WWE Monday Night RAW is All About Survivor Series

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WWE Survivor Series is this Sunday, and the RAW go-home show featured a lot of interesting matches and the hype for a rematch from WrestleMania XX, Goldberg vs. Lesnar.

RAW kicks off with Stephanie McMahon and Mick Foley addressing the RAW wrestlers who will compete against SmackDown at Survivor Series. Michael Cole really needs to shut the hell up about Survivor Series being about “Fantasy Warfare” since, that was the title of an old WWE Magazine column I used to contribute to (true story), and secondly, it’s not like the roster has been split for the past decade, it’s been what, three months?

They rally up the roster, and announce the night’s matches. I like how this time of year, everyone tries to act all babyface. Stephanie drops the heel routine, just to show her support for everyone. Bland.

We get a really stupid promo for the next season of Total Divas, essentially showing various female talent running and shrieking around in high heels acting all ditzy. The stupid is back, meaning Eva Marie.

The first match of the night, starting the evening’s theme of rivals having to get along, Kevin Owens and Roman Reigns take on Sheamus and Cesaro. The latter team display their usual disorganization while Owens ridicules Reigns. Nice spot with Cesaro corkscrew diving on both opponents, while earlier joined Sheamus in trading uppercuts on Reigns. Some good back and forth between both teams, the end came in fast fashion, Owens eating the Brough Kick, but Reigns then splattered Sheamus with the spear, draping Owens over Sheamus for the win. Good finish, but again, Reigns looking strong in redundant fashion.

“I got two guys on my team who don’t like scarves” laments Chris Jericho, who attempted to unify his team of Seth Rollins and Braun Strowman with their own scarves as gifts. Rollins passes on his, while Strowman initially wanted the one worn by Y2J, until he opts to rip it up and declare his disdain for the garment. Funny stuff, and suddenly I am enjoying Braun Strowman.

Short match between Sami Zayn and Bo Dallas, with Zayn clobbering Dallas with the Helluva Kick for the win. Michael Cole called it a “big win.” Uh… No.

I can’t wait for the Cruiserweights to have their own show, the 205 Live on the WWE Network. The backstage segment with Kendrick acting as “leader” was horrible. Noam Dar and Rich Swann were the only two with decent dialogue but please, this crap has to stop. The segment ends with Kendrick arguing with Sin Cara. Sigh.

The New Day come out to introduce Francesca II Turbo in a reference to Street Fighter II Turbo, and also to hock their new swag. Funny stuff. Their opponents are Chris Jericho, Seth Rollins, and Braun Strowman. Another good match, Strowman gets my MVP vote here, I don’t think anyone realizes it, but now he finally faces actual roster talents. Strowman pins Xavier Woods following a running powerslam which would have made the British Bulldog proud.

The next match features Brian Kendrick vs. Sin Cara, and after exhausting all the good spots within the first few minutes, the crowd chants of “boring” fill the uninspired remainder of the match. I get Kendrick provides the drama a heel should provide on RAW, but it just doesn’t work for the Cruiserweight division. You know it’s bad when the crowd actually chants for Sin Cara. As the match progress, the action progressively got slower and slower, to the point where it was obvious there was some miscommunication. Kendrick wins via Captain’s Hook submission, and no one cared.

Please, get the Cruiserweights off RAW and back onto their own show.

We get the long awaited confrontation between Brock Lesnar and Bill Goldberg. The crowd was pumped for this, and the chants of Goldberg never ended. Paul Heyman put on a great performance, thankfully Brock only muttered a few words, with Goldberg and Heyman doing all the banter. Heyman played up the loss of confidence but then went into full intimidator mode, only to be shut down by Goldberg. The inevitable dispatch of the weakling rent-a-cops took place, with a tease of a brawl, but Lesnar bailed, leaving us to wonder until Sunday.

On commentary, Bayley is on hand as Charlotte and Sasha Banks defeat Nia Jax and Alicia Fox. Eh, okay match, but the conclusion seemed a bit off-kilter. I would have thought it to be more interesting if Jax and Fox would get the win. So far, everyone tonight is playing up the “we don’t like each other, but we CAN be on the same page if we have to.” Meh.

Backstage, Mick Foley rallies his team. Yay.

Enzo, Cass, Gallows, and Anderson defeat The Shining Stars and Golden Truth because if they lost there would hell to pay.

In the final segment of the night, Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan join the RAW crew to discuss Survivor Series. The SmackDown honchos get a nice reception from the live crowd. Stephanie berates Shane for putting himself in the Survivor Series match. Valid point. As Team RAW come out, Shane and Daniel Bryan bring out Team SmackDown for backup. Some nice banter, Styles and Owens, Jericho putting Ellsworth on the list, and Bray Wyatt saying Strowman abandoned the Family… Uh, wasn’t he drafted? Oh, right, its WWE history. Ambrose is the one who ignites the inevitable brawl between both teams. Dangerous closing spot, with Reigns and Rollins doing a running powerbomb, launching AJ Styles onto the rest of his team on the outside of the ring.

Good show tonight, looking forward to tomorrow with Edge and The Undertaker returning to SmackDown.