Notes In Observance – WWE Raw 10/31/16: An Emphatic Deliverance
By Nicholas Jason Lopez
“Notes In Observance” features random thoughts and analysis on recent television shows. Quick results can be found at the bottom of the post.
An Emphatic Deliverance
– The opening in-ring segment with Goldberg, Paul Heyman and Rusev was newsworthy to say the least. Sure, Goldberg’s the biggest Survivor Series draw, so they were smart to have him appear here. Now, his reaction from the fans was polite, but lacked the electricity from his Denver promo. We did like that Heyman was back to his old-school heel ways as he fished for heat. With that, he added a “Gotcha!” moment as he teased an appearance from his client Brock Lesnar and revealed he wasn’t there. As far as Rusev’s involvement, it made sense for him to approach Goldberg to downplay his ego and legend status only to suffer a jackknife for his troubles. The Lana chants were loud enough where he should’ve acknowledged them for more heat, but it was what it was. Many people will point out “The Slip” as a severe critique that Goldberg circa 2016 is a mistake, but we thought he covered up well, as he sold it like a pseudo-takedown. The biggest reaction was rightfully the spear on Heyman, which left us to wonder how Lesnar would respond. With two more weeks of SS hype to go, let’s hope they intensify it with a brawl or something like that.
– Notice the date on here’s Halloween. Raw and holidays never mix, so we were subjected to holiday filler. The “Trick Or Street Fight” between Enzo Amore and Luke Gallows was an excuse to smash pumpkins, crack skeletons and bob for apples in the midst of the Enzo/Big Cass-Gallows/Karl Anderson feud. Yup, nothing screams “The fun and games are over” like the heels getting humiliated with all these weapons. It would’ve made more sense for Gallows/Anderson to protest it and then at least get their asses handed to them. Ideally, they should’ve won over the faces, but the moment Enzo/Cass came out with “Toy Story” costumes and references galore, we put our interest on the back burner. As if it even mattered, it was Enzo who got the pin with Cass’ help after Anderson was hit with a pumpkin pie on the apron to go through a table below on the floor. Let’s hope that’s all the filler we get.
– There seems to be an effort to establish the Cruiserweight Division with Champion Brian Kendrick at the helms as this wily veteran of sorts, so we applauded the effort to get the belt off former Champ TJ Perkins. Their rematch with the belt on the line was a good way to draw heat on Kendrick as he revealed his “mind games” as a way to show he was better than everybody else. Kendrick’s promo was the right idea, but they should’ve had Perkins come out second, all fired up like he was in the match. They sold his anger nice during the whole time, as he didn’t even shake hands with Kendrick. Scary spot where Perkins landed on his neck on the apron when he hit a huracanrana off the top rope to take Kendrick to the outside. It was after that point that the finish was set up, as Perkins went back inside the ring and Kendrick looked to follow suit, only to go back out with the ring count at nine and take the coutnout loss all to keep his Title. The people seemed to dig Perkins’ post-match attack as he put the kneebar on Kendrick on the ramp that an official had to break up. There were some TJP chants afterwards.
– Over the past month, they’ve had Braun Strowman destroy people and demand Raw General Manager Mick Foley for more real competition. After a brief run-in with Sami Zayn, Strowman didn’t consider that enough. The backstage segment with him and Foley set up the later Battle Royale match to determine a spot on Team Raw at SS as Strowman first demanded a spot on there because of his resume. The trick was that Foley wanted Strowman to earn it.
– The in-ring segment with Foley, Jericho, WWE Universal Champion Kevin Owens and WWE United States Champion Roman Reigns was a fair way to set up the Jericho-Reigns US Title main event while we also saw follow-up from Foley about how Owens won his match against Seth Rollins in “controversial” fashion. Another good thing here was there was SS build as Owens/Jericho enjoyed that Foley “needed them” on his team as they made fun of Foley’s losing record in the Hell In A Cell matches while Owens was 1-0. Foley made it official, but not without the announcement that Reigns would also be on the team. Also more attempts to draw tension between Owens/Jericho as Foley revealed that Raw Commissioner Stephanie McMahon only wanted Owens on the team and not Jericho. It’s hard to buy that, but we’ll see how that develops with the next Foley/Steph segment. Reigns was in joke mode here, which didn’t help smother the boos, but at least they were decent since he had Jericho’s List to play off of.
– The Battle Royale to determine a spot on Team Raw with Zayn, Strowman, Titus O’Neil, Goldust, Jinder Mahal, Curtis Axel, Cesaro, Sheamus, R-Truth, Darren Young, Bo Dallas and Neville was a smart way to advance the Zayn-Strowman feud while we also saw a moment where Sheamus tried to turn on Cesaro and was eliminated for it. Kept the “bickering” thing going. On another note, we confused Young for SmackDown Live Commentator David Otunga. We expected it to get down to Zayn and Strowman to end it and the idea of Zayn on Team Raw was enticing given his never-ending rivalry with Owens. There was a tease spot where Zayn almost dumped Strowman over the top rope, but it was Strowman who dropped him to the floor instead. Exactly what we expected, though an easy way to fill up television time with the low-carders on the roster.
– Emmalina will be made over and that premieres soon. Her hype videos with still shots and glam music kept things on. Maybe after SS?
– Some more SS hype as we saw WWE Raw Tag Team Champions The New Day talk about the tag teams on SmackDown Live and who their competition would be in the Tag Team Elimination Tag. They had the comedy factor too, as Big E was dressed as Kama Mustafa, Xavier Woods was Poppa Shango and Kofi Kingston was The Godfather. An obvious nod to nostalgia since all three personas were played by the same guy. They also laid farewell to Francesca The Trombone II. They ripped on the other SD teams besides for American Alpha. This was your basic ND stuff.
– While the Cruiserweight Division features an array of fast-paced, inventive, high-flying in-ring action, these continued Six-Man Tags with the same competitors hurt more than it helps. The Six-Man Tag between Rich Swann/Lince Dorado/Cedric Alexander and Drew Gulak/Tony Nese/Ariya Daivari was a highly predictable matchup on paper, as we guessed the competitors when the first one came out. The only difference was that they switched out Sin Cara for Alexander. This was your continued spotfest with a good work rate as far as the action, but the crowd silence was deafening. Alexander was isolated by the heels before they built the hot tag to Swann, whose offense generated some response from the crowd and woke them up. There was also a pretty spot where Dorado/Alexander did a springboard moonsault/plancha combination. Swann got the pin on Nese with a head kick and a jackknife cover. The rest of the Division continues to evolve, but without much storytelling. Give us some incentive for these matches, Title shots, anything.
– The in-ring segment with WWE Raw Women’s Champion Charlotte and Bayley was a great follow-up to the Sasha Banks-Charlotte HIAC match, as this was an “All Hail The Queen” segment from Charlotte as she bragged about how she “single-handedly made history” and also sent a message to the SmackDown Live women, namely Alexa Bliss, Carmella, WWE SmackDown Women’s Champion Becky Lynch and Nikki Bella. She spoke about her own team’s “weak link,” which transitioned into a promo exchange with Bayley. As far as the underdog, Bayley did well as she congratulated Charlotte on all she did, which the Champ responded with a snarky attitude that she achieved what others dreamed about. This set up a match between Bayley and the returning Nia Jax.
– The Jax-Bayley match with Charlotte on commentary (and Dana Brooke next to her for some reason) was a fine effort to establish Jax as the unstoppable force and Bayley as a hearty fighter. They accomplished that for the most part, while we found Charlotte’s commentary ineffective compared to what we saw in the ring. A few hope spots for Bayley, but after she was dumped to the floor from the top rope, we knew the Samoan Drop was practically it.
– The Cesaro/Sheamus-Shining Stars match was an easy way to keep the “odd couple” technically undefeated as they sent the Time Share Jabronies home. The finish was progress towards a peaceful future as we saw Cesaro take out Primo with an uppercut as Sheamus had Epico in the Clover Leaf submission for the tap-out victory.
– Unfortunately, the holiday filler wasn’t over, as The Golden Truth wandered through a haunted house. Yup, we got nothing for this. Did we mention that Commentator Byron Saxton was also in footie pajamas? That happened too.
– The backstage segment with Jericho and Owens gave us last-minute main event hype as we learned Jericho’s only “alluded Title” was the US Title in his whole career. They kept a tease of a chance at the Universal Title away from the conversation interestingly enough. This was as “Best Friends” as Owens/Jericho could be, as they said Jericho’s “It” catchphrase together and looked forward to the idea to be duo Champions.
– The WWE United States Championship main event match between Jericho and Champion Reigns was entertaining, as we expected. Owens physically interfered at one point behind the Referee’s back. Both men countered out of each other’s signature move attempts, before Reigns eventually connected with a Superman Punch went Jericho tried to his his apron dropkick. Reigns speared Jericho for what seemed to be the finish, until Owens attacked Reigns to break it up and end it in a DQ. Yes, Reigns held on to the Title but that wasn’t the big picture. It set up the predictable, yet investable scenario that Rollins would come “save” Reigns and get his hands on Jeri-KO at the same time. Rollins’ offense was electric, as he seamlessly went from suicide dives on Owens to flying knee strikes on Jericho. On a twist to the “Pedigree Angle,” Owens dragged Jericho out of the ring this time before he could suffer another Pedigree. Needless to say, the best part of it all was the stare down between Reigns and Rollins to end things, since they were former brothers and supposed “good guys” now. It’ll be cool to see how they patch things up with those two. The crowd sold it as a big moment with their rampant “Yes!” chants.
- “Trick Or Street Fight” – Enzo Amore (w/Big Cass) def. Luke Gallows (w/Karl Anderson) via pinfall
- WWE Cruiserweight Championship – TJ Perkins def. Brian Kendrick (Champion) via countout; Kendrick retains
- Battle Royale – Winner Receives A Spot On “Best Of Raw” Survivor Series Team – Braun Strowman def. Sami Zayn, Neville, Goldust, R-Truth, Bo Dallas, Curtis Axel, Cesaro, Sheamus, Darren Young, Titus O’Neil and Jinder Mahal
- Six-Man Tag – Cedric Alexander/Rich Swann/Lince Dorado def. Ariya Daivari/Drew Gulak/Tony Nese via pinfall
- Nia Jax def. Bayley via pinfall
- Cesaro/Sheamus def. The Shining Stars via pinfall
- WWE United States Championship – Roman Reigns (Champion) def. Chris Jericho (w/Kevin Owens) via DQ to retain
Posted on December 26, 2016, in WWE and tagged Ariya Daivari, Bayley, Big Cass, Bo Dallas, Braun Strowman, Brian Kendrick, Byron Saxton, Cedric Alexander, Cesaro, Charlotte, Chris Jericho, Corey Graves, Curtis Axel, Dana Brooke, Darren Young, Drew Gulak, Emmalina, Enzo Amore, Goldberg, Goldust, Jinder Mahal, Karl Anderson, Kevin Owens, Lince Dorado, Luke Gallows, Michael Cole, Mick Foley, Neville, Nia Jax, Paul Heyman, R-Truth, Raw, Rich Swann, Roman Reigns, Rusev, Sami Zayn, Seth Rollins, Sheamus, Survivor Series, The New Day, The Shining Stars, Titus O'Neil, TJ Perkins, Tony Nese. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.