WWE RAW REVIEW 17/10/2016: Goldberg's WWE Return!

The art of professional wrestling is one of the most socially active mediums of entertainment across the world. Millions watch men and women grapple for championships, financial success, accolades, celebrity status, and supposed immortality within the squared circle. The Hype Train provides a glancing review of WWE’s flagship show, Monday Night RAW, evaluating the show itself, and then commenting on the good, the bad, and everything else in-between. All aboard.

RAW Review: 17/10/2016

Let’s take a moment to breathe, collect our thoughts, and put RAW into perspective for what it was this week. Goldberg has now infamously returned, which in itself is a moment that will be talked about for years to come, even if his appearance was missing the ingredients that made the wrecking ball that millions who watched WCW and WWE loved. The road to Golberg’s arrival on this 3 hour edition of RAW however, felt like an eternity, because even though there was a diamond in the rough moment, upon said reflections, were are actually feeling quite negative about RAW from this past week, despite there being one moment worth the annuals of wrestling history.

If you were to review our review of RAW, you’d say that we offer nothing but contradictions, because that’s completely true on this occasion. WWE will only want us to remember Goldberg coming back, but perhaps that’s all we will remember given the continued state of grey that the red brand finds itself in, because beside the return – which couldn’t have been repeated anymore by the annoying tone of Michael Cole – this 3 hour offering provided the same lacklustre levels of storytelling and direction as previous weeks.

The overwhelmingly positive aspect from RAW for us was actually a welcome surprise. Rusev’s introduction of his family actually helped drive the feud with Rusev even further, to the point where the WWE must know that they have been booking the Bulgarian Brute as the good guy, and Rusev as the domineering heel who is knocking down everything Rusev does. Compared to the offerings from the rest of the roster, which we’ve seen before – we mean, how many times can Jericho and Owens cut the same promo against Rollins, with the Architect providing the same response before you believe you’ve just been watching RAW on repeat for the past month. Rusev’s family introduction with Mama and Papa Rusev was unintentionally good television, whilst Roman Romans even provided a good commentary of Rusev looking like the family dog.

In contrast, the bad from the show (at least in our eyes) is a lengthy troll, but one we can dissect with the same point about television production and value. To keep an audience interested and invested, they have to drive the product forward, and besides the teasing between Jericho and Owens, and the build up to Goldberg against Lesner, RAW exists as a toxic and delusional case of déjà vu, producing near identical replicas, each as more tiring as the next. RAW’s not even promoting the correct pay-per-view, with Survivor Series taking a lead, instead of you know, Hell in a Cell.

The biggest flaw to RAW was that the 'New Era' tag well and truly taking a backseat, putting the Cruiserweight division on the back burner to facilitate a 49 year old wrestler well past his prime.

Yet, we are oddly excited, not for Hell in the Cell, but given the wider length of RAW heading into the Survivor Series and the New Year, if they can get it right, it’ll change our tune of red brand in a positive direction.

RAW Results: 17/10/2016

Seth Rollins defeated Chris Jericho

Golden Truth and Mark Henry defeated the Shining Stars and Titus O’Neil

Big E defeated Sheamus

Bo Dallas defeated Neville

Dana Brooke defeated Bayley

Braun Strowman defeated the Mile High Trio

Big Cass defeated Karl Anderson

Brian Kendrick, Drew Gulak, and Tony Nese defeated T.J. Perkins, Rich Swann, and Cedric Alexander

Next on Pay-Per-View: WWE Hell in a Cell (Sunday October 30th 2016)

WWE Universal Championship: Kevin Owens {c} vs. Seth Rollins (Hell in a Cell Match)

WWE United States Championship: Roman Reigns {c} vs. Rusev (Hell in a Cell Match)

WWE RAW Women’s Championship: Sasha Banks {c} vs. Charlotte (Hell in a Cell Match)

WWE Cruiserweight Championship: TJ Perkins {c} vs. Brian Kendrick

WWE RAW Tag Team Championships: The New Day {c} vs. Sheamus and Cesaro

The Good…

Rusev was actually our Star Man, finally taking the accolade away from Jericho and Owens. His segment on RAW actually developed his feud with Roman Reigns and was different to the same old storytelling from RAW’s creative writing team.

Jericho and Kevin Owens’s altercations throughout the show were brilliant. Jericho even made a reference that KO was a ‘good’ friend, rather than a best friend, helping to slowly seed their eventual feud for the Universal title.

Goldberg’s return was a moment to remember, even if he didn’t do anything of real conviction. The true art was selling the angle about why a rematch with Brock Lesner mattered.

The tag team feud with Sheamus and Cesaro and The New Day has hit the right notes of humour that WWE like to convey, but the match itself was nothing special. Here’s hoping this is developed in the coming weeks.

The Bad…

Sami Zayn’s feud will end just as badly for the Underdog from the Underground as it’ll end for Rick and his group of survivors this Sunday on the season 7 premiere of The Walking Dead.

The Cruiserweight 6 person tag team match was mostly eaten up by a commercial break, and thus lost the audience that don’t simultaneously watch RAW on the Network during the commercial break. Bad move and made the division look week.

The direction of the Cruiserweight’s barring the feud for the title between TJ and Kendrick, is directionless. No story, no introduction, nothing.

To make matters even worse, that Cruiserweight match was the main event…

It was painfully obvious that Bo Dallas was going to turn on Curtis Axel.

Anderson and Gallows, the poo guys, have once again been treated like ground beef on RAW, and thrown to the wolves yet again. Absolutely buried by Big Cass (and Enzo), a duo who were enduring a losing streak of their own.

Bailey keeps losing, and to Dana Brooke of all people… Who is booking this show?

Dana is legitimately scary to watch, as she provided another awful botch in her match. Just end the slaughter.

Perhaps the worst part of RAW came in the form of the endless vignettes for Goldberg. Not the video highlights as such, but more the constant reminders from Michael Cole, telling us over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over again that Goldberg was returning on RAW.

The Shining Stars were on a hot streak until they weren’t – for whatever reason. Now they’re on the losing end of a match with The Golden Truth and Mark Henry.

We hate to keep doing it, but how generic was Sasha’s promo on RAW? Considering she claims to be a ‘boss’, we saw nothing more than a pretty face spouting the same vanilla we’re used to with the Women’s division. No cutting edge and just boring.

The weed references from The New Day was just classless.

Everything else in-between…

Goldberg’s return was very well done, but it wasn’t the Goldberg fans in the attitude era and before came to know. Instead of beating people up, he was running his mouth.

Without Goldberg, it’s interesting to see how people would have rated RAW this week. We’re under the impression that it was a genuine improvement, but its glaring flaws are still visible.

Next week we are getting a large portion of Hell in a Cell for free… The tag match and a Triple Threat featuring Owens/Jericho/Rollins next week? Not good for long term business.

3 matches will be contested in Hell in a Cell next Sunday, far too many.

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