Monday night’s episode of Raw was noteworthy for several reasons. It was the company’s first show since Seth Rollins tore his entire knee up last week working a match with Kane on WWE’s live tour of England. It was also the first night of the WWE World Heavyweight Championship tournament, which will see 16 men whittled down to a new champion at Survivor Series. Alas, it was also noteworthy because we saw the reemergence of Kane and the Undertaker after Bray Wyatt and his minions had supposedly eaten their souls and stolen their cartoon powers.
The Manchester crowd certainly popped for the Brothers of Destruction, who proceeded to clean house of all four members of the Wyatt Family, leaving Bray laid out in the middle of the ring, and leaving to a thunderous ovation, arms raised in victory.
If I didn’t know better, I would think the feud was over.
Why do we need to see these two factions battle again? Clearly four men are no match for Undertaker and Kane, or at least that’s how WWE booked it Monday night. With only one Raw left until Survivor Series and heavy promotion of Undertaker’s 25th anniversary at the event taking place, he clearly has a place on the card and it obviously has to be pairing with his “brother” Kane to take on the Wyatt Family, but what are the stakes?
WWE could add two men to the mix and make it a four-on-four traditional Survivor Series elimination match but that doesn’t really make sense at this point. For one, the story has gone on for several weeks without anyone coming to the add of Taker and Kane. Also, why do they need help when they can easily dispatch of the Wyatt Family, as evidenced last night?
While the four-on-two will be fun, it could have been so much better, and how now become just a match as opposed to Taker and Kane seeking their ultimate revenge.
Video emerged last night of Seth Rollins injuring his knee during a match with Kane in Dublin, Ireland. After some speculation, Jonathan Coachman of ESPN broke the news and WWE confirmed that Rollins tore his right ACL, MCL and medial meniscus. The company has also announced that a new WWE World Heavyweight Champion will be determined via a tournament at Survivor Series.
Obviously this is a huge blow to the WWE, losing its champion ahead of one of its four marquee pay-per-view events and during a time when the roster is light on main event-caliber stars. It was recently confirmed that Randy Orton would be out for a long period of time with another shoulder injury and John Cena is currently taking time off to film a reality show. Roman Reigns was the clear eventual champion and I would be shocked if he doesn’t walk out of Survivor Series with the belt, but if there is a silver lining to Rollins’ injury, it’s that we could see some new stars created and/or elevated through this tournament.
WWE has announced that SummerSlam will return to Barclays Center for 2016 and 2017. There will also be an NXT show on Saturday and a Raw episode on Monday from Barclays Center in ’16 and ’17, just like this year.
This year’s SummerSlam weekend was a huge success for WWE and rolling NXT and Raw into the package and holding them in the same arena gave it more of a “WrestleMania” feel, which is befitting to the company’s second-biggest show of the year. This announcement also lends some more credibility to the rumors that NXT special events will be paired with WWE’s big pay-per-view moving forward.
WWE has updated the card for its October 3rd Madison Square Garden house show that will be broadcast on the WWE Network. The originally scheduled John Cena v. Seth Rollins WWE World Heavyweight Championship match will now take place inside a steel cage.
Here is the whole card, as it currently stands:
WWE World Heavyweight Championship Steel Cage Match
John Cena v. Seth Rollins
Brock Lesnar v. Big Show
WWE Tag Team Championship Match
The Dudley Boyz v. New Day
Another day, another return. This time it was Randy Orton coming to the aid of Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose and helping them fend off the Wyatt Family. This segment uncharacteristically opened Raw instead of an Authority or Seth Rollins promo and it was a nice change of pace.
Miss Night of Champions? Here’s a speed run of highlights through the show which saw Kevin Owens walk out with the Intercontinental Title, John Cena recapture the US Championship, Charlotte win the Divas crown, and Kane and Chris Jericho return, from HighlightsMania. Be sure to check out their YouTube channel and subscribe for highlights from WWE and TNA.
After a fan entered the ring to try to be Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose’s mystery partner, the true man was revealed to be Chris Jericho. Unfortunately, the distraction of the fan in the ring seemed to take away from the crowd’s reaction to Y2J, but he got a solid pop nonetheless.
Jericho would end up costing Reigns and Ambrose the match when he tagged himself in as Reigns was about to win, and then was put out cold by Braun Strowman. Following the match, he bumped shoulders with Ambrose and walked to the back without talking to his teammates.
We’ll see where this one goes. Generally the “tag myself in” trope isn’t used in wrestling unless it’s to set up a heel turn, and the post-match incident seems to say that’s what’s happening, but we don’t know for sure if Jericho is sticking around for a bit. My guess would be he stays at least through his MSG house show match and has a mini-feud with Ambrose or Reigns in the process.
WWE will once again broadcast a house show featuring Brock Lesnar, this time it’s his return to Madison Square Garden on October 3rd. He’ll face Big Show on a card that will also include Kevin Owens v. Cesaro, Seth Rollins v. John Cena, Randy Orton v. Sheamus, and Dolph Ziggler v. Rusev. While several of those matches are already tired, house shows at MSG generally have a little more punch and often have some surprise guests. Chris Jericho is also advertised for the card.
A few weeks later, Lesnar will be the guest on the Stone Cold Podcast, broadcast immediately following the October 19th Raw. I’m really looking forward to this one. Austin and Lesnar are friends but I hope they discuss the infamous booking idea of Lesnar beating Austin clean on Raw unannounced, which led to Austin’s “taking his ball and going home.”
Then, of course, we get Lesnar in the main event of Hell in a Cell settling the score with The Undertaker.
It was announced last night during a Brock Lesnar vignette at Night of Champions that the Beast will face The Undertaker in a rubber match of their recent feud at the Hell in a Cell pay-per-view on Sunday, October 25th. The match will also be a Hell in a Cell match.
Many had speculated that a Hell in a Cell match would be a fitting end to this feud, given Taker’s history with the match and the murky circumstances under which their most recent match ended. The surprise, though, is that it’s happening this quickly and not being stretched out to a WrestleMania match. This also adds some fuel to the Taker v. Sting fire, freeing the Dead Man up for a match with “the vigilante,” pending Sting’s health.
We have to wait until Sunday night to see Sting challenge for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship for the first time in his career but, thanks to the WWE 2K16 dev team, we can get a simulated version of the action right now. They’ve uploaded some 2K16 gameplay to the WWE2Kdev YouTube channel, which features the “Franchise of WCW” v. the “future of the WWE.” Take a look.