Oct. 12, 2016
WWE Raw Review: Paul Heyman Challenges Goldberg To Fight Brock Lesnar
The top story: In response to Goldberg's remarks in an ESPN interview last week about whether he'd return to the ring for a match against Brock Lesnar, Paul Heyman issued a challenge to Goldberg to fight Lesnar. Goldberg later tweeted that he would be on Raw next week to address the challenge.
Also newsworthy: There will be three Hell in a Cell matches at the Hell in a Cell event: In addition to the previously announced match between U.S. Champion Roman Reigns and Rusev, WWE Women's Champion Sasha Banks will face Charlotte, and WWE Universal Champion will meet Seth Rollins. ... Rollins defeated Jericho in a match in which Jericho would've been added to the Owens-Rollins bout at Hell in Cell if he'd have won. ...
Here's a segment-by-segment look at the show:
Segment One: Sasha Banks - Charlotte - Rusev and Lana Promo (Roman Reigns)
The gist: Banks talked about winning the Raw Women's Title last week in the Raw main event. Banks said Charlotte has a rematch with her at Hell in a Cell, and she wants her title defense to be a Hell in a Cell Match. Charlotte came out and began to make her way to the ring, but then Rusev and Lana came out and passed her in the aisle. Rusev said no one cares about the women or them main-eventing Raw. He said he is always the main event. Charlotte snatched the mic from him and said no one disrespects the queen. Charlotte said if Banks wants to face her inside Hell in a Cell, she's on. Rusev began talking again, and Banks knocked the mic out of his hand. Lana picked it up and said Banks and Charlotte need to know their place. She said Hell in a Cell is made for real men like Rusev. Banks and Charlotte shoved Lana down and then double-dropkicked Rusev out of the ring. An angry Rusev got back in the ring. Reigns came out, and Rusev and Lana powdered.
Analysis: It was announced later than Reigns and Banks would face Rusev and Charlotte in a mixed tag match tonight. I liked getting two story lines over in one talking segment. It was a nice deviation from the usual formula when Rusev and Lana interrupted Banks and Charlotte. It would've been nice to hear a little something from Reigns, though. It's become a running joke how the powers that be won't let him speak in front of the crowd. I'm glad Vince McMahon is allowing the women's match to take place inside Hell in a Cell (I wrote a couple weeks ago that the match should happen), but the psychology of how it came about was a little off. I can see Banks, being that she's a babyface, wanting to make history by being in the first women's Hell in a Cell match, and it makes sense that she'd want that type of match to guarantee that Dana Brooke can't interfere on Charlotte's behalf. What I didn't like was Charlotte's reaction. As a heel, she shouldn't want the match to be in a cell. She should've demanded that she get a straight-up rematch.
Segments Two and Three: New Day Promo // Kofi Kingston (w/Big E and Xavier Woods) vs. Cesaro (w/Sheamus)
The gist: New Day said good things about Cesaro and bad things about Sheamus.
During the match: Sheamus sat on the ring steps while talking on his phone. Later, Sheaaus began fighting on the floor with Big E and Woods.
Result: Kingston over via pinfall (off the distraction from the action outside the ring)
Aftermath: Cesaro and Sheamus argued.
Analysis: Cue the odd couple music. I'm guessing the dapper, cultured Cesaro is Felix and the less-refined Sheamus is Oscar. I'd much rather see Cesaro in the WWE Universal or U.S. Title picture than bickering with Sheamus.
Segment Four: Clip: Goldberg on ESPN // Bayley vs. Local Enhancement Talent Cami Fields (Dana Brooke)
The gist: Goldberg hinted at returning to WWE for a match with Brock Lesnar.
Result: Bayley over via pinfall
Aftermath: Brooke attacked Bayley on the stage.
Analysis: A program with the bully Brooke is perfect for Bayely as she climbs back up the ladder.
Segment Five: Backstage Vignette w/Chris Jericho and R-Truth // Sin Cara and Lince Dorado vs. Tony Nese and Drew Gulak // Backstage Vignette w/Mick Foley and Stephanie McMahon
The gist: Jericho was on his phone reciting his list of accomplishments and demanding that he get a pay day. R-Truth overheard and offered Jericho a Payday candy bar. Jericho said that's not the kind of pay day he meant, you stupid idiot. Truth walked away. Jericho said he didn't say that he didn't want the candy bar.
Result: Sin Cara and Dorado over via pinfall (Dorado pinned Gulak)
The gist: Stephanie asked Foley if she could join him in the ring when he makes his announcement regarding whether the Sasha Banks vs. Charlotte match will take place inside Hell in a Cell. Foley was cool with that.
Analysis: As far as product placement spots go, this was definitely one of the better ones thanks to Jericho. Everything Jericho has been doing as of late is gold. ... I had no interest in the cruiserweight tag match. It just felt like four random guys thrown together to do high spots. Gulak, by the way, needs to do something to improve his look and presentation. He's blander than a lot of the local enhancement talents WWE has been using as of late.
Segment Six: Mick Foley and Stephanie McMahon - Kevin Owens and Chris Jericho Promo // Seth Rollins Backstage Interview
The gist: Foley said the Raw Women's Title Match will be contested inside Hell in a Cell. He added that WWE Universal Champion Owens vs. Rollins will also be a Hell in a Cell match. Owens and Jericho came out. Owens said he doesn't want the match to be a Hell in a Cell because it will shorten his career and he doesn't want to end up as a washed-up GM like Foley. Jericho said Foley has a vendetta against him and is taking it out on Owens. Jericho asked Stephanie to take care of Foley. Stephanie told Jericho to show Foley respect. She said Rollins wants to get his hands on Jericho, so she proposed a Triple Threat Match at Hell in a Cell between Owens, Rollins and Jericho if Jericho can defeat Rollins tonight. Owens looked surprised. ... Backstage, Rollins said that he will crush whatever plans Stephanie has when he beats Jericho tonight and goes on to defeat Owens at Hell in a Cell. He said Owens must be thinking about whether Jericho is truly his best friend or just another guy who wants his title.
Analysis: Another segment that was entertaining largely because of Jericho. Going back to what I said earlier about the psychology for the women's Hell in a Cell match, I don't think Foley should have made the match seem like something the women had earned for a job well done. That's OK to do for them being in the Raw main event, but he should have said that he knows more than anyone how brutal a Hell in a Cell match can be, but he believes in equal rights, and if men have a rivalry so fierce that it can only be settled inside Hell in a Cell, then the same thinking should apply to the women. That would put over the women as equal to the men and also convey the dangerous nature of the match, which wasn't brought out at all.
Segment Seven: Clip From Raw Pre-Show: Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel // Enzo Amore and Big Cass vs. Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel (Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson)
The gist: Axel told Dallas that he has always believed in him. Axel said he got them a tag match tonight. Dallas did a rhyme and said their opponents will fall. ... As Amore and Cass did their shtick, they were ambushed in the ring by Gallows and Anderson, who laid them both out.
Result: No match
Analysis: The rehabilitation of Gallows and Anderson continues. A program between them and Amore and Cass could be good.
Segment Eight: Curtis Axel (w/Bo Dallas) Promo // Sami Zayn and Neville vs. Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel // Backstage Vignette w/Charlotte and Lana
The gist: Axel said he and Dallas want a match and he wants to prove that he still believes in Dallas. He demanded that Mick Foley send out some opponents. Out came Zayn and Neville.
Result: Zayn and Neville over via pinfall (Neville pinned Axel)
Aftermath: Dallas took his sign and left, leaving Axel behind.
The gist: Charlotte was stretching when Lana came up to her. They traded insults. Lana warned Charlotte to stay out of Rusev's way in their match tonight or there will be consequences.
Analysis: This was a short match that showcased Zayn and Neville and made it clear than Dallas wants to be on his own. Zayn and Neville should be a tag team going forward. It's not like either of them has a singles program right now.
Segment Nine: Clip From Facebook: The Shining Stars, Golden Truth and Titus O'Neil // R-Truth (w/Goldust) vs. Titus O'Neil // Backstage Vignette w/Brian Kendrick and TJ Perkins
The gist: The Shining Stars were still trying to sell a timeshare to Truth. O'Neil walked up and was mad that Truth stole his candy bar deal (the spot Truth did with Chris Jericho earlier). O'Neil said they have a match together tonight.
Result: R-Truth over via pinfall (off a distraction from Goldust)
The gist: Kendrick was sitting down alone in the locker room when Perkins came in and sat next to him. Perkins said that he knows Kendrick isn't a bad guy, he's just afraid that if he fails his career in WWE will be over. Kendrick pointed out that he defeated Perkins last week. Perkins noted that Kendrick used a cheap shot to win but added that Kendrick doesn't need to resort to those tactics. They reminisced about the past when they were friends. Perkins said it's not too late for him to be "the Brian Kendrick." Perkins offered his hand. Kendrick shook it, but then attempted a cheap shot. Perkins blocked it and punched Kendrick. Perkins said he guesses he was wrong about Kendrick.
Analysis: At least the Truth-O'Neil match was short. ... The interaction between Kendrick and Perkins was good, although Perkins' delivery needs some work.
Segment Ten: Local Enhancement Talents Steven and Clay Splash Promo // Steven and Clay Splash vs. Braun Strowman // Backstage Vignette w/Roman Reigns and Sasha Banks
The gist: The locals talked about making a splash and said they're diving into the deep end and taking Strowman with them.
Result: Strowman over via pinfall
Aftermath: Strowman said he warned Mick Foley to get him real competition. He said if he doesn't get real competition next week, what happens will be on Foley's hands.
The gist: Banks told Reigns to handle Rusev tonight and she will handle Charlotte.
Analysis: Strowman continues to play the monster heel role very well. He's looking smoother in the ring, as well. He even did a dropkick this week. ... Reigns and Banks did nothing but speak in cliches.
Segments Eleven and Twelve: Roman Reigns and Sasha Banks vs. Rusev (w/Lana) and Charlotte // Chris Jericho and Kevin Owens Backstage Interview
Result: Reigns and Banks over via submission (Banks forced Charlotte to tap out)
The gist: Owens said that even if it is a Triple Threat Match at Hell in a Cell, he will walk out as champion. Jericho said that as long as one of them is champion, they're both champion because they're best friends. When Owens was asked about leaving Jericho behind to get Pedigreed by Seth Rollins last week, Owens said that sometimes a friend has to take a bullet for the good of the team.
Analysis: The match was fine. I liked that Banks beat Charlotte to keep her momentum going rather than doing the predictable thing of having one of the champions get beat. ... More good stuff from Jericho and Owens. Raw really has become The Kevin Owens (and Chris Jericho) Show.
Segment Thirteen: Paul Heyman Promo // Emmalina Vignette
The gist: Heyman said that everyone has been asking for 12 years what would happen if Goldberg came back for a match. He said Goldberg's career was running parallel to Lesnar's at one point. He said Goldberg is one up on Lesnar, and he has been authorized to issue a challenge to Goldberg on Lesnar's behalf.
Analysis: Heyman did a nice job of making Goldberg vs. Lesnar feel like an epic encounter.
Segment Fourteen: Ariya Daivari Inset Promo // Cruiserweight Champion TJ Perkins vs. Ariya Daivari > Non-Title Match (Brian Kendrick on Commentary) // Backstage Vignette w/Chris Jericho and Stephanie McMahon
The gist: Daivari did not speak English.
Result: Perkins over via submission
The gist: Stephanie told Jericho she's rooting for him to win tonight because she knows the Triple Threat at Hell in a Cell will blow away the Triple Threat at No Mercy. She told Jericho that if he and Owens are really good friends, he'll know what to do at Hell in a Cell. After Stephanie left, Owens walked in. He asked what that was all about. Jericho said, "Friendship."
Analysis: A decent match. Kendrick was entertaining on commentary. ... Stephanie made it clear that her motive for wanting the Triple Threat was to stack the deck against Seth Rollins. I suppose Mick Foley was in the bathroom or something while this was going on.
Segments Fifteen and Sixteen: Twitter Graphic: Goldberg // Seth Rollins vs. Chris Jericho (Kevin Owens)
The gist: Goldberg said via Twitter that he will be at Raw next week to answer Paul Heyman's challenge.
During the match: Owens came down to ringside. Later, Rollins took out Owens with a suicide dive.
Result: Rollins over via pinfall
Aftermath: Owens attacked Rollins, but Rollins turned it around. Jericho saved Owens from a Pedigree. Rollins ended up giving Jericho a Pedigree as Owens headed up the ramp.
Analysis: This was a good match with a result that surprised me. I thought for sure Jericho would heel a victory to set up the Triple Threat. I think (and hope) the Triple Threat match will still take place. Seeing what will happen when best friends Owens and Jericho are in the cell together is much more compelling than a singles match between Owens and Rollins.
Final thoughts: This wasn't a bad show overall. There were some segments that I'm sure DVR viewers fast-forwarded through, but that's what happens when you have a three-hour-and-10-minute show and a bunch of stars are now exclusive to SmackDown.
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