Tonight’s episode of WWE Raw is going to be an interesting one. In times where Raw is reaching record low numbers each week, WWE’s response is…well, bring back old guys! Shawn Michaels, Ric Flair, The Undertaker and Brock Lesnar will all be there tonight to…do something. Well, I assume the latter two are going to brawl or have a staredown. The other two, well, I don’t know. They are trying to pop a big rating tonight but they are going to get hammered tonight. WWE is up against Monday Night Football, Game 3 of the ALCS and a new Star Wars Episode VII trailer debuting during the football game. Let’s take a look at our things to look at for this week list:

  • The Undertaker and Brock Lesnar really haven’t promoted this match a lot. I mean, there was a cool video last week, and a Paul Heyman promo before, but it really hasn’t been hammered home. Considering tonight is the go home show for Hell in a Cell, they need to do something to spark interest.
  • Shawn Michaels and Ric Flair will be here…again, doing something. I don’t really know. The rumor is they’re to do a panel on the Brock Lesnar/Undertaker match. That feels like a waste of time.
  • How will WWE World Heavyweight Champion Seth Rollins lose cleanly tonight? Who knows! He is only above Jack Swagger, Rey Mysterio and Magnus in worst title runs right now, only because he’s a fantastic worker. Also CORPORATE KANE IS BANNED FROM WWE TONIGHT BECAUSE. How will Demon Kane interfere, chokeslam Seth, etc.?
  • Rusev. How bad will the burial be tonight? Or maybe nothing’s wrong! Everything’s just fine. Maybe?
  • Bray Wyatt and Roman Reigns will probably have more boring words with one another. Can’t wait for WWE’s great verbiage being spouted out Roman Reigns’ mouth!
  • Some midcard guys will compete. They’ll win or lose. Will it matter?

Monday Night Raw
October 19, 2015
American Airlines Arena – Dallas, Texas

“Stone Cold” Steve Austin opened the show. Yep, that one. The bald one. After reminiscing about his days at the Sportatorium he introduced the man who will face Brock Lesnar at Hell in the Cell, the Undertaker.

Undertaker came out and immediately addressed Lesnar. They emphasized that this was the last battle between them. “The depths of hell will look like the gates of heaven compared to where I’ll take you Sunday at Hell in a Cell” he says. This immediately brings out Brock Lesnar. Paul Heyman says that he’ll take everything away from the Undertaker, much like his streak. Undertaker says that when you fight a man that’s lost everything, he has nothing to lose. He takes off his gear, signaling Lesnar. He got up on the apron like he was going to fight him, but then bailed. Undertaker did his throat gesture to close out the segment. 

They announced during his entrance that John Cena has an open challenge for the United States Championship at Hell in a Cell. Very interesting since that’s his last date before he takes time off, so I’d imagine he’ll be losing the title there.

The New Day cut a promo, saying they might as well be unicorns because they’ve brought magic back to the WWE. That’s for damn sure. They then ran down the local sports guys, saying they were all BOOTY.

The Dudley Boyz and John Cena vs. The New Day

The heels worked on Cnea forever until he finally tagged in to D-Von who ran wild for a bit. Everyone got taken out on the outside, including John Cena performing a crossbody to Big E on the outside. D-Von was distracted, allowing Xavier to roll him up for the pinfall. The roll up continues to be the most devastating maneuver of 2015. Maybe it should win move of the year.

Cena and the Dudleyz took everyone out after, including an AA to Xavier. The rest of The New Day could only watch as Xavier, again, was put through a table. Has either other New Day member been driven through a table? It always seems like it’s Xaver.

They mentioned that Randy Orton was supposed to be at live events in Mexico over the weekend, but never made it. He also didn’t make it to Raw. JBL said his sources told him that the Wyatts attacked him again. This was a weird way to write him out when they did all that build last week. I wonder what’s up.

Dean Ambrose was interviewed by Rene. Didn’t say much other than he was tired of the Wyatts and nothing was going to stop him tonight.

Naomi and Sasha Banks vs. Nikki Bella and Alicia Fox

Michael Cole said during commentary that in their opinion, Team Bella thinks there is no Revolution. Glad they agree with me! This was fine, but it seemed like there were a lot of false finishes teased throughout that made it kind odd. Naomi escaped from the rack attack and tried for a bulldog but got shoved into the turnbuckle and she landed HARD. Not fun. Nikki then pinned her after the rack attack. Maybe this means nothing but Nikki has not lost a match and has pinned everyone clean since losing the title. A coincidence I’m sure!

They went over the angle last week where Kane put himself in the main event. Due to these actions, he is suspended. I thought this would lead to Mean Kane interfering in the main event, but that didn’t happen. That’s very weird; even though they aren’t the main event, it’s still the world title match and both guys should have been here tonight.

Shawn Michaels came out and started talking about the Hell in a Cell. He put over Bray Wyatt and Roman Reigns, as well as Lesnar and Undertaker, are both being contested in Hell in a Cell. He says those two matches are going to steal the show. This brings out Seth Rollins. He says that Shawn was supposed to introduce him but he went off the script. Shawn says he was just having fun. Seth then said everyone says that he’s Shawn Michaels 2.0, but really he’s just better. Shawn then said if he had a nickel for every time someone said they were the next Shawn Michaels, he’d be a billionaire.

Shawn says it’s funny that people want to be the next him, because he never aspired to be like the next anyone, he was too busy being the greatest wrestler in history. Seth says he’s done here and wants to leave. He told the people in the back to play his music. They then proceeded not to. Shawn says he can’t leave because he’s facing Ryback next. Besides, his problem is that people who want to be number two don’t get their music played, but the original does, so play my music. His music then played. Shawn was great here, but boy is it ever obvious Seth isn’t even in the same league as him in terms of promos. Plus, it didn’t help they made him look like a total geek with the music deal.

Ryback vs. Seth Rollins

Seth broke his double-digit losing streak with a pedigree win here, so good for him.

They went over what happened earlier with Undertaker and Lesnar, then what happened last week between Rusev and Summer Rae.

Neville, Cesaro and Dolph Ziggler vs. Sheamus, King Barrett and Rusev

Everyone was good, but no one in particular stood out. One of the standout spots was Neville hitting a great looking tope con hilo to the outside. Ziggler was on the ropes when Sheamus Brogue Kicked him, which allowed Barrett to pick up the win. 

Miz TV with Dolph Ziggler and Summer Rae is supposed to get you interested about SmackDown. Sometimes I wonder what’s worse, a terrible show with bad wrestling and angles or a show where absolutely nothing happens.

Ric Flair came out and introduced Roman Reigns like he was his new best buddy. It’s not gonna work that way. Flair immediately vanished into thin air. Reigns was in the ring when the Wyatts appeared. Erick Rowan, who was not on TV for months and was a babyface the last time he was on TV, was suddenly standing next to Wyatt like the past year had suddenly vanished. Am I in a time warp? I think Michael Cole casually mentioned about someone in a white sheep mask as Roman Reigns was getting two chairs so Reigns and Wyatt can talk. The crowd immediately turned the minute Reigns started talking. Thankfully, they kept this short as eventually they just brawled with Reigns standing tall. This was a mystifying segment for all the wrong reasons. Imagine an Ed Wood movie where a character it replaced by a completely different character and everyone pretends like nothing had changed. This is exactly it.

Seth was backstage but never mind, the wrestling deities that are the Authority have graced us with their presence. But only briefly, because we cannot shine in their excellence for so long. The Authority casually mentioned that it’s not fair to put Ambrose and Reigns against three Wyatts. Shawn Michaels came in and talked Seth into teaming with Ambrose and Reigns because…I really don’t know. Seth continues to be treated poorly — they treating him like a midcard geek jobber who can easily be pawned into whatever they want. It always seems like they’re building towards an Authority/Rollins feud, but then again so many angles have been teased or hinted at this year and never followed up.

Also, they’ve reunited the Shield with zero build in what feels like the lamest way possible tonight. WOOHOO~!

Charlotte vs. Brie Bella

 Look I’ll just be real, I watched the Star Wars trailer during this. This got zero reaction from the crowd for the most part so I’m assuming they were watching it on their phones or something. Did you see Han Solo? Yeah? And the new robot whose name I don’t know yet? 

This match went longer than it needed to be. There was nothing bad, it just felt like the wrong time on the show to put this on. Charlotte won with the Figure Eight. Hey, both the champion and challenger have wins leading to the big show! Man, what a concept.

Paige was interviewed. The gist of it was that someone was behind attacking Natalya on SmackDown and the speculation was that it was her. She denied it, saying it could be anyone ranging from Sasha Banks to Eve Torres to Alundra Blayze. Rene continued to insinuate that Paige was the most likely culprit. Paige then called her Sally Jesse Raphael and “barely Erin Andrews” (less pretty, of course). First, let’s get this out-of-the-way. Second, Sally Jesse Raphael? I barely remember who that is and even back in the day she was like the D-level talk show host next to Oprah and Ricki Lake and everyone else that had a talk show. Does Paige even know who she is?

Mark Henry vs. Kevin Owens

Owens is great as a heel with a spark. Henry is fine in this role as the established guy that loses a lot but at least has credibility because he’s so big. At one point Henry cornered him and said that he’s been a bully for 19 years. I don’t want to recall some of the angles he’s been in for the last 19 years, in all honesty. Owens won quickly with the pop-up powerbomb.

Ryback’s music hit as he made his way to the ring. Owens tried to bail, but Henry took him out on the outside and rolled him back in, allowing Ryback to lay out Owens with a powerbomb. 

Seth Rollins was interviewed and made sure to point out that tonight is not a Shield reunion. This match is designed to prove to Shawn and Hunter that he’s the man, and if Ambrose or Reigns try anything in the ring, he’ll destroy them. Make note of this.

Erick Rowan, Braun Strowman and Bray Wyatt vs. Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins

Sadly this was just a “whatever” match, nothing like the matches they’ve had in the past. Seth bailed during the middle of the match, citing a bad foot. What was the point of all that build, then? Oh right, the rating. We’ll see about that one.

Roman Reigns is tagged in and runs wild on Strowman and Rowan, with Reigns nearly getting the win with the superman punch on Rowan (great return, BTW) when Strowman breaks it up. He puts him in the head and arm choke but Ambrose comes him and smacks Strowman with a kendo stick for the DQ, because this is a Raw main event.

Wyatts end up on the outside. Ambrose does a suicide dive, Roman launches off with a big time crossbody and lays them out, standing tall as the show ends.

Final Thoughts: Overall, this was a memorable episode of WWE Monday Night Raw as WWE pulled out all the stops going head-to-head with The Force Awakens trailer debut, Monday Night Football and the MLB Playoffs. Certainly this episode was better than what we’ve been getting lately even if there were no great matches. 

Fire Pro Podcast Plug: I might as well do this while I have the chance! This week on the Fire Pro Podcast we take a look at our favorite wrestling themes! From WWE to WCW to the territories, overseas and more, we talk about all the themes that we’ve grown to love over the years. Definitely give this a show a shot if you’re a wrestling theme music lover right here, and be sure to subscribe to us on iTunes here!