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WWE RAWtrospective 8/21/17: Free Agent

WWE: Monday Night RAW was LIVE from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY on 8/21/17!

Ladies and Gentlemen…

Paul Heyman, the Advocate for the Universal Champion, the Mayor of Suplex City, Brock Lesnar are live and not on a tape delay to start the broadcast. Paul gloats about his client successfully defending the title in the fatal four way match last night at Summerslam.

As only Paul can do, he recants the tale of last night’s exceptional match up featuring three other heavyweight talents. He talks about Lesnar overcoming the odds, having been carted off after being slammed through a table by Braun Strowman.

The Beast overcame the odds, denying medical attention, and he walked back down the aisle to successfully retain the title. Paul singles out Lesnar pinning Roman Reigns to the delight of the New York crowd. Heyman continues and nearly incites a riot, but then he’s interrupted by BRAAAAAAUN! The Monster Among Men heads down to the ring to take issue with the Beast and his advocate.

Strowman is turned face in a moment’s time as the crowd chants his time and he and Lesnar quickly come to blows and Strowman ends up on top of the collision. As expected, we seem to be headed towards the inevitable Strowman/Lesnar collision at No Mercy in what should be a quality title match. Strowman ends the opening segment by holding up the title to a raucous reaction as the crowd goes ballistic.

Highlights of Summerslam follow the commercial break and we head into a “Brooklyn Street Fight” between Big Cass and Enzo Amore. Get your shovels ready. We suffer through highlights of the stinker that was the “Shark Cage” match where Enzo Amore was further buried, and Cass defeated the Big Show.

Enzo Amore defeats Big Cass via referee stoppage in a Brooklyn Street Fight.

This was as expected and it dulled the crowd’s excitement after the opening collision. Enzo worked the mic exceptionally as has been his gift. He trots out a shopping cart full of weapons before we even get started.

The commentary team bury Enzo before Cass does. Man, he must have some nuclear heat backstage, because this bordering on bullying the young talent. Move him back to NXT or let him get his legs under him on 205 Live. The crowd rejected this, and with respect to Big Cass, this isn’t really helping to establish him at the expense of Enzo.

Cass boots Enzo straight to hell’s kitchen in a hand-basket before a break. I’m not gonna delve into the depths of this one, it was brutal. The crowd stayed firmly behind Enzo, and he had a smattering of offense for a quick spell. Big Cass looks to have potentially hurt himself for real. He slams his fist on the apron as his knee buckled and they throw it out, giving Enzo the win. Wow. I hope Cass is okay, but that was a strange ending. He really have a rough landing.


Emma is bickering backstage about being treated unfairly. Dana Brooke is listening, and it seems we’ll see Emma and Nia later tonight. I’m sure that’ll end well. Nia is listening the whole time and she says that the only thing trending after their match next will be #GiveEmmaCPR.

Nia Jax defeats Emma via pin fall with a Samoan Drop in a squash match.

Wow, let’s not just have one, but two burials to start the show. Nia plows through Emma early after Emma employs some brief offense. Samoan drop and they accomplish very little once again. Nia wins and that’s that.

Too cool for “Samson”, we walk with Elias after the break. He plays his guitar for Brooklyn, referencing the Solar Eclipse before berating the city and its inhabitants. It ends with singles action against R-Truth.

Elias defeats R-Truth via pin fall with Drift Away.

Elias and Truth mix it up as the rising star takes it to the veteran presence. Truth fires back with right hands and Elias eats a single leg dropkick. Michael Cole compares Elias to Bob Dylan just as he comes back with a boot and Drift Away. Ballgame.

Free Agency

Raw General Manager Kurt Angle is out for a “superstar debut” as we were informed of earlier via the website. It’s John Cena! The free agent 16 Time World Champion makes his way to the red brand. That’s huge! The champ is here! He is warmly greeted by “John Cena Sucks” chants and he looks pleased to be back on the red brand. Baron Corbin was taken to the woodshed at Summerslam last night and we’ll look to have Cena involved in a major feud in short order.

Cena gets a mixed reaction buts talks about being glad to be on Raw. There is nobody who gets as polarizing a reaction as the leader of the Cenation. Oh boy, it’s Roman Reigns and business is about to pick up. This has been a feud that was rumored for Wrestlemania, but we look to be sowing the seeds for it on tonight’s broadcast.

The crowd buries this and it’s a little disheartening as a fan of the product, as we get “you both suck” chants. Roman says the only time Cena has been looking for him is when he’s run his mouth on Twitter. Roman says “Big Match John” is in his yard now, is he gonna run his mouth now? “Undertaker” chants flood the Barclay’s center, an ode to a true legend.

Cena didn’t come to talk. AWESOME! We are interrupted by the IC Champ, and the Miztourage hits the ring, with Maryse looking as lovely as ever. Bo Dallas borrowed his suit jacket from Chris Tucker in “Rush Hour 2” and I love it. Miz mocks the fact that he’s looking at a sold out Barclay’s center, unlike last night where he opened the show to an empty arena because of timing issues. Miz buries this feud. The crowd rallies behind him. He mocks both men and their “moments” and this is Smackdown Miz at his finest.

Wow, this crowd HATES Cena and Roman. Cena is prepared to show himself out when Miz spins him around. Miz continues on and he drills the crowd on their mixed reactions and tells them to take a side because the disdain keeps both men relevant. “You deserve it” chants for the Miz and his “moment”. Cena says let’s make a moment tonight and he books himself and Reigns against Miz and one of his cronies.

Samoa Joe’s music hits and out comes Joey Headrocker to a thunderous ovation. Joe books himself as the partner of the Miz for our main event tonight. He’s sick and tired of hearing Roman say it’s “his yard” and man to man, one on one, he owns Roman. And as for John, right hands follow. The Miztourage strikes as Joe locks on the Coquina Clutch, but Roman fires off a superman punch. Uneasy allies head into our main event tonight!

Gran Metalik/Cedric Alexander/Mustafa Ali/Rich Swann defeat Tony Nese/Drew Gulak/Ariya Daivari/Noam Dar via pinfall after a Lumbar Check by Alexander on Nese.

Metalik is so darn impressive. He took to the air early, grounding Gulak as frequent tags showcased all eight men involved in this classic lucha libre style contest. Don’t get me wrong, Gulak and others kept it grounded, but this was fun to reintroduce fresh faces that division fans haven’t seen in weeks.

Neville recaptured the title and will be looking at fresh opponents and all eyes seem to be on Cedric Alexander as a front runner. Booker T. referenced just that as I typed this out! Nese and Swann mixed it up and after a break, we come back with Swann looking for the hot tag and fans doing the wave. Great way to show respect for these young talents, unreal. Metalik hits a beautiful moonsault to the outside and that stifles some of the marks in the crowd.

Alexander hits the Lumbar Check and Nese bounces about five feet in the air. Three count and it’s over. A great victory for the faces and a good look for Cedric.


Neville is backstage with the championship he reclaimed last night after the match. He won the match with a Red Arrow, besting Tozawa. Neville runs down Tozawa and calls Titus O’Neil a flesh eating parasite. Titus and Tozawa walk into the scene and he calls Neville a gargoyle. We’re told that tomorrow night on 205 Live, we’ll have a rematch for the title.

Kurt Angle is backstage with his boy. Jason Jordan is looking for singles action tonight. He doesn’t want any preferential treatment, but he wants Finn Balor! Wow! Can’t fault the kids for having guts. Kurt books it and we’re going to see a solid piece of singles action. This is making up for the horrible booking to start the show.

Here come the new champs! Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins hit the ring to a well deserved reaction. Burn it down! That addition to Seth’s music makes it even more incredible. Seth says it feels great to be holding the titles with his old friend. He is fired up and sounds like he’s legitimately having fun. Ambrose says he’s been wearing the title everywhere and he slept with the belt under his pillow.

It’s an open invitation here tonight. Cesaro and Sheamus will get their rematch eventually. DELETE! It’s the Hardy Boyz and the crowd is frantic. What a night! Oh my goodness, Matt keeps teasing us with the broken gimmick. It’s gotta be close to being finalized. Let’s do the damn thang, that’s what Seth tells us. It happens after the break!

Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins defeat the Hardy Boyz via pinfall in a non-title match after a Dirty Deeds on Jeff Hardy.

Classic wrestling to start this one off as Matt and Ambrose continue the progression as the match moves on. Matt continues the disciplined progression as Rollins tags in, but Seth eventually gets the upper hand, utilizing some of his signature spots.

Jeff gets the tag and he takes the champs to task before another break. The return provides continued excitement, the crowd having something to sink their teeth into with this “dream match” if you will. Jeff Hardy springboards off his brother to the outside with Poetry in Motion, taking out both champs.

Ambrose pulls Rollins out of the way, Jeff striking out with a Whisper in the Wind as a result. Ambrose is in and he grounds Jeff with an STF variation. Jeff looks for the tag, but Ambrose keeps him grounded. Jeff is finally able to hit the Whisper before getting the hot tag. Matt is in and he’s in full on DELETE mode. Ambrose and Rollins come back with double suicide dives and this one is really something. Rollins gets destroyed with a side effect on the apron by Matt. Side effect on Ambrose in the ring for a near fall.

Jeff almost ends it with a Swanton, but Ambrose gets the knees up. Matt is knocked off the apron, Short Arm Knee Strike by Rollins, Dirty Deeds and this one’s over. What a win!

Miz tries to butter up the Destroyer backstage as Samoa Joe, towel over his head, sits quietly until he’s heard enough. He tells Bo and Axel to remain a constant presence on the outside, and he tells Miz to do his constantly annoying thing inside the ring and that’s the game plan. Miz is “cool” with it all.

The Boss

Sasha Banks is out to celebrate winning the women’s title and to send her best wishes to Ric Flair for a speedy recovery. Alexa Bliss makes her presence known and it leads to them scheduling a rematch for the women’s title for next week’s Raw.

Finn Balor defeats Jason Jordan via pin fall with the Coup De Grace.

Jordan might have taken the loss in this one, but he looked very strong. Balor puts together a string of victories in consecutive nights after being Bray Wyat at Summerslam and taking Jordan to task tonight.

Balor refused a handshake from Jordan after drilling him with a dropkick that would make Bob Holly proud. Jordan employed his power offense, manhandling Balor for the better portion of the match, but Balor seized control, hitting that apron kick and utilizing the sling blade, the delayed dropkick and the big finish to put away Jordan and head to the pay window as a result.

John Cena and Roman Reigns defeat The Miz and Samoa Joe by pin fall after an AA by Cena on The Miz.

We’ll start with the ugly. If they really wanna kill the beach ball tomfoolery, have Vince christen it as “the next big thing” and that’ll solve it. This was a quality main event.

Joe looked incredibly strong as he took liberties with both Cena and Reigns, and after plenty of back and forth action, it was indeed Super Cena getting his first win on Raw in over a year after an AA on the Miz. It was the right man to take the fall in the main event and we get a stare down between Reigns and Cena at the end of the match.

They can tease that one for a while, and if they want to have them clash at No Mercy, cool, but I’d save that for a mainstream show like Survivor Series, Royal Rumble or Wrestlemania itself. After a slow start to this week’s show, plenty of action sent it off on a positive note as another established veteran makes his presence known in big match John.

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