September 26, 2016
From the U.S. Bank Arena in Cincinnati, OH
Your hosts are Corey Graves, Byron Saxton, and JBL
United States Championship Match: Roman Reigns (c) vs. Rusev w/ Lana
Rusev is angry at the start. He then starts off grounding Reigns with a front facelock. Reigns gets out and works a side headlock as these two stay on the mat for a bit. Rusev hits a back suplex and continues to target the back. Reigns fights back then uses his ten clothesline spot in the corner. Reigns is unable to deadlift Rusev for a powerbomb then gets tossed outside as we head to break. The action returns with Rusev using a waistlock. Reigns eventually escapes and lands a few punches until running into a dropkick. Rusev gets a few nearfalls then stars using mounted punches on the mat. Rusev uses another waistlock but this its on the mat. Reigns gets out of that and hits a clothesline as both men are down. Reigns hits a few more clotheslines then drops Rusev with a big boot. He sets up for the Superman Punch but Rusev catches him and dumps him outside, where Rusev also spills out and got hit by Reigns in the process as we head to another commercial. After the break, Rusev sets up for a superplex but Reigns fights him off and hits a flying clothesline. Reigns eats boot on a charge in the corner but is able to catch Rusev with a Samoan Drop for a nearfall. Rusev comes back with a spin kick for two then hits a pair of jumping headbutts for another nearfall as he is becoming increasingly frustrated. Reigns sends Rusev outside then rolls him back in where he gets kicked. Reigns runs into a super kick after an Irish whip sequence but kicks out at two as Rusev is beside himself. Rusev tries stomping Reigns but it gets blocked. Reigns comes back with the Superman Punch as that gets two. Reigns now sets up for the spear but Lana is on the apron. Reigns then blocks a kick and heads outside to hit the Drive By. Reigns bounces Rusev’s head off of the steps then they head into the crowd and end up getting counted out (25:34) **1/2. After the match officially ends, Rusev brings Reigns back to ringside and roughs him up until he gets sent into the barricade. Rusev jabs Reigns with a chair to block a Superman Punch off of the steps then rolls him back in the ring. Rusev stalks Reigns with the chair but Reigns catches him with the spear. Reigns then grabs his belt and the chair as he circles Rusev while a “yes” chant breaks out in the crowd. Reigns then sits down in the chair and holds up the U.S. Title then gets up and whacks Rusev with the chair.
Thoughts: I liked how they opened RAW with a match instead of an in-ring promo but this match went on for far too long to end in a double count-out. And if this was the result, they might as well have done this finish last night and have Reigns win here. On the plus side, this crowd was behind Reigns more than usual.
We get the trailer for the WWE 2K17 video game.
Mick Foley is in the ring to address the end of the Cesaro/Sheamus Best of Seven Series. We got some still photos from last night’s match at Clash of Champions as they announcers talked about Cesaro landing on his head while attempting a tope. Foley invites both Sheamus and Cesaro into the ring. Sheamus brings up how Foley told them the man who was the most physically dominant would get a title shot, as Cesaro said he was that. We then get some back-and-forth between the two as they plead their case as to who is the toughest as Foley said they are both right. He then tells them both they will get championship opportunities and it will be together for the WWE Tag Team Championship. They argue again as Foley screams that’s his decision and they do not have to like it and if they are up for the opportunity, they will be facing the winners off the Tag Team Championship match. So, these guys had a series of matches that ended in a tie and because of that, they are being told they can team up for a Tag Title match. I thought this actual segment was poor as they gave wooden performances while screaming over each other. I still think this will lead to Cesaro jumping over to Smackdown but both Sheamus and himself are good workers so lets see what they do going forward.
WWE Tag Team Championship Match: Big E & Kofi Kingston (c) w/ Xavier Woods vs. Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson
Cole tells us that the challengers got a rematch tonight due to the fact Xavier used Francesca II to cheat in last night’s match at Clash of Champions. The match started during the break as the New Day are in control. They hit Anderson with the Unicorn Stampede until Gallows interferes and breaks things up. Anderson roughs up Kofi outside then rolls him in as Kofi is getting beat down in the opposing corner. Gallows chokeslams Kofi for a nearfall as we head to commercial. The match returns with Kofi breaking out of a chinlock but gets caught with a sitout powerbomb by Anderson for a nearfall. Kofi avoids a splash and finally makes the tag as Big E runs wild on Anderson. Kofi takes Gallows out with a pescado but Big E misses a charge in the corner and rams into the post as we hear a thud. Big E comes back to spear Anderson off of the apron. The New Day hit Anderson with the Midnight Hour but Gallows breaks up the pin. Gallows then yanks Kofi outside and sends him into the steps as Anderson takes Big E down. They hit Big E with the Magic Killer but Kofi breaks that up as he is wearing a crimson mask. Kofi then ends up causing Gallows to dump outside and hits Anderson with the Trouble in Paradise for the win (11:05) ***.
Thoughts: Good match but why have New Day go over again after last night? Plus, this was set up after the face team cheated to win and the heels got a rematch, which they lost clean. This just tells me that they have given up on Gallows & Anderson as their stock is in the toilet after this terrible feud. So, we are getting Cesaro & Sheamus vs. New Day now as a match? Lets see what they do when that happens.
Tom Phillips is shown interviewing an ecstatic Stephanie after last night’s Clash of Champions as she blew him off and entered a limo to see her husband, Triple H.
Cole then lets us know that Rollins has damaged his ribs and is not medically cleared to compete tonight on RAW as we see pictures of him getting an x-ray.
Back from break, Cesaro and Sheamus are arguing in the locker room. Foley then comes in and yells that he is not messing with them and because they have proved everyone he was right by stealing the show. He then adds they cannot have an 8th match because he will risk losing one of them for good. However, if they are together, they can become one of the greatest teams in wrestling and wants them to see if the “magic is there.” If this was Foley’s reason, why not just have him say this when he called out both men into the ring? It would have came off much better than the three screaming over each other.
Bayley vs. Anna Fields
Fields jumps Bayley from behind then chokes her out on the ropes. She then chokes Bayley out with her foot and ends up getting a nearfall. Fields then works a chinlock but Bayley sends her into the corner and takes control until putting her away with the Bayley-to-Belly (2:06). After the match, Phillips heads into the ring and asks how she feels about falling short last night in the Women’s Title match. Bayley said that Sasha & Charlotte proved why they are two of the best but that she will be back in the picture soon and will not stop until she hugs the Women’s Championship.
Thoughts: I have no idea on earth why they had Bayley sell this long for an enhancement talent. Anyway, they established her as someone who will have to overcome obstacles before getting another title match, which is fine for now.
Stephanie is backstage in her office when Foley enters. Foley tells Stephanie she believed in her but after last night, with the referee coming out after Jericho interfered and how she left with her husband, how can he do so now. Stephanie said that Triple H was in the air and wanted to know how the show went then blames Foley for not doing his job and said he is the general manager and should have been there to get a new referee. Stephanie then tells him he is not here for his medical expertise and that they hire the best doctors in the world for that. Foley then quietly says he was out of line as Stephanie dresses him down for a few minutes then Foley ends by saying he is sorry. Man, its tough watching Stephanie dress down the talent as Foley acted like a scolded child and came off as completely spineless.
Rich Swann & Cedric Alexander vs. Drew Gulak & Lince Dorado
Swann & Alexander were shown in an insert promo as Swann showed a lot of excitement as he talked about partying all night long. Both teams shake hands before the match. Dorado and Swann start off trading moves until ending in a stalemate. Dorado hits a facebuster as Alexander breaks up the pin and that leads to everyone getting dumped outside and Dorado flies off the top with a moonsault as we head to break. The match returns with Gulak having Swann in a chinlock. Dorado is in and lands a kick but misses a charge in the corner as both men are down. Swann pushes Dorado away and makes the tag as Alexander runs wild on Gulak. The match breaks down as Alexander hits Dorado with the Lumbar Check. Alexander tags out and Swann goes back-and-forth with Gulak until hitting a roundhouse kick and getting the win with a bridging rollup (8:12) **.
Thoughts: Honestly, I was not a fan of this match. Swann and Dorado never seemed like they were able to get on the right page and their commercial break killed the flow. Alexander stood out the most here but its obvious they want to push Swann as the hyperactive and happy dancing machine. He has a ton of charisma so I hope they let him do more than just dancing. Even after the CWC and hype videos for the division, its still a work in progress when it comes to establishing the cruiserweights on RAW.
Cesaro & Sheamus vs. Nick Cutler & Willis Williams
Cesaro hits Cutler with a delayed vertical suplex as Cole jokes that he hopes Nick is better than Jay Cutler of the Chicago Bears. Cesaro tags Sheamus in by slapping him on the shoulder as Sheamus lays into Cutler with forearm smashes. Williams tags and gets clotheslined then Cesaro tags himself in and decks Williams with an uppercut but ends up in the wrong corner and gets his armed worked over for a bit until Cesaro fights them off and goes for the Neutralizer but Sheamus comes in and Brogue Kicks both guys then Cesaro covers and gets the win (3:30).
Thoughts: Typical match involving partners who dislike each other but it was enjoyable. These two are excellent workers and hopefully can make the best of it if they continue as a team.
We get a video package on TJ Perkins which leads to a backstage interview with Phillips. Perkins talks about this being a dream come true then gets distracted by Brian Kendrick, who asks Perkins if he feels good depriving him of the Cruiserweight Championship. Kendrick says Perkins owes him for his career as Perkins is about to throw down as Kendrick tells him the next time they step into the ring together, he will finally awake from his dream. Decent heel work by Kendrick here to set up for next week’s rematch. Perkins still does not appear comfortable on the mic but I like that they finally showed his backstory on TV, which makes it easy to get behind him.
Charlotte & Dana Brooke come out to the ring. Charlotte tells us Clash of Champions was her night as she successfully defending the Women’s Championship. She then says that is the difference between her and those like Bayley and Sasha Banks as she backs up what she says in the ring. Charlotte then says each month a new competitor comes into the scene but she beats them and says she is the money maker of the division but Sasha interrupts. Sasha tells Charlotte to check herself and that title is her’s as Charlotte asks why isnt the belt around her waist then. Sasha then says she was never pinned and wants her rematch now as the crowd cheers. Charlotte tells the crowd to be quiet and tells Sasha “Blanks” that she is better than Sasha and says she will give her a match. Charlotte then gets ready for a match but laughs and says it is not for tonight but rather for next week in Los Angeles. Charlotte then tells Sasha if she didnt give her a rematch she’d cry to Foley like a “chihuahua” then Sasha cuts her off and says she will win next week and be the face of the division. Sasha then slaps Charlotte down and puts Dana in the Banks Statement until Charlotte breaks that up then Sasha clears the ring. I thought both Sasha and Charlotte did a good job here in setting up for next week’s title match. I’m looking forward to seeing them wrestle again.
Seth Rollins is shown backstage in a sweatshirt as we head to break. We return with Rollins & Foley talking backstage as Rollins says he does not if he is medically cleared or not as he will not let Kevin Owens celebrate tonight. Rollins also heats up when talking about Stephanie & Triple H leaving together last night. Foley tries to get Rollins to calm down but Rollins cuts him off and says he can only hear Stephanie McMahon’s words come out of his mouth.
TJ Perkins vs. Tony Nese
Cole lets us know that Kendrick will get a title rematch next week, in Perkins’ hometown. Nese tosses Perkins across the ring then works the arm. They mess up a deadlift suplex spot then Perkins tries to put on the kneebar. Nese then yanks Perkins off of the apron and flies out with a Fosbury Flop as we head to break. We return with Perkins using an octopus hold but Nese counters that with an inverted gutwrench suplex. Nese hits a leg drop and a corner clothesline but Perkins snaps off a hurricarana as both men are down. A “CM Punk” chant breaks out as Perkins hits a neckbreaker then gets a nearfall with a cool gutbuster variation. Perkins hits a pair of suplexes then heads up top but Nese cuts him off with a slap. Nese cuts him off again then blocks a tornado DDT and deadlifts him with a suplex throw and takes him off the ropes with a running knee. Perkins comes back and hits Nese with a dropkick on the apron then shortly after that locks on the kneebar for the win (8:48) ***.
Thoughts: Good match and Nese had himself a very good showing. However, the crowd crapped on this with chants for CM Punk and Randy Savage and that’s bad news seeing that the champ was in this match.
A Hispanic Heritage Month video package on Pedro Morales.
Before the Highlight Reel, we see a video from Asthon Kutcher & Danny Masterson, who tell Jericho they will see him at RAW. This was after Jericho used their names as insults on RAW a couple of weeks ago.
Highlight Reel is up next. Jericho yells at the crowd to be quiet while holding on to his list. He also yells at the cameraman for shooting him on the wrong side and puts him on the list. He then puts Rollins on the list and laughs how he got hurt again while saying in 17 years he never got hurt. Jericho then says she good news is that the man who injured Rollins is here and that is his best friend and longest running Universal Champion in the business, Kevin Owens. Jericho tells Owens he proved what excellence is by beating Rollins. Owens says that usually he would be in a suit but Cincinnati is not worthy of that as he tells the crowd they should not cheer for that. He then makes fun of Dean Ambrose for being from here as Jericho says Ambrose owes him $1,700 as Owens says he will never see that money. Owens then talks about Rollins thinking he was the man for a long time and lists off the people he has injured. Rollins then comes out and is met by several officials and Foley, who order him back as Jericho & Owens make fun of him. Rollins heads back then Enzo & Big Cass come out as the crowd goes nuts. Jericho then says they are doing just fine and that both of them have made the list. Owens then tells Jericho how to spell “Cass” as this leads to Cass comparing Jericho to Santa Claus. Jericho then said maybe he is Santa and said he was going to “Come down and sit on his lap” as everyone got confused. Jericho then pretended he said he was going to punch him in the face then they have a comedy bit until Owens yells that he will head down and hit Cass in the face but unfortunately, they do not have a match tonight. Cass then informs them they just passed Foley in the hall and was told they were facing off tonight. First off, the interaction between Cass and Jericho was quite funny. Jericho was very good here overall too. However, Rollins did not look like much of a face at all as he did not do what he said earlier about interrupting the celebration and headed back to the locker room when confronted by Foley and several officials. And where was Sami Zayn?
Chris Jericho & Kevin Owens vs. Enzo & Big Cass
Jericho and Enzo mix it up to start. They tag out as Cass works over Owens in the corner. Jericho runs in and gets tossed out along with Owens as Cass then launches Enzo at them. Cass rolls Owens inside but gets cut off with a knee smash. Jericho is in and chops away. Cass beats on Owens some more then Jericho pulls the ropes down on Cass as he attempted a big boot. Cass falls outside where Owens roughs him up then we head to commercial. The action returns with Cass putting Owens down then making the tag as Enzo runs wild on Jericho. Enzo heads up top as Jericho distracts the ref, allowing Owens to shove Enzo down. Jericho & Owens double-team Enzo as Owens mocks Enzo’s dance on the apron. Jericho hits a delayed suplex then they fight up top. Enzo tries a crossbody but gets dropkicked in midair as both men are down. Owens tags in after mocking Enzo and hits a senton for a nearfall. Jericho is back in as the crowd mildly gets behind Enzo. Jericho tries a lionsault but Enzo gets his knees up as both men are down. Owens tags in but so does Cass, who runs wild on Owens. Jericho breaks up a Rocket Launcher attempt but gets tossed as Enzo hits Owens with a DDT for a nearfall. Owens comes back and turns Enzo inside out with a clothesline then hits the Pop Up Powerbomb for the win (16:30) *3/4.
Thoughts: This really, really dragged. Plus, Owens did not come out of this looking strong as he sold the most for his team during the match. He is the champ and dragged down into comedy between midcarders. Sure, some of it was very funny but the champ should be positioned above that. Anyway, Enzo & Big Cass have seemed to cool off since feuding with the Shining Stars.
Final Thoughts: Not much of a show. And part of that was the fact they were going up against the first presidential debate, which is expected to draw a massive amount of ratings. I did like how they set up for the two title matches for next week’s show but other than that there was little else of note. The Cruiserweight Division continues to struggle in connecting with the live crowds but its going to be a bit until they can get the crowds invested. Not having a star to build around at first hurts too. I actually think Cedric Alexander can be that guy but if they let him get that chance is another story.
However, one of the main problems on RAW is a lack of a top babyface. The stuff with Rollins is not working right now and Zayn was not even on the show tonight at all. If Cesaro won that match last night, he could temporarily fill that gap but this is a major problem at the moment. Plus, the main storyline is why Triple H helped Kevin Owens win the Universal Title and we’ve yet to find out why.
The second main problem is that they do not have any compelling feuds. They can start building up newer stuff to lead to Hell in a Cell but the stuff they have right now is not good and some of it they’ve seemingly dropped without any explanation, like Darren Young vs. Titus O’Neill. Add that to the fact they want to keep the Authority as the main focus of RAW and you wonder why fans are tuning out. If they want people to keep watching Monday nights, you have to give them a reason and right now, they are not doing that.