9/5 Powell’s WWE Raw Live TV Review: Kevin Owens’ first appearance as WWE Universal Champion, Charlotte vs. Bayley in a non-title match

newrawlogo1By Jason Powell

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WWE Raw on the USA Network
Live from Kansas City, Missouri at Sprint Center Arena

A video package recapped Kevin Owens winning the vacant WWE Universal Championship with help from Triple H… Footage aired of Stephanie McMahon on the telephone earlier in the day demanding all sorts of hoopla for Kevin Owens’ coronation.

Mick Foley showed up and said Stephanie has been ignoring his calls and texts. She said she doesn’t have to apologize because she had no idea Triple H was going to do what he did. She got upset. Foley said Stephanie gave him a shy smile when he had a tooth stuck in his nose following the Hell in a Cell match.

Stephanie said she’s embarrassed as a commissioner and as a wife. She questioned how she could represent herself in the boardroom or on Raw with a shred of dignity. She begged Foley to believe her. Foley said he believes Stephanie because he has to believe her because otherwise she’s a really good liar and a really bad person and he can’t believe that… The Raw opening video aired…

Balloons fell from the rafters as Stephanie and Foley stood in the ring for the championship coronation. Michael Cole, Corey Graves, and Byron Saxton were on commentary. Stephanie introduced Kevin Owens as the new WWE Universal Champion. Owens headed to the ring wearing a black suit and carrying the championship belt.

There was a “you deserve it chant.” Owens told Stephanie that the celebration was exactly what he wanted. She said the fans were right in staying that he does deserve it. Owens said the fans who chanted that were 100 percent right. Some fans booed.

Owens said that what he doesn’t deserve is a crowd full of idiots trying to highjack his moment. Owens said fans who chant “you deserve it” are making it about themselves. “You’re not great, you’re not special,” he said. “I am great. I am special. I know I deserve it and I don’t need anybody else to tell me. I’ve known I deserves this since the moment I stepped foot in this ring.”

Owens said he beat three men to win the title, though he acknowledged that Hunter showed up “and gave me a little nudge.” Owens claimed he did 98 percent of the work on his own. Owens said Raw is officially known as The Kevin Owens Show. More fans booed than cheered.

Seth Rollins’ music played and he stormed to the ring. Rollins told Owens that it’s not about him. Rollins asked Stephanie how he could do this. Rollins said Owens has been Hunter’s chosen one from the moment he stepped into NXT.

[Q2] Rollins said that if Owens is the face of the new era then he will burn it to the ground. Foley got involved and Rollins accused him of being in Stephanie’s back pocket. Foley said he has Stephanie’s back. Owens said the architect has been designing blueprints for total failure. Rollins punched Owens, who rolled to ringside. Owens stood on the apron and Rollins hit him again.

Stephanie announced that Rollins is indefinitely suspended. “No, he’s not,” Foley replied. The fans chanted “Foley” loudly. Foley said they don’t hand out suspensions when tempers flare on Raw, they hand out rematches. Foley asked Stephanie to respect their agreement that he make the matches. Foley said he’s never really liked Rollins, but he can’t deny the talent he has. Foley said he’s not putting that type of talent on the shelf. Foley announced Owens vs. Rollins for the WWE Universal Championship at Clash of Champions…

Powell’s POV: A good opening segment with a bit of a clunky finish. The announcement of the title match at the end felt a little flat for some reason, and it was odd to hear Foley’s music play in stead of Rollins’ music. That said, this was still a compelling segment. It would appear that Rollins is going babyface, and they are keeping the mystery alive when it comes to what Stephanie knew.

Backstage, Stephanie wasn’t happy that Foley cut her off in the ring. Foley said he cares about her reputation. Owens showed up and took issue with the way Foley handled things. Foley responded by booking Owens in a match against Sami Zayn. Chris Jericho showed up and took issue with Rollins getting the title shot. Foley booked Jericho vs. Rollins for later in the show…

Backstage, Stephanie wasn’t happy that Foley cut her off in the ring. Foley said he cares about her reputation. Owens showed up and took issue with the way Foley handled things. Foley responded by booking Owens in a match against Sami Zayn. Chris Jericho showed up and took issue with Rollins getting the title shot. Foley booked Jericho vs. Rollins for later in the show…

Powell’s POV: That’s how they get to the first Owens vs. Zayn match? I really hope Owens ducks the match by pointing out that he worked his “final match” with Zayn. As I mentioned on Dot Net Weekly last week, I would love to see them build up to an Owens vs. Zayn match by making Zayn win the Royal Rumble in order to get his title shot.

1. Charlotte (w/Dana Brooke) vs. Bayley in a non-title match. Footage aired from the Raw Pre-Show of Charlotte telling Dana to take notes on a clipboard. There was a loud chant for Bayley as the match got underway.

[Q3] Charlotte had the early advantage. Bayley no-sold Charlotte slamming her head into the ropes and then returned the favor. There was an awkward spot with Bayley trying to dropkick Charlotte through the ropes in the corner from the floor. She executed the move very slowly and the announcers covered by saying she may have been injured. Charlotte came back with a kick to the face headed into the break. [C]

Charotte targeted the injured knee of Bayley and slammed it into the ring post, then barked at Brooke to take notes. Bayley came back and set up for a move in the corner. Brooke pulled Charlotte out of the way. Charlotte rolled up Bayley, who kicked out, causing Charlotte to forearm Brooke. Bayley hit the Bayley To Belly for the win…

Bayley pinned Charlotte in a non-title match in 12:40.

Powell’s POV: This just isn’t what I wanted to see from Bayley on the main roster. I really wanted her to be positioned as an underdog again, not someone who beats the champion in a non-title match in just her third match on Raw. That said, there’s more than one way to do this and she definitely has the fans behind her.

The broadcast team noted Sasha Banks’ Twitter comments about having bad news. They also hyped Rollins vs. Jericho, Owens vs. Zayn. The trio stood by their desk and set up a video package on Conor Michalek. Stephanie McMahon Daniel Bryan, Conor’s father, and others spoke in the video about how the Conor’s Cure charity. A graphic noted that the charity has raised over $1 million…

[Q4] [C] A video showcased the cruiserweight division and the wrestlers Gran Metalik, Jack Gallagher, and Akira Tozawa. Cole noted that Smackdown Live won’t have cruiserweights, but they will be on Raw starting in two weeks…

Backstage, Charlotte yelled at Dana Brooke about her loss to someone who doesn’t belong on Raw. Dana apologized to Charlotte, who responded by slapping her…

Bo Dallas headed to the ring carrying a “Bo-Lieve in Bo” campaign sign. He set the flag up at ringside and then entered the ring to confront an enhancement wrestler. “Don’t you know, you reap what you sow, there’s nowhere to go, Bo-Lieve in Bo.”

2. Bo Dallas vs. Tyler Roberts. Bo dominated the match and performed a neckbreaker type finisher for the win…

Bo Dallas beat Tyler Roberts in 0:45.

Powell’s POV: Apparently, Bo Dallas should have gotten drunk in an airport a couple years ago. The broadcast team kept talking about what a different guy he seemed to be.The live crowd didn’t seem convinced, particularly the one guy who yelled “boring.” I wasn’t sure what they were going for. I actually wondered if the enhancement guy was going to beat Dallas clean in a spoof of what we’ve seen with Braun Strowman and Nia Jax.

Graves hyped Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows giving New Day a glimpse into their golden years…

Backstage, Jericho told Owens that he’s going to beat down Rollins for disrespecting his friend. Owens noted that his suit cost $750. Jericho boasted that Owens is the longest reigning WWE Universal Champion. Jericho said Owens is his best friend and Rollins is just an ass… [C]

Powell’s POV: Good for Jericho for being the guy to have some fun with the longest reigning champion bit. I mentioned last week that I was disappointed that Owens couldn’t appear on Smackdown and countdown to the moment that he officially became the longest reigning WWE Universal Champion.

An ad for Smackdown hyped that AJ Styles will confront Dean Ambrose… Ring entrances for the Jericho vs. Rollins match took place. Cole boasted like a tool that there’s only one flagship show and that’s Raw…

[Q5] 3. Seth Rollins vs. Chris Jericho. Rollins oped the match with a dropkick. Owens was shown watching on a backstage monitor. Rollins was on the offensive more often than not, but Jericho used the referee to create a distraction before performing a missile dropkick that knocked Rollins off the apron heading into the break. [C]

Jericho remained in control coming out of the break, but Rollins caught him and slammed his face into the middle turnbuckle. There was a Y2J chant, then a louder “Let’s Go Rollins” chant. Rollins performed a sling blade clothesline for a two count. Rollins hit a Blockbuster for a two count.

At 10:00, Rollins avoided the Walls of Jericho by rolling Jericho into a pin for two. Jericho avoided the top rope flying knee and applied Walls of Jericho. Rollins reached the ropes to break it. At 12:30, Jericho avoided a top rope splash and then followed up with a Lionsault for two. In the end, Rollins caught Jericho with the Pedigree and pinned him…

Seth Rollins pinned Chris Jericho in 13:40.

Powell’s POV: A strong match that was far more competitive than I expected it to be. Jericho loses quite a bit so I didn’t think he would be so well protected. I’m not complaining, though, as Jericho is doing great work, and this worked well for Rollins. It’s still hard to get past the fact that Rollins was eager to accept Triple H’s help last week and is only a babyface because Hunter decided to cheat for someone else.

[Q6] The broadcast team hyped Sasha Banks’s appearance and then said Cesaro vs. Sheamus in the third match of their best of seven series was coming up next… [C]

4. Cesaro vs. Sheamus in the third match of their best of seven series. The broadcast team played up Cesaro’s back injury from last week. Pre-tapes from both men aired. Cesaro said Sheamus knows he’s just one match away from having it all slip away. Sheamus said he is the one worthy of the championship match.

Cole noted that the fourth match of the series will be held on Wednesday in London. Cesaro had tape on his shoulder and back. Late in the match, Sheamus hoisted up Cesaro in Celtic Cross position and instead dropped him back first over his knee. Sheamus followed up with a Brogue Kick of the win… [C]

Sheamus pinned Cesaro in 4:05 to go up 3-0 in the best of seven series.

Powell’s POV: So far, Sheamus is the Chicago Blackhawks and Cesaro is my beloved Minnesota Wild. The difference is that Cesaro will probably win three straight to force a “game seven” situation at Clash of Champions.

[Q7] The Shining Stars were introduced and started to deliver a promo before they were interrupted by Enzo Amore and Big Cass. Once in the ring, Enzo called the Stars a couple of haters. He said they try to sell fans on a Caribbean timeshare that no one wants to buy.

Enzo noted that it’s Labor Day and said that listening to the Stars makes him feel like he’s in labor. He laid down and Cass led him through “how you doin'” breathing techniques. Enzo acted like he had a baby. Cass said they could name it after the Stars – Sawft. Enzo brought the baby to a woman who seemed to have no idea what he was going for at first…

5. Enzo Amore and Big Cass vs. The Shining Stars. The babyfaces jumped out to the fast start before an early break. [C] The Stars got the better of Enzo coming out of the break.

[Q8] Enzo dodged a charging Primo in the corner, then made the hot tag to Cass. After working over the Stars, Cass was about to launch Enzo when Primo grabbed his foot. Enzo dove onto Primo in the ring, only to be rolled up and pinned by Epico…

The Shining Stars defeated Enzo Amore and Big Cass.

The broadcast team hyped Owens vs. Zayn…

Powell’s POV: Yes, that really happened. Enzo and Cass need someone to feud with, and it appears that the Shining Stars will be that team.

Backstage, Tom Phillips spoke with Sami Zayn and noted that the feud appeared to be over. Zayn said he didn’t think his career could move forward until he beat Owens. Zayn said he did it, but since then his career has felt a little directionless. He admitted there’s a little bit of jealousy over Owens being the champion.

Owens entered the picture and said he was trying to catch up to Zayn before, but the title belt was always the finish line. Owens said the belt means he is better than Zayn. “I am the WWE Universal Champion and you are nothing,” Owens said. Zayn said he didn’t seem like nothing when he beat Owens. Zayn said their feud will never end, and he will win the championship too. He said the difference is that he won’t need Triple H to hand it to him on a silver platter…

Powell’s POV: A good exchange. I still hope Owens ducks the match because of the “last match” billing their previous match received, but I don’t have my hopes up.

6. Nia Jax vs. Ann Esposito. Before the match, the broadcast team noted a tweet from Alicia Fox, who put over Esposito as a friend. Esposito caught Jax with several kicks and then with a sleeper. Jax backed into the corner twice and then flung Esposito off. “Calm down, this isn’t a fairytale,” Graves said to the other broadcast team members. Jax dominated the rest of the match and won with her finisher…

Nia Jax beat Ann Esposito in 1:40.

The broadcast team hyped the latest Anderson and Gallows segment… [C]

Powell’s POV: The hope spot from Eposito made things interesting for a second. Is Bo Dallas winning squash matches so he can be fed to Nia Jax? Okay, it’s probably so he can be destroyed by Braun Strowman, but never say never.

Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows introduced themselves in the ring as retirement specialists. Anderson said that after retiring the Dudleys, New Day are up next at Clash of Champions. Gallows introduced “The Old Day.”

[Q9] A man doing an old man’s voice impersonated the New Day entrance schtick.Three guys dressed as old men and wearing New Day t-shirts came out. One drove a scooter, one used a cane, and the other used a walker.

Once they were all in the ring, Gallows asked what happened. One of the men said that at Clash of Champions, Anderson and Gallows beat the power of positivity out of them. They mocked old Big E for his pecs being below his waistline. They said they were going to give E a Metamucil, but he clearly soiled himself. “You damn right,” the man replied. The Old Day did the New Day hip swivel.

The real New Day showed up. Xavier Woods wanted to know if his impostor was really from the future and then asked him to tell him who his favorite X-Men character is. The man was wrong. New Day headed to the ring. Kofi said that even if they were to touch “just the tip” with Old Day, then it would be the end of WWE Universe.

New Day hit the ring and then Anderson and Gallows fled. The fans chanted New Day Rocks briefly. New Day let Old Day do the swivel again, then showed them how it’s really done. Old E hit Big E with a cane. Kofi Kingston and Woods cleared their imposters from the ring, then Big E and Woods performed their finisher on his impostor…

The broadcast team spoke at ringside and set up a recap video of the opening segment, then hyped Owens vs. Zayn for later in the show… [C]

Powell’s POV: Ugh. I wonder what 2014 Anderson and Gallows would tell the 2016 version if they could travel forward in time. I hope future Vince McMahon can travel back in time to tell current Vince that three hours of Raw wasn’t worth it in the long run.

[Q10] 7. Darren Young (w/Bob Backlund) vs. Jinder Mahal. Titus O’Neil sat in on commentary and spoke about how he’s always been better than Young. Titus left the broadcast table and headed to ringside. Young performed the Gut Check finisher on Mahal for the win.

After the match, Titus was focussed on Backlund when Young attacked Titus from behind. Referees tried to intervene. Young kept breaking free to attack Titus. Backlund raised the hand of Young in mid-ring while Titus pointed a shoe at him from the entrance ramp…

Darren Young beat Jinder Mahal in 2:15.

Powell’s POV: How about we give WWE Superstars its own title belt and let these two feud over it? This is probably the most intense they have been, but too much damage has already been done.

Backstage, Alicia Fox was leaving her friend’s locker room when Nia Jax approached her and mocked her. Alicia ended up telling Jax to get out of her face. Fox started her flipping out routine and accidentally struck Jax, who shoved her. Fox went back to throwing random items that were set up on a table after Jax walked away… [C]

Powell’s POV: Fox was so over the top that her flipping out was more comedically bad than anything. I guess this means she will be the first main roster women’s wrestler to be destroyed by Jax.

8. Braun Strowman vs. Sin Cara. Footage aired of Strowman’s last win and unmasking of his opponent. Sin Cara got a couple shots in, but Strowman quickly took control. A graphic promoted Backlash for Sunday.

[Q11] They went to ringside and Sin Cara threw a couple kicks and then performed a missile dropkick on Strowman. Sin Cara headed back to the ring, but Strowman grabbed him by the legs and flung him toward the barricade. Strowman returned to the ring and got the win via count-out.

Afterward, Sin Cara struggled to get to his feet when Strowman charged him from behind and knocked him over. Strowman yelled at Sin Cara to stay out of his ring…

Braun Strowman beat Sin Cara in 2:10 via count-out.

The broadcast team hyped the Sasha Banks segment for after the break… [C]

Powell’s POV: For Sin Cara’s sake, I was actually hopeful that Strowman was going to unmask him too.

Sasha Banks made her entrance. The broadcast team recapped footage of Charlotte dropping Sasha in the botched spot at SummerSlam. Saxton said he’s expecting the worst when it comes to this announcement. The fans chanted “Sasha” and she smiled in response.

Sasha said that there’s a saying that every journey has an end and every story has a final chapter. Sasha said that for years and years, the WWE Universe was searching for a revolution. She said before social media, there were women like Fabulous Moolah, Mae Young, Luna Vachon, Trish Stratus, and Lita.

Sasha said that the revolution became a reality when Stephanie introduced the the women’s title. She said there would be no more bra and panties matches or a stupid butterfly title. “We did it,” Banks said. “We finally became what we deserve all along, to be called superstars.”

Sasha said it’s about more than WWE. She said it’s about every mother, sister, and daughter. “It’s about all of us,” she said. Banks said that her revolution is every time she steps in the ring. Sasha said she does it for every little girl who has a dream of being something bigger and for every person who dreams of being more, who had nothing and were told they couldn’t be anything great in life.

Sasha said she used to wake up with her mom at 6:00 a.m. to collect cans to save money for a WWE ticket. She said that’s why she fights so hard and it means everything to her. Sasha paused and looked emotional. Sasha said that she was pushed beyond her limit at SummerSlam and accused Charlotte of trying to break her back. Sasha said Charlotte beat her straight up. Sasha said earlier today she met with a doctor who gave her up an update on her condition. Sasha said she has some bad news.

Dana Brooke made her entrance and interrupted Banks. Brooke said the only champion WWE needs is Charlotte. Dana said she was going to finish what Charlotte started. Brooke entered the ring and was quickly put in the Bank Statement. Banks said the bad news wasn’t for Brooke, it’s for Charlotte. “Let her know that at Clash of Champions, that title is coming back to me,” Banks said before dropping the mic…

Powell’s POV: A retirement speech swerve? It was strange in that regard, but Sasha did come off more human than she has at any point during her main roster run. Are they toning down The Boss part of her act to make her more likable?

[Q12] [C] 9. WWE Universal Champion Kevin Owens vs. Sami Zayn in a non-title match. They fought at ringside early. Owens ran Zayn into the barricade once. He tried to do it a second time, but Zayn used the barricade to springboard into a kick heading into the break. [C]

Zayn went on a roll coming out of the break and hit the Blue Thunder Bomb for a two count. Owens came back and went for a move on the apron, but Zayn fought him off. They jockeyed for position and Owens ended up clotheslining him with the top rope. Owens followed up with a cannonball.

[Overrun] Owens set up for his finisher, but Zayn avoided it and came back with a wicked suplex for a two count. Sami ran the ropes and went for a move, but he came down on the ankle he’s been selling for the last two weeks and played it up. The referee checked on Zayn on the floor. Zayn told him not to stop the match.

Owens went for a powerbomb on the floor. Zayn countered into another suplex. Zayn got up and limped to sell the ankle injury. Back inside the ring, Zayn wet up for his finisher, but his ankle gave up and he ate a superkick. Owens followed up with a powerbomb for the win…

Kevin Owens defeated Sami Zayn in a non-title match 12:55.

After the match, Roman Reigns made his entrance and was booed loudly. Cole noted that Triple H also screwed Reigns out of the championship last week. Reigns entered the ring where Owens was standing with his title belt. The fans booed loudly. Owens left the ring with his title belt and stood on the apron. Chris Jericho walked out and stood on the opposite side of the ring.

Mick Foley walked out and said he could tell that Reigns wants a piece of Owens for the championship. Foley announced that Reigns would face Owens in a non-title match on next week’s Raw. Foley said that if Reigns wins the match, the title match at Clash of Champions will become a Triple Threat match.

Owens left the ring and jawed with Reigns. Jericho tried to sneak in the other side, but he ended up being speared by Reigns. The fans booed loudly again. Roman’s music played and Cole said Owens will have to get in the ring with Reigns next week…

Powell’s POV: Owens and Zayn always work well together and this match was no exception. However, WWE failed to make viewers excited about getting the match again. As I mentioned, I would have made Zayn jump through hoops or even with the Royal Rumble in order to get a title show with Owens. Obviously, they went with the match tonight and while I can accept that, I wish the build had been stronger. Owens and Zayn did their part with the limited mic time they were given, but everything from the announcement of the match to the lack of video packages and discussion from the broadcast team failed to make this feel as big as it could have even with a same night push.

Meanwhile, it’s good to see they promoted something for next week given that the show goes against the annual ESPN Monday Night Football doubleheader. I was actually hoping they would book Owens in his first title match for that show since he is positioned as a vulnerable champion. It may have been more effective to hype something involving Triple H for next week, but there’s no telling when we will get the next installment of that storyline. I will have a lot more to say in the members’ audio review either later tonight or on Tuesday morning, and in my WWE Raw Hit List on Tuesday. Thanks for watching along with me.


Readers Comments (5)

  1. Hey be nice

  2. Positioning Bayley as an underdog would be silly. She’s impossibly over, and has already “proven herself” a top-flight wrestler in NXT. To ask fans to pretend they didn’t see all that so you can do it again on RAW is ridiculous.

    • Was it ridiculous when she was an underdog going into her match with Asuka? I wrote that she’s over. I mentioned that there’s more than one way. I just don’t think they are serving the entire audience by not casting her as the lovable underdog. Is is that impossible to believe that someone wouldn’t click immediately on the main roster? There are plenty of minor league baseball players who struggle in the majors. The point is that there’s an easy way to establish why she’s back to being shy, so why not do it for a couple months while establishing those personality traits to the casual fans? Instead, the lovable underdog pins the women’s champion in her third Raw match. Again, there’s more than one way to do it, but the way I’m describing gets everyone onboard and familiar with what made her click in the first place.

  3. I was there live and I didn’t think that the reaction to Bayley was that great. I got the impression that a lot of people still don’t know who she is. I might have to go back and listen again. Wrestling live is never not fun but I can see why people feel it dragged on TV, they’re really struggling to consistently fill out three hours.

    Roman speared Seth during the dark segment and pretty much got booed out of the building. Interesting as I don’t consider Kansas City to really be a smart town.

  4. I know some fans love Reigns, but come on WWE at least 75% can’t stand him. I don’t even think that turning him heel would be acceptable if he stayed in the t i t l e picture. I’m getting tired of seeing him on TV at this point.

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