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Raw 1209 Recap

Before we dive into Episode 1209 of Raw I want to let you all know that my Raw and Smackdown recaps will be from the shorter Hulu versions of the shows because I don’t have cable and I refuse to get wrapped up in some dumb contract, so I watch Raw and Smackdown a day late on Hulu. 

Now with the business out of the way let’s get to the results from Monday night’s Raw.

Show Opening

The show begins with a montage of Ambrose winning the title over Rollins and Reigns, along with Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan loosing their minds, and the entire Smackdown roster coming out to celebrate with Dean. WWE is definitely trying to push the importance of the WWE Championship going to Smackdown…we get it guys, it’s a big deal, let’s get to the show. 

For the record, I LOVE that Corey Graves is on Raw now, the dude is so good. Also, the new setup looks really nice, with the commentary booth away from ringside and the new stage design.  My only question is how are people going to get put through the announcers table now? I mean, that’s a staple right?

After the intros, we find Stephanie McMahon and Mick Foley in the ring because Raw is going to be all about the Superstars and not about the management!!…but then they bring out the entire roster and make me feel bad for jumping to conclusions. Very tricksy WWE.

Roman got some serious heat from Stephanie here. She blamed him for losing the WWE title at Battleground and capped it off with, “Your not a good guy, your not a bad guy, you just a loser.” 

Management announces 2 fatal four way matches, with the winners facing each other in the main event. Interesting choice here, definitely not the old way of doing things. The winner of the main event will then get a match against Seth Rollins at Summer Slam for the brand new WWE Universal Championship. 


Ok, quick aside here. What the crap WWE? 

You spent the entire Draft, Battleground PPV, and beginning of this episode of Raw telling us how important it was for each brand to bring home the WWE Championship. We got told one hundred times that Raw had 2 chances to win and Smackdown only had 1. Then when Ambrose won, which was no surprise, Shane and Daniel lost their minds, like the win actually mattered. But then then very next night you go and give Raw their own “Universal” Championship??

This is stupid.

First of all, it makes Raw look like sore losers, a role Stephanie seems to always play. “Well we didn’t win the real Championship last night because Roman Reigns ruined it for all of us, so we’re just going to make a new one up that ensures we have a shiny trophy too!” I thought Smackdown was supposed to be the little brother around here? 

Secondarily, the name is not good. Universal Championship seems like a bit of a stretch, even for the egos of WWE. 

Thirdly, why undermine Ambrose’s championship tenure so quickly after the biggest win of his career? By making this announcement the night after Battleground you are undermining the Draft and The Shield Tripe Threat Match that we’ve all been waiting years for. I understand that Summer Slam is going to be a huge event, and it should be, but this is lazy story telling, absolutely lazy and it makes me mad. Not because I thought WWE wouldn’t do it, no I knew they would, I predicted it, I’m mad they actually went through with it. This New Era is seemingly only new in the locker room.

Why not have just one Championship? Wouldn’t that make the title matches at Royal Rumble, Wrestlemania, Summer Slam, and Survivor Series even more incredible?? Wouldn’t that allow WWE to focus on better and stronger storylines within the respective brands? Wouldn’t it make having the Championship on your show actually mean something? Like it was supposed to on Sunday night when Ambrose won and brought the title to Smackdown?

But no, now none of that matters because Raw has their own dumb Universal title. I’m so mad, this is lazy. Just lazy. Ugh, back to the show. 


So after a long intro, we get 2 quality Fatal Four Way matches, with a sure thing main event AND Charlotte vs. Sasha Banks for the Women’s Championship. After all my ranting above, this should still shape up to be a good Raw, and that I can get behind. 

Owens vs. Cesaro vs. Rusev vs. Finn Balor

I love seeing Balor and Owens back in the ring together, both guys are so talented, and work very well together. 

The 4 man powerbomb/superplex was a little messy but is still impressive to see. The trade sequence in the middle of the match was also a bit messy. Not sure why both of these spots weren’t better, all four of these guys are high quality performers. 

Balor took a lot of early damage in this match before Cesaro, Owens, and Rusev got their in-ring spotlights. During this phase of the match Cesaro powered Rusev up and over for a very impressive suplex. Balor was “missing” for this phase of the match, gee I wonder how this is going to play out?

Finn Balor Wins!

Nia Jax vs. Britt Baker

This is a squash mash. Baker is out here to do a total job. The match took maybe 3 minutes. 

Nia Jax Wins

Sami Zayn vs Sheamus vs. Chris Jericho vs Roman Reigns

The match begins with Roman getting beat down by Jericho and Sheamus. Zayn was their next target and somehow he held his own better than Roman. 

Reigns is quickly back into the match and hits a Spike on Zayn, I really like that move. Looks like it’s going to be a Samoan drop but he twists it into a Rock Bottom. Clever. 

The mid-match sequence in this match was not sloppy. Zayn went for a leap over the ropes but was caught by Sheamus for his 10 chest thumps, who then caught a spring board dropkick from Jericho, who along with Zayn, got flipped over the ropes, only for all 3 guys to get squashed when Reigns flew over the top rope.

This match was definitely better technically, the botched Superman Punch with Jericho being the only obvious misstep, and it was more fun. Good performances by everyone involved, especially Zayn…that guy is so solid. 

It was pretty obvious Reigns was going to win this match, he got all his spots in and everyone, including me, thought he was going to be in the match vs. Rollins at Summer Slam. 

Roman Reigns wins

(For the record after Zayn kicked out of Roman’s Last Ride Powerbomb, the fans were actually chanting “Roman! Roman! Roman!” only to be taken over by boos eventually, but that positive chant hasn’t happened in a long time. Very interesting. I’ll definitely be keeping an ear out for that in the coming weeks.)

New Day Celebrates

I love The New Day but the gimmick with Sonny Boy didn’t land and then the Bad News Baldies, Gallows and Anderson, came out and ruined the fun. So this will be the matchup at Summer Slam? 

Charlotte vs. Sasha Banks

Women’s Championship match…presented by Mountain Dew…smh

The opening of the match was full of technical grappling and counters before Sasha locked in an early, modified Bank Statement. Then the match turned up. Banks hit a running knee tackle off of the apron on Charlotte, taking her down to the mat outside the ring, really well done. 

This match included quite possibly the best non-wrestling spot of the night. Sasha Banks tossed the Women’s belt at Dana Brooke and then feigned fear as if Dana had already hit her. The ref saw this and then booted Dana Brooke from ringside, insuring a one on one finish to the match. The cherry on top of this subterfuge, was Sasha smiling and waving goodbye to Dana out of the referee’s sight. This is the stuff I hope to see more of moving forward on both Raw and Smackdown. Give the viewers fresh, clever, well thought out plot points. 

Also, Sasha Banks almost died. She went flying through the ropes towards Charlotte and missed to the left. Charlotte did her best, as far as I can tell, to catch her, but Sasha went face first into the ground, and her legs scorpioned a bit. Very scary moment.  

Charlotte then pulled off the most impressive moment of the night just after this mishap. She did a Moonsault off of the top rope onto Sasha Banks on the mat outside the ring, it was INCREDIBLE. Seriously, say what you want about Charlotte’s character, but as a wrestler she is phenomenal.

Sasha Banks wins! She’s the new Women’s Champion!
(The crowd gave her the “You deserve it” chant, classy. Also, the post match in-ring interview was a nice twist.)

Roman Reigns vs. Finn Balor

The match begins with a pair of monster throws of Balor all the way across the ring by Reigns. He definitely has a nastiness about him that seems to be new, I like it. Anything that helps him turn heel faster I am a fan of. 

The early part of the match was definitely in Regin’s favor, Balor fought back, but was definitely on the defensive from the get go. WWE spent both of Reign’s matches reestablishing his strength and ability to kick out of anyone’s finisher the first time. They also established Balor’s quickness, ingenuity, and resilience to a potentially new audience for him. (Not all WWE fans watch NXT after all)

For what it’s worth I thought Reigns and Balor worked really well together. 

The match had a good pace, Reigns dominating, Balor responding, repeat. It was the classic big guy vs. little guy. The ending was great as well. Balor countered the Spear with a Slingblade and then hit the Coup De Grace. 

Finn Balor Wins!
(He faces Seth Rollins at Summer Slam for the WWE Universal Championship…that match should be incredible. And holy crap, talk about a debut for Finn Balor. NXT one week, then next week a Fatal Four Way victory, a victory over Reigns, and he locks in a spot in a huge match at Summer Slam, oh and it was also his birthday. Not bad Finn, not bad at all.)

Conclusion

From a wrestling perspective, this show was definitely good. We got 3 really good matches and the rise of 2 new big-time players in Banks and Balor. It remains to be seen how the booking shapes up down the line but I’m pleased with how the night went overall. 

I’d love to hear your thoughts on Episode 1209 of Raw in the comments below and be sure to come back tomorrow for my take on Smackdown.