Live from Los Angeles, California (go Rams) this is the Raw Deal for episode #1280. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport.
Raw started with highlights from last week showing Roman Reigns beating Elias to retain his Intercontinental Championship. After the win, Samoa Joe attacked Reigns and made him pass out in the Coquina Clutch submission hold.
Let’s Hear From Kurt Angle And Others
Kurt Angle, the Raw General Manager, made his entrance to the “You Suck” chants out of respect. Angle was in a suit and he got a nice ovation. The announce team of Michael Cole, Corey Graves and Booker T welcomed us to the show.
Angle welcomed us to Monday Night Raw. Angle said that they had a great show featuring Cesaro/Sheamus vs. Rollins/Ambrose for the Raw Tag Team Titles again. Angle said that’s the only championship there last week because there will also be an Intercontinental Championship. Angle said Roman Reigns, the IC Champion, will go one on one with…here comes Jason Jordan.
Jordan walked out to boos. Jordan had his left leg taped up to sell his left knee injury. Jordan asked him to hold on a second while the crowd booed Jordan. Jordan told Angle: “I want Roman Reigns.” Angle told him he can’t be serious and that his knee is still taped up. Jordan said it’s fine and he can do this. Jordan said he’s been in there with Roman Reigns, John Cena, Braun Strowman, Kane, The Miz and he’s held his own with every one of them. Jordan mentioned Reigns has issued an open challenge to anybody. Jordan said he knows he can do it and told “dad” he just needs a chance. Roman Reigns interrupted before Angle could say anything.
Analysis: Those were the loudest boos for Jordan so far. The heel turn is slowly working for him even though he hasn’t embraced it yet. Slow build is good.
Reigns walked out with the IC Title on his shoulder. Reigns held up the IC Title in the air while most of the crowd cheered him.
Reigns got in the ring. Reigns said he’s a fighting champion, but it’s not going to be Kurt’s son. Reigns told Angle that he wants Samoa Joe. Fans cheered for that and chanted “yes” to that. Reigns told Jordan not to go asking his daddy, he should step up and take it.
Jordan said that Reigns is the poster boy for everything that WWE management wants. Reigns said he’s right that he’s on posters, he’s on chairs and he’s main evented a lot of show. Reigns told him he’s earned it for seven years. Reigns told Jordan if he wants something, he should step up and take it. Samoa Joe interrupted that promo fest.
Samoa Joe had a microphone in hand while standing on the ramp with fans chanting “Joe” for him. Joe said as much as he would like to stand in the back to listen to them, his patience has worn thin. Joe said that if Reigns is done patronizing the kid, Joe will accept his challenge. Joe told Reigns he will give him five seconds to withdraw the challenge because Reigns knows he can’t beat Joe (according to Joe). Reigns did not take back the challenge.
Jordan told Joe he didn’t have to try to come out there and talk tough. The crowd booed. Jordan said that unlike Joe he actually is tough because he doesn’t attack people from behind. Jordan said he issues challenges to their face like he did to Reigns and he’s doing to Joe right now. Reigns told Joe the five seconds were done, so Jordan grabbed Reigns from behind and Jordan hit Reigns with a belly to belly suplex. Angle pulled Jordan back and Jordan left the ring.
Reigns said that it ain’t going down like this. Reigns told Joe he can wait until later tonight and told Jordan he can get it right now. Reigns told Angle to make the match. Angle called for a ref to come down, so ref John Cone went into the ring and the show went to break there.
Analysis: I thought it was well done with all four men making good points in their promos with Angle as the protective dad, Jordan making his point to Reigns with the suplex, Reigns overlooking Jordan because of Joe and Joe acting cocky because he’s done well against Reigns in the past. It went about 13 minutes, so it was a bit shorter than the usual show opening promo. It accomplished the common goal of setting up a match, which is what often happens in those kinds of segments.
Intercontinental Championship: Roman Reigns vs. Jason Jordan
Reigns whipped Jordan hard into the turnbuckle. Samoa Joe was shown sitting on a chair on the ramp watching the match. Reigns tossed Jordan out of the ring. Reigns whipped Jordan hard into the barricade. Reigns whipped Jordan shoulder first into the steel steps at ringside. Reigns rolled Jordan back in. Jordan came back with punches, Reigns with punches of his own and a clothesline sent Jordan over the top to the floor. Cole noted that Jordan took Reigns to the limit in a match on Raw in September. Reigns nailed his drive by dropkick on the apron. Back in the ring, Reigns got a two count. Jordan came back with shoulder tackles and then he drove Reigns back first into the turnbuckles four times in a row. Jordan missed a corner charge because Reigns moved, so Reigns charged at him, Jordan avoided it and Reigns went shoulder first into the ring post leading to Reigns going to the floor and the show went to break five minutes into it.
Back from break, Jordan was in control with an armbar. Booker was doing his usual deal where he was critical of Jordan. Reigns with a headbutt, Reigns nailed three clotheslines in a row and then the ten corner clotheslines. Running boot to the face by Reigns got a two count. Reigns teased a Superman Punch, but Jordan countered that with a dropkick for a two count. That looked good. Reigns came back with an uppercut punch that sent Jordan out of the ring. Reigns went for a leaping Superman Punch on the floor, but Jordan caught him and sent Reigns back first into the steel steps. Jordan hit a running shoulder tackle that sent Reigns back first into the steel steps again. Jordan sent Reigns into the ring for a cover that got a two count. Good spots there. Reigns tried to come back with a punch, but Jordan nailed a high angle belly to back suplex on Reigns for a two count. Second commercial break 14 minutes into this match.
Back from break, Reigns had a single leg Boston Crab submission on Jordan’s taped up left knee. The crowd wanted Jordan to tap out, but Jordan managed to counter out of it and get a rollup for two. Reigns got back to his feet and hit a Superman Punch for two. The crowd thought that was it. Reigns did too. Great nearfall. They showed a spot during the break where Jordan hit a belly to belly suplex on Reigns over the top to the floor with Jordan favoring the left leg. Reigns got back to his feet while Jordan was limping. Reigns went for the Spear, Jordan kicked him and Jordan hit two Northern Lights Suplexes in a row for a two count. Jordan couldn’t put his left leg down because he was selling in pain. Love that. Jordan tried a power move, Reigns avoided it and Reigns nailed a Superman Punch. Jordan stumbled around, so Reigns nailed a Spear for the pinfall win after 21 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Roman Reigns
Analysis: ***3/4 That was a great match that was PPV level quality. One of the better Raw singles matches this year that was also one of the longest singles matches on Raw. The crowd was into the match a lot, they got plenty of time, Jordan sold the left knee injury well and Reigns did a fantastic job of selling while also putting over his frustration for not being able to put Jordan away. I loved the way Jordan was selling the knee especially after the spot where he landed hard on the knee on the floor. When Jordan did the Northern Lights Suplex and he sold the left leg injury that was perfect. Sell injuries even when on offense. That’s the right way to do it. It was a much better match than Reigns/Elias last week, which isn’t a surprise because Jordan is better in the ring than Elias. Nice job by both guys.
Post match, Samoa Joe did a promo talking about how he was going after Reigns.
Joe went down to the ring and applied the Coquina Clutch submission hold. Jordan pulled Joe off and hit a high angle suplex on him. Joe went to the floor with the ref telling him to back up. With Jordan standing against the ropes, Reigns nailed Jordan with a Superman Punch to send him out of the ring. Graves wondered what that was all about while Cole pointed out that Jordan did a cheap shot suplex to Reigns earlier in the night. Joe went to the back while Jordan looked at Reigns, who was in the ring and that ended it with Roman’s music playing.
Analysis: The post match angle was effective in terms of keeping this story going. It was a little confusing with Jordan saving Reigns, but I think it’s Jordan wanting to do the right thing. Also Cole explained it well with Reigns paying back Jordan for the cheap shot earlier.
Coming up later is Raw Tag Team Title match. Up next is Paige vs. Sasha Banks.
Replays aired of the Reigns win over Jordan.
Angle was in office talking on the phone talking to Stephanie about getting things under control. Jordan showed up in the office. Jordan said he wants a rematch against Reigns next week. Jordan said that he wants to face Samoa Joe later. Angle said he will take it under advisement and told Jordan to get out of his office to cool off. Samoa Joe ran into the room and shoved Jordan into the wall. Joe told Jordan if he wants him then he’s got him.
Analysis: Good surprise attack. Jordan wanting to fight everybody is likely being done to show that he’s the kind of guy that always wants to prove himself even when the situation is bad for him.
The video package aired to put over the Absolution women’s group led by Paige with Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville. This video ran for a few minutes.
Paige made her entrance with Sonya Deville and the lovely Mandy Rose by her side wearing gold. Paige did her posing in the ring as the show went to break following her entrance.
The Raw Women’s Champion Alexa Bliss was on commentary for this match.
Sasha Banks was joined by her buddies Bayley and Mickie James. The announcers talked about the tweets that the women did in the last week to set up this match.
Paige (w/Sonya Deville & Mandy Rose) vs. Sasha Banks (w/Mickie James & Bayley)
This is Paige’s first match back on WWE TV since her neck injury sidelined her over a year ago and last TV match was in June 2016.
Paige worked over Banks with kicks and a headbutt. Banks with a Thesz Press takedown followed by a hair whip across the ring followed by another one. Paige came back with a running knee to the ribs for a two count. The announcers were doing their bickering routine again with Graves talking about how Booker was a hypocrite. That’s what happens when announcers are faces sometimes and heels other times. Paige whipped Banks down by the hair. Paige tripped up Banks in the corner and slapped on a submission grabbing a leg submission with a headlock. Paige did her “this is my house” yell. Paige covered Banks for a two count. Banks got a rollup for two. Paige got back to her feet first and hit a clothesline to keep control. Banks nailed a knee lift, Banks with a punch while on the apron and Banks up top with a cross body block for two. Banks slapped on a submission where she pulled back on Paige’s arms. Banks sent Paige face first into the mat. Banks stalled, so Paige took advantage hitting Banks in the gut. They did a tackle spot where they both went crashing to the floor as the show went to break.
Back from break, Paige was still in control of the action as she choked Banks’ throat against the ropes. Banks got a rollup. Paige came back with a kick to the ribs. Banks came back with double knees to the ribs, Paige avoided a corner knee attack and Paige went to the top. Banks stopped her up there. Banks battled Paige on the top rope, so Paige flipped over with a sunset flip into a Powerbomb. Rough landing by Banks on the back of her neck. Paige got a two count as they replayed the bad bump for Banks. They exchanged forearms, Paige avoided the Bank Statement and Paige went for her DDT. Banks fought out of that and applied the Bank Statement submission. Paige crawled to the rope to get out of the hold by Banks. Paige rolled to the floor as her girls checked on her out there. When Deville and Rose attacked, Deville sent Bayley into the barricade. James battled with Rose, so Deville hit James in the back of the leg. Banks was distracted by that, so Paige kicked her in the head. Paige hit her Rampaige DDT on Banks for the pinfall win after 16 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Paige
Analysis: **3/4 Good effort for the time given, but it also had some slow moments where you could tell they were trying to fill time. It probably would have been better if they had a bit less time. The finish was predictable with the Absolution women causing a distraction for Banks, which led to Paige capitalizing for the heel win. That Powerbomb off the ropes spot looked bad for Banks. I’m glad she was able to keep going after that. Paige getting the win made sense for her first match back in a WWE ring over a year.
Post match, Absolution stomped away on Banks. Deville nailed Banks with knees to the ribs. Rose hit a front suplex that sent Banks’ ribs onto the knee of Deville, Paige’s music hit as Paige posed with her friends to end the segment. Absolution went up the ramp. Banks’ friends checked on her to end it.
Analysis: I thought this might be the week where the Absolution women took a beating. Nope. Not yet. Three straight weeks of looking dominant. This will set up a six-woman tag match at some point in the near future.
Angle was in his office texting on his phone when Elias showed up playing his guitar. Elias said that he wants another opportunity at the IC Title, but Angle gave that to his son. Elias told Angle that his bias towards his bastard son will be the end of him. Angle told Elias to have his concert and Angle will find him a worthy opponent.
Still to come: Raw Tag Team Title match. Up next the latest in the Strowman/Kane rivalry.
It was announced that singer Machine Gun Kelly is performing at WWE’s Tribute to the Troops show that airs on December 14. They are taping it Tuesday in San Diego.
Analysis: I have never heard of Machine Gun Kelly aside from when WWE has used him for shows in the last five years. Admittedly, I don’t listen to new music that much anymore. Too many wrestling podcasts.
A video aired about the rivalry between Braun Strowman and Kane where each man attacked the other with a chair to the throat as the announcers talked about “establishing dominance” during the feud.
Enzo Amore was backstage with his Zo Train of Drew Gulak, Ariya Daivari, Tony Nese and Noam Dar giving them a pep talk. After the guys left, Nia Jax showed up with a smile, said “How you doin’” to Enzo with a smile and that ended it. Crowd cheered.
Analysis: Looks like they may do a storyline with Nia and Enzo where she has a crush on him. It could be similar to Chyna and Eddie Guerrero back in 2000 perhaps as well as Beth Phoenix and Santino. Strong woman with a shorter guy.
The four cruiserweights were in the ring for this fatal fourway. The winner faces last week’s fourway winner Rich Swann next week on Raw.
Drew Gulak vs. Tony Nese vs. Cedric Alexander vs. Mustafa Ali
Alexander with a headscissors and dropkick Gulak that sent him out of the ring. Ali nailed a dropkick on Nese to send him out of the ring. Alexander and Ali are buddies, but they battled with Ali doing a headscissors leading to Alexander landing on his feet. Rich Swann was shown watching backstage. Ali was pulled out of the ring by the heels, so Alexander hit a somersault dive onto the heels on the floor while landing on his feet. Back in the ring, Nese and Gulak worked over Alexander with Nese doing some sit-ups combined with kicks on Alexander. Gulak told Nese it was a no fly zone. Ali took advantage with a crossbody block off the top to take out both heels with two counts on each man. Alexander got back into it with a drop toe hold that sent Gulak into the turnbuckle followed by a kick to the face. Alexander jumped off the middle ropes with a neckbreaker for two. Nese nailed Alexander with a forearm. Ali with an X-Factor, Gulak clothesline on Ali and Alexander nailed a clothesline off the top. All four guys were down with the crowd cheering and the show went to break.
Back from break, they showed a double superplex spot out of the corner that happened during the break. Alexander nailed Gulak with a cartwheel into a leaping kick to the head with Ali breaking up the pin. Nese got back in the ring with punches, but Alexander and Ali nailed him with a double superkick. Ali and Alexander battled it out with Alexander hitting a back elbow. Spinning kick to the head by Ali, hard slap by Ali, then they ran at eachother and Alexander nailed a Spanish Fly (flipping Rock Bottom) for a two count on Ali with Nese breaking up the pin. Ali to the top, Nese tripped him up. Alexander up top, Nese nailed him with a punch to the face. Alexander knocked Nese down with punches. Ali nailed Alexander with a springboard Spanish Fly that drew a huge pop. That was great. Ali covered Alexander for the two count as Gulak broke up the pin. Replays aired of Ali’s move as family gave them the much deserved “this is awesome” chant. Gulak with a jawbreaker on Ali. Palm strikes by Gulak, Ali rolled up for two and Ali nailed a kick to the head. Nese saved Gulak from an attack from Ali. Nese nailed a leaping kick to the face followed by the running knee to Ali in the corner. Alexander in with a Lumbar Check on Nese sent Nese out of the ring. Alexander with the Lumbar Check on Ali. Gulak back in with a knee to the ribs of Alexander and Gulak covered Ali to win the match after 13 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Drew Gulak
Analysis: ***1/2 That was a fun match. One of the best cruiserweight matches they have done on Raw since the division started over a year ago. Great spots by Alexander and Ali including that Spanish Fly off the top, which you don’t see every week on Raw. This was just WWE telling these guys they have 12 minutes to do their thing and they put on an entertaining match. Most of the time, 205 Live matches on Raw aren’t as long as this and the pacing is a lot slower, so I’m glad that they got time to show what they can do. Finish was the heel steals the pin spot that happens often in multi-person matches.
The win by Gulak means he faces Swann next week.
Gulak was interviewed in the ring by Charly Caruso as she asked him if he’s conflicted about possibly facing his buddy Enzo Amore. Gulak said it’s a hard-hitting question and he mentioned a PowerPoint presentation.
Elias was shown walking backstage.
There was a clip of Lana and Rusev on Total Divas with some WWE friends at a house with Lana saying that Rusev wants kids. Rusev told her not to talk about it in front of them, so she left.
Analysis: Ratings have been down for that show this season, so this was WWE trying to feature it more. Way to confuse the fans that think Lana talks with an accent. It’s real to them, GOD DAMMIT.
Elias was in the ring for one of his “concerts.” Fans cheered when he asked who wants to walk with him. Elias said he is talent, he is fame, he is music, he is the air we breathe and he is everything. Elias said that Kurt promised him some competition, but until then he’s got a song to sing. Elias sang how there’s no bigger star than him and Braun Strowman interrupted.
Strowman walked down to the ring with a purpose as the crowd cheered loudly for him.
There was a ref in the ring. Elias left the ring, Strowman posed and Elias hit him from behind with a forearm. Strowman tossed Elias across the ring. Running corner splash by Strowman followed by a kick to the head that sent Elias out of the ring. The ref checked on Elias. Strowman went after him, Elias shoved Strowman into the ring post and Elias smashed his guitar on Strowman’s back. Strowman no sold it and when Elias tried to run away, Strowman nailed him with a clothesline. Back in the ring, Strowman nailed Elias with a Running Powerslam. Fans wanted him to do it again. Strowman brought the top and bottom ring steps into the ring. Kane’s music played as the arena went black.
Analysis: It wasn’t a match because there was no bell. It was just an ass kicking from Strowman. Big spot was Strowman no selling the guitar to the back.
Kane was shown on the video screen. Kane said that Strowman has been a Monster Among Men for so long, but perhaps he forgot what it was like to be a monster among monster. Kane said he likes pain. Kane said that he’ll delight when they step into the ring next week. Kane told him that only one monster will emerge.
Analysis: Big match next week as Kane battles Strowman in what will likely be the main event.
Replays aired of Roman Reigns beating Jason Jordan and dealing with Samoa Joe earlier in the night.
Reigns was shown in the locker room with the IC Title on his shoulder. Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose were there. All three were wearing their Shield shirt. Rollins was confident they’ll win the titles. Ambrose acted as if he didn’t know they had the title match, but then told them he was ready. Ambrose said he can smell it, they asked what and he said it smelled like gold.
Analysis: Reigns wasn’t wearing the Shield shirt earlier, but he was here. They wear it when it’s convenient.
Asuka is up next.
It was announced that John Cena will be on the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon on Wednesday night 11:35pm and Cena will be on the Today Show Thursday at 7am. Cena is there to plug his new film Ferdinand.
Asuka made her entrance first and she’s up against Alicia Fox.
Asuka vs. Alicia Fox
Asuka with a running hip attack and she whipped Fox across the ring. Fox came back with a boot to the face for a two count. Asuka came back with a kick to the ribs and a dropkick. Asuka nailed a roundhouse kick followed by a spin kick. Asuka pulled down Fox with an armbar and Fox tapped out to give Asuka the win after two minutes.
Winner by submission: Asuka
Analysis: * Easy win by Asuka as it should have been. That’s how her first two matches on Raw should have been, but she had longer matches with Emma. At least they are booking her right lately.
Paige made her entrance with Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville aka Absolution while Asuka and Alicia Fox were in the ring. Asuka was ready for a fight, but the girls didn’t attack her, so Asuka left the ring and went back up the ramp.
Fox was still in the ring. Paige told Foxy to relax. Paige said she’s not there to hurt Fox and she’s her friend. Paige said that Fox was the only one that liked her back when she was there with Paige calling Fox her best friend. Paige told Fox that she loves her. Paige said she doesn’t think Sonya and Mandy feel the same way. Sonya and Mandy went into the ring. Sonya held Fox leading to a knee by Mandy and Sonya hit a running knee attack of her own. Paige celebrated with Absolution as her music played to end it.
Analysis: These women have been booked to be so strong over the last three weeks. Nobody has been able to slow them down. The tease with Asuka is intriguing and I like the slow build for a showdown between them.
Finn Balor was shown walking backstage because he’s up next.
There were behind the scenes clips of Smackdown’s Charlotte Flair appearing on “Psych: The Movie” that airs on USA Network on Thursday.
Finn Balor entered. He’s against Bo Dallas, who had Curtis Axel (plus the neckbrace) with him and entered to The Miz’s theme song as a tribute to him since Miz is filming a movie.
Finn Balor vs. Bo Dallas (w/Curtis Axel)
Dallas with a shoulder tackle as Cole called Dallas a “force to be reckoned with” which is a ridiculous statement for a guy that doesn’t win matches, but that’s WWE commentary. Balor kicked Dallas in the back. Balor with a dropkick to Dallas. Dallas nailed a punch while Balor was on the apron, but Balor came back with a kick. Balor up top, Axel kicked the steps to distract and Dallas knocked Balor off the top rope. Dallas beat on Balor with punches and kicks. Dallas slapped on an armbar. Dallas controlled the action with knees to the ribs. Another armbar by Dallas. Balor tried to make his comeback, but Dallas got a rollup for two. Crowd wasn’t into this very much. Balor came back with the Slingblade neckbreaker followed a dropkick that sent Dallas into the turnbuckle. Balor went up top and hit the Coup de Grace double foot stomp for the pinfall victory after six minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Finn Balor
Analysis: *3/4 Easy win for Balor. Dallas got in more offense than I would have thought, so that was good because he’s booked like a joke so often. Balor needs a feud and has needed one for about two months. The rivalry with Samoa Joe didn’t really go anywhere. Balor’s comeback was the usual sequence of moves that he always does to win matches.
The announcers put over Bo Dallas’ performance as Balor celebrated the win. I guess when Dallas loses in six minutes instead of three minutes it is a good performance.
A replay aired of Sheamus and Cesaro beating Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose for the Raw Tag Team Titles last month due to a New Day reaction. Rematch is later on Raw.
Up next is Matt Hardy’s awakening.
The announcers plugged WWE week on USA Network starting next Monday in Cleveland on Raw.
A clip aired of Matt Hardy freaking out after his loss to Bray Wyatt leading to Matt yelling “delete” repeatedly. They showed tweets from Matt talking about how he was Woken.
Bray Wyatt and Matt Hardy exchange words
A promo aired featuring Bray Wyatt in his darkened room. Wyatt said he doesn’t think he knows as Matt Hardy’s face appeared. Hardy said that his soul has wandered through space and time, but not all who wander are lost. Wyatt appeared again to say that Matt’s a fool and illusion while saying he knows nothing about what is real. Hardy said he’s well versed while saying he has battled alongside Ghengis Khan, mentioned Pluto and Giza. Hardy said that due to his “condition” (pronounced as CON-DEE-SHEN) he’s been dormant in the vessel of Matt Hardy, but now he’s been woken. Crowd cheered. Wyatt said that he feels alive again, his heart is pumping and there’s fire in him that is growing stronger. Wyatt said his fire will make sure all of us will burn. Hardy said that he’s sentencing Wyatt to…DELETION! Crowd cheered. Wyatt laughed, Hardy laughed (while saying “yes”), Wyatt laughed some more, Hardy continued the laughter battle and did a chomp to end it. Fans chanted “delete” for it.
Analysis: That was great. The ending with the laughter was hilarious. Nice to see Matt’s “Broken” gimmick made its way to WWE after eight months of hoping for it. They are going to call it “Woken” to make it their own, but it looked like Matt in TNA because he had on the same jackets and used the same voice as well as language in the promo. The crowd response for it was very good. I’m excited to see where it goes from here and how Matt’s character continues to evolve from here.
Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose entered for the main event tag match. Great ovation for them.
Next week on Raw: Braun Strowman vs. Kane. Also, Swann vs. Gulak for a Cruiserweight Title shot.
Sheamus and Cesaro, the Raw Tag Team Champions, made their entrance to boos from the crowd.
I don’t know how many times I have reviewed these teams in a match, but let’s do it one more time.
Raw Tag Team Championships: Sheamus & Cesaro vs. Seth Rollins & Dean Ambrose
Ambrose started for his team against both heels and when he tried to tag out, Cesaro pulled Rollins off the apron. After a few minutes of the heels working over Ambrose, Rollins tagged in with the blockbuster followed by the Slingblade. Rollins sent Sheamus out of the ring. Cesaro distracted Rollins leading to Sheamus sending Rollins face first into the ring post. Ouch. Show went to break there.
Back from break, Sheamus and Cesaro isolated Rollins from his partner. Sheamus nailed Rollins with forearms to the chest while Cesaro nailed a back suplex for a two count. Sheamus grounded Rollins with an armbar in the center of the ring. Rollins came back with a DDT on Sheamus. Cesaro tagged in to prevent Rollins from tagging out with Cesaro slapping on an armbar on Rollins. They did a spot where they teased Rollins trying to tag out, but Cesaro prevented it with a knee to the ribs. Cesaro kicked Ambrose off the apron. Rollins back body drop on Cesaro, but no Ambrose to tag in. Sheamus tagged in, press slam Rollins into an uppercut by Cesaro for a two count for Sheamus. Rollins broke free from Sheamus with a superkick that sent Sheamus out of the ring. Ambrose hot tag against Cesaro.
Ambrose with a clothesline on Cesaro followed by a back body drop that sent Cesaro to the floor. Ambrose went for a suicide dive, but Cesaro nailed him with an uppercut. Cross body block by Cesaro led to a two count for Ambrose. Rollup sequence got two for Ambrose. Sheamus in the ring missed a Brogue Kick when Ambrose hit a clothesline to send him out of the ring. Knee to the head by Sheamus that the ref didn’t see leading to a two count for Cesaro. The heels went for a double team move, but Ambrose fought out of it by sending Cesaro into the turnbuckle. Rollins tagged himself in against Sheamus with Rollins hitting a superplex leading to a Falcon Arrow slam for two as Cesaro broke up the pin. Awesome sequence. Cesaro back in, Rollins with a forearm and Cesaro nailed an uppercut. Cesaro went for the Neutralizer, Rollins avoided it and hit the knee to the face for two as Sheamus broke up the pin. Another great nearfall in this match. Ambrose got kicked out of the ring by Sheamus. The attack by Sheamus on Rollins continued, so the ref called for the bell and ended the match by disqualification.
Winners by disqualification: Seth Rollins & Dean Ambrose (Cesaro & Sheamus are still champions)
But wait! It’s not over! Raw GM Kurt Angle appeared on the stage to say it’s not going to end this way. Angle said this match will be restarted as a No DQ match.
Rollins and Ambrose nailed Sheamus and Cesaro with a suicide dives as the match restarted. Cesaro was dumped over the barricade. Sheamus was sent into the steel steps. Back in the ring, Ambrose with a bounce back clothesline on Cesaro and Rollins nailed a Frog Splash off the top rope leading to Ambrose covering for a two count as Cesaro kicked out. Samoa Joe entered the ring. Joe punched Rollins and hit Ambrose with a uranage slam. Roman Reigns went down to the ring to go after Joe, but Joe left. Reigns hit Cesaro with a Superman Punch. Reigns tried to go after Joe, so Sheamus capitalized with a Brogue Kick to Ambrose while all of that was going on. Cesaro covered Ambrose and the champs retained by pinfall after 19 minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Sheamus & Cesaro
Analysis: ***1/2 A very good match as usual from these teams. The ending was cheap, but the work they did in nearly 20 minutes of action should not be ignored. Plenty of good nearfalls for both sides. The timing of everything is so perfect since they have worked together so often for the last three months. The finish was chaotic with Joe getting involved along with Reigns trying to stop him, but the heels managed to outsmart them with Sheamus hitting the decisive Brogue Kick. It was a creative ending that was well booked. I’m surprised by the lack of a title change because there aren’t a lot of face teams for Sheamus/Cesaro to face, so there may still be a title change soon.
Post match, Sheamus and Cesaro went into the crowd with Samoa Joe to get away. Meanwhile, Reigns stood in the ring with his fallen buddies Rollins and Ambrose as Sheamus’ music played to end the show.
Analysis: That should lead to a big Raw main event this month with The Shield trio facing Joe, Sheamus & Cesaro in a six-man tag. Fine with me. It will be great.
Another way to look at it is that Reigns’ presence ended up hurting Ambrose and Rollins because he tried to save them from Samoa Joe’s attack, but it failed. I don’t think Ambrose or Rollins is turning heel in the immediate future, but it is a possibility. If one of them turns it would be Ambrose. I just think they will be a solid trio until WrestleMania and maybe after that point there may be a turn out of jealousy from Ambrose. In the more immediate future, I think Rollins and Ambrose will get the Raw Tag Team Titles back before the end of the year.
Three Stars of the Show
1. Roman Reigns
2. Jason Jordan
3. (tie) Sheamus & Cesaro
3. (tie) Seth Rollins & Dean Ambrose
8 out of 10
Last week: 4.5
2017 Average: 5.86
Average since brand split starting July 25/16: 5.87 (Smackdown is 6.61)
Last 5 Weeks: 4.5, 6.5, 5.5, 7, 4.5
2017 High: 8 (April 3, December 4)
2017 Low: 4 (Jan. 9, Feb. 27 & June 12)
I give it a 8 out of 10.
Great show. Tied for my highest score of the year with the Raw after WrestleMania.
There were three matches over the ***1/2 out of five level, which is rare. I liked the story development involving Reigns, Joe and Jordan as well as Braun Strowman destroying Elias. Paige’s Absolution group was also booked very strong again.
Seeing Matt Hardy doing the “Woken” gimmick on Raw is cool too. It’s a different sort of character that is going to allow Matt to stand out from the pack and he should get over big doing that gimmick.
It was a fun show from top to bottom without the usual boring parts that make me want to hit fast forward. A big reason for that is the matches that were longer were also great to watch, so that helped a lot.
That’s all for this week. See ya next time for the Smackdown review.
Go Los Angeles Rams, Toronto Raptors and Toronto Maple Leafs.
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