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WWE RAW live results: Roman Reigns vs. Cesaro, Dean Ambrose vs. Dolph Ziggler

The Big Takeaway: 

The meat of the show was a good, wrestling-oritented program with Roman Reigns, Alberto Del Rio, Dean Ambrose and Kevin Owens advancing to the semifinals of the WWE World Heavyweight Tournament. Unfortunately, the bread that contained that meat was a bad segment with the Undertaker, Kane and the Wyatts combined with the most disgusting angle the WWE has done in years. It was a segment so putrid, it's one of those times you wonder how the WWE won the Monday Night Wars, then remember it was more the stupidity of the opposition than the skill of the winners.  

Show Recap: 

They opened the show with a moment of silence to honor the victims in the terrorist attacks in France. In retrospect, this was mordibly ironic. 

All four quarterfinal matches in the World Title tournament will air tonight. That includes Neville vs. Kevin Owens and Alberto Del Rio vs. Kalisto.

A group of faceless druids in dark robes came out in advance of the Undertaker and Kane's entrance. The preceding three sentences took ten minutes of air time.

Kane said they reserved a special place for Bray Wyatt and his family in the darkest pits of hell. Apparently, they run constant reruns of 1999 Nitro there. 

Undertaker said  Wyatt's kind of evil is no match for theirs. He said the Brothers of Destruction have already decided their destiny, and they will never Rest in Peace. This led to the Wyatt Family coming out. 

Bray said the Brothers of Destruction have reigned supreme for 25 years, and that is long enough. He said it's time for a new Army of Darkness to emerge. Wyatt said he is the Face of Fear, and after the Survivor Series, they'll just be remembered as the Brothers he destroyed. Wyatt added that as for the Undertaker's Creatures of the Night, they are mine. The Wyatt flash went off, the lights went on, and the druids all emerged wearing goat face masks. Around 8 of them charged the ring, but Undertaker and Kane quickly disposed of them, choke slamming two of them. Luke Harper, Braun Strowman and Eric Rowan started to go after them, but Wyatt called them back. Wyatt told them to wait until the Survivor Series, but until then, Follow the Buzzards. Does Wyatt want to start using those magical powers he showed off two weeks ago? Or has that gone the way of those earrings that Dolph Ziggler gave Summer Rae in September? 

Kevin Owens defeated Neville in the quarterfinals of the WWE World Heavyweight Championship tournament (10:44) 

Owens avoided a Red Arrow and got the pin with the Pop-Up Power Bomb. As good a match as you would expect. A great false finish where Neville went for the Red Arrow, but Owens grabbed the ropes, causing Neville to crash to the mat. Owens went for the Pop-Up Power Bomb, but Neville did a leap frog and pulled off a Reverse Frankensteiner that everybody bought as the finish. Owens kicked out. Neville teased the Red Arrow early, but Owens rolled out of the ring. So Neville responded with a Moonsault to the floor. 

Out of nowhere, they showed flashback footage of Paige pinning A.J. Lee from April 2014 to win the Divas Championship in her first night on the main roster. This was done to play up a contract signing between Paige and Charlotte later tonight for Survivor Series. 

HHH and Owens had a conversation backstage and the two shook hands.

They aired still photographs from WWE.com of Seth Rollins undergoing surgery for his torn ACL. He's now getting a total babyface buildup for his return, including a viral campaign using the slogan "Redesign. Rebuild. Reclaim." That indicates some major heel turn has to be coming soon.

Tyler Breeze defeated R. Truth (4:06)

Tyler Breeze won with the Beauty Shot. Still can't make sense of Breeze making his company debut with a job to Ambrose last week. 

Dean Ambrose defeated Dolph Ziggler in the quarterfinals of the WWE World Heavyweight Championship tournament (16:41) 

Ambrose won after hitting Dirty Deeds following a scramble. Another very good match and this show is off to a solid start. Lots of good near falls, including Ziggler selling his knee, but still hitting a Superkick and a Famouser. They had a scientific match, similar to the old Ring of Honor Pure Championship matches. Unique spot where Ambrose and Ziggler were on the top rope together, where they did a double knockdown spot to the floor after landing simultaneous right hands. 

Ambrose cut a promo afterwards saying if he became champion at Survivor Series, there would be less talking and more action. Well, he's screwed. 

The New Day defeated the Usos and Ryback by DQ (5:49) 

Lame finish. Jey Uso got the heat for most of the match after a tope onto Big E. and Xavier Woods. Uso got the heat for most of the match until Ryback went into the ring illegally and shoved the referee for the DQ. Afterwards, Ryback threw Woods onto Big E. and Kofi Kingston. The Usos had their faces painted like the French flag. 

HHH talked with Cesaro before his match with Roman Reigns. HHH told Cesaro he had everything it took to make it to the top, but he was lacking that extra something. He had the ability. HHH, using dialogue that sounds like it came straight from Vince McMahon's mouth, told him to reach for the brass ring tonight, basically implying he could join the Authority if he beat Reigns. Cesaro looked at his hands after HHH left. 

Reigns came out and talked about his fan section, dubbed "The Roman Empire." Reigns said he knew the road was going to be tougher for him since he refused to join the Authority. But he's gone too far to sell out now. After getting booed in Manchester, Reigns got a much better reception tonight. 

Roman Reigns defeated Cesaro in the quarterfinals of the WWE World Heavyweight Title Tournament (20:21)

Reigns won after a series of counters ending with the Superman Punch and the Spear. Another solid match, but I didn't think it was as good as Ambrose-Ziggler. Cesaro did a great job of carrying him. Cesaro went for the equalizer late, but Reigns escaped and got the finishing combination. Earlier, Cesaro twirled Reigns around for a 6-rep Giant Swing, which turned into a Sharpshooter, then a crossface before Reigns escaped with a Samoan Drop. Reigns backdropped Cesaro over the top rop, and Cesaro sold his right elbow. Reigns forgot which arm he was supposed to be selling midway through the match. 

They did a tribute to Nick Bockwinkel, posting a graphic with JBL and Michael Cole putting him over as the greatest technical wrestler of all time. It was very nice and they invited viewers to go to WWE.com for more interviews regarding Bockwinkel. 

The Dudley Boyz defeated the Ascension (3:12) 

Bubba Ray Dudley pinned Viktor after the 3-D. It sure did fill 3 minutes. 

Alberto Del Rio and Zeb Coulter were stopped backstage by Renee Young. HHH walked in and gave the same speech to Del Rio that he gave earlier to Cesaro about going from the Man of the People to being the Man. 

Kalisto did an inset promo about people saying his win over Ryback was a fluke. He said his dreams are bigger than any man and he's fighting for his life. 

Alberto Del Rio defeated Kalisto in the quarterfinals of the WWE World Heavyweight Tournament (10:04) 

Del Rio won with the Diving Double Foot Stome while Kalisto was tied to the tree of woe. This was Del Rio's 4th Raw since his return, and this was the third crowd totally silent for him. He feels like a bigger deal on the underground circuit that he does in WWE because they don't know how to book superstars that will get over to minorities. It doesn't help the pairing with Coulter isn't over a lick. Match was a Lucha-style, which the fans in South Carolina weren't familiar with. 

I guess sensing the attention Holly Holm's upset of Ronda Rousey received over the last 48 hours, they put Paige's contract signing with Charlotte in the main event segment. These people have no clue. They went five minutes reciting scripted dialogue, which didn't have 2% of the impact Holm's forearm shiver on Rosey did at the weigh-in. Charlotte brought up her late brother Reid, then started to cry, and it felt so forced. Charlotte said Paige was there for her when Reid died, and she thought they were family. Charlotte said it wasn't about a championship, it was about who has your back at the end of the day. But Paige let her selfish ways get in the way. Charlotte said a champion is someone that little girls watch at home wanting to be like. Charlotte said she won't be champion forever, but she won't lose it on Sunday and when she does, it won't be to someone like Paige. 

Paige said no one will have Charlotte's back on Sunday, not even Ric Flair. Charlotte shouted her down and she just. kept. talking. Then Paige said something about Reid not have much fight in him. God this was awful. They started brawling, but the fans weren't that hot for it. Charlotte kept escaping from the refs in a pull-apart while the fans just watched without reacting. Charlotte never did sign the contract, which was stupid since that's what the whole show was built around. A disgusting segment. 

SUMMARY: 

There are times after big UFC events where on the following Monday's Raw, the WWE looks like a company that lost it's relevance and doesn't even know it. Tonight was largely a good show which also should have anyone who cares about the WWE's future scared straight. The final segment wasn't manipulative. It had the ambition to manipulate but failed. And it reeked, not just in terms of quality but of an antiquated mindset of what lures viewers to shows. Charlotte is not a talking personality, but the company put her in that role. In the main event, no less. And that speaks volumes to how out of touch Vince McMahon, Kevin Dunn and other WWE power brokers have worn out their welcome. I have no idea how a company that loses 25% of its audience in three years doesn't have mass turnover at the main creative end, and tonight was a desperate ploy that failed miserably.