WWE RAW Rundown 9-18-17

September 18, 2017

From the SAP Center in San Jose, CA

Your hosts are Michael Cole, Corey Graves, and Booker T

We get a graphic in memory of Bobby Heenan before the live show.

The live show starts off with Kurt Angle in the ring. He is very excited with No Mercy just six days away and talks about John Cena vs. Roman Reigns and Brock Lesnar vs. Braun Strowman for the Universal Title are both WrestleMania main-event worthy matches. However, Miz & The Miztourage interrupt. Angle congratulates Miz for becoming a father but Miz tells him to save his well-wishes as he’s sick of being overlooked and treated like an afterthought. Miz says this is the second PPV in a row where the Intercontinental Title will not be defend. Angle breaks the news that Matt Hardy vs. Jeff Hardy vs. Elias vs. Jason Jordan will face off with the winner facing Miz at No Mercy. Miz talks about Jordan not deserving that spot and is a failure while the Miztourage are overlooked. Angle hopes fatherhood will help Miz stop complaining but Miz says he will be with his kid at day one and his child will never have to ask why daddy did not want him. Miz continues to accuse Angle of nepotism to make up for the fact he walked out on Jordan as a kid then calls him a “deadbeat.” Jordan comes out to interrupt and takes the mic out of Miz’s hand and threatens to knock his teeth down his throat if he says another word about “Kurt.” Jordan then suggests The Miztourage both be included in the #1 Contender’s match so Miz cannot make any excuses. Miz makes fun of Jordan for decreasing his chances of winning by including more people in the match and gets another dig in at Angle but Jordan snaps and ends up clearing them all from the ring as we will have a “Six-Pack” challenge tonight.

Another segment with Jordan and Angle that proved to be ineffective. Jordan going nuts should have gotten cheers, especially against Miz, but the crowd was quiet. I don’t necessarily think the layout of the segment was bad but this storyline has been terrible and the chemistry between Jordan and Angle has practically been non-existent. If not for the Miz this would have been a complete waste of time. Anyway, the Intercontinental will be defended now with the challenger determined through a Six-Pack Challenge. 

Back from break, an angry Jordan is pacing around backstage. Angle tells him to calm down and focus but Jordan says he hears the whispers and sees the looks from the rest of the locker room and after he beats up Miz, everything will stop. Angle says he cannot go around beating everyone up and it takes more strength not to fight back. Angle says if he wants to get back at Miz he will win his match tonight then defeat Miz at No Mercy. Both guys tried but this came off as a bad soap opera segment with acting that could not convince anyone. The story is that Angle is telling Jordan he can prove his doubters wrong by capturing the Intercontinental Title.

Alexa Bliss vs. Nia Jax

Alexa avoids Nia to start. She then grabs a waistlock as Nia swings her around until Alexa bails once again. Alexa now uses the ref as a shield but Nia grabs her arm and holds her up in the air. Alexa tries to escape then slaps Nia before heading up the aisle. However, Sasha Banks music hits and she comes out as Alexa backs down the ramp until she bounces off of Nia right before the break. The match returns with Nia hitting an avalanche as Sasha looks on from ringside. Alexa fights back and hits a basement dropkick before heading up top but Nia catches her then hits a Samoan Drop for the win (6:50) *. After the match, Sasha attacks Nia from behind. Nia flings Sasha off of her then takes a breather but Bayley heads down. Bayley stares Nia down and joins Sasha & Alexa in taking her down. Nia leaves then Alexa is between Bayley and Sasha and gets attacked then the other two celebrate.

Thoughts: Not much at all to the match. Just Alexa running away from Nia. The finish was telegraphed as Alexa waited on top for a long time until Nia got in position for the catch. Bayley making her surprise return in front of her hometown crowd got a decent reaction and better than the boos she was receiving post injury but why have her here when she is not part of the No Mercy title match? Maybe it leads to Sasha winning and feuding with Bayley, with one of them turning on each other?

We get a series of tweets regarding Heenan’s passing. This then leads to Cole attempting a Heenan “joke” that was delivered awkwardly and lacked the wit Heenan possessed.

A video package on the Lesnar/Strowman feud airs.

Cesaro & Sheaums are in the ring. Sheamus talks about how nostalgia is everywhere now and its boring. He talks about people escaping to the past to feel warm and fuzzy but they live in the present. Cesaro then says they love Seth Rollins & Dean Ambrose because they are back together and nothing will go wrong but promises something will go wrong when they get their hands on them at No Mercy. Sheamus says Rollins and Ambrose are selfish and using each other for their own selfish needs and repeat that ad nauseam as the crowd chants “what.” Cesaro says the truth is that Ambrose & Rollins cannot stand each other as Sheamus will pick up the pieces when their friendship cracks and then will reclaim the Tag Team Titles because they trust each other and have been together during the good, bad, and ugly. Rollins & Ambrose interrupt as Rollins tells a joke about Cesaro resembling Robert DeNiro’s character in “Taxi Driver” before they both make fun of their wardrobe. However, Anderson & Gallows now interrupt and call out Sheamus & Cesaro for walking out on them last week and how Rollins & Ambrose took advantage of their disadvantage, which does not make them “good brothers” but makes them “nerds.” This leads to Ambrose snapping because he was called a nerd then Rollins & Ambrose clear Gallows & Anderson from the ring. Long segment here. The crowd really liked Rollins & Ambrose though, even if Rollins was awkward on the mic and the punchline with the “nerd” joke did not entertain.

A vignette hyping the debut of Asuka airs.

Cesaro & Sheamus vs. Karl Anderson & Luke Gallows vs. Seth Rollins & Dean Ambrose

This was originally supposed to be Cesaro & Sheamus vs. Anderson & Gallows. Rollins catches Sheamus with a dropkick then makes the tag as Ambrose fires away. Gallows tags himself in and slugs it out with Sheamus. Cesaro & Sheamus work over Gallows in the corner for a bit. Gallows catches Sheamus with a boot to the face then Rollins tags himself in and hits Sheamus with a springboard clothesline for a two count. The champs work over Sheamus for a bit but gets distracted by Sheamus and tries a running dive from her apron and his caught and swung into the barricade. Ambrose gets beat on for a bit then Anderson tags and works a chinlock. Ambrose continues to take punishment from Anderson & Gallows but Ambrose avoids an attack then makes the tag. Rollins runs wild on Cesaro and gets a nearfall with a blockbuster. Cesaro cuts Rollins off on top with an uppercut and tries a gutwwrench superplex but Rollins escapes and hits a buckle bomb for two as Sheamus made the save. Ambrose makes the save for his partner and the match breaks down. Ambrose makes the save, which was perfectly timed, after Gallows & Anderson hit the Magic Killer on his partner but Ambrose is shoved into the post outside just before the break. The action returns with Cesaro & Sheamus beating on Rollins as Ambrose gets the crowd behind Rollins. The ref did not see Rollins tag and he gets hit with a lifting cutter but Anderson makes the save. Rollins breaks free from another double-team move then hits Cesaro with a DDT as both men are down. Ambrose makes the tag and runs wild on Anderson. He tosses Gallows outside then the match breaks down after that with Rollins & Ambrose clearing the ring then diving out with topes. They do it again and we get a “This is Awesome” chant but Gallows breaks up a double-team move but Ambrose beats on Anderson. Sheamus makes a blind tag as Rollins flies out on Cesaro with a crossbody then Ambrose hits Anderson with the Dirty Deeds but Sheamus runs in and tosses Ambrose outside before covering Ambrose and gets the win (18:41) ***.

Thoughts: It started off slow but greatly improved after the break. I do not really get why Anderson & Gallows need to be involved in this feud. The story is Cesaro & Sheamus telling everyone that Rollins & Ambrose are unable to overcome adversity and will turn on each other again and the next opportunity to having Anderson around to eat the pin really isnt needed. Why not create a bit of doubt between Rollins & Ambrose that they can co-exist as a team?

Miz is in the locker room with the Miztourage. He tells them tonight is their chance to shine then once again puts over how Jordan is getting favoritism from his absentee father. However, the Miztourage talk about getting overlooked by Miz and talk about their fathers being successful in the WWE. Axel reminds Miz that he once held the Intercontinental Title. Miz wants his guys to focus on Jordan though and make sure he does not get a chance to shine. Miz was telling his guys to focus on taking out Jordan, which thinking back to the opening segment you would have thought it would make more sense for Miz to ask Angle about including them in the #1 contender match.

We now get a video package on the Roman Reigns/John Cena feud to hype their match at No Mercy.

Angle is on the phone in his office talking about how great No Mercy is while Goldust is in the background. Goldust turns around and reveals himself without facepaint. He wants a chance against Bray Wyatt to show that he is more than just a pawn in his game. Angle gives him a match as Goldust tells him Bray will never forget the name “Dustin Rhodes.”

Curt Hawkins is in the ring. He says normally he is out here making stars but now the Curt Hawkins Star Factory is closed. However, it is replaced by the Hawkins “History Machine” as he vows to end his 114 match losing streak. Hawkins says he is healthy and feeling good while his opponent will be just a footnote in history and answer to a famous trivia question. Apollo Crews then comes out with Titus O’Neill answers the challenge. Hawkins now has a losing streak gimmick.

Curt Hawkins vs. Apollo Crews w/ Titus O’Neill

Crews shows off his athleticism and catches Hawkins with a dropkick. Hawkins gets his knees up on a moonsault attempt then hammers away before applying a chinlock. He catches Crews with a spinebuster for a nearfall but Crews comes back with a running kick to the face as both men are down. Hawkins gets a nearfall with a reverse rollup despite grabbing the tights but Crews hits an enziguiri then finishes off Hawkins with a spinout powerbomb (2:21) *. After the match, a graphic reads “115 Match Losing Streak.”

Thoughts: Crews did some nice, athletic stuff in this match but he continues to struggle on RAW despite being part of Titus Worldwide. It appears the Hawkins streak will continue into next week.

Cole conducts his split-screen interview with Strowman, Lesnar, and Heyman. Cole talks about Lesnar being an underdog for the first time as Heyman says the last time Lesnar was an underdog he beat the Undertaker at WrestleMania and that Strowman will be another one of his client’s victims at No Mercy. Strowman is asked about his confidence as he talks about leaving Lesnar laying each time they’ve interacted and is the only man capable of putting Lesnar away for good. Heyman tells us Lesnar respects Strowman as a challenger and the fact he stood up after a suplex. Strowman interrupts and says he will stomp Suplex City into the ground but Heyman says all that happened is he woke up The Beast as Lesnar understands how to win and that is beating Strowman within an inch of his life. Heyman is upset that Cole keeps asking Strowman questions then puts over Lesnar’s credentials as Strowman does not appear impressed. Lesnar cuts off Heyman and thans Strowman for backing him into a corner and presenting a challenge because that is when he’s at his best. He then says “Suplex City, bitch” before leaving. A good, intense interview as this title match has been built up well. Lesnar needed a victory of sorts since Strowman has kept laying him out and I liked the line about how he is at his best when backed into a corner. This should be a wild match this Sunday at No Mercy.

Cole breaks the news that Bayley has been added to the No Mercy RAW Women’s Championship match, making it a Fatal Five Way match. That explains her involvement earlier tonight. Still, no Emma on tonight’s show which shows you her standing in the company.

Roman Reigns heads out to the ring. He talks  about John Cena being a great talker but sometimes says “stupid shit.” Reigns says he is not the next “John Cena” and makes fun of Cena’s appearance, saying if he looked like that he would not have a career here and to ask Alex Riley about that. We get a flashback of a promo from February 2012 where Cena calls out The Rock for not showing up to the WWE every week and only coming sporadically before running back to Hollywood. Reigns is shown smiling after that and asks if we should bring out Cena and ask the crowd to get louder but says he is not here tonight. Reigns says everything Cena said was all talk and the result will be the same as that WrestleMania but this time he will be beat by a “different Samoan” and tells the San Jose crowd he will see them next time then calls Cena a movie star and flips the mic the same way Cena did in the promo we just saw before leaving. Reigns delivered this better than most of his promos and looked more comfortable than usual. However, despite getting one-up on Cena, he did so without Cena being present as he was in China.

Renee Young is backstage with the Hardy Boyz. They are asked about what will happen if they are the last two in the Six-Pack Challenge. Both of them talk about fighting each other since childhood and appear willing to go at each other in order to win the match.

Another Asuka vignette airs hyping her debut. I’ve liked the presentation of these segments. It makes Asuka come across as a special talent.

Bray Wyatt vs. Dustin Rhodes

Despite wearing the Goldust attire, he is going by his other name. Rhodes immediately beats on Wyatt. He follows with a clothesline as Wyatt bails. They fight outside and almost get counted out then Rhodes beats on Wyatt in the corner but soon after that is caught with the Sister Abigail as Wyatt gets the win (2:25) *. After the match, Finn Balor is on the screen and tells Wyatt a story about a boy who read about books and monsters while the other kids played. Eventually, the boy became a man and found a way to manifest his anger by creating a demon. He then asks if the demon is the creation of the man, then which one is more dangerous and Wyatt will find that out at No Mercy. Wyatt is then shown laughing but starts yelling afterwards.

Thoughts: The match was fine for what it was and Rhodes showed he can still hang in the ring. However, the Balor promo was more nonsense as part of a feud that has been anything but beneficial to those involved. This needs to end at No Mercy and the company needs to look long and hard at how they present Wyatt going forward because this feud is not over at all and the crowd was dead for this match. It seemed like a lifetime ago when he was one of the hottest acts on the roster.

We are shown more tweets from those remembering Bobby Heenan. After that, Cole tells us about how Heenan used to commentate on RAW and they talk about the night Gorilla Monsoon threw him out of the building.

The Bobby Heenan tribute video is shown next. A great video that showed all of his talents. His comedic timing was impeccable.

Enzo Amore comes out to the ring. He talks about feeling good but will be doing better after No Mercy when he defeats Neville at No Mercy. However, Strowman runs out and runs over Enzo before dragging him down the ramp. Enzo landed on his microphone there and that looked extremely painful. Strowman then tosses Enzo around before leaving then Neville comes out and walks around Strowman then heads down to the ring. Neville heads up top and hits the Red Arrow then asks for the mic. He mocks Enzo’s “How You Doin'” catchphrase then stalks over Enzo as Neville will be in action after the break. The crowd seemed into Enzo getting ragdolled by Strowman but I have no idea why that needed to happen.

Charly Caruso is in the locker room with Enzo, who is in pain and has an ice pack. He tells her he’ll take the title from Neville at No Mercy and after that asks him how he’s doing.

Neville vs. Gran Metalik

Neville beats on Metalik to start. Metalik fights back and sends Neville outside. Neville avoids a dive and sends Metalik on the ropes and kicks him in the chest. Back inside, Neville chokes out Metalik then kicks him outside and heads back out and tears his mask, briefly exposing his face. Metalik goes nuts and fires away then hits a springboard dropkick. Neville rolls out where Metalik hits a springboard tope con hilo. They head back in where Metalik gets a two count with a ropewalk splash. Metalik goes back up top but Neville got his feet up then locks on the Rings of Saturn for the win (3:20) **.

Thoughts: Excellent action for the limited amount of time they received. It looked like Neville accidentally tore Metalik’s mask when trying to rip it off but Metalik quickly hid his face after that. Metalik managed to get some positive reaction from the crowd with his high-flying offense and its good to see him actually get the chance to perform. A quick win for Neville as he will be facing Enzo at No Mercy.

We get a video package on Jennifer Lopez to celebrate “Hispanic Heritage” month.

Tomorrow night on 205 Live we will get a face-to-face confrontation between Neville and Enzo.

Elias is in the ring. He is disappointed in Silicon Valley and says they are huge disappointments, much like his opponents. He yells at the fans then sings about some of the competitors but is interrupted by the Hardy Boyz.

Intercontinental Championship #1 Contender Six-Pack Challenge: Elias vs. Matt Hardy vs. Jeff Hardy vs Jason Jordan vs. Bo Dallas vs. Curtis Axel w/ Miz

We start off with a brawl. Elias and Jordan fight on the outside while the Hardy Boyz and Miztourage fight each other. Jeff almost rolls up Matt for the win then Cole says its every man for himself as we head to commercial. The action returns with everyone in the ring. Elias & The Miztourage work together until Elias attacks from behind. Elias gets shoved outside then we have a Tower of Doom spot as everyone is down. Elias covers Jordan for a two count then the Hardy Boyz go at each other as Matt nearly puts Jeff away with a Side Effect. Matt gets dumped outside by the Miztourage then Jordan starts running wild. Jordan suplexes the Miztourage around until he gets tossed outside. Miz rams Jordan into the barricade then into the Timekeepers area. Back in the ring, Elias breaks up a pin attempt by Matt then hits the Drift Away but Jeff makes the save. Jeff runs wild now then hits Axel with the Swanton but Miz runs in for the save. Jeff tosses Miz outside then Axel hits Jeff with a neckbreaker but Jordan comes up from behind and puts Axel away with a pop-up neckbreaker and will be heading to No Mercy to face off against Miz for the Intercontinental Title (11:28) **1/4. After the match, Miz heads into the ring and stares down Jordan. He then smiles and claps then tries a cheap shot but Jordan was ready and tosses him around with a pair of suplexes. The Miztourage make the save then beat down Jordan. Miz hits Jordan with the Skull Crushing Finale then tells him after No Mercy he will still be the Intercontinental Champion.

Thoughts: Bland match with a predictable outcome. Jordan winning got a mild reaction as they spent all show long building up to Jordan vs. Miz at No Mercy but he did not get a chance to stand out among the mediocre competition.

Final Thoughts: If you missed tonight’s RAW, no need to worry as you did not miss much besides the Heenan Tribute Video. They used mostly taped footage to hype up the top two matches for No Mercy but the rest of the card is not looking to great. The Jordan push continues to struggle as he is not able to overcome poor creative direction. The midcard title feuds are uninspired (way too much usage of multi-person matches to set up contenders) and some of the other feuds are just plain terrible, like Balor vs. Wyatt. I don’t think you needed a killer show since they’ve sold fans on Reigns vs. Cena and Strowman vs. Lesnar already but they could have least had better in-ring action and more entertaining segments than what we were subject to tonight. Feel free to skip this show.

Author: Brian Bayless