SETH CHASES DEAN…
Recap: At the top of the second hour, Seth came out to the ring for a promo. Seth said he thought he knew Dean, but he was surprised watching Dean’s recent special on WWE Network. Seth said he didn’t know that Dean was in the hospital with an infection that almost killed him, because he never picked up the phone to tell him.
Rollins then said he didn’t want to wait for TLC, and called out Dean. Ambrose then appeared on the Tron. He said that no one knew what the Shield was really like, when the cameras were off. He said that they’d all get what they deserve. Referencing Roman Reigns’ leukemia, he said that Roman was getting what he deserved from the “man upstairs.” Dean then dared Roman to come find him.
Seth ran backstage, interrogating security as to Dean’s whereabouts. When one security guard told him to back off, Seth punched him.
Later backstage, Charly Caruso was interrupted in preparing for an interview when Dean Amrbose appeared on the monitor behind her. Dean told her to let Seth know that he would be in the Shield’s usual spot as he walked into a back room.
By the time Seth got there, Dean was gone. “Burn it down” was painted on the wall.
Charly later caught up to Seth backstage. He was furious that Dean “went there” with regard to Roman’s cancer. In the background, the fans could see Ambrose getting away. Titus O’Neal informed Seth that he had just missed, Dean, and Dean ran off.
In another backstage segment, Dean ranted about Seth’s whining. He said Seth would never get an explanation, other than the fact that Dean was there to “burn it down.” Dean then pretended to smell something terrible, saying it wasn’t Seth’s fear, or the city of Los Angeles, but rather the fans.
In yet another backstage segment, Seth explained that he was leaving to catch his flight, as Dean clearly didn’t want to be found. He said he would catch him at TLC.
In the show’s final segment, Dean Amrose came to the ring. He again referenced the smell of the fans, calling it “phony LA garbage.” He continued to berate the fans, saying unlike them he didn’t feel sorry for himself. He said any one of them would stab a family member in the back for money.
The camera then showed Seth Rollins backstage running to the ring. He attacked Dean, but Dean quickly gained the upper hand with a low blow. He hit a Dirty Deeds on Seth and appeared to leave, but then returned for another one. As the cameras faded, he taunted a knocked out Seth, moving his limp jaw and saying, “you wanted to talk, let’s talk.”
Evaluation: Bringing Roman’s cancer into the angle as a punishment from God felt too far to me. I haven’t been bothered by its use up until now, but this pushed it a bit too far.
Dean’s promo about the fan’s “stench” was the first miss of the backstage segments he’s done over the past few weeks.
Forecast: They could really go either way at TLC, since it is unlikely to be a one match feud. With no Universal Title defense and heel booking for Daniel Bryan on the card, they may want to send the fans home happy with a Seth win.
BRAUN SET FOR THE NEXT TWO MONTHS…
Recap: The show opened with Baron Corbin in the ring discussing Raw’s clean sweep of SmackDown on Sunday. He credited Stephanie McMahon, who came to the ring. Corbin then said he wanted to discuss some “housekeeping” namely him being named permanent GM of Raw.
Corbin was interrupted by Braun Strowman, who demanded the match he was owed against Corbin. Stephanie said that her word was her bond, and that the match would be at TLC. She added that if Corbin won, he’d officially be made permanent GM.
Braun then asked about his titled Universal Title match against Brock Lensar. Stephanie said he’d get it, but only if he could defeat Corbin at TLC. Stephanie framed it as if he should agree, as he should be confident he could beat Corbin. Braun agreed, and welcomed Corbin to “Monday Night Braun.” Corbin then said Braun may not make it to TLC, putting him in a handicap match against Bobby Lashley and Drew McIntyre in a handicap match. Stephanie then intervened, changing the match to a 6-man elimination tag, with Finn Balor and Elias joining Braun, and Baron Corbin joining the heels.
Toward the end of the match, McIntyre was disqualified for using a chair against Braun. Despite being eliminated, McIntyre followed up with a Claymore. The heels continued to beat on Braun, tying him against one part of the steel steps while McIntyre hit him with the other part of the steps. The match ended without a finish.
Toward the end of the show, the announcers informed us that Braun had a “shattered elbow.”
Recap: I thought Braun looked sort of stupid in allowing himself to accept a precondition on his promised title match. But it’s possible that others took it as a sign of his enthusiasm for destroying Corbin.
This was a very long match to have a non-finish.
Forecast: Braun, with one arm, wins at TLC to get his Royal Rumble match with Brock.
MIXED REACTION FOR RONDA…
Recap: At the top of the third hour, Ronda Rousey hit the ring for a promo to a mix of cheers and boos. Ronda emphasized that a champion always has to be ready to fight. She stripped off her jacket, revealing scratches and bruises, and said she was showing everyone what she looked like on her worst day. She said a champion had to be the best in the world even on her worst day. The fans chanted for Becky.
Ronda then issued an open challenge to the women’s locker room. Baron Corbin came out and denied her request. Ronda challenged him to a fight, to some cheers. Corbin then agreed to find someone, and made it a title match.
After a commercial break, Mickie James came out to face Ronda. Ronda submitted her with an armbar after three “Piper’s Pit” drops.
After the match, Nia Jax and Tamina briefly confronted Ronda on the ramp. Nia motioned as if she polished her fist before leaving.
Evaluation: From Ronda’s first appearance at Royal Rumble, my prediction was that she’d ultimately get the Roman Reigns treatment, based upon her personality and “golden child” status. As I’ve mentioned in this column many times, over the past year I’ve been somewhat perplexed that this reaction wasn’t happening. I actually had begun to think I was wrong.
With some help from Becky Lynch, the reaction I expected seems to have finally arrived. WWE seems to be following a predictable, pulling out all the stops in trying to get her in the ring with the two most disliked (among the fans) people on the roster, Nia Jax and Baron Corbin. The fact that she got her best reaction of the night when facing Corbin shows how much the fans truly dislike his character.
Forecast: Usually once the Reigns/Cena pattern begins, it’s like a train that can’t be stopped. It’s only been two nights, so the next few weeks are critical.
I naively hoped that after seeing last night’s Drake Maverick angle live, whoever wrote it would realize how terrible it was and bag it. No such luck, as we got an entire segment of pee jokes….
NOW CHECK OUT LAST WEEK’S COLUMN: TOP 3 DEVELOPMENTS – RAW 11/12: Becky Invades, Stephanie Faces Braun, Brock Appears