This week’s Raw took place one night after Survivor Series, during which Goldberg shocked the world by beating Brock Lesnar in just 86 seconds. There was a big main event that headlined Raw with Kevin Owens defending the Universal Title against Seth Rollins in a No Disqualification match.
Let me start by saying I was at NXT Takeover Toronto on Saturday night and had a blast at that show. Then I went to Survivor Series on Sunday night. It wasn’t as good as NXT Takeover, but I still enjoyed it for the most part. The reason I didn’t write about Survivor Series is because I spent most of Monday making the three-hour trek back home. I’ll have thoughts on the Goldberg/Lesnar results a little later.
There was a very entertaining Highlight Reel segment with Chris Jericho and Kevin Owens as they teased a split for several minutes before revealing that they are on the same page. They blamed Roman Reigns for Team Raw losing to Team Smackdown Live in the men’s elimination match at Survivor Series. I laughed as they mocked the greasy conditioner hair of Reigns along with Seth Rollins, which brought out Rollins.
Rollins said that he would get a Universal Title match for being a part of Team Raw. It led to a brawl with Roman Reigns making the save for Rollins, which would be Roman’s only appearance of the show.
The promo led to Raw General Manager Mick Foley making a Universal Title match between Kevin Owens and Seth Rollins, with Chris Jericho and Roman Reigns banned from ringside. He went on to say it would be a No Disqualification match. I liked the idea of the match, but banning people in a No DQ match is another way of telling the audience that Jericho is going to interfere even if you say he’s not allowed to be there.
Owens and Rollins went on to have a fantastic, nearly 25-minute match. They used chairs as weapons, they broke tables leading to tremendous near-falls, and Rollins even jumped off a part of the arena about 10 feet high as he took out Owens on the floor. It was one of the better Raw matches of the year, with the crowd chanting “this is awesome” several times and “holy s**t” as well.
Towards the end of the match, after they were brawling in the crowd, Rollins went for an attack off the barricade at ringside. Suddenly, a “fan” at ringside attacked him. The fan had a mask, Rollins brawled with him and the fan was revealed to be Jericho. The funny thing about that is that Jericho was wearing a Sin Cara mask. This is just two weeks after Jericho and Sin Cara got into an altercation while on a WWE tour bus in Europe that led to Sin Cara facing discipline from management for being a hothead. Sin Cara even commented on Twitter about how it was a good mask choice by Jericho.
Rollins gave Jericho a Pedigree on the floor. All of that gave Owens a chance to regroup, hit Owens with a superkick and a Powerbomb on the side of the ring apron. Owens rolled Rollins into the ring for the cheap win.
It was one of the better Raw matches of the year, even with the cheap ending. They did a good job of mixing in some use of weapons that led to a lot of near-falls and a hot crowd that was into everything.
The rumored plans going forward will see Rollins face Jericho at Roadblock since Jericho cost him the Universal Title three different times. Owens is going to be matched up with Roman Reigns in a title vs. title feud even though Reigns was only on Raw for about one minute this week.
This Week’s Raw Matches
The New Day’s Big E & Kofi Kingston defeated Cesaro & Sheamus to retain the Tag Team Titles
It was a good match like their other bouts. It looked like Cesaro was going to get the win for his dysfunctional team as he had Kingston locked in a Sharpshooter. Xavier Woods distracted the referee while on the apron and Kingston tapped out, but the ref never saw it. Cesaro released the hold, Kingston did an inside cradle and that was enough for the win as Woods held Sheamus to prevent him from breaking up the pin. The face champions cheated to win. That’s a creative ending at least.
Cedric Alexander defeated Ariya Daivari
In a cruiserweight matchup, Alexander beat Daivari easily in about four minutes. It was just a way to put over Alexander clean with a Lumbar Check, which is one of the better finishing moves in WWE. Alexander is a rising star in WWE’s cruiserweight division.
Rusev defeated Enzo Amore
The match was set up because Enzo was locked out of the men’s locker room after a shower and somehow he was naked in a hallway. He randomly walked up to people backstage, saw Lana there and Rusev showed up to yell at him. That led to this match. What a creative team huh? Bizarre. It was mildly funny at least.
Rusev beat Enzo clean in about one minute. They teased a Rusev showdown with Cass, but that didn’t happen. Perhaps there will be a Rusev vs. Cass match in the near future.
Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson defeated The Golden Truth
The match was an easy win for Gallows & Anderson, which is no surprised against perennial losers The Golden Truth.
Due to their victory, next week’s Raw will have another Tag Team Title match as New Day defends the titles against Gallows & Anderson.
Braun Strowman defeated Sami Zayn by referee stoppage
Strowman attacked from behind before the match. Zayn tried to fight back, but Braun kept knocking him down with punches and clotheslines. The match was called off by Raw GM Mick Foley, who told the referee to stop the match. I’m trying to be optimistic with this booking of Zayn as a total loser, but I’m not sure where things are headed.
Sasha Banks & Bayley defeated Charlotte & Nia Jax
A pre-match promo from the ladies led to Charlotte accepting a Banks title request by noting it will take place next week in Charlotte, North Carolina. All of the talking led to a tag match.
They got about six minutes for the match. Banks won for her team with a Bank Statement submission on Charlotte. That’s typical WWE booking where a champion loses in a tag match to build up the rival for the future title match. WWE does this all the time.
Rich Swann defeated Noam Dar & T.J. Perkins
It was a triple threat match to determine who gets the next Cruiserweight Title shot against Brian Kendrick. There were a lot of kick strikes and dropkicks. Perkins kept going for his knee bar submission, but wasn’t able to lock it in. Swann ended up pinning Perkins with a spin kick. Swann beat Kendrick twice in recent weeks, so it’s no surprise that he won here.
With the win, Swann gets a Cruiserweight Title match against Brian Kendrick on the November 29 debut of 205 Live on WWE Network at 10 p.m. ET. I think Swann will win the title at that show.
The final match was Owens vs. Rollins, which was already covered.
Other Key Items From Raw
1. Goldberg Announces His WWE Future Includes The Royal Rumble
The opening segment of the night saw Goldberg walk to the ring triumphantly. I was stunned by the Goldberg win in 86 seconds over Brock Lesnar because of how strong WWE has booked Lesnar in the last three years. For him to lose that quickly was a major surprise to me. After the show was over, news came out that Goldberg will work more matches for WWE, so now it makes sense. On Sunday night, though, I was in shock like most people inside the Air Canada Centre.
He thanked his family and the fans for believing in him enough to encourage him to bring back the Goldberg character. He teased the idea that he wasn’t going to wrestle again, but then he said he was approached by Stephanie McMahon backstage after his Survivor Series win. She wondered if he had one more title run left in him and that led to him announcing that he’ll be in the 2017 Royal Rumble. If he wins that, then he’ll get a Universal Title shot at WrestleMania. The crowd loved the idea.
I think it’s smart to have him announce his Royal Rumble intentions two months before the event. He can appear a few times on Raw in January to set it up. I assume Brock Lesnar will also be a part of the match, so they could have an altercation in the Rumble that leads to a WrestleMania match. Another option is having Lesnar win the Universal Title, Goldberg wins the Rumble and that leads to WrestleMania. I just think they can have the rematch without involving the title.
There was no sign of Brock Lesnar or his advocate Paul Heyman on Raw. They might be kept off television until it’s time to hype the Royal Rumble in January.
2. Jericho’s Highlight Reel With Kevin Owens Was Fantastic
I say this all the time, but I need to mention again that Chris Jericho and Kevin Owens have been carrying Raw for months now. Their Highlight Reel segment was a perfect example of how smart they are in terms of playing with people’s emotions, tricking them into believing something and then finding a way to continue to be on the same page as “best friends” who are always there for each other.
The feud is inevitable whether it leads to a match at the Royal Rumble or WrestleMania. I think the crowd will be into it and I know both guys will do their best to make it special. After just a tease on Raw, it’s pretty obvious that the crowd will be into it whenever that day comes.
Looking Ahead To Roadblock
The next Raw brand pay-per-view is called “Roadblock: End of the Line.” It takes place on Dec. 18 in Pittsburgh.
No matches have been announced yet, but as I noted earlier, it’s expected that it will be Kevin Owens vs. Roman Reigns — possibly for both of their titles — and also Seth Rollins vs. Chris Jericho. Both of those matches could be announced next week.
There’s a Smackdown brand pay-per-view called TLC on Dec. 4 with AJ Styles defending the WWE Title against Dean Ambrose in a TLC match as the main event.
I thought it was a better than average show this week, which is encouraging after several weeks of below-average shows. The main event was great, Goldberg’s energy helped a lot and the crowd had a lot of fun reacting to everything. I know WWE likes to call Toronto “Bizarro Land” because they cheer heels a lot. But so do a lot of WWE crowds these days, because heels are more interesting characters. After three straight nights of WWE events, the Toronto crowd was full of energy and they helped make Raw a better show.
Next week’s Raw already has two title matches announced. Charlotte defends the Raw Women’s Title against Sasha Banks and The New Day defend the Raw Tag Team Titles against Gallows & Anderson. It’s smart to advertise matches in advance due to stiff competition from the NFL Monday Night Football, even though their ratings are down this year. I like the idea of knowing what’s to come instead of randomly making matches during Raw.