By: Keila Cash
Hello everyone and welcome to another installment of The Raw Exposé. Tonight’s episode of Monday Night Raw emanated from the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario. WWE completes its three-night stand in The 6 as the fallout from Survivor Series unfolded. Outside of Raw beating SmackDown Live 3-2 and claiming brand supremacy, the biggest headline coming from the PPV was Goldberg destroying Goldberg with a couple of Spears followed by a Jackhammer. The match was over in 1:26 which shocked fans because many expected a slobber knocker of epic proportions. Instead, they were treated to a one-sided fight that felt very UFC-ish based on how quick and decisive the bout was.
Critics wondered why this honor didn’t go to someone who needed the rub such as Samoa Joe or Shinsuke Nakamura. Perhaps there is a method to Vince McMahon’s madness for making such a ballsy decision. Did the follow-up make sense or were fans left with more questions than answers? The answer to this pressing question can be found throughout this blog. Without further ado, let’s dissect tonight’s episode of Raw in no particular order.
· Outside of the 20 fans that chanted “You Screwed Bret,” Goldberg put the WWE Locker Room on notice that he was entering the Royal Rumble match in January. Goldberg cut a short and passionate promo about conquering Brock Lesnar last night at Survivor Series. After the match was over, Stephanie McMahon asked him if he had one more title run left in him. Goldberg let the “Yes” chants confirm that he was embarking on the Road to WrestleMania and told everyone that they’re next as the opening segment came to an end.
· This was a hot way to start the show. The crowd loved Goldberg minus the attempted troll job from a small section of the audience. They almost hijacked the segment, but Goldberg kept his cool and ended things on a high note.
· His appearance at the Rumble should be well received. Plus, this will give him more time to get into shape so he won’t get blown up during the match. Expect another Lesnar-Goldberg confrontation leading up to the rubber match at WrestleMania. Just a hunch.
· The New Day retained their Tag Team Championship, but it wasn’t without controversy. The New Day vs. Cesaro and Sheamus was very good as it was fast-paced and hard-hitting throughout. After Cesaro countered Kofi Kingston’s Trouble in Paradise with a Big Swing, he locked in the Sharpshooter for the finish.
· Sheamus prevented Big E. from breaking up the hold by nailing him with a Brogue Kick. Seeing that Kingston was about to tap out, Xavier Woods climbed on the ring apron and played a ditty on his trombone which distracted the referee. Cesaro broke the hold which allowed Kingston to roll him up for the win. Sheamus tried to break up the count, but Woods held his leg to secure the victory.
· The New Day are 23 days away from breaking the all-time record held by Demolition. The fact that the trio was booed in Toronto could be a sign that their cheating ways might be starting to lose its luster with the crowd. Also, Cesaro is a fan favorite and seeing him screwed out of a title opportunity is bound to piss people off as well. Hell, Sheamus is starting to garner a smidgeon of sympathy as well which bodes well for The Odd Couple if they are still in the title hunt next month.
· The match would have to take place on the go-home show for the Roadblock PPV because the record will already be broken by then. The New Day are essentially in the Nikki Bella position as they count down the days, hours, minutes, and seconds until history is made.
· Enzo Amore walking around naked is probably the most random thing to happen on WWE television this year. That’s all I have to say. The end.
· Sami Zayn will face Braun Strowman as a form of punishment after failing to defeat The Miz which would have brought the Intercontinental Championship back to Raw. On the plus side, the creative team didn’t forget that Zayn challenged Strowman to a match a few weeks ago. However, seeing my favorite ginger getting bitched out to Strowman sucks. Is there an opt-out clause in his contract so he can get traded to SmackDown Live? Yes, my wishful thinking remains intact.
· Cedric Alexander defeated Ariya Daivari via the Lumbar Check in a solid match. Daivari pulled a page out of his brother’s playbook by turning the City of Toronto against him by saying they are just as bad as America. It was easy cheap heat which didn’t translate during the match itself. Daivari showed good aggression, but Alexander needed the win more on this night.
· Once again, the fans popped for the big spots instead of caring about the match as a whole. Until fans connect with the wrestlers on an emotional level, the division will never reach its full potential. Hopefully, they will get some much-needed love on 205 Live which debuts next week on the WWE Network.
· After Chris Jericho and Kevin Owens scapegoated Roman Reigns for costing Team Raw the victory at Survivor Series last night, Seth Rollins made his way to the ring and announced that he was cashing in on his future opportunity by challenging Owens to match for the Universal Championship. Rollins attacked Jericho and Owens which quickly turned into a 2-on-1 attack until Reigns made the save.
· Mick Foley came out and announced that Rollins vs. Owens for the Universal Title will take place later tonight. It will be a No Disqualification Match, but Reigns and Jericho will be banned from ringside to ensure that it’s a fair fight. Owens had a concerned look on his face as the segment came to end.
· The faux breakup between Jericho and Owens was tremendous. It had great heat as the Toronto crowd were hanging on their every word. The Reigns swerve was hilarious as the two Canadian Brothers from another mother hugged it out in the ring. Even though their argument was a ruse, it offered a glimpse into the not too distant future because their bromance is going to end on a sour note.
· On the Brightside, the feud should be awesome as both men can bring it on the mic and in the ring. If Jericho is leaving the company soon, he will leave on a very high note. After a rough start, Y2J managed to re-invent himself by turning quasi-face in the process. This has been Jericho’s best run since his return in 2012.
· Rusev made quick work of Enzo Amore as he made the Certified G tap out to The Accolade in a quick match. It was decent while it lasted.
· Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson will face The New Day next week for the Tag Team Titles after pinning Goldust with The Magic Killer. The match featuring Gallows and Anderson vs. The Golden Truth was okay for the most part.
· If The New Day cheat their way to victory, the stateside crowd won’t be upset because Gallows and Anderson are heels. Their reign will continue for another week until the next challengers are announced for the Raw after next and so forth until the record is on the cusp of being broken. It’s a nice narrative leading up to the big moment should it come to pass.
· Braun Strowman annihilated Sami Zayn in a one-sided match that was too much for Mick Foley to bear. The referee called for the bell and awarded the match to Strowman per Foley’s request. The bout got long in the tooth because Zayn was getting his ass kicked six ways to Sunday. Otherwise, this was a showcase for the Strowman who has made huge strides in recent weeks. Too bad it was at the expense of Zayn.
· As much as I would love to see Sasha Banks vs. Charlotte face off for the Raw Women’s Championship in Charlotte’s hometown next week, both ladies need to take a break from each other for a while. Plus, I don’t need to see Banks win the title on free television only for her to lose it on PPV a few weeks later. Been there, done that. Twice. Let’s not make it thrice.
· Sasha Banks made Charlotte tap out to the Bank Statement leading up to their title match next week on Raw. Sasha Banks and Bayley vs. Charlotte and Nia Jax was decent. It was slow in spots, but the action picked up down the stretch. The highlight of the match was Sasha and Bayley delivering a double suplex to Jax which popped the crowd. This was clearly a make-good after Becky Lynch and Alexa Bliss attempted the worst DDT in history during a similar double team spot at Survivor Series.
· Sasha vs. Charlotte should have a very good match. Here’s hoping that Charlotte retains the title next week so we won’t have our third case of déjà vu.
· Rich Swann defeated TJ Perkins and Noam Dar and will go on to face Brian Kendrick for the Cruiserweight Championship on the debut episode of 205 Live on the WWE Network next Tuesday. The Triple Threat Match was good, but it was all about the high spots instead of the match being cohesive as a whole. Here’s hoping this situation is remedied sooner rather than later because the division has potential if it’s taken seriously.
· Kevin Owens confusing Charly Caruso for Renee Young was awesome. That might have been a rare flub by Owens, but it was hilarious nonetheless.
· Kevin Owens retained the Universal Championship after he dropped Seth Rollins with a devastating power bomb on the ring apron. He got a major assist from Chris Jericho as his best friend attacked Rollins from behind when both men were making their way back to ringside. Jericho was wearing a mask which allowed him to pose as a fan in the crowd. Rollins unmasked Y2J and nailed him with a Pedigree. However, the distraction gave Owens enough time to recover which led to the screwy finish. The show ended with Owens and Jericho standing tall while the referees attended to Rollins inside the ring.
· Before Jericho interfered, Owens and Rollins had another good match that featured high spots that took place in the ring and amongst the crowd. Rollins power bombing Owens through a table leaning against the turnbuckle was a great spot. When it comes to crashing through tables, KO sells the bump beautifully.
· Both men would take the fight into the crowd which provided the second highlight of the match when Rollins delivered a cross body to Owens onto the floor from the top railing in the stands. The fans popped for that spot as Rollins fired himself up. Rollins and Owens fought their way back to the ring which led to the aforementioned finish.
· With Jericho breaking the rules, what will the fallout be? Will Rollins be granted another title shot? With Roadblock looming on the horizon, one can only assume that a rematch is in order. However, there are various reports of Reigns facing Owens for the Universal Title at the PPV as well. Is this a marketing snafu or will everything fall into place next week to make this presumed match plausible on paper and in reality? We shall see. In any event, the main event ended the show on a hot note minus the wonky finish.
· Overall, I thought tonight’s episode of Raw was solid. The Toronto crowd was hot in spots, but their enthusiasm was beginning to wane after three straight nights of wrestling action. However, the main segments clicked as we already have our first entrant in the 2017 Royal Rumble with Goldberg telling everyone on the roster that they’re next.
· Also, WWE did a nice job building up the two title matches taking place on next week’s show. It’s safe to say that The New Day will retain the Tag Team Titles against Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson. The company could get cutesy by having Sasha Banks defeat Charlotte in her hometown of Charlotte, North Carolina. If that’s the case, this game of hot potato over the Women’s Championship is going to jump the proverbial shark. Here’s hoping that The Queen can hold court in her home turf.
· The show felt long at times, but the solid wrestling action made up for the restlessness. After tomorrow night’s episode of SmackDown Live, everyone will get a much-needed break as we head into the last month of 2016. The finish line is near. Finally!
On that note, this wraps up another edition of The Raw Exposé. I hope you enjoyed it and I will be back tomorrow night with a brand new installment of The SmackDown Files. See you later, boys and girls!