The WWE Raw brand had a successful pay-per-view on Sunday night called No Mercy. The two main matches saw Universal Champion Brock Lesnar beat Braun Strowman in an underwhelming bout that had high expectations, whileRoman Reigns also beat John Cena in the longest match of the show that went nearly 25 minutes. I enjoyed that match a lot, although I know some people hated it because it made Roman look too strong. He kicked out of Cena’s finisher three times while Cena was pinned easily after one Spear in the ring (he took one through a table too). Welcome to today’s WWE, my friends.

Looking ahead, the next Raw PPV is Tables, Ladders & Chairs next month. Brock Lesnar is not expected to be at that show, so that means no sign of the Universal Championship until possibly Survivor Series. John Cena is also going be out until Survivor Series time as well. More on him later.

I’ll use this opening space to talk about the big moments on the show involving Roman Reigns and the main event featuring the cruiserweights. It feels weird to type that, but that’s what happened.

Miz TV had Roman Reigns as a guest leading to a match

Raw started with The Miz in the ring with his Miztourage duo of Curtis Axel and Bo Dallas as Miz hosted his talk show. The guest was Roman Reigns, who quickly put over John Cena for the match they had at No Mercy and said that he respected Cena. The conversation turned into an argument as expected after Reigns told Axel and Dallas to fetch him a beer. Miz said that’s not what they were for.

When Reigns talked about his desire to get the Universal Championship, Miz told him he felt disrespected that Reigns would mention another title on Miz TV since Miz is Intercontinental Champion. He then talked about how if the Miztourage was around when The Shield was together in WWE (from late 2012 to mid-2014), then The Shield wouldn’t have dominated WWE.

Heels lie, people. What’s funny is the crowd was booing Reigns, but when Miz mentioned Reigns with The Shield, the fans loved it. Anyway, Reigns challenged Miz to a match and Miz backed away. That’s when Raw general manager Kurt Angle made the match official.

This was a typical Raw opening segment done to set up a big match for later. WWE books matches like that all the time.

Roman Reigns defeated The Miz and was attacked after the match

This took place at the end of hour two right around halftime of the NFL’s Monday Night Football game between the Dallas Cowboys and Arizona Cardinals. That’s the most important segment for WWE during NFL season and they know it.

Reigns was selling a back injury from the match he had on Sunday. Miz got the advantage after distractions from Axel and Dallas. Reigns ended up winning clean after about nine minutes. I thought they might get more time, but it was on the short side since it was under 10 minutes. Reigns won with the Spear.

Post-match, the predictability continued with the three heels attacking Reigns from behind. At first, Reigns fought them off, but then Dallas and Axel hit him in the back with steel chairs. Miz followed up with the Skull Crushing Finale on Reigns. After the beating with the chairs to the back and ribs, Miz hit Reigns with the Skull Crushing Finale on the steel chair for a second time.

After the attack, Miz, Axel and Dallas stood over Reigns doing the Shield three-man fist pose. Nobody helped Reigns.

As I mentioned in the No Mercy review, there are rumors that WWE might do the Shield reunion at TLC next month mainly because with Lesnar or Cena on the card, there’s a lack of star power. By putting The Shield back together, it might drum up more interest for TLC.

The question is who do they have? If it’s Miz, Axel & Dallas, I don’t think that trio is strong enough. I think it would be better if it was Miz, Cesaro & Sheamus because they have more credibility and would have a better match against The Shield, who would likely get the win. For now, it’s just a rumor. But a segment like this showed that a Shield reunion is clearly the direction WWE is heading in.

Enzo Amore’s Cruiserweight Championship celebration was ruined

The cruiserweight division main evented Raw. It feels weird just typing that, but it’s true. Prior to the segment, Enzo asked Kurt Angle to give him a protective order that means if anybody attacks him during the celebration, then they can’t get a title shot against him.

It was a celebration of Enzo Amore winning the Cruiserweight Title from Neville at No Mercy. Enzo bragged about his title win. He ripped on his old partner Big Cass (out with a torn ACL) and said that he was holding up Cass all those years and this title proves that. The rest of the cruiserweight division stood on the stage almost as a protest to Enzo holding that title.

Enzo then bragged about how he brought attention to the division while noting that his merchandise checks are more than all of them combined. He ripped on some of the guys like Rich Swann, Gran Metalik (saying his gut makes Enzo question if he’s over the 205-pound weight limit), Jack Gallagher and so on.

Neville interrupted the celebration to put Enzo in his place and tell him that he is not liked. Neville called him a joke because of how he acts and how he won the title when he kicked Neville in the groin behind the ref’s back. Neville kicked him in the ribs, which would technically mean that Neville won’t get a future title shot. He then beat him all around ringside. They went back in the ring with Neville hitting his Red Arrow splash. He stared at a fallen Enzo to end it.

The promo by Enzo was heelish and the crowd cheered Neville beating him up, so there are some people that think Enzo is a heel now while Neville is a face. I don’t think Neville’s a face because of what he did. I think WWE might want to have Neville move on from the cruiserweight division and that might be a way to write him out of it.

As for Enzo’s future, I don’t think his character is going to be changed that much, but he might be booked against some faces going forward to make it look like he’s a heel. Enzo is mostly a tweener in that he’s between a face and heel. Some people love the guy because of the catchphrases. Others hate him because of how annoying he is. It’s up to you to decide what you think. We should know more on 205 Live (I admit I don’t watch it most weeks) and Raw next week.

After Raw was over, Braun Strowman and the rest of the cruiserweight division beat up Enzo some more. WWE uploaded it on their YouTube channel.

This Week’s Raw Matches

Here are the other matches from this week’s Raw. I’m gonna be brief here because these were uneventful matches.

Matt Hardy & Jason Jordan defeated Curtis Axel & Bo Dallas

This was a basic tag match with Jordan subbing in for Jeff Hardy, who is injured. More on that later. Heels worked on Jordan for most of it, Matt got the hot tag, Jordan threw a bunch of suplexes and Matt got the clean win with the Twist of Fate. Just a normal match here.

Did you see above where I mentioned that the Miztourage is booked like losers? If they are going to team with Miz against The Shield, then why would they lose a match like this? They should have won this match. Instead, they looked like losers again.

Elias defeated Apollo Crews

This almost put me to sleep with how boring it was. Elias kicked Titus O’Neil while outside the ring, so that distracted Crews and Elias kicked him, followed by his Drift Away finisher to win. Boring match that wasn’t given much time.

Braun Strowman destroys Curt Hawkins and defeated Dean Ambrose

Curt Hawkins began in the ring talking about his 118-match losing streak. Braun Strowman answered his “challenge” and beat the crap out of him. Strowman gave Hawkins a Running Powerslam through one of the screens at the top of the ramp on the stage. Hawkins had scars on his back from the attack.

Strowman asked for a fight, so Ambrose answered him. Ambrose had his left shoulder taped up to sell a mild injury he had at No Mercy. Strowman targeted the arm for most of the match. There was a cool spot on the floor where Ambrose countered a move and hit a DDT on the floor. Strowman recovered from it fine. Ambrose went for an elbow off the top, Strowman caught him and hit a Running Powerslam to win the match that went about seven minutes. It was done to put Strowman over after his loss at No Mercy.

Later in the show, Seth Rollins said that he was going to challenge Strowman for a match next week. Later on Raw, it was announced as an official match for next week.

Seth Rollins defeated Sheamus

Rollins was alone without partner Dean Ambrose, who was in the back selling the injuries from the Strowman match. I thought Sheamus might win because he had Cesaro at ringside, but that didn’t happen. Sheamus controlled most of the match, but he missed a top rope attack. Rollins kicked him in the face and hit his running knee to the face for the win. It only went about five minutes, which is much shorter than you might expect from guys like this.

Finn Balor defeated Goldust

The new word WWE is shoving down our throats to put over Finn Balor is “extraordinary.” The announcers said it a few times and Goldust even said to him “I know you’re extraordinary.” It’s so awkward, yet it’s a WWE thing to put labels on people.

Goldust got in a decent amount of offense and Balor came back to win. This match felt so similar to the Reigns/Miz and Rollins/Sheamus matches too where the faces sold most of it and came back to win. Maybe I’ve watched too much wrestling in my life. Nothing ever feels fresh anymore especially in TV matches.

Post-match, the Bray Wyatt logo appeared on the screen and kids were heard singing “he’s got the whole world in his hands,” so the Balor/Wyatt feud is likely over.

Bayley & Sasha Banks defeated Nia Jax & Emma

This felt like so many other women’s tag matches where you knew who was going to take the pin, who wasn’t going to get pinned and who was going to get the pin. I noted earlier that Strowman got the win in his match to make us forget about his loss at No Mercy. That happened for Bayley as well because she got pinned at No Mercy and she ended up winning this match for her team by pinning Emma.

That was no surprise since Emma had Nia Jax on her team, who is the most protected woman in WWE. If Nia is in a tag she’s either winning for her team or her partner is getting beat.

I really hope there’s some sort of storyline progression with Sasha and Bayley because both of them are so boring as faces. Please turn one of them heel. I prefer Banks because she’s way better in that role.

Other Key Items From Raw

1. John Cena commented on his current situation

There was a video package about Roman Reigns’ win over John Cena at No Mercy which included highlights of Cena as a guest on Raw Talk after No Mercy. During that video, Cena talked about how he’s been a top guy in WWE at an elite level for a long time and after 15 years, he knows things are changing.

In other words, he’s a part-timer who’s also focusing on other things. Cena said he respected Reigns, which was the whole point of the feud after they did the personal promos ripping on each other. Typical respect ending for them.

Cena isn’t retired and I think he’ll wrestle through his 40s. He’s 40 now and in great shape, so why stop? He won’t. It’s just that the days of Cena as a full-timer are over and Cena’s comments were his way of getting fans to understand that. Cena is expected to be back for Survivor Series in November, so he’ll be off TV for over a month filming his movies like Bumblebee, which is a Transformers spinoff.

2. Mickie James delivered a message to Alexa Bliss

I thought this segment was great. I admit I may be biased because Mickie James is my favorite woman in WWE history and is also a friend of mine, but I thought they did well. The dialogue was good with Bliss bragging about how she’s the goddess of WWE who beat four women at No Mercy and cleaned out the entire Raw women’s division.

That’s when Mickie showed up to tell her that she wasn’t in the match. Bliss ripped on Mickie by mocking her age, which led to Mickie making a joke about how she was making history in the women’s division when Bliss was still in her training bra. Crowd loved that line.

It’s a rivalry that should lead to a Raw Women’s Title match at TLC next month. I hope there’s a title change with James winning her seventh Raw Women’s Title, but I think WWE will want to keep the title on Bliss when Asuka gets to Raw. Asuka could be kept away from the title until next year, though. James is 38 and Bliss is 26, so the story works well for them in terms of the age gap and Bliss making the jokes while James wants to prove she can still go, which she can.

3. Jeff Hardy will be out for at least six months after shoulder surgery next week

Jeff Hardy needs shoulder surgery due to a torn rotator cuff and torn labrum. His surgery will take place next Tuesday, so we won’t know how long he’ll be gone officially until then. The reason I noted six months above is because historically speaking, that kind of injury means at least half a year out of action. Jeff has also commented about having knee injuries as well, so maybe he’ll do more surgery and clean it all up. We’ll know more by next week. He’ll be missed, that’s for sure.

Brother Matt is ready to fight on without Jeff.

I wonder if Matt will tweak the character to be like “Broken Matt” in TNA. Since WWE can’t legally do it yet, they may have him be “Woken Matt” instead. I’m all for something different.

Looking Ahead to WWE TLC

The next Raw brand WWE pay-per-view is TLC on Oct. 22.

No matches have been announced yet, although a video aired at No Mercy about Asuka debuting on Raw at TLC.

It should be noted that Universal Champion Brock Lesnar and John Cena are not scheduled for the show.

In Closing

It was an average Raw that is pretty standard during this time of year in WWE. The worst months of the WWE year are the last three or four months of the year because they tend not to do anything that big in terms of storylines. “Playing it safe” is a good term to use. If WWE has any big ideas, they will save them for the new year when we have Royal Rumble and WrestleMania to get excited about. Until then, it’s all about staying the course.

If you missed this week’s Raw, you really didn’t miss a whole lot. The Enzo promo was a memorable segment, but we shouldn’t pretend like people care about the cruiserweight division that much either. I liked the promos from The Miz, Alexa Bliss and Mickie James a lot because they felt more real than some of the hokey stuff you might see on a WWE show. In terms of matches, it was one of the weakest Raws of the year because nothing in the ring really stood out.

Next week’s Raw has The Miz vs. Roman Reigns for the Intercontinental Champion (I’m predicting a disqualification finish) and Braun Strowman vs. Seth Rollins.

I’ll be back Wednesday with a review of Smackdown Live.

About John Canton

John has been writing about WWE online since the late 1990s. He's written for WhatCulture, Bleacher Report, Layfield Report, Rajah.com and many other places. You can follow John Canton on Twitter @johnreport or email him at mrjohncanton@gmail.com with any comments or questions. For more of his wrestling opinions, visit his website at TJRWrestling.net.