Hey, what’s good everybody. This is Dre (better known by a majority of you guys as Xavier). Just wanna say that I’m truly honored to be apart “Wrestle Royalty” with a lot of familiar faces. I’m truly excited to be recapping RAW for you guys and look forward to hearing your guys’ feedback. With all that said let’s get too it, RAW was pretty eventful tonight so I don’t waste anymore time.
MIZ TV WITH MIZ, CESARO, SHEAMUS & CURTIS AXEL:
This was yet another excellent addition of Miz TV. He left off right where he left off last last week with the taunting and mocking of the Shield. I got a real kick out of Miz gloating about retaining the IC Championship, handing out awards to The Bar, and even mockingly thanking Roman Reigns for making it all possible. I’m sure I’ve said this million times but no one understands how to draw great on themselves while giving the other guy the rub the way Miz does and this is why I say he’s the best heel in the industry. Anyway one of the highlights of this segment (for me anyway) was hearing fans chant “YOU DESERVE IT” at Curtis Axel when Miz handed him his award. I got a good laugh out of that.
As soon as Roman made an appearance it was pretty clear that Ambrose and Rollins wouldn’t be to far behind him to make the Shield reunion official. I loved how Rollins, Reigns & Ambrose took a moment to soak in the cheers from the fans before rushing the ring, it was truly was a good moment. It was even better seeing the hounds of justice deliver their trademark triple powerbomb on the Miz to end the segment.
My only pet peeve with this segment (and it’s only a minor one) is that after Roman responded to Miz’ comments with “Rumors, who said anything about Rumors?” that we didn’t get to hear “SIERRA HOTEL INDIA ECHO” with Ambrose and Rollins coming through the crowd to help Roman surround the ring. But that’s just me nitpicking a bit. This whole segment came together really well and helped kick off what was a really good episode of RAW on Monday night.
JASON JORDAN VS KARL ANDERSON:
This was a decent match that saw Jordan pick up the win as expected. Despite the fact that Jordan hasn’t really been able to develop much of a personality, he’s proven that he definitely has the in ring ability to a big time player when and if he’s able to round out the other aspects of his game.
Did anyone else notice throughout the match that on commentary that Corey (the was the one defending the push of Jordan while Booker was accusing Jordan of being handed opportunities while implying he didn’t deserve them? It’s one of the disconnects I feel fans are having with this current commentary team. From one week to the next it’s hard to decipher who’s suppose to the face and who’s suppose to be the heel sometimes.
BACKSTAGE SEGMENT WITH THE MIZ, CURTIS AXEL & KURT ANGLE
Can’t say a whole lot happened here. Angle pretty much interrupted Miz while he was being iced down to tell Miz that him and The Bar would be facing The Shield at TLC in a TLC match
WHO WANTS TO WALK WITH ELIAS
This started out okay. Elias came out to perform again then was cut off by Titus who came out with a banjo. I was intrigued at first until I actually heard Titus sing and play lol. He tried to do his best Syd Barrett impression but ended up sounding like Cleveland Brown from the Cleveland show. In other words I thought this whole segment fell really flat and was actually kind of awkward.
ELIAS VS APOLLO CREWS: 6/10
If you’ve seen any of other matches then you’d pretty know what to expect here. Crews got in some offense but Elias inevitably took control and picked up the easy win.
IN RING SEGMENT WITH ENZO:
It’s segments like this that prove that creative made the right call in moving Enzo into the cruiserweight division. It’s very clear how much more invested fans are in the division then they were 2-3 months ago.
Enzo was pretty much in full diva mode here whining and complaining about the fact that Angle didn’t uphold the no contact clause that he signed. Enzo has literally transformed into the Miz of the cruiserweight division and that’s a really good thing.
I’ve really enjoyed the back & forth dialogue between Angle and Enzo over the past few weeks. Enzo has been a constant thorn in Angle’s side as of late. It was really fitting for Angle to catch Enzo off guard by moving up his title defense against Kalisto from TLC to tonight and go even further by making it a lumberjack match with all the cruiserweights who just all happen to hate Enzo. Seeing the face GM screw over a heel always seems rather justified and tonight was no exception.
Despite the fact that Enzo is pretty much a heel now, it seems that a good portion of the fans in attendance last night haven’t quite figured that out just yet or so it seemed for this segment anyway.
MATT HARDY VS BRAUN STROWMAN
I enjoyed this match a lot more then I thought I would. I haven’t really been all that impressed by Matt Hardy’s in-ring work since he’s return but tonight he looked really good in there with Strowman, even getting off a fair amount of offense.
Seeing Strowman get hit with the Twist of Fate and then proceeding to kick out of it at the count of one was a really good of reinforcement Strowman’s position within the company as a monster while at the same time showing some vulnerability as was the case in his matches the prior two weeks with Ambrose and Rollins aswell.
While not a great match this was still really enjoyable to watch and contributed very nicely to the good flow of RAW last night.
SHIELD/STROWMAN POST MATCH ATTACK
Who else marked out when Shield confronted Strowman near the entryway as Braun attempted to carry Matt Hardy to the back? I know I did.
This is what made The Shield so great to begin with. They would literally prey on their target (big or small) like a pack of wolves or a pod of Orcas and attack when their opponent was in a very compromising position. It was a nice throwback to the early days of The Shield or as Cole would to put it “Vintage Shield*. Strowman gave it a go but the numbers game was too much and Strowman became just one of countless of victims to suffer a triple power bomb.
BACKSTAGE SEGMENT WITH THE SHIELD
I enjoyed this as well. All 3 guys reminded me a lot of what they were like when they first turned face for the first time in 2014. You can really tell from this segment that Reigns, Ambrose & Rollins are really enjoying enjoying working together again onscreen again. There truly is a strong bond and brotherhood between the 3 that oozes on camera.
IN RING SEGMENT WITH MICKIE JAMES & ALEXA BLISS
This was a excellent segment from start to finish. I really enjoyed the insults from both So far this Mickie/Alexa feud has been straight fire. I’ve always been a sucker for the battle tested veteran going OG on the “young full-of-themselves worker” angle and that’s precisely what we’re getting with Mickie James in this feud and both ladies are executing this entire thing to perfection.
The Bliss video package done to 1930s/1940s video footage to mock Mickie’s age was one of the funniest things I’ve seen on WWE programming ever. Whoever came up with that deserves a raise.
For a few months now, it seems that creative had been getting really lazy when booking the woman. For the better part of the last 2 months, I feel like we’ve been getting a ton of multi woman matches at the Pay Per Views with very little storyline behind it other then the fact that they are women so let’s just throw them all into the title match for absolutely no reason whatsoever. So seeing so much effort being thrown into a 1 on 1 woman’s feud has been really refreshing to see.
BACKSTAGE SEGMENT WITH KURT ANGLE, BAYLEY, EMMA, ALICIA FOX, SASHA BANKS & DANA BROOKE
Judging by this segment, it seems like their going to be taking the “everyone wants first crack at Asuka” route because everybody wants a chance to be the one to break Asuka’s 185 match win streak and have that achievement under their belt.
BRIAN KENDRICK & JACK GALLAGHER VS CEDRIC ALEXANDER & MUSTAFA ALI
If anything this match just further illustrates the point I was making about Enzo earlier. That is how much a guy like him is needed in the Cruiserweight division right now to draw people’s interest. As talented as these four individuals are in the ring, this match failed to hold the audiences’ attention. The match itself also came off very flat. Kendrick and Gallagher picked up the victory.
BACKSTAGE SEGMENT WITH KURT ANGLE & THE MIZ
This was Miz doing what the Miz does best: playing the ultimate chicken heel and stacking the deck in his favor. After realizing that him and The Bar might not be enough to topple the Shield, he goes out and recruits the one guy who holds clean victories over all 3 in Braun Strowman. For a second I thought that Miz was going to talk Angle into adding Bo Dallas & Curtis Axel into the match.
When rumors of the Shield reuniting first surfaced, I was pretty against it. Not because I dislike the Shield but because I didn’t feel that the Miztourage were a worthy enough of a threat to bring the band back together, but after Cesaro and Sheamus were essentially added/recruited into the fold with the Miz I was more welcomed to a reunion. Now with Strowman I’m excited as ever. Now the Shield have a real threat and not only that but the now their backs are against the wall which makes the outcome of their first match back together in doubt. Well played Vince, well played.
IN RING SEGMENT WITH FINN BALOR (THE DEBUT OF SISTER ABIGAIL)
Okay, I’m probably going to take a fair amount of criticism on this one and I’m okay with that but I hard time really getting into the way Sister Abigail was presented on Monday. While it definitely wasn’t bad by any means, I didn’t feel it was all that great either. I was really hoping we would get Sister Abigail in physical form. Instead they’re going with a more Norman/Norma Bates type approach where Bray channels the spirit of Abigail.
I find myself wondering if this feud with Finn Balor was the wrong time to introduce Sister Abigail because of how extremely flat Finn/Wyatt has been up to this point. But on a positive note this may be just the boost that Bray will need going forward and it’s always possible that we get Sister Abigail in a physical form somewhere down the line.
SASHA BANKS VS EMMA VS ALICIA FOX VS BAYLEY VS DANA BROOKE
This match played out as I expected. I said going into this that either Emma or Fox would get the win because I figured they’d save Asuka/Bayley and Asuka/Sasha match ups for later on down the line and sure enough, Emma emerged victorious here. I did find it interesting that Nia Jax was nowhere to be found in this match.
BACKSTAGE INTERVIEW WITH FINN BALOR
When Renee caught up with Finn backstage, Finn eluded to the fact that he would need to do something drastic to counter the metamorphosis that Bray has undergone so I’m thing we are either going to get the Demon or maybe perhaps Finn will undergo a metamorphosis of his own with an even darker version of the demon.
BACKSTAGE INTERVIEW WITH KALISTO
Kalisto dedicated his title match tonight to Eddie Guerrero & Rey Mysterio. Listening to Kalisto’s interview had me thinking how scary it is how much Kalisto sounds exactly like Mysterio.
ENZO VS KALISTO IN A LUMBERJACK MATCH
I thought I’d never see the day where I would say that Enzo was involved in the match of the night but that day has finally came to pass. Much has been said of Enzo’s lack of in-ring ability and it’s a criticism that’s rightfully deserved but I’m gonna give credit where credit is do here, Enzo did a nice job of working this match as a actual heel slowing the pace down with headlocks and timing most of his cut-off spots to slow Kalisto’s momentum. While it was far from a 5 star performance by Enzo, it was definitely refreshing to see Enzo control the pace for a bit and actually dish out punishment instead of always being the one getting inflected with it.
Kalisto came off like a star in this one and was able to showcase just how good he is. The suplex on Enzo on top of lumberjacks fighting on the outside was very nicely down and provided a nice holy s*** moment. Again, I just wanna give props for both men. This was definitely deserving of main eventing RAW and congrats to Kalisto on winning the Cruiserweight title. Like Enzo, Kalisto had finally found a spot on the card where he will be utilized better.
Overall this was a really good episode of RAW. A ton of stuff was accomplished and there was a little something for everybody to enjoy. The Shield are back with a pretty insurmountable task facing them heading into TLC in a few weeks. The Woman’s division actually has more then one angle running and both are meaningful with Bliss and Mickie knocking their feud out of the park, a surprise title change in the Cruiserweight division and a now added twist to the Finn/Wyatt feud that lacked any sort of heat before. Hopefully RAW is able to carry over the momentum of this show into next week.
RAW CHAMPIONS/WEEKLY TOP 10 RANKINGS
BROCK LESNAR (UNIVERSAL CHAMPION) – Brock had a very productive Summer but I don’t expect to here much from the Champ until the beginning the Winter
THE MIZ (INTERCONTINENTAL CHAMPION) – Miz was essentially the focal point of RAW this week along with the reunion of the Shield. He’s gonna have plenty of backup going forward. A part of me wonders if he’ll be forced by Angle to put the IC title up for grabs at TLC since he was allowed to have an extra partner.
ALEXA BLISS (RAW WOMAN’S CHAMPION) – Alexa’s mic work continues to be one of the bright spots on RAW every week. Very few in the business understand how to convey her character on screen the way she does. I look forward to seeing more back & forth between her and Mickie leading up to TLC.
DEAN AMBROSE & SETH ROLLINS (RAW TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP) – Dean and Seth are finally reunited with their lost long buddy. Just as I said with Miz I think there’s a chance that they may have to put their tag titles but for grabs during the TLC match aswell.
KALISTO (CRUISERWEIGHT CHAMPION) – Kalisto has always been a extremely gifted wrestler. So him winning the title was definitely much deserved. I don’t expect him to hold it long though.
RAW’S TOP 10
1. BRAUN STROWMAN – Since losing to Brock at No Mercy Braun has put together a nice win streak against the likes of Ambrose, Rollins & Matt Hardy in consecutive matches so he holds down the top spot in my first official RAW top 10. Him being added to the TLC match is a great way to keep him busy until his next program. Anyone else think that a Samoa Joe program may be on the horizon soon?
2. ROMAN REIGNS – Still fresh off the heals of perhaps the biggest win of his career in the official changing of the guard match against Cena at No Mercy and a clean win over Miz a couple weeks ago Roman holds it down at #2. Next week he gets Braun in a steel cage match in what will surely be another epic encounter between the two.
3. ENZO – Despite dropping the Cruiserweight title this week, Enzo turned in easily the best in ring performance of his career and has done a magnificent job of reviving interest in a once stagnant division. He still has a rematch coming at TLC where I think he’ll regain his title.
4. FINN BALOR – Balor has been on the winning end of his feud against Wyatt the majority of the time and it looks like he’s gonna have to to dark place himself to combat Bray Wyatt/Sister Abigail.
5. MICKIE JAMES – Mickie has literally reinvented herself this past month. She’s been fire on the mic. A sixth title win is well within her grasp.
6. CESARO – Despite him and Sheamus losing their tag titles, they are still very much in the mix and will be featured in the TLC main event.
7. SHEAMUS – See Cesaro
8. BRAY WYATT – Although I’m not completely onboard with the way the Sister Abigail will be presented, I am happy that they are doing something with him at least. But I get the feeling that this Sister Abigail angle will either make or break him so it’s important that creative doesn’t drop the back with this one.
9. ELIAS – I feel like creative is big on Elias which is why he’s on TV every week. Unfortunately all of RAW’S top baby faces and most of their upper midcard faces are busy with other things at the moment so Elias is just sort of stuck in neutral for now.
10. EMMA – Emma rounds out my top 10 next week. She’ll more then likely be the first sacrificial lamb to Asuka in a couple of weeks though.