KELLER’S WWE RAW REPORT
MAY 6, 2019
AIRED LIVE ON USA NETWORK
Announcers: Michael Cole, Renee Young, Corey Graves
Tonight after WWE Raw, join me live with guest cohost Travis Bryant from the PWTorch East Coast Cast to break down the show with live callers, mailbag, and a live on-site correspondent from Cincinnati.
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-Cole introduced the show as they showed a wide shot of the crowd. Then Vince McMahon’s music played and he strutted out. Cole noted that there were rumblings on social media that Roman Reigns would show up tonight despite WWE officials saying he’s not welcome.
Vince stood mid-ring and said tonight Raw will be “one for ages.” He said it’s because they’re starting with him, Vincent Kennedy McMahon. Then suddenly Roman’s music played. The crowd cheered. “Here comes the big dog!” yelled Cole. (Why doesn’t Vince fire the soundboard guy who interrupted him with a wrestler’s music, especially because this wrestler isn’t even officially on Raw.) Cole noted Vince mouthed the words, “What are you doing?”
When Reigns entered the ring, Vince said he’s got the Cincinnati police ready to arrest him if he tries to Superman Punch him again. He said he’s been assigned to Smackdown, so “who the hell do you think you are here on Raw?” Reigns told him to watch his tone with him. Reigns said he’s been on Raw for the past “four to five years, for a long time” (he had all day to figure that out) and he said he always said he’d leave it better than he fond it. He said while he was out on his leave of absence, he saw him and his spoiled kids in the ring tell the whole world that he and his cohorts aren’t The Authority and that the fans are. “You can cheer, but that was a lie,” Reigns said. He said he’s had his spoiled little children running around trying to control everything. He said he doesn’t take orders from the McMahons, he takes them from the WWE Universe.
Vince asked if he thinks he can just show up anywhere he wants and the fans will like it. Reigns said if the fans make that kind of noise, he’ll just show up every week. Vince said it’s be anarchy and he’d have no control. Suddenly Daniel Bryan’s music played. As Bryan walked out, Cole said Bryan is on Smackdown Live so this has opened the flood gates. Bryan stepped into the ring. “This is a bad dream,” said Vince. “What are you doing?”
Bryan said ever since the travesty at WrestleMania when he was robbed by Kofi Kingston, he have spent the last month in solitude. Fans began chanting “Kofi!” He said he was in meditation searching for answers “that only thought-leaders of the world that you and I can understand.” He said when he heard The Big Dog was showing up on Raw, he thought the two of them – he and Vince – could have an intelligent conversation. Suddenly Kofi danced onto the stage wearing his WWE Title. Cole exclaimed excitedly that the WWE Champion is on Raw.
Kofi noted they cut his music too early because he wanted to celebrate with his people. He told Bryan if he had a problem with how things went at WrestleMania, he could have just come to him. Kofi gyrated and said he is the WWE Heavyweight Champion. Bryan said Kofi is an undeserving champion who should have never gotten a title shot at WrestleMania and his win was a fluke. He called him a “pancake throwing novelty act” who should have never gotten a title shot. Kofi said he has the belt around his waist and there’s nothing he can do about it. As they argued, Vince interrupted and said he had an epiphany.
Vince asked what if he had a “Wildcard Stipulation” where three wrestlers can cross borders all the time. “There’s no telling what could happen! I’m a genius!” he said. Kofi sarcastically said this sure was Vince’s idea all along. Kofi said after he saw Reigns’s tweet, he decided he’d show up on Raw, too. He wanted to have fun. Bryan said he’s not there for fun, he came there to get a rematch for his WWE Championship. “Shut your mouths!” he yelled at the fans, who then booed louder. (That never works, does it?)
Drew McIntyre said if Vince doesn’t get this situation under control and if nobody in the back has “the set” to do something about this, it’s apparent up to him. “This is not Smackdown Present Raw,” he said. He told Kofi and Bryan they’re lucky that he cares more about “that egomaniac” Roman than them. He said the rules don’t apply to Roman because they told him not to show up, but he showed up. He said he got himself drafted to Smackdown so he could duck him, and he thinks it’s okay to punch his boss in the face, but he’s an egomaniac, so he’s going to Claymore his ass back down to earth right now. He threw down the mic. “It didn’t work out for you at WrestleMania; maybe you can try again tonight,” he said.
Vince suggested a WrestleMania Rematch or two. He declared he’s brilliant and said again this is a night you’ll never forget. He strutted out of the ring. Suddenly A.J. Styles’s music played. Cole said this is getting more interesting by the moment. They cut to a break as Styles approached the ring. [c]
Styles asked Vince what he’s doing. He said he finally got to Raw in the Superstar Shake-up, and the next thing he knows, he has Smackdown Live Superstars on Raw. Vince said it’s called the Wildcard Rule “and I just came up with it.” (Vince is acting like a four year old making up rules to a game on the fly, and is very excited about doing it.) Styles said he spent years on Smackdown making it the House that A.J. Styles built, and then once he sunk his teeth into Raw, he got a U.S. Title opportunity, but suddenly Seth’s best friend, Roman, is back. He said if that’s how it’s going to work, maybe he goes over to Smackdown and brings a couple of his friends to Raw.
Vince said the Wildcard Rule is three members of Smackdown could be invited to Raw “and three members of Smackdown could be invited to Smackdown.” He stumbled as he said Smackdown twice there, then told Styles he must understand what he’s trying to say. Out walked Seth Rollins with his Universal Title. Vince told Seth to take it easy. Seth said he gave him the benefit of the doubt for one week and he showed his true colors by sucker-punching him. He said this is the last time he’ll be one step ahead of him. Seth said Smackdown was fine before he got there and it’s been fine since he left. (Uh, 1.38.) Seth said this is his show, Monday Night Rollins. Vince said under his breath that it’s his show. Style said he tried to be a good sport and shake his hand, but he threw the title in his face. Then when he tried to walk away, he kept running his mouth. Styles said he didn’t just put him through a table last week, he gave him a Phenomenal Forearm through a table. He said at Money in the Bank, nothing is going to change except the holder of the Universal Championship. They argued. Vince said how about they compete tonight. Both got ready. They took off their shirts and circled. Vince said he doesn’t mean they fight each other, but rather they’ll team together. Seth he won’t team with Styles, “no chance.” Vince said he’d get a team from the back. He asked the fans to cheer his great decisions. Cole said they can’t get along he wondered who they’d face.
(Keller’s Analysis: In case of emergency, break the glass between Raw and Smackdown. That’s what this is. Vince didn’t like the roster depth in the top tier between brands, so he’s going to have up to three wrestlers a week float between brands, but the parameters are loose enough for him to make it up as he goes. Obviously this makes each show more appealing if there is more star power, but it undercuts the whole point of the roster split and also extends a long weekend for top Raw wrestlers who have to pull double-duty at Smackdown, and takes several top stars off of the Monday night Smackdown live events. This isn’t the fundamental change that needs to happen for WWE to recover lost viewers in the long-run. This is giving ice cream to unhappy kids rather than creating an environment that kids like without ice cream as a bribe. Now, all of that said, this of course was exciting. It’d also be exciting to change every title on one show, have six heel and babyface turns, and have a Hell in a Cell and Royal Rumble match all on Raw this week, too. They can always hotshot; the point is whether the hot-shotting is ultimately a short-term panic move that undercuts long-term welfare or if this hot-shooting is a safe augmentation of the Roster Split set-up without any long-term trade-offs. Given the alarming viewership drop last week, I’m not sure I would have voted against this if asked, but I hope this is just step one in a two step plan at fundamental changes in how WWE is booked and presented. The best news here is Reigns was cheered by the Cincinnati crowd. No mixed reaction.) [c]
-A clip aired from last week’s Raw where Styles put Seth through a table.
(1) A.J. STYLES & SETH ROLLINS vs. BARON CORBIN & BOBBY LASHLEY
(Keller’s Analysis: I didn’t expect Corbin to get blamed for low ratings and abandoned, but I also question whether having him in this match is sending the wrong message about Raw being can’t miss and one for the ages. He’s just overexposed in these top matches lately. That said, he has so much more personality than Lashley, and it’s not a deep list of heels on Raw who can be credible against Seth and Styles here.)
The ring announcer Mike Rome did elaborate ring introductions for Lashley and Corbin, including noting that Corbin considers himself Cincinnati’s favorite. Styles and Rollins cleared the ring of both heels a couple minutes in and then both dove onto them at ringside. Cole asked if they can keep this up as they cut to an early break. [c]
Back live Lashley was in control of Seth. Lashley threw Seth to the floor, then Corbin stomped on him at ringside. A few minutes later Styles set up a Phenomenal Forearm, but Corbin jumped onto the ring apron. Styles fended him off, but that left him vulnerable to being speared off the ring apron by Lashley. Styles sold the impact, but Lashley took a nasty head-first spill, too. He got up and gloated to the fans with a wide smile and his arms extended, though, and appeared just fine. Back in the ring Lashley scored a two count. They cut to another break with the heels in control of Styles. [c]
Seth got the hot-tag and rallied against both heels. Graves said he’s going to burn it down. Seth then leaped off the top rope onto Corbin for a near fall, broken up Lashley. Styles gave Lashley a flying forearm and then a dropkick to ringside. Corbin rolled up Seth from behind and grabbed his tights for a two count. Seth came back with a superkick and then signaled for his Stomp. The crowd chanted “Burn it down!” Styles hit Corbin, who then knocked heads with Seth. Styles went for a Phenomenal Forearm, but he hit Seth instead of Corbin. (What’re the odds?) Styles then walked out on Seth. Seth stood up, seething. Corbin then gave Seth an End of Days for the win.
WINNER: Corbin & Lashley in 19:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: Last week, efforts were made to keep Styles and Seth equally justified in their actions. Seth was yapping endlessly in Styles’s ear as he was willing to turn and leave right before he heard enough and hit Seth, but Styles was the first to strike. This week, Styles walking out on Seth felt unjustified. It’d have made more sense for Seth to walk out on Styles because he was upset with Styles giving him a forearm. Styles’s miscue, presented as inadvertent, looked less happenstance when he decided to just walk out on his partner. Even if Seth had blamed Styles more overtly, it would have maybe seemed more justified for him to walk out.)
-Cole excitedly hyped the WrestleMania rematches later.
-They replayed Lashley and Shane McMahon beating up Miz last week.
-Sami Zayn made his ring entrance. Graves said he’s heard that Sami’s comments have rubbed a few people backstage wrong.
(Keller’s Analysis: So they’re sticking with the ring entrance in front of the live crowd followed by a long commercial break, which kills the live crowd’s excitement for seeing the wrestler which then translates to a duller overall atmosphere for TV viewers.) [c]
-Sami asked what the critics have to complain about tonight. He said Reigns came over from Smackdown and they’re going to get a WrestleMania rematch of Kofi vs. Bryan, too. he said he watched the whole thing go down and it sounds like the fans thought it was great. He agreed it was great. “The difference between when I enjoy something and when you enjoy something is that after the initial excitement of those first couple of hours wear off, you are still you, which means you’re still stuck with that miserable person you see in the mirror,” he said. “You have to live with that all the time.” He said fixing yourself is hard. Graves and Young bickered a bit over whether they should be talking while Sami is talking. He called the fans cowards because complaining is easy. A few fans yelled “Boring!” He said he can hear the critics tomorrow weighing in. (Or TONIGHT on the Wade Keller Pro Wrestling Post-show!) Suddenly Braun Strowman interrupted with his music. Young said he’d fed up with the trash coming out of Sami’s mouth. Cole said he’s not the only one, but he’s the biggest one.
Sami leaped out of the ring and retreated into the crowd. Young and Graves agreed it was a smart move. Braun pursued Sami through the crowd. Somehow there was a camera waiting for Sami right there. Braun chased Sami onto the stage and to the back.
-They went to the announcers on camera. Young was impressed with how fast Braun was. Graves said it was Braun’s ham-fisted attempt to stifle Sami’s truth.
(1) LUCHA HOUSE PARTY vs. CINCINNATI’S BEST JOBBER
Cole called this “a regularly scheduled match-up,” seeming to acknowledge that the first match was made on the fly but this was planned. As they made their ring entrance, they cut to the back where Braun was chasing down Sami. Sami ended up trapped against a garbage door that wouldn’t open. “Well, here comes the end of Sami Zayn,” said Young. Sami said this has nothing to do with him, then threw plastic bins at him. Sami pushed a button to open the garbage door and tried to crawl under, but Braun caught his feet. Of course, there was a camera waiting outside the garage door. (How hard would it have been to make it more realistic and just have a camera guy hustle outside?) Braun threw Sami into a dumpster and asked Sami who the coward is now. Braun then heard a beeping truck. It just happened to driving up to grab the dumpster and lift it and drop its contents – including Sami – into the back bin. Graves called it disgusting.
(Keller’s Analysis: That’s one of those low-IQ needlessly overly-fake and full of implausible coincidences stunt angle that is one of the reasons fans are just turning off this program in big numbers. There’s no respect for viewers’ desire to have things make sense, or at least have it appear the promoter is trying a little.)
So back in the ring, the ref had been patiently waiting for the skit to end before ringing the bell. LHP won shortly thereafter when Lince Dorado finished off the jobber.
WINNERS: Lucha House Party in 1:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: So the first match had two commercial breaks that cut out nearly half of the action. Then they did the big where the ring entrance is broken up with four minutes of commercial time which takes the live crowd’s excitement back down and usually doesn’t recover. And then they do a skit with several implausibilities which was followed by eerie silence after it ended and they cut back to the live crowd. Yeah, Vince McMahon is showing he “gets” what fans are frustrated about when it comes to his booking.)
-A video package aired on the Reigns-McIntyre match at WrestleMania. Cole then plugged the rematch again.
-Ricochet made his ring entrance. Cole said he’d be facing Robert Roode in a Money in the Bank qualifier and he’d explain how that came about next. (Time for at least five minutes for Ricochet to stand awkwardly in the ring after the excitement of his ring entrance.) [c]
-Back from the break, a Make-a-Wish segment aired with WWE wrestlers including John Cena and Braun Strowman.
-Backstage, Natalya read an invitation to Naomi from Lacey Evans, who invited them to ringside for her match and required that they arrive in formalwear. Naomi didn’t like anyone telling her what t do. Dana Brooke showed up with an invitation, too. They noticed the invitations smelled like Peach Cobbler.
-They showed Miz sitting outside of Shane McMahon’s office waiting for his arrival.
(3) RICOCHET vs. ROBERT ROODE – Money in the Bank spot on the line.
Roode’s ring entrance took place more than five minutes after Ricochet’s ring entrance began. The announcers explained that Roode protested Ricochet being in the match because he had pinned Roode two weeks ago on Raw. Graves said the announcers agreed with Roode’s argument. Graves talked about Roode being “cagey” (which generally is a term used for a wrestler about to lose). Several minutes into the match, Roode put the ring apron over Ricochet’s face and pounded on him. He scored a two count, then settled into a chinook mid-ring. Cole said that Ricochet said that people have told him he’d never make money “in the WWE or sports entertainment in general,” but if he wins MITB maybe he will make money and people will believe in him.
(Keller’s Analysis: What a strange thing to introduce into the Ricochet character’s journey. Is it really marketable to introduce a hot exciting new star to the roster only to say prior to making it in WWE people didn’t think he was talented enough to “make money”? On so many levels, it’s an odd if not counterproductive narrative.)
Cole talked about the 81 percent success rate of MITB match winners going on to cash in and become champion. Ricochet eventually landed a 630 for the win.
WINNER: Ricochet in 4:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: Roode hasn’t even had a chance to establish his heel personal and name change in any substantive way on TV and he’s already losing in under five minutes? When you undergo a change of look and name, you should get a couple months of renewed relevance before ending back at your water level, right?)
-Cole plugged the Kofi-Bryan rematch. Then they showed a replay of Rey Mysterio pinning Samoa Joe on Raw last week. Cole said Rey will challenge Samoa Joe for the U.S. Title at MITB.
-Rey Mysterio and Dominic, his son, were walking backstage. Heath Slater smiled and shook his hand. Rey entered his cooker room, then Dominic walked away. They showed Samoa Joe following closely behind. [c]
-They showed the exterior of the arena in Cincinnati.
-Joe approached Dominic and said he’s glad they finally get to meet in person. He said he was really eager to congratulate Rey for beating him last week. He said he was eager to humiliate him. He asked if that was because he beat his dad at WrestleMania. When Dominic began to answer, Joe yelled at him that he wasn’t done talking. Joe said he looks forward to defending his U.S. Title against his dad at Money in the Bank.
(Keller’s Analysis: Dominic didn’t come across at all intimidated by Joe, which really made the segment more counterproductive than helpful. Dominic basically listened to Joe expressionless and then turned and walked away without conveying any sense of jeopardy or fear.)
(4) LACEY EVANS vs. ALLIE KATRINA
Lacey Evans sauntered out. They replayed the interactions with Becky Lynch last week. Then Naomi made her way to the ring. She wore a neon yellow tight dress. Then Dana Brooke walked out next. Graves said this is the first invite Dana received in a long time for anything social because she isn’t well liked. Then Natalya came out. Finally, Alexa Bliss. Cole noted Allie’s name just before she KO’d Allie with her Woman’s Right. Cole called it “a big right hand,” as if he didn’t know that was her finisher and that it has a name and should be sold as something special. Graves tried to mop that up by saying it’s not just any right hand.
WINNER: Lacey in seconds.
-Lacey thanked the women at ringside for showing up at her classy event. She said a proper RSVP was excepted, it didn’t happen. She called them “four nasties.” She said they deserved a front row seat to seat to see what a legitimate lady is capable of. She said at MITB, Becky Two Belts will lose everything she has ever worked for courtesy of a Woman’s Right. She said she’s aware one of them might win the MITB ladder match, and she hopes they’re smarter than they look because if any of them have the audacity to cash in on her after she wins the Raw Women’s Title, they will quickly regret losing whatever opportunity they had to become champion because they’ll all come up short, just like The Man will come up short. Out came Becky Lynch. She walked out with both women’s title belts. Becky charged into the ring and attacked Lacey. After a brawl at ringside, Becky tried to apply an armbar. Lacey scurried out of the ring and gained her senses and stared back at Becky from the ramp. Becky held up her belts and shouted back at her.
-Backstage Bryan addressed the camera and said Kofi’s shilling of pancakes and consumerism is “a threat to our very existence.” He said he needs to eliminate Kofi as a role model not just of WWE, but of humanity. He said he’s not a champion or a role model and is just masquerading as both. He said he will once again become what he was born to be – The Planet’s Champion.
-The Viking Raiders made their entrance. Cole hyped the June 1 Takeover event in Bridgeport, Conn. Tickets go on sale Friday. [c]
-Cole congratulated WWE for winning three Shorty Awards for social media related stuff.
-They showed The Usos backstage looking around and bumping into things.
(5) CURT HAWKINS & ZACK RYDER vs. THE VIKING RAIDERS (Erik & Ivar)
The Raw Tag Campion’s Most Generic Sounding Entrance Theme Ever faded and the match began. Ryder and Hawkins got in most of the offense until the double-team finisher and the illegal double-team cover for the win.
WINNERS: The Viking Raiders in 3:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: That didn’t do anything for the tag team division. It’s so paint-by-numbers, but having the new heel tag team win so decisively and unceremoniously in a match they couldn’t be bothered to mention earlier in the show just defines down the whole division and make the champs out to be jobber chumps. One of the ways to avoid this “Wildcard” desperation hotshot is to make more than just the top tier of a half dozen main event wrestlers feel important.) [c]
-Firefly Funhouse #3: Mercy the Buzzard popped out of a box and burped. Bray asked him what is in the box. Mercy told him it was nothing. Bray asked what he is trying to hide. He called Bray an old hag and told him to go to sleep. He reached in and pulled out the stuffed rabbit, but it had been torn apart. Mercy said he was trying to force him to adhere to his bohemian world view and its ideologies. Bray said it’s okay to express yourself however you want, including creating a painting, flying a kite, or even tearing apart a rabbit. The “Hurt/Heel” image briefly appeared on the screen. Bray said he thinks Mercy should be rewarded. It was picnic time. Kids were sitting on the floor looking sullen and disengaged. Bray told them he will light the way and they just have to let him in. He waved bye excitedly as the kids sat there like they were tranquilized. His jingle played.
-They went to the announcers. Graves said the kids didn’t seem to be having any fun. Cole said the Firefly Funhouse is “taking social media by storm.” (Suddenly “taking social media by storm” feels less cool than ever after Cole says it in such a corporate robotic way.) Then they commented on the Styles-Seth angle earlier.
-Backstage Seth addressed Styles and said he made his point perfectly clear when he walked away from him after hitting him in the mouth for the second straight week. He said the next time he walks away from him, it’ll be with two black eyes and a broken face.
-Reigns’s ring entrance took place. Graves said he’s on Raw because of the brand new “Wildcard Rule” instituted by Mr. McMahon earlier. Cole plugged that Reigns would face Elias at MITB in two weeks. Drew’s ring entrance then took place. They cut to a break. [c]
(6) ROMAN REIGNS vs. DREW MCINTYRE
Graves said Drew wants to prove to be the workhorse of Raw and he took offense to Reigns showing back up on Raw. Drew catapulted Reigns into the ringside barricade at 4:00 and they cut to a break. [c]
Drew landed his Glasgow Kiss headbutt and scored a two count. Reigns countered Drew, but Drew then used a backslide to score a near fall. Suddenly, Reigns hit DDT for a near fall. Drew rolled to the floor and grabbed at his neck. Reigns went for a Superman Punch, but Drew kicked him mid-air and then threw him into the ringside steps. Drew climbed to the top rope, but was met with a Superman Punch for a near fall. Reigns caught Drew with another spear, but then Shane McMahon jumped into the ring and attacked Drew. Elias joined in the double-team.
WINNER: No contest in 11:00.
-As the two-on-one beatdown continued, Miz ran out to his music with a chair in hand. Shane ran into the crowd. Miz pursued him. Elias stayed in the ring and held up Reigns. Drew gave him a Claymore Kick. Elias and Drew stood over Reigns, satisfied with their actions as Reigns writes in pain. Cole talked more about the “Wildcard Rule.” They suddenly cut backstage to Shane hiding behind a corner from Miz. Miz ran right past with a chair in hand. Charly Caruso tried to get an interview with him, which was pretty funny. She asked what he plans to do in the cage against Miz when he has nowhere to run. Shane ran out the staircase. The camera was able to view what was happening from above. Miz attacked Shane before he could escape in his limo. Shane kicked Miz between the legs, then sped off in his stretch limo.
-They went to the announcers on the stage. Graves complained about Charly trying to interview Shane then. Renee said she was just doing her job. Cole excitedly said coming up is the first time in nearly three years, a true WWE Championship match on Raw.
-A video package aired on Kofi’s win over Bryan at WrestleMania. [c]
-A Smackdown commercial hyped KO, Lars Sullivan, and the Smackdown Tag Team situation.
-They replayed highlights of Braun and Sami earlier.
-They replayed the Usos secretly filming The Revival back shaving last week.
-The Revival stood in the ring live for a scheduled match apparently against Karl Anderson & Luke Gallows who were in the background. The Usos came out and said The Revival call themselves Top Guys and the hottest tag team in WWE. They laughed. They said they have an idea to make them hotter. “Have you ever heard of Icy Hot? Let me introduce Ucey Hot.” They then read some puns and then suddenly The Revival’s trunks began to sting. They did comedy stuff rubbing their trunks with their jacket and on the mat. (The crowd was just dead silent. In Vince’s mind, everyone is laughing uproariously.) The Revival ran to the stage and proved water down their trunks. The Usos revealed that water makes it worse. They let out high-pitched screams and then ran to the back.
(Keller’s Analysis: Okay, that was so over-the-top it couldn’t have been with the intent to entertain but rather it had to be an attempt to humiliate The Revival over contract issues. The Usos, I think, are more damaged by this than The Revival. If the Revival go to AEW, they’re going to f’n heroes because of what Vince McMahon is doing to them here. In 2019 fans aren’t going to hold this against The Revival. Vince doesn’t get it.)
-Backstage Kofi addressed Bryan challenging him for the WWE Title. He said a lot of people felt it was impossible he’d become champion, but he showed the world that the impossible is possible. He said he will show Bryan why he is the WWE Champion.
-No Way Jose made his way to the ring as Cole said, “The Fun continues on Raw!” No Way Jose danced around the ring with the Conga Line. Lars Sullvian’s music played. Graves wondered why Lars is on Raw because he’s a Smackdown wrestler. Cole said the Wildcard Rule in effect. (So everyone is to believe Lars was hanging out in Cincinnati in case Vince initiated a Wildcard Rule?) Lars beat up the Conga Line at ringside. No Way Jose tried to come to the defense of his pals, but Lars no-sold him and beat him up, too.
-They went to the announcers who wondered if anyone could stop Lars. Cole then threw to a feature on Naomi receiving the Boys & Girls Club Alumni Hall of Fame. [c]
-Backstage Vince was on the phone. He said, “Only three or else I’ll suspend somebody, maybe I’ll fire them.” He said Elias doesn’t count because he was with Shane. Whoever he was talking-to said he was a genius. In barged Lars. Vince, who was sitting, looked intimidated. Vince told the person on the phone he’d allow four individuals, not just three. “Good talk,” said a nervous Vince, who then gulped.
(Keller’s Analysis: So we’re to believe Lars heard Vince on the phone, had counted how many Smackdown wrestlers showed up, didn’t like the idea he might get suspended or fired, so he barged in and shot Vince a look to get a free pass this week? Is that really the supposition of why that just happened?)
(7) KOFI KINGSTON vs. DANIEL BRYAN – WWE Title match
Kofi’s ring entrance took place. Cole said if Kofi survives tonight, he’ll face KO at MITB. Cole noted that Raw will be at O2 Arena next week in London, England. Kofi knocked Bryan to the floor early. They cut to a break. [c]
A few minutes later they cut to another break after a mid-ring collision. [c]
Kofi rallied late and played to the crowd, then landed the Boom Drop double leg drop. He played to the crowd and signaled for a Trouble in Paradise. Bryan kicked him out of mid-air and then landed a German suplex into a bridge for a near fall. Bryan signaled for his running knee, but Kofi ducked. A few more counters led to Kofi hitting Trouble in Paradise for the win. Graves said, “The dream lives on.”
WINNER: Kingston in 16:00 to retain the WWE Title.
(Keller’s Analysis: Nice match, but two commercial breaks just took any momentum and flow away from viewing it on TV. But after this hot-shooting, what card can Vince play next week? All the big stars and big matches are saved for Saudi Arabian audiences.)