The WWE Raw crew continued the road to their next pay-per-view called No Mercy on Sept. 24. The show was built around the two main feuds on the Raw brand right now: Brock Lesnar vs. Braun Strowman for the Universal Title and Roman Reigns vs. John Cena.
Roman Reigns defeated Jason Jordan
This was similar to John Cena beating Jordan last week on Raw. That match went about 12 minutes and Reigns called Jordan a “rookie,” which was ridiculous. Reigns also said it took Cena 20 minutes to win, which was also dumb. This match went about 15 minutes with Jordan getting even more offense on Reigns. The crowd was into Jordan more this week than any other week since the Kurt Angle storyline started a few months ago. Jordan won them over with his great work in the ring including that incredible back to back Northern Lights Suplex spot that led to a nearfall.
The finish saw Jordan miss a charge in the corner, Reigns hit a Drive By kick, then a Superman Punch and a Spear to win. It wasn’t a surprise that Reigns would win because WWE wants to give him momentum going into the Cena match at No Mercy.
After the match, Reigns shook Jordan’s hand to show him respect the same way Cena did with Jordan last week. Meanwhile, John Cena was interviewed backstage and said he had some thing to say to Roman after a break.
Roman Reigns and John Cena exchanged words again, with Cena making it personal
For the third straight week, Reigns and Cena had a talk in the ring.
Cena noted that Reigns took a while to beat Jason Jordan after Reigns ripped on Cena last week for taking too long to beat Jordan. Reigns said he was having a great match and he’s had more great matches in the last two years than Cena has had in his whole career. I don’t believe that at all. Cena has had more great matches, but Reigns has had plenty of them too. Then Cena fired back saying that he doesn’t believe Reigns has what it takes to beat him. He was about to leave when Reigns called for his “bitch ass” to return.
Things took a weird turn here as Reigns claimed that ticket sales on Raw were great and revenue is sky-high while WWE can clearly make it without Cena. The reality is that Cena was brought to Raw because WWE wanted his star power to boost the show since Reigns isn’t a great draw and that ticket sales were slow for Raw. This is WWE, though, where they don’t want to mention stuff like that. Reigns claimed that WWE doesn’t need Cena and that Cena needs WWE. Reigns told Cena that he can’t back up what he says.
Cena ended the promo with this parting shot: “At No Mercy, consider me like a drug test holmes… (pause)… you ain’t getting past me.” That’s a reference to Reigns failing a drug test last year and getting suspended for 30 days. The announcers didn’t mention it, of course, but the crowd knew because they let out a loud “ooohhh” reaction to it.
This wasn’t as good as the promo from two weeks ago, but it was similar to last week in that it was very good. Let me put it this way. The promo from two weeks ago (Aug. 28) was an A and these last two weeks were a solid B or B- range. I’m a big fan of these kinds of promos because it makes the feuds feel more personal than a typical wrestling promo. The other thing I like is that it hasn’t been a physical feud, but rather it’s centered around the war of words between them.
If you’re wondering, I’m picking Reigns to win at No Mercy. He’s the younger guy and I think the match is doing it to try to get Cena to put him over in the ring, as well as verbally after the match.
Braun Strowman destroyed Brock Lesnar again
Brock Lesnar, the Universal Champion, stood in the ring while his advocate Paul Heyman did the talking. Heyman did a masterful job of praising Strowman for beating up Lesnar at SummerSlam, for being bigger and stronger than Lesnar, but questioned if Strowman is better than Lesnar. Heyman added that Strowman’s path of destruction is similar to Lesnar during his debut year of 2002. Heyman did the UFC (he called it the Brocktogon) thing of asking Lesnar if he’s ready and called out Strowman.
Strowman didn’t say a word as he confronted Lesnar in the ring. They started to brawl with Lesnar going for a German Suplex and he connected with it. However, when Strowman landed, he got right to his feet as if the move didn’t affect him at all. Lesnar was stunned by it. Strowman hit a Chokeslam followed by a Running Powerslam. Strowman put his foot on the chest of Lesnar and held up the Universal Title in the air. Strowman then put the Universal Title on Brock’s chest to end it.
RAW is BRAUN
BRAUN is WAR
BRAUN is BRAUN pic.twitter.com/vvyZxTbggX
— TDE Wrestling (@totaldivaseps) September 12, 2017
They are doing a fantastic job of building up Strowman as an unbeatable challenger. I’m leaning towards a Lesnar victory because I think Vince McMahon really wants Lesnar vs. Reigns at WrestleMania next year, with Lesnar not losing a match again until that night. I think it would be better to have Strowman win the title at No Mercy and if they really want Lesnar to get the title back, then have him win it at Royal Rumble. Putting the title on Strowman would be a welcome sight. I’m not a Lesnar fan at all. I just want something different and I think Strowman has earned it.
It was mentioned by Dave Meltzer on Wrestling Observer Radio that Lesnar won’t be on Raw next week, so that was the last face-to-face build for Strowman vs. Lesnar. There will probably be a promo video next week.
John Cena defeated Braun Strowman by disqualification after Strowman dominated him
This match aired at the end of hour two around the 10 p.m. ET hour, probably because it was right between the two NFL games on ESPN. It’s also because WWE knows fewer people watch the third hour because it’s such a long show, so by putting it on at this time they would get a bigger audience.
I was surprised that they would do this match without advertising it more. It was just announced on Monday afternoon with no build.
The match was disappointing in terms of quality, but it was effective as a way to make Strowman look like a badass. There wasn’t much to it with neither man really getting believable nearfalls. Early on, Strowman hit a dropkick that drew a big reaction. Later, Cena made the comeback and even hit the Attitude Adjustment although Strowman rolled to the floor to avoid the pin.
The finish was a cheap ending designed to not have either man lose. Strowman was on the floor with the ring steps and hit Cena in the head with them. The ref was looking right at them, yet didn’t call for the bell. They went back in the ring and Strowman hit a Running Powerslam on Cena on the ring steps in the ring. The ref called for the disqualification there. Strowman’s music played, even though he lost the match.
Do wins and losses even matter? Of course not. They should matter in theory because it’s how we, the fans, determine who the better man is. It doesn’t matter in terms of WWE booking since they are so inconsistent. In WWE’s eyes, Strowman “won” because he dominated.
I thought Lesnar might come out to brawl with Strowman there, but he didn’t show up at all.
It was a big night for Strowman as he decimated two of WWE’s biggest stars in Lesnar and Cena. Nobody looks stronger in WWE right now than Strowman. I’m still picking Lesnar to retain the title at No Mercy. Like I said, it’s not what I want. It’s what I think WWE will do.
This Week’s Raw Matches
Here are the rest of the results from this week’s Raw.
Sasha Banks defeated Emma
It was an easy win for Banks as expected. The only surprising thing about it is that it took about seven minutes for Banks to win. Emma is booked like such a loser that we expect her to lose quicker than that. There wasn’t a point in the match where it looked like Emma might win either. Since Emma is getting a title shot in the four-way match at No Mercy, I thought she might win by cheating, but that didn’t happen.
The duo of Alexa Bliss and Nia Jax were on commentary for this match to do some staring at the other girls. Later in the show, Jax informed Bliss that they are having a singles match next week on Raw.
Bray Wyatt defeated Goldust
Wyatt did a promo about Goldust being a man who’s hiding behind his paint. Wyatt won in about three minutes. Post-match, Wyatt took a towel and rubbed off some of Goldust’s paint. Finn Balor made the save as Wyatt left. Boring match and segment.
Remember that angle a month ago where Goldust said he would find somebody to mentor? Apparently, WWE forgot because they have done nothing to follow up on it. Welcome to 2017 WWE where the creative team forgets their own shit they promise. They think fans are idiots and that we forget about things, yet they are the ones that forgot way more.
Elias defeated Kalisto
It was the third straight boring match with a predictable outcome. Elias did his song to get heat, Kalisto interrupted and Elias won clean. Yawn.
Enzo Amore defeated The Miz by disqualification
This was set up after Enzo was a guest on Miz TV, which I’ll cover a little later in the show because Miz was awesome during that segment.
This match featured both men using the microphone to deliver promos during the match. There wasn’t much to it as Miz kicked Enzo out of the ring, which led to Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel beating up Enzo on the floor. Miz hit Enzo with the Skull Crushing Finale in the ring.
After the match, Enzo was stumbling around backstage and Neville, the Cruiserweight Champion and Enzo’s opponent at No Mercy, walked up to him laughing. That was it. No cruiserweight match on the show.
Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose, Jeff Hardy & Matt Hardy defeated Luke Gallows
It was the main event of the show after Gallows & Anderson vs. Sheamus & Cesaro was supposed to happen earlier in the night. Those teams ended up brawling with Rollins & Ambrose on the stage, so that led to Raw GM Kurt Angle telling Seth and Dean to get partners for the main event. Predictably, the Hardys were the faces who teamed up with Seth and Dean.
I have mentioned WWE having some very predictable tag matches of late and this one falls in that category. After Rollins got the hot tag for the face team, Cesaro and Sheamus bailed to the floor and left up the ramp leaving their partners alone against four guys. The only question with this match was which member of the face team would be the one to get the pin. It ended up being Ambrose after Rollins hit a knee to the face followed by the Dirty Deeds from Ambrose.
A match like that shouldn’t main event the show, but WWE knows the third hour gets the least amount of viewers of the three hours, so there will be some weeks where the main event is a random tag like this.
Other Key Items From Raw
1. The Miz and Maryse announced they are having a baby; Miz destroyed Enzo with a promo
The Miz TV segment started with Miz and Maryse announcing they are having a baby. Maryse doesn’t look pregnant yet, but I assume she will be in six or seven months. In wrestling, you never know if it’s real or if it’s just part of a storyline. I think it’s real in this case, considering they have been together for about a decade and married for a few years. Miz had a good line about how unlike Kurt Angle, he’s going to be there for the kid from day one. Miz was about to read a speech about being a dad when Enzo Amore interrupted.
Miz absolutely destroyed Enzo in this promo. Miz ripped on Enzo as a guy with so much potential, but wastes it because of how he acts. Enzo legitimately was kicked off a bus on a WWE tour and kicked out of a locker room, which Miz referenced in this promo. Miz talked about how a champion like Neville cares about honing his craft in the ring while Enzo only cares about hanging out with third-rate rappers. Enzo didn’t have much of a retort other than to say that Miz copied guys like Ric Flair and Chris Jericho (the suit wearing thing), so it’s fair to say Miz won this promo battle.
I think Miz is the best talker in WWE among the wrestlers. The others that are right there with him are John Cena and Kevin Owens. Paul Heyman might be the best overall still, but he’s not a wrestler. I think I might rank Miz at the top spot now. He’s so great at ripping people.
2. Asuka is Headed to Raw
There was a quick video about former NXT Women’s Champion Asuka coming to Raw soon. The expectation is that it will be around November because she’s dealing with a collarbone injury. If you saw her in NXT, you know how good she is. If you don’t watch NXT, then you’re missing out. Asuka was booked as an undefeated champion and she didn’t lose a match before winning the title either. Moving her to Raw is the right move because she couldn’t do anything more in NXT while Raw could use the help. Smackdown has more depth, although Raw has more women on their show.
Looking Ahead to WWE No Mercy
— WWE (@WWE) September 12, 2017
The next Raw brand WWE pay-per-view is No Mercy on Sunday, Sept. 24 in Los Angeles. Here’s what we know so far.
WWE Universal Championship: Brock Lesnar vs. Braun Strowman
Roman Reigns vs. John Cena
Raw Tag Team Championships: Dean Ambrose & Seth Rollins vs Sheamus & Cesaro
Finn Balor vs. Bray Wyatt
Raw Women’s Championship: Alexa Bliss vs. Sasha Banks vs. Nia Jax vs. Emma
Cruiserweight Championship: Neville vs. Enzo Amore
There will probably be two or three matches added to the card.
It was an average edition of Raw that did a great job of making Strowman look like the “monster” that he is. I really enjoyed Reigns vs. Jordan a lot. Most of the other matches were disappointing and reflective of formulaic booking that hurts Raw on a regular basis.
The promos by Miz, Cena and Reigns were all well done. That’s something Raw has improved on since Cena got there last month. Cena’s presence has helped Raw become a better show.
I’ll be back Wednesday with a review of Smackdown Live with three titles on the line, plus Vince McMahon addressing the issues between Shane McMahon and Kevin Owens. It should be a good one.