What's good everybody, your boy Andre aka Xavier is back for another fun filled RAW recap. I've been traveling the road the past few days on business, so I do apologize in advance for such a late recap. So let's get to it.
MIZ TV FEATURING BROCK LESNAR: 9/10
Brock and Heyman showing up on Miz TV was a very pleasant surprise. I can't really recall the last time Miz and Heyman were in the same ring together cutting a promo on one another, if they even have at all but nonetheless the two of them in a battle of wits was pure magic. Miz cutting off Heyman with his classic "When my hand goes up, your mouth goes shut" line was genius and I legit laughed out loud when he did it. Heyman's facial expression was spot on too.
Miz ran down Brock pretty good and likely expressed the sentiments of a lot of fans who are disgruntled over Brock holding the Universal Championship as a part timer. As was probably predicted though it didn't take long until Miz, Bo & Curtis were taken to suplex city by Brock at the request of Paul.
In most scenarios, an entire stable getting taking out by one guy would make them look weak, but the beauty of the Miz' character is that he and his goons (Bo & Axel) taking an ass kicking actually fits in quite well with their stoogy heel gimmick. So it doesn't hurt the credibility of the Miz or his entourage at all. Great segment to kick off RAW.
SETH ROLLINS VS SHEAMUS: 7/10
This wasn't quite as good as their last match but still another solid showing by Seth and Sheamus nonetheless this time with Sheamus picking up the win. Afterwards we had a repeat of last week with Sheamus & Cesaro beating down Seth after Seth instigated a post match fight only this time Dean didn't show up to bail Seth out. There was a spot near the end of this match that saw Seth on the top rope jump then land hard on his feet after a Cesaro distraction that made me legit nervous. All I could think about were the knee injuries Seth has suffered the past couple of years, fortunately no injury occurred here.
BACKSTAGE SEGMENT WITH SETH ROLLINS & DEAN AMBROSE: 9/10
This was another segment in which Dean and Seth nailed. I loved how Dean justified not coming out to the rescue this week, even going as far as blaming Seth and accusing him of provoking Sheamus and Cesaro. And then there was Seth pretty much asking Dean what it would take for him to be convinced that he is a changed name and truly sorry for betraying him a few years ago.
I can't talk enough about how great the dialogue between Ambrose and Rollins has been the past month or so. I wonder how much creative control they've had over this because I feel as if they've had a huge hand in the overall direction of this angle.
JASON JORDAN VS A LOCAL JOBBER: 5.5/10
After the beating Axel had taken from Brock earlier in the show, Angle went out and found a local jobber to face his son. This was one sided as JJ displayed some of his wrestling prowess.
I stated last week that I was getting Rocky Maivia vibes out of Jordan and this week the fans are treating him as such. I had a feeling it wouldn't take fans long to turn on Jordan. Maybe I'm overreacting, and it was just a Canada thing, but I have a bad feeling that he won't be treated much differently in the states either
IN RING SEGMENT WITH BAYLEY: 6.5/10
This didn't go over well at all for Bayley. I really felt bad for Bayley, not just for the fact that fans booed her when she announced she wouldn't be able to make it to Summerslam but because the slump she found herself in just a couple months back. Just when she had a little momentum going, she suffers an injury that takes her out of the 2nd biggest PPV of the year.
I get fans have the right to cheer and boo whomever they please but I feel like there's a time and place for that too and this segment definitely wasn't the time to boo someone who is legitimately hurt but will also mostly lose a huge payday over it. We as fans sometimes forget that these wrestlers are humans too who have to provide a means to an end for themselves and sometimes loved ones.
Anyway, Bayley seemed caught off guard by the booing and disappointed in the live fans. She managed to make it through her promo ok though before finally endorsing Sasha Banks moving forward. On a sidenote, I just want to say that Bayley looks really good with her down.
EMMA VS SASHA BANKS VS ALICIA FOX: 8/10
Not really sure if it was just me but I really enjoyed this match and appreciated the effort that these young ladies put forth. Going into this I was pretty sure Sasha was winning this but on a couple of occasions during this match I thought that maybe Emma was gonna go over. Hopefully something might be brewing with Emma/Kurt Angle possibly. I'd be more then okay with Emma getting a better push after the effort she gave tonight, sometimes it's easy to forget just how good she was down in NXT but tonight was a slight reminder. I'll even give Alicia some props, she was decent in this outing.
BACKSTAGE INTERVIEW WITH BRAUN STROWMAN: 7.5/10
I'm not joking when I say this but Strowman is one of the best guys on the mic right now. He basically comes says what he's gonna do then he does it. Can't remember the last big man who thrived in this monster role so well. He reminded Roman what a giant pain in the ass he's been to Reigns since the beginning of the year.
ENZO & BIG SHOW vs THE CLUB: 5.5/10
About what you would expect here. Enzo took 99.9 percent of the punishment here and took the pinfall after getting distracted by Cass. The entire Cass/Enzo break up angle started so strong then lost so much stream so fast. Can't remember the last time an angle lost so much momentum so quick. Enzo continues to be booked in such a way that he comes off more like Hornswoggle then he does a guy who's capable of doing anything for himself. This whole comes off like Enzo just runs his mouth then goes and tells his big friend (Big Show) that the big bad bully (Cass) is picking on him. Anyway, when this was all said and done Enzo ended up leading Cass right into the giant hand of Big Show.
FINN BALOR IN RING PROMO: 6/10
Balor cut his standard babyface promo here before being interrupted by Bray, from there a small scuffle took place with Finn getting the upper hand before Wyatt dug into his bag of mind tricks, the whole thing was kind of flat. I like both guys but honestly this feud hasn't really worked because there are so many other compelling feuds/storylines going on at the moment on RAW.
DEAN AMBROSE VS CESARO: 9/10
I loved this match top to bottom. Both guys worked a well paced match and had great chemistry. It's hard to keep fans engaged in a long match like this without a ton of finisher kick outs but they managed to pull it off quite well. I liked some of the counters these guys had aswell. In the end it was Ambrose coming out victorious in a hard fought battle after outsmarting my both Cesaro and Sheamus. Afterwards we got 2 on 1 post match beatdown which lead to Seth coming out to make the save in another attempt to probe to his old buddy that he was truly a changed man who could once again be trusted.
IN RING SEGMENT WITH DEAN AMBROSE & SETH ROLLINS: 10/10
Normally I just would have included this into the Ambrose/Cesaro match, but this deserved its own breakdown because it was that good. Without even saying a word Rollins and Ambrose had the fans in the palm of their hands waiting for the big fist bump moment. It was emotional, compelling and edge of the seat worthy.
As much as I wanted too see it I'm glad that it didn't go as planned. Seth leaving Dean hanging in the middle of the ring after it appeared Dean was finally willing to let bygones be bygones was such a huge strike of genius. Now we ask why Seth did what he did after weeks of trying to get back in the good graces of his old running mate. It's the perfect cliff hanger to what has been pretty much the perfect angle up to this point. It's the little things like these that leave fans wanting more and what gives us as viewers a reason to really want to tune in to see what happens next. Well played WWE, well played
TITUS O'NEIL/APOLLO CREWS/TOZAWA BACKSTAGE SEGMENT: 6/10
This segment really didn't serve any real purpose other then to show Titus having a little bit of fun with his clients before and maybe possibly remind us that Neville/Tozawa have a match at Summerslam and that Crews is still on the RAW roster. After the emotional roller coaster, we got in the prior segment a cool down segment like this was probably appropriate.
TOZAWA VS DAIVARI: 5.5/10
I really wanted to get into this match but couldn't really bring myself to find anything all that compelling about it. I do get a kick out of Tozawa's facial expressions though. He picked up the win here as expected. As uninteresting as this match was tonight I'm still somewhat invested in Tozawa in his quest to win Cruiserweight gold.
BACKSTAGE INTERVIEW WITH ROMAN REIGNS: 7/10
Roman was solid here, just focused, stoic in his demeanor and pretty much to the point.
MICKIE JAMES VS NIA JAX VS DANA BROOKE: 6/10
As if there was ever any doubt of the outcome here. Anything other then a Sasha/Nia match up to determine Bliss' next opponent wouldn't have really made any sense considering the focus that's been placed on those two compared to the others. Did anyone think Dana actually had a shot here? When I saw Mickie come walking behind that curtain my initial thought was "oh that's right, I forgot she's still on the show". It was as if someone was going through their closet and found a shirt or a pair of pants they forgot they had and decided to wear it just because. That was the vibe I got from seeing Mickie out there tonight. It was like Vince saw her name printed on a paycheck and was like I'm gonna use her this week because I'm still paying her. Anyway I digressed. Nia was pretty dominate here, basically rag dolling her two opponents.
GOLDUST VIGNETTE: 6/10
I've got to be honest here, when I was watching this, I was multitasking at the time and couldn't quite piece together who Goldust was talking about it too or if he was even talking to anyone in particular at all. But hey, RAW is 3 hours and time needs to be filled.
KURT ANGLE & CASS BACKSTAGE SEGMENT: 6.5/10
For a couple weeks now Cass has found himself on the receiving end of Show's knockout punch so here he pretty much vented his frustrations to Angle and demanded that he get a match with Show at Summerslam but with a twist. Enzo will be hung above the the ring in a shark cage, aren't sleeve ball heels usually in those types of predicaments? Yeah, I'm pretty convinced at this point that the backstage heat on Enzo I've been hearing about is real and Vince is now going out of his way to make Enzo look as weak as possible. The doghouse is never a good place to be in with not only Vince but your peers backstage.
ROMAN REIGNS VS BRAUN STROWMAN: 9/10
This was another really good match between the two guys who I feel have had the feud of the year in wrestling this far. You can feel the hate between these two bouncing off of each other. Strowman is the massive problem that Roman just can't seem to get rid of no matter what he does. Strowman on the other hand just wants to destroy Roman for the hell of it simply because he feels he can. Basic enough but very effective.
This was another match were both guys showed some of the extreme measures that they are willing to go through to destroy it each other. Strowman launching a chair into Roman's face was easily the spot of the night and just goes to show how much pleasure Strowman gets by inflicting pain on Roman. Roman had some nice spots in this one to aswell. Watching Roman pick up Strowman to backdrop him into a table was pretty impressive. This is gonna sound silly but as Roman appeared to have Strowman beat I honestly thought a disgruntled fan in the front row grabbed Roman. It took a couple seconds for it to register that it was Joe.
Anyway, the WWE kind of botched the ending here. Technically when Joe had the Conquina clutch applied on Roman he was still standing. For whatever reason the ref decided to stop counting Strowman while he was down. Other then that this was another good encounter between Roman and Strowman.
For the most part this was another good episode of RAW. Seth/Ambrose have everybody on the edge of their seats and we all wonder how they will be able to get on the page for Sheamus and Cesaro. Brock delivered F5's and Suplexes, Roman/Strowman delivered as expected and we even got a good triple threat out of Sasha, Fox and Emma. Despite the fact that the single pushes for Cass and Jordan haven't gotten off to a great start and the Bayley injury I can say with confidence that the good definitely outweighed the bad.
RAW'S CHAMPIONS/WEEKLY TOP 10
BROCK LESNAR (UNIVERSAL CHAMPION) - A lot of doubt continues to be cast over Brock's title reign but coming out of RAW he still looks like an unstoppable beast after making easy work out of the Miztourage.
THE MIZ (INTERCONTINENTAL CHAMPION) - The Miz just can't seem to get any love on his own Miz TV segment. This week he served as a warm up go Brock, but in true Miz fashion his mic game always makes him seem credible
ALEXA BLISS (RAW's WOMEN CHAMPION) - For the third straight week Ms. Bliss wasn't in action. There's a good chance we won't see her in the ring again until Summerslam
NEVILLE (CRUISERWEIGHT CHAMPION) - Neville really wasn't featured much tonight outside of interrupting The Titus Brand crew. Like Bliss, it's likely we won't see him in action again in any form until Summerslam
CESARO & SHEAMUS (RAW's TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS) - Both these guys have been involved in some of RAW's best matches as of late. They've easily been the best champions on RAW over the past few weeks. There title defense against Ambrose and Rollins will be epic.
1.) BRAUN STROWMAN (Last Week's Ranking #1) - Strowman now holds three victories over the big dog, so he stays atop RAW's top 10 list and that win and another really good in ring showing. There's been no better monster in stealer this side of 2010.
2.) DEAN AMBROSE (Last Week's Ranking #6) - I couldn't justify not putting the lunatic here after the terrific match he had with Cesaro this week and just completely knocking this angle with Seth out of the park. I'm looking forward to seeing how he responds to being left hanging in the middle of the week.
3.) ROMAN REIGNS (Last Week's Ranking #2) - Roman falls a bit after losing to Braun this week, but with another great outing, he doesn't slip too far down the list.
4.) SETH ROLLINS (Last Week's Ranking #5) - Rollins in just s little over a month has gone from directionless generic babyface to perhaps the most compelling guy on RAW. After all the effort he put into getting back in the good graces of Dean and succeeding he decides to throw out a huge curve ball. Can't wait to here his reason why next week.
5.) SAMOA JOE (Last Week's Ranking #3) - I moved Joe down the list not because of anything he did wrong because he hasn't but because of how great the guys above him are right now. He made his ores sense felt at the end of RAW, so he stays in the top 5.
6.) SASHA BANKS (Last Week's Ranking, Not Ranked) - Sasha is now in prime position to get back into the title mix over again. With Bayley being sidelined with an injury The Boss is the logical babyface to step into Bayley's place to face Blidd at Summerslam if she can get passed, Nia. A good performance from Sasha tonight.
7.) AKIRA TOZAWA (Last Week's Ranking #7) - Akira holds down the 7th spot for a second straight week picking up another victory.
8.) NIA JAX (Last Week's Ranking, Not Ranked) - Nia continues to put in dominating performances despite not always coming out on the winning end. Tonight though she was dominating and victorious and now moves into a #1 contender's match against Sasha. With the right amount of time, this match should be really good.
9.) JASON JORDAN (Last Week's Ranking #9) - I found it pretty interesting that Jordan didn't save any interaction with The Miz at all this week. It'll be interesting to see how Vince and co. Handle his push going forward as it seems that fans are ready to hijack his push.
10.) BAYLEY (Last Week's Ranking #4) - Looks like Batley will be placed on IR for s little bit so this will be her last time in the top 10 for awhile. She's also here basically.