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DENVER — Again! Last week’s Raw closed out with Seth Rollins defeating Chris Jericho to keep Hell in a Cell’s WWE Universal Title Match a one-on-one affair between The Architect and titleholder — and Jericho’s “best friend” — Kevin Owens. And after goading Jericho into a bragging rights rematch by putting his friendship with Owens on blast, Rollins opened Raw by doing … it, again.
Oddly enough, he has Owens to thank for the victory. Looking to remind the WWE Universe of his skills following his recent slump, Jericho battled past a game Rollins and landed a successful application of the Walls of Jericho. Owens — whom Jericho had initially sent to the locker room to prove his solo bonafides — attempted to give his buddy the assist by yanking the bottom rope out of Rollins’ reach. The referee, unfortunately, saw the interference and demanded Jericho release the hold, which he did, just before suffering a Pedigree for the third consecutive week.
This led to a heated backstage confrontation that didn't please Raw Commissioner Stephanie McMahon, who accepted SmackDown LIVE's Survivor Series challenge and needed Owens and Jericho to work together. Luckily, Raw General Manager Mick Foley made lemonade by sanctioning a massive Triple Threat for next week's Raw — Owens vs. Rollins vs. Jericho. Drink it in, man.
The Shining Stars may have been within a hibiscus petal’s breadth of scamming R-Truth, but their eyes were bigger than their stomachs when it came to trying to sell fake Rolexes to Mark Henry. Despite wheeling and dealing their way into the high-stake Six-Man Tag — Golden Truth & Henry would have to buy the watches if they lost — their long con ended up falling tragically short thanks to the efforts of The World's Strongest Man. After a solid start from The Shining Stars and O’Neil, Henry proved to be the deciding factor of the match when he snuck a tag in on a reeling Truth. With legal man Titus O’Neil unaware of the tag, Henry simply waited for Truth to throw The Big Deal into his waiting arms, where O’Neil suffered a World’s Strongest Slam.
Despite a looming, put-up-or-shut-up opportunity at the Raw Tag Team Titles, Cesaro & Sheamus can’t seem to stop passive-aggressively costing each other singles matches against 420-days-and-counting-champions The New Day, whom they’ll be challenging for the titles at Hell in a Cell. Last week, shenanigans with Sheamus cost Cesaro a match against Kofi Kingston, and this week, it was The King of Swing who swung the action, inadvertently handing his partner a loss to Big E.
In almost a mirror image of last week’s action, The Celtic Warrior was firmly in the driver’s seat against Big E when Cesaro, who was documenting himself on Facebook Live, started rubbing shoulders with the Cesaro Section. This took Sheamus’ eye off the ball, leading to a rollup defeat for the Irishman. So, yeah. They’re still not exactly gelling just yet.
If Curtis Axel’s attempt to reunite with Bo Dallas last week was ill-fated, what “The Ax Man” pulled this week on Raw was flat-out misguided. Dallas had just scored a major redemptive win by defeating Neville — who knocked Bo & Axel off in tag team action last week — when Axel attempted to celebrate with his fellow former Social Outcast. Bo, perhaps thinking Axel was trying to steal his glory, did not take kindly to this. He showcased his displeasure via a ruthless beatdown of Axel that had to be seen to be, well, Bo-lieved.
Playtime is … just beginning. Dana Brooke’s cheap shot last week brought out the fiery side of Bayley, but the former bodybuilding standout added insult to injury by straight-up beating the hug-happy Superstar through what turned out to be a very sound strategy. First, Dana literally fled the mat, forcing Bayley into a cat-and-mouse game that left her frustrated just seconds into the match. Once Bayley caught ahold of Dana, she opened up the entirety of her offense and Dana’s days seemed numbered, but a few strategic points of attack left Bayley unable to rally. Specifically, throwing Bayley shoulder-first into the turnbuckle seemed to take all the wind out of her sails, so much so that all Dana had to do was bounce Bayley’s arm off the ropes once, haul her to the mat and cover her for three.
Three is greater than two, which is greater than one. And, as it turns out, Braun Strowman has no problem defeating any number of local competitors Raw General Manager Mick Foley lines up to face him. “The Abominable Strowman” annihilated a team called The Mile-High Trio, before announcing his intentions to take his continued frustration out on Foley himself.
And then Sami Zayn, of all people, charged to the ring and went face-to-face with the monstrous Superstar. He caught a two-handed shove out of the ring for his troubles, but not before Strowman nodded in apparent satisfaction with the challenge that had presented itself. Zayn, meanwhile, seemed more than game for the fight, and though he may well come to regret it down the line, he offered a succinct explanation backstage for why he answered Strowman’s challenge: “Because nobody else will.”
A couple of months ago, Roman Reigns ruined Rusev’s wedding ceremony. Well, consider the debt officially repaid. The Bulgarian Brute came to Raw this week, and in an attempt to showcase his championship credentials to the WWE Universe, he showcased pictures of his family on the TitanTron. After Rusev introduced the audience to his rowing champion mother, wrestling champion father, restaurateur brother, beloved Babushka and champion showdog Maguerta (no Dog Ziggler, sadly), Reigns made his entrance.
Interestingly enough, it was Reigns’ disrespect of Rusev — and not of his family — that raised The Super Athlete's hackles. But even more interestingly, Lana was the one who administered the first attack to the United States Champion. The Ravishing Russian slapped Reigns across the face and teed him up for a no-holds-barred beatdown at the hands of The Super Athlete that ended with Reigns taking a header into the steel steps and an Accolade on top of them.
If you come at the 7-foot Big Cass, you best not miss. Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson got the better of Enzo Amore & Big Cass last week when they jumped them from behind, but Big Cass struck back in a big way in solo action against Anderson. He had a solid gameplan going into the match as well, using Enzo as a human projectile to take out Gallows at ringside before administering the East River Crossing to a suddenly solo Anderson.
If it hasn’t been apparent to anyone watching the Cruiserweight division already: Brian Kendrick is playing for keeps. Making the most of his self-described “last life” in WWE, The Wizard of Odd picked up some serious momentum en route to his WWE Cruiserweight Title Match at Hell in a Cell by scoring the decisive win in a Six-Man Tag Team Match.
Well, it was more like he stole the win, but desperate times call for desperate measures. Tony Nese was all set to claim the win after hitting Rich Swann with the 450 Splash, only Kendrick quickly tagged himself in and applied the Captain’s Hook to a reeling Swann. Perkins attempted to save his partner, who valiantly refused to tap, but Nese sprinted around and held the champion by the foot, forcing Swann to tap when he realized no help would come.
Oh, yes. Oh, yes. It is happening. After a 12-year absence from WWE, Goldberg (!!!) returned to Raw (!!!) to answer Paul Heyman’s challenge on behalf of Brock Lesnar with a resounding, to-the-point “yes.” Given free rein to speak his mind in Raw’s closing moments, the former World Heavyweight Champion admitted that — even after the “SportsCenter” interview — he was more than willing to stay retired until Heyman’s trash-talk stoked his competitive fire.
All things considered, Goldberg said, he’s definitely got one more Spear, one more Jackhammer, and one more fight left in him. He accepted Heyman’s challenge (to be answered by Lesnar, live on Raw next week), and he signed off with an ominous variation on his signature war cry, directed squarely at The Beast Incarnate: “You’re
- Numbers in parentheses indicate the length of the match.
- (c) refers to the champion(s) heading into the match.
- Mark Henry & Golden Truth (Goldust & R-Truth) defeated Titus O'Neil & The Shining Stars (Primo & Epico) (4:00)
- Brian Kendrick, Tony Nese & Drew Gulak defeated TJ Perkins, Rich Swann & Cedric Alexander by submission (7:15)
Other on-screen talent