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KELLER’S WWE RAW REPORT
JANUARY 8, 2018
MEMPHIS, TENN. AT FED EX FORUM
REPORT BY WADE KELLER, EDITOR
Announcers: Michael Cole, Corey Graves, Booker T
-A video package aired on last week’s Roman Reigns vs. Samoa Joe IC Title match last week.
-Roman Reigns came out to his music to his usual eruption of boos and cheers. The announcers began gushing about Reigns being a fighting champion. Booker said, “That’s a real man, now, dog, and that’s what I’m talking about with Roman Reigns.” Cole also talked about how if there were any doubts about Joe being a main event player, last week he erased them. Booker said he never had any such doubts. Reigns entered the ring and just stood there after his music stopped soaking up scattered cheers and boos. He said it seems Joe would be ready for him after all of the talk and hype because last week, when it was time to put up or shut up, Joe got silenced. He said it’s not that he’s better than Joe, it’s that he was fighting for a purpose – “my brother, Dean Ambrose.” He said he has a message for anyone in the back: “If you mess with any members of the Shield, you mess with all of us.” He was then interrupted by Jason Jordan.
Jordan walked out with his WWE Raw Tag Team Title belt. He had an (intentionally) obnoxious swagger and smile as he walked out. The announcers said Jordan is showing signs of being cocky. Booker said he has a chip on both shoulders and could maybe use an attitude adjustment. Jordan entered the ring and said when he watched his match last week with Joe, he got goosebumps. He said for the first time in his life, he felt he was part of something meaningful. Guys in the crowd began a “You both suck!” chant that didn’t last long. Roman shot them a look. Jordan said, “It’s just like you said, when someone messes with us, it messes with all of us.” He said on behalf of his partner Seth Rollins, he proved, “This is your yard, baby! This is your yard!” He extended his fist for a fist bump. Reigns looked down incredulously.
Seth’s music played. As he walked to the ring, he told Jordan that he appreciates what he’s trying to do, but he still has a lot to learn. He said his lesson about teamwork last week worked out well, but this week they have to work on his timing. “I know you mean well, but you’re kind of stepping on Roman’s moment.” Jordan said this is everyone’s moment. He said Reigns took care of Joe for them, and he and Seth took care of The Bar. They all have belts now “and we run this show!” Reigns shook his head and said, “Enough of this ‘we’ stuff.” He said he’s “thee guy.” Jordan asked who’s better than them. He said, “We’re not quite The Shield, but you have to admit we’re pretty good.” He kept smiling obnoxiously. He said they might be the most dominant three man group in all of WWE. Reigns looked at Seth, as if to say it was time to reign this partner of his in.
Suddenly out walked Finn Balor, Karl Anderson, and Luke Gallows. What an amazing coincidence that they were standing right there backstage ready to come out five seconds after Jordan declared who the best three man group was. Balor said he’s been running with Anderson & Gallows for ten years before he knew Kurt Angle was his dad. Anderson laughed and did the “too sweet” gesture. Anderson said if you go to WWE Network, there’s a special about their history together. Gallows said when Balor came to WWE, they decided to stand alone. He said they won the Raw Tag Team Championships while Balor made history by winning the first Universal Championship. Anderson said as they did their own things, eventually they knew the three of them would come together and “take this place over.”
They entered the ring and stood across from Seth, Jordan, and Reigns. Balor said 2018 is the year of Balor Club. Jordan said he’s part of the champion’s club. The crowd booed as Seth and Reigns hung their heads in embarrassment. Anderson asked if that’s a new cute version of The Shield. Balor said they don’t seen the Lunatic Fringe, but they see The Architect, The Big Dog, and (pause for drama) The Nerd. Jordan didn’t like that and lashed out with a slap at Gallows. Reigns shoved Jordan back harshly and Seth stepped between them. Kurt Angle walked out. He said they already have a great show planned tonight with Brock Lesnar and the return of The Miz, but he might have just found his main event. He said he’s not sure who his pick is between those two teams, but he wants to see it. He asked the crowd if they want to see those two trios in a six-man tag match tonight. Some cheers. Angle’s music played to close the segment as fans chanted “You suck!” Graves said this one will be off the chain.
(Keller’s Analysis: I’m really enjoying the dynamic between Seth, Reigns, and Jordan. Jordan is tremendous in this role so far, and Reigns playing off of him is working for Reigns. It’s one of the first situations WWE has placed Reigns in where he can play off of someone who fans can’t get themselves to cheer just to spite Reigns. They did a nice job setting up the Balor Club “reunion” with references to their history. I’m not sure Anderson & Gallows have the credibility to seem to be a two-thirds of a top tier act, but there’s an obvious chemistry and connection and new confidence with them when they’re with Balor. Considering how underutilized Anderson & Gallows have been, this could be a good boost for them and a better use of Balor, too.)
NOTE: If you have questions or a reaction to tonight’s Raw, send it to email@example.com for the Mailbag Segment of the #WKPWP taped tonight and available a few hours after Raw ends at Podcast One!
-Cole plugged that Lesnar will respond to what transpired with Kane last week. Graves plugged Miz TV. He said for six weeks he’s been traveling the globe and making movies, but they’ll catch up with him tonight.
-They showed Sasha Banks, Bayley, and Mickie James backstage. [c]
(1) ABSOLUTION (Mandy Rose & Sonya Deville w/Paige) vs. BAYLEY & SASHA BANKS (w/Mickie James)
Cole said the 30 woman Rumble is now half-filled with 15 announced participants. They showed a picture of all on the screen. Graves said alliances will be tested in the Rumble. Page wondered what would happen if it came down to Paige and Mandy, since Paige is the reason Mandy is even there. Graves said they’ll stab each other to get ahead. Cole talked about Booker and Paige helping train Mandy and Sonya when she was part of Tough Enough a couple years ago. Cole said the first winner of the Women’s Rumble will be remembered just as everyone knows Hacksaw Duggan won the first men’s Rumble. They cut to an early break. [c]
Booker said Sonya takes “this thing” very seriously. He said from day one in Tough Enough, she’d stay late for class. Mandy eventually got caught in the Bank Statement and tapped out. Cole said Absolution dominated before losing.
WINNERS: Banks & Sasha in 11:00.
-A commercial for Smackdown hyped the tensions between Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan and asked, “What happens next?” [c]
-A vignette aired hyping Raw’s 25th Anniversary special in two weeks featuring a clip of Steve Austin attacking Vince McMahon in his hospital bed.
-Cole laughed on cue as they returned live to panning the crowd in Memphis. They went to the announcers who said he can’t wait to see which legends will show up. Graves said said the Dudleys. Cole said JBL and Ron Simmons, too. Then they commented on last week’s angle with Kane and Lesnar. Graves said they’ve never before seen Kane manhandle Lesnar. Cole hyped Lesnar would be by to respond later. Then they talked about what happened last week with Goldust joining Cedric Alexander in a tag match when Enzo was out sick. He said their win last week built momentum for Cedric’s Cruiserweight Champioship match tonight.
-Backstage Goldust gave Cedric a pep talk in the locker room with a quote from “Rocky I.” He used the line from his trainer, played by Burgess Meredith, “I want you to eat lightning and crap thunder.” Goldust he said that sounds uncomfortable, so he’s not sure about that. Cedric said he appreciates the pep talk, but he doesn’t need it. He said he’s been dreaming of this opportunity since age five, to become a WWE champion. He said some people laughed at him. Goldust said he can relate. He said one thing stands between him and his dreams, and it’s not Enzo or the Zo-Train, it’s him. “You are in control,” he said. Goldust went back into Rocky trainer mode, but he coughed as he tried to imitate his voice.
-They went to the announcers on camera who talked about next week’s debut of “Mixed Match Challenge” on Facebook Watch. They showed Dustin Rhodes putting on his faceprint backstage when suddenly Alicia Fox surprised him with the revelation that she is his partner. She took a selfie with him. He seemed okay with it. Booker said he sees a lot of good chemistry there. Graves said Jimmy Uso and Naomi are a real-life couple who are teaming and now Rusev and his wife Lana are on the same team.
-As Matt Hardy came out to his new entrance music, Cole said he’s not sure what to say about Matt. Graves told Cole to just open his eyes and mind and enjoy. Booker said there comes a time in every person’s life where the switch can just flip. [c]
-An inset interview aired with Hardy discussing his entrance into the Royal Rumble, declaring he will win and march to WrestleMania to become “Champion of the Multiverse.”
(2) “WOKEN” MATT HARDY vs. CURT HAWKINS
Cole said Hawkins is 0-152 in his last 152 match, but is undefeated in 2018 so far. Matt bit Hawkin’s hand, but he blocked the ref from seeing it. Booker said he’s been in the ring with Matt Hardy; Graves said, “Not this Matt Hardy!” Booker agreed, saying he doesn’t even recognize him. Hardy won with a Side Effect.
WINNER: Hardy in 2:00.
-After the match, the lights went out and then came back on with Bray Wyatt standing in the ring. They stared at each other. Matt laughed. Bray tried to keep a straight face. Bray then laughed. Hardy laughed back. Bray got crazy-eyed and laughed back. This went on for a while. Matt chattered his teeth. Bray stepped up an inch away from his face, then backed away.
(Keller’s Analysis: That was strange, but good to see them share the same ring. It got uncomfortable and weird, which is what they were going for. I still am hoping they have more layers planned for Hardy and he’s not just a “one-note” mid-card act who laughs funny and chatters his teeth. There seems to be a lot of possibilities with him and Bray, and with the Multiverse expanding over time with various characters being introduced. I’m okay with a slow unveiling.)
-The announcers hyped Miz TV was up next. Graves said it’s been “six long, seemingly endless weeks” since Miz was around. [c]
-Elias sat mid-ring and introduced himself and played his guitar a bit. He complimented his performance. He said he’s travelled a lot of roads, but one truth remains: WWE stands for Walk With Elias. The crowd said it with him. “Now you’re starting to get it,” he said. He asked for silence because “this one came from the heart.” He sang: “It’s January 8th, Elvis Presley’s birthday.” Boos. “He’s the King and Graceland’s only six miles away. Did Jailhouse Rock and All Shook Up.” He said it’s a cold January night, and he thinks “why should I even care.” More boos. Pause. “Because there’s a star on the way who’s taking over the entertainment biz, ladies and gentleman, please welcome The Miz.” Out came Miz with The Miztourage and Maryse. Graves said he has a source in Hollywood who said Miz won a Golden Globe last night, but he gave it to James Franco to help with his self-esteem.
Fans chanted, “Welcome back!” Curtis Axel and Bo Dallas smiled. Miz asked if they missed him. “The Marine 6 has wrapped and the USO Holiday Tour has finished and The Miz is back on Monday Night Raw,” he said. He said when he was gone, he wasn’t forgotten. He said he wasn’t forgotten because he is the glue that holds Raw together and because of Curtis and Bo. He said they turned their careers around in 2017 after sitting under the learning tree. He said they are the living embodiment of a New Year’s Resolution gone right. Curtis said every day was Mizmas this holiday season. He thanked him and shook his hand. Bo said having Miz’s wisdom in his life was like winning the Mizzies every day. He started a “Thank you, Miz!” chant. Bo presented Miz with a framed picture of Miz. Miz wasn’t moved. Bo said, “It’s going to be tough getting sleep without that tonight.” Funny. Curtis took off his sports coat and said it’s for Miz. Bo tried to one-up him with a watch. Curtis offered him his shoes. Bo stepped in. Miz raised his arm and told them to be quiet and sit down.
Miz talked about elevating Smackdown, Raw, Bo, and Curtis last year. He bragged that is was Rolling Stone’s “Superstar of the Year.” He said he hasn’t forgotten what happened two months ago after Raw went off the air when The Shield attacked him on the stage and powerbombed him through the announce table. Miz said that was an indignity for someone who has done as much for WWE as he has. He said he has allowed Roman Reigns to borrow his IC Championship because when he filmed a movie, he wanted the championship to be represented week after week after week. He said as everyone has found out, the title doesn’t make the champion, the champion makes the title. “And Daddy’s home.”
He said in 2018 he will celebrate the birth of his daughter and become the longest reigning single-greatest IC Champion of all time. He compared himself to Ultimate Warrior, Bret Hart, and Shawn Michaels, saying when children of this generation grow up, they’ll think of him. “This time I will be the one and only person they think of with that title.” He said he hopes Reigns has enjoyed the time with the title he has allowed him, but he’s coming to take his title back. Cole said The Big Dog will be ready for The Awesome One. Graves said he wants to hurry up and have another son so maybe he can marry into the Miz family. Cole said he’s insane.
(Keller’s Analysis: Miz has come a long way and carries himself with more confidence as time progresses. Curtis and Bo were funny trying to one-up each other kissing up to him. This is a good set-up for Reigns vs. Miz.,)
-Backstage Anderson and Gallows were chatting when Balor said that was enough reminiscing because it’s time to make new memories. Anderson listed some New Japan wrestlers, but said it’ll be the same story with Reigns, Seth, and “that little nerdski, Jason Jordan.” Balor said the situation may be different, but the tactics remain the same. Gallows told Anderson to stay away from the Saigon fries. Anderson said he has a smokin’ hot Asian wife. Balor said they have a real opportunity to make 2018 the year of Balor Club. Too Sweet hand gestures.
(Keller’s Analysis: Everyone here seems more at ease playing off of each other. Balor comes across as a leader playing off of Gallows and Anderson being more mischievous and unfocused.)
-The announcers hyped Lesnar and the Cruiserweight Title match. [c]
-A commercial aired for Corey Graves’s interview with Enzo on “Straight to the Source,” which apparently didn’t end well as Enzo walked out on the interview after calling Corey terrible at what he does. Graves said if you’ve ever wondered if Enzo is as detestable as he seems, he can assure everyone he is.
-Enzo made his ring entrance first. He did some mic work saying when he was sick, he thought he must be hallucinating when he saw Goldust teaming with Cedric. He said he’s beginning 2018 the same way he ended 2017, as Cruiserweight Champion of the World.
(3) ENZO AMORE vs. CEDRIC ALEXANDER – Cruiserweight Title match
The match began with Enzo ducking between the ropes to stall. Cedric gave him a right. The ref scolded him. Enzo dropped and then bailed out to ringside. Enzo yelled that Cedric doesn’t even deserve to be in the ring with him. Cedric chased him back into the ring as Cole said Cedric earned this match. They showed Nia Jax watching a monitor sideways backstage. Enzo scurried to the floor again. Cedric pulled him back onto the apron, but Enzo shoved him off the top rope. With Cedric wincing in pain, they cut to a break. [c]
Enzo had Cedric in a side headlock after the break. They showed Jax watching again. Cole said Goldust has declared Cedric “money.” Cedric came back with a dropkick and a spinning elbow. Enzo staggered. Cedric landed a handspring roundhouse kick Enzo and scored a near fall. Enzo came up bleeding from his forehead. Cedric kicked Enzo in the face again. Cedric clotheslined Enzo over the top rope. Enzo rolled to the floor. Cole said Enzo’s face is a mess. Cedric flip dove onto Enzo, and Enzo grabbed his ankle in pain. When a trainer came over, Enzo pushed his towel away as he went to wipe away his blood. Cedric returned to the ring to beat the ten count, but Enzo didn’t. They showed Jax looking concerned backstage. Enzo struggled to stand and then collapsed again.
WINNER: Cedric via countout, so Enzo retained the Cruiserweight Title. [c]
-They showed the end of the Cruiserweight Title match.
-They went to the trainer’s room. The medic said they’ll need to take X-rays and possibly an MRI. A concerned Nia walked in to check on him. Enzo acted worried and began crying in pain.
-They went to Kurt Angle on the phone with someone, saying he thinks even though she hasn’t been the ring in years, the Women’s Royal Rumble would be a great opportunity for her given her accomplishments. In walked Sheamus and Cesaro. Sheamus complained that Angle put Jordan in a six-man tag match to keep his son away from them. They sniffed and said it “smells like favoritism.” They asked for their rematch. Angle said they’ll have that opportunity at the Royal Rumble pay-per-view. Sheamus said that’s great news, but asked about tonight. Angle told them to head to the ring and he’ll find them competition. They left, and then in walked The Miz. He asked if he has any idea whom he is talking to. He said the USA Network executives were hanging on his every word earlier when he announced his new unscripted series. He said he and his wife are the stars and the executive producers. He asked if Angle knows how to run a show. He said he can prove it by giving him his deserved rematch. He said he wants it at the 25th Anniversary of Monday Night Raw. Angle said that’s not a bad idea. Angle recoiled at Miz trying to pat him on the shoulder.
-They went to the announcers who reacted. Then they shifted to Mixed Match Challenge hype. They showed Miz finding out who his partner is going to be. In the parking garage Miz was talking about everything going to the Internet, and suddenly he was interrupted by a honking horn and out of a limo walked Asuka. Miz asked if that’s his tag team partner. He said that’s exactly who he wanted. She said, “We will win, partner.” Miz declared they are winning. They hugged.
(Keller’s Analysis: That’s a strange pairing, but why not?)
-Graves talked about other pairings such as Braun Strowman & Alexa Bliss and Balor & Banks. He wondered who the boss will be in that pairing.
-Bliss walked up to Asuka backstage and told her she got lucky last week. She said her luck is running out. She said when Jax hears what she called her, “I wouldn’t want to be you.”
-Sheamus & Cesaro made their way to the ring. [c]
-The announcers welcomed the viewers watching on Sky in New Zealand.
(4) SHEAMUS & CESARO vs. APOLLO CREWS & TITUS O’NEAL (w/Dana Brooke)
Cole said Titus is trying to recruit his Mixed Match Challenge partner, Nia Jax, to join Titus Worldwide. Graves said NFL players have been calling Titus for advice recently. Booker asked if Graves really believes Titus when he claims that. Titus sold a leg injury after a bump at ringside. Then Sheamus and Cesaro isolated Crews. Cole said The Bar reminds him of APA with that “smash mouth” style. Crews eventually tagged in Titus who rallied against Cesaro. He played to the crowd and then powerslammed Cesaro for a two count. Sheamus distracted Titus, so Cesaro hit Titus from behind. Sheamus then kicked Titus in the face. Crews interjected himself and dove onto Cesaro at ringside. Sheamus then looked that direction, and Titus rolled up Sheamus for the win. The announcers reacted with shock as Crews and Titus celebrated. Graves said Dana has a win to put in the other column for once.
WINNERS: Titus & Crews in 6:00.
-The announcers thanked Aloe Blacc for “King is Born,” the official theme of the Royal Rumble. Cole said they were seconds away from Lesnar coming out. They showed last week’s angle again.
-Lesnar and Paul Heyman came out to the ring. Heyman introduced himself and his client. He said they are “old school,” but it’s never blinded them to the fact that “this is a progressive industry always in need of a new style, always in need of new fresh innovative ways to present both the product and the advertising and marketing of the product to the core audience and the general public worldwide.” He said they’ll have to forgive him tonight for being a bit of hypocrite because they’ve gotten away from something that is old school and isn’t for the betterment of the product and takes away from the historic nature of the tenure of the Universal Hvt. Champion Brock Lesnar. He said the old school way of promoting a title match was to find a challenger to step up and challenge the champion. He said they’ve gotten away from that because the Universal Title isn’t marketed as who can step up against Lesnar, but rather “how can Brock Lesnar survive this predicament.” He said he doesn’t like it and Brock thinks the whole concept sucks.
Heyman said last week Lesnar took Kane’s best shot and laughed in Kane’s face, the same way Lesnar is going to do it at the Rumble. He talked about facing two challengers. He said the question is whether he’ll pin Strowman or Kane or stack them on top of each other and pin them both. Lesnar smiled. Heyman said Lesnar is the most dominant champion in the history of WWE and he has yet to see anyone who can “outfight this Ultimate Fighter.” Lesnar’s music played.
As Lesnar and Heyman moved back up the ramp, they used a different camera angle than usual. Suddenly we found out why, as Kane attacked him. They brawled backstage where Strowman suddenly joined in. He threw Lesnar onto a table where a crate fell onto him. Strowman then rammed Kane with a traveling case and threw it onto him. Strowman pulled a grappling hook out of the crate and threw it up onto the staging backdrop truss. He pulled on it and it tipped over and crashed onto Lesnar and Kane. Heyman gasped, “Oh my god!” Strowman yelled and walked away. The camera showed Lesnar and Kane under the truss.
(Keller’s Analysis: More good mic work from Heyman who just conveys that Lesnar is a big deal. Another big stunt moment for Braun to solidly that aspect of his brand.) [c]
-Cole commented on a replay of the big angle with Strowman, Lesnar, and Kane.
-They cut backstage to Lesnar being pulled out from under the fallen truss. He could barely move as Heyman looked like he had just seen his dog run over by a bus. Kane crawled out himself as Lesnar was wheeled out on a gurney. Heyman was beating himself up, saying, “I didn’t even see him coming. I’m sorry.” As Lesnar was put in an ambulance, Lesnar said, “Get me out of here.” Heyman got in with him and it drove off. Graves said Strowman “went a little too far.” Cole said, “A little?”
-Samoa Joe made his ring entrance. Then Rhyno and Heath Slater began to head to the ring as they cut to a break. [c]
(5) SAMOA JOE vs. RHYNO (w/Heath Slater)
Joe and Rhyno could share a wardoe. Joe took it to Rhyno early. Booker said this should be a good contest on paper. Cole wondered if Rhyno is 100 percent after the Strowman beatdown last week. Joe pummeled Rhyno with forearms. Joe hit an STO for a two count a minute in. Rhyno teased a comeback by lifting Joe briefly on his shoulders, but Joe slipped out of it and applied the Coquina Clutch for the win.
WINNER: Joe in 3:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: I like the idea of giving Joe a win a week after a high-profile loss against Reigns.)
-Charlie Caruso interviewed Joe afterward. She asked if it took some of the sting off of his loss to Reigns last week. Joe said last week wasn’t a loss. He said Reigns’s little win was merely as Pyrrhic victory. He said that’s a victory that comes at such a great cost, you might as well have marked it as a loss. He said Reigns has beaten years off of his career every time he’s stepped into the ring with him. “And trust me, the cracks in the foundation are coming, and when it all comes crumbling down, I’m going to be there to finish the job.” He said until that time, he will pursue more worthy things. He announced his entrance in the Rumble. Caruso asked how he feels he’ll match up against 29 other Superstars and legends such as Randy Orton, Shinsuke Nakamura, and John Cena. Joe stopped her when she said Cena. He said when it comes to his career, Cena is a name he’ll never forget and in the Rumble, he’ll be the first name he eliminates.
(Keller’s Analysis: That certainly came across as if Joe vs. Cena is in the cards for WrestleMania, so maybe no Cena-Undertaker after all.)
-Backstage Bliss asked Jax how Enzo is doing. Jax said, “He’ll be fine. Not like you care.” Bliss said she does care because she’s strong and beautiful and an irresistible force who can literally do anything. She said she is worried Enzo is holding her back. Jax said Enzo motivated her because she wants to be a champion like him. She said she is entering the Rumble. Bliss said she’s the favorite to win, but some think Asuka is the favorite. Bliss said if she can take Asuka out before she enters the Rumble, then she can win and they’ll end up wrestling at WrestleMania and finally having that dream match. Jax said she knows Bliss is just upset she lost to Asuka last week. Bliss said Asuka has been talking trash. Jax asked what Asuka said about her. Bliss said, “I don’t want to tell you now. I know how you get.” Bliss said she knows her insecurities and she’s not going to say something that will hurt her feelings. Jax got worked up and really wanted to know. Bliss told her not to shoot the messenger. “Asuka said…” She then whispered something to Jax. Jax said, “She said that? Do you speak Japanese?” Bliss said no. Jax said, “Asuka doesn’t speak English.” She walked away. Bliss realized she was exposed for her manipulations.
(Keller’s Analysis: The dynamic with Bliss trying to manipulate Jax is fun. The downside here is that Asuka does speak enough English, as shown earlier in the show this week, to get an insult out, so Jax’s reaction didn’t ring true.) [c]
-Asuka made her ring entrance for an apparent match. Graves reiterated that he thinks Asuka will win the Rumble, even with Jax in the match. They talked more about Asuka teaming with Miz. Jax showed up and gave Asuka an electric chair and a flip splash on her mid-ring. Booker said history will be made and Jax wants to make that history.
-The announcers hyped the Royal Rumble line-up so far.
-They showed Reigns, Seth, and Jordan trying to discuss strategy without driving each other crazy. [c]
(6) ROMAN REIGNS & SETH ROLLINS & JASON JORDAN vs. FINN BALOR & LUKE GALLOWS & KARL ANDERSON
Graves talked about Balor, Gallows, and Anderson traveling the same path through Japan. Graves said the aftershocks of what they created in Japan are still being felt today. Booker said these two are on the same wavelength instinctually after so many years teaming together. They showed some pictures of them hanging out together earlier in their careers. Cole said they formed “a club that took over Japan for a number of years.” Graves said they travelled and trained together with the goal of being elite. He said they are often imitated and never duplicated because there’s only one original Balor Club.
(Keller’s Analysis: Really nice touch showing old photos and introducing a big part of WWE’s audience to the real life history between them and the origination of the Bullet Club.)
They opened with Balor vs. Seth. Nice exchanges early on. Balor scored an early one count after a dropkick to Seth’s face. He tagged in Anderson. Graves talked more about the IWGP Tag Team history of Anderson & Gallows, saying it’s an elite group they’re in having held those belt and the WWE Tag Team Titles. After some double-teaming of Seth, Reigns tagged himself in. Seth and Roman took it to Balor. They cleared the ring. Reigns gave Anderson & Gallows a Drive By. Seth then flip dove onto Balor. Jordan celebrated a little too happily for Seth and Roman’s taste. [c]
The Club isolated Reigns for a while.
Reigns eventually landed a Superman Punch on Gallows and tagged in Seth. Seth gave Anderson a blockbuster and then dove onto Balor and Gallows at ringside. Back in the ring he hit Anderson with a sling blade. He landed a Falcon Arrow next. He looked over for a tag, but there wasn’t anyone available as Jordan was at ringside checking on Reigns. Jordan eventually helped out, but Anderson landed a spinebuster on Seth seconds later for a near fall. Jordan clapped to encourage Seth to tag him in. Gallows tagged in and hit Jordan before he could get a tag from Seth. Seth landed a step up Enzuigiri on Gallows a second later. Reigns finally returned to the ring apron and reached for the tag. Balor tagged in and went for a Sling Blade, but Rollins countered with a back suplex. Jordan entered the ring and distracted the ref as Seth hot-tagged Reigns. The ref disallowed the tag. Anderson and Gallows then gave Seth their Magic Killer. Booker called it a rookie mistake for, Jordan. Reigns yelled at Jordan who said he didn’t do anything and asked what he is talking about. Reigns took out his frustrations on Anderson and Gallows at ringside. When he speared Gallows, he sold a shoulder injury afterward.
Balor then dropkicked Seth as Jordan was trying to help Seth to his feet. Graves said Jordan obstructed Seth in that situation. Balor then landed a Coup de Grace on Seth for the win. Booker said the better team won. Graves said Jordan found himself in the wrong place twice in the closing minutes of the match.
WINNERS: Balor Club in 16:00.
-Afterward Reigns continued to berate Jordan. Jordan rolled to the floor and asked Seth how he was doing. Seth was not happy, but seemed out of it still. Bo, Curtis, and Miz ambushed Jordan, Seth, and Reigns. They triple-teamed Reigns in the ring. Cole said he waited for his moment and struck. Miz hit the Skull Crushing Finale. Booker called Miz an impact player and seemed to approve of their attack. Miz and Miztourage then gave Reigns the Shield triple-powerbomb as Cole plugged the IC Title match in two weeks. Fans chanted “One more time!”
NOTE: If you have questions or a reaction to tonight’s Raw, send it to firstname.lastname@example.org for the Mailbag Segment of the #WKPWP taped tonight and available a few hours after Raw ends at Podcast One!