KELLER’S WWE RAW REPORT
SEPTEMBER 4, 2017
AIRED LIVE ON USA NETWORK
Announcers: Michael Cole, Corey Graves, Booker T
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-They opened with a video package on the John Cena-Roman Reigns segment. Now we get to learn what Vince McMahon liked about last week’s segment. Cena said Reigns has been the blue chip prospect who “has been protected” since he arrived, but he is the one dude there ain’t no protection from. He said he knows Reigns doesn’t want to fight him. Then came Reigns soundbites, including Reigns saying Cena isn’t as big of a deal as he thinks he is. They showed Cena selling it. Reigns said it’s not that he doesn’t want to fight him, but perhaps he just doesn’t need to. Cena said the fans go “back and forth” with Reigns because the see what he sees – “a cheap ass corporately created John Cena bootleg.” That is the line Cole repeated in commentary last week, so we knew Vince liked that already. Then they aired Cena saying Reigns isn’t thee guy, but just a guy trying to fill shoes he never will. He said he won’t sign the contract because the Roman Empire goes away if he does. Reigns retorted that Cena did it again and spun something. He called him “yes man” and “part-timing fake-ass bitch” and he’ll be damned if he doesn’t bust his ass every single week so he can hang out at the Today Show and “climb onto the big ass bus.” Reigns said he’s then going to bury as much of the young talent as he can because that’s how he stays on top of the mountain. Reigns said Cena is the one guy in WWE that Cena can’t see. Cena then replied that Reigns complains about him, but he didn’t headline WM the last five years and opened Summerslam. Cena said Reigns should be ashamed because he can do it better part time than Reigns can ever do it full time. He said he is still there because Reigns can’t do his job.
(Keller’s Analysis: So that highlight package shows us what Vince liked about last week’s segment, but also clues to what he didn’t like, such as Reigns forgetting his line and Cena calling him out. They didn’t really explain how WWE is protecting Reigns, as Cena claimed, since they’ve put him against almost all of WWE’s toughest competition; it’s not like he wrestles Tye Dillinger or Curt Hawkins every week. Storyline-reason, it doesn’t make sense in the narrative of WWE.)
-Cole introduced the show and welcomed viewers to Raw. The graphic said they were in Omaha, Neb, but Cole did not.
-Cena made his ring entrance. Cole said last week they experienced the power of the spoken word, and that’s why No Mercy means so much once they do battle in the ring. Cole welcomed Booker back. He slipped in a reference to Reigns and Cena being a “Heated Conversation.”
(1) JASON JORDAN vs. JOHN CENA
Cole called this a career-making moment tonight for Jordan. Cole threw to a clip of Cena on the June 27, 2002 Smackdown making his debut against Kurt Angle. I’m surprised they didn’t superimpose jorts into the footage. Graves said Jordan will have to weather the nerves of facing someone like Cena in this setting. Booker said this will be a lesson that Jordan can’t pay for in any school around the world. When Cole said Jordan looked comfortable, Booker said Conor McGregor looked comfortable until around the sixth round and then everything changed. Jordan grounded Cena with a bearhug from behind. Graves credited Cena for giving this opportunity to Jordan. Cole said this is Cena giving a chance to Angle’s son that Angle gave to him 15 years ago. Booker said this strategy will only work so long. Cena escaped with an elbow and then applied a chinlock. Cena whipped Jordan hard into the corner and then went for a cover. It’s not often anyone goes for a pin after a whip into the turnbuckles. They cut to a break. [c]
Cena cut a Jordan comeback short and landed two flying shoulder tackles. Jordan came back with a dropkick and scored a two count. Both were slow to get up. Cole mentioned they were “live in Omaha on Labor Day” and thanked everyone for joining them. Cena eventually got Jordan down and went into the Five Knuckle Shuffle routine. Jordan escaped and rolled up Cena. Cena countered quickly into an STF, which as usual looked absolutely terrible with tons of light showing. It’s got to be a conscious strategy to avoid looking like he’s choking anyone, right? Jordan slipped out and then applied a crossface. He shifted into a chinlock and applied it tight. Cena stood with Jordan on his shoulders. Jordan gave Cena two unreleased Northern Lights suplexes into a bridge for a near fall. Cole exclaimed that Jordan came “that close” to a victory over Cena on Raw. Graves wondered how Jordan’s genetics played into this because it was “cold blooded Kurt Angle” stuff. They picked up the pace with Cena landing on Jordan while shifting his weight mid-air and then hitting a sudden Attitude Adjustment for the win. Cole said, “Big Match Cena does it again!”
Afterward, Cena helped Jordan stand up and patted him on the back. Then he stood on the second rope and played to the crowd.
WINNER: Cena in 12:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: Good match. This plays into the narrative that Cena gives young wrestlers chances that works on two levels – for the casual and ardent fans.)
-Out walked Roman Reigns to his music as Cena continued to celebrate. They cut to a sudden break. What a cliffhanger! [c]
-Back live, Reigns had entered the ring. The crowd chanted “Cena! Cena!” as Reigns’s music faded. “I’ve got one question for you, John,” he said. Boos. Reigns asked if he is what he says it is, why does it take a 16 time champ “over 20 minutes to beat a rookie” (or just under 12). He said if Cena is as good as he says he is, he would have beat him right away, but he strung it out and let him believe in himself and let the fans get into it, “then you crushed him.” He continued: “Or you lied last week… and you’re not as good and as strong as you said you are.” He said he’s a lying, fake-ass little bitch. The crowd went from “What’ing” Cena to “ohhhh’ing” him.
Cena said, “Ladies and gentlemen, welcome Debbie Downer to Monday Night Raw.” He said he’d say he is happy to see him, but he’s disgusted by his whole face. He said Reigns is doing the worst thing a man like him should be doing – trying to use his brain. He said they all saw last week that’s not his strong suit, so stay in his lane.
Reigns said Cena is wondering if he strings his opponents along, allowing them to make their own mistakes and then adapting to overcome (like Floyd Mayweather?). Cena said he’ll find all of that out in person at No Mercy. He told him not to burn his brain cells and said he came out there with a broken zipper. Roman said, “I busted it, actually. Big dawg!” The crowd applauded and laughed. Cena said, “I’m sorry, I was just looking for your balls, but you ain’t got none, so it’s okay.” Roman said, “You would be looking for those.”
Cena said at No Mercy he’s going to get beat and he’s going to get beat by either a guy who lost a step or a guy whose been stringing him along for years, letting him waltz out there with mistake after mistake after mistake just so he could pick the right time to chop his ass down to size. Cena said the only question Reigns is going to have after No Mercy is, “How in the hell did this happen?” He said he’d answer that now. “Because you’re a conceited know-it-all golden boy who needs to be taught a lesson in respect.” He said Chad Gable and Jason Jordan and even Miz scratched and clawed to earn every single inch. “Damn, I respect that,” Cena said. He told Reigns he doesn’t respect him. He said the only person living a lie is him calling Cena a “fake ass bitch.”
Cena said the fans don’t agree when he says it’s his yard and he’s thee guy. He said he has one question for him: “Is there any room in that protected, clouded, conceited brain of yours to see what the hell is going on here?” he said. “Or do I have to beat some common sense into you.” Reigns smiled and laughed. Reigns said, “Now we’re talking, John. Do it… Come on, do it. Do it right here, right now.” Reigns asked Omaha if they want to see “John Cena beat my ass?” The crowd cheered. He said it’s his moment to back up his big mouth. Cena stepped back and leaned against the top rope. Reigns said just like he thought, Cena is all talk. “That’s why I don’t respect you,” he said, stressing “I” and “You.”
(Keller’s Analysis: This sure looks like Vince is setting up Cena and Reigns like he did Seth and Dean with the idea being to set up Cena (like Dean) to be skeptical of Reigns (like Seth) and voice the concerns of the fans, only to have Cena eventually endorse Reigns, but not without Reigns having to jump through hoops to really prove himself to him. But in the mean time, we’re getting a sliver of a sneak peak into how much money Reigns would be for WWE as an all-out heel. I mean, he bragged about the size of his genitals and made a homophobic comment about Cena checking out his balls. It’s fascinating to see Cena in this role. My hunch is Cena likes getting cheered like this more than he liked the mixed response all these years.)
-Cole said that was about respect, but later it’s about brutality. He said last time Braun Strowman and Big Show met, the ring collapsed, and tonight they battle inside a cage. [c]
(2) SHEAMUS & CESARO vs. HEATH SLATER & RHYNO
Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose walked out and joined the announcers. Then Sheamus and Cesaro made their ring entrance. Seth and Dean made fun of their ring entrance including the strange thumb gestures they do. They couldn’t figure out if it was a thumbs up or thumbs down. Sheamus & Cesaro beat up Slater for a couple minutes. Rhyno hot-tagged in. I think Rhyno is about 80 pounds heavier than last time he was on TV. #NoMissedMeals. He attacked Slater, but Cesaro (weakly) broke up the pin. Rhyno clotheslined Cesaro out of the ring, and then turned and ate a Brogue Kick from Sheamus.
WINNERS: Sheamus & Cesaro in 2:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: Good use of TV time. A squash match for Sheamus and Cesaro to show off their offense, and a chance for Seth and Dean to build up the No Mercy match with some smart-ass mic work on commentary.)
-Cole asked Booker to ask how his family is doing in Houston. Booker said they’ve been knocked down before and they just keep getting up. He thanked WWE for their contributions. Cole said Mark Henry has been active in Houston helping with hurricane disaster relief efforts. Graves plugged GHCF.org/hurricane-relief to find out how viewers can also help.
-Renee Young interviewed Matt & Jeff Hardy backstage. Jeff said tonight is more about becoming a champion again, it’s a rebirth. Jeff said they wrestle each match like it’s their first but could also be their last. Jeff said he lives for the moment. He said he’s excited that his daughter might see him become Intercontinental Champion again tonight. He said tonight’s about the vitality that shines bright in his spirit. He said he’ll either go out in a blaze of glory or leave as the Intercontinental Champion. Matt said if the Miztourage interfere, they’ll all go down in a beautiful Twist of Fate. He inflected the words with his Broken accent. [c]
(3) THE MIZ (w/Curtis Axel, Bo Dallas, Maryse) vs. JEFF HARDY (w/Matt Hardy) – Intercontinental Championship match
Formal ring introductions took place. Cole said it was ten years ago yesterday that Hardy won his final Intercontinental Championship. Graves said he thinks Miz is at his best, and Jeff is having a career renaissance since coming to Raw. Booker said Jeff knows about being a champion. A minute into the match, Miz begged off, but when Jeff approached, Miz threw him to the floor. Bo and Curtis approached so Jeff re-entered the ring. Then he clotheslined Miz over the top rope and teased diving onto all three heels gathered at ringside. The heels retreated, and they cut to a break. [c]
Back live, both were slow to get up from a collision. Hardy (sort of) landed a Whisper in the Wind for a near fall. Hardy short-splashed Miz and then climbed to the top rope. Bo distracted the ref. Axel knocked Jeff off balance. Matt attacked Curtis at ringside, then took care of Bo. The ref was distracted as both Jeff and Miz recovered on the mat in the ring. The ref ejected Curtis and Bo from ringside. Bo and Curtis threw a fit and said it was all Matt. Cole said they’re back to an even playing field.
Jeff rolled up Miz from behind for a two count. Jeff landed a Russian leg sweep and then dropped onto Miz for a leverage pin attempt. Miz blocked a Hardy attempt at a double legdrop between his legs and hit a DDT for a near fall. Cole reset the show for those tuning in at the top of the hour. Jeff avoided a Miz dive in the corner, but when he went for a swing splash, Miz kicked him in the chest. After a running knee strike, Miz scored a two count. Miz went on the attack with round kicks to Jeff’s chest. Jeff came back with a dropkick in the corner seconds later for a two count. Miz tripped Hardy off the edge of the ring apron and Jeff landed hard at ringside. Booker said Miz was one step ahead. Miz applied the figure-four leglock mid-ring. Cole said Ric Flair taught Miz that hold. Cole said it’s great to see Flair back on his feet. Jeff landed a Twist of Fate for a two count; Miz grabbed the bottom rope to stop the count. Jeff knocked Miz off the edge of the ring afterward, then leaped off the ringside steps with a flying Poetry in Motion collision. Jeff threw Miz back into the ring, then went for the Swanton, but Miz moved. Maryse jostled Miz’s hand to make him aware of the move and that helped Miz role out of the way. Jeff went for a Twist of Fate, but Miz blocked it and hit the Skull Crushing Finale for the clean win. Cole noted that in nine days, Miz will pass Honky Tonk Man for third place for most days as IC Champion in WWE history.
WINNER: Miz in 13:00 to retain the IC Title.
(Keller’s Analysis: Good match for the most part, although a little clunky at times. This is a good two week TV storyline for Miz to present an attractive singles match and give Miz a big win that doesn’t really hurt Jeff, since he’s going back to the tag team division with Matt, presumably.)
-They went to the announcers on camera who recapped the Sasha Banks loss to Alexa Bliss last week followed by Nia Jax’s post-match actions. Cole said Nia made her intentions known. No hint from the announcers whether Jax should be admired or decried for such an action. Cole announced that Bliss and Banks would have a rematch in three weeks at No Mercy.
-Angle was shown on his cell phone. In walked Jax and asked why Banks get a title rematch before she does. Angle said it’s Sasha’s contractually-obligated rematch. Jax said Angle should know you have to create your own opportunities around there. She said when she held the Raw Women’s Title in the air, she could feel the Raw Women’s Division tremble at the thought of her being champion. In walked Emma, who said according to her Twitter feed, no one was talking about her Jax week. She said the buzz she felt was about her (Emma), not Jax. She claimed there’s a hashtag #GiveEmmaAChanceAtTheWomensTitle. Jax said she has to disappear or a new hashtag will be about her putting Emma in the hospital. Angle said those two are going to team together against Bliss & Banks. Angle said if they win, then the Bliss vs. Banks match becomes a Fatal Four-way. Emma smiled and Jax said it doesn’t sound so bad. Cole called it a great decision.
-They showed the cage hanging above the ring. Cole said the ring been reinforced. They showed it collapsing the last time they wrestled. [c]
-They went to the announcers on camera who talked about the Show-Strowman main event. They replayed highlights of their match back in April.
-A clip aired of Enzo Amore winning a tag team match last week on 205 Live. Cole said he did so with his feet on the ropes. Graves said he’s not surprised to see him cheat.
-Enzo danced out declared himself the realist guy in the room. He put his arms around Gran Metalik and Cedric Alexander. He said the saying is if you don’t cheat, you aren’t trying. Cedric and Metalik pulled away and disputed that. Enzo said he heard it somewhere and added, “Controversy Creates Cash.” Enzo said controversy follows him everywhere. He said while everyone is working hard, he’s trying to “work smarter.” Enzo said 205 Live just became one of the realist hours on television because of him. Enzo danced as the fans chanted “How you doin’.” He said he likes to call Metalik “Pepper Jack” because he as a little spice to him. He called Alexander “Cedric the Entertainer.” He pointed at his opponents, who were already in the ring. He said Tony Nese is only there because he lost his job with Chippendales. He said he’s going to split Dar’s dome. He called Drew Gulak “Captain Underpants.” Enzo said if they’re mad, that’s okay because they’re about to chew them up “like some Omaha steaks.” [c]
(4) ENZO AMORE & GRAN METALIK & CEDRIC ALEXANDER vs. DREW GULAK & NOAM DAR & TONY NESE
Graves defended Enzo’s cheating by saying he’s adjusting to a new style in the Cruiserweight Division. Enzo hot-tagged Cedric late in the match. He gave Drew a spinning elbow to the jaw and then a leaping round kick to the side of his head. Nese broke up the cover. Metalik dropkicked him. Dar entered, but Metalik threw him out of the ring. Cedric and Metalik did a stereo flip dive onto two heels at ringside. Meanwhile, Enzo gave Gulak a thumb to the eyes as the ref was looking at ringside. Then he gave Drew a Disarm Him (?) for the win.
WINNERS: Enzo & Cedric & Metalik in 5:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: They added to the idea that Enzo is going to proudly cheat to win the Cruiserweight Division, much to Graves’s disgust.)
-Backstage, Bliss walked up to Sasha and said she’s no happier than she is about Jax sticking her nose in their business. Banks said everybody knows that if Jax & Emma win, her chances of retaining the title at No Mercy drops 25 percent. Oh, the return of WWE math. Things got heated as Banks told Bliss she’ll beat her if it remains a one-on-one match. Bliss told Banks to check her “Boss ego” at the door. She told Banks to get over the fact that she’s the champion. Banks said she’ll make her scream at No Mercy when she makes her tap out. Cole said they have to be on the same team later tonight.
-They showed Finn Balor backstage. [c]
-A commercial aired for the Mae Young Classic, suggesting viewers “binge watch all eight episodes.”
-Finn Balor walked to the ring to a good crowd response. He told Omaha that the NXT Championship used to look really good around his waist, and the Universal Championship used to look really good around his waist, too, He said the IC Championship would have looked really good around his waist if not for Bray Wyatt. He blamed Bray for costing him a chance to win the battle royal and face Miz. He said even though he beat Bray at Summerslam, Bray never truly goes away. He said the next time Bray appears, he will be ready for him. He said he’s not afraid. He said he doesn’t run from his demons because sometimes he becomes them. He said if they want to play games week after week, let’s play. Suddenly Bray appeared on the big screen.
Bray said “she” used to take him hunting when he was a child. He said it was an exhilarating experience when he flicked the trigger. He said after a while he got bored because it became too easy. He said he shook things up and put his weapon down and began to use his bare hands only. He said his bare hands became judge, jury, and executioner. He said he knew what his purpose was as those incidents defined who he was. He said the Demon is his bow and arrow, but he suggested Balor define his legacy against him by making a choice. Balor yelled that he already made his choice and he knows exactly what he is. He said he is Finn Balor. Bray asked Balor if he’ll prove to the mere mortals that he is a God or will be like all the others and run. The screen suddenly went black.
(Keller’s Analysis: There was a different vibe to both Balor’s promo and Bray’s than what is delivered the rest of the show. Balor’s was more organic and based on his unique charisma and built around aspiring to win a title. Bray’s was better than usual for him because he actually talked about a life experience and choice that helped define him. I liked it.) [c]
(5) SASHA BANKS & ALEXA BLISS vs. NIA JAX & EMMA
Cole said so much is on the line for these four women in this match. Emma tagged herself in and went for an opportunistic pin on Sasha. Graves said Emma doesn’t play well with others. The announcers discussed the rules of a Fatal Four-way match. Booker said you never want to lose a title when you’re not involved in the pinfall or submission.
Emma took a sustained beating, but eventually tagged in a willing and eager Jax. Bliss backed off at first, but then shoved and slapped Jax. Jax gave her a scream. Bliss screamed back and tried to quickly tag in Banks, but Jax grabbed her and beat on her. Cole wondered if Jax is figuring out how Bliss manipulated her all those months. Cole said Bliss does not want Jax in the match at No Mercy, especially because it’s a no DQ match. “Imagine the destruction that Nia can do under those rules!” Jax blocked a Bliss DDT attempt and landed a Samoan Drop. Banks broke up the cover. Bliss tagged Banks. Banks snapped Jax’s neck over the top rope, but when she leaped off the top rope at her, Jax caught her. Banks sunset flipped Jax, but Jax didn’t go over. When she sat down, Banks moved. Banks hit the Shining Wizard for a near fall. Banks then applied the Bank Statement, but Jax escaped and then collided with Banks. Emma tagged herself in as Jax landed an elbow. Then Emma “stole” the pin. Jax reluctantly let Emma raise her arms in victory afterward. Jax offered a high-five. Emma took it, but Jax held on and then gave Emma a Samoan Drop. Booker laughed.
WINNERS: Emma & Jax in 9:00.
-Renee interviewed Braun Strowman backstage. She asked him what he is thinking heading into his first-ever cage match against Big Show. Strowman said, “What am I thinking? What is Kurt Angle thinking?” He said he has a big title match coming up and Angle put him in a cage with Big Show. He said they broke a 4,000 pound ring last time, and this cage match is a recipe for destruction. He said he’s going to slice Show to ribbons and then slam Show and pin him 1-2-3. He said he doesn’t see Angle sticking Brock inside a cage before No Mercy, so tonight he’s sending a message to Angle, Show, and Lesnar and everyone else that no matter where the Monster Among Men goes, destruction follows.
(Keller’s Analysis: I sense they wanted Strowman to come off as a bit of a whiner regarding having the cage match with Show, but he had a heck of a point about Angle not putting Lesnar in any cage matches before No Mercy. He turned it into a compelling promise of destruction later in the cage.) [c]
-Back from the break, Sheamus & Cesaro were arguing with Karl Anderson & Luke Gallows. Cole wondered what their interest was in being in the ring at this point. Dean and Seth made their ring entrance.
(6) DEAN AMBROSE & SETH ROLLINS vs. KARL ANDERSON & LUKE GALLOWS
Sheamus and Cesaro stayed at ringside. After a few minutes of action, Dean and Seth cleared the ring of the heel duo. Then they slingshot themselves onto Anderson and Gallows at ringside. Cole said Sheamus and Cesaro have to be impressed. [c]
They showed that during the break Gallows landed a spinebuster to take over on Ambrose. Seth eventually got a hot tag and rallied against Anderson. Sheamus and Cesaro jumped onto the ring apron. In the chaos, Seth threw Anderson at Cesaro and then rolled him up for the three count. Graves said the attempted interference backfired.
WINNERS: Seth & Dean.
-As Dean and Seth celebrated on the ramp, Anderson and Gallows knocked Sheamus and Cesaro down at ringside. Sheamus and Cesaro charged into the ring and they brawled. Sheamus and Cesaro delivered a Brogue Kick and a clothesline to clear the ring of Anderson and Gallows.
-Cole threw to a video package on a Conor’s Cure event including Stephanie McMahon.
-Graves hyped the cage match main event “up next.” [c]
-Backstage Enzo told Cedric and Metalik they were going out to celebrate. In walked Neville who said all three qualified for a Fatal Five-way Elimination match at 205 Live, winner faces him at No Mercy. “Friends one evening, foes the next,” Neville ominously said. “Get some rest boys, it’s a big day tomorrow.”
-They showed the crew reenforcing the ring.
-Charlie Caruso interviewed John Cohen. (Hey, they mentioned both an interviewer and a referee by name!) The ref said he will never forget the match he refereed last April when the ring broke. They showed him taking a hard spill to the floor once the ring collapsed and “it was more than I bargained for.” He said the ring crew told him the ring is double-reenforced. He said he doesn’t buy that it’s enough because Strowman and Show have intentions to maul each other. He said he has no idea what to expect, so he’s going to stay away.
-Renee Young interviewed Big Show who talked up how big and strong Strowman is. He said he has had more cage matches than Strowman has had matches. He said he knows what they’re all about. He said he’ll shred the skin on his face. He said is going to wrap his hand around his throat and take him to the penthouse and then give him a chokeslam straight to hell and walk out victorious. He said Strowman is the kind of guy who wants respect on what he thinks he’s owed, not on what he’s earned. He said Strowman is running his mouth on social media about putting him out to pasture. He said he’ll have to break him to do that, and in 23 years not one Superstar has been big enough or bad enough to break him. He said he has a message for him. He said he’s the World’s Largest Athlete, so deal with that. Renee’s response was good. Usually the interviewers are put in an awkward position of reacting to promos and it doesn’t work out well, but she was spot on with her reaction, without overdoing it, selling the idea that something big was about to happen.
(Keller’s Analysis: Good, basic, intense, believable promo. They did a really good job building up this cage match.)
-As the cage lowered, Cole threw out superlatives. [c]
(7) THE BIG SHOW vs. BRAUN STROWMAN – Cage Match
Strowman opened with a boot to Big Show, knocking him down right away. Show stood up between the cage and the ropes. Strowman charged at him with three clotheslines. On the fourth, Big Show gave him the KO punch. Both were down. The announcers wondered if Strowman could get up. [c]
Back from the break, the wrestlers were still down. They replayed the slo-mo KO punch. Both stood up slowly. Strowman charged at Show, but Show side-stepped him and threw him into the side of the cage.
Show began to climb the cage. Strowman met him on the top rope. Show dropped and crotched the top rope. Graves said no matter how big you are, that hurts. Strowman tried to climb the cage, but Show yanked him off and Strowman hit the mat hard. Show climbed back to the top rope. Cole said he’s not a Cruiserweight. Booker said he hasn’t seen him on the top rope since his rookie year. Cole said if he drops an elbow from there, they’re going to call it 405 Live. Booker said Show’s finisher was a top rope elbow back in his rookie year. Show landed it on Strowman, popping the crowd. Both were slow to get up. The crowd chanted “Holy sh–!” Cole said it was like a jumbo jet. Show crawled over and draped his arm over Strowman. Show crawled over to leave through the cage door. Strowman got up and caught up to him and slammed the cage door on Show’s head. Show signaled for the chokeslam a minute later. He lifted Strowman, but Strowman slipped free and hit a DDT for a near fall. Show came back with a chokeslam for a near fall. Graves said Lesnar is among those studying this match. A “This is awesome!” chant rang out. Not sure how often Show hears that in his matches. Show went for a KO Punch, but Strowman ducked and then lifted Show for a bodyslam. Strowman slipped free and charged at Show. Show side-stepped him and threw him hard into the side of the cage.
Show climbed the side of the cage again. Strowman tried to stop him, but Show knocked him back to the mat. Show climbed to the top of the cage. Graves said he isn’t sure what was on Show’s mind. Strowman yanked Show down, and Show dropped down the side of the cage to the ring apron. Cole said both men look exhausted. Graves said it’s rare and special to see a match like this on Raw. Show climbed again to the second rope, but Strowman met him up there with a right. Show headbutted Strowman down. Show waved his index finger at Strowman. Strowman got up again and set up a superplex. And he executed it, but the ring withstood it. Cole said the double reinforcements worked. Graves said, “Thankfully!” Booker said you had to hold your breath on that one. Booker’s been solid on color tonight. Strowman then gave Show a running powerslamm for the three count.
WINNER: Strowman in 18:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: Not a traditional match by any means, but it was dramatic and well done. I sure bought that Show was fatigued by the end, and Strowman’s impressive clean win with a running powerslam is a great visual to set up a believable challenger for Brock at No Mercy.)
-Afterward, Strowman stood over Show’s body. He asked if everyone has seen what he did to the so-called giant. He said just think of what he’ll do to the Beast at No Mercy. He pointed at Show and said that’s Lesnar’s future, and his future is becoming the new Universal Champion. When it appeared the show was over and Strowman’s music played, Strowman picked up Show again and drove him into the side of the cage. The panel gave out and Show landed on the panel at ringside in a heap. Referees ran over to check on him.
FINAL THOUGHTS: Good show. Start to finish, a mix of some good storyline developments, good action, good promos. Nothing off the charts, but entertaining. The use of the cage match to fill a TV main event and build the No Mercy main event (CO-main event!) was really well done and memorable.
[END OF SHOW]
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