KELLER’S WWE RAW REPORT 1/15: Angle addresses Strowman after last week’s big angle with Lesnar and Kane, more Rumble hype, Jax vs. Asuka

By Wade Keller, editor


KELLER’S WWE RAW REPORT
JANUARY 15, 2018
SAN ANTONIO, TEX. AT AT&T CENTER
AIRED LIVE ON USA NETWORK

Announcers: Michael Cole, Corey Graves, Booker T


NOTE: If you have questions or a reaction to tonight’s Raw, send it to wadekellerpodcast@pwtorch.com for the Mailbag Segment of the #WKPWP taped tonight and available a few hours after Raw ends at Podcast One!


[HOUR ONE]

-They opened with a video package recapping the big angle with Braun Strowman yanking the Raw set down backstage onto Brock Lesnar and Kane.

-Cole welcomed fans to Raw as they went to a wide angle of the arena. Then quickly Strowman’s music played and he walked onto the stage. Cole described last week’s Braun incident as “one of the most shocking, startling things he’s ever seen.” (That was replaced with the finish of yesterday’s Minnesota Vikings-New Orleans Saints NFL playoff game.) Graves said Braun might become the next Universal Champion at the Royal Rumble.

Strowman said he wanted to tell everyone a short story with a happy ending. He said a Beast and Machine met a Monster at the Royal Rumble, and the last one standing was the Monster Among Men and he became the new Universal Champion. Cheers, but not a big pop at all. Then Kurt Angle’s music played. Out came the G.M., flanked by six security guards. Cole said after what happened last week, he wasn’t taking any chances. Booker said it’d take more than this to protect Angle. “I don’t like the odds,” he said. Graves wondered what’s on Angle’s mind after what transpired last week.

A perturbed Braun told Angle, “I was telling them a story.” Angle said he has a story, too, but it doesn’t have a happy ending. Angle told Braun he could have maimed Lesnar and Kane, and he put lives in danger, which is unacceptable. He said it cost them thousands of dollars in damaged equipment. Braun said, “It could have been a lot worse.” Angle said he creates an unsafe working environment, and he’s in charge of every WWE Superstar and every backstage employee. “What if they get caught in the crossfire?” he asked. Braun said Kurt should do his job, and he did his last week. Angle said he didn’t do his job. “This is Monday Night Raw. We settle things in the ring, not backstage with some grappling hook. Braun said he does what he wants, when he wants, how he wants. He said if he wants to become Universal Champion, I will.

Angle said he’s lucky Brock and Kane are still able to compete in the championship match, but it won’t be a Triple Threat anymore. He said now he’s not going to compete at all in the match. He said: “Braun Strowman, you’re fired.” The crowd booed, including someone holding up a “Braun Snowman” sign. Strowman was led to the back by security.

-They went to the announcers at the desk. Graves said given how popular Strowman is, that had to be a difficult call for Angle, but he said it was the right decision. Cole hyped Asuka vs. Nia Jax and Roman Reigns vs. Curtis Axel & Bo Dallas.

-Backstage Strowman was still being led away by security when he stopped and turned and eyed security. He told them to make him leave. [c]

(Keller’s Analysis: I like the notion that what Braun did last week is grounds for firing. Of course he won’t actually be fired, but at least Angle is acting like a G.M. should and would. I’m a little concerned, if I’m Vince McMahon, at the lackluster response for Braun at certain points here, though.)

-A commercial aired for next week’s “25th Anniversary of Raw.” They showed a clip of Hugh Jackman from Sept. 19, 2011.

-Back to Strowman being led toward the exit door by security. This won’t end well, will it? When a security guy told Braun sternly he had to leave, Braun attacked him and his cohorts, throwing them into metal garage doors and furniture. He said he isn’t finished yet.

(1) SHEAMUS & CESARO vs. TITUS O’NEAL & APOLLO CREWS (w/Dana Brooke)

They showed freeze-frames from Titus pinning Sheamus last week in what Graves called “a massive upset.” (Usually they do freeze-frames for WWE Network content and moving clips for TV show content.) Booker said Titus & Crews would gain momentum and respect with another win tonight. They cut to a break with The Bar in control. [c]

A commercial aired hyping that after Smackdown on Tuesday there will be a countdown special of the 25 top moment in Raw history. They’re counter-programming Facebook Match’s premiere of “Mixed Match Challenge.”

Back from the break, Sheamus had Crews down in a chinlock. Booker scolded Titus for playing to the crowd with his chants before going for a powerslam. Graves defended it: “It’s definitely not wasted if it’s focused in the right direction.” Interesting to see Graves so quick to defend that type of playing to the crowd. Titus powerslammed Cesaro and scored a two count. Booker said he teaches in his school to stay on top of your opponent and don’t give them an extra second to recover. Booker is talking real sense this week. Crews went after Cesaro at ringside, but the distraction led to Cesaro hitting Titus and then Sheamus choking him from behind and then scoring a two count with a roll-up. Sheamus clotheslined Titus a second later and tagged in Cesaro. Cesaro then set up his Neutralizer, but Crews powered out. Titus tagged in and surprised Cesaro with a top rope body block and then a flip splash. Sheamus broke up the pin attempt. They threw Titus out of the ring and then double-teamed Crews. Sheamus lifted Crews onto his shoulder. As Cesaro climbed to the second rope, Jason Jordan came out. Everyone stopped in their tracks, as if that’s a requirement. Crews then surprised Sheamus with a roll-up.

WINNERS: Titus & Crews in 9:00.

(Keller’s Analysis: Booker is starting to make too much sense. It’s freaking me out a little.)

-Seth Rollins came out to check on Jordan. He didn’t seem happy with what Jordan did, but it was hard to tell what his issue was. He stared at Jordan.

-They cut backstage to Braun who asked where Angle’s office is. He kicked in the door and then threw furniture around and broke a flat screen TV. [c]

-A commercial announced that Mixed Match Challenge tomorrow night features Shinsuke Nakamura & Natalya vs. Finn Balor & Sasha Banks. Balor emulated Sasha’s little sashay move.

-A backstage worker in a panic told people in catering that Braun was coming. He fled the scene. Braun showed up and beat up Curt Hawkins, throwing him through a table. He found a guy with chocolate cake. Braun ate a piece and left the guy alone. The guy was frozen with fright.

-Enzo Amore made his way to the ring. He limped with his left ankle wrapped. He was joined by Tony Nese. He did his usual mic work on his way to the ring. Enzo said he’s doing better than Curt Hawkins. He said Braun is a monster among men, “but so am I!” He said he’s walking to the ring at the Royal Rumble stitched up and taped up looking like Frankenstein (he mean’s Frankenstein’s Monster), but he’ll walk out of the ring as Cruiserweight Champion. He said if he’s Frankenstein, that makes Cedric Alexander “Dracula” because – you see this coming – “he sucks.”

Goldust and Cedric Alexander came out. He said how dare he make such comparisons. “If you were a film, you’d go straight to DVD.” (A bunch of WWE wrestlers who have been in WWE Films suddenly took offense.) He said when Cedric beats him at the Rumble, there will only be one word to describe him – CHAMPION. Cedric said he likes that. Cedric asked to take over on the mic. He said regarding Enzo, that from his eye to his ankle, there is only word to describe him – S-A-W-F-T.

(Keller’s Analysis: If Cedric is going to act like he’s delivering a killer line, he ought to deliver something resembling a clever line.) [c]

(2) CEDRIC ALEXANDER (w/Goldust) vs. TONY NESE (w/Enzo)

During the match, Graves said Angle was in the right for firing Strowman. Booker said he should have done it by email. G0ldust freaked out Enzo at ringside with his hiss. Cedric rallied a few minutes in and Goldust cheerlead him opposite the hard camera. Cedric countered a pump-handle slam into a Lumbar Check for the win.

WINNER: Cedric in about 8:00.

-Backstage Angle told a referee Strowman is acting like a wild elephant and he has no choice but to call the cops and tell them to order their swat team. Another referee ran in and told him Strowman is headed toward the production trucks. Angle threw his arms up and said, “Oh, God, they’re worth 12 million dollars!” The camera turned down to the broken flat screen TV.

-A commercial aired for Smackdown hyping the U.S. Title Tournament semi-finals. [c]

-They showed Strowman heading toward the production trucks in the parking garbage. Graves reiterated that these are $12 million television trucks. He walked in and began knocking around paperwork and threatening to break stuff. He asked how he can turn off the show. He bumped into the edges of a small doorway trying to get through, which was the best moment of the show so far. “Doors!” he said in frustration. He ordered everyone out of the truck and threatened to shut everything down. Kevin Dunn made a rare cameo here. Braun left and the director staff thought they were safe. Then it started shaking. Braun tied to tip over a semi truck, but Angle ran in and threatened to call the cops. Braun stormed off, but then returned as Angle’s phone rang. They had three or four cameras showing every angle as Strowman tipped it over on its side. He then yelled in Angle’s face and walked away kicking and punching garbage cans and furniture.

(Keller’s Analysis: It’s such an odd thing to draw a line between things Braun does as being okay within the confines of pro wrestling and too cheesy even for pro wrestling, but this went a step too far. It’s oddly believable he could tip over an ambulance, but not a semi-truck. Angle’s acting is pretty rough, too, and not helping matters.)


NOTE: If you have questions or a reaction to tonight’s Raw, send it to wadekellerpodcast@pwtorch.com for the Mailbag Segment of the #WKPWP taped tonight and available a few hours after Raw ends at Podcast One!


[HOUR TWO]

-Braun emerged on the stage. He approached the announce desk. It appeared Booker mistakenly knocked Cole over or Cole slipped. Strowman went after the lame member of the herd. As Strowman began to carry Cole away. Angle told Strowman he called off the cops and Stephanie called and rehired him. “Just let Michael Cole go,” he urged Strowman. Strowman dropped Cole and yelled. He then began to leave, but stopped short and instead threw Cole into the crowd of security guards off the stage.

(Keller’s Analysis: The best Raw moment over would have been the security guys stepping aside and letting Cole crash to the floor.)

-A Raw 25 ad hyped Undertaker, DX, Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler, Undertaker, the Dudleys, Ric Flair, Scott Hall and Kevin Nash, Eric Bischoff, The New Age Outlaws, Chris Jericho, JBL and Ron Simmons, and Steve Austin. Austin got the biggest billing, coming last on the list and in the tone of the narrator. [c]

-Tom Phillips came out to replace Cole. Graves said what happened to Cole was just short of criminal. Booker said he ran because he has nothing to do with this. The announcers talked over clips of Strowman tipping the semi over. They discussed Stephanie rehiring Strowman. Graves hoped some normalcy would return. Graves said Cole isn’t a competitor and not an athlete and what Strowman did was unnecessary. Phillips said people are getting caught in the crossfire. Booker continued to blame Angle for publicly firing Strowman and not knowing how to handle athletes.

(Keller’s Analysis: So in this brand split era, the Smackdown announcer just hangs around on Mondays? Booker seemed embarrassed that he fled the scene and didn’t help Cole, and he should be.)

(3) ASUKA vs. NIA JAX

Booker said he doesn’t see fear in Asuka’s eyes, but he does see a whole lot of concern. Asuka went for an early armbar while having her locked in a modified abdominal stretch. Jax powered out. Asuka went on the attack with kicks, but Jax came back with a back-breaker. Asuka went for another arm lock on the mat. Jax stood up and lifted and slammed Asuka into the corner turnbuckle. They cut to a break. [c]

Back from the break, Jax landed a powerbomb. Booker said Asuka’s undefeated streak isn’t an accident, she’s just that damn good. Jax took it to Asuka at ringside, throwing her into the ring apron. Asuka knocked Jax off balance on the ringside steps with a round kick to her ankle. Jax fell and barely beat the ref’s ten count. Jax was practically sobbing in pain as she collapsed and couldn’t support her weight. The ref called off the match. The crowd booed. After the match, as Asuka’s music played, Alexa Bliss came out to check on her.

WINNER: Asuka via ref stoppage in 11:00.

(Keller’s Analysis: I think they adequately protected both women in that match, and this is the circumstance to utilize that non-finish as an escape hatch.)

-Jordan told Angle backstage, “Thanks for believing me.” He said he gave him an opportunity to become tag team champion. Jordan smiled at him and it lingered uncomfortably. He then said he’s kept his eye on Braun and would have been there to protect him. He said he was right behind him this whole time. Angle said he didn’t notice, but he’s had a lot on his mind. Jordan said he and Seth are ready to defend their tag titles at the Rumble. He said Seth’s loss last week is eating him alive and he’s too proud to admit it, but a match tonight would help him out. Angle asked which team he had in mind for them. Jordan clarified that Seth should be in a singles match to keep him sharp. He suggested Finn Balor with a big excited smile. Angle said to tell Seth the match is on. Angle seemed to be lost in thought during the whole segment.

(Keller’s Analysis: I’m really enjoying Jordan’s character right now.)

-They went to the announcers. Booker said Angle is so distracted, now Jordan is making matches. Phillips said what happened to Cole should never happen to anyone in his position. He said Cole is really shaken up. He said if it weren’t for the security workers catching his fall, it would have been much worse. Graves said he thinks Stephanie rehiring Braun was a big mistake. Phillips then threw to a video package on Martin Luther King Jr. Booker said he was three years old when he was assassinated, but the message still lives. He said he’d thank him for everything he did if he were alive today.

-A three minute MLK tribute video aired. [c]

-Bliss told Jax she thought she’d have destroyed Asuka, “but I guess I was wrong.” Enzo walked in. Bliss said she had the situation under control, so he could leave. Jax told Bliss that Enzo has got it. Bliss left. Enzo told Jax he’s sorry she’s hurt. She adjusted the ice on her knee as the camera lingered on them uncomfortably long.

(4) THE REVIVAL (Scott Dawson & Dash Wilder) vs. TWO UNNAMED JOBBERS

Revival won with their Shatter Machine finisher.

WINNERS: The Revival in under 2:00.

-After the match Charlie Caruso entered the ring to interview The Revival. Dawson asked if he’s sure she wants to give them a live mic. He said they just witnessed tag team excellence and a clinic in tag team wrestling. He said it’s been missing for quite some time because too many guys are worried about playing video games with friends and checking Instagram to see how many likes they got on some picture. He said they’re students of the game and are focused on punishing opponents, mastering holds, and winning championships. (How heelish!) Caruso asked which legends they’re most excited to meet net week on Raw 25. She brought up the New Age Outlaws, Shawn Michaels, and Steve Austin. Austin got the biggest pop. Dash said there is nothing old school about beer and crotch chops. He said that’s why their business has become a mockery. He said: “We’re not sports entertainers, we are professional wrestlers.” Dawson said, “We’re not a creation of the WWE Board Room, we’re as real as it gets. And they know it. They don’t want us to succeed.” He said they will not change who they are. He said next week on Raw 25, there will be a ton of superstars and entertainers from around the globe. “This is our universe,” Dawson said. He said they are going to set the tone for Monday Night Raw for the next 25 years, “and jack, you’re looking at them.” Their music played as Caruso nodded and soaked up their message.

(Keller’s Analysis: I love how the most babyface message possible is framed as somehow heelish. The idea that Steve Austin’s isn’t old school is also quite laughable. He hasn’t exactly embraced the term “sports entertainment.”)

-They showed Elias walking backstage with his guitar. Phillips said Elias would be debuting a new song next. [c]

-They showed clips of the Daniel Bryan “Occupy Raw” segment.

-Elias strummed his guitar mid-ring. He said he hopes Cole is okay. He said he wanted to teach everyone a lesson and their lives will be better immediately. He said WWE stands for “Walk With Elias.” He talked about being in the Rumble, eliminating Cena. He said he will prevail unlike the Spurs who are destined to fail. Boos. Lots of boos. Elias held that note.  He sang another verse. He sang that what they’re seeing is real, not a mirage, and he introduced Miz and The Miztourage.

-Miz’s ring entrance  began. [c]

-Miz, Curtis Axel, and Bo Dallas stood mid-ring after the break as Miz’s music faded. He said he returned to Raw after a six week absence and the fans greeted him with “Welcome Back!” chants. He said that was awesome. He said he was gone only six weeks, but the fans realized something was missing. “The spark that ignites Monday Night Raw was missing,” he said. He said it wasn’t Cena or Lesnar, it was him. He removed his sunglasses and said whether Angle likes him or not, he knows it’s true. Miz vowed to win the IC Title next week and it will be awesome. He said he’ll overdeliver, as he always does, and it’ll have people talking for another 25 years. “Roman, the title is mine.”

(Keller’s Analysis: Miz did a good job trying to turn the fans against him who were chanting “Welcome back” last week by making too much of it and being full of himself.)

[HOUR THREE]

-Reigns made his ring entrance to an eruption of cheers and jeers. The announcers gushed about him, as usual, but not as over the top as last week. Graves said he is always up for the big fight. It just didn’t feel right without Cole saying he’s the “BIG DOG!”  Phillips noted that Miz didn’t even mention Reigns as someone who is the spark that makes Monday Night Raw go.

(5) ROMAN REIGNS vs. BO DALLAS & CURTIS AXEL (w/The Miz)

Miz taunted Reigns by holding up Reigns’s IC Title belt at ringside when the ref set it on the ring apron. Curtis went after a distracted Reigns, but Reigns fended them off. Reigns then went after Miz at ringside. Curtis jumped Reigns from behind. Bo and Curtis threw Reigns into the ringside steps. Bo DDT’d Reigns a few minutes in for a two count. You won’t believe this, but Reigns eventually made a comeback and methodically set up his Superman Punch. Miz distracted him, but Reigns took care of him and then gave Curtis the Superman Punch. Rather than go for the pin. Reigns then leaped at Bo at ringside and gave him a Superman Punch. Reigns then walked over toward Miz and caught him and threw him into the ring. Miz rolled out of the ring. Reigns reached for him. Curtis rolled up Reigns for a near fall. Reigns then speared Curtis for the win.

WINNER: Reigns in 9:00.

(Keller’s Analysis: Not one of Reigns’s classics, but it served its purpose well of building up Reigns vs. Miz. Reigns overall seemed a little robotic this week, almost distracted and distant at times.)

-The announcers recapped the Strowman angle and Phillips said why he was there instead of Cole. They hyped the main event. [c]

-A Raw 25 ad listed wrestlers appearing. Brooklyn Brawler was newly added. Yipee.

(6) SASHA BANKS (w/Bayley, Mickie James) vs. SONYA DEVILLE (w/Paige, Mandy Rose)

The announcers hyped Mixed Match Challenge. Deville took control with strikes and then a body scissors. No mention of Paige’s wrestling status other than she is out of the Rumble due to an injury, so nothing about her career being over. Booker said not since Ken Shamrock has someone come from the MMA world and had such an impact. Graves laughed at Booker asked about Lesnar. Booker stammered and quickly said he was talking about an original. Not sure what he meant. Shamrock was a pro wrestler before he went into UFC, too. In the end, Deville stopped a Banks rally with a kick to the ribs as Sasha flew off the middle rope toward her and scored the three count. Graves said that was a statement win.

WINNER: Deville in 2:30.

(Keller’s Analysis: The Banks ranking on the depth chart takes another dip, but it also says Vince is high on Deville’s upside to give her that win.)

-A video package aired showing Sasha Banks, Seth Rollins, Mark Henry, Titus O’Neil, Roman Reigns, Alexa Bliss, and Apollo Crews visiting the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis.

-Seth approached Jordan about speaking on his behalf to his dad. Jordan said that loss to Balor was really bothering him last week, so he wanted to give him a chance to redeem himself, but he said he could cancel the match. Seth said he does have some unfinished business with Balor, but he has to understand that they’re teammates and he’s not his spokesperson. “You get me?” he said. He said his issue isn’t with what he did, but rather how he did it. Jordan nodded and walked away. He seemed to be okay with the lecture.

-“Woken” Matt Hardy made his ring entrance. Phillips asked Graves and Booker what in the world is going on with Matt Hardy. Graves said Phillips should consider himself happy to be on Raw tonight. [c]

(7) “WOKEN” MATT HARDY vs. HEATH SLATER (w/Rhyno)

Graves said if you pay attention to Matt, what he says makes a lot of sense. Phillips said they seem like ramblings to him.  Matt acted strange as he continued to laugh like a maniac as he beat up Slater. Booker wondered what Jeff Hardy is thinking these days. Interesting to hear him get brought up at this stage. With Booker, though, you can never tell if he’s speaking officially or just freelancing. Graves said Rhyno is a regular Tony Robbins these days. Hardy won with a Twist of Fate. Graves said Hardy has declared him an ally in his great war. He said he isn’t woken himself, but he sees this as a real exercise in psychology and he has even studied it on Web MD.

WINNER: Hardy in 4:00.

-Phillips threw to a video package announcing Goldberg as the first entrant in the WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2018. He noted that ESPN broke the news earlier in the day.

-The video package included Goldberg saying he appeared out of nowhere and it took off. Key clips aired of his early matches with commentary from Tony Schiavone, Bobby Heenan, Jim Ross, and Larry Zbyszko. Then it went all the way through his WWE appearances in recent years. They showed a bunch of media headlines.

-Graves plugged Seth vs. Balor. Graves said Goldberg once held the Universal Title, and this main event between Seth and Balor is a rematch of the first-ever Universal Title match. [c]

-The announcers narrated highlights of Braun’s destruction earlier in the show. They hyped the Royal Rumble line-up. [c]

-Karl Anderson & Luke Gallows made their ring entrance. Balor then made a separate ring entrance. A soundbite interview aired with Balor saying the last time he faced Rollins was the best time of his career and the worst. He said accidents happen, but tonight will be no accident when he showed Seth he is the better man. He said with the “good brothers” by his side, it’ll be “too sweet.” He smiled.

-The announcers hyped Reigns defending the IC Title against Miz next week. [c]

(8) SETH ROLLINS (w/Jason Jordan) vs. FINN BALOR (w/Karl Anderson & Luke Gallows)

The announcers talked about the Seth-Balor match at Summerslam years ago and said they both can relate to having a title stripped from them due to injury. Booker continued to express issues with Angle’s decision-making when it came to Strowman. They cut to a break with Anderson & Gallows mouthing off to Seth at ringside. [c]

-A Raw 25 moment aired with 1-2-3 Kid beating Razor Ramon, an iconic early Raw moment.

[OVERRUN]

Back live, Balor had control of Seth. Graves said Balor had been concentrating on Seth’s surgically repaired knee. Seth came back and settled into a chinlock. Graves said Seth knows what your next step is before you do, which is why he’s called The Architect. Balor rallied and landed a double stomp and then some near falls. Both were slow to get up. Graves noted that Balor was holding his neck in pain. Seth countered a Balor attempt at a Slingblade with one of his own. Booker said, “We don’t talk about their win-loss records a whole lot, but these guys – trust me – think about it all the time.” Phillips quickly said, “Wins and losses are everything here in WWE.” Balor came back with a Slingblade of his own a minute later. Seth surprised Balor seconds later with a superkick for a near fall. “Too Sweet!” chanted some fans briefly, which Anderson and Gallows acknowledged.

Balor chopped Seth in the chest and threw a barrage of punches. Seth came back with an enzuigiri. Balor went down and didn’t move. Seth recovered with some deep breaths. Jordan was shown at ringside barely able to contain his excitement. Seth went for a Phoenix Splash, but Balor moved. Seth rolled through on it, but favored his knee. Balor charged with a dropkick. Seth went down in the corner. Balor climbed to the top, continuing to grab at his neck, giving Seth an extra few seconds to recover, catch Balor on the top rope, and land a superplex and then a Falcon Arrow for a believable near fall. Jordan smiled excitedly at ringside.

Seth climbed to the top rope, but favored his knee. Balor lifted his knees and rolled up Seth for a very near fall. The ref said he kicked out, and suddenly Sheamus’s music played. The Bar walked out to the ring. Jordan ducked out of the way as Anderson & Gallows brawled with The Bar at ringside. Balor flip dove onto the crowd of wrestlers. He clutched his neck after his landing, then stood up and fired up. Then he climbed to the top and went for the Coup de Grace, but Seth moved. Finn then knocked Cesaro off the ring apron. Jordan tripped Balor. Seth then gave Balor a Curb Stomp for the win, which Phillips called The Blackout (which is better for a variety of reasons). The Curb Stomp was trending on Twitter for quite a while after this. Graves said that was another big assist from Jordan for Seth. The replay showed the ref counting to three-and-a-half before the kickout a minute earlier right before Sheamus’s music played. Graves pointed it out. The first slap of the mat seemed a little off, like he was trying to position himself and verify the shoulders being down. Graves said he wants it reviewed and it could be said Balor “unofficially won the match.” Booker said there is no instant replay in WWE and that’s like saying you “lost on points”

WINNER: Rollins in 15:00.

-Afterward, Anderson and Gallows checked on Balor. There was no music and no commentary for a while, almost like the show was over but the camera stayed with it. Eventually Graves spoke up about what a valiant effort Balor put in. Balor stood and Phillips said he was suffering the effects of that Seth stomp. Balor dropped down again to regain his senses a bit more. Balor then stood and eventually they did end the show.

(Keller’s Analysis: Based on how long they stayed with the shot of Balor recovering from the match and seeming groggy, I assume they’re going somewhere with The Blackout (former Curb Stomp) bring brought back. Will Balor claim that was Seth trying to intentionally hurt him beyond just trying to win a match? Will use a concussion storyline to explain why Balor turns heel? It could be a lot of things, but it’s clearly something. And the way they played up that Balor seemed to get a three count before the kick out gives him even more of a case against this being the end with Seth. Bringing The Curb Stomp back on MLK Day is controversial in the sense that the Curb Stomp is linked with anti-black and anti-gay hate crimes. It’s an unfortunate coincidence. At least they changed the name immediately.)

Be sure to check out my podcast on Podcast One in a few hours covering this show in depth, talking to an on-site correspondent, and answering your emails. Just search “Wade Keller” in Apple Podcasts of wherever you listen to podcasts.


NOTE: If you have questions or a reaction to tonight’s Raw, send it to wadekellerpodcast@pwtorch.com for the Mailbag Segment of the #WKPWP taped tonight and available a few hours after Raw ends at Podcast One!


8 Comments on KELLER’S WWE RAW REPORT 1/15: Angle addresses Strowman after last week’s big angle with Lesnar and Kane, more Rumble hype, Jax vs. Asuka

  1. Kurt Angle’s atrocious acting is so bad it’s good…. I hope this is the start of a Sonya Deville mega push. She’s sexy and a great athlete. If pushed correctly she can be a total badass. WWE is always proclaiming anything can happen and the Rumble is up for grabs. They need to prove it by letting true dark horses win for a change. Sonya Deville and Rusev anyone?

    • I am not at all impressed with Sonya Deville. A very cookie cutter wrestler who doesn’t stand out from the other women they brought it. That could be because she has not received the proper push? I wouldn’t mind seeing them give her a program outside the current 3 woman same ol’ same ol’ stable that is on both shows. As far as pairing her with Rusev, we all know he is married Lana. That shouldn’t bother most fans, but what about the kids that WWE caters to and the marks who wouldn’t get it?

  2. This was a pretty bad episode. I liked that there was more wrestling, but not much of it was quality. As far as the curb stomp move coming back and trying to make that political? Beyond silly. We should ban punches next and then kicks.

  3. Wade I appreciate where you’re coming from – I always have – and I wanna tell you as a real live gay man, the curb stomp doesn’t evoke anything for me, and I doubt it would in the community. Otherwise right on the money like always.

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