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Raw Recap & Reactions (Nov. 20, 2017): We’ve Reached Self-Awareness

Houston was treated to their sixth, seventh, and eighth hours of wrestling in two days with this week’s episode of Monday Night Raw. There was a pretty grim trend to this show at times and we’ll get to that in a bit. But how about we start with something awesome?

Paigent of Change

So…Paige is back! That’s awesome! I really had no idea how much I missed her until she stepped out onto the stage to remind the entire Women’s Division whose house this really is.

Let’s start at the beginning here. After Alexa Bliss got one of her patented solo promos that was fairly uninspiring, we got a Fatal 4-way to determine her next championship challenger. And that all came to a screeching halt when Paige’s music hit and she sauntered out on stage.

Houston serenaded her with massive cheers and man, I can’t ever remember her coming off as such a freaking star as she did tonight. Paige was great on the microphone, coaxed even more cheers from the crowd, and led a debuting Sonya Deville and Mandy Rose in demolishing Bayley, Sasha Banks, and Mickie James.

Oh…but they weren’t done. A backstage segment with Bliss left the champ looking lost and frightened before getting destroyed by the new trio.

Paige, Deville, and Rose felt very Shield-like in their demeanor. The three were positively predatory and I cannot wait to see more. I’ve really missed Paige’s RamPaige, by the way; I think that’s the best DDT variation in WWE.

But boy, it sure is great to see Paige again. She’s a rock star.

The Grand Slam Dog

Roman Reigns is your new Intercontinental Champion.

It happened pretty fast, too, but it makes sense. The Miztourage have been antagonizing the Shield for weeks now; you knew there’d be repercussions for that. MizTV earlier in the night set up the match and after the Shield beat up the Miztourage, it seemed the match would actually be 1 on 1.

And it was…mostly. Both Reigns and Miz are fantastic wrestlers so you can imagine how the match went. The run in eventually came from Sheamus and Cesaro – more on them later – only to be fended off by Ambrose and Rollins. Reigns used the time to hit his Spear and made fairly clinical work of the Miz.

I think this is a good booking decision, even if I’m not so enthused about Reigns personally. And if you’re a Reigns fan, just tell me to kick bricks on that. Miz has held that title for so long; this opens him up to do new things. I’m excited where this can take him.

As for Reigns, is it too much to hope he keeps that thing until WrestleMania? I’d imagine he’ll drop the title to a fan favorite at some point in a fan-placating gesture before he finds himself squaring off with Brock Lesnar.

But don’t mind my cynicism.

More of a Man than Most

Jason Jordan vs. Braun Strowman happened on this show because the McMahons suck and they’re trying to throw their enemies upon each other. Jordan claimed he wasn’t afraid and Braun responded by saying in a backstage segment: “Good. That makes him more of a man than most.”

…But he isn’t, is he? As soon as he was booked against Strowman, Jordan began complaining of his knee – which he had claimed twice in two days was 100% healed – and he feigned that knee injury something fierce to get out of the match after a minute or two. And that’s not even mentioning how arrogant he was backstage with Matt Hardy, bragging that he could beat Strowman. Hardy saw right through him, but still gave the rookie some sage advice.

Isn’t Hardy swell? And Jordan, I don’t think the knee’s the problem bud. Sounds more like a heel problem.

As for Strowman, Kane happened. Kane took a chair to Strowman’s throat tonight which I have to applaud, at least. I complained about the booking of this feud and them missing the boat with what made Kane compelling once upon a time.

Trying to crush a dude’s windpipe is pretty gruesome. Still, they need to take this up another notch. Or twenty. I want this feud bordering on ridiculousness.

Best of the Rest

The McMahons gloat – I’m not even going to honor this by giving it a featured spot in the damn review. I mentioned last night that I enjoyed Braun beating the piss out of Triple H for his shenanigans. It was a moment of self-awareness with WWE. They know that the things like this are silly. But that’s not enough. It’s not compelling anymore.

We live in a world right now where powerful people are taking advantage of others in disgusting ways. I’d like to not see that happen in my entertainment, please. And if you absolutely insist on more of this stuff, WWE, I want to see the Raw locker room take turns beating the snot out of Triple H every single week.

Samoa Joe def. Finn Balor via ref stoppage – This was the opening match of the show and it was a good match, if not very notable. I feel as if there should have been more after their gigantic brawl; it makes sense that Joe would be particularly pissed after Balor cost him a pin on Cena last night, too.

Joe was one step ahead the entire match. There are lots of questions after this one, but I’m not sure how intrigued I honestly am. The two men seem to have sunk back into the mudpit of Mid-carddom.

MizTV – We had another MizTV segment tonight. They’re always pretty good and I enjoyed this one. The Shield came off very fun here. They Miztourage and Shield both handled a rowdy crowd and flickering lights with aplomb; in fact, they spun those things to make a very unique segment. This served to set up a match between Roman and Miz for the Intercontinental Title later.

Ambrose def. Sheamus – This was another good match, but that’s the standard with WWE performers nowadays; the wrestling is generally great and the stories are lacking.

The Shield paid Sheamus and Cesaro back for the distraction two weeks ago to allow Ambrose the pin on Sheamus. That’s about the extent of this. Good for mild amusement but nothing to invest in.

Enzo talked. The Cruiserweights fought - Do I really have to go into it? The insults were really bad here, too. Like, the weakest insults. Preschoolers are more vicious that these guys. And I don’t mean to sound callous here – I love a lot of these guys. But geez…someone get Itami on this roster to murder Enzo’s face, please.

Asuka destroys Dana Brooke – Dana Brooke…why would you ever think you were ready for Asuka?

Matt Hardy ran off Elias - Who the hell is “Matta-Morris” Banks, Cole? I’m twenty five. (I looked it up but I’m keeping it in here to tick off the few of you who that’ll matter to.)

Tonight’s show had way too much of the same old stuff. It seems WWE’s aware of it too because they poked fun at it these past two nights. But that’s not really good enough, is it?

We were right back to an Asuka squash, too many people doing the exact same thing they always do – you get the point. Still, Paige’s stuff was absolutely superb. That might be the only reason we’re not getting an unfavorable grade tonight.

I honestly think the thing I enjoyed most after Paige, Rose, and Deville was the WWE shop segment with the Club. I’m a sucker for Gallows’ Steve Austin imitation. So…not great, guys and gals. Let’s do better next week.

Grade: C

Maybe I’m a bit wrestled out with all that stuff on Sunday night. What did you think, Cageside?

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