5/8 Powell’s WWE Raw Live TV Review: Tag Team Turmoil match determines No. 1 contenders to the Raw Tag Titles, The Miz vs. Finn Balor, Dean Ambrose vs. Bray Wyatt, Raw Women’s Champion Alexa Bliss vs. Mickie James


By Jason Powell

WWE Raw on the USA Network
Taped earlier today in London, England at the O2 Arena

[Q1] Raw opened with a shot of Dean Ambrose walking backstage. He just happened to get a phone call from “Kurt”. Ambrose asked if he got the pictures he sent. “Oh, your wife opened them?” Ambrose said he thought Kurt would never ask and said he had a great idea for the name of their next pay-per-view. The call dropped. Ambrose told a production crew member to hit his music because he had an important announcement to make…

Michael Cole, Corey Graves, and Booker T were on commentary. Cole said there were 17,323 fans in attendance at the sold out show. Ring announcer JoJo introduced Ambrose…

Once in the ring, Ambrose said he just got off the phone with Kurt Angle, who wouldn’t be there. There were some boos. Ambrose said he thinks Angle’s dog was sick or something and you can’t boo a sick dog. There were more boos. Ambrose said Angle named him active general manager of Raw.

Powell’s POV: You know, because if Gary Bettman needed today off, I’m sure he would appoint Penguins star Sidney Crosby as the commissioner.

The Miz and Maryse interrupted Ambrose and headed to the ring. Miz mocked the fans for approving of Ambrose being the GM, telling them that Raw will be absolute chaos. Ambrose said he had a very detailed plan for an action packed Raw.

Powell’s POV: That he came up with on his way to the ring?

The Miz said he received a phone call from Stephanie McMahon. Miz said Stephanie heard about Angle’s plan and knew that it could be the final edition of Raw if Ambrose was allowed to run it. Miz announced that Stephanie named him “co-acting general manager” for the night. Ambrose offered a handshake and promised no funny business.

Powell’s POV: If Gary Bettman had a boss and that boss couldn’t make the game tonight, I’m sure he would counter by naming Alex Ovechkin as the GM in his place to counter Crosby. Okay, so this is pro wrestling and they obviously make it up as they go along, but I prefer it when pro wrestling companies book storylines that are more realistic than this one. It doesn’t mean they can’t have some fun with his scenario, but it’s pretty wonky.

Braun Strowman interrupted and headed to the ring with his left arm in a sling. Strowman noted that he took out Roman Reigns at Payback, which led to Yes! chants. He said that as long as Reigns can walk then he’s not finished with him. Strowman told Ambrose and Miz to tell Angle and Stephanie that he’s going to end Reigns. Strowman said that once he is finished with Reigns, he wants Brock Lesnar.

Kalisto made his entrance to a flat reaction and spoke from the stage. Kalisto said Strowman might not be done with Reigns, but he’s not done with Strowman. Kalisto recalled beating Strowman in the dumpster match. He said Strowman couldn’t take it and put him in the dumpster and could have ended his career. Kalisto demanded a match against Strowman, who laughed and said Kalisto beat him on a technicality. Strowman said he would beat him once his arm is healed. He said he could do it with one arm.

Ambrose booked Strowman against Kalisto. Strowman asked if Ambrose heard him say that he’s injured. Ambrose said he heard that, but he also heard him say that he could beat him with one arm. Strowman dropped the mic. Miz congratulated Ambrose for ending the career of Kalisto just minutes into his run as GM. Ambrose booked Miz against Finn Balor as the first match of the night…

Powell’s POV: It’s not for me, but Ambrose having some control over the show is sure to appeal to some viewers due to his crazy character. Strowman came off well, but I am surprised they had him show some hesitation about facing Kalisto because of the injury. Kalisto was the least over person in the segment so fans are not looking at him differently despite his dumpster match win. By the way, even though the show was taped earlier today, I will not be mentioning any spoilers before they air on the show.

[Q2] [C] 1. Finn Balor vs. The Miz (w/Maryse). Balor’s full entrance was televised. Balor was the early aggressor. Maryse pulled Miz to ringside to avoid Balor’s finisher. [C] Miz came back and hit his old Reality Check finisher for a two count. Miz went for the Skull Crushing Finale, but Balor rolled him up for two.

Q3] Balor kicked Miz to ringside and caught him with a running kick from the apron. Balor rolled Miz back inside the ring. Miz shoved Balor into the referee, who bumped into Maryse on the apron. Miz rolled to ringside and took the mic. Miz said that as co-acting GM, he couldn’t allow a wrestler to put his hands on a referee. Miz ordered the referee to disqualify Balor, which he did.

Miz boasted that he’s the number one contender and the winner of the match. Miz’s music played and he and Maryse headed up the ramp. Dean Ambrose came out and said he was restarting the match and banning Maryse from ringside. The bell rang and Balor ran up and struck Miz, then ran him back to the ring. Balor performed a sling blade clothesline and a running dropkick. Balor performed the Coup de Grace and scored the pin…

Finn Balor pinned The Miz in 13:20.

The broadcast team hyped Kalisto vs. Strowman for later in the show…

Backstage, Alexa Bliss was shown in her locker room when she was confronted by Nia Jax, who asked why she ran down everyone but her last week. Bliss tried to talk her way out of leaving, but Jax said she didn’t want to hear it. Jax asked if Bliss meant it when she said she was great. Bliss said of course she did. Jax said she wanted the next title shot after Bayley. Bliss said Kurt Angle makes the matches, but she would talk to him when he gets back. “Until you do, it looks like you just got yourself a new best friend,” Jax said… [C]

Powell’s POV: A good show opening match with Balor and Miz. I thought we might see Bray Wyatt show up to get them out of having a finish if only because The Miz is No. 1 contender to the IC Title. In fact, as strong as the finish of last week’s show was, it’s surprising there wasn’t a video package or something to recap all of the feuds that were set up during the closing minutes. Bliss and Jax is an interesting pairing. The live crowd popped big last week during their on-camera moment together, so it seems to be a match that fans want to see even though both women are slotted as heels.

An ad for Smackdown hyped Dolph Ziggler confronting Shinsuke Nakamura…

2. Raw Women’s Champion Alexa Bliss (w/Nia Jax) vs. Mickie James (w/Bayley). Mickie made her entrance, stopped on the stage, and then Bayley came out to join her. The UK crowd sang their usual Bayley song as the match started. James was in control heading into the break.

[Q4] [C] The Bayley song fired up again. Late in the match, James had Bliss down and went to the ropes. Nia stopped her. James kicked herself free and then Bayley dove onto Jax. Bliss recovered and cut off James on the rope and punched her down. Bliss covered James and pinned her.

Alexa Bliss defeated Mickie James in 8:15 in a non-title match.

After the match, Bliss took a couple cheap shots at James before Bayley broke it up and chased her backstage. Jax entered the ring and splashed James in the corner. Jax followed up with a running elbow drop before leaving the ring…

Backstage, Ambrose was going over his plans with a production crew member on a clipboard. Miz confronted Ambrose about restarting his match. Ambrose told Miz that he had the show laid out and Miz could just go home. Miz said he had a special Miz TV scheduled with a One Direction member. Ambrose said it was cancelled and he wanted more action and less talk. Miz booked Ambrose against Wyatt and took the clipboard that Ambrose was using…

The broadcast team spoke about the tale of the tape for Kalisto and Braun Strowman. Cole said the match was up next… [C]

Powell’s POV: The right people were spotlighted given the current storylines, but it continues to be a shame that the James return has been so lackluster. I don’t think WWE is introducing a regular tale of the tape, but rather using it to spotlight the size difference between Kalisto and Strowman.

Backstage, Ambrose was going over his plans with a production crew member on a clipboard. Miz confronted Ambrose about restarting his match. Ambrose told Miz that he had the show laid out and Miz could just go home. Miz said he had a special Miz TV scheduled with a One Direction member. Ambrose said it was cancelled and he wanted more action and less talk. Miz booked Ambrose against Wyatt and took the clipboard that Ambrose was using…

The broadcast team spoke about the tale of the tape for Kalisto and Braun Strowman. Cole said the match was up next… [C]

[Q5] Backstage, Charly Caruso attempted to interview Samoa Joe, who cut her off. Joe said Seth Rollins lives his life on Joe’s terms. Joe said it’s over when he says it’s over and he’s not done with Rollins. Seth attacked Joe and they brawled until several referees and agents intervened…

The broadcast team addressed the Joe and Rollins brawl and agreed that it’s far from finished. Cole hyped Strowman vs. Kalisto and then they had a brief in-show advertisement that recapped Kalisto winning the dumpster match…

3. Braun Strowman vs. Kalisto. Strowman had his arm in the sling. Before the match, Strowman took the mic and said Ambrose can shove it because he’s not accepting the match. Strowman said he is injured and Roman Reigns is a coward who won’t face him like a man. The official called for the bell to start the match anyway. Strowman immediately knocked down Kalisto.

Roman Reigns’ music played and he made his entrance 30 seconds into the match. Reigns still had his left shoulder wrapped. Reigns entered the ring and Kalisto was gone. Reigns kicked the injured arm of Strowman and then hit him with three Superman punches. Strowman took the first two standing, but then rolled to ringside after the third one.

Braun Strowman fought Kalisto to an apparent no-contest in 0:30.

Reigns followed to ringside and ran into a boot from Strowman. Reigns dodged a charging Strowman, who ran into the ring post. Reigns pulled the arm out of the sling and pulled it into the ring post several times. Reigns grabbed a chair and slammed it over the bad arm of Strowman several times. Strowman held his bad arm and headed toward the back while Reigns stood in the ring as his music played. “He doesn’t look like a pathetic coward now,” Cole said.

Powell’s POV: Actually, it did seem a little cowardly for the Reigns character to work over a wounded body part of an opponent, but I suppose a case can be made that he was fighting fire with fire. If you missed it earlier, Strowman is reportedly set for elbow surgery that will sideline him for four to eight weeks, so this appeared to be an injury angle.

The broadcast team announced Samoa Joe vs. Seth Rollins for later in the show…

Backstage, Goldust approached R-Truth and said this was the night. Truth was being playful and listening to music. Goldust was serious and said it hurt when Angle said their won/loss record wasn’t good enough for a tag title shot because it was true. Goldust said they know what they can do, and now it’s time to show everyone what they can do. Goldust asked Truth if he’s with him. Truth said he’s always been with him. “Let’s go shock the world,” Truth said…

The broadcast team hyped the Tag Team Turmoil match for post break…

[Q6] Cole and company recapped the Reigns attack on Strowman…

4. Enzo Amore and Big Cass vs. Sheamus and Cesaro vs. Goldust and R-Truth vs. Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson vs. Heath Slater and Rhyno in a Tag Team Turmoil match to become No 1. contenders to the Raw Tag Titles. Enzo and Cass delivered an in-ring promo before the bell. Enzo and Cass delivered an in-ring promo before the bell. Matt and Jeff Hardy were shown watching the match on a backstage monitor. [C]

Powell’s POV: It’s worth noting that UK fans didn’t get to see Jeff Hardy appear at TNA tours for a few years due to past legal issues, but he managed to make the first WWE tour of the UK since his return.

Enzo was isolated by the heels. Sheamus ended up running Cass into the post at ringside. Cesaro applied the Sharpshooter, and Enzo tapped out at 6:40.

[Q7] Heath Slater and Rhyno were out next and immediately brawled with Sheamus and Cesaro at ringside. Sheamus and Cesaro got the better of the brawl and then rolled Slater inside the ring. A “He’s got kids” chant broke out. Cesaro stomped him with his legs spread. A “No more kids” chant started. Funny. Slater came back with a kick out of the corner. Rhyno was still down at ringside. Sheamus clotheslined Slater off the rope. Rhyno got to the apron and was kicked back off by Sheamus, who eventually Brogue Kicked and pinned Slater in 10:30.

The next team out was Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson. [C] The teams traded offense and Sheamus hit White Noise on Gallows for a two count heading into another break. [C]

[Q8] Anderson and Gallows set up for their finisher on Sheamus, but Cesaro ran in and broke it up. Sheamus caught Gallows with a Brogue Kick and pinned him in 22:30.

R-Truth and Goldust were the final team out. The broadcast team put over their chances due to the amount of time that Sheamus and Cesaro had already been in the ring. The Golden Truth duo worked over Sheamus early on, and Goldust got a two count on him. Cesaro ended up dropping Goldust knee first on the barricade. Goldust was isolated.

Truth eventually tagged in and had a run of offense. He charged Cesaro in the corner. Cesaro moved, Truth crashed into the corner, and Cesaro rolled him up for the win. Afterward, Sheamus and Cesaro put the boots to Golden Truth. The Hardy Boys made their entrance, causing Sheamus and Cesaro to flee.

Sheamus and Cesaro won a Tag Team Turmoil match in 27:45 to become No. 1 contenders to the Raw Tag Titles.

Powell’s POV: The match was laid out nicely in terms of making Shemaus and Cesaro look like bad asses for lasting as long as they did while also making it seem like Golden Truth had a chance to win as the fresh team. They ate up a lot of television time and filled it nicely. There was no indication as to when the Hardys vs. Sheamus and Cesaro match will be held, but the Extreme Rules show seems like a strong possibility.

The broadcast team recapped highlights of the Joe and Rollins brawl from earlier in the show. Graves hyped Rollins vs. Joe for after the break… [C]

[Q9] 5. Samoa Joe vs. Seth Rollins. Joe and Rollins traded punches to start. Joe ducked to ringside, but he pulled Rollins with him. They fought at ringside while Cole questioned whether it was a good idea for Rollins to brawl with Joe. Joe brought the match back to the ring and worked over Rollins with punches. Rollins rebounded and they went back to ringside where Joe whipped him into the barricade.

Cole noted that Graves had been inside the ring with Joe. Graves said he’d never been kicked so hard in his life, and Booker could attest to that. “Why do you think Corey is sitting here with us?” Booker cracked. At 4:50, Rollins performed a Blockbuster. Moments later, Joe targeted the bad knee with a leg sweep that knocked Rollins off the apron. [C]

Joe was working over Rollins coming out of the break. Joe continued to target the knee and then knelt over him and taunted him. Joe stood and told Rollins to hit him. Joe avoided a Rollins swipe. The live crowd came to life with dueling chants. Rollins performed a jaw jacker on Joe and then caught him with two suicide dives. Rollins followed up with a springboard clothesline. Joe performed a great power slam for a two count. Rollins performed a falcon arrow at 13:00 and got a two count.

[Q10] Joe caught Rollins on the ropes. Rollins reached out and tried to hold on by grabbing the turnbuckle pad, but it came off. Rollins caught Joe with a kick for a two count. Joe pulled Rollins into the exposed turnbuckle. The referee checked on Rollins and then tried to put the turnbuckle pad back on. Joe stopped him and tossed the pad to ringside. Joe jawed at Rollins and then ran him head first into the exposed turnbuckle for the DQ. Afterward, Joe rammed Rollins into the exposed turnbuckle again and then applied the Coquina Clutch. “It’s over when I say it’s over,” Joe told Rollins…

Seth Rollins beat Samoa Joe by DQ in 15:05.

Cole announced Dean Ambrose vs. The Miz for the Intercontinental Championship. They also announced Ambrose vs. Bray Wyatt for later in this show… [C]

Powell’s POV: I’m surprised they gave this match away on television and didn’t feature it in the main event slot. I’m also surprised they had the match go as long as it did. The live crowd was slow to get into the action. In fact, they have been very tame by UK crowd standards tonight. The match was entertaining, but it was missing something in terms of leaving me anxious to see more. The finish was nicely done in terms of protecting both men while putting heat on Joe. It’s been an interesting show in that there has been a lot of in-ring work with minimal in-ring verbal segments and backstage promos.

6. Jack Gallagher vs. TJP. Neville sat in on commentary for the match. TJP sat on the ropes and smirked at footage of him attacking Austin Aries’s knee after their match last week. Perkins dabbed in front of Gallagher, who responded with a headbutt for a two count. Perkins came back with a drop toehold at ringside, causing Gallagher to fall into the ring steps.

[Q11] Back inside the ring, Gallagher avoided the Detonation Kick and then rolled up TJP, who rolled through and held the tights for the win. Afterward, TJP clipped the leg of Gallagher and put him in a leg lock. Austin Aries showed up wearing a knee brace and attacked TJP from the apron. Aries entered the ring, causing Perkins to leave the ring…

TJP pinned Jack Gallagher in 3:05.

A shot aired of Sasha Banks walking backstage… [C]

Powell’s POV: TJ Perkins is apparently TJP based on how he was introduced and how the broadcast team referred to him. Neville was defensive on commentary when he was asked if TJP had earned a title shot now that he’d beaten Gallagher.

A Backlash video aired and focussed on Jinder Mahal challenging Randy Orton. Cole said it was a Smackdown exclusive pay-per-view, but tonight is Monday Night Raw…

7. Sasha Banks vs. Alicia Fox. The women traded shoves and then slaps to the face. Fox performed a nice Northern Lights Suplex for two count. The fans came to life, but only because they were distracted by something (a beachball?). In the end, Sasha performed a double knee press off the ropes and got the pin…

Sasha Banks defeated Alicia Fox in 2:45.

Powell’s POV: The broadcast team pointed out that Fox’s shoulder wasn’t actually down for the three count, so I assume they will be going back to this match next week.

Graves hyped the Ambrose vs. Wyatt match as coming up next… [C]

[Q12] 8. Intercontinental Champion Dean Ambrose vs. Bray Wyatt in a non-title match. The Miz sat in on commentary for the match. Ambrose performed an early suicide dive and set up for his finisher back inside the ring, but Wyatt avoided it and went to ringside. Ambrose reached out after him, but Wyatt suplexed Ambrose from the floor. Wyatt brought Ambrose back to the ring and covered him for a two count. [C] Wyatt had a prolonged stretch of offense until Ambrose avoided a senton from the middle rope.

[Overrun] Ambrose came back and went to the ropes. Wyatt rolled to ringside to avoid him. Ambrose leapt onto Wyatt at ringside instead. The Miz said it was time for him to get a closer look at the match. Miz and Maryse headed to ringside. Ambrose spotted Miz at ringside. Wyatt tried to take advantage of the distraction, but Ambrose avoided his finisher. Wyatt performed a uranage for a two count.

Wyatt set up Ambrose on the ropes and sent for a superplex, but Ambrose headbutted his way free. Ambrose performed his top rope elbow move, but Wyatt punched him on the way down. Ambrose did the Lunatic Lariat. A short time later, Miz picked up the IC Title and mugged with it. Ambrose dove onto Miz. Wyatt followed him to ringside. Ambrose got the better of a brief exchange and then rolled Wyatt inside the ring. Miz hit Ambrose with the title belt. Wyatt rolled Ambrose inside the ring and covered him for two. Wyatt performed Sister Abigail and got the win…

Bray Wyatt defeated Dean Ambrose in 15:20 in a non-title match.

Miz announced Wyatt as the winner of the match. Miz entered the ring and threw punches at Ambrose while Wyatt left the ring. Miz took the mic and said that when he beats Ambrose for the IC Title, he won’t just be holding it in his hand, he’ll wearing it around his waist. Miz said the whole world will see him as the Intercontinental Champion and simply say awesome. Miz dropped the title belt and then his music played…

Powell’s POV: WWE made good on Ambrose’s character saying he wanted less talk and more action on this show. Unfortunately, it didn’t lead to this being a memorable night. The live crowd was was surprisingly flat and perhaps they actually could have used more talking to break things up. It wasn’t a hot show in terms of storyline developments. We’re under a month away from Extreme Rules, but there was no direct hype for that show. Overall, a decent show and the “wrestling, wrestling, and nothing but wrestling” crowd will be more pleased than usual, but there was nothing particularly memorable about it. Thanks for watching along with me.


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