The conclusion of the Kurt Angle mystery storyline took place on this week’s Raw. It ended up being something that generated some interest, but wasn’t the kind of scandalous storyline that some fans may have been looking for.
The main event featured Roman Reigns vs. Samoa Joe in a long match with no finish due to the returning Braun Strowman. I’ll get to that shortly, but first here’s a look at the Angle storyline.
Kurt Angle announced he had a son on the WWE roster
Kurt Angle entered the ring for a promo at the top of hour three. Angle told the story about how when he was at Clarion University, he dated a girl there. Angle claimed that nine months after their last date together, the woman gave birth to a baby boy.
Angle didn’t know about the pregnancy and the birth until recently while noting that the boy was put up for adoption and raised by a new family that taught him great values. Angle said this guy was a three-sport athlete who was drafted to play professional baseball and instead chose to go to college where he excelled in wrestling. Angle added that his son even pursued his dream of becoming a WWE superstar, so Angle introduced his son as the newest member of Raw… Jason Jordan.
That led to Jordan walking out to the American Alpha theme song since he was part of that tag team with Chad Gable. Jordan walked into the ring, Angle was in tears and they embraced for a big hug. The pop from the crowd was okay, but not great. I’m not sure what kind of reaction you’re supposed to give to a storyline like this. The people seemed to like it, though.
After Raw was over, Angle and Jordan did a sit-down interview with Renee Young. They used that time to have Jordan explain how he sought out his birth father, talked to his birth mother and when Jordan found out that Angle was his dad, he was happy. It went about 10 minutes with both guys talking about how excited they were about the news.
The story is obviously a work, but I hope it turns out well for both guys and not one of those laughable angles that people joke about as a failure. If you’re wondering about the age difference, Angle was born in 1968 and Jordan was born in 1988, so the college story fits because Angle is 20 years older.
There were some mixed reactions about it online from what I could tell on Twitter during Raw. The way I see it, they picked a talented performer in Jordan, who is 28 years old with a very bright future ahead of him. What Jordan has been lacking is a great storyline for him to be elevated as a wrestler.
Being associated with Kurt Angle might help him a lot since Angle has so much credibility as a legendary performer in WWE. They could tell the story of Angle favoring Jordan too much, so both guys end up becoming egotistical heels. Maybe Jordan turns heel on his dad because he feels like Kurt let him down by not being there for him and that leads to Jordan becoming more of a jerk. There are a lot of possibilities here.
The fans who view this in a negative light might look at it and say “That’s it?” I’m not sure what they were expecting, though. There were rumors that Angle might have had an affair with Stephanie McMahon (going back to a storyline tease from 2000) or even former TNA President Dixie Carter, but I don’t see how either of those things could be considered good. Plus, WWE airs video packages touting Stephanie’s charity work. I doubt they want to book her to have an affair.
By doing this storyline father/son thing they can use the angle to have a Hall of Famer like Angle help Jordan out. They could have done it with Angle as his coach too, but making it a family thing adds more to it.
How did Jordan’s tag partner Chad Gable take it?
— Chad Gable (@WWEGable) July 18, 2017
Smackdown GM Daniel Bryan also joked about it.
— Daniel Bryan (@WWEDanielBryan) July 18, 2017
What I don’t like about the storyline is that the American Alpha team of Jordan and Chad Gable were not featured enough on Smackdown. Assuming Gable isn’t coming to Raw, the team is over for now after one Smackdown Tag Team Title reign that was brief. The lack of tag teams is a problem in WWE because there’s not much depth after the Hardys on the face side of Raw and Smackdown only has about three credible teams right now. It hurts tag team wrestling and I like tag team wrestling, so that’s something WWE needs to address.
There was no explanation from WWE on how Jordan is immediately on Raw. Was he traded? Free agent? They didn’t even try to make something up to explain why he can suddenly change shows. That’s one of those little things which WWE should take care of when they plan these angles out but like usual, they forgot to mention it.
I’m trying to be optimistic because I like Jordan as a talent. If I had to rank Gable and him, I’d probably put Gable ahead of him in terms of who has a brighter future as a wrestler. What Jordan has on Gable is that he’s bigger, but I think Gable has shown more personality in the ring and in backstage segments. Being paired with Angle should help Jordan in that regard. Gable could shine as a singles wrestler on Smackdown too. If they moved Gable to Raw to have American Alpha there, that would be fine as well.
I am proud to be Gold-Blooded!!
— Jason Jordan (@JasonJordanJJ) July 18, 2017
Where WWE might have difficulties with this angle is the believability factor. In today’s world of wrestling where a lot more fans know about what’s going on backstage, it might be harder to have a fake relationship storyline. The Dudley Boyz being brothers or The Undertaker and Kane being brothers worked 20 years ago, but it’s harder to do those things today with fans being smarter to the business. If you remember it’s a show and don’t take it too seriously, you’ll enjoy it more than those fans who overreact to everything.
I hope it works out because I’m a huge Angle fan and I really like Jordan as a talent. This is WWE investing in Jordan as a singles wrestler to see what they can get out of him. Now it’s up to him to prove just how great he can be.
Braun Strowman predictably ended the Samoa Joe vs. Roman Reigns main event
The main event was given over 20 minutes, but at no point did I expect there to be a clear winner. Joe and Reigns worked hard, there were two commercial breaks during the long match and by the time they got that third segment, the crowd was popping huge for two counts after moves like Samoan Drops for Reigns that never win him matches. With both guys down, Braun Strowman’s music hit, he had some tape on his right elbow and otherwise looked fine just eight days after getting crushed in an ambulance.
Strowman beat up Joe at ringside, the ref just bailed to the floor and no decision was announced. I guess it was a No Contest, rather than saying it was a disqualification.
Strowman attacked Reigns and Joe. There was a point where Joe had Strowman in the Coquina Clutch and Reigns hit a Superman Punch. Strowman ended up making the comeback and hit the Running Powerslam on both guys. Strowman left looking proud of himself while Joe and Reigns were selling in the ring. Good angle that is reminiscent of similar Strowman attacks on Reigns. This time, Joe was involved too.
— Braun Strowman (@BraunStrowman) July 18, 2017
Kurt Angle, the Raw GM, was asked about it after the show and merely said that he’ll address it next week.
It’s very possible this will lead to Brock Lesnar defending the Universal Title at SummerSlam against Strowman, Reigns and Joe in a Fatal 4-Way match. I’m not a huge fan of doing multi-man matches as often as WWE does them but if they did that match, these guys would do very well.
This Week’s Raw Matches
Here are the rest of the matches from this week’s Raw.
Bayley defeated Alexa Bliss
Typical Raw match where the champion loses non-title to build up a contender. I never like it, but this is WWE’s attempt to rebuild Bayley by having her pin Bliss for the second week in a row. Nia Jax was outside the ring to support Bliss, when Bayley went after Bliss on the floor, Jax stood in front of her as a roadblock and Bliss got in a cheap shot.
That led to Sasha Banks going down to ringside to take care of Jax by sending her into the barricade. All of that commotion was followed by Bayley hitting her Bayley to Belly suplex on Bliss to win in about 10 minutes.
Where does this leave the women of Raw? Angle announced Bayley vs. Banks next week on Raw with the winner facing Bliss for the Raw Women’s Title at SummerSlam. If there’s a finish there, then I’d go with Banks but this might be like the Universal Title situation with Jax beating up both women to set up the Fatal 4-Way, similar to when the Raw women did it at WrestleMania. Do I want that? No, but WWE creative is lazy and that’s what they might end up doing.
— EMMA (@EmmaWWE) July 18, 2017
In other women’s wrestling news, Emma isn’t thrilled about doing nothing again. I don’t think complaining about it online is the best way to deal with it. Too bad Raw doesn’t utilize the division better like Smackdown does.
Mustafa Ali & Jack Gallagher defeated Brian Kendrick & Drew Gulak
The most noteworthy thing about this match is that WWE has ditched the purple ropes for the cruiserweights on Raw. I assume they will have them on 205 Live tonight.
The heels worked over Gallagher, Ali got the hot tag, hit an Inverted 450 Splash and won. It’s rare to see a guy getting a hot tag and hitting one move to win, but that’s what happens when you only get three minutes for a tag match.
Finn Balor defeated Elias Samson by disqualification
Balor and Samson had a match last week that Balor won clean, yet here we are again. Samson was on offense early, Balor made the comeback and Samson went to the floor. Balor continued the attack out there. Samson hit Balor in the left shoulder with his guitar (he was disqualified) and it did damage on Balor because the edge of the guitar hit Balor in the back of the head.
Balor had a nasty cut on his head with some blood. I assume that Samson was supposed to target the arm rather than head, but that edge of the guitar looked painful.
After the match, Bray Wyatt appeared on the video screen to laugh at Balor about what happened.
Next week, Balor and Samson will have a No Disqualification match, which means Bray Wyatt will interfere, cost Balor the match and give Samson the biggest win of his career. It also sets up Wyatt vs. Balor at SummerSlam.
Ariya Daivari defeated Akira Tozawa by stoppage
Another cruiserweight match with a lame finish. Daivari worked on the arm, Tozawa was selling it well and his coach/manager Titus O’Neil told the ref to stop the match. Tozawa yelled at O’Neil saying he didn’t quit. Are we supposed to care about any of this? I don’t.
The Revival (Scott Dawson & Dash Wilder) defeated The Hardy Boyz (Matt & Jeff Hardy)
I was excited about this match. It was fine, but nothing special. Typical Hardy match where Matt takes a beating for most of it and Jeff was on fire after the hot tag. The big thing I took away from it is how excited the crowd was when Jeff was in there. Raw is lacking in tag teams on the face side, but if they ever get that figured out then pushing Jeff as a singles wrestler might be something WWE considers later in the year.
The story was the crafty Revival duo finding a way to win through cheap teamwork. The ref pulled Matt Hardy out of the ring when all four guys were going at it, so when Jeff went up top for a Swanton Bomb, Dash knocked him down and Dawson got the pinfall while holding Jeff’s pants for the cheap victory. They got about 14 minutes and will likely have a rematch soon.
The real issue here is the Hardys are on a losing streak. They lost to Sheamus & Cesaro, Gallows & Anderson and The Revival in the last eight days. It could be time for the Hardys to become “broken” soon, leading to them changing their look and style in the near future.
Other Key Items From Raw
1. Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins worked out their differences and still got attacked
Dean Ambrose started Raw with a promo. He called out The Miz, Curtis Axel and Bo Dallas for a fight. Seth Rollins joined him in the ring to say they are in this fight together because Miz and his cronies attacked him too. Ambrose told Rollins he didn’t trust him because Rollins turned on The Shield in 2014.
Rollins said he was sorry and even yelled it for effect. Rollins even let Ambrose take a shot at him in the back with a chair if he wanted, but Ambrose threw the chair out of the ring. It was like a bonding exercise that worked.
The Miz entered the scene with his buddies Axel and Dallas. Since Ambrose and Rollins got the upper hand last week, it was obvious how it was going to go this week. There was a mild “Roman” chant for Reigns to help his former Shield buddies, but no sign of him, since he’s doing other things. Miz, Axel and Dallas had a successful beating on Ambrose and Rollins by using chairs to weaken them.
It was announced that Ambrose and Rollins will face Miz, Axel and Dallas next week on Raw. I thought they might save it for SummerSlam. Nope. I guess it could still happen at SummerSlam also if there’s not a finish next week. This is WWE, after all. They love rematches.
2. Big Cass brawled with Big Show again
Enzo Amore started the top of hour two saying nobody can talk like him in WWE. I don’t really agree with that, but he is a good talker and certainly gets a lot of opportunities. I think the best talkers are John Cena and Kevin Owens. Chris Jericho is better if he’s active. Anyway, Enzo talked about how tough he is and how he kept on fighting at Great Balls of Fire, even when Cass threw him out of the ring. That led to Big Cass showing up to offer up another beating. Enzo left the ring and invited his buddy Big Show out there.
Last week, it was Show beating up Cass in the battle of the “Big” guys, so of course this week Cass was the dominant seven-footer. You know how in WWE sometimes wrestlers brawl and the security guys break it up right away? Apparently, they don’t give a damn about Big Cass and Big Show fighting because nobody tried to break it up after about four minutes of brawling. Cass ended up with the advantage after shoving Show back first into the turnbuckle a couple of times. Enzo watched the whole thing from the crowd, went into the ring and Cass knocked him down with one kick. Way to be a tough guy, Enzo.
This should lead to Big Cass vs. Big Show at SummerSlam. It’s not official yet, but it makes sense for Cass to beat Show there.
Looking Ahead To SummerSlam
The next WWE pay-per-view featuring the Raw brand is called SummerSlam and it takes place on Sunday, August 20 in Brooklyn. There’s nothing announced yet.
I thought it was a slightly better than average show. The third hour this week was much better than usual because it featured the Angle announcement, the Hardys match with The Revival and that entertaining main event angle with Strowman destroying Reigns and Joe. The Ambrose/Rollins stuff was a good way to start the show too. I wasn’t bored as much as usual, so that’s a positive to me.
Next week’s Raw will feature Finn Balor vs. Elias Samson in No Disqualification Match, Bayley vs. Sasha Banks to determine No. 1 contender to Alexa Bliss’ Raw Women’s Title at SummerSlam and Rollins & Ambrose vs. Miz, Axel & Dallas. It’s rare for WWE to advertise three matches in advance, but I like that they did it.
I’ll be back Wednesday with a review of Smackdown Live featuring AJ Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Kevin Owens and Baron Corbin. Also, Jinder Mahal brings the Punjabi Prison to the show to hype up his match against Randy Orton at Battleground this Sunday.