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The PG Era Rant: Raw, 7.14.14

When last we left our heroes, the cats
were away and the mice did play. The Authority’s ground troops
showed dissent, but were willing to work together to try to get the
Championship back in their possession. But a lone wolf stopped them
again from success. Tonight, six days away from a four-way dance,
can they unite as one without their individual egos getting in the
way?
Oh, and something something Steve
Borden something. Maybe.
The PG Era Rant for Raw, 7.14.14.
Live from Richmond, VA.
Your hosts are Cole, Lawler, and
Layfield, LLC.
Your Pre-Show preview:
  • Your main event: Dean Ambrose,
    John Cena, Roman Reigns v. Randy Orton, Seth Rollins, THEDEMONKANE
  • Alexander Rusev and Jack Swagger
    to have detente peace talks (because Vince McMahon is stuck in the
    80s)
  • Chris Jericho will call out Bray
    Wyatt, demanding answers.
  • Ric Flair is in the house!
  • Added to the Battle Royal: Adam
    Rose, Sin Cara, Titus O’Neil, Heath Slater, R-Truth, Xavier Woods,
    Miztista, El Matador Primo, Zack Ryder. At last count, that puts us
    at 22. They join Rob Van Dam, Damien Sandow, Alberto Del Rio,
    Fandango, Ryback, Curtis Axel, Big E Langston, Dolph Ziggler,
    Antonio Cesaro, Bo Dallas, Sheamus (positioned as favorite), Kofi
    Kingston, and the Great Khali.
(Warning: this recap is heavily detailed.  Read at your own risk.)

And we waste no time in opening with
John Cena! We open with a look back at last week, but there’s no
Rollins or Ambrose in it, wasting an opportunity to build to the
six-man main event tonight (graphic here). Cena pumps the crowd up
as he can, and this segment gets the PPV hashtag. The crowd is loud,
and it’s because it’s the go-home show. Cena makes a statement: if
you haven’t signed up, get to the free preview that ends at midnight,
and do it for the titles! See, in six days, Cena may no longer be
champion. The problem is Cena’s in a Fatal Four-Way with Kane (Boo),
Randy Orton (Squeal), and Roman Reigns (Yay). And in that match,
it’s sudden death for the championship, and the decision doesn’t have
to involve Cena.
So now that we have the ground rules,
here’s Roman Reigns! And the crowd is united behind him. Cena with
a couplet to Reigns for an intro. They team tonight, but on Sunday
they’re foes. Cena thanks Reigns for saving him when he was in a bad
way… and yeah, he got the message from the end of the show. Cena
knows it’s every man for himself, but that’s only if they get to
Sunday. Reigns has been treated poorly by the Authority and… “Get
to the damn point, John.” Okay, fine. Let’s team up to handle
business tonight, take Kane and Orton away early, and then we find
out how good Reigns really is.
Reigns agrees – getting Orton and
Kane out is a great idea. And then we’ll find out how good Cena
really is.
But
before the conversation can continue, Dean Ambrose files in from his
undisclosed location. Stop arguing about who’s better, because
there’s a fight tonight. Kane, Orton and “HHH’s little bag boy”
Seth Rollins will have a plan. But the news is: Operation Screw the
Authority is Ambrose’s plan, and it starts with everyone on the same
page to destroy the Authority.
And
then the Authority finds Ambrose and gives him the 3-on-1 treatment,
throwing him into some very loud set design. It doesn’t slow Ambrose
down because nothing slows him down, so he charges back in, only to
get thrown into a garage door repeatedly by all of the Authority.
The three-man beating continues, with Rollins Hammer Throwing Ambrose
into the garage door and Orton Punting Ambrose in the gut. Stomps
everywhere, but they’re not done as Ambrose eats concrete wall and
Kane chokeslams him on some steamer trunks. Ambrose: “That all you
guys got?” Famous last words as Rollins adds the Curbstomp to
Ambrose, who was kind enough to roll over so it could hit the back of
his head. Now Ambrose is done, and the Authority walks away,
satisfied. Go to break.
I get the feeling this’ll make
tonight a handicap match, and Ambrose won’t return until he bursts
back onto the scene to stop Rollins again. And I’d have nothing
wrong with that.
Let’s
look back at the beating.
We’re
told Ambrose is being sent to a medical facility and is questionable
for the main event.
Non-title: Sheamus v. Miztista.
Sheamus does an inset promo about how Miz hates getting hit in the
face, so Sheamus will kick his face into next week. Miz has a
counter-promo about the battle royal, saying he’ll win it. It makes
sense, really. He’s adored all over the world, so he should be
champion. But tonight, his goal is to keep from getting hit in the
face with the Brogue Kick. And here’s a perk for his fans: his face
will be on the Tron all match. If ever there was a time for 18
seconds, this is it, but we don’t get it. Lockup and Miz ducks under
the ropes. Miz with a waistlock, but Sheamus tackles him down and
gets a back elbow. He feigns a big right and Miztista bails. Back
in, Miz kicks Sheamus away in the corner, but Sheamus reverses only
to get low bridged out. Crowd is hot for Sheamus, who drags Miz out
and goes CLUBBERIN, THEY BE CLUBBERIN TONY. Miz, though, reverses
Sheamus into the barricade. Back in, Miz goes up, landing a double
axhandle for one. He adds shots to Sheamus’s head, but Sheamus
reverses a whip and gets the Finlay Roll. Miz bails from an
elbowdrop and stalls as we go to break.
I’m currently arguing with a minion
over whether Seth Rollins getting the big push he’s getting is a sign
that RoHbots have taken over wrestling and will kill anyone who
doesn’t reach their standards. I think Ambrose and Reigns are doing
all right, myself, but hey, what do I know? I’m a stupid recapper.
Sheamus/Miztista, part two.
We’re on the outside, but only long enough to throw Miz in… but he
rolls back out. We’ve been told that this is nothing new. Miz
escapes and sends Sheamus into the post, and Miz kicks Sheamus off
the steps. Back in, Miz with something for one. He goes to the
leglock as we see MIZ BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU and look at the list of
people in the battle royal. Sheamus breaks, but Miz with kicks to
the head only for the second one to get caught. Sheamus shoves down
Miz and does Irish Hammers and a shoulder ram in the corner, but the
kneelift misses. Miz is tossed to the apron, and then the kneelift
hits… and it’s Ten of Clubs time (total: 15). Miz is tossed back
in, and an Oklahoma Slam gets two. Sheamus gets a Northern Lariat
and stops Miz from escaping, getting a big kick. To the top, but
he’s caught and Miz slams him off. Kneeling DDT gets two. Miz
softens up Sheamus’s leg and tries the figure-four, but Sheamus kicks
off and catches Miz in the Irish Curse for two. Sheamus with more
clubs, but Miz kicks to escape and tries the Skull Crushing Finale.
Sheamus escapes, but Brogue Kicks the top turnbuckle, allowing Miz to
cradle for the big upset at 10:44. Perfectly Acceptable Wrestling.
**1/4

Backstage,
the Authority Three laugh about their accomplishments. Orton says if
they can do their jobs like that on Sunday, he’ll be champion. Kane:
“What do you mean by THAT, Randy?” Or maybe Kane is champion.
The two will trust each other as much as they trust each other. So
HHH tells them to trust each other because he does. What matters is
that on Sunday, the title is in the Authority’s control again. So
decide who wins on Sunday – they need to clean house tonight. And
that will require trust. Message sent, the two walk off. Stephanie
appears for some canoodling (where’d Rollins go??), buttering him up
and planting a kiss on him. A long one.
Dolph
Ziggler is next! So get the Network! Preview ends at midnight… so
just go subscribe and get it overwith. (Seriously, why wouldn’t
you?)
Seriously,
Seth Rollins just kinda exited stage left when the camera was on Kane
and Orton arguing. It was weird.
But
first, a Rewind to last Friday, as Fandango gets double-dumped.
Dolph
Ziggler v. Fandango.

Hey, they’re in the battle royal too! Lockup, and Fandango holds a
headlock. Dolph gets run over, but pops up with a VERY exaggerated
hiptoss. Dropkick misses, and Fandango stomps away. Fandango
punches at Dolph, getting a Hammer Throw for one. To the chinlock as
the crowd tries to rally Dolph. He punches out, but Fandango with a
hairpull slam. Fandango with a side headlock now, but Dolph punches
out and gets a running clothesline. Stinger Splash airballs as Dolph
eats post. And then the music hits and it’s dance time on the table!
Layla and Summer dance away, which distracts Fandango, Lawler, and
every heterosexual male in the audience. Dolph knocks Fandango over,
and something something Famouser wins it at 3:03. Match was just
background, so no need to rate. The girls enter the ring and dance
some more, this time around Dolph. Dolph’s hardcore – he’ll take
them both! It’s a kiss on both cheeks! They make Jillian Hall
references for no reason as everyone leaves.
Your
main event tonight may or may not be a 6-man tag! Will Cena and
Reigns be on the same page? Will they have a partner?
Line
of the Night from that match had Cole say “I can’t see the ring.”
To which JBL and Lawler simultaneously respond “Why would you want
to?” It’s a midcard comedy angle. Whatever.
It’s
backstage for a Sonic ad. Damien Sandow is a delivery guy for Sonic,
complete with roller skates he’s not used to yet. And enter the
Exotic Entourage, as Adam Rose chastises Sandow for being a lemon.
They fight over the hot dog (with the Entourage providing yay and boo
as appropriate) until Rose leverages Sandow off-screen [darn roller
skates]. Sue me, I laughed.
Non-title:
The Usos v.
Hang
on, never mind. Harper and Rowan attack during the intros. The Usos
fight back, but to no avail as Rowan sends one of them into the post.
Harper with a running big boot that sends that Uso into the crowd,
and Rowan rolls the other one in. It’s a double-team stomp action,
leading to a double crucifix powerbomb (that actually looked kinda
dangerous). No match. Harper and Rowan stand tall.
Still
to come: RIC FLAIR! But next, detente talks between Swagger/Colter
and Rusev/Lana!
Two
fun bits I noticed: The Usos slowed their crowd interaction down
because Harper and Rowan were a little late coming out; plus, the
Detente graphic featured Sgt. Slaughter’s music. Oh, and you know
what? I may be getting soft, but I kinda liked the Sonic ad.
We
return to Alexander Rusev waving the Russian flag like there’s no
tomorrow while Lana is at the podium. Colter and Swagger get a
decent pop as this segment has a hashtag. Swagger goes for the
regular Old Glory. WE THE PEOPLE! I’d say this is going to hurt,
but it can’t be worse than Steiner/Nowinski. Cole explains that this
is about easing hostilities. Cole needs to wait out a USA chant
(which EVERYONE plays off of). So, will Lana accept the challenge
for Battleground is Question One? She repsonds in “the better
language” – Russian. Then translates that America is just like
Colter: they think violence is the answer. America wants to be the
world’s savior, but they can’t save themselves. (Cribbing from
Wyatt, really?) She then insults America, calling everyone in it
stupid (so much for easing of hostilities) as the crowd WHATs her on.
Lana freaks out over a USA chant and screams for them to shut up.
Which, of course, makes them louder. Cole AND Swagger both look like
they’re going to corpse.
Okay,
try again: when the US won their freedom, the first thing they did
was fight each other like savages. That’s how stupid they are. Much
unlike Mother Russia, who has always been a peace-loving country. So
all she wants is for Colter to admit his mistakes… and we get
ANOTHER USA chant. Colter eggs it on. Anyway, admit your mistakes
(Lana imitates the USA chant) and apologize, that’s all they want.
Mr.
Colter, your rebuttal: “You want ME to apologize? YOU.” Lana’s
the visitor and wants the Americans to apologize? He then tells “you
and Bullwinkle” about his Vietnam veteran experience, and he didn’t
do this so that “two peglegs” could badmouth the country he
served. He took a vow to protect America from all enemies, foregin
and domestic. So will he apologize? HELL NO!
Lana
is offended by this development and everyone abandons the podiums as
another USA chant breaks out. Lana calls Colter arrogant and says
it’s why the USA is crumbling. But there’s hope – see, there’s one
man who has a remedy to help the disaster in America, and of course
it’s Putin. Putin, as always, gets more heat than Lana or Rusev.
Colter
calls Putin ugly. And he says he has a leader – President Obama
(who gets a rather good pop in Democratic Richmond). And whether you
like him or not, America RESPECTS him. But enough about this, enough
about Putin, and enough talking to Lana. Colter wants an answer from
Rusev himself: “When are you gonna step out from behind this woman
and be a man and face Jack Swagger at Battleground? Yes or Nyet?”
This sparks a We The People chant!
Rusev’s
response… is in Bulgarian until he says “THIS IS WAR!” I think
that’s a yes. Lana tells Rusev to leave quietly as Colter eggs on a
fight. Colter says he knows who wears the pants in that group. And
everyone rise! WE THE PEOPLE!
This
infuriates Lana, who slaps Colter hard – and Swagger jumps Rusev!
Lana pulls Swagger away, allowing Rusev an edge as Rusev uses Swagger
to destroy the the setup. Rusev is ready for the big kick, but
Swagger cathces it and slaps on the Patriot Lock! Rusev escapes
under the ropes without tapping out, and he and Lana hobble off. WE
THE PEOPLE!
We
go back to looking at the Authority dismantling Dean Ambrose. He is
now downgraded to Doubtful at the medical facility.
Cena
and Reigns meet, and Cena assumes it’s a handicap match. He tells
all this to Reigns, but gets mad when Roman doesn’t show passion.
Cena knows Reigns wants to be champion, but TRUST HIM already! But
Roman’s not concerned about the numbers game. The two of them will
take them all out. Believe that.
But
the graphic hasn’t been updated! So who knows?
Opinions
are divided on the detente segment. Personally, I liked it, but
that’s because I like Swagger. So there.
Alberto
Del Rio v. Rob Van Dam.

These two had a bit of a faceoff on the pre-show. Del Rio wastes no
time in attacking, getting the low superkick early for not-even-one.
He backs Van Dam into the corner as we get an ECW chant. Van Dam
reverses to the somersault monkey flip, and Del Rio is sent over the
top by RVD’s clothesline. He follows, but Del Rio catches him in the
ring skirt and delivers an enzuigiri. More head kicks follow. Back
in, it gets two, and we go to the chinlock. Van Dam fights out and
tries a sunset flip, but Del Rio rolls through and hooks a DDT for
two. He imitates Van Dam’s pose before getting the step-up enzuigiri
for two. Del Rio stomps away before going to a reverse double
chinlock. Van Dam tries to fight out but is slammed headfirst to the
mat. Running kick misses, and RVD with the comeback. He backflips
over a backdrop, getting a rana and superkick to lead to Rolling
Thunder for two. ADR fights back with rights, but Van Dam blocks a
corner trip. Thrust kick misses, but Van Dam gets the stepover
enzuigiri instead. He goes up top, but the Five Star eats the knees
and Del Rio gets the cross armbreaker for the tapout at 4:30. Not
that Rob Van Dam needs the win, but Del Rio’s dead in the water right
now, so why keep pushing him? *1/4
Network!
Sign up! Please! If you do, you get to see Beyond the Ring: CM
Punk.
But
that’s tomorrow night! Tonight, Ric Flair will be here! Plus, Chris
Jericho demands to know Bray Wyatt’s motives!
One
thing others have said is this show tends to run out of steam right
about now and the main event can’t bring it to the finish line.
Well, with any luck, this crowd will keep it afloat.
This
is supposed to be a Divas’ Tag match, but Stephanie is apparently
going to mix it up. Since Nikki’s alone in the ring AGAIN.
Stephanie almost feels sorry for her, too. Brie abandoned Nikki,
after all, and left the company to abandon her family. (If you’ve
seen Total Divas, this dovetails beautifully.) And now Nikki has to
suffer the consequences. It’s supposed to be a tag team match, but
hey, Nikki has no sister, so it’s a handicap match AGAIN. But don’t
blame Stephanie, blame Brie. Yeah, this won’t get old fast.
Nikki
Bella v. Alicia Fox and Cameron.

So who’s crazier on the heel side? Fox starts, and she and Nikki
lock up. Nikki with a fireman’s carry into the armbar, then La
Majistral for two. Fox runs Nikki into the corner, and Cameron in
with a gut kick as we find out Cameron and Naomi is the pre-show
match. Nikki with a neckbreaker on Cameron out of nowhere for two.
Nikki tosses Cameron into Fox, then gets the Alabama Slam for two,
Fox saves. Now Cameron sends Nikki into the corner and alley-oop
bombs her out. Fox in, and she sends Nikki into the corner before
returning Cameron in. Back to Fox, who gets a snapmare and chinlock
as the crowd chants for Nikki. Fox (to the camera): “Where are
you, Brie?” Nikki fights out but gets a knee to the back. Fox
tries to toss Nikki, but Nikki pushes off the ropes and cradles for
two. Dropkick and backdrop to Fox as JBL yells about Brie. Nikki
with an elbow and she goes up, but Cameron distracts and Fox sweeps
Nikki off. Legscissors armbreaker by Fox gets the win at 3:34. 1/2*

The
graphic’s updated! It’s a handicap match! Cena and Reigns will face
the Authority! Can anyone get on the same page?
So
that 7.14.14 thing? If you pre-order WWE 2K15, you get “Two
Generations of Sting”!
The
ad introducing him was really good, with an orchestra playing his
Crow music in the shadows… until Sting descends, and we see the
whole orchestra is in Crow makeup. I liked it.
Oh,
and another thing: JBL keeps yelling about how Brie abandoned Nikki
and left her to have these handicap matches… uh, what, she can’t
get a replacement partner? Hell, Naomi and Natalya have nothing to
say about it?
Network
Network Network.
Backstage
to Triple H, and Randy Orton is concerned about Kane. Nothing
happened (yet), but Orton’s worried about him. HHH tells Orton to
cool off: Kane’s just a pawn in this game. Orton’s always the man.
Kane will stick to the plan, and Orton is the plan. But if Orton’s
the plan, Plan B is unnecessary. That’s what Orton thinks.
Stardust
and Goldust are together – Star calls Dustin’s face an interstellar
road map? “Like the Yellow Brick Road?” But they’re not in
Kansas anymore. They need to go where all that glitters is gold!
And Stardust blows gold confetti in Goldie’s face – the two face
off. Hit the name.
Antonio
Cesaro is up next… and he’s come out alone. He and Heyman have
split.
Well,
for everyone who wanted Cesaro to get paired with Paul Heyman on the
Raw after Mania? Yeah, how’d that go? I guess we shouldn’t have
been surprised. In kayfabe, the decision was a bad one for Cesaro
because Paul Heyman ONLY cares about top-flight talent like Lesnar
and has been known to prioritize his clientele.
Your
Main Event main event is a Sheamus/Miz rematch!
Antonio
Cesaro v. Big E Langston.

We show Cesaro beating the everloving tar out of Kofi Kingston over
the past couple weeks. Cesaro opens with a German suplex throw to
Langston, but he runs into a uranage. Langston knocks Cesaro off the
apron into the barricade. On the outside, Cesaro tries to send
Langston into the barricade, but has to settle for giving him a
Hotshot over into the crowd. Langston finally returns, but Cesaro
with the Mushroom Stomp to the gut and he slaps Langston around.
Langston tries to fight back, getting to his feet, but Cesaro boxes
him down… only to run into a military press. Cesaro escapes and
gets a forearm shot and clothesline for two. Cesaro works the
headlock as the announcers can’t figure out where Paul Heyman would
be – he’s in Richmond, after all. Cesaro switches to a butterfly
powerbomb, getting two. Twice. Cesaro goes ground and pound on
Langston before punching him down and switching to a sleeper.
Langston backs Cesaro into the corner, but Cesaro throws the sleeper
back on. Repeat to break, and Langston catches Cesaro in an overhead
suplex. Shoulder ram in the corner and a Greco-Roman throw follow,
and Langston goes for the Ultimate Splash, connnecting. Down with
the strap, but Cesaro rolls out of the ring. He drapes Langston’s
throat on the ropes, then throws a chair at Kingston before swinging
at Langston… but Kofi intercepts the chair. Big Ending ends it at
4:39. Further proof that Paul Heyman isn’t that good a manager –
Cesaro split from Jack Swagger and somehow came out the WORST of it.
3/4*
We
look back at how Chris Jericho’s return has gone less than smoothly
thanks to Bray Wyatt and his henchmen. This brings out Jericho
himself for answers – we’ll hear from him next!
So
the night after WrestleMania, you had Big E Langston as
Intercontinental Champion and rubbing shoulders with John Cena while
Antonio Cesaro was coming off a huge battle royal win and a big deal
was made of his split from his tag team partner. Whose potential
have they wasted more?
We
take a look back at SmackDown as Bray Wyatt cost Jericho a match
against Randy Orton.
Okay,
Chris, the floor is yours, and you get a hashtag. Welcome to Raw Is
Jericho! It feels good to be back, because wrestling is home to
Chris Jericho. Jericho’s been in the WWE for 15 years and has seen
and done it all (Naked Mideon, 3 Minute Warning, Scott Steiner, Boss
Man, HBK, PS Hayes, Alfred Hayes… you get the idea). Crowd
interrupts for a Y2J chant. Jericho has seen the Undertaker burned
by his pyro. He did the first match with Cena on PPV. He’s been
knocked out by Mike Tyson, Mickey Rourke, Bob Barker (that open
challenge is out there, Bob). He’s beaten the Rock and Stone Cold in
one night. He’s done it all! He’s also a musical chairs champion,
don’t you know.
But
he hasn’t QUITE seen and done it all, because he has no clue what to
make of Bray Wyatt. Bray’s an anomaly, a manpiulator, a presence, a
freak surrounded by freaks, an unstoppable force. And now Wyatt
wants Jericho. And Chris is confused: why him, Bray? Chris doesn’t
know, but he knows they’ll meet at Battleground. Two opposites
facing each other.
But
maybe they do have things in common. If Bray wants to get crazy,
Chris can do that. Wanna get nuts? He can do that. Crowd starts a
Let’s Get Crazy chant. Does Bray have the whole world in his hands?
So, Chris Jericho has the whole Universe in his hands! And that’s an
unstoppable force!
Cut
to Bray on the Tron, laughing. “Why you?” Do you remember your
childhood, Chris? You were full of energy and hope. You ran
carefree, with no worries about the horrors of the world. But what
changes everything? Children have frail minds. And these minds run
headlong into life and they change. So why Jericho? Well, where was
Jericho when we needed him? He said he’d be there, that he’d save
them, and we haven’t forgotten. Bray has done bad things to people,
and gone to war with powerful men. He’s noticed a constant: no
matter how tough a man thinks he is, they all scream… (crowd is
getting bored). And so will Jericho.
Wait,
Bray’s not done. He asks if Jericho’s afraid of the dark… and he
puts out the lights. When they come on, Rowan and Harper surround
Jericho. Paging the Usos. Paging the Usos! Jericho looks between
one to the other, then attacks Harper, but that goes very poorly.
Jericho avoids a boot from Harper and escapes, walking up the aisle
to keep his eye on both men. But that allows Bray to attack from
behind. He kicks Jericho down and stands over him before picking him
up and delivering Sister Abigail’s Kiss on the entranceway. The trio
pose over Jericho. Follow the buzzards. Bray and his black eye take
us out.
Michael
Cole makes it official: Dean Ambrose is out of the main event
tonight. Here’s another look as to why. So your main event is a
3-on-2 handicap match instead! Can two men who are separated by the
gold unite against the Authority’s combined forces?
Bray’s
promo just wasn’t that good. The quiet doesn’t help – we couldn’t
hear some of what he said – but on top of that, the idea that
somehow Jericho abandoned the WWE only to come back as its savior
doesn’t work here. I have to wonder: who was that really addressed
to?
Paige
is at ringside for our next match.
Non-title:
AJ Lee v. Eva Marie.

But first, a look back at how AJ won the title, but there will be a
rematch at Battleground. Crowd cheers for CM Punk. AJ with arm
work, reversed by Eva, into a hairpull slam. AJ with a dropkick and
she skips around Eva before landing a spinning leg lariat. Eva Marie
rolls out of the ring, but kicks AJ away when the champ follows.
Back in, it gets two. Eva Marie with a surfboard now, then a knee
when AJ tries to fight out. Backbreaker by Eva, but a second one is
reversed to the Black Widow for the tapout at 2:22. Paige spent the
whole time cheering AJ, while JBL tries to spread the word that Paige
is going to trick AJ again. To which anyone with a memory says,
“Again?” AJ then removes JBL’s headset and has a friendly
conversation with Paige. The match was better than the conversation
afterwards. 1/2*
Backstage,
HHH and Stephanie talk about Flo Rida when Kane says that “Plan A
has a serious problem”. Kane doesn’t like or trust Orton, but
Stephanie knows that… but that’s business. You have to work with
people you don’t like, just like the McMahons do. It’s business.
And what’s Best For Business is the Authority gaining the title.
Just get it done, HHH says. Kane leaves without comment.
Honestly,
Eva Marie’s better than she has a right to be. Of course, AJ can
make people look better, which is nice. But she has improved quite a
bit. She may not be worthless. As for this story… I guess I
should be glad they’re trying to make us care about female characters
as people, which puts them one step ahead of most bookers. Looking
at you, DJ Hyde. (I won’t explain further, just that he should be
blackballed.)
Bo
Dallas has a microphone. He talks about beating El Torito. Yeah,
Torito’s small, but he has a big heart. So he hopes tonight’s
opponent has a heart as big as Torito. Well, I wonder who…
Bo
Dallas v. The Great Khali.

Bo can’t help but laugh at his fortune. JBL claims Khali is a
different species. Khali no-sells a chop and gets one of his own,
backing Dallas into the corner and slapping him hard in the chest.
Three CHOPS OF DOOM have Dallas on his knees in pain. Dallas tries
to fight back (“Bad Giant!”), but nothing works as Khali tosses
Dallas over and out. Khali follows, but Bo with a dropkick to the
knees and the Bo-Dog on the floor. Bo beats the count back in to win
at 1:48. Dallas is understandably hyped up about this one. He goes
for his victory lap… and runs into Khali, stopping. He then gives
Khali some words of inspiration… which Khali visibly does not
appreciate with a chop to the head. Bo staggers around to finish the
victory lap because HE’S JUST THAT DEDICATED TO HIS GIMMICK. They’re
both in the 22-man Intercontinental Title match.
Tonight
on the WWE Network, it’s the Best of Nitro!
Seth
Rollins is nervous about the other two getting along on Sunday. But
he reminds them that if Kane and Orton can’t get the job done, he’s
Plan B. And then Paul Heyman shows up as Rollins leaves. Where was
he? He was biding his time, making his move, etc. He likes Plan B
and hopes it works out. But if the Authority needs a foolproof plan,
they know who to talk to. Stephanie isn’t impressed.
Ric
Flair is WALKING! He’ll be out NEXT!
How
can you not like Bo Dallas? Seriously, how?
Next
week: Flo Rida!
This
week: Ric Flair! Renee Young gets the in-ring honors. His
appearance gets a hashtag. Young hands over the mic with a curtsy.
She’s giddy. And Flair gets the cheap pop to start. He reminisces
about his time in Richmond in the past. “Ask your mothers and
fathers.” JBL: “Especially the mothers.” He gets a Nature Boy
chant. Virginia is for Lovers, they say (it’s true), and Flair
struts around Renee. And we all know Ric Flair’s the greatest lover
alive. More strutting and WHOOing. So Renee asks Flair who will win
the main event at Battleground as they test the crowd reactions.
Crowd is solidly behind Roman Reigns. Flair says one man can strike
like a Viper, one rises through Hellfire and Brimstone, and another
he Believes in. But Flair throws his support to John Cena anyway as
The Man.
And
here comes Roman Reigns. Flair offers him a handshake and leaves
without incident, but with an ovation.
But at the top of the
ramp, Cena enters. Cena offers Flair the Big Gold Belt for one last
pose. In fact, he tells Flair to keep it for the night. The main
event is next!
Ric
Flair got the crowd ready for the main event. But kudos to this
crowd, which has been active all night.
Your
SmackDown main event is going to be Chris Jericho against Luke
Harper.
Main
event: Roman Reigns and John Cena v. Seth Rollins, Randy Orton, and
Kane.

As a reminder, we have a Fatal Four-Way on Sunday. Cena and Rollins
start, as do the Cena chants. Rollins with a headlock on Cena, but
Cena gets a tackle to knock Rollins down. Rollins brings Orton in,
and Orton works the headlock. Cena shoots him off, and eventually
Cena with a back elbow. Orton tags Kane in, and Cena with a headlock
of his own. Kane knocks Cena over, and now it’s Cena’s turn to tag
out… well, more to the point, Reigns tagged himself in. Kane kicks
away to get the advantage, but Reigns slugs back only to get cut off.
Kane tries a backdrop, but Reigns gets a headbutt and punches away.
Ten punch countalong in the corner, but Kane uppercuts a charging
Reigns. Kane tries to reach over the ropes to Reigns, but Reigns
hangs him up, then goes up for a diving clothesline like Kane would
do. Avalanche clothesline, then a shot for Orton, but Kane catches
Reigns and knocks him down, tagging in Rollins. Rollins with kicks
to Reigns in the corner as we go to break.
Gotta
say, this has been a very awkward opening to the match. It’s not a
good start.
Main
event, part two.

Kane has Reigns in a chinlock as we return, and when Reigns fights
out, a slugfest breaks out. Reigns recovers with a clothesline for
both men down as Cena really wants a hot tag. He gets it, and
Rollins gets the worst of it with Cena’s usual sequence. Five
Knuckle Shuffle sets up the AA, but Kane interrupts and Rollins
recovers with an enzuigiri. Orton tags himself in and works over
Cena in the corner. He gets two from a cover before going to a
chinlock. Cena fights out of it, landing a dropkick to tease another
hot tag, but Orton recovers with a back-to-back backbreaker for two.
Orton with a stomp to the head, and Kane’s in with a legdrop for two,
brother. Cena punches out and tries an AA, but Kane shifts his
weight to land on top for two. Rollins in, and he slugs away on a
kneeling and dazed Cena. He covers, getting two, and we go back to
the chinlock. He switches to a sleeper, but Cena snapmares out.
Rollins with a gut superkick and Three Amigos to stay in charge…
only Cena’s the one to get the third. Reigns REALLY wants that tag,
and when he gets it, Orton is in deep trouble. Big clothesline to
Orton! Avalanche in the corner, and Orton’s set up for the Drive-By
Dropkick, which connects (Rollins and Kane are both down from Reigns
ostensibly – I missed it). Superpunch hits Kane instead. Rollins
off the top, but Reigns sidesteps and gets tossed (tweaking his leg).
Samoan Drop to Orton (medical personnel are over to look at
Rollins), and Reigns wants the Spear, but Kane attacks from behind.
Kane and Orton double-team repeatedly until the DQ at 14:35. Boring.
*3/4
Cena returns to dump Kane and unload on Orton, but Orton tries the
Draping DDT. Cena backdrops Orton to the apron, then ducks Kane (who
hits Orton to the floor) and works over the Demon. AA try again, but
Reigns returns to spear Orton… who throws him into Cena instead.
Kane cleans house and has Cena and Orton down in the ring, but Orton
pops up with the RKO outta nowhere! Orton gets to pose as the
cameras don’t show Rollins, but do show everyone else down. Until
Reigns re-emerges and spears a posing Orton! So now Reigns gets to
pose with everyone down. He glares at a beaten-up Cena before
posing. And we’re out.
THOUGHTS:
Thank
heaven for such a lively crowd, because honestly the wrestlers seemed
to be going in second gear. Somewhat understandable when you have
the big show on Sunday, but that doesn’t make for good TV. The story
here is whether Rollins is hurt or not. If he is, then it’s official
that the WWE is just snakebitten right now, but if as I suspect it’s
a work to get him out of the picture (so he didn’t try to cash in
again, this time without Ambrose to stop him), no worries.
Still,
it’s better than the last time Raw came from Richmond.
HOW
I’D BOOK IT:
  1. Naomi
    defeats Cameron.
  2. Dean
    Ambrose and Seth Rollins go to a double disqualification.
  3. Bo
    Dallas wins the Intercontinental Title battle royal, last
    eliminating Sheamus.
  4. Bray
    Wyatt pins Chris Jericho off of a distraction from Harper and Rowan.
    The Usos come out, leading to…
  5. Erick
    Rowan and Luke Harper beat the Usos in three falls to win the WWE
    Tag Team Titles, winning the first and third.
  6. Alexander
    Rusev beats Jack Swagger by TKO.
  7. AJ
    Lee pins Paige, who goes Bob Backlund at the result.
  8. John
    Cena retains the Championship by pinning Kane.
MY
SUMMERSLAM CARD:
  • WWE
    Title: John Cena (c) vs. Brock Lesnar
  • Intercontinental
    Title: Bo Dallas (c) vs. Antonio Cesaro
  • Street
    Fight: Dean Ambrose vs. Seth Rollins
  • Submission
    Match for the Divas’ Title: AJ Lee (c) vs. Paige
  • WWE
    Tag Team Titles: Harper and Rowan (c) vs. The Rhodes Brothers
  • United
    States Title: Sheamus (c) vs. Alexander Rusev
  • Double
    or Nothing: Nikki Bella vs. Stephanie McMahon
  • Pre-Show:
    Jack Swagger vs. Kane
…because
it’s my show and I say so. Shut up.
STATS:
MATCH
TIME: 45:15 over eight matches
BEST
MATCH: Sheamus/Miz
WORST
MATCH: Divas Handicap
NIGHT
MVP: Jack Swagger
FINAL
SCORE: Meh, 4/10. With the hot crowd, I wanted this show to be
better, but the wrestling was in second gear and the main event was
beaten over our head. Plus, with all the emphasis on John Cena
possibly losing without losing, it’s obvious he’ll win. It was hard
to get into this show.
Okay,
let’s see here… Matt on Tuesday will forgo watching the All-Star
Game to get Main Event. WWE Network Thursday features Scott doing
NXT while Danielle does Total Divas. Tommy is tortured with Impact
and SmackDown on back to back nights until he loses his mind. Brian
will have a special Blog of Doom e-fed big show on Sunday to coincide
with Battleground. Plus, your letters, Questions of the Day, Retro
lookbacks, and more!
Kevin
Dunn delenda est!