It’s that time again! Monday Night Raw comes to us from Denver, Colorado, and I’ll be adding interjections throughout from our very own Survive, who was actually in the building last night! So we’ve got a bit more of an idea as to what’s going on and how excited everyone is, for once.
We open Raw with a reminder that Hell in a Cell is two weeks away, and that reminds me that my sleep schedule will be utterly screwed by that. We get a promo package for Goldberg, half real, half WWE 2k17, and then we talk about the women. Then, we are gifted with Kevin Owens and Chris Jericho, Kevin in a suit and Jericho in trunks and a scarf, because… I don’t know, it’s totally normal to amble out mostly naked with your fully-dressed best friend? Wrestlers look so weird when you place them in a normal context. There’s a recap from last week’s match, where Kevin left Chris to get Pedigreed by Seth.
Denver seems pretty happy to get with the mood, booing at Kevin and chanting for Y2J. Jericho quiets at the crowd, who boo louder, clearly thoroughly enjoying themselves as Owens says that Mick Foley has a vendetta against him. Jericho says he has a vendetta against both of them, and then shills the cell for a bit, saying that Mick is trying to end Kevin’s career. Kev says he’s a thinking man’s champion – I’m sure that’s what Chris tells you, darling. Jericho says he should have had a threeway in that cell, which I’m not sure it what management want to hear, but he tells us how he’s beaten all the legends, how he beat Steve Austin and The Rock – on the same night, chimes in Kevin – and he beat The Undertaker for the world title! So clearly he could have beaten Seth Rollins if it weren’t for poor officiating, so the poor ref goes on The List. Kevin says he’s already replaced Rollins – now he’s going to retire him.
Out comes Seth, to a huge pop, massive ‘Rollins’ chants from the crowd as Seth mocks Chris’ scarf, saying it needs to be on the list, along with the tats, haircut, moustache, and trunks. Then he calls Jericho ‘sparkle crotch’ and my god, the phrase that launched a thousand fanfics. Seth says he’s sure he’s on the list, and if not, then what should be there is Jericho’s friendship with Owens, because Seth wouldn’t stick around any friend who let him get Pedigreed two weeks in a row. Then again, Kevin says, Seth doesn’t have any friends, does he? Seth shrugs in a sort of ‘you got me’ gesture, as Kevin says that one member of the team has to stay strong. So Chris has to stay weak, Seth opines. Whoops.
That sets off a Jericho rant about how he’s the best in the world yada yada, which gives Rollins another chance to make Sparkle Crotch a thing, then saying Sparkle Ass, so the camera gives us a butt shot of Jericho. Thanks, camera. Jericho says he’ll face off against Seth, any time, any place, and Seth says, hey, let’s go now. Seth asks what Kevin will do, and while Kevin wants to stay, Jericho wants him to leave. As they bicker over this, Seth grins like a man who just wants to watch the world burn, and Kevin eventually says he’ll be there in spirit, hugs Jericho, and heads up the ramp.
MATCH: Seth Rollins vs. Chris Jericho
We start in the ring, coming straight back from commercials into the match, with the crowd chanting ‘sparkle crotch’ as loudly as they can. I love this crowd already, and not just because I know Survive is in it somewhere, also because they’re SO into everything, and that’s exactly how it should be.
- Double underhook backbreaker from Jericho, who’s not happy about the chants, with a cover for two, and Jericho keeps his hands on Seth’s hair, slamming him onto the mat before standing up and treading on his head for good measure.
- Jericho gets Seth into the rope, catapulting him up so his throat hits the middle rope, the drags him to the outside and slams him on the barricades.
- Jericho for a double axe handle move, but Rollins rallies and comes back with a boot. Whip and a corner forearm, then Rollins comes off the second rope with a blockbuster. Seth attempts a suplex, Jericho rolls out, tries for the Walls, but Seth rolls him up for two.
- Back from commercial, crowd chanting for Rollins as Jericho gets a pin for two again, and locks in a headlock as we spot a sign saying ‘beefcake HOF 2017’ and there’s a fun little moment where Jericho falls over apropos of absolutely nothing hitting him.
- Elbow catches Seth in the face, Lionsault from Jericho and a pin for two, Jericho shouting abuse as he drags Seth up by the hair, putting him in position for a Pedigree, but Seth gets him out, and hits a falcon arrow for two.
- Seth goes to the top rope, and KO’s music hits, Kevin stalking out as a dazed Jericho ambles out of the ring, muzzily, and Seth gets his concentration back in time for a cross-body from the top rope to the outside.
- Seth hits a flying knee, looks to set Jericho up for the Pedigree, but he’s distracted by locking eyes with Owens. Jericho reverses it into the Walls of Jericho, and Seth’s clearly struggling. KO holds the bottom rope out of Seth’s reach, but the ref eventually spots this, and the hold is broken.
- Seth attempts to roll up Jericho, then when that fails, sets up for a Pedigree, countered by an enzuigiri from Jericho, who goes for the Codebreaker, but gets caught, Rollins finally hitting the Pedigree – and taking the win.
As Seth gasps on the ropes, Kevin Owens ambles back up the ramp, with the title slung over his shoulder, Seth shouting after him as he leaves.
Goldberg promo. We’re doing this, then.
Lita is interviewing Charlotte about Hell in a Cell, Lita listing the men whose careers have been made by this structure, and saying that Charlotte Flair will be added to this list. She asks how Charlotte prepares, and Charlotte says she was born ready, she never prepares. Lita says Forbes called her the best female superstar, and Charlotte says she’s the best superstar, hands down, female or male – and I have to clap my hands with glee at that. Lita wants to know if Charlotte thinks that she’s taken advantage of Sasha’s injuries, but Charlotte’s having none of it. Charlotte WILL be the three-time women’s champion, and she’s utterly certain of that.
MATCH: Golden Truth & Mark Henry vs. The Shining Stars & Titus O’Neil
This match was apparently put together because someone was trying to sell fake watches, and my god, I don’t care. I really, really don’t care, it’s flu season, I’m so ill I can hardly see, I don’t care.
Golden Truth and Mark Henry get the win.
Jericho and Owens have a bickering match backstage, when Stephanie shows up and says that they’re doing what they said they wouldn’t, breaking down. She says they need to be stronger and smarter than everyone else, and they mutter at each other before leaving.
MATCH: Big E vs. Sheamus
A few legally high jokes, because it’s Colorado, it’s got to be done, right? Also apparently it’s the 420th day of The New Day’s reign, which is cute. They say you can’t say Sheamus without ‘shame’, which prompts a ‘shame’ chant from the crowd, who are still thoroughly enjoying themselves. Cesaro pays Sheamus back for last week by being on Facebook Live while at ringside.
- Commentary respects this match by saying it might get physical, in case we’re confused as to what a wrestling match is.
- Impressive suplex from Sheamus, after Big E gets done wiggling. Sheamus eats a knee and a clothesline from E, Cesaro stood at the side of his ring with his phone, trying on Big E’s jacket to the enjoyment of the crowd as Big E launches Sheamus over the top rope to the outside.
- Clothesline on the outside from Big E, takes Sheamus down, and E hits the big splash on the apron to a trombone accompaniment. He gets back up and into a rolling senton on the outside.
- Back from commercials, we’re back inside the ring, and Sheamus twists himself onto the turnbuckle using the ropes, coming off it into two belly-to-belly suplexes from Big E. He goes for the big splash, but Sheamus gets the knees up, and Big E lands hard.
- Sheamus rolls up Big E for a pin for two, then hits the Irish Curse backbreaker, and pins for two again. The crowd enjoys shouting ‘shame’ at Sheamus as Big E gets Sheamus up for the powerbomb and pins him for two.
- A ‘New Day rocks’ chants starts, Big E lifting Sheamus, who rakes the eyes, gets out of the hold and hits White Noise, pinning E for two as Cesaro continues his Facebook Live enjoyment, stalking into the audience to include them with his liveblogging.
- Sheamus goes for the ten battle beats, throwing E over the ropes and stalking over to ask Cesaro what he thinks he’s doing, demands that Cesaro films him instead, boasting that he’ll do the best brogue kick ever. Big E, off the distraction, gets a schoolboy roll up and pins Sheamus for the win.
Cesaro continues with his phone as he stalks away from the ring, following a celebrating New Day, as Sheamus looks after them in total disbelief.
More Goldberg promo stuff, and apparently we’re allowed to mention Hogan now? Huh. I guess it’s a little hard to write someone out of the scene these days, we’ve all got social media and the Network.
MATCH: Bo Dallas (w/ Curtis Axel) vs. Neville
We get shown a pre-show interview with Bo and Axel, where Curtis Axel says that he’s the biggest bo-liever, and he’s there for his buddy, and the momentary look of hope on Bo’s face is adorable. Then we see that his opponent is Neville, and… sorry Bo, I have to go with my countryman on this, even if he wasn’t a flippy motherfucker and that wasn’t my thing.
- Bo goes straight for Neville, pinning him the corner with huge hits as Axel yells at him to bo-lieve in Bo, Neville lying flat on the mat for some huge knees, Bo using the ropes for leverage.
- Couple of high elbows to Neville’s face, poor Neville slumping on the ground like a puppet with his strings cut, but he’s back with quick kicks, knocking Bo down, landing on his feet when lifted over, and coming back with an enzuigiri to Bo.
- While Bo’s crumpled on the mat, Neville goes to the top rope, looking for the Red Arrow, but Bo moves to the outside, so Neville recalibrates into a moonsault to the outside which is bloody gorgeous.
- Bo back in the ring, crawls away from the corner, Neville walks into an elbow, but comes back off a leap in the corner with a couple of back handsprings, because wouldn’t you, if you could? If I could back handspring, I’d do it everywhere, you wouldn’t be able to stop me. Bo, crumpled by the turnbuckle, and Neville heads out for the Red Arrow, Bo sweeping his legs out from under him on the apron.
- Dragging the limp Neville into the ring, Bo pins him for the win.
Curtis Axel scoots into the ring, waving his arms and hugging Bo, trying to get the audience to cheer for him, but Bo comes from behind, attacking Axel and sending him to the outside, then knocking him onto the apron and flinging him into the barricades a couple of times. Apparently Bo Dallas doesn’t need friends.
MATCH: Dana Brooke vs. Bayley
Good grief, I love Dana Brooke, I love the aerial she throws as her entrance, I love her biceps, I love her strength and her sneer… she’s perfect. Out hops Bayley, as on commentary, Byron threatens to hug Corey, and the crowd chants hugely for Bayley.
- The bell rings and Dana is straight out of the ring, rolling out, then back in as Bayley follows her, creating something which only needs the Benny Hill soundtrack to be more amusing. Dana goes to take Bayley off the apron, but Bayley grabs her and finally gets them both into the ring, a facebuster Bayley’s answer to Dana.
- Bayley gleefully bounces Dana’s head off the turnbuckle, but Dana comes back, flinging Bayley back into the same corner. The ref is far too interested in if Bayley is okay, which annoys Dana, who keeps coming back with boots to the head for Bayley, the ref trying to keep Dana away.
- Dana gets an early cover for two, but Bayley kicks out, straight into a chinlock from Dana, who lets go only to lock it back in once she’s celebrated a little.
- Dana pins Bayley with her feet, in a handstand in the corner, and then rolls through, getting to her feet just in time for the two of them to hit in a double clothesline, Bayley getting Dana’s foot and rolling her up for two.
- Elbow in the corner from Bayley, going to the top rope, but Dana rolls out of the ring for a breather. Bayley comes through the ropes for a kick, but as both women are getting back in, Dana grabs Bayley, and pins her – for the win!
Dana stalks back up the ramp, talking about how she breaks her toys, leaving Bayley lying flat in the middle of the ring.
Oh, goody, Paul Heyman is speaking, which means we can skip this bit, because by this point, Paul could rattle off these speeches in his sleep. Brock Lesnar. Man beast. Totally not on drugs, no matter what UFC say. Totally didn’t go mad and smash Randy Orton’s head open, leaving him with a concussion he was fined a laughable $100 for. Eat, sleep, conquer, repeat. See, it’s like I recapped it. Heyman says that Goldberg should decline, because if he says yes, he’ll upset Lesnar, and no one wants to upset Brock. Well, no, you get an elbow to the head and two weeks’ bed rest with a concussion, it’s just not worth the headache.
Sami Zayn is ambling around backstage, and is apparently picking a fight with Braun Strowman, Charly says? Did my video just miss a huge chunk of something?
Looking at another recap… yes, yes it did.
MATCH: Braun Strowman vs. The Mile High Trio
Get it, high, because weed, and also altitude, and also not very PG, and of course Strowman wins. Survive said one of the trio might’ve been legitimately hurt, as he was down for a while, and led out a separate way, surrounded by officials, so let’s hope not.
Strowman calls out Foley, and then out comes Sami Zayn, staring Strowman down. Braun makes to leave, but changes his mind and shoves Sami so hard, he ends up on the outside of the ring. Sami paces as Strowman heads back up the ramp.
Lana’s looking perfect in pink and black as she reminds us that she and Rusev are married now, beaming as she says the word ‘husband’. Rusev tells us that he’s got a chance to crush Roman in two weeks, and then devolves into Bulgarian, which means the ‘what’ chant is actually legitimate. He whispers to Lana, and she tells the crowd that Rusev has real family values, unlike the men in the crowd. Rusev gives us some racist patter about Roman’s family using their heads to crack coconuts, and then we get a slideshow of Rusev’s family, meeting his mum the two time world rowing champion, as Lana tells the women in the crowd that they’re nothings. She also gets some prime family points by telling the world how much she loves her strong mother-in-law, and the crowd boo Rusev’s mother and father, as we hear about Rusev’s father’s military career. Personally I just like the idea of Rusev’s parents watching this and going ‘well, he married a smart girl’. We also meet Rusev’s brother, who is… skinny. Huh. And then we meet grandma Rusev, and the family dog, and it’s a smiling picture of Rusev with his family. We get onto pictures of Rusev’s cousins, and then Roman’s music saves us from more family slides.
Roman gets a great pop, scattered boos, and he says he might have a big family, but he’s also got the Roman Empire. He then claims Rusev doesn’t look anything like his father, which is ridiculous, we’ve just seen photographic evidence of such, and tells him that he looks more like the family dog. Rusev seems to get some words jumbled, suggesting he’ll call someone, so Roman asks ‘who’re you gonna call?’ which prompts the obvious response of ‘ghostbusters’ from the crowd. Perfect. Roman says that at Hell in a Cell, Rusev can’t call anyone to help him.
Lana holds her husband back, squaring up to slap Roman – actually, it looks like it pretty much sails past his face – and then while he’s distracted by that, Rusev hits him with a superkick. Rusev continues the beatdown, Roman on the outside, flinging Roman into the steps, then slamming the steps into Roman’s face. Rusev slides the steps into the ring as the crowd unanimously chants for Roman, who rallies for a couple of punches, but he gets superkicked again, thrown into the steps, and then Rusev plants a boot in Roman’s spine, then sets Reigns up in the Accolade on the steps in the middle of the ring. Roman lies still in the middle of the ring as Rusev’s music plays him and his lovely wife out.
MATCH: Big Cass vs. Karl Anderson
Over almost too quickly to count as a match. Cass wins with an East River Crossing. Enzo is wearing some wonderfully pink overalls for this October. Suits him.
The Cruiserweights are next. Apparently that purple is tape, and they tape it on and back off again in the breaks. Huh. I’d figure that might leave some residue afterwards, but hey, not going to question that the ring crew know what they’re doing. Drew Gulak and Tony Nese are telling Brian Kendrick that if he keeps up his part of the deal, they’ll keep theirs. TJP shows up and calls Nese and Gulak knights in pleather armour, keeping his reputation as WWE’s most adorable poppet until Noam Dar shows up. Kendrick says there are no friends, but there can be allies. TJ’s a little upset about this, and Brian says TJ doesn’t really know him. There’s some nice video game metaphors, and then Rich Swann and Cedric Alexander show up just as Nese and Gulak look to edge closer to TJP.
Sasha’s interview with Lita is much the same as Charlotte’s one, though a little more respectful towards her opponent than heel Charlotte is. Sasha says she’s not injured, and she’s back, better than ever. It’s Sasha’s home town of Boston, and she says that she’s not afraid, then adds she’s been watching other Hell in a Cell matches, but can’t afford to be afraid in the cell itself. She’s here to make history.
MATCH: Brian Kendrick, Drew Gulak & Tony Nese vs. TJ Perkins, Cedric Alexander & Rich Swann
- Gulak and Swann start us off, quickly replaced by Nese and Alexander, big slam from Alexander before a tag to TJP, with a slingshot senton and a tornado DDT. Nese counters with a suplex.
- Kendrick tagged in, Perkins goes for the knee, and Kendrick immediately heads to the outside.
- Back from commercial, armbar from Gulak to Alexander. With a whip and a handspring enzuigiri, Gulak is on his feet. Kendrick tagged in briefly, isolating Alexander from his team, then Swann and Nese tag in, trading blows. Nese to the second rope, Frankensteiner from Swann to take him down.
- Lariat from Alexander to Gulak, a clothesline taking Kendrick down with them, before a dropkick from TJP.
- Nese goes for a 450 on Swann, Kendrick tags in for Captain’s Hook. TJP held back by Gulak and Nese, and Swann taps out to Kendrick.
Backstage, Mick and Steph are chattering about Shane’s challenge from SmackDown, and Steph wants to know what tricks Mick has for Hell in a Cell. She’s disappointed we aren’t getting the triple threat match, so Mick makes it for next week instead – it’ll be Rollins vs. Owens vs. Jericho in the main event. Steph high fives Mick and says she loves it.
Goldberg is here! The chants are insane, and everyone in the crowd seems to be visibly happy he’s here, which makes him a bit emotional as he heads down to the ring. He says that he never thought he’d be in a ring again, and this is the first time his wife and son are there to see him live. He’s been enjoying travelling with 2K, promoting the game, but he’s missed a lot of things about the business, and one of those is being a superhero for kids.
He says that he’s met kids over the world and shaken their hands, and they’ve known who he is – which bring back the crowd chants – and he’s a little perplexed at the drama he’s created. He wonders whether the drama is better left in the video game, to which the crowd chants ‘no’, and says that Brock Lesnar challenged him, but didn’t have the balls to do it in person.
Goldberg thinks he has one more asskicking left in him – so Brock is not only next, but he’s last. He goes to the crowd, and high fives and hugs fans, eventually putting his kid on his shoulder, spending more time with the crowd. Michael Cole tells us that Brock will be at Raw next week with his response – and that’s how Raw fades out!
DARK MATCH: Roman Reigns vs. Rusev – United State Championship Match
Survive let us know that this went on, Roman going over obviously, keeping his title, and the crowd cheering for Roman indiscriminately! Although booing anytime a WM recap played him winning the belt, Denver seemed quite happy to roar for spears and superman punches. Good on you, Denver, maybe WWE will show up more than once every year now!
DARK MATCH: Kevin Owens vs. Seth Rollins – WWE Universal Title Match
Again, Survive let us know about this, and of course Kevin retained, although you could argue Seth won, after Jericho came and got involved, and got Kevin disqualified for outside interference. Also apparently Kevin wore Jericho’s scarf after the end of this match, and I’m thoroughly unhappy that there isn’t a picture of this.