WWE RAW recap, July 31: A massive Triple Threat, and a battle of the giants

Credit: WWE.com
Credit: WWE.com /

Paul Heyman makes a beastly threat, while Roman Reigns, Samoa Joe and Braun Strowman give us a taste of Summerslam.

Ultimate Ultimatum

RAW General Manager Kurt Angle showed up thinking he was going to give his hometown crowd a nice sermon regarding the huge (literally) Triple Threat match he made, his son’s appearance on Miz TV later in the night, and the main event featuring a battle of the giants, Big Show vs. Big Cass. It was a great moment seeing Angle speaking to his hometown (on the 21st anniversary of his Olympic Gold Medal win, no less), but it was short lived, and it all seemed like it mattered so little once Brock Lesnar’s music hit.

Paul Heyman, Lesnar’s mouthpiece, seemed convinced that Angle has a motive to take the Universal Championship off of Brock Lesnar by putting him in such a Fatal Four Way match with three of the other most dangerous men in WWE, but believes Angle will ultimately fail. Heyman was so convinced that he actually told Angle that if Lesnar were to lose at Summerslam, Lesnar would not be back on WWE, and neither would Heyman. You can see how this is a threat to Angle’s show; sure, Lesnar is a part-timer, but besides Braun Strowman and the Rock, there’s nobody else who is as must-see as the Beast.

As for the three guys Lesnar is set to fight, they had themselves a fight later in the evening. I wouldn’t call the Triple Threat match between Roman Reigns, Braun Strowman and Samoa Joe a “ Summerslam preview,” as it’s hard to preview a match featuring Brock Lesnar without Brock Lesnar. I don’t mean to sell it short — it was a hell of a fun match, and with the addition of Lesnar once the bright Barclay’s Center lights come on is going to bring more testosterone to Brooklyn than when Kevin Garnett roamed the hallways.

It was Roman Reigns whose hand was raised after the match after he gave Samoa Joe a spear, which is good news for people who don’t want Reigns becoming the Universal Champion; the odds are too great to think that the same guy could beat these guys match twice, especially with the addition of Lesnar when it matters most.

Mentorless Mondays

Jason Jordan made his first appearance on Miz TV, and his welcoming gift was a quite interesting proposition by the show’s host. The Miz asked Jordan if he would accept his offer of guiding Jordan’s career and his own Miztourage membership. This was a genius move by Miz, who was trying to get in on the ground floor of Kurt Angle’s son’s singles career before he eventually skyrockets to become a champion. Jordan, ever the gentleman, respectfully declined, but his respectful demeanor lasted for as long as it too for the Miz to start talking smack (something the actual show Talking Smack could have used more of) about Jordan’s father.

We haven’t had many opportunities to see Jason Jordan when he’s angry (he was always so lovable and upbeat during his America Alpha days), and now that we know what he’s like when he’s ticked off, maybe the Miz should just let this one go. Sure, Jordan gave him a hellacious suplex right into the other two members of the Miztourage, but the Miz still has the Intercontinental Championship. If he wants to keep it, I’d suggest not upsetting Kurt Angle’s son a second time when his dad has the power to literally do anything he wants. If Angle desires, he could put Jordan in a title match against the Miz where Miz’s hands are tied behind his back. Nothing has been announced regarding these two having a fight, but I’ll be penciling these guys into my fantasy booking for Summerslam. It’s damn true.

Monday Night Upset

The only Women’s Division match of the night was an upset, while also being anything other than upsetting. Bayley, fresh off her huge win last week against Sasha Banks for the number one contender spot for Alexa Bliss’ RAW Women’s Championship, faced Nia Jax, who has been acting like some sort of an ally to the champion. (Team Rude, I believe they call themselves.) Even before the match began, Alexa Bliss made it known that this was going to be a “massacre,” and while that isn’t the word I’d use to describe what happened, there’s no way she would have predicted the outcome. Bayley continued her snowballing momentum, picking up a win (by countout, but a win nonetheless) and with only two more Monday nights until the biggest party of the summer, it’s not crazy to think that Bayley can avenge her loss to Alexa Bliss earlier in the year.

Highlight Reel

  • In the first match of the night, the Hardy Boyz picked up a big win against the Club after being held winless in the entire month of July. With the Revival on commentary, it’s obvious that all three of these teams are interested in one thing: the RAW Tag Team Championships. Sheamus & Cesaro, the current beltholders, have no real rivalry at the moment, so that position is still up for grabs by whoever can come out of this three-team squabble. For someone like myself who grew up in the Attitude Era, it’ll be sad if the Hardys aren’t the ones fighting for the belts. At the same time, thinking from the perspectives of the Club and the Revival, four guys still looking to find their footing on RAW, the Hardys fighting for the belts would represent failure to not get the job done once again.
  • Maybe I spoke too soon when I said the tag champs had no rival; they decided to forge their own with two-thirds of the Shield. Dean Ambrose was being interviewed by his wi…. co-worker, Renee Young, when Seth Rollins stopped by to thank Ambrose for last week. There have been subtle hints of a reunion being teased (just last week, Seth offered Ambrose a Houndfist, or whatever it’s called, only for Ambrose to swipe left on the idea immediately), and this became more of a reality when after Rollins match against Sheamus (which Rollins won via pinfall) when the tag champs jumped Rollins. Ambrose was put in a situation where if he didn’t show up, he’d be considered a jerk, and no way someone who believes they should be in an asylum wants to be thought of as a jerk. Ambrose’s muscle wasn’t enough to stop the champs, who are steadily establishing themselves as perhaps the biggest heels in the Tag Team Division. Hopefully soon, we will get to see them face Ambrose/Rollins, perhaps with some gold on the line.
  • Six of the top Cruiserweights from 205 Live had themselves a tag team match, as Akira Tozawa, Cedric Alexander & Rich Swann defeated Tony Nese, Ariya Daivari and TJP. The match mostly a prop to promote the poor medical staff Titus O’Neil provides his clients, but despite his injured shoulder, Tozawa was the one who pinned TJP after landing a nasty Diving Senton. Tozawa has put the Cruiserweight division on his back, telling great stories for the past couple months. We will soon find out if he will be rewarded for his performance, or if Ariya Daivari will be the one to get a chance to dethrone King Neville, when these guys do battle on 205 Live.
  • As much as I love watching Bray Wyatt’s signature, nonsensical rants, I didn’t think it was fair that Finn Balor let him finish; had it been a beautiful Elias song instead, Balor would have interrupted by the third strum. Eventually, Balor showed up in the ring after the lights flashed off, and gave Bray Wyatt a whoopin’ that I interpreted as, “Bray, I have a demon you just have to meet. You’ll love him.”
  • Hey, it’s Elias! Even better, it’s Hometown Elias!! If any crowd should appreciate his wonderful talents, even if his lyrics are full of degradation of it’s people, it’s the city where he grew up. Unfortunately, Kalisto took notes from that coward Finn Balor’s playbook and wouldn’t let Elias finish his concert. (He interrupted during Samson’s tasty solo! What a rude animal Kalisto is.) Kalisto must not be familiar with the growing legend of Elias, but after the Drifter steamrolled him in their match, Kalisto should start reading up on him.
  • Big Show should be nominated for a Humanitarian award with the way he has been taken care of Enzo’s personal problems. (Maybe Big Cass was on to something.) For once since his heel turn, Cass ended up on his back by way of a Knockout Punch from Big Show. Interesting choice having this match be the main event when it’s maybe the most one-sided feud in the company, but it was telling seeing that Big Cass is actually vulnerable. A rare segment win by Enzo over his old tag partner, even if he cost the guy representing him the match.