By Diesel @Diesel_vftr
Last week we saw Absolution (Paige, Mandy Rose, and Sonya Deville) threaten the Raw’s Women’s Division and continuation down the path to taking Paige’s house back. Roman Reigns made his first defence of his newly won Intercontinental Championship against Elias, even with outside interference from the Miztourage. After the match Samoa Joe choked out a celebrating Reigns at the top of the ramp. In anticipation for this week’s Raw Tag Team Title match, between the Bar and the Shield, we saw Seth Rollins beat Cesaro. The first of two Fatal 4-Way matches deciding the number one contender for the Cruiserweight Championship took place. Rich Swann pinned Noam Dar for the victory, and will face the winner of tonight’s Fatal 4-way between Cedric Alexander, Mustafa Ali, Tony Nese, and Drew Gulak. On tonight’s show will we see Absolution decimate even more of the Raw Women’s Roster? Will Roman Reigns keep to his word and have an open challenge for his I.C. Belt? Will Samoa Joe answer the challenge? By the end of the night will every member of the Shield hold gold? Will the Miztourage continue to walk with Elias? The answers to these questions and many more will be revealed in the December 4th edition of the Raw Review.
Live from the Staples Centre in Los Angeles, CA, Raw opens with a brief video recap of the events that took place in last week’s I.C. Title between Roman Reigns and Elias. With chants of “you suck” from the WWE Universe, Kurt Angle opens Raw with an in ring promo. Angel about to announce who Roman Reigns would be defending his I.C. Title against, he is interrupted by his son Jason Jordan. Jordan explains to Angle he has proved himself against the likes of Cena and Reigns, and whines for his father to make the challenger for the I.C. Title. Before Kurt can answer the music of Roman Reigns fills the arena. Reigns claims he’s a fighting champion and he’s deciding who he faces and it’s not going to be Jordan. He wants Samoa Joe. Reigns offers Jordan some advice. “Don’t cry to your daddy to give you what you want it step up and take it.” Jordan tells Reigns that he’s the “posterboy” for what management wants. Samoa Joe decides to join the party and accepts Roman Reigns’ challenge. Samoa Joe then gave Reigns 5 seconds to take back his challenge because Reigns can’t beat him. Jordan isn’t happy with happy with Joe trying to jump ahead of the line, and tells him so. Roman begins to tell Joe his 5 seconds is up and in mid-sentence Reigns is suplexed by Jordan. Reigns then tells Joe he’s going to have to wait, because he facing Jordan now.
This to me felt childish and out of control. It really spotlights how Kurt Angle is way over his head in his position. Though I was entertained, it’s the same start as every other Raw.
Roman Reigns vs Jason Jordan for I.C. Title
From the very beginning of the match Reigns was in total control. During the action Samoa Joe is sitting at the top of the ramp watching. Mid way through the match Jason Jordan deadlifts Reigns and carries him corner to corner. Before a commercial break Reigns runs his shoulder into the ring post. Back from the break Michael Cole explains that Jordan has taken over the match. Jordan’s domination doesn’t last long as Roman hits a slew of clothesline. While all this is going on Booker T is spouting nonsense, like in every Jason Jordan match. A dropkick counter of the Superman Punch scores Jordan a near fall. With an injured Reign from the submission during the break, Jordan takes advantage and has two more near falls before the second commercial break of the match. Reigns is back in control after the break. Jordan tweaked his injured knee while we were away. A double Northern Lights Suplex was only good enough for a 2 count for Jordan. Roman hits the Spear on Jordan for 1, 2, and 3. Post-match Samoa Joe announces Jordan didn’t finish the job, so he was coming down to choke Reigns out. While in the clutch Jordan saves Reigns and chases Joe away. For his help Jordan received a Superman Punch in return.
Winner: Roman Reigns
This was a solid match. I really like they gave the I.C. open challenge a good amount of time. Roman really does make the championship feel stronger. Roman is more over week in and week out as well. Also there is no doubt Jordan can go in the ring. His Character is the issue and if he doesn’t turn heel I’m afraid he will never get over. The fall out of the match makes me interested where they go from here. It feels like a Triple Threat is being set up between Reigns, Jordan and Joe.
A backstage segment with Angle and Jordan takes place after the match. Just like in the ring Jordan is whining to daddy. Jordan wants another match but this time He wants Samoa Joe. Samoa Joe then walks up and attacks Jason Jordan. Angel and security try break up the fight, then the camera cuts to ringside.
Paige vs Sasha Banks
Pre match a video package plays featuring the destruction Absolution has caused in the 2 weeks since they’ve debuted on Raw. This match marks Paige’s first since June 2016. On commentary is the Raw Women’s Champ Alexa Bliss. (Curious to see if the champ scurries off again like last week.) Paige has Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville in her corner. Sasha has Bayley and Mickie James in hers. Right off the bat both competitors exchange slaps to face. Paige is in control early and hasn’t lost a step in her absence. Paige uses a bunch of different submissions on Banks, before Sasha flips the script and takes over with a bunch of submissions of her own. Going into the break the crowd is non-existent due to this slow match. The commentary team doesn’t have to pay attention because not much is happening. They are over shadowing the match with their bickering and not helping the talent in the ring get over. Back from the break there’s a back and forth before Paige earns a near fall from a Sunset Flip in the corner. The two trading forearms lead Paige to attempt the Rampage, only to be countered by the Bank Statement. Paige gets to the ropes for a break. Meanwhile the parties on the outside go at it. The scrum distracts Banks and Paige hits the Rampage for the 1, 2, and 3. After the match the brawl moves into the ring. In the end Absolution stands tall
This match was slow and dragging for the first 75%. It picked up at the end but in my opinion it couldn’t save the match. The commentary team really took over the match and make the Women’s Championship picture look like a joke. The outcome was the right call with Paige getting the victory. I also want to see more of Absolution but also feel they could wear fast. I can’t overstate how this match was too long.
Elias comes to Kurt Angle and asking for a rematch from last week’s I.C. Title match. Elias then said that all L.A. was going to get was a concert because he had no opponent. Angle then said he would see him out in the ring later and was going to bring him competition.
Following the segment a video package recapped the Kane and Braun Stroman feud.
Once again another backstage segment with the ZO Train. Enzo was pumping up the troops before the big Fatal 4 way match.
Cedric Alexander vs Mustafa Ali vs Tony Nese vs Drew Gulak
Alexander is spotlighted in the start of the match battling Ali. Quickly Nese and Gulak work together on Alexander. That ended when Nese went to the top rope and Gulak stopped him from performing a move because it’s “a no fly zone.” All four hit power moves on each other and everybody was on the mat going into the break. Coming back from the break Gulak had Alexander in a submission in the middle of the ring. Alexander reversed into a pin only to be broke up by Ali. A battle between Alexander and Ali leads to an Alexander pin on Ali broken up by Nese. Ali lands a Springboard Standing Spanish Fly on Alexander and the subsequent pin was broken up by Gulak. Alexander hits a Lumbar Check on Ali, and then was thrown out of the ring by Gulak who would steal the win. Next week Gulak will face Rich Swann for the number one contender ship for the Cruiserweight title next week.
Winner: Drew Gulak.
It’s about time they let the Cruiserweights shine on an episode of Raw. This match was fun and entertaining throughout. The crowd was into these guys more than ever. Unfortunately I feel this only happened to fill time because of the long lull between PPV’s for Raw. Gulak was the right pick to face Swann. I foresee Gulak winning next week and taking on his leader of the Zo Train. Colour me intrigued.
As promised Elias is in the ring to perform the L.A. crowd. He puts down the crowd and gives them a hard time for everyone trying to be celebrities. Elias strums his guitar and starts singing about L.A. Mid Song you hear Brauuuuuunnnnnn. Braun Stroman was the competition Angle was talking about earlier. Immediately Elias runs out of the ring. Braun turns his back and Elias hits him from behind. It does nothing to the monster and Braun destroys Elias. Braun was about to finish the job when Kane’s music plays. Kane on the Titan Tron tells Braun that he’s challenging him to a match next Monday.
Asuka vs Alicia Fox
Just like last week Asuka’s opponent has pre-taped interview saying how they would beat Asuka. Alicia Fox’s offense has no effect on Asuka. All Fox did was upset Asuka, which resulted in a Fox beat down. Asuka locks in the Armbar for the win. After the match Absolution come down to the ring, as they did last Monday. Absolution stares down Asuka and once again allows her to walk away. Absolution then proceeds to attack Alicia Fox. For the second time tonight Absolution stands tall in the middle of the ring.
This match went a little bit longer then I would have liked. Asuka is a beast and they should build her up like she is. I would like to see more “squash matches” from Asuka. I think if they took more of an approach they took with Braun Stroman with her, that would only be a positive for her. I like that Absolution keep coming out, starring Asuka down, and then let her go. Hopefully this will lead to a match between Paige and Asuka.
Finn Balor vs Bo Dallas
Bo Dallas enters to the Miz’s music. Dallas goes on offense right off the bat. Every time Dallas gets something going, he’s overmatched by Balor. At the same time Dallas is never letting Balor keep the momentum. This match is mainly back and forth until Finn Balor hits the Coup De Gras for the 1, 2, and 3.
Winner: Finn Balor
I love to see Bo Dallas, so this match was a plus for me from the get go. I really wish that at least once the commentary team would’ve brought up that it was a match-up of two former NXT Champs. Balor is most definitely over with the crowd and it’s a shame how he’s being used. I love Bo but hate how Balor’s being booked, so this match was bitter sweet for me.
After a recap of the Matt Hardy vs Bray Wyatt match, Bray is seen on the screen cutting a promo. It’s not your average Bray promo though. Between Bray’s nonsense Woken Matt Hardy breaks in saying his more entertaining nonsense. I absolutely loved this segment. If I were Simon Miller I would give it an up.
The Shield vs The Bar for the Raw Tag Team Championships
Dean Ambrose and Cesaro start the match for their respective teams. Early on the Bar work well as a team, and keeping Ambrose away from Seth Rollins. Ambrose eventually works his way over to Rollins for an early mini “hot tag” before the commercial break. Coming back from the break, now the Bar is working well as a team again and this time keeping Rollins from Ambrose. Eventually Rollins fights off the Bar and Ambrose gets the “hot tag”. A back and forth between Rollins and Cesaro leads to Sheamus beating Rollins in frustration. The Bar was then disqualified. While walking out Angle comes out and restarts the match and makes it no DQ. The Shield takes the advantage after the restart until Samoa Joe Interferes. Causing a distraction and allowing Sheamus to hit the Brogue Kick and get the 1, 2, and 3.
Winners: The Bar
This match was same as the other matches they’ve had in the past. Part me is filled with joy the Shield didn’t win because I’m ready for Dean and Seth to feud. I thought that once the match was restarted it meant the Shield would win. It was very refreshing to see that it didn’t happen. At the same time why couldn’t the finish of the restart just be the finish of the match, instead of having Sheamus getting the Bar DQ’ed?
I really enjoyed this episode of Raw. I believe it had more bright spots then not. Short of the Paige vs Sasha Banks match, I thought the action in the ring was above average for Raw. They have really made me interested in Absolution and where they’re going with Bray Wyatt and Matt Hardy. For a 3 hour show this week it didn’t drag as much as others. The main event was a little bit of a let-down but it could’ve been worse. On my podcast View from the Top Rope, I’m known as Professor Diesel. Now I’m going to wear my Professor cap and give Raw a letter grade.
If you have any comments or you just want to chat about Raw, you can find me on Twitter @Diesel_vftr. You can listen to my podcast “View From the Top Rope” on Itunes, Google Play, Soundcloud, Stitcher and Podknife. In association with @kayfabeToday