November 10, 2015 by Joey Keogh
We’re in the UK this week, which means a hyped crowd, lots of clever signage and more than a little bit of uncomfortably uncoordinated dancing. Trips opens the show, the fans launching into a rousing “Thank you, Rollins” chant before he can even explain the ludicrously convoluted way in which the new #1 contender for the world heavyweight championship will be decided. The good news is Reigns is going to have to fight for a spot again. The bad news is we have to suffer through that match plus fifteen others of varying quality to get there (highlight: Ambrose v Breeze, lowlight: Reigns v Show).
I haven’t watched RAW in a few weeks so I’m kind of unclear as to how Roman Reigns managed to get a shot at the vacated title anyway – did he, like, collect ten crisp packets or something? Other thoughts I had while watching this opening segment: Trips has a big watch. The New Cena only has a couple lines, thankfully, and they’re mostly about how he suddenly has morals or some shit. Basically, he doesn’t want to be Triple H‘s man because it would mean selling out and if he does that then Henry Rollins won’t invite him over for dinner anymore.
Trips is all like “don’t let some stupid morals stop you from realising your potential”, which is a nice way of saying “you’re not talented or interesting enough to succeed on your own, so take the damn help, cousin of The Rock, ’cause people ain’t gonna be watching Ballers forever”. He also can’t pronounce the word monument, but curries some favour by teasing us with the strategic placement of the belt on Reigns’s shoulder. He’s not seriously going to win it, is he? If he does, I quit. And I am never eating Tayto again. Needless to say, Reigns somehow manages to resist and steps straight into a match with Big Show.
He wins. Shockingly. But don’t think about how insulting it is to have that as an opener because our beloved Kevin Owens is here to explain how this is his show and British people are stupid for believing in the royal family. He insists he’s bringing change to the WWE and, in spite of the fact we’ve just heard Reigns give almost the exact same speech just moments ago, with Owens it’s a lot easier to swallow. When Owens says he wants to hold that title, I believe him. With Reigns it’s like maybe he’ll try it on in the dressing room for a few Facebook selfies before sheepishly handing it back to the sales clerk to fold and hang back on the rack accordingly.
Owens and Titus O’Neill have a decent enough match, trading blows and keeping us on our toes so that it seems as though the latter might actually have a shot at winning, even though we know the Canadian upstart has it in the bag. Owens does win, obviously, but they both come out of it looking good. Backstage, Paige is scolding Renee for making up lies about her. She promises to exterminate the rat known as Becky Lynch and then goes on to kind of do that before eating the loss, flipping out and then putting Lynch in the PTO on the announce table. The entire way through this match, the commentators discuss Roman Reigns. It’s incredibly jarring, and offensive.
The Miz takes on Dolph Ziggler in the next qualifier and suffers a loss, which is kind of surprising given how WWE have gone out of their way to make us despise The Show Off lately. Perhaps this is a turning point for him? Alberto Del Rio appears, with manager Zeb Colter in tow, to deliver some home truths to the UK crowd about how they’re despised around the world and “Germany already tells you what to do” anyway so who cares about them. It’s awesome to have ADR back, even if he does look a bit like a Thanksgiving turkey that’s been left in the oven too long.
More Divas action follows, with Naomi taking on Mominatrix Nattie in a short, but entertaining bout that serves mostly to highlight how deserving the great Sasha Banks is of a match of her own. Still, anything that leaves out Brie Bella and her embarrassingly cheerleader-esque kicks is fine with me. How nice it is to exist in an era of two women’s matches per week on RAW. Now if only we could get two story-lines to go alongside them, we’d be set.
Speaking of ladies, Sheamo takes on Cesaro in a shockingly fun bout that utilises an on-form King Barrett, a super-bored Wayne Rooney, his confused kids and the lamest slap this side of the Bella feud. During the match, Cole insists on explaining the rules of the tournament over and over to us, as though it’s any more complicated than: men fight other men to advance until there are only two of them left. Cesaro wins, which is terrific to see, even if he likely doesn’t have a hope in hell of doing so at the later stages.
Up next, Ambrose is set to take on Prince Pretty himself, Tyler Breeze, in his RAW début match. He dominates, obviously, and the ending is pretty much guaranteed from the moment the two square up to each other in the ring, but that doesn’t make this any less fun to watch. Summer Rae is a delightful addition also, shrieking like a banshee every time her boyfriend gets hit, while Ambrose does his best to put Breeze over, even pausing to pose on the barricade at one stage. He wins, naturally, but not before Breeze makes his mark.
The New Day are here to dance, be outraged and list all of the people they have beaten to date. Many references are made to unicorns before the horns are raised in honour of their fallen brother Seth Rollins. Tonight, they’re involved in that most exciting (not) of matches, a 6-man tag, opposite Neville and the recently returned, but none less irritating, Usos. The New Day can liven up even the most dull of matches, and this one is no different, with Neville‘s acrobatics providing ample support.
Helpfully, The Usos have worn different coloured shoes tonight, so Cole can tell them apart. He still mixes them up, of course, but at least they tried and that’s all that matters. Speaking of trying, Cole’s references to a numbers game are so misjudged they make him sound like he’s learning English for the first time. The New Day steal the win and are joyful. As always. Finally, the Main Event arrives, with Bray Wyatt set to eugoogolize the fallen Undertaker and Kane for some unknown, creepy reason.
First, though, he’d like to extol the virtues of Scientology. Several people join up, which should please our lord and master Xenon The Righteous. Wyatt gets down on his knees and prays for the birds to come find him or whatever only for that dodgy lightning effect from 1992 to invade his space again, bringing with it The Undertaker and his wig-wearing bro whose mystique is ruined by Cole’s non-stop chattering. Wyatt looks like a little boy in comparison to the two massive lads, but is soon flanked by his swampy family after just a quick flick of the lights.
Chaos erupts, with the bros laying waste to the Wyatts only for Brawny Strawhat to stomp all over everyone again, leading to some sort of mish-mash where it’s not quite clear who’s come out on top. Clearly, this is the set-up for Survivor Series and, by the sounds of the crowd, Manchester are all over it. But wouldn’t it have made more sense to save this reveal for the PPV itself? What good does it do reintroducing them now? Are they all going to fight on the go-home show next week, too?
I guess we’re just going to have to tune in to find out, lest our living rooms be struck by lightning that would look garishly out of place on a Metallica T-shirt.