The Ballad of Samoan Joseph – A Raw Recap for 12/11/17

Tonight’s Raw comes to us from The Quicken Loans arena in Cleveland, OH.

Stay Woke

It’s not quite as good as last week’s, but I’m still excited.  I don’t like the glass shatter thing but it’s still great.  I still have high hopes that this is going to work.  It’s going to allow them to really explore Bray’s character as well.

Joe raises the Bar against The Shield

Joe is killing it.  This show really is all about Joe.  He’s out at the top of the show to gloat.  He can squash the cockroach that is Dean Ambrose.  He’s put the Big Dog to sleep multiple times.  He’s snapped the leg of the fragile little Kingslayer.  But he wants the Intercontinental Championship.  He’s got some unfinished business with Roman.  He invites The Big Dog down to the ring and only him.

You probably guessed it.  It’s a trap.

Cesaro and Sheamus quickly jumped Roman as soon as he hit the ring.  The rest of the Shield followed and now we have three singles matches setup.  Dean will take on Joe.  Seth will take on Sheamus.  Roman will take on Cesaro with the IC Championship on the line.

Good:  Dean Ambrose Vs. Samoa Joe

This was an interesting matchup.  It would have been even higher up on the list if it wasn’t for that meddling Jason Jordan. Jason Jordan was there to pay back Joe for being there during his match with Roman last week.  Why can’t Roman attempt murder again?  I’ll totally cheer him as a babyface if he Kayfabe murders Jordan.  Then you can maybe have a good Angle Vs. Roman singles match.

Anyway, it was a great match with Dean just taking a hell of a beating from Joe.  At one point, Dean just tried to slap Joe.  That was a big mistake.  He just gets beat to hell.  It’s not that Dean didn’t get in any offense.  It was just more interesting when he didn’t.

When Jordan interfered, Dean went outside the ring to confront him.  What they didn’t expect was a suicide dive from Samoa Joe to break up their little party.  A quick senton to Jordan finished him off and Joe locked in a Coquina Clutch on Dean to put him to sleep.

Better:  Seth Rollins Vs. Sheamus

This is the third best match of the night, just barely behind Roman Vs. Cesaro and The Cruiserweight “Second Chance” Fatal Four Way.

Sheamus really worked on Seth’s bad knee with some really innovative submission manuevers.  Seth sold it really, really well.

I know I’ve complained that Seth, Dean, and The Bar just have never ending singles matches but this one was something special.  Seth finished Sheamus off with a Kingslayer, which they suspiciously called just “The Knee”.  Is Seth getting a new finisher?

Best :  Roman Vs. Cesaro

An absolute clinic of a match.  This might be one of the best matches Roman’s ever had and probably one of the best on Raw this year.  It was hard hitting, the spots were flawless, and the camera work was perfect as well.  Just like Sheamus did with Rollins, Cesaro picked Roman’s Superman Punch throwing arm.  Probably my favorite moment of the match came during the commercial break when Cesaro intercepted a Drive By with a big boot.  Cesaro even caught an attempted Superman Punch into a submission.  It was all super impressive.  You should just watch it if you haven’t already.

Roman still comes out victorious but I wouldn’t have been upset if Cesaro was your new Intercontinental Champion.

Everything Else

  • Paige and Mandy Rose defeat Bayley and Mickie James.  Paige landed a kick to the head of to Mickie.  Mandy, the legal woman, capitilized with a roll up.
  • Finn Bálor defeated Curtis Axel.  I’m glad that he hasn’t been relegated to Main Event for these matches.  That’s proof that he’s over to me.  The match is exactly what you’d expect but much shorter than Finn’s outing with Bo Dallas last week.  The best part of this match was the entrances.  This week, Curtis and Bo mimic Finn’s entrance, much to Bálor’s amusement.  It was actually pretty great.  I’m glad they’re doing good stuff in Miz’s absence.
  • Dana Brooke joins Titus Worldwide and turns her back on the Good Brothers.  Gallows calls everyone nerds.  Braun storms through backstage chasing everyone away.
  • Braun Strowman faces Kane for the #1 contender for the Universal Championship.  It ends in a Double Countout.  Presumably this means we’re going to end up with a Triple Threat at the Royal Rumble.  I’m actually ok with this.  I don’t want to see Braun get pinned again and WWE isn’t going to take the title off of Brock until Mania.  So yes, I don’t mind Kane being in there to eat a F5 and pin from Brock.
  • With the unfortunate incident basically spelling the end of Rich Swann’s career, we need a new challenger for Drew Gulak to determine the #1 contender for the Cruiserweight Championship.  We had a “Second Chance” Fatal Four Way between Alexander, Ali, Neese, and Daivari.  It was an excellent match, second only to Roman Vs. Cesaro.  Alexander squeaks out a win here with a brutal lumbar check.
    • Let’s talk about how excellent Gulak is on commentary.  At one point, Cole asks what happens if he has to face his boss for the Cruiserweight Championship.  Will he take it seriously or will he lie down?  Gulak commends Cole for the excellent question…and then seamlessly transitions to talking about the supreme technical skill of Daivari and Ali in the ring.  It’s really top level work here.
  • Absolution is big news but I feel like we are a bit of a holding pattern for this week.  They did take out Foxy who was due for a rematch with Asuka.