The John Report: The WWE Raw Deal 09/18/17 Review

Submitted by John Canton on September 19, 2017 - 10:41am
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The death of Bobby “The Brain” Heenan rocked the wrestling world on Sunday. He died at the age of 72 after long battle with throat cancer and other ailments. Condolences to his family, friends, former co-workers and fans all over the world. There are millions of us because Bobby sure knew how to attract an audience.

Heenan’s contributions to the wrestling business as a wrestler, manager and announcer were so great that people are talking about him as one of the most talented performers ever. Is that claim valid? Damn right. I grew up on the WWF/E in the late 1980s into the 1990s and Heenan was the guy that we could always count on to make us laugh. Heenan was the funniest guy on any show he was on with perfect comedic timing and fantastic banter with his main announcing partner Gorilla Monsoon. As a manager, he knew how to draw heat, keep the heat and put over the faces whenever it was needed. He could also deliver amazing promos to put over his guys like Andre the Giant, Rick Rude, Ric Flair and so many others. Bobby loved the business as much as anybody and it showed in his work. It’s why we’ll never forget him too.

On Monday afternoon, I wrote a tribute column to Heenan that I hope you can check out if you haven’t done so already. It also features a review of Heenan’s first book from 15 years ago and his great Hall of Fame speech as well. To those that have read it, thanks for reading. I’m glad to be able to share that with like minded people that understand this wacky world of wrestling and know what we’re all going through when a gifted performer like Bobby Heenan passes away. May he rest in peace.

Live from San Jose, California this is the Raw Deal for episode #1269. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport.

Raw began with a graphic for Bobby Heenan that you can see above.

Kurt Angle, the General Manager of Raw, made his entrance to the “you suck” chants and plenty of cheers. Angle went into the ring to welcome us to Raw. Angle hyped up No Mercy saying they had two WrestleMania worthy matches as John Cena will battle Roman Reigns and Kurt called them “two icons” that don’t like eachother. Angle also mentioned Brock Lesnar defending the Universal Title against Braun Strowman. Angle added that’s not all and was interrupted by The Miz.

Analysis: Calling Reigns an icon? A little early in his career for that, don’t ya think? I sure do. I like Reigns, but that’s a bit silly.

The Miz, who is the Intercontinental Champion, walked out with Curtis Axel and Bo Dallas, who were both in ring gear. No Maryse because she’s pregnant and likely will be off TV for the foreseeable future. I will miss her.

Angle congratulated Miz on becoming a father soon and Miz complained about how Angle is hyping No Mercy without his biggest star, The Miz. It was noted by Miz that this would be the second straight pay-per-view without the IC Champion. Angle said he was going to announce a match to determine Miz’s match at No Mercy. Angle said it would be Jeff Hardy, Matt Hardy, Elias and Jason Jordan with the winner facing Miz at No Mercy.

Miz said it’s ridiculous that Jason Jordan is in that match and said there were more deserving superstars like Axel and Dallas. Miz said his guys get leapfrogged by Kurt’s son Jordan. Angle told Miz he’s sick and tired of his complaining. Angle told Miz that he hopes fatherhood changes him while Miz told Angle that unlike him he’ll be a great father to his son. Miz talked about how he’s going be a better father than Angle and that he’s a better champion than Angle was. Miz continued to rip Angle saying “you can always count on Kurt Angle being a deadbeat.” Jason Jordan's music hit.

Jason Jordan went into the ring with a purpose and grabbed the microphone from Miz. Jordan told Miz if he said one more thing about Kurt, he would knock Miz’s teeth down his throat. Jordan suggested to Angle to put Dallas and Axel in that match later so that way there are no excuses later. Angle said that it’s now a Six Pack Challenge. Miz mocked Jordan by noting that it hurts the chances of Jordan winning, so Jordan is stupider than his father. Jordan beat up Axel and Dallas and sent them out of the ring while Miz left. The segment ended there with the heels retreating.

Analysis: Good promo work by Miz as usual as the antagonistic heel that riled up Angle and brought out Jordan to step up for his father. Using the opening segment to set up a match for later is how WWE likes to start the show most weeks.

Later on Raw we’ll hear from Brock Lesnar and Braun Strowman. Also, Roman Reigns is there to deliver a message to John Cena. Alexa Bliss vs. Nia Jax is up next, so they were shown walking on a split screen.

(Commercial)

Jordan was shown backstage with Angle going up to him. Angle told Jordan to focus on his opportunity. Jordan said Miz has been talking about Angle for weeks and Jordan noted he hears others whispering about it. Angle told Jordan he can’t beat up everyone that says something about him. Angle advised Jordan that sometimes it takes more strength not to fight back. Angle told Jordan he knows what he’s capable of, so if he wants to get back at Miz, win that match later and beat Miz for the IC Title at No Mercy. Angle left while Jordan nodded.

Analysis: They need to do more backstage segments with these two to give the father-son story more attention. Use Angle’s star power to get Jordan more support from the crowd and if this angle doesn’t catch fire, use it to give Jordan that heel turn down the road.

Alexa Bliss vs. Nia Jax

This is not for Alexa’s Raw Women’s Title.

Bliss bailed to the floor early on. Back in the ring, Bliss tried to grab Jax around the waist and Jax sent her out of the ring again. Bliss tried to run, Jax grabbed her and Bliss slapped her in the face. Bliss went up the ramp, so Sasha Banks’ music hit and she led to Bliss going back towards the ring. Jax decked Bliss with a running body attack as the show went to break.

(Commercial)

Back from break, Jax tossed Bliss across the ring and Jax missed a charge as she hit the ring post. Bliss came back with kicks and a dropkick. Bliss off the top rope, Jax caught her and hit a Samoan Drop for the pinfall win after seven minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Nia Jax

Analysis: * Bad match where they were only given about four minutes not counting the commercial. Bliss barely got any offense in and looked like a loser. As for the result, I was already going to pick Bliss to win at No Mercy and having her lose clean to Jax makes me more sure of that pick. I’m not a fan of having champs losing clean non-title as much as WWE does, but that’s a booking move they love to do.

Post match, Banks jumped on Jax’s back and Jax threw her down. Jax wanted to do more, but Bayley’s music hit and she was back after missing about two months.

Bayley went into the ring with Banks and Bliss. The three smaller women did a running group Spear on Jax to knock Jax down, which led to Jax going out of the ring. Banks’ music played as Jax went up the ramp. Bayley showed that her right shoulder was feeling better and hugged Banks. Bliss celebrated with Banks and Bayley, so Banks kicked her and Bayley hit the Bayley to Bally. Bayley’s music played as Bliss rolled to the floor and the faces celebrated.

Analysis: It was weird to see the faces attack Bliss when she did nothing wrong other than trying to celebrate with them. The story is that Bliss is alone in trying to deal with these women. No sign of Emma, who is a part of the Raw Women’s Championship match at No Mercy and stayed in Australia for a few more days since she is from there.

The announce team of Michael Cole, Corey Graves and Booker T were shown on camera hyping up WWE Network as well as No Mercy this Sunday and Hell in a Cell on October 8.

There was more hype by the announcers with Graves doing the bullshit line about how he never thought we’d see Reigns vs. Cena, which is pretty ridiculous. They wrestled in tags plenty of times, by the way. Up next is a look at Lesnar vs. Strowman.

(Commercial)

There were tweets shown from various WWE people about Bobby Heenan. There were comments from Vince McMahon, Sheamus, Ric Flair, Chris Jericho, Jerry Lawler and Daniel Bryan.

Cole tried to hype up Strowman vs. Lesnar by using a Bobby Heenan line and his delivery of the line was poor. That led to the video package.

The video package aired about Brock Lesnar vs. Braun Strowman. There was a clip of Paul Heyman talking about Brock Lesnar in 2002 saying that Lesnar had no peers. Highlights were shown of Lesnar’s career in WWE over the last 15 years. The focus turned to Strowman and his domination of Lesnar over the last couple of months. It also included quotes from both sides in the build to this match.

Analysis: Very good video package as usual. That’s a strength of WWE. They always know how to build up big matches using videos like that.

Sheamus and Cesaro made their entrance with Cole saying they are there to have a match against Gallows and Anderson.

(Commercial)

A commercial aired for Smackdown hyping Styles vs. Corbin for the US Title and Shane McMahon’s reaction to Kevin Owens attacking Vince.

Sheamus and Cesaro were in the ring talking about how nostalgia is everywhere. Sheamus claimed it was boring while noting that the people love nostalgia. Sheamus said he and Cesaro don’t live in the past, they live in the present. Sheamus noted they destroy nostalgia acts and all you have to do is ask the Hardy Boyz. Cesaro spoke about how Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose are doing great as the Tag Team Champions with nothing going wrong, but something will go wrong at No Mercy. Sheamus called Rollins and Ambrose saying they are selfish with Sheamus saying “their own selfish needs” so the crowd chanted “what” and the heels said “selfish needs” a few times. Cesaro said that nostalgia will fade just like these “what” chants and the truth is that Rollins and Ambrose can’t stand eachother. Sheamus said they’ll be the ones to get back what is theirs, the Raw Tag Team Championships. Sheamus said it’s because they trust eachother and they are stronger than brothers. They ended it saying “we are the bar.”

Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose showed up wearing their Raw Tag Team Titles around their waists. Rollins said Cesaro/Sheamus look like Taxi Driver had a disgusting baby with Braveheart with their kilts. That wasn’t a very good line. Rollins said that no matter what, he and Ambrose are brothers. The champs went into the ring noting that sometimes brothers fight and argue, but a real brother wouldn’t let his brother dress like Sheamus.

Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson made their entrance. Anderson complained about Sheamus and Cesaro walking out on them last week. Gallows and Anderson said that Seth and Dean aren’t good brothers, they are “NERDS!” I love that. Ambrose got fired up saying that nobody calls him a nerd, so it turned into a brawl. Rollins and Ambrose cleared the ring of the heels as the show went to break.

Analysis: It was a typical Raw segment where they talked for about ten minutes to set up a predictable match because this show is too long. It could have been done in two minutes, but it dragged a bit because of how long it went. I thought Sheamus and Cesaro did a good job of reacting to the “WHAT” chants by mocking the crowd for doing it.

(Commercial)

A video aired about Asuka noting she is coming soon to Raw. Rumor is it will be November.

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

This is not for the Raw Tag Team Titles.

Two guys are in the ring while the other four men stand on the apron in this triple threat tag match. There were plenty of quick tags early on with Rollins tagging himself in with a springboard clothesline and a double suplex by the champs on Sheamus. Running back elbow by Sheamus on Ambrose led to the heels taking control. Ambrose jumped off the apron, Cesaro caught Ambrose in his arms and sent him into the barricade. Jawbreaker by Ambrose on Cesaro led to Anderson tagging in to let his team work over Ambrose a bit. Quick tags by Gallows and Anderson as they worked on Ambrose some more. Ambrose kicked Anderson away to tag in Rollins against Cesaro, who was legal. Slingblade by Rollins on Cesaro, boot to the face and a Blockbuster by Rollins got a two count. Rollins gave Cesaro a Buckle Bomb for a nearfall as Sheamus made the save. Ambrose back in to save Rollins as he took Cesaro out of the ring and Rollins with a kick to the head of Sheamus. G&A back in there with a Magic Killer on Rollins as Gallows pinned for a two count with Ambrose breaking up the pin. Ambrose was sent into the barricade by Sheamus & Cesaro as the show went to break there.

(Commercial)

Back from break, the heels continued to isolate Rollins from his partner. There was a spot where Sheamus lifted up Rollins and Cesaro hit a Cutter for a two count. It was a 3D finisher that the Dudley Boyz used, but the announcers didn’t mention that at all. It looked a bit nastier because Rollins landed right on his head and wasn’t protected as much as when the Dudleys did it. Rollins broke free as he countered a Cesaro slam with a sweet looking DDT. Ambrose tagged in against Anderson with clotheslines and a running neckbreaker. Forearm to the face by Ambrose. Superplex from Ambrose on Anderson. Back up top and Ambrose hit an elbow smash on Anderson into a pin as Sheamus broke it up. Sheamus, Gallows, Cesaro and Anderson were all sent to the floor. Rollins and Ambrose hit suicide dives on opposite sides of the ring, so then they went into the ring and did it again. Fans chanted “this is awesome” for it. Uppercut by Anderson on Ambrose and Sheamus tagged the back of Ambrose. That led to Ambrose hitting Dirty Deeds on Anderson, so Sheamus (the legal man) sent Ambrose out of the ring and Sheamus covered Anderson to win the match. It went 18 minutes.

Winners by pinfall: Sheamus & Cesaro

Analysis: ***1/4 It was a long tag match given a lot of time, which is good, but it never really got into that next gear to make it feel special. There were some fun moments there with Rollins and Ambrose doing their hot tag sequences with the crowd getting into it a lot. I liked the heel stealing the pin finish even though it’s been done many times over the years. It still works well in terms of getting heat. It was the second straight match where champions failed to win in a non-title match. At least they didn’t get pinned, so at least that feels a bit different. It also gives Sheamus & Cesaro precious momentum going into Sunday’s Tag Team Title match. I think the champs will retain at No Mercy.

The Miz was in the locker room with Dallas and Axel giving them a pep talk about the Six Pack Challenge. Miz focused on ripping on Jason Jordan. Miz talked about how he’s going to be a better father than Kurt Angle. Bo Dallas said he used to do inspirational speeches and thought Miz should talk about them. Axel noted his dad (Mr. Perfect) was a great IC Champion and Axel was champion before. Miz said that this is about Jordan not stealing their spotlight.

Analysis: The focus of the story is all about Jordan and Miz, so it is giving away the Jordan win for later.

The announcers hyped things still to come.

(Commercial)

There was a Pizza Hut sponsored video about Edge winning the first Money in the Bank match at WrestleMania 21 in 2005.

The announcers talked about Cena vs. Reigns with Graves saying they were “two icons” so there’s another guy scripted to call Reigns an icon. It’s fine to call Cena that after 15 years in WWE, but Reigns has only been there five years. It’s a little early.

There was a video package about John Cena and Roman Reigns taking a similar path in their careers. It focused on title wins as well as Reigns beating The Undertaker at this year’s WrestleMania. The video also showed highlights from their promos leading up to their No Mercy match.

Analysis: That was great as usual for a video like that. The problem with the title wins part is that Reigns won the US Title after he was a main eventer and Cena won it on his way up the ladder. It ignored Reigns winning the Tag Titles with The Shield too.

(Commercial)

Angle was in his “office” on the phone. Goldust was there with his back to him and when he turned around, he didn’t have his face paint on. Goldust said he wanted to face Bray Wyatt. Goldust said he’s not asking him as Goldust, he’s asking as the man behind the mask, Dustin Rhodes. Goldust said he’s known Kurt for 20 years and Kurt knew his dad, so Dustin is asking as a man and as a friend. Goldust said please. Angle told him he’s got his match against Wyatt man to man. Goldust said Bray Wyatt will never forget the name of Dustin Rhodes followed by the chomp at the end of it.

Analysis: That’s an interesting twist to the Goldust character although it's likely just a one night thing.

Curt Hawkins was in the ring saying that the “Curt Hawkins star factory” is officially closed. Hawkins said that in its place he gives to us “Curt Hawkins history machine.” Hawkins said that his 114 match losing streak will come to an end. Hawkins talked about how for the first time in a long time he’s healthy and feeling good. Hawkins asked who wants to make history. It’s Apollo Crews with Titus O’Neil.

Apollo Crews (w/Titus O’Neil) vs. Curt Hawkins

Crews hit an impressive dropkick early on. Crews went for a splash, but Hawkins got his knees up and a kick to the head for two. Hawkins slapped on a headlock, jawbreaker by Crews and a spinebuster by Hawkins. Running kick to the head by Crews. Boot to the face by Crews. Hawkins rollup while grabbing tights for two. Crews hit an enziguri kick to the head and a spinning sitout Powerbomb hit for Crews for the pinfall win after three minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Apollo Crews

Analysis: * Quick match to put over Crews although the crowd didn’t care about any of it. It didn’t mean much. It’s nice of WWE to remember these guys are still on the roster since they haven’t had a match on Raw in a long time.

Post match, Hawkins was shown outside the ring noting that it was a “115 Match Losing Streak” for Hawkins. O’Neil and Crews did a selfie to celebrate the win.

Analysis: At least they are having fun with the losing streak of Hawkins. Hopefully it leads to some payoff down the road.

(Commercial)

A video aired about kids at the children’s hospital and WWE’s work to fight pediatric cancer.

Let’s Hear From Braun Strowman And Brock Lesnar

Michael Cole did an interview with both men on a split screen. Lesnar had Heyman with him of course. Heyman said the last time Lesnar was an underdog was against The Undertaker at WrestleMania 30 and Lesnar won. Heyman said that this Sunday, Strowman will be victimized, conquered and beaten by Lesnar at No Mercy.

Strowman said his actions speak for him. Strowman talked about week after week he’s left Brock Lesnar laying and asked how many men have done that. Strowman noted that nobody else has done that, which is why Strowman can put Lesnar down for good. Heyman commented that there’s nobody like Strowman and that Lesnar respects the fact that Strowman is the most capable challenger to come after Lesnar’s title. Heyman said that it doesn’t mean Strowman can survive Suplex and Strowman said he’ll survive Suplex City and stomp it into the ground. Heyman said that Lesnar knows it will take more than one suplex with Lesnar understanding that Strowman has to go to Suplex City all night long. Heyman added that Lesnar knows he has to lay waste to Strowman. Strowman said the ball is on his side of the court and he’s the one pulling the strings here. Strowman told them that they can run their mouths all they want, but it won’t change anything on Sunday.

Heyman complained about how Cole was asking Strowman questions while Heyman went over the usual accolades that Lesnar has accomplished in his career. Heyman said you should wonder about what’s going to happen and Lesnar cut him off. Lesnar looked into the camera saying he wants to thank Strowman for backing him into this corner, challenging him because that’s when Lesnar is at his best. Lesnar said “I’ll see you Sunday.” Lesnar stared into the camera: “Suplex city, bitch.” That ended it with both guys making angry faces.

Analysis: Solid promo to hype up their No Mercy match for the Universal Title. I like how Heyman spent a lot of time Lesnar wasn’t at Raw this week, so his parts were taped last week and you could tell from the long pause before the first comments. The rest of it was done smoothly. They timed it well with Heyman cutting off Cole, so it didn’t look awkward. Strowman's promos are better in a setting like that where he doesn't have to say a lot and he gets his point across well.

(Commercial)

A replay aired of the women’s title situation from earlier in the night. It was announced that Bayley will be added to the Raw Women’s Title match at No Mercy. They showed a tweet from Emma complaining about it.

That means it is now Alexa Bliss defending the Raw Women’s Title against Nia Jax, Emma, Sasha Banks and Bayley. I’ll pick Bliss to retain the title in that match although WWE loves booking title changes, so it’s far from a sure thing.

Roman Reigns Has Things To Say

Roman Reigns made his entrance. Cole: “He is the big dog and he’s coming to claim his yard.” Cole is so annoying. I like Reigns just fine, but the way Cole screams about him is awful and doesn’t help Reigns. I know it’s at the direction of Vince McMahon. I don’t like it. Cole talked about how it feels like spring and WrestleMania season, which is WWE’s way of telling you No Mercy has a special feel to it. Mixed reaction for Reigns as usual.

Analysis: This took place at halftime of the NFL game. They timed it right.

Reigns started by saying that John Cena may be the best talker ever, but sometimes he says stupid shit like trying to say Reigns is the next Cena. Reigns asked if he looked like a jacked up white guy with a giant head and a military crew cut? Reigns said “nah” and said that if he did he wouldn’t have a career there…just ask Alex Riley about that. Fans chanted “ooohhh” for that random Alex Riley mention. Reigns said that when he speaks it means something like when he said that Cena is a “fake ass little bitch” it’s because he is. Reigns said that Cena is also the biggest hypocrite to step foot in a WWE ring and said John will tell you himself.

A clip aired from Cena from February 2012 leading up to WrestleMania 28 against The Rock. Cena ripped on The Rock saying that he had a legitimate beef with Dwayne Johnson for seven years about how The Rock will show up and then kick it back to Hollywood. Cena said he always showed up and he never left. Cena said the first time Dwayne got the lights of Hollywood, he was outta here. Cena noted that in 2011 The Rock came back saying he was never leaving again and then he left again. Cena said that he’ll beat The Rock at WrestleMania 28. He didn’t. Cena to the camera: “I’ll see ya next week, movie star.” Cena dropped the microphone.

Reigns asked if we should bring Cena out there. The fans cheered as he asked a few times and Reigns noted Cena wasn’t there. Reigns noted that everything Cena said was just a lie and it was just talk. Reigns said the result at No Mercy will be the same as that WrestleMania although this time Cena will be beat by a different Samoan. Reigns to the camera: “John, I’ll see ya Sunday, movie star.” And he dropped the microphone similar to Cena five years ago.

Analysis: Good job by Reigns talking trash about Cena to continue their story over the past month with a lot of trash talk. Cena wasn’t there because he was on the Smackdown show in China on Sunday and I’m not sure if he was able to get back to Raw for this show. Even if Cena was in the US, he may have been filming a movie and unable to get to Raw. Having Reigns rip on Cena’s commitment to WWE has been the angle that Reigns has used to build up to this match, so it was similar to what he’s done in the past. Reigns looked more comfortable in this promo than the other promos with Cena, so it was nice to see him deliver his lines with confidence.

Coming up is a six pack challenge.

The Hardy Boyz duo of Jeff and Matt Hardy were interviewed by Renee Young. Matt said that they have been fighting since Jeff was born and Jeff said the battles he had with his brothers made him stronger. Jeff said he’s going to seize the moment and Matt said that Jeff had to make it to No Mercy first. Jeff said may the best Hardy win and Matt said “they will.” They touched knuckles to end it.

Analysis: Matt had a bit of the “Broken” Matt voice at the end there.

Bray Wyatt made his entrance with Cole noting that Finn Balor’s alter ego “The Demon” won’t be in action at No Mercy.

Analysis: The Wyatt/Balor story is that Balor lost to Wyatt without the face paint, then beat him with the face paint and now he’s not using the face paint to prove he can beat him without it.

(Commercial)

A video aired about Asuka coming to Raw soon. I like the way they are promoting her as a big deal because she’s great. They need to do more video packages hyping up talent.

Images were shown of Finn Balor as “The Demon” beating Wyatt at SummerSlam last month.

Dustin Rhodes made his entrance as he wore the Goldust gear and didn’t have the face paint. A replay aired from last week when Balor wiped off the face paint of Goldust while saying he was just a man and Balor made the save.

Analysis: This storyline is weak, but at least they are trying something.

Bray Wyatt vs. Dustin Rhodes

Rhodes hit a running clothesline and Wyatt bailed to the floor. Wyatt hit a punch on Rhodes outside the ring. They fought around ringside with Wyatt sending Rhodes into the barricade. Rhodes whipped Wyatt into the steps leading to a hard bump on Wyatt on the floor. Rhodes jumped off the steps and hit a bulldog on Wyatt on the floor. Wyatt came back with a running headbutt to the chest of Goldust to knock him down. Rhodes set up the Shattered Dreams and kicked Wyatt in the inner thigh instead of the groin. Another kick from Rhodes. Dustin ran the ropes, Wyatt caught him and Wyatt hit the Sister Abigail neckbreaker to win after three minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Bray Wyatt

Analysis: *1/4 Wyatt winning was no surprise at all. At least Dustin got some offense in.

Finn Balor appeared on the video screen talking about how he was a shy little boy that wanted to be something greater than what was given to him and eventually he became a man. Balor said that this man created a Demon. Balor asked if “The Demon” is the creation of the man, which one is more dangerous? Balor said that at No Mercy, Wyatt is going to find out.

Analysis: I don't think anybody is clamoring for another Balor vs. Wyatt match. I hope Finn wins and moves on to something more interesting.

Enzo Amore was shown walking backstage because he’s up on Raw.

(Commercial)

They showed tweets of more WWE stars talking about Bobby Heenan like Triple H, Goldberg, Christian, Jim Ross, Mick Foley and Stephanie McMahon. Also that Peter Rosenberg guy that works for WWE sometimes.

The announcers talked about Heenan’s career with Cole calling Gorilla Monsoon and Bobby Heenan the best announce team ever. Booker T said Bobby called a lot of his matches and was the best announcer to call his matches, which led to Booker joking with Cole and Cole laughing. Cole said that Heenan passed away at age 73 (he actually didn’t turn 73) and that we’ll never forget him. The video package aired in tribute for Bobby Heenan.

Bobby Heenan Tribute Video

The video about Heenan was really well done as expected. It focused a lot on the comedic acts of his career because he was one of the funniest guys in the history of the business. They spent some time showing the highlights of Bobby and Gorilla together, which brings back a lot of memories from their good times in the 1980s into the early 1990s. They made sure to include Gorilla saying “will you stop?” to him, which was a Gorilla catchphrase. There were also clips of Heenan at ringside because he was one of the best managers ever. There were images shown of his career as well. It ended with this line from Heenan: “If you listen to me, you’ll got to the top.” They cut to the crowd chanting “Bobby” with Cole giving a shoutout to Bobby’s family members including his wife, daughter and brother.

Analysis: That was great. It was about three minutes long and it did an excellent job of putting over Heenan’s personality, which is what really separated him from everybody else. It would have been nice if they did it earlier in the show, but I don’t think it’s something worth complaining about it in a major way. I just think it was a big story and the video could have happened earlier.

(Commercial)

Enzo Amore did his usual promo on the ramp. Enzo said he’s feeling pretty good and that he’ll be doing great at No Mercy when he beats Neville to become the new Cruiserweight Champion.

Braun Strowman’s music hit and Strowman ran over Enzo with a clothesline! Yes! I love that. Graves said that if Strowman wasn’t already one of his favorites he just solidified it.

Strowman dragged Enzo to the ring and threw him into the ring between the top/middle rope. The fans were chanting “Thank You Strowman” for that. Strowman picked up Enzo by one hand and delivered a huge Chokeslam that dunked Enzo. Strowman picked up Enzo and hit a Running Powerslam. Strowman left up the ramp. Neville walked out in his ring gear and the Cruiserweight Title on his shoulder. Neville walked past Strowman with a grin on his face.

Analysis: I loved that. The crowd did too. Strowman has that main event drawing power that leads to a big reaction every time he’s out there.

Neville went into the ring. Neville set up Enzo in the corner. Neville went up top and hit the Red Arrow splash perfectly on the chest of Enzo. Neville had the microphone: “How you doing? Hahahahahahahahaha.” Great promo! Haha. The refs showed up to stop Neville as the show went to break.

Analysis: Cheap attack by a heel champion as it should be. The promo was funny.

(Commercial)

There was a replay of Enzo getting destroyed by Strowman and Neville.

Enzo Amore was shown getting looked at by a trainer with an ice pack on his side. Charly Caruso showed up to interview Enzo and he said he’s taking Neville’s title at No Mercy.

Neville vs. Gran Metalik

Metalik with a headscissors takedown followed by a dropkick off the middle ropes. Neville sent Metalik against the ropes and hit a leaping kick to the chest. Neville stomped on Metalik in the ring as he took control. Neville ripped open some of Metalik’s mask, so Metalik fired back with punches. Kick to the head by Metalik and a missile dropkick. Neville rolled out of the ring on the other side to set up Metalik’s running dive where he stepped on the middle rope and flipped onto Neville on the floor. That was sweet. Back in the ring, Metalik nailed a splash off the top for a two count. Metalik went for a moonsault off the top, but Neville got his feet up and Neville slapped on the Rings of Saturn submission for the win after three minutes.

Winner by submission: Neville

Analysis: **1/4 That was fun for the time given. These are two awesome performers that could have a classic match if they were given more of a chance. Metalik is such a smooth flier that makes everything looks easy. Dominant win by Neville, which is no surprise. Nice to see a champion win non-title.

There was a video about Jennifer Lopez for Hispanic Heritage month. What does this have to do with WWE? Nothing. At least it was quick.

(Commercial)

This week on 205 Live it’s Neville and Enzo Amore “face to face” to hype up their Cruiserweight Title match at No Mercy.

Elias was in the ring for one of his songs ripping on the fans while threatening to kick a kid and his mom out of San Jose.

The entrances for the other guys took place for the main event. The Miz joined his Miztourage buddies Dallas and Axel.

Six Pack Challenge: Elias vs. Jeff Hardy vs. Matt Hardy vs. Curtis Axel vs. Bo Dallas (w/Miz) vs. Jason Jordan

First fall wins the match and gets a shot at the Intercontinental Title held by The Miz. The Miz sat at ringside for the match.

They had about one minute of action with Jeff getting a rollup on Miz for a two count as the show went to break.

(Commercial)

Elias hit a backbreaker on Jordan that looked impressive. Elias knocked down Axel and Dallas with punches and a clothesline. Elias jumped to the top rope to try to attack Jordan, which was impressive, but Axel and Dallas knocked Elias to the floor. They did a five man Tower of Doom spot out of the corner with Axel and Dallas doing the superplex on Jordan while the Hardys were underneath doing the Powerbomb part of it. That’s a staple in most WWE multi-man matches where they do a Tower of Doom spot. Jeff hit a Poetry in Motion on Elias in the corner. Matt hit the Side Effect on his brother Jeff for a two count, but Dallas made the save. Axel and Dallas sent Matt into the ring post. Jordan back in the ring with a belly to belly suplex on Dallas and he hit a suplex on Axel too. Running shoulder tackle on Axel in the corner followed by a double Northern Lights Suplex for a two count as Dallas made the save. Dallas dumped Jordan out of the ring, so Miz sent Jordan into the barricade. Back in the ring, Matt hit the Twist of Fate on Dallas for a two count as Elias made the save. Elias hit the Drift Away neckbreaker on Matt for two as Jeff made the save. Jeff with a jawbreaker to Axel and a forearm to the face. Jeff with an atomic drop to Elias and a double leg drop to the stomach. Twist of Fate by Jeff on Axel. Jeff went up top and connected with the Swanton Bomb on Axel that looked like he got all of it. The Miz broke up the pin and there’s no disqualification in the match. Jeff sent Miz out of the ring. Axel hit his face first neckbreaker on Jeff. That led to Jordan lifting up Axel in the air and dropping him with his neckbreaker to win the match by pinfall after 12 minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Jason Jordan

Analysis: **3/4 It was an average match with a predictable ending as Jordan ended up the winner pinning Axel, who almost never wins anymore. I liked the interaction between the Hardys where they to tried to beat eachother, but I doubt that is going to lead to some feud between then. This was one of the weaker main event segments on Raw this year. If the match was better maybe it would be fine, but it just felt like an average midcard match that didn’t mean a lot. The match was designed to feature Jordan heavily as he threw a lot of suplexes and got the clean win. The response for him was okay, but it’s still not that great.

Post match, Jordan celebrated the victory. The Miz had a serious look on his face.

The Miz went into the ring to stare at Jordan. Miz did some mock clapping. Jordan caught Miz and hit him with two belly to belly suplexes. Axel and Dallas went into the ring to stomp away on Jordan. Miz recovered and hit the Skull Crushing Finale on Jordan.

Miz did a promo saying after No Mercy, he will still be the champ. Miz said that Kurt Angle will still be a terrible father and Jordan will still be a bastard. Crowd let out an “ooohhh” for that one.

The Miz stood over Jordan holding up the IC Title as the show ended that way with Cole hyping up the big matches at No Mercy on Sunday.

Analysis: It was a predictable heel beating by Miz and friends post match. The fact that nobody helps Jordan made it look bad. They should at least tease Kurt Angle make the save by having him show up at the ramp, but I guess WWE doesn’t want to have Angle get physically involved until they know he’s going to have a match. We don’t know when that may be.

I write about the Raw ratings every week in my news posts for UPROXX and every week the pattern is hour one and two do much better than the third hour. People tune out of the third hour of Raw because of how long the show is. That pattern will likely continue this week because this show was lacking in terms of in-ring action.

Three Stars of the Show

1. Braun Strowman – He’s here for destroying Enzo. I loved that!

2. Seth Rollins & Dean Ambrose

3. (tie) Sheamus & Cesaro

3. (tie) Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson

 

The Scoreboard

5 out of 10

Last week: 6

2017 Average: 5.91

Average since brand split starting July 25/16: 5.89 (Smackdown is 6.66)

Last 5 Weeks: 6, 7.5, 6, 5.5, 7.5

2017 High: 8 (April 3)

2017 Low: 4 (Jan. 9, Feb. 27 & June 12)

 

Final Thoughts

I give it a 5 out of 10.

It was an average show that focused heavily on promoting the No Mercy matches. There weren’t any must see segments or anything that you should go out of your way to see. Best match was the triple threat tag that was given a lot of time. Main event was just average and didn’t feel like a big match in any way.

I thought Reigns did a pretty good job on his promo as he ripped on Cena for being a hypocrite.

No Lesnar or Cena on the show hurt a bit although they were featured heavily in video packages as well as comments from Lesnar.

In WWE's defense, I have sympathy for the average show because most of the Raw crew was in Australia and New Zealand this past week, so they were likely exhausted going into Raw. The creative team wasn't there, though, and they could have done a better job.

The next Raw pay-per-view is No Mercy on Sunday, September 24. Here’s what we know so far.

WWE Universal Championship: Brock Lesnar vs. Braun Strowman

Roman Reigns vs. John Cena

Raw Tag Team Championships: Dean Ambrose & Seth Rollins vs Sheamus & Cesaro

Raw Women’s Championship: Alexa Bliss vs. Sasha Banks vs. Nia Jax vs. Emma vs. Bayley

Finn Balor vs. Bray Wyatt

Intercontinental Championship: The Miz vs. Jason Jordan

Cruiserweight Championship: Neville vs. Enzo Amore

That’s the full seven card lineup. It’s the second straight PPV where the Hardys don’t have a match on the main PPV card. They were on the Kickoff Show at SummerSlam. I don’t understand WWE’s inability to feature them more considering how popular they are. I know they were supposed to have a feud with The Revival until they got hurt, but you would think WWE would figure out something else.

I’ll be back on Friday with a preview of No Mercy and will likely have a live review on Sunday night as well.

---

That's all for this week. See ya next time for the Smackdown review.

You can contact me using any of the methods below. Thanks for reading.

John Canton

Email: mrjohncanton@gmail.com

Twitter: @johnreport

Personal Facebook and TJRWrestling on Facebook




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