Moment of the night?
Daniel DeMarco: Mick Foley’s surging promo during the Charlotte-Sasha Banks contract signing.
Notice I specifically mentioned Foley, as opposed to the segment as a whole. All you had to do was listen to the crowd to know what was going on during that segment. Foley tore the house down with his words and his talent. Sure, maybe the words were hyperbole relative to 2016’s version of WWE, but in those moments Foley’s talent soared above that and reached that genuine level of emotion we seldom see in pro wrestling anymore. Charlotte was close. She did a fine job considering her role in the feud, and her own passion involved in her speech was quite impressive. If only WWE gave her a little better material to work with. Meanwhile, Sasha Banks continues to disappoint as a face on the main roster. It is just flat, especially to those of us who remember her from NXT. She was hugely popular for a reason, but those reasons are largely gone since being twisted up into this attempt of the head babyface of the main roster.
Foley, though, was awesome. The audience was genuinely impressed, and vocalized it for all of us to hear. Absolutely called for.
Riley Kontek: Again, I don’t think there is one. It was another bland night that had nothing really stand out, other than maybe the promo between Charlotte and Sasha Banks. There wasn’t really a standout match outside of Rich Swann vs. Brian Kendrick, which saw the title challenger pinned by a non-title challenger. The Raw writers need to pick it up because the show has gotten pretty boring as of late.
Joseph Nardone: Yikes. This is a tough one because there weren’t a lot of engaging moments. But if forced to pick something, anything, I suppose seeing Rich Swann go over Brian Kendrick was my favorite moment of the night.
I’m of the belief that parity in the cruiserweight division is an overall good, as it adds a sense of not knowing what can happen next. Plus, with it being in its infancy stage, the division needs to try to build as many stars as possible, and do so in haste.
The only way to do that is by doing stuff such as having a then “random” guy beat the No. 1 contender for the Cruiserweight Championship.
Fact or fiction: The women’s HIAC match will live up to the hype WWE has created.
DD: Fiction. Fiction. Fiction.
No way. It can’t. WWE is seriously trying to convince us that HIAC is still the “demonic structure” it once was. But anyone with any sort of understanding of the business today knows it can’t be that, and it never will again. When Mick Foley spent time in the Cell, it was no joke. Those matches were legitimately dangerous and capable of cutting a wrestler’s career down. The things those guys used to do were crazy; and that’s not even including the death-defying spots. But the key words there are, “used to do.” It is for the better of these performer’s health, but it simply can’t live up to the expectations of yesteryear. And that is what WWE is trying to make us believe we are going to get.
Don’t insult my intelligence by trying to get me hyped like Sasha Banks and Charlotte are going to go out there and have this unforgettable, life-and-death war like Undertaker, Foley, Shawn Michaels or Triple H did in the past. It’s going to be a regular title match that happens to have a cage surrounding the ring, and a handful of somewhat unique HIAC spots will be done. That’s it. That’s all that can be in 2016.
RK: Fiction. I am sorry, but it’s even hard for the men to create a great Hell in a Cell match in the current PG model. And let’s be honest, the women work lighter than the men do, so they will have to tell the story psychologically more than physically. Either way, I would assume at least two of these Hell in a Cell matches will disappoint.
JN: Another yikes! All the yikes! Stop making me saying yikes.
Anyway, I’m incredibly torn on this. I think Sasha and Charlotte will put on an excellent match. I’m also of the belief that the two will probably try maneuvers the WWE would prefer they didn’t. But the hype for this bout has been building to an epic level, and — generally speaking — insanely hyped events rarely live to the build.
Despite all of that, possibly speaking more with my heart than with my mind, I will say they will not only match the hype, but surpass it.
How long can WWE keep promoting the Goldberg-Lesnar feud with solo appearances?
DD: Quite frankly, WWE can keep it up until the last minute as far as I’m concerned. Albeit, as long as Lesnar and Heyman step it up after that atrocious “promo” to follow up Goldberg’s return last week. But I actually like the idea of keeping them separate until the eleventh hour. It’s very old school in a good way. Not every feud needs to have run-ins and guys trash talking each other in the ring or from the ramp. Especially for a feud of this magnitude, between such two mega-stars in the business, the names and the solo appearances can be enough. Hell, it already was enough until Lesnar and Heyman stunk up the place with Lesnar standing in the ring doing nothing, and Heyman just throwing a fit over crowd chants. What was that?
Keep it solo until the go-home Raw, and then book an intense segment where these two guys are finally in the same building, but WWE hires a ton of extra security to make sure nothing goes wrong. Of course, something does go wrong and they go for each other, but the mass of security is able to hold them back among many instances where they both break away momentarily, and blah blah blah. You get it. That’s what would make this feud boiling leading into Survivor Series.
RK: It can’t. It made a huge mistake by beginning to promote this match so far out. It now has to carry this program all the way out to Survivor Series, and clearly, WWE doesn’t want physical interaction until then. So, it will waste appearances by Lesnar and probably waste more appearances by Goldberg, unless they take squash matches, which I doubt they will do.
JN: Two weeks ago.
Listen, I didn’t want to see this match at all, but Goldberg did help add a little intrigue to it by cutting the best promo of his career when he came back. But we all know he’s not going to cut those types of promos on the regular.
On the flip side, Paul Heyman is trying like hell to make people care about this match. Sure, he’s the world’s greatest carnival barker, but even he can’t make people want to see the Bearded Lady eat a trey of Dominos.
If I’m the WWE, I would try to figure out a way to write both these guys off TV until we get closer to Survivor Series. Maybe have each beat the hell out of each other to the point they are “injured.”
Anything that gives me less random promo work.