By Steven Flora
After a hellacious Great Balls of Fire PPV Sunday night, a lot of unanswered questions seemed to be asked from the WWE Universe as Raw went off the air. A jam packed crowd in Houston got to witness the first ever 'Mizzies', a showdown between Lesnar, Joe & Reigns and a potential revelation of Kurt Angle's “personal problems.”
Ambrose has some backup of his own
Bray Wyatt def. Seth Rollins
The big story coming out of Raw was the brawl between Seth Rollins, Bray Wyatt, Miz, Miztourage & Dean Ambrose. Earlier in the night, Rollins came out to attack Miz after some unsavoury comments from The A-Lister. With Ambrose & Rollins teaming up to combat the force of Wyatt and Miz, could a potential Shield reunion be on the cards in the near future?
So they take possibly the company’s least interesting feud, which resulted in a completely average PPV match, and decide that is what to come back with to headline Raw. Hopefully they have something interesting planned besides Rollins getting his win back. After some basic back and forth, Wyatt teased Sister Abigail but Rollins escaped and looked for a dive. Wyatt fought off the dive, but missed a punch and hit the post. Rollins then attacked the hand of Wyatt, slamming it off of the steps and leading to a brief floor brawl. Back in the ring and Wyatt knew the commercial was coming, so he hit a uranage and we got our commercial. Post break and Wyatt has Rollins grounded while the heavily invested crowd does the wave. Rollins escaped but was quickly cut off, as Wyatt hit the corner splash and they then traded strikes until Wyatt planted Rollins with a DDT for 2. Wyatt again grounded the action, keeping control. They battled up top, Rollins fought back with kicks and they did a double down. Rollins fired up, attacked the hand and hit the sling blade. Wyatt took a powder and Rollins hit a shitty looking dive; why is everyone trying to deflect his dives, they look so bad when they do. Rollins got a near fall off of the blockbuster, and then did the deal, hitting a falcon arrow for the near fall. Wyatt head butted Rollins in the bad eye from last night, hits Sister Abigail and won. Winner: Bray Wyatt.
Bray disappears, as Miz, Axel and Dallas arrive and circle the ring Shield style and then attack. They beat him down, but Ambrose makes the save with a chair, laying into Miz with several shots. Ambrose stands tall.
Side Note: These feuds should have ended last night at Great Balls of Fire. It's almost criminal the way Seth and Finn have been treated as they could be our generation’s CM Punk & Daniel Bryan. The Miz could be gearing up with a feud with Rollins which would be interesting and they'd produce some stellar 4* matches. Ambrose needs to take some time off so WWE officials can work out what to do with him. And as for Wyatt? I honestly don't know anymore.
Joe vs. Reigns next week: Winner will face Lesnar at SummerSlam
Kurt Angle brings up Brock beating him at WM 19 and says Brock keeps getting better and better. They even shake hands. Angle brings up SummerSlam and the Universal Title match, but Paul Heyman didn’t think he was here for a creative meeting. Roman Reigns arrives as Heyman and Brock looked to leave. Angle is annoyed that Reigns tried to murder BRAUN last night, but says the guys in the ring were part of the Attitude Era and blew up anything and everyone. He took out Strowman when Angle couldn’t deal with him and Lesnar is never around to do it. Reigns feels he is owed one and wants Brock at SummerSlam. Brock calls ******** on this idea, literally, because Reigns doesn’t deserve anything. Samoa Joe is now here and claims they are all living in a fantasyland. He’s here to bring them back to reality. Brock says the reality is he kicked Joe’s ass last night, but Joe vows to put him to sleep. Reigns mocks Joe for losing to Brock and Joe says Reigns is awful talkative after losing to Strowman last night. Angle books Joe vs. Reigns for next week, and the winner gets Brock at SummerSlam.
Side Note: This was such a great segment. Joe's intensity on the mic is above anyone at this moment in time. He sold himself so well that you wonder if it's even possible for him to lose next week. Lesnar seems more relaxed as usual, which is cool, but could also be a worrying sight. Roman Reigns has the nerve to demand a title shot after he almost killed BRAUN … weird. I guess BRAUN returns to take them both out and takes what he deserves, but otherwise, I am not a fan of booking the two losers in a top contenders match.
Battle of the giants: Big Show & Big Cass
Cass makes his way to the ring to the sweet sounds of generic big man heel theme song No. 27. He broke down his ass-kicking of Enzo at the PPV, and was actually getting some solid heat from the crowd. He puts the roster on notice, and says not to jump on the bandwagon now, because he’s the future of WWE and will win the universal championship. He, of course, made the mistake of saying no one is on his level, and that no one can look him in the eyes. This brings out Big Show, who had been involved in the split between Cass & Enzo, with Cass trying to pin things on him. Cass talks smack, so Show headbutts him and kicks his ass until Cass runs away.
Side Note: Solid opening segment. Cass tried but was really rough early on. He’ll have to pick up his game now that he’s a solo act. The transition to Big Show makes sense considering his previous involvement with the two when the split happened, Cass working the house show loops with Show is a good thing; look at how it helped Strowman. Show has repeatedly said he knows he’s about to be done and wants to help prepare the next generation of WWE big men to take over for when he’s gone. Only positive things for Cass moving forward.
The Hardy Boyz appear to be BROKEN?
Gallows & Anderson def. The Hardy Boyz
The Hardys run wild at the bell and clear the ring so we can take a commercial break. Post break, the good brothers (not to be mistaken with the Hardy Brothers) worked the heat on Jeff. Matt got the hot tag and ran wild. Gallows got in a cheap shot, and the magic killer finished Matt. Winner: Gallows & Anderson.
The Revival then arrives and put the beat down on the Hardys. Jeff got laid out with shatter machine. #TopGuysOut
Side Note: A quick match (possibly under 5 minutes), but that's probably due to the fact The Hardys went 30 minutes in the ring with two of the toughest men in WWE today. What I did like is Anderson & Gallows picked up an important win, and we’re going to move on from the Hardys as title contenders. They also took it a step further with the Revival coming to the ring and laying the Hardys out to make sure everyone knew they were back and in the mix as well. The Hardys lose nothing, partly because they were banged up and because they’re the Hardys.
Sasha Banks taps out the Raw Women's Champion
Sasha Banks & Bayley def. Alexa Bliss (c) & Nia Jax
This is a rematch from last week, where Bayley was taken out and Banks won on her own. Bliss runs from Banks early and tags in Jax to do her dirty work. Banks and Bayley clear the ring so we can take our commercial break. Post break, Banks and Bayley work over Bliss until Jax tags in. Bayley works over Jax, attacking the knee but Bliss distracts her and that allows Jax to cut off Bayley and take control. Bliss and Jax take the heat, working over Bayley and keeping her isolated in their side of the ring. They work quick tags, drawing Banks in and causing her to accidentally distract the ref. Bliss hits twisted Bliss on Bayley, but Banks makes the save. She gets sent to the floor, Jax misses a charge and Bayley rolls up Bliss for the win. Winner: Sasha Banks & Bayley.
Side Note: This match was OK but it's something we've seen many MANY times before. I'd like it if WWE just mixes up these feuds a bit, maybe a singles match between Sasha and Nia, with Bayley and Bliss at ringside … just something different rather than the same tag matches each week. The same matches kill any sort of feuds going forward leaving the crowd uninterested as they don't care anymore.
Other notable moments
Finn Balor took on Elias Samson in a hard-hitting matchup. Samson used his power advantage early, but Balor had enough of that and made a comeback, using his speed and teasing the double stomp. Samson bailed to the floor and we took a commercial break. Post break Samson kept control, using the power game. Balor would take control back, but Samson cut off the apron PK and attacked the shoulder of Balor. Samson took control for a while, but honestly didn’t do much with his control. It was fine, but lacked any real aggression. Balor fought back with one arm, but did so with ease and hit the Coup de Grâce for the win. Winner: Finn Balor.
We have the Mizzies! WOO. Miz, Maryse & The Goof Troop (Axel & Dallas) are in the ring. I appreciate Dallas’ Barry Windham cosplay effort. Dallas & Axel tied for best supporting actor. They thanked the Miz for changing their lives. Maryse of course won best leading actress. Maryse shed some tears and thanks the Miz. Miz won the award for greatest man in WWE. I for one am shocked. Miz says others promised big things, but he delivered and beat Ambrose. He put Ambrose over as tough, possibly the toughest man in WWE, which makes The Miz the toughest man in WWE. Ambrose arrives, and I guess this feud will continue because he attacks Miz. The numbers got to Ambrose, but Rollins made the save.
Goldust took on R-Truth in a match which I'm pretty sure 99% of the WWE universe didn't care about. Goldust cheap shots Truth right away and they battle back and forth. Goldust quickly cuts off Truth, and beats him down. Goldust takes the heat, slowly working over Truth. Truth cuts off the corner-mounted punches with a powerbomb. Truth follows with clotheslines, but Goldust chops blocks the knee to take control back. Truth battles back with a leg lariat and axe kick for 2. Goldust takes out the knee, posts Truth and hits the curtain call for the win. Winner: Goldust.
Cruiserweight action is upon us as Noam Dar & the Cruiserweight champion Neville take on Cedric Alexander & Akira Tozawa. Alexander worked over Dar to begin, leading to he and Tozawa working him over and taking early control. Neville tags in, but Tozawa attacks and has control unto Neville slams him to the buckles. He and Dar work double teams and take the heat as we take a commercial break. Post break, Neville has Tozawa grounded and maintains control. Tozawa manages to take out Dar and hits a knee strike to Neville. Alexander gets the hot tag, and runs wild on Neville but Dar distracts him. Neville crotched Alexander, but then Alexander crotched Neville and tagged Tozawa back in. Alexander wipes out Dar with a dive, Tozawa kicks the ropes into Neville’s groin, hits the senton and picks up the big win and revenge from the PPV loss against Neville. Winner: Tozawa & Cedric Alexander.
As the main event ended we interrupt a conversation between Kurt Angle and an unknown. "Why don't you come here next week and we'll tell the whole world together … I love you." Who could Kurt Angle be talking to!?!
Overall Raw Rating: C+
Things to look forward to next week
Who is Kurt Angle bringing to Raw next week?
Who will face the WWE Universal Champion at Summerslam?
Shield Reunion perhaps?
Will Sasha Banks get her rematch against Alexa Bliss?
What's next for The Hardy Boyz?