WWE RAW Review (10/16/17): Bah Gawd It’s Kane
WWE RAW was live from Portland, Oregon last night, and it was one of the better go home shows for a pay per view this year. A lot of the time WWE will go through the motions on a Raw or Smackdown before a pay per view because 1. they don’t want anyone to get injured last second and 2. they’re obsessed with 50/50 booking, so everyone ends up going into the show with the same amount of momentum. At least on this Raw, things happened, including the return of a demon looking to take out The Shield.
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And now, the Raw Review for October 16, 2017.
First off, Mike Mizanin is a goddamn national treasure.
For the third week in a row, The Shield has been the focal point of Raw, and to the surprise of absolutely no one, this is the third straight solid show. When WWE announcers proclaim something as ‘the greatest’ it’s usually not the case, but there’s a reason The Shield were so great during their first run and why they picked up right where they left off a few weeks ago. They’re three confident, exciting guys who are good individually but are GREAT in the ring as a unit. I’m really glad that when they reformed they didn’t just turn them into ultimate good guys, because even though everybody loves them now, you shouldn’t forget that these guys were cold blooded mercenaries. So when that O.G. Shield music hit and they walked through the crowd in their bulletproof vests, I’m glad Kurt Angle looked shook. He should be shook, as should anyone else who gets in their way.
I also love that The Shield didn’t just reform and take everyone out, and that them getting beat up also make sense. The Shield will win almost any 3 on 3 battle, but for the second week in a row they got a little too over confident and told the world that not only can they beat any 3 man team, but they can also beat any 4 or 5 man team. Unfortunately for them, the smartest man on the roster The Miz was listening for the second week in a row and accepted their challenge. Last week he convinced Kurt Angle to add Braun Strowman to his team at TLC, and this week during Miz TV he convinced Angle to add another man to their team, which Angle agreed to only if Braun Strowman defeated Roman Reigns in a steel cage match.
Before the steel cage match can happen, Rollins and Ambrose defended their tag titles against Sheamus & Cesaro. While it wasn’t as good as their previous encounters, these four have great chemistry, and this match had a brisk pace to it. Plus, the crowd was eating up everything Rollins and Ambrose did, which really enhanced everything. My only complaint was Rollins’ new finisher, which is a poor man’s version of Kenny Omega’s V-Trigger knee strike. If your FINISHING MOVE is going to be a knee strike, you have to lay it in there, and Rollins just isn’t doing that. I do think it works better as a combo move with Ambrose’s Dirty Deeds, because it’s more believable as a blow that can daze you rather than something that will knock you out.
Between the tag titles match and the cage match main event, we got a couple backstage segments featuring Curtis Axel getting talked into and then actually confronting The Shield backstage. While we don’t see the beating, Axel is found by the Miz hanging upside from a forklift, so it’s safe to say his 1 on 3 confrontation did not go well. Miz, because once again he’s the best, is concerned for Curtis Axel but also realized that The Shield fell right into his trap for the main event. Reigns and Strowman have a good match going because it’s clearly impossible for them not to, but when Reigns is about to escape Cesaro and Sheamus climb the cage on the outside to prevent him from winning. This brought out Rollins and Ambrose, and the four of them brawled to the back, where Miz followed them and locked them out of the arena. THAT meant that Rollins and Ambrose couldn’t help Roman out when the last part of Miz’s plan, Knox County Tennessee mayoral candidate KANE, shockingly returned from the under the ring and murdered Reigns.
Everything got tied together, from the opening Shield promo to Miz TV when Miz wanted to add a 5th guy to his team at TLC and even later in the show when Miz told Charley Caruso that Axel was never going to be the 5th guy. Phenomenal stuff. Isn’t wrestling so much more fun when storylines intersect and everything that happens has a purpose and matters?
If I had my way and could bring back two things from the wrestling of my childhood, it would be managers and stables. Managers don’t look like they’re coming back anytime soon, but we did get some interesting pairings during tonight’s show. Elias teamed up with The Club, and even had them join in on his pre match sing along. Karl Anderson’s rendition of the Honky Tonk Man’s theme song was wonderful and I continue to enjoy everything Elias does. Naturally they lose to Jason Jordan, Apollo Crews and Titus O’Neil. Elias has beaten Crews three times already, so they had to feature at least one 50/50 booked match on this go home show.
The other more interesting development was Noam Dar, Tony Nese, Ariya Daivari and Drew Gulak seemingly joining up with Enzo to take out Kalisto and Mustafa Ali. It’s the best of both worlds, because Enzo gives these four desperately needed personality and legit heel heat while the four cruiserweights are actually competent wrestlers. The 1 vs. all cruiserweight storyline obviously wasn’t going to last long if Enzo had to wrestle on his own, so I’m glad they’re at least giving some of these guys character alignments.
Give Cedric A Chance
Cedric Alexander took on Jack Gallagher in the only cruiserweight match on last night’s show, and they were even given a nice promo package of their feud from 205 Live. I’ll never understand why WWE doesn’t do this all the time. I personally do not watch 205 Live, but if you’re going to give me two guys fighting on Raw, at least explain the backstory so I can attempt to get invested. Cedric is as talented as anyone on the roster, but if you throw him in front of a dead crowd and don’t explain why he’s doing what he’s doing, no amount of athleticism is going to help him. The match was quick, but it was crisp and featured a clean win. Plus, that Lumbar Check looked extra good.
Hurry Up, Asuka
The Women’s division is still in a bit of holding pattern, but the good news is Asuka’s Raw debut is only 5 days away. Alexa Bliss is defending her women’s title against Mickie James Sunday, so obviously Alexa got pinned clean by Mickie in a tag match last night. Nothing against Mickie, but I’m more interested in the grudge match style feud between Sasha and Alicia Fox. Their match ended way too quickly last night, but Alicia Fox accessing her crazy side again and trucking Sasha backstage was great. If these two are given the appropriate amount of time on the pre show, they should exceed expectations.
A Man In A Sheet vs. A Man Painted As A Demon Pumpkin
I really don’t have much more to say about this Bray Wyatt/Finn Balor feud, except that both of these guys deserve so much better. Please let them move on to literally anything else as soon as possible.