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KELLER’S WWE RAW REPORT
SEPTEMBER 16, 2019
AIRED ON USA NETWORK
Announcers: Michael Cole, Corey Graves, Renee Young
-They showed a view from the lower bowl opposite of the stage as fans anticipated the start of the show. Cole declared they were at the University of Tennesee.
-Seth Rollins made his ring entrance. The announcers talked about his win over Braun Strowman, but then having a “run-in with The Fiend.” (This is a chance to get heat on heels by having the announcers decry The Fiend’s blind-side post-match attack. Instead, they talk about it with the same tone as if Seth and Bray Wyatt were line together at a coffee shop and had a brief disagreement over who got the last sprinkled doughnut.) Seth said he and Braun lost the Raw Tag Team Titles. He said he’s not happy about it, but they lost it as a team. He said they had to move on quickly because they had to face each other later for the Universal Title. He said Braun is very large and very strong and gave him the fight of his life. He gave him “mad props.” He thanked Hunter when he mentioned the Pedigree helped him finish off Braun. He said he’s happy the rematch is not happening anytime soon.
He said he didn’t have time to celebrate before he was cloaked in darkness and taken down. Fans chanted “Wowy Zowy.” Seth listened, then said, “Yowie Wowie Indeed.” He said the last thing he saw before losing consciousness was the face of The Fiend. He said when he came to, Bray was nowhere to be found. He said in less than three weeks, he gets to go one-on-one with Bray inside Hell in a Cell. He yelled that. Then he was interrupted by the “Firefly Funhouse” jingle.
Bray appeared on the screen, waving at Seth. He said hi to all the fireflies. He said it’s his future best friend, Seth Rollins. Kids cheered and clapped. He said he’s glad Seth is there and he’s super-glad he’s okay. Seth said he’s a sick dude. Ramblin’ Rabbit told Seth to run. Bray pounded the desk and the rabbit fled. Bray said mistakes happen. He said Seth has made a lot of mistakes, too, but people forgave him. “Friends forgive,” he said. Then his voice got sinister. “But he never forgets, so maybe that’s why he said hello at Clash of Champions.” He said he might even have more to say to him tonight. He looked sternly into the camera and entered a virtual trance. Then he broke into laughter and said, “See you in hell!” He got cheerful and waved. Seth looked around like he didn’t know how to digest that.
-Cole said Bray is a sick dude as they began to preview the rest of the show with upside-down graphics. It showed Baron Corbin and Chad Gable upside down. Then a women’s tag match with Sasha & Bayley vs. Alexa Bliss & Nikki Cross. Also, Seth vs. Robert Roode. Renee asked, “Have these been upside down the entire time?” That threw Graves completely off and he didn’t get his plug in. Then they cut to Braun walking backstage.
-Charly Caruso approached Braun and asked what he might have planned. He said the next man who steps foot in the ring is going to get these hands. He looked mad. [c]
-An NXT ad aired with fans chanting “NXT” and Triple H saying “N-X-T!” And then the screen said, “Join the Club.” (Not to be confused with Bullet Club.) The narrator said it premieres this Wednesday on USA.
-WWE Fact: Last night the Clash was the most social show on all of prime time programs beating the NFL, MLB on ESPN, “The Masked Singer” on Fox, and other stuff.
-Tag Team Summit: Robert Roode and Dolph Ziggler came out with their newly won Raw Tag Team Titles. ZIggler stole the show with how pleased he was with himself. (Now that Ziggler is wearing skinny jeans, does that mean they’re officially out of style?) The Revival came out next with their newly won Smackdown Tag Team Title belts. Roode said when he and Dolph decided to become a team, nobody could believe it. He said not even Cole, who thinks he knows everything, could believe it. “Take a good hard look at greatness,” he said. Braun’s music played and he made his way to the ring. The Revival attacked him at ringside, but he easily brushed them off. He popped Dawson in the face as he mouthed off to him. Roode bailed out as Braun knocked Ziggler down. Ziggler rolled out of the ring. Braun then ran around the ring and tried to check Dawson, but Dawson moved, so he hit Dash a few feet away. He knocked over Ziggler as Roode fled the scene.
(Keller’s Analysis: Well, is a more decisive way for Vince McMahon to signal to fans everywhere that tag teams are just small wimpy undercard chumps?)
-Backstage Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross were drinking coffee together. They talked about Sasha and Bayley trashing things they don’t care about. They bonded over their own strong friendship.
-The O.C. made their way to the ring to A.J. Styles’s music. They cut to a split screen as the ring entrance ended as they plugged a new video game. Then Cedric Alexander made his entrance. Graves said even in defeat, Cedric was incredibly impressive and said he came within an eyelash of winning the U.S. Title. He predicted future title wins. The Viking Raiders came out next.
(2) THE VIKING RAIDERS & CEDRIC ALEXANDER vs. THE O.C. (A.J. Styles & Karl Anderson & Luke Gallows)
Cedric got in some early offense against Styles before the tag teams began to battle each other before an early break. [c]
Cedric gave Anderson a handspring back elbow, but Styles blind-tagged in and hit Cedric with a Phenomenal Forearm for the three count.
WINNERS: The O.C. in 9:00.
-Styles stomped away on Cedric afterward. The Raiders made the save. Ivar ended up leaping off the top rope and flip splatted onto the floor. He was supposed to “take out” the Raiders, but basically missed everyone and just splatted. Styles then climbed to the top rope, but Cedric knocked him off balance. He then mounted him and punched away at him. Cole called it a vicious streak. Cedric then went for a top rope huracanrana, but Styles blocked it and hit a Styles Clash off the top rope.
(Keller’s Analysis: Styles has looked impressive against Cedric for sure, with a crisp nasty intensity. That said, it seems like a wasted chance to try to make a star out of Cedric before he’s defined down as a mid-carder.)
-They went to the announcers on camera who said being 24/7 Champion comes with some perks. They threw to a video from earlier in the day of R-Truth and Carmella touring the University of Tennessee.
-Truth and Carmella were chatting about the great athletes at the University of Tennessee when in walked Glenn Jacobs. Truth talked with him for a while, then asked, “Don’t I know you?” He suggested he’s Magic Johnson or Larry Bird. Jacobs introduced himself as the Mayor of Knox County, Glenn Jacobs. Glenn offered him a tour. Truth thought he was president and said that’d be cool to get a “presidential ride.” He asked if he had Secret Service members with him. Glenn said no. Kane smiled and Carmella seemed less impressed.
-Baron Corbin made his ring entrance. They showed the Tale of the Tape with Corbin at 6-8 and Gable at 5-8.
-A Kit Kat commercial aired starring No Way Jose and his Conga Line. It was ten times more character development in 30 seconds than WWE had given him since his call-up. [c]
(3) BARON CORBIN vs. CHAD GABLE – King of the Ring Final
They did formal ring introductions with the house lights turned down. The bell rang 45 minutes into the first hour. Graves said Gable is “no slouch in the ring.” (Is that a compliment?) Graves touted his resume but a minute later noted that he let the entire country down slightly in the Olympics because he didn’t win a Gold Medal. “He got a participation trophy out of the deal,” he said. Then he shifted to looking forward to Corbin ruling the kingdom. Corbin backdropped a charging Gable at ringside into the time keepers area and they cut to a break. [c]
Back live, Gable was trying to get back into the ring to avoid a countout. He re-entered at nine. Corbin grounded Gable. Cole asked if Graves has been given assurances he’ll be part of King Corbin’s Court. Graves said the naysayers will be exiled and doubters will be silenced. As Corbin continued to dominate, he yelled, “The crown’s going to be on my head real soon!” Gable finally made a comeback with an ankle lock that got some cheers. Corbin grabbed Gable’s hair and punched him. Gable avoided a charging Corbin, who went shoulder-first into the ringpost. Fans chanted “Gable! Gable!” as the climbed to the top rope. He leaped at Corbin with a missile dropkick. Both were slow to get up.
Corbin took over again and beat up Gable at ringside, throwing him into the ringside barricade while mouthing off to fans over and over. Cole said Corbin was dominating and Gable was just trying to survive. Gable avoided a charging Corbin at ringside, so Corbin went shoulder-first hard into the steel steps. Gable yanked Corbin’s leg around the ringpost twice. Next he basement dropkicked Corbin’s ankles. Corbin caught Gable with a sudden Deep Six for a near fall. Gable came back with a rolling German Suplex into a bridge for a believable near fall at 17:00. Gable climbed to the top rope and set up a moonsault, but Corbin moved. Gable landed on his feet. Gable then swept Corbin into another ankle lock. Corbin writhed in pain. Gable yanked Corbin away from the bottom rope. Cole amped up the announcing and declared Gable “is going to win this.” Corbin eventually did reach the bottom rope. Corbin then fended off a barrage of elbows and gave him an End of Days for the win. Corbin was helped up the ramp by the ref as Gable sat up in the ring and soaked up the agony of defeat.
WINNER: Corbin in 19:00 to win the King of the Ring tournament.
(Keller’s Analysis: Really good match. The extended beatdown by Corbin on Gable bordered on becoming a little heavy-handed and monotonous, but it built effectively to Gable’s comeback as the crowd was into it. Corbin looked strong, and optics of him beating up Gable and being so arrogant about it plays into his King heel character yet to come. It felt strange not hearing from each of them before the match with backstage promos.)
-They went backstage to The Street Profits who said it’s the Maria Kanellis and Michael baby gender reveal party. They panned back and there were pink and blue balloons and people dancing including Titus O’Neal.
-They went to the announcers on camera who plugged the NXT premiere on USA Network this week. Graves said NXT isn’t “the future, it’s the now.” An NXT commercial then aired with the line about it being for fans who don’t want the b.s.
-Back to the Maria & Mike Gender Reveal party. Maria entered and said she can “finally reveal the gender of my baby. It’s a boy!” Mike was especially happy. Maria said they all know who the real father of her child is. “It’s Ricochet,” she said. Ricochet seemed surprised. He told Mike he would never do that. He slapped Ricochet and said to meet him at the ring. Titus got in his face and told him to go fix that. Heath Slater, Zack Ryder, and Curt Hawkins were among those at the party. Angelo Dawkins said he thought she was going to say he was the dad. Montez Ford brought up a Baby on a Pole match. Angelo suggested Maria on a Pole. Ford said that’s what got them into this situation to begin with. The men all laughed.
(4) MIKE KANELLIS vs. RICOCHET
Mike Kanellis came out. Then Ricochet. Cole wanted to know why Mike is mad at Ricochet rather than his wife, Maria. Renee said she’s not off the hook; they’ll deal with it after the show instead. Mike punched Ricochet and stomped away at him. A minute later Ricochet came back with a Recoil for a sudden three count. “Mike Kanellis just got his ass kicked by his own baby daddy,” Renee said. Cole laughed and wondered what the baby’s name is going to be.
WINNER: Ricochet in under 2:00.
-Cole hyped Bliss & Cross vs. Sasha & Bayley. Graves plugged Seth vs. Roode.
-A Firefly Funhouse suddenly began. Bray was looking at photos on the wall of wrestlers he has attacked including Kurt Angle, Finn Balor, Jerry Lawler, and Mick Foley. He said something is missing. He said it’s time for him to go find some more friends. [c]
-After the break, a dejected Mike Kanellis was sitting on the ring apron as Maria was degrading him. She asked what it would take to motivate him. “Obviously, Ricochet is not the father,” Maria said. “I thought maybe if I humiliated you and embarrassed you, you would be man enough to defend my unborn child’s honor. But I was wrong.” She said maybe she’ll reveal the real father now. “The father is, the real father of my unborn child is…” She was interrupted by Rusev.
Rusev came out with a new look, slimmed physique, more cut muscles, shaved chest, bronzed tan, and a mustache without a beard. Cole said they aren’t seen him in a number of months. He marched to the ring. Cole wondered what Lana, who was absent, thinks of this apparent news that Rusev is the dad. He entered the ring. Mike begged off and told Rusev he’s having a really bad day and an even worse night. He said he’s not looking to fight or have another match. He said if he’s the father of Maria’s child, “at this point I’m okay with it.” He congratulated him and Maria. “This guys a loser,” said Cole. Mike tried to escape at ringside, but Rusev knocked him down with a hard clothesline. Rusev beat up Mike at ringside, then stomped the mat and the bell rang to officially start the match.
(5) RUSEV vs. MIKE KANELLIS
Rusev kicked Mike in the face. Renee said the match is official, apparently. Cole said, “Well, the bell rang. That’s how it works around here. Bell rings, match starts.” Renee said, “Thanks for mansplaining to me.” Rusev won with the Accolade. Cole said with the draft right around the corner, Rusev chose a strategic time to return.
WINNER: Rusev in 15 seconds.
(Keller’s Analysis: So was Rusev actually Mike’s scheduled opponent? Is Rusev the actual dad or just the scheduled opponent? That felt like a Paul Heyman-booked segment, but the side of his booking that I’m not a big fan of where it’s just a string of events with no logic or context or order, and no one asks any questions about why it’s all happening the way it’s happening. The humiliation of Mike is sort of entertaining but mostly just kind of uncomfortable because of how effective he is at playing such a sap.)
Commentary is on another level tonight.
With in 2 minutes, Graves called a superstar a beta cuck, Cole explained how bells worked, and Renee made accused him of man-splaining.
I. Am. Locked. In. #raw
— Sam Roberts (@notsam) September 17, 2019
-The announcers hyped Rey Mysterio was coming up. Then they threw to another video of Glenn Jacobs giving R-Truth a tour of the University of Tennessee stadium, home of the Volunteers. Jacobs explained what “volunteers” means in this context after R-Truth brought up the Salvation Army. Jacobs introduced Truth to (apparently) a police officer. Truth asked if he’s a regular cop or a Robocop. Jacobs said he’s not actually a policeman, though. “He’s a referee,” he said. Truth said he had another engagement and tried to run away, but he ran into the goal post. Jacobs made the cover and the ref counted to three. Jacobs chanted, “I’ve still got it!” Cole said that’s the first mayor to hold that title. Cole said the Tennessee football team is about as good as Mike Kanellis.
-They showed Bayley and Sasha warming up backstage. [c]
-They replayed Corbin beating Gable to become King of the Ring. They announced Corbin’s coronation takes place tomorrow night on Smackdown.
-Rey Misterio made his ring entrance. Cesaro said if Rey’s kid ever shows up, he’s going to do to him what he’s about to do to Rey. “I’m going to beat the hell out of him,” he said. Rey jumped Cesaro at ringside.
(6) REY MYSTERIO vs. CESARO
Cesaro was wrestling in pants so tight that they appear to be leotards from a distance, plus red and black sneakers without socks. Cole said Rey is still wrestling in WWE because of his son, Dominic. Rey gave Cesaro a 619 to the back and then dove through the ropes and gave him a tornado DDT to the floor. They cut to a break with both slow to get up. [c]
A couple minutes later Rey hit another tornado DDT in the ring to cut off Cesaro’s stretch of offense. Cesaro fired back with a kick to Rey’s mouth for a two count, then settled into a crossface. Rey leveraged Cesaro backward for a one count, but Cesaro released the hold. Rey caught Cesaro with a step-up enzuigiri. Cesaro blocked a 619 and pressed Rey above his head, then dropped him over his knee. He scored a near fall. Cesaro then went for Three Amigos, but Rey countered with a head scissors into a 619 followed by a top rope move. Cesaro caught Rey, but Rey countered with a sunset bomb for the win.
WINNER: Rey in 12:00.
-Another brief “Firefly Funhouse” segment aired. Bray pounded a new nail into the wall and hung Seth on it. Like the rest, Seth’s eyes were crossed out with red marker and he had devil’s horns drawn on and a mustache. Bray looked at the camera and smiled, then turned into the Fiend, then back to Bray, but with a subtly more sinister expression. [c]
-The announcers talked about the draft that is scheduled for Smackdown on Oct. 11 and Raw on Oct. 14. They showed various news entities covering the draft news. Cole said there will be no more Wildcard Rule once the draft takes place. Cole said, “I wonder where we’re going?” Graves said he wants to go home. Cole threw to a segment about AOP.
-The AOP sat and explained why they haven’t had but one match since WrestleMania. They said they’ve fought for a living their entire lives, but in MMA and now WWE, no one wants to fight them. “None of you are men. None of you are hard enough to fight us. None of you have the heart to fight us. None of you have the manhood to step up to us.” They vowed to be the future of the WWE tag team division, and that future will be written in pain.
(Keller’s Analysis: I liked that. Good reset for them. With Rusev back, Mike & Maria back, and AOP reintroducing themselves, they are adding some roster depth headed into the hard roster split in a few weeks.)
-Bayley and Sasha made their ring entrance. Cole talked about the Four Horsewomen. He talked about the Women’s Title matches at the Clash of Champions. They showed the chaos after Becky Lynch hit the ref. Graves said Becky was fined $10,000 for hitting a referee. Cole noted it was inadvertent.
-Cross came out to her music. Then Bliss came out to her music.
(7) NIKKI CROSS & ALEXA BLISS vs. BAYLEY & SASHA BANKS
Graves gloated about being right about Sasha being a bad person all along who just wants all the attention on her. Bayley threw Bliss into the ringside steps. Bliss grabbed her knee in pain. Bayley then rammed her leg into the steps. The ref backed away Bayley. Meanwhile, Sasha stomped way at Nikki. They cut to a break as Cole wondered if it would become a two-on-one situation. [c]
Cole said Bliss was taken to the back to get medical attention, so now it’s two-on-one. Nikki landed a tornado DDT and a neckbreaker off the top rope onto Bayley and made the cover. Sasha broke up the count. Sasha came back with a back stabber into a Bank Statement. Nikki tapped.
WINNERS: Sasha & Bayley in 12:00.
-Sasha threw a chair into the ring after the match. Cole said this has become Sasha’s calling card. Becky Lynch came out to her music, chair in hand, wearing a “The Man” t-shirt. They swung chairs at each other. Bayley entered and changed the odds. Charlotte’s music played and out walked Charlotte. Bayley ran up the ramp at Charlotte, who – despite wearing heels – managed to kick Bayley in the head. Becky ducked a Sasha chair swing and hit her across her back. “Becky! Becky!” chanted the crowd. Becky’s music played as she stood in the ring alone with a chair while Sasha and Bayley recovered at ringside. Charlotte then entered the ring with a chair. They cut away to a break. [c]
-Backtage Sasha in her locker room said she is the star of the Women’s Division. She challenged Becky to a rematch at Hell in a Cell if she’s man enough to accept. “Your move, bitch!” she said.
-They went to the announcers. Renee said she liked where that was headed. Corey asked where that would be. Cole explained the obvious to Graves. Then he threw back to more of Truth’s tour.
-Truth was lying on top of a limo. Jacobs got out of the limo and said it’s great to be back at Raw. Truth rolled up Jacobs for a three count. Jacobs grabbed his throat. Truth called for a truce. Jacobs agreed to it. Truth said they should go enjoy the show.
-Cole laughed, then threw to Becky’s response.
-Becky backstage said Sasha knew she was cornered in their cat and mouse game, and then complained about her using the chair. Becky said her focus isn’t on the 10K fine, but rather her challenge. She accepted Sasha’s challenge. She said she plans to destroy her there.
-Lacey Evans made her ring entrance. [c]
(8) LACEY EVANS vs. DANA BROOKE
Renee said, “Dana is my girl.” She said she always works hard and looks for new opportunities. Lacey attacked Dana at the bell to take initial control. Dana fought back and swept Dana hard to the mat. She landed a handspring elbow next and scored a one count. Lacey rolled to the floor to regroup. Dana went after her with hard chops. Lacey came back and rammed Dana’s face over the ring apron, then wrecking ball kicked her and scored a two count. She grounded her with an armlock. Lacey won shortly thereafter by grabbing Dana’s hair to keep her from escape and then landing the Women’s Right. She then took out of her white tissue to wipe her brow, then applied the Sharpshooter to get the tapout win. Graves said it might be better than Natalya’s.
WINNER: Lacey in 8:00.
-They went to the announcers who hyped NXT’s USA Network debut on Wednesday. They talked about Velveteen Dream taking on Roderick Strong. (That might be worst picture I’ve seen of Dream, by the way, in terms of capturing his gimmick persona.)
-They showed Seth backstage warming up. [c]
(9) SETH ROLLINS vs. ROBERT ROODE (w/Dolph Ziggler)
A few minutes in, Ziggler stood on the ring apron and distracted Seth. Renee told Ziggler to take his “Forever 21” jeans and go home. Roode then took over and they cut to a break. [c]
Eventually Seth made a comeback and landed his Stomp on Roode. When he made the cover, Ziggler broke up the pin before three. The ref called for the bell.
WINNER: Seth via DQ in 11:00.
-As Seth fought back from the double-team, The O.C. came out. Anderson and Gallows gave him their finisher and then Styles delivered a Styles Clash. Kane made the save. Once he cleared the ring of the heels, of course The Fiend showed up and took Kane down and out with the Mandible Claw. He cornered Seth and stared him down afterward. Then the “Firefly Funhouse” music played, but it skipped and got distorted and even flipped upside down (which might explain the graphics issue earlier in the show). It went on and on for nearly a minute.
FINAL THOUGHTS: Strong finish, with yet another legend falling to The Fiend. I’m off to podcast live about this. You can listen live right after Raw or download the full show later by searching “Wade Keller” on your podcast app.