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The John Report: The WWE Raw Deal 08/29/16 (4-Way WWE Universal Title Match)

The John Report: The WWE Raw Deal 08/29/16 (4-Way WWE Universal Title Match)

It's a historic night for WWE Monday night Raw this week as the WWE Universal Championship is on the line. It's a Fatal 4-way match for the WWE Universal Championship between Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins, Kevin Owens & Big Cass. It was announced today that it will be an Elimination match, so we're getting three falls before we get a winner. It probably means a long match too.

Live from Houston, Texas this is the Raw Deal for episode #1214. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport.

There was a graphic for the late WWE Hall of Famer Mr. Fuji, who passed away on Sunday. He was a very good wrestler and a lot of us that grew up in the 1980s/1990s remember him as a great manager as well. We put him in the Raw Deal banner because he meant a lot to the business. May he rest in peace.

There was a video package featuring last week’s key events from Raw to set up the Universal Title match this week.

Show Opening Promo Time

The four guys in the Universal Title match were in the ring sitting on stools with announcer Corey Graves in the ring with them. The WWE Universal Championship was on display as Seth Rollins, Big Cass, Kevin Owens & Roman Reigns had microphones in hand.

Rollins spoke up first bragging about how great he is. He said they are there because he took out Finn Balor. He kept on bragging about how he’s the favorite in this match.

Owens insulted Corey Graves saying his show on WWE Network helps him sleep. He sarcastically said “boy this is exciting” and then said he thought they  (WWE) wanted them to be nice. The crowd was cheering “Fight Owens Fight” for KO.  Owens talked about how with Sami Zayn out of the picture (Rollins bragged about beating him) he can focus on what matters – the WWE Universal Title. Owens said he’s a prizefighter that is at his best in matches like this. Owens talked trash about the other guys. He mocked Cass saying he’s surprised he can talk because Enzo is like his puppet.

Cass wondered if Owens came up with that or if Jericho wrote it for him. Crowd laughed. Cass talked about how he hasn’t won a championship, but he has nothing to lose because nobody expects him to win. Rollins joked that even Enzo bet against him. Cass said he’s the biggest dog in this fight. Reigns smirked about that. Cass told Rollins that “size does matter.” Rollins told them to shut up as the crowd chanted “how you doin’” for that.

Rollins said that he’s glad this title match is under elimination rules because it will give him the chance to shove Cass’ jokes down his seven foot throat. Rollins said he’ll send Owens back to Jericho, who he said was  "scarf wearing jabrone" rather than the more traditional "jabroni" word. He said that a few things in life are certain: death, taxes and Rollins beats Reigns every time. He told Graves to ask Reigns a question.

Reigns was asked a question by Graves about if he has a comment for the match. Reigns, who said nothing by this point, stood up. He said nothing. Reigns attacked Owens.

Reigns cleared the ring of Owens and Rollins. Then Reigns had a staredown with Cass. Rollins kneed Reigns in the back, but then Reigns came back by sending Cass out of the ring and Reigns hit a Superman Punch on Rollins. It ended with Reigns alone in the ring staring at the title.

Analysis: A solid way to set up the match. It was nice to hear from three of the guys. Some funny jokes in there along with confident promos. Nice points made by Rollins, Owens and even what Cass said worked too. They didn’t even have Reigns speak, but the crowd was strongly against him as has been the case in a lot of cities. He cleared the ring probably because he isn’t going to win the main event. I want it to be Owens, but I think it may be Rollins.

Announced for Raw: Paul Heyman is there to address Brock Lesnar’s actions.

The scarf wearing man Chris Jericho is backstage and he’s up against Neville up next.

(Commercial)

Neville made his entrance. The set is the same as what we saw at SummerSlam week, so they are keeping that as a weekly deal along with the ring posts with the LED lights.

Chris Jericho was interviewed by Tom Phillips, who Jericho called “Felipe” at first. Jericho said he was supporting his good friend Kevin Owens last week against Neville. Jericho called Neville a “mighty mouse muscle bound freak” and did a Mighty Mouse impression. Jericho said Neville is going to get…and he asked “Phil” what he would get so he said “it” and Jericho called him a stupid idiot. Jericho said he’d give Neville the “gift of Jericho.” Drink it in, maaaaaaaan.

Analysis: Awesome promo. Great mix of being a pompous heel and mixing in humor as well. Jericho is on a roll these days.

The announce team of Michael Cole, Byron Saxton and Corey Graves were shown on camera.

Neville vs. Chris Jericho

Neville was aggressive early on as he sent Jericho over the top rope with a slingshot like move. Jericho was yelling at fans outside the ring. Neville brought him back in the ring with a cross body block off the top rope. Jericho hid behind the ref. The ref pulled Neville away, so Jericho did an eye rake, a clothesline and it’s time for a break three minutes into it.

(Commercial)

Back from break, Jericho with a top rope back elbow for a two count. Jericho with the “ask him” headlock of death. Neville with a running kick to the face. Jericho off the top, but Neville kicked him in the gut for two. Standing shooting star by Neville gets two. Running kick by Neville on the apron. Springboard moonsault by Neville takes out Jericho on the floor. He makes it all look so easy. Back in the ring, springboard dropkick gets two. Jericho with a boot to the face, but then Neville sent Jericho stomach first into the turnbuckle. Jericho slipped out of a German Suplex, but Neville came back with a rollup. Neville blocked a Codebreaker and hit a superkick to knock Jericho down. Jericho avoided a Red Arrow attack, then Jericho applied the Walls of Jericho and put his knee on the head of Neville to make it look like the old Liontamer. Neville tapped out after 12 minutes.

Winner by submission: Chris Jericho

Analysis: ***1/4 A good match between two of the better in-ring performers on Raw. Neville got a lot of offense and came close to winning a couple of times, but Jericho found a way to come back. I liked the way the finish was done because he did more than just a Walls of Jericho. He did the old school Liontamer from his WCW days. He can’t do it that way all the time because most of the WWE roster is bigger, but Neville’s a smaller guy, so Jericho was able to sit back more. It worked well. I think Jericho got the win because he may be in a title feud or something close to that soon, so they want to give him wins to give him credibility to be at that level again.

There was an Earlier Today segment with Bayley walking backstage. She was hugging people. Then she walked up to New Day and they were excited to see her. Dana Brooke showed up to talk trash to Bayley. She told Bayley that she doesn’t belong her. Xavier Woods and Big E pointed out that Bayley beat Brooke last week. Brooke said that she wasn’t there to wrestle last week. Brooke talked about talking to Gallows & Anderson. Woods told her to get them for a fight. Brooke said bring it on and Bayley said it had already been brought.

Analysis: Looks like a tag match for later. A lot of excitement shown by the faces there.

(Commercial)

They congratulated The Rock for being named the highest paid actor noting the Forbes article that said he made $64.5 million this year.

Analysis: He's kind of a big deal. How's that for analysis?

They spoke to Nia Jax’s opponent before the match. She was optimistic because she’s from Houston.

Nia Jax vs. Some Jobber

Clothesline from Jax early on. Jax tossed her across the ring by her hair. There was a “let’s go jobber” chant for the poor girl. Jax with a running body attack in the corner. Jax picked her up on her shoulders and slammed her down for the win after two minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Nia Jax

Analysis: 1/2* Another easy win for Jax. Still no sign of a storyline for her.

Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson were standing in front of a green screen with a graphic of a retirement home. They said they sent the Dudley Boyz there. Then they talked trash about The New Day. They introduced nurse Dana Brooke. She had on a glove as she wondered where they begin.

Analysis: More skits with Gallows & Anderson. It’s better if they’re out there being used as badasses that are there to fight, but I guess WWE feels compelled to give them vignettes every week. I’m not sure if the Brooke thing is going to be permanent, or more of a one-week thing.

(Commercial)

They noted that they would take a closer look at the four guys in the main event.

A video package aired about Seth Rollins. It showed clips of him injuring Finn Balor at SummerSlam. Then it showed highlights of the great match with Sami Zayn last week. Rollins laughed about people calling him an opportunist because it’s not an insult. He said it doesn’t get any bigger than this.

Analysis: Good idea to do video packages featuring comments from the four guys in the main event. I like that idea a lot. It’s a smart way to put over the main event as a big deal, which is what they should do.

Sami Zayn vs. Jinder Mahal

No televised entrance for Mahal. Zayn is still selling the right ankle injury from last week. He jumped off the ropes to avoid an attack and nailed a spin kick. Mahal slowed down Zayn by grabbing the ankle followed by a clothesline to the back. Back elbow by Mahal. After a chinlock by Mahal, Zayn with a clothesline. Zayn with an Exploder Suplex into the corner. Zayn with a Helluva Kick and he covered for the win after about thee minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Sami Zayn

Analysis: *1/2 A simple win to put over Zayn. Great job by him selling the ankle injury from last week. He needs a feud. I’m not sure who they will match him up with, but he needs something after not having anything significant for SummerSlam.

A six person tag is up soon. Also, Sasha Banks gives us a medical update.

(Commercial)

The Women’s Champion Charlotte was on commentary for the next match.

Sasha Banks did some Raw Pre-Show interview talking about her back injury saying she didn’t think Charlotte would try to injure her. Banks said she is coming back better than ever whenever she comes back. Charlotte commented that her dad wasn’t there and Dana wasn’t there, so what’s her excuse.

Analysis: I thought that was a weak promo from Banks. She usually does better. Charlotte easily shut her down. We need faces like Banks to have more confidence and instead she’s out there talking about how Charlotte tried to injure her. Charlotte won the title with a cradle. That whole promo made Banks look like a whiner.

The New Day and Bayley had the most enthusiastic entrance in wrestling history with the inflatable balloons. When the heels entered, Brooke had on a blue nurse shirt along with the gloves and mask, but then she was in her wrestling gear.

Kofi Kingston, Big E & Bayley (w/Xavier Woods) vs. Luke Gallows, Karl Anderson & Bayley

Bayley got a couple of quick nearfalls on Brooke as Charlotte said that Bayley is talented, but not genetically superior. Bayley bounced Brooke off the top turnbuckle ten times. Big E got in there against Anderson and Kingston got in a kick to Anderson. Corner splash by E on Anderson, Kingston with a corner splash and Big E with a belly to belly. Brooke distracted the ref, so Gallows hit Big E in the back with the ref not seeing it. Big E was down for a bit, then he brought in Kingston, who was on fire with a dropkick, clothesline sand Boom Drop on Anderson. Cole noted it was 372 days for New Day as champions. The unicorn stampede spot took place. Woods played the trombone as the crowd got into it. Bayley even hit a dropkick against Anderson. Bayley kicked Brooke to send her out of the ring as the show went to break.

(Commercial)

The match is still going on as the announce team turned to face the camera to set up what was going on. The heels were working on Kingston as the match continued. Gallows hung Kingston upside down and hit a dropkick to the ribs. Kingston avoided a knee attack by Anderson, sent Gallows to the floor and Gallows took Big E off the apron to prevent a tag. Kingston with a double stomp to Anderson. Bayley tagged in so Brooke had to go against her. Bayley was on fire with forearm smashes, then a back elbow and a suplex. Anderson saved Brooke from a pinfall. Big E took out Anderson with a clothesline on the floor. Kingston hit a dive over the top to take out Gallows and it looked like he overshot it, but Gallows caught him. Brooke rollup, Bayle out and Bayley to Belly suplex gets the win for Bayley after 15 minutes.

Winners by pinfall: Kofi Kingston, Big E & Bayley

Analysis: **3/4 It was another way to put Bayley over without having her beat Brooke in singles again. This time she beat her in a tag. The lack of depth on Raw’s women roster is pretty bad because they don’t seem to want to use other women for Bayley to face. Is she going to beat Brooke next week too? Maybe. The tag title feud has lost a lot of the steam it had about a month ago. Too many silly segments. I hope they focus better on serious aspects of the feud next week.

They plugged Paul Heyman on Raw and the 4-way main event.

Cesaro was backstage in the locker room as Tom Phillips showed up to interview him. Cesaro said he’s in a rough spot being down 1-0. He mentioned Mick Foley saying that the winner gets a title shot. He said that nobody likes Sheamus. He said Sheamus likes to throw his weight around, but he’s going to help by throwing him around and around and around…he ended it referencing the swing.

Analysis: Nice of them to say the winner gets a title shot, but we need more specifics. What title? When? They should have Commish Stephanie McMahon or GM Mick Foley specify that.

The Smackdown commercial promoted Daniel Bryan addressing The Miz’s comments from Talking Smack. Smart because that segment was awesome.

(Commercial)

A video package aired profiling Big Cass. It set him up for the main event with him talking about his huge Raw debut the day after WrestleMania. They showed highlights of his win over Rusev last week. Cass said he doesn’t care who he has to go through because he’ll be Universal Champion.

Analysis: It’s easy to see why WWE likes him so much because he’s 7 feet tall and yes it’s true you can’t teach that. I think he has to improve a lot until he can be a main eventer, but in the next year or two he’ll probably be given a significant singles push.

Sheamus entered for his match. Byron Saxton tried to interview him, but Sheamus took the microphone from him. He said that Cesaro is desperate because competing in the ring is all he has. Sheamus bragged about starring in a Hollywood movie (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles). The fans chanted “what” at him, so he asked them if they were deaf. He wondered how Cesaro will feel when he finds out Sheamus is truly better.

Analysis: A fine pre-match promo. Good job of handling the “what” chants too.

Best Of 7 Match #2: Sheamus vs. Cesaro (Sheamus Leads 1-0)

The crowd was chanting “Sheamus Sucks” early on as Cesaro was on offense with uppercuts. Sheamus complained about his elbow being hurt. Cesaro worked on the left arm, hit a dropkick and a clothesline sent Sheamus out of the ring. Sheamus got back up, so Cesaro with a boot to the face knocked him down. Commercial time.

(Commercial)

Back from break, Sheamus with an Irish Curse Backbreaker for two. Cesaro did a great job of coming back by avoiding a Brogue Kick and then hit a springboard corkscrew uppercut. Both guys were down. Sheamus fought off the swing, so Cesaro slammed him for two. Cesaro with a cross body block, but Sheamus rolled through for two. Uppercut time by Cesaro. Sheamus rollup using the ropes gets two. Cesaro did the uppercut train and then a dropkick while Sheamus was on the top rope. Sheamus with a back body drop that sent Cesaro back first into the ring post. Ref checked on him. Sheamus rolled him back and applied the Cloverleaf submission for the win after 11 minutes because Cesaro tapped out.

Winner via submission: Sheamus (Sheamus leads series 2-0)

They replayed the big spot into the ring post as the difference maker in the match. Cesaro was getting checked by a doctor post match.

Analysis: *** Good match with a creative finish. You don’t see a spot like that too often, so when you put it over as a big deal with Cesaro selling the back it works really well. I like the idea of Sheamus being up 2-0 because then it’s easier to root for the face Cesaro as he tries to come back from it. I still like Cesaro to win the series in seven matches. It’s all about telling the story of the comeback.

A video package aired about Mr. Fuji. It did a good job of covering his in-ring career as a successful tag team wrestler and then transitioning to his work as an evil manager. It focused on his run with Yokozuna, who was a WWE Champion that Fuji managed. They even showed some parody videos that he did during his career to show his lighter side. There was a final clip of him from his Hall of Fame speech. The crowd in Houston gave a standing ovation for the video.

Analysis: He was an awesome character that left a lasting impact on the wrestling business. He was from the era in the 1980s and 1990s where managers were prominently featured.  A lot of people in wrestling have talked about him being a huge ribber too. He was loved by so many. He lived a long life at 82 years of age. May he rest in peace.

(Commercial)

There was a video package about Kevin Owens talking about how he has always done what he has to do in order to get ahead. He spoke about how he’s been on a path to becoming champion since he showed up to WWE’s main roster. They showed highlights of his win over Neville last week. Owens said nothing is going to stop him.

Analysis: Owens is who I want to win the Universal Title. I’m a huge fan of this man, my fellow Canadian. It would really elevate him.

A masked wrestler named Americo was interviewed by Byron Saxton. Braun Strowman named his entrance and Americo said nothing.

Braun Strowman vs. Americo

Strowman with some knees to the gut followed by a powerslam into the corner. He ran Americo against the turnbuckle again. Strowman threw him into the ropes, picked him up and spiked him face first into the mat. That’s it for the pinfall win after one minute.

Winner by pinfall: Braun Strowman

Post match, Strowman pulled off the mask of Americo. The announcers tried to put it over as disrespect even though they never showed the guy’s face.

Analysis: The usual squash win for Strowman. Much like Nia Jax, there’s no sign of a storyline for him. It’s just squash win after squash win.

The lovely Commissioner Stephanie McMahon was shown walking backstage. She’s calling out Paul Heyman next.

(Commercial)

There was a video about the Cruiserweight division with comments from Tommaso Ciampa, Cedric Alexander and Johnny Gargano. Cruiserweights coming to Raw in three weeks.

Analysis: Ciampa and Gargano already have WWE deals. I think Alexander will get one, which is why he was featured here.

Raw commissioner Stephanie McMahon entered the ring for a promo. She was there to talk about Brock Lesnar.

The great Paul Heyman walked out alone. Stephanie told Heyman to apologize. He said “madam McMahon” and she said don’t call her that. Fans chanted “ECW” so Stephanie said she purchased ECW from him. Bad memories from 2001 there. Fans chanted “CM Punk” and nobody reacted to it.

Heyman said that he thinks that Brock Lesnar helped Raw win SummerSlam. He spoke about how he protected Shane McMahon at SummerSlam by trying to stop Brock from hurting him more. Heyman said he was there to pay the reasonable fine of $500. He had a stack of bills. He threw singles to the ground as he counted up to six. Stephanie hit the money out of the ring.

Stephanie said that Lesnar has a lot to offer Raw, but she wondered what Heyman has to offer the show. She talked about how she’s going to avenge what happened to her brother Shane. She said there’s a storm coming and it’s coming Heyman’s way. Heyman fired back saying that his client Brock Lesnar is the storm. Heyman said that the apology he’s about to deliver goes out to Stephanie. Heyman said they understand that Stephanie has to answer to the board of directors. He kept on talking.

Stephanie spoke about how there’s a women’s revolution, this is reality and he’s staring it right in the face. Heyman said that he’s staring in the face of the heir of the boardroom. He sucked up to her saying that Stephanie is the heir to the McMahon family fortune. Heyman sucked up to her with great humility by saying he begged her to accept that as a fine paid, as a lesson learned and as an apology most sincerely delivered. Stephanie said apology accepted and left. Heyman was left smiling in ring.

Analysis: It was pretty basic with Heyman apologizing and Stephanie accepting it. Heyman may be up to something, but it’s not like we know when Lesnar is coming back to television. He’s wrestling Randy Orton at a Chicago live event on Saturday September 24, but it won’t be televised. Stephanie “fining” him only $500 is a joke, which is part of the story. What doesn’t make sense is her anger about her brother getting attacked because Shane was on Smackdown last week showing no ill effects. I’m not sure if they are supposed to be at odds or if they get along. It’s hard to tell from week to week. Stephanie doesn't want to get Brock on her bad side, so that's really the main story even though they are being vague about it.

They showed highlights of Finn Balor hurting his shoulder at SummerSlam and then winning the Universal Title. Then they showed images of Balor getting surgery for his torn labrum. He’s out for about six months.

Analysis: Sad news. I have no doubt that he’s going to work hard and hopefully can be back for late February or early March. Should be ready for WrestleMania.

The Fatal 4-way match is up later.

O’Neil vs. Young again is up next.

(Commercial)

A video package aired about Roman Reigns with him talking about the Universal Championship match. Last week he beat Chris Jericho to get into the title match. He didn’t say much.

Analysis: That was a weak effort by whoever did the video package. Very basic. Not as long as the others too.

Darren Young (w/Bob Backlund) vs. Titus O’Neil

This feud hasn’t gone well. Here’s another match for them. O’Neil bailed to the floor early on. Young with a shoulder tackle, then a neckbreaker, chops in the corner and O’Neil whipped Young over the top to the floor. Nasty bump. Young went crashing into a photographer at ringside. O’Neil with a slam in the ring. Chinlock time for O’Neil as he trash talked Backlund outside the ring. O’Neil with a slam and then another chinlock. Clothesline by O’Neil gets two. O’Neil complained to the ref, so Young hooked him in a pinfall attempt and it was good enough for the win. It went four minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Darren Young

Analysis: * A below average match. O’Neil was on offense for much of it. Young got the counter to win although it was not an impressive win.

Post match, O’Neil knocked down Backlund with a boot to the gut. O’Neil with a Clash of the Titus on Young. O’Neil left looking proud of his work.

Analysis: The feud continues even though it has been poor and is the leading contender for the worst feud of the year.

Backstage, Raw GM Mick Foley and Commissioner Stephanie McMahon were talking about things. Foley said he should have been there for Stephanie, but she said it was okay. They agreed to ban friends of wrestlers from ringside. Seth Rollins showed up to say that he is going to bring home the Universal Title. She said they believe in him. She told Rollins that tonight is his night. Rollins hugged Stephanie.

Analysis: Just a quick segment to set up the main event. Maybe there’s a tease in there. We’ll find out.

The 4-way match is up next.

(Commercial)

Raw General Manager Mick Foley and Commissioner Stephanie McMahon were at ringside with Foley carrying the Universal Title on his shoulder.

Roman Reigns entered first. Mostly boos for him. Kevin Owens received a lot of cheers from the crowd. Seth Rollins had a mixed reaction. Big Cass got a loud reaction from the crowd. His buddy Enzo Amore was there to help do the introduction for him. Cass said he’s going to shock the world and become the Universal Champion. He called everybody "SAWFT" to end promo time.

They had Jojo do the in-ring intros for all four guys and the show went to break there.

Analysis: Good job by WWE building this match up as a big deal. I like that.

(Commercial)

The bell rang after the break with the match starting at 10:37pmET.

WWE Universal Champion Fatal 4-Way Elimination Match: Roman Reigns vs. Kevin Owens vs. Seth Rollins vs. Big Cass

It was noted that you are eliminated by pinfall or submission, so no disqualifications or countouts in this match. They paired off outside the ring with Cass against Rollins while Owens went against Reigns. Cass with a suplex to Rollins in the ring. Rollins was on the turnbuckle, so Cass punched him to knock him out of the ring. There was a stare down between Reigns and Cass in the ring. Reigns won that battle with a leaping clothesline. Cass avoided a Superman Punch with a big boot that sent Reigns over the top to the floor with Cass also bumping to the floor. That looked great. Rollins with a suicide dive to take out Cass on the floor. Owens sent Rollins face first into the barricade. Reigns with a superman dive over the top to take both guys out although the cameras didn't catch it or at least show it connecting. Commercial five minutes into match.

(Commercial)

Back from break, they were still outside the ring with Owens doing a Cactus elbow drop off the apron onto Cass and then he trash talked Mick Foley, who famously did that elbow attack for years. Rollins grabbed a chinlock on Cass in the ring. They replayed Roman’s dive before the break because the cameras didn’t catch it before the break. Owens got back in there as he hit a senton splash on Cass. Owens kicked the leg of Cass while it was against the ropes. Rollins pulled Owens out of the ring and sent him into the barricade. Rollins sent Cass face first into the middle turnbuckle. Reigns back in the ring with clotheslines for Rollins, then a leaping clothesline for Owens and Cass nailed a big boot on Reigns. Cass with corner splashes for the heels and there’s a big boot to Owens while he was on the apron. Rollins got a rollup on Cass, but then Cass came back with the body slam and the elbow drop. Reigns with a Superman Punch to Cass. Rollins avoids a Reigns attack and hit a kick to the head on Cass for two. Owens with a Frog Splash (or Bullfrog Splash when he does it) on Cass to eliminate him after 13 minutes. Commercial break.

Big Cass eliminated by Kevin Owens

Analysis: It’s no surprise that Cass was pinned. He was a bit of an outsider in the match, but there was a part of me that thought maybe they pull the trigger on him. In a year or two he’ll probably be a main eventer. This was a good test. The crowd support is there for him. They didn’t eliminate him in a weak way. It took three big moves in a row to eliminate Cass.

(Commercial)

They did the standard Tower of Doom (one guy does a suplex while another guy does a powerbomb) spot as the match returned from break. That happens in pretty much every match with three or more people. Reigns with a boot to the face of Rollins. Reigns went for Superman Punch, Rollins avoided it, but then Reigns hit an uppercut. Rollins with a Falcon Arrow gets two. Owens is still on the floor. Rollins went for a springboard knee attack, but Reigns nailed a Superman Punch for a two count. Awesome nearfall. Rollins with a kick to the head and an enziguri kick. Owens back in the ring with a cannonball attack on Reigns and then a cannonball on Rollins on the other side. Reigns with a Superman Punch on Owens gets two. There’s Reigns with another Superman Punch to counter a Popup Powerbomb. Reigns countered a Pedigree attempt, rollup into a Powerbomb for two. They are past 20 minutes now.

Reigns with a Drive By kick on Rollins while he was against the ropes. Reigns with another Superman Punch on Owens outside the ring. Reigns with a Spear on Rollins on the floor. There's Triple H in through the crowd and he hit a Pedigree on Reigns on the floor! Wow! What a moment. Huge crowd reaction. Hunter rolled Rollins into the ring and Rollins pinned Reigns to eliminate him.

Roman Reigns eliminated by Seth Rollins

Hunter rolled Owens into the ring. Hunter stood in between both guys. He looked at Rollins, kicked him in the gut, Hunter nodded his head at Owens and Hunter gave Rollins a Pedigree. Owens was surprised by it, but then he covered Rollins for the pinfall win after 26 minutes! Owens stared at Triple H during the cover. Yes! Kevin Owens is the new WWE Universal Champion!

Seth Rollins eliminated by Kevin Owens

Winner of the match and NEW WWE Universal Champion: Kevin Owens

Analysis: **** An excellent match that was four stars out of five. All four guys busted their ass and creating some memorable nearfalls. I definitely predict that exact finish, but I can see why they did it. Before I get to that, I was really impressed by how they set everything up. Cass got in a lot of offense before he lost, so he proved he belonged. Reigns threw so many Superman Punches and was made to look strong before Triple H screwed him. As for the Triple H return, that was totally shocking. It looked like he would help Rollins, but there was to screw him over. It was a surprising twist that works well because a guy like Kevin Owens is the perfect character to benefit from a cheap win.  Those last few minutes were great.

After the match, Hunter got the title from Foley and gave it to Owens. Owens celebrated with the title. Triple H congratulated him. Stephanie and Mick looked surprised by all of it. Hunter just walked past Stephanie and Mick as he left through the crowd. Cole was doing a great job of putting this over as a huge moment.

Owens posed with the WWE Universal Title to end Raw as the crowd chanted “you deserve it” at him. Damn right. That’s it for Raw at 11:07pmET.

Analysis: That was a lot of fun. I don’t mean to turn this into a Jericho promo, but “drink it in, man” because that was one of the best angles they have done on Raw in a very long time. I loved it. The execution was great. It was a surprise that nobody saw coming. I’ve said for months that WWE has to do a big angle on Raw and they finally pulled the trigger with this moment.

It does feel a bit repetitive because it’s like Triple H helping Orton win the WWE Title in 2013, then Seth Rollins had a lot of help when he won the WWE Title (on the road to it anyway) and now Triple H directly helped Owens.

What it also does is set up Rollins to become the top face on Raw, which is fine because he’s going to thrive in that role. There was a void there too with Balor getting hurt and Reigns is not really liked by the fans. He’s got big feuds with Owens that they can do right away and also put him against Triple H at some point because there’s a lot of history there.

All three Shield guys are now faces assuming Rollins is a face. Get ready for a reunion at some point down the road although Dean Ambrose is on Smackdown, so it may be a while. Survivor Series could work, though, even for a backstage segment. They can do Rollins and Reigns in tag matches on Raw against heels like Owens, Triple H, Chris Jericho and even Rusev.

Lastly, I’m genuinely happy for Kevin Owens. He is my favorite wrestler in the company along with Sami Zayn not just because they are Canadian guys like me, but I have watched them work their asses off to get to WWE. It was so cool to see Owens get that moment. I know the WWE Universal Title is new with obviously not a lot of history, but it’s the equivalent of a major World Title and now Owens has that. He deserves it. It’s just great to see him have that moment.

 

Three Stars of the Show

1. Kevin Owens

2. Seth Rollins

3. (tie) Roman Reigns

3. (tie) Big Cass

 

The Scoreboard

8.5 out of 10

Last week: 6

2016 Average: 5.79

Last 5 Weeks: 6, 4, 5, 5.5, 9

2016 High: 9 (April 11/July 25)

2016 Low: 4 (Feb. 29/Mar. 21/Aug. 15)

 

Final Thoughts

I give it a 8.5 out of 10.

Awesome show. I enjoyed it a lot mainly because that main event match and angle to end the night. That’s how you end Raw in a big way. It will get people talking and excited about what’s next.

I thought in terms of matches Raw was pretty good. They really didn’t have promos that were memorable and some of the midcard angles were just average.

Watch that final match if you can. It was outstanding and the kind of thing that reminds us how fun wrestling can be when an angle is executed the right way.

Great job by the Houston crowd. They were hot all night, especially for the main event.

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PLUG TIME: My friends from Superstar Promotions are holding a Wrestler's Court event in Liverpool, England and London, England featuring former WWE, WCW & TNA head writer Vince Russo. People will get a chance to ask questions and meet the controversial former writer Russo. Along with Russo, you’ll get to meet and hear from Mickie James, Carlito, Magnus and Bull James who was Bull Dempsey in NXT. It’s called Wrestler’s Court Live and here’s the handy link to help you get tickets by using the promo code TJRWRESTLING to get 10% off your order now. The Liverpool Wed Oct 26 link: https://goo.gl/McgD4O and London Thu Oct 27 link: https://goo.gl/1sZyJ1 Remember to put TJRWRESTLING as your promo code to get 10% off.

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That's all for now. See ya next time for the Smackdown review.

Thanks for reading. Go Toronto Blue Jays.

John Canton – mrjohncanton@gmail.com

Twitter @johnreport

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