Two weeks out from Hell in a Cell, and tonight will likely be dominated with speculation of Bill Goldberg responding to Brock Lesnar’s challenge issued by proxy via Paul Heyman last week. You may be all over this Goldberg / Lesnar showdown but I couldn’t care less. I saw their “showdown” that everyone, correctly, compared to a dumpster fire back at WrestleMania 20. Not super excited to see that again with twelve years having gone by. The only way I’d be remotely intrigued is if they make Chris Jericho the guest referee. Meanwhile, we’re going to further the Sasha / Charlotte HIAC match somehow, either Bayley and/or Nia Jax will squash someone, Braun will come out dressed like Sasha Banks because Foley won’t give him competition, the Cruiserweights will have some meaningless tag match, and the rest of the Raw women’s roster will continue to have nothing to do for no good reason whatsoever. Can ya tell I like SmackDown Live better right now? Anyway, let’s get to the recap.
WWE Raw 10/17/16 Recap
WWE. Then. Now. Forever. Standard video credits, pyro, and we’re live from Denver. Cole puts over Goldberg as the second coming, Graves tells us that Lita will interview Sasha and Charlotte, and Kevin Owens is out first.
Chris Jericho, the List, and Owens are out to mostly boos. We see footage of Owens leaving Jericho high and dry to eat a Pedigree at the end of last week’s show. A “Y2J” chant breaks out, but KO runs the crowd down, and then announces that he knows that Foley has a personal vendetta against him. The proof is that he’s forcing KO to defend inside the Cell. A “Foley” chant breaks out, so Jericho casts “Quiet x infinity”. It’s super effective. Jericho cuts a promo backing up the “Foley vendetta” theory and says that HIAC is not a “badge of honor” but a “nail in the coffin”. Jericho says it’s a “travesty of justice” that Foley put KO in the Cell and proves that Foley is a “stupid idiot”. KO adds he’s smarter than Foley, so he won’t let the match shorten his career. Owens claims only Rollins’ career will be shortened by HIAC. Jericho says he should have been in the match with Owens and Rollins and says he’s better than Seth. Jericho then name drops a bunch of guys he’s beat in the past. Jericho blames his loss last week on “bad officiating”. Jericho then puts the ref from last week on the List. The crowd pops so KO says that they should cheer that he’s going to retire Rollins at HIAC. This brings out Seth.
Rollins is out to a pop and cuts a promo on Owens from the stage. Rollins continues to cut a promo on Jericho calling out the scarf, tattoos, his hairdo, his “creepy mustache”, and calls him sparkle crotch like a million times. The predictable “sparkle crotch” chant breaks out. My eyes glazed over at this point and I came to a few minutes later when Rollins says that Jericho is “weak”. Somehow this devolves into Rollins challenging Jericho to a rematch from last week. Rollins questions what is going to happen with KO during the match. Jericho wants KO to leave, but Kevin wants to stay. They have a spat but Jericho hypes up KO saying that he needs to show the people he can beat Rollins on his own. KO agrees and leaves as we head to break.
Back from break, the bell rings.
Match #1: Seth Rollins vs. Chris Jericho
Solid opener. Jericho needed to lose here to further the tease of the JeriKO break and that is exactly what happens. Not a huge fan of KO coming out towards the end of the match. It would have potentially been more interesting if Jericho “went solo” and lost. However, Owens doesn’t contribute much beyond one spot where he tries to pull the ropes back when Rollins is trying to break the Walls of Jericho. Seth manages to counter a Codebreaker into a Pedigree and gets the clean win over Jericho.
Verdict: Thumbs Up – Not a fan of WWE trying to hard sell “sparkle crotch” but at least this resulting match was good and does a little to further the story heading into HIAC.
Next, we see classic Goldberg footage mixed in with WWE 2K17 Goldberg footage. I imagine these Goldberg clips are going to happen all night long. After the break we’re getting a Lita interview with Charlotte that I suppose is different from the segment they announced at the top of the show?
Back from break, Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper is in the crowd and he gets boos!
Next, we see the “earlier today” sit down interview with Lita and Charlotte. Lita wants to see where Charlotte’s head is at going into the match and name drops legends associated with HIAC and asks how she is preparing. Charlotte puts herself over and says she doesn’t need to prepare. Lita asks if Charlotte took advantage of Sasha at SummerSlam. Charlotte responds by saying she’s the champ, has won 12 straight PPVs, and hasn’t been whining that she’s hurt. Lita brings up that the fans are behind Sasha and the match is in her hometown. Charlotte says Sasha will need her hometown crowd, but she pities Sasha because Charlotte doesn’t need anyone to cheer for her. Charlotte puts herself over yet again and vows to leave HIAC as the champ. The Sasha interview comes later tonight… oh, I guess this isn’t an in ring face off moderated by Lita as it sounded during the show open.
Back live, The Golden Truth and Mark Henry are out… and it’s the bouncing Goldust head entrance. Ugh.
Back from break, The Shining Stars and Titus O’Neil are out. I guess some stuff went down on the pre-show with the Shining Stars, flanked by O’Neil, trying to sell Mark Henry fake watches. Okay, then.
Match #2: The Shining Stars & Titus O’Neil vs. The Golden Truth & Mark Henry
This happens. Mark Henry hasn’t been on TV in months and his appearance tonight can be summed up as: Arrive. Get ripped off by some Puerto Rican guys. Deliver finisher. Leave.
Verdict: Thumbs Down – I guess this is the “cool down” from the Charlotte pre-taped interview?
Meanwhile, the New Day are backstage… prancing… and holding a Day 420 sign signifying their 420 day title reign… and you know, Colorado.
Back from break, Jericho is backstage… walking. He finds Owens and he’s hot with him. KO says that this is what Rollins and Foley want so Jericho won’t have his back anymore. Jericho gets fired up and almost calls KO a “stupid idiot”. KO says he’s not some guy that can be put on the List… he’s the Universal Champion. Jericho fires back that he’s a six-time WWE champion, he’s not a lackey or sidekick, and he told Owens not to come down to the ring. Stephanie appears and interrupts their bickering. She says they’re letting Rollins get inside their heads and she mentions the Survivor Series challenge from SmackDown. Stephanie says she needs her “best generals” on the same page. She needs them stronger and smarter than everyone else. They back down and agree. So, I guess the Survivor Series thing is on!
Meanwhile, Sheamus is out with Cesaro. Cesaro is on Facebook Live this week. The New Day are out next, tossing boxes of Booty-Os into the crowd. Big E starts by declaring that Sheamus must be a “mile high” if he thinks he’s going to beat him tonight. They then call Cesaro his “court appointed tag team partner”. Woods says that Trump and Clinton would make a more cohesive tag team than Cesaro and Sheamus. We continue with the “hot, steaming garbage” theme to describe Sheamus. And another reminder that you can’t say “Sheamus” without saying “shame”.
Match #3: Big E (w/ Xavier Woods & Kofi Kingston) vs. Sheamus (w/ Cesaro)
I’m not a fan of the “court appointed tag team partner” angle so the singles matches in the build to the inevitable easy win by New Day do nothing for me. The only entertaining thing here is Cesaro on Facebook Live. He wears Big E’s sleeveless cape and goes out into the crowd at one point. This infuriated Sheamus for… reasons (?)… so he demands that Cesaro film him and the “best Brogue Kick ever”, which turns into Big E splashing him in the corner and getting a roll up win.
Verdict: Thumbs Down – Not a fan of this program… at all. It seems like an excuse to get hits on the WWE Facebook page and to stall for time so New Day beats the Demolition reign record.
Post-match, Cesaro and Sheamus argue. We’re then sent to another Goldberg “blast from the past” video clip.
Back from break, Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel are already in the ring. Earlier today, Bo cuts a poem in front of Curtis Axel. Curtis still believes in Bo so he got him a match tonight with Neville. Back live, Neville is out.
Match #4: Neville vs. Bo Dallas (w/ Curtis Axel)
Bo starts out strong and then Neville fights back. It seems like we’re going for an easy Neville squash, but Bo avoids the Red Arrow and manages to hit his finisher out of nowhere on Neville. I didn’t see that coming at all.
Verdict: Thumbs In The Middle – Seeing Neville getting beat clean like that seems weird… I’m hoping something comes of this bizarre “push” they’re giving Bo Dallas right now.
Post-match, Axel comes in the ring and starts celebrating Bo’s win. Bo then turns on Axel and beats the crap out of him. Bo rams Axel into the barricade a few times and then leaves with his “Bo-lieve in Bo” sign. Up next, Bayley takes on Dana Brooke… wow, no squash match for her this week???
Back from break, Dana Brooke is out. Bayley is out next to a pop.
Match #5: Bayley vs. Dana Brooke
Man, ugly. So. I’m all for Dana Brooke playing the cowardly heel… which she does here. And it’s fine. But, the finish involves Bayley getting rammed into the post on the apron. Dana then kinda pulls Bayley through the ropes and pins her clean. It almost looks like Dana tries to use the ropes for leverage but can’t reach them. So, I’m not sure if this is a botch or if WWE has no idea what to do with Bayley… or a little of both. Since I doubt we see either Banks or Charlotte work a TV match until Survivor Series… it’s only going to go down from here next week.
Verdict: Thumbs Down – Ugly match and a complete waste of Bayley on the main roster. I give this “thumbs down” as someone who wanted a Dana / Bayley match instead of Bayley squashing enhancement women.
(Edit: WWE added this “fallout” video… meaning I guess Bayley got “injured”? So, pointless squash matches, losing by standard kicks, and now an injury angle? UGH. Send this woman to SmackDown before it is too late.)
Next, Cole tells us we’re joined by a very special guest… pause… now I guess Cole is live for the arena crowd (?) and introduces Heyman (live from WWE Studios). Cole asks Heyman if he thinks Goldberg will accept Brock’s challenge. Heyman says the whole thing has spiraled out of control and that Goldberg should realize the challenge was “rhetorical”. Heyman cuts a promo on Bill that uses the phrase “Brock Lesnar’s tuccus (?)” and suggests that Goldberg turn down the match. The gist here is that if Goldberg accepts, it will anger the Beast and Brock will humiliate him.
Back from break, another Susan G. Komen promo runs. Once again, we get the awkward transition from “Breast Cancer Awareness” music into Braun Strowman’s theme. Strowman is out and is facing the “Mile High Trio” tonight. The argument here is that Strowman won’t be able to adapt to the “altitude” and will blow up fast. Seems legit.
Match #6: Braun Strowman vs. The Mile High Trio (w/ Denver “altitude”)
2 minutes and 15 seconds. The only things of note here are the double drop kick and Braun catching one of the enhancement guys outside the ring after he tries to leave.
Verdict: Thumbs In The Middle – I can’t believe this almost went as long as the Bayley / Dana match.
Post-match, Strowman cuts a promo on Foley which brings out… Sami Zayn? What?
Zayn is out to a pop and faces off against Strowman. Braun responds by shoving Zayn completely out of the ring. Braun then leaves to end the segment.
Back from break, Zayn is backstage… walking. He’s interviewed about “picking a fight with Braun Strowman”. He said he did it because “nobody else will”.
Meanwhile, Lana is in the ring to introduce Rusev. He’s out next with his new “Liev Schreiber in X-Men Origins: Wolverine” beard. Rusev cuts a promo on Roman and a “USA” chant breaks out. Rusev gets riled up and makes Lana cut a promo putting him over and saying what a great “family man” he is. Rusev claims Roman’s family is “700 Samoans sitting around a campfire, dipping a turkey leg in mayonnaise”. Rusev puts over his own family and sends us to photos of his family on the Titantron. He puts over his mother, who is a rowing champion. People boo her and Rusev cuts a promo on the crowd for “booing” his mother. We see “Papa Rusev” who was a wrestling champion in the military. Next, we see Brother Rusev, who is a chef. Finally we see Grandma Rusev and the family dog, that is sadly not named “Dog Ziggler”. The crowd starts chanting “boring” which causes Reigns’ music to hit.
Roman is out saying he’s got a big family… “the Roman Empire”. Roman says Rusev looks more like the “family dog”. Rusev says that Roman can’t disrespect him and all he needs to do is make “one call”. Roman wants to know who he’s going to call. Roman says it doesn’t matter who he calls because no one can help Rusev at HIAC. They face off, but Lana holds Rusev back. Lana slaps Roman and Rusev follows this up with a kick that drops Roman. Rusev then beats up Roman outside the ring and slams him into the stairs. Rusev brings the stairs into the ring, Roman tries to come back, but Rusev slams him into the stairs again. Rusev gives Roman the Accolade on the stairs. Rusev finally releases the hold and poses over the fallen Reigns to end the segment.
Next, we see another Goldberg video clip.
Back from break, another Emma -> Emmalina vignette airs.
Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson are out and Enzo and Cass are out next. Enzo calls Anderson and Gallows a “cuppa haters”. Enzo cuts a promo on them and Cass finishes it out by calling them “sawft”.
Match #7: Karl Anderson (w/ Luke Gallows) vs. Big Cass (w/ Enzo)
This lasts one minute and twenty-nine seconds. This had to be cut for time. There’s a little fracas outside the ring to start, Anderson goes for a roll up, and eats the East River Crossing. Cass gets a clean win in record time.
Verdict: Thumbs Down – What? Why do this? I get pushing Cass, but we’re back to making Anderson and Gallows look like chumps again. Sigh.
Meanwhile backstage, Drew Gulak and Tony Nese are agreeing to help out Brian Kendrick. T.J. Perkins appears and Kendrick cuts a promo on him saying there are no friends on Raw, just allies. Perkins quickly figures out Kendrick wants the six man match tonight so Gulak and Nese can soften him up before HIAC. Cedric Alexander and Rich Swann appear and say they’re backing up T.J. tonight.
Up next, we’re getting the Lita / Sasha Banks sit down interview.
Back from break, it’s the Sasha / Lita interview. Sasha says no matter how she feels about Charlotte, she respects her and they’re making history together. Sasha will prove that Charlotte is “no Sasha Banks” at HIAC. Lita brings up the injuries surrounding SummerSlam and Sasha says she’s back and better than ever. Lita asks if Sasha is afraid about working inside the Cell and Sasha says that fear is not an option for her.
Next, another Goldberg video clip. The Cruiserweight six-man is up next.
Back from break, Brian Kendrick makes his entrance, followed by Drew Gulak, and Tony Nese. Cedric Alexander is out first for the faces, followed by Rich Swann, and T.J. Perkins enters last.
Match #8: Brian Kendrick, Tony Nese, & Drew Gulak vs. T.J. Perkins, Cedric Alexander, & Rich Swann
Like the Enzo & Cass match… this one felt really rushed. This show really feels like they gave the opening segments and matches way too much time for a show that is going to end with a Goldberg segment. So, we get the interesting story of Kendrick hiring Gulak and Nese to take out Perkins… but nothing really comes of it. We get a handful of spots to make the crowd “oooh” and “aaah” and then Kendrick gets Swann with the Captain’s Hook.
Verdict: Thumbs In The Middle – I’m gradually warming up to the Cruiserweights now they’re starting to give them a purpose. I can only tolerate so many “these guys are good at wrestling – here is a match” segments before I turn on the division. Thankfully, we’re making progress. Had this been given more time I’d have given it a “thumbs up”.
We’re then sent backstage to Mick Foley and Stephanie McMahon. Mick mentions Stephanie accepting Shane’s challenge and he’s cool with it even though he didn’t get to announce it. Stephanie gives Mick credit for booking three HIAC matches on one show. She then wants to know what is in store for next week’s Raw. Stephanie mentions the triple threat they almost had at HIAC. Mick decides to make next week’s main event a triple threat match between Owens, Rollins, and Jericho. Stephanie loves it and she and Mick high five.
Next, we see a WWE 2K17 simulation of Brock vs. Goldberg.
Back from break, we learn that The New Day take on Cesaro & Sheamus in a non-title match next week and the main event will be the triple threat that Foley just confirmed.
Meanwhile, Cole is in the ring and we see the Goldberg on ESPN clip again. Next, Cole sends us to footage of Heyman’s promo for last week’s Raw. Cole then announces Goldberg and looks like a video game version of himself doing it.
Goldberg does the classic “Goldberg entrance” starting in the backstage. We get cameos from Darren Young, Bob Backlund (who is freaking out), New Day, Alicia Fox, Mark Henry, some girl selling Cesaro t-shirts (backstage?), Goldust, Sami Zayn, Enzo, Cass, and Neville during the entrance… probably more that I missed.
Goldberg enters to a hero’s welcome. They keep showing the Governor during the entrance as if there is going to be an angle here or something. Massive “Goldberg” chants from the crowd. After every chant possible except for “you deserve it”, Goldberg addresses the crowd. Cole turns the floor over to Goldberg who announces it’s been 12 years since he was last in the ring and he never thought he’d be in the ring again. Goldberg mentions his wife and son are there to see him for the first time ever. They’re in the front row next the Governor, so I guess that explains that. Goldberg says he misses the feeling of being a “super hero” to the kids again. While promoting the WWE 2K17 game, he realized that he was still Goldberg and he got to be the “super hero” once again. However, that created some drama back at WWE and he thinks that maybe it’s better left alone and kept in the video game. “No” chant from crowd. Goldberg says he changed his mind when Lesnar challenged him to a fight – and sent his “fat little stooge” Heyman to do it for him. Goldberg thinks that he might have “one last ass kickin'” left in him… “one last Spear”… “one last Jackhammer”… left in him. Goldberg says that Brock is next and that Brock Lesnar is last. Mic drop.
Goldberg goes to leave and pulls some random kid out of the crowd. He then thinks better, puts the kid back, and goes and grabs his son out of the crowd. We then learn that Brock will be on Raw next week. Goldberg puts his son down and shakes hands with crowd members to end the show.
What a weird show. The Goldberg segment obviously affected things since the Bayley / Dana, Cass / Anderson, and Cruiserweight six man match all seemed to suffer from it. Granted, a 15 minute opening promo that seemed to exist to try to get “sparkle crotch” over could have been cut down to help things along a bit. I’m sure the fans will say Raw won this week for the Goldberg appearance alone… but I think SmackDown has another legitimate chance to be the better wrestling show yet again.
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