WWE RAW Review – 12/18/2017

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By Diesel @Diesel_vftr

Last week Raw ended with a number one contender match for the Universal Championship between Kane and Braun Stroman end in a double countout. Roman Reigns successfully defended his I.C. Championship in a fantastic match with Cesaro. Samoa Joe defeated Dean Ambrose via the Cochina Clutch, with a bratty Jason Jordan lurking around. Seth Rollins beat Sheamus in a fun match. Absolution finally battled with Asuka, only to be run off by the rest of the Raw Women’s Division. Woken Matt Hardy and Bray Wyatt spoke their ramblings of a mad man, and talked of a war. Will Brock Lesner find out who his challenger will be at the Royal Rumble? Who will Roman Reigns defend his I.C. Belt against this week? Will Absolution seek revenge upon the Raw Women’s Division? Where is the Bray Wyatt and Woken Matt Hardy story headed? Sit back, relax and read ahead to find out the answers to these questions and many more.
Opening
Raw is live from Providence, RI. We start out with a video recap of the events that occured between Kane and Braun Stroman to end Raw last Monday. Kurt Angle comes out to the fans chanting “you suck”. Kurt announces by the end of the night he will announce who will face Brock Lesner for the Universal Championship at the Royal Rumble. Stroman interrupts and says he earned the right to be Lesner’s opponent. Kane then interrupts and says he’s caused more destruction for over 20 years, therefore he deserves to be the number one contender. The voice of Paul Heyman rains over the arena. Heyman says “you will not have this discussion without the title holder.” Brock Lesner then enters and makes his way down to the ring. WIth all three monsters standing in the ring Angle makes his announcement for the Rumble. He annouces the match to be a Triple Threat and scurries away in fear. Lesner then clears the ring and stands tall.
This is the worst thing on raw right now. I’m very disinterested in this Stroman/Kane feud. Adding Brock to the mix does nothing for me. It’s boring and I would much rather see Lesner vs Stroman one on one. I would truly like to see Lesner vs Balor. This beginning segment was pointless and uninspiring. The fans weren’t interested until Lesner came out.

Seth Rollins vs Jason Jordan

After Seth Rollins enters Jason Jordan’s music plays instead of Samoa Joe’s. Jordan whines about how his daddy won’t give him a match of with Samoa Joe so he’s taking Rollins match. Joe comes down and says he’s flattered that “all the popular boys were fighting over him.” Joe then suggest Rollins and Jordan have a match to determine who faces him. Rollins says his matched is already booked. Jordan attacks Rollins and they have a match. Jordan dominates the match and works Rollins’ back. Samoa Joe scouts the match sitting outside the ring. Going to commercial break Jordan has been in control the entire match. Back from the break and finally Rollins has the upper hand. Joe looks like he’s enjoying watching these two men beat eachother up. After a back and forth the fight breaks to the outside. Rollins and Joe stand face to face, when Rollins steps aside as Joe gets speared by Jordan. Joe gets up and goes for Rollins and eats a superkick. The fight goes back in the ring and Rollis hits his spinout knee for the victory. After the match Joe attacked Rollins and Jordan before walking out.

Winner: Seth Rollins

This was a good match. Jason Jordan is talented in the ring no doubt. I’m still liking Jordan being the bratty boss’s child. Samoa Joe plays his role well too. He’s just a badass and he’ll choke you out to prove it. I’m interested to see Joe vs Jordan, so job well done WWE.

A backstage segment with Rollins and Ambrose asking Kurt Angle for a match with Samoa Joe. Jordan also walked up and wanted a match with Joe. Angle then made a 6-man tag match for later in the show with Rollins, Ambrose and Jordan vs the Bar and Samoa Joe.

Bray Wyatt has an on-screen promo telling Matt Hardy that he will play his chess game. Bray also says “the great war must end.”
Finn Balor vs Curtis Axel and Bo Dallas

Before you read on I suggest you refer back to last week’s Raw Review where I correctly called this match. Now after the self pat on the back let’s get back to wrestling. The Miztourage start the match tagging in and out. The Miztourage gets Finn in there corner and took advantage of the double team. Finn fights out and takes control of Axel in the middle of the ring. Dallas tags in and Finn takes control of him as well. Miztourage couldn’t take getting beat by Balor they double teamed him. That lead to a DQ for the Miztourage. After the match the attack continued until a debuting Hideo Itami came to Finn’s aid. After the break the match turned into a tag match adding Itami as Balor’s partner. The start of the match has the Miztourage taking control of Finn. Once Itami received the “hot tag”, he showcased what he could do. Itami hit the Go to Sleep on Axel for the win.

Winner: Finn Balor and Hideo Itami

All I can say is this is a waste of Finn Balor’s talent. However, down your drinks friends because we have a debut. I like that Itami debuted in a non-cruiserweight angle. I just hope this doesn’t mean Balor is moving to the Cruiserweight Division. Balor is a main event talent, and I will continue to say he is over. I don’t know how someone who knows wrestling can’t see that.
Cedric Alexander vs Drew Gulak
his winner of the this match will be number one contender for the Cruiserweight Championship. Drew Gulak enters with the Cruiserweight Champ Enzo Amore. Early on the match is very technical with headlocks and submissions. Alexander take the early advantage. A neat reversal of a suplex leads to both men to tumble over the top rope before the break. Back from the break Gabba Gulak is in control of Alexander. Side note Enzo is on commentary and whoever made that decision should be fired. The commentary is overshaddowing the match in a bad way. Enzo leaves the commentary desk and Gulak notices and loses focus. Alexander lands the Lumbar Check and is the new number one contender.

Winner: Cedric Alexander
This match had time like other Cruiserweight matches in recent weeks. That’s all it had in common. It was a slow paced match that was taking over by Enzo on commentary. I’m a big fan of Gulak but I’m not upset he lost. This is going to make for a better pay off when Enzo and Gulak finally meet in the ring.
After the break it’s revealed why Enzo left. It was to meet up with Nia Jax. While flirting with Nia, Gulak interrupts and apologizes for losing and effectively chasing Nia away. The segment end with Enzo yelling at Gulak.
Asuka vs Alicia Fox
Fox begins the match running away. Fox then starts getting in her offense but it only angers Asuka. Asuka gets Fox in an armbar and is still undefeated.

Winner: Asuka

There wasn’t much to say about this match. I guess the most important thing it’s Asuka won again. Definitely a match to fill time in this slow moving episode of Raw.
Samoa Joe and the Bar vs Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose and Jason Jordan
Jordan and Sheamus start the match. Right of the bat Jordan is beat down. Joe tags in and viciously attacks Jordan.  Jordan gets caught in the oppositions corner and is constantly triple teamed. Rollins tags in and takes the momentum back before the break. During the break the Bar and Joe retake the advantage. Rollins almost makes the tag when Joe stops him and delivers more punishment. Rollins once again almost makes a tag when Cesaro pulls him back to the other corner. Fight falls to the outside and all hell breaks loose. Rollins hits a suicide dive on to the outside and Ambrose was in the collision. Ambrose then was hurt and in the confusion Rollins was Brouge Kicked and pinned.

Winner: Samoa Joe and the Bar

This match was one sided and boring. I’m ready for the Bar to take on another team. I think with Rumble still being well over a month away they will do this program to death until the Rumble. Jordan didn’t really have a purpose in this match. In my opinion this match was a waste of time.
Before the break a limo pulls up. The door opens and the Commissioner of Raw Stephanie McMahon steps out.  

Matt Hardy has an on-screen promo after the break. It’s a response to Bray Wyatt’s promo from earlier. Hardy also use chess references when referring to the great war and threatens to delete Bray Wyatt.

Heath Slater and Rhyno vs The Revival

Rhyno and Slater’s early advantage doesn’t last long once Scott Dawson gets into the match. Backstage Titus Worldwide is scouting the match. The Revival control the majority of the match. With a Shatter Machine on Slater, Wilder gets the pin.

Winner: The Revival

It’s great to see the Revival again. It’s a good time for a return because the tag division is desperate for a revival. (Sorry couldn’t help myself.) I only wish they could find something for Slater and Rhyno. Even with a long layoff on TV the are still fan favorites.

After the break Kurt Angle comes up to Slater and Rhyno and told them if they want to stick around they need to toughen up. Slater is worried about losing his job on Christmas because he’s got kids. Rhyno then tell Slater he needs an attitude change if they are ever going to be champs again.

Elias is in the ring and like the great heel he is bashes the Rhode Island crowd. He then is the first participant to announce he is in the Royal Rumble. Elias then dedicates his next song to his good friend Roger Goodell. Sasha Banks comes down for her match and Elias wants to sing with when Mickie James also comes down. Followed by the final interruption by Bayley to ruin Elias’ night.
Sasha Banks and Bayley and Mickie James vs Absolution

Paige and Mickie start the match. Absolution control the match from the get go. Absolution doesn’t follow the refs warning to get out of the ring and are DQ’d. Nia Jax comes down and takes out Absolution alone. While celebrating Paige takes out Nia’s knee and Absolution goes on the attack. Stephanie McMahon comes down to the ring to a silent arena. Stephanie talks about over the past 2 years the Women’s Revolution has evolved. She then announced the first ever Women’s Royal Rumble.

Winner: Sasha Banks and Bayley and Mickie James
This was poor booking for the second time there was a DQ in a tag match for excessive fighting. The match was only to give Stephanie McMahon a reason to make her announcement. It was a good reason to make the announcement but it was hokey. There was a brawl and then the announcement was made for the Rumble and everyone was happy with eachother and hugging.
Final Thoughts
Three hours was way too long for this show. The second half of the show was a replay of the first. Multiple matches were plagued by poor booking and poor in ring action. The opening of the show was your generic Raw opening and a total waste of a Brock Lesner appearance. This show really could have used a solid match from Roman Reigns. There was a debut and a return to help move the show. However, overall it was a pretty boring and unforgettable show. Now it’s time for Professor Diesel to make his grade.

Final Grade: C-
If you have any comments or you just want to chat about Raw. Or any wrestling at all, 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

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