WWE rolls into the City of Brotherly Love tonight as the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, PA plays host to the red brand. This is the last show before the Roadblock pay per view that happens live Sunday, December 18 in Pittsburgh, PA. Tonight, there’s high drama for New Day as they shoot to overtake the 478-day reign of Demolition and cement themselves at the top of the tag team mountain. But two teams stand in their way tonight – Cesaro and Sheamus and Gallows and Anderson. Will one of them stop New Day just short, or will the power of positivity carry New Day for one more round? Also, Charlotte pulled off a faux apology to her father Ric Flair last Monday, which led to Sasha Banks taking a beating. Will Charlotte continue to attempt to wear Sasha down going into the pay per view so she can recapture her title in the Ironman match? All the Roadblock feuds come to a head tonight.
Show Open, Live from the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, PA:
We got the opening video then Michael Cole, Corey Graves and Byron Saxton checked in for the call.
New Day made their entrance right off the top. Cole noted that they could tie Demolition at midnight for the longest tag title run in WWE history if they survive the triple threat title match. They cut a promo while walking to the ring, with Big E saying they will be joining the immortals tonight. Kofi added that they could break a record that has stood for 25 years. Woods added that they want to propel everyone who has worn a New Day shirt or chanted New Day Rocks. They wrapped up their promo, then the other entrances took place. Tag title match is up first.
Match #1 – Big E and Kofi Kingston (c, w/Xavier Woods) vs. Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson vs. Sheamus and Cesaro; Triple Threat Match for the Raw Tag Team Championship
Winner: Big E and Kofi of New Day to retain the Raw Tag Team Championship
The Reax: In the early going, they showed a party being set up for New Day, complete with Booty O’s. Gallows and Anderson controlled the early going, getting a near fall on Kofi going to break. Cesaro got in some good spots along the way after the break, including a swing on Anderson. In the end, Kofi hit Sheamus with Trouble in Paradise to retain, and they cut back to the backstage area to show people celebrating.
I liked that Raw broke the formula here and went with an opening match rather than a talking segment. This was a match that I thought they might hold to the end of the show, or at least later, but maybe they were looking for a hot start instead. Will we see a whole lot of party skits throughout the night now? I hope not. Now, the clock is really ticking as to when they make a title switch – it’s really beyond time to do it.
They hyped WWE Network on commentary. They also teased a Lana and Rusev: Behind Closed Doors segment.
Backstage, New Day arrived for the celebration which included wrestlers, extras, Mick Foley, and Stephanie McMahon. They hugged and danced with Stephanie, who toasted them then they did the New Day Rocks chants. She wasn’t happy though when someone sprayed her with champagne. She knocked over a punch bowl full of Booty O’s and left.
Bill Says: So, Steph books a match and they lose the title before the end of the night?
They showed footage of Sami Zayn’s quest to get a match with Braun Strowman. Zayn tweeted (shown below) that he wanted the match “or else.” Braun Strowman is up next.
There was an ad for AJ Styles vs. James Ellsworth for the WWE Championship tomorrow on Smackdown. Drew will have your coverage.
Backstage, Stephanie McMahon dried off when Kevin Owens entered. He said New Day didn’t deserve to be champions and had an idea that he thinks she would like. She asked him to wait while she cleaned up then would listen to his idea.
Match #2 – Braun Strowman vs. Curtis Axel;
Winner: Braun Strowman
The Reax: This was a quick match with Strowman winning with a face first slam. In the post match interview, Strowman told Saxton to congratulate him first then ask questions. Saxton asked about the response to Sami Zayn, and Strowman said that Axel looked like Zayn from where he’s standing, and Foley is protecting Zayn as he should.
Backstage, Foley watched the promo and Sami Zayn walked in to demand the match again. Foley said he couldn’t give it to him. Zayn said Foley has the power to do so and he won’t. He said he doesn’t need saved, and no one tried to save Foley. He asked Foley where he would be if he didn’t climb Hell in a Cell all those years ago. Foley said there are times where he wished someone stopped him. He said Strowman is playing a different game and will end Zayn’s career. Zayn asked if that means Foley doesn’t think he can do it, and Foley said he knows Zayn can’t do it. Zayn said if Foley doesn’t believe in him, then maybe he doesn’t need to be on Raw. Foley said he would call Daniel Bryan to work out a trade, and Zayn exited.
Bill Says: I am guessing we get Zayn vs. Strowman at Roadblock, but there’s this part of me that wants Zayn on Smackdown where he could be better utilized. Right now he feels lost on Raw behind a lot of other things that are going on. And why Foley protects Zayn but put Axel out there against Strowman to be destroyed seems like it needs an explanation to me.
Match #3 – Ariya Daivari vs. Lince Dorado;
Winner: Apparent No Contest
The Reax: They recapped Daivari’s feud with Jack Gallagher, so that was a bit of foreshadowing. The no contest was caused when Gallagher came out and declared his intent to get involved in the match, calling Daivari a scoundrel. The crowd chanted along with that, then Gallagher and Daivari fought at ringside causing the bell to ring.
I love what Gallagher is doing. He has more character than anyone else in the division right now and he’s only been around for two weeks or so. Announcing his intention and talking about how he’s an extraordinary gentleman is awesome.
They showed Seth Rollins backstage, and he’s going to do a Rollins Report show.
They hyped the movie Sing with a video package of Steve Austin singing to Vince McMahon. Austin is by-god terrible as a singer.
Seth Rollins came to the ring for the Rollins Report. He reiterated that he wants Triple H, and said the best way to get what he wants is to beat Kevin Owens for the title. In order to do that, he has to take out Chris Jericho. He said he needed to find out who he was facing – Jericho, or Jericho and Owens. He called out Kevin Owens as his guest.
Owens came to the stage with a mic, then turned around and went backstage only to re-emerge with a stand that he sat on. Rollins told him there was a nice chair in the ring, but Owens said that was the best he was getting. Owens had an announcement.
Rollins asked about Jericho and Owens’ friendship. Owens said the only thing he needs to know is that Jericho will have his back in his match, just like he’ll have Jericho’s in his match with Rollins. Boos. Owens announced that he and Jericho would be challenging New Day for the tag titles later.
Jericho’s music hit and he came out, asking Owens if he’s crazy. Owens apologized and tried selling Jericho on the tag match. Owens said Steph booked it and it’s happening, so they should work together to win the tag titles.
Rollins stirred the pot by saying Owens was bossing Jericho around. Jericho called Rollins a stupid idiot and threatened him, but Rollins cut him off and invited him to the ring or put him on the list. Jericho teased the list, but stopped. Jericho said he would put Rollins on the disabled list.
Jericho headed to the ring, and Owens followed. Rollins got a stool from the talk show set, but Owens and Jericho overpowered him. Roman Reigns’ music hit and he headed to the ring to of course a chorus of boos. Reigns tried for the save but got outnumbered too. Rollins recovered, then the two ganged up and cleared JeriKO. Rollins tried for a Pedigree on Jericho but Owens saved him.
Bill Says: This was an awkward brawl, especially with the crowd dynamic. They were booing the ever loving shit out of Roman but wanted to cheer Rollins. That said, the expected announcement of Jericho and Owens going after New Day is an interesting dynamic and it’s also a meaningful match in that they’re going to try and prevent New Day from breaking the record (not that I think it happens, because Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins).
Cole hyped a special look at the Iron Man match and they hyped the Rusev and Lana segment.
Charly Caruso interviewed Rich Swann about defending his title against both Brian Kendrick and TJ Perkins at Roadblock. Kendrick showed up and said he would be champion had it not been for Perkins showing up on 205 Live. Swann said it’s every man for himself on Sunday. Kendrick said Perkins weaseled into the match and kicked Swann in the teeth. Perkins showed up and asked if Kendrick was trying to let him win. Swann told him what Kendrick was implying. Perkins said maybe he’s calculating or ruthless, or maybe he’ll do whatever it takes to win. He said Swann would find out Sunday, and Kendrick would find out next.
Match #4 – TJ Perkins vs. Brian Kendrick;
Winner: Brian Kenrick
The Reax: Kendrick won with Sliced Bread #2. A good match that seemed lost in the tag team drama surrounding it (read on). Looks like Perkins is being moved downward in the division a bit. That’s fine – he was a good starting point that wasn’t named Kota Ibushi.
Backstage, Mick Foley told Rollins and Reigns that they looked good fighting side by side. Reigns said his focus is the Universal Title, while Rollins said he wants Triple H. Foley said this is about tonight, and he made the main event tag match for the titles a triple threat.
Bill Says: Well, if they didn’t do this, we could expect Reigns and Rollins to interfere in a one-on-one tag match I guess this is the way that we get some final hype for the individual matches at Roadblock, which, by the way has a really thin card right now.
Graves hyped the triple threat tag title match for later. Cole fed it into the video package about the Sasha Banks vs. Charlotte match. Graves pointed out that there is no rematch clause in the contract and said it will be truly the end of the line. The video package aired.
Bayley hugged people backstage, and Cole said she would be in action next.
Match #5 – Bayley vs. Alicia Fox;
The Reax: Fox got in a nice northern lights suplex, but Bayley put her away with the Bayley to Belly. We get it, Bayley can beat Alicia. The weakness of the Raw women’s division shows once you get below Sasha and Charlotte right now, and it’s sad. I had better hopes for how Bayley would be utilized, but right now it seems off of where I was hoping things would be.
They hyped WWE Network with Roadblock and 205 Live being their selling points. The Rusev and Lana “behind closed doors” segment is coming up.
Lana introduced Rusev, which got loud USA chants once he came to the ring. He said the G in Certified G stands for garbage, which drew Enzo Amore sing song from the fans. Rusev said they finished with Enzo last week, they closed the door and did their business. Rusev asked if the people wanted to hear what he is talking about, and said it was edgy and out there. They replayed the attack on Enzo.
Lana asked the fans if they really thought they would show what they did behind closed doors. Lana said the fans were gullible as Enzo. Cass came out and said Enzo was at home icing his body. Cass said Enzo runs his mouth, but he has the balls to back it up. Cass said Enzo got caught with his pants down. He said this isn’t a hotel room and he has his pants on. He headed to the ring.
Cass and Rusev brawled, and Rusev got momentary control but Cass came back with punches. Rusev fought away and headed backstage with Lana.
Bill Says: So, they took the same approach with Cass as they did with Roman Reigns, by having Rusev and Lana bore the crowd then have Cass show up for the big reaction. It worked for Reigns, but not Cass. They were looking for Enzo more than Cass, and were disappointed that he didn’t show up too. They also blared the music over Cass, which certainly didn’t help.
They cut backstage where Owens told Jericho that it’s the two of them against the world like it will always be. Jericho told him they should concentrate on winning the tag titles and start there.
They showed Sami Zayn walking backstage and Cole asked if this would be his last match on Raw. They then ran a new batch of Emmalina photos and said she will premiere soon. Graves said she will show up when she is ready to. Can I not care more about something than this, at this point?
Match #6 – Sami Zayn vs. Jinder Mahal;
Winner: Sami Zayn
The Reax: Don’t hinder Jinder. Well, unless you’re Zayn and you crush him with the Helluva kick rather quickly. Mick Foley headed to the ring afterward going into a break. This was a quick squash for Zayn. Jack Swagger lost on Raw before his trade over to Smackdown, so one has to wonder if this was just a fun creative moment or if something else is in store.
In the ring after the break, Foley told Zayn that he worked a trade to Smackdown for a performer of equal value. He said he and Bryan agreed to send Zayn to Smackdown for Eva Marie. Zayn got pissed (as he should!) and said he’s worth 100 Evas. He said it blows his mind that Foley doesn’t get it. He got worked up and told Foley to give him Strowman.
Foley told Zayn to remember the rage and duplicate it, because he will need it to face Strowman at Roadblock. Foley said there was no trade, and he wouldn’t trade Zayn for anyone. Foley said he believes in Zayn and always has, but needed to know if Zayn could tap the dark part of his soul to survive Strowman. He said Zayn answered with a resounding yes. Foley recalled Strowman saying Zayn wouldn’t last two minutes in the ring with him, and he’s giving Zayn ten to prove everyone wrong.
Bill Says: So, sounds like the objective is survival, and not necessarily winning. That’s logical, since it doesn’t force Strowman to lose clean but they can still sell Zayn lasting ten minutes with Strowman as a big deal. Not sure I want to see Strowman in the ring for ten minutes, but, hey, it tells the story. And thank God the Eva Marie trade was a bait and switch.
They recapped John Cena appearing on Saturday Night Live. They then hyped Roadblock and announced Big Cass vs. Rusev as official for the Kickoff Show. They showed New Day’s earlier win and celebration with fans, and the spray of champagne that got them into this second title defense.
We got entrances and introductions for the main event.
Match #7: New Day (Xavier Woods and Big E w/Kofi Kingston, c) vs. Chris Jericho and Kevin Owens vs. Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins; Raw Tag Team Championship under Triple Threat Rules;
Winner: New Day to retain the Raw Tag Team Championship (again).
The Reax: The commentary team pointed out that Woods was the fresh man in the match given that Kofi worked the opener. Jericho and Owens tried for double superplexes on Woods and Rollins, but Big E and Reigns got under them and they hit a tower of doom spot going to break.
Down at the end of the match, Rollins hit the Pedigree on Jericho. Big E pulled Rollins out, which let Woods roll over and cover Jericho for the win. New Day celebrated on the ramp.
Afterward, there was an exchange between Owens and Jericho, where Jericho asked what his problem was. He said Rollins shoved him into the pin. They bickered, and Jericho said “this is done.” Owens pleaded, but Jericho said it’s over which drew boos. Reigns was standing in the corner. Jericho left the ring and pointed toward the corner. Owens turned and ate a spear from Reigns, who picked up both title belts and held them while some fans booed him.
They had more drama here than just New Day’s record being on the line. Early on, the fans kind of sat on their hands during the entrances and even the tower of doom spot, but as the action rolled on they got into it and were into the near falls down the stretch. A really good match to close the show.
The problem was is that it failed in setting up Roadblock. This ended up being a lot about New Day and the tag team record, and the bickering between Owens and Jericho. You can read a lot into that, including that saying the bickering would be a tell for Jericho not saving Owens on Sunday at Roadblock if he is in danger of losing. But, that could all be a big swerve too. With the tepid reaction that Reigns still gets as a face (let’s be honest, it’s mostly heel…), this could be a time where fans WANT to see the interference.
All in all, an average show from my viewpoint. I think in the sense of a go-home show it could have benefited from having Charlotte and/or Sasha appear in person and address their match, and the Cass/Rusev segment went on a bit longer than I personally would have cared to see it go for my tastes.
Drew will have more on this show and other things in wrestling tomorrow on Around the Ring, as well as your Smackdown coverage. He and I will get together on Wednesday to preview Roadblock and talk all things fight sports on Ring Rap Audio as well. Don’t forget to send us your Favorite Things in Wrestling in the meantime, and I’ll see you again Wednesday with Ring of Honor coverage.