Hi guys, it’s Steph back after a two-week holiday from Raw, and I’ve got out of the habit of being up until 4am, so I took the night off again, and decided I’d do the recap at 9am. Why not, eh? What’s the point in running a site if you can’t give yourself a grace period every now and again? For tonight’s Raw, we’re in Kansas City, Missouri, at the Sprint Center, and of course, we’re starting to get the run-up for Clash of Champions.
We start our night with some tweets, and over-excited commentary, all about Triple H rocking up and pedigreeing his son to give Kevin Owens the cursed flesh belt. I know it’s got a real name, I just refuse to call it anything else. We cover the match as a whole, which makes it look like Cass got a lot more offense in than he really did, but we get that gorgeous superplex from Roman as a slow-mo shot, that’s pretty. And then, of course, Triple H shows up for a Pedigree on Roman, giving Seth the chance to eliminate Roman, and we see Trips’ big hand on Seth’s head, like a benediction – but we know how this ends, and that wasn’t a blessing he was giving. Instead, he hit the Pedigree on Seth Rollins, a baffled Kevin Owens staring up at Triple H as he made the pin, before Trips wrenched the belt from Foley and handed it to Owens.
The rumours about this have been awesome, the rumour being that KO was meant to lose to Seth, but Trips, Seth and Roman were the only ones who knew the true ending, with Steph and Foley also unaware that Trips was going to show up and change the show. I really, really hope that’s true, because that would make this moment even more freaking awesome than it already was.
We see Steph backstage, Connor’s Cure badge prominent, on the phone and explaining how KO wants a huge celebration on Raw, and she’s going to give that to him. Foley walks up behind her and says that he was made to look like a fool, and Steph’s refusing to talk about it with him. Steph’s not happy, because she says she didn’t know anything about Hunter’s little spotlight moment, and that Mick had better remember who he’s talking to. He says he remembers exactly who he’s talking to, and recounts the story of their meeting at his famous Hell in a Cell match in 1998, voice emotional. Stephanie, too, seems moved by this, her stern expression slipping as she opens her mouth slightly to take in deeper breaths, as if avoiding tears. Steph says that he should believe her, because she was embarrassed by her husband, embarrassed at work because Hunter has stolen her dignity. She implores him to believe her, and Mick says that he has to believe her – because otherwise she’s a really good liar, and a really bad person.
We start our actual footage of the arena with balloons having been dropped on the audience, and Mick and Steph in the ring, announcing Kevin Owens… who’s wearing a suit, which is apparently news commentary needs us to know. God, he looks good, even with that evil cursed flesh belt over his shoulder. Mick offers a hand, and Kevin looks at it before ignoring it, then stands on the turnbuckle to wave the belt as pyro goes off and streamers fall. There’s a lot of emotion in Kevin’s face, and you can see him stalk for a second, looking like he’s trying to shake it off before he needs to speak. The crowd chant ‘you deserve it’ at him, and it’s a gorgeous moment. Kevin thanks Steph and Mick for the celebration, and Kevin says, yeah, he does deserve it.
However, he’s not happy with a crowd of idiots, who aren’t great or special, because only Kevin is great and special. God, I love Kevin Owens so much, he’s so brilliant. He admits the Trips showed up to give him ‘a little nudge’ but says he’d already done 98% of the work. Tonight’s Raw is officially the Kevin Owens Show, and I’m having flashbacks to Monday Night Rollins.
Oh look, I’m not the only one who’s thinking about that. Angry silver power ranger Seth Rollins is here! He says this isn’t about Kevin, and tells him to shut down. He’s furious at Stephanie for this, shouting at her that he carried her company, he worked his ass off every night, and that she repays him by doing this to him. Kevin says this is about him, because it’s his show. Seth says he’s got no problem with Kevin, because he’s a puppet, and Steph tries to tell Seth that she didn’t know what was going to happen. There’s a wonderful little moment where Seth says everyone is in Steph’s pocket, and now I’m just imagining Stephanie McMahon with little crocheted dolls of wrestlers in her pockets, spilling out as she tries to get anything done.
Seth says that KO has been Triple H’s golden boy since day one in NXT, and we’re getting this weird face turn from Seth where he’s denying the heels while still being a total dick about it. I can go with that. Kevin says Seth’s been failing since he came back, and that if he had as much passion for his matches as he does for cutting people down verbally, maybe he’d have more success. Ouch, Kev. I thought you indie guys stuck together!
Seth punches Kevin, Steph tells him to stop it, and when he doesn’t, she announces that he’s indefinitely suspended. Steph goes to leave, and Mick says that he’s not. He says this isn’t a personal thing, but that on Raw, they make matches, not suspensions. Yeah, Steph, suspensions are handed out behind the scenes so no one can do a pipe bomb when we’re not expecting is, silly! Mick says he’s never particularly liked Seth – don’t worry, Mick, no one has – but that he likes the sort of talent that he is and the sort of match that he can provide. Mick says that Seth will face Kevin for the cursed flesh belt at Clash of Champions in three weeks’ time. Seth stalks out, furious he has to fight the new ugly baby for mommy and daddy’s love.
We come back from commercials to Steph telling Mick never to undercut her in public again, and he says he has to, because he cares what people think about her. KO interrupts and says that it’s ridiculous that Rollins is being rewarded for throwing a temper tantrum, when he’s being such a big boy and not throwing his dinner all over the floor. So Mick tells him he has a match with Sami, and then Jericho shows up to stand up for his dad-bro.
“How dare you behave like this, disrespecting the longest reigning WWE Universal Champion?” Jericho says, and Kevin adds, “Seven days,” like someone who’s just watched The Ring. Jericho also asks what Rollins has ever done, and calls Foley a ‘stupid idiot’. So now Jericho will be facing Rollins later on tonight. Superb.
MATCH: Charlotte vs. Bayley
Charlotte stalks out in her robe that looks like she’s just heard her rich husband has died, and she needs to look like she’s inherited everything but is also desperately sad. Dana’s with her, carrying a clipboard, and we get a clip from the pre-show, where Charlotte told Dana to take notes, and then patted her on the head like she was a small child. Honestly, as a short woman – I’d make Dana look down, as she’s four inches taller than me – I’m amazed Dana’s reflexes didn’t kick in and cause her to snap and bite at that hand. Or perhaps that’s just me. Don’t pat your small friends, tall people. We don’t like it.
Bayley’s here, too, and I bet she’s never patted someone on the head, because she’s flawless and perfect and I’m just going to ignore that tweet where she called terminally ill children inspirational because reasons, okay? Commentary look like it was a grey day, and only Byron didn’t get the memo, as he’s in a much darker suit, and why am I being made to look at these men instead of Bayley? Byron’s ties and pocket square are grey, though, so I guess he did sort of get the note about the colour scheme for tonight.
- The whole crowd roars for Bayley, of course, because Bayley’s marvellous, and Charlotte starts the match by taking Bayley’s headband off her. Meanie. Some good aggression from both women, that’s what we like to see.
- Couple of violent-looking turnbuckle spots, and these two could put on a good match through anything, so this is rather wonderful to see. Highlights also involving Bayley getting out of the Figure Eight pretty easy.
- Bayley-to-Belly for the win, Charlotte sent sprawling into Dana, and leaving our fuming heels in the ring.
A nine minute match – fuck, I could stand to see a few more of those – with Bayley selling an injured leg for more than half the match. A really great match!
I’m sorry, I’m skipping the Connor’s Cure segment. Anniversary of a friend’s death, and I’d just… rather not think about that sort of thing right now.
We get a reminder that the Cruiserweights are coming in two weeks, and then it’s back to Charlotte and Dana, Dana apologising, begging forgiveness from Charlotte for not helping her to defeat Bayley, and for getting in the way, and Charlotte just slaps her across the face and walks out. Yeesh.
MATCH: Bo Dallas vs. Kyle Roberts
Bo ambles out with a sign like he’s running for president, and his opponent is already in the ring, which doesn’t bode well for him.
Aggressive start from Bo, after a little trash talk, throwing Roberts around the ring like he weighs nothing at all.
Quick squash, all done and over in less than a minute, and I’m really tired of Raw doing lazy squash matches with the people they don’t know what to do with.
Jericho and Owens are backstage, talking about their matches later, and Jericho is calling Owens his best friend, talking about Kev’s new suit and new haircut, and how Rollins is going to get the gift of Jericho. Jericho asks for some love, and they have a cuddle. Cuties.
MATCH: Chris Jericho vs. Seth Rollins
We’re getting this already? Okay, I’m down with that. Jericho’s all scarf and no shirt, as usual, ambling down the ramp like no one in the arena should be allowed to breathe the same air as him. Seth’s out, zero chill as per usual, and we’re into the match.
- Jericho wants to talk, but Seth’s having none of it, so hits him with a dropkick. Jericho heads out for a quick breather, but Seth manages to wrangle him back in eventually.
- Before Seth’s back in, Jericho’s one him, and gets a few blows in before Seth turns the tables again, and throw Jericho to the outside, putting some chops in. We see Kevin Owens watching backstage.
- The match breaks down into a brawl for a little, and there’s a couple of good moves, a sling blade from Rollins and a diving blockbuster from Jericho, before an attempts at the Walls of Jericho is turned into a small package from Seth, for a two count.
- Walls of Jericho locked in, Rollins gets to the ropes. A third Walls attempt, Seth getting out with an enzuigiri and a superkick for a pin for two. Seth goes up to, Jericho getting to him in time, but Seth fights him away.
- ‘This is awesome’ chants as Seth goes for a frogsplash, but Jericho dodges. Lionsault from Jericho gets a pin for two. Codebreaker attempt from Jericho, followed by an enzuigiri, but Seth hits the Pedigree and takes the win.
Nice to know he’s still using daddy Trips’ move, even after he’s betrayed him so viciously on live television.
Match: Cesaro vs. Sheamus – Best of Seven Series, Match Three
Cesaro with a video promo on Sheamus, saying that he might have a hurt back, but he’s still going to take Sheamus down, and he’s going to break Sheamus’ spirit. Sheamus’ video promo says that he’s already hurt Cesaro’s back, not he just needs to get the rest of him. Them’s fighting words, boys!
- Rollup from Cesaro straight away, before he basically throws everything he can at Sheamus in the hopes of getting this done fast. Lariat from Cesaro, but Sheamus rallies, coming back with a tilt-a-whirl powerslam, and knees to the injured back.
- Ref checking on Cesaro, but he’s going to carry on fighting. Cloverleaf attempt from Sheamus, Cesaro fighting back. Still more of Cesaro throwing everything that he can at Sheamus, including his trademark uppercuts, but Sheamus manages to land two Irish Curse backbreakers in quick succession, followed by two more.
- Huge backbreaker from Sheamus, Cesaro getting to hit feet but hit with a Brogue Kick, giving Sheamus a 3-0 lead in this series. One more, and Sheamus has won the whole thing.
MATCH: Enzo & Cass vs. The Shining Stars
The Shining Stars are here to talk to us about the last day of summer in America, with Labor Day, and how every day in Puerto Rico is summer. Pretty sure that’s not how seasons work.
Apparently Enzo and Cass are having match with these guys? We have a bizarre thing where Enzo mimes giving birth in the ring, because Labor Day, right? Nope, no doll, no props, just the wonder of our imaginations. Look, I’m not going to lie, I know I took some painkillers before doing this recap, but I didn’t realise I’d cracked into the really strong ones. They hand the baby over to a fan, who looks baffled to be holding a handful of air, but sort of pleased to have been noticed. Alright then.
- Primo and Cass start us off, Cass making short work of both men, getting Epico outside and backdropping Primo onto him.
- Enzo and Epico after commercial, sunset flip from Enzo for a pin for two. Three suplexes from Epico before he chokes Enzo on the ropes and then tags in Primo. Running senton from Primo.
- Commentary respects this match by talking about when Mae Young gave birth to a hand.
- Running dropkick from Primo, but he’s caught up in the Tree of Woe when Enzo dodges. Tags for both teams, scoop slam from Cass, followed by the Empire Elbow. Splash into a big boot, Enzo tagged in.
- Primo grabs Cass’ boot before he can throw Enzo. Still, a huge crossbody onto Primo from Enzo, but while he’s distracted, Epico, the legal man, gets a schoolboy rollup for the win.
Really? So Cass was in the title picture last week, and this week he’s fodder for the Shining Stars? I don’t understand your booking sometimes, Raw, I really don’t.
Tom Phillips is interviewing an upset Sami Zayn, who’s annoyed that he’s not managed to move his career n after beating Kevin Owens. He’s upset that Kevin’s champ now, and Kevin makes it worse by showing up and saying that he used to feel like he was always trying to catch up with Sami, but now he’s won the race. Sami says the race isn’t over, and that he’s going to come back and win the cursed flesh belt without needing any help from Triple H.
MATCH: Nia Jax vs. Ann Esposito
It’s a squash, its over in less than two minutes, although Ann does manage to get some kicks in and a sleeper hold on, but at the end of the day – it’s a squash. I am really, really tired of this. Unless this is working up to something where they bring Summer Rae out, and Nia assumes it’s another squash, and Summer kicks her butt.
Oh christ, Gallows and Anderson are talking about being retirement coordinators, and I just… I know The New Day are silly, but these guys talking to me like they’re an infomercial makes me want to call up Hideo Itami, because I’d like to go to sleep.
Out come…. The Old Day. With a scooter, and a walker, and a cane, and no, I’m not quietly sat here as a disabled woman watching being be amused at people struggling with mobility and feeling like this is really, really not for me. I’d love to find this funny, but maybe I’m just not in the right headspace.
Anyway, out come The New Day, and they talk about X-Men and then they say they’ll beat up Gallows and Anderson, but they run off, and so they beat up The Old Day, instead.
MATCH: Darren Young vs. Jinder Mahal
We’ve got the joy of Titus O’Neil on commentary for this one, and Bob Backlund hanging around as well.
- Rope-running start, nearfall of a neckbreaker from Young. Jumping knee and a pin for two from Jinder, then a dropkick and a knee drop.
- Rear Chinlock from Mahal, Young fighting out, whipping Mahal into a lariat.
- Belly-to-belly, and then Titus comes down from commentary to distract Darren Young, but it doesn’t work, and Young gets the pin.
After the win, Young beats the hell out of Titus, until referees finally pull him away. He celebrates with Bob Backlund in the ring.
Alicia Fox bumps into Nia Jax backstage, Nia smug about damaging Alicia’s friend – ah, are we finally getting a story? Is this actually going to be Nia fighting someone on the main roster, rather than a squash? Interesting.
MATCH: Braun Strowman vs. Sin Cara
Speaking of squashes turning into real matches, Sin Cara was incensed last week when Strowman ripped Americo’s mask off. We see a backstage segment with Tom Phillips where Sin Cara talks about how Strowman needs to pay for his disrespect.
- Sin Cara uses his speed nice and early with a headscissors takeover, but eats a lariat for his troubles. Submission hold from Strowman, a jawbreaker from Sin Cara getting him out, but he’s taken to the outside.
- Two enzuigiris from Sin Cara to Strowman on the outside, the smaller man dodging as Strowman tries to send him into the steps. Dropkick off the steps from Sin Cara, ankle grabbed by Strowman, and Sin Cara flies like so much balsa wood, ankle-first into the barricade.
- Strowman climbs into the ring, and takes a win by count out. Well, I guess at least we sort of got a match out of this? Strowman climbs out and comes back to shove Sin Cara to the floor, telling him to stay out of his ring.
It’s Sasha! She starts off talking about some bad news, and how every journey has an ending, which has the crowd roaring no. She follows up with talking about wrestling stars from the past, of women who started a revolution of wanting to be taken seriously, of being wrestlers rather than pretty things to hang about. She’s a lot less made up than she usually is, giving us a rawer Sasha, something closer to the little girl who wanted to be a wrestler more than anything, rather than the self-assured women we’re so used to seeing.
She says there’s no more bra and panties matches, there’s no more stupid butterfly title, and she visibly has to collect herself to talk about this as she says they finally got what they deserved, the right to be called superstars, to be treated the same as the men. She says that every time she steps in the ring, she does it for the little girls who want to be something bigger, and talks about collecting soda cans with her mother at 6am, to get money to come to a WWE show, and this is why she fights so hard – it means everything to her.
The crowd are chanting ‘please don’t go’ as she struggles to maintain composure, and they’re obviously expecting injury news. She says that at SummerSlam, she was pushed beyond her limits, and she met with doctors, who gave her an update on her condition. Dana walks out, and says that she’s got some bad news for Sasha in return, that she’ll take her to pieces.
Dana goes for Sasha, but Sasha gets out of a hold and into the backstabber, into the Banks Statement. She says the bad news wasn’t for her, but for Charlotte – because she’s coming back for that title. Unfortunately, she also calls Dana ‘Miss Piggy’, which just brings up unfortunate memories of the Mickie James stuff, a throwback to the bad old days. Poor wording.
MATCH: Kevin Owens vs. Sami Zayn
I was sort of hoping we’d go a little longer before we saw one of these again, but I’m okay with it, because I love watching these two. I’d sort of love to see them join forces again, possibly against a Seth and Roman grouping, but who knows if WWE think that would work.
- We start off with huge punches, KO taking a quick exit. Sami follows, KO sending him into the barricade then bouncing his face off the apron. Leapfrog into a leg lariat, and Owens head back out of the ring. Sami goes for a suicide dive, but Kevin throws him into the barricades again. Moonsault off the barricade for Sami, off a whip from Owens.
- Back from commercials, KO has a chinlock on, Sami struggling to his feet. Running senton from Owens, slapping at Sami’s head and shouting about being the champion. Sami fights back with a slap and sends KO toppling over the ropes – he comes back in from the other ride, and Sami does it again!
- Blue Thunder Bomb from Sami, pin for two and a half. Sami goes for a half and half suplex, but Owens fights out, with a corner lariat, looking for the cannonball. Corner exploder from Sami instead, before an attempt at the Helluva Kick. KO to the apron again, Sami following, and Owens goes for the powerbomb, Sami fighting out. Another corner lariat for the cannonball, and this time, Owens hits it.
- Pop-up powerbomb from KO, Sami floats over into a half and half suplex. Tornado DDT from Sami, but KO ducks, Sami landing awkwardly on the bad ankle leftover from the match with Seth. He ducks out of the ring, but tells the ref not to stop the match. KO goes for the apron powerbomb, Sami hits another half and half suplex on the outside!
- Back in the ring, Sami goes for the Helluva Kick, but his ankle buckles under him, letting Owens hit him with a superkick, and then a powerbomb for the win.
But it seems the action isn’t quite over, with Roman Reigns showing up, to the boos of the crowd, the healing wound by his eye still visible. He squares up to Owens, holding the title, who backs away and out of the ring, and then out comes Jericho from behind, Roman having to keep an eye on two men at once. Jericho’s wearing…. Actual pants. But still no shirt.
Mick Foley comes out and gives Roman a title shot because he can tell Roman wants it, even though Roman hasn’t actually spoken. Apparently, if Roman can beat KO next week, then the match at Clash of Champions becomes a triple threat. I guess with Lana and Rusev off on their Bulgarian wedding and their honeymoon, it’s not like Roman’s going to be contesting for the US title anytime soon.
Jericho tries to attack Roman from behind, as he’s watching Owens walk away, but Roman dodges, and Jericho eats a spear for his trouble. Owens stares up at Roman in the ring, and there’s a moment where it looks like he’s going to go for it, but he backs away instead, Roman telling him that he’s going to end up just like Jericho next week. We close out Raw on Roman, standing high on the turnbuckle, while the crowd start to make a quick exit to avoid the traffic.