By Steven Flora
Violating a no-contact clause, Neville attacked new WWE Cruiserweight Champion Enzo Amore one night after The Certified G stole the coveted title from The King of the Cruiserweights at WWE No Mercy. Was this retribution worth Neville throwing away his opportunity for a title rematch?
The entire Cruiserweight division confronts new champion Enzo Amore
Enzo Amore is WWE Cruiserweight Champion, and he is feeling himself big time. So much so that he demanded both a Certified G coronation to celebrate his win and a No-Contact clause for the rest of the Cruiserweights that would strip them of any title opportunities if they laid a hand on him. Without fear of reprisal, Enzo ran down everyone from the WWE Universe to Big Cass during his ceremony in one of his most lengthy diatribes yet, even attempting to retire his jersey to commemorate his performance at WWE No Mercy.
And the Cruiserweight division was not happy. Every single one of 205 Live’s competitors came out in silent protest of Amore, and the champion ran down every single one of them in turn — up to and including a bleary-eyed Neville, who looked like he hadn’t slept in days but wasted no time reminding Amore he was only a Cruiserweight because the division had insisted on giving him an opportunity after the Raw locker room drove Enzo away.
On behalf of the entire division, The King of the Cruiserweights announced his intention to “end” Enzo. When Muscles Marinara tried to dissuade him with his No-Contact clause, Neville sacrificed any claim to a title rematch and instead opted to defend the honor of his division by tossing The Realest Guy in the Room around the ring. When Enzo attempted to flee, the division blocked his path and sent Amore straight into the waiting arms of The King, who tossed Enzo back into the ring, shoved the clause into Amore’s mouth and struck him with an emphatic Red Arrow.
So Enzo is champion now, and with it comes a target on his back, a celebration in shambles, and a cuppa’ haters that has finally run over.
Side Note: This was an unexpected, yet interesting way to end Monday Night Raw this week. Amore really brought his real heat to TV as he verbally assassinated the cruiserweight division, and to be honest, Enzo was spot on with most of his comments. He's bringing attention to 205 Live and the cruiserweight division as a whole, and it was due to him the cruiserweights were involved in the last segment of Raw. However, Neville also was ready to take aim and fire at Enzo, but in the process, throwing away his opportunity at the WWE Crusierweight championship. This may seem like Neville is leaving the division to challenge for other titles, but one thing is for sure, Enzo looks sure to take the cruiserweight division to the next level.
The Miz & Miztourage take out the "Guy"
Non-Title Match: Roman Reigns def. WWE Intercontinental Champion The Miz
Could The Miz and The Miztourage have beaten The Shield? Bo Dallas & Curtis Axel certainly proved to be the difference-maker when Roman Reigns took on The A-Lister by his lonesome, picking at The Big Dog behind the referee’s back and ultimately helping the Intercontinental Champion make a profound statement at Reigns’ expense, despite suffering a loss in their match. In fact, The Miztourage softened Reigns up for The Miz each time The Big Dog pulled into the lead, while Miz focused his efforts on Reigns’ banged-up lower back. A double Drive-By took out Dallas & Axel and finally left Miz open to a match-ending Spear, but The Miztourage returned moments later to utterly decimate Reigns with steel chairs and feed him into two Skull-Crushing Finales, the second on top of a chair. Winner: Roman Reigns.
Miz kept the assault going, but the final insult came when the three A-Listers mocked Reigns with the classic Shield fist bump. That Reigns will receive an Intercontinental Title Match next week is consolation indeed, but it'll be hard to forget the brutal display from Miz that only a few years ago would have had to be seen to believed.
Side Note: It's always great to see Roman Reigns get beaten down right? But in all seriousness this is seriously hinting at a Shield reunion, but the big story is the backlash this is facing. Many fans in the WWE Universe have been taken aback that The Shield would reform against The Miztourage, though in theory this may make sense as TLC is the next Raw PPV, and coincidentally marks the five year anniversary of The Shield's in-ring debut. While it may not make sense from hardcore fan's perspective, for the casual fans, it seems as though TLC 2017 will be a night forever etched in history.
Mickie James silences the Raw Women's Champion Alexa Bliss
Alexa Bliss fended off four Superstars to retain her Raw Women’s Title at No Mercy, so it was surprising her Raw Talk interview seemed to focus more on a Superstar who wasn’t in the match: Mickie James. So, the six-time Women’s Champion had plenty on her mind when she interrupted Alexa’s extended scolding of the Universe for focusing their attention what's in the future (Asuka) instead of her, their present champion.
Little Miss Bliss wasn’t about to give James the respect she demanded, instead tossing out a volley of thinly-veiled barbs about James’ veteran status. Which was all good as far as Mickie was concerned; she just wanted Alexa to repeat her Raw Talk insults to her face. When she did, Mickie responded with two slaps to the face and a kick that sent the “Goddess” tumbling out of the ring — and, maybe, off her pedestal.
Side Note: Thought this was one of the best women's segments in quite a while. Mickie & Alexa have history dating back to Smackdown Live last year, when Alexa brought in Mickie to maintain her rule as Queen of SDLive. Now on Raw, both superstars seemed to be at odds with another after Bliss called Mickie an "old lady" on Raw Talk after No Mercy. Mickie may be a veteran in the business but with a swift kick to the champ, she proved she still has what it takes to get it done in the WWE.
Rollins exterminates the rest of "the bar"
Raw Tag Team Champion Seth Rollins def. Sheamus
Under ordinary circumstances, having Dean Ambrose banged-up in the locker room might put Seth Rollins at a disadvantage against Sheamus. But The Celtic Warrior’s tag-team partner, Cesaro, was reduced to moral support in a suit thanks to his gruesome dental injury, which put the bout on an even keel.
And, in this case, it was Rollins who came away with the win. Not that Sheamus didn’t give him a fight. The Celtic Warrior did his best to repay Rollins for The Swiss Cyborg’s injury, targeting The Kingslayer’s face with a vicious variety of kicks and knees. Rollins ended up landing the blows that counted, connecting twice with Sheamus’ face — first with a kick, then the ripcord knee for three.
Side Note: Really solid match and seeing Cesaro out in a suit with his mouth seemingly wired shut, looked awesome. Rollins & Ambrose appear set to be done with Sheamus & Cesaro, however, if they are out of the title picture, as well as The Hardy Boyz, who will take on Rollins & Ambrose for the Raw Tag Team Championships?
Bray Wyatt has some unfinished business
Finn Balor def. Goldust
Finn Bálor said his victory over Bray Wyatt at No Mercy was to avenge The Reaper of Souls’ disrespect of Superstars like Goldust and to jump-start his journey back toward his ultimate goal of reclaiming the Universal Championship. The Bizarre One, however, is no one’s charity case, and the former Intercontinental Champion both sucker-punched Finn in the locker room and showed just how much he can hang with the new generation in a subsequent match.
Goldust showcased the full scope of his physical expertise and his unorthodox mind games, but “The Extraordinary Man” rallied to Coup de Grâce his way to the win … and, moments later, the lights cut out and an eerie rendition of “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands” blared throughout the arena as the fireflies surrounded Bálor in the ring.
Side Note: I don't see what WWE creative have visioned for Bray and Finn going forward; it seems as though they've done this feud to death and after teasing the end, it appears Bray has some unfinished business. For Goldust, give credit to himself as he is a legend in this business and still can go with the very elite in WWE. However Bray and Finn have nothing left to prove, so to extending this feud, seems absolutely ridiculous.
Other notable moments
Sasha Banks & Bayley vs. Emma & Nia Jax: Bayley is back in the ring, but she still owes Nia Jax for injuring her shoulder and taking her out of SummerSlam. And on Raw, The Huggable One came to collect. It certainly helped they met in a tag team situation, as Bayley’s partner Sasha Banks occasionally spelled her against Jax. She even saved Bayley from Jax on the outside, allowing the former Raw Women’s Champion to drive Jax full-bore into the ring post, removing her from the match. Emma, left with a 2-on-1 disadvantage, suffered the decisive pinfall soon thereafter on the back of a Bayley-to-Belly. Winner: Sasha Banks & Bayley.
Braun Strowman vs. Raw Tag-Team Champion Dean Ambrose: Being a lunatic certainly has its advantages. Unpredictability, fearlessness and a pretty solid win-loss record, to name a few. That said, whatever voice in Ambrose’s head compelled him to fight Strowman on Raw certainly didn’t do the Raw Tag Team Champion any long-term favors, though it did carry the The Lunatic Fringe to an impressive, if ultimately fruitless, effort against The Monster Among Men. Going into this match, the best Ambrose probably could have hoped for was that he didn’t lose any teeth. Instead, he shocked everyone by giving Strowman a true-blue fight, sticking, moving and using an impressive combo of submissions, recklessness and chicanery (nice thumb to the eye) to get within arm’s length of victory. Alas, The Monster Among Men still got the win by reversing Ambrose’s standing elbow drop into the devastating Running Powerslam. Winner: Braun Strowman.
Braun Strowman attacks Curt Hawkins: The good news for Curt Hawkins is he didn’t lose again. Granted, it was almost certain he was going to when his latest open challenge was answered by a fuming Strowman, clearly looking for a fight after losing to Universal Champion Brock Lesnar 24 hours prior. But Hawkins wasn’t about to offer himself up as lunch meat, and the former WWE Tag Team Champion attempted to willingly take a countout loss. A competition-hungry Strowman, however, chased Hawkins down, put him through a table and Running Powerslammed him through the LED screens atop the ramp, refusing to leave the ring until another Superstar came out and gave him a real fight. Which, of course, brought out the one man reckless enough to answer such a call: Ambrose.
Elias vs. Apollo Crews: It was a marquee performance for Elias against Crews at the No Mercy Kickoff, and the brutal balladeer impressively came back for an encore on Raw. That said, Titus O’Neil wasn’t about to let Elias get away with the type of disrespect he showed 24 hours prior. Elias claimed victory thanks in part to taking a cheap shot, kicking The Big Deal in the knee outside the ring and throwing Crews off his game long enough for the guitarist to hit Drift Away for the victory. Winner: Elias.
Matt Hardy & Jason Jordan vs. The Miztourage: So Jordan lost his Intercontinental Title bid and Matt Hardy is down a tag team partner thanks to his brother’s injury. That doesn’t mean either is showing any signs of slowing down, however, as the impromptu squad dispatched The Miztourage in Raw’s opening contest. It was an inspired showing from Jordan, who took out his frustrations on the meddlesome Miztourage with an impressive array of suplexes. When Jordan found himself overwhelmed by Bo Dallas & Curtis Axel, Hardy swooped in to bat cleanup. Jordan resurfaced at the moment of truth, though, blasting both Miztourage members with a double charge into the corner after Axel tried to interfere. The maneuver took the former Intercontinental Champion out of commission, and Dallas was left to suffer the Twist of Fate. Winner: Matt Hardy & Jason Jordan.
Overall Raw Rating: C+
Things to look forward to next week
Is anyone ready for Asuka?
Has Bray got some unfinished business with Finn Balor?
Will Curt Hawkins ever break his 118 losing streak?
Where are The Revival?
Can Reigns beat The Miz to win his first Intercontinental Championship?
Can the Kingslayer avenge his brother's loss when he takes on the Strowman?