnar entering himself into the drug testing ring to see if he can compete in UFC again. I don’t watch UFC so I am unfamiliar with Jon Jones but it seems like it’s something that will make UFC (and probably WWE through some kind of working relationship with Dana White) a lot of money.
Heyman basically set up the premise that Kurt Angle has it out for Lesnar and wants him to be beaten by any of the three other men (Roman Reigns, Samoa Joe, or Braun Stowman) in the fatal four-way match at Summerslam. Heyman said that IF Brock lost, he’d leave WWE but there’s no way he’d lose. If you read my column, you know what my reaction would be to all of this – I want Lesnar to lose and get the hell out.
During the three-way match between Reigns, Joe, and Strowman, each man had a chance to shine and do substantial damage to their opponents. Reigns, though, had his usual spot where he is thrown into the ring steps and came back, like a Super Cena, to win the match. Strowman was protected because he wasn’t the one pinned while Joe will now be out for retribution for his first loss against Reigns. The next two weeks with all four men will be interesting.
Poor Gallows and Anderson. Just when you think they’re gonna get a break, The Hardy Boys (and WWE Creative) come back and take the momentum away. I wonder where they will be placed heading to Summerslam. It looks like we’ll be seeing The Hardy Boyz vs. The Revival and Sheamus & Cesaro vs. Rollins & Ambrose.
I don’t understand the drama still between Rollins and Ambrose. Yeah, I get Ambrose having his back against the wall because of Rollins’ betrayal years ago, but c’mon…these two grown men wouldn’t be acting like this. Have these two also forgotten they were just being assaulted by The Miztourage and maybe still have something to settle with them instead of each other?
Speaking of acting on TV like you wouldn’t in real life, whoever “wrote” Sheamus and Cesaro’s promo on Seth Rollins should be fired. The “insults” were lame and, again, no grown man would talk like they would. I guess WWE can’t write a better story for Rollins or Ambrose so they are going to be put together as a tag team. I’m still calling that Ambrose will turn on Rollins and now we’ll see it at Summerslam.
Miz TV with Jason Jordan was awful. Jordan doesn’t seem like he has a personality and comes across a little cocky with this expressions. You could hear people in the crowd booing (or staying silent) because they know how absurd this whole story-line is. I guess to push Jordan into the spotlight, there’s no better way than giving him an Intercontinental Championship match at Summerslam, right? He so deserves it after his one and only win on Raw against (poor 100 match in a row loser) Curt Hawkins. At least The Miz will be entertaining.
Bray Wyatt spoke in tongues again all about people wanting to get on the “Balor Club” bandwagon so they can envision themselves being something more in life. Thankfully Balor showed up, gave Wyatt the silent treatment and sent him a message with violence! I think this will be a good match for Summerslam and another match for Wyatt to lose.
I’m digging that Elias Samson lost the “Samson” name. It shows that WWE is behind him and thinking of the best way to market him. I love how he plays the crowd and the lyrics in his “songs.” He trolled the Pittsburgh huge with the set-up. I’m telling you – this guy is gonna be big and I want to walk with Elias (and jam with him). I’ll be scoring a shirt when he gets one (maybe he does already).
Bayley is heading into Summerslam to face Alexa Bliss and she really needs to look stronger than she did in her match against Nia Jax. How many times do we see Bayley get man…I mean, woman-handled by Jax only to either get pinned or win by some other way that isn’t a direct pin on Jax? Bayley did look hurt during the match and if she wasn’t, that was some damn good selling on her part. Right now WWE is saying she has a shoulder injury and will be getting checked out. Who knows if this is a work yet or not. At least Sasha Banks didn’t come out for another save. Speaking of Banks, where the hell was she on Monday night?
How did The Big Show vs. Big Cass get the green light to end the night? I watched on my PVR at 12:30 am as I got in from a five and a half hour drive home an hour prior and I wasn’t paying attention to the time left in the program. When I saw the Raw copyright come on and then the program fade out, it took me a minute to comprehend they actually ended the show how they did. I’m also surprised WWE Creative didn’t save this match for Summerslam (or at least the kick-off show)
Starting off Smackdown with the US Championship match against AJ Styles and Kevin Owens was an excellent choice. The match was good and I am so happy with WWE giving these two 20 minutes of TV time to do what they do.
I didn’t like the ending for the fact that it seemed close to what happened at Battleground and made a professional referee look completely inept. I didn’t hate Owens for being irate. I felt bad for him for such a poor job done by the ref. Daniel Bryan backing the ref also seemed out of character because Bryan would not act like that if that had happened to a face like Styles. At least we’re getting another match between the two with Shane McMahon as the guest referee. I’m wondering if there will be a gimmick or stipulation added to this match or if WWE will just let these two try and give us a classic, match of the year quality bout. I have no issue with these two going at it again.
What the Usos said about The New Day during their promo was awesome. Make sure you read the transcript or see the footage if you missed it. What they said is EXACTLY how I feel about The New Day. I pray The Usos will get the belts back at Summerslam.
I’ll ask again this week for WWE to STOP the Fashion Files crap. It is NOT funny. How in the hell can we see Tyler Breeze’s dream? My suspension of disbelief totally fades when this crap is aired.
I have no idea what WWE was trying to do with Sami Zayn on this show. Aiden English’s entrance (that at least drew massive boos from the crowd) was longer than the match. How in the hell does Zayn get pinned in less than a minute. Mike and Maria Kanellis then came out just to say they love that he lost? One of the announcers actually said, “that’s it?” Nothing was gained and Zayn looked weak in this mess.
The match between the women did nothing for me. They’re just biding time until Summerslam instead of giving them something meaningful to do.
I really enjoyed the match between Rusev and Chad Gable. The crowd seems more behind Gable on Smackdown than Jordan on Raw. There was great action from both men and the near falls were believable. I don’t think Gable was hurt with the loss because he held his own. Am I the only one that found it surprising that Gable put Angle’s “ankle lock” finisher on Rusev to try and win with the submission move? Is it coincidence? Even Gable’s entrance keeps the “All-American” theme more than Jordan’s and HE is supposed to be Angle’s son. It’s like the writers have the two messed up and on the wrong shows doing the wrong story-lines.
Randy Orton appeared when Rusev demanded an opponent for Summerslam. Hopefully this feud will be quick and be what Rusev needs to be elevated again. He can beat Orton and then Orton can leave WWE TV for a while and make me happy.
The main event between John Cena and Shinsuke Nakamura for the number one contender spot was good but there were too many times with Cena getting caught on camera calling spots. It also needed to have the time the Styles/Owens match had. I am so surprised that Nakamura pinned Cena clean especially when Cena has come back from so much more than what Nakamura dished out.
I cringed when Nakamura gave Cena the suplex and Cena landed on his neck. It looked like it hurt really bad and knocked Cena a bit loopy. You could tell Nakamura was concerned as he mouthed “I’m sorry” after the match and even turned to look at Cena while they were both down on the match immediately after the three count was done. I wonder what the plan for Cena will be now for Summerslam. Hopefully the WWE Championship match won’t be turned into a three-way. A program with Baron Corbin perhaps?
Here’s a question to end the feature this week: where is Dolph Ziggler?