WWE Raw results, recap: Big Show driven through steel cage, Cena-Reigns stays hot
Strowman closed Raw with a bang -- literally -- as WWE kept its momentum going on Monday night
For as red-hot as Raw has been in the weeks that followed SummerSlam, Monday's episode took a bit of a step back in terms of overall quality. The good news is that it wasn't by much.
At the very least, Raw succeeded in providing three hours of entertaining content even if a segment or two underdelivered what was possible coming in. The good news remains that as the NFL season creeps ever so closely and threatens to bring legitimate competition on Monday nights, WWE doesn't appear to be mailing it in.
Monday continued the strong build to No Mercy with new wrinkles, particularly in the women's division, chapter two of the John Cena-Roman Reigns war of words and a reminder about why there may not be anyone else like Braun Strowman in all of professional wrestling.
Cena, Reigns trade barbs, Part II
Reigns came out to verbally take down Cena moments after his exciting victory over Jason Jordan to open the show, criticizing Cena for not finishing Jordan off quicker. Reigns then upped the ante by fighting off "what" chants from the crowd to call Cena "a lying, fake-ass little bitch."
An awkward sequence followed that may have been the segment's highlight in the end. Cena called out Reigns for having his fly down, and Reigns claimed he instead "busted it, actually" while referring to himself as "Big Dog." "Sorry, I was just looking for your balls, but you ain't got none," Cena jabbed. Reigns answered by saying, "You would be looking for those."
Cena, who said he doesn't respect Reigns, closed his rant by calling him a "conceited golden boy who needs to be taught a lesson in respect." But when Cena turned down Reigns' offer to fight that moment, Reigns said Cena is all talk. "That's why I don't respect you," Reigns said before dropping the microphone and walking away.
This one had much of the same energy and heat as their surprise promo battle from one week ago but unfortunately not the same level of strong writing to have a similar impact. Still, Reigns delivered the content well to win back the defeat he took the week before, and the continued tease of not seeing both top superstars actually touch each other ahead of No Mercy makes this fantasy matchup feel extra special.
Strowman's monster build continues
With universal champion Brock Lesnar taking the week off from building toward their match at No Mercy, Strowman reignited an old feud with Big Show in a steel cage main event. The result was another strong step forward in the successful build of "The Monster Among Men" as a unique and unbeatable force.
Strowman benefited greatly from the unselfish selling of Big Show to provide Raw with a physical and entertaining main event. But the constant reminders of their April match -- one which saw the ring explode upon the impact of Strowman's superplex -- proved to be nothing more than a tease that a repeat was in store during the match (thanks to the double-reinforced ring). After the match, however, Strowman had one more trick up his sleeve.
Strowman hit his running power slam for the 1-2-3, cut a promo on Lesnar and then took out the Big Show once more. "This right here is your future and mine is becoming the new universal champion," Strowman said. "It's time to put you out to pasture, old man." Strowman then picked the giant up once more and tossed him head-first into the cage wall, which broke upon impact.
Despite the many violent and memorable highlights Strowman has provided Raw since becoming a viable main event star this calendar year, the visual of a broken Big Show crashing through the cage wall left quite an impact. Strowman needs to be in strong consideration for any mythical year-end most valuable player awards when all is said and done for WWE in 2017.
Women's title picture gets crowded
An early backstage argument between Nia Jax and general manager Kurt Angle was interrupted by Emma as both women were upset that Sasha Banks had activated her title rematch clause against champion Alexa Bliss. Angle's solution to keep everyone happy? He booked a tag team match on Raw involving all four with the added stipulation that a victory from Jax and Emma would mean a Fatal 4-Way title match at No Mercy.
Despite Banks and Bliss checking their egos at the door long enough to produce strong chemistry as a tag team duo, Jax's size and power was too much to overcome. Jax steamrolled Bliss after a late tag and nearly scored a pin until Banks made a save. Jax then beat down Banks and hit a leg drop. Emma tagged herself in to steal the pin before Jax ended their uneasy friendship after the match by hitting Emma with a Samoan Drop.
For as much as putting the belt back on Bliss one week ago and going away from their red-hot solo feud has felt like a fail for WWE, the addition of both Jax and Emma at No Mercy came off as a legitimate surprise -- and a good one, at that. It isalso good to see Emma get a second chance after her failed transformation into Emmalina.
What else happened on Raw?
- John Cena def. Jason Jordan via pinfall: This was one heck of a 20-minute match to open Raw with Cena doing everything in his power to accomplish what Reigns last week said he never does -- put over younger talent. Jordan impressed with back-to-back Northern Lights suplexes, but Cena hit the Attitude Adjustment for the pin.
- Sheamus & Cesaro def. Rhyno & Heath Slater via pinfall | Dean Ambrose & Seth Rollins def. Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson via pinfall: With Rollins and Ambrose watching from commentary, Sheamus put the breaks on a Rhyno rally with a stiff Brogue Kick for the 1-2-3 to end a brief and uneventful match. Later in the show, with Sheamus & Cesaro watching, Rollins fought off interference to pick up the win. Sheamus & Cesaro ended up brawling with Gallows & Anderson after the match.
- Intercontinental Championship -- The Miz (c) def. Jeff Hardy via pinfall to retain the title: Despite an early ejection from the ringside area to both The Miztourage and Matt Hardy, it was Jeff Hardy who still fell victim to the number's game. Maryse grabbed Miz's hand just in time to awaken him, causing him to roll away from Hardy's Swanton Bomb attempt. The Miz followed with his Skull Crushing Finale.
- Enzo Amore, Cedric Alexander & Gran Metalik def. Drew Gulak, Tony Nese & Noam Dar via pinfall: After Amore cut a long (and annoying) pre-match promo explaining his recent cheating, he did so for the second straight week by poking Gulak in the eye before hitting the Jaw-Done-Zo finisher to steal another questionable victory. Later, Angle booked the winners into a Fatal 5-Way match at 205 Live with the winner facing cruiserweight champion Neville at No Mercy.
- Finn Balor cut a promo on Bray Wyatt for costing him last week's battle royal on Raw. Balor said he doesn't run from his demons because "sometimes I become them." Wyatt appeared on the video screen. After mentioning that Balor's demon has become his "bow and arrow," Wyatt offered a "man-to-man" challenge (i.e. no demon) at No Mercy. Balor appeared to have accepted when he said, "I've already made my choice Bray. I know exactly what I am. I am Finn Balor."
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