Tonight, Raw rolls into Hartford, CT on the heels of Hell in a Cell. Last night saw the crowning of two new champions – Brian Kendrick took home cruiserweight gold after defeating TJ Perkins. Will Perkins demand an immediate rematch given how the match finished off, with Kendrick suckering him into thinking he was hurt? Also, in a brutal main event, Charlotte claimed the Raw Women’s Championship back from Sasha Banks. I’m certain Charlotte will gloat, but will Sasha demand a rematch or will someone else step into her place? Kevin Owens held onto the Universal Championship with an assist from Chris Jericho. Will Seth Rollins turn his attention to Y2J, will he stay focused on tearing down the machine, or will he focus on Owens? The road to Survivor Series starts now, and Goldberg will appear and address his foe, Brock Lesnar.
Show Open, Live from the XL Center in Hartford, CT:
The show opened right up with Goldberg’s entrance music playing. He made his way through the backstage area and fans chanted for him, then the pyro went off on the stage and he made his way to the ring. JoJo introduced him as Cole, Saxton and Graves checked in for the call.
In the ring, Goldberg started to cut his promo by saying “Okay, Brock Lesnar…” when Paul Heyman interrupted him. Heyman did his normal introduction and said his client didn’t appreciate the fans chanting for Goldberg. Goldberg called for the fans to chant again, and Heyman said they were pissing him off.
Heyman said he has all the respect in the world for Goldberg and knows he isn’t a physical threat, so that’s why he felt comfortable getting in the ring. Heyman said his client isn’t just a beast, but he’s an impatient beast. Heyman brought up Goldberg having a win on Lesnar, and said his client conquers streaks and Goldberg could ask Undertaker.
Heyman said Lesnar decided not to wait until Survivor Series, and said he wanted to face Goldberg face to face. Goldberg pulled his jacket off and Heyman introduced Lesnar. His music hit, and Goldberg hopped around waiting. Heyman laughed, then boasted he fooled everyone. He pointed to Goldberg’s wife and son, and noted the look of disappointment on his son’s face. They both smiled, and his wife gave a thumbs down. Heyman said that Goldberg’s son’s disappointment tonight won’t compare to what he feels when Lesnar wins at Survivor Series.
That brought out Rusev, of all people. The fans wanted Lana, but Rusev asked Goldberg who he thinks he is. That drew a Goldberg chant. Rusev said he knows his name and said Goldberg thinks he’s a superhero. He said Goldberg doesn’t have it any more and there are no such thing as superheroes.
Rusev said that Goldberg has the spear and the jackhammer, and those moves require explosiveness. Rusev didn’t think Goldberg has that. He asked if Goldberg had the heart to keep fighting once he takes a beating and repeated he didn’t think Goldberg has that. Rusev said Lesnar is not there, but Goldberg is shaking in fear.
Rusev threw a punch, but Goldberg smiled. Goldberg threw a knee and tripped (that’ll get all kinds of scrutinized), got back up and hit the Jackhammer. Heyman stood over Rusev, then Goldberg turned and speared Heyman. Goldberg played to the fans.
Bill Says: Fans who hate the match idea will shit all over that trip. Goldberg’s been out of the ring 12 years. Give it a break. And this was a solid segment overall. The fans weren’t as hot for Goldberg here as they were in Denver but they were definitely receptive.
They gave us a shot of the announce team, who aside from Cole was in costume for this Halloween edition. They recapped Kevin Owens vs. Seth Rollins from last night. They hyped Mick Foley making a Survivor Series address, and Enzo Amore vs. Luke Gallows in a Trick or Treat Fight. They also showed various fans dressed up like WWE wrestlers for Halloween.
Match #1 – Enzo Amore (w/Big Cass) vs. Luke Gallows (w/Karl Anderson); Trick or Treat Fight;
Winner: Enzo Amore
The Summary: So, it’s a Halloween themed street fight. Enzo and Cass came out dressed like Buzz Lightyear and Woody from Toy Story. They played on the jokes from last night’s HIAC promo. There’s pumpkins around the ring and Halloween themed props all around the ring. The two fought to ringside early, and Enzo hit Gallows with a skeleton.
Gallows tossed the guts of a pumpkin at Enzo, who was still running around with the Buzz wings on. This was sports entertainment silliness at its finest. Gallows struck with a candy corn colored kendo stick. Enzo tossed pumpkins but took a kendo stick shot. Enzo threw a drop kick and slammed his face into the stick.
Enzo smashed a pie in Gallows’ face. Cass took care of Anderson with a kick off the apron and through a table, then Enzo kicked Gallows in the balls via a pumpkin. Cass put a pumpkin on Gallows’ head then Enzo hit a leg drop off the ropes to win.
Welp, it’s a holiday show, so here comes the sports entertainment silliness. Not for me. I’m sure some folks loved it, but it was pretty embarrassing to follow up that strong Goldberg segment with this.
They showed an ambulance leaving, saying that Paul Heyman was being taken to a local medical facility after being speared. They hyped Brian Kendrick facing TJ Perkins in a rematch of last night’s Cruiserweight championship match.
TJ Perkins came to the ring as the commentary team talked over still shots from last night’s championship match. Kendrick came to the ring and said nice guys, like all fans and Perkins, will always finish last. He said he didn’t need Perkins to let him win and his request was a mind game. He said he only needed to tug on his heartstrings and Perkins would crack.
Match #2 – Brian Kendrick (c) vs. TJ Perkins; WWE Cruiserweight Championship;
Winner: TJ Perkins by count-out, Brian Kendrick Retains
The Summary: Kendrick offered a handshake that Perkins refused. Perkins attacked and got a quick two before they cut to commercial. After the break Perkins kept up the offense and locked in a knee bar, but Kendrick broke it in the ropes. Perkins went top rope and got crotched, then they did a pretty scary looking huracanrana spot where Perkins came off the top and took Kendrick over the ropes to ringside. Perkins landed on his head. Kendrick got counted out, and the commentary team said it was intentional.
Perkins attacked Kendrick after the match and locked on the knee bar out on the floor until officials broke it up.
That bump off the ropes was nasty. Looked like Perkins was fine though, as was Kendrick. Nice fire from Perkins, especially in the post-match angle.
Mick Foley talked to a crew member backstage when Braun Strowman showed up. He said he wants to be on Team Raw, saying he has beaten one, two, and three men at one time, and wants real competition. Strowman told Foley to give him what he wants or he’ll destroy the roster. Foley told Strowman his threats are working but giving in would send a bad message to the locker room. Foley said that there would be a battle royale with the winner earning a spot on Team Raw. Foley told Strowman to earn his slot.
Cole hyped the company winning some W3Awards.
Mick Foley came to the ring and the commentary team hyped the battle royale for later. The fans chanted for Foley. He said that Raw had a hell of a night at HIAC. He said he was proud of everyone who worked their heart out. He said the exception was Chris Jericho and Kevin Owens. He said what they did was legal, but left a bad taste in his mouth. Kevin Owens and Chris Jericho came out, and of course Jericho had his list.
Owens asked what they did that was so wrong at HIAC. Owens asked whether it’s because he is still the champion or because Jericho “outsmartened you.” Owens said he made history by being the first man to defend the Universal Championship in HIAC. Jericho said that he and Owens showed what a team can do, and said it was proof that Foley needed them to anchor team Raw.
Foley said he needed them both, and Owens asked Foley to repeat it. Owens said that he and Jericho are the top stars on Raw, and it’s killing Foley that he needs them. Owens said he walked out of HIAC a winner, while Foley made a name for himself in HIAC matches by being a big loser. Jericho reminded us that Foley lost four HIAC matches.
Owens noted that Foley lost to Triple H in “the dump known as Hartford” in his final HIAC match. Foley went on a rant, saying he could have walked out a legend but made a mockery of the cell. He asked if WWE Network will be showing footage of that match 18 years from now. Foley said he had to check his ego at the door as general manager. He said Steph wanted Owens on the team but not Jericho. Foley said he had to convince her to not suspend Jericho because Jericho is devious enough to help them win. He said he needed another guy, the guy, and Roman Reigns’ music hit.
More boos than cheers for Roman as he came to the ring. Reigns thanked Foley for the vote of confidence, then waited out a “Roman Sucks” chant. Foley said his wife loves Reigns, who told the fans Happy Halloween. Reigns compared Owens to Spongebob and his best friend. Reigns said he was going to dress like a stupid idiot but they didn’t have Jericho costumes. Funny.
Jericho teased adding Reigns to the list but said he didn’t deserve to be on it, nor did anyone in the arena. No one would go on the list this week. Way to draw that heat, Chris. Jericho said he’s Canadian and doesn’t like anyone in the US, but he would be a better US Champion than Reigns. Owens agreed.
Jericho said he would take the title from Reigns if he wanted but assumed Reigns was too beat up from HIAC. Reigns admitted he was beat up but wouldn’t pass on a chance to shut Jericho up. Foley made the match.
Bill Says: Jericho actually worked for heat, even if it involved his stupid list. Here’s hoping he can keep that up though, and keep the crowd against him later on.
They recapped Sasha Banks vs. Charlotte from last night, then said Charlotte would appear later in the show.
They showed more fan pics of fans dressed like WWE stars for Halloween.
Match #3 – Battle Royale for a spot on Team Raw at Survivor Series;
Winner: Braun Strowman
The Summary: Entrants included Sami Zayn, Braun Strowman, R-Truth, Sheamus, Ccesaro, Goldust, Curtis Axel, Jinder Mahal, Neville, Titus O’Neil, Darren Young (Dressed like Bob Backlund). Truth and Dallas got eliminated first, then Strowman took a Helluva Kick and a Brogue Kick and fell under the top rope and to the floor. They sold it on commentary that he was still in the match.
Eliminations started to move quickly, with Jinder Mahal being hindered and Sheamus bouncing Young out. Strowman re-entered and dumped Axel, then Sami eliminated Titus. Cesaro sent Goldust packing, then sent Sheamus out. Strowman eliminated Cesaro, then Cesaro and Sheamus bickered on the floor.
Final three were Strowman, Neville, and Zayn. Strowman dumped Neville and got the better of Zayn quickly. Zayn grabbed on with a front face lock and tried to hold on, but Strowman used his arm to hold himself up and sent Zayn to the floor to win. Cole hyped that Team Raw was now Owens, Jericho, Reigns, Strowman, and one spot left to be filled. Cole hyped up the US Championship match for later.
Good execution of the odd couple gimmick for Cesaro and Sheamus here, but I’m ready to move on from that. They can protect Strowman here by having him disqualified or counted out in the Survivor Series match, but I thought they’d go with Zayn here.
Emmalina will be here soon. Not sure I care at the moment. The commentary team talked about it, Byron’s pajamas, and hyped the Subway BOGO drive to help feed the homeless.
New Day is in costume, with Big E dressed like Kama Mustafa, Kofi as the Godfather, and Xavier Woods as Papa Shango. So, yeah, all the same guy. Anyhow, they talked about Team Smackdown, and put over American Alpha. They said they will overcome no matter who they end up facing.
Match #4 – Rich Swann, Lince Dorado, and Cedric Alexander vs. Ariaya Daivari, Drew Gulak, and Tony Nese
Winner: Swann, Dorado and Alexander
The Summary: Swann tagged in late in this one and hit the flashiest offense, which drew cheers from some fans. Alexand and Dorado took out Gulak and Daivari, and Swann blasted Nese with a kick to win.
Swann got the spotlight here, and he made the most of it. The match last night was well received, but I think it was ultimately about the match opening the show rather than the guys being well positioned. It’s really just not working with the way WWE is booking the cruiserweight talent right now.
Cole hyped Charlotte appearing after the break, and an ad for Smackdown hyped Daniel Bryan appearing on Miz TV to announce Team Smackdown for Survivor Series.
Back from break, Cole touted Wrestlemania being named one of the most valuable brands by Forbes. It’s about money, kids, not booking. The recapped the opening segment with Goldberg, Rusev, and Heyman.
Charlotte was carried to the ring on her throne as she was last night at HIAC. She’s become the Queen of Queens. Plus 10 internets if you get that reference. And yes the snark level is rising as this show drags on. And drag it does.
I predicted last night that we’d get a gloating promo, and that’s exactly what we got. That’s what heels do, so it’s fine. She bragged about singlehandedly making history and told Sasha to lift her head up from her hospital bed. There’s no shame in losing, and Sasha pushed her to her limit. But Sasha’s playing for second place like every other woman in WWE. That line sounds vaguely familiar too…*cough*tripleh*cough*.
Charlotte said she will captain Team Raw to a win over Team Smackdown’s women. She noted that Nikki Bella is team captain and said she put her on the shelf for a year, and will do it permanently if she gets in her way. She can’t – Nikki has SuperCena powers! OK, gotta calm the snark down, this really isn’t bad. Charlotte put herself over as the best in the business and her title says so. She asks if Becky Lynch, Carmella and Alexa Bliss have heard her.
Charlotte noted that her team has a weak link and called out Bayley. Graves made fun, saying Bayley was out with her arrested development and Saxton had his pajamas on, so he assumed they had fun doing daylight trick or treating. The fans chanted for her, but Bayley deflected the talk to say that what went down with Sasha and Charlotte at HIAC gave her goosebumps.
Bayley talked about how they all dreamed of competing at that level in NXT, but they made it reality and she congratulated Charlotte for winning. Charlotte smiled and said she would say thank you, but while she’s dreaming about it Charlotte is doing it. Bayley told Charlotte the success has gone straight to her head and she’s become the biggest jerk, and she never wanted to be a champion like her.
Charlotte told her that she will never be a champion like her because she will never be her. She asked when Bayley would realize this isn’t NXT any more, and asked if Bayley is a competitor or a glorified fan in a costume. She said that the team is only as strong as the weakest link, and teased Bayley facing a teammate. Bayley told Charlotte everyone’s tired of hearing her talk, and assumed the match would be with Dana Brooke. Charlotte smiled and pointed to the stage and it’s Nia Jax coming to the ring for the next match.
Bill Says: Snarky comments aside, this was fine and I assume will lead to an eventual Charlotte/Bayley feud down the line somewhere. Charlotte, as expected, bragged about winning and all that, which was what a heel does.
Match #5 – Nia Jax vs. Bayley;
Winner: Nia Jax
The Summary: Charlotte sat in on commentary and for whatever reason Dana Brooke was with her. Cole asked why the bad blood with Bayley, and Charlotte said she’s just trying to smarten her up and let her know this is Raw, not the minor leagues. Nia hit a shoulder breaker in the ring.
Jax stayed with the offense, using a bear hug. Bayley slipped out and locked in a guillotine hold that Jax escaped. Bayley fired back with strikes and a bulldog. Jax turned her inside out then teased a leg drop but instead dragged her to the corner. Bayley caught her on the ropes and teased her finish, but Nia tossed her over the ropes. Bayley sold a knee, then Jax squashed her on the barricade. In the ring, Jax hit a Samoan drop for the win.
This was laid out well, with Jax getting the dominant win, yet Bayley getting in some good hope spots and showing heart. If WWE does this right, they can put her over huge in the long run. Bayley should lose to the dominant woman in the division not named Charlotte. My hopes are in creative handling this right and not fucking up, but if they do it will do a ton of good for Bayley.
The commentary team narrated still shots of Reigns vs. Rusev and hyped the US Championship match for later. Cesaro and Sheamus were arguing backstage, but they have a tag match after the commercial.
Match #6 – Sheamus and Cesaro vs. The Shining Stars;
Winner: Sheamus and Cesaro
The Summary: Late, Sheamus locked in the Cloverleaf on Epico, while Cesaro caught Primo coming off the ropes with an uppercut. Epico submitted.
What doesn’t make sense here is that the odd couple still bickers, but they’re technically not obligated to team together anymore now that they had their title shot against New Day. There’s no explanation of this – it makes no sense.
They showed more fans dressed up like WWE stars for Halloween. They ran footage of Goldust and R-Truth walking through a haunted house and the commentary team faked laughter. Cole scared Saxton, who has just been a giant tool all night long tonight.
Backstage, Jericho talked about never winning the US Championship and told Owens they would be the Universal Champion and US Champion together at the same time. Jericho said the only thing in his way was a “greasy American Muttonhead” Reigns. They agreed to rename the US Championship the Canadian title. Jericho started to say he would need Owens’ help, but Owens said he would be there.
So, in other words, expect some help for Reigns tonight as well. Weird that Jericho has never held the US Championship for as long as he has been around the sport.
Match #7 – Roman Reigns (c) vs. Chris Jericho (w/Kevin Owens); WWE United States Championship
Winner: Roman Reigns by disqualification to retain the US Championship
The Summary: Jericho and Owens came out together, and Reigns still got booed but not like he did earlier. Crowd seemed drained. Cole said Reigns could have taken the night off but that’s not what he’s about. JoJo gave us the in-ring introductions.
Normal reaction to the competitors early as the women and kids chanted for Roman and the adult males chanted for Jericho. Reigns sold pain in his arm, but threw a hip toss with the same arm. Jericho slapped at him then Reigns returned the favor before taking a drop kick. Reigns sent Jericho to the floor with a clothesline. Reigns followed him out and threw him into the barricade. Reigns shoved Jericho in and with the referee distracted Owens threw Reigns into the ring post.
Back from break, Cole noted that Jericho controlled the action. Owens wore Jericho’s scarf. Reigns started a comeback with clotheslines, along with three more in the corner that the fans chanted with. Jericho went up top and jumped into a punch then took a Drive By from Reigns. Reigns hit a Samoan drop then called for the Superman Punch but Jericho avoided it. He tried for the Walls but Reigns powered out.
Jericho got the Walls a bit later. Reigns rolled through and threw some punches then kicked Jericho away. Reigns hit a powerbomb for two, then punched Owens off the apron. Jericho rolled Reigns up for a quick two count, then tried a springboard move. Reigns hit the Superman Punch then set up for the spear to a chorus of boos. He hit it and covered, but Owens charged the ring to break up the pin for the DQ.
Owens and Jericho worked over Reigns and the fans chanted for Rollins. Owens tossed Reigns up pop-up powerbomb style and Jericho hit the Codebreaker. Seth Rollins ran out and took it to the heels, hitting Owens with suicide dives and a flying knee on Jericho. The heels disappeared, and Rollins and Reigns stared each other down from a distance. Reigns nodded at Rollins and the show ended with them staring at each other.
That was a fine TV main event that included the expected Rollins appearance to help Reigns. This is where predictability is good, because it gave the fans the moment they wanted which was Rollins running out for the save. Was funny how the attitude of the fans changed from booing Reigns to cheering the notion that we could get a temporary partial Shield reunion when the two stared at each other.
All in all, a pedestrian show to get out of the pay per view and start to look ahead to Survivor Series. Some nice Goldberg/Lesnar hype to kick off the show, then it kind of sank into “maintenance” mode for a lot of the show. We started to see the formation of teams for Raw to go against Smackdown at the event in Toronto, which really doesn’t have a full card at this point. Four matches are known, three of which are brand vs. brand matches. WWE will need to hustle a little bit to fill out the card, which is rumored to go four hours.
Drew Koscelek will be by tomorrow with more on this show and Hell in a Cell on Around the Ring, as well as Smackdown coverage. I’ll be back on Wednesday with Drew on Ring Rap Audio and Ring of Honor coverage. See you then.