Monday Night Raw controls all the cards, having the next brand-only pay-per-view. After that, the two shows come together for Survivor Series in Canada.
Last night represented the first Raw where the red brand had all the eyes on itself. Add to that the fact of Hell in a Cell being the next PPV, and it becomes a little more interesting. Two weeks ago, the first cell match was announced. Roman Reigns would defend the United States Championship against Rusev inside the structure. Rumors began to circulate about what the second cell match could be, including a potential women’s match.
Last night on Raw, we got the answer to that question and a whole lot more, as the road to Hell in a Cell continues.
As usual, there was still some moments of the show that could have been done better. Let’s rebook this week’s edition of Monday Night Raw.
Hell in a Cell
A major concern with the brand split and all of these brand exclusive pay-per-views was the concept of over-saturation. Too many Network Specials causes them to not feel as special. Even the Big 4 are starting to lose their allure.
On Monday, Raw took it to a whole new level. The Hell in a Cell event means there will be cell matches. We knew of one, and there are usually two on a show. So, fans were expecting a second one to be announced shortly. The Universal Championship was a safe bet, and the women’s championship was in the mix.
What did Raw decide to do? Make three cell matches for the upcoming show. A gimmick that once signaled the end of a feud or rivalry, has now become a commonplace event that happens every October. It makes the cell not seem so menacing. Having three matches take place inside the cell doesn’t make the Hell in a Cell concept feel important.
The women’s rivalry deserves it, and Rusev vs. Reigns certainly deserves it more than the Universal Championship. Would it have been so bad to keep the Universal Championship out of the main event slot, and let the women close the show? SmackDown just let its main event feud open a PPV, so the precedence is there.
Seth Rollins and Kevin Owens can have their place as the last match before the main event, and they can do a wonderful job with their feud and it doesn’t need the cell. Rusev and Reigns need it. Charlotte and Sasha Banks need to finish their business inside that cell. Not just for the history, but for all that has happened between them over the past couple of months.
Over-saturation will make a moment like Sasha vs. Charlotte not feel as important, because everybody is fighting in a cell.
The mixed tag team match
Rusev, Roman Reigns, Charlotte and Sasha Banks got very familiar with each other last night. All four Superstars were involved in the opening segment of the show, and that was only the beginning of their night. There’s no issue here with the mixed-tag match set up between these four, because it was an awesome idea and was executed well. The issue is with Charlotte and Rusev teaming up, after both ladies ganged up on the former U.S. Champ before Reigns came out.
Charlotte got visably upset with Rusev, and rightfully so, because of his comments about their revolution and it not mattering. So then why would everything be OK when they teamed together? Why, if the end result was a tag team relationship between those two, would they have they bicker in the first place?
Rusev could have very easily directed his attack at Sasha, with Charlotte jumping in and the heels ganging up on the champion. Enter the help of Roman Reigns, and everything makes sense. They tried to fix this with the backstage segments between Lana and Chalrotte, but something still didn’t feel right. And that feeling all started with the opening segment. That set the tone for the rest of the night, and their match. That’s where things have to be done correctly. Last night, that didn’t happen.
Braun Strowman threatened Raw General Manager Mick Foley last week, saying that if Foley didn’t provide Strowman with real competition, it wouldn’t end well. Foley’s response, apparently, was to send two guys out to face Strowman in a 2-on-1 handicap match. Just like every other week, Strowman destroyed this competition. Following the match, he got on the microphone and repeated the same threat.
From a storyline standpoint, it’s weird for Strowman to make that threat and then just delay it another week. Also, from a character standpoint, this is starting to hurt Strowman’s character. Fans are sick and tired of seeing him face enhancement talent. They want to see this monster of man face off against a known name. While that name probably ends up being The Big Show or Mark Henry, it’s a heck of a lot better than random no-names that the fans can’t real get behind.
Whoever the WWE has lined up to face Strowman next could have come out tonight, and answered that threat. It wouldn’t have hurt Strowman at all. He’s a Superstar without a feud. Giving him one immediately makes his segments matter just a little bit more. Instead, week after week rolls by and Strowman still beats jobbers, while the fans care less and less each time.