By: Keila Cash
Hello everyone and welcome to another installment of The Raw Exposé. Tonight’s episode of Monday Night Raw emanated from the Frank Erwin Center in Austin, Texas. After last week’s excellent Falls Count Anywhere match between Sasha Banks and Charlotte for the Raw Women’s Championship, how did The Boss celebrate her third title reign in four months?
Also, did Kevin Owens and Chris Jericho hug it out after the tiff from last week? The answer to these questions can be found throughout this blog. Without further ado, let’s dissect tonight’s episode of Raw in no particular order.
· Kevin Owens opened Monday Night Raw by handing a few gifts to Chris Jericho. First, Jericho will face Roman Reigns for the United States Championship later tonight. Second, Y2J has a match against Seth Rollins at Roadblock: End of the Line two weeks from Sunday. Finally, Rollins was gifted a match against The Big Show to kick off the in-ring portion of the show.
· Rollins wanted Triple H and a shot at Owens’ WWE Universal Championship, but it appears that Santa left him a lump of coal instead.
· This was a nice way to start the show. The bickering between Owens and Rollins was okay, but it got better when Owens did his spiel on the mic about being Jericho’s best friend.
· Also, Owens will face Sami Zayn later on as well. Considering the fact that WWE vowed that their match at Battleground would be their last, it waters down the feud both men had over the summer. Despite that small quibble, the match should be very good. If it saves Zayn from getting destroyed by Braun Strowman, I’m all for it.
· The Big Slim Show looks trim and fit. Kudos to him for getting in shape ahead of his WrestleMania match against Shaquille O’Neal next year.
· Big Show left Owens high and dry when he chokeslammed him into the ring during his match with Rollins.
· Owens tried to cheer on Big Show, but he was too abrasive when it came to telling The World’s Largest Athlete what to do.
· Big Show vs. Rollins was okay for the most part. This was basically an exhibition match for Big Show to knock off some ring rust. Rollins looked good as he got a measure of revenge when he laid out Owens with a Pedigree. This was a no harm, no foul segment that didn’t overstay its welcome.
· Nice profile video for Jack Gallagher. He was one of my favorite wrestlers from the Cruiserweight Classic. Let’s hope his gentlemanly ways translates on the main roster.
· Gallagher notched his first win on Raw by defeating Ariya Daivari in a solid match. Gallagher looked crisp, but he held back from being more comedic in the ring. His offense impressed the crowd which will give him more leeway to let loose in the future.
· Daivari showed poor sportsmanship when he viciously kicked Gallagher’s knee after the match was over. The crowd booed him which was nice to hear because it means that they cared about Gallagher’s well-being. Plus, it builds to their burgeoning feud on Raw and 205 Live. It was simplistic but very effective.
· WWE Presents: The Backstage Quarrel Between Friends and Lovers. The bromance between Owens and Jericho just went from frosty to ice cold while Lana and Rusev had a falling out which ended with Lana taking off her wedding ring and throwing it on the ground.
· Enzo Amore consoled The Ravishing Russian while she laughed at his “How You Doin’?” catchphrase. Who knew that Enzo walking around naked backstage would have creative legs two weeks later?
· Lana invited Enzo back to her hotel room. I think it’s safe to say that there’s going to be some trouble brewing in Room 704. Just a hunch…
· Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn had a very good match that featured great action throughout. Zayn put on an aerial showcase by delivering Tornado DDTs on the ring apron, through the ring, and inside the squared circle itself. Owens fought back as he delivered a wicked reverse Suplex from the top rope. Zayn countered with a series of Suplexes of his own followed by the Blue Thunder Bomb for a near fall.
· Zayn went to the well too many times as he dropped Owens against the barricade with an Exploder Suplex. As both men rolled back in the ring, Owens laid out Zayn with a quick powerbomb for the win.
· Despite both men having dozens of matches against each other over the years, each outing still feels fresh. Therefore, their rivalry will not get old in that respect.
· Speaking of rivalries, The Sasha Banks and Charlotte Saga will continue at Roadblock as Sasha challenged Charlotte to an Iron Man Match for the Raw Women’s Championship. Charlotte mentioned that iron sharpens iron on Twitter after her loss last Monday. If their feud is FINALLY coming to an end, this would be a fitting conclusion to one of the best (if not the best) rivalry(ries) in WWE this year.
· I do question Sasha challenging Charlotte to these high stakes matches for the Women’s Title. She failed to retain the title at Hell in a Cell. If she drops the belt for the third time at a major PPV, she needs to rethink her match strategy moving forward.
· Rich Swann and TJ Perkins had a solid match which harkened back to their quarterfinal bout at the CWC earlier this year. It was a pretty Even Steven match as both men know each other so well. Perkins targeted Swann’s leg midway through the match which grounded the Outlandish One for a while. However, Swann recovered when he nailed TJP with a spin kick from mid-air for the win.
· Swann built momentum heading into his Cruiserweight Championship rematch against The Brian Kendrick tomorrow night on 205 Live.
· Bayley defeated Alicia Fox in a hard-fought bout when she pinned her with the Bayley-to-Belly. Michael Cole explained that Alicia was mad that Bayley gave Cedric Alexander a Bayley Bear backstage during the Raw Preshow. At least there was a purpose for the match taking place. Too bad the live audience wasn’t clued in because they were quiet for the most part. The crowd did muster a faint “We Want Some Bayley” chants.
· It appears that Enzo and Lana are going to seal the deal in Room 704. I did crack up when Enzo started singing lyrics from R. Kelly’s “Bump N’ Grind”.
· The Tussle in Texas: Mark Henry vs. Titus O’Neil. It should be retitled: The One-Side Beat Down In Texas Starring Mark Henry and Featuring Titus O’Neil.
· Mark Henry validated my name change by quickly dispatching Titus O’Neil with the World’s Strongest Slam. The match was short and sweet.
· Ric Flair just helped Enzo in his booty call quest by letting his limo driver take The Certified G to Lana’s hotel. What a classy guy.
· Roman Reigns retained the United States Championship when he nailed Chris Jericho with a Spear for the win. It was a very good match as the fans were 60/40 behind Reigns while the adult male contingent cheered for Jericho.
· Owens tried to will Jericho to victory by coming down to the ring and kicking Reigns in the head behind the referee’s back. Jericho capitalized by nailing Reigns with the Codebreaker. Reigns kicked out at two which sent KO into a tizzy. Jericho noticed that Owens was at ringside and proceeded to berate him for not staying in the back. Y2J shoved his best friend and told Owens to hit the bricks. Owens walked away which led to the finish moments later.
· The forecast on the bromance has gone from ice cold to piping hot because Jericho is a 10 on the Habanero Pepper Scale of being pissed off at his BFF. Let’s just say that their fake spat a few weeks ago has turned into the real thing.
· As suspected, Lana was laying the sticks for Enzo to fall into a trap. She tempted him with champagne and strawberries before ripping off his shirt and telling him to take off his pants. Before Enzo could seal the forbidden deal, Lana called for Rusev and the beat down was on. Rusev kicked his ass from pillar to post as Lana cheered her husband on. The Bulgarian Brute finished Enzo off by hitting him in the head with a vase before dragging him out of the hotel room.
· After Lana looked semi-turned during Enzo’s promo last week, it was all a setup to make the Certified G look like a Certified Fool. It was an elaborate plan that built nicely throughout the show. The creative team deserves credit for weaving an entertaining plot line that had a beginning, middle, and end.
· Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson vs. Sheamus and Cesaro was good until The New Day got involved which drew an automatic disqualification. Both teams survived the 10:00 p.m. Lull Period of Death as they had an entertaining match which saw Sheamus getting unanimously cheered for the first time since forever. Cesaro was great as usual while Gallows and Anderson held up their end as well.
· A melee took place after the match was over as Cesaro and Sheamus took out The New Day. One can only assume that Mick Foley is going to book a Triple Threat Match next week with the Tag Team Championship on the line. Will the New Day tie Demolition’s record? We shall see. In any event, all three teams should have one hell of a match in Philly.
· Charlotte and Ric Flair tend to have overly emotional moments whenever they are in the ring together. Charlotte apologized to her father for being a bitch of a daughter when she publicly shamed him on an episode of Raw six months ago. She was heartbroken when Flair showed up last week to raise Sasha Banks’ hand because it was a sign that she wasn’t the better woman that night. That moment gave her clarity which led to her mea culpa.
· Flair came out per his daughter’s request and it seemed as if they hugged out their problems. When Flair tried to embrace her a second time, she slapped him in the face and called her father a son of a bitch.
· Charlotte tore into her dad for choosing Sasha over her. Sasha came out to confront Charlotte, but The Queen quickly took control and laid out The Boss by ramming her head into the ring post as Flair looked on tearfully.
· Charlotte rolled Sasha back in the ring to taunt her dad some more as Raw went off the air.
· The first half of the final segment was iffy at best, but things got better once Charlotte slapped her old man.
· Charlotte didn’t get rattled which helped her get hated for all the right reasons as the segment went on. Flair did a great job looking sad as he is one of the best criers in the business.
· I know some fans are ready to throw in the towel on the Sasha-Charlotte feud, but it’s best to stretch things out a couple more weeks. Their 30-Minute Iron Man Match at Roadblock should be very good. Their rivalry has turned personal and I expect both ladies to show up and show out if this is truly the end of their feud. Hopefully. This was a good way to end the show minus the shaky start.
· Overall, I thought tonight’s episode of Raw was competent. It wasn’t a blow away show, but WWE did a nice job hyping the Roadblock PPV. There was little fluff on the broadcast as everyone that was given airtime deserved it. A Neville sighting would be nice, but I digress.
· The in-ring action ranged from solid to very good with Kevin Owens vs. Sami Zayn winning best match of the night honors with Jericho vs. Reigns coming in a close second.
· The Enzo/Lana/Rusev faux love triangle was fun as it told a nice story throughout the night culminating with Enzo getting played. I am not expecting a technical masterpiece from Big Cass and Rusev, but it should be a good big man bout as Cass stands up for his best buddy.
· As for the friendship between Owens and Jericho. It’s currently on the rocks, but I expect both men to hug it out before their respective matches at Roadblock.
· The go-home show should be interesting next week as WWE will be hyping Roadblock while getting into the holiday spirit at the same time. That’s not the best combination, but we shall see how the company balances everything out. On the Brightside, the Triple Threat Match for the Tag Team Titles should be very good which should give people extra incentive to watch next week’s show as Raw emanates from Philadelphia. Let’s hope that the rest of the show lives up to the hype. Fingers crossed!
On that note, this wraps up another edition of The Raw Exposé. I hope you enjoyed it and I will be back tomorrow night with a brand new installment of The SmackDown Files. See you later, boys and girls!