WWE heads deep into the heart of Texas tonight as the road toward Roadblock rolls on in Austin, TX at the Frank Ervin Center. Charlotte lost her Raw Women’s Championship against Sasha Banks last week. Will the Queen seek retribution against The Boss, or will someone else step into the gap first? Roman Reigns has earned a shot at Kevin Owens’ Universal Championship at Roadblock. Will Owens’ best friend, Chris Jericho, try and help stop the Big Dog on the way to that title match? What about Seth Rollins – will Jericho try to get some retribution for that Pedigree on top of the car on last week’s show? Has the relationship between Mick Foley and Sami Zayn cooled after their confrontation last week?
Show Open, Live from the Frank Ervin Center in Austin, TX:
They opened with a “previously on Raw” recap. The video focused on Kevin Owens beating Seth Rollins two weeks prior, then losing to Roman Reigns last week, as well as the issues with Chris Jericho. Cole, Corey Graves, and Byron Saxton were on the call.
Seth Rollins came to the ring and said he had something on his chest. He said “I want Triple H.” He said he dismantled the Shield when the time was right and learned there are consequences for the choices you make. He said Hunter chose to bet against him in favor of anointing Kevin Owens the golden boy. Rollins said that his Pedigree to Chris Jericho last week was a message to Hunter.
Rollins admitted he would love to call out Hunter on the spot but he knows that wouldn’t do it. He asked how he could get to Hunter and said the answer was beating Owens and taking the Universal Championship. Rollins said he can’t beat Owens while Jericho is part of the equation, and noted the issues between the two.
That brought out Kevin Owens with the title over his shoulder. Owens conceded that the two did fight, but added that Rollins didn’t realize that friends fight sometimes because he doesn’t have friends. Owens noted Rollins stabbing Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose in the back, then said that best friends make up.
Rollins asked if Jericho responded to Owens’ texts or calls. Owens said both of them are busy people, and he is busy getting Jericho three gifts for the holidays. Owens took issue with Rollins accusing Triple H of handing him the title. He said he deserved it. Rollins challenged Owens to a title match, but Owens declined because he beat him last week.
Owens said Foley booked him in a match against Sami Zayn. Owens said that the gifts he got for Jericho are matches he worked out with Stephanie. He said the first match is Jericho challenging Roman Reigns for the US Championship. The second will be Jericho vs. Rollins at Roadblock. The third is Rollins facing Big Show on the spot. Big Show came to the ring and was smiling and waving to the fans as he headed to the ring.
Bill Says: So, does smiling Big Show mean a turn for the 1,000,000th time? The “previously on Raw” segment was good and helped catch people up if they haven’t been tuning in of late. Rollins making the call-out of Hunter seems to point to the two of them getting together here at some point – will they load up the Royal Rumble even more, or are they just laying the foundation for their Wrestlemania match?
Match #1 – Seth Rollins vs. Big Show;
Winner: Seth Rollins by count out
The Reax: Late in this, Rollins tried to get a Pedigree. Owens flipped on the apron, and Show hit a backdrop. Owens yelled at Show to finish Rollins, but Show grabbed Owens and chokeslammed him into the ring. Show motioned at Rollins to have at Owens and left. Show got counted out and clapped from the stage. After the match, Rollins waited for Owens to get up then hit him with the Pedigree.
Well, no turn from Show but the countdown is on. This was a really deflating return to television for the big man, and this certainly doesn’t help the character issues he has had over the past few years especially.
By the way – trimming the Raw coverage down to promos, match finishes and my reaction. Let me know how you do, or don’t, like this.
The commentary team hyped up Reigns vs. Jericho, then pitched 205 Live with Cole saying it’s the most exciting hour of the week. They recapped Rich Swann winning the Cruiserweight Championship on the premiere show. Cole said Swann would be in action later, then they rolled a hype package for Jack Gallagher, who would be debuting after the break.
The commentary team hyped up John Cena appearing on Saturday Night Live
Match #2 – Jack Gallagher vs. Araiya Daivari;
Winner: Jack Gallagher
The Reax: Gallagher caught Daivari with a headbutt and a running drop kick for the win in a short match. Gallagher offered a handshake afterward, which Daivari accepted before clipping his knee from behind. Daivari followed with another kick to the knee.
Gallagher stands out in a good way, and his offense seems very unique. The live crowd gasped at his headbutt as they did when they saw it on 205 Live. Looks like we’ll get another matchup between the two of them this week as well. Drew will have the coverage.
Cole hyped Cesaro and Sheamus vs. Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson to determine New Day’s next contenders. Backstage, Titus O’Neil passed out flyers for a “Tussle in Texas” match. Tribute to the Troops will air next week.
Backstage, Owens complained to Mick about what Show did earlier and said he shouldn’t be competing against Sami Zayn. Owens said this wouldn’t be happening if Stephanie McMahon was in the building. Foley said Stephanie isn’t there, and the match will happen. Chris Jericho showed up and Owens pointed out all of the matches he got. “We’re good, right? C’mon man, we’re good.” Jericho said they’re not good and walked off.
Backstage, Enzo and Cass were talking when they overheard Rusev scolding Lana. Enzo said he had to get involved because Rusev was talking to a woman that way. Enzo and Cass walked over and involved. Rusev called Lana pathetic and said she deserved someone like Enzo. Lana stopped him and said the ring means they are married, and he is the only man who can have her. She threw the ring down and Rusev stormed off. Enzo stuck around to flirt.
Bill Says: “IT’S A TRAP!” I can’t help but think this is setting up a ruse on Enzo and Cass somehow. Rusev did come off heelish in a way by bickering with Lana, but as I said I see this leading to a trap.
Backstage, Lana said that Rusev needs to be taught a lesson. She said that maybe if he saw that another man appreciated her, it would teach him a lesson. She invited him to her hotel room.
Bill Says: Yup, it’s a trap.
Match #3 – Sami Zayn vs. Kevin Owens;
Winner: Kevin Owens
The Reax: Late in this, Zayn avoided a pop up powerbomb and hit Owens with multiple suplexes. He hit a Blue Thunder Bomb for two. The fight spilled to ringside, where Zayn hit an Exploder Suplex into the barrier. The fight went back to the ring where Owens hit the pop up powerbomb for the win.
Zayn fans are probably going to complain about that finish but Owens needs to get some good solid wins to help build up the in-ring credibility again. He and Jericho are being a comedy duo, and he hasn’t been getting many wins without help. One thing I have an issue with is these two men were supposed to not be wrestling again – and the commentary team just kind of blew past that fact without really addressing it. They should have made a bigger deal of it.
Backstage, Roman Reigns walked into Chris Jericho’s locker room. Jericho told Reigns that everything has been handed to him, but tonight his luck runs out and he becomes the lucky man. Reigns said maybe it’s Jericho’s lucky night, or he’s just doing Owens’ dirty work.
Saxton hyped that we would hear from Sasha Banks for the first time since winning her third Raw Women’s Championship. Coming back live, Cole congratulated The Rock for a lot of things that he has done lately. They set up a video package of Sasha winning last week against Charlotte.
Sasha Banks was interviewed backstage. She boasted about walking into Charlotte’s kingdom and walking out with her crown. Sasha said Charlotte doesn’t deserve to live in Ric Flair’s legacy. She said Flair cost her the match at Wrestlemania, but he still deserves better. Sasha said Charlotte brings greatness out of her, so she can’t wait to do it again. Sasha suggested they make history at Roadblock and have an ironman match. Sasha said she is the only Iron Woman on Raw.
Bill Says: So, in a shocking, or not so shocking, development, last week’s match between the two was NOT their last match as it was hyped. We’re going back to it one more time. I’m torn – I kinda like the idea of an IronWoman match, but I want these two to stay apart and make it more meaningful.
The commentary team set up footage from the spring when Charlotte told Ric Flair that she doesn’t need him and booted him from the ring. Cole said that Charlotte invited him to Raw so she could apologize.
Bill Says: This is where WWE blows it. They could have made a big deal about this and announced it during the day and hyped it through social media channels to draw attention, but instead it came out minutes before the show on USA Network. Really, nothing for this entire broadcast was advertised. I don’t know what the logic is here.
Cole fed it to a video package on Rich Swann, who talked about his parents passing when he was young. It focused on him winning the Cruiserweight Championship last week on 205 Live.
Match #4 – Rich Swann vs. TJ Perkins;
Winner: Rich Swann
The Reax: Perkins came back and hit a drop kick to the knee before tying Swann in a tree of woe. In the end, Perkins tried for a springboard move, but Swann hit a kick on his way down and pinned him.
A fine match for what it was on television. Cole had an odd line in there on commentary about retweeting compliments, which appeared to be a jab at Mauro Ranallo.
Backstage, Bayley juggled her “Bayley Bears” merch as she headed to the ring for the next match.
Match #5 – Bayley vs. Alicia Fox;
The Reax: Bayley handed the bears off to fans as she headed to the ring. Fox got the early aggression but Bayley put her away with the Bayley to Belly.
I wasn’t a big fan of Bayley doing the bear thing. I get it, shilling merchandise is what WWE does and expects talents to do, but there’s a way to do it without making someone who is such a crowd favorite look like a shill. It’s a careful line to walk. The match was what it was – nothing special.
Backstage, Cass told Enzo that Lana is trouble but Enzo wasn’t interested. He read a text from her that teased her being topless. Enzo ran off like a horny teenager, and Rusev showed up to ask Cass where his wife was. Cass tried to walk away, and Rusev stopped him. Rusev said he would worry about Lana later, but he would see Mick Foley to see if he could get a match and crush Cass.
The commentary team hyped Titus O’Neil vs. Mark Henry in a “Tussle in Texas” match.
Emmalina will finally debut next week.
Match #6 – Mark Henry vs. Titus O’Neil;
Winner: Mark Henry
The Reax: This happened in about 30 seconds. Henry hit the World’s Strongest Slam for the win and celebrated with fans afterward (he’s local to Austin I believe if my Texas geography is close…).
Enzo was waiting for his Uber driver but was upset because they couldn’t be found. Ric Flair showed up in a limo, and he and Enzo hugged then exchanged “how you doin’?” for a moment. Flair told him to take the limo to the hotel.
Roman Reigns made his way to the ring for the next match, to his normal reaction. They recounted Jericho telling Owens to stay away.
Match #7 – Roman Reigns (c) vs. Chris Jericho; WWE United States Championship;
Winner: Roman Reigns to retain the US Championship
The Reax: Late in the match, Jericho got Reigns in the Walls but he powered up and got to the ropes to break it. Owens came to the ring and superkicked Reigns while Jericho distracted the official. Jericho got a near fall out of it, and Owens jumped on the apron to celebrate thinking Jericho won. Jericho scolded Owens and told him he doesn’t need him. Jericho shoved him and told him to leave, then turned around into a spear attempt from Reigns. Jericho jumped over, but Reigns caught him on the comeback with a spear again.
This was a good match with some high drama down the stretch. I thought Owens was going to help Jericho in order to get the title off of Reigns if they were planning a title change at Roadblock, but I guess that wasn’t happening.
The commentary team hyped the main event of Roadblock, with Reigns attempting to become a double champion. They moved on to set up footage of Charlotte kicking Ric Flair from the ring in May.
Big Cass came to the ring for his match with Rusev. Graves called Enzo a homewrecker. Cass waited for Rusev, whose music played. He didn’t appear, and Cass figured things out. He went to ringside and borrowed a phone to call Enzo, who was entering Lana’s room despite knowing it was a bad idea. Lana flirted with him, and he tried to leave. She stopped him and got him out of his shirt and pants.
Lana called Enzo a fool and called for Rusev. IT’S A TRAP!!! Enzo tried to leave but got beat up instead. Rusev smashed a vase over his head then dragged him to the hallway and stood over him.
Bill Says: Saw that coming a mile away. I’m not sure where this is going, but it is definitely showing an edge to Rusev, at least.
They ran an ad for Tribute to the Troops, which airs next week.
New Day was at ringside for the number one contender’s match.
Match #8 – Sheamus and Cesaro vs. Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson; Winner gets New Day for the titles next
Winner: No Contest
The Summary: Worth noting that Cole said New Day will tie Demolition’s record next Monday at midnight if they hang on to the titles that long. The winner of this match has a shot at stopping them.
Late, Cesaro, Anderson and Gallows ended up at ringside. Sheamus dove from the post, sending all three men into New Day, and a brawl ensued which ended the match. The commentary team played dumb as to who the title contenders would be. Kingston tried a dive, but Sheamus and Cesaro caught him and tossed him into Woods and Big E.
The commentary team looked like morons for not even considering a triple threat match. I wonder if they will go the distance and have New Day break the record, or cut it off just one day short.
They showed Charlotte walking backstage and she would appear to address her father publicly next.
After a break, Saxton announced New Day vs. Gallows and Anderson vs. Sheamus and Cesaro in a triple threat for the tag titles next week. Shocking, I know.
Charlotte headed to the ring in street clothes. Cole said the 30-minute Ironman match between her and Sasha is official for Roadblock. Charlotte cut a promo, saying she made the biggest mistake of her life six months ago. She said she was ashamed of what she did and set up footage of her promo on Ric “for those who don’t remember what a cold hearted bitch of a daughter I was.”
Charlotte said that losing the title was hard, and the WWE and the championship means everything to her. Fans gave her the gift of “What?” She asked for a chance to explain while others chanted “you tapped out.” She said it was hard to watch her father raise Sasha’s hand and give her the belt. More “What?” chants. She said it was if her father was saying Sasha was the woman.
Charlotte said she wants her dad”s approval and no one knows how hard it is to be his daughter in the business. Charlotte said she sat in the audience after the match and watched him raise someone else’s hand. It broke her heart and made her feel as if she failed. She said she hadn’t seen Ric in six months and asked him to come to the ring so she could give a heartfelt apology. “Dad, please come out here.”
Ric Flair’s music hit and he came to the ring, but did not play to the crowd. Charlotte smiled and was teary eyed as she said she was sorry. Flair looked at her, then they hugged. When they pulled apart and went for a second hug, Charlotte punched him and called him a son of a bitch.
Charlotte yelled at him, which drew Sasha Banks out. Charlotte got the better of her and tossed her to ringside and rag-dolled her around. Flair watched from the ring. Charlotte got Sasha up in a powerbomb position and instead tossed her overhead and into the ring post. Flair watched on, devastated. Charlotte rolled Sasha in and mocked Ric for crying. She put Sasha in front of him and called her Flair’s trophy. She mocked him one more time and left to end the show.
Bill Says: Dare I say the only legitimate heel that WWE has on the Raw brand right now is Charlotte? Owens has no heat, Jericho is so-so, and everything else feels so far below what Charlotte is doing. This definitely got people hating her, and despite the “what?” garbage this was a solid segment. I don’t know if it should have closed the show, but it was well done. I thought that we might have been on the verge of a double turn, because I really do think Sasha is slotted much better as a heel than a face.
Overall, a show of ups and downs. There were times it was hard to keep my attention, and other times when it was easy to follow along. Drew will have more on the show tomorrow on Around the Ring, and he and I will discuss the full weekend in wrestling on Wednesday on Ring Rap Audio. Be sure to let us know what your favorite thing in wrestling is this week, and join Drew tomorrow night for Smackdown and 205 Live coverage. Thanks for following along.