WWE RAW Review
November 22, 2016
By: Mike Tedesco of Wrestleview.com
Coming off a controversial finish to Survivor Series with Bill Goldberg defeating Brock Lesnar in 1:26, there was some considerable buzz surrounding last night’s event. Following the pattern WWE has established of having the RAW after the big shows (WrestleMania and SummerSlam) in the same arena or in the same area as the stadium, last night’s RAW took place in the same arena Survivor Series happened.
Did the show live up to the hype? Did they manage to keep the crowd engaged? Let’s find out.
Goldberg continues his surprising career resurgence
RAW kicked off with Goldberg making his way to the ring. After Survivor Series closed with massive “Goldberg” chants following the surprising result, after having about twenty-two hours to digest it, the wrestling fans still greeted him with cheers with a smattering of boos thrown in there. I still stand by what I said in my review of Survivor Series: I thought the handling of the match was nearly perfect. Apparently many in the crowd agreed because he was still super over. It makes one think how different his run in 2003 could have been if they had treated him like this. Everything they’ve done with Goldberg since his surprise return was pretty much perfect. The really surprising thing is this career resurgence is coming from a company that has failed time and again to create a new mega star for a decade. Maybe there’s something to letting a guy go out there with a few bullet points instead of a script and not overexposing him. What if they handled Roman Reigns like this? Would he be the damaged goods he is now? I have to think not.
A quick aside: after Hell in a Cell, the WWE Network aired a show called “RAW Talk,” (which for the life of me I can’t think of a reason they haven’t done another episode) and it featured Roman Reigns prominently. Reigns wasn’t scripted and cut a great promo that made me like him. It felt real. That is what the guy needs, but deep down I still feel it would be too little too late. It’ll be hard to undo two years of consistently terrible booking.
Anyway, back to Goldberg. Goldberg continued to come off as an unbelievably humble babyface. Goldberg thanked his wife and son, as well as the fans, for letting him become a superhero again. Then, after pretty much saying this would be his last match when he returned, Goldberg said he met Stephanie McMahon backstage and agreed to go on the hunt for the WWE Universal Championship. Goldberg then entered himself into the Royal Rumble to loud applause. Goldberg nailed this promo once again. Like I mentioned when he first returned, Goldberg was never considered a great promo guy. However with everything being so overly scripted, whenever a guy comes out and does a promo shooting mostly from the hip, it feels super fresh and comes off as great. Once again, WWE should reconsider their stance on scripted promos.
Rollins and Owens tear the house down, but a typically bad finish spoils the match
After the match was surprisingly booked earlier in the night, Seth Rollins and Kevin Owens went head to head in a No Disqualification Match for the WWE Universal Championship with Chris Jericho and Roman Reigns banned from ringside. These two guys really tore the house down and pulled out a lot of nice spots. Was the match better than their Hell in a Cell match? I’m not sure, but it was still damn good. The dive off the stands onto Owens was really an awesome sight. Still after having their last two title matches ended with interference from Chris Jericho (including a Hell in a Cell match, which is designed to keep people out), I was kind of thinking it would be time to have Triple H make a surprise appearance again and help Rollins to retain. If ever there was a time for Triple H to make an appearance after having not been seen since he helped Owens in late August, this would have been the time. It would have capped off the Survivor Series weekend in a big way.
Instead, they went with the typical finish that is only designed to get a babyface less over than he was before. Rollins, who is already struggling as a babyface, is made to look like a fool who really believed that Chris Jericho would stay out of the match. Naturally, he doesn’t and it cost him the match. It’s a little more forgiving if Triple H was the one to attack. It just ended the match on a sour note, though it doesn’t take away from the fact that ¾ of it were phenomenal. This just screams of being a missed opportunity.
* Was last night the start of a heel turn for The New Day? The finish of their match against Cesaro and Sheamus was that of a heel tag team. That was a very good match.
* Cedric Alexander and Ariya Daivari had a good little match, but I still have no reason to care about the Cruiserweight Division or its wrestlers whatsoever. They probably would have been way better off on Smackdown Live.
* I really enjoyed The Highlight Reel with Chris Jericho and Kevin Owens teasing the much anticipated breakup of their friendship before hilariously blaming it on Roman Reigns and embracing. I’m not sure how the powers that be in the company thought that would get booed because they immediately had Michael Cole start in on how Canada is “Bizarr-o World” because they’re not supporting Roman Reigns, as if this is any different from anywhere else in the world. They just come off as so tone deaf and asinine when they spout stuff like that. They’re living in a reality that the rest of the fanbase isn’t.
* After a really funny segment involving Enzo Amore walking around backstage “naked” with his lower area pixelated, he was squashed by Rusev. I guess this will be Big Cass’ first real singles feud in WWE. Interesting way to fire it up.
* Gallows and Anderson beat The Golden Truth in a nothing match to get a title shot against The New Day next week, the team that has routinely beaten them like a drum for months now. Can’t wait!
* Sami Zayn was demolished by Braun Strowman as “punishment” for losing at Survivor Series. Didn’t Strowman lose too? This is doing no favors for Zayn in getting him remotely over.
* After Charlotte Flair attacked Bayley after their Survivor Series match ended in victory, there was next to zero follow-up to it. Instead they had Sasha Banks go out there and get a rematch for the title next week. I’ve had just about my fill of seeing these two wrestle for quite a while. The lack of depth in the Women’s Division is showing. After Sasha, there’s Bayley and then who else? Nia Jax? Yikes…
* The Cruiserweights had to rush through a triple threat match that came off more as a highly choreographed dance than a simulated contact sport. This division is on life support. Hopefully WWE 205 Live will help to change that, but I doubt it. In the meantime, I’ll just continue laughing whenever I think of Corey Graves saying last week on RAW that the Cruiserweight Division is “the crown jewel of RAW.” I mean… come on.
Despite the show ending on a sour note, it was still a pretty good episode. The Goldberg promo was well done and the main event contained some great action. Typically it dragged in the third hour. If this were a two-hour show, it really would have been considered great.
Bump of the Night: Seth Rollins’ dive off the stands onto Kevin Owens
Match of the Night: Seth Rollins vs. Kevin Owens *** 1/4
Final Rating: ***
Well those are my thoughts. Do you agree? Disagree? Let me know by commenting or using one of the other two options to get in contact with me.
Please check out my live recap of RAW every Monday at 8 PM EST.
Thanks for reading!
Mike Tedesco is the official recapper of WWE Monday Night RAW for Wrestleview.com.