KELLER’S WWE RAW REPORT
SEPTEMBER 10, 2018
NEW ORLEANS, LA.
AIRED LIVE ON USA NETWORK
Announcers: Michael Cole, Corey Graves, Renee Young
Tonight after WWE Raw, join me live to break down the show with live callers, mailbag, and a live on-site correspondent from Toronto.
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-They went to the announcers on camera as Cole introduced the show. He said they are making history with the announcement that Renee Young has been appointed to the Raw announce team. He didn’t mention Coach and his new assignment as host of the Kickoff shows. Graves welcomed her. She said amazing voices and personalities have sat in this chair and she’s “excited” and “honored” and “humbled.”
(Keller’s Analysis: Now the question is whether Vince McMahon will change the way he approaches producing the announcers through their headset with Renee there now. I’m not going to miss Graves bickering with Coach. I assume push-back against Renee will be done with more of a tone of respect than Coach, and previously Booker, deserved.)
-Drew McIntyre and Dolph Ziggler walked onto the stage. Then Braun Strowman came out to his music. Graves called it an unholy alliance. They were then backed by a dozen or so reinforcements including Kevin Owens. (Do they plan to officially address him pulling a George Costanza last week?) They surrounded the ring. Ziggler said, “I told you so” a couple times. He told the “big man” to tell them himself what they did to The Shield. “We beat them down,” Strowman said. Drew threw to a three minutes video recap of last week’s beating.
Back live, Braun said Roman Reigns has the Universal Title only because he is a coward and cannot handle business on his own. He told him that he has hounds of justice, “but I have my dogs of war.” He said The Shield has been running rampant for far too long, thinking they could get away with whatever they wanted, but their strength in numbers is nothing compared to his pack. Ziggler said everyone at ringside made a tough choice and stood up to The Shield. Drew said they’d dismantle and dismember the B-Team in their rematch, setting an example for everyone at ringside. Braun then talked about facing Reigns at Hell in a Cell this Sunday. The Shield’s music played.
They showed up in the crowd at their usual entrance point. They fought the reinforcements at ringside. Dean pulled three axe handles out of a duffel bag at ringside. They attacked everyone. Cole said it’s payback for last week. Dean whacked Jinder Mahal in the ring. They stood alone. Cole said, “The Shield has taken control of the ring.”
(Keller’s Analysis: Drew, Dolph, and Braun seemed to have a little more chemistry this week together, throwing to each other, but everything still feels like they’re taking turns reciting memorized monologues instead of interacting naturally.)
-Cole said this was a big start to a big episode of Raw. Renee plugged the tag match with Ronda Rousey & Natalya vs. Alexa Bliss & Alicia Fox. Graves plugged Triple H showing up later.
-They showed The Bella Twins showing up at their locker room which had been ransacked with messages painted on the walls. Cole wondered if the juvenile pranks have gone too far. He said Nikki Bella would face Ruby Riott next. [c]
-Police yelled at The Shield backstage. Baron Corbin stepped between them and said they don’t need a repeat of last week. He told them to be reasonable and drop their axe handles or else they could end up in jail for a long time. Corbin said The Shield has to vacate the premises immediately or else Reigns and Seth will have to forfeit their titles and go to jail for a long, long time. Seth tried to calm Dean. Seth said, “No problem.” Reigns stepped up to the cop. The cop took a step back. Reigns dropped the axe handle and walked past them. Seth and Dean followed.
(Keller’s Analysis: The police shirts looked like they were just unwrapped from a Halloween store. Also, couldn’t they have found men to play police without beards? Most police departments don’t allow them and at least two of the fake police here had beards. Having Reigns stare at a cop and having the cop step back is the type of thing that I think irritates people who think Reigns is booked “too strong” to the point absurdity.)
(1) NIKKI BELLA (w/Brie Bella) vs. RUBY RIOTT (w/Sarah Logan, Liv Morgan)
Renee said the Riott Squad believe the Bellas are distracted by too many things going on in their lives, but she disagrees. She said if you want something to get done, ask a busy person. Graves asked Renee if the locker room shows the same type of reverence toward them as they did in the past. Renee said there are new women who never shared a locker room with them before, but she thinks so. She said we’ll begin to find out tonight. Ruby scored a one count after sending a charging Nikki face-first into the ringpost and then leg sweeping her hard to the mat. Nikki speared Ruby seconds later and pounded her. [c]
Ruby knee lifted Nikki, but Nikki came back with a spear right after the break. Renee touted the Bellas being trailblazers. She said the Riott Squad should bow down and thank the Bella Twins. Graves said they have been wildly successful. Shortly thereafter they went into the finishing sequence with Nikki blocking a kick and then setting up a move, but Liv tried to interfere. Brie yanked Liv out of the ring. Nikki then delivered Rack Attack 2.0 for the three count.
WINNERS: Nikki in 8:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: Good to give Nikki a strong win over a credible opponent within the Raw Women’s Division as they heat her up for whatever is going to go on with her and Ronda Rousey down the road to Evolution.)
-Cole hyped the Rousey tag match and more on Undertaker-Triple H. [c]
-Cole threw to a video package on Conor’s Cure with kids getting their faces painted. They showed a picture of Stephanie, A.J. Styles, Asuka, Daniel Bryan, and Dana Warrior standing on the stage with a gathering of kids in face paint.
-Back live, Big Show stood on the stage and welcomed some kids onto the stage with him. He asked for a warm round of applause “for our Superstars of tomorrow.” He said they fight to win matches, but the kids on the stage are fighting for something far greater.
(Keller’s Analysis: That was a well-done, touching segment that made the kids the center of attention with minimal back-patting by WWE.)
-They showed the exterior of the SuperDome. Cole threw to a video package of Shawn Michaels on Raw last week. Cole plugged Triple H would be on Raw later.
-Backstage Drake Maverick told Authors of Pain that they can’t let anyone forget the carnage caused by them. He wasn’t dressed up as them this week. [c]
(2) AUTHORS OF PAIN (w/Drake Maverick) vs. RONNIE ACE & NATHAN BRADLEY
Graves said, “You know it’s going to be ugly, but you can’t look away.” Cole called it a massacre. They won with the Super Collider. Cole called Drake a “mastermind.”
WINNERS: Author of Pain in 1:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: There’s no crowd reaction for AOP because there’s zero character development pointing fans toward resenting their violence or reveling it because of who they’re targeting. The announcers oversold the violence they just witnesses.)
-The announcers were on camera and threw to a video package on Randy Orton vs. Jeff Hardy inside Hell in a Cell. Then they hyped other upcoming live events on WWE Network and plugged Network subscriptions.
(Keller’s Analysis: That’s rare that a video segment airs on Raw hyping a Smackdown match like that.)
-They went out to the parking area where a limo was parked. Triple H stepped out of it. He walked past the police standing there and gave them a condescending head shake.
(Keller’s Analysis: Why? Why did Triple H have to laugh in the faces of the men with New Orleans Police Dept. patches on their shirts? He laughed at them like they were sub-human to him. Almost nobody gets the “limo arrival” treatment anymore. That was a staple of Nitro and usually reserved in WWE these days for the McMahons.)
-Triple H made his way to the ring as Cole hyped the last match between Triple H and Undertaker at the Super Show-down. Renee said, “I cannot believe we get to witness this.” (That’s a little much.)
-Triple H entered to a chant of “Triple H.” He said two weeks ago he said he told them “The Era” is back. “After that Legends came out of the woodwork and gave their opinions and predictions on who would win,” he said. (He says “out of the woodwork” like they weren’t recruited to give a sense of gravitas to the match at his instructions/urgings/requests/campaigning). He said 81 percent of the legends have predicted that Undertaker would win. He said Undertaker is never an underdog, so he gets it. He said at the level he’s at, those prediction shouldn’t bother him. He said that’s why he was so surprised to see Shawn Michaels come out last week and give his opinion, because it obviously bothered Undertaker. He said it’s laughable Undertaker was bothered by that. He said he was “so rattled” he made an appearance. He said he was angry and agitated, and threatened Michaels. He said when he watched it back, it made him mad because it seemed Undertaker had lost respect for him and Michaels.
He said he realized Taker hadn’t lost respect for him or Michaels, but rather Undertaker had lost respect for himself. He said to prove it, he sees that Undertaker didn’t show up this week to tell him to his face. He said the truth is, he was never quite the same after his matches against them. “Things would go downhill,” he said. “The aura would go away, the streak would go away, the mystique would go away.” He said now he’s “just a reputation.” He said those series of matches were Undertaker’s last epic moment of greatness and Undertaker blames them for his demise. He said out of the last little bit of respect he has for the Dead Man, he will put him down. The camera zoomed in as he flexed his jaw muscles.
-Cole said that’s as intense as he’s ever seen The Game. Graves called him the Cerebral Assassin and said he’s called that for a reason. He said he’s playing mind games. Renee said the intensity cannot be matched.
-Cole commented on clips of the opening segment with The Shield attacking the reinforcements at ringside and then Corbin telling them to stand down.
-They showed Mickie James, Alexa Bliss, and Alicia Fox chatting backstage.
-Drew & Dolph made their ring entrance. [c]
(3) DOLPH ZIGGLER & DREW MCINTYRE vs. THE B-TEAM (Bo Dallas & Curtis Axel) – Raw Tag Team Title match
B-Team’s ring entrance aired after the break. Ziggler tagged in Drew, who knocked Curtis off the ring apron with a boot to the head. They cut to an early break. [c]
Drew hung Curtis vulnerably upside down and then Dolph superkicked him. Drew flipped Curtis over with force. Ziggler scored a near fall. Cole said Ziggler has been a new man since aligning with Drew. Curtis catapulted Dolph into the top turnbuckle. Ziggler tried to stop him form making the tag, but he kicked Ziggler away and lunged to tag in Bo. Bo rallied against Ziggler with a barrage of offense, plus knocked Drew off the ring apron. He scored a two count. He tried to get the “B-Team” chant going again. Drew interfered, but Bo small packaged Ziggler for a near fall, broken up by Drew. As the ref escorted Drew to the corner, Ziggler raked Bo’s eyes. Then the Drew tagged in and they gave Bo their double-team Claymore/Zig Zag for the win.
WINNERS: Drew & Dolph to retain the WWE Raw Tag Team Titles.
(Keller’s Analysis: They gave B-Team enough that it felt like they’re not totally writing them off post-title reign.)
-Afterward, Seth and Dean attacked Dolph and Drew. Dolph and Drew fled the scene.
-Cole threw to a video package on Mick Foley’s HIAC bumps. [c]
-Corbin yelled at Seth and Dean for coming back. “Do you want to get arrested?” he said. “I told you what would happen if The Shield didn’t leave.” Seth he watched them leave and they’re probably at a bar somewhere. Dean said it’s just two of them, not The Shield. Corbin said that’s semantics and they knew what they meant. He said he’s going to have them arrested again. Seth questioned why after over 25 years of people starting fights and raising hell on Raw, no one was arrested until last week. Seth told Corbin he should be worried about falsifying a police report. In walked the sheriff from New Orleans and Seth said he’s ready to issue a warrant for Corbin’s arrest. He them them they have no proof and to “get the hell out of here.” The sheriff read Corbin his rights. Corbin asked to meet with Seth in private. Dean and the officer walked out of the room where a camera happened to be waiting for them. Dean made his case for suggested speeds rather than speed limits. Seth then joined them in hall with them and was very pleased with the deal he struck with Corbin, which for some reason they stopped showing us. Before leaving, Dean said he’s going to call the sheriff next time he’s in jail. The sheriff said that’s a deal.
(Keller’s Analysis: Corbin’s acting was terrible here. I mean, a lot of people have trouble delivering the lines they’re given believably because the dialogue is so stilted, but this was way below usual WWE standards.)
(4) KEVIN OWENS vs. TYLER BREEZE
Owens was already in the ring. No ring entrance. Breeze’s ring entrance aired. Owens attacked Breeze as he began to enter the ring in his typical style. Owens threw him into the ringside barricade, and then back into the ring. Breeze fought back with a high kick and then slingshot himself toward Owens. Owens kicked him in the jaw and then gave him a Popup Powerbomb on the edge of the ring apron.
WINNER: Match never started.
-Owens said he walked away from “this place” two weeks ago and it felt great. He said Corbin called and begged him to return. He said Corbin recognizes his value as the true MVP of Monday Night Raw. He said he quit because of Bobby Lashley, but he’s also the reason he’s back. He said what he did to Lashley last week is only the beginning and he wants to reenforce this is The Kevin Owens Show. He said they can expect anarchy, agony, and destruction from now on “and it’s all Lashley’s fault.”
-They went back to the announcers. Cole threw to a video package on Samoa Joe vs. A.J. Styles because “well, it’s a dual brand pay-per-view event.” Then they plugged WWE Network subscriptions.
-A soundbite aired with Bobby Roode saying with “this kid” Chad Gable by his side, the Raw tag team division is about to “become glorious!” shouted Gable. Gable asked if Roode liked it. Roode did. Roode and Gable made their ring entrance to Roode’s theme. [c]
(5) CHAD GABLE & BOBBY ROODE vs. THE ASCENSION
Gable finished Viktor with a rolling German suplex. Graves said Roode & Gable look legit.
WINNERS: Roode & Gable in 4:00.
-They showed Rousey and Natalya warming up backstage. [c]
-They showed scenes of Bourbon Street in New Orleans. Cole said Graves surely got himself in trouble last night. Graves smiled. Cole then talked about the E! People’s Choice Awards for Reality TV Star of 2018. Nikki Bella was among the candidates. For “Gamechanger of 2018,” Nia Jax was among the candidates. “The Show of 2018” includes Monday Night Raw, competing with “America’s Got Talent,” “Saturday Night Live,” “The Walking Dead,” and “This Is Us.” They pushed voting which ends Friday.
(Keller’s Analysis: They actually put that at the top of the hour.)
-Backstage Ziggler ranted to McIntyre and Strowman about The Shield returning. Corbin said Louisianna operates under what’s called “The Napoleonic Code.” He said it’s complicated. He said Drew & Dolph will defend their tag titles against Dean & Seth on Sunday. Ziggler complained about rewarding them for their actions. Drew asked him to explain himself. Corbin said Stephanie McMahon wants the PPV to be huge, and that match is epic. Corbin told Braun that Stephanie wants him to take the championship from Reigns. Braun said he’s going Big Dog hunting.
(6) ALEXA BLISS & MICKIE JAMES (w/Alicia Fox) vs. RONDA ROUSEY & NATALYA
Bliss, Mickie, and Fox made their ring entrance together first. Then Rousey and Natalya came out together to Rousey’s music. Before the match Bliss shoved Natalya into Rousey and then laughed. Cole explained that Bliss looked up Fox’s record against Rousey and decided to team with Mickie instead of her this week. Renee said Rousey told her earlier how much she’s looking forward to teaming with Natalya. Natalya worked the first few minutes. Bliss slapped Rousey. Rousey chased her out of the ring and then back into the ring. Rousey set up Bliss for a Hart Attack clothesline and Rousey delivered. They cut to a break as the heels regrouped at ringside. [c]
It wasn’t until more than ten minutes in that Natalya hot-tagged Rousey in. Bliss backed into the corner and then rolled out of the ring. Rousey followed her. Fox and Mickie distracted Rousey, so Bliss shoved her into the ringside barricade. Bliss threw Rousey into the ring apron. Graves complimented Bliss’s plan of attack, hurting her ribs headed into the HIAC match. He said they might as well give Bliss the title now because the match itself is just a technicality. He said it’s the Baddest Woman on the Planet against the Brightest Woman on the Planet. Bliss kicked at Rousey’s ribs and then held her on the mat with a surfboard type of stretch. Mickie tagged in and grounded Rousey in a chinlock. Rousey tossed Mickey off of her and clutched her ribs. Mickie knocked Natalya off the ring apron and then went after Rousey’s ribs. Rousey fought back with jabs and then clotheslined Mickie. Rousey knocked Bliss off the ring apron, then got psyched up for a barrage of backfists and a punch. She continued to sell her ribs, though. Mickie kicked them again. Rousey arm-whipped Mickie three times and then pointed at Bliss at ringside. Rousey then locked on her armbar for the quick tapout win. As the ref raised Natalya and Rousey’s arms, Bliss side-kicked Rousey’s exposed ribs. Rousey went down.
WINNERS: Natalya & Rousey in 13:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: Rousey’s backfists on her comeback weren’t great. The story of the match, though, that Rousey is headed into Sunday with injured ribs adds some sense of vulnerability to her headed into the match that wasn’t there before.)
-The announcers threw to a video package on the Charlotte vs. Becky Lynch match. Then they plugged WWE Network.
-Elias spit out a drink a worker handed him. He asked how he’s supposed to lubricate his vocal cards with that. The worker apologized. Elias told him to fix it. Suddenly Braun showed up yelling at people, looking for Roman. He lifted and dropped a guy, then threw him into loud pipes. “Roman!” he yelled. [c]
-Renee interviewed Rousey and Natalya. Rousey said she’s fine. She said she has never pulled out of a fight, but not because she’s not injured, but because on her worst day she’s still the best.
-Elias strummed his guitar mid-ring under a spotlight. He talked about New Orleans being the birthplace of jazz. “Rock & Roll took it higher and then Elias perfected it,” he said. Some cheers for his initial riff. He asked the crowd if they want to “Walk With Elias.” He said something feels off tonight. He said they seem lost. He asked if it’s because the Saints lost yesterday. Boos. Mick Foley interrupted.
Foley told Elias he admires his talent and craftsmanship, but as a lyricist he doesn’t have a sincere bone in his body. Elias said he knows he wants to talk about the 20th Anniversary of his HIAC match against The Undertaker. Elias said as hard as it may be to believe, he was a child once and he sat in the stands in Pittsburgh, Pa. at the Igloo and he watched his body get thrown off the Cell “and your career was never the same.” Elias said he is standing in the ring with a broken man. Boos. Fans chanted “Mr. Socko!” Foley said he didn’t come to talk about the past, but rather the future. Elias said he is the future. Foley said he agrees he is a future Universal Champion, but he’s talking more immediate future. He said he told Stephanie he wanted to be involved in the HIAC match. Elias said she likely laughed in his face. Foley said at first she did, but then he reminded her of their past. Foley said in six nights he won’t be a bell ringer, but rather he’ll be inside the HIAC for the Reigns vs. Braun match as special referee. Cheers. As he began to leave the ring, his music wasn’t playing, so it was obvious the segment wasn’t actually over.
Elias told Foley to take a piece of advice from him and shut his mouth and go back to where he came from. (Uh, Elias, he had stopped talking and he was heading back to where he came from.) Foley walked up to Elias and said he’s been gone for 18 months and he’ll listen to what he has to say. He revealed to Elias that Stephanie let him make one match for tonight on Raw. Foley said he booked Elias vs. Finn Balor. Balor’s music played. Graves said Foley obviously bribed Stephanie to get this little dose of power.
(Keller’s Analysis: Foley was good here. Good to see him back on Raw, especially looking as good as he does physically. I like him as the ref in the HIAC match. It gives WWE another opportunity to position Reigns for cheers, too. I wish there was more of a mission statement by Foley for why he feels he can enhance the ability for Reigns and Braun to settle the score and have a fair outcome in the end, though. It feels like he was added as an ornament because of his history, but without a real reason otherwise.) [c]
-They showed Braun still looking around for Reigns, throwing stuff around backstage and yelling as people fled from his path.
(7) FINN BALOR vs. ELIAS
Cole said Foley won’t have much to do as special referee, since he’ll either count a pin or call a tapout. They cut to a break a few minutes in after a two count by Elias. [c]
In the end, after several minutes of back and forth action, Balor beat Elias with a roll-up.
WINNER: Balor in 12:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: This was hardly a big hook for a main event match on Raw.)
-The announcers threw to Bobby Lashley lifting weights earlier in the day when in walked Leo Rush. He got a little too excited for Lashley who told him he was busy working out.
(Keller’s Analysis: Hmmm. I’m not sure what to make of that, but that’s especially the case for the 90 percent of Raw viewers who don’t know who Rush is. That said, there seems to be something going on that could be good with his role on Raw.)
-Charley Caruso tried to interview Braun. Braun took the mic and said he’s asking questions: “Where is Roman Reigns?” She said last she saw him, he left the building. Braun said if his boys are around, then he is. She suggested go to the ring and maybe Reigns will find him. Braun liked the idea. [c]
-Cole plugged that next week Undertaker will be on Raw.
-Braun entered the ring and talked about facing Reigns at HIAC. He said Dean and Seth can’t get into the ring and help him, nor can Foley. He said if Foley gets in his way, the injuries he suffered 20 years ago against Taker in the Cell will be a paper cut compared to what he does to him. He said he’s sending Reigns to hell and he’s never coming back. Reigns’s music played. Braun looked around for him. Reigns stood on the announce table. Braun went after him. Reigns threw a Superman Punch to stagger him. Braun got the better of Reigns with a hair pull and a headbutt, knocking Reigns into the video wall. He picked up the Universal Title belt and taunted Reigns with it. Then he dragged Reigns to the announce desk. Reigns surprised Braun and lifted him and dropped him backwards through the floor of the stage. The crowd went silent. They replayed it. Reigns stood up and held his belt high as his music played to end the show. Cole gave a final plug for the HIAC match.
[END OF SHOW]