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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

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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 (8/28/17): Shooting From The Hip

Photo: WWE

Welcome back to Ryan’s Raw Review (I’ll figure out a name that doesn’t sound like Pee Wee’s Playhouse eventually) for what was an overall solid 3 hour wrestling show. We’re one week further removed from Summerslam and one week closer to No Mercy, which turns out is the best thing in the world because the No Mercy card is going to be stacked as hell. Let’s get to the review!

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.

Battle Royal

There are few things in life I like more than a battle royal with consequence attached to it, so naturally I loved this entire opening. The quick Miz/Angle promo and the battle royal took up the first 30 minutes of Raw, and it beat the hell out of a normal Raw opening that usually features two or more people talking, brawling and then most likely fighting each other in the main event. The Miz wants to bring prestige back to the IC belt, and Kurt Angle agrees, so instead of just naming his son as the #1 contender (which I really thought was going to happen) he makes an over the top rope battle royal with the winner facing Miz for the IC title next week. That’s perfect. There really isn’t one guy who stands out above the rest in the mid card division, so why not give them all the same opportunity and see who rises to the top?

Balor, Elias or Jason Jordan would have made sense, but I liked the surprise of going with Jeff Hardy, especially since this is for a title shot next week and not at a pay per view. Taking the slower approach with Jordan is a smart move as well, because his character isn’t connecting yet, and the answer to that problem is not to strap a rocket to his ass and have him win all the titles. Let him earn a title shot and see how the crowd reacts to that. The only shitty part of the match was Bray Wyatt tossing out Finn Balor. Wyatt’s character is as stale as month old bread, plus Finn already beat him at Summerslam. Get ready for Bray to beat Finn on a random episode of Raw only for Finn to get the win back at No Mercy. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

Smart Heels

Three champions (spoiler for the main event) cut promos last night that were short but so on the nose that I wanted to make sure I mentioned them. Alexa Bliss was interviewed earlier in the night about her Women’s title match against Sasha Banks and she once again pointed out that Sasha Banks has never successfully defended the Women’s title, so why wouldn’t Alexa be going into that much with a boat load of confidence? It’s a tiny detail that could get lost in the build up to the match, but Alexa pointing it out and then delivering later in the night was wonderful.

The second instance is after Enzo Amore defeated Noam Dar. If you’re interested in reading a write up of that match I honestly don’t know what to tell you, but the only thing I wrote in my notes for that match was that WWE should give Enzo a finisher that he can’t fuck up as badly as he did last night. When your finisher requires you to put your foot on the other person’s face and pull their arm down to the mat, you should probably make sure your foot is on their face. Anyway, Neville cut a quick promo after the match (which isn’t on WWE’s YouTube yet) explaining that if Enzo is considered competition in the Cruiserweight division, then Neville is going to be champion forever. PREACH.

The final promo of the night was from The Miz, who was interviewed as he was leaving the building before the main event (apparently he hates women’s wrestling?). Miz rightfully points out that the point of his promo from earlier in the night was that he wants to bring prestige back to the IC title, and he doesn’t think that someone who wins one match should automatically get a shot at his title. As much as I love battle royals it’s tough to disagree with that point, although Jeff Hardy & Miz could sneak their way into our hearts next week.

Paul Heyman, Public Speaker Extraordinaire

Paul Heyman & Brock Lesnar were back again this week, and I could get used to the most important champion on the show showing up on a consistent basis. Last week Lesnar got eaten alive by destroyer of men Braun Strowman, and Heyman was out here this week doing the Lord’s work, putting over Strowman as Brock’s toughest opponent on the current roster. It’s such a simple technique & I don’t understand why everyone doesn’t use it.

If I’m fighting you, am I going to look stronger if you’re built up as this powerful entity or if you limp into the match with no momentum? It’s always option A, and WWE almost never builds up a match that way. I’ll get to The Bar/Rollins/Ambrose in a minute to show you what I mean. Heyman is predictably wonderful here, and Brock even gets on the microphone to formally invite Mr. Strowman to Suplex City™, bitch. It’s always nice to hear Brock actually speak, and while I favor him talking about making people vomit or piss themselves, I’ll take a Suplex City catchphrase when I can get it.

50/50

So. The Bar lost the tag belts to Ambrose & Rollins at Summerslam, and since there are only two other teams in the division we’re going to keep getting The Bar vs. Ambrose & Rollins until the end of time. It’s not the worst thing in the world because they’re four of the best guys on the roster, but if last night is any indication, the build to their matches are going to be super frustrating. Cesaro and Rollins squared off first and had a very good match, but once Sheamus got on the microphone after the match and announced he vs. Dean Ambrose, you knew exactly what was going to happen. Cesaro beat Rollins, so Ambrose HAD to beat Sheamus immediately after that to keep everyone even Stevens. The only thing worse than one team going into a title match with no momentum is both teams going in with no momentum. 50/50 bookings helps absolutely no one and it’s the dumbest thing WWE does on a consistent basis. The thought process behind it must be that both teams look evenly matched, but there are other ways to portray that besides having them constantly beat each other.

#MakeItStop

Emma and Mickie James had a backstage argument over internet hashtags, because it’s not possible for the Women’s division to have two storylines without one of them revolving around arguing over who started the Women’s Revolution. Emma beats Mickie in a quick, sloppy match, but if we’re looking for a silver lining, at least Emma won a match.

Reality Kings

John Cena will take on Roman Reigns at No Mercy because apparently No Mercy is the most important pay per view of the year. Seriously, the current card is Strowman/Lesnar, Reigns/Cena and they planted seeds for Nia/Alexa after the main event. Those are all WrestleMania quality matches. Before the match comes the contract signing, and Reigns and Cena knocked this segment out of the park. There are going to be people that didn’t like this segment because it featured Reigns and Cena, but WWE doesn’t go to the reality well too often which is why segments like this always work for me. The basis of this promo is that Reigns doesn’t need to fight Cena, and he’s right.

He’s been in the main event of three straight WrestleMania’s, retired the Undertaker at last year’s Mania and is clearly on his way to being John Cena 2.0. Cena’s job is to get under Reign’s skin and convince him to sign the contract, and John Cena does that better than anybody. Cena called out Reigns for his weak promo skills (while it looked like Reigns was in the middle of forgetting his lines) and told Roman that the only reason Cena is still even a part timer is because Roman can’t do his job right. That has to cut deep, and has a whole lot of truth to it. Cena still sells merchandise and tickets, and when WWE needs a ratings boost, it’s not Roman Reigns they turn to, it’s John Cena. Reigns pulled out the burying talking point and they mentioned heel turns and breaking the fourth wall, and while that feeds into the internet chatter more than anything else, it felt real and like I was watching two guys who didn’t really like each other.

It’s the same reason why Rock/Cena worked so well, and why it was the most watched WrestleMania in history. Add in a dose of reality every once in awhile with two guys who can pull it off and you’ll get some magic. It’s just funny that WWE is using magic to promote No Mercy. I’m going to pretend The Club didn’t come out to ruin the moment and that this segment ended with Reigns and Cena trying to rip each other apart.

Pelvis Wesley

Elias continues to be a great character and his weekly song about the city WWE is in is always a highlight. Unfortunately he’s still not in a meaningful feud, and last night he beat up Heath Slater in an Elvis costume. They were in Memphis, get it? Hey WWE, Elias and Goldust aren’t doing anything. Maybe use your 25+ veteran and have him work with your new guy who has lots of potential instead of whatever else you’re doing.

Main Event

The first four episodes of the Mae Young Classic premiered on the WWE Network after Raw (although they were available earlier in the day as well) so it made sense to put Alexa vs. Sasha as the main event, and the women delivered once again. Alexa & Sasha have great chemistry together, and I enjoyed the psychological aspect of the match with Sasha targeting Alexa’s arm and Alexa targeting Sasha’s back. The end result was the right call too, because you still have Nia Jax waiting in the wings, as Alexa promised her a title shot long ago. Alexa wins with her beautiful looking DDT, and Nia comes out to help Alexa celebrate. She hoisted Alexa up on her shoulder and walked around the ring with a smile, only to change expressions to stone face and drop Alexa on her back. It was a great moment, and Nia is long overdue for a title program. If this sets up Alexa vs. Nia at No Mercy, I’m all the way in.

-Ryan

WWE RAW Review (8/21/17): You Both Suck

Photo: WWE

Summerslam has come and gone, and outside of two good tag matches and a bat shit crazy main event, it felt like just another pay per view. Usually a show with three great matches would be considered a success, but Summerslam had THIRTEEN matches. 3/13 isn’t a great percentage for your biggest show of the summer. Alas, we’re now moving forward to the fall with the follow up Raw from Brooklyn. Let’s get to the review!

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.

Braun Strowman, MONSTER

It was going to be pretty hard for WWE to screw up a no DQ/no count out match featuring Lesnar, Reigns, Joe & Strowman, but the way Braun was booked in that match exceeded my expectations. He’s looked fantastic for pretty much this entire year, but Sunday night was magical. He destroyed everyone in his path, especially Brock Lesnar, and for the first time in Lesnar’s career he was stretchered out of a match. That’s badass. Braun didn’t end up winning the belt Sunday, but he made sure to remind Lesnar just how much of a monster he is last night. Lesnar/Strowman for the Universal title is confirmed for No Mercy, and I can’t wait to see these two go at it again.

Even though Lesnar is only around part time, it’s been refreshing watching him these last two pay per views. He put on a great match with Samoa Joe at GBOF, and was equally as great at Summerslam. He sold his ass off for Strowman and made him look like a legitimate monster, which is always great to see. It’s also going to  be interesting watching Lesnar play the underdog. He never was able to German Strowman at Summerslam, so if he’s finally able to at No Mercy, it’ll be a huge spot.

WHY, PART ONE

Big Cass and Enzo have been feuding since the late 70s, and even though Big Cass has taken out Enzo every time they’ve been in the ring together while also proving himself right that Enzo’s mouth gets him into fights he can’t win on his own, we got ANOTHER Enzo/Cass match last night. Cass beat Big Show at Summerslam, which for all intents and purposes should’ve been the end of the feud, but for some reason they booked a Brooklyn street fight instead last night. The match ended up being a throwaway due to Cass’s injury, which could go either way. We’ll know later on today if it was legitimate, but he did a great job of selling it if it wasn’t real. While you never want to see anyone get hurt, if this is the only way to end this feud and have both guys move on to literally anything else, I’m all for it.

WHY, PART TWO

Emma and Nia Jax fought again, and Nia murdered her again. In other news, the sky is blue, the grass is green and the POTUS likes to stare directly into the sun.

WHY, PART THREE

Elias is consistently one of my favorite parts of Raw, but WWE is testing my patience by pitting him against R-Truth. I understand they both have musically involved characters, but Elias is too good to be slumming it up with R-Truth. Elias wins easily, and I hope he moves onto something more meaningful very soon.

Cruiserweights

Gran Metalik, Rich Swann, Cedric Alexander & Mustafa Ali took on Drew Gulak, Noam Dar, Tony Nese & Ariya Daivari because there’s only time for one short, mashed together Cruiserweight match on WWE’s three hour wrestling show. If you’ve seen this match once, you’ve seen it a million times. Metalik, Swann, Alexander & Ali are all studs, but when they’re only given 5 minutes combined to show their stuff you’re going to get a crowd reaction like we saw last night, which was everyone more invested in the wave than the Cruiserweights. At this point talking about the Cruiserweights is like beating your head against a steel door, and until WWE changes up the way they’re present & wrestle, the crowd will continue not to care.

The Makings Of A Real Tag Team Division

The 1-2 punch of the Hardy’s vs. Rollins/Ambrose & Jason Jordan vs. Finn Balor was the best actual wrestling on the show, and I can get into Rollins/Ambrose as a take on all challengers type of team. They tore the house down at Summerslam with Sheamus & Cesaro (which shouldn’t have surprised anyone) and had another solid match last night with the Hardy’s. As good as the Hardy’s still are, knowing that the Broken characters are a possibility gets more and more distracting. I know there’s a ton of legal stuff to get sorted out, but all I want is for Broken Matt & Brother Nero to start tearing it up with Rollins, Ambrose, Sheamus & Cesaro. Nobody needed a change of scenery more than Ambrose, and putting him back with Rollins seems to have rejuvenated him the past few nights. If we can add a few more teams to the tag team division, we might be in for a great stretch of tag team wrestling.

Boss vs. Goddess

This wasn’t an ideal night for the Women’s division. Nia Jax squashed Emma, and the only other segment featuring the women was a short verbal confrontation between Sasha Banks & Alexa Bliss. We’ll get Bliss vs. Banks next week for the Women’s title, which is always a good to great match.

A Fresh Matchup

Earlier in the night Jason Jordan approached his dad backstage and asked for more competition, so Kurt Angle put him in a match with Finn Balor. Reading that sentence out loud is very weird. Anyways, Jordan vs. Balor was really good, and unfortunately this match was performed in front of a crowd that was going on hour 11 of wrestling over the past three days. I understand being disinterested in the Cruiserweights because WWE hasn’t given us a reason to care about 98% of the division, but you shouldn’t need a reason to get hype about Jason Jordan vs. Finn Balor. Jordan’s character isn’t polished yet, but he’s still an ace in the ring, and Balor is at his very best when he’s fighting a bigger, stronger guy. Balor winning is obviously the right call as he should always be in the upper mid card, and this could turn into a good story for Jordan as well, as he bit off more then he could chew and might need to readjust his game plan before going after some of the bigger fish on Raw.

Main Event – You Both Suck

Earlier in the night, Kurt Angle announced the newest Raw superstar, John Cena. You may have heard of him? Cena came out and did his usual song & dance, which summoned the protector of yards Roman Reigns. Thankfully the conversation was kept to a minimum between the two, because no two wrestlers sound more robotic and unrealistic than John Cena and Roman Reigns. Cena has the ability to at least elicit some passion if he’s really into a feud, but Reigns has the same monotone delivery whether he’s fighting in the main event of WrestleMania or he’s ordering chicken wings from a local restaurant.

The star of the first segment is The Miz, who once again ethered both Cena & Reigns with his ‘moments’ promo. Miz excels at blurring reality and wrestling storylines, and he always, always, always makes a good point. How many moments do Reigns & Cena get? It doesn’t matter how often they get cheered or booed, or how often they win or lose; at the end of the day, they’re still Roman Reigns & John Cena, so they’re going to be in the most important spots when it matters. Miz is having such a great year, and it’s a shame that even though he’s the IC champ, he’s far and away the third most important person when Reigns or Cena are around. The 1B star of this segment is obviously Bo Dallas’s jacket.

After Samoa Joe came out to confront Reigns and Cena, GM Kurt Angle made the main event a tag match between Cena/Reigns & Miz/Joe. If you guessed that the match would end with Cena AA’ing Miz and Raw going off the air with ‘tension’ between Cena & Reigns, then congratulations, you’ve been paying attention. Cena/Reigns is the money feud and I understand that, but I wish they didn’t have to do all this at the expense of their only mid card champion who consistently kicks ass on the microphone and in the ring. If you were wondering how the Brooklyn crowd felt about all of this, they end the night on a ‘You Both Suck’ chant. I feel you, Brooklyn.

Join us next week when John Cena & Roman Reigns continue to begrudgingly be friends.

-Ryan

WWE RAW Review (8/14/17): Fist Bump City

Photo: WWE

RAW was live from Boston last night for the final show before Summerslam. Tonight we got a mini Shield reunion, a new number one contender for Alexa Bliss’s Women’s title & a new Cruiserweight champion.

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 August 14th, 2017.

Fist Bump City

Raw opened with Dean Ambrose, followed by Seth Rollins, reminiscing on their shared friendship/brotherhood and a whole lot of fist bump teases. Ambrose doesn’t trust Rollins, Rollins doesn’t trust himself, and both guys definitely seem more comfortable being alone than they do linking back up and being forced to trust each other again. They’ve been teasing this reunion for weeks, so I could go without the constant fist bump teasing, but I do like that the story is that they’re teaming up out of necessity.

Cesaro & Sheamus will not stop running down to the ring and beating the shit out of Rollins & Ambrose, and it’s clear that neither of them are going to win that battle two on one. They might not be cohesive enough to beat the tag champs as a team either, but they definitely stand a better chance when they join forces. Also, that visual of them finally touching fists was pretty badass, and it’s clear the crowd has been ready for some type of Shield reunion for the last four years. Cool opening segment, and the tag title match has a very good chance of stealing the show at Summerslam.

WOOOO!

WWE provided a somewhat hopeful update on Ric Flair after the opening segment. Flair had been hospitalized over the weekend due to heart issues, and it looks like he still has a long road ahead of him. Thoughts and prayers with the Nature Boy & his family.

#1 Contender’s Match

The #1 contenders match between Sasha Banks and Nia Jax was exactly what it should’ve been. Nia should dominate every match she’s in, and that’s what happened here. Nia squashed Sasha from the opening bell, swinging her into the barricade and overpowering her at every turn. Sasha knows there’s a slim chance that she’ll be able to keep Nia down for a three count, so her best bet is to lock in the Banks Statement and pray Nia can’t take the pain. After taking a beating the entire match, Sasha finally locked it in. Nia almost got to the ropes, but Sasha did a great job kicking Nia’s hand away.

Nia almost powered out of it, but Sasha turned that into a sweet DDT, locked the Banks Statement in again and Nia was forced to tap out. Sasha vs. Alexa is the better matchup for Sunday, especially when you remember that Bliss had promised Nia a future title shot. Will Nia interfere to help Alexa keep the title & secure her future title shot? An interesting factor to consider for what should be a great title match.

Also, I love Alexa Bliss’s lifeguard throne. She should just sit there silently judging every Raw match until the end of time.

Elias vs. Beantown

Elias (no known last name) was conspicuous by his absence last week, and he either loves Toronto and couldn’t bear to come up with a diss song or WWE couldn’t come up with something interesting for him. Considering they had R-Truth come out to get beat up tonight, I’m going to go with option 2. Elias’s Boston song was interrupted by Truth’s rambling, and having Truth follow Elias would be like having Freddie Mercury open for William Hung. I like to keep an open mind when it comes to Raw, but Elias vs. R-Truth is not high on the list of matches I want to see.

Big Cass, Actual Smart Wrestler

After weeks and weeks and weeks of Enzo, Cass & Big Show yelling and fighting each other, we’re going to get Cass vs. Show with Enzo suspended in a shark cage above the ring at Summerslam. The whole feud is based around Cass being fed up with Enzo, who keeps running his mouth and not being able to back it up. Cass would always be left cleaning up Enzo’s messes, and now that Cass has broke off on his own, Big Show has taken his spot. Cass (who was not well received by the Boston crowd) cut a promo about how he’s going to beat Big Show Sunday and prove that he’s the best big man in wrestling today.

It was one of his better promos, and naturally he was interrupted by Enzo, who ran his mouth, brought out the Big Show and got kicked in the face multiple times while Big Show got attacked by Cass, Gallows & Anderson. Once again, Enzo runs his mouth and was nowhere to be found when his bigger friend was getting beat up. It’s always more fun watching smart wrestlers, which is why I enjoyed this segment so much. 99% of Big Show’s offense is his right hand, so why wouldn’t Cass slam his hand into the shark cage? If Big Show isn’t able to choke slam or knock out Cass, he’ll be at a huge disadvantage. Adding Gallows & Anderson into the mix is interesting, especially if it turns Cass into their leader. Will Enzo & Show find someone to even the odds? We’ll find out Sunday.

Cruiserweight Title Match

WWE has 6 hours worth of programming blocked off for Summerslam, so it was confusing to see Neville vs. Tozawa for the Cruiserweight title and Finn Balor vs. Bray Wyatt tonight. The first of those was Neville vs. Tozawa, and while it was a good match, Neville deserved a better end to his reign as champion. He’s been the high point of the division for this entire year, and while Neville will get his rematch at Summerslam, I would’ve preferred to just see this match on Sunday. Pay per views should be different than Raw’s & Smackdown’s, not literally the exact same match card.

Between this match and the match at GBOF, it’s clear that Tozawa & Neville work well together. At the very least, their match Sunday should be fun to watch.

Demon Hunter

While I appreciate WWE giving us a reason for Finn to bring out The Demon this Sunday, I don’t think it had to be at the expense of a Balor/Wyatt match. Wyatt won the match clean, which I will always love because he needs to win more matches, but again, why would the average fan tune into to watch this match again at Summerslam? Finn bringing The Demon out is always cool, but he doesn’t really wrestle any different as The Demon. It’s really just a cooler entrance and some sweet face & body paint.

It would have been more effective if Balor fought someone else tonight, won clean & then Wyatt attacked post match with a Sister Abigail and his oddly, readily available bucket of blood. That way both guys look good heading into Summerslam, we don’t waste a pay per view match on Raw and Finn still has a reason to bring out The Demon. A man can dream.

Give Emma A Chance

Here are my thoughts on Emma vs. Mickie James:

Emma has been asking for more opportunities on social media lately, and she’s been rewarded for that by losing quickly and cleanly to Nia Jax, tapping out to Sasha Banks and losing quickly and cleanly to Mickie James. I guess the lesson here is don’t ask for an opportunity?

Team USA Extreme

Jason Jordan took on The Miz and had the match won when Axel & Bo Dallas interfered and started a 3 on 1 attack on JJ. That brought out the Hardy’s, and if the Revival didn’t get hurt, we probably would’ve gotten a badass Revival/Hardy’s match at Summerslam. Instead the Hardy’s have been added to the Miz-Tourage/Jordan feud, and the 6 man tonight was actually pretty fun. Jason Jordan continued to look great in the ring, and while his theme song is still the shits and the crowd isn’t into him yet, there’s only so many times you can watch him suplex guys out of their shoes and zip across the ring to spear guys before you start rooting for him.

The last couple minutes of this match were super fun, and my only issue with this is that The Miz continues to look awful. It’s one thing to get eaten alive by Brock Lesnar, but it’s another to get your ass handed to you by Jason Jordan. I understand wanting Jordan to look strong, but doing it at the expense of your only mid card champion is not the right call. They should be building up The Miz & JJ simultaneously, so if/when JJ wins the title, he’s beating someone worthy.

The Main Event

Brock Lesnar will defend his Universal title against Braun Strowman, Samoa Joe & Roman Reigns at Summerslam. As a preview for that main event, the main event of Raw was a face off of sorts between the four men. Heyman & Lesnar opened up the segment and sold the match like only they could. The stipulation of Lesnar leaving the WWE if he loses mixed with the real life story of Lesnar heading back to the UFC as soon as he legally can make this match one of the more unpredictable main events WWE have put on this year. Lesnar can lose the title without being pinned or submitted, which is always ideal, and I can picture scenarios where Strowman, Reigns & Joe win. Lesnar could always pull out a win too, but I don’t think that’s going to happen. After Joe & Strowman came out to talk some trash, Reigns joined the party and decided to spear Samoa Joe instead of talking on the microphone. No nonsense Roman is always the best kind of Roman, and Raw went off the air with the locker room trying to separate Braun and Brock.

Besides showing their hand with two matches that will be on the Summerslam card, this was a solid go home show for the WWE. Make sure to check back here Friday morning for our official Summerslam preview.

-Ryan

WWE RAW Review (7/24/17): Team Gag Reflex

Photo: WWE

Gather round, wrestling fans. We’re back with the most efficient three hour pro wrestling TV show review in all of the internets. If you’re interested in last week’s write up, you can find that here.

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 July 24th, 2017 Raw review.

Kurt Angle, Dad of the Year

Raw opened this week with general manager Kurt Angle humble bragging about having sex in college, which resulted in him fathering a legitimate division I amateur wrestler who is now a 6’3 250 pound super athlete. Angle announced that Jordan will have his Raw debut tonight, and then attempted to move onto planning the main event of Summerslam. Since this a Raw opening segment, Angle is interrupted three times by three different people: Braun Strowman, Roman Reigns & Samoa Joe.

They all believe they should fight Brock Lesnar for the Universal title at Summerslam, and they all end up getting their wish, as Angle made a Fatal 4 Way main event for the biggest party of the summer. After all the talking, the three challengers to Lesnar’s title decided to start fighting each other, which brought out security guards and half of the locker room. The highlight of the segment for me was Braun launching this security guard into outer space:

While this definitely didn’t need 20 minutes to be set up, I am glad that they’re going with a 4 way at Summerslam. Lesnar doesn’t give a shit about 99% of his matches, so at least we have three guys in there who are going to wrestle like they’re in the main event of a major pay per view.

The Eater of Demons

Elias Samson and Finn Balor have great chemistry, and have had solid matches every time they’ve been paired up. Unfortunately they’ve been paired up A LOT lately, as this is the third straight Raw where they’ve faced other. It defies logic, because there are plenty of other guys for these two to face if you want to simultaneously build them up (cough Goldust cough cough). Why have them face each other three weeks in a row? Again, the match is good, but I’m already sick of watching these two fight. Don’t make me hate Finn Balor vs. Elias Samson, WWE.

Samson does some solid work on Balor’s shoulder, but Finn’s offense is almost entirely feet based, so he has no trouble hitting his running drop kick and the Coup De Gras. Before he can pickup the victory, teleportation master Bray Wyatt showed up and hit him with Sister Abigail, allowing Samson to pick up the win. I should be way more into Balor/Wyatt, but they’ve really trained us to expect the worst with Wyatt’s character, so I’m treading carefully. With that said, the timing of the lights coming back on to show Balor in Wyatt’s arms for Sister Abigail was tremendous.

Enzo vs. Cass, Groundhog Day Edition

Speaking of redundant, Cass beats the piss out of Enzo again, proving…nothing? Cass beat Enzo at Battleground. Cass got beat up a little by Big Show on the following Raw. Cass beat up Big Show last week. Cass beat up Enzo again last night. Who is this helping, exactly? I know it’d be asking too much to have everyone come out of this feud looking better than when it started, but the goal should not be for everyone to tread water. I’m not sure what this says about me, but the highlight of the segment was after Cass beat Enzo, he verbally threatened to snap Enzo’s neck if the Big Show entered the ring. That’s some cold blooded shit. Join us next week when Enzo takes on Cass.

Give Emma A Chance

Earlier in the night, Emma approached Kurt Angle asking for an opportunity. Angle seemed upset by this for some reason, and gave Emma a match against Nia Jax. Nia kills Emma, because we can’t build up multiple women at the same time, and anyone who wants an opportunity should immediately be punished. WWE likes to forget that Emma and Paige were the pioneers of women’s wrestling in NXT. I understand not mentioning Paige at this time, but Emma is on your roster ready to shake shit up. Bayley and Sasha Banks don’t have to be the only two women fighting for a chance at the title. I think Emma explains it here better than I ever could:

Purple Ropes Action

The Cruiserweight division didn’t even get an actual match this week, but at least they’re attempting to build multiple guys at once. Akira Tozawa lost to Neville at GBOF, but felt like he was due a rematch because Neville kicked the ropes into his nuts. In the meantime, Tozawa has been fighting Ariya Daivari, who has made it his mission to destroy Tozawa’s shoulder. While all this is going on, Titus O’Neil is trying to protect 1 of the 2 members of the Titus Brand, so he figuratively threw in the towel during Tozawa & Daivari’s match last week and he had the rematch scheduled for last night canceled.

Tozawa was not happy about this, so he demanded Daivari come out and fight him, which brought out the aforementioned nut kicker Neville. Tozawa bested Neville and hit his top rope Senton, which brought out Daivari to pick up the scraps and hit two vicious clotheslines on both Tozawa and Neville. There’s a lot happening in this storyline, but it also feels like nothing is happening. They don’t even have a match here, but based on Daivari’s attack, it looks like we’re headed for a triple threat match at Summerslam.

Team Gag Reflex

Before we get to the Sasha/Bayley #1 contenders match (which I really enjoyed) I have to mention Alexa’s ‘team gag reflex’ comment. If there is one group of people I don’t trust with using ‘team gag reflex’ to describe two female wrestlers, it’s Vince McMahon and the Raw writing team. Let’s just drop that name immediately. Back to the match – it’s the best match on the show by a mile, and if you needed a reason for Sasha to turn heel, just watch this match.

They don’t wrestle like best friends; they wrestle like there’s a #1 contenders spot on the line, and Bayley & Sasha are so much better in the ring when they’re enemies and not best buddies. Bayley’s best character trait is her ability to garner sympathy, but that’s not possible when her friend Sasha Banks is always saving the day. If you position Sasha as her old Boss character, that leaves Bayley on her own as the underdog with the heart of gold.

As much as I loved the match, I wasn’t a fan of the result, mainly because they’re rewarding Bayley almost immediately after she already lost the title to Bliss. The announce team was talking about how this is a different Bayley than the one we saw at Extreme Rules, but that’s just not true. How is she different? She took one pay per view off, was immediately put into a #1 contenders match because she pinned the women’s champion in a few tag matches, and now she’s #1 contender again. There was no journey. She’s just one of the two women you’ve decided should be in the title picture, and telling us she’s changed without showing us how she’s changed is not cutting it. This would be an ideal spot for Emma, mainly because it would give Bayley some time out of the title picture to work on her character. Instead, they have Emma get murdered and give Bayley another title shot. Good match, wrong result.

Jason Jordan

Kurt Angle’s super human love child Jason Jordan had his Raw debut last night, and it was a quick, impressive win over Curt Hawkins. If you’ve watched any of American Alpha’s matches over the last few years, you know how impressive Jordan can be, but it’ll be interesting to see how he transitions into a singles star. I think it’ll be similar to how Roman Reigns went from the hot tag machine in The Shield to a singles guy, as Jordan was really only asked to come in like a house of fire and murder dudes with suplexes and spears. It’s hard not to get excited when you see the intensity that Jordan wrestles with, and when you combine that with his actual amateur wrestling ability, you have the makings of a future star.

The Revival vs. The Club

For the second straight week we got a Revival tag team match, which is always a positive. They immediately improve the quality of the tag team division, and if they can motivate The Club to be an actual interesting tag team then Raw will have four solid teams to work with. Cesaro & Sheamus weren’t featured for the second week in a row which was a little odd, but it’s also not the worst thing letting these three teams duke it out to see who should fight for the tag titles. The distraction finish is always going to be lame, especially when the ‘good guys’ are the ones doing the distracting, but it was a competitive match before The Hardy’s showed up. If any combination of these three teams plus Cesaro & Sheamus are given 10-15 minutes to have fun tag matches going forward, I’m in.

The Miz-Tourage vs. The Brothers Without Banners

The 3 on 2 handicap main event featuring the Miz-Tourage against Ambrose & Rollins was a fun match that really picked up towards the end. The finish was never in doubt, but Rollins and Ambrose used actual teamwork to win which is always a plus. If Ambrose & Miz are going to continue their forever feud, adding Rollins would at least freshen things up, especially if they’re headed towards a triple threat IC title match at Summerslam. Ambrose & Rollins have also done good character work the past few weeks, and I appreciate them acknowledging their past and not just being best buds because they have a common enemy. That Shield breakup cut deep, and just because Rollins has been trustworthy the past two weeks doesn’t mean Ambrose is ready to summon the powers of their collective fists again.

That’s it for this week’s show. As always, comment below with your thoughts or tweet us @averagenobodies. See you next week!

-Ryan

 

 

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