By Jason Powell
WWE Raw on the USA Network
Live from Denver, Colorado at Pepsi Center
The Raw opening video opened the show… Pyro shot off on the stage… Michael Cole, Corey Graves, and Byron Saxton were on commentary. Cole noted that we’re under two weeks away from Hell in a Cell, and he said they would set the stage. Cole hyped the return of Goldberg. Graves hyped Lita interviewing Sasha Banks and Charlotte…
Kevin Owens’s music played and he headed to the ring with Chris Jericho. Footage aired of Seth Rollins beating Jericho in last week’s Raw main event, and then Owens failing to save Jericho for the second straight week. Cole hyped Owens vs. Rollins for HIAC. There was a loud “Y2J” chant.
Owens called the fans idiots and said he had something important to say. Owens said Mick Foley has a personal vendetta against him and proved it by forcing him to defend the title against Rollins in an HIAC match. The fans chanted Foley. “Quiet,” Jericho told the fans repeatedly before barking the last one at them. Jericho said it’s true that Foley has a vendetta against them. Jericho said everyone is acting like it’s a reward to be in HIAC, but it’s actually a nail in the coffin. Jericho put over the danger of the match.
Powell’s POV: Good for Jericho! Hopefully the rest of the company is on the same page. My biggest criticism last week was that WWE made it seem like a reward for the women to be in the match, which is ridiculous.
Owens got fired up while talking about HIAC. Jericho said he should have been in the match. He boasted about people’s he’s beaten, including The Rock and Steve Austin on the same night, and Undertaker for the world title. Jericho said if he can beat all of them, he can beat Rollins.
Powell’s POV: Jericho is a heel, but I’m still not a big fan of the message that today’s stars are not as significant as the Attitude Era wrestlers.
Jericho added the referee from last week to his list. Owens said he’s replaced Rollins as the man in WWE and in two weeks he will retire him. Rollins made his entrance to a decent reaction that faded, then picked up with a loud “Rollins” chant. Rollins told Jericho to put his scarf, tattoos, and sparkle crotch trunks on his list. “I am not sparkle crotch,” Jericho exclaimed.
Rollins told Jericho to put his friendship with Owens on the list. He brought up how Owens watched when he was Pedigreed two weeks in a row. Owens repeated the line about one of them needing to stay strong for the good of the team. Rollins said Owens stays strong while Jericho stays weak. Jericho got upset and boasted about his accomplishments.
Jericho told Rollins that he could beat him. Rollins said they could have a rematch and started heading toward the ring, but then stopped and asked what Owens was going to do. Jericho said Owens was leaving, while Owens simultaneously said he was staying. Jericho said he knows what’s happened the last two weeks and he thinks it’s best if he leaves right now. Jericho said he knows what Owens is doing because he knows all the tricks. He said it doesn’t change the fact that they are best friends. Jericho said he needs to remind Rollins and everyone else who he is. “I’m Chris Jericho, dammit.”
[Q2] Owens said he would be there in spirit, then they hugged. Rollins headed to the ring and Owens left. Cole hyped that Foley made the match official… [C]
Powell’s POV: A good exchange with the fans getting behind Rollins more than usual, and Jericho acknowledging that he knows what Owens has been up to. I continue to hope that this is leading to a Triple Threat at HIAC because the question of what Jericho will do is still more interesting to me than Owens vs. Rollins is at this point.
1. Seth Rollins vs. Chris Jericho. The fans chanted “Sparkle Crotch” at Jericho after Jericho yelled that it wasn’t his name. At 4:25, Jericho went for the Walls of Jericho. Rollins countered into a pin for two. Jericho ended up sending Rollins to ringside with a springboard dropkick heading into a break. [C] Jericho remained in control coming out of the break. Rollins came back with a running knee.
[Q3] Cole put over the HIAC structure. Graves brought up the altitude in Colorado potentially playing a factor in the match. The sports-like call didn’t get much play from Cole. Rollins hit a high knee and a falcon arrow for two. Rollins went up top.
Owens’ music played and he walked to ringside. Rollins leapt off the top rope and onto Jericho at ringside. Rollins hit a high knee and then set up for a Pedigree. Jericho countered into the Walls of Jericho. Rollins reached for the ropes. Owens was pulling the ropes back and the referee caught him. A short time later, Rollins blocked the Codebreaker and then hit the Pedigree for thew in…
Seth Rollins pinned Chris Jericho in 14:30.
Footage aired from Goldberg’s first match on WCW Nitro. Cole hyped his return. Graves hyped that Lita’s sit-down interview with Charlotte was coming up next… [C]
Powell’s POV: The broadcast team played up the idea that Owens being caught with the rope actually cost Jericho the match, so they are keeping the idea of Jericho snapping on Rollins alive. They are playing this well either way in that Rollins should not be losing match right now, so he’s the right guy to go over in television matches either way. At this point, I suspect Jericho will be in the HIAC match because they continue to make him such a big part of the story.
The Governor of Colorado John Hickenlooper was shown in the crowd and was booed by a few fans in attendance. Cole said Hickenlooper was at the show per the request of the Goldberg family…
Lita’s interview with Charlotte aired. Lita mentioned some of the legends associated with Hell in a Cell. She said Charlotte and Sasha Banks will be mentioned along with them. She asked how she prepares for a match like this. Charlotte spoke about being a winner. She also boasted that she’s the greatest superstar, male or female, in WWE.
Lita asked about Sasha being injured in some of their past matches. Charlotte said she is durable and a win is a win. Lita asked about beating the best when they are 100 percent. Charlotte said she is the very best because she’s always at 100 percent. Lita asked if it bothers Charlotte that the fans support Banks and that she’ll be facing Sasha in her hometown. Charlotte said Sasha will need her hometown. Charlotte said she never needed the WWE Universe. She said she’s genetically superior and it’s in her blood. Charlotte said Sasha needs the fan support because she might not be 100 percent that day unlike her…
[Q4] Graves hyped Lita’s interview with Sasha Banks for later in the show… R-Truth, Goldust, and Mark Henry made their entrance for a six-man tag match… [C]
Powell’s POV: Charlotte shined in the sit-down interview. She was very condescending in some of her responses to Lita and displayed a very believable arrogance throughout the interview.
2. R-Truth, Goldust, and Mark Henry vs. Titus O’Neil and The Shining Stars. Cole set up footage from the pre-show of how this match became about the babyfaces being forced to buy fake Rolex watches from the Stars if they lose. Yes, that’s really the stipulation. The Stars had the watches with them in the corner as the match got started. Henry performed the World’s Strongest Slam on O’Neil for the win…
R-Truth, Goldust, and Mark Henry beat Titus O’Neil and The Shining Stars in 3:15.
New Day were shown backstage carrying a #420 sign to signify their 420th day as champions… [C]
Powell’s POV: Boy, this Titus Brand thing is off to a great start. Meanwhile, the fact that New Day is celebrating 420 days while in a state where marijuana is legalized was not lost on Graves, who mentioned “420 in Denver” heading into the break. Hey, maybe that’s why the live crowd was so quiet during the six-man tag match. Nah, that’s not it.
Backstage, Jericho recalled telling Owens not to come to the ring. Jericho nearly called him a stupid idiot, but he stopped himself. Owens was offended and boasted that he’s the WWE Universal Champion.
[Q5] Jericho said he’s a six-time champion and is not Owens’s lackey. Stephanie McMahon showed up and said they were both letting Rollins inside their head. Stephanie brought up the Survivor Series challenge that Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan made. She said she needs her two best generals on the same page. Jericho calmed down and said he told Owens not to come down. Owens quietly said he was just trying to help…
Sheamus and Cesaro made their entrance. Cesaro was broadcasting the entrance on Facebook. Sheamus was not happy about it. Cole hyped their tag title match against New Day for Hell in a Cell. New Day made their entrance. After telling us it was 420 before the break, Cole said it had been 421 days for New Day as champs.
New Day delivered a promo from the ramp. Big E said Sheamus must be a mile high if he thinks he will beat him or the three of them with his “court appointed tag team partner.” Xavier Woods recalled Kofi Kingston beating Cesaro last week. Kingston said he wasn’t even at his best. He said everyone saw him slip on the springboard last week and he still won.
New Day once again called Sheamus a steaming hot pile of garbage. They also shamed him. Kingston said they’re probably not even Facebook friends. Woods said it doesn’t matter if they are friends on that platform, mentioned several others, and even mentioned the possibility of them sharing a WWE Network subscription before implying they would lose to New Day…
3. Sheamus (w/Cesaro) vs. Big E (w/Xavier Woods, Kofi Kingston). Sheamus performed an early suplex on the big man. Cesaro continued to film himself for Facebook. E came back and performed a splash on the apron. [C]
[Q6] Cesaro entered the crowd for his broadcast while the match continued. Shemaus went to ringside and yelled at Cesaro about it. Sheamus eventually took Cesaro’s phone and yelled into it, then gave it back to Cesaro and told him to film him. E caught Sheamus with a splash in the corner and rolled him up for the win…
Big E beat Sheamus in 10:15.
Footage aired of Goldberg beating Hulk Hogan on July 6, 1998… [C] An ad hyped AJ Styles vs. James Ellsworth for the WWE Championship as the main event of Smackdown Live…
Powell’s POV: I actually got a bigger kick out of Sheamus taking this approach last week than I did in seeing Cesaro do the turnabout is fair play routine. The live crowd ate it up, though. What they didn’t tell you about the Goldberg vs. Hogan match was that it was a huge mistake to hotshot it and give it away on free television rather than to build to a big pay-per-view showdown.
4. Neville vs. Bo Dallas (w/Curtis Axel). No televised entrance for Bo, who still has the stupid campaign sign. They replayed the match setup from the Raw Pre-Show, which is that Axel felt bad about what happened last week and got Foley to give Bo this match. An angry Bo threw elbows at Neville and told the crowd to Bolieve in Bo.
Neville came back with kicks. Neville went up top, but Bo rolled to ringside. Neville caught him with an Asai moonsault. “Innovative offense from Neville,” Cole said. Sigh. Back in the ring, Neville wowed the crowd with some flips across the ring. Bo came back and hit a neckbreaker finish for the clean win. After the match, Axel entered the ring and was pumped about Bo winning. Bo attacked Axel from behind and then worked him over at ringside, where he threw him into the barricade a couple times…
Bo Dallas pinned Neville in 2:50.
Saxton hyped Bayley vs. Dana Brooke for after the break…
Powell’s POV: Poor Neville. Look, I want to Bolieve, but I still have no idea what they are going for with his new gimmick. His new angry demeanor and serious approach makes it seem like he’s a new man, but he rhymes in promos, says “Bolieve in Bo” repeatedly, and carries around a fake political sign with the same cornball message. Will he at least stop carrying that awful sign after November 8?
[Q7] [C] 5. Bayley vs. Dana Brooke. Footage aired of Dana attacking Bayley following her hometown win last week. Late in the match, Bayley dropkicked Brooke through the ropes on the floor. Bayley went up top. Brooke pulled her down and then slammed her into the ring post casing. Brooke dragged her into the ring and looked like she wanted to put her feet on the ropes, but she was too far away, so she won clean…
Dana Brooke beat Bayley in 4:05.
Powell’s POV: I assume that was a botched finish given the way Brooke was reaching for the ropes with her foot. The broadcast team seemed surprised by the way it ended and then put over Brooke for winning fair and square.
The broadcast team sat at their desk and Cole said they were being joined by a special guest. Cole’s mic switched so that he could be heard by the live crowd. The fans chanted Goldberg. Paul Heyman appeared and the graphic read that he was in Stanford, Connecticut. Heyman said Goldberg wasn’t going to fly to Denver to say no to his challenge. He said Goldberg was going to say yes.
Heyman asked why Brock Lesnar didn’t challenge Goldberg face-to-face. “It’s because, Bill, Brock Lesnar doesn’t even think about you anymore,” he said. Heyman said it’s a video game and a fantasy. Heyman said his suggestion was to show up and respectfully just say no. Heyman said that Goldberg could piss off Lesnar if he says yes. He said Lesnar is already pissed that Goldberg beat him 12 years ago and thinks he can do it again.
[Q8] Heyman said the fans believe it because they chant Goldberg’s stupid name. The fans chanted on cue. Heyman told the fans that he could hear everything they were saying and that would piss off Lesnar too. Heyman said that if Goldberg says yes, he’s going to be beaten, victimized, and conquered. He said he would be embarrassed, humbled, and humiliated by the ass kicking top attraction that Goldberg still fantasizes that he can be… [C]
Powell’s POV: A good promo with Heyman heeling on Denver in order to get the desired reaction of cheers for Goldberg. Will the Toronto fans cheer for Goldberg if the match takes place at Survivor Series as expected now that Lesnar has moved to Canada? Heyman and Lesnar were able to turn a Twin Cities crowd against them years ago with a simple pre-show video, so we’ll see what happens.
Cole spoke about the company’s work with the cancer charity…
6. Braun Strowman vs. The Mile High Trio. Saxton interviewed the jobbers before the match and they put over being from Denver. One of them claimed that there wasn’t a man in the world who could beat the three of them. He lied. Strowman dumped two them to ringside, then threw the third man high over the top rope and onto his partners on the floor. One of the three jobbers tried to leave, but Strowman chased him down and threw him back inside the ring. Strowman eventually won by slamming one man face first onto one of his opponents…
Braun Strowman defeated The Mile High Trio in 2:20.
After the match, Strowman said he was coming backstage to take matters into his own hand since Foley wouldn’t give him better competition. Sami Zayn made his entrance. Strowman shoved Zayn to the mat and then headed backstage…
Cole hyped that Rusev had a message for Roman Reigns… [C]
Powell’s POV: An impressive squash with Strowman just destroying the trio. That big toss over the top rope was great. Zayn stepping up to be Strowman’s first real challenger is fun. I also got a kick out of Graves saying that one of the trio wrestlers looked like No Way Jose’s less threatening relative.
[Q9] Backstage, Sami Zayn was asked why he picked a fight with Strowman. “Because nobody else will,” he answered…
Lana introduced Rusev, who cut a promo about crushing Roman Reigns in Hell in a Cell and taking back his U.S. Title. There was a brief USA chant. Rusev yelled in a foreign language and promoted “What?” taunts. Rusev had Lana say that they all need to understand he is the greatest U.S. Champion, but she knows as his wife that he is also a phenomenal family man unlike the weak fans who have pathetic family values. Rusev said Reigns talks about his family all the time. He said Reigns has 700 Samoans sitting around a campfire dipping a turkey leg in mayo and paying attention to everything he does.
Rusev set up shots of his family on the big screen. It started with a photo of his mother, who is a rowing champion and stronger than any American woman. Lana said she is beautiful and she loves Momma Rusev. Fans booed. “Don’t you dare boo my mother,” Rusev yelled. Awesome. Rusev said he didn’t legalize stupidity.
A photo was shown of Rusev’s father. Rusev said you could see where he gets his good looks from. He said his father served in the military for three years and became a wrestling champion. “We love you, Poppa Rusev,” Lana said. Rusev also showed a picture of his brother, then a picture of his grandmother and his family dog.
Roman Reigns came out. He ended up saying Rusev would call 911. Lana slapped Reigns. Rusev gave him a superkick. Rusev worked over Reigns at ringside and threw him into the ring steps, which is pretty much a weekly thing for Reigns at this point. Rusev picked up the steps and slammed them into Reigns before throwing him back inside the ring. Rusev gave Reigns the Accolade on a piece of the ring steps set up in the ring…
Footage aired of The Rock telling fans they could kiss the people’s ass. Goldberg showed up and told him that he’s next before spearing him… Paul Heyman will appear on ESPN(ews) SportsCenter on Wednesday…
Powell’s POV: Fortunately, Rusev didn’t show off pictures of a well-endowed son like Borat did. Rusev needed to get the better of Reigns after being beaten up by him repeatedly. Hopefully they can make it through the night without giving away Reigns getting revenge.
[Q10] [C] The Emmalina teaser video aired…
7. Big Cass (w/Enzo Amore) vs. Karl Anderson (w/Luke Gallows). Before the match, Enzo delivered a promo (he found Mr. Kennedy’s old microphone). The match spilled to ringside where Cass threw Enzo into Gallows. Back inside the ring, Cass hit the spinning side slam for the win…
Big Cass beat Karl Anderson in 1:10.
Backstage, Brian Kendrick, Tony Nese, and Drew Gulak were in a room with TJ Perkins, who asked if Kendrick promised his sidekicks a shot at the title if they roughed him up. Cedric Alexander and Rich Swann showed up and said they were scheduled for a six-man tag later. Perkins said he had some allies after all…
Graves hyped Lita’s interview with Sasha Banks… [C]
Powell’s POV: This is normally the part where I complain about the misuse of Anderson and Gallows. WWE has made me numb to the point that I’ve officially stopped caring.
[Q11] The broadcast team set up Lita’s interview with Sasha Banks, who spoke about making history inside HIAC and proving she is the best. Lita brought up Charlotte saying HIAC would be her night. Sasha said it’s in her hometown and it’s her night. Sasha spoke about the women’s revolution and being the first woman inside HIAC. Lita asked about her back injury. Sasha said she got a little ahead of herself, but she’s back and she’s 100 percent. Lita asked if there’s any part of her that’s afraid of HIAC. She said it’s not fear. She said she’s been watching HIAC matches. She said she knows that it can’t be fear because it’s not an option for her…
The broadcast team spoke about the interview and the women’s HIAC match, then shifted to setting up footage of Goldberg beating Triple H to win the World Heavyweight Championship in 2003… Cole hyped Goldberg’s return… Saxton hyped the cruiserweight six-man tag for after the break… [C]
8. Brian Kendrick, Drew Gulak, and Anthony Nese vs. TJ Perkins, Cedric Alexander, and Rich Swann. All six men received televised entrances. Kendrick shot Perkins a great snide look from the ring. They all obeyed the Code of Honor or whatever WWE wants to call it.
[Q12] They cut to break two minutes into the match. [C] The babyface trio was on the offensive coming out of the break. Swann went up top, but Gulak caught him with a high knee. Nese performed a 450 splash. Kendrick tagged himself into the match and applied the Captain’s Hook and won via submission when Nese held the foot of Perkins…
Brian Kendrick, Drew Gulak, and Anthony Nese beat TJ Perkins, Cedric Alexander, and Rich Swann in 7:15.
Powell’s POV: I like the finish with Kendrick tagging himself into the match selfishly. I wasn’t a big fan of Swann holding on as long as he did before tapping out given that Kendrick’s submission hold should be over big heading into his title match.
Backstage, Stephanie McMahon and Mick Foley spoke about the Survivor Series challenge. They spoke about going three for three, then boasted about booking three HIAC matches. Stephanie asked Foley what he had up his sleeve for next Monday night. Foley booked Jericho vs. Rollins vs. Owens in a Triple Threat as the main event of Raw. They high-fived…
Cole hyped Goldberg as coming up next and worked in a plug for the WWE video game… [C]
Powell’s POV: Have they actually accepted the Survivor Series challenge? They spoke about it, but there was no official announcement. They have to play this game for another week if they are going to wait until after the HIAC pay-per-view to make the announcement. By the way, either they stuck with the shot too long, or Stephanie looked like she turned off her high-five enthusiasm quickly once Foley started walking away.
New Day vs. Sheamus and Cesaro in a non-title match was announced for next week’s Raw. The hosts also hyped the Owens vs. Jericho vs. Rollins non-title Triple Threat for next week…
Powell’s POV: Do they go with the Triple Threat inside HIAC if Jericho wins the match next week?
Michael Cole stood in the ring and set up footage of Golberg’s appearance on ESPN(ews). Footage of Heyman’s challenge of Goldberg to a fight last week was also shown.
[Overrun] Cole introduced Goldberg as the greatest champion in WCW history. Goldberg walked backstage minus any security, but they had various WWE wrestlers and personnel clapping as he walked through the backstage area. The fans chanted Goldberg. They were sure to show the Colorado governor chanting along.
The fans popped when Goldberg’s pryro went off on the stage. Goldberg breathed out smoke just as he once did. Goldberg came out wearing a black jacket and black jeans and shook hands with some fans at ringside and hugged children. He had to be censored as he entered the ring. Goldberg looked at the crowd opposite the hard camera before turning around. He pointed at fans on the hard camera side.
Goldberg’s familiar music stopped playing and the loud Goldberg chants continued. Goldberg bowed to the fans. Goldberg got choked up and the fans stopped chanting and cheered. Goldberg stood on the middle rope and played to them. The fans chanted “holy shit” loudly. The fans chanted “this is awesome” and Goldberg thanked them.
Goldberg spoke in the mic and said it’s been a long time “and you didn’t forget.” The fans chanted “this is awesome” again. Cole said we heard his comments and Heyman’s comments, then he said the floor was his. Goldberg thanked Cole.
“Twelve years, ladies and gentlemen,” he started. “Never say never, eh? I never thought I’d be in this ring again, so thank you for the humble return.” Goldberg said what makes it so special is that his wife and son are there to see him for the first time ever. They were shown standing next to the Colorado governor.
Goldberg said he got a call about the video game and he travelled the world to promote the game. He said the thing he misses aside from kicking ass is being a superhero for the kids all over the world. He said that in this day and age there are not enough of them. Goldberg said he could go to Germany and Toronto and shake the hands of the kids, and he could see in their eyes that he was Goldberg. The fans chanted his name again.
Goldberg thanked the fans again. He said he was given the opportunity to be the superhero again, but along the way he created a little drama in WWE. Goldberg used a towel to wipe the sweat from his head. Goldberg said he thought long and hard and he thinks maybe it’s best left alone and he keeps it in the video game. The fans chanted no.
“But then…” the fans cheered. “Brock Lesnar challenged me to a fight.” Goldberg said Lesnar didn’t have the balls to do it himself. He said Lesnar had hit “fat little stooge” Heyman deliver the the challenge for him. Goldberg asked what you would do. Fans chanted yes.
Goldberg said he thought to himself that maybe he has one more ass kicking left in him. Goldberg said he thought maybe he has one more spear and one more Jackhammer left in him. Goldberg looked into the camera and said, “Not only does that mean that you’re next, but most importantly it means, Brock Lesnar, you’re last.” Goldberg dropped the mic and left the ring while Cole played up Goldberg having one more match. Goldberg hugged fans at ringside and brought a young fan over the guardrail and held him up briefly.
Goldberg headed to the other side of the ring where his family was located. Goldberg picked up his son on his shoulder and walked around the ringside area. Goldberg’s wife was shown again. Goldberg put his son down, and his son ran back over to his mom. Cole announced that Brock Lesnar will appear on Raw next week to respond to Goldberg. Meanwhile, Goldberg continued to celebrate with fans around the ringside area, stopping to hug kids before heading up the ramp and slapping hands with fans along the aisle. Once at the top of the stage, Goldberg raised his arms triumphantly to close the show…
Powell’s POV: Goldberg was great. He’s never been a great talker, but he was really fun here. It was cool to see him get emotional as he’s always come off like a guy who could take or leave the wrestling industry, but he was clearly overwhelmed by the ovation he received. His first appearance could not have gone better. He sounded confident, he was great with the fans, and his closing line was spot on. An excellent moment and one that made me look forward to his return to the ring. I will have more to say about Goldberg’s return and the rest of the show in tonight’s member exclusive WWE Raw audio review. Thanks for watching along with me.