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WWE RAW Review (9/18/17): The Final Stop Before No Mercy

Photo: WWE

We’re less than a week away from No Mercy this Sunday, and WWE invaded San Jose, California (the home of Sharks & Bayley) for their go home episode of Raw. No Mercy has a stacked card, and last night’s show either added matches to the pay per view or furthered along storylines for matches that were already scheduled. In other words, this was your standard go home episode before a pay per view.

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.

The Raw Review for September 18, 2017.

Daddy Issues

Raw opened with the Miz and his -Tourage (minus the expecting Maryse. Congratulations again to Mr. and Mrs. Mizanin!) complaining about the lack of opportunity for him to defend his IC title. Miz can be a dick at times but for the most part he comes out and speaks the truth. The IC title used to be a stepping stone to whoever was next for a main event spot, but up until last night, it wasn’t going to be defended for a second straight pay per view. It’s one thing to not have an IC title match at No Mercy, but I was shocked that Summerslam didn’t feature Miz defending his title. Counting the pre show, WWE had 6 hours and couldn’t figure out a way to have Miz defend the title? It’s inexcusable, and luckily his constant bickering led to Kurt Angle moseying out and making a #1 contender’s match as the main event.

Miz & Angle have a back and forth about who will go down in history as the greatest father of all time, which brought out Jason Jordan to protect his beloved dad. I really hope this leads to Angle teaming up with Jordan to take on the Miz-Tourage at some point, and while it’d be cool to have Angle fight Rollins, Balor, Reigns or someone of that ilk, it’d be odd to have him get in a ring and not be paired up with his “son” at some point. Jordan defends his father by asking that the Fatal Four Way #1 contender’s match get switched to a Six Pack Challenge so Jordan can beat up Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel, and it looks like Jordan already has the dumb WWE baby face persona down to a science.

The main event was the aforementioned Six Pack Challenge, and it was a pretty fun match. Jordan and Elias got the spotlights, while the Hardy’s, Dallas and Axel rounded out the rest of the six pack. Jordan picked up the win, which was the obvious and right call, and I’m excited to see what kind of chemistry he and Miz have. I doubt this will be the only encounter between the two, and I can see Jordan heading into No Mercy with a ton of confidence but not much of a game plan, Axel and Dallas interfering and Kurt Angle inserting himself into the feud going forward.

Alignment Issues

What the Raw Women’s division lacks in depth it makes up for in talent, but last night was a good example of there being no clear character alignments. Alexa Bliss took on Nia Jax. Alexa knows she has no shot at beating Nia one on one, so she tries to bolt, but Sasha Banks stops her and Alexa gets pinned by Nia. I never understood making your champion look as weak as humanly possible heading into a pay per view title defense, but WWE does it so often that it’s not even worth diving into. My biggest issue with this segment was after the match. Nia takes out Sasha and Alexa, which brings out the returning Bayley in her hometown. Nia is the one who injured her shoulder and put her on the shelf, and the crowd is ready for Bayley to get revenge. Instead of that happening, Bayley, Alexa and Nia team up to knock Nia out of the ring, then Bayley and Sasha team up to take out Alexa. Why wouldn’t Alexa just split instead of teaming up with Sasha and Bayley? If Sasha and Bayley are the conquering heroes, why are they beating up 5 foot nothing Alexa Bliss two on one? Where was Emma? Why is Michael Cole referring to Emma as the ‘young upstart’? If you can find three things about this segment that make sense, I’ll give you $1 million.

The Hype Train

John Cena and Brock Lesnar weren’t around this week, so the hype for the two main matches at No Mercy were done via hype videos, pre taped interviews and another good Roman Reigns promo. The good thing about that is WWE is better than anybody at those videos and interviews, so they were all great. WWE hasn’t uploaded the hype videos to their YouTube page so I can’t embed them, but once they do you should check them out. My favorite thing about both Cena/Reigns and Strowman/Lesnar is that WWE is utilizing their own history to tell the stories. They showed footage of Cena debuting in OVW as The Prototype and Reigns debuting in NXT looking like a million bucks. Cena has the experience advantage over Reigns, but both guys are highly decorated and have taken a very similar career path. They started with the US title, both won Royal Rumbles and both won the WWE title in the main event of WrestleMania. They’re also both simultaneously loved and hated by the same audiences, so it’s almost like watching a guy wrestling in front of a mirror.

You could say the same thing about Lesnar and Strowman. Strowman is not as experienced or decorated as Lesnar, but if there’s one guy on the current roster who epitomizes The Next Big Thing, it’s Braun Strowman. Braun has consistently gotten the upper hand on Lesnar every time they’ve been in the ring together, and I hope that means Brock will have to resort to something other than suplexes to eventually take him down. Also, this GIF:

NERDS

As of this writing the tag team championship match at No Mercy is Ambrose & Rollins defending against The Bar, but I have to imagine The Club get added before Sunday. With The Hardy’s fighting for singles titles and The Revival still on the shelf, the Raw tag team division is literally only three teams (Rhyno & Heath Slater are apparently in witness protection). If they end up making it a triple threat at No Mercy, this was a good preview of what to expect. This match was a lot of fun with some good false finishes, especially the one with The Club hitting the Magic Killer and almost picking up the victory. All three teams looked good at different points in the match which is all you can really ask for, and since The Bar picked up the win, we also got this wonderful Cesaro celebration GIF:

0-115

Curt Hawkins now calls himself the History Machine, and his loss to Apollo Crews last night has his current losing streak up to 115 in a row. I’m not even sure how to make a joke out of that.

Demon Man

The Bray Wyatt/Finn Balor rivalry that’s been heavily based on face paint motored along this week. Goldust, as a man and sans face paint, asked Kurt Angle, another man, for a rematch against Bray Wyatt, who is also a man. Angle agreed, and Goldust wrestled as Dustin Rhodes, without face paint yet still in his full Goldust attire. Wyatt won easily, because of course he did, which summoned Finn Balor, fellow man. Balor actually had a pretty good promo where he talked about The Demon being a creation of Finn Balor The Man, so Wyatt shouldn’t be so keen to wrestle The Man who created The Demon. I’m sure this match will be good from a wrestling standpoint at No Mercy, and I’m also sure Bray Wyatt will either lose or win via spooky shenanigans.

RIP Bobby ‘The Brain’ Heenan

Bobby Heenan passed away over the weekend after a long battle with cancer, and WWE put a great video together of all his best moments. Heenan and Gorilla Monsoon are still my favorite commentary team of all time. ‘The Brain’ will be missed.

BRAUNNN

Braun Strowman was only live on Raw for a few minutes, but once again he was the best part of the show. The Enzo entrance sing a long is getting staler and staler by the week, and the San Jose crowd was barely into it last night. After Enzo was done telling everyone his name, Braun Strowman roared out and absolutely destroyed him. The full video is above, but by far the best part of the segment is this GIF:

Braun Strowman, the greatest ever.

Neville vs. Gran Metalik

While Neville vs. Gran Metalik isn’t going to be on any match of the year lists, it was a shortened version of what the Cruiserweight division should be on Raw. WWE has put together this exciting roster of insanely athletic guys yet they never let them show off on Raw. Last night Metalik got some exciting spots, but Neville ultimately put him away because he’s the champion and should be winning those matches. Side note: how stupid does having Tozawa beat Neville the Raw before Summerslam look in hindsight? That’s the only blip on the resume for Neville’s Cruiserweight run, and it makes less and less sense every day.

That’s it for this week’s show. Join us next week when we find out if the WWE is Reigns of Cena’s yard and if Los Angeles can survive Brock Lesnar and Braun Strowman beating the crap out of each other.

-Ryan

 

 

 

 

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WWE RAW Review (9/11/17): I Know A Guy

Photo: WWE

Welcome back to the Raw Review, wrestling fans. I took a week off last week as I was away for the Labor Day holiday, and if you didn’t watch last week’s show and need to know one thing, it’s that Braun Strowman is the BEST. This week’s Raw is live from Anaheim, California on the 16th anniversary of the September 11th attacks. September 11th and WWE will always be intertwined in my mind, because WWE held the first large, public event with a Smackdown show on September 13th. It’s almost impossible to ‘get back to normal’ after something like 9/11 happens, but for myself, nothing was more normal than watching Smackdown on a Thursday night, so it helped.

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.

Without further ado, the Raw Review for 9/11/17.

I Know A Guy

Before we get to the past match promo between Roman Reigns and John Cena, I wanted to mention how happy I am that Jason Jordan has been sandwiched into this feud. First off, Raw starting with an actual match for the second week in a row is great. WWE has this dynamic roster that they insist on putting in the ring to talk instead of wrestle and it always bothers me. The talking is good sometimes but the wrestling is almost always good, and tonight was no exception.

Jason Jordan took on Roman Reigns in the show opener to further the Cena/Reigns penis measuring contest, and having Jordan go step for step with Cena and Reigns on back to back shows will do more for Jordan than 1,000 squash matches. Jordan didn’t win either match, but it put him in a position to succeed. Jordan’s best attribute is his wrestling skill, and when you put him in the ring with someone more experienced than him (like Cena & Reigns) it allows him to follow their lead. Jordan’s rolling northern lights Suplex was awesome, and he looked great once again. When you hear people say the result doesn’t matter in wrestling, these are the type of matches they’re talking about. Jordan should have lost because Roman Reigns beats everyone, but he put up a great fight in defeat.

The post match promo between Cena & Reigns was better than last week’s but not as good as their original one. I enjoy when they blur the lines between reality and the TV show, but the reason it works is because they don’t do it that often. This is the second time Cena and Reigns have had this type of exchange, and Miz/Enzo had a similar one later in the show. WWE shouldn’t go to that well too often, because eventually it will lose it’s spark. I did enjoy Reigns’ ‘I know a guy’ line about Cena not cutting it in Hollywood (even though he’s clearly doing fine there) and Cena referencing Reigns’ drug test failure was A+. If this doesn’t end with Reigns ripping Cena’s arms off at No Mercy I’ll be shocked.

#AlexaBlissIsTheBest

Sasha Banks defeated Emma with Alexa Bliss and Nia Jax on commentary, and although Emma lost again, at least she was able to get in some offense. The Fatal Four Way at No Mercy should be aces, and I’m very interested to see how the Nia Jax/Alexa Bliss match goes next week. Nia should be the favorite in any match she’s involved in, but putting her into a multi women match could also be a way for her to not win the title without being involved in the decision. My favorite part of the entire segment was Alexa Bliss “on commentary”. She just sat there and stewed the whole time, because she’s upset Nia finally figured our her plan and that she has to defend her title against three challengers at No Mercy. No one plays their character better than Alexa Bliss.

Braun Strowman, Beast Conqueror

Paul Heyman and Brock Lesnar came out to do their usual song and dance, which is better than almost anyone else’s song and dance. Heyman is the master at hyping up a big time match by propping up Lesnar’s challenger but also making sure everyone remembers that no matter how good/big/scary Lesnar’s opponent is, Brock is better. He makes it look so easy that you wonder why everyone else doesn’t use that strategy, then you remember Heyman’s been in this business since the 80s and knows more about professional wrestling than almost anyone. Heyman challenges Braun to come to the ring and face off with Brock, and Strowman obliges. That leads to my new favorite wrestling GIF:

That is MAGICAL. The reason we’ll never see another Brock Lesnar isn’t because of his size, speed, strength or acting ability, it’s because he excels at all of them at the same time. Look at Lesnar’s face when he turns around to see Braun is standing up after a German Suplex. That’s so great. The best part is Brock Lesnar might as well be called German Suplex, because that is his go to move in almost every match over the last few years. It’s what he uses to soften everyone up before the F-5 finishes them off. What happens now that Braun can shake off a German like it was a Flair chop? Braun ends the segment literally standing tall on top of Lesnar, and I cannot wait to see these two F shit up at No Mercy.

Tears Of A Clown

Bray Wyatt took on Goldust, which should absolutely be a money matchup with a decent build that goes 10-12 minutes. Instead it’s super short, and Goldust is used as a pawn in the ongoing Balor/Wyatt rivalry. I mention this a lot, but if you look at the Bray Wyatt character minus the match results, he’s money. When Bray cut his pre match promo, blew out the battery operated lantern and his music hit, it infuriated me. His character is SO GOOD, except then you remember he loses every big-ish match he’s in, which makes his promo’s sound hollow and his character a bowl of shit. He wins his match against Goldust and wipes away Goldie’s face paint to signify that 1. he hates face paint and 2. to send a message to Finn Balor that he can’t beat him without resorting to the face painted Demon.

I do enjoy WWE portraying face paint as this magical, unbeatable force. It’s like when Jim Carrey put on the mask in The Mask. I won’t be shocked if everyone starts coming to the ring in face paint for every pay per view match.

Tag Team Chaos

Sheamus and Cesaro were scheduled to take on Gallows & Anderson with Rollins & Ambrose on commentary, but the three teams ended up brawling on the ramp before the match could begin. That lead to Rollins & Ambrose teaming up with the Hardy’s to take on Sheamus, Cesaro, Gallows & Anderson in the main event. The match was OK, but ended as lazily as possible, with Cesaro & Sheamus leaving Gallows & Anderson to take a 4 on 2 beat down for the loss. It looks like the tag title match might end up being a four way dance as well, and we will hopefully get some follow up next week.

Raw Is Ready For Asuka

Asuka is officially coming to Raw, and I’ll save my pros and cons for when she actually debuts. At this point, I’m just ready for more Asuka in my life.

Elias vs. Kalisto

Elias no known last name took on Kalisto again, and while these two have good chemistry, it was pretty much the same match we’ve seen from them in the past. I really enjoy Elias’s entire gimmick, but he should be getting into an actual feud at some point. His pre match songs about how awful the city Raw is in are always great, as are most of his matches, but he can only win random matches for so long. Give me Elias & Miz!

The John Cena Farewell Tour

Does anyone else find it odd that John Cena is burning through all these ‘dream matches’ on random Raw’s, Smackdown’s & B level pay per views? He fought Shinsuke Nakamura on a random Smackdown, Braun Strowman last night and will face Reigns at No Mercy. Those are all high level, WrestleMania quality matches. This smells a lot like Cena is winding down his WWE schedule, and WWE wants to get him in the ring with as much up and coming top level talent as they can.

This match was OK, but it was clear WWE booked themselves into a situation where neither one of these guys could lose. Braun just destroyed Brock Lesnar an hour earlier, so there’s no way Cena was winning clean. Cena is fighting Reigns at No Mercy, so there’s no way Strowman was winning clean. Therefore the match ended with Strowman getting DQ’d only after he power slammed Cena on top of the stairs. Hitting Cena in the head with stairs? A-OK. Body slamming Cena onto stairs? You’re out of here, pal.

Miz TV Featuring The Ethering Of Enzo Amore

First off, congratulations to The Miz and Maryse on their baby. My favorite part of this segment (and maybe the whole show) was Curtis Axel and Bo Dallas’s reaction. Pure joy. This felt like a way for WWE to address all of those Enzo/backstage heat rumors with one of their best talkers, and boy oh boy did Miz lay into Enzo. The only issue I had with this segment was that Reigns and Cena had already done something similar earlier in the show. The reason these types of promos work are because they happen sparingly, but doing two of them on the same show makes it less biting. The match that follows was not great, because Enzo Amore and wrestling go together like open wounds and salt. Give me Miz and Elias!

And that’s it for this week’s show. The first three segments were great, but Raw slowly lost steam as it finished off. We’ll see you next week for the go home Raw before No Mercy.

-Ryan

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