The Best And Worst Of WWE Raw 8/14/17: Enter The Fist

Previously on the Best and Worst of WWE Raw: Braun Strowman threw a comfortable chair at Roman Reigns’ face. Also, Quebec City wrestling legend Jean-Pierre Goulet made his Raw debut. I’m sure we’ll be seeing lots of him in the coming weeks!

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And now, the Best and Worst of WWE Raw for August 14, 2017.

Best: Just Fist Each Other Already

While it’s fun to give Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose shit for being passive-aggressive goobers caught up in an emotional pissing contest, it’s also worth noting that they’re currently parts one and two in the best angle on the show. Non-“whatever Braun does” division.

They’ve done a great job of building it up week-to-week, which is something you can’t say very often about WWE. At first, Rollins wanted to be Ambrose’s friend and asked him to fist him. Ambrose refused, because he can’t fist a man he doesn’t trust. You have to really trust someone to let them fist you. Then some time passed, and Ambrose realized that maybe he needed to put the past behind him. He offered a fist to Rollins, and then Rollins declined. So now they’re stuck in this WILL THEY OR WON’T THEY fisting roundabout where the timing’s just off, and it’s so frustrating that they have to punch each other. Because they’re gonna fist, one way or another.

That brings us to a quick aside:

Worst: You Deserve This, Guys

Rollins and Ambrose are straight-up trying to kill each other when Sheamus and Cesaro interrupt. This attack brings the faces together again, Kurt Angle shows up to put the two teams into a title match at SummerSlam, and Ambrose and Rollins build to a big fist bump. But here’s the problem: Why did Sheamus and Cesaro attack them?

Think about it. Sure, they’ve had some issues for the past couple of weeks, but Ambrose and Rollins — the two guys Sheamus and Cesaro wanted to see get beaten up — were beating each other up. They didn’t interrupt the pissing contest, or the Be Friends Again party, they interrupted violence. So then Kurt comes out and makes the match, which wouldn’t have been made had the attack not happened. So is it a self-fulfilling prophecy? Did Sheamus and Cesaro attack because they knew they had to set up the title match? This is the kind of shit I hate, where guys suddenly start attacking each other with weapons they never use, like stairs, because there’s a “stairs match” coming up. These aren’t murder mysteries, guys, you can’t start with the ending and work backwards.

But Anyway, Back To The Fisting

That’s really great. What am I, heartless?

The best news of all of this is that the crowd loves it. It feels off typing, “do more things the crowd would enjoy seeing,” but here we are. Ambrose and Rollins have been farting around in circles for too long. Pairing them up and sending them after Sheamus and Cesaro is great use of four extremely talented dudes who’d be tentpoles at the tippy-top of your wrestling promotion if you hadn’t hesitated so much and/or royally shat the creative bed for years.

And hey, I know I’ve written a lot about how I want this to end with Roman Reigns kicking both of their asses and telling them to get out of his yard, but it’s also gonna be super funny if the SummerSlam tag match ends with Rollins attacking Ambrose with a chair. And then Ambrose spends the rest of his career terrified of tagging with anybody.

Worst: These Guys Should Be Friends And Cover ‘Walk This Way’

Goldust turned on R-Truth way back on the 15th of May. Since then, there have been 13 episodes of Raw and two Raw-branded pay-per-views. Goldust has wrestled on one (1) of those Raws and zero (0) pay-per-views. Not even on the pre-shows. Just throwing that out there.

Here, Elias tries to get people to walk with him and gets interrupted by R-Truth. Truth gets beaten up, because he’s got an overall rating of like, 15. The only real positives I can find here are that (1) the segment was short, (2) Elias exclusively writing songs about how he hates everywhere he has to go on tour is the most Wesley Willis shit I’ve ever heard, (3) his shirt is dope and (4) I encourage all the musical characters eventually coming together in some way. I’ve written about how I want Aiden English and Elias to become best friends at the Royal Rumble, so maybe throw Truth in there as well. Add 3MB to it and have them cover ‘We Are The World’ at WrestleMania.

Best: Even The Non-Wrestling Segments Are Kinda Wrestling Segments

Don’t get me wrong, listening to Big Cass try to cut a promo is brutal, much less a long, Roman Reigns-style “recap” promo. But at the risk of seeming like I’m giving that a “Best” — and I’m really, really not — I wanted to show some love to whoever put this show together for not only filling it with long wrestling matches of consequence, but for making the non-wrestling parts of the show still kinda wrestling-related.

For example, you had Rollins and Ambrose arguing amongst themselves to open the show, but it ended in a fight that got the crowd hot. You’ve got Truth interrupting Elias and getting beaten up. Then you’ve got Cass cutting a promo on Enzo and Big Show, getting interrupted by Enzo and Big Show, and Das Club showing up to attack them. It’s still in-ring fighting. It’s not people wandering around backstage fussing at each other in fake-looking dressing rooms, or hosting talk show segments or whatever. And of course the main event (segment) is a Paul Heyman promo that devolves into everyone from the SummerSlam main brawling. Wrestling is at its best when it doesn’t forget it’s supposed to be a professional sports league full of people who get paid to fight over stupid bullshit.

As for the Cass segment, it got better once Cass stopped trying to anchor it. It’s been continually weird that Anderson and Gallows would have a club called “The Club” and not let anyone join it. We kept waiting for AJ Styles or Finn Bálor to head it up and give it some direction (and an actual name), but nope, it’s just a weird bald guy tandem that looks, acts and dresses alike. Adding Cass to the crew at least puts three people in there. And good lord, Cass needs to be hastily shuffled into the “muscle” role for someone else before his progressively oranger ass talks himself into a creative grave.

Kinda weird that The Club would like Cass now and vice versa after they hated each other’s guts a few months ago, but I think the greatest suspension of disbelief they ever pull off is “when you change alignments, you instantly reset your preexisting relationships.”

Best/Worst: Broken Hand Hammocks

They didn’t give Show a splint or a cast for his broken hand because they were worried Enzo would try to have sex with it, right?

Seriously though, I don’t know what part of this they think will get Big Cass over. They’ve had Cass kick Enzo’s ass, and it didn’t really do anything. Then they had him kick Big Show’s ass for weeks, and it didn’t really do anything. Then they set up Show vs. Cass at SummerSlam, with Enzo suspended above the ring in a shark cage for some reason. That wasn’t enough, I guess, so now they’ve got Cass plus the Club taking on Big Show with a broken hand while Enzo’s up in the shark cage. On Smackdown they should announce that Cass will also be allowed to bring a machete to the ring.

Best: Alexa Bliss’ Beach Chair Of Doom

This week’s opening match is Sasha Banks vs. Nia Jax for a chance to face Alexa Bliss for the Raw Women’s Championship at SummerSlam, because Bayley is so Bad Luck Schleprock right now her catchphrase should be “wowsie wowsie woo woo.” Alexa watches the match from an elevated beach chair like she’s judging tennis. It’s so good, and perfect for an extremely short person with a complex. She should ride to the ring on Bad News Barrett’s old motorized scissor-lift lectern.

It’s also very Mil Muertes of her, which of course I love. And come on, it’s always been her destiny to sit on a throne.

As for the match, it was very good. It would’ve been even better had we not had two commercial breaks during it, featuring two non-consecutive Arby’s commercials. But I know, I know, Raw isn’t a wrestling show, it’s a World’s Fair where the exhibits are junk food and All New Episodes Of Suits, and wrestling’s what happens while you’re walking between them.

But yeah, it’s a good match. Sasha has some inherent problems — she’s too light to make anything look impactful unless she’s actually hurting herself, for example — but she’s probably the best woman in the company at holding matches together, especially against people who aren’t used to having great matches. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, compare Banks/Jax to Bayley/Jax. Or Banks/Bliss to Bayley/Bliss. Or Banks/Flair to Bayley/Flair. Or Banks/Bayley to Bayley/Anybody Else Ever.

The finish is great, too, because it combines Sasha’s penchant for submission wrestling with her very logical need to stick and move and keep her much bigger opponent confused. It’s the kind of finish that makes little-ass Sasha Banks defeating dominant-ass Nia Jax clean make sense. You know, even if Nia really shouldn’t be tapping out as much as she does.

Worst: Why Are We SummerSlamming Now?

The weirdest thing about this episode is that it’s the anti-go-home episode. Instead of giving us one final bit to get us hyped for SummerSlam, it just does SummerSlam. My original thought is that they were doing the Cruiserweight Championship match on Raw instead of SummerSlam, doing Bray Wyatt vs. Finn Bálor on Raw instead of SummerSlam and breaking Big Show’s hand was because they’d booked too many pay-per-view matches and needed to back-peddle, but two of those three are still on. And the other one will probably happen in rematch form, whether it’s been announced or not.

“We’re not gonna wait until SummerSlam” always sounds less like “this is too exciting to wait for” and more like “we ran out of ideas and we don’t feel like convincing you to buy our network for another week, so here you go.” Which is in itself odd, because the build to pay-per-view matches is usually “do the pay-per-view match a bunch.” I don’t know what they’re doing.

Best: At Least Some Of The SummerSlamming Is Good

The best of the “whoops, we booked 25 matches and even 6 hours isn’t enough time to do them all” bumped-to-Raw matches is Neville defending the Cruiserweight Championship against Akira Tozawa. It actually may work better here, because the match is given some time and allowed to feel consequential and important instead of being forgotten in the first half of a PPV pre-show. And as clumsy as it was, the announce team bent over backwards trying to justify the match happening here instead of there. Shout-out to Michael Cole attempting to recreate the WWE 2K commentary by reading Corey Graves’ entire page of notes the second Graves finished. I think they mentioned that Neville won the title back in January like four separate times.

I like that Titus actually served a purpose as a manager by not only nominally getting Tozawa the match, but getting him an earlier than expected match that maybe Neville wasn’t fully prepared for yet, and hyping Tozawa up the entire time. I also liked the top rope psychology, with Neville repeatedly being able to keep Tozawa from hitting his top rope finisher until he went for his, wasn’t stopped, and missed. That left an opening for Tozawa, who took it and won the championship.

The post-match celebration is especially adorable:

Note: Hey WWE, you should actually put Sasha Banks in Titus Worldwide. Backstage Glasses Having Fun With Her Friends Sasha Banks is infinitely more likeable of a character, at least as a babyface, than the Boss. Real Sasha comes across like a more natural Bayley, while Boss Sasha sometimes has the acting ability of a trout, says words weird and won’t stop looking at the ceiling. Plus, how much more star power would that instantly give Titus Worldwide? Give him a fighter in every division!

Second note: Neville is the best.

Throw Kalisto in the division already so he can have something to do besides murder people who aren’t as good as him and/or hold a belt nobody’s very interested in.

Worst: They’re All Gonna Laugh At You!

The second “guess what, we’re doing this now” match is Finn vs. Bray, which I enjoyed a lot less because at this point Bray Wyatt could hand me a coffee and a check for a thousand dollars and I’d tell him to go fuck himself. The match is extremely, extremely average, with almost no crowd response and all the regular Bray Wyatt problems like people who go comatose for no reason during his extended Sister Abigail setup. Also I think Bray’s body’s getting bigger and his legs are getting skinnier. He should terrorize Finn at SummerSlam with his Mean Bean Machine.

Bray wins clean for some reason with no drama, then decides that’s not enough and slops Finn with strawberry jam. Or hot sauce. It’s supposed to be “symbolic” of blood by looking like blood, but it’s described as a “viscous, acidic liquid.” So definitely hot sauce. I wish Bray was still from the Bayou so that could make sense. Michael Cole says he could never have imagined seeing someone covered in blood after a match on Raw, having apparently slept through several years of working with a vampire guy who constantly covered people with blood after matches.

Finn goes to Kurt Angle and demands a rematch for SummerSlam, as being doused with arrabiata has finally convinced him to dip himself in paint, strap a bunch of belts to his head and murder Bray Wyatt with threatening ballerina crawls. I feel like they could’ve had Finn beat someone and had Wyatt attack him after the match and dump blood on him to accomplish the same thing, but then we wouldn’t end the feud with both guys having won a match and nothing decided.

WWE’s really missing an opportunity here to differentiate the Main Roster Demon, as he only appeared once forever ago and shouldn’t be slight variations on the same look every time. Devitt’s too creative for that.

Worst: Don’t Give Emma This Kind Of Chance

Does anybody want to watch Emma get humiliated every week, and her vague attempt at gathering social media momentum turned into a funny thing the announce team can say because she’s such a loser? Plus, that lipstick makes her look like she ate a Smurf. Do not turn Emma into Gargamel! He lost all the time, too!

I think the only thing on the show to get less of a response than this match is Jason Jordan’s entrance theme. WHICH IS STILL THE SAME THING.

Worst/Best: The Jason Jordan Experiment Is Not Going Well

Jordan gets a non-title match with the Intercontinental Champion The Miz and looks to have the match won in about 90 seconds, because nothing makes you a worse wrestler than holding the Intercontinental Championship. You either lose every match you’re in, or you get too injured to hold the belt. The Miztourage interrupts and attacks Jordan, which brings out the Hardy Boyz, which sets up a six-man tag so formulaic you’d think it was opening an episode of Smackdown four years ago.

The match isn’t bad, really, but it went about 15 minutes and desperately begged the crowd to cheer Jason Jordan. It’s just not happening. Originally it felt like they were giving Jordan the O.G. Kurt Angle and/or Rocky Maivia push where he’s SO not popular that it turns him heel and makes him great, but they aren’t really taking him in that direction. He’s just hanging out with fan favorites and trying to siphon it off. The Hardys are left hanging due to Scott Dawson’s injury, so this is just a whole lot of nothing. At least it’s wrestling, though!

My biased favorite here is of course Bo Dallas, who oversells most of what happens to him and rocks a pair of blue-lens sunglasses I assume help him see the Lizard People.

A Segment You’ve Seen Before

This week’s aforementioned main event is a Paul Heyman promo that turns into a showdown between the four men who’ll face off for the Universal Championship at SummerSlam. It is what it is. You’ve seen it a few times already during this cycle, so if you liked it then, you’ll like it now. It’s the chain of interruptions so formulaic you’d think it was opening an episode of Raw at any point between 2008 and now.

On the plus side, the showdown between Braun Strowman and Brock Lesnar is going to light some shit up at SummerSlam. Earlier this year, WWE made the ridiculous mistake of having Strowman back down from Lesnar so lamely it had the crowd chanting “pussy.” Here, they at least get the roster of your local independent promotion to flood the ring and separate them before they can cleanly go toe-to-toe. When that’s not enough, the Raw locker room empties to separate them. Because dot dot dot question mark.

Raw’s been going to the pull-apart well a little much, but it gets the crowd hype, and at the end of the day that’s what you’re there for. Let’s hope the match at SummerSlam delivers, and that they pull the trigger on Universal Champion Braun Strowman. If Brock’s ditching you for another sport again, use Strowman to put his ass in an ambulance and flip that bitch into space.

Best: Top 10 Comments Of The Week


Yeah Graves “Awoken” is actually the past participle of “Awake” maybe Jason Jordan and one of his seventeen degrees can enlighten you in that regard.

Jason Jordan has a degree in chemistry? His segment on Miz TV sort of disproved that.

The Real Birdman

“I want to protect the integrity of the match on Sunday”
*Schedules all four men to meet face to face in the ring*
*Puts security guards outside of the ring instead of inside*

Aerial Jesus

Because Bray can’t pin anyone clean, he had to throw syrup all over the ring

“I can’t belive Bray Wyatt was WWE champion”
-Jinder Mahal


That’s a lot of blood. I guess we know what happened to Eric Rowan now.

Harry Longabaugh

Appropriate, as Balor has had to Carrie this entire feud so far.


So the cult leader with no members beats the club leader with no members.

‘Bray has always been the master of mind games’. Yeah, Mind Monopoly. Goes on for hours and by the time it’s finished you never want to play it again.


This raw makes a lot more sense if you imagine Angle as a huge game of thrones fan who is desperately trying to cut down the 4 hour summerslam run-time

That’s it for this week, folks. I’ve gotta bounce.

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See you next week.