By Jason Powell
Join me for live commentary on the “Nature Boy” documentary on Ric Flair that airs tonight on ESPN at 9CT/10ET.
WWE Raw Hits
Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose vs. Sheamus and Cesaro for the Raw Tag Titles: The tag match was highly entertaining prior to the finish, which shakes up the Survivor Series card. As much as I was looking forward to Rollins and Ambrose vs. The Usos at Survivor Series, the new match with Shemaus and Cesaro vs. The Usos is nothing to sneeze at. The New Day distraction gave Rollins and Ambrose an out for losing the tag titles, and appears to set up a potential match with The Shield vs. New Day for Survivor Series.
Samoa Joe vs. Finn Balor: A strong match and a top notch post match brawl. Joe and Balor reestablished the feud they had in NXT and introduced fans who only watch the main roster shows to how well they work together. The added twist of Kurt Angle announcing both men as Team Raw members was a nice touch, and I loved that the post match brawl continued even after that announcement. The feud between the new teammates is an interesting development and something to keep an eye on during the Survivor Series elimination match. By the way, are they keeping Bray Wyatt off television in hopes that we will forget the Sister Abigail mess? I’m willing to play along if that’s the case.
The Miz vs. Braun Strowman in a non-title match: Miz was terrific in going from playing the cocky, arrogant heel during the Miz TV segment with Kurt Angle to suddenly dropping to his knees and begging for mercy after Angle announced the match. Miz also shined in the backstage segments leading up to the match, and his partnership with Curtis Axel and Bo Dallas is finally starting to click with me. It was a good idea to announce the match in the opening segment as WWE’s monster getting the company’s top pest heel in a singles match was a good hook.
Pete Dunne vs. Enzo Amore: It was a pleasant surprise to see the WWE UK Champion debut. Dunne is a terrific wrestler and personality and it’s baffling that WWE hasn’t done more with him and the other UK talent they’ve assembled. The announcement that the UK crew will work tonight’s 205 Live show has me more excited about the slumping cruiserweight show than anything they could have done with the damaged regulars.
Sasha Banks and Bayley vs. Nia Jax and Alicia Fox: A solid tag match with an interesting angle afterward with Fox putting Banks on Team Raw while snubbing Bayley. Will Bayley have to jump through hoops next week? If she’s not on the team, then who will be?
Asuka vs. Stacy Coates: Another basic squash match win for Asuka, who is getting a chance to showcase her offense on the main roster.
Overall show: This was a quality effort and was not an example of WWE phoning in a taped show from overseas as they have done during some of their more recent tours. The show had everything from a tag title change to Survivor Series developments to the announcements of Brock Lesnar and Roman Reigns appearing next week to the surprise Raw debut of the UK Champion and a surprise appearance by New Day. There wasn’t much to dislike this week.
WWE Raw Misses
Elias vs. Jason Jordan in a guitar on a pole match: A minor Miss. The match was quick and painless, but the live crowd cheering for Elias over Jordan is not a good sign for Kurt Angle’s storyline son. That said, they have a great opportunity to turn him heel by having him cost Team Raw the Survivor Series match or even by having his father replace him before the match takes place. The Jordan babyface push just isn’t working. On the plus side, Elias continues to shine as a mid-card heel since being called up following a forgettable NXT run.