by Amanda Why
It’s that time of the week again, Monday Night RAW. Tonight is the go home show for the TLC PPV, and there’s a lot listed on the preview. The big matches seem to be Roman Reigns facing Braun Strowman in a steel cage, and Ambrose and Rollins defending the tag titles against Sheamus and Cesaro. Kalisto, Bray Wyatt, Emma and Alexa Bliss are also supposed to feature in some way. Here’s hoping for an action-packed episode.
I’m Amanda, and I’ll be guiding you through the highs and lows of this week’s RAW.
The show opened with a narrated recap of the Shield reunion last week, and the subsequent setting of the TLC match, with a quick advert for Reigns vs Strowman later tonight. Kurt Angle started the opening segment. He’d barely got into his opening speech when the Shield music hit, and they made their old ‘through the crowd’ entrance, in all their old gear, and surrounded the ring.
After a bit of chat about how nice it is to be back, they challenged their TLC opponents to fight there and then. Angle stopped it by threatening to take away Sheamus and Cesaro’s title shot, and Braun Strowman’s cage match.
Not the most exciting opening segment, unless you’re a massive Shield fan, which I am, so it’s all good.
All the other stuff that went on
– Elias appeared with Gallows and Anderson as backing singers. It was everything you’d expect from that sentence. They sang the Honky Tonk Man’s theme tune, and the first few lines of a little ditty about Jason Jordan. Then they had a match with Apollo Crews, Jason Jordan and Titus O’Neil. Jordan, Crews and O’Neil won. Apollo Crews pinned Karl Anderson.
– Asuka promo package followed by an interview with Emma where she talked about how important she is. Interrupted by Bliss who agreed with Emma, then talked about Mickie James. Set-up to a tag match, Bliss and Emma vs Mickie James +1
– Cedric Alexander vs Jack Gallagher. Alexander had Rich Swann in his corner Gallagher had Brian Kendrick in his – they’re in a tag match at TLC. They actually got a promo package – for a 205 feud – things are looking up. Cedric Alexander won, by pinfall, following the lumbar check.
– Miz TV, with Sheamus and Cesaro and Curtis Axel, but no Bo Dallas again. Special guest was Braun Strowman. Unsurprisingly, they talked about TLC. Strowman wants to end The Shield for good. Miz tried to add a fifth member to the team – Curtis Axel presumably although he didn’t actually say so, could be another swerve. Kurt Angle appeared and said, only if Strowman beats Reigns tonight. And if Strowman loses, he’s out of the match too.
– Sasha Banks submitted Alicia Fox in under three minutes and ended up bleeding from the nose. Post-match, Fox attacked Banks while she was being interviewed, and they had a backstage brawl. Fox pushed a ref while having a tantrum. We were later told she has been fined.
– Enzo Amore whinged about losing his cruiserweight title. Kalisto came out and said there would be no excuses at TLC. Kalisto got jumped by Dar, Daivari, Nese, and Gulak, Mustafa Ali tried to help, and took a beating as well.
– Finn Balor talked about Bray Wyatt and Sister Abigail. We’re getting Sister Abigail vs a super-special Demon Balor at TLC. It appears to be orange, for Halloween (or Samhain) of course.
– Mickie James’ partner, to take on Alexa Bliss and Emma, turned out to be Bayley. Mickie James pinned Alexa Bliss after a pretty decent ten-minute match. Mickie James had a backstage interview afterwards. She said she’s going to whip Bliss all over TLC and take the title home to her son.
– Sasha Banks and Alicia Fox was added to the TLC kickoff show (See below).
Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins (C) vs Sheamus and Cesaro – Tag team title match
Some teams just have good chemistry together. New Day and Usos on SmackDown have it, Ambrose/Rollins and Sheamus/Cesaro have it too. This was another very good match for them
The first big chance for a title change came when Cesaro knocked Ambrose off the apron leaving Rollins in desperate need and with no-one to tag. They got a close two-count, but that was all.
There was a lot of chucking people out of the ring, a few suicide dives, and a really messy looking double team from Sheamus and Cesaro on Ambrose. And Ambrose tried to slingshot Cesaro into the ring post again like he did to damage Cesaro’s teeth.
Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins retained the titles with their, knee to the face/Dirty Deeds combo on Cesaro. Enjoyed that match, and glad the titles didn’t change hands.
Post-match Curtis Axel tried to give Sheamus and Cesaro a pep-talk in the locker room and said he would be the fifth member of the team at TLC. He tried to give Braun Strowman a pep-talk as well. Then Strowman, Sheamus and Cesaro goaded him into going to find Roman Reigns to fight him – He found him later, with Ambrose and Rollins. We didn’t see what happened, but when Miz found out he went looking for him, and found him hanging upside down from a forklift covered in bruises.
Miz confirmed to Renee Young that Curtis Axel is NOT the fifth partner.
Roman Reigns vs Braun Strowman – Steel cage match
As a result of Miz TV, Braun Strowman had to win this match to stay in the TLC match. If he wins, then his team get a fifth member as well. We don’t know who that fifth person is yet.
Miz joined commentary, but wouldn’t reveal the identity of the fifth man.
Let’s face it, this match was never going to be about the match. Not that the in-ring action wasn’t good, it was. You know what Reigns vs Strowman looks like, they’ve tried to kill each other repeatedly.
Reigns had several chances to escape the cage. On one of these Sheamus and Cesaro ran down to stop him, followed by Ambrose and Rollins to stop them – cue the brawl. The brawl ended up backstage, while the match continued in the cage. Miz left commentary, waited for the fighting foursome to get to the right position, and put the shutters down on them to stop them getting back to the ring.
When we cut back to the match, we got a little more action. Roman Reigns was in the ascendency, looking like he might just do it. Then Kane’s music hit, and he appeared from under the ring. Strowman let Kane work Reigns over for a while before he pinned him.
After the match, Miz confirmed Kane will be the fifth member of his team at TLC.
A good go home show for TLC. I’m a fairly positive WWE fan anyway, but it’s a very long time since I’ve been this invested in so much of RAW. There are always going to be bits that don’t click, you can’t like everything, but RAW is enjoyable at the moment. I wasn’t looking at the clock by hour three like I so often am. TLC should be a decent PPV as well, three women’s matches on a single PPV card – is that a first?
TLC card so far
The Shield vs Miz, Sheamus, Cesaro, Braun Strowman and Kane
Alexa Bliss vs Mickie James – RAW Women’s Championship match
Kalisto (C) vs Enzo Amore – Cruiserweight Championship match
Asuka vs Emma
The Demon vs Sister Abigail
Cedric Alexander and Rich Swann vs Gentleman Jack Gallagher and The Brian Kendrick
Sasha Banks vs Alicia Fox – Kickoff show