Tonight’s episode of Monday Night RAW emanates from the Oracle Arena in Oakland, California.
RAW Women’s Champion Sasha Banks comes down to the ring and receives a “you deserve it” chant from the fans. Sasha says she feels like she’s on top of the world right now. She talks about having big dreams back when she was just a little boss, watching her hero Eddie Guerrero wrestle in the WWE. Sasha wishes Eddie a happy birthday as yesterday he would’ve been 49 years old. She continues to praise Eddie as well as Lita and Trish Stratus whom she wanted to be like. Sasha says her dreams came true last week when she put her body on the line, stole the show and became a two-time RAW Women’s Champion. She then brings up Charlotte’s rematch against her at the next RAW PPV event and she proposes the match take place inside the Hell In A Cell. Charlotte interrupts her mid-sentence, walks down the entrance ramp but is soon interrupted by Rusev and Lana who make their way to the ring.
As Charlotte joins them in the ring, Rusev says nobody cares about the Women’s Revolution or the fact that they main evented RAW last week. Rusev claims he’s the main event whenever he goes. Charlotte snatches the microphone away from Rusev and asks him who the hell he thinks he is as no one disrespects “The Queen”. She then accepts Sasha’s challenge for the Hell In A Cell match. Rusev takes back the mic and says this is his ring and whatever he says, goes. Sasha tosses the mic and stares down Rusev. Lana backs Rusev up and grabs the mic. She calls them lost women who need to know their place and says they whine like little girls. Lana continues to talk and they both shove her down to the mat. Rusev becomes irate and checks on Lana while Sasha & Charlotte dropkick him out of the ring, onto the floor. Lana joins her husband who soon re-enters the ring. United States Champion Roman Reigns comes down to the ring and Rusev retreats with his wife up the entrance ramp. Roman raises the US Title as his Hell In A Cell opponent heads to the back.
Prior to the match, The New Day talk about the Bay Area being known for some of the greatest pairs in sports and entertainment – The Bash Brothers (Jose Canseco & Mark McGwire), The Splash Brothers (Klay Thompson & Stephen Curry) and Danny Tanner & Uncle Jesse. Woods says they’re about to have their own Full House, the three of them and the team of Cesaro & Sheamus. Big E compliments Cesaro while Kofi calls Sheamus “hot garbage” in addition to looking stupid. Woods says they’ll show them why they’re the best at Hell In A Cell, because New Day Rocks, cue the dancing.
Back-and-forth action early on while Sheamus is streaming live on Facebook on the ring steps, not paying any attention to his tag team partner’s match. In one of the funniest moments I’ve ever seen, Cesaro comes face-to-face with all three members of The New Day outside the ring and looks back to see his partner Sheamus on his cell phone. Kofi hits a springboard crossbody for a two count, follows up with a leaping clothesline and the Boom Drop.
Cesaro dodges Trouble In Paradise and clocks Kingston with a running uppercut. Cesaro with another uppercut, this time from outside the ring, connecting on Kofi near the ropes for a two count. Cesaro starts up the Uppercut Train and nails a big boot for another two count. They each block signature moves, Kofi botches a springboard attack and Sheamus grabs Francesca II which upsets Xavier. Sheamus shoves Woods and Big E floors him with a clothesline. Cesaro sets up for the Cesaro Swing but Kofi rolls him up for the three count.
Rating: 2/5 – Not much of an opening match for the show as most of the focus was on the growing tension between tag team partners Cesaro & Sheamus. I hope any future matches between members of The New Day and The Swiss-Celtic Express are much better than this first bout. Perhaps if Cesaro & Sheamus start functioning like a well-oiled machine and perhaps come up with a tag team name.
They trade waistlocks and headlocks, Bayley hits an arm drag and a running sliding clothesline. Bayley works over the arm for the the springboard corkscrew arm drag, misses the running corner clothesline and eats a couple forearm shots from Cami. Bayley delivers the Bayley-To-Belly for the win.
Rating: 1/5 – A very short match featuring Bayley facing yet another local jobber. The best part in my opinion, despite the risk of backlash from the WWE Universe, is the post-match attack from Dana Brooke. While I like Bayley, hopefully this means she’s done facing enhancement talent (i.e. “jobbers”) and will move on to a feud with Dana very soon.
Chris Jericho is seen arguing with someone on his phone. He rants about how good he is and his accolades in the WWE. R-Truth watches as Jericho says, “I don’t have a salty attitude. No, don’t sweet talk me. Just get me that payday!” R-Truth says, “Chris, I got you!” and holds up a Payday bar (which is salty and sweet). Jericho asks him if he’s nuts as he wants a different kind of payday (money). R-Truth says, “That’s my bad, take care of your business,” and walks away. Jericho says, “I didn’t say I didn’t want it, you stupid idiot!” and follows Truth in pursuit of that delicious combination of peanuts and caramel.
Gulak and Dorado start the match with some running of the ropes, Dorado takes down Gulak with a hurricanrana, causing him to quick tag in Nese. Dorado and Cara make a couple frequent tags and double team Nese. Gulak gets tagged in and hits Dorado with a big boot followed by the Gory Special. Nese is tagged in and kicks Dorado in the face before applying a headlock.
Another tag to Gulak, double team attempt thwarted by Dorado with a cartwheel springboard back elbow, taking out both opponents. Cara tags in and one-ups Dorado with a springboard moonsault on both Nese & Gulak. Cara hits a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker on Gulak, a springboard crossbody and a roll up into a powerbomb for a two count, broken up by Nese. Nese eats a dropkick from Cara, sending him off the apron and onto the arena floor. Cara tags in Dorado and takes out Nese with a suicide dive. Dorado pulls off a diving hurricanrana, a spin kick and the Shooting Star Press on Gulak for the three count.
Rating: 3/5 – An entertaining, fast-paced cruiserweight tag team match from all four men involved. Tony Nese & Drew Gulak worked well as a team, making frequent tags and working over Lince Dorado. However, Sin Cara came in and showcased his lightning speed high-flying ability which the WWE Universe hasn’t seen in awhile. I wouldn’t mind if one day the team of Dorado & Cara branch out of the Cruiserweight Division and challenge for the RAW Tag Team Titles since they’re clearly a formidable tandem.
Mick Foley is shown heading to the ring for his Hell In A Cell Address and is approached by Stephanie McMahon who compliments his custom flannel suit. Stephanie asks if he minds her joining him for the HIAC Address and he says that would be great as they walk off together.
RAW General Manager Mick Foley and RAW Commissioner Stephanie McMahon are in the ring for the Hell In A Cell Address. Stephanie calls Mick’s suit awesome and gives SmackDown props for putting on an incredible PPV event with No Mercy but in three weeks they present Hell In A Cell. Foley reminds us of the US Title Match between Roman Reigns and Rusev taking place inside the Hell In A Cell before addressing Sasha Banks and Charlotte wanting to compete inside the Cell as well. Mick says they don’t just get what they want, they get what they deserve. Foley announces that in Boston, Massachusetts, the WWE Universe will witness the first-ever women’s division match to take place inside the infamous Hell In A Cell. The GM then announces that the WWE Universal Championship Match between Kevin Owens and Seth Rollins will also be contested inside the Hell In A Cell. Stephanie points out that makes three HIAC matches in one night and is interrupted by Kevin Owens & Chris Jericho.
As Owens makes his way down the ramp, he says he doesn’t want to be in a Hell In A Cell Match because he wants to have a nice, long career rather than end up a washed up GM like Mick Foley. KO brags about being the WWE Universal Champion and Jericho accuses Foley of giving the match to Rollins just because he asked for it. Y2J calls him a genie in a stupid suit and asks if he’ll get a private jet with “Team Chris & Kevin” (or Team Kevin & Chris, depending on who has the mic) on the side. Owens says they deserve that but Rollins doesn’t deserve a match for the title as he’s beaten him twice. Jericho accuses Foley of making this match due to the vendetta he has against Jericho (disliking him for 19 years). Y2J then adds Foley to The List Of Jericho for putting Owens in the same match that ended Mick’s career. Foley points out that he’s already on the stupid list as he started The List which Jericho replies he’s on the list again.
Jericho asks Stephanie to take care of Foley but she says he should show Mick some respect. Stephanie says Rollins had a legitimate grievance for the rematch request and that he wanted to take his revenge out on not only Kevin Owens but also Chris Jericho. Y2J says he’d like to see Rollins try which leads to Stephanie proposing Jericho be added to the Hell In A Cell Match, making it a Triple Threat Match. Thereby competing with SmackDown’s No Mercy PPV event which had a Triple Threat Match for the WWE World Title. She suggests that if Jericho can defeat Seth Rollins tonight, he will be added to the Hell In A Cell main event which would make everyone happy. Foley makes it official which makes Jericho smile but Owens looks none too pleased with the announcement.
Charly Caruso interviews Seth Rollins about what just transpired in the ring. Rollins says he’s gonna crush Stephanie’s Plan A to turn Hell In A Cell into an episode of Table For 3 when he beats Chris Jericho later tonight. He says when he gets Kevin Owens inside Hell In A Cell, Stephanie’s plans B through Z are gonna become obsolete. Rollins says he was the best piece Stephanie ever had and now she’s trying to manipulate Owens. He questioned what KO thinks about Chris Jericho being added to the Hell In A Cell main event. Rollins says he’s no longer a cog in the machine or a piece in the game, he’s the man that’s going to destroy the machine, piece by piece. He welcomes Charly to RAW before walking off.
A replay is shown of the attack by Gallows & Anderson on Enzo & Cass before Curtis Axel questions if they’re on an episode of Swerved. He reminds us that they were promised a tag team match tonight and they’re not leaving until they get it. Axel still believes in Bo and demands Foley send out a couple of guys because they want to fight right now.
Bo brings Sami into the corner with a barrage of blows followed by a short-arm clothesline and knee stomps. Bo tags in Axel who goes to work on Zayn with strikes near the ropes and a perfect dropkick. Sami nails Axel with an exploder suplex into the corner followed up by the Helluva Kick. Zayn tags in Neville who delivers the Red Arrow for the pinfall victory.
After the match, Bo takes his “Bo-Lieve In Bo” sign and walks to the back.
Rating: 2/5 – A very brief match introducing the team of Zayn & Neville which may continue to pair up in the tag team division. Obviously this match was to ignite some tension between former Social Outcasts members Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel. Bo’s transparency should upset Axel and spark a rivalry between both underutilized superstars. I fully expect this feud to lead to a kickoff match at the Hell In A Cell PPV event.
Charlotte is stretching for her match tonight when Lana approaches and says she had no right to put her hands on her earlier. Charlotte says she’s more physically superior than her in every sense of the word and suggests Lana stay out of her way. Lana suggests Charlotte stay out of her husband’s way or there will be severe consequences. Charlotte stares Lana down before she storms off.
Titus mushes Truth in the face, Truth tackles him and unloads with strikes. Truth hits a corkscrew leg lariat for a one count. Titus clocks Truth with a big boot and follows up with punches. Titus delivers multiple rib breakers and tosses Truth aside as he notices Goldust rallying up the WWE Universe by stomping the steel steps. The distraction allows Truth to roll Titus up for a quick three count.
Rating: 1/5 – A very short, uneventful match which probably should’ve been a dark match before RAW. Not a whole lot of impressive wrestling from either men and a mediocre ending. I’m confused as to what another loss does for Titus O’Neil following his announcement of the “Titus Brand”. Especially to R-Truth of all people.
In the locker room, Brian Kendrick is sitting down when T.J. Perkins comes in, Kendrick jumps out of his chair and TJP asks him to drop the facade of “more greasy Jack Sparrow”. Perkins says he knows the real Brian Kendrick isn’t a bad guy and that’s he’s afraid of failing in this current run of his career. Perkins points out the cheap shot Kendrick used last week to beat him and says he would’ve given him a shot at the WWE Cruiserweight Title because of who he is. Perkins reminds him of their early days wrestling together. TJP says it’s not to late for him to be The Brian Kendrick and shakes Kendrick’s hand. Perkins turns to leave, Kendrick tries to attack him but TJP lands a right hand and says, “Guess I was wrong,” then leaves the locker room.
Steven & Clay attack Braun with kicks and he shoves them both down to the mat. Braun clocks Steven with a clothesline and Clay jumps Strowman’s back for a sleeper hold. Braun kicks Steven into the corner and charges at him with Clay still hanging on for a running splash. Strowman flips Clay over and pulls off a unique double dropkick on his opponents. Braun nails a running powerslam on Clay. He follows up with a reverse chokeslam, stacking Steven on top of Clay for the easy win.
After the match, Saxton tries to interview Strowman but Braun intimidates him to back out of the ring. Braun addresses Mick Foley for sending The Splash Brothers to face him and that he wants real competition next week or what happens will be Foley’s fault.
Rating: 2/5 – Despite being a squash match, this was somewhat entertaining with the pre-match interview and Braun performing a dropkick for someone his size. However, I agree with Strowman that he should receive some real competition soon perhaps in the form of a Big Show, he won’t see it coming but I promise he’ll know…
Michael Cole introduces a video package hyping the 30th Royal Rumble PPV event coming up in January from the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas. As usual, they run down all the numbers involved in the Royal Rumble’s storied history. Tickets go on sale via Ticketmaster this Friday at 11am EST.
Charlotte & Rusev w/ Lana vs. RAW Women’s Champion Sasha Banks & United States Champion Roman Reigns
Rusev and Charlotte stall with frequent tags, Roman and Rusev lock up, Reigns knocks him down with a shoulder tackle and runs into a spinning heel kick for a two count. Rusev works over Reigns in the corner and hits a short-arm clothesline for a one count. Roman nails a hard clothesline on Rusev followed by a leaping clothesline, then multiple clotheslines in the corner and a big boot for good measure. Reigns sets up for the Superman Punch but Charlotte grabs his leg and Sasha knocks her down with a running forearm. Roman clotheslines Rusev over the top rope to join Charlotte next to the barricade.
Reigns escapes a headlock and runs into a dropkick by Rusev for a two count. Rusev strikes Roman’s back with a couple shots and nails a suplex for another two count. After being whipped into the corner, Reigns fires back with a Superman Punch laying out “The Bulgarian Brute”. Charlotte tags herself in which brings in Sasha who floors “The Queen” with a variety of moves including a jumping double knee attack, running knees in the corner and the diving double knee drop to the gut for a two count. Charlotte trips Sasha into the ropes and rolls her up for a two count but the RAW Women’s Champ then locks in the Bank Statement. Rusev comes in the ring only to receive a Spear from Reigns. Charlotte then taps out the the Bank Statement.
Winners: Sasha Banks & Roman Reigns
Rating: 3/5 – A pretty good match albeit somewhat short considering the involvement of two champions from the RAW roster. There was a decent amount of action and nearfalls though. I thought it was pretty ballsy of Charlotte to stop Reigns from delivering a Superman Punch. With that and the Rusev interaction earlier in the night, she showed she’s not afraid to get in the face of the guys. Both champions pulled off a win over their Hell In A Cell challengers and currently have the momentum on their side for the time being. However, there’s still nearly three weeks until they step into the Cell and defend their gold which gives Charlotte and Rusev plenty of time to devise a strategy to reclaim what was once their championship titles.
In the locker room, Tom Phillips approaches Kevin Owens and Chris Jericho. KO says, “What is it, Phil? I can sense a stupid question coming.” Phillips asks him what he thinks of the possible curveball of Jericho being added to his match at Hell In A Cell against Seth Rollins. Owens says it doesn’t matter if it’s a singles match or a Triple Threat Match at HIAC because he’ll walk out with the WWE Universal Title regardless. Jericho says they’re best friends and if one of them is the champion, then both of them are champion. Phillips brings up the fact that KO didn’t come to the aid of Jericho when Rollins was attacking his “best friend”. Owens says one member of the team has to stay strong while the other has to take a bullet for the team. Jericho adds Tom Phillips to The List Of Jericho and Owens dismisses him from their locker room.
Paul Heyman is in the ring to address the comments made by Goldberg on ESPN SportsCenter. Heyman first reminds us that his client, Brock Lesnar, is the beast that adorns the cover WWE 2K17 and introduces a most newsworthy preview of Lesnar facing Goldberg in the game. He talks about how for twelve years fans have wondered if they could experience Goldberg, even if for just one more night. Heyman starts up a “GOLDBERG” chant among the WWE Universe and continues to talk about his legacy which is similar to the career of Brock Lesnar. He’s authorized to challenge Goldberg to a fight against Lesnar, any where, any place, any time. Heyman ends his promo by saying, “In Suplex City, you’re not Goldberg, you’re next.”
Daivari unloads on Perkins in the corner and tackles TJP down to the mat. Perkins hits a springboard crossbody for a two count. TJP locks in the kneebar but Daivari reaches the bottom rope to break the hold. Perkins eats a high knee from Daivari, escapes a headlock but receives a jumping neckbreaker for a two count. TJP nails a modified wheelbarrow facebuster followed by a jumping neckbreaker and the Detonation Kick for a nearfall. Perkins attempts a floatover sunset flip from the top rope but Daivari drops down for a two count pin. TJP runs into a discus elbow smash and a superkick for another two count. Daivari misses the frog splash, Perkins nails a springboard wrecking ball dropkick and locks in the kneebar which leads to Daivari tapping out.
Rating: 3/5 – A very exciting and energetic cruiserweight division match. Some great back-and-forth action from both superstars. Daivari showcased his strength with moves like the high knee as well as his craftiness by using TJP’s own momentum against him for counter into a pin. While this win gives Perkins some confidence going into his title defense at Hell In A Cell, Kendrick was able to scout his opponent for the RAW exclusive PPV event, giving him a slight advantage.
Stephanie McMahon approaches Chris Jericho and compliments his scarf which she has one of her own. She wishes him good luck for his match tonight and Jericho says they’ve never had a problem with each other during the 17 years he’s been in the WWE (100% false BTW). Chris said he thought about writing her name on The List Of Jericho but he didn’t know how to spell Stephanie so he stopped halfway and removed it anyway. She says a win for Jericho tonight is a win for RAW as a Triple Threat Hell In A Cell Match would blow away the Triple Threat Match that SmackDown had at No Mercy. Stephanie says if Jericho and Kevin Owens are such good friends as he claims they are, then he’ll know what to do inside the Cell. After Stephanie leaves, Owens walks up and asks what that was all about. Jericho simply replies, “Friendship,” and walks off.
(Stipulation: If Jericho wins, he’s added to the Hell In A Cell main event)
Jericho throws his scarf in Seth’s face and Rollins stomps on Jericho in the corner. He then picks up the scarf and wipes his backside before tossing it back at Jericho. Rollins unloads in the corner but Jericho gets a rake to the eyes. They exchange chops and Rollins clocks Jericho with a running knee to the face. Rollins lands a blockbuster for a two count. Jericho takes a breather outside the ring and Rollins nails a wrecking ball dropkick. Rollins sends Jericho into the barricade twice and hits a double axe handle off the apron. Rollins drives Jericho into the steel steps and brings him back in the ring. Kevin Owens’ music plays and the WWE Universal Champion heads down the entrance ramp. The distraction allows Jericho to kick Rollins in the gut. Jericho targets the previously injured ribs of Rollins with a front suplex on the top rope.
Jericho stomps away at Rollins near the ropes while Owens watches from ringside. Jericho continues to target the vulnerable ribs of Rollins with a couple kicks to the gut and a vicious kick on a prone Rollins that sends him crashing from the top rope down to the mat. Rollins tries to fight back but Jericho locks in an abdominal stretch, isolating the ribs once again. Rollins fights out of the hold and delivers the reverse STO into the turnbuckle. They trade blows until Rollins nails an enzuigiri followed by a couple running forearms in the corner and the Sling Blade for a two count. Jericho knocks down Rollins with a huge knee to the ribs, sets up Rollins for the move Owens used to injure his back but Seth counters with a knee to the spine for a two count. Rollins blocks a superplex attempt and sends Jericho to the mat with a front suplex. Seth attempts a crossbody but Jericho catches him with a dropkick to the ribs for a two count. Rollins counters a Codebreaker and clocks Jericho with the Avada Kedavra (kneeling superkick) to the throat for a two count.
KO distracts Rollins by flaunting his title and gets kicked in the mouth for his arrogance. Rollins goes for the springboard diving high knee but Y2J catches his leg for the Walls Of Jericho. Seth crawls from the middle of the ring towards the bottom rope and manages to make it in order to break the hold. Owens gets a cheap shot in the form of a superkick which leads to Jericho getting a two count. Jericho misses a springboard dropkick and lands out on the floor. Rollins takes out Owens with a suicide dive. Jericho runs into a kick by Rollins near the ring apron and Seth follows up with springboard diving high knee, which he overshot, for a two count. Jericho avoids a frog splash and hits Rollins with the Lionsault for a two count. Jericho heads to the top rope but Rollins stops him with a rope-assisted enzuigiri. Rollins sets up for a superplex but Jericho shoves him down to the mat. Jericho jumps into a kick to the mid-section by Rollins, counters a Pedigree, attempts the Walls Of Jericho but Rollins manages to roll up Jericho for the pinfall victory.
Winner: Seth Rollins
After the match, Owens immediately enters the ring and kicks Rollins in the face. KO starts stomping on Rollins repeatedly as well as hitting him with rapid strikes. As he continues the beatdown, he shouts, “It’s my title!” Owens sets up for the Pop-Up Powerbomb, Rollins lands on his feet and sets up the Pedigree but Jericho attacks him from behind. Y2J stomps away on Rollins until he counters for a Pedigree as Owens watches on from the ramp. Rollins points at Owens and they exchange words from a distance as RAW comes to a close.
Rating: 5/5 – An exceptional main event from both tremendously talented superstars. Rollins overcame the rib attacks through sheer resilience and Jericho showed why he’s no doubt a future Hall Of Famer. I think it’s safe to say that if either man is in the main event of any show or PPV event, it’s certain to be a spectacle to witness. Jericho’s been known to try to top himself with every match he’s in and Rollins is definitely sharing that same mentality of giving the WWE Universe your all in every match much like Shawn Michaels before them. The Hell In A Cell Match between Kevin Owens and Seth Rollins is shaping up to be a can’t miss battle featuring two of RAW’s toughest warriors inside the most dangerous battlefield of all – The Hell In A Cell.