Raw took a big step backward from last week where WWE knocked it out of the park. Brock Lesnar showed up but did nothing more than add fuel to the fire that there may be something to the rumors that he’s leaving the company and heading back to MMA. Big Cass and Big Show were inexplicably the main event and Bayley either really sold a shoulder injury or legitimately hurt herself.
The Cruiserweight six-man tag match was one of the better parts of the show is not a good sign that the company got things right only two weeks outside of a major pay-per-view like SummerSlam either.
Here are your 5 Winners and 5 Losers from Raw on July 31, 2017.
5. Loser – Lesnar Does Nothing
It’s hard to determine what is worse; Brock Lesnar not showing up in a segment last week that was great and his inclusion would have put it over the top, or that when he does show up, he doesn’t do anything significant. The most fans got out of Lesnar and Heyman’s surprising appearance on Monday was that if Lesnar loses at SummerSlam, they’re both leaving WWE. Basically, the WWE is trying to swerve the audience and make you think the rumors of Lesnar leaving are true, or he’s actually leaving. If he’s in the building, why not include him in the triple threat match in some way?
5. Winner – Paul Heyman
If Lesnar leaves, the bigger loss for the WWE might be Heyman and not Brock. Heyman was wonderful with his promo suggesting Angle was conspiring against his client and trying to force the Universal Title off Brock’s waist. It will be a shame if the WWE can’t find a use for Heyman after Lesnar inevitably leaves. He’s just too good to send packing because the company doesn’t want to pay Lesnar’s salary demands.
4. Loser – The Tag Team Division
It was nice to see the Hardy’s go over on Monday, but what is the WWE doing with the tag division heading into SummerSlam? Is it being set that Sheamus and Cesaro will fight Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins? Is there going to be a three-team match between the Hardy’s, Revival and The Club? A little direction would have been nice.
It looks like another multi-man (in this case team) match at SummerSlam and too many of these types of matches will water down the card. And what are Gallows and Anderson? Are they heels? Babyfaces? This is now two weeks where no one really knows.
3. Winner – Seth Rollins
Rollins is doing a wonderful job making fans feel for him and for his part, Ambrose is doing a bang up job making it seem like he can’t trust Rollins without going over the top with the storyline. It’s subtle and effective storytelling, and it appears the two are headed for a run with the tag titles which will be full of questions and uncertainties.
That Rollins challenged either Sheamus or Cesaro and that Rollins and Ambrose were left laying was a good direction to take this story. It will make sense for these four to battle at SummerSlam and gives depth to the matchup.
3. Loser – Bayley’s Momentum
If Bayley was selling a shoulder injury, all three members of that match (referee included) did a wonderful job of making it seem like Bayley was really hurt. If the WWE plays this up, they are either trying to get the WWE emotionally invested in Bayley who’s lost a ton of steam, or it could be a way to get Sasha Banks back into the storyline. That said, if Bayley is legit hurt, that’s bad news for someone who needed the win to get the WWE Universe back on their side. Television doesn’t seem to do justice to just how much the fans like Bayley and that’s a shame.
3. Winner – Cruiserweight Match
WWE throwing everyone into the matches on the Cruiserweight side of things is a mistake, but this match was actually entertaining and given a little time to showcase the insane ability that fans miss with these WWE Superstars unless they tune into 205 Live. The sequences and spots in this match were great.
2. Loser – Jason Jordan
The WWE should worry that this Jordan thing might not go as well as they hoped. Nothing against Jordan, who should wind up being a major star, but he’s not ready for a single’s push yet and he’s bland. The WWE Universe already starting to quietly boo him is not a good sign. The theory was thrown out on our last list that Jordan might be set for a heel turn. After this segment, it’s obvious that turning Jordan heel and against Angle would be the smarter play.
2. Winner – Bray Wyatt/Finn Balor
Bringing Bray Wyatt back to basics by delivering a creepy promo in the middle of the ring was smart. He was perhaps a bit too preachy in his delivery and it’s still not quite clear on why he has such a beef, but this is the right feud (with Finn Balor) to pull off this kind of ominous approach. It will make sense when the Demon King shows up at SummerSlam and the WWE Universe should be treated to a very cool battle.
It’s a shame that this will inevitably lead to another loss and that after SummerSlam Wyatt will feel less powerful when he gives these speeches, but who knows, maybe the WWE will surprise. Balor can afford a loss. Wyatt can’t.
1. Loser – Big Cass and Big Show Main Event
What exactly is the WWE thinking by putting these two at the end of the show? This is an especially relevant question when you consider how good the triple threat match was and how it’s clearly the bigger ticket.
This was literally a mid-card storyline shoved into the main event spot to make the WWE Universe feel like they should care, which they don’t. It’s clear to see that the WWE is trying to put over Big Cass, but they don’t need to close the show to demonstrate what they’re doing. This was a big mistake on their part, and it made the close of the program feel weak and the entire show uneventful.
1. Winner – Triple Threat Match
Samoa Joe, Roman Reigns and Braun Stroman put on a great match and proved that a Fatal 4-Way could be an entertaining main event at SummerSlam. While fans may not be on board with the fact that Reigns went over in the contest, perhaps this is a sign that he won’t win the title at SummerSlam. The WWE has a tendency go with this style of booking. Make one man look powerful leading into the pay-per-view and book another man to walk out the winner. Then again, there is more programming before SummerSlam to throw that theory for a loop.
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