By Jake Barnett
WWE Raw on the USA Network
Live from Minneapolis, Minnesota at Target Center
The show began with the typical Raw kick off video. Once the show cut to the arena, the announce team put over the triple main event at Hell in a Cell, and Brock Lesnar’s appearance to respond to Goldberg later tonight. They also stated that Kevin Owens must face Chris Jericho and Seth Rollins in a Triple Threat match, at which point Chris Jericho made his entrance into the arena.
Jericho looked like someone ran over his dog, and took on a somber tone. He said he had terrible news that he had to share. He said the scheduled triple threat match for tonight between himself, his best friend Kevin Owens, and Seth Rollins is postponed indefinitely. He said something unfathomable, and so terrible happened that it could ruin people’s lives and alter the course of the WWE. Jericho looked straight at the camera and said that someone has stolen the list of Jericho. He said he wouldn’t wrestle, do anything backstage, or anything else for the company until someone returns the list. He then said he wouldn’t leave the ring until someone man’s up, and he was then interrupted by Kevin Owens.
The crowd chanted “Where’s the list!” and Jericho asked him where it was. Owens barked that he doesn’t know who has the list and quite frankly doesn’t care about it. He said he would help Jericho find the list, but only after they took care of Seth Rollins. He told Jericho they needed to take care of business and get on the same page right now. Jericho said his deepest darkest emotional secrets are on that list, and it was his private property, and there would be no Triple Threat Match until that happens. Stephanie McMahon interrupted and told Jericho she would help Jericho get his list back, but first he had to listen to his best friend.
Stephanie told Jericho to stop being ridiculous, and that he had a triple threat match in the main event of Raw. Jericho said he was tired of being interrupted and being told what other people want, because until he gets the list back there is no Triple Threat Match. Seth Rollins then walked out with the list clearly behind his back, and Jericho lost it. Stephanie McMahon demanded he bring it down to the ring, but Rollins told him she might be interested in knowing that she was on the list for putting Kevin Owens in the Hell in a Cell match. Owens piped up and told him he wasn’t going to get away with it, and Rollins replied that the last name on the list was “My former best friend Kevin Owens”.
Jericho said he had taken in too far and that Kevin Owens was an honorable man fit to be his best friend. He then demanded it back, and Rollins said he would, but first he wanted to alter it and start a list of his own. Rollins said the list wouldn’t be of stupid idiots, it would be of all the body parts on Kevin Owens that wouldn’t be the same after Hell in a Cell. He listed off a few and then skipped to the end, where he named his ego. He said when he pedigrees Owens through the mat at Hell in a Cell, he would send a message to Owens and the McMahon’s that he would stop at nothing to tear down their new establishment. He then told Jericho if he wants the list back, he could come and get it. Rollins then walked to the back…[c]
My Take: Jericho was great here having a panic attack over the list, and sadly Owens and Rollins were still the weaker elements of this story. I don’t buy Rollins as this anti-establishment babyface yet, and Owens has suffered as a result of being somewhat outshined by the charismatic Jericho.
Backstage, Stephanie McMahon walked backstage and was approached by Stephanie McMahon. She demanded to know where the list was, and Rollins asked if she wanted to know if she was really on the list. She said she didn’t care, but Rollins blew her off. She said she’s a narcissist and that it’s always been about her, but after he wins the WWE Universal Championship, he would finally put an end to the establishment running the show.
Enzo and Cass made their entrance to do their shtick, but Enzo’s mic cut off. Gallows and Anderson walked down and told them that their show had been cancelled, and they were happy to be the ones to put an end to their nonsense. Enzo and Cass finished their shtick without microphones, relying on the crowd to follow along with their voices and movements, and it came off great.
1. Enzo vs. Karl Anderson: Enzo got in a few shots early, but Anderson hit a nice spinebuster to take control after the opening sequence…[c]
We saw some back and forth after the break, with Tag Team shenanigans making up the bulk of the action. Gallows tried to get involved in the match, which prompted Big Cass to jump up on the apron to alert the ref. The ref got distracted by Cass, and Anderson went for a rollup with some assistance from Gallows. The ref turned around to deal with Gallows, and Cass unloaded on Anderson. Enzo the covered for the pin.
Enzo defeated Karl Anderson
After the match, Enzo and Cass celebrated as the announce team talked about how they stole the match…[c]
My Take: This feud needs a little more pro wrestling and a little less sports entertainment. The stakes don’t feel very high and while it’s entertaining to watch it doesn’t feel very serious. This needs to get personal and a lot less cute before it can hope to get to the next level.
Rusev was shown against a black background. He said sometimes he doesn’t sleep at night, but last night he slept like a baby, because Roman Reigns hold over the United States Title would be over soon. Rusev said that Reigns had done despicable things to him and his wife, but on Sunday, he would do despicable things to him. He said he was not afraid of Hell in a Cell, because he was not afraid of Roman Reigns. He said the cage is only as dangerous as your opponent, and Roman would have to be locked in with him. Rusev then said that Reigns would walk in as a champion, but would walk out Crushed.
New Day made their entrance and tossed out some boxes of Booty-O’s. They said tonight, they would face one of the greatest athletes in the world Cesaro, and his partner Sheamus. They slowed down his name into “Shame Us”, and said shame on us for allowing him to come down to the ring to bore us every week. They asked who wants to see Sheamus, and said nobody. Big E even snuck in a reference to Bill Simmons burying Sheamus on twitter. They then said that after Hell in a Cell, they would remain the WWE World Tag Team Champions, and did some dancing…[c]
Sheamus and Cesaro made their entrances. A conversation was shown from backstage earlier where they failed to get on the same page.
2. Sheamus and Cesaro vs. New Day: Cesaro showed some power early with a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker on Kofi. He then tagged in Sheamus, and they hit a double team axehandle smash. Sheamus continued to hit strikes on Kofi in the corner, but he missed Kofi in the corner, and then ate a cross body from the top. Kofi tagged in Big E, and they proceeded to hit some tag team offense in their corner and proceeded to cut Sheamus off in the corner. Sheamus rolled to the outside, where he and Cesaro bickered about getting in together…[c]
Sheamus and Cesaro put it together during the break with a lariat from Sheamus, and had Kofi isolated in their corner. Kofi avoided an attack and rolled up Sheamus in a school boy, but only got a two count. Sheamus then sent Kofi out on the apron for clubs to the chest, and followed up with a big knee. Cesaro tagged back in and went for a suplex, but Kofi flipped out of it. Cesaro ran at Kofi in the corner and ate the post, allowing both teams to make a tag.
Big E entered and threw Sheamus for some suplexes. Sheamus countered with an Irish Curse Backbreaker and a running knee. Big E caught Sheamus running into the corner and hit a Uranage for a near fall. After some more brawling we saw Sheamus and Big E spill out to the floor. Cesaro entered to hit an impressive deadlift vertical suplex on Kofi. Kofi replied with an SOS and covered for a near fall.
Rapid fire action broke out heading into the finish. Cesaro setup for a Cesaro Swing on Big E, but Kofi jumped at him and hit a crossbody. Cesaro managed to avoid the brunt of the damage and make a tag. Big E launched Kofi to the outside at Cesaro, where he landed on an uppercut. In the ring, Big E turned around into a Brogue Kick for the win.
Cesaro and Sheamus defeated New Day
After the match, Cesaro and Sheamus continued to bicker about who did the most damage in the match. The announcers cut to a video package for the returning Goldberg last week. Lesnar was plugged for later.
Backstage, Jericho scoured the locker room for The List, and confronted a few lower card talents. He told The Shining Stars they were from The Dominican, told Titus his brand sucks, and mocked Jinder Mahal’s Breathing exercises…[c]
My Take: I enjoyed New Day vs. Sheamus and Cesaro, but I can’t say I enjoy either of their acts at this point. I might enjoy Cesaro and Sheamus more once they pick a direction as a team, but the Odd Couple arrangement of it hasn’t really done much for me thus far. New Day is popular and entertaining as always, but I feel like they hit a point and just stopped growing as a team. Maybe some time away from the title will help them come up with some new material. Rusev’s backstage promo was well done, though I wish they would have had him take on a more serious tone earlier on in this feud.
Dana Brooke was already in the ring, and Bayley made her entrance. Dana grabbed a mic and was outaged that the WWE Universe thought that her win last week was an upset. She said someone that looks like her beating someone like Bayley can never be considered an upset. But, because she’s a good person, she offered he a rematch. But it wasn’t just any rematch, it was an arm wrestling match.
Suddenly an Arm Wrestling Table appeared, and the ref brought them together. Dana wanted Bayley to use her bad shoulder, and Dana quicly won. She then offered her another shot using her good arm, and this time Bayley put up a fight. As soon as it appeared that Bayley was getting an advantage, Dana took a cheap shot. She then took some free shots at Bayley’s bad shoudler. Dana then threw down the arm wrestling table, and turned around into Bayley to Belly. Bayley talked trash to Dana, who rolled out to the floor in shock. The contract signing between Charlotte and Sasha was advertised for tonight, and the main event was hyped.
Jericho was shown backstage with Stephanie McMahon, and he demanded she help him find the list. She told him that he was off his game, and that she was very busy putting together teams for Survivor Series and making sure Hell in a Cell happens without problems. He held his ground and said he wouldn’t compete until he gets the List, and Stephanie scolded him that he would be suspended if he didn’t compete, list or not…[c]
My Take: Why couldn’t they just bring Emma back as she was and put Dana back with her at this point. That was working, and it would be much better than what they are trying to do with her now. She comes across as too comedic to be a serious heel, and would be much better as a pest working with a much stronger character. They tried that with Charlotte, but the chemistry wasn’t there and it was never going to work long term. Emma could reconnect with her and they could take off again. Bayley needs a stronger character to work off of to fit into her underdog role.
Curtis Axel was in the ring lamenting being l layed out by Bo Dallas last week. He said he had to reevaluate what he really believed it. He talked about digging deep in his past and remembering that he carries the legacy of his Grandfather Larry The Axe and his father Mr. Perfect. He led the crowd in a skol axel skol chant, and Bo Dallas then made his entrance.
3. Bo Dallas vs. Curtis Axel: Bo took a cheap shot early, but Axel came back fired up. Bo hit a kick and set up for his finisher, but Axel reversed into a Perfect Plex for a nearfall. Bo took over after rolling to the outside and regrouping, pulling Axel into the apron and taking free shots at him. Axel fought to his feet out of a chin lock and hit a running elbow. Axel fired up the crowd and hit a running knee. Axel continued on offense, but Bo used a momentary hesitation getting mixed up in the ropes to roll up Axel and use some extra leverage to pick up the win.
Bo Dallas defeated Curtis Axel
Bo grabbed his sign and walked up the ramp as Axel looked on in disbelief…[c]
My Take: Aside from the hometown noise, there was nothing there. Axel has the charisma of a ham sandwich and nobody will ever get over holding a goofy sign on a stick.
Backstage, Jericho found Braun Strowman with the list. He asked Jericho to say please, and he complied. Strowman said Sami Zayn wasn’t on the list, and he gave it back to him. Jericho then put Strowman on the list, but not until he was a safe distance away. We then got Roman Reigns against a black screen, where he said Rusev had no idea what it’s like to win inside Hell in a Cell, but he does. He said Rusev accused him of making it personal, but he hadn’t made it personal, but he would at Hell in a Cell. Reigns told Rusev that Sunday wouldn’t be about his wedding celebration, it would be about the the United States Championship. He then said he would see Rusev in hell.
Golden Truth made their entrance to the ring with Mark Henry. Lyrics were on the screen with R-Truth and Goldust’s heads bouncing between the words…[c]
My Take: I’m still amazed Chris Jericho has gotten over a list of names. It’s a testament to his originality.
The Shining Stars made their entrance with Titus O’Neil.
4. The Shining Stars vs. The Golden Truth: Primo and Epico controlled Goldust in the early going. They hit a double team dropkick that got a near fall, but Epico ran into a Goldust powerslam shortly after. Both teams made a tag at this point, and R-Truth cleaned house on Primo with a Stinger Splash and a flying forearm. Titus low bridged R-Truth and he crashed to the floor, and Mark Henry got in his face. Primo was on the top rope when Henry tossed Titus into the ring, and Primo got crotched on the ropes. The Golden Truth then hit Solid Gold and got the win.
The Golden Truth defeated The Shining Stars
Charlotte and Sasha’s contract signing is next…[c]
My Take: I miss the good old days of the Hall of Pain. Mark Henry could be used much more judiciously and more impactfully than he is now. It’s a real shame.
Mick Foley was in the ring for the contract signing. He said one of the great things about being a WWE Superstar is never knowing when a moment will become immortalized. He said there is a chance at any time that something you do will be remembered forever. He said Sunday would be historic with the first Womens Match in Hell in a Cell, and he would introduce both competitors. He first introduced the challenger, Charlotte, followed by Champion Sasha Banks.
Sasha and Charlotte immediately shoved away their chairs. Mick said since they both arrived in the performance center, they have broken glass ceilings on the way to becoming two of the biggest Superstars in the WWE. Mick took a shot at traditionalist who say Hell in a Cell is too barbaric for Women, but once they sign the contract it will become a reality. Sasha said she has never been more ready for anything in her life. Charlotte said that she was ready to put the title back on the shoulder of the queen. Charlotte got increasingly angry at Mick as he refused to immediately hand her the contract.
Mick told them to listen to him. Sasha said she knew what she was getting into, but Mick berated both of them for not understanding at all. He said it will haunt their dreams for their entire careers, and just when they think it’s behind them, it will sneak up on them and make them cry like children. Charlotte piped up and told Mick that she’s the only reason that title means anything, and just because a second rate talent holds it right now, doesn’t mean that she won’t be the greatest Women’s Champion in WWE history.
Sasha replied that she might be the second Women’s Champion, but she would be the greatest one of all time because no matter how many times she falls she comes back more legit than ever. She was ready to enter the cell with Charlotte, and she has no fear. Charlotte replied that she didn’t either. Mick piped up again and said that they both should be. He said he hobbles to the ring every week with pain in every step because of the decisions he made and what the cell did to him. He has a painful curvature in his spine and bone on bone in his knees and hips because of his career, and they know the kind of pity he gets backstage. He wants them to both acknowledge the risks that lie ahead of them before they sign their contracts.
Mick took a sentimental turn and told Charlotte that the only thing he and her Dad agree on is how much they believe in her. He told Sasha that his kids gave her signed pictures of Eddie Guerrero, and said that he was part of his legacy now, and how proud he would have been that he inspired her career. He said he was a jaded fan not that long ago, but the women’s revolution made him believe again. He again demanded they recognize what Hell in a Cell might mean for their futures.
Charlotte grabbed the contract and signed it, and said she’d meet Sasha in Boston. Sasha signed it and said she’d see Charlotte in hell. Brock Lesnar was hyped for later, and TJP was hyped for next…[c]
My Take: This was a much better segment than I expected, largely thanks to the passion and sincerity of Mick Foley. I think Charlotte and Sasha held up their end ok, but you can tell they just don’t have the ability to go to a different place when cutting promos. Sasha still has issues with mumbling and Charlotte still has issues with mistaking speaking loudly for emotion. Mick managed to tie it all together in a way that it was better than the sum of its parts.
TJ Perkins joined on commentary. Kendrick made his entrance and stared down Perkins the entire way. Rich Swann then made his entrance, and TJ said he was “his guy”, whatever he means.
5. Rich Swann vs. Brian Kendrick: Kendrick hit a shoulder block to start the offense, but Swann fired back with a beautiful dropkick that stunned him. Kendrick ended up on the outside, and Swann did a somersault plancha onto him that seemed to land awkwardly. Swann’s ass landed directly on Kendrick’s neck and shoulder, which is not how that was drawn up…[c]
Kendrick took control during the break and held onto a headlock in the ring. Swann used strikes to break free and they both began scrambling. Swann hit a jumping double stomp on Kendrick for a near fall. Kendrick went up to the top rope, but Swann grabbed him off the top with a head scissors. Swann continued the assault with a double underhook powerbomb, but Kendrick kicked out at two. Swann went for a standing moonsault, but he appeared to land awkwardly when Kendrick got the knees up.
Kendrick hit a kick to the head that scrambled Swann, but couldn’t sink in the Captain’s Hook. He went for it again, but Swann slipped out and rolled him up with a roll through for the win.
Rich Swann defeated Brian Kendrick
Swann celebrated as Kendrick and Perkins stared each other down. Backstage, Ken Owens was interviewed by Tom Phillips, who asked him how the triple threat would play out after all that has happened with The List. Owens said he and Jericho are on the same page, and they would break Seth Rollins tonight, and whatever was left of him would hobble into Hell in a Cell and make a pathetic attempt at taking his Championship. Owens recalled the first Hell in a Cell Match, and how it was the craziest thing he’s ever seen. Despite how intimidating it is, it’s exciting to be a part of it, and that’s why Charlotte and Sasha practically begged to be in it.
Owens says he would leave a permanent scar on Seth Rollins, and there is nothing he won’t do to keep his WWE Universal Championship. He said he and Seth would go to hell together, and he was the only one coming back. Sami Zayn vs. Seth Rollins is next…[c]
My Take: The Cruiserweight division feels a bit flat out of the gate. Kenrick has fulfilled the role well, but Perkins just seems a bit out of his depth trying to get his program over in the microphone. He seems a bit overwhelmed by his environment, and hopefully that will get better with time. Kevin Owens promo was very good, though the feud still seems like Kevin Owens is having feud with Seth Rollins while Rollins has a feud with Triple H and Stephanie.
Braun Strowman made his entrance while footage was shown of Sami Zayn confronting him last week. Sami then made his entrance. Strowman grabbed a mic when he got to the ring and said he didn’t see any real competition to the ring, and demanded Foley do something about it. Sami then attacked him from behind and angered him. He then slapped him in the face. Zayn then ran around the ring and baited Strowman into position for a couple of kicks. Zayn then tried to jump at him over the top, but Strowman caught him and chucked him into the barricade. Strowman then just up and left, with Zayn in the ring trying to signal him back for more.
Backstage, Brian Kendrick approached TJ Perkins for help. He told him all he has left if he loses on Sunday is his family, and without a win on Sunday he can’t feed them or put a roof over his head. TJ said he can’t help the man he is now, and if he wants it bad enough he’ll go out there and try to win on Sunday. Kendrick said trying wasn’t good enough, he needed TJ to let him win. Perkins stared him down and walked off…[c]
My Take: Why was Perkins in the locker room taking off tape when he didn’t even have a match scheduled? That being said, pathetic Brian Kendrick doesn’t really do much for me. I’m hoping it’s a setup for Kendrick to make a mistake when he should be aggressive. Strowman and Zayn has held my interest through two weeks. Thankfully Zayn is in a better spot than Bayley when it comes to being an underdog.
Brock Lesnar made his entrance in the arena with Paul Heyman. Paul said that his client Brock Lesnar has authorized him to address this….guy….this this this this this….SuperDad……this wannabe Superhero…..this this this guy Goldberg. Heyman claimed that Goldberg thinks he was Brock Lesnar before there was a Brock Lesnar. There was a Goldberg chant in the arena, and Heyman said that those chants are really starting to piss Brock Lesnar off. He then said that Goldberg is going to be like Humpty Dumpty, because those chants will never be able to put him back together again after Brock Lesnar breaks him into little pieces. Heyman paused for a minute while Suplex City and Goldberg chants broke out, but they were mostly positive for Lesnar in Minneapolis.
Heyman told the crowd to stop the Goldberg chants, otherwise Brock Lesnar would take matters into his own hands with them. They paused to listen for more chants, and Heyman said that Lesnar comes home and half the crowd chants for Goldberg. He then blames Goldberg for the chants, and they both walked away. The crowd didn’t really comply with what they wanted there, and changed Goldberg sucks.
Backstage, Owens and Jericho ran into each other. Owens said that Jericho found his list, and that they could be on the same page tonight. Jericho said that earlier Owens said the only thing that mattered is the Universal Championship, but their friendship matters too right? Owens tried to play it off, and Jericho said not to worry, no matter what happened tonight they would be best friends. Owens looked concerned as he took a sideways look at The List of Jericho. Rollins made his entrance in the arena…[c]
My Take: Lackluster return promo form Heyman and Lesnar. I think they were hoping for a more even split between Goldberg and Lesnar chants in his hometown, but it was sort of a lukewarm reaction for Lesnar and a non-existent reaction for Goldberg, at least on television. Jason Powell made have had a different experience in the building. Jericho and Owens exploding could be important for Raw, as that could be a major program for the winter.
Jericho made his entrance and stood on the ramp and waited for Kevin Owens. They both entered the ring and Rollins prepared for a two on one handicap match.
6. Kevin Owens vs. Chris Jericho vs. Kevin Owens: Owens ducked out and Jericho followed, looking somewhat confused. They surrounded him and tried to attack him from different angles, but he slipped away. They attempted the same thing on the floor, but Rollins outsmarted them and took them both down. Rollins got the better of Owens and tossed him to the outside and then took down Jericho. He and Rollins took turns tossing each other into the barricades on the outside, with Rollins getting the better of it. Jericho eventually intervened and sent Rollins into the crowd. Rollins surprised them both with a splash from the top of the barricade.
He tossed Owens back in the ring and tossed Jericho out into the crowd. Owens then hit a big clothesline as Rollins got back into the ring, followed by a second and a third. He then lined up for a cannonball in the corner, but Rollins escaped. He hit a springboard knee on Owens and covered for a two count. He then climbed to the top, but Owens rolled out of range. Rollins pursued Owens and setup for a pedigree, but Jericho re-entered and stopped him. Jericho went for the Walls and failed, and then ate some knees to the chest when he attempted a Lionsault.
Rollins then went for a Pedigree on Jericho, but Owens prevented it and they finally started putting together the double team. They pummeled him on the ground and then battered him on the outside. They then went for a double team in the ring, and Rollins appeared to be helpless. They set up for a pop up into a Codebreaker, but Rollins held the ropes. He low bridged Owens to the outside and hit a side kick on Chris Jericho. He then hit a suicide dive on Owens, but couldn’t hit a frog splash in the ring. Jericho hit a codebreaker in the ring, but couldn’t put him away.
Jericho gave Owens an assist tossing him into Rollins for a Cannonball. A “stupid idiot” chant broke out as Owens and Jericho set him up for a double superplex. Rollins slipped away and rolled them both up and got the surprise win.
Seth Rollins defeated Chris Jericho and Kevin Owens
After the match, Jericho and Owens sold shock before destroying Rollins on the outside. Owens hit a nasty running kick, and Jericho tossed Rollins into the ring steps. Owens and Jericho left up the ramp, with Jericho leaving Owens as he lagged behind. Rollins fired up and shook off a bunch of refs and security to attack Owens, who then returned the favor as they headed back towards the ring. Owens got the upper hand again and looked to be walking away, but decided against it. He then hit a nasty powerbomb into the ring apron, and screamed at Rollins that he was the man. He walked up the ramp to grab his Championship, and then back to the ring to hold it up in the corner to close the show.
My Take: Good logic here with Rollins winning the battle but losing the war. They needed to establish a personal issue between them and this will go a long way to add some intrigue as to Rollins health heading into Sunday. How Chris Jericho will factor into Hell in a Cell is an open question, as WWE has shown no qualms about people interfering in these matches in the past. Overall, this was a show that did a nice job of selling the major matches at Hell in a Cell, but the undercard feels completely lost. Even Rusev and Reigns only got some brief promos backstage, but that may have been to protect Reigns from having to cut a lengthy promo live on TV. While I enjoyed the show, three hours still takes away from the overall effort, as it would have felt a lot tighter and more focused on a two hour format.