WWE RAW Review (9/11/17): I Know A Guy
Welcome back to the Raw Review, wrestling fans. I took a week off last week as I was away for the Labor Day holiday, and if you didn’t watch last week’s show and need to know one thing, it’s that Braun Strowman is the BEST. This week’s Raw is live from Anaheim, California on the 16th anniversary of the September 11th attacks. September 11th and WWE will always be intertwined in my mind, because WWE held the first large, public event with a Smackdown show on September 13th. It’s almost impossible to ‘get back to normal’ after something like 9/11 happens, but for myself, nothing was more normal than watching Smackdown on a Thursday night, so it helped.
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Without further ado, the Raw Review for 9/11/17.
I Know A Guy
Before we get to the past match promo between Roman Reigns and John Cena, I wanted to mention how happy I am that Jason Jordan has been sandwiched into this feud. First off, Raw starting with an actual match for the second week in a row is great. WWE has this dynamic roster that they insist on putting in the ring to talk instead of wrestle and it always bothers me. The talking is good sometimes but the wrestling is almost always good, and tonight was no exception.
Jason Jordan took on Roman Reigns in the show opener to further the Cena/Reigns penis measuring contest, and having Jordan go step for step with Cena and Reigns on back to back shows will do more for Jordan than 1,000 squash matches. Jordan didn’t win either match, but it put him in a position to succeed. Jordan’s best attribute is his wrestling skill, and when you put him in the ring with someone more experienced than him (like Cena & Reigns) it allows him to follow their lead. Jordan’s rolling northern lights Suplex was awesome, and he looked great once again. When you hear people say the result doesn’t matter in wrestling, these are the type of matches they’re talking about. Jordan should have lost because Roman Reigns beats everyone, but he put up a great fight in defeat.
The post match promo between Cena & Reigns was better than last week’s but not as good as their original one. I enjoy when they blur the lines between reality and the TV show, but the reason it works is because they don’t do it that often. This is the second time Cena and Reigns have had this type of exchange, and Miz/Enzo had a similar one later in the show. WWE shouldn’t go to that well too often, because eventually it will lose it’s spark. I did enjoy Reigns’ ‘I know a guy’ line about Cena not cutting it in Hollywood (even though he’s clearly doing fine there) and Cena referencing Reigns’ drug test failure was A+. If this doesn’t end with Reigns ripping Cena’s arms off at No Mercy I’ll be shocked.
Sasha Banks defeated Emma with Alexa Bliss and Nia Jax on commentary, and although Emma lost again, at least she was able to get in some offense. The Fatal Four Way at No Mercy should be aces, and I’m very interested to see how the Nia Jax/Alexa Bliss match goes next week. Nia should be the favorite in any match she’s involved in, but putting her into a multi women match could also be a way for her to not win the title without being involved in the decision. My favorite part of the entire segment was Alexa Bliss “on commentary”. She just sat there and stewed the whole time, because she’s upset Nia finally figured our her plan and that she has to defend her title against three challengers at No Mercy. No one plays their character better than Alexa Bliss.
Braun Strowman, Beast Conqueror
Paul Heyman and Brock Lesnar came out to do their usual song and dance, which is better than almost anyone else’s song and dance. Heyman is the master at hyping up a big time match by propping up Lesnar’s challenger but also making sure everyone remembers that no matter how good/big/scary Lesnar’s opponent is, Brock is better. He makes it look so easy that you wonder why everyone else doesn’t use that strategy, then you remember Heyman’s been in this business since the 80s and knows more about professional wrestling than almost anyone. Heyman challenges Braun to come to the ring and face off with Brock, and Strowman obliges. That leads to my new favorite wrestling GIF:
That is MAGICAL. The reason we’ll never see another Brock Lesnar isn’t because of his size, speed, strength or acting ability, it’s because he excels at all of them at the same time. Look at Lesnar’s face when he turns around to see Braun is standing up after a German Suplex. That’s so great. The best part is Brock Lesnar might as well be called German Suplex, because that is his go to move in almost every match over the last few years. It’s what he uses to soften everyone up before the F-5 finishes them off. What happens now that Braun can shake off a German like it was a Flair chop? Braun ends the segment literally standing tall on top of Lesnar, and I cannot wait to see these two F shit up at No Mercy.
Tears Of A Clown
Bray Wyatt took on Goldust, which should absolutely be a money matchup with a decent build that goes 10-12 minutes. Instead it’s super short, and Goldust is used as a pawn in the ongoing Balor/Wyatt rivalry. I mention this a lot, but if you look at the Bray Wyatt character minus the match results, he’s money. When Bray cut his pre match promo, blew out the battery operated lantern and his music hit, it infuriated me. His character is SO GOOD, except then you remember he loses every big-ish match he’s in, which makes his promo’s sound hollow and his character a bowl of shit. He wins his match against Goldust and wipes away Goldie’s face paint to signify that 1. he hates face paint and 2. to send a message to Finn Balor that he can’t beat him without resorting to the face painted Demon.
I do enjoy WWE portraying face paint as this magical, unbeatable force. It’s like when Jim Carrey put on the mask in The Mask. I won’t be shocked if everyone starts coming to the ring in face paint for every pay per view match.
Tag Team Chaos
Sheamus and Cesaro were scheduled to take on Gallows & Anderson with Rollins & Ambrose on commentary, but the three teams ended up brawling on the ramp before the match could begin. That lead to Rollins & Ambrose teaming up with the Hardy’s to take on Sheamus, Cesaro, Gallows & Anderson in the main event. The match was OK, but ended as lazily as possible, with Cesaro & Sheamus leaving Gallows & Anderson to take a 4 on 2 beat down for the loss. It looks like the tag title match might end up being a four way dance as well, and we will hopefully get some follow up next week.
Raw Is Ready For Asuka
Asuka is officially coming to Raw, and I’ll save my pros and cons for when she actually debuts. At this point, I’m just ready for more Asuka in my life.
Elias vs. Kalisto
Elias no known last name took on Kalisto again, and while these two have good chemistry, it was pretty much the same match we’ve seen from them in the past. I really enjoy Elias’s entire gimmick, but he should be getting into an actual feud at some point. His pre match songs about how awful the city Raw is in are always great, as are most of his matches, but he can only win random matches for so long. Give me Elias & Miz!
The John Cena Farewell Tour
Does anyone else find it odd that John Cena is burning through all these ‘dream matches’ on random Raw’s, Smackdown’s & B level pay per views? He fought Shinsuke Nakamura on a random Smackdown, Braun Strowman last night and will face Reigns at No Mercy. Those are all high level, WrestleMania quality matches. This smells a lot like Cena is winding down his WWE schedule, and WWE wants to get him in the ring with as much up and coming top level talent as they can.
This match was OK, but it was clear WWE booked themselves into a situation where neither one of these guys could lose. Braun just destroyed Brock Lesnar an hour earlier, so there’s no way Cena was winning clean. Cena is fighting Reigns at No Mercy, so there’s no way Strowman was winning clean. Therefore the match ended with Strowman getting DQ’d only after he power slammed Cena on top of the stairs. Hitting Cena in the head with stairs? A-OK. Body slamming Cena onto stairs? You’re out of here, pal.
Miz TV Featuring The Ethering Of Enzo Amore
First off, congratulations to The Miz and Maryse on their baby. My favorite part of this segment (and maybe the whole show) was Curtis Axel and Bo Dallas’s reaction. Pure joy. This felt like a way for WWE to address all of those Enzo/backstage heat rumors with one of their best talkers, and boy oh boy did Miz lay into Enzo. The only issue I had with this segment was that Reigns and Cena had already done something similar earlier in the show. The reason these types of promos work are because they happen sparingly, but doing two of them on the same show makes it less biting. The match that follows was not great, because Enzo Amore and wrestling go together like open wounds and salt. Give me Miz and Elias!
And that’s it for this week’s show. The first three segments were great, but Raw slowly lost steam as it finished off. We’ll see you next week for the go home Raw before No Mercy.