Live from Memphis, Tennessee this is the Raw Deal for episode #1217. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport.
Raw begins with a "Last Week on Raw" video showing the highlights from that show.
Roman Reigns entered the arena for a promo. A mixed reaction like usual for him. Reigns said he has been waiting a whole week, but here comes Raw Commissioner Stephanie McMahon.
Stephanie walked down to the ring saying she has a show to run. The Raw GM Mick Foley also made his entrance as both authority figures were in the ring with fans chanting "Foley" for the Mickster.
Foley said that last week he let Raw get away from him. He announced the Rollins vs. Rusev match later on Raw, which was set up a couple of days ago on WWE.com. Reigns asked what that did to him. Reigns said that he was screwed over by Triple H and Rusev. Foley set up a United States Title match at Clash of Champions with Rusev defending the title against Reigns.
Foley sucked up to Stephanie saying that he's the reason she is here. Foley talked about Roman's match with Owens last week and he wondered how the crowd can boo Reigns, which led to the crowd booing. Foley said they are a part of the Raw family and are in a "fight for survival." He said that Stephanie will land on her feet, Foley will be on the couch and even though things are going well for him right now being in a good spot in WWE as GM as well as reality show, he knows how things are.
Foley set up Reigns vs. Owens in a rematch from last week.
The Universal Champion Kevin Owens wondered if this was a joke. Owens said that he beat Reigns twice last week. Owens claimed he should be preparing to main event Clash of Champions against Seth Rollins as he mocked Reigns for not being in the main event. Stephanie said what Mick says goes, but it will not be for the WWE Universal Championship. Foley said that the non-title match will take place inside a steel cage right here in Memphis, Tennessee. Foley said now that we know the main event, let's start the show.
Analysis: It was a typical Raw opening segment with people complaining about things, authority figures announcing matches and getting people ready for what's to come. Both of the matches announced for later make a lot of sense. The idea behind a steel cage match is to prevent outside interference. It's basic stuff. Nothing to get too excited about.
Seth Rollins made his entrance as he talked trash at Owens. He was cheered by the crowd. Rollins had a staredown with Reigns as Reigns left the ring so Rollins can have his match with Rusev.
Analysis: They're doing Rollins vs. Rusev early on because the Monday Night Football game starts at 8:30pmET, so WWE figures more people are going to watch Raw at this point in the night than later on. That's a smart strategy.
Backstage, Stephanie and Mick talked about things. Stephanie had concern about doing a cage match so close to Clash of Champions. Rusev showed up with Lana as Stephanie left. Rusev complained about defending the US Title against Roman Reigns while also managing to plug Lana in some WWE Films movie called Interrogation with Edge. That movie is out this week. Rusev left angrily.
Foley answered his phone and said "Chris Jericho, to what do I owe this honor?" End scene.
Rollins is still in the ring after about five minutes. Lana didn't introduce Rusev like she has done before.
Rusev (w/Lana) vs. Seth Rollins
This is not for the US Title. It was an even battle early until Rollins hit a blockbuster and a dropkick. Outside the ring, Rusev picked up Rollins and sent him back first into the ring post. Rusev with a body slam followed by an elbow drop that didn’t come close to hitting Rollins. Rollins started a comeback, he was on the top rope, ready to jump and Rusev slammed him down as the show went to break.
Back from break, Rusev was still in control as fans were chanting for Rollins. Rollins broke free by sending Rusev face first into the middle turnbuckle, then he hit the Slingblade, two forearm shots and he hit a Falcon Arrow slam for a two count. That was impressive although the bump didn’t look that great. Rusev came back by slowing Rollins down with a shot to the ribs and a kick to the head led to a two count. Rollins nailed a kick to the head on the apron followed by a flying knee attack off the top rope. Rusev was outside the ring, so Rollins hit a suicide dive. Back in the ring, Rollins sent Rusev out of the ring again and Rollins hit another suicide dive as both guys were down outside the ring. The ref was counting them out as they went brawling up the ramp. The match ended by countout after 12 minutes as the crowd booed that finish.
Match Result: Double Countout
Analysis: **1/2 It was a solid match, but nothing special. That match result didn’t surprise me because it’s their first matchup on Raw and they’ll probably go back to this as a feud at some point. I don’t think WWE wanted to weaken either guy heading into their matches at Clash of Champions, so they opted to do the cheap countout finish. Fans are going to hate it and I don’t blame them, but that’s just something WWE is going to do once in a while.
Rusev attacked Rollins by the stage and went after him by the announce table. Rollins knocked Rusev down. Rollins jumped off the announce table with a cross body block to knock down Rusev about five feet below. The crowd cheered for it a lot. It was a cool looking move that was the equivalent of hitting a cross body block off the top rope.
Analysis: The goal here is to get Rollins more over as a face. Rusev is a true heel that the fans don’t want to cheer for, so it makes sense that the match would go on a bit after it was over. Rollins hitting the diving attack off the announce table is a special kind of move that was designed to make the crowd cheer him more. It worked in that sense.
Charlotte and Dana Brooke were backstage with Foley as they pointed out the Bayley/Sasha double pin on Raw last week. Dana said they should cancel the tag match and have Sasha vs. Bayley to see who loses to Charlotte at Clash of Champions. Instead of that, Foley made Charlotte vs. Bayley vs. Sasha in a triple threat match at Clash of Champions and thanked Dana for the idea. Foley left. A frustrated Charlotte shoved Dana to end the scene.
Analysis: The double pin was obvious as soon as it happened, yet they went through last week’s Raw without even addressing it. They could have addressed it during the week too, but they waited until this show. Then there’s the logic hole of last week’s match being a number one contender’s match, they had a draw finish with the double pin and both women are rewarded with a title shot. Seems weird, right? It does to me, at least.
PLUG TIME: Four new TJRWrestling shirts are out. They are the "Win On TV" shirt, the "Write Canton Write" shirt thanks to Kevin Owens for inspiring, "Shut Up Just Read It" is inspired by an old Chris Jericho promo and "Enjoy the show..." line is a catchphrase I use on Facebook often. Please check them out and order one (or more) if you're interested. If you read my work or visit TJRWrestling.net it would be a great way to support what we do. I'd really appreciate it.
The announce team of Michael Cole, Byron Saxton and Corey Graves talked about the cage match on Raw. They also set up a video package introducing us to two of the cruiserweights coming up later on Raw: Cedric Alexander and Brian Kendrick.
Analysis: They were short videos, which are a good idea for the Raw audience. I loved the Cruiserweight Classic, but a lot of people that watch Raw likely never watched the CWC. It’s important to introduce new people, or returning people in Kendrick’s case.
Backstage, Universal Champion Owens and Jericho were backstage with Jericho complaining about Foley. Owens whined about being put in a steel cage match. Jericho grabbed a clipboard from somebody to say that he’s going to make a list of things Foley has done wrong. Jericho ended by saying he’s not going to like…it.
Analysis: They’re a great duo that I enjoy a lot, but it feels like too much focus is being put on non-wrestler Foley this week. It’s the first hour and he’s the one that has been talked about the most.
Braun Strowman vs. Sin Cara
Sin Cara was aggressive early, but Strowman stopped him with a double arm slam. Corner splash by Strowman. Strowman dumped Cara to the floor, then Cara went back in the ring and hit a suicide dive, but Strowman was still on his feet. Sin Cara went for a moonsault, Strowman caught him and hit a running powerslam for the win after about two minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Braun Strowman
Analysis: 1/2* It was another easy win by Strowman. Using a powerslam as a finishing move isn’t as impressive as what he was using in other weeks. At least Strowman has moved on from squashing jobbers to squashing contracted talents.
Sasha Banks and Bayley had a talk backstage before their match. Bayley said she’s excited for the triple threat at Clash of Champions. Banks talked about how in old times they made history with eachother, but this is a new era. Banks claimed that she beat Bayley last week and then Bayley told her that she won. They call eachother “dude” and “sister” when they speak.
As Sasha Banks made her entrance, the graphic showed us that it’s Charlotte vs. Banks vs. Bayley for the Women’s Champion at Clash of Champions. It should be a great match even though I think WWE does multi-person matches too often.
Sasha Banks & Bayley vs. Charlotte & Dana Brooke
Banks had taped ribs to sell her back injury. Brooke nailed Bayley with a forearm shot to the face. Bayley sent Charlotte’s face into the top turnbuckle ten times and then she tossed Charlotte into Brooke on the apron. Brooke was sent out of the ring. The show went to break about two minutes into the match.
The heels worked over Bayley in their corner as the announcers talked about how Charlotte was mean to Dana. A forearm shot by Charlotte slowed down Bayley’s comeback attempt. Hard chop by Charlotte. Bayley with a clothesline and she tagged in Banks leading to a double suplex for two. Charlotte was able to weaken Banks by kneeing her in the back. That sent Banks face first into a turnbuckle. Charlotte stretched Banks’ back around the ring post. Banks was able to kick Charlotte out of the ring when she was going for her Figure Eight submission. Bayley got the hot tag, clotheslines on Charlotte, shoulder tackle in the corner, back elbow in the corner and the back elbow attack off the second rope. Brooke prevented the Bayley to Belly by grabbing Bayley’s leg. Banks went after Brooke on the floor. When Bayley turned around, Charlotte hit a boot to the face and covered for the win after 11 minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Charlotte & Dana Brooke
Analysis: **1/2 It was an average tag match. The story is that Brooke actually didn’t screw up for once as she grabbed Bayley’s leg leading to the finish with Charlotte hitting the boot to the face for the win. I’m not a fan of Bayley getting pinned here because they had booked her well up until last week. Last week she was pinned by Banks, but then they acknowledged the double pin this week. I guess it doesn’t really matter in the big picture. The expectation was that Dana would get pinned, so doing something else is different at least. My pick at Clash of Champions is Banks winning, but I could change my mind before we post the preview on Friday.
Owens vs. Reigns in a steel cage is later.
Seth Rollins was shown outside of Stephanie McMahon’s office.
This week on Smackdown is John Cena vs. Dean Ambrose and The Miz vs. Dolph Ziggler for the Intercontinental Title again because WWE loves repeating matches like they are repeating Owens vs. Reigns on this show.
They showed some members of the Memphis Grizzlies NBA team including Vince Carter.
Rollins was in Stephanie’s office as she walked in. She said she had nothing to do with Hunter’s actions in the fatal fourway and that she was pulling for Rollins the whole time. Rollins wondered why it happened. Stephanie said that maybe Owens is right because Rollins is the reason why the WWE Title is on Smackdown, Rollins did lose to Balor at SummerSlam and maybe her husband was tired of Rollins ruining his reputation. Rollins said that at Clash of Champions, he’s going to win the Universal Title and they will come crawling back to him. Then he told her that maybe he will be their worst nightmare that they cannot control. Rollins told her that she cannot manipulate him. Stephanie said that she didn’t know why Hunter did what he did, but she wishes that she knew. She looked Rollins in the face to say that she thinks that Owens has replaced Rollins as the man. Rollins said that she used to be a shrewd business woman, but lately she’s started to crack and he thinks it started with the return of her brother Shane.
Analysis: That was a few minutes of back and forth banter that was well done by both of them. It’s pretty ridiculous that Stephanie hasn’t gotten an answer from her husband Triple H nearly a month after the swerve happened. They probably should have just gone to the CWC finals since Triple H was there! Anyway, I think it’s going to lead to Triple H costing Rollins the win on Sunday and then Stephanie will reveal she was lying about the whole thing. It’s all about building up Rollins as more of a face, which is fine with me. This isn’t a new story by any means. It’s a rehash of things we’ve seen in the past, but with different players.
Bo Dallas made his entrance. He’s got “OUTCAST” written on his singlet as well as his “Bolieve in Bo” sign. Bo did his pre-match promo about how he’s the only one that can “bolieve” in Bo.
Bo Dallas vs. Gary Graham
Dallas hit some knee strikes to Graham’s ribs as the crowd chanted “let’s go jobber” for Graham. Cole acknowledged the crowd chant although obviously didn’t say the “jobber” part. Dallas hit forearms to the back followed by a clothesline. Dallas picked him up and hit his swinging neckbreaker Roll the Dice move for the win. It went about two minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Bo Dallas
Post match, Bo walked around the ring with his Bolieve in Bo sign.
Analysis: 1/2* It was another easy win for Dallas. They need a name for his finisher. He also needs a feud.
Cesaro was shown walking to the ring for his match.
There was a plug for Connor’s Cure for Pediatric Cancer month. For more info visit ConnorTheCrusher.org for more info.
Videos aired hyping up the cruiserweights coming to Raw with a focus on new Cruiserweight Champion TJ Perkins. Here’s my review of the Cruiserweight Classic finale in case you missed it. Great show for ten weeks with an awesome ending.
Cesaro and Sheamus made their entrances for match six in their Best of Seven series. I know this series should seem hotter at this point, but it doesn’t feel like they have a lot of momentum. I think the 3-0 lead by Sheamus has been a mistake because it’s made the other matches too predictable.
Best of Seven Series Match #6: Sheamus vs. Cesaro (Sheamus leads series 3-2)
They nailed eachother with forearms early on. Sheamus with a back drop, Cesaro landed on his feet and hit an uppercut to stun Sheamus. Sheamus used his feet to launch Cesaro over the top to the floor. Foley was shown watching backstage as the show went to break.
Back from break, Cesaro hit a dropkick while Sheamus was on the top rope. It knocked Sheamus to the floor. Running uppercut by Cesaro sent Sheamus over the top to the floor. Cesaro with a springboard uppercut for two. Sheamus hit the White Noise slam on the ring apron for two. Cesaro’s been dealing with a back injury, so it worked well as a big move. Cesaro avoided the Brogue Kick, but Sheamus came back with the Irish Curse backbreaker. Sheamus picked up Cesaro over his shoulders and dropped Cesaro onto his knees. Sheamus applied the Cloverleaf submission. That is how one of the matches ended. Cesaro with a small package gets two. Cesaro with an uppercut. Sheamus with a rollup where he used his feet on the ropes, but the ref saw it and stopped the count. Sheamus went for the Brogue Kick. Cesaro moved. Sheamus launched himself over the top rope, Cesaro caught him with an uppercut and hit the Neutralizer for the win after nine minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Cesaro (Series Tied 3-3)
Post match, Cesaro celebrated the win with the crowd.
Analysis: **3/4 It was a physical match like usual from them. The ending was really good with the spot where Sheamus tried to cheat to win, then Cesaro came back with the Neutralizer and was able to get the clean victory. It felt like a short match considering three minutes of it took place during the break.
Foley was on the phone backstage saying that the decisive seventh match should take place at Clash of Champions.
Analysis: It was obvious from the beginning that it was going seven matches with the last one taking there. That would have been more impactful if he was on the ramp announcing that. Let’s see the reactions of both guys in the match. They should also specify the title shot that the winner gets because we don’t know that yet. This whole angle could have been handled so much better.
Jericho, with clipboard, showed up to tell Foley he was doing a terrible job. Jericho said that Foley has never liked him. Foley talked about how he personally recommended Jericho to Paul Heyman for ECW after he watched him in Japan many years ago. Jericho said he’s itemizing everything that Foley has done wrong. Jericho said he’s got the “List of Jericho” and Foley couldn’t hear him due to his bad ear, so Coley called him a “stupid idiot” and Jericho didn’t like Foley stealing catchphrases. They kept insulting eachother with Foley mocking Jericho’s scarf attire. Jericho said it’s popular in Luxembourg, so Foley said they are in Memphis, Tennessee. Jericho wrote down “uses cheap babyface pops as catchphrases.” He said he’s going to tell the world what’s on the List of Jericho.
Analysis: That was fun. These guys are great at segments like that. When was the last time the word “babyface” made it on Raw? That’s pretty rare.
Chris Jericho’s “List of Jericho”
Chris Jericho was in the ring with his clipboard. I should point out that on the Raw pre-show they were hyping Jericho with a special guest on the Highlight Reel. That was about two hours before this, so they must have changed their mind.
Jericho complained about Foley making things difficult for Jericho and his best friend Kevin Owens. Fans did the “what” routine. Jericho said that brace face in row 12 is now on the list. Jericho complained about Sami Zayn, who he faces at Clash of Champions.
Enzo Amore and Big Cass showed up to fire up the crowd with their usual promo. They went in the ring to face off with Jericho. Enzo said he knows that Jericho isn’t really best friends with Owens because a real best friend wouldn’t let another best friend come down to this ring wearing that vest and that scarf.
Cass said when he thinks of best friends he thinks of Enzo & Cass (how you doing?), Bart & Milhouse, Beavis & Butthead, Bert & Ernie, Owen Wilson & Vince Vaughn, Ashton Kutcher & Danny Masterson. Jericho wondered what’s up with the Kutcher reference, thinking that it’s 1998 listening to their Spice Girls CD. That was funny.
The Shining Stars duo of Primo & Epico showed up. Epico suggested they should go to the Shining Star hotel in Puerto Rico.
The Tag Team Champions The New Day made their entrance as well. Jericho wondered what those losers were doing out there. Kofi Kingston did their “who” routine. Big E said they had nothing better to do. Xavier Woods plugged his youtube channel UpUpDownDown and that he’s giving away two iPhone 7’s. It led to him saying the “WWE World Tag Team Champions” bit to end it.
Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson walked down to the ring. Gallows said that’s why they are taking the tag team titles this Sunday. Anderson pointed out they beat New Day in the middle of the ring as Xavier plugged the youtube channel. Anderson complained about New Day talking about their cereal too.
Jericho said he’s starting a new list about stupid idiots and all of them are on it. Sami Zayn’s music started up. He ran down to the ring to go after Jericho. Zayn sent Jericho into the barricade. They rolled into the ring, so the other guys in the ring started brawling as well. The show went to break.
Analysis: I wonder if this will lead to a match! Now that’s sarcasm. It was a way to fill time on a three hour show and set up a big tag match. There’s no reason to overthink things too much.
Chris Jericho, Luke Gallows, Karl Anderson, Primo & Epico vs. Sami Zayn, Big E, Kofi Kingston, Enzo Amore & Big Cass (w/Xavier Woods)
Everybody is in their ring gear except Jericho, who is wrestling in leather pants. Kingston with a cross body block on Jericho early on. Zayn tagged in, so Jericho tagged in Epico. Big E did the abdominal stretch to Epico. Kofi’s back in there with a splash into the corner and Big E nailed a clothesline. Gallows nailed a cheap clothesline on Kingston to knock him down. Anderson with a knee drop on Kingston and then a spinebuster gets two. Kingston tagged in Cass after Primo was in there for the heels. Cass knocked everybody off the apron, he hit a Stinger Splash in the corner, a really safe body slam and an elbow drop gets two as Epico makes the save for Primo. Epico sent Enzo out of the ring, so Cass nailed him with a boot to the face. There were a bunch of other guys sent to the floor with Kingston hitting a dive over the top to take out G&A on the floor. Jericho sent Big E to the floor. Zayn nailed a Torando DDT on Jericho. Zayn went for Helluva Kick, Jericho moved and Zayn hit Primo. Cass tagged Enzo for the assisted top rope splash by Enzo for the win after six minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Sami Zayn, Big E, Kofi Kingston, Enzo Amore & Big Cass
Analysis: ** It was just a way to feature ten guys that are in feuds that will see them compete in matches at Clash of Champions. There was a lot going on there at the end with guys being sent out of the ring so easily, but they set up the finish well. No surprise that Primo took a pin considering the other people on the team.
The announcers were shown on camera again as they replayed the key parts of the opening segment.
Videos aired about cruiserweight competitors Gran Metalik and Rich Swann. Both are awesome in-ring performers. Cruiserweights are up next.
A video aired about late great WWE Hall of Famer Eddie Guerrero for Hispanic Heritage month. He was an outstanding in-ring performer that was able to become a popular figure because of his fun character. His tragic death in 2005 was one of the sadder things that the WWE family has had to go through.
Raw GM Mick Foley was in the ring trying to say a Mark Twain quote, which he messed up at first, but then got it right. Foley introduced the cruiserweight division by noting that TJ Perkins is the first WWE Cruiserweight Champion, at least if you forget the previous incarnation of the Cruiserweight Title. Foley said that they brought four cruiserweights to Raw.
Foley introduced the four cruiserweights: Rich Swann, who had a NXT deal before the CWC and now he finds himself on Raw. Gran Metalik, who was the runner up in the CWC finals. Great in-ring performer. Cedric Alexander was up next. He might have been the best athlete in the whole tournament and had a standing ovation after losing to Kota Ibushi in the tournament. Brian Kendrick was the last man up. WWE fans would know him from his run in the company through the 2000s as a tag team champion. Kendrick mentioned that on July 30, 2009 they wished him the best in his future endeavors referring to when he was released by WWE. Foley said that the winner of this gets a title shot at the Cruiserweight Title held by TJ Perkins at Clash of Champions.
Analysis: I like how they are giving them more of a spotlight. They also have the purple and silver colors of the CWC displayed on the video screen, so that’s cool as well. I’m surprised they didn’t have Perkins out there holding the title on the ramp or something like that.
Cruiserweight Title Number One Contender: Rich Swann vs. Gran Metalik vs. Cedric Alexander vs. Brian Kendrick
The match began as Raw returned from the break. Swann nailed an impressive dropkick on Metalik. Kendrick decked Swann with a back elbow. Alexander with an uppercut on Kendrick, so Kendrick bailed the floor. Alexander with a sunset flip on Metalik gets two. Metalik with a springboard back elbow on Alexander, but Alexander came back with a springboard clothesline on Metalik. Swann with a hard kick to the back of Alexander. Swann and Alexander engaged in a chop fest in the ring. Swann with a headscissors, but Alexander landed on his feet, which led to Swann nailing Alexander with a punch to the jaw. That was a loud punch! Damn. Alexander took down Swann with a headscissors take down. Alexander nailed a perfect dive onto Kendrick outside the ring with Alexander landing on his feet. He makes it look easy. Metalik charged the ropes, stepped on the middle rope and jumped over the top to take down all three guys. He did that in the tourney, but man it’s so cool to see it on Raw. Fans chanted “this is awesome” for them. Kendrick tripped up Metalik to prevent an attack. Swann with a hard right hand to Kendrick, but Kendrick tossed him into the barricade as well as the steel steps. The show went to break.
Kendrick had Alexander in a submission, but Metalik jumped off the ropes with an elbow drop on Kendrick. Metalik walked the ropes with a dropkick on Swann followed by a standing Shooting Star Press for two. Swann got his knees up to block a moonsault. Swann with a Powerbomb into a cover for two as Alexander broke it up. Alexander hit a springboard into an enziguri for a two count. Kendrick sent Alexander out of the ring. Kendrick with a DDT on Metalik got only two. Alexander with a running knee that knocked down Kendrick. Swann with a spin kick to the face of Alexander. Swann nailed his incredible standing 450 splash on Alexander although his knee hit Alexander in the ribs. Kendrick sent Swann out of the ring. Kendrick had Alexander in the Captain’s Hook submission, but Metalik broke it up. Alexander hit the Lumbar Check knees to the back of Metalik. Kendrick applied the Captain’s Hook submission on Alexander again and Alexander tapped out after 15 minutes.
Winner by submission: Brian Kendrick
Analysis: ***1/2 That was great. I’m so happy these guys are on Raw because they brought a freshness to this show that Raw really needs. There were so many great spots in the match that led to believable nearfalls. My hope going into is that they would get 10-15 minutes to have an awesome match and that’s what happened. Swann was able to show off his high flying offense, Alexander really stood out to me and Metalik is tremendous at hitting any move off the ropes while always making it look easy. Kendrick using the Captain’s Hook submission was a great way to end it. They called that move the Bully Choke during the CWC, but I can see why WWE didn't want to use that name on Raw since they have the anti-bullying campaign among other things.
With the win, Kendrick will face Perkins for the Cruiserweight Title at Clash of Champions.
Analysis: I’m surprised they didn’t show Perkins with the Cruiserweight Title at all. It’s the first week of the cruiserweights and they didn’t even show the champion on Raw. He should have gone into the ring to have a staredown with Kendrick. That’s a mistake from WWE’s creative team.
It was announced that Nia Jax vs. Alicia Fox will take place on the Clash of Champions Kickoff Show. She’s not like most girls…sorry, but it’s a catchy song.
Owens vs. Reigns in a cage is coming up next.
There was a clip of Stephanie McMahon, Sasha Banks, The New Day and Charlotte at a Children’s Hospital in Memphis.
Roman Reigns made his entrance. He challenges Rusev for the US Title at Clash of Champions. The Universal Champion Kevin Owens made his entrance. He defends the Universal Title against Seth Rollins at Clash of Champions.
Analysis: The problem with doing the same main event match two weeks in a row is that when they do this match for the title on a PPV it’s not going to mean as much since we have seen it a couple of times already.
Steel Cage Match: Roman Reigns vs. Kevin Owens
This is not for the Universal Title. You can win by pinfall, submission, going out the door or climbing out of the cage.
Reigns with clotheslines on Owens to give him the early advantage. Owens was able to send him face first into the cage followed by a superkick for a two count. They went to commercial a couple of minutes into it.
Back from break, Owens was crotched on the top rope and Reigns hit some clotheslines into the cage three times in a row. Boot to the face by Reigns. Owens tried to leave, but Reigns kept him in there and hit a Samoan Drop for a two count. Reigns with ten clotheslines in the corner. Owens nailed a release German Suplex and then a cannonball attack in the corner. Owens with a senton attack, but Reigns got his knees up. They exchanged strikes in the middle of the ring. Owens nailed a superkick. Reigns avoided a Popup Powerbomb with a Superman Punch for two. The crowd always buys that as a nearfall. Owens with a boot to the face and a Popup Powerbomb gets just two. Owens climbed the cage even though it makes more sense to go out the door. Reigns grabbed his legs to prevent him from getting out. They were on the top rope with Owens slamming Reigns’ head into the cage multiple times. Reigns hit a Superman Punch while they were both on the top rope to knock them both down. Reigns climbed up the cage, so Owens crawled to the door. Reigns was at the top of the cage, Owens was near the door, but he was moving slowly. Reigns got down the side of the cage and fell to the floor first. Owens got out of the cage shortly after. Reigns wins after 15 minutes.
Winner: Roman Reigns by escaping the cage
Analysis: *** It was a good cage match that was given a lot of time with a finish that made me groan a bit. Reigns lost to KO last week, so of course he got his win back here because Reigns is protected so much by the creative team. I really didn’t like the nearfall where Reigns kicked out of the Popup Powerbomb. I hate seeing the champion’s finisher getting kicked out of that easily. The finish was done in a way that didn’t hurt Owens that much since he only lost by Reigns escaping the cage. It’s not as damaging as a pinfall loss.
Post match, Rusev attacked Reigns at ringside. Reigns was able to slow him down. Owens, who was back in the cage, kicked the door in the face of Reigns. Owens was yelling “Matchka something” at Rusev, which is pretty funny. They brought Reigns into the cage and Rusev locked the door leaving the two heels in there with Reigns. At this point, I think everybody could tell who was coming.
Rusev attacked Reigns with punches to his head. Owens set him up, so that Rusev could apply the Accolade submission to Reigns. Owens: “Hows that, big dog?”
Seth Rollins ran down to the ring with the obvious save. The crowd was cheering, which is good. Rollins climbed to the top of the cage. He kicked Owens down and punched Rusev. The crowd was going wild as Rollins stood on top of the cage. Rollins hit a cross body block to take out Rusev and Owens. Huge spot. Very cool looking. The show went off the air soon after with all four guys down on the mat.
Analysis: It was the second time in the show where Rollins made a big leap onto the bad guys, which is a way to put over his new role as a face. This leap was more impressive than the attack earlier in the show because this was much higher up. I thought they ended the show too soon after the dive, but the show is obviously long enough by that point.
The significant thing about that ending is that Rollins came to the aid of his former Shield buddy Reigns. The announcers didn’t even mention that because it’s probably something they will do again in the future.
I'll mention this more in the preview on Friday, but I think Clash of Champions will see Triple H return to cost Rollins the match against Owens. Then, as I mentioned earlier, Stephanie will admit she knew the plan all along leaving Foley as the dumb face GM that was outsmarted by the mean people and Rollins as the angry face seeking revenge. Easy story to tell. Rollins should thrive as a face.
Three Stars of the Show
1. Brian Kendrick
2. Cedric Alexander
3. (Tie) Rich Swann
3. (Tie) Gran Metalik
Sorry to the Raw regulars, but the “new” cruiserweights get the nod this week.
6.5 out of 10
Last week: 6.5
2016 Average: 5.84
2016 Average since brand split starting July 25: 5.78 (Smackdown is 6.06)
Last 5 Weeks: 6.5, 6, 8.5, 6, 4
2016 Low: 4 (Feb. 29/Mar. 21/Aug. 15)
I give it a 6.5 out of 10. Same as last week’s score.
The in-ring action was pretty good for the most part thanks to the addition of the cruiserweights helping that third hour. Often times the third hour drags a lot, so putting them there worked for this week at least. There were several matches around the three-star level. Matches get more time on Raw than they do on Smackdown, but I’d still prefer a two hour show.
I think creative was lacking this week. There was nothing that was that interesting this week at all. I keep wanting them to wow me or do something special, yet they seem incapable of doing that at this point. I don't know how else to say it.
Rollins was pushed more as a face this week, which is what was needed more in the last couple of weeks. At least they positioned him well by setting him up to do the superhero dive after his match and after the main event.
There was too much of a focus on the authority figures this week. I think it featured them more than any Raw since the brand split started two months ago. Some weeks they get away from it and it’s refreshing. This week they featured them too much.
Here’s the Clash of Champions lineup at this point.
WWE Universal Title: Kevin Owens vs. Seth Rollins
United States Title: Rusev vs. Roman Reigns
Raw Women's Title: Charlotte vs. Sasha Banks vs. Bayley
Sami Zayn vs. Chris Jericho
Raw Tag Team Titles: The New Day vs. Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson
Cruiserweight Title: TJ Perkins vs. Brian Kendrick
Cesaro vs. Sheamus match #7
Kickoff Show: Nia Jax vs. Alicia Fox
I assume they will add Enzo/Cass vs. Shining Stars to the Kickoff Show as well or perhaps the main show. It’s a pretty good lineup.
I’ll be back on Friday with a Clash of Champions preview.
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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 – firstname.lastname@example.org