This week’s RAW was a doozy, highlighted by an epic shoot promo between Cena and Reigns. The crowd went mental for each insult as it echoed the smart-fan’s criticisms of both superstars over the past few years. Banks and Bliss headlined the show with the best match of the night. How great is it that women main eventing the show is no longer news-worthy?
The Miz is immediately interrupted by…
Angle addresses Miz’s worries about the Intercontinental Championship not being taken seriously, since it wasn’t defended at SummerSlam.
Miz says Angle doesn’t understand respect, and that he wouldn’t do the same to the Universal Championship
Angle’s solution is a no.1 contender Battle Royale
You might be thinking a bunch of jobbers right?
Big Show comes down first
Miz is worried. The Big Show doesn’t have a beard, freshening up for a title run?
Hey it’s the Attitude Era Battle Royal!
Oh shit now it’s getting serious! I popped for this one.
Jason Jordan gets the last entrance to his cheesy music
The rest are:
Goldust, Kallisto, Curt Hawkins, Apollo Crews, Bo Dallas, Curtis Axel, Gallows and Anderson, R-Truth, and Elias
We’re already off to an exciting start.
Curtis Hawkins stands in the middle of the ring and lifts his arms up, prompting everyone to hoist him out.
The group stares at Big Show and he motions them to come and get it.
They attack, but he tosses most off.
Kallisto eliminated by Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel
Gallanderson get Big Show on the ropes but can’t eliminate him until Balor helps his former Bullet Club members.
Big Show Eliminated by Gallows, Anderson and Finn Balor
R-Truth eliminated by Dallas/Axel
Michael Cole asks Graves and Lawler (Booker T is with his family in the Hurricane emergency) who their picks are to win. Both pause awkwardly as you can hear them trying to not to pick the booked winner but still sound logical.
Gallanderson eliminate Goldust combining a superkick and a pulled down top rope
The Hardys go on a run, culminating with Matt eliminating Gallows
Matt and Anderson battle on the apron. Matt eliminated Anderson
Gallows helps eliminate Matt from the outside
While this is going on Miz interferes, punching Balor and Jeff Hardy to help his Miztourage stay in the match.
Balor goes on a tear. Eventually squaring off with Jeff Hardy to a big pop. Jeff gets the upper hand (mostly using his feet).
Balor fights back, decimating everyone and standing tall.
Bray Wyatt shenanigans
Lights go out and Wyatt appears in the ring, eliminating Balor.
Jason Jordan unloads a few suplexes and backflips to avoid elimination from the Miztourage.
Jordan eliminates both Axel and Dallas
Jeff eliminates Jordan
Jeff Hardy is the no.1 Contender for the Intercontinental Championship
Alexa Bliss guest at this time
Bliss says Sasha has never successfully defended the RAW Championship. Bliss gets a great reaction from the crowd.
Enzo Amore first Cruiserweight match
WWE may not like this guy’s attitude, but he still gets a big reaction and the kids love him, wearing his merchandise toupe, and WWE can’t-hate-that.
Amore cuts a promo about competing in both divisions, winning a bet on the Mayweather fight, and then announces his opponent.
While Dar walks out, Amore calls him S-A-W-F-T.
This is actually a pretty great idea. Amore has looked weak on the main roster and the Cruiserweight division needs a recognizable character.
Amore shows off his cruiserweight moves, backflipping out of an arm twist.
Enzo is fantastic seller and can make Noam Dar look menacing.
Amore wins by reversing a hold into what I assume is a new finisher. He holds onto Dar’s arm, falling back with his foot pressed against Dar’s head. It has an explosive feel to it even if Dar’s head didn’t completely connect to the boot.
Neville post-match interview
Neville was watching the match and tells interview lady if Amore is his competition, he’ll remain Cruiserweight Champion “forever, and ever, and ever, How you doin?”
Amore was compelling to watch and had the crowd on his side. After doubting the decision to break them up and then assuming Big Cass would be the star, WWE has quickly found a positive direction.
Heyman calls Strowman a monster and hypes up the No Mercy match.
Lesnar grabs the mic and says “What he’s trying to say is, Suplex City Bitch!”
Heyman is good but I was tuning out. Nice to see Lesnar break the the predictability.
Seth Rollins vs Cesaro
RAW has a great swagger lately. The crowd was pumped to see Rollins/Ambrose come down together, which is far better than the meandering singles run they were both mired in.
The entrance was fun but realizing it’s a singles re-match of the SummerSlam tag match was disappointing. 50/50 booking ensures Cesaro will get the win from some shenanigans. This is what happens.
Seamus challenges Ambrose
This was unexpected but still more of the same.
Seamus took it to Ambrose for the first half. He dangled Ambrose upside down with one leg behind his head until Ambrose did an incline sit-up to punch the mo-hawk, which Seamus turned into a powerbomb.
Ambrose was in peril for most of the match, selling his back. He dodged a Brogue kick but couldn’t connect with the Dirty Deeds.
While the ref tries to keep Cesaro out of the ring Rollins leaps in with a phenomenal knee and follows it up with a suicide dive to hit Cesaro outside.
Ambrose hits the Dirty Deeds and wins. The faces cheated to win hooray!
An exciting and creative finish saved a ho-hum match and booking.
Emma and Mickie James backstage
Emma wonders about hashtags, James says she should concentrate on wrestling. She says she’ll tweet anything Emma wants if she can beat her tonight. If James wins Emma can no longer say she started the Women’s revolution.
Emma vs Mickie James
Mickie dominates most of the match but Emma sits down on a sunset flip and (very slowly) gets the pin.
Post-match, Emma grabs the mic and repeatedly says ” I started the Women’s Revolution” over and over and over. Could she be going crazy for her next gimmick?
I didn’t watch Emma in NXT, but she’s done nothing to impress on the main roster (and had little opportunity to do so). Not sure what’s happening here but at least she’s involved in something.
Cena/Reigns Contract Signing
get ready for some shootin’
Cena comes down first. He’s happy to be on RAW to face Reigns. Calls him a blue-chip prospect that’s been protected. He claims Roman doesn’t want to fight Cena.
Reigns says Cena isn’t as big a deal as he thinks he is, and reminds him that he did something Cena will never do: Retire the Undertaker as Wrestlemania. He says it’s not that he doesn’t want to fight Cena, but maybe he doesn’t need to.
Cena gets down on one knee, mocking Reigns for being the chosen one. He says everyone in the back knows it, but the crowd is still trying to figure it out. He even mentions the heel turn smarks want.
Cena says the people go back and forth on Reigns because he’s a “cheap-ass, corporately created, John Cena bootleg!”.
Cena says he isn’t like the Undertaker: a battered veteran at the end of his career with a bad hip.
Reigns says people don’t boo Cena because they want him to turn heel, they boo him because he sucks.
Reign pauses and Cena mocks him for stalling, saying “it’s called a promo kid, if you wanna be the big dog, you’re gonna have to learn how to do it”.
Reigns eventually says Cena is phony yes-man who does whatever people want, then calls him a part-time-fake-ass-bitch. He says Cena hops off a yacht when there’s enough money with his shovel to bury as much talent as possible, but he is the one guy that’s immune to the burial.
Cena says it took Reigns five years to cut a half-decent promo but now he’ll cut him down to size. He says he hasn’t main-evented WrestleMania in five years, opened SummerSlam, and used the US Championship at this stage of his career to introduce new stars. He claims Roman took the US title as a demotion.
Cena then drops the bomb that he’s still there because Reigns can’t do his job! He says he can do this part-time better than Reigns could ever do it full-time.
Reigns signs the contract and flips the table over but……………..
Gallows and Anderson interrupt!
Tag-team match Holla!
Cena/Reigns vs Gallanderson
Cena starts and ends up in peril while Roman shakes his head with disapproval, mocking from the outside.
Reigns gets the hot tag and cleans house. Cena jumps in and hits an AA while Roman spears the other. They win. Reings looks extremely sweaty after 90 seconds of wrestling.
Elias bashes Memphis with a song.
Jerry Lawler interrupts (cheap pop)
Lawler introduces from SouthPaw Regional Wrestling………..
Curtis Hawkins dressed as Elvis comes down for a match. Imitating the Memphis’ hero in a goofy manner isn’t the best way to get over. He dances like an idiot and then Elias takes him out with his corkscrew fisherman’s suplex.
Sasha vs Bliss
Bliss goes for early covers, Banks goes for the submission. Obviously nothing works.
Banks plays the heel, arrogantly punishing Bliss with rest holds and taunting any chance she gets. Bliss sells the arm beautifully and frequently tries to get away.
Back from commercial and Bliss is in charge. Now it’s Banks’ turn to sell beautifully. She’s so believable when selling her back, twisting her spine and wearing it on her face.
Banks comes back but Bliss rolls away from a running knee into the turnbuckle.
After a back and forth sequence, Bliss nails an epic punch that looks so good the WWE doesn’t speed up the replay during impact. Bliss then hits her sunset powerbomb but Banks kicks out. Bliss pouts on the mat like a toddler and the crowd loves it.
Bliss hits a superplex but sells her back as the ref checks on her. This leads to a Banks Statement but Bliss breaks free.
Bliss nails Banks head on the top ropes and then hits her DDT to score the win and reclaim her Championship.
Nia Jax comes out to celebrate with Bilss, attacking Banks. She lifts Bliss onto her shoulders as a friend but loses the friendly expression and drops Bliss down hard, standing tall to end the show.
A damn good show that could only be improved by going to two hours.
The Cena/Reigns shoot-inspired promo war was electric. Cena was on fire and Reigns got to show a little bit of personality with the truth bombs. I can’t believe some of the stuff they were saying. To walk the line of Kayfabe means keeping a double meaning to the smarky comments, but they went over the line multiple times. I wasn’t sold on their eventual encounter last week but this promo sold me big time. Also, having the team up is a far superior build then having tag against each other.
The Women’s main event was the best match of the night and Jax’s swerve pushed the story forward. Banks has now lost the belt four times in a year, is this WCW 2000? Banks is great in the ring, sells extremely well, and is a natural heel, but her promo skills are off as she struggles to pronounce words. Bliss is super over and getting better every week.
An inspired show that has me hyped for No Mercy.