Call your friends, call your loved ones; it is truly the end of days! Raw opened with an actual wrestling match this week! I’m so, so happy! This was a singles bout between Jason Jordan and John Cena, which was heavily paralleled with Cena’s debut match against Kurt Angle. Although Cena won, and normally I would complain about how Jordan needs strong wins and to be built up and all that, this was a great showcase for Jordan and really made him look like and up-and-coming star, similar to Cena’s matches during his open challenge for the United States Championship. It’s good that the WWE continues to put some focus on Jordan, though this does kind of remove him from his previous issues with the Miz, and losing doesn’t exactly bump him further up the rankings for an Intercontinental Championship shot.
After the match, Roman Reigns pops out to run down Cena some more and get into another lover’s spat. Unlike last week, Reigns actually came out looking better this time around, basically daring Cena to fight him right then and there and with Cena actually backing down (or, at least, not taking him up on the offer). Hopefully next week Reigns just plain punches Cena’s head off without saying anything.
Remember how Heath Slater and Rhyno were a tag team? Remember how I’ve also been bitching about how the WWE needs to use other tag teams as cannon fodder and such? Well, they resurfaced this week to get summarily squashed by Sheamus and Cesaro; it’s just a shame that pinning a former ECW Champion means basically nothing.
The Miz then successfully defended the Intercontinental Championship against Jeff Hardy; I thought this was supposed to be settled at No Mercy? How much stuff do I apparently forget week by week? Well, anyway, Matt Hardy gets into a bit of a scuffle with the Miz-tourage so they’re all ejected from ringside. Nevertheless, the finish comes when Maryse pulls Miz out of the path of Jeff’s Swanton Bomb and Miz, surprisingly, reverses the Twist of Fate into the Skull-Crushing Finale. The shocks are fast and free and many this week, with Miz getting a clean, strong win over a guy like Jeff Hardy. Sure, Jeff doesn’t have the same reputation he once had but he’s still a veteran and former champion and pinning him, clean, makes Miz finally look strong after weeks of looking like a whiney chump or a complete coward.
GFW intervenes once again for the now-traditional six-man cruiserweight tag team match; this time, it’s Enzo Amore, Cedric Alexander, and Grand Metalik’s turn to get a win over Drew Gulak, Tony Nese, and Noam Dar in around five minutes. Pointless and a completely rushed effort; the only story here is that Enzo is channelling the spirit of Eddie Guerrero and using some underhanded tactics to steal his victories.
Emma then teamed with Nia Jax to beat Sasha Banks and Alexa Bliss to get herself added to the Raw Women’s Championship match at No Mercy. Nia actually had the match won before Emma blind-tagged in and stole the glory for herself, earning Nia’s wrath afterwards. Just keep pushing new women, please.
Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose got a well-fought win over Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson, despite interference from Sheamus and Cesaro. After the match (which wasn’t that bad, even though the Club lost…again), Cesaro and Sheamus took out the Club. I would wager that this is it for the Club; they are now at Ascension-levels of obsolete. The only difference is that the Club get to have matches where they lose quite often, whereas the Ascension haven’t had a match in, what? Months? Why couldn’t the Club just join up with Wyatt or Balor or even the Miz and just be enforcers rather than jobbers?
Raw ends with a massive bang as the WWE revisit the decent feud between Braun Strowman and the Big Show, with the two giants facing off in a steel cage match. This was an absolute blast, with Show landing an impressive elbow drop from the top rope. The finish came when Strowman landed the superplex (without breaking the ring this time) and Powerslammed Big Show for the win. Afterwards, he put Brock Lesnar on notice and Powerslammed Show through the cell door! I recently heard a rumour that this may well have been Big Show’s last match and, if so, what a poetic way to go, practically the reverse of his debt all those years ago, and crowning a massive, unstoppable new monster in town.
Randy Orton and Shinsuke Nakamura open the show backstage, cutting individual promos where they basically say they’re each going to become the number one contender. Then, James Ellsworth and Carmella pop out to the ring to complain but get cut off by Kevin Owens, who complains even louder. Because of that, Shane McMahon comes out to get into another spat, which leads to a big brawl between the two that Daniel Bryan has to separate.
Natalya then pinned Carmella, mainly because Carmella refused Ellsworth’s suggestion to cash-in her briefcase and got rolled up like a bitch. Should’ve just beat the hell out of the Canuck, luv, it might’ve served you better. Afterwards, Carmella yells at Ellsworth and dumps him, then Dolph Ziggler does a whole bit where he berates the fans for cheering for gimmicks rather than a guy of his skill. All right then.
Sami Zayn then takes on Aiden English in a rematch from his pathetic loss last week, following it up with another pathetic loss! I’m sorry but who the fuck is Aiden English!? Why is he, of all people, getting wins over a super-popular babyface like Zayn? The WWE has literally learned nothing, nothing from Daniel Bryan; they pulled the trigger on Bryan’s popularity way too late and never got the most out of it and, now that they have another guy who appeals to those fans, they’re straight-up burying him by having him lose to nobodies like Aiden English. Baron Corbin? Sure. Bobby Roode? Sure! But Aiden English? A guy going nowhere, doing nothing, with absolutely zero prospects? What is the point!? It just makes Zayn look like a complete jobber!
Daniel Bryan then announces that, because of Shane’s actions earlier in the show, he’s been indefinitely suspended by Vince McMahon. I guess they really are going with this pointless Owens/Shane feud/match then…great.
Baron Corbin then pinned Tye Dillinger to gain a bit more traction as he looks to be heading into a feud for the Untied States Championship now. I guess, if I apply what I just ranted about to Tye, I can’t complain that super-popular Tye Dillinger lost here; it was a competitive enough match and Tye mainly lost due to Corbin using a cheap shot to set up the End of Days. Also, afterwards, AJ Styles promises Tye a shot at the belt next week.
Shinsuke Nakamura got another major league victory in the main event by pinning Randy Orton after a hard-fought, back-and-forth match that saw him counter the RKO twice and landing the Kinshasa. This was as big a victory for Nakamura as his win over John Cena, again casting him as SmackDown! Live’s premier face. This is also good news and traction for Nakamura’s feud with Jinder Mahal, which is finally gaining some steam as we head towards Hell in the Cell. Hopefully they end up in a massive brawl next week.
Also…where were Mike Kanellis and Bobby Roode this week?