WWE: Monday Night RAW was LIVE from the Fedex Forum in Memphis, TN on 9/19/16!
“The Greatest Ability Is Availability” -TJ Perkins
I think that really gets things in perspective with the imminent debut of the Cruiserweight Division tonight on Raw. Perkins made that comment on the RAW pre-show and being healthy and working a smart style is really going to lend itself well to fans enjoying the product for months and years to come.
Roman Reigns out first to open Raw and before he can even speak, Stephanie McMahon interrupts him. She is then interrupted by the Raw GM, Mick Foley, who doesn’t look to be in the best of moods as he heads to the ring along with Steph. He cuts to the chase and puts Seth Rollins and Rusev, The US Champ, is a match tonight. Roman says what does that do for him? Triple H screwed him weeks ago and Rusev screwed him last week. Foley books Rusev and Roman in a US Title match and Stephanie backs that claim up. Roman isn’t buying it and Foley jumps to Steph’s defense. Foley said his word is his bond and if he loses that and the ratings war to Smackdown LIVE, he’s on the couch. He books a rematch for the Universal title tonight between Kevin Owens, the Universal Champion, and Roman Reigns! KO is out and says the decision doesn’t make sense, he beat Reigns twice and he should be preparing for Seth Rollins. Stephanie says the two men will compete and it’s a non-title match, but it will be in a steel cage! Wow! It’ll be right here in Memphis, TN. That’ll be a tremendous match, that’s for sure. Crowd is lovin’ it! Seth Rollins is out and headed to the ring for his contest with Rusev, and it’ll be next!
Seth Rollins and Rusev fought to a double countout. A great match between two very prominent talents. Smart ending to set the stage for a future feud between the two. After the match ended, Rusev is kneed in the back and sent off the stage only for Rollins to climb up onto the announce table to take flight with a high cross body. Great way to start RAW and very unique booking putting a volatile heel with a man who is slowly transitioning it seems.
Backstage with Dana Brooke showing Mick Foley the footage from last week where both Sasha and Bayley had their shoulders pinned to the mat, but Sasha was awarded the victory. Dana says both should be removed from the title match and instead, Foley books the women’s champion, Charlotte, in a triple threat match against both Bayley and “The Boss” Sasha Banks. Charlotte is fuming and she shoves Dana to the crowd and walks away.
The show returns with a view of the steel cage that will be involved in the main event. We then see a video package featuring THE Brian Kendrick and Cedric Alexander who will be a part of the debuting Cruiserweight Division tonight! Chris Jericho is then shown backstage with Kevin Owens and he’s going to make a list of all the things Mick Foley has done wrong as GM, and he’ll give it to him tonight.
Braun Strowman defeats Sin Cara with a powerslam. Really awesome display of speed by Strowman to match the strength as he slid into the ring as Sin Cara went for a moonsault and he caught him with the driving powerslam. Braun seems to get more impressive with each week. Not quite a squash match tonight, but dominant nevertheless. We head backstage with Sasha Banks where she runs into Bayley and they talk about it being “old times”. Sasha says they will push each other to the limits, and Bayley counters a statement by Sasha saying she pinned Bayley with Bayley stating the same. They argue a little bit and then have a show of respect as they’ll be involved in a women’s tag match next.
Charlotte and Dana Brooke defeat Sasha Banks and Bayley by pinfall via a yakuza kick on Bayley by Charlotte. Dana kept screwing up in the match, not botching, but poorly trying to save Charlotte. She got it right in the end when she stopped a Bayley-To-Belly attempt and Charlotte took advantage with a huge kick to end the match. Great effort by all the women involved and it adds intrigue to the triple threat match Sunday. We see Seth Rollins walk into Stephanie McMahon’s office as they pan to a commercial break.
After the break, Seth Rollins reflects on good times with Steph, but he wants to know why they turned on him. He says after Clash, he’ll be their worst nightmare when he takes the belt back and he won’t be manipulated anymore. Steph says don’t you dare threaten me, and does she think KO is the right champ? Yes she does. Is he the right person to beat SD Live and replace Seth as “the man”? Yes she does. Seth says she used to be a shrewd business woman, but she has started to crack. He says it started with Shane’s return. He walks off and we head to the ring to witness Bo Dallas in action.
Bo Dallas defeats Gary Graham with a roll of the dice in a squash match. Another feature for Bo to reestablish himself as a threat on Raw. Before the match, he cuts a very Bray Wyatt-esque promo talking about “Bo-lieving” in Bo. A promo for the debuting Cruiserweights in shown after another break as we head into the sixth match in the best of seven series between Cesaro and Sheamus!
Cesaro defeats Sheamus by pinfall to tie the series at 3-3 and even the series heading into the final match which will likely take place at Clash Of Champions. An awesome spot on the outside where Cesaro nailed a European Uppercut on the outside that sent Sheamus over the barricade and nearly into the lap of the great veteran NBA Player, Vince Carter, of the Memphis Grizzles, who was barely able to get out of the way in time. As expected, this was another tremendous contest between these two ring generals and it sets up an amazing finale for the PPV this week, where I presume it will take place. Sheamus nailed a splash mountain into a kneebreaker and the ref caught Sheamus with the foot on the ropes which ultimately led to the pinfall. Backstage after the match, Foley and Jericho have words as expected. Foley talks about recommending Jericho to Paul Heyman so many years ago. Jericho says he is making “The list of Jericho” and he tells Foley that he’s going to aire his grievances and he continues on talking about his scarf in trending in Luxembourg. Foley says he looks ridiculous here in MEMPHIS!
Quiet. Dare You Dare Boo Me, I said Quiet. Chris Jericho is waiting in the ring after the break with his “List of Jericho”. Wonder if this will lead to Malenko coming out? This is reminiscent of the 1004 holds promo from WCW. He talks about Foley’s terrible fashion sense. He mocks “brace face” in row 12. He’ll put us all on the list! He says Foley has an affection from that “happy go-lucky leper” Sami Zayn. This is classic. No Dean Malenko, but he is interrupted by Enzo Amore and Big Cass. They talk badly about Jericho’s vest and scarf and talk about true best friends. The Shining Stars are out and they talk about “highly affordable time shares” in Puerto Rico. They are interrupted by the world tag team champions, The New Day. The New Day are out to a great reaction and they say they are out there because they have nothing better to do! That was awesome! Xavier plugs his Youtube show and he says they are giving away Iphone 7’s so two people can call their families after they beat Gallows and Anderson. G and A are out and they aren’t pleased. They trash Booty O’s and other things and then Jericho says he’s starting a new list of “stupid idiots” and all of the tag teams are on it. Sami Zayn is out and he is destroying Jericho to a massive “Zayn” chant. A huge brawl breaks out in the ring as they pan to commercial.
Sami Zayn, The New Day, Enzo Amore and Big Cass defeat Chris Jericho, Luke Gallows, Karl Anderson and The Shining Stars via the Bada-Boom-Shaka-Laka on Primo. This was fast and furious and booked after the brawl before the commercial. The faces go over heading into the PPV and showcase what look to me some great matches for the Raw PPV. A great spot where Kofi hit a rolling tag and then all the participants go over the top rope with high risk maneuvers. Great chemistry between all involved. They show the booking of the cage match and the affairs from earlier featuring Roman Reigns at the start of the show. They showcase two more premiere cruiserweights and their debut up next and it’s Gran Metalik and “All Night Long” Rich Swann. The crowd should be in for a treat with these debuts!
Mick Foley is in the ring next to introduce four of the debuting cruiserweights where he books them in a fatal fourway match with the winner going on to Clash Of Champions to face TJ Perkins for the title! He brings out Rich Swann, Gran Metalik, Cedric Alexander and THE Brian Kendrick! All four men get great reactions and they are using their music from the CWC with some cool graphics. After the commercial, the contest will take place and I am stoked!
THE Brian Kendrick defeats Cedric Alexander, Gran Metalik and Rich Swann via the Captain’s Hook on Alexander. I can’t even begin to tell you how incredible this was. Everyone of these guys looked like a million bucks, but I think the standout on this night was Alexander with Swann being a close second. Kendrick was my pick to win this because it makes sense, and he and Perkins will draw money. It’s the classic veteran story, but I believe Perkins will retain. The fans were very into it and many who hadn’t enjoyed the tournament seemed spellbound by the high risk maneuvers and the striking shots that Alexander and Swann exchanged. Welcome to RAW gentlemen. You definitely raised the bar!
Roman Reigns defeats Kevin Owens by escaping the cage in a non-title main event that took place within the confines of a steel cage. I appreciate furthering a feud for the future, but the decision was a head-scratcher. A very entertaining match between two great workers, but there was no interference from either Rusev or Rollins until the end of the match. Rusev showed up at the end after the decision to put Reigns down before their US title match. Rusev grabbed a steel chain and he locked the cage so that he and Owens could destroy Reigns after the match had ended. Rusev puts the boots to Reigns with the aide of the Universal Champion. The Memphis crowd was waiting for Rollins to appear, or so they’d have you believe, but when Reigns was getting destroyed, a “Yes” chant broke out. Rollins finally comes down and scales the cage. A beautiful spot where Rollins comes off the very top of the cage with a crossbody to end the show. That’s all she wrote!