By Jason Powell
WWE Raw on the USA Network
Live from Hartford, Connecticut at XL Center
[Q1] Raw opened with Goldberg’s music playing and a shot of him walking backstage while fans chanted his name. The pyro went off on the stage and Goldberg made his entrance. Ring announcer JoJo introduced Goldberg. Michael Cole checked in on commentary and was joined by Corey Graves and Byron Saxton.
Goldberg started by saying, “Okay, Brock Lesnar…” and then he was interrupted by Paul Heyman, who introduced himself and said his client doesn’t appreciate the fans chanting Goldberg’s name. Goldberg motioned for the fans, who chanted Goldberg. Heyman told the crowd that they were pissing him off.
Heyman said he has all the respect in the world for Goldberg. He said Goldberg knows that he’s not a physical threat to him, so that’s why he was somewhat comfortable getting into the ring with him. Heyman said his client isn’t just a best, he’s an impatient beast. Heyman brought up Goldberg’s 1-0 record against Lesnar, then said his client conquer’s streaks and said he could just ask Undertaker.
Heyman said Lesnar decided not to wait until Survivor Series. Heyman said Lesnar wants to face Goldberg face-to-face. Goldberg took his jacket off. Heyman introduced Lesnar, whose music played. Goldberg was ready and hopped up and down. Heyman laughed in the corner. Heyman boasted that he fooled everyone.
Heyman pointed to Goldberg’s wife and son at ringside, and said look at the disappointment on the face Goldberg’s son had. Goldberg’s wife and son smiled, and his wife gave the thumbs down. Heyman said the look of disappointment that Goldberg’s son has won’t compare to the one he has when his client beats him at Survivor Series.
Rusev made his entrance. The fans chanted “we want Lana.” Rusev asked Goldberg who he thinks he is. A Goldberg chant started. Rusev said he knows his name and that Goldberg thinks he’s a superhero. He said he doesn’t think Goldberg has it anymore. Rusev said there’s no such thing as superheroes.
Rusev said Goldberg had the spear and Jackhammer. He said those moves require explosiveness and he doesn’t think he has that. He questioned whether Goldberg has the heart to keep fighting once he takes a beating. Rusev said he doesn’t think Goldberg has it. Rusev told the crowd that Lesnar is not in Hartford. Rusev said Goldberg is shaking in fear.
Rusev punched Goldberg, who took the punch and then smiled at Rusev. Goldberg threw a knee at Rusev and then tripped. He got up and performed the Jackhammer on Rusev. Heyman stood over the fallen Rusev with his arms out. Goldberg turned and speared Heyman. Goldberg played to the fans to end the segment…
Powell’s POV: The trip was unfortunate and will be heavily analyzed. He’s clearly rusty and that shouldn’t surprise anyone. There’s certainly no guarantee the match will live up to WWE’s hype. However, the slip is one of those things that match detractors will jump on, but I doubt the average fan is going to remember much more than the spear and Jackhammer. The segment was solid aside from the slip. The crowd liked Goldberg, but this was not nearly as hot as the crowd in Denver was. He only has one appearance left in two weeks on the go-home show, which Lesnar is also advertised for.
[Q2] The broadcast team were shown on camera for the first time. Cole was in his usual attire, Graves wore a pumpkin suit and tie, and Saxton destroyed his credibility more by wearing duckie pajamas. They set up still shots of Kevin Owens vs. Seth Rollins from Hell in a Cell. Cole hyped Mick Foley’s Survivor Series address, then Saxton hyped Enzo Amore vs. Luke Gallows in a Trick or Treat fight… [C]
The broadcast team spoke as they showed clips of WWE fans dressed like WWE wrestler for Halloween…
1. Enzo Amore (w/Big Cass) vs. Luke Gallows (w/Karl Anderson) in a Trick or Treat Fight. Enzo was dressed like Buzz Lightyear, while Cass was dressed as Woody. They played on the Toy Story joke they told at HIAC as part of their promo. There were pumpkins set up around the ring apron and Halloween themed goods at ringside. They fought at ringside during the opening minute. Enzo struck Gallows with a fake skeleton. [C]
[Q3] Gallows took the guts out of a pumpkin and threw it at Enzo, who was still wearing the Buzz Lightyear wings. Gallows used a kendo stick that was candy corn colored. Enzo threw pumpkins at him, but Gallows hit him with the kendo stick. Enzo came back with a dropkick to the knees and then slammed his face into the stick.
Enzo picked up a pumpkin pie. Anderson tried to grab him from behind, but Enzo smashed the pie in his face. Cass kicked Anderson off the apron and through the table below. Enzo kicked a pumpkin into the balls of Gallows. Cass put a pumpkin over the head of Gallows, then Enzo performed a top rope legdrop and got the win…
Enzo Amore beat Luke Gallows in a Trick or Treat Fight in 7:40.
Footage aired of an ambulance leaving the building. Cole said Heyman was inside and was being taken to the hospital after being speared… A shot aired of Brian Kendrick walking backstage as Graves hyped his championship rematch with TJ Perkins… [C]
Powell’s POV: They gave away the Goldberg segment to open the show. They followed up with this embarrassment. Yep, I would have turned the channel if this wasn’t my job. I realize some people enjoy the sports entertainment silliness, but it’s just not for me.
TJ Perkins made his entrance and then the broadcast team narrated still shots of Brian Kendrick beating him for the WWE Cruiserweight Championship. Kendrick came out and said nice guys like all the fans and Perkins would always finish last. Kendrick said he didn’t need Perkins to let him win. Kendrick said his request was a mind game. He said he needed to tug on the heartstrings of Perkins and then he would crack…
Powell’s POV: It’s good to see Kendrick get some mic time and get a chance to heel on the fans. His taunts led to some boos, which is better than the non-reaction he got when he made his entrance, which is just a shame.
[Q4] 2. Brian Kendrick vs. TJ Perkins for the WWE Cruiserweight Championship. Kendrick offered his hand, but Perkins passed. Perkins went right after Kendrick and got a quick two count. They cut to break just 25 seconds into the match. [C]
Perkins continued to control the offense coming out of the break and applied the kneebar, but Kendrick reached the ropes. Perkins went up top, but Kendrick crotched him. There was a scary looking huracanrana with Perkins coming from the top and taking Kendrick over the top rope to ringside. Perkins landed on the back of his head. Kendrick was counted out, and the broadcast team indicated that it was intentional. After the match, Perkins attacked Kendrick and applied the kneebar on the floor. Kendrick tapped and referees eventually talked Perkins down…
TJ Perkins defeated Brian Kendrick via count-out in 6:35.
Backstage, Mick Foley spoke with a crew member and showed off his Halloween shirt. Braun Strowman approached Foley and told him he wants to be on Team Raw at Survivor Series. He said he’s beaten two and three men at once, and he wants real competition. Strowman told Foley to give him what he wants or he’d destroy half his roster. Foley said Strowman’s threats are working, but giving in to them would send a bad message to the locker room. Foley said there would be a battle royal with the winner earning a spot on Team Raw. Foley told Strowman to earn the match… [C]
Powell’s POV: Perkins seemed fine despite that horrific bump on the edge of the ring, as he showed good fire afterward. Kendrick didn’t do a full flip and landed awkwardly, yet also safely. Hopefully that’s the scariest thing we see on the Halloween show.
Cole touted the company winning a bunch of W3 Awards…
Mick Foley made his entrance as the broadcast team hyped the battle royal. The fans chanted Foley’s name once he was in the ring.
[Q5] Foley said Raw had a hell of a night at HIAC. He said he’s proud of everyone who worked their hearts out. The exceptions were Chris Jericho and Kevin Owens. He said what they did was technically legal, yet it left a bad taste in his mouth.
Kevin Owens’ music hit and he and Chris Jericho headed to the ring together. Jericho brought his trusty list. A Y2J chant started. Owens asked what he and Jericho did that was so wrong. Owens questioned whether it’s because he walked out as champion or that his best friend “outsmartened you.” Owens said he is the one who made history by stealing the show in the main event by becoming the first man ever to defend the Universal Championship in HIAC.
Jericho said he and Owens proved what a real team can do. He said it’s proof that Foley needs them to anchor Team Raw. Foley confirmed he needs them bot. Owens asked Foley to repeat that he needed them. Owens said he and Jericho are the top two guys on Raw. He said it’s killing Foley that he needs them. Owens said he walked out of HIAC a winner, while Foley made a name for himself in HIAC matches by being a giant loser. Jericho said Foley lost four HIAC matches.
Owens recalled that Foley lost to Triple H in “the dump that is known as Hartford” in his final HIAC match. Foley broke into his weekly yelling fit. He said he could have walked out a legend and instead he made a mockery of the cell. Foley asked if they think WWE Network will be showing footage of that match 18 years from now.
Foley said you have to check your ego at the door as general manager. Foley said Stephanie McMahon wanted Owens on Team Raw but not Jericho. Foley said he had to convince her to not come out and suspend Jericho because Jericho is devious enough to help them win at Survivor Series. Foley said he needs another guy, the guy, and then Roman Reigns’ music played.
Reigns entered to more boos than cheers. Once in the ring, Reigns thanked Foley for the vote of confidence. Reigns then paused as fans chanted “Roman sucks.” Foley said his wife loves Reigns, who said, “Happy Halloween to y’all, too.” Reigns compared Owens to Sponge Bob and his best friend. Reigns said he was going to dress up like a stupid idiot, but they didn’t have any Jericho costumes.
Jericho pulled out the list and teased adding Reigns, then said Roman doesn’t deserve to be on it. He said no one in the arena deserves to be on the list, and then declared no one would go on the list this week. Jericho said he’s Canadian and doesn’t like anyone in the United States, but he’d be a better U.S. Champion than Reigns. Owens said Jericho is right.
Jericho said he would take the title away from Reigns if he wanted to, but he assumed Reigns was too sore from HIAC. Reigns said he was beaten up, but he wouldn’t pass on the opportunity to shut Jericho’s mouth. Foley booked Reigns vs. Jericho for the U.S. Title later in the show…
[Q6] A video recapped the Charlotte vs. Sasha Banks match. The broadcast team hyped that Charlotte would appear later in the show… Sami Zayn made his entrance for the battle royal… [C]
Powell’s POV: It was cool to see Jericho work harder to get some heat in addition to the usual laughs. Let’s see if he can keep the crowd against him once the match with Reigns starts. Without knowing who else is in the battle royal, it feels like it’s all about Strowman and Zayn. Zayn actually strikes me as the more likely candidate for Team Raw.
More photos of fans dressed as WWE wrestlers for Halloween were shown… Strowman made his entrance for the battle royal. The other wrestlers were already in the ring…
3. Battle Royal for a spot on Team Raw at Survivor Series. The entrants included Strowman, Zayn, Cesaro, Sheamus, R-Truth, Goldust, Curtis Axel, Jinder Mahal, Neville, Titus O’Neil, Bo Dallas, and Darren Young, who now dresses like Bob Backlund. Truth and Dallas were out first. Strowman took a Helluva Kick and a Brogue Kick and then fell under the top rope to the floor. The broadcast team stressed that he was still in the match. [C]
Jinder was eliminated coming out of the break. Sheamus bounced Young. Strowman returned and eliminated Axel. Sami eliminated Titus. Cesaro eliminated Goldust. Sheamus stuck his hand out and then kicked Cesaro, but Cesaro eliminated Sheamus. Strowman eliminated Cesaro, who then bickered with Sheamus on the floor.
The match came down to Strowman, Neville, and Zayn. Strowman dumped Neville over the top rope, leaving just Strowman and Zayn. Strowman got the better of Zayn and tried to eliminate him, but Zayn held on with a front face lock and tried to pull im over. Strowman used his arm to hold himself up and then dumped Zayn to the floor…
Braun Strowman won a battle royal in 8:25 to earn a spot on Team Raw.
[Q7] Cole touted that Team Raw consisted of Reigns, Owens, Jericho, and Strowman with one spot left to be filled. Cole hyped the U.S. Championship match… [C]
Powell’s POV: So much for my Zayn theory. I assumed they would go with him because they would feel safe eliminating him from the Survivor Series match. Strowman has to be protected, but I suppose he can be disqualified or counted out if he’s not on the winning team. I’m ready for Sheamus and Cesaro to get on the same page, but that was good execution of the odd couple gimmick. By the way, that’s one unlikeable team they’ve assembled on Raw. I’m guessing Seth Rollins will be the final member. Oh, and is it just me, or does Darren Young look like he’s paying tribute to David Otunga more than Bob Backlund?
The Emmalina video aired and hyped that she will be premiering soon… The broadcast team spoke about Emmalina, Byron’s pajama’s, and pimped Subway’s BOGO drive to help feed America.
Powell’s POV: The gimmick is that for each sub you buy, Subway will donate a meal to feed the homeless (or something). Can’t they just donate both subs that I won’t buy?
New Day were backstage dressed in Halloween costumes. Big E was Kama Mustafa, Kofi Kingston was Godfather, and Xavier Woods was Poppa Shango, so they were all the same guy. They spoke about Team Smackdown, and put over American Alpha. Big E said they shall overcome no matter who they face…
Rich Swann, Lince Dorado, and Cedric Alexander made their entrance for another six-man tag match… [C]
[Q8] 4. Rich Swann, Lince Dorado, and Cedric Alexander vs. Ariya Daivari, Drew Gulak, and Tony Nese. Swann tagged in late and performed the flashiest offense of the match. There were pockets of fans who seemed into it. Alexander and Dorado took out Gulak and Daivari on the floor. In the ring, Swann blasted Nese with a kick and got the win…
Rich Swann, Lince Dorado, and Cedric Alexander beat Ariya Daivari, Drew Gulak, and Tony Nese.
Cole hyped Charlotte appearing after the break… [C] An ad for Smackdown hyped Daniel Bryan appearing on Miz TV to announce Team Smackdown for Survivor Series.
Powell’s POV: The spotlighted wrestler in the match was Swann, whose music played afterward. They said pretty much the usual things about everyone else in the match. The crowd was hot for the cruiserweight six-man tag at Hell in a Cell, but it looks like it was more about the match opening the show than the wrestlers getting over.
Cole touted WrestleMania as being one of the most valuable brands by Forbes… Footage from the opening segment with Goldberg, Paul Heyman, and Rusev was replayed. They already edited out Goldberg slipping and falling…
[Q9] Charlotte was carried to the ring on her throne by four men just as she was at HIAC. Charlotte boasted that she singlehandedly made history. She told Sasha to lift her head up from the hospital bed. She said there is no shame in losing. She said she pushed her to her limit, then said she’s playing for second place just like every other woman in WWE.
Charlotte said she will captain Team Raw to victory over Team Smackdown. Charlotte warned Smackdown captain Nikki Bella that she put her on the shelf for a year, and she’ll do it permanently if she gets in her way. Charlotte said she is the best in the business and her title says so. Charlotte asked if Becky Lynch, Alexa Bliss, and Carmella heard her.
Charlotte said there’s a weak link on her team. She called out Bayley. Graves said Bayley was out with her arrested development and Saxton in his pajamas, and he assumed they had a good time trick or treating in broad daylight. Funny. The fans chanted for Bayley, who said it wasn’t about her. She said that what Charlotte and Sasha did in HIAC gave her goosebumps.
Bayley said the thought of competing at that level was just a dream when they were all in NXT, but they made it a reality. Bayley congratulated Charlotte for winning the championship. Charlotte smiled and said she would say thank you, but while Bayley is dreaming about all of it, she is achieving it. Bayley said success has gone straight to Charlotte’s head. She said she’s become the biggest jerk and she’ll never want to be a champion like her.
Charlotte said Bayley will never be a champion like her because she will never be her. Charlotte asked Bayley when she will realize this isn’t NXT anymore. She questioned whether Bayley is a competitor or a glorified fan wearing a Halloween costume. Insert Bayley sad face.
Charlotte said a team is only as strong as its weakest link. Charlotte teased she would be facing their Survivor Series teammate. Bayley said everyone is tired of hearing her talk. Bayley assumed it would be Dana Brooke. However, Charlotte pointed to the stage and smiled. Nia Jax’s music played and she made her entrance while Cole hyped the match for after the break… [C]
Powell’s POV: Bayley responded by saying, “I kicked her ass a couple times in NXT.” Okay, that didn’t happen. This was a good segment with Charlotte boasting, and then beginning what I assume is the build toward her feud with Bayley. I’d rather see Bayley act sheepish and build to the point where she reaches her breaking point and talks back to Charlotte, but this was still good.
5. Nia Jax vs. Bayley. Charlotte sat in on commentary while Dana Brooke stood behind her. Cole asked why there’s bad blood with Bayley. She said she’s trying to smarten her up and let her know this is Raw, not the minor leagues. Nia performed a shoulder breaker on Bayley’s good shoulder.
Jax remained on the offensive and applied a bearhug. Bayley slipped out and applied a guillotine, which Jax eventually escaped. Bayley threw several strikes, three dropkicks, and a bulldog. Jax plowed her over and teased a legdrop. Instead, Jax pulled Bayley to the corner. Bayley caught her on the ropes and went for her finisher, but Nia simply tossed her over the ropes. Bayley sold knee pain. Jax splashed Bayley against the barricade. Back inside the ring, Jax put Bayley away with a Samoan Drop.
Nia Jax beat Bayley in 5:50.
Powell’s POV: The match was laid out well with Jax dominating, Bayley showing heart, and Jax eventually overpowering Bayley to win the match. I’m not the least bit bothered by Bayley losing this match. Her underdog character should lose to the monster of the division right now. Losing to Jax does more good for Bayley than beating Dana Brooke did. The Bayley character will eventually rise.
The broadcast team spoke over still shots from the Roman Reigns vs. Rusev match at HIAC… Graves hyped Reigns vs. Jericho for the U.S. Championship… Cesaro and Sheamus were shown bickering backstage. Saxton said they would team together after the break… [C]
[Q11] 6. Sheamus and Cesaro vs. The Shining Stars. Late in the match, Sheamus applied the cloverleaf on Epico. Cesaro caught Primo coming off the top rope with an uppercut, then Epico submitted…
Sheamus and Cesaro beat The Shining Stars in 4:00.
Powell’s POV: The odd couple still bicker, and the Stars still want to sell you a timeshare. Have they even bothered to explain why Cesaro and Sheamus continue to team together if their characters don’t like each other? Foley suggested it, it’s not like they are obligated to do this from a storyline standpoint.
More pics of fans dressed as WWE wrestlers for Halloween were shown… Footage aired of Goldust and R-Truth walking through a haunted house together… The broadcast team pretended it was funny. Cole frightened Saxton, who is coming off like the biggest tool in the history of WWE tonight, which is really saying something…
Backstage, Jericho spoke about how he has never won the U.S. Championship. He told Owens they would be the Universal Champion and U.S. Champion together at the same time. JEricho said the only thing standing in his way is “greasy, American muttonhead” Reigns. They agreed they could rename the U.S. Title the Canadian Title. Jericho started to say he needed Owens’ help. Owens said he would be there…
Powell’s POV: I assume this means we’ll be seeing Reigns getting a little help from an old friend tonight too. Meanwhile, it really is bizarre that Jericho has never won the U.S. Championship given how long he’s been around now and how many times that title his changed hands.
Ring entrances for the main event took place. Jericho and Owens came out together. Reigns was still booed, but the crowd lacked the passion they had earlier in the night. Cole said Reigns could have taken the night off after his grueling HIAC match, but that’s not what he’s all about…
[Q12] [C] 7. Roman Reigns vs. Chris Jericho (w/Kevin Owens) for the U.S. Championship. JoJo handled the in-ring introductions for the title match. The women and kids chanted “Let’s go Roman” while the adult males chanted “Y2J” as the match started. Reigns sold arm pain, then performed a hip-toss using the same arm. Jericho slapped him several times, then Reigns returned the favor. Reigns ran into a dropkick.
Reigns clotheslined Jericho to the floor while the broadcast team continued to play up his HIAC injuries. Reigns followed Jericho to the floor and ran him into the barricade a couple times. Reigns shoved Jericho back inside the ring. With the ref’s head turned, Owens ran Reigns into the ring post. [C]
Cole noted that Jericho dominated during the break. Owens wore Jericho’s scarf at ringside. Reigns made his comeback and threw three clotheslines, then threw more clotheslines in the corner as the crowd counted along.
[Overrun] Jericho went to the top rope and jumped into a punch from Reigns, who followed up with a Drive By at ringside. Reigns performed a Samoan Drop for a two count. Reigns set up for a Superman Punch and the boos came out again. Jericho avoided it and went for the Walls of Jericho, but Reigns powered out.
At 13:20, Jericho applied the Walls of Jericho. Reigns rolled through and punched Jericho from his back before kicking him away. Reigns powerbombed Jericho for a two count at 14:20. Reigns went to the corner and ended up punching Owens off the apron. Jericho rolled up Reigns for a good near fall. Jericho went for a springboard move, but Reigns caught him with a Superman Punch. Reigns went to his corner and got some boos before spearing Jericho and covering him. Owens ran in and broke up the pin for the DQ.
Roman Reigns defeated Chris Jericho by DQ in 15:50 to retain the U.S. Championship.
After the match, Owens and Jericho worked over Reigns. The fans chanted for Seth Rollins. Owens threw Reigns up in Popup Powerbomb Style and then Jericho caught him on the way down with a Codebreaker. Seth Rollins ran out and worked over both heels. Rollins hit Owens with a pair of suicide dives, then hit a flying knee on Jericho.
Once the heels were gone, Rollins and Reigns made eye contact. The fans chanted Yes briefly. They had a long distance staredown. Roman’s music played. Reigns nodded at Rollins and the show went off the air with the two of them continuing to look at one another from across the ring…
Powell’s POV: A good television main event with the expected appearance of Rollins. Predictability hurt most of the Hell in a Cell matches, but this was good predictability in that they were giving fans what they wanted by having Rollins save the day. It’s a bit odd that it comes 24 hours after Reigns spoke on Raw Talk about Rollins being the little brother of The Shield. Nevertheless, a number of the fans who were booing Reigns were the same people chanting Yes! while Rollins and Reigns were looking at one another after the match. Thanks for watching along with me tonight (or for checking in as you Trick or Treated). I’ll be back on Tuesday with an All Access audio review of Raw. My apologies if you’ve tried to reach me tonight, but I had my email and Twitter closed so that I could avoid spoilers of the football game.
The Best of The Boom features Jim Ross joining Jason Powell in this May 9, 2018 discussion regarding his relationship with Vince McMahon, why Vince sticks with Roman Reigns, how Triple H has changed over the years, and more. New episodes of the Boom are typically available mid-week...