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WWE Raw results, recap, reactions (Sept. 11, 2017): Jump the shark

WWE going meta officially jumped the shark on this week's episode of Monday Night Raw.

There's real value in every now and again using perceived reality based issues within the confines of kayfabe if it makes sense for the story they're telling. Roman Reigns and John Cena were tip-toeing all around that line over the past couple of weeks, with insider references left and right.

This was fine because, well, it was still two guys throwing insults building to a match. Each new insult created more intrigue for an actual fight between the two.

That went out the window this week.

Because, and I cannot stress this enough, I couldn't care any less about two grown men standing in a ring jawing at each other over ticket sales. Are we supposed to be excited about a match because they're finding new and not-very-interesting ways to try to one-up each other in a promo? At the expense of physicality?

That's what makes this truly awful. Reigns just stood there and took it when Cena got right up in his face and popped off at the mouth. He just kept going and going and going. He finished by referencing Roman's drug test failure and Reigns appeared to smile and nod in approval.

Nothing makes two grown men look tougher than a verbal battle where one of them tells the other he has his head so far up his own ass he's a "one man human centipede."

This was a huge step back in this program and there's still one episode of television left before we finally get to the match.

That's not to say it was all bad -- Reigns put on one hell of a match with Jason Jordan and they found a slick way to get Kurt Angle's son over by beating him in consecutive weeks. He looked great, and Reigns gets a lot of credit for that. His facial expressions after, as if to say "damn, kid, I didn't know you had it in you," coupled with his promo last week, really put this over the top. Super well done.

Later, Cena got beat up by Braun Strowman. That was also good.

Speaking of Strowman and why the meta stuff sucks...

This here is what I want out of my pro wrestling. One big ass dude who beats people up running up against an even bigger ass dude who also beats up people up. That Paul Heyman is there to find a creative way to put Braun Strowman over simply by comparing him to Brock Lesnar is the cherry on top.

It's real simple.

Lesnar is a big, bad motherf**ker.

Strowman is a big, bad motherf**ker.


So they do.

What gives this added interest is Lesnar, while he's been tested by many since defeating Undertaker's streak back at WrestleMania 30, he's never looked less than. Against Strowman, he's downright the underdog.

It works because that's a testament to the dominant a force Braun has become as opposed to any shortcomings within Brock. It's also legitimately interesting to see him throw a German suplex only to turn around and notice it had no effect on the receipient of it.

How will he handle this come No Mercy? Will Strowman actually win the title? They've managed to create some doubt, or at least done enough to convince you not to be so certain of the outcome. That's a big win.

All the best to all the rest

Too meta: Again, the meta stuff with The Miz referencing Enzo Amore's backstage heat and using it as fodder for a promo. This before Amore used Maryse's real life pregnancy (I think, who even knows what's real anymore) in a one-liner during a match. Miz made it work, because he's that damn good, but it still relies too much on fans having knowledge of goings on none of us should rightfully be aware of. It's a little too Vince Russo. You never want to be even a little Vince Russo. Neville laughing at Enzo should be a weekly thing, though.

Women's division: Sasha Banks and Emma had a fun TV match that featured the latter submitting while Alexa Bliss and Nia Jax did commentary. Jax, by the way, is a clear star they should be leaning in on as she gains more mainstream notoriety for her work outside the promotion.

Face paint: All those promos Goldust did were worth it if only because it led to Bray Wyatt using it as material for his feud with Finn Balor. Yes, the face paint is a way to hide insecurity and find strength, and he's here to wash it away and show us what's underneath. So he did that literally and promised Balor is next. That's simple and effective storytelling.

Walk with Elias: Anyone else already lose interest in this?

Tag team main event: It felt like WWE punting to put on an eight man tag team match in the main event slot, and considering it was the first night of the NFL on ESPN, perhaps that's exactly what they were thinking. The match was fine, a fun enough TV match, but you could have skipped it and been fine.

This wasn't a bad show but beyond the Lesnar-Strowman stuff and that Reigns-Jordan match, nothing stood out.

Grade: C

Your turn.

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