WWE Raw: Rollins and Rusev must pay the price of interference
September 19, 2016 10:01 AM - Season 24, Episode 38 - Subscribe

Rollins and Rusev pay the price for interference, WWE Women's Champion Charlotte attempts to keep her cool, Six Cruiserweight Classic competitors AND the Cruiserweight Championship make their Raw debut, Cesaro and Sheamus continue their best of 7 series, and more!

Note: I'm just using the wwe.com "preview" title for the episode title, since there isn't anything better that I can think of. Maybe you can!

In case you missed it, here are WWE.com's Top 10 Moments from last week's Raw.

* Rollins and Rusev must pay the price for interfering in Roman Reigns' match against Kevin Owens last week. The two will go one-on-one tonight. Boy I sure hope nothing happens that results in anything less than a simple wrestling exhibition.

* Six Cruiserweight Classic competitors have signed with WWE and will be joining RAW: Brian Kendrick, Rich Swann, Gran Metallic, Cedric Alexander, Lince Dorado and Noam Dar. Thanks for listening to us about Cedric, Trips.

* Cesaro and Sheamus continue their Best of Seven series with match number 6. Smart money is on Cesaro evening up the series (Sheamus is up 3-2) and pushing us to a 7th match. Why book the gimmick otherwise, am I right folks?

* WWE Women's Champion Charlotte and her protege Dana Brooke are still having issues, which could continue to spill over into Charlotte's upcoming big match with Sasha Banks at Clash of Champions.

* More I bet! 3 hours sure is a long time...
posted by zerolives (32 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Jeez, they're already talking about throwing KO under the bus for Raw ratings slipping. After three weeks and the return of Monday Night Football.
posted by Etrigan at 10:22 AM on September 19, 2016

The McMahon mind is capable of some pretty intense gymnastics. Which makes sense considering the family business...
posted by zerolives at 10:36 AM on September 19, 2016

Go-home-ness: Barely. They tried to excite us about Clash of Champions, but it didn't really work. Part of that is that Roman Reigns getting his ass kicked is a 50/50 proposition at best -- half of the audience approves, and the other half wants to like Reigns but doesn't care enough about his United States Championship feud to care. Rollins has the opposite problem -- half of the audience wants to see him turn face, and the other half doesn't quite buy it yet.

USA vs. Hulu check: I am pretty sure that none of the squashes by Braun Strowman or Nia Jax have ever appeared on the 90-minute Hulu version of Raw, and this week was no exception. Nor was the Cesaro vs. Sheamus match, or the Bo Dallas squash.

Overall: C-plus show, and the "plus" is only for the kick-ass cruiserweight match. If the first thing on the List Of Jericho were "armbar", that might have put it in the low B range, but Raw is absolutely 100 percent getting its lunch eaten by Smackdown.
posted by Etrigan at 6:09 AM on September 20, 2016 [1 favorite]

If Clash of Champions can find a way to feel decidedly un-Raw, it could actually be a good PPV, even though the Raw brand has been so iffy as of late. If nothing else, seven matches will make three hours go by a lot quicker than your typical weekly Raw (I hope!)

They just don't seem to understand how storytelling works on this brand. There's no week over week build. And as much as I'm enjoying Rollins' face turn in a vacuum, it doesn't actually make any sense in the context of the show at large. Why would he care about saving Reigns last night?

But still, the completely botched hype generation aside, the card looks promising:

(Pre-Show) Jax vs. Fox: Weirdly, this has actually been one of the few matches with semi-decent setup. I have trouble seeing it being anything other than Jax bulldozing, but I'm ready to be pleasantly surprised. I appreciate that they're at least trying to have a second women's division storyline going.

Zayn vs. Jericho: They haven't done a good enough job building this match to matter, but these two are both so solid in the ring. The List of Jericho was one of the only memorable parts of last night's show. They need to find something to do with Zayn. Unbelievable match with Owens at Battleground, and I appreciated them throwing him into the Universal title mini-tournament mix, but since then, nothing.

Cesaro vs. Sheamus: Inevitable from the moment the best of seven was announced. Still, these matches have been pretty good, just completely unnecessary. If this is the highest-quality of the series, and I presume it will be, it'll be an early highlight.

New Day vs. Gallows and Anderson: This feud has been dragging both teams down. As such, I suppose I'm rooting for New Day to win because that would presumably end it. That said, taking the belts off of them could light a fire if the feud has to continue. But honestly, what are the plans with the tag division? Not unlike the women's division (until recently), there only ever seems to be whatever feud the champs have, and then everybody else just sort of hovers around them. I know this won't happen because of the merch sales, but maybe it's time to switch things up with the New Day? The build-up to Battleground started to explore the idea of Xavier losing the power of positivity because of fear of the Wyatt Family. The timing of the draft forced them to retreat from that, but I think it could work nicely. Unfortunately, there's really no heel tag team with a gimmick to make that work anymore. Regardless: The Club would be better off feuding with Enzo and Cass. I know that really only leaves the Shining Stars for New Day, but at this point, I think it'd be an improvement. Oh wait, I guess there's also Golden Truth. Yikes. Sidenote: If they can't find anything else for them to do, please team up Zayn and Neville kthxbye.

Perkins vs. Kendrick: This could absolutely steal the show. Perkins more than proved himself in the CWC, and Kendrick was on fire as a veteran heel last night. It'd be terrible to take the belt off of TJP in his first defense of it, but Kendrick as heel champ would be amazing.

Charlotte vs. Bayley vs. Banks: Definitely not Bayley's time yet. Beyond that, I don't know if I have a preference or a prediction. I have to admit that Banks' character isn't really working for me as a face, and it's only been amplified since Bayley got called up. Charlotte win and Banks/Brooke double turn, maybe? Regardless, I'm hoping they can put on a good show for this one. Banks vs. Charlotte at SummerSlam was kind of blech, so hopefully this will be a good bounce back.

Rusev vs. Reigns: I guess it's time for us to have this match proper. This feud was in much better shape in the lead up to SummerSlam. Since then all of Reigns' attention has been focused on the Universal Title, with Rusev simply seeking revenge. Any sort of clean ending to this one seems unworkable: If Rusev wins clean, Reigns can't be a serious Universal contender. If Roman wins clean, he gets a belt he doesn't want. This has got to end in some way that can extract Reigns while still letting him look strong, and I honestly don't know what that is. The thing is: I've been really enjoying Reigns wrestling as of late, and he pairs well with Rusev. This could actually be a great match, even if it seems like the ending is destined to be weird.

Rollins vs. Owens: This is going to be a fantastic match. Of that I have no doubt. And I'm okay with it going either way. I worry it's all leading to the belt going back on Reigns at Survivor Series in a Triple Threat match anyway. But for CoC, these two are gonna put on a hell of a show. I suspect the ending is going to finally bring back HHH, which would presumably keep the belt on Owens, but I find Raw's storytelling so unpredictable as of late. And not in a good way.
posted by SpiffyRob at 6:47 AM on September 20, 2016 [1 favorite]

That said, taking the belts off of them could light a fire if the feud has to continue. But honestly, what are the plans with the tag division?

I'm betting on New Day, just because the MeekmaHONS are petty enough to give them the all-time tag team title record because Demolition are suing the WWE.

Also, I really want the payoff for Cesaro vs. Sheamus to be like Lucha Underground's "4 A Unique Opportunity" match from Ultima Lucha Dos, except with Kurt Angle playing Doctor Wagner Jr. I don't see it happening, tho.
posted by Etrigan at 7:45 AM on September 20, 2016

On reflection, the opening promo last night was... kind of weird? It seemed to be much more about Foley than it was about any of the wrestlers. Is this potentially building to a Mick/HHH feud and/or a kayfabe firing with a new GM installed?
posted by SpiffyRob at 10:33 AM on September 20, 2016

The Cageside Seats recapper sees it much the same way:
That all being said, at least the part of that story that involves Mick Foley has been enjoyable. Foley is clearly out of his element running Raw. He’s lashing out at talent on Twitter who question him (a point that was mentioned briefly on commentary tonight). He’s losing control of the talent when he’s running the show alone like he did last week. He’s got a long line of people just ready to run him down for the job he’s doing. Hell, even Stephanie McMahon is wondering what he’s thinking half the time. He’s hanging on by a thread and if something happens that shakes him any more, the man is going to snap. (Something like Stephanie McMahon inevitably stabbing him in the back.) The moment he eventually breaks could be quite entertaining.
posted by Etrigan at 11:56 AM on September 20, 2016

Mainly I'm just worried whatever they do with Foley is going to make me real sad inside.
posted by zerolives at 5:38 PM on September 20, 2016

Cena's loss to Ambrose was the first time he has been pinned clean in a non-PPV singles match since 2009. Also of note: he didn't even take a non-PPV non-clean solo pinfall for five years between June 2011 and June 2016.
posted by Etrigan at 1:26 PM on September 21, 2016

Just finished watching CoC (got in super late last night, and will be skipping Raw for the debate tonight so I didn't want to fall too far behind.) I haven't read what anyone else thought about it yet, so I wanted to record my own thoughts for posterity before I look elsewhere.

Wrestling-wise, I thought it was very solid. Story wise, it was totally disposable outside of the Cruiserweight match and, if only for the title change, the US Title match.

No feuds resolved (most hilariously/maddeningly the case in Cesaro/Sheamus), no new twists. I was pleasantly surprised to see Reigns get the belt if only to keep him away from the Universal title a little bit longer, but that feud is just going to keep going, I would think? At least until the ultimate winner of Cesaro/Sheamus gets a crack.

I guess the tag match was semi-succesful in reestablishing Gallows/Anderson as scary instead of goofy, so that's a plus.

Perkins and Kendrick put on a great match with a few miscues. Somewhat understandable given that TJP must have had verse coming out his eyeballs for this to be his real WWE debut. Also really liked his entrance graphics/music, even though it was a pretty shameless ripoff of Stage 1 of Dr. Wily's fortress from Mega Man 2. Even though you could see it coming a mile away, the post-match thing perfectly established Kendrick as top heel and Perkins as pure babyface champ. It's wrestling 101, but it was very well done.

Everything else, we're pretty much where we were before the night began.
posted by SpiffyRob at 1:12 PM on September 26, 2016

Everything else, we're pretty much where we were before the night began.

And Raw was little better. Advancement on the Cesaro/Sheamus thing (which the Cageside recapper totally called), but that was about it.

No more topes...
posted by Etrigan at 10:13 AM on September 27, 2016 [1 favorite]

I thought two two Cruiserweight matches were by far the best wrestling on Raw. The crowd chanting during the second one was so surprising. While it might not have had quite the energy of the tag match, it was a quick, engaging match IMHO.

I continue to be impressed by Charlotte's heel work. With that said, her feud with Banks really went in a weird circle. Give Banks the belt, worry she's injured, take the belt off of her and call up Bayley, discover Banks isn't actually that injured... shouldn't she have just gotten the belt back at CoC? We're basically right back to where we were pre-Summerslam. And they had to throw Bayley a jobber and have her do a "Guess I'm not part of the title picture any more, but don't forget about me!" interview, which was just so sad and weird. I guess she's going to have to feud with Jax now?

I do like the Seamus/Cesaro twist, and putting them up against New Day for the titles would seem to mean cooling down the feud with Gallows/Anderson, but where does that leave the rest of the tag division? I thought Enzo/Cass v. Jeri-KO was a reasonably clever way to tread water while they wait for Rollins to get healthy again, but once they're back doing normal tag things, it's them, Shining Stars and Gallows/Anderson remaining. What's the plan here? Can I repeat my desire for Zayn/Neville to be a repeating team? Please?

And yet... I sort of feel like that was one of the better Raws in recent weeks. Maybe the bar has just been dropped too low for them, but I wasn't actively bored/turned off by any of it so, yay?

I like that they've already announced two title defenses (Women's and Cruiser) for next week's Raw. Let's hope they find some good stories to tell around everything else.
posted by SpiffyRob at 2:50 PM on September 27, 2016

Cena with a killer promo on Talking Smack.
posted by SpiffyRob at 7:27 PM on September 27, 2016

And Ziggler with one of the better in-ring promos of the year.
posted by Etrigan at 7:21 AM on September 28, 2016

With Miz deserving serious props for his role in it.

I'm really torn. On the whole, I want Miz to keep the belt because he's really come alive since the brand split. Dolph's contract is coming to a close, he's rumored to be unhappy, and this would be the absolute perfect sendoff. Plus it would give Miz even more heat than he's picked up recently, which would really be saying something.

But on the other hand, Dolph! What the hell man! This fall from grace/frustration storyline has been absolutely incredible and I will legitimately miss him if he goes. Either way, I think this match has been instantly elevated to second main event at No Mercy, which is pretty incredible given how great the booking has been in the run up to the triple threat. With all the attention on Cena/Ambrose, AJ has been able to simmer a little bit, which I think is great. I loved the way he took a backseat on the in-ring promo in Philly while those two ripped each other to shreds, and their respective Talking Smack follow-ups were both great.

I also feel like I might just stop watching Raw for the time being. It's absurd how much lower the quality is. I can only imagine how stark the contrast would be if they aired in the opposite order.
posted by SpiffyRob at 7:33 AM on September 28, 2016

Welp, dunno if I misinterpreted or it was changed, but that was clearly not a Cruiser title defense. I totally thought it was going in. Imagine my surprise when TJP tapped out!

A quick little match, but great storytelling with that feud so far. Pumped for more!
posted by SpiffyRob at 6:18 PM on October 3, 2016

That was definitely the best Raw since SummerSlam, if not the best since the draft. And yet, I have zero doubt the Smackdown go home is gonna beat it. No Mercy's card is looking spectacular.

Roman/Rusev to open, again, was a little meh, but I thought they did a great job keeping the energy going from that point forward. As weird as it was to put the belt back on Banks on Raw, again, we can just sort of sweep the last six weeks under the carpet and keep our free Bayley call-up! Plus it looks like they might be setting her up to feud with Dana separately of Charlotte, which I think will help advance all parties involved.

Zayn! Nese with an unexpected win! Lots of losing champions! Huzzah!
posted by SpiffyRob at 4:25 AM on October 4, 2016

Well, that was about the most amazing go-home segment in history for a secondary belt feud.

Oh, and BTW: it looks like Sasha and Charlotte are going to Hell.
posted by Etrigan at 8:54 AM on October 5, 2016

Dusty Classic II bracket released, first round tonight.

I'm a bit surprised they're (potentially) putting Revival/DIY in the second round. I'm thinking Authors/TM61 final.
posted by Etrigan at 11:47 AM on October 5, 2016

WWE Network just sent out an email saying that the triple threat for the World Championship is going to start No Mercy. I can only imagine that they're trying to get people to tune in before the debate and then hook them.
posted by Etrigan at 3:08 PM on October 9, 2016

So, that was pretty good, I thought.


The "main event" was a perfectly acceptable triple threat match, with a good finish that they didn't really explain well in the moment (Did the match restart? Why wasn't AJ eliminated?).

I really thought Dolph was gonna lose. Not sure what they do with Miz now, though.

How do they not do an Interim Championship angle with Alexa? You let her beat Naomi, say that she's the champ until Becky can come back, let the Lass-Kicker rest up for a coupla weeks, put Nikki out there to let Alexa have a mini-feud (and build up Alexa as a legit contender), then make the reunification match for Survivor Series. It instantly sets Smackdown apart from Raw and lets you run a whole bunch of different angles whenever someone gets hurt.
posted by Etrigan at 8:03 AM on October 10, 2016

Yeah, pretty good is how I'd describe it as well. Backlash it was not, but it was stronger than CoC for sure. And great call having Talking Smack after!

End of the main event/opener was under-explained, even if it was logical. Both women's matches disappointed IMHO and yeah, they'll need to find some way to make Alexa/Naomi matter for the next three weeks. I'm assuming we're not done with Nikki/Carmella yet either.

Miz/Dolph was MOTN without question, and really should have been the closer. I guess Harper's return required it to be the closing match, but I was just not interested in that match in the slightest, even with pretty good build. I think Wyatt and Orton are two dudes I'm mostly excited to see when there's somebody else to elevate them. Against each other they're both just sort of there.

But man: Even with the dramatically low bar that is Dean Ambrose suicide dives, this is a very, very bad suicide dive.
posted by SpiffyRob at 6:39 PM on October 10, 2016

But man: Even with the dramatically low bar that is Dean Ambrose suicide dives, this is a very, very bad suicide dive.

I seriously 100 percent thought that the intent of that dive was that Styles reversed/avoided/blocked it. I was confused when they panned over to him lying by the table.
posted by Etrigan at 7:35 PM on October 10, 2016

(Oh gods, the With Spandex review called it a suicide eye rake. I am dying.)
posted by Etrigan at 8:00 PM on October 10, 2016

Another pretty solid Raw! Three hours is just too long, I think, but they've been doing a lot better.

I really liked the opening and having Sasha and Charlotte ever so briefly join forces to take on Rusev and Lana, but that all sort of fell apart when they booked the mixed tag match. That just didn't really make any sense.

And man, mixed tag matches just never work for me. By dictating that men can only fight men and women can only fight women, it eliminates the whole hot tag dynamic of the match, which is almost always a vital part of the storytelling.

They seem to be backing away from the "Mick is on thin ice" angle. When Stephanie approached Mick all smiles, and asked if she could accompany him to the ring for his announcement, I definitely thought something was going to happen along those lines, but she was... borderline face throughout? Odd. I'm reaching here, but is there *any* chance they might be moving away from the notion of The Authority altogether? Rollins, Jericho and Owens are all really more tweeners than real heels or faces, so maybe we can finally put an end to the 20 year battle against the McMahons? It seems like they're never going to explain HHH's actions in handing the belt to Owens, and Smackdown has proven you don't need to be have conflict with management being a feud definer.
posted by SpiffyRob at 10:37 AM on October 11, 2016

They seem to be backing away from the "Mick is on thin ice" angle.

Someone's gonna get kayfabe hurt at HiaC, and Stephanie will blame Mick.

It seems like they're never going to explain HHH's actions in handing the belt to Owens

They're saving that for a Big Four PPV to cement Seth's face turn.
posted by Etrigan at 10:55 AM on October 11, 2016

Yep, those both seem very plausible!

Also: Has Neville always acted like he has intestinal damage after hitting the Red Arrow? It seems so weird to have him sell having hurt himself for a few seconds, and then immediately get the winning pin.
posted by SpiffyRob at 11:34 AM on October 11, 2016

An interesting note from r/SquaredCircle:

Next week's AJ Styles-James Ellsworth title bout will be the first WWE World Championship match since January 2015 with no members of the Shield.
posted by Etrigan at 4:28 PM on October 13, 2016

Oh, blah. He's already walking it back.
posted by Etrigan at 3:58 PM on October 18, 2016

Main Event or no, it absolutely could and should be match of the night. RuRu/Reigns has just been the two of them brutalizing each other for over a month now, so the cell barely adds anything to that. Owens and Rollins will deliver, of course. But even though I've cooled on Sasha a little bit in recent weeks (don't know if she's still not 100% from the injury) those two have certainly shown the ability to rise to the occasion when they're in the spotlight. Charlotte is getting legit out-of-wrestling attention for her work, and rightfully so. "First women's HitC" is definitely something that catches the attention of casual fans and non-fans, and I really, really hope they put on something truly memorable.

Outside of the cell matches, I'm hoping the TJP/TBK rematch builds off of the storytelling momentum they've had since No Mercy, and they can shake off a bit of the jitters on display in that match. TJP seems to be getting very comfortable very fast in front of the big crowd. I'm guessing the go-home Raw will finally show Cesaro and Seamus displaying something resembling teamwork, but no way are they gonna take the belts. Enzo/Cass vs. Gallows/Anderson seems to be a lock, but what else? Is Jericho gonna get a match or just be ringside at the main event? Zayn vs. Braun? Dana vs. Bayley? And then pre-show matches could be Bo vs. Curtis and a CWC Tag Match?
posted by SpiffyRob at 6:13 AM on October 21, 2016

Just catching up in Talkin' Smack now.

Zach Ryder went white as a sheet when Renee asked if he has a girlfriend and pretty much disappeared. And commented about it on the way out! Ha!

I owe myself a career retrospective for Styles as I really never saw any of his NJPW or TNA stuff, which is a shame, because he's probably my favorite guy in-ring. But one thing I'd read about him a few times was that his mic work used to be pretty bad, and he's gotten a lot better. I had trouble picturing him being off, but sorta saw it a bit on Talkin' Smack. He had a point to make about DB becoming the Authority, and it was a good line, but he had to try it like 3-4 times and got stuck getting it out cleanly. Wasn't a horrific botch, but it definitely was the difference between someone who is inherently comfortable versus someone who obviously had to work really hard to get good at it.
posted by SpiffyRob at 6:35 AM on October 21, 2016 [1 favorite]

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