By Graham "GSM" Matthews
Raw Commissioner Stephanie McMahon and Raw General Manager Mick Foley Addressed the Raw Roster
I typically dislike any opening segment featuring authority figures, especially those with the authority figures addressing the roster while they stand on the stage, but this was logical in that it set up several matches for the night as well as hyping Survivor Series for Sunday. Thankfully, they kept the talking to a minimum because the Creative Team knew they had an entire half hour to fill after the show with the "State of WWE Universe" address on the WWE Network. However, Stephanie was absolutely unbearable here. She tries way too hard to be cool by dancing and playing along with the babyfaces and it isn't even heel behavior. It's just obnoxious.
WWE Universal Champion Kevin Owens and United States Champion Roman Reigns def. Cesaro and Sheamus
The tension teased between Owens and Reigns in this match all but confirmed the rumors of the two facing off for the WWE Universal title at Roadblock next month. Cesaro and Sheamus were once again not on the best of terms, and thus it was the same old shtick they've been doing for months. The match was a treat, but it was mostly designed to plant the seeds for a future Reigns vs. Owens match I'm sure.
Sami Zayn def. Bo Dallas
Well, it looks like WWE finally realized that Dallas' renewed singles push was going nowhere, so they finally beat him for the first time since he returned to Raw. It was hardly a competitive contest, either, as it was largely a showcase for Zayn ahead of his Intercontinental Championship match on Sunday. But hey, I'm not complaining! Dallas' push wasn't going anywhere and Zayn is a much bigger priority at this point. On a side note, Dallas still carrying around the stupid sign after Election Day is beyond dumb.
Braun Strowman, Chris Jericho and Seth Rollins def. Raw Tag Team Champions The New Day
I don't think the combination of guys in this match and the earlier tag match were random at all. Similar to how I believe Owens and Reigns are headed for a feud post-Survivor Series, I could very well see Rollins and Jericho facing off at Roadblock as well, hence why the focus was on them throughout this bout. They actually worked well together, but I thought Strowman had the best breakout performance of them all by destroying New Day on his own down the stretch. He's great when he's limited, which is why I think he'll have a strong performance at Survivor Series.
WWE Cruiserweight Champion Brian Kendrick def. Sin Cara (Non-title)
One week after getting arrested in an airport, Dallas won his first match on Raw since the Brand Split. Now, days removed from his backstage fight with Chris Jericho that earned him anger management classes, Cara had his first singles match on Raw in months. So, apparently being put on Raw is punishment? Watching it certainly is some weeks. In all seriousness, I was fully expecting a simple squash win for Kendrick here, but they ended up getting a bit of time. I would usually be in favor of that for the Cruiserweights, but this was a boring bout that was awkward in spots. Perhaps moving the entire division to SmackDown Live would be the best thing for them at this point.
Goldberg and Brock Lesnar Faced Off
Although I'm looking forward to the Raw vs. SmackDown matches at Survivor Series, there is little doubt that Lesnar vs. Goldberg is the match I'm most excited for. No, not because it's bound to be an in-ring masterpiece, but because the story is simple and it does feel like there is quite a bit at stake. Goldberg has been killing it since returning and Lesnar was his awesome self here as well. Paul Heyman's promo was glorious in bringing up Goldberg's family one too many times, and instead of them getting physical, Goldberg gave the crowd what they wanted to see in roughing up the security guards. This was everything it needed to be and then some.
Raw Women's Champion Charlotte and Sasha Banks def. Alicia Fox and Nia Jax
This was almost a BFFs reunion of sorts. All we needed was Summer Rae. Anyway, of the many tag team matches that took place on this show, this seemed to be the shortest. It was decent while it lasted, but more of the same with Charlotte and Banks not getting along only to come together and score the victory. Jax should remain unbeaten for a long while, so Fox eating the loss for her team was the right move.
Enzo Amore, Big Cass and The Club def. The Shining Stars and The Golden Truth
By this stage of the show, I was ready for the main event segment and thus I couldn't have cared less about this match, especially considering The Shining Stars and The Golden Truth were involved. Even the commentators were confused as to why The Golden Truth cost their own teammates the match. As worthless as the match was, I did laugh at The Club teasing tagging in Amore only for Luke Gallows to score the pinfall win.
Team Raw and Team SmackDown Brawled
I wasn't sure for a second thinking they moved the "State of the WWE Universe" address back to Raw instead of the WWE Network, but the authority figures didn't waste too much time talking before Team Raw and Team SmackDown confronted each other. This was the brawl I wanted from the go-home show and the brawl I think it needed to get fans pumped for the big brand warfare match(es). The promo that preceded the brawl was entertaining and Team Raw getting the upper hand on their own show made sense. That said, it was hilarious how even the crowd was cheering Team SmackDown over Team Raw because they know it's the better brand.
The last few editions of Raw have been lifeless, but this episode was a bit more bearable. Rarely do I miss Raw live, but I did in this instance and thus I watched it back after the fact. Maybe skipping through the recaps, entrances and commercials made it an easier viewing experience for me? Was it the increase in in-ring action this week compared to last week? Either way, I am definitely more excited for the pending pay-per-view than I was prior to this show. Here's hoping the momentum carries over into SmackDown Live (and I assume it will) and WWE definitively delivers an event that lives up to the hype on Sunday.