WWE Monday Night Raw results and observations (9/18/17): Next stop, No Mercy

This week’s episode of Raw was pretty light on in-ring action, as the three-hour show featured only six matches, but it was heavy on promotion for the company’s upcoming pay-per-view, No Mercy.

Since the primary purpose of the final episode of television before a pay-per-view is to inject the last bit of hype for the upcoming event, this week’s edition of Raw did its job.

The four men involved in No Mercy’s top two matches did not lay a hand on each other this week. In fact, they didn’t even share the same ring. But WWE still managed to get me more excited to see Braun Strowman challenge Brock Lesnar and to see John Cena square off against Roman Reigns.

Of the action we did see in the ring, none of it jumped off the page as especially memorable. The matches served their specific purposes, even if it was simply to fill time on a long show.

The best part of the show by far was WWE's running tributes to Bobby "The Brain" Heenan, who died Sunday at the age of 73.

Before I delve deeper into the program, here are the full match results from the SAP Center in San Jose, Calif.:

- Nia Jax def. Alexa Bliss

- Sheamus & Cesaro def. Seth Rollins/Dean Ambrose & Karl Anderson & Luke Gallows

- Apollo Crews def. Curt Hawkins

- Bray Wyatt def. Dustin Rhodes

- Neville def. Gran Metalik

- Jason Jordan def. Matt Hardy, Jeff Hardy, Elias, Bo Dallas & Curtis Axel

Jason Jordan is headed to No Mercy

The Miz finally found out who he will be defending his Intercontinental title against at No Mercy this past Monday night, and to the surprise of very few, that man turned out to be the illegitimate son of Raw general manager Kurt Angle, Jason Jordan.

Jordan earned his first opportunity at the Intercontinental championship after winning a six-pack challenge that included the Hardy Boyz, Elias and both members of The Miz’s entourage, Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel.

The Miz tried to intervene to make sure either Dallas or Axel won, but was unsuccessful, as Jordan pinned Axel to win the match.

The last three weeks have been very good for Jordan’s maturation as a singles star and a potential Intercontinental title victory would be another step in the right direction.

The only problem with Jordan winning the Intercontinental championship is that it The Miz would have to lose it.

Although The Miz has been more of an afterthought since coming to Raw earlier this year, he has done wonders with the Intercontinental title going back to his days on Smackdown Live.

Hopefully, WWE would keep the emphasis on the title if Jordan were to hold it. Knowing Raw’s recent track record, however, that is nowhere near a certainty.

Braun Strowman had to destroy someone

With Strowman only advertised to appear during a sit-down interview with Lesnar, I originally feared that we wouldn’t get to see him wreak some form of havoc.

But I should have known better than to think WWE would go a week without having Strowman destroy someone, as it is one of the highlights of Raw every single week.

Enzo Amore turned out to be Strowman’s unlucky victim this week. Amore ran out onto the stage and addressed the fans as he typically does any other week, but Strowman quickly put that to a halt by flattening him.

Amore lied on the stage as if a bus had just hit him.

Strowman then literally tossed Amore into the ring, where he decimated him some more.

Strowman did not say anything before leaving. He had said enough during his sit-down interview with Lesnar that was conducted by Michael Cole earlier in the night.

The interview was good for what it was. Neither Strowman, Lesnar nor Paul Heyman said anything particularly memorable. Quite frankly, they didn’t have to, as I bought into the match since the moment it was announced.

Roman Reigns finally got one up on John Cena

It took a while, but Reigns finally got the better of Cena on the microphone.

Granted, Cena wasn’t there to trade verbal barbs with Reigns, but it was a victory nonetheless.

Part of the reason why Reigns has come up on the short end of his verbal exchanges with Cena is because he has said a lot of silly things such as when he said Cena has yet to make it in Hollywood when in reality, he is definitely on the cusp of truly breaking out.

But this week, Reigns accused Cena of saying silly stuff and of being a hypocrite. Because it wasn’t that long ago — five years to be exact — that Cena was accusing The Rock of being too Hollywood.

Remember the prelude to the first Rock-Cena match? Cena lambasted The Rock for being a part-time performer, for leaving the WWE fans high and dry while he went Hollywood Swinging.

But in 2017, Cena is essentially following the blueprint The Rock laid out for him anyone other wrestler looking to crossover into other forms of entertainment. Cena is every bit the part-time performer he bashed The Rock for being back in 2012, and Reigns rightfully called him out on it Monday.

Reigns even went as far as to present one of Cena’s promos from 2012 as evidence for his point. It was pretty damning for Cena, especially since he was not there to defend himself.

The best part of what Reigns did Monday is that he looked 100 percent comfortable with what he was saying, which goes a long way in making Reigns feel more authentic in his promos.

Bayley returned, immediately inserted into title match

Apparently, there is no easing someone back into the fold in WWE.

Bayley had been out since before SummerSlam with a shoulder injury, but she was back in the ring Monday night, as she helped Sasha Banks and Bliss topple Jax. She then joined Banks in disposing Bliss.

Not long after that, Bayley was added to the Raw Women’s title match at No Mercy, making the bout a fatal five-way.

Bayley’s addition to the match may seem like it came out of left field, but when you really think about it, it actually makes sense given that she was the No. 1 contender for the title at SummerSlam before suffering the injury.

Goldust reverted to his natural state

After Wyatt rubbed the paint off his face last week, Goldust decided not to wear a drop of it this week.

Actually, he ditched the Goldust character all together and reverted back to being simply Dustin Rhodes. He still wore the Goldust attire and went to the ring with his classic theme song playing in the background, but he made it a point to say that he was not the “Bizarre One” Monday night.

I would have loved to have seen Rhodes use “The Natural” moniker he used in World Championship Wrestling along with his fantastic theme song from that time period, but it would have been all for naught anyway, as Wyatt defeated him in an uneventful match.

Finn Balor popped up on the big screen after the match and said something ominous to Wyatt to keep their issue going, but the real story I was concerned with was Rhodes/Goldust.

Hawkins’ futility continued

Heading into Monday night, Hawkins was riding a 114-match losing streak that apparently began at the dawn of time.

He vowed to make history and end the streak, but as expected, the streak lived on after Crews defeated him in a short match.

Hawkins may have lost an absurd amount of matches in row, but it might actually turn into a thing that could land him on television every week.

I would love for that number to climb just like WCW did with Bill Goldberg 20 years ago. The obvious difference would be that Goldberg won all of his matches.

But it would make Hawkins’ potential win to break the streak extremely meaningful. I’m all for that.

Vaughn Johnson has a podcast with Nick Piccone called the Straight Shooters on WildfireRadio.com. Check it out here HERE.