Bayless’ WWE RAW Rundown 9/4/17

September 4, 2017

From the Century Link Center in Omaha, NE

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

We get a video package of last week’s contract signing between John Cena and Roman Reigns for their match at No Mercy.

John Cena vs. Jason Jordan

We get some highlights from 2002 where John Cena was given a match against Kurt Angle on Smackdown as Cole notes how this is a similar situation. Jordan uses his amateur background to get the advantage in the early part of the match. Cena fights back then works a chinlock for a bit then sends Jordan into the corner as we go to break. The action returns with Jordan fighting back. He hits a belly-to-belly suplex but misses a charge as Cena hits a pair of shoulder tackles. Jordan comes back with a dropkick that gets two as both men are down. They get up and slug it out until Cena takes Jordan over with a sunset flip. Cena follows a powerbomb with the Five Knuckle Suffle then tries for the AA but Jordan escapes and takes Cena down. Cena switches to the STF but Jordan is able to reverse and put on a crossface. Cena powers up but Jordan gets off of his shoulders and hits rolling Northern Lights suplexes that almost put Cena away. Jordan rams Cena in the corner then lowers his straps for the pop-up neckbreaker but Cena rolls on top then catches Jordan in the AA for the win (11:43) ***. After the match, Reigns comes out to a chorus of boos then the show cuts to commercial.

Thoughts: Started off extremely slow and the crowd did not care but it got better in the second half. Jordan is still not getting over and I do not see how coming up short against stars is going to get people to care but this was about Cena getting a win in a competitive match heading into No Mercy against Reigns.

Back from break, Reigns is in the ring with Cena and asks him why it took a sixteen-time champ over twenty minutes to beat a rookie. Well, that is a bit exaggerated. Reigns says if Cena is who he says he is then he would have beaten Jordan out of the gate as the crowd gives him the “what” treatment. Reigns then says Cena proved him right last week and that he is a “lying, fake-ass little bitch.” Cena calls Reigns “Debbie Downer” and that he is disgusted by his face. Cena get cheers in mocking Reigns for not being very smart then saying he will get the answers to all of his questions at No Mercy after some back-and-forth. Cena says at No Mercy, Reigns will either get beat by a guy who has lost a step or by a guy who has been stringing him along. Cena then says Reigns is a “conceited, little golden boy” who has been handed everything, unlike Jordan, Chad Gable, and even the Miz. Cena tells Reigns he does not respect him and that Reigns is living a lie as no one agrees this is his yard or that he is “the guy.” Cena then asks Reigns if there is any room in his brain to see what’s going on or does he have to beat some common sense into him. Reigns then tells Cena to do it and smirks as the crowd does the “yes chant.” Reigns then asks the crowd if they want to see Cena beat his ass as they cheer while Reigns tells Cena this is his moment. Cena smiles then Reigns says he is all talk and that is why he does not respect him before he tosses the mic down and leaves with Cena still smiling in the ring.

Much like last week, Cena got the best of Reigns on the mic. Even having Reigns dare Cena to fight him but get laughed off did not do a whole lot for the Big Dog. Anyway, Cena needs to get his comeuppance at some point and it will happen, likely at No Mercy. 

Heath Slater & Rhyno vs. Cesaro & Sheamus 

Seth Rollins & Dean Ambrose are on commentary. Slater rolls up a distracted Cesaro for a two count but he immediately knocked down. Rollins & Ambrose talk about their match against Cesaro & Sheamus at No Mercy while Slater is getting beat down in the corner. Slater takes Cesaro outside with a hip toss then takes him down with a leg lariat that was not even close before tagging out. Rhyno runs wild and hits a TKO as Cesaro makes the save. The match breaks down then Sheamus hits Rhyno with the Brogue Kick for the win (2:17) 1/4*.

Thoughts: The action was not very good here but the main goal was to hype up the RAW Tag Team Championship match at No Mercy. And the Slater & Rhyno team has just about reached its expiration date, even in their current position on the card.

Booker T then thanks the WWE Universe for all of the help they’ve given to the city of Houston, TX.

Renee Young is backstage with the Hardy Boyz. Matt tells us its a “wonderful” evening for a new Intercontinental Champion as Jeff talks about this being a “rebirth” and how they live for the moment. Jeff then cuts a fiery promo as Matt tells the Miztourage will all go down in a twist of fate if they decide to interfere.

Intercontinental Title Match: Jeff Hardy w/ Matt Hardy vs. Miz (c) w/ Maryse & The Miztourage

Miz begs for mercy after Jeff took control early. Jeff ends up outside but avoids the Miztourage and gets back inside. He clotheslines Miz over the top rope but is unable to attempt a dive as Miz backs away then we head to break. The match returns with Jeff hitting Miz with a jawbreaker as both men are down. The crowd gets behind Jeff as he knocks Miz down. Gordbuster gets two then he hits the Whisper in the Wind for another nearfall. Jeff heads back up top but Bo distracts the ref then Axel knocks Jeff off of the top rope. Matt backs off the Miztourage then the ref orders them to the back. Jeff manages a few nearfalls but Miz blocks a leg drop and gets a nearfall with a DDT. Jeff comes back with a rollup for two then avoids a charge in the corner. Miz shoves Jeff away then hits a running knee strike for two. Miz hits the It Kicks but misses the last attempt as Jeff boots him down. Jeff hits a slingshot kick for two but Miz takes him off of the apron and rolls him back inside and locks on the figure four. Jeff manages to reach the ropes then comes back with a stunner for two as Miz was able to grab the ropes. Miz rolls outside but gets taken down with a baseball slide. Jeff hits Poetry in Motion off of the steps then heads back inside for the Swanton but Maryse grabbed Miz’s hand as Miz was somehow able to roll out of the way. Miz pulls himself up in the corner and after a reversal sequence hits the Skull Crushing Finale for the win (13:04) **1/4.

Thoughts: I did not find the finish very good at all to be honest and these two were on different pages at the beginning. Both guys threw some awful punches here too. However, there was some heat and the crowd was into Jeff but I do not really get what the company is doing with the Hardy Boyz at the moment. All of the “Broken” character teases are fine if they actually lead to something. As of now, a potential feud against The Miztourage is not the most exciting thing for the two.

We get a replay from last week where Alexa Bliss beat Sasha Banks to reclaim the RAW Women’s Championship then had her “friend” Nia Jax turn on her at the end. Bliss will defend the title at No Mercy against Sasha Banks.

Backstage, Nia Jax interrupts Kurt Angle and wants to know why the “Beyonce wannabe” in Sasha Banks gets a another title shot. Nia said she felt the whole Women’s Division tremble when she held up the title. However, Emma interrupts and talks about having a hashtag about getting a chance at the Women’s Title as Nia proposes a “Put Emma in the Hospital” hashtag and they bicker until Angle proposes they team up tonight to face off against Alexa & Sasha and if they win, they are added to the No Mercy title match, making it a Fatal Four Way. Nia’s acting was wooden and she dragged down this segment, which also featured some truly wretched dialogue.

A video package on the Braun Strowman vs. Big Show match from the 4/17 episode of RAW where the ring collapsed after a superplex. Cole tells us tonight the ring has been reinforced to prepare for their cage match.

Tony Nese, Drew Gulak, and Noam Dar are in the ring. We see a clip from “205 Live” last week where they lost to the team of Enzo Amore, Cedric Alexander, and Gran Metalik after Enzo cheated to win. They come out now as Enzo tells us “if you ain’t cheating, you ain’t trying” to justify how he won last week then tells us that “controversy creates cash” and while everyone works harder here on 205 Live, he works smarter. Enzo’s time on the mic really lasted for a long time here and apparently his deal is showing the Cruiserweight Division to work smarter instead of harder by taking shortcuts.

Tony Nese & Drew Gulak & Noam Dar vs. Enzo Amore & Cedric Alexander & Gran Metalik

This started during the break. Cedric and Nese trade off working the arm then Cedric takes Nese out with a headscissors then a dropkick after a fast-paced reversal sequence. Enzo tags himself in and trips Nese before walking on him and mocking his bicep flex. Nese drops Enzo on the top turnbuckle with a back suplex then tags Gulak, who stretches Enzo out on the mat. Enzo gets stretched out by everyone as the opposing team is doing an efficient job at cutting off the ring. Enzo tries to fight out of the corner then kicks Dar in the face while getting pulled outside. Enzo then makes the tag to Cedric, who runs wild on Gulak. Nese makes the save but Metalik hits a missile dropkick then the match breaks down with Cedric & Metalik hit stereo tope con hilos and Enzo, who tagged himself in, pokes Gulak in the eye then hits Eat Defeat for the win (5:06) *1/2.

Thoughts: A completely forgettable match that saw Enzo cheat to win once again. I guess they are booking Enzo on 205 Live based on how he is in real life but as a babyface.

Sasha is backstage getting ready when Alexa interrupts. Alexa cannot believe that Nia & Emma are trying to take away their spotlight as Sasha tells Alexa that those two in the title match decreases her odds. Sasha says she does not want those two in the match either then gets in Alexa’s face and screams she will make her tap out at No Mercy.

Finn Balor heads out to the ring. He talks about the NXT Championship and Universal Championship looking good around on his waist. He then said the Intercontinental Championship also would have looked good but Bray Wyatt robbed him of that opportunity last week in the Battle Royal. Balor tells Wyatt he’ll be ready the next time he comes out and is not afraid of his demons because he becomes one himself. Bray interrupts and is shown on the screen and talks about how exciting it was after his first kill when he went hunting but after that became bored and put down the weapon and used his bare hands. He then said that Finn was not victorious at SummerSlam, The Demon was, and that Finn should put down his bow-and-arrow in the Demon and face him in order to define his legacy.

Bray manages to drag down every segment and feud he is in at this point. To be honest I had to rewind Bray’s promo because when I first hear him speak I immediately tune out. Does this company realize how ineffective Bray is presented at the moment? Balor is still over but this feud is not doing him any favors and hopefully it ends at No Mercy. 

Alexa Bliss & Sasha Banks vs. Nia Jax & Emma

This match started during the break. Nia gets Sasha off of her back but Sasha fights back. Nia blocks an arm drag then hits a slam but Emma tags herself in and covers for two. Emma beats on Sasha in the corner then gets a two count with a basement dropkick. Sasha floats over and rolls up Emma for two and they trade pin attempts after that. Emma works a full-nelson but Sasha escapes and hits a suplex before tagging out. Alexa kicks Emma in the corner but gets booted in the face. Alexa prevents Emma from tagging out then tags Sasha, who beats Emma down in the corner. Meteora gets two then Sasha stretches Emma out for a bit. Alexa & Sasha cut off the ring for a bit then Emma rolls away from a Twisted Bliss attempt and hits a jawbreaker before tagging out. Alexa slaps Nia and tries to run away but gets pulled into a clothesline. Nia then follows with an avalanche before running wild. Alexa hits another slap but gets caught in a Samoan Drop. Nia covers but Sasha makes the save. Alexa fights back and tags out as Sasha comes off the top and gets caught. Sasha tries a sunset flip but Nia blocks that but Sasha avoids a sitdown splash. Sasha hits a running knee strike then tries for the Banks Statement but that fails then Nia hits a leg drop but as that happened, Emma made a blind tag and covered for the win (8:57) **. After the match, Emma tries to celebrate but Nia pulls her into a Samoan Drop.

Thoughts: The crowd did not know who to cheer for here and we get yet another multi-person match. Sasha gets pinned clean in the middle of the ring again as this match did more to put over Nia than anyone else.

Renee is backstage with Braun Strowman. He is pissed that Angle made him face Big Show inside of a steel cage three weeks before his Universal Title match against Brock Lesnar. Strowman then reminds us what happened the last time they faced off and how the ring has been reinforced. He then talks about sending a message tonight to Brock Lesnar, who does not have to face anyone in a steel cage before No Mercy.

Rollins & Ambrose walk past Elias backstage as he was playing the guitar.

Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson are in the ring awaiting to face Rollins & Cesaro. However, Sheamus & Cesaro are in the ring trying to take their place but Gallows & Anderson tell them to leave.

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

Cesaro & Sheamus are watching from ringside. Rollins stomps on Anderson in the corner to start. The champs stay in control until Anderson is able to tag out. Gallows beats on Ambrose briefly but the champs fight back and clear the ring then fly out with pescados as we head to break. We return with Gallows working a chinlock on Ambrose. Anderson tags and gets two after a pair of knee drops then works the arm. Gallows tags back in and hits an avalanche after knocking Rollins off of the apron. Rollins comes back to make the save on a pin attempt then Anderson sets up Ambrose for a superplex but that gets blocked. Gallows cuts off Ambrose, who fights off a chokeslam attempt and hits a dropkick then a slingshot clothesline in a messy sequence before tagging out. Rollins runs wild and sets up Anderson for a superplex then knocks Gallows down. Ambrose hits a tope on Gallows then Cesaro tries to interfere while Sheamus distracts the ref but accidentally hits Anderson, who gets rolled up by Rollins (11:49) **1/4. After the match, Anderson & Gallows knock Sheamus & Cesaro out of the ring then they come back in and start brawling as Sheamus & Cesaro clear the ring.

Thoughts: A generic tag match that once again heated up the Tag Team Championship feud. Having Sheamus & Cesaro accidentally cost Gallows & Anderson the match might lead to a feud or at least between them down the line. The post-match stuff could lead to something with Gallows & Anderson or just end up as another segment presenting them as a lesser team.

Video package on Connor’s Cure is shown next. It really was a great video that saw kids make wrestling entrances and costumes with Stephanie McMahon doing voiceovers . It got a standing ovation from the crowd when it ended.

Enzo is with Gran Metalik and Cedric Alexander backstage. He is taking them both out on the town but Neville omes in clapping to interrupt. Neville says he is here to deliver a message that the three of them are part of a Fatal Five Way elimination match tomorrow night on “205 Live” to  determine who will face him for the Cruiserweight Championship at No Mercy. A completely unoriginal way to determine the #1 contender. It seems like every contender for the Cruiserweight Championship is determined this way.

Charly Caruso is backstage with John Cone, the referee of the last Strowman vs. Show match and who flew out of the ring when it collapsed after a superplex. Cone said the ring is “double reinforced” but even still has no idea what to expect and will stay out of the way.

Renee is now with Big Show. She asks him about facing Strowman tonight as he talks about being in steel cages before and is pissed over Strowman thinking he will use him as a message to Lesnar while saying he’s the largest athlete in the world. He showed a lot of fire but it went on for too long, likely because they were killing time to set up the cage.

Tomorrow night, Enzo vs. Cedrick vs. Metalik vs. Nese vs. The Brian Kendrick will face off in the Fatal Five Way elimination match to determine the #1 contender to the Cruiserweight Championship.

Steel Cage Match: Big Show vs. Braun Strowman

Strowman traps Show between the ropes and the cage and hits a few running clotheslines until running into a right hand. Strowman is out on the mat then we head to commercial. The match returns with both men out on the mat. Show is up first and runs Strowman into the cage a few times then tries to climb the cage. Strowman climbs up too and they slug it out until Show gets crotched. Show is in pain but returns the favor then starts climbing up to the top rope. Strowman runs into a pair of kicks then the crowd goes nuts as Show hits a top rope elbow drop. The crowd chants “This is Awesome” as Strowman kicks as Show slowly crawls towards the cage door. Strowman gets up and shuts the door against Show’s head. Strowman stands over Show now and gets the door whacked off of his head too then the two collide with a shoulder tackle and crash to the mat. Show is up first and signals for the chokeslam but Strowman turns that into a DDT for a two count. They are now trading strikes Show catches him with a chokeslam for a nearfall. Strowman gets shoved into the cage after a reversal sequence then Show tries to climb the cage but Strowman yanks him down. They end up on the top rope where Strowman hits a superplex as the reinforced ring was able to brace the impact. Strowman then picks up Show and hits a powerslam for the win (16:55) ***1/2. After the match, Strowman takes the mic and asks to see what he has done to Show and now think what he will do to Lesnar at No Mercy. Strowman then says Lesnar’s future is like what happened to Big Show while his future is becoming the Universal Champion. Strowman then picks up Show and slams him through the cage before leaving.

Thoughts: Good stuff here with two giants tossing each other around. Show looked very good in this match too and still has something to offer the company. Strowman winning was the right call as he is facing Lesnar for the Universal Title and ending the night by having Show get tossed through the cage was the big moment they were teasing throughout the show.

Final Thoughts: We had a good main event and the top of the No Mercy card is looking really good. However, the Cruiserweight and Women’s Division continues to struggle and this Bray/Balor feud has been awful. Plus, they continue to present their babyface talents in a baffling manner. Being a holiday show, I thought it was fine overall as they continue on the road to No Mercy.

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