By: Keila Cash
Hello everyone and welcome to another installment of The Raw Exposé. Tonight’s episode of Monday Night Raw emanated from the SSE Hydro in Glasgow, Scotland. With Survivor Series a little under two weeks away, WWE needed to hype Goldberg vs. Brock Lesnar before their face-to-face confrontation next week. Plus, the teams representing Team Raw at the PPV had to be finalized. Were there any snubs? Most importantly, did the fans care or did they go into business for themselves by taking us on a trip to Bizzaro Land where heels become babyfaces and vice versa? The answer these pressing questions can be found throughout this blog. Without further ado, let’s dissect tonight’s episode of Raw in no particular order.
· Kevin Owens, Chris Jericho, Roman Reigns, Braun Strowman, and Seth Rollins are the five men that will represent Team Raw at Survivor Series. Owens and Jericho weren’t thrilled, but Stephanie McMahon told them that they needed to work together in order to survive. Not only that, they needed to win in order to keep their jobs as well. Stephanie dropped the mic and left the ring as Owens and Jericho cut a condescending promo talking about how the rest of the team should follow their lead.
· Rollins didn’t agree as he punched Jericho in the face which caused Reigns and Owens to go at it as well. Strowman was standing in the ring like a tree until he pulled Rollins off of Jericho and laid both men out.
· Reigns and Strowman were the last men standing when Stephanie appeared on the stage and announced that all five men would face off in a Fatal Five Way match later in the show as the opening segment came to a close.
· The opening segment was solid for the most part. Jericho and Owens were great on the mic as they came off as arrogant co-captains that planned to will their team to victory at the PPV. The promo was mainly played for laughs, but it was still good.
· Rich Swann pinned Brian Kendrick for the second time in three weeks as he and Sin Cara defeated the Cruiserweight Champion and the debuting Noam Dar. The match was decent as Dar got a huge ovation from the hometown crowd. This might be the biggest reception he receives until the next European tour. Dar had a few hope spots during the match, but Sin Cara dominated the pace for the most part.
· Kendrick ripped Dar for losing the match and told him that he was a loser like TJ Perkins. He attacked Dar, but the hometown boy regrouped and dropped Kendrick with an enzuirgiri as the crowd cheered him on.
· Swann pinned the Cruiserweight Champion, but Dar’s Raw debut in his home country was the top story.
· Stephanie McMahon: Professional Ball Snipper is back in business as she emasculated Sami Zayn to the point of no return. Stephanie was offended that Mick Foley picked Zayn to face Dolph Ziggler for the Intercontinental Championship at Survivor Series. Stephanie thought that Rusev was more deserving of the opportunity and decided to book Rusev vs. Zayn to determine who will go on to face Ziggler for the IC Title at Survivor Series.
· Rusev and Zayn should have a good match, but I have a feeling that Zayn is going to eat another loss. If that’s the case, Zayn needs to be traded to SmackDown Live because he doesn’t deserve to get bitched out like this on a weekly basis.
· The lone highlight of the Tag Team segment featuring Enzo Amore & Big Cass, Karl Anderson & Luke Gallows, The Golden Truth, Cesaro & Sheamus, and The New Day was Big E channeling his inner Sir William Wallace from Braveheart. Big E’s theatrical performance got a great pop, but the rest of the segment dragged. The jokes were hit and miss and there were too many men with too many mics in their hands doing a lot of talking that really didn’t accomplish much in the grand scheme of things.
· Anderson and Gallows pinned Big E with The Magic Killer to send a message that The Club only cared about themselves heading into Survivor Series. On the plus side, Kofi Kingston knows how to wrestle in a kilt. Outside of that, the match was a bore. The crowd was dead and no amount of audio sweetening would have salvaged things.
· I will admit that R-Truth selling his team’s spot on Team Raw for a Puerto Rico timeshare was pretty damn funny. That’s the first time I laughed at anything R-Truth related in years.
· There’s nothing like a Brock Lesnar sit-down interview to hype a major PPV. He was smooth like butter and talked a lot of shit as usual. It never gets old.
· The Shining Stars secured their spot on Team Raw when Primo rolled up Goldust. It wasn’t a clean victory as Primo put his feet on the bottom rope for leverage. The match was nothing to write home about.
· It’s nice to know that the Glasgow crowd has a pulse because they were serenading Bayley throughout the women’s segment. It was cute, but it got annoying as they drowned out the other ladies on the mic.
· Charlotte talked up the fifth woman representing Raw like she was about to introduce Sasha Banks, but The Queen trolled the audience when she called out Dana Brooke instead. Michael Cole quickly jumped in and announced Banks as the actual fifth woman.
· Sasha and Charlotte traded words which led to Nia Jax staring Sasha down as the segment came to an end.
· Bayley getting some much-needed love from the crowd was great to see, but it bogged down the segment because they kept singing during her promo. Considering how the second hour of Raw sucked, I don’t blame them for letting off some steam, but there's a time and place for everything. Balance out the singing by actually listening to what The Hugger has to say. By doing that, it would have been a more effective segment instead of a grating one.
· Bayley, Sasha Banks, and Alicia Fox vs. Charlotte, Dana Brooke, and Nia Jax was solid as this was easily one of the hottest matches on the show. Bayley got her moment to shine when she pinned Charlotte with the Bayley-to-Belly after the Raw Women’s Champion inadvertently nailed Jax with a big boot to the face. Bayley proved that she wasn’t the weak link on the team and positioned herself for a future title shot if WWE can connect the dots from a logistical standpoint.
· Sami Zayn defeated Rusev via a Helluva Kick from the top rope and will go on face Dolph Ziggler at Survivor Series for the Intercontinental Championship. Zayn and Rusev had the best wrestling match on the show so far. Their differing in-ring styles complimented each other nicely as Zayn used his quickness and agility while Rusev utilized his strength and dangerous feet to even things out. If the bout took place earlier in the show, it would have been even better. Minor criticism aside, both men maximized their minutes and delivered a quality match.
· Well, that was a very creative finish. Roman Reigns nailed Kevin Owens with a Superman Punch, but Owens landed on top of Jericho to pick up the screwy win.
· The Fatal Five Way featuring Roman Reigns vs. Seth Rollins vs. Kevin Owens vs. Chris Jericho vs. Braun Strowman was good. Each man had a chance to shine which enhanced the overall quality of the match. Strowman destroyed everything in his path but was eventually chopped down to size as the bout went on.
· Rollins and Reigns tried to powerbomb Strowman through a table a la The Shield, but Jericho and Owens broke up the crowd-pleasing moment.
· Owens had a great spot when he delivered a cannonball to Reigns while he was pressed against the barricade.
· Owens tried to do the same thing to Rollins, but he got out of the way. Rollins went after Jericho and power bombed him through the table with Strowman laying on top of it. That was a great spot.
· The match came down to Owens and Rollins as Owens set up Rollins for the Popup Powerbomb, but Rollins countered and dropped Owens with a Pedigree. Jericho dragged the referee out of the ring to break up the pin count. Rollins laid out Jericho with a suicide dive and tossed him back in the ring. Jericho got back on offense and tried to put Rollins in the Walls of Jericho, but Rollins escaped the hold.
· After nailing Jericho with an enzuigiri, Rollins dropped him with a Pedigree. Owens broke up the pin by kicking Rollins in the face. Reigns got back in the ring and nailed Owens with the Superman Punch which set up the aforementioned finish.
· It was a quirky way to end the show. Owens was more than happy to get the win at Jericho’s expense. Jericho looked pissed, but he was still supportive of his best friend. The finish planted another seed in the pending implosion of Jeri-KO. WWE has done a nice job slow burning this storyline and the payoff will be even better when Owens lands on the List of Jericho. The main event edged out Rusev vs. Zayn as the best match on the show. That’s not saying much, but I digress.
· Overall, I thought tonight’s episode of Raw was boring. The second hour of the broadcast damn near killed this show dead. The Glasgow crowd was doused with Ambien as they sat on their hands during a lot of the matches not involving Noam Dar and Bayley. I am glad that WWE didn’t insult television viewers by piping in crowd noise to make the show seem livelier than it actually was. That would have been embarrassing on so many levels.
· The central theme of the night was Team Raw hating each other and decided to resolve their issues by talking trash and beating each other in pointless matches. How is this supposed to foster team unity at Survivor Series? It made no sense and the crowd demonstrated that by not giving a damn about the action taking place in the ring. This shoddy storyline highlights why the Brand War between Raw and SmackDown is so stupid. If WWE focused on delivering a Survivor Series card which highlighted the best of both shows, it could work as a concept.
· WWE has one more chance to get it together next week as Goldberg and Lesnar will be face-to-face inside a wrestling ring for the first time in over twelve years. Both men should have the creative license to handle their business like legit badasses.
· Plus, Stephanie McMahon has issued an invitation to Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan to appear on Raw to have a State of The WWE Universe Address. It’s bound to be pointless and stupid, but Daniel Bryan is a professional shade artist who will make things interesting based on his sharp wit alone. Outside of that, I am not looking forward to this corporate pow-wow. Let’s hope Goldberg and Lesnar give people their money’s worth because this faux brand wars crap is bound to put a wet blanket on the festivities. Serenity Now!
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!