In this episode of Wrestling Night in America, PWTorch columnist Greg Parks breaks down both nights of WrestleMania with callers and emailers. Topics include the quality of the Firefly Funhouse match, the decision to put Charlotte over Rhea Ripley, the potential of wrestlers getting more creative freedom in the current environment, and more.
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KELLER’S WWE RAW REPORT
NOVEMBER 6, 2017
TAPED 11/6 IN MANCHESTER, ENGLAND
AIRED ON TAPE DELAY ON USA NETWORK
Announcers: Michael Cole, Corey Graves, Booker T
NOTE: Get full spoilers on this episode from our on-site correspondent HERE.
-A message scrolled on the screen offering condolences to the victims, families, and friends, and the entire Southerland Springs community after the senseless act of violence this weekend.
-The WWE “Then, Now, Forever” opening aired.
(Keller’s Analysis: For those on the Jericho Watch, he was still included in this montage. Either WWE doesn’t want to sell the New Japan announcement, they didn’t get around to editing him out, or Jericho and WWE are in cahoots and his giving New Japan a higher profile in the United States with a mega-match in January against Kenny Omega is part of a master plot to fool the Internet!)
-They went to a clip from Miz, Bo Dallas, and Curtis Axel last week having a run-in with Braun Strowman who emerged from the garbage truck. They did not run from the dash-cam of Miz & Miztourage’s reaction to Braun’s emergence. The video package lasted more than four minutes.
-They went to a wide shot of the arena as Cole introduced the show. Miz with The Miztourage were standing mid-ring for Miz TV. He said he had a message for Baron Corbin. He said on social media they’ve been going back and forth, and he said he told him if he ever talks about his pregnant wife again, he’ll knock his teeth down his throat. He said he went on to talk about his wife and unborn daughter, and after Survivor Series, he’ll be calling him “daddy.” The crowd chanted “Who’s your daddy?” Miz said Corbin is not, that’s who. He said this isn’t the independent wrestling leagues or NXT or Smackdown, this is the major leagues. He said he will be pitching him a 100 MPH fastball so he better be ready to step up to the plate. He said he demands respect. “You may be the bathroom break of Smackdown,” he said. “I am the whole damn show of Monday Night Raw.” He said at Survivor Series he better bring his A-game. He said he will make his little show relevant.
Miz shifted to introducing his guest, Kurt Angle. Angle came out to his music. Angle said despite their differences, he has his full support with his match against Corbin. Miz sarcastically thanked him. In a bit of an “out of nowhere” comment, Angle said Miz should know what’s he capable of. Miz said he remember Stephanie McMahon saying “this.” He pointed at the screen and a clip aired of Stephanie dressing him down last week. Angle said he’s not going anywhere and they’re about to celebrate their 25th Anniversary. He said they have the best talent, the best show, and the best fans. He said Smackdown has had a good 18 year run, but “Shane McMahon has a bit of an inferior complex (sic)” because Smackdown will always be known as the B-show. He said at Survivor Series, they’ll prove that. Miz asked if he forgot about Smackdown’s brutal siege. A clip aired of the beatdown in the locker room two weeks ago.
Miz asked Angle how he retaliated. Then a clip aired of Daniel Bryan getting beat up by Kane backstage. He said he wouldn’t be surprised if Smackdown showed up again and put them Under Siege. Angle said they wouldn’t dare and it won’t happen. He apologized to Bryan for Kane’s actions and said he had nothing to do with it. Miz said he finds that hard to believe because he saw a glimpse of the real Angle when Stephanie tore into him and threatened his livelihood. He said he did whatever it took to get the job done by any means necessary in his career, so he was sure Angle planned to eliminate Bryan just as he did to eliminate Miztourage. Angle asked what he was talking about. Miz said he forced him to defend his IC Title when he was unprepared and forced him to stay to the end of the show so Braun could crush him with a garbage truck. He said fortunately he and Bo were able to escape, but Curtis wasn’t so lucky. Curtis wore a neck brace. Miz said Bryan doesn’t deserve an apology, Curtis does. As Angle began to talk, Miz told him when his hand goes up, his mouth goes shut. Angle popped out of his chair and yanked his arm down.
Miz said there was no need to get hostile, “it’s Miz TV and the fans are loving it.” Miz asked if Angle wasn’t behind Braun attacking him, why did he reward him with a spot on the Raw Team. Angle said Braun deserves to be on Team Raw and he’s one hell of a negotiator because he had to promise him one thing. Miz asked what. Angle said: “A match, tonight, against you!” Miz’s heart sank and he suddenly softened and asked Angle for mercy. He got on his knees and begged him to cancel the match. Cole said no begging and pleading will change it. This ended 17 minutes into the first hour.
(Keller’s Analysis: This was fine. I enjoyed the pretty compelling case Miz made that Angle was behind Braun attacking him. I wish they didn’t double down on the dash cam footage of Miz and Co. reacting to Braun. Having Miz hype the Corbin match before moving to Angle is nice considering that it’s a match they don’t otherwise have a chance to hype in a traditional way since they’re on separate brands.) [c]
-Elias sat mid-ring and said he felt naked without his guitar which was already hanging from a pole. He asked the crowd what they want to hear. He asked if they want him to do “Wonderwall.” Cheers. “Well, too bad, because I wrote an original song which he said would be better than anything Noel Gallagher wrote. He told them to hold their applause and shut their mouths. “Manchester, man I despise this place. The children are future losers, and the parents a disgrace. So was with me…” He was interrupted jarringly by Jason Jordan’s music.
(1) ELIAS vs. JASON JORDAN – Guitar on a Pole match
Booker wanted to know why Angle would set up a match like this, playing up his arbitrary approval of Elias to contrast Corey’s long-running antagonism toward Elias. They cut to a very early break. [c]
Booker pulled out the historical example of Erik Watts being pushed by his dad (Bill Watts) “trying to push him to the moon.” He said Jordan reminds him of that. Jordan almost got the guitar, but Elias knocked him down. Elias then grabbed his guitar and tried to hit Jordan with it. Jordan ducked to zero reaction and then picked up the guitar to a round of boos. Elias ran. Jordan chased after him. Elias stomped Jordan as he slid under the bottom rope into the ring. Jordan suplexed Elias and yelled and showed fire. The crowd wasn’t into him. Jordan then bashed Elias across his back with the guitar. That gave Jordan the win.
WINNER: Jordan in 7:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: I’m not sure Jordan’s loud hyena yells work for him. But the sooner he turns heel, the better. The crowd reactions during this stretch are going to give him plenty of ammo for his heel promos, if they do go that way with him.) [c]
-They showed Angle on his cell phone backstage (stop it, WWE!). In walked Cesaro and Sheamus. Cesaro, wearing his mouthpiece and lisping, said they don’t think Angle is putting the best Team Raw together possible. He told Angle he hasn’t made Seth & Dean prove their worth like he did Alexa Bliss and Miz last week. Sheamus wondered what Stephanie thinks of this. He said Seth and Dean let him down when they were his last line of defense against Smackdown. Angle told them not to try to manipulate him, but man up and say what they want – a tag team title match. Sheamus said he and Cesaro can beat the Usos and represent Raw, whereas Seth & Dean can’t, and Angle knows it. Angle agreed to give them one last chance tonight.
(2) ASUKA vs. STACEY COATES
Cole said Angle is doing everything he can to rally Raw two weeks before Survivor Series in Houston, Tex. Booker said he wouldn’t wish being Raw G.M. on his worst enemy, having to answer to Stephanie. Asuka kicked away at Coates out of the gate and finished her quickly with the Asuka Lock. Cole said Asuka has an attitude.
WINNER: Asuka in 2:00.
-Alicia Fox appeared on the big screen and announced that she is the team captain and was adding Asuka to Team Raw.
-Charlie Caruso interviewed Titus O’Neal and Apollo Crews. She threw to a clip of Samoa Joe beating Crews last week followed by Joe attacking Titus from behind. Cole called it a “mistake” by Titus, but again no sense that what Joe did was wrong or uncalled for. They came back to Titus and Crews who had creepy smiles on their faces. Charlie asked why he challenged Joe to rematch. Titus said the Titus Brand is all about fun. He said last week he had his eyes set on helping Crews, but this week his eyes are on beating Joe, so Joe is in trouble. [c]
-As Titus and Crews came out onto the stage, Joe attacked them from behind. He knocked Crews off the stage and then went after Titus. The crowd chanted “Joe! Joe!” Joe put Titus in the Coquina Clutch. “That’s real right there,” said Booker. “Real recognize real.” Graves said you can’t get away with threatening Joe. Joe rolled into the ring and asked for a mic. Booker said Joe is a man on a mission. Joe said if you stand in his way, he will put you down. He said if anyone wants to prove him wrong, step on out because he’s not done yet. Finn Balor’s music played. Booker said Balor is always looking to test himself. Graves said he’s about to take the SAT of submissions. After ring entrances, they cut to a break. [c]
(3) SAMOA JOE vs. FINN BALOR
Cole acknowledged the history between them in NXT. Joe took it to Balor early.
Balor took over and double-stomped Joe. Joe knocked Balor off balance on the top rope. Joe got on sustained offense, but Balor eventually kicked him off the top rope, then slide kicked him at ringside. Balor gave Joe a running kick on the edge of the ring apron. Joe went down. Balor hit Joe with a running forearm. They cut to another break. [c]
Balor eventually went for a Coup de Grace, but Joe moved. Joe then caught Balor with a urinage for a two count. Balor escaped from a Coquina Clutch by kicking off the middle turnbuckle and then he double-stomped Joe. Then when Joe retreated to the floor, Balor flip dove onto him at ringside. They brawled onto the ramp. Joe tossed Balor onto the ramp. The ref counted them both out.
WINNER: Double countout in 15:00.
-They continued to fight on the ramp. Referees tried to pull them apart. Security and Angle joined in and they pried them apart and pulled them away from each other. Angle said that’s enough. He said he wants this kind of intensity on his Team Raw at Survivor Series, so he put them both on Team Raw. Balor then broke free and dove onto Joe. Graves asked how they could be teammates at Survivor Series.
(Keller’s Analysis: I get Angle wanting people who are intense and tough on his team, but there’s reason to question his strategy of putting people who don’t get along on the same team.)
-Bo told Miz backstage that Braun emerged from the garbage truck like some sort of monster in a horror movie, but they have strength in numbers and a real bond with one another. He said Braun is “just flesh and bone,” then paused and said “a whole lot of flesh and bone.” Curtis said Braun is a monster among men and he’s never been manhandled like that before. He suggested they just leave now. Miz gave him a stern look. Curtis changed his tune and said, unconvincingly, he’s not afraid and they can do it.
-Cole hyped Braun vs. Miz coming up later. [c]
-They showed a Tweet of Triple H sending the Houston Astros a custom-made WWE Title belt as congratulations for winning the World Series.
-Angle was on his cell phone leaving a message for Daniel Bryan telling him that he wanted to personally apologize for what Kane did to him. He said when he’s feeling better, call him back. In walked Jason Jordan. Angle said he had a great match. Angle said even when Jordan doesn’t win, he has great matches. Angle said this may be seen as favoritism, but he needs someone he can trust on his team. He said he’s making Jordan the last member of Team Raw. Jordan was elated and he hugged him and said he won’t let him down. Angle smiled wide.
(Keller’s Analysis: So Jordan is the last member of Team Raw, which means there’s no place for Roman Reigns. Either Reigns’s recovery is going really slowly, or they’re planning something here that will unfold at Survivor Series. Or when Reigns is available, Angle breaks the bad news to Jordan that Reigns is going to take his spot and he’s “sure he understands.” That can be the trigger for a Jordan heel turn. Lots of possibilities.)
-They showed the announcers on camera on the stage. Booker was beside himself. Graves asked who you can trust more than family. They showed a graphic with the current Raw vs. Smackdown men’s match: Angle & Balor & Jordan & Joe & Braun vs. Shane & Orton & Roode & Nakamura with one spot yet to be filled. The women’s teams are Fox & Nia Jax & Asuka vs. Becky Lynch & Charlotte & Carmella & Tamina & Naomi.
-An interview guy not mentioned by name (Mike Rome) interviewed Bayley and Sasha Banks. He asked if either of them had talked to Fox about being added to Team Raw. Bayley said Fox is “different,” but not different enough not to choose them to represent Raw. Bayley said after what Smackdown did two weeks ago, they have more incentive than ever to win. She said at Survivor Series, the only hugs she’ll be giving are hugs of consolation after Team Smackdown loses. Sasha said they should be on the team and Fox better name them. Bayley said she might be blinded by her new toys, Asuka and Jax, but nobody shines better on the big stage than they do.
(Keller’s Analysis: Aww, they’re such good pals. Friends forever.)
(4) NIA JAX & ALICIA FOX vs. BAYLEY & SASHA BANKS
Booker said there are wrestlers who passionately believe in the red brand, Raw, and they’re willing to team together even if they otherwise fight, comparing it to brothers who fight but will work together to defend each other against an outside force. He said he doesn’t think Jordan is ready for this important spot. Bayley and Sasha worked together to splash Jax in the corner and try to outpour her. Sasha leaped off the top rope, but Jax caught her and lifted her. Sasha slid free. She went for an elbow, but Jax moved. Jax then tagged in Fox. The crowd sang during the match. Jax hit Bayley from behind with a forearm and knocked her out of the ring. They cut to a break. [c]
Fox and Jax double-teamed Bayley after the break. Jax tossed Bayley around, including throwing her like a dart into the top turnbuckle. Bayley fought back against Fox and crawled over toward a tag. Fox grabbed her foot to stop her, but Bayley lunged and slapped Sasha’s hand. Sasha took Fox down with a spinning head scissors. Cole said that’s the kind of fire Raw needs. Jax broke up Sasha’s pin attempt with a yank of her hair. Bayley put Jax in a sleeper. Jax dumped Bayley over the top rope, but Bayley held on and yanked Jax by her hair with her. Fox rolled up Banks from behind, but Banks powered out and put Fox in the Bank Statement to get a tapout win.
WINNER: Sasha & Bayley in 14:00. [c]
-After the match an exhausted Fox said that she wants Sasha on her team. She then said she needs her on her team. Bayley looked on crestfallen that she wasn’t included. Graves wondered how she feels about that. Sasha was happy. She shrugged her shoulders when Bayley said something to her and then kept smiling.
-They showed Strowman heading toward the entrance stage with intensity. [c]
-They showed a video package on Kane attacking Strowman at TLC and putting him in the back of a garbage truck. “Somehow after all of that, the Monster is back!” said Cole.
(5) BRAUN STROWMAN vs. THE MIZ
Graves said Braun is going to be an X-factor in the Raw vs. Smackdown match. Booker said you can’t afford to look past the Smackdown roster. Graves said he agrees, but you can’t bet against Braun. Graves began reading a post-mortem on Miz’s career in WWE. He said he doesn’t think this will end well for him. Booker said Miz can’t talk his way out of this. When the bell rang, Miz rolled out of the ring. The crowd booed. Bo and Curtis tried to distract Braun. Graves talked about Braun’s “ridiculous speed.” Miz tried to sneak into the ring as Bo and Curtis distracted Braun. Braun turned to see Miz enter, outsmarting him, which the announcers pointed out. After a big Beal throw by Braun, Booker said Frank Beal would be so proud. Braun threw Miz off the ring apron and into the ringpost after he tried to run away again. Braun stopped Miz from scurrying out of the ring and then lifted him on his shoulder and flipped him hard to the mat. Braun went to ringside and gave a KO punch to Bo as he charged at him. Curtis then begged off. Braun threw him aside anyway. Braun then tossed Miz out of the ring onto Bo and Curtis. Kane’s music played and he walked out next.
WINNER: No contest.
-Braun told Kane, “You can’t kill me. I’m the only monster on Monday Night Raw!” They battled in the ring, with Braun getting the better of Kane at the start. Kane caught a charging Braun with a boot to the face. Kane then went for a chokeslam, but Braun powered out of Kane’s grip. He then gave Kane a running powerslam. Kane sat up. When he stood, Braun clotheslined him over the top rope. Kane landed on his feet. Miz and Bo attacked Braun from behind. Braun threw them off of him and smashed them each in a corner, one after another. Then he gave Miz a running powerslam. Then he left.
-Backstage Renee Young interviewed Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose. She asked them about Angle giving Sheamus & Cesaro one last opportunity at their tag team titles. Dean said they weren’t expecting it, but as tag champs they have to expect the unexpected. He said they defend them whenever called upon all over the world. Seth said Sheamus and Cesaro are two of the least cool human beings ever. Seth asked Renee how she feels. She said she’s impartial. Seth said they smell and no one wants them to win. Dean said tonight they ain’t gonna win. Seth said his fist has been and always will be the real bar. They touched fists. Renee them put her fist out after Seth and Dean left and shared a laugh with herself.
(Keller’s Analysis: I like promos like that, which are pretty old-school but also timeless, where a wrestler or wrestlers just talk about their opponents freestyle like that in a way where you just like them more afterward for being real and charming and determined. Just basic and simple is sometimes best.) [c]
-Enzo came out to a mixed reaction, a pop at first and then boos. Enzo said they should be happy he’s in their presence now. He talked about people following him around everywhere with cameras. He said the number one question from TMZ and everyone else is what is next for the Cruiserweight Title. He said he heard a voice asking him at the hotel and he looked down because he thought it was Kalisto. It turned out it was a little kid. When someone shouted Neville, Enzo said: “I ran him out of town. Shut your mouth.” He said he kneeled and asked the kid, “What did you say to me?” The kid repeated the question. “And I looked down at him and said, ‘Kalisto at Survivor Series.'” Enzo began gloating about beating Kalisto and defending it successfully. Cole said, “Somebody get a hook, please.” (He’s not even half way through how long Alberto El Patron droned on and on last night on Bound for Glory saying the same thing over and over and over. That was something.) Enzo said Kalisto isn’t worth his weight in Doritos.
Kalisto then came out to his full entrance. He sat at ringside. Enzo told him to think twice about getting into the ring and it’ll be twice as many thoughts as he had all day. Pete Dunne’s entrance theme then played and the announcers freaked out. Angle stepped out and said tonight it’s going to be the Cruiserweight vs. the Bruiserweight. He introduced Dunne, saying it’s his first-ever appearance on Raw. Graves predicted that Dunne would swell Enzo’s face shut. [c]
(6) ENZO AMORE vs. PETE DUNNE
Cole gave some biographical details of Dunne. Dunne gave Enzo an elbow to the side of the head. Cole said people compare him to Dave Finlay and William Regal, and there is nothing flashy about him. Enzo had a few words for Kalisto at ringside. Dunne then suplexed him on the edge of the ring and scored a two count inside the ring. Graves said Dunne is the real deal. Enzo caught a charging Dunne’s boot, then went for a pin with his legs on the middle rope. Kalisto got up and banged on the ring apron to get the ref’s attention. Enzo stood up and yelled at Kalisto. “Snitches get stitches!” he yelled, also calling him an idiot. Dunne then blasted Enzo from behind with a forearm and gave him a Bitter End pump handle slam for the win.
WINNER: Dunne in 3:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: They didn’t give this match a big window of time for Dunne to show what he can do, but it’s probably smart as Dunne isn’t established yet and they could lose viewers with a long Enzo-Dunne match. Still, they accomplished a lot with Enzo’s promo, Kalisto’s presence at ringside, and introducing Dunne with a lot of bio info and hype to frame him as big deal.)
-Cole plugged the Raw Tag Team Title match later. [c]
-They went to the announcers who plugged “Total Divas.”
-A video feature aired on the war of words between Brock Lesnar and Jinder Mahal. Graves plugged that Lesnar and Paul Heyman will be on Raw next week. Cole said the match might not even happen because A.J. Styles faces Jinder for the championship tomorrow night.
(Keller’s Analysis: Producing an elaborate video like this is discouraging for those are hoping for a A.J. Styles win tomorrow night.)
-Caruso interviewed Alexa Bliss backstage. Charlie pointed out that Bliss did actually run away when Smackdown ransacked Raw. Bliss said nobody likes an “actually girl.” She said at Survivor Series, she’ll run circles around Natalya. She said she was two-time champion on Smackdown just like she’s two-time champion on Raw. She asked Charlie what two-and-two makes. Charlie said “four.” Alexa said it actually makes “one, as in the one and only goddess of WWE.”
-Cesaro and Sheamus came out for their title match in red football (soccer) uniforms that made Manchester fans boo. [c]
-Graves said the UK Championship Division has been invited to take part in a special episode of 205 Live tomorrow night.
(7) SETH ROLLINS & DEAN AMBROSE vs. SHEAMUS & CESARO – WWE Raw Tag Team Title match
As Seth and Dean made their ring entrance, Cole said they had breaking news that next week Roman Reigns returns to Raw, and the original Shield will be reunited. They aired the formal ring introductions. Seth and Dean leaped off the top rope onto Cesaro and Sheamus at ringside a couple minutes into the match. Dean then chopped away at Cesaro in the corner. [c]
Dean eventually fought back and hot-tagged Seth which got a nice pop. Seth gave Cesaro a blockbuster and then dove onto Sheamus at ringside. He springboarded at Cesaro with a knee, but Cesaro ducked. Seth rolled up Cesaro for a two count, then in rapid-fire fashion came back with a Falcon Arrow for a near fall.
Cesaro came back with a lift-and-drop uppercut for a near fall. Four-way action broke out seconds later. Seth and Dean got the better of it and Seth scored a near fall on Sheamus. Sheamus and Cesaro gave Dean a running powerbomb into the barricade. Then they turned back to Seth in the ring. Cesaro set up Seth on his shoulders and Sheamus leaped off the top rope with a clothesline for a believable near fall. Sheamus and Cesaro were surprised. Cesaro stood on the second rope and set up another double-team move, but Dean got up and intercepted Cesaro. Seth then superkicked both Cesaro and Sheamus. Seth clotheslined Cesaro over the top rope and Dean hit Dirty Deeds on Sheamus. Seth then hit a top rope frog splash, but Cesaro broke up the pin. Booker said they might be here all night. Fans stood and applauded at ringside. Suddenly Big E’s voice could be heard addressing Manchester. New Day walked out into the crowd as their music played. Cole was absurdly late in recognizing that was Big E’s voice. Graves wanted to know what happened to the heightened security. Cole sounded panicked over what could be coming next.
Xavier Woods congratulated Manchester for staying awake during this three hour presentation of the B-show. He said they were there to spice things up. They cut backstage to Angle assembling the Raw roster to fight back, with Heath Slater and Rhyno the first, then Goldust and Curt Hawkins. He saw Braun who went the opposite direction. New Day went on about how Smackdown is the better show and how they invaded Raw, but Raw did nothing in return. He said it’s time to prepare for Under Siege part two. The Raw roster had assembled and they marched out to the ring. Booker said he wanted to see a fight. Angle looked around, nervously. The Raw wrestlers paced around the ring and looked around. Then they began to head toward New Day in the crowd. Xavier laughed and said, “Punt fake!” They retreated. The match was still going on through all of this, and Sheamus surprised Seth with a Brogue Kick and a three count.
WINNERS: Sheamus & Cesaro in 18:00 to capture the Raw Tag Team Titles.
(Keller’s Analysis: Really good match. I actually enjoyed New Day’s fake-out. The downside is you still had the Raw wrestlers hanging out together who are normally feuding, such as Samoa Joe and Finn Balor who couldn’t be kept apart earlier, as if Brand Pride is more important than intense personal grudges.)
FINAL THOUGHTS: With New Day and The Shield without matches at Survivor Series, it sure seems they’re headed toward that being an added match on Survivor Series, especially with New Day costing Dean & Seth the tag titles with their distraction and adding insult to injury by doing so from the place The Shield usually come out. Plus, keep in mind New Day led the Under Siege ransacking and were most vocal at the start and very aggressive, so Reigns can sweep in and be the “leader” Raw needs to go after the leaders of the Smackdown attack… Good show with some good long matches, plus significant storyline developments. Better than usual for an overseas version of Raw…
Send questions or thoughts on tonight’s Raw to firstname.lastname@example.org. We might read your comment or question on tonight’s podcast taping, and might publish your comments on pwtorch.com.
NOW CHECK OUT LAST WEEK’S REPORT: KELLER’S WWE RAW REPORT 10/30: Follow-up to Under Siege, Survivor Series developments continue