Monday Night Raw Review (10/17/2016)

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The man, the myth, the legend, the immortal Ryan Smith is back yet again with another Monday Night Raw review, this time from Denver, Colorado. It was a big episode, as the WWE Universe waited patiently for the return of Ryback Goldberg, after being gone for more than a decade. Did WCW‘s biggest draw arrive? Is Brock Lesnar next? Find out!

Monday Night Raw Review (10/17/2016)

Kevin Owens, Chris Jericho, and Seth Rollins

The show opened with WWE‘s Universal Champion, Kevin Owens, and his best friend, Chris Jericho making their way to the ring. The future Hall of Famers worked the crowd brilliantly as Owens explained that Mick Foley has a vendetta against him. Owens complained that he didn’t believe he deserved to be in the cell, and then Jericho said he should be in the cell with Owens and Seth Rollins at Hell in a Cell.

He listed all of the legends that he’s beaten, and then he put the referee from the previous week on the list, much to the pleasure of the crowd. Owens claimed he was going to retire Rollins at Hell in a Cell, and the architect himself came out. This was interesting, because for the first time in his young career, he was greeted with a “Rollins” chant.

Rollins and Jericho had some good banter, but the segment began to drag on. Eventually it led to Rollins driving a wedge between the Canadians. Rollins asked Jericho if Kevin Owens was really his friend, why did he let Y2J take pedigrees in back to back weeks?

This fired Jericho up, and Rollins challenged him to a match. Jericho insisted that Owens go backstage so he could face Seth Rollins one on one.

Segment/Match Quality- 8/10 Woo’s

Seth Rollins vs. Chris Jericho

This week, the action inside the ring started rather early as the match began 19 minutes into the show. Clearly enraged about being called “Sparklecrotch” by Rollins, Jericho came out hot. However, it wasn’t long before Rollins turned the tides and began throwing Jericho around the ring.

Miraculously, the WWE haven’t forgotten that Rollins is supposed to be selling a back injury, and they worked it the whole match. As is always going to be the case with performers of their caliber, the two put on a neat, technically sound bout.

The only problem with Chris Jericho being a glorified jobber in the modern WWE is that iconic finishers have lost their shine. Moves like the Lionsault and the Walls of Jericho have beaten icons of the industry, but now, everyone kicks out of them.

Jericho was on the top rope, likely preparing to hit the frog splash, when Kevin Owens’ music hit. Rollins was briefly distracted, but he was able to hit a crossbody off the top rope onto Jericho. Rollins took too long to hit the pedigree, and was wrapped back into the Walls. Rollins crawled to the ropes, but Owens pulled the rope away. The ref eventually saw it, but not before Rollins and his injured back were stretched out. Eventually Rollins reversed a Codebreaker into a pedigree, earning the win.

It was a good, but not great match, as we’ve seen these two wrestle too much lately. The bout felt a little stale, and for the third straight week, Owens walked away from a celebrating Rollins.

Segment/Match Quality- 7/10 Woo’s

Lita & Charlotte

WWE Hall of Famer, Lita and Charlotte met “earlier today” in a backstage interview. Lita listed the legends that have had iconic Hell in a Cell matches, and then asked Charlotte how she felt about being listed with those icons. Charlotte said that not only was she the greatest woman superstar ever, but the greatest superstar of all time. Charlotte boasted her undefeated pay per view record, and said she was superior to Sasha Banks because she never gets hurt.

It was a very strong heel promo from Charlotte. She is exceptional at incorporating her catchphrases into her promos naturally. That’s something that many superstars can’t do. She managed to effectively put herself over without burying Banks.

Segment/Match Quality- 7/10 Woo’s

The Golden Truth & Mark Henry vs. The Shining Stars & Titus O’Neil

Honestly, I thought Mark Henry retired. In an early favorite for “Worst Segment of the Night”, this match took place because The Shining Stars tried to sell Mark Henry some fake Rolexes. Somewhere, Booker T, Edge, and a Japanese shampoo company are cringing.

Fun Fact– The Henry & Shining Stars team is a combined 136 yards old.

Mark Henry got the hot tag and the quick win, and the losing streak by Titus O’Neil continued. Watch enthusiasts everywhere sighed a deep breath of relief, and so did the WWE Universe, because the match was finally over.

Segment/Match Quality- 1/10 Woo’s

Sheamus w/ Cesaro vs. Big E w/ Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods

For the first time, Cesaro and Sheamus came out as a tag team! This time it was Cesaro that was on Facebook live as the two made their way to the ring. The two were bickering in the ring when the [second] most popular tag team in the world, The New Day made their way to the ring.

As always, the New Day were brilliant on the microphone, trashing Sheamus and saying the presidential candidates would be better partners than Cesaro and Sheamus. The New Day definitely had some fun with the Denver crowd, making a few “high” brow jokes.

It’s actually quite remarkable that the New Day have remained as brilliantly entertaining as they have for as long as they have. Consider that the nWo were only hot for about a year and a half, and the New Day have already surpassed that.

The bout was actually pretty good. Big E and Sheamus have good chemistry in the ring as two big, physical guys. Outside the ring, Cesaro was having a lot of fun on Facebook Live and the New Day were… being the New Day.

Towards the end of the match, Sheamus stole Cesaro’s phone and announced the “best brogue kick ever” was coming, right before getting rolled up by Big E for the win.

Segment/Match Quality- 8/10 Woo’s

Bo Dallas w/ Curtis Axel vs. Neville

It’s good to see all of these men involved in a feud. While Bo Dallas has been booked as well as his gimmick has allowed, he is a talented worker, and anything that gets Neville on TV is a win, even if it is a NXT repeat. It would be nice to see some tag action between Neville, Sami Zayn, Dallas, and Curtis Axel. Monday Night Raw is sorely lacking tag teams, and they can help get underutilized talent involved in the three hour show.

The two put on a solid bout which ended anticlimactically when Bo Dallas got a clean win. It’s a little upsetting to see Neville get treated like this, even if it is meant to continue a feud.

As if he was reading this article, Bo Dallas decided he didn’t need Axel anymore, turning on him in the ring. Dallas continued to beat on the son of Mr. Perfect before grabbing his sign and making his way to the back.

Segment/Match Quality- 7/10 Woo’s

Bayley vs. Dana Brooke

A week after being attacked in her own hometown, Bayley was out for revenge against Dana Brooke. It looks like Brooke and Charlotte have gone their separate ways, and that might’ve happened too soon. She’s still kinda green, and the whole match was a bit sloppy.

At one point, Dana Brooke wanted to roll out of the ring, but instead of sliding under the ropes next to her, she actually rolled across the entire ring. This was done so Bayley could go for a kick under the bottom rope, which she clearly missed. Then Dana Brooke got an awkward pin and the match was over.

Segment/Match Quality- 2/10 Woo’s

Satellite Interview w/ Paul Heyman

Fortunately, they followed that nonsense with a satellite interview with Paul Heyman. For a second straight week, Heyman insulted the crowd, saying Bill Goldberg wouldn’t fly to somewhere like Denver to say no. Weirdly, Heyman claimed that his challenge was rhetorical, and that Brock Lesnar doesn’t even think about Goldberg. He immediately followed this up by saying that it pisses Brock off that Goldberg beat him at WrestleMania. It was an uncharacteristically inconsistent promo from the greatest manager of all time.

Segment/Match Quality- 5/10 Woo’s

Braun Strowman vs. The Mile High Trio.

The Braun Strowman segment started immediately after a Susan G. Komen bit, and it felt inappropriate. The music was soft, there was pink everywhere, and then suddenly “BRAUUUUN” roared over the speakers.

In a three-on-one handicap match, Strowman destroyed three jobbers, at one point literally throwing one over the top rope at his teammates. On a night where Bill Goldberg made his return, Braun Strowman easily got the win before asking “Who’s Next“.

That question was quickly answered when poor Sami Zayn showed up on the stage. Zayn is the ultimate underdog, but next to him, Braun Strowman looked like the Bear from the Revenant. The two stood face to face in the ring before Strowman shoved Zayn out of the ring and made his way up the ramp.

Segment/Match Quality- 6/10 Woo’s

Rusev w/ Lana

Rusev and Lana came out and as always, were extremely complimentary of the American people. Lana said that Rusev was a real family man, unlike Reigns or anyone in the crowd. Then Rusev went on a bit of a racist rant, claiming that Roman Reigns and his family were dumb and cracked coconuts on their heads.

Then a slideshow started where Rusev’s family showed up on the screen and he explained how each member was better than any American. In a weird moment, I actually found myself looking forward to Roman Reigns coming out and ending this segment. There’s a doctor’s appointment for possible head trauma in the morning.

The Samoan Superman didn’t make us wait long before he came out. He said he did have a big family, but the “Roman Empire” was also his family. The two had an awkward back and forth before Rusev superkicked Reigns and began attacking him with the stairs. The segment ended with Rusev applying The Accolade on the stairs, because doing a submission on a hard object instead of the mat makes it worse for some reason.

Segment/Match Quality- 4/10 Woo’s

Karl Anderson w/ Luke Gallows vs. Big Cass w/ Enzo Amore

Frankly, this match should’ve been between Luke Gallows and Big Cass. How many seven foot tall (and you can’t teach that) guys are there in the WWE? Why have the 6’0 guy fight Cass instead?

Big Cass threw Karl Anderson around the ring, and in the most upsetting moment of all time, not only did Cass easily beat Anderson, but Enzo Amore knocked Luke Gallows down. Gallows is 6’7. Enzo is 5’11. That was terrible.

Segment/Match Quality- 3/10 Woo’s

Lita & Sasha Banks

We had the second Lita interview from “earlier today” with Sasha Banks. Sasha played the role of the humble babyface, saying she’s so honored to be in the Hell in a Cell match. Lita asked about her back injuries, and Banks said she was 100% and good to go. Lita asked Banks if she was scared, and Sasha said she wasn’t afraid, but that she was excited to make history.

Segment/Match Quality- 6/10 Woo’s

T.J. Perkins, Cedric Alexander, and Rich Swann vs. Brian Kendrick, Tony Nese, and Drew Gulak

In a match that saw the good guy CruiserWeights face off against the bad guy CruiserWeights in the main event, we knew we’d see enough flips to make Rodney Mullen smile. The WWE CruiserWeight Champion, T.J. Perkins teamed up with Cedric Alexander and Rich Swann to take on the evil team of Brian Kendrick, Drew Gulak, and Tony Nese.

Yet again, terrible fans were completely dead during the match, even starting a CM Punk chant. It’s a shame that these talented wrestlers are having these fast-paced, fun matches in front of brutal crowds. While it’s true that the division could use more than one feud if they’re going to feature more than two wrestlers, the wrestling itself is fantastic.

It just doesn’t bode well for the division. For years, WWE has excused the negative reaction that John Cena gets on his way to the ring because “at least he’s getting a reaction” out there. If the WWE Universe is going to keep selling like the CruiserWeights do, the whole division might get scrapped.

Kendrick eventually made Rich Swann tap out with Captain’s Hook while his cronies prevented T.J. Perkins from coming in for the save. It was a pretty decent bout, but the crowd definitely took something away from it.

Segment/Match Quality- 7/10 Woo’s

Goldberg

The man that once helped WCW beat WWE in the ratings made his way to the ring as the crowd chanted his name. As he walked through the crowd, the entire WWE locker room applauded him. The sparklers went off and it was 2001 again. The 49 year old Goldberg had a Shane McMahon moment, drinking in the Denver crowd.

The greatest squash wrestler in history retold the story of how 2k reached out to him, and how much he missed wrestling. He talked about how much he missed being a hero for the kids. He talked about the drama he stirred up in the WWE, and how he thought that he might just let it be.

Then he talked about how Lesnar challenged him to a fight, and how he didn’t even do it like a man because he had Heyman do it. He cut a decent promo, and announced that Lesnar wasn’t only “next”, but he was last.

Segment/Match Quality- 8/10 Woo’s

Best Segment/Match of the Night- Sheamus w/ Cesaro vs. Big E w/ Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods

How is it that this match was so good following something (See: The next paragraph) so terrible? This match got both tag teams over, while advancing a title feud, while putting on a good match! Props to the New Day, Cesaro, Sheamus, Cesaro’s phone, and the list of Jericho, just because.

Worst Segment/Match of the Night- The Golden Truth & Mark Henry vs. The Shining Stars & Titus O’Neil

Maybe it’s a person bias because the Golden Truth and Shining Stars are the human equivalent of Vickie Guerrero saying “Excuse Me“, but this segment was terrible. The concept for the match was awful, the match itself wasn’t good, and James Ellsworth vs. Gillberg would’ve been a better match.

Show Quality- 6/10 Woo’s

What a hot and cold show. Some segments were golden, and some segments were golden truth. The feud between Seth Rollins, Kevin Owens, and Chris Jericho is developing nicely, and for once, the show wasn’t entirely about the authority figures. However, there were a couple of segments that just felt bad. The six man AARP tag match was awful, and the Bayley/Dana Brooke match wasn’t great either. The whole show was spent hyping up Goldberg’s arrival and frankly, it just couldn’t deliver. It was cool to see him overwhelmed by the crowd, but the whole segment took too long. Next week is the go-home show for Hell in a Cell. Let’s see if they can up the ante.

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