Tonight, Raw comes to us from the US Bank Arena in Cincinnati, OH with all of the fallout from last night’s Clash of Champions event. Kevin Owens is still the Universal Champion with some help from Chris Jericho. Will Seth Rollins respond by taking on Jericho, demanding a rematch with Owens, or focus on Stephanie McMahon and Triple H instead? Roman Reigns is now the United States Champion, knocking off Rusev. Will Rusev demand a rematch? New Day still holds the tag team championship, escaping after a shot to the head from Francesca. Will Gallows and Anderson demand a fair rematch, or will a new challenger step up?
Show Open, Live from US Bank Arena in Cincinnati, OH:
Michael Cole welcomed us in, and Corey Graves and Byron Saxton checked in with him. Roman Reigns’ music hit to more boos than cheers, and we went right to the opening match, a rematch of the United States Championship bout from last night. Rusev and Lana did not get a televised entrance and waited at ringside for Reigns. The commentary team narrated stills of Reigns’ win last night.
Match #1 – Roman Reigns (c) vs. Rusev (w/Lana); WWE United States Championship
Winner: Double Count Out, Reigns Retains the US Championship
The Summary: Rusev got the early advantage, but Reigns fought back with his ten clothesline spot in the corner. Rusev hit a fallaway slam going into an early commercial. Back live, Reigns fired away with more clotheslines, then called for the Superman Punch. Rusev caught him, and both men ended up tumbling to ringside. Suddenly, another commercial break! That aside, I’m glad we got an opening match from WWE rather than a long talking segment. Steph and WWE Creative heard me bitch on Ring Rap Audio – hooray!
The fight continued on the ropes, where Reigns sent Rusev to the mat with headbutts then followed with a clothesline off the second rope. This is going on a while, and I’m not sure why. Rusev hit a spin kick about 20 minutes in (yes, 20 minutes) that netted him a two count. Rusev sold frustration then went top rope. Reigns met him there and punched him to the floor. Reigns followed with a kick then threw him in, but Reigns took a kick at that point and Rusev scored another two count.
More kicks, and Rusev scored another two count. Reigns fought back, then retreated to a corner. Lana caused a distraction, but Reigns still caught Rusev on a charge and got the better of him. Reigns hit the Drive By, then slammed Rusev face first into the steps and sent him over the barricade. They fought into the crowd, and that’s when the double count out happened. What?
The fight spilled its way back to ringside, where Reigns jumped off the steps but Rusev met him with a chair to the gut. Rusev hit Reigns with the chair and threw him in the ring. Rusev charged but ate a spear. Reigns smirked, got the chair then sat down on it and held up the title belt. Rusev started to recover, but Reigns hit him with the chair again.
All that talk about opening Raw with a match? Yeah, out the window. The double count out finish was a head scratcher, and leads me to believe this feud goes to Hell in a Cell. It feels hot enough to justify the cell though, so I guess that was the point of the finish. That said, they should have saved the title change for HIAC.
The commentary team hyped WWE 2k17, which brought out the ad we got last night, then they hyped the tag team title match for later on. Mick Foley was shown backstage, and Saxton said Foley would be addressing the finish of Cesaro vs. Sheamus from last night.
In the ring, Mick Foley said that the best of seven series match between Cesaro and Sheamus ended in a medical stoppage, and the series ended in a draw. Foley called it a mathematical impossibility.
Foley introduced the two men to the ring. Sheamus was upset because the series was to end in a championship opportunity. Foley interjected that it’s why they’re there, but Sheamus talked over him. He said Foley said the man who was more physically dominant would get the shot, and he deserved it because of that. I smell a tag team title shot coming…
Cesaro, who’s on his way to mummy status with the kiniseology tape, said he could continue last night. Foley said both men proved they can be dominant and brought out the best in each other. Foley said that he can’t say one man won or lost, so he would grant both a title shot. Foley told them they would team up for a tag team title shot against the winner of the following match. I KNEW IT! Neither man liked the idea, but Foley said they don’t have to like it but it’s his decision. The tag team championship match would take place next.
I will say that this adds instant credible depth to the tag team division on Raw because both men are spinning their wheels in singles action. But I do think at least Cesaro deserves better at this point. Foley had every possible way to just book an immediate rematch though, so there is that. At least the two will get screen time and perhaps character development out of it.
New Day made their entrance for the tag team championship match before a break.
Match #2 – New Day (c) vs. Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson; Raw Tag Team Championship
Winner: New Day to retain the Raw Tag Team Championship
The Summary: The match was joined in progress. New Day had the early advantage, but Gallows fought back with a chokeslam to get a two count heading to a commercial break. I swear, if Gallows and Anderson lose here…
Big E hit his spear off the apron and lived to tell. He really needs to stop doing that. Gallows ran Kingston into the steps and he came up a bloody mess. New Day hit Anderson with their finish (Midnight Hour) to get a pinfall, but Gallows broke the cover up. Anderson and Gallows hit Magic Killer on E but Kingston broke that up. Bloody Kofi hit a Bloody Trouble in Paradise and got the win.
So, it looks like they’re sending New Day on a path to take down the Demolition title run record. Looks like this is the blow-off to the Gallows and Anderson part of the feud, and that’s sad that the pair were portrayed as comedians until the end. Disappointed with how they have been defined down.
The commentary team talked over stills of the main event from last night, then showed Stephanie leaving with Triple H. Saxton said he thought it was fishy, which, what really is fishy about it according to the voice of reason, Corey Graves. They showed Rollins taking that gutbuster off the ropes and said Rollins has a rib injury and can’t compete tonight. The commentary team hyped Kevin Owens appearing on Chris Jericho’s Highlight Reel.
They ran a “Did you Know” graphic boasting about WWE Instagram followers. I am not among those folks, oddly enough.
Backstage, Sheamus and Cesaro continued to bicker over tagging together, but Foley interjected to tell them how impressed Arn Anderson, Michael Hayes and he were with them. He said he can’t risk them being injured in a rematch. Foley praised them for being two of the toughest stars he has seen and said if he put them together, they could change tag team wrestling. He asked them to try and see if the magic is there. Cole compared them to teams like the Rock-n-Sock Connection.
Match #3 – Bayley vs. Anna Fields;
The Summary: Bayley put Anna away very quickly with the Bayley to Belly. Tom Phillips interviewed her afterward and said that Charlotte and Sasha proved they are the best in the industry but it won’t be the last time they see her. She said that she and the fans are on a journey together and she won’t stop til she hugs the Raw Women’s Championship. An apparent step back for Bayley, who now seems to be on the Nia Jax path to success.
Backstage, Mick Foley told Stephanie that he believed in her and mentioned the way that Steph brought out the official just in time for Owens to beat Rollins. Foley noted that Triple H asked her how things went when he picked her up. Stephanie defended herself, lashing out at Foley and said it was his job to protect the integrity of the main event. Steph told Foley his ego got in the way.
Steph repeatedly asked Mick what he had to say for himself. Mick said he was out of line, then Steph threatened to make him an ambassador and scolded him. She told Mick it’s his job to protect Rollins when he goes after Owens and Jericho. She told him to be a businessman and never forget who he works for. It was just a matter of time, but now the McMahon emasculation of Foley is now complete. No slap, though.
Cole hyped up Cedric Alexander and Rich Swann vs. Lince Dorado and Drew Gulak after the break.
Match #4 – Cedric Alexander and Rich Swann vs. Lince Dorado and Drew Gulak;
Winner: Alexander and Swann
The Summary: They showed pre-tapes with Alexander and Swann, with Swann saying they will party all night but have not underestimated their opposition. They ran brief video packages on Dorado and Gulak also. Swann and Dorado tried early huracanranas, but each had good counters for the move. Cole pointed out Cesaro as one of Dorado’s trainers. Dorado hit a moonsault onto the other three in the match going to a break. The finish came when Swann caught Gulak with a kick and rolled him into a bridge pin.
This was a good match, but a spotfest. Fans were given incentive to cheer the action, but not one team over another. I’m getting a bit worried that we’re not going to see development for anyone beyond the title feud. And that feud will be like the Divas feuds of old, which will be a challenger of the month against the champion. Sigh.
Cole hyped TJ Perkins appearing later, and Graves hyped up the Highlight Reel segment. They showed Cesaro getting cut off by Sheamus backstage, and Saxton said we’d find out if the two could co-exist as a team after the break.
Match #5 – Sheamus and Cesaro vs. Nick Cutler and Willie Williams;
Winner: Sheamus and Cesaro
The Summary: Cole brought up NFL quarterback Jay Cutler, saying he hoped Nick is better than him. Sheamus and Cesaro had their normal reluctant tag moments, with Cesaro blind tagging in a couple times. Sheamus hit both men with Brogue Kicks then Cesaro pinned Cutler. The crowd seemed into it.
They ran a TJ Perkins video package, talking about how he was blessed to do great things at a young age but lost it all following that path. He said he doesn’t feel like his generation has anyone to connect with, and he wants to inspire others.
Backstage, Tom Phillips interviewed Perkins and asked him about his Raw debut. Perkins said it’s been a dream of his since 1998, and there were times where he thought he would never get there. He said that as much as he had dreamed about it, “I never thought I would see that.” Brian Kendrick walked in, and said the title was resurrected for him and Perkins owes him. He told Perkins to soak up the spotlight, because the next time they meet in the ring is when Perkins wakes up from the dream. I like that we saw more heelish character development from Kendrick. He plays it well.
Charlotte and Dana Brooke were shown walking backstage, and Cole said that she would celebrate her Clash of Champions win after the break. After a commercial we got Charlotte’s entrance with Dana, and Cole pointed out that she is now 12-0 in title defenses on pay per view. Has it been that many, really? Charlotte started by saying that the difference between her, Bayley, and Sasha Banks is that she just doesn’t talk it, she walks the walk.
Charlotte said the fans have heard it all before, and she has said month after month that the fans think another challenger will beat her, but she disappoints them every time. She said she’s not the lovable Bayley or the internet darling Sasha, but she is the face of the division. Cue Sasha.
Sasha said Sunday may have been her night, but the title is still hers. Sasha said that Charlotte pinned Bayley at Clash. She said she is still owed a singles rematch, and she wanted it on the spot. Charlotte called the fans peasants and told them to be quiet. Charlotte said she would give the fans what they wanted and granted the rematch – next week. That drew boos.
Charlotte accused Sasha of crying to Foley until she got what she wanted, so that’s why she granted the rematch. Charlotte said that as many times as she has beaten and broken Sasha, she keeps getting up. Sasha said she would take back the title and slapped Charlotte. She rolled Dana Brooke over into the Bank Statement, which Charlotte broke up. Sasha cleared both women to ringside. I like that they advertised the match a week out, but perhaps this needed to be earlier in the night when people would be paying attention rather than to other things (like football or the debates).
Corey Graves hyped the upcoming Highlight Reel segment, and they showed Seth Rollins backstage. Cole noted that Stephanie said to Foley that he would show up even though he wasn’t cleared.
Backstage, Rollins told Foley that nothing would stop him for getting his revenge on Owens. Foley told Rollins he has been where Rollins is, but he’s not medically cleared. Rollins noted Hunter and Steph being together. Foley tried to respond, but Rollins told him that when he sees Foley’s lips moving he hears Stephanie’s words.
Match #6 – TJ Perkins vs. Tony Nese; Non-Title Match
Winner: TJ Perkins
The Summary: Cole noted that Perkins would face Kendrick again for the title in Los Angeles, which is Perkins’ hometown. They ran a video to hype up Tony Nese. They shook hands to start the match. Perkins hit a really nice dive on Neese, then threw him in for a two count. Fuck this live crowd as they chanted for CM Punk and Randy Savage and stuff. Seriously, this is what happens when you don’t build up guys – no one to invest in. Perkins hit a nice double chicken wing gutbuster for two. Neese slapped Perkins when he went up top, but in the end Perkins won with his knee bar submission.
They need to get more going for these guys than just athletic spots. This was an entertaining match ruined by the stupid chanting. The Perkins/Kendrick rematch next week should be good.
Hispanic Heritage month video rolled, and the commentary team hyped the upcoming Highlight Reel segment. Saxton hyped the women’s championship match for next Monday.
They showed footage of Ashton Kutcher and Danny Masterson mocking Chris Jericho for thinking he and Kevin Owens are friends. They said they would see him in Los Angeles next week on Raw.
We got the Highlight Reel. Jericho took issue with the video message with Kutcher and Masterson claiming they were better friends than he and Owens. He had a clipboard that was labeled “The List of Jericho” and said he’d put them on the list and they wouldn’t like it. Jericho said Rollins isn’t on the list because he’s injured.
Jericho introduced Owens, and Cole hyped Owens appearing on the ESPN segment on Wednesday. Owens and Jericho hugged in the ring, and Owens admired the Jeri-Tron. Jericho said it cost $6500 about five years ago. Jericho put Owens over as the man who epitomizes a champion. Owens said he would normally wear a suit but he decided not to for Cincinnati. That drew Dean Ambrose chants. Jericho said Ambrose owes him $17,o00. Owens said he proved he should have been the number one draft pick, belongs in the main event, and is the man.
Owens said that Rollins’ injury was due to karma, and noted that Rollins injured John Cena, Sting, and Finn Balor. Owens said Rollins is the most dangerous man in WWE and he took him out, so that makes Owens the most dangerous man in WWE.
Rollins’ entrance hit and he made his way out but was cut off by security. Owens told security to take him to the back, then demanded a doctor’s note to show that Rollins can’t wrestle, because Owens broke him in half. Rollins was escorted to the back and Jericho mocked the fans.
Enzo Amore and Colin Cassady made their way out, doing their normal entrance thing. Jericho responded to their “how you doin?” by saying “we’re doing just fine.” He said everything was good before the interruption. Jericho put them on his list, and Owens corrected Jericho’s spelling. Cass asked Jericho if he was Santa, and Jericho said maybe he is and he’d sit on Cass’ lap.
Cass asked what Jericho said, and Jericho said he didn’t say anything. Cass called him on it, then Jericho retorted that he would punch Cass in the face. Owens said it doesn’t matter what Jericho said, and threatened to punch Cass in the mouth. Jericho said they both would, but they don’t have a match. Cass said that Foley told them they do have a match.
The fans were into Enzo and Cass and Jericho’s comedy got some laughs from the fans. Owens was a strong presence on the mic until the comedy started, which is a bit disappointing.
Match #7 – Kevin Owens and Chris Jericho vs. Enzo Amore and Big Cass;
Winner: Owens and Jericho
The Summary: The heels isolated Cass early, then Owens ran him into the post heading to a commercial. They listed Ashton Kutcher and Danny Masterson for Raw next week. Owens controlled Ezno, then mocked his reverse strut on the apron. Owens was in street clothes.
Enzo blocked a superplex a bit later by Jericho, but jumped off into a drop kick. Late, Cass hit Jericho with a boot and they both rolled out. Enzo hit a DDT on Owens, but Owens came back with a clothesline and hit a powerbomb to win.
It was important to see Owens get a clean pin here. But WWE phoned that third hour in. They knew what they were up against in terms of television, and it showed. This show fell out after about halfway through hour 2, and even my interest was waning though this is what I do every Monday for you all. I attribute part of that to being exhausted from a long day and four hours of coverage yesterday, but WWE didn’t really do much to keep my attention.
They DID however hype stuff for next week’s show in LA, and that was important. We’ve got two advertised title matches and a guest star appearance, so they pushed next week’s show strongly and that was well done. I will be very interested to see if Triple H finally makes some sort of appearance – they’re losing me on that storyline too the longer they hold him out. It will also be interesting to see how this show stood up against Monday Night Football and the Presidential debate.
Drew Koselek has more on this show tomorrow on Around the Ring, and he has your Smackdown coverage. I’ll be back Wednesday with Ring Rap Audio and Ring of Honor coverage. See you then!