October 3, 2016
From the Staples Center in Los Angeles, CA
Your hosts are Corey Graves, Byron Saxton, and JBL
Roman Reigns comes out to a chorus of boos. He talks about being “the guy” and how he represents his family on a daily basis but Lana interrupts as we get a “thank you Lana” chant. Reigns makes a joke about Lana being the only woman to give Rusev attention as Lana claimed to not know where he is as Lana “negotiates” a rematch. Lana then talks about Reigns having zero respect for family because he ruined her wedding celebration. He then calls him a “stupid boy” and to wipe his smile off of his face as Lana says Rusev will crush him in front of his country and his family. Reigns tells Lana to go backstage and give Rusev his “Bulgarian Balls” so he can come out and say this to his face. Rusev comes out as Reigns meets him in the aisle where they brawl. They are now inside the ring where Rusev bails after getting punched down. Reigns tries for a Superman Punch off of the steps but Rusev kicks him in the throat then tosses him into the steps. Rusev knocks Reigns over the barricade before grabbing the United States Championship. Rusev heads up the ramp but Reigns comes in from behind and hits a Superman Punch. Reigns now has his belt and the mic and says if they want him to go to hell, he will take them both there as his rematch will be inside Hell in a Cell.
Solid opening segment. Reigns looked comfortable on the mic and his brawl with Rusev was quite good. I also liked how Reigns ended the segment as well. Lana had a bit of an off night and her accent was inconsistent. Either way, they did a good job building up to their Hell in a Cell match.
We get a video package to hype up the TJ Perkins/Brian Kendrick match tonight. We get clips of TJ talking about being homeless at one point while Kendrick promises to end his dream of being the Cruiserweight Champion.
TJ Perkins vs. Brian Kendrick
The announcers talk about how Kendrick would pick up Perkins at his house when Perkins was still in high school to drive to shows. Perkins accepts a handshake as Kendrick acts cocky then Perkins takes him outside with a dropkick before teasing a dive. Perkins gets two with a crossbody then frustrates Kendrick with his athleticism before taking him out with a corkscrew plancha. Back inside, Kendrick catches a charging Perkins with a boot to the face as Kendrick takes control. He sends Perkins to the floor as we head to break and the action returns with Kendrick sidestepping a charge in the corner. They fight up top where Perkins takes him off with a hurricarana as both men are down. Perkins snaps off another rana after a spinkick then gets a nearfall with a gutbuster. He applies the knee bar but Kendrick is able to reach the ropes. Kendrick takes Perkins into the corner then gets two with the Sliced Bread #2. Kendrick locks in the Captain’s Hook but Perkins is able to turn it into a rollup as that gets two. Perkins sends Kendrick into the middle rope with a drop toe hold then connects with a dropkick. Kendrick rakes Perkins across the face and once again applies the Captain’s Hook as Perkins ends up tapping out (8:58) ***.
Thoughts: Good match. Kendrick’s non-title win sets him up for a rematch at the PPV and the fact he won after using an illegal move doesn’t hurt Perkins standing too much.
Pre-recorded interview with Micheal Cole as he interviews Seth Rollins, who tells us he is defying doctor’s orders by appearing on RAW. Rollins then talks about deserving a rematch against Kevin Owens for the Universal Championship. Cole asks Rollins about Owens’ rise being parallel to his as Rollins agrees they both have had success but that Owens is the teacher’s pet and literally had the Championship handed to his as Rollins talks about cashing in his Money in the Bank title shot to get the Championship. Rollins talks about forces being against him and if he gets his rematch, he will cancel the Kevin Owens show.
Man, this was not good at all. Rollins is supposed to be angry over Owens being handed a title shot and not earning it then talks about how he earned his by cashing in the Money in the Bank briefcase (which he won due to the Authority). Plus, Rollins performance here was wooden and the dialogue itself did not do him any favors. So far, this Rollins angle is a bit of a flop and this all sets up for a Rollins feud with Triple H
Braun Strowman vs. Chase Silver
Before the match, Saxton asks Silver why he took this match. Silver said he came from Idaho to Los Angeles with a dream and that was to beat up Strowman. The bell rings as Strowman no-sells several strikes before knocking Silver down. Silver tries to attack from behind but gets booted down as Strowman overpowers Silver until getting the win with a running powerslam (1:42). After the match, Saxton asks Strowman what is next as he calls himself the “gift of destruction” and wants Foley to get him real competition by next week or else there will not even be a next week.
Thoughts: I have to admit, I kinda liked Strowman’s promo after the match. It was a bit goofy but reminded me of something you’d see in the 1980s. Looks like they are actually gearing him up for a feud as Strowman needs to do more than just TV squash matches.
Backstage, Sasha Banks is warming up when Bayley approaches. Bayley talks about how she is in the main event of RAW tonight and says it’s in “Trish and Lita territory.” Sasha says she cannot listen to critics and cites how Forbes called Charlotte the greatest women’s wrestler. Sasha then promises to make history by winning tonight and that while Charlotte was born into the business, she was born to be the champ. I thought Sasha was solid here as they still seem to not have a clue on how to book Bayley.
Kevin Owens & Chris Jericho head out to the ring. Jericho does have his list with him. Owens talks about Rollins’ interview and after telling Cole he did a terrible job, he turns his attention to Rollins and how he is not smart and should rest his ribs but the truth is that he lost and has not done anything to deserve a rematch. Owens tells Rollins he is the one who beat him and is standing in the ring with the WWE Universal Championship. Jericho then tells us they are standing in the ring tonight because they are the best of friends as Owens says they are here tonight because he wants him to be the referee when Rollins faces him again. Jericho tells Owens he might be getting a bit ahead of themselves and since they won their match last week, they should team up to go up against the New Day for the Tag Team Titles. Owens reminds Jericho that Cesaro & Sheamus have a title shot as Jericho laughs because those two are not friends then tries to sell Owens on having both titles. Owens says its a lot of work as Jericho comes back to say its not like he is asking for an opportunity as his championship as after the crowd chants “Y2J,” Owens agrees. The New Day then come out and tell them that they are the ones who have the best friendship in the WWE. Jericho tells Kofi he just made the list for challenging their friendship as Big E sings a bit before telling them this calls for a championship huddle but Jericho cannot join, as he does not have a title, so Jericho puts him on the list. Owens then tells Jericho that Woods is laughing so Woods makes the list too. Owens & Jericho then tell the New Day to either give them a title shot or leave as they make fun of the New Day for jumping the shark as Woods comes back to tell Owens he has not jumped over anything as Owens is now infuriated and yells at Jericho to put Woods on the list again. The New Day then tell them since they are not dressed to compete, they will give them some time.
Oh man, this was an awesome segment. They also teased some conflict with Jericho & Owens as Jericho commented on how he was not asking for a title shot when he suggested they team up for the Tag Team Championship. However, once the New Day came out and they went back-and-forth, this became great. Woods dig at Owens was perfectly timed as they really built up this sudden match later on in the show.
We see when Cesaro & Sheamus arrived to the arena as they were arguing and tossing each other’s luggage around. These two showed some chemistry here.
Goldberg will appear on SportsCenter tomorrow night.
Sami Zayn vs. Titus O’Neill
We get an insert prom from Titus, who tells us he is starting the “Titus Brand.” The match starts with Titus catching Zayn with a pair of backbreakers. He then slaps Zayn in the corner before going back to targeting the back and even mocking Zayn’s theme music. Titus works a bearhug then hits another backbreaker but spends too much time taunting and gets hit with a clothesline. Zayn then sends Titus into the corner with an exploder and follows with the Helluva Kick for the win (2:46) 3/4*.
Thoughts: Titus took most of the match before losing. The “Titus Brand” did not get off to a good start and that insert promo he cut was just awful. Its getting to the point when the next round of roster cuts occur, I’d be shocked if Titus was not on that list. He just adds nothing to the on-screen product. As far as Sami is concerned, he’s just wasting away since beating Owens in their feud. For some reason they decided to hold back on pushing him forward and its really hurting him right now because Zayn is struggling to get over.
Cesaro & Sheamus are in the locker room arguing when Foley appears. Foley talks about feeling pressure due to ratings and the threat from Strowman and how he put these guys together on the road so they could get to know each other. I like what I’ve seen between Cesaro & Sheamus but the Foley involvement is just too forced and unnecessary.
Golden Truth vs. Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson
Before the show, Gallows & Anderson are shown talking about how the New Day turned the Tag Team Division into a “Clown Car” and will put an end to the fun & games. Goldust get the best of Anderson to start. He works the arm but gets backed into the corner and Anderson kicks him in the face before tagging out. Gallows beats on Goldust for a bit but gets caught with a powerslam as both men are down. R-Truth tags in and runs wild on Anderson for a bit. Gallows breaks up a pin attempt then knocks Goldust off of the apron and soon after that Gallows & Anderson hit the Magic Killer for the win (3:20) *. After the match, Gallows & Anderson hit Goldust with the Magic Killer before leaving.
Thoughts: They are trying to reestablish Gallows & Anderson as a threat now but its going to be a while as the bad comedy from their New Day feud did a lot of damage to their characters. That and the fact they kept losing to the New Day.
Owens & Jericho are walking backstage as they run into Ashton Kutcher & Danny Masterson backstage. Masterson takes the list then makes fun of Jericho by making up stuff that is not on the list. Owens then tells Kutcher & Masterson “That 70’s Show” would have been better with the both of them on the show as he leaves. Jericho and Kutcher then go back-and-forth with Kutcher stealing Jericho’s mannerisms and taunts while saying they will be at ringside for their title match. This was a funny segment. Jericho was great as usual and Kutcher seemed to be having fun and did great in his role too.
Enzo & Big Cass are in the ring with three breast cancer survivors. Both guys incorporated their shtick into this introduction of the women as contest winners as they are presented with their own title belts. I thought Enzo & Big Cass did a great job with this and made it an entertaining segment, which appeared to help the women who all appeared nervous being out on live TV.
Big E & Xavier Woods vs. Kevin Owens & Chris Jericho
Kutcher & Masterson are on commentary. Owens beats on Woods in the corner then tags Jericho, who tags out after getting clotheslined. Big E tags as Owens immediately attacks him. Kutcher says Big E played football at Iowa, where he went to college, as Big E now takes control after hitting a clothesline. Big E gets his shoulder rammed into the post as everyone on commentary is now taking about Wilmer Valderrama. Jericho tags in and hits a dropkick as his nose is bleeding and incredibly swollen. Owens attacks Big E behind the referee’s back as Cole says Kofi needed nine stitches last week after the Tag Title match on RAW. Owens tags and hits a cannonball for a two count then we head into break. The match returns with both men down as Big E tries to comeback. He makes the tag as Woods knees Owens in the face then knocks Jericho off of the apron. Owens comes back and works a chinlock on the mat as Kutcher is talking about how Owens & Jericho are not friends as Graves interjects that they are guests on the Kevin Owens show. Owens hits a clothesline then mocks Woods as Kutcher makes fun of Owens’ physique. Jericho tags and tries a superplex but Woods tosses him down and hits a crossbody for two as both men are down. Owens is in but Rollins’ music hits as Owens is shocked. Owens then yells at Rollins and walks into an enziguiri as Woods finally makes the tag. Big E tosses Jericho around for a bit then the match breaks down. Woods takes out Owens with a somersault plancha as Big E hits Jericho with a splash. Owens then snaps Big E’s neck off of the top rope but is hit with a rolling elbow. Jericho puts Woods in the Liontamer but Rollins runs down to take out Owens as Jericho is distracted then the New Day hit Jericho with the Midnight Hour (16:30) **3/4. After the match, Owens takes his belt and heads up the apron as Rollins hits Jericho with the Pedigree.
Thoughts: The match was fine and Jericho’s nose was a wreck. However, the commentary almost ruined the match. It was painful and literally sucked out loud. The end of this will also put a rift into the Jericho/Owens friendship as Owens ditched his friend, who took a pedigree from Rollins and can lead to Jericho eventually demanding he get a shot at the Universal Title.
Tom Phillips is backstage with Charlotte and Dana Brooke. Charlotte says that Sasha is upset because time after time she has proven to the WWE Universe she is at her best when the championship is on the line. Charlotte then says Sasha will be exposed for not having what it takes as she vows to knock her off of the pedestal that “social media” put her on in their match tonight.
We get a video package on Rich Swann, who loves to party and entertain. That’s his gimmick, a guy who likes to have fun.
In the crowd we are shown a few members of the Los Angeles Rams and Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Josh Reddick, who is holding a title belt.
Backstage, Stephanie McMahon asks Rollins what the hell he is doing. Rollins says he does not have to listen to her anymore as she reminds him that for the first time, he is all by himself. Rollins then gets a jab at Stephanie by saying Triple H’s biggest mistake as marrying her and that he will burn this place to the ground until he gets the title, taking Owens & Jericho with him. Rollins walks off as Stephanie is in shock then starts to smirk. This started off rough but seeing Rollins mouth off to Stephanie was refreshing at least. They are now establishing Rollins as a lone wolf.
Rich Swann vs. Tony Nese
We get an insert promo from Nese, who calls himself the greatest hybrid of strength and speed then jokes that he should twerk, like a second-rate Amber Rose. That was not a good promo. Swann teases Nese with some dancing after then gets knocked down. Swann dropkicks Nese after a fast-paced Irish whip sequence but runs into an elbow smash. Nese does the Matrix before taking Swann down with a strike combo that drew some oohs and aahs from the crowd. Swann comes back with a rana after floating over on a suplex but Nese comes back with a roundhouse kick as the ref was separating them in the corner. Nese works a bodyscissors for a bit but Swann takes him off the top with a jumping rana from the mat. Swann hits a double stomp to the back but Nese comes back then hits a pumphandle driver for the win (4:30) **1/2.
Thoughts: Good action but again, the crowd was silent for the cruiserweights in the final hour. They are trying to push Swann but the fans are not receptive to him now. Its also different than what got him over in the Independent scene as here everything he does comes across as forced. Anyway, I’m a bit shocked at the outcome here as Nese is still under an EVOLVE deal (meaning he can work for both EVOLVE & WWE) to the best of my knowledge. I will say that Nese has impressed in the ring the past two weeks, even if he does lack charisma.
We get a video package on Mil Mascaras for Hispanic Heritage month.
After the break, we get a vignette hyping the return of Emma, who will now be known as “Emmalina” as they are going to make her over. I thought her heel character was working well enough but lets see where they go with this gimmick.
Cesaro & Sheamus vs. ????
I barely even heard what Cole said when announcing the names of the enhancement talent. One of them was Mark i believe. Cesaro hits a suplex and celebrates but Sheamus tags himself in to beat on the poor jobber. The two continue to argue as they stay in control then Sheamus gets the win with a Brogue Kick (1:50).
Thoughts: The arguing partners gimmick continues. It did not get over in front of the crowd though.
We see Oscar De La Hoya in the crowd with his kids.
A video recap of the Charlotte/Sasha Banks feud. They’ve really done a good job hyping this up as the main event tonight.
Charlotte & Dana are walking backstage when they approach Bayley. Charlotte calls her “Dora” and says she has to go main event and maybe one day, she can become the champion too. Charlotte walks away as Dana taunts Bayley and makes fun of her as she taps Bayley on the head. Bayley moves Dana’s hand away so Dana backs Bayley against the wall. However, Bayley then grabs Dana and whips her into the wall as Dana is on the ground grabbing her knee.
WWE RAW Women’s Championship Match: Sasha Banks vs. Charlotte (c)
Sasha takes Charlotte outside and flies out with a plancha as we head to commercial. We return as Charlotte is in control as she targets the back. Sasha avoids a charge in the corner but is hit with a backbreaker. Sasha fights back and hits a pair of clotheslines. She gets two with a double knee smash then kicks Charlotte outside and they completely botch a spot that seemed designed for Charlotte to yank Sasha off but it appeared Sasha was way out of position. Charlotte tosses Sasha inside as Cole lets us know that Sasha’s head hit the bottom rope hard I guess in a way to sell damage in what should have happened earlier. Charlotte knocks Sasha off of the top then boots her in the back then in a face but it only gets her a two count. Charlotte tries for a superplex but Sasha headbutts her off then gets two with a double knee smash from the top as that awakes the crowd. Charlotte counters a backstabber and send Sasha to the floor. She then hits her with a corkscrew moonsault from the top and rolls Sasha inside and gets two with the Natural Selection as Charlotte is in disbelief. Charlotte slaps Sasha around while yelling at her. Sasha then uses a tilt-a-whirl to put on the Banks Statement. Sasha rolls Charlotte over to keep the hold and Charlotte ends up tapping (14:20) ***1/2. After the match, Charlotte is in tears on the ramp as Sasha celebrates in the ring.
Thoughts: Really good match, although it took a bit to get into a flow. There were some miscues here but it got excellent towards the end and it had a lot of drama. Plus, a nice way to send the crowd happy as I assume Charlotte and Dana finally split up leading into a feud now as they have to build up a new challenger (Nia Jax?) for Sasha. These two women left it all out there tonight.
Final Thoughts: Overall, this was a good show and much better than any RAW in the past several weeks. We had some good matches and segments here. I liked how they built up the Reigns/Rusev Hell in a Cell match too. The Rollins stuff is still struggling to get over although it was nice to see him stick it to Stephanie for once. I did not like the sitdown interview with Cole at all as I felt his performance was bad, just like his dialogue. And it had an emotional main event with a satisfying payoff, something that is sadly missing from today’s product. Plus, there was much less filler than usual and building up the show last week helped in that department.
The New Day/Owens & Jericho interaction was phenomenal and the backstage stuff with Kutcher & Masterson was also fun. However, Kutcher & Masterson were an abomination on commentary. And RAW is struggling to book folks like Sami Zayn, Neville, Gallows & Anderson, and Bayley. At least with the last two they tried stuff tonight.
Anyway, they have three more RAWs to build up to Hell in a Cell and tonight they took a step in the right direction.