With a fresh new stage design, the return of flashy pyro and a revamped commentary team that features the past blending in with the future, WWE brought us the season premiere of Raw on Monday night from the Talking Stick Resort Arena in Phoenix. This week's new-and-improved Raw served not only as the jumping off point to quite possibly the most significant week within the pro wrestling industry in 20 years, but also as the flagship's go-home show for the Hell in a Cell pay-per-view which takes place in just six days.
Let's have a look now at everything that went down on this week's edition of Raw as the Hell in a Cell pay-per-view looms just six days ahead.
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Brock Lesnar annihilates the Mysterios
Rey Mysterio kicked off Raw this week ahead of his scheduled universal title match against Seth Rollins. Mysterio thanked his son Dominick, who was seated ringside, for helping motivate him to earn this opportunity, but he was quickly interrupted by Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman. After Mysterio ripped the microphone away from Heyman before anyone could speak, Lesnar began to go on a violent rampage.
The carnage at the hands of the "Beast Incarnate" knew no limits. He delivered multiple F5s and violent suplexes to Rey before turning his attention to Dominick. Rey's son was rammed into the ring post and ate multiple suplexes himself as Lesnar even battered the officials who were attempting to break up the madness. Back from commercial, Dominick was being loaded onto a gurney as Rey sobbed next to him while apologizing repeatedly. Later, Jerry Lawler informed us that Lesnar was being questioned by authorities regarding the attacks.
Later on backstage, Heyman apologized for the attack but said not to blame them. If you want to blame someone, then blame Vince McMahon and the McMahon family for allowing Heyman to book Lesnar on the season premiere of Raw knowing full well that he's in fight mode with his WWE title match against Kofi Kingston just four days away. Heyman said no one can stop Lesnar, and offered the customary spoiler (not a prediction) that Lesnar will walk out the reigning, defending, undisputed WWE world heavyweight champion when he defeats Kofi Kingston.
I said it prior to SummerSlam during his feud with Rollins, and I would like to reiterate the sentiment: this is the only incarnation of Lesnar that should ever exist. He'll always feel like a big deal by default, but when he goes on these murderous rampages, it can't be overstated just how much he feels like an even more unstoppable force. The carnage Lesnar caused on Monday night just amped up the anticipation to see him face our beloved WWE champion Kingston on the SmackDown on Fox premiere in a few days, while it also forcefully thrust the champ into an even larger underdog role. Grade: B+
The Fiend's final message; new love triangle emerges
In an interview with Charly Caruso backstage within Hour 1 of Raw, universal champion Seth Rollins said he doesn't know how to game plan for "some thing" like "The Fiend" Bray Wyatt. He reiterated his message from last week that he plans to "survive and prevail" on Sunday. Rollins then said that he knows Mysterio is in no condition to compete tonight after the heinous attack at the hands of Lesnar, but he promised the WWE universe a title match on Monday night, and they're still going to get one as he ... burns it down.
Hulk Hogan and Ric Flair appeared on a special edition of "Miz TV," which basically served as an official announcement that WWE will be heading back to Saudi Arabia on Thursday, Oct. 31 for another Crown Jewel event. It will be a Team Hogan vs. Team Flair 5-on-5 match taking place on the show, with Seth Rollins being revealed as Hogan's captain while Randy Orton will serve as Flair's captain. Rollins and Orton were about to have a match before Baron Corbin interrupted and the heels beat down the universal champion. Rusev was out to make the save, and the babyfaces stood tall and posed with Hogan at the top of the stage. Caruso caught up with Rusev backstage immediately after, and after refusing to answer a question as to the whereabouts of Lana, said Rollins now owes him a debt for the save and he challenged him to a universal title match later on in the show.
This week's edition of "Firefly Funhouse" opened with all the puppets acting petrified. They told Wyatt they're scared of what "The Fiend" is going to do to Rollins on Sunday at Hell in a Cell, and Wyatt told them it's OK to be scared. While describing to the puppets what it's like inside the demonic structure, Wyatt said he has a good feeling that "he" will be back but Rollins won't be so fortunate. Wyatt said that maybe he'll go ask "him" to be nice to Rollins, but he quickly returned to reveal he was just kidding. With a devilish expression, Wyatt fired off a "Let me in!" before signing off with laughter.
Universal Championship -- Seth Rollins (c) vs. Rusev ended in a no contest when Bobby Lashley's music interrupted as he was making his return from injury. Lashley did not come alone, however. He brought out an also returning Lana, and the two began to passionately make out on stage as a dejected Rusev looked on. Rollins was on the outside during all of this, and as the show was about to go off the air, "The Fiend" made his presence felt to close Raw yet again as he took out Rollins on the outside with the Mandible Claw.
To say that there was A LOT happening here is likely a monumental understatement. The Rusev-Lashley-Lana love triangle isn't something that particularly piques my interest, but it'll obviously be a featured storyline going forward on the flagship show going forward. As for the primary Hell in a Cell feud featuring Rollins and Wyatt, the final chapter of the story heading into the PPV on Sunday played out masterfully yet again. The "Firefly Funhouse" segment was captivating per usual, and Rollins never getting the upper hand -- at least not on television -- has been the correct call to this point. Still, it feels like we didn't need to go through that much of a roller coaster to reach the climax of this week's three hours. Grade: C
What else happened on Raw?
- Sasha Banks def. Alexa Bliss via pinfall after she duped one-half of the women's tag team champions into thinking Bayley was about to interfere. Post-match, Becky Lynch, who was on commentary, charged the ring and attacked her Hell in a Cell Raw women's title challenger. Banks retreated into the crowd while Lynch told her that she made it personal, and now she's gonna make it painful. The Raw women's champ told Banks that retribution is coming around at Hell in a Cell. Prior to the main event segment, Banks cut a passionate backstage promo about not allowing a "man" to win the third women's Hell in a Cell match in history.
- Raw Tag Team Championship -- Robert Roode & Dolph Ziggler (c) def. Heavy Machinery via pinfall to retain the titles after Roode delivered the Glorious DDT to Tucker.
- Another pre-taped AOP vignette aired in which they discussed violence. Rezar closed with a message of, "He who is violence becomes the Author of Pain."
- The Viking Raiders def. Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson via pinfall after Ivar hit a splash from the top onto Gallows.
- Ricochet def. Cesaro via pinfall after a West Coast Pop in tribute to Mysterio, whom Cesaro verbally trashed in an earlier backstage segment which set this match into motion.
- United States Championship -- AJ Styles (c) def. Cedric Alexander via pinfall to retain the title after the Styles Clash.
- Lacey Evans def. Natalya via pinfall with a rollup while grabbing a handful of tights.