Last weeks shows continued the trend of RAW’s dominance over Smackdown. The red brand has brought noticeable momentum, swagger, and excitement to their shows. The Reigns/Cena showdown was the crown jewel of last week and Smackdown had little to offer in return (even Fashion Files felt unnecessary).
John Cena vs Jason Jordan
The Omaha crowd is super hot and mic’d extremely well, with audible solo cheers, including a hilarious sounding ‘jayyyson jorrrrdan’). The atmosphere is thick and perfect for a wrestling show.
Cena takes on Jason Jordan and the crowd is engaged from the start. The match is old-school, with Jordan’s classic wrestling holds getting over and telling a great story of Jordan’s amatuer acumen vs Cena’s experience and raw power.
After the great build, Jordan explodes with a beautiful rolling double Northern Lights Suplex but can’t get the win. Cena eventually nails an AA and picks up the win.
He helps Jordan up post-match, for the friendly baby face victory.
Roman Reigns interrupts
Reigns asks why it took a 16-time champ over 20 minutes to beat a rookie. He concludes that Cena is a lyin’ fake-ass little bitch.
Cena calls him a Debbie-downer, is disgusted by his face, and says Roman shouldn’t use his brain. Cena says Roman’s thinking so much that he came out here with his zipper open.
Reigns says he busted it, being a ‘big dog’.
Cena says he was looking for his balls but Roman doesn’t have any. Roman says Cena ‘would be looking those’.
Cena says Roman is a golden boy who doesn’t claw or scratch like Jordan, or even the Miz.
He says Reigns is clouded and doesn’t get that the crowds don’t believe in him, and maybe he’ll have to beat some common sense into him.
Reigns likes the prospect of the fight and asks Cena to do it, the crowd agrees.
Cena backs off. Reigns says Cena is all talk and that’s why he doesn’t respect him. He drops the mic and walks off.
Electric opening match and segment. RAW is on fire lately. Love the atmosphere.
Sheamus/Cesaro vs Rhyno/Slater
Ambrose and Rollins are on commentary.
Shemaro’s entrance pose and music is still badass.
Cesaro starts the match pointing at Ambrollins and Slater almost gets a quick roll-up.
Rhyno gets a hot tag but after his initial offensive burst and his fireman’s carry diamond cutter, he eats a Brogue Kick and Sheamus scores the pin.
Seth & Dean are great on commentary (mostly Dean) at insulting Shemaro while still building them as dangerous opponents.
Jeff Hardy vs Miz
Pre-match interview with the Hardyz was full-on broken, and very entertaining. Perhaps setting up broken Matt after Jeff leaves for a solo run?
The two have a lengthy but entertaining match. Hardy pulls out a number of great aerial spots, leaping off the steel steps outside to nail Miz into the barricade. It’s back and forth until Maryse helps Miz avoid a Hardy flying attack. Miz reverses Jeff’s finisher into a Skull-Crashing-Finale and get the win.
Miz retains the IC title with a clean pin (and a bit of help from Maryse)
Interesting to see what they do with Jeff after this match. Was it the start of a singles push or just a way to kill two weeks?
Nia talks to Kurt Angle
Jax tells Angle she should get the next title match. She stumbles over a few words but recovers well.
Angle says if Jax and Emma can beat a team of Bliss and Banks, he’ll add them to the No Mercy title match. A bit weird, but I welcome the effort to tell a story with the match.
Tony Nese, Noam Dar, and Drew Gulak
Enzo Amore, Gran Metalik, Cedric Alexander
We see that Enzo cheated to win his last tag match on 205 Live. Then he comes out to a huge cheer.
Amore explains that if you ain’t cheatin’, you ain’t tryin’. He hypes 205 Live.
The pre-match promo Amore cuts on the entrance ramp is longer than most RAW cruiserweight matches.
Cedric Alexander has a good run in the ring but Amore tags himself in.
Amore tags himself in again while Alexander and Metalik perform simultaneous suicide dives. He does an eye-poke and his finish for the win.
Amore gets the pin
Amore has raised the profile of the cruiserweights on RAW and I’m glad to see they’re booking a narrative around him and the division.
Finn Balor promo
Balor is such a natural looking heel (and one of the best heels in the world pre-WWE), it’s strange to watch his killer entrance and think of him as a the babyface.
Balor is mad that Wyatt ruined his chance at the IC title.
Wyatt appears on screen and talks about killing animals with his bare hands.
Not much else happens.
Bliss/Banks vs Jax/Emma
Awesome match. Emma was in peril for most of the match, working the angle of Banks and Bliss’ unlikely partnership and fear of facing Jax.
Banks had a few flashes of brilliance that made me feel bad for how WWE has booked her so terribly the last few months
Bliss continues to get better. Her personality-infused moveset and athleticism remind me of my all-time favorite, Curt Hennig.
Jax eventually gets the hot tag and powers her way to the win, but not before Emma steals the tag and pin-fall, earning Emma a Samoan Drop finisher.
Loved it. A bit condensed, but that should be the drawback of tv to hype the longer PPV match. The women of RAW are looking good and the 4-way match is a great place for the story. Jax can still look strong and lose, allowing her to chase Bliss further for the belt. Banks took the pin and could be headed out of the company, recently removing mention of WWE from her twitter profile.
Gallows/Anderson vs Rollins/Ambrose
Shemaro are in the ring before Deth’s entrace, arguing with Gallows/Anderson.
I didn’t watch wrestling during the Shield’s heyday, so Ambrose and Rollins tag skills are new to me. They seem excited to be back together. It’s a boost to the tag division and gives them something interesting to do rather than middling as singles competitors.
Also glad to see the the two teams meeting at No Mercy to not facing each other in any capacity.
The match was decent, and of course Ambrollins picked up the win.
Shemaro tried to get involved at the finish and post-match, but had to settle for beating up Gallows and Anderson instead.
Big Show vs Strowman in a Steel Cage
The big boys toss each other around. Big Show gets a big crowd response when he starts climbing the cage to escape. Strowman foils him the first time. He goes up a second time and ends up on the top rope, which the crowd goes bananas for. He gives the crowd what they want and delivers a top-rope flying elbow drop.
They both try to escape and both slam the door into the other’s head to stop the attempt.
Strowman impressively picks up Show for a powerslam but it gets reversed.
After a big superplex, Strowman’s second powerslam attempt is succesful and he gets the pin.
Strowman wins via pin
A nice spectacle match to build for Strowman’s upcoming match with Lesnar. The crowd was on fire the whole night and didn’t let us down here. They gave the appropriate excitement to Show’s flying elbow and the big men’s slug fest.
Strowman cut a promo on Lesnar post-match.
Then he picked up Show and powerslammed him THROUGH THE CAGE. Which looked great and also very safe as he had the cage to land on, nice job WWE.
A solid show with several great matches that actually built towards the PPV. Imagine that! When it’s done right it seems so simple, but WWE has often struggled with simple for quite a long time now. I don’t blame them as they force out an impossible schedule of live television every week.
This week however, they did a bang-up job once again. Kudos.