12/5 Powell’s WWE Raw Live TV Review: The road to Roadblock continues

newrawlogo1By Jason Powell

WWE Raw on the USA Network
Live from Austin, Texas at the Frank Erwin Center

A “previously on Monday Night Raw” recap opened the show. It focussed on Kevin Owens beating Seth Rollins two weeks ago, losing to Roman Reigns last week, and his issues with Chris Jericho… Michael Cole, Corey Graves, and Byron Saxton were on commentary…

Seth Rollins headed to the ring and said he had to get something off his chest. “I want Triple H,” Rollins said. He said he dismantled The Shield when the time was right. He said he learned that there are consequences for the choices you make. He said Hunter chose to bet against him in favor of anointing Kevin Owens as his golden boy. Rollins said that his Pedigree on Chris Jericho last week was a message to Hunter.

Rollins said he would love to call out Hunter on the spot, but he knows that wouldn’t do it. He asked how he could get to Hunter. He said the answer was beating Owens and taking the Universal Championship. Rollins said he can’t beat Owens while Jericho is part of the equation. He mentioned the issues between Owens and Jericho.

Kevin Owens made his entrance with the Universal Championship over his shoulder. Owens conceded that he and Jericho had a fight. He said Rollins didn’t realize that sometimes best friends fight because he doesn’t have any friends. Owens brought up Rollins stabbing Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose in the back. Owens said best friends make up.

Rollins questioned whether Jericho responded to Owens’s texts and phone calls. Owens said they are both busy people. Owens said he was busy getting Jericho three gifts for the holidays. Owens also took issue with Rollins claiming that Triple H handed him the title. Owens said he deserved it. Rollins challenged Owens to a title match, but Owens declined, saying he beat him last week.

Owens said Mick Foley booked him in a Raw match against Sami Zayn. Owens said the gifts he got for Jericho are matches he worked out with Stephanie McMahon. Owens said the first match is Jericho challenging Reigns for the U.S. Championship. The second is Jericho vs. Rollins at Roadblock. The third match is Rollins having a match on the spot against Big Show. Bushy bearded Big Show came out and was all smiles and waved to the fans as he walked to the ring. Cole said the match was up next… [C] An ad for Smackdown Live hyped AJ Styles vs. James Ellsworth for the WWE Championship…

Powell’s POV: Big Show smiling means he’ll probably be turning on the fans. It’s just what he does, folks. I like the “previously on Raw” segment. Sure, it’s a soap opera gimmick, but how many times has pro wrestling been called a male soap opera? Sorry, ladies, I didn’t come up with that label. Rollins calling out Hunter feels premature for the WrestleMania match I assumed it would be. Are they loading up the Royal Rumble even more or will they drag this out?

[Q2] 1. Seth Rollins vs. Big Show. Rollins looked intimidated as the bell rang and he and Show came face to chest. Show shoved Rollins to the mat. Owens was at ringside cheering on Show. Cole and Graves raved about Show’s conditioning. Rollins went for an early suicide dive, but Show caught him and dropped him on the barricade. Owens cheered Show and told him to get him back in the ring.

Show went for a chokeslam in the ring, but Rollins cut him off with kicks and a DDT. Rollins went for a cover, but Show kicked out and Rollins tumbled to ringside. Show picked up Rollins by the hair to get him back on the apron. Rollins caught him with a kick. Rollins performed a springboard flying knee. Rollins went up top as Show wobbled, and Rollins hit a flying knee that knocked Show to the mat.

Rollins went for a Pedigree. Owens flipped on the apron. Show backdropped Rollins. Owens told Show to finish Rollins. Show grabbed Owens by the throat and chokeslammed him into the ring. Show motioned at Rollins to have at Owens, then left the ring to cheers from the fans at ringside. Show was counted out and he clapped from the stage. After the match, Rollins waited for Owens to get to his feet and then kicked him and gave him a Pedigree…

Seth Rollins beat Big Show via count-out in 5:10.

The broadcast team hyped Reigns vs. Jericho, then went into heavy pitch mode for 205 Live. Cole called it the most exciting hour of the week. They recapped Rich Swann defeating Brian Kendrick on the premiere edition. Cole said Swann would be in action later on Raw. Graves set up a video package on Jack Gallagher, and said he’s trying to add class to the division. Graves said Gallagher would make his Raw debut after the break… [C]

Powell’s POV: Well, Show didn’t turn, but the countdown is on until his next turn. It’s hard enough to be excited about Show returning given how badly his character has been abused all these years, but the idea of him taking an intentional count-out loss in his return to television was somehow deflating.

[Q3] The broadcast team hyped John Cena as the host of Saturday Night Live…

2. Jack Gallagher vs. Ariya Daivari. The wrestlers adhered to the Code of Honor or whatever it is in WWE, but Daivari’s handshake was quick and he threw Gallagher’s hand away. Gallagher caught Daivari with a headbutt at 2:30 and followed up with a running dropkick in the corner, then pinned Daivari. Gallagher offered another handshake afterward. Daivari shook his hand, then kicked his knee and clipped it from behind. Daivari kicked Gallagher’s knee and yelled at him…

Jack Gallagher beat Ariya Daivari in 2:45.

Cole announced Cesaro and Sheamus vs. LUke Gallows and Karl Anderson to determine the No. 1 contenders… Backstage, Titus O’Neil passed out fliers for his “Tussle in Texas” match… [C] An ad aired for WWE Tribute to the Troops, which airs next week…

Powell’s POV: Well, I guess we have a match for Tuesday’s 205 Live. The live crowd gasped at Gallagher’s headbutt just as they did on 205 Live. Daivari got a little heat for his post match attack. Gallagher is definitely likable and his offensive is unique. He stands out in a really good way.

Backstage, Owens complained to Mick Foley about what Big Show did to him. He said he shouldn’t be competing against Sami Zayn. Owens said this wouldn’t be happening if Stephanie McMahon was in the building. Foley said Stephanie isn’t there and the match would be happening. Chris Jericho showed up and Owens pointed out all the matches he got him. “We’re good, right?” Owens asked. “Come on, man, we’re good.” Jericho said they were not good and walked away…

Backstage, Enzo Amore and Big Cass were talking when they overheard Rusev scolding Lana for something. Enzo said he had to get involved because Rusev was talking to a woman that way. Enzo and Cass walked over and got involved. Rusev said Lana is pathetic and maybe she deserves someone pathetic like Enzo. Lana stopped him and said the ring means they are married and that he is the only man who can have her. She threw the ring down and Rusev stormed off. Enzo stuck around and flirted with Lana…

Powell’s POV: We’ll see where this goes, but Rusev finally came off heelish in his feud with Enzo by bickering at his wife.

[Q4] Sami Zayn made his entrance for his match with Kevin Owens… [C] Backstage, Lana told Enzo that Rusev needs to be taught a lesson. She said that maybe if he saw that another man appreciated her, it would teach him a lesson. She invited Enzo to come to her hotel room…

Powell’s POV: Okay, so the babyface is being played, meaning that Rusev wasn’t actually yelling at his wife, and he’s getting revenge for Enzo showing his junk to his wife and not apologizing.

3. WWE Universal Champion Kevin Owens vs. Sami Zayn in a non-title match. The broadcast team hyped the Roadblock main event. Cole said this match came together because Zayn demanded another match with Braun Strowman, and Foley booked him against Owens instead. Zayn flipped over the top rope onto Owens heading into the break. [C]

Zayn controlled the action after the break and hit his DDT through the ropes on the floor. Back inside the ring, Zayn performed a wicked exploder suplex for a two count. Owens went for a superplex, but Owens blocked it and suplexed Zayn instead for a two count.

[Q5] Owens performed a pair of cannonballs in the corner. He went for a third, but Zayn blocked it. Zayn performed a tornado DDT off the ropes and went for his finisher, but Owens caught him with a superkick. Zayn avoided a Popup Powerbomb, then caught him with an multiple suplexes and a Blue Thunder Bomb for a two count.

They went to ringside and Zayn performed an exploder suplex into the barricade. They went back to the ring and Owens performed a Popup Powerbomb and pinned Zayn clean…

Kevin Owens beat Sami Zayn in 12:00 in a non-title match.

Powell’s POV: Zayn fans will grumble, but Owens needs more wins like this one. He’s spent so much time as one half of a comedy duo and he rarely wins without cheating. His in-ring credibility needs to be restored in order to make him a better champion. The only issue I really have with the way this went down was the way the match was flippantly announced in passing during the opening segment.

Backstage, Roman Reigns entered Chris Jericho’s locker room. Jericho told Reigns that everything is handed to him, but maybe tonight his luck runs out and he becomes the lucky man. Jericho said maybe it is Jericho’s lucky night or maybe he’s just doing Owens’ dirty work…

Saxton hyped Sasha Banks making her first appearance since winning the Raw Women’s Championship… [C] Cole congratulated Rock for all sorts of things… The broadcast team set up a video package on Sasha beating Charlotte from last week…

Charly Caruso (I think?) interviewed Sasha Banks, who boasted about walking into Charlotte’s “kingdom” and walking out “with the crown.” Sasha said Charlotte doesn’t deserve to live in Ric Flair’s legacy. She said Flair cost him the match at WrestleMania, but he still deserves better. Sasha said Charlotte the competitor brings the greatness out of her, so she can’t wait to do it again. Sasha suggested they make history at Roadblock by having an Ironman match. Sasha said she’s the only Iron Woman on Raw…

Powell’s POV: In a shocking twist, last week was not the last Sasha vs. Charlotte match despite the way it was hyped. Is there a reason the backstage interviewers are never introduced?

[Q6] The broadcast team set up footage from May of Charlotte telling Ric Flair that she doesn’t need him anymore and kicking him out of the ring… Cole said Charlotte invited Flair to Raw so she could issue a public apology… Rich Swann made his entrance… [C]

Powell’s POV: There was nothing advertised for this show all week. I assumed that would change today, but I didn’t see anything about Flair being present until they teased the apology on USA Network just minutes before Raw. What possible strategy could there be in not advertising anything in advance? Is the problem that the show was booked on the fly today?

Cole set up a video package on Rich Swann discussing his parents dying when he was young, and it focussed on him beating Brian Kendrick to win the WWE Cruiserweight Championship on 205 Live last week…

4. WWE Cruiserweight Champion Rich Swann vs. TJ Perkins in a non-title match. Cole announced Swann vs. Kendrick in a rematch for the championship as the 205 Live main event. Swann and Perkins shook hands prior to the match. Graves said Perkins constantly retweets compliments. “There are others who do that,” Cole responded. After some early action, Swann put Perkins in a couple holds and the crowd was very quiet.

[Q7] Perkins came back and caught Swann with a dropkick to the knee. Perkins tied him up in the tree of woe and dropkicked him. In the end, Perkins wetn for a springboard move, but Swann caught him with a kick on the way down and pinned him…

Rich Swann pinned TJ Perkins in a non-title match in 5:50.

Backstage, Bayley juggled her “Bayley Bears” merch as she walked through the backstage area. Saxton said her match is up next… [C]

Powell’s POV: Was Cole’s response to the retweeting line a jab at Mauro Ranallo, who is a chronic retweeter? Here’s hoping it’s a friendly jab and not a case of Cole actually being bothered by it if it even was in reference to Ranallo. The match was nothing special. I expected better from these two.

5. Bayley vs. Alicia Fox. Bayley handed out two of her toy bears to kids at ringside. Cole recapped Fox being upset with Bayley for giving one of the bears to Cedric Alexander on the five-minute pre-show. Fox was the early aggressor. Bayley came back with the Bayley To Belly for the win…

Bayley pinned Alicia Fox in 2:20.

Powell’s POV: I’m pretty sure this means Bayley gets to have her way with Cedric Alexander, but I could be wrong. I’m not a big fan on Bayley passing out the bears before the match. She definitely caters to kids and I get that they are trying to sell merchandise, but there’s a way to do it without making her look like a shill.

Backstage, Cass told Enzo that Lana is trouble. Enzo didn’t care. He read a text from Lana that showed her potentially topless, though they barely showed anything below the neckline. After Enzo ran off like a horny teenager, Rusev showed up and asked Cass where his wife was. Cass tried to walk off, so Rusev stopped him. Rusev said he would worry about Lana later. He said he was going to see Mick Foley so he could get a match and crush Cass…

The broadcast team hyped Mark Henry vs. Titus O’Neil as the Tussle in Texas… [C]

[Q8] Emmalina will premiere on Raw next week. Yes, it’s finally happening…

6. Mark Henry vs. Titus O’Neil. Henry hit the World’s Strongest Slam and won the match. Henry celebrated with fans afterward…

Mark Henry beat Titus O’Neil in 0:25.

Enzo was upset because his Uber driver couldn’t find him. A limo pulled up and Ric Flair emerged from it and gave him a hug. They went back and forth with “how you doin'” and “woooo” for a bit. Flair gave Enzo his limo to take to the hotel…

Powell’s POV: Yeah, go f— that married woman!!! Wooooo!!! Who are the babyfaces again?

Roman Reigns made his entrance (you know the reaction) and then they replayed Jericho telling Owens to stay away from him…

[Q9] 7. Roman Reigns vs. Chris Jericho for the U.S. Championship. JoJo delivered the in-ring introductions for the title match. Cole told viewers the title is prestigious and how proud Reigns is to be the champion (which is why he’s challenging for the Universal Title?). Reigns went for a Superman Punch, but Jericho dropkicked him and clotheslined him to the floor. Jericho went up top and dove onto Reigns on the floor with a cross body block heading into the break. [C]

Jericho remained on the offensive coming out of the break. Reigns came back and went to the corner for a move and was booed. Jericho tossed him to the floor and went for a dropkick through the ropes, but Reigns avoided it and then performed the Drive By kick. Reigns set up for a Superman Punch that Jericho avoided. Jericho performed a Lionsault for a two count.

Reigns performed a Samoan Drop and a Superman Punch and got a two count. Reigns went to the corner and let out the war cry before running into a kick. Jericho went for a Codebreaker, but Reigns caught him and powerbombed him for two. Later, Jericho caught Reigns in the Walls of Jericho. Reigns powered up and reached the ropes to break the hold.

[Q10] Kevin Owens came out and superkicked Reigns while Jericho was bickering with the referee. Jericho went for the cover and got a near fall. Owens hopped onto the apron to celebrate thinking Jericho had won. Jericho spotted Owens and scolded him. Jericho said he doesn’t need Owens, shoved him, and told him to go. Jericho turned around and Reigns tried to spear him. Jericho jumped over Reigns, but then Reigns turned around and speared him for the win…

Roman Reigns beat Chris Jericho in 13:50 to retain the U.S. Championship.

The broadcast team hyped the Roadblock main event and Reigns attempting to become a double champion. They shifted gears to setting up footage of Charlotte heeling on her father and kicking him out of the ring back in May…

Big Cass headed to the ring for the match with Rusev that isn’t going to happen. Graves called Enzo a home wrecker… [C]

Powell’s POV: A good match with some drama at the end. I actually thought there was a chance that Owens would help Jericho win in part because it would get the title off Reigns if they want to put the WWE Championship on him at Roadblock.

Big Cass stood in the ring and then Rusev’s music played. In a shocking twist, Rusev did not appear. Cass figured it out. He went to ringside and borrowed a phone to call Enzo. They showed Enzo going into the room despite saying it was a bad idea. Lana was flirtatious. Enzo tried to leave, but she stopped him. She remove his shirt and talked him into taking off his pants.

[Q11] Lana told Enzo that he’s a fool. She called for Rusev. Enzo wanted to leave. Rusev beat him up instead. Rusev smashed a flower vase over Enzo’s head. Rusev dragged him into the hall and stood over him.

Powell’s POV: During the break, Rusev and Lana dragged Enzo back inside the room so that they could have their way with him. Rusev likes his three-ways rough.

A Tribute to the Troops commercial aired for next week’s broadcast…

New Day was at ringside for the contenders match. Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson made their entrance, then Sheamus and Cesaro came out…

8. Sheamus and Cesaro vs. Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson to become No. 1 contenders for the Raw Tag Titles. Cole said New Day will tie Demolition’s record next Monday at midnight if they hold the titles that long. The winners of this match will have a chance to prevent them from doing so. [C]

[Q12] Late in the match, Cesaro, Anderson, and Gallows ended up on the floor in front of where New Day were sitting. Sheamus dove from the post and knocked the participants into New Day, leading to all three teams brawling and the bell ringing to end the match. The broadcast team played dumb about who the No. 1 contenders would be. Kingston went for a dive over the top, but Sheamus and Cesaro caught him and threw him into Big E and Xavier Woods…

Sheamus and Cesaro fought Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson to a no-contest in 10:10.

Charlotte was shown walking backstage while Cole said she would publicly apologize to her father after the break… [C]

Powell’s POV: I hate when the broadcast teams are made to look like morons. In this case, they are the only people in the world who didn’t even consider the possibility of there being a Triple Threat next week.

The broadcast team hyped John Cena as the host of SNL again…

In a shocking development, Saxton announced New Day vs. Sheamus and Cesaro vs. Gallows and Anderson in a Triple Threat for the Raw Tag Titles for next week’s Raw…

Charlotte headed to the ring in regular clothes. Cole announced Sasha Banks vs. Charlotte in a 30-minute Ironman match for the Raw Women’s Championship was official for Roadblock. Charlotte stood in the ring and said she made the biggest mistake of her life six months ago. She said she was ashamed of what she said and did, and set up footage of her promo on Ric Flair “for those who don’t remember what a cold hearted bitch of a daughter I was.”

[Overrun] Charlotte said losing her title was hard. She said WWE and the title mean everything to her. The fans gave her the “What?” treatment. Ugh. She said they could “What?” her, but she asked for a chance to explain. Other fans chanted “you tapped out.” She said it was hard for her to watcher her dad raise Sasha’s hand and hand her the belt. The fans went back to the “What?” bit again. She said it was as if her father was saying Sasha was the woman.

Charlotte said she wants her dad’s approval. She said no one knows how hard it is to be his daughter in this business. Charlotte said she sat in the audience after the match and watched her father raise someone else’s hand. She said it broke her heart and made her feel like she failed as his daughter. Charlotte said she hasn’t seen her father in six months. She said she asked him to come out so she could give him a heartfelt apology. “Dad, please come out here,” she said.

Ric Flair’s music played and Charlotte smiled. Flair walked out and didn’t play to the crowd. Charlotte smiled at her father and was teary-eyed as she said, “Dad, I’m sorry.” Flair looked at her. She smiled and then hugged him and he reciprocated. They pulled apart. They were going for another hug when Charlotte punched him in the face and called him a son of a bitch.

Charlotte yelled at Flair. Sasha Banks ran out, but Charlotte got the better of her and tossed her to ringside, where she continued to dominate her while Flair watched from the ring. Charlotte picked up Sasha in powerbomb position and instead threw her over her head and into the ring post. Flair acted devastated in the ring. Charlotte rolled Sasha in the ring and then mocked her father for crying. Charlotte placed Sasha in front of Flair and said Sasha was Flair’s trophy. Charlotte mocked him again for crying and then left the ring to close the show…

Powell’s POV: A good segment despite the fans and the “What” mess. I was actually hoping that Charlotte was sincere and turning babyface for a double turn with Sasha, who continues to be so abrasive at times that I still believe she would be better off as a heel. Overall, the show had some highs and even more lows. I’ll sort it out tonight in the member exclusive audio review, and I’ll be back on Tuesday with the WWE Raw Hit List.


The new edition of the Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell and guest Colt Cabana on his role in ROH, the state of the independent wrestling scene, the future of his podcast, the ROH Global Wars tour, the new ROH television format, Starrcast III, and much more...


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