From Rowdy Roddy Piper's worked hometown of Glasgow, Scottland, comes Monday Night Raw. It's also the first time in the 23-year history of Raw that the show took place inn Glasgow.
Simply put, it was atrocious. This could arguably be considered one of the worst episodes of Monday Night Raw ever. From the terrible skits and a dead crowd for many of the matches to the fact that there was far too much talking. Come on, scriptwriters. We want wrestling. That's all. It's not that complicated.
There wasn't even a mention of Piper, one of the WWE's greatest 1980s icons.
The show opens with the billion-dollar princess Stephanie McMahon, who screams "Welcome to Monday Night Raw!" for a cheap pop. Steph says Foley can't be there tonight, which means he didn't want to travel for the trip. Stephanie is at her worst with the over-acting and over-selling of the 5-on-5 Raw vs. Smackdown Live Survivor Series match.
She introduces Kevin Owens, who is wearing a suit. Ugh. The WWE is really sucking the life out of Owens' character when they make him wear a suit every week. Joining him are Chris Jericho, Roman Reigns, Braun Strowman (really?) and, yes, Seth Rollins.
They'll face WWE Champion AJ Styles, Dean Ambrose, Randy Orton, Bray Wyatt and Baron Corbin at the Survivor Series. The interview segment goes predictably awry when the five cannot get along. Rollins and Reigns attack Owens and Jericho before Strowman beats up on the former members of The Shield. Stephanie then announces a "Fatal Five-Way match" with all of them tonight so they can take their aggression out on each other.
Bottom Line: There is a absurd lack of creativity here leading up to Survivor Series. Throwing them all together in a match is about the weakest thing you could do to build toward the brand vs. brand show. And Strowman is pretty much horrible in the ring. He's going to hurt someone.
Brian Kendrick & Noam Dar vs. Rich Swann & Sin Cara
The Scottish Dar is making his debut and the crowd was hot for his entrance, but then they died once the bell rang. This match was everything that is bad about cruiserweights; it was a spot match. There was no story to be told. It was just a bunch of smallish guys doing moves, and botching some of them. Swann ultimately pins Kendrick for the second week in a row, who didn't appear to even break a sweat in the five-minute match. Kendrick yells at Dar after the match, blames him for the loss and then attacks him. Dar, of course, reverses it and beats up Kendrick to pop the crowd.
The Bottom Line: Cruiserweights were so much better in NXT
We get a promo for the Brock Lesnar vs. Bill Goldberg match, spliced with video game imagery, clips from previous shows, and Goldberg talking about how he is going to beat up Lesnar.
Sami Zayn runs into Stephanie backstage. Apparently, since Stephanie made the trip to Scottland, she's decided to book herself in a few segments just to mess with us. Stephanie tells Zayn that she finds him annoying. That's like Kid Kash calling CM Punk a lousy fighter. She books Zayn vs. Rusev later in the show with the winner taking on Dolph Ziggler at the Survivor Series for the Intercontinental championship.
Enzo & Big Cass, The Bullet Club, The Golden Truth, Cesaro & Sheamus and The New Day
Damn, Enzo and Big Cass are popular. They should open every show. Unfortunately, Enzo doesn't get promo time. They go straight to Cass doing his SAWFT promo. Wait, no Enzo promo? That's like having Kim Kardashian show up at the bikini contest wearing a pants suit. BUMMER.
Out come The Club, The Golden Truth and Cesaro and Sheamus. Sheamus makes some dumb jokes about Glasgow and then everyone on the team starts making fun of Sheamus. The New Day come out pandering to the Scottish crowd with kilts and bagpipes while reciting some lame lines from Braveheart. Enzo ends up gettting a few lines in by asking what The New Day had been smoking. Enzo's voice sounded different, like he had a cold.
The Bottom Line: Way too much talking and what a waste of 11 guys.
The New Day vs. The Club
After all that talking we get a match. Again, the crowd is dead. This is a nothing match only made worse by Michael Cole's zombie announcing effort. The Club pin Big E with a Magic Killer and this terrible segment is over.
The Bottom Line: This wasn't tag team wrestling's greatest day. Give me The Mulkey brothers.
We get more hype for the Goldberg vs. Lesnar match, this time with Lesnar talking.
Owens is backstage in his muscle T-shirt chirping with Jericho and Strowman. Jericho gets jealous when Owens asks Strowman to be on their team. Strowman rejects the offer, saying he's on "Team Braun." Jericho put the big man on his "list."
The Golden Truth vs. The Shining Stars
All four of these guys are good wrestlers, but they are boring to watch because the WWE treats their characters as little more than filler material. Primo and Epico show some good tag team tendencies, working together and making frequent tags, trying to cut off the ring to do their damage. R-Truth gassed quickly in the match, letting The Shining Stars carry the match and get the win by pinning Goldust. Thus joining Team Raw in their battle against Team Smackdown at the Survivor Series.
The Bottom Line: Filler, Forgettable. Fail.
This is shaping up to be a horrible episode.
Nia Jax, Charlotte, and Dana Brooke vs. Sasha Banks, Alicia Fox and Bayley
This began with a long interview. Bayley hugged Michael Cole. The crowd was really behind Bayley and serenaded her with chants. Charlotte did a great job heeling it up while Bayley was talking. Charlotte introduced Dana Brooke as the fifth member of the Raw women's team, swerving everyone who thought it would be Sasha Banks. Cole then jumped in and corrected her by introducing Banks as the real fifth member of the team. Charlotte berated Sasha, saying she didn't think she'd make it to Survivor Series after the beating she took at Hell in a Cell. The match was only good when Charlotte was in the ring. She has great facial expressions and clearly spent a lot of time watching her father wrestle. After Charlotte carried the match, she got pinned by Bayley with the Bayley to Belly suplex. They are clearly working toward a match with these two.
The Bottom Line: Bayley is popular with the crowd, but she looks minor league in the ring compared to Charlotte, who elevates the women's division.
Grade: C+ (Thanks to Charlotte)
Sami Zayn vs. Rusev w/ Lana
In the 1980s Rusev would have played a great heel for Hulk Hogan; a big guy who could bump. Instead, he's just one of the best workers in the business who must play back-up to Roman Reigns. Zayn did a great dive over the top rope onto Rusev. They had a good exchange where Zayn tried to give Rusev a belly to back suplex, but Rusev put Zayn into a headlock and blocked it. Rusev nearly pinned Zayn with two kicks to the head. Rusev went to the rope, but Zayn kicked him in the head and got the surprise pin. Zayn will now get a title shot against Dolph Ziggler for the intercontinental championship, in what will probably be the best match on the show.
The Bottom Line: Surprise win, but a good match. It was too short, but Zayn and Rusev know how to WRESTLE.
Chris Jericho vs. Braun Strowman vs. Kevin Owens vs. Seth Rollins vs. Roman Reigns
Reigns got the final entrance, over the Universal Champion Owens. This match is clearly designed to get Strowman over as a big star. Too bad. Not even Ric Flair could make this guy look good. Strowman beat up on Reigns and Rollins. Eventually they all tried to combine forces to take out Strowman, who dominated them until Reigns delivered a Superman punch to knock him out of the ring. Reigns and Rollins then teamed up to beat on Strowman, whose only asset is that he is so big he can be seen from the cheap seats. We got a retro moment when Rollins and Reigns almost put Strowman through a table, but the spot was broken up by Jericho. Owens grabbed a sign from the audience that said "I Love Roman" and ripped it in half. Owens plays a great heel when he's allowed to. Owens delivered a great cannonball to Reigns on the outside of the ring, before yelling, "That's why I am the champ."
He's actually the champ because he sells a lot of t-shirts.
Rollins attacked Owens and Jericho and put Jericho through a table with Strowman laying on top of it. Eventually Rollins and Owens ended up in the ring. Rollins missed a frog splash, but when Owens attempted a power bomb, Rollins reversed it into a pedigree. Rollins was about to pin Owens when Jericho made the save. Jericho and Rollins then battled before Rollins put Jericho in the pedigree. Owens went to make the save for his friend and Reigns out of nowhere hit Owens with the Superman punch, knocking Owens down onto Jericho, pinning him for the win.
The show ended with Owens celebrating and Jericho trying to figure out what was going on.
The Bottom Line: Owens, Jericho and Rollins made the match. Clearly, Jericho is going to turn on Owens at some point and cost him the title, leading to a match probably at Wrestlemania. Owens, unfortunately is just a prop in a greater storyline built around figuring out a way to get the title back on Reigns. Maybe the WWE will take Owens seriously and push him as a big star during his second title reign.
Next week it's Bill Goldberg vs. Brock Lesnar face to face before Survivor Series. Let's hope Goldberg doesn't tear a quad.