Raw Is Blogged - Ride Alone

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Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins

What's good everybody, it's your boy, Xavier. Before I start with my recap, I want to share a quick funny story with you guys. For years my mom has always teased me about *Her wording* my "love of watching grown men and women handle adult disputes by stripping down to underwear or bikinis to beat each other half the death on Broadway," one time she even said I could be doing other productive things with my time. Well, the other night around she sent me a text "asking what I was up too," my exact reply was "watching men and women in underwear and bikinis beat each other half the way on Broadway so I can write about it and get paid; you know, PRODUCTIVE stuff." I call that poetic justice.

Okay maybe that story wasn't all that funny, but me and mom both got a good laugh out of it afterwards. Folks, I call that poetic justice. Mom - 0, Me -1. Well anyway, let's get to it.

OPENING IN RING SEGMENT WITH KURT ANGLE: 7/10

In typical face, GM fashion Angle came out to announce the matches he had planned for the evening only to be interrupted by Brock and Heyman. This segment was solid. But I definitely feel that Brock should have done his own talking here. With the rumors swirling everywhere about a possible UFC super fight with Jon Jones. And with Brock being faced with quite possibly the toughest title defense of his career here in the WWE against two other badasses and a monster it would have made for a far more interesting promo to here Brock convey how he felt about being placed in a seemingly no win situation. And how he reacts with his back to the corner something he's not booked into very often if at all.

The Heyman announcement of him and Brock leaving for good if Brock is unsuccessful at Summerslam. It seems only to confirm those rumors that Brock will accept Jon Jones' challenge to fight him after being called out this past weekend. Or maybe it's Vince's attempt at trying to through all of a curve ball. Personally, I think it's probably the former.

THE HARDY BOYZ VS THE CLUB: 6.5/10

This was okay, but nothing very memorable happened in this one. This was more or less your standard TV tag match. The Hardyz went over here. The post match brawl between The Hardyz, The Club and The Revival (who were on commentary) was a little better than the actual match. Creative doesn't seem to have any real clear cut direction for any of these teams at the moment, so I fully expect to see them in a Triple Threat Tag Match on the Summerslam Pre-show.

BACKSTAGE INTERVIEW WITH DEAN AMBROSE: 9/10

This entire backstage segment was gold. Ambrose expressing how paranoid he is of Seth turning on him again still and being reluctant to let his guard down with Seth continues to be one of the best things in the WWE right. Seth trying to convince Dean that he's in a much different place in his life now and wanting Dean to forgive him is real stuff folks. Rather it be with close friends, lovers, estranged family, etc., etc. it's really refreshing to see such realities played out in wrestling sometimes. Instead of just randomly throwing them back together which would have been cliche we are getting two people who use to be really close try and go through the healing process of trying to build burned bridges. It's realistic, complex and entertaining tv.

Seth running into Sheamus and Cesaro after his back and forth with Dean was hilarious. Sheamus and Cesaro absolutely nailed it. I literally laughed out loud when Sheamus said: "You can't even be on an episode of Ride Along." This was the perfect Segway into a Sheamus/Cesaro vs. Dean/Seth feud. All around good stuff crammed into a backstage segment from everybody.

AKIRA TOZAWA, CEDRIC ALEXANDER & RICH SWANN VS TJP, ARIYA DAIVARI & TONY NESE: 6.5/10

This six man was more about putting over Tozawa more than anything, and I'm okay with that. Tozawa and Titus both continue to grow on me in this role. Tozawa being the brave guy who's probably too tough for his own good and then there's Titus who'd shown how genuine he cares about Tozawa's well being and even going as far as to try and protect Tozawa, even if he has to protect Tozawa from himself. It's one of the things in wrestling that hasn't been too often (at least in the WWE anyway). Both come off as very likable characters, and it's actually given fans a reason to care about the Cruiserweights. I really hope the Brooklyn fans show Tozawa/Neville some love at Summerslam. But that may be asking way too much

MIZ TV WITH JASON JORDAN: 7.5/10

The Miz was excellent (he usually is).Jason Jordan was solid here as well. He very much came across as the over naive goody two shoes wet behind the ears babyface, and opposite Miz who does the whole Pompous ass douche bag shtick so made this segment work. Jordan even took a couple of jabs at the Miz after the Miz begun insulting his dad and his hometown. What makes the Miz go great is that he doesn't mind being the stoogey heel. In an era where so many heels low key seek the affection of fans instead of trying to get their opponent over as a face, the Miz continues to go above and beyond to be hated and to get whomever he's working with loved by fans. It's why I say confidently that he's the best heel in the business today. You can tell how comfortable guys are on the mic when they are featured with the Miz even with guys are not normally comfortable or confident on the mic.

The most impressive thing about this segment was that belly to belly suplex Jordan delivered to Miz to finish this segment off, He launched the Miz pretty far. I'm not even sure if JJ realizes how strong he is.

SETH ROLLINS VS SHEAMUS: 8/10

I liked this match a lot; both guys worked off each other quite well. I wonder what these two could if given 15-20 minutes. Rollins going over here was the right call.

The post match beatdown on Rollins was done really well; it almost appears for a moment that Ambrose wouldn't come out to make to save which I was kind of hoping he wouldn't. That would have really heightened the tension between the two, but that's just a minor gripe of mine that I had in an overall enjoying RAW segment. I loved the fact that Ambrose coming to the rescue didn't result in Sheamus and Cesaro fleeing the ring. Then getting the upper hand on Dean and Seth to deliver a pretty good ass whooping adds good heat to this feud. Don't be surprised at all if this tag match steals the show at Summerslam in a few weeks.

IN RING SEGMENT WITH BRAY WYATT: 8/10

This started off pretty bland. I like Wyatt, but his promos just aren't really doing it anymore. Things to a quick turn for the better though with a Demon Balor tease. Although the way this segment played out was predictable, it was still an effective way to get fans invested into a feud that otherwise may have gotten lost in the shuffle pretty fast.

SAMOA JOE VS ROMAN REIGNS VS BRAUN STROWMAM: 8.5/10

A really strong match here from these 3. You can't go wrong with a good big man battle or as JR use to put it "a good old fashion slobber knocker." Everybody involved at their moments to shine and everybody continues to come off as strong, Reigns picked up the win here over Joe. Something tells me Reigns/Joe will be feuding after Summerslam. I'm a bit surprised Brock didn't make an appearance during the match, but given the fact that we still have a few weeks to go until SummerSlam there's no need to for the WWE to blow their load all in one week. I was more than happy to get a conclusive finish of a match this big on free TV.

ELIAS VS KALISTO: 6.5/10

Elias was pretty funny this week during his concert. He knows how to garner classic heel heat, seems pretty comfortable on the mic and even looks like a heel. When creative finally decides to push him, I expect some big things from him. As of now he's stuck being involved in throwaway matches. I don't really fault anyone in particular for this though, all the top and upper mid-card babyfaces are all locked in feuds at the moment, so he'll have to wait for his time to come. So seeing how he's not tale ally involved with anybody at the moment maybe Elias can target and randomly attack some of the Cruiserweights (just a thought). Anyway, Elias picked up the predictable win over Kalisto here.

BACKSTAGE INTERVIEW WITH BLISS: 7/10

Bliss pretty much just talked about the Bayley/Sasha match from last week and how superior she is to Bayley on every way. A quite solid promo from Bliss here. Her character reminds me a lot of heel Trish Stratus circa 04/05. The similarities are actually quite scary.

BAYLEY VS NIA JAX: 7.5/10

This was another good in ring performance from Bayley this week. Nia held her own as well, and her stock continues to rise. I really like the chemistry between these two, Bayley bumps like crazy for Nia and Nia looks like the unstoppable monster she should be booked as. I was perfectly fine with the count out victory finish for this bout. Bayley needed the win to keep her momentum going, and Nia still looks really strong because she didn't take a clean pin. If Bayley wins the title at Summerslam, I could imagine that Nia would probably be the one to take it off of her in the future. Another notable thing I liked her was the ever so subtle alliance that seemed to be forming with Nia and Bliss. Anybody who follows wrestling online knows the bond and the friendship they share off cameras and how unreal their chemistry is. Nia in a bodyguard/enforcer role for Bliss is something I'd welcome with open arms.

BACKSTAGE INTERVIEW WITH BIG CASS: 7/10

Obviously, it's going to take Cass a little while to really hit his stride in his solo heel role, but I think he handled himself well here and overall so far on the mic since turning. I know I said this last week, but I'm going repeat it, Cass reminds me of Edge a little bit with some of his mannerisms since turning heel.

ENZO IN RING PROMO: 5.5/10

Is it me or did Enzo come off as a huge punk here? His entire promo was basically him admitting that he wants Big Show around to fight his battles for him since he can't do it himself. It really painted Enzo as a coward or an opportunist which isn't the vibe or impression that babyfaces should be giving off.

THE BIG SHOW VS BIG CASS: 6/10

While I agree the triple threat match should have closed the show, this match up really wasn't anywhere near as bad as fans made it out to be. We finally got to see Cass sell for somebody else for a change and actually take a little punishment, something we rarely saw of Cass when he was teaming with Enzo. Enzo taking the opportunity to attack Cass mid match sets in motion another match between Cass and Big Show for Summerslam. Big Show got the upper hand on Cass this week with his signature Knock Out punch, but I fully expect to see Cass come out on the winning end when this feud is all said and done. Where Enzo goes on post-Cass feud is anybody's guess.

A good RAW this week that set up a couple of new feuds and gave a bit of a boost to other feuds. I'm really excited for Ambrose/Rollins vs. Cesaro/Sheamus, I really believe with enough time this could be a Match Of The Year candidate. The Miz/Jason Jordan feud is now underway which will surely see Kurt get involved with at some point and then there was the triple threat was good as was advertised. I feel like RAW might have been even better if Vince had moved a few things moved around, but hey it's always a plus when RAW doesn't suck. Nobody deserves to endure another patch of bad RAWs that we had to sit through for the first half of the year.

BROCK LESNAR (UNIVERSAL CHAMPION) - It's no big secret now that Brock has his mind on other things outside of the WWE. His days as champion seem numbered.

THE MIZ (INTERCONTINENTAL CHAMPION) - Another good performance by the Miz on the mic. I'm looking forward to hearing The Miz take multiple shots at Kurt and Jordan in the coming weeks. This past Monday was only the tip of the iceberg.

ALEXA BLISS (RAW's WOMAN CHAMPION) - For the second week in a row our women's champion wasn't in action, but I wouldn't be surprised to see her in the ring next week opposite Bayley in a tag match if Bayley's injury isn't severe.

NEVILLE (CRUISERWEIGHT CHAMPION) - Neville has been very dominate as champion, he's like the Demetrious Johnson of the WWE, just like Demetrious Neville has a string of successful title defenses that go relativity unnoticed. I hope that changes as we see him feud with Tozawa going into Summerslam, I'll be paying attention.

CESARO & SHEAMUS (RAW TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS) - Boy did these guys have a terrific week. First, they rattled off some good comedy at the expense of Seth Rollins then they delivered a pretty convincing beat down on Seth and Dean Ambrose in the aftermath of the Seth Rollins/Sheamus match. Sure Sheamus took an L here but overall he and Cesaro had an outstanding RAW showing.

1. BRAUN STROWMAN (Last Week's Ranking #1) - Braun still tops my RAW top 10 lists. He didn't win, but he didn't take the pinfall either. Oh, and he had a really good video package this week that blew the video packages that Roman and Joe had out of the water. He eluded to wanting to see the Beast one on one, and I'm all for it. If he doesn't win the title at Summerslam, I'd love to see him and Brock one on one at Hell In A Cell. It would be the perfect way to write Brock off TV so he can go back to UFC.

2. ROMAN REIGNS (Last Week's Ranking #3) - A pretty big win for the Big Dog in a highly anticipated match. The fact that he got the clean pin over Joe this week gives him the slight edge at number 2 this week.

3. SAMOA JOE (Last Week's Ranking #2) - Joe took the clean pin to Roman this week, so he slightly misses out on that #2 spot for now. But with how great Joe has been the past 5-6 weeks this loss doesn't hurt him hardly at all.

4. BAYLEY (Last Week's Ranking #5) - Bayley has regained a lot of momentum. Unfortunately, he suffered what appeared to be a shoulder injury in her match against Nia. I sincerely hope it's nothing major because Bayley has worked hard to get herself back on track and I still truly believe that Bayley/Bliss can produce a much better match than what we saw from them last time. Hoping for the best for Bayley.

5. SETH ROLLINS (Last Week's Ranking #7) - Seth continues to do great work in this angle with Dean and came out on the winning end in a pretty good match with Sheamus this week.

6. DEAN AMBROSE (Last Week's, same as last week) - I love how conflicted Dean is his new found partnership with his once former buddy! Even going as far as to accuse Seth of getting beat up on purpose so he'd have to come out to make the save. Or risk being painted as the douche bag. It's like he wants to move past this so things can go back to the way they once were. It's like his heart is saying yes but his move is telling him no, so he finds any excuse not to let Seth back into his circle.

7. AKIRA TOZAWA (Last Week's Ranking, Not Ranked) - I have Tozawa here because quite frankly I think he deserves to be here. Out of all the Cruiserweight faces, they've pushed against Neville he's the one that I would genuinely like to go over Neville for the title. He plays the tough naive underdog who doesn't know any better really well. The chemistry between him and Titus is one of the most underrated things on RAW.

8. FINN BALOR (Last Week's Ranking, Not Ranked) - Looks like the Finn has called on his darker side to deal with the eaters of the world.

9. JASON JORDAN (Last Week's Ranking #8) - Jordan held his own on the mic with the Miz this week and looked really comfortable out there. However, I am a little concerned about how clean cut he's coming across on TV because I hope this doesn't turn into a situation where he ends up in a Rock type of situation with fans that he was in early in his career as Rocky Maivia. Just good for thought.

10. BIG CASS (Last Week's Ranking, the same as last week) He stays in the top 10 at 10 for the second time. I have a feeling he'll be moving up coming out Summerslam in a few weeks though.

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