By Graham "GSM" Matthews
The Wyatt Family Interrupted The Brothers of Destruction
I suppose it was only fitting to kick off Undertaker Week by having The Brothers of Destruction open Raw. Their promo was about as basic as its gets, but it was an effective way of hyping their upcoming match against The Wyatt Family. Speaking of whom, they were fine here as well, but it's hard to take anything they say seriously when all they do is lose when it matters most. At the very least, they weren't taken out with ease by The Undertaker and Kane this week and I liked the idea of waiting until Survivor Series for the two teams to get physical, but why didn't they do that last week, too?
Intercontinental Champion Kevin Owens def. Neville in a Quarterfinals Match in the WWE World Heavyweight Championship Tournament (Non-title)
You had to know coming in that Neville didn't stand a chance of beating Owens, but that didn't make this any less of a great match. This was the first match I've seen from the two in months where they were allowed to go all out and deliver the awesome encounter they're capable of. The in-ring action was excellent and Neville scored enough offense to look good in defeat. It's just a shame he'll likely be back to headlining WWE Superstars by next week.
Tyler Breeze def. R-Truth
I agree with the masses that Breeze shouldn't have lost in his in-ring debut on Raw, but on the bright side, he was able to pick up a win this week. Granted, it came against a Superstar most fans probably forgot was still on the roster, but a win is a win at the end of the day. That said, the crowd was quiet for a majority of the match. Him and Summer Rae are a logical pairing, but she's damaged goods at this point and doesn't garner real heat. I'd rather see him break out on his own to be honest than see him associated with failure from the get-go. Is his feud with Ziggler been scrapped due to the tournament or simply delayed?
Dean Ambrose def. Dolph Ziggler in a Quarterfinals Match in the WWE World Heavyweight Championship Tournament
While this is far from the first time these two have faced off, it's been long enough since their last bout that this felt fresh. I enjoyed Owens vs. Neville slightly more, but this was still a great match filled with plenty of counters and fun near-falls. The crowd was relatively quiet for the bout, but I'd imagine that was mostly due to the babyface vs. babyface dynamic and the crowd paying attention to the action as opposed to not caring.
WWE Tag Team Champions The New Day def. Ryback and The Usos by Disqualification
As of this writing, a WWE Tag Team Championship match has yet to be confirmed for Survivor Series, which is odd with so few matches announced this far. It's especially strange given no one in The New Day or The Usos are involved in the WWE title tournament, so what's stopping WWE from adding the bout to the card? This was a pretty standard six-man tag team match, but I'm so far beyond six-man matches after seeing so many of them in recent months that this contest didn't hold my interest too much.
Roman Reigns def. Cesaro in a Quarterfinals Match in the WWE World Heavyweight Championship Tournament
Hot damn! I had a feeling this was going to be something special when it was announced last week, but this turned into quite the treat down the stretch. The freshness of it alone was appreciated, but these two (more so Cesaro) deserve credit for putting together one hell of a bout. Essentially everyone was convinced Reigns was winning, but fans definitely bought into some of Cesaro's nearfalls toward the end and I loved how he was made to look strong in defeat. Now if only WWE would build off this momentum and give Cesaro something meaningful to do.
The Dudley Boyz def. The Ascension
Since they're no longer involved in the WWE Tag Team Championship picture, The Dudley Boyz don't have anything going for them at the moment, so they're being relegated to filler matches on TV these days. They're winning matches and remain over with the audience, so it could be worse. The Ascension are just plain awful, and the fact Stardust is nowhere to be seen during their matches doesn't help matters. Coming out of Survivor Series, it would be cool to see The Dudley Boyz start a program with The Wyatt Family.
United States Champion Alberto Del Rio def. Kalisto in a Quarterfinals Match in the WWE World Heavyweight Championship Tournament (Non-title)
On paper, this had the potential to be great, but they simply didn't click the way I thought they would. Maybe it was an off night for both competitors, but there were an embarrassing amount of botches that made the whole match suffer. The unintentional unmasking of Kalisto was probably the worst of all. Del Rio advancing was pretty predictable, so it was mind-boggling why this was the last tourney match to be held on the show. I don't expect Kalisto to be a breakout star coming out of this, but I liked that he wasn't completely squashed here.
Divas Champion Charlotte and Paige Signed the Contract for their Survivor Series Match
First and foremost, I'm happy WWE switched up the format of Raw a bit by prominently featuring the women in the final segment and building up the contract signing throughout the night through video packages. Raw ratings are at an all-time low, so that should encourage WWE to try new things because it doesn't matter much what they do at this point. However, the verbal exchange between Paige and Charlotte was all over the place. Paige was solid in her delivery, but Charlotte is not a good talker at all. And since when did this become about Charlotte's brother Reid? The "Your brother didn't put up much of a fight" line crossed the line as far as I'm concerned. It didn't make me look forward to their match; it just came off as awkward along with the subsequent brawl. I'd like to see the women in the main event more often, but it has to be with two ladies who can carry a segment. Where's Sasha Banks at?
This show was definitely a mixed bag from its great matches to not-so-stellar segments. On the whole, though, I was left anticipating Survivor Series on Sunday. There aren't too many matches announced as of now, but what has been confirmed should be good. The first three of the four tourney matches were exceptional, but everything else on this episode was decent at best.