By Steven Flora
As we gear up toward the biggest party of the summer, SummerSlam, has The Lunatic Fringe forgiven The Kingslayer for his past transgressions? A jam packed crowd in Washington get to witness Kurt Angle's son in action, Finn Balor & Elias Samson's No DQ War and Braun Strowman lawn-darting a security guard clear over the ropes, nice!
The Shield Reunion?
Dean Ambrose & Seth Rollins def. Intercontinental Champ The Miz & Miztourage
The big story coming out of Raw this week was the slight tease of a Shield reunion after the main event. Earlier on in the night, Rollins and Ambrose were going over plans on how to defeat The Miz & his cronies. Rollins said he'd have to watch out for three guys tonight while an unconvinced Ambrose explains bluntly he has to watch out for four guys tonight …. OOOOOOOOOH.
Rollins and Ambrose control early, easily working over Dallas & Axel. Miz tagged in, took control and worked over Rollins for a bit. Ambrose tagged back in, chased Miz but they never interacted. Hmmm. Rollins and Ambrose clear the ring and we take a break. Post break and Rollins fights off the Miztorage, until Miz tags in and takes the heat on Rollins. Miz works a solid heat here as Rollins sells for him well; Axel in and hits the Henning neck snap and then lays in ground and pound. Ambrose runs wild on Axel and Dallas, and finally attacks Miz. He tosses Miz to the timekeeper’s area and then takes out Dallas with a lariat, he fights off Axel and hits the elbow drop press on Dallas, and it breaks down. Ambrose continues to control, but Miz hits the skull-crushing finale, but Rollins makes the save. Ambrose tosses Miz, he and Rollins hit stereo suicide dives, back in and Miz hits a sloppy DDT for the near fall; Rollins hits the top rope knee strike and Ambrose hits dirty deeds for the win. Winner: Dean Ambrose & Seth Rollins.
Side Note: Really great main event and you could see it really had the crowd's attention invested for about 90% of the time. Though most of the crowd were happy to see Rollins & Ambrose together, I'm happy seeing Axel and Dallas in the main event, in 2017 as well!!! Miz is doing one hell of a job making these guys relevant. Rollins & Ambrose continue to have differences, but one can tell that Ambrose will calm down soon enough and realize the HUGE potential he has by reuniting with his brothers.
Braun, Joe, Reigns & Lesnar at Summerslam for the Universal Title
As far as SummerSlam goes … BRAUN IS NOT DONE WITH KURT YET and makes his way to the ring. BRAUN says Angle better be announcing him as Lesnar’s SummerSlam opponent, he won at GBOF, unlike Joe and Reigns. He doesn’t fear Lesnar, Lesnar fears him and at SummerSlam he will break Lesnar in half and become the new champion. Start the revolving door, here comes Joe. Joe arrives, and basically claims this is all lies and says he was seconds away from putting Lesnar to sleep. And here comes Reigns. He runs down Joe, claiming Joe hasn’t done anything (didn’t he beat you twice?) Reigns runs down his list of accomplishments, including retiring the Undertaker. Angle keeps them separated before they can brawl; he then announces Lesnar vs. Joe vs. Reigns vs. BRAUN. Joe stops Angle from leaving and complains, Reigns tells BRAUN to shut up and we have a brawl. Joe and Reigns work over BRAUN and send him to the floor. The brawl continues as Angle calls out security to get massacred by BRAUN. Joe tries to choke out Strowman and the security arrive from the back and try to stop them as Reigns spears BRAUN & Joe. Bodies fly everywhere.
Side Note: EPIC … EPIC … and erm … EPIC. If this match is given a decent length of time, I could see it being the match of the night at SummerSlam. Reigns is still looking for his first run at his Universal title and has a good chance at doing so in three weeks. Joe still has unfinished business with the Beast and luckily gets another chance at facing the Beast. As for Braun, I mean how can you not love Braun, the guy is an absolute beast. Strowman's booking over the last year has been great and that says a lot due to their other bookings of WWE superstars. No doubt Strowman will become champion someday but until then, I'm just excited for him to kick ass.
Bliss, Bayley, Raw Women’s Championship match at Summerslam
No. 1 Contenders match with the Winner facing Alexa Bliss at SummerSlam: Bayley def. Sasha Banks
Banks worked over Bayley, locking in a Japanese stranglehold, grounding her. Bayley manages to fire up, trapping Banks in the ropes and hitting a running cutter for 2. Banks fights back, sends Bayley to the buckles and hits the double knees, backstabber and rolls into the Banks statement. Bayley managed to escape, they fired up with slaps and strikes, going a little Frye/Takiyama, but Banks cut off Bayley again and hit the double knees. Banks up top, but crashes and burns on meteora. Bayley looks to take control, but Banks wipes her out with the shining wizard for the double down. They work to the feet again, trade back and forth and as Bayley looks to take control, Banks drops her with a knee strike and heads up top. Split crowd for the two, Bayley cuts off Banks as she heads up top but Banks dumps her to the mat and hits a frog splash, but Bayley counters out and cradles Banks for the win. Winner: Bayley.
Side Note: Great match showcasing (despite bad booking) that these women are among the finest talents in pro wrestling today. Sasha's snide comments added some heat toward the match, which was good from a storytelling point of view. Both superstars got some great offense in and a decent amount of time, which is surprising seeing as though Emma and Nia Jax got a minute and a half. Bayley facing Alexa at SummerSlam is OK I guess, but I do wonder, is this the time for Sasha to turn heel? Especially seeing as though Bayley and Sasha have history in Brooklyn. As for Sasha, I'm not sure what's next for her but one things for sure, she won't give up until she regains her Women’s title.
Wyatt wants Balor
No DQ Match: Elias Samson def. Finn Balor
Balor tries to fire up, but Samson cuts him off and drops the knee to the shoulder. He then posts Balor, gets a chair but Balor cuts that off and hits the basement dropkick. But before Balor can get anything going, Samson goes back to the arm. Balor finally is able to pick up the pace, put some sustained offense together and then stomp away on Samson in the corner. Balor grabs the chair, but Samson stops that and uses the chair to attack the shoulder as we take our second break. Post break, Samson maintains control, hitting a shoulder breaker on Balor. Samson wedges a chair in the corner, but Balor slams him into it. Balor pulls Samson to the floor, traps him in the ring skirt and works him over laying in repeated stomps. Balor hits the shotgun dropkick to the barricade; back in the ring and Balor has the chair. Balor lays in the chair shots to the back of Samson, hits a corner dropkick and now heads up top for the Coup de Grâce, which connects. But Bray Wyatt appears out of the darkness, hits sister Abigail, allowing Samson to pick up the win. Winner: Elias Samson.
Side Note: Now the common thing here would be to comment on 'HOW THEY'RE BURYING BALOR!", but if you look at the bigger picture, Elias Samson just defeated a former NXT champion. If you would have told me that Samson would have beaten Balor on a competitive match on Raw, I would've waved my arm to the side and said DELETE. Having seen Samson's slow rise from NXT to Raw, I'm glad he's getting chances and you can't disagree that he's a good wrestler. Balor, on the other hand, is taking a back seat to the Universal title and it'll be interesting to see how Wyatt and Balor interact with each other. My guess is that Wyatt brings out the Demon in Balor as we haven't seen the Demon in over the year. In fact if you think about it, SummerSlam 2016 was the last time we saw Demon Balor in action, so wouldn't SummerSlam 2017 be the perfect moment to bring out Balor's inner demon?
Angle's Baby Boy wins in his debut
Jason Jordan def. Curt Hawkins
Hawkins slaps Jordan right away, so Jordan slams him and hits cross face strikes. The Saito suplex follows as we see proud papa Kurt watching on. Hawkins takes a powder, cheap shots Jordan and slaps Jordan around some more. Jordan fires up, slams him to the buckles and hits the overhead belly to belly; the straps are down, and the pop up neck breaker finishes it. Winner: Jason Jordan.
Side Note: This match was essentially a squash and did what it intended to do, make a new star. With the huge amount of criticism facing WWE in recent years, they continually make stars, stars with huge potential that can be megastars with the great booking behind them.
Other notable moments
Tozawa calls out Daivari, but Neville arrives and runs him down, taking credit for initially injuring his shoulder. Neville says Tozawa followed the false promises of Titus, and that got him hurt. Neville calls him a joke and pathetic, calling Tozawa a shell of his former self. Tozawa attacks, beats him down and hits the big senton on Neville, but immediately favors his shoulder. Daivari arrives, and hits the hammerlock rainmaker on both Neville & Tozawa. Well that was an interesting development. I assume Tozawa vs. Daivari rematch on 205 Live in a No. 1 contender’s match. Now playing the role of Austin Aries, Ariya Daivari.
A frustrated Emma gets her chance at redemption as she takes on Nia Jax. Emma tries to take the fight to Jax, who quickly cuts her off. Jax hits the corner splash, and another. Jax then hits a rolling senton and pick up the win. Winner: Nia Jax.
Cass looks to silence his former tag partner for good as he takes on Enzo Amore. Enzo goes hit and run, using his speed advantage early. It didn’t last long as Cass cut him off and the ass-kicking begins. Cass beat on Enzo for a couple of minutes, Enzo largely laid there as Cass kicked the crap out of him. Cass finally kills Enzo with the big boot, and so much for Enzo’s plan. Winner: Big Cass.
Some tag team action is also upon us as Gallows & Anderson take on The Revival. The Good Brothers send the Revival to the floor. Post break, Gallows fires up and runs wild on the Revival, hitting a big splash and then a superkick. Anderson in, Dash cuts him off and chop blocks Gallows’ knee. The Hardy’s music hits and the Good Brothers and Revival brawl, and the shatter machine allows the Revival to pick up the win. Winner: The Revival.
Overall Raw Rating: C
Things to look forward to next week
What's next for Jason Jordan?
Will Joe, Lesnar, Reigns or Strowman gain the upper hand heading into SummerSlam?
Shield Reunion perhaps?
What's next for the WWE Cruiserweight champion Neville?
The Eater of Worlds vs. The Demon King?
Miz TV because Miz can cut AWESOME (no pun intended) promos