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Five Stars From #WWE #RAW (2/19/18): Next Stop, Elimination Chamber

WWE Raw was live last night for their final stop before Sunday’s Elimination Chamber pay per view. Two hours of the three hour show featured a 7 man gauntlet match with the members of the men’s Elimination Chamber match. Hour three consisted of poor Asuka trying to cut a WWE style promo, The Bar vs. Titus Worldwide AGAIN and a 6 women tag match. Needless to say, hours one and two were much better than hour three. Let’s get to the five stars, including a historic night for Seth Rollins.

Average Nobodies note: make sure to follow us on Twitter – @averagenobodies and like us on Facebook – Facebook.com/AverageNobodies. We love talking pro wrestling, so you can comment on this post or reach out to us on social media if you want to join the discussion. You can also find all of our wrestling content by clicking the ‘wrestling’ tab under the banner on our home page.

5-2 The Gauntlet Match

Seth Rollins

Raw started off with Seth Rollins vs. Roman Reigns in the first of six consecutive matches. Over an hour later, Rollins was still wrestling. His performance went from enjoyable to engrossing to record setting. Rollins is one of the best wrestlers/athletes on either roster, so watching him shine last night was wonderful. You know you’re having a great night when you pin both Reigns and Cena and that’s the last thing people are talking about. Rollins and Reigns have great chemistry, and they set the pace with last night’s show opener.

Cena/Rollins started a little bit slower, but once the near falls started popping up the crowd was super into it. I loved the roll through AA spot from Rollins, and this was one of the most human performances from Cena in a long time. John tends to still try to wrestle like super human Cena, but he’s much more enjoyable when he’s wrestling vulnerable.

The night belonged to Rollins though, who showed the best character work of his career. Imagine if THIS was the Seth Rollins we got when he was the champion instead of relying on J & J Security and Kane to win matches? I wasn’t sure if he could pull off the gutsy baby face role, but if you have doubts after last night you’re a crazy person. He gets compared to HBK from time to time, but this is the first time I saw some similarities in their character and in ring work. Fantastic stuff from Rollins.

Finn Balor & Miz

After Rollins was finally eliminated by Elias, Finn Balor entered the gauntlet. Balor and Elias are two of the best mid card guys in WWE, so it wasn’t a surprise that they had a solid match. Balor picked up the win, as he should have, and then was sneak attacked by Miz. I’m glad that Elias and Miz solidified themselves as the heels in the gauntlet match. After Rollins beat Cena, Elias rushed the ring and immediately attacked Rollins. It was a heel move, but also a logical one, because by that point Rollins was running on fumes. After Balor won a hard fought match against Elias,

Miz had Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel distract Balor while Miz attacked him from behind. Miz and Balor would be my dream IC title match at WM, and I was a little surprised Gallows and Anderson weren’t out there to help Balor. If they do fight again at Mania, Balor Club vs. Miz-Tourage would be a fun secondary story.

Once the match got going it was a lot of fun, and Balor fires up better than most guys. I loved the spot when he took out Dallas and Axel with a flip to the outside, and he was seconds away from beating Miz. Ultimately the numbers game was too much, as Axel and Dallas stopped Finn from hitting the Coup De Grace. That allowed Miz to recover and hit the Skull Crushing Finale for the win. I liked that decision for two reasons. 1. Miz won, but needed the help of the Miz-Tourage to do it. That could/should lead to Balor getting a shot at the IC title after the Elimination Chamber. 2. It set up Miz vs. Strowman, with everyone in the universe wanting to see Strowman destroy some human beings. It also produced this great GIF of Miz realizing his fate:

BRAUNNNNN

The final gauntlet match of Strowman vs. Miz was another great showcase for Braun. It began with Braun chasing down the Miz in a legitimately disturbing feat of quickness and ended with numerous power slams. If that’s the way every Strowman match ended from now until the end of time, I’d be OK with that. I thought having Braun enter the gauntlet last was perfect, as it allowed Rollins, Elias, Balor and Miz to do their thing without compromising the monster among men. Plus, the crowd knew he was coming eventually, and when he finally did appear, they were hot as hell for it. Braun also got to cut a quick, precise promo on the Elimination Chamber and Lesnar. It was perfect, and he followed it up with a few more power slams to the delight of the crowd.

If you needed more proof that Braun is ready for the title, watch his segment last night. There is no one even close to him right now, and if WWE pulls the trigger and puts him vs. Lesnar at Mania, they’re going to have a lot of happy fans. Unfortunately, I think having Reigns and Cena be the only two to not win a match in the gauntlet was done by design. I’ll get into this more in my Elimination Chamber preview, but I’ll be shocked if the final two in the chamber aren’t Roman and Cena.

1. Main Event

The 6 women tag main event featuring the participants in the first ever women’s Elimination Chamber was a good prequel for Sunday’s match. I thought Sasha, Bayley, Mandy and Sonya looked the best, and I’m glad there are multiple story lines that will exist within the chamber match. Everyone knows the chamber is every women for themselves, but it’s good to have to friendships and alliances that exist between the competitors. Sonya and Mandy are apart of Absolution; Bayley and Sasha are long time friends; Mickie and Alexa have struck up an unlikely friendship over the past few weeks.

That’s three different storylines within the match. I don’t foresee Mandy and Sonya having a chance to turn on each other, but I cant’ say for same for the other two alliances. Bayley and Sasha are friends now, but they were heated rivals in NXT. Mickie and Alexa are new found friends, but it’s clear Alexa is using Mickie so she has some type of backup in the chamber. Plus, Mickie has a history of ulterior motives, especially when it comes to winning championship gold.

The women didn’t have a ton of time with the men’s gauntlet match going two hours, but I enjoyed the tag match as a build towards the chamber match.

-Ryan

 

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Five Stars From #WWE #RAW (1/15/18): Braun Strowman Destroys Everything

Raw was live from San Antonio, Texas last night. This is the best time of year to be a wrestling fan. We’re less than a week away from the 25th anniversary show and less than two weeks away from the Rumble. WrestleMania is so close you can taste it. It’s wonderful. If you’re going to remember one thing from this show, it’s going to be Braun Strowman. BRAUN STROWMAN in the biggest possible capital letters. There were other segments, including Nia Jax vs. Asuka, The Revival vs. local competitors and Rollins vs. Balor in the main event.  Without further ado, the five stars from the 1/15/18 edition of WWE Raw.

Average Nobodies note: make sure to follow us on Twitter – @averagenobodies and like us on Facebook – Facebook.com/AverageNobodies. We love talking pro wrestling, so you can comment on this post or reach out to us on social media if you want to join the discussion. You can also find all of our wrestling content by clicking the ‘wrestling’ tab under the banner on our home page.

5. BRAUN GODDAMN STROWMAN

The start and end of the Braun Strowman story line was pretty silly. Braun opened Raw with a quick, impactful promo about his destruction last week and his desire to win the Universal title. He’s interrupted by Kurt Angle, who fired him for almost murdering Lesnar and Kane. Strowman took this in stride and calmly exited the building. Just kidding, he tried to kill everybody and everything. Throughout multiple segments he tossed around security guards, beat up people in catering, ate a piece of chocolate cake, flipped a production truck and threw Michael Cole off the stage. That was the fun part.

The lame part is that after firing him earlier in the night, Angle rehired Strowman and put him back in the title match at the Rumble after being told to do so by Stephanie McMahon via mysterious phone call. I understand the firing led to all the fun and cool stuff we love about Strowman, but I think they could have come up with something more interesting than “Stephanie called and said you’re rehired”. Also, that’s not a great precedent to set. Next time someone gets fired, they should try to burn the building down until Stephanie agrees to rehire them.

Even though the story was a little lame, that doesn’t change the fact that Strowman is THE MAN. It bums me out that he probably won’t win the title at the Rumble, because there is no one on the roster more ready for a title than Braun Strowman.

4. Cedric Alexander

Cedric Alexander still isn’t getting the crowd reactions, but you can’t deny his ability in the ring. He took on Tony Nese last night in a fun, competitive match with a clean finish. That’s all you can ask for when you’re building up a title challenger. I also love how the Lumbar Check is turning into a finisher opponents should fear. When Cedric hits that move, it’s lights out. He went for it a few times during the match but Nese was able to escape. Once he was softened up enough, Cedric was finally able to hit it and pick up the win.

The Cedric/Enzo story has dragged out due to real illness and fake injuries, and the Rumble result is anyone’s guess. Enzo is the main attraction for 205 Live, and he loses most of his shine without the belt. Cedric has been the main challenger for months now. If you don’t put the title on him at the Rumble, you have to move on. I know he just signed today, but I’m all for Enzo and the Zo Train holding the belt until Ricochet is ready to blow everyone’s minds on the main roster.

3. The Revival

The Revival beat the snot out of local competitors, and it’s impossible to explain how much better the tag team division is when they’re involved. They’re the best TEAM on the roster by a mile, and they somehow make technically sound wrestling exciting. After the match, they issue a warning to all the returning legends coming back for next week’s 25th anniversary show. They also call themselves ‘professional wrestlers’ which could be seen as tacky, but I liked it because it’s true. The Revival wrestle in trunks, elbow and knee pads. They have a simple entrance theme, simple catchphrases and let their in ring work do the talking. The only downside is how often they’ve been injured on the main roster, but hopefully that’s a thing of the past.

With teams like the New Age Outlaws and Dudley Boyz returning next week, I hope The Revival get to shine against a legendary duo. Also, if there is a God, The Bar and the Revival will be feuding over the tag belts in a hoss off very soon.

2. Elias, The Miz & The Miz-Tourage

What Braun Strowman accomplishes with physicality and violence, Elias does with a guitar and words. Elias is one of my favorite parts of the show, and most of the time it has to do with his ballads. You can tell he’s having a blast out there, and I hope he, The Miz and the Miz-Tourage continue to stay together. Elias always gets a reaction out of the crowd, too. Right now it’s loud boos whenever he makes fun of the city he’s in. I wouldn’t be surprised to see those boos turn to cheers once people start to appreciate how entertaining he is.

He pairs perfectly with Miz and the Miz-Tourage, and hopefully he’ll continue to play the Miz to the ring. Miz cut another great promo, and if you want examples of why Elias and Miz are two of the best talkers on Raw, watch this segment, Unfortunately it’s followed by Roman Reigns easily beating Axel and Dallas with Miz helping them, but you can’t have everything.

It does irritate me that WWE is doing the same thing with Reign’s IC title run that they did with Cena and the US belt. Yes, the open challenge is great. It’s also great to see Roman wrestling competitive matches and giving guys a spotlight. Wouldn’t it be more beneficial to build up one challenger and have him beat Reigns for the title, though? When Cena was US champ, they had him beat everybody in competitive matches. No singular guy gained any momentum, and he eventually lost the belt to a returning Alberto Del Rio.

Maybe Reigns loses it to Miz next week, or maybe he loses it to a random challenger between now and WM, Either way, that’s not as effective as building a story with a challenger people want to see win the belt. They’re being predictable by not being predictable, if that makes any sense. It’s cool because literally anyone could dethrone Reigns. On the other hand, WWE is having surprise challengers instead of building someone who can keep the momentum Reigns is generating. If the plan is still Reigns/Lesnar at WM, put the IC belt on Miz, and turn Elias face to challenge him.

1. Seth Rollins vs. Finn Balor

Finn Balor took on Seth Rollins in the main event. It was a rematch from their Universal title match at Summerslam that Balor was unfortunately injured in. Before I get to the match, I need to mention something. The Extraordinary Man Who Can Do Extraordinary Things is the worst nickname of all time. Balor is electric and basically markets himself, but that’s the best WWE could come up with? It makes him sound like a circus performer. Anyway, Balor, Gallows & Anderson finally have some purpose now that they’re paired together, which is a great thing. Balor and Rollins have great chemistry together as well, and WWE is out of their minds if both guys don’t get ample time in the Rumble.

Balor loses, but only after Jason Jordan trips him up which allows Rollins to finish him off with the Curb Stomp. I can’t explain how much of an upgrade the Curb Stomp is to Rollins’ B version of the V-Trigger. It’s a true knock out blow, especially when guys sell it like Balor did last night. With Balor leading the Balor Club and Rollins getting the Curb Stomp back, they should be two of the top guys to win the Rumble. Ambrose is out for awhile and Jordan is reportedly hurt too, which could open up Rollins for a single’s run.

If I’m settings things up for WM season, here’s how I’d set up the title pictures. Reigns, Miz and Elias focusing on the IC belt. The Bar, The Revival, Gallows/Anderson focusing on the tag belts. Everyone chasing Asuka for the women’s belt. Balor, Rollins & Strowman trying to dethrone Lesnar.

-Ryan

Five Stars From WWE Raw (1/8/18): Miz, Braun Strowman, Balor Club & More!

Raw was live from Memphis, Tennessee last night as we inch our way closer to the Royal Rumble. The Miz finally returned from filming a movie, Braun Strowman tried to murder Brock Lesnar & Kane and the Balor Club continued to be too sweet. Here are the five stars from the January 8th, 2018 edition of WWE Raw.

Average Nobodies note: make sure to follow us on Twitter – @averagenobodies and like us on Facebook – Facebook.com/AverageNobodies. We love talking pro wrestling, so you can comment on this post or reach out to us on social media if you want to join the discussion. You can also find all of our wrestling content by clicking the ‘wrestling’ tab under the banner on our home page.

5. The Miz, Always & Forever

Before he left to film the new Marine movie, The Miz was the best part of Raw. He’s always been great on the microphone, but his in ring work is back to where it was when he was the defending WWE championship in the main event of WM 27. He has enough experience now to cater matches to his opponents strengths. That allows both he and his opponent to shine, which is something that doesn’t happen enough in WWE. Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel are tremendous here as well, especially the bit with the gifts. Axel not getting Miz a gift and offering up his sports coat was probably my favorite moment of the show and these three continue to be magic together.

In his first promo of 2018, Miz lists all of his accomplishments from 2017 (including being Rolling Stone’s Superstar of the Year). He also talks about ‘gifting’ Reigns the IC title because he wanted the title to be defended every week while he was gone. That’s so, so good. Miz’s passion for the IC title makes it the most important title on the show, and I cant’ wait for his match with Reigns in two weeks.

Miz, Dallas and Axel show up again after the main event to attack Reigns, Rollins and Jordan. I’m not confident angering Roman Reigns is the best way to go, but Miz definitely has a game plan. If there is a God, Miz will be IC champ again before the Rumble.

4. Samoa Joe

Another consistently great part of Raw has been whatever Samoa Joe is doing. Case in point, he took on Rhino last night in a quick, physical match then declared his entry into the Rumble. He also seemed to call out John Cena and guaranteed that he would eliminate him in the Rumble. If history in any indicator, the opposite will happen, but I’m all the way in for Samoa Joe taking old man Cena to the wood shed. I really hope everyone else on the roster is paying attention to how Miz and Joe utilize promo time, because they’re far and away the two best guys on the roster right now.

3. Braun Strowman, Murder Machine

Braun Strowman vs. Brock Lesnar was a dud at No Mercy. The build was fantastic, the match was a let down but in general whenever those two are near each other it’s fun to watch. What’s not fun to watch is Kane doing anything in 2018, so I’m torn on the triple threat title match scheduled for the Rumble. After last night’s segment with Braun, Kane & Brock, I’m back on board. As a rule of thumb, Braun Strowman should always be destroying something and/or someone. Last night he did both.

After a run of the mill promo from Paul Heyman, Kane attacked Brock Lesnar on the stage. They brawled backstage where Strowman attacked them. Kudos to Brock Lesnar who is secretly the king of getting thrown around. That toss into the crew equipment looked brutal. After the quick beat down, Braun turned into a human spear gun and threw some type of hook onto the top of the metal scaffolding. He then proceeded to pull down the scaffolding with his bare hands, crushing Lesnar and Kane. Heyman’s reaction was pitch perfect as always, and if we’re going to have Kane main event a major pay per view in 2018, I’m glad they’re at least making it insane.

2. Nia Jax vs. Asuka

Even though Nia Jax vs. Asuka is taking place next week, I’m still adding it here. Nia is the only believable challenger for Asuka, so I’m glad they’re pairing them up ahead of the women’s Rumble. What makes the Rumble so fun are the mini feuds within the match. Before this segment the only friction was Absolution/Sasha, Bayley and Mickie James. Nia vs. Asuka is a great second story line to add to the match, and hopefully WWE uses the next two Raw’s to build more. I also enjoyed how Nia was able to play different characters within the same show. She showed her softer side when she checked on Enzo and her monstrous side when she attacked Asuka.

While we’re talking about Asuka, I don’t want to forget the best news of the night. That would be Miz and Asuka pairing up for the Mixed Match Challenge.

1. Balor Club

Last week WWE finally paired up Balor, Gallows & Anderson and formed the Balor Club. It was such a no brainer that I can’t believe it’s taken this long to do it, but at least it’s finally happening. This week they interrupt ‘The Shield’ to explain why it took so long for them to reunite, which I always appreciate. Balor, Gallows and Anderson always knew they could team up whenever they wanted, but they desired success on their own. I can buy that for Balor, but I would not consider what Gallows and Anderson have done so far on Raw a ‘success’.

Either way I’m glad they’re together and they seem to be having a blast. While last week they beat Elias & the Miztourage, this week they faced a tougher test. This isn’t The Shield we’re used to, but Jordan, Rollins and Reigns are still a solid team. Balor Club triumphed again, and this pairing should push Finn back into the main event and make Gallows/Anderson a legitimate threat of a team. That shouldn’t be too much to ask.

-Ryan

Five Stars From WWE Raw (1/1/18): Finn Balor, Asuka, Braun Strowman & More!

Happy new year, wrestling fans! 2017 was a great year for professional wrestling and 2018 kicked off with Raw live from Miami, Florida. Last night’s show featured the return of Universal champ Brock Lesnar and a pleasantly surprising amount of wrestling. Asuka and Braun Strowman dominated, Bray Wyatt looked competent again and Finn Balor reunited with old friends. Here are the five stars from the 1/1/18 episode of WWE Raw.

Average Nobodies note: make sure to follow us on Twitter – @averagenobodies and like us on Facebook – Facebook.com/AverageNobodies. We love talking pro wrestling, so you can comment on this post or reach out to us on social media if you want to join the discussion. You can also find all of our wrestling content by clicking the ‘wrestling’ tab under the banner on our home page.

5. Bray Wyatt

On the November 27th Raw, Bray Wyatt took on Matt Hardy. Wyatt won and Hardy had a post match break down which lead to his new ‘Woken’ character. The ‘Woken’ Matt Hardy is a take on his Broken Brilliance character that was one of the more popular acts in wrestling in 2016-17. Hardy vs. Wyatt has been a dream match up ever since Hardy’s ‘Broken’ character took off, and it looked like we were finally going to see these two do battle. Since the 11/27 Raw, the build has been mainly dueling backstage promos and extended laugh offs. Needless to say, it hasn’t been the best thing in the world. While last night’s Wyatt/Crews match isn’t going to end up any best of lists, it was a step in the right direction.

Wyatt and Crews had a good, competitive match that attempted to restore how tough and dangerous Wyatt can be. I loved that he hit the Sister Abigail as a reversal to Crews, as that move is always more effective without a drawn out setup. The post match Hardy promo was more of the same, but at least we got to see Wyatt in action. Moving forward I’d like to see Hardy and Wyatt stay away from each other inside the ring and add some creativity to the mind games.

4. No One Is Ready For Asuka

Similar to the Wyatt/Crews match, Asuka/Bliss was a good showcase for how skilled and dangerous Asuka can be. While the match started out slow, it had a good pace once the action started. This was also a rare example of a ‘challenger beating the champion’ story actually being a good thing. Asuka is the most dominant wrestler on the roster and is an obvious pick to win the first ever women’s royal rumble. If she does win, she’ll get to challenge the women’s champion, who in all likely hood will be Alexa Bliss. While it goes without saying that Asuka can destroy Bliss, it’s always nice to see it played out in a match.

I like the addition of Nia Jax being too preoccupied with Enzo to help Alexa too, as that eliminates Bliss’s ultimate backup plan. Asuka could probably beat Alexa with Nia in her corner, but when you take Nia out of the equation, Bliss is running for her life. Asuka continues her undefeated streak by beating the champion clean, and Bliss’s title reign is now in the most jeopardy it’s ever been in.

3. Braun Strowman

The best news from this week’s Raw is that Braun Strowman is back to being the resident bad ass. He was scheduled to take on Rhyno, but after Heath Slater annoyed him at ringside, he took it upon himself to make it a handicap match. A few power slams later and he was victorious, but that was only the beginning. The crowd wanted more power slams after the match and Strowman was happy to oblige. I don’t understand why Strowman doesn’t do something like this every week, because the crowd obviously loves it. I highly doubt he wins the title at the Rumble, but I’m glad he’s back to being the biggest ass kicker on Raw again.

2. Samoa Joe vs. Roman Reigns

Samoa Joe took on Roman Reigns for the IC title last night, and it was easily the match of the year. All joking aside, Reigns and Joe have incredible chemistry, and the best part of the late 2017 and now early 2018 Raw’s are Reigns defending the IC title in good to great matches. Last week’s match was ended prematurely due to a dumb DQ, but this match was better by a mile. Joe has the best diving forearm through the ropes on the roster, and Reigns always excels at taking a beating. Reigns won, because obviously of course he did, but the more of these matches he pulls off the more shocking it will be when someone does beat him. There are no shortage of guys who could take the IC belt off of Reigns and Samoa Joe should be at the top of that list.

1. Finn Balor

When Gallows and Anderson signed with WWE and Finn Balor was bumped up to Raw, the obvious move should have been to put them together. They were wildly popular as part of the Bullet Club in Japan, so it would make sense for WWE to capitalize on that and make them a dominant faction. Instead, Gallows and Anderson have been a dud and Finn Balor has been answering Curt Hawkins’ open challenges. While last night could have been a one off, I’m hoping it leads to a permanent reunion between the three with the charismatic Balor as their leader. Finn is too talented to be anywhere but the upper mid card, and I’m hoping this feud with continues when the Miz returns next week. Miz/Balor with the Miz-Tourage and Gallows/Anderson could be entertaining and feature some good in ring work.

-Ryan

Five Stars Of WWE Raw 12/11/17

WWE Raw was live from Cleveland, Ohio last night. The main event featured Kane vs. Braun Strowman in a Universal title #1 contender’s match. Samoa Joe, Cesaro & Sheamus were all in singles action against members of The Shield while WWE had to pull a 180 with the cruiserweight division due to Rich Swann’s arrest. As usual, I’ll be spotlighting the five best things from last night’s show.

Average Nobodies note: make sure to follow us on Twitter – @averagenobodies and like us on Facebook – Facebook.com/AverageNobodies. We love talking pro wrestling, so you can comment on this post or reach out to us on social media if you want to join the discussion. You can also find all of our wrestling content by clicking the ‘wrestling’ tab under the banner on our home page.

And now, the five stars from the 12/11/17 edition of WWE Raw.

5. Samoa Joe

Joe vs. Ambrose was my least favorite of the three Shield matches, but I’d be a stupid idiot if I didn’t give Joe the praise he deserves. Raw opened with Joe in the ring berating Roman Reigns and talking about how he’s beaten and/or injured each member of The Shield. Joe always talks with a purpose and shy’s away from the cookie cutter language that a lot of other guys use. When Joe speaks, it sounds like something he would say rather than something that was written for him. That’s as high of a compliment you can give a WWE promo nowadays. I also love the pairing of Joe and The Bar, and the 6 man with The Shield sometime down the line is going to be off the charts.

The Joe/Ambrose match was OK, but fell short compared to Rollins/Sheamus & Reigns/Cesaro. Jason Jordan continuing to stick his nose in everyone’s business is a nice addition to the story, and gives the crowd an actual reason to boo him. I could’ve went without the ref distraction being the reason Ambrose lost, because his top rope offense couldn’t do maximum damage to a newborn baby. I will take the Joe choke out win though, because Samoa Joe should always win.

4. Finn Balor

Finn Balor picked up another win against the Miz-tourage, this time defeating folk hero Curtis Axel. It’s far from the best use of Balor, but I’ll take this over losing clean to Kane any day. It’s a little mind boggling that WWE doesn’t know how to use Balor, especially since he debuted and immediately won the Universal title. If these matches against Dallas & Axel lead to a Balor/Miz feud, I will be very happy. The Miz is WWE’s miracle worker and it’d be as pure of a baby face/heel matchup WWE has had in a while.

3. Seth Rollins vs. Sheamus

My second favorite Shield match last night was Rollins vs. Sheamus. These two have great chemistry whether it’s a singles or tag match, and I loved Sheamus’ strategy. Rollins is quicker and can take Sheamus out with high flying moves. How does Sheamus counter that? Brutalize Rollins knee, which is the same body part Seth uses for his finisher. It’s a simple story but it works, and Rollins is always better when he’s fighting from underneath as a fan favorite. His move set caters to the live crowd, specifically the top rope Suplex into the falcon arrow, which should be a finisher. Fun, competitive match with a clean finish. You can’t ask for much more than that.

2. Cesaro vs. Roman Reigns

Speaking of fun, competitive matches with a clean ending, Cesaro vs. Reigns was the best match of the night. Every time Cesaro is given time he shines, and I can’t explain why he’s not consistently in a main event spot. Similar to Sheamus working Rollins’ knee, Cesaro worked Reigns right arm, which is the key to his Superman punch and almost all of his offense. Once again Reigns was stellar as well, and his run as IC champ has been successful so far. You know he’s not losing the title on a random Raw, but his title defenses have all been great, and he’s elevating everyone he’s in the ring with.

I don’t know how long The Bar will be a thing, but WWE could do a lot worse than to make Cesaro IC champ. His physicality in this match was great, which always brings out the best in Roman. Cesaro deserved to win the match, but the time isn’t right for a title change. Hopefully he’s in the conversation when it’s time for Roman to move on to the Universal title again.

1. Cedric Alexander (and the rest of the cruiserweights)

So. A few weeks Kurt Angle set up a multi week storyline to find a new #1 contender for Enzo Amore. It consisted of two fatal 4 way matches, with the winner from each match facing each other. The winner of that match would be the new #1 contender. Rich Swann won one fatal 4 way and Drew Gulak won the other, so they would be one of two guys to fight for the cruiserweight title. The only problem with that is Rich Swann was arrested over the weekend for kidnapping and false imprisonment. Slight hiccup. Swann has been indefinitely suspended, so a second chance fatal 4 way took place on last night’s show with the winner of that match moving on to face Gulak. Got it?

The match was once again a standout moment for the cruiserweight division. They’ve proved for three weeks in a row that if you give them time, they will shine™. While Mustafa Ali is a personal favorite of mine, it’s hard to argue that Cedric Alexander doesn’t deserve to be a star in the cruiserweight division. He’s so dynamic and every move he executes has a beautiful crispness to it. I think he and Gulak will be put on a good match as well, and I like that they’re teasing some dissension within the Zo Train. It’s also nice to have the cruiserweights be an important part of Raw. There is way too much talent for them to be an afterthought.

Supplementary Stars

In case you missed it, I wrote about the potential the Matt Hardy/Bray Wyatt feud has. Hopefully they move beyond dueling backstage promos soon, because both guys are too good to be boring.

-Ryan

WWE Raw 12/4/17: Five Stars

WWE Raw was live from Los Angeles California last night. The show featured Roman Reigns defending his IC title and The Bar defending their tag titles. Asuka & Braun Strowman murdered their opponents and we also got a great fatal 4 way cruiserweight match. As a reminder, this won’t be a traditional review of Raw. Instead, I pick out the five best things from the show (could be a match, promo or a specific wrestler) and explain why it was one of the best parts of Raw.

Average Nobodies note: make sure to follow us on Twitter – @averagenobodies and like us on Facebook – Facebook.com/AverageNobodies. We love talking pro wrestling, so you can comment on this post or reach out to us on social media if you want to join the discussion. You can also find all of our wrestling content by clicking the ‘wrestling’ tab under the banner on our home page.

And now, the five stars from the December 4th, 2017 edition of WWE Raw.

5. Roman Reigns vs. Jason Jordan

Anyone who complained about Roman Reigns winning the IC belt has watched his matches the last two weeks. I never understood the Reigns hate, especially from an in ring standpoint, but I love what he’s done for the IC title already. The only things you can ask of a mid card champion is to defend the title consistently and put on good matches. Reigns checked both of those boxes off for two weeks in a row, and I hope this trend continues.

As solid as Reigns has been, Jason Jordan has proved to be every bit his equal inside the ropes. His character still needs SOMETHING, but you cannot deny how great he is at the actual wrestling part. He’s quick, strong and is learning to sell on offense, which is something too few people do. His rolling northern lights Suplex into a pin that he tried to pull off with one leg was phenomenal, and I’m glad he’s getting a chance to wrestle these kind of matches. Similar to the match with Elias last week you knew Reigns was going to win, but that shouldn’t have affected how much you enjoyed the match.

I’m glad we didn’t get the Reigns/Joe match last night, because that’s a match where both guys deserve to be fresh. I’d prefer those two fight one on one, but adding Jordan into the mix isn’t the worst thing in the world either.

4. Cruiserweights

It’s crazy how much more enjoyable the cruiserweight division has been now that they have a little direction and are given time to perform. I enjoyed this week’s fatal 4 way more than last week’s match, and if you needed proof that Cedric Alexander and Mustafa Ali deserve to be stars, watch this match. They were both tremendous here and there’s no reason the cruiserweights shouldn’t be given this amount of time every week. WWE is at it’s best when they give us a show with variety. Spotlighting guys like Alexander & Ali, who can do things few other people can do, is a no brainer. It also separates the cruiserweights from the rest of the show, which in turn makes them seem more special.

Tony Nese and Drew Gulak were great complementary players in this match as well, and I’m glad Gulak picked up the win. Gulak vs. Swann has more of a story than Swann vs. Cedric or Ali, and it sets up two interesting possibilities. If Swann wins next week, Enzo has a legit exciting challenger who could beat him for the title any day of the week. If Gulak wins, maybe he gains enough confidence to try and take Enzo’s title from him. All in all this was an awesome match that sets up two more matches that fans should be excited to see.

3. Braun Strowman

Raw went off the air last week with Braun Strowman trying to murder Kane’s throat. Kane has had a great career but he doesn’t need to be heavily featured in 2017. Braun has so many more compelling matchup’s on the roster, and he’s more enjoyable against smaller guys who know how to sell. Case in point: Braun vs. Elias. Braun destroys everybody, so it makes sense that he would stomp on Elias, but he still got some good shots in on the monster. I like Braun versus someone like Elias over Kane because he can utilize his full arsenal in those type of matches. When he’s fighting Kane he can show off his strength, but when he fights a smaller guy he can show off his strength AND speed.

Someone as big as Braun should not be as fast he is, but I’ll never get tired of watching him run guys down and mow them over. Kane appeared on the big screen post match and set up a match against Braun for next week. Hopefully that’s the blow off to this feud so Braun can focus and gain as much momentum as possible heading into Royal Rumble season.

2. Asuka

Similar to Braun Strowman in the men’s division, Asuka has been a one woman wrecking crew for her entire NXT/WWE tenure. She beat Dana Brooke last week in literally three seconds, and while Alicia Fox got in a little offense last night, Asuka still won easily. I’m glad WWE is going this route with Asuka, especially when it comes to Absolution. I wrote last week about how the way Asuka is portrayed in the ring and the way Absolution treads lightly with her separates Asuka from the pack. While the post match segment was pretty identical to last week, I liked that Absolution did take out Alicia Fox. Asuka should be treated differently from an Alicia Fox or a Dana Brooke, so I’m glad WWE is going out of their way to show that to their audience.

I’m sure Absolution will pounce on Asuka one day when the time is right but the slow burn of that attack is the right move for now.

1. The Bar vs. Rollins & Ambrose

The Los Angeles crowd was hot all night, and I’m glad they saved some energy for the tag title main event. The Bar/Rollins & Ambrose have already proven they have great chemistry and that was on full display here. The DQ/restart never does much for me, but it’s a good move to pull for a live crowd who clearly wanted to see these two teams fight all night. Besides the actual match, my favorite part of this segment was how it tied into the opener. Reigns and Samoa Joe still have unfinished business, so what’s the best way for Joe to get back at Reigns? Take out his Shield buddies and cost them the tag titles. Joe’s interference brought out Reigns and caused just enough chaos for Sheamus to Brogue Kick Ambrose and steal a victory for The Bar.

This finish leaves the door open for another tag title match down the road. It could also give us a 6 man tag in the near future, which sounds like the best possible thing.

-Ryan

Braun Strowman Reading Dialogue From ‘Juno’ Is Pretty Fantastic

Apparently when Braun Strowman isn’t busy threatening to break people’s bones, rolling them off loading docks or flipping ambulances, he’s reading movie speeches for The Ringer. This is such an odd combination that I wasn’t sure what to make of it at first, but I’d have to be a cold hearted son of a bitch to not enjoy Braun Strowman reciting a speech from Juno (sneaky good movie). As fun as this was to watch, it’s still only the second best thing Braun did this week:

-Ryan

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