Notes In Observance – WWE Raw 11/7/16: The Best Of The Best
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.
The Best Of The Best
– With Survivor Series within close range, it was time to establish Team Raw’s “The Best Of The Best” Team, which included WWE Universal Champion Kevin Owens, Chris Jericho and WWE United States Champion Roman Reigns. The opening video looked at last week when Reigns successfully defended against Jericho and was “saved” from a Jeri-KO beatdown by his former Shield partner Seth Rollins as they stared each other down across the ring.
– This week’s edition came from Glasgow, Scotland and taped earlier in the day. The opening in-ring segment with Raw Commissioner Stephanie McMahon, Jericho, Owens, Reigns, Braun Strowman and Rollins set the rest of Team Raw about. Steph did an alright job as she hyped the SS card and said “Fantasy Warfare Becomes Reality” about 7,000 times. The rest of the team was revealed as Strowman/Rollins, which made sense given that Rollins was tied into a feud with Jeri-KO and Strowman wanted more competition. Commentary also brought up potential interactions between Raw and SmackDown Live superstars, dependent upon their recent character changes. Reigns and Strowman had no mic time, but that was fine since Jeri-KO coined themselves co-captains and recited each other’s catchphrases. Such adorable besties. They also insulted The Shield, which drew some expected physicality. In the end, Steph booked a Fatal Five-Way designed to “get out frustration” before the team’s expected to gel. We didn’t have a problem with this since most of these guys don’t like each other anyway and it can’t be expected that they’ll suddenly like each other.
– The Rich Swann/Sin Cara-WWE Cruiserweight Champion Brian Kendrick/Noam Dar match had the intrigue of it being Dar’s debut in his home country, not by blood, but where he grew up. There were rampant “ICW” chants and he came off like a star. Of course, him teamed with Kendrick made for an awkward dynamic while the match lasted as Swann/SC struggled to get the crowd on their side. Decent action, but nothing memorable besides for SC’s senton plancha and Swann’s second pin over Kendrick to end the match. We assume that Swann’s being built up next for a Title shot. On the other side, the post-match angle with Kendrick and Dar gave the crowd what they wanted, as Kendrick spoke down to Dar and blamed the loss on him. Finally, we saw Dar fight back with forearm strikes and sent the Champ away with an enziguiri. Good stuff, as it needed to happen to build up Dar on the roster, but we can’t help but feel he hasn’t been established enough for anybody in the United States to care about him.
– We had some great video packages to hype the Goldberg-Brock Lesnar match to take place at SS. The first package focused on the feud from Goldberg’s side and what it meant to him. For him, it was a story about how he wanted to give Lesnar a fair chance and do it for his kid who looked up to him. He added the “rival” element when he brought up how he wanted to get his hands on him more when he insulted his kid. On top of stock training footage, we saw him promise to kick Lesnar’s ass. Hell, this was more effective than his in-person appearance the last time out.
– The backstage segment with Steph and Sami Zayn hyped Zayn’s match against Rusev later to determine who’d go on to fight WWE Intercontinental Champion Dolph Ziggler at SS. People will criticize the segment as they’ve said Steph’s berating of Zayn made no sense, but it’s a good sign they see something in him. They did this with SmackDown Live General Manager Daniel Bryan and that worked out well. It gives Zayn something to do and some purpose. This also indirectly hyped next week’s episode, when both Bryan/SmackDown Live Commissioner Shane mcMahon would appear on the show. Ugh.
– The in-ring segment with Enzo Amore/Big Cass, Luke Gallows/Karl Anderson, The Golden Truth, Cesaro/Sheamus and WWE Raw Tag Team Champions The New Day was incredibly long and had its comedic moments before it fell into the gutter based on its length. This revolved around the Tag Team Raw Vs. SD Live match at SS, as Cesaro/Sheamus bickered about who the team captains would be until the Champs came out bred in “Braveheart”-esque attire. Sheamus also used his Irish roots to get some easy crowd heat, so that interaction was fun to see. The crowd being so into Big E’s “speech” was one of the show’s best moments, but things dragged once Gallows/Anderson got on the mic to claim they’d stab their team in the backs at SS. In the end, we realized this was to set up a match, but it took too long to get there.
– The Kofi Kingston/Big E-Gallows/Anderson match was alright, ultimately nothing special. We’d be excited about Gallows/Anderson winning with the Magic Killer if it wasn’t already indicative that it was going to get them any more over with anybody.
– The backstage segment with GT revolved around their latest joke, as it was revealed that R-Truth gave away their spot on Team Raw for a timeshare from The Shining Stars. Goldust was determined to get their spot back and showed Truth there was a difference between a regular buffet and Jimmy Buffet.
– The hype video package for Goldberg-Lesnar from Lesnar’s side featured more unfiltered sit-down comments from The Beast. He discussed their WrestleMania XX match as a time where he had “unfinished athletic business” to take care of and didn’t care about wrestling. Good to see they covered that one and didn’t pretend it was more than it was. They built up Lesnar’s credibility with reminders of how he beat The Rock at SummerSlam 2002 as a rookie, ended The Undertaker’s undefeated WrestleMania streak, ended “Super Cena” at SummerSlam 2014 as well as Randy Orton at SummerSlam earlier in the year. We also liked how he brought up how ridiculous the idea was that Goldberg had been gone for 12 years and thought he stood a chance. It was also hyped that Goldberg-Lesnar would go face-to-face on next week’s go-home show.
– The backstage segment with Jericho, Owens and Strowman revolved around Owens trying to keep an angry Jericho from confronting Strowman in his locker room. Its was funny to see, as Owens interrupted Jericho from calling Strowman a “stupid idiot” and finished it as “stupendous athlete.” Owens tried to suggest a power trio as Jericho sarcastically agreed. In the end, it was all for naught when Strowman claimed he was only on “Team Braun.” Of course, after he walked away, Jericho added him to the list again.
– Another Emmalina hype video aired as still shots of her were shown to dance music. Still to premiere soon. Any day now, really.
– The GT-Shining Stars match for the last spot on Team Raw’s Tag Team Team was filler as far as that goes. If anything, we saw the heels get the win as they used the ropes to get the win not long after Goldust ripped up their brochure. The fans truly cared about it with chants of “Boring” and “Oh, Enzo Amore.”
– The in-ring segment with Commentator Michael Cole, WWE Raw Women’s Champion Charlotte, Nia Jax, Bayley, Alicia Fox, Dana Brooke and Sasha Banks could be looked at as the show’s turning point. Omg one hand, the fans were amazingly receptive to Bayley as they sang, “Hey Bayley, ooh ahh, I wanna know if you’ll be my girl.” It was reminiscent of how she was received at NXT TakeOver: London. The chants grew louder as the segment progressed, to the point where it almost hijacked the segment. Couldn’t blame the crowd here though as things were dreadful with the story they tried to tell. We already knew that Banks would be revealed as the fifth team member, so there was almost no drama there. Charlotte tried to roll with the chants and got some big heat as they chanted louder over her, but we thought she handled it fine outside of the odd “What are those accents?” line. It’s usually a good thing when a heel gets a bigger reaction as they go on with their promo. The crowd was receptive for Banks, but still carried on with the Bayley chants. At some point they also chanted for Lana, so who knows. Either way, the dialogue was poor and the crowd wasn’t feeling it.
– The Six-Woman Tag between Jax/Brooke/Charlotte and Bayley/Banks/Fox was alright, though unmemorable. Banks sold for the heels a lot and built up enough drama for the crowd to fully get into Bayley’s hot tag. At least they were hot for the finish where Bayley hit a Bayley-To-Belly on Charlotte to pin the Champ. We’ll guess that includes Bayley in the Title conversation after SS.
– The backstage segment with Rollins and Strowman tried to get in some last-minute main event hype, but something felt missing. Rollins addressed that not many people liked him and that was fine because he didn’t like them either. He didn’t establish who the “people” were, so he didn’t come off as a redeemable babyface there. Also didn’t like the insinuation that he joined the team for “future opportunities” as that was vague. Strowman was fine here as always, he promised to snap Rollins like a twig. So poetic.
– The Zayn-Rusev match to determine who’d face Ziggler for the IC Title at SS was surprisingly good given the drama. We wish it had been built up more during the show. For what it was worth, Lana got some nice heat when she shut down the chants and called them a “pathetic village” as well as “America” (which may or may not have been a botch) but it was still good nonetheless. Zayn got a nice pop in Scotland, as they sang along with his theme song. That happens in crowds where he’s most over. The match could’ve been better laid out and the finish was anticlimactic as Zayn hit a Helluva Kick with Rusev on the top rope, but we’ll take it for what it is since Zayn-Ziggler sounds like a potential show-stealer.
– The Fatal Five-Way main event between Rollins, Owens, Jericho, Strowman and Reigns was good as expected, as senseless as the storyline was. The weapons were utilized entertainingly though were conveniently placed. The best spot was easily Rollins’ powerbomb on Jericho that put him through a table that also had Strowman laid out on it. The near-fall spots also played into the continuity of Rollins being screwed over by Jericho, as he pulled out the Referee when Rollins had Owens pinned from a Pedigree. The finish was also sort of funny as we seen Owens pin Jericho as he was knocked on top of him from a Superman Punch after Jericho was laid out with a Pedigree. It’ll be a fun way to build up some potential tension between Jericho/Owens as SS gets closer. All in all though, even this couldn’t save a bore of an episode.
- Rich Swann/Sin Cara def. Brian Kendrick/Noam Dar via pinfall
- Luke Gallows/Karl Anderson def. Big E/Kofi Kingston (w/Xavier Woods) via pinfall
- Winners Get Fifth Spot On Team Raw Survivor Series Tag Team – The Shining Stars def. The Golden Truth via pinfall
- Six-Woman Tag – Bayley/Sasha Banks/Alicia Fox def. Nia Jax/Charlotte/Dana Brooke via pinfall
- Winner Faces Dolph Ziggler For The WWE Intercontinental Championship At Survivor Series – Sami Zayn def. Rusev (w/Lana) via pinfall
- Fatal Five-Way – Kevin Owens def. Chris Jericho, Braun Strowman, Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins via pinfall
Posted on January 2, 2017, in WWE and tagged Alicia Fox, Bayley, Big Cass, Big E, Braun Strowman, Brian Kendrick, Brock Lesnar, Byron Saxton, Cesaro, Charlotte, Chris Jericho, Corey Graves, Dana Brooke, Emmalina, Enzo Amore, Goldberg, Karl Anderson, Kevin Owens, Kofi Kingston, Lana, Luke Gallows, Michael Cole, Nia Jax, Noam Dar, Paul Heyman, Rich Swann, Roman Reigns, Rusev, Sami Zayn, Sasha Banks, Seth Rollins, Sheamus, Sin Cara, Stephanie McMahon, Survivor Series, The Golden Truth, The New Day, The Shining Stars, Xavier Woods. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.