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WWE Raw results, recap, reactions (Jan. 15, 2018): Don’t EVER fire Braun Strowman

This week’s show was live from San Antonio, Texas as Raw prepares for its celebration of 25 years on the air and the Royal Rumble pay-per-view (PPV). As always happens this time of year, chaos reigned supreme.


I’LL WRECK EVERYBODY IN HERE!

This show started with a video reminder of Strowman wielding a grappling hook last week and attempting to murder Kane and Brock Lesnar with it. He cut a short, weird promo in the ring…but then business picked up.

Kurt Angle interrupted with multiple security guards and proceeded to FIRE Strowman. You read that correctly. He tried to fire Strowman.

See, if you’re like me, you’re already wincing. We all know what the outcome of that would be, right? What the hell was Angle thinking?! For his troubles, by the way, Angle got genuine “You suck!” chants from the crowd.

As for Strowman, he honestly took it pretty well. At first. There was no spouting blood or flying bodies, only simmering rage as he stalked backstage.

And then…well. Dearly beloved, we’re gathered here today to celebrate the lives of several brave security guards…

What’s hilarious is that Angle claimed Strowman was creating an unsafe working environment. And he thought firing the dude on live television was going to fix the problem?! Bro, send the man an email! Do it far, far away from the roster you’re trying to protect!

The carnage wasn’t done. After the first match of the night, he destroyed Angle’s office and then the catering area (poor Hawkins) – AND THEN HE GRABBED THE LARGEST SLICE OF CHOCOLATE CAKE IN HISTORY FROM STOIC CAKE GUY.

This was wonderful.

He sent the video production team scurrying as he assaulted the video trucks. Angle called him a wild elephant and then proclaimed. “Oh god [the trucks are] worth 12 million dollars!”

AND THEN STROWMAN FLIPPED A FREAKING SEMI TRUCK, DRAGGED MICHAEL COLE BY HIS TROUSERS AND WAS ALMOST MURDERED THE SMALL MAN BEFORE STEPHANIE CALLED TO REHIRE HIM!

I have so many questions. What on earth possessed Angle to think firing this man on LIVE television was a good idea? Why was he fired but not Reigns for doing something similar? How is Angle still employed? Why does Kevin Dunn look like Peter Pettigrew? How is REHIRING this man via phone the solution, Stephanie?!

They’ve made it clear at this point that Kane’s an afterthought in this title match. Braun Strowman really ought to win the Universal Championship in two weeks. If not, I hope they find the right foil for him at WrestleMania because I’m not even sure that person exists yet.

Who would you suggest, Cageside?


A Universal Rematch

This week’s main event happened because Jason Jordan’s a sniveling little suck up who goes to his dad for literally everything. That was the case here – Jordan cajoled his father into booking a match for his tag team partner. Rollins was forced to face Finn Balor and isn’t is just sickening how Angle dotes so heavily on his son? Jordan’s motives here were 100% selfish and Angle doesn’t even notice.

Anyway, what a hell of a main event. Balor had a quick promo before the match where he said that the night he last faced Rollins was the best and worst night of his life. But with all that aside, he was ready to prove that he’s still the better man.

So…firstly, this match was incredible. The story here was the ending, though. Jason Jordan cost The Bar a victory earlier in the night. The Bar returned to get back at Jordan before brawling with the Club.

That that slimy toe rag Jordan used the distraction to trip up Balor, allowing Rollins to hit a CURB STOMP (!!!) to earn the victory.

Let’s address Jordan first. He’s awful. The worst sort of person in the world. He deserves suffering and loss for all eternity for being such an ungrateful, selfish little annoyance. Secondly, Rollins picked up a win through villainous tactics. It will be interesting to see his response after he sees the replay.

And then Finn. Oh, Finn. Finn finally lost his smile.

Finn Balor had this match won. The referee counted long on a pin fall near the end, allowing the match to continue when it shouldn’t. But the cameras stayed on Finn Balor long after they really should have – for what felt like 5 minutes. We saw him try to rise to his feet and fail before Balor Club helped him stand tall. And he looked around as the crowd cheered him to his feet, and I have to wonder…

Was that the seed for a heel turn? What else could that have possibly been? He’s been screwed out of a Universal title shot, two Intercontinental Championship matches, and another match here. When can we say enough is finally enough?

Whatever it was, we need more Rollins vs. Balor in the near future.


Best of the Rest

Worldwide vs. The Bar: A Sequel – You know how it goes. X wrestler loses, must face the same opponent to avenge their loss the next week. The match was good, but nothing extraordinary until Jason Jordan appeared to distract the Bar into losing another match. Seth Rollins hurried out afterwards to scold the kid for unnecessarily taunting a team they’ll have to defend their titles against. This really could have used more people catching Strowman’s hands.

Cedric Alexander def. Tony Nese – Goldust got a better reaction than Cedric. That kinda sucks, but it’s fantastic that they’re using him in this way to help the Crusierweights. Props to Goldust for being a consummate professional. Having Alexander cop Enzo’s catchphrase ain’t great, though. Still think his Lumbar Check’s one of the best finishers in the game. FYI…probably could have used more people catching Strowman’s hands.

Asuka def. Nia Jax via ref stoppage – This was an intriguing match going in and I really enjoyed it. Jax presents a great dynamic in most of her matches, forcing opponents to change their game plan for her. This week was no exception; it was pretty wild to see how Asuka kept Jax at bay. The kick to her calf on the stairs was awesome.

In the end, that kick would finish the match. Both Enzo and Alexa Bliss attempted to console Jax backstage afterwards and Enzo was the one who got to stay. Again, probably could use some Strowman hands.

Remembering Dr. Martin Luther King – I don’t want to get on a pitch box here or anything, but I live in Memphis, Tennessee. I live mere miles from the place Dr. King was murdered. And it’s been 50 years and this day actually means something to me. I hope he means something to you as well.

Reviving the Revival – Time to say yeah, jobbers. The Revival got on television this week with a quick victory which is always better than not getting on television. They even got an interview afterwards! They are real and they aren’t sports entertainers – they’re professional wrestlers. Really dug this promo. They got some good heat too. Just imagine the heat they could have gotten with some Strowman hands.

Roman Overcomes Odds – I was going to give this a bigger spot on the review but honestly it’s such a Raw cliché at this point. Big star overcomes odds in handicap to stare down a retreating heel. The fireworks will happen next week, so this was what it was.

I bet Reigns’ couldn’t have overcome some Strowman hands though.

More of the Same – Sonya Deville defeated Sasha Banks in a 5-minute rematch of last week and the billionth match involving these teams. The most notable part was honestly how they introduced Paige. She’s in ring gear, but not able to compete in the first Rumble match.

You know what would be more of the same that would be welcome though? You guessed it: Strowman hands.

Woken Matt Wins Again – They got the tron right! Unfortunately, not much else was here. He beat Heath Slater in a fairly quick match that was entertaining for what it was, but I feel like WWE is missing the chance to make the most of Woken Matt Hardy. Hopefully it will pick up at the Royal Rumble.

Speaking of the Rumble, those two dweebs Kane and Lesnar are going to catch some Strowman hands.


I don’t think this week’s episode was as good as last week’s but man they’re doing an incredible job with the two main storylines on Raw. The Shield/Balor Club/Bar stuff is extremely captivating and they’ve made it clear that Braun Strowman is Lesnar’s only threat at the Rumble.

They really need to do better with the rest of the roster. But man, when the top stories are clicking, this is a really fun show.

Grade: A-

What did you think, Cageside?

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