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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

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Your Average WWE Raw Recap (11/6/17)

WWE Raw

Photo: WWE

We’re less than two weeks away from Survivor Series and with the match card already set, last night’s WWE Raw primarily focused on which men and women would be added to Team’s Raw. The show was taped in Manchester, England earlier in the day, but unless you like watching the world burn you should’ve been able to avoid spoilers.

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 recap for the November 6th, 2017 edition of WWE Raw.

Mizerable

Raw opened with a familiar sight: Miz, Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel (hysterically sporting a neck brace to sell last week’s attack by Strowman) standing in the middle of the ring, recapping and previewing everything from Miz/Baron Corbin at Survivor Series to last week’s attack by Strowman. Miz eventually brought out Kurt Angle who thankfully is a little more forceful now that he knows he has the ability to wrestle without his head falling off. Angle is confident Team Raw will be victorious at Survivor Series, and even makes a match for Miz tonight against the newest member of the team: Braun Strowman. It wasn’t the most exciting segment in the world, but it did a nice job of previewing Raw and Survivor Series.

Stupid Stipulations

The Jason Jordan/ Elias saga continued with a guitar on a pole match. The point of the match was to grab the guitar that was hanging on a pole above a ring post and then hit your opponent with the guitar. That’s it. No pin falls or submissions, so I’m not sure what this match proved outside of showing that Jason Jordan can hit people in the back with a guitar. Whenever WWE goes outside of it’s bread and butter stipulation matches it’s almost always awful, and this match was no exception. Everybody loses.

Asuka Squash

I’m not sure if it was WWE realizing their mistake, the release of Emma or both, but introducing Asuka to the WWE Universe via squash wins is a great idea. It didn’t make sense to introduce the most dominant, undefeated woman in the history of your company via a competitive match against Emma where Asuka had to fight from behind to win. She’s ASUKA. Put her in there against some local talent and let her slap and kick the shit out of them until she’s ready to choke them out. I also like the subtle change to her entrance, as now the lights go out and her mask appears on the screen before her music hits. Beautiful stuff. After her win Alicia Fox announces Asuka as a member for Team Raw, which is extra terrible news for everyone on Team Smackdown.

Joe The Destroyer

Last week Samoa Joe finally returned to Raw and beat the pulp out of Apollo Crews. Crews’ ambassador Titus O’Neil took exception to that and challenged Joe to a match last night, so Joe jumped O’Neil and Crews during their entrance and went on a rant about how nobody in the locker room can touch him. That brought out Finn Balor, and the NXT fan inside of me jumped off the couch so hard I hit my figurative head on the ceiling. Joe and Balor had a memorable feud in NXT, and it was clear their chemistry didn’t miss a beat as they had the best match on the show last night. Joe easily floats between being as smooth as silk and powerful as an ox, and Balor is always better when he’s fighting guys bigger than him. I’m not sure why they don’t do it more often, but WWE should use some of the memorable NXT feuds as a blueprint for stories on the main roster. This match was great, but it was basically a throw away to set up both guys being added to Team Raw, although we did get this wonderful gif of Balor attacking Joe on the stage:

Sasha vs. Bayley…Please?

Sasha Banks and Bayley took on Alicia Fox and Nia Jax in a fun tag match, but once again the story is what happened after the match. Sasha Banks made Alicia tap for the millionth time in a row, so Fox got on the microphone and announced that Sasha would join herself, Nia and Asuka on Team Raw. That decision leaves Bayley out of the loop, and please for the love of all that is holy, let this start a Sasha/Bayley feud. Bayley can get irrationally mad at Sasha for joining Team Raw without her even though Bayley would do the same thing, and Sasha can remember that she’s THE BOSS and doesn’t need a best friend anymore.

BRAUN

If you’re looking for a recap of the Miz vs. Braun Strowman match in gif form, I think I’ve got something for you:

Strowman manhandles Miz, Bo Dallas, Curtis Axel and Kane when he decides now is an ideal time to prove he’s the real top monster in the WWE, and it was all wonderful. Braun is so much fun to watch because he’s everything rolled into one. He’s freaky fast for a big guy like Lesnar, but he’s also able to do all those fun power moves and knock guys out. Braun is back to being his dominant self after getting trash compactor murdered, and similar to Asuka in the women’s match, I feel bad for everyone on Team Smackdown with Braun coming for them.

Bruiserweight

I’m not sure if the WWE felt bad about making us sit through another incomprehensible Enzo promo, but they made up for it in spades by bringing out the Bruiserweight Pete Dunne for his Raw debut. Pete Dunne is the current UK champion and has been on a handful of NXT shows, including TakeOver Chicago where he and Tyler Bate had my favorite pro wrestling match so far this year. Dunne is wonderful, and on top of everything he’s already done in his career, he’s only two days shy of his 24th birthday. If you didn’t know or love Dunne before his debut last night, here’s the first thing he does in his match against Enzo:

Dunne also picks up a victory thanks to a distraction by Kalisto, and this might be the first time I actually don’t mind a distraction victory. Bruiserweight forever.

Main Event

The main event saw Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose face Cesaro & Sheamus for the tag titles. It was a little odd to see Kurt Angle give in to Cesaro and Sheamus so easily, especially when he just tagged with Rollins and Ambrose a few weeks ago. I did like Ambrose’s response when asked how he felt about having to defend the belts on such short notice though. Rollins and Ambrose know that being a champion in WWE comes with a target on your back, so they’re ready to defend the titles at a moment’s notice. Statements like that go a long way when you’re looking for characters to root for, and I loved Rollins and Ambrose’s attitude heading into the match. We also got this adorable Renee Young gif after the interview:

The match itself was really good, as most of the tag matches between these two are. There was a frenetic pace that lasted almost the entire match, and I love how creative Cesaro and Sheamus get with their double team spots. The ending was chaotic, with all four guys down New Day’s music hit and they began to enter from the crowd. That set off some type of alarm in Kurt Angle’s brain so he charged the ring with Raw guys in an attempt to stop New Day. While all this was happening, Sheamus Brogue Kicked Rollins and just like that, The Bar are the new tag champs.

This has to set up New Day vs. The Shield (especially with the announcement of Reigns returning next week) and now The Bar will face The Uso’s at Survivor Series.

-Ryan

WWE RAW Review (10/23/17): Under Siege

Whenever I hear Under Siege, this image immediately pops into my head:

Photo: Google

Last night’s Raw was live from Green Bay, Wisconsin and featured fallout from Sunday’s TLC pay per view. If you haven’t watched it yet, I’d recommend watching the women’s title match, Styles vs. Balor and the main event. I’ve read some complaints online that the main event went a little too long, but I really enjoyed it, especially considering it was a last minute audible when Reigns was unable to perform due to illness. Plus, Kurt Angle wrestled again, and he looked good! It’s impossible not to be happy about that.

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 Raw Review for October 23, 2017.

Photo: WWE

Survivor Series

A lot of this episode either directly or indirectly set up matches for Survivor Series, and it started with the opening segment. After a great video package that showed the entire main event (minus the trash compactor murder), Kurt Angle came out to announce the setup for Survivor Series. This year’s show will feature four champion vs. champion matches plus a men’s and women’s sole survivor match. That brought out Miz, Axel, Cesaro and Sheamus to rightfully run down Angle for sticking his nose in their business.

I loved Kurt wrestling as much as anyone else, but when GM’s make the choice to get in the ring, you can’t blame guys like Miz and his crew for wanting to take them out. Rollins and Ambrose came from the crowd to make the save, because once you wear the vest, you’re a brother for life (until Seth Rollins hits you in the back with a chair).

Miz pointed out that the numbers game was still in their favor, so Kurt Angle decided to make a 3 on 3 tag match for RIGHT NOW, but instead of Kurt subbing in for The Shield again, he brought out the goddamn MVP of the WWE, AJ Styles. It goes without saying that Styles is the best wrestler in the WWE right now, but what he did over the past three days is pretty insane. He was in Santiago, Chile Saturday night for a Smackdown live event, then flew to TLC in Minnesota and put on one of the best one on one matches of the year with Finn Balor. He stuck around last night and picked up the win against Miz, Sheamus and Cesaro, and then popped back up in the main event, which I’ll talk about later.

The 3 on 3 tag match was a lot of fun, and more fast paced than I thought it would be considering what all six guys went through last night. The Angle promo and this match took up the first 35+ minutes, and WWE is really relying on it’s top guys to carry the load while guys like Reigns and Wyatt are sick.

Demon v. Demon

Kane returned last week during the Strowman/Reigns steel cage match to help Braun win and joined Team Miz-Bar-Monster at TLC. Kane and Strowman butted heads at TLC and ended up brawling, which led to Kane murdering Braun via trash compactor. The good news: this sets up Braun vs. Kane, most likely at Survivor Series, which will give Braun another win over a legendary monster in the WWE. The bad news: Kane will have to look strong heading into that match until Braun reappears, and WWE apparently thinks it’s necessary to have Kane pin Finn Balor clean instead of beating someone like Curt Hawkins or Apollo Crews. The sentence ‘Kane pinned Finn Balor clean’ should not be written in 2017, and it certainly should not be written the night after Finn had his best main roster match in a win against AJ Styles. I don’t expect Braun vs. Kane to be in the same ballpark as Braun vs. Big Show, but it should still be another spotlight win for the big man.

Emma isn’t ready for Asuka

Asuka vs. Emma wasn’t bad at TLC, but I wish they employed a different strategy for her debut match. They did the same thing with Nakamura and Ziggler, and while competently wrestled matches can be fun, the whole point of wrestlers like Asuka and Nakamura is to differentiate them from everyone else. They’re never going to be the ones cutting long winded promos, so the noticeable differences between them and everyone else needs to happen in the ring. I also think this would’ve worked better if Emma’s only storyline this year hadn’t been about hashtags. She also won the spot in the match because she rolled up Sasha Banks out of the Banks Statement, so it’s not like she was going into TLC with a ton of momentum.

The rematch was a little better, and it’s clear Asuka and Emma have good chemistry dating back to their NXT days. I did like the finishing sequence, as the Asuka Lock is never more dangerous than when Asuka figures out creative ways to apply it. Now let’s make sure Asuka moves onto literally anyone else.

Bad Commentary

I love Corey Graves, but when he’s sandwiched between the awfulness of Michael Cole and Booker T, his likeability and insight are drowned out by those two buffoons. Booker T has a weird hard on for Jason Jordan, and between his impossible to decipher points and Cole egging him on, it makes it impossible to watch a Jason Jordan match. At they’re best the commentators are there to put over the wrestlers and the match and at they’re worst they should be background noise. They should never, ever put themselves over the match, especially when it’s someone like Jordan who is trying to find his character. It doesn’t help that the match was a throwaway, as Samson hit Jason Jordan with his guitar a couple minutes in to cause the DQ. Not great, guys.

You Deserve It

Alexa Bliss was once again wonderfully smug on the microphone last night, and she did bring up a good point. Wrestling audiences are conditioned to spotlight people like Mickie James or Kurt Angle with praise and chants but overlook people like Bliss who are there week in and week out putting in the work as a champion. Mickie James had been non existent in the Raw women’s division before this feud, and while her and Bliss’s match at TLC was great, Alexa deserves as much credit as Mickie for that. I’m not sure how this feud will shake out with Alexa taking on Natalya at Survivor Series, but I hope they have at least one more match in their future.

Paul Heyman, Trash Talker

I really loved Heyman and Lesnar’s answer to Jinder Mahal’s Survivor Series challenge, because it played out exactly how it should have. Paul Heyman is the master at hyping up Brock Lesnar’s opponent while also making The Beast look superior, because he understands that the better Lesnar’s opponent looks, the better off Brock will be when he beats him. He didn’t trash talk Goldberg or Samoa Joe or Braun Strowman because they were all worthy opponents of Lesnar, and when Lesnar beat them, he looked dominant instead of being the guy who beat somebody who shouldn’t have been across the ring from him in the first place. Which brings me to Jinder Mahal, who should not be across the ring from Lesnar in the first place. Heyman knows it. Lesnar knows it. I know it. If their match at Survivor Series ends with anything other than Lesnar beating the life out of Mahal with one of his own appendages then they’re doing it wrong.

Crazy as a Fox

The aforementioned women’s Raw vs. Smackdown match will take place at Survivor Series, so Kurt Angle put Alicia Fox, Bayley and Sasha Banks in a triple threat match to determine the captain of the team. The match was OK, but I did enjoy Alicia Fox winning because her character is so much fun. She’s crazy you see, and even kisses the ref after she wins. Making Alicia the captain also hopefully puts in motion the long overdue Bayley/Sasha feud that needed to happen months ago. Bayley and Sasha should never be best friends on screen again.

Drew Gulak

My favorite part of the whole show was Drew Gulak doing Enzo’s entire entrance shtick because Enzo lost his voice. His delivery of ‘how are you doing’ was fantastic, and it’s the most I’ve liked Drew Gulak ever. The 10 man tag match that followed was also a lot of fun, mainly because it included some consistent high flying. If you have guys like Ali, Metalik, Swann and Alexander on your roster, you need to let them fly. They did that here and it was great, even with the ‘Kalisto has pinned the cruiserweight champion’ talking point.

Under Siege

Shane McMahon showed up earlier in the night to make playful jabs at Kurt Angle, but when he confronted him in the main event, there was nothing playful about it. If you take character alignments out of the picture, this closing segment was great. I’m not going to get bogged down in heels vs. faces and complain that certain guys shouldn’t be working together, because this segment accomplished what it needed to: it makes you want to watch tonight’s Smackdown, the following week’s of Raw/Smackdown and Survivor Series. Plus, it didn’t go too over the top. It’s not like Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens were out there doing Shane’s bidding, or The Uso’s were helping New Day because of Smackdown pride. If the TakeOver the night before Survivor Series is War Games, then the Raw vs. Smackdown feud should have a war or chaos like atmosphere as well. This segment accomplished that, and I can’t wait to see how Angle and Raw respond.

-Ryan

WWE RAW Review (10/16/17): Bah Gawd It’s Kane

Photo: WWE

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.

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 Raw Review for October 16, 2017.

MizVP

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?

Wrestling Stables!

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.

-Ryan

WWE RAW Review (10/9/17): The Hounds Of Justice

Photo: WWE

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.

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 Raw Review for October 9, 2017.

The Mizzies

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

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.

Sister Abigail

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.

Cruiserweights

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.

-Ryan

WWE RAW Review (10/2/17): S.H.I.E.L.D.

Welcome back to Ryan’s Raw Review, the only Raw write up on the internet that embraces alliteration. This week’s show was live from Denver, Colorado and opened up with a moment of silence for all the victims of the Las Vegas terror attack. Sunday’s horrific incident marked the 273rd instance of a mass shooting in the USA just this year, and it’s hard to remember a time when there was more division in this country. Wrestling is obviously not the answer to all our nation’s problems, but I’m especially glad it exists on day’s like yesterday, when you could take a break from the chaos and enjoy the ridiculousness that is the WWE. And hey, it was a great 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 Raw Review for October 2, 2017.

Booking Like It’s 1997

From a storyline perspective, this might’ve been one of the best Raw’s of the year. Over at With Spandex, Brandon Stroud is doing the lord’s work with his vintage best and worst of Raw reviews, and he’s currently reviewing late September Raw’s from 1997. This is the era of WWE (then WWF) where Stone Cold turned into a cult hero, The Rock finally turned heel, Shawn Michaels and HHH formed DX and Bret Hart was a Canadian folk hero. It was an amazing time for pro wrestling, and one of the best parts of those shows were that storylines intersected and things that happened earlier in the show tied into what was happening later. Fast forward 20 years and a few weeks and you have last night’s show, which beautifully tied together three segments and brought back one of the best factions of all time.

The show kicked off with Braun Strowman vs. Seth Rollins, and it was a great match without giving too much away. Rollins/Strowman is a money matchup, so I’m glad they gave us just enough to keep us wanting more. I’m also glad Strowman went over clean, and if you ever doubted Strowman’s ability to recover from shitty booking, look at him last night versus after No Mercy. He’s such a unique guy that all it takes are a few good matches against guys who aren’t afraid to let him throw them around and he’s back to being the beautiful, unpredictable, violent monster that we all love.

The story they told was great too, as Rollins pulled out almost all the moves in his arsenal just to weaken Braun, but Strowman ended up being too strong and reversed Rollins’ dance move knee into a vicious clothesline. One power slam later and Braun was victorious, but because he’s a violent monster he went back for more and slammed Rollins again. That brought out Dean Ambrose to defend his fallen partner, and he got predictably squashed. Before Braun can even get to the back The Bar came out like a couple of vultures and hit a Neutralizer and Brogue Kick for good measure. All of this happened in 15 minutes. Braun Strowman is a monster again, the tag champs showed they actually care about each other and the #1 contenders for the tag belts showed why they’re big time jerks.

Later in the show Roman Reigns took on The Miz for the IC title and it was another really good match, because The Miz is the best and whether you love or hate Roman Reigns, the guy is consistently aces in the ring when he keeps it under 15 minutes. I was in love with this match before it even started, and it had to do with the little things great performers do that enhance the story. The crowd wants The Shield to reform so bad, so what did the Miz-Tourage do last week? They attacked Reigns with chairs and did The Shield fist bump over his unconscious body.

This week? They enter from the crowd a la The Shield. It’s GREAT. What is also great is Roman Reigns dropping the sarcasm and indifferent attitude and beating the crap out of Axel and Bo Dallas with Superman punches and a steel chair. Reigns is close to being the total package, and he’s at his apex when he drops the silliness and uses that focused aggression that made him so badass in The Shield. While I’m not the biggest fan of ending title matches with interference, it was the best call for everyone involved. The Miz is not beating Roman Reigns clean at this point and Reigns doesn’t need the IC title. Plus, if you’re going to have the match end in a DQ, why not bring back out The Bar to take out the only member of the former Shield that they haven’t murdered yet?

The Bar linking up with The Miz might seem random, but Cesaro and Sheamus hate Rollins and Ambrose, so why wouldn’t they also want to take out someone like Reigns who has a shared history with them? Miz, Cesaro and Sheamus have also been hearing the non stop chatter about The Shield reforming, so instead of sitting back and waiting for it to happen, they’re being proactive and taking them all out. It also ties in the opening segment, and leads to one of the best Raw moments of the year:

SHIT IS ON. My only drawback to The Shield reforming last week was that them vs. Miz-Tourage would be like me and my two friends facing Lebron James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant in a game of pickup basketball. But when you sub in Cesaro and Sheamus for Axel and Dallas, you have a legitimate, compelling matchup. Well done all around.

Wait, that wasn’t the whole show? Now that I’ve written almost 1,000 words about The Shield reuniting, let’s get to the rest of the show.

Mickie James, #1 Contender

I think the most unrealistic part of last night’s show was WWE trying to convince us that Mickie James has her own dressing room. The writers didn’t even know she was apart of the women’s division a few weeks ago, but now that Alexa needs some fresh meat before Asuka shows up, Mickie is given a title match. I would complain that Mickie got a title shot after hitting one move on Nia Jax and winning via DQ, but Bayley got inserted into the Fatal Five Way match at No Mercy by just showing up, so I guess it’s par for the course.

Later in the show Emma and Alicia Fox take on Sasha Banks and Bayley, and the only notable thing that happens is Emma betraying Alicia Fox and walking out on the match. It’s clear the women’s division is in a holding pattern until Asuka shows up at TLC, and while that’s not the most exciting thing in the world, Asuka is legitimately going to change the entire division, so I’m ok with it.

Elias vs. Denver

Elias continues to deliver, especially during his pre match promos dissing whatever town they’re in. Last night’s might’ve been my favorite of the bunch, as he told the crowd he’d rather drown himself a mile below the ocean than live in Denver. Elias would rather commit suicide than live there. That is cold blooded. The match with Titus is fine, but nothing special, and Elias continues to single handedly take down Titus Worldwide.

The Club Win! The Club Win!

Jeff Hardy tore up his rotator cuff so Matt Hardy and Jason Jordan have joined forces. They beat Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel last week but this week they go up against an actual tag team, and they lose. I know The Club aren’t exactly The Midnight Express, but from a logical standpoint, the tag team that dominated Japan and have been together for years should beat two singles guys who teamed up because of an injury. The match isn’t going to be on any best of year end lists, but it worked and had a clean finish. Plus, Hardy and Jordan are another tag team in a division that desperately needs tag teams. If The Revival can hurry up and get back and stop being injured we might have a real division on our hands.

Sister Abigail is Alive!

Speaking of 1997, here’s was my first thought when Bray Wyatt said Sister Abigail was alive:

Fast forward to the 5:30 mark if you don’t want to watch The Undertaker slap the shit out of poor Paul Bearer.

I don’t know why Finn and Bray are still feuding, but Bray needs a change more than any character on the roster. Bringing in Sister Abigail might be that change, but nothing will matter if he keeps losing all his important matches. Per usual, I will let this storyline string me along and then be very disappointed when Bray loses at TLC.

Cruiserweights

For the second week in a row Enzo & the cruiserweights (great band name) close out the show, and while it worked well last week, there was too much other stuff going on in this episode for this to be the final segment. Enzo roasting each cruiserweight was great, and Kalisto has belonged in the division since it’s inception, but making Kalisto the grand reveal at the end of a show that saw THE SHIELD reform isn’t fair to Kalisto. I don’t know how much Enzo affects ratings for 205 Live, but unless it’s astronomical they need to ship him away and let Kalisto, Neville and the rest of the division tear shit up.

-Ryan

WWE RAW Review (9/25/17): King Neville’s Rebellion

Photo: WWE

Welcome back to the Raw Review, where I…review Raw. I’ll figure out a catchier tagline one day. Sunday night was Raw’s No Mercy pay per view, and if you watched it from 8-930 you probably loved it, but if you kept watching until the end you probably had a lot of questions. Good, bad or indifferent pay per view aside, the WWE machine keeps on rolling along and Raw was live from Ontario, California last night. Instead of doing a standard No Mercy review, I decided to add my thoughts on some of the matches before my recap of the Raw segments featuring the same wrestlers.

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 Raw Review for September 25, 2017.

Big Dog

The IC title, tag titles and women’s title match were all excellent at No Mercy, but the main event matches between Reigns/Cena and Strowman/Lesnar were a big let down. Miz opened up Raw with Miz TV featuring Roman Reigns, and the worst thing you can say about the Reigns/Cena match is that nothing changed. Heading into the match John Cena and Roman Reigns were the two most overpowering wrestlers in WWE over the last 15 years. Cena’s been doing it for 15 years while Reigns is just getting started, so Reigns kicked out of every single variation of an Attitude Adjustment that Cena has put guys away with over the years and Reigns hit 1 Superman punch and 1 spear and won the match.

I’m not a Cena hater by any means, but his run on Raw has been awful, and he’s clearly checked out, so hopefully his extended goodbye after the match means we won’t see him for awhile. The guy has done a lot for the WWE, but if he’s going to hang around just to be a face and put on shitty matches, he should probably just walk away for good. The Miz TV segment was alright (minus Reigns saying beating Cena was his biggest victory. Beating Taker at Mania is a little bit bigger than beating a sleep walking John Cena at No Mercy), which is going to be a running theme of tonight’s show, but it does set up Matt Hardy & Jason Jordan vs. Axel and Dallas and Miz vs. Roman Reigns (guess how that turns out).

Team Extreme 2.0

Jeff Hardy is out of action for awhile with a torn rotator cuff, so Matt Hardy teamed up with Jason Jordan to take on Curtis Axel and Bo Dallas. The match is fine, but if Miz is moving into a Roman Reigns feud and Matt isn’t going to give us any Broken Brilliance, they might as well team up Matt and Jordan and see what happens. The Raw tag division is as thin as a piece of a paper, so adding in a veteran tag champion with a young up and comer is not the worst idea in the world. What is the worst thing in the world is Booker T on commentary. Somehow he was more awful than normal last night, as he forgot Matt Hardy and Jason Jordan have tagged before, then tried to explain it by saying that a six man tag isn’t an actual tag team match. Do less, Book.

A Feud I Want To See

Part 2 of Booker T’s terrible night of commentary came during the Elias and Apollo Crews match. Cole and Graves are talking about how Titus O’Neil can help Crews like he’s helped Akira Tozawa, but Booker T doesn’t get it and asks what Titus ever did for Tozawa. Uhh, he helped him win the Cruiserweight title? It’s one thing to be bad at commentary, but it’s another to forget literally everything that’s ever happened on Raw. Kind of an important part of adding good analysis. This was another match that started to get good but then immediately ended when Elias kicked Titus in the shin, which distracted Apollo and allowed Elias to pick up the win. You can tell the crowd wants to care about Apollo, but WWE has to give them more than a 3 minute distraction finish loss. Hopefully these two continue to feud by somehow not always fighting each other, and are given 10-12 minutes at TLC to have an actual match.

Braun Strowman, Fan of History Machines

The Curt Hawkins losing streak angle is a pile of hot garbage, but the good news for him is that he didn’t technically lose a match last night. The bad news for him (but amazing news for everyone else) is that he didn’t lose because Braun Strowman chased him from the ring to the backstage area, choke slammed him through a table and then carried to the entrance ramp to power slam him through the screen on the ramp. Heading into Lesnar/Strowman, I didn’t expect for Braun to show up Monday needing to regain momentum, but the booking of Universal title match was perplexing. It’s obvious that WWE is still planning Lesnar/Reigns, which is fine, but why have Braun lose to exactly one F-5? Lesnar kicked out of all of Braun’s power moves when it should’ve been the other way around. There were reports that Braun was booed after No Mercy went off the air, which is remarkably stupid, but goes to show you what fans thought of the way the match was presented.

After Braun’s disposal of Hawkins, he challenged anyone in the locker room to a fight, which got accepted by Dean Ambrose. I really liked Ambrose answering the call, because it plays into his Lunatic Fringe character without making him seem like an idiot. He’s banged up from the tag title match, but he doesn’t know any better except to accept a challenge. It didn’t matter if it was Braun Strowman or Curt Hawkins, although he probably would’ve had more success if he accepted Hawkins’ challenge. The match between Ambrose and Strowman was actually really good too. Dean’s offense is all over the place and involved a lot of him aimlessly running and jumping through the air, which meshes perfectly with Strowman’s other worldly strength. Nice bounce back for Strowman.

Old Lady Strength

The Fatal Five Way women’s title match at No Mercy was great, and all four challengers looked like actual threats to Alexa’s title. That’s going to be a key talking point moving forward, because Asuka’s debut is less than a month away. While the four challengers took part in a tag match later in the show, Mickie James emerged from the depths of hell to cut a very good promo on Bliss. James’ main talking point is always going to be that she’s been doing this longer than anyone else in the division, but she’s a good talker so she gets her points across while Bliss continues to be arrogant to everyone in the division except for Nia Jax. The division is going to be in a holding pattern until TLC when Asuka shows up, but at the very least we’ll get a fresh matchup with Alexa and Mickie.

The tag match between Bayley/Sasha & Nia/Emma was another good not great match, with nothing really happening at all. HURRY UP AND GET HERE ASUKA.

Seth Rollins vs. Sheamus

The tag title match was No Mercy was also great, and included a brutal post spot where Cesaro knocked out all his front teeth. He continued to wrestle because he’s the best, and the constant presence of blood added a great sense of urgency to the action. This was another decent but too quick match, and although I’m not a fan of guys wrestling each other over and over, Rollins/Ambrose & The Bar need to settle this feud with a TLC tag match at TLC.

Keep Your Friends Close…

Goldust, Finn Balor & Bray Wyatt have been involved in a weird man/demon/face paint war over the past few weeks. Bray Wyatt beat Finn Balor the MAN but lost to Finn Balor the DEMON, so he decided to seek out the only other guy who wears face paint, Goldust. Wyatt beat Goldust with and without face paint, but proceeded to lose to Finn Balor the MAN at No Mercy. Balor cut a promo earlier on Raw saying he beat Bray Wyatt to help guys like Goldust who had been beaten up by Wyatt, but Goldust decided he did not like that and attacked Balor backstage. Goldust went back to quoting movies like he was doing during his endless backstage promos during the R-Truth feud, so I guess we’re just supposed to forget the past few weeks when Goldust/Dustin Rhodes has been the good guy against Bray? The angle is all over the place, and Goldust lost clean to Finn last night. Just when you thought the Finn/Bray angle was over, EDM children began singing Bray’s ‘Whole World In His Hands’ and everyone live and watching at home should have the same response:

If this leads to Goldust joining up with Wyatt as a new follower or Rowan and Harper returning to take on Balor & The Club then I’ll be happy. If this leads to anything else I’ll light myself on fire.

Sierra Hotel India Echo Lima Delta Really?

I’d be a cold hearted piece of trash if I said I wouldn’t want The Shield to reunite, but I really don’t want them to reunite against the Miz-Tourage. Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel lost to Jason Jordan and Matt Hardy earlier in the night. Are we really going to believe they have a shot against the greatest faction over the past 10 years? Plus, if the main feud within that is going to be Roman Reigns vs. Miz, we got a preview of how that would end when Roman Reigns handily beat Miz. Reigns beat Cena with a Superman punch and a spear, so it was pretty obvious what was going to happen when he fought Miz. The best part of the segment was post match, as the Miz-Tourage beat Roman down with chairs and mimicked The Shield fist bump over his lifeless body. I love a good beat down, but again, if The Shield reunites, it’s not a good sign for the Miz-Tourage that they were only able to take down Reigns 3 on 1 with steel chairs.

King Neville’s Rebellion

Hand’s down the most disappointing outcome from No Mercy was Enzo defeating Neville for the cruiserweight title via a low blow. Neville is SO GOOD & Enzo is SO BAD that it was almost unfathomable to see it happen, but it did lead to the closing segment last night, so it might’ve been worth it. Enzo was following around Kurt Angle all night asking for an in ring title celebration with a no contact clause from the other cruiserweights, which Angle reluctantly gave him. Enzo finally embraced his annoying heel side and cut a great promo about how he deserves to be where he’s at and how he’s standing in the ring as a champion while Big Cass sits at home nursing an injury, so it looks like Cass is the one who was holding him back. Enzo has always been great on the microphone, but he just needed to shift his tone from ‘sing my catchphrases’ to ‘you guys should all hate me’. He did that here, and it was wonderful. That brought out the entire Cruiserweight division, which Enzo ripped to shreds. He called Cedric Alexander the man that charisma forgot and made fun of Gran Metalik for having a gut, and the more he talked the more you wanted to see him get his head kicked in.

Thankfully Neville finally show up looking like he hasn’t slept in a month and took Enzo to the woodshed. This segment was great, and it simultaneously explained the finish to last night (Enzo went dark) and turned Neville into a conquering hero for both the division and the fans, capped off with the crowd pleasing Red Arrow. The only thing left to do is to have Neville murder Enzo in the rematch and reclaim the title.

Also, please enjoy this video of Braun Strowman the entire cruiserweight division beating Enzo forever.

-Ryan

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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