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Five Stars Of WWE Raw 12/11/17

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

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

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

5. Samoa Joe

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

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

4. Finn Balor

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

3. Seth Rollins vs. Sheamus

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

2. Cesaro vs. Roman Reigns

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

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

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

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

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

Supplementary Stars

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

-Ryan

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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

WWE Raw 11/27/17: Five Stars

WWE Raw

Photo: WWE

WWE RAW 11/27/17

WWE Raw was live from Knoxville, Tennessee last night in the same arena where John Cena beat Bray Wyatt in 2014. Some things don’t change. In lieu of a full review of a 3 hour pro wrestling show, I’m going to spotlight the five best moments/matches/wrestlers from last night’s show.

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 November 27th, 2017 edition of WWE Raw.

5. The IC Title Open Challenge & Reigns vs. Elias

The one thing I wanted from a Roman Reigns IC title run was for him to go full Cena and issue open challenges. When Cena was US champ he did more for that title than anyone else before or after him. It was a great use of a main event guy who didn’t need the title making the title prestigious. Reigns open Raw with a promo where he challenged anyone in the locker room to a title match. The first man up was Elias, and I loved it for a few reasons.

First – Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel still have a TV role while Miz films Marine 26: Lost in Space. If you aren’t’ sure why that’s a good thing, watch the second video above. Second – Elias has been one of the best surprises of 2017, but he hasn’t had much direction lately. By pairing him up with Dallas & Axel & giving him a shot at the IC title, it gives him a story and a possible feud with Miz when he returns.

While it’s great to give Elias a shot like this, it would all be for naught if he didn’t deliver. Luckily for Elias and the fans, he looked outstanding in his match against Reigns. Roman has the WWE formula of a ‘big time’ match down to a science, and I loved that Elias delivered most of the offense. Even though everyone in the building knew Roman was winning, they still put together a great match with some solid near falls. Elias looked great, the IC title looked like a title people should want and the fans got a competitive, clean match.

As long as Reigns’ reign doesn’t end with Alberto Del Rio returning and taking the strap, his IC title run should be a huge success.

4. Cesaro vs. Seth Rollins

My only issue with The Bar/Ambrose & Rollins feud is that they’re using singles matches to build to a tag title match. It would make more sense to have both teams looks good in tag team matches versus other teams, but ‘making sense’ & ‘WWE’ don’t always coexist. The match itself was great though, and it was refreshing to see these two fight with no one at ringside. I know Ambrose was on his honeymoon and Sheamus was in Dublin, but WWE has programmed me to pay more attention to people outside the ring than in it.

Cesaro and Rollins could have a good match blindfolded, but this match had a good pace to it, and I enjoyed Cesaro working Rollins’ back and almost winning with the sharpshooter. It was the second best on the show behind Reigns/Elias and I’m looking forward to the tag title match next week.

3. Samoa Joe Forever

I’ve written this before, but I adore Samoa Joe competitive squash matches. He did it in NXT and has continued the trend on the main roster. When you look at Samoa Joe vs. Titus O’Neil on paper, it looks like a giant mismatch. Instead of Joe just walking over Titus, he lets Titus get in a good amount of hard hitting offense. That makes Titus look good, especially after Joe has choked him out multiple times. It also makes Joe look good because it shows he can take offense from a 6’6 270 pounder and still recover for a decisive win.

While the win over Titus was nice, the best Samoa Joe moment happened after Reigns defeated Elias:

Reigns issuing the open challenge at the beginning of Raw gave us a great match and direction for someone who needed it (Elias) and a new, worthy challenger (Joe). I’m all in for a Reigns/Joe IC title blood feud, especially if Roman is eventually going to move onto Lesnar during WrestleMania season.

2. Absolutely Asuka

My favorite part of Absolution (the official name of Paige, Mandy & Daria’s death squad) is how it gave each woman in the division much needed character alignment. Absolution is supposed to take on Sasha, Bayley & Mickie James, but they take out Bayley & Mickie pre match. Alexa Bliss is on commentary but she wants no part of Absolution, so when they stalk Sasha, she bails. Bliss is the anti Reigns in the sense that she’d be happy being the champion forever and never having to defend it, so she’s all for Absolution destroying people. While I like Sasha better as a cocky heel, the crowd loves her, so making her the ‘against all odds’ baby face makes sense.

Later in the show Asuka beats Dana Brooke in literally three seconds. After the match Absolution comes out for what looks like another 3 on 1 attack, but they decide against it. Could Absolution take out Asuka 3 on 1? Probably. Should they take her out to prove a point and then have an angry killing machine hunting their every move? Probably not. Absolution wanted Asuka to know they’re always lurking, but aren’t ready to start an all out war with the one woman who could take them all out. It’s a smart play for Absolution and it distinguishes Asuka as the only woman on the roster too dangerous to attack 3 on 1.

1. Cruiserweights

I’m not sure who finally decided to give the cruiserweights something to do, but bless their heart. Kurt Angle set up a mini tournament to crown the #1 contender for Enzo’s cruiserweight championship, and it’s a perfect multi week story for the division. The four minute 3 on 3 or 4 on 4 matches weren’t helping anybody, so fatal 4 ways are a huge upgrade. The cruiserweight division has so much talent that I’m not sure why they aren’t doing these types of matches every week, but I’ll take this match and the one next week as a start.

Rich Swann was the obvious star out of the four and he was long overdue for a spotlight win. All four guys looked good and more importantly were given enough time, which is all you ask for with the cruiserweights. Next week’s 4 way should be interesting, as I’d think they’d want to have Swann versus a member of the Zo Train to build some type of story for the #1 contender’s match in two weeks.

Supplementary Stars: Bray Wyatt & Matt Hardy

I didn’t want to include Bray Wyatt & Matt Hardy on this list because of how often WWE screws up Wyatt’s character. The post match “breakdown” of Hardy gives me some hope though, as does Matt’s tweet:

Is this Hardy’s and WWE’s way of getting around the Broken lawsuit? If it is and Hardy/Wyatt join forces, I’m all in. If this leads to a one on one feud that Wyatt 1000% loses, I will set my computer on fire.

-Ryan

Five Stars From WWE Raw 11/20/17

WWE Raw

Photo: WWE

It’s about time Roman Reigns caught a break.

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.

WWE Raw was live last night from Houston, Texas, the same city and venue that hosted Sunday night’s Survivor Series. Survivor Series was a tale of two shows as certain matches were great (Shield/New Day, Lesnar/Styles) and others not so great (men’s and women’s 5 on 5). But hey, any time you can make HHH punk out guys on both Raw and Smackdown and pick up the win in the main event of a pay per view in 2017 you have to do it, right?

The best thing about WWE is that whether you loved or hated a pay per view, the next night there is always a Raw to keep things rolling. Instead of a traditional review, I’m going to pick out the five best things from last night and hopefully get a good old fashioned pro wrestling discussion started.

5. Samoa Joe

It’s so refreshing having a motivated, bad ass Samoa Joe back on Raw. While it would be nice for Joe’s success to not be at the expense of Finn Balor, victories like last night do sky rocket him up the title contender ladder. The biggest compliment I can give Joe is that everything he does has a purpose. His goal for every match is to lock the Coquina Clutch on his opponent, because when it’s locked on tight there is no escape. Finn and Joe have great chemistry dating back to their NXT days, and while this match isn’t going to blow anybody away, it was crisp and served it’s purpose.

In an era where everyone does the suicide dive through the middle rope, Joe’s might be the best. Not only does he dive through the rope, but he winds up mid dive and finishes it off with a stiff forearm shot. He wore Balor down enough so that when the Coquina Clutch was locked in, Balor was incapacitated and TKO’d. Great opening match.

4. Asuka

I wasn’t a fan of either 5 on 5 match at Survivor Series, but I am glad that Asuka eliminated three members of Team Smackdown and won the match for Team Raw. That was such a layup decision that I’m not going to give WWE any credit for it, though. I’m glad that Asuka is steam rolling through the women’s division, and last night’s match against Dana Brooke is a great example of how she should look from here on out.

Asuka should not just be another member of the women’s division. She should be the one that everyone else fears, and she should stay undefeated, win the women’s title from whichever unlucky soul has it, and then keep winning forever. She’s so good and unique and I love the tweak to her entrance where the arena goes dark and her mask appears on the screen before her music hits. The crowd is already into it, so let’s keep this gravy train rolling and turn Asuka into a cult hero.

3. Paige, Mandy Rose & Sonya Deville

During the women’s fatal 4 way number one contender’s match, we heard a familiar screech that has been missing from the women’s division for far too long. Paige made her long awaited return, and at first I thought it was odd to come out and cut a promo during an actual match. Thankfully it all made sense in the end, as Paige brought NXT’s Mandy Rose & Sonya Deville along with her to send a message. Deville is a former MMA fighter who also appeared on Tough Enough and had been with NXT since late 2015. Rose is a former bodybuilding and fitness competitor who appeared on the same Tough Enough as Deville and has also been with NXT since late 2015.

Since the brand split the women’s divisions on both shows have been extremely thin, so adding three women in one segment was a smart move. Plus, you’re bringing in newcomers Deville and Rose alongside a household name like Paige, which will ease their transition to the main roster. I also like bringing in some NXT stars that don’t have a track record in NXT, as it gives them a clean slate on whichever show they appear on. The women’s division needed a little chaos thrown in, and this segment plus their backstage attack on Bliss were two steps in the right direction.

2. Roman Reigns

I don’t love the title change in the main event, but with Rollins and Ambrose back to battling The Bar, Reigns needed some type of direction. His two lifelong enemies are either feuding with Kane (Strowman) or dead (Wyatt) so it made sense to send him after the only other singles title on the show. Reigns is becoming the master of the WWE style title match, and while a lot of this match had to do with the brilliance of Miz, Reigns is still very good in the ring. The only thing I ask moving forward is for Reigns to turn into John Cena when he won the US title and defend the IC title as much as possible. He’ll win all of the matches, but he’ll also elevate whoever challenges him.

1. The Miz, Always

Since early June Miz has been the IC champion, and while he hasn’t defended as often as he should have (or wanted to) he and the Miz-Tourage have been one of the best parts of Raw for awhile. Whether it’s Miz TV or being in the main event of Raw or pay per views, Miz has consistently delivered, and I was sad to see him lose the strap last night. I love him, Axel and Dallas and hope that they continue to be an important part of Raw. I’m going to assume that Roman will be champ for at least a little while, but once the time comes for him to move on to bigger things (Brock Lesnar), I wouldn’t hate Miz getting a chance for his 8th reign as IC champ.

-Ryan

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 Released A GREAT Behind The Scenes Look At Kurt Angle’s Return To The Ring

Life is funny sometimes. 17 years ago on October 22, 2000, Kurt Angle beat The Rock to win his first WWE championship. 17 years later on October 22, 2017, he was teaming up with Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose as an honorary member of The Shield in a TLC match. Angle didn’t have to do much heavy lifting in the match, but it was still great to see him back inside a WWE ring. WWE also released a cool behind the scenes video of the hours leading up to his return, because WWE is better at this wrestling thing than anyone else. Enjoy.

-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

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