Published on October 25th, 2016 | by Sean Hollenhors0
WWE Monday Night Raw Recap (Oct. 24, 2016)
Hell In A Cell Go-Home Episode
CHARLOTTE/SASHA BANKS contract signing, BROCK LESNAR returns!
Editor’s Note: We are doing something new at Pro Wrestling Stories. From this week onwards, one of our new writers Sean Hollenhurs will be covering weekly show recaps. We hope you enjoy this new addition to the site!
Days out from Raw’s Hell In A Cell pay-per-view, the brand’s cosmology is in jeopardy of radical realignment. While occasionally baffling, the motivations of all the players are laid out and with title and cage matches on the horizon for many, the aftermath of Sunday’s events may have long-lasting repercussions. Let’s get in the ring!
Match 1: Enzo Amore w/ Big Cass vs. Karl Anderson w/ Luke Gallows
The long and winding road of Enzo Amore and Big Cass’ feud with Good Brothers, Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows will perhaps meet its conclusion at Hell in a Cell. What works for both teams is apparent in this match, especially Amore and Cass’ connection with the fans. That level of rapport is an unteachable skill and is a rare thing in professional wrestling. Thankfully, both Cass and Amore are capable of ring skills that can justify the hype. The inclusion of the Cruiserweights begs the question of Enzo’s chances within that division (keeping in mind the Cruiserweight Division may exist in a separate yet overlapping universe) and Cass has all the parts needed to win a singles title.
Anderson and Gallows are the biggest question marks on Raw. Their dominance in New Japan Pro Wrestling is repeatedly touted but they have been a bit restrained from fulfilling their brutal potential. Ideally, the Good Brothers would occupy the same space on Raw as The Revival do on NXT. Time will tell.
Winner: Enzo Amore (via pinfall)
Match 2: The New Day vs. Cesaro & Sheamus
While Frenemies International Cesaro and Sheamus have a clear chemistry, their opponents The New Day are operating at a higher level of tag team wrestling. They are a Greek Chorus merch-machine with a major accomplishment within their sights. The record title reign held by Demolition (478 days) has stood for nearly three decades. Their ring acumen is a wonder to behold as each member is a more than capable singles competitor with Kingston and Big E having several singles titles. Big E, in particular, has the potential to be a legitimate contender for the Universal Championship.
In the meantime, Sunday’s World Tag Team Championship match is likely to be a fraught battle but the tide of history is rolling forward with The New Day.
Winner: Cesaro & Sheamus (via pinfall)
Match 3: Bo Dallas vs. Curtis Axel
Despite being Mr. Irrelevent (or more accurately, Mr. Superstars), Curtis Axel shines in this homecoming match. The rivalry between Axel and former Social Outcasts comrade, Bo Dallas, is one loaded with familial pride and an overlooked gem within the often bloated Rawscape. Both wrestlers are in fine form and supported by the crowd. They are with Axel and Dallas all the way and the match has an AWA feel, which is excellent technical wrestling blended with lightening quick brutality.
If there is a point where the higher-ups begin to let Bo Dallas off the leash, it may be this episode. The all-new, all-different Dallas has an unhinged menace that should signal worry higher up the roster. Like Finn Balor, Kevin Owens and Seth Rollins, Dallas has the distinction of being a former NXT Champion and historically this points to a future singles title reign.
Winner: Bo Dallas (via pinfall)
Match 4: The Golden Truth w/ Mark Henry vs. The Shining Stars w/ Titus O’Neil
Occasionally (also all the time), Raw is blamed of padding episodes and it is true that the ad break-to-segment ratio is alarming. Sometimes these frustrations are laid on the shoulders of wrestlers like The Golden Truth and The Shining Stars. The actual match is good – all four wrestlers are gifted, but within the slog that Raw becomes over three hours, some matches are more memorable than others. On the bright side, shameless heel shill Corey Graves might be the hot character find of late-2016.
Winner: The Golden Truth (via pinfall)
Sasha Banks & Charlotte Contract Signing
The historical nature of Sasha Banks and Charlotte’s upcoming Hell in a Cell match shouldn’t be overlooked. It’s been at least 13 years since Women’s Division wrestlers have entered a steel cage of any sort, let alone the Hell In A Cell match. As Mick Foley mansplains to both Banks and Charlotte, the damage caused by the match is not to be underestimated and also the nefarious structure is probably haunted and is certainly no less than cursed. Haunted by the blood and broken bones of past competitors and cursed to deal out more punishment to future wrestlers that are locked inside.
The reality of cage match brutality is, of course, not lost on Charlotte of all people. Her father’s second NWA World Heavyweight Championship at Starrcade ’83 is legendary, therefore the aftermath of such violence was a situation Charlotte is intimately familiar with. She is genetically superior and we will see if the gene for gnarly crimson masks had been passed on to Charlotte. Bank’s is “a student of the game,” but in this instance, her title defense and ongoing well-being are in jeopardy.
Match 5: Rich Swann vs. The Brian KendrickMeanwhile, in the Cruiserweight pocket universe, the down-on-his-luck Brian Kendrick is trying to scale the mountain “one more time.” In his path to Sunday’s Cruiserweight Championship match is Rich Swann. Swann is a gift to the WWE and a natural star that is singularly gifted. The pacing of the match and chaining of moves is a highlight of this week’s Raw. Hopefully, the heat between Kendrick and Cruiserweight Champion TJ Perkins becomes a wildfire at Hell In A Cell. Kendrick’s broken-down old timer demeanor is a perfect counterpoint to Perkins’ cod-millennial shine. Their match could be the sleeper hit of HIAC.
Winner: Rich Swann (via pinfall)
Brock Lesnar & Paul Heyman address the WWE UniverseWhen WWE’s intended direction meets the will of the fans, there are sparks, and on better days, magic. Tonight’s Raw is, like Brock Lesnar himself, a different beast. Paul Heyman attempted to sway the crowd (as Minnesotans, solidly behind Lesnar) to weave the tale of noble and kid-friendly Bill Goldberg facing down The Beast. The crowd wasn’t buying it and the segment was likely (and forcibly) truncated.
Lesnar is the punisher of the WWE Universe. As such, he is impervious to attempts to make him completely evil and often the more savage he becomes, the more beloved he is. To attempt making Lesnar the irredeemable monster in his home state is puzzling. There is more time between now and Survivor Series (assuming they face off then) to establish a more sensible dynamic. What without question, is the reality of pain in the future for one or both Goldberg and the Beast Incarnate.
Match 6: Triple Threat Match: Seth Rollins vs. Chris Jericho vs. Kevin Owens
The fight to be The Man on Raw enters its last leg. The endlessly entertaining Chris Jericho provides a marvelous entertainment throughout this episode, from the opening to his walk up the ramp at the end. This has been a banner year for Jericho. His ring work, mic mastery, and overall spirit make him the MVP of the entirety of WWE. Jericho’s magical best friendship with Kevin Owens remains intact (thank the Lord) despite being double pinned by Seth Rollins. At least Y2J gets his list back.
The notion of Owens and Rollins in a steel cage is intensely exciting. Owens’ first Hell In A Cell match holds the promise of a legendary amount of professional wrestling magic. Here’s to hoping both wrestlers emerge relatively unharmed and capable hoisting that championship strap above their head.
Winner: Seth Rollins (via pinfalls)