Moment of the night?
Daniel DeMarco: There was nothing special about this show in the slightest. It was just a show. I guess I’ll give the honors to Paul Heyman. He had the crowd eating out of his hand, chanting what he wanted them to when he wanted them to. Obviously the promo was just a big sales pitch to get people’s anticipation boiling. But Heyman pulled it off well, creating admiration for Goldberg’s legacy in pro wrestling. Sure let’s say that. WWE did it right too, making Heyman’s appearance a last-minute surprise sort of thing; making it seem like this is still a process in the planning stages.
Travis Wakeman: I actually liked the way this show began. It wasn’t your conventional “opening” to Raw and I like Rusev being the one to interrupt the women. That led to a good segment in the ring and I really liked the interaction between Lana and both Charlotte and Sasha Banks. I wasn’t a big fan of Charlotte and Sasha “teaming up” to take out Rusev, but the rest of it was pretty good, up until Roman Reigns came out.
Riley Kontek: Seth Rollins beating Chris Jericho to keep the main event one-on-one. Adding Jericho just wouldn’t seem right, as a singles Hell in a Cell match between Rollins and Owens is the way to go. It also advances the storyline that there may be a schism between Jericho and Owens. They have been the most entertaining duo on Raw since they were put together, and a rivalry at the end of their friendship could be money.
Joseph Nardone: Because most of the show was an absolute disaster, Seth Rollins vs. Chris Jericho gets the nod by default. The backstage interview segment with Y2J and Owens was a second-place finish, but in-ring work will always trump comedy promos.
It was a good, lengthy match. With the rest of the show being up and down at best, and even though the outcome of the match was never really in question, it is always nice to consume some quality scripted violence.
Jason Hall: I’m going to say the opening segment. The fact that two female Superstars gave a top male heel his comeuppance was huge, especially considering it was Rusev. But then, for whatever reason, WWE decided to book Charlotte as his tag team partner, which made no sense.
Fill in the blank: Booking a Hell in a Cell match between Sasha Banks and Charlotte is _______.
DD: A complete misuse and diluting of the Hell in a Cell gimmick. To be fair, the gimmick has already been pretty much destroyed. As soon as WWE decided to start booking Hell in a Cell pay-per-view events, the match lost the vast majority of its special appeal. But booking matches like Sasha Banks vs. Charlotte to take place in the HIAC, just because, is a further waste. The cage used to mean something. It used to be for the most bitter blood feuds or feuds entirely built around the storyline of one wrestler always managing to squeak away victories and get away by cheap circumstances.
Putting the two women in there makes zero sense in a storyline aspect. WWE just wants to be able to book something with a genuine “first time ever” gimmick. It is why having a PPV called Hell in a Cell is just a bad idea from the get-go — because you’re forced to put whatever decent feud you have going on inside there to match the occasion.
TW: Innovative. I’m always a fan of making history and the fact that there’s been very few hardcore women’s matches, let alone a Hell in a Cell match, is unique. I’m not sure why someone wouldn’t want to see this, unless they’re concerned for the safety of Sasha and Charlotte. But for quite some time now, we’ve been hearing about this “revolution” and how women’s wrestling is becoming a bigger part of the show. I feel like this is a perfect way to put that on full display and show the world what these two are capable of. I truly believe we’ll see something special here.
RK: Smart. The WWE is all in on gender equality, even though I just cannot imagine a Hell in a Cell match that Sasha and Charlotte can have that would be anywhere near as physical or violent as the men can have. It is going to take some serious magic from both ladies to get this match over and make it memorable. The margin for error is thin.
JN: Smart, but with a risk attached, obviously.
It is good the WWE continues to give the women’s platform a larger platform. By putting them in a HIAC match, it is legitimizing the division even more and giving Charlotte and Sasha yet another chance to steal a Network Special.
What’s the risk? Well, if it turns out to be a dud a lot of the naysayers will point to it to say the division hasn’t come that far after all.
Here is what I do know: This match will likely be booked differently than a men’s HIAC match. At the same time, the latter’s version hasn’t exactly been great (save for Undertaker vs. Shane) the last few years. Expectations for any HIAC should have shrunk by now. So, if we can remove the pretense that it is “fall off the top of the cage or bust,” I think we are in store for a fun match.
JH: Good. I get that there’s some flaws to it but the overall feeling is that it will put them on an even playing field with the male Superstars. The fact that there’s even doubt shows you that there are still some who view the women’s division as somewhat of a novelty act or change of pace from the male matches.
Brock Lesnar vs. Goldberg II in 2016… Yay or nay?
DD: Yay, I guess. It’s fine. It will undoubtedly be the most anticipated match on whatever card it takes place on (Survivor Series is what the insiders are saying). It’s cool that WWE managed to make nice with Goldberg and set up something unique, especially for Brock Lesnar who needs that kind of thing the most. I’ll certainly watch it and look forward to it as well, but I will try my damnedest to reserve my expectations. It can’t live up to the expectations us wrestling fans are bound to put on it. It didn’t when these men were 12 years younger in 2004, and it especially won’t now. Let’s just hope WWE, Lesnar and Goldberg work really hard on booking and planning this match to get the most out of it as possible. Extenuate the positives, and hide the weaknesses. It cannot be the titanic battle we picture in our wildest wrestling fantasies, but it can still be something fun.
TW: Yay, easily. I’m a Brock Lesnar fan. As big as you’ll find and have been since even before he debuted in WWE. I’ve always been happy with pretty much everything he’s done, but his loss at WrestleMania 20 to Goldberg is one I’ve always hated. I want Lesnar to have a chance to get that one back and I can hear the detractors now talking about Goldberg’s age or his long hiatus from the ring and the business, but none of that matters to me. Both guys still have two of the biggest names the industry has ever seen so count me in, I’ll watch it wherever and whenever.
RK: I will go with yay, just because it allows Goldberg to make his return and try to erase the memory of their WrestleMania encounter. Lesnar needs competition and he’s basically run through the whole roster. So, they go to a man that has a peg up on him from a long time ago. It should make for a big match that attracts the eyes of the fans.
Goldberg wasn’t over during his original run with the WWE, but now he is supposed to be? Also, some of the IWC has turned on Lesnar for winning too much (especially in the fashion he does). So, jam two polarizing guys into one match and we are expecting what to happen?
Also, I feel safe in saying Goldberg probably stinks in the ring at this point and that Lesnar’s three moves won’t be enough to carry the match.
Listen, and I say this with my heart full of optimism, I’d rather watch Marty Jannetty come out of retirement to wrestle the decomposed corpse of The Big Boss Man than this garbage.
JH: Yay in terms of name value. But why should we believe a match that was booed out of Madison Square Garden more than a decade ago will be any better now? Especially with Goldberg having not wrestled since. It will be cool to see the Goldberg entrance again and the build-up, but I’m not too optimistic of the actual match. Plus I’m starting to get tired of the Suplex City matches even though they are the only logical way to book Lesnar.