WWE RAW Review (9/25/17): King Neville’s Rebellion
Welcome back to the Raw Review, where I…review Raw. I’ll figure out a catchier tagline one day. Sunday night was Raw’s No Mercy pay per view, and if you watched it from 8-930 you probably loved it, but if you kept watching until the end you probably had a lot of questions. Good, bad or indifferent pay per view aside, the WWE machine keeps on rolling along and Raw was live from Ontario, California last night. Instead of doing a standard No Mercy review, I decided to add my thoughts on some of the matches before my recap of the Raw segments featuring the same wrestlers.
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And now, the Raw Review for September 25, 2017.
The IC title, tag titles and women’s title match were all excellent at No Mercy, but the main event matches between Reigns/Cena and Strowman/Lesnar were a big let down. Miz opened up Raw with Miz TV featuring Roman Reigns, and the worst thing you can say about the Reigns/Cena match is that nothing changed. Heading into the match John Cena and Roman Reigns were the two most overpowering wrestlers in WWE over the last 15 years. Cena’s been doing it for 15 years while Reigns is just getting started, so Reigns kicked out of every single variation of an Attitude Adjustment that Cena has put guys away with over the years and Reigns hit 1 Superman punch and 1 spear and won the match.
I’m not a Cena hater by any means, but his run on Raw has been awful, and he’s clearly checked out, so hopefully his extended goodbye after the match means we won’t see him for awhile. The guy has done a lot for the WWE, but if he’s going to hang around just to be a face and put on shitty matches, he should probably just walk away for good. The Miz TV segment was alright (minus Reigns saying beating Cena was his biggest victory. Beating Taker at Mania is a little bit bigger than beating a sleep walking John Cena at No Mercy), which is going to be a running theme of tonight’s show, but it does set up Matt Hardy & Jason Jordan vs. Axel and Dallas and Miz vs. Roman Reigns (guess how that turns out).
Team Extreme 2.0
Jeff Hardy is out of action for awhile with a torn rotator cuff, so Matt Hardy teamed up with Jason Jordan to take on Curtis Axel and Bo Dallas. The match is fine, but if Miz is moving into a Roman Reigns feud and Matt isn’t going to give us any Broken Brilliance, they might as well team up Matt and Jordan and see what happens. The Raw tag division is as thin as a piece of a paper, so adding in a veteran tag champion with a young up and comer is not the worst idea in the world. What is the worst thing in the world is Booker T on commentary. Somehow he was more awful than normal last night, as he forgot Matt Hardy and Jason Jordan have tagged before, then tried to explain it by saying that a six man tag isn’t an actual tag team match. Do less, Book.
A Feud I Want To See
Part 2 of Booker T’s terrible night of commentary came during the Elias and Apollo Crews match. Cole and Graves are talking about how Titus O’Neil can help Crews like he’s helped Akira Tozawa, but Booker T doesn’t get it and asks what Titus ever did for Tozawa. Uhh, he helped him win the Cruiserweight title? It’s one thing to be bad at commentary, but it’s another to forget literally everything that’s ever happened on Raw. Kind of an important part of adding good analysis. This was another match that started to get good but then immediately ended when Elias kicked Titus in the shin, which distracted Apollo and allowed Elias to pick up the win. You can tell the crowd wants to care about Apollo, but WWE has to give them more than a 3 minute distraction finish loss. Hopefully these two continue to feud by somehow not always fighting each other, and are given 10-12 minutes at TLC to have an actual match.
Braun Strowman, Fan of History Machines
The Curt Hawkins losing streak angle is a pile of hot garbage, but the good news for him is that he didn’t technically lose a match last night. The bad news for him (but amazing news for everyone else) is that he didn’t lose because Braun Strowman chased him from the ring to the backstage area, choke slammed him through a table and then carried to the entrance ramp to power slam him through the screen on the ramp. Heading into Lesnar/Strowman, I didn’t expect for Braun to show up Monday needing to regain momentum, but the booking of Universal title match was perplexing. It’s obvious that WWE is still planning Lesnar/Reigns, which is fine, but why have Braun lose to exactly one F-5? Lesnar kicked out of all of Braun’s power moves when it should’ve been the other way around. There were reports that Braun was booed after No Mercy went off the air, which is remarkably stupid, but goes to show you what fans thought of the way the match was presented.
After Braun’s disposal of Hawkins, he challenged anyone in the locker room to a fight, which got accepted by Dean Ambrose. I really liked Ambrose answering the call, because it plays into his Lunatic Fringe character without making him seem like an idiot. He’s banged up from the tag title match, but he doesn’t know any better except to accept a challenge. It didn’t matter if it was Braun Strowman or Curt Hawkins, although he probably would’ve had more success if he accepted Hawkins’ challenge. The match between Ambrose and Strowman was actually really good too. Dean’s offense is all over the place and involved a lot of him aimlessly running and jumping through the air, which meshes perfectly with Strowman’s other worldly strength. Nice bounce back for Strowman.
Old Lady Strength
The Fatal Five Way women’s title match at No Mercy was great, and all four challengers looked like actual threats to Alexa’s title. That’s going to be a key talking point moving forward, because Asuka’s debut is less than a month away. While the four challengers took part in a tag match later in the show, Mickie James emerged from the depths of hell to cut a very good promo on Bliss. James’ main talking point is always going to be that she’s been doing this longer than anyone else in the division, but she’s a good talker so she gets her points across while Bliss continues to be arrogant to everyone in the division except for Nia Jax. The division is going to be in a holding pattern until TLC when Asuka shows up, but at the very least we’ll get a fresh matchup with Alexa and Mickie.
The tag match between Bayley/Sasha & Nia/Emma was another good not great match, with nothing really happening at all. HURRY UP AND GET HERE ASUKA.
Seth Rollins vs. Sheamus
The tag title match was No Mercy was also great, and included a brutal post spot where Cesaro knocked out all his front teeth. He continued to wrestle because he’s the best, and the constant presence of blood added a great sense of urgency to the action. This was another decent but too quick match, and although I’m not a fan of guys wrestling each other over and over, Rollins/Ambrose & The Bar need to settle this feud with a TLC tag match at TLC.
Keep Your Friends Close…
Goldust, Finn Balor & Bray Wyatt have been involved in a weird man/demon/face paint war over the past few weeks. Bray Wyatt beat Finn Balor the MAN but lost to Finn Balor the DEMON, so he decided to seek out the only other guy who wears face paint, Goldust. Wyatt beat Goldust with and without face paint, but proceeded to lose to Finn Balor the MAN at No Mercy. Balor cut a promo earlier on Raw saying he beat Bray Wyatt to help guys like Goldust who had been beaten up by Wyatt, but Goldust decided he did not like that and attacked Balor backstage. Goldust went back to quoting movies like he was doing during his endless backstage promos during the R-Truth feud, so I guess we’re just supposed to forget the past few weeks when Goldust/Dustin Rhodes has been the good guy against Bray? The angle is all over the place, and Goldust lost clean to Finn last night. Just when you thought the Finn/Bray angle was over, EDM children began singing Bray’s ‘Whole World In His Hands’ and everyone live and watching at home should have the same response:
If this leads to Goldust joining up with Wyatt as a new follower or Rowan and Harper returning to take on Balor & The Club then I’ll be happy. If this leads to anything else I’ll light myself on fire.
Sierra Hotel India Echo Lima Delta Really?
I’d be a cold hearted piece of trash if I said I wouldn’t want The Shield to reunite, but I really don’t want them to reunite against the Miz-Tourage. Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel lost to Jason Jordan and Matt Hardy earlier in the night. Are we really going to believe they have a shot against the greatest faction over the past 10 years? Plus, if the main feud within that is going to be Roman Reigns vs. Miz, we got a preview of how that would end when Roman Reigns handily beat Miz. Reigns beat Cena with a Superman punch and a spear, so it was pretty obvious what was going to happen when he fought Miz. The best part of the segment was post match, as the Miz-Tourage beat Roman down with chairs and mimicked The Shield fist bump over his lifeless body. I love a good beat down, but again, if The Shield reunites, it’s not a good sign for the Miz-Tourage that they were only able to take down Reigns 3 on 1 with steel chairs.
King Neville’s Rebellion
Hand’s down the most disappointing outcome from No Mercy was Enzo defeating Neville for the cruiserweight title via a low blow. Neville is SO GOOD & Enzo is SO BAD that it was almost unfathomable to see it happen, but it did lead to the closing segment last night, so it might’ve been worth it. Enzo was following around Kurt Angle all night asking for an in ring title celebration with a no contact clause from the other cruiserweights, which Angle reluctantly gave him. Enzo finally embraced his annoying heel side and cut a great promo about how he deserves to be where he’s at and how he’s standing in the ring as a champion while Big Cass sits at home nursing an injury, so it looks like Cass is the one who was holding him back. Enzo has always been great on the microphone, but he just needed to shift his tone from ‘sing my catchphrases’ to ‘you guys should all hate me’. He did that here, and it was wonderful. That brought out the entire Cruiserweight division, which Enzo ripped to shreds. He called Cedric Alexander the man that charisma forgot and made fun of Gran Metalik for having a gut, and the more he talked the more you wanted to see him get his head kicked in.
Thankfully Neville finally show up looking like he hasn’t slept in a month and took Enzo to the woodshed. This segment was great, and it simultaneously explained the finish to last night (Enzo went dark) and turned Neville into a conquering hero for both the division and the fans, capped off with the crowd pleasing Red Arrow. The only thing left to do is to have Neville murder Enzo in the rematch and reclaim the title.
Also, please enjoy this video of Braun Strowman the entire cruiserweight division beating Enzo forever.