The Fiend fingers Braun Strowman’s mouth!
Rey Mysterio will fight for the Universal Championship next week! And there’s not
just one… not just two… not just three… but almost three and a half different women’s
storylines happening on Raw right now! Equality. And how did WWE botch The Fiend after Raw
went off-air?! Click the timestamps in the video description
below to go straight to any of those stories and learn more!
I’m Oli Davis – press the thumbs up button, click the ‘i’ above my head to give your
rating of the show – where you can choose from: RawSome, Cor, AVRAWGE, Poor and RawFul,
and answer our question of the day in the comments: What’s the worst thing WWE could
do to the Fiend? Because I’ll be replying to people FROM OUTTA NOWHERE… being cautiously
optimistic because WWE don’t have the best track record of these things.
And, most importantly, give us a subscribe, because from next week we’re launching even
more shows to review AEW, SmackDown and NXT when the wrestling world goes crazy. So if
you haven’t already, press the subscribe button and enable notifications so you never
miss the latest breaking wrestling news! But for now, here’s my review of the 23rd
September episode of Monday Night Raw! This week opened with The Fiend infecting
WWE’s opening sting, which was distorted just like the end of last Monday’s show,
implying those upside down match graphics were intentional and not a production mistake.
Because the Fiend is so scary, he can even take over the broadcast controls from Kevin
Dunn. Not even Triple H can do that. The actual show opened with, what else, a
lame in-ring babyface recap promo from Seth Rollins, who monologued about all the stuff
that’s happened recently, how he’ll prevail at Hell in a Cell, something about his bank
account, etc Then out came Braun Strowman to set up a main
event non-title match between the two. They tried to make it about them losing the Raw
tag team championships, but neither man, nor WWE, seem to care about that storyline which
hasn’t really amounted to anything apart from ruining the tag division.
The Viking DON’T MENTION THE WAR EXPERIENCE Raiders got an actual win that meant something
next, taking on The O.C.’s Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson after months of squash matches
that didn’t connect with the crowd. AJ Styles was quickly ejected from ringside
for interfering, for Cedric Alexander to suddenly jump him that was never followed up on #threeweekpush.
In a very Paul Heyman move, Michael Cole then had a pretaped sit down interview with Becky
Lynch about her upcoming Hell in a Cell match against Sasha Banks. Becky was an excellent
promo as always, saying it’s not about keeping Bayley out, because she doesn’t care about
fighting everyone, it’s about keeping Sasha in.
Rusev came out with zero mention of Maria Kanellis, who claimed he was the father of
her child in his return last week – implying they’ve totally dropped that storyline – and
then squashed EC3. Sorry EC3. This didn’t really get over, but still… what a moustache!
Sasha Banks then took on Nikki Cross, with Bayley and Alexa Bliss in their respective
corners. Wait a second, I just need to check something… Alexa, are you a babyface or
a heel this week? ALEXA: I’m a babyface. This got a decent amount of time, but never
fully got hot with the crowd. Bliss and Bayley brawled on the outside, letting Sasha tap
Cross out in the Banks Statement. The Street Profits then ran down the show’s
card, when The Miz jumped in to announce the birth of his baby daughter over the weekend,
and, far more importantly, next Friday’s SmackDown season premiere on Fox will see
Miz TV host Ric Flair (wooo!) and Hulk Hogan (booo), who actually got a smattering of boos
from the crowd. Next up we got our second women’s singles
match in a row, where Ember Moon looked great against Lacey Evans – starting with a stiff
drop kick, and hitting an innovative stunner later on off the ring apron. But because Lacey
is the more blonde of the two, she tapped out Ember to the Sharpshooter, further building
her match against Natalya. In this week’s typically brilliant Firefly
Fun House, Wyatt conducted his own version of the Judgement of Solomon, where two women
claimed to be the mother of a baby, so he decreed they cut in two so they both get a
half. One woman then gave up the baby, because they didn’t want any harm to come to it,
proving she was the real mother. Bray missed the point of that moral message
completely though, and snapped a Seth Rollins action figure in two so both Huskus the Pig
Boy and Rambling Rabbit could play with him. WWE still doesn’t care about NXT, just having
screenshots of online articles talking about last Wednesday’s USA Network debut rather
than an actual promo package with video clips. Carmella finally turned on R-Truth to become
the new 24/7 champion, which Truth was actually totally fine about, and the two escaped through
the crowd while being chased by Dana Brooke, Billie Kay, and a returning Sarah Logan! Looks
like that whole Carmella storyline with Charlotte is also being dropped.
You might think the Baron Corbin vs Chad Gable feud, where Chad is even made to look short
in the match graphic, wouldn’t have as much heat when fighting again just a week after
their King of the Ring final. Well you’d be wrong, because these two work incredibly
well together. From Corbin’s black Game of Thrones redesign
of the King of the Ring crown and cape, the two had a very well-paced TV match that slowly
sucked the crowd into Gable’s comeback. And in the perfect finish, after Chad seemingly
had Baron beat in the ankle lock, Corbin took the DQ loss by hitting him with the scepter
to stand tall. This is excellent booking of a bully heel storyline, and both men are getting
more over every week because of it. AOP then backed up their claim from last week
that nobody is tough enough to fight them, by walking out of their interview and beating
up the first two wrestlers they saw. This was awesome.
Then we got five guys having a really fun No. 1 contender’s match. The Five Guys here
being Rey Mysterio, Ricochet, AJ Styles, Robert Roode and Shinsuke Nakamura, not the popular
burger restaurant chain. This was a fast-paced match that protected
each eliminated wrestler through various blindsided finishers. The final two came down to Roode
– who’s really been built up in the last two weeks, but we all know what will make
him a true main eventer – and Rey Mysterio, who had a dramatic last sequence to get a
win dedicated to his son Dominic. Hopefully he doesn’t dedicate next week’s
Universal title match to him. Because he’s totally getting fingered by the Fiend.
And the main event saw Braun Strowman vs Seth Rollins in a grudge match, that was really
a three-way with the threat of the Fiend looming in the background throughout.
And that’s exactly what happened, where just as Braun seemingly had Seth beat, the
lights cut out and Wyatt attacked Strowman with the Mandible Claw.
This was an excellent angle, made really impactful by how Braun rarely sells moves, who needed
two Claws to put him down, and also by how Wyatt almost protected Seth, like the Fiend
wants Rollins all to himself – just like the Firefly Fun House had explained previously.
The show then cut to black with Wyatt laughing on a loop and, the best part, Michael Cole
shutting the hell up and not ruining the horror. This was a solid show, with some very good
in-ring wrestling, but it was mostly a set-up episode for next Monday’s Season Premiere/Hell
in a Cell go-home double header. So this week’s Raw is AvRAWge.
But the Fiend angle didn’t stop there when Raw went off-air – as Luke’s got what happened
in the botch between Wyatt and Rollins now… Great review Oli, that Fiend character sure
is neat. But what happened after the show wasn’t quite so neat.
After Raw went off the air, rather than do the regular dark match, WWE did another angle
with Seth Rollins and The Fiend, where Seth laid Bray Wyatt out to send the crowd home
happy. Several videos of the angle have been shared on line, which sees Seth give The Fiend
the Curb Stomp only for him to no-sell it. Seth then gives him several superkicks and
three more stomps, which kept The Fiend down – only for the lights to go out and The Fiend
disappear. However, not all of that went to plan. Dave
Meltzer expanded upon this on Wrestling Observer Radio, noting that he’d heard from people
there live that the angle came across as “comical”. He said, “I heard from many people in the
building, the way the finish went down in the building was absolutely comical… the
problem is there was enough lights that everyone saw Bray run away. So everyone sees Bray run
down the aisle as fast as he can… it’s just one of those things that didn’t work.
The crowd wasn’t supposed to see it, and everyone saw it.”
And could this be an insight into what will happen come Hell in a Cell – where The Fiend
challenges Seth Rollins for the Universal Championship inside the Cell itself. The pair
actually had their first match over the weekend at a house show in Calgary – where The Fiend
lost via DQ when he pushed Seth into the ropes with the Mandible Claw and wouldn’t let
go. They repeated the same finish the following night at a house show in Edmonton. Of course
this was done to keep the title on Seth, but is it a sign of things to come?
Now that is a finish that normally would be impossible to do inside of Hell in a Cell,
but last year’s match ended in a no contest when Brock Lesnar interfered – so who knows
at this point? Either way, the finishes of house shows are
often indications of WWE testing things out before putting them live on TV – so could
we see Seth Rollins retain the Universal Championship at Hell in a Cell?
And if you tune into Main Event this week – otherwise how else will you get to see Mojo
Rawley wrestle – then you’ll get to see WWE’s next commentator – as Mickie James
took her new role in WWE behind the commentary desk for the show. HARDCORE COMMENTARY. PWInsider
are also reporting that there has been talk of James moving from an active wrestler position
to a backstage role as a producer, though according to Fightful that is currently unconfirmed.
James has been on the injured list since June 1st, when she tore her ACL at a house show
against Carmella, and an-ring return is also currently unknown at this point.
But according to WrestleVotes, we can expect a big return next week on Monday Night Raw,
with the Twitter feed reporting that pyro is set to make its triumphant return to television!
This report is coupled with their previous report that we’re getting a new set for
the “season premiere” of Raw next week, with last night’s show also debuting the
red brand’s new logo for a packed show which will see Brock Lesnar appear, and a MizTV
segment with Hulk Hogan and Ric Flair. And they might not be the only former WCW
or Universal Champions on the show, as PWInsider are reporting that Bill Goldberg is set to
make his return to Raw next week. Goldberg had an altercation with Dolph Ziggler over
the weekend, so there is always a chance that will play into an angle on Raw.
This also ties into Dave Meltzer’s previous report that Paul Heyman sees Goldberg as an
old sheriff type character that he can bring back once or twice a year – similar to how
Bruno Sammartino was booked in the later years of his career in the New York territory.
Disney have admitted mistakes in Star Wars? Oli and I discuss all of that and more on
ScreenStalker which you can watch by clicking the video on screen right now. And find out
more about that Goldberg/Dolph Ziggler fight by watching the WrestleTalk News. I’ve been
Luke Owen, and that was wrestling.