WWE Raw: The Hell in a Cell Go-Home
October 25, 2016 7:55 AM - Season 25, Episode 8 - Subscribe

We're ready to go for the most over-the-top (sometimes literally) gimmick PPV, with a ridiculous three matches in The Demonic Structure. And the theoretical go-home show gave us little development for it.

Sasha Banks (c) vs. Charlotte for the Raw Women's Championship inside Hell in a Cell: Mick Foley teased that this would be the main event, and as the only one that's really worth HiaC status, we're going to treat it that way. Sasha's going to kill herself, Charlotte's going to try to kill herself, and we can only hope that it doesn't make Vince rethink the whole Women's Revolution idea entirely.

Kevin Owens (c) vs. Seth Rollins for the Universal Championship inside Hell in a Cell: Presumably, the Rollins face turn will be more or less complete, with Chris Jericho getting involved on behalf of his best friend (rumors were that he would be inserted as the guest referee, but that didn't seem to happen as of Raw).

The New Day (c) vs. Cesaro and Sheamus for the Raw Tag Team Championship: TND is chasing Demolition's record for the longest tag team title reign, while Cesaro and Sheamus are trying to capitalize on their best-of-seven series that ended in a tie at Clash of Champions. Is WWE willing to bury yet another tag team just to "punish" Ax and Smash for joining the lawsuit over concussions?

Roman Reigns (c) vs. Rusev for the United States Championship inside Hell in a Cell: Reigns has been in one HiaC match, at last year's PPV, and it was a singularly underwhelming one against Bray Wyatt. Rusev has never been in the Unfriendly Confines. This feud needs to die.

T.J. Perkins (c) vs. The Brian Kendrick for the Cruiserweight Championship: They had so much momentum after the CWC, but managed to squander it just as fast as they did with the Divas Revolution.

The New Jersey Calvin & Hobbes vs. The Bullet Club: The reinvention of the Club as actual bad-asses may start here. Enzo and Cass don't need the win to stay over.

Meanwhile, on the better brand:

Dean Ambrose seems to have settled into more "Wacky Joker" than "Lunatic Fringe" in his feud against AJ Styles.

James Ellsworth's merch is selling so well that he may end up with a contract.

The feud between Bray Wyatt and Randy Orton now includes Kane and Luke Harper, but is anyone really paying attention to the Eater of the Midcard anymore?

Becky Lynch is coming back to face Alexa Bliss, who is basically the best thing anywhere right now.

Baron Corbin got his Talking Smack at-bat and hit it out of the park.

The traditional five-on-five Survivor Series match challenge between the brands has been accepted. No doubt they will all be subordinate to the Lesnar/Goldberg match.
posted by Etrigan (13 comments total)
Haven't watched Smackdown yet but holy moly did Raw fail to deliver on their go-home. Dana vs. Bailey arm wrestling? Enzo beats Anderson? A promo that assumed a Minneapolis crowd would boo Lesnar?

posted by SpiffyRob at 8:38 PM on October 25, 2016

I wondered if they'd really be able to make the Ellsworth stuff last, but the last three weeks have actually been pretty amazing as far as that story is concerned. The storytelling of last night's match was pretty much perfect. When Styles gave Ellsworth the basement dropkick, I was completely along for the ride. "Man, it is so unfair that guys in matches can attack people ringside, but not vice versa!" If the loss of the #1 contender spot actually pulls Ambrose away from Styles for the time being, I'm curious who they'll throw his way. Will there be the title match at SS? I sort of assumed Cena would be captaining Team Smackdown there, and if so, who would Styles defend against?

Smackdown is really benefiting from the timing of the PPVs. I was worried they'd be treading water for a while with such a big gap between No Mercy and Survivor Series, but they've got such a jump on hyping their side of things! And as always, Talkin' Smack is the icing on the cake. Would have loved to hear the production truck yelling at DB through his earpiece as he made fun of Trump and talked shit about HitC. Slater's Puerto Rico stocks thing was a hilarious low-level way to start building story for Survivor Series.

And Renee dropped an under her breath "...Bryan..." as they were coming to a close. Love it.

It was announced they're going to be adding "Talking Raw." We do not need more Raw, and I'd be shocked if it's anywhere near as successful, but depending on who they put on it, it could be alright. I hope they don't try to literally replicate it, because Foley cannot carry a show like that, but, say, Tom Phillips and Corey Graves have great chemistry and could make something interesting out of it.
posted by SpiffyRob at 7:15 AM on October 26, 2016

Okay, now I'm interested in a Bray Wyatt angle, even though I know they're gonna fuck it up.
posted by Etrigan at 8:29 AM on October 26, 2016

I noticed that a few people were actually calling her "Charlotte Flair", and indeed, it's now part of her ring name.
posted by Etrigan at 8:13 AM on October 27, 2016

Two more matches, according to wikipedia:

preshow 6 man cruiserweight tag match
bailey vs dana brooke

If nothing else, I'm pretty damn impressed that we're in a place where RAW gets an 8 match PPV that is 25% women's singles matches and 25% cruiserweight matches.

RE: Smackdown doing better with PPV timing, I also think they're doing better with PPV themes! RAW has gotten 2 "gimmick enforced" PPVs with Night Of Champions and HIAC. Smackdown got two freeform PPVs with Backlash and No Mercy. Smackdown has done far more with the blank canvas than RAW has managed to do with pre-existing constraints.
posted by jermsplan at 2:12 PM on October 27, 2016 [1 favorite]

Well, that was a main event, all right. I think they sold the prematch injury angle a little too hard, but the actual match made up for it.

Reigns/Rusev was boring; Owens/Rollins at least had hijinks, so I'll give it second place for the night.

The Tag Team title match was good enough, and Sheamus and Cesaro are doing unwilling-partners just about perfectly.

TBK/TJP went all right. Enzo & Cass/Club was what it needed to be, and Cass continues to impress with how believably good he is.

Bayley/Brooke... meh.

All in all, the main event wasn't enough to elevate this show above "good episode of Raw". Too much emphasis on too many HiaC matches.
posted by Etrigan at 9:47 AM on October 31, 2016

I really enjoyed the 24 hours where Gallows/Anderson looked strong after winning at HiaC. Shame it went away the next night, but who doesn't love a waaaaaaacky Trick or Street Fight match! Hahaha! Enzo can totally beat Gallows!
posted by SpiffyRob at 9:45 AM on November 4, 2016

Terrance "Rhyno" Gerin got his ass kicked by 23 points in his Michigan Legislature election (but he did better than most Republicans in that area).
posted by Etrigan at 6:15 AM on November 9, 2016

Zayn wins the IC belt and defects to Smackdown, mayhaps? Why else have Stephanie be so out of nowhere mean to him?
posted by SpiffyRob at 3:03 PM on November 9, 2016

Gotta be. Everyone has said all along that he needs to be on a different show from KO to let their eternal feud simmer and burst forth on cross-promotion PPVs. Maybe someone finally got through to Vince.
posted by Etrigan at 4:22 PM on November 9, 2016

Somewhere along the way I clicked on a "Jim Cornette Shoots on X" link while on YouTube. I think it might have been on Goldberg vs. Lesnar.

This led to me getting a lot more "Jim Cornette Shoots on X" suggestions in YouTube, and I found myself kind of enchanted by them.

All of this is to say that the latest episode of The Jim Cornette Experience is (at least the first 22 minutes, so far) him shooting on Trump and anyone who voted for him or didn't vote. It's not nuanced, and I don't agree with a lot of it, but man... it's cathartic.
posted by SpiffyRob at 7:52 PM on November 10, 2016 [1 favorite]

I'm surprised by his opposition to the word "mark", if only because the (admittedly handful of) wrestling fans I know seem to use the word with a sort of pride.
posted by Pope Guilty at 1:37 PM on November 14, 2016

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