Monday Night Raw was fresh off the heels of a highly-entertaining No Mercy pay-per-view. The red brand failed to keep the momentum going with a lacklustre episode of WWE’s flagship show. The bizarre decision to have the Cruiserweights take centre stage to end Raw did not help matters whatsoever. The opening Miz TV segment with Roman Reigns and the subsequent battle between The Big Dog and the Intercontinental Champion set the ball in motion for the expected Shield reunion at TLC.
Meanwhile, over on SmackDown, things continued to be very hit and miss for the land of opportunity. The WWE Championship picture has become pitiful. The sooner Jinder Mahal drops the title the better. Shinsuke Nakamura is good in the ring, but give him anything else to do and he fails miserably. He is not the answer either. The answer is a Rusev, a Dolph Ziggler, a AJ Styles, or best yet, a Kevin Owens. Owens made an awful Universal Champion on Raw, but his new badass character looks more than ready to carry SmackDown. The best parts of SmackDown once again came from the Tag Team division and the ongoing rivalry between Owens and Shane McMahon. Sami Zayn had one of his best nights since moving to the blue brand. Rusev was his usual over the top humorous self. And The New Day and The Usos agreed to end their feud once and for all inside Hell in a Cell.
Here’s our take on the main parts of each episode:
Monday Night RAW: 25/09/17
MIZ TV With Special Guest Roman Reigns.
Is there a better egotistical heel than The Miz right now? He is so good at making people hate him, very much like the late Bobby Heenan, who sadly passed away last week. The Intercontinental Champion was on top form here as he tried to get under the skin of the cool, calm and collected
Roman Reigns, who was fresh off a career-defining victory over John Cena at No Mercy. The Miz
ended up talking himself into a match with The Big Dog as per order of General Manager Kurt Angle. It was a good opening segment that also teased a Shield reunion, which is scheduled to take place at TLC.
Braun Strowman def. Dean Ambrose.
Braun Strowman was in a foul mood on Raw after falling to Brock Lesnar at No Mercy in their anti-climatic main event. He smashed through Curt Hawkins before being confronted by The Lunatic Fringe Dean Ambrose, who was still feeling the effects from his Tag Team title defence over Cesaro & Sheamus from the same PPV. It was smart of WWE to get Strowman’s momentum back with a dominant win over someone as popular as Ambrose. Strowman needs to remain strong going forward and this was a good step in building back his destructive aura that one F-5 derailed. This writer still believes the time was right to have Strowman defeat The Beast Incarnate and take home the Universal Championship.
Mickie James Confronts Alexa Bliss.
Involving Mickie James in the title picture on Raw has been too long in coming. What took them so long is anyone’s guess. Mickie is in the best shape of her career, amazing on the mic, and has an uncanny knack of getting the fans to care about everything she does. She will get the best out of Alexa Bliss moving forward as the Women’s Champion bides her time before being inevitably dethroned by Asuka, who will make her main roster debut at TLC.
Seth Rollins def. Sheamus.
This was a decent encounter from two pros, but we’ve seen this sort of match far too often on Raw
in recent times. It gets rather tedious. That’s taking nothing away from both men, who are exceptional talents, but the current TV match formula has run its course in this writer’s opinion. Rollins and Sheamus have tremendous chemistry in the ring together, but the match was just there and did nothing for either man. It just gave both superstars something to do, which is never okay. Creative need to do better than this. Rollins challenging Braun Strowman to a match next week on Raw was good, and that bout should be fun.
Roman Reigns def. The Miz.
The match was a pretty enjoyable one, although the result was never in doubt. However, having said
that, it was strange to have all three members of The Miztourage lose their matches on Raw when they’re set to take on The Shield at TLC. The post-match beatdown on Roman Reigns, and the mocking of The Shield pose gave The Miztourage a much-needed boost. Are they going to be a match for the reuniting Shield? Not in a month of Sundays, but it sure will be fun to see them try.
Finn Balor def. Goldust.
Never call Goldust a victim. He really doesn’t like it, as Finn Balor found out to his cost on Raw. Balor may have come out on top here, but this whole thing with Bray Wyatt needs to stop. It is not helping anyone, it’s just derailing both superstars’ careers. The added inclusion of Goldust was a nice touch, but if it just prolongs the feud of Balor and Wyatt, which outstayed it’s welcome at SummerSlam, then that’s a very bad thing. Balor is set to challenge Brock Lesnar for the Universal Championship at the Royal Rumble which should be outstanding if Brock is in the mood, of course.
Bayley & Sasha Banks def. Emma & Nia Jax.
Nia Jax seems in a lull right now. She was absolutely dominant at No Mercy, but has again been
shunted out of the title picture. That won’t be changing anytime soon with the arrival of Asuka at
TLC. She didn’t do a lot here in this throwaway tag team bout. The whole focus was on Bayley and
Sasha Banks, and the impending break-up of their friendship which has been teased since the start
of the year. Bayley stealing the victory from The Boss on Raw will add fuel to the fire. Who will play the heel in the feud? It has to be Bayley based on the fans’ reaction to her, but there’s few better at playing that role than Sasha Banks.
Smackdown Live!: 26/09/17
Kevin Owens And Sami Zayn Exchange Words.
This opening segment on SmackDown was one of the best in recent memory. It was intense and hard-hitting. Neither man held anything back. Sami Zayn is the ultimate underdog and his character seems to grow stronger with losses, but it would be nice to see his hard work rewarded with a push of some kind. Owens is as charismatic as they come. He can also change from being a funny guy to a cold-hearted, steely-eyed monster in a split second. A master of his craft.
Jinder Mahal Addresses His Controversial Comments.
When will WWE ever learn? Racism on any level is not funny. To steep that low for story purposes is wrong. If this is the best the creative team can come up with then WWE need to replace them. WWE backtracked this week and went back to what they know best – awful comedy. No matter what they do it won’t work. The only thing worse than Jinder Mahal’s promos is his in-ring work. Shinsuke Nakamura got a measure of revenge by laying out the WWE Champion and his stooges, but this feud needs to end and end fast. The fans seem bored with it too.
Charlotte Flair def. Carmella.
SmackDown hasn’t done a very good job of showcasing the Women’s Division since WrestleMania.
Hopefully that will change when Charlotte dethrones Natalya of the title at Hell in a Cell. Charlotte
currently has no equals, and her match with Carmella was a good watch even if it was short. Also
the less we see of Natalya the better. Watching paint dry is more entertaining.
Bobby Roode Meets Dolph Ziggler.
Dolph Ziggler coming out as The Undertaker was a lot of fun. It’s hard to imagine anyone actually
thought it was The Phenom though, considering Ziggler is a good foot shorter than The Deadman.
Bobby Roode confronting The Showoff to set up a match between the two for Hell in a Cell was also well done. The bout should be well worth a watch. Who goes over? Would be hard to see Roode losing his first main roster PPV match, so it seems Ziggler will suffer yet another defeat. He is used to that though.
Kevin Owens def. Sami Zayn.
This version of Kevin Owens is absolutely awesome. If only Raw had let him be like this when he was Universal Champion instead of a lackey to Chris Jericho, even though that partnership was highly-entertaining. Owens and Sami Zayn had another great battle in the main event on SmackDown. Have they ever had a bad match together? Zayn once again looked good as the gutsy underdog battling against the odds. Owens came off as a remorseless heel who cares about no one but himself. The Hell in a Cell match with Shane McMahon should be outstanding. Owens has to win, and has to win clean.
Make sure you follow James on Twitter @JK_CFC3.