After not fully watching Raw for the past few weeks, I decided to give it a shot this week. The ratings have been in the tank so the WWE tried to load up this episode. They started with a bang as Stone Cold Steve Austin came out. He talked for a short while before bringing out the Undertaker and leaving. Undertaker cut a promo on Brock Lesnar, who then appeared. They nearly came to blows but nothing really happened. I guess it sold Hell in a Cell, but it wasn't very entertaining. I'd also like to point out that the Undertaker looks pretty horrible. I see why the WWE is only advertising photos of him with long hair. He looks atrocious. Following that segment, we are told that John Cena will have a US Title open challenge at Hell in a Cell. Here though, he teamed with the Dudley Boyz to take on the New Day. New Day's pre-match promo was fantastic, dissing Dallas and their sport teams, but in a very comedic way instead of the generic stuff a lot of guys do. The match was solid and New Day won, but after the bell, Xavier Woods was put through a table again. This was fine for what it needed to be, and it was cool to see New Day win before they most likely drop the belts to the Dudleys on Sunday.
We get told that Randy Orton missed the tour of Mexico, isn't here tonight and may miss Hell in a Cell. I guess that's what happens when you put a guy on the Kickoff show. ITS A DIVAS REVOLUTION MAGGLE! Nikki Bella and Alicia Fox team up to face Sasha Banks and Naomi. Team BAD is pretty irrelevant to the Divas Title storyline going on. There wasn't really a reason for this match. It was your typical Bellas match that ended with a distraction and Rack Attack on Naomi. Ho hum. Her time will most likely come down the line, but the fans absolutely want Sasha Banks right now and they aren't really getting her. The fact that Sasha isn't at the very least being thrown into the title match at the PPV is a pretty bad move. You can use the fact that Sasha beat Nikki clean a few times, add intrigue to the PPV, give us a fresh match and still have Charlotte retain over Nikki.
Continuing the trend of bringing back legends to pop a rating, Shawn Michaels is out next. Oddly, he eats pizza from a fan at ringside, which wasn't the cleanest of moves. He puts over his Hell in a Cell past and the two upcoming Cell matches until Seth Rollins shows up, saying that Michaels was suppose to introduce him. Shawn says that he doesn't follow orders and did his own thing. Seth claimed to be the next Shawn Michaels, so HBK said that you shouldn't want to be the second anything. Seth called Shawn jealous and demanded his music play but it didn't. Shawn said Seth had a match next and got his music to play. Underwhelming segment that did no favors for Seth. He did go on to cleanly beat Ryback. I like Seth getting a win, but why do it at the expense of the top contender to the Intercontinental Title. Booking isn't this hard guys.
ITS A MIDCARD REVOLUTION MAGGLE! It's actually not as Rusev, Sheamus and King Barrett faced Dolph Ziggler, Neville and Cesaro in a battle of guys that aren't really going anywhere. Throw in the fact that the WWE loves six man tags (there would be another later in the show) and this was Vince's booking ream. The heels won following some teamwork from Barrett and Sheamus. This wasn't bad but everyone is directionless. Ric Flair came out for the next segment because they really are desperate for ratings. You know what he does? Put over Roman Reigns and introduces him for a match that doesn't take place until later. This was so dumb on so many levels. Reigns speaks, the Wyatts interrupt and Reigns demands a sit down face to face with Bray. Also, with Bray was Braun Stroman and Erick Rowan. No Luke Harper and commentary said next to nothing about Rowan returning. Why did these two talk? I thought they were at each other's throats. Whatever, none of this was good. Things got heated and Dean Ambrose made the save.
Backstage, the Authority talk about the Wyatts/Poverty Shield issues for some reason. HBK shows up and goads Seth Rollins into agreeing to be Ambrose and Reigns' partner tonight. Mind you, that match was suppose to be Ambrose vs. Stroman & Harper. Then became a tag involving Reigns and Rowan instead of Harper, then became a hanicap match, then added Seth. With zero explanation. Charlotte then defeated Brie Bella in a match that was there. Paige is interviewed about it and is questioned about taking out Natalya. She says it could have been anyone from Naomi to Lita to Kaitlyn to Alundra Blayze. She then puts down my beautiful Renee Young, saying she isn't as cute as Erin Andrews. I mean, Renee's way prettier but maybe that's just me. Next, Kevin Owens beat Mark Henry with an impressive popup powerbomb that I took as a fuck you to everyone that says Owens is out of shape. He's in ring shape, which is what matters. Ryback came out after and powerbombed Owens, not selling any of the worked Seth did earlier.
After hype for Brock/Taker, we are told that the new Kickoff match for the PPV is the midcard six man tag we saw earlier. The faces will win to keep 50/50 booking because fuck momentum. Our one hour's notice "Shield reunion" is on for the main event. The match was decent but nowhere near the level of the original Shield/Wyatts matches. I expected that since the Shield isn't a unit and Harper is far better than Stroman. Seth ditched his team, feigning an injury. With Reigns in trouble, Ambrose attacked Stroman with a kendo stick, resulting in a DQ. Reigns did his big dive to the outside and stood tall to close the show.
From what I was able to hear and see of the past few weeks, this was better than those shows but not by much. The legends served no real purpose other than to get a DESPERATE ratings boost. It reeked of that, which just made things worse. The booking is still head scratching and the show didn't really make me want to see HIAC more. If this was their best effort to boost ratings, that is pretty sad. 4/10.