June 8, 2015
From New Orleans, LA
Your hosts are Byron Saxton (replacing Booker T, who is fulfilling his coaching duties for “Tough Enough”), JBL, and Michael Cole
The show starts with Cena heading to the ring as the announcers hype up his rematch against Kevin Owens this Sunday at Money in the Bank. There are also several ladders surrounding the ramp to remind us all about the Money in the Bank match this Sunday. Money in the Bank match. He tells the crowd that the champ is here and is met with a bit more boos than cheers before. He also hypes up his match at Money in the Bank before telling the crowd, even those who boo him, know that deep down inside they can count on him winning this Sunday as he is the “face that runs this place.” Owens’ music interrupts as Cole calls him “arrogant” while JBL says he backs it up. Owens tells Cena that he is not only proving his point but also delusional for thinking people want to see him come out the beginning of RAW and face challengers for the U.S. Title, noting how he has been at the beginning of the show for ten years. Owens then says that he wants to do an NXT Title Open Challenge as Cena accepts. However, Owens said that he is once again acting delusional because they are fighting this Sunday, not tonight, so Cena tells Owens he is delusional for issuing an open challenge and not including him as he would challenge everyone, including Owens, for the U.S. Title. Cena sucks up to the crowd briefly before issuing his challenge. Cena drops the mic then Owens tells us he will ignore everyone in the crowd as he suggests the next superstar that walks down the ramp gets to choose the title they want to fight for as Neville comes out. He tells Cena that he challenged him once before but is here to beat Owens because he acts like the NXT Title is a license to disrespect everyone. Cena joins the commentary team as we head to break. Fine segment to prolong the feud, which has been great so far.
Kevin Owens d. Neville with the Pop-Up Powerbomb (13:53) ***
This match received the boxing-style ring introductions. Owens ducks outside as Neville attacks him before the action heads back inside. Neville uses his speed and agility to take control of the match. Owens fights back then taunts the crowd as Cena puts Owens over for being 1-0 against him. Owens hit the cannonball for two then tosses him on the ropes. The crowd gets behind Neville as Owens hammers away then puts him in a chinlock as Cena tells us it doesnt matter how much you have wrestled before you come to the WWE as JBL compares Owens to Satchell Page, coming from the Negro Leagues, striking out Babe Ruth when he went to the Majors. This was not a burial of Owens at all in the way it was said and rather a reminder that the WWE is the top league and Owens was able to step up to the plate and deliver in his debut. That seemed like it was sending a message. Owens screams at Neville for he saying he didnt’ deserve the NXT title as he beats him up some more as we head to break. Back from commercial, Owens catches Neville on his shoulder and mocks Cena with the “you can’t see me” taunt as he tries an A.A. but Neville counters that with a DDT. Neville then pulls the ropes down on a charging Owens before attempting a quebrada that he overshot. Back inside, Neville hits a springboard dropkick for a nearfall but gets caught with a cradle shoulderbreaker of sorts. Neville fights back and hits a German suplex in an impressive feat of strength. He tries the Red Arrow but Owens rolls away. Neville catches Owens with a super kick and goes back up top but Owens cuts him off then hits the Pop-Up Powerbomb for the win. After the match, Cena claps for Owens, who invites him into the ring. Cena comes in but Owens leaves as the crowd boos. Good match and the fans were buying Neville’s chances at the end. It started off slowly but was built up well. On commentary, they were putting over Owens and NXT strong.
A highlight package for the Rollins/Ambrose feud airs.
HHH and Stephanie are looking at photos on HHH’s phone. Seth Rollins comes in to complain about Dean Ambrose posting pictures with his WWE World Title belt all over social media. He then asks the Authority what are they going to do about it as they tell Seth that since last week he made it clear he could do it on his own and not need help, so they are not going to anything. Seth said he meant that about J&J Security and Kane but not them because he respects them so much. Steph tells Seth that they are confident he can do it all on his own as HHH tells him to pick a wrestler for a tune-up match tonight as Seth tries to act calm as he tells them he always knew they had confidence in him as he walks away. Steph was pretty great here.
Highlights of Paige on Smackdown this past Thursday were she proclaimed to make changes to the Diva’s Division. I imagine that a few of the NXT girls are going to be brought up soon to be a part of this movement by Paige.
Renee Young is with Nikki Bella, who tells her that Paige expects everything to be handed to her and will not duck anyone as she will face Summer Rae tonight. Nikki tells Paige that she is upset for not being able to change anything and despite saying it is her house, its the Bella’s world. She also plugged their title match at Money in the Bank. Nikki was fine here but the overall standing of the Diva’s Division is still awful.
Nikki Bella d. Summer Rae with the Rack Attack (2:20) 1/4*
Nikki gets a quick rollup and a slam for nearfalls then does a few pushups. Summer boots Nikki in the face and gets two with a clothesline before applying a chinlock. Summer yanks down Nikki with a sad excuse for a hairpull as we see Paige looking on backstage at the monitor. Nikki then hits Summer with an enziguiri from the second rope before putting her away with the Rack Attack. With Summer last seen turning on Mizdow to align with The Miz and the Bella’s using twin magic to cheat, exactly who are we supposed to be cheering for here? Summer was pretty bad in the ring and is much better served as a heel valet.
Highlights of Roman Reigns beating King Barrett, Mark Henry, and Bray Wyatt to stay in the Money in the Bank match.
Roman Reigns heads down to the ring through the crowd. The camera shows the Money in the Bank briefcase hanging from the ceiling as Reigns tells us there was a time when he hated what it stood for but now it doesnt seem so bad as its not connected to the “biggest jackass” in WWE History as he promises to win the briefcase and have a match with the man who will win the title this Sunday, Dean Ambrose. Kane’s music hits as he comes out and says that anyone has a better chance at winning that Reigns as he has a track record of failing and that the Authority put him in the match to protect their interest and that he is the best man for the job. Reigns then invites Kane into the ring to “show him how you break jaws” before Dolph Ziggler comes out. He tells Kane that he is a puppet before telling some god-awful joke about Kane resembling a hardware store before plugging a standup gig as no one was cheering or laughing in the crowd. I’m sure they wont be at his show, either. Kane then tells us that everyone in the Money in the Bank match will be in singles matches tonight as R-Truth interrupts to tell us what’s up and that is at WrestleMania, he conquered his fear of ladders but Kane reminds him he is not in the match as R-Truth apologizes in the only decent moment from this segment. The New Day come out as the “New Day Sucks” chant starts up. Kofi tells us that through the power of positivity he will win the match and they will all become the Money in the Bank winners as Kane interrupts but only for Sheamus to come out and smiles at the notion that the others believe they will win the Money in the Bank briefcase. Kane then tells us that two others men are in the match like Neville and Randy Orton, who comes out to the ring for his match against Sheamus, which will happen after the break. Bad segment that went on for far too long. No one came out of this looking good and when people complain about writer’s crafting dialogue for the wrestlers, this was exhibit A as it was filled with awful jokes, cliches, and it was painfully obvious this was written word-for-word as they all spoke in a way that people do not during actual real-life conversations. After looking awesome last week, Reigns was just another guy here. Not the way to go.
Sheamus d. Randy Orton by DQ (13:10) **1/4
Match starts with Orton beating the crap out of Sheamus until running into a back elbow smash. Sheamus hits a clothesline for two then takes Orton down with the world’s slowest drop toehold. The crowd gets behind Orton, who comes back with a dropkick then hammers away in the corner. Sheamus knocks Orton off of the top rope and out to the floor as we head to break. When we return, Sheamus is working a chinlock. He then knees Orton and asks the crowd if they are entertained and they respond through near silence as Sheamus goes back to the chinlock. He gets a nearfall with a tilt-a-whirl slam as JBL says he will go out on a limb and pick Neville as the MiTB winner. Back to the match as the guys have a slugfest that Orton wins. Powerslam gets two as the crowd applauds. Orton hits an Exploder then hits hanging DDT as the crowd is pumped as Orton circles the ring. Seheamus counters an RKO attempt but gets sent to the floor. They brawl outside as Orton gets sent over the announcers table. Sheamus grabs a steel chair but Orton punches him in the gut then hits Sheamus with the chair for the DQ. After the match, Orton attacks Sheamus then drops him on the table with a back suplex before sending him into the steps. He then rolls Sheamus back inside and hits the RKO as the place goes nuts. It makes sense in storyline, as Orton got his revenge for what Sheamus did to him last week and the fact they are both in the MiTB match. The only problem is that these two just do not have great chemistry in the ring. However, if they both have nothing to do at the moment, might as well pair them up in a feud. As far as the match, it started off weak but got going near the end. The crowd was pretty hot for Orton throughout the match as well.
Seth is backstage looking at his phone as J&J Security interrupt. Noble tells Seth that sometimes people have a tough week and do not mean what they say, like when Seth said he didnt need them. Noble then tells Seth that Joey is sorry, which sets off Seth as he yells at them, stating he made them relevant and that he never needed them at all. Noble flat out says “screw you” to Seth and that he wouldnt last a minute without the Authority backing him before saying that they are the Shield 2.0. Seth them tells both he will prove to the Authority just how dominant he is by beating them both. They almost come to blows after Seth and Noble slapped each other but Joey actually speaks as he tells Seth they had his back since day one but tonight they will kick his ass. The segment was fine as it made Seth look like a complete prick as they tease tension between him and the rest of the Authority.
Kane d. Dolph Ziggler with the chokeslam (9:42) 1/2*
Match started right after commercial. Lana is at ringside as Dolph works his jump-and-bump style of wrestling right off the bat until Kane catches him with an uppercut. Dolph fights back briefly until Kane sends him into the corner then applies a chinlock as the announcers talk about the history of the Money in the Bank briefcase. The crowd chants for Lana as Kane stomps on Dolph as this match is dragging. Dolph comes back with a DDT but Kane boots him down after that for two as we go to break and when we return, Kane as Dolph in a bearhug. Dolph escapes from a chokeslam and hits a super kick as both men are down. Rusev then limps out to Lana on his crutches and this grabs Dolph’s attention after Lana fell off of the ramp trying to avoid Rusev and after that, Kane hit the chokeslam for the win. Lana is attended to by a few referees and medical personnel as she grabs her ankle. Dolph joins her and comforts Lana, appearing just fine after losing and getting chokeslammed. Match was garbage and the Lana stuff is getting progressively worse.
More photos of Dean posing with the belt around New Orleans. These were pretty lame.
A clip of Dolph with Lana backstage.
Miz is out for an installment of Miz TV. We see a clip of the Big Show knocking him out last week before issuing a challenge to Ryback. As Miz address the Big Show, Ryback comes out as he tells the crowd he will save the crowd from Miz boring them. Miz tells us that he is the host and will tell Ryback when he can speak before saying he was a former WWE Champion. Ryback cuts off the Miz and says he is sick of him repeating his resume and stated that Mizdow outperformed him. Miz tries to one-up Ryback but it fails as they have an entertaining back-and-forth segment, with the Miz flat-out calling him ugly. Miz then tells Ryback that if he really wanted a match with him, he should be mad at the Big Show for stealing his right to defend the belt against a “megastar.” Big Show comes out as the announcers plug his shot at Ryback’s Intercontinental Title this Sunday at Money in the Bank. The crowd cheers that the chair will break as Big Show says it wont then tells Miz that he hated him more than any other partner and brushes off the crowd trying the “what” chants. Ryback and Big Show tell Miz they arent falling for his crap in trying to manipulate them as Ryback holds up the IC Title in front of Big Show, who tells Ryback he cannot stop him and there is nothing positive about it as the Miz tries to instigate them but ends up getting decked by the Big Show. He goes after Ryback but ends up getting hit with the Shell Shock in a highly impressive feat. The crowd went nuts for Ryback here. This was a pretty damn good segment and it made Ryback, who looked really comfortable and connected with the crowd, look like a star. Miz was wonderful as a shit-stirring heel as the Big Show was the reliable pro who stopped the tired “what” chants.
Luke Harper & Erick Rowan d. Los Matadores w/ Torito with The Way (2:20)
Los Matadores work over Rowan briefly to start until Fernando gets hit with a forearm. Harper and Rowan stay on the attack as Torito tries to rally the crowd from the apron but Rowan knocks him off then they hit Fernando with the 3-D, that JBL says is called “The Way.” After the match, Harper tells us the time to pay for our sins his coming and the judgement is waiting at your door as Rowan tells us it is okay to be afraid, because we should be. They seem intent on pushing Harper & Rowan together. Rowan should be thankful because he was pitiful as a singles wrestler.
Backstage, Kane enters the locker room and laughs at Seth as he tells him he will win the briefcase and cash in on Rollins or Ambrose and the Authority still has the belt. Rollins reminds Kane that he doesnt need help to beat Ambrose at Money in the Bank and expects Ambrose to be here tonight. Rollins then laughs at Kane for thinking he will win the briefcase and cash in on him as he promises to put his boot in Kane’s face. Kane then says he will be in J&J Security’s corner for their match tonight. Lots of poorly overwritten dialogue in this segment but they got the point across.
Big E d. Titus O’Neill with the Big Ending (3:10) 1/2*
Xavier tried to get over the “Minister of Mash” name for Big E as he took control of the match at the beginning. Big E managed to put Titus in the abdominal stretch and clap along with the New Day chant. Titus fought back and chopped Big E in the corner then tossed him around before landing some shots in the corner. Titus gets the crowd going then hits Big E with the Pounce. Xavier and Big E then distract Titus as that allows Big E to get the win with the Big Ending. With booking like this, you would expect the Prime Time Players to win but I cannot imagine New Day losing the titles so they really made the challengers look weak heading into a PPV match. Right after the match, Roman Reigns came out to the ring for his match against Kofi.
King Barrett will face R-Truth on the kickoff show at Money in the Bank.
We find out that Dean Ambrose as bought a scalped ticket to the show. I had no idea he needed one to enter the building.
Roman Reigns d. Kofi Kingston with the Superman Punch (12:30) *3/4.
Reigns works over Kofi to start. Kofi ducks outside to huddle with his partners then the New Day surround the ring to allow Kofi to get the advantage. Xavier tells us that you have to think for it to work as he does a fine job at heeling the crowd. Reigns comes back with a clothesline that sends Kofi to the floor then follows out and smashes Kofi’s head off of the announcers table before laughing at the rest of the New Day. He teases hitting them all with a dive as they run away but Reigns sneaks out and hits Xavier with a Superman punch but then Kofi dropkicks him as we head to break. Back in the ring, Kofi works over the back of Reigns. He trips him up then heads up top for the double axe handle as that gets two. Kofi ducks his head then gets kicked in the face as Reigns fights back. Kofi ducks a punch and they have a clunky sequence that ends with Reigns hitting a tilt-a-whirl slam. Reigns then lifts up Kofi from the ground and hits a powerbomb that gets two. Reigns signals for the Superman punch but the other members distract him as Kofi gets two with a rollup. Kofi heads up top for a crossbody but gets decked with the Superman punch before he lands as Reigns gets the win. Nice to see them make Reigns look strong here as he did not in the segment earlier in the show.
Reigns then heads over to the guardrail as Ambrose’s music hits as he comes out with popcorn as Reigns give him a chair. Steph and HHH are shown with Seth backstage, asking him if he wanted to say “go get ’em” to Seth. Decent way to show the odds stacked against the cocky Seth.
J&J Security w/ Kane d. Seth Rollins after Mercury used a rollup (9:01) *1/2
JBL put over the career accomplishments for both Mercury and Noble. Seth and Mercury mix it up as Seth wins that battle. Noble tags in and gets tossed to the floor as Seth then invites them both to return to the ring. Back inside, Rollins gets tossed outside then Dean dumps popcorn on his head. Rollins comes back with a clothesline on Mercury then continues his assault outside as Dean taunts him with his own belt. The crowd rallies behind Mercury, who finally makes the tag. Noble runs wild and dances around as the crowd cheers. He heads up top as the crowd starts a “you still have it” chant but Rollins cuts him off. Noble tries a pin as Mercury grabbed the leg but the refs sees that and stops. Rollins powerbombs Mercury onto Noble in the corner. Rollins mocks Noble and tries for the pedigree but Dean hops over the guardrail and slides in the belt. Seth grabs it but Mercury sneaks up from behind and pins Rollins with a rollup. After the match, Rollins yells at J&J and Kane but Ambrose comes in the ring and hits him with the Dirty Deeds then grabs the belt. He then brings a ladder halfway down the aisle as he poses on the top with the belt. The match wasnt that bad but the crowd seemed burned out here after a long, dull show. The win got a much less pop than expected. Also, despite being portrayed as a spoiled brat who has let success go to his head, Rollins shouldnt be jobbing to a comedy act as the champion and made to look like a dipshit. Sure, he got his comeuppance that he deserved but again, heading into a PPV and being the Champ you should not look like a geek. And the champ should never job to guys like Noble or Mercury. Ever.
Final Thoughts: Not the strongest show. In fact, it was the weakest in several weeks. Too many poor segments that featured convoluted story-telling and badly written dialouge plagued this show. Also, some things, like the Dolph/Lana alignment and the entire Diva’s division are just not working. I have no clue what they are going for with the Diva’s at the moment. They have not done a good job at building up the MiTB match either. Besides Reigns, I dont see anyone else that would make a good winner and I dont think Reigns needs the briefcase gimmick or that it will even help him. That segment with all the competitors except for Neville, sucked. And Byron Saxton was horrible here. They cant find anyone better than him? The positives were the Cena/Owens feud, Neville vs. Owens, and the Miz TV segment. Overall, it wasnt horrible but it definitely nothing you would consider to be good.