Last night’s Hell in a Cell 2015 finished off some long-standing feuds giving us hope that tonight’s episode of WWE Raw will feature many changes and new directions. Tonight’s Raw also begins the road to Survivor Series (November 22) — will we see the start of a build towards that show tonight, or will it just be a night of rematches and filler? 

Things to think about for this week’s Raw:

  • Zeb Colter is back, and he has a new client,  WWE United States champion Alberto Del Rio. Are they faces? Heels? What is their association with one another?
  • John Cena’s gone for 6-8 weeks doing…something. We don’t know. Will this be addressed at all tonight on Raw?
  • Roman Reigns has finally beaten Bray Wyatt and we can all move on. What is the next step for John Cena’s heir apparent? Dean Ambrose seemed to hint at something last night involving the two, so that may be a clue.
  • After weeks of being scared and tormented by hocus pocus stuff, Seth Rollins beat Kane clean with no real repercussions. What’s the next step for the WWE World Champion? Will the Authority be nice or mean to him this week?
  • Last we saw The Undertaker, the whole Wyatt clan jumped him and carried him away to close out the show. Where are they going to go with this new, riveting feud?

The greatest people in the universe, our deities of professional wrestling, The Authority came out to start Raw. They took the time here to go over what happened in the main event of yesterday’s show. They were, in fact, nice to Seth this week as they gave him a nice introduction building him all up as this great conqueror of the entire roster as he made his way to the ring.

They talked forever about how Seth Rollins has taken everyone out and now they’re left without a number one contender, so what are they to do? Hunter says they have to earn a shot at the right to lose to Seth. He was about to agree when Roman Reigns comes out and says he’ll be the next number one contender. They had a staredown as they went to commercial.

Cole mentioned that there would be four matches tonight, with winners facing off in a fatal four-way with the winner being the new number one contender.

The New Day came out and asked what the difference was between them and Roman Reigns. They mentioned that not only is his oily hair booty, and that he hasn’t changed his gear in years, but he isn’t a champion like they are. Kofi then said that Harry Potter might as well be in that ring as they’re about to create magic.

Kofi Kingston vs. Roman Reigns

Kofi got a ton more offense than one would think in a match like this. Granted, the New Day is actually way more protected than people realize so maybe that’s why. This was just kind of there for the most part, but did pick up towards the end. Reigns made his comeback and was going for the superman punch when Big E got on the apron. Reigns laid him out with the punch, ducked a Trouble in Paradise attempt and hit Kofi with a spear to pin him.

Miz assembled a group of people to play WWE 2K16. Basically just a plug for the game that comes out tomorrow. Just on a “real talk” note, I’m pretty sure no one got review copies for this game, including the big time publications. That’s usually an indication of trouble. 

The other three qualifying matches for tonight were announced as Neville vs. Alberto Del Rio, Cesaro vs. Kevin Owens and Big E vs. Dolph Ziggler.

Kevin Owens vs. Cesaro

The bulk of this match was Cesaro dominating and looking completely awesome, including hopping over the post to do a senton to the floor and a spinning springboard forearm. Even if he never gets pushed, as long as he’s on Raw having great matches and not looking like a geek, is there really a big problem here? Cesaro was going for the swing when Owens grabbed the rope. Cesaro argued with the ref which bought Owens time to get up, super kick Cesaro then pin him with the pop up powerbomb. Good stuff while it lasted.

Paige was on the phone when Charlotte and Becky Lynch walked in. Paige said she had to hand it to Charlotte in that she was able to beat Nikki Bella. Well, she did. Twice. Charlotte says she really wants to believe her, and says she better not be the one behind the attack on Natalya. Paige again denies that she was the one behind the attack and says she wants to be there for Becky and Charlotte in their match next. Becky wasn’t buying Paige’s act, but Charlotte agreed and they all did the pinky swear.

Team Bella vs. Team PCB

There was not a lot to this match but it was fine while it lasted. Charlotte was being worked over as the crowd were chanting for a Becky tag. She obliged and Becky ran wild for a bit. Everyone was taken out to the floor leaving the two in the ring. Nikki channeled her mentor Misawa and hit a forearm and pinned Becky clean with the Rack Attack.

Charlotte entered the ring to console Becky. Paige took the opportunity to finally do the full-fledged turn, laying out Charlotte with the Rampaige, then the same to Becky. She put Charlotte in the PTO until refs finally broke it up.

Rene interviewed Zeb Colter and Alberto Del Rio. Coulter said, and here’s a dandy of a quote — “Do you remember that song Imagine by John Lennon?” Zeb then said part of that song said imagine no borders, he wants to forget all these talks about walls and stuff and instead the United States and Mexico should exist as one. Therefore, he and Alberto are now citizens of a country called MexAmerica. Alberto said that nothing would get in the way of him becoming WWE World Heavyweight champion again.

Neville vs. Alberto Del Rio

Neville was put in the tree of woe position at one point and tried to escape but del Rio countered with a double foot stomp, then followed that with…a pin. It’s weird he hasn’t won a match with the armbar yet. What’s with that?

Ryback and the Dudleyz vs. Wade Barrett, Sheamus and Rusev

The Dudleyz and Ryback all made a fun comeback, including a trio of meathook clotheslines. D-Von and Ryback went to get the tables when a distracted Bubba was rolled up by Barrett, scoring the pinfall. Cole said that Barrett “stole that one”. Not really. Bubba was distracted, so Barrett took the opportunity. Anyone would do that. Wade took advantage of Bubba not paying attention.

Bray Wyatt came out for a promo. He rambled on about feasting on Undertaker’s soul. Again, good delivery, but not much substance. Bray never addressed where the Undertaker was either, and as usual the announcers weren’t much help. Kane’s music then hit and went after Wyatt, but immediately the wacky graphics appeared and the rest of the group appeared on the apron. Much like his brother last night, Kane tried to fight them off but it proved futile as the four of them were too much for him and laid him out. The Wyatts took Kane and dragged him off to a spooky hallway at the Valley VIew Casino Center in San Diego. This is apparently where the Wyatt Family lives? Maybe I can visit next time I go to the swap meet there. The commentators then mentioned that the Wyatts had TAKEN KANE’S SOUL. These spooky time angles are so lame, as was this, but at least there’s some sort of direction they’re going in so we’ll see what happens.

Dolph Ziggler vs. Big E

Tyler Breeze’s music hit right as they were about to start. Breeze and his new main squeeze, Summer Rae, made their way to their VIP section, complete with fruit, a nice table and everything. They tried to show footage on Smackdown where Breeze attacked Dolph but it stopped and never played. That’s a production gaffe you rarely see on WWE TV. This felt really boring, even though the crowd was kind of into it. Big E went to charge in the corner but Ziggler dodged, sent Big E into the post, then Ziggler followed with the Zig Zag for the win.

Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns were backstage. Ambrose says he’s been here before, you got this. Reigns says it’s not going anywhere and leaves.

The Miz was still playing WWE 2K16 as Stone Cold Steve Austin when he turned around and saw the real life version. They plugged the game one more time. I would really like to think that this was taped last week, otherwise I’d be flabbergasted by how stupid they are in not advertising Austin for tonight’s show. Also what a waste if the latter is true. Why bring people back if you put them in inane cameos like this?  

Fatal Four Way #1 Contender’s Match
Roman Reigns vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. Kevin Owens vs. Alberto del Rio

Lots of brawling around the ring to start. At one point Del Rio and Owens tried to team up, but you know how that ended up going. Reigns hit the superman punch on Ziggler but Del Rio threw him out and got a nearfall. Crowd is really heated for the main event. Del Rio and Ziggler were both laid out and it was Owens and Reigns standing at the end. Owens went for the Pop-Up Powerbomb, but Reigns hit the Superman Punch in mid-air and pinned him to become #1 contender. I thought they’d hold off Seth Rollins vs. Roman Reigns until WrestleMania, guess not!

Final Thoughts: A better show than usual. They seem to be going in new directions, and all they all seem pretty interesting. The goofy supernatural stuff with the Wyatts is just that, goofy, but it seems to be leading to some sort of match at Survivor Series. Reigns/Rollins feels new again after months of not doing it, so the build for that will be interesting, especially if there’s a title switch here. Overall I like a show that has a solid, new direction once the previous big show has ended, and that was the theme of tonight’s show.

Plug: This week’s Fire Pro Podcast looks at the worst wrestling themes of all time. We talk about Terry Funk cutting an album in Japan (and actually singing!), weird cover versions of famous songs that sucked, bury full albums including Be a Man and WWF Aggression, then we go on to talk about our favorite wrestling theme songs of all time to round it off. Be sure to check it out right here and subscribe to us on iTunes if you like what you hear!