WWE returned to the USA network for Monday Night Raw last night (Nov. 2, 2015) from Denver, Colorado with all the latest build to the upcoming Survivor Series pay-per-view (PPV) later this month in Atlanta. There are quite a few souls in need of saving right now, folks. A couple were even eaten!
Click here to get full results with the live blog. Let's get to reacting to all the night's events.
Eater of souls
My feelings on WWE booking supernatural angles is that if they're going to do it they might as well go all out. That's why I was highly sports entertained when Bray Wyatt walked out and literally said he ate both Undertaker and Kane's souls and therefore he possesses their power of summoning lightning and fire.
Then he proved it.
Sure, you could argue this was dumb, but I would counter with come on, it's pro wrestling. You're already dealing with a dead guy and a demon from hell. THIS is your breaking point?
My only gripe is the commentary team didn't do nearly enough to sell this. They had a guy out there claiming he was eating souls and summoning fire in a building with thousands of people in it and all they could come up with was "they're a dominant team right now." No, Roman Reigns and whoever is with Roman Reigns is a dominant team. The nWo were a dominant team.
A deranged dude claiming he ate a couple souls and can now summon fire with three dumb monsters willing to do whatever he says standing behind him is worthy of pants shitting terror.
Still, I'm on the edge of my seat to see what comes next. What kind of batshit insanity will they come up with now?
Survive ... or just chair shot people
After last week's near flawless show, WWE had to go back to the drawing board. Roman Reigns has been crowned number one contender to the WWE world heavyweight title and it's been decided he will challenge Seth Rollins for it at the Survivor Series pay-per-view on Nov. 22. That means they went into last night with three episodes of Raw to write before the match.
This week we got some promo time that was, to put it nicely, fairly well executed but mostly bland.
Roman: "You are good but a backstabber and I will beat you up for it."
Seth: "You are also good but I am better. Ha ha ha."
The Authority, who decided to work heel this week, trolled the crowd by teasing the title match right then and there but held off in favor of making a joke about Denver being high and booking a traditional Survivor Series match with Rollins and Reigns finding their own squads.
That was the show long story but it consisted of only two backstage segments featuring Rollins recruiting Kevin Owens (the Intercontinental champion) and The New Day (the tag team champions). Reigns didn't make another appearance until it was time for his team to make their entrance, which is fine for the surprise element, but his team consisted of The Usos (making their surprise return to minimal reaction), Ryback (for reasons that were never clearly defined, though you could argue he hates BOWLIES so he didn't need much convincing), and Dean Ambrose (because he knows what kind of beer Roman drinks).
So Rollins, who actually looks like an architect for the first time since The Shield broke up and they stuck him with that moniker, built a team of champions while Reigns grabbed family members and a guy who's always complaining about being hungry.
Guess who won.
I enjoyed the match and the action within it because it featured a lot of fun wrestlers working within a format that is incredibly difficult to screw up even for WWE. But I found myself highly unsatisfied with how the match ultimately played out. I know how I'm supposed to feel: Reigns is the guy to finally put that little bastard Rollins in his place and this would be a great place to do it, what with help from Ambrose, and Seth STILL weaseled his way out, using a chair -- symbolic, considering who he was using it on -- and running away once again. I'm supposed to be upset and that's supposed to build anticipation for Reigns to finally get his hands on him and finish this.
I just didn't feel that way.
If that was the goal, why not lay the match out in such a way that Rollins is never in the ring with Reigns at the same time? Why not actually bother building to the moment they both get in, THEN have Rollins run? Why, then, would Ryback, of all people, be given the hot tag?
The execution of what they were aiming for was off and the DQ finish fell flat because of that.
All the best to all the rest
Fatal 4-Way: Because it worked so well the week before in determining the number one contender to the men's heavyweight title, WWE decided to run another Fatal 4-Way to determine the next contender to the women's title. And Becky Lynch, Paige, Sasha Banks, and Brie Bella responded with a fun match that featured some great character work, like Becky's reckless aggression to get payback on Paige and Sasha's relentless need to let everyone know how much better she is while proving it. If you're upset that Becky ate the pin, I'm with you and let's hope this is indicative of a longer build to Lynch coming up through adversity. She shined on this show as a charismatic, natural babyface. She is Sting-level likeable, and while I can see her enthusiasm as a hindrance to some, when she runs into a heel force like Banks down the road it's going to be a ball of a time.
Genetically superior: Charlotte gave an all time awful interview on this show. For starters, we've found the female equivalent to Roman Reigns except she's significantly worse because she doesn't have the physical presence to overcome her inability to speak like a normal human being. She's far too awkward when she speaks. To make matters worse, her material made her look even worse than she did when she was shocked that Paige turned on her after having already turned on her and then warning her she was going to turn again. "Paige brought my family into this," she said with disdain. You use a modified version of your father's finish, a modified version of his entrance music, call attention to the Flair name on your merchandise (when you only go by Charlotte on TV), and your catchphrase is "genetically superior." Paige is quite literally just calling it like she sees it, and she is not wrong. This wouldn't be a problem if we weren't supposed to hate Paige and like Charlotte. But we are so it is.
MexAmerica: I don't understand anything about this angle with Alberto Del Rio and Zeb Colter. Now we get Jack Swagger thrown into the mix as a concerned friend of Zeb's wondering what he's thinking. This confuses me because I can't see anything wrong with Del Rio and Zeb's message. Shouldn't we want unity? Shouldn't we want people to get along despite cultural differences? What's the concern for? There are far too many holes in this story. I get the feeling I'm supposed to boo Del Rio and Colter but I don't know why.
Lucha Dragons vs. King Barrett & Sheamus: WWE is going to have a ways to go before we can buy Kalisto and Sin Cara as anything other than what they've been for months now, which is a team that isn't worth paying attention to, but let's agree that it's good it at least appears as though they're going to try. They really need to get Kalisto away from Sin Cara at some point soon, but, you know, baby steps.
Cesaro vs. The Miz: Let me give Miz his due here because he's criminally underused at this point for how good he is at what he does. He's no great wrestler, certainly, but he's such a great heel. Everything he does makes me want someone to murder him as brutally as possible, which is what makes it so satisfying to see Cesaro, a babyface we can really get behind right now, hit him with the Giant Swing and then turn it into a Sharpshooter, actually getting the tap on it. This felt good. There's also some intrigue with Cosmic Wasteland hanging out in the audience with signs mocking Cesaro.
Gorgeous: Dolph Ziggler is once again a dumb babyface who falls prey to silly distractions, this time from a dude taking selfies. I'm not nearly as sold on this program as some at this point, I'm just amused that the crowd doesn't seem to know who to cheer. You'd think it would be obvious, what with this obnoxious dick who thinks too highly of himself out there being an obnoxious dick. ... ... .... Oh. Right.
After a home run last week, it looks like we're right back to the usual struggles.
That's it from me, Cagesiders. Now it's your turn to sound off in the comments section below with all your thoughts on last night's show. How did you like it, if you liked it at all?