OPENING SEGMENT- (mostly) TREMENDOUS!
Foley comes out and plugs Clash of Champions as “the first ever Raw-exclusive Pay-Per-View.” What about all of those PPVs from 2003-2007? I let the Smackdown crew get away with it because, due to the “Smackdown Live” rebranding and their need to always make sure to follow up Smackdown with the word “Live” every time (as if we won’t know which show they’re talking about if they just say “Smackdown”), what they said- that Backlash was the “first ever Smackdown Live-exclusive Pay-Per-View” was technically true.
Foley transitions to talking about Women’s wrestling and brings out Charlotte and Dana. Charlotte says an “apology” is in order. Everyone sees where this is going other than Mick Foley (who I guess is an idiot today) and poor, gullible Dana, who falls right into it. Dana attempts to suck up to Charlotte by telling her that it’s okay: she doesn’t have to apologize for berating her and slapping her last week… but of course Charlotte flips out at her and says that she would never, ever apologize to Dana. She wants Dana to apologize to her.
She buries Bayley by saying that losing to Bayley is embarrassing, and says that she is “petitioning to get the record changed” to show that it was actually Dana who lost to Bayley. Being a babyface authority figure, Mick probably should have shot that idea down pretty quickly, but Mick did nothing. He just stood there, letting Charlotte bully Dana. Mick was not Being A Star here. Charlotte tells Dana to apologize or her their friendship will be over, so Dana does so.
Mick pulls things back to Clash of Champions, but before he can really say anything, Sasha comes out. She refers to herself as “the one and only legit boss of the WWE.” Last year when the Bellas implied that they “ran” the women’s division, Steph came out and threw a sh*t-fit so bad that she turned babyface for a segment and started the Divas Revolution. I would say this is a sign that Steph has learned to be less insane about these things, but her freak-out two weeks ago when Heyman said “women’s empowerment movement” instead of “Women’s Revolution” is proof that that isn’t even close to being true. Why do I bring this up? Mostly because there is absolutely nothing that annoys me more than when characters will respond to a situation in one way, but will not respond in a similar manner to a similar situation purely because the plot requires that they not do so (which is also why I get so irritated by the babyface authority figures in TNA).
Okay. Back to the segment.
Sasha cuts her promo, Charlotte cuts hers, and then Bayley comes out. For some reason Bayley thinks that the title match is tonight, even though they’ve said “Clash of Champions” at least five times already. She points out that she pinned the champion last week, so she should get a title shot. She delivered this like she was very unsure of herself and nervous, but she way overdid it and it came off terrible.
Sasha said that Bayley should stay out of her way. Charlotte said she’ll end Sasha’s career. Sasha wants to fight right now, but Foley gets between her and Charlotte. Charlotte starts to run her mouth, so Sasha chucks her ring jacket (which she had taken off in preparation to fight) at Charlotte, who was facing perpendicular to Sasha so the jack flew right in front of her face, and Charlotte stopped in shock at Sasha’s audacity, and it was awesome and the whole place popped. Major props to everyone involved in that, from Sasha to Charlotte to the production people, but especially Charlotte for her facials.
Charlotte tried to stir sh*t up between Bayley and Sasha in the hopes that it would convince Mick to put them in a #1 contendership match so that Charlotte would only have to defend her title against one of them. Then Dana tried to help, but she was so perfectly clumsy and heavy-handed, outright saying that they should fight to see who is worthy of facing “the queen” and even suggesting that Mick book a best of seven, and it was at the point where it just made it so obvious what the heels’ real motivation was that saying it was more likely to convince Mick not to listen to them. Charlotte realized this and cut Dana off and scolded her, and threatened to slap her if she opened her mouth again. This whole thing was FANTASTIC! Dana Brooke is quickly becoming my favorite comedy act in wrestling.
For some reason Mick did actually decide to listen to do what Charlotte wanted and booked Sasha vs. Bayley in a #1 contendership match for tonight. Even though she seems to have gotten what she wanted Charlotte is still upset and screams at Dana that this is all her fault… and then DANA SLAPPED CHARLOTTE and the crowd popped and I popped even harder and HOLY SH*T DANA BROOKE IS OVER A BABYFACE! If you had told me one year ago that Dana Brooke would be a babyface in one year’s time, I would have told you to stop doing drugs, but here we are, one year later, and Dana Brooke is a main-roster babyface and I LOVE IT!
Dana’s facial expression during his whole thing was great, and Charlotte’s after the slap was PERFECT! It’s also worth rewinding and watching this a second time just to see Sasha and Bayley’s reactions. PERFECT!
Foley adds Dana to the #1 contendership match. Charlotte starts to corner Dana, and while Dana does indeed let Charlotte back her up into a corner, you can see her confidence growing by the moment.
As you can probably tell, I loved this segment. They could have done a better job of setting up exactly why Charlotte was angry with Dana at the end, but aside from that bit and Bayley’s delivery, the execution was perfect. Props are due to all five of them, but especially Sasha, Dana, and Charlotte.
That being said… I don’t like the booking here at all. First of all, both Sasha and Bayley really do deserve title shots, so Foley booking them in match that will almost certainly result in one of them not getting one doesn’t sit well with me. I would have been a lot happier if Mick had made it so that they were fighting over who will get her title shot first, with the loser getting a shot after Clash of Champions. Similarly, whether she slapped the champion just now or not, Dana does not deserve a title shot because she’s been jobbing left and right for what feels like months at this point.
Perhaps more significantly, though, this Dana babyface turn was extremely ill-timed. Not only does Charlotte currently have programs with two other, more over babyfaces, but now that Dana is a babyface, I think Raw is just about out of heels. There’s Nia is off doing her own thing and won’t get near the belt until a babyface has it. Other than her we’ve got… Summer Rae and that’s it. The Charlotte & Dana act was working, and Charlotte’s plate is already full of babyfaces. Splitting them up now is a big mistake.
WINNER GETS A WWE WOMEN’S TITLE MATCH AT CLASH OF CHAMPIONS: Sasha Banks vs. Bayley vs. Dana Brooke- 7.5/10
Dana has just turned babyface, and has immediately been put in a match where she is the least over the three babyfaces. The match was great and I liked the finish, but Sasha winning means that we’re back where we were before except now Bayley has taken a loss she otherwise wouldn’t have and Dana is a babyface who can’t work with the woman she just turned on.
Charlotte was on commentary. She wasn’t bad or anything, but I think it would have been much better to have her storm to the back (and not just because then the camera wouldn’t keep cutting to her at the commentary table while Bayley is in the middle of performing wrestling moves).
You know that WWE Network commercial that they always show that starts with Ric Flair saying “I hope something exciting happens!”? That thing is almost TWO-AND-A-HALF MINUTES LONG.
Today’s Did You Know is that WWE has more Facebook fans than the NFL and all thirty-two NFL teams combined. Yeah. They’re totally not insecure about the fact that the NFL ratings always kill them.
DANA BROOKE APOLOGIZES TO CHARLOTTE- and they just completed wasted Dana’s face turn. The first time will ALWAYS get the biggest reaction. Now not only have they wasted that reaction, but they’ve weakened any future reaction to the turn by establishing that any future Dana Brooke face turn will be undone before the end of the night like this one has been.
Just like that they killed my mood.
On another note, we’re now almost forty minutes into the show and have yet to see a male wrestlers. That’s got to be a record, right?
THE COLONS TRY TO SELL R-TRUTH A TIME-SHARE IN PUERTO RICO- the time-share is at the “Shining Star Resort.” This gimmick makes SO MUCH MORE SENSE NOW! They are promoting Puerto Rico in order to sell people time-shares. Truth is perfectly happy to buy one, but Goldust shows up and drags him away before he can be taken in by their scam.
Enzo & Cass show up and call them out for cheating to beat them last week. Enzo challenges one of them to a match and the challenge is accepted.
TOM PHILLIPS INTERVIEWS KEVIN OWENS- good promo by Owens. Then Jericho showed up and explained that Sami Zayn will be on the Highlight Reel tonight.
BO DALLAS vs. A JOBBER- squash
The ironic part of trying to build Bo up by having him beat jobbers is that maybe people this would actually work if WWE hadn’t spent so long using Bo instead of an actual jobber when trying to build up others.
Bo has more poetry this week, ending in a declaration that “I should have said this long ago: Only I can Bo-lieve in Bo.”
Yeah… that’s the other reason no one can possibly take this seriously.
CHRIS JERICHO’S HIGHLIGHT REEL WITH SPECIAL GUEST SAMI ZAYN- great segment!
Good promos were cut, then Jericho sucker-punched Sami and laid him out with the Codebreaker.
SHEAMUS PROMO- great!
MATCH #5 IN THEIR BEST OF 7 SERIES: Sheamus(3) vs. Cesaro(1)- 6.75/10
Video of the finish from the match at the London house show was a good touch. This is how you make house shows matter.
The match was very, very good (they keep telling the story of the injured back that they established early on in this series) until finish, which saw babyface Cesaro use the ropes for illegal leverage to win the match. Babyface announcer Michael Cole defended this by saying “you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do.” As heel announcer Corey Graves noted, that is exactly what he would say when someone does something like this. I liked that Graves didn’t do what you’d usually see a heel announcer do here be a hypocrite. I hated that Michael Cole randomly decided to be one (and even more that Creative decided to have Cesaro cheat). The match was also hurt by the fact that the outcome was never really in doubt due to the score in the series.
FOLEY & ROLLINS BACKSTAGE- bad.
Foley said that “the only victories that Stephanie McMahon cares about are Raw’s victories over Smackdown.” Why do they insist on making this a thing?! They’re not even competing! They don’t run head-to-head, either for house shows in the same market or on TV, they advertise Smackdown during Raw and vice-versa, all of their revenue goes to the same place… so how are they competing?! WWE always feels the need to throw this sort of comment into a segment, and it just drives me nuts because at best it is wasted time, and at worst they have their characters insult a show that they want people to watch! If Raw is “better than Smackdown” and I just watched three hours of Raw tonight, why should I go watch two hours of Smackdown tomorrow?
Rollins threatens to interfere in the main event because he doesn’t think Roman deserves to be in the title match. Foley tells him not to. Rollins said Foley is being an idiot if he believes Steph that she had no idea that Hunter was going to do what he did in the title match two weeks ago. The insinuation that he was being duped bothered Foley.
Zayn vs. Jericho booked for Clash of Champions!
ALICIA FOX vs. NIA JAX- no rating, good squash.
Once again we got a backstage interview with one of the competitors (Nia, who cut a passable promo) after the other one had already made her entrance. Why not just do this before the commercial break?
Cole points out that this is Nia’s first step up in competition since joining the main roster. She killed Fox dead via spear through the barricade into the timekeeper’s area.
NEW DAY PROMO- sh*t.
During New Day’s entrance, Big E. had wrestling boots filled with Booty-O’s which he was pouring out into bowls for fans along the barricade. As Corey Graves rightfully pointed out, HE’S SERVING PEOPLE FOOD HE KEEPS IN HIS SHOES! THAT’S DISGUSTING!
Woods said that last week “Gallows & Anderson tried their hand at entertainment.” Then he got very angry and said “entertainment is our thing. Do not. Touch. Our. Thing.” I was about to make some sort of comment about how no one could have possibly mistaken last week’s segment for “entertainment,” but when you realize what New Day usually does, I can completely see them (and even more frighteningly, WWE Creative) thinking that segment was entertaining.
Then they scared the sh*t out of me by claiming they were about to share replay that segment. Then of all people THE NEW DAY became indignant that someone wasted my time. This was quite ironic.
Gallows & Anderson came out and Karl Anderson said the following. “And you talk about Booty-O’s and you wear your stupid unicorn horns, and we’re the ones wasting people’s time?”
PREACH ON, BROTHER KARL!
Gallows then said that at the PPV they would beat up New Day and rip off their unicorn horns and win the tag titles. Now THAT is a f*cking promo!
LUKE GALLOWS & KARL ANDERSON vs. NEW DAY (w/Big E. Langston)- 6.5/10
We’re getting a title match in two weeks at the PPV… but we’re also getting a non-title match here, just because. Gallows & Anderson win clean, as they should.
TOM PHILLIPS INTERVIEWS ROMAN REIGNS- they’ve got Roman back to being the “doesn’t talk much, and only talks about kicking people’s asses”-type. It work so much better for him.
Cole said that this Wednesday they would “crown the Cruiserweight Champion.” Did he misspeak or is winner of the CWC going to get the Cruiserweight Title instead of that big giant trophy.
JINDER MAHAL PROMO- During his time off he “trekked in the Himalayas” (I wonder if he bumped into BJ Whitmer and Kevin Sullivan) and studied at some monasteries and has now found inner peace. Good for him.
JINDER MAHAL vs. JACK SWAGGER- 3.5/10
Jinder Mahal just talked about finding inner peace… but he’s not American and therefore, when you put him against Jack Swagger, the crowd will boo him and chant “USA!” LOL.
If you could push one of these two… WHY THE F*CK WOULD YOU GO WITH JINDER MAHAL?!
TOM PHILLIPS INTERVIEWS JACK SWAGGER- weird.
Tom starts off by saying the following: “It’s no secret that your contract with Monday Night Raw expires soon.” Umm… yes it is! I sure didn’t know it, and I doubt anyone else in the viewing audience did, either. Tom then started to say something but stopped and Swagger walked off.
ENZO AMORE PROMO- fine
ENZO AMORE (w/Colin Cassady) vs. EPICO COLON (w/Primo Colon)- 3.75/10
Epico wins vs. Roode/Warrior finish.
BRAUN STROWMAN VIDEO PACKAGE- he is “devouring the competition.” The jokes are too easy to be worth making.
KEVIN OWENS & SETH ROLLINS BACKSTAGE- fine, aside from the audio problem (Owens was echoing), which was really annoying. Foley showed up to echo, too. He warned Rollins not to interfere in the main event, or else. I assume all of talk of Seth interfering is a swerve to set up Hunter interfering (hence why Steph is out of the country).
They now have an entire WWE Network commercial doing nothing else but promoting the WWE Network as the only place you can get The Rock. If I don’t start seeing these for Austin, HBK, Sting, Piper, Dusty, Warrior, etc. as well as Dwayne, I’m going to be quite annoyed.
IF ROMAN WINS, HE WILL BE ADDED TO THE WWE UNIVERSAL TITLE MATCH AT CLASH OF CHAMPIONS: Roman Reigns vs Kevin Owens- 7.5/10
Rollins attacks Owens to cause a DQ, thus Roman loses... but Foley restarted it, so at least we don’t get a DQ. Foley yelled at Rollins and ordered him to come backstage for “a talk.” Adam Peace made what I believe was his Raw debut as a nameless road agent, a role that his generic appearance makes him ideally suited for.
Owens wins after Rusev distracts Roman so I guess their feud is back from vacation. Rusev beat Roman up after the match. I had totally forgotten than Rusev was the US Champion until Lana showed up with the belt. No one came out to help Roman, presumably because they all realize that he 100% has this coming for all of the mean, terrible, and uncalled-for things he said about Rusev and Lana.
A very strange Raw. On the whole it was enjoyable, but there were quite a few very strange Creative decisions made that leave me scratching my head as to whether or not this show can really be called good.
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