September 11, 2017
From the Honda Center in Anaheim, CA
Your hosts are Michael Cole, Corey Graves, and Booker T
The show starts off with a moment of silence to pay tribute to those lives lost on September 11th, 2001.
We are shown a clip of the John Cena/Roman Reigns confrontation from last week.
Roman Reigns vs. Jason Jordan
Jordan offers a handshake to Reigns but gets stared down instead. Reigns laughs off Jordan after tying up then soon after that starts hammering away. Jordan catches Reigns and hits an overhead suplex and goes to work in the corner as Cole hypes up tonight’s Cena vs. Braun Strowman match. Reigns surprises Jordan with a clothesline then hits ten more in the corner. He follows with a big boot but Jordan blocks a Superman Punch and puts Reigns in a crossface. Reigns reaches the ropes then heads out for a breather as we go to commercial. The match returns with Reigns beating on Jordan. We see Cena watching the match backstage on a monitor as Reigns stays in control. Reigns follows a suplex with a chinlock then hits a Samoan Drop for a nearfall. Jordan backs Reigns into the corner then catches a kick and hits a capture suplex as both men are down. Jordan hits a clothesline for two then wins a slugfest and starts running wild. He drives Reigns into the corner and waits for him to head out to hit a belly-to-belly but Reigns fights out. Jordan then hits another suplex for a nearfall then lowers the straps before hitting rolling Northern Lights suplexes but that still cannot put Reigns away. Jordan goes back to the crossface but Reigns is able to make it to the ropes. Reigns comes back with the Drive By then the Superman Punch before hitting the spear for the win (15:20) ***1/4. After the match, Reigns stares down Jordan then extends his hand as they shake. The camera cuts to Cena backstage.
Thoughts: Jordan continues to show great fire in the ring but the crowd still does not care. Its a shame his character was presented in such an awful manner. Sure, Jordan got some cheers but just about anyone going up against Reigns will and no one bought him as having a chance. He will have an awfully hard time getting the crowd to care going forward too.
Charly Caruso interrupts Cena and asks if he has anything to say to Reigns. Cena says he does but will do so in the ring as leaves just before commercial.
We return from break with Cena heading out to the ring as Reigns was waiting in the corner. Cena tosses Reigns a mic then wants him to explain himself after what he did last week when interrupting to chastise Cena for barely being able to beat Jordan. Cena wants Reigns to explain himself and not just say one line like “it’s my yard.” Reigns says he is out there having a great match, something Cena knows nothing about. Reigns says he has had more great matches in the past two years than Cena has in his entire career. Cena is laughing and says Reigns “buried himself.” He puts over Reigns skills but that he has his head “up his ass” for thinking he runs the WWE. Cena tells Reigns he is here to cut him down to size. Cena says he challenges himself daily while telling Reigns he will learn what real failure is all about and if he’s “the guy” he’ll show us what he is all about. Cena is about to leave but Reigns tells him to bring his “bitch ass” back. Reigns tells Cena he came to RAW and called him out. Reigns puts over how business is great now and he’s sold more tickets than Cena and suggests Cena needs the WWE because he cannot cut it in Hollywood. Reigns even jokes that he knows a guy in Hollywood that can help. Cena then tells Reigns at No Mercy, consider him like a drug test because “he ain’t getting past him.
Once again, these segments are not helping Reigns. I’m sure he’ll win at No Mercy but he’s been exposed as wooden and someone who quite frankly lacks the presence of someone you would make the focal point of the WWE. They are also losing their effectiveness and this was easily the weakest verbal joust to date. However, this match remains high profile and intriguing.
Emma vs. Sasha Banks
Alexa Bliss is on commentary. Emma stomps away in the corner but Sasha fights back. Emma hits a clothesline then Nia Jax’s music hits as stands on the ramp then heads over to Alexa and orders her off the chair as we head to break. We return with Nia sitting next to Alexa as Emma gets a nearfall with a running body block in the corner but shortly after that Sasha takes her over in the Banks Statement and gets the win (7:16) *.
Thoughts: Man, did this match die live. The focus was on Alexa and Nia as they will likely feud after No Mercy. Sasha is now an afterthought and Emma is likely involved to eat the pin during the Fatal Four Way. The RAW’s Women Division remains a mess.
A video package on last week’s cage match between Braun Strowman and Big Show airs.
Brock Lesnar & Paul Heyman come out to the ring. Heyman tells us that his job is to sell us on Lesnar’s match against Braun Strowman at No Mercy. He puts over how Strowman slammed Lesnar around then laid him out the following night as Heyman says for the first time, Lesnar is facing a bigger and more powerful opponent. However, Heyman wants to know if Strowman is “badder” than Lesnar and he better be all three in order to rip the Universal Title from his hands. Heyman compares Strowman to Lesnar in 2002 when he was billed as the “next big thing” but wants to know if Strowman is going to be ready at No Mercy. Heyman then brings up when Lesnar was locked inside of the “Brocktagon” and before he fought they asked if he was ready. Lesnar says he is as Heyman hypes than up but Strowman runs out and they brawl. Lesnar hits a German suplex but Strowman pops right back up as Lesnar is in a state of shock. Strowman hits a chokeslam then the powerslam before picking up the Universal Championship belt and laying it across Lesnar. Best segment of the night. They’ve done a masterful job in building up Strowman. The crowd digs him and he does have the presence Reigns sorely lacks. I don’t see Lesnar dropping the strap but do wonder what kind of finish they come up with to protect Strowman.
Later tonight, Enzo Amore will be the guest on “Miz TV” but next Bray Wyatt is in action.
Booker T thanks the WWE Universe for their continued support for the victims of Hurricane Harvey as the Red Cross number flashes on the screen.
Bray Wyatt tells his opponent, Goldust, he watched him for a long time. He used to think Goldust was different but now thinks he’s just afraid and covering his insecurities with paint. He calls Goldust a mere mortal and all he can do is run.
Goldust vs. Bray Wyatt
Last time we saw Goldust, he was telling us about finding his next star in an angle seemingly gone by the wayside. Goldust takes control early but Bray takes him down then hammers away. Goldust avoids a senton then hits him with a senton of his own from the apron. Bray gets rolled inside but is able to take out Goldust then hits the Sister Abigail for the win (2:06) *. After the match, Bray pulls out a rag and wipes off Goldust’s face paint and yells how he is just a man like Finn Balor but Balor runs out for the save.
Thoughts: Fine for a squash match but this Bray/Balor feud needs to end. Its doing nothing but hurting Balor in the long run. If there ever was a guy that needed to switch brands, its him because he’s floundering at the moment. The Bray Wyatt character makes me want to reach for the remote and you can see how ineffective he is at the moment.
Charly is backstage with Cesaro & Sheamus. They see Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson as more of a threat than Dean Ambrose & Seth Rollins because they are an actual team whereas Rollins & Ambrose are just enjoying the good times of their reunion tour. Cesaro & Sheamus promise to take care of Gallows & Anderson tonight as they believe Rollins & Ambrose will destruct and throw each other under the bus as they vow to reclaim the Tag Team Titles.
Gallows & Anderson head out to the ring with Rollins & Ambrose on commentary. Rollins & Ambrose stare down Cesaro & Sheamus as they make their entrance as they start brawling. Gallows & Anderson run down and beat on the champs before brawling with Cesaro & Sheamus. Rollins & Ambrose fight back until several officials run out to break up the fight.
Ambrose & Rollins are backstage with GM Kurt Angle. They want to face both teams tonight but Angle does not want to jeopardize the No Mercy Tag Team Championship match so he says they need to find another team to pair with in a 4 vs. 4 match. Ambrose doesnt care if he has to get “Mickey Mouse & Batman” as they’ll find someone. They leave as Angle says he thinks Mickey & Batman will make a good team.
A video hyping the debut of Asuka airs. After that, we are shown Nia shaking her head. Alexa enters. She tells Nia about Angle trying to steal their spotlight and tries to suck up to Nia, who says they are not friends. Alexa then apologizes for not giving her a title opportunity sooner. Nia then says she spoke to Angle and their 1 vs. 1 match will happen next week. She leaves as Alexa looks worried.
Elias is in the ring. He tells us that walking with him is the best decision we will make in our lives. Elias then sings us a song about the best thing to do in Anaheim being packing your bags and leaving and how much the town sucks. However, he is interrupted by Kalisto as these two will face off.
Elias vs. Kalisto
Kalisto kicks Elias a few times to start. He follows with a crossbody then flies outside with a somersault senton. Elias fights back after yanking Kalisto down on the apron then stomps a mudhole in the corner. He follows with a clothesline that gets two before going to work on the arm. Kalisto manages a two count with a rollup then runs wild. He gets a nearfall with a tornado DDT but is then caught and flattened with a powerbomb then Elias hits the Drift Away for the win (4:28) **.
Thoughts: This was alright but the crowds are not caring for Elias from bell-to-bell. Part of that may be due to it better fitting a smaller wrestler that could run away and someone you want to see get their ass kicked instead of a muscular guy facing off against smaller wrestlers. Kalisto continues to flounder on the main roster and you have to wonder why they haven’t made him part of the Cruiserweight Division.
Replay of Strowman laying out Lesnar is shown.
John Cena vs. Braun Strowman
Cole lets us know that Big Show needed surgery after facing Strowman last week. Cena looks nervous then gets shoved outside by Strowman. Cena avoids Strowman then grabs a side headlock. Strowman clotheslines Cena then hammers away. Cole calls Cena the greatest WWE Superstar of all-time as Cena manages a dropkick. However, Strowman runs across the ring to hit a dropkick of his own then follows with an avalanche in the corner. Cena fights back and tries for the AA but that fails as Strowman sends him to the mat. Strowman eats boot on a corner charge but comes back to hit Cena with a fallaway slam as we head to break. The match returns with Strowman in control as we see a clip of him whipping Cena into the steps. Cena reverses an Irish whip and sends Strowman into the apron then back inside tries another AA but collapses as Strowman covers for a two count. Cena avoids a charge in the corner and hits a Saito suplex. Cena tries for the Five Knuckle Shuffle but Strowman pops up and catches him with a spinebuster for a two count as we see Reigns watching the match from the locker room. Cena finally catches Strowman with the AA but Strowman rolls outside. Cena heads out but Strowman smashes him in the head with the stairs. Strowman then puts the steps in the ring and powerslams Cena on top of them but that causes the ref to signal for the DQ (13:05) **1/4. After the match, Strowman mocks Cena then we see Reigns smile backstage. Charly asks Reigns about his thoughts on what just happened but he is focused on No Mercy.
Thoughts: A one-sided match with a weak finish since Strowman used the stairs as a weapon prior to being disqualified. It never felt special either and this was a fresh matchup that could have made for weeks of compelling TV. Maybe they play off of the fact Strowman manhandled Cena in the future but I’m not holding my breath. And this does nothing for Cena in his feud with Reigns.
Rollins & Ambrose are roaming the halls searching for partners. They see two kids then Dean Malenko & Jamie Noble but note they are in suits and not ready to fight. However, they see the Hardy Boyz and asks if they are doing anything tonight as Matt notes they are doing “positively wonderful” and they talk but the camera cuts away.
Miz TV with guest Enzo Amore. Cole plugs Smackdown in Las Vegas that features three titles and an appearance by Vince McMahon, who will confront Kevin Owens. The show starts off with Miz & Maryse giving us the announcement that they are having a baby. The crowd does the “Yes” chant as the two kiss with Miz pledging to be with their child, unlike Kurt Angle. Miz then prepares a speech but is interrupted by Enzo. We get the usual routine from Enzo but Miz is upset. Miz tells Enzo this is his show and he will do the introductions. Enzo says he is here to congratulate them both and offends Miz, who then goes off on him. Miz says that Enzo never knows when to shut up and that’s why he is kicked off of tour buses and the locker room. Miz then says there was nowhere else for him to go but the Cruiserweight Division since the entire RAW roster cannot stand him and notes this is coming from himself, someone who had to fight and crawl for respect after years. Miz then tells Enzo he sees a lot of talent in him but keeps making mistakes. Miz says that Neville hones his craft and perfects his work in the ring while he just wants to chill with “third-rate rappers.” He notes that his meal ticket in Cass is not around and that he’s just a con artist with a few catchphrases. Enzo reminds us he is the realest guy in the room and tells “Mikey” they have nothing in common. He calls out Miz for copying Chris Jericho and Ric Flair while saying he is original and is going on to become the Cruiserweight Champion to defeat Neville and after that will have no problem beating a paper champion like Miz, who asks the crowd if they think he’s a paper champion. Miz then tells Enzo if he was championship material is best friend would not have abandoned him but Enzo says he has all he needs to fight Miz right now. Miz tells Enzo he will show him how to walk, talk, and act like a champion and will dedicate his victory to his unborn child. Enzo then says Daniel Bryan was right and there is one word to describe him and that is SAWFT.
For some reason the company thinks we should still cheer Enzo after segments like this and goes to show you just how out of touch the creative team is in presenting likable characters you want to get behind and have succeed. Who wants to root for a guy no one can stand and gets kicked off of buses while on tour? When this ended, I was all for Miz beating the crap out of Enzo.
Miz w/ Maryse & Miztourage vs. Enzo Amore
Enzo mocks Miz after dodging a few attacks in the corner. They then work an ugly sequence that has both guys in the ropes before Enzo slides outside. Enzo grabs the mic and tells Miz is “wrestling” is going straight to DVD and has Miz chase him around. Miz dodges a baseball slide and clotheslines Enzo grabs the mic and asks Enzo how he is doing and repeatedly slams his head against the apron while screaming into the mic. Miz gets cut off the top rope as Enzo takes the mic and needs to ask his baby “Who’s your daddy” but that causes Miz to go ballistic. Enzo gets dumped and the Miztourage beat him down for the DQ (3:02) DUD. A “whose your daddy” chant breaks out as Miz hits Enzo with the Skull Crushing Finale.
Thoughts: A terrible segment. I suppose Enzo feuds with Miz after facing Neville at No Mercy but what we saw in the ring was brutal, even if it was just for a few minutes.
Tomorrow night, TJP will face Rich Swann as 205 Live immediately follows the Mae Young Classic.
Enzo is hurting backstage then looks over to see Neville, who starts laughing.
Cesaro & Sheamus & Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson vs. Seth Rollins & Dean Ambrose & Hardy Boyz
Everyone brawls before the bell. Things settle down with Jeff beating on Cesaro. Matt and Sheamus mix out up after that then Matt dumps him and Cesaro and tags Jeff for the Poetry in Motion to the outside as we head to break. The match returns with Ambrose beating on Anderson. Gallows super kicks Ambrose off of the apron then Ambrose gets beat on in the corner. The heels continue to cut off the ring then we have a major screwup as Matt was supposed to break up the pin but tripped getting into the ring and the ref stopped the count, with Corey trying to cover by saying the ref stopped when he saw Matt from the corner of his eye. Gallows & Anderson drag Matt outside then Anderson beats on Ambrose for a bit. Ambrose fights back with a neckbreaker but Gallows prevents a tag. Ambrose fights out of a Magic Killer attempt then avoids a charging Sheamus then finally makes the tag. Rollins runs wild on Anderson then the match breaks down. Cesaro & Sheamus end up leaving then Anderson tries a sneak attack but is hit with the ripcord knee smash then put away with the Dirty Deeds (13:16) **1/4.
Thoughts: This was quite sloppy at times but the faces won to send the crowd home happy. The Hardy Boyz both look like they are hurting, especially Matt who struggled mightily in limited action. The end made sense since Cesaro & Sheamus do not like Gallows & Anderson, who are portrayed as being a level below the other three teams.
Final Thoughts: The Strowman/Lesnar confrontation was awesome and the Jordan vs. Reigns match was good but there were too many ineffective segments tonight. Plus, how the company currently presents their babyface characters is just baffling. People generally do not want to cheer for those who are annoying, incompetent, or the office favorite. Not just in wrestling but in shows or in all other walks of life. In 2017 WWE, these are traits displayed by babyface talents. The top of the card at No Mercy looks good but the rest is struggling.