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KELLER’S WWE RAW REPORT
NOVEMBER 21, 2016
AIRED LIVE ON USA NETWORK
-They opened with a video package with dramatic music with freeze frames of Goldberg beating Brock Lesnar the night before, and cutaways to fans acting shocked.
-Goldberg’s music played. He made his way through the back hall and onto the stage. Thankfully he wasn’t wearing skinny jeans, or else everything the night before was for nothing. As Goldberg entered the ring, Cole said: “There is only one thing you need to know. And that’s one minute, twenty-six seconds. That is how long it took Goldberg to shock the world and beat Brock Lesnar last night at Survivor Series.” Goldberg’s music stopped and a new “Goldberg” chant started. He thanked the fans for making it possible for him to come back and “be Goldberg again.” He said they gave him the ability to give him a piece of the limelight he yearns for. The “You still got it!” chant rang out. He thanked his wife, who was sitting at ringside. “I don’t know if you guys know this, but I can can be one mean moody son of a bitch sometimes and she has put up with that during my six, seven weeks of training to get back in the ring.” He thanked his son for inspiring him to be a superhero again. They showed his son looking happy but a bit camera shy, understandably, at ringside.
He said he did what he said he was going to do: “I came, I fought, and I conquered The Beast.” He said, though, all good things come to an end. The crowd booed and said “No!” He said he saw Stephanie McMahon backstage who said he showed he had one more ass kicking in him, but does he have one more title run in him. The crowd chanted “Yes!” Goldberg said, “You bet your ass I have one more title run in me.” A loud “Goldberg!” chant rang out. He said then Stephanie said the road to a title match is through the Royal Rumble. “So what does this mean? I’ll tell you what it means. At the Royal Rumble match, everyone is next!” He tossed the mic over his shoulder and walked out. He might have been a little irked because in the last 15 seconds of that promo, a loud section of fans were chanting, “You screwed Bret!” He was in Canada, and the fans were referring to the concussion Bret got against Goldberg that Bret says accelerated the end of his career. Goldberg slapped hands with fans as he returned to the back. Cole said Goldberg will kick off the Road to WrestleMania at the Royal Rumble in San Antonio.
(Keller’s Reax: Perfect promo. Gracious, to the point, and it set the stage for the next chapter in what is an unexpectedly longer Goldberg run than anyone anticipated just two weeks ago.)
-Backstage New Day and Cesaro & Sheamus got into a shoving match. Cole said Sheamus & Cesaro earned a tag team title shot because they were the last survivors in their tag team match at Survivor Series last night. [c]
-A slideshow aired of high lights of Survivor Series.
(1) NEW DAY vs. CESARO & SHEAMUS – Raw Tag Team Title match
Before the match, New Day danced onto the ramp and then declared they led their team to victory at Survivor Series. They admitted they were eliminated early, but said everyone knows throughout history great captains get their teams to the promised land. Xavier said they are the longest reigning WWE Tag Team Champions. He said in another day, there was another tag team championship team named Demolition who held the belts longer. Kofi said in 23 days that record will be demolished. The crowd booed. Big E acknowledged it. “A smattering of boos,” he said. Cesaro and Kofi had some athletic exchanges. When Cesaro went for the swing, Kofi grabbed the ropes and went for a sunset flip. Sheamus yanked Kofi out of the ring and threw him into the ringpost. They cut to a break. [c]
Back and forth for several minutes after the break. Cesaro blocked a Trouble in Paradise and gave Kofi a giant swing. This was one of his higher revolution counts. He then shifted into a sharpshooter. The crowd was mixed, but cheering. Kofi reached for Big E’s hand at ringside. Sheamus charged at Big E and gave him a big boot. Xavier stood on the ring apron and played his trombone. The ref turned to yelled at him. Kofi tapped, but the ref didn’t see it. Cesaro dropped the hold in frustration. When Cesaro walked over to complain to the ref, Kofi small packaged Cesaro for the win.
WINNERS: New Day in 12:00 to retain the WWE Raw Tag Team Titles.
(Keller’s Reax: Boy, New Day were total heels there. Does WWE understand that or not care because they were against Cesaro there? I’m not against New Day getting so full of themselves and perhaps even more obnoxious to turn full fledged heel again. I sense their act is wearing thin with a part of the audience that used to cheer everything they did. I’m not sure it’s particularly defensible that the ref left the site of a submission hold to complain about the noise, though. The announcers are so neutral to a fault. Nobody is decrying that New Day retained via a means that had nothing to do with who the better wrestlers were this night. They treat cheating like that as just part of strategy, and when that’s the default narrative, it makes it so much harder for heels to get heat.)
-Backstage Charly interviewed Chris Jericho about his team’s loss last night. Jericho paused, then said his reaction is that Team Raw fell apart when The List of Jericho was used as a weapon and the pages containing his deepest thoughts and secrets were strewn all over the place. He said someone is responsible for that, and on the Highlight Reel tonight, he’ll tell the world exactly who is to blame.
-Corey Graves said he can’t wait to find out later who is to blame. Byron Saxton said Charlotte will explain her attack on her teammate Bayley later. [c]
-As they showed the exterior of the Air Canada Centre, Cole said “The A show dominated Survivor Series last night.”
-Enzo was locked out of the male locker room. He yelled for Big Cass to unlock the door. He said if he doesn’t, he’ll get beat up by a naked certified G. The camera panned back and showed Enzo’s crotch area digitized. He then paraded backstage in front of a bunch of male workers. The Shining Stars said they had a resort just for people like him. Titus O’Neal yelled at him to put some clothes on or he’ll tell Human Resources. He then walked near Lana who wasn’t sure how to react. She glanced at him. He said, “How’a’ya doin’?” Rusev walked up and angrily asked why he was naked in front of his wife. Cass came up behind Enzo. Rusev said he’s going to crush him in the ring once he puts some clothes on. Cass said he’s going to get Enzo some clothes.
(Keller’s Analysis: This seemed due. It’s been a while since streaking Brian Kendrick and Naked Mideon made Vince McMahon giggle on the headsets backstage.)
-They went to the announcers. Cole chuckled like his job depended on finding that amusing. Graves was upset. Saxton said the same thing happened to him in college and it’s not that bad. Cole shifted to talking about the Intercontinental Title match at Survivor Series. Freeze-frames aired of the finish.
-Backstage, Stephanie McMahon and Mick Foley celebrated that Raw won three out of five matches. Foley asked if she was serious about firing everyone who lost. She said no, she wasn’t serious, but she’s tempted to take some kind action. She said she was just trying to motivate them via threats. Sami Zayn walked up to them. Foley said he had no idea until yesterday how much Sami looked up to him and his career. Foley said he’s a big fan of his, but he didn’t bring the Intercontinental Championship home to Raw like he hoped. Foley said there has to be ramifications for failure, and therefore he is putting him in a match one-on-one against Braun Strowman. Sami soaked it up and said, “Okay then.” Steph gave Foley a high-five and said it was awesome. Graves said it was a punishment fitting the crime.
(Keller’s Reax: Sami did nothing wrong. He didn’t commit a crime. He lost because Maryse rang a bell and distracted the referee and Sami. Foley comes across so incompetent and unfair in saying Sami “failed.” Losing a match isn’t failing, it’s just losing a match. But losing the way Sami lost should make Foley upset with Maryse, not Sami.)
-Cedrick Alexander’s ring entrance took place. [c]
(2) CEDRIC ALEXANDER vs. ARIYA DAIVARI
Daivari took the mic before the match. “I always heard Canada is better than the United States. But now that I’m here, you Canadians are no different than Americans.” The crowd erupted into boos. Daivari went for a cheap shot, but Cedric countered it with an armbar and then a dropkick. Cole said a week from tomorrow night “205 Live” debuts following Smackdown Live on Tuesday nights on WWE Network. Cole said Graves will be joined by Mauro Ranallo in calling the action. Daivari knocked Cedric off balance on a top rope move, and Cedric took a bump onto his head on the top rope and landed so convincingly the ref rushed to check on him. He was fine. Daivari scored a two count after a clothesline. Cedric won with a Lumbar Check a minute later.
WINNERS: Alexander in 3:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: There’s still just nothing catching on with the Cruiserweights right now. Damage has been done, but they just feel like a novelty act still because there’s no personality development with them beyond a standard foreign heel promo at the start and the talk of Cedric losing a bunch of weight and now being quicker than before.)
-They showed Jericho looking very serious backstage.
-A commercial aired for Smackdown, touting Tag Team Turmoil as six teams battle for a title shot against Heath Slater & Rhyno, plus the fallout from the Survivor Series. [c]
-Another photo essay aired on Survivor Series highlights.
-Jericho made his full ring entrance. He was interrupted by Kevin Owens. Owens said he knows the answer as to who was to blame. He was impressed that if he calls for the “monkeys in the truck” to air footage at his request, it actually happens for him, too. He explained that he saved Jericho from a Styles Clash with the clipboard containing The List “because I’m your best friend.” Jericho asked if he really is his best friend, because his best friend would know how much The List means to him. Owens said the list is just a bunch of pieces of paper and no big deal. He said he sacrificed himself and got DQ’d because he helped his best friend, Jericho. Owens said Jericho was too worried about The List and walked right into an RKO and was eliminated, too. Jericho said Owens is never there when he really needs his help. Jericho said he’s done with Owens and done with his friendship. Owens spun Jericho around and said he’d tell him who was really at fault. “Roman Reigns!” they said in unison. Then they hugged and laughed at the charade they just pulled off. A loud “Roman Reigns sucks!” chant broke out.
They agreed that it was also just as much Seth Rollins’s fault. Rollins came out and said in agreeing to team with them last night, he was promised certain considerations. He said that is a shot at the Universal Title, and he wants that shot tonight. The fans popped and chanted “Yes!” Owens said, “The guy who used to do that is not relevant anymore so you can stop.” Rollins said he’ll go through both of them to get his belt back. He attacked the heel duo (such as they’re heels when they’re getting cheered this entire segment). Reigns came out for the save and helped Seth clear the ring. Foley then walked out and said Seth will get his title shot tonight, Jericho and Reigns will be banned from ringside, and it’s a no DQ match. The crowd cheered.
(Keller’s Reax: Good entertaining prank by Jericho and Owens, but it doesn’t remove the larger issue that Seth is being damaged by feuding with two popular entertaining heels. Reigns is beyond repair, but that continues to be an elephant in the room wherever Vince McMahon is.)
-They went to the announcers who recapped the Goldberg announcement at the start of the show. Saxton announced that there’d be a triple threat later to determine who would get a Cruiserweight Title shot on “205 Live” next Tuesday: T.J. Perkins vs. Noam Darr vs. Rich Swan.
-They showed Enzo & Cass backstage as they hyped Enzo would face Braun next. [c]
-Lana stood in the ring and told “America” to stand and be silent. The Canadian crowd booed the massive insult of being referred to as America. Great heel tactic by Lana. Graves said he’s surprised the fans booed because they spend so much time trying to be American.
(3) RUSEV (w/Lana) vs. ENZO AMORE (w/Big Cass)
Before the match, Cass said if Rusev stood naked in the ring, there’s be one word to describe him – S-A-W-F-T. The crowd chanted along. Rusev beat him in a squash in less than a minute with.
WINNER: Rusev at 0:55 via tapout with the Accolade.
(Keller’s Reax: Looks like Big Cass is the next feud for Rusev. It’s a logical next place for Cass to go if they aren’t set on Enzo & Cass being mainly tag wrestlers.) [c]
(4) LUKE GALLOWS & KARL ANDERSON vs. R-TRUTH & GOLDUST – Winners Get Tag Team Title Shot
Pretty generic match with the announcers talking about how Gallows & Anderson have been fighting their entire lives including overseas. Decent action, as you’d expect from these four pros.
WINNERS: Gallows & Anderson in 6:00.
-Cole threw to a video package on the ticket sales launch for WrestleMania 33.
-They showed Braun Strowman walking backstage preparing to destroy Sami. [c]
(5) BRAUN STROWMAN vs. SAMI ZAYN
Strowman attacked Sami from behind at ringside before the match, knocking him down hard toward the ring steps. In the ring, Strowman dominated Sami. He fended off some early attempts by Sami to get in some offense. He drove his knee into him three times and then hung him upside down in the corner. The announcers said Zayn was beaten. Foley walked out after four minutes of this and called off the match. He said enough was enough. Strowman was declared the winner via stoppage.
WINNER: Strowman in 4:00.
(Keller’s Reax: Sami was protected here, so to speak, because Strowman attacked him from behind before the match. I’m curious to see if Sami comes out of this with his character being he never stops and fights through adversity or if he’s just a stepping stone for Strowman and his long-term viability turns out not be a concern of WWE Creative.)
-They showed another vignette promoting the pending reinvention of Emmalina. [c]
-Charlotte and Dana Brooke made their ring entrance. Charlotte gloated about what she did to Sasha at Survivor Series. She said she’ll be watching that on WWE Network for years to come. She said it doesn’t matter how lovable the hugging types in the crowd are or how endearing they are, the queen rules the ring. “I’m the Wayne Gretzky of the WWE,” she said. “Actually, I’m even better than Wayne Gretzky.” She said now that Survivor Series is over, she doesn’t have to deal with the Raw peasants anymore. Sasha heard enough and came out to her music.
Charlotte asked how her neck and back and arm are doing. Sasha told her to shut up. Sasha said she is still owed her championship rematch from Hell in a Cell. She said she wants the rematch “right here, right now.” Charlotte said no matter how many times she beats her, she keeps coming back for more. She said since she and Toronto want a rematch, then the match is on. The crowd either didn’t believe it or didn’t care as there wasn’t much of a pop. Then she said she’ll get her rematch, but not tonight. The crowd booed. Charlotte said what doesn’t get a champion to change her mind is boos. She said she’ll defend it next week “where the queen was born, in Charlotte, North Carlina.” She told the “dumb Canadians” that Charlotte is in the United States. Charlotte said she already beat Sasha in Sasha’s hometown, and now she’ll beat her in her hometown.
Nia Jax walked out to her music. She said she wasn’t there to deal with Charlotte, she was there to address Sasha. She said last night she dominated the Smackdown Live team, but Sasha didn’t. She said the WWE Universe is fooled by her glitz and glamour, but she’s not. “You are an overrated, purple-headed Barbie Doll.” She said she’ll show her how overrated she is. She stepped up for a fight. Charlotte egged on Jax. Jax told Sasha she’ll learn when she stands next to her, she isn’t the boss. Dana got mouthy, so Sasha hit her. Jax lifted and rammed Sasha into the corner of the ring. Jax held Sasha as Charlotte chopped her. Bayley ran out for the save, her save telegraphed by her music playing, so she couldn’t sneak out. Jax threw Sasha to the floor, then knocked Bayley off the ring apron. [c]
(6) NIA JAX & CHARLOTTE (w/Dana Brooke) vs. BAYLEY & SASHA BANKS
They joined an impromptu tag match in progress after the break. Sasha and Bayley were beating up Charlotte with frequent tags. Charlotte threw an elbow against Bayley and tagged in Jax. Jax knocked Bayley to the floor. Dana took a shot at Bayley at ringside. Sasha and Charlotte tagged in. When Jax interfered, Bayley jumped in to stop her. Sasha and Bayley worked together to suplex Jax. That got a pop. Charlotte rolled up Banks and got a two count. Sasha then caught Charlotte in a Bank Statement for a quick tapout win.
WINNERS: Sasha & Bayley in 5:00.
-A video recap aired again of what Goldberg said at the start of the show.
-Charly interviewed Seth backstage. Seth said the best part of tonight’s main event is that Jericho is banned from ringside. He said Jericho is responsible for the last two times he came up short in a title match. Seth said the title is meant for the best of the best and everyone knows that when it’s him vs. anybody one-on-one, he is the The Man and the best of the best. He said he will redesign, rebuild, and reclaim Monday Night Raw and take the title back.
-Brian Kendrick’s ring entrance took place. [c]
-The announcers talked on camera about the wackiest tag team of all-time, the Rock & Sock Connection. They aired a video package to hype a new animated movie starring Rock’s voice.
(7) RICH SWANN vs. NOAM DARR vs. T.J. PERKINESS – Winner Gets Cruiserweight title shot
Kendrick joined the announcers on commentary. Cole congratulated him on the Cruiserweights getting their own show. Kendrick said it’s all because of him. Graves said because he gets to call the show, he’ll add a wing onto his house and name it the Kendrick Wing. There were some oohs and ahhs for Swann’s early offensive flurry. They cut to an early break. [c]
Kendrick complimented the trust Foley put in him to keep the Cruiserweights on Raw. He said he fought with courage and valor.Perkins nailed Dar with a sweet jump spinning sidekick to the side of his head. Dar made a comeback and applied an anklelock on Perkins, but Swan broke it up with a kick. He kicked Perkins, too. Perkins then put Swann in a kneebar. Dar broke it up with a basement dropkick. Perkins applied a kneebar next. Swann broke it up with a splash. Then he KO’d Perkins with a spin kick for the win.
WINNER: Swann in 8:00.
-Charly interviewed Owens who said he didn’t expect to be defending his title tonight. He said last night at Survivor Series he showed the world he is truly the best champion in WWE when he powerbombed Styles “and his stupid hair almost flew off his head, which would have been an upgrade for him.” He said he never got pinned, but Seth did “because he’s a failure.” He then realized that Charly wasn’t Renee. “Who are you? It doesn’t matter.” He said the winner will be Owens. He told her to stop annoying him. [c]
-Enzo and Cass did a pitch in a mock merchandise stand pushing sales in WWE Shop online.
(7) KEVIN OWENS vs. SETH ROLLINS – WWE Universal Title match – No DQ
As soon as the bell rang, Owens rolled to the floor and reached for something under the ring. Seth chased him down, beat him up, and threw him into the ring. Seth hit a flying knee. Cole overreacted ridiculously, saying: “This is it! This is for the title! And a kickout.” I know Vince McMahon is in his headset pushing this. It just feels so inauthentic, like he’s trying to manipulate the emotions of the audience in a way that the situation doesn’t justify. It’s dramatic enough to excitedly say, “This could be it already! Will we see another shockingly quick pin tonight?! And a kickout.” It’s just respecting the audience. Seth grabbed a table from under the ring. The fans cheered. Owens recovered and powerbombed Seth for a two count. They cut to an early break. [c]
Back from the break, Owens was in the midst of scoring a two count. They showed that during the break Owens jabbed Seth with a chair, then DDT’d him. Back live, Owens bashed Seth across his back with a chair. Cole called it “Owens’ mean streak.” A few minutes later Seth made a comeback and then dove through the ropes onto Owens at ringside. Back in the ring, Seth played to the crowd, then set up a chair. He did a running launch into Owens in the corner, then drove Owens face-first over the chair leading to a two count. [c]
They showed that during the break Seth hit a blockbuster off the ropes. Owens countered by slamming Seth through a table. Then Owens landed a cannonball in the corner against Seth and the security barrier. Back live, both were down and slow to get up. Cole touted 16,000+ in a “sold out, jam-packed” crowd. Rollins went for a frog splash, but Owens moved. Owens put a chair against Seth in the corner and then hit the cannonball leading to a near fall.
Over 15 into the match, Owens set up two chairs mid-ring. Seth backdropped Owens onto the chairs and scored a two count. Seth powerbombed Owens through a table leaning in the corner, then scored a near fall that popped the crowd. Cole said it was looking like Seth’s night just as Owens kicked out. They brawled in the crowd for a couple minutes. Seth climbed to the top of an entrance tunnel and dove off onto Owens on the floor below. Great camera angle. The crowd chanted “Holy sh–!” and “This is awesome!” A guy in a mask attacked Seth as he was about to return to ringside. Seth yanked off the mask and revealed it was Jericho. Jericho leaped at him, but Seth kicked him. Seth then gave him a Pedigree at ringside. Owens, though, used that opening to get at Seth with a superkick out of nowhere, then a Pop-up Powerbomb on the edge of the ring apron. He threw him into the ring and scored the pin.
WINNER: Owens to retain the Universal Title in 23:00.
(Keller’s Reax: Very good match of this type with surprisingly good crowd heat this late into the show after three straight nights of wrestling in the venue. This was the type of match that was needed this late in the weekend of events, as they hadn’t done this no-DQ style brawl – including a stanza in the crowd – all weekend so it felt novel and exciting. Seth still hasn’t found his stride as a babyface act, though. He doesn’t convincingly play to the crowd and connect with them the way effective main event babyfaces do. He seems in his own world just setting up big spots and fighting through adversity. There’s a few gestures to the fans here and there, but nothing convincing, with the exception of when he pounded his chest after the big dive late in the match during the brawl in the crowd. It’s not a matter of begging for cheers as much as its acknowledging he knows they are there and he appreciates and recognizes their support. Daniel Bryan was tremendous in this regard, as were Hulk Hogan, Shawn Michaels, and Ricky Morton, just to name a few. The finish with Jericho getting involved despite being banned felt cheap. Mask or no mask, Jericho did what he wasn’t supposed to do and was explicitly prohibited from doing, so there better be ramifications next week.)
NOW CHECK OUT THE POST-RAW PWTORCH LIVECAST I HOSTED RIGHT AFTER THE SHOW: CLICK HERE
The show included conversation with calls about various segments from Raw, with a particular focus on Goldberg’s big news and more on the Goldberg-Brock Lesnar match at Survivor Series.
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RAVE REVIEWS FOR LAST NIGHT’S SURVIVOR SERIES VIP AUDIO ROUNDTABLE
PWTorch editor Wade Keller, senior columnist Bruce Mitchell, and VIP audio analyst Todd Martin presented their usual post-PPV Audio Roundtable podcast exclusively for VIP members last night. Things got heated between Bruce and Todd in a passionate debate over the finish of the Goldberg vs. Brock Lesnar main event at Survivor Series that lasted over an hour, followed by a review of the undercard for another 30 minutes. Here’s what VIP members are saying about last night’s VIP-exclusive Roundtable podcast…
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— Pat Baxter (@PDBax) November 21, 2016
@mitchellpwtorch Was very negative coming out of Lesnar/Goldberg, but you were able to flip me by the end of the roundtable. Solid argument
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Amazing audio show. https://t.co/S9ZqgjYZyU
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