11/27 Powell’s WWE Raw Live TV Review: Week two of Paige, Sonya Deville, and Mandy Rose and the trio gets a name, Roman Reigns vs. Elias for the Intercontinental Championship, Seth Rollins vs. Cesaro

By Jason Powell

WWE Raw on the USA Network
Live from Knoxville, Tennessee at Thompson-Boling Arena

Raw opened with a recap of the Braun Strowman and Kane feud, including last week’s angle with Kane jamming a chair into the throat of Strowman… The broadcast team was Michael Cole, Corey Graves, and Booker T…

New Intercontinental Champion Roman Reigns was introduced by ring announcer JoJo. Reigns made his entrance to more cheers than boos via the stage and held the title belt at his side while Cole said he was proudly holding it. Reigns looked at the title belt, took a deep breath (or sighed), and held it up in the air. Footage aired of Reigns beating The Miz for the title last week.

The broadcast team spoke about Reigns becoming a WWE Grand Slam Champion. Booker said only 16 guys have accomplished that and he is one of them. Reigns received a mix of cheers and boos once his music stopped playing and he looked to the fans. Reigns said last week was a big week for him. He cited The Shield reuniting, beating New Day, and then becoming IC Champion.

A “you deserve it” chant started. Reigns said it felt good to hear that and thanked the fans. He set up footage taped after Raw last week of Miz ranting after losing the title last week and then being Triple Powerbombed through the broadcast table by The Shield members. Reigns said fans won’t be seeing Miz for a while. Reigns agreed with Miz saying the title is prestigious. He said it would stay that way while he’s champion. “If you want this, the rules are simple, boys,” Reigns said. “All you have to do is step up and take it.”

The Miz’s music played. Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel came out. Axel was still wearing the neck brace. Dallas scolded Reigns for disrespecting Miz. Axel said the only thing worse than the pain in his neck is seeing Reigns walk around with Miz’s title. He said they were in no position to avenge injustice, but they knew someone who could. Elias played his guitar as he walked onto the stage. Elias said Miz is a good guy. He also said he knew he could lead Axel and Dallas. Elias claimed he would take the IC Title.

“It sounds like Elias wants to walk with the Big Dog,” Reigns said. “You got it.” Reigns told Elias to look at Axel. He said he hoped Elias could sing with a neck brace because he might need one by the end of the night…

After the heels left, Reigns slapped hands as he started making his way up the ramp. Seth Rollins’ entrance music played and he bumped fists with Reigns on the ramp. Cole hyped Rollins vs. Cesaro for after the break. Cole said it would be one-on-one because Ambrose was on his honeymoon and Sheamus was taking his annual sabbatical and was back in Ireland…

Powell’s POV: An encouraging outing for Reigns in terms of the live crowd’s reaction to him. There were actually more boo birds than last week, but the cheers were still louder than the boos. I’m surprised they basically told viewers this early in the show that they won’t be getting The Shield. I appreciate the honesty, but they could have structured the show in a way to hold off on telling viewers so early in the show. By the way, Miz is off filming yet another sequel to The Marine, so that’s why he won’t be around for a while. The same goes for Becky Lynch, who has a part in the movie.

[Q2] [C] Cole hyped the six-woman tag match for later in the show… Cesaro made his entrance…

1. Seth Rollins vs. Cesaro. Footage aired of Ambrose pinning Sheamus last week. Cole asked if Rollins beating Cesaro would put Rollins and Ambrose back in line for a tag title shot. Booker answered no. Graves pushed him since it would mean Rollins and Ambrose beat the tag champs in singles matches in back to back weeks. Booker said he was just saying and they should move on. Good lord. Rollins was dumped to ringside a couple minutes into the match. [C]

[Q3] Rollins rebounded after selling for Cesaro for a stretch. Rollins performed a suicide dive heading into another break. [C] Cesaro poked the eyes of Rollins while the referee was avoiding contact, then put him in an inside cradle for a two count. Cesaro applied the Sharpshooter. Rollins powered his way to the ropes to break it. Rollins came back with a superkick as Cesaro was leaping off the middle rope. Rollins followed up with a high knee to the head for the win…

Seth Rollins pinned Cesaro in 18:00.

After the match, Charly Caruso entered the ring and asked Rollins if Reigns defending his IC Title and Ambrose on his honeymoon means The Shield are going separate ways. Rollins said no. He said he had to check on Ambrose because he hadn’t heard from him in a week. He said he hoped Renee (Young) didn’t put the room on her credit card. Rollins said Ambrose and Sheamus will be back next week, and teased a tag title match for next week. “We will all be champions,” Rollins said…

Powell’s POV: I think what Booker was trying to say at the start of the match is that singles success over tag team wrestlers doesn’t mean you’re going to beat them in a tag match, but I honestly don’t know. That was bizarre even by Booker’s standards since back to back wins for the challengers over the tag champs was the selling point of the match even if we have seen this formula way too often on WWE television lately. The wrestlers worked hard and it was a quality match. And the more I thought about it, it was probably more important to have this match in the opening segment rather than later in the show when the crowd starts to tire out and might not have as much interest in yet another singles match involving wrestlers currently in the tag division.

A recap aired of the Zo Train working over the cruiserweight babyfaces. Backstage, Rich Swann, Cedric Alexander, Mustafa Ali, and Akira Tozawa complained about the Zo Train. Angle didn’t know what the Zo Train was. They explained it to him and he admitted he may have let the cruiserweight division run out of control because of everything else that’s going on. Angle booked a four-way match for this week, another for next week, and the winners of those two matches will meet on the following show to determine who is next in line to challenge Enzo Amore for the Raw Cruiserweight Title…

A shot aired of Samoa Joe walking backstage. Graves said Joe was on his way to the ring and would be up next… [C] A Smackdown ad hyped AJ Styles vs. The Singh Brothers in a handicap match, and Randy Orton vs. Kevin Owens for Tuesday’s show…

Powell’s POV: Well, at least they cruiserweight matches on Raw will have something at stake for the next few weeks. It will be interesting to see if they put Hideo Itami in one of the four-way matches or if they are going to hold off on him getting a title shot.

[Q4] [C] 2. Samoa Joe vs. Titus O’Neil (w/Apollo Crews). The entrance of Titus and Crews was not televised. Titus went right at Joe to start the match. Joe came back quickly. Joe threw punches, Titus slapped his chest in response. Titus threw more punches and slaps. Booker said Titus is a street fighter. He added that Titus played football and “this was a second choice.” Titus got tangled up with the referee and Joe hit him with a cheap shot before applying the Coquina Clutch for the win…

Samoa Joe beat Titus O’Neil in 2:30.

After the match, Crews got in Joe’s face. Joe avoided an enzuigiri and then put him in the Coquina Clutch… Graves hyped the six-woman tag for after the break… Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson pimped merch in front of a merch stand again…

Powell’s POV: The broadcast team praised Titus for being “game” during the match. They gave him more offense than expected. Here’s hoping this is the end of this odd side feud that Joe has had with Titus and Crews. I suppose it’s been effective in giving Joe wins, but he’s more than established his dominance over both men.

A sponsored flashback focussed on Alexa Bliss winning the Raw Women’s Championship…

[Q5] Cole narrated footage of Paige, Sonya Deville, and Mandy Rose interrupting the four-way match that was supposed to determine the No. 1 contender last week, and then attacking Bliss backstage…

Bliss was on commentary for the six-woman match. Sasha Banks made her entrance for the match. Bayley and Mickie James’ music played, but neither woman came out. Paige’s music played and she walked onto the stage with Rose and Deville. Paige asked Sasha where her friends were. She asked the same question of Rose and Deville. Bliss ended up leaving.

Paige said she remembered exactly where they were. Footage aired of both women selling injuries backstage. Paige said she assumed that made it a handicap match. Paige said she’d been hounded on social media and at various locations from people asking her to explain her actions. She said she was the woman a year ago and erased the word diva from the WWE dictionary (well, there is that reality show).

Paige said she was the matriarch of the women’s evolution. She said she made a statement last week to prove to everyone who she is. “And guess what?” she asked. “I’m back.” Paige, Rose, and Deville headed to the ring and stood on the apron Shield style. Paige introduced her group as Absolution and then introduced both women by name.

Rose said that before there was a Boss and a Four Horsewomen or a goddess or an empress, there was Paige. “But we didn’t forget,” Rose said. Deville said every woman has pushed raised the game, but nothing would have been elevated or raised if it wasn’t for Paige. The fans gave her the What? treatment. Deville said Absolution will turn things into a different kind of evolution.

Paige asked if Sasha was going to end up like her friends or pledge her allegiance to her. Paige said Banks was either with them or against them. Banks punched Paige off the apron. Rose and Deville attacked Banks. Paige joined them in the ring. Banks fought them off briefly, but she lost the numbers game. Deville threw a high kick to the head of Banks, then Rose performed a double underhook facebuster. Finally, Paige hit the Rampaige move. The women posed in the ring while the fans booed…

Cole hyped Reigns vs. Elias for the IC Title for later in the show…Bray Wyatt appeared from a smoky setting. He blew out his lantern… [C]

Powell’s POV: I’m not crazy about Rose and Deville being cast as Paige disciples because it makes them feel like minions such as Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel or even Luke Harper and Erick Rowan in the Wyatt Family days. Hopefully both women will get chances to establish their own personalities and it won’t be all about Paige, but those two examples I gave don’t provide a lot of cause for optimism. I’m still curious to see what the difference is between this heel trio and the heel trio that had a similar debut on Smackdown last week.

[Q6] Bray Wyatt made his entrance. Graves said so many people all over the globe would like to follow Wyatt, but there’s a fear of entering the dark side and not coming back. Once in the ring, Wyatt delivered a promo about how he never had a childhood or celebrated holidays. He said he never carved a turkey and never cared. He said the fans care and celebrate just like “they” want you to. He told the fans that “they” tell you what to do, what to buy, who to love, and who to be. He said it’s pathetic and they are all pathetic.

Wyatt said he tried to hard to show them the way, but they never listen. He said their ignorance fuels him and their suffering brings him joy. Wyatt said his eyes are wide open. Wyatt said he can finally see you for who you truly are. “None of you are alive, you’re all dead,” Wyatt said. Matt Hardy’s music played and he headed out for a match… [C]

Powell’s POV: Wyatt was seeking heat from the fans with that promo, but they reacted with silence more than anything. Or maybe they’re all dead. I’ll let you decide.

3. Bray Wyatt vs. Matt Hardy. The match was joined in progress. The broadcast team noted that it’s been a rough couple of weeks for Matt and he seemed to lack fire. Wyatt dominated the match while the broadcast team questioned what Hardy’s issues were and whether it was a lack of focus. Matt came back with a bulldog. Matt also performed a Side Effect for a two count. Wyatt avoided a moonsault. Wyatt performed Sister Abigail and pinned Hardy…

Bray Wyatt pinned Matt Hardy.

After the match, Wyatt left the ring while Hardy sat in the corner. After Wyatt was backstage, Matt remained on the ground and started saying “Delete!” while making the arm motion while some fans joined in. Cole questioned if this was the beginning of the Matt Hardy breakdown…

[Q7] Graves hyped the IC Title match for later in the show… [C]

Powell’s POV: Hardy was not as energetic as usual during his entrance, but I honestly wouldn’t have thought much about it had the broadcast team not pointed it out. Even so, it’s finally happening. Whether he’s Broken or Woken or something else, they finally appear to be going with a take on the Broken character that worked so well in TNA. There have been traces of it here and there in the past, but the broadcast team was clearly telling a story with this. The involvement of Wyatt in this match is interesting in that I’d heard months ago that Hardy and Wyatt wanted to feud with Matt playing the Broken persona.

The broadcast team narrated footage of Kane attacking Braun Strowman last week…

Backstage, Jason Jordan told Kurt Angle that it was too bad that Kane attacked Braun Strowman because he wanted a rematch with him. Angle asked about Jordan’s knee injury. Jordan complained about people accusing him of faking a knee injury to get out of the match. Angle asked if Jordan was 100 percent. Jordan said he was good to go. Angle booked him in a match against Kane for later in the show…

4. Akira Tozawa vs. Noam Dar vs. Rich Swann vs. Ariya Daivari in a four-way qualifier for a No. 1 contenders match to the WWE Cruiserweight Championship. None of the wrestlers received televised entrances. Enzo Amore was shown watching the match on a backstage monitor. Swann performed a big flip dive onto all three opponents at 2:10. They went to break at 4:45. [C]

[Q8] In the end, Swann hit a Phoenix Splash on Dar for the win…

Rich Swann beat Akira Tozawa, Noam Dar, and Ariya Daivari to earn a spot in the No. 1 contenders match.

A shot aired of Elias walking backstage with his guitar. Cole hyped the IC Title match for after the break… [C] An ad for Wednesday’s NXT television show hyped Kairi Sane vs. Peyton Royce…

Powell’s POV: Good action in the four-way. That’s never the issue with the cruiserweight division. It’s the lack of storytelling and character development. Oh, and the ridiculous number of times the broadcast team members say “this is what the cruiserweight division is all about.”

Elias played his guitar in the ring and sang a song for The Miz. He said he was normally a one man show, but he was doing something special. Elias introduced Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel, who were in the darkened part of the ring out of the spotlight. They sang another song for Miz. They both played harmonica. Elias told them they were great and had them take a bow.

[Q9] There was actually a loud “We want Roman” chant with a smaller “No we don’t” chant that followed. Elias said nobody wants Roman more than he does. He said he was going to play again, but Reigns interrupted him with his entrance. JoJo delivered in-ring introductions for the title match… [C]

5. Roman Reigns vs. Elias (w/Bo Dallas, Curtis Axel) for the Intercontinental Championship. Cole noted that it was Roman’s first title defense, and Elias’s first title match in WWE. Reigns threw clotheslines at Elias in the corner. Dallas climbed onto the apron, but Reigns punched him off. Axel climbed onto the apron and Reigns went after him, allowing Elias to hit a high knee for a near fall.

[Q10] [C] Reigns put Dallas down with a Superman Punch at ringside. Axel begged off. Reigns acted like he accepted it, then turned and speared Axel. Elias ran Reigns into the post and barricade and then tossed him back inside the ring. Elias performed a top rope elbow drop for a good near fall at 11:20.

Elias followed up with a sit-out powebomb for another two count. Reigns came back with a Superman Punch for a two count of his own at 13:50. Reigns followed up with a running spear and scored the clean pin…

Roman Reigns pinned Elias in 14:45 to retain the Intercontinental Championship.

After the match, Samoa Joe came out and put the Coquina Clutch on Reigns on the ramp. Two referees and multiple agents ran out to pull him off. Joe yelled that he’s coming for Reigns. Joe went after Reigns again and had to be pulled off by Finlay and Jamie Noble…

The broadcast team hyped Kane vs. Jason Jordan for after the break… [C]

Powell’s POV: A good match with Elias getting a lot of offense even if a lot of it was off of distractions caused by Axel and Dallas. The broadcast team really put him over strong. Let’s see what they do to follow up with Elias next week. I like the idea of Axel and Dallas being in his corner. It opens the door to some intriguing storyline possibilities such either Miz or Elias turning babyface. Meanwhile, is there anyone better in beatdown angles than Joe? His attacks always come off as violent and believable.

[Q11] The broadcast team recapped Joe attacking Reigns…

6. Asuka vs. Dana Brooke. A Brooke pre-tape aired with her saying she watched their previous match repeatedly and she found flaws. She said Asuka is a slow starter. Asuka took Brooke down and applied the Asuka Lock for the submission win…

Asuka beat Dana Brooke in 0:04.

Paige’s “Absolution” faction headed to the ring and surrounded Asuka in Shield style. Paige, Rose, and Deville took a step back. Paige smiled and waved, then Asuka left the ring and backed up the ramp… Jason Jordan was shown walking backstage… [C]

Powell’s POV: I remember Uncle Elmer beating Jerry Valiant in six seconds on a Saturday Night’s Main Event back in the day. I’m not sure if they ever bothered to have anyone beat that record or if they will even play this up as a record. You had to know it was going to be quick when Brooke said Asuka starts slowly.

Cole hyped Sheamus and Cesaro vs. Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose for the Raw Tag Titles next week…

Jason Jordan made his entrance and had his left knee wrapped. He said he felt a pop last week and he had to stop. He said he felt better after a week of rehab and was there to what Braun Strowman couldn’t do by shutting down Kane. The fans gave Jordan the What? treatment. Kane made his entrance to a favorable reaction from his home area fans (and potential voters)…

7. Kane vs. Jason Jordan. Graves and Booker bickered about Jordan. Jordan picked up Kane a couple of times and ran him into the corner. Jordan speared Kane in the corner and set up for a suplex, but Kane broke free with punches and then knocked him to the mat with an uppercut. Kane tossed Jordan over the top rope Jordan started screaming and selling left knee pain before being counted out…

Kane beat Jason Jordan via count-out in 1:40.

After the match, Kane put Jordan down with a big boot, then tossed him back to ringside where Jordan sold the knee injury again. Kane followed him to ringside and continued to work him over. Kane brought him back inside the ring and targeted the bad knee. Finn Balor’s music played and he headed to the ring. They cut to break with Balor at ringside… [C]

Powell’s POV: I like the idea of Jordan appearing to be ducking opponents by faking a knee injury only after he loses offensive control when in the ring with monsters. It’s important for Jordan to have enough plausible deniability for his storyline father to believe it without looking like an idiot, so I’m guessing that’s why they had Kane work over the knee after the match along with setting up the need for Balor to come out.

8. Kane vs. Finn Balor. Kane was the early aggressor. Balor came back and performed a running dropkick at ringside. Kane jabbed a chair into Balor’s gut for the DQ.

Finn Balor beat Kane in 2:44.

Kane worked over Balor with the chair after the match. After slamming it over Balor’s back a few times, Kane wrapped the chair around Balor’s head. Kane went to the second rope, but Braun Strowman’s music played and he headed to the ring. Balor was out of the ring when Strowman got there. Kane struck Strowman with the chair, but Strowman no-sold it. Kane begged off.

Strowman beat up Kane and took him to ringside where he slammed the top of the ring steps into his head. Strowman slid the bottom piece of the steps inside the ring. Strowman struck Kane with the chair and eventually scooped him up and slammed him onto the bottom of the ring steps that were in the ring. Fans chanted “one more time.” Strowman placed the chair against Kane’s throat and then pushed both onto the ring steps. Strowman did it a second time. Kane rolled out of the ring and choked and gagged while leaving. Strowman’s music played and he raised his arms to close the show…

Powell’s POV: I guess Kane’s political opponent won’t be asking for equal time with Strowman. Anyway, it was hard to take Kane selling the throat injury seriously when Strowman was able to return a week after taking the same move. The crowd was happy to see Strowman when he came out, but they were a little flat by the end. My concern is that the feud with Kane is doing more harm than good for Strowman’s character even if he’s getting valuable in-ring experience by working with a great veteran big man. Meanwhile, Balor just continues to drift around without any real direction. Overall, the show was decent. It didn’t have any prolonged dull patches, but there wasn’t much that was particularly memorable about it either. I will have more to say in my members’ exclusive audio review later tonight. Grade the show in our latest poll on the main page.


Readers Comments (3)

  1. I find it difficult to get behind Roman Reigns. Worked shoot or an angle, didn’t he consider the United States title as like a demotion, how does he feel about being IC Champ? If I were a pro. wrestler, i’d be honoured to hold either title, which is perhaps why I’m behind a keyboard.

  2. “I’m not crazy about Rose and Deville being cast as Paige disciples because it makes them feel like minions such as Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel or even Luke Harper and Erick Rowan in the Wyatt Family days” – Nothing wrong with minions. It’s a good starting point for people who aren’t ready to carry the load as a featured player yet. They get ample time to develop and show personality and get over if they can.

    It would be a waste of someone like Kairi Sane, but all the women up from NXT last week (apart from Ruby Riot perhaps) are women who hadn’t been really standing out as as singles stars in NXT and WWE is probably hoping that they are more suited to the main roster, like Elias or Bliss.

    • I agree with you, if anything I would say Rose, Morgan and possibly Deville are lucky to even be minions on the main roster at this point. Probably a non-stsrter, but I would have loved to see Piper Nevin from the Mae Young Classic as the muscle in one of these groups.

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