Burn It Down – A Raw Recap for 7/31/2017

Tonight’s Raw comes to us from Kurt Angle’s hometown of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Playing into the UFC Rumors

It’s no surprise that Kurt is here in his hometown of Pittsburgh to start off this Raw.  He runs through the list of the stuff planned for tonight:  the Triple Threat, his son’s interview with the Miz.  He’s interrupted by Brock’s theme.

It seems that WWE is leaning into all these rumors about Brock leaving and facing Jon Jones down the line.  Heyman is here because he’s angry at Angle for booking Brock into a Fatal Four Way, a match he doesn’t have to get pinned in to lose.  What’s the punishment?  If Brock loses the Universal Championship at Summerslam both Brock and Heyman are gone from the WWE.

Personally, I say good riddance.  Heyman is great, but I wish he’d represent more guys like Titus Worldwide.  Not only are you paying Brock a lot of money, but you’re also paying Heyman a decent amount to act as Brock’s mouthpiece.  What happened to him advocating for Curtis Axel?

Either way, it’s a smart move on the WWE’s part.  Brock’s contract is up after Wrestlemania 34.  If he re-enters the USADA pool, he won’t be able to fit in UFC until February next year.   But…this fight is huge for UFC.  They might be willing to make Vince and insane offer to let Brock out of his contract early.  So although it doesn’t really make sense for Brock to leave, it’s possible that he loses the belt and spends the next few months getting in MMA shape.  I’d rather him do that than half ass matches like he did with Dean at WM 32.

The important thing though is that it introduces uncertainty to the match.  The rumors swirling around have centered on him losing the belt to get it on TV more often.  But is WWE really going to let Brock and Heyman leave?  Perhaps he’s retaining after all.

It’s no longer a sure thing.

#Awoken Matt Hardy?

The Hardy Boyz defeated Anderson and Gallows, but that’s not the real story here.

After the match, the Hardys battle The Revival and Gallows and Anderson on the top of the ramp.  Twists of Fate and Poetry in Motions for everyone!  The Hardys have awoken!

Does this have anything to do with GFW being denied trademarks last week?  Are they going for it?  I hope so.  If not, just create something new and similar.  This teasing is getting a little old.

The Big Dog’s Yard

Leading up to this match, which was inexplicably in the middle of the card, they played some pretty great promos, one for each competitor in the match.

Ending aside, the match didn’t do anything for me.  Maybe I was in a weird mood or maybe it was just middle of the road.  My favorite moments were Joe locking in the Coquina Clutch on Strowman.  Seeing him struggle was quite a sight.

Later in the match, it seems like Joe and Strowman were just waiting for Roman’s finishers.  Braun had the steel steps in his hand yet he didn’t think to move them a foot to block the Superman Punch?  And Joe should have known that spear was coming.  And yes, now Roman has a pin on Joe because the world sucks sometimes.

The Pittsburgh crowd wasn’t having it.

If you put the Universal Championship on him in Brooklyn, people are going to boo Roman out of the building.  Brooklyn isn’t a Roman friendly town…

Everything Else

  • Elias Samson defeated Kalisto with the Drift Away, a rolling neckbreaker.  This was all retribution for Kalisto interrupting Elias’ rivetting hometown performance of “The People of Pittburgh Suck.”
  • In an effort to wear down Bayley every week until Summerslam, she was up against Nia Jax this week.  Nia worked hard on Bayley’s shoulder in an effort to wear her down.  The Hugger eventually won by countout narrowly escaping Nia’s charge toward the steps.  Alexa joined in on an attempted post match beatdown knowing that Banks was on the other side of the country for a promotional tour.
    • If I didn’t know any better, It almost seems like Alexa is trying to provoke a heel turn from Banks.  I think she might be successful too.  I could imagine a scenario where Banks turns on Bayley at Summerslam, setting up a match down the road at Survivor Series.  I know Brooklyn would love to see them go again, but they already stole Summerslam for 3 years.
  • Miz TV: Jason Jordan
    • First things first, Jason Jordan’s new music is terrible.  Hopefully it gets tweaked like Big Cass’ did.
    • Miz tries to recruit Jordan to the Miztourage, laying it on thick.  He bring up that people boo him and don’t give him the respect he deserves.  That’s suspiciously like Kurt when he first started the WWE.  I think they are getting us acclimated to the idea of Jordan being heel.  I think it’s the right direction.
    • When Miz starts insulting Kurt Angle, Jordan has had enough and Belly-to-Back suplexes Miz into Axel and Dallas.
    • I’m disapointed in Dallas’ wadrobe tonight.  Each week his biker chic style has added an element.  This week he’s more subdued.  Just another reason why this Raw was meh.
  • Rich Swann, Cedric Alexander & Akira Tozawa defeat TJP, Ariya Daivari & Tony Nese.  Tozawa hits his senton on TJP after Alexander leveled the Fil-Am Flash with a kick to the head.  A fine 6-man tag that I feel like they put on the show so they have an easy hulu edit later.
  • Although it’s my favorite story right now, there wasn’t much forward momentum in the Dean and Seth reunion angle this week.  Seth is working for it but Dean still doesn’t trust him.
    • Sheamus and Cesaro rub it in and Seth’s frustrations boils over at the two and challenges one of them to a match.  Sheamus takes up the challenge.
    • First thing’s first, there’s now a “Burn it Down” scream in Seth’s entrance music.  Twitter seems to hate it.  I liked it.  I’m willing to bet that people hate it because it was unexpected.
    • It’s a hard hitting match with Cesaro ultimately trying to distract Rollins.  Seth was able to roll up Sheamus for a pinfall causing all hell to break lose.  Cesaro and Sheamus beat down Rollins to chants of “We Want Ambrose” from the crowd.  It’s almost uncomfortable how long it goes on before Dean runs to the ring.  Rollins is already incapacitated and Ambrose finds himself in a 2-on-1 situation.  It looks like this might lead to a feud between the mini Shield and the tag team champions.  I’m for it.  Dean just needs a Tag Championship to be a grand slam champion.
  • Bray called out Finn and Finn appeared in the ring, making allusions to his Demon persona.  Remember when they ruined the Demon last year by having him appear before Summerslam?  It seems they’ve learned their lesson.
    • I was initially not for this match but I kind of dig it now.
  • The Main Event belongs in this section unfortuantely.  Cass Vs. Show is a good solid mid card fight, not the top of the card.  But here we are, closing out July 2017 and this Raw with a match no one in the audience seems to care about.
    • Cass’ music is better this week.  CFO$’s music hasn’t been good lately.  I hope they get out of this slump.
    • This whole match was clunky.  Either Cass is still too green or they don’t have any chemistry.  Their timing is completely off.  It’s probably a combination of both.  This match is nowhere near as crisp as Show’s match with Strowman.  It’s too bad.  This didn’t belong in the main event.
    • The match mercifully ends when Enzo jumps on Cass’ bag to draw the DQ win.  Show eventually hits a Knockout Punch on Cass for good measure.
    • I really hope Pittsburgh got a good dark match after this.