KELLER & POWELL FLAGSHIP (12/5)
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KELLER’S WWE RAW REPORT
SEPTEMBER 9, 2019
NEW YORK CITY, N.Y. AT MADISON SQUARE GARDEN
AIRED ON USA NETWORK
Announcers: Michael Cole, Corey Graves, Renee Young
-They opened with a wide shot of the arena – and not just any arena – and then the glass broke out came “Stone Cold” Steve Austin. He entered the ring and played to the crowd while sporting his “New York Stone Cold” t-shirt. Cole said, “Ladies and gentleman, all is right in the world again. ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin is on Monday Night Raw in front of a sold out Madison Square Garden.” Austin caught two beers and opened them and poured it over his face.
He took the mic and said, “Ah hell yeah!” He said it felt great to be back in Madison Square Garden. He said it’s been over 20 years since he’s been to the Garden. He said he’s back. The crowd gave him the “What?” treatment. He talked about a time at MSG where he was standing in the corner at Survivor Series ready to face Bret “Hitman” Hart. He said when the Bret music hit, every hair on his arm raised. He said it was a heavy-duty moment in his career which he’ll never forget. He said another time at MSG Vince McMahon was trying to serenade him because he was worried about his neck, and he gave Vince the first Stone Cold Stunner he ever took. He also brought up facing Undertaker at Survivor Series at MSG. He said he got knocked out by Taker. He said it was the first time he was ever knocked out. Austin said referee Earl Hebner bent over and asked if he was okay. He said he looked up and asked where he was. Hebner told him he was in the Garden. He said those were good times, and there’s more good times to come.
He shifted to introducing the contract signing. He said he’s going to get things done the way they’re supposed to get done. Austin then introduced Braun Strowman, who came out to his music. Renee asked what version of Braun they’ll get at Clash of Champions and at this contract signing. Graves said there’s only one version of Braun, the one who likes to destroy things. Braun offered a handshake to Austin. Austin turned it down and said he would now introduce the Universal Champion, “Seth ‘Freakin’ Rollins.”
When Seth entered the ring, Austin said they had business to take care of. Austin said he doesn’t understand why it’s been so difficult to get the damn contract signed, but now is the time. Seth said, “Let’s get to the signing the contract, but first of all…” (There went the opportunity!) He talked about being in MSG and this is what it means when he says “Burn it down!” Seth said Braun thinks he might have it in for him tonight. Seth asked the crowd to “What?” him, and he said usually he hates it, but because Austin is there, he’s down with it. (That’s funny. That script was probably written assuming the crowd would be “What’ing” him and when they weren’t, he had to ask for it before he could get to the line about loving it.)
Austin said it’s time to sign the contract because that’s why they brought him there. Seth said he’d oblige Austin, but first he looked at Braun and told him no one is stabbing him in the back. He said he is the best wrestler on the planet and after the Clash he still will be. There were some boos when he said he’s the best wrestler on the planet. “A.J. Styles!” chanted some fans. Seth signed the contract. Austin said it’s now Braun’s turn. Braun said he grew up watching Austin and he has nothing but the utmost respect. “But let’s been real, Steve, a rattlesnake is still a rattlesnake.” Braun told Seth he likes being tag champs and he’s not turning on him, “but I’ll love being Universal Champion.” Braun said he’s “about to open a can of whoop ass and you’re going to get these hands.” They were about to shake hands and Austin was about to close the segment when out walked The O.C.
Styles said it’s quite a moment with Stone Cold back at MSG. He said The O.C. doesn’t want to get him all riled up. Styles did a bad impersonation of Austin, almost mocking him. “Does anybody really care about that anymore, though?” Styles asked. Fans loudly chanted “Yes!” Styles then said, “What? What?! Shut up!” Styles then asked Austin to “turn his little beady eyes toward him” or else he might get hurt. Fans yelled, “What?” Styles said this is all his fault. He told fans to shut up and let him talk. He got irritated. Styles told Austin to stay out of his business because it has everything to do with Seth and Braun. Fans began a rapid-fire “What? What?” chant. Styles said, “This is why no one likes coming to New York.” Austin asked Styles to put some base in his voice. Styles told Austin to shut up.
Styles complained that Braun & Seth didn’t even give Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson a rematch. Fans loudly chanted “Asshole!” at Styles. Austin told Styles he’s got about 18,000 people calling him an asshole. A loud “Austin!” chant broke out. Styles stepped up onto the ring apron and said, “You know what, Steve? In your old age you’ve turned into a real asshole.” Austin looked down as if to control himself from firing back. The OC entered the ring. Styles called Austin an “old fart.” Austin looked like he was nearing the breaking point. Austin moved the contract table out of mid-ring as fans chanted “Soccer mom” at Styles. Styles asked Austin what he was doing. Austin said he doesn’t know where he came from, but he knows where he’s going. Seth and Braun then jumped The OC. Styles avoided a Stomp from Seth and threw him out of the ring. Styles celebrated and gloated. When Styles turned around, Austin was waiting and gave him two middle fingers and a Stunner. “Austin is back with a vengeance!” exclaimed Cole. Austin topped over the contract table and popped open more beers. Austin smiled and walked to the back. He picked up his baseball cap that he left by the King of the Ring throne before going backstage. They cut back to Styles who was struggling to regain his senses.
(Keller’s Analysis: Austin’s done a lot of podcasting in recent years, but not as much middle of the ring semi-scripted segments, and it was like picking up an old musical instrument and still being a master at it. The crowd was electric. Austin still has whatever it was that made him the biggest star of his generation and arguably the best of all time at his craft. That had to be thrilling for Styles, Seth, and Braun to be part of that.)
-Cole hyped Bayley & Sasha Banks vs. Becky Lynch & Charlotte. [c]
-Back live Styles was still in the ring. Then Cedric Alexander’s music played. Cole said Styles had to get his bearings because he has a scheduled match against Cedric.
(1) CEDRIC ALEXANDER vs. A.J. STYLES
Cole said Cedric has a score to settle with Styles after what The OC did to him last week – attacking him backstage in what could have cost him his King of the Ring match. Cedric took it to Styles aggressively at ringside. Styles came back with a throat strike a couple minutes into the match. [c]
When Cedric made a comeback, Anderson and Gallows attacked him.
WINNER: Cedric in 9:00 via DQ.
-The Vikings Raiders ran out to save Cedric from a three-on-one attack. They gave Anderson a Viking Experience.
(Keller’s Analysis: That seems to set up a six man either tonight or next week.)
-The announcers hyped the King of the Ring semi-finals triple threat match plus the women’s tag match.
-Backstage Bayley and Sasha stood by together. Bayley said they are back together and there is no stronger connection. Sasha said, “You can take that to the bank.”
-They showed Becky and Charlotte getting ready. Becky stared a hole in Charlotte. Charlotte was being distant and ignoring Becky. Graves said they don’t trust each other one bit.
-The Firefly Funhouse jingle played. Bray Wyatt said later tonight he’ll be hosting an all-new episode of the Firefly Funhouse.
-A commercial aired for NXT’s debut on USA Network next week. It was built around fans chanting “NXT!” and shots of a few of NXT’s top stars including Adam Cole, Johnny Gargano, Velveteen Dream, and Shayna Baszler. The screen said, “If you want no b.s., then this is for you. Join the club.” [c]
-They went to postcard shots of New York City.
-They went to the announcers on camera. Graves marveled at the response Austin got. Then Cole threw to a segment on Pediatric Cancer Month and Conor’s Cure.
-Out came Roman Reigns, who was featured in the Pediatric Cancer video. He wore a blue t-shirt that said, “Believe in the Fight.” He got a mixed response. He stayed on the stage and said almost a year ago, he made the announcement that his leukemia had returned. He said the fans gave him the strength to heal. He said when he made his return, it was all that love and strength that gave him the strength to change his perspective and change his goals. He said there is more to the WWE platform than what happens in the ring. He said he wanted to pay it forward and create momentum for others like they did for him. He said over the past few months he’s visited a lot of pediatric hospitals. He said he’s met some great kids and tonight they’re going to focus on their stories. He said they are from New York and New Jersey. Out came kids dressed up in home made wrestler outfits with nicknames. Reigns said they’ve been through a lot, but they’re still standing there as strong as ever. Reigns said their work isn’t done, and it’s on all of the fans to have their backs and support tomorrow’s superstars today. Reigns hugged the kids. [c]
-Becky made her ring entrance first. Graves said there is no way Becky and Charlotte can coexist tonight. Charlotte then made her ring entrance. Then Sasha came out to her music and stopped on the stage. Bayley joined her and they walked to the ring as Bayley’s music continued to play. She still walks past the giant blow-up balloon people. Charlotte and Becky charged at them at ringside. Banks and Bayley took out Charlotte, then double-teamed Becky. Charlotte ran in with a chair. They cut to a break to regroup before the bell. [c]
(2) BECKY LYNCH & CHARLOTTE vs. BAYLEY & SASHA BANKS
Becky and Bayley started the official match. Becky took it to Bayley in the corner with an aggressive attack. Becky threw Bayley toward Sasha. Sasha dropped to the mat. Cole noted that Becky will join Brock Lesnar and Steve Austin on the ESPN SportsCenter 40th Anniversary commercials. Cole said that eats at Bayley and Sasha. Graves said Sasha should be on the cover of magazines because she’s the Antonio Brown of WWE. Cole talked about an ESPN website article that detailed how these four were known as The Four Horsewomen in NXT. Graves said since they all had similar experiences in NXT, it adds to the competitive fire among them. Charlotte tagged in around 6:00 and rallied. Banks countered Charlotte into a Bank Statement attempt. Charlotte rolled out of it and applied the Figure-Eight. Bayley ran in to break it up. Becky cut her off. Bayley threw Becky hard into Charlotte. Graves said that was happenstance. All four were down and slow to get up. Fans chanted “This is awesome!” Banks hit Charlotte at ringside with a meteora. They cut to a break. [c]
Sasha was in control after the break. Becky eventually got the hot-tag. The crowd cheered as she took it to the heels. She slidekicked Sasha out of the ring and then leaped at her on the floor. Sasha interfered with a Back Stabber to Becky. Charlotte made the save with a big boot that showed a ton of light on the worst camera angle possible – Sasha bumped way early on that. Graves said Charlotte might not have gotten all of the big boot as, awkwardly, Sasha was selling it like she lost a tooth. Becky leaped off the top rope and dropkicked both Bayley and Sasha. Becky landed a legdrop off the second rope on Bayley. Charlotte then climbed to the top rope and missed completely on a moonsault, but made the cover and scored a two count. (That was among the worst moonsaults of all-time, by the way.) Becky put Sasha in a Disarm Her at ringside, and Sasha tapped the mat. When Bayley kicked Becky, Charlotte went for a sidekick, but Bayley had moved. Bayley then gave Charlotte a German Suplex onto the floor. All four were down and slow to get up. Graves said Bayley is showing a ruthless side of her. Bayley threw Charlotte into the ring and then leaped off the top rope with a flying elbow, but Charlotte lifted her legs. Charlotte turned to knock Sasha off the ring apron, then Bayley rolled up Charlotte for a near fall. Charlotte then hit a Natural Selection on Bayley for the win.
WINNERS: Charlotte & Becky in 17:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: There was some really good action, but some terrible action too. That was a lot of time for that match, which made it feel more epic, and the crowd helped by staying interested in it and chanting endorsements a couple of times.)
-The announcers plugged that Firefly Funhouse was coming up later. Then they went on camera to the announcers who threw to a recap of the Austin segment at the top of the show.
-Backstage a blond woman approached The OC and asked for a response to what the Vikings Raiders and Cedric did to them earlier. Styles said The OC runs the place. Robert Roode and Dolph Ziggler walked up and chuckled at their claim that the run the place. Ziggler said they have some enemies in common and he asked where they stand. He offered a handshake. Styles smiled as if forming a pact.
-Rey Mysterio made his ring entrance. They plugged that he would face Gran Metalik next. [c]
-A commercial hyped Undertaker’s appearance on Smackdown this week.
(3) REY MYSTERIO vs. GRAN METALIK
Graves said Metalik once held four titles at once in Mexico. He said he hasn’t had the same success in WWE, but this could be a breakout night for him. Renee said she keeps hearing Metalik is one big win away from super-stardom. Metalik avoided a 619 and squared off fresh with Rey afterward. Rey took Metalik over the top rope with a head scissors. Then he went for his sliding splash at ringside, but Metalik moved and then superkicked him. Metalik then landed a flip dive onto Rey at ringside. They were about to replay the previous move when that move took place. The ref came out to check on Rey’s condition. They replayed it in sl0-mo. Metalik landed a springboard senton for a near fall. Metalik settled into a chinlock.
A couple minutes later Metalik took Rey off the second rope with a snap huracanrana. Rey countered Metalik with a sunset bomb for a near fall. Cole complimented the match. Rey then set Metalik into position for a 619 again, and this time he connected. Rey then landed a frog splash for the win. Cole said Rey showed he isn’t done yet. Rey helped Metalik up and shook his hand. Metalik bowed at Rey in a sing of respect as Rey’s music played.
WINNER: Mysterio in 7:00.
-They showed Seth and Braun chatting with Cedric backstage. [c]
-A sponsored video showed Sami Zayn being dumped into a garbage truck by Braun Strowman.
-Cole plugged Seth & Braun & Viking Raiders & Cedric vs. The OC & Roode & Ziggler in the Raw main event.
-They went backstage to The Street Profits. They reacted to the ten-man tag being announced and also talked about the King of the Ring semi-final triple threat. Montez Ford talked about Charlotte pinning Bayley tonight. Then they excitedly talked about Becky vs. The Boss. Angelo Dawkins said Sasha is right, blue is her color. Ford then talked about Stone Cold getting Seth and Braun to sign their title match contract. They eventually threw to a video package on the Roman Reigns whodunit angle.
-The announcers talked about Reigns vs. Erick Rowan being booked for Clash of Champions. Graves said Reigns would try to make everything right regarding his attacker.
-Samoa Joe made his ring entrance. [c]
(4) SAMOA JOE vs. BARON CORBIN vs. RICOCHET – King of the Ring semi-final
Corbin’s ring entrance took place after the break as Cole mentioned some sponsors. Then Ricochet then made his full ring entrance. Ricochet got in a flurry of early offense against both heels. They cut to an early break. [c]
Corbin caught Ricochet diving off the ring apron and slammed him into the ringpost. Joe and Corbin battled for a while. Joe got the better of it. Then Ricochet re-entered. Joe took it to him, but eventually Ricochet caught Joe on the chin with a kick. All three were down and slow to get up.
Cole said they were in MSG which Bruno Sammartino sold out 188 times, and it was sold out again tonight for Raw. They continued a back and forth battle. As Ricochet rallied, Joe applied a Coquina Clutch. Ricochet escaped and hit a Recoil. He pulled Joe into position for a top rope move, but he climbed slowly. He then landed a 630. Corbin yanked Ricochet out of the ring and threw him into the front row, then stole the cover on Joe for the 1-2-3. “Corbin steals it! Corbin steals it!” exclaimed Cole. Corbin sat on the throne as his music played.
WINNER: Corbin in 14:00 to advance to the King of the Ring finals.
(Keller’s Analysis: So the triple threat seemed mostly designed to give Corbin a “cheap win” situation and to keep Ricochet or Joe from having to take a clean win.)
-Lacey Evans made her ring entrance. [c]
-Cole listed the shows nominated for “The Show of 2019” in the E! People’s Choice Awards. He explained how to vote for Raw. The other shows: “Game of Thrones,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Stranger Things,” “The Walking Dead,” and “Riverdale.”
(5) LACEY EVANS vs. NATALYA
When Lacey taunted Natalya early, Natalya slapped her and attacked her in the corner. The ref had to pull her away. A “C.M. Punk” chant started during this match. Lacey fought out of a Sharpshooter attempt and regrouped at ringside. Cole said Natalya had bene relentless. Lacey hit a neckbreaker on the floor. Then she suffocated her with the ring apron for a few seconds. Back in the ring she landed a sling-shot elbow for a one count. Graves marveled at Lacey’s ability to “maintain class during a brawl.” Natalya eventually scored a tapout win with a Sharpshooter. Natalya held on a few extra seconds. Graves said the ref should reverse the decision. Natalya threw the white tissue at Lacey afterward.
WINNER: Natalya in 5:00. [c]
-Renee commented on the sold out crowd at Madison Square Garden. Cole showed a picture of Enes Kanter being interviewed by Charly Caruso earlier in the night before Raw went on the air. They were interrupted by R-Truth, who Cole said was a big fan of Kanter. As Truth talked, Kanter knocked Truth down with a palm face and pinned him to win the 24/7 Title. He then showed off his Boston Celtics jersey. He was booed. Truth rolled him up for a three count to regain the 24/7 Title.
(Keller’s Analysis: Imagine if Kanter suffered an injury there. I mean, he’s more likely to get hurt stepping out of a cab, but still.)
-The announcers ran through the Clash line-up for this Sunday and then plugged the WWE Network free month.
-Firefly Funhouse: Bray said today they have a very special lesson planned. Ramblin’ Rabbit yelled, “Stranger Danger!” He said he saw a stranger with Seth and Braun. Bray asked if he meant “Stone Cold Steve Austin.” The clock showed 3:16. All the characters said “Stranger Danger” over and over in creepy voices. Bray asked them to please be quiet, then yelled to be quiet. The Fiend began to show up, but Bray fought him off. “Guys, we take turns talking here in the Funhouse.” He wanted to fix the clock. He banged it with a hammer and it read 11:19 instead. (It was 10:29, for the record. Ezekiel 11:19 says: “I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh.” It also says: “Then I will take away your stubbornness and make you eager to be completely faithful to me. You will want to obey me.”) Bray said you can’t blame a rattlesnake for doing rattlesnake things. Bray said strangers are just friends you haven’t meat yet. He said Seth and Braun have a trio of new friends tonight with Cedric and “those Viking guys.” He added: “Unfortunately friends won’t help where you’re going. Friends forgive, but The Fiend never forgets.” Then he cheerfully closed with, “See you in hell.” He laughed and waved with a big smile. [c]
-Ring entrances took place for the main event.
(6) ROBERT ROODE & DOLPH ZIGGLER & THE O.C. (A.J. Styles & Karl Anderson & Luke Gallows) vs. THE VIKING RAIDERS & SETH ROLLINS & BRAUN STROWMAN & CEDRIC ALEXANDER
They cut to an early break. [c]
Roode dominated Cedric after the break. Graves said Roode’s greatest career success came as a member of a tag team, and he’s trying to recapture that with Ziggler. (That’s as close as you’ll get to a James Storm reference on Raw, I think.) Cedric crawled over and tagged Seth. (If you’re Seth and WWE, you’d want that pop a lot bigger. There wasn’t much to it.) He scored a near fall on Anderson after a Falcon Arrow. Chaos then broke out with everyone taking turns hitting each other. Strowman landed a running powerslam on Anderson. Roode and Ziggler shoved Seth into Braun. Braun asked, “What are you doing, man?” Seth said it wasn’t his fault. They cut to a break as they argued. [c]
Late in the match Braun hot-tagged in against Styles. Styles avoided a charging Braun, who flew into his corner. Erik tagged in and took it to Ziggler and Roode. Styles landed a Pelé Kick (or “Pelé Stick,” as Cole called it). Ivar leaped off the top rope with a flip onto a crowd at ringside. Cedric avoided a Phenomenal Forearm and landed a Lumbar Check for the win on Styles.
WINNER: Cedric & Braun & Seth & Viking Raiders.
-Austin ran out to his music and asked for a beer to celebrate with the winners. Everything felt a little rushed. He was tossed several cans of beer, which he then tossed to each of the wrestlers. He popped his open as the five babyface joined in. They drank together. Seth looked like he did that before as he sucked down a whole can in five seconds, it appeared. More beers flew into the ring as Austin’s music played. No Fiend attack tonight. The show ended.
FINAL THOUGHTS: I’m off to live podcast about this show. Check back later for an expanded and edited version of this live report on the show. Overall, this show was up and down. The high points involved Austin. The weak point was the length of some of the matches. It’s interesting they didn’t do long in-ring talking segments other than Austin’s at the top of the show.