Pittsburgh, PA hosted Monday Night Raw which featured a bombshell announcement from Paul Heyman regarding himself and WWE Universal Champion Brock Lesnar, as well as a massive Triple Threat Match with Braun Strowman vs Roman Reigns vs Samoa Joe, and building up towards The Biggest Party of the Summer.
Kurt Angle opened the show in front of his home town fans hyping up the show ahead, but was interrupted by an appearance from Paul Heyman and the Universal Champion Brock Lesnar. Heyman said that he has figured out Angle and he knows that WWE are eager to get the title off Lesnar at Summerslam, hence the Fatal Four Way where Lesnar doesn’t actually need to lose. Heyman dropped the bombshell that if Lesnar loses the title at Summerslam, Lesnar and Heyman will leave WWE! This threat of losing Lesnar was amplified with a sly but powerful mention and emphasis on the word “Ultimate”, of course referring to the Ultimate Fighting Champion or UFC where it is being rumoured Lesnar could be heading in the near future. An incredibly hot and exciting opening to the show, and the threat of Lesnar leaving really blows the Main Event of Summerslam wide open.
The Hardy Boys defeat Gallows & Anderson in the opening match of the night. A nice tag team match but nowhere close to what the two are capable of together. With The Revival on commentary, the three teams brawled after the match with the Hardy Boys standing tall to end the segment. All signs look like a triple threat tag team match is on the way for Summerslam.
Cruiserweight action sees the team of Akira Tozawa, Rich Swann & Cedric Alexander defeat Ariya Daivari, TJP & Tony Nese. The story of Tozawa’s shoulder injury with Daivari is good, and it includes the Swann vs TJP thing, but big tag matches like this do nothing for the division and really are a waste of time and potential.
The Miz hosts MizTV with special guest, Kurt Angle’s son Jason Jordan (with his new theme music). The two trade insults back and forth, Jordan seems to be trying to downplay having Angle as his father, this angle is nowhere near as hot as it should be and needs to be. The Miz brings up Kurt Angle’s history and insults him. Miz tried to attack Jordan but Jordan go the upper hand and escaped. It certainly looks like The Miz vs Jason Jordan for the Intercontinental Championship at Summerslam is in the works.
Seth Rollins defeats Sheamus in the first singles match of the night, well into the second hour of the show. After the match, the Raw Tag Team Champions attacked Rollins until Ambrose made the save. It looks like a Cesaro & Sheamus vs Seth Rollins & Dean Ambrose feud is heading our way; very exciting stuff with the potential that this all concludes with an Ambrose heel turn and an Ambrose vs Rollins feud. The two continued to tease their tension, with Ambrose in backstage segments saying how he doesn’t trust Rollins. Brilliant storytelling.
Bray Wyatt cut a promo on Finn Balor, running down Balor and the fans who live vicariously through him. Balor’s Demon music hit and Balor appeared in the ring behind Wyatt, but not as the Demon, Balor hit an overhead kick that was a great spot and stood tall to end the segment. Surely the Demon is returning at Summerslam, one year on from its last appearance, and Wyatt can be the perfect person to bring this out if done right.
A monster preview of Summerslam with Roman Reigns vs Samoa Joe vs Braun Strowman in a Triple Threat Match. How this did not main event is almost impossible to understand, especially considering what the main event actually was; ridiculous. Reigns & Joe were forced to double team Strowman, all three men had their spots to look good and Reigns got the win with a spear on Joe. With Reigns winning, surely he isn’t walking out of Summerslam with the title. Disappointing not to see something from Lesnar here given he was in the building.
Elias performed a song about Pittsburgh before destroying Kalisto. A good momentum building win for The Drifter over a former US Champion. With Balor completely moved onto Wyatt, Elias doesn’t really have anywhere to go at the moment. Kalisto is next to irrelevant at this point, why hasn’t he been moved to the Cruiserweight division?
Bayley built some momentum towards Summerslam with a count-out victory over Nia Jax. Jax dominated a good portion of the match, before with both women on the floor Alexa Bliss interfered but Bayley took her straight out, Bayley sent Nia Jax straight into the steel steps to get the count-out victory. Bliss tried to jump Bayley but Bayley escaped. Everything about this was backwards, Bayley is the number one contender for Summerslam and can’t get a clean win? Yes this protects Nia Jax and makes Bayley more of an underdog but still. Also Bayley got the cheap win in a count-out and ran away from Bliss, shouldn’t the heel be the one cowardly avoiding the face? Where was Sasha Banks? This was completely backwards
The main event was not the Triple Threat preview to the massive Summerslam main event, but instead was Big Cass vs The Big Show, which ended in DQ. Both Cass & Enzo cut promos beforehand, the two big men brawled it out in a slow match (which is okay considering both men’s styles and size). Enzo jumped Cass from behind to cause the DQ, before Cass laid out Enzo with a big boot and Big Show hit the KO Punch to stand tall to end the show. Just awful, the Big Cass heel turn is quickly becoming a disaster, no one really cares anymore, Enzo the babyface is attacking Cass the heel from behind, and the Big Show (and no one loves the Big Show more than me) is standing tall to end a Raw in 2017, and one that featured Roman Reigns vs Samoa Joe vs Braun Strowman. Awful.