The PG Era Rant: RAW, 06.30.14

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When last we left our heroes, the Champ
jumped back onto the throne. Despite the Authority’s best efforts to
give their chosen one the gold, it was John Cena overcoming collusion
to win it all. But with the belief that a Conqueror is waiting to
take his gold, can anything that happens with the titles matter? And
what does the man in the on-deck circle, Seth Rollins, have to say
about WWE’s future?
The PG Era Rant for Raw, June 30, 2014.
Live from Hartford, Connecticut.
Your hosts are Michael, John, and
Jerry.
Pre-show developments, besides a new
host (Byron Saxton):
Sir Not Appearing on This Raw: Uh… no
one. It appears from now on, the show will be coming from Stamford.
Superstars: Nothing shown.
RAW Highlights: The new champion, John
Cena, is in attendance; A former WWE Champion and Multimedia Platform
Cross-Branded Entertainment Superstar™ returns; The Wyatt Family
take on the Usos and Sheamus.
But first, a look at last night’s main
event through clips.

So with a new champion, a guaranteed
future champion, and Daniel Bryan’s announcements, we open with…
the Authority. No, not Kane or Orton or Rollins; just HHH and
Stephanie. Sign Guy sighting, but he’s in a position where we won’t
see his signs in all likelihood. Stephanie’s rocking the pantsuit;
you need to know this as she feels thrilled about her homecoming (she
was born in Hartford). And tonight, the Authority is privileged to
be out to CM PUNK CM PUNK CM PUNK! The crowd doesn’t want to hear
any of this. Stephanie reiterates that Daniel Bryan is on the shelf
still, but we don’t live in the past. So tonight, Seth Rollins got
out of the past by beating six (six?) other competitors to win the
briefcase. Wait, six? Wasn’t Bad News Barrett a scratch? Does
Vince watch his own show?
HHH calls Seth the future of the WWE.
But there was more history last night. See, the WWE Championship was
decided in an 8-man ladder match. The winner was an A+ player (crowd
boos it). And he made history last night with his 15th
title win. And now, please welcome the Champ himself, John Cena!
Stephanie hands Cena a microphone as
the crowd is harshly divided. But Cena uses it to stop Stephanie
from talking… because the crowd wants to say something. See, about
Daniel Bryan: when Bryan is back, he promises to be better than ever.
So it’s simple: Cena promises Bryan a match for the titles he never
lost if it’s up to him. This sets off a HUGE Yes chant.
But first, Stephanie asks how many
people are gamers. Why do we ask? Because Cena is the cover boy WWE
2K15! Amazingly, Cena’s none too thrilled with this development.
Stephanie tries to boogie to Cena’s music. Stephanie: “It looks
beautiful, doesn’t it? We are especially proud of this.”
Cena gives a half-hearted thank you and
yeah, it’s an honor, but this is not right. At all. Because HHH and
Stephanie are being too nice to him… which is weird, because HHH
and Stephanie had a very different opinion when Cena won, and they
weren’t fond of it. But that picture was out of context. They were
just concerned with Randy Orton. Cena says of course they were
concerned – Orton’s in your back pocket. But Cena isn’t. And
whether the Authority likes it, they don’t have the Champ in their
back pocket.
HHH: “Okay, chill, homie okay? You’s
be droppin your r’s comin’ off all thuggin’ and stuff.” Cena
responds like a Southie, ready to kick HHH down. But HHH tells him
to chill. They’ve never had a problem with Cena, they don’t have a
problem with Cena as a movie star, cover boy, video game guy… heck,
they’re not upset he’s the champ. Well, as long as he shows respect.
See, all of what Cena has can disappear overnight. And everyone
knows since day one, there’s the easy way or the hard way. (Crowd
tries a Hard Way chant.)
Cena says he doesn’t do the easy way,
especially when it comes to being a stooge. HHH would’ve been
disappointed any other way – so you want the hard way? Fine. The
Battleground main event is Cena defending in a four-way. Stephanie
makes it clear: there are three opponents and he has no championship
advantage. Cena doesn’t care. But who’s in it? HHH says two of
them will be his opponents tonight: Randy Orton and THEDEMONKANE.
But it’s a tag team match (holla), and Cena’s partner will be the
other man in the match: Roman Reigns. HHH tells him to enjoy the
moment, because it won’t last.
Cena congratulates HHH, and he says
he’ll be ready to earn it at Battleground – and if he doesn’t,
it’ll be embarrassing as being pushed into a pool of crap. This joke
gets beaten into the ground, and Cena drops the mic to leave. BUT
WAIT! HHH has one more thing to say: see, HHH has a Plan B.
And at that very moment, Seth Rollins’
music hits. He comes out with the briefcase, admiring it as he heads
to the ring. John Cena quietly walks to the back.
Later tonight: it’s Sheamus teaming
with the Usos against the Wyatt Family! Seth Rollins has a match
NEXT!
Time out! Time out here! HHH
willingly put Roman Reigns in the match? The same Roman Reigns he
told everyone to keep out of Money in the Bank? The same Roman
Reigns who got Vickie Guerrero fired because she got him into the
match? And they just include him in the main event of the next
month’s show? We all know Vince rewrites every segment, but does he
even watch Raw?
Seth Rollins v. Rob Van Dam.
Seth opens with a tackle, and a criss-cross leads to a monkey flip
as Seth bails. This match has a hashtag, by the way. Seth returns
and tries calf kicks, but RVD gains the edge until Seth picks the
leg. RVD kicks off Seth, who rolls out again. Back in again, the
two duel kicks before Seth goes back to the leg… and gets nailed
with an enzuigiri. RVD works Seth over in the corner, sending
shoulders into the back of Seth. A spinkick by RVD and a standing
moonsault gets two. RVD kicks away on Seth, flipping over his blind
charge but getting caught on a monkey flip. So he switches to an
abdominal stretch into a rear cradle and legbar. Seth makes the
ropes, then bails again. RVD follows, but Seth is suckering him in
and a clothesline follows. Seth hooks the mouth as we go to break.
While I’m on the subject of who
wrote that opening segment: bad enough they forget that there were
six participants and not six other participants, what’s with trying
to make the crowd hate Cena, who is now the person you kinda need
them to cheer? The moment you describe him as an A+ player, only two
things can happen: either the crowd boos Cena as a knee-jerk reaction
to Authority approval, or they get mad at the WWE in general for
acting like WrestleMania 30 and Daniel Bryan’s breakthrough doesn’t
count. Both are bad ideas.
Seth/RVD, part two.
We return with Seth working a front facelock, but he puts his head
down and RVD fights back only to run into a Lance Storm Maple Leaf
Crab. RVD makes the ropes, so Seth just drags him back to the
center. RVD kicks away to lead to a break. Enzuigiri is ducked and
turned into the leg cradle for two. RVD with the momentum build, and
he wants Rolling Thunder… which lands on Seth’s back. It gets two.
Backbreaker by RVD, then a split-legged moonsault to the back.
Jack-knife cradle gets two. Seth finally gets the dragon screw, and
he teases a piledriver, but his back gives out. Powerbomb try
instead, but RVD counters with a rana that sends Seth upside-down
into the corner. Five Star time, but Seth once again bails out. So
RVD dives onto him on the outside instead. So there. Back in, Seth
catches RVD’s leg in the ropes as This Is Awesome. Seth dragon
screws RVD’s leg into the middle rope (!!) to regain control.
Curbstomp connects, and despite Seth’s back being too screwed up to
follow up right away, he crawls over for the pin at 11:44. HECK of
an opener. ***1/4
Renee Young tries to interview Seth, but forgets to say “Mr. Money
in the Bank Seth Rollins” and earns a “toots” for her trouble.
This isn’t arrogance, because he can back it up. Fans are just
bitter. Seth was right, you were wrong. The briefcase is Seth’s
golden ticket to get a shot at the WWE Championship – any time, any
place.
But
wait, Dean Ambrose interrupts on the big screen. “From one scumbag
to another,” this isn’t over. Seth didn’t win last night. Plan A
failed, in fact – because daddy Hunter had to send Plan B. But
Dean ain’t mad, because he thinks it’s more fun this way. See, every
time Seth makes a move to cash in, Dean will follow. Seth Rollins
can make all the plans, but that’s not a contract in his briefcase,
it’s TNT that will blow up when he tries to do something with it.
Believe that.
Still
to come: Sheamus and the Usos against the Wyatt Family! Plus, our
main event is the Authority against Cena and Reigns!
Ah,
yes, the “titles don’t change hands on countout or DQ” stip that
Ambrose is implying. I love it. Ambrose as an unhinged loner is the
role he was born to play. Now, if it were up to me, I’d bring his
Moxley “homeless man made good” part into it. Yes, Seth brought
the Shield together, but Ambrose is a scary man – because he has
NOTHING to lose. When you’ve been to Rock Bottom, you fear nothing.
(Note: there’s a good chance I’m misrepresenting Moxley’s promos, but
what do you expect from me? It’s not like I’m Dave Scherer.)
Moments
ago, Seth Rollins won.
Before
our next match, Lana tells us Big E Langston was a failure, but hey,
America’s used to that. It’s part of American culture. (USA Chant
now, which Lana mocks before demanding silence. This works as well
as it ever does.) See, Americans teach their kids participation
matters and not winning and losing. We say America’s the greatest
nation there is – which is a lie. See, Russia is the only
superpower, and Putin is its leader. (As with before, Putin gets
more boos than Rusev or Lana.) No one can stop the onslaught of
Rusev or Russia. So who’s America’s next failure, er, I mean
challenger? Rusev speaks Bulgarian, or Russian, or something… he
speaks What, okay?
Alexander
Rusev v. Jack Swagger.

YES! IT’S ABOUT TIME! This more or less closes the biggest plot
hole there is. Colter is sick and tired of Lana’s onslaught of
America. So what he wants is for Lana to shut up. You know why Lana
(if that’s her real name) is allowed to talk? Because freedom of
speech, so you can say what you want, and so can Zeb. So what Colter
has to say is this: “Natasha and Boris” know Russia wouldn’t
allow anyone to lie about them, but they can lie about America,
because that’s the price of freedom. So listen up, Lana: there’s
something that got their interest. That nothing could stop Rusev.
Oh, really? A Real American can stop it! Jack Swagger can stop it!
So he asks both of them to listen to a real America to crash down on
them. WE THE PEOPLE! We got a huge staredown… a lot of talking
from Rusev… but Lana holds her back. Rusev doesn’t want to hear no
for an answer as the crowd is FIERCELY behind Swagger. Rusev is
called off by Lana… but he charges into a series of armdrags from
Swagger! Rusev retreats as Lana tries to stop Round 2 and Swagger
says to bring it! Play Swagger’s music and embrace your face turn,
Jack Swagger and Zeb Colter!
Um,
er, yeah, no match.
Sheamus
and the Usos are firing each other up backstage! That’s NEXT!
You
know I love the guy. You know Swagger’s one of my favorites. And
yes, I let that cloud my reviewing of the previous segment. I don’t
give a darn. He’s a face, finally, for the first time in his career
– and I want him to succeed, even if he’s just here to put Rusev
over short-term. I know this can help his career in the long run.
WE THE PEOPLE!
Sheamus
and the Usos v. Wyatt Family.

HASHTAG ALERT! Cole (delineating between Harper and Rowan): “Harper
in the dirty tank top.” JBL: “As opposed to the clean one he
usually wears?” Usos open with double-teams on Rowan, sending him
out of the ring as a not quiet part of the crowd can be heard
singing. And we already go to break.
It’s
amazing what a hot start can do to the crowd. They are red hot for
the start of this match, even for Sheamus. This has the makings of a
great first hour.
#6mantag,
part two.

So Rowan has one of the Usos in a neck crank. According to the
announcers, it’s Jimmy, so let’s run with that. Jimmy fights up, but
Rowan with a hairpull slam and mounted punches into a fish-hook.
There’s a giant head of Little Johnny in the front row. Bray in with
an avalanche as both teams get chants. Bray stomps Jimmy and brings
Harper in, and it’s a shot to the chest (with Bray adding a
headbutt). Harper gets a hard whip, but he runs into an uppercut and
a boot. Jimmy up top with a corkscrew moonsault as the faces want a
hot tag. Hot tag Sheamus, and it’s Irish Hammers for everyone! Big
kneelift to Rowan, but he escapes a Finlay Roll only to get chucked
outside. It’s Ten of Clubs time as he stands up. Er, TWELVE before
Harper pulls him out. So Sheamus dives onto both men at once. Damn,
they’re feeling their oats tonight! Sheamus with an Oklahoma Slam
back in, and he wants the Brogue, but a distraction by Bray allows
Rowan to knock him out of the ring and bring Harper in. Running big
boot on the floor to Sheamus by Harper. Bray in, and a senton gets
two. Cole calls Bray “obscure, to say the least”, You sure
that’s the word you wanted, Mike? Bray beats the tar out of Sheamus
and brings Rowan back in. Rowan with a scoop slam and splash for
two. DOUBLE NOOGIE OF DOOM follows. Sheamus escapes but Rowan
forces him down and gets a kneedrop for one. Bray tags in, and
Sheamus can’t fight out as Bray beats him into Irish potato stew.
Bray gets the avalanche but goes straight into the boot. Sheamus
goes up… and Bray uppercuts him to the outside! Time to conduct
the choir. Harper tags in and goes outside, mugging Sheamus on the
announce table, but Sheamus tries to fight back. Harper sends him
into the apron instead. Back in (the crowd chants JBL since he
didn’t flinch at the announce table mugging), and Harper escapes the
Finlay Roll to get a superkick for two. Harper sends Jimmy bailing
but runs into the Irish Curse. Jey’s still on the apron, and he gets
the hot tag before diving onto Harper. Harper is rocked, and a
dropkick sends him out of the ring. Jey follows with a huge dive
over the top. Back in, a series of ducks ends in Jey getting a
Dragon Whip and superkick for two, Rowan saves. Brogue Kick to Rowan
takes him out, and Jimmy adds a dive to him, too. Bray enters with
the uranage, though, but he bails before Jey can kick his head off.
Harper’s legal, and he gets the Discus Lariat to end it at 13:07.
Whew. ***1/2
Harper taunts Jimmy as he leaves. Follow the buzzards and all that.
Backstage,
Todd Phillips is with Nikki Bella. See, last night, Brie crashed the
party and was ejected. Brie was Nikki’s guest, and Nikki didn’t
realize she made a mistake… but Stephanie wanted to say that the
Bellas and the Funkadactyls are in a match… wait, Brie abandoned
Nikki and quit. So it’s a handicap match and it’s next. Stephanie
is so great when she’s a bitch.
Some
major multimedia superstar is here tonight! He’s in a limo! Who is
it?
Okay,
I’m saying this right now: with the first 70 minutes of this show,
there’s no way unless they really do something stupid this gets any
lower than a 5 tonight.
Bo
Dallas is out, and he is an inspiration to us all. Hey, Justin
Roberts said it, not me. Bo is here to ask for a minute’s silence on
behalf of two injured superstars: Wade Barrett and Daniel Bryan. He
does the Tebow pose during the silence. The crowd tries to get a
Bo-Ner chant started, but it doesn’t stick. Matter of fact, the
crowd’s not sure what to do right now. Lawler (20 seconds in):
“Okay, that’s enough, Bo.” JBL: “Shh! We’re almost there!”
JBL makes more noise telling King to be quiet than King himself does.
Anyway,
Bo is back after the minute saying he was a voice of inspiration but
also the bigger man. We look back at Daniel Bryan’s interview in
which he insults Dallas for what amounts to no reason whatsoever.
(Dallas last night: “Gosh! That’s gotta be such a pain in the
neck!”) Back to live action, as Dallas’s smile hasn’t left. He
tells us Don’t Stop Bo Lieving, and it’s time for the next match as
Nikki heads to the ring… rolling her eyes at Dallas as she does.
Handicap
match: Nikki Bella v. the Funkadactyls.

JBL calls this the first Divas handicap match in some time. Cole
clarifies: three weeks. That’s it. Cameron apparently cut off Naomi
during an App interview. Cameron starts and mocks Nikki before
shoving her around and yanking her down. She stomps away and does an
arrogant cover for one as the crowd chants for Nikki (barely). Nikki
tries to fight back but is Hammer Thrown into the corner. Blind
charge hits elbow, and Nikki gets a facebuster for one. Cameron to
the ropes, but Nikki alley-oops her out. Cameron kicks Nikki away in
desperation, and Naomi tags in. High kick to Nikki, and a bodypress
floors her. Inverted DDT forearm and that’s it at 1:34. Cameron’s
none too happy and argues with Naomi for tagging in or something.
Shoving ensues as the crowd wants to see them fight, but Charles
Robinson separates them. Cameron’s all “girl bye” and walks out
on her own.
Up
next: a medical update on Wade Barrett! Will Abeyance add the
Intercontinental Title to his resume?
Um,
I don’t watch Total Divas; what is Cameron’s deal? And by the way, I
had said to a friend that even if nothing else happens, it’s been a
good night thanks to the first hour. DO NOT TEST ME, WWE!
Special
Olympians in the front row!
We
find out Wade Barrett has a separated shoulder. He’ll be out for a
number of months, so the Intercontinental Championship is indeed
vacated! There will be a Battle Royal to fill the championship.
Ladies
and gentlemen, his name is Paul Heyman. He is the one behind The
One, in case you hadn’t heard. And so on. Tonight, he’s also the
recipient of great news: Barrett’s hurt. The championship is up for
grabs! “Isn’t that great?” Why is this great? Because he’s
also the mind behind the Andre the Giant Battle Royal winner, and
that man has to be considered the odds-on favorite. So here he is, a
Paul Heyman Guy, a Battle Royalty, the next Intercontinental
Champion, give it up, ladies and gentlemen for Antonio Cesaro!
Antonio
Cesaro v. Kofi Kingston.

In an inset promo, Kingston puts himself into the Battle Royal.
Cesaro gets a ride and goes to a front facelock, which Kofi reverses.
Cesaro’s up and gets a gutwrench suplex. He stomps away, then adds
forearms and a kneelift. Plus an uppercut. Hammer Throw leads to
Kofi getting the pendulum kick and springboard crossbody for two.
Kofi tries for a whip, but Cesaro reverses only to get monkey flipped
out of the ring. Kofi follows with a somersault senton onto Cesaro.
Back in, it gets two. Another springboard, but Cesaro catches him
into an Oklahoma backbreaker. Cesaro with a stump-pulling armbar,
but the ref orders a break. Cesaro with a fierce right hand, then he
boxes Kofi in the corner. It gets two, and Cesaro goes to a
headlock. Kofi fights out, but runs into a clothesline for two.
Cesaro punches away and lands a double stomp. He toys with Kofi,
stomping on his hands, but Kofi gets back up. Another slam by Cesaro
stops it, and he wants the Swing. It’s set up… and abandoned in
favor of more stomping away. Crowd hates it. Camel clutch stance
with a chinlock follows instead. Kofi’s back up and out of it, and
this time it’s a huracanrana for two. Pendulum kick gets an uppercut
to the back as we go to break just in time for a CM PUNK chant.
Really?
You’re CM PUNKing this match?… well, okay, I can see it. It’s not
exactly going anywhere.
Cesaro/Kofi,
part two.

Wait, what? Kofi won during the break? And now Cesaro attacks and
tries to throw Kofi into the steps, but he jumps onto them and dives
back… into an uppercut. Now Kofi makes the steps, then gets tossed
into the announcers. Cesaro then tosses him back to ringside as
audio equipment goes flying and Cole may have been hurt. Cesaro
tosses Kofi over the barricade onto the concrete in the crowd. And
out there, he throws him into another barrier and drags him by the
dreadlocks back to ringside. Heyman is in Cole’s chair enjoying the
view as Cesaro sends Kofi into the post over and over. Ten times, of
course. Then he turns Kofi inside out with a short lariat before
officials say enough of this and tell him to go to the back. We then
find out what happened: Kofi won with a sunset flip. I’ll say 8:04
as a guess. The match seemed to be heading to *3/4.
Heyman gives coaching to Cesaro, who is smiling about what he’s
done.
Meanwhile,
we have a barbecue held by Santino and no one showed up. Not even
Emma. He complains about this to the Cobra… but Adam Rose showed
up. And it’s an ad for Twisted Tea. Santino does a trust fall.
Okay, seriously, is this the best they had for either of them?
Meanwhile,
Michael Cole… will recover. In the meantime, we see Hulk Hogan’s
tweet of congratulations for Cena… but tonight, he’ll have to team
with Roman Reigns against Randy Orton and THEDEMONKANE! This is a
Battleground main event preview!
Wow,
that was kinda gutsy of them to end a match mid-commercial. To be
fair, the match result itself isn’t what mattered in the long run,
which is why they could do it. Even so, if it gets people to get
more WWE social media stuff, more power to them, and with what we
just saw – a clear upset – it’s not like either man in the match
is hurt by it.
THERE
HAS BEEN A VINCE MCMAHON SIGHTING! Wait, no, never mind, it’s Damien
Sandow. Gotcha. He does the power walk and the stomp up the steps,
too. JBL starts singing Vince’s praises. Cole: “Has he shrunk?”
Sandow does his best welcome to Raw and things go from there. He’s
Vincent Kennedy McMahondow. Really. He’s made the WWE great by
recognizing great talent like Hulk Hogan, Triple H, Stone Cold Steve
Austin, and the most talented of them all: Damien Sandow. I must
admit, the impression’s pretty good. So “Vince” enters Damien
Sandow into the Battleground Battle Royal for the Intercontinental
Title. Anyone who has a problem is FIRED.
Uh-oh.
Stephanie may have a problem. She’s furious at Damien impersonating
Vince. The only reason Sandow CAN make fun of Vince is… (she calms
down)… Vince built the WWE by taking out giants. So tonight,
Sandow can topple a giant… RIGHT NOW!
Damien
Sandow v. The Great Khali.

Brain chop, good night. 7 seconds.
The
WWE Champion and cross-branded guy is next!
So,
uh, yeah, if you’re going to give the guy a gimmick, why humiliate
him? If he’s a jobber, just let him be a jobber. Too many guys are
stale – up until today, Jack Swagger’s forced heeldom was a
textbook example – and you refresh a guy you intend do the opposite
of push?
“Jungle”
is your Battleground theme! And the main event is John Cena getting
it the hard way! Sorry, that’s not PG.
So
your WWE Champion Multimedia Superstar is… The Miz. Now with a
redone Hollywood TitanTron and in a full A-list suit. JBL is kind of
underwhemled. So is the crowd. Miz says he’s back. “Miss me?”
Nah. Yes, he’s the WWE Champion Multimedia Cross-Branded et cetera.
He’s been off shooting The Marine 4. And he wanted to stay there:
people wanted him to do films! Really! They said he was better than
the WWE, and if he stayed doing movies, he’d be Hollywood’s biggest
star! So why is he back? He’s back for all of the fans! See,
unlike Hollywood, the WWE Universe doesn’t know A-list talent. They
took him for granted and for a fluke. He main evented
WrestleMania… and nothing. But he’s here to remind us that
everyone’s wrong. All of them. Do you know how many assistants Miz
has? He’s an A-lister and a jack of all trades. And he’s not
leaving the WWE until he main events WrestleMania again and everyone
gives him the respect he deserves. He wants everyone on his knees
begging him not to go. And ONLY THEN will he…
…Never
mind that crap! Chris Jericho’s music just hit! And the jacket is
lighting up! Could it be? Yes, sir! Chris Jericho in the house!
Miztista – because, let’s be honest, that’s what they wanted – is
not amused. The crowd is electric. Even JBL is agog. (It’s a real
word; look it up.) A huge Y2J chant breaks out. Jericho milks the
crowd for all it’s worth as Miz looks super-peeved and stuff. The
crowd boos Miz for just TRYING to speak. “Did you come out here to
give me a lifetime achievement award?” Or is this 2012 Jericho,
who doesn’t talk and just wears a Lite Brite jacket? Nope –
Jericho removes the jacket and has the Bon Jovi vest. Miz says HOW
DARE he deprive the people of the Miz’s moment. He’s important!
He’s the Marine! He’s a movie star! He’s a box office draw! He’s
a…
…victim
of the Codebreaker. And now Jericho can speak: “Damn that felt
good!” He encourages the crowd like a rock star, and it’s time to
say it: “Welcome to RAW… IS…”
We
interrupt this interruption with the Wyatt Family. They surround
Jericho and stare at him. Crowd declares this whole segment Awesome.
Bray charges Jericho, who fights back, but there’s too many Wyatts.
Jericho is mauled by Harper and Rowan as Bray has technically not
touched Jericho. T&A double-team by the flunkies, and now we get
the INVERTED LOOK OF DOOM. Sister Abigail’s Kiss leaves Jericho in a
heap on the mat. Bray and company pose and follow the buzzards.
Well
then. This show just got a lot more awesome. Two big returns, one
of which was SOMEHOW kept a secret in the Internet age, and a big
feud for Battleground started up. The bonus is that this will keep
Bray a heel because given the options, I bet they’ll cheer Jericho
over Wyatt. My question: how does he keep people from seeing his
arrival? Does he only tell Scherer’s Elite subscribers so that no
one finds out? (Psst – hey, Scott – have I insulted Dave
enough?)
Total
Divas is getting archived on the WWE Network! Are they going to edit
JoJo out of the show?
As
people dance, we see last night when Fandango confirmed that he was
with Layla and not Summer Rae.
Fandango
v. Dolph Ziggler.

We wish to take this time to let you know that Dolph Ziggler and
Antonio Cesaro are your Main Event main event. Dolph with a quick
dropkick right off the bat and he attacks, but Fandango throws Dolph
into the post. He stomps away, posing for the crowd and doing the
Rude hip swivel… which allows Ziggler to attack with punches.
Fandango airballs Dolph for two. Layla’s on the apron to kiss
Fandango (complete with sound effect), but he runs into a back elbow
and superkick from Dolph. Running clothesline and Stinger Splash
follow, with ten-punch count along and Rude Awakening. This leads to
an elbowdrop… and Summer Rae does a walk-in to stop the match. She
gives Fandango a good look at what he threw away, then kisses Dolph
emphatically. This upsets Fandango for some reason, so Dolph rubs it
in with another big kiss. Fandango’s all “what the heck, girl”
and chases after her before the Zig Zag ends it at 2:38. All angle.
1/2*
Dolph is very excited, and Summer seems to have been taken by that
kiss.
Tonight,
our main event is the Authority against the Champ and Roman Reigns!
Man,
even the throwaway matches have a purpose tonight! This show is
doing very well for itself. The crowd’s been pretty hot too, but not
snarky hot like you have after Mania. That’s not better or worse,
mind you, just different.
We
look back at last week’s Vickie/Stephanie showdown. Yup, tomorrow
night it’s a retrospective of Vickie Guerrero.
Paul
Heyman’s Leftovers v. The Brotherhood of the Traveling Facepaint.

Yes, it’s a rematch from last night. And last week. Ryback and
Axel double-team Goldust to start, and Axel gets the advantage. He
pounds Goldust away against the ropes, but Goldust gets an inverted
atomic drop and kneeling uppercut. Axel hooks the ropes to avoid a
clothesline, and it allows Ryback to knock Goldust down. Mounted
punches follow from Goldberg. I mean, Ryback. Floatover suplex gets
two as I think Lawler just made a Luigi’s Mansion reference. To the
chinlock as the crowd tries to rally with Stardust. Ryback with
shoulder thrusts and chops, but Goldust fights out. Bodypress
attempt is caught by Ryback into a fallaway slam. Meathook is being
set up (as Feed Me More chants abound), but Goldust with the
spinebuster to stop it. Hot tag Stardust, who lands flying
everythings and a sliding kick. Axel airballs, and Stardust with a
springboard Bionic Elbow. Straitjacket DDT to Axel, and Ryback is
hung up by Goldust into the Disaster Lariat. Axel goes for the
Hennig Breaker, but Stardust gets whatever that move is called for
the pin at 3:26. It’s kind of a half-nelson STO. Much as with Team
Hell No, I have zero idea where this is going, but I like it. Now
they need new opponents. 1/2*
Our
main event is coming up! But before then, Paige!
Dang…
even the throwaway stuff is entertaining tonight. Meanwhile, my
minion has an idea: a 30-minute discussion by Dusty Rhodes and Mike
Rotundo, attempting to explain Goldust, Dashing Cody Rhodes, Bray
Wyatt, and Bo Dallas in kayfabe and explaining where this means they
went wrong as parents. Admit it: you’d watch that.
Paige
is here! Paige doesn’t like to talk – she’s a woman of action –
but all those who think she wasn’t a vital champion and should return
to NXT? The last three months shut you up, didn’t it? Paige has
proven she’s here to stay. So…
AJ!
Oh snap, AJ’s back! So much for those pregnancy rumors. AJ skips
around like she wasn’t just beaten in 90 seconds in her last match.
The crowd is so happy they demand CM Punk. AJ admits Paige is right.
Paige is thrown by this… but AJ keeps going. She chokes out
respect for Paige, since Paige proved AJ wrong. And yeah, AJ let
success go to her head, although she WAS the longest reigning Divas’
champion ever. But… she didn’t have to rub it in. She thought she
was untouchable, but Paige was the wake-up call. So she wants to
return the favor and than Paige, congratulating her.
Paige
isn’t fooled. AJ is doing to Paige what Paige did to AJ. She wants
to get the rematch tonight for poetic justice, but Paige is smarter
than that. She won’t make the mistake AJ did. (We now pause for
another CM Punk chant.) Besides, it’s not like anyone wants to see
Paige defend tonight, right?
Um,
actually, they do, Paige.
AJ
confirms this by asking the crowd what they want, and it’s
overwhelmingly true that they want the rematch tonight. Huge YES
chants abound. Paige caves in and agrees.
Divas’
Title: Paige v. AJ Lee.
Paige
is nervous. AJ jumps in and pounds away, but Paige shoves off and
gets a superkick. Headbutting follows. Paige throws AJ into the
corner, but eats boot only to get a clothesline on the next try. It
gets two. Crowd wants AJ to get even. Paige is none too happy and
says it’s her house, but AJ with a huge slap and small package to get
the belt back at 1:03. REALLY? Cole: “She has her baby back.”
Inside jokes for the win!
Up
next, our main event! Cena and Reigns! Orton and Kane!
Okay,
put aside how happy we all are to see AJ back. We just saw someone
be put over every single opponent, mock them for 8 months straight,
never be proven wrong, lose on a fluke to a challenger no one had
seen before, then get the belt back first opportunity without
breaking a sweat. That’s Hoganesque. Seriously, if it’s not
Internet Darling AJ Lee, aren’t we all rolling our eyes over this?
This better be the start of something, but even then, it has shades
of Orton/Christian, where no matter what follows, it’s tainted by the
start.
On
SmackDown, Sheamus will put have a US Title Challenge for SmackDown
on the 4th.
HHH
is at ringside, but not for commentary. He just wants to watch.
Main
event: Kane and Randy Orton v. John Cena and Roman Reigns.

Note: that’s the order of entrance. That’s kind of a big deal in my
book. Cena and Orton start, as always. Orton with a headlock. He
tackles Cena, but doesn’t follow up and it’s a stalemate. Back to an
Orton headlock, and this time, Orton gets a hiptoss. Again Cena’s up
quickly, but this time he tags out to Reigns. Orton points to his
staples in his head… and tags in Kane. A slugfest breaks out, and
Reigns wins by dumping Kane to the outside. Kane and Orton regroup
on the outside as we go to break.
Okay,
guys… this is being treated like a main event tag match. Deliver.
Main
event, part two.

We return with the post-ad chinlock (Orton on Reigns) as we see that
Orton got a beautiful dropkick during the break. Orton with a
hairpull slam live, then a high kneedrop for two. Kane in, and
double-teaming gets two. A big uppercut to Reigns, and Orton’s in.
Snapmare leads to another chinlock as Cena can be heard encouraging a
tag. Reigns fights out, ducks a clothesline, and gets one of his
own, followed by a corner clothesline, right cross, and… no, Kane
cuts off the Drive-By Dropkick. Reigns sends him into the barricade,
but that allows Orton to recover and bowl Reigns over. Back in,
Orton tags Kane. Kane stomps away on Reigns’s back, then Kane adds a
big boot for two. Kane to the double chinlock, but Reigns is up fast
and slugs away. Kane wins the slugfest, but Reigns fires out of the
corner with a clothesline to knock Kane over. Orton is in to cut off
any hot tag with a big stomp. Another big stomp follows, then a knee
to the head for two. Kane in, and he gets an uppercut as Orton adds
some Garvin Stomping for two. Kane with a hard throw and
clothesline, but the second one in the corner eats boot. Kane
recovers with the goozle, but Reigns powers out and a slugfest
begins. Reigns punctuates it with a Samoan Drop. Hot tag Cena –
the crowd is 100% behind him – and he does the usual to Orton.
Five Knuckle Shuffle connects, but Orton escapes the AA and tags in
Kane. So Kane gets the Protoslam and Five Knuckle Shuffle. Cena
measures Kane for the AA, but Orton with an RKO. Reigns dumps Orton
and Superpunches Kane as he and Orton brawl up the aisle and to the
back. This leaves Kane and Cena, both semi-conscious. Kane throws
Cena into the steps on the outside when both recover. Kane grabs the
steps and uses them for the DQ at 12:04. Lame finish. **1/4
HHH demands Kane finish everything, and Kane is ready with the
cut-throat sign. Tombstone connects to Cena, knocking him right out.
Crowd wants another. The ref wants the doctor to check on Cena, as
does HHH. JBL calls for the piledriver to be outlawed. HHH calls
for…
Seth
Rollins and a referee! Plan B in the house! The referee is nervous,
but here we go!
Cash-in:
Seth Rollins v. John Cena.

Wait, never mind! Dean Ambrose attacks Rollins before we can go
anywhere, and he sends Rollins into the crowd! Kane and HHH can’t
catch up as they both look to the outside. Meanwhile, HHH calls the
referee an idiot for stalling. Note: no cash-in attempt.
So
Kane gets a chair to use on Cena, but Roman Reigns returns to spear
Kane down and howl. And now Reigns and Hunter are the only two
standing as everyone waits to see what’s next. Crowd is chanting YES
with gusto! HHH and Reigns stare down as the crowd declares
something else Awesome. Time seems to be standing still as we wait
for the next move. HHH makes that move, standing down and walking
away, briefcase in hand. Reigns stares at HHH, as the two don’t
break eye contact the whole way to the finish.
THOUGHTS:
There
were a few slip-ups tonight – the opening segment overwrote
continuity, and AJ’s win is setting off alarm bells – but most of
the show was entertaining, there were long matches in the beginning
to highlight new talent, we had some huge talking points (Swagger,
Jericho, Miz, AJ), and we had a white-hot post-main event brawl. I’m
willing to forgive quite a bit. This was awesome.
STATS:
MATCH
TIME: 53:47 over nine matches
BEST
MATCH: The six-man
WORST
MATCH: The Divas’ Handicap match
NIGHT
MVP: Even though AJ won a belt, I’m going Bray Wyatt.
RATING:
10. This is easily the best Raw since the night after WrestleMania.
Everything tonight had a purpose, everyone got good heat, and the
whole show was fun. Remember that? Fun? I had it.
Matt
is on deck with Main Event. Tommy slogs through Impact. Scott Keith
tries his hand at NXT. Brian, Logan, and company go retro. And I
think I’ll celebrate the long weekend with some ranting of my own –
first on the Raw I delcared the most important of all time. Then
it’s time for a retro Mania.
Until
then…
WE
THE PEOPLE!