By Steven Flora
As a jam packed Indiana crowd filed into the Ford Center, they witnessed an episode of Raw that saw a night full of shocking turns and returns. As the Great Balls of Fire PPV looms, deceit and betrayal became the primary focus for Monday night Raw.
Enzo's attacker is revealed
The big story coming out of Raw was the shocking revelation that led to the downfall of Enzo & Big Cass. Earlier in the night, Corey Graves approaches Angle and knows he didn't have a good father's day … OK, then. Enzo & Cass are sick and tired of being attacked which leads us to Angle announcing he'll get down to the bottom of this by the end of the night.
Fast forward to the end of the show, Angle brings out Enzo & Cass, The Revival & Big Show to get down to the bottom of this. Both Show and The Revival make genuine cases with Angle as to why they didn't attack Enzo or Cass, to which Angle categorically agrees with. All seems pointless for now until Graves interrupts.
Graves points out that Cass competed without being medically cleared. Graves says he has security footage that will solve this. Cass was backstage and made it appear he was attacked, setting up the scene of the crime. Graves accuses Cass of attacking Enzo, and Cass admits it. He says Enzo constantly runs his mouth, and he’s wanted to knock him out so many times, but he didn’t do it, because he felt bad because no one likes Enzo. He put up with Enzo’s crap for years and finally snapped, and it felt good when he attacked Enzo. For all the crap in NXT and now in WWE, he wanted to watch Enzo suffer. He wanted to see how smart Enzo was, to see if he could figure it out, or if Enzo is as dumb as he looks, but he’s even dumber. Enzo is dead weight holding Cass back, when he should be rising to the top of WWE; Enzo is the reason Cass has never been a champion. He’s the star and where the money is, while Enzo’s mouth cuts checks his ass can’t cash, but he always had Cass behind him, but now, THEY ARE THROUGH. Cass then lays out Enzo, telling him that, “you can’t teach that.”
Side Note: One of the best endings to a Raw in monthsssssss. Cass was given the chance to sink or swim with his promo, and he didn’t disappoint. The promo work was really good and made sense. I have long said if the team splits, it will be because Cass gets upset with not being a success and always having to save Enzo’s ass, and they used those exact points here, which made complete sense. Not only did Cass do great with his promo, but don’t undersell Enzo’s contributions. From his look of confusion that it wasn’t the Revival, to his disbelief at seeing the footage of Cass setting up the fake attack to the absolute heartbreak (and tear) when Cass admitted it was him, it all worked and now Cass will get his chance to be a singles star. With Big Show’s involvement, I believe they will use him to work with Cass like he did with Braun, in order to prepare a new giant to climb the ranks. All in all, I'm happy with the outcome and would love to see Big Cass become WWE/Universal champion someday.
Reigns & Joe confrontation/ Strowman returns
DA BIG DAWWWWWWG, sorry I just love saying that. Roman Reigns returns to a lovely warm response from the WWE universe *insert sarcastic laugh here* as he claims he'll be the #1 contender to the WWE Universal title come Summerslam. Samoa Joe comes out and says if he's the No. 1 contender, then he'll have to take the Universal title from him, when he wins the title at Great Balls of Fire. Roman says he agrees with Paul Heyman, and says Samoa Joe will always be “just Joe” to him. Headbutt and the Samoa Joe ass-kicking parade has begun. Joe beats down Roman at ringside, rolls him back in and looks for the choke, but Roman escapes and hits the superman punch.
Joe beats down Reigns, asking him what his name is. Reigns then fights back, hitting the Samoan drop and they work to the floor. Joe then posts Reigns, and hits the running senton on the floor. Post break, Joe works the heat on Reigns, beating him down with mounted rights. Reigns tries to power up, but Joe hits a head butt, but misses the running senton. This allows Reigns to pick up momentum, hit the big boot and cover for 2. Reigns follows with corner clotheslines, Reigns sets for the superman punch but Joe powders to the floor. Reigns follows, hits the drive by kick and rolls Joe back in. Joe cuts off the superman punches, runs wild and hits the senton for a near fall. They battle for position, and Reigns hits the superman punch, but Joe kicks out at 2. Reigns then looks for the spear, but runs into a knee and uranage but Reigns kicks out at 2. Joe looks for the clutch, but Reigns escapes and hits the spear but Joe gets a foot on the ropes. Joe rolls to the floor and beats the count back in. Reigns is annoyed, looks to finish Joe but an ambulance arrives … BRAUN IS NOT FINISHED WITH YOU YET ROMAN! Joe locks in the clutch, Reigns fights but he fades and the ref calls for the bell. Winner: Samoe Joe.
BRAUN is here, Roman is still down, and BRAUN said he’s not finished with him yet and hits the face-first chokeslam and stands tall. BRAUN challenges Roman to an ambulance match at Great Balls of Fire. I hope they use a 1950s style ambulance.
Side Note: What a fantastic segment! And that pop! Did you hear how crazy the WWE universe went for Strowman? Funny how Strowman is meant to be the heel HA. I would have preferred a clean win, but Joe winning and the BRAUN return to set up the Great Balls of Fire match worked well. Plus they’ve done a great job of building up Joe’s coquina clutch. The feud between Strowman and Reigns will no doubt tear the house down in Dallas in three weeks.
Seth Rollins WWE 2K18 Promo featuring Bray Wyatt
Monday was a monumental day for The Architect. He became the cover athlete for WWE 2K18, an accolade held by stars such as The Rock, Brock Lesnar and John Cena. He’s thrilled to be on the cover of WWE 2k18, but it almost didn’t happen because he bought in with Triple H. He burned all of his bridges, but the fans gave him a second chance. This isn’t just his cover, it’s “our cover.” We’ve all made mistakes, but that doesn’t have to define who they are. Bray Wyatt arrives on the screen, mocking Rollins for his vanity and claiming that he conforms to what the company and the fans want. Rollins claims to be the man, he better be careful, because Roman will get mad. Rollins then says Gods only exist in the mind, but in his world, Wyatt is a coward. Wyatt promises to punish Rollins and says it’s time for a sacrifice. Wyatt makes his way to the ring and Rollins takes him out with a high cross. End segment.
Side Note: This was a great promo by Rollins, very passionate speech indeed. But this feud is just like a car with no wheels, it's going nowhere. Bray at this moment in time has just fallen so low, I don't even think his career can be revitalized. This isn't me knocking Bray, I'm just more frustrated about how WWE have treated him since the Wyatt family disbanded early this year. It'll take a miracle to resurrect Bray's career, but if anyone can do it, Seth Rollins can surely try.
Miz finally gets the better of Ambrose
Miz has bears on the ring with signs, begging Maryse to forgive him. There is also a huge human-size box, this seems like a bad plan based on recent events. Maryse is the guest. Miz claims he checked out the bears this time. Miz apologizes to her and begs for forgiveness. She opens the gift and it’s the grandfather clock Miz ruined, he watched Youtube videos and fixed it himself. Miz claims Ambrose is jealous of everything they have, and says Maryse is his everything. They are about to kiss and make up, but Ambrose arrives. Ambrose causes Miz to spill champagne on Maryse, and then Ambrose causes Miz to ruin the clock again. Maryse slaps Miz and leaves. He begs her to stay, then Ambrose clotheslines him to the floor. THE BEARS THEN ATTACK AMBROSE and it is Axel and Dallas. They hold Ambrose for Miz and continue the beat-down. Miz hits the skull-crushing finale and stands tall.
Side Note: This was a great segment, better than last week’s. It was refreshing to see Dallas and Axel get TV time and I do hope it leads to some opportunities. As for Miz and Ambrose, I wouldn't normally care about this feud but with the animosity growing between Miz and Maryse, it seems as though Ambrose may get back his title from Miz. However after GBOF, someone desperately needs to enter the Intercontinental title picture as Ambrose & Miz have occupied both spots for FAR TOO LONG.
Goldust is “gon’ get GOT”
In association with “What’s Up & Shattered Dreams Productions”, may I present to you this genius segment … that's been running for 3 straight weeks!!! In short, Goldust explains how he had no time for playing a supporting role and the spotlight shall always be on him. R-Truth retorted by proclaiming he was going to get Goldust.
Side Note: Great build-up to a potential match, which hopefully should be at Great Ball of Fire, but you can never trust WWE these days. Both superstars have almost reinvigorated themselves in order to progress this feud and make it seem somewhat believable. I legit cried when R-Truth’s video package came up, especially the “What’s up Productions”, WOW that was unbelievable funny. The end result I’m not so bothered about, what I find intriguing is both veterans gaining valuable TV time in order to show the WWE universe that they still got it.
Other notable moments
Sasha Banks takes on Nia Jax in a match that was completely all over the place. Jax is in control. Banks fights back, heads up top and hits meteora. Emma arrives at commentary and chases Bliss to the ring. Bliss hides behind Jax. But Emma hits Jax and that gives us a DQ. Winner: Nia Jax. The heels beat down Banks, Dana and Mickie make the save. Jax almost trips over someone and then misses a leg drop. Bayley arrives to almost no reaction, suplexes Bliss and works over Emma, Jax cuts her off band the other faces make the save. They then send Jax to the floor. END.
TJP took on Akira Tozawa in a solid wrestling match. They work some fun back and forth, Tozawa counters the sunset flip but TJP fights back as Neville makes his way out to the commentary table. Post break, TJP makes sure to lock in the WWE mandated chinlock, because we can’t allow this to get too exciting. TJP hit a springboard forearm, but Tozawa made the comeback hitting the suicide dive head butt. TJP slams Tozawa to the corner, and hits the chicken wing gutbuster for 2. Tozawa hits the spin kick, Saito suplex and huge senton to pick up the win. Winner: Akira Tozawa.
Singles action saw Finn Balor take on Bo Dallas. Crikey! I forgot Dallas was even employed. Dallas attacks before the bell, beating Balor down. Dallas wanted to hear the song as well. Dallas dominates the opening minutes, working over Balor on the floor and then landing knee strikes back in the ring. Balor made the comeback, laid in kicks and then laid the boots to Dallas. Balor sent Dallas to the floor, hit the pele kick from the apron and then slammed him to the barricade repeatedly. Back in and Balor hit sling blade, the shotgun dropkick and the top rope double stomp finishes it. Winner: Finn Balor.
The Hardy Boyz took on Anderson & Gallows in a solid tag team match. Gallows quickly cut off Jeff, and then he and Anderson worked quick tags and isolated Jeff in tier corner, cutting off whisper in the wind. Post break, Anderson works the heat on Jeff. Jeff avoided a charge, and then took out Gallows and fought off Anderson but Gallows tagged in and cut off Jeff. Jeff then made his own comeback, sorta hitting whisper in the wind. Matt runs wild, slamming Anderson to the buckles and then hitting an elbow off the ropes and side effect for 2. Gallows dumps Jeff and Matt then dumps Gallows. Gallows then gets in a cheap shot on Matt, and then Anderson hits the boot of doom for a close 2. Jeff takes out Anderson, and the twist of fate and swanton puts Gallows away. Winner: The Hardy Boyz.
Raw Tag Team Champions Sheamus & Cesaro took on Titus O'Neil & Apollo Crews in your typical average Raw match. Cesaro and Crews worked a fun back and forth to begin, Crews hit a dropkick but Cesaro cut him off and tagged in Sheamus as The Hardys watch on from backstage. The champions maintain control, isolating Crews with ease in their half of the ring. Crews finally fights them off and gets the hot tag to Titus. Titus tosses Cesaro around, but Sheamus tags in and stuns Titus of the ropes. Titus slams Sheamus, Crews hits the standing moonsault for 2. Titus dumped, and the champions hit a double team white noise for the win. Winner: Sheamus & Cesaro (c).
Overall Raw Rating: B
Things to look forward to next week
How will Enzo respond to the attack by Big Cass?
Is Tozawa the next challenger for the WWE Crusierweight Champion Neville?
Who will be the next No. 1 contender for the Raw Women's championship?
How will Balor respond to Elias Samson?
Will Maryse ever forgive The Miz?