KELLER’S WWE RAW REPORT
OCTOBER 30, 2017
AIRED LIVE ON USA NETWORK
Announcers: Michael Cole, Booker T, Corey Graves
-A four minute video package aired on last week’s Under Siege angle with Shane McMahon and Smackdown wrestlers attacking Raw wrestlers backstage, with clips of Kurt Angle and Shane interacting beforehand.
-Cole introduced the show live from Baltimore. After panning the crowd, they showed “the entire Raw locker room” assembled on stage. Then they went to Angle in center-ring. He said he usually has a smile on his face, but this time is different. He said Shane took what he “thought was friendly competition” and took it way too far and the Raw roster paid for it. He apologized to the Raw wrestlers that he let his friendship with Shane McMahon blind him. He said it was a slap in the face to him, the audience, and the show itself. He said he will never put them in harm’s way again. The crowd was (obnoxiously) “what’ing” him for a while. Stephanie McMahon’s music interrupted. Cole said, “No way!” The wrestlers reacted like this was a bombshell happening. Stephanie strutted through the parting of the wrestlers and made her way to the ring. Cole said they hadn’t seen her in months, back at WrestleMania. Booker called her “the big boss.” Cole said he is very surprised. Graves said everyone is shocked.
Stephanie said she can’t let him start the show all depressing in tone like that. She used her grinding voice to introduce Raw. She told the fans they missed her a little, so admit it. Stephanie said that on Jan. 22, they will be celebrating Raw’s 25th Anniversary. She said that’s longer than any other show in television history. She said this is just the beginning.
Stephanie turned to Angle and said she was supportive of him being hired and he’s been doing a great job. She said he’s done well despite the “illegitimate child” situation and “the virus that seems to be plaguing our roster” and Braun Strowman being compacted in the back of a garbage truck. She said he’s handled it in stride and never let people see him looked stressed. She said he stepped up by joining The Shield at TLC and has earned her respect. The fans began a “You still got it!” chant. She stopped and held up the mic. Angle looked on nervously. She said: “That is until you allowed my brother Shane to put Raw Under Siege.” She said it takes 20 years to build a reputation but only 20 seconds to lose it.
When Angle began to try to explain himself, she interrupted and said there is no excuse for what happened and she doesn’t want to hear his pathetic excuses. She said Shane isn’t the great guy he thinks he is. She said he is manipulative. She said Shane leaped off the Hell in a Cell to defend his family, but he still lost, so now he’s going to pick on her show because he thinks that makes him bigger and makes him a winner. She said he’s the same person who exploited his friendship and exposed his kindness as weakness. “Who let 25 years of what my father built turn into a mockery? There is only one person, and that is you.” She said she is adding a fourth “i” – incompetence. She said Angle is going to have to step up because she is appointing him Team Captain at Survivor Series and she expects victory and total domination. If not, she will find a new general manager. Stephanie strode to the back and the wrestlers parted for her pass through on the stage.
(Keller’s Analysis: I’m not a fan at all of heels and babyfaces assembling, like elementary school kids lining up for drinking fountain time. It’s not a team sport, and there are rivalries and untrustworthy people who shouldn’t be presented as that “easily managed.” It’s something that a big part of WWE’s audience just takes for granted as normal, but there’s a price WWE pays for losing that sense that wrestlers aren’t dutiful employees living out a dream working for the McMahon Empire and instead portraying them as eccentrics and outlaws who aren’t so easily controlled. I’d rather have had Angle apologize to the wrestlers without having them assemble in person on the stage. But then Stephanie can’t have that moment “parting the sea” as she walked to the ring. Also, Kurt Angle is a Hall of Famer and Olympic Gold Medalist who shouldn’t be acting like he “needs” this job. He just came across as a pathetic employee willing to be yelled at like he was a nothing. It’s just not serving the brand to sacrifice all others at the altar of the gloriously majestic and all powerful royal queen of sports entertainment Stephanie McMahon. Angle, ideally, would have been scripted to say, with pride and fortitude: “Stephanie, I don’t need this job. I love WWE, and I love doing my job and serving the fans and trying to create the best environment for everyone to thrive and prove who is the best, but I will not put up with you talking to me like that again. I made a mistake, but your brother made the bigger mistake, and I’m going to make him and his team pay at Survivor Series. But trust me, you talk to me like that again, and you will be looking for a new G.M. because I’ll quit.”)
-Cole hyped Seth Rollins vs. Kane, Cesaro vs. Finn Balor, and Alicia Fox vs. Bayley coming up. [c]
-A commercial hyped Smackdown featuring Bobby Roode vs. Dolph Ziggler in a best-of-three falls match and Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Kevin Owens. It’s also a “special Halloween edition.”
-Angle approached Steph as she was about to get inside the limo. He apologized. She said she meant everything she said, “and if you don’t believe me, just ask Mick Foley.” Angle thanked her, then took a deep breath as the limo left. Then another limo pulled up and out walked The Miz. Angle scolded him for being late. (What about scolding Stephanie for leaving less than 20 minutes into the three hour show?) Miz stepped out of the limo with Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel. Miz said he can’t believe he got appointed to be Team Captain. He said the rules don’t apply to Angle. Angle told him to shut up. He asked him where he was when Raw was Under Siege. He said he doesn’t want Miz representing Raw at Survivor Series, so he’s going to have to defend it tonight. Miz asked against whom. Angle said if he showed up on time, he’d have told him, but he’ll find out when he gets to the ring.
-Alicia Fox stepped out after Bayley’s ring entrance and said as Team Captain, she doesn’t have time for a match against Bayley. She said she has found a suitable replacement. Out walked Nia Jax. Bayley looked sad and scared. They briefly showed the announcers at the desk. Cole plugged the season premiere of Total Divas this Wednesday on E!
(1) BAYLEY vs. NIA JAX
Booker said fans have been wondering on social media where Nia Jax has been. Bayley threw some elbows at Jax early. Jax threw a charging Bayley out of the ring. She went after her at ringside and threw her right back into the ring. Bayley slidekicked her. They cut to an early break.
(Keller’s Analysis: Jax wasn’t gone that long that, minus reporting on the topic, any average viewer would have thought twice about it. How many weeks do other wrestlers miss from being on TV from time to time, including Alicia Fox and Bayley, too? It’s not like she was gone for four or five months. My point is, they’re playing to the fans who follow WWE closely via various media between shows, but the majority of their viewers probably didn’t see Nia returning as a “return” at all, but just her latest of semi-weekly appearances. The opening minute of that match, though, was as sloppy as I’ve seen on Raw in a while. Just clunky and ill-timed and choreographed looking.) [c]
Jax was in charge after the break. They showed that Jax clotheslined Bayley during the break and had been in control since. Jax set up a corner splash. She looked over at Fox on the stage for approval. Bayley recovered and knocked Jax over the top rope to the floor. Bayley leaped onto Jax at ringside, then punched away at her. Jax eventually won clean with a legdrop. “How impressive was Nia?” asked Cole.
WINNER: Jax in 6:00.
-Fox, in an intentionally juvenile and obnoxious way, announced that she’s her first pick for Team Raw.
-Samoa Joe then returned to Raw just as Jax and Fox met on the stage. “The night of returns,” said Cole. The crowd chanted “Joe! Joe! Joe!” Cole said this is Joe’s first appearances since Summerslam.
(Keller’s Analysis: Yes, this counts as a return after a noticeable absence. And why no love for Bo’s return? He was gone longer than Jax.)
-Joe remained in the ring as his music played. He said it seems, based on the crowd response, that some people have missed him. A loud “Joe!” chant broke out again. He said he finds that amusing since he hasn’t missed any of them. He asked how many of them around the world reached out to him to indicate that maybe, just maybe at some point in your selfish lives you actually cared. He said the answer is none of them did, henceforth he cares about none of them. He said he will use their disrespect as fuel on any man who steps into the ring with him because when he’s beating the hell out of him, he’ll be pretending it’s each of them. Apollo Crews came out. Who else, right?
(2) APOLLO CREWS (w/Titus O’Neal) vs. SAMOA JOE
Cole said Crews wants to prove himself tonight against Joe because he and Titus were the first to be attacked by the Smackdown wrestlers last week. Booker complimented Joe’s legendary cardio. Joe dominated, including a snap powerslam, but Crews made a comeback with an enzuigiri. Joe cut it off 20 seconds later with a urinage. Joe then put Crews in his Coquina Clutch for the win.
WINNER: Joe via tapout in 4:00.
-After the match Joe taunted Titus. Titus entered the ring. Cole said Titus is upset that Joe threw his gum at him earlier in the night. Booker told Titus to “rep your client.” Cole said he is standing up for him. Booker explained to Cole they’re the same thing. Titus bent over to check on Crews, and Joe then put Titus in his Coquina Clutch. Cole excitedly said he’s putting the whole locker room on notice.
(Keller’s Analysis: Again, this shouldn’t be the least bit controversial to say – Cole shouldn’t be talking about Joe attacking Titus from behind like it’s some sort of bold admirable statement. He should be helping Joe get heel heat instead of all of these cheers, if he’s cast as a heel who will mainly be matched against babyfaces, by decrying his actions and pointing out only how cowardly it is to attack Titus from behind. He should be saying “Why does Joe have to attack Titus from behind? What kind of man waits for someone’s back to be turned?!”)
-Cole hyped the 25th Anniversary of Raw coming up Jan. 22 at Barclay’s Center. Cole touted that it’s run longer than Gunsmoke, The Simpsons, Lassie, and Law & Orderr. He said Superstars from both Raw and Smackdown will be on hand. He said Kevin Nash, Shawn Michaels, and “rumors indicate” Undertaker will be there. Graves said most of his life he’s been watching Raw, so being part of this is awesome. Booker said he was there from the beginning. Cole said he’s been around for 20 of those 25 years. Cole quoted Vince McMahon saying the first 25 years were great, but they’re only just beginning. Graves said the Miz IC Title defense against a mystery opponent was up next. [c]
(3) THE MIZ (w/Bo Dallas, Curtis Axel) vs. MATT HARDY – Intercontinental Title match
Cole said Miz vs. Baron Corbin is scheduled if Miz successfully defends his championship tonight. Graves added that Corbin has to hold onto his U.S. Title by Survivor Series, too. Cole said Miz can’t be happy with this. Matt was met with a loud “Delete!” chant. Matt went for an early Twist of Fate, but Miz pushed off and retreated against the ropes. Matt scored a two count with a backslide a minute in. Miz tossed Matt out of the ring. Curtis and Bo approached Matt. Matt slid into the ring as Miz went for a slidekick. They cut to a break. [c]
Miz was in control after the break. Cole sent best wishes out to Jeff Hardy, who is recuperating from injury.
(Keller’s Analysis: What about best wishes to Roman Reigns? I hope WWE ignoring Roman is part of a heel turn, where he’ll return and act bitter that nobody mentioned him or talked about him when he was gone, along the lines of Samoa Joe. They can form an alliance, Joe can get sick of Roman after three weeks, turn babyface, and all the stars will be properly aligned.)
Matt caught Miz coming off the top rope and went for a Side Effect. Miz blocked it. Matt drove Miz’s head into the turnbuckles over and over, played to the crowd, clotheslined him in the corner, and then hit a running bulldog for a two count. The crowd was into the pin attempt. Matt landed two second rope elbows and scored another two count. Matt went for a Twist of Fate, but Miz countered with a Skull Crushing Finale attempt. Matt escaped and landed a Side Effect for a two count. Matt again went for the Twist of Fate, but Miz escaped. Matt kicked Miz to the mat, then climbed to the top rope. He landed the moonsualt and scored a near fall. The crowd popped as the ref counted. “Talk about ‘You still got it!'” said Booker. Some in the crowd chanted “This is awesome!” Miz hit a series of “Yes Kicks,” but Matt hit a sudden Twist of Fate. Miz rolled under the bottom rope. Miz then snapped Matt’s throat over the top rope and then hit the Skull Crushing Finale.
WINNER: Miz in 13:00 to retain the IC Title.
-They went to the announcers who threw to highlights of the Stephanie-Angle segment earlier.
-They cut to Angle who was on his cell phone (stop that, WWE!). In walked Alexa Bliss, who congratulated Angle for being named captain of the Raw Team. She was syrupy as she talked about how motivating his speech was. She assured him that Steph was just trying to motivate him, but if he fears for his job, she could help. She suggested he cut Mickie James and said they could bring in anyone to replace her from the Mae Young Classic. She said, “We could probably just dig up Mae.” Angle went “Whut?” Angle said last week when Raw was under seige, she didn’t do anything whereas Mickie fought back. Angle then told Bliss that instead she’s going to put her Raw Women’s Title on the line tonight against Mickie.
-A vignette hyped that Asuka was up next. [c]
(4) ASUKA vs. STACIE CULLEN
Asuka nailed Cullen with a spinning backfists to start the match, then stomped away at her in a borderline showoff fashion. She hit a series of knees and a kick. She threw Cullen into a turnbuckle. Then she pounded her chest with round kicks. Graves said she might be the hardest striker in all of WWE. Booker said the competition on Raw is stiffer for her now. Graves said she still hasn’t lost. Asuka then showed fire and finished Cullen with an Asuka Lock.
WINNER: Asuka in under 2:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: That’s, frankly, how she should have defeated Emma at the PPV last Sunday. This helped undo the damage done last week when they decided to book her in a match that showed her ability to tell a story and sell and make a comeback. Save that for later against a top tier roster member, once she lives up to her hype as a dominant seemingly unstoppable force. This was a good course correction.)
-Backstage Angle was on his phone again (stop this, WWE!). Angle then dropped his phone and frantically grabbed a walky-talky and yelled, “Alert everyone, it’s happening, it’s happening! They’re here! They’re here!” He was shaking with fear. Then nothing. Instead, in walked Daniel Bryan. Angle asked, “What in the hell are you doing here?” They stared at each other as the director cut to a break.
I talked with @thewadekeller about the idea of an "act break" to hook viewers across commercial.
— David Lagana (@Lagana) October 31, 2017
(Keller’s Analysis: I absolutely understand the strategy of a hook to keep viewers tuned in during the break to see what comes next, but this is an example of the laziest cheesiest way to do it. Why would the director, whose job ostensibly is to document what’s happening with the best camera angles and most access to the most interesting goings on decide to cut away at that very moment? It made no sense. WWE sacrifices logic all the time just to create an artificial cliffhanger that comes with a price – the reminder that what’s about to happen is scripted and orchestrated and not the least bit organic and extemporaneous. There were other ways to accomplish a hook without this fake lazy formatting approach.) [c]
-They joined Angle telling Bryan that he’s there to finish the job that Shane started. Bryan said he’s taking a chance being there and that Shane doesn’t even know he’s there. He said the building full of Raw Superstars would love to tear him apart.
(Keller’s Analysis: Why would they want to tear him apart? Do they not watch Smackdown? Did they not see Bryan express disappointment with Shane’s actions and make it clear he wasn’t in the loop?)
Angle said he doesn’t believe Bryan. Bryan told Angle he wouldn’t believe him, either. Why not? Angle said he almost lost his job tonight and got his ass chewed out by Stephanie. Bryan said he’s sorry for all of that. He said he was just as blindsided as Angle was. Angle said he wants to send Bryan back to Shane with a message. He said he’s bringing his Gold Medals and the Raw Roster and they’re taking down Smackdown. Bryan put his hands on his hips and let out a sigh.
-They went to the announcers. Graves said Bryan was brave to appear. Booker said he had no business there because this is Raw. Cole threw to a video package on Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman dismissively speaking of Jinder Mahal last week, and then Jinder’s response on Smackdown the next day. Cole hyped their match at Survivor Series.
-Backstage, Bryan was on his cell phone in the midst of a conversation. He said his talk with Angle didn’t go well, but he seemed more concerned with his safety. The lights then went out and he asked if he could call back. [c]
-Bryan was still on the phone in the dark after the break. He said he thought he could reason with Angle, but now he’s been locked inside a room and the lights were cut. Bryan said it’s so frustrating. Bryan then asked to call him back because something is wrong. Kane showed up and slammed Bryan.
-They went to the announcers. Cole stammered and asked if that was Kane. Booker said Bryan got what he deserved there. Cole said Bryan came to Raw to apologize and he wasn’t in on the plan to begin with. Booker said they have to keep their guard up and their heads on a swivel.
(5) FINN BALOR vs. CESARO (w/Sheamus)
The announcer talked about Balor’s loss to Kane last week. Graves said tonight it’s essential for Finn to get back on the horse and keep moving forward.
(Keller’s Analysis: I like that they owned the finish of last week’s match and talked about it. I disagreed strongly with sacrificing Balor’s stature to try to reestablish and reinvigorate Kane for a presumed battle with Braun Strowman, but if they decide to do it, they should own it and make sure it counts by touting Kane’s dominance and acting like it was a big deal that someone of Balor’s stature lost like that to him. Ignoring it would make it seem like Balor was expected to lose and they’d lose much of Kane was supposed to have gained from it.)
A few minutes in, Balor dropkicked through the ropes and knocked Cesaro into the ringside barrier. Then he did a running front kick to Cesaro’s jaw on the ring apron. With Cesaro distracting the ref, Sheamus grabbed Balor’s leg. Balor turned to Sheamus, and then Cesaro knocked Balor to the floor. They cut to a break. [c]
More back and forth action after the break. Cesaro superplexed Balor and scored a near fall. A few minutes later, Balor signaled for the Coup de Grace. Sheamus stood on the ring apron. Balor kicked him. He then backdropped a charging Cesaro over the top rope. Then he did a running flip over the top rope onto both Sheamus and Cesaro. Balor then climbed to the top rope and nailed a Balor Stomp to the back of Cesaro’s head and scored the pin.
WINNER: Balor in 13:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: This was meant to rebuild Balor by having him get a win after a competitive good match. Sure, it was a good match and competitive, but against a tag wrestler in Cesaro who is more brought “down” to Balor’s level by losing rather than Balor being rehabilitated after his loss to Kane last week. It’s fine, probably the right thing to do if Balor was booked to lose last week, but it doesn’t make up for it.)
-As Balor made his way to the stage as his music played. Kane came out and tombstone Balor on the stage. Graves said Balor wasn’t at 100 percent, having just been in a hard fought battle. Referees checked on Balor. Kane made his way to the ring for his match against Seth. Then The Shield music played, and out walked Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose through the crowd. Cole said Reigns wasn’t there. He said some members of the Raw roster were still suffering from a viral infection. [c]
(6) KANE vs. SETH ROLLINS (w/Dean Ambrose)
Cesaro and Sheamus hung out at ringside. Kane took it to Seth early. Seth got in a little offense, but Kane took over again. Booker said he understands Kane being upset that Braun Strowman showed up and tried to take his spot. Cole noted that there was a point where Kane was jealous of Seth’s relationship with Triple H and Stephanie McMahon. Graves said that was a different Kane, though. Cole agreed, saying that was Corporate Kane. I’m surprised they’d even bring that up. Cole said it was 20 years ago that Kane showed up at Hell in a Cell in the match between Undertaker and Shawn Michaels. Seth eventually hit a spinning round kick to the head and then a blockbuster for a soft two count. Kane rolled to the floor. Seth dove through the ropes and drove Kane into the barricade. Dean cheered on Seth. Seth went for another dive, but this time Kane side-stepped him and awkwardly shoved Seth to the ground. It was sloppy and the announcers couldn’t quite figure out what to say in terms of what was intended and who got the worst of it. Kane no-sold a flying clothesline in the ring, then brushed off a springboard elbow. Sheamus and Cesaro attacked Dean at ringside. Seth superkicked Kane, but then slingshot himself over the top rope onto Cesaro and Sheamus. When he slingshot back into the ring, Kane chokeslammed him and got the pin.
WINNER: Kane in 8:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: Seth got a distraction to explain or “excuse” his loss, something Balor didn’t get last week. Either way, the strong build of Kane continues so that fans perceive Kane vs. Braun as a big deal.)
-Afterward, Kane lifted Seth for another chokeslam, but Dean entered and broke it up and then delivered a Dirty Deeds. Kane sat up. Cesaro, Sheamus, and Kane then mauled Ambrose, setting up Kane to give Dean a tombstone. Seth rolled over and covered Dean to protect him. Kane then picked up Seth and gave him a tombstone, too.
-They cut to backstage where Bryan was strapped to a gurney and rolled out of the room by paramedics.
-Back to the announcers, Cole said Bryan was Kane’s first victim. Graves said he believes Bryan was there for the greater good. Booker said they can’t let their guard down. Graves said he understands his point. Cole threw to a video package on Stephanie and Angle earlier.
-Graves plugged Bliss vs. James in the main event with the Raw Women’s Title on the line.
-Backstage Miz told Axel and Bo that the celebration was about to begin. As they walked in his locker room, Bo asked if they had any of those little lobster bibs, because he loves those things. Miz said he smelled something when he entered. “It reeks!” Miz said. Then they looked inside a garbage bag. Axel said, “It’s just a bunch of garbage.” Miz said Braun Strowman had been there. Axel said Braun isn’t ever coming back and this is just some stupid prank. He asked Miz if he was worried. Miz said of course not, but his face told another story. When Bo assured him they had his back, Miz deadpanned, “Now I am a little worried.”
-They went to ringside where WWE staff brought Halloween props to the ring for a special tag match up next. [c]
-Backstage Miz told Kane he is happy with how he took care of Bryan, Balor, Seth, and Dean. Miz asked if he remembers throwing Braun in the garbage truck. Kane said he remembers all the help he had, including Miz. Miz said he isn’t sure how much he actually helped. Miz said someone put a garbage bag in his locker room. He wondered if that means Braun is back. Kane said he knows where to find him if he is back. Miz said, hopefully, “I knew we were on the same team.” Kane laughed and said Miz is on his own.
-Graves said Braun can’t be there because he was crushed in the back of a garbage truck. Cole threw to the TLC match freeze-frame highlights.
(7) HEATH SLATER & RHYNO vs. KARL ANDERSON & LUKE GALLOWS – Trick or Street Fight
Slater and Rhyno were dressed up as Santa and Mrs. Claus. Tex Ferguson and Chad 2 Badd from Southpaw Championship Wrestling. Slater was dunked in a tub of apples at ringside early. Rhyno then bashed a pumpkin over Gallows’ head. Gallows couldn’t figure out how to get it off. Rhyno shoved Anderson into the pumpkin and it broke and fell off of Gallows’ head. Booker said he was in a match like this once with the Nasty Boys. There were a ton of pumpkins around the ring apron and making an increasing mess at ringside. Rhyno, wearing Mrs. Claus laced leggings, worked with Slater to grab a table. Graves called this a “Nightmare Before Halloween” and said he’s not sure what to say. When Cole said this is what they do at Southpaw Championship Wrestling, Graves just verbally shrugged. Anderson and Gallows threw pumpkin innards at Rhyno. Rhyno flashed Gallows by lifting the front of his Mrs. Santa robe, then pulled out a pumpkin pie. It didn’t hit its target. Booker, dryly, said “This is a great match-up.” Cole said it’s terrific. Slater began hitting Anderson and Gallows with candy corn colored kendo sticks. Booker gave a shoutout to the Astros. Rhyno bent over, revealing he was wearing giant women’s panties. Cole touted that this is the longest running episodic TV show in history, aware of the shame he was feeling. Anderson and Gallows put pumpkins over their heads. Anderson leaped off the top rope, but Rhyno power slammed him out of mid-air through the table. Cole said, “I don’t quite know what to say.” Graves said, “I think the less said the better.” Booker agreed.
WINNERS: Rhyno & Slater.
(Keller’s Analysis: Why?)
-As they showed Elias backstage, Cole excitedly said it’s going to get better. [c]
-Backstage, Miz told Sheamus and Cesaro about the bag of garbage and, in a panic, said Kane said they’re on their own. Sheamus and Cesaro told him to calm down because there’s no way Braun could be back this soon. Miz said it’s great to be part of a strong team. Sheamus and Cesaro laughed and said he’s on his own. Miz got on his phone and told Curtis to get Bo because they’re leaving now.
-Elias sat mid-ring with a new guitar. He said he is the last harbinger of truth and he asked, “Who wants to walk with Elias?” He said after what he did to Jason Jordan last week, Jason won’t interrupt this performance. He sang to highlights of him hitting Jordan with his guitar. His lyrics mocked what Jordan is saying to his “daddy” about how mean Elias was to him. He was interrupted by Jordan’s music after all. Jordan walked onto the stage and rubbed his arm, which still had a bruise. He charged into the ring and ducked an Elias guitar swing. He then suplexed Elias. Elias rolled out of the ring. Jordan got almost no reaction. Jordan stomped on the guitar. Elias was upset.
-Backstage Miz, Bo, and Curtis were about to leave. Angle cut them off and asked if he thinks he can show up late but also leave early. He said they’re going to stay until the end of the show “or else.” Miz gulped and turned around. [c]
-Enzo came to onto the stage, wearing his Cruiserweight Title belt. Drew Gulak was already in the ring. He introduced himself and Enzo. Fans chanted, “How are you doin’?” Drew said Stephanie earlier insisted a fourth “I” be added to Angle’s three I’s. Enzo said he agreed. He said Kalisto is also incompetent and won’t get his title back. Drew said it’s true that there is only one way to describe him and he will spell it out for him. “S-O-F-T!” Enzo was just dismayed with Drew’s inflection throughout and messing up SAWFT.
(6) KALISTO vs. DREW GULAK
WINNER: Kalisto in 1:00.
-After the match, Enzo attacked Kalisto barely a second after the ref’s hand hit the mat a third time. Enzo looked around as if to say, “What did I just do?” Enzo then disgustedly told Drew to stand up. Booker defended Enzo. Graves asked him how he could be against Titus Brand, but in favor of Enzo’s brand. [c]
-Graves announced a Fright Night Four-Way featuring Mustafa Ali vs. Gran Metalik vs. Ariya Daivari vs. Tony Nese on 205 Live.
-Backstage Miz continued to act concerned about Braun showing up. He told Curtis to call their driver and tell him to pull up because they’re leaving as soon as the show is over.
(7) ALEXA BLISS vs. MICKIE JAMES – Raw Women’s Title match
Graves said everyone is bringing their A-game to impress Stephanie. Booker said Stephanie might have been upset, but he wanted to defend Angle because he didn’t see the Shane invasion coming. Bliss retreated to ringside a few minutes in and they cut to a break. [c]
Alexa was in control after the break and settled into a long chinlock. Cole said Alexa’s strategy is different tonight, trying to ground Mickie. Alexa shouted at Mickie, “You’re time is over!” Mickie eventually made a comeback, but Alexa yanked her off the top rope.
When Alexa climbed to the top rope, Mickie kicked her off balance and Alexa fell to the floor, hitting the ring apron on the way. Cole said Mickie has to get Alexa back into the ring to have a chance to become champion. Mickie did so. Mickie then climbed to the top rope. She landed a Thesz Press this time for a near fall. Mickie scored some leverage pin attempts in a row, all good for only two counts. Alexa then delivered a big right punch and scored the pin. “Just like that!” said Cole.
WINNER: Alexa to retain the Raw Women’s Title.
-They went out back to show Miz, Bo, and Curtis trying to rush into their limo. There was a camera inside ready to show live footage of what happened next. Suddenly a red dumpster appeared in front of their limo. It backed up toward them. Miz panicked. He urged them to get out of the car, but the doors were locked. Braun then emerged. Braun then charged after them and they ran away.
(Keller’s Analysis: That was eye-rollingly corny in every way.)
-They cut back to Alexa still celebrating her win as her music continued to play. Cole said they may never see Miz again. At that moment, Miz, Bo, and Curtis showed up on the stage. Braun walked out and beat them up. He tossed Miz into the video wall. Then he cleared the monitors from the announce desk (because he wanted to hurt Miz, but not too badly). Bo and Curtis went after Braun, but he easily fended them off and threw both down the ramp. Miz tried to crawl away, but Braun grabbed him and threw him down the ramp, too. Then he threw Miz into the ring. This lost steam the longer it went, and a dead crowd didn’t help matters at this point. He gave Curtis a running powerslam, then let out a roar. Miz backed up the ramp on his butt. The crowd chanted, “One more time!” Braun picked up Curtis and did it. That brought the crowd back into it. Graves said, “This isn’t Hollywood. Monsters are real and sometimes they win.” He then gave Curtis another running powerslam. Graves wondered if he’d ever stop. Miz looked on in fright from the ramp. Braun then delivered another. The fans in the first rows were standing and smiling, seeing this as comedy because of how Miz, Bo, and Curtis were selling like it was a Three Stooges act. Miz and Bo ran away. Braun picked up Curtis and carried him back to the announce table and power slammed him through it. Cole said, “The Monster Among Men is back with a vengeance!”