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WWE Raw results, recap, reactions (July 17, 2017): Qualms

WWE’s focus for this week’s episode of Monday Night Raw was all about the drama.

There was a big main event match with implications for one of their biggest pay-per-view (PPV) events of the year, but the company and its fans were paying attention to Kurt Angle’s secret.

Are the soap opera elements your favorite thing about sports entertainment? Do you tune in for stories about management? How much do you miss the Attitude Era? Do you just like watching fellow fans complain? What do you think the shelf-life of the average tag team should be on the main roster?

Your enjoyment and appreciation of the reveal that Jason Jordan is General Manager Kurt Angle’s son from a relationship he had while a college student in the late 1980s, who went on to be adopted (by his shoot parents), coincidentally pursued amateur and professional wrestling, eventually landing on the WWE roster shortly before Kurt returned to the company, just in time for a still-unrevealed person to attempt to blackmail Angle with that information, only to be thwarted by the company and Kurt’s family not being ashamed or upset about the news, leading to July 17’s announcement... PHEW... will depend on your answer to those questions. And probably your expectations coming into the segment.

Mine are depends on if it’s a good story, no, not a whole lot, no and longer than a year. So I should probably hate the Jason Jordan-Angle angle. But I don’t, at least not too much. And that’s because my expectations were very, very low.

Expecting bad, I got bad. The kind of thing I hope none of my wrestling-skeptical friends and relatives ask about, because I know the eye rolls and sighs are coming before I can explain a fraction of the story.

This thing doesn’t make a lick of sense. The odds are all-Spider-Man’s-villians-know-Peter-Parker astronomical. There’s no explanation of why this information would be blackmail-worthy in the first place. We still don’t know who presented it to Angle that way, or why he and Corey Graves bought it. Corey’s explanation for being involved, “JJ and I were friends in NXT”, is flimsy, and who found out about Jordan’s DNA and was sending the texts, anyway?

But Angle and Jordan committed completely, with Kurt even tearing up, and I can’t totally hate on any story which involves performers giving their all. And it instantly raises Jason’s profile in a way almost nothing else would. Personally, I would have prefered they take the time to roll American Alpha out on the main roster, explaining their quirky charm while fans got used to their stellar wrestling. WWE isn’t really in the tag team business, though, and JJ is talented enough to be worth a narrative gamble to establish him.

It was dumb, but the worst is hopefully over. Best case from here is they do some comedy skits where both guys can shine, then we get a reveal Jordan faked the whole thing to climb the ladder and leading to an eventual series of Angle vs. Jordan, Angle vs. Gable and Jordan vs. Gable bouts.

Worst case, Stephanie McMahon is unveiled as the blackmailer and this whole story is about her from September - next April.

Okay, maybe the worst isn’t over. But this was too silly for me to get really mad about.

SummerSlam is shaping up to be a show full of multi-person matches. While I understand how that helps the company and the talent financially, it feels pretty lazy creatively... and probably part of why WWE struggles to make new stars when they’re always looking to include and protect everyone.

But I’ll be damned if I’m not PSYCHED for any match which involves Samoa Joe, Roman Reigns and Braun Strowman. Throw the Brock Lesnar mystique into a group of hungry cats who should bring out his A game? Forget about it.

Joe’s run since Extreme Rules is approaching legendary status, with the only downside to it at this point being it makes me sad his best years were spent out of the brightest spotlight in the business. His verbal chops haven’t diminished at all, but imagine the 2007 version of the man tearing up WWE television? C'est la vie.

Not in the mood to argue about Reigns, pretty much ever, but his justifiably above it all character fits him, and his wrestling was already top notch. Strowman is the best built monster character of my lifetime. Those two already have great chemistry. The Big Dog is developing it quickly with Joe, and the flashes we got of the Destroyer vs. the Monster Among Men this week got me very excited to see more.

Braun’s rampage-in to prevent us from getting a decisive finish in the #1 contender match between Joe and Roman was really predictable. A PPV card stacked with Triple Threats and Fatal 4Ways is uninspiring. But I’m so excited to see these characters interact on the mic and in the ring that I don’t even care.

Bring on the Beast.

Too late to apologize: We finally got Seth Rollins telling Dean Ambrose he’s sorry for destructing The Shield, but seeing as it’s years later and he had to be backed into it, I don’t blame Ambrose for not forgiving or forgetting. Not crazy about Miz again being relegated to supporting actor status, but there’s some uncertainty about where this is headed (Intercontinental title Triple Threat? Ambr-ollins in the tag scene?) and that’s interesting me for now.

Boss ‘n’ Hug Collision Course: I don’t ever not want to see a Sasha Banks vs. Bayley match, but... For one thing, I’m expecting Nia Jax to play the role of Strowman next week to set up a SummerSlam 4Way. For another, rather than an important step in a either Banks’ or Bayles’ character evolution, this is probably a means to an end - namely the match Creative wants for Aug. 20. Just a month ago the Hugster was a joke who couldn’t do anything with the champ, now she’s showing aggression she wouldn’t then without any other change in her demeanor and suddenly can’t lose. Fingers crossed this is the start of a story that breaks me of my cynicism about the Raw Women’s division. But...

Purple no more: Leaving the ropes red is good, I guess. Otherwise, giving two minutes to a tag match that combines two feuds felt pointless and teasing issues between a Titus O’Neil and Akira Tozawa just as fans were embracing Titus Worldwide felt like a bad idea.

Bigly: Wasn’t as impressed with the Enzo & Big Cass split as most of my Cageside colleagues as it went down, and nothing that’s happened since has made me a convert. Amore’s promo was solid, I suppose, but didn’t move me, and Show and Cass’ brawl felt basic. The younger seven footer standing tall (pun totally intended) is the right move. So there’s that.

Bálor’s song: Catch 22 here, as they have to extend this feud to give it any chance of helping Elias Samson and not feeling like a total time-killer for Finn, but everyone is ready to fast-forward and see if Bray Wyatt vs. The Demon can live up to the potential most of us once saw in it.

Say yeah: Who knows what’s going on with the tag scene. That could be a good thing, or WWE could just be biding their time before taking the remaining teams the way of #DIY, Zo & Cass, American Alpha, Golden Truth, etc. Alls I know is, I could watch Dash & Dawson wrestle forever.

A show I found myself enjoying, as long as I didn’t think too hard about it. A couple matches I dug, and a few pieces moved forward, but outside the big reveal, nothing major happened to make this episode essential viewing - and the final verdict for almost everything here depends on what happens next.

Grade: C+

Your turn.

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