The John Report: The WWE Raw Deal 05/01/17 Review (Miz vs. Balor vs. Rollins)

Submitted by John Canton on May 2, 2017 - 4:16pm
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This week’s Raw follows Payback, which was a Raw brand PPV that featured a bunch of solid matches and that bizarre House of Horrors match that got people talking about how bad it was. I reviewed Payback in detail right here in case you missed it. I also wrote a column about Payback for The Comeback where I went more in-depth talking about the House of Horrors match and why I thought it was a failure.

Live from Sacramento, California this is the Raw Deal for episode #1247. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport. Thanks Melo Man for the banner up top.

The Raw intro video aired to start the show. When that ended, pyro went off in the arena to start the show and the crowd in Sacramento was full of energy.

Alexa Bliss Addresses Women Of Raw

The ring was full of the women of Raw: my personal favorite Mickie James, Dana Brooke, Emma, Nia Jax, Sasha Banks, Alicia Fox and former champion Bayley. There was a podium in the ring as well. The new Raw Women’s Champion Alexa Bliss entered with her title. Images were shown of Bliss beating Bayley at Payback on Sunday in Bayley’s hometown of San Jose.

Bliss said that a lot of superstars refer to themselves as queen (I thought just Charlotte does?), but she’s there to say the “queen” is dead. Bliss added: “Long live Alexa Bliss, the one and only goddess of WWE.” Bliss bragged about being the first woman to win the Smackdown Women’s Title and the Raw Women’s Title, which led to her saying she deserved a coronation. Bliss thanked the women for being there.

Bliss went up to Mickie James. Bliss told her she watched her since she was a girl growing up and said she was inspirational. Bliss said that’s why she brought Mickie back to Smackdown and now they are both on Raw. Bliss claimed that Mickie’s “contemporaries” Mae Young and Fabulous Moolah are in a better place, leading to Mickie saying “did you think of that all by yourself?” and Bliss sarcastically said Mickie was still there inspiring her.

Analysis: Savage heel promo from Bliss there making an age related insult towards James. Mickie is the oldest woman on Raw, but she’s still in her prime and I’m glad she’s there. It was just a heel remark to get heat on Bliss.

Bliss went over to Sasha Banks, who she called a fantastic three time Raw Women’s Champion. Bliss said she heard what Banks said she didn’t know who she was and Bliss said that Banks can call her Raw Women’s Champion and the one that pinned Banks to get to where she’s at. Banks yelled back at her.

Analysis: Well played by Bliss again. That could be the next title feud.

Bliss stumbled back into the much larger Nia Jax. Bliss said “we’re good” and sucked up to Jax noting she’s naturally talented and gifted. Bliss stood on the platform that was in the ring leading her to saying this is what feels like to be on top of the world.

Bliss pointed out Bayley, who was looking all sad with her arms crossed. Fans chanted “Bayley” while Bliss said if it wasn’t for Bayley, Bliss wouldn’t be the all the way up there and Bayley wouldn’t be all the way down there. Bliss pointed out that Bayley’s whole family was there at Payback in the front row wearing all the Bayley merch. Bliss said after she won, she saw Bayley's nephews in the front row and they were crying. Bliss said that Bayley’s family – even her nephews – finally have a real role model to look up to. That remark upset Bayley, so Bayley tipped over the platform Bliss was on and all the women started brawling. It went to break there.

Analysis: That was another great verbal attack by Bliss by making it personal since she brought up Bayley’s family. They really let Bliss a lot compared to the other women. Most of the others barely get promo time, yet Bliss is getting time every week to verbally rip on people. It helps to get her over with the crowd. I think Bliss is a very good talker that keeps getting better, but at some point they should let the other women fire back at her. We haven’t heard from Mickie since she’s been back on Raw. Emma has been featured backstage, but let’s hear her in the ring. I just want them to give other women a chance to talk as well.

The commercial aired for Backlash featuring Shinsuke Nakamura. It’s on May 21.

(Commercial)

As they returned from break, the obvious eight-woman tag match began. It was originally a two on two tag, but they included all eight women instead.

Bayley, Mickie James, Sasha Banks & Dana Brooke vs. Alexa Bliss, Nia Jax, Emma & Alicia Fox

Bayley grounded Emma with an armbar early on. James tagged in with a double axe off the top on Emma. Mickie kicked Emma in the ribs, kick to the head and a forearm smash. Brooke tagged in, so Emma tagged in Fox. Brooke whipped Fox into the corner and hit a handspring elbow in the corner followed by a somersault in a splash for two. Banks and Bayley did double hip toss to Fox. James hit a forearm to Fox in the corner followed by a running kick for two. Banks had Fox in a headlock. Running double knee attack by Banks on Fox for a two count. Fox yelled “I’m trying” at her team to tell them she was trying to tag out. That was funny. Fox ducked and Banks went flying out of the ring. All eight women argued on the floor, so they went to break there.

(Commercial)

Back from break, the heels isolated Banks in their corner with Fox hitting a Northern Lights suplex on Banks for a two count. Jax with an elbow to the back of Banks. Jax with a hip toss that sent Banks across the ring. Bliss tagged in to do her stand on the back move on Banks leading to a two count. Banks tried to fight out of the corner, but Bliss hit a clothesline for two. Bliss missed a knee attack and Bayley got the hot tag from Banks.

Bayley was on fire with two clotheslines for Bliss and she sent her into the turnbuckle ten times. Bayley with a rope assisted neckbreaker. Running shoulder tackle by Bayley followed by a belly to back suplex for a two count with Jax making the save. Brooke sent Jax to the floor. Mickie jumped off the top and took out Jax on the floor. Emma dumped Brooke to the floor. Banks sent Emma to the floor with a dropkick. Banks and Fox brawled leading to them going out of the ring. Bayley picked up Bliss, which led to Bliss gouging the eyes and Bliss hit a DDT for the pinfall win at 13 minutes. The announcers said the ref’s view was obstructed even though he was clearly looking right at it.

Winners by pinfall: Alexa Bliss, Nia Jax, Emma & Alicia Fox

Analysis: ***1/4 That was a good tag match given a lot of time for Raw. It was nice to see Bliss get the win because often times they have a new champion lose the next night, so it was refreshing to see Bliss continued her momentum with a win. They could have easily put over Nia Jax for her time, but I’m glad it was Bliss. The problem with the finish is that the announcers said the ref didn’t see the blatant eye rake, which is technically illegal, but the ref was looking right at it. The finish could have been a bit better because it took one move to really beat Bayley there, so that didn’t make her look good at all. I guess it’s okay since it was all about making Bliss look like a crafty heel champion.

The announce team of Michael Cole, Corey Graves and Booker T were shown on camera. Later on Raw will be an update on Roman Reigns and Braun Strowman.

Later on Raw: Seth Rollins will be there to talk about what’s next.

Enzo & Cass were shown backstage heading to the ring.

(Commercial)

Enzo & Cass did their usual promo to hype up the crowd. Anderson and Gallows attacked them from behind before E&C could do the “SAWFT” bit. Enzo and Cass managed to send them out of the ring.

The match is Gallows vs. Enzo and begins after a break.

(Commercial)

The bell rang as they returned from the break.

Luke Gallows (w/Karl Anderson) vs. Enzo Amore (w/Big Cass)

Gallows hit Enzo with a boot to the face to take control early on. When Enzo tried a dropkick, Gallows shoved him away and Gallows hit a clothesline. Hammerlock by Gallows followed by a body slam. Gallows worked over the left arm of Enzo as he kicked it. Single arm DDT by Gallows. Armbar by Gallows. Enzo came back with a leaping DDT off the middle ropes, which Cole called a running bulldog for some reason. Enzo with a dropkick to the knee of Gallows followed by a kick to the face. Enzo got an inside cradle for a two count. Boot to the jaw by Enzo, which led to Enzo going to the top. Anderson distracted Enzo on the top, so Gallows put Enzo on his shoulders and slammed him down for the win after about five minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Luke Gallows

Post match, G&A celebrated on the ramp while Cass checked on his defeated partner in the ring.

Analysis: *1/4 Boring match with Gallows on offense for much of it, some brief offense by Enzo and a win by the bigger man in Gallows. I thought they might do a tag team rematch with G&A getting the win after losing on Sunday, but they opted for a singles win instead.

Neville was in the locker room. TJ Perkins asked him what happened at Payback and said that other people were saying it looked like Neville was about to tap out at Payback. Neville told him to tread carefully and said he won’t let anybody slander the king. Neville claimed the referee was out of position. Neville told Perkins to make the most of his opportunity against Aries later.

Analysis: The alliance of Neville and Perkins continues with Neville trying to motivate him for TJP’s match against Aries.

Seth Rollins is up next.

(Commercial)

Let’s Hear from Seth Rollins…and others

Seth Rollins made his entrance to a nice ovation from the crowd with Cole shouting his nicknames “The Architect” and “Kingslayer.” I’m a huge Rollins fan, but I don’t think either nickname is that good.

Rollins sucked up to the crowd by asking Sacramento how they were feeling. Rollins said he was feeling good too. Rollins said the crowd has been through it with him for the last six months and the fans have been with Rollins through all of that. Rollins noted you have to embrace the sucky part of life and keep fighting. Rollins talked about how he looked in the mirror to realize he was still Seth “Freakin’” Rollins, which led to cheers. Rollins mentioned that at WrestleMania he slayed the King of Kings and last night got payback on Samoa Joe (way to work in the PPV name), so there’s only one thing left to do. Rollins: “I want the Beast.” Crowd cheered. Fans chanted “yes” for that idea. Rollins: “I want Brock Lesnar. I want the Universal Championship. I’ve been to Suplex City and I’m not afraid to go back.” Finn Balor’s music hit.

Analysis: Good promo by Rollins. He played off the crowd well and they loved it when he mentioned Lesnar.

Balor walked down to the ring. He told Rollins that he was the one legged man that won at WrestleMania while Balor mentioned he was a one armed man that became the Universal Champion. Balor pointed out how his arm was hanging from his body and he still beat Rollins (at SummerSlam). Balor noted that he never actually lost that title, so he said “the line starts here.” Rollins got in his face and the music of Dean Ambrose hit.

Dean Ambrose, the Intercontinental Champion, made his entrance to a good ovation. He joined Rollins and Balor in the ring.

Ambrose said they all sound like a couple of chickens. Ambrose talked about how he knows all about Lesnar while noting that Lesnar fights when he wants to fights and that ain’t all that often according to Ambrose. He's got a point there. Ambrose said he thinks Raw should be about fighting champions and he said he’ll fight anybody anywhere. Ambrose said that as of now this is the number one championship on Raw with Ambrose adding that he’s itching to get some action.

The Miz walked out with his lovely wife Maryse. That led to a lot of boos of course.

The Miz told them to hold up and noted that Rollins and Balor haven’t earned anything. Miz told Ambrose he’s an embarrassment as a champion. Miz said if anyone deserves that title it is him. Miz said he’s the one that made it prestigious and relevant. Balor told Miz he’s also the latest member of the "Finn Balor just kicked my ass club." Miz called Balor a coward. Miz told Ambrose he wasn’t important enough to defend the title at Payback. Miz noted that Rollins used to be the man, but now he hobbles on one leg like the gimp he is. Rollins said on one leg he could run circles around Miz. It led to Miz saying that in this WWE ring he beats people up. Miz claimed he was the biggest threat on Monday Night Raw, so the other three guys said “shut up” in unison.

Ambrose said that he’ll face anybody for the IC Title and everybody likes to see The Miz get beat up. Ambrose asked the crowd if they want to see Balor beat up Miz, which led to cheers. Who wants to see Rollins beat up Miz? That led to cheers as well. Ambrose took out his phone and made a call. He talked to Kurt Angle on the phone. He waved to Kurt telling him he’s in the ring. Ambrose talked on the phone to Angle while Rollins wondered what he was saying. Ambrose joked that Angle wasn’t happy that Ambrose had his number.

Ambrose announced the match for tonight from GM Angle: Miz vs. Finn Balor vs. Seth Rollins in a triple threat match to determine the #1 Contender for the Intercontinental Title. Ambrose’s music hit to end the segment.

Analysis: It’s a good way to build up the IC Title as a valuable championship on Raw while Brock Lesnar isn’t on TV defending the Universal Championship. Miz was fantastic in that promo like usual. He’s such a great heel and knows how to rile up the crowd as much as anybody. Ambrose was his usual quirky self in drawing some laughs and also putting over how he was a fighting champion willing to take on anybody. Doing a triple threat match is similar to what Smackdown did recently for the US Title shot.

The announcers noted that Kalisto was still recovering from hip and cervical trauma caused by Braun Strowman.

They showed highlights from Payback as Strowman beat Roman Reigns, who was injured going into it. The video focused on Strowman’s win and post match attack with the steel steps.

(Commercial)

The main event is official: Rollins vs. Balor vs. Miz for a shot at the Intercontinental Title.

Six men entered for a cruiserweight tag match.

Tony Nese, Brian Kendrick & Noam Dar vs. Akira Tozawa, Rich Swann & Jack Gallagher

Tozawa started with Kendrick and hit a kick to the face to take control. Nese entered the ring to hit Tozawa with a back elbow followed by hip toss. Swann got the tag from Tozawa as they did a double dropkick on Nese. Dar tagged in, Gallagher tagged in against him and sent Dar out of the ring using his legs. All three heels were sent out of the ring, which led to a break.

(Commercial)

Back from break, Kendrick worked over Tozawa. Nese tagged in, teased a vertical suplex and instead sent Tozawa ribs first across the top rope. Dar tagged in as Cole talked about the Alicia Fox story with the cruiserweights, which is pretty stupid, so I’m not going to go over it. Nese did a torture rack submission on Tozawa, which led to the crowd yelling to rally behind Tozawa. Tozawa broke free with a back suplex leading to a hot tag to Swann against Kendrick. Swann hit running clotheslines on Kendrick, a spinning leg drop and a splash by Swann earned two. Swann with a hard kick to Dar. Gallagher tagged in against Kendrick and hit a headbutt for two as Nese made the save. Nese forearm to Swann. Gallagher headbutt to Nese sent Nese out of the ring. Kendrick applied the Captain’s Hook submission on Gallagher and Tozawa hit a Shining Wizard knee strike on Kendrick. Tozawa and Swann hit dives onto the heels on the floor. Gallagher hit a running dropkick on Kendrick in the corner for the win after 11 minutes.

Winners by pinfall: Akira Tozawa, Rich Swann & Jack Gallagher

Analysis: *** Good to see them given about ten minutes to have an exciting tag match. This felt like the kind of cruiserweight match that they should do more often where they able to show off their athleticism more. You could tell the announcers were pushing the athleticism aspect of the performers more than usual. Gallagher getting the win was cool since he’s popular with the fans due to how unique he is. It made sense for the face team to win because it was all about putting over the fast paced action of the cruisers.

Images were shown from the Hardys vs. Sheamus/Cesaro at Payback with the Hardys retaining their Tag Titles. After the match was over, Sheamus and Cesaro attacked the Hardys with a vicious assault.

There was a replay of Sheamus kicking Jeff during the match and Jeff legitimately lost a tooth.

Cesaro and Sheamus were shown walking backstage because they’re up next.

(Commercial)

Cesaro and Sheamus Explain Their Actions

Cesaro and Sheamus made their entrance.

They entered the ring. Sheamus said it feels good to be finally set free. He said for the last couple of months he was living in a fog of delusion. Sheamus said he never liked any of you (the crowd) because the fans have treated him like a red headed stepchild. Sheamus spoke about the Cesaro Section and Cesaro believed with the fans support they could be better. Sheamus said he believed it until WrestleMania because it was supposed to be their moment, but then at the last moment the Hardy Boyz were added to the match and the Hardys stole the moment. Fans chanted “Delete” while Sheamus was talking.

Cesaro said that the fans felt the rush of nostalgia and they loved it just like they do every shiny new trinket shows up. Cesaro said people would rather look at the past than appreciate the present and that’s what happened at WrestleMania. Cesaro claimed that they proved the Hardys are just a novelty act that don’t belong in the ring with a Warrior (Sheamus) and a Superman (Cesaro). Sheamus made a tooth joke to mock Jeff. Sheamus said that they taught the Hardys that it wasn’t the WWE that the Hardys left behind, it was the WWE that belongs to Sheamus and Cesaro. They ended it by saying they don’t set the bar, they are the bar. Their music played, but it was cut off.

The Hardy Boyz made their entrance in their street clothes and had the Raw Tag Titles with them. The Hardys stood on the ramp. Matt thanked them for the explanation. Matt said that they are hurting from the post match ambush and they were there to give a response. Matt did the “Delete” hand gesture. The Hardys ran down to the ring and Cesaro/Sheamus left rather than fighting. The Hardys music played to end it.

Analysis: I thought Sheamus and Cesaro explained their heel turn well. They don’t like the Hardys because they returned at WrestleMania to steal the spotlight and after Sheamus/Cesaro couldn’t beat the Hardys at Payback they felt like they had to attack to even the odds. It makes sense for their characters to say that. As for the Matt Hardy speech, it would be nice if he actually said “Delete” instead of just doing the hand gesture, but the fans know what it is, so I guess that’s okay. I like that this feud is continuing. It should lead to another very good match between these teams.

The Miz and Maryse were backstage. Charly Caruso interviewed them about The Miz being in the match to earn a shot at the IC Title. The Miz pointed out that Finn Balor lost a lot of time in his career because Seth Rollins injured him. Dean Ambrose showed up to replace Caruso. He mocked Miz, so Miz just left. Ambrose: “Gene and Bobby, back to you at ringside.” That ended it.

Analysis: That was funny by Ambrose at the end.

(Commercial)

Heath Slater and Rhyno made their entrance. A clip of aired of them talking with Apollo Crews and Titus O’Neil earlier in the night. Crews mentioned that Slater had seven kids (not really, but that’s the character) and wanted some parenting tips, so O’Neil showed up and told Crews to come to him if he had questions. What a thrilling segment.

Heath Slater (w/Rhyno) vs. Apollo Crews (w/Titus O’Neil)

They did some mat wrestling to start. Crews escaped a leg lock by doing a kip up to break free. Fans chanted “he’s got kids” to support Slater. Arm drag by Slater and Crews did an arm drag of his own followed by a dropkick. Slater rollup earned a two count. Crews got dumped to the floor by Slater. Cole said there’s “a lot at stake” for the Titus Brand here. No there isn’t. Crews took control with two kicks and a leaping clothesline. Fans were booing something in the crowd as Crews hit an enziguri kick. Crews hit a Sitout Powerbomb on Slater for the win after three minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Apollo Crews

Analysis: *1/2 Easy win for Crews beating a low level wrestler like Slater. Both guys are faces, so neither guy was trying to get the crowd to boo. Only thing that got booed was something going on in the crowd. Crews getting the win gives him some much needed momentum. It would be nice if Slater and Rhyno were used in the tag division, but at this point they are not a factor.

After the match, O’Neil went into the ring and raised Crews’ hand as the victor of the match. O’Neil did a post match selfie with Crews as Rhyno snuck in behind for the photobomb.

Up next is the “aftermath” of Reigns vs. Strowman.

Chris Jericho will defend the US Title against Kevin Owens on Smackdown Live as expected. I assume Owens will win the title back.

(Commercial)

The announce team was on camera talking about Strowman beating Reigns at Payback on Sunday by mentioning how brutal it was.

Kurt Angle, the Raw General Manager, made his entrance to a big ovation as well as the “You Suck” chants out of respect.

Angle said that last night at Payback, the match between Strowman and Reigns was the most physical match he’s ever seen. Angle talked about how Reigns re-injured his ribs and had other internal injuries. Angle said that Strowman tore his rotator cuff. Angle claimed that both men made it clear that they weren’t done with eachother. Angle said that he was talking to WWE officials about the situation and they’ll have answers at a later…but here’s Bray Wyatt.

Analysis: A torn rotator cuff is actually a serious injury if that’s what Strowman really had, but that’s just part of the work. I think Strowman/Reigns 3 is coming at Extreme Rules on June 4 with a stipulation like Last Man Standing or maybe an Ambulance Match.

The Wyatt logo appeared on screen as the lights went off in the arena. Bray Wyatt made his entrance with his lamp as the crowd lit up the arena with the cell phone light. The announcers talked about Wyatt beating Orton at House of Horrors. Not a good match. Let’s just move on.

Wyatt entered the ring while Angle was still in there. The lights were off in the arena as a spotlight was on them in the ring.

Wyatt introduced himself to Angle: “My name is Bray Wyatt.” He extended his hand and Angle shook it. Wyatt told Angle that he means him no harm. Wyatt said he was there to be a savior because he closed the chapter of Randy Orton. Wyatt claimed that Orton will forever be trapped in his house of House of Horrors – poor Randy. Wyatt talked about wanting to start something new on Raw since he claims he is reborn. Wyatt claimed he knew what was wrong with the people and he can fix us. Wyatt told Angle that he needs Wyatt. It led to Wyatt asking Angle if he’s going to allow Wyatt to do his work. Wyatt asked if Angle will be by his side or if Angle would stand in his way.

Angle told Wyatt that he didn’t know what he had planned, but Angle told him it's his show. Wyatt told Angle that this may be his show, but Wyatt claimed it was his world. They went to break there. That was awkward.

Analysis: It was different to see Angle with Wyatt, so I don’t mind that at all. Wyatt didn’t really say anything of note other than his vague references to taking over, nor did he mention who his next rival may be. The ending to that was really weird. It was like they didn’t know when to wrap it up and decided to just go to break when both guys were just standing there. It’s a bit silly to go to break that way.

(Commercial)

Seth Rollins was in the locker room. Dean Ambrose showed up with a microphone to interview him. Ambrose said he’s gotten pretty good at this interview thing. Ambrose asked Rollins if he is victorious does he think he can beat Ambrose? Rollins said that he’s beaten Ambrose before. They trash talked eachother a bit. Ambrose said that he’s been surprised once, but it can’t happen again. Nice reference to the Rollins heel turn against The Shield three years ago. Ambrose: “Back to you Gorilla.” Cole replied by calling him Sean Mooney!

Analysis: The build to this triple threat match has been good all show long. Getting to hear from the competitors always helps.

Austin Aries vs. TJ Perkins

Aries hit an elbow smash early on to take control. Aries stunned him with the chop to the head and a neckbreaker using the ropes for an assist. Aries up top and he connected with a missile dropkick. Back elbow by Aries to knock down Perkins. When Aries was on the top rope, Perkins knocked him down and that put Aries upside down on the turnbuckle. Perkins hit a dropkick to the knee as the show went to break a few minutes into it.

(Commercial)

Back from break, Perkins was in control with a submission hold on the arms. When they got back to their feet, Perkins continued the attack on the left knee on Aries. When Perkins whipped Aries across the ring, Aries collapsed and grabbed his left knee. Aries drove Perkins back first into the turnbuckle. Half crab by Perkins against the ropes. Aries started his comeback by sending Perkins face first into the steel post. Aries hit a suicide dive to take out Perkins on the floor as Neville was shown watching on a monitor backstage. Aries hit the pendulum elbow, splash in the corner and Aries jumped off the middle ropes with a back elbow to the back of Perkins. Aries hit a shinbreaker followed by an overhead suplex. Perkins kicked the left knee and hit a spinning kick. When Perkins had Aries on his shoulders to set up for the Detonation Kick, Aries with a slick counter into a Last Chancery submission and Perkins tapped out to give Aries the win after 11 minutes.

Winner by submission: Austin Aries

Analysis: *** That was a good technical wrestling match. The cruisers may be known for high flying stuff, but it doesn’t always have to be like that. Aries did some aerial things in there too, so it’s not like it was only technical wrestling. The story was about Perkins working over the knee for much of the match, Aries making the comeback with a sweet counter and forcing the tap out.

Post match, Perkins attacked the left leg of Aries by clipping the knee. Perkins slapped on the kneebar submission while Aries was writhing in pain. The ref managed to get Perkins off after Perkins had Aries trapped for about 15 seconds. The crowd booed Perkins for it.

Analysis: That will likely set up another match between them with Aries seeking revenge. It should lead to another Aries match against Neville for the Cruiserweight Title at Extreme Rules next month.

Finn Balor was shown walking backstage. Dean Ambrose showed up to interview him. Balor said he’s not nervous and he produces results. Balor claimed the IC Title will become a part of the Balor Club. Ambrose gave him a donut and told him to eat a carb because there’s like a vein in his abs. Balor took a bite of the donut and left. The Drifter showed up with guitar, Ambrose asked if he knew Pearl Jam and The Drifter kept on walking.

Analysis: Donuts are good. Finn should eat them more. I assume The Drifter will randomly attack somebody at some point when he walks by them. I’m not sure when or who, but it makes sense to me.

(Commercial)

Goldust was shown backstage talking to somebody. It was Kurt Angle. Goldust pitched a “Shattered Dreams Production” called the Golden Quest. R-Truth said they wanted a title shot against the Hardys. Angle told them their win-loss record doesn’t earn a title shot. Goldust said that he’s known Angle for nearly 20 years, since the Hardys are back, it’s lit a fire under them. Goldust and Truth told Angle they needed it. Angle said they’ll have a Tag Team Turmoil match. The winners of that match become the number one contenders for the Raw Tag Team Titles. Goldust and Truth were happy with it as they left.

Analysis: It’s always a good thing to announce matches in advance. I think Cesaro and Sheamus should win that Tag Team Turmoil match next week.

The announce team talked about what happened there with Cole cutting off Booker before he could talk.

A clip aired from Payback of Chris Jericho saying goodbye to Kurt Angle since Jericho is now on Smackdown.

Analysis: They only showed that part, but if you watch the whole thing it was a funny clip where Jericho was confused by announcers Mike Rome and Tom Phillips, who he called “Mike Tom” and “Tom Mike” to provide some laughs. You can WATCH IT HERE if you want.

Finn Balor made his entrance for the main event. Big ovation for him.

(Commercial)

A clip aired from Table for 3 on WWE Network that is airing after Raw featuring Kurt Angle, Edge and Christian – three of my all time favorites. I will write a review of that at some point in the next two days as well.

The Miz and his lovely wife Maryse made their entrance for the main event.

The last man to enter for the main event was Seth Rollins. Big ovation for him.

Finn Balor vs. The Miz (w/Maryse) vs. Seth Rollins

The winner of this match becomes the #1 contender for the Intercontinental Championship.

Miz bailed to the floor to start the match. Rollins and Balor did some mat wrestling while Miz remained on the floor. Rollins and Balor each left the ring to go after Miz, which led to Miz trying to run away. It led to Miz running into the ring while the two faces stood on either side of him. Miz tried to make friends with both guys, but that didn’t work as the faces hit Miz with kicks and a Rollins clothesline. Balor dumped Miz out of the ring. Rollins hit Miz with a dropkick to keep him out of the ring. Balor rolled through a Rollins pin attempt and hit a low dropkick on Rollins. Miz tripped up Balor while he was on the apron to take him out. Rollins hit a running dropkick to knock Miz down outside the ring again. Miz put Maryse in front of him to prevent a Rollins attack, but then Balor got in the face of Miz and Rollins hit a dive over the top to take out Miz. Balor went after Rollins and Miz hit Balor with a boot to the face. Rollins with a backbreaker on Miz. Rollins went up top and Miz shoved him off the top rope to send him crashing to the floor.

(Commercial)

Back from break, Miz slapped on a headlock on Balor while Rollins was out of the ring. Knee to the gut by Miz to Balor. Balor hit Miz with forearm shots and a running dropkick. Rollins hit a springboard cross body attack that had a crash landing with Rollins landing on his neck. Ouch. Miz sent Rollins shoulder first into the ring post. Corner dropkicks by Miz followed by a corner clothesline and a double axe by Miz on Rollins for a two count. Miz did the Daniel Bryan-like kicks to the chest of Rollins and Balor. They did a spot where Balor hit a dropkick on Rollins leading to Rollins hitting Miz with a DDT at the same time. Fans chanted “this is awesome” for them.

Balor took control by working on both guys with chops to the chest. Balor hit a leaping kick on Miz that sent him out of the ring followed by a Balor clothesline on Rollins that sent him over the top to the floor. Balor hit a hard kick to the face of Miz. Balor ran around the ring and hit a dropkick on Rollins. Balor hit a 1916 slam (suplex into a slam) as Graves called it with Balor getting a two count because Miz made the save. Balor sent Miz out of the ring and Balor hit a Sling Blade on Rollins. Miz tripped up Balor and crotched him against the steel post. Miz hit a dropkick to the bad right knee of Rollins followed by a DDT for two. Miz worked on the knee of Rollins some more and applied the Figure Four Leglock. Balor went back into the ring with a soccer style kick on Miz for a two count. Fans chanted “This is awesome” again and they are right. All three guys took turns hitting kicks on the others with Rollins getting a two count on Balor following a thrust kick to the face. Rollins sent Miz face first into the turnbuckle. Rollins to the middle ropes followed by a double Blockbuster. Rollins went up top and hit a Frog Splash on Balor for a two count. That was a great nearfall. Rollins went up top and hit a superplex on Miz followed by a Falcon Arrow for two. That was an even better nearfall that shows how incredible Rollins is. Rollins was on fire as he hit a suicide dive. Samoa Joe showed up at ringside and hit a uranage on Rollins on the floor. Back in the ring, Balor hit Slingblade on Miz followed by a dropkick. Bray Wyatt’s logo appeared on the screen and Wyatt showed up at ringside. Wyatt shoved Balor off the top rope. Wyatt hit Sister Abigail on Balor. The Wyatt logo was gone again and Wyatt left. Miz crawled over to Balor and covered Balor to win the match after 22 minutes.

Winner by pinfall: The Miz

Analysis: **** Awesome match that was four stars out of five. One of the better Raw matches of the year so far, no doubt about it. It’s not that hard to give a main event 20+ minutes on a three hour show. It should happen more often. Did the interference hurt it? Not that much because it’s part of the story have the cheap heel Miz win in that manner. This is one of those matches where listening to the crowd is important because they were into quite a bit at the start, but as it got going they were really invested in every nearfall attempt. The Miz is performing at such a high level as a cheap heel that takes advantage of every opportunity and the crowd loves it when he gets his ass kicked. Balor and Rollins worked well against eachother. Their styles mesh really well. I really enjoyed that whole thing. Very well done.

The show ended with Miz standing on the ramp with his wife Maryse while Rollins was out on the floor and Balor was out in the ring. They went off the air at around 11:08pmET.

Analysis: Three matches were set up, likely for Extreme Rules, thanks to that match. They will probably do Rollins vs. Joe again, Wyatt vs. Balor and Ambrose vs. Miz, which is not a new rivalry.

 

Three Stars of the Show

1. The Miz

2. Finn Balor

3. Seth Rollins

 

The Scoreboard

7.5 out of 10

Last week: 4.5

2017 Average: 5.78

Average since brand split starting July 25/16: 5.84 (Smackdown is 6.75)

Last 5 Weeks: 4.5, 7.5, 7, 8, 5.5

2017 High: 8 (April 3)

2017 Low: 4 (Jan. 9 & Feb. 27)

 

Final Thoughts

I give it a 7.5 out of 10. If you look at my recent scores, I have enjoyed four of the last five weeks of Raw quite a bit. Last week was not good, though.

Good show with an excellent main event and two lengthy tag matches that I enjoyed a lot. This was one of the better episodes of Raw this year in terms of in-ring action. They should always give them time in the ring because it’s three hours long, so there’s plenty of time to let the wrestlers show what they can do in the ring.

There were several meaningful promos in the ring. I thought all of them were well done. The first was Alexa Bliss getting a big ego because of her title. The promo to set up the main event was really well done. Sheamus and Cesaro explained their actions well. Wyatt and Angle interact was different, but it worked in terms of showing how weird Wyatt can be.

It was the third straight Raw where Roman Reigns wasn’t on the show. That's a bit surprising, but I get why they did it since they wanted to put over Strowman's win against him at Payback. They also held Strowman off the show since they wanted him to sell when Reigns slammed the ambulance door on him.

---

That's all for now. See ya next time for the Smackdown review.

Thanks for reading. Go Toronto Raptors and Toronto Blue Jays.

John Canton – mrjohncanton@gmail.com

Twitter @johnreport

Personal Facebook and TJRWrestling on Facebook

 




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