The main event of this week’s Raw saw the five guys on Team Raw at Survivor Series face off in a Fatal 5-Way match that was set up by Raw’s Commissioner Stephanie McMahon. It ended with Kevin Owens falling on top of his “best friend” Chris Jericho for a fluke pin.
Raw took place in Glasgow, Scotland this week, so it was taped about five hours before it aired on Monday night due to the time difference. It was the first time Raw has taken place in Scotland.
It all started with Stephanie in the ring giving a pep talk to her Team Raw guys that are a part of Survivor Series. They are Universal Champion Kevin Owens, US Champion Roman Reigns, Chris Jericho, Seth Rollins and Braun Strowman. Some of them get along and others don’t. It led to some trash talk, then a little fight and Stephanie made the match.
There were several backstage segments during the show where Owens and Jericho went up to Strowman to try to suck up to him, but he said he only cares about himself. Seth Rollins did an interview that Strowman interrupted, with Rollins surmising that nobody really likes him on his team. There was no backstage segment with Reigns, probably because he’s a face that gets booed.
The main event Fatal 5-Way match was given about 15 minutes and it was not for a title. The early part of the match featured Braun Strowman dominating for much of it to show that he’s a force to be reckoned with. The other four guys worked together to take Strowman out of the match. He was nearly Powerbombed through a table by Reigns and Rollins, but that was interrupted by Jericho. A little later in the match, Jericho took a Powerbomb from Rollins that put Strowman through the table as well.
For the finish, they built it up well with an entertaining finish. Jericho battled with Rollins with Rollins hitting a Pedigree on him. Owens kicked Rollins out of the ring. Reigns hit a leaping Superman Punch to knock down Owens, who fell on top of Jericho. It was a fluke win for Owens. I thought it was pretty silly that Reigns delivered the punch that he does in every match and rolled out of the ring after, so he couldn’t break up the pin. I get what they were going for, but it looked bad.
I figured Owens was going to get pinned, but he actually won. There should be a follow-up next week about how Owens beat Jericho. I think their split will be started at Survivor Series, then furthered in the weeks that follow and they’ll probably have a Royal Rumble match for the Universal Title with Jericho in a face role. That would make sense at least.
The question after watching this match: Does this make you care more or less about Survivor Series? My answer is it makes me care less. It accomplishes nothing because it was just a meaningless match between guys that are on the same team against Smackdown. There’s no prize for the winner or anything significant that they get for winning this match. It was just a match.
You need to make us care more, WWE. I doubt any fan watching this is going to say “I’m rooting for Team Raw now.” It’s not like fans think of Raw vs. Smackdown as a big deal since it’s been less than four months since they split up. It just feels like another match.
The biggest problem with WWE Creative these days is that they don’t know how to build up a big match anymore. The main course for Survivor Series is Lesnar vs. Goldberg. Everything else feels like an afterthought.
This Week’s Raw Matches
Here’s a look at the matches from this week’s Raw. I should point out that in the first 80 minutes of this show, there was one match that went seven minutes. In the third hour, the in-ring action was better.
Rich Swann & Sin Cara defeated Brian Kendrick & Noam Dar
It was a clean win for the babyface cruiserweights with Swann pinning Kendrick, just like he did a few weeks ago.
Dar was cheered a lot for his Raw debut because he’s from Scotland. After the match, Kendrick blamed the loss on him. Dar nailed him with some kicks to knock Kendrick out of ring and make the crowd happy.
Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson defeated Big E & Kofi Kingston
This was set up by a long promo segment before the match, which I’ll write about later. Since champions lose non-title matches too often, of course this ended with New Day getting pinned. Clean win for Gallows & Anderson with their finisher. It was on the short side at about seven minutes.
Shining Stars defeated Golden Truth
A boring five-minute match won by the heels. If I wasn’t reviewing the show, I would have changed the channel. The win means that the Shining Stars are on Team Raw in the tag team match at Survivor Series. It’s not like it matters that much, since the Shining Stars will not be a major factor in that match.
Bayley, Sasha Banks & Alicia Fox defeated Charlotte, Nia Jax & Dana Brooke
The crowd was really enthusiastic for this match. They sang the song “Hey Bayley, I wanna know if you’ll be my girl.” It’s a parody of a famous song that was popular especially in the United Kingdom. It led to the crowd hijacking the segment with chants of the song throughout the segment.
They ended up having a typical tag match with the three faces against the three heels. Five of the women are on the Survivor Series team, while Brooke is an alternate. Bayley was kept out of the ring for much of the match, she got the hot tag, everything broke down from there and Bayley pinned Charlotte with the Bayley to Belly suplex. It was an average match.
I would have had Brooke take the pin instead of Charlotte, but this is WWE. They love champions getting pinned without the title on the line. I know I complain about it all the time. Blame them for being repetitive, not me!
Sami Zayn defeated Rusev
The winner of this match gets to face Smackdown‘s Dolph Ziggler for the Intercontinental Title at Survivor Series. I like seeing matches with stipulations that reward the winner.
It was a weird match with Rusev in control for much and then he went to the top rope even though he never goes there. Rusev going to the top is rare, so of course it didn’t work. It was just a way for Zayn to hit his Helluva Kick (running kick to the face) for the win. I like Zayn winning because he’s become a forgotten man on the Raw brand, but I think the finish could have been set up better.
Zayn vs. Ziggler for the IC Title should be awesome. We Canadians love Zayn, so the Toronto crowd should be hot for that match because Ziggler is well-liked too.
The last match was the main event, which I already covered.
Other Key Items From Raw
1. Brock Lesnar and Goldberg Talk Survivor Series
Lesnar and Goldberg weren’t physically on Raw, but were there in video packages.
Goldberg talked about how Lesnar made a mistake by taking shots against his family. Goldberg ended his promo with a good line about how fans have been waiting for somebody to kick Lesnar’s ass and he’s the guy to do it.
Lesnar was great in talking about how Goldberg shouldn’t let his wife and son watch him in the match because Lesnar is going to hurt him. Lesnar explained that when he lost to Goldberg at Wrestlemania 20 (in 2004) he didn’t give “two s**ts” about wrestling at the time. Now he’s more ready for him. Lesnar said he’s the only ass-kicker in WWE.
— WWE (@WWE) November 8, 2016
Next week on Raw, Lesnar and Goldberg will be in the ring for a face-to-face segment. That should be interesting, to see if there’s a brawl or just a staredown. If it’s me, I’d book a brawling segment with other wrestlers emptying the locker room to try to break it up. End Raw with a Lesnar/Goldberg brawl because that would really get people talking.
2. Extremely Long Promo Segments Do More Harm Than Good
There was a 15-minute promo segment to start the show. There was a 20-minute talking segment between the tag teams at the top of hour two. Hour three saw Raw’s womens wrestlers in a 15-minute talking segment. We get it, WWE. You want to put over your three Survivor Series matches, but it felt repetitive.
Every segment featured the heels acting all superior to the faces, the faces then make jokes in retaliation and they all say they are going to fight for Team Raw. Yet fans are given no reason to care about any of these matches.
The tag team segment was excruciatingly long. I liked what The New Day tried to do with the Braveheart parody. The crowd was even into some of it. I just thought it was too much with all the other teams talking as well. By the end of it, I felt like turning the show off because you had 11 guys in the ring taking turns delivering their promos and they were lacking in chemistry, aside from the New Day guys.
When I watch Smackdown Live every week, I enjoy it more because the promos are consistently better. Both shows are scripted in terms of the dialogue, but you can tell that Smackdown’s writers have more edge to them with more personal-sounding promos. On Raw, it just feels like cheesy wrestling promos that get repetitive week after week.
If you added up the three promos, that’s nearly an hour of television. Add in several backstage segments and you forget that there’s even a ring at the show. Raw has been below-average nearly every month since SummerSlam. Please make some changes, WWE. The format isn’t working.
3. Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan on Raw next week
— WWE (@WWE) November 8, 2016
It was announced that Smackdown Commissioner Shane McMahon and General Manager Daniel Bryan will be on Raw next week. My hope is that it’s going to lead to something that makes the Raw vs. Smackdown matches mean more.
I’m not sure what they can do,other than trading talent or having the winning side pick somebody off the other team’s roster. The problem with that is it would make sense for Smackdown to take Rollins or Raw to take Styles, but I don’t see either of those things happening.
It’s up to WWE to make us care about these elimination matches more. I hope the presence of Shane and Daniel is designed to set up some big angle for Survivor Series.
Looking Ahead To Survivor Series
Here are the matches advertised for Survivor Series on Nov. 20 in Toronto. I’ll be at the show, as well as NXT Takeover Toronto the night before.
Brock Lesnar vs. Goldberg – I think Lesnar should win. I’d be surprised if he lost this match. I know WWE wants the crowd to support Goldberg, but I think he’ll be booed because Lesnar’s “Suplex City” thing is very popular.
Team Raw (Owens, Strowman, Rollins, Jericho, Reigns) vs. Team SmackDown LIVE (Styles, Ambrose, Wyatt, Orton, Corbin) in a 5-on-5 Traditional Survivor Series Men’s Elimination Match – My prediction at this point is that Reigns and Rollins will be the survivors with Raw getting the win.
Team Raw (Charlotte, Banks, Bayley, Jax & Fox) vs. Team SmackDown LIVE (Nikki, Lynch, Bliss, Carmella & Naomi) in a 5-on-5 Traditional Survivor Series Women’s Elimination Match – I think Raw’s team will win with Bayley surviving possibly with Charlotte or maybe just Bayley.
Team Raw (New Day, Enzo/Cass, Gallows/Anderson, Shining Stars & Sheamus/Cesaro) vs. Team SmackDown LIVE (Slater/Rhyno, American Alpha, Hype Bros, The Usos and one more team) in a 10-on-10 Traditional Survivor Series Tag Team Elimination Match – This would be a good time to elevate American Alpha as a tag team on the rise. I’d have them last as the survivors in the match.
Intercontinental Championship: Dolph Ziggler vs. Sami Zayn – I’m a huge fan of both guys and would love to see Zayn win the title. I just don’t think WWE will move the IC Title from Smackdown unless Zayn is moved over there as well. Keep it on Ziggler for now.
There will probably be some more matches on the show because a lot of wrestlers are currently not involved. The elimination matches could go 35-40 minutes each, so perhaps this will be it because there is enough to fill four hours.
It was another boring edition of Raw as WWE tried to push the importance of Team Raw at Survivor Series, yet doing a poor job of making us care. To their credit, they did a good job of setting up the teams and reminding us who are on which teams. I just don’t think the fans are going to care who the captains are, nor will they be mad if Raw if loses their matches. Fans aren’t loyal to one brand. That’s why next week’s show is important for WWE. They need to make us care more. If they don’t, then that’s their own fault.
Next week on Raw, Smackdown Commissioner Shane McMahon and General Manager Daniel Bryan will be on the show. Also, Brock Lesnar and Bill Goldberg will be there in a “Face-to-Face” segment to build to their Survivor Series match. It’s the last Raw before Survivor Series, so hopefully it’s an interesting show.