When Albert Camus published his essay The Myth of Sisyphus, he spoke of how Sisyphus being forced to roll a boulder up a hill every day only to watch it roll down every evening is like humanity’s quest to mind meaning in an absurd universe where everything is chaos and action seems to have no relevance to the consequence. It’s worth questioning with this if all action is inherent without consequence, what is the purpose of continuing beyond that to continue is to exist? With that in mind, I’m Jozef and welcome to Monday Night RAW.
Stephanie McMahon Speaks
I had forgotten how happy I was to be out of ‘The Authority’ era where every show began with a 20 minute promo from one or both of Steph McMahon & Triple H. It’s not that a lot of what Steph said didn’t make sense as she ran down Angle’s inability to prevent Smackdown intruders, his sending out of the cavalry to fend off an attack that didn’t happen to make everyone look silly or the potential nepotism of putting Jason Jordan in the team as Smackdown had put in the comparitive fifth figure of John Cena. It’s that this is the same running down of Angle promo she’s given every time she’s returned. Thank goodness of the appearance of The Shield to both hype up a trios match against The New Day at Survivor Series and stand up for Kurt as the three lads added a jolt of electricity to proceedings, especially Seth’s ‘let us not go there’ reaction as Roman reminded Steph about how the last match she was involved in was Triple H vs Rollins. They also announced The Shield vs The BarMizVah later in the show. This segment helped set up a lot of the show but it really felt like it went on too long and it didn’t achieve enough for it.
Paul Heyman Speaks & Brock Lesnar Jumps
You can never go wrong with a Paul Heyman promo, especially one where he’s motivated. This week he’s responding to the change of match as Lesnar is set to face the new WWE Champion, AJ Styles. Heyman did his standard mix of putting over the opponent for the ways they could beat Lesnar, in Styles’ case, his speed and veteran instincts but also reminding us that Brock Lesnar is still the beast. What made this promo particularly notable is that Heyman was forced to go off script after someone in the crowd proposed to their girlfriend leading to a ‘she said yes’ chant. Heyman would respond by telling the an that the only reason she said yes is because she’s never been with a beast. A bit uncomfortable in terms of gender politics but it got the point across. Anyway, Heyman sleepwalking is still fun and he was firmly awake here.
The Shield def. The BarMizVah (14:55)
Considering this was the proper Shield reunion we’d waited for and it was against the Intercontinental champion and the Tag Team Champions, I couldn’t help but feel this was fun but nowhere near as good as it should have been. While all six men worked hard to generate excitement, there was just something lacking, even though all three members of the Shield are arguably better wrestlers now than they were then, maybe it was the constrictions of a TV match but it just lacked a certain spark of old. It did have a number of great sequences including down the line where Cesaro and Reigns put on a smooth mini-singles encounter that had this writer believing Cesaro could cause a major upset and actually pin Reigns on the return of The Shield. Of course, it was not meant to be and after a customary, everyone hits their finishers, the Bar would be taken out of the equation leaving The Miz alone to be taken out with a massive Spear and a Triple Powerbomb. Good fun, especially in the latter few minutes but hardly the essential event it should have been.
The Ballad of Jason Jordan
What a night Jason Jordan had. So early in the show, Jordan would take on a returning from illness. After 7:17 of nothing, Jordan managed to grab him by the trousers and roll up the former WWE Champion for the pinfall. The story of the match was that Jordan injured his leg on a dive and after the match Wyatt would attack that same leg to the delight of the crowd who delivered ‘thank you, Wyatt’ and ‘nananana hey hey hey, goodbye’ chants, until his father, watching from backstage would come out to help him to the back. It should be noted here, Jordan sold the leg superbly. Backstage, he begged Angle not to take him out of the team. Later on, Angle would come out to announce the new fifth member of Team RAW when Jordan would come out to beg as well, it should be noted, he did not sell this script very well at all. As he was begging, out would come Stephanie McMahon to introduce the real fifth member as ‘The Game’ hit the speakers and yes, that’s right, Survivor Series is now the battle of the over 35s and the part-timers because Triple H, the COO of the entire company, is representing RAW. That’s definitely not a biased position. Jordan would continue to beg for his place on the team so Triple H hit him with a Pedigree to the further delight of the arena around him. If this is trying to get Jordan sympathy, it’s failed, if it’s the set-up for a heel turn, well…
Finn Balor & Samoa Joe def. Anderson & Gallows (12:59)
This was actually a really fun, little match. It worked a simple structure, utilising Balor’s ability to play the face-in-peril role and The Good Brothers’ superb tag-team instincts keeping the ring cut off until Joe could hit a thunderous hot tag. But the story within the face team of the inaugural Dusty Classic winners Joe and Balor learning to work together again to defeat Balor’s former ‘NOTORIOUS’ Club-mates really made it with Joe managing to steal the show from the apron presenting such apathy towards his surroundings that he just wandered off at the end of the match instead of staying around to celebrate. One thing I will say, it seems unfair for Wyatt to have Joe on the same show as a lot of his moves (uranage slam, standing senton, atomic drop) are similar but everything Joe does is just so much crisper. Well done to The Good Brothers for continuing to put on strong performances, even when they’re in a no-hope, no-storyline position.
Other Bits You Could Have My God I Wasted Three Hours of My Life on This, Time Isn’t Infinite
Bayley def. Dana Brooke and Mickie James (7:27) – After hitting Brooke with a Bayley to Belly for the pin, Bayley was confirmed as the fifth member of Women’s Team RAW for Survivor Series. What was that you were all saying about Paige returning?
Enzo Amore & Drew Gulak def. Akira Tozawa & Kalisto (7:55) – The match ended as Enzo threw Tozawa into Kalisto before hitting JawdEnzo for the pin. As a reward for winning, Amore v Kalisto has been given the Main Event of Survivor Series…KickOff, they’re on the KickOff show.
The MizTV featuring The Bar manages to establish that some matches we already knew were happening on RAW & Survivor Series are happening. For Fifteen minutes.
Kane had a promo about his match with Braun Strowman later, boy could you imagine if after this build up, they didn’t actually have a match, ha, that would be such a disappointment, WWE would never do that, they love their fans.
We get highlights of Lita v Trish from RAW in ’04. We get to watch Lita piledrive herself out of the ring on a tope suicido so there’s that.
Alexa Bliss is backstage and running down how Smackdown: Live became the ‘b show’ when she left. She also entertains the notion of going to watch the Natalya v Charlotte match the next night. What times we live in.
Braun Strowman vs Kane Never Fucking Happens!
WWE have one of their best Survivor Series cards in ages, no, one of their best cards in ages, so with that in mind, they decide to make the hot finish to this go-home show, a match that never starts. Yes, we get a few minutes of brawling, followed by a tussle over a table that doesn’t get broken and the big cave in the ring Running Powerslam but really, it doesn’t amount to anything. It takes a lot in 2017 to make a Braun Strowman main event boring but well done they did it, they’d have been better placed finishing on Triple H hitting a Pedigree than this. Well, that’s it for another RAW, good luck on Sunday WWE, keep pushing that rock up that hill.