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KELLER’S WWE RAW REPORT
SEPTEMBER 2, 2019
AIRED ON USA NETWORK
Announcers: Michael Cole, Corey Graves, Renee Young
-The show opened with a wide shot of the arena crowd as Corey Graves introduced the show. Then they went to Braun Strowman’s entrance with no mention verbally of being in Baltimore, but the graphic did note the city. Renee Young and Graves talked about whether Seth Rollins and Strowman can get along as a team. After Strowman sat at a table mid-ring, Seth made his ring entrance. Strowman stood and shook Seth’s hand when he entered the ring.
Cole stood in the ring and talked about Seth and Braun defending the Raw Tag Team Titles before Seth defends the WWE Universal Title. He asked how they can coexist as a team. Seth said he knows they have the ability to beat Robert Roode & Dolph Ziggler, and he intends to walk in as double-champ, burn it down, and walk out as double-champ. He said he can’t speak for Braun, but those are his intentions. Braun said it will be awkward when his tag team championship partner beats him to become Universal Champion. Seth said that would be terribly awkward. Seth said to win the Universal Title, he slayed the Beast, “which unfortunately is something you couldn’t do.” The crowd “oohhh’d” that. Seth said to keep his title he’s going to “slay a monster.” As Braun was about to sign the contract for the match, the music of A.J. Styles interrupted. Out walked The OC – Styles, Luke Gallows, and Karl Anderson.
Cole told them they have no business out there. Fans loudly chanted “A.J. Styles!” Styles didn’t acknowledge the crowd. Styles said it’s adorable that they’re going to see the tag champs fight each other later. He asked why Braun gets the title match. “Because he looked at the Universal Championship?” he said. “Is that why?” He said by proxy the U.S. Champion should be the first in line at the Universal Title. He asked who he’s going to defend his U.S. Title against. He told Gallows and Anderson not to look at his championship “because apparently in WWE that’s how you get an opportunity now.”
The OC walked to the ring. Styles then complained about Roode & Ziggler getting a title shot. “They’re not even a real team!” he said. They all entered the ring. Styles said if they don’t get what they want, nobody gets what they want. When Cole tried to scold Styles, Styles told Cole to shut up because he’ll kick his teeth down his throat. Seth and Braun stood as Styles walked up and picked up the contract (with the silly large font) and tore it up. Seth and Braun just stood and watched as Styles threw it into the air like confetti. Braun knocked over the table and then he and Seth cleared the ring of the three heels. They cut to an abrupt break. [c]
(1) THE O.C. (Karl Anderson & Luke Gallows w/A.J. Styles) vs. BRAUN STROWMAN & SETH ROLLINS
After the break, an impromptu tag match was in progress. A couple minutes in, Braun tagged himself in, which irritated Seth. Braun then locked up with Gallows. Braun took Gallows down with a big boot. Seth tagged back in and worked over Gallows’ arm. Styles took a cheap shot at Seth at ringside. They cut to a break. [c]
Right after coming back live, Braun got a hot-tag. When Seth tagged back in, he quickly stomped the mat to set up his Stomp, but Styles distracted him. Anderson rolled up Seth from behind, but Seth rolled through and got the three count.
WINNERS: Seth & Braun in 12:00.
-Styles, Anderson, and Gallows attacked Seth and Braun after the match. Seth and Braun fought back quickly. Braun bulldozed Anderson and Gallows at ringside, but then mistakenly also charged and knocked Seth down. O0psie. Ziggler and Roode ran out and attacked Braun. Styles jumped Braun from behind. It became five-on-one, with Seth still on the ground. Roode hit Strowman in the head with the ringside steps. Seth and Braun tried to make comebacks, but they were overwhelmed each time. They gave Strowman a four-person Magic Killer. Styles then wanted to finish with a Phenomenal Forearm. They held up Braun, then Styles struck.
(Keller’s Analysis: That was high-energy and set up the babyface for wanting revenge. I am curious where the rest of the babyface roster was during that extended beatdown.)
-Graves plugged Becky Lynch would respond to Sasha Banks. Renee plugged Becky & Bayley vs. Alexa Bliss & Nikki Cross in a Women’s Champions Showcase match. [c]
-After the break, they showed a Steve Austin post on Twitter saying contract signings are always chaotic, and Cole is quite an announcer but not a good moderator. (Hey, he tried!)
-Cole plugged Connor’s Cure at ConnortheCrusher.com.
-Charly Caruso interviewed Cedric Alexander backstage. She asked how he is preparing to face Baron Corbin. Cedric said while Corbin is playing dress-up on the throne, he’s preparing. Suddenly The OC attacked Cedric. Cole asked why they did that to Cedric since he had nothing to do with their business. “Not a clue,” said Renee.
(2) ROBERT ROODE & DOLPH ZIGGLER vs. ZACK RYDER & CURT HAWKINS
Renee said Ziggler and Roode developed chemistry as a tag team right away. Several minutes in, Ryder and Hawkins took Roode down with a double-team move. Only Ziggler breaking up the pin saved Roode from being pinned. Ziggler then hit Hawkins with a super kick. Roode followed up with an immediate Glorious DDT for the win.
WINNERS: Roode & Ziggler in 4:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: Is that really the way to establish your new no. 1 tag contenders who are facing Seth & Braun, by having Ryder & Hawkins – hardly treated as a serious team 99 percent of the time – score a virtual win if not for a save by Ziggler? Roode & Ziggler should have just destroyed them start to finish. The way the match went, it made Renee’s words afterward saying she’s never seen either of them look as dangerous in a long-time ring hollow.)
-Cole said the story now is becoming what is Cedric’s condition before he faces Corbin later.
-Lacey Evans sauntered backstage. Graves said her match with Natalya is next.
-A commercial hyped the return of Undertaker to Smackdown next week on Smackdown. [c]
(3) LACEY EVANS vs. NATALYA
As Lacey made her way to the ring, Natalya’s music interrupted. She charged out and attacked Lacey before the bell, then entered the ring and waited for Lacey. Fans chanted “Nattie!” Natalya was aggressive early. Lacey rolled to the floor. Natalya threw her into the barricade. Renee said this is the winning side of Natalya, showing a chip on her shoulder that she needs to succeed. Lacey made a comeback with a yank of her hair from behind at ringside. Lacey took control for a couple of minutes. Natalya made a comeback, but Lacey soon threw her into the middle turnbuckle. Natalya went after Lacey aggressively against the ropes, so the ref intervened to pull Natalya off. Lacey then KO’d Natalya with the Women’s Right after throwing a handkerchief at her.
WINNER: Lacey in 6:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: Natalya’s job seems to be working with Lacey to get her work up to national TV standards. Lacey looked as good as she has here.)
-Becky Lynch made her way toward the entrance stage. [c]
-A commercial aired for Smackdown tomorrow asking what comes next after Roman’s attacker has been revealed.
-Becky made her ring entrance. She got a great ovation. Becky said it’s great to be back in Baltimore. She said she has something to say live on Raw. She said she heard what Sasha had to say last week, “mumbling all your little excuses why you ran away after WrestleMania.” She said it’s a load of crap. She said of all people she has no reason to be whining. She said Sasha was the centerpiece of NXT while she was a sidekick. She said after being called up, Sasha was given main events of Raw and PPVs while she was struggling to get on TV. “This company actually gave you bouquets of flowers after your matches,” she said.
Becky said she, Sasha, and Charlotte started around the same time, and Sasha and Charlotte were paraded around from the start “like the frauds you are.” She called Sasha “a delusional little weirdo.” More “Becky!” chants. Becky said it must sting Sasha that Bayley’s doing just fine since she left, while Becky is the face of the company. She said Sasha wants to be her. That’s why she has called her out again and again so she can remember how badly she treated her when she was nothing. She told her to do it face-to-face. She called her a “little blue-haired freak.” Sasha’s music played and she walked onto the stage.
Sasha said she was supposed to be her. She said she was supposed to main event WrestleMania and be on all the magazine covers and be a Hall of Famer and have all the money. She said the only reason she got any of that stuff is because Nia Jax broke her face. She said she wished Nia Jax broke her face so fans would care about her. She asked Becky if that felt personal, because she can keep going. Becky said if she wants to fight, let’s fight right here in front of the people in Baltimore. Sasha said she won’t do anything for free in front of those people. She said the next time they wrestle, it’ll be at the Clash of Champions for the title. Becky said she lives for big occasions, so The Man vs. The Boss is on. “You got it,” she said. Sasha said after the Clash, The Man is gonna be The Boss’s bitch.
(Keller’s Analysis: I liked that. Sasha’s factually incorrect, but the revisionist history is something you’d believe that she believes. Becky was likable and Sasha wasn’t, which is what you want there.)
-The Street Profits, minus their former NXT Tag Team Title belts, stood stunned. Angelo Dawkins asked what they say to that. Montez Ford said they should go to a commercial. “3-2-1,” he said.
-A teaser indicated a new Firefly Funhouse was coming up later. [c]
-A commercial hyped the arrival of NXT to USA Network starting on Sept. 18. “Defiant… Unapologetic.”
(Keller’s Analysis: Defiant. Unapologetic. That’s so much better than Cole calling NXT “the little engine that could,” as he did last week.)
-Cole said the Becky vs. Sasha match is now official for the Clash.
(4) CEDRIC ALEXANDER vs. BARON CORBIN – King of the Ring Quarterfinal match
Cole said Corbin is so confident he’ll win, he’s planning for his kingdom. A soundbite aired with him saying he’s going to exile everyone who runs their mouths on social media or those who don’t bow down to him. He said all he wants to hear is “All Hail King Corbin.” Corbin, of course, dominated early. Cedric dove through the ropes and knocked Corbin into the ringside barricade. He dove onto Corbin back in the ring and scored a two count. Corbin cameback by knocking Cedric off the ropes with an uppercut and then rammed him into the ringpost twice as he hung upside down. They cut to a break. [c]
Back live, Corbin was still in control. They fought back and forth for several more minutes. Cedric hit a Missile Dropkick that didn’t connect strong. which the announcers acknowledged. They replayed it, which was a curious choice. Later, Cedric avoided the Deep Six and then landed what Cole called “an awkward but effective” Michinoku Driver for a believable near fall. Cedric went for a springboard, but Corbin knocked him off balance and then hit End of Days for the win. Cole discussed the King of the Ring brackets on the screen as Corbin made his way to sitting on the throne. Graves said he belongs there.
WINNER: Corbin in 14:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: Good match. They’re doing a good job setting up Corbin losing to get a big pop whether it happens in the semi-finals or finals. Or a ton of heel heat if he wins it all. Cedric was “protected” by being beaten up earlier by The O.C., so he was weakened before the match began.)
-Graves plugged the women’s tag match. Cole a recap of “Roman’s Retribution” would be up next.
-Another commercial aired for NXT. The words on the screen were: “This is passion. This is pride. Unapologetic. We are NXT.” [c]
-They showed various “firsts” of the 24/7 Title in an on-screen chart.
-The Reigns video package aired. Then they showed Daniel Bryan saying it might look bad, but he still deserves an apology because he didn’t know about Rowan’s actions.
-They announced Steve Austin just tweeted that he’ll be at Raw at MSG next week to handle the Seth-Braun contract signing re-do.
-Caruso interviewed Bayley and asked if she has any comment about Sasha’s shocking return. Bayley said nothing. Caruso asked what it meant to hear Sasha say their tag team title reign meant nothing to her. Bayley said she talks to Sasha because she’s her best friend, but she won’t share it because it’s personal. She said everyone handles things differently, and it was her choice to take her ball and go home. Bayley said she took advantage of every situation she was handed on Smackdown. Bayley instructed Caruso to ask about tonight’s match. Caruso said the spotlight will be on Becky, as many people are calling Becky the embodiment of the WWE Women’s Division. “I imagine you might be feeling a bit overshadowed by The Man,” she said. Bayley jumped in and said she doesn’t agree with that. She said her title means as much as Becky’s. She said she does whatever she needs to do to win. She said she beat Nikki last week, and this week she’ll beat Bliss. She said by the end of the night it’ll be apparent who is standing in whose shadow.
-The Viking Raiders made cartoon faces backstage with a red light behind them. [c]
-Cole plugged that Becky will be Austin’s guest on the new “Straight Up Steve Austin” episode on USA following Raw.
-Caruso stood mid-ring with the two scheduled opponents of The Viking Raiders, Brian Thomas and Tyler Hastings. They said they drove all the way from Pittsburgh for this opportunity. They predicted they’ll make the Viking Raiders look like a couple of Balti-Morons. Graves said about one of the jobbers, “Now we know what Elvis looked like when he keeled over on the toilet.” Cole said he looks more like Honky Tonk Man’s son.
(5) THE VIKING RAIDERS vs. BRIAN THOMAS & TYLER HASTINGS
The announcers wondered why Tyler and Brian would want to make the Raiders angry. They beat them quickly and decisively with power moves.
WINNERS: The Viking Raiders in 1:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: Glad the Raiders aren’t double-pinning their opponents anymore. It made the ref look stupid for allowing it, and they shouldn’t need to double-team to pin their hapless opponents.)
-They showed Sasha walking backstage for no apparent reason. The mystery blond lady (Sarah Schreiber) ran up to her and asked if she was rooting for her best friend, Bayley, to win tonight. Sasha said she sees what she is trying to do here. She snapped at her to get out of her face. Schreiber ran away.
-Samoa Joe made his ring entrance. [c]
-Joe stood mid-ring and said everyone else who says they’ll be king are liars because “King Samoa Joe” sounds just right. Ricochet’s music then played.
(6) SAMOA JOE vs. RICOCHET – King of the Ring Quarterfinal match
A soundbite aired with Ricochet who said his entire career has been about redefining what is possible. He said Joe says he’ll certainly beat him, but that’s a reality he refuses to accept.
(Keller’s Analysis: Ricochet is still not where he needs to be on the mic, and that sounded very much recited from memory.)
Joe took control and focused on Ricochet’s legs. Joe took it to Ricochet at ringside. Then when they returned to the ring, they cut to a break. [c]
Ricochet kicked Joe in the head and then hit a dropkick to slow Joe. Both were slow to get up. Ricochet kept selling his legs, but eventually made a full comeback. He landed a standing shooting star press for a near fall. They showed Corbin watching on a monitor backstage. Joe came up bleeding from his forehead. Ricochet went for a top rope move, but Joe avoided it and then snap powerslammed Ricochet for a believable near fall. Ricochet kicked Joe, who rolled to the floor. Ricochet then hit a handspring dive over the top rope onto Joe at ringside. He threw Joe back into the ring. Ricochet climbed to the top rope. Joe got up and knocked Ricochet off balance. Then he chopped his chest hard. He applied a Coquina Clutch on the top rope. Ricochet pushed off. Both dropped and had their arms draped over each other. The ref counted both wrestlers’ shoulders down.
WINNER: Double Pin in 14:00.
-The ref got on headset afterward and told someone he saw both of their shoulders down. He said he would take whatever he was told under advisement. (They’re imitating the NBA refs putting on headsets and talking to replay headquarters there.) He told the wrestlers he’d have a ruling for them soon, then left. Joe attacked Ricochet. Ricochet made a comeback. Graves wondered if one of them or both of them would move on to the next round. Ricochet took Joe down with a Recoil and then left. Cole said Corbin doesn’t know who he’s going to face. During replay, Renee asked if there was another angle. Cole said there’s no need for another angle, as it’s clear both men’s shoulders were down. (Ricochet’s left shoulder, in theory, wasn’t in the first angle so could have been lifted slightly.) Graves said he was going to get some answers.
-Backstage Braun told Seth that next week Austin is moderating their contact signing. Seth said that’s probably the best thing to come out of tonight. Braun said he didn’t like his Skype conversation with him praising everything about him. Seth asked Braun if he thinks he’s being set up by him and Austin. “We get jumped by five dudes tonight, and that’s what’s on your mind?” Seth said. “Come on, man.” He said people expect them to turn on each other to get an advantage in the singles match, but Seth told Braun he’s been through that before. He said he’s all for Austin moderating the signing. Braun said if Austin gets in his face, then Austin “will get these hands.”
-A Conor’s Cure segment aired featuring Julius Lopez. [c]
-Firefly Funhouse: Bray Wyatt told Finn Balor that what The Fiend did to him was super super rude. He said on behalf of everyone in the Funhouse, he’s sorry. The Vince McMahon doll showed up (I still say he looks way more like Pete Rose). Vince said, “How dare you challenge Seth Rollins or Braun Strowman to a match at Hell in a Cell, do you know how valuable they are to me.” Bray showed off money and waved it in front of Vince’s face. Vince’s eyes turned into dollar signs. He fed Vince money. Vince passed out from ecstasy. He said Seth and Braun might not be a good team, but he’s learned to embrace the virtues of teamwork. The mouse showed up with a “Help!” sign. Bray pushed him down. Bray said The Fiend helps him inflict pain. The Fiend showed up on the screen. Bray said, “See you in hell!” He laughed and then his face turned sinister. Then he went back to smiling nice Bray and waved bye. The music played.
(Keller’s Analysis: That was a strange but perhaps effective way to introduce Bray’s challenge to the winner of Seth vs. Braun at Hell in a Cell. I like Bray’s TV promos being pre-recorded and not in front of a live crowd. Moving him into a HIAC match against Seth or Braun is intriguing at this early stage of his run. He’s not likely to become champion, right? But how can his character withstand losing an HIAC match?)
-Renee told Cole she doesn’t know what to say about that. Cole said it’s become one of the most controversial things in WWE in recent memory. Then they went to a replay of the double-pin finish of the previous match.
-Graves interviewed the ref. Corbin walked in and said he should get a bye. The referee said WWE management has decided that Ricochet and Joe “were both not eliminated.” He said instead they will both advance and Corbin will face them in a triple threat match. Corbin threw a fit.
(Keller’s Analysis: Corbin’s acting continues to get 90 percent worse when he’s backstage compared to in front of the crowd.)
-Caruso interviewed Rey Mysterio backstage. She asked about his emotional roller coaster lately. Rey said his son convinced him to dig deep inside and keep fighting. He said later that night they had a father-son moment and shared stories. He said his son told him how much it meant to him to grow up inside the WWE family. He said he’s now watched his son grow up and become a man. He said he can’t thank him enough to remind him and convince him who he is and to continue to pursue his passion. Fans applauded. He said he’s not done.
-Miz began his ring entrance. They cut to a break. [c]
(7) CESARO vs. THE MIZ
They worked back and forth at a rapid-pace until Miz won with a Skull Crushing Finale. Cole said that helped Miz build momentum for his match at the Clash against Shinsuke Nakamura.
WINNER: Miz in 8:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: Another “random third hour Cesaro match.” I’m not against it, but it does seem to be Cesaro’s role now.)
-The announcers hyped the main event tag.
-Another NXT commercial aired. [c]
(8) BAYLEY & BECKY LYNCH vs. NIKKI CROSS & ALEXA BLISS
Early in the match, with Bayley and Becky in control, Sasha made her way to the ring to her music. [c]
The heels isolated Bayley for a while after the break. She eventually hot-tagged in Becky. It didn’t get a noticeable pop, even though the match was building to that moment. She rallied against Bliss to almost no heat. She gestured to Sasha at ringside. Becky then leaped off the second rope with a flying legdrop for a two count. Nikki broke up the pin. Bliss actually lifted her shoulder, which was a nice touch. Becky stacked Cross and Bliss in the corner and worked over both of them. Sasha then ran in and gave Becky a back stabber from behind. The ref called for the bell. Cole said Sasha waited for her moment and then struck.
WINNERS: No contest or Bliss & Bayley via DQ (WWE didn’t say) in 12:00.
-Sasha hit Becky with two chairshots. Bayley entered the ring and yanked the chair out of Sasha’s hands. They looked at each other and then Sasha said a few words. Bayley looked conflicted. Then she smiled and bashed Becky with the chair. Fans popped. Cole asked, “Why? Why? Bayley’s unloading on Becky!” Graves asked, “What in the hell is happening?” Fans chanted “Yes!” loudly.
FINAL THOUGHTS: I’m off to break down Bayley’s long-awaited heel turn on the Wade Keller Pro Wrestling Podcast. Join us live!