Matt’s Monday Night RAW Recap – 5/11/2015

We
are coming off of one of the better RAW shows in recent memory. The
Payback main event is shaping up to be a nice one — featuring Dean
Ambrose, a guy who should have been a part of this picture a long time
ago if WWE hadn’t been booking him to job to Star Wars holograms and
exploding TV sets. The tag team division has The New Day leading the way
and is looking strong with Kidd and Cesaro and Lucha Dragons in the
background. John Cena leads the mid-card (I can’t believe I’m saying
that) while simultaneously dominating it. And Sami Zayn’s injured. And so
is Hideo Itami. Despite this, the Giant Wrestling Company That Did chugs
along on this, the “going home” show, despite the fact that we really,
only, have two official Payback matches set up. So, I guess we’re gonna
book the other 6 or 7 tonight and on Smackdown.

Let’s move…
We are LIVE(!!!) from Cincinnati, Ohio!!!
JBL, Cole and Booker are the usual guys.
Triple H starts us off, declaring that “Daddy’s home”. He says that when he comes home to his kids and says “Daddy’s home”, (DANIELLE: They boo me!), they’re happy. But he’s not happy with Kane and his bullshit booking because he’s Triple H and there’s no way for him to stop his employees from doing stuff he doesn’t want done or reverse the main event booking. He tells Kane to come out here — but here comes Rollins instead.
Rollins
rants about Kane and reviews all the bullshit Triple H just said and
all the shit we’ve gone through in the past few weeks while the crowd
chants Ambrose’s name in several different variations. Rollins tells
Triple H that Kane isn’t the same person and it’s time to “take the old
dog out back and put him out of his misery.”
That’s enough of that. Kane shows up — and actually gets a pop.
Kane says that he’s older than Rollins and with age comes wisdom. He
wants to strangle Rollins right the fuck now. They bicker back and forth
and Triple H gets between them. Triple H says he respects Kane — but
Kane needs to get on the same page as The Authority. He says that he
knows Rollins is irritating and you just wanna punch him in the
face…but you don’t. He says that Kane’s job is on the line. If Rollins
doesn’t leave Payback as champion, his services won’t be needed. 
Kane
says that’s a shame…but it’s all worth it to eviscerate Rollins.
Rollins argues again and Triple H tells him to shut up. Triple H says
that Kane should speak up because this is the point where a break would
be “amicable”. Kane is quiet. Triple H accepts the silence and says that
the Fatal 4-Way will go on — and they’ll all see action tonight. So,
tonight he wants to test Kane. Tonight, it’s Kane vs. Reigns. He orders
Rollins to take on Randy Orton. Rollins is furious.
Then,
Jamie Noble decides to get brave and criticizes Triple H, telling him
that he’s just some rich guy who rides in limos and watches a big
screen. Triple H mocks Noble and Mercury, saying that he “didn’t know
they were still around”. He gets into Noble’s face, taking care to,
mockingly, kneel down to match Noble’s height. He puts Noble and Mercury
into a handicap match…against Dean Ambrose.
Triple H tells Kane and Rollins to come with him as Ambrose makes his way to the ring.
MATCH #1: Dean Ambrose vs. Jamie Noble & Joey Mercury in a 2-on-1 Handicap Match
Ambrose
manhandles Mercury who tags in Ambrose. Ambrose goes for Dirty Deeds
but Noble escapes and the fight continues outside. Mercury and Noble
double team Ambrose until Ambrose puts both guys over the announce
table. Back in the ring, Ambrose tries to go top rope on Mercury but
Mercury pulls him down. It’s a couple quick tags as Noble puts Ambrose
in an armbar. Mercury comes in and hits a dropkick and headlock. Ambrose
breaks and the two men collide and butt heads. Tag to Noble. Ambrose
gets up and works him over, hitting a couple mean tackles. He goes for a
bulldog but Mercury pulls Noble outside the ring. Ambrose hits the
Flying Psycho and puts Noble back in the ring, hitting a flying
clothesline. Mercury makes the save. The boys beat on Ambrose, who hits a
Double Rebound Clothesline and Dirty Deeds to finish it at 5:17 as
Booker, frustratingly, says “We have a new champion!”
WINNER: Dean Ambrose via Dirty Deeds
RATING:
*3/4. Better than expected, but big deal. Why are we wasting Dean
Ambrose on these guys when Ambrose is main eventing Payback? Quick
action and no commercial break for a change, so there’s that.
TONIGHT: Daniel Bryan is here.
When
we come back from break, Ziggler is out here, dressed like what white
80’s TV Execs thought gang members looked like. Sheamus is at ringside
with the guys, doing commentary. Cole welcomes Sheamus to commentary
and, because he just can’t let it die, continues to berate him for not “kissing Ziggler’s arse” three weeks ago. 
(WHYG Writer Jared: “Hey, folks, welcome to our third PPV,
WEDGIEMANIA! John Cena will defend the United States Championship
against Rusev again — but this time, in a No Holds Barred WEDGIE MATCH!”
JBL: “A wedgie match?!” COLE: “That’s right, John! In order to win the
match, you have to give your opponent a WEDGIE!”)
Barrett
gets on the mic and gives a speech that just isn’t the same without the
“bad news” gimmick. He tells the ref to ring the bell.
MATCH #2: Dolph Ziggler vs. King Barrett
Ziggler
hits a Superkick and nearly gets a pin. He hits an elbow drop for
another two count and dropkicks Barrett outside. When we come back from
one RAW’s much-needed commercial breaks, Barrett’s in control with a pin
and a headlock. He elbows Ziggler on the back of the head but Ziggler
charges up and hits the Fame-Asser for two. Ziggler goes for another
Superkick but Barrett grabs his leg and goes for Wasteland. Ziggler
breaks it but Barrett knocks him down with a knee to the gut. Barrett
sets up the Bullhammer but misses. Sheamus gets involved, distracting
Ziggler. Barrett hits the Bullhammer to finish up at 5:52.
WINNER: Barrett via Bullhammer
RATING: **. Nothing going on here except to build up the Sheamus feud.
Post-match, Sheamus kicks at Ziggler. Ziggler fights back with a press but Sheamus hits a Brogue and leaves.
TONIGHT:
  • Kane vs. Roman Reigns
  • Randy Orton vs. Seth Rollins

MATCH #3: Erick Rowan (w/ Luke Harper) vs. Fandango
It’s
the Suddenly Evil Because Reasons Eric Rowan vs. The New and Improved
Fandango You Know What Nevermind. JBL, Cole and Booker argue over how
fast Rowan will win, guess 2 minutes or under because this is a thing
now. Rowan destroys Fandango and hits a Full Nelson Slam for the win at
around 36 seconds.
WINNER: Erick Rowan
RATING: n/a – squash. I didn’t care about Rowan before. I don’t care for him now. As a tag team, Rowan and Harper can kick a whole lot of ass. Let’s do that instead of 15 straight solo squashes week after week. Anyhow, this whole match has an Island of Misfit Toys feel, starring a bunch of WWE’s failed experiments.

Post-match, it’s a Rowan/Harper beatdown.

NEXT: Cena will beat a mid-carder.

LAST WEEK: Bret Hart introduced Sami Zayn who lost to John Cena, got injured and won’t return to WWE for weeks to come. 

Cena
graces us with his presence and is thrilled because the arena seems to
cheer for him. He talks up the Franklin Mint United States Commemorative
Championship and lists all the people he’s beaten to keep it. The Cena
U.S. Open is…uh…open…and the challenger is…

Neville. To almost no pop.

MATCH #4: John Cena (champion) vs. Neville (challenger) for the WWE United States Championship
The
two men exchange holds and wrist locks and armbars for the first couple
of minutes. Cena hits a shoulderblock and side headlock as JBL says
that Cena “could have anyone…like Harper and Rowan”. Neville breaks
the hold and sends Cena outside. When we come back, NOBODY IS IN
CONTROL! Cena hits Move #1 but Neville kicks out of #3 and sends Cena
out of the ring, following with a nice Baseball Slide Kick. Neville
follows that up with a beautiful Springboard 450 Splash. Back in the
ring, Neville gets a two count. A few counters later and Cena hits #3
and goes for the 5KS, hitting it. He goes for the AA but Neville kicks
free and kicks Cena in the face. Neville hits ANOTHER beautiful 450
Splash but only gets a near fall. The two men exchange punches and
Neville hits some quick low kicks before Cena grabs Neville for a nice
Michinoku Driver for two. Cena sets up the AA again but Neville counters
into a pin for two. Cena puts Neville in the corner. Neville jumps over
Cena and does some backflips. He hits a cross body but Cena counters
into an AA which Neville counters. Neville hits an Enzuguri and NEARLY
gets another fall. He goes for the Red Arrow but Cena counters into the
STF. Neville counters that and nearly gets another fall. Cena
gets to his feet and hits a quick clothesline and both men are weary.
Cena rushes at Neville but Neville dodges and kicks Cena. Cena grabs
Neville anyhow and hits an AA. 1…2…NO. Both men are on their backs
and struggle to get up. Cena is on his feet first as Neville rolls
outside the ropes. Cena grabs Neville and puts him on his shoulders,
climbing to the second buckle…but Neville counters into a Falling
Powerbomb! 1…2…NO. Neville gets up and goes for the Red Arrow and
hits it…and Rusev fuck this entire thing up by interfering for the DQ
finish at 14:42. Fuck this fucking show.
WINNER: Neville via DQ
RATING: I’ll go ***3/4. I hate run-in finishes but that fit. This would have been an easy ***** on any PPV.

Post-match,
Rusev stomps a mudhole in Cena and puts him in the Accolade and Neville
doesn’t do a thing about it because he’s dead some place. Meanwhile,
the crowd chants “WE WANT LANA”.

STILL TO COME:

  • Kane vs. Reigns
  • Orton vs. Rollins

Kane
and Reigns make their way to the ring. Kane immediately attacks Reigns
as he gets over the crowd barrier and just beats him up, slamming his
head into the steel steps. When Kane tosses Reigns into the ring, Reigns
hits a Sagat-like Tiger Uppercut and goes back outside to deal with
Kane. Kane regroups and tosses Reigns between the edge of the mat and
the crowd barrier. Reigns is left laying on the floor and starts taking
apart the announce table. Reigns gets up and fights back, trying the
Superman Punch, finally hitting it after a few counters. He hits a Spear
that was obviously meant to break the announce table but it didn’t and
Cole’s forced to hold his orgasm. Reigns awkwardly climbs the announce
table…and does nothing. His music hits and Kane is still down, having
proved…something to Triple H, I guess.

NEXT: Daniel Bryan is here to talk about his neck.

LAST WEEK: Tamin Snuka made an arbitrary return due to overwhelming demand. Her and Naomi beat up the Bellas, who are heels, kinda.

MATCH #5: Brie Bella (w/ Nikki Bella) vs. Tamina Snuka (w/ Naomi)
Cole
plugs the WWE App, telling us to tune in so we can see what the Bellas
think about Naomi. Tamina gained some weight during her off-time and botches a punch to Brie’s gut.
Tamina hits a clothesline and gets a one-count as Nikki says
inspirational stuff like, “C’mon, Brie, fight”. Brie regains composure
and hits a nice missile dropkick for two. Brie hits a running knee
against the ropes but can’t hit a second one, which she always tries for. Tamina blocks her and hits a Superkick for the win at 3:34.
WINNER: Tamina Snuka
RATING: 1/4*. 

TONIGHT: Randy Orton vs. Seth Rollins

Curtis
Axel is waiting for Damien Sandow. They’re fighting because Axel
imitated Hulk Hogan and Damien Sandow imitated Randy Savage. It’s like two drag queens jockeying for stage time.

MATCH #6: Curtis Axel vs. Macho Mandow
*Sigh*.
Sandow is out with Savage’s theme music and costume — and Cole has a
HASHTAG FOR IT. Sandow points like Savage. Axel rips off his shirt but
Mandow hits shoulderblocks and goes top rope for the big elbow…but The
Ascension shows up because why the fuck not? Viktor says that this
isn’t entertaining. Konnor takes the ironic route and says that
“dressing like a legend doesn’t make you a legend”. They rush the ring
— but Sandow dumps Konnor and slams Viktor to the mat. Axel hits a
Hogan Legdrop. And this is DOA. JBL, Cole and Booker sit there, stunned,
saying, “Well…that was…something.”
WINNERS: No contest
RATING: DUD. The Ascension was just buried by Curtis Axel and Damien Sandow imitating Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage while they, themselves, imitate the Legion of Doom. My brain is gonna short circuit.

Post-match, it’s a Pseudo Mega Powers handshake. Yay?

Daniel
Bryan is out to speak and looks none too happy. He says that he’s had a
bunch of doctor visits in the last two weeks. He is sick of that and
wants some energy. He says that he needed to come out here and get his
usual reaction. He recalls when Steph stripped him of the World Title
last year…and she was right to do it. He says that the fans deserve a
fighting champion — and that’s why he’s out here tonight. He says that
he had an MRI and that the doctors are telling him that he’s out
indefinitely. Despite that, he says the fans deserve somebody fighting
for the IC Championship — and has to invoke the name of Dean Ambrose in
order to get fans cheering. Tonight, he is giving up the
Intercontinental Championship. He thanks the fans and leaves the belt in
the center of the ring. The crowd chants “THANK YOU, DANIEL” and Bryan
rewards them by leading a YES chant to finish that segment.

Cole, JBL and Booker are depressed and discuss WHAT JUST HAPPENED.

The
New Day’s music hits but the crowd is dead. Eventually, it’s a “NEW DAY
SUCKS” chant that brings them back. The three men talk about the tag
teams in contention for the titles and try another “NEW DAY ROCKS”
chant. It doesn’t work and Cesaro and Kidd interrupt with Nattie’s Giant
Bewbz already having been there for 20 minutes.

MATCH #7: Big E (w/ Xavier Woods & Kofi Kingston) vs. Cesaro (w/ Tyson Kidd & Natalya)
JBL
continues calling Cesaro and Tyson “Tyson & Kidd” as Cesaro hits a
HUGE slam to start things off. Cesaro hits an uppercut and huge
crossbody off the top rope for two. Cesaro beats E in the corner with
kicks, then clotheslines him from the ring. After a commercial break,
Cesaro fights out of an Abdominal Stretch only to fall victim to another
one. Cesaro counters with a Gut Wrench Suplex but E hits a Spinebuster.
He misses a Warrior Splash but hits ANOTHER Warrior Splash and gets
two. E hits a shoulder tackle for two. Cesaro comes back with a
Springboard Uppercut and two German Suplexes, followed by a dangerous
looking Belly to Belly that sees Big E landing on the back of his neck.
Cesaro goes for a Spin. Woods jumps on the mat and him and Tyson Kidd
fight each other. Finally, Woods trips Kidd and taunts Cesaro. E tries
to clothesline Cesaro but Cesaro counters an hits a neat cradle pin for
the three count at 8:54.
WINNER: Cesaro
RATING:
**. Good power match here. Cesaro just continues to look impressive,
even if you think you’ve seen everything he’s had to offer.

WWE Network is free for the month of May…so tune in to see Macho Mandow and Curtis Axel take on The Ascension.

If you think that’s fucked,
OMG, another PPV has been added this month: Elimination Chamber, live
from Texas on Sunday, May 31st. Shouldn’t that have been Fastlane? Yeah.
This isn’t desperate at all.

THIS THURSDAY: Roman Reigns vs. Kane because the match nobody wanted to see in the first place MUST HAPPEN.

The
Prime Time Players imitate D-X because we haven’t had enough of this
tonight. Parts of the crowd sadly chant along with the old D-X shit.

Bray Wyatt time. Wyatt comes to the ring and goes Alex Jones nuts,
talking about Climate Change and economic collapse and global war. When
he’s done with the Coast 2 Coast nonsense, he trashes Ryback for
reading The Secret and fighting against injury to “come back”. But
Ryback has never seen anything like Bray Wyatt. He says that,
sometimes, the bad guy wins. He does the Raven…until Ryback shows up
and heads to the ring. Ryback hits a Spinebuster and clothesline and
Wyatt is dispatched outside. We go to break with Ryback standing tall.

MATCH #8: Randy Orton vs. WWE World Heavyweight Champion Seth Rollins (non-title)
No
J&J “flank” for this match. After some back and forth, Rollins hits
some shots to Orton’s head and gut. Orton responds, tossing Rollins to
the mat and into the corner. Orton knocks him down and drops a knee for
two. He misses the next one but hits a backbreaker. He rushes Rollins
but Rollins trips him and sends him outside. When we come back, Rollins
is in control while Cole recaps what might happen in a Fatal 4-Way in
case you haven’t watched wrestling since the late 90’s. Rollins tosses
Orton into the corner and runs but Orton dumps Rollins over the ropes.
Rollins recovers and goes top rope but Orton trips him up. Orton hits a
Superplex but both men are hurt. When they get to their feet, it’s
“boo/yay” shots. Orton tries a Powerslam in stride but Rollins holds the
ropes. Rollins leaps at Orton from the top rope and Orton hits the
Powerslam anyhow. Two count. Rollins dazes Orton and hits a flying knee
from the top rope. Two count. Rollins tries the Buckle Bomb but Orton
counters it. There’s a series of counters and Orton finally hits a
Fisherman’s Suplex throw. Orton goes after Rollins but Rollins kicks
Orton and hits a Suicide Dive to the outside. For some reason, eight
guys in the crowd chant, “THIS IS AWESOME”. Back in the ring, Rollins
tries to splash Orton in the corner but misses. Orton misses an RKO.
Rollins rolls him up for two, then hits a low Superkick for two. Both
men struggle to theri feet. Rollins gets to feet first. He rushes Orton
but Orton sends Rollins outside the ropes for a Vintage DDT. He sets up
for the RKO but J&J Security are here to fuck this up at 15:19.
WINNER: Randy Orton via DQ
RATING: **. Just have J&J at ringside if you’re gonna end it like that.

Post-match,
Rollins and J&J put Orton to the mat. Kane’s music hits. He goes
for a chair. Rollins & J&J stomp a mudhole in Orton. Ambrose and
Reigns show up, tossing J&J from the ring. They surround Rollins.
Ambrose hits Dirty Deeds. The three Fatal 4-Way competitors turn to face
Kane. Kane does nothing. Ambrose picks up Rollins and holds him for
Reigns. Reigns hits a Spear. Kane still stands there, watching. Ambrose
and Reigns pick Rollins up for Orton who hits an RKO. Kane still doesn’t
move…so Reigns hits a Spear on Orton. That means Ambrose gets to hit
Dirty Deeds on Reigns and Ambrose stands tall as we go off the air.

OVERALL:
**. Blah for a “going home” show. Nowhere near as good as last week
with a bunch of shit matches and a brilliant Cena/Neville match. That
one match does not, a good show, make.

And, of course, it’s the best of Monday Night Open Mic…

Er…that’s it.