9/4 Powell’s WWE Raw Live TV Review: The Miz vs. Jeff Hardy for the Intercontinental Championship, Braun Strowman vs. Big Show in a cage match, John Cena vs. Jason Jordan

By Jason Powell

WWE Raw on the USA Network
Live from Omaha, Nebraska at Century Link Center

[Q1] Raw opened with a recap of the contract signing between John Cena and Roman Reigns for No Mercy… The broadcast team was Michael Cole, Corey Graves, and Booker T…

John Cena made his entrance. He approached the broadcast team and played to them before heading to the ring and being introduced by ring announcer JoJo. Cole hyped Cena vs. Reigns for No Mercy as a WrestleMania caliber match. He also acknowledged the return of Booker T, who missed last week’s show due to the natural disaster in his native Houston.

Jason Jordan entered to a fraction of the reaction that Cena received. Before the match, Cole narrated highlights of Cena’s first WWE match against “Jordan’s father” Kurt Angle from June 27, 2002…

1. John Cena vs. Jason Jordan. Cena acted flustered by a couple of early Jordan takedowns. Cole questioned whether Jordan could handle the moment and the broadcast team spoke about the education he was receiving just by being int he ring with Cena. Jordan was whipped into the corner and Cena covered him for two heading into the break. [C]

[Q2] Cena connected with the Five Knuckle Shuffle at 9:20. Cena followed up with an Attitude Adjustment attempt, but Jordan slipped out and rolled him up for a two count. Cena applied the STF, but Jordan eventually countered into his own (and better looking) STF. Cena powered out of it, but Jordan countered into a couple of suplexes and bridged for a two count at 10:55.

Jordan shoulder blocked Cena in the corner and then took the straps of his singlet down. Cena came right back and hit the Attitude Adjustment for the win. After the match, Cena helped Jordan to his feet and patted him on the back. Cena played to the crowd while Jordan exited…

John Cena defeated Jason Jordan in 11:40.

As Cena was celebrating, Roman Reigns’s entrance music played and he made a slow walk to the ring… [C]

Powell’s POV: The match was slow before the break, but the action and crowd interest picked up down the stretch. A match like this helps Jordan, but the real key to him getting over is improving his promos and the writers developing a character for him that isn’t so nice guy bland. Of course, this could all be a set up for a heel turn. Either way, he has yet to connect with the audience in a meaningful way.

After the break, Reigns and Cena stood in the ring with mics in their hands. Reigns said he had one question for Cena. The crowd booed him. Reigns said that if Cena is what he says he is, why does it take a 16-time champion over 20 minutes to beat a rookie.

Powell’s POV: Either my online timer is broken or Roman needs math help.

Reigns said that if Cena is as good as he says he is, he would have beaten him right out of the get go. Reigns said Cena let Jordan and the fans believe in Jordan and then he thrust him. Reigns said the alternative theory is that Cena isn’t as good as he says he is and is a “lying, fake ass little bitch.”

Cena welcomed “Debbie Downer” to Raw. Cena said he was disgusted by Roman’s face. Cena said they all saw what happened last week and he should stay in his lane because that’s not his strong suit. Cena said Roman came out with is zipper opened. “I busted it, actually,” Reigns said. “Big dog.” Cena said he was talking about his balls, but Reigns doesn’t have any. Reigns said Cena would be looking for his balls.

Cena said Reigns is going to get the answers at No Mercy. Cena said Reigns will either beat beaten by a guy who will chop him down to size. Cena said Reigns is a conceited golden boy who needs to be taught a lesson in respect. Cena said Jordan, Chad Gable, and even The Miz scratch and claw to get by. Cena said he despises Miz, but he respects how he scratches and claws. “I don’t respect you,” Cena told Reigns. “I don’t respect how you walk on down here and call me a fake ass bitch.” Cena played to the crowd by saying that while Reigns says he’s the guy, the fans don’t agree.

[Q3] Cena asked if Reigns could see through his conceited and clouded brain or if he has to beat some sense into him. “Now we’re talking, John,” Reigns said. “Do it.” Reigns encouraged Cena to do it on the spot. He asked the crowd if they want to see Cena beat his ass. The fans roared. Reigns said this is Cena’s moment to finally back up his big mouth. When Cena didn’t get physical, Reigns told him he’s all talk and added, “And that’s why I don’t respect you.” Reigns left the ring as his music played while Cena leaned against the ropes and smirked…

Cole hyped Braun Strowman vs. Big Show in a cage match for later in the show. Highlights aired of the ring imploding the last time they met in a Raw match. Graves hyped the Intercontinental Title match as coming up later in the show… [C]

Powell’s POV: Another entertaining exchange between Reigns and Cena. Granted, a lot of it was basically a recap of what they said last week and therefore this won’t have people buzzing as much as that initial exchange did, but it still made for good television served as quality hype for their No Mercy match.

Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose joined the broadcast team on commentary. Booker told Rollins he looked jacked. A graphic noted hyped Ambrose and Rollins vs. Sheamus and Cesaro for the Raw Tag Titles at No Mercy…

Powell’s POV: If you’re wondering what’s up with some of the babyfaces wearing special t-shirts tonight, they are limited edition shirts for the Connor’s Cure charity.

2. Sheamus and Cesaro vs. Rhyno and Heath Slater. Slater got in trouble early, but he caught Cesaro with a kick and then tagged in his partner. Rhyno cleaned house briefly, but he ended up eating a Brogue Kick from Sheamus, who pinned him…

Sheamus and Cesaro beat Rhyno and Heath Slater in 2:15.

The broadcast team spoke from their table. Booker thanked the fans for their support and then noted that Houston has been down before. Cole noted that Mark Henry was in the area helping out with the relief effort today. Graves hyped the charity mentioned last week for donations…

Backstage, Renee Young interviewed Jeff Hardy and Matt Hardy. Matt said it was a wonderful evening for a new IC Champion. Jeff said he and Matt wrestle each match like it’s their first and could be their last. Jeff said they live for the moment and that’s what he teaches his daughter. He said it’s pretty cool that his daughter could see him win the IC Title.

[Q4] Jeff said he’s either going to burn out in a blaze or glory or leave as the new IC Champion. Matt said that if Miztourage tries to warp his brother’s destiny then they will all go down to a beautiful Twist of Fate. Cole said the IC Title match was up next… [C] An ad for Smackdown hyped Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Randy Orton in a No. 1 contenders match…

3. The Miz (w/Maryse, Bo Dallas, Curtis Axel) vs. Jeff Hardy (w/Matt Hardy) for the Intercontinental Championship. JoJo delivered in-ring introductions for the title match. Cole noted that Jeff won his final IC Title ten years ago yesterday. They cut to break a couple minutes into the match. [C] Jeff performed a Whisper in the Wind for a two count.

[Q5] Jeff went up top for his finisher, but Dallas distracted the referee while Axel pulled Jeff down. Matt went after the entourage members. The referee ejected Dallas, Axel, and Matt Hardy from ringside. Maryse was allowed to stay because the referee is a reverse sexist or something. At 8:20, Miz performed a nice running knee and got a two count. At 9:50, Miz tripped Jeff on the ring apron and caused him to tumble to ringside.

Back inside the ring, Miz covered Jeff for a two count. Miz followed up with a figure four. Jeff performed a Twist of Fate and covered Miz, who reached out and grabbed the bottom rope with his hand to break the pin. Jeff sent Miz to ringside and performed Poetry in Motion off the ring steps. Jeff rolled Miz back inside the ring and went up top for his finisher. Miz reached in and shook the hand of Miz, who rolled out of the way and avoided the Swanton. Miz avoided a Twist of Fate and countered into a Skull Crushing Finale for the win…

The Miz pinned Jeff Hardy in 13:05 to retain the Intercontinental Championship.

Powell’s POV: An enjoyable match. You had to know Maryse was going to play some part in the finish when the referee ejected everyone but her from ringside. It’s nice to see Miz get a cleaner than usual win over a big name. Miz developed in-ring credibility with viewers during his run on Smackdown, but he’s slid back into cheat to win mode on Raw.

The broadcast team recapped Alexa Bliss beating Sasha Banks to regain the Raw Women’s Championship, and the post match angle with Nia Jax. Cole hyped Bliss vs. Banks for the Raw Women’s Championship at No Mercy…

Kurt Angle was checking his phone backstage when Nia Jax approached him and asked why Sasha gets a title shot before she does. Angle said it’s Sasha’s contractually obligated rematch. Angle also said that’s not how you get opportunities. Jax said Angle knows that you create your own opportunity. Angle agreed. She spoke about how it felt right when she held up the title belt last week. Emma interrupted and made her pitch for a new hashtag that gives her a chance at the title. Jax got fired up. Angle booked them to team up in a match against Bliss and Sasha. Angle said that if Sasha and Bliss win, the match will remain a singles match. However, if Emma and Jax win then they will be added to the match and it will be a four-way…

A shot aired of the cage hanging above the ring. Cole noted that the ring was reinforced for this match. Another clip aired of the ring collapsing during their last television match… [C]

Powell’s POV: I assume we’re getting a four-way women’s championship match at No Mercy. It just felt flat when they announced the singles match earlier today and I suspected Jax would be added, but the potential addition of Emma is a nice surprise. Now if only they would give her something more than hashtags to talk about.

[Q6] The broadcast team stood at their desk and hyped the cage match. A bunch of cruiserweights were in the ring behind them already. Graves set up a video package on the last Strowman vs Show match…

Footage aired of the six-man tag match from last week’s 205 Live television show. The match ended with Enzo Amore getting the pin while using the ropes for leverage, which set up the need for the rematch. Noam Dar, Tony Nese, and Drew Gulak were in the ring. Enzo Amore came out with Gran Metalik and Cedric Alexander. Enzo said controversy follows him like a shadow. They struck a Michael Jordan pose that didn’t click with the crowd. Enzo said the cruiserweights work harder while he works a little smarter. He and his sidekicks labeled Gulak “Captain Underpants.” He closed with the sawft bit… [C]

Powell’s POV: If they do a segment like this a week from tonight and go to commercial with a tease for a cruiserweight match, it will be the universal cue for wrestling fans who enjoy football to flip over to ESPN to check the score.

4. Enzo Amore, Gran Metalik, and Cedric Alexander vs. Noam Dar, Tony Nese, and Drew Gulak. The match was joined in progress.

[Q7] Late in the match, Enzo tagged himself in before his partners performed flip dives onto Nese and Dar. Enzo poked Gulak in the eye while the referee was distracted, then hit Eat Defeat for the win…

Enzo Amore, Gran Metalik, and Cedric Alexander beat Noam Dar, Tony Nese, and Drew Gulak in 5:00.

Powell’s POV: Check out 205 Live to listen to Enzo cut needlessly long promos and then cheat to win his matches. Pass.

Sasha Banks was shown getting ready for her match when Alexa Bliss entered the room and tried to play nice with her heading into their match. Banks recognized that she was trying to be nice to her because if the other women are allowed in the title match then it lessons her chances (WWE math) of retaining the title. Sasha said she would beat Bliss if it ends up being a singles match (and then lose it the next time she defends the title?)…

Finn Balor was shown walking backstage. Graves said Balor was coming to the ring after the break… [C]

Finn Balor made his entrance for a promo. He played to the locals and said, “This is Balor Club.” Balor said the NXT and Universal Championships looked good around his waist. He said the IC Title also would have looked good on him if it wasn’t for Bray Wyatt, explaining that Wyatt cost him his title shot by interfering in the battle royal last week.

Balor said you never truly beat someone like Wyatt. Balor said the next time Wyatt appears, he will be ready. Balor said he’s chosen his fate and he’s not afraid. “I don’t run from my demons because sometimes I become then,” he said. Balor said they could continue to play games.

The Wyatt video flashed and then he appeared on the screen. He spoke about going hunting when he was a child. He said he was good at it, but he got bored, so he put his weapon down and used his hands instead. He said his bare hands judged them all. Wyatt said that choice defined him and he knew what his purpose was.

[Q8] Wyatt told Balor to define his legacy and make a choice. Balor said he’s already made his choice. Wyatt questioned if Balor will run like a scared rabbit when they meet at No Mercy… [C]

Powell’s POV: A flat exchange. Wyatt’s promos are thoughtful, yet they mean nothing because his character has failed to back up his words so many times that there’s no reason for fans to take anything he says to heart.

A Total Bellas teaser aired for Wednesday’s second season premiere. Cole mentioned the premiere and said “starring… this young lady” Alexa Bliss made her entrance wearing a Connor’s Cure t-shirt. Cole hyped the charity drive and said WWE will donate 100 percent of the proceeds to the cause. The other women made their entrance for the tag match… [C]

5. Alexa Bliss and Sasha Banks vs. Nia Jax and Emma. The match was joined in progress. Emma slapped the back of Jax to tag herself into the match.

[Q9] Jax tagged in around 7:00 and got in Bliss’s face. Bliss jawed at her and slapped her across the face. Jax no-sold it. Bliss screamed in fear. Jax performed a Samoan drop and had Bliss pinned, but Banks broke it up. Banks tagged in and got the better of Jax briefly. Later, Emma tagged herself in again as Jax was running the ropes. Jax performed a leg drop, then Emma covered Banks for the pin…

Nia Jax and Emma beat Alexa Bliss and Sasha Banks in 8:50 of TV time.

After the match, Jax acted like she was cool with everything. She asked for a high five and Emma obliged, but Jax put her down with a Samoan drop…

Backstage, Renee Young interviewed Braun Strowman, who questioned what Angle was thinking by booking him in the cage match against Big Show. Strowman said this might affect his title opportunity at No Mercy, but he’s not complaining. He said he didn’t see Angle booking Lesnar in a cage match before No Mercy. Strowman said he would use the match to send a message that wherever he goes, destruction follows…

A shot aired of Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins walking backstage. They happened to cross paths with Elias, who was strumming his guitar. Ambrose acted like he liked what he heard. Cole hyped Ambrose and Rollins vs. Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson… [C]

[Q10] 6. Raw Tag Champions Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose vs. Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson in a non-title match. Sheamus and Cesaro watched the match from ringside. Rollins and Ambrose performed stereo leaps over the top and onto both opponents at ringside heading into a break. [C]

Later, Gallows caught Ambrose with a big boot. Ambrose did the Lunatic Lariat in response and made a hot tag to Rollins moments later. Rollins performed a blockbuster on Andersona nd then dove onto Gallows before returning to the ring and performing a sling blade clothesline on Anderson. A short time later, Sheamus and Cesaro tried to interfere, but Rollins and Ambrose fought them off. Rollins ran Anderson into Cesaro and then rolled him up for the win.

Raw Tag Champions Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose defeated Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson in a non-title match in 11:50.

[Q11] After the match, Anderson and Gallows knocked Sheamus and Cesaro to ringside. An audible “too sweet” chant started in favor of the Bullet Club members. The heel duos ended up trading blows. Sheamus and Cesaro quickly cleared Anderson and Gallows from the ring…

A video package focussed on a Connor’s Cure event with WWE personalities. Stephanie McMahon introduced various children who had superhero gimmicks. The live crowd was shown applauding the video. The broadcast team spoke about how proud the company is, then set up a graphic that listed details on how fans can donate to the cause…

Graves hyped the cage match main event. More footage aired of the ring collapsing the last time they met. Graves said the cage match was up next… [C]

Powell’s POV: So much for taking Anderson and Gallows seriously anytime soon now that they were beaten by the champions and then manhandled by the top challengers. Meanwhile, I assume we’re getting an angle of some kind rather than just Strowman vs. Show in a cage match given that there’s so much time left. I guess we’ll see how long they drag out the entrances.

Enzo Amore, Cedric Alexander, and Gran Metalik were still celebrating their win backstage when they were interrupted by an applauding Neville. The WWE Cruiserweight Champion announced that the three of them qualified for a five-way elimination match on 205 Live with the winner getting a title shot at No Mercy. “Friends one evening, foes the next,” Neville taunted…

The production crew was shown “reenforcing the ring” while Cole transitioned to referee John Cone, who served as the referee the last time Show faced Strowman. He spoke about the ring collapsing as footage aired. Cone also spoke about the ring being double reinforced, but he also said he doesn’t know what to expect and planned to stay out of the way…

Renee Young interviewed Big Show on the backstage interview set. Show said he’s had a lot of big matches and faced every opponent conceivable, but he’s never faced one as imposing as Strowman. Show said he’s had more cage matches than Strowman has had matches. He said he knows how brutal the cage can be on the body. He said Strowman’s bones will break and he won’t be able to stand. Show said he would chokeslam Strowman straight to hell and then walk out victorious. Show said Strowman doesn’t respect him. Show took exception to Strowman claiming that he’s going to put him out to pasture. Show said Strowman would have to break him. “In 23 years, there hasn’t been one superstar big enough or bad enough to break him,” Show said…

The cage was shown lowering around the ring… [C]

Powell’s POV: A nice promo by Big Show. I like the way they filled the time that I mentioned earlier, but I must question whether the referee interview and Show promo should have occurred earlier in the show since both were effective in selling the match.

Brian Kendrick vs. Tony Nese vs. Enzo Amore vs. Gran Metalik vs. Cedric Alexander in a five-way elimination match was announced for 205 Live… Ring entrances for the main event too place…

7. Big Show vs. Braun Strowman in a cage match. Strowman caught Show with a kick at the bell and then worked him over with punches and kicks. Strowman placed Show between the ropes and the cage and then performed three running clotheslines. He went for the same move again, but Show clocked him with a punch. Both men were down heading into the break. [C]

Powell’s POV: Does this mean Show’s hand has miraculously healed following that shark cage angle?

[Overrun] Show took offensive control and ran Strowman into the cage a couple times. Show climbed the ropes and then Strowman joined him. They traded punches. Strowman headbutted Show, who then crotched himself on the top rope. Strowman tried to climb the cage, but he fell onto the ropes too. Show got to his feet and the crowd popped. Booker said he hadn’t seen Show come off the top rope since his first year in the business.

Booker foreshadowed the move by talking about how Show’s finisher was once a top rope elbow, then Show performed the move. The fans chanted holy shit. Show rolled over on Strowman for a two count. Show slowly crawled to the door, but Strowman pulled the cage door into his head. Show returned the favor when Strowman tried to walk over him to exit the cage.

Both men charged at one another and both fell down when they collided. Show got up and went for a chokeslam, but Strowman escaped and DDT’d him for a two count. Show and Strowman traded punches while on their knees. They got to their feet and Strowman performed multiple headbutts. Strowman ran the ropes and Show caught him and chokeslammed him for a good near fall.

At 15:00, Show set up on the ropes. Strowman caught him with an uppercut. Strowman stood on the middle rope, but Show knocked him down again. Show went to the top rope. Strowman got up again and caught him with a punch to the gut, then superplexed him. The ring did not collapse. Cole said they reinforced the ring twice and it worked. Strowman got to his feet and let out a primal scream. Strowman scooped up Show and power slammed him and then got the three count…

Braun Strowman pinned Big Show in a cage match in 16:55.

After the match, Strowman took the mic and asked the crowd if they saw what he did to the “so-called giant.” He asked what they think he will do to The Beast at No Mercy. “Brock Lesnar, at No Mercy, this is your future, and mine is becoming the new Universal Champion.”

Strowman teased leaving, then stopped and went back to Show, who threw light punches to show he was weary. “You’re out to the pasture, old man,” Strowman told him. Strowman scooped up Show and then power slammed him through one of the cage panels. The crowd popped. Referees checked on Show, who winced and held his hip in pain. Strowman went to the stage and let out another primal scream to end the show…

Powell’s POV: Strong effort from both men. They worked hard and while they were moving very slowly by the end, it was fun to see the super heavyweights go at it again. Major props to Show for performing a top rope elbow drop and taking that big bump through the cage panel afterward.

Overall, the show didn’t feel as hot as it has at times in recent weeks. It had its moments, but it felt like more miss than hit as a whole. I can’t help but feel like this show was a missed opportunity. This was the last Raw before NFL season returns and they chose not to advertise anything for next week. They can always promote matches online, but surely advertising directly to the Raw audience and then following up with the online hype would have been more effective. I will have more to say in my audio review later tonight. Thanks for watching along with me.


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