Raw kicks off with a tribute to Martin Luther King Jr. and it’s enough to give me all the feels. That’s right, sometimes I have feelings. I can only imagine that WWE will follow it up with a great opening that keeps the crowd hap…oh it’s Roman Reigns. Sigh.
Everybody Loves Roman (they do, ignore the boos, they love him. He’s over. He’s so over. Am I convincing you?) so he’s out first to kick off the “How many people can we fit into the ring in one opening” segment. We get Roman, then Heyman promising Brock, then KO and Chris Jericho, then BRAUN, then Disco Inferno, then ACTUAL Brock Lesnar, a surprisingly coherent Marty Jannetty and Sami Zayn from outta nowhere! Some of those might not be real or even believable, but you’ll have to watch to find out. The most important part of this segment is that Brock didn’t come out to pyro so he has to mean business. He nearly murders Sami Zayn and then F5s Roman and everyone else just kind of leaves.
Rusev & Jinder Mahal vs Enzo and Cass
Our first match features the ever wonderful Rusev and also Jinder Mahal vs Enzo and Cass. I have to get this out of the way. I love wrestling and I love being positive and I love a lot of wrestlers. Also Subjective Art Form…but I just really cannot with Enzo and Cass. I 100% get why they’re over and why people like them. I have this same relationship with berries and nuts. They’re just not for me. The match is serviceable, and I do actually think Enzo does a great job playing the defenseless ragdoll to Cass’s giant. Enzo and Cass get the win after Cass kicks Rusev off the apron leaving Jinder to do his job and eat the pin to keep our Ruru strong.
Winners: Enzo and Cass
Cruiserweight Match: Daivari vs Lince Dorado
We get a treat and get Gentleman Jack Gallagher on commentary! He is such a treat to have around each week. Lince Dorado is a great competitor and even though he’s lost the past two weeks, I think he’s killing it. It’s a fine match, but it’s a showcase for Daivari before his “I Forfeit Match” with Gallagher on 205 Live tomorrow. Daivari wins pretty easily with a cobra clutch which Dorado taps out to as soon as it’s clinched in.
There’s some UK tournament recapping here which I have not seen yet, but have heard only good things so I encourage everyone to watch and I will soon be doing the same!
We then get some pre show footage where Sasha Banks works in the ring while trainers watch and then Nia Jax comes in and takes her out. Nia that dastardly heel. Important to note that Sasha is in street gear and Nia is in her ring gear so I have to believe that Nia just wears that at all times and walks around cities and towns looking like a super villain.
Tag Team Championship Match: Sheamus & Cesaro (c) vs Gallows & Anderson
This was a great match. Gallows & Anderson dominated for most of the early portion of the match until Cesaro decided to show everyone why he is so incredible. The crowd was hot, and every wrestler did their part to make this a watchable matchup. During a melee in the ring Sheamus accidentally knocks the referee out, much to his chagrin, leading Gallows and Anderson to take him out and hit a magic killer on Cesaro. The ref is knocked out though so another rushes to the ring and makes the three count. Before anyone can breathe, the original ref waves off that finish and disqualifies Sheamus & Cesaro giving Gallows and Anderson the win – but not the titles. They are understandable angry and take Sheamus out with a magic killer too. Thought they might get the win there. Probably will at the Rumble.
Winners: Gallows & Anderson by DQ. Sheamus & Cesaro keep the titles.
There’s another Emmalina commercial making me just so sad, but I know Vince has to think it’s JUST hilarious. We then get a fun backstage segment with Sami Zayn, Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins discussing their matchup against Kevin Owens, Chris Jericho and BRAUN later tonight. Sami has apparently channeled Jeff Goldblum and that’s how his part of this segment goes. He tries to plan a strategy which Rollins and Reigns have none of as they’re not new to this and Sami gets left hanging for a Shield fist circle. Poor guy.
Cruiserweight Match: Rich Swann vs Tony Nese
I am not sure if this was a title match or not because it never happens. Neville from out of nowhere to attack Swann and then Nese when he has the audacity to try and attack Swann too. The aggression from Neville is amazing, but I gotta think the guy’s responsible for the purple ropes are pretty unhappy. We get some more from Neville in a backstage after the commercial and despite the WHAT chants he cuts a great heel promo. The WHAT chant is one of the worst things in wrestling, and if you participate it, cut out your tongue.
Winner: No Contest
To I am sure everyone’s joy we get more of this Titus O’Neil/New Day…thing that’s happening. New Day come out to say it doesn’t matter which of them wins the Rumble because they all win it. Titus interrupts and says he wants to take one of their spots so, great, we get a Titus vs Big E match.
Big E vs Titus O’Neil
Well it’s a match. It’s not a slop fest like you might imagine with Titus O’Neil involved, but it isn’t really doing anything for me either. I actually thought Titus might pull out a win, but this angle is apparently leading to nothing.
Winner: Big E
Charlotte promo in the ring now. This woman is incredible. She can get heat like almost nobody else, and in another world I would be annoyed how often she’s won the title or how much she’s winning on PPV but it works for her and it is working for this division. When someone beats her it’s going to be huge, and I cannot wait. She’s out just mocking Bayley for being a lifelong wrestling fan and writing poetry while she was growing up instead of being a champion in things like volleyball like Charlotte. She is ripping on Bayley about being a typical ordinary wrestling fan who doesn’t belong in the ring. Bayley is out to give probably the best promo I’ve heard from her since she made it to the main roster and I am ALL in on this match. The crowd is HOT for Bayley and ANGRY at Charlotte. Loved this segment.
Backstage segment with BRAUN, Chris Jericho and KO. KO and Jericho are trying to get Braun on their page and to help take out Reigns and Rollins for their benefit. BRAUN cannot be bought!
Cruiserweight Match: Cedric Alexander vs THE Brian Kendrick
We get a third cruiserweight match since the second one didn’t really happen. I missed the big breakup of Alicia Fox and Cedric Alexander but it was an obvious thing that was going to happen. This was a great match I am so thankful we got it. Was a scary apron spot that I thought wound up working out pretty well, and Cedric pulls off the win with a lumbar check after Alicia helps him reach the ropes during a Kendrick submission. After the match he goes to hug Alicia before dipping under her arms and going to the back alone. Alicia Fox is a scary woman you should not cross! Love her. Love Cedric and love Kendrick. We get another great backstage with crazy Alicia Fox after the commercial break and the only thing missing is Tom Phillips.
Winner: Cedric Alexander
Kurt Angle Hall of Fame 2017 Inductee
I always loved Kurt Angle. For me, there’s something special about performers who can balance being a serious competitor while also keeping their humor about them. I think very few have ever pulled it off to perfection and Angle is one of them. I actually teared up hearing the people chant YOU SUCK so I guess that’s wrestling for you.
Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns and Sami Zayn vs BRAUN, Chris Jericho and Kevin Owens
Really fun match. Obviously a bit of a clusterfuck, but I think it worked out a lot better than most matches like this do. I think Rollins is working overtime to get himself over as a face and I think WWE is kind of blowing it continuing to team him up with Roman. NOT TRYING TO BE NEGATIVE HERE, but Reigns is not comfortable in his own skin right now, and you cannot keep a match hot giving the hot tag to a guy who gets at least 50% boos when he hits the ring. The little kid cheers just aren’t doing it. There’s a great sequence with Sami and Rollins taking care of the heels before Sami is finally stopped by BRAUN and gets pinned. After the match BRAUN steals Sami and tries to take him up and through the announce table, but Rollins stops him with a chair. There’s more fighting and it ends with KO on top finally putting someone through the announce table. It’s Reigns. And we’re out. No Lesnar. Weird.
Winners: BRAUN, Chris Jericho and Kevin Owens.
FINAL THOUGHTS: BRAUN is winning the Rumble isn’t he? I thought it was an alright show. The brawl in the beginning was fun, I liked all three cruiserweight segments. I liked the tag match and the last match and I loved the Charlotte/Bayley in ring promo. I am sure that a lot of people did not like it, but if I can pull more bad than good I’ll take it. I thought only the brief appearance from Lesnar was lame, and I still need HHH to show up but that’s apparently not happening until the Rumble.
WATCH THIS MATCH: The last match was fine and you should watch that and also Alexander vs Kendrick, but Sheamus & Cesaro vs Gallows & Anderson gets my nod this week aside from the Dusty finish. If I could give it to the Charlotte/Bayley promo I would, but watch that too.
SKIP THIS MATCH: Big E vs Titus O’Neil. Just, you know, don’t bother.
If you feel the need to find me and be cool and be my friend, you can find me at hm_pufnstuf on twitter.
Until next week, I WATCHED RAW! And so should you, or at least part of it.