Bayless’ RAW Rundown 11/16/15


November 16, 2015

From the Bon Secours Wellness Area in Greenville, SC

Your hosts are Byron Saxton, JBL, and Michael Cole

Before the show, the roster stands on the ramp as they bow for a moment of silence to honor the victims and families of the attacks in Paris this past weekend.

The show starts with Cole running down the Quarterfinal matches in the WWE World Title Tournament: Kevin Owens vs. Neville, Dean Ambrose vs. Dolph Ziggler, Roman Reigns vs. Cesaro, and Alberto Del Rio vs. Kalisto

The arena goes dark as we hear humming and see druids come down to the ring. After a minute or so, the Undertaker’s gong goes off as he appears, along with the Demon Kane, as they eventually make their way to the ring as all sorts of special effects can be seen and heard. After several minutes, the Undertaker speaks and says they are the true army of darkness and at Survivor Series, vengeance will await the Wyatt Family. He also tells us no man alive can take the “power of the darkside.” Kane then tells us they have reserved a place for the Wyatt Family in the deepest pit of hell where they will suffer. The Undertaker then tells us their kind of evil is no match for theirs and that it has been time-tested over and over again. The Wyatt Family comes out as he says its time for a new Army of Darkness to emerge as the Undertaker’s 25 years have been too long, while the crowd starts giving Bray the “what” treatment. Bray promises that Survivor Series will be remembered as the night he destroyed the Brothers of Destruction. After that, the lights go out while the druids are wearing the sheep masks worn by Erick Rowan. They run in the ring after Bray’s instructions and attempt to attack Kane & Undertaker but fail. They were also all markedly shorter than the Brothers of Destruction. After they get taken out, Wyatt tells his family to stop as they head to the ring as he tells his opponents at Survivor Series to “follow the buzzards.” This segment did nothing at all in making me interested to see their match at the Survivor Series. After destroying the Wyatt Family last week, the Wyatt’s plan got foiled again. Based off of that, who would take them seriously as a threat? Hell, look back at the Wyatt’s history of feuds and see how they are almost always on the losing end. I am really at a loss in figuring out how this is supposed to make people want to see the match.

WWE World Heavyweight Tournament Quarterfinal Match: Neville vs. Kevin Owens

On commentary, Cole pointed out how Owens states he will be the first Intercontinental Champion to also hold the WWE World Heavyweight Championship while saying how that is incorrect, Owens said he doesn’t live in the past. Owens works a headlock until Neville breaks free then uses his agility to elude him. Owens rolls outside as Neville was on the top rope but Neville flies out with a moonsault as we head to break. We return with Neville breaking up a suplex with a knee to the head as he hits Owens with strikes. Neville lands on the apron as Owens takes him off with a super kick. Back inside, Owens sets up for the cannonball but Neville sidesteps that and hits a German suplex. Neville then hits Owens with a Phoenix Splash from the second rope for a nearfall. He heads up again then avoids Owens and comes back with an enziguiri. Owens knocks Neville off of the top rope but Neville slips away and comes back with a super kick. Neville then hits a reverse hurricarana for a nearfall as the fans go nuts. Neville cannot believe that didn’t get him the win and heads up top and lands on his feet after Owens charged towards him and ends up getting caught with the Pop-Up Powerbomb as Owens scores the pin and advances to the Semifinals, which will happen at the Survivor Series. He will await the winner of Dean Ambrose vs. Dolph Ziggler (10:45) ***1/2.

Thoughts: A damn good match. Neville’s offense is so crisp and along with his freakish strength that makes him one of the most exciting in-ring performers in the company. Owens also did a fine job here and the Pop-Up Powerbomb is becoming one of the more lethal finishers in the company. He really splattered Neville with that move.

We return from break with HHH talking to Kevin Owens backstage. However, there is no sound so we have no idea what they are saying.

A replay of last week’s RAW where HHH offered Roman Reigns a position to be in the Authority, which would get him the title instead of having a tournament. Reigns told him to shove it then, as punishment, had to face the Big Show……….and won.

We are shown still photos of Seth Rollins post-surgery as he will miss 6-9 months of action.

Tyler Breeze w/ Summer Rae vs. R-Truth

The match starts with R-Truth toying with Breeze. He hits a slam and a leg drop while pandering to the crowd, who seems into his act. Truth catches Breeze with a hip toss after pulling up on a punch then Breeze ducks beneath the ropes as Summer applies balm to his lips. Breeze kicks Truth in the shin then goes to work in the corner. He switches focus to the back of Truth before going to the leg again. Truth fights back and his a clothesline. He follows a sitout gordbuster with a spinning leg drop to the back of the neck for two but Breeze comes back to hit him with the Beauty Shot for the win (4:07) 3/4*.

Thoughts: Boring stuff. Breeze sold a lot during this match and did not look impressive at all. Plus, the Beauty Shot is a weak finisher for the main roster. Its clear they are not all that invested in Breeze’s act. He better hope they keep him paired with Summer for a while because this is someone destined to flounder in the lower midcard if not.

WWE World Heavyweight Tournament Quarterfinal Match: Dolph Ziggler vs. Dean Ambrose

These two start by trading standing holds as the announcers put over Ziggler’s World Title win in 2012. They now engage in an Irish whip sequence that ends with Ambrose pulling up to avoid a super kick. Ambrose works a side headlock then clotheslines Ziggler to the floor. He sets up for a tope but Ziggler avoids him as Ambrose lands on his feet and is now frustrated. In the ring, Ziggler works a few submission holds on the mat. He gets two off of a dropkick but shortly after that gets caught with a backbreaker. Ambrose targets the back then locks on a single leg crab. Ambrose hits a slam then tries a top rope elbow smash but Ziggler rolls through that and gets two. Ziggler immediately puts on a sleeper as Ambrose scampers to the ropes. They end up colliding with each other trying crossbody blocks and are both down on the mat. Ambrose is up first and heads to the top rope but Ziggler meets him and they brawl until they both fall to the floor as we head to break. The action returns with Ambrose takes Ziggler out with a tope. They head inside as Ambrose hits a clothesline in the corner. Ziggler connects with a dropkick as Ambrose rebounds, only to get hit with a Fameasser for a nearfall. Ambrose counters a neckbreaker with a backslide but Ziggler comes right back with a DDT for two. Ziggler now does Shawn Michael’s Sweet Chin Music routine but Ambrose dodges the kick and sends Ziggler into the corner. Ambrose locks on a sleeper then gets two with a rebound clothesline. He heads up top only to have Ziggler run up and hit a facebuster. Ambrose rolls outside then comes back in to put Ziggler in a small package for two. Ziggler comes back with a super kick then after that they slug it out until Ambrose catches him with the Dirty Deeds for the win (16:45) **3/4. After the match, Ambrose grabbed the mic and said that after he wins the Title at Survivor Series, he will turn the whole WWE upside down as there will be more action and less talking among other things while making the WWE the “Ambrose Asylum” as JBL states that Ambrose being the champion will be a disaster.

Thoughts: The match was solid but too long and most of it just seemed like it was going back-and-forth for no reason at all. They seem to be pushing Ambrose as a face but with all of the anti-Authority talk, they could be swerving everyone and turn Ambrose heel.

We get the clip of Stephanie McMahon introducing the Divas Revolution from four months ago to help hype tonight’s contract signing at Survivor Series between Paige and Charlotte.

The New Day come out to the ring. First, they talk about why people are talking about the 25th Anniversary of the Undertaker’s debut, as Woods alerts us he is only 29 years old. After that, they put themselves over for being entertaining before turning their attention to the Usos. Big E then does his Jey Uso impression, mocking the Uso chant by saying Us-OW. Big E then tells us his grandfather’s saying of “when life gives you booty, make bootyade” as the Usos music interrupts as they come out for the match. Not bad but when the cool, heel act starts doing stuff like this and it catches on it makes it extremely tough for their opponents to get any face heat going.

The New Day vs. The Usos & Ryback

Jimmy and Xavier start by going back-and-forth as Cole talks about a Twitter exchange between Owens and actress Melissa Joan Hart, who called Owens lazy. Jey tags and takes out Big E and Woods with a plancha on the outside that saw him overshoot his opponents and land hard. Back in the ring, Jey gets worked over in the corner while Woods plays the trombone. Big E gets two with a splash then starts jawing with Ryback. The New Day continue to cut off the ring as the crowd starts a “feed me more” chant. Ryback gets tagged but the ref did not see it take place as he is ordered back onto the apron. Big E taunts Ryback again but gets decked by Jey. Big E is able to throw him forward then slaps the Ryback, who comes in and cleans house. The ref gets shoved by Ryback and calls for the bell as the New Day win by DQ (5:47) *1/4.

Thoughts: Not much to this match. Seems like they might be teasing a future Ryback/Big E match or even Ryback getting a partner to face the New Day. The Usos act seems to be wearing thin with the crowds too and you could see some people in attendance mock them with the New Day’s chant.

A clip of Charlotte defeating Nikki Bella for the Divas Championship at Night of Champions is shown.

Back from break, Cesaro is shown lacing his boots as HHH approaches. HHH tells Cesaro this is as big as it gets and guys like him have what it takes to be a champion but needs a little something extra. He said it might even be time to grab his brass ring. HHH then tells him he will in his own personal Cesaro Section for the match. The story of HHH trying to get someone to accept his offer continues.

Roman Reigns comes out through the crowd to get into the ring. He talks about how last week, HHH said he could become the champion as long as he joined the Authority. Reigns then says that he never has or will sell out and will have to go through everyone until ending up the WWE World Champion at Survivor Series. This was not a good promo, mainly due to the script though. For a guy positioned to be a top babyface at the moment, the WWE has done nothing to make you want to cheer for the guy. And, quite frankly, Reigns himself has not stepped up his game on the mic the past few weeks either when he should be going all-out seeing that its his time to shine. The star presence in the ring is not there right now.

WWE World Heavyweight Tournament Quarterfinal Match: Roman Reigns vs. Cesaro

The match starts as Cole notes neither guy has held the WWE World Title. They battle over a lockup as Cesaro playfully pats Reigns on the chest after teasing a cheapshot following a break. They display sportsmanship while going back-and-forth. Cesaro heads up top and cartwheels off as he rolls up Reigns for two. Cesaro gets two with a deadlift gutwrench suplex for two after a bit of matwork as the crowd starts dueling chants. They now fight over a suplex and that ends with Reigns catching Cesaro with a tilt-a-whirl slam for two. Cesaro ducks a clothesline and comes back with a springboard corkscrew uppercut then tries for the swing but Reigns fights that off. Cesaro sends Reigns into the post then dropkicks his shoulder into it again as Reigns falls to the floor. Cesaro runs out and nails him with an uppercut as we head to commercial. After the break, Cesaro sends Reigns out to the floor and heads out but this time runs into a boot. They both sell on the ground before entering again where they go back-and-forth. Reigns throws some really week clotheslines in the corner as he is starting to look tired. Reigns tries the Drive By but Cesaro ducks that and drags him inside the ring for the giant swing. Cesaro turns that into the Sharpshooter then a crossface. Reigns is able to lift Cesaro up and counter the crossface with a Samoan drop as both men are down. Cesaro gets backdropped to the floor as his elbow whacks off of the ring apron while the announcers put over the fact that same elbow was hurt last week in his match against Sheamus. Reigns hits more corner clotheslines with very little behind them then powerbombs Cesaro for two. Reigns cannot believe it then tries for the Superman punch but Cesaro pushes him up and hits an uppercut for a nearfall. Cesaro places Reigns up top and hits a dropkick then tries to suplex him back into the ring as Reigns broke that up with a Superman punch. Reigns sets up for the spear but is met with another uppercut. Cesaro goes for the Neutralizer but Reigns escapes that then connects with a Superman punch after kicking out of a backslide attempt before putting Cesaro away with a spear (20:23) ****. After the match, the two guys shake hands on the floor and talk briefly before Cesaro leaves.

Thoughts: A tremendous match. Cesaro deserves a ton of credit with this performance. Reigns does deserve some credit here for the match but he did appear exhausted near the end and Cesaro slowed things down for him to help make it still appear smooth. As far as in-ring work, Cesaro is one of the best in the world right now.

We get a graphic for Nick Bockwinkel, who passed away this past Saturday. The announcers put over his career for a minute.

The Ascension vs. Dudley Boyz

Bubba beats on Viktor to start. Konnor boots him as he went after Viktor on the inside as the Ascension neutralize Bubba. Konnor jaws at D’Von then walks into an uranage as Bubba makes the tag. D’Von cleans house and sends Konnor to the floor before Viktor falls prey to the 3D as the Dudleys get the win (3:12) 1/2*.

Thoughts: The crowd was dead for this match. The Dudleys are past their point of usefulness now, sadly, and this was an example of just how shallow the WWE Tag Team Division is at the moment.

Renee Young catches up to Alberto Del Rio and Zeb Colter in the hallway. Colter tells us that MexAmerica has no taxes and everyone keeps the hard-earned money while saying Del Rio will be the next WWE World Champion. HHH interrupts to tell them while they seem unstoppable, they need the right allies and can become the “man” as HHH leaves while the camera zooms in on Del Rio’s face. Tough to get excited over those prospects.

WWE World Heavyweight Tournament Quarterfinal Match: Kalisto vs. Alberto Del Rio w/ Zeb Colter

We get an interview from Kalisto that took place earlier today. He said flukes do not happen and nothing will stop his dream of being the next WWE Champion. It ended with him speaking in Spanish. Match starts with Del Rio beating on Kalisto. He boots him in the face but ducks his head for a backdrop and gets booted in the face. Kalisto avoids a charge that sends Del Rio to the floor then hits a rana from the apron before going back inside to lead a “lucha” chant as we head to commercial. As we return, Del Rio is in control. He gets two with a backbreaker. Del Rio softens him up some more, almost putting him away with a lungblower. Del Rio places Kalisto up top and tries to rip off his mask but the ref stops that. Kalisto is in the tree-of-woe and avoids a charge then finally climbs back up top for a seated senton. He takes Del Rio down again and lands a few kicks before getting punched down. Kalisto comes back with a nearfall off of a rana and tries the Salida Del Sol but Del Rio counters that by tossing him onto the ropes. Del Rio puts Kalisto in the tree-of-woe again as Kalisto fights back. He tries a Frankensteiner but Del Rio blocks that and puts him back in the tree-of-woe before hitting a double stomp off of the top for the win (10:50) **.

Thoughts: This came off as more of a glorified squash match than anything else. Kalisto was presented here as a guy who was lucky he even advanced instead of a guy who belonged. And Del Rio’s lackluster return continues as his character has been poorly handled.

This coming Smackdown on Thursday, all four men left in the WWE World Title Tournament will be on Miz TV

And now, the main event contract signing. Cole is in the ring and brings out both competitors. Paige sits with her feet up on the table and gets up only to stare down Charlotte when she enters. Cole asks them about how they bonding at an NXT tryout a few years ago and what happened to their friendships. Paige tells us there are no friendships when the title is on the line. Charlotte asks Paige what happened to make her so bitter and how she even wanted to be like Paige when she started out. She also puts over how their parents cared almost as much about the WWE as they did about us. Well, I don’t know how much Paige’s parents cared about the WWE. Charlotte then brings up her late brother Reid, who passed away due to an OD in 2013, and how she is in wrestling because of him and that Paige helped her out that time. Paige tells Charlotte is doesn’t matter because she has been using her since day one as Charlotte tells Paige she must suck at that as they go back and forth until Charlotte said Team PCB was going to change the Divas Division until Paige ruined that. Paige is about to leave then tells Charlotte that no one, not even “daddy” will have her back at Survivor Series as she makes fun of Ric Flair. Charlotte tells her to “shut her mouth” in the least convincing way possible and says she will continue to fight daily as Paige told her she was wrong because her baby brother (Reid) did not have much fight in him. Charlotte attacks her as they spill outside as multiple referees attempt to break it up. There is a lot to say about this promo. First of all, if Charlotte had the chops to cut even a passable promo, this would have drawn some babyface sympathy from the crowd. However, her wooden delivery makes it almost impossible for anything she says to appear believable. She cuts the least convincing promo out of anyone else I have seen on televised wrestling in the U.S. this year. And the stuff with Reid Flair was cheap heat. I am not going to say I am disgusted with it as wrestling does this stuff all the time when they exploit personal issues of families or the wrestlers themselves. With that said, I wouldn’t personally go that route myself if I was writing this segment. But my problem is the only thing Charlotte ever does is bring up her family in promos. We are supposed to root for her because she has a dad who wrestled and a brother who overdosed? The end of this segment saw the crowd practically sitting in silence and why should they care about Charlotte’s character. Paige did fine as a heel but this segment did not help this feud out. When the crowd cannot get into a pull-apart brawl after a family insult, its a sign the angle is a dud.

Final Thoughts: This show had some good wrestling and for that it was fun. However, the storylines and characters are not compelling in the slightest. When you look at declining ratings and what makes a TV show popular, the two most important factors are the storylines and the characters. And maybe starpower if the first two are not there. Right now, RAW has none of those three. The company needs stars in the worst way. I don’t see Reigns stepping up to take that role right now and if you asked me which two guys have stepped up the most this past month, I would say Owens and Cesaro. Also, the way in which promo scripts are written and how the talent is taught might need some reevaluation after watching the likes of Reigns and Charlotte. As a fan of wrestling and seeing just how talented the roster is at the moment, its a shame to watch them get wasted due to poor creative decision-making.

Besides the fact a new World Champion will be crowned, they have given little reason to care about the rest of Survivor Series either. There is not even a traditional SS match for the show at this time. Maybe that changes as a lot of the roster has nothing to do for the show. The WWE needs to start breaking guys away from the pack soon.

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