Monday Night Raw – December 11, 2017: Which Way Is Philadelphia?

Monday Night Raw
Date: December 11, 2017
Location: Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland, Ohio
Commentators: Michael Cole, Corey Graves, Booker T.

It’s officially time to start getting ready for the Royal Rumble as we have a #1 contenders match to crown a new challenger to Brock Lesnar. Tonight it’s Braun Strowman vs. Kane for that title shot in a match that seems to be so simple that there almost has to be something screwy going on. Let’s get to it.

The narrated recaps are back, this time setting up tonight’s three singles matches between the Shield and Samoa Joe/The Bar.

Samoa Joe is in the ring to talk about how the Shield has taken out so many people over the years. He’s not impressed though because he’s already taken care of Reigns and Rollins and tonight he’ll add Ambrose to the list. For now though, he wants Reigns to come out here like a man. We cut to the back where Rollins sends Ambrose to get Roman. Dude go get him yourself. Joe goes on about how no one can face him until Reigns finally joins his partners in the back, only to come out a few seconds later. The fight is on but here are the Bar for the beatdown. Shield comes in, only to get beaten down in short order.

Bayley/Mickie James vs. Mandy Rose/Paige

Before the match, Absolution says they’re here to destroy everything and there’s nothing anyone can do about it. Bayley and Mandy start things off but Paige is in almost immediately. Mandy breaks up a double suplex but Absolution is sent outside. That means a double dive from the apron and we take a break.

Back with Bayley fighting out of a chinlock but getting kneed in the chest for two. Paige hits a running knee of her own and mocks Bayley not being able to get to the corner. You really can see how much more experienced she is than either Mandy or Sonya. Bayley rolls away and the hot tag brings in Mickie for some house cleaning. A flapjack and top rope Thesz press gets two on Mandy as everything breaks down. Paige kicks Mickie in the head though and Mandy steals the pin at 8:22.

Rating: C-. Absolution continues to roll, as they should, but that pre-match promo is a great reason why the division has a lot of its problems. The speaking in catchphrases and awfully scripted lines takes me out of a lot of the promos and it’s getting worse and worse. If you really can’t have them say “we’re Absolution and we’re awesome”, maybe it’s time you found a different way to teach these women to talk.

Clash of Champions preview.

Bray Wyatt is here but Matt Hardy is WOKEN.

Post break, Wyatt talks about how there will always be darkness vs. light but Matt, with a WOKEN graphic (erg), says the Great War has gone on for eons. They both talk about being light and dark with Matt saying he’s met Sister Abigail before when they walked hand in hand, admiring the Gardens of Babylon. The Woken Warriors are preparing for battle against the Wyatt swarm and they shall delete. A laugh off ensues, going on so long that it becomes funny.

We look back at Nia Jax having a thing for Enzo Amore.

Enzo is admiring his Cruiserweight Championship when a suited Drew Gulak comes in. Tonight there is going to be another fatal four way with the winner getting to face Gulak next week in a #1 contenders match. Enzo mentions Jax and Gulak is rather confused. Drew says he gets it before saying that was Enzo trying to teach him to be ready for anything.

Finn Balor vs. Curtis Axel

Axel mocks Finn’s entrance and THE BRACE IS OFF! Bo Dallas gets in a cheap shot to start and we’re ready to go after a pre-match beatdown. Curtis gets in an early Hennig necksnap and cranks on the neck. Balor pops up, hits the shotgun dropkick and finishes Axel with the Coup de Grace at 1:39.

Kane is ready to enter the abyss with a fellow monster. He’ll climb back out alone though.

Seth Rollins vs. Sheamus

Seth wastes no time in knocking him outside for a suicide dive. They get back in with Sheamus hammering away to take over with the power offense. Sheamus misses a kick in the corner though as Booker rips on CrossFit. A Blockbuster connects and Sheamus is knocked outside again, only to knee Seth down as we take a break. Back with Sheamus holding a bad looking chinlock before Sheamus starts in on the knee.

We hit a modified Brock Lock before Seth tries a hurricane. That’s quickly countered into a Cloverleaf which is countered into a small package for two. Seth gets two more off a DDT, followed by the low superkick for the same. Sheamus goes after the knee but gets caught in the superplex into the Falcon Arrow for a very delayed two. The knee is shot though and Rollins can’t follow up. Sheamus grabs a Regal Roll but misses the Brogue Kick. Seth’s Wind-Up knee is good for the pin at 13:47.

Rating: B-. And so, they have another match. These two and their respective partners have been having these same matches for what feels like forever now and there’s no reason to believe they’re going to stop anytime soon. Just mix things up a bit or (just work with me here), FIND SOMEONE NEW FOR THEM TO FEUD AGAINST. I know that’s crazy talk but it just might work.

Ambrose’s strategy for tonight: avoid getting kicked in the face and avoid the Koquina Clutch.

Ariya Daivari vs. Mustafa Ali vs. Cedric Alexander vs. Tony Nese

The winner gets Gulak, on commentary here, next week. Cedric and Tony slug it out to start before heading outside so Ali can hit a good looking flip dive off the top. Back in and Daivari hammers away on Cedric as Gulak won’t answer if he’ll lay down for Enzo should he get the title shot.

Nese comes back in but can’t hit a pumphandle slam on Ali. Daivari hits Nese by mistake but Ali DDT’s Alexander to put all four down. Back from a break with Ali fighting out of a chinlock, only to get pulled right back down. The fans are almost eerily silent because we’re in a rest hold in a four way. Ali’s rolling X Factor gets two with Nese making the save. Nese gets dropped for the 054 with Cedric making a save of his own this time.

Cedric and Ali slug it out until a Lumbar Check plants Ali. Daivari tries to steal the pin, only to have Cedric pull him out as well. Nese adds a big flip dive to the two of them, followed by the running knee. Ali gets in a save of his own but Alexander cleans house, capped off by a Lumbar Check to end Daivari at 13:02.

Rating: C. I can’t get over that chinlock eating up so much time in the middle. That being said, I’m very happy with Cedric winning, even if I can’t imagine him winning the title whenever he faces Enzo. Not a bad match here, but longer than it needed to be, which is often a bigger problem than being bad.

Post break, Gulak comes up to Enzo and says he’ll win next week then go on to become champion. It’s just some friendly banter but Enzo doesn’t like it, saying Gulak works for him. Enzo says there’s one word to describe the PowerPoint presentations, but Gulak says that word is informative. Nia comes up and says she and Enzo should talk when he’s not busy. Gulak: “Informative.”

Intercontinental Title: Roman Reigns vs. Cesaro

Reigns is defending and starts fast with uppercuts and clotheslines. They fight to the floor and we take an early break. Back with Cesaro cranking on the arm after swinging it into the barricade for a sick thud during the commercial. Reigns fights out with a backslide for two, followed by a rollup. That’s reversed into a Fujiwara armbar and then a regular armbar. Reigns fights up again and hits the apron kick to the face for two, only to get pulled into a Crossface.

Reigns reverses into a Samoan drop for two, only to be sent HARD into the post. It doesn’t seem to matter that much though as Reigns scores with a Superman punch off the apron. The arm won’t let him follow up properly though, allowing Cesaro to grab another Crossface. The Swing is reversed into a sitout powerbomb for two more but Reigns can’t follow up. Cesaro slugs away in the corner but the Neutralizer is countered with a backdrop, followed by the spear to retain the title at 16:53.

Rating: B+. It’s a long match but it actually needed a little more time. I would have liked a lot more of Reigns fighting back and something better than “spear, ow my arm, pin”. Cesaro working on the arm for that long looked like it was going somewhere but then they just went to the finish. That being said, they beat the heck out of each other for a long time and it was a heck of a match. Just have a better finish and it’s a classic.

Strowman is ready to go to the Royal Rumble.

Alicia Fox vs. Asuka

And no match as Absolution has attacked Fox. Absolution jumps Asuka as well with the rest of the division running out for the save.

Jason Jordan still wants a match with Samoa Joe but angle turns him down again. Angle says he’ll get there eventually but it’s when Angle says so. Jordan: “Ok Kurt.”

Dean Ambrose vs. Samoa Joe

Jordan comes out to watch from the stage, allowing Ambrose to jump a distracted Joe. A crossbody bounces off of Joe so he stomps away for a bit. Dean goes after the knee and takes it to the floor but gets sent into the steps as we take a break. Back with Joe missing the backsplash but peppering Dean with jabs to the face.

Joe grabs a suplex to cut him off again but here’s Jordan for a distraction. Jordan and Joe go face to face but Dean dives on him. Dean gets in his face so Joe dives on both of them as well, followed by a backsplash to Jordan. Back in and the Koquina Clutch knocks Ambrose out at 10:49.

Rating: C. Just a match here with Jordan again messing with things he doesn’t need to be involved in. Joe is likely the next challenger for Reigns and the Intercontinental Title but it could be interesting to see where Jordan goes in the middle. That being said, Joe is the far better challenger and that’s where they should go.

Titus Worldwide announces Dana Brooke as statistician and head of research and development.  Anderson and Gallows come in to laugh at them but Strowman comes up and scares everyone away.

Video on Strowman vs. Kane.

Kane vs. Braun Strowman

The winner gets Lesnar at the Rumble. Strowman wastes no time by splashing Kane in the corner, followed by a running dropkick for one. Kane avoids a charge though and a chokeslam gets two. Another chokeslam gets the same before Strowman chokeslams Kane for good measure. They fight into the crowd and Strowman spears Kane through the barricade for a double countout at 4:31.

Rating: C-. It was fun while it lasted in a Brock Lesnar vs. Goldberg at Wrestlemania kind of way but that’s about all it had. I don’t think anyone expected Kane to win here and Strowman not winning is likely a good idea, especially if it would have meant losing to Lesnar again at the Rumble. I really hope Lesnar does defend at the pay per view (assuming he’s not injured or something) but this doesn’t give me a lot of hope.

The fight continues post match with both guys picking up steps. Said steps are rammed together with Strowman getting the better of it but he can’t crush Kane’s throat again. Kane chairs Strowman in the knee and then the back, finally taking the monster down. Kane sets up a table but a double clothesline gives us a double situp. Strowman muscles him up for the powerslam through the table to end the show.

Overall Rating: C. The wrestling was strong here but they’re completely out of steam with this Joe/Bar vs. Shield stuff. I really don’t get why they didn’t just do the big blowoff six man match and move on to anything else, but annoyingly enough it seems to be little more than they don’t have another idea. The rest of the show was hit and miss but those three matches and the main event dominated. Not the worst show but they need something to build towards soon.

Results

Paige/Mandy Rose b. Mickie James/Bayley – Kick to Mickie’s head

Finn Balor b. Curtis Axel – Coup de Grace

Seth Rollins b. Sheamus – Wind-Up knee

Cedric Alexander b. Mustafa Ali, Ariya Daivari and Tony Nese – Lumbar Check to Daivari

Roman Reigns b. Cesaro – Spear

Samoa Joe b. Dean Ambrose – Koquina Clutch

Braun Strowman vs. Kane went to a double countout

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8 comments

  1. Dragon says:

    Kane vs Lesnar could be interesting for a one off match. I wasnt aware they never faced eachother one on one. Strowman vs Lesnar has been done already. Also, I agree KB Absolution’s endless string of catchphrases made me roll my eyes.

  2. Jay H (the real one) says:

    I imagine we are heading for a Triple Threat at the Royal Rumble with Kane & Braun challenging Brock Lesnar. Also what was Absolution really saying that annoyed you? Roman & Cesaro was still really good as was the Cruiserweight Match once again.

    Dragon Reply:

    Go back and listen to their promo…there are a string of catchphrases in there and it does not come off as natural. They even rip off one of Enzo’s lines by referring to themselves as the Absolution Train…..how many trains are needed on Raw?

  3. Aeon Mathix says:

    I think the triple threat is where they are going too. Makes sense if you don’t want Strowman beaten by Brock again so cue Kane to take the fall. The match itself doesn’t sound very interesting, but I don’t think any of us believe Brock is dropping that thing at the Rumble so might as well have a match like this instead of against another star who has no chance.

    IC Reply:

    I think everyone except the writer of this review sees the triple threat is where they are clearly going.
    I really hope Lesnar does defend at the pay per view (assuming he’s not injured or something) but this doesn’t give me a lot of hope.
    Seriously dude?
    They announced Lesnar is showing up on RAW next week, which you failed to mention in your report.
    Improvement needed.

    klunderbunker Reply:

    Given that he said he was injured at Survivor Series and the rumor that he wasn’t going to have a Rumble match from less than two weeks ago, I don’t think it’s that far out of the question. The triple threat is likely, but it’s not like it’s a layup given various circumstances.

    IC Reply:

    Brock was injured at Survivor Series?
    Sounds like some BS from Dave “The Newsboy” Meltzer” to me.
    Dude also said Sheamus was badly injured and near retirement and would not really be bumping in his match against Rollins on RAW.
    That seemed about as valid as him reporting that Balor was in line to fight Lesnar for the title at Royal Rumble despite not being positioned anywhere near that level lately.
    Key word in your sentence there was rumor, which should have applied to the first part as well.

  4. klunderbunker says:

    Here’s the thing about news reports like that, and why they can be unfair to people like Meltzer.

    For argument’s sake, let’s say Lesnar was hurt. That show was about a month ago and there’s over six weeks before the Rumble. Maybe he got it diagnosed and it wasn’t as bad as it seemed. Possible, no?

    Meltzer reports that he’s hurt and the Rumble may be in jeopardy. Then it’s not as bad as it seems and Lesnar is good to go.

    Now, does that make what Meltzer said inaccurate? Not at all. It was accurate at the time, but things changed. The reaction though? “MELTZER IS STUPID AND MAKES UP NONSENSE!”

    So, at the time, yeah I believed the story that Lesnar was hurt. Maybe he was and it wasn’t as bad as it seemed or maybe he never was in the first place.

    As for Sheamus, he’s certainly been less active than usual as of late. People work hurt all the time. That doesn’t make what was said untrue.

    Back to the original point of all this though: it’s true that I missed the Lesnar part, but, based on what we saw on Raw (with one guy being the last man standing while the other guy is left laying), that doesn’t scream triple threat. Now that’s where they’ll likely go because WWE loves themselves some triple threats, but it’s not exactly logical booking.