This week’s Raw featured an ongoing storyline about Chris Jericho being mad that he couldn’t find his list and a crowd chanting for Brock Lesnar, even though WWE wanted them to chant for Goldberg. It was a poor show as the Raw brand tried to get people excited for Sunday’s Hell in a Cell show.
It felt like such a lethargic show this week. Most of the Hell in a Cell matches were set weeks ago, so WWE tried its best to hype up the matches. Other than the post-match segment of the main event, I thought it was a failure for the most part.
Jericho was mad that somebody stole The List. It was one of those comedy promos to open the show that saw Seth Rollins as the guy that had The List in his hands. Jericho threatened to not compete in the main event triple threat if he didn’t get The List back. He ended up getting it back later in the show.
I think Jericho is a great entertainer and one of the best parts of Raw. He is one of my favorite wrestlers ever. I just think as a main storyline, it’s not a good sign that WWE is trying to sell a comedy angle as a big deal when they are trying to promote Hell in a Cell as this serious event where careers may be altered because of how dangerous that match is.
The main event saw Seth Rollins face Chris Jericho and Kevin Owens in a triple threat. The match started after 11 p.m. ET, which is too late for the main event. Raw ended at 11:15 p.m. ET. That’s about eight minutes longer than usual. That may not seem like a lot, but when the show is three hours long, it sure feels like a lot.
I was disappointed in the match because while Jericho and Owens did work well as a team against Rollins, the finish was poorly done. Jericho and Owens were going for a double-suplex out of the corner when Rollins slammed both guys down (each with one arm) and pinned them both at the same time, meaning that Rollins pinned two with one move at the same time! It’s as if he was the Incredible Hulk overpowering his adversaries.
It was ridiculous that a regular-looking guy like Rollins could win a match that way. If this was a 300-pounder who was really strong, then that’s a bit more believable. With Rollins, it doesn’t work as well. It was a flat finish that turned what should have been a great triple threat into a joke. It makes Owens, the Universal Champion, look terrible because he lost to a basic slam off the ropes while normally he kicks out of huge moves. I hate how WWE books champions in non-title matches sometimes. Have Jericho take the pin alone since he’s not in the Universal Title match at Hell in a Cell. Why hurt Owens by having him get pinned at the same time? It came off so poorly.
The only good thing about that storyline was the post-match attack. Owens was vicious in getting his revenge on Rollins. He threw him all around the ringside area while using the barricade and ring post as ways to weaken Rollins. Then Owens did a move he made famous in NXT by nailing Rollins with a stiff Powerbomb on the side of the ring apron. That’s the hardest part of the ring, which is something WWE likes to tell us about all the time. It left Rollins down in a heap while Owens stood triumphant to end a really long night of Raw.
I’ll cover the disastrous Lesnar segment in the “Other Key Items” section below.
Before we get to the matches, please check out my exclusive column here at The Comeback where I ranked the 15 best Hell in a Cell matches in WWE history. Thanks for all the kind words on the article so far.
This Week’s Raw Matches
This week’s Raw featured a bunch of short matches and two that didn’t take place, but were done to further feuds. I’ll include them in here anyway.
Enzo Amore defeated Karl Anderson
Last week, Big Cass beat Luke Gallows in about two minutes. This week, it took Enzo about eight minutes to beat Anderson and it was thanks to a big boot from Cass to Anderson leading to the pinfall. I was impressed by Anderson’s offense in the match. He’s a good worker. The two straight losses for Anderson & Gallows likely mean they should win at Hell in a Cell when these teams have a tag match.
Sheamus & Cesaro defeated Kofi Kingston & Big E
They had the best match of the night. It was a non-title match, which should immediately tip you off that the champs are losing and, of course, that’s what happened. Why does WWE love non-title wins so much? It hurts the champs more than it helps.
— WWE (@WWE) October 25, 2016
The finish of this match was well-done. The highlight was this huge spot where Big E launched Kingston over the top to the floor. Cesaro saw it coming, so he crushed Kingston with a huge uppercut. Sheamus nailed the Brogue Kick on Big E to win the match for his team. This match was really good. I hope they can top it at Hell in a Cell.
Dana Brooke vs. Bayley in Arm Wrestling
The story was Bayley had an injured right arm from last week. Brooke had an arm wrestling match where she beat her. Then Brooke attacked her. Bayley came back with a Bayley-to-Belly suplex to look strong to end the segment.
I think it was done to set up a Hell in a Cell match for them so that Bayley gets the win. That match is not official yet.
Bo Dallas defeated Curtis Axel
Great pre-match promo from Axel, who is from Minnesota. The crowd was fully behind him after he fired them up. He was on offense for much of the match, but his former friend Dallas got the rollup win. It could lead to a rematch at Hell in a Cell. I’m glad both guys are getting a chance on Raw, but don’t know if either of them will ever be huge stars.
Goldust & R-Truth defeated The Shining Stars
The crowd didn’t care. Neither did I. Goldust & Truth won after Mark Henry (friend of Golden Truth) shoved Titus O’Neil into Primo, which led to a double team from Goldust & Truth for the win. Boring match that didn’t mean anything.
Rich Swann defeated Brian Kendrick
It was an okay match with a bit of a surprising outcome since Swann won clean. Kendrick is challenging T.J. Perkins for the Cruiserweight Title at Hell in a Cell, so I figured he would win. Instead, Swann won with a creative roll-up move.
Shortly after the match, Kendrick was backstage, saying that Perkins should let him win because if Kendrick loses, he may be gone from WWE. It makes me think that Kendrick is going to win the title after Perkins lets his guard down and feud with Swann after. At least this segment got me more interested in the Cruiserweight Title match on Sunday.
Braun Strowman and Sami Zayn have issues
There was supposed to be a match between Braun Strowman and Sami Zayn. Instead, Strowman said he wanted better competition. Zayn hit a couple of dropkicks, but Strowman overpowered him. Strowman tossed Zayn into the barricade at ringside and walked away. Zayn wanted to keep fighting. This will probably lead to a match at Hell in a Cell.
The final match was the triple threat main event that I already covered.
Other Key Items From Raw
1. Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman’s Segment Ends Early
The most bizarre segment of the night saw Brock Lesnar make his return to Raw after two months away. He was there to address Bill Goldberg telling him that he was “next… and last.” Lesnar received a huge pop in Minneapolis, having spent a lot of years living in Minnesota, went to college there and it’s considered his hometown, even though he also grew up in South Dakota. These days, Lesnar lives in the province of Saskatchewan in Canada, which he represented in his UFC fight in July by wearing Canadian colors.
It’s important to know all this because the Minnesota fans love Lesnar. He even wore Minnesota Vikings purple on his “Suplex City” shirt. Apparently, WWE Creative forgot this because they thought Lesnar would be booed and wanted the crowd to chant Goldberg. Heyman was trying to get the crowd to chant Goldberg, but only a small percentage of them (maybe 20 percent of them at best) were doing it. Most of them were chanting “Suplex City” and by the end of it, some of them were chanting “Goldberg Sucks.”
After Raw, there was a backstage report from the Wrestling Observer’s Bryan Alvarez where he said that WWE Chairman Vince McMahon “blew a gasket” about the segment and ended it early. Vince wanted the crowd to chant for Goldberg and against Lesnar. When they didn’t, Vince decided to pull the plug early. That’s why Lesnar’s music played to end the segment without Heyman really saying anything to put an end to it.
This is another example of WWE management misjudging their audience. Lesnar is always going to be cheered in Minnesota. Ever since he said “Suplex City” at WrestleMania 31, he’s been cheered. His actions at SummerSlam when he beat up Randy Orton did make Lesnar look like a heel, but it doesn’t mean the crowds are going to boo him. Paul Heyman is one of the best talkers in wrestling history. Even he couldn’t turn the crowd.
This segment came off as a colossal failure. One of the most awkward moments on Raw this year.
2. Sasha and Charlotte sign their Hell in a Cell contract while Mick Foley yells a lot
There was a contract signing segment with Sasha Banks and Charlotte Flair (they are using a last name for her lately) ready to sign the contracts for the first ever Women’s Hell in a Cell match. You know the match, right? The one where WWE keeps saying they are making history. Yes, they are making history, but WWE says it so often that it has become annoying.
Both women talked about how ready they were with Charlotte saying she wants her Women’s Title back while Banks said she was going to be the best Women’s Champion ever. Then Mick Foley started yelling about how serious the Hell in a Cell match is.
It’s understandable that WWE would use Foley to talk about how barbaric and sinister the Hell in a Cell match is. His career was shortened because of the HIAC match he had in 1998. Longtime WWE fans know all about it. It’s why fans chanted “Foley” when he was going off about how it gives him nightmares and how when you’re in the match, you’re against an opponent as well as the cell.
I thought the whole thing was a bit too over the top. It doesn’t mean it was bad. It just wasn’t as great as WWE may have thought it would be. If Sasha or Charlotte take bumps off the cell the way Foley did, they are foolish and it’s not like WWE is going to let that happen. Sell the importance of the match, but let’s not act like these women are going to take a bump off the cell and go through a table.
The best part was the end when Charlotte said she’ll see Sasha in Boston (site of Hell in a Cell), while Sasha fired back saying she’ll see Charlotte in hell. That worked really well.
3. Roman Reigns and Rusev were barely on the show
Roman Reigns and Rusev each did less than two-minute promos in front of a black screen. Reigns talked about how he’s going to bring the fight to Rusev because he’s been in Hell in a Cell before, while Rusev has no idea what it feels like. Rusev said he’s going to get back his US Title.
I liked that they were barely on the show because this feud has been going on for over three months. They’ve had so many boring segments. I just want them to have a good final match at Hell in a Cell and then no more matches between them for a long time.
Looking Ahead To Hell in a Cell
Here are the matches advertised for Raw’s Hell in a Cell show this Sunday, Oct. 30 in Boston.
WWE Universal Championship: Kevin Owens vs. Seth Rollins in a Hell in a Cell match
United States Championship: Roman Reigns vs. Rusev in a Hell in a Cell match
Raw Women’s Championship: Sasha Banks vs. Charlotte in a Hell in a Cell match
Tag Team Championships: The New Day vs. Cesaro & Sheamus
Cruiserweight Championship: T.J. Perkins vs. Brian Kendrick
Enzo & Cass vs. Gallows & Anderson
Some of the other matches that are likely to take place are Bayley vs. Dana Brooke and Braun Strowman vs. Sami Zayn.
It’s being billed as a triple main event, which has fans wondering what match will go on last. I’ll give you my thoughts on that in the Hell in a Cell preview that will be up later this week.
I thought it was a poor show. One of the worst episodes of Raw this year. With that said, I don’t think Sunday’s Hell in a Cell event is going to be terrible. The matches are going to get a lot of time and likely deliver quality performances. The problem is most of the card is full of rematches of stuff we’ve already seen many times before. As much as WWE says “new era” all the time, it doesn’t feel that new. That’s the biggest problem with Raw these days.
I’ll be back later in the week with a preview of WWE Hell in a Cell.