By Jim Jaeger @jaegerjunc
Welcome to Monday Night Raw live from Atlanta, Georgia!
Segment 1: Stephanie McMahon greeted the crowd and called out the Olympic Hero, Kurt Angle. Angle looked grim as he walked to the ring. The Billion-dollar princess questioned Angle as to how the New Day even got into the stadium last week. As Kurt stammered about having the locker room ready for an invasion, Stephanie verbally tore into him and made him admit that there was no invasion, just more manipulation from Shane. Steph moved onto a question that we all are likely thinking: Why Jason Jordan? Stephanie compared Jordan to Smackdown Live’s fifth member, John Cena which was surely a huge mismatch. Stephanie asked Angle what he was going to do at Survivor Series. Angle answered that he planned to break Shane’s ankle. Steph scoffed at this as Shane would hide behind the other wrestlers. She also doubted Angle could even do it. She seemed to be on the verge of a major announcement when….
“Sierra, Hotel, India, Echo, Lima, Delta” … The (complete/original) SHIELD entered the ring to a nice pop. Dean Ambrose defended Kurt as a fine leader. Steph reminded them that they no longer had the tag belts because of Kurt’s incompetence. After listening to enough of Stephanie’s insults, Roman Reigns took the mic and stated unequivocally that the SHIELD did not take orders from her. Instead, they did what they wanted. What they wanted was a match with the New Day at Survivor Series.
Match 1: Triple threat women’s match to determine final member of RAW women’s team between Bayley, Mickie James, and Dana Brooke.
The match started and then was interrupted by at least a 12-minute commercial break. When it returned Dana was thrown out of the ring. As she was convalescing, Asuka checked on her. Taking umbrage to this interference, Dana punched Asuka who chased Brooke through the ring and eventually dropped her with a spin kick. That left Bayley and Mickie in the ring. Just when it looked like James would take it, Bayley reversed Mickie’s Implant DDT into a Bayley-to-belly for the win. Bayley is member #5 for RAW’s women’s team for Sunday night. Sasha Banks ran into the ring to celebrate with her bestie.
Match 2: Tag Team match between Cruiserweight champion Enzo Amore and his partner Drew Gulak vs. Kalisto and Akira Tozawa.
Enzo did his normal long soliloquy with Gulak answering back to Enzo’s rhetorical questions. Enzo botched Gulak’s name but at least it was shorter than normal.
Tozawa and Kalisto used their athleticism to push the pace of the match. They had a couple of high spots mostly at the expense of Gulak. Eventually Enzo was isolated in the ring and Tozawa had him set up for the senton but Gulak pulled him out of harm’s way. After throwing Tozawa into Kalisto, Enzo finished the (former?) member of Titus Worldwide with the Jaw-dunzo.
Segment 2: Backstage with Angle giving Team RAW a pep talk. He booked Finn Balor and Samoa Joe in a tag team match with the Club to make sure they could work together. He booked Jason Jordan in a match with Bray Wyatt to prove that he (Angle) was not playing favorites and to prove that Jordan deserved to be on the team. Angle moved to Strowman and was about to announce a match when Strowman interrupted by asking for Kane. Angle tried to talk him out of it but Strowman was adamant. Angle booked the match for the main event.
Segment 3: Miz TV with guests the BAR
Miz talked down to his opponent at Survivor Series, Baron Corbin, but botched a couple spots in his monologue. Sheamus and Cesaro took turns discussing how they were going to jailbreak the Uso Penitentiary. In the meanwhile, they planned to ruin the SHIELD’s return later tonight.
Segment 4: Another recap of the Smackdown live invasion. We also learned that the New Day accepted the SHIELD’s challenge via twitter.
Match 3: Bray (The eater of worlds yet I lose most matches) Wyatt vs. the “Chosen One” Jason Jordan
Wyatt tried to use mind games but Jordan, oozing with confidence, took the match to the returning Wyatt. The match spilled out of the ring and Jordan missed on a high-risk maneuver allowing Wyatt to take over. Wyatt targeted the knee that Jordan injured while jumping off the top rope. Wyatt hit Jordan with a Urinagi/Rock Bottom. Wyatt went for the Sister Abigail finisher which Jordan reversed into a school boy for the win. With Angle and Stephanie watching on the backstage monitor, Wyatt attacked Jordan after the match. Angle was shown leaving backstage. Unfortunately for this entire Kayfabe father-son storyline, the crowd chanted “Thank you, Wyatt!” for beating up Jordan. They also sang the “na na na na, hey, hey, hey, good bye” song as refs helped him backstage. Pretty safe to say this angle is not getting over with the fans.
Segment 5: A very concerned Kurt Angle was backstage with the trainer and Jason Jordan with an ice pack on his knee. Angle thought Jordan might not be able to compete Sunday. Jordan complained that he grew up watching Angle fight through injuries. Jordan begged Angle not to take his big break away from him. Jordan punctuated his plea by calling Angle “Dad.” The camera cut away with a look at a very concerned Kurt Angle.
Segment 6: The Beast Incarnate, Universal Champion Brock Lesnar, followed by his Advocate Paul Heyman
The crowd started off with dueling “AJ Styles”- “Suplex City” chants. Heyman presented five selling points for the WWE network. If you were playing a drinking game, and had to drink every time Heyman said “Brock Lesnar” you would be on the ground by this point. I am not really sure what the five points were, but Heyman put the hometown wrestler over as a capable opponent with speed but Heyman was still sure that Sunday was going to be like a real-life Rocky movie. Brock did his normal “jump around” move while Heyman talked. Not a bad job to have.
Match 4: Six-man tag team action between the Miz and the Bar vs. the SHIELD
Ambrose and Rollins did most of the heavy lifting in the first half of the match. Ambrose and Rollins took out the Bar, beat up the Miztourage and chased Miz into the crowd. During the commercial break, Miz somehow came back and got the drop on the SHIELD. Rollins played the babyface in peril and eventually made the hot tag to Reigns. Reigns cleaned house until interference from the Miz allowed Cesaro to take the action to the Big Dog. A few near falls made it look as if the SHIELD might lose in their return. Just when it looked bleak for the Hounds of Justice, Ambrose and Rollins recovered to take out the BAR leaving Miz alone in the ring. One spear and a triple power bomb later and the SHIELD are your winners via pinfall.
Segment 7: In the ring, Angle decided to stop Jordan from competing on Sunday. Jordan limped out and pleaded again to not lose his spot. The two argued back and forth to a mostly dead crowd. Jordan’s main argument was that this was his one chance to wrestle side-by-side with his dad. The two were interrupted by Stephanie demanding that Angle make the switch. Triple H’s music hit and the Cerebral Assassin stomped to the ring. He took the mic and announced that he was going to be the 5th member of Team RAW. He then stared Angle down while Jordan continued to plead his case. Hunter dropped Jordan with the Pedigree which brought the crowd to their feet.
Match 5: Tag team match between Samoa Joe and Finn Balor vs. The Club
As the Club walked to the ring, Balor and Joe argued over which man would start the match. Balor won but was shoved down by Joe. Balor was worked over by his former Bullet Club mates until he could make the hot tag to Joe. Joe cleared house and allowed Balor to finish the match with the Coup de Gras. As soon as the match was over, Joe left without another word. Poor Gallows and Anderson. This could not be what they envisioned when they left New Japan.
Segment 8: Alexa Bliss talked about keeping an eye on the match tomorrow between Charlotte and Natalya. She even teased showing up to Smackdown Live to watch the match. Regardless of who won, Bliss was very confident that she could beat either Smackdown competitor.
Match 6: Kane vs. Braun Strowman
The two giants started with a stare down followed by a Kane uppercut. Strowman kicked Kane down and then pounded Kane in and out of the ring. Kane was on the receiving end of a beating until he reversed a whip into the steps and sent Strowman into the steel. Kane went under the ring and brought out a table. Both men teased throwing the other through the table. The match ended when Braun picked up Kane and powerslammed him through the ring floor and both competitors went out of sight.
For a “go home” show RAW put on a good effort. The Joe/Balor and Club match was perfect for setting up the idea that Joe is just there to win and not be friends. The Club even showed some aggression in a losing effort. The SHIELD vs. Miz and Bar match was solid as should be expected with the caliber of the wrestlers involved. The Kane and Strowman match was brutal and short which accentuated the positives the two massive men bring to the ring. These two are not done with their feud.
The only positive I see from the Angle/Jordan angle is that it might lead to a match between Kurt and HHH. There is a history between the two to begin with and I could see Triple H taking Jordan as an apprentice and having Jordan turn on Angle or something like that.
I originally thought that RAW would invade Smackdown Live in an invasion angle, but I am thinking the writers may choose to send RAW into the pay-per-view as the underdogs. I will look forward to Smackdown’s show tomorrow night.
Good night and Good luck!