By: Keila Cash
Hello everyone and welcome to another installment of The Raw Exposé. Tonight’s episode of Monday Night Raw emanated from the Spectrum Center in Charlotte, North Carolina. Two title matches were set from last week as The New Day defended their Tag Team Titles against Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson while Charlotte and Sasha Banks faced off for the Raw Women’s Championship. The latter match featured a couple of twists and turns along the way which ended the night on a shocking note to say the least. Did The Queen retain her title or did The Boss dethrone the Champ in her hometown to return the favor from last month? The answer to that question can be found throughout this blog. Without further ado, let’s dissect tonight’s episode of Raw in no particular order.
· The most notable thing about the opening segment is Roman Reigns challenging Kevin Owens to a match. If he wins, he will vie for the WWE Universal Championship at the Roadblock PPV next month. Owens accepted as the opener came to an end.
· Also, Jericho did an awesome job selling dejection after Owens told him to shut up as he was about to put Reigns on The List. Owens didn’t apologize for the outburst which made matters worse. This is the first clear sign of the bromance hitting a speed bump. Their breakup will be sad and glorious at the same time.
· Y2J also gets props for saying that Sin Cara was wearing a Jericho mask when he attacked Rollins last week. The Mask of Jericho is another great moniker that worked to perfection.
· Finally, Owens had a hard time saying the word Universal and Jericho did a marvelous job covering for his best buddy when he said that Owens was speaking in another language.
· The Canadian Brothers from another mother continued their spat backstage which ended with Jericho walking away from his best friend. It appears that Owens will be on his own when he faces Reigns later tonight. If this is another ruse by Jeri-KO, their “Boy Who Cried Wolf” motif is going to run its course pretty fast.
· Braun Strowman made quick work of R-Truth when he pinned him with a running power slam. The match was short and sweet.
· Goldust tried to come to R-Truth’s aid, but Strowman cut him off at the pass.
· Zayn tried to make the save, but Strowman took him out as well. The referee crew made their way to the ring to stop the big man from hurting Zayn further. Mick Foley also came out to survey the damage.
· Sami Zayn let Foley have it on the microphone as he called him a hypocrite for holding him back from facing Strowman. If Foley never backed down from a fight, Zayn should have the same opportunity to face a man that is bigger, sicker, and stronger than he is.
· Something flew out of Foley’s mouth during their promo exchange. It was probably the bottom set of his false teeth that popped out when he was getting emotional on the mic.
· Zayn showed great passion as he vented about being treated like a doormat as of late. Those sentiments resonated with fans who’ve felt the same way when it comes to the booking of his character in recent months.
· Foley revealed that Stephanie McMahon wanted to fire Zayn, but he showed mercy by putting him in the match against Strowman as a form of punishment. Despite that revelation, Foley has lost his edge since going corporate. Perhaps Zayn’s rant was the kick in the ass Foley needed in order to be the man he used to be.
· Cedric Alexander returned to his hometown only to lose to Tony Nese in a competitive match. Drew Gulak provided the assist which allowed Nese to drop Alexander with a Pump Handle Slam for the win.
· WWE followed up on Alicia Fox flirting with Alexander as she watched his match backstage on the monitor. This is the first true sign of character development in the Cruiserweight Division. I consider that a step in the right direction. Here’s hoping the other wrestlers get a little shine in the personality department on Raw and 205 Live which debuts tomorrow night.
· Seth Rollins attacked Jericho in the parking lot and finished him off with a Pedigree on the roof of a car. The execution wasn’t pretty, but it’s hard to be graceful when one is doing a high impact move on a piece of machinery. Outside of that, the surprise ambush was good.
· Charlotte and Sasha Banks will conclude their feud in a Fall Counts Anywhere match later tonight per the order of Mick Foley.
· Foley didn’t want their rivalry to end via a double count out and decided to give both ladies a breather before their high-stakes match. It was a great decision and their match should be very good. Perhaps this is their chance to make up for that lackluster finish at Hell in a Cell last month.
· Enzo Amore made some sexually suggestive comments about Lana which pissed off Rusev. The Bulgarian Brute kicked him in the groin which led to an automatic disqualification. However, it should be noted that Lana didn’t seem offended by Enzo’s comments. Just an observation…
· Rich Swann kicked Noam Dar into next month as he picked up an emphatic win heading into his Cruiserweight Championship match against Brian Kendrick tomorrow night on 205 Live. Swann and Dar had a solid match while it lasted.
· Swann vs. Kendrick should be very good. Here’s hoping that Mr. You Can’t Handle This will be the new standard-bearer of the division.
· There’s nothing like commiserating over drinks in order to bring a tag team closer together. Sheamus and Cesaro finally bonded as a team after kicking some ass at a local bar in Charlotte. The acting from the peanut gallery was horrible, but the bar fight was fun for the most part. Cesaro is not down with the Guinness way of life, but it appears that he is willing to give Sheamus another chance as his tag team partner. The duo could be a formidable force if they manage to get on the same page.
· Roman Reigns nailed Kevin Owens with a Spear and will go on to face Owens in a rematch for the Universal Championship at Roadblock: End of The Line next month.
· Reigns and Owens had a good match that featured hard hitting action throughout. Both men traded stiff forearms and punches which elicited a split reaction from the crowd. Owens countered Reigns’ first Spear attempt and was about to set up the Popup Powerbomb before he got drilled with a Spear. Both men are capable of doing more and I expect them to have a great match in Pittsburgh on December 18th.
· Owens does a great job berating the robotic backstage interviewers. His ad-lib of needing a water bottle when he started to cough was awesome.
· Paul Heyman was tremendous during his sit-down interview with Michael Cole. He was unshaven and openly crying over Brock Lesnar’s shocking loss to Goldberg at Survivor Series last Sunday. Heyman took method acting to a whole new level which makes things feel real on a scripted show.
· Heyman announced that Lesnar would be in the Royal Rumble. Because of this, there would be 28 losers and one victim who goes by the name of Goldberg. That was an excellent line as Lesnar is in seek and destroy mode. The Alamo Dome will be rocking come January. To quote Heyman, “That’s not a prediction. It’s a spoiler.”
· The New Day are closing in on Demolition’s record as they successfully defended their Tag Team Titles against Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson. It was a good match that could have went longer, but the fact that both teams survived the 10:00 P.M. Lull Period of Death is a victory in of itself.
· Gallows and Anderson had the match under control when Anderson rolled up Xavier Woods with a handful of tights. Woods reversed the pin attempt and beat Anderson at his own game by grabbing a handful of tights to pick up the win.
· It should be noted that Woods was wrestling in elf shoes. Yes, you read that correctly. WWE Shop is selling elf apparel to ring in the holiday season.
· Big E risked life and limb as he laid out Anderson with a sick dive through the ropes. It’s a great spot, but I’m afraid Big E is going to hurt himself sooner or later because there is not a lot cushion to soften his fall. Here’s hoping he retires that spot for his own good.
· Sasha Banks won the Raw Women’s Championship for the third time when she made Charlotte tap out to a modified version of the Bank Statement while The Queen was trapped between the guard rail. It was an inventive spot to end the match on a high note.
· Afterward, Ric Flair made a surprise appearance as he raised Sasha’s hand in victory before giving her a hug in the middle of the ring. Charlotte was weeping in the crowd while Sasha continued her celebration as the show went off the air.
· As always, Charlotte and Sasha delivered the goods in the ring. It was an entertaining title bout from start to finish. Both ladies took incredible risks with the biggest being Charlotte laying out Sasha with a moonsault from the announce table onto the floor.
· Sasha had her own moment she nailed Charlotte with the double knees from the top of the barricade. It was a match filled with drama and exhilarating near falls.
· Seeing Sasha win the Women’s Title for the third time on Raw waters down her first two wins, but here’s hoping it sticks this time around. Mick Foley mentioned that this was their final match against each other for the time being. If that’s the case, this is the best way to blow off their feud. I think there needs to be a two-year moratorium on Sasha vs. Charlotte matches. Each bout has been special, but it’s time for both ladies to move on to bigger and better things.
· Charlotte is 0-3 when it comes to defending her title on Raw, but her PPV undefeated streak remains intact. She will get a chance to keep that streak alive when once Banks drops the strap. That’s the best option at this point.
· As for Sasha, this is her chance to have a long title reign. I am sure Nia Jax will challenge for the belt, but the real money feud is Sasha vs. Bayley. They had a tense exchange prior to the main event and one has to assume that Sasha is turning heel sooner rather than later. She’s better in that role as her matches are more vicious in nature.
· With the debut of Emmalina coming soon, there are enough moving pieces in place for The Boss to turn heel leading up to her inevitable WrestleMania feud with Bayley next year. It’s the perfect dream scenario if everything falls into place. Here’s hoping the creative team can get from Point A to Point B with the greatest of ease.
· Overall, I thought tonight’s episode of Raw was solid. The show was light on fluff and heavy on good in-ring action. Everyone that got television time deserved it. Sami Zayn spoke his mind and told Mick Foley to grow a spine, both title matches delivered on the wrestling front, and Roman Reigns punched his ticket to Roadblock by defeating Kevin Owens in a nontitle match.
· Also, Rollins got a measure of revenge on Jericho and the Cruiserweights weren’t treated as filler for a change.
· Plus, the three-hour show didn’t drag for a change. It breezed by which makes me a very happy camper. As always, consistency is key. WWE is capable of putting on a good show when they are motivated to do so. Can Raw string together back-to-back shows without using a title change in order to generate buzz? That’s the big question as the end of 2016 draws near. There have been major title changes in July, August, October, and November. All of those shows were good, but the follow-up sucked for the most part. Can the company break this pattern when the show emanates from Austin, Texas next week? We shall see.
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!