December 4, 2017
From the Staples Center in Los Angeles, CA
Your hosts are Michael Cole, Corey Graves, and Booker T
We get a video package from last week where Roman Reigns retained the Intercontinental Title against Elias, who was seconded by The Miztourage. After that, Samoa Joe came out on the ramp and choked out Reigns from behind.
GM Kurt Angle comes out to start off the live show. He tells us that The Bar will defend the Tag Team Titles against Seth Rollins & Dean Ambrose. Angle then is about to announce who Reigns will face tonight but is interrupted by Jason Jordan. The crowd boos Jordan, who wants Reigns. Angle tells Jordan he doesn’t want to go through this again but Jordan insists that his knee is fine. Jordan lists off all of the stars he has faced on RAW and gets the “what” treatment from the crowd before saying he just needs the chance because he can beat Reigns. Angle asks Jordan if he is sure then Reigns himself comes out to interrupt. Reigns looks Jordan up-and-down then tells Angle he is a fighting champion. However, he’s not going to be fighting Jordan but rather Samoa Joe. Reigns then tells Jordan that if he wants an opportunity to step up and take it instead of running to his dad. Jordan then asks Reigns if he is serious and calls Reigns the “posterboy for everything WWE management wants.” The crowd did not react to that line at all. Reigns says he is on a lot of posters before telling Jordan he has been grinding for the past several years and if he wants to take his title, then step up and do so but Joe now comes out. Joe says his patience has worn thin and accepts Reigns’ challenge but will give him a chance to take it back because they both now Reigns cannot beat him. Jordan says he does not have to come out and talk tough as Reigns shoots him a dirty look. Jordan says he is tough because he issues challenges to people’s faces instead of attacking from behind. Reigns tells Joe that his five seconds are up but turns around and walks into an overhead suplex. Angle tells Jordan to leave then Reigns grabs the mic and tells Joe to wait because he wants Jordan now. Jordan smiles as Reigns tells Angle to make the match. Angle waves Jordan back inside and calls for an official to come out as we head to break.
Well, they are strongly hinting at Jordan turning heel shortly with how he acted and by the tone of his voice. I also liked him showing frustration but since the fans hate this character they should just do the heel turn ASAP. Everyone knows its coming. Also, Joe vs. Reigns will continue on the premise that Reigns has yet to defeat Joe 1 vs. 1. That should be a strong TV feud as we head into the new year.
WWE Intercontinental Title Match: Jason Jordan vs. Roman Reigns (c)
Reigns hammers away to start as we see Joe on the stage sitting in a chair. He tosses Jordan outside and roughs him up as the announcers say that Reigns is teaching him a lesson. Back inside, Jordan fights back but Reigns cuts him off. Reigns sends Jordan outside with a clothesline then hits him with the Drive By. Jordan gets rolled inside and covered for two then Reigns uses a chinlock. Jordan escapes then picks up and drives Reigns into the corner a few times. Reigns avoids a charge in the corner but Jordan stops himself short and sends Reigns into the post as we head to break. The match returns with Jordan working an armbar as the camera once again shows Joe on the ramp. Reigns comes back with a headbutt then a pair of clotheslines. Reigns hits more clothesline in the corner then signals for the Superman Punch but Jordan cuts him off with a dropkick and gets a two count. Reigns comes back with a knee lift then knocks Jordan outside with an uppercut. Reigns runs and leaps off of the steps but Jordan catches him and rams Reigns into the post. Jordan rams him again then rolls Reigns inside for a two count. Reigns fights out of a back suplex but misses a clothesline and almost gets put away by Jordan as we head to another commercial. The action returns as Reigns spikes Jordan with a DDT for a nearfall. Cole tells us that during the break, Jordan might have injured his knee coming off of the top rope as Reigns now uses a single leg crab. Jordan almost reaches the ropes but Reigns pulls him into the middle of the ring. The crowd is fully behind Reigns here but Jordan turns it into a small package for two. Reigns comes back with a Superman Punch but Jordan is able to kick out. Reigns now signals for the spear but Jordan cuts him off with a kick to the face then hits rolling Northern Lights suplexes but that only gets two. Reigns counters a back suplex with a side headlock takeover then hits Jordan with the Superman Punch before putting him away with a spear (20:36) ***3/4.
Thoughts: Excellent match. I liked it better than the match they had earlier in the year. They played up Jordan’s injured knee in the second half and it made him look better in defeat. The crowd was behind Reigns but appreciated the efforts of Jordan in the ring by the end.
After the match, Joe tells Reigns he is looking a little weary. He then tells Reigns he made a lot of bad decisions tonight and now he will put him to sleep. Joe runs into the ring and slugs it out and almost puts on the Coquina Clutch but Jordan hits him with a back suplex. Joe bails and Jordan tells him to come back but Reigns takes Jordan out from behind with the Superman Punch. Corey wants to know why Reigns did that to Jordan, who helped him by suplexing Joe, as Cole reminds Corey that Jordan attacked Reigns from behind to set up their match. Judging by the end they could be setting up where Jordan screws Reigns out of the title.
Angle is backstage on the phone telling Stephanie McMahon that sometimes tempers get out of hand. Jordan is there and tells Angle he has to get a match with Joe because he was this close to beating Joe. Angle is pissed that Jordan keeps begging for favors and does not want to show favoritism. Angle says he would take it under “advisement” then yells at Jordan to leave and cool off but Joe runs in and lays out Jordan from behind. Joe trash talks Jordan and says he has a fight now then tells Angle “like father, like son” before leaving as Angle pulls up his son. Looks like they are going to have a Jordan vs. Joe match at some point. But, with Jordan strongly hinting towards a heel turn I do not see it leading to anything more than prolonging the Reigns vs. Joe feud.
We get a video package on Absolution.
Paige w/ Mandy Rose & Sonya Deville vs. Sasha Banks w/ Mickie James & Bayley
Alexa Bliss is on commentary. They are billing this as being Paige’s first match on RAW in a year. Paige and Sasha trade slaps to start. Sasha comes back with a Thesz Press then tosses Paige down by the hair a few times. She stares down the rest of Absolution as Alexa once again tells us that no one here deserves a title shot while Corey reminds us about Sasha never having a successful title defense. Paige fights back and works a chinlock then chokes out Sasha against the ropes. Paige uses a STF variation as Alexa calls Absolution “cowards” for playing the numbers game. Paige beats on Sasha in the corner but Sasha catches a kick then fights back. She takes Paige over with a headscissors then gets a nearfall with a crossbody. Sasha now works a strangle hold as Alexa now brings up how Sasha has never successfully defended the Women’s Title. Paige breaks by having her foot on the ropes then takes Sasha down and fires away. They go back-and-forth and end up spilling outside just before the break. We return with Paige working a front facelock. Sasha comes back with a rollup for two then catches Paige with a kick to the face. Sasha runs wild but misses a double knee smash in the corner. Paige takes Sasha down with a knee smash then heads up top but spends too much time taunting and gets cut off. They fight up top then Paige takes her down with a sunset bomb in a scary spot. They slug it out then Paige runs Sasha into the ropes and goes for the Ram-Paige but Sasha turns that into the Banks Statement. Paige is able to slide herself over and reach the ropes with her legs then the other women on the outside have a standoff and start brawling with Absolution standing tall. Sasha gets distracted then Paige kicks her in the face then hits the Ram-Paige for the win (16:07) **. After the match, Absolution beat down Sasha as Cole tells us that Alexa ran backstage.
Thoughts: This ended up being an “okay” TV match but started off very slowly and without much excitement. I felt Paige came off rusty and the two needed several minutes to get some chemistry as it felt disjointed. Paige needed the win since they are pushing her as part of Absolution and that is what happened here. On commentary, they kept mentioning how Sasha never had a title defense while Bayley & Mickie were easily destroyed by newcomers Rose & Deville. They all looked weak here.
Angle is backstage texting on his phone when Elias wanders in strumming his guitar. Elias tells Angle to silence his phone and put it away then to hold his applause. Elias wants another opportunity for the IC Title but blames Angle for giving that to his son. He then says since there are no worthy opponents left all the crowd will get is a musical performance. Elias then gives Angle a warning about his “bastard son” as Angle tells Elias to have his concert while he finds him a worthy opponent.
We see that Machine Gun Kelly is in attendance. He will also perform on the “Tribute to the Troops” show.
A video package on the Braun Strowman/Kane feud is shown. This lasted for a very long time and despite their efforts through production all it did was reinforce how this has been lousy programming over the past month.
Enzo Amore is backstage with the ‘Zo Train. He says that tonight, Tony Nese & Drew Gulak have an opportunity of a lifetime tonight then demands they get the job done as he is sick of the losing that has been going on lately. They leave then a smiling Nia Jax asks Enzo “How you doin'” and leaves as Enzo does not know what to make about that. They were strongly hinting that Nia had the hots for Enzo here so who knows what will happen over the next few weeks.
Tony Nese vs. Drew Gulak vs. Mustafa Ali vs. Cedric Alexander
Winner faces Rich Swann next week to crown the #1 contender for the Cruiserweight Championship. The ‘Zo Train guys take control to start. Alexander & Ali fight back as Cole mentions how they’ve been feuding on Twitter this week after some miscommunication last week on 205 Live. Ali and Alexander mix it up and end in a stalemate as we see Swann watching backstage on a monitor. Ali appears to have hurt his knee and gets pulled out by Nese & Gulak then Alexander flies out with a tope con hilo. Back inside, Alexander beats on Gulak briefly but is backed into the corner as Nese comes in to make it 2 vs. 1. Alexander is in the tree-of-woe then Nese hits his ab crunch kicks. Nese heads up top but Gulak reminds him that its a no-fly zone and has an argument with Nese but has that happens Ali comes off of the top with a crossbody. Ali fights off both Nese & Gulak for a bit then Gulak knocks him down. Alexander fires up and beats on Gulak but Nese makes the save on a pin. The match breaks down with everyone trading moves and ending up on the mat as the crowd shows signs of life as we head to break. Back from commercial, Gulak is stretching out Alexander as we saw that a Tower of Doom spot took place during the break. Alexander fights back with a handspring kick but Ali makes the save on the pin attempt. Alexander gets pissed but Nese attacks Ali from behind then attacks Alexander. Nese eats a double super kick then Alexander and Ali slug it out. Alexander fires up but Ali cuts him off with a kick to the face. Alexander falls on top of Ali after a Spanish Fly but Nese makes the save. Ali heads up top but Nese cuts him off. Alexander goes up top while Ali is hanging on the rope and fights with Nese. Alexander knocks Nese off then Ali hits a springboard Spanish Fly. Ali finally gathers himself to make the cover but Gulak makes the save. Ali and Gulak fight over a suplex then Gulak hammers away. Ali manages to get two with a rollup then kicks Gulak down and heads up top but Nese pulls his friend to safety. Ali pulls Nese up on the apron but gets hit with a knee. Nese hits a running knee smash but Alexander hits the Lumbar Check. However, Nese bounces outside so Alexander hits Ali with the Lumbar Check. He goes to cover but Gulak runs in and knees Alexander from behind then covers Ali for the win (14:54) ***1/2. After the match, Charly Caruso asks Gulak about his win. Gulak says that question can be only answered in one way then introduces us to his Powerpoint Presentation but gets cut off by the RAW theme as we see Elias walk backstage on his way to the ring as we head to commercial.
Thoughts: Much better than the four-way from last week but that is also due to the fact this match had more talent. Alexander came off like the biggest star and his offense looks great. Ali did some incredible stuff while Nese & Gulak also shined when allowed. Gulak’s celebration was good and the running gag of his Powerpoint presentation always getting cut off continued here. They can really set up Gulak getting a good reaction when he turns babyface against Enzo if they choose to go that route. There are few in the company that commit more to their character than Gulak.
Back from commercial and Elias is now in the ring. Elias calls out the city of Los Angeles for worshiping celebrities and says he is actual talent then gets the what treatment. He insults the crowd again and says he will sing until he gets worthy competition. His song is about everyone in Los Angeles wanting to be a celebrity and he gets booed then he is interrupted by Braun Strowman. Elias bails then returns to attack Strowman from behind but that fails and Strowman tosses him around. Elias fights back outside then smashes his guitar over Strowman’s back. However, Strowman does not go down as he chases and runs over Elias before tossing him inside for a powerslam. Strowman then tosses the stairs inside but Kane’s music hits. We see Kane on the screen and he tells Strowman that he has forgotten what its like to be a “monster among monsters.” Kane says he delights in pain and war and says next week they will step into the ring where just one monster will emerge. Kane then laughs as the segment ends. It was fun watching Strowman destroy Elias but this Strowman/Kane feud is dying among the live crowds and hopefully it ends for good next week because all its doing is making the fans care less about Strowman.
Reigns tells Rollins & Ambrose its time for them to do their part in an encouraging manner. Rollins assures Reigns they have this match then Ambrose jokes that he forgot the rematch was tonight. The dialogue here was atrocious but they were all buddying up to one another.
Asuka vs. Alicia Fox
Before the match, we get an insert promo from Fox saying that she is not Dana Brooke as she lead RAW to the win at Survivor Series and has her own t-shirt, making her qualified to beat Asuka. Fox fires away to start then sends Asuka across the ring. Fox grabs a side headlock but bounces off of Asuka, who hits a hip attack. Fox comes back with a boot to the face for a two count then works a surfboard. Asuka escapes then Fox messes around and ends up getting destroyed. Asuka hits a dropkick and a pair of roundhouse kicks and puts Fox away with a cross armbreaker (2:20). Absolution comes out after the match and surrounds the ring. Asuka looks around then leaves as Fox is in by herself. Paige grabs the mic and tells Fox to relax as she is not here to hurt her because they are friends. Paige said Fox was the only one who liked her last year. Paige said from the bottom of her heart she loves Fox but sadly Rose & Deville do not feel the same way. They come into the ring and beat on Fox as Paige stands in the corner.
Thoughts: Asuka gets another easy win even though Fox got in a fair amount of offense. They are building up to something between Asuka and Absolution it seems since they keep coming out after Asuka wins and surrounds her but ends up letting her leave without attacking. It also seems that we will get a Fox vs. Paige matched at some point.
We get a sneak peak of Charlotte Flair’s appearance in the new “Psych” movie.
Finn Balor vs. Bo Dallas w/ Curtis Axel
The Miztourage come out to Miz’s music as Cole said they are playing homage to their leader. These two mix it up to start as Cole lets us know the Miztourage got this match after issuing a challenge on social media. Balor rolls through a sunset flip and gets two with a basement dropkick. Balor heads up top but gets distracted as Axel kicks the steps in a terrible spot as Bo is now in control. Bo hits a gutbuster for a two count. Bo works the arm now and stays in control but Balor escapes and fights back. Bo gets two with a rollup but Balor comes back with a sling blade then a shotgun dropkick before he hits the Coup de Grace for the win (5:39) *1/2.
Thoughts: The company continues to promote Balor as nothing more than an afterthought. No matter his size, he was a guy who carried the NXT brand when it first started touring and got star reactions yet he is put in a position to have fans not care anymore. Bo dominated most of the match and I have no idea why.
We are now shown tweets from Matt Hardy, highlighting his break down.
Next,we see Bray Wyatt asking who is Matt Hardy. The camera then cuts to Matt, who is laughing. We keep cutting back from Bray to Matt. Bray tells us he will watch Matt burn while “woken” Matt will send Bray into “deletion” then we get maniacal laughing from both men. The dueling laughter was great and this was an entertaining segment for sure. Maybe Bray can actually entertain in the year 2017 after all.
Next week, we will see Strowman vs. Kane. Also, Swann vs. Gulak to crown the #1 Contender for the Cruiserweight Championship.
WWE RAW Tag Team Championship Match: Seth Rollins & Dean Ambrose vs. The Bar (c)
Reigns is shown watching backstage on a monitor. Ambrose and Cesaro start things off. Sheamus tags in then Cesaro yanks Rollins off of the apron as the champs beat on Ambrose in the corner. The Bar cut off the ring but Ambrose breaks free and makes the tag as Rollins runs wild. Rollins takes Sheamus outside with the apron leg drop then lands on his feet trying a pescado as Sheamus sends him into the post as we head to break. The action returns with Rollins escaping from a waistlock. The Bar cut him off as Reigns looks on with worry from backstage. Cesaro prevents a tag with a back suplex that gets two then Sheamus hits a flying clothesline for another nearfall. Sheamus works the arm as the crowd gets behind Rollins. Rollins flips out of an uranage then hits Sheamus with a DDT as both men are down. Cesaro tags in and sends Rollins back into the corner where he isolates him with an armbar. Rollins tries to make the tag an inches closer and closer so Cesaro boots Ambrose off of the apron. Rollins backdrops Cesaro but finds Ambrose unable to tag in as The Bar hit him with a press slam/uppercut combo for two. The Bar stay in control but Rollins fights back and takes Sheamus outside with a super kick. Cesaro rolls his partner inside and makes the tag but Rollins ducks a clothesline then leaps for the tag as Ambrose runs wild. Ambrose blocks a giant swing with a rollup and gets two then takes Sheamus outside with a clothesline. Sheamus hits Ambrose with a running knee smash from the apron as Cesaro covers for two. Ambrose fights of a double team and takes Cesaro into the corner with a hurricarana. Rollins makes the tag and hits Sheamus with the Superplex/Falcon Arrow combo but Cesaro makes the save. All four men are down as we get a “this is awesome chant.” Cesaro is up first and sets up for the Neutralizer but Rollins escapes. Cesaro hits an uppercut then tries for another Neutralizer but Rollins escapes and hits the ripcord knee smash for a two count as Sheamus made the save. Sheamus beats on Rollins and refuses to stop at the five count so the ref rings the bell for a DQ. However, Angle says since they are The Bar, this match will be restarted as a No DQ match. The Bar are in disbelief on the ramp as Rollins & Ambrose fly out with topes. Booker does not care for the match being restarted because these are not the rules. Rollins & Ambrose hit Cesaro with a clothesline/splash combo for a nearfall but we see Samoa Joe run in and hit Rollins & Ambrose with an uranage. Reigns then runs out to chase Joe off but as that happened, Sheamus hit Ambrose with the Brogue Kick for the win (18:41) ***1/2. We then see Joe & The Bar celebrate as they walk through the crowd
Thoughts: The action was quite good, especially down the stretch, but it was a bit overbooked. I’m sure this is leading to a six-man tag match but you could have gotten to that point without the match being restarted.
Final Thoughts: This was easily the best RAW to take place over the past couple of months. We had three very good matches and the Reigns vs. Joe feud is coming off well. And, we saw “Woken” Matt Hardy. Next week, we will determine the #1 contender for the Cruiserweight Championship and see Kane vs. Strowman, which has not been a success. The storytelling on the show remains spotty but things are slowly becoming less stagnant as the company heads into the new year. A fun show that is worth watching.