Live from Charlotte (WOO!), NC this is the Raw Deal for episode #1227. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport.
A video package aired about last Monday’s Raw when Kevin Owens beat Seth Rollins in a Universal Title match thanks to Chris Jericho interfering even though he was banned from ringside.
There was no pyro show to start the show. Save that money, WWE.
Highlight Reel with Chris Jericho
The great Chris Jericho was in the ring hosting the Highlight Reel as he welcomed the “longest reigning WWE Universal Champion in History” that is also his best friend, Kevin Owens.
Analysis: They did a Highlight Reel segment last week together, so here we go again. I don’t mind it since their act is very entertaining.
Owens said he appreciates being on the Highlight Reel for the second week in a row because they were making history. Owens talked about how the people in the crowd didn’t make history like them. Owens spoke about people celebrating Thanksgiving and they allegedly give thanks for what they are thankful for. Owens ripped on the Black Friday shopping craze. Owens said they are superior breed of human…Canadian. I agree. Owens said as Canadians they had Thanksgiving last month. Fans chanted “USA” with Owens saying they’ll just ignore the USA chants. Owens said he was thankful for being your WWE Universal Champion. He’s thankful for being the face of the premier show in WWE…Monday Night Raw aka The Kevin Owens Show. He’s also thankful for his best friend Chris Jericho. They hugged.
Jericho said he’s thankful for Owens as his best friend and his wicked scarf. He’s also thankful for Seth Rollins because Rollins proves what happens when you let your ego and pride take over your life. Jericho claimed that Rollins is the epitome of a stupid idiot. Owens said that he “Rollin’d” himself while Jericho said people accused him of interfering. Jericho claimed it was Sin Cara dressed as Jericho and said that Sin Cara put on a Jericho mask. Owens said that after he gave Rollins a Powerbomb on the apron last week, Rollins isn’t medically cleared to be there. Roman Reigns music stared up.
Analysis: Owens saying that Rollins isn’t there will likely be a false statement by the end of the night just based on how WWE typically books angles like that. If a heel says that a face isn't there then that person is usually there.
The US Champion Roman Reigns walked down to the ring. Reigns wondered why they stopped. Jericho wondered if Roman thought they were clowns there to make people laugh. Reigns said that Owens as Universal Champion is a huge joke. Owens stumbled over his words a bit with Jericho noting that English is KO’s second language. Owens said the only joke around here is Reigns calling himself “The Guy” in WWE. Reigns said he is The Guy and around here Owens is just a guy who needs a lot of help. Reigns said Owens needs help with everything, which is why he keeps Jericho around. Owens said that he didn’t need Jericho. Reigns said if Owens didn’t have Jericho last week then he would have lost the Universal Title and the weeks before that as well.
Jericho asked Reigns if he knows what happens when you insult Owens. He had The List in hand as he was about to write something, but Owens told him to shut up. Owens told Reigns he can’t talk to KO that way and Reigns wondered what he’s going to do. Owens suggested that he hit a Powerbomb on Reigns just like he did to Rollins last week. Reigns suggested that he face Owens later on Raw and if he wins that then he gets a shot at the Universal Title at Roadblock End of the Line. Owens told him if he wants a fight then he’s got a fight. Owens said that Reigns just booked himself a spot on the Kevin Owens Show and Reigns said that by the end of the episode he’s going to kick KO’s ass and a lot of fans cheered. Roman’s music aired to end the segment.
Analysis: It was the typical opening segment that went about 17 minutes. I like Jericho and Owens a lot, but a lot of that was just filler because this is a three hour show that allows talent to fill time with promos. I’m a little disappointed that nobody made the list because that always pops the crowd. Perhaps it was a call by WWE to avoid doing it because they wanted Reigns to come off like more of a face.
Coming up later: Charlotte vs. Banks for the Women’s Title and Paul Heyman addresses the Survivor Series shocker.
PLUG TIME: My reviews of every WWE Survivor Series event are still ongoing only at TJRWrestling.net. I won’t have them all posted before the end of November, so keep checking into the first few days of December as well. It’s been fun to do. Please check them out and let me know what you think.
Owens and Jericho were backstage. Jericho wondered why Owens told him to shut up. Jericho said he’s always there for Owens. It led to Owens saying that he doesn’t need Jericho, so Jericho told him he doesn’t need him as an ally, a partner and a best friend. Owens said he’ll regret saying that. Raw GM Mick Foley showed up to say Owens already has a match. Jericho said he’s leaving and said see ya later to his buddy Owens.
Braun Strowman vs. R-Truth (w/Goldust)
Strowman crushed Truth in the corner. He picked him up and hit a running powerslam for the win. It was over in less than one minute.
Winner by pinfall: Braun Strowman
Analysis: A squash win by Strowman like we have seen many times before.
Post match, Strowman sent Goldust into the corner and splashed him. He applied a bearhug. Sami Zayn ran out for the save. Zayn nailed a big boot, but Strowman stopped him with a hard punch to the chest. Strowman picked him up onto his shoulders and dropped Zayn stomach first. Strowman hung up Zayn upside down in the corner. Several referees ran to the ring as Raw GM Mick Foley went down to ringside. The show went to break with Foley telling Strowman that’s enough.
Analysis: The idea they are going for is that Foley feels bad about putting Zayn in harm’s way by putting him against Strowman last week. I’m not sure what the long term goal is for the angle, but at least Zayn finally has a storyline.
After the match was over, Foley was in the ring with Zayn as Byron Saxton went into the ring for the interview.
Foley said that it’s a freaking massacre when a guy like Strowman is in there and Zayn is never going to quit. Foley said that sometimes in life and in WWE you have people that need to be saved from themselves. Zayn said that he needs to be saved from Foley because he’s a GM that is clearly taking his orders from above that has forgotten who he is and where he’s from. Foley did the yelling routine saying that he made the match. Foley yelled about how Stephanie doesn’t like Zayn and how she wanted him fired, so Foley punished him by putting him against Strowman. Foley told Zayn that facing Strowman is a matchup he cannot win. Foley said that Strowman is a monster. Foley even had some of his false teeth fall out during this rant, which he noted on Twitter. Zayn fired back saying that people told Foley that he couldn’t do it and that he was a hero to Zayn and so many people, but right now he’s looking at a guy who is in his way. Zayn said as far as he’s concerned he’s looking at a hypocrite. Zayn left.
Analysis: Good promo from both guys for the most part. I’m not a fan of Foley doing the yelling thing that he does once in a while. I know he does it to bring intensity to a promo, but it’s a little over the top even for pro wrestling. As for the storyline direction, it’s possible that it could lead to Zayn moving to Smackdown via trade or something of that sort, but I think it’s more likely a long-term thing to continue to try to build this Zayn story against Strowman. I’m not sure if it’s going to be some great angle, though. Like I said earlier, at least Zayn finally has a storyline after five months of this brand split.
Charlotte was shown in her locker room listening to some music. Dana Brooke showed up to talk about the after party for Charlotte’s win. Charlotte said she’ll cement herself as the greatest female superstar ever, she’ll finally end this rivalry with Banks forever and become the only legend to make it out of this city. Charlotte told Dana to go to prepare the celebration.
Analysis: As soon as that segment aired I knew the title change was coming just based on typical WWE booking.
The cruiserweight show 205 Live debuts on WWE Network 10pmET on Tuesday. I don’t think I’m going to review that show. I’ve got too much on my plate already.
Cedric Alexander made his entrance. He’s from Charlotte, so he received a nice ovation from the crowd. It also means he’s probably going to lose since WWE loves to book hometown talent to lose.
Cedric Alexander vs. Tony Nese (w/Drew Gulak)
Alexander with a headscissors followed by a perfect dropkick. Alicia Fox was shown watching backstage with Cole noting that Fox and Cedric were flirting last week on the Raw pre-show with Fox giving him a good luck kiss. Gulak tried to trip up Alexander, so Nese capitalized with a springboard moonsault for two. Forearm smash by Nese. Chinlock by Nese. Alexander made the come back with a handspring into a kick to the head. Knee to the face by Alexander on Nese. Gulak was on the apron, so Alexander jumped off the top with clothesline to knock Gulak down. Nese with a pumphandle into a flipping slam on Alexander for the win after three minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Tony Nese
Analysis: ** A quick match to give the heel the win even though Alexander should get the win in his hometown to build momentum. As I noted earlier, people always seem to lose when they are at home. They’ll probably do the match again at 205 Live with Alexander getting the win. As for the Alexander/Fox thing, at least it looks like Alexander is getting a storyline. Whether it’s a good angle or not is something we’ll find out over time.
Enzo and Cass were shown shilling WWE Shop merchandise.
Owens vs. Reigns non-title up later.
They recapped stuff from earlier in the night.
Chris Jericho was shown leaving the arena alone. Charly Caruso showed up noting that the last time he got into an argument with Owens it was a joke, so she’s wondering if this is serious. Jericho said it’s very personal and very serious. Jericho said he thought Owens was one of his closest friends in this business, but now he’s not sure. If Owens doesn’t need him then Jericho doesn’t need him. Jericho yelled at her to get the hell out of there.
Jericho continued walking into the parking lot. He yelled at the driver, who accidentally knocked “The List” out of Jericho’s hands. Jericho called him a stupid idiot. Seth Rollins showed up to ask Jericho if he just made The List. Rollins punched Jericho and threw him into some guard rails that happened to be there. Rollins tossed Jericho onto the hood of a car. Jericho tried to get away, but Rollins threw him into the back of a car. They fought on top of a car. Rollins set up Jericho for a Pedigree on the roof of a car and he connected with it. Rollins hit the Pedigree on the roof of the car. Rollins stood over Jericho as the scene ended.
Analysis: Nice surprise attack by Rollins. It was different than usual because it took place in the parking lot with Rollins hitting the Pedigree on the car. You don’t see things like that all the time, so I like that they went with something unique. Rollins should be mad at Jericho after Jericho has caused Rollins so many problems. It makes sense in the storyline.
Charlotte vs. Banks is up next.
Replays aired of Rollins attacking Jericho in the parking garage.
Sasha Banks entered for the Women’s Title match. Charlotte walked out with the title and her pal Dana Brooke with her.
Raw Women’s Championship: Charlotte (w/Dana Brooke) vs. Sasha Banks
Banks applied the Bank Statement early on, but Charlotte got to the rope. Banks kicked Brooke and tossed her into the steps. Banks with a cross body block for two. Banks did a “Woo” and a Flair strut to some boos. That was an interesting reaction. Charlotte with a forearm knocked Banks to the floor. They exchanged chops on the floor as the ref counted them outside the ring. Banks tossed Charlotte over the barricade. Charlotte sent Banks ribs first into the barricade. The ref appeared to stop counting. The women were fighting in the crowd and the ref started counting again. The count reached ten and the bell rang to end the match. It went about four minutes.
Match Result: Double countout
Charlotte smiled about keeping the title.
Analysis: * It was just basic brawling to set up something for later.
Raw GM Mick Foley walked out. Foley said he’s not going to allow this match and rivalry to end like this. Foley told them to take a little bit of a rest because later in the show, this match will restart as a no countout, no disqualification, Falls Count Anywhere match for the Women’s Title. Banks was happy about it while Charlotte made angry faces.
Analysis: It was obvious that was coming. He could have said this: “We have nothing else booked for the main event, so we are putting you on last again.” Cool with me.
Later on Raw, we’ll hear from Paul Heyman. Owens vs. Reigns still to come.
The ravishing Russian Lana was in the ring doing the intro for her husband Rusev. A replay aired of the naked Enzo scene with Lana from last week leading to Rusev beating Enzo easily.
Enzo Amore and Big Cass made their entrance to a big ovation. Enzo said Rusev beat him last week on the luckiest day of Rusev’s life. Enzo talked about how Lana had a lucky day seeing the realest guy in the room in his realest form and now she knows how Enzo is doing. They did a Thanksgiving routine with Cass going over food at Thanksgiving leading to the “how you doin’” chants from the crowd. Enzo said speaking of turkey, Lana is sitting there the whole time thinking about a certified G stuffing her turkey. There was a shot of some kids in the crowd excited, which is funny considering they likely have no idea what Enzo just said.
Analysis: Booking faces to act like heels in their comments to Rusev's wife is the new bizarro booking WWE likes to do.
Rusev (w/Lana) vs. Enzo Amore (w/Big Cass)
Rusev nailed a clothesline after the bell rang. Rusev stepped back and kicked Enzo in the groin. The ref rang the bell to give Enzo the disqualification win after 30 seconds.
Winner by disqualification: Enzo Amore
Rusev left the ring before Cass got in there. Rusev yelled about how you should never talk about his wife.
Analysis: Match of the year! No rating because it was barely a match. How is Rusev the heel when a guy is ripping on his wife like that? The dynamic in this story seems off. I’m not sure where they are going with this angle except maybe a Rusev vs. Cass match at Roadblock just to see what Cass can do in a PPV singles match.
Rich Swann was shown walking backstage.
Mark Henry was interviewed by Charly Caruso backstage. They plugged some movie Henry’s in called Incarnate. A clip aired of the movie with Henry playing a security guy that got punched by Aaron Eckhart.
Titus O’Neil showed up to say that was supposed to be his movie – his Space Jam. He said Henry stole it from him. Henry went to leave, so O’Neil grabbed his arm. Henry shoved him down.
Analysis: It’s been a rough year for O’Neil in WWE considering his silly suspension, the awful feud with Darren Young and the Titus Brand thing isn’t working.
Brian Kendrick is on commentary for the next match.
Rich Swann made his entrance. He’s getting a shot at Kendrick’s Cruiserweight Title on the debut of 205 Live on Tuesday night on WWE Network. I think Swann will win the title at that show.
Rich Swann vs. Noam Dar
Swann hit a dropkick while Kendrick ranted about how he got fired seven years ago because of mistakes he made and how he worked so hard to get back there. Swann with a kick to the legs sent Swann throat first into the bottom rope. Kendrick talked about how the 205 Live show was created thanks to him. Dar whipped Swann into the turnbuckle. Dar with an armbar. Swann came back with a forearm smash and a kick to the back of the head. A rolling thunder splash by Swann was blocked by Dar, who got his knees up. Rollup by Swann gets two. Swann connected with a devastating spin kick to the head for the win after about four minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Rich Swann
Analysis: *3/4 A decent match to put over Swann heading into his title match. The crowd seems to care about him more than most of the cruisers while Dar didn’t get much of a reaction. Swann’s offense looks great and makes him stand out because it’s unique. That last kick sounded good and looked even better.
Post match, Swann was interviewed in-ring by Graves. Swann grabbed the microphone and pointed out Kendrick at the announce table. He wondered if Kendrick was trying to play mind games. Swann said that Kendrick is doubting himself because Swann already beat him twice. Swann said the third time will be that much sweeter because he’ll be coming home the WWE Cruiserweight Champ because Kendrick can’t handle this.
Analysis: Good line to end the promo on since it references the catchy Swann theme song.
Still to come we’ll hear from Paul Heyman.
They announced that Snickers is the official presenting sponsor of WrestleMania once again. I prefer Oh Henry.
The announcers talked about New Day beating Sheamus & Cesaro to retain the Tag Titles last week thanks to the distraction from Woods.
There was a shot of a bar called Blackfinn. Sheamus was in there along with a hot woman that was Tessa Blanchard, who has appeared on NXT several times although she isn’t under a WWE deal. Cesaro showed up in a suit saying he wants a vodka martini shaken not stirred. Cesaro said he was there to celebrate them not having to team up again. Sheamus wondered what Foley was thinking putting them together. They bickered with eachother like usual with Cesaro saying they’ll always have Survivor Series. Cesaro said if they were on the same page they’d be the best team in WWE and Sheamus agreed saying teaming with Cesaro was his best chance at winning tag titles, but he can’t stand Cesaro. A guy walked up to Sheamus mocking his funny hair, his funny name and saw him on TV last week getting his ass kicked. Cesaro told him to be professional. Another guy showed up and mocked them saying they were the Village People. Everybody in the bar laughed at them. A bearded guy burped in Cesaro’s face. Sheamus & Cesaro turned around and beat up the guys in the bar. They tossed guys into the walls and Cesaro even tossed a guy into a part of a wall that broke. Sheamus yelled “open bar” and Cesaro said he wants a pint of Guinness. They toasted, Cesaro called him partner and Sheamus called him partner. Cesaro didn’t actually drink anything.
Analysis: It was a unique segment done in a bar to show them in a different setting. It looks like their team is going to continue even after their failed attempt at winning the tag team titles. This was one of those bonding segments to show that even though they can’t stand eachother, they realize they are better together than they are on their own. I’m not sure if it’s going to turn Sheamus face or if they will continue to bicker about everything.
Owens vs. Reigns is next.
The United States Champion Roman Reigns, who rarely defends his title, made his entrance. Some women in the crowd seemed excited.
Analysis: Has any champion cared any less about the title they are holding? I don’t think he even talks about wanting to defend the title, nor do they book him in title matches. I think the last title match was at Hell in a Cell against Rusev over a month ago.
The Universal Champion Kevin Owens made his entrance.
Kevin Owens vs. Roman Reigns
Both men hold titles, but neither title is on the line because f you that’s why. If Reigns wins, he gets a Universal Title shot.
Owens was aggressive before the bell with a cheap attack. Reigns came back in control. When they went outside the ring, Owens sent him into the steps. Back senton by Owens got a two count as the show went to break.
Back from break, Reigns hit a leaping clothesline as Saxton said he had a “dynamic style.” Throwing clotheslines and punches are not part of a dynamic style. Owens came back with a DDT for two. Owens hit the cannonball splash in the corner for a two count. Owens took control with a chinlock. Fans did the “Let’s Go Roman/Roman Sucks” chants. Owens yelled at him to go back to football or whatever else he used to do. That was pretty funny. Senton splash to the back by Owens gets two. Back to Chinlock City for Owens. Reigns made his comeback with the corner clotheslines and a running boot to the face. They exchanged punches, Reigns missed a clothesline and hit a Samoan Drop for a two count. Owens bailed to the floor, so Reigns hit a Drive By kick on the apron. Back in the ring, Owens nailed a knee lift and a superkick for two. Owens went up top where he was met with an uppercut by Reigns. Superman Punch by Reigns. Owens on the floor again, so Reigns hit another Superman Punch on the floor. Back in the ring, Owens hit a kick, but Reigns was unfazed as he bounced off the ropes with a Spear for the win at the 15 minute mark.
Winner by pinfall: Roman Reigns
Analysis: ***1/4 It was a good match with a predictable result as Reigns got the clean win. There was no point in the match where I thought Owens was going to win just because of the stipulation that Reigns gets a title shot if he wins. I’m not a fan of that booking. If it was me, I’d have Owens lose by disqualification or countout. They did this same booking with Reigns beating Rusev on Raw by pinfall before he had a shot at the title. Why give it away on TV? End in controversial fashion while giving Reigns the win and then do the singles match on PPV to make it mean something.
The win by Reigns means that he will face Owens for the Universal Title at Roadblock: End of the Line. Can I just call it Roadblock instead of having to say "End of the Line" all the time? It's dumb.
Analysis: The match was announced locally several weeks ago, so we knew it was coming. The other top match on the show will likely be Rollins vs. Jericho. I don’t see Owens dropping the title to Reigns at that show, but you never know.
The announcers plugged WWE Network content including Roadblock on December 18, 205 Live starting Tuesday night and Smackdown’s TLC PPV this Sunday.
Still to come are two title matches.
PLUG TIME: Check out my review of WWE NXT Takeover Toronto, which was a fantastic show featuring one match I rated at five stars out of five. That’s wrestling perfection. I was late in posting it, but I assure you it’s an awesome show that I was lucky enough to be at live as well.
Kevin Owens was backstage with his Universal Title. Charly Caruso tried to interviewed him, so Owens told her it wasn’t a good time. He mentioned Chris Jericho getting attacked earlier when she interviewed him. Owens said the only reason Reigns beat him was because his head wasn’t in that match because of what happened to Chris. Owens told her to get out of here please and she backed away. He said please!
Analysis: This will probably lead to Owens and Jericho coming together next week to realize that they are better together after both of them had an awful night. It will probably lead to Owens/Jericho vs. Rollins/Reigns as a Raw main event as well.
The announce team set up Cole’s interview with Paul Heyman.
Paul Heyman Interview
A video package aired about Goldberg beating Lesnar at Survivor Series in under two minutes last week.
There was an “Earlier Today” interview with Heyman conducted by Cole. Heyman was unshaven and looked sad. Heyman said they took Goldberg lightly. Heyman said they thought that this would be the easiest payday of Lesnar’s career, but Goldberg cracked Brock’s ribs early on. Heyman was crying as he said if you can’t breathe you can’t fight. Heyman said the broken ribs are part of the game. He spoke about the humiliation and embarrassment that Lesnar was beat in 1 minute, 26 seconds. Heyman said that this is embarrassing and it has put Brock in the mindset that he has something to prove, which scares Heyman. He said we have never seen this side of Lesnar before. Heyman mentioned that Goldberg is in the Royal Rumble, so Lesnar is in the Rumble match and there’s only going to be room for one winner, one conqueror, 28 losers, one victim and that victim’s name is Goldberg. That ended it.
Analysis: That was a tremendous performance by Heyman. The fact that he was looking ragged and unshaved because of the loss is great. It’s selling the idea that Goldberg’s win has not only rattled Lesnar, but Heyman as well. I like the way he turned the promo around by noting how scary Lesnar is going to be now that he’s motivated like never before. When Lesnar appears on TV again he needs to absolutely destroy people instead of those promos where he just stands there doing nothing. It’s better if he’s wrecking people because then fans will buy into the idea that he’s as motivated as ever.
A graphic showed us that Goldberg and Lesnar are in the Rumble match.
Analysis: I don’t think either one of them will win, but it’s smart to announce their participation so early. They will probably take eachother out to set up their WrestleMania match.
The New Day made their entrance as they dumped some New Day cereal on the announcers with Saxton all excited about it.
A video told us “Prepare Yourself” because the “Wait is Almost Over” and the makeover of Emma to Emmalina is premiering soon. Gorgeous woman that is probably bored of waiting to be on TV.
The New Day did their pre-match promo. Xavier Woods noted it was 17 days until they become the longest reigning WWE Tag Team Champions of all-time by beating Demolition’s record. Kofi Kingston mentioned that last week they beat the team of Sheamus and Cesaro. The music of Gallows and Anderson ended the promo.
Raw Tag Team Championships: The New Day’s Big E & Xavier Woods (w/Kofi Kingston) vs. Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson
Anderson with a clothesline on Woods early while Gallows attacked Kingston and a Big E outside the ring. Anderson with a running powerbomb on Woods for a two count. Gallows with a slam on Woods for two. Running kick to the head by Anderson to Woods. Gallows tagged in, Woods dumped Anderson over the top to the floor and Gallows kicked Woods in the head as the show went to break.
Back from break, Woods with an enziguri kick on Gallows. Big E got the hot tag with three belly to belly suplexes, which is his usual hot tag sequence. Big E clothesline sent Gallows over the top to the floor. Anderson came back with a running kick to the head of Big E for a two count. Anderson was on the apron, so Big E nailed a spear that took Anderson down with Big E landing on the floor with him. Woods got the tag, Gallows kicked Big E and Anderson hit a Spinebuster on Woods for a two count. Gallows held Woods while Anderson jumped off the ropes with a neckbreaker. Big E saved Woods from a Magic Killer, but Gallows dropped E with a double choke bomb. Woods nailed a boot to the face on Anderson followed by two forearms, Anderson hit an uppercut, Anderson went for a rollup sitting on top of Woods and Woods countered it by sitting on top of Anderson while grabbing the tights for the win at the 9-minute mark.
Winners by pinfall: Big E & Xavier Woods
Post match, they showed the replay. I feel like they are missing something by not having Graves rip on New Day for cheating to win. He’s the heel announcer that should be critical of the face Woods for grabbing the tights. Anderson grabbed tights first, but Graves should be harder on Woods for that.
Analysis: **1/2 It had six minutes actually shown on television and the action was good for the most part. The challengers were in control for most of it. The result ended the same as we’ve seen many times during these teams matches as The New Day cheats to win again. It’s something they have done many times to keep the titles although normally it involves the third man interfering. In this case, Kingston didn’t play much of a role.
Sasha Banks was in the locker room getting ready. Bayley showed up to tell her she knows that Sasha can beat Charlotte. Banks talked about how Charlotte disrespected her a lot and disrespected her own father Ric Flair, so Banks is going to do this for Flair. Bayley left and the match is up next.
Sasha Banks made her entrance. The Raw Women’s Champion Charlotte was up next.
Raw Women’s Championship Falls Count Anywhere: Charlotte vs. Sasha Banks
Banks with a forearm shot followed by a dropkick. Banks nailed a suicide dive that led to her taking out Charlotte on the floor. Suplex by Banks for a two count on the floor. They did a double clothesline spot on the floor as the show went to break.
Back from break, Charlotte was in control with a chinlock. Banks fought back with a sunset flip, but Charlotte got out of it. Banks nailed a double knee attack to the face, double knees in the corner by Banks and a double knee attack missed as Charlotte moved out of the way. They exchanged chops on the apron until Charlotte said enough of this with a big boot to the face. Banks landed hard on the apron and went crashing to the floor. Two count for Charlotte on the floor. Charlotte hit the Natural Selection on the floor for a two count. Banks grabbed a kendo stick from under the ring and she nailed Charlotte with the kendo stick multiple times. Charlotte knocked the stick out of her hands and nailed a neckbreaker on the floor. Charlotte applied the Figure Eight submission on the floor. Banks grabbed the kendo stick and hit Charlotte with it to break the hold. Good counter. Fans chanted “this is awesome” as they continued to fight outside the ring.
The fight went up the ramp as they battled near the announce table. Charlotte cleared off the announce table and ripped off one of the monitors. Charlotte knocked Banks off the staging area. Charlotte stood on the announce table and nailed a picture perfect moonsault onto a standing Banks. It led to a two count. The height was equivalent to jumping off the top rope if they were in the ring, but it just looks cooler when it’s outside the ring. Charlotte brought Banks towards the ring again, she told a camera guy to move, but Banks slid off her shoulders and drove her into the ring post. Banks with a back body drop on the floor. Banks jumped off the barricade with a double knee attack on the floor for a two count. Crowd bought that as a good nearfall. Banks connected with multiple kendo stick shots to the back of Charlotte. They brawled into the crowd where Charlotte connected with a chop to the throat. Banks avoided a kick, bounced her head off a railing and trapped Charlotte between a railing. Banks nailed knee strikes to the head. Banks pulled Charlotte’s head/neck back for a unique Bank Statement. That looked nasty. Charlotte tapped out for the loss, which gave Banks the Women’s Title after 17 minutes.
Winner by submission and New Women’s Champion: Sasha Banks
Analysis: **** Four stars out of five, which I think is similar to some of their other matches. An excellent match from these two women once again. I feel like I’ve written that before probably because I have. This match felt different because it was more of a physical fight where they were able to utilize weapons and tell a different story befitting this rivalry. The big spot of the match was Charlotte hitting the moonsault off the announce table for a good nearfall spot. I give them credit for coming up with a unique finish as well because I’ve never seen an ending like that. That’s why I’m okay with WWE repeating this match because this match felt different than the others. Like I said, it was more of a violent brawl kind of match instead of a battle that took place in the ring like they have done so many times before. This is definitely one of WWE's best feuds this year.
Replays aired of the key spots in the match and Banks was back in the ring holding the Women’s Title. She’s a three time Raw Women’s Champion now.
The legendary Ric Flair’s music hit as he made his entrance in Charlotte, which was his hometown although I believe he lives in Atlanta. The crowd gave him a big ovation that he deserved.
Flair went into the ring, raised Banks’ hand and the crowd cheered. He gave her a big hug. Banks was emotional as Flair left. Charlotte was still seated in the crowd as all of this was going down.
Analysis: A few months ago it was Charlotte telling her dad Ric Flair that he was dead to her as a way to really put her over as a cocky heel. Ric has been on the sidelines since then, so having him endorse Banks like that is meaningful.
Banks’ music played as she held up the Women’s Title with Cole talking about how they are two of the best women’s wrestlers in WWE history. Banks held up the Women’s Title some more as the show came to a close.
Analysis: That’s the third time in four months that Banks has won the Women’s Title from Charlotte on Raw. It feels repetitive, but when they are putting on consistently good matches like this one I find it hard to complain.
Can we pencil in a Charlotte title win at Roadblock? Maybe. She has never lost a title match on PPV before, which is something WWE likes to remind us about all the time, so perhaps we’ll get another title change there. That could lead to ANOTHER Raw match leading to a ANOTHER Banks win. I don’t even know how to make sense of it from a booking perspective, but I think we’re witnessing the best women’s feud in WWE history and WWE is doing all they can to push it like that.
I went into this show thinking Charlotte would retain the title to put an end to this feud for now. Silly me. It’s never going to end.
Three Stars of the Show
1. Sasha Banks
3. (tie) Kevin Owens
3. (tie) Roman Reigns
A shoutout to Paul Heyman as well because his promo was awesome.
7 out of 10
Last week: 7
2016 Average: 5.78
2016 Average since brand split starting July 25: 5.92 (Smackdown is 6.31)
Last 5 Weeks: 7, 6.5, 6, 4.5, 5
2016 Low: 4 (Feb. 29/Mar. 21/Aug. 15)
I give it a 7 out of 10.
That’s two 7/10 scores in a row. It’s a good sign because they are keeping the focus on the in-ring action. Two title matches was a good idea and giving these matches a lot of time also helped. Less talking and more action is a better formula for Raw.
They followed a well known WWE booking formula for much of the show with people from Charlotte losing matches (Truth, Alexander and Charlotte), which is something WWE loves to do. Then we saw the Owens non-title loss, which is something we see all the time for champions on this show…except Roman Reigns.
No Stephanie McMahon on this week’s show. I didn’t miss her at all.
While Raw lacks exciting angles and new storylines, there is a lot of talent on the show. I just wish they’d come up with some fresh matchups or booking ideas that don’t feel like repeats of things we’ve seen dozens of times already.
That's all for now. See ya next time for the Smackdown review.
Thanks for reading. Go Los Angeles Rams even though they are playing like crap after a 3-1 start. Go Toronto Raptors. Go Toronto Maple Leafs.
John Canton – [email protected]