Date: September 11, 2018
Location: Cajundome, Lafayette, Louisiana
Commentators: Corey Graves, Tom Phillips, Byron Saxton
We’re five days away from Hell In A Cell and for the most part the card is already set. That means a lot of setting up the parts of the card that are already established, which can make for some entertaining television. We also get to find out who will be facing the New Day for the Smackdown Tag Team Titles. Let’s get to it.
We open with an eleven bell tribute to the victims of 9/11. Nothing wrong with that.
Jeff Hardy vs. Shinsuke Nakamura
Non-title. Before the match, Hardy talks about being ready to face his demons head on, which is what he’ll be doing on Sunday inside the Cell. Hardy has no fear and on Sunday he’ll unleash his anger to make Randy Orton fade away and classify himself as obsolete. Nakamura bails to the floor at the bell and bites his finger before Hardy knocks him into the barricade. A running dropkick sends Nakamura into the barricade again and we take a break.
Back with Hardy fighting out of a waistlock but getting caught in a cravate. The hard knees put Hardy down and a spinning kick to the head makes things even worse. Hardy scores with a quick Sling Blade but the sitout gordbuster is countered with a knee to the head. The Whisper in the Wind drops Nakamura again but the Swanton is countered with a good crotching.
A running knee to the ribs sends Hardy to the floor and it’s off to another break. Back again with Jeff dropping the legdrop between the legs but getting kicked in the head. Kinshasa misses and Hardy hits the Twisting Stunner. That means the Swanton but here’s Orton for the DQ at 15:24.
Rating: C-. Total mentions of Nakamura’s United States of Nakamura deal from a few weeks ago: zero, which shouldn’t surprise anyone at all. Since we NEED Hardy vs. Orton in the Cell, there’s no room for the US Champion/Royal Rumble winner/Wrestlemania World Title challenger on this show most weeks. The match itself was fine but nothing that we haven’t seen before, especially with the predictable ending.
Post match Orton grabs a chair but Hardy takes it away and lays him out. The Twist of Fate sets up a Swanton to leave Orton laying.
Miz insists that Maryse is introduced first because she’s going to be stealing the spotlight tonight. Daniel Bryan took three years to come back from his injury while Maryse is back five months after having a baby. Miz calls Bryan and Brie Bella’s marriage one of convenience because they can’t do any better. Now that Bryan has to protect the environment, Brie has to wrestle to pay the bills. Nice shot there, though Brie in the ring makes me cringe.
Earlier today, AJ Styles was in the empty arena to talk about how Samoa Joe knows how to get under his skin. He knows AJ has a temper but after being friends for twenty years, AJ knows how to get under Joe’s skin too. Joe’s strength is intimidation but AJ knows he’s a piece of garbage. When the bell rings, the intimidation ends because this is the house that AJ Styles built and it isn’t for sale.
We look back at last week’s argument between Becky Lynch and Charlotte with Becky being edgy because they don’t want to just go with what the fans want.
Charlotte requested to face Sonya Deville tonight because she wants competition. On Sunday, she’s betting on herself.
Charlotte vs. Sonya Deville
Non-title and Mandy Rose is in Sonya’s corner. Charlotte is fine with taking it to the mat to start and grabs a headlock. She can’t pull off the bridge into the backslide though and Sonya kicks away in the corner. Charlotte is right back with a knee to the neck and a kick to the chest as we take a break.
Back with Charlotte fighting out of an abdominal stretch and hitting a belly to back suplex. A backbreaker keeps Sonya in trouble but the moonsault hits knees. Sonya gets two off a spinebuster but Charlotte is right back with a slingshot sitout powerbomb (that could be a finisher for someone), followed by the Figure Eight for the tap at 9:48.
Rating: C-. That’s the kind of match that a big star can benefit from: being made to sweat by someone who is a step beneath her. Sonya gets to look good with some of her big offense while Charlotte has to actually work a bit before getting the not exactly in doubt win. It’s a good idea and something that could benefit others on the roster.
Post match Charlotte takes a picture with a fan but Becky Lynch is disguised in the crowd and jumps the champ. Always works.
Samoa Joe reads a bedtime story (complete with book) about AJ Styles, who built a house but then forgot his friends who helped get him there. One of his friends promised to make things better by beating Styles up, which leads them to Sunday where AJ will get to go back to his family. After he wakes up of course. The last shot of the book is Joe as champion with Styles’ family for a rather evil visual.
The rhyming here was a good idea as they’ve done some solid work with the promos leading up to the match. It’s amazing how much you get out of switching up a few things like this. The best part is they can back it up in the ring, which is the part that lacks in so many of these well built feuds.
Becky has nothing to say.
Earlier today, Kofi Kingston, in his interviewer attire, followed the Bar but didn’t actually talk to them.
The Bar vs. Rusev Day
The winners get to face New Day on Sunday so New Day is on commentary. Joined in progress with Sheamus clotheslining Rusev for two before handing it off to Cesaro for the chinlock. That sets up the required comeback and it’s off to English for a clothesline to the floor and a dive onto Rusev. A DDT gets two on Sheamus but a Cesaro distraction lets Sheamus knee English in the head. The double teaming begins and it’s Cesaro chinlocking English as we take a break.
Back with Sheamus going shoulder first into the post so Rusev can come in and clean house. The Accolade has Cesaro in trouble so Sheamus makes a save. A double DDT gets two on Rusev and Sheamus powerslams him for the same. Sheamus loads up the Brogue Kick but English takes it for Rusev, setting up the jumping superkick to finish Sheamus at 13:24.
Rating: C. I’m glad they went with the bit of a surprise finish here as you could have penciled in the Bar to win here from the beginning. Every now and then you have to switch in a little change of pace and Rusev Day is a better, more interesting option than the Bar anyway. Not a great match, but it was fine for what it was.
Rusev Day yells at New Day.
Video on Ronda Rousey vs. Alexa Bliss. Thank goodness they’re doing these on their own and not as inset videos during other matches.
R-Truth vs. Andrade Cien Almas
Carmella is here with Truth and it turns out she’s rather suited to be the good looking dancer who shouts a lot. They slug it out to start with Almas getting the better of it but having his suplex reversed into a gordbuster. Truth can’t hit the ax kick so Almas poses in the ropes. Carmella goes after Zelina Vega and the distraction lets Almas roll him up for the pin at 2:42. Just a quick match and Almas gets a win. If nothing else, Truth and Carmella are great together.
Naomi and Asuka don’t like the IIconics. Asuka seems to like the idea of the Glow.
Brie Bella vs. Maryse
Brie now has the Seattle Seahawks colors too. Maryse bails to the floor at the bell and Miz gives her a good luck kiss. Back in and Maryse hides in the ropes before heading outside again. Brie grabs the mic and calls Maryse a coward. Feel the burn I guess. Miz doesn’t like this and talks about how Maryse gave birth just five months ago. This city doesn’t deserve this match so Miz and Maryse are out. Brie chases Maryse down and sends her into the apron but Bryan going after Miz lets Maryse get in a kick to the head for two. The YES Lock has Maryse in trouble but Miz pulls Brie out for the DQ at 4:40.
Rating: N/A. I don’t use that very often but this wasn’t a match. They “wrestled” for about twenty seconds near the end of their angle and that’s about it. I know WWE might be a little worried about the two of them wrestling, but if that’s the case they shouldn’t be in the main event of this show. Now we’re going to have to hear even more about how much of a legend Brie is, but at last Nikki’s match last night was a match as opposed to this angle that they tried to call a match.
Post match the brawl is on with Bryan running Brie over by mistake. Maryse sends Brie into the apron a few times but Brie comes back with her terrible punches. Bryan gets back in and takes Miz down with Brie punching him into a clothesline to the floor to end the show.
Overall Rating: C-. While not great, this week’s show had one major thing that Raw was lacking: a clear goal. Other than the occasional one off line, there was no mention of Evolution or Super Show-Down because they were focused on building up Sunday’s show. I don’t need to hear about a bunch of stuff taking place next month when there’s a pay per view in five days. The promos were rather good as well and I’m wanting to see some of the matches on Sunday. That’s what a go home should do and they did it here, without spending all that time on stuff that we can get to later on.
Jeff Hardy b. Shinsuke Nakamura via DQ when Randy Orton interfered
Charlotte b. Sonya Deville – Figure Eight
Rusev Day b. The Bar – Jumping superkick to Sheamus
Andrade Cien Almas b. R-Truth – Rollup
Brie Bella b. Maryse via DQ when The Miz interfered
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