Disclaimer: I was in a bad mood when I wrote this so reader discretion advised. Read at your own risk.
Our constant readers may have noticed that the F2H family failed to post their usual live review articles about Smackdown Live’s No Mercy and last night’s Monday Night Raw. Have we lost faith in Vince McMahon’s promotion? Are we bored with the product? I’ll answer your question with a question: does a bear shit in the woods? In this instance, the bear is Sean Waltman and the woods is Rena Lesnar’s luggage; and the answer is an emphatic yes.
While on the surface the No Mercy pay-per-view seemed like a solid venture, when you scrutinize it even a little bit, the entire show folds like a wet house of cards. Here is a short list of some of the more cringe-worthy moments of the show. The pre-show featured Jerry Lawler awkwardly flirting and eye-fucking Nikki Bella, a 4-team tag match (overkill in any scenario) that included The Acesnsion, and Curt Hawkins big debut that was only a declaration by him that he would have a match on Tuesday.
Prior to the show, WWE announced the “main event” triple-threat would go on first to start the show, essentially confirming WWE’s lack of confidence in their own product, being fearful that Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton would pull viewers and bomb their PPV. Although the triple-threat was a decent match, it still featured yet another John Cena title attempt, grasping for the coveted Ric Flair record; and Dean Ambrose in the main event picture, a man with no charism, character evolution, or ability to carry a promotion as either a heel or babyface. And while AJ Styles put on a great outing, I am still watching him on NJPW every week on AXS-TV and his crimped style with WWE is nowhere near his best work in a ring.
No Mercy also featured Nikki Bella utilizing the antiquated 50/50 booking style of WWE in order to beat Carmella. Speaking of the women, Becky Lynch was suddenly injured and not competing. So we saw Naomi not only wrestle but defeat Alexa Bliss. Both finishes were weak and did nothing at all for the losers while barely giving a boost to the winners. The third women’s match of the night was between Jack Swagger and Baron Corbin. Yeah, I said it. Why is this on a pay-per-view? Nobody cares!
The highlight of the night was Dolph Ziggler and The Miz. This was an excellent match and the best on the entire card. Nothing to complain about here. The main event was Randy Orton taking on Bray Wyatt. Oh great, two of the weakest in-between heel/face chimeras in the entire company. Wyatt has strewn together infinitely more losses than wins. And Orton has been a watered down version of himself ever since returning from injury. The build to this match was terribly dis-interesting. And the big “twist” finish was a Luke Harper run in. This ended a pay-per-view in 2016.
Skip ahead to Monday Night Raw and now we’re really swimming out to the deep end with no life preservers. We’re talking about a show that surprisingly opened with Sasha Banks and Charlotte declaring they were having a rematch INSIDE Hell in a Cell. This was a groundbreaking moment…that was immediately cut short by Rusev interrupting. He insults both of them, along with all women’s wrestling (as does Lana) and hijacks what should have been an epic segment. Then Roman Reigns comes out and further buries the angle. Then, in all of Stephanie McMahon and Mick Foley’s jaded wisdom, they put Charlotte on a team with Rusev against the team of Banks and Reigns. Despite Rusev belittling Charlotte, she now gets the “honor” of being his tag team partner.
Do you know why this segment happened? Because Kevin Dunn (a guy that probably has twenty Donald Trump signs in his yard) objectifies women and probably doesn’t think they can carry a moment on their own. They needed big, strong men to come out and bolster their credibility. “Nobody is going to buy women in the Cell! We need men to put it over!” Nevermind the fact that when you have a match with Roman Reigns, Rusev, Charlotte, Lana, and Sasha Banks, the only goddamn babyface in the entire thing is Banks. Reigns is not a face! But WWE continues to try and pair him with any one in order to try and persuade the crowd to oh and ah over him.
Then we have a match between Kofi Kingston and Cesaro. The big angle here is Sheamus sits ringside and tweets during the match. Oh, just brilliant fucking television. Really helps sell Cesaro and Sheamus as a team and absolutely helps make New Day look strong. *vomits in mouth, down onto Ultimate Warrior t-shirt*
Bayley comes out and wrestles Cami Fields. Who? Exactly. She beats a jobber and then gets attacked from behind by Dana Brooke (wearing a way-too-tight outfit) and then Brooke just stands there awkwardly like Will Ferrell in Talladega Nights when he doesn’t know what to do with his hands. Brilliant. There were four horsewomen in NXT. Becky has the Smackdown Women’s Title. Sasha and Charlotte are breaking new ground fighting for the Raw Women’s Title. Meanwhile, Bayley is given about two minutes against someone named Cami Fields. Just a real career booster for her. Good job, Vince!
The newly formed Cruiserweight Division continues to get its legs cut out from underneath it as WWE, despite having three hours of television, just keeps hitting us with Cruiserweight tag-team matches. We get Tony Nese and Drew Gulak against Sin Cara and Lince Dorado. Without fanfare, Sin Cara is now suddenly in the division. Dorado spends the whole match carrying Sin Cara before picking up the win. According to Kevin Dunn and Vince McMahon, there are only two Cruiserweights named T.J. Perkins and Brian Kendrick. Anybody who isn’t them will just be the bathroom break match on Raw.
Then we come back from commercial to find Curtis Axel and Bo Dallas in the ring. Oh boy! That’ll really boost the ratings! Luckily we are saved by Enzo Amore and Big Cass. But before we can even see them wrestle, they are attacked by The Club. So let me get this straight. Cesaro and Sheamus, a team thrown together two weeks ago get to face New Day, but two of the top three tag teams on Raw have a segment with Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel? Then WWE hits us with a bullshit 4-team tag at a PPV the night before? Why not save the multi-team matches for actual talent? I’d definitely watch New Day vs Enzo and Cass vs The Club any day.
Oh, but that segment isn’t even over. After The Club and Enzo and Cass leave, Axel and Dallas are still competing! They demand a team! So we have to suffer through not only them in a match, but a hastily thrown together Sami Zayn and Neville tag-team. Is Teddy Long running creative all of a sudden? We’ve had five matches so far and four of them have featured tag teams! Brilliant! I’m just as baffled as Vince as to why the ratings continue to tank. Fuck you, McMahon.
As if things couldn’t get any worse, we then are “treated” to a match between R-Truth and Titus O’Neal thrown together, on the premise, and I shit you not, of Truth trying to give O’Neal’s favorite candy bar to another wrestler. Now, while I can appreciate both men as they have skill and could be great if pushed properly (yeah right, as if that would ever happen), they certainly should not be in a match facing each other. Why, you might ask? Because they have a combined age of fucking 83. R-Truth is in his mid-forties and Titus is 39. This is not a live-TV match. This is not something you expose people to and then try to laugh off the sliding ratings to the board of directors. In simple terms, this is not a match you put on TV if you want people to take what you do seriously.
Backstage segment with Perkins and Kendrick showcasing the 50/50 booking again. I won’t even elaborate on any of that. Braun Strowman then squashes the “Splash Brothers” (who look like a Sheamus and Xavier Woods cosplay couple) and then asks Foley for stronger competition. If only Braun could be what he’s asking for: better talent. He has become a spectacle much like Big Show, Kane, and The Great Kahli before him. Vince will take a giant, twist and contort them, and turn them into a traveling freakshow.
And then the inter-gender match. Holy shit what a waste of time. Rusev and Charlotte against Reigns and Banks. The big creative ending here was Sasha making Charlotte tap to the Bank Statement timed perfectly with Reigns hitting Rusev with a spear. Been there, done that, played all the way out. Then Reigns and Banks stand with their arms in the air, smiling. As if Reigns was suddenly a good guy. Then T.J. Perkins defeated Jinder Mahal. Oh wait, that was Ariya Daivari. Another useless squash match doing nothing for anybody, including the viewers.
The main event was Seth Rollins versus Chris Jericho. Alright, I really can’t complain about this if I’m being fair and unbiased. It was a great match, highlight of the night for me. My only real gripe is that Jericho has main-evented a shit ton of Raw’s this year and did so again last night. Yes, Jericho is awesome. And his work these past few weeks with Kevin Owens has really been the crutch that has saved Raw from swirling into a black hole from wince there is no return. That being said, Jericho is older than both R-Truth and Titus O’Neal. Is the best WWE can do is to have a 45-year-old in the main event? Does that sound bonkers to anyone else? It says a lot about how incredibly talented and what great shape Y2J is in; but it also speaks volumes about how weak WWE thinks their own product is.
They don’t trust their youngers guys to do the job. They don’t have faith or confidence in their roster. And this is true across the board. Both Raw and Smackdown suffer from this inability to pull the trigger on younger talent. The result is getting a 39-year-old John Cena in a main event trying to get another world title. When is WWE going to move on? They speak of a new era and yet continue hitting us with out-to-pasture talent. Now the big hyped up sell is a potential match between Brock Lesnar and Bill Goldberg, a match about fifteen years too late between two men with a combined age of 88. Granted, both men are genetic anomalies (Lesnar more so on the chemically enhanced side) and will probably look great. But the point being is that WWE continues to live in the past. And the WWE Universe seems nostalgic to days gone by.
That’s why Sasha Banks gets a pop for mentioning Eddie Guerrero. That’s why Charlotte gets a “Woooooooooo!” every single time she mentions her dad. WWE doesn’t do anything to make their current talent relevant. They are censored and limited and forced to get over by mentioning long since retired or dead Superstars. It’s a vicious cycle all the way around. Fear, uncertainty, doubt; it all mixes together to make WWE unsure of their talent, the talent unsure of their place, and the fans unsure of why they should even give two shits about any of it. There are so many problems to list but I’m just one man and this article is already absurdly long. I have a love/hate relationship with WWE. It’s a frustrating partnership because I see the potential of what this company could be. As a kid I watched wrestling. Then I grew up. But wrestling never did. It plateaued and in some instances took a step back.
You can blame the break of kayfabe. You can blame the dirt sheets. You can blame the internet. You can even blame Vince for bringing too many promotions together and “killing the biz.” It doesn’t matter what the cause was. The effect is what truly matters, and in this case the effect is mediocre, unfulfilling, lazy, and often boring professional wrestling. CM Punk said it best: “Vince McMahon is a millionaire who should be a billionaire.” The reason why he isn’t is that the wrestling experience he presents is no longer thrilling to a certain extent. We demand more but WWE keeps coming up short. Smackdown Live is on tonight and we won’t be doing a live review for that either. If they want us to write something, they need to give us something worthwhile to write about. Until then, let the onslaught begin.
Article by Jamie Curtis Baker
After watching an amazing three hours of wrestling on Sunday, courtesy of Impact’s BoundO for Glory, Monday Night Raw has a lot to live up to. We are live from Los Angeles tonight and will see Sasha Banks fight for the Women’s title, plus have an exclusive interview with Seth Rollins. Our ropes have gone white and pink for Breast Cancer Awareness month. The night kicks off with Roman Reigns, which is frustrating. Give that title back to Rusev! He was getting cheered until he started talking. Thankfully, Lana interrupts looking lovely as always. After a “Thank you, Lana” chant from the crowd, Lana says that she is here to negotiate a rematch. She says that Rusev will destroy and embarrass him. Reigns counters by talking about Rusev’s balls, and Lana tells him to go to hell.
Cue Rusev and his balls; he runs to the ring to attack Reigns. The two trade punches outside of the ring before Rusev is thrown into the barricade. He counters by ramming Reigns into the other side, but Reigns quickly regains control, rolling Rusev into the ring. He cocks his fist, which is just the coolest move ever (heavy sarcasm), and goes for the Superman Punch, but Rusev catches him. Reigns slaps Rusev across the face, driving him from the ring, but is thrown into the steel steps, then kicked into the crowd by Rusev. Why couldn’t Rusev be like this when my husband and I were watching him live at the PPV?? Rusev grabs the United States Championship and holds it high over his head. It looks like Rusev wins the segment, walking off with the title, but Super Reigns attacks him from behind as he reaches the top of the ramp. Some idiot gives him a microphone, and Reigns says that he’ll fight Rusev in a cell at the Hell In A Cell PPV that is upcoming.
Up next, our Cruiserweight division takes the stage in the first official match of the night; champion TJ Perkins versus Brian Kendrick. Perkins starts the match strong with a back body drop followed by a springboard off the rope into a cross body. Kendrick tries to counter, but Perkins catches himself in between the ropes, then sends Kendrick flying outside the ring. He is showing off his athleticism at Kendrick’s expense until Kendrick lands a kick to Perkins’ face. He pins Perkins’ hand on the turnbuckle with his foot, then sends him out of the ring as we break for commercial. During the break, Perkins hits a beautiful hurricanrana to take Kendrick down. Kendrick counters with Sliced Bread into a pin, but Perkins kicks out. He then locks in the Captain’s Hook submission, but Perkins rolls it into a pin. Kendrick kicks free and ends up caught up on the rope, allowing Perkins to get a kick to his head. He recovers and gets the Captain’s Hook in again to force a tap. Good thing this wasn’t for the title.
Michael Cole is up next with his pretaped interview with Seth Rollins. Rollins says he is feeling better, then says that while Kevin Owens is the Universal Champion, he didn’t beat him. Owens was handed that title by Triple H and didn’t win it fairly at Clash of Champions. You make enemies on your climb to the top, and Rollins acknowledges that he’s made quite a few. Rollins says he is irreplaceable, and Owens isn’t a replacement. Owens is simply a cog in the machine. Rollins plans on tearing that machine apart, piece by piece, starting with Owens and his championship. He will prove to the entire world that he is still the man.
BRAAAAUUUUUNNNNNNN is up now! Poor Chase Silver is in the ring now to make his dreams come true. Apparently he dreamt that he beat Braun Strowman up, so here he is. Strowman invites Silver to come at him, and Silver starts throwing kicks and punches before Strowman takes him down easily with a shoulder bump. He screams “THIS IS ALL YOU COULD DO??” Silver takes advantage and hits him from behind, but Strowman immediately counters by getting him in the corner and hitting him with a splash. Silver is lying on the mat while Strowman screams for him to get up. As soon as he rises, Strowman hits another shoulder. He gets him up on his shoulders and slams him to the mat for the pin. Rest in peace, Chase Silver. Strowman then demands that Foley get him a real opponent next week or there won’t be a next week. For a guy who doesn’t get on the mic a lot, this was awesome!
Kevin Owens comes to the ring, dressed to impress, accompanied by his BFF Chris Jericho. Owens calls Rollins stupid for requesting a rematch for the Universal Championship. Owens doesn’t think he deserves a rematch; Rollins lost and he only has Owens to blame for that loss. Since Rollins blamed the referee last match for the loss, Owens thinks that their next match should feature a referee that can handle himself. He suggests Jericho, but Jericho decides that they should challenge New Day for the tag team titles instead. What? He wants to make history, but Owens says that it sounds like a lot of work.
Hold on, Team Kevin and Chris; the Power of Positivity is coming to the ring! I love that New Day can turn the entire crowd into birds as soon as they ask a question which has the answer of “WHO? WHO? WHO?” Big E calls for a champion’s huddle; Owens is invited but Jericho is not. Guess who just made the list? Owens says that New Day has compromised the health of children all over the world with their questionable cereal (too much sugar). Xavier Woods counters with a fat joke that is actually good. Jump, jump, Owens. But lucky for us, New Day grants Owens and Jericho the match!
After the commercial break, Sami Zayn makes his way into the arena to face Titus O’Neil. Poor Zayn looks so teensy next to O’Neil. This is strength versus speed, and neither one can keep the advantage. O’Neil eventually catches Zayn mid-jump and slams him into his knee, then to the mat. He catches Zayn in a bear hug and throws him across the ring before delivering a backbreaker. He loudly taunts Zayn, who catches his opponent off guard and lands a clothesline. He then suplexes O’Neil into the corner and hits the Haluma Kick for the win. Not good for O’Neil, though I have a hard time believing Zayn could win this one. No offense.
You want it? You got it; the Golden Truth. What’s Up? R-Truth and Goldust are in a tag match against The Club. Truth and Anderson start off the match with Truth in control. He and Goldust take Anderson to the mat, then Goldust hits a clotheline into an arm drag to lock Anderson in an arm bar. Anderson counters, gets to his corner to knock Goldust down and tag in Gallows. He gets Goldust in a headlock as Truth tries to hype up the crowd. Both Anderson and Truth are tagged in; Truth hits clotheslines into a dropkick to take Anderson down for a pin, but Gallows breaks it up. Anderson tags back in Gallows while Truth is distracted, and the pair hit him with the Magic Killer for the win. After the bell rings, The Club begin attacking Goldust, hitting him with the Magic Killer as well.
Ashton Kutcher and Danny Masterson are confronting Jericho and Owens backstage, so I am tuning out. Not even Owens and Jericho can save this. Ha; nevermind! Jericho saved it at the end. With… IT! Back in the ring, Enzo and Cass are dressed in their “More Than Pink” shirts. Susan “Certified G” Komen held a contest, and we have three winners in the ring with Enzo and Cass; three breast cancer survivors. How you doin? Enzo tries to unveil their prizes, but gets all tangled up in the pink sheet. Still, each woman is gifted with a Women’s Championship title, which is pretty darn awesome. Cass spells out SAWFT after ensuring that it does not apply to the women in the ring. These poor women look so confused! Anyway, don’t donate to Susan G Komen; they are one of the worst organizations when it comes to getting the money to where it SHOULD go.
Oh dear god… Kutcher and Masterson are on commentary, so now Corey Graves is trying even harder to be funny and it isn’t working. It’s godawful. Shut up, Corey Graves. Shut up forever. Back to the wrestling; Owens and Jericho are facing Woods and Big E. Woods does some clever dodging, but the stronger Owens gets Woods in the corner where he tags in Jericho and the two team up on him for a moment. Woods recovers and flips into Jericho to hit a clothesline into a cover. Woods tags in Big E, who hits the fresh Owens with a clothesline. The crowd starts a “New Day Rocks” chant as E spears Owens the corner. Jericho tags in, and pins Big E in the corner with his boot, then showboats to the crowd. As Jericho distracts the referee, Owens gets some cheap shots in on Big E. It’s difficult to pay attention to this match with everyone babbling on commentary about things that have nothing to do with the match. Owens gets a good laugh mocking how the guys play dead on the mat as he reaches for Big E.
Out of nowhere, Seth Rollins’ music hits! Now I’m interested! Woods hits Owens hard, thanks to the distraction, and now E and Jericho are tagged in. Big E hits a belly to belly, and it looks like Jericho might have a bloody nose. Owens jumps in to save his partner, but Big E throws him from the ring to set up Woods to take him down. E hits Jericho with an elbow, then a splash. As Jericho locks Woods into a submission, Rollins runs in to distract him. This allows Big E and Woods to hit The Midnight Hour and pin Jericho for the win! I guess they won’t be getting that title shot after all. Rollins wins the segment by hitting Jericho with a Pedigree.
More cruiserweight action is up now, with Rich Swann and Tony Nese. Swann gets control early, but Nese counters and hits Swann in the face. He hits some knees and pins Swann for a two count. Swann hits a hurricanrana to throw Nese across the ring, but he hits a kick to Swann’s head before pinning him in the corner and laying him with kicks until the referee separates the two. Nese whips Swann into the corner, but Swann hits another hurricanrana to throw him away. It’s strange how they are unable to capture the magic we saw during the Cruiserweight Classic. Swann bounces off the ropes, but Nese catches him and pins him for the win. Honestly, these guys are great, but I feel that someone is telling them to hold back.
Tag team time; Sheamus and Cesaro versus Jobber 1 and Jobber 2. Cesaro gets one jobber in his corner before Sheamus tags himself in and showboats to his tag partner. Cesaro tags himself in, saying GET OUT, and the jobber tries to hit a sunset flip. This is so dumb, it might work. Jobber 2 gets hit with an Irish Curse Backbreaker, then Cesaro dives into the ring and jumps off of Sheamus to hit Jobber 1 with a DDT. Sheamus hits a Brogue Kick to jobber 2 and wins the match.
Before our main event, we get a fantastic video package featuring Charlotte and Sasha Banks’ journey from NXT to WWE to championships. Backstage, Charlotte and Dana Brooke taunt Bayley, but our resident hugger throws Brooke across the hallway and shows that she isn’t going to be pushed around. I am so happy to have the women main eventing Raw! Banks will hopefully defeat Charlotte and take back her title. Banks is thrown to the mat immediately, and Charlotte tries for the Figure 8 right away. Charlotte goes out of the ring and Banks hits a suicide dive, and then they go to ANOTHER COMMERCIAL? We were 20 seconds into that match. When we return, Charlotte has Banks’ arms pulled behind her with her knee in her back. Apparently we missed a lot of awesome out of ring action during the commercial. THANKS GUYS. Charlotte goes for the cover, but Banks is out at one. Charlotte then begins attacking Banks’ injured back. She bends Banks over her knee to put stress on her lower back, but Banks kicks away. Our champ hits another backbreaker and tries to hit Banks in the corner, but she dodges and sends Charlotte into the ringpost. Banks gets back in the match, hitting a dropkick, then driving Charlotte to the mat with her knees for a pin. Banks hits a hurricanrana, then a baseball slide to send Charlotte from the ring. Charlotte tries to throw Banks into the ring apron, but misses.
Charlotte starts hitting chops, and puts Banks up on the ropes. She tries to throw her from the top rope, but Banks blocks it. Banks jumps from the top rope and hits Charlotte with double knees for a pin, but our champ stays alive. Banks tries for a backstabber, but Charlotte grabs the ropes and sends Banks out of the ring. She goes to the top rope and does an amazing dive off the top to take Banks down. Back in the ring, Charlotte hits Natural Selection, but Banks kicks out at the last possible second. There is a kick ass DELETE DELETE DELETE sign in the audience! Ha! Nice. Banks is down and out, but she manages to lock Charlotte into the Banks Statement after Charlotte runs at her. Charlotte counters, but Banks locks it right back in and forces the tap! What a main event!! Charlotte is left in tears as Sasha Banks holds her title high.
This wasn’t the greatest Raw, but that main event was money. Those women put it all out there and gave us one hell of a main event. The best Raw main event we’ve had in a while. Tomorrow, we will be covering the go home episode of Smackdown ahead of the No Mercy PPV. Be sure to follow us on Twitter at @FaceToHeel; we had our first giveaway last week and more are headed your way!
Article by Mrs Jamie Baker
Editor’s Note: In March of this year, we posted an article titled Why We Chant For CM Punk. Although Punk has long since moved on to greener, more bruised pastures, this post is still one of our most clicked links from search engines and so we are doing an updated version of it here.
Last night, Monday Night Raw came to us from Cincinnati, OH. The fans began chanting for CM Punk during the Cruiserweight match. It was a disrespectful move to Tony Neese and our Cruiserweight Champion, TJ Perkins, but it almost seems unavoidable. No matter how often Punk stresses that he is done with WWE, fans continue to not only chant his name, but bring signs catered to him at live events.
Punk made his UFC debut in Cleveland, Ohio on September 10th against Mickey Gall. He was submitted via rear naked choke at 2 minutes and 14 seconds in the first round. Punk outlasted Gall’s last opponent, who submitted at the 45 second mark in the first round. After 20 months of training and two surgeries, Punk made a strong debut regardless of what the haters may say. He refused to give up until there was no other option and lasted longer than many of his fellow fighters could have. Still, it was a dismal debut.
I was genuinely nervous during Punk’s UFC fight. I have never been so invested in two short minutes. It was heartbreaking, exciting, and put my husband and I through a whirlwind of emotions in just a few seconds. Current and past WWE stars have had mixed reviews on his debut, ranging from “uncomfortable” and a sign that he should pursue another career, to “inspiring” and a great effort for a first fight.
As can be expected, a lot of people have hinted that his so-called failure in UFC should prompt Punk to return to WWE where he is already established as a winner. Not an event goes by in his hometown of Chicago where we don’t see fans wearing his shirts and hear at least one crowd chant for his appearance. And as we saw on Monday Night RAW, Punk is clearly still over as a fan favorite.
We can probably safely say that Punk will never set foot in a WWE ring again, and we can also safely say that the chants won’t stop for a long time. It’s not about the hope of him returning anymore, we’re past that. We chant for CM Punk because us Punk fans respect the hell out of the man. Even though he isn’t watching Monday Night Raw, we chant his name and hope somehow he knows how much we appreciate what he has done for professional wrestling. Regardless of where he goes from here, we’ll be supporting him and looking for any excuse to chant his name.
Article by Mrs. Jamie Baker
Be sure to check out our Twitter page to enter our contest for a chance to win a copy of WWE’s Greatest Stars of the 90’s on DVD! Contest runs now through midnight this Thursday. Check out our gallery at the end of this post for our live photos from last’s Clash of Champions! For more photos, check out our Instagram page. And now, our Monday Night Raw coverage.
After spending a few hours at Bankers Life Fieldhouse for Clash of Champions, my voice is nearly non-existent from cheering and I’m ready for Raw to resolve some issues that weren’t put to rest last night. Raw kicks off in Cincinatti, Ohio with our new United States Champion, Roman Reigns. Right off the bat, he will be defending his title against Rusev. Rusev gets Reigns down on the mat early on, but Reigns is able to counter and get Rusev in a headlock. This crowd is definitely more behind Reigns than we were in Indianapolis. Rusev targets Reigns’ back with kicks before hitting a suplex into an unsuccessful pin. Reigns is able to get Rusev in the corner and hit chops to the chest, and Rusev counters by hitting a fallaway slam that sends Reigns out of the ring. After the break, Rusev has Reigns on his back in the ring as Lana looks on. Reigns fakes his injuries about as well as John Cena, if not somewhat worse. Reigns hits a few punches, but Rusev counters with a dropkick. As Rusev lands kicks, Reigns starts to do that mini headbang to get himself psyched up. He hits Rusev with a clothesline, then cocks his fist and goes for a Superman Punch, but Rusev catches him and both men go flying out of the ring.
They break for a second time for commercials, and we return to Rusev in control. Reigns is placed on the ropes, and Rusev tries for a suplex but Reigns is able to hit punches and knock Rusev away. He dives off the ropes and hits a clothesline, then hits a Samoan drop into a cover. I really wish Corey Graves would quit calling Reigns the “big dog.” Rusev tries pin after pin, but can’t keep Reigns down for the three count. This match started off a bit slow, but it’s really picked up the pace. Rusev calls for the Accolade, but Reigns catches him by the foot, then hits a Superman Punch into the cover, and nearly wins. Lana jumps on the apron as a distraction, allowing Rusev to roll out of the ring. Reigns follows, throwing Rusev into the steel stairs and then into the crowd. The referee counts both men out and calls the match, but the two are still fighting in the crowd. Rusev throws Reigns back into the ring area, then slams him into the barricade and ring apron. A “this is awesome” chant starts right before Reigns throws Rusev into the barricade. Rusev grabs a steel chair and takes Reigns down, nearly finishing him off, but Reigns is able to hit a spear and takes Rusev out. We’re a little over thirty minutes into Raw at this point; I’m surprised they gave these two that much time. Reigns grabs the steel chair and sits by Rusev, who is out cold, while holding his belt and talking trash. Once Rusev gets up, Reigns gets one good chair shot in before continuing his celebration. Not the match I would have booked, but they both did a good job. Compared to last night, this was a better match.
Mick Foley gets in the ring to address the Best of 7 series that concluded last night at Clash of Champions in a draw; medical staff decided that neither man was able to finish the match. This was very confusing to me as a fan who was present, as our seats didn’t allow us to see the move that “injured” the pair, and Cesaro hopped back into the ring to try and continue the fight. Foley invites Sheamus and Cesaro to the ring, and Sheamus is angry because he wants his title opportunity that Foley promised either he or Cesaro. Both men consider themselves the winner even though the series ended in a tie. Foley decides that both men get a championship opportunity, but it will be as a team for the Tag Team titles. What? This was seriously unexpected! I like it!
Speaking of our tag titles, our champions come to the ring to compete again against The Club. Kofi Kingston gets control of the match early, as Woods cheers him on via trombone. He starts using quick tags with Big E to keep Anderson down, but Gallows attacks Big E outside of the ring, then hits Kingston with a clothesline that flips him completely over. As Kingston gets back to his feet, Anderson hits him with a dropkick, then rolls him back into the ring for a cover. Gallows hits Kingston with a chokeslam after an unsuccessful attempt by Kingston to knock him down. Anderson tags in during the break and will not allow Kingston to tag in Big E. After a miss by Anderson, Big E finally tags in and hits him with a Belly to Belly. Outside the ring, Kingston takes down Gallows. Anderson dodges Big E, sending him into the ringpost hard, and trying for another pin. This is essentially the same match we were given last night. It isn’t bad, but having just seen it 24 hours ago, I could do with something different. New Day nearly win after hitting The Midnight Hour, but Gallows breaks the pin. Anderson and Gallows hit the Magic Killer on Big E and almost win it, but Kingston saves the match. He is able to get the pin on Anderson for the win, but has blood gushing out of his head! What the heck happened?
Bayley makes her way to the ring now, facing a local soccer mom named Anna Fields. Fields pins Bayley on the rope early, hits her with her forearms, pins her in the corner with her foot, and then goes for a pin. The crowd starts chanting for Bayley, who is in a headlock. She finally breaks away from Fields, slamming her head into the turnbuckle. She hits Fields in the back, then with a running clothesline. Bayley picks up a quick win after hitting the Bayley to Belly. I’m confused. It strikes me as odd to give Bayley a random squash match at this point in time. After the match, Tom Phillips asks Bayley how she feels about her match last night. She calls Charlotte and Sasha Banks the top two women in this industry, but promises that she’ll be back in the title picture soon.
Backstage, Foley accuses Stephanie McMahon of playing favorites when it comes to Kevin Owens. Because last night, Chris Jericho interfered with the match and was not disciplined and because McMahon “took her time” getting a new referee for the title match, she was helping Owens. McMahon snaps back at Foley, telling him that she was picking up his slack and he isn’t doing his job. He needs to stop letting his ego get in the way and stop accusing her of not properly doing her job. Foley admits that he was out of line, and walks away like a hurt puppy dog.
It’s Cruiserweight time! Cedric Alexander and Rich Swann versus Lince Dorado and Drew Gulak. Swann and Dorado start the match off, and both men are so acrobatic that neither can land a move. This is awesome. Dorado gets the first pin but Alexander saves his partner. Dorado sends Swann outside of the ring and into Gulak and Alexander. He then moonsaults off the top rope and takes down all three men. After the commercial break, Gulak is in the ring with Swann and has him down on the mat in a chinlock. He tags in Dorado who tries to get Swann down for the three count. Swann dodges a dropkick, sending Dorado into the ring post. Gulak and Alexander tag in, and Alexander dominates immediately. It’s amazing watching the cruiserweights fly around the ring. Alexander flies off the top rope into a pin, but Dorado breaks it up. Gulak suplexes Alexander back into his corner where he tags in Swann. He hits Gulak with a hard kick into a bridge cover for the win! These guys should hbe given the thirty minutes allotted to Sheamus and Cesaro; they are truly amazing athletes.
Cesaro and Sheamus awkwardly walk to the ring together to battle Nick Cutler and Willis Williams. Cesaro and Cutler stat things off, and Sheamus is already refusing to tag in. Cesaro gets him tagged in when he is playing to the crowd, and Sheamus proceeds to show off at the expense of Cutler. Cutler tags in partner Williams, who is immediately taken down by Sheamus. Cesaro tags himself back in and hits Williams with an uppercut. The crowd starts a “let’s go jobbers” chant, which isn’t a good sign for our new tag team. Cutler tags back in and targets Cesaro’s shoulder. Cesaro hits an uppercut to Williams, then goes for the neutralizer on Cutler. Sheamus jumps in and Brogue kicks both Williams and Cutler, allowing Cesaro to get the pin and win the match. This was… different.
TJ Perkins joins Tom Phillips backstage, saying that winning the Cruiserweight title is a dream come true, and debuting on Raw is a dream come true. He is interrupted by our resident pirate, Brian Kendrick. Kendrick is still very bitter about losing the CWC and losing his match last night at Clash of Champions. Kendrick says that Perkins owes him for his entire career. I personally am very glad that Perkins is champion over Kendrick.
Our women’s champion, Charlotte, is on now with Dana Brooke. She calls Clash of Champions “her night” thanks to her win; she is now 12-0 at PPVs when defending her title. Charlotte admits she isn’t huggable like Bayley, isn’t an internet sweetheart like Banks, but she is the face of the division. Sasha Banks interrupts, saying that last night may have gone her way, but that is still her title. Bayley was pinned, not her, and she is still owed her one-on-one rematch. Charlotte says she is “just as much better” than Banks, but admits that Banks has earned a title shot. She agrees to fight Banks next week because if she doesn’t, Banks will just whine until she gets her way. Banks delivers a hard slap across Charlotte’s face, then attacks Brooke. Charlotte gets back up and Banks throws her and Brooke from the ring. I was hoping they would have the rematch tonight, but next week works just fine.
Backstage, Seth Rollins runs into Mick Foley. Rollins is currently not medically cleared for competition, but is determined to go out to the ring during Chris Jericho’s segment with Kevin Owens. He knows McMahon is sabotaging him and wants to confront Owens instead of just let him brag. But first, TJ Perkins comes to the ring! He will be facing Tony Neese, who is a bad ass. Neese tries to lock Perkins’ wrist, but our champ flips around too much for him to lock it in. Perkins locks in a knee bar, but Neese grabs the rope. Neese lands a superkick, then dives from the ring to take Perkins down. They break for commercial only a couple of minutes into the match, which is frustrating. THIS IS HIS DEBUT RAW MATCH. As we return, Neese is in control. The crowd starts an obnoxious CM PUNK chant as Perkins goes for another pin. Perkins tries for a tornado DDT, but Neese blocks it and nearly gets the win. This crowd is filled with a bunch of dicks, chanting names of other wrestlers as these two put on a clinic. Perkins gets the tap out victory via knee bar. This was an awesome match. A shame some idiot fans have to ruin it.
Jericho’s Highlight Reel is up now, and Jericho is adding more stupid idiots to his list. Sorry, unnamed cameraman. His BFF, Kevin Owens, is his guest for this evening. Jericho says that Owens proved what excellence was last night during his match. Owens says that he proved that he is the man, he is the main event, and he is better than Seth Rollins. He then calls out Rollins for injuring John Cena, Sting, and Finn Balor. Cue Rollins! Every security guard in existence rushes out to stop Rollins before he can get down the ramp. Foley and the security team manage to get Rollins backstage, but now Enzo and Cass are here! The crowd loses it; I wish they had been at the PPV last night. This is funny, and Jericho’s threat to go sit on their lap was fantastic. YES! I have never laughed this hard at Jericho ever. Our main event is set; Enzo and Cass versus Jericho and Owens, right after the break.
Jericho and Enzo are in the ring after the break, but Owens is quickly tagged in. Owens demands “the big one,” so Cass tags in and is immediately targeted. Cass slams Owens in the corner, then tags in Enzo who dives into Owens. With Jericho and Owens outside of the ring, Cass lifts Enzo over his head and throws him on top of both opponents. Cass throws Owens back into the ring, gets a knee in his midsection, and then gets hit with chops from Jericho. Cass counters with a sidewalk slam to both opponents, then tries to hit Jericho with a kick, but Jericho grabs the ropes and sends Cass flying. After the break, Owens is thrown to the mat by Cass who then tags in Enzo. Owens tags in Jericho, and he is hit over and over by Enzo. He goes to the top rope and hits a crossbody on Jericho, then kicks Owens off the apron. Jericho tries a quick roll up but Enzo kicks out. Owens grabs Enzo by the legs, assisting Jericho in knocking Enzo out. Owens then throws Enzo into the barricade and showboats for the crowd, then does a fantastic impression of Enzo’s dance. Enzo is stuck on the top rope thanks to Jericho, but he is able to counter and knock Jericho off the ropes. He dives off, but Jericho hits a kick and knocks him out. Owens tags in and nearly gets the win on Enzo, then argues with the referee. Jericho goes for a lionsault, but Enzo gets his knees up. Owens and Cass get tagged in, and Cass starts hitting shoulder tackles. He hits a fallaway slam, then kicks Jericho right in his face as he tries to interfere. Cass hits the Empire Elbow, takes out Jericho again, and tries to finish Owens, but he ducks away. Cass manages to regain control with a well timed kick, then tags in Enzo. Jericho slams Cass across the face, so Cass gives him another kick to the head. Meanwhile, Enzo hits a DDT on Owens, but can’t win the match. This is a great main event, guys. Owens hits the Pop Up Powerbomb and wins the match.
Next Monday, Ashton Kutcher and Danny Masterson will be guests on Raw to confront Jericho and Owens. Brian Kendrick will get his rematch against TJ Perkins to try to win the Cruiserweight title, and Sasha Banks also gets a rematch against Charlotte for the Women’s title. Let us know what you thought of tonight’s Raw in the comments below, and give us a follow on Twitter at @facetoheel. We’ll see you tomorrow for Smackdown.
Face To Heel at CLASH OF CHAMPIONS!
Article by Mrs Jamie Baker
Face To Heel is very excited to be going to Clash of Champions with some of our good friends, right here in Indianapolis, Indiana. This is the first Raw exclusive PPV since the brand split and replaces Night of Champions. Every Raw title is on the line, which includes the new Cruiserweight Championship. Let’s take a look at the card and make some predictions.
Alicia Fox vs Nia Jax – Preshow Singles Match
I love Nia Jax; she is anything but the stereotypical WWE female athlete and has the potential to be a champion down the line once she gets more experience. Since her Raw debut, she has had squash matches each week against local talent where she has been dominant and unstoppable. Alicia Fox stepped in when a friend of hers faced Jax and was disrespected. Jax “injured” Fox by slamming her through the barricade, which was a move that seriously got fans behind her. I’m excited to see her perform live and hope that this match gets a decent amount of time.
F2H Prediction – Nia Jax
Cesaro vs Sheamus – Final Match in Best of 7 Series
I am so glad that this series is finally coming to an end. I never ever want to see these two fight each other again. There was so much potential for this series; they could have made it so interesting, but instead kept it as vanilla as possible. Both Cesaro and Sheamus are great in the ring, so I don’t mean to insult either; I just wish this was booked differently. I am curious to see what happens once we’ve determined which man comes out on top. Where do they go from there?
F2H Prediction – Sheamus
TJ Perkins (c) vs Brian Kendrick – Cruiserweight Championship Match
The Cruiserweights debuted on the go home episode of Raw on September 19th, and for some reason, our champion TJ Perkins did not make an appearance. After the success of the Cruiserweight Classic, I was hoping for more fanfare. That aside, I’m glad I get to see Perkins battle Brian Kendrick in person. Kendrick was a favorite to win the CWC, so it makes sense to have him as the first opponent. Perkins was my pick to win the whole thing, and I don’t want him dethroned any time soon. The cruiserweights have a lot to show us on Raw; we’ve barely scratched the surface.
F2H Prediction – TJ Perkins
Sami Zayn vs Chris Jericho – Singles Match
Ever since Chris Jericho and Kevin Owens became best friends, he has been hilarious every time the camera is on him. Since Owens is now officially done with Sami Zayn, we have a battle between the former and new BFFs. Nothing will compare to the chemistry between Zayn and Owens, but Zayn and Jericho is a nice consolation prize. You have to think that eventually, Zayn will challenge for the Universal Title (assuming Owens retains), so this is a logical way to keep the feud going while keeping both men busy elsewhere.
F2H Prediction – Sami Zayn
The New Day (c) vs The Club – Tag Team Championship Match
All right guys, keep an eye out for me during this match. I made a Booty O’s sign that I am incredibly happy with, and while I’m too short to be captured on camera, I will be holding it high. New Day don’t seem to be on their way out, so I’m always confident that they will retain any time they have a title match. That said, nothing lasts forever, and The Club would be a logical choice to take the titles away. New Day don’t need the titles to be over, so losing them isn’t a damaging move. I want to see the tag division moving forward, and I think New Day losing the titles needs to happen. I will miss the dance though.
F2H Prediction – The Club
Charlotte (c) vs Sasha Banks vs Bayley – Triple Threat Women’s Championship Match
I am so glad that this is a triple threat match! Sasha Banks is my favorite female wrestler in WWE, and Bayley just happens to be my second. The internet was nice enough to spoil this set up before it was made official on Raw, but I’m so excited to get to see it live that I couldn’t care less. Charlotte’s little helper may very likely be present during this match, but I hope any interference isn’t a move that determines the winner of this match. We need a clean win; no double pins or outside assists or anything shady. This is a main event worthy match; three of the most talented women in wrestling, fighting it out to win the gold.
F2H Prediction – Sasha Banks
Rusev (c) vs Roman Reigns – United States Championship Match
My husband and I are going to be sitting with our friend, Cameron, and I made him a ridiculous sign that hopefully gets on TV for this match. Recently married Rusev has been a great United States champion, and his beef with Reigns stemmed from Reigns ruining his wedding celebration and throwing Lana into a cake. I am not happy about Reigns getting a title shot, but it does make sense. I am not a fan of new Reigns, it’s no secret, but this should be a pretty good match. Reigns has been struggling to become the new top guy, and has failed time and again to get it done. He may be getting a chance to prove himself with a lesser title; we’ll have to wait for the results tonight.
F2H Prediction – Rusev
Kevin Owens (c) vs Seth Rollins – WWE Universal Championship Match
Kevin Owens is champion. Life is good. His opponent for the title is Seth Rollins. Life is awesome. I am still bummed about Finn Balor having to vacate the title, but I couldn’t ask for a better first title defense. Owens and Rollins are two of the best trash talkers and two of the best in-ring workers, and I’m going to be out of my seat cheering for this entire match! The big question here is whether or not Triple H makes another statement by assisting Owens or possibly turning the tables and giving Rollins a helping hand. Things are already tense between Mick Foley and Stephanie McMahon, so an appearance by Triple H could be very problematic. I hope he shows; I never turn down an opportunity to see The Game.
F2H Prediction – Kevin Owens
Because my husband and I will be downtown for this PPV, we won’t be able to post an article immediately following the show. Follow us on Twitter at @FaceToHeel, and our personal accounts @MrNotWell and @OhhhTweener for updates and photos during the show. The preshow kicks off at 7pm EST with the main card starting at 8pm.
Article by Mrs. Jamie Baker