WWE RAW 11/27/17
WWE Raw was live from Knoxville, Tennessee last night in the same arena where John Cena beat Bray Wyatt in 2014. Some things don’t change. In lieu of a full review of a 3 hour pro wrestling show, I’m going to spotlight the five best moments/matches/wrestlers from last night’s show.
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And now, the five stars from the November 27th, 2017 edition of WWE Raw.
5. The IC Title Open Challenge & Reigns vs. Elias
The one thing I wanted from a Roman Reigns IC title run was for him to go full Cena and issue open challenges. When Cena was US champ he did more for that title than anyone else before or after him. It was a great use of a main event guy who didn’t need the title making the title prestigious. Reigns open Raw with a promo where he challenged anyone in the locker room to a title match. The first man up was Elias, and I loved it for a few reasons.
First – Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel still have a TV role while Miz films Marine 26: Lost in Space. If you aren’t’ sure why that’s a good thing, watch the second video above. Second – Elias has been one of the best surprises of 2017, but he hasn’t had much direction lately. By pairing him up with Dallas & Axel & giving him a shot at the IC title, it gives him a story and a possible feud with Miz when he returns.
While it’s great to give Elias a shot like this, it would all be for naught if he didn’t deliver. Luckily for Elias and the fans, he looked outstanding in his match against Reigns. Roman has the WWE formula of a ‘big time’ match down to a science, and I loved that Elias delivered most of the offense. Even though everyone in the building knew Roman was winning, they still put together a great match with some solid near falls. Elias looked great, the IC title looked like a title people should want and the fans got a competitive, clean match.
As long as Reigns’ reign doesn’t end with Alberto Del Rio returning and taking the strap, his IC title run should be a huge success.
4. Cesaro vs. Seth Rollins
My only issue with The Bar/Ambrose & Rollins feud is that they’re using singles matches to build to a tag title match. It would make more sense to have both teams looks good in tag team matches versus other teams, but ‘making sense’ & ‘WWE’ don’t always coexist. The match itself was great though, and it was refreshing to see these two fight with no one at ringside. I know Ambrose was on his honeymoon and Sheamus was in Dublin, but WWE has programmed me to pay more attention to people outside the ring than in it.
Cesaro and Rollins could have a good match blindfolded, but this match had a good pace to it, and I enjoyed Cesaro working Rollins’ back and almost winning with the sharpshooter. It was the second best on the show behind Reigns/Elias and I’m looking forward to the tag title match next week.
3. Samoa Joe Forever
I’ve written this before, but I adore Samoa Joe competitive squash matches. He did it in NXT and has continued the trend on the main roster. When you look at Samoa Joe vs. Titus O’Neil on paper, it looks like a giant mismatch. Instead of Joe just walking over Titus, he lets Titus get in a good amount of hard hitting offense. That makes Titus look good, especially after Joe has choked him out multiple times. It also makes Joe look good because it shows he can take offense from a 6’6 270 pounder and still recover for a decisive win.
While the win over Titus was nice, the best Samoa Joe moment happened after Reigns defeated Elias:
Hello, Joe! pic.twitter.com/C6ZAkXcVS9
— TDE Wrestling (@totaldivaseps) November 28, 2017
Reigns issuing the open challenge at the beginning of Raw gave us a great match and direction for someone who needed it (Elias) and a new, worthy challenger (Joe). I’m all in for a Reigns/Joe IC title blood feud, especially if Roman is eventually going to move onto Lesnar during WrestleMania season.
2. Absolutely Asuka
My favorite part of Absolution (the official name of Paige, Mandy & Daria’s death squad) is how it gave each woman in the division much needed character alignment. Absolution is supposed to take on Sasha, Bayley & Mickie James, but they take out Bayley & Mickie pre match. Alexa Bliss is on commentary but she wants no part of Absolution, so when they stalk Sasha, she bails. Bliss is the anti Reigns in the sense that she’d be happy being the champion forever and never having to defend it, so she’s all for Absolution destroying people. While I like Sasha better as a cocky heel, the crowd loves her, so making her the ‘against all odds’ baby face makes sense.
Later in the show Asuka beats Dana Brooke in literally three seconds. After the match Absolution comes out for what looks like another 3 on 1 attack, but they decide against it. Could Absolution take out Asuka 3 on 1? Probably. Should they take her out to prove a point and then have an angry killing machine hunting their every move? Probably not. Absolution wanted Asuka to know they’re always lurking, but aren’t ready to start an all out war with the one woman who could take them all out. It’s a smart play for Absolution and it distinguishes Asuka as the only woman on the roster too dangerous to attack 3 on 1.
I’m not sure who finally decided to give the cruiserweights something to do, but bless their heart. Kurt Angle set up a mini tournament to crown the #1 contender for Enzo’s cruiserweight championship, and it’s a perfect multi week story for the division. The four minute 3 on 3 or 4 on 4 matches weren’t helping anybody, so fatal 4 ways are a huge upgrade. The cruiserweight division has so much talent that I’m not sure why they aren’t doing these types of matches every week, but I’ll take this match and the one next week as a start.
Rich Swann was the obvious star out of the four and he was long overdue for a spotlight win. All four guys looked good and more importantly were given enough time, which is all you ask for with the cruiserweights. Next week’s 4 way should be interesting, as I’d think they’d want to have Swann versus a member of the Zo Train to build some type of story for the #1 contender’s match in two weeks.
Supplementary Stars: Bray Wyatt & Matt Hardy
I didn’t want to include Bray Wyatt & Matt Hardy on this list because of how often WWE screws up Wyatt’s character. The post match “breakdown” of Hardy gives me some hope though, as does Matt’s tweet:
— #WOKEN Matt Hardy (@MATTHARDYBRAND) November 28, 2017
Is this Hardy’s and WWE’s way of getting around the Broken lawsuit? If it is and Hardy/Wyatt join forces, I’m all in. If this leads to a one on one feud that Wyatt 1000% loses, I will set my computer on fire.
If You’ve Ever Wanted To See Paige, Becky Lynch & Charlotte Dance To Ginuwine’s ‘Pony’ Then Today Is Your Lucky Day
— PAIGE (@RealPaigeWWE) September 16, 2015
This video is part of the ‘Just Keep Dancing Challenge’, which was started by Braylon Beam, who credits dancing with helping him get through his chemo treatments. Having to put ‘6 year old’ & ‘chemo treatments’ in the same sentence is pretty much as bad as it gets, so it’s nice to see celebrities helping out and maintaining awareness of this cause. Naturally the WWE got in on the action, because there isn’t a cause that they won’t try and help out. The latest superstars to join the movement are Team PCB, Paige, Charlotte and Becky Lynch, and they go with an old school classic: ‘Pony’ by Ginuwine. As a side note, Becky Lynch is my JAM right now.
SS – As noted, WWE has given Paige, Becky Lynch and Charlotte the “Submission Sorority” name for their stable. WWE did not do proper research and quickly found out that this is the same name of an adult website.
There’s talk of changing the group name to The Submission Sisters. The idea of calling them the Horsewomen was also thrown around but that could be seen as stepping on Ronda Rousey‘s toes.
When they said the name on Raw, I knew I heard the name ‘submission sorority’ before, and now it’s making sense. It’s safe to assume a porno website with sorority girls inserting various objects into each other doesn’t fit into WWE’s PG image, so expect this name to change by next week’s Raw. It’s fun for the internet to make fun of Vince and his writers for being out of touch, but this is a perfect example. Also, can we just have women’s wrestling without all the girly girl stuff? Do they have to be a sorority? Can’t they just be bad asses who will rip your arms and legs off? Let the Bella’s be sorority sisters. I want Charlotte spearing people and Becky Lynch tearing off people’s arms and beating them with it.
WWE Fast Lane, much like WWE Takeover: Rival is FREE on the WWE Network. It takes place in Memphis, Tennesee, and besides it’s tacky name, Fast Lane should be a pretty solid pay per view. Four title matches, a brother vs. brother grudge match and the #1 contender match for Brock Lesnar’s World Championship round out what should an all around well wrestled event. Let’s get to the preview and predictions!
Goldust vs. Stardust
The long awaited breakup of Goldust and Stardust finally hit a boiling point on Raw, with Stardust attacking Goldust and a match between the two made official on Smackdown. Stardust will go over in the end, as he will continue to be a main roster stalwart for years to come while Goldust is winding down his in ring career. The only question here is whether this feud will get the WrestleMania blow off it deserves or will it be a one and done deal. I try to stay optimistic when it comes to the WWE, even though most of their decision making makes it hard to feel that way. We still haven’t really seen anything from Goldust that would indicate he wants to have this match or engage in anything physical with his brother, but if the match is scheduled, I have to imagine we’re going to see something.
Prediction: Stardust beats down Goldust, who wins by DQ. This would set up the actual grudge match with a month full of buildup with two of the most talented and underutilized guys on the roster getting their chance to shine. Or Stardust wins and fights Adam Rose for the next 25 years.
Seth Rollins, Big Show & Kane vs. Ryback, Erick Rowan & Dolph Ziggler
Thank God we have the Big Show and Kane on the Fast Lane card! I think a general rule of thumb should be that if a match isn’t announced by Smackdown, then it shouldn’t be on the pay per view card. I know they vaguely set this up on Monday and Smackdown and weeks prior with Ryback and Rowan helping Dolph against Big Show, Kane and Rollins, but couldn’t we have just set up a Rollins/Ziggler match and called it a day? We already know that whichever team wins this match gains nothing, and whoever loses this match loses nothing, so maybe they’ll just go out and have a fun 6 man tag?
Prediction: Big Show and Kane simultaneously pin Ziggler, Ryback and Rowan and declare themselves co #1 contenders for the WWE Championship while the announcers, fans and every wrestler in the back collectively light themselves on fire.
Divas Championship Match – Nikki Bella (C) vs. Paige
This feud has been a tale of in the ring superiority vs. outside the ring shenanigans. Paige has dominated the build up with wins over multiple Divas, including Nikki’s sister Brie, while Nikki has won in the shenanigans department with stunts like stealing Paige’s ring gear. Ideally, the winner of this match would go on to have story lines that aren’t dictated by a reality show and that equates to matches similar to what the ladies down in NXT are doing, but that seems like it’s too much to ask of the current WWE writing staff. I still think a Nikki vs. Brie match should be on the Mania card, while Paige leads the new school of Divas as their champion.
Prediction: Paige wins, and we get NXT Paige, or at least a tiny bit of NXT Paige, as the Divas champion who has good to great matches with everyone on the Divas roster. Or Nikki wins with a tit slap or ass grab or something demeaning.
Intercontinental Championship Match – Bad News Barrett vs. Dean Ambrose
Fresh off his non title loss to R F#*king Truth on Smack down, Bad News Barrett is defending his title against everyone’s wacky pal Dean Ambrose. Is that how far the IC division has fallen? The champion is losing a non title match to a guy who mumbles through his entrance music 3 days before a major pay per view during WrestleMania season? Alrighty then. Unless the WWE drastically changes their booking for the IC champs, this match doesn’t matter at all, which is a sin, because BNB and Ambrose are not only the future of the company, but are two very talented performers. If the past is any indicator, Barrett will win Sunday and lose every non title match up until WrestleMania, where he’ll beat whoever challenges him for the title next. Although Ambrose has been winning lately, his goofy persona needs to go. I don’t know if anyone in the WWE has heard of YouTube, but they should search Jon Moxley and go from there. Dean Ambrose is not going to be the next kid friendly, wacky punch line spewing superstar. He is a deranged assassin who will take you out and never quit.
Prediction: Barrett retains. I can see a few titles changing hands at Fast Lane, but I don’t think the IC belt is one of the them. It would also be horrible story telling if the guy who zip tied the champion’s hands to the ring post to get him to sign on for this match 6 days before the pay per view won. Also, I like Ambrose too much to have him be a permanent loser as IC champ.
Tag Team Championship Match – The Uso’s (C) vs. Tyson Kidd & Cesaro
It kills me a little inside every time I have to write a preview blog for a WWE pay per view with the Uso’s as the tag team champions. It’s not that I don’t like them; they’re a good enough team that the crowd has kind of gotten behind, so kudos to them. My problem with The Uso’s is that from the time they got pushed to the top of the tag division to today they have not evolved one bit. They haven’t introduced new moves, they haven’t changed the way they win matches, they haven’t ever given an interesting promo and they even do the same entrance every. single. time. They slap their thighs, jump over the ropes, scream something resembling words and continue to get rewarded. Then you have Cesaro and Tyson Kidd, two super talented guys thrown together with zero build who have become the most interesting tag team in the company. They work together incredibly well, and they have a good to great match with every team they’re put in the ring with. And they’re responsible for wonderful GIFS like the one I included above. My only concern with this match is how involved Naomi and Natalya have been. The last thing that needs to happen here is for Natalya to cause Kidd & Cesaro to lose. There are a lot of things this world needs. The Uso’s remaining Tag Team Champs is not one of them.
Prediction: Swing into a dropkick. Uppercut into sharpshooter. Rope assisted kick into a Neutralizer. Any of those combinations works for me as long as Kidd & Cesaro win and become your new Tag Team Champions.
HHH & Sting Meet Face to Face
I’ve been a huge fan of this feud ever since it started at Survivor Series, and I look for it to continue to be great at Fast Lane. I’m torn on whether or not I want it to get physical yet, but I’m leaning towards no physicality. After Fast Lane, you still have 5 Raw’s to promote this match, and if the physicality is already wasted at Fast Lane, meaning one guy gets the upper hand over the other, I think it’ll detract from the build up. The WWE has waited 15 years to get Sting in their ring, so there’s no need to rush forward with it. As I stated in my Raw recap, HHH and the WWE production team have done a great job with this build up, as it can’t be easy hyping a two man battle when one of the guys is never there. Sting is one of those rare guys the WWE has brought in who has such an incredible reputation and history, that pretty much anything they do with him will work. Personally, I’m hoping for a few rafter spotlight shots to psyche out HHH. Never rule out the effectiveness of nostalgia.
United States Championship Match – Rusev (C) vs. John Cena
John Cena has to win this match. OK, glad I got that out of my system. With that said, I love Rusev. He’s been built up impeccably, and he has a severely underrated manager in Lana who also happens to be very easy to look at while she’s delivering promos for her champion. I love characters that speak broken English, because when they deliver the parts of their promos in English, it doesn’t have to make sense. Rusev saying he’s going to “crush you” or “rip your spirit out” doesn’t have to be delivered with the delicacy of someone who only speaks English, thus his promos are not dissected the same, which is a very good thing. My only problem with the Rusev character is that he’s “undefeated”. First of all, he’s not undefeated. He’s lost via count out and DQ. He got eliminated from the Survivor Series match by count out, too. Secondly, being undefeated is an impossible thing to maintain. Unless you’re Andre The Giant, you’re not going to go undefeated for your entire career, and even he lost eventually. Instead of this match being about two guys who don’t like each other, or two guys fighting over a title, it’s about Rusev being undefeated and Cena being the guy to finally beat him. Which he should. Let me explain: Rusev and Cena are going to fight at WrestleMania, which means there are two scenarios for Fast Lane. Scenario 1 has Rusev beating Cena, then Cena no selling it for 5 weeks and beating Rusev for the US title at Mania, making it the second year in a row John Cena has completely deflated a future main eventer. Scenario 2 has John Cena beat Rusev at Fast Lane, bring some importance to the US Title it hasn’t had since the NWA, then have Rusev get his revenge and beat Cena at WrestleMania, the pay per view where you build stars for the future, not kill them.
Prediction: John Cena is your new US Champion, and the world needs to be OK with that.
#1 Contender For The WWE Championship – Roman Reigns vs. Daniel Bryan
I have a sneaky suspicion that the winner of this match won’t really matter, but for the sake of previewing, let’s pretend it does. If this match is going to have a decisive winner, then I have a very strong opinion of who it should be. Roman Reigns is stronger and more powerful than Daniel Bryan, but Daniel Bryan is quicker and more experienced than Roman Reigns. Daniel Bryan won the title at last years WrestleMania, but was stripped of the title due to injury. Roman Reigns won this year’s Royal Rumble, which should have guaranteed him a main event title shot at WrestleMania, but that was taken away from him because Vince McMahon can’t stick to a decision. Wherever one man has the upper hand, the other makes up for it in another way. The way I’m looking at it is who would I want to see face Brock Lesnar in the main event of WrestleMania 31, and that answer is very easy: Daniel Bryan. Comparing a Daniel Bryan vs. Brock Lesnar match to a Roman Reigns vs. Brock Lesnar match isn’t really fair to Roman, but that’s the position the WWE has put us in. What fan over the age of 8 or 9 is really pulling for Reigns here? And I like Reigns, too. He was rightfully criticized for his promo work over the last few months, but you’re talking about a guy with the combined singles career of about 9 months. Show me a WWE guy who was a perfect interview and an elite ring technician in that amount of time. Still waiting. Got nobody? Alrighty then. Reigns will be a star, and if he continues performing like he did Monday night, it’ll be sooner rather than later. Unfortunately for him, he’s going up against the best on Sunday night, and Daniel Bryan will not be denied.
Prediction: I still think it’s going to be a triple threat between Bryan, Reigns and Lesnar at Mania, but in the interest of choosing a winner, I say it’ll be Daniel Bryan vs. Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania 31. Oh happy day.
As always, we’ll be live tweeting the show, so give us a follow @averagenobodies. Or don’t, but just know that you brought the voodoo of Papa Shango on yourself.