How was RAW?
The Authority –well, Triple H— kicked off RAW, talking about the WWE World Heavyweight Championship Tournament, along with Triple H talking about Seth Rollins exceeding expectations as The Authorities handpicked Champ; even going so far as to call Rollins one of the greatest WWE Champions of all time. After showering Rollins with praise, Triple H brought out Roman Reigns, who was justifiably nervous the entire time he was in the ring…well, maybe nervous wasn’t the right word, but Reigns was definitely untrusting of Triple H, and pissed off to boot. Trips pointed out how unfair it is that Rollins got hurt, vacating the Title, but also unfair that Reigns had to go back to the beginning of the line, to run through the Tournament after already earning the right to be the Number One Contender…unless Reigns wanted to join with The Authority, because after all, Triple H noted that before choosing Rollins, they looked heavily into Reigns being their choice. Triple H said the thing that separated Rollins from Reigns, along with being tabbed as a member of The Authority, is Rollins’ willingness to do whatever it takes, no matter how far he has to go. After all of that, Trips wanted to know how it felt for Reigns to have the Title taken away from him at WrestleMania by Rollins, adding that it’s because of Rollins’ willingness to do anything and everything, that made Rollins the Champ for as long as he had been. Triple H offered to help Reigns, saying that he would help tear down all the walls, all the barriers that stood in Reigns’ way all this time, and all Reigns had to do, was join The Authority.
Reigns’ response? He’s worked for everything he’s gotten, he hasn’t accepted any handouts, and he wasn’t going to start last night. Triple H thanked Reigns for helping to remind him why Triple H and The Authority chose Rollins, then announced that Reigns’ match was next, and enter Big Show. It’s a matchup we’ve seen a thousand times, but Big Show is a spectacle, something for audiences to see and experience that don’t have the ability to as much as we can in the states. While it wasn’t anything new, these two have figured out a way to work well together, creating a match that actually isn’t half bad, even if it’s not tearing down the house any time soon. Big Show catching a leaping Reigns, and delivering a Chokeslam was a cool moment, seeming to come out of nowhere, but it wasn’t enough to take down Reigns, as the leader of the Roman Empire popped the Giant in the jaw with a Superman Punch, followed by a definitive Spear, that sent Reigns into the next round.
Kevin Owens walked down the ramp, mic in hand, calling for change; saying the WWE was in desperate need of it, and that change was to benefit Owens himself, and no one else, with Owens wanting to be both the IC and WWE Champ. His opponent was a prime example of what I was talking about in my predictions article, where I called for WWE to be bold, and make matches in this Tournament that we haven’t seen, and otherwise wouldn’t see; so when I saw that Owens would be facing Titus O’Neil, I was giddy with excitement. I was honestly a little surprised with how well they worked together, from the size difference, to the strength difference, and we saw how well that worked last time with Owens and Ryback; but when Titus dropped Owens like a sack of potatoes, only for Fight Owens Fight himself to find a way to turn things around, and shoot Titus up in the air and viciously back down again in one of Owens’ best Popup Powerbomb‘s, I was sold on the match –along with the idea of more.–
Paige was backstage with Renee Young, with Renee asking Paige about her upcoming match against Becky Lynch, and Paige’s match against Charlotte at Survivor Series. Paige said she was going to dispose of Becky Lynch, and handle Baby Flair soon enough –more specifically, Paige said she was going to handle the B last night, and that would leave Paige to deal with the C soon.– Paige performing in front of essentially her hometown crowd has to feel great, but it’s also likely the closest that Becky will come to performing in front of hers as well, seeing as how rare it is that WWE even goes to Ireland, let alone broadcast from there. I really liked a simple move of Paige’s during this match though, where Paige had Becky laying on the ropes, and instead of pressing her knee or foot against the back of Becky’s head/neck, while still standing, Paige set her knee on the nape of Becky, and then lifted herself up on the ropes, putting more pressure on Becky.
Becky’s efforts didn’t appear to be enough as Paige countered a Suplex with a Rampaige finisher, but because it was in the corner, that allowed Becky to grab the ropes, breaking up the pin. So when Paige got pissed off, by the fact she didn’t get the pin, Paige attempted a PTO, but Becky got to the ropes again, breaking the hold. Not long after this, Paige went for a roll up pin, but just as the ref was nearing the three count, Becky turned the tide, rolled Paige over, yanked on Paige’s trunks like Paige was trying to do during her roll up on Becky, only that time it worked for Becky. Unsurprisingly, Paige furiously attacked Becky after the fact, locking in the PTO on Becky on top of the commentary table, until Charlotte came running down for the save:
I can’t say enough about how much I appreciate WWE doing an Undertaker week next week as we head into Survivor Series; although I would go so far as to make November Undertaker month.
WWE showed a graphic with featured Forbes‘ top 10 sporting events in the world, with WrestleMania ranking, only being beaten out by the Super Bowl, the Summer and Winter Olympics, and the World Cup. To me, that’s a really big deal, and a really cool accolade.
Dolph Ziggler against The Miz is the antithesis to what I was talking about in my predictions article, because this is one we’ve seen countless times, that carries no weight, and no interest. I like both guys, but I want them to stay just as far away from each other as I do Randy Orton from Sheamus. The shocker in this match though, the one thing that blew my mind more than almost anything else last night? Ziggler actually winning with a Superkick!
After the match, Ziggler celebrated by holding the Title over his head, giving us a sight we will probably never see again:
Alberto Del Rio came out with Zeb Colter, with Colter talking about how America and Mexico need to band together, adding that they would ask the Brits to join them were it not for how much the world hates England. I have no interest in this whole gimmick, seeing the racist character Colter try to act like he’s anything besides a hardcore America supporter, while Del Rio tries to tolerate being next to this guy…when it seems clear right now that the goal is for Jack Swagger to come back and take Colter away from Del Rio. I’m just not compelled by this awkward pairing, where it’s clear that neither one of them know what to say most of the time, evidenced by Colter’s stumbling, and Del Rio having to remember to say “Viva MexAmerica” instead of “Viva Mexico“. The other odd choice was WWE bringing these two out when they did, considering they wouldn’t have their match after that, but alright then.
Natalya faced Naomi in a substandard match, but what helped make the match entertaining was Natalya reacting to the crowd, who was chanting, “We want Sasha” nearly the entire match, so Natalya took advantage of that, trying to get Sasha into the match, and successfully getting in Naomi’s head enough so that when Naomi went for her Rearview finisher, Naomi didn’t realize that Natalya had stopped, and was waiting to capitalize with a roll up win. After Natalya picked up the 1-2-3, Sasha charged in, took Natalya out, but when Sasha set Natalya up for the Bank Statement, Natalya avoided it, putting Sasha into the Sharpshooter submission hold, until Tamina Superkicked the Queen of Hearts in the side of her head, followed by Team B.A.D. decimating Natalya before leaving the ring.
Sheamus came down for his match against Cesaro, with King Barrett at his side, continuing to tease what could actually be a pretty interesting tag team if they’re officially paired together. I know they’ve had tag matches for the last few weeks or so, but they’ve not officially been dubbed a tag team, which is when they would come up with tag finishes, and try to gel more thoroughly. At this point, I feel like they could really benefit from coming together as a team. I was definitely a fan of Barrett calling out Wayne Rooney, saying he’d love to invite Rooney to get in the ring and handle things like men, but he didn’t want Rooney’s son(s) to see him fail, something they’re quite used to seeing every time Rooney goes out onto a football pitch –soccer field.–
Cesaro got a huge reaction out of the Manchester crowd, something that continues to show that Cesaro does indeed connect with the WWE Universe. This match on the other hand, didn’t really do either man many favors for the majority of it, with both men seeming to waste as much time as possible, typically in the form of choke holds, but Sheamus pumped some energy into things with a unique pump handle reverse Suplex type slam move; but the terrifying moment came when Sheamus went to toss Cesaro over the top rope and to the outside, but the men held on, and when Cesaro landed on the ground, his right arm came down on the mat hard, and Sheamus’ large frame fell right on it. Cesaro did a great job of selling the move, but it looked genuinely nasty, and Cesaro kept checking his hand and elbow for the rest of the match. Towards the end of the match, Sheamus went for a Brogue Kick, Cesaro dodged, put Sheamus in the Cloverleaf submission, but Cesaro’s hold wasn’t tight enough, and Sheamus fought his way to the ropes, breaking the hold. Cesaro got a hell of a lot of offense in after this, but it wasn’t until Rooney slapped the taste out of Barrett’s mouth, that Sheamus got distracted enough to suffer a roll up loss to the Swiss Superman. With the win, Cesaro will face Reigns next week, in the quarterfinals of this Tournament.
Tyler Breeze‘s RAW in-ring debut didn’t come against Ziggler, which was perfect, because a feud should have their first interaction at a PPV. This match also allowed for RAW to book a match that for sure wouldn’t have happened were it not for this Tournament. Breeze and Dean Ambrose worked really well together, giving a taste of what things could be like were these two to enter into a feud, something I would unquestionably pay money for. Ambrose getting “injured” by a Missle Dropick, where the Lunatic Fringe‘s elbow hit the mat hard, evening up this match after Ambrose started to dominate it, was all very odd; but it did give Breeze the chance to become extremely aggressive, tossing Ambrose shoulder first into the corner posts, injuring the arm of Ambrose that much more. The other thing that was odd, having Ambrose do a roll up pin on Breeze for the win. It seemed like there wasn’t a single match last night that ended convincingly, all of them felt like they ended with roll up’s.
I think WWE did a really good job in scripting the match overall though, because the commentary team reminded us mid-match that the winner of this would go on to face Ziggler in the next round, which made me start to believe that Breeze would actually win this one, moving on to face Ziggler in the next round, even though I have a sneaking suspicion that the finals will be between Reigns and Ambrose. I have little to no doubt that Breeze will interfere in the Ambrose/Ziggler match, likely attacking Ambrose first, costing Ziggler the match, but ultimately veering towards The Show Off at the end of the attack.
New Day quieted a Manchester crowd that was cheering for them the second that New Day came out. Then all three talked about how outrageous it is that not a single New Day member was put into the Tournament for the Title; but they’re still our Tag Team Champions. They dedicated their match last night to their fallen captain, Seth Rollins, with horns up, and the not so subtle mention that Harry Potter sucks, declaring their magic –and not British magic, because it’s “garbage”– better. Their match? Another 6-Man Tag match, between New Day and The Usos, with Neville. There were some high flying moves:
But Big E‘s vicious looking interference when he prevented Neville from hitting the Red Arrow finisher, tripping Neville off the top rope, where the Man That Gravity Forgot came crumbling down to the mat, so Xavier Woods could get a leverage pin –feet on the ropes, but away from the ref’s eyes– on the master of the Red Arrow.
Bray Wyatt closed out the show, talking Taker and Kane, after we saw various video clips throughout the entire night, giving us reminders of times with both The Deaman and the Devil’s Favorite Demon. The unexpected detail in this final segment had to of been when the crowd started chanting/singing, “He’s got the whole world in his hands“, a throwback to a year ago. Not long after Bray got started, he asked for everyone to bow their heads in remembrance, in appreciation for the legends, the icons that are The Undertaker and Kane. He called everyone fools, saying he wasn’t passed the torch, he took it and lit Taker and Kane on fire with it –great line for a great character.– Just as Bray was saying “The Apolcolypse is here“, the Titantron lit up, a weird spinning transition played, the Brothers of Destruction piece that’s been played a handful of times played through, thunder, lightning, and fire all began to rain down on the arena, and then the gong was struck, calling Taker and Kane to the stage. With the Brothers of Destruction coming down the ramp, Bray knelt in the ring, wondering what to do, but lucky for him, he had three followers waiting to help. What is there to fear when you have help like Bray does? Sure, Taker got a good shot in on Bray, but his attention was quickly taken up by Braun Strowman:
Taker and Kane took out The Wyatt Family almost like it was nothing, Chokeslamming both Luke Harper and Erick Rowan, tossing Braun over the top rope to the outside, then over the commentary table where the Face of Destruction couldn’t cause any more harm. How amazing would it feel to get your call to the main roster, and one of your first feuds be against both Taker and Kane? Braun has to feel like he’s won the lottery, even if it meant being tossed over the commentary table like a ton of bricks. Soon thereafter, Taker and Kane set their sights on a vulnerable Bray Wyatt, crawling around in the ring, so the Brothers came in and double Chokeslammed Bray.
Taker and Kane breaking free from the Wyatt’s was an inevitability, but them doing so without us seeing how, made it feel lackluster. I would have wanted to of seen the two of them struggling in a backstage area, trying to get out, but not being sure how to; then someone enters, something enters, and helps them get out, but who is it? What is it? This could have helped to make someone now or down the road, but instead, the Brothers of Destruction got free, came down to the ring, cleared it with little to no effort, and left on top. If there was a debate before about whether this would be a 4 on 2 Survivor Series Elimination Style match, I think RAW last night cleared that right up. Those two brothers are capable of holding their own, without the need for help, so if Bray has himself and three goons, then the brothers are ready to take all four of them on in a handicap version of the match. I’m hoping those two getting the better of The Wyatt Family, is a sign that Bray will be riding high at Survivor Series, because he should; Taker’s run is nearing it’s end, and he needs to help make stars, not simply compete against them. This is Taker’s chance to help make Bray a character that lives on long past Bray’s retirement, but if Taker just comes out of Survivor Series with another win over the Eater of Worlds, then it will be all for nothing; cool that Bray wrestled against Taker –twice,– but not an ounce more than that sentiment.
RAW last night had the ability to be outstanding, but limited scripting time –after the Rollins injury,– and it being pre-taped, prevented RAW from living up to its potential. That said, I give RAW a:
+ The final segment was a lot of fun
+ Dean Ambrose/Tyler Breeze was the perfect in-ring debut for Breeze
+ Opening segment was one of the best pure talking segments Roman Reigns has been a part of
+ Kevin Owens continues to show evidence that he’s a wrestling genius
– Way too many roll up pins
– The Undertaker and Kane finding a way to escape, but WWE not showing it to us, felt like a mistake
– I’m a little more worried about the outcome of The Wyatt Family vs The Brothers of Destruction match now
That’s The Lowedown on RAW this week, thanks for reading, and remember to watch more wrestling!
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The future is bright and full of suplexes!
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