10/12 Powell's WWE Raw Live TV Review: Rusev and Lana engaged, Roman Reigns vs. Braun Strowman, U.S. Title open challenge, Hell in a Cell pay-per-view build
By Jason Powell
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WWE Raw on the USA Network
Aired live from Chicago, Illinois at Allstate Arena
[Q1] Backstage, Kane took a call from Triple H and Stephanie McMahon via speakerphone. Stephanie said it was the day from hell and they were just leaving now. Hunter told Kane that it would take some time for them to arrive and thus Kane has to take charge.
Hunter asked him if they could count on him to put his differences with Seth Rollins aside. Kane assured them he could and told them to have a safe flight. Kane pulled a stagehand into the picture and told her to tell Rollins that he would be having a lumberjack match against him later in the show... The opening video aired... Michael Cole, JBL, and Byron Saxton were on commentary...
Powell's POV: So Triple H and Stephanie would rather watch the Cubs game too?
Dean Ambrose headed to the ring for a promo. He said rumor has it that The Authority was running late. Ambrose said the inmates will be running the asylum tonight and welcomed viewers to Raw. He said he always wanted to do that. He said he's not wearing a tie and would not stand there and drone on. Ambrose said he was looking for a fight.
Randy Orton's music played and he came out wearing his ring gear (because that's the only thing Orton wears on WWE television). Orton wanted to take out the Wyatt Family, but he asked Ambrose to follow his lead. Ambrose said he's not big on following directions or trusting Orton. Randy said he can't blame him because most of the time he can't even trust himself. They started talking off mic.
New Day interrupted and cut a promo as they walked onto the stage. They were upset because Ambrose and Orton were talking about the Wyatt Family when New Day laid out everyone at the end of last week's show. New Day mocked all the groups Orton has been in and said he gives "a whole new definition of the word groupie." Orton smiled as they continued their schtick from ringside.
Xavier Woods dropped a Derrick Rose injury reference. "I don't watch sports," Ambrose mouthed. Kane appeared on the big screen and said the inmates are not running the asylum, he is. Kane sent out a referee and booked an impromptu tag match...
Powell's POV: There was no mention of the tag titles being on the line, so I assume it's just a non-title match. I had to laugh at Ambrose saying he wasn't going to drone on. In fairness, he did not, but he and Orton did together. Meanwhile, New Day continue to be entertaining, but it sure doesn't seem like this live crowd seems them as major players coming out of the show ending angle from last week.
[Q2] 1. Kofi Kingston and Big E (w/Xavier Woods) vs. Dean Ambrose and Randy Orton in a non-title match. Kingston was elbowed to ringside in the opening minute and they cut to commercial. [C] Orton and Ambrose bickered, allowing Big E to tag in Kingston. Kofi ran at both opponents, who stopped arguing long enough to elbow him and clear him from the ring. [C] The heel duo isolated Orton.
[Q3] Ambrose took a hot tag and performed his top rope elbow move on Big E for a two count. Big E came back with a belly to belly suplex. A short time later, Ambrose took out Woods at ringside. Orton performed the hanging DDT on Kingston and then played to the crowd. Orton set up for his finisher, but Kingston shoved him into Ambrose. Kingston rolled up Orton and pinned him...
Kofi Kingston and Big E defeated Randy Orton and Dean Ambrose in 17:50 in a non-title match.
A shot aired of Kane standing backstage by his speakerphone... The broadcast team hyped Roman Reigns vs. Braun Strowman, then Cole hyped a special look at Undertaker vs. Brock Lesnar for after the break... [C]
Powell's POV: Why not make that match a title match? We know Vince McMahon loves bickering babyface tag champs. Even those who don't pay attention like that would still be more focussed on the match if the tag titles had been on the line. Speaking of non-title matches, Kane is a goof for booking himself in a lumberjack match and not putting the title on the line. I guess he only wants his one shot at Hell in a Cell. Anyway, the bickering between Orton and Ambrose went nowhere, as it did not carry over once the match was finished.
The hosts read a tweet from Brock Lesnar that Brock Lesnar would never write about how they were 13 days away from HIAC and it will be an unlucky 13 for Undertaker... The Undertaker vs. Brock Lesnar video package aired...
Team Bella made their entrance. Cole hyped Nikki Bella vs. Naomi for after the break... [C]
Powell's POV: A good video package that even showed a bloody Lesnar without switching to black and white mode. That said, I don't think a video package is enough at this point. The build to the third match in their latest feud got off to a really bad start in the form of a video package at Night of Champions and it just hasn't picked up steam. They better have a hell of an angle planned for next week's go-home show.
[Q4] With the women for the Divas match in the ring, Cole set up a video package that focussed on Bayley vs. Sasha Banks at NXT Takeover: Respect...
Powell's POV: Well, so much for hitting the reset button on the Bayley character's story once she reaches the main roster.
2. Nikki Bella (w/Brie Bella, Alicia Fox) vs. Naomi (w/Sasha Banks, Tamina). The fans chanted "We Want Sasha" and she smiled after the video played (when you'd think she'd heel it up given that she lost the match). During the match, Brie stood on the announcers desk and chanted, "We want Sasha." Sasha knocked her down. However, Nikki used the distraction to throw a forearm and then hit the Rack Attack for the win...
Nikki Bella beat Naomi in 5:00.
JBL hyped John Cena's open challenge for after the break... [C]
Powell's POV: The broadcast team said Brie was trying to drive a wedge between the Team Bad members. Sure, they are trying to make Team Bella look like the smartest non-Stephanie women in the company, but I will take it if it leads to these screwy factions splitting up.
Footage aired of Byron Saxton asking random fans who the most unconventional superstar is. Shouldn't it be least conventional? Anyway, footage aired from "earlier today" of Saxton informing Paige that she was voted the most unconventional superstar. She had an over the top reaction and then pulled a Payday candy bar out of his suit pocket...
Powell's POV: So he wasn't just happy to see her?
[Q5] John Cena made his entrance. He went down to the edge of the seating and swayed as fans sang "John Cena sucks." Cena stood in the ring and listened to the fans, which really weren't all that fired up. He told them he loves this place and said in his heart of hearts he knows there is only one Allstate Arena. It was time for his usual stroll down memory lane by talking about his history in Chicago. Cena said Chicago is the place to be, then opened the challenge. Dolph Ziggler made his entrance wearing a t-shirt and his Kent State University jacket..
3. John Cena vs. Dolph Ziggler for the U.S. Championship. Eden Stiles handled the in-ring introductions for the title match. The broadcast team noted that Cena worked the tour of Saudi Arabia. Cole questioned whether he could be jet-lagged. JBL said that could come into play 20-25 minutes in the match.
Ziggler ended up at ringside. Cena took the mic and said pointed out a fan that was holding up a "She Said Yes" sign. He congratulated the guy and then the poor woman whose man actually had the nerve to propose at a pro wrestling event kissed her future husband. The match resumed and they went to commercial. [C]
Powell's POV: Am I the only person who hoped the sign was actually for Rusev and Lana? I can't help but wonder how many women reject men who propose to them at sporting events. Hell, I'd reject my girlfriend if she proposed to me at a pro wrestling event. No wonder Rusev chose Lana over Summer Rae.
[Q6] After the break, Cena hit the Attitude Adjustment, but Ziggler tumbled to ringside. Cena went out and pushed Ziggler back in the ring while Cole said Cena wouldn't accept a count-out victory and was helping Ziggler back inside the ring. Cena covered Ziggler and got a two count. Ziggler came back with a great DDT off the second rope for two.
Ziggler actually "tuned up the band" in Shawn Michaels style before going for a superkick, but Cena ended up clotheslining him. Cena went for an Attitude Adjustment, but Ziggler countered into a Fameasser for another two count. Later, Cena had Ziggler up for his finisher, but Ziggler raked his eyes and then superkicked him for another two count.
Ziggler hit the Zigzag for yet another near fall at 17:00. Ziggler used the ropes to pull himself up and then ate a AA from Cena, who scored the clean pinfall. After the match, Cena slowly got to his feet and the ref raised his hand while a dejected Ziggler watched while seated in the corner of the ring...
John Cena defeated Dolph Ziggler in 17:40 to retain the U.S. Championship.
Backstage, Kane took a speakerphone call from Triple H, who said they had encountered some turbulence. Stephanie flipped out in the background because the flight attendant spilled coffee on her... [C]
Powell's POV: A good match from Cena and Ziggler. The eye rake is probably a sign of where things are going with Ziggler. No, he's not adding Kevin Owens to his list of wrestler move impersonations. Rather, I assume he is going heel. Also, let the record show that the commercial flights with live television are apparently better than the Air McMahon jet. And Kane is still a moron for not giving himself a lopsided title match.
[Q7] 4. The Dudley Boyz vs. The Ascension. The Ascension did not get a televised entrance because, well, they are the Ascension. They attacked the Dudleys to start the match as an "ECW" chant broke out. The Dudleys came back and performed the no flip version of the Doomsday Device and then hit 3D for the win...
The Dudley Boyz beat The Ascension in 2:35.
Cole hyped the Rollins vs. Kane lumberjacket match for later in the show and said The Authority have no clue that the match is happening... [C]
Powell's POV: So Triple H and Stephanie McMahon can't watch Raw or go online like everyone else? This show is written for or by children and morons. Meanwhile, the Dudleys going over in a quick match was logical given that they are challenging for the tag titles again.
5. Neville and Cesaro vs. King Barrett and Sheamus. Sheamus was setting up for a battering ram, but Cesaro caught him with an uppercut that knocked him off the ring apron and onto the floor. Cesaro roughed up Barrett at ringside, then tagged in Neville. Cesaro pressed Neville over his head and threw him onto both heels on the floor. Moments later, Sheamus kicked out of a Neville pin and it sent Neville face first into the middle rope. Barrett hit him with a Bull Hammer and then Sheamus pinned him...
King Barrett and Shemaus beat Neville and Cesaro in 3:50.
The broadcast team hyped the upcoming matches and then set up a video package on Braun Strowman... After the video, Cole hyped Reigns vs. Strowman...
Powell's POV: I liked the unique pairing of Cesaro and Neville even if it was only for one night. I don't think Barrett is going to get his wish about forming a tag team as long as Sheamus is carrying around the Money in the Bank contract.
[Q8] [C] In a shocking twist, Payday is a sponsor for the show and Cole pimped their product and Xavier Woods' video game show on Youtube...
Roman Reigns made his entrance through the crowd and said it's good to be back in Chicago. He said the whole thing between him and Bray Wyatt is about the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. He recalled Wyatt blindsiding him to prevent him from winning the MITB contract. The fans gave Reigns the "what" treatment. "What, y'all can't hear me or something?" he responded.
Reigns continued his history lesson until the fans chanted boring. "This isn't boring, baby, this is real life," Reigns said. He claimed he tells his seven year-old that he's going to get the title for the two of them. He told the fans to put themselves in his shoes with someone trying to stop them from doing something from his loved ones. Reigns looked into the camera and said he's going to rip Wyatt apart.
Bray Wyatt's music played and the family mercifully walked onto the stage. Reigns told Wyatt that when they lock the cell, Bray will wish he was locked in there with anyone but him. Wyatt dropped his mic and whispered to Strowman, who then started heading to the ring... [C]
Powell's POV: Is someone trying to sabotage Reigns? Who thought it was a good idea to send him out there in Chicago to recap his feud with Wyatt and speak about his daughter? Roman was pretty rough here, but it's not like they gave him fan friendly material to work with. I am surprised he stopped to acknowledge the chants both times. They were loud, but not so loud on television that it felt like he had to address them. He's lucky the crowd died down both times rather than get even more worked up with anti-Reigns venom.
Dean Ambrose and The Dudleys vs. New Day in a six-man tag match was announced for Thursday's Smackdown...
6. Roman Reigns vs. Braun Strowman (w/Bray Wyatt, Luke Harper). Strowman threw Reigns down. Reigns went to ringside and looked a bit surprised while Wyatt celebrated on the other side of the ring.
[Q9] Cole asked JBL how he would try to handle Strowman. He brought up Bill Kazmaier and Jeep Swenson and then apparently drew a blank as he tried to come up with the names of jacked up dudes who 90 percent of today's fans have never heard of.
After Strowman got the better of Reigns with some slow offense, Reigns came back with punches from the floor and then caught him with a running kick. Reigns went for the move again, but this time Strowman clotheslined him. Reigns took out Harper at ringside and then performed a Superman punch that knocked Strowman over the announce table. Reigns returned to the ring and the referee counted out Strowman.
Roman Reigns beat Braun Strowman via count-out in 7:55.
After the match, the Wyatt Family members surrounded the ring. They all entered together, but Reigns simply slid out as Wyatt was sliding in. Reigns stood at ringside and then Wyatt knelt down inside the ring and posed. Reigns punched him from the floor and headed to the back...
Powell's POV: This is a match I have no desire to see again, yet I know I will be seeing it dozens more times. Reigns sliding out as Wyatt slid in was just way too easy and made Wyatt look dumb. Not as dumb as when he posed and Reigns punched him from the floor, but still very, very dumb.
Triple H called Kane on the speakerphone and told him that they are heading his way. They had a bad connection. Hunter asked what the main event will be. Kane told him his planned main event, but Hunter didn't respond. Hunter then asked who Seth was facing. "It's me," Kane said. Hunter said he knew he was talking to Kane, but he wasn't sure who Rollins was facing. The line disconnected... A commercial for the Stone Cold Podcast featuring Brock Lesnar was shown... [C]
Powell's POV: So they have advertised Lesnar for the podcast, yet they're not hyping the hell out of him and the other legends who are appearing on that little show called Raw next week? I'm sure some of my complaints read like nitpicking if you're not watching the show, but it's amazing how many oddball mistakes they make these days.
[Q10] 7. Rusev (w/Summer Rae) vs. Ryback. Before the match, footage aired of Rusev and Summer Rae's near engagement from last week. Cole brought up the fact that Rusev and Lana are now engaged, then noted that Summer is still in Rusev's corner. "What is going on?" Cole asked in his best Joe Schmo voice. Ryback dodged a charging Rusev in the corner and then hit Shellshocked for the win...
Ryback beat Rusev in 3:05.
After the match, Summer entered the ring with a microphone and addressed her "RuRu." She helped him get to his feet. She said she could have done this backstage privately, but she wants the world to know the real man that she is to her. A screen shot of the Rusev and Lana engagement story appeared on the big screen.
Summer actually had the nerve to piss and moan about Rusev being engaged to Lana for a month and not having the nerve to tell him. She said he's just a whipped little boy. Summer said she will never waste another minute of her time on a narcissistic, self-centered, egotistical bastard. Summer slapped Rusev and then left the ring...
Powell's POV: I came into Raw more intrigued by how they would handle the Rusev/Lana/Summer/Dolph saga more than anything else. They have Rusev lose clean to Ryback and then have Summer slap him. Gee, how imaginative. What a letdown.
8. Intercontinental Champion Kevin Owens vs. Kalisto (w/Sin Cara) in a non-title match. Kalisto threw kicks at Owens early.
[Q11] Owens backdropped Kalisto over the top rope and then teased a suicide dive. Owens stopped short and rolled under the ropes before taking a shot at Kalisto on the floor and then mocking his dance. Kalisto came back with a kick and an attempted springboard huracanrana, but Kalisto didn't pull off the move and fell to the floor (safely).
Back inside the ring, Kalisto caught Owens with a knee to the head and then a cross body block for two. Kalisto caught Owens with a DDT a short time later for a two count. Owens caught Kalisto going for a move. He had to set him down to get a better grip, but then he powerbombed him for the win...
Kevin Owens beat Kalisto in 3:50.
Saxton hyped the Rollins vs. Kane lumberjack match... [C]
Powell's POV: A disappointing match. These two are better than this match came off. I'd really like to see them get a real program together at some point because Owens in the bully role could be a lot of fun and I know they are capable of so much more in the ring. It was encouraging to hear the crowd come to life when Owens' music hit. As much as I complain about some of WWE's musical selections (Sting), they definitely got it right with Owens.
9. Charlotte and Becky Lynch (w/Natalya) vs. Brie Bella and Alicia Fox (w/Nikki Bella). Paige sat in on commentary and Cole stole my lame ass joke from last week about PCB now being NBC. Paige ended up shoving Natalya, who was then kicked by Brie. A short time later, Brie performed a missile dropkick on Charlotte and pinned her...
Brie Bella and Alicia Fox beat Charlotte and Becky Lynch in 3:05.
Powell's POV: Really? Charlotte pinned by Brie? Why is the new Divas Champion a background player in the faction wars and with the Paige and Natalya drama and now being pinned by Brie? Why not push the new Divas Champion as a strong women's champion? What a waste.
Backstage, Kane took a call from The Authority, who told him that under no circumstances he could not go out there and work the main event against Rollins. Hunter told him he doesn't care who he chooses to replace him, but under no circumstances could he work the match. Kane told him he understands... A WWE and the breast cancer charity commercial aired...
Powell's POV: The crowd chanted C.M. Punk. Let them dream.
[Q12] [C] Backstage, Seth Rollins told Big Show he doesn't feel like any of the lumberjacks are on his side except for him. Rollins said Show is always there for him and he knows tonight won't be any exception. Show laughed at him and told him he had a great sense of humor before walking off.
Kane startled Rollins and then informed him that Triple H won't be his opponent tonight. Rollins was relieved. Kane told him he would find a suitable replacement... The Brock Lesnar vs. Undertaker video package aired...
The lumberjacks headed to the ring as Michael Cole noted that Dusty Rhodes would have turned 70 on Sunday (so apparently his Wikipedia listing is inaccurate). Cole said the question now is who the replacement will be in the match against Rollins... [C]
Cole hyped Shawn Michaels, Ric Flair, Undertaker, and Brock Lesnar for next week's Raw television show...
Powell's POV: What happened to Steve Austin? We know he'll be there to interview Brock Lesnar for WWE Network, but they were including him in the initial hype as appearing on Raw.
Seth Rollins made his entrance for the main event as Cole hyped that Rollins will be on ESPN SportsCenter with Jonathan Coachman on Tuesday night at 8:00 p.m. CT. Kane made his entrance to a very flat reaction...
[Overrun] 10. Seth Rollins vs. Kane in a lumberjack match. The broadcast team acted surprised that "Demon Kane" came out and tried to explain it by saying that Corporate Kane was told he could not be in the main event, but Hunter and Stephanie didn't say anything about Demon Kane. Ugh.
Rollins tried to leave through the crowd early on, but Cesaro stopped him and then Henry helped throw Rollins back inside the ring. Kane and Big Show had a moment. Big Show punched Kane and then left. Later, Rollins hit a flying knee off the top rope for a two count at 4:50.
At 6:30, New Day pulled Kane to ringside and put the boots to him. All of the lumberjacks traded punches at ringside. Kane was rolled back inside the ring, then some of the heels followed and put the boots to him. Big E set up for a running splash, but Kane sat up. The babyface lumberjacks entered the ring and fought the heels.
Kane chokeslammed Stardust and Xavier Woods. Rolllins kicked Kane and went for a Pedigree, but Kane fought out of it and ended up performing a Tombstone Piledriver on Rollins and pinning him...
Kane pinned Seth Rollins in 8:20 in lumberjack match.
Powell's POV: Demon Kane showing up in the main event was so obvious that it was almost surprising that they went there again. It wasn't creative in the last since we've seen them play that game on television so frequently lately. The main event was probably fun if you're into Kane's latest title quest. I wish I could say that it got me excited about this feud or Raw or Hell in a Cell, but that's just not the case.
This was a bad edition of Raw. The nonsense with Hunter and Stephanie not making it to the building was ridiculous, and even the majority of the in-ring action felt flat. How low does the rating have to go before Vince McMahon will wake up and realize that his creative approach is the problem? I'll have more to say later tonight in audio and on Tuesday in the WWE Raw Hit List. Thanks for watching along with me.
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