WADE KELLER PODCAST - EARLY PREVIEW OF ROYAL RUMBLE 2020 MEN'S MATCH, PLUS 2019 AND 2010 LOOK-BACK ROUNDTABLES
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KELLER’S WWE RAW REPORT
DECEMBER 4, 2017
LOS ANGELES, CALIF. AT STAPLES CENTER
AIRED LIVE ON USA NETWORK
Announcers: Michael Cole, Corey Graves, Booker T
-They opened with Roman Reigns stating the Intercontinental Title is prestigious and as long as he has it, it will stay that way. Then clips aired of the Reigns vs. Elias form last week followed by the Samoa Joe angle.
-They panned the crowd holding up signs including “Curt Hawkins Star Factory” and “Paige Marry Me.” They went to a wider angle of the lower bowl opposite the hard camera. They were not showing any of the higher decks, which is a bad sign as far as attendance.
-Kurt Angle walked out to his music. They showed the announcers on camera. Cole said Angle is about to announce who will challenge Reigns for the Intercontinental Title tonight. Graves made sure to explain (because Vince McMahon thinks it needs to be explained) that the “You suck!” chant is a term of endearment, with the signature Vince preamble of “Only in WWE.”
Angle welcomed fans to Raw. He talked about the Raw Tag Team Title match with The Bar defending against Seth Rollins & Dean Ambrose. He said they’d have an Intercontinental Title defense this week as well, and based on what happened last week, he’d go one on one with… at which point Jason Jordan’s music interrupted. (Angle seemed to get the syntax a bit mixed up in explaining what was happening “because of what happened last week.”) The crowd loudly booed Jordan. Jordan stopped and looked offended. He was booed again as he tried to talk, so he stopped and glared at the crowd. He said, “Before you say anything else, I want Roman Reigns.” Angle said he can’t be serious. He noted his knee is still taped up. Jordan said ever since he’s been in the ring on Raw, he’s been in the ring with Reigns, John Cena, Braun Strowman, Kane, and Miz “and I’ve held my own with each and every one of them.” He said Reigns issued an open challenge to anyone who wants to step up and take it. He said he’s ready to step up and he knows he’s ready to beat Reigns. “I just need a chance, Dad,” he said. Boos. Angle contemplated his words and seemed to be considering them when Roman Reigns’s music played.
Reigns walked out with his IC Title. Booker cackled and said he doesn’t look scared, so he might have accepted that challenge. Reigns entered the ring and said he’s a fighting champion, so he’s going to tell Angle whom he’s fighting, “and it’s not going to be your son.” He said he wants Samoa Joe. The crowd cheered. He told Jordan that if he wants an opportunity “don’t go running to your daddy.” The crowd gasped and laughed. Jordan got wide-eyed and leaned in. Reigns said they’re laughing at him. He told him to step up and take it. Jordan said in his squeaky voice: “You’re going to talk to me about earning opportunities? You?!” He said Reigns is the poster boy for everything that WWE management wants. Reigns said, “He’s right about one thing, I’m on a lot of posters.” He said he’s been on a lot of posters and chairs because he’s main evented a lot of shows. “I wasn’t given it,” he said. “I’ve grinded for seven years straight.” (Four days a week, even!) He said he’s not giving Jordan anything, so he needs to step up and take what he wants. Angle stepped between Reigns and Jordan and tried to talk them down a bit. Then Samoa Joe’s music played.
Out walked Joe who said as much as he’d like watch those two to puff out their chests and pretend to talk tough, his patience has worn thin. He said if Roman is done patronizing “the kid,” he accepts his challenge. He said he’d give him five seconds to withdraw his challenge knowing he can’t beat him. Reigns sniggered in response. Jordan said, “Hey Joe, I don’t have to try to come out here and talk tough. Unlike you, I actually am tough.” Joe went “whoa!” Jordan said he doesn’t attack people from behind, he issues challenges to people’s faces. He said he’s issuing a challenge to him right now. Reigns then pulled Jordan backwards and told him to stand back. Jordan then came up behind Reigns and gave him a belly-to-belly. There wasn’t really a pop. The crowd seemed torn on which babyface they don’t like to root for in this. Angle angrily ordered Jordan to get out of the ring. Reigns sat up. He told Joe he can wait until later, because he wants Jordan right now. Muted cheers. He told Angle to make the match and then dropped the mic. Jordan jumped back into the ring. Angle called for a referee. He stood between Reigns and Jordan as Cole said the match is up next.
(Keller’s Analysis: That clocked in at 13 minutes, which didn’t feel too long. A disorienting mix of personalities and agendas there. Reigns is still not that likable with his tone, body language, and facial expressions, and having him protest accusations that he wasn’t given a leg up because he represents everything WWE management likes is just going to reignite push-back by fans. It’s one thing to accept and acknowledge a leg-up and then work hard to earn your keep; it’s quite another to claim you didn’t have a leg-up and earned it because you outworked everyone else trying for the same spot. Even opposite the utterly obnoxious Jordan, the L.A. crowd wasn’t popping for Reigns’s lines or reacting to him like they were strongly rooting for him. Joe seemed like the most likable, although Jordan did then step up with a babyface line about challenging people to their faces and not attacking them from behind, as Joe did last week. Joe had no comeback for that. This is just a vexing booking approach, as they’re trying to force-feed Roman to fans opposite of Jordan, but confusing the situation with Joe who tends to be popular with the people who aren’t warming up to Reigns. This stuff is all easier when wrestlers who fans actually really like and connect with are pushed as the top babyface and the top babyface is positioned opposite of people fans don’t like and everyone involved acts in ways that match their character, with babyfaces acting with nobility by default and heels being self-entitled or oblivious weasels. Reigns, though, came off as self-entitled and oblivious, and a bit full of himself and overly disrespectful of Jordan – which was tough to pull off given how Jordan came across there. Reigns could have made his case better by just telling Jordan to win a few matches and not “just hold your own before losing all of them,” then come talk to him about a title shot because he wants to give IC Title opportunities to wrestles who actually deserve it because they’ve won in the last six months. Jordan could have then made a reference to some obscure win against a lower card guy as evidence he has won in the last six months, giving Reigns and the fans a chance to laugh at him together. On the bright side, this was Jordan’s best segment because he did embody heel traits which were meant to be interpreted as weaselly and whiny. Most of the concern I had that he might be as bad of a heel as he was a babyface is now gone.) [c]
(1) ROMAN REIGNS vs. JASON JORDAN – IC Title match
Graves said you have to respect Jordan’s methods tonight because he made Reigns give him the IC Title match. Joe sat on the stage and watched. Booker said Angle is doing a poor job as a dad and G.M. Reigns beat up Jordan out of the gate and threw him to ringside a minute in. He rammed his head into the ring apron, and then whipped him hard into the ringside barrier. Back in the ring Jordan surprised Reigns with a punch. Reigns kicked him and landed an uppercut, then clotheslined him over the top rope to the floor. Reigns played to the crowd and got mostly boos. Then he landed a drive-by (a move named after people driving by in cars and shooting people). Reigns applied a chinlock from an awkward leaning position. If that’s him expanding beyond punches, stomps, boots, and clotheslines, maybe he should stick to punches and clotheslines after all. Fans chanted “We Want Joe.” Jordan rammed his shoulder into Reigns’s mid-section and then lifted him and slammed him hard into the corner. He then sent a charging Reigns shoulder-first through the ropes into the ringpost. With Reigns on the floor, they cut to a break. [c]
Jordan had Reigns down with an armbar. Cole asked Graves about his interview with Reigns on his new WWE Network show “Straight from the Source.” Booker, I think sarcastically, asked Graves if he asks Reigns about how he got to this position without taking any shortcuts. Cole thought Booker didn’t even know the interview was with Reigns when Booker said that, which was really strange. Reigns came back and landed a bunch of forearms in the corner. Then he landed a big boot for a two count. A grumpy looking Joe continued to watch from a backwards chair on the stage. Cole said Joe tweeted Reigns last week that there’s a fine line between victor and victim, forged with determination and belief. He said he believes he can beat him. Booker said Joe is a prize fighter. When Reigns telegraphed a Superman Punch and got booed, Jordan countered with a dropkick, good for a two count. Graves called that “ridiculous athleticism” worthy of respect. Booker said he just needs the right tutelage and blamed Angle for not being a good dad. He said he was a good dad who was there for his kids. Reigns elbowed out of a suplex attempt and then gave Jordan a knee lift and knocked him to the floor.
At ringside, Reigns leaped off the ringside steps, but Jordan caught him mid-air and drove him into the steps twice. Then he threw him into the ring. Graves marveled at Jordan’s athleticism again. Jordan scored a two count. Booker said Jordan is doing anything to win which tells him a lot about Jordan. Cole said Jordan appeared to be pouting after the latest kick out. Jordan landed another suplex for another two count. Reigns looked exhausted. Cole said Jordan appears to be close to winning the title and they’ll see if he can do it after this break. [c]
After the break, Reigns was in control. Cole said Jordan appeared to aggravate his knee during the break. Reigns put him in a half crab. Jordan crawled toward the bottom rope while crying in agony. Jordan countered with a twist into a small package for a two count. Reigns then hit a quick Superman Punch. Jordan kicked out. They showed the spot during the break where Jordan and Reigns tumbled over the top rope and Jordan grabbed his knee after he landed hard on it. Reigns stood and looked at the crowd and let out a big yell. Jordan kicked him in the face as he charged and then landed a Northern Lights Suplex twice into a bridge for a near fall. Cole said it’d be a hell of a story if Jordan beat Reigns with a bad knee and walks away with the IC Title. Reigns gave Jordan another Superman Punch. As Jordan reached for his knee, Reigns speared him and pinned him. High-pitched screams of happiness erupted. Cole said Jordan gave Reigns a big fight.
WINNER: Reigns in 21:00 to retain the IC Title.
-Joe stood and told Reigns he looks weary and maybe the kid wore him out. He said he’s made a lot of bad decisions tonight, so he’s coming to the ring to finish what Jordan started and put him to sleep. He ran to the ring. Joe attacked Reigns and put him in a sleeper. Jordan suplexed Joe off of Reigns. Cole said he admires his fire. Jordan yelled down to Joe who acted tough but let the ref stop him from returning to the ring. Reigns then gave an unsuspecting Jordan a Superman Punch. Graves said Jordan just pulled Joe off of Reigns and got Superman Punched for it. Cole said, “Let’s not forget how this night started.”
(Keller’s Analysis: If you’re a decent, fair-minded person, was anyone there likable by the end? WWE’s booking, and just natural sense of what constitutes being decent and sportsmanlike, seems so far off kilter. What was all of that meant to accomplish? Should we like Joe more or less? Jordan more or less? Reigns more or less? I have no idea. And the crowd didn’t, either. What were they supposed to think about Jordan saving Reigns from the Joe attack? Or Reigns for attacking him afterward? Were they supposed to agree with Graves’s obvious point or disagree? What a mess.)
-A Smackdown commercial asked how Shane McMahon would reply to Sami Zayn’s defiance. [c]
Got comments or questions about Raw? Be sure to send them to firstname.lastname@example.org during the show tonight and we might read them on tonight’s taping of the Post-Raw edition of the Wade Keller Pro Wrestling Podcast on Podcast One.
-They replayed the finish of the IC Title match and the post-match happenings. Cole tried to frame what Reigns did as payback for what Jordan did before the match to him. He complimented him for not forgetting what happened way earlier, ignoring what Jordan had just done for him seconds earlier.
-Angle was on the phone backstage talking to Stephanie McMahon, assuring her that tempers were flaring and testosterone was running high, but he’d get everything under control. Jordan walked in and asked for another chance. He said he came “this close” to beating Roman. He said tonight he has to let him have a match with Samoa Joe. Angle said he can’t tell him what to do, and he can’t let anyone think he’s playing favorites. Jordan said he wants a match with Joe. Angle told him he’d take it under advisement and go cool off. Joe then attacked Jordan. Joe said he found him. He said, “What, Kurt? Like father, like son, Kurt!” He then stormed off.
-They went to the announcers. Graves said he admires Jordan for swimming in the deep waters, but there are sharks he has to be aware of. Cole then threw to a video package on Absolution.
-Paige made her ring entrance with Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville by her side. [c]
(3) PAIGE (w/Mandy Rose & Sonya Deville) vs. SASHA BANKS (w/Bayley, Mickie James)
The announcers were joined by Alexa Bliss. As Banks came out, they showed Paige saying on Twitter that she’s been gone a while but she knows exactly where she belongs. Banks, seeming to escalate things rather absurdly, said “Time to officially burn your house down.” Geesh, that’s a bit of an overreaction. They showed Sonya, Mandy, and Mickie James going back and forth on Twitter, also. Bliss said neither Paige nor Banks are worthy of a title opportunity. When Cole pointed out Bliss bailed out last week by this time, Bliss said his job is to call the action and not memorize her championship schedule. Great comeback. Paige took it to Sasha early. Booker took Banks’s side in a debate with Graves. Graves said he’s flipped already because he was against Jordan earlier for the same reasons he’s for Banks getting title shots now. He said it has to be some sort of record for him. “You’re a hypocrite, Booker.” Bliss said Paige can think of herself as the Christopher Columbus of the Women’s Division, but she (Bliss) is what defines it now. Booker complimented the “sportsmanship” of Banks for breaking clean when Paige was in the ropes. Doesn’t Booker usually compliment doing whatever it takes to win regardless of those silly rules? Paige went for a Bank Statement, but Paige blocked it and they tumbled awkwardly out of the ring. They cut to a break. [c]
Bliss took real exception to Cole being snarky about her still being at the commentary table. Banks teased a comeback, but Paige thwarted it and climbed to the top rope. Sasha knocked Paige off balance and then set up a superplex. Paige blocked it and punched Banks and then sunset flipped Banks hard to the mat. Paige made the cover and scored a near fall. They replayed Sasha’s bump in sl0-mo. Booker said you can get a stinger from a landing like that. Paige and Banks exchanged blows mid-ring. Cole talked about the fight Sasha was showing. Paige went for a Rampaige. Sasha blocked it and countered into a Bank Statement. Paige slid to the ropes to force a break. The woman at ringside then got into a brawl. Sasha was distracted by Sonya and Mandy. Paige kicked her in the face as she turned to re-enter the ring. Then came the Rampaige for the win.
WINNER: Paige in 15:00.
-Afterward, Paige, Deville, and Rose attacking Banks with Mickie and Bayley beaten down at ringside with a ref checking on them. Cole said everyone realizes the danger those three women are bringing with them.
(Keller’s Analysis: This match felt more like a means to an ends – the post-match angle – than a big singles match between two big names from different Women’s Eras in WWE. It was solid and had a lot of time to tell a good story, but unfortunately ended with the now cliched and overly relied upon distracted babyface getting blindsided before the finish. I get why they do it, but it’s just the go-to finish too often.)
-They went to Angle who was texting someone on his phone (stop it, WWE!) when he was suddenly startled by Elias. Angle wasn’t happy to see him. Elias told him to silence his cell phone and hold his applause until after he’s finished. Angle said, “Very funny, Elias. What do you want?” Elias said he wanted an IC Title match, but he engaged in blatant favoritism by giving it to his son. “That’s just not cool,” Elias said. He said now the City of Angles won’t get the musical performance they were looking forward to, and that’s on him. Elias said, “Some by sin rise and some by virtue fall,” he said. Angle asked if that’s Shakespeare. Elias said it’s a warning that his bias toward his bastard son will be the end of him. Angle said the WWE Universe deserves better, so go have his concert and he’ll find him a worthy opponent. Cole said he smells a Grammy.
-The announcers hyped The Bar vs. Seth & Dean. [c]
-Cole announced that Machine Gun Kelly announced on Twitter that he’ll be performing in front of soldiers at Tribute to the Troops. They showed MGK in the front row.
-A video package aired on the Kane-Braun Strowman saga.
-Enzo stood backstage with Tony Nese, Drew Gulak, Ariya Daivari, and Noam Dar. He scolded Dar and Daivari for losing to Rich Swann last week. He said he’s champion because he’s a winner, not a loser. He told Drew and Nese to win this week. In walked Nia Jax who smiled in Enzo’s face and asked how he’s doing. The crowd laughed. Enzo didn’t know what to make of that. Nia left. [c]
-A clip aired of how last week’s Fatal Four-way ended.
(4) DREW GULAK vs. CEDRIC ALEXANDER vs. MUSTAFA ALI vs. TONY NESE – Fatal Four-way to advance to face Rich Swann next week to earn a Cruiserweight Title shot
The two faces knocked the two heels out of the ring, then battled with a nice sequence of spots that the crowd cheered. The two heels yanked Ali out of the ring by his legs. Cedric did a flip dive onto both heels at ringside. He landed on his feet. Graves said, “Even the Russians give it a ten.” Gulak didn’t want Nese to fly off the top rope because it’s a No Fly Zone. That gave Ali a chance to dive off the top rope onto both of them. Cedric returned to go after Gulak. Nese broke up a pin attempt by Gulak. Four-way chaos broke out and everyone was knocked to the mat. They cut to a break. [c]
They showed that during the break, Cedric and Ali gave Nese a superplex off the top rope and the back of Gulak. Cedric gave a rolling kick to Gulak, but Ali broke up the pin attempt. Cedric didn’t like that Ali did it. Graves said he should understand that it’s every man for himself. Cedric and Nese went at it. Ali and Cedric teamed up with a double superkick at Nese, then turned and fought each other. Cedric gave Ali a back elbow, but Ali came back with a spin wheel kick. Then he slapped Cedric, so Cedric came back with a flip suplex move for a near fall. Nese knocked Ali off the top rope, crouching him. Cedric climbed to the top, but Nese knocked him off balance. Cedric knocked Nese off balance, though, and then Ali gave Cedric a springboard Spanish fly for a very close fall, broken up by Gulak. A couple minutes later Ali set up his inverted 450, but Nese yanked Gulak out of it’s path. Ali then grabbed Nese, but Nese up kicked him. Nese then hit a running knee hard in the corner, but Cedric came in and gave Nese a Lumbar Check. Nese rolled to the floor. Cedric then gave one to Ali, but Gulak attacked Cedric from behind and he stole the pin. The announcers touted the action of 205 Live.
WINNER: Gulas in 15:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: Good action throughout with the crowd engaged, especially for the big spots, of which there were many. The heels were sneaky and slimy and in the end, Gulak got a win that Cedric earned with his finisher. The same mistakes are being made with the marketing of 205 Live as the announcers fall back on touting the action – which is self-evident – rather than focusing on the “Superstars” in the way they do with heavyweights as big star with big stakes fighting over big issues.)
-Charlie Caruso interviewed Gulak afterward in the ring. She asked if he’s conflicted since he’s fighting to face Enzo. Gulak said it’s a hard-hitting question that deserves a harder-hitting response, which can only be delivered in the form of a new Powerpoint Presentation. He pointed at the big screen, but instead they cut to the Raw music. Graves said they’re out of time and it’s very disappointing.
-They showed Elias backstage. The announcers wondered who Angle had in store for him. Then they plugged “Total Divas.” A clip aired of Lana taking about wanting to become parents with Rusev, who didn’t want him talking about it in front of Sheamus, Alexa Bliss, and Nia Jax. [c]
-Elias sat mid-ring under a spotlight and sang for the crowd. He asked who wants to walk with Elias. He said L.A. worships vapid and soulless celebrities. He said he is beyond celebrity, he is talent, fame, music, the air you breathe, and everything. He said everybody wants to be famous. He looked down at someone in the front row off-camera and said he thinks he’s famous, but nobody knows who he is. Elias said has a song to sing. He said everybody in L.A. wants to be a celebrity, but the kids are pathetic and the parents are big phonies. Boos from the crowd. He said there is no bigger star than him, at which point Braun’s music interrupted. Elias leaped out of his chair and got wide-eyed like he just saw a ghost.
–Strowman marched to the ring as Elias cleared the ring of his guitar. He then bailed out as soon as Braun entered. Braun stood with his arms in the air. Elias attacked him from behind. Graves said, “If you’re gonna be dumb, you gotta be tough.” Braun threw Elias across the ring and splashed him in the corner, then powered him across the ring with a Biel throw. When he went after Elias at ringside, Elias caught him with a boot. Elias then hit Braun with his guitar across his back. Strowman no-sold it and turned around. Elias ran into the ring and tried to scurry out the other side. Strowman ran around the ring and knocked Elias down as Cole complimented Braun’s speed. Braun then gave Elias a running powerslam. The ring did not break this time. Braun went to ringside and grabbed the top of the ringside steps and threw it into the ring. Then he threw the base of the steps into the ring and Elias had to roll out of the way. Kane’s music then played. Kane appeared on the big screen and said Braun’s been a monster among men for so long, perhaps he’s forgotten about being a monster among monsters. He said he delights in pain and horror, and next week they’ll wrestle again. The crowd booed. He said together they will ascend into the abyss, but only one monster will emerge. He then maniacally laughed. The camera zoomed in on Braun’s face, red from Kane’s lighting. Braun turned and looked over at Elias, and then they just cut to the announcers.
-The announcers commented on the show-opening segment and threw to highlights.
-Backstage Reigns told Seth and Dean he did his part, so now it’s their time to do theirs. Seth said he should know they’re going to do their part because New Day is nowhere in sight. He said they paid them back at Survivor Series, and now it’s just them and The Bar, and they get the job done when it’s two on two. Dean asked Seth, “Our rematch is tonight?” An exasperated Seth replied, “Don’t you have a cell phone?” Roman said he doesn’t use the Internet or his phone. Dean then laughed and said, “Gotcha!” He said he’s been visualizing the match all day, with their hands being held high afterward. He took deep breaths and said he could smell it. Seth asked how it smells. Dean said it smells like gold. They bumped fists. [c]
-Cole plugged that John Cena will be “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon” on Wednesday night and “Today” on Thursday morning to plug his new animated movie.
(5) ASUKA vs. ALICIA FOX
In an inset interview, Fox said she saw what Asuka did to Dana Brooke last week, but she’s not Dana, she’s Alicia Fox. She said she led her team to victory at Survivor Series, she finally got a t-shirt, and she’s about to end Asuka’s undefeated streak. Fox went after Asuka aggressively at the start and tossed her across the ring after some rapid-fire blows. Graves said Asuka looks like she enjoyed it. Fox applied a side headlock. Asuka escaped quickly and then got fired up and took Fox down with a hip attack. Next she tossed her hard to the mat, but when she charged, Fox elbowed her and then gave her a big boot. Fox scored a two count. Asuka kicked out after another cover by Fox immediately. Fox settled into a surfboard. Graves said Fox seems game tonight. Asuka applied the Asuka lock for the tapout win.
WINNER: Asuka in 2:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: They protected Fox a little here by giving her a lot more offense than Dana got, but Asuka still looked strong.)
-Absolution walked out afterward and surrounded the ring with both Asuka and Fox in it. Asuka just blew them off and left the ring from the side they weren’t blocking. They just stared at her as she walked away, never turning her back, smiling the whole way. That left Fox alone in the ring. Paige told “Foxy” to relax because she’s not there to hurt her, she’s actually her friend. She entered the ring and said Fox was the only woman who liked her back when she was around a year ago. She said she was her best friend. They got choked up a little. Paige said from the bottom of her heart, she wants her to know she loves her. “I just don’t think Sonya or Mandy feel the same way,” she ominously said. Then Sonya and Mandy jumped onto the ring apron. Fox looked like this situation was registering as a bad thing for her. They attacked as Paige leaned in the corner. Cole said no one is safe. Graves said the entire Women’s Division was turned on its ear by Absolution.
-They showed Finn Balor backstage.
-They showed Graves interviewing Reigns on “Straight to the Source” asking hot topic questions of Reigns such as how it feels to maybe be the one who ended Undertaker’s career. [c]
(6) FINN BALOR vs. BO DALLAS (w/Curtis Axel)
Balor came out first. Then Miz’s music played and Bo and Axel walked out. Cole said Bo is going to dedicate his victory to Miz. Cole said Balor was “the biggest star available” for them to challenge. There’s a backhanded compliment. Balor’s not the biggest star, just the biggest star available. Booker noted this is the first singles match for Bo in a long time. When Balor climbed to the top rope, Curtis kicked the ringside steps under him. That distracted Balor. Graves called that “Miz-dom.” Booker and Cole said they liked that. Bo took over the match for a few minutes. Balor came back with a sling blade and running dropkick. He kept selling his ribs, but climbed to the top rope and landed a Coup de Grace for the win.
WINNER: Balor in 6:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: Okay, so Balor got a win. But not sure it helped Balor that much to go nearly six minutes against Bo, selling for more than half of it.) [c]
-The announcers commented on a clip of Matt Hardy having a breakdown last week and yelling “Delete!” The showed tweets by Hardy talking about how he is recently #WOKEN and other stuff like that. Graves said he’s gone off the deep end.
-A soundbite aired with Bray Wyatt who asked, “Who is Matt Hardy?” He said the Universe knows, but he doesn’t think Matt knows. Matt, in his Broken Matt garb, interrupted and said, “Yes!” He said his soul has wandered through space and time, but not all who wander are lost. Then back to Bray, he said Matt is an illusion and a fraud to mask his failures and he knows nothing of what is real. Hardy talked about delusional interactions with famous people from history he claims to have had. Bray said the ramblings of a mad man can be dangerous, especially for those who listen. Hardy said: “Due to my condition, I have laid dormant inside this vessel called Matthew Hardy, but now thanks to the consumer of terrestrial intergies (sp?), I have been woken!” Cheers from the crowd. Bray said he was awoken last week, not Matt, and his fire will not save them, but will make sure they all burn. Hardy sentenced Bray to deletion. Bray laughed. Matt did his crazy laugh. Back and forth between the two crazy laughters. The crowd ate it up. The fans chanted “Delete!” Cole asked Booker to interpret that.
(Keller’s Analysis: I assume Booker had never seen Broken Matt before and he was speechless. Fun start. Too early to tell how this will all go, but it’s cool to see Matt’s Broken character in front of a larger audience.)
-Seth and Dean made their ring entrances. [c]
-The announcers hyped Swann vs. Gulak, the winner going on to face Enzo. Also, Kane vs. Braun next week.
(7) SETH ROLLINS & DEAN AMBROSE vs. THE BAR (Sheamus & Cesaro) – WWE Raw Tag Team Titles
They showed Reigns watching on a monitor backstage. Booker took a dig at Dean for being on a honeymoon whereas Seth has been here performing. (Yeah, damn you people with lives outside of your WWE careers!) Booker said getting married slows you down, and indicated he spoke from experience. Cole said when he got married, he won the World Title. Seth rallied a few minutes in and hit the blockbuster and a sling blade for a two count on Sheamus. Seth then charged, but Sheamus backdropped him. Seth knocked him over the top rope to the floor. Seth dove over the top rope, but Sheamus moved. Cesaro distracted him. Sheamus then threw him into the ringpost. With Seth down, they cut to a break. [c]
They showed Reigns backstage again. Cole wondered what he was thinking. Graves said he was thinking he wants to add gold to The Shield. Cole said on Sheamus’s sabbatical to Ireland last week, he put himself through grueling training. Sheamus pressed and dropped Seth into an uppercut from Cesaro leading to a two count. Seth finally tagged in Dean, who rallied against Cesaro with two clotheslines. He backdropped a charging Cesaro over the top rope, but after a distraction by Seth, Cesaro caught a charging Dean with an elbow. Cesaro then crossbodied Dean, but Dean rolled through for a two count. Cole was exasperated by Booker complimenting Sheamus and Cesaro double-teaming Dean. Remember, Booker complimented the good sportsmanship of Sasha earlier breaking while in the ropes. Now, he’s all for doing what it takes to win. Dean blocked a double team-move and tagged Seth back in. Seth quickly superplexed Sheamus off the top rope and rolled through into a Falcon Arrow for a two count, broken up by Cesaro. A “This is awesome!” chant broke out. Cearo could barely enter the ring, at which point of course Booker said Cesaro and Sheamus look fresher than Seth and Dean. Cesaro gave Seth an uppercut and set up a Neutralizer, but Seth flipped out of it and then gave Cesaro his high knee. Sheamus broke up the pin and stomped away at Seth. Dean tried to enter, but Sheamus knocked him right back down. The ref DQ’d Sheamus for not breaking in the ropes. Booker said, “Sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do.” The ring announcer broke the news that titles cannot change hands on a DQ. Cesaro smiled.
WINNERS: Seth & Dean in 13:00 via DQ.
-Out walked Angle as Sheamus & Cesaro began to walk toward the back with their belts. Angle said since they say they aren’t just the bar, they raise the bar. He restarted the match as a no DQ match. “Oh, it’s true. It’s damn true!”
(7b) SETH ROLLINS & DEAN AMBROSE vs. THE BAR (Sheamus & Cesaro) – WWE Raw Tag Team Titles – No DQ
Booker didn’t like the decision and said that’s not why the rule was put in place. Seth and Dean took it to The Bar at ringside. In the ring, Cesaro surprised Dean with an uppercut, but Dean came back with a Lunatic Clothesline. Seth then landed a top rope splash setting up a believable near fall for Dean. Samoa Joe suddenly entered the ring and gave Dean a urinage and knocked Seth down and stomped him out of the ring. Reigns charged out to make the save. Joe bailed out. Reigns gave Cesaro a Superman punch and then went after Joe. Sheamus gave Dean a Brogue Kick and then threw Cesaro onto Dean for the pin. Cesaro and Sheamus fled into the crowd with Joe to retreat with the belts. Reigns looked on as if he was wondering what just happened and how that all backfired. Cole said Joe did what he did to get back at Reigns.
WINNERS: Cesaro & Shemaus in 2:00 to capture the Raw Tag Team Championships.
(Keller’s Analysis: Really good match, as you’d expect from those two teams. Intriguing finish in terms of how Dean and Seth respond to how Reigns’s interference perhaps cost them the belts.)
Got comments or questions about Raw? Be sure to send them to email@example.com during the show tonight and we might read them on tonight’s taping of the Post-Raw edition of the Wade Keller Pro Wrestling Podcast on Podcast One.