Well, here we are again, and I’m recapping this a day late, so I already know which parts of Raw I need to be outraged about. It’s nice to set up an early mood for the whole show, isn’t it? Raw comes to us tonight, live from Austin, Texas, starting with a ‘previously on Raw’ which reminds me of the start of Buffy. Ah, those were the days. So, we have a recap of the week before last, with Chris interfering in a Sin Cara mask, and then Kevin telling everyone he didn’t need Chris last week. JeriKO are breaking up, guys, it’s a sad day for all of us. And then, of course, Seth turned up to Pedigree Jericho on the top of a car, because someone wanted us to see how skinny Seth’s ankles are. Seriously, are we doing this weird ‘previously’ thing with a narrator every week, because… it’s weird, I’m not really into it.
We open with Seth’s music, because the boy has zero chill, and can’t wait five minutes for us to start the show. Yes, hello Mr Extra, we all see you. Seth’s got a mic, and he’s here to talk to us about how he wants Triple H. Seth, he’s married, he’s just not that into you, poppet. Seth says breaking up the Shield taught him about how actions have consequences. He’s a little upset that Daddy’s got some new toys, that’s what I’m getting here. Apparently the Pedigree for Jericho was a message for Triple H. Seth, Christmas cards exist, darling, it’s the season for them, just send him a nice card with a small, cute polar bear in a scarf on it. Seth says he’s got to get Jericho out of the way first, because Kevin uses him, and then once he takes Kevin’s title, that will mean Triple H has to show up.
Kevin’s music hits, because he also has zero chill, and Seth asks how Jericho is, and how the best friendship of JeriKO is going. Kevin doesn’t want to be interrupted, and doesn’t think that Seth’s concern comes from a good place. Kevin reminds Seth that he doesn’t have any friends, because he doesn’t know how to teach them – what’s important about best friends is that when they fight, they make up. Seth asks if Chris and Kevin have hugged and kissed it out. Kevin says he got Chris three Christmas presents, and Seth asks if that’s in return for Jericho gifting Kevin the title. Kevin also points out that Roman hasn’t been defending his US title. Throwing some shade there, babe. Seth says that if Kevin’s such a fighting champion, he should put the title on the line tonight, but Kevin beat him two weeks ago, so he’s not up for that. Then he comments that… he has a match with Sami Zayn tonight. Oooooh.
Kevin says that his gifts are matches for Chris – tonight, Chris will face Roman for the US title, and at RoadBlock, Chris will face Seth, to get some revenge. But the third present is a match that’s happening tonight – and The Big Show’s music hits.
MATCH: Seth Rollins vs. The Big Show
Bloody hell, there’s a lot less of Big Show than there was, isn’t there? Kudos for getting into incredible shape, dude, you go in at the waist in a weirdly interesting way, and are now shaped like a carrot, which is, I am told, the correct shape for a man. Also, the beard’s a pretty good look – you could give Randy Orton some tips on growing his Wyatt beard. I may once have described Big Show as a mudslide disguised as a wrestler, but I take it all back, looking at this new version.
- We start off with Big Show looking down at Seth, before swiping him aside with a huge paw like he’s made of paper, and I do so love seeing the bigger men take apart men who are by no means small if you consider, you know, people other than wrestlers. Seth comes back with kicks to the knee, getting Big Show in the corner and kicking at him.
- Big Show swipes at Seth again, sending him flying. He hits a kick to Big Show’s knee, and then gets a huge shoulder tackle for his troubles. He’s then swatted again, before being given two huge chops in the corner, and another shoulder tackle. Seth manages to hit Big Show’s knees off a rebound, and Big Show rolls out of the ring.
- Seth comes over with a suicide dive, Big Show catching him by the neck, before lifting him up and dropping him on the barricades. I haven’t seen Seth sell this hard since a Cyberfights match, this is rather wonderful. Kevin Owens is beautifully excited, banging on the apron before he tells Big Show to get Seth back into the ring.
- Back inside, Big Show goes for the chokeslam, Seth back with kicks to the knees, before he hits a DDT, and pin him for two. The kick out from Big Show literally throws Seth out of the ring. He then hauls Seth up onto the apron by his HAIR. Seth comes over with a flying knee, then a second, Big Show staggering but still standing.
- Third flying knee, Big Show knocked to the mat, and Seth grandstands for a second, goes and tries to Pedigree him, KO climbing onto the apron as Big Show lifts Seth into a back body drop instead. Owens shouts for Big Show to finish Seth, and the giant turns to Owens, lifting him over the ropes to chokeslam him in the ring. He nods to Seth, and walks out, being counted out and letting a surprised-looking Seth win.
Seth’s music plays, and Seth knees KO, before hitting a Pedigree. KO lies on the outside, flat out, as Seth grandstands in the ring. Oh, you beauty.
Commentary are navy, grey, blue, because apparently Michael Cole didn’t get the memo about wearing blue this week. They’re talking about 205 Live, and Rich Swann winning the Cruiserweight Championship in front of an audience of barely anyone, as no one stuck around after SmackDown filming. Poor Rich Swann. Corey Graves, however, is excited about Gentleman Jack Gallagher, whom I have to adore, not just because he’s British, but because I’m drinking tea and eating biscuits right now. Also, because anyone as fish-belly pale as me needs support.
MATCH: Jack Gallagher vs. Ariya Daivari
Standard handshake, brusque from Daivari, before the bell rings, and I need a pair of leggings like Jack’s trunks, I’m having flashbacks to Ceefax. Ah, wonderful times, before the internet.
- Collar-and-elbow-tie, straight into a wrist lock, Gallagher spinning his way out before Daivari gets him into a headlock. Gallagher handstands his way out, delightfully, and Daivari comes back with a kick to the midsection.
- Snapmare from Daivari, before a shoulder tackle takes Gallagher down. The gentleman comes back with a twist, getting Daivari on the mat. Daivari lifts Gallagher and drops him on the ropes, before a pin for two.
- Blows to Gallagher, followed by boots, with a pin for two, before a headlock is locked in on Gallagher. He powers out, two huge dropkicks from Gallagher, but he’s caught on the rebound, headbutting Daivari, who stumbles back. Running dropkick from Gallagher – and a pin for the win!
I love watching Gallagher, he makes everything so fun, which is what I like to see, and his ingenuity is marvellous to watch. Jack holds his hand out to Daivari to shake, and Daivari slowly approaches, slowly shaking his hand – before kicking Gallagher in the knee, hard, keeping the kicks going until the gentleman is down on the mat and crying out. Then, Daivari heads back up the ramp.
Titus O’Neil is trying to convince us that he’s got some sort of brand going on or something. Meanwhile, Kevin Owens is backstage, asking Mick Foley if he saw what happened. Mick says, yeah, he saw, but Kevin still has his match, because Steph isn’t here, and Kevin has no sway with Mick. The next person he sees is Jericho, who is scowling at him, and says he didn’t hear about the gifts that Kevin’s got him. Kevin explains them to him, and then asks if they’re good. Chris says no, and walks away, slowly. Oh, Kevin. You’re no good at keeping friends, sweetheart.
Big Cass is correcting Enzo on gendered language for horses, as they see Lana and Rusev having an argument in… not English? I mean, are they both speaking Russian, or are they both speaking Bulgarian, or are they each speaking their other language and they just happen to understand each other? Either way, Enzo says that he can’t deal with Rusev speaking to a woman like that – oh really, turkey stuffer? – and Big Cass says it’s none of his business. Quite. Enzo, listen to your boy. So, Enzo gets involved, Lana tells Rusev not to yell at him, and Rusev calls her pathetic and says maybe she deserves a man like Enzo. As he turns to leave, she grabs him by the arm, and points to her wedding ring. This means he’s the only man who can have her – and then she throws it to the floor. Enzo says he’s got this as Lana looks utterly heartbroken, so Enzo bends and picks up her ring, telling her she dropped it. Enzo says he’s a good listener, asks Lana how she’s doing, and she looks at him with a heartbroken little smile.
We cut back to Enzo and Lana, Lana saying Rusev doesn’t appreciate her, and takes her for granted. Enzo goes to give her some advice, but Lana has an idea for teaching Rusev a lesson, maybe if he sees another man appreciating her then he might understand how he should treat her. She invites him to her hotel room, and Enzo grins, dances, and goes for it. Yuck yuck yuck.
MATCH: Sami Zayn vs. Kevin Owens
Sami! Hello darling, I’ve missed you, you little gingerbread sunshine wonder. Kevin’s got his title, of course, because he needs some sort of security blanket now that Chris isn’t going to come out and help him.
- Kevin’s straight in, the two men trading blows, Kevin falling to his knees and rolling out of the ring. Sami follows him and knocks him down with a clothesline, following it up by slamming Kevin into the barricades several times.
- The ref gets to a count of six, Sami rolling in and back out to break the count. Both men back in, Kevin catching Sami with a kick to the side of the face, sending him stumbling. Kevin comes over the top ropes onto Sami, both men tumbling on the outside.
- Sami’s back inside, flying out and onto Kevin quickly. Back from commercials, Kevin has Sami in a headlock in the centre of the ring. Sami staggers to his feet, and commentary respects this match by playing a replay from the Big Show/Seth match earlier.
- Chops from Kevin, shoving Sami onto the ground, but as he goes for the rebound, Sami comes back with a clothesline, before blows to Kevin’s head. Sami telegraphs the back body drop, Kevin kicking him smartly, but Sami rallies with a huge lariat.
- Kevin on the apron, Sami hesitating for a moment, Kevin grabbing Sami’s head and bouncing it off the ropes. Tornado DDT from the corner, sending Kevin slamming onto the apron. Kevin rolled back in by Sami, but he rolls straight back out, Sami joining him and hitting a DDT through the ropes, sending Kevin sprawling into the barricades.
- Both men back in the ring, half-and-half- suplex from Sami before he pins Kevin for two. Sami lifts Kevin onto the top turnbuckle, and follows him up, going for a superplex, Kevin gripping the ropes, but Kevin manages to lift Sami instead, slamming him into the mat and pinning him for two.
- Sami is crumpled in the corner, Kevin coming in with the cannonball, and again, but Sami catches him as he goes for a third. Kevin sets up for the pop-up powerbomb, but Sami gets out of it, tightrope tornado DDT to take Kevin down. Goes for the Helluva kick, but Kevin’s waiting with a superkick of his own.
- Kevin goes for a pop-up powerbomb off the rebound, Sami leapfrogging him, then hitting a half-and-half suplex, before an exploder suplex into the corner, followed by a Blue Thunder Bomb, pinning him for two!
- The crowd chant ‘this is awesome’ as Kevin rolls out, resting his head on the apron. Sami follows, coming around the corner, and hits an exploder suplex into the barricades. Back in the ring, Kevin hits the pop-up powerbomb – and pins Sami!
The two of them lie side by side, breathing hard, Kevin clasping his title after it’s handed to him, rolling out of the ring and staggering to lean on the barricades, cradling his baby. Oh, Kevin, you just can’t keep friends, you’re just no good at friendship, are you? He holds his title high as he walks, aching, to the back.
We see Jericho with his suitcase, and he sneers at Roman, who asks if Jericho just turns up whatever time he wants. Roman, I seem to recall Dean asking you what time SmackDown started in Ride Along, and you saying ‘whenever we get there, babe’, so I don’t think you’re one to talk about the punctuality of others. Jericho tells Roman to mind his own business, as Roman asks if there’s still car paint on Chris’ forehead. Apparently he’s spent all week picking it off. Roman wants Chris to be careful how he speaks to him, and tells him to focus on their match. Chris says that Roman gets everything handed to him, and Roman says Chris is just doing Kevin’s dirty work for him again, leaving after telling him to get dressed. I like the fact that Jericho in pants and no shirt still constitutes him being ‘dressed’. Does he fly like that? Doesn’t his jacket get sticky? Does he own any t-shirts at all? We may never know.
We get a recap of Sasha and Charlotte’s match last week, which was a bloody brilliant match, I have to say, even if I didn’t think I wanted it, and Ric Flair showed up, and Charlotte and Sasha are tossing the belt between them like it’s a hot potato. Besides all that, it was an amazing match.
Sasha is being interviewed by Charly Caruso, and I know this because Sasha calls her by name! Thank you Sasha! Her voice shakes with emotion at holding a title she’s held so often so recently, so I guess it’s good it still means something to her. She says that Charlotte doesn’t deserve her father’s legacy, and that even though Ric cost her the title at Mania, she’s not bitter. She might hate Charlotte the person, but Charlotte the competitor brings out her greatness, and she can’t wait to do it again. Oh god, really? Again? Iron woman match at Roadblock. Because Sasha is the ‘only iron woman’. Um. Bayley? Anyone? Bayley?
We go back through Charlotte throwing her dad out of her ring, and I could literally deal with never seeing that again, crying, red-nosed Ric. Apparently Charlotte’s apologising to her dad tonight. Are the women wrestling at any point during these three hours, or are we just having bizarre storytime?
MATCH: Rich Swann vs. TJ Perkins
Tomorrow, Brian Kendrick gets his rematch for the Cruiserweight Championship against Rich Swann, so he’ll be hoping TJP can wear Swann down a bit for him. The two shake hands with every sign of sportsmanlike affability, and then we’re into the match!
- The two circle each other, before the collar-and-elbow-tie, before a wristlock from TJP, Swann doing a kip-up out of it. Headscissors from TJP, taking Swann down, where he dabs at the man on the ground, and the two men grin at each other.
- Waist lock from Swann, shoulder tackle from TJP. Leapfrog from Swann, then TJP, then a full somersault leapfrog from Swann, because why not show off a bit, and he dropkicks Perkins smartly, before a dab of his own. Perkins smiles.
- Deep arm drag from Swann, TJP tries to capitalise, but Swann kicks off the ring ropes, rolling TJP through, before both men are back on their feet. Running clothesline from Swann, then a back kick, before a double stomp to the back, pin for two.
- Suplex from Swann, a second pin for two, as commentary calls TJP ‘Kendrick’, and the two trade chops. Leg sweep from Swann, Rolling Thunder splash from Swann, pinning for two again.
- Waist lock from Swann, before abdominal stretch, swapping to a modified standing surfboard. TJP rolls free, with a blow to Swann’s chin. Atomic drop from TJP, right hands, the two trading places off rebounds before TJP takes Swann down at the knees.
- Perkins hangs Swann up in the corner, huge dropkick from Perkins, pin for two. TJP goes for the kneebar, it slips through, Swann pinning TJP for two. Kick from Perkins, drop toe-hold taking Swann onto the ropes, followed by a dropkick.
- Perkins comes off the top rope hard, but Swann catches him, pinning him to the mat – and that’s the win!
Corey’s prediction for tomorrow is Swann to retain, Cole says Kendrick will take it. I guess we’ll wait and see!
MATCH: Bayley vs. Alicia Fox
Bayley is backstage, juggling Bayley bears, and my god, they’re adorable. She throws one to someone, and is just generally marvellous. Apparently this match is happening because Bayley gave a Bayley bear to Cedric Alexander, who Alicia is crushing on. Seriously? Really? We get this women’s match and it’s over a bloke? Can I stop recapping and go back to bed, because this is ridiculous.
- Alicia leaps straight for Bayley, slamming her into the mat. Knees in the corner from Alicia, followed by a dropkick. Alicia drags Bayley up by her ponytail, leaning her over the ropes and putting fists to her back, all the while screaming that she loves hugs. She pulls Bayley into the middle of the ring, and it’s a pin for one.
- Bayley slams her shoulder into Alicia, getting her into the corner, but Alicia fights back, Northern Lights suplex into a pin for two. Headlock from Alicia, Bayley fighting out and slamming Alicia into the mat, pinning her for two.
- The two women trade messy blows on the mat, before rising, Alicia kicking Bayley square in the shoulder. Bayley-to-belly – and that’s the win!
So what now, does Bayley win Cedric? That’s how the male version of the same angle would go, right?
Oh god, Enzo is backstage with Cass, telling him that his mind is telling him no, to which Cass says ‘your mind is right’, the clearly audible ‘for once’ hanging in the air as he looks at the man he has to share a rental with. He says Lana is trouble, and Enzo agrees, before his phone dings with a text. He checks it, and it’s from Lana, a photo so sexually inexplicit that she looks bored in it, despite having nothing on from the collarbone up, which is all we can see. Enzo runs off like he’s never had sex in his life, and Rusev appears from around the corner to ask Cass where his wife is. Cass says that isn’t his problem, goes to walk away, and Rusev pulls him around to face him. He says he’ll worry about Lana later, because he wants a match with Cass, first.
Emmalina will be here next week! Yay! Sure, I’m not so certain the model gimmick is what I want, but I love Emma, so I’m sure she’ll do something awesome with it.
MATCH: Mark Henry vs. Titus O’Neil
So we’ve got the Titus Brand against Mark Henry, the tussle in Texas, which should be interesting, I suppose. This is because Titus is annoyed Mark Henry is in a WWE studios film, which I think is actually more of a punishment than an accolade, but there we go.
- Literally, this match is a few seconds, World’s Strongest Slam from Mark Henry, and Titus goes down, pin for the win. All done.
After, Mark Henry heads to the crowd, hugging and slapping hands with kids in the crowd, pausing for a selfie, before heading out into the arena.
Enzo is having difficulty getting an uber, waiting at the arena, and then a limo pulls up, Ric Flair stepping out of it, and the ‘hey you doin’ and ‘woo’ at each other, and then Enzo lets Ric Flair know about the Lana sitch. Of course, dirty old man Flair is all over it, and so he lends Enzo his limo to get to Lana. Good fucking grief.
MATCH: Roman Reigns vs. Chris Jericho – United States Championship Match
Boos for Roman, who came out to have a good time, and is just feeling really attacked right now, but it’s okay, there’s some people jumping and cheering, especially when he raises the title up high. I’m also loving that he’s just gone with the whole thing of holding the title over his shoulder after people said it was disrespectful. Jericho is shown backstage, with his anchor scarf, and Kevin appears to say that he’s staying to make sure that there’s no injustice for Chris’ match. Jericho tells him to stop, and says he’s going to win the US title by himself. He doesn’t want or need Kevin in his corner. Kevin nods a tiny, sad little nod, and Jericho walks away, and out into the arena.
- Before we even start, the arena is alive with ‘let’s go Roman’ and ‘Y2J’ chants. Jericho goes straight in, knees to the face, getting Roman in the corner, but he comes back with a clothesline and blows of his own with Chris in the corner.
- Irish whip into the opposite corner, Jericho gets a foot up, and as Jericho runs towards Roman, he dodges, letting Jericho get himself wrapped up on the ropes, nine blows to the back of the neck, followed by lifting Jericho free and going for a slam, pinning for two.
- Fist cocked for the Superman Punch, dropkick from Jericho interrupting that, Jericho following up with a clothesline over the ropes. Jericho to the top turnbuckle, cross-body to the outside, taking Roman down hard.
- Back from commercials, Jericho has Roman in the middle of the ring, huge blows to the head as the crowd chants for ‘Y2J’. Chinlock, trying to see if he can get Roman to fade, Roman twisting, trying to get out, and he comes back with blows to Chris’ gut. Dropkick from Chris as Roman comes off the ropes on the rebound.
- Jericho runs towards him, Roman dodging, Jericho with his knee caught on the second rope. Roman comes back with clotheslines. Jericho reverses a whip, but Roman comes back with a third clothesline. Jericho in the corner, raises a foot, and Jericho sends him tumbling through the second rope. Roman stands up in time for a springboard dropkick, leaving him staggering on the outside.
- Jericho goes to come through the ropes at Roman, getting caught up in them, and Roman comes through with a drive-by. Fist cocked again, Jericho dodges, elbows him and hits a Lionsault, pinning Roman for two.
- The duelling chants are louder now, Jericho kicking Roman in the gut several times, but Roman stands as Jericho comes towards him, hitting a Samoan Drop and then a Superman Punch in quick succession, pinning Jericho for two.
- Roman roars for the crowd, grinning at Jericho, who’s crawling along the floor, but Jericho catches him as he goes for the spear, coming up for a Codebreaker. Roman catches him, turning it into a sit-out powerbomb – but only pinning Chris for two!
- Both men lie like felled trees in the ring, the ref checking on them, as the crowd chant that ‘this is awesome’, which I’d agree with. Blows from Roman, followed by kicks, to Jericho in the corner, the ref having to push him back. Roman comes back for a spear, but slams his head into the ring post when Jericho dodges.
- Pin for two from Jericho, Roman just managing to get a shoulder up, but Jericho keeps hold of his legs, looking for the Walls of Jericho. Roman manages to kick him free, but Jericho goes for it again, Roman rolling through with a small package. Step-up enzuigiri from Jericho, and a third try for the Walls, getting them locked in this time in the middle of the ring.
- Roman tries to crawl to the bottom rope, lifting himself in what looks like some bizarre version of a wheelbarrow race, as Roman gets to the bottom rope. Kevin Owens appears as Jericho grapples with the ref, arguing, and kicks Roman smartly in the head. Codebreaker from Jericho, but Roman STILL manages to kick out.
- The ref argues with Kevin, Jericho approaching and telling Kevin that he told him to stay away, because he doesn’t need him. Kevin looks shattered by this news as he goes to head to the back, looking for all the world like a kicked puppy.
- Jericho leapfrogs a spear, but the second hits, Roman pinning Chris – and that’s the win!
The crowd cheer wildly as Roman takes the win, Kevin slinking off to the back, as Roman stands up, waving his title to the crowd. Jericho still lies in the centre of the ring, exhausted and spent. Good show, boys. Shame that’s not the end of the show, really.
MATCH: Big Cass vs. Rusev
It’s very weird to see Cass show up alone, and why is Corey Graves the only one pointing out how disgusting this is? Why is the heel commentator the only one who isn’t just going along with this? But Rusev doesn’t appear, and instead, Cass goes to steal a phone off a timekeeper and call his partner.
We see Enzo look at his phone, see an unknown number, and not answer it. He’s at Lana’s room, and goes to knock, Lana answering the door in a red silky robe. Enzo takes a step back, and says that this is a bad idea, and Lana’s smile drops, her face crumpling as she heads back into the room. Enzo follows, telling her not to cry, and lets his hair down. Enzo tells Lana he’s uncomfortable, and he has to go, and she hugs him, then says she’s uncomfortable too, and should get them some drinks. Lana… you know what? I’m not doing this? It feels predatory and weird from Enzo, it feels manipulated and weird from Lana, I’m uncomfortable, I’m not doing this. Rusev appears, beats Enzo up, and he and Lana laugh at Enzo for ever thinking Lana could want him. ‘Good guy’ misogynist defeated! Also, Enzo has some really bad tattoos. That’s the lesson for today. If you creep on someone, you get a vase smashed over your head.
MATCH: Gallows & Anderson vs. Sheamus & Cesaro
Back to Raw, because I haven’t had enough weird cognitive dissonance for tonight. Sheamus still hasn’t learnt how much time it takes for Cesaro to get naked on the ramp, which is really something I feel like he should know about his tag partner. Sheamus steals Cesaro’s sunglasses as they head down to the ring. The New Day are in attendance, as this match decides who faces them at Roadblock. I think. I sort of zoned out, it’s been a long week.
- Cesaro and Anderson first, I actually had to check there, because Anderson has long tights now, but Gallows still has his weird baggy trousers, so I was right. Sheamus in, telegraphing a back body drop. Gallows tagged in, the two trading blows. Sheamus tries for a backbreaker, but it doesn’t look like it goes well.
- New Day play distraction, Sheamus and Cesaro knock down Anderson and Gallows. My stream fails until Kofi rolls onto Xavier and Big E, and Sheamus and Cesaro stand tall in the ring. I’m sure I missed something, but… not a lot.
Oh god, Charlotte apologising to Ric. Is this going to be the last twenty minutes of Raw?
Spoilers. It was. Sasha turned up and Charlotte threw her around a bit, Ric cried, and nothing changed aside from all of us knowing Charlotte is a brilliant heel who can apparently cry on demand. Fair play.