By Graham "GSM" Matthews
Seth Rollins Interrupted WWE Universal Champion Kevin Owens and Chris Jericho; Rollins def. Jericho
It's encouraging that Rollins is slowly making the transition into a full-fledged face and the fans were more behind him here than they were in the past. The subtle hints at dissension between Owens and Jericho were logical yet disheartening because it will be a sad, sad day when they eventually part ways for good. Jericho and Rollins once again contested a great match and I was hoping for Jericho to pull out the victory so he would added to the WWE Universal Championship match at Hell in a Cell, but no such luck. Perhaps that happens next week if he wins his Triple Threat match with Rollins and Owens?
Lita Interviewed Charlotte
I've never been the biggest fan of Charlotte, but there is little doubt that this has been her year. When she isn't a cocky champion, she's a fiery challenger and was absolutely excellent here. The delivery of her lines is so much better than it was even a few months ago and the pre-taped aspect of it I'm sure helped. Here's hoping she has direction coming out of Hell in a Cell assuming she loses (and she should).
Mark Henry and The Golden Truth def. Titus O'Neil and The Shining Stars
As the incomparable RJ Marceau texted me during this match, "This trash doesn't even belong on Superstars." I could not agree more with his two cents. Seriously, where did this come from and why was it necessary? There are far more effective ways of killing time than putting six Superstars in one match that fans could not care less about. And what a waste of Henry. I'd rather see him resurface during meaningful matches like what we saw from him and Rusev back in August.
Raw Tag Team Champion Big E def. Sheamus
It was cool they got creative with Sheamus being on his phone during Cesaro's match last week, but I wish they would have switched it up a bit by not having Cesaro do the same thing. Nevertheless, the crowd seemed to like it, so that was all that mattered. I complained last week about the challengers losing matches and not looking like threats to the titles, but I guess it's more important to establish that they aren't allies. Could they be the team that finally beats New Day for the belts? I hope not.
Bo Dallas def. Nevillle
Coming into this contest, I assumed it would be an easy win for Neville, but in reality, it was the exact opposite. To me, this match said more about Neville losing than it did Dallas winning. It's hard to take Dallas seriously when he's still carrying around that dumb sign. As for Neville, I've pretty much give up all hope for the guy. Either insert him in the Cruiserweight division or send him to SmackDown Live because feeding him to Dallas is just embarrassing at this point.
Dana Brooke def. Bayley
It looked like we would be getting this match at Hell in a Cell after what happened last week, and we still might, but this match didn't make me want to see a rematch. Bayley did all she could to carry Brooke, but I'm sorry, Brooke is downright deplorable. She never looks believable in anything she does, and for goodness sake, she botched the damn finish by not putting her foot on the rope! This isn't the first time this has happened with her, either. Bayley losing was fine because that's what her character is all about, but Brooke is just not main roster material. She could very well be worse than Eva Marie, which is certainly saying something.
Braun Strowman def. The Mile-High Trio in a 3-on-1 Handicap Match
Is it bad that Strowman's squashes are one of my favorite parts of Raw on a weekly basis? That and seeing which goofs will fight him next are always awesome. I honestly didn't think I would ever say that. They're fun in the same way Ryback's squashes were back in 2012. Sami Zayn is an interesting challenge for his first feud. Strowman obviously has to win, and as much as I want Zayn to score a real win of these days, he thrives in the underdog role, so this could exceed expectations.
Rusev Attacked United States Champion Roman Reigns
Rusev desperately, desperately, desperately needed to get the upper hand on Reigns, so I was very glad that was what we got here. He has largely been made to look weak during this entire program, so his attack on Reigns in this segment was long overdue. But beforehand, him talking about his family and demanding fans not to boo his mother was comedy gold. Rusev's humor is severely underrated.
Big Cass def. Karl Anderson
Putting Enzo Amore and Cass in a program with The Club keeps them all busy for now, but The Club continue to lose steam. Then again, I'm not even sure if that's possible considering they're basically dead in the water as it is. Someone asked me earlier today whether Anderson could ever be a viable world champion. Although he has the talent, he rarely, if ever, wins on his own, so that might never happen, sadly.
Lita Interviewed Raw Women's Champion Sasha Banks
Between the two, I might have liked Charlotte's promo more, but Banks did very well for herself here, too. She always comes off wonderfully, but I'm already getting sick of them talking about making history the same way I was tired of them shoving the "Divas Revolution" hyperbole down our throats last year. Focus on the feud and less on the history-making aspect of it, please. Other than that, this was solid and it was a unique, welcomed approach for the women.
Brian Kendrick, Drew Gulak and Tony Nese def. WWE Cruiserweight Champion T.J. Perkins, Rich Swann and Cedric Alexander
Finally, we get some sort of clarification as to who and what some of these characters are. Gulak and Nese are heels based off their association with Kendrick, and maybe it's just me, but Perkins seems like he would be a better heel down the line. It's just something about his mannerisms and lack of facial expressions. Anyway, this was a well-wrestled match with Kendrick tagging himself in to get the win being a nice touch.
Holy shit!! What a magical moment this was. As someone who wasn't watching wrestling when Goldberg was around, this was undoubtedly incredible for yours truly. I had my fingers crossed that the crowd wouldn't give him the same lukewarm reaction Batista and Bret Hart received upon their respective returns years ago, and Denver did not disappoint. Everything from the badass entrance to Goldberg showing some emotion to the crowd showering him with praise, this was everything it deserved to be. I was pumped for Goldberg vs. Brock Lesnar when it was initially teased, but after this, I'm anticipating it more than I ever was before. That last line ("You're last!") was an amazing way to close it out as well.
The first hour felt like it flew by with Rollins, Owens and Jericho keeping me thoroughly entertained, though I must admit the next two hours dragged before Goldberg's return. I thought that would lead to Goldberg getting a less-than-stellar reaction, but boy, how happy I am to have been wrong. That was by far the highlight of the show and well-worth going out of your way to see. Everything else was decent albeit weird at times, and next week's go-home show before Hell in a Cell will be crucial in selling the pay-per-view to those who are on the fence about it.
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