Monday Night Raw – September 4, 2017: A Labor of Like
Date: September 4, 2017
Location: CenturyLink Center, Omaha, Nebraska
Commentators: Michael Cole, Corey Graves, Booker T.
As has been the case in recent weeks, we’re coming in with a big match on the card. In this case it’s Jeff Hardy making a return to singles action as he challenges Miz for the Intercontinental Title. Other than that we also have a showdown as Braun Strowman faces Big Show inside a steel cage. Let’s get to it.
We open with a long recap of the John Cena vs. Roman Reigns promo last week. The more I think about it, the more I like it for Reigns. More on this later this week.
John Cena vs. Jason Jordan
Before the match, we look at Cena answering an open challenge from Kurt Angle fifteen years ago in his debut match. The fans are actually behind Cena, which should tell you a lot about Jordan’s future. Jason grabs an early takedown and grabs a waistlock. Cena can’t do much with him to start until a hard clothesline drops Jason without much effort. A suplex gets two on Jordan, followed by a hard whip into the corner for the same as we take a break.
Back with Jordan hitting his own suplexes and that’s enough for Cena, who initiates the finishing sequence. Jordan’s rollup is countered into the STF but he reverses into something like a Crossface. Cena powers out (because he’s Cena) and reverses another suplex into a crossbody. That’s enough for Cena though as he grabs the AA for the pin at 11:38.
Rating: B-. These performances make Jordan look like a star but the whole being Angle’s son thing is really not doing him any favors. It’s not an effective story and I think WWE is starting to get that. Hopefully they build Jordan up and then do something to get rid of the Angle connection because it’s not doing much for him.
Post match Roman Reigns comes out for a chat. Back from a break with Roman asking why it took a veteran twenty minutes to beat a rookie. I don’t think Reigns knows A, what a rookie is or B, how to tell time. Cena says Roman is starting to ask questions and that’s the worst thing he could do. They’re distracting him and he’s out here with his zipper down. Reigns: “I busted it actually. Big dog.”
Cena promises that Reigns will get his answers at No Mercy, either by a guy who has lost his steps or someone who has been stringing Roman along. Roman is going to learn that he’s an entitled golden boy while people like Chad Gable, Jason Jordan and even the Miz have had to fight and claw their way to get where they are. Point being, Cena doesn’t respect Reigns because Roman is the only one living a lie. Reigns wants to fight right now but Cena doesn’t seem interested. That makes Roman think he’s all talk, which is why Reigns doesn’t respect him. More good stuff here as you can feel the personal issues, which is what this match needs.
Cesaro/Sheamus vs. Heath Slater/Rhyno
Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins are on commentary. Slater rolls Cesaro up for a very early two and gets caught in the wrong corner for his efforts. It’s off to Rhyno for the power, only to walk into the Brogue Kick for the fast pin at 2:17.
Matt Hardy thinks it’s a WONDERFUL night for a new Intercontinental Champion. Jeff talks about wrestling each match like it’s his first as well as his last. Tonight he’s either going out in a blaze of glory or as the new Intercontinental Champion. Matt is ready for the Miztourage too.
Intercontinental Title: The Miz vs. Jeff Hardy
Miz is defending. Jeff gets three near falls in the first minute before a clothesline puts Miz on the floor. A dive is teased but Jeff pulls back as Miz moves, sending us to a break. Back with Jeff getting two off his sitout gordbuster but mostly missing the Whisper in the Wind. Dallas offers a distraction so Axel can break up the Swanton, leaving Matt to take care of both of them. All three are ejected and it’s Jeff grabbing a rollup for two.
Miz’s DDT gets the same but he misses the running clothesline in the corner. Miz hits a running knee ala Daniel Bryan for two and we hit the YES Kicks. Jeff is right back with a dropkick but his dive off the apron is broken up. We hit the Figure Four for a bit with Jeff getting out without too much trouble.
The Twisting Stunner has Miz in trouble so he heads outside, only to get caught by Poetry in Motion against the barricade. Back in and the Swanton misses thanks to Maryse telling her husband it was coming. Another Twist of Fate is countered into the Skull Crushing Finale to retain the title at 13:02.
Rating: B. Better match than I was expecting and Miz retaining clean (the Maryse thing wasn’t interference) is a good idea. The fact that they’re pushing Miz’s total days as champion is interesting too as he’s only about six months away from setting the all time record for combined days with the title. That’s easily something he could reach, along with most title reigns. They would be crazy not to push the heck out of that and it seems to have started.
We look back at last week’s main event with Alexa Bliss winning the title but getting beaten down by Nia Jax.
Nia comes in to see Kurt Angle and wants to know why she’s not in the title match. Emma comes in to do her “I started the Women’s Revolution and it’s all over Twitter” stuff. Nia threatens to end her so Kurt makes a tag match with the two of them facing Bliss and Banks. If Nia and Emma win, they’re added to Bliss vs. Banks at No Mercy to make it a four way.
We look back at Big Show and Braun Strowman breaking the ring in April.
Enzo Amore/Cedric Alexander/Gran Metalik vs. Tony Nese/Drew Gulak/Noam Dar
Rematch from 205 Live because that show needs to be made even less important. Enzo says it’s ok for him to cheat last week on 205 Live because it means he’s smart. He has nicknames for the other five people in the match, most of, all of which we heard on 205 Live. Joined in progress after a break with Nese and Alexander jumping over each other.
Nese gets sent into the corner so Enzo tags himself in, only to get dropped into the corner. Drew grabs a seated abdominal stretch until Enzo fights up to send all three villains to the floor. Back up and the hot tag brings in Cedric for the handspring enziguri to Gulak. Alexander and Metalik hit stereo dives but Enzo tags himself in again for a poke to the eye. The Jordunzo ends Gulak at 4:59.
Rating: D+. So yeah, this was just a shortened version of the 205 Live match, meaning it’s even more worthless than I was expecting. As is still the case, Enzo is the most over member of the roster and there isn’t another option to push on the show. No one else has gotten any traction and Enzo is popular so this makes sense, as annoying as it is.
Sasha Banks is getting ready when Alexa Bliss comes in. A shouting match ensues with Banks promising to make Bliss scream at No Mercy.
Here’s Finn Balor for a chat. He misses being Universal Champion and thinks the Intercontinental Title would have looked good around his waist, had it not been for Bray Wyatt. Just because he beat Bray at Summerslam, a monster like that never really goes away. Finn doesn’t run from his demons because sometimes he becomes them.
Bray pops up on screen to talk about Abigail taking him hunting. His first kill was an exhilarating experience but one day it became too easy. Then he put his weapon down and began hunting with his hands. He showed them no mercy and it showed him his purpose. The Demon is Finn’s bow and arrow so face Bray with his bare hands at No Mercy. Balor says he’s made his choice so Bray tells him to run.
Nia Jax/Emma vs. Alexa Bliss/Sasha Banks
If Emma and Jax win, they’re added to the No Mercy title match. Joined in progress with Sasha not being able to wristdrag Nia. Emma tags herself in and stomps away in the corner before grabbing a seated full nelson. It’s off to Bliss for some kicks to Emma with Nia not even offering a tag.
Bliss and Banks take turns beating on her, even joining up for a double suplex. Twisted Bliss doesn’t work and it’s off to Nia for the Samoan drop on the champ. Sasha has to dive in for a save but can’t get the Bank Statement on Nia. Jax plants Banks and drops the big leg but Emma runs in for the pin at 8:55.
Rating: D+. Well it’s better than just having Banks vs. Bliss all over again. Emma’s Women’s Revolution thing is still annoying but at least she’s not getting squashed in a minute anymore. The division needs all the fresh blood it can get and Emma is as good of an option as there is at the moment.
Nia Samoan drops Emma post match.
Strowman thinks tonight is a recipe for destruction and that’s a message to Brock Lesnar.
Ambrose and Rollins run into Elias with Dean liking the music.
Dean Ambrose/Seth Rollins vs. Anderson and Gallows
Non-title with Sheamus and Cesaro at ringside. Seth stomps Anderson in the corner to start as Cole can’t stop laughing for some reason. The champs knock Anderson and Gallows to the floor for stereo dives and we take a break. Back with Ambrose in a chinlock, followed by a chokebomb for two.
Rollins makes a quick save and Dean dropkicks his way to freedom. The hot tag brings in Seth to clean house with a suicide dive and a Sling Blade. Cesaro and Sheamus finally do something by offering a distraction, only to have Rollins grab a rollup on Anderson for the quick pin at 11:50.
Rating: C-. Another skippable match in a series of them tonight. The tag division continues to be weak due to having no depth but that’s the problem with having so few people around here and the Revival on the shelf. The match wasn’t bad but there’s just no interest here and that’s not surprising at all.
Cesaro and Sheamus beat up Anderson and Gallows to make the point clear.
Conor the Crusher video for pediatric cancer awareness month. Some other kids got to invent their own characters too in a nice touch. Nothing wrong with that.
Enzo is celebrating with Metalik and Alexander when Neville comes in. The three of them will be in a fatal five way elimination match tomorrow night on 205 Live with the winner getting the title shot at No Mercy.
The referee from the ring collapse match says he’s going to let them fight tonight.
Big Show won’t stand for this idea of being put out to pasture by Strowman because Braun doesn’t know what a cage match is. There hasn’t been anyone in twenty three years big enough or bad enough to break Big Show. This was one of Show’s best promos in years, even though he was looking just slightly to the left for some reason.
Brian Kendrick and Tony Nese are the other two in the five way.
Big Show vs. Braun Strowman
Inside a cage with pinfall/submission/escape to win. Strowman splashes him up against the cage to start but runs into the KO punch as we go to a break. Back with both guys down again until Show slams him into the cage over and over. Show tries to climb for some reason and gets crotched, only to shove Strowman off again.
That means a top rope elbow for two and a THIS IS AWESOME chant. Show goes for the door but gets pulled back, only to have Strowman get the door slammed on his head. A double shoulder puts both of them down but Show’s chokeslam is countered into a DDT for two. The chokeslam is good for two and Show escapes the powerslam. Strowman misses a charge and goes into the cage wall but is still able to catch Big Show escaping. The big old superplex plants Show and it’s the running powerslam for the pin at 16:58.
Rating: B. These two continue to surprise me as they haven’t actually had a bad match. WWE has a bad tendency to turn these battles of the big men into really boring matches but this was another great power match with both guys looking good. It’s also proof that having an obvious winner isn’t the worst thing in the world. Strowman was obviously winning (Big Show isn’t Kalisto after all) and it didn’t make the match any less entertaining.
Post match Strowman says that’s nothing compared to what he’ll do to Lesnar. Now it’s time to put Big Show out to pasture, so Strowman powerslams him through the cage (a section of which breaks and falls to the floor) to end the show.
Overall Rating: C+. This show flew by which is a major upgrade over what they do so often anymore. The main event was good enough, especially due to tying it to the ring collapse match throughout the night. Other than that, there wasn’t a lot of great wrestling, but they’re hyping the heck out of No Mercy for the sake of getting people to renew their Network subscriptions. If I just have to see a stacked pay per view, so be it. Good enough show this week and that’s not the worst thing in the world.
John Cena b. Jason Jordan – Attitude Adjustment
Cesaro/Sheamus b. Heath Slater/Rhyno – Brogue Kick to Rhyno
Miz b. Jeff Hardy – Skull Crushing Finale
Enzo Amore/Cedric Alexander/Gran Metalik b. Tony Nese/Drew Gulak/Noam Dar – Jordunzo to Gulak
Nia Jax/Emma b. Alexa Bliss/Sasha Banks – Legdrop to Banks
Dean Ambrose/Seth Rollins b. Anderson and Gallows – Rollup to Anderson
Braun Strowman b. Big Show – Running powerslam
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