WADE KELLER PODCAST - Royal Rumble preview with Sam Roberts
(Search "wade keller" to subscribe in podcast app or CLICK HERE to subscribe in Apple Podcasts.)
KELLER’S WWE RAW REPORT
NOVEMBER 20, 2017
HOUSTON, TEX. AT TOYOTA CENTER
AIRED LIVE ON WWE NETWORK
Announcers: Michael Cole, Booker T, Corey Graves
-They went right to the Raw opening theme.
-They went to a wide shot of the crowd as Cole said they would be celebrating an incredible night for Raw at Survivor Series.
-Stephanie McMahon walked out to the ring to her music. Cole said Monday Night Raw slayed Smackdown Live last night. Booker agreed. They went to the announcers on camera. Graves agreed it was dominance by Monday Night Raw. He’ll have to answer for that characterization tomorrow night. Stephanie welcomed fans to the brand that proved dominant last night, Monday Night Raw. She said her brother learned to strike first in a fight, but she always learned to win. She said because of the outcome last night, Kurt Angle’s G.M. job is 100 percent secure. Some cheers. She introduced “the man responsible for that victory, my husband, The Game, The Cerebral Assassin, The King of Kings, Triple H.”
Triple H came out to his music. Graves said he wasn’t sure he’d use the word “decimated,” after Cole used that term. They showed freeze-frames of Triple H delivering a Pedigree to Angle, and then draping Shane McMahon’s arm over Angle to eliminate Angle. Then he gave a Pedigree to Shane to win the match. Graves said although they were victorious, there was trouble in paradise, as Strowman grabbed Triple H by his throat and threatened him and then powerslammed him. Cole said Strowman has since said on Twitter “never double cross a monster among men.” I guess monsters use Twitter?
As soon as Hunter arrived in the ring, Angle’s music played and he marched out. Angle looked upset. Graves said he should be happy because his job is safe. Booker agreed. Cole said because he got pedigreed. Angle got in Hunter’s face. He said this isn’t Kurt Angle the General Manager talking to him, it’s Olympic Gold Medalist and WWE Hall of Famer Kurt Angle talking to him. He said if he ever attacks him from behind again , he can take this job and shove it because he’s coming for him. Stephanie said Angle is speaking to the COO of WWE as the G.M. of Raw, and while she appreciates his intensity and fire, do not jeopardize his career again with that tone. Suddenly Jason Jordan’s music played. Jordan marched to the ring to his music…
(This report continues after this note about our limited-time special offer.)
FIRST-TIME EVER – TRY PWTORCH VIP FOR FREE FOR 10 DAYS
Activate your 10 day free PWTorch VIP membership (this offer expires soon, so act now) and immediately enjoy these features;
•Last night’s PWTorch VIP Post-PPV Roundtable Podcast, our most popular feature, with Wade Keller, Bruce Mitchell, and Travis Bryant breaking the down the event. Post-PPV podcasts becomes available about an hour or so after the PPV ends… Also, Wade Keller’s VIP Hotline answering VIP member questions about Survivor Series last night.
•Todd Martin’s “The Fix” podcast with host Keller (an early-week edition) reviewing both Survivor Series and Takeover WarGames.
•VIP-Exclusive NXT Takeover Coverage: Yesterday’s Bruce Mitchell Audio Show with host Keller discussing Saturday night’s event for 48 minutes… Saturday night’s Post-Takeover Roundtable Podcast w/Keller & NXT reporters Justin James & Kelly Wells breaking down the entire event for over an hour… Keller’s VIP Hotline after Takeover from Saturday night answering VIP member questions about Takeover and breaking the news on Drew McIntyre’s injury and whether it affected the finish of last night’s match… Keller’s VIP-exclusive written report on NXT Takeover with his star ratings…
•Bruce Mitchell & Brit Whitmire’s “Lookback Podcast” at Starrcade 1987. No two people know Starrcade in the 1980s better than Bruce & Brit, and for nearly 2.5 hours break down every aspect of that historical event with context and behind the scenes news and in-ring content analysis. This joins their previous in-depth Starrcade reviews.
•Ad-free podcasts and ad-free PWTorch VIP website on mobile and desktop.
The benefits keep coming with new VIP Exclusive Podcasts from Keller and the PWTorch staff every single day, plus the largest single library of authoritative, independent, hard-hitting coverage chronicling the wrestling industry dating back to the late 1980s with retro radio shows from the 1990s and podcasts from the last 12-plus year and over 1,500 back issues.
Sign-up is mobile friendly and takes just a minute or two.
Not convinced? Here’s what Conrad Thompson of “Something to Wrestle” and “What Happened When” said this about his VIP membership on his latest podcast with Bruce Prichard:
“If you haven’t ever checked that site out before, you should. My favorite thing on the entire site is the old archived issues of the Torch [Newsletter]. Wade Keller’s ‘Torch Talk’ interviews are just incredible. I was reminded of that when I was researching this particular show. Wade had an interview with Sean Waltman where Waltman talked about the “Plane Ride From Hell” with more detail than I’ve ever seen anywhere else… I want to be clear, I’m not being paid to endorse this in anyway. I’ve paid for a subscription for 20 years. I don’t get a discount, I don’t get paid for plugging this. I’m mentioning it because I know we have a lot of smart wrestling fans who dig learning about this old stuff… If you don’t like it, cancel it, who cares. But if you love this stuff as much as I do, you’re going to be into it and keep this for a long time. I’m a legit 20 year subscriber. I’m not selling you… Go flip through the Torch Talks and tell me it wasn’t worth it.”
Jordan got in Hunter’s face and said try giving him a Pedigree tonight. Angle told Jordan: “Hold on, son, Stephanie’s right. I’m the General Manager and you’re just a competitor.”
(Keller’s Analysis: Just a competitor? Doesn’t that just highlight more than anything what’s massively wrong with the way WWE presents wrestlers. They’re “just wrestlers.” The language treats them like subservients. Can you imagine a pro sports league commissioner saying to an all-star pro athlete that they’re “just an athlete”? Some revelations sneak out in the choice of language that is used, and this is symptomatic of a major shortcoming of the WWE presents its actual stars – the athletes in their primes who wrestle. I understand the counter-argument that Angle mean it in the context of not being someone who can make matches, but there’s a way to say that without saying “just a competitor.” But it wouldn’t even cross the minds of top WWE management to think that’s counter-productive in terms of how fans look at the main core product of WWE, which is wrestlers wrestling wrestlers. The G.M. and authority figure stuff is just a conduit to get them over and forward their feuds and upcoming matches, but that formula has been mixed up for the better part of two decades now. It was never like that before, for good reason.)
Stephanie told Angle he doesn’t have the authority to make that match. Jordan asked Hunter if he’s a coward. He was all intense. Hunter took off his jacket and threw it aside. Stephanie asked if Jordan was kidding them. She said in the mood her husband is in, he’ll tear him apart and make a mockery of him, and he doesn’t understand that. She said Hunter isn’t afraid of him or anyone in that locker room. Out walked Strowman. Cole emphatically and excitedly said Triple H showed fear of Strowman last night. Strowman got in Hunter’s face. A “Yes!” chant broke out. The staredown lasted about 30 seconds, and then Triple H started slowly walking backwards until he hit the ropes, and then he exited the ring to some boos. Strowman walked up to Hunter slowly. Hunter stepped to the floor and began backing away. Strowman followed him with his stare and walked the perimeter of the ring. “You’re a coward!” chanted the fans. Stephanie stood next to Hunter at ringside. She said since Jordan wants to fight so bad and because the fans are so blood-thirsty, tonight it will be Jordan vs. Strowman. The crowd booed. Strowman turned to Jordan and stared him down. Angle separated them and then Strowman’s music played.
-They showed a split-screen of Balor and Joe, who would wrestle next. [c]
(1) SAMOA JOE vs. FINN BALOR
Cole said Joe felt he had John Cena pinned when Balor tagged himself into the match to steal the pin. He said Joe thinks Balor is a glory hound. Joe opened up with some punches to Balor’s face. Joe dominated the early minutes until Balor knocked Joe off the top rope with an up-kick. Balor then flip dove onto Joe at ringside. They cut to a break at 3:00. [c]
Joe was back in control after the break. They replayed Joe giving Balor a suplex to reverse momentum. Joe dove through the ropes and nailed Balor with an elbow to the chin, knocking him hard back into the security barrier. Joe went for a Urinage, but Balor elbowed out of it and then chopped Balor hard to the chest. Balor fired back with a sudden sling blade. Joe avoided a dropkick and senton splashed Balor for a two count. Joe then applied a Coquina Clutch. Balor dropped back and rolled through and landed a quick double stomp to the stomach. He dropkicked Joe into the corner. Cole said he’s in the “drop zone.” Balor climbed to the top rope, but Balor knocked him down and then applied the Coquina Clutch mid-ring. Balor passed out.
WINNER: Joe via submission 12:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: Joe so dominated, it seemed like it was going to end up with Balor winning, playing into the typical WWE formula of the loser getting most of the offense, such as with Alexa Bliss and Charlotte last night. In this case, it’s indicative of Joe being in for a serious push, being built up for a top tier opponent soon whereas Balor isn’t in line for such a big spot.)
-Cole threw to a video package on the ticket launch of WrestleMania for next year in New Orleans.
-They promoted Miz TV with Roman Reigns. [c]
-Karl Anderson & Luke Gallows promoted WWE Shop in a comedic way. Anderson held up a John Cena pillow and said, “You might not be able to see him, but you can sleep on him.” Gallows imitated Steve Austin. They promoted their new Nerd-o-Meter t-shirt. They pitched Black Friday sales.
-Back to the announcers, Graves said he’s going to get Cole a nerd t-shirt because he’s the biggest nerd he knows. Cole laughed uproariously, in a very nerdy way. They threw to a video package on the Brock Lesnar vs. A.J. Styles match.
-Backstage Jordan caught up to Angle. He asked if he is really going to let the match with Strowman go through. “I’m hurt,” he said. Angle said he thought he said he was 100 percent. Jordan said he only said it because it was Triple H. Angle said he was worried about what people say if he cancelled the match. Jordan said he can compete and besides he’s the only guy on the roster who can beat Strowman. He said when Angle was an NCAA Champion, he beat wrestlers who were twice as big as him, and his blood courses through his veins, so he can beat Strowman. He talked himself into overconfidence. He said when he’s done with Strowman, Strowman will be telling horror stories about him. Angle smiled.
-Asuka made her ring entrance. Cole said she made Raw proud last night. Booker said Asuka didn’t trip on a banana peel to get into her position. Graves said nobody said she did. Booker did that laugh he does after someone calls him out for saying something nonsensical. [c]
(2) ASUKA vs. DANA BROOKE
Before the match, they showed what happened between Asuka and Dana last week when Dana slapped her and then ran away before Asuka caught up to her and landed a spinning wheel kick. They showed an inset soundbite from Dana who said Asuka stuck her nose last week where it didn’t belong and cost her an opportunity to represent Raw at Survivor Series. She said she’s studied Asuka all week and she found holes in her game, so she’s going to return the favor by ending her undefeated streak.
The bell rang and Asuka just smiled knowingly at Dana, like she had a secret that Dana didn’t know about and she wasn’t worried at all. Graves said he’s watched “literally” every match Asuka has had since she arrived at NXT and “I can’t find anyone as close to perfect as Asuka”. Booker said nobody’s perfect. Graves pointed out he said “close to perfect.” Asuka took it to Dana with kicks early. She knocked Dana off the ring apron with a hip attack. A minute later, Dana kicked Asuka’s left leg to begin a comeback. Fans chanted “Let’s Go Asuka!” Dana patted Asuka on the head patronizingly, then slapped her. Asuka then nailed her with a flurry of hand and foot strikes for an impressive win.
WINNER: Asuka in 3:00.
-A Smackdown commercial hyped that Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn may face heavy repercussions for their betrayal of Smackdown and Shane McMahon at Survivor Series. [c]
-Miz TV: Miz, with Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel, said that he gave Baron Corbin the biggest victory of his career and he’s more relevant than he’s ever been in his entire life because of him. He said Baron’s brush with greatness is over because he is the A-Lister on the A-Show and he has more important things to tend to than him, such as his guest tonight, Roman Reigns. He said Reigns led The Shield to victory over New Day. He introduced Reigns. Mix of cheers and boos. No music, no entrance. Miz tried again. Still nothing. He called it unprofessional and demanded more respect. Reigns’s music finally played and came out with Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose through the crowd. As they walked to the ring, Cole continued to boast about Raw’s victory over Smackdown. Graves said it was 3-2, so it wasn’t quite as grand as Cole was portraying it.
Miz said his guest is Reigns, not The Shield. Miz said they’re feeling pretty good about themselves. Dean said they are because they proved to the world they haven’t missed a step. Seth said they proved they are the most dominant three-man team in the history of WWE. He said the three of them standing together, brothers in arms, are pretty much unstoppable. Miz mockingly said, “The Shield! Brothers in arms back together again!” He said it’s cute, just like old times. He said there is one thing bothering him, though. He said he still hasn’t heard a thank you. Reigns asked, “To who?” Miz said, “To me!” Reigns said there’s never going to be a situation in the world where The Shield thanks The Miz. “Not gonna happen,” he said. Miz said the only reason the Shield Reunion Tour started is because of him. He raised his arm and yelled to the fans, “Hey, I am talking! You know what this means. When my hand goes up, your mouth goes shut.” Boos.
Miz made his case that his pushing and prodding led to Seth and Dean reuniting first, and then Roman joining them. The fans chanted “Thank you, Miz!” Miz said he wanted a cut of their merchandise checks. Seth said Roman didn’t bring his checkbook, maybe later. The fans chanted “Miz is awesome!” Roman said they’ve been all over the world and they’ve never heard that. Reigns said Miz should be thanking Houston. Miz said he refused to thank them. The lights suddenly went out. “Turn my lights on!” he said. He got a spotlight. He said The Shield are all so ungrateful. The crowd chanted “You’re Ungrateful.” Reigns said he’s not ungrateful. He said they won last night.
Miz held up his IC Title and said he is a champion, something nobody in the Shield can say. Seth said he’s been thinking about that. He said it’s only a matter of time before he and Ambrose get their hands on the tag team titles. Reigns said he doesn’t want to be the only guy in The Shield without a title. Seth said Miz has a title. He said “it’s nice, it’s white, it’s shiny.” The crowd chanted “Yes!” Reigns asked if he’s free later to have a title match. He asked Houston. They cheered. Bo and Curtis stepped up. Bo said you can’t just come on Miz TV and challenge the champ. “You want him, you gotta go through us,” he said. Dean said that’s stupid of them to forget that. Reigns popped Bo. Bo rolled away. Miz ran away. Curtis found himself in a neckbreace still standing in the ring, now alone with The Shield. Seth kneed him in the head and then Dean gave him a Dirty Deeds. Bo sat up and realized his fate. The Shield gave him a Triple Powerbomb.
(Keller’s Analysis: That went pretty well, except for fans chanting “Miz is Awesome!” In the end, Miz turned the crowd against him strongly and the fans were eager for Miz vs. Reigns later. Crowds tend to cheer for what they perceive to be a big match being added no matter what, so the crowd response for Reigns later will be interesting.)
-The announcers wondered if Miz vs. Reigns would happen. Cole said he’d love it, and so would the WWE Universe. Graves said the crowd was rocking when the challenge was issued. Cole said Angle will take it under consideration. Then the announcers threw to highlights of the opening segment.
-Charlie Caruso asked Strowman for his thoughts on Jordan saying he isn’t afraid of him. Strowman said, “Good, that makes him different than everyone else, including Triple H.”
(Keller’s Analysis: That was a sneaky way for Strowman to compliment Jordan and make the segment more about Triple H.)
-Cole said last time they saw Strowman, “this happened” as they showed a clip of Strowman powerslamming Kane through the ring. Cole said they haven’t seen Kane since. [c]
-The announcers said Angle has signed Reigns challenging Miz for the IC Title later tonight. A clip aired of Cesaro & Sheamus beating Seth & Dean two weeks ago thanks to a distraction by New Day.
(3) SHEAMUS (w/Cesaro) vs. DEAN AMBROSE (w/Seth Rollins)
With Dean knocked to ringside, they cut to an early break. [c]
Sheamus dominated for several minutes after the break. Dean knocked Sheamus to the floor, and when Sheamus returned, he went for a quick Brogue Kick. Ambrose ducked and sent Sheamus to the other side of the ringside area. Dean then dove onto him and threw him back into the ring. Seth backed off Cesaro when he approached. Dean was distracted as Cesaro clotheslined Seth from behind. Sheamus went for a roll-up on Dean. Dean kicked out and rolled up Sheamus for a two count. Dean then knocked Sheamus into the middle rope throat-first and then climbed to the top rope. Cesaro distracted Dean, giving Sheamus an opening to set up a second rope rolling senton for a believable near fall. Cesaro gave Sheamus a pep talk. Sheamus set up a Brogue Kick. Seth ran through the ring and dove through the ropes and speared Cesaro against the ringside barrier. Ambrose then surprised Sheamus with a Dirty Deeds for the win. Ambrose kept selling his left arm after the match.
WINNER: Ambrose in 13:00.
-Jordan approached Matt Hardy backstage. Matt said his match with Strowman is the talk of the locker room. Jordan asked Matt for pointers. Matt said he’s faced Mark Henry, The Big Show, Brock Lesnar – the biggest and baddest men WWE has to offer, “but men, all the same.” He said Strowman is known as “the monster among men” for a reason, and that’s not a nickname, it’s a fact. He wished him luck trying to take him off his feet. He said it’s a humbling experience. He said he’s learned a lot in WWE, such as how to use ladders as weapons, family is most important, and sometimes it’s just not your night. Jordan didn’t look inspired. [c]
-Alexa Bliss walked to the ring to her music. She didn’t have the usual skip in her step. They showed a clip backstage last night of Bliss hanging her head as a WWE.com roving reporter approached her for comment when Charlotte and Becky Lynch walked by in the background taking a selfie movie celebrating their win. Bliss was very sad.
(Keller’s Analysis: I do love the “happenstance” format of that segment catching Charlotte and Becky, but having a reason to be filmed in the first place, with WWE.com’s roving reporter catching up with Bliss for comment. That feels like such a better fit for WWE’s TV presentation than the invisible cameras or the “filming someone on their cell phone when someone else happens to walk in.”)
Bliss said she’s been reading all of the comments from fans about how she came up a little short, but still had a good match. She said they can save all their social media pity and pats on the back for someone else because she doesn’t need them. She said she only had five days to prepare for Charlotte, but she took her to her limits. She said Charlotte only won because she got lucky. She said Survivor Series might not have been her night, but 2017 has been the Year of Alexa Bliss. Mickie James walked out and said she’s heard enough of the same old worn out jibber-jabber from “Little Miss Biscuit Butt.” She said Survivor Series is over and it’s time to get back to Raw business. She said she wants the Raw Women’s Championship. Alexa laughed at her and asked if she was joking.
Then out came Bayley. She said for the first time ever she agrees with Alexa. She said 2017 has been her year, but “the year ain’t over yet, sister.” She said she’s not the same woman she beat for the championship, so she’s going to hop past Mickie. Bliss laughed at her. Then Sasha Banks interrupted. She said Raw needs a legit boss to represent, not “a little B like you.” Alicia Fox came out next and said perhaps Captain Fox should have that opportunity. She said Raw would have never defeated Smackdown two years in a row without her guidance. Bliss called her Captain Delusional. She thanked everyone for a colossal waste of her time. She said not one of those four deserve a title shot.
Angle walked out and said she can prove she is champion when she faces the winner of the Fatal Four-way match which begins “right now!” Cheers. Graves called it a colossal announcement by the G.M. [c]
(4) BAYLEY vs. SASHA BANKS vs. ALICIA FOX vs. MICKIE JAMES – Winner Gets Title Shot
A few minutes in, James and Banks clotheslined each other. Fox and Bayley were knocked out at ringside. Suddenly, Paige’s music played. The crowd popped. She marched onto the stage. Graves let out an “Oh my God!” Booker seconded it. Paige stuck her tongue out and cupped her ear. The four women in the ring looked to the stage. She asked, “Did you miss me?” The crowd chanted “Yes!” She apologized to the ladies in the ring. She said she wanted everyone to know something. She said she is back. She sang those words and smiled. She said she wanted more noise. Another “Welcome back!” chant. This one much louder. All you gotta do is ask, apparently. She added, “But I didn’t come alone.” She walked toward the ring. Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville from NXT entered the ring. Paige stood at ringside and watched as some fans began an “NXT” chant. Mandy and Sonya went after Mickie. Then Banks jumped in, but they fought back. When Bayley attacked them, Paige entered and went after Bayley with a kick to the gut. Graves wondered what the alliance was all about. Booker said, “The more the merrier.” Alicia Fox ran screaming to the back. Mandy gave Mickie her butterfly faceplant, which didn’t look great. Next Sonya took out Banks. Then Paige gave the Rampaige to Bayley. They stood center-ring with their arms raised. Graves said he’s never been sorry to see Mandy Rose. He said Paige just turned the Raw Women’s Division upside down.
WINNERS: Apparent no contest in about 5:00.
-Backstage Renee Young approached Paige, Mandy, and Sonya. She welcomed them back apprehensively. Bliss walked up to them and said Paige doesn’t need to explain herself. She said the women in the ring got what they deserved. She waved bye-bye to Renee, who walked away. Paige introduced Bliss to Sonya and Mandy. Alexa looked a bit leery of the way they looked at her. She said, “Nice to meet you.” They stared back. Then they attacked Bliss three-on-one. They threw her into a stack of crates and a garage door. Then they left.
(Keller’s Analysis: I suspect that turned Bliss babyface, which isn’t a bad move at all. Paige got a babyface pop, but managed to turn heel by the end. I like that reintroduction with two other women forming a new faction. I assume Paige will be the centerpiece and the other two will be her sidekicks. The Raw Women’s Division absolutely needed some fresh faces. This reshuffles the deck. I still can’t believe how much Bayley doesn’t seem at all likable anymore. She carries herself in such a way that just contradicts her gimmick and is so far from what she was in NXT.)
(5) BRAUN STROWMAN vs. JASON JORDAN
They had a staredown. Jordan slapped Braun, then bailed out to ringside. Graves said Jordan has a plan, but he’s not sure it’ll be effective. Braun yelled at Jordan, who returned to the ring. Strowman threw him into the corner and charged. Jordan avoided him and then lifted Strowman in the air briefly. Strowman threw Jordan all the way across the ring, then crashed into him in the corner. Jordan slipped out of Braun’s running powerslam attempt and then sold that his knee was hurt. Kane then popped up behind Strowman and attacked his leg.
WINNER: Apparent no contest in 1:00.
Kane grabbed a chair and jabbed him in the ribs and across the back and then cross the chest. Kane bashed Strowman’s head into the ringside steps a few times. Booker said Kane is showing he’s here to stay and isn’t ready to go. Kane then jabbed the chair into Strowman’s throat. Strowman gasped for breath. He pushed off referees who tried to guide him to the back to get his throat checked. He gasped and coughed as he made his way up to the stage. There was some applause and some looks of concern.
(Keller’s Analysis: Strowman sold that well. I’m surprised Kane didn’t pop up through the canvas, just for the cheesy factor. Two matches that ended without any decision being announced, as if the match didn’t matter at all, sends a bad message. I did enjoy Jordan faking an injury after being shown up by Strowman. He’s so close to a full-fledged heel turn. I’m eager to see if he’s as bad of a heel as he is a babyface, or if what makes him a bad babyfaces works for him as a heel.) [c]
-The announcers commented on a replay of Kane’s attack.
-Enzo walked out with Drew Gulak, Noam Dar, Tony Nese, and Mustafa Ali. Enzo said Thanksgiving is about people being thankful for him. Cases in point, he said since joining the Zo Train, Dar, Nese, Daivari, and Gulak have all been doing better. Enzo said if anyone says money can’t buy happiness, they haven’t spent a night on the town with him. Gulak interrupted and began to talk about their infrastructure has grown by nearly 23 percent alone in 2017. Rich Swann’s music interrupted. Swann walked out with Cedric Alexander, Mustafa Ali, and Akira Tozawa. When they entered the ring, Enzo asked, “Well, what have we got over here?” He said it appears Kalisto’s luggage didn’t make the flight, but they have to prove themselves worthy if they want to join the Zo Train. Cedric said they’re not there to join the Zo Train. He said they want an opportunity at his Cruiserweight Championship. He said they want to earn it, unlike his gang of suck ups. Enzo asked if Kalisto has been poisoning his brain. He said the numbers show that the Zo Train is the only way to the top of 205 Live. He said the guy on the top of the mountain didn’t fall there, so step up or get out of the way. Swann stepped up and asked him to make them get out of his way. Swann said without his boys, he’s nothing but a catch phrase in a t-shirt. Enzo dropped the mic and shoved Drew into Rich. A brawl broke out with everyone except Enzo, who dropped to ringside smiling from afar. They cut to a commercial during the brawl. [c]
(6) RICH SWANN & CEDRIC ALEXANDER & MUSTAFA ALI & AKIRA TOZAWA vs. DREW GULAK & TONY NESE & ARIYA DAIVARI & NOAM DAR (w/Enzo)
Enzo was an agitator at ringside as the other eight battled. In the end, Cedric hit a Lumbar Check and then Ali landed the 054 (the inverted 450 splash) onto Dar for the win.
WINNERS: Swann & Alexander & Ali & Tozawa in 5:00.
-The announcers threw to a replay of the Braun-Kane saga.
-Renee stood outside of the training room looking for an update on Strowman. Angle headed toward the trainers room. He told Renee that Strowman refused help. Renee asked if Kane will face any punishment. Angle said he needed to check on his son. As Jordan yelled in pain and winced, Miz entered and pleaded with Angle to cancel his match. Angle yelled that now wasn’t the time and to get out. Angle assured Jordan he didn’t let him down. A dejected Jordan said Matt was right about Strowman, he is a monster among men.. [c]
-Elias Samson sat mid-ring and strummed a few notes. He said that is the sound of success, not that the fans would know anything about that. A “Houston Astros” chant started. He said the season is over, so grow up. He told a man in the crowd to not clap because it’s throwing him off. He bragged about beating up Matt Hardy last night and rhymed it with “party.” He said he’s a lost soul without his brother. Hardy ran out to his music. They brawled. Matt got the best of the fight. The crowd chanted for Hardy. Elias fled and got booed. [c]
-Cole thanked Kid Rock for “Greatest Show on Earth,” the official theme of Survivor Series.
(7) THE MIZ vs. ROMAN REIGNS – Intercontinental Championship
Booker said he respects The Miz for not running away and defending his title. Cole quickly pointed out that Miz just tried to get out of the match. Do they script Booker to say such stupid things? Booker said Miz doesn’t look scared. Graves said Miz wearing sunglasses indoors to hide emotion. Booker said, “Oh, now you’re a psychotherapist.” Reigns’s music played and he walked out on the stage. It didn’t sound like an eruption of cheers or boos, but the crowd might have been muted. Booker said Miz has had a great run, and he’s a winner. Miz bailed out at the start as Booker complimented Miz some more. Roman finally pursued him. He chased him into the ring and punched him. When Booker said Miz is just trying to figure things out, Cole said he felt a big right to the jaw. Miz went for a sudden Skull Crushing Finale, but Roman powered out. He rolled up Miz and then lifted him for a sitout powerbomb for a two count. They cut to a break at 2:00. [c]
A “Roman!” chant broke out and they found a guy in the crowd participating and focused on him despite the high-pitch of the chant overall. Fans counted along as he clotheslined Miz in the corner over and over. He then gave Miz a boot to the face. Reigns looked to the crowd and nodded, then positioned himself for a Superman Punch. Miz saw it and rolled to the floor. Reigns rolled to ringside to go after him. Miz kicked him and gave him a DDT on the floor. Miz went on offense and settled into a chinlock.
Miz missed a dive into the corner. Reigns caught his breath. Then he popped Miz in the chin. Miz reverse-whipped Reigns into the ropes and kneed him in the ribs. Miz threw some round kicks to Reigns’s chest. Graves called them It Kicks. Cole called them Yes Kicks. Reigns ducked a kick and hit a Samoan Drop for a near fall. The fans stood as Reigns went for a Superman Punch. Miz avoided it and went for a Skull Crushing Finale. Reigns blocked it. Miz then gave Reigns a nasty round kick to the side of the head for a very close near fall. Booker said Miz “came to play tonight.”
Booker said this is the best he’s ever seen Miz look. Cole agreed he brought it tonight. Miz hit a hard clothesline in the corner. Miz climbed to the top rope and leaped toward Reigns, who met him with a Superman Punch in mid-air for a near fall. Big pop for the near fall and kickout. Reigns then signaled for the spear this time. He waited for Miz to stand. Sheamus and Cesaro ran out and distracted Reigns, who hit the Skull Crushing Finale. Cole declared the match over, but Reigns kicked out. Suddenly Seth and Dean ran out. Cesaro and Sheamus charged toward them, but took a beating. Seth and Dean knocked Sheamus into the crowd. Reigns then speared Miz to win. Cole said the one title that has eluded Reigns is now in his hands. Reigns looked at the title like a big prize and smiled wide. Seth and Dean raised his arms as his music played.
WINNER: Reigns to capture the Intercontinental Title in 16:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: Good match. They managed to tell a story of Miz actually being in Reigns’s league, and some good teases of finishes before the final Spear predictably led to the final decision. I liked the way Reigns celebrated like he had really achieved something special.)
-I’ll be recording the Wade Keller Pro Wrestling Podcast with Greg Parks, which will be available in the early a.m. hours Tuesday. Check it out at Podcast One, Apple Podcasts, or anywhere you listen to podcasts. Just search “Wade Keller.”