WWE Raw for November 7, 2016
Watch: USA Network, Hulu
SSE Hydro Arena – Glasgow, Scotland
Welcome Wrestling With Words readers! This is Trevor here bringing you my first ever review of Monday Night Raw.
Tonight Raw goes to Glasgow, Scotland for the first time ever and the hype for this show began buzzing last Tuesday night. On the last edition of Smackdown Live Dolph Ziggler issued a challenge to anyone on Raw for his Intercontinental Championship in a match at Survivor Series. Will someone on Team Red address Dolph’s open challenge tonight? We also find out tonight what remaining spots will be filled in the three of Raw’s Survivor Series teams and if the two former Shield brothers, Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns, will able to unite to defeat their common enemies: WWE Universal Champion Kevin Owens and his best friend Chris Jericho. Let’s get right into the review!
The show opens with Raw Commissioner Stephanie McMahon coming out to address the WWE Universe and announce the 5th man of the Raw Survivor Series Team. She says General Manager Mick Foley is absent tonight before she explains the entire concept of Survivor Series…again….and then puts over the Raw and Smackdown rivalry, a rivalry that’s been dormant since 2008, like it’s the Civil War. She goes as far to say that the brand split is pitting brother against brother and husband against wife. This just came off so corny to me, especially with Stephanie’s delivery that’s become extremely stale and the fact that the Raw vs. Smackdown rivalry has been so severely forced. She continued on to get in her buzzwords such as “Fantasy Warfare” and even did a very awkward Goldberg chant. This all might have worked if she was still supposed to be the annoying heel and had Mick Foley there to balance things out with the crowd but in this segment she was playing it face so it was just about as cheesy as it gets.
The Survivor Series participants make their entrances: Kevin Owens, Roman Reigns; Braun Strowman and Chris Jericho who received by far the loudest reaction from the crowd. Once all four men are in the ring Stephanie introduces the 5th member of Team Raw: Seth Rollins. Rollins steps in the ring and lets Kevin Owens know that nothing is finished between them. To help unite Team Raw against Team Smackdown, Stephanie shows a picture of Team Smackdown on the titantron and recounts why they should be motivated to bring their all at Survivor Series. She leaves the ring before saying that their jobs depend on the outcome of their match. Kevin Owens then tries to bring Team Raw together by saying that if everyone listens to him there’s no way they can lose. KO goes even further by bringing up the messy past between Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns and this escalates to Reigns and Rollins attacking Kevin and Chris. For some reason Braun gets into the fight and attacks everyone which didn’t really make too much sense to me. Stephanie comes back out and books a fatal five-way match between all the members of Team Raw so they have a chance to get their anger out of their systems before Survivor Series.
Rich Swann & Sin Cara vs. Noam Dar & Brian Kendrick
Noam Dar makes his Monday Night Raw debut in the cruiserweight division and he receives an incredible reception from the Scotland crowd. This was a great way to debut him considering how strong the reaction was from the audience. However, as soon as the match started it went to commercial break. I was hyped to see Noam Dar in the ring with the crowd behind him, but cutting to the commercial completely killed it. Then as it came back from commercial the match ends almost immediately with Rich Swann rolling up Brain Kendrick for the victory.
Rich Swann & Sin Cara def. Noam Dar & Brian Kendrick
After the match Brian Kendrick gets on the mic and blames Noam Dar for the loss. Brian starts ripping into Noam about having no talent, not being able to win when it counts, and then Brian puts himself over as the best cruiserweight in the company. Noam Dar chants ring out in the arena before Kendrick cheap shots Noam Dar in the mouth. Noam Dar gets to his feet and fights right back until Brian Kendrick rolls out of the ring. I’m not sure where they’re going with Brian Kendrick as TJ Perkins is injured, Rich Swann has two pinfall victories on Kendrick so I figured he’d be the next contender for the title, but now Noam Dar and Kendrick have beef.
Next a vignette is shown recounting the Goldberg/Lesnar rivalry from Goldberg’s perspective. Nothing new or interesting is shown here and to add to that they’ve already been talking about Goldberg and Lesnar at every moment in the show they can so it’s already a bit redundant even this early into Raw.
Backstage, Stephanie is talking to someone on the phone. She reveals she’s invited Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan from Smackdown to come to Raw next week just as Sami Zayn enters the room. Stephanie tells Sami that everything about him irritates her and she doesn’t understand why Mick Foley picked him to face Dolph Ziggler for the Intercontinental Title at Survivor Series. This was part was weird to me because Stephanie was trying to play the uniter at the beginning of the show but right here she transitioned back to her heelish self. Steph goes ahead and books Sami Zayn vs. Rusev for later tonight for the right to face Dolph Ziggler at Survivor Series for the Intercontinental Title.
Enzo and Cass make their entrance and do their usual lines. They call out the SmackDown Live tag teams for being SAWFT. The rest of the tag teams participating in the 10 vs. 10 Survivor Series match make their entrances. Sheamus gets on the microphone and cuts a heel promo on Scotland and the New Day who haven’t shown up yet. After Sheamus declares himself the captain of the Team Raw tag teams Enzo and Cass get their insults in on Sheamus. To preface this I can’t say I’m a big fan of Enzo and Cass at all, but I do recognize their gimmick does work well for the crowds. The New Day eventually arrives and they’re decked out with kilts, bagpipes, and war paint. The Club and Sheamus threaten to quit the team, but Big E rally’s everyone back by delivering some passionate lines from the movie ‘Braveheart’. The Club, however, remind the New Day that nobody is their boss. The New Day responds to the Club by saying that they talked to Stephanie earlier and made a special match between the New Day and the Club tonight.
The Club vs. The New Day
Big E and Kofi wrestle the Club and remain in their kilts. The start of the match the Club double teams Big E which leads to Big E hot tagging Kofi. New Day goes for Midnight Hour but their attempt is disrupted and the Club hits the Magic Killer on Big E for a surprise win over the Raw Tag Team Champions. The match was very average and the crowd wasn’t into it much at all — maybe even the deadest the crowd was during a match all night. The Club winning caught me off guard so for me it didn’t end up being a complete bore.
The Club def. The New Day
Backstage R-Truth tells Goldust that he traded their spot in the Survivor Series match for a vacation in Puerto Rico. This upsets Goldust and he storms off to find a way to get their spot back.
Another vignette is shown for the Goldberg/Lesnar rivalry, but this time it’s from Lesnar’s perspective. Again there’s nothing new here, but I enjoyed it more than the first vignette because we get more of Lesnar and Heyman talking which is always a good thing in my book.
Backstage, Jericho is talking to Owens and he’s upset about Rollins, Reigns, and Strowman attacking them. Jericho suggests confronting Braun Strowman, but KO tries to calm him down by saying they could try and get Braun Strowman on their side instead. Kevin and Chris storm into Braun Strowman’s locker room where Chris threatens to put Braun on the list and nearly calls him a stupid idiot. KO asks Braun if he wants to be on team Kevin and Chris. Braun slowly gets up and exclaims “I’m on Team Braun!” before leaving the room. I have to say Braun Strowman on the microphone is just pure entertainment for me. Braun is definitely more banter than a banger as I like to say.
Golden Truth vs. The Shining Stars
We come back from commercial break to see Golden Truth in the ring to face off with the Shining Stars. This match is for the 5th spot on Team Raw vs. the SmackDown Tag Teams match at Survivor Series. It’s worth mentioning at this point that we are nearly at the 2 hour mark of the show and this only the third match of the night. The crowd was eating these guys alive in the beginning with boring chants and Enzo Amore chants. When R-Truth got the hot tag to Goldust the crowd came alive to my surprise. The Shining Stars picked up the win though with a dirty pin on Goldust, taking their spot at Survivor Series.
The Shining Stars def. Golden Truth.
After another commercial Michael Cole is in the ring ready to introduce the Raw Women’s Survivor Series team. He also explains the concept of Survivor Series once again as if we don’t already know. Cole is already getting bombarded with boos before this; the crowd at this point is most likely hungry for more wrestling and less segments which is totally fair given there’s less than an hour left in the show at this point. There was even faint “We Want Wrestling” chants audible. Each of the women announced for the Survivor Series team make their entrances and give Michael Cole a short promo. Alicia Fox gave an extremely cringeworthy promo in which she stumbled on a majority of her words while trying to make a Brangelina reference that fell completely flat. Charlotte attempted to announce Dana Brooke but the crowd was chanting nonsense at her which made it near impossible for her. This made the segment drag out super long to were at one point it seemed like Charlotte was trying to bargain with the crowd to stay quiet. Bayley eventually makes her entrance to a great reaction, but that didn’t stop the crowd from their chants. Bayley also struggled very hard to get her promo in and it was truly hard to watch. Sasha Banks comes out last and starts arguing with the other members of her team showing that the women’s Raw Survivor Series team is just as dysfunctional as the others. It would be nice to have at least one team not doing the same malfunctioning team angle.
Bayley, Sasha Banks, & Alicia Fox vs. Charlotte, Nia Jax, and Dana Brooke
This was yet another average tag match as with the previous matches on the show. There was an interesting spot where Nia Jax was on the outside of the ring and Sasha, Alicia, and Bayley all did a baseball slide to her back and it didn’t even phase Nia. Eventually Charlotte and Sasha got in the ring together and Charlotte worked Sasha’s back. Sasha tagged in Bayley to a huge pop and Bayley won with a Belly to Bayley pinning Charlotte.
Bayley, Sasha Banks, & Alicia Fox def. Charlotte, Nia Jax, and Dana Brooke.
Backstage Seth Rollins is being interviewed. He’s asked why he decided to join Team Raw given his relationship with Stephanie McMahon and the other members of the team. Braun Strowman interrupts and tells Rollins that he’s gonna “SNAP HIM IN HALF!” Again I say: Braun is much more banter than banger.
Rusev vs. Sami Zayn
Lana is in the ring ready to announce Rusev and tells America to stand up…even though they’re not in America. This was a pretty short decent match. At one point Rusev and Sami got into a very entertaining exchange of strikes were Sami did an amazing sell of a forearm where he dropped to his knees and fell backwards. There was a great spot where Rusev countered the Helluva kick by hitting the superkick on a charging Sami Zayn. The ending was a bit awkward where Rusev went to the top rope and Sami Zayn hit a helluva kick on him for the win. However, the angle on the television made the kick appear to just be normal kick and it wasn’t clear he hit a helluva kick until the replay. I was expecting this match to be a bit longer also after we hadn’t had a real match all show, but this was still pretty short. So now we have Sami Zayn vs. Dolph Ziggler for the Intercontinental Championship at Survivor Series which on paper should be a great match.
Sami Zayn def. Rusev
Kevin Owens vs. Chris Jericho vs. Roman Reigns vs. Seth Rollins vs. Braun Strowman
After commercial we go straight into the fatal five way main event. This was a good match that was somewhat of a decent pay off for an otherwise sub-par show. Most of the beginning of the match was all about showcasing Braun Strowman’s strength. Seth tried taking him out with a Kendo stick but wasn’t able to put him down. It eventually came to everyone hitting their signature moves just to take him out of the ring. After that Chris and Kevin started brawling with Seth and Roman. During this part of the match there were Y2J chants; I’m really glad Chris Jericho is so over at the moment. Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins went for the Shield powerbomb spot on Braun Strowman but Kevin Owens spoiled it. KO was really great overall in this match. He ripped up a “I Love Roman” sign. He impersonated Roman by doing the “OOOOOAAHH” wake up taunt into the running cannonball. The finish was interesting and I actually did like it. Seth hit Jericho with a Pedigree and Roman hit Owens with superman punch causing Owens to fall on top of Jericho for the pinfall victory.
Kevin Owens def. Chris Jericho, Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins, Braun Strowman
WWE RAW FOR NOVEMBER 7, 2016
Average - 5/10
This show suffered from a lack of wrestling and also suffered from segments involving the Raw Survivor Series teams that were extremely similar/redundant. Each Raw Survivor Series Team is doing the exact same angle. They're dysfunctional and they need to get on the same page. None of the segments or matches, besides the main event, fell far below or above average for me. They were mediocre at worst and decent at best. The highlights of the show were Kevin Owens and Chris Jericho on the microphone and the fatal five way main event. Another average Raw is now in the books.