Pro Wrestling

10 Things That Happened On Raw – 10.26.15

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With Hell in a Cell settling many ongoing feuds, and John Cena off on a mysterious vacation, the door was wide open for everyone to step up on Raw. Conveniently, Seth Rollins needed a new #1 Contender to the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, so the entire evening was given over to a series of matches designed to determine his next opponent. With everything on the line, a wide array of Superstars brought their “A” games in an attempt to earn their way into the main event of Survivor Series. Also, Bray Wyatt needed to explain exactly where he put The Undertaker after carrying him off last night. Yes, a lot of things happened on Raw this week, and here’s a list of the most important ones!

10. The Authority Likes Seth Again

You could probably be forgiven for thinking that, despite being their hand-picked Champion, The Authority didn’t particularly care for Seth Rollins. For months, they’ve done nothing but yell at him, dismiss his concerns that their Director of Operations might be trying to kill him, and set him up in seemingly impossible title defenses. But it was all a test, you see, and by remaining champion after facing a gauntlet involving Randy Orton, Brock Lesnar, John Cena, and (sigh) Kane, Seth has finally won their respect and admiration. You know, unlike the other times where they only pretended to like and respect him. Yes, it turns out, this was the plan all along, and Seth Rollins really is The Man, the chosen one of The Authority, and has their full support. For this week, at least, because it’s possible they may not be so supportive once Seth starts complaining about who he has to face at Survivor Series. But first, of course, they have to determine just who that is going to be.

http://www.wwe.fr/photos/2015/10/27/roman-reigns-defies-the-authority-photos;jsessionid=E92A26DC764FE289B4769D411C73F274?r30_r1_r1:page=8 Source: WWE.fr

http://www.wwe.fr/photos/2015/10/27/roman-reigns-defies-the-authority-photos;jsessionid=E92A26DC764FE289B4769D411C73F274?r30_r1_r1:page=8 Source: WWE.fr

9. A Strong Tournament Field

Unlike tournaments that don’t really matter (we’re looking at you, impromptu King of the Ring from this year), determining the #1 Contender requires that everyone involved at least be plausibly deserving of their place. So, in a shocking display of both continuity and good planning, WWE assembled all the wrestlers who were victorious the night before at Hell in a Cell (except for Brock Lesnar, who presumably is back in Minnesota, hunting meat for the winter) and put them in matches against each other, with the winners all facing off in a fatal four-way match at the end of the night (fortunately, there were exactly eight winners available, or things might have become awkward). As a result, the field including every secondary champion (Alberto Del Rio, Kevin Owens, and The New Day), as well as perennial contender Dolph Ziggler, and fan favorites Cesaro and Neville. That’s a strong list of contenders no matter how you slice it.

http://pl.wwe.com/broadcasts/raw Source: pl.wwe.com

http://pl.wwe.com/broadcasts/raw Source: pl.wwe.com

8. The Formation of Mexamerica

Speaking of the new United States Champion, the returning Alberto Del Rio has aligned with Zeb Colter (and his gigantic motorized wheelchair) to form Mexamerica, which is a nebulous concept that seems to involve Zeb, a noted xenophobe, being okay with Del Rio (and by extension, Mexico) for vague and probably specious reasons, but still not being thrilled with anyone from any other country. Well, it’s not like the Real Americans didn’t originally involve a guy from Switzerland, so at least WWE tried to explain the plot hole here. The fans seem unsure how to deal with Del Rio, because they’re clearly happy that somebody ended John Cena’s reign of terror, but a bit wary of, you know, the racism. Still, the concept of Mexamerica is amusing and mostly harmless, for now, and Del Rio is clearly a bit more motivated than he was when he left, making it a net gain in terms of entertaining television.

http://www.wwe.com/shows/raw/2015-10-26/neville-vs-alberto-del-rio-photos Source: WWE.com

http://www.wwe.com/shows/raw/2015-10-26/neville-vs-alberto-del-rio-photos Source: WWE.com

7. PCB Breaks Up…Again

So, despite Paige switching between good and evil as the plot requires for the last month, Charlotte and Becky still believe that this time, her apologies are real and she’s totally got their back. Then, to the surprise of absolutely nobody, Paige turns on them (again) and lays them out with brutal attacks. On the bright side, this feud can finally move forward and maybe put the focus on Divas who aren’t The Bella Twins. Although Team Bella did actually win that match and will probably try to claim that Nikki should be #1 Contender again, so be ready for that. In addition, Paige versus Charlotte is not a match we’ve actually seen a lot of, because Paige was on her way out of NXT as Charlotte was rising to prominence. Sure, we’d all love to see more Sasha Banks (and where the heck was Team BAD all night?) but we already know that whenever she and Charlotte (or Becky) face off on Pay Per View it’ll probably be great. We should give Paige and Charlotte a chance to have their own series of great matches, especially Paige, who has waited so long for an opponent that actually might be on her level, wrestling-wise.

Also, the RamPaige DDT is the kind of brutal finisher that makes for a really good heel.

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6. The Consolation Prize

Remember that whole thing we said early about surprising competence and forethought in setting up the #1 Contender tournament? Well, it carried over to the match involving The Dudley Boyz and Ryback facing Sheamus, Rusev, and Wade Barrett. On the surface, it’s just another throw-away six-man tag match, like so many we’ve complained about wasting time on Raw before. But this match actually did have a story behind it, relayed by the announce team (in between their usual inane chatter, but it was there). All six men in this match were on the losing end at Hell in a Cell, and were upset that their failures meant that they couldn’t be a part of the tournament and have a shot at becoming #1 Contender to the WWE World title. As a result, they decided to face off against each other so that they could at least win something and not be complete losers. It was a simple idea that completely explained the match’s existence on Raw, and it gave everyone involved a reason to try really hard to win a match that, in the past, has had no stakes at all. And just look at how happy it made Wade Barrett to get that win for his team.

http://www.cagesideseats.com/wwe/2015/10/27/9619640/wwe-raw-results-recap-reactions-oct-26-2015-roman-reigns-seth-rollins-hell-in-a-cell-fallout Source: cagesideseats.com

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5. Bray Wyatt Cleans Out The Deadwood

Finally, after far too long, WWE seems to have gotten serious with Bray Wyatt. No longer the bumbling cult leader who cuts vague, somewhat rambling promos but never actually succeeds at anything, Wyatt and his minions have suddenly evolved into something a lot more dangerous with their actions both at Hell in a Cell, and last night on Raw. By appearing to eliminate both The Undertaker and Kane from the equation, the Wyatt Family becomes one of the largest threats to any WWE Superstar on the roster. They’re all big men, they’re united in a singular vision, and there’s a lot more of them than there are of any other group currently operating. Also, if there’s any truth to Bray’s statements that he has absorbed the “souls” of the most powerful supernatural forces in WWE, things could be about to get really dangerous for anyone standing in their way. Could this be establishing Bray Wyatt as the next big threat to the entire WWE? Or are we just being set up for the reunited Brothers of Destruction making one more run? In any event, the way things are currently playing out is intriguing, with more questions than answers, and that means that we have no idea what might happen next, which is definitely a good thing.

http://www.wwe.fr/videos/2015/10/27/alberto-del-rio-breaks-his-silence-raw-october-26-2015 Source: WWE.fr

http://www.wwe.fr/videos/2015/10/27/alberto-del-rio-breaks-his-silence-raw-october-26-2015 Source: WWE.fr

4. Here To Show The World

With John Cena on vacation, Randy Orton having shoulder surgery, Undertaker and Kane trapped inside Bray’s secret smoke dimension, and Brock Lesnar prowling through the wilderness, there are a lot of potential main event spots up for grabs. And it seemed like all the matches that happened last night were an opportunity for those involved to audition for those spots. Of the four preliminary matches, the one that stood out the most was Dolph Ziggler facing Big E, in a match-up of two solid wrestlers who know how to get the crowd invested in their matches. Dolph clearly decided that he was going to sell like he was a tech demo on ragdoll physics, and Big E brought his unique combination of big power moves, surprising athleticism, and immense charisma (can you believe he debuted in WWE as a silent bodyguard?) as he controlled the offense for most of the match. The hot crowd definitely helped the atmosphere, as both men looked to steal the show in the last match of the night before the main event.

http://www.wwe.fr/videos/2015/10/27/dean-ambrose-has-some-brotherly-advice-for-roman-reigns-raw-october-26-2015 Source: WWE.fr

http://www.wwe.fr/videos/2015/10/27/dean-ambrose-has-some-brotherly-advice-for-roman-reigns-raw-october-26-2015 Source: WWE.fr

3. Because It Does Say “Wrestling” On The Marquee

With Ziggler and Big E leading the way, the entire night was actually full of excellent wrestling. It seemed like everyone on the show was determined to do something memorable and get noticed, seeing a chance to elevate themselves through the ranks. Without Xavier Woods to do the talking, Kofi Kingston showed more promo ability than he did for years as a smiling babyface. Cesaro took the European Uppercut to new heights, literally, and though he didn’t win, continued to connect with fans in a way that should guarantee he becomes a big deal sooner rather than later (hopefully Vince was watching). In his match with Neville, Alberto Del Rio finally found a cruiserweight he could actually have a fast-paced, lucha-style match with in WWE, after years of being stuck with a broken-down Rey Mysterio and two different, yet equally terrible, Sin Caras. The six-man “losers” tag showed a lot of intensity (and revealed that Ryback was basically born to be a Dudley, perhaps he should consider it) and, against all odds, made Wade Barrett look credible again. And the main event, a fatal four-way match, was a gleefully insane brawl that spilled all over and was basically non-stop action from bell to bell. Overall, it’s possible that the wrestling quality of this Raw exceeded that of the Pay Per View from the night before.

2. The Reigns In San Diego Falls Mainly On Seth Rollins

Ultimately, Roman Reigns emerged victorious, as we ourselves predicted just yesterday, and also in our Hell in a Cell preview on Thursday, because we’re geniuses. The good news is, unlike Reigns’ first shot at WrestleMania, this time it’s actually a good idea. Reigns was never truly terrible, and he’s improved steadily since it became clear that WWE was planning to hand him the ball. The debacle at the start of the year was the combination of terrible booking and the fact that WWE thought they could run roughshod over their audience, when it was clear from the moment they brought back Daniel Bryan, he would be the only man fans would accept as the Royal Rumble winner and the one who would get to face Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania. None of that was truly Reigns’ fault, and to his credit he’s done all the right things since then to win his way into the fans’ hearts, or at least into a position where he’s actually the exact right choice to face Seth Rollins, and probably topple him at Survivor Series. Sure, it’s not a WrestleMania moment, but that doesn’t mean Reigns’ crowning as WWE World Champion can’t be a big deal, no matter what Pay Per View it happens at. And even if he gets screwed out of the title somehow (somebody keep an eye on Dean Ambrose), he’ll still have been established as someone who could and should be champion, which is excellent news for the future of Roman Reigns.

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1. Everything Matters

The major complaint about Raw has been that most of what happens doesn’t matter. In a three hour show, possibly a third of the content is actually relevant to any sort of plot progression, which is an abysmal ratio or importance to filler. One of the main reasons why NXT is lauded is because with only one hour of TV time per week, everything that happens on the show has to be meaningful, which leads to a more interesting and eventful program. Well, last night on Raw, everything that happened, happened for a reason. The matches that took place all involved wrestlers trying to establish themselves in relation to the WWE World Heavyweight title (or the Divas title, as the case may be). Bray Wyatt cut a long promo that explained his actions at Hell in a Cell, and then Kane came out to continue to build the intrigue about a war being instigated The Wyatt Family. Nothing that happened on Raw last night was filler (okay, there was one in-ring segment promoting Susan G. Komen, but that was to be expected at this point). Combine that with an over-arching story that played out over three hours, and a superb effort from the wrestlers involved, and the result was one of the better shows of the year. It’s not a sudden reversal of fortune for WWE, and it doesn’t fix the far-reaching problems that have developed over a long period of stagnancy, but it was a good first step for them to (hopefully) continue building on.

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