By Jason Powell
WWE Raw Hits
Brock Lesnar and Goldberg video packages: Nearly lost in the three-hour mess that was Monday’s Raw were two excellent video packages for the Survivor Series main event. The Goldberg piece was really good, but the Lesnar and Paul Heyman video was off the charts strong. Lesnar is brilliant in the sit-down setting. His overly confident approach was great, and it was refreshing to hear him mock the idea of Goldberg beating him after taking a 12-year hiatus. There are too many wrestlers who return after a prolonged break and WWE simply treats it as if they are as strong as ever. Lesnar’s line brought a sports-like feel to the feud that is missing from most WWE storylines these days. Brock was so confident that it left me wondering whether the plan is to have Goldberg get the better of him on Raw next week if things get physical. I wouldn’t have them touch until Survivor Series, but I am looking forward to seeing what they have in mind for these two on the go-home show.
Kevin Owens vs. Chris Jericho vs. Seth Rollins vs. Roman Reigns vs. Braun Strowman: The idea of Stephanie McMahon having the Team Raw members get their frustrations out by working a No DQ match against one another is utterly ridiculous. Yes, go ahead and beat each other with kendo sticks and any other weapon you can find less than two weeks before you’ll team together. Anyway, the match was entertaining and the finish was especially good with Owens getting the fluke win by falling onto Jericho and pinning him. They key was Owens celebrating his big win, as it will be interesting to see how Jericho reacts to this development next week.
Sami Zayn vs. Rusev: A minor Hit for a match that should have felt more important. It’s a shame that WWE is booking on the fly and didn’t take their time setting up this match. It was fine for what it was and it sets up what should be a quality match involving Zayn and Dolph Ziggler at Survivor Series. It does make Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan look like dopes for running the risk of losing their secondary championship while getting nothing in return from Raw. How about Zayn wins, it’s revealed that Stephanie didn’t read the contract closely, and Zayn goes to Smackdown because he won their championship? Sure, Stephanie will look bad in that scenario, but lord knows she should show more ass than she does as a heel.
Brian Kendrick and Noam Dar vs. Rich Swann and Sin Cara: A minor Hit for the introduction of Dar, as well as Swann getting another win over Kendrick. I can’t give this a full Hit simply because the approach they took by teaming Dar with Kendrick put Swann and Sin Cara in a rough spot. Dar was the babyface to the Scottish crowd. The post match angle with Dar getting the better of Kendrick was solid, but putting them on the same team made for an awkward dynamic during the match.
WWE Raw Misses
Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins followup: Last week’s Raw closed with the crowd going nuts for Rollins saving Reigns and the two former Shield members staring at one another before the screen went black. It was the first time an entire crowd seemed to be behind anything involving Reigns. Naturally, I assumed that Rollins and Reigns would be a significant part of this show and that they would really play up the idea of these two teaming together at Survivor Series. Instead, Rollins exchanged verbal jabs with Kevin Owens and Chris Jericho, while Reigns stood in the ring without saying anything.
New Day and Team Raw tag team segment: One of the worst segments of the year. It didn’t start off poorly. New Day doing the Braveheart routine was comical and the Scottish crowd was more than happy to play along. Unfortunately, the segment dragged on and on and on and the poorly scripted dialogue between all the tag teams was painful.
Raw Women’s Segment: Those Scottish fans were just so disrespectful! Please, stop with the poor, poor wrestlers routine. There are disrespectful crowds that highjack solid shows and make themselves the center of attention. And then there’s this crowd that waited 23 years for Raw to come to Scotland and were treated to only three matches in two hours. One of those matches was the regular Miss that is The Shining Stars vs. Golden Truth. Maybe the fans would have reacted the same way for Bayley even if this had been a hot show, but we’ll never know because WWE didn’t entertain the fans so the fans opted to entertain themselves. WWE should actually be thankful that the fans kept things interesting because their poor build to the big reveal of Sasha Banks as the fifth member of Team Raw was flat.
Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson vs. New Day: We saw Enzo Amore wrestle in Buzz Lightyear wings and then watched Gallows have a pumpkin placed over his head last week. This week we saw New Day wrestle a match in Braveheart attire. The life of a creative team member isn’t easy. I’m sure it’s much easier to get a favorable reaction out of Vince McMahon when he’s presented with bad comedy that appeals to his sense of humor than it is to get one out of him for an actual pro wrestling concept. Even so, this bad comedy is detrimental to the product. Meanwhile, Gallows and Anderson beating New Day in a non-title match means nothing. We’ve been there and done that, and we’ve seen the one step forward, two steps back booking for Gallows and Anderson too many times to care.