By Jason Powell
WWE Raw on the USA Network
Live from Green Bay, Wisconsin at Resch Center
[Q1] Raw opened with still shots of the WWE TLC main event… The broadcast team was Michael Cole, Corey Graves, and Booker T…
Raw general manager Kurt Angle made his entrance while the broadcast team put over his return to a WWE ring for the first time in eleven years. The fans gave him a “you’ve still got it’ chant. Angle said every story has a beginning, middle, and end, and last night he wrote a new chapter. Angle said it was a dream come true to wrestle in a WWE ring again. He said that was last night, but this is tonight. He mentioned Survivor Series and debuting at the event 18 years ago.
Angle announced Survivor Series matches Alexa Bliss vs. Natalya, The Miz vs. Baron Corbin, Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose vs. The Usos, and Brock Lesnar vs. Jinder Mahal. He also said there will also be men’s and women’s elimination matches. Angle said he will make sure that his show is the most dominant show in WWE.
The Miz’s music played and he made his entrance along with Sheamus, Cesaro, and Curtis Axel. Miz said Raw is his show. He complained about Angle replacing Roman Reigns at TLC, saying it should have simply been Rollins and Ambrose facing his team. Miz accused Angle of abusing his power.
The four heels surrounded the ring and climbed onto the apron. Graves emphasized that Angle is a general manager. After an awkward pause with the heels standing on the apron a few seconds too long without doing anything, The Shield music played. Rollins and Ambrose made their entrance and joined Angle in the ring. The heels dropped down.
The Miz said the odds are not in favor of Angle, Rollins, and Ambrose. Angle booked Miz, Cesaro, and Sheamus vs. Rollins and Ambrose and a partner who decided to stay an extra night on Raw. AJ Styles made his entrance. Cole said the six-man tag match was coming up next… [C] An ad for Smackdown hyped the return of Shane McMahon…
Powell’s POV: A good opening segment, though the announcement of the Survivor Series was rather sudden and lacked fanfare. It will be interesting to see if there’s a secondary title and/or women’s title change between now and Survivor Series to avoid having heel vs. heel matches. The idea of Styles sticking around for another night definitely goes against the brand split. We’ll see if they explain it beyond Styles just sticking around for an extra night.
[Q2] 1. AJ Styles, Seth Rollins, and Dean Ambrose vs. Sheamus, Cesaro, and The Miz (w/Curtis Axel). The fans changed for Styles before he tagged in for the first time a few minutes into the match. Styles worked over Cesaro until the Miz distracted him long enough for Cesaro to clothesline Styles using the top rope. The babyface trio performed simultaneous dives over the top rope and onto their opponents heading into a break. [C]
The heels isolated Ambrose until he made a hot tag to Rollins, who then worked over his opponents. Rollins hit a Blockbuster on Miz and followed up with a Falcon Arrow and went for a pin that was broken up. Miz kicked a distracted Rollins in the knee and then DDT’d him for a good near fall at 13:20 before they went to a commercial.
[Q3] [C] Rollins made a hot tag to Styles shortly after they returned from the break. Styles worked over Cesaro and got a two count off a neckbreaker slam on his knee. Cesaro came back and had Styles beat, but the pin was broken up. Rollins and Ambrose performed stereo suicide dives after ducking under a Cesaro clothesline attempt and took out Miz and Sheamus on the floor. In the ring, Styles hit a Phenomenal Forearm on Cesaro and got the pin…
AJ Styles, Seth Rollins, and Dean Ambrose defeated Sheamus, Cesaro, and The Miz in 19:45.
After the match, Kane made his entrance and entered the ring. He ended up getting the better of Rollins, Ambrose, and Styles singlehandedly. Yes, really. The heels returned and helped him out. Kane chokeslammed Rollins and then tossed Ambrose to ringside…
Cole announced that Asuka would debut on Raw later in the show. Graves hyped Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman appearing… [C]
Powell’s POV: A hot match, pay-per-view worthy match to open the show. They are a little shorthanded with Roman Reigns and Bray Wyatt sidelined, so it was wise to go with a lengthy show opening match for that reason as well. I could have done without Kane singlehandedly got the better of them after the match. Putting over his monster status should not come at the expense of making three popular babyfaces look weak.
[Q4] The broadcast team recapped the Kane attack and then still shots aired of the TLC main event while focussing on Braun Strowman being placed in the back of a garbage truck…
Kane was still standing in the ring. He said he heard the stories through hellfire and brimstone about how he roared, rampaged, walked away from an ambulance crash, destroyed Big Show, and broke Roman Reigns. Kane said he liked what he heard about Strowman, but what he found was trash.
Kane said he put Strowman where he belonged in the back of the garbage truck. Kane said he is and will always be Raw’s only monster. Kane said that with Strowman gone, he wants competition or else. Finn Balor made his entrance. Cole said Kane vs. Balor was coming up after the break… [C]
Powell’s POV: This will be an interesting match in that the company should be leery of doing anything that would damage either man. Balor is coming off a big win over Styles, and they are obviously building toward a Kane vs. Strowman match. In other words, this would be a good time for a cheap or non-finish.
2. Kane vs. Finn Balor. Kane was dominant early in the match with Balor selling his power moves.
[Q5] Balor came back and put Kane down with a running dropkick. Balor went up top for his finisher, but Kane sat up and ended up chokeslamming him off the top rope. Kane picked up Balor and then chokeslammed him again. Kane picked up Balor and performed a third chokeslam before pinning him clean…
Kane pinned Finn Balor in 7:00.
Powell’s POV: Awful for the reasons mentioned before the match. Kane could have destroyed anyone in this fashion. One loss won’t kill Balor, but the timing is bizarre considering he was coming off such a big win over Styles at TLC.
Cole hyped the Lesnar appearance, and Graves hyped that Angle will announce the Raw male team for Survivor Series…
Backstage, Angle was on the phone telling someone that it’s the only time of the year that Raw competes with Smackdown and it should be awesome. Angle hung up the phone when there was a knock on the door. Shane McMahon entered the room and they exchanged pleasantries.
Angle thanked Shane for letting him use Styles. Shane pointed out that he was also on Raw. Angle said he would love to have him permanently, but Shane said he didn’t think that would happen. Angle said he didn’t think Smackdown would stand a chance without Styles. Shane wasn’t pleased.
Angle ran through the Raw talent compared to some of the Smackdown talent and said he hopes Shane won’t feel bad when Raw wins. Shane pointed out that Smackdown won last year. Angle said he wasn’t general manager last year. Shane said he was there to personally tell Angle that Smackdown will destroy Raw. They then had a laugh and shook hands…
An Asuka video hyped her as coming up next… [C]
Powell’s POV: The rivalry between Angle and Shane over the Raw vs. Smackdown matches felt as lighthearted as smack talk between two friends who play in the same fantasy football league.
Some guys who were beaten by the Minnesota Vikings last week were shown in the front row…
[Q6] 3. Asuka vs. Emma. Cole said Emma asked for the rematch because Asuka stole what should have been her night at TLC. Asuka slammed her ass into Emma to knock her off the apron. Emma ended up slamming Asuka’s face into the ring post to take offensive control. Asuka went for a backslide, but Emma avoided the pin. When they stood up, Emma clotheslined her.
Emma ran Asuka into the corner while Cole raved about how surprising Emma had been thus far. Asuka came back with a missile dropkick. The women traded blows in the middle of the ring. Asuka dominated that sequence and performed a German suplex and then ran her backside into Emma for a two count. Emma came back with a rollup, but Asuka kicked out and then applied the Asuka Lock for the win…
Asuka defeated Emma in 5:20.
Alexa Bliss was shown walking backstage… [C]
Powell’s POV: Man, Green Bay is not Asuka country. The Minneapolis crowd at TLC gave her one of the best pops of the night, but this crowd was flat for her for some odd reason.
Alexa Bliss came out wearing the Raw Women’s Championship and delivered a promo in the ring. She said she will show Natalya that there is only one true goddess. Bliss said she had the performance of her career at TLC and gets zero respect. She said Balor and Styles can stare into each other’s eyes for ten minutes and fans will chant “this is awesome.” Bliss said the fans are jealous of her. She wanted them to chant ‘you deserve it” for her.
[Q7] Mickie James made her entrance. Once in the ring, James kicked Bliss and DDT’d her. James stood over Bliss with the mic and said, “Alexa, you do deserve it”…
Powell’s POV: It’s nice to see James is still in the title mix and isn’t simply back to the women’s undercard where they feud over hashtags.
Kurt Angle was shown watching on a backstage monitor when Sasha Banks and Bayley entered the room. Angle said the Raw women’s team needs a captain and he felt they would be the best option. Alicia Fox entered the room and was upset that she wasn’t the captain. Angle booked them all in a Triple Threat to determine the captain of the team. Angle told Fox to remember that pinfalls only count inside the ring. She told him that he is so silly… [C]
Powell’s POV: So Fox is in the match to put over the captain? By the way, has anyone ever figured out why these teams even need captains from a storyline standpoint?
Elias sat in the ring on his stool and strummed his guitar before asking who wants to walk with him. He said the crowd’s response was strong, but added that anything was strong compared to Aaron Rodgers’ collarbone. The Green Bay crowd chanted “Go Pack Go” and he said they should all just go home.
Elias played his guitar and started to have some “technical issues.” He had more issues. Elias rolled to ringside and took a mic and said he didn’t know who the technician was, but he was heading backstage to beat the hell out of them. Jason Jordan made his entrance, and Cole said you have to believe Jordan was having fun with Elias. Cole hyped Elias vs. Jordan for after the break… [C]
[Q8] 4. Elias vs. Jason Jordan. The match was joined in progress. Cole recapped the finish with Elias’s shoulder being up when Jordan got the pin at TLC. Graves said Jordan went to his father and asked for a rematch because he’s such a good person. Vomit. They went to ringside and Jordan picked up Elias and ran him into the barricade a few times. Elias responded by hitting Jordan with his guitar for the DQ. Trainers came out and checked on Jordan, who was holding his left arm in pain. There was a big welt on the side of his arm and the trainers and refs helped him to the back…
Jason Jordan beat Elias by DQ.
Graves hyped Lesnar and Heyman for after the break… [C]
Powell’s POV: The live crowd was so quiet during the match that you would have thought they just finished watching the Vikings beat the Packers again. Anyway, that was one hell of a swing by Elias. Oh, and congratulations to Darin Corbin for landing the gig as a WWE medic this week. Forget the degree, the years he’s spent working as an independent wrestler clearly qualify him for this position.
Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman made their entrance. Footage aired of Jinder Mahal delivering his challenge on Smackdown. Heyman spoke about how “this same someone” issued the challenge and barely survived the challenges of Randy Orton and Shinsuke Nakamura. Heyman said we live in the age of trash talking.
[Q9] Heyman said the king of the trash talk is the man with the mic in his hand. Heyman said he doesn’t trash talk Lesnar’s opponent because any man worthy of entering the ring to face Lesnar must be a real man. Heyman said he didn’t trash talk Samoa Joe or Braun Strowman.
“But you, Jinder Mahal?” Heyman asked. “The make believe Maharaja?” He accused the Singh Brothers of stealing his schtick by introducing Mahal. Heyman ran through a list of worthy WWE Champions that included Lesnar, and said fans don’t think of Mahal that way. He said Mahal was a consolation prize when Smackdown got the shaft in the Superstar Shakeup.
Heyman said the brand that brags Brock Lesnar is the flagship brand with the number one brand and the place to be in WWE. Heyman said that because Mahal disputes that fact, “you’re going to Suplex City.” Heyman said the last time a Smackdown wrestler (Randy Orton) faced Lesnar, they had to stop the match. He said people were in shock and the locker room was in an uproar. He said Lesnar violated the rule and regulation of the PG era. Heyman accepted Mahal’s challenge on behalf of Lesnar…
Powell’s POV: The crowd was flat during and after the promo. They are going to have a tough time getting the masses excited about Lesnar vs. Mahal.
The broadcast team spoke about the match and hyped it as being four weeks away. The broadcast team narrated highlights of Enzo Amore beating Kalisto to win the WWE Cruiserweight Championship at TLC…
Backstage, Charly Caruso interviewed Kalisto, who hopped into the picture. She asked how he is handling his loss of the title. “Basically, I’m fine,” he said. Kalisto said it was his dream to be a champion. He announced that he would use his rematch on 205 Live. He said tonight is about familia. Rich Swann, Cedric Alexander, Gran Metalik, and Mustafa Ali entered the picture. They ended up doing a “lucha” chant…
Graves hyped the Kalisto led team vs. Enzo, Tony Nese, Drew Gulak, Noam Dar, and Ariya Daivari in a ten-man tag match. Cole hyped Angle announcing the Raw team at Survivor Series. Graves hyped the women’s three-way… [C] A breast cancer charity video aired…
[Q10] 5. Sasha Banks vs. Bayley vs. Alicia Fox in a Triple Threat to determine Team Raw’s captain. They cut to break a couple minutes into the match while Fox was down at ringside. [C] Bayley sold at ringside while Banks and Fox fought inside the ring coming out of the break. Fox set up for a superplex, but Bayley returned and turned it into a powerbomb/superplex combo at 7:45.
At 9:00, Fox went to ringside and took the bell from the timekeeper and rang it repeatedly. The referee asked what she was doing. Banks tossed the bell to the floor. Bayley hit her finisher on Fox, but Banks broke up the pin. A short time later, Fox mimicked the movements of Bayley and then performed her own finisher on her. Banks put Fox in the Bank Statement. Banks escaped and ended up running Banks into Bayley, then covered Bayley for the upset win. Fox celebrated with the Packers players at ringside because they are all heels…
Alicia Fox beat Sasha Banks and Bayley in 11:30 to become the captain of Team Raw at Survivor Series.
A WrestleMania video aired… The broadcast team hyped the cruiserweight match for after the break…
Powell’s POV: Well, that was unexpected, but I’m cool with it. After all, it’s a meaningless captain’s role and it’s something different. I reserve the right to change my tune if they get too ridiculous with Fox’s over the top crazy woman gimmick. The finish was comical in that Sasha ran Banks into Bayley, who was on the apron, yet it was Bayley who fell into the ring and Sasha ended up at ringside afterward, which pretty much went again the laws of physics.
[Q11] [C] Enzo Amore and the other heels made their entrance together and did his shuffle of the stage together. Drew Gulak took the mic in the ring and said that he had a prepared statement from Enzo, who suffered a vocal cord injury. Gulak read Enzo’s usual entrance schtick. It also included a line about Kalisto being a bigger letdown than the Packers. He added that Enzo was Anthony Barr while Kalisto was Aaron Rodgers. The heels spelled out the sawft part and then the babyfaces all made their entrance to Kalisto’s music…
6. Kalisto, Rich Swann, Mustafa Ali, Cedric Alexander, and Gran Metalik vs. Enzo Amore, Drew Gulak, Ariya Daivari, Noam Dar, and Tony Nese. Some of the babyfaces caught a protesting Gulak with a group superkick that knocked him off the apron heading into a break a couple minutes into the match. [C]
[Q12] Enzo ended up being tagged into the match. The other heels were down at ringside so he couldn’t get out of it. Kalisto worked over Enzo for a bit. Enzo came back and performed his DDT off the ropes. The other babyfaces dig their big flip dives onto the heels at ringside and then Kalisto performed Salida Del Sol on Enzo and pinned him…
Kalisto, Rich Swann, Mustafa Ali, Cedric Alexander, and Gran Metalik beat Enzo Amore, Drew Gulak, Ariya Daivari, Noam Dar, and Tony Nese in 9:00.
Kurt Angle was shown walking backstage. Cole said Angle would announce who is on Team Raw at Survivor Series coming up after the break… [C]
Powell’s POV: A logical finish to the 10-man tag given the title match on 205 Live tomorrow night. I can’t blame them for not televising all ten entrances, but seeing them all come out to either Enzo or Kalisto’s entrance music added to the feeling that the division is about the champion, the challengers, and everyone else is just everyone else.
Graves hyped Enzo vs. Kalisto for the WWE Cruiserweight Championship on 205 Live on Tuesday…
Kurt Angle made his entrance. Once in the ring, Angle set the stage to announce Raw’s male team for Survivor Series. Before he could introduce his first man, Shane McMahon’s music played. Shane most of the Smackdown roster through the same area The Shield would enter. The Smackdown wrestlers, all wearing Smackdown t-shirts, surrounded the ring while Shane entered it.
“Under siege,” McMahon told Angle, who then left the ring. Once Angle was at the top of the ramp, Shane told the Smackdown wrestlers to go get him. The Smackdown wrestlers went backstage where they first encountered Titus O’Neil and Apollo Crews. New Day acted happy to see them, but they led the attack on the duo. Corbin beat up a production crew member. Bobby Roode and Tye Dillinger tipped over a television that had the Raw logo on the screen.
[Overrun] Goldust, Rhyno, Heath Slater, and Curt Hawkins showed up and tried to fight, but they were quickly destroyed. They entered a locker room and beat up Jason Jordan. Finn Balor and Matt Hardy exited the bathroom of the locker room and were also beaten up. They entered another locker room and beat up more wrestlers.
The Smackdown crew encountered a group of Raw female wrestlers. The men stepped aside and the Smackdown women beat up the Raw women with ease despite not having a numbers advantage. Shane was shown nodding in the ring while the crowd booed. Backstage, Rollins and Ambrose tried to fight off the Smackdown crew, but they were outnumbered.
Corbin and Rusev brought Angle into the area and showed him what they did to Ambrose and Rollins. They led Angle back onto the stage. Shane motioned for his wrestlers to bring Angle to the ring. Shane told Angle that he wants Angle to bring his gold medal, what’s left of his roster, and they will finish what they started. “Oh, it’s true, it’s damn true,” Shane told Angle. The Smackdown wrestlers slammed their hands on the mat like dorks. Shane’s music played and he led the Smackdown wrestlers up through the crowd in the same area they entered while Anlge stood in the ring with a look of shock to close the show…
Powell’s POV: On one hand, I applaud the effort to make the rivalry seem heated for a change. On the other hand, Shane and the Smackdown wrestlers look like complete heels for this and that’s clearly not what WWE wants long term. For that matter, they shouldn’t want the fans to choose between the brands either. I still believe they would be better off skipping the brand vs. brand theme, and it’s going to be very awkward when these wrestlers who teamed up tonight all go back to feuding with one another on Smackdown. I will have more to say about this in my members’ exclusive audio review and in Tuesday’s WWE Raw Hit List. Thanks for watching along with me.