Hello there. We’re always looking for new ways to approach discussing wrestling and figured we’d try something different when it comes to talking about Raw. We talk about all sorts of wrestling in the Wrestling With Words Slack and we thought it’d be cool to turn that into something. So, inspired by a similar regular column that runs on FiveThirtyEight, what follows is a discussion that took place on the WWW Slack (edited and tidied a little for the sake of clarity and readability) about everything that went down on the July 17, 2017 episode of Monday Night Raw. Joining you tonight are:
- trask – Trask @traskbryant
- elweston1 – Evan Weston @EvanLWeston
- brady17 – Brady @Brady_W_W_W
- jml – JML @TheJML_
- beyblade_parm – Parm @beybladeparm
trask: Here we go. Slack review in the house. First time doing this thing. We just witnessed a pretty great Raw, so we should jump around in a WWW way. Let’s talk about Angle revealing Jordan to be his son. Were we all shocked it wasn’t Gable? Jordan is the perfect “WWE” fit for this, even if Gable was a wrestler.
elweston1: They even look alike! Don’t tell me kayfabe is dead!
beyblade_parm: I like it.
brady17: Solid shocker moment, he wasn’t the one I was expecting which is good. I enjoyed it.
trask: With so many stars on Raw, it’s going to be interesting to see how they filter Jordan into things. Reigns/Joe/Brock/Strowman/Balor/Ambrose/Rollins, and Jordan seems to be getting a big push.
elweston1: It’s a very silly and very pro wrestling angle, and WWE needs more of that in the age of scoops and everyone knowing everything. I love when they acknowledge that they’re telling a fictional story and that wrestling is very goofy. This will be a major test for Jordan, who got over as the straight man to Chad Gable’s sillier character in American Alpha. Can Jordan deliver as a promo? Can he shine as a singles personality?
trask: lol they just did an angle on the Jordan/Angle sit down. Renee said there could be weird push implications and Jordan shut that down. Going to be funny to see how they deal with that too if Jordan gets a rocket push.
trask: Let’s talk about how Reigns vs. Joe was like the fifth best match I’ve seen today, and it was absolutely wonderful. Smart to do the Braun run-in as 1) it cuts off the climax of the match and gives us the urge to see more between the two, and 2) THE SUMMERSLAM FOUR WAY IS HAPPENING, I’m amped as amped can be.
elweston1: Raw now has the four giants on top, Ambrose/Rollins/Balor/Jordan as midcard babyfaces, Wyatt/Miz/Cass/Samson as midcard heels. Tons of places they could go. Joe/Roman will be unbelievable when it does eventually happen on PPV. They’ve had three very good TV matches without giving too much away. Braun has now interfered in all three of their matches, btw.
brady17: And the fact that Roman hasn’t beaten Joe and Joe hasn’t beaten Roman clean, I see another match down the line.
beyblade_parm: Makes me wanna see a straight no interference singles match between the two.
trask: I keep thinking HIAC is a Raw PPV, but it’s not. I’d love to see Roman and Joe not only have another match, but something like Last Man Standing.
elweston1: The SummerSlam 4-way, assuming it goes through, should be an incredible spectacle, which is what top WWE shows are all about. It does seem that Joe is in there to be the fall guy for Brock, and they’ll need to have a clear backup plan to keep him hot when it’s over (Ambrose?), but the match will be wild.
trask: It could be one of the best PPV matches in a long time, so many crossovers that’ll happen and imagine a Shield powerbomb to Brock.
jml: I thought the Reigns/Joe match was a good TV main event but the ref sneaking away and just sitting next to Jojo and the timekeeper and not calling for the bell bothered me. I thought Braun did his part but I wanted more chaos with the ring bell ringing and more security to make Braun a bigger monster trying to avenge a murder attempt from Roman.
beyblade_parm: Braun debuted the night after SS 2015. Crazy how good he has gotten!
elweston1: Braun is the absolute shining jewel of the WWE Performance Center and their star-making machine.
beyblade_parm: Our Generation’s Jun Akiyama!
jml: Pump the brakes, Parm.
trask: Speaking of destroying people, we had a Rollins-Ambrose reunion segment that’s beginning to slip the ring on them as a team together again. I couldn’t see it all, but I thought it was very effective and allows them to take out a common enemy in Miz and co. Hopefully leading to even more in the future like a tag title run.
elweston1: Really enjoyed that segment. I imagine they’re building to Rollins/Miz one on one after SummerSlam. Seth didn’t work out as a top-level babyface and Dean is never going to be anything more than a plug and play guy. Put them together and let them do what brought them to the dance.
beyblade_parm: Honestly, I feel this is a downgrade for Seth & Dean. Just filler opponents for them to face.
trask: Really? I feel like it’s a huge upgrade. We need more superstar tag units; this is the best possible thing for them to do. It doesn’t seem filler to me at all. Fills out a card extremely well while continually pushing towards that sweet sweet Shield hug. Rollins apologizing was huge.
elweston1: Parm, where would Seth and Dean go otherwise?
beyblade_parm: How should I know? I’m not the booker, I’m the hack that leeches off of y’all.
elweston1: I’d keep them together and build feuds with the Revival and Cesaro and Sheamus.
jml: The Rollins/Ambrose segment is probably the best mic work for both of them while up in the main roster in a while. Rollins wasn’t annoying and Ambrose wasn’t a prop comic. They brought up history which WWE never usually does.
brady17: Seth & Dean tag team run is completely fine with me. Seems like they didn’t have much for them anyway. Can get Rollins away from Bray and Dean eventually away from Miz, keep them out of the main event scene and running tags, seems enjoyable.
trask: Before we get to other things, I want to put over how good Balor/Sampson has been as a program. No DQ next week is going to be fun as hell. I hope Sampson gets the rub to become a bigger heel, as much as I love Finn. He can do with losing a bit before getting heated back up for the fall when all the big hoss stuff is in the clear. Makes sense.
jml: Balor/Sampson has been OK. I liked Sampson using the guitar. It’s stop gap for Balor but nothing really earth shattering as a program for me.
brady17: Balor and Sampson have had better matches together and tonight was okay. I feel it was all just leading to that one spot, which it did, so then they can get that out of the way and have a banger of a match next week. And since it is No DQ, Bray will obviously interfere.
elweston1: The key to making a three hour Raw successful week in and week out is midcard programs like Balor/Samson. I’m all about it. There isn’t a program on Raw outside of the women’s division (due to the incoherent booking) where I feel myself looking at the clock.
trask: It’s also fairly obvious we’re getting Bray/Balor at SummerSlam. That’ll be a big supernatural marketing push edgy thing for the show, and I couldn’t really guess who goes over. Maybe they go more all in on Bray for now by having him win. It should be a spectacle in good and terrible ways. At least everyone has something on the brand right now. For example, Titus Worldwide. They’ve been excellent for the past while and they keep getting more and more segments on shows!
beyblade_parm: Titus is very charismatic.
trask: Titus might be a better manager than a hot tag, which is impressive considering how bad he is on the mic sometimes. He’s gotten better as a dynamic personality – basically gets to be a dad to superstars on camera, lol.
elweston1: I have no interest in Bray Wyatt right now and his promo was the worst thing on the show tonight by a comfortable margin. Need to do something very different there.
trask: Now, before we get into the last bit of our chat, I want to pose the QUESTION OF THE WEEK! Who would you put the CW title on right now? Tozawa, to get over Titus Worldwide as legitimate, and to continue his hot streak, or Cedric who’s fresh off a feud winner against Noam Dar (literally 3/4s of a year spent there)?
jml: Mustafa Ali.
beyblade_parm: Tozawa, as I don’t want him to lose again. Then Cedric.
elweston1: Neville should keep the title until they are ready to have Cedric defeat him in a meaningful match.
trask: It was more of a “you must choose between the two” but sure. If I had the choice I’d have Neville graduate by handing the title to Drew Gulak and Gulak has a reign. I know, it’s dumb, but I want it so bad and don’t want a face to hold the title until Cedric and then Ali. But yeah, if I had to choose between the two, I’d still go with Tozawa right now I think. Then like Brady said maybe Cedric off Tozawa. Anyway, let’s talk about that solid ass match.
beyblade_parm: How was Bliss vs Bayley to all of us? Disappointed me a bit. Although I am om with Bliss losing as we get Boss vs Hugger.
trask: Bliss/Bayley have great chemistry. Nia is great right now too.
elweston1: I don’t like what they’re doing with the women. Alexa easily squashed Bayley six months ago, now she can’t beat her. Sasha gets a count out win and can’t get a rematch. Nia is way more dominant than everyone and can’t get a title shot. And now again they’re all gonna be thrown together. Enough
brady17: Raw women get a big thumbs down for me. They use the same people and pretty much just swapped out Charlotte for Bliss. It’s getting really stale seeing a 4 horsewoman in the title picture and I pray they do something different; yet I’m let down every time. They have people like Emma, Mickie, Dana, Alicia doing not a damn thing and they continue to keep the same people in. Granted I am a Nia fan, but she keeps losing and doesn’t get a title shot anyway so she’s pretty useless at this point. SD women are way more interesting.
jml: The thing with the women’s division is where are the blowaway great matches that were the calling card of the 4 horsewomen? They need that to bring life into the women’s division.
trask: Raw tonight had some fun stuff in general, at least on paper. In the midcard we had Bliss/Bayley + Finn/Elias + Revival/Hardys + a wicked CW combo of Ali/Gallagher vs. Kendrick/Gulak, even if it was short. Tons of crazy matchups.
elweston1: Revival/Hardys was the second best match on the show.
beyblade_parm: A solid, satisfying Raw. I felt Revival/Hardys had people holding back.
trask: We can end with overall thoughts on the show and the build of Enzo/Cass right now. Enzo being smart as to get over the barricade and let Big Show do dirty work was great. I almost want them to assemble as a unit right now, while we’re in a feeling out process with Enzo.
beyblade_parm: Enzo makes getting squashed sound like the most badass thing ever.
brady17: Enzo, doing his best right now cutting fire promos each week and I’m real happy he has Big Show to back him up cause in reality there’s no way Enzo can overcome Cass. But using Big Show makes Cass’ flaw stand out: He’s.. just… tall. That’s it. Nothing more. I have more faith Enzo will do better in the long run than Cass and it seems Cass vs Show w/Enzo is the go-to for SummerSlam which is fine with me.
jml: I agree with Brady. Other than Kevin Owens, Enzo has become the best promo guy in this current version of WWE. The breakup has made Enzo become more entertaining cause the routine with Cass made me mute my TV every time they came on screen.
brady17: Overall Raw was a hit again. Enjoying it a lot right now and a thing I really enjoy is that every show continues to get me hyped for the next week and gives me something to look forward to. They’re on the right track towards SummerSlam it seems and I’m happy about that.
elweston1: Really enjoyed tonight’s Raw. There hasn’t been even an average episode of Raw since Extreme Rules, and I’m ready to say the show is on its best run since Daniel Bryan won the world title in 2014. Everything on the undercard is breezy and entertaining sans the women, and the four main event giants feel like an enormous deal. Three matches plus the fallout of BRAAAAAUUUUUN and Jordan/Angle next week, Raw keeps rolling. Thumbs way up!
trask: Overall a good, fun, enjoyable Raw with a few wacky moments that define what sports entertainment is, plus all the fun matches (if not on paper, delivering in ring). That’s basically all I gotta say this week.