November 27, 2017
From the Thompson-Boling Arena in Knoxville, TN
Your hosts are Michael Cole, Corey Graves, and Booker T
We are shown a video package on the feud between Braun Strowman and Kane.
Roman Reigns comes out to the ring as we clips of him winning the Intercontinental Title last week, making him a Grand Slam Champion. We also learned that a black-and-white photo of Reigns with the IC Title belt over his shoulder became the most liked WWE Instagram photo of all-time. Reigns tells us how last week was big for him as The Shield reunited to beat the New Day and he defeated The Miz for the Intercontinental Title. We see a WWE.com exclusive clip from after RAW last week where The Shield put Miz through the announcers table with a triple powerbomb as Reigns says we will not see The Miz for a while but will see a lot of the IC Title as unlike Miz, he is a fighting champion. Reigns says the rules are simple as if you want the belt just step up and take it from him. The Miztourage come out and are pissed that Reigns is now the IC Champion. They then say despite not being in a position to wrong injustice, they know someone who can as Elias comes out. Elias tells us Miz is a good guy and is here to guide The Miztourage and ignite their fire with Miz away. He then promises to take the IC Title as Reigns says it sounds like Elias wants to “walk with the Big Dog.” Reigns now tells Elias to look over at Axel and see if he can sing while wearing a neckbrace because he might have to wear one after their match tonight. Everyone leaves then Seth Rollins comes out for his match tonight against Cesaro as Cole lets us know that Sheamus is back in Ireland while Ambrose is on his honeymoon.
A decent way to start off the show. It looks like The Miztourage will be paired up with Elias until The Miz is done filming “The Marine 6” as tonight Elias will have the biggest match of his career.
Seth Rollins vs. Cesaro
The crowd chants for Rollins but its Cesaro who takes the early advantage. Rollins comes back with a crossbody for a two count then stomps away in the corner. Cesaro boots Rollins then dumps in on the top rope with a suplex as we go to break. The action returns with Cesaro working an abdominal stretch. He then puts Rollins on top for a super gutwrench suplex but Rollins knocks him off. Rollins leaps with a crossbody but Cesaro catches him with a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker for a nearfall. Cesaro grounds Rollins with a waistlock as he continues to target the back. Rollins wins a fight over an abdominal stretch but Cesaro takes him over with a hip toss. Rollins fights off Cesaro in the corner then hits a blockbuster as both men are down. Rollins takes Cesaro outside then flies out with a tope as both men are out on the floor while we head to another commercial. We return with both men back inside as Rollins is whipped near the ref but stops short only to turn around and get poked in the eye and put in a small package for a nearfall. Cesaro puts Rollins in the swing then turns that into a sharpshooter. Rollins reaches the ropes so Cesaro fires away then sets up for the Neutralizer. Rollins escapes and kicks Cesaro in the face for a two count. They trade moves then Cesaro tries for his springboard uppercut and ends up eating a super kick then Rollins hits the ripcord knee smash for the win (18:17) ***1/2.
Thoughts: Really good match as Rollins picks up the win giving him some momentum heading into the eventual rematch for the Tag Team Titles. Cesaro taking control during most of the match while working over the back was for the best as it slowed down Rollins, who has a tendency of just trying to hit too many moves.
After the match, Charly Caruso comes out to ask about the members of The Shield heading in different directions due to Reigns being the IC Champion and Ambrose off tonight on his honeymoon. Rollins makes some bad joke about Dean & Renee then says he will be back next week, or at least thinks he will be as soon as he can get a hold of him, then says they will enact their rematch clause for the Tag Team Titles. This promo was really bad and not all on Rollins as the verbiage was ridiculous. They have to do a better job of writing insults (Is saying Sheamus was at a “Mohawk Convention” supposed to be funny?) for the babyface wrestlers.
We see footage from last week on 205 Live when the ‘Zo Train laid out Cedric Alexander, Rich Swann, Akira Tozawa, and Mustafa Ali. After that, GM Kurt Angle is shown backstage with the four guys who were attacked. Angle then flat out asks “what is the ‘Zo Train” as he also does not pay attention to 205 Live. Swann explains what happened as Angle says he is sorry for letting the Cruiserweight Division get out of control while being preoccupied with what happened with Triple H & Stephanie McMahon. Angle then says he has a solution and that will be determining a #1 contender. So, tonight and next week there will be two Fatal Four Way matches, with the winners facing off to determine the #1 contender. The others are in agreement then the segment ends. Angle not even knowing about the ‘Zo Train just made all of these guys look like complete losers but at least there will be some focus on the division other than Enzo over the next few weeks.
Samoa Joe angrily walks backstage on his way to the ring.
Titus O’Neill w/ Apollo Crews vs. Samoa Joe
Titus lands some shots in the corner to start. Joe fights back then goes for the Coquina Clutch but Titus backs him into the corner. Titus lands some of the most pathetic knee smashes I’ve ever seen but Joe takes him down with an enziguiri. They trade strikes then Titus takes control. Titus gets a two count with a big boot then yells at Joe about bullying him. Joe decks Titus as the ref was trying to break them up in the corner then puts on the Coquina Clutch for the win (2:31) 1/2*. After the match, Crews comes into the ring. Joe swings and misses as Crews fires away. Joe is able to duck an enziguiri and puts Crews in the Clutch too then leaves with both men laid out on the mat.
Thoughts: Titus showed fire but his strikes looked awful. I don’t know what you do with Titus & Apollo now and if they split up it would not shock me in the slightest. Titus is better as a mouthpiece while Crews continues to struggle finding relevance on the main roster.
Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson are telling us about all of the Cyber Monday deals.
We see clips from last week when Paige interrupted the RAW Women’s Championship #1 Contender match which saw Mandy Rose & Sonya Deville make their debuts by attacking the women in the match from behind. Also, Paige and her friends laid out Alexa Bliss backstage.
Sasha Banks heads out to the ring for her six-women tag match. However, partners Mickie James & Bayley do not come out. Paige, Rose, and Deville come out and asks Sasha what happened to her partners. Paige asks Rose & Deville if they know what happened as they claim innocence then we see both Mickie and Bayley laid out backstage on the Titantron. Paige says its not a handicapped match then addresses those who called her out on social media to explain her actions. Paige said one year ago she helped erase the word “Diva” and started the Women’s Revolution then says that she is back. They surround Sasha in the ring as Paige calls her group “Absolution.” Rose says before there was a revolution and Four Horsewomen, there was Paige. Deville tells Sasha nothing would have been raised or elevated if not for Paige and that is why they pledge their allegiance to her as the crowd gives that the “what” treatment. Paige then asks Sasha if she is going to end up like her friends or make the smart move and pledge her allegiance. Sasha ponders as Paige said she is either with or against them. Sasha looks around then knocks Paige off of the apron. Deville & Rose jump Sasha and beat her down but Sasha fights back but cannot fight off all three women and gets destroyed. Absolution then raise their hands to close out the segment. I liked this a lot. It made Absolution appear special and you can build to where they have their first match. Rose has great presence and while Deville struggled mightily with her promo she at least did not let the “what” chants get to her and handled things better as she went along.
Bray Wyatt appears on the screen. He says “I’m here” then blows out his lantern and leaves.
After the break, Wyatt heads out to the ring. He talks about never having a childhood or celebrated a holiday, unlike the fans who celebrate like “they” want them to as he goes on to tell us about “they” making us do what they want. Wyatt tells us that now, our ignorance gives him joy because he can see us for what we are. He then says none of us are alive and we are all dead and repeats that while laughing until Matt Hardy comes out for their match. Cole says that Hardy is having trouble coping with this rough patch in his career. This was total self-parody stuff with Wyatt here. The crowd is burned out on him and he’s been uninspired not just on the mic but also in the ring for most of the year.
Bray Wyatt vs. Matt Hardy
This match is joined in progress with Wyatt in control. He hits an avalanche then stands over Hardy and laughs with his eyes closed before missing a senton. Hardy fights back then hits a bulldog out of the corner. He comes off of the top with an elbow smash but Wyatt caught him and that leads to a reversal sequence ending with Hardy hitting a side effect. Wyatt blocks a Twist of Fate attempt but Hardy takes him down, only to whiff on a moonsault. Wyatt does his crab walk then hits the Sister Abigail for the win (3:31) 1/4*.
Thoughts: The action here was bad with Wyatt going through the motions. He got the win but it appears that Wyatt is without direction at the moment unless they somehow turn this into a feud.
After the match, the crowd chants for Hardy, who is angry in the corner. Hardy then motions with his hand repeatedly as the fans start up a “delete” chant as Cole questions if we are witnessing a Hardy breakdown. Hardy did a tease here of his “Broken Matt” gimmick with the delete motions and with Jeff out recuperating having him do this here would at least be more beneficial than losing all of the time.
We are shown clips from last week when Kane attacked Braun Strowman, who was wrestling against Jason Jordan. Cole notes that we still have not heard from Strowman, who left the building last week after refusing medical attention. Next, Jordan is backstage with Angle and tells him people on social media are questioning the legitimacy of his knee injury. Angle says he does not question the injury as Jordan wants to prove himself by facing Kane. Angle then makes the match and notes that his son is facing Kane.
Rich Swann vs. Akira Tozawa vs. Ariya Daivari vs. Noam Dar
They all tease a four man lock up but Daivari & Dar cheap shot their opponents. Daivari and Dar get tossed and that leads to a reversal sequence between Swann and Tozawa. We see Enzo watching backstage on a monitor as Swann takes out everyone with a somersault senton. Swann lays into Dar and rolls him inside where he continues to hammer away. Daivari runs in to cut off Swann by catching him with a spinebuster. Dar & Daivari continue to work together and are in control as we head to commercial. The action returns with Tozawa fighting off Dar & Daivari. He heads up top and gets cut off but Swann comes in and that leads to a Tower of Doom spot as Enzo is getting angry at his men while watching backstage. Tozawa starts to run wild and takes out Dar with a tope. Back inside, Daivari almost puts Swann away with a frog splash then Tozawa takes him out with a Shining Wizard. Tozawa heads up top and hits the senton but Dar sends him into the post and makes the cover. Swann breaks up the pin as Dar tries a rollup on Tozawa by grabbing the tights but still cannot get the win. Dar hits a running dropkick but Swann pulls Tozawa outside then goes in after Dar and ends up hitting the Phoenix Splash for the win (12:34) **1/2.
Thoughts: The crowd was not into this and the beginning with Dar & Daivari dominating things was uninteresting. They are arguably the two least interesting performers in the division. It did pick up after the break at least with Swann picking up the win while Tozawa shined the most.
Elias is in the ring. He dedicates his song to The Miz then tells the fans to shut up and they boo so he will not play the song. However, Elias says Miz needs to hear it then sings and pauses when the fans start booing again. Elias starts over and the fans boo again when he finishes. He promises us something special tonight and introduces The Miztourage as they play the harmonica. After that ends, Elias plays a few notes as the fans start a “We Want Roman” chant as that angers Elias, who demands we all take a seat and see is next performance as the Intercontinental Title walks with him. Reigns finally comes out for our match as that will take place after the break. Some of the Elias stuff was really good but the segment kinda died when The Miztourage played the harmonica. That went on for too long and the fans were getting a bit restless at the end.
WWE Intercontinental Title Match: Elias w/ The Miztourage vs. Roman Reigns (c)
Cole notes how this is the first championship match Elias has had in the WWE. We get dueling chants for Reigns as he shoves down Elias to start. Elias fights back then rams Reigns’ shoulder into the post then works a chinlock. Reigns escapes but runs into a clothesline as Elias covers for two. Elias puts on another chinlock as Corey talks about Elias trying to silence those doubting his in-ring performances. Reigns gets out of that then hits a few clotheslines. Elias cuts off Reigns with a knee smash and gets another nearfall as we head to break. The match returns with Elias working another chinlock as we saw The Miztourage provide a distraction during the break. Reigns manages to shove Elias outside then runs out for the Drive By. Reigns takes out Bo with a Superman Punch and backs up Axel and turns around only to take him down with a spear. Elias attacks Reigns from behind and runs him into the post. Back inside, Elias almost gets the win with a top rope elbow drop. Elias escapes from a Samoan Drop then nearly gets the win with a sitout powerbomb. Elias is frustrated at not being able to put Reigns away and runs into a Superman Punch as Reigns covers for two. Reigns signals for the spear but is cut off by a knee smash. Elias then bounces off of the ropes but Reigns ducks underneath and comes back with the spear for the win (15:10) ***.
Thoughts: On commentary, they were selling this as a classic match and even screamed out that Reigns was in trouble just a few minutes into the match. I’m all for hyping up and pushing a guy on commentary but doing it to this extent made it seem phony and forced. I don’t know how many people thought Reigns was dropping the belt to Elias in his first title defense but I was not one of them. Despite all of that this was a good match and it stuck to a basic formula. Elias is great at getting heat before the match but still struggles to maintain that during his matches.
After the match, Reigns celebrates on the ramp but is attacked from behind by Samoa Joe, who puts on the Coquina Clutch. Several officials run out to break things up but Joe runs back to choke him out again. Looks like Joe/Reigns is going to be the new IC Title program and I’m all for that. It will help give the belt more prestige.
Asuka vs. Dana Brooke
We get another insert promo this week from Brooke, who claims that Asuka is a slow starter and will be all over her from the start. Dana charges at Asuka and is immediately taken down with the Asuka Lock and taps out (0:05). After the match, Absolution comes out and surrounds the ring. They back off and start smiling as Asuka ducks out and leaves while smiling herself.
Thoughts: With Absolution into the mix its tough to see where Dana fits in on RAW now. I wouldnt be shocked if her days with the company were numbered. The Asuka/Absolution stuff was a nice tease for something that could happen down the line.
Next week, The Bar vs. Ambrose & Rollins will take place with the Tag Team Titles on the line.
We are shown a video package on the origins of Jordan’s knee injury as he is out in the ring with his knee all taped up. Jordan addresses the speculation on social media regarding his injury. He wants to set the record straight and says he knows his body and felt a “pop” in his knee after slipping out of a powerslam and could not continue. Jordan says after the world class medical staff in the WWE, he is back to speed and will do what Strowman could not last week, which is to take care of Kane. The crowd crapped all over Jordan and the more time you drag this out the less people will care when he officially turns heel on Angle.
Jason Jordan vs. Kane
Kane tosses down Jordan to start. Jordan picks up Kane and rams him into the corner twice before hitting a running shoulder tackle. Kane cuts off Jordan with an uppercut and tosses him outside where Jordan clutches his knee while screaming and rolling around then tries and fails to get up and is counted out (1:42). Jordan rolls inside but Kane beats him up and tosses him back outside. Kane heads out and clotheslines Jordan then uses a chop block and continues to target the knee until Finn Balor interrupts then we head to break.
Thoughts: Jordan will apparently have a knee injury storyline to work with for a bit as Kane continues to dominate the competition on RAW the week after taking out Strowman.
Kane vs. Finn Balor
Cole tells us that Angle made this match official during the break. Balor tries to take out Kane by the legs but that fails. Kane whips Balor into the corner and hits an avalanche then gets a nearfall with a side slam. Balor fights back in the corner and hits an enziguiri from the apron. Kane gets dropkicked outside then is hit by a pescado. Balor sends Kane into the barricade with a shotgun dropkick but Kane grabs a chair and attacks Balor for the DQ (2:45) 1/2*. Kane continues to attack Balor with the chair as he goes after the back. Kane then puts Balor’s head between the chair and heads up top but Strowman comes out, clutching his throat. Kane whacks Strowman with a chair but Strowman doesn’t budge. Kane begs for mercy then Strowman kicks Kane into the corner and beats him down. Kane rolls outside where Strowman whacks him with the steps. Strowman continues to beat down Kane until he powerslams him onto the steps. Strowman then rams the chair into Kane’s throat as Kane is now gasping for breath. Strowman does it again as Kane is holding himself up outside by the barricade then falls over and stumbles through the crowd while Strowman watches from the ring.
Thoughts: The beatdown after the match and when Strowman attacked Kane did not get over with this crowd at all. Both of those guys did not look good here, either. Having Kane in this role has been a flop with the RAW crowds and a detriment to the entire show with the way he has gone through talent. Balor was just a pawn for the Kane/Strowman stuff as his position on the card is trending in the wrong direction.
Final Thoughts: There was some good stuff tonight. The Absolution storyline has injected some life into the Women’s Division. And they set up for a Reigns/Joe IC Title program and a Tag Team Title match for next week. RAW even gave us a storyline for the Cruiserweight Division that does not revolve around Enzo burying everyone. However, the end of the show was poor and some of the wrestlers and characters are in need of a serious overhaul. This was set up for the crowd to cheer as Strowman got revenge on Kane but they mostly sat in silence. Bray Wyatt, Kane, and Jason Jordan are three people who if I was not reviewing the show would flip over to something else when their segments aired. I also do not know how they will find a challenger for Lesnar at the Royal Rumble because the top guys on RAW are tied up in feuds and the pickings are slim.