September 19, 2016
From the FedEx Forum in Memphis, TN
Your hosts are Corey Graves, Byron Saxton, and Michael Cole
We are shown clips from last week’s main event between Kevin Owens and Roman Reigns, who got screwed over by Rusev and lost a chance to be added in the title match at Clash of Champions.
The live show starts with Reigns heading out to the ring as the crowd boos. They continue to boo as Reigns finally begins to speak but gets cut off by Stephanie McMahon. Stephanie tells Reigns she has been discussing this with Mick, who then comes out and joins his boss as they both head into the ring. Stephanie even tries to get the “Foley” chants going as Mick apologizes from letting the show get away from him. So, he will pit Rusev and Seth Rollins against each other tonight. Reigns asks what does that do for him as HHH and Rusev both screwed him over as Foley gives him a U.S. Title shot against Rusev at Clash of Champions as Reigns sarcastically tells Stephanie he trusts her then Foley talks about being personally offended that other wrestlers are going behind his back to put matches together, even stating how he cannot figure out why people boo Reigns. Foley then talks about a fight for their lives against Smackdown and if things do not go his way, he’s back at home. Foley talks about doing well now but if he loses the “ratings war” all he will have left is his word as his bond. Foley then says he will make things right by giving him a rematch against Owens, who now comes out. Owens is not too pleased and asks Foley if he is serious and just working on material for a standup special. Owens tells Foley he beat Reigns twice in the past few weeks and asks Stephanie what is going on here. Stephanie tells Owens this will not be a title match as Foley adds it will take place inside of a steel cage. Foley then starts the show as Seth Rollins comes out for his match against Rusev and stares at Owens while pointing at the belt.
I thought this was a poor way to start off the show. Once again, the authority figures are the main part of the show and how a match against Rusev is punishment for Rollins after interfering last week in the Owens vs. Rusev match is beyond me. Foley really came off as pandering and pathetic here and poor Reigns was relegated to standing around like scenery as he was barely able to get in any words. And, with all of the talk about ratings battles against Smackdown, I feel this is going to lead to a RAW vs. Smackdown match at Survivor Series. Or it could just be a way to address the low RAW rating last week.
After the break, Stephanie is backstage and questions Foley on his decision to put Owens in a steel cage match six days before Clash of Champions. Rusev and Lana interrupt as an angry Rusev is pissed at Foley for ruining their celebration plans as Lana’s movie “Interrogation” is being released tomorrow on DVD. Rusev then accuses Foley of being jealous of the Rusev family and tells him he does not care what he wants before heading out for his match. Foley then answers his phone, which turns out to be Chris Jericho. I thought Rusev was really good here, like usual, but was intrigued to find out as to why Jericho would be calling Foley.
Seth Rollins vs. Rusev w/ Lana
These two go back-and-forth to start. Rollins knocks Rusev outside but Rusev catches him and rams Rollins into the post. Back inside, Rusev targets the back. He gets one with a fist drop then taunts the crowd. Rusev cuts off a comeback with a judo throw but misses a falling headbutt. Rollins heads up top but Rusev takes him off with one arm as we head to break. The action returns with Rollins fighting out of a waistlock then hitting an enziguiri as both men are down. Rusev charges as Rollins rams him into the corner. Rollins hits a sling blade then eventually hits a Falcon Arrow for a nearfall. Rusev fights back and gets two with a roundhouse kick then wags his finger at the crowd when they start chanting for Rollins, who rolls outside. Rusev tries to follow but Rollins snaps his neck off the top rope then hits a flying knee smash. Rollins heads up top as Rusev bails so Rollins gets off and hits a tope. Rollins hits another tope and he goes after Rusev, who is heading up the ramp. They trade blows as the bell rings for a double DQ (11:50) ***. Rusev tries to powerbomb Rollins through the announcers table but that fails as Rollins ends up shoving Rusev off of the stage and hitting him with a plancha from the table.
Thoughts: Good match. The finish also protects both guys heading into Clash of Champions. The crowd was cheering Rollins a good amount here too. I’d look forward to a program between these two.
Backstage, Dana Brooke and Charlotte are showing Foley the end of last week’s #1 contender’s match where both Sasha Banks and Bayley’s shoulders were down on the pin. Charlotte believes since they both had their shoulders down then there is no #1 contender. Dana suggests that Sasha vs. Bayley should take the place tonight, with the winner getting to lose to Charlotte at Clash of Champions but Foley says he is now inspired to make a triple threat for the title. Foley leaves as a pissed off Charlotte slaps Dana down. It was also said before that Dana & Charlotte would team up to face Sasha & Bayley. The Dana/Charlotte storyline is a dud but that’s not stopping the WWE from pushing it each week.
We get video packages on Cedric Alexander and Brian Kendrick to put over tonight’s debut of the Cruiserweight Division.
Chris Jericho and Kevin Owens are backstage. Jericho says that Foley hates him and has it out for Owens as a result. Owens says he is useless as Jericho tells Owens that Foley is abusing his power and will make a list of what he does wrong and when Foley sees the list, he will not like………………it. I really like Jericho in this role and it seems like this whole beef with Foley is just to benefit himself but we will have to see.
Sin Cara vs. Braun Strowman
Sin Cara lands some strikes and uses his quickness until Strowman slams him down. Strowman stomps on Sin Cara then works a neck vise. Sin Cara gets dumped outside but fights back then hits a tope. Back inside, Sin Cara tries a quebrada but Strowman catches him and hits a powerslam for the win (1:50) 1/4*.
Thoughts: Short match to put over Strowman. The crowd did not seem to care though. Actually, this crowd didnt seem to care about much of anything to be honest.
Sasha Banks is warming up backstage when Bayley approaches. Bayley talks about “old times” in NXT as Sasha talks about the present day. They both playfully argue about who won last week and who will be the champion after Clash of Champions before agreeing to focus on their tag match tonight. They planted a seed for Sasha to turn on Bayley
Sasha Banks & Bayley vs. Dana Brooke & Charlotte
Cole plugs Bayley’s appearance on ESPN’s SportsCenter this week. Sasha gets the best of Dana before tagging out. Dana decks Bayley and tags out as Charlotte briefly takes control until Bayley smashes her head in the corner. Charlotte accidentally sends Dana off of the apron then shows her frustration outside as we head to break. The match returns with Charlotte in control. The heels work over Bayley in their corner. Bayley ducks a chop from Charlotte then hits a Mexican armdrag. She tags Sasha as they hit Charlotte with a double suplex. Charlotte kicks Sasha in midair then tags Dana, who attacks the back. Charlotte works a surfboard as the crowd rallies behind Sasha. Charlotte gets shoved off but cuts off the tag. She tries for the figure eight but that fails as Sasha makes the tag. Bayley runs wild and goes for the Bayley-to-Belly but Dana holds on to Charlotte’s leg. Bayley then goes after Dana as Sasha takes of her first. Bayley then turns around and eats a kick in the face from Charlotte, who gets the pin (11:11) **. After the match, Sasha looks pissed as Dana celebrates with Charlotte.
Thoughts: Really just a basic match here. Dana looked really bad in one sequence on offense against Sasha as he continues to struggle. The Charlotte slap on Dana was not barely even touched upon here as this storyline continues to falter.
Rollins is in Stephanie’s office. He wants to know why she threw everything away for Kevin Owens. Rollins laughs as Stephanie said she had no idea what Triple H was going to do then wants the answer to his face. Stephanie says that maybe her husband, who handpicked Rollins from the Shield, is tired of being disappointed and that Rollins might be why the WWE World Title is over on Smackdown. Rollins then says he might be the Universal Champion she cannot control and says he cannot be manipulated. Stephanie gets pissed as she still swears about having no prior knowledge to Triple H’s attack but know wishes she did then says that Owens has replaced Rollins as the man. Rollins then says that Stephanie used to be a shrewd business women but is starting to show cracks and hints that it is due to Shane’s return. Rollins leaves as Stephanie is not too pleased.
They continue to set up Rollins’ face turn so he can feud against Triple H. However, you’d think by now Stephanie would find out why her husband helped Owens win the Universal Title.
Bo Dallas vs. Gary Graham
Bo attacks Graham, who manages a rollup for a nearfall. Bo then beats Graham down before putting him away with the Roll of the Dice (1:16).
Thoughts: Nothing much to this one but the crowd did continue the “let’s go jobber” chant from last week as that could be a new thing going forward in TV squash matches.
A hype video for the Cruiserweight Division is shown, featuring a lot of clips from the final match between TJ Perkins and Gran Metalik.
Best of Seven Series: Cesaro (2-3) vs. Sheamus (3-2)
We got an interview with Sheamus from earlier today as Sheamus promises to end the series tonight as Cesaro thinks he is an “underappreciated marvel” in the ring while he is the one who wins the big matches. Sheamus hits a suplex to start. Cesaro takes Sheamus down and attempts a swing but Sheamus reaches the ropes. Cesaro then charges but Sheamus catapults him outside as the camera cuts to Foley watching on a monitor backstage as we head to break. We return as Cesaro hits a running uppercut outside as he is in control. Back inside, Cesaro gets a nearfall with a springboard corkscrew uppercut but hurts himself attempting a deadlift superplex. Sheamus hits Cesaro with the White Noise on the apron and rolls him back inside for a two count. Sheamus sets up for the Brogue Kick but Cesaro ducks and gets two off of a rollup. Sheamus hits a backbreaker after escaping a Sharpshooter attempt then gets a nearfall with the Celtic Cross. Sheamus applies the cloverleaf but Cesaro is able to turn it into a small package for two. Sheamus tries a rollup and puts his feet on the ropes but that fails. They counter each other’s finishers until Cesaro hits Sheamus with the Neutralizer, barely getting him up with his back, and gets the win (9:38) ***.
Thoughts: Good match, especially the last few minutes. Once Sheamus took the lead 3-0 it was all but given Cesaro would come back and tie it up though and that fact alone has made it tough to get into the past few matches. Hopefully, that changes in the final match but I think everyone knows how this is going to end.
Backstage, Jericho interrupts Foley. Jericho tells Foley is has done a terrible job as a GM. He also tells Foley he never liked him as Foley tells a story of approaching Jericho at Budokan Hall in Japan after a match against the Ultimo Dragon where he steered him into the direction of Paul Heyman. Jericho talks about the list but Foley mocks him at every turn. Foley leaves as Jericho promises to tell the world what is on the list. Jericho and Foley showed great chemistry here and it was a fun segment.
In the ring, Jericho is in the ring with his list. He promises to read off the “List of Jericho” with states that Foley is trying to drive a wedge between him and his best friend, Kevin Owens. Jericho gets the “what” treatment from the crowd and promises to put them all on the list before vowing to take care of Sami Zayn for good. Enzo & Big Cass then interrupt as the crowd is jacked for them. Enzo & Big Cass then rag on Jericho until the Shining Stars interrupt. They pass out brochures for a bit then the New Day come out and pass out boxes of Booty O’s. Xavier talks about promising to take care off Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson at Clash of Champions as they also head out. Gallows & Anderson talk about how they beat the New Day last week and they have the nerve to come out and talk about cereal and their YouTube show. Jericho intervenes and says he has a new list of “Stupid Idiots” and everyone in the ring is included but Zayn runs out and beats on Jericho before tossing him in the ring, triggering a huge brawl as we head to break.
Jericho was really good here, especially in how he handled the “what” chants. However, this segment died once the Shining Stars came out as they really do have a tendency to suck the heat out of the building. At the end, it was just a way to throw together all of the guys in the midcard matches at Clash of Champions.
Chris Jericho & Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson & Shining Stars vs. Sami Zayn & Enzo Amore & Big Cass & Big E & Kofi Kingston w/ Xavier Woods
This match was made by Foley during the break. Jericho takes down Kofi to start. Kofi hits a jumping back elbow smash then a crossbody for a nearfall. The New Day work over Epico for a bit until Gallows clotheslines Kofi from the apron. Anderson puts Kofi in a chinlock then hits a spinebuster for a nearfall. Kofi lands on his feet after getting hit with a monkey flip and tags Cass, who runs wild on Primo. Epico breaks up a pin attempt as Enzo runs in and gets dumped. The match breaks down as Zayn tries to hit Jericho with the Helluva Kick but he ducked as Primo gets nailed. Cass then rolls inside and tags Enzo as they hit the Rocket Launcher for the win (5:27) *1/2.
Thoughts: Everything here was rushed but overall it was okay I suppose. However, neither of these feuds have much momentum at all heading into the PPV.
We get a recap of tonight’s opening segment.
Foley is in the ring where he talks about the Cruiserweight Division. He then says four athletes from the CWC are here tonight. He welcomes out Rich Swann, Gran Metalik, Cedric Alexander, and Brian Kendrick. Foley puts over these guys and promises those who have not seen these men are in for a pleasant surprise. He then says they are having a Fatal Four way match, with the winner facing TJ Perkins for the Cruiserweight Title at Clash of Champions. Odd we are not getting TJ Perkins on RAW and these guys barely got any reaction at all coming out.
Cruiserweight Championship #1 Contender Match: Rich Swann vs. Gran Metalik vs. Cedric Alexander vs. Brian Kendrick
Kendrick heads outside to start as Cedric tries to rollup Swann for the win. Metalik and Swann work a fast-paced sequence that pleases the crowd as Kendrick returns. Kendrick ducks out again as Alexander kicks him down. Alexander gets the best of Metalik but Swann cuts him off and uses a Dragon Sleeper. Alexander try to one-up each other then Alexander takes out Kendrick with a tope con hilo. Metalik takes everyone out with a springboard somersault plancha as the crowd chants “this is awesome.” Kendrick cuts off Alexander then head out and beats on Swann, as he puts his foot in the hole of the steps and kicks Swann’s leg as we head to break. We return as Metalik hits a pair of springboard moves before getting two with a standing shooting star press. Swann gets his feet up on a moonsault then hits a powerbomb with a jackknife cover but Alexander breaks that up as they trade strikes. Alexander hits a handspring enziguiri for a nearfall. Kendrick is back in and tries the Sliced Bread #2 but Metalik breaks that up. However, Kendrick hits a DDT for two. They all trade strikes and break up pinfall attempts as we are getting a sense or urgency here. Alexander hits Metalik with the Lumbar Check but Kendrick comes in and puts Alexander in the Captain’s Hook and gets the win (15:03) ***1/2.
Thoughts: I thought the match was really good and they were able to get the crowd into them at points, especially Metalik and Alexander as those two stood out the most. However, besides Kendrick they do not have established personalities so it made sense for him to win here. It would also be beneficial for them to show these guys personalities more, outside of the ring and in backstage interviews. I’m guessing they gave them this time in the show to awake the crowds but with the amount of hype videos they have gotten on RAW, it shows they are serious at trying to get the division over out of the gate.
We see clips of Nia Jax destroying Alicia Fox last week, which leads the two facing off at the Clash of Champions Kickoff show.
Cage Match: Roman Reigns vs. Kevin Owens
Owens tries to leave through the door then gets chased around for a bit. Reigns takes control until Owens hits a super kick then we head to break. The match returns with both guys fighting on the top rope. Owens takes him off with an eye rake but Reigns ends up crotching Owens on the ropes. Reigns clotheslines Owens against the cage three times and after that takes him down with a big boot. Owens tries to escape through the door but Reigns brings him back in and hits a Samoan Drop for two. Reigns clotheslines Owens in the corner but misses a boot and gets hit with a German suplex. Owens follows with a cannonball then tries to escape through the door but Reigns hangs on to his legs. Owens tries a senton but Reigns got his knees up as both men are down. They brawl while getting to their feet then Owens catches him with a super kick. He sets up for the Pop Up Powerbomb but Reigns blocks that and hits a Superman Punch in midair for a nearfall. Owens cuts off a spear then hits a powerbomb but Reigns is able to get his shoulder up on the pin. Owens tries to escape the cage but Reigns grabs on to his leg. Reigns pulls Owens down but gets headbutted as Owens screams that this is his show while slamming Reigns’ head off of the cage. Reigns is able to hit a Superman Punch from the turnbuckle as both men are down again. Reigns climbs up the cage as Owens tries to escape through the door but Reigns jumps off and just beats Owens to the floor (14:39) ***1/4. After the match, Rusev ambushes Reigns, who fights back. Owens then kicks the cage door into Reigns’ face as Rusev rolls Reigns into the cage and grabs a chain he brought down with him as he uses it to lock the cage door. Rusev beats Reigns down and puts him in the Accolade while Owens taunts him but Rollins runs down and climbs up the cage. Rollins then stands up top and takes out Owens & Rusev with a crossbody as Cole tells us that proves how much Rollins wants to be the Universal Champion.
Thoughts: Good match and the end also protects each guy as Reigns gets a win back and Owens barely lost by escape rules and was not pinned. Rollins coming out to get revenge on both Rusev & Owens also helps further along his eventual babyface turn and possibly realigning with Reigns.
Final Thoughts: Overall, this was a decent show and certainly better than the past few weeks. The top matches at Clash of Champions have been built up well and the debut of the Cruiserweight Division had some success. However, the other matches on the PPV have little momentum and we saw again tonight that authority figures are going to be the main focus on RAW. The story of Stephanie still not knowing why Triple H chose to help out Owens is getting ridiculous and just poorly crafted to be honest. Just have Stephanie come out and say he refuses to tell her his reasons.
Anyway, on paper. Clash of Champions looks solid and I am looking forward to the show.