Notes In Observance – WWE Raw 9/19/16: Clash Of Emotions
Posted by Nicholas Jason Lopez
By Nicholas Jason Lopez
“Notes In Observance” features random thoughts and analysis on recent television shows. Quick results can be found at the bottom of the post.
Clash Of Emotions
– With this the go-home show before Raw’s exclusive Pay-Per-View, Clash Of Champions, WWE had some final touches to put on the card. We hoped for the best with a few standouts, but could always be skeptical. The opening video took us back to last week when we saw everybody’s favorite “bad wrestler” Roman Reigns get screwed over twice in an attempt to put himself in the same COC main event for the WWE Universal Championship between WWE Universal Champion Kevin Owens and Seth Rollins. This, of course, happened because of Rollins’ rage that he couldn’t get his hands on Owens sooner, to the point where he even ignored a warning from Raw General Manager Mick Foley not to interfere. The other cause was from WWE United States Champion Rusev, who distracted Reigns to help Owens get the victory. We also knew that Foley would “have a talk” with Rollins. We’d have this week to continue the obvious storyline of attempts to get Rollins over as a babyface while they also kept Reigns in check.
– This episode helped reposition Foley as a serious authority figure, but there was too much of him. The opening in-ring segment with Reigns, Raw Commissioner Stephanie McMahon and Owens set the tone for the rest of the show. Reigns barely got out three words before he was interrupted by Steph on how her and Foley worked up a solution. Foley set up two matches for the night and one for COC as he booked “the two perps” against each other in Rusev-Rollins and Reigns-Rusev for the US Title at COC. The last one was a steel cage match for the night’s main event between Owens and Reigns. Foley cast sympathy on himself as a guy who tried hard and that came across okay. Owens made sense in his portion as he tried to have Steph overturn Foley’s decision, but to no avail. Another big key for this was how hot the crowd was for Foley.
– The backstage segment with Steph, Rusev and Foley was a fair follow-up, as we saw Steph question Foley’s ideas before Rusev stormed the scene and also complained it wasn’t fair he had to fight Rollins, because this was a night of celebration for Lana, since her movie with Edge was being released the next day. Foley stood on his ground and then answered a call from Chris Jericho. Funny.
– The Rollins-Rusev match was a smart way to develop the road to a more full-fledged babyface Rollins as he battled with the heel Champ. Commentary pushed a “clash of emotions” phrase that was sensible, since both men were angry for different reasons and took it out on each other. We also noticed the LED ring posts were absent this week. Oh boo. Some easy storytelling as Rusev worked over Rollins’ lower back until he began to shape a comeback that revolved around his more crowd-pleasing maneuvers, like the swing blade, Falcon Arrow and multiple suicide dives. Of course, it ended in a double countout as both men brawled up the ramp, but it helped show how angry both men were while it also protected them from a loss headed into COC. Rollins also got a highlight reel moment when he leaped off the elevated announce table and hit a high cross body on Rusev.
– They continued the storyline of WWE Women’s Champion Charlotte’s mistreatment of Dana Brooke, her protege, as Brooke tried to lobby for no contenders for Charlotte at COC because both Bayley and Sasha Banks’ shoulders were pinned down to the mat simultaneously. Foley used the footage to book a triple threat at COC for the Women’s Championship between Bayley, Banks and Charlotte. A cool way to further that tension, as Charlotte was so enraged that she shoved Brooke to the floor. Nice progression.
– This was also the first appearance of the Cruiserweights on Raw, as the hyped four men in particular – Cedric Alexander (arguably the most over guy there), Brian Kendrick (a fairly known talent), Rich Swann (over by his own charisma and dancing) and Gran Metalik (who shined his way through the Cruiserweight Classic) as we also noticed that the Raw logic turned purple with a star-gazed background. Some of those graphics ran on too awkwardly long. We were also shown highlights of the Cruiserweight Classic finale, where Metalik lost in grand fashion to now-WWE Cruiserweight Champion TJ Perkins.
– Anything Jericho does or says in 2016 as a heel turns to gold. Between the “Stupid Idiot” and “It” catchphrases, now we had the “List Of Jericho” to add. The backstage segment with Owens and Jericho saw them complain that Foley had it out for them. Jericho snatched a clipboard from a nearby employee and looked to formulate a list about all of Foley’s wrongdoings to air his grievances.
– Braun Strowman has now graduated to “glorified squash” territory, as he took down Sin Cara in brutal fashion. Cara was pushed for his “fighting heritage” and tried to shake the big man with a suicide dive and springboard moonsault, but was caught unceremoniously with a powerslam to end the bout. Strowman stays strong, in wait for bigger opponents.
– The backstage segment with Bayley and Banks directly hyped the tag match where they’d team up against Charlotte/Brooke, while it also hyped the COC triple-threat. Banks and Bayley played up on their friendship while they also bragged to each other about their own abilities. Not as notable as it should’ve been.
– The Banks/Bayley-Charlotte/Brooke match showcased the divide of tensions, as the soon-to-be opponents teamed up against the fleeting mentor/protege. The ring action was mostly pleasant as Banks was being worked over for a while before she turned the hot tag on Bayley, who worked momentum up to the Bayley-To-Belly, but never got to hit it thanks to the finish. Actually went pretty good, as Brooke held down Charlotte from being hit with the BTB and that created a diversion for Charlotte to kick Bayley in the jaw to render her unconscious for three seconds. Easy way to give the Champ momentum headed into COC and that match should be good, but this was mildly tame compared to what we’ve seen from these ladies in NXT. For one, the Bayley-Banks rivalry could’ve been played up a bit more. This would’ve been the perfect time for it to happen.
– The best backstage segment by far was the one in Steph’s office with her and Rollins. In order for us to truly buy into Rollins as a babyface, they needed to further divide him from Steph and this a welcome step towards that. Rollins continued to be dumbfounded on why Triple H turned on him and wanted answers, but Steph pleaded her innocence before Rollins pushed her buttons. Also liked how Steph proposed that maybe he hurt Triple H’s reputation and lost big matches, like against Finn Balor at SummerSlam. Rollins’ line that he could be her worst nightmare since he knew her thought process and couldn’t manipulate him was good. Steph tried to get the last word that Owens was the right Champion and “The Man’s Replacement,” but Rollins had it when he claimed Steph cracked once SmackDown Live Commissioner Shane McMahon came back on the scene. Good stuff.
– The Bo Dallas-Gary Graham match continued Bo’s push where he cuts awkward poem-laden promos before he aggressively beats his opponents and waves around a giant campaign sign. It’s a hit-and-miss strategy, as fans chanted “Let’s go jobber!” and “Bo-Lieve!” in the style of “Delete!” so we can’t tell where it falls on the scale. Graham looked jobber-tastic with his half-shorts/half-pants attire. Dallas won unsurprisingly as we’re left to ponder who has first big feud might be with. Do appreciate the effort to build him up as a serious guy, but can he lose the sign and the big “Outcast” written on his singlet? The little things go a long way.
– Match Six of the Best-Of-Seven Series between Sheamus and Cesaro where Sheamus held a 3-2 advantage headed in felt incredibly predictable, thanks to Cesaro’s “late momentum,” who fell in an early deficit and looked to work his way back. A pre-match promo from Sheamus reaffirmed his claim to be in the “driver’s seat” and that the pressure was on Cesaro. Despite the easy outcome, they still used some nice storytelling to get the crowd into it. Sheamus hit a White Noise on the apron, a Celtic Cross/Backbreaker combo and Clover Leaf submission, but it wasn’t enough to put Cesaro down. Sheamus also failed when he tried to win with the ropes for leverage as he was caught. In a last-ditch effort, Cesaro countered a springboard maneuver by Sheamus into a European Uppercut that transitioned into the Neutralizer to get the win and even up the series. Of course the finish itself was a bit clunky, but there was great drama and smart references to past series matches. The finale would take place at COC, which we figured would happen in the first place.
– The backstage segment with Foley and Jericho spawned the birth of “The List Of Jericho” as he told Foley what he really thought of him, while Foley recalled that he was the one who told Paul Heyman about Jericho’s abilities back in the day. Jericho countered a few funny offenses, such as “Steals catchphrases,” “Demeans WWE superstars” and “Uses town names for cheap babyface pops.” Once he shared that he would head down to the ring to share the list, we only had reminders of his “1,004 Holds” list promo from his World Championship Wrestling days.
– The in-ring segment with Jericho, Enzo Amore, Big Cass, WWE World Tag Team Champions the New Day, The Shining Stars, Sami Zayn, Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson gave us the “cram everybody into one segment” segment of the week. Not a bad idea since we started with Jericho’s list “additions” before it blended the Enzo/Cass promo that speculated on other best friends, SS’ brochure advertisements, hyped the COC Tag Title match between ND and Gallows/Anderson and culminated with a sneak attack from Zayn while Jericho stood on the ramp and called everybody idiots. Multiple advancements here that led to a predictable match to follow, since we had six faces and five heels out there.
– Luckily, the 10-Man Tag between Enzo/Cass/Zayn/Big E/Kofi Kingston and Jericho/SS/Gallows/Anderson featured plenty of good action and progressed several feuds by the finish. Zayn missed the Helluva Kick on Jericho, which prompted a runaway chase, as Kingston hit a big Tope Con Hilo on Gallows/Anderson, which left SS all alone, as Enzo got the pin with the Boom Shakalaka.
– The in-ring segment where Foley introduced the Cruiserweights was initially rough as he stumbled over his lines that had the cliche “size of the fight in the dog” quote from Mark Twain. It also didn’t help that Foley read from notes when he introduced Swann, GM, Kendrick and Alexander. Made him look widely uninformed. Everybody except Swann got pre-taped promos as we saw GM speak in Spanish about how nothing was different, Alexander was pleased to give back to the people that pleaded for him to be signed and Kendrick looked to return with a vengeance after he thought he was done wrestling 638 days ago. This led to Foley’s announcement that the four would square off to decide who TJP would defend against at COC.
– The WWE Cruiserweight Championship #1 Contender’s Fatal Four-Way between GM, Swann, Alexander and Kendrick was luckily the shot in the arm that the third hour needed in a way that allowed all four men to do their thing and get over the easiest way possible – in the ring. Kendrick used some early heat tactics to stand out, while Alexander and GM pulled out some typical aerial moves, but the crowd was mostly quiet besides for the truly dedicated. Things began to pick up once we saw the chop exchanges between Swann and Alexander, as the crowd nearly fell over from how loud they were. The consecutive Tope Con Hilos by Alexander and GM also got the crowd excited. They began to chant, “This is awesome!” as this was better than expected thanks to the large amount of time given so that everybody could do their own thing. To help the match get its own feel, there was also purple mood lighting (eh) and the Raw logo on the LED screen turned purple. Good finish as we saw Kendrick make Alexander tap out to the Captain’s Hook (renamed from the Bully Choke) after Alexander had hit the Lumbar Check on Swann. Kendrick made perfect sense as TJP’s first opponent since he was more of a heel than anybody else in the division. We’d also be happy to see a one-on-one Swann-Alexander match. Make it happen, somebody.
– The Reigns-Owens steel cage main event was disappointing and felt like the same old Reigns match. The crowd was mostly against Reigns, as the two traded elbows and fists to “Boo, Yay” chants. Owens kicked out of the Superman Punch and Reigns kicked out of the Pop-Up Powerbomb. They tried to use the cage environment to add to the bout, but it wasn’t effective, besides the aerial Superman Punch. The finish was lame as Reigns escaped from the top faster than Owens escaped from the side door to get the win. Contrary to what Commentator Byron Saxton said, this was barely a “hard-earned victory” for Reigns. We know they wanted to protect both men without a pinfall, but this was a weak way to go about it. The post-match angle was better, as Rusev came down to the ring and locked the door shut as both heels had their way with Reigns before Rollins came down to save his enemy and ended the show with a thriller high crossbody off the top of the cage. Progressed the Rusev-Reigns and Rollins-Owens feuds in a way that also furthered Rollins’ babyface momentum as he pleased the crowd through his abilities rather than his words and also left us intrigued to see what Reigns would do in response to Rollins, the guy who once turned on him, there for the save this time. All in all, a long show with too much Foley, a nice touch of Jericho and a smoothed-over Cruiserweights debut.
- Seth Rollins and Rusev (w/Lana) to a double countout
- Braun Strowman def. Sin Cara via pinfall
- Charlotte/Dana Brooke def. Sasha Banks/Bayley via pinfall
- Bo Dallas def. Gary Graham via pinfall
- Best-Of-Seven Series – Sheamus Leads 3-2 – Match 6 – Cesaro def. Sheamus via pinfall to even the series at 3
- 10-Man Tag – Enzo Amore/Big Cass/Big E/Kofi Kingston (w/Xavier Woods)/Sami Zayn def. The Shining Stars/Chris Jericho/Karl Anderson/Luke Gallows via pinfall
- WWE Cruiserweight Championship #1 Contender’s Match – Fatal Four-Way – Brian Kendrick def. Gran Metalik, Rich Swann and Cedric Alexander via pinfall
- Steel Cage Match – Roman Reigns def. Kevin Owens via escape
About Nicholas Jason LopezJust a 28-year-old Brooklynite. Nothing more, nothing less. Currently a freelance journalist with two websites - Pro Wrestling Opinion and The Music Bugle - he has also been published on sites such as The Bensonhurst Bean, Sheepshead Bites, Review Fix, College University of New York Athletic Conference, Dying Scene, Brooklyn News Service, All Media NY, BrooklynFans.com and Yahoo Voices. He has also interned for The Home Reporter/Brooklyn Spectator based out of Brooklyn, NY.
Posted on November 12, 2016, in WWE and tagged Bayley, Big Cass, Big E, Bo Dallas, Braun Strowman, Brian Kendrick, Byron Saxton, Cedric Alexander, Cesaro, Charlotte, Chris Jericho, Clash Of Champions, Corey Graves, Cruiserweights, Dana Brooke, Enzo Amore, Gary Graham, Gran Metalik, Karl Anderson, Kevin Owens, Kofi Kingston, Lana, Luke Gallows, Michael Cole, Mick Foley, Rich Swann, Roman Reigns, Rusev, Sami Zayn, Sasha Banks, Seth Rollins, Sheamus, Sin Cara, Stephanie McMahon, The New Day, The Shining Stars, Xavier Woods. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.
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