And we’re back, after a blip to cope with the American election results, despite neither of us being American, with Monday Night Raw! This week we’re coming live from Buffalo, New York, and we’re looking at a line of the Raw participants in Survivor Series this Sunday. They’ve stood Brian Kendrick next to Seth Rollins, and he looks so comically small that it’s like one of those scenes in Lord of the Rings when they take out the perspective tricks and you realise that Ian McKellan and Elijah Wood are sitting at two different tables. Steph and Mick are in the ring to introduce the show and tell her team that they’re doing a great job and are the best superstars in the world. Alicia Fox is just glad to be included, bless her. She’s also standing next to Brian Kendrick, but that doesn’t give me size context, so it’s not as amusing. Bayley is between Sasha and Charlotte, and that’s super cute. Steph asks ‘how you doin’?’ to Enzo and Cass, which is adorable, and Seth rolls his eyes at the idea that we need to work out who is the most dominant member of The Shield. Cesaro pats Sami on the shoulder when he’s mentioned, and then Cesaro and Sheamus have a gentle bicker.
Steph calls out Seth for powerbombing Jericho onto Strowman AND a table last week, and I’m almost sad I missed it, especially as Seth does his new ‘ah, you got me’ shrug that he’s going a lot. Bloody Gemini, says the author, whose birthday is four days before his. Apparently tonight is going to be about making weird teams so that we can be assured of unity on Sunday, so we can get everyone to be friends, or something. Okay.
MATCH: Kevin Owens & Roman Reigns vs. Cesaro & Sheamus
Kevin saunters down, Cesaro and Sheamus already in the ring, before the chorus of boos that follows Roman. Honestly, I’m not sure whether anyone’s actually booing him anymore, or if we’ve just adopted it as the thing you do when you see him, like the ‘yes’ chant for Daniel Bryan. Maybe boos are just how we tell Roman we like him. I mean, I can pretend, right?
- Roman starts as Cesaro and Sheamus rock paper scissors for being in, and Cesaro wins. They circle each other for a moment, before locking up, Kevin looking bored on the turnbuckles. Dropkick from Cesaro, followed by a whip into the corner on Reigns, who gets a foot up in time to keep Cesaro at bay. Cesaro then eats a huge clothesline from Roman.
- Roman reaches for a tag, holding Cesaro by the wrist, and Kevin rejects it, so Cesaro whips Roman into his corner, as Cesaro and Sheamus tag in and out to smack Roman around. They start to argue, Roman with a right to Sheamus, but he eats uppercuts from Cesaro. High shoulder tackle from Sheamus, who then comes off the top rope and into a right from Roman.
- Cesaro over the top rope, sunset flip, rolling up Roman and going for the Sharpshooter, but Roman gets himself to the bottom rope. He rolls out for a breather, Kevin coming around to lambast him for this, and Cesaro comes over the top rope onto both of them.
- Back from commercials, Kevin in against Cesaro, who keeps him away from Sheamus and hits a brilliant DDT. Roman wants to tag in, but Kevin gleefully says that he didn’t say please, apes Roman’s big roar, and delivers a cannonball onto Cesaro in the corner.
- Headlock from Kevin, Cesaro elbowing his way out and coming back with a springboard corkscrew cross-body, tagging Sheamus in for big clotheslines to KO. High knee from Sheamus too, KO on the outside as Sheamus goes for the battle beats. He lifts Owens high, but he battles free, and sends Sheamus flying.
- Kevin tags out, and Roman looks confused, Sheamus grabbing him by the ankles to knock some sense into him. Roman sends Sheamus flying over the steps, comes over them himself with a big clothesline, and then a drive-by to seal the deal. Back in the ring, Roman goes for the corner clotheslines, sending Sheamus down hard onto the mat with a final one.
- Roman sets up for the Superman Punch, Cesaro coming in to break up the pin, but Roman sends Cesaro out of the ring with another Superman Punch. Roman in the corner, prepping to roar his way over to Sheamus, and KO tags in. Roman objects to this, and while the two battle, Kevin gets a Brogue Kick from Sheamus. Roman lays him out with a spear, and then, because Kevin is the legal man, drapes his teammate over Sheamus – and they get the win.
Well, that was amusing, and a little bizarre, but not a bad match, as Kevin waves his title in the air and Roman and Kevin gesture to their titles.
Byron, Corey and Cole are dressed like the printer ran out of black ink – Byron in black, Cole in grey, and Corey in blue, like the colour cartridge had to kick in to make up his suit.
Seth, Jericho and Strowman are backstage, Chris trying to give his teammates a pep talk about how they’ve got to leave the past in the past, and he’s bought them some presents to make them into team unity, so he hands over boxes. Seth doesn’t look happy, possibly remembering the time he was given his statue’s head in a box by Kane, or maybe he just hates presents, who knows? Jericho has, of course, bought them scarves. Seth says he’s not a scarf guy, and heads out. Please, he just wanted a Gryffindor scarf, he would have worn that. Strowman says he wants the scarf that Jericho is wearing, and then he shreds it in front of Chris, saying he doesn’t like scarves – or Chris.
MATCH: Sami Zayn vs. Bo Dallas
We get an earlier snippet about Bo and Sami having a chat, Bo growling at Sami after he tells him to prove what he has to prove tonight in the ring.
- The two trade wrist locks and waist locks as the crowd chant ‘olé’ and Sami gets Bo onto the mat hard with a deep arm drag. They continue to grapple with each other, trading waist and wrist locks like this is a cruiserweight match. Elbows from Bo, before he takes Sami down in the middle of the ring, with knees to the head.
- Jumping knee from Bo, and an early cover for two. Headlock on Sami, who rolls through and suplexes Bo into the corner. Helluva kick from Sami, pin for three – and that’s the win.
Byron pops in to interview Sami at the end of the match about who he’s more worried to face on Sunday, and Sami says he doesn’t care, because he’ll beat them either way. Good boy, Sami.
Brian Kendrick stands on a box to prove his superiority over the rest of the cruiserweights, and there’s precious Noam Dar, who’s a poppet and I love him. Sorry for missing your Raw debut, Noam, I was busy crying about America. Brian says that he’s sure to retain, and is the saviour of the cruiserweights, and I mean, the Jesus hair checks out. TJP says Brian owes him a rematch, Rich Swann says he’s beaten Brian twice, and Noam says no one believes a word Kendrick is saying. Sin Cara appears to tell everyone that at least Kalisto would make a respectable champion, unlike Brian, and it all devolves into poor Noam trying to keep Kendrick and Sin Cara apart.
The New Day are here, with a shopping cart full of merch for a ‘New Day rocks’ chant as they sling Booty O’s into the crowd and raise Francesca II Turbo in the air. Apparently they’re here to talk to us about survival – which is a terrible chance to shill their merch to us, but then, I’ve got two New Day shirts, so I can’t talk. The crowd are totally into it, and it’s adorable.
MATCH: The New Day vs. Seth Rollins, Chris Jericho & Braun Strowman
Chris is still wearing his ugly anchor scarf, and Seth goes to take his shirt off, but apparently no one can decide who’s going first. Seth does strip his shirt off, and flings it into an audience who gleefully fight for it like it’s the last food package in an apocalypse.
- Jericho starts against Kofi, who gets Jericho twisted up on the mat pretty quickly, though Jericho fights out with elbows. The New Day get themselves a chant, and Kofi gets the first cover, for two, after a roll up. Deep arm drag from Kofi, second pin for two.
- Xavier in, Seth grinning at Jericho, who tags him in with a chop to the chest. Seth goes for a waist lock, Xavier counters in with a wrist lock, and Seth gets a chance to kip up from it and show off. Hip toss from Xavier, followed by a hip toss from Seth into a headlock. Xavier battles them back to the ropes, and a shoulder tackles from Seth takes Xavier down.
- Leapfrog from Xavier, arm drag from each man, Xavier’s ending in a pin for one. Xavier takes Seth out at the back of the knees. Slingblade from Seth, Xavier pinned for two. Jericho tags in, gets an Honor Roll from Xavier, who tags in Kofi, and the two trade giving blows to Jericho until Big E tags in!
- Big Splash from Big E, pinning Jericho for two and a half. Xavier tagged in, then Kofi tagged in as E lifts Jericho high and into kicks from his other two teammates. Jericho pinned for two by Kofi, but he makes Kofi pay for it. Jericho and Seth try to get Strowman to tag in, Jericho tagging him in hard.
- Strowman misses a few elbows, the quickness of Kofi helping him out, but Strowman just lifts him and slams him into the mat. Back from commercials, Jericho is leaving the ring, but Strowman and Kofi are still the legal men.
- Seth tags in, knees to Kofi’s back, pin for two before he locks in a headlocks on Kofi. Forearm from Seth as a follow up to a whip into the corner. Double knees from Kofi to Seth, both men down hard in the ring. Strowman tagged in, straight across the ring, flinging Kofi into the corner, but as he goes for a shoulder to the gut, Kofi dodges, Strowman straight into the ring post.
- Jericho tags himself in, as Xavier gets the tag too, and Jericho gets a boot to the gut and then a dropkick to the back. DDT from Xavier, Strowman coming in to break up the pin. Big E and Kofi get Strowman over the top rope and to the outside, and then Kofi comes over the top, only to be caught by Strowman, who slams him into the outside floor. Big E also takes a huge tackle from Strowman. Xavier comes in with boots to Strowman’s face, sending him reeling.
- Seth comes off the top rope, Xavier catching him with a right hand, then a high knee from Rollins. He goes for the Pedigree, but Jericho tags himself in, Xavier sending Seth over the top rope before he’s rolled over by Jericho, looking for the Walls of Jericho. Xavier rolls up Jericho, pin for two, and Jericho backs off, tagging in Strowman.
- Strowman in, lifts Xavier, and hits a huge running powerslam – for the win!
Jericho stands close to Strowman and holds his hand next to him, Seth keeping a little distance, but Strowman gives him a nod. However, quickly, Jericho and Seth are breaking down, as Jericho says he’s the captain now, and Seth hits a Pedigree on him. He’s the only captain the New Day will ever have.
Mick and Steph are backstage congratulating each other on their wonderful team choices and how well they’ve put themselves together. Paul Heyman turns up to clap in Steph’s ears, and say he likes the McMahon family spirit come out of Stephanie. She asks how he is after the spear from Goldberg, and if the padding helped. He says he’s only sore when he breathes, but whatever, because Goldberg will be facing Brock, not Paul, on Sunday. Paul says the SD Live team is looking good, and leaves.
Sasha and Charlotte are talking in the locker room, where Charlotte calls Sasha immature for not getting on with her teammates. Sasha says Charlotte needs to stop being blonde for a moment, because she’s not the only one who dislikes her. Charlotte calls Sasha jealous, there’s the ubiquitous ‘sweetheart’, because of course there is, and Sasha says the title will come back to her. Charlotte laughs, and says she’s going to teach Sasha how to really win when the bright lights are on her. Sasha says that on Sunday, if they lose, all the blame will be on their captain.
MATCH: Brian Kendrick vs. Sin Cara
Brian Kendrick ambles out with his title on, matching his purple leather jacket, which I love. Always colour match your accessories, it’s such a good call.
- Well, before the bell even rings, Kendrick grabs Sin Cara and shoves him against the ring post, attacking him from behind. He ends up sprawled on the floor on the outside, struggling to get himself upright. The bell rings, and Kendrick is straight back in, snap suplex, then boots to the face and the lower back, sending Sin Cara sprawling. More boots to the gut, then headlocks from Kendrick.
- Sin Cara fights out with fists to the gut, but Kendrick takes him down again, holding his throat on the bottom rope for a count of three. Back to the submissions, Sin Cara pushing Kendrick into the corner. Kendrick goes for the DDT, Sin Cara countering with a Northern Lights suplex, Kendrick with an elbow to the face and Sin Cara back down.
- He pins Sin Cara neck down on the second rope but Sin Cara battles his way out again, staying on the ropes after he’s whipped into the them. Kendrick runs into him, but Sin Cara easily lifts him over the top rope and to the outside, following with a suicide dive onto Kendrick that shoves him back into the barricades.
- Sin Cara sends Kendrick back into the ring, and then sends him straight back out with a clothesline, following it up with a second suicide dive, but this time Kendrick’s ready for him, and he crashes into the barricades.
- Back from commercials, Kendrick has Sin Cara hooked up on the turnbuckles, letting go only when the ref tells him. Kendrick charges at Sin Cara, who moves out of the way, coming off the top rope in a corkscrew cross-body. Kendrick hooks the leg and pins Sin Cara, but Sin Cara hits a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker for a pin for two. Sit-out powerbomb by Sin Cara, a pin for two, and then kicks to the lower back of Kendrick.
- Sin Cara with Kendrick in the corner, loud chops, whipping him into the corner, but Kendrick leaps over him, Sin Cara bouncing off the turnbuckle and the two of them bumping heads, which… looks like a botch. Kicks from Sin Cara, before a springboard back elbow and a cover for two. He gets Kendrick on the top turnbuckle for chops, but when Sin Cara climbs up to get to him, he twists Sin Cara’s mask around, pulling him off the turnbuckle.
- Kendrick hits the Captain’s Hook, holding Sin Cara firmly as he struggles to breathe with his mask twisted around, and Sin Cara taps out, giving the win to Kendrick.
Kendrick struggles to his feet, grasping at his title before falling to his knees as he clutches it.
Enzo and Big Cass are backstage, talking themselves up, when Gallows and Anderson come to have a chat, and they play mocking movie references for a little while, before Gallows and Anderson tell them to drop the comedy routine and take something seriously for once. Sorry boys, but I’m not recapping your match, firstly for time purposes, and secondly because I don’t care about anyone in it but Enzo and Cass. Enzo talks about howling at the moon with Cass, and it’s adorable, and Cass manages to make ‘how you doin’?’ into a threat.
So, it’s Goldberg and Lesnar having a chat, and I wasn’t going to watch this, but… Marek Brave said it was good, and as much as I don’t want to deal with this segment, I reluctantly trust his judgement. If it’s crappy and boring and doesn’t make me want to watch the match, then I’m going to put all of the blame on him, and suggest he also has terrible taste in best friends. The ring is full of security, in a pleasing diagonal line, half facing one way, half facing the other, to make sure this is conversation, not a match. Suuuuure.
Drug cheat and skull-smasher Brock Lesnar out first, the grown-up equivalent of the kid who doesn’t understand your make-believe game, and thinks he’s really got to try and kill you with a stick, although I’m not sure I can be that mad with him for smashing open Randy Orton’s head when he’s a vicious racist, but y’know. Oh my god, there’s ten security guys, so they’re literally lined up like bowling pins for Brock and Goldberg to take down.
Massive pop for Goldberg, the old man who’s totally past it, and appears to have the cocaine sniffles as he walks out. The camera focuses so much on the pyro that for a moment it looks like Sheamus is here, but no, it’s an old man who looks like he might fall over in a minute, but at least the crowd is chanting for him, as they approach a nervous looking line of security boys. Be gentle, guys, they’re just young developmental talent, don’t break them this early.
The two of them stalk along the lines of security like two male tigers separated by a fence, and then Heyman starts to talk, but Goldberg says it has nothing to do with Heyman, it’s all about Brock and him. He tells Heyman to shut up and ‘get the rent-a-cops out so the only two real men in this ring can get it on’. No, I didn’t make that up, this isn’t Gaywatch, he literally said those words. I feel like Paul Heyman’s about to put on some Marvin Gaye and we’re about to watch the only sexual congress to look like tectonic shifts.
The whole arena seems to be chanting for Goldberg, and Heyman says he’s been thrown off his game, so he’ll start over, the crowd booing him. He says that the security are there for Goldberg’s protection, and the chant rises again, because Lesnar is the only thing that should be on Goldberg’s mind. Heyman starts listing the people Brock’s beaten, and Goldberg says he’s not on this list. He also says something about Brock’s ‘little ass’, and this is really unnerving me. Guys, just fuck it out, or have a cuddle, or something like that.
Goldberg says that he heard what Brock said about his wife and children last week, and that Brock can shove his list up his ass, but Heyman interrupts to tell him to have respect for his wife and kid. Goldberg says if Paul mentions his family again, he’s going to feed Heyman’s head to Lesnar. Heyman stutters his way through an apology for raising his voice, and says that Goldberg’s superhero shtick might be fantasy, but the beast is real. Heyman gives him an offer – but he has to stop because the Goldberg chants are too loud – that a suitable replacement for Goldberg can be found for Sunday.
Goldberg strips off his shirt, but after what we’ve just had, it looks more like seduction than a threat. Heyman says he should be careful looking aggressive in front of Lesnar, and that this Sunday, he’s going to lose. Lesnar puts down his mic and shoves down one of the security guys – and then Heyman says that Lesnar’s going to beat Goldberg so badly, his kid won’t recognise him, and will call Brock Lesnar ‘daddy’. Goldberg goes apeshit, throws the security jobbers around, and Lesnar watches it all from outside the ring. The rest of the security jobbers head out of the ring, and Lesnar strips off his shirt, goes to step in… and then changes his mind. The crowd boos him as he walks away, chanting for Goldberg. Okay, fine, Marek was right, this was sort of worth watching.
MATCH: Sasha Banks & Charlotte vs. Alicia Fox & Nia Jax
Charlotte comes out with Dana at her side, and Bayley’s on commentary for this match, too, so finally, all the healthy women on the Raw roster are out in the same segment! I guess a second match would’ve been too much to ask, but I suppose each division has only had one tonight, if we count Lesnar and Goldberg as ‘legends’, then we’ve had a men’s match, a tag team match, a cruiserweight match, a legend segment/in-ring moment, and a women’s match. It’s just that we know we’re getting another tag match. Bayley is hugging Byron, because they’re both cuties, as she gushes about how excited she is for her first ever Survivor Series, as Charlotte gets into the ring. Sasha out next, then Alicia and Nia.
- Bayley talks about how she’s not the weak link on the team as the match starts, with Charlotte against Alicia. Nia tags herself in, climbing in slowly and menacingly, and Charlotte steps back to tag Sasha in, but she steps out of the way. Charlotte and Nia lock up, breaking apart quickly. Charlotte comes off the ropes with a clothesline, but it does nothing. Nia knocks Charlotte down flat like she’s made of paper.
- Sasha tagging in as Bayley talks about how she’s never been in the ring with Nikki Bella, and she’s excited about that, as Nia lifts Sasha off her feet, but Sasha somehow manages not to get dumped onto the floor. Nia goes for a clothesline, and Sasha gets onto her back, rolling through and nearly rolling her up, but Nia stays standing. Sasha in the corner, Nia runs for her, but Sasha leapfrogs and Nia hits the turnbuckle hard. Another huge clothesline from Nia to Sasha sends her down, and Charlotte makes a face that’s… almost a shocked sort of delight? Sasha rolls out onto the floor, Charlotte going to take her to task.
- Back from commercial, Charlotte is stepping out of the ring, Sasha rolling up Alicia Fox for a two count. Sasha has Alicia in a chinlock, but she manages to roll out, Sasha coming back with a dropkick. Charlotte makes the tag, and Sasha’s not happy about it, the two of them shoving at each other, eventually both falling down as Alicia crawls to make the tag to Nia.
- Nia into the ring, Charlotte down hard, Sasha coming in and getting lifted into a Samoan Drop, but Sasha fights out, setting Nia up for a kick from Charlotte. Alicia with a double cross-body, pinning both Sasha and Charlotte, but they kick out, Sasha going for the Bank Statement as Charlotte boots Nia off the apron – and Alicia taps.
Bayley goes down to ringside as Charlotte hefts her title, and Sasha and Charlotte stare daggers at each other, before they start to argue. Bayley steps in and lifts the hands of both her friends in victory, hugs Sasha, and offers a hug to Charlotte, who turns it down.
Mick Foley is thanking the men’s match entrants, because they did a good team job, and he says he wants them all to stick around, because when he talks to Shane and Daniel Bryan, there’s going to be fireworks.
MATCH: Enzo, Cass & The Club vs. The Golden Truth & The Shining Stars
Sorry, I literally only care about Enzo and Cass in this, and they already had a talking segment today. So I’m skipping this match, because I need sleep at some point this week, and three hours of Raw is like, eighteen hours of real time. Gallows gets the win pinning one of the Shining Stars, stopping Enzo and Cass from doing Bada Boom Shaka Laka, but not saving me from having to type it.
Steph and Mick are in the ring to talk to us, and I swear, there’s like… twenty minutes left of tonight, are these all going to be talking? Really? Please dear god no. Shane and D-Bry saunter out, to a good reception, even though they’re technically the enemy. Good grief, Raw audience, haven’t you heard about brand loyalty? Bryan has, he’s got a blue shirt on. Steph tries to hug her brother, but Shane’s having none of it.
Apparently Taker’s showing up on SmackDown. Cool. And Edge. Wow, Jess is going to be busy. Why is SmackDown more interesting than Raw? Why do I do the long, boring show? Oh yeah, because of Seth. *sighs* I’m really not sure he’s worth it anymore.
Steph and Shane talk up their own shows and down the other. Shane says that Steph is still acting the same, that she’s threatening her wrestlers, whereas Shane is offering his opportunities. Steph says it’s funny, because in taking his own spot in the men’s match, he’s taking that opportunity away from someone else. “The only reason people like you, Shane, is because you pander to them, and you jump off tall structures.” Why do I get the feeling that, in her day, Steph would totally have jumped off something tall if Daddy would let her? Probably still won’t let her, in all honesty, though he’d be happy for Triple H to do it, because he’s already got his grandchildren. Bryan points out that in his time, Mick used to do some jumping off high things, too.
The two lots of managers try and fight over whose women’s division is best, and honestly, you’re both bad, just shush, you can’t win here. Steph calls out Team Raw, in KO, Jericho, Roman, Seth, and Strowman. The men climb into the ring, and surround the SmackDown Live managers, Steph stepping out of the room as the crowd chant for AJ Styles, because… you guessed it, Team SmackDown Live are here, too.
It’s a fun confrontation, these guys facing off against each other. Kevin tells AJ that his title means nothing, and Shane hands AJ a mic, so he can say that Kevin’s just a paper champion. AJ says that Kevin is stuck on Jericho’s… sugar tit. Kevin puts his hand on Chris’ chest, and you can see him holding a smirk in, as AJ tells Kevin that Chris is going to betray him just like he betrayed AJ. Kevin and Chris embrace, as Chris tells Kevin he’s the best friend ever, and Kevin adjusts Chris’ scarf for him. AJ gets put on the list, while Roman watches like he’s not convinced Jericho can write, or what a pen is for. AJ’s hair also makes the list. Chris then points at James Ellsworth, who is standing vaguely inoffensively outside of the ring, and asks what the hell that is, and that there appears to be a lost child at ringside. Chris says that weird looking guys on Raw make the list, too.
Bray is upset with Braun for leaving his family, and Braun looks like he just wants to go home with Bray and stop having to run his own life for a while. He looks like he wants Bray to take him by the hand and pop him in a car seat, give him a binky, and tuck him in for the night. Poor Braun Strowman. His bottom lip even wobbles a bit as he and Randy Orton play ‘who’s the tallest?’
Seth says Shane seems nice, but he’s on the wrong side of things, because they’ve got the champ, the big dog, and the man, and Shane has no idea what Seth and Roman are capable of when they’re on the same page. Dean looks like he’s going to say something, possibly along the lines of ‘I went to SmackDown, guys, not the moon, you could maybe call occasionally’, but instead just charges at Jericho, and a brawl breaks out. Strowman goes for Shane, Dean and AJ both after Strowman, then finally Shane, toppling Strowman over the top rope, followed by Seth. Dean comes over the top rope onto Seth, as Jericho hits a Lionsault on AJ to get him out of the ring. Randy Orton hits the RKO on Jericho, and it’s boos as Roman takes Orton out, before Bray tries to Sister Abigail him, but Roman fights his way out – leaving him alone in the ring.
Roman goes to go over the top rope, AJ stops him, and then Seth comes in with a Pedigree for AJ, Seth and Roman standing together to give us two thirds of our collective Shield boner as they go for an assisted powerbomb – not triple, I mean, Dean’s not involved – and throw AJ over the top rope onto the rest of the SmackDown Live team.
We end out Raw with Team Raw in the ring, shouting abuse at Team SmackDown, as they back away up the ramp, Kevin throwing AJ’s title out of the ring after them.