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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

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Five Matches That’ll Steal The Show at WWE Survivor Series

Survivor Series

Photo: WWE

WWE will hold it’s 31st annual Survivor Series pay per view on Sunday night, and they have put together quite a card. Since the launch of the WWE Network most of the big 4 PPV’s haven’t had an issue going 4+ hours, and Sunday’s show will not be an exception. There are 8 matches announced, but I decided to look at five of those matches that have the potential to blow the roof (figuratively) of the Toyota Center and steal the 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.

Alexa Bliss vs. Charlotte

Survivor Series

Photo: WWE

While the Alexa Bliss/Natalya match would’ve probably been good, the Bliss/Charlotte bout is a huge upgrade. That’s not a knock on Natalya, either. Charlotte is an upgrade over anybody on the Smackdown women’s roster, and she and Bliss have the two best characters in the women’s division at the moment. The odd thing about these champion versus champion matches is that their isn’t much of a feud to base it on, but when you have two great characters, it really doesn’t matter. Both of these women are supremely confident and skilled, and neither one will want to give an inch.

One very cool twist heading into this match is Carmella and her MITB briefcase. While she no longer has her lackey James Ellsworth to do her dirty work, she could take advantage of a tired Charlotte after this match and finally cash in. My prediction is for Charlotte to defeat Alexa and have Carmella cash in post match.

Cesaro & Sheamus vs. The Uso’s

Survivor Series

Photo: WWE

There are a few matches on this card that were changed last minute, and this might be the only that wasn’t changed for the better. The Uso’s vs. Ambrose & Rollins would have been a great face/heel matchup, but with the title change last week they’ll now face Cesaro and Sheamus. While this is a heel vs. heel match, I think the skill set of both teams will outweigh any alignment concerns. The only question is who will the crowd root for? My bet is for Cesaro and Sheamus, who can easily switch between heel and face depending on the style of match they wrestle. The Uso’s are way too good at being bad guys to switch anything up, so I can see the crowd getting behind Cesaro and Sheamus.

These are two of the best tag teams in the WWE and I’m looking forward to seeing what kind of match they put together. My prediction is for a no decision due to some outside interference by a new team. Authors of Pain perhaps?

The Shield vs. The New Day

Survivor Series

Photo: WWE

Cesaro & Sheamus winning the Raw tag titles might have diminished the champion vs. champion tag match, but it gave us The Shield vs. The New Day, so I’ll consider that a win. This will be The Shield’s first match together in over three years, and while Reigns illness forced WWE to call an audible at TLC, this matchup is more exciting. My favorite thing about this is how improved Xavier Woods has been thanks to the Uso’s feud. The Shield are a solid three man team with no weak links, while New Day was always looked at as Kofi and Big E being the A team while Xavier Woods played the trombone on the outside. After the New Day/Uso’s feud, Woods has come into his own and makes the New Day more dangerous than ever.

It wouldn’t make much sense to have The Shield lose their first match back together, so I’m going with Reigns, Ambrose and Rollins.

Team Raw vs. Team Smackdown (Men)

Survivor Series

Photo: WWE

I think Robbie Fox put it best on Twitter when he said this match is basically the same as hitting randomize teams on WWE 2K18. The allure of having Asuka beat Team Smackdown by herself almost made me put the women’s match on this list, but then I remembered Tamina was in the match and just couldn’t do it. This match is insanely unpredictable, and encompasses so many different feuds.

Team captains Kurt Angle and Shane McMahon have an almost 20 year rivalry. Roode and Nakamura feuded together in NXT and are on the same team. Same goes for Samoa Joe and Finn Balor. Orton, Cena and HHH have been each other’s throats for over a decade. Braun Strowman wants to destroy every living creature on planet Earth. There’s so much happening in this match it’s almost impossible to analyze.

The one thing I keep coming back to is HHH. He inserted himself into this match and pedigreed Angle’s son Jason Jordan on Monday. Unless WWE doesn’t care about Jordan and wants him to look like a chump, he has to do something to disrupt this match. I’m not really sure why HHH is even in the match, but I can see Jordan getting involved. If WWE really wants to make things interesting, they would have Jordan side with HHH (and chalk up Monday to a misdirect between HHH/Jordan) and have JJ cost his papa the match. That sounds so good I’m going to make that my prediction.

Brock Lesnar vs. AJ Styles

Survivor Series

Photo: WWE

Of all the matches that were changed at the last minute, this is the most improved one. No amount of Paul Heyman promo time could have gotten me excited for Brock Lesnar vs. Jinder Mahal, but I’d watch Lesnar vs. AJ Styles even if you told me it’d result in you chopping off my feet. This is one of the dream matches pretty much every wrestling fan has wanted to see, and I can picture it going one of two ways.

Version 1 sees Lesnar bring his working boots and put on a classic Brock Lesnar vs. a smaller guy match. Styles hasn’t had a bad match during his 10 month run since joining WWE, so you’ll know he’ll bring it, but the question mark is always Lesnar. Version 2 is Lesnar sleep walking through this match, and even though Styles could still put together something great, it won’t be as good as it should’ve been.

I hope we get a good to great one on one match, but if WWE wants to make a legit heel, they would have Mahal screw this match up somehow. I can’t imagine anyone was going to tune into this show to watch Mahal fight, but if he robs us of AJ Styles vs. Brock Lesnar, I will hunt him down and rob him of everything he loves. The only prediction I have for this match is that Styles won’t win clean. Either a Lesnar victory or a Mahal distraction/DQ seems like the way to go.

-Ryan

 

Sting Defied Authority And Finally Debuted In The WWE At Survivor Series Last Night

After what seemed like forever, the man they call Sting finally made his long awaited debut to the WWE last night, costing The Authority their survivor series elimination match and knocking HHH and Stephanie McMahon out of power. Storylines and wrestling talk aside, this was absolutely awesome. The word ‘icon’ and ‘legend’ gets thrown out a lot in wrestling because it’s not like other sports that rely on stats to determine how great players were. If you wrestled for a reasonable amount of time and won some championships you can declare yourself a legend, and that’s your right. Sting has been in the industry for close to 30 years, and to finally see him debut in the WWE in such a major way was one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen in a WWE ring. The next best thing about this debut is what it sets up. The Authority, at least for the time being, is out of power. No more long winded, 25 minute promos to start Raw. No more Corporate Kane (hopefully). But what will happen to Seth Rollins, Luke Harper, Rusev, Mark Henry and the Big Show? Who will be the new Authority? The reason fans are always looking for a new debut or a swerve to end a pay per view is because of all the change it brings. Even if we don’t see Sting again for a few months, his 5 minute introduction to the WWE Universe changed EVERYTHING. I’d be perfectly fine with him staying off WWE TV for awhile until HHH comes back and challenges him to a WrestleMania match. In the meantime, changes are a comin’ in the WWE, and I haven’t been this excited for Raw in a long, long time.

– Ryan

Your Average WWE Survivor Series Preview & Predictions

WWE’s second longest running pay per view is this Sunday in St. Louis. Compared to Hell in a Cell, the build for most of these matches have been very good. The headliner is Team Cena vs. Team Authority, but we also have a few title matches and a grudge match that should steal the show. Fandango is also on the pre show fighting TBA. Is everyone excited for another Fandango push? Remember, you can watch it on the WWE Network for $9.9…actually it’s free this month. Let’s get to the predictions!

Nikki Bella vs. AJ Lee (C) – Divas Championship Match

If you haven’t been paying attention to WWE TV, Nikki Bella beat her sister Brie at Hell in a Cell and Brie is now Nikki’s assistant for 30 days. Paige lost to AJ Lee at Hell in a Cell and is now in a fight to the death with Alicia Fox and the other Total Diva’s. That leaves AJ vs. Nikki (with Brie) for our Diva’s Title match. Sunday ends in the letter Y, which means we’re going to hear rumors about AJ leaving the WWE, and while those are probably just rumors, I think Nikki wins here. The end game of this Bella feud has to end with champion Nikki facing challenger Brie, with Brie getting revenge on her sister and winning the Divas title.

Winner: Nikki Bella. Brie’s 30 day internship from hell is almost up, and when the Bella feud finally does resume, I’d like it to be centered around the Diva’s title.

Natalya & Emma & Naomi & Alicia Fox vs. Summer Rae & Cameron & Paige & Layla – Diva’s Survivor Series Elimination Match

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If there were ever a match in the history of professional wrestling that could end in a draw, it would be this one. I really don’t know which team is going to win here, mostly because half of these Diva’s have not been on WWE TV consistently for awhile. My heart, mind and eyes are going with Team Summer Rae Lay Cam Paige, but I hate rooting for Cameron. I’d rather Hornswoggle be the WWE Champion than watch something nice happen to Cameron. If we’re going on momentum alone, I think Summer Rae’s team wins. Emma has not won a match since the Reagan administration, Alicia Fox alternates between losing to Paige and AJ, and Naomi has been losing to Cameron, which has to be the worst feeling in the world. Natalya could be their saving grace, but it seems WWE is more interested in her role as Tyson Kidd’s manager/cat watcher (and I don’t blame them. The Natalya/Tyson storyline is great).

Winner: Team Summer Rae Lay Cam Paige. And they all lived happily ever after.

Gold/Star Dust vs. The Uso’s vs. Miz & Mizdow vs. Los Matadores – Fatal 4 Way WWE Tag Team Championship Match

There are two ways this match can go: Gold and Stardust retain, and begin a feud with the Miz and Mizdow, or Miz and Mizdow win, and begin a feud with Gold and Stardust. The champs are the best team in this match, and they’re trying their very best to get the tag team division on the map. Miz & Mizdow are probably the best thing going in WWE right now, and the fans deserve to see a tag team title run with these two before the inevitable split. The Uso’s are The Uso’s: they’re going to slap their legs and jump over the top rope, but I’ve been sick of them since Summerslam. Los Matadores have been coming on strong lately, but I still view them as a secondary tag team, and if you’re really trying to establish your tag team division as top notch, Los Matadores as champs is not the answer.

Winner: Miz and Mizdow. Mizdow is my spirit animal right now, and it’s about time he had a real title to hold (although the fake IC belt was glorious). Miz is at his best with someone else to play off of, and who better than a guy who plays his character better than anyone else on the roster. I expect Gold and  Stardust to stay in the fold as challengers for the belts, but Sunday is Mizdow’s time to shine.

Dean Ambrose vs. Bray Wyatt

When Bray Wyatt came back at Hell in a Cell and cost Ambrose his match with Rollins, I was ready for an old school feud with a classic promo duel. That’s…not exactly what we got. I love Bray Wyatt. His presentation is unmatched and he’s getting better in the ring. BUT, his promos are now his downfall. When he originally debuted with  the Wyatt Family, his in ring/backstage sermons were awesome. We hadn’t seen someone consistently deliver meaningful promos like Wyatt did in a long time, if ever. Unfortunately, every big feud he was put in, he lost. So his meaningful promos about how he was going to “change people” or how he wanted them to “see the monster inside themselves” sounded like bullshit. When he re debuted at HIAC, I was hoping the message in his promos would change a bit, especially since he was going up against a loose cannon like Dean Ambrose. You’re not going to change Dean Ambrose. You don’t have to tell him you understand him or that he’s a monster just like you. The only thing Dean Ambrose listens to is physicality. Wyatt stopped Ambrose from finally getting revenge on his best friend who turned his back on him and stepped on the back on his head while his face was laying on cinderblocks. Does Bray Wyatt really think Dean Ambrose is going to hang out and listen to a 5 minute promo after that? Ambrose is going to come in guns blazing, which is why Wyatt should have been attacking Ambrose from behind, then delivering his message. If Ambrose is upright, he’s going to fight, plain and simple. I hope this isn’t a one and done match for these two, and no one needs a big win right now more than Wyatt. With Rollins most likely feuding with Orton upon his return, I think keeping these two paired together is something that will really pay off for the WWE.

Winner: Bray Wyatt. It could be a clean win, or maybe The Ascension finally debut as Wyatt’s cronies. These two should tear each other apart, and it should be fun to see Wyatt involved in his first PPV match since Summerslam. Ambrose doesn’t need to win, which is the beauty of his character. He gets a lot of moral victories because he kicks the crap out of his opponents. Wyatt on the other hand, can’t lose clean, so I’m going with the swamp master.

Team Authority (Seth Rollins, Rusev, Mark Henry, Kane, Luke Harper & Cesaro (?)) vs. Team Cena (John Cena, Ryback, Erik Rowan, Big Show & Dolph Ziggler) – Traditional Survivor Series Elimination Match

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The added stipulations for this match are 1. If Team Cena wins, The Authority is out of power and 2. If The Authority wins, everyone on Team Cena EXCEPT John Cena is fired. I’m no wrestling genius, but if it walks like a duck, and it talks like a duck, it’s probably a duck. The duck in this case being Team Cena turning on John Cena and beating the ever loving crap out of him. It helps that ever member on Team Cena has been an enemy of John Cena at one point or another. Technically you can say that about the entire roster, but if I was Cena, I wouldn’t be too comfortable with my team. If The Authority wins, Cena would probably disappear for a bit, which would be a risky move by the WWE, especially while some major players are out with injuries/filming movies, but it would be the right call. Let Rollins, Ambrose, Wyatt, Cesaro, Rusev carry the torch while Barrett, Reigns and Orton will be back by December/January. Give Cena time off to do his Hollywood thing, then he can come back and cash in his #1 contender win at HIAC to face Lesnar. Right now, they should be showcasing the shit out of their young guns leading into WrestleMania season. Cena is not going to be around forever, so the quicker the WWE establishes legitimate stars the better off they’ll be in the long run. The only problem with this is it requires John Cena to lose in the main event of a pay per view. The flip side is Team Cena winning, The Authority being out of power and someone else taking over Monday Night Raw. Vince? Cena? The heir to the authoritative throne could be anyone, and while that could be a fun storyline, I don’t trust WWE that much.

Winner: Team Authority. This is my heart winning out over my mind, as I also predicted Randy Orton to beat Cena at HIAC and become the #1 contender. LOL.

– Ryan

 

 

 

 

The WWE Network (And Surivor Series) Are Now Free For the Month of November

First of all, Vinnie Mac looking as good as ever. Secondly, this is a major announcement by the WWE. WWE had their third quarter financial call today and the WWE Network numbers are clearly not where they want them to be, so they had to make some kind of change. Before we get into that, it boggles my mind that the Network subscriber numbers are low. I subscribed to the WWE Network the day it was available and it’s gotten better every day since. They release new content EVERY DAY, and literally have something for every type of fan. Do you like the behind the scenes stories? They have dozens of documentaries, including their DVD releases and WWE Network exclusive documentaries including WrestleMania Rewind, Monday Night Wars and Legend Roundtables. They have PPV’s from every major promotion from every era, so they have the biggest moments from the NWA, WWE, WCW, ECW, Georgia Championship Wrestling, WCCW and every other major promotion. If you’re a wrestling fan, you need the Network. They shouldn’t have to try and sell this thing, but they have to, because wrestling fans are honestly some of the oddest people in the universe. Anyway, back to the announcement. I haven’t watched a WWE PPV for free since I was a little kid and my dad had the black box that let you watch the pay per view channels for free. Not only do you get all their content for free for 30 days, but you get the Survivor Series pay per view as well. WWE also announced in an email to all subscribers that starting in December, a 6 month commitment is no longer necessary. They have to do whatever they can to entice more subscribers to try out the Network, and I hope it works. I’ve been a WWE fan for a long time, and the Network is an awesome tool to appreciate the past, present and future of wrestling. Good luck, Vince.

– Ryan

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