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WWE Raw results, recap, reactions (July 24, 2017): Story time

WWE is telling good stories on Monday Night Raw, and the show has suddenly become destination programming.

Read Rev’s live blog for a comprehensive blow-by-blow of this week’s show.

I greatly enjoy that the main event scene of Monday Night Raw over the past couple months has just been a few real big beefy bastards throwing their beef at each other in between screaming matches that Raw General Manager Kurt Angle cannot ever seem to contain. My favorite part of Raw every week is when Angle's face is red from trying to shout over everyone that he has an idea on how to effectively solve a problem he's failed to effectively solve like six times already.

It's fun if you can ignore how dumb it can get.

Which I suppose applies to all professional wrestling. But I digress.

Really, Samoa Joe, Roman Reigns, and Braun Strowman do all have some kind of legitimate claim to getting top billing at SummerSlam but wouldn't it work just as well for Angle to say "I don't know how to contain this, so I'm not going to try, you can all kill each other over the title and leave the rest of my roster alone?"

But that wouldn't work because in the process of killing each other, Angle is out here calling the roster out just to break them up. A side effect of all that beef.

You can't stop it.

You can only hope to contain it.

And not with these weak ass security guards:

I don't know, it's hardly worth even giving this many words to it. Just enjoy the mass of men throwing each other.

This Elias Samson-Finn Balor issue is so standard so as to feel contrived. It's like a simulation of what a blood feud is supposed to look like but you can see right through the fact that it's just a simulation so you want to get to the real thing.

You have to appreciate the small things, though, like:

- Balor always interrupts Samson singing his shitty song

- Samson, despite this, never interrupts Balor's unnecessarily long entrance, even though he's literally standing right there while Finn is throwing his arms up for no reason

- Balor, for his part, actually did the full entrance but had a real mean look on his face for it to make it clear he's super upset at this guy he's about to fight

- Balor wore tape on his shoulder, because you can't hit anyone in the head anymore so Samson had to shoulder shot him with the guitar and, hey, at least Balor is selling it

- They bothered with progression, booking a No Disqualification match despite the fact this entire feud has taken place on Raw

- All of Balor's anger mattered not because he didn't bother to account for the very clear warning Bray Wyatt gave him, and he ended up pinned anyway

Speaking of Wyatt, that cutaway doesn't work often but coming back from it to see him already into Sister Abigail is how to make it work.

Emma's WWE story has quickly become a woman's slow descent into madness. She's been packaged and repackaged, injured and reinjured, and all along she's simply been in search of a chance to succeed.

That's led her to this progression:

- Try to link up with Dana Brooke to form a team that used to work in NXT

- Pout on Twitter

- Interrupt an interview the General Manager is giving and threaten to start banging the son he just found out he had

That last one worked! She got booked in a match against Nia Jax.

She was then soundly defeated in about a minute.

Sometimes you get what you want in life, folks.

Here's the lesson they've taught in this Big Cass-Enzo Amore breakup: Life is going to hit you where it hurts most and, for the most part, there isn't going to be a damn thing you can do about it.

Hollywood has taught you to believe your story will end in triumph. Enzo Amore is here to show us your story is far more likely to end in defeat. There is (almost) always someone bigger, stronger, and more capable.

The hope here is WWE attempts to tell a larger story with Enzo. There are other lessons to teach with stories like this -- namely that, yes, you are going to take L's like he did here but you can battle back from that to find success elsewhere. You will try and you will fail because someone else was better than you and you will have to find a way to be okay with that.

Amore is going to have to come to grips with the fact that he was always playing a supporting role in the story telling the rise of Big Cass and just as soon as he was in the way of that story continuing, he was swiftly dealt with. How does he accept this and move forward? That's a legitimately interesting question that WWE will have to answer now.

Let's hope they find a legitimately interesting way to do so.


Still don't get the decision to create tension between Titus O'Neil and Akira Tozawa, but neither guy has done anything heel-ish yet (Titus is looking out for his client's best interests - and is continually proven right; Tozawa just wants to compete), so in the long-run this may actually serve to get them over more as a babyface manager/client combo. And at least Akira is getting an immediate story after losing to Neville, which is more than some past challengers can say.

The King returned this week to taunt Tozawa about his shoulder injury and all of the above, reminding us that story is ongoing, and giving Akira a chance to stand tall... for about one second before Ariya Daivari showed up to wreck Tozawa AND Neville. Which... cool? All for expanding the cast of characters atop the division, but Daivari strikes me as more of a mid-card gatekeeper guy, especially in a world where Mustafa Ali and Cedric Alexander are right there. Oh well, they're trying some stuff, and two matches announced in advance for 205 Live is a good thing.

Now someone tell Geno the flippy dudes are done and it's safe to come back for the rest of the reactions...

Alexa Bliss is real mean but she's a good heel champion because she's also calculating. No, she's not rewriting the book on how to get two friends to turn on each other and therefore weaken one another before one of the two face her, but that she's doing it at all is worth mentioning.

Far too many characters don't bother with the obvious in situations like this.

Plus, it gave us that not-so-subtle competitive edge to the Bayley-Sasha Banks interaction before their match. One of these two can keep that competition in perspective.

How long until the one who can't breaks?

When the match came, they played it clean all the way through to the finish, where Banks hit a frog splash that looked like it might get the pin but Bayley rolled through and scored the pinfall herself.

Sasha responded with quiet disappointment and nothing else ... for now.

That sets up Alexa Bliss vs. Bayley for the Raw women's title at SummerSlam, a surprising decision considering they ran this program just a couple months ago. Perhaps there's a surprise in order?

The Jason Jordan Era on Monday Night Raw is here and it got started with a Curt Hawkins putting him over in a short match designed to make him look good. Even better was the decision to cut back to Kurt Angle watching it happen.

His facial expressions each time had me on the floor. What a wonderfully weird duo this is turning out to be.

We don't know what we really have with it, though, and they have to take the right steps to build Jordan up before they can get to anything good. This was step two, so there isn't all that much to say about it.

Jordan's offense is fun and he looks great when he's in there with guys whose sole purpose is to make him look that way. Otherwise? Time till tell.

Establishing The Revival is a good call, considering they look like the kind of team that can carry the tag team division for any amount of time they're needed to. That said, it's somewhat confusing booking them to beat the Good Brothers after The Hardy Men ran in when it was supposed to be the opposite and just didn't work out.

I'm not sure what good that does for anyone, especially with the tag team champs watching like they're scouting their next competition.

And, really, it was all just a way to get to Jeff and Matt scoring some offense on the baddies who attacked them last week. It's fine, for sure, it just feels like there's a better way to book an interesting feud between two teams like this than the standard attack-attack right back angles.

It's time to give WWE some credit for how they've handled Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose coming back together. It's felt natural in the sense that they're uniting against a common enemy and it's forced them to deal with some longstanding issues.

It started last week with Rollins apologizing and Ambrose reveling in it but not really buying it. That continued this week when they did a great backstage segment with Seth admitting he's looking forward to tagging together again before saying they had three guys to worry about and Ambrose, with perfect timing, responding "you have to worry about three guys -- I have to worry about four" before walking off and leaving Rollins to deal with that.

This is good! Ambrose has zero reason to trust his former stablemate and every reason not to. In the real world, you don't get to betray your friends and IMMEDIATELY earn their all that trust back when you help them once. Or even twice.

Trust is built in drops and lost in buckets, as they say.

So credit to WWE for booking a program with some real depth to it.

When they got to the match, the entire psychology of it was just how effective the two could be as a team when they came back together and started working like they used to. The Shield, remember, was dominant in a way no other team was. They gave us another glimpse of that with a strong victory here.

Then it got better!

After, they hugged it out while celebrating their win. All looked well, like they were right back to being who they always used to be. But no. They are not.

Seth put his fist out while looking to Dean, hoping he would return the favor. This is crucial because it isn't just that he's trying to get back to the way things were, it's that he's being openly vulnerable. Ambrose struggled with the idea of accepting the invitation and ultimately decided against it. He's not ready for that.

Rollins, as he needed to do to continue repairing the relationship, accepted Dean's hesitance with resolve and, seemingly, a continued commitment to the cause. This is a story they took their time telling but they're getting it right so far.

Color me shocked but they didn't try too hard to cram too much into this show, and they were far better off for it. There are reasons to get invested in every story they're telling.

Grade: A-

Your turn.

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