A legend returns to the WWE for the first time in over twelve years when Bill Goldberg appears on Monday Night Raw tonight. Paul Heyman issued a challenge on behalf of Brock Lesnar last week to take on Goldberg on a future date. Goldberg’s last WWE appearance coincidentally was a win over Lesnar at WrestleMania 20 that saw both men get booed out of the building in one of the worst high profile WrestleMania matches of all time. Fans apparently want to see them get another chance at it with anticipation for the rematch sinking in. We’ll find out when it happens with Goldberg talking on Raw.
The rest of the show will be focused on the stars of today. We are less than two weeks away from the Raw brand’s Hell in a Cell PPV event. Charlotte and Sasha Banks are making history by being the first women to have a match inside the cell. Kevin Owens will also defend the WWE Universal Championship inside of Hell in a Cell against Seth Rollins in another big match. With extra eyes on the show tonight for the return of Goldberg, WWE has an opportunity to sell these matches to new fans. Let’s take a look at what worked and what didn’t on tonight’s episode of Raw.
5. Dissension between Kevin Owens and Chris Jericho
Kevin Owens and Chris Jericho started the night as best friends but started to show cracks in the foundation of the friendship. Jericho agreed to a match with Seth Rollins to open the show and requested Owens head to the back. The past two weeks have ended with Rollins hitting the Pedigree on Jericho and Owens failing to help. This happened again tonight with Owens coming down to the ring but not stepping in when Rollins hit the Pedigree for the win out of fear.
Jericho was heated backstage yelling at Owens for coming to ringside against his wishes. The moment of truth saw Jericho start to call Owens a “stupid idiot” before holding it back. Stephanie McMahon interrupted the unhappy duo and warned them not to fall for Rollins’ trap. The friendship will continue, but it appears the two are getting closer and closer to breaking up. Survivor Series taking place in both men’s home country of Canada could set up a tremendous atmosphere for a potential Owens vs. Jericho title match.
4. Rusev finally stands strong
The biggest problem in the Roman Reigns vs. Rusev feud over the past few months is Reigns always getting the better of Rusev. It has remained one-sided most weeks and Rusev has lost a lot of momentum. Tonight finally saw the duo of Rusev and Lana stand tall over Reigns. Rusev started a horrible segment showing photos of his various relatives and discussing the strength of the Rusev family.
Luckily, that was rather irrelevant to the story. Reigns interrupted him and started to talk trash about Rusev. Lana slapped Reigns right in the face and that allowed the distraction for Rusev to get a kick in. Rusev then beat down Reigns for the remainder of the segment. Not only did Rusev look strong by finally getting one over on Reigns, but Lana’s presence causing it all was very important. Rusev and Lana are one of the best pairings in WWE. We need more nights like this with them using it to their advantage.
3. New underdog vs. monster feud
Braun Strowman continued his path of destruction by defeating three local talents. The number of jobbers has increased, but the result remains the same. Strowman got on the microphone and demanded better competition. Before he could go backstage to find someone like he promised, Sami Zayn came to the ring to emerge as the surprising next opponent for Strowman. The two stared off until Strowman shoved Zayn out of the ring with one push and walked away.
Zayn was interviewed backstage following the interaction and stated he stood up to Strowman because “no one else was going to.” The underdog character of Zayn from NXT is finally coming to the main roster. This is an interesting modern version of a monster heel vs. underdog face story. Strowman is more athletic than most give him credit for, and Zayn is a special performer that tells great stories as an underdog. Unfortunately for fans of Zayn, Strowman is likely winning this feud.
2. War of words between the women
Charlotte and Sasha Banks did not appear in front of the live crowd or even interact tonight. Both women conducted sit down interviews with Lita about the upcoming Hell in a Cell match. Charlotte played her heel role to perfection stating she is on pace to be the greatest superstar in WWE history, regardless of gender. The arrogance was on display as she claimed Banks is injury prone, and she’ll be able to take advantage of that in the dangerous match.
Banks’ interview was on a different tone with her being the relatable face hero. The happiness of Banks’ desire to make history was her selling point of the match. The Boss wanted it to be known she has no fear entering the cell and is ready to step up for the big moment. This was an interesting route go upon building the match and it worked. WWE should experiment with this more often. Sometimes a passionate interview backstage can do more than a meaningless tag match.
1. Brock Lesnar is next
Goldberg made his big return to a massive ovation from the crowd. The entrance of Goldberg was replicated to his legendary walk to the ring in WCW. We saw his walk from the backstage area but with many wrestlers and various employees cheering him on. The fans welcomed him with various appreciative chants that lasted about five minutes. Goldberg talked about the joy of having his wife and son get to watch him in a ring for the first time.
Following a few minutes of discussing his love of being a superhero in the ring for kids across the world, Goldberg agreed to Lesnar’s challenge. The legend says he has one more Spear and one more Jackhammer left in him. Goldberg vs. Lesnar is all but official now.
Lesnar is advertised to appear next week and we may get the official date of Survivor Series for the match. It is unknown how Goldberg can perform at his current age, but tonight’s segment was awesome. Goldberg came off like a huge star and added an attraction to the current product. The build for Goldberg/Lesnar is off to a tremendous start.
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