As we head towards Survivor Series, the Raw “exclusive” show fluctuated between really good, and downright
puzzling. Such is wrestling in 2017 though right?
WWE TLC broke the mold by necessity Sunday, October 22nd. Illness struck the roster, causing a major shake-up just two days before the PPV. Kurt Angle returned. AJ Styles wrestled Finn Balor. And then there were a lot of questions.
Let’s start with my favorite moment of the night: AJ Styles vs. Finn Balor. Two former leaders of the Bullet Club, now in WWE. They haven’t crossed paths often on the indies, and they’ve only had that one moment at Summerslam where Finn didn’t 2 Sweet the rest of The Club. I was sort of let down that there wasn’t any build-up to this, but looking at it from a fantasy match, you have to be all in as a fan. Bray Wyatt was not wrestling, and the WWE brass gave the fans something phenomenal (pun intended) to replace him. The match itself was great. It was not by any means a classic, but it was a really good wrestling match, with that 2 Sweet afterwords to give the fans goosebumps after the fact. Well done WWE. Well done AJ Styles. Well done Finn Balor.
The Cruiserweight division has struggled for weeks, and this was no different. Kalisto and Enzo Amore simply do not do well in the ring together. Fast-paced and non-stop action simply didn’t happen here. And once again Enzo wins by cheating against a legitimate talent (first kicking Neville down-below, and now the thumb to the eye). I get the story in some aspects. Enzo cheats to win and calls the crowd out. Okay great, he’s a definite heel. However, hot-shotting the title 3-4 times in the past month or so doesn’t build prestige for the championship what so ever.
Asuka’s debut was a pretty solid starting point for the Empress of Tomorrow. She hit Emma hard and looked super stiff at some points. That’s exactly what you want from this undefeated talent who looks to continue her growth on the main roster. Emma also looked good, getting in a lot of offense. I imagine this was to fill time, but in reality, it did well for both sides. Emma can continue her heel run as the social media star “who started the Women’s Revolution” and Asuka can set her sights on the Raw Women’s Championship. After Survivor Series most likely.
Jason Jordan and Elias as completely silly. Jordan tossing veggies while Elias sang made no sense. It was comedic two times, and it made sense to have the match, but what’s the story? Elias poked fun at Kurt Angle (Jordan’s father remember) so therefore he tosses vegetables? I’ve never thought to insult someone by tossing lettuce and broccoli at them. And the ending was really badly botched or planned that way. Regardless, the result was confusing, and it came across that way on television and with the crowd reaction.
Kurt. Angle. Ambrose and Rollins giving him the vest. Angle coming down through the crowd with The Shield. Angle using chairs and ladders and tables was amazing. Angle looked a bit lost at times, but Ambrose and Rollins carried the high-flying action enough to where Angle could simply step in where appropriate and then hit his moves successfully. Did it feel good watching Angle hit those signature german suplexes or what? And that Angle Slam on Cesaro through the table! And the OLYMPIC SHIELD POWERBOMB! There was meaningful action throughout the match and it had a feel-good ending to the show that we simply had to have considering the circumstances. I also marked out when Angle returned from injury, and if you get me to do that, it’s an automatic up.
Hate to end on a down, but here we are. The garbage truck stuff in the TLC 3-on-5 was bad. Kane and Strowman starting a feud mid-match was bad. As I told my friends who I watched with: “they’re trying to fit 3 lbs of stuff in a 1 lb bag.” There was too much in the middle. Sure, it set up a future feud and there was definite story-telling, but the story is bad in my opinion. It’s classic wrestling feud making when one guy accidentally hits the other. I get it. And if that’s the feud you want then I guess that’s the way to set it up, but why have them in the match at all if that’s the case? Kane is a monster. Braun is a monster (among men). Why can’t it simply be two monsters taking on one another? Seemed like a waste of a Kane return, and a waste of Braun Strowman. Strowman went from being a legit contender for the Universal Championship to being placed in a garbage truck (that I hope was gimmicked because that legit looked scary). Weird story-telling in the main event match.
There were more ups and downs, but overall a solid show. Asuka vs. Emma, the cruiserweight tag-team match, Bliss vs. Mickie James, AJ vs. Finn, and the main-event all get passing grades. The Cruiserweight title match and the Elias vs. Jordan match were the only real duds on the show. A solid way for Raw to build towards Survivor Series in mid-November.
Brunner 1.0 has two wrestling titles on his wall, which makes him better than you.
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