(Promotion: WWE – Brand: Raw – Venue: American Airlines Center – City: Dallas, TX – Date: July 9, 2017 – Attendance: 16,579)
Hosts: Renee Young, Peter Rosenberg, David Otunga.
I love that Paul Heyman refuses to sit down during the interview in the Media Lounge because he is afraid that he will be attacked by Samoa Joe.
“Would you ever align yourself with Samoa Joe?”
I like that the WWE allowed the rumor to be floated before the match. It puts it in the heads of fans.
Vic Joseph and Corey Graves are out to call the opening match.
WWE Cruiserweight Championship
Neville (c) v. Akira Tozawa (w/ Titus O’Neil)
I’m not a fan of “Suicide Dives” but Tozawa’s head butt tackles are legit.
Tozawa has an undeniable charisma. He and O’Neil make zero sense on paper but they click together.
Neville retains by pinfall.
Pretty bland pre-show filled with the usual recap packages and lame predictions. Something needs to be done soon to shake it up.
Announcers: Michael Cole, Corey Graves, Booker T.
Bray Wyatt v. Seth Rollins
Wyatt is driving the offense.
That DDT on the apron. Eff.
Wyatt: “This is what a god looks like.”
Wyatt gets the victory with a thumb to the eye, “Sister Abigail” and pinfall.
Wyatt basically handled Rollins the entirety of the match.
Charly Caruso talks to Matt and Jeff Hardy. They cut a promo for the first-ever Tag Team Iron Man match. They put over Sheamus and Cesaro as super villains.
Enzo Amore v. Big Cass
Amore is out first. He cuts a promo built around the lyrics of Frank Sinatra’s “That’s Life.” It’s about being a larger-than-life star. Excellent concept and delivery. I like this quite a bit.
Cass has an ice-cold expression on his face. He press slams Amore from the ring down to the floor.
Enzo drags himself from the floor back into the ring. Cass boots him in the face and pins him.
Was Amore’s promo passionate enough to carry him beyond this beating?
RAW Tag Team Championship
30-Minute Tag Team Iron Man Match
Cesaro & Sheamus (c) v. Hardy Boyz
The champions take a quick 1-0 lead in the first 15-seconds of the match after Sheamus “Brogue Kicks” Matt and gets a flash pin.
Fans chant “Delete” as Matt bounces Sheamus’ head off the apron.
Jeff eats a “White Noise”/neckbreaker to extend the lead to 2-0 at the ten-minute marker.
Jeff is getting routed. He makes a comeback and pins Cesaro after a “Twist of Fate.” The score is now 2-1.
Matt is counted out, making it 3-1.
Cesaro: “All the time in the world…”
The Hardyz manage to orchestrate a comeback, tying the score at 3-3.
With 30 seconds left, the champs pull ahead at 4-3, securing their titles.
Hats off to the road agent for this match. It was meticulously and logically laid out. The Hardyz tried until the very last second. Michael Cole did an exceptional job adding to the drama.
RAW Women’s Championship
Alexa Bliss (c) v. Sasha Banks
Bliss scores early with one of the greatest fake-outs ever by feigning a dislocated shoulder.
This match is surprisingly physical. Bliss just doesn’t give a fuck. There is a scrappiness to her work.
I like this better than the tag title bout.
Banks wins by count-out. Really good match, disappointing finish.
That should spot was so visual and horrifying and memorable. She should have saved it for the finish to a match on a major show. Bliss is the most unexpected performer of the last couple years.
The Miz (c) (w/ Maryse, Bo Dallas & Curtis Axel) v. Dean Ambrose
The Miz hit a “Skullcrushing Finale” for the win. This was pretty much a paint-by-numbers title defense. It was “fine.”
What the fuck is up with Bo Dallas’ look? He is a cross between the One Man Gang and GG Allin.
The “Miztourage” needs to amp it up. They aren’t dynamic enough. They are an anemic version of Larry Sweeney’s “Sweet-n-Sour Inc.” from the glory days of Ring of Honor.
Roman Reigns v. Braun Strowman
Strowman is eating chair shot after chair. Dude is a freak. Incredible.
This match is built upon one breathtaking display of power by Strowman after another.
Strowman wins when he avoids a spear that carries Reigns into the back of the ambulance. Strowman seals his victory when he slams the doors shut. However, Reigns erupts from the back of the vehicle to spear him after the bell. He slings Strowman into the back and drives away in the ambulance. The camera follows him as he drives backstage. Reigns stops, pauses, and accelerates—plowing into a parked semi trailer.
Heath Slater v. Curt Hawkins
This match is booked to stall for time for emergency services to arrive to extract Strowman from the back of the vehicle. Slater wins the match off-camera.
The fire department arrives with a “Jaws of Life” hydraulic apparatus.
Angle’s “praying” and Jamie Noble muttering “hang on, Brawn” was a bit over the top.
The emergency response team pops the side door of the ambulance. Strowman, bloody, staggers out. He is a cross between Michael Myers. This has to be a turn for both men, right?
The three-shot of the distraught announce team is hilarious. Graves looks as if he is thinking about the order he will be placing later in the evening at the Waffle House.
Brock Lesnar (c) (w/ Paul Heyman) v. Samoa Joe
The ring entrances don’t begin until 10:51 EST. Unlimited time is a theoretical perk of the Network.
Joe is out first. Can’t lie, I’m rooting for him.
The pause before Lesnar’s entrance is a perfect touch.
The Fed needs a “main event” announcer (much like how WCW used Michael Buffer at times) to give big matches the required gravitas. Jojo does a good job but a different voice would be a great signal to viewers that this was special.
Joe jumps Lesnar before the bell. He puts him through an announce table.
The bell to begin the match rings 10:58.
Joe pulls the referee in close while delivering a low-blow to Lesnar. Tiny details make Joe’s performances awesome.
Heyman: “He’s stalking you!”
Joe really needs to change up his gear. The trunks with the split up the sides, while functional, look like a French whore’s lingerie.
After only a couple minutes of action, Lesnar’s face is PURPLE. There is no way he could possibly pass a stress test, right?
Lesnar is locked in a choke, he slips out of it. One “F5” later, and he has successfully defended his title.
He and Joe went seven minutes? Seven? That’s bullshit. Utter bullshit.
I also think that having Reigns/Strowman placed, essentially, next to this was a bad call. The cartoony violence of that match undercut the realistically portrayed ferocity of the main event.