RAW opens up with a tribute image to the legendary Bobby ‘the Brain’ Heenan (why not dedicate before the person passes away so they can actually see it?). It’s a nice gesture and Heenan was truly one of the greatest the sport has ever seen.
Kurt Angle Promo
Angle hypes up No Mercy
Miz accuses Angle of favoring his son and insults his parenting skills. He demands more respect be paid to his IC title and the Miztourage.
Jason Jordan shows up
Jordan joins the conversation and asks to insert Dallas and Axel into his four-way tonight so the Miz can’t make any excuses. Jordan attacks Miz to defend his father’s honor and clears the ring of all three baddies.
Angle and Jordan talk backstage post-match, discussing the roster judging their relationship and Jordan controlling his temper so he can win the chance to face Miz at No Mercy.
Alexa Bliss vs Nia Jax
Bliss comes out first and looks noticeably worried, selling her fear of the fearsome Jax.
They trash-talk before the bell and Bliss dodges for the first few minutes. Bliss gets behind Jax but is quickly thrown off. She hides behind a ref but is eventually caught again.
Jax grabs her arm and does an interesting looking press-lift with the one arm, and another on Bliss’ shoulder, sort of like a choke slam.
Bliss attempts to run to the back but Banks’ music hits and she scares Bliss back to the ring, who runs hard into Jax, dropping to the ground quick.
Jax catches Bliss in the air and hits her Samoan Drop, scoring the pin, but not the title.
Post-match Banks attacks Jax but she gets dropped by Jax too.
Bailey comes down!
The crowd cheers Bailey’s return! Maybe WWE can salvage the hack job they did with her since coming up to the main roster.
Bailey, Banks, and Bliss triple-spear Jax and stand tall in the ring.
Bailey shows her shoulder is healed and celebrates with Banks. Bliss tries to join in but gets double-teamed and tosses to the outside.
I don’t mind non-title matches but it wasn’t very clear. Nice to see Bailey have a great return, doing it in her hometown worked out well. WWE squandered her momentum and needs to capitalize on this second chance.
Sheamus talks about how nostalgia sucks and how they’ll destroy the nostalgia act of Ambrollins.
Ambrollins come out
Rollins says the baddies look like Taxi had a baby with Braveheart.
AnderGallows come out
The most talented tag-team on the roster calls Ambrollins NERDS.
Rollins seemss worried and Ambrose looks pissed. Deano says no-one calls him a nerd and attacks the best team, standing tall in the ring.
An awesomely creepy video shows Asuka as an obstruction swings to the side, changing her mask each time she comes into view, ending with her shadowed face and the message ‘Asuka Coming Soon’. Awesome.
WWE also hyped Nakamura but couldn’t back it up with substance since his debut. Hopefully they don’t waste Asuka, who is incredible. Her style might work better in WWE than Nakamura’s, who benefits from long, hard-hitting matches, while Asuka can make a better impact in a shorter time if needed.
Ambrollins vs CeSheamus vs AnderGallows
WWE and their usual crap of showing a version of the PPV match before the PPV. This time it’s a weird three-way tag match. Why would anyone tag in the other team?
Rollins tagged himself in by slapping Gallows’ back after an irish-whip.
Cesaro Giant-Swings Ambrose outside into the barrier.
Ambrollins do TWO double suicide dives out opposite ends of the ring.
Sheamus made a sneaky tag and steals the pin after Ambrose hits his DDT on Anderson
Who cares! Nothing on the line, barely a build. All this did was make me less interested in seeing two of these teams meet AGAIN at No Mercy.
Miz and his ‘tourage backstage
Miz talks about Jordan losing and how much better of a father he is than Angle.
Dallas says the inspirational speech should be about him and Axel.
Both Dallas and Axel are confident they’ll win and are excited to face Miz at No Mercy.
Sewing the seeds of a Miztourage fallout? Interesting stuff!
Angle and Goldust backstage
Dustin Rhodes without paint asks Angle for another chance against Finn Balor. Give it to him! He’s still got it!
Angle grants the match. Rhodes comes back after his final line and bites the air near Angle’s face.
Curt Hawkins in the ring
Hawkins says his star-factory is closed, in its place is the Hawkins History Machine. His 114-losing streak will come to an end because he is healthy and looking good.
Who is his opponent?
Apollo Crews (with Titus O’Neil)
Crews dominates early with his impressive offense. His smiley gimmick makes him come off as a bit of a heel. Hawkins gets his knees up after Crews’ standing moonsault and almost gets the win.
I love this Hawkin’s gimmick tonight. Making a story out of his losing adds suspense and interest to each match. It can either be a showcase or finally a surprise win.
Crews comes back and gets the win. Hawkins losing streak is now 115.
Lesnar and Strowman satellite interview
Heyman says the last time Lesnar was an underdog was against The Undertaker at WrestleMania (great point).
Strowman says he’s the only man who’s left Lesnar ‘lain'(?).
Heyman talks about how great Strowman is (managing him after Lesnar leaves?).
Heyman hypes up Lesnar as well but does it in a way that keeps putting Strowman over. He even cuts Cole off and suggests the terrible broadcaster should be asking what will happen to Lesnar if he loses, then adds ‘which he won’t’.
Lesnar gets the last word, holding up a finger to silence Heyman and thanking Strowman for backing him into a corner, challenging him, as that’s when he’s at his best. He also adds ‘Suplex City Bitch’.
Lesnar was the most compelling part of the interview, but Heyman’s side-hype for Strowman adds some intrigue. It feels like he’s weaseling his way to win on both outcomes. Nice writing and it should be a great match.
Roman Reings promo
Reigns swaggers out like a heel, but stops to clap a few young fan hands.
Reigns says Cena might be the best talker ever, but sometimes he says ‘stupid shit’. He says he doesn’t want to be Cena, asking if he walks/talks/acts like Cena? Does he look like a jacked-up white guy with an oversized head and a military crew cut.
Reigns backs up his claim that Cena is a fake-ass-little-bitch by showing Cena’s 2012 promo about The Rock being a part-timer.
He asks if the crowd wants Cena, but reminds them Cena isn’t here (he was actually in China doing a WWE event, not a movie).
Reigno claims just like WM 28, Cena will get beat by a Samoan.
Reigns is more confident when Cena is not in the ring with him. Cena is extremely good on the mic but also has a tendency to undermine his promo partner with improv’d insults. Like Stephanie McMahon and even CM Punk, their style doesn’t usually elevate their opponent.
Bray Wyatt vs Dustin Rhodes
…but first, another Asuka video promo, this time revealing more of her unmasked face and victory poses.
Rhodes understands psychology so he starts the match by sprinting towards Wyatt and launching punches.
I like the idea of Rhodes wrestling without face paint after Wyatt wiped it off, but keeping the goldust jump suit looks silly. I’d prefer if he wore tough street clothes, be denim-dust for a night.
Rhodes gets control and hits a Shattered-Dreams (that Graves correctly notices was directed to the thigh to avoid DQ).
Rhodes should have went with the DQ as he gets caught in a Sister Abigail and loses.
Post-match, the lights went low and Balor appeared on the big screen. He asked Wyatt if the Demon was created by the man, who’s more dangerous? Great question!
This was a good build as I didn’t care to see these two go at it again. Balor’s question has me wanting to see a more dangerous Balor go after Wyatt, but logic has me remembering WWE’s 50/50 booking and assuming Wyatt will get a win back.
Enzo Amore comes out
Kids like this guy.
Strowman does not!
The big guy demolishes Amore with some hilariously powerful offense, especially picking him up from the ground for a sky-high choke slam.
Neville comes out
The killer cruiserweight hits his finisher on the downed Amore, grabbing a mic and screaming ‘how you dooiiiinnn’ like the villain he is.
Neville vs Gran Metalik
Neville gets Metalik outside and rips half of Metalik’s mask, exposing his face for a few moments on camera. Metalik fires back with firey offense but gets BURNED when Neville lifts his feet to counter a moonsault.
Neville is amazing. They should ditch 205 Live and take the best cruisers for the main rosters.
Elias sings about Jordan being a Daddy’s boy and ending up a failure like everyone in San Jose.
Hardys interrupt with their entrance
RAW is too long. This match is a great concept, but the long wait kills a bit of excitement.
Elias impresses early by leaping to the top rope for superplex position.
Spots everywhere with everyone getting their stuff in. WWE booked this pretty well, keeping an exciting flow and not resorting to knocking most of the wrestlers to the outside while two faced off in the ring.
Jason Jordan gets the pin on Axel with his atomic-neck-breaker.
Miz confronts Jordan after the match, going for the attack but Jordan comes out on top. The Miztourage gang-beats Jordan and Miz calls him a bastard, standing tall with the IC belt to end the show.
Like the booking, this show was 50/50. A couple decent builds and matches, mixed with a few of the usual duds. So according to my expectations, a good WWE show!