12/4 Powell’s WWE Raw Live TV Review: Sheamus and Cesaro vs. Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose for the Raw Tag Titles, Paige vs. Sasha Banks

By Jason Powell

WWE Raw on the USA Network
Live from Los Angeles, California at Staples Center

[Q1] Raw opened with footage of Roman Reigns defeating Elias to retain the Intercontinental Title and then being attacked by Samoa Joe afterward… The broadcast team was Michael Cole, Corey Graves, and Booker T…

Kurt Angle made his entrance and led the “you suck” singalong with the crowd. Ring announcer JoJo introduced Angle, then they cut to the broadcast team noting that Angle would reveal the challenger for the Intercontinental Title. Angle hyped the tag title match and then mentioned the IC Title match. Angle was about to announce Roman’s challenger when he was interrupted.

Jason Jordan’s entrance music played and he headed to the ring with his left knee heavily taped. Jordan had major heat when he started to talk. “I want Roman Reigns,” Jordan said. Angle asked if they were going to do this again. He pointed out that Jordan’s knee was still taped up. Jordan said he was fine and ran through the list of top opponents he’s faced and then claimed he held his own with all of them. “I know I can beat Roman Reigns,” said Jordan. “I just need a chance, Dad.”

Intercontinental Champion Roman Reigns made his entrance and received a mixed reaction. Reigns sized up Jordan and then told Angle that he’s a fighting champion and he would tell him who he was fighting and he added that it wouldn’t be Jordan. “I want Samoa Joe,” Reigns said. Roman told Jordan not to run to his daddy if he wants an opportunity, step up and take it.

Jordan mocked the idea of Reigns talking to him about opportunities, saying he’s the poster boy of everything that management wants. Reigns said he’s on a lot of posters and chairs because he’s main evented a lot of shows. Reigns said he’s earned it. Roman told Jordan to step up and take it. Angle stood between Reigns and his storyline son.

Samoa Joe’s music played and he walked onto the stage while the fans chanted his name. Joe said his patience wore thin. He said that if Reigns was done patronizing the kid then he accepted his challenge. Joe gave Reigns five seconds to call off his challenge to avoid embarrassment. Jordan addressed Joe and challenged him.

Reigns pushed Jordan back and tried to address Joe, but Jordan ended up giving Reigns a belly-to-belly suplex. Angle held off Jordan, who then went to ringside. Reigns stood up and said it wasn’t going down that way. Reigns told Joe he could wait for later in the night, and he called for Angle to make a match with Jordan… [C]

Powell’s POV: After months of being one of the least compelling characters on WWE television, Jordan just took a huge leap forward. He had real heat with the crowd and he played his manipulation game well with Angle. That was really fun.

[Q2] 1. Roman Reigns vs. Jason Jordan for the Intercontinental Championship. Joe watched from the stage as Reigns dominated Jordan to start the match. Jordan came back and worked over Reigns. Roman charged at Jordan, who moved, and Reigns crashed and burned through the ropes heading into a break. [C]

Jordan worked over Reigns at ringside and drove him into the step and post. Reigns came back and went for a running Superman Punch off the steps, but Jordan caught him and drove him into the post. Back inside the ring, Jordan covered him for two.

[Q3] [C] Reigns went for a spear, but Jordan caught him with a kick. Jordan performed a pair of Northern Lights Suplexes for a two count. Late in the match, Jordan connected with a Superman Punch and a spear for the win…

Roman Reigns pinned Jason Jordan in 20:30 to retain the Intercontinental Championship.

After the match, Joe taunted Reigns from the stage by saying he looks a little tired and weary. Joe said Roman made some bad decisions tonight and he’s going to finish what Jordan started by putting Reigns to sleep. Joe charged the ring and worked over Joe with knees before applying the Coquina Clutch. Jordan grabbed Joe from behind and suplexed him. Jordan jawed at Joe, who was held back at ringside by the referee. Jordan ate a Superman Punch from Reigns…

The broadcast team hyped upcoming matches and Graves hyped a look back at Absolution’s domination… [C] An ad for Smackdown questioned how Shane McMahon will respond to the defiance of Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn…

Powell’s POV: A good match and a good post match angle. This could be remembered as a breakout night for Jordan. It seems like he turned the corner from getting groans to becoming a guy who fans enjoy booing because they see through his manipulations.

[Q4] Backstage, Angle was on the phone assuring Stephanie McMahon that he would get the show under control. Jordan entered the room and said Angle had to give him a rematch next week and a match against Joe on this show. Angle got worked up and said he didn’t have to do anything. Angle calmed down and said he would take it under advisement, but then told Jordan to get out of his office and cool off. Suddenly, Joe charged Jordan and knocked him into office wall. “Like father like son, right, Kurt?” Joe said while throwing a fit…

The broadcast team spoke about the situation. Graves said that if Jordan is swimming in the deep end then he has to be aware of the sharks. They set up a video package on Absolution’s first couple of weeks on Raw…

Paige, Mandy Rose, and Sonya Deville made their entrance… [C] Sasha Banks made her entrance along with Mickie James and Bayley…

2. Paige (w/Mandy Rose, Sonya Deville) vs. Sasha Banks (Bayley, Mickie James). Alexa Bliss sat in on commentary. Paige kicked Banks and screamed. Cole said it was “classic Paige.”

[Q5] Banks and Paige tumbled through the ropes and to the floor heading into a break. [C] Graves noted that it was all Paige during the break. Banks came back with double knees in the corner, but Paige avoided the same move on the second attempt. Paige went up top. Sasha cut her off and went for a superplex. Paige fought her off and performed a sunset flip powerbomb. Banks landed hard on the back of her head. Paige covered her for a two count.

Paige set up for her finisher, but Banks threw elbows to the head to break her way out of it. Banks applied the Bank Statement. Paige got toe the ropes with her foot to break the hold. The women at ringside fought one another. Rose and Deville got the better of it. Paige caught a distracted Sasha with a kick and followed up with Rampaige for the win. Rose and Deville attacked Banks briefly after the match…

Paige defeated Sasha Banks in 15:15.

Powell’s POV: This looked like a dream match on paper. In fact, I’m surprised they gave it away on Raw rather than saving their first televised singles match for a pay-per-view. It was fairly lifeless before the break and while the fans seemed to like both women, they also didn’t react like they were seeing something special. The action picked up nicely coming out of the break and they went with the wise finish of putting over the heel while giving Banks an out.

[Q6] Angle was shown texting on his phone. Elias entered the picture strumming his guitar. Elias said he wanted another shot at the Intercontinental Title. Elias told Angle that his bias toward his “bastard son” would be the end of him. Angle said he would find him a worthy opponent…

Graves hyped the Raw Tag Title match, Cole hyped a look at the Kane and Braun Strowman feud for after the break… [C]

WWE still loves Machine Gun Kelly. He’s debuting a song at Tribute to the Troops and he was shown in the crowd… A video recapped the Braun Strowman and Kane feud (again)…

Backstage, Enzo Amore spoke with his “Zo Train” crew of Drew Gulak, Ariya Daivari, Tony Nese, and Noam Dar. He complained about them losing again and again. He told Daivari and Gulak to get the job done in the four-way. After the others left, Nia Jax showed up and smiled at Enzo. “How you doin’?” she asked him before walking away… [C]

Powell’s POV: Please tell me they’re not going to take the monster of the women’s division and put her in a comedic love storyline with Enzo. The crowd reacted favorably to it and while it could be silly fun, I just hope they don’t get too carried away and change the identity of Jax in the process.

[Q7] 4. Drew Gulak vs. Ariya Daivari vs. Cedric Alexander vs. Mustafa Ali in a four-way to earn a spot in a No. 1 contenders match for the WWE Cruiserweight Championship. The winner faces Rich Swann next week. Swann was shown watching the match on a backstage monitor. Gulak and Nese worked together until Nese went to the ropes. Gulak stopped him and said it was a no fly zone. Ali dove onto both men. There were rapid fire rope moves that resulted in all four wrestlers being down and the crowd cheering heading into a break. [C]

Alexander got upset with Ali for breaking up his pin attempt. Booker said Alexander seemed to understand even though Alexander was throwing a fit.

[Q8] At 12:35, Ali performed a springboard Spanish Fly on Alexander and had him pinned, but it was broken up. A ‘this is awesome” chant broke out briefly. Ali set up for a top rope move on Gulak, but Nese pulled Gulak to the floor. Nese hit Ali with a running knee, but Alexander returned and performed a Lumbar Check. Alexander hit the same move on Ali, but Gulak shoved Alexander to the floor and stole the pin…

Drew Gulak defeated Ariya Daivari, Cedric Alexander, and Mustafa Ali in a four-way to earn a spot in the No. 1 contender match.

After the match, Charly Caruso interviewed Gulak in the ring and asked if he was conflicted about the possibility of facing Enzo Amore. Gulak said it was a hard hitting question. He teased a PowerPoint Presentation. Graves said they were out of time. Elias was shown on the big screen walking backstage…

The broadcast team spoke at their desk about Total Divas and set up a preview for Wednesday’s show… [C]

Powell’s POV: The match definitely held the interest of the live crowd, which was oohing and aahing loudly for the bigger spots. Gulak going over is a little flat. Sure, they could tell a story between him and Amore facing off in a match, but it seems more likely that Swann will go through Gulak next week to earn a title shot. The division has some babyfaces with potential, but there rarely seem to be enough credible heels to go around.

Elias sat on a stool in the ring. He said everybody wants to be famous. He got major heat for singing about how everyone in LA. wants to be famous, their kids are pathetic, and their parents are big phonies. Braun Strowman made his entrance. Elias left the ring, but returned and cheapshotted Strowman, who no-sold it.

[Q9] Strowman followed Elias to ringside where Elias struck him with a guitar, but Strowman no-sold it. Strowman tossed both pieces of the ring steps into the ring. Kane’s music played and he ended up appearing on the big screen. Kane said Strowman has been a monster among men for so long that he may have forgotten what it’s like to be a monster among monsters. Kane said they will step into the ring again next week. “You will ascend into the abyss, but only one monster will emerge,” Kane said before adding the campy horror movie laugh to close…

Powell’s POV: Elias continues to impress. He’s gained confidence with his pre-match guitar schtick and it’s become something I genuinely look forward to even if some weeks are better than others. Thus, it was good to see Elias get away without taking the full Strowman beatdown, though they are probably saving it for a match between the two.

The broadcast team recapped the Reigns, Jordan, and Joe drama from earlier…

Backstage, Reigns told Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose that he did his part (by keeping his title). Rollins said they would do their part because New Day was nowhere in sight. Ambrose acted surprised that they had a title shot. Ambrose then said he’d been visualizing how all three of them would be champions…

The broadcast team hyped Asuka in action after the break… [C] A graphic hyped that John Cena will appear on The Tonight Show on Wednesday and on the Today Show on Thursday to promote his animated film…

5. Asuka vs. Alicia Fox. Fox’s pre-taped promo aired. She said she saw what Asuka did to Dana Brooke. She said she’s not Dana Brooke, she now has her own t-shirt, and she captained the Raw team to victory at Survivor Series. Asuka got a little offense and got cocky, which led to Asuka throwing rapid fire strikes and a dropkick. In the end, Asuka threw to high kicks and applied an armbar for the win…

Asuka defeated Alicia Fox in 2:20.

[Q10] After the match, Absolution headed out and surrounded the ring again. Paige put her elbows on the mat and rested her chin on her hands while smiling, winking, and waving at Asuka, who shook her head and headed backstage. Paige took the mic and told Fox to relax. She said Fox is her friend and she was the only one who liked her a year ago. Paige said Fox is her best friend and told her that she loves her. “I just don’t think Sonya and Mandy feel the same way,” Paige said. Rose and Deville attacked Fox and left her lying after a high knee from Rose and a running knee from Deville…

A shot aired of Finn Balor walking backstage. Graves said Balor would be in action after the break… [C]

Powell’s POV: A repeat of last week’s angle between Asuka and Absolution. It’s compelling in terms of when the trio will finally attack her. Does it make Asuka look bad for not saving Fox? Well, no worse than Sasha, Bayley, and James for not saving her either. Granted, Fox is a heel (at least most weeks), but it’s a little clunky that the babyfaces allow these attacks without at least chasing off the heels after the damage is done.

Cole set up a video on Charlotte’s role in the Psych movie…

6. Finn Balor vs. Bo Dallas (w/Curtis Axel). Dallas entered to Miz’s theme. Cole noted that Miz was away making a movie. Axel wore his neck brace again. Balor dominated until he was distracted by Axel.

[Q11] Dallas cut him off on the top rope and then worked him over with knees to the gut. Balor eventually battled back and won with the Coup De Grace…

Finn Balor defeated Bo Dallas in 5:40.

Graves hyped a look at “what’s going on” with Matt Hardy for after the break… [C]

Powell’s POV: I’m actually disappointed that Dallas and Axel weren’t with Elias tonight. I got a kick out of that pairing and I liked the storyline possibilities it created for Miz’s return. As for the match, it was more competitive than one might expect considering Dallas’s role as a henchman, but it filled some time. It doesn’t seem like they know where to go with Balor. I continue to vote for a trade to Smackdown.

Footage aired of Matt Hardy doing the “delete” bit after his loss last week. Graves pointed to Hardy’s Twitter page and said he’s clearly gone off the deep end…

Bray Wyatt appeared and asked “Who is Matt Hardy?” Wyatt said he knows and the universe knows, but he doesn’t think Hardy knows. Matt interrupted Wyatt’s video briefly and said, “Yeeeesssss.” Hardy, who was wearing his Broken Matt garb, said his soul has wandered through space and time, but not all who wander are lost.

Back to Wyatt, who said Hardy is a fool and an illusion to maks his own failure and insecurity. Matt popped up again and he spoke about his involvement in various historical events. Hardy spoke about laying dormant inside the vessel known as Matthew Hardy, but thanks to the consumer of terrestrial entities he has been Woken. Bray said his fire won’t cleanse or save you, it will burn all of you. Matt sentenced Wyatt to deletion. Wyatt was shown laughing. Hardy was shown laughing. Bray laughed more. Hardy laughed more…

Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose made their entrance for the tag title match…

Powell’s POV: This seemed to be a big hit with many in the live crowd. There was a decent “delete” chant at the end of the segment. I’m happy Matt gets to bring this to WWE. It’s a shame he couldn’t do it from the start and I worry that it’s something Vince McMahon won’t grasp and therefore won’t completely get behind, but at least the Hardys and we as viewers get to find out.

[Q12] [C] Sheamus and Cesaro made their entrance. Cole pimped ticket sfor Raw in Cleveland next week and the Braun Strowman vs. Kane match…

7. Sheamus and Cesaro vs. Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose for the Raw Tag Titles. JoJo delivered in-ring introductions for the title match. Roman Reigns was shown watching on a backstage monitor. The champions ran Rollins into the post heading into a break at 3:40.

[Overrun] Sheamus and Cesaro isolated Rollins. Rollins came close to making the tag, but Cesaro kicked Ambrose off the apron. Sheamus pressed Rollins above his head and dropped him into an uppercut from Cesaro, which led to Sheamus getting a two count.

Ambrose eventually took a hot tag. With Rollins down, the heel duo ended up getting the better of Ambrose. At one point, the ref was tied up with legal man Cesaro, allowing Sheamus to blast Rollins with a kick from the apron. Ambrose performed a huracanrana on Cesaro and then backed into a tag from Rollins, who just returned to the apron. Rollins performed a superplex and Falcon Arrow on Sheamus and had him pinned, but Cesaro broke it up at 15:40.

At 16:40, Rollins avoided a Neutralizer and caught Cesaro with a high knee to the head, but Sheamus broke up the pin. Ambrose tried to enter the ring, but Sheamus kicked him too. Sheamus went back to beating on Rollins and the referee called for the DQ at 17:20.

After Sheamus and Cesaro were named the winners, Kurt Angle came out and said he was giving them a chance to raise the bar. Angle restarted the match as a No DQ match. Rollins and Ambrose performed stereo suicide dives and then ran Cesaro into the barricade and Sheamus into the steps. In the ring, Ambrose performed his Lunatic Lariat on Cesaro, then Rollins performed a frogsplash for a two count.

Samoa Joe entered the ring and attacked Ambrose and Rollins. Roman Reigns ran out and struck Cesaro and ended up chasing Joe to ringside. Joe left through the crowd. In the ring, Sheamus caught Ambrose with a Brogue Kick and then rolled Cesaro onto Ambrose for the win…

Sheamus and Cesaro beat Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose in 20:00 to retain the Raw Tag Titles.

Sheamus and Cesaro left through the crowd with Joe in the same spot The Shield would normally enter from. Once at the top of the steps, they stopped and Sheamus and Cesaro raised their title belts in the air while Joe smirked as Reigns glared at them from the ring…

Powell’s POV: A good tag match and I’m happy with the decision to put heat on the heels rather than book another tag title change. Fans love The Shield, but it just didn’t feel like they were desperate to see Rollins and Ambrose win the belts back. The restart was a great swerve in that it typically leads to the babyfaces going over, so it was a genuine surprise when Joe got involved and helped the tag champs retain. I assume this sets up what should be a really fun six-man tag match. Overall, this was a solid show with minimal filler. I will be by late tonight with my All Access Audio review. Let me know what you thought of Raw by voting in our poll on the main page.


Readers Comments (2)

  1. If he can follow up on this, Jordan just became a star. He finally seems comfortable with the character, confident on the mic, and he carried his part of a really good 35+ minutes of TV.

  2. Please replace Booker T on commentary with Funaki.

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