by Amanda Why
Monday night again and, while the rest of you are getting your beauty sleep, some of us are watching the latest episode of the ‘longest running weekly episodic TV show’. The preview for tonight promises us a cruiserweight four-way, a tag title match, and Paige versus Sasha Banks. We can also expect Roman Reigns to address Samoa Joe’s attack on him last week, and more in the ongoing saga between Braun Strowman and Kane.
I’m Amanda, and I’ll be your guide through RAW this week.
The Opening Segment
After a lengthy recap of Roman Reigns with the Intercontinental title, and last week’s attack by Samoa Joe, Kurt Angle started things off. He was about to declare Reigns versus Samoa Joe in an IC title match when he was interrupted by Jason Jordan demanding a match with Reigns for himself.
Angle pointed out Jordan is still injured, but Jordan said he’s fine, and used ‘I just need a chance, Dad’ as leverage.
Reigns came out and got booed less than Jason Jordan. Not by much, but it’s progress. He said he wanted Samoa Joe tonight, then told Jordan not to run to daddy for opportunities, step up and take them. They bickered for a bit, then Samoa Joe turned up on the stage.
Joe said, if Roman was done patronising the kid, he accepted his challenge, but he had five seconds to withdraw it because Reigns knows he can’t beat him.
Jason Jordan then challenged Samoa Joe – he needs to chill. He said he doesn’t need to attack people from behind like Joe. When Roman Reigns laughed at him, Jordan gave him a belly to belly… after attacking him from behind, wait, didn’t he just…nevermind.
That annoyed Reigns who said Samoa Joe can wait until later, he was going to have Jordan now.
Roman Reigns vs Jason Jordan
The first part of the match made it look like Reigns was going to teach Jason Jordan an extended lesson. Jordan fought back, and carted Reigns back and forth, slamming him into corners, then let Reigns own attempt at offence send him into the ring post and out to the floor.
By the time we came back from an ad break, Jordan was trying to submit Reigns in the middle of the ring. Obviously, that didn’t work, so it was back to it. Considering Roman Reigns’ perceived status, this match was pure elevation for Jordan, way more fifty/fifty than anyone could expect.
Jordan caught Reigns on the outside when he was going for a superman punch off the steps, and slammed him back first into the steps. They were both getting tired and frustrated, so we got another ad break.
This match was long. Good, but not packed with thrilling moments. More a long drawn out battle, which worked. Jason Jordan got a good number of near falls on the champ but re-injured his already strapped knee. Reigns tried several times to keep Jordan down, without success.
Eventually Reigns won with the superman punch and spear.
Samoa Joe took to the mic and said Reigns was looking a little worn out, and he’d made some bad choices, so he was coming down to put him to sleep. Joe got the Coquina Clutch on Reigns, but Jordan tore him away and suplexed him. Reigns superman punched Jordan for his trouble.
Back in Kurt Angle’s office, Jordan demanded both a rematch with Reigns and a match with Samoa Joe. Angle yelled at him and told him he doesn’t want anyone to think he plays favourites. Before Jordan had a chance to leave, Samoa Joe tried to put him through a wall.
Paige vs Sasha Banks
This was Paige’s first singles match back, the rest of Absolution came with her, and Sasha Banks brought Bayley and Mickie James for back up. Alexa Bliss joined commentary for the match, just to ensure no-one commented on the match itself.
I have to admit, it’s kinda nice to see Paige back in the ring, it’s been a long time. Banks and Paige have a good chemistry, it’s nice to see Paige has come back strong.
Towards the end of the match, Sasha Banks took a rough landing from a sunset flip powerbomb and was down for a while. It looked like she’d been weakened. She managed to counter the RamPaige into the Bank Statement, only for Paige to crawl back to get her foot on the ropes and slide out of the ring.
The four on the outside didn’t become a factor until that point of the match when they had a scrap amongst themselves. Sasha Banks got distracted checking on her friends, turned back to a kick in the face from Paige, followed by a RamPaige, and Paige won her return match.
Absolution attacked Banks after the match
The match got a decent amount of time too. The segment got nearly half an hour in total.
The Other Stuff
– Elias asked Kurt Angle for another opportunity at the Intercontinental title, and accused Angle of playing favourites. Ange sent him to the ring to play while he found him a worthy opponent.
– Enzo Amore gave Drew Gulak and Tony Nese a pep talk, while telling off Noam Dar and Ariya Daivari for losing last week. For some reason, the segment ended with him most to nose with Nia Jax, and her asking him ‘How you doin’?’. I’m totally here for Jax breaking Amore in half in the ring.
– Cruiserweight fatal four-way – Drew Gulak, Tony Nese, Mustafa Ali and Cedric Alexander. The winner faces Rich Swann next week for the number one contender spot. The CW’s always put on a great show, this was no different, there was some truly beautiful stuff in there. Another long match (that’s a good thing). Drew Gulak won. He stole a pin on Mustafa Ali, after Ali and Rich Swann had spectacularly worn each other out.
– Elias did Elias stuff, insulting people and singing until his opponent arrived. He said he wanted a worthy competitor, he got Braun Strowman. Elias started to walk away, then chanced attacking Strowman from behind. Bad move. Even throwing Strowman into a post, and smashing a guitar on his back, didn’t faze him. Strowman put him down with a clothesline and the running powerslam, then threw some steps into the ring. Kane’s music played before he could use them.
– Kane appeared by video and said Strowman had been a monster among men for so long he’d forgotten what it was like to be a monster among monsters. They’re having a match next week. Elias was apparently sensible enough to leg it while Kane was talking.
– Roman Reigns gave Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose a pep talk before their match. They didn’t need it, it was just an excuse to show them all together. That’s fine.
– Asuka vs Alicia Fox – Fox said she’s seen how Asuka dealt with Dana Brooke, but she’s not Dana Brooke. She’s right, she got more offence in than Brooke, a bit anyway. She still submitted though. Just as like last week, Absolution surrounded the ring after the match, just like last week it was a standoff until Asuka backed up the ramp. She left Fox stranded in the ring. Paige told everyone Alicia Fox was her best friend, but Deville and Rose don’t feel the same. Sonya Deville and Mandy Rose then delivered the beatdown to Fox.
– Finn Balor vs Bo Dallas – Dallas came out to The Miz’ music. The crowd could not have cared less. It was fine. It’s really hard to take Bo Dallas seriously as a threat, and that’s a shame, he’s significantly better than this. Balor is still apparently trying to convince the higher-ups that he’s over (which he clearly is), this match won’t have helped. Balor won with the Coup De Grace.
– Matt Hardy is BROKEN, or rather, WOKEN. He’s lost it, or found it, I’m not sure which. There was a back and forth video spot with him and Bray Wyatt. This feud is going to require two headache pills and a lie-down, but it might just work.
Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose vs Sheamus and Cesaro – Tag Team Championship match
Disappointingly, Ambrose and Rollins came out to their separate themes, not the Shield theme. Reigns was shown watching backstage.
The Bar had the best of the early action, dominating Ambrose, then besting Rollins on the outside, and throwing him into the ring post.
Reigns was shown shaking his head as Rollins took a beating from The Bar, opening the speculation about the fate of the Shield if Rollins and Ambrose fail to capture the titles.
It’s always good when these two teams fight, but it felt like this match was waiting for something. Normally Ambrose takes all the punishment, but it was Rollins turn this week. Cesaro kicked Ambrose off the apron when Rollins got close to tagging, then let Sheamus continue the punishment while Ambrose was laid out at ringside.
Both teams had chances, but neither could quite make the difference. In the end, it was foul means that determined the result. After breaking up Rollins pin attempt on Cesaro, Sheamus refused to stop pounding on him and leave the ring. The ref DQ’d The Bar to give Rollins and Ambrose the win but not the titles.
Kurt Angle came out and restarted the match as a no DQ.
Ambrose and Rollins were in control from the restart. It looked like a foregone conclusion, until Samoa Joe ran in and flattened them. Roman Reigns came out and chased him off, but it was too late. With Rollins and Reigns too far away to stop it, Ambrose was Brogue kicked and pinned.
Guess The Shield vs Samoa Joe and The Bar is the next step then.
The biggest ongoing feud on RAW appears to be Booker T versus Corey Graves, they’re forever sniping at each other. Sometimes it’s entertaining, a lot of the time it’s just distracting from what’s going on in the ring. Strong matches on tonight’s show, and some clear and obvious build for storylines. Good stuff to come as we start the slow build to Royal Rumble.