KELLER’S WWE RAW REVIEW
NOVEMBER 14, 2016
AIRED LIVE ON USA NETWORK
Announcers: Michael Cole, Byron Saxton, Corey Graves.
-They went live to the arena as Michael Cole introduced the show. They showed the stage with all of the Raw wrestlers participating at Survivor Series lined up single file, just as Teacher Stephanie told them to.
In the ring, Stephanie McMahon and Mick Foley stood. She said they asked all of them to stand on the stage together because they represent the best of the best and the elite, and they will have the chance to prove it on Sunday. She noted that Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan will be there tonight.
Foley said it’s more than Raw vs. Smackdown Live, it’s also Kevin Owens proving he’s a more dominant champion, Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins proving they were the most dominant member of The Shield and who the weakest link is, plus “every female Superstar on the stage” proving to Becky Lynch, Nikki Bella, and the world and their teammates that “Monday Night Raw is the place to go for women’s competition.” They showed Bayley and Sasha nodding with pride.
weSteph talked to Enzo & Cass. Foley did Enzo’s dance and Steph imitated Enzo. Steph said they can prove they are the most dominant tag team in WWE. Steph said that Brian Kendrick will have the chance to represent the entire Cruiserweight Division and that Sami Zayn will have a chance to bring home one of the most prestigious titles in all of WWE history to Raw.
She said last week she gave them a chance to work out their differences, “and boy did you,” but tonight they have to prove they can work together as a team or else she and Foley “will make some serious changes.”
Foley addressed Sheamus. Cesaro budded in front of Sheamus and raised his arms, drawing a cheer. Foley said Sheamus and Cesaro can prove they are a strong team who can work together when they face Owens & Reigns later, the Universal and U.S. title holders. Steph then announced that Rollins tonight teams with Chris Jericho and Braun Strowman against New Day, noting that last week he powerbombed Jericho through Strowman through a table, but now they’ll have to show they can be united against a threesome like New Day.
Foley announced that Charlotte and Sasha Banks will be partners against Alicia Fox and Nia Jax, two others who haven’t gotten along well. Foley said Sheamus & Cesaro vs. Owens & Reigns is up “right now,” which in WWE speak means “right after this commercial break.”
-Cole hyped Goldberg and Brock Lesnar would be face-to-face later in the show.
-A commercial hyped the season premiere of “Total Divas” on Wednesday, in the same slot as the just-completed season of “Total Bellas.”
(1) KEVIN OWENS & ROMAN REIGNS vs. CESARO & SHEAMUS
Owens came out first followed by Reigns. Traditionally bigger stars come out second in tag teams. Graves said tonight is all about momentum headed into Sunday’s Survivor Series. Sheamus and Cesaro bickered, yet dominated the match. When Cesaro knocked Reigns to the floor, Owens walked over to him and asked if he was serious. Cesaro then did a running twisting dive onto both of them at ringside. They cut to a break. [c]
Cole said the sky really would be the limit for Sheamus and Cesaro if they could just get along. Reigns and Sheamus brawled at ringside, then Reigns took control against him in the ring. Graves said it’s amazing what you can force yourself to do and who you can get along with when your job is on the line. Reigns KO’d Sheamus with a Superman punch. Cesaro broke up the pin attempt. Reigns then set up the Spear, but Owens tagged himself in. Reigns yanked him aside. They butted chests and argued. Sheamus gave Owens a Brogue Kick. Reigns speared Sheamus and then dragged Owens on top of Sheamus, and the ref counted to three. Owens and Reigns exchanged words afterward, but nothing too heated.
WINNERS: Reigns & Owens in 13:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: So Reigns is the bigger man for letting Owens get the pinfall even though Owens tagged himself in as Reigns was setting up his spear. If you’re trying to push Reigns as a good guy, that’s how you book.)
-They went to the announcers on camera who commented on Seth powerbombing Jericho onto Strowman through a table, yet they have to team later. A clip aired.
-They went backstage to Jericho, Seth, and Strowman. Jericho said Reigns and Owens set a great example and didn’t fight at all, so as team captain he’s going to create team unity. He offered them each a gift box. Seth said, “Chris, you shouldn’t have. Tell me this isn’t what I think it is.” He took off the lid and Seth sighed. He pulled out a scarf. Jericho proudly said, “It’s the Scarf of Jericho, drink it in, man.” Seth said, “If I wanted to dress like you, I’d have raided Lady Gaga’s closet.” The crowd groaned. Seth gave it back to Jericho and said he’s not a scarf guy. “Who is not a scarf guy?” Jericho said. Strowman then told Jericho he wants the scarf he was wearing. Jericho said that scarf costs $750 and he got it in Vienna and it’s all part of the rage, part of the fall collection. But he gave in and presented it to Strowman. Strowman gave Jericho his gift back. Jericho took out Strowman’s tacky scarf and put it on. Strowman then tore the expensive scarf and said, “I don’t like scarves and I don’t like you.”
(Keller’s Analysis: This was “cute” and probably got chuckles especially out of the non-wrestling fans doing some work in the other room who overheard the segment. It, also, unfortunately undermines the idea that Strowman is a killer monster heel and that Rollins is to be taken seriously as a top guy. It’s just frivolous time-filling sketch comedy with groan-inducing scripted lines such as Lady Gaga.)
-A commercial hyped Undertaker on Smackdown tomorrow night for episode #900. [c]
-They went to the announcers on camera. They pitched WWE Network with the entire first month free including NXT Takeover this Saturday and Survivor Series on Sunday. Saxton said Survivor Series starts at a special time, 7 p.m. ET.
-A clip aired from the Raw Pre-Show of Sami Zayn telling Bo Dallas if he thinks he should have been picked to get the Intercontinental Title shot at Survivor Series, then beat him on Raw.
(2) BO DALLAS vs. SAMI ZAYN
Cole noted that Miz could be defending the IC Title against Zayn at Survivor Series because Dolph Ziggler will defend against Miz tomorrow night on Smackdown. Graves said Sami has to prepare for both equally as hard until he knows. Zayn won with an exploder suplex into the corner and then a Helluva Kick.
WINNER: Zayn at 2:26.
(Keller’s Analysis: Interesting potential twist with Miz potentially beating Ziggler to set up Miz vs. Sami at Survivor Series. Bo Dallas’s resurgent push seems to be wiped out with this loss in under three minutes.)
-Saxton interviewed Zayn mid-ring, who said this is an opportunity of a lifetime. He called Ziggler a guy who dresses like he’s in a Poison tribute band or regarding Miz “the community theater hack who think he’s a Hollywood movie star,” it makes no difference to him.
(Keller’s Analysis: That promo doesn’t fit Zayn’s character. He took a catty dig at a fellow babyface’s fashion and then disparaged Miz in a mean-spirited tone. It just felt like someone wrote that for Generic Mid-Card Babyface Type 3 instead of a specific performer, Sami.)
-A video package aired hyping NXT Takeover including a mention of Mickie James.
“Graves thanked the band The Weeknd for the Survivor Series theme “False Alarm.”
-Backstage “The Cruiserweights” were chatting when Brian Kendrick walked in and stood on a crate and said he understands there’s a lot riding on the line this Sunday because their futures hang in the balance. He said not only is he a sure-fire bet to retain his title, but he’s also the standard bearer and savior of the division. T.J. Perkins interrupted and asked if he asked Kalisto to lose on purpose to him. Rich Swann interjected that he has two victories over Kendrick. Noam Dar said after he attacked him last week, there’s no chance any of them believe anything he says. Kendrick asked if he’s ever lied to any of them. They said all the time. Sin Cara said his friend Kalisto will make a respectable champion. Kendrick called Sin Cara a traitor.
-The New Day danced onto the ramp. Xavier Woods introduced fans to Francesca II Turbo. Big E introduced a shopping card full of New Day items, including New Day Socks. The crowd chanted “New… Day Socks!” Kofi Kingston held up a box of Booty O’s.
(Keller’s Analysis: Not many wrestlers get a TV segment dedicated to pushing their merchandise and nothing else.) [c]
-Cole plugged the “State of the WWE Universe” debate on WWE Network after Raw.
(Keller’s Analysis: That just seems to have the potential of being the worst show put on by WWE in a very long time.)
(3) THE NEW DAY vs. CHRIS JERICHO & BRAUN STROWMAN & SETH ROLLINS
The announcers talked about the news of Shane McMahon joining Team Smackdown. Graves excitedly said Shane may have to come face-to-face with Strowman. Jericho tried to push that he was Team Captain. Cole noted New Day are a month away from breaking Demolition’s record. Jericho tagged in Strowman aggressively and gave him a pep talk. Strowman easily fended off Kofi’s attack. Cole exclaimed that if Shane and Bryan are watching, especially Shane, he should note that Strowman might be tossing him around at Survivor Series like this. [c]
Cole said Raw wrestlers must be especially excited that they can get their hands on the commissioner of Smackdown. Why would any wrestler care about that? Strowman broke up Xavier’s pin attempt on Jericho at 12:00. Big E knocked Strowman to the floor, then Strowman caught Kofi when he dove over the top rope onto him. Then he took Big E down at ringside. Seth and Woods battled inside the ring. Seth set up a Pedigree near his corner. Jericho tagged himself in. Woods backdropped Seth to the floor. Jericho tagged Strowman in and Strowman finished Woods with his running powerslam.
WINNERS: Strowman & Jericho & Rollins in 14:00.
-Afterward, Jericho took credit for the win because he is the captain. Seth gave Jericho a Pedigree, then left. Cole said despite what happened there, he likes their chances. [c]
-Steph and Foley were joined mid-chat backstage. Steph was impressed how well everyone was working together. Heyman walked in, applauding that it is indeed “a Raw to remember.” Steph asked how he is feeling after the spear by Goldberg. “It must help to have all that extra padding,” she said. Heyman laughed and said she just called him fat. “I deal with my own flaws,” he added. Heyman said on Sunday, Goldberg won’t be facing him, he’ll be facing his client, Brock Lesnar. He said a beating of a lifetime will be delivered by a true-to-life beast. Heyman said word around the locker room is that the Smackdown Live team is looking pretty, pretty good. Steph turned to Foley and said they need to make sure the Goldberg-Lesnar match happens at Survivor Series. Foley got on the phone and called for extra security to make sure the Goldberg-Lesnar segment happen.
(Keller’s Analysis: Did Foley mess up? That isn’t what Steph said. She asked him to be sure the match happens at Survivor Series, so Foley presumably was supposed to call for security to keep them apart. Foley instead called for security to make sure the Goldber-Lesnar segment happens tonight, but until he said that, it was never in doubt.)
-In the locker room, where a camera was just hanging out for some reason, Sasha walked in behind Charlotte. Charlotte told her she finds her inability to get along with her other teammates unacceptable and immature. Banks said, “You just confirmed to me you’re crazier than Miley Cyrus.” Charlotte said Sasha is oozing with jealousy since she beat her for the title. Sasha told her not to interrupt her. She said the title isn’t at issue this week, but next Monday she’s going to focus on taking that belt back. Charlotte said tonight she’ll teach her a thing of two about winning with pressure. Charlotte said she can’t help that all eyes will be on her. Sasha said all eyes will be on her on Sunday when she loses. “Got that, captain?” Sasha asked.
-The announcers hyped the Sasha & Charlotte vs. Alicia Fox & Nia Jax match up later.
-Kendrick’s ring entrance aired. [c]
(4) BRIAN KENDRICK vs. SIN CARA
Kendrick dominated the first three minutes. Then Sin Cara made a comeback, backdropping Kendrick over the top rope to the floor. Then he tackled him into the ringside barrier. He followed up with a clothesline knocking Kendrick over the top rope and then a dive through the ropes. Kendrick side-stepped Sin Cara and shoved him into the barrier. They cut to a break. [c]
Graves said Sin Cara could be the strongest competitor in the entire Cruiserweight Division. There was a lot of audible chatter between them when they were in the corner, apparently calling the next spot. After colliding, they were both slow to get up, but they began calling spots again. Kendrick won via tapout with the Captain’s Hook.
WINNER: Kendrick in 12:00.
-Backstage Karl Anderson & Luke Gallows walked up to Enzo Amore & Big Cass and called them “the biggest nerds in the room.” Enzo and Cass made fun of them. Gallows told them to drop the lame comedy routine and let them do what they do best, “making green.” Cass said if they stab them in the back, they will lose at Survivor Series. Enzo then threatened to shove the Excalibur where the sun don’t shine. Cass said if they think they trust them, they’re dumber than they look, and they look really, really, really dumb.
-They went to the announcers. Cole wondered if there was any way those teams could get along. They pivoted to hyping a downloadable version of Goldberg and new arena settings – WCW Nitro and WCW Halloween Havoc – for 2K17.
-They showed Foley giving instructions to a group of security guys. [c]
-Brock Lesnar made his ring entrance, with Heyman a couple steps behind. Lesnar almost stumbled when leaping onto the edge of the ring apron. A sprained ankle right now would be pretty bad for WWE. About ten security guys stood in the ring in a diagonal. Lesnar pushed through the Wall of Men and picked his side of the ring. Some scattered “Goldberg” chants broke out after Lesnar’s music stopped. Then Goldberg came out. They showed him from the backstage area heading to the entrance stage, walking past wrestlers and other staff on his way.
(Keller’s Analysis: Biggest surprise of the show is this starting 50 minutes into the second hour, rather than at the top of one of the hours of the overrun.)
A loud “Goldberg” chant got rolling as he paced inside the ring. He was sweating pretty heavy already. As Heyman began to introduce himself, Goldberg interrupted and said this has nothing to do with him. “This is about Brock and me.” Major grammar props to Goldberg for not saying “Brock and myself” like 90 percent of people would have there. Heyman said he implores him to perhaps simply consider his opinion. Goldberg yelled for him to shut up and consider getting the rent-a-cops out of the ring so the only two real men in this ring can get it on.
(Keller’s Analysis: What did the security guys ever do to him?!)
More “Goldberg” chants. Heyman said Goldberg threw him off his game, so he was going to start over. Goldberg yelled for him to shut up again. He is giving Dolph Ziggler a run for his money as the loudest yeller on the roster. Heyman said the security guys aren’t rent-a-cops, they’re there for his protection. Heyman tried a third time. Goldberg let him talk this time. Heyman said his client is the only person should be on his mind, not “these brave men and women in uniform who are here to save your ass because they won’t be here this Sunday.” He told Goldberg to check with others such as Undertaker and John Cena. Goldberg told Heyman to shut his mouth again. He said Lesnar may have conquered many people, but he isn’t on that list. Goldberg said, “That burns your ass every time you think of it, doesn’t it?” He said he heard last week what he said about his family, and he can take that list of the people he conquered and shove it up his ass.
Heyman interrupted and demanded respect. Heyman said he should for the sake of his family who are watching this. Goldberg said the next time Heyman brings up his family, he’s going to rip off his head and feed it to Lesnar. “Chew on that,” he said. Heyman apologized for being unprofessional and raising his voice to him. Heyman asked him to consider an offer. When fans chanted “Goldberg!” again, Lesnar snapped and yelled, “Shut the hell up!” Heyman said, “Ladies and gentleman, you’re pissing off my beast.” He told Goldberg to back away and go back to the fantasy world. He said he will find a suitable replacement for him to be victimized by his client. He said he can buy his son a gift card for WWE Network. Goldberg tore off his shirt and revealed his physique. With all the security in the ring, it was tough to get a decent camera view of anything but his back.
Heyman said Goldberg is being too aggressive and he is agitating his client. Heyman said Goldberg shall be beaten, victimized, and conquered by Lesnar on Sunday. Lesnar shoved down two security guys. Heyman said afterward, Goldberg will be unrecognizable to the extent that “your son will call Brock Lesnar ‘daddy.'” Goldberg flipped out and went after security guys, tossing them around and throwing punches and elbows. Lesnar stepped onto the ring apron to watch from a safe distance. The final three security members bailed out. Goldberg called Lesnar into the ring. The crowd exploded with cheers. Lesnar teased entering, but then left. More loud “Goldberg” chants. Graves said he was completely shocked to watch as Lesnar backed down from a fight with Goldberg.
(Keller’s Analysis: That was a success. They got the crowd reaction they were looking for, and validation from the amped up crowd that this is a match they’re eager to see. Great heat. I wonder if the heat would have been there if they were asked to line up like children and listen to Stephanie tell them how much their match means to her reputation.)
-The announcers hyped the women’s tag match up next. [c]
(5) SASHA BANKS & CHARLOTTE vs. NIA JAX & ALICIA FOX
Bayley joined the announcers on commentary. She said she has been brushing up on history of Survivor Series by watching on WWE Network. She said she’s been watching prior versions to get her history together. She mentioned the Undertaker debut and the Montreal Screwjob. She said she is excited to be in the ring with Nikki Bella for the first time. She said Team Raw is made up of professionals and they’ll do what it takes to win. Charlotte looked intimidated by what Jax was able to do to Banks early in the match. [c]
Charlotte tagged herself in and then shoved Banks as Banks protested. They exchanged blows. Graves said he hopes they get it together by Sunday. Jax entered and attempted to give Banks her Samoan Drop. Banks escaped and then Charlotte gave Jax a boot to the face. Banks tagged herself in. More shoving. Fox then leaped off the top rope onto both, but Banks rolled through and applied the Bank Statement for the tapout win. Bayley entered the ring and raised the arms of Banks and Charlotte after the match. She hugged Sasha. Charlotte walked away from an offer for a hug.
WINNERS: Charlotte & Sasha Banks in 8:00.
-The announcers hyped the Raw vs. Smackdown Survivor Series Summit.
-Backstage Foley told Team Raw they don’t have to be best friends to win matches. Jericho said he and Owens are team captains and they deserve credit. Foley thanked each of the members of the team. He said if they do the same thing on Sunday, he’ll be very happy because they” have dominated Smackdown. He invited them to stick around for the fireworks show later. [c]
-An Emmalina vignette aired showing her in bikinis on the beach.
-Enzo and Cass walked out. Enzo did his mic work. Enzo explained that tonight their partners are their opponents, and he did some word play on that. Cass was interrupted mid-catch-phrase by Anderson & Gallows’ music. Hey, get mad at the guy cuing their music, not the guys who came out when their music started playing.
(6) ENZO AMORE & BIG CASS & KARL ANDERSON & LUKE GALLOWS vs. SHINING STARS & GOLDEN TRUTH
Cole chuckled at the thought of a ten-on-ten match on Sunday. Truth & Goldust and Enzo & Cass cleared the ring of the two heel teams, then realized they were each other’s opponents. They cut to a very early break. [c]
Back from the break, Truth tagged in against Gallows. Cole said Smackdown is the second-longest running episodic TV show in history, behind Raw. In the end, Anderson and Gallows hit the Magic Killer on Epico. They teased letting Enzo get the win with his top rope dive, but instead Gallows took the pin anyway. Then they laughed at Enzo and Cass for being gullible.
WINNERS: Anderson & Gallows & Enzo & Cass in 8:00. [c]
-Foley stood in the ring with Steph after the break, as Steph’s music faded. Steph began talking about “fantasy warfare getting real” when Shane McMahon’s music interrupted. He danced onto the stage. Then he pointed to the entrance and out came Daniel Bryan doing a “Yes!” chant. The “Yes” chants aren’t what they used to be. They had stopped by the time his music stopped, but then it restarted.
Shane said Smackdown is the better brand because they drafted better and their show is better. When the crowd cheered, Steph snapped at them, “You’re at Raw!” She said, “This makes no sense.” That was both funny and true, unravelling the whole Survivor Series premise in a single comment. Stephanie said the only reason people cheer for Shane is because he panders and jumps off of tall structures. Bryan pointed out that could be said about Mick Foley, too, but they still love him. Steph said he’s not in the match.
When Shane thanked Foley for putting the entire Cruiserweight Division at stake, Foley said he did it because he has that much confidence in Brian Kendrick. After more back and forth, Stephanie asked Shane and Bryan to say hi to Team Raw. Steph said, “Team Raw is going to show you just how lazy and complacent they really are.” A loud “A.J. Styles” chant broke out. Cole said Shane and Bryan are in a bit of predicament. Bryan said, “Wait, you guys honestly think that we came alone?” Out through the crowd came Styles, Randy Orton, Bray Wyatt, Dean Ambrose, and James Ellsworth. They all entered the ring in blue t-shirts. A weak “Holy sh–” chant broke out.
Owens said, “Look who showed up! Welcome to the Kevin Owens Show.” He told Styles to get the hair out of his face. He said his title belt means absolutely nothing when he’s on Raw. Styles asked him if he just said the World Championship means nothing. Steyles said to Owens: “Where I’m from, that on your shoulder means you’re nothing more than a paper champion.” He said he is the face that runs the place. Owens congratulated him for stealing someone else’s catchphrase. Owens said his belt makes him better than Styles, and he will prove it on Sunday.
When Styles said Owens might end up on Jericho’s list, Jericho gave Owens a hug. Jericho called Styles a “stupid idiot” which popped the crowd. Jericho said he’s not sure how things work on Smackdown, but “here in the big leagues” when you insult his good friend Owens, “you just made the list!” He then said he doesn’t like Styles’s “stupid soccer mom hairstyle,” so he put the hair on The List, too. Jericho then looked at Ellsworth and said, “Wait, what the hell is that?!” A loud “Ellsworth! Ellsworth!” chant broke out. Jericho said there appears to be a lost child at ringside and he asked his parents to pick him up. He said he’s a weird looking guy and he said here on Raw, weird looking guys make the list.
Bray took over and said on Sunday, he and Orton will destroy the monster he created. Orton and Strowman went chin to chin. Rollins asked Shane if this is the fight he really wants. He said he has no idea what he’s capable of when he and Roman are on the same page. Dean then stepped up and began to talk, but instead started a big brawl. Everyone fought.
Strowman beat up Shane in the corner first, then he went after Styles. Ambrose made the save, but Strowman lifted and tossed him hard to the mat. Strowman then splashed Shane hard in the corner and let out a barbaric yell. Styles and Ambrose double-teamed Strowman. Shane came back and tackled Strowman over the top rope to the floor. Dean then clotheslined Seth over the top rope. Ambrose dove through the ropes and speared Rollins. Styles then battled Jericho, but Jericho dropkicked Styles off the ring apron. The crowd cheered as Orton came up behind Jericho and gave him an RKO out of nowhere. Reigns then gave Orton a Superman punch. The cheers turned to boos. Bray then set up a Sister Abigail, but Reigns blocked it and delivered a Superman Punch. Reigns stood alone in the ring, then ran to dive, but Styles intercepted him. He set up a Styles Clash. Rollins jumped him from behind and gave him a Pedigree. Reigns and Rollins stood alone in the ring as Steph barked out orders. Rollins held Styles up and Reigns then yelled. Then Rollins powerbombed Styles over the top rope onto a crowd of Smackdown wrestlers at ringside.
(Keller’s Analysis: Hell of an final segment. Not without some issues in terms of exposing crowd responses being very different than how wrestlers are cast, but overall it created a sense of pending excitement and chaos coming on Sunday.)
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