RAW Notes: 11/07/2016

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Bereft of the typical British paraphernalia, for the first time in history RAW was hosted by  Glasgow, Scotland.Without Brock Lesnar or Goldberg, RAW was forced to focus the scope of the show on developing the impending inter-promotional matches at Survivor Series.

Results

Rich Swann & Sin Cara def Brian Kendrick & Noam Dar.

The Club def New Day.

The Shining Stars def Golden Truth to become part of Team RAW’s tag team squad at Survivor Series.

Alicia, Bayley & Sasha def. Charlotte, Dana Brooke & Nia Jax.

Sami Zayn def Rusev to become #1 contender to the Intercontinental Championship at Survivor Series.

Kevin Owens def Chris Jericho, Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins & Braun Strowman.

Notes

Over the past two years, Stephanie McMahon has been absent from European tours for various reasons. However, Stephanie, without Mick Foley who was absent all evening, opened the show with a topical presidential related monologue before introducing the four members of Team RAW-Kevin Owens, Chris Jercho, Roman Reigns & Braun Strowman. To no one’s surprise, Stephanie announced Seth Rollins would be the final member of Team RAW at Survivor Series.

After the members of Team RAW bickered, Stephanie threatened Team RAW with their jobs if they lose before storming off. Contrite, Owens and Jericho attempted to form a sense of team cohesion before proclaiming themselves the co captains of Team RAW. Rollins offered his response in the form of a punch before tensions within Team RAW boiled over.

Stephanie reemerged, announcing that tonight’s main event would feature all five members of Team RAW (Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns, Braun Strowman, Kevin Owens & Chris Jericho) facing each other: because nothing breeds unity more than a competitive match in which there can only be one winner.

Rich Swann & Sin Cara vs Brian Kendrick & Noam Dar

Scotland’s Noam Dar made his RAW debut. Dar reached the quarter finals in the inaugural CWC before being eliminated by Zack Sabre Jr. Dar, while possessing a high ceiling, is still very young and is evidently being given a baptism of fire. Sure, debuting Dar in his home country is a sensible decision that elicited a huge ovation, but he is someone that would have immensely  benefited from going through the NXT system.

This was your typical cruiserweight thoroughfare in terms of wrestling, but it was underscored by chants of “ICW” and “DAR DAR DAR” to the tune of the iconic Star Wars music when the debutant was involved. The finish came when Rich Swann pinned the Cruiserweight Champion with a roll up, ensuring Dar lost on his debut. After the match, an indignant Kendrick berated Noam Dar, who then delivered a beatdown to the champion. Evidently, the post-match beat down by Dar was an attempt to placate the hometown crowd and it worked: heading forward, it will be interesting to see where Dar is positioned outside of Scotland.

Whilst Swann’s positioning as a future contender for the Cruiserweight is the best course of action, Kendrick’s loses are piling up, which gives the impression to non-CWC watching fans that the Cruiserweight title has little value: this is an odd way to attempt to establish a new title.

 

A vignette aired hyping the impending Goldberg/Lesnar match at Survivor Series. This match is counter-productive long term: Lesnar and Goldberg, a man who wrestles three/four matches a year and a man that hasn’t wrestled for twelve years, are being presented as the biggest stars in the company despite the fact they are seldom, if ever, seen. Whilst it is true that being kept of television is beneficial, WWE’s over reliance on nostalgia is a recurring theme that actively harms current roster members.

In a backstage segment, Stephanie revealed that she had been invited to SmackDown by her brother. Clearly, WWE wished to get their money’s worth with Stephanie’s flight.

Sami Zayn arrived and began to annoy Stephanie. Stephanie argued that Zayn should not have been given an Intercontinental Championship match against Dolph Ziggler at Survivor Series, which was arranged by Foley over the phone. Stephanie proceeded to overrule Foley’s decision, arguing Rusev should receive the opportunity. Continuing, Stephanie stated the winner of Zayn vs Rusev will get a shot at Dolph Ziggler’s IC Title at Survivor Series. 

 

Enzo Amore & Big Cass, Karl Anderson & Luke Gallows, Golden Truth & Sheamus & Cesaro filled out RAW’s Survivor Series tag team squad. After some banal and drawn out bickering between the teams, the WWE Tag Team Champions arrived to a raucous ovation.

New Day addressed their teammates adorning kilts while channeling their inner Braveheart: WWE can’t resist the temptation to appropriate national cultures. Admittedly, I’m being a little facetious here: this could have been fun if kept short. However, this lasted an eternity. There wasn’t nearly enough material to stretch over twenty minutes.

New Day opined that they could not trust The Club, which led to a non-title match between the two teams to ostensibly settle their differences.

 

The Club vs New Day

Non Title Match

A three hour show is inevitably going to throw up recurring matches. This issue has only been excarbated by the brand split. This match was solid, but something that we have seen countless times: that was reflected in a lethargic response from the crowd. The Club used chicanery to secure the victory following the Magic Killer, but the lack of a response is an indictment of where they are. At this stage, The Club have lost so many times they simply aren’t worth caring about in any capacity.

R-Truth revealed to Goldust that he had traded his team’s spot on the Survivor Series team for an investment in the Shining Stars time-share. Resolutely, Goldust proclaimed he was going to get their spot back.

Another vignette hyped next week’s face to face meeting between Goldberg and Lesnar.

Backstage, JeriKO attempted to recruit Strowman to their side for the main event of RAW. Strowman rejected their offer, declaring that he was on Team Braun before walking off.  In response, Jericho announced that Strowman had made the list (again).

One hour and thirty six minutes into the show and they have both been meaningless.

Golden Truth vs Shining Stars

Winning team becomes the final members of Team RAW’s tag team squad

More earnest than usual, Golden Truth failed to reclaim their position on Team RAW. This was a basic match which was secured by Primo after he used the ropes to gain leverage on a pin attempt.

Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan will be on RAW next week.

Michael Cole battled boos to run down the rules of Survivor Series tag matches before introducing Team RAW’s women’s team. The RAW Women’s Champion, Charlotte, arrived first before Cole introduced Nia Jax, Alicia Fox and Bayley.

Visibly distressed by the deafening chants of “hey, Bayley will you be my girl” to the tune of DJ Otzi’s classic early noughties hit Hey Baby, Charlotte teased announcing Dana Brooke as the final member of Team RAW before Michael Cole prompted her to introduce Sasha Banks. As the chants continued, the women began to bicker between one another in the same fashion as both the male singles team and the tag team squad did. Three hours is an almighty long time and this cut and paste style of creative grows old fast.

Bayley, Alicia Fox & Sasha Banks vs Charlotte, Dana Brooke & Nia Jax

Again, this was a basic tag match. There was two stars here, though. Although Banks had intermittent support, Bayley chants engulfed the arena for the majority of the match. In one night, the crowd made Bayley feel more important than she has done previously on the main roster. The other star here was Nia Jax: she was presented as an indestructible monster and a potential match winner for Team RAW at Survivor Series. Bayley secured the victory after pinning Charlotte with the Belly to Bayley.

Rusev vs Sami Zayn

Winner receives an Intercontinental Championship Match at Survivor Series

Sami Zayn is the consummate underdog: a rarity in professional wrestling. Rusev, despite some inconsistent booking over the past year, was presented as a dominant monster here. Zayn and Rusev are two of the most consistent workers in WWE and that translated into a good tv match founded on the big guy/small guy dynamic. Sami Zayn secured the victory  following a helluva kick.

Given Zayn’s trajectory in recent months, his victory finally gives him some semblance of direction heading into a major show. Zayn’s booking over the past few months has relied upon him remaining over despite regularly losing: this is a risky strategy that has failed WWE more times than it has brought success. Although the crowd was into him here, Glasgow isn’t your typical WWE crowd.

Kevin Owens vs Chris Jericho vs Seth Rollins vs Roman Reigns vs Braun Strowman

In order to increase morale heading into Survivor Series, Team RAW faced each other in a fatal five way. Considering the talent in this match, this was always going to have its moments. However, multi-man matches often appear incredibly contrived at stages due to the format of two in the ring and everyone else on the outside of the ring/laid on the floor/having a nice rest.  This match suffered that fate while struggling for heat in the latter stages.

Like Nia Jax earlier, Strowman was presented as an insurmountable threat to Team Smackdown; Owens and Jericho worked together to dominate portions of the match: no matter what despicable act  they indulged him, the crowd greeted their actions with cheers; Rollins and Reigns briefly worked together in an attempt to vanquish the greater evil: their team work lacked the response that the occasion demanded.

The finish came when a superman punch sent Kevin Owens crashing onto the body of Chris Jericho to allow the Universal Champion to secure the victory. The ingenuity of the finish sewed seeds of doubt in the friendship of Kevin Owens and Chris Jericho heading into Survivor Series on 11/20.

Final Word: This was an angle driven show that served to further establish the tension in the RAW Survivor Series teams.  WWE used the same copy and paste formula of story telling up and down the show: Team x enters the ring, they proceed to argue for an insufferable length of time before they had a match.

Noam Dar and Bayley’s support were the high points in another creatively malnourished RAW.

 

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