11/28 Powell’s WWE Raw Live TV Review: Paul Heyman addresses Brock Lesnar’s loss to Goldberg, Charlotte vs. Sasha Banks for the Raw Women’s Championship, New Day vs. Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson for the Raw Tag Titles

newrawlogo1By Jason Powell

WWE Raw on the USA Network
Live from Charlotte, North Carolina at Spectrum Center

[Q1] Raw opened with a recap of the Kevin Owens vs. Seth Rollins main event from last week that ended with Chris Jericho interference… Michael Cole, Corey Graves, and Byron Saxton were on commentary…

Chris Jericho stood in the ring and welcomed viewers to the Highlight Reel and then introduced Kevin Owens as his guest. Cole pointed out that Jericho defied the match stipulation by interfering in the match last week. Owens and Jericho confirmed that Owens was the first person to be the guest on the Highlight Reel two weeks in a row.

Owens mocked Thanksgiving and Black Friday. Owens said he and Jericho are a superior breed of human called Canadians. Funny. He said they had their Thanksgiving last month. “Canadians are always ahead of the curve.” There was a USA chant. Owens said he was thankful for being “your” Universal Champion, being the face of Raw, and his best friend Jericho. They hugged.

Jericho is thankful for their friendship, his “wicked rad” scarf, and for Seth Rollins proving what happens when you let your ego and pride take over your life. Jericho said Rollins proved that he is the epitome of a stupid idiot. Jericho claimed he didn’t interfere in the match last week. “That wasn’t Chris Jericho wearing a Sin Cara mask, it was clearly Sin Cara wearing a Chris Jericho mask.”

Jericho said Sin Cara got the mask of Jericho “and he put it on, man.” Owens said Rollins isn’t medically cleared to appear on Raw after taking the powerbomb on the apron. The fans booed. Roman Reigns’ music hit and there were a mix of boos and cheers as he made his entrance. Cole recalled Owens and Jericho blaming Reigns for Team Raw’s loss to Team Smackdown at Survivor Series.

Owens got tongue tied as he asked Reigns if he called him being champion a joke. Owens said it’s a joke that Reigns calls himself “The Guy.” Reigns defended it, and the fans booed. Reigns said Owens is just “a guy” who needs a lot of help. Reigns said he needs help with everything. “I don’t need Chris Jericho, buddy,” Owens said. Jericho shot Owens a look out of the corner of his eye.

Reigns said Owens would have lost the title several times if it wasn’t for Jericho’s help. Jericho cut off Reigns and asked if he knows what happens when he insults his best friend. Jericho held up his pen and started to ask the question again.

[Q2] Owens cut off Jericho by yelling “shut up.” Jericho looked shocked and hurt. Owens said Reigns can’t talk to him that way. Reigns asked what he’s going to do. Owens said he would powerbomb him on the apron just as he did last week. Reigns said that’s the Owens he was looking for. Reigns said he didn’t want “Joke Owens Joke” he wanted “Fight Owens Fight.”

Reigns challenged Owens to a match on Raw and if he wins he gets “another opportunity” at Roadblock. There were some groans. Owens said Reigns would get his fight. Jericho still looked surprised. Reigns issued a spoiler alert: “By the end of the episode, I’m going to be kicking your ass”…

Cole said the match needed to be confirmed by Mick Foley. Graves said there’s no way Reigns would beat Owens to get the “title opportunity” at Roadblock. Saxton hyped Charlotte vs. Sasha Banks, Cole said he spoke with Paul Heyman earlier in the day, and Goldberg would want to hear what Heyman had to say… [C]

Powell’s POV: The Owens vs. Reigns match has been advertised on the host arena’s website for several weeks. I was hoping it was a placeholder because I just don’t think Reigns moving back into the title picture is the right move. It also makes him look like a dick if he and Rollins are on the same page in that he’s going after a title that Rollins was screwed out of. Perhaps worse is that this was scripted to make him look like a dope. Who asks for a non-title shot? Why not ask for a title match? Anyway, it was nice to hear Reigns actually speak rather than be cut off seconds into a promo for a change. The look on Jericho’s face after Owens told him to shut up was still there at the end of the segment, so look for that to be a story throughout the night.

Backstage, Jericho asked Owens why he told him to shut up. Owens didn’t want to deal with it, but Jericho persisted. Owens said Jericho thinks he’s helping, but he’s actually not. Jericho said he didn’t need Owens as his best friend. Mick Foley showed up and confirmed Owens vs. Reigns and said it was for the Universal Championship. Jericho told him to forget punishing him. Jericho said he’s over this and was “out of here”…

Powell’s POV: It seems like Foley misspoke about it being a title match or I misheard him, as Cole once again stated that a title match hangs in the balance. Jericho showing up and saving Owens would be absurd at this point. It doesn’t mean he won’t show up, but I can’t imagine his interference will be successful.

1. Braun Strowman vs. R-Truth (w/Goldust). They recapped Strowman destroying Sami Zayn last week. Strowman put Truth away with a power slam…

Braun Strowman pinned R-Truth in 0:40.

After the match, Goldust threw punches at Strowman, who put him in a bear hug. Sami Zayn ran out and put Strowman in a sleeper, but Strowman shook him off quickly. Strowman worked over Zayn and tied him up in the tree of woe. Several referees ran out. Foley walked out and said, “Stop, stop it Braun”…

Powell’s POV: WWE is doing a really good job with Strowman. You can question whether he can live up to the build, but they continue to showcase him nicely by having him destroy the undercard and Zayn.

[Q3] [C] Byron Saxton interviewed Mick Foley, who said Sami Zayn is never going to quit and needs to be saved from himself. Zayn said he needs to be saved from Foley. He accused Foley of taking his orders from above and forgetting who he is and where he’s from. In the weekly Foley yelling segment, Foley said he made the match. He said Zayn was punished for failing to bring home the Intercontinental Championship, and he was actually being destroyed rather than punished.

Zayn asked Foley how many times he was told he could’t do something. Zayn said Foley was a hero to all the people and now he doesn’t think he’s looking at a hero, he’s looking at a guy who is standing in the way. Zayn called Foley a hypocrite and left the ring…

Backstage, Dana Brooke entered Charlotte’s locker room and said she was planning a homecoming celebration. Charlotte said she would cement her legacy as the greatest female superstar of all time. She said she would give her people hope in their meaningless lives. Charlotte told Brooke to prepare for the celebration… [C]

Powell’s POV: The fans were too busy woooing to be offended by Charlotte’s insult. Tell me they’re not setting her up to lose the title again. I don’t really care whether Charlotte or Sasha holds the title, but I’d hate to see them go too far with the game of hot potato.

A 205 Live video aired to hype tomorrow’s premiere (join me for live coverage on Tuesday night)…

2. Cedric Alexander vs. Tony Nese (w/Drew Gulak). Alexander received a nice reaction from his hometown crowd. The wrestlers obeyed the Code of Honor even though they don’t wrestle for Ring of Honor. Alicia Fox was shown watching the match backstage and looking smitten with Alexander. Cole noted that they seemed to be flirting on last week’s Raw Pre-Show. Late in the match, Alexander knocked Gulak off the apron, and Nese capitalized with a rough looking pump-handle slam for the win…

Tony Nese beat Cedric Alexander in 3:20.

[Q4] Big Cass and Enzo Amore pimped WWE merchandise backstage… Cole hyped the main event… [C]

Powell’s POV: The hometown curse strikes again. Sigh. I’m all for putting some real heat on the heels in the cruiserweight division, but this is just fluky pest win heat, which isn’t worth the tradeoff of pleasing the crowd and having Alexander get a good ovation.

WWE wants you to know it’s a big deal on Youtube. A graphic touted it and then Saxton thanked viewers for making them number one… A video recapped the Highlight Reel…

Jericho was shown walking through the backstage area with his luggage. He was approached by Charley Caruso, who asked if they were serious this time. Jericho said it is serious. He said he thought Owens was his best friend, but now he’s not so sure. He said if Owens doesn’t need him, then he doesn’t need Owens. Jericho kept walking and then had a driver open the door to a limo. The door knocked The List out of his hand. Jericho called him a stupid idiot.

Seth Rollins showed up and attacked Jericho. Rollins picked up a piece of a barricade and threw it at Jericho, who avoided it. The barricade bounced off a car. Rollins slammed Jericho into a car. Rollins pulled Jericho onto the roof of a car and then put him down with a Pedigree…

The broadcast team hyped the women’s championship match…

Powell’s POV: They are really going out of their way to tell viewers that Jericho won’t be the difference maker in the main event. In this case, half the audience is probably wishing he would be so that Reigns doesn’t get another title shot.

The broadcast team recapped the previous segment with Rollins and Jericho…

[Q5] Ring entrances for the women’s championship match took place. The broadcast team played up Charlotte being in her hometown…

3. Charlotte (w/Dana Brooke) vs. Sasha Banks for the Raw Women’s Championship. JoJo delivered in-ring introductions for the championship match. Sasha applied the Bank Statement in the opening minute. Charlotte reached the ropes, and Brooke was on the apron. Sasha kicked Brooke and roughed her up at ringside. Charlotte regained control and worked over Sasha at ringside until both women were counted out. The broadcast team said that’s what Charlotte was looking for.

Charlotte fought Sasha Banks to a double count-out in 3:10.

Mick Foley walked out and said he was not going to allow the rivalry to end that way. Foley said they have transcended Raw, the women’s division, and WWE. He said their final match deserved to end in more than a count-out. Foley told them to take a rest and then the match would restart and would be a no count-out, no disqualification, falls count anywhere match…

Graves hyped Owens vs. Reigns for later in the show… [C]

Powell’s POV: The live crowd ate up Foley’s announcement, so it was effective in that regard. It would have been more effective to spend last week hyping this as the final match of the feud if they are sincere about it and simply giving the match that stipulation. Still, this gave viewers a taste and served as a hook for more later in the show. The No DQ stipulation could be the key here. My prediction going in is that Nia Jax would cost Sasha the match to set them up in a program, leaving Charlotte to feud with Bayley.

Lana introduced Rusev as the only man who can have her. Rusev made his entrance.

[Q6] Footage aired of the nude Enzo angle, and Rusev destroying Enzo in a match last week. Enzo and Big Cass made their entrance and did their schtick on the way to the ring. Enzo said Rusev beat him last week because it was the luckiest day of his life. He compared it to the Cubs winning the World Series. He said it coincided with the luckiest day in his wife’s life because she got to see the realest guy in the world in his realest form “and she knows how I’m doin’.” Cass did the “how you doin'” bit while listing what Rusev and Lana ate for Thanksgiving. Enzo said Lana spent the meal thinking about “a certified G stuffing her turkey”…

4. Rusev (w/Lana) vs. Enzo Amore (w/Big Cass). Graves said the G in Certified G stands for glutton for punishment. The bell rang and Enzo ran into a kick. Rusev jawed at Enzo and then kicked him in the balls for the DQ. Big Cass entered the ring and Rusev fled. Rusev barked from the floor that Enzo should never talk about his wife…

Enzo Amore beat Rusev by DQ in 0:27.

Saxton hyped the tag title match… Graves hyped Rich Swann vs. Noam Dar for after the break… An ad for Smackdown hyped Dean Ambrose interviewing James Ellsworth in an Asylum segment, and American Alpha vs. Bray Wyatt and Randy Orton to determine the No. 1 contenders to the tag titles… [C]

Powell’s POV: I guess Mick Foley is content with a kick to the dick and doesn’t want Rusev and Enzo to take a break and restart their match too.

Backstage, Mark Henry was interviewed about his role in the movie Incarnate. Footage of Henry in the movie was shown. Henry was asked about working with Aaron Eckhart. Titus O’Neil showed up and said the role was supposed to be his. Henry tired to walk away, but Titus grabbed him. Henry shoved him down and asked if he was out of his mind…

The broadcast team was shown and they were joined by Brian Kendrick for the cruiserweight match…

5. Rich Swann vs. Noam Dar. Swann danced on the stage and pointed at Kendrick. The production crew found the fans who were excited, which must have been difficult. Dar entered to no reaction and held up his heavily taped pinky. Kendrick said Dar is a great kid, but he’s more concerned with having his hair in the right place.

[Q7] Cole noted that Kendrick, who yelled at Saxton, seemed to be on edge. Kendrick said the cruiserweights now have a new platform thanks to him. The broadcast team played up the idea of Swann having Kendrick’s number. Dar controlled the offense for a good stretch and blocked Swann going for rolling thunder. Swann came back with a great kick that popped the crowd and scored the pin…

Rich Swann pinned Noam Dar in 3:30.

After the match, Graves entered the ring and interviewed Swann about facing Kendrick. Swann took the mic and addressed Kendrick, who was still at the broadcast able. “Is that the Brian Kendrick that I spy in my eye?” Swann asked. He questioned whether Kendrick was playing mind games. Swann said Kendrick is doubting himself because he’s already beaten him twice. Swann the third time will be that much sweeter because he’ll become the new cruiserweight champion. “And why?” Swann asked. “Because you can’t handle this”…

Cole hyped his interview with Paul Heyman and said Heyman called Brock Lesnar the victim… [C]

Powell’s POV: A good segment with Kendrick doing a good job of acting agitated over Swann’s success, and Swann delivering a great kick for the win. Swann’s post match promo was decent at best. It would have helped if the crowd was more engaged. I can’t say they made the match feel must see by any means, but they did a good job of enforcing the story heading into the title match on 205 Live. Join me for live coverage of the premiere episode immediately following Jake Barnett’s live review of WWE Smackdown tomorrow night.

The broadcast team spoke about how New Day is 16 days away from the record for longest title reign. They said Stephanie McMahon and Mick Foley are not making it easy on New Day. Footage aired of New Day cheating to beat Sheamus and Cesaro last week. Saxton justified it by saying the old saying is by hook or by crook…

Sheamus was shown at a bar. The bartender spoke about Gallows and Anderson, so you know this was fake. Cesaro sat down next to Sheamus. They agreed they are too different to work as a team. They started bickering. The biggest guy in the bar approached and welcomed Sheamus to America, then mocked his funny hair and funny name. Cesaro told Sheamus to stay clam. Another guy said they look like the Viillage People, then belched in Cesaro’s face. Sheamus and Cesaro agreed to fight. They took on several bar patrons and destroyed them. Sheamus climbed behind the counter and declared it open bar. Sheamus and Cesaro toasted while country music played…

The broadcast team hyped the main event again… [C]

Powell’s POV: It was either this or Sheamus and Cesaro were going to argue until they finally stopped and just started passionately making out with one another. This was super cheesy, but hopefully this means the bickering is finished.

[Q8] [C] Ring entrances for the Owens vs. Reigns match. Reigns was booed again. They found little kids who were cheering him. Meanwhile, he found a fan to shake hands with as he headed to the ring…

6. Kevin Owens vs. Roman Reigns in a non-title shot (Reigns gets a title shot if he wins). Owens attacked Reigns before the bell. The ref checked on Reigns, got him to his feet, and then started the match like a dick. Owens was in control of the offense going into the break while Cole spoke about Reigns potentially getting a championship opportunity.

Powell’s POV: So Vince McMahon has apparently decided that “title shot” needs to be replaced by “championship opportunity”. The man lives in a bubble, so you have to wonder if he even realizes that no one who isn’t employed by him uses his replacement lingo.

Reigns had taken control coming out of the break, but Owens caught him with a kick and a DDT for a near fall.

[Q9] Owens went to the corner and mocked Roman’s war cry before performing a cannonball. There were dueling chants for Roman. Owens had Reigns in a chinlock and yelled something about Roman’s hair being greasy. Owens told Reigns to go back to football or whatever he was doing.

Powell’s POV: I know the Minnesota Vikings let him go when he was a linebacker, but I’m sure they would take him back if he wants to try offensive tackle on Thursday night. It’s Roman Reigns or Willie Beavers, folks. Sigh.

Reigns started to make his comeback. The wrestlers traded shots with the fans cheering Ownes and booing Reigns, who performed a Samoan drop for two. Reigns set up for his finisher, but Owens rolling to ringside. Reigns went after him and connected with a Drive By kick. Owens caught Reigns with a kick back inside the ring and got a two count.

Owens went up top and Reigns cut him off with a punch. Reigns ended up Superman Punching Owens off the ropes. Reigns went to the floor and hit a Superman Punch off the steps and then rolled Owens back inside the ring. Reigns went for a spear, but Owens kicked him. Owens ran the ropes and Reigns speared him and pinned him…

Roman Reigns pinned Kevin Owens in 14:35 to earn a Universal Title shot.

The broadcast team hyped all things WWE Network, then hyped the tag and women’s title matches, and Cole’s interview with Heyman for after the break… [C]

Powell’s POV: The match was fine, but I’m still not interested in seeing Reigns challenge for the Universal Championship at Roadblock. I would ask what would happen to the U.S. Title if Reigns won the Universal Title, but I’m not interested in that either.

[Q10] A Smackdown ad aired… Backstage, Owens took exception with being interviewed by Charly Caruso (I think). Owens said the only reason Reigns beat him is that his head wasn’t in the match because of what Seth Rollins did to Chris Jericho… The broadcast team spoke and set up Cole’s interview with Heyman… A video package recapped Goldberg beating Brock Lesnar at Survivor Series…

Cole’s sit-down interview with Heyman aired. Cole started by asking what happened. An unkept Heyman said they screwed up by taking Goldberg lightly. Heyman said Goldberg is a relic. He said they thought it would be the easiest payday of Lesnar’s career, but Goldberg cracked Lesnar’s rib with a spear right out of the gate. “If you can’t breathe, you can’t fight,” Heyman said.

Cole asked how Lesnar is dealing with it. “Like you care,” Heyman said. He said broken ribs are part of the game. He wiped tears from his eyes as he spoke about how injuries are part of the game. He mentioned humiliation and embarrassment, and said it goes into the history books that Lesnar lost in a minute and 26 seconds. “This is embarrassing and it has put Brock in the mindset that he has something to prove, which scares me” Heyman said.

Heyman said that it can destroy a person or drive them to greater heights than ever before. Heyman said he doesn’t think we’ve ever seen this side of Lesnar before. Cole asked what is next. Heyman said that if Goldberg is in the Royal Rumble match, the Brock Lesnar is in the Royal Rumble match. He said there only be room for one winner, one conquerer, 28 losers, and victim named Goldberg…

New Day made their entrance… [C]

Powell’s POV: A unique promo. I wasn’t sure how they would approach it, but I really liked the way Heyman framed the loss and Lesnar’s mindset. Cole put over the Lesnar in the Rumble announcement briefly and then they moved right into New Day’s announcement, which is ridiculous. Lesnar and Goldberg both appearing in the Rumble match should have been treated as show stopping news that the broadcast team addressed thoroughly before anything else happened.

[Q11] An Emmalina teaser video aired. She’s still “premiering soon” according to the graphic. Graves said her premiere will be bigger than Rogue One.

Powell’s POV: For as long as they have dragged this out, you have to wonder if they will be comparing Emmalina’s premiere to Episode VIII.

New Day cut a promo about breaking Demolition’s streak and beating Shemaus and Cesaro. The entrance music of Anderson and Gallows interrupted them…

7. Xavier Woods and Big E (w/Kofi Kingston) vs. Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson for the Raw Tag Titles. Anderson clotheslined Woods to start the match. Gallows kicked E on the floor. The heels worked over Woods. Gallows stood over Woods heading into the break. [C]

Big E tagged in and performed three suplexes on Anderson. E took a big boot from Anderson, who covered him for a near fall. E did his big shoulder block spot where he and Anderson tumbled to the floor. Later, the Gallows slammed E, who rolled to ringside. Later, Woods rolled up Anderson and pinned him while holding the tights…

New Day beat Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson in 9:00 to retain the Raw Tag Titles.

Powell’s POV: It was good to see Big E roll over so that he took the shoulder block spot on his back rather than going head first into the floor as he’s done before. It’s a shame that Gallows and Anderson weren’t pushed this way before they ran their feud with New Day into the ground with awful comedy. They looked like badasses despite losing the match in the end. New Day cheated to win last week and they did the same here. In this case, it didn’t seem as out of place because they were beating two heels and it was positioned as turn about being fair play.

backstage, Bayley spoke with Sasha Banks and said she knows she will beat Charlotte. Bayley started to talk about what Charlotte did to her at Survivor Series. Sasha said it’s not about Bayley or her. She recalled Charlotte telling her own father that he was jealous of her. Sasha said she was dedicating her win to Ric Flair himself. Sasha said she will become a three-time champion. Bayley wished her luck. Cole said the match was up next… [C]

[Q12] 8. Charlotte vs. Sasha Banks in a no disqualification, no count-out, falls count anywhere match for the Raw Women’s Championship. Dana Brooke did not accompany Charlotte to ringside. Graves said the match was not fair to Charlotte because the rules say the title does not change hands on a double count-out. Cole snuck in a plug for Raw in Austin next week.

Sasha dropkicked Charlotte to ringside, then followed up with a cross body block through the ropes. A short time later, they women performed a double clothesline spot and both women were down at ringside heading into a commercial break. [C]

Charlotte had Sasha in a leg scissors back inside the ring coming out of the break. A short time later, Charlotte went for her finisher and the crowd wooed, but Charlotte kicked her away and ended up catching her with a double knee stomp. Charlotte stood up and then Sasha caught her with double knees in the corner. Charlotte came back with a kick. The women ended up on the ring apron and traded chops. Sasha got the better of it, but then walked into a big boot that knocked her off the apron.

Charlotte dropped down and covered Banks for a two count on the floor while Cole reminded viewers of the match rules. Charlotte performed the Natural Selection off the ring steps and got another two count on the floor while Cole reminded viewers that she won the title with that move at Hell in a Cell.

[Overrun] Sasha got kendo stick and struck Charlotte with it repeatedly. The fans actually chanted ECW. Charlotte caught Sasha with a neckbreaker on the floor to regain offensive control. Charlotte applied the Figure Eight on the floor. Sasha grabbed the kendo stick and struck Charlotte with it to break the hold. The fans chanted “this is awesome.”

The women fought up the stage with Charlotte connecting with chops and a kick, then Sasha firing back with punches. Charlotte tore the top off the broadcast table on the stage and ditched the monitors. Sasha punched Charlotte, who threw her onto the table and then kicked her off the stage. Charlotte climbed onto the broadcast table and performed a moonsault onto Sasha. Charlotte covered Sasha and smiled, but she only got a two count. Charlotte covered her again and only got a two count, then showed frustration over not being able to put her away.

Charlotte slammed Sasha’s face into the ramp and then dragged her back to ringside. Charlotte picked up Sasha and told the cameraman to move, but Sasha slipped down and ran her into the ring post. Sasha backdropped Charlotte onto the floor. Sasha climbed onto the barricade and performed a double knee press into a pin for a two count at 15:00.

Sasha grabbed the kendo stick and hit Charlotte with it three times, including one that appeared to hit her on top of the head. They fought into the crowd and up the stairs, where Sasha slammed Charlotte’s head off a handrail, wedged her between it, caught her with several knees, and then applied the Bank Statement. Charlotte tapped out…

Sasha Banks defeated Charlotte in 16:35 to win the Raw Women’s Championship.

After the match, Ric Flair’s music played and he made his entrance. Flair walked to the ring and raised the arm of Sasha, then hugged her. Flair held up her arm again and then bowed and high-fived her. Charlotte was shown crying and upset still in the stands while Sasha’s music played and she celebrated her win…

Powell’s POV: A really good, intense match that stole the show. I’m not as down on the outcome as I thought I would be. Granted, I’m not crazy about the game of hot potato that’s being played with the title, but it was a hot finish to this match and so far they have impressed me by maintaining the prestige of the title, then so be it. It certainly worked on this show, and now I’m curious to see where they go from here in terms of Bayley being next in line for a title shot and this supposedly being the last match of the Sasha vs. Charlotte feud. I’ll believe that last part when I see it.

Overall, Raw peaked with the main event, but it had a lot going for it with Owens vs. Reigns, the Heyman interview, and the tag title match. Even with all of that and coming off a long holiday weekend, the show still dragged at three hours, but that’s not going to change. I’ll have more to say in the member exclusive audio review later tonight. Thanks for watching along with me.

Readers Comments (1)

  1. I’ve thought about this myself, but when you wrote “So Vince McMahon has apparently decided that “title shot” needs to be replaced by “championship opportunity”. The man lives in a bubble, so you have to wonder if he even realizes that no one who isn’t employed by him uses his replacement lingo”, sadly you were wrong. Every promotion with national TV (ROH, TNA, NJPW, LU) has an ex-WWF/E announcer on play-by-play, and nowhere is a title belt a title belt anymore. They all call matches in Vince-speak.

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