WWE RAW Review (10/9/17): The Hounds Of Justice
WWE Raw was live from Indianapolis, Indiana last night, the same city that saw the debut and demise of The Shield. I wonder if any other Shield related things happened last night? Even though No Mercy just happened (and Hell in a Cell was literally two days ago) we’re already less than two weeks away from TLC, so most of this Raw and next week’s show will be setting up that card.
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And now, the Raw Review for October 9, 2017.
Last week’s show ended with the silent, intense stare reunion of one of WWE’s greatest factions, The Shield. That reunion was prompted by the show long beat down that Rollins, Ambrose and Reigns suffered at the hands of The Miz, Cesaro and Sheamus. Miz had his second annual Mizzies (?) award show to open last night’s Raw, with Curtis Axel, Sheamus, Cesaro & The Miz all winning awards. They bragged and bragged and bragged about beating down The Shield, which naturally brought out Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins.
The crowd ate this up, and it was very cool to see all three guys reunited and beating people down again, although I will admit I was a little worried that Rollins was going to hit Reigns and Ambrose in the back with a chair when he entered the ramp last. The Shield dominated their way through their first run, so they’re obviously going to be cocky as hell, although there were a few things they did that could come back to bite them in their asses. The first was saying that they could beat any three, four or five man team, which The Miz, because he’s the smartest guy on the show, used against them later on during a conversation with GM Kurt Angle.
The second was attacking Braun Strowman. Don’t get me wrong, it makes complete sense. All three guys have had issues with Strowman, and you definitely want to take out the biggest, baddest guy on night one of your reformation to prove to everyone else that you’re not fucking around, but if there’s one guy I don’t want zeroing in on me, it’s Braun Strowman. Maybe don’t pick on the guy who flips ambulances and single handedly caused Brock Lesnar to get stretchered out of a match? Either way, the 4 on 3 TLC match at TLC is going to be BONKERS.
Jason Jordan, Strap-less Wonder
Much like last week, the stuff featuring The Shield was awesome while the rest of the show was meh. With that said, I did appreciate almost all of the matches having a clean finish. The first of those matches was Jason Jordan against Karl Anderson, and while it wasn’t anything special, Jordan picked up a clean win. My main complaint about this match is Jordan now wrestles in only trunks. One of the defining traits of a Kurt Angle match, and something that Jason Jordan adopted, was pulling down the straps of his singlet when he’s kicking it into high gear. If he wrestles in only trunks he can’t do that, and at this point Jordan needs as much character help as he can get, so sticking him with shitty music and lime green trunks isn’t doing him any favors. I still love him inside the ring, but he’s going to get lost in shuffle if he doesn’t start showing some personality.
R.I.P. Titus Worldwide
Usually a situation like the Elias/Apollo Crews is frustrating because of 50/50 booking, but in this case Elias just keeps beating Apollo clean. This is the third win a row for Elias, and as much as I love him, I’m not sure what beating the same guy over and over proves. The amount of thought WWE puts into some of these mid card feuds is depressing.
Braun Strowman took on Matt Hardy in a lovely little match that continued Braun’s rebuilding after the baffling booking at No Mercy. My favorite spot was Matt Hardy surprisingly getting some offense in, hitting a twist of fate only for Braun to kick out at 1. Squash matches can be effective, but there are a lot of different ways to build up a guy like Braun. He doesn’t have to dominate the offense 100-0 in every single match, and I think it’s more effective to see him take moves and recover rather than just steamroll through everybody. As I mentioned earlier, The Shield confronting/triple power bombing him through the announce table made sense from a character standpoint, but I don’t envy them having to deal with Braun in a TLC match in less than two weeks.
The Asuka Holding Pattern
The women’s division got three segments last night including one match, and TLC can’t come soon enough for everyone involved. The first segment was Bayley, Sasha Banks, Alicia Fox, Dana Brooke & Emma inexplicably trying to convince Kurt Angle they should each be the favorite to face Asuka at TLC. Umm do you all remember what Asuka did in NXT? The only thing stupider than enticing Braun Strowman might be enticing Asuka. That leads to a five way elimination match that wasn’t the crispest match in the world. The final three ended up being Sasha Banks, Alicia Fox & Emma. Banks had Fox in the Banks Statement, and Fox kind of half tapped out, so the ref wasn’t sure if he should make the call or not. Banks kept the Banks Statement in until finally JoJo made the announcement that Fox was eliminated. Once Banks let go of the hold, Emma clumsily rolled her up and will now most likely get her head kicked off again by Asuka.
Mickie James and Alexa Bliss traded barbs again, and while I enjoyed Mickie’s promo, WWE going with an age feud for the women’s division is another sign of how little they care about anything outside the main event scene. Mickie James is 38 years old. While she and Bliss do have a 12 year age difference, that speaks more to Bliss’s youth than James being older. Nia Jax is 33. Asuka is 36. It’s just a lazy storyline that doesn’t even make sense. If Mickie was in her 50s or 60s maybe you can run that storyline, but trying to make it a big deal that a 38 year old woman is wrestling is just dumb.
Bray Wyatt the wrestling character has been in a rut for what feels like forever. I’ve written about it a million times, so I shouldn’t be shocked that WWE once again went the stupidest route when it comes to decisions for his character, but here I am, sighing dramatically. Bray Wyatt has beaten Finn Balor once on a random Raw and then lost to him as The Demon at Summerslam and then as regular old Finn Balor at No Mercy. Instead of ending the feud and doing literally anything else, Bray continues to challenge Finn Balor, except now he’s doing it as Sister Abigail, which is literally Bray with a black sheet over his face.
Finn Balor tries to sell it like he just saw his parents getting murdered but between Finn’s awful acting and the silliness of it all, it just doesn’t work. If WWE really isn’t going to make Sister Abigail her own separate character then this might be the final nail in the coffin of the Bray Wyatt character.
The cruiserweights got two matches last night. The first was Cedric Alexander & Mustafa Ali vs. Jack Gallagher & Brian Kendrick. Alexander and Ali are two of the most exciting guys in the division, so naturally they lost when Kendrick pinned Alexander. All four guys were back out for the main event, which was Enzo vs. Kalisto for the cruiserweight title in a lumberjack match. Enzo ran his mouth a little too long earlier in the night, so GM Angle moved up the proposed title match from TLC to last night. This was easily Enzo’s best singles match, and I like how the ending made sense. Enzo, being the douche that he is, kicked Mustafa Ali during the match, so when Enzo hit his finisher and had the match won, Ali returned the favor broke up the pin. That allowed Kalisto gain the upper hand and a hit beautiful top rope Salida Del Sol for the win. While Kalisto as champion will improve the quality of cruiserweight title matches, it would have made sense to keep Enzo as champ longer, as the longer he was champ the more the crowd would have wanted to see him lose.