Bayless’ WWE RAW Rundown 8/28/17

August 28, 2017
From the FedExForum in Memphis, TN
Your hosts are Michael Cole, Corey Graves, and Jerry Lawler, who is filling in for Booker T while he is at home in Houston, TX.

Miz, Maryse, and the Miztourage are in the ring then we cut over to the announcers as they welcome Lawler to the booth. We learn that Roman Reigns and John Cena will have a contract signing for their match at No Mercy tonight and Alexa Bliss will get a chance to reclaim the Women’s Title against Sasha Banks.

We cut back to the ring as Miz is about to speak but is interrupted by GM Kurt Angle, who talks about the Intercontinental Title. Miz is pissed over being interrupted then tells Angle the definition of “respect” because he’s does not know the meaning of the word. Miz also calls out Angle for disrespecting the Intercontinental Title and the showcase it deserves by facing the winner of the next match, which is a 15-man battle royal. The Big Show comes out first then the Hardy Boyz and Finn Balor follow then we head to break. Another multi-man match to determine a #1 contender. Not the most inspired booking and Miz has a few ways he could go without doing this but maybe there is someone else planned

# Intercontinental Championship Contender Battle Royal: Big Show, Hardy Boyz, Finn Balor, R-Truth, Curt Hawkins, Apollo Crews, Kalisto. Goldust, Luke Gallows, Karl Anderson, Bo Dallas, Curtis Axel, Elias, and Jason Jordan

Hawkins stops everyone and poses in the middle of the ring then Crews pick him up and the rest toss him out. The rest stare down Show, who tells them to bring it on as he shoves several guys away. The Miztourage dump Kalisto Show chops a few guys in the corner as Miz watches from ringside. Gallows & Anderson try to eliminate Big Show then Balor helps as Show is gone. Balor stares down Gallows & Anderson and they are about to do the “too sweet” hand gesture but Elias knocks Balor down. The Miztourage eliminate R-Truth then Goldust almost takes out Jordan, who manages to stay on the apron. The Miztourage almost dump Balor but he pulls himself back inside as the action remains slow. Goldust gets dumped after Anderson low-bridged him after Gallows hit a super kick then we go to break. We return from break and saw via replay that Elias eliminated Crews. The Miztourage beat on Balor while the Hardy Boyz double-team Anderson. Gallows charges at Matt but gets low-bridged and dumped outside. Matt pulls Anderson onto the apron then brawls before shoving him into the post for the elimination. Gallows yanks Matt off for an elimination then they brawl and as the ref’s tend to that, Miz saves Bo from elimination. Balor runs wild then stares down Jeff but gets kicked down. Jeff works over Balor, who comes back and hits the sling blade. Balor sends Jeff into the corner with a shotgun dropkick but the lights to go and return as Wyatt appears from behind to toss Balor over the top rope. Jordan staves off elimination from The Miztourage and clotheslines both of them for the elimination. Elias tries to toss Jordan but fails and gets eliminated himself but Jeff takes out Jordan and wins the battle royal and the right to face Miz at No Mercy (16:17) *1/2. The camera shows a worried Miz & Maryse at the end as the fans celebrate Jeff’s win.

Thoughts: This went on for far too long considering the talent and very dull until the final 30 seconds. It was like watching a Royal Rumble dead spot for about 15 minutes. For some reason they feel the need to continue the Bray/Balor feud but if Balor was not winning this he needed to be protected somehow. They also teased a potential Balor reunion with Gallows & Anderson and the finish can also give Jordan a feud with Elias, who is getting good heel heat right now and that will help someone as ice cold as Jordan.

We get a video package from last week’s RAW where Braun Strowman came out and laid out Brock Lesnar, who is back tonight.

Also, Enzo Amore will have his first match as part of the Cruiserweight Division.

Charly Caruso is backstage with Alexa Bliss. She asks Alexa about her title match tonight as Alexa points out how Sasha immediately loses the title after her first defense and will make sure that Sasha comes out as the “legit loser” then promises to reclaim the RAW Women’s Championship.

Enzo Amore comes out for his first match as part of the Cruiserweight Division. He reminds us what happened to Cass was deserved because he picked on him as Cole says Cass will miss a “number of months” after tearing his ACL last week. He then said last week proved he could take care of giants and can hang with the high-flying, fast-paced action while acting this out in a spastic manner before introducing his opponent, Noam Dar. It might not have been the intention but Enzo kinda made the philosophy of the Cruiserweight Division appear as a joke.

Enzo Amore vs. Noam Dar

Corey tells us Enzo trained to make weight by running around in a sauna suit. Dar works the arm to start as he is out-wrestling him to begin the match. Enzo reverses an arm wringer but Dar kicks out his leg as we see Neville watching the match on a monitor backstage. Dar now lays into Enzo in the corner but Enzo fights back. The ref pulls Enzo away then Dar yanks Enzo into the corner. Dar works the arm but Enzo counters with an Eat Defeat and gets the win (2:57) DUD.

Thoughts: For starters, we had a cruiserweight action between two guys who are not exciting in the ring and Enzo was clueless when it came to chain wrestling and was way out of his element. The finish was abrupt as this match was the antithesis of what the Cruiserweight Division should be about. Maybe Enzo gets more cheers on TV for the Cruiserweight Division but 205 Live is a niche product and not for those who want entertainers but rather fast-paced matches.

Backstage, Charly approaches Neville as he was looking on in disgust over Enzo’s celebration. Neville promises to hurt Enzo then laughs.

Brock Lesnar & Paul Heyman come out to the ring. Lesnar puts over Strowman as being the most worthy contender of the Universal Title in the entire WWE. He puts over the destruction Strowman caused at SummerSlam and how he does not believe in monsters but that Strowman is a monster himself as we see a replay of Strowman laying out Lesnar last week. Heyman then talks about what Strowman did last week was unnecessary because he had his title shot and Lesnar was not ducking him now he can sit at home and realize Lesnar is hunting him. Lesnar takes the mic then tells Strowman what Heyman is trying to say is “Suplex City, bitch” before he tosses down the mic and leaves with Heyman. Effective promo by Heyman and Lesnar’s line at the end was great. I like the story of Strowman being a monster and the most worthy of a title shot but is a hunted man because of last week’s attack.

We get a clip of Angle introducing John Cena to RAW from last week and a highlight package of his tag match with Roman Reigns against Miz & Samoa Joe to hype the Reigns vs. Cena contract signing.

Seth Rollins w/ Dean Ambrose vs. Cesaro w/ Sheamus

Rollins takes Cesaro over with a monkey flip then Cesaro takes a breather outside. Cesaro snaps Rollins’ neck off of the top rope then returns only to have Rollins regain control. Standing moonsault gets two for Rollins before he hammers away in the corner. Cesaro dumps Rollins off of the top turnbuckle then tosses him outside where Sheamus and Ambrose stare each other down. Rollins catches Cesaro with a punch coming off of the apron and backs off Sheamus then returns and hits mounted punches in the corner. Cesaro then catches Rollins with a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker before commercial then we return as he has Rollins in a chinlock. Rollins fights out but gets caught in a press slam then Cesaro gets a nearfall with a leg drop. Cesaro hits rolling gutwrench suplexes for two then hits a few short-arm clotheslines but is still unable to pick up the win. Rollins is able to roll through a crossbody for a two count then hits an enziguiri as both men are down. Rollins starts to run wild then heads up top and is cut off by an uppercut. Cesaro lands a few shots then tries for a superplex but Rollins slips off and hits a buckle bomb. Ambrose and Sheamus start brawling outside as Rollins becomes distracted and that allows Cesaro to hit an uppercut then uses a rollup for the win (10:18) **3/4.

Thoughts: Lame finish to an otherwise solid match. Cesaro looked great here, per usual, as this win could help them get a Tag Team Championship rematch in the future.

After the match, Sheamus grabs the mic and talks about how that win was beautiful and the night is not over as he challenges Ambrose and gets in the ring. Ambrose accepts and we have a match.

Sheamus w/ Cesaro vs. Dean Ambrose w/ Seth Rollins

We get a brawl to start things off. Ambrose clotheslines Sheamus over the top rope and heads out with him but Sheamus runs Ambrose into the barricade as we head to break. The match returns with Sheamus cutting Ambrose off on the top rope then heading up for a superplex but both men fight until Sheamus is knocked. Ambrose tries a clothesline but Sheamus catches him with the Irish Curse for two as both men are down. Sheamus hits a powerbomb then locks on a cloverleaf until Ambrose reaches the ropes. Ambrose is able to come back with a DDT as both men are down then he gets up first and fires away but eats boot on a charge. Sheamus gets two with a swinging neckbreaker then avoids a charge and has Ambrose on the apron but Ambrose hits a stunner. Ambrose heads up top but Sheamus cuts him off and hits a rolling senton for a two count as both men are down with the crowd chanting for Ambrose. Sheamus is up first then both men counter each other’s finishers then Ambrose hits a rebound clothesline. Both men are down again then Cesaro jumps up on the apron but Rollins yanks him off. The ref yells at Cesaro while Rollins sneaks away and breaks up a White Noise with a springboard knee smash before flying out and hitting Cesaro then Ambrose hits the Dirty Deeds for the win (10:45) ***.

Thoughts: I though this was better than the match we just saw. The crowd was into Ambrose and unlike the first match they had a good finish here as these teams were even in singles competition tonight.

Emma is backstage telling Mickie James #wewantEmma will trend on Twitter and wonders what will happen after their match tonight. Mickie points out how ridiculous it was for Emma to be proud she trended due to a hashtag where she needed CPR then says she will tweet anything she wants if Emma can beat her but if Emma loses she can never tweet about starting the Women’s Revolution again. Emma agrees then Mickie leaves as Emma goes back to her phone.

Mickie James vs. Emma

Emma has a new theme song and its not for the best. She works the arm to start then yanks Mickie down by her hair. Mickie comes back with a dropkick and a clothesline but Emma blocks a back suplex attempt. Emma gets caught with a neckbreaker and landed hard on her head then Mickie tries a sunset flip but Emma blocks that and rolls Mickie up for the win (1:42) DUD. After the match, Emma grabs the mic and repeatedly tells us she started the women’s revolution.

Thoughts: The action was awful and it came off as a total fluke win. The post-match stuff with Emma constantly repeating herself was just terrible as I guess next week Emma will have Mickie tweet stuff for her in a segment that I cannot imagine will be any good. This current Emma character has been terrible and is not over at all.

Angle brings out Cena for the No Mercy contract signing. Cena says this is “WrestleMania Worthy” then says its the reason he came to RAW as he mocks all of Reigns’ catchphrases. Cena then says Reigns has been protected from everyone who steps in his path, unlike himself who has “zero f’s” to give and that is why he wants to fight Reigns, because Reigns does not want to fight him. Reigns comes out now and stares down Cena, who is pacing around and playing with the fans. Reigns smirks then boos as he begins to speak. Reigns says its a joke for Cena to say he’s afraid to fight him then tells Cena he is not as big of a deal as he thinks. Reigns talks about retiring the Undertaker at WrestleMania and its not that he’s afraid to fight him, he just doesn’t need too. Cena talks about how he is a polarizing figure and those who boo want him to “turn heel.” Cena then says when the fans go back-and-forth with Reigns its because they see a “cheap-ass corporate bootleg” and calls Reigns “a guy” who is unable to fill his shoes and is not a battered veteran like the Undertaker. Cena says he is the biggest and strongest he’s been in his entire life and when Reigns signs the contract the “Roman Empire” will fall. Reigns tells Cena he’s booed because he “sucks” then pauses as Cena tells Reigns if he wants to learn to be the “Top Dog” as its called a “promo.” Reigns then calls Cena a “phony” everyone can see through and is a “fake bitch” and a part-time one at that. Reigns talks about busting his ass weekly while Cena hangs out on the “Today Show” then says Cena only came because he was paid enough and accuses him of burying talent. Reigns then says he is the one guy Cena cannot bury him and why would he want to be the next John Cena when he can be the only Roman Reigns. Cena then calls Reigns a fool and is sick of the same excuse everyone else does by blaming him for when they do not succeed before saying it took five years for a decent promo and congratulates Reigns. Cena then tells us now to listen and says the fans hold the keys as to whether or not someone is a star and accusations of him holding talent down ludicrous. Cena said he has not main-evented WrestleMania in five years and introduced new superstars to the WWE like Kevin Owens and AJ Styles with the US Title while Reigns took that title reign as a demotion. Cena then says he is still here because Reigns cannot do his job and that he can do this better part-time than Reigns ever could at full-time. Reigns then signs the contract and flips over the table but after that Anderson & Gallows come out. They talk about the egos of Reigns & Cena and how they are not “good brothers” and need to be taught a lesson. Angle then makes a tag match between them as we head to break.

This is a promo designed to get fans talking. it was a “worked shoot” promo and Cena certainly outclassed Reigns on the mic. Take away the material here and you can see that Cena is a guy that has more charisma, can connect with the crowds, and thinks on his feet a lot better than Reigns. To me, it felt like another attempt to reinvent Reigns and make him appear more authentic. The fans were behind Cena and it did build intrigue to their match at No Mercy. I’d definitely check this out because its either something you’ll love or hate. 

John Cena & Kurt Angle vs. Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson

This match started during the break. Cena takes down Gallows then shows off and taunts Reigns until he gets booted in the face. Gallows works a chinlock as Reigns is giving it back to Cena from the apron. Anderson hits a spinebuster for a nearfall but Cena fights back and tags out as Reigns runs wild. He dedicates his Drive By on Gallows to Cena then heads inside and almost gets caught with a rollup but Reigns fights back with Superman Punches then Cena picks up Gallows for the AA while Reigns spears Anderson for the win (5:58) *1/2.

Thoughts: Gallows & Anderson were just two guys here for Reigns & Cena to beat and continue their feud en route to No Mercy. Truthfully, there was no reason for this to take place and Gallows & Anderson never should have interrupted them.

Elias is in the ring. He blames the crowd for losing the battle royal then talks about Dusty Rhodes once calling him the “Elvis” of the WWE. He then tells us to be silent as he sings us a song about “The King” until Lawler interrupts to let him know the Memphis crowd does not appreciate those lyrics. Lawler then brings out his friend, Pelvis Wesley from Southpaw Wrestling. This is Heath Slater as an Elvis Presley knockoff. Wesley starts dancing and tries to get Elias to follow but ends up getting attacked. Elias hits him with the Drift Away and knocks off his wig before leaving. I get wanting to use Lawler for the live crowd in Memphis but this was terrible. Elias can get heat with his songs and did not need all of the theatrics with one of the more forgettable characters from Southpaw Wrestling.

An ad for the Mae Young Classic airs. We then see Renee Young ask Miz about his title defense next week. He talks about it taking only one match for a title match as Maryse adds he has not beaten anyone then they leave. They have a point.

Charly is now with Sasha Banks, who says she will successfully defend the title for the first time tonight and will sit Alexa down like a child as the WWE Universe chants how Alexa tapped out. Telling a story of a babyface vowing to successfully defend their title for the first time ever while they are a 4-time Champion is not the one I’d be telling.

RAW Women’s Championship Match: Alexa Bliss vs. Sasha Banks (c)

Alexa tries a rollup for the win but gets stomped in the corner. Sasha works the arm then hits a dropkick as Alexa rolls outside where Sasha flies off of the apron with a meteora before the break. The match returns with Alexa now in control as she works over the back. Alexa now applies a bow-and-arrow lock then hammers away in the corner but Sasha fights back. Sasha misses a corner charge but is able to duck a crossbody and rolls up Alexa for a two count. Bliss blocks a sunset flip for a two count as both women trade pinfalls until Alexa punches Sasha down then nearly wins the title with a Code Red. Sasha rams Alexa in the corner and fires away then takes her down with a knee strike. Sasha hits a double knee smash then heads up top but is cut off as Alexa hits a superplex. Both women are down then Sasha is able to put on the Banks Statement but Alexa reaches the ropes then shakes off Sasha before spiking her with a DDT for the win and the title (13:59) ***1/4. After the match, Nia runs out and hits Sasha with an avalanche then picks up Alexa on her shoulders and parades her around the ring until dropping her down.

Thoughts: The match was good. However, the booking was awful. We saw Bayley have feuds where she lost while being constantly proved wrong by the heels and how it ruined her stock with the fans. Now, we have Sasha being told by the heel she is not worried because Sasha cannot successfully defend the title then the heel goes out and wins clean as a sheet. They’ve now added Nia to the title mix as her friendship with Alexa is now over.

Final Thoughts: The Cena/Reigns segment was memorable and there were a few good matches. The top two matches at No Mercy are looking like they are going to be heated. However, the RAW Women’s Division remains awful due to the creative choices and the first hour of this show stunk. Enzo is not needed as part of the Cruiserweight Division and I cannot see him fitting in well at all. And for reasons I cannot fathom the Wyatt/Balor feud will continue. They still have three more weeks to fill out the rest of the No Mercy card and we will have to wait and see what happens next.

Author: Brian Bayless