The final episode of Raw before Survivor Series takes place tonight with a huge slate of things scheduled for the big PPV. Goldberg vs. Brock Lesnar is the attraction match the card is centered around. Tonight is the first time Lesnar and Goldberg are advertised to be in the same ring together since WrestleMania 20 all the way back in 2004. Goldberg and Lesnar have appeared in rotating weeks and tonight’s showdown could bring in both ratings and new interest for the excitement behind two legends facing off. There are also many important matches featuring the active in-ring performers.
Smackdown Live’s General Manager Daniel Bryan and Commissioner Shane McMahon are appearing on Raw to help build the five brand rivalry matches. It will be interesting to see if any of the Smackdown wrestlers appear along with them. Sami Zayn has a chance to bring the Intercontinental Championship to Raw when faces Dolph Ziggler on Sunday. The Brian Kendrick is defending the entire cruiserweight division with his match against Kalisto dictating which brand the cruiserweights all work on. Most importantly, the three Raw vs. Smackdown Survivor Series elimination matches all have intricate stories going on. We’ll take a look at what progressed the most on tonight’s edition of Monday Night Raw.
5. Enemies united
The opening segment of Raw featured Commissioner Stephanie McMahon and General Manager Mick Foley talking to all of the competitors representing the brand in various Survivor Series matches against Smackdown Live. Roman Reigns and Kevin Owens were forced to team together against Sheamus and Cesaro. Seth Rollins, Chris Jericho and Braun Strowman were also placed together in a match against The New Day. There was going to be potential changes to the five man team if they couldn’t work together.
Owens and Reigns argued for a good part of the match with Owens tagging in towards the end against Reigns wishes. Still, Roman did what was best for the team hitting Sheamus with the Spear and putting Owens on top of him for the pin. Strowman dominated the six-man tag giving himself, Rollins and Jericho the victory over New Day. Rollins however hit Jericho with a Pedigree following the match but no changes were made to the team.
4. Raw women stand strong
The Raw women’s team for Survivor Series was also forced to team with unlikely partners in an attempt to get on the same page. Heated rivals Sasha Banks and Charlotte Flair teamed up against united enemies Nia Jax and Alicia Fox. Bayley did guest commentary at the announcer’s table during the match. It ended with Banks and Flair picking up the win when Banks tapped out Fox.
There was less story progression with the women than the men. Bayley entered the ring after the match trying to keep peace between the team. That is likely going to be the main story on Sunday with the lovable newcomer hoping to rally the rivals to stay on the same page. The dissension on each team is very interesting on the women’s side of things for Raw and Smackdown Live. Survivor Series should provide entertainment and set up the future programs for both brands.
3. Both shows need a shakeup at Survivor Series
Sami Zayn challenging either Dolph Ziggler or The Miz for the Intercontinental Championship and The Brian Kendrick vs. Kalisto determining which show gets the cruiserweight division provide the two matches with an actual long term effect on the product. Tonight’s episode of Raw proved the cruiserweight division is just not working on Raw. Kendrick and Sin Cara had a match that meant nothing on the show. The Smackdown Live roster and booking philosophy will benefit the division way more.
On the flip side, Raw would likely benefit more from having two midcard titles. The three hours needs a lot of credible content that fans want to see. Zayn having the Intercontinental Championship would add to Roman Reigns as United States Champion and Kevin Owens as three champions fans care about one way or the other. Raw is just not the show to experiment with new concepts that need a lot of time. The potential of the Intercontinental Championship and Cruiserweight Championship trading shows may be what is needed to add some more excitement to each Raw and Smackdown Live.
2. Goldberg is the man
The first in-ring confrontation between Goldberg and Brock Lesnar saw Goldberg emerge as the overwhelming fan favorite heading into Survivor Series. Paul Heyman tried to run down Goldberg with a wall of security in between the two monsters. Goldberg told him to shut up multiple times. Lesnar and Heyman threatened Goldberg that his family would witness him get decimated by Brock on the big stage.
The segment ended with Goldberg and Lesnar taking out various security guards and the fans showing great excitement in seeing them collide. Goldberg welcomed Lesnar in the ring for battle but Brock walked out of the arena making everyone wait for Sunday. The fan interest in Goldberg is highly impressive. Goldberg appears extremely passionate to add to his legacy and make his family proud. Lesnar said nothing and looks rather disinterested compared to Goldberg. Hopefully Brock can bring the action at Survivor Series because he is getting exposed in comparison to Goldberg’s passion.
1. The war is on
The closing segment featured Stephanie McMahon and Mick Foley having a verbal battle with Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan. Of course this culminated in Kevin Owens, Chris Jericho, Roman Reigns, Braun Strowman and Seth Rollins entering the ring to corner Shane and Bryan. The Smackdown team invaded the arena with AJ Styles, Dean Ambrose, Randy Orton, Bray Wyatt and James Ellsworth joining Shane.
Both teams insulted each other on the microphone for quite some time. Owens and Jericho picking on Styles and Ellsworth was the high point of the segment. Things escalated quickly with everyone fighting in the ring and exchanging moves. Team Raw took control when Rollins and Reigns got on the same page for the first time since The Shield ended.
Rollins and Reigns powerbombed Styles outside of the ring onto the Smackdown Live team. Raw stood tall to end the show. This was highly effective with the brand split finally paying dividends by the cool dynamic of both teams battling it out for pride.