(Almost) Live Reactions to WWE RAW
Go home show! We’ve got a big ol’ semi-joint-brand PPV coming up on Sunday. How would this week go down? What matches would get that critical build? Read on to find out.
Chris Jericho was the first man out tonight, accompanied by his very colorful entrance, to welcome us all to his show. He promised that he would be winning on Sunday and transferrin to Tuesday nights as a result. He acknowledged and thanked the fans for their support throughout his entire career. He threw some shade at his Sunday opponent, Kevin Owens, before being interrupted by The Miz. He made the bold claim that RAW was no longer going to be focused on Jericho, and announced that The Highlight Reel had been cancelled in favor of an edition of Miz TV. Various stage hands quickly changed the set, taking away the TV and adding some chairs. As he was doing the intro, Miz was interrupted by Dean Ambrose. He said that nobody wanted to watch Miz TV, and instead began an episode of The Ambrose Asylum, with the same stage hands again changing the set. Dean addressed Jericho, apologizing for their checkered past, bringing up their rivalry from a year ago. As a form of compensation for destroying Jericho’s iconic jacket last year, he gave Y2J a new jacket, covered in Christmas lights. Jericho dug it, but The Miz did not. He was upset that Jericho got a gift in lieu of Miz. Ambrose did have a gift for Miz, though, in the form of a Dirty Deeds. Jericho put Maryse on The List.
That was a flawed opening bit. A very slow start, not much in the way of memorable lines, overly long, and not too much payoff. Miz had already hit all the same points last week, and Dean didn’t even have a counter-argument this time around. Thumbs down.
Matt Hardy vs. Sheamus
Accompanied by their respective tag partners, this was the necessary match to complete what began last week. Hardy started the match with a roll-up which was unsuccessful. Sheamus responded with a running shoulder block. Hardy hit a neckbreaker, then a hat trick of leg-drops. They brawled on the ring apron, and Hardy hit the Side Effect on the hardest part of the ring. Back inside, Hardy threw punches into the Celtic Warrior, but he was cut off when Sheamus hit a top-rope clothesline, which won him a two count. Hardy responded with a tornado DDT, then a running bulldog, then an elbow drop. Sheamus was out at two. Hardy signalled for the end, but Sheamus was wise to it and responded with a knee strike to the head. Outside, Sheamus laid out Hardy with a Rolling Senton. Jeff Hardy caused a distraction, and Sheamus turned around into a Twist of Fate. 1, 2, 3. Cesaro was incensed on Sheamus’ behalf, but the Irishman extended his hand to Hardy in a showing of sportsmanship. The Hardy Boy considered, then took him up on his offer. Everybody shook hands respectfully, and all was cool.
Result: Matt Hardy wins by pinfall
This was less impressive than last week’s comparable match, as I think Matt is slowing down faster than Jeff is. In particular, through the lower body, he just seems kinda stiff. That can really only be expected, as he is 42. However, this was still decent, and between the match last week and now this one, I’m very much so looking forward to their title match on Sunday.
Neville and TJ Perkins vs. Austin Aires and Jack Gallagher
They didn’t wait for the bell before brawling to open the match. The heels were tossed outside the ring. Once the match officially started, the heels worked over Gallagher. He finally caused some misdirection and sent Perkins flying into Neville. Aires exploded into the match, using rapid-fire offense to take out both his opponents momentarily. Aires locked in the Last Chancery, but Neville broke it up. Gallagher helped occupy Neville, giving Aires the opportunity to hit the Discus Five-Arm on Perkins for the win.
Result: Austin Aires and Jack Gallagher win by pinfall
I was hoping that last week would signal a new direction for the cruiserweights, but I guess I should know better. A strict time limit on the segment led to a match that felt rushed and rather bland. A commercial break also had nearly half the match taking place off-screen. A clean finish doesn’t help the newly heel Perkins, who still needs to establish himself as a credible threat. A screwy finish would have been the more sensible thing to do here.
Braun Strowman vs. Kalisto
Right before the match, Strowman let us all know that he thought we were all trash because this is a dumpster match, so… get excited, I guess? Kalisto had a new entrance and a new look, which were both cool. Strowman had trouble keeping up with the smaller and faster competitor, to begin with. Kalisto hit a dropkick and a tornado jawbreaker, but Strowman didn’t really seem to notice. The Lucha Dragon soared from the top rope, right into a Strowman front suplex release slam. They traded near-eliminations by the dumpster, but neither man was able to get the job done. Strowman knocked Kalisto around by running into him and followed up with strikes. They moved over to the dumpster, where a moment of hesitation by the big man allowed Kalisto to dropkick Strowman, who landed in the dumpster for the win. Upset, Strowman re-entered the ring, and delivered a trio of chokeslams to Kalisto, before whipping him into the barricade. Strowman slammed Kalisto into the dumpster, then closed it up. He grabbed the dumpster and yanked it up the ramp, murder in his eyes. He considered various options but settled on locking and then tossing the dumpster off the side of the stage, and it clattered to the concrete floor with a definitive and resounding thud.
Result: Kalisto wins
Well, now I’m very confused indeed. Kalisto should be in the cruiserweight division, first of all, adding his talent and name power to that division that desperately needs it. Secondly, why is the company’s top heel losing on TV the week before a marquee match that he needs to look good going into? With the post-match beatdown, I guess this was the best they could have done, but this match should never have taken place in the first place.
Dana Brooke vs. Alicia Fox
When was the last time Fox wrestled a match on RAW? More than a year? Fox started strong, going for quick covers. Brooke was able to use her power game to hit some offense of her own, before hitting the Michinoku Driver for the win. Right after, Emma entered the ring to congratulate her former protégé, but Dana was less than receptive.
Results: Dana Brooke wins by pinfall
I’m going to put as much effort into this summary/analysis/review as WWE did put into that match. Which is to say, not much.
Karl Anderson, Luke Gallows and Samoa Joe vs. Enzo Amore, Big Cass and Seth Rollins
A brawl broke out before the match, with The Club hitting a Magic Killer to Enzo on the outside. Rollins ran to ringside to even the odds. Enzo was carted off, and replaced by Finn Balor. I guess Bullet Club isn’t 4 Life after all, eh? The match began with Cass, and Gallows trading blows. The faces tagged in and out, but Gallows got the better of Balor and made the tag to Anderson. Joe tagged in to face his former NXT rival, hitting the CCS Enzugiri right away. Anderson was back in with a Fujiwara armbar and a sidewalk backbreaker. Gallows threw punches into Balor’s midsection that had him reeling, and followed up with a sidewalk slam. Gallows missed on an attempt at a running leg drop, and both men tagged out, to Rollins and Anderson respectively. Rollins used a Blockbuster, then a Sling Blade to do damage to Anderson. Rollins tossed Anderson outside, then dove onto him. Back inside, Seth set up for a Pedigree, decided against it, and hit his new move, the Kingslayer, for the win.
Result: Seth Rollins, Big Cass, and Finn Balor win by pinfall
The match was okay but didn’t really take advantage of the competitors involved. Balor was mostly selling, Joe didn’t get to do much, and Anderson and Gallows continually to be constantly underused. I do like the new finishing move, though. For anybody who hasn’t seen it, it’s a wristlock transitioned into a jumping knee strike. A little simple, but it’s original, looks stiff, is fast, and is believable. And really, what more can you ask of a finishing manoeuvre? They probably should have waited until the PPV to unveil it officially, but whatever.
Alexa Bliss vs. Sasha Banks
Bliss came out to cut a promo on champion Bayley. Bayley joined her shortly, and they went back and forth for a minute. Sasha Banks came out to defend the honor of her friend, and a match between them began.
Bliss opened the match with a mat slam and some rope-assisted stomps. Banks ran right into a clothesline before hitting one of her own. Banks hit a roundhouse kick, then a double knee strike in the corner. Banks went for the Banks Statement, and Bliss rolled to the outside. She took the count-out loss.
Result: Sasha Banks wins by count-out
Here’s what should have happened in the cruiserweight match earlier. This allows Bliss to get some heat, and neither competitor’s momentum has to take a hit. Well done booking, even if the match was short and not really noteworthy.
Apollo Crews vs. Curt Hawkins
Curt again came to the ring an offered to job to whomsoever wanted a win this week and was met by Apollo Crews. Hawkins hit a back suplex, then a chin lock to ware Crews out. Crews responded with a slew of kicks and clotheslines. A Spinning Sit-Out Powerbomb followed for the win. After the match, Crews was congratulated by Titus O’Neil, but Crews wasn’t too into Titus’ antics.
Result: Apollo Crews wins by pinfall
I’ve not got much to say about that.
Dean Ambrose and Chris Jericho vs. The Miz and a Mystery Partner
Before the match started, Miz welcomed out his tag partner for the night… but nobody showed up. He tried again, and again there was no response. The match began in a handicap format, with Jericho and Ambrose taking turns teeing off on The Miz. The match eventually moved up by the announce table, and Ambrose prepared to end Miz’s life with a Dirty Deeds through the table. However, the lights went out, and when they came back up, we all found out who Miz’s partner was to be: Bray Wyatt. The Eater of Worlds snapped Dean’s head into the wall, and the heels teamed up to beat Jericho back into the ring. Miz ate a Codebreaker, but Wyatt broke things up and hit a Sister Abigail to Y2J, preventing the match from ending. He hit another on The Miz, and then the show just ended. No pinfall, no winner, no result… ok.
And that was RAW. I liked the main event, that’s just what I hadn’t dared hope Wyatt would be able to do on RAW. Hopefully, he does that every week from now on. But otherwise, this was a pretty underwhelming edition of the show. Questionable booking and boring matches do not a good show make. But, those are my thoughts. What did you think? Let me know in the comments below, or come tell me on Twitter @ejdupras_VVV. Subscribe to the site if you want to get notified every morning s you can keep with this series, or the rest of the content we here at PCPB produce for your viewing pleasure. I hope you’ll all join me tomorrow for a bit of SmackDown!