By Steven Flora
Two weeks before his scheduled WWE Cruiserweight Championship opportunity against Enzo Amore at WWE TLC, Kalisto silenced The Certified G by capturing the coveted title in a Lumberjack Match on an unbelievable Raw, which also saw the reunion of The Shield and a shocking appearance by Sister Abigail!
Kalisto puts an end to the Era of Enzo
WWE Cruiserweight Championship Match: Kalisto def. Enzo Amore (c) in a Lumberjack match (Kalisto is your NEW Cruiserweight Champion)
On Eddie Guerrero’s birthday, a self-styled disciple of the late Latino Heat, Kalisto, did his idol and the Cruiserweight division proud by dethroning the embattled Enzo Amore in an insane Lumberjack Match to claim his very first WWE Cruiserweight Title.
The win knocked Muscles Marinara off his leopard-print throne after just two weeks, and The King of Flight went into the bout expecting help from his fellow Cruiserweights, who had free reign to tee off on Amore for one night only. Instead, however, 205 Live’s finest quickly brawled among themselves at ringside after Enzo booted Mustafa Ali in the face to kick off a melee.
Kalisto took advantage of the confusion by superplexing the champion onto the scrum, momentarily wiping out everyone, but Amore rallied to hit his Jordanzo. That seemed like all she wrote ... until Ali repaid the champion by hauling him off Kalisto’s body when Smacktalker Skywalker went for the cover. Enzo dispatched Ali and perched his challenger on top of the turnbuckle, but The King of Flight flew, administering a jaw-dropping Salida del Sol from the top rope to claim the title, as Cedric Alexander and Ali hoisted him into the air. Winner: Kalisto (NEW WWE Cruiserweight Champion).
Side Note: Good match with a lot of interaction from the lumberjacks. You can tell the crowd was really into this match with is only a bonus for the cruiserweight division getting much needed airtime. Enzo's loss was much cheered for but Enzo will still be involved in the title picture with his rematch coming at TLC. Kalisto win is deserved and I hope it's not just a marketing ploy by Vinnie Mac because of WWE recently celebrating Hispanic Heritage month.
The Shield crash "Miz TV"
They’re Bravo-Alpha-Charlie-Kilo. Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins & Roman Reigns didn’t just reunite in earnest for the first time in three years to crash “Miz TV,” they showed they haven’t lost a step, despite the lengthy layoff.
While The Miz, Cesaro, Sheamus and Curtis Axel (Bo Dallas was recuperating) crowed over beating the brothers-in-arms down last week (The Bar and Axel received Mizzies for their assistance), The Hounds of Justice showed that Miz might have been off the mark when he insisted their time had passed them by. In fact, the three former WWE Champions responded to The A-Lister’s boasts by circling the ring and administering a beatdown straight out of The Shield’s greatest hits, laying out all four Superstars and sealing the reunion with a ring-shaking Triple Powerbomb to The Awesome One and a fist-bump over his prone body.
And, as it turns out, The Miz might have gotten even more than he bargained for, as Raw General Manager Kurt Angle decided to give the Intercontinental Champion the spotlight he craved by placing him and The Bar in a Tables, Ladders and Chairs Match against The Shield at WWE TLC. As much as Miz seemed as though he couldn't believe it, The Olympic Hero assured him: It's true.
Side Note: Let's not lie, regardless of whether we agree the timing of the reunion is off, it was so great to see Rollins, Ambrose & Reigns standing tall together with their trademark signature pose. It was a great way to re-introduce the WWE to The Shield and win the WWE Universe amped at this reunion, they will be desperate to find out what the Hounds of Justice will do next week on Raw.
The Shield destroy the Monster Among Men
Braun Strowman def. Matt Hardy
Braun Strowman’s monstrous tear through the roster continued at the expense of Matt Hardy, who had the unfortunate task of facing The Monster Among Men one-on-one, but The Gift of Destruction went from hunter to hunted in the blink of an eye when The Shield came knocking.
Hardy turned in a gritty, turn-back-the-clock effort against Strowman that saw him land a Twist of Fate, only Strowman to kick out at one, retorting with two chokeslams and a Running Powerslam for the win. Winner: Braun Strowman.
After the match, Strowman looked primed to put Hardy through the LED screen a la Curt Hawkins, but he was quickly interrupted by The Hounds of Justice, who met him on the stage, overwhelmed the monster and plunged him through the announce table with an incredible Triple Powerbomb.
But The Gift of Destruction’s fate will remain entwined with The Shield’s for the foreseeable future. Not only did Kurt Angle sanction Strowman vs. Reigns in a Steel Cage next week, but Ambrose’s offhanded remark that The Shield could take out four or five opponents at once were noted by The Miz, who recruited The Monster Among Men to be that very same fourth man at WWE TLC.
Side Note: Probably an even better moment than earlier as the Hounds of Justice sported their new tees … MERCH MONEY! But seeing them destroy Strowman was a bit of nostalgia, like when The Shield use to destroy big guys like Kane, Big Show & The Undertaker. Strowman is definitely looking for revenge and because the match at TLC is now a 4 on 3 handicap match, this match will definitely be absolutely crazy.
Raw Women's Champion Alexa Bliss presented a Mickie James retrospective
Alexa Bliss vs. Mickie James has become one of the most personal rivalries on Raw, thanks in no small part to Little Miss Bliss attempting to cast the veteran James as an over-the-hill Superstar. And when the six-time Women’s Champion took Bliss to task for refusing to talk trash in person, Bliss responded by making her way onto the stage presenting Mickie with a career retrospective … in the form of an old-timey newsreel called “Superstars of Yesteryear.”
Mickie took the insults in stride and again challenged Alexa to fight then and there. Little Miss Bliss, who had ventured down to ringside, made it seem like she would take Mickie up on that challenge before turning back up the ramp, but Mickie pulled her by the hair into the ring and fired off a Mick Kick that just missed its mark and sent Alexa scurrying. That highlight reel might need a bit of an addition.
Side Note: Solid segment and I may have said this already but I truly think Mickie James is the only current Raw Superstar to put up a decent fight/feud with Alexa Bliss. They both work well together and though the jabs at Mickie's age may be in bad taste somewhat, it makes you side with James who looks to dethrone 'Five Feet of Fury' to become the seven-time women's champion.
Balor meets Sister Abigail
Is Sister Abigail alive? The answer isn’t so simple. The WWE Universe certainly saw something last week when Bray Wyatt confronted Finn Bálor, but the former Universal Champion remained unafraid of the looming shadow of The Reaper of Souls’ guardian angel. So, Wyatt appeared to once again transform into Sister Abigail for a more in-depth address to the Irishman. The spectral figure onscreen vowed to “punish” both Bálor and his dreaded Demon before once again re-assuming the form of Wyatt, who cackled as the screen went to black.
Side Note: This was freaky. Seeing the response this got on social media, it's understandable how laughable this was and how frustrating it is to see Bray in drag, being Sister Abigail. However, I quite liked this segment. This was so eerie and so discomforting, that if you were staring into the face of Sister Abigail, hearing that voice, it makes you feel uncomfortable. This also highlights the depth of Bray's character as a delusional psychopath who wants everyone to believe in his madness and join his cult. It's simply dark yet so stunning, no matter what happens at TLC, I applaud WWE for adjusting Bray's character and trying something different in this day and age.
Other notable moments
Winner faces Asuka at TLC 2017: Sasha Banks vs. Bayley vs. Emma vs. Alicia Fox vs. Dana Brooke: Emma has claimed to be the originator of the Women’s Evolution for a long time now, but she might end up being the starting point for Asuka’s next reign of dominance. The Australian Superstar was the last woman standing in a Fatal 5-Way Elimination Match organized by Kurt Angle after almost the entire Raw Women’s division made their case to face The Empress of Tomorrow in her debut at WWE TLC. And she played her victory perfectly, sitting aside while Bayley first dispatched Dana Brooke with Bayley-to-Belly and Alicia Fox (who demanded her due recognition from Angle as a veteran) surprised everyone by taking The Huggable One out with a Scissor Kick. Emma next joined in with Fox on beating down Sasha Banks, but quickly attempted to take out the former Divas Champion when the opportune moment struck. After Alicia proved harder to dispose of than expected, Emma again made herself scarce until The Boss submitted Fox with the excruciating Bank Statement. At that moment, Emma sprang with a crucifix rollup on The Boss to punch her ticket to TLC. The spotlight is hers. She might not like the Superstar she’s sharing it with. Winner: Emma.
Jason Jordan vs. Karl Anderson: Jordan’s recent foray into the tag team world post-American Alpha is still sitting at .500, but his singles career continues apace: One week after he and Matt Hardy were upended by Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson, Jordan repaid the favor in singles action against the latter good brother on Raw. Anderson seized control relatively early against the former SmackDown Tag Team Champion, nearly stealing the win with a thumb to the eye and a handful of tights, but Jordan soon surged back into the match. The chicanery was enough to slow Jordan momentarily, but he instantly rallied, thwarting an attempted interference by Gallows and administering his brutal neckbreaker to Anderson for the win. Winner: Jason Jordan.
The Brian Kendrick & 'Gentleman' Jack Gallagher vs. Cedric Alexander & Mustafa Ali: If you haven’t been watching 205 Live lately, Gentleman Jack Gallagher isn’t much of a gentleman anymore. The unorthodox Englishman has traded his umbrellas and dirigible trunks for taped fists, a suit and vest and a mean streak a mile wide, throwing in with The Brian Kendrick as The Man With a Plan’s right-hand man. Gallagher’s new attitude was front and center in a tag team contest on Raw, which paired him and Kendrick against Gallagher’s rival, Cedric Alexander, and Mustafa Ali. Both Gallagher and Kendrick were chomping at the bit for payback against Alexander, who has mixed it up with both of them lately on 205 Live. Accordingly, they cut him off from Ali for nearly the entirety of the match until an enziguiri by Alexander allowed Ali into the bout. The high-flyer successfully dispatched Gallagher from the action when he tried to interfere, but Kendrick still sealed the deal with a Sliced Bread No. 2 that Alexander was a beat too late to stop. Winner: The Brian Kendrick & 'Gentleman' Jack Gallagher.
Elias vs. Apollo Crews: The bad news for Elias is that he’s not the only Superstar who’s musically inclined: Moments before his latest tilt with Apollo Crews, Titus O’Neil appeared with a banjo to mock Elias’ pre-match serenades and hype up his protégé in action. The good news for the sinister songsmith is it didn’t make much of a difference when it came to the in-ring result. Crews came to play as always, but Elias still administered his greatest hits and a few covers to boot (that new Walking With Elias move where he walked on the top rope and hit Crews with a clothesline seemed eerily familiar …) en route to his classic showstopper, the head-ringing Drift Away. Winner: Elias.
Overall Raw Rating: B-
Things to look forward to next week
How will Strowman react to The Shield's assault?
Is Balor ready for Sister Abigail?
What's next for the Good Brothers (Gallows & Anderson)?
Where are The Revival?
How will Emma prepare for TLC for her match against Asuka?
Can Mickie dethrone Five Feet of Fury?