Notes In Observance – WWE Raw 8/29/16: Welcome To The Kevin Owens Show
By Nicholas Jason Lopez
“Notes In Observance” features random thoughts and analysis on recent television shows. Quick results can be found at the of the bottom of the post.
Welcome To The Kevin Owens Show
– SummerSlam showcased the best of WWE’s future in Finn Balor and Sasha Banks as they each held the top Title in their respective divisions; the WWE Universal Championship and WWE Women’s Championship. Unfortunately, both Balor and Banks suffered injuries that put them on the shelf. For poor Balor, he’d be out until perhaps early Mar. 2017. Where one door closes, another opens. WWE was smart to take this approach into the next Raw episodes, as the opening video highlighted last week’s “series of matches” that determined the participants for a Fatal Four-Way Elimination match for this show. In the end, it was Big Cass, Kevin Owens, Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns.
– The opening in-ring segment with Corey Graves, Owens, Cass, Rollins and Reigns was a smart way to hype the main event and give each participant a chance to shine. Each guy (except Reigns who stood silent) paved their case on why they were the one to win. Rollins was snarky at everybody and him and Owens’ back-and-forth banter was entertaining. Owens’ sarcasm was on point in full. Cass had a nice performance on the mic as he got to sell himself as the one with nothing to lose, which was true. Him and Owens also interacted nicely and he even laid a light reference to Rollins’ leaked dick picture from last year. The physicality at the end was just enough without going too much over the top, while it was established that Reigns wasn’t liked by this crowd. You could imagine how they felt to see him standing tall at the end here. Any usual WWE fan couldn’t had been surprised to see that.
– The Chris Jericho-Neville match was sort of thrown out there with a loose tie to last week where Jericho cost Neville a shot at being in the Fatal Four-Way main event. Jericho’s pre-match promo sent a message to a “fired-up Neville” in a way that bordered on comedic anger with his 2016 catchphrases. Quite hilarious stuff. The match’s story was that of the feisty younger guy battling the crafty veteran who bent the rules whenever possible. It was actually better than their Beast In The East match and got better especially towards the finish, as they teased each other’s finishers before Jericho won with the Lion Tamer submission after Neville missed the Red Arrow and tried to follow up with a huracanrana. At least you could say Neville didn’t get the Codebreaker, but you have to feel for the guy, since it feels like he’s spinning his wheels once more.
– The backstage segment with Bayley, WWE World Tag Team Champions The New Day and Dana Brooke was a good lead-in to their later booked Six-Person Mixed Tag. The Bayley/ND pairing made sense on paper with their positivity gimmicks intertwining, while Brooke was tied to WWE Women’s Champion Charlotte, whom Bayley challenged recently. We knew Luke Gallows/Karl Anderson would likely get involved in this since they were in a feud with ND. It certainly was a segment.
– The Nia Jax-Hyan match was the latest installment of the Jax squashes, as even the backstage interviewer didn’t have faith in the “Texas-born” Hyan. Formula squash that makes us wonder whom will the first feud be with for Jax.
– Just when we thought we were free of the sketch comedy crap from Gallows/Anderson as “doctors,” we now had to sit through them as “Retirement Business Workers” which referenced their attack on the Dudley Boyz last week that sent them into retirement, before Brooke emerged with them as their “registered nurse.” Just… why. Awful.
– The main event had excellent hype throughout the night with respective hype video packages for each competitor in the bout. Certainly helped make it feel bigger.
– The Jinder Mahal-Sami Zayn match gave us some hope for Zayn headed forward. This was a smart use of his underdog character, as he sold the ankle injury from last week in his match with Rollins and used it as motivation for this match with Mahal, who wasn’t all that big a threat. As far as action, nothing much doing, but the story was solid. The Helluva Kick put Zayn back on the winning track.
– The Six-Person Mixed Tag with Kofi Kingston/Big E/Bayley and Gallows/Anderson/Brooke with Charlotte on commentary was a fun way to simultaneously push the Bayley-Charlotte and New Day-Gallows/Anderson feuds, as we also had an update from Banks on her injury and how she’d come back gunning for Charlotte. The bout certainly filled up ample time as we saw Bayley hit her signature moves and join in the ND ruckus. The pace quickened towards the finish as more importantly, Bayley got the pinfall with the Bayley-To-Belly on Brooke for the second week in a row.
– Cesaro’s backstage promo was good hype for the second match in the Best-Of-Seven Series between him and Sheamus as he addressed a potential 2-0 series disadvantage, but stuck the optimist route on the grounds that any day he got to beat up Sheamus was a fun one. Usual upbeat Cesaro promo. No complaints.
– The Second match in the Best-Of-Seven Series between Sheamus and Cesaro where Sheamus had a 1-0 lead was another grueling contest reliant upon high-impact spots and rest holds. Sheamus’ pre-match promo was a good chance for him to soak up some more heat. Liked the way he played off the crowd’s “What” chants too. The match told a nice story, as Cesaro targeted Sheamus’ elbow and his uppercut-happy offense got the crowd into it, until a turning point where Sheamus backdropped him into the ring post and set up a clover leaf submission that was too painful for Cesaro. Sheamus had a 2-0 series lead and we were alright with that. Thought Graves’ explanation of “self-preservation” for Cesaro sounded smart.
– WWE pulled off a classy video tribute to the late Mr. Fuji. Focused on his managerial and parodical side to his personality. Vintage Fuji.
– The Americo-Braun Strowman match continued the trend of old-school Strowman squashes, with the theme more apparent of heel actions from Strowman after the bout. We actually chuckled at Michael Cole’s comparison of Americo (a patriotically painted luchador) to Max Moon. Strownan literally threw the guy around and then unmasked him after the bell. Ouch. That’ll give you some heat down in Texas.
– It was cool to see Tommaso Ciampa, Cedric Alexander and Johnny Gargano highlighted in the Cruiserweight Division hype video, which was announced to debut in three weeks. Couldn’t come soon enough. These guys will light it up.
– The in-ring segment with Raw Commissioner Stephanie McMahon and Paul Heyman was supposed to be a follow-up to SummerSlam where Lesnar F5’d SmackDown Live Commissioner Shane McMahon as we’d see Heyman address the situation with rumors of an apology. Instead, what this was most notable for was Heyman’s method of paying the $500 fine by way of singles. Besides that, it was a lot of mumbo-jumbo by Heyman to “dodge a bullet” and offer an apology that Steph begrudgingly accepted. Mostly anticlimactic.
– The Titus O’Neil-Darren Young match again tried to rile up the feud, but fell flat within execution. It said a lot that the best moment came when O’Neil overshot an Irish whip into the corner and sent Young over the ropes and almost onto a cameraman. The crowd was flat for this outside occasional boos for O’Neil. The “upset bridge” finish by Young to beat O’Neil was done so weak. We do applaud the effort to at least stay consistent, as O’Neil attacked both Bob Backlund and Young after the bell.
– The backstage segment with Raw General Manager Mick Foley, Steph and Rollins gave us last-minute main event hype, as we learned that Mick felt guilty he wasn’t done there before to help Steph getting in. We also saw Rollins again trust in Steph for him to win it all.
– The WWE Universal Championship Fatal Four-Way Elimination main event was a clear example of how WWE just gets it right sometimes. The action throughout was excellent, especially when all four competitors were involved in that first fall. Cass had the biggest cheers and his constant standoffs with Reigns were fun to watch, especially knowing that this crowd despised anything Roman-related. Might’ve been disappointing to see Cass go down in the first fall to an Owens frog splash, but it helped to set up the next fall well. The second fall even had its share of intense twists and turns, as it almost felt like a game of “Guess Who Will Lose To Reigns Tonight” between Owens and Rollins, but they both kicked out of Superman Punches. It came to a point where everything Reigns did couldn’t keep either man down. That then set up the surprise return of “Authority” Triple H, who abused the match’s no disqualification rule to come in and Pedigree Reigns for Rollins to go in and pin to eliminate. It made sense as far as a receipt for WrestleMania and gave into the idea that Trips was about to literally hand Rollins the belt. All those predictions went out the window as soon as he Pedigreed Rollins to allow Owens to get the pinfall and the WWE Universal Championship. Say what you want, but the best turns always involve Trips in some capacity. We were confused on whether Rollins or Trips turned babyface as a result, but it was intriguing to say the least. Owens also shined in this spotlight as the guy who could carry the Raw brand. We also found Trips’ glare into Foley’s face before he left interesting too. We’re not sure we believe Steph’s not in on it, but she seemed to be genuinely surprised as far as her character. Nevertheless, one of the year’s most memorable moments and capped off a great match. Wow.
- Chris Jericho def. Neville via submission
- Nia Jax def. Hyan via pinfall
- Sami Zayn def. Jinder Mahal via pinfall
- Six-Person Mixed Tag – Kofi Kingston/Big E/Bayley (w/Xavier Woods) def. Luke Gallows/Karl Anderson/Dana Brooke via pinfall
- Best-Of-Seven Series – Sheamus Leads Series 1-0 – Match 2 – Sheamus def. Cesaro via submission to gain a 2-0 Series Advantage
- Braun Strowman def. Americo via pinfall
- Darren Young (w/Bob Backlund) def. Titus O’Neil via pinfall
- WWE Universal Championship – Fatal Four-Way Elimination – Kevin Owens def. Seth Rollins, Big Cass and Roman Reigns to become new Champion
Posted on October 13, 2016, in WWE and tagged Americo, Bayley, Big Cass, Big E, Bob Backlund, Braun Strowman, Cedric Alexander, Cesaro, Chris Jericho, Clash Of Champions, Corey Graves, Cruiserweights, Dana Brooke, Darren Young, Enzo Amore, Hyan, Jinder Mahal, Johnny Gargano, Karl Anderson, Kevin Owens, Kofi Kingston, Luke Gallows, Mr. Fuji, Neville, Nia Jax, Paul Heyman, Raw, Roman Reigns, Sami Zayn, Seth Rollins, Sheamus, Stephanie McMahon, The New Day, Titus O'Neil, Tom Phillips, Tommaso Ciampa, Triple H, Xavier Woods. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.