Welcome to the Season Premiere of RAW. As expected on a week where SmackDown relaunches on a new channel and NXT has its first full two-hour live televised show, it’s a big one. Three titles will be on the line, with Seth Rollins facing Rey Mysterio, Dolph Ziggler & Robert Roode taking on Heavy Machinery, and Cedric Alexander receiving a rematch against AJ Styles. One half of the WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions, Alexa Bliss, is in action against Sasha Banks. We’ve got Miz TV with Ric Flair and Hulk Hogan. And Brock Lesnar is gracing us with his presence.
I’m Amanda and this is the RAW review
Sasha Banks def. Alexa Bliss
Dolph Ziggler & Robert Roode def. Heavy Machinery
The Viking Raiders def. The OC
Ricochet def. Cesaro
AJ Styles def. Cedric Alexander
Lacey Evans def. Natalya
♦ We got an elaborate opening sequence for the brand-new season and we have a new 3-man commentary team as well. Vic Joseph, Dio Maddin, and Jerry Lawler replace Michael Cole, Corey Graves, and Renee Young, who have all moved to SmackDown.
♦ Rey Mysterio opened the show and said the match he’s having against Seth Rollins later is down to his son Dominick, who was at ringside. He didn’t get much further than that because Brock Lesnar appeared – complete with pyro! – and came to the ring.
Mysterio snatched the mic out of Paul Heyman’s hand before he could do the intros, and took a couple of F5s. Lesnar stared down Dominick, then wandered over and stood in front of him until he sat down. He turned to walk away, then grabbed Dominick by the head and dragged him over the barricade. He slammed him spine first into the barricade and tossed him into the ring and suplexed him. Mysterio took another F5 after grabbing Brock Lesnar’s leg to prevent him giving Dominick a second German suplex.
Lesnar left the ring and started to walk away the turned back for another German suplex each. Officials swarmed to the ring and Paul Heyman pleaded with The Beast, but Lesnar got back into the ring a third time and threw both Mysterios, Fit Finlay, and another official out of the ring. The crowd were chanting ‘asshole’ by the time Lesnar inexplicably ripped his own shirt off and left.
After the break, we saw Dominick being taken from ringside on a stretcher with Rey Mysterio apologising tearfully.
There were sirens during the first match, indicating Dominick had been taken to a local medical facility, and an announcement that Lesnar was being questioned by the authorities.
Later, more footage was shown of Rey apologising to Dominick, this time from inside the ambulance.
♦ Alexa Bliss vs Sasha Banks was the opening match. Nikki Cross and Bayley were both barred from ringside, but Becky Lynch came to join commentary. Her entrance got her old steam effects and Bliss got pyro (there was pyro throughout the show, it was great). Less than a minute into the match, Banks got up on the turnbuckle to shout at Lynch, no easy feat with the commentary desk on the stage. Lynch got up on the desk to shout back and we went to commercial. When we got back, Lynch was still on the desk, taping her wrists, and the match was going on in the ring. We didn’t see much of it, what we saw was great.
Banks got the pin, then Lynch came down and they brawled until Sasha Banks ran off into the crowd. Lynch called after her and told her she could run away now but come Sunday she’s not leaving the cell until she’s done with her. Banks made it personal, Lynch is going to make it painful.
♦ After a recap of Bray Wyatt/The Fiend’s actions last week, Seth Rollins had an interview. He didn’t allow any questions, just went on a rant about Brock Lesnar’s attack on Rey and Dominick Mysterio. He did say he had no idea how to prepare for Hell in a Cell so he’s going to go into it and prevail. Rey Mysterio can’t compete tonight but has been promised a title match when healthy, but Rollins promised there will still be a title match.
♦ Dolph Ziggler & Robert Roode (C) vs Heavy Machinery – RAW Tag Team Championship match – was a good match. Heavy Machinery are great fun as well as genuinely good. They passed Ziggler between them in delayed vertical suplex position, Tucker put him up and Otis slammed him down. They even got some double team time on Roode and Ziggler and Otis got to do a double Caterpillar. Robert Roode almost took a Compactor, but Ziggler saved the day with a ZigZag and Roode finished it with a Glorious DDT on Tucker.
♦ Miz TV with Ric Flair and Hulk Hogan started with Miz sending his thoughts to Rey and Dominick Mysterio. He had a bit of a mutual appreciation moment with Ric Flair, then brought out Hulk Hogan accompanied by Jimmy Hart. Flair said he’s tired of hearing Hogan’s music and Miz pointed out the Woos have been going a lot longer.
Hogan said it was great to be there and it was great to be in the ring with the greatest of all time, Ric Flair. Flair said Hogan might be recognised as the greatest draw in the history of the company along with Austin and Taker, but Flair has no equal in the ring. They teased an impromptu match, then laughed and shook hands and admitted they’re not spring chickens anymore. The crowd chanted one more match and Hogan said they could add one more page in their legacy. Miz then announced a five on five tag team match for Crown Jewel on October 31 in Saudi Arabia, Team Hogan versus Team Flair with them as the coaches.
Hogan brought out his team captain, Seth Rollins. Rollins said he’s got a lot on his plate but his five-year-old self would kick him in the shins if he didn’t accept.
Ric Flair brought out Randy Orton as his team captain. Orton asked Rollins to crawl out of Hogan’s ass to give him his full attention. He explained they would be picking their teams over the next few weeks, but asked for a champions’ match tonight. Rollins said he was looking for an opponent anyway and they got ready to go.
Before they could start, King Corbin came out. Rollins turned to look at him and Orton attacked him from behind. Corbin joined in and hit Rollins with his sceptre. Rusev came down to make the save. He and Rollins cleared the ring and went to the stage to pose with Hulk Hogan.
Looks like Corbin will join team Flair and Rusev will be on team Hogan.
Backstage, Rusev was asked where Lana is, he didn’t respond. He was also asked what made him return and what were his aims. He said he wasn’t here to talk about his problems at home, he wanted to talk about Seth Rollins problems at work. He was the only one to step up to help Rollins, so he woes him on. He’s collecting. He will be Seth Rollins’ Universal Championship Challenger tonight.
♦ AOP had another promo. They like the violence. I’m looking forward to seeing them back in the ring.
♦ The Viking Raiders vs The OC was good. I have a feeling this is a feud that will rumble on for a while, or one they keep coming back to. The teams are well-matched, and the matches are entertaining, and it gives both teams something to do. The Viking Raiders won this instalment with a frogsplash from Ivar on Luke Gallows.
♦ Cesaro interrupted Charly Caruso giving an update about Rey and Dominick Mysterio and Brock Lesnar. Apparently, Lesnar and Heyman were demanding a chance to explain. Cesaro said he liked what Lesnar did, except he wanted to be the one to beat up Dominick. Ricochet arrived, they argued, they’re having a match.
Ricochet vs Cesaro was great but short. Ricochet won it this time, but I think we’ll see more from these two together. I hope so, they deserve a good long match.
♦ Firefly Fun House killed off Ramblin Rabbit, he died of fear. It was great build for The Fiend’s Hell in a Cell match. See for yourself.
♦ AJ Styles (C) vs Cedric Alexander – United States Championship match – was as strong a match as it has been all the other times they’ve fought recently. Styles was alone this time and remained so throughout. Cedric Alexander looked every inch the superstar, but it was AJ Styles who picked up the victory. He countered Alexander’s lumbar check and delivered a Styles Clash to retain the US title.
♦ The Street Profits used their segment to clear up their future and let people know when they can see them in action. They are still NXT and they’ve got a title match on Wednesday. They did talk about tonight’s show. Montez Ford got scared of Angelo Dawkins saying The Fiend’s name and hyped up Lacey Evans vs Natalya.
♦ Lacey Evans vs Natalya was fine. Evans is really developing her nasty side, with lots of little touches designed to make it look painful. They’ve been working together a bit now, but there isn’t a whole lot of chemistry. There was nothing at all wrong with it, it just felt flat to me. Each to their own. Lacey Evans won with a roll-up after raking Natalya’s eyes, then gave her a Woman’s Right post-match.
♦ John Cena is matching all donations to the Fit Ops Foundation between now and Veterans’ Day, up to the value of one million dollars.
♦ Paul Heyman said Brock Lesnar’s actions were wanton and reckless, and he apologises to Rey and Dominick Mysterio. But we shouldn’t blame him or Lesnar, we should blame Vince McMahon for allowing him to schedule Brock Lesnar on the RAW Season Premiere when they know Lesnar is in fight mode. Heyman got very animated about his ‘spoiler’ that Lesnar is going to beat Kofi Kingston on SmackDown’s Season Premiere on Fox on Friday.
♦ Maria Kanellis had a backstage interview. She confirmed Rusev isn’t the father then walked away. Sasha Banks grabbed the mic and cut a promo on Becky Lynch about what she’s going to do to her inside Hell in a Cell.
♦ Just before the main event match, a Limo was shown pulling in backstage.
Seth Rollins (C) vs Rusev – Universal Championship match – headlined the show. Randy Orton and King Corbin started the match watching from the stage. Rusev apparently got his US citizenship this week and commentary spent a while talking about that and speculating about Lana. The match was really good, but everyone was waiting for The Fiend, or the occupant of that Limo.
Bobby Lashley turned up with a minute of the show left, while Rollins was down outside the ring, and brought out Lana. They had a kiss and cuddle on stage while Rusev looked on, then the lights and sound effects signalled the arrival of The Fiend. This time, he got the Mandible Claw on Rollins, and that was how the Hell in a Cell go home show concluded.
If we pretend that Bobby Lashley and Lana stuff didn’t happen, that was a decent episode of RAW. No idea if the pyro was just for the season premiere, but it did make the show feel special. The new commentary line-up will take a bit of getting used to, and I believe Jerry Lawler is a temporary addition, but Vic Joseph did a great job in place of Michael Cole. Hell in a Cell is always one of my favourite PPVs, and this year looks set to be great, even if the card is a little light so far. The next few weeks should be WWE putting its best foot forward, so it could be a lot of fun.