KELLER’S WWE RAW REPORT
OCTOBER 3, 2016
LOS ANGELES, CALIF. AT STAPLES CENTER
AIRED LIVE ON USA NETWORK
-Michael Cole, Corey Graves, and Byron Saxton introduced the show as the camera panned the crowd. Cole hyped the “big main event” featuring Charlotte defending against Sasha Banks. They also hyped the cruiserweight match and a Cole sit-down interview with Seth Rollins.
(Keller Analysis: I’m encouraged by the hype they gave to Charlotte vs. Sasha and calling it the main event. I talked about that earlier in the Ask PWTorch article here at PWTorch and the importance of framing the Women’s Title as a main event. We’ll see where it really lands and how it’s featured as the show progresses. Also drawing attention to the Cruiserweight Division match at the top of the show is also a good step.)
-Roman Reigns walked out to boos. Graves said, “Listen to this reaction!” He held his U.S. Title belt in the air and was booed louder. He said his bloodline has been represented in WWE for a long time, but they’ve never had anyone hold the U.S. Title until now. He said he is “thee guy” – which drew boos – and he represents his family on a nightly basis and does what he says he’s going to do. He was interrupted by Lana. Reigns made one of his sour milk faces. The crowd chanted “Thank you, Lana,” apparently in appreciation of her dress. Lana said she’s in L.A. negotiating. Reigns asked her what that means. She issued a challenge for the U.S. Title on behalf of Rusev. Reigns said it sounds like Rusev sent her out to do his dirty work while he “hides behind your skirt.” Lana said he talks about family pride, but he has zero respect for family because he tried to ruin her wedding celebration. Reigns just laughed. Lana told him, “Wipe that smile off your face you stupid boy.” She got emotional and said it’s not funny and her husband will crush him in front of all of the fans and his family. Reigns said she is clearly getting hot and deliver her husband his Bulgarian balls and challenge him to his face. She told Reigns to go to hell. Rusev’s music interrupted.
Reigns met Rusev at ringside and they punched away at each other. In the ring, Rusev cut off a Reigns flying Superman Punch and took over control. Reigns ducked a running boot and gave him an uppercut to send him to the floor. Reigns pursued him. He went for a Superman Punch off the steps, but Rusev cut him off with a round kick. He sent Reigns into the front row. Rusev and Lana gloated on the stage. Reigns surprised him by coming out from backstage to hit him with a Superman Punch. He told Rusev and Lana if they want him to go hell, they have to take him with them. He then said he’d defend the U.S. Title against Rusev, but only in a Hell in a Cell. Cole said Stephanie McMahon and Mick Foley will have to take that challenge into consideration.
-They went to the announcers on the stage standing at their desk. They threw to a video package on T.J. Perkins.
-A video profile aired on Perkins talking about losing it all and climbing back. They showed him winning the Cruiserweight Classic and embracing Brian Kendrick afterward, followed by Kendrick attacking him. Then clips aired of Kendrick cutting a promo on Perkins last week. Cole said it’s up next. [c]
(1) T.J. PERKINS vs. BRIAN KENDRICK
The announcers touted what a big fan of pro wrestling Perkins was in high school, and the role Kendrick had in teaching him the industry. I’m relieved that Cole didn’t say he was “teaching him about sports entertainment.” Perkins dropkicked Kendrick mid-handshake after Kendrick made a big display about it. Perkins hit Kendrick with a corkscrew plancha at ringside, then missed a top rope senton flip splash off the top rope. Kendrick then kicked him to take over control. Kendrick put Perkins’s fingers into the turnbuckle and stomped on is hand. Ouch. Perkins dropped to the floor and they cut to a break as he clutched his fingers. [c]
Back from the break, Perkins hit a top rope huracanrana. Both were slow to get up. Perkins hit a nice leaping reverse sidekick and then a head scissors takeover. He shifted into a kneebar, which Graves noted won him the Cruiserweight Classic and Championship. Kendrick reached the bottom rope. Kendrick drove Perkins face-first into the turnbuckle and then hit Sliced Bread #2 for a near fall. He applied a Captain’s Hook on Perkins, who countered into a pin attempt so Kendrick let go. Perkins set up Kendrick 619 style, but hit the Wrecking Ball dropkick. Kendrick raked Perkins’s eyes and yanked on his nose, then applied the Captain’s Hook again. Perkins tapped out.
WINNER: Kendrick in 9:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: I get why they had the challenger beat the champion in a non-title match, but it didn’t feel like enough happened leading up to the tapout to justify Perkins tapping so quickly. If they had been building up Kendrick’s killer submission hold for weeks, it would have made more sense. That said, for the few minutes that aired, it was good action. I liked Kendrick using heelish tactics and I liked that Perkins is likable and athletic and admirable in this role, and he’s doing enough cool spots to stand out from heavyweights.)
-Cole plugged the sitdown interview with Seth Rollins. [c]
-Cole interviewed Seth earlier in the day. Cole asked how his rib injury is feeling. Seth said he’s cleared, but advised rest and told him not to go to L.A. for Raw, “but rest isn’t my thing.” When Cole brought up Owens, Seth said Owens didn’t beat him, Triple H literally handed him the title. He said he believes he deserves a rematch after the Clash. Seth said made enemies on the way up because that’s just the way things go. He said he pretty alienated everybody in the locker room. He said while he and Owens have had a lot of success, that’s where the comparisons should stop. He said Owens is the guy at the office who does half the work and gets all the promotions. (I use that analogy all the time on the PWTorch Livecast regarding how to define a heel.) He said he’s the kid at school who is the teacher’s pet, the jerk nobody likes. He said Triple H literally handed him the WWE Championship. He said when he cashed in his Money in the Bank briefcase, it was years of hard work and determination that won him the title. “Everybody has a Kevin Owens in their life,” he said. “It’s just unfortunate for me that I have thee Kevin Owens in mine.”
Owens asked Seth about his relationship with Triple H, and now being replaced. Seth laughed and said that’s Owens’ perspective. He said, “You can’t replace Seth Rollins. Kevin’s just a cog in the machine. I’ve been a cog in the machine and I understand what that feels like. But my eyes are wide open now and see things completely differently, and I’m going to tear that machine apart piece by piece, starting with Kevin Owens and the WWE Universal Championship.” Cole asked him if he gets his rematch, how does he see it playing out. He said he knows how the game is played, how Stephanie McMahon called for the second referee at the exact perfect time. He said he knows the forces are against him, and he thinks if he gets his rematch, Seth is going to cancel the Kevin Owens Show and prove to the world he is still the man.
(WK Reax: They made up some ground there by saying all the right things. He needed to define Owens as more devious and undeserving, and he needed to acknowledge that he has changed and sees things differently than he used to. He also needed to add some credibility to what he accomplished even when he had The Authority on his side compared to how Owens won. He was likable and almost humble.)
-They announcers reacted and then said Kevin Owens will speak later in response to Seth’s interview. [c]
-Cole talked about WWE working with Susan G. Komen foundation to raise awareness for breast cancer.
(2) BRAUN STROWMAN vs. CHASE SILVER
Bryon Saxton interviewed the Strowman jobber opponent mid-ring before the match (a bit of an Adam Cole look-alike). He said he just moved from Idaho to L.A. where dreams come true, and last night he had a dream he was going to beat Strowman. Strowman brushed off Silver’s early attack, then yelled at the crowd. Silver jumped Strowman from behind, but Strowman no-sold it. He waited for Silver to stand up, then charged at him and knocked him backwards into the corner eight feet. Then came his finisher.
WINNER: Strowman in 2:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: This is the kind of build-up that Luke Harper would have benefited from two years ago, and might have been better at taking advantage of over the long run.)
-Saxton interviewed Strowman afterward about leaving “carnage in his wake” and asked him what’s next. Strowman said he is the gift of destruction and they are wasting him on these runts. He said to tell Mick Foley if he doesn’t have a better opponent next week, there will be no next week.)
-Graves hyped that Forbes ran a story with “Five Reasons Charlotte is Already the Greatest Female WWE Superstar of All Time.” Cole hyped her defense the title later against Banks.
-They showed Banks stretching and warming up backstage. Bayley walked up to her and they were all giggles and smiles. Bayley said main eventing Raw is “like Trish and Lita territory.” Sasha said the ten year girl in her is freaking out, but she wants to take back what she worked her entire career to become. She said critics say she doesn’t have much of a chance. Bayley said she wishes it was her, but if not her, she can’t think of anyone more deserving than Sasha. Sasha said Charlotte might have been born into the business, but she was born to be champion. They shook hands. Bayley wished her luck.
(Keller’s Analysis: For a scripted conversation with two people awkwardly not acknowledging the presence of a camera two feet away from their faces, that came across pretty smooth and genuine. I think Sasha’s story is genuine, so it’s easy for her to be believable when talking about this being a big deal to her.)
-A commercial for Smackdown said John Cena, Dean Ambrose, and A.J. Styles will be face-to-face-to-face tomorrow night. [c]
-The announcers hyped the ticket launch for the Royal Rumble coming to the Alamodome in “San Diego.” That’s what Cole said. I hope someone in San Diego buys tickets on line and make Cole pay for their flight. Cole then said San Antonio and said he misspoke because of how excited he is. Does anyone believe Cole is “that excited” about something like that?
-Kevin Owens and Chris Jericho came to the ring. Jericho put a fan on his list. Owens said he watched the interview with Seth. He told Cole he was awful. He needs to stop picking on Cole, because while it’s funny, it totally undermines everyone’s goal to get the fans to boo him and cheer Seth. Owens, using his meticulous English (even using the word “whomever” properly), talked about the crowd being “stupid idiots” when they chant “stupid idiots.” Owens and Jericho agreed how great they are, calling themselves Team Kevin & Chris, and they issued a challenge to New Day. Jericho said then they’d both be the Universal Champion and the WWE Tag Team Champions. Owens said it sounds like a lot of work, though, and his plate is pretty full. Jericho eyed the Universal Title and said it’s not like he challenged him to a match for the Universal Title. Owens thought it over. The crowd began a “Y2J” chant. Owens then said Jericho’s idea to go after New Day is a great one (better than facing Jericho for his title).
New Day came out and said they, not Kevin and Chris, have the best friendship in WWE. Jericho said Kofi just made The List for questioning their friendship. Owens corrected Jericho’s spelling, saying Kofi ends with an “i” and not a “y.” When New Day huddled up, Big E said Jericho can’t join them. Jericho put him on the list. Owens pointed out that “Woods was laughing.” Jericho asked if he knows what that means. Xavier panicked. Jericho said he just made the list. New Day huddled. Owens said if they won’t give them the tag team title match, leave and let the truly most entertaining tag team have the stage again. Owens mock clapped that they’ve been tag team champions for 400 days. He said they have compromised the health and safety of children all over the world by feeding them questionable cereal. “Too much sugar!” declared Jericho. Owens said about seven months ago, they all jumped the shark together. Xavier said Owens knows for a fact they do not swim. He asked Owens when was the last time he jumped over anything. New Day celebrated uproariously. Owens told Jericho to put Woods on the list twice.
Xavier said they were going to leave and go watch the Magnificent Seven to see how great they’ve become, but considering they’ve challenged them, they can have the match. Xavier said they’re not dressed to fight, so they’ll give them some time.
(Keller’s Analysis: Great stuff. They play off of each other brilliantly. This is working quite a bit better than New Day-Old Day, that’s for sure.)
-They showed a clip from earlier of Sheamus and Cesaro arriving at the arena together in a white SUV. Sheamus was the driver. They were yelling at each other. Sheamus was upset at how picky Cesaro was being about food because of his obsession with his body fat percentage.
(Keller’s Analysis: I think this “Odd Couple” dynamic can be a good result of the draw in the “seventh and deciding” match between them.) [c]
-They showed Ryan Phillippe in the front row, right after a commercial aired for his new show on USA Network, “Shooter.” He did the DX crotch chop.
-Saxton said it was official – New Day vs. Jeri-KO later on the show.
-Cole said Wednesday night, Goldberg will join Coach on SportsCenter at 9 p.m. ET where he’ll talk about the new WWE 2K17 video game and his relationship with WWE.
(3) SAMI ZAYN vs. TITUS O’NEIL
Cole threw to a vignette where Titus said he is launching the new Titus Brand, which will take over everything from fashion to music to movies “because everything is Titus and Titus is everything. #MakeItAWin.” Titus overpowered Sami early in the match. Graves said he doesn’t think Titus knows how strong he is. He said he habitually comes up short, but just needs to get past that. Titus sang and clapped with Sami down at his feet. Cole said he’s curious what the Titus Brand consists of. Graves said he’ll buy six pairs of his sneakers. Titus gave Sami a backbreaker, then did a cocky strut around the ring. Sami surprised Titus with a clothesline. He gave Titus an Exploder Suplex into the corner, then charged and hit the Helluva Kick for the win. Cole wondered if the Titus Brand is a one-hit wonder.
WINNER: Zayn in 3:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: I like the Titus push as a guy who loses, but you kind of enjoy watching him mess things up for himself then keep on obliviously as if he never loses.)
-Sheamus continued yelling at Cesaro in the locker room. He said they’re late because of him. Cesaro said, “I’m Swiss, I’m never late.” He looked at his watch. Cesaro said Sheamus drove and he got them lost. Sheamus said he navigated them into rush your traffic. Mick Foley walked into the picture. Sheamus asked why he forced them to team. Foley said he was thoroughly humbled by Stephanie last week and now he has to deal with Strowman’s threat. He said he put them together as a team because he believes in them. He said traveling together will make them bond. Cesaro said Sheamus picks his nose constantly. Sheamus protested vehemently, saying he was adjusting his nose ring. He said he chose them because they are dominant, as long as they get on the same page. He told them to prove him right.
-Graves hyped the Karl Anderson & Luke Gallows match up next. [c]
-They aired an interview from the Raw Pre-Show conducted by Tom Phillips with Anderson & Gallows. They vowed to put an end to the New Day fun and games by pushing the clown car off the cliff.
(4) GOLDUST & R-TRUTH vs. LUKE GALLOWS & KARL ANDERSON
When Truth and Goldust came out, Truth sang his song. They put the lyrics on the screen with Goldust’s head bouncing over the words karaoke style. The Magic Killer on Truth ended this one.
WINNERS: Anderson & Gallows in 3:00.
-Anderson & Gallows attacked Goldust afterward and gave him a Magic Killer.
(Keller’s Analysis: Cole pushed that Anderson & Gallows say “fun and games are over.” It will take some effort, but I’m glad they’re rebuilding them as a serious act. Graves is doing a really good job pushing them as a serious team “that change the face of this division.”)
-They showed Owens & Jericho walking backstage. Ashton Kutcher and Danny Dumbface, as Jericho called him. Jericho said he warned them he was going to put them on The List. Danny took his clipboard and began reading the names on the list: “People who don’t appreciate a good scarf,” “People who say I look like a poor man’s Jon Bon Jovi,” “Superstars who lose to Fandango at WrestleMania.” Jericho said it doesn’t say any of that. Ashton said he has questions about their friendship. He said he and Masterson are brothers, that’s how close they are. Jericho said they’re so close they’re conjoined twins. Owens said “That ’70s Show” would have been better with them in it. They continued to try to prove who were closer friends. Ashton said they’d be ringside for their match with New Day.
(Keller’s Analysis: Good use of celebrities there. Ashton managed to keep a straight face, although it seemed he was tempted to break into a smile at Jericho a couple of times. This is good use of celebrities. For a bad example, look at anything Jon Stewart did, hamming it up absurdly over-the-top.) [c]
-Enzo and Big Cass stood in the ring with three women who are breast cancer survivors. They stood in front of a table with a big pink covering and some items underneath it. They were perhaps intentionally (I hope) incompetent at revealing the WWE Title belts they gave to the women as gifts. Enzo said it didn’t go as planned, but they can handle it. The crowd chanted “How’a’ya’doin’!” Cass said there is one word that does NOT describe the women in the ring: “S-A-W-F-T!” [c]
(5) NEW DAY (Xavier Woods & Big E w/Kofi Kingston) vs. CHRIS JERICHO & KEVIN OWENS
Kutcher and Masterson joined the announcers at the table. They hyped their Netflix show “The Ranch” as “the show that represents the Red States.” Kutcher said, “Cityfolks probably won’t get it so much.” A stray left hand by Xavier during an opening chop exchange in the corner caused a nosebleed from Jericho. He tagged in Owens immediately and dropped to the floor in clear discomfort. He’d return to the match and continue just fine, but bleeding from his nose. They were in love with shots of the announce table during this match. Owens tagged back in and invited Big E into the ring. He attacked him before he entered the ring. Jericho tagged in and did his “Drink it in, man” spot. They cut to a break at 6:00 with Owens in control. [c]
Back live, they went to the crowded announce table again. Xavier hot-tagged in and went on the attack against Owens. Ashton asked if anyone has a longer tag title reign than New Day. Cole said Demolition do.
Ashton began making fun of Owens having a “dad bod,” and said he’s working on that himself. He said he wishes he had a telestrator so he could draw attention to Owens’ beer belly. Graves said he shouldn’t talk about the Universal Champion that way. Kutcher said he wouldn’t be able to beat Owens in a wrestling match, but he could beat him in a tongue lashing. I doubt that, actually.
Seth’s music started and he walked onto the stage. Owens turned to yell at him. Xavier kicked Owens and hot-tagged in Big E. Jericho also tagged in. Big E tossed Jericho around including three belly-to-belly. Owens cut off Big E before he could land his running splash. Xavier flip dove onto Owen at ringside. Big E then hit his running splash on Jericho mid-ring. Chaos broke out. Xavier knocked Owens out of the ring with a rolling elbow, but then Jericho applied the Lion Tamer. Seth ran onto the ring apron Jericho dropped the hold. Big E tagged himself in. He lifted Jericho and Xavier delivered the Midnight Hour for the win.
WINNERS: New Day in 16:00.
-Owens yelled from a distance that they were cheaters. Seth entered the ring and set up Jericho for a Pedigree. He called Owens out to make the save. Owens stayed put. Seth delivered the Pedigree. Seth high-fived New Day afterward.
(Keller’s Analysis: Good match. Ashton was solid on commentary throughout, although he didn’t seem overly familiar with the product. I’d say Seth Rollins is official a babyface, if there was any doubt left.)
-The announcer narrated highlights of the show-opening segment with Rusev, Lana, and Reigns.
-Phillips, who still has the same haircut this week, interviewed Charlotte with Dana Brook backstage. Charlotte said she doesn’t call herself genetically superior as a catch-phrase, because it’s just a fact. She said she is at her best defending her championship. “I was born for these moments,” she said. She said Sasha has butterflies because she’ll expose her as the massive overachiever that she is and knock her off the pedestal that social media has put her on. She said Sasha wants to make history, but after tonight, she’ll be history.
-Cole hyped Rich Swann vs. Tony Nese was up next in another Cruiserweight match. A video profile feature aired on Rich Swann.
-They showed three Los Angeles Rams players in the front row. They also showed Josh Reddick of the Los Angeles Dodgers.
-Backstage the camera was showing Seth walk backstage when Stephanie walked up to him and told him he isn’t medically cleared and he was putting himself in jeopardy. He said she can’t tell him what to do anymore. He said none of them have been listening to anything he’s been saying if she doesn’t realize that. Stephanie said he is now alone for the first time in his entire career in WWE – no Shield, no Authority. “At least with us you stood a chance, but you’re not going to last long.” She said he’ll find out he’s replaceable just like everybody else. Seth said she can’t tell him how things work around there anymore. He said they lost that privilege when her husband stabbed him in the back. He called that the second worst decision of Triple H’s life. Steph asked what the worst decision was. Seth said, “Marrying you!” He said he’s going to make her life a living hell and he’ll burn Raw to the ground and take Jericho and Owens with him. The camera lingered on Stephanie so we could see a whole series of emotions she was feeling. She went from angry, to nervous, to devious, to smugly confident.
(Keller’s Analysis: I wonder how many times Steph watches herself on replay on her tablet in these drawn out emotional reaction shots that linger on her at the end of the scenes, the cheesy thing that done in telenovelas.)
-A soundbite aired with Tony Nese saying he’s tired of hearing about Rich Swann’s dance moves. “It’s all I hear.” He said he’s the greatest hybrid of strength, speed, and combat skills the Cruiserweight Division will ever see. “Maybe I should just twerk.”
(6) TONY NESE vs. RICH SWANN
Graves gave some nice background on them. Swann hit a nice series of moves, then celebrated with some smiles to the hard camera and gyrations, much like Hillary Clinton during that one moment in the debate a week earlier. When Nesse applied a body lock with his legs, Graves asked when is the last time they saw that on Raw. Nesse won with a pump handle sitout powerbomb.
WINNER: Nese in 4:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: Makes sense to give Nese a push so he’s next in line as a heel to feud with Perkins. Then Kendrick can shift to a feud with Swann. Then WWE can begin to introduce more depth to the division with some showcase squash wins.)
-A feature aired on Mil Mascaras as part of NBC Universal’s Hispanic Heritage Month.
-They showed Sheamus and Cesaro heading toward the entrance tunnel backstage. [c]
-A vignette aired for “The Makeover of Emma to Emmalina: Premiering Soon.”
(7) SHEAMUS & CESARO vs. LOWELL WHITE & MARK CARRIDY (sp?)
Sheamus didn’t like how Cesaro’s music interrupted his music and he got the spotlight during the ring entrance. They argued right from the start. Cole wondered if they could put their egos aside. Cesaro leaped off of Sheamus’s back to DDT their other opponent illegally entering the ring. Sheamus then finished the legal man with a Brogue Kick.
WINNERS: Sheamus & Cesaro in 2:00. [c]
-They showed the exterior of Staples Center.
-They showed Oscar de la Hoya in the front row.
-The announcers threw to a video package on the rivalry between Charlotte and Sasha Banks, beginning with their time in NXT as a team.
-They went backstage to Charlotte and Dana heading toward the entrance stage. They saw Bayley and laughed in her face and called her Dora the Explorer. Charlotte mocked her and said some day she’ll grow up to be a main eventer. When Bayley told her not to be too cocky, Charlotte said her title is talking and she can’t hear her. She walked to the ring. Dana then looked at Bayley and patronized her some more. “Don’t cry when Charlotte breaks Sasha in half again because playtime is over.” She patted her on the head. When Bayley pushed her hand away, Dana shoved her against a wall. Bayley returned fire by tossing Dana across the hallway. Dana clutched her knee in pain.
(WK Reax: That’s an example of heels being heels and a babyface being a babyface. That segment is not better if “it’s left up to the viewers who choose” or the heels were being “cool with funny one-liners.”)
-Sasha made her ring entrance. [c]
(8) CHARLOTTE vs. SASHA BANKS – WWE Women’s Championship match
As Charlotte made her ring entrance, Cole said they received word that Dana was getting medical attention on her knee, so she wouldn’t be at ringside. Cole wondered if that would affect her gameplan. Graves said it certainly would not. Cole said counting NXT, this has been one of the great rivalries in the last five years. Sasha dove through the ropes and tackled Charlotte at ringside seconds into the match. They cut to a very early break. [c]
Back live, Charlotte had Sasha in a surfboard. They replayed that durign the break, Charlotte yanked Sasha off the top turnbuckle and Sasha hit her head on the back of turnbuckle. Then she threw her into the ringside barrier.
Sasha went for a kick off the ring apron, but Charlotte caught her instead. She almost dropped her, then lifted her into the ring. It was just a mess. The announcers covered by saying how well these two women know each other. Graves said, “They have counters for counters.” Cole said Sasha may have hit her head on the bottom rope when Charlotte threw her back into the ring. Sasha countered a figure-four into an attempt at the Bank Statement. Charlotte blocked it. Charlotte knocked Sasha off balance a minute later on the top rope. Sasha clotheslined the top rope. Charlotte kicked her in the back and then in the face for a near fall. Charlotte got wide-eyed with shock.
Charlotte went for a superplex, but Sasha blocked it. Sasha headbutted out of it. She leaped at Charlotte and landed the double-knees for a near fall. Sasha sat up with disbelief. The crowd started chanting “This is awesome!” Sasha went for a back stabber, but Charlotte ducked and dumped her to ringside. Charlotte then climbed to the top rope and flipped backwards and twisted mid-air toward Sasha. The problem with that spot is almost nothing she did mattered as her arm just grazed Sasha upon landing. Charlotte scored a near fall in the ring. She was crying with disbelief that she didn’t score the pin. She slapped Sasha and yelled at her to stay down. Banks countered with a Bank Statement. She torqued it and Charlotte tapped out.
WINNER: Banks in 14:00 to capture the Women’s Championship.
-In a closing scene, Sasha cried and held the title in the air. They showed Charlotte in the aisle watching the big screen, soaking up the loss and crying.
(Keller’s Analysis: They lived up to the main event slot on Raw. I’ve definitely seen better matches with both of these two against each other and against others, but other than a couple sloppy spots, they told a good story and came across as deeply invested in winning.)
FINAL THOUGHTS: Solid episode of Raw. Nothing to hate, a lot to like. The new mix of talent getting attention is a benefit of the roster split that will pay off over time. I think they’re doing many many more things right now than they were a year ago. The biggest negative is the three-hour format, still, but at this point they are at least doing that things that seemed obvious to do when they first announced the three-hour format, yet never got around to actually doing.
(PWTorch editor Wade Keller launched the Pro Wrestling Torch Newsletter in 1987. Over 1,400 weekly issues have been published and millions have been sent worldwide over the last 30 years. He hosts the PWTorch Livecast at www.pwtorchlivecast.com every Monday right after Raw, every Tuesday right after Smackdown, every Wednesday for the Mid-Week episode with rotating cohosts at 1 ET, and everything Thursday at 1 ET with special interview guests, with tens of millions of downloads since 2009 and counting. He was inducted into the George Tragos/Lou Thesz Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame with the “Jim Melby Excellence in Journalism” award, Class of 2015. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @thewadekeller.)