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Live from Providence, Rhode Island this is the Raw Deal for episode #1282. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport. Please check out my WWE News updates Monday to Friday exclusively on TJRWrestling for all the relevant WWE news and my thoughts on everything going on. Note: Image on the banner is reversed from what it was on Raw. Melo Man is creative like that.

The show opened with a video package focusing on the Braun Strowman vs. Kane match from last week that ended in a countout after they battled out of the ring. When the match was over, they kept fighting and Strowman ended up as the last man standing.

Raw General Manager Kurt Angle made his entrance to a good ovation along with “you suck” chants. The announce team of Michael Cole, Corey Graves and Booker T were shown on camera welcoming us to the show.

Angle talked bout how Brock Lesnar is there and by the end of the night, he’ll decide who will face Brock at the Royal Rumble. Braun Strowman interrupted Angle.

Strowman marched down to the ring and received a good ovation. Strowman said that he earned the opportunity to face Lesnar. Strowman claimed that last week he was the only one standing, so that’s why Angle should pick him to face Lesnar at the Royal Rumble.

Kane made the predictable interruption and walked down to the ring. Kane got into the ring saying that he’s caused more destruction in WWE for over 20 years, so there’s no way that anybody is stepping in front of him. Kane said Lesnar’s list of victims is impressive and while it does include his brother of destruction The Undertaker, it does not include Kane. Kane said he’ll get his chance at Royal Rumble unless Strowman is man enough to stop him. Strowman stared at Kane.

Paul Heyman interrupted the staredown in the ring. Heyman stood on the ramp telling them they won’t decide anything without input from his client, the reigning, defending Universal Champion Brock Lesnar.

Lesnar walked down to the ring with the Universal Championship around his waist. Heyman stayed on the ramp. Big ovation for Lesnar, which is usual for him.

Angle said before things get out of hand, he needs to make his announcement: Brock vs. Braun vs. Kane for the Universal Title at Royal Rumble. Angle left the ring before the fight could begin.

Kane got in a punch on Lesnar, but Lesnar came back with a clothesline that sent Strowman over the top to the floor. Lesnar struggled a bit to pick up Kane, but he got him on his shoulders and Lesnar hit a F5 on Kane. Strowman stood outside the ring while Lesnar left. Lesnar went up the ramp with the Universal Title on his shoulder. After about 20 seconds, Kane sat up from the F5. Is it impressive if it took him so long to sit up? Not really, but Cole tried to sell it as impressive.

Analysis: Good opening segment setting up the obvious Universal Title match for the Royal Rumble. I was surprised Heyman didn’t spend a few minutes talking about the situation to hype it up more, but there’s over a month until the Royal Rumble, so plenty of time for that. Kane as a major title threat is lame to me, but he’s there to take the pin from Lesnar and protect Strowman from getting beat.

Seth Rollins vs. Samoa Joe is up next.

(Commercial)

FYI: Just a note to say I will be posting my 2017 9th Annual WWE Johnny Awards on Thursday, December 28. I like to wait until after the last Raw & Smackdown of the year, so that’s the best date for it. It’s usually around 8,000 words and there are some fun awards in there. Check out my Johnny Awards archives to check out the winners from past years.

They returned from break with Cole noting that WWE’s Youtube channel has 20 million subscribers, which is more than many other sports organizations combined and they mentioned them. That’s impressive and I think they do a good job with providing content on Youtube on a consistent basis. WWE Network has about 1.6 million subscribers, if you’re wondering. Big difference from people wanting free content and paid content.

Seth Rollins made his entrance to a good ovation.

Jason Jordan entered with a microphone while the crowd booed him. Jordan said he understands that he’s not the guy that Rollins wants to see right now. Jordan pointed out Rollins wants Samoa Joe, but he’s not the only one. Jordan noted that he has asked for a match against Samoa Joe for the last two weeks. Jordan said he’s done asking and if Rollins has a bone to pick with Samoa Joe, Seth is going to have to wait until after Jordan is done with him. Rollins said he understand Jordan has a lot of pressure on him, but Rollins told him this isn’t Jordan’s big opportunity.

Samoa Joe made his entrance and he had a microphone as well while the fans chanted “Joe” during his song. He’s still a heel. Joe said that it feels like he’s the belle of the ball and all the boys want to dance with him. Joe suggested how about right now we have Jordan vs. Rollins and the winner gets beat down and put to sleep by Joe. Rollins said that sounds wonderful, but the match that was made was Joe vs. Rollins, so Rollins wants Joe to come down to the ring. Rollins suggested that Jordan can look for his daddy’s approval somewhere else. Jordan shoved Rollins on his ass. Rollins said alright let’s do this match. Ref called for the bell.

Analysis: Jordan sticking his nose in other people’s business is something that will make fans continue to hate him the more he does it, so it’s a good way to get him heel heat as he continues this slow turn of his.

Jason Jordan vs. Seth Rollins

Samoa Joe was at ringside to watch the match on a chair.

Jordan with a shoulder tackle. Rollins with a clothesline that sent Jordan over the top to the floor right in front of Joe, who was sitting on his chair. The show went to break there.

(Commercial)

Back from break, Jordan tried an attack off the ropes, Rollins kicked him and Rollins with another clothesline that sent Jordan over the top to the floor. Rollins tried an attack on the floor, but Jordan sent Rollins back first into the barricade. Back in the ring, Jordan got a two count. Jordan with a hard whip into the corner while Booker complimented Jordan, which is different from how Booker usually critiqued him. Jordan drove Rollins back first into the turnbuckle two more times. Jordan grounded Rollins with a headlock. Jordan sent Rollins into the turnbuckle three more times. Running shoulder tackle by Jordan to the ribs of Rollins for a two count. Backbreaker by Jordan got a two count followed by another chinlock. Rollins made a comeback by sending Jordan into the turnbuckle. Jordan came back with an overhead suplex as the show went to break for the second time in this match.

(Commercial)

Rollins was in control with a leg drop to the back of the head with Jordan’s head against the ropes. Rollins nailed a clothesline off the top rope for a two count. Rollins with a forearm while Jordan was against the turnbuckle and Rollins stared at Joe. Jordan came back with an overhead suplex for a two count. Rollins sent Jordan to the floor, dropkick while Jordan was on the apron and Rollins nailed a suicide dive. Rollins landed shoulder first against the barricade. Both guys crawled back in at the count of nine to beat the ten count. Rollins with a leaping kick to the head of Jordan. Rollins went for a springboard attack, but Jordan hit two Northern Lights Suplexes for a two count. They battled on the turnbuckle, Rollins with a headbutt to knock Jordan down and Rollins hit a Frog Splash for a two count. Great height on that leap from Rollins. Crowd thought that was it. Jordan rolled out of the ring. Rollins nailed a flying knee to the face of Jordan. Rollins got in Joe’s face, so Joe got out of the chair to talk trash. Jordan threw Jordan into Joe and Rollins nailed Joe with a superkick. Rollins sent Jordan back into the ring. Jordan sat on top of Rollins for a pin for a two count. Rollins hit his spin out knee to the face of Jordan for the pinfall win after 20 minutes. I think Rollins should use the Frog Splash as a finish instead of the spin out knee because the Frog Splash looks much more impressive. If you can make that splash look as good as Rollins does, use it as a finish.

Winner by pinfall: Seth Rollins

Analysis: ***1/2 Very good match. It was similar to some of Jordan’s other losses on Raw where he was put in long matches, came close to winning multiple times and ultimately came up short. That’s the story of Jordan on Raw to this point because he can’t seem to pick up the big wins. That’s why I like the pace of this heel turn he’s on because it’s going slow and building up to some moment where he’s going to really act like a heel that is finally able to get those wins. Rollins is one of the best in-ring performers in WWE, so that match being good was no surprise because he has great matches all the time. It’s worth pointing out that Booker T’s commentary in this Jordan was different from the others because he was way more critical in the past. It was likely a directive from the bosses.

Post match, Joe and Rollins brawled in the ring. The ref tried to hold Joe back, so Joe punched Rollins in the face and Joe hit a uranage slam. Joe punched Rollins repeatedly, but other refs went in the ring to stop Joe’s attack.

When Joe left the ring, Jordan was just standing there, so Joe decked Jordan with a clothesline. Some fans chanted “Joe” while Booker said that was like a love tap in their business.

Analysis: Joe is one of the best pure heels in the company and he proved it there once again. It’s a simple character as a badass that doesn’t cater to the people. Joe does what he wants when he wants. Builds to Rollins vs. Joe down the road.

Later: Cedric Alexander vs. Drew Gulak and the Absolution trio vs. Banks, Bayley and James.

(Commercial)

Replays aired of the Samoa Joe attacks after the match.

Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose were in Kurt Angle’s office talking about how they want to face Joe. Jason Jordan showed up to say that he wants to face Joe as well. Angle announced Rollins, Ambrose and Jordan vs. Cesaro, Sheamus and Joe for later.

Analysis: There’s no Roman Reigns on Raw this week, so no surprise that Rollins and Jordan are working twice.

The announceres discussed the changes in Matt Hardy’s behavior of late.

Bray Wyatt did a promo talking about Matt Hardy wondering what draws us to him, whether it’s the words or his childish laugh. Wyatt said maybe it’s the funny faces that Matt makes. Wyatt said that he is going to make sure that the right people get it and the right people are Matt Hardy and all of you (the fans). Wyatt said that if Matt wants to continue with their chess match of theirs, he should know that Wyatt doesn’t play by the rules. Wyatt said that the great war must end. “Run.”

Analysis: It was a solid promo from Wyatt with him wondering why people like Hardy and pointing out the reasons for it.

Finn Balor made his entrance to a big ovation. Sounds “over” to me, pal. He’s in a 2 on 1 handicap match against Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel after a break.

(Commercial)

The Miztourage duo of Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel made their entrance to the theme of The Miz. No Miz until January because he’s filming another Marine movie. No more neck brace for Axel.

Finn Balor vs. Bo Dallas & Curtis Axel

Dallas and Axel must tag in and out for this match. There was some stalling early on until Axel drove Balor to the corner with shoulder tackles. The heels isolated Balor in the corner with kicks from Axel. Balor rolled through a pin attempt and nailed a dropkick for two. Dallas provided a distraction, so Axel took advantage by stomping away. Dallas tagged in with a clothesline. Axel had a bloody nose. Balor came back against Dallas with two forearms and a double stomp for two with Axel making the save. Axel set up Balor on the top rope, Balor knocked Axel down, Dallas knocked Balor down and the heels kept on stomping on Balor. The ref called for the bell for the disqualification after about six minutes.

Winner by disqualification: Finn Balor

Analysis: * Boring match with the heels on offense for most of it and Balor not being able to do his comeback because it was a disqualification.

Post match, the heels double teamed Balor. Hideo Itami ran out for the save. Itami was making his Raw debut. Itami nailed Axel and Dallas with some kicks. Graves noted Itami was supposed to debut on 205 Live. Itami was yelling “I’m here” to signify his Raw debut. They cut to a break.

Analysis: Nice way to debut Itami on the main roster. He was a heel during his most recent run in NXT, but there’s nothing wrong with using him as a face.

(Commercial)

The predictable tag match was made during the break. Holla holla Teddy Long tag match playa.

Finn Balor & Hideo Itami vs. Bo Dallas & Curtis Axel

Balor nailed a double axe off the top to Dallas while Itami was holding Dallas. Axel distracted the ref, so Dallas got a thumb to the eye and took down Balor. Axel worked over Balor with a chinlock. Axel sent Balor into the turnbuckle, Balor moved and Axel hit the turnbuckle. Hot tag to Itami, who nailed Axel with a clothesline off the top rope for two. Itami nailed a kick to the face of Axel, back fist and a running knee by Itami got a two count as Dallas broke it up. Balor with a Slingblade to Dallas followed by a clothesline. Itami with a corner dropkick on Axel. Balor nailed Dallas with a dropkick that sent Dallas into the barricade. Itami picked up Axel and hit the Go To Sleep for the pinfall win after five minutes of action.

Winners by pinfall: Finn Balor & Hideo Itami

The announcers put over Itami noting he’s a part of the cruiserweight division.

Analysis: *1/2 Basic match to showcase Itami on his Raw debut. I’m glad he got to use the GTS as his finisher. Itami used the GTS in Japan before CM Punk used it in WWE, in case you are wondering.

Coming up: Six women tag match and a six man tag match. We just saw a tag match. Holy shit there are a lot of tag matches this week.

Cedric Alexander was interviewed by Renee Young backstage. Alexander said he got a second chance and he’s going to take full advantage of it. Alexander said the only time he’ll be overlooking Gulak is when he’s standing over him with his arm raised in victory and looking forward to his Cruiserweight Championship match.

Analysis: I like him as a worker, but his promos are so basic. He really needs a catchphrase too, which I’ve written before.

(Commercial)

There was an image shown of The Rock joining the Hollywood Walk of Fame last week with congratulations messages from Vince McMahon and Triple H. Vince already has a star there.

Enzo Amore, the Cruiserweight Champion, made his entrance with Drew Gulak.

They went into the ring with Enzo doing a promo about Star Wars. Gulak said that this is the biggest match of his life and he owes it all to his mentor and best friend, Enzo Amore. It didn’t seem like Enzo agreed with the best friend thing. Gulak said he had some tribute to Enzo, but Alexander’s music started.

Cedric Alexander vs. Drew Gulak

Winner of this match gets a Cruiserweight Championship match. Enzo joined the announce team for this match.

Alexander was on fire early with a headscissors followed by a dropkick that sent Gulak to the floor. Alexander nailed a somersault dive over the top to take out Gulak. They did a suplex spot where they both tumbled over the floor while still in the suplex position. That was bit risky, but they got through it fine.

(Commercial)

Back from break, Gulak was still in control. Gulak missed a corner charge while Enzo was talking about the temperature in his house while I considered putting the show on mute. Alexander was selling a back injury while Gulak nailed a spinning clothesline for two. Gulak with a stretching submission. Alexander came back with a back body drop followed by chops. They each got some nearfalls as they fought over some nearfalls. Alexander nailed a Spanish Fly slam for a two count. That woke up the crowd a bit. Alexander went for a kick off a handspring, but Gulak caught the foot. Gulak trapped Alexander in a submission and the fans didn’t react to it much as Alexander got to the ropes. Enzo left the announce position and walked to the back while looking at his phone. Alexander kicked Gulak in the head. Spinning back first by Alexander followed by a springboard clothesline. Gulak was bleeding from the move. Alexander hit the Lumbar Check for the pinfall win after 13 minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Cedric Alexander

Analysis: **1/4 It was a decent match that got time although if it was shorter that may have helped. The crowd didn’t get into it until the final few minutes with Alexander making the predictable comeback. I like Gulak, but he’s a ground based cruiserweight and it’s not an exciting style. Enzo’s commentary was bad. My favorite part was when he left. It wasn’t that entertaining because he was annoying too much making all kinds of references that were hard to understand.

With the win, Alexander gets a shot at the Cruiserweight Title. No date given. I don’t expect a title change.

Asuka is up next.

(Commercial)

This week on Smackdown is some fallout from the controversy at Clash of Champions.

Enzo Amore was shown walking backstage with Nia Jax standing there smiling. Enzo said that he got that DM. Jax said she wanted to talk about things. Jax mentioned Gulak, Enzo told her that Drew isn’t her friend – Drew works for him. Gulak had some tissue in his bloody nose. Gulak said he let Enzo down and he wanted to talk to him about it. Jax said she is going to let Enzo talk about this. Gulak rambled on, so Enzo said that Gulak did a lot of things wrong and left.

Analysis: This storyline doesn’t interest me much at all. Are we supposed to think Enzo can’t talk to her unless it’s on camera on Raw? That’s WWE writing. They think we’re idiots. What’s the pay off? Gulak realizing that Enzo is just using him and then Gulak becomes a face? I don’t think it will work that well. Slow building to the comedy romance between Jax and Enzo is smart.

Asuka vs. Alicia Fox

The fans chanted “Asuka’s gonna kill you” to start the match. Shoulder tackle from Asuka. Armbar by Asuka, but Fox got to the ropes to break it before Asuka could really lock it in. Fox came back with a kick to the face for a two count. Fox nailed the Northern Lights suplex for a two count. Fox slapped on a chinlock. Asuka made her comeback, hit some forearms and a dropkick off the middle ropes. Running splash in the corner by Asuka. Hard roundhouse kick by Asuka. Ambar by Asuka led to the submission win for victory after about four minutes.

Winner by submission: Asuka

Analysis: *1/2 Quick match to put over Asuka like usual. It may have been a minute too long because Asuka winning in quicker fashion is more impressive.

There was a clip of Total Divas this week featuring The Miz and Maryse eating at a restaurant with Maryse wanting Miz to be a vegan for a week and he said he’d do it if she ate some meat, so she took a bite of it. Thrilling television! I miss Maryse. That’s all I have to add.

Six-man tag is up next.

(Commercial)

A great moment in WWE history sponsored by Snickers aired showing Chris Jericho’s debut on Raw in August 1999 while The Rock was in the ring. Way to promote the guy working for New Japan and Wrestle Kingdom 12 on January 4. I may have to write about that one, by the way.

Samoa Joe entered. Replays of stuff from earlier. His partners are Sheamus and Cesaro. The face team of Jason Jordan, Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose entered separately. Ambrose had a big brace on his right arm. Rollins had a Shield shirt while Ambrose had one of his own shirts.

Samoa Joe, Sheamus & Cesaro vs. Jason Jordan, Seth Rollins & Dean Ambrose

Joe worked over Jordan with punches early on. Sheamus tagged in against Jordan and connected with a knee drop. When Cesaro got in there, Jordan hit a belly to back suplex to break free with Rollins tagging in. Rollins with a Slingblade on Cesaro followed by some rollup attempts and a standing side kick for two. Rollins with a leg drop to the back of Cesaro’s head while on the apron. Rollins with a slingshot dive to take out Cesaro on the floor as the show went to break.

(Commercial)

Back from break, the heels were in control with Sheamus working over Rollins with forearms to the back. Joe slapped on a headlock, so Rollins broke free with a jawbreaker, but Joe was there to knock him down with a running elbow smash. Cesaro nailed an elbow drop off the middle rope that Graves called the Doomsday Device and then noted it was Demolition’s move because he didn’t want Twitter to get mad at him. That was funny. Sheamus got a cheap kick on Rollins as well. Sheamus with the Irish Curse backbreaker two times in a row on Rollins, but Rollins flipped out of a third attempt with a DDT. Joe tagged in with a corner splash on Rollins and a leaping kick to the head. Jordan broke up the pin, so Sheamus and Cesaro threw him out of the ring. Rollins got a two count rollup on Sheamus. Running corner charge by Sheamus, Rollins moved and Sheamus hit the ring post. Cesaro tagged in to keep Rollins from tagging out. Cesaro dumped Rollins out of the ring. Ambrose attacked Sheamus on the floor and Jordan went after Joe. Ambrose sent Sheamus into the ring post. Joe tossed Jordan down. Ambrose forearm to Joe. Rollins with a back body drop on Cesaro on the floor. Ambrose sent Rollins back into the ring and the crowd was on fire for a hot tag. Cesaro boot to the face of Ambrose. Rollins sent Cesaro and Joe to the floor. Rollins hit a suicide dive that connected on Sheamus, Cesaro and Ambrose got hit too. Ambrose went down favoring the right arm that had a brace on it. Rollins sent Cesaro back in the ring. Rollins took time looking at Ambrose, who was getting looked at by doctors as well. Sheamus nailed Rollins with a Brogue Kick and Cesaro covered to give the heels the win. It went 13 minutes.

Winners by pinfall: Samoa Joe, Sheamus & Cesaro

Analysis: *** It was a pretty good tag match with the heels isolating Rollins for most of it and that build up to the hot tag even though there was no actual hot tag. Rollins was fantastic in this match selling the back injury, making the big comebacks and making everybody look great. I like how the finish was done with the crafty heel Sheamus getting the Brogue Kick out of nowhere to help his team get the win. The Ambrose arm injury was legit from the weekend, which was worked it into the storyline. More on that later.

Replays aired of the Royal Rumble announcement to set up Lesnar vs. Kane vs. Strowman for the Universal Title. Lesnar dominated the action.

There was a limo shown in the parking lot. It was Raw Commissioner Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley-Levesque-Game. I think that’s the official name. Way to show up on time, boss.

(Commercial)

There was a video of “Woken” Matt Hardy talking to chess pieces on a chess board. He yelled at something about the foul language. It was a goldfish that he called Napoleon with a small vessel. Hardy told the goldfish he had business to handle. Hardy said that every maneuver in WWE must be precise because one wrong move can lead to total annihilation. Hardy said that he has been doing this tango with Bray Wyatt since the beginning of existence and he talked about his light along with Wyatt’s darkness. Hardy said he would stand side by side with his Woken Warriors against Bray Wyatt and his evil Sister Abigail must be stopped. Hardy said they must be deleted and he knocked the dark chess pieces of the board. Hardy yelled “delete” repeatedly followed by his insane laughter to end it. Crowd liked it.

Analysis: Fun promo from Hardy for the third week in a row. I don’t mind keeping him out of the ring to establish his new/old persona. There’s no rush.

Replays aired of Ambrose hurting his arm during a Rollins suicide dive.

Analysis: Remember that spot with Rollins hitting Ambrose leading to the arm injury. That could set up Ambrose for the heel turn when he’s back from injury.

Ambrose was being looked at by a doctor backstage and Rollins was there. Joe, Sheamus and Cesaro attacked Rollins by tossing him into the wall. Joe told Rollins he is never save. Ambrose had his arm by some equipment box, so Joe slammed the lid of the box onto Ambrose’s right arm that was already hurt. The doctor called for help as the show went to break.

Analysis: The injury is legit, so they worked into the storyline. It was reported by PWInsider that Ambrose is headed to Birmingham, Alabama to get the arm looked at and to determine the severity of the injury. It’s possible he could need surgery, which could put WrestleMania in doubt for him. We’ll probably know more by Tuesday evening.

(Commercial)

A replay aired of the attack on Rollins and Ambrose from before the break.

The announce team talked about what happened with Cole saying that Ambrose was being transferred to a hospital.

The Revival duo of Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder made their entrance. They showed highlights of them in action. Dawson has been out of action for four months with a torn biceps, so welcome back to him.

Analysis: Both guys suffered injuries this year at different times, so here’s hoping they are healthy. Love this team. Top guys!

The Revival (Scott Dawson & Dash Wilder) vs. Rhyno & Heath Slater

Rhyno with a shoulder tackle on Wilder. Slater tagged in leading to a back elbow. The Titus Worldwide trio of Titus O’Neil, Apollo Crews and Dana Brooke in a business suit with a clipboard (she’s the statistician) were shown watching on a monitor backstage. Wilder took control over Slater with a punch to the back. Dawson tagged in with Slater hitting a forearm on him. Slater missed a corner attack, so Dawson took control with a hard clothesline. Wilder worked on Slater a bit, Dawson tagged in an Slater hit a leaping kick to knock Dawson down. Wilder prevented a tag by pulling Rhyno off the apron. Blind tag by Wilder and Dawson launched Slater in the air for the double team Shatter Machine finisher as Wilder pinned Slater. It went about three minutes.

Winners by pinfall: The Revival

Analysis: *1/4 Good to see The Revival back in action. No surprise since they won. Slater and Rhyno are barely on the show. They were certainly missed and are one of the best heel teams in the company. Just need to stay healthy. Raw is hurting in terms of face teams at the moment, though.

There was a shot of Stephanie McMahon and Kurt Angle talking in the office, but we couldn’t hear them.

The six woman tag match is up next.

This week on Table for 3 is Jeff Hardy, Matt Hardy and Finn Balor. It premiered after Raw and it’s on demand now. I’ll review it on TJRWrestling later in the week.

(Commercial)

There was a shot of Rhyno and Heath Slater shown walking backstage. Angle walked up to them. Angle told them they needed to toughen up if they want more opportunities. Angle left. Slater freaked out wondering what he meant and if their jobs were in jeopardy. Slater mentioned he had kids, which is his sing. Rhyno told him they need to toughen up and he knows how to do it. They left.

Analysis: They have been on Raw for about eight months with no storyline, so it looks like the creative team may finally have something for them. I assume they stay as a face team since Raw is lacking on the face side.

Elias was in the ring on his guitar. Elias had one question: “Who wants to walk with Elias?” It always draws cheers and it did here. Elias gave a shoutout to Tom Brady. Elias said that he and Tom have crossed paths when Brady said that Elias’ music was the soundtrack to his success. Elias claimed that Brady listened him during his pre-game rituals like deflating footballs and manipulating the rule book (that drew heat). Elias talked about how he had taken Roman Reigns to the limit, he survived Braun Strowman and Angle is worried about what he is becoming. Elias said it will be the performance of the year on January 28 when he enters and wins the Royal Rumble match. I don’t pick him. Elias dedicated this song to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, which drew boos.

Sasha Banks made her entrance with Cole marking out for it being Boss time. Banks’ purple hair extensions were curly today. Elias thanked Banks for joining and to watch Elias do his thing. Elias started about nothing being special about Rhode Island, so Mickie James walked out with Cole noting she is a singer. Thanks Cole for plugging that. Elias said normally he doesn’t like the interruption, but it ain’t bad being him because all the women want to walk with Elias. Bayley’s music hit and Elias was frustrated, so he left. Cole marked out saying this is like Live Aid. That’s a very old reference. When Bayley got to ringside, Elias left without receiving a hug from Bayley.

Analysis: That was unique to have the women out there with Elias. He is improving a lot with his promos because he’s a delusional heel that thinks he’s a bigger star than he actually is in the minds of the fans.

(Commercial)

This week on 205 Live: Hideo Itami debuts on that show.

Next week on Christmas Raw: John Cena will be there in Chicago.

The Absolution trio of Paige, Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville entered for the main event tag match. A clip aired of when the women attacked Asuka last week, which led to the other women on Raw attacking Absolution and beating them up.

Sasha Banks, Mickie James and Bayley vs. Paige, Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville

James nailed Paige with forearms, a kick to the gut and a running forearm. Banks tagged in with a double team suplex with James on Paige. Distraction from Rose led to Paige nailing a kick on Banks. The heel trio worked over Banks in the corner. Paige let us know its her house and hit Banks with a running forearm. Paige distracted the ref, so Rose and Deville worked over Banks a bit. Rose and Deville went after Bayley and James. Deville throws a good forearm when she connected with Bayley. Banks went up top and hit a double knee attack on Paige for two as Rose made the save. Rose and Deville attacked Banks, so that led to the disqualification finish. It went four minutes.

Winners by disqualification: Sasha Banks, Mickie James and Bayley

Analysis: * There wasn’t much to it. It was notable that Deville and Rose were barely in the ring because WWE knows they are still green. It was an angle more than a match.

Nia Jax walked out to the ring. Why is Jax saving women like Banks, Bayley and James? No reason, but that’s WWE. Jax tossed Deville and Rose down while knocking down Paige. Jax did a double Samoa Drop on Rose and Deville. That took too long to set up, but the execution was good. Paige attacked Jax by clipping the knee. The other women on Raw including Alexa Bliss, Dana Brooke, Asuka and Alicia Fox ran down to join the brawl. Brooke was in her wrestling gear after being in “office” attire earlier. All of the women were brawling. Stephanie’s music hit and everybody just stopped as if the Principal walked in during a school fight.

Stephanie stood in the ring wit ha microphone while the other women stood in the ring in a line. They were just fighting eachother and they just stopped. That’s laughable. Anyway, let’s move on.

Stephanie claimed that three years ago a revolution started (summer of 2015 to today is less than three years, but that’s okay) in WWE led by the women in this ring, the women on Smackdown Live and every single woman to ever step foot inside the squared circle (even Hervina and Santina?) including Fabulous Moolah and Mae Young. Stephanie said they turned that revolution into an evolution. Actually some people say evolution because they don’t know what one it is. Stephanie claimed that because of them, the divas division became the women’s division. Stephanie talked about women main eventing, they had the women’s Hell in a Cell match, the first women’s Money in the Bank match and two weeks was the first time two WWE women competed in the middle east. Stephanie noted that the chant was “this is hope.” Steph said that they have inspired women all over the world.

Stephanie said they should make history once again. This company loves saying make history! Stephanie said that on January 28, the road to WrestleMania kicks off with the first ever women’s Royal Rumble match.

Stephanie urged the crowd and the women for a “yes” chant. Stephanie hugged Jax and that’s how Raw went off the air.

Analysis: Good news about a women’s Rumble, but I have some gripes first with this segment. The way this was done was silly. The women are brawling, then Steph comes out, they stand together in line like children and listen to her speak like she’s the queen of the world. Then they all celebrate together. What would have been even better is if they started brawling to end the show with the announcers saying that this is what the Royal Rumble will be like and the show goes off from there.

Stephanie saying because of the women the divas division became the women’s division. Really? That’s not true. It’s because WWE took nearly 20 years to figure out it’s better to call them women instead of the trademarked term divas that WWE shoved down our throats for years. If we’re being accurate. By the way, Stephanie was booking the company with her daddy through the 2000s (she headed the creative team under Vince from about 2002 onwards) when women were in those bra and panties matches that the company frowns upon now because they are ashamed of them. But hey, it’s nice to tell a story to fit a narrative. I’m glad they care about women’s wrestling now. To pretend like they always did is silly, but there were good matches before the last two years as well, which they tend to ignore as well.

There’s info about this match that we don’t know yet. How many women? I think it might be 20. If it’s 30 then they must use NXT girls, legends from the past and indy wrestlers to fill it up. Past women battle royals have had rules where just getting thrown to the floor is an elimination, so that may continue. Alexa Bliss is barely taller than the top rope, so seeing some of the smaller girls trying to bump over the top to the floor could be hard. They need to be smart about it. I figure WWE is still figuring out the details, which is why nothing specific has been announced.

I like that 2016 WWE had the first women’s Hell in a Cell match, 2017 had the first (and second) women’s Money in the Bank match and 2018 will have the first women’s Royal Rumble match. That’s good progress.

I pick Asuka to win. Why? Because any time Asuka is in a match I’ll always pick her. Simple, really.

Some people think that Ronda Rousey could debut in the women’s Rumble too. I would save her first in-ring time for WrestleMania, but I guess it’s possible. I think Rousey teaming with her buddies in the Four Horsewomen vs. WWE’s Four Horsewomen at WrestleMania is fine and then you can do Asuka beating Bliss at WrestleMania. They could have Asuka beat Bliss for the Raw Women’s Title at the Royal Rumble, then Rousey wins the women’s Rumble and that sets up Asuka vs. Rousey at WM. Plenty of options.

 

Three Stars of the Show

  1. Seth Rollins
  2. Jason Jordan
  3. Samoa Joe

 

The Scoreboard

5.5 out of 10

Last week: 7

2017 Average: 5.87

Average since brand split starting July 25/16: 5.88 (Smackdown is 6.57)

Last 5 Weeks: 7, 8, 4.5, 6.5, 5.5

2017 High: 8 (April 3, December 4)

2017 Low: 4 (Jan. 9, Feb. 27 & June 12)

 

Final Thoughts

I give it a 5.5 out of 10.

It was an average show with some big announcements about the Universal Title match at the Royal Rumble and the women’s Rumble match.

I thought it was a mistake to only feature Strowman in the first segment. He’s one of the biggest names on the show, yet he was barely visible. He needs to do more than just take a clothesline from Lesnar.

There were some bad match finishes. They did the same “heels attack the face leading to a DQ” finish twice. I hate repeating finishes.

Rollins and Jordan worked two matches and put in over 30 minutes of in-ring time, so their performances stood out to me. Samoa Joe was great all night too.

I mentioned earlier Roman Reigns was given the week off. There was no mention of why, but it’s probably just a scheduled rest because the Raw crew has a busy tour the week after Christmas. Reigns should be back next week.

The next WWE PPV is Royal Rumble on January 28. Here’s what we know so far.

30-Man Men’s Royal Rumble match

Universal Championship: Brock Lesnar vs. Kane vs. Braun Strowman

Women’s Royal Rumble match

That’s all for this week. See ya next time for the Smackdown review.

Go Los Angeles Rams, Toronto Raptors and Toronto Maple Leafs.

You can contact me using any of the methods below. Thanks for reading.

John Canton

Email: mrjohncanton@gmail.com

Twitter: @johnreport

Personal Facebook and TJRWrestling on Facebook

 

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