WWE RAW Rundown 6-29-15

June 29, 2015

From the Verizon Center, in Washington, D.C.

Your hosts are Byron Saxton, JBL, and Michael Cole

Before the show we see clips from last week in which Seth Rollins, Kane, and Joey Mercury attack the leg of Brock Lesnar, who had been suplexing Rollins all over the ring, to show that Rollins and his old pals are on the same page.

The live show starts with Seth Rollins coming to the ring with J&J Security and Kane. Noble is moving quite slowly here due to the injuries he suffered last week. The announcers talk about how they have never seen Lesnar as vulnerable as he was last week. Rollins welcomes us to “Monday Night Rollins” then talks about true power and how that is gained by doing things others are not capable of like conquering Brock Lesnar, after naming off others who have failed. Rollins then tells us that Lesnar is on a flight to Japan right now and hopes he thinks of what they did on him last week. Rollins then switches his attention to Jamie Noble and how Lesnar broke three of his ribs, noting Noble is tougher than anyone in the arena and would not have missed their moment of triumph for anything in the world before demanding the crowd stand and applaud him. Rollins even thinks Noble should win the “Most Inspirational” nomination for the Slammy Awards. Rollins then reveals three brand new Apple watches for J&J Security and Kane as a token of his appreciation. They fawn all over the watches until Rollins tells Kane he has something else for him. He reminds us that Kane debuted in October 1997 and how things have changed but the constant is that Kane has been the glue that has held the WWE together. Rollins then reveals a Hawaii vacation for Kane as the corny hula music plays while a hula dancer, guitar player, and some other guy who stood around like an idiot came out as the crowd remained silent. Rollins then tells Kane that before the vacation, they should team up against Roman Reigns & Dean Ambrose in a No DQ tag match. But before he lets Kane answer, he said the saddest thing he saw was J&J Security come up to the building in a crappy rental car and how they shall ride in style. He then has a 2015 red Cadillac CTS come out for them as a gift as J&J run out and check out the car as everyone else follows. Rollins even tell Joey that its all leather interior, just how he likes. Rollins then tells us the sticker price is $55,860 as the camera zooms in on that, with the girl pointing at the wrong price. Great work from these extras by the way. Rollins tells Noble to start it up as he honks the horn for a few minutes. The Big Show then interrupts as he heads down to the ring to face Mark Henry after the break. This segment went on far longer than necessary. It was nearly 18 minutes long. The gift-giving part was a bore to watch, despite the efforts from J&J Security. The extras were so awful here that it was somewhat amusing but they could have accomplished the same thing in less than half of the time.

We see clips of Ryback and Big Show brawling last week on RAW as well as Show fighting with Henry.

Big Show vs. Mark Henry

Miz is on commentary. Show backs Henry in the corner and fires away. Henry fights backs and hits a few clotheslines and a splash, which all looked awful. Show fights back then hits his knockout punch for the win (1:24) DUD. After the match, Ryback runs out and goes after the Big Show but Miz runs out and knocks him down before running right off. Ryback grabs the mic and tells Miz they are facing off tonight and wants him now as Miz wags his finger and smiles.

Thoughts: Mark Henry should hang them up because he is just awful in the ring at this point. After this quick loss I assume Henry is now out of the IC Title picture. This match was really bad but thankfully kept short. And speaking of bad, what the hell was Miz doing on commentary here. He is good on the mic so why have do his sarcastic tough guy stuff here? It came off terrible.

Ryback vs. Miz

This started right after the break. Ryback chases Miz around then takes him down with a Thesz press. Ryback beats down Miz for a bit until Miz snaps Ryback’s neck off of the rope. However, Ryback hits an impressive delayed vertical suplex that got the crowd going a bit then rams Miz into the guardrail after he tried to escape. Back inside, Miz kicks Ryback low then gets a nearfall with a DDT before laying into Ryback with crossfaces. Miz gauges Ryback before applying a chinlock as the fans rally behind Ryback. Miz hits a reverse neckbreaker for two then goes back to beating on Ryback. Miz tries a kick but Ryback catches his foot and shoves him down. Ryback sets up for the Meathook but Miz bails and gets counted out after running out back (5:05) *1/2.

Thoughts: Entertaining match. I’m enjoying Ryback as the IC Champ. With that being said, I dont know if you want your IC Title challenger looking like that much of a chickenshit unless they already have the belt and are afraid to lose.

Paige vs. Alicia Fox w/ Bella Twins

The Bellas are back to being heels this week. Match starts with Paige grounding Fox. She hits a few knee smashes resulting in a nearfall as the announcers talk about Nikki approaching the record for longest Diva’s title reign. Fox fights back with a few European uppercuts but Paige takes her down. Fox heads outside while Paige follows and gets distracted, allowing Fox to attack her from behind as we head to break. That whole spot made Paige look like a moron. When we return, Fox is beating on Paige inside of the ring. Northern Lights suplex gets two. Fox misses a corner charge as Paige tries to fight back but gets kicked down. Fox covers and gets two, which upsets her, then applies a chinlock. The crowd rallies behind Paige as this spot lasts for a while. She fights out but gets caught with a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker for a nearfall. Fox his a back elbow smash before going back to another chinlock. Paige fights out then hits a high knee in the corner. Paige then goes nuts, hitting a flurry of knee smashes and clotheslines that result in a nearfall. Nikki jumps up on the apron to distract Paige as Alicia uses a reverse rollup but Paige reverses and gets the pin (9:40) **. The Bellas run in to go after Paige, who manages to escape and catch her breath on the apron.

Thoughts: This match was fine. Fox is at least competent in the ring on the WWE Diva scale. It helped that they kept it basic too. The week-by-week changes of the Bellas in terms of face/heel roles continues and it still  makes the whole division look terrible as a result.

John Cena comes out for the U.S. Title Open Challenge just before the break. When we return, Cena is in the ring but Kevin Owens’ music hits as he comes out holding the NXT Title. Lillian Garcia then does the ring introductions as if they are having a match. However, Owens ducks outside and asks for a mic then tells us that he is just going to wait until Battleground. He then tells Cena that if anyone is taking the U.S. Title, it will be him. Cesaro’s music then hits as Owens joins the announcers table. Complete dick move by Owens but it was great.

U.S. Title Match
John Cena (Champion) vs. Cesaro

The announcers plug the 4th of July show from Japan on the WWE Network as Cesaro grabs a waistlock. Cena hits a monkey flip as they end in a standoff. Cesaro then catches Cena in a powerslam after a brief Irish whip sequence as Owens tells us about how Cena disrespected him after he beat him at Money in the Bank. Cesaro kncks Cena down then beats on him in the corner. Gutwrench suplex gets two then Cesaro uses a modified abdominal stretch. Cena escapes but Cesaro boots him down as Owens yells at Saxton to pay attention to the match after he was asked a question. Cole brings up Cesaro winning the title as Owens says he wants to beat a worthy champion as Cesaro continues his beat down of Cena as we go to break. When we return, Cesaro gets a nearfall that the announcers sold like something incredible and how the match picked up at the break. Cesaro then set up for the giant swing to the delight of the crowd but Cena fought out and hit a sloppy springboard stunner for a nearfall. That looked terrible, actually. Cena sets up for the A.A. but Cesaro lands on his feet then catches Cena with a European Uppercut as he was in midair. That also didnt quite connect as planned. Cena then locks on the STF which is countered into a Sharpshooter by Cesaro. Cena reaches the ropes as we get a “this is awesome” chant from the crowd. Cesaro hits a superplex for two as Cole says this is a “match of the year candidate.” Its not but the story they are going for is that Owens gets increasingly pissed over the announcers gloating over Cesaro possibly beating Cena, who fights back with a tornado DDT. They slug it out until Cesaro boots him down. He heads up top and hits a flying body press but Cena rolls through and hits a swinging facebuster for two. Owens then gets up and yells at Cole for disrespecting him by hyping up this match, even issuing a warning. Cena heads up top but Cesaro dropkicks him to the floor. Cena heads back inside and hits a Code Red, which Owens jokes Cena stole by watching his old matches. Cesaro fights back and hits the Neutralizer but that only gets two. Cesaro then lays into Cena with a barrage of uppercuts before hitting the swing. He locks on the Sharpshooter as Cena is on the verge of tapping but Owens runs in and attacks Cesaro for the DQ as the match is ruled a no-contest (20:10) ***1/2. Owens then lays out both guys with the Pop-Up Powerbomb then tells the crowd if anyone is taking the U.S. Title away from Cena, it will be him and at Battleground he will do just that.

Thoughts: Really good TV match but nowhere close to a MOTYC. Cena was very sloppy here. However, it made Cesaro look great and assuming Owens wins at Battleground, they have set up his first opponent in Owens. Speaking of Owens, he was great on commentary and I loved his brief promo at the end. Easily the best segment of the show.

Before we go to break, Cole informs us that Dolph Ziggler and Lana will “go public” tonight.

Bray Wyatt is cutting a promo about how he should have been his father’s favorite but was tossed away like a piece of trash because life isnt always fair. He then tells Reigns that he never let him succeed as he says “anyone but you” before this ends. Bleh. I mean, what else is there to say about Wyatt at this point. Its the same promos and feuds for the past year and a half. And after last week’s disaster of a segment, its tough to get people caring about this again.

Lucha Dragons & Prime Time Players vs. New Day & Bo Dallas

Loud “New Day sucks” chant to start. Match starts with Woods beating on Kalisto, who then fights back. Kalisto hits a double springboard armdrag then tags Sin Cara, who hits a slingshot senton. Woods fights back and tags Dallas, who gets caught in an armbar. The PTP’s then rough up Dallas as the crowd is quiet. Kalisto tags as Dallas beats him down. He gets two off of a clothesline then works a neck vise but Kalisto backs him into the corner and tags Young, who works a side headlock on the mat as this match is dragging. The New Day are all clapping for Dallas, who finally breaks free but Young drops him on the apron with a back suplex as we go to break. When we return, Woods has Kalisto in a chinlock as the crowd remains silent. Xavier then alley-oops Kalisto to Big E, who catches him and hits an overhead suplex but Kalisto lands and rolls over to his corner as he makes the tag to his partner. Sin Cara runs wild and hits a few springboard attacks. He then gets two with a top rope senton before tagging out. Young tosses Sin Cara on top of Big E but shortly after that gets tossed up and over the turnbuckle and crashes to the floor. Dallas is now the legal man as he stomps on Young in the corner. Young continues to get destroyed in the corner as the crowd still is not into the match. And with good reason. The crowd slowly rallies behind Young as he fights back. He collides with Dallas as both men are down. Titus is quite animated on the apron then tags in as he beats down everyone and gets the crowd into the match. Everything breaks down as Titus does the Lucha chant as the Dragons fly outside and take out the rest of the New Day. Back inside, Kofi flies off the top but Titus catches him and hits a sitout spinebuster for the win (14:28) *1/2.

Thoughts: First off, whoever was responsible for putting this match together deserves to get reamed out because the way it was designed took the crowd out of the match. They did get into Titus’ hot tag a bit. Titus is good at everything except for the actual wrestling part. Kalisto did not get a chance to do anything at all and after debuting and exciting fans a few weeks after that as well, he has been a complete non-factor and not showcased in anyway. This took up far too much time and really sucked the life out of the crowd.

Backstage, Dolph is smiling as he has Lana on his arm as they are set to appear in the ring when we return.

Dolph and Lana come out to the ring as we return. They are both smiling. Dolph makes a confession as he tells us that his relationship with Lana did not start off as love at first sight but rather Lana used him to get back at Rusev as Dolph jokes that he has won because he got to make out with “smoking hot babes.” Lana speaks as she said for years she didnt know what a real man was as she was with Rusev, who told her how to do everything. Lana said she has become her own person and that she and Dolph have become more than just friends. The crowd gives her the “what” treatment until Rusev interrupts, with Summer Rae coming out behind him. Rusev is hobbling around as the poor guy is hopping on one foot up the stairs to get into the ring. Rusev then goes on about how he never cared about Lana until Dolph interrupts to remind him that Lana is his girlfriend and that he will do something to his other leg. Usually, in wrestling, a guy threatening to hurt an injured performer after bragging about stealing his girl is a heel but we live in different times I suppose. He stares down Ziggler then Summer tells Lana there is nothing she hates more than a gold digger and how she jumped ship when he dropped the U.S. Title at WrestleMania and wants Lana to tell us she is nothing more than a two-faced, conniving, lying phony.” This show had all sorts of lame adjectives by the writers that were featured throughout the show. Summer then slaps Lana as that prompts a catfight, something the crowd applauds. It seems to be setting up for some sort of match at SummerSlam involving these four, provided Rusev will be healthy. I also wonder if the line Summer directed at Lana will be used to reveal that Lana is in fact an American. Dolph was terrible here in delivering his lines. He tried to play the cool guy but came off as someone with zero acting ability. And the fact that he has no chemistry with Lana is not helping things. The crowd dug the cat fight but that was all. The split from Rusev should have made Lana a star but through shitty booking, it has not happened.

Dean Ambrose is backstage saying its not physical, but mental as he is surrounded by robots from “Terminator” in a movie plug segment. Roman Reigns comes in as Dean mentions that he looks “stiff.” Reigns says he hates Wyatt and the Authority and tells Dean that he is his only family here as he yells “let’s rage” as Dean liked that and repeated it himself. The lines the writing staff pumped out tonight were mostly embarrassing and this was no exception.

Neville vs. Sheamus

Match starts with both guys trading standing holds. Neville snaps off a hurricarana then another one that sends Sheamus to the floor. He sets up for a dive but Sheamus runs away and clutches his MiTB briefcase as we go to break. We return as Sheamus hits Neville with a rolling senton. Sheamus then follows with a delayed vertical suplex before applying a chinlock. Sheamus fires away but Neville comes back with a thrust kick that JBL notes Sheamus blocked with his jaw. However, Sheamus comes back and hits Neville with three Irish Curses. Neville fights back with a jawbreaker and a kick. He fires away then uses a bunch of kicks then pulls the ropes on a charging Sheamus. Neville then flies outside with a quebrada and then hits Sheamus with a springboard dropkick for a nearfall when they return back into the ring. Neville uses his speed to his advantage as Sheamus rams into the post. Neville sets up for the Red Arrow but Sheamus kicks the ropes and he falls off. Sheamus sets up for the Brogue Kick but Neville sidesteps that and gets two with a rollup but Sheamus connects the second time right after that for the win (12:45) **1/2.

Thoughts: Solid match but the crowd seemed burned out. They did pop when Neville teased the Red Arrow, a move that is really over right now but that was all. Neville is just so smooth in the ring. Sheamus is wrestling like a guy afraid to get hurt again, which makes sense seeing as he has the MiTB briefcase.

Backstage, some guy is shining J&J Security’s new Cadillac but Mercury shoves him away and shines it himself. This was somewhat amusing.

A plug for the Sports Illustrated “Where Are They Now” issue that features Hulk Hogan.

Jack Swagger vs. King Barrett

Before the match, Barrett tells us that all of his opponents will bow down to his feet and pay their respects after he beats them. Swagger chases Barrett outside to start. He heads back in as Swagger slams him down for two. Swagger hits a corner clothesline then turns a big boot from Barrett into an ankle lock. They go outside where Swagger rams him into the guardrail. Back inside, Swagger eats a knee on a charge then Barrett hits the Bullhammer for the win (1:45) 1/4*.

Thoughts: Taking a guy that loses 90% off his TV matches and giving him a nearly 30 year old gimmick is not going to get him over. And to top it all off, he didnt even yell at Swagger to do so after the match, making what he just said an even bigger waste of time. The crowd did not care at all. If the report about Swagger’s morale being low was false, then I assume that is not the case after this match.

No DQ Match
Roman Reigns & Dean Ambrose vs. Seth Rollins & Kane w/ J&J Security

Funny moment as J&J Security come out in their Cadillac with Noble honking the horn. Match starts with all four guys brawling in the ring. Ambrose clothesline Rollins to the floor then flies out with a tope. He heads back inside to join Reigns in beating on Kane, even hitting a double suplex. Ambrose heads up top but Rollins shoves him to the floor then Reigns runs into a big boot from Kane as he chased Rollins as the Authority are in control heading into commercial. Back from break, Rollins is beating on Reigns as the match is now being wrestled as a tag match. Rollins misses a corner splash but Kane cuts off a tag. Reigns then avoids Kane and makes the tag as Ambrose beats down Rollins. He stomps a mudhole in him then hits a bulldog. Ambrose dropkicks Kane to the floor then sends Rollins outside as he climbs up top and takes them out with a dive. Ambrose even sends Mercury into the guardrail. He goes towards Noble but Rollins tries to toss him inside but Ambrose does his rope rebound move and comes back with a clothesline. He brings a table inside but Noble drags the table outside then Rollins gets two off of a rollup. Reigns flattens Rollins with a powerbomb then attack Kane until Mercury hits him with a kendo stick. Reigns grabs the stick and beats the shit out of everyone with the stick as it breaks in half. He then takes everyone out with Superman punches but the arena goes dark as Wyatt is out and now attacking Reigns. He slams Reigns on the announce table as several referees tell him to leave, during a no DQ match. Back inside, Ambrose clotheslines Kane and sets up for the Dirty Deeds but Rollins stops that then Ambrose succumbs to the numbers game as Kane hits a chokeslam which sets up Rollins to hit the Pedigree for the win (11:47) **. After the match, Rollins orders J&J Security to bring the table inside. They set it up in the corner and hold up Ambrose as Rollins mocks Reigns. However, Reigns comes in and cleans house for a minute until Kane hits him with a chokeslam. Rollins then gets in Reigns’ face and slaps him around but Reigns retaliateds and fights back as he is standing tall in the ring as the Authority surround him then attack. Reigns keeps trying to fight back but Rollins chop blocks him as Kane hits Reigns with a second chokeslam. Rollins then orders his guys to pick up Reigns and they place him on his shoulders then Rollins puts him through the table with a powerbomb then after that he hits the Pedigree. They all leave as Wyatt enters and hits the Sister Abigail. He then kneels over him and screams his name while laughing as the show ends.

Thoughts: The match was alright. And regarding the post-match stuff, Ambrose sold the Pedigree for several minutes as he was nowhere to be seen at the end. They made Reigns look like a badass as he fought off for as long as possible and got good reactions from the crowd so that is a plus and Wyatt even got some heat on him at the end, which is likely due to Reigns being over with this crowd.

Final Thoughts: This was a bit better than last week but still not a good show. It was also very heel-heavy as they won a majority of the segments and matches. The Owens/Cena feud is easily the best thing they have going in the company but other than that there isnt much. The diva’s division is terrible, Sheamus is not getting over as the MiTB champ, the Dolph/Lana pairing gets worst with each passing show, and the Tag Division is ravaged by injuries. There were a few other brightspots like Cesaro looking great as he returns as a singles division and the fact Reigns was getting over but not anywhere near enough to make this a good show. After several weeks of mostly good shows, the WWE has delivered back-to-back subpar efforts.

WWE RAW Rundown 6-22-15

June 22, 2015

From Indianapolis, IN

Your hosts are Byron Saxton, JBL, and Michael Cole

The show starts with Paul Heyman and Brock Lesnar coming to the ring as we see a replay of last week when HHH named Lesnar as Seth Rollins’ opponent at Battleground. When that ends, Heyman, who seems to have added an additional chin, welcomes us to Lesnar as he talks him up like he always does before showing us a replay of Lesnar’s last appearance from the RAW after WrestleMania 31 as he destroyed Michael Cole and a cameraman as Stephanie McMahon suspended him. After that ends, Heyman tells us that for Lesnar to return, he had to issue a public apology tonight or else he would not be able to return to the WWE. Lesnar pauses as the crowd starts a “suplex city” chant before shaking hands with a nervous JBL. Lesnar then he steps behind the announcers table and offers Cole a handshake then immediately puts him in a noogie and messes with him before he sits down. After that ends, Heyman hypes up Lesnar, saying him wrestling is what’s “beast for business” before telling Rollins he will get first-class accommodations to Suplex City and that Lesnar will be the next WWE World Champion. I thought this was a really lame segment. They have a limited amount of Lesnar appearances and they wasted it around an apology to the announcers while Heyman cut the same promo that he always does when hyping up Brock.

Dean Ambrose is shown walking backstage as he heads to the ring for his match against Kane.

Dean Ambrose vs. Kane

Kane beats on Ambrose to start. Ambrose fights back with a forearm smash then chops Kane against the ropes. They knock each other down then the action spills outside where Kane hits him. Back inside, Ambrose leg drops Kane, who was draped over the middle rope. Ambrose then leaps outside where Kane boots him down then tosses him into the steps as we go to break. When we return, Kane has Ambrose in a chinlock. Ambrose escapes then hits a DDT in a goofy spot where Ambrose was hunched down forever waiting to take the move. Kane roughs up Ambrose until he gets hit with a neckbreaker. Ambrose then fires away and hits a missile dropkick as the crowd very slowly gets into the match. Kane charges and spills outside after Ambrose pulled down the ropes. Back inside, Ambrose blocks a chokeslam then hits a rebound clothesline as the crowd awakens. He goes for the Dirty Deeds but Seth Rollins’ music plays and he comes out. Ambrose escapes another chokeslam then takes out Rollins with a dive. Ambrose heads up top but Seth distracted him, allowing Kane to finally hit the chokeslam, a poor excuse of one at that, for the win (11:20) *1/4.

Thoughts: About as good of a match as you will get out of Kane nowadays. The ending also pushed the story of Rollins trying to get everyone in the Authority back on his side for help against Lesnar.

The announcers hype up the John Cena vs. Kevin Owens match at Elimination Chamber as a “Match of the Year” candidate. They also let us know that Cena will be here tonight.

Rollins and Kane are backstage. Rollins tells Kane that when they are in sync, they cannot be stopped. Rollins tries to tell Kane that they need to get back together as Kane doesnt fall for that and calls Rollins out for being afraid of Lesnar and needing all the help he can get. Rollins then offers a handshake after attempting to act sincere but Kane just walks away.

The announcers talk about the Money in the Bank match and how Bray Wyatt cost Roman Reigns the match. We then get a replay of his segment with Bray Wyatt from RAW last week and match against Sheamus from Smackdown.

Titus O’Neill is shown winning a Celebrity Dad of the Year award.

Prime Time Players vs. The Ascension

This is a non-title match. We also learn that the New Day will get a rematch against the PTP’s at Battleground. Titus floats over Konnor then catches him with a slam. The PTP’s then hit some double-team moves then Titus and Konnor engage in a chop battle as the New Day watches backstage on the monitor. Viktor tags and works the arm as the Ascension take control. Young breaks up a pin attempt. Titus comes back with a spinebuster then tags Young, who runs wild on Viktor. He gets a nearfall with a Northern Lights suplex then after a bit, puts Viktor away with the Gut Check (4:07) 1/2*.

Thoughts: The match was really bad when Titus and Konnor where in their together. Young’s hot tag was the only thing decent here. The Ascension are a lost cause at this point but it was a harmless segment to put over the tag champs.

Sheamus vs. Roman Reigns

Match starts with both guys fighting over a lockup. Reigns strikes Sheamus with a right hand then hits a Samoan Drop as Sheamus ducks out for a breather. Sheamus gets booted in the side of the head trying to pull Reigns outside. Back inside, Reigns roughs up Sheamus before taking him down with a clothesline. Sheamus rams Roman into the corner then hits a kneelift. He then runs into an elbow but is able to snap Reigns’ head off of the ropes. Sheamus now takes control as he beats down Reigns. He hits Reigns with the Irish Curse as we head to break. When we return, Reigns fights back. He hits a few clotheslines before wailing away on Sheamus in the corner. He tries the apron dropkick but gets clotheslined in midair as he dumps to the floor. Sheamus regains some strength then whips Reigns into the barricade. Back inside, Sheamus applies a chinlock then hits three more Irish Curses but can only muster a two count. Sheamus tries to apply the Cloverleaf and eventually gets it after a third time. Reigns is able to fight out but gets knocked down. Sheamus targets the back again but Reigns fights back with elbow strikes then a back suplex as both men are down. The crowd gets behind Reigns, who gets up first and hits another back suplex for two. Reigns clotheslines Sheamus to the floor and spills out with him. Reigns then hits a flying clothesline that sends Sheamus on top of the announcers table. He rolls back inside then we see Bray Wyatt on the screen, having a tea party. He is talking to someone off camera, acting as if it is Reigns’ daughter. Reigns sees this and runs backstage as the camera shows that no one was with Wyatt as we see a kid’s rocking chair go back and forth. The match is ruled a no-contest (16:30) ***1/4.

Thoughts: Good, hard-hitting match. Sure it was slow-paced but the psychology was tight. The ending was lame, although predictable. I understand they want to protect both guys and that Wyatt’s gimmick is to fuck with people during their matches. However, having this happen during such a long match does seem like a waste and the manner in which it was done was almost insulting to the fan base, children included. No one is buying this stuff in 2015.

Back from break, we see Reigns running backstage. He then enters a room as he hears a recording of Wyatt’s voice signing “I’m a Little Teapot” with “Anyone But You” painted on the wall with photos of Reigns that had his eyes and mouth cut out. Wyatt is now like a 21st century version of Papa Shango with this garbage. This stuff is too hokey for the 1990’s, nevermind 2015 WWE.

A replay of Heyman’s promo from earlier this show.

J&J Security are getting coffee backstage. Rollins comes in and tries to get them to be on the same page. Noble reminds Rollins that he paid them back after all their help by making fun of them. Rollins tries to rationalize his behavior by saying they are family and that is what happens as he also tells them he needs them not because he is scared of Lesnar but because they are all a huge part of the Authority. However, J&J Security does not buy this and they walk away.

Neville vs. Kofi Kingston w/ Xavier Woods & Big E

The crowd starts up the “New Day sucks” chant as the match begins. Neville takes control of the match early as Woods talks up a storm. He is great in his role. Neville gets dumped but speeds back into the ring as he was about to get attacked. Back inside, Kofi beats on Neville in the corner. Double axe handle gets two. Xavier then takes a photo of Kofi as he has Neville in an armbar in a hilarious spot. Neville fights back and takes Kofi down with a headscissors. He follows Kofi out but the PTP’s come out to chase off the New Day. However, the ref tosses the PTP’s then Big E & Woods, who are flipping out. Back to the match as Neville takes Kofi down with an enziguiri then gets the win with the Red Arrow (4:29) *1/2.

Thoughts: With all the losses the New Day have been piling up since they dropped the belts, you would have to assume that they would be winning them back quickly. As far as Neville is concerned, they are making sure to hype up the Red Arrow as a finisher but other than that, he does not have much direction. At least he is being kept relatively strong though.

Replay of Kevin Owens attacking Machine Gun Kelly on RAW last week.

Also, Mark Henry vs. Ryback for the Intercontinental Title will happen tonight.

A plug for the July 4th show from Tokyo that will air live on the WWE Network at 5:30am.

Zack Ryder vs. King Barrett

We get an insert promo from R-Truth, who is still pretending to be the king, as he declares Barrett to be a “royal jackass.” Ryder takes control of the match early. He hits some punches in the corner but Barrett knocks him down then destroys him in the corner. Barrett gets two with a clothesline as the crowd is silent. You could probably hear a pin drop. Barrett grabs a chinlock as Ryder fights out and hits a mat slam as both men are down. Ryder hits a missile dropkick and manages to get the crowd into the match for a bit but Barrett bails before a Broski Boot attempt. Ryder heads back up top but Barrett cuts him off then takes him down with the Bullhammer for the win (3:19) 3/4*.

Thoughts: Talk about two guys who are at the lowest points in the WWE. Winning the King of the Ring has been a disaster for Barrett and Ryder is now part of a Tag Team with Mojo Rawley in NXT. Nothing more than filler.

We see clips of Micheal Cole’s WWE.com interview with Kevin Owens, who tells us he was born to be in a WWE ring and how disrespected he felt after Cena “hogged” the spotlight by saying he belonged here. After that, they hype Cena’s return tonight.

A video package hyping up the Lesnar vs. Rollins title match at Battleground with comments from both guys.

Cena comes out to the ring, smiling. He raises up his U.S. Title and calls it a “symbol of excellence and opportunity.” He then says that he is proud to be the U.S. Title Champion before putting over Owens as being “white-hot” and for trying to destroy him. Cena then calls out Owens for assaulting Machine Gun Kelly and thinks he is a “garbage” human being. He then says if he accepts Owens challenge, he might be signing up for a fight that he might not win. He asks the crowd what he should do then weighs his options. He then tells Owens that he is a fighter and if he wants some, to come get some.

Owens music hits as he comes out with the NXT Title draped over his shoulder. He tells Cena that he is not upset about what he just said because he does not put much value into other people’s opinion. He then goes on to say he has been called “out of shape,” “slob,” and a “dirtbag” but that he beat him at Elimination Chamber. He then says that Cena cares about what the people think where as he cares about winning titles. Owens says he wants the title and agrees with Cena that it is a symbol of excellence and in order for that to happen, he has to give him a title match. Owens says he will give him something he craves for that match, is the approval of the fans as he guarantees him the crowd will cheer for the “mighty John Cena” and boo him, the “evil foreigner.” Owens then speaks in French and another language.

Cena then calls Owens a “disrespectful suckbag” as he speaks in French, Chinese, and finally English as he agrees to fight Owens at Cena, declaring that he will kick his ass. Not bad but compared to their other segments, it paled in comparison. The rubber match at Battleground should be one for the ages though.

After the Cena/Owens segment ends, Stephanie and HHH are shown watching on the monitor as they talk about Owens getting under Cena’s skin. Rollins then enters as he tells them about trying to get the rest of the Authority back together. Stephanie asks if he considered apologizing but Rollins thought she was thinking they should apologize to him. HHH then tells Rollins that they invested a lot in him and that a smart man would have backup and to do that, apologize to everyone. Rollins then asks what will happen if Lesnar shows up as HHH taps the belt on Rollins’ shoulder and asks him how bad he wants this “family.” It sure seems like the Authority will be turning on Rollins sometime soon. Also, with all these mentions from the Authority about Owens, you’d think he will be part of them at some point. After all, Owens says that he cares about Championships and the best way to do that is to get backed by the Authority.

Naomi & Tamina vs. Bella Twins w/ Alicia Fox

Fox is now dressed like a Bella. The match starts with Brie getting attacked in the corner. Tamina hits a Samoan Drop as the crowd is silent, probably because there is no reason to cheer anyone involved in this match as they are all portrayed as heels. Brie pulls the ropes down on Naomi, who yanks Nikki off the apron to prevent a tag. Brie finally makes the tag and hits a few clotheslines on Naomi before knocking Tamina off of the apron. Nikki gets a few cheers during this then the match breaks down. Naomi hits Brie with the Rear View but accidentally hits Tamina after that then gets hit with the Rack Attack by Nikki as that finishes the match (3:43) 1/4*.

Thoughts: This whole division is a trainwreck, filled with unlikable characters. Actually, the Diva’s Division as a whole is at its lowest point. Its fucking brutal.

WWE Intercontinental Title Match
Mark Henry vs. Ryback (Champion)

Big Show is on commentary. Ryback works a hammerlock but Henry shoves him away. Big Show warns Miz the best thing he can do is to stay away as the action heads outside. Big Show cheers on Henry, who rams Ryback against the ring apron. Back from break, Ryback runs into a clothesline. Henry tries the World’s Strongest Slam but Ryback floats over and hits the meathook. Ryback then climbs up top and hits a splash for the win (6:23) *. After the match, Show gets inside and yells at Henry, who shoves him away. Show then stares him down before leaving.

Thoughts: Ryback has done a great job as the IC Champ. This match wasnt that bad at all considering Henry was involved. Based off the end, I assume that Henry will end up backing Ryback if he gets double-teamed by Miz & Show at some point but they are doing a good job at creating animosity between all the competitors of the triple threat match.

The announcers plug the return of Tough Enough, which starts tomorrow night on USA at 8pm EST. We then get a brief look at the final 13 competitors. They really plugged the Tough Enough App here.

Ryback is backstage with JoJo, who asks him about facing the Miz and Big Show in a Triple Threat match at Battleground.. Ryback tells us he will face all challengers and puts over the IC Title and how him winning the belt even got his parents together for 18 years and how its means everything to him. Big Show interrupts with some sarcastic clapping as he makes fun of Ryback, who calmly no-sells it then starts hammering away. They brawl all over the place until Ryback knocks down Show. Good promo from Ryback and the brawl was fine as well.

Adam Rose w/ Rosa Mendes vs. Dolph Ziggler w/ Lana

Rose is now sporting new facial hair as he tells us we do not understand real art, passion, or real love, like what he has with Rosa. He then gives eskimo kisses to Rosa before the match but walks into a dropkick. Rose takes control as Rusev watches on a monitor backstage. Back to the match as Rose hits a bunch of elbow drops as Lana looks worried outside. Rose then applies a sleeper hold but Dolph breaks out and hits a few clotheslines then a neckbreaker. Rose fights back and hits a corner clothesline. Dolph sidesteps a charge but gets caught with a spinebuster. Rose then heads up top where Dolph catches him with a super kick for the win (3:03) *. After the match, Dolph and Lana kiss in the ring as Rusev goes nuts and tosses hits crutches. He then falls down and flips out as a tall blonde girl, I assume it was Summer Rae, hands him one of his crutches.

Thoughts: Rose got in way more offense than you would think and didnt look that bad to be honest. The Dolph/Lana pairing continues to flounder though. And Rusev being paired with Summer isnt the worst thing in the world, either. Summer is a useful heel valet. But Rusev did look like a dipshit when he flipped out backstage. And no, I am not saying he is buried or any nonsense like that but he looked like a clown falling down after tossing his crutches.

Backstage, J&J Security are with HHH and Stephanie. Noble tries to tell Steph that they are more like Yoda than “Dumb and Dumber.” The Authority remind them that there is a lot of pressure on Rollins for being the champion and that all they have to do is go out to the ring and hear out Rollins’ apology. They even said that Rollins was scared of Lesnar.

An anxious Rollins heads out to the ring. He tells us sometimes in life it is easier to pretend you are right than admit you are wrong. So, he is going to admit that he was wrong and asks Kane and J&J Security to come out to the ring for an apology. They come out as Rollins says a team is only good as it’s foundation and that they are the foundation. Rollins then says this has nothing to do with Lesnar, who he will beat again at Battleground, but rather about family. The crowd chants “Suplex City” as Rollins gets angry. Rollins apologizes to each man individually as the crowd now starts a “Justin Bieber” chant. He then asks for them to be a family again as the three guys look over Rollins, who is now begging at this point. All of a sudden, Lesnar’s music hits as he comes out with Heyman. Lesnar paces before getting on the apron and when he does, everyone flees, leaving Rollins alone. However, Kane attacks Lesnar from behind/ J&J Security help out but get tossed as Lesnar comes into the ring. Rollins tries to attack him but ends up getting suplexed a few times. He hits an F-5 then Kane attacks Lesnar after he tried it again. Rollins then wraps Lesnar’s leg around the post as Kane and himself target that for a while as Mercury joins in on the fun. This beatdown lasts for a while until Rollins hits a Pedigree then celebrates. The beatdown went on for too long here. It was effective in the sense that it gave Rollins the advantage with Lesnar’s leg now messed up but the show open and closed with apology segments. I wonder what happened in WWE Headquarters this week for that to occur?

Final Thoughts: Poor show tonight. They did okay at building up the World Title match, IC Title match, and Owens/Cena III but the rest was bad. The Wyatt/Reigns stuff was flat-out embarrassing and has no place in 21st century wrestling. The Diva’s division is still a directionless mess and the midcard stuff is uninspiring to say the least. Battleground is still a few more weeks away so they can build up more to that but this was easily one of the weakest editions RAW’s of the past few months.

WWE RAW Rundown 6-15-15

June 15th, 2015

Live from Cleveland, OH
Your hosts are Byron Saxton, JBL, and Michael Cole
The show starts with the ten-bell salute and tribute video for Dusty Rhodes from last night. Both were excellent. 
Seth Rollins is shown in the ring gloating then we go to commercial break. When we return, we see Johnny Manziel in the crowd then Rollins starts by welcoming the crowd to “Monday Night Rollins” as he proudly boasts the fact that he is the WWE World Champion. He then says that Dean brought his “A” game at Money in the Bank last night but the only problem is that Dean’s “A” game is not quite as good as his own. Rollins then said he lived up to his promise of winning the title on his own then said that he wants to acknowledge all the people who helped him get to where he was then pulls out a list, which only contains his own name which he repeats over and over again to hammer home the point that he does not need anyone. He then makes fun of J&J Security and Kane before saying he didnt even need HHH and Steph. Rollins went as far as to say last night he punched his own ticket into the Hall of Fame before trolling Cleveland about their lack of titles, even shitting on Johnny Manziel, which actually brought some cheers. All of a sudden, Dean Ambrose’s music hits as the crowd erupts. They meet in the aisle and start brawling. They head into the ring where Dean clotheslines Seth to the floor. Seth then attacks the injured knee but Dean fights back and eventually chases him off while hobbling on one leg. Seth heads out back while Dean grabs a chair and sits in the ring. Dean says the title might have slipped through his fingers but has enjoyed making his life a living hell and will sit in the ring until Seth comes back out. The segment was fine I suppose but this feud has a limited shelf-life at the moment. 
Back from break, HHH & Steph question Rollins as to why he says he doesnt need them as Rollins backtracks and thinks they should just get Ambrose out of the building. HHH tells Rollins that they have to decide who will be the next challenger to his title and since he trusted Rollins could beat Ambrose, Rollins could trust him with choosing the next challenger as Seth reluctantly agreed. 
Sheamus comes out to the ring with the Money in the Bank briefcase as he tells Ambrose, who is still in the ring, that he is a winner while Ambrose is a loser. Sheamus then says that the briefcase means he is just one Brogue Kick away from becoming the champion and steps in the ring for a match. 
Dean Ambrose vs. Sheamus
Sheamus attacks the injured knee of Ambrose to start. Ambrose fights back but Sheamus goes back to targeting the injured knee. Back from break, Ambrose fights back then catches Sheamus with a neckbreaker while selling the knee. He hits a bulldog then slowly climbs up top as Sheamus cuts him off then hits the Rolling Thunder. Sheamus locks on a Cloverleaf but Ambrose is able to reach the ropes. Sheamus tries the clubbing forearms on Ambrose, who reverses and hits some of his own. Ambrose gets two with a top rope elbow smash then hits a rebound clothesline but Sheamus is able to escape the Dirty Deeds. However, as Sheamus heads up the aisle, Randy Orton’s music hits and distracts Sheamus, allowing Ambrose to roll Sheamus inside and roll him up for the win after ducking a Brogue Kick (10:50) **1/4. After the match, Orton hits the draping DDT but Sheamus was able to escape before Orton hit the RKO.  
Thoughts: An average TV match from these two. The win keeps Ambrose strong and this also prolongs the Sheamus/Orton feud so it made sense in that regard, even if those two do not have the best chemistry against each other. 

Backstage, Rollins runs into J&J Security. He refers to them as “Harry and Lloyd” then tells them both he is willing to bring them back, not because he needs them but because they might have the inside track on his next opponent. Noble said his next opponent should be the guy who pinned him in the ring last week, Joey Mercury. Rollins tells Noble he is crazy through poorly, overwritten dialogue as Mercury then tells Rollins its a matter of when, not if, he loses his title as J&J Security walk away smiling. Rollins is alienating just about everyone around him at the moment. 
A plug for the Dusty Rhodes Life Celebration that airs on the WWE Network after RAW
An ad featuring Roman Reigns playing with his daughter to promote fatherhood.gov
R-Truth vs. King Barrett

Truth came to the ring dressed as a “king,” with a bedsheet as a robe and a toilet plunger as a scepter. Barrett boots Truth in the face then hits some mounted punches but poses and that allows Truth to get the win with a surprise rollup (0:22). After the match, Barrett attacks Truth then flips out as he said that he earned the “King of the Ring” moniker in a tournament while upset over Truth making a mockery of the title. 
Thoughts: A waste of time and Barrett is a complete joke at the moment. Whatever potential he had has long passed him by and this king gimmick has done him no favors at all. 

Machine Gun Kelly is backstage with Heath Slater, Zack Ryder, Fandango, Alicia Fox, Summer Rae, and Emma. Paige interrupts and wants the divas to meet up with her and the rest of the girls as they leave while Ryder and Fandango seemed bummed out about getting left out. 
Kevin Owens hits the ring. He talks about Cena insulted him more than anyone else has in his fifteen year career by saying “you belong here” as he yells at us that he doesnt need his endorsement as he also knows how he belongs here. He then says Cena is a bad winner as he could not walk to the back, like a gracious winner would, but that he had to shake hands as he needs to be the hero. Owens tells us that regardless of what happened, he deserves a rematch and this time when he wins, he wants the U.S. Title. Owens then tells us that this is usually the time Cena runs out and issues the open challenge but that wont happen as Owens decides to hold his own open challenge. Dolph Ziggler answers as he walks out with Lana. Dolph tells Owens that besides kissing Lana, he made his night as he tells Owens he has sacrificed. like the city of Cleveland, has scratched and clawed at a chance for the championship as he will give them one now and accepts. Lillian Garcia then announces the match for the NXT Title as Owens interrupts, calling her “blondie,” and says that it is a non-title match. Owens mic work was top notch here as the heel who justifies every evil thing that he does. Ziggler, on the other hand, was given a garbage promo about sacrificing and wanting to win the Developmental Brand title. No one could have made that work but what mattered was Owens and he delivered. 
Kevin Owens vs. Dolph Ziggler w/ Lana
Owens immediately attacked Ziggler then tossed him outside as they cut to commercial. Back from break, Owens is still on the attack. He hits a senton for a nearfall after brushing off a dropkick attempt then proudly tells the crowd that is why he is the champion. Ziggler finally fights back and takes Owens and himself outside with a clothesline. Owens then hits him with a forearm before tossing Ziggler into the timekeeper’s booth. Ziggler just beats the world’s slowest ten count inside then goes on offense. He hits a DDT as we go to a second commercial break. When we return, Owens works a side headlock. Ziggler escapes with a jawbreaker then hammers away. Owens knocks him down but runs into a super kick as Ziggler gets two. Ziggler gets nearfalls with a sunset flip and a Fameasser but misses a charge and gets tossed halfway across the ring with a German suplex. Owens follows with a cannonball for two. Ziggler dodges the pop-up powerbomb and hits the Zig-Zag for two as the fans bought that as a finisher. Owens then catches Ziggler with a kick before putting him away with the pop-up powerbomb (15:14) ***1/4. After the match, Owens demanded his NXT title and aggressively yanked it from the timekeeper so he could celebrate. 
Thoughts: Good match. The last few minutes were quite action-packed. Owens has been hitting home runs with each appearance on WWE television. Lana was shown during the entrance and that was about all for her as that pairing continues to go nowhere. 

Paige holds court with the rest of the diva’s as she wants them to join her in a stand against the Bella Twins. Summer then reminds Paige that she lost last night while Alicia questions why they should trust her as she has turned on every partner she has ever had. Paige says they are just as powerful as the Bellas as Naomi thinks Paige is crazy for trying to boss her around. Paige tries to get the others to join her but the Bellas interrupt. Nikki tells us that she has been the Diva’s Champion since SummerSlam and since it is a free country the others can side with Paige if they want. The ladies all leave one-by-one as Paige is alone. The Bellas then sit down backstage as Paige also leaves. Whatever, there is zero reason to cheer for any of these ladies. Everyone here turns on each other so the idea to start a feud based off one of them who constantly turns is ridiculous. Some of the worst booking I have ever seen has been part of the 2015 Diva’s Division. 
Randy Orton vs. Kane

Both guys slug it out to start. Kane takes Orton down with a big boot for a nearfall then works a nerve hold then a sleeper that Orton counters with a back suplex. Orton misses a knee drop as Kane hits a side slam for two. Orton breaks up a chokeslam attempt then boots Kane in the face in a pathetic spot as this match is dragging. Orton hits a powerslam and tries the draping DDT but Sheamus’ music interrupts as Kane is now at the table while he proclaims the rest of this match is “No Holds Barred.” Orton attacks Sheamus until Kane runs in then Sheamus hits the Brogue Kick as Kane covers for the win (4:22) DUD. After the match, Sheamus poses with the briefcase. 
Thoughts: This match was absolutely awful. I like the direction of Kane’s character and he does a good job on screen but he is the worst in-ring performer on the roster now and best served hidden in tags and six-man matches. Orton couldnt even drag something passable out of him. They also did more Orton/Sheamus storyline stuff here. 

Rollins runs into Kane backstage and congratulates him sarcastically as he points out how Kane lost last night while he won, without his help. Rollins then says his success pains Kane because he is no longer feared or a champion. Kane then tells Rollins if he wants to be the future, he needs to win match after match on a nightly basis but cannot understand that because he is an idiot, not an architect. Rollins reminds Kane that he has always had someone hold his hand, including Paul Bearer and the Undertaker as Kane flips out at Rollins for bringing up his family. Rollins then yells at Kane for touching him and said that he hopes the Authority picks him as his challenger so he can put him out of his misery. Good stuff from both guys here. 
Big Show vs. The Miz

Ryback is on commentary. Miz starts the match by running away from Show, who then faked out the Miz by faking a leg injury so he could take advantage. Show rams Miz in the corner and hits a few chops. They head outside where Show chops him down then tosses the Miz at Ryback, who gets in Show’s face but as they stare each other down, Miz slides in the ring to beat the ten count and get the win (2:47) 1/4*. After the match, Ryback taunts Miz with his IC Title Belt. 
Thoughts: I’ve enjoyed Ryback as the IC Champ so far but feuding with these two doesnt seem all that promising. 

Roman Reigns comes out and is pissed off at Bray Wyatt for costing him the MiTB match last night. Bray is shown cutting a promo about one star speaking truth and the other speaking lies as Reigns tells him to shut up and get into the ring. Bray is now telling Reigns he selfishly denied him his destiny and that he reminds him of someone he knew a long time ago, someone who was a chosen one whose people believed in him. Bray then tells Reigns he is the “yin to his yang” and that he will eliminate him once and for all as he will not do this with Father’s Day around the corner then he holds the picture of Reigns and his daughter from the PSA while singing “My Little Teapot” then ends this by saying “run.” More of the same from Wyatt and fans are not buying into his act anymore. 
Paige vs. Bella Twins

Cole plugs the new season of “Total Divas” as Nikki and Paige start the match. They go back-and-forth for a while until Nikki gains the advantage. Brie tags in and works the neck as the announcers talk about “twin magic.” Brie gets two with a running knee then Nikki tags and works a figure four neck lock, even working a few pushups. Brie tags and accidentally clotheslines Nikki as Paige takes control of the match. She rams Brie into Nikki then hits the Rampage but Nikki breaks that up and then tags in to hit the Rack Attack for the win (5:35) 1/2*. 
Thoughts: Bad match as I have no idea where they are going with this feud but hopefully it leads to Paige bringing up some NXT girls to the roster because the current WWE Diva roster as a whole sucks. 

Machine Gun Kelly performs. I thought the performance sucked. Afterwards, Kevin Owens comes out and sarcastically claps at the end. Kelly then pushes him but Owens knocks him down then powerbombs him off of the stage. Several officials tend to Kelly as Owens walks away. Despite landing on a crash pad, Kelly was a sport for taking that bump and it looked great as Owens came off as an even bigger psychotic dick than he was before the show started. 
New Day vs. Prime Time Players & Neville

New Day were shown in an insert promo talking about using the power of positivity to regain the Tag Team titles as the PTP’s were shown biting off the New Age Outlaws ring introduction. Young hits Woods with a discus forearm to start. He then hits an inverted atomic drop and a neckbreaker. Kofi tags, with his ribs bandaged, as the PTP’s then clean house. Neville then takes out the New Day with the Fosbury Flop as we go to break. When we return, the New Day are working over Young in their corner. Woods works a chinlock as the crowd gets behind Young. Woods boots Titus off of the ring apron but Young is able to tag Neville, who runs wild. The match breaks down and gets a bit sloppy but Young is able to hit Kofi with a gutbuster then they tag Neville back in the match as the crowd goes nuts, with the PTP’s act as cheerleaders, then Neville gets the win with the Red Arrow (9:38) *1/2. 
Thoughts: The match got really sloppy at the end but the crowds love the Red Arrow, as evidenced here tonight. Neville hits the move perfectly each time too. And his ring work in general has been incredible since getting called up. The PTP’s are a fun act and I assume they will drop the titles back to the New Day soon. 

Dean is backstage throwing darts at a dartboard that features a picture of Rollins. Kane walks in and laughs and says as Director of Operations, its his job to make sure things run smooth as they laugh while Dean said that he liked the Kane that was “hellfire and brimstone” and the “Big Red Monster” as Kane reminds him he has a job with a global company. Dean said he lives for nights like last night and will not stop until he gets that title. Dean says that is what he lives for then asks Kane what he lives for as he walks away, letting Kane ponder the question. When Kane turns, it should get a decent reaction as it has been built up well. 
The Authority walk down to the ring to announce the next opponent for Seth Rollins but first, Steph wants to apologize to the fans for Owens attacking Machine Gun Kelly and that disciplinary action will occur as that is best for business, which is not just a slogan as they run a global business that puts smiles on peoples faces. HHH assures us that Dean Ambrose, among others, will not be the challenger for Rollins’ title. Rollins himself then comes out, looking quite confident. Rollins then tells the Authority it doesnt matter who they pick as he is as good as they say he is and he will embarrass anyone on the roster, making the Authority proud. HHH runs down the list of guys Rollins has beat then said in life, you have to step back and look at the investment to see if it will pay off or if it is a sunk cost as HHH tells us you stick a lump of coal under pressure as you either see it turn to dust or into a diamond as he questions what will happen to Rollins as the pressure is on then after twenty seconds, Brock Lesnar’s theme music hits as he appears with Paul Heyman. The announcers talk about Lesnar being reinstated and how he was never pinned at WrestleMania. Rollins looks at Lesnar, trying to appear confident. He then sees Heyman shake the hands of the Authority as they leave the ring while Rollins looks petrified as Lesnar stares him down. Rollins backs up slowly as Lesnar follows then ducks outside as the crowd boos. He looks at the Authority then at Lesnar as he heads up the aisle as Lesnar looks on from inside the ring, staring right through Rollins. Cole then tells us that this match will take place at Battleground. With Rollins brashly acting like he needs no one but himself all show long, he now looks helpless after learning that he will be facing Lesnar, which is a good bit of storytelling. 
Final Thoughts: Overall, this was a solid show. The main event stuff was good and the building of Owens as a top heel has been superb. They even kept Dean strong tonight too. Some of the midcard stuff was shit (well, most of it was) but we had a good match and they are shaping up the storylines that lead to Battleground. They seem to have a direction where they are going and that is the most important thing out of RAW, not good matches. That is what the PPV’s are for. 

WWE RAW Rundown 6-8-15

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.

WWE RAW Rundown 6-1-15

June 1, 2015

From San Antonio, TX

Your hosts are Booker T, JBL, and Michael Cole

The show starts with the entire Authority heading down to the ring as the announcers talk about how Dean Ambrose has not been seen or heard from since leaving the Elimination Chamber show with the WWE World Title belt. Steph welcomes us to our champion, Seth Rollins, and how stealing a title does not make you a champion. She even talks about Dean Ambrose being a kleptomaniac for stealing the Money in the Bank briefcase from Rollins in the past as well. Steph then asked the crowd what they should do and maybe how they should get rid of him altogether. HHH then asks Ambrose to return the title so they can discuss what happens after that as the crowd starts a “Justin Biebe” chant aimed at Seth. HHH tells the crowd to shut up then screams for Ambrose to come out but instead we get Roman Reigns, who tells the Authority that they do not seem happy to see him but “San Antonio” is as the crowd applauds. Roman then tells then Authority that Dean wants a ladder match for the title at Money in the Bank. Steph tells Roman that they will not negotiate with a low-life like Ambrose or even himself as Roman reminds them all that Ambrose cleaned Seth cleanly. Seth flips out about how he was never beat as the crowd chants “you got beat” at him. Roman adds more fuel to the fire by reminding him that both Ambrose and himself have beat him then suggeests that Seth might be the worst WWE Champion ever. Seth wants Roman to tell Ambrose he has his rematch and then goes nuts as he tells the Authority that he will prove to everyone that he does not need anyone’s help, even calling Kane a “seven-foot piece of crap,” before walking off. When he leaves, Steph asks Roman who does he think he is but HHH interrupts and calmly reminds Roman that Seth ended his title hopes and dreams at WrestleMania by cashing in the Money in the Bank briefcase contest and if he wants to stay in the MiTB match this year, he will have to win his match as if he loses, he will be out of the match as HHH orders Roman to stay in the ring for his match. Very good segment here. Seth was great at playing the pissed-off spoiled brat, Steph and HHH were awesome in their roles, and Reigns carried himself well and came off good here too. Plus, it was much shorter than last week’s neverending opening segment.

Roman Reigns d. Wade Barrett with a spear (14:07) **1/2. 

Barrett took control early as he got two off of a suplex and grabbed a headlock. Reigns fought back with a boot to the face then hit a corner clothesline. Barrett rolled away from the apron kick but ended up getting clotheslined to the floor. Barrett catches him with a kick to the gut outside the ring as he regains control of the match. He poses in the ring as we go to break. Barrett has Reigns in a headlock when we are back from break. He switches to a surfboad but Reigns escapes then hits a clothesline. He drives Barrett in the corner and hammers away as the crowd counted along. Barrett catches Reigns with the Winds of Change for a nearfall then signals for the Bullhammer but Reigns ducks the move then powerbombs him after pulling him up during a rollup attempt then shortly after that puts him away with a spear. Solid match but after Barrett has been losing to everyone and having an unimpressive showing last night, Reigns should have plowed through him. Tough to buy Barrett as a threat here and as a result, the match didnt have the heat it should have.

Video stills of Kevin Owens beating John Cena last night at the Elimination Chamber

Byron Saxton is with Nikki Bella. Byron forgot to put the mic in front of her face at the beginning. Nikki talks about facing all challengers as Paige walks out and says that after winning a battle royal last month for a title shot and seeing that Naomi is now “out of the picture” she should get a match. Nikki said that Paige sounded just like Naomi, who lost, and then challenges her to a match tonight. Man, they sure buried Naomi in this segment. Both divas did fine here.

Ryback is welcomed to the ring. He tells the fans that no one wants to see him emotional but he is proud to be the new Intercontinental Title and how the crowd in San Antonio reminded him who he was when he returned from injury. The crowd reacted well to Ryback. This ends in a “feed me more” chant as we then learn that he will defend his title against the Miz. No idea what Miz did to earn a title shot here.

Miz vs. Ryback ended in a no-contest due to Big Show’s interference 

This started after the break. Big Show made his return by walking into the ring and squaring off against Ryback but instead knocked out Miz with a punch. Show then walked over to Ryback and told him he has nothing on him when it comes to being a big guy. They had a staredown until Show walked away. Nothing memorable here and just a way to start a Ryback/Show feud. It looks like the IC Title is back to being little more than a prop.

Kevin Owens is in the ring. He goes over his NXT and WWE history to remind us how when he says he is going to do something, he delivers. He then says that he should be on top of the world after last night but he is not because after calling home, he spoke to his son. He said that like every other kid who is a WWE fan, his son is a John Cena fan. Funny moment as the crowd booed as Owens reminds them that his son is just a kid. Owens goes deeper into his frustrations, which is that Cena is portrayed as a hero with all sorts of colors and catchphrases and while honing his craft all over the country and world, his son grew up idolizing Cena, who became “Super Cena.” The crowd starts the “Let’s Go Cena, Cena  Sucks” chant as he reminds them he beat Cena last night. Owens then says that at their Money in the Bank match, he will make sure his kid watches the match and gives advice to all parents to do the same as they can see a real model, who does not rely on catchphrases and marketing, deliver.

Cena’s music hits as he shows the “Never Give Up” towel to the camera and says that it is not a catchphrase. Cena hits the ring and says that Owens is a “jackass” and wants him to shut his mouth. Cena tells Owens to “act like he has been there before” and goes on about everyone praising Owens and their match last night as a mild “you got beat” chant breaks out. They really hammered home the idea that Owens debut was the best of all-time. Cena then says that he was going to hand him the U.S. Title but he does not deserve it as he is so concerned about being a role model that he cannot put jealousy aside. He then mocks Owens for saying how the “WWE Marketing Machine” influences his son by bringing up past failures. He says that his “catchphrases” were not that of suits in a boardroom but rather the words that define his life. Cena even pointed out a kid in the crowd with a sign that read “I’m Beating Cancer.” Cena also told the kid later on to never stop fighting before focusing on Owens on how those words can effect people’s lives and how instead of “Fight, Owens, Fight” it should be “Never Give Up” and in two weeks he will have to explain how a “really good wrestler” got his ass kicked by a “real man” but Owens walked off instead of fighting him as Cena fired up the crowd. Both guys did a great job here. The end I didnt care for much as Owens did not have a chance to really respond to Cena the way it was done. I dont mind that Cena used a poor kid suffering from cancer in his promo at all, it probably made their day and that is more important than any of this, but it also kinda proved Owens point he made about Cena in his promo. Some may only view that as exploitative but when it comes to a kid being happy, I cannot see it that way.  I love how they are treating Owens as a star. They want everyone to know that he beat Cena and did so in his debut. However, I dont love that they are doing a rematch in two weeks as that does not have to be rushed so quick. They can easily milk that feud for a while.

Dolph Ziggler w/ Lana d. Kofi Kingston w/ Big E & Xavier Woods with a rollup (3:15) 3/4*

Before the match, The New Day got heel heat by telling the crowd that Tim Duncan was old and should retire. Dolph did is usual stuff, which means running and jumping around for 90% of the match, until Kofi booted him down then grabbed a headlock. Dolph fought back with a neckbreaker then screamed in an attempt to get the crowd into the match but they did not care. Ziggler got a nearfall with a DDT as well. Kofi used a rollup but Ziggler reversed that for a win. After the match, Big E & Xavier ran in and beat on Ziggler until the Prime Time Players made the save. Match was heatless and Dolph just might be the stalest act on the roster. No one seemed to care about him. And his pairing with Lana has been a bust. They have no chemistry together at all. Its almost as bad as the Ted DiBiase Jr. & Maryse pairing.

Prime Time Players & Dolph Ziggler d. The New Day when Titus pinned Xavier with a pumphandle slam (5:33) *1/2. 

Match started during the break. When we came back, the PTP’s were beating on Woods. Kofi tripped up Young as that allowed Big E to hit a belly-to-belly suplex then the New Day all beat on Young in the corner. They continue to work over Young until he fights back and makes the hot tag to Titus, who cleans house. The crowd reacted well to Titus here, who was tossing around Kofi and Xavier. Ziggler even hit a super kick on Kofi in a messed-up spot then Titus barked before getting the win with the pumphandle slam. As the guys were celebrating, Lana was shown smiling on the ramp. Speaking of Lana, she was an after thought in both matches. And Ziggler was an afterthought in this match. Shows you how great that pairing is doing at the moment. Also, the PTP’s vs. New Day feud appears to be in the works and that is fine by me.

Roman Reigns d. Mark Henry via countout (3:46) 1/4*

Henry slammed Reigns early on for a nearfall then raked his eyes across the top rope as the announcers played up that Reigns had an eye injury that would jeopardize his standing in the MiTB match. Henry raked the eyes for a bit then Reigns fought back with a couple of clotheslines then a Samoan drop. Henry rolled outside the Reigns followed out and got rammed into the post but came back with the Superman Punch and rolled inside just in time to beat the ten count. After the match, Henry came in and hit Reigns with the World’s Strongest Slam then a splash. Match was bad and the crowd was not invested. Henry seemed like he was unable to do anything in the ring.

After the break, Steph and HHH walk past Reigns, who is clutching his ribs. They sarcastically applaud him then say that he should lace up his vest real tight and “follow the buzzards.”

We see the Mega Powers, New Day, and Big Showdoing outtakes plugging the new shakes at Sonic. Not bad and the New Day were hilarious.

Nikki Bella (c) d. Paige to retain the WWE Diva’s Title (5:50) *3/4. 

Match started with Nikki talking trash. Paige pie-faced Nikki off of a lockup then Nikki took her down and worked the arm then shows off by doing some push-ups. Nikki got two with a suplex then put on a surfboard. Nikki then hit a slingshot suplex before stretching out Paige, who is able to reach the ropes. Paige then knocks her down but Nikki rolls outside then performs crunches on the floor. Back inside, Paige uses a knee smash that showed an awful lot of light to get two then they trade moves until Paige takes Nikki off the top with some sort of DDT but shortly after that, Nikki rolled outisde then Brie came from underneath the ring and went inside to catch Paige with a small package for the win. So, the Bellas are back to being heels again, despite doing nothing to turn face to begin with. And with Nikki and Brie not close to the same size anymore, this finish doesnt work quite as well. The Divas division remains a complete mess. As far as the match, they both tried and it had some rough spots but fine overall.

Randy Orton makes his return as he will be facing Sheamus tonight.

Randy Orton d. Sheamus via DQ (12:55) **1/4

Lots of stalling from Sheamus to start. This match is wrestled at a snails pace as neither guy can gain the advantage. Orton then clotheslines Sheamus to the floor and heads outside where he suplexes Sheamus on top of the announcers table then heads back inside as we go to break. Back from break, Sheamus catches Orton in a powerslam for a nearfall then stomps away in the corner. Sheamus gets frustrated as he cannot put Orton away then grabs a chinlock as the crowd rallies behind Orton, who breaks the hold. He catches Sheamus with a pair of clotheslines then a powerslam after dodging a Brogue Kick. Orton hits a T-Bone suplex after a reversal sequence then gets the draping DDT as he tries to fire up the crowd. Sheamus sends Orton to the floor with a knee to the face. They brawl outside until Sheamus gets DQ’ed for using a chair. After the match, Sheamus hits a Brogue Kick then beats on Orton until a few referees order him away. Sheamus stops, thinks for a bit, then runs over and hits Orton with another Brogue Kick. Not bad but more of a house show match than a TV match. The point of this was too build animosity between the Money in the Bank Briefcase match.

Saxton is backstage with Rusev, who is on crutches. He tells us that he has a broken ankle, crushed spirit, and no woman but he will get back all of what he desires. Good stuff from Rusev, who has been excelling in his role.

A plug for Kevin Owens, hosting the NXT Championship open challenge this Thursday on Smackdown.

Neville d. Bo Dallas with the Red Arrow (3:10) *

Before the match, a dejected Bo tells us that he now wants to hurt Neville instead of helping him. Dallas took control of the match to start as the crowd started to rally a bit behind Neville, who fought back with forearm smashes and kicks while showcasing his tremendous speed, then hit the Red Arrow for the win. The Red Arrow is one of the more impressive moves in the company, he always seems to hit it perfectly, and this win seemed to have ended his feud with Bo so he can focused on as a competitor in the Money in the Bank Briefcase match. The announcers also put over the Red Arrow as a deadly finisher too.

Roman Reigns d. Bray Wyatt with the spear (12:12) **3/4. 

Bray immediately beats on Reigns, who is selling his injuries from tonight. Seth, Kane, and J&J Security come out to the ring as Wyatt continues his assault on Reigns. Back from break, the Authority were clapping from the stage as Reigns was getting beaten down. Reigns came back with a clothesline then hit a DDT as both men are down. Reigns gets up and hammers away then knocks Wyatt to the floor, where Reigns hits the basement dropkick. Back inside, Reigns ran into a clothesline then Wyatt got two off of a senton. Wyatt starts slapping around Reigns, who slaps him right back. Reigns hits a Samoan drop then signals for the Superman Punch that awakes the crowd, who had been quiet since the Sheamus/Orton match. Wyatt blocks that and hits a chokeslam but Reigns fights back as the Authority now surround the ring. Reigns counters the Sister Abigail and shoves Wyatt into Kane, who was on the apron, then spears Wyatt off of the rebound and gets the win. After the match, the Authority surround the ring until Ambrose’s music hits. Rollins looks at the ramp but turns around and sees Ambrose taunting him with the belt on the announcers table. Reigns and Rollins take out the Authority as HHH and Steph are on the ramp. Ambrose and Reigns then left through the crowd. Good match and a real good showing by Reigns tonight. If they built him up like this last fall it probably would have worked with him getting the strap at Mania. He is doing fine in his role and the partnership with Dean against the Authority is working well.

Backstage, Paul Heyman is shown walking backstage looking pissed as he enters the set of the Stone Cold Steve Austin Podcast

Final Thoughts: Not as good as the previous two weeks but still a solid showing. Reigns had a great night tonight and did well. It seems like they are building towards HHH vs. Reigns at SummerSlam too. They are doing good at building up their top feuds and the MiTB Briefcase match. However, the midcard stuff was forgettable and the Diva’s Division is terribly booked. The Dolph/Lana stuff is just not working at all either. Nothing in terms of must-see matches but after Owens vs Cena last night, that is not a problem.

RAW Rundown 5-25-15

May 25, 2015

From the Nassau Coliseum in Long Island, NY

Your hosts are Booker T, JBL, and Michael Cole

Before the show starts, the WWE honors Memorial Day with a photo montage that included several Superstars and Divas giving thanks then Eden Stiles lead the crowd in a moment of silence to start off the show.

The show starts with the Authority coming out to the ring. Seth Rollins sarcastically thanks Dean Ambrose for extorting a title shot out of the Authority.  He then talks about the ridiculousness of Ambrose being a role-model for the WWE Universe as the crowd starts an “We Want Ambrose” chant. Rollins then talks about how the Authority can take Ambrose’s title shot away, and even fire him, but that he asked them not to do that before saying that Ambrose his not a threat or even “on his level.” HHH then holds out the contract in his hand as he tells Ambrose that he needs to sign in order to have a shot at the title. Ambrose comes out, to the delight of the crowd, as he tells us something might be wrong with him as instead of counting sheep, he counted “punching Seth Rollins in the face” as he talks about getting happy at the thought of beating up Rollins. He then says the next time he beats him up it will be for the WWE World Title. He then tells us when he wins the belt, he will make changes as he runs down J&J Security and give Kane a collar because he is a “lap dog.” Ambrose gets in a Justin Bieber reference aimed at Rollins as the crowd starts chanting for Bieber, as Rollins defends Bieber for being rich, famous, handsome, and the most successful artist of his generation. Rollins then tells the crowd they are jealous of Bieber like Ambrose is jealous of himself. Rollins tells Ambrose he is destined to be a loser as Ambrose finally heads down to the ring as the Authority look to pounce on him then Roman Reigns’ music hits as he comes through the crowd to stand by Ambrose. Stephanie then talks about how its cute to see these two inseparable but Ambrose needs to sign the contract before the end of the night. She also makes Ambrose & Reigns vs. Kane & Rollins and that will happen now. The segment went on for too long and some of the dialogue these writers come up with his pitiful. If it was shorter it would have been a lot more tolerable.

Roman Reigns & Dean Ambrose d. Kane & Seth Rollins when Ambrose pinned Rollins with a rollup (12:53) **.

The match started right after the commercial break. Ambrose & Reigns start the match by working over Kane. Rollins tagged in and works over Ambrose briefly as the announcers talk about the Nassau Coliseum as this will be the last WWE event to take place here as the building will be demolished. Reigns then comes in and hits Rollins with a Samoan Drop but gets distracted by J&J Security as he went for his apron kick and that allows Rollins to kick him down. Rollins grabs a chinlock on Reigns but breaks out then knocks Rollins down before tagging Ambrose, who runs wild. He hits a tope then Reigns & Ambrose stand tall as we go to break. When we return, we see that Rollins dropkicked Ambrose, who was in the tree-of-woe position during the break to regain control of the match. Ambrose came back with a clothesline then tagged Reigns, who beats down Kane until he got distracted by J&J Security. Kane tried a chokeslam but that failed as Ambrose tagged in and dropped an elbow for two. Rollins tagged and hit Ambrose with a springboard knee smash for two. Rollins tried a kick then Ambrose rebounded off of the ropes, leading to a mini-reversal sequence that ended with Ambrose getting the win with a backslide. Not much of a match and there was a surprising lack of crowd reaction here too. The announcers kept on pushing the fact that someone as unhinged as Ambrose could be the champion at Elimination Chamber, which means that he will not be winning this coming Sunday.

Renee Young tries to interview Ambrose but J&J Security interrupts. They teased having the contract for Ambrose to sign but it turned out to be false so Ambrose smiled then slapped Noble, triggering a brawl. Ambrose accidentally knocked out the camera man as J&J ran away as Ambrose was freaking out.

We are shown a video package of Kevin Owens that showed him attack Sami Zayn and then John Cena, his opponent at Elimination Chamber.

The cast of “Entourage” pull up in a limo then walk backstage.

A replay of last week’s show with Rusev yelling at Lana, telling her to leave, then having Ziggler run out to hit Rusev with the Zig Zag as they walk away together.

Rusev d. R-Truth with the Accolade (1:00) 1/4*

R-Truth lands a few punches before hitting a back elbow smash. Rusev catches R-Truth with the super kick then stomps on his back before getting the win with the Accolade. A nothing match and why even bother having R-Truth in the IC Title Elimination Chamber match if he is jobbing in a minute on TV? Or better yet, have Rusev destroy one of the other geeks on the roster that barely get used.

After the match, Rusev grabs the mic and then begs Lana to come down to the ring so they can talk. Rusev begged throughout the commercial break as when we came back, Lana walked down to the ring. Rusev then tells Lana that she is doing this for attention as he talks about meeting for the first time in Bulgaria as a “USA” chant breaks out. Rusev then asks for her hand so all will be forgotten as they can conquer their dreams together and crush America. Lana accepts and grabs his hand as they parade around the ring for a bit. Rusev then wants her to say that she was wrong but Lana gets pissed off then walks away as Rusev tells her as long as she admits it was her fault everything will be back to normal. Lana then said that he was wrong as he did say “I quit” as Rusev is now furious as he tells her that she needs to know her place and that he even owns her as he demands Lana stand by him. Lana tells Rusev he is a liar and a quitter, not to mention a coward who does not take responsibility for his action. Lana says he does not own her and will no longer listen to his “caveman” ways as she then walks away, with the crowd loudly cheering. As Rusev screams, Ziggler’s music hits, causing Lana to smile as they make out on the ramp, with Rusev losing his mind in the ring. Rusev was tremendous here. He has vastly improved over the past few months in all aspects of wrestling. I was really impressed with him here and hope he does not get lost in the shuffle after this is finished.

Ambrose is in the locker room with Rollins and HHH. He is expecting to sign the title match contract but instead the cameraman walks in with two police officers. He is asked if he wants to press charges but says no as he felt someone shove him from behind. Seth promptly tells the cameraman to shut up as the officers take Ambrose away, with Seth and HHH laughing it up. The arrest angle stuff is a tired trope in wrestling and really not much of a way to build heat in 2015.

Rollins, J&J Security, and Kane are celebrating backstage after watching Ambrose get hauled off.

Ryback d. King Barrett with the Shell-Shock (3:54) *1/2

Ryback is still selling the rib injuries he suffered from Bray Wyatt at Payback. Ryback takes control early as he slams Barrett around. Barrett ducked outside where he caught Ryback with a kick to the ribs. Back inside, Barrett continued to attack the ribs of Ryback then worked a surfboard briefly until Ryback backed Barrett into the corner. Barrett yanks Ryback off of the top then hit the Winds of Change but Ryback kicked out. Barrett set up for the Bullhammer then taunted Ryback, who immediately hit him with a spinebuster then got the win with the Shell-Shock. Match was fine for what it was and it looks like they are positioning Rusev and Ryback as the favorites for the IC Title.

Backstage, Stephanie & HHH are talking about Ambrose, who HHH feels will not get out of central booking. The cast of Entourage come in as they yuck it up with Kevin Dillon getting in a “SummerFest” dig at Jeremy Piven as Jerry Ferrara brings up his scene in the film with Ronda Rousey and how Stephanie knows about her from WrestleMania. Stephanie then tells them that their dressing room is down the hall as they quietly walk away, with the Authority staring them down. Fine for a celebrity cameo segment. The Entourage guys all seem happy to be there for the most part. Adrian Grenier was the exception.

A quick montage of “Tough Enough” audition tapes are shown.

Neville d. Stardust with the Red Arrow (3:18) *. 

Before the match, Stardust was getting into the face of actor Stephen Amell, who was sitting at ringside. It was also announced that Neville will face Bo Dallas at Elimination Chamber. Neville is still selling his left knee. Stardust takes control with a Dragon Screw after Neville build up some offense to start the match. Startdust hit a delayed gordbuster for two. Bo Dallas came out to the ring and shouted off words of inspiration to Neville, who fought back and hit a tornado DDT then got the win with the Red Arrow. After the match, Dallas came into the ring and told Neville he could pick himself back up as long as he Bo-lieved then he dropkicked Neville in the knee as soon as he got up and celebrated that with a victory lap around the ring. The crowd didnt really seem to care about any of this but its a fine lower midcard feud and keeps Neville fresh until something better comes along.

Kevin Dillon and Adrien Grenier tell Ferrara that he has to watch out what he says then Kevin Connolly is shown with Zack Ryder as they go into their locker room while divas Summer Rae, Layla, Alicia Fox, and Emma fawn all over the cast, who are all with Ryder behind closed doors devising some sort of plan.

An ad for “Money in the Bank,” which will take place on June 14th.

Sheamus d. Dolph Ziggler with the Brogue Kick (10:20) **1/2. 

Sheamus beats on Ziggler to start the match as the announcers talk about the situation between Ziggler and Lana. Ziggler gets outsmarted by Sheamus, who backed himself into the corner, but was able to come back with a dropkick. They spill outside where Sheamus catches Ziggler with a tilt-a-whirl slam to the floor as we go to break. When we return, Sheamus gets two with a backbreaker as the camera shows Lana standing on the ramp. Ziggler fights back and hits a jawbreaker. He then slugs away as Lana is shown smiling. He heads up top and hits a crossbody, followed by a Rocker Dropper for a nearfall. Rusev comes out and smirks at Lana as he walked by her then distracts Ziggler, who walks into a Brogue Kick as Sheamus gets the win. After the match, Rusev beats on Ziggler and puts him in the Accolade as Lana looks on as she stares straight ahead. The match was nothing new, its been like  times over the past month or so, but the post-match stuff with Rusev and Lana was intriguing at least.

A replay of last week’s “U.S. Title Open Challenge” when Owens attacked John Cena.

Cena comes out for the Open Challenge. He first addresses the “Let’s go Cena, Cena Sucks” chant then says how some fight with him while some fight against him as the crowd starts up that chant. Cena then pauses so the crowd can finish their “We Want Ryder” chant as he goes back to more or less the same promo he has been cutting for years with regards to the crowd reaction. He then tells us those who chant that he sucks are the same people for Kevin Owens and his actions, like injuring his friend. Cena then tells the crowd “Fight, Owens, Fight” might replace the “Cena Sucks” portion of his chant then talks about tonight and who will answer his open challenge. The theme song to “Entourage” hits as the cast comes out. Connolly tells Cena they are here to introduce a superstar that is from Long Island as they welcome Zack Ryder, who gets a nice hometown reaction. Cena is easily the best at working the crowd on the current roster and even gave them a new chant to use for his Elimination Chamber match.

John Cena d. Zack Ryder with the A.A. (4:05) **

The cast of “Entourage” sat at ringside. Cena took control early until Ryder got his knees up on a charge. Ryder came back with a missile dropkick but Cena eluded a Broski Boot attempt then hit a shoulder tackle. He went for the Five Knuckle Shuffle then Kevin Dillon got into the ring and teased going after Cena but eventually left as Ryder got a rollup for two. Ryder finally hit the Broski Boot as the crowd was digging the comeback. He hit the Rough Ryder for two but missed a 450 splash then fell victim to the A.A. After the match, Cena raised the hand of Ryder as the cast of Entourage joined them all then left but when they did, Kevin Owens appeared and hit Cena with the pop-up powerbomb as he stood over Cena with his NXT Title, while stepping on the U.S. Title. As far as the match, I felt happy for Ryder as this is likely the last time he will get a reaction like he had tonight as the building is closing. He looked genuinely ecstatic too. Also, he just turned 30 years old over a week ago, which is nuts as he has been here for about 9 years. Unfortunately for him, he has been cemented as a job guy here and is just not that good of a wrestler. The post-match angle with Owens was great as they are really putting him over strong for this match, which is one that I am really looking forward to this Sunday.

Backstage, Stephanie tells HHH that she is impressed by him and that he is scary as Rollins tells them he knows Owens but not to get carried away as he is still the present and the future. Renee Young interrupts to ask Stephanie about Ambrose and the World Title situation as she says they will decide about the title at the end of the night.

A recap of the events that led to Ambrose getting arrested.

The Bella Twins come out to join us on commentary before the break for the Paige vs. Tamina match.

An ad for Smackdown, plugging a match between Ryback and Rusev

Tamina d. Paige with a Samoan Drop (3:35) -*. 

Before the match we got a replay of Paige returning to attack Tamina and Naomi before hitting Nikki with the Rampage. We also learn that Naomi vs. Paige vs. Nikki will take place at Elimination Chamber for the Diva’s Title. Tamina booted Paige to the floor after a brief exchange. Back inside, she worked a neck vise as the Bellas are talking about last week’s events. Paige fought back and got a rollup for two. She hits a few clotheslines and a dropkick then takes her out with a senton from the apron. Tamina cuts off Paige then distracts the ref, allowing Naomi to cheap shot Paige then she gets the win with the Samoan Drop. Tamina was dreadful in this match and wrestled like someone who does not belong on NXT TV, nevermind the WWE. The Bellas were grating on commentary as they rambled on throughout the match.

The New Day head out to the ring before the break.

Back from break, the New Day tell us that they are being persecuted against for being positive as they are forced to defend against five other teams inside of the Elimination Chamber. Big E riled up the crowd by dissing the New York Islanders. The crowd starts a “New Day Sucks” chant until Kane interrupts. He tells them they have a 1 in 6 chance of winning so that is fair but what is not fair is the match tonight as they will be facing the other five teams in the EC Match

New Day d Tyson Kidd & Cesaro w/ Natalya & Prime Time Players & Los Matadores & Ascension & Lucha Dragons by DQ (0:49). 

The match started during the break. Xavier hit Kalisto with a clothesline then taunted the other teams, who all ran into the ring and that triggered a brawl that saw everyone attack each other until the New Day were the last team standing. However, Kidd broke that up with a springboard dropkick then Cesaro put Woods in the giant swing. They certainly made sure to have New Day and Kidd & Cesaro as the top teams in this match as the others all came off looking like spare parts.

A plug for the new Daniel Bryan DVD, including a sneak peak on the Network

Daniel Bryan will be a guest on Miz TV as part of the Elimination Chamber Kickoff Show.

Another replay, courtesy of YouTube, of Ambrose hitting the cameraman as we clearly see Rollins push him forward, putting him in danger.

The Authority come out to the ring as Stephanie tells us that the cameraman who got assaulted has triplets as she uses a lot of vague corporate terms to describe the situation as HHH tells us all Ambrose had to do was sign a contract. He is about to announce the title match plans but Roman Reigns’  music hits as he attacks Rollins but is soon outnumbered. As Reigns gets beaten down, Rollins puts the contract in his face then we hear sirens as a police wagon driven by Ambrose appears at ringside. Ambrose comes out with a pair of nightsticks as he runs into the ring and cleans house. Reigns grabs a nightstick from Rollins and beats him up with that then spears both members of J&J Security at the same time. Ambrose then stares down the Authority and Rollins, who are on the ramp, as Reigns hands him the contract that he signs then jaws with Rollins as the show goes off the air. A predictable and uninspiring ending to the show. Although I thought that Stephanie was entertaining.

Final Thoughts: Overall, this show was mediocre. It was nowhere near as good as the past few weeks. I understand that being on Memorial Day this show will not draw as high of a rating than normal so they are not going to pull out the big guns but the show-long Ambrose storyline was a really lame idea. It was nice to see him standing tall at the end but how they got there was not too exciting. I also thought they took a step back in building the tag team division as they made everyone but the New Day and Kidd & Cesaro look like scrubs here. And the Diva’s Division is a trainwreck at the moment. The main storyline is a jumbled mess. There were some positives here as Rusev/Lana did good work and the Cena/Owens build has been fantastic. The Entourage stuff was harmless and inoffensive. Elimination Chamber should have a few decent matches on paper and I want to see how they can pull off the Tag Team Match and I think they did an okay job at building up that show tonight. I suspect that next Monday they start more angle advancement and planning than they did here.

WWE RAW Rundown 5-18-15

May 18, 2015

From Richmond, VA

Your hosts are Booker T, JBL, and Michael Cole

The show starts with Eden Stiles introducing HHH and Stephanie McMahon, making her return to TV after a several week absence. They were both gloating as they put over Seth Rollins for beating three men last night as he retained the WWE World Title. HHH said they are both very good at their jobs then proclaimed that they would have a celebration for Rollins tonight and that Randy Orton, Roman Reigns, and Dean Ambrose would have to go to the “back of the line” as HHH tells us they could not cut it last night. The Authority then switches focus to the vacant Intercontinental Title as the crowd starts a decent “Yes” chant. Stephanie then gloats over the fact that Bryan admitted she was right as HHH says a new IC Champion will be crowned inside of the Elimination Chamber as we are then shown a brief video of the Chamber itself as the announcers put over the danger of the structure. As Stephanie begins to talk about the Network, Sheamus interrupts. He comes out and is met with the “you look stupid” chant before kissing up to the Authority. He then brags about ending Daniel Bryan’s career, as we see a replay of him attacking Bryan on Smackdown last month, then believes he should be rewarded with the title for ending his career. Ryback now interrupts, with his ribs taped up and the announcers putting over his match against Bray Wyatt last night at Payback. The crowd met him with a loud “feed me more” chant. Ryback then tells Sheamus he looks stupid before putting over Bryan’s heart and determination as another “yes” chant breaks out. After a minute, Ryback then challenges Sheamus to a match, as he does not like bullies. Stephanie then tells them both they will be in the Elimination Chamber match for the vacant IC title as HHH tells us he will leave with Steph while Ryback and Sheamus face off against each other. Fine segment that focused more on the IC Title and Rollins rather than mindless ramblings from the Authority.

Sheamus d. Ryback with the Brogue Kick (9:59) **1/2

The match started immediately after the return from commercial. The match started off with each guy going back and forth for the first few minutes, with Sheamus targeting the ribs of Ryback whenever possible. Sheamus then took control with a backbreaker and went after the ribs some more until they went to break. Back from break, Ryback powered out of a resthold and caught Sheamus with a powerbomb in a nice spot. The crowd got behind Ryback as he attempted a comeback. He hit a few nearfalls and even press-slammed Sheamus onto the announcers table. Sheamus kept trying to outsmart Ryback but it didnt work as Ryback inflicted more pain. Sheamus then pretended that he had something in his eye and was able to catch Ryback with the Brogue Kick as he was being pushed back by the referee. Solid match that told a good story of Sheamus, the bully, being afraid of someone his own size and using cheap tactics in order to win. Ryback did a good job at playing to the crowd and knew how to get them into the match during his comeback. He even did a fine ob at selling. You can also start a feud between these two now, even after the Elimination Chamber show.

HHH and Steph are with Kane but Seth Rollins interrupts, flanked by J & J Security, and has champagne for everyone. He even pours Kane a glass, even complimenting him, but it turned out to be a backhanded compliment as Rollins puts himself over for saving Kane, giving him a reason to celebrate. Ambrose then comes in and tells Rollins he retained by the help of four guys last night and since he beat Rollins clean the last time they met, he would offer him a rematch but only if the title is on the line. Rollins tells Ambrose that he does not understand what the back of the line means as Kane says it is his job to decide who gets the next title shot. Everyone then leaves except for Kane and Ambrose, who tells Kane that he used to be a monster but is now Seth’s “lap dog” and that he is even a disgrace to his family. Kane yells at Ambrose for talking about his family as Ambrose, who took it all in stride, takes Kane’s champagne flute and sips from it, reminding Kane he should not drink on the job. Kane then tells Ambrose he will be facing Bray Wyatt tonight. Ambrose leaves as Kane is standing there all pissed off. Decent segment. The idea was fine although some of the scripted lines were terrible. It look

Renee Young brings Neville to the ring. She asks him about being a new superstar as he talks about how after competing all over the world, nothing compares to the WWE. He says that while not the biggest, he loves to prove doubters long. His accent was kinda thick here. Bo Dallas then interrupts and says he would be lying if he said Neville’s career is looking up. Neville then reminds us all that he beat Dallas for the NXT Title. Dallas goes after Neville’s left knee, which Cole tells us was “tweaked” last night in his match against King Barrett at Payback last night. Barrett then comes out as we are getting a rematch of last night.

King Barrett d. Neville with the Bullhammer (7:06) *1/2. 

Dallas is on commentary for this match. He called Booker “Mr. T” repeatedly and it was funny but I found most of his appearance grating. Barrett started the match by targeting the knee and that lasted through the commercial break. Neville made a brief comeback after Barrett missed a kick in the corner but his knee kept on buckling then he fell victim to the Bullhammer. After the match, Dallas came in and attacked the knee as he was left standing tall while the crowd booed. I thought this was fine. Neville got sympathy here as he lost partly due to an attack before the match and while a feud with Dallas isnt the most exciting in the world, it does make sense due to their history and it gives Neville something to do for the moment. Worst case scenario Neville does have an injury or even worse than that, a Wellness Violation.

Rusev heads out to the ring, looking enraged. He tells us Lana is not here and needs to learn her place. Rusev also said Lana does not speak for him as the crowd chants for her. Rusev flips out over the chants, screaming at the crowd to shut up as he then tells us he never said that he quit. In fact, he made Cena pass out because of the punishment he inflicted but Lana quit, because she is weak. Rusev then wanted to restart the match from last night but Lana walked out. Rusev yells at her for defying his orders but she wants to explain herself. She said that Rusev is misunderstood and that she believes in him, even believed that he could finally make Cena quit. Lana then tells him she was just trying to protect him but he said she is weak. Lana talks about not wanting to see him in pain and revealed that he was saying he quit in Bulgarian as the crowd ragged on Rusev, who then flipped out and called Lana a liar and that she needs to leave and go back where she came from. He continues to scream in Bulgarian as Lana walks away. Good segment with great heel work by Rusev, who is out of his mind right now. Lana also did a fine job as she is also easily the best actress among the females on the roster. When she finally becomes a face the crowd is going to explode. I really hope Rusev doesnt get lost in the shuffle after this feud ends because he has stepped up his game in a major way.

A plug for the Jerry “The King” Lawler DVD airs.

Bray Wyatt d. Dean Ambrose with the Sister Abigail (13:27) ***

Both guys went back and forth for a bit to start. Wyatt took advantage with an eye rake then applied a chinlock. Ambrose fought back with a clothesline but got drilled after attempting a tope then got suplexed to the floor just before the break. Wyatt remained in control as they came back but shortly after that they both clotheslined each other on the floor, just beating the ten count. They slug it out inside until Ambrose hit a crossbody. Ambrose got a few nearfalls then finally hit Wyatt with a tope, which the announcers tried to sell as hurting Ambrose just as much. After escaping from each other’s finishers, Wyatt hits a clothesline for two. Ambrose eventually fought back and tries for a superplex but got shoved off. He rolled away from the senton then climbs up top but Noble hopped up on the apron then Mercury shoved off Ambrose, who got caught with the Sister Abigail as Wyatt got the pin. Good match and in defeat it established Ambrose as a threat to the title because J&J Security had to take him out due to him having the upper hand on Rollins, since Ambrose beat him a few weeks ago. It also kept Wyatt strong with the win so overall, a fine segment.

Tyson Kidd & Cesaro fought New Day (Big E & Kofi) to a No-Contest at (5:51) *1/4. 

This match was for the Tag Team Titles. Xavier Woods has been barred from ringside due to last night. The crowd was really into chanting “New Day Sucks” but it also reminded you how much better it is when Xavier Woods does the talking. The challengers took control early, with Cesaro hitting an impressive delayed vertical suplex on Big E. Back from break, Big E has Cesaro in an abdominal stretch as we are shown the replay of the finish to last night’s tag match. Cole breaks the news that Sheamus, Ryback, Rusev, R-Truth, and King Barrett will be in the Elimination Chamber match for the IC Title, with one more competitor to be named. Kidd puts Kofi into the Sharpshooter but Big E breaks it up then they stomp on Kidd until the ref signals for the bell. Xavier Woods runs out and they fight until Lucha Dragons, Los Matadores, Ascension, and the Prime Time Players all run out. The crowd was into the Lucha Dragons, who have new matching gear. It ended with the PTP’s standing tall after a clunky sequence in which they roughed up Woods. A fun segment to hype up the teams in the Elimination Chamber Tag Match.

John Cena comes out for the U.S. Title Open Challenge. He first talks about his match last night then leads the crowd into a “USA” chant as he expresses his love for the country and how at the end of the day, despite differences, they are all proud Americans. He points out the soldiers in the crowd too. He puts over how he has given shots to everyone and that the U.S. Title is “our” Championship and then it is answered by Kevin Owens, making his WWE TV debut, who has the NXT Title in his hand. Owens first says hello to Cena, even congratulating him on his win. He said he would introduce himself but he (Cena) already knows who he is and for those who do not know, they are not worth his time to begin with. Owens then tells Cena not to worry about hurting Zayn because he was not hurt in that match but rather hurt after he beat him. Cena tells Owens that some might not know him but no matter what, they are not a waste of time because without the fans, they are all nothing. Cena then attempts to give Owens some “veteran advice” to which Owens stops him and says he has been wrestling for 15 years and does not need to hear any of it as Cena then switches gears and tries to fire up Owens by saying he is scared. Owens then declines Cena’s challenge as he tells him they will fight one day, on his terms, then cheap shots Cena with a kick to the gut then hits Cena with his pop-up powerbomb, which Cole put over huge. Owens then grabbed both belts and placed the U.S. Title on the ground next to Cena and stepped on it as he raised the NXT Title in the air. Incredible debut for Owens. He got over huge as a heel with the crowd. Cena was awesome here too as these two could probably go toe-to-toe on the mic all day. This segment put over NXT huge as well.

Dolph Ziggler d. Stardust with the Zig Zag (1:26) 1/4*

Cody started the match off using basic heel offense as the announcers put over the debut of Owens. Shortly after that Ziggler got the win with a Zig Zag. A nothing match as the crowd started a faint “Cody” chant at the beginning.

After the match, Cole came into the ring as Ziggler attempted to do some comedy regarding his scar. My god was that awful. Cole then revealed Ziggler as the final participant in the Elimination Chamber as he said he would go through anyone to face Sheamus again. All of a sudden, a smiling Lana comes out, fawning all over Ziggler. She kissed him then smiled some more as the crowd chanted “one more time.” They kissed again then Rusev came out and ended up destroying Ziggler. He turned to Lana and yelled at her as the crowd started a “USA” chant but ended up getting slapped. The crowd popped big for that. Rusev stared down Lana until Ziggler got up and hit him with the Zig Zag. Lana and Ziggler then walked away while his theme played as Rusev furiously looked at them. I dont know about Ziggler and Lana together but I also do not think that this is the end game for the Lana/Rusev split. If it is, then the ending was underwhelming to say the least.  

Erick Rowan & Luke Harper d. Fandango & Zack Ryder when Rowan pinned Ryder with the Full Nelson Slam (3:27) 

Fandango played the face-in-peril role until he hit Harper with a tornado DDT. Ryder tagged in and hit Harper with a missile dropkick but ran into a clothesline then shortly after that Rowan pinned Ryder with a full nelson after Harper connected with a super kick. Short match to re-establish Harper & Wyatt in the Tag Team division. Too bad they are not in the Chamber match though.

Stephanie McMahon confronts the Bella Twins. She tells Brie that due to her husband’s condition, she has scheduled counseling sessions and should not accompany Nikki to the ring tonight. Nikki acted like she didnt need Brie tonight. Not much of a segment and Brie makes speaking seem difficult.

Nikki Bella d. Naomi when Tamina interfered (6:20) *

Before the match, Naomi was shown in an insert promo laughing about how the WWE will finally get the champion they deserve as Tamina tells us the division belongs to them now. This match also got the boxing-style ring introductions. Lots of stalling from Naomi to start as the crowd basically booed both girls. Nikki finally went on offense and clotheslined Naomi to the floor then took out her out, along with Tamina, after a tope. Back from break, Naomi was in control until they both collided. Nikki fought back and went for the Rack Attack but Tamina hit her with the super kick for the DQ. They beat down Nikki until Paige ran in and chased off Tamina and Naomi, who attacked Paige a few weeks ago. Paige then smiled at Nikki and motioned for her to pick up the belt but instead hit her with a DDT. They have re-established Paige as a contender but the division gets even more confusing with regards to the heels and faces.

Backstage, we see Owens and HHH speaking. Renee Young comes over to ask Owens what he was talking about as he said that he will fight Cena on his own terms and the Authority agreed so at the Elimination Chamber, they will fight one-on-one. Owens then tells Cena to pay attention to what he does against Zayn at NXT: Takeover as he will do the same to Cena. Owens closes by saying the champ is not there (Cena) but rather here as he points to himself. They are really serious about Owens, who gets to face Cena on his first ever PPV show. They did an great job establishing him tonight as well.

Plug for the cast of Entourage hosting RAW next week.

The Authority are in the ring as they honor Seth Rollins. He comes out as HHH puts him over while Stephanie goes over-the-top with her reactions. She was pretty funny. HHH then says he sees himself in Rollins and was impressed by watching him hit Orton with a pedigree. HHH says everyone is here for him as Kane gets a chant to speak,but not before the “Justin Bieber” chants die down. Kane jokes about not seeing eye-to-eye because he is a foot taller than him but says he is glad that Rollins is champ because it is best for business. However, Rollins is appalled that was all Kane had to say as Kane then thanks Rollins for his job as he shows us a video he put together for Rollins. They show us a highlight package of Rollins’ WWE career, which was well done. Noble tells us that in his more cultured home state of West Virginia they have a saying about cream rising to the top as he puts over Rollins then hands the mic over to Mercury, who is too choked up to speak at first, then gets cut off by Ambrose’s music. The Authority do not appreciate the interruption but Ambrose said he was late due to looking for the perfect Bieber outfit for Seth, leading to another Bieber chant. Ambrose then gave Rollins another opportunity for a re-match, as long as he puts his title on the line. Stephanie takes offense to Ambrose for making demands. However, she says that Seth is a fighting champion who will not be intimidated and orders him to go after Ambrose. He tries to sneak attack Ambrose but that fails. J&J Security come in but Ambrose clotheslines Rollins to the floor and they slug it out until he backdrops Rollins onto the table. He then puts Rollins head on the concrete blocks,stepping on it with his foot, and theatens to hit him with a chair. The Authority beg him to stop and will give him the title match. J&J Security and Kane try to stop him but fail. He goes after Rollins but he escapes and Ambrose finally falls victim to the numbers game as Seth sneak attacks him after he was about to give Kane the Dirty Deeds then hits him with the Pedigree. The show ends with Stephanie & HHH clapping as Rollins stands tall. The segment was fine but you’d expect the crowd to chant more for Ambrose than they did during the brawl.

Final Thoughts: Another really good show. The company finally has direction in its booking too, which is getting people over. They did a fine job debuting Owens. In fact, it went as well as anyone could have hoped for, IMO. Rusev is also doing some truly masterful heel work too. They are giving the Tag Division some time to shine and added intrigue in the IC Title picture as well. With Elimination Chamber just two weeks away, they are putting together a solid card. My only complaints are that the Diva’s Division is still a mess and that if Lana is actually paired with Ziggler, it will be a bad move, IMO. But the story doesnt appear to be over between Lana/Rusev just yet.

WWE RAW Rundown 5-11-15

May 11, 2015

Live from Cincinnati, OH

Your hosts are Booker T, JBL, and Michael Cole

The show starts with a clip of a limo pulling up. It stops as HHH steps out, looking a bit irritated. He then heads into the arena.

HHH’s music hits as he steps into the ring and says “Daddy’s home,” in a delightfully sarcastic manner. He then says that is what he says when he comes home to his daughter. He then gets down to business as he wants to clear the air between Seth Rollins and Kane. Seth comes out first, flanked by J&J Security as he tells HHH that Kane is a “seven-foot tall cancer” who not only wants to poison the authority but also wants to see him lose the World Title. The crowd starts a loud “we want Ambrose” chant that Seth acknowledges. Seth then makes an “Old Yeller” reference with regards to Kane then after that happens Kane’s music hits as he comes out. Kane comes out and lets Seth know that although he is old, he has wisdom and that is telling him to grab him by his “turkey neck” and chokeslam him through the mat as they bicker until HHH intervenes. The crowd continues chanting for Ambrose as HHH tells Kane to set his ego aside, despite Rollins being irritated, because Rollins as champ is best for business. HHH then tells Kane that if Rollins does not walk out of Payback as the champ, then maybe his services as the Director of Operations is no longer needed. Kane tells HHH its a shame he feels that way because it might be worth it to incinerate Rollins. HHH yells at Seth to shut up as he kept yelling “insubordination” as HHH asks Kane if they should part ways then after Kane remains silent, HHH lets the crowd know that all four guys involved in the Fatal Four Way at Payback are going to be wrestling tonight. He lets Kane know he will face Roman Reigns while Seth takes on Randy Orton. Jamie Noble interrupts HHH to let him know that Seth is the man as HHH is not too pleased then reminds both Noble & Mercury that Dean Ambrose needs an opponent tonight, while making fun of his height, then informs them that they will be facing Ambrose tonight as he wants Kane and Rollins to follow him to the back. Good segment. Excellent heel work by Seth, whose character is an unlikable shit that blames his shortcomings on everyone else but himself. His mic work continues to improve as well, evidenced by how he handled the Ambrose chants, among other things. They are doing a fine job teasing the Kane heel turn too, even if people are sick of him, you cannot deny that.

Dean Ambrose d. J&J Security after pinning Noble with the Dirty Deeds (5:18) *3/4. 

Fun match. The heels took a brief advantage after Noble distracted Ambrose up top, allowing Mercuy to yank him off the top. Mercury looked good out there in the ring. Ambrose came back with a double clothesline then hit the Dirty Deeds. The crowd was hot for Ambrose and he looked strong beating on these two goofs as his hot streak continues towards his title shot at Payback. They’ve turned him into a viable contender over the past two weeks through solid booking.

King Barrett d. Dolph Ziggler with the Bullhammer (5:55) *1/2. 

Sheamus was out for commentary here. Before the match, Barrett cut a promo on Neville, calling him a “peasant” as he plugs their match at Payback, then reminds Ziggler that he wants Payback and will go from the “common show-off” to the “Royal Ass Kisser.” Ziggler hit Barrett with a super kick immediately after Barrett asked for the ref to ring the bell then took control of the match as the crowd was virtually silent as they went to break. When we came back, Barrett was in control as Sheamus went off on how he used to watch “real men” in the WWE as a child, unlike children such as Ziggler. Cole reminded him how Ziggler beat him at Extreme Rules and deserves to be there. Ziggler fought back with a dropkick then got distracted by Sheamus and ran into a bullhammer. Lame finish and the match was not particularly exciting or anything. The crowd was not that into Ziggler here, who is really stale at the moment. After the match, Sheamus beat on Ziggler as the “you look stupid” chant was aimed at Sheamus.

Highlight of Luke Harper and Erick Rowan reuniting on Smackdown

Erick Rowan d. Fandango with a Full Nelson Slam (0:35) N/A. 

Rowan destroyed Fandango here as he and Harper both destroyed Fandango after the match. His offense didnt look too good. They then celebrated as the announcers talked about how they were back together as a tag team. Might as well beef up the tag division. And the fact these two split up and were set up to languish in the lower midcard made no sense to begin with.

John Cena came out for his weekly preamble prior to the U.S. Title Open Challenge. He got a much more favorable response here than last week. Cena does a good job in making the title seem important, even if the lines he is fed are dated. He took a lot of shots at Rusev here then asked the fans for a vote on whether or not to continue the Open Challenge and they approved then after that Neville was revealed as the challenger. Okay segment but nothing we havent seen before.

John Cena and Adrian Neville went to a No-Contest when Rusev interfered (14:43) ***3/4. 

Very good match here. Neville’s timing is superb. He might not be much on the mic but in terms of psychology, timing, and facial expressions he is excellent. He knows when to bust out the crazy stuff. Back from break, Neville hit an insane springboard sky twister that got the crowd behind him. He also hit an awesome corkscrew splash and even powerbombed Cena in an impressive feat of strength. The match had several other hot nearfalls then when Neville hit the Red Arrow, Rusev ran in and broke it up as the match was ruled a no-contest. Rusev then put Cena in the Accolade as the crowd was screaming for Lana. Rusev grabbed the belt and held it up as the Russian flag dropped down. I liked the finish as it kept Neville strong and hyped the “I Quit” match at Payback between Cena and Rusev.

Kane came out to the ring. He then jumped Reigns as he hopped the guardrail after entering from the crowd. Kane beat on him for a minute or so as the action mostly takes place on the outside. The bell never rang so this is not an official match for those wondering. Kane then tossed the monitors off of the announcers table but that allowed Reigns to make his comeback and hit the Superman Punch. Reigns hit another punch then speared him over the table then poses on the table as his music plays, with Kane still down. The segment itself was alright but it made Reigns look fairly strong as he heads into the title match at Payback. It also furthers the rift between the Authority and Kane, who failed at his role of roughing up Reigns before the PPV.

A plug for the new “ECW Unreleased Volume 3” DVD. It was over 7 hours of footage.

Tamina Snuka w/ Naomi d. Brie Bella w/ Nikki with a super kick to the face (3:35) -*. 

Before the match, Naomi & Tamina were shown in an insert promo. Naomi did a good job as she promises to show the Bellas, with her family by her side, who exactly runs the Divas Division. Brie looks scarier by the week as she is far too skinny. The match itself was wrestled at a very slow pace and it was absolutely terrible. Crowd was not into this match  and they were a decent crowd tonight too. Part of that was the virtually non-existent turn of the Bella’s, as the company gives you no reason to get behind them in a feud after being heels for months. Looks like they are setting up for a tag match between these four ladies, with Naomi & Tamina pushed as the dominant duo of the division. I don’t mind this idea for a feud but this particular match was a wreck. Tamina still can’t cut it in the ring.

Damien Sandow vs. Curtis Axel went to a no contest when The Ascension came out (2:02) N/A.

Sandow was “Macho Mandow” this week. The two barely did anything in the match as the Ascension came out and yelled at them for being knockoff acts (oh, the irony) then attempted to attack Axel & Sandow but their attack failed as Axel hit Viktor with the Hogan leg drop then as Sandow set up for the Macho Man Flying Elbow Smash, Konnor pulled Viktor out of the ring. After that, Axel and Sandow shook hands as they are now a comedy team version of the Mega Powers. I’m all for a comedy team in the tag division and Sandow & Axel are entertaining enough to make it work. And its not like the two are going to be doing better on their own as singles wrestlers.

Daniel Bryan came out to the ring. He did not get a very big response here and even got some scattered boos. He talks about how he has been to a lot of doctors appointments lately but is not doing well with the down time and has been waiting to come back to the reaction he received just now (clearly that was a scripted line). Bryan then talks about how Stephanie McMahon stripped him of the World title last year but was right in doing so as the crowd deserves a fighting champion. He then tells the crowd that they were the ones who got him the opportunity as that got the crowd to cheer louder for him. He then said that they had an MRI last week and doctors are not sure that he will ever be able to wrestle again. He then says despite the uncertainty of his career, he knows what needs to happen to the Intercontinental Title as the fans deserve to have stars like Wade Barrett, Dolph Ziggler and Dean Ambrose (which got a huge pop) fighting for the belt as he says the title deserves to be in the ring and not on a chair of a physical therapist so he will leave the belt in the ring and officially relinquish the title as the crowd is shocked. A “thank you Daniel” chant breaks out as Bryan tells them they have it wrong as he thanks the crowd, who then applaud. This seemed totally legit as Bryan looked on the verge of tears while saying he might never wrestle again. Who knows what the future holds for Bryan as a performer but in terms of the IC Title, my guess is that we get a tournament. I just hope Bryan gets healthy and the proper amount of rest before returning to the ring and if he cannot return at decent health then do what is best and retire as an in-ring performer.

Cesaro w/ Tyson Kidd & Natalya d. Big E w/ Kofi Kingston & Xavier Woods with a rollup (8:55) *1/2

Before the match, New Day tells us to not embrace the negativity over Bryan leaving. They heeled on the crowd by ragging on Pete Rose as well. Big E and Woods are money on the mic. Woods also was highly entertaining when cheering on Big E at ringside. I love those guys. JBL used this as a platform to criticize the NFL for being “fixed” over the suspension handed to the New England Patriots and Tom Brady today. Cesaro hit a few power moves as the “New Day Sucks” chant broke out. After the break, Big E was working an abdominal stretch. The match itself was mediocre as their timing was off a bit. The finish came when Tyson and the rest of the New Day brawled on the floor then Cesaro caught Big E in some sort of wacky rollup for the win as the challengers have the advantage heading into the 2/3 Falls match at Payback. This feud remains solid.

The news breaks that we will have an Elimination Chamber show added to the network on May 31st. I believe it is exclusive to the Network.

The Prime Time Players are doing impressions of the New Age Outlaws as they continue their act of ragging on teams from past and present. I like how they are now giving the lower card guys direction. It makes for a better show all around. I’ve enjoyed the past month of RAW as there a fewer time-wasting segments.

Bray Wyatt heads out to the ring as he feels sorry for us and wants to help but fear is all around us as he talks and talks until telling us that Ryback must be an inspiration to us as he came back from a shattered ankle as this went on for far too long. I cannot even tell Wyatt’s promos apart as they all blend in together. He then finally tells us why he wants to go after Ryback and that is because he was in his way, which is followed by laughter. He then informs the kids that the nightmares will not stop as sometimes, the bad guy wins. Ryback’s music hits and brawls with Wyatt. Ryback gets the best of this then clears the ring of Wyatt as he does his “feed me more” chant. At least we have a reason as to why they are feuding, even if it is a weak one.

Randy Orton d. Seth Rollins by DQ after J&J Security attacked Orton (15:15) **1/4

Orton took control early in the match. Rollins rammed Orton’s head into the turnbuckle then sent him to the floor just before the break. That turnbuckle smash might have knocked Orton loopy as he looked way out of it, unless he was doing a fantastic sell job. He rested on the mat for a bit and seemed barely able to stand on his feet. Orton came back with a superplex then they brawled from their knees and went back and forth for a bit. Orton got the crowd back into it after hitting the draping DDT but after that J&J Security ran in for the DQ to prevent a RKO. Kane’s music hit and he stood out watching from ringside as Ambrose and Reigns came in to clear the ring of J&J. The show ended with the rest of the guys in the Fatal Four Way hitting Rollins with their finishers as Kane stood on the floor with a chair in his hand. After that, Reigns dropped Orton with a spear then Ambrose hit Reigns with the Dirty Deeds as the crowd erupts as RAW ends for the second straight week with Ambrose as the last man standing in the ring. The announcers then plug the replay of the Owens vs. Zayn match from the last NXT Special. The match itself was odd but entertaining enough.

Final Thoughts: Another good show. The WWE is starting to show some direction that features tighter storytelling and good utilization of the entire roster. They are trying to give everyone, from top to bottom, some sort of feud or character development. The Authority stuff was not as dominating as the past few weeks and they put over the guys in the title match huge tonight. The news about Bryan was a bummer and I wish him a speedy recovery. They are also starting to add depth to the tag team division for the first time in years. I like the direction the company is going in at the moment in terms of the product and Payback looks like a decent show and should be better than Extreme Rules. As far as matches go make sure to see Neville vs. Cena. That was awesome.

RAW Rundown 5-4-15

Live from Montreal, Canada

Your hosts are Booker T, JBL, and Michael Cole

The show starts with Randy Orton heading out to the ring. The crowd popped big for him and he plays up to them for a minute or two before talking. Orton tells us that Payback is a fitting name for the PPV because its exactly what he will get on Seth Rollins. He talks about the fans voting for a triple-threat match by adding Roman Reigns and how his disappointment will not be his problem. Reigns music hits and he comes out, saying he will also get payback on Rollins. The fans start a loud “RKO” chant then Reigns brings up their past together. Orton reminds Reigns that he is a twelve-time World Champion and has been to 12 straight WrestleMania’s, comparing himself to Reigns total of zero championships and three straight Mania appearances. Reigns then counters by reminding Orton that he beat him at SummerSlam as they start to get more intense until the New Day comes out to interrupt them. Woods does not like all of the negativity going on and how no one cares about their “Montreal Boo-Hoo Job” as the crowd starts a loud “New Day Sucks” chant. Big E then tells the guys in the ring that they have a chance to do something positive and extraordinary, which is clapping with the New Day. After that, Big E also informs them that they also have the chance to face them in a 3 vs. 2 match that was made by Kane and how that will happen next. I liked this segment a lot. They teased tension with Orton and Reigns and they also got the New Day over as heels by giving the crowd every opportunity to chant along with the “New Day Sucks Match.

New Day d. Randy Orton & Roman Reigns when Reigns accidentally speared Orton, who was pinned by Woods (13:13) **1/2

Fun match. The story here was that Orton & Reigns were able to function as a unit until the end when Reigns speared Orton then got dragged outside by Big E so Kofi could get the pin. I was really impressed by Xavier Woods here. His facial expressions when getting his ass kicked were great. In fact, they were great all night long. The fans chanted loudly for Orton before the hot tag and was into him the whole time. After the match, Kane came out and announced that Orton and Reigns would face off against each other in the main event tonight.

Kane is then shown walking backstage past the New Day, who are celebrating. Big E told Kane they knew they would do it as he walked straight past them and into Seth Rollins and J&J Security. Rollins told Kane that despite booking Reigns and Orton in the main event tonight its not going to make a difference between them as he then calls Kane a “spoiled, misbehaving kid” trying to shape up before Christmas. Kane then tells Rollins that he used to wait for Santa in the chimney with a blow torch and attempt to “fry his chestnuts.” Kane then tells Rollins, who warned him about the Authority coming back soon, that he will be facing Dean Ambrose in a match tonight as their match last week was marred by outside interference and that J&J Security were barred from ringside. Rollins flips out after hearing this as Kane gives him other options like one hand tied behind his back or better yet, get tied to the ringpost. Seth then stormed away after that. Another solid segment to increase the tension between Kane and Rollins. Some of the lines were terribly written though. That was my only complaint.

Renee Young welcomes Ryback to the ring. Ryback tells the crowd that they “sound hungry,” which I guess is an attempt at a catchphrase. Ryback then tells Bray Wyatt that he has faced fear his whole life. He also talks about his injuries and how he was told by doctors that he would never wrestle but he eats negativity and turns it into positive. He then tells Wyatt that talking time is done as its now feeding time. However, we are interrupted by a Bray Wyatt promo. He talks about Ryback painting himself as an unstoppable force to mask his failure and fear then closes by saying how everything Ryback loves is about to fade away, just like him. I’m fine with these two feuding but they didnt really do a whole lot to explain why Bray is targeting Ryback. Hopefully we will find out soon.

Tyson Kidd & Cesaro w/ Natalya d. The Ascension with a Giant Swing into a dropkick on Viktor (4:07) *1/2. 

Before the match, the Ascension were shown in an insert promo warning the ex-champs about their match. There is no way to take the Ascension seriously at this point. The Ascension jumped their opponents from behind and worked over Kidd for a bit until he escaped and tagged Cesaro who hit Viktor with several running European uppercuts that got the crowd going. The match breakd down for a little bit until Kidd took out Viktor with a dive then they hit the giant swing/dropkick finisher. Kidd & Cesaro work well as a face team due to the fact they perform cool moves. Still, their initial turn was weak, as they became de facto faces against the New Day at Extreme Rules. On commentary, when Cole wasnt dissing the Montreal Canadiens, he was pushing Kidd & Cesaro as the #1 contenders.

Renee Young approaches Rollins backstage. He tells her that there is no point of even having this match and that Kane is a moron before walking away.

As Rollins and Ambrose are about to start the match, Kane’s music interrupts and says per Rollins idea of there being no point to this match, he will make it meaningful by adding a stipulation that if Ambrose wins, he is added to the Championship match at Payback, making it a Fatal Four Way. Rollins flips out then Ambrose yanks the mic from him and asks the crowd if they had a problem with that. Rollins flipped out some more until Kane ordered the referee to ring the bell.

Dean Ambrose d. Seth Rollins with a rollup (16:09) ****

This was a PPV-quality main event match. Ambrose got a nearfall off of a reverse rollup then beats on Rollins for a few minutes. Rollins took control after that then they went back and forth. Ambrose hit a tope that drove Rollins hard into the barricade. A “this is awesome” chant broke out as did an “ole” chant. After that they had an awesome back and forth sequence that ended with them both spilling out to the floor from an Ambrose clothesline. Outside, Rollins hit Ambrose with a powerbomb onto the barricade and rolled back inside thinking he won but Ambrose barely beat the ten count as the crowd went nuts. J&J Security run out to distract Ambrose but he then counters a rollup from Rollins and gets the pin. Great stuff that instantly elevates Ambrose by putting him into the World Title scene. JBL thought that Ambrose becoming a Champion would be a disaster because he was a lunatic.

The announcers put over the stipulations of the World Title match at Payback and how Rollins can lose the title without getting pinned.

Replay of Reigns accidentally spearing Orton to hype their match later on tonight.

Rollins is seething as he speaks to Kane, who tells him that overcoming adversity will make him the champ everyone wants him to be and that he has a plan.

Byron Saxton is with Lana and asks her about the positive reaction she has been receiving from the fans. At first, she broke from the Russian accent then sternly said how she did not know what he was talking about. Fandango then came over and tried to get her to dance but Rusev also came into the scene and yelled at Lana in Russian.

Rusev d. Fandango with the Accolade (2:13) 1/2*

Rusev dominated the match. Fandango at one point got Lana to dance and that popped the crowd. However, it also pissed off Rusev who then proceeded to beat the shit out of Fandango. The announcers plugged the “I Quit” match at Payback between Rusev and John Cena. They are certainly building up to Lana’s face turn.

A plug for the WWE NXT Documentary that will air at 8pm EST on ESPN tomorrow night.

We are shown some of the Tough Enough entry videos. Lots of goofs and juiceheads here. And some hot chicks too.

Stardust d. R-Truth with a rollup (2:56) 1/4*

Stardust came to the ring holding a black bag. He was then shown in an insert promo talking about how he will get revenge against R-Truth. It was a nothing match that ended when R-Truth grabbed the bag that revealed plastic spiders that freaked him out then Stardust pinned him with a reverse rollup. After the match, Stardust began to play with the spiders while smiling like a psycho. He was quite bizarre tonight. Well, the lower card guys need feuds too.

A sneak peak of the Roman Reigns special that airs after RAW.

John Cena comes out to a chorus of boos. Cena smirked as he let the crowd do its thing and played along with them about how they wanted him to quit in his upcoming match at Payback. Cena then talks about dealing with adversity and how the Montreal crowd knows that he never gives up. The crowd then started a “Sami Zayn” chant as Cena talks about the crowd being passionate, just like himself but unlike Rusev. Cena then got the crowd going as they started a “Go Habs, Go” chant then Cena remembered that he is here to issue his challenge, as he is the man to beat. Cena did a masterful job with this crowd. By the end, they were all chanting along with his catchphrases. Bret Hart’s music then comes out as the crowd erupts. Hart said he is here for one reason and that is to introduce a great wrestler but Heath Slater’s music plays as he interrupts the segment and says he will not let this interfere with his chance at the United States Title. Slater came out and talked about how he is sick and tired of getting attaacked out of nowhere then gets whacked by Bret, who then introduces the hometown boy and NXT star, Sami Zayn as the crowd went mental.

John Cena d. Sami Zayn with the A.A. (10:45) ***1/4

The match started during the commercial break as Zayn teased a dive to the floor. The medical staff checked on Zayn after he got slammed then was deemed okay to go. Cena’s punches looked as bad as ever here. Zayn fought back and even got a quick rollup as Cena went for the taunt portion of the Five Knuckle Shuffle. Zayn then flew out and hit Cena with a running flip dive but came up holding the shoulder the Cena applied the STF as the crowd rallied behind Zayn, who reached the ropes. Zayn surprised Cena with the Koji Clutch too at one point and busted out his running dive between the ropes that ends up as a tornado DDT. The camera also showed Lana and Rusev watching on the monitor backstage. Zayn also got to kick out of an A.A. but fell victim to the springboard stunner and an A.A. After the match, Cena shaked Zayn’s hand then raised his arm.Great showing for Zayn, who got the endorsement from Bret Hart and kicked out of Cena’s finisher on his debut.  Plus, he was kept strong as he was selling a shoulder injury for a majority of the match.

The Bellas were shown watching backstage laughing at the New Day, who were goofing around off-camera.

The New Day interrupt Renee Young and ask her why would they want to interview anyone other than them, the champions. They then promise the world will say “New Day Rocks,” Cesaro, Kidd, and Natalya come out to inform them that the crowd is chanting that they suck and they were lucky to win. Woods then calls Kidd a “catastrophe of a Canadian” as Big E tells them their negativity will not bring them down. Cesaro then leads them all in a “New Day Sucks” chant. The New Day were great here, particularly Big E and Woods. I liked this segment and this feud will continue.

The Bellas come out to the ring but are attacked from behind by Naomi and the returning Tamina, who is now going by the “cousin of Jimmy Uso.” Naomi also sported dreadlocks similar to Jacqueline and told them that was what family is all about. I’m guessing the Naomi & Tamina pairing will lead to a storyline with the Uso’s.

King Barrett comes out to the ring and refers to the crowd as “filthy commoners” as he compares his King of the Ring win to the birth of Princess Charlotte. Barrett then warns those who disobey his laws will end up receiving a Bullhammer. Not much to talk about here. It was like every other generic WWE King speech.

Wade Barrett & Sheamus d. Neville & Dolph Ziggler  when Barrett pinned Neville with the Bullhammer (8:38) **

Before the match, Ziggler was shown in an insert promo referring to his opponents as bullies and how he beat Sheamus at Extreme Rules. It was a bad promo. The match wasnt particularly exciting or anything and it went to commercial break after a couple of minutes. Well, Neville hit a few cool moves off of his hot tag. Most of the match was the heels getting heat on Dolph and it ended with Neville hitting a springboard but getting caught in midair by the Bullhammer. The announcers played it off as Neville getting distracted by Sheamus costing him the match. Barrett’s scepter and crown looked really goofy.

Randy Orton fought Roman Reigns to a no-contest (8:00) *1/2

Before the match, Jamie Noble introduced Joey Mercury as the timekeeper and Kane as the ringside enforcer. He also introduced Seth Rollins as the special guest commentator. On commentary, Rollins tells us that he trusts Kane because he has a plan. The match saw these two go back and forth as the crowd was not all that active. Well, they were probably exhausted as they were loud all show long. And this was the second match these two have wrestled in tonight. The ending was predictable as the Authority guys laid out both men. Reigns did a dive onto everyone then Ambrose came out and attacked Rollins. It ended with all four guys in the Fatal Four Way in the ring. Reigns speared Rollins, then got hit with the RKO as Ambrose then hit Orton with the Dirty Deeds as he is left standing at the end with his music playing as Cole plugs the Reigns special on the Network.

Final Thoughts: Excellent show overall and easily the best episode of RAW since WrestleMania. They elevated Dean Ambrose a lot and made Zayn look strong in his debut. The New Day also did a fantastic job as heels as there was a minimal amount of filler and the segments all had purpose at least. Plus, you had a great match between Ambrose vs. Rollins too. I like that they are given the lower card guys direction, even if it isnt all that great its better than nothing. Payback is shaping up like a decent card and hopefully better than Extreme Rules.

RAW Rundown 4-20-15

Live from Albany, NY

Show starts with a video package from last week where the stipulations (RKO is banned, match is in a cage) for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship were announced.

Orton comes to the ring as the cage lowers from the ceiling. He calls Rollins a “dumb bastard” for choosing to ban the RKO as that is not his greatest weapon. Orton says his greatest weapon is the ability to inflict pain on those who deserve it and the RKO would be too easy so he chose a cage so he could hurt Rollins as much as possible. He then promised to break the jaw of Rollins so we would not have to hear him talk anymore and that got a decent reaction from the crowd. After talking about how he would destroy Rollins for a minute or two, Rollins himself comes out flanked by J & J Security. Rollins said that he is beginning to see that Orton has an anger problem as Orton jokes that he is just realizing that now then says that he has a “Seth Rollins” problem. Rollins says that he is on his way to becoming the best ever and that Orton will not be walking out at Extreme Rules as the Champion. Orton then tells us that tonight he will go backstage and “RKO every son of a bitch that he sees” and then promises to RKO Rollins before the night ends. Not a bad segment to hype up the title match at Extreme Rules. Rollins, as you will see as the show continues, really comes off as entitled and delusional here, which is a good thing as the heel champ. I thought Orton was fine in his role too.

Dean Ambrose fought Luke Harper to a No-Contest (2:09) *

Before the match, Harper cut a promo on Ambrose that if he was not afraid of him already, he better be now. Not very good mic work from Harper, who had an odd delivery. They packed in a lot of action in the short time that they had. Match ended when they brawled into the crowd. Their brawl continued up the ramp and ended when Harper threw Ambrose off of the stage and took off, as Ambrose popped up and waited for him. Decent segment to continue their feud.

The PrimeTime Players sneak up and scare Rollins and J&J Security before leaving. Rollins then sees a production guy laugh at him and threatens him before running into HHH, who asked why he was nervous. Rollins assures him that he is not scared of Orton or the RKO. HHH tells Rollins that he is busy dealing with “Tough Enough” and has not gotten a chance to read the emails and listen to the voice mails but promises to deal with Kane tonight. Rollins asks for more security as HHH tells him that it is just one guy (Orton) then leaves as Rollins falsely acts confident with his security guys. Not bad at all as they continue the storyline that Rollins is afraid of the RKO.

New Day d. Lucha Dragons Via Countout (9:30) **1/2. 

Big E & Kofi represented the New Day tonight. The winner here gets to face the Tag Champs at Extreme Rules. This match also went through a commercial break. Solid match. At one point, Booker tried to compare the Lucha Dragons to Power & Glory. The New Day got a long heat sequence on Sin Cara after he was distracted by Xavier Woods. There was also a loud “New Day Sucks” chant. Kalisto impressed once again and was pushed on commentary as being someone who can make up for his size deficiency. Big E. did some impressive heel work here too. The Lucha Dragons hit stereo moonsaults to the floor but ended up getting counted out as Xavier Woods, hiding under the apron, grabbed Kalisto’s leg as Kofi just rolled into the ring to beat the ten count. After the match, Orton hit Woods and Kofi with an RKO then Big E teased a confrontation but backed up the ramp instead. Orton got a lot of cheers from the crowd here too.

We get a few video packages for the top matches at Extreme Rules

Fandango d. Curtis Axel with a Top Rope Leg Drop (1:15) 1/4*

Axel dancing to Fandango’s theme song before the match was pretty funny. Match was far too short to amount to anything. Fandango’s new babyface push continues to both of these guys are stuck in dead end gimmicks. Fandango being built up as a midcarder to feed to new guys they want to push is a fine idea but beyond that, I dont see the redeeming value in a new push for him. Trying to recreate the magic they had briefly in 2013 is a tough task. Axel is an entertaining comedy jobber of sorts, kinda like the 21st century version of Iron Mike Sharpe.

HHH comes out to hype the new season of “Tough Enough” and talks about how who wouldnt want to be a WWE Superstar until Kane’s music hits. HHH jokes about how he is too seasoned for “Tough Enough” as Kane comes out and gives his two weeks notice to HHH due to Seth Rollins, someone he not only does not respect but also does not see as a worthy investment. HHH tries to talk Kane down then Rollins and J&J Security interrupt. Rollins comes down and calls Kane a loser as they go back and forth until Kane had enough of Rollins’ crap and screamed at him about how he is a “spoiled punk” and has never earned anything as he handed Seth the Money in the Bank briefcase and they could have easily done the same for Dean Ambrose too, even saying they could make El Torito champ. HHH finally calms them down as he tells Rollins that Kane always does what is right for business and is the most loyal to the Authority, so much so that he will be the “Guardian of the Gate” at the cage match at Extreme Rules. Rollins gets mad as he feels Kane is getting rewarded so HHH tells him he should get on the same page with Kane but Rollins shakes his hand then tosses the mic before walking away as the camera shows HHH and Kane in the ring looking somewhat shocked. They do add some intrigue with Kane being the “Guardian of the Gate” but not enough IMO as he still seems to belong to the Authority (Did he officially give his two weeks?) and it also ensures a screw job finish with a third stipulation added to the match. This storyline is still too jumbled overall, despite some nice individual performances. Kane was great here and Rollins continues to bring the goods on the mic.

Back from break, the Authority are backstage as HHH tells Rollins and Kane, who are still arguing, to calm down then tells Kane that he is now corporate and not “Hellfire and Brimstone.” Kane said that he still is that and will prove it tonight. Rollins tells HHH Kane needs to stop it as HHH reminds Rollins that Kane helped make him champ and it takes more than being the champion to become the man, as he has to prove it every night, and will face the opponent he was supposed to go up against last week, Dolph Ziggler, tonight. Rollins says he will show the world after the match that he not the future, but that he is the man.

Naomi d. Brie Bella with the Rear View (9:09) 3/4*. 

Before the match, Naomi is shown in an insert promo telling us that she is done waiting and acting like others expect her to as she questions how many Bella’s does she have to beat to get a title shot. Nikki was on commentary here, stating she will welcome all challengers. The announcers said that Paige is out “indefinitely” after getting attacked by Naomi last week. Crowd was dead as they had two heels going against each other. Naomi was ultra aggressive here but this went on for far too long and Nikki chanting for her sister was absolutely grating.

Heath Slater and Erick Rowan are at catering. Heath tells Rowan that he will be the next U.S. Champion, then gets up as Rowan walks away but gasps as Orton hits him with an RKO. Orton then reaches down and picks up a tortilla chip then eats it as he says it “makes three,” referencing the amount of RKO’s that he hit tonight.

Roman Reigns comes out to the ring saying here is not here to talk, but to fight. He demands that the Big Show comes out but instead gets Bo Dallas, who does his schtick, even calling Reigns a bust like “Outback Jack in Kevlar”  and the “Tim Tebow of WWE,” which popped the crowd. After calling Reigns a failure, Dallas then said Reigns has to Bo-Lieve and he can be the next champion but Reigns hit him with the Superman Punch in a spot that you could see coming a mile away. He then speared Dallas before grabbing the mic and calling Show gutless for not showing up and promises to be the last man standing at Extreme Rules before mocking Dallas. The spots between Reigns and Dallas were mistimed and the end with Reigns mocking the Bo-Lieve stuff came off lame.

Sheamus d. Zack Ryder via DQ (3:52) N/A

Sheamus hit Ryder with the Brogue Kick before the match in another poorly telegraphed spot then alternated between bashing the “ordinary” guys like Ryder, Bryan, and Ziggler and beating the crap out of Ryder. He then tells the fans that he is giving them the opportunity to see real men like himself and that they all look stupid. Sheamus beats on Ryder then rolls him back inside where Ziggler runs in from behind and hits the Zig Zag to put an end to this as they build up to the “Kiss My Arse Match” at Extreme Rules. Another segment that went on for too long but at least it served the purpose of Sheamus looking like a complete dick in his new gimmick.

John Cena d. Kane with the A.A. (6:26) **1/4

Before the match, Cena cut a promo about how he handed Rusev his first loss at WrestleMania and that he cringes whenever he says “The Champ is Here.” He puts over the chain stipulation is his match against Rusev at Extreme Rules in a promo that went on for a bit too long. Kane answered the stipulations and had a match that was way better than you would think. The crowd was hyped for this too, doing the usual dueling Cena chants, but maintained the interest from bell-to-bell. The Authority were shown watching backstage throughout the match as well. Kane took advantage early and had a few nearfalls and ended when Cena slipped out of a tombstone and hit the A.A. After it ended, Rollins and J&J Security were shown laughing near the monitor.

Back from break, Kane walked by HHH, stopped, then stormed off.

Renee Young is with The Miz and asks him about the match against Mizdow for the rights to the Miz Gimmick. Miz says this match is a joke and holds a Blu Ray Copy of the “Marine 4” while bragging about doing all of his own stunts then Renee cuts away to Byron Saxton, who is with Cena. Rusev attacked Cena from behind with a chain about ten seconds into the interview then put it across the face of Cena until several officials broke it up. Effective segment to put over the chain stipulation.

The Miz d. Mizdow w/ Summer Rae with the Skull Crushing Finale (2:50)

Not much of a match. The finish came when Summer raked Mizdow across the eyes, allowing the Miz to hit his finisher. Summer and Miz should make a heatseeking duo as Summer is very underrated as a heel valet but poor Mizdow. It sucks to be him right now. I know there is no future with this gimmick anyway but they could have milked his popularity for a few more weeks. And the blowoff to this feud was disappointing to say the least. After the match, Orton came out and hit Miz with an RKO.

Bray Wyatt cuts a promo about what men strive for: money, power, respect or a combination of all three. He then said the person he is talking about can lift all of the weights in the world but not enough to remove the weight of his personal failures. I’m guessing he is talking about Mark Henry. That potential feud does nothing to excite me, personally.

They added Harper vs. Ambrose in a “Chicago Street Fight” at Extreme Rules then said that Bryan’s match against Wade Barrett was pending his health. Not looking good for Bryan here.

Ryback d. Adam Rose with the Shellshock (1:30) 1/2*

Typical squash. After the match, Ryback clotheslined the guys dressed as a hot dog and a banana before hitting them both with a Shellshock. Rosa Mendes then ran in to check on Rose after Ryback to tell us a joke as the crowd chanted “Feed me More.” Decent enough segment to put over Ryback.

Renee asks Kane about his rough night then mentions tweets from J&J Security about giving him “denture cream and depends” as Kane storms off and asks Rollins to say it to his face as Rollins says he is sorry and that the Orton thing has him on edge. He then tells Kane that he appreciates him as HHH stares him down, giving off the impression that he ordered Rollins exactly what to say. They walk off as we see Orton randomly popping out, staring them down from behind. The story here appears that HHH is doing everything he can to assure Rollins keeps his title, even forcing Rollins to apologize to Kane.

Seth Rollins d. Dolph Ziggler with a DDT (11:33) **1/2. 

Well, looks like the curb stomp is no more. Rollins new finisher looked quite awkward here. Disappointing match that was wrestled at a slow pace. It did pick up the last few minutes though. Most of it was a long heat segment on Ziggler. The crowd was not really into Ziggler here and they usually are for the most part. Sheamus ran in and distracted Ziggler and that allowed Rollins to hit the Buckle Bomb then a version of a DDT that looked rather odd for the win. After the match, Rollins said he proved that he is the man and that at Extreme Rules he will prove the same but HHH’s music hits as he comes out to the ring and grabs the mic, announcing Rollins as the man who will defeat Orton this Sunday at Extreme Rules. Rollins then asks to finish his thought as he says he is the man and will prove at Extreme Rules that he is the man when he pins Orton in the ring, rendering Kane useless and obsolete as the gatekeeper. Kane’s music then hits again as he is met with HHH and J&J Security on the ramp but breaks free and heads down as the cage lowers down on Rollins, who turns around and sees Orton. He tries to flee by climbing but Orton yanks him down and hits an RKO as the announcers play up that Orton can be the next Champion.

Final Thoughts: A mixed bag tonight. Nothing was downright terrible or anything but a lot of the segments went on longer than necessary and it just felt like a two hour show stretched out over three hours. The show long storyline with Kane as the gatekeeper did not do enough do make it seem like Orton had a chance at Extreme Rules. I thought Kane, Rollins, and HHH did well in their roles though for what its worth but the storyline for this match has been far too convoluted overall. They did a fine job building the chain match and Harper/Ambrose has been a solid midcard feud but they have two heel vs. heel title matches at Extreme Rules and seemingly no babyfaces besides Paige in the Diva’s division. And Daniel Bryan being absent tonight is not a good sign at all. Extreme Rules should be a decent show though as they have been building up the key matches for weeks.

And for those wondering, I will not be doing a RAW Rundown next week as I will be unavailable and away from home.

RAW Rundown 4-13-15

April 13, 2015

From London, England

Your hosts are JBL, Booker T, and Michael Cole, who is back.

The show starts with John Cena’s music playing, something the crowd boos loudly. A lot of fans were chanting “John Cena Sucks” along to his theme song. Cena smirks and runs to the ring where he tlks about not always getting along with the fans of London before calling them the excited and energetic crowd as the boos lighten up a bit. He then issues an open challenge for his United States Title then Bad News Barrett’s music hits as the fans go nuts. Barrett then questions why should he wait until “Extreme Rules” to face Daniel Bryan for the Intercontinental Title when he can win the U.S. Title tonight. Solid segment that was short and to the point and they were smart not to have Cena pander to the crowd forever in order to get cheered because that was not going to work with this crowd, especially with him going up against Barrett.

John Cena d. Bad News Barrett with the AA (9:46) **1/2

The match started after the commercial break. Cena’s eye still looks messy from his match against Stardust last week. Solid TV match here. The last few minutes were fun as each guy got to kick out of each others finishers. The fans were totally into Barrett’s nearfalls too. Cena won but after the match Rusev’s music hit and Lana came out to distract Cena while Rusev attacked him from behind. Lana then tells us that at “Extreme Rules,” they will fight in a “Russian Chain Match.”

Replay of last week when Randy Orton became the #1 contender to Seth Rollins World Heavyweight Championship. We then learn that Orton will face Cesaro while Seth Rollins goes up against Dolph Ziggler, with the winner getting to choose the stipulations for the title match at Extreme Rules. They are making it obvious that Orton is winning here (EDIT: Well he did win) but the way in which the stipulations will be selected are uninspired to say the least.

Paige Won a Diva’s Battle Royal to Become the #1 Contender to the Diva’s Championship (3:56). 

The Bellas came out on commentary for the match. Rules stated that eliminations could occur by getting thrown to the floor by any means. Funny moment when asked who she wanted to face at Extreme Rules, both of the Bellas said Rosa Mendes and that caused everyone on commentary to laugh. Poor Rosa. Nattie was the second diva eliminated, ironically enough by Rosa, as the match started out really fast then time almost seemed to stand still when Alicia Fox and Cameron had a long heat sequence on Paige. The last two in the ring where Paige and Naomi and they had an okay back-and-forth sequence for a minute. Back from break, Byron Saxton was in the ring with Paige, who tells us she won the Diva’s Championship in her WWE debut match then talks about winning a match at her first WrestleMania before talking about how hard she worked in England before making it to the WWE. Paige then declares this her “house” then gets attacked from behind by Naomi, who beats the crap out of her on the floor. Good beatdown by Naomi, who seemed natural as a heel here.

We get a promo from Bray Wyatt, telling us that love can be blind. He then tells us that fear is much stronger than any love could ever be as he goes on for a minute, saying nothing he hasnt already said in promos before, then ends by turning around to show a logo on his vest before declaring himself “The New Face of Fear.” I take it that Bray is undergoing a gimmick change or sorts going forward.

Lucha Dragons d. The Ascension as Sin Cara hit Viktor with a Senton Bomb (2:15) *. 

Crowd started a mild “NXT” chant at the beginning of the match. The first minute of the match was the Ascension getting heat on Hunico. The crowd popped when Kalisto ran wild off of the hot tag and the crowd was into the Lucha Dragons offense, even doing the “Lucha” Chants after the match. The announcers noted that Tyson Kidd & Cesaro better take note of the Lucha Dragons. They also noted how the Ascension have “cooled off.” Ain’t that the truth. Nice to see the Lucha Dragons faring well though. Kalisto has looked awesome since his debut as well.

Booker T conducts an in-ring interview with Roman Reigns. Reigns is asked about his match against Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania and how he feels after getting robbed of the World Heavyweight Title. He got 60/40 boos coming out. The interview starts as they push the notion that Reigns is mentally tough. The crowd then starts a suplex city chant as Reigns takes that in stride then asks the crowd if they like brutal fights, for which they cheer loudly. Reigns then says that he beat Rollins before and will do it again. He is asked about the Big Show and calls him Rollins’ “giant bitch” as he then asks the crowd if they agree and they do. The Big Show then appears on the big screen as he tells Reigns while he lost, he won the “Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal” at WrestleMania, cementing himself as the most devastating giant in history. He then tells Reigns that he will make him become the biggest failure in history. Reigns then calls Show the “Jumbotron Giant” for speaking to him backstage instead of in the ring, then he calls out the Big Show for not having any balls. Reigns then closed the interview by threatening to retire the Big Show. Reigns then heads backstage but gets attacked by Show, while the crowd starts a “please retire” chant. Show then chokeslams him on top of a car that was parked on the entrance ramp as the crowd screams “you sold out.” Good segment for Reigns here as he was able to win over some of the crowd that booed him at the start and that is really important for him. His best live performance on the mic ever, IMO. It also helped that the segment was not as overproduced as a majority of his interviews have been. They also sold their match at Extreme Rules as well as they possibly could have, being as these two have wrestled numerous times over the past few months and it was not all that exciting to begin with.

Randy Orton d. Cesaro w/ Tyson Kidd & Natalya by Disqualification (2:20) 1/4*

The referee rules the match a DQ as Tyson distracted Orton. A terrible finish. However, Kane comes out and orders this a 2 on 1 match since Kidd got involved.

Randy Orton d. Tyson Kidd & Cesaro after hitting Kidd with an RKO (6:37) *1/2. 

About half of the match took place during the break. The finish looked great as Kidd tried for a springboard move but got hit with an RKO in midair. Most of the match saw the champs double-team Orton. Not particularly exciting or anything but in defeat it did not bury the Tag champs.

Backstage, Rollins is backstage with Kane and J&J Security. Rollins says that he will not be facing Ziggler, but rather Jamie Noble, who takes offense to being asked to lay down for Rollins then talks about Kane, who shuts him up by threatening to hook up his testicles to a car battery. Rollins then reminds Kane that the main goal of the Authority is to protect him and the title and that he should lay down for him, because it is best for business. He then threatens to call HHH as Kane walks away, with Rollins assuring J&J that Kane will do what is right. Rollins was superb as a weasily heel here.

Dean Ambrose d. Adam Rose with the Dirty Deeds (2:09) 1/2*

Quick match that wasnt all that good. At least it served a purpose of giving Ambrose a quick win. Adam Rose’s stock is in the toilet these days.

Kane hung up the phone after speaking with the Authority. Big Show confronts him and reminds him how Rollins losing this match tonight is not best for business and neither is Randy Orton as a champion. Big Show then reminds Kane to do what is right for business as Kane agrees to the match against Rollins.

Stardust d. Fandango w/ Rosa Mendes with the Disaster Kick (1:07) 1/4*

Stardust hit his finisher after Fandango was unable to hit a top rope leg drop. After the match, Fandango stood on the announcers table and said his problem was that he was only sharing his dancing with Rosa, not the whole world, then they played his song as he danced while the crowd sang along. Fandango even took JBL’s cowboy hat and saluted the crowd as Rosa was pissed standing in the ring. As a one-time deal this was fine but attempting to re-create the “Fandagoing” from two years ago is most likely not going to end well for Fandango, who is in desperate need of a gimmick re-tooling. This might have been a case of the WWE throwing out a bone to the UK fans, who helped create this phenomenon two years ago.

Daniel Bryan and Kane met in the hallway. Bryan asked Kane what happened to him and that he was going to do something that WCW did to go out of business by laying down for Seth. Bryan then questioned Kane’s integrity before saying he felt sorry for him until Kane shouted at him to leave. Bryan then walked off as Kane attempted to calm himself down.

Seth Rollins d. Kane after Kane put Rollins on top of him after a chokeslam (4:33) DUD. 

Kane wavered back and forth from laying down to looking like he would fight. He finally chokeslammed Rollins but then became conflicted and laid down, putting Seth’s arm on top of him for the pin. He then angrily stormed off backstage. This was bad in terms of storytelling and just a lazy way for Rollins to get to choose the stipulations. Even a tag or six-man that ends in a screw job would have been better as it would have at least made sense. Just an hour prior Kane was screwing over Orton so why would the fans be all that invested in him here? Surprisingly, the crowd was into the beginning of this but the London crowd has been into everything. They are a fun crowd.

Damien Mizdow w/ Summer Rae d. The Miz with a rollup (2:01) 1/2*

Miz was shocked to see Summer accompany Mizdow. Half of the match consisted of Mizdow copycatting Miz. After the match, Summer, who co-starred with Miz on “Marine 4,” kissed Mizdow on the cheek as the Miz threw a fit. This feud continues.

The Prime Time Players make fun of the other tag teams, specifically Los Matadores as they attack the stereotypes of the gimmick as Titus questions who ever heard of Puerto Rican bullfighters. These segments let Titus show his personality, which his is strong suit. I find the PTP’s entertaining.

Ryback d. Luke Harper by Disqualification (1:46) 1/2*

These guys traded power moves until Harper hit Ryback with the top of the announcers table. After the match, Dean Ambrose ran out as Harper bailed through the crowd as the feud between these two heats up.

Byron Saxton is backstage with Naomi, asknig her about why she attacked Paige. Naomi at first started off somber then started to laugh as she said this is about her, not anything else. She also questioned why they had to have a Battle Royal to determine the #1 contender when she beat Nikki Bella twice as Naomi then goes on about being sick of waiting for opportunities and being passed over. Good promo from Naomi as this new character is the best thing she has done so far. They also mentioned AJ briefly here, with Naomi scoffing over the idea that she is a legend. That was said more in character of Naomi than actually burying AJ, IMO. And with Naomi as a heel, that leaves an open spot on the roster for a new babyface diva, so I suspect an NXT-girl to fill that slot very shortly.

Dolph Ziggler comes out to issue an open challenge since his match with Rollins was cancelled as Neville comes out to accept.

Dolph Ziggler d. Neville with the Zig Zag (9:08) **3/4

Awesome showcase from Neville, who busted out crazy moves like walking across the barrier before hitting a picture-perfect 450 splash. Despite losing twice, Neville is getting a healthy amount of offense in these matches and is booked to look like a promising up-and-comer instead of a guy who is not good enough. After the match, Sheamus came out to attack both men as his new role of the bully continues.

We get a replay of the Big Show attacking Roman Reigns then we learn that Show will address his actions on Smackdown this Thursday.

We also get a plug of all the new WWE Network Original Shows.

Rollins and J&J Security sit in the ring as Rollins picks the stipulations of his match at “Extreme Rules.” Rollins did a great job at heeling the crowd and has been on a roll for months now. He then invites Orton to the ring so he can tell him face-to-face about the stipulations he has chosen. Orton asks Rollins to fight now but that doesnt happen as Rollins tells Orton that the stipulation he has chosen is that the RKO is banned then laughs as he says the authority always wins. Orton then thinks about his stipulation as he wants to take away his greatest weapon, the Authority, and said he chooses a cage match. Rollins tells Orton the cage does not scare him. Orton then said since the RKO is banned, he has to give the people there money’s worth as he tips Rollins over in his chair then after a scrum he hits one of the stooges with an RKO as Rollins escapes.

Final Thoughts: Solid show tonight. The first hour was really good but the show tapered off after that. The show-long storyline revolving around the World Heavyweight Title match stipulations at Extreme Rules was terribly written and contrived. But on the plus side they are showcasing the recent NXT call ups like Kalisto and Neville and Reigns had a very strong night as a performer, something that he needed. I also liked the new direction with Naomi’s character as she showed a ton of personality here. They are also shaping up the card at “Extreme Rules” nicely but the final hour was a drag to the show. A lot more inspired here than last week’s show, even included the jumbled stipulation storyline.

WWE RAW Rundown July 28th, 2014

Live from Houston, TX

Your hosts are Jerry Lawler, JBL and Michael Cole

The show starts with a video package about last week’s great angle involving Stephanie McMahon getting arrested.

John Cena hits the ring as the announcers state how he will be in the fight of his life at SummerSlam against Brock Lesnar. He is met with a loud and mixed reaction. Cena says that they hired a mercenary in Brock Lesnar to take away his title and even suggested that some of the WWE Universe want to see Brock Lesnar destroy him, which got a decent amount of cheers. Cena continues to talk up Lesnar as an unstoppable monster and at SummerSlam, Lesnar will kick his ass. However, he will fight and will go to SummerSlam and beat Brock Lesnar, just like he did in 2012. Cena then talks about how it will be dangerous for Lesnar to be the Champion as he fights when he wants and does what he wants. Paul Heyman comes out and tells Cena that he will never be victimized like he will be at SummerSlam at the hands of his client, Brock Lesnar. He also praises Cena for his passion and how when he wakes up the day after SummerSlam, he will realize that he has been conquered. Cena then cuts a promo about how wrestling is his life and he shows up time and he will head in to SummerSlam as the champion and that he is walking out with the gold. Great promo by Cena, who by the end turned all of the boos into cheers. Cesaro comes out and acknowledges that he and Heyman have gone separate ways but that he is still his friend then calls Cena a “walking billboard” and jokes how about he can’t wrestle. Shaky mic work by Cesaro here although the bad lines did not help. He then challenges Cena to a match and he accepts. The mic work from Heyman and Cena, who was great here, made this an awesome segment.

John Cena d. Cesaro with an AA from the top rope (13:58) ***1/4

The match started after the break, joined in progress. It was a little sloppy early in the match with an ugly powerslam spot as the low light but was a good match overall. Cesaro took control right before the break when he countered a bulldog. Back from break, Cena managed a comeback but Cesaro countered a back suplex with a DDT. Cesaro set up Cena for the swing but that was countered into a sunset flip. Cesaro took back control when he cut off Cena from the top rope and hit his suplex from the apron spot then finally hit his swing, which had the crowd going nuts. They went back and forth for most of the match with each guy hitting their big spots. The finish saw Cena climb up top and put Cesaro over his shoulders as he hit a Super AA off of the top. Fun stuff that maintained the crowd’s interest throughout.

Steph and HHH are backstage Steph tells him that she cannot go back to jail and is on the verge of tears when explaining how she has to look her daughter in the eyes. She also said how she cannot get the smell of jail out of her nose and said that HHH’s plan better work. Randy Orton interrupts and is pissed that the original plan of him facing Cena for the belt at SummerSlam had been cancelled. HHH said that as long as Roman Reigns is in the picture, he will not have anymore title shots. HHH says that Reigns will be facing Kane tonight as Orton says that not only does he have a problem with Reigns, he also now as a problem with HHH. This furthers the storyline between Reigns and HHH and also positions Orton for a face turn if they want to go that route. Solid segment.

Paige comes out to ring with a big smile. She says that sometimes she lets her emotions get to her but that she thinks of AJ as her best friend in the whole world. She got some “what” chants from the crowd and promises that she will never act that way ever again as AJ comes out to the ring, which triggers the crowd to chant for CM Punk. AJ tells Paige that if she wants to be like her, then she should stop playing games and say things to her face. Paige then swears to AJ that she is her real friend and if she does not believe her, then she is crazy. AJ gets pissed then Paige makes a comment about AJ’s mental health. AJ pretends to be cool then takes her down as they have a cat fight. Paige’s mic work was the best it has been but this whole feud has been terribly constructed so far (no one bought their friendship as they had no history together to begin with) and besides CM Punk chants, I don’t see the crowd reacting much to these two.

Stephanie and HHH come out to the ring. HHH said that he has never been as disgusted and angry at the fans than he was last week after Stephanie was arrested. HHH asks them if they found it funny as the crowd breaks out in “YES” chants. HHH was great in getting the crowd to keep on cheering and Stephanie trying to hold back from crying was as well. HHH then switches the focus onto Brie Bella and how it was all just a simple misunderstanding, even though Brie was asking Steph to slap her. HHH also said how all of the charges except for the Assault and Battery charge were dropped by Brie and wants Brie to come out so they can put this whole incident behind them. A “jailbird” chant breaks out as Steph grabs the mic. Instead, Chris Jericho’s music hits, looking like a guy attending his 30th High School Reunion who thinks he is going to reunite his former garage band together. Jericho then sings the theme to cops, which although lame, good a surprisingly loud reaction from the crowd. He then beats every prison joke into the ground then questions HHH why he did not go to his wife’s aid when she was arrested. Jericho then pisses off HHH by dissing Stephanie and then the topic switches to Bray Wyatt. Jericho wants him in the ring tonight but HHH says he has to wait until SummerSlam then Seth Rollins hits him from behind with the MiTB briefcase as HHH lets Jericho know that he will be facing Rollins tonight. Not a bad segment but it cooled down some when Jericho came out.

Dolph Ziggler & The Usos d. The Miz & Curtis Axel & Ryback when Ziggler pinned Ryback with the Zig-Zag (10:02) **1/4

The sunglasses look for the Miz is great. It is working and he was really playing the chickenshit heel role well. The heels got heat on Ziggler early on in the match. The camera showed Xavier Woods, Big E, and Kofi watching backstage on the monitor. Back from break, the crowd chants for Ziggler as Jimmy was getting worked over, with Woods, Big E, and Kofi now watching from ringside. He eventually tagged Ziggler, who cleaned house. The Usos hit their big dive spots then the finish came when Ziggler escaped a powerbomb attempt and hit the Zig-Zag. Decent action but it’s clear that the Usos need some new challengers, which at this point looks to be Kofi and Big E.

R Truth d. Bo Dallas (0:33) NR

Before the match, Bo told R-Truth that he has lost many times in his career and that he could never be undefeated like himself. Bo hit a pair of shoulder tackles then did a victory lap but when he came back into the ring, he continued to celebrate and Truth rolled him up. After the match, Bo told R-Truth that it was okay that he lost then attacked him, showing a lot of aggression. He did his victory lap after the match as well. No idea why the decided to end the streak in this manner (in reality his streak was never going to mean much) but I guess they want to try and get over his sore loser character. Bo was getting a decent reaction doing what he was doing so it remains to be seen how they book him going forward.

Lana and Rusev are in the ring. They are drawing massive heel heat in Houston. Lana tells the crowd that the American flag is now a reminder of the past and how President Obama is a laughable leader then shows George W. Bush before Jack Swagger and Zeb Coulter come out. Zeb defends the symbolism of the American flag and talks up America in general as the crowd eats it all up like candy. Swagger the hits the ring and beats on Rusev for a minute but gets overpowered as Rusev rolls Swagger into the ring, with the crowd screaming “U-S-A.” Swagger counters the Accolade with the Patriot lock then sends Rusev retreating. A simple feud that is getting a ton of crowd reaction. I will say that the crowd was more into booing Rusev than they were into cheering Swagger, who when he was on offense, the crowd was not as loud.

Adam Rose d. Damien Sandow (0:10)

Sandow was dressed up as an astronaut. The cameraman seemingly tried hard to find people in the crowd who were into Rose’s act but there were very few in attendance tonight. Rose won very quickly with the Party Foul. The Adam Rose character continues to disappoint.

Tomorrow on Main Event, Dean Ambrose will face Alberto Del Rio

Roman Reigns vs. Kane never took place as Randy Orton attacked Reigns in the crowd during his entrance. Reigns then fought off both guys until Orton attacked him from behind. Reigns hit Orton with the Superman Punch then Kane chokeslammed him. Kane stared down Orton before leaving as Randy destroyed Reigns while yelling at him for screwing him out of a title shot. The camera zoomed in on Orton yelling in the face of Reigns before using the draping DDT off of the guardrail. Randy took everything off of the announcers table and laid Reigns across as he stood up and smiled before Randy hit the RKO. The table did not break then he hit a second one that sent Reigns crashing through the table. I really liked this beatdown and by the end (the table not breaking after the first RKO might have a lot to do with this) the crowd got into it and started booing Orton. One criticism of Reigns is that he needs to work on his selling but here, I thought he did a great job. Orton also excelled at playing the angry psycho and also seemed legitimately pissed off that the table did not break on the first attempt. This was an effective segment that helps build momentum towards their match at SummerSlam.

Diego w/ Torito & Summer Rae & Layla d. Fandango with a rollup (1:20) 1/4*

Diego pinned Fandango with a rollup after the latter was distracted by Torito. After the match, Summer and Layla taunted Fandango with capes then Torito speared him off of the apron. Just a continuation of the girls constantly getting revenge on Fandango. And Diego is still employed so he has that going for him.

Stephanie goes to Nikki Bella’s dressing room. Stephanie appears apologetic as Nikki lets her know that Brie will be here shortly and that she hopes that Steph likes the “taste of crap” because she will be eating some tonight.

Backstage, Goldust confronts Stardust about what he is drawing on the chalkboard. Stardust goes off on this wacky tangent about the Cosmic Key that is hilarious. I dont know what the reveal of the Cosmic Key is going to be but the build has been entertaining.

Naomi & Natalya d. Alicia Fox & Cameron when Naomi made Cameron submit (2:42) 3/4*

Match was heatless and sloppy but the girls tried hard. I thought Cameron was going to be dead when Naomi flattened her with a Thesz Press from the apron. The finish saw Naomi make Cameron submit with some sort of a body scissors to get her win back from the Battleground Kickoff Show.

Seth Rollins NC Chris Jericho (13:00) **1/2

The crowd was cold early on as Jericho was in control. He got them back a little bit before the break when he tried to fire up the crowd. Back from break, Rollins was in control as the crowd started a “Y2J” chant. At one point they were fighting up top and Jericho backdropped Rollins. Rollins took control after rolling away from the Lionsault and hitting Jericho with a turnbuckle powerbomb. They both countered each other’s finishers then the crowd woke up. Jericho hit Rollins with a codebreaker as he was in midair but the Wyatt’s hit the ring and assaulted Jericho. The match started slow but was building up well until the finish.

On Smackdown, Chris Jericho will face Erick Rowan

Stephanie McMahon comes out to the ring and talks about how he represents the WWE shareholders and corporate sponsors but now, they think she is a common criminal and talks about how her daughter is getting harassed at camp. Brie comes out and calls Stephanie a whiny “rich bitch.” Stephanie talks about how she will treat Nikki fairly and give her a raise as long as she drops the charges. Brie said that is fine but she will drop the charges if she gets her job back. Steph tells her that one Bella is enough in the WWE and Brie goes to walk away but Steph reconsiders and promises to give her job back. However, Brie has one more request, which is a match at SummerSlam. Steph assumes she wants a shot at the title or someone from Total Diva’s but Brie wants the match against her. Steph says she has not competed in over ten years and dedicated herself to her career and family as Brie tells her she will not drop the charges and will see her in court. Steph yells about how it is unfair as the crowd rags on Steph, who gets them to cheer “YES.” Brie reassures Steph that she will drop all charges as long as they have a match at SummerSlam then Stephanie tearfully accepts before slapping her off of the apron then drops the crying act and says at SummerSlam, she will make Brie her bitch. Steph mocks the “YES” chants then Brie attacks her from behind as agents Joey Mercury, Fit Finlay, and Jamie Noble try to break them up. HHH comes out and drags Steph away as the show goes off of the air. Steph was so damn good in this segment and her facial expressions are amongst the best in wrestling. Brie also held up her end of the piece.

Final Thoughts: A highly enjoyable show that did a great job at building towards SummerSlam. Steph and HHH continue to be the best heels in the company too. They always do great job of getting the crowd to cheer against them. In their segments, they played the crowd to perfection. Cena also gave one awesome promo too and shows that when he is serious and passionate, the crowd reacts positively towards him. Also, props to the crowd for being great throughout the show. The other segments involving the major feuds all worked and even most of the throwaway stuff made sense and continued storylines, even if they are not all that popular. The only negative I took away from this show was that the Tag Team division needs a lot more depth but that is a minor complaint. You could also say that Jericho is getting overpushed as his return has not been too smooth. The Cena/Cesaro match was the best on the show. Definitely worth checking out the replay or Hulu version.

RAW Rundown 3-31-14

March 31, 2014

Live from Washington, D.C.

Your hosts are JBL, Jerry Lawler, and Michael Cole

The show starts with the Undertaker walking out to the ring very, very slowly. After he almost tripped on the steps, he finally got into the ring. They aired a video package of what he did to Brock Lesnar on RAW then he talked about how he was 21-0 at WrestleMania. He then tried to get inside of Lesnar’s head by asking him how he intends to break his streak. Taker then talks up Brock and says that it is inevitable the streak will be broken but said people believe in three things: “death, taxes, and the streak.” Lesnar’s music hits and he comes out with Paul Heyman. A “CM Punk” chant broke out as Heyman tells Taker that all it takes is a three seconds after an F-5 to end his streak. Lesnar then teases a confrontation in the ring a few times but retreats then he and Heyman circle the ring until Heyman plops into a chair, which allows Lesnar to slide into the ring. Taker attacks him at first but walks into a clothesline then Lesnar hits him with an F5. Lesnar did a good job with his intensity at the end and he desperately needed to get the upper hand in a segment to at least build up some intrigue that he could end the streak but they are a few weeks late and a million dollars short of that goal. There was nothing wrong with the segment itself but this feud has been ice cold and no one at all is buying Lesnar in this match.

Alberto Del Rio d Big E (10:28) **1/4.

Del Rio pinned the IC Champ with a standing sidekick. Big E had a couple of nice power spots, including lifting up Del Rio, who had him in an armbar, and slamming him down, but he has been a dud as the champ. The crowd was not really into him, either. Del Rio has been okay in the ring recently but his stock has dropped a lot.

Wyatt Family promo. Bray said that everyone will forget about John Cena when he is done with him after WrestleMania and see him for what he is, which is a monster. More or less the same promo that he has been cutting throughout this feud.

Clip from “Total Diva’s” of Summer Rae slapping Natalya. This appeared to be about 99.9%.

Summer Rae d. Natalya (2:20) DUD.

Vicki Guerrero came out to announce that the “Vicki Guerrero Invitational” will be a one-fall match. That is a bathroom break match if there ever was one. This match tonight was horrendous. Natalya blew a spot badly in this match, when she fell down as she attempted a sharpshooter. If she is the woman on the roster who is supposed to be teaching and helping the new diva’s in the ring, then it’s time to look elsewhere as she botches far too many moves for that role and doesnt bring enough to the table to be a major player.

HHH and Stephanie come out. HHH says how the fans have no loyalty just want to be a part of something, like the flavor of the day, and how they move on to something else, like they did with Fandango. They mock the Fandango dance as HHH tells the crowd how he is a B+ player, possibly an A, but they ruined him. Steph then led the crowd into a “Yes” chant and after it became successful, she mocked them by saying how anyone can get people to chant. HHH then tells everyone who thinks he got to where he is today because he “married well” says that he got to the top because of his dominance in the ring. They then proceed to show us a video package of all the people that HHH dominated (Booker T, Goldberg, Jeff Hardy, Scott Steiner, Chris Jericho) with Steph doing the voice-over. That video was glorious in a variety of ways. That ends as HHH talks about beating Bryan and walking out of Mania as the champ when Batista interrupts. He tells HHH that he noticed he was not in this video because he never lost to him then told HHH to focus on Daniel Bryan first. Randy Orton comes out next and sucks up to HHH, who calls him out on it, then tells him to take himself out of the three-way at Mania, because he respects him. HHH tells Orton that unless he can find the “Viper,” he will lose his title. HHH then ends the segment by making the Orton vs. Batista match tonight a No DQ match. The video was something else but this segment was too long overall. At least they have some intrigue regarding the title match though.

Los Matadores & The Usos d. Real Americans & Ryback & Curtis Axel (14:00) *1/2

This match was super-sloppy with no flow but the fans still dug it a lot, for some reason. They are giving these guys some time to shine before the title match at WrestleMania, which will air on the preshow. The finish saw Los Matadores use the switcheroo on Swagger as they roll him up in a small package for the win. Seems like they are trying to build up the Matadores a little bit with this finish.

Cody Rhodes & Goldust d. Fandango & Damien Sandow (4:08) *

The crowd was dead for this match. The finish saw Goldust put away Sandow with the Final Cut. Poor Cody always busts his ass out there but he and his brother have been stuck in neutral since dropping the tag belts. Poor Sandow looks defeated out there and Fandango is overshadowed by his valet. Those two have seen their stock drop dramatically over the past year.

Backstage, the Shield make fun of Kane and the New Age Outlaws for being old then talks about how they are not to be messed with.

Bray Wyatt d. R Truth (4:36) *1/2

Good showing for Bray tonight and I thought that R-Truth did well at selling for him. Bray put him away with the Sister Abigail then took out Xavier Woods, who accompanied Truth to the ring. After the Wyatt’s pose, someone wearing a sheep mask enters behind them and reveals themselves as John Cena and he clears the ring of the Wyatt’s. I thought the ending of this segment was clever and Cena showed a lot of intensity and anger, which was appropriate for the situation unlike some of his other segments.

Naomi d. AJ Lee in a Lumberjill Match (4:05) 3/4*

The story of the match was that none of the other girls wanted to touch Naomi when she got tossed outside but would all swarm AJ when she was out of the ring. Even though it would make sense for the girls to rough up the champ before she defends the title, the champion does not have to be pinned in order to lose the match so it came off as a giant waste of time. This was a mini-preview of the Diva’s WrestleMania match.

Renee Young is backstage with John Cena, who cuts a very good promo that was filled with intensity and anger. He ends by saying that he will shove his foot up Bray’s ass. Cena cut a better promo than Bray this week.

Kane vs Roman Reigns Ended in a No-Contest (3:08) *. 

Reigns won with a whopping 80% of the vote over his other two stable mates. That should tell everyone who the most over member of the Shield is at the moment. Reigns looked decent out here in the short match that ended with the NAO coming out and getting attacked from behind by Ambrose & Rollins. After that, they surround Kane, who gets pulled away by the NAO. This was designed to push their match at Mania and it did an okay job of making me look forward to their bout.

Piper’s Pit is next. Roddy looks older than dirt and sounded tanked, even if he was sober. Anyway, he got interrupted by Miz, Sheamus, Titus O’Neill, and Ziggler as Piper rammed Miz into the corner and they brawled as several other competitors of the Mania Battle Royal run out and join them. Rey Mysterio comes out and hits a few high-flying moves then the Big Show comes out and this ends with him press-slamming Rey out to the floor onto everyone. At least they are trying to make the Battle Royal come off as a big match but this segment was a mess.

Randy Orton vs. Batista No Disqualification Match Ends in a No Contest (9:00) *1/2

The match itself wasnt much and they put in a lot of gimmick spots to hide Batista’s lack of ring shape but the big story here was Daniel Bryan running in to attack HHH, who was sitting in on commentary. Bryan beat HHH all over the ring side area and even hit Batista and Orton with his finisher. The crowd went nuts for him as he ended the show standing tall inside of the ring as a beaten-up and angry HHH was held back by his wife on the ramp, soaking in all of the “Yes” chants. HHH sold like a champ in this segment and bumped all over the place.

Final Thoughts: Not a terrible show but this really dragged at times and the overall momentum for WrestleMania is slow right now. The undercard matches are as uninteresting as it ever has been for a WrestleMania, with everyone seemingly slapped together in a multi-person match, and besides Cena/Wyatt and the World Title Picture, there is nothing else that feels like a must-see match. Mania has been advertised like a four match show and one of those matches has been horribly built (Lesnar vs. Taker). It seems like most of the focus of the WWE has been on the network itself and not WrestleMania.

RAW Rundown: 3-24-14

March 24, 2014

Live from Brooklyn, NY

Your hosts are JBL, Jerry Lawler, and Michael Cole

The show starts with a video highlight package on last week’s brutal beatdown of Daniel Bryan at the hands of HHH.

Stephanie comes out to the ring and tells the crowd that Daniel Bryan will not be here and mentions that she saw on social media how the fans thought HHH went too far last week and she agrees, but adds that they want to show that any subordination will not be tolerated. She then calls the “Yes Movement” a fad, causing the crowd to start a giant “YES” chant. The crowd then starts a “WHAT” and a “CM Punk” chant as she goes on about her family’s tradition and how the fans need them for leadership.

Randy Orton’s music hits and tells Stephanie that he respects her as the crowd starts a Daniel Bryan chant that Steph acknowledges by telling the crowd he is not going to show up. Orton then says after HHH beats Bryan, he will beat him and Batista to a pulp. He then offers a suggestion of letting HHH beat Bryan to a pulp and leave WrestleMania a winner by walking away from the title match afterwards.

A boring chant ensues then Batista comes out. The crowd boos him as Batista’s mic goes in and out as he yells at the crowd to deal with it as he leaves Mania the champ. This segment has now turned into a trainwreck as Batista gets a mic that works as he tells Steph that HHH has never beaten him. Batista then tells Orton that he makes him sick because he is drooling all over Steph, then adds that Steph has been drooled on a lot. Steph then smacks the glasses off of his face, which has Orton crack up. Batista sees this and spears him then picks up both title belts and raises them in the air before leaving. The actual segment was horrible and something you would expect from watching the first year of TNA but the crowd was lively and made it come across better than it was.

Christian pinned Dolph Ziggler in a “Fatal Four Way” that also included Sheamus and Alberto Del Rio to become the #1 Contender to the Intercontinental Title (11:55) **3/4. 

Solid match that got a lot better after the break. Ziggler looked the best he has in months here and he even busted out a top rope X Factor. He got a lot of cheers too. Sheamus continues to struggle since returning from injury. Del Rio continues to coast along. The finish saw Christian sneak in and pin Ziggler with the Killswitch after he hit the Zig Zag on Del Rio. After the match, Big E came into the ring and extended his hand to Christian, who laughed before walking away. They will face off tomorrow night on Main Event.

Bray Wyatt cuts a promo on Cena about how he is shoved down everyone’s throat but wonders if Cena sees what he is? Harper then said that they were coming to find him as Bray closes by saying run.

 A Plug for the Scooby Doo WrestleMania DVD.

Sin Cara d. Damien Sandow (1:08) 1/4*.

Cara came out with Scooby in the “Mystery Machine.” He put away Sandow with the senton in a little over a minute. Sandow won the MiTB Briefcase nine months ago and now he loses clean as a sheet in under a minute. Its not like he should have been a champion or anything but he has a great character and in a company that is lacking that, he can certainly be used better. The crowd didnt give a shit about this and the only noise they made was a light chant for CM Punk. Overall, it was a harmless plug for the DVD.

A video of the Shield getting destroyed on Smackdown by the New Age Outlaws, Real Americans, and Curtis Axel & Ryback

Los Matadores d. Curtis Axel & Ryback (1:01) NR

Cole lets us know that Axel & Ryback have been pulled from the WrestleMania Battle Royal and will now face the Usos for the Tag Titles at WrestleMania. The announcers played that up as Kane making a deal with them. The finish saw Diego rollup Axel, who was distracted by the Shield. The Shield then surround the ring and beat them down, complete with the triple powerbomb. The segment was designed to show that the Shield was pissed and out for revenge, not to build up the challengers for the Tag Titles.

Michael Cole is sitting in the ring and brings out HHH. After HHH is shown the footage of his beatdown on Daniel Bryan, he smirked. Cole asked him about how could he justify his attack. HHH tells Cole that is question is confusing then asks him if he wants to answer that as a COO or as a competitor. HHH then tells Cole that Bryan put people in harms way when he occupied RAW two weeks ago and asks Cole where was his outrage for that. HHH says that Bryan asked for the Game, not for the COO, then blames Bryan and the fans for forcing his hand and now, Bryan got what he deserved and that people will cry. HHH then goes on about how people are soft today and when he was a competitor he saw the lust for success from others but now he just sees apathy. He now sees pathetic, little people without power or desire and the cry when they dont get what they want and mocks the crowd that they should send him a tweet to show their displeasure. HHH then says that maybe it is up to him to change thing and says that he might start the “reality era” and at WrestleMania he ends Daniel Bryan’s run at the top as well as the “Yes Movement” then plans to enter the triple threat match and no one living off of their “past glory” or “untapped potential” will stop him and will walk out as the World Heavyweight Champion. A great job on the mic by HHH

Cody Rhodes d. Fandango (2:45) 1/2*

The announcers spent the match talking about “Total Diva’s” and just about anything else that was going on. Cody got the win with the Disaster Kick after Fandango was distracted by Goldust dancing with Summer Rae. After the match they teased some tension between Summer Rae and Fandango. When this duo ends, Fandango is screwed.

Hulk Hogan comes out to pump up the crowd then brings out Joe Manganiello and Arnold Schwarzenegger, who plug their film “Sabotage.” Arnold put over Hulk’s physique. Manganiello kinda looks like a pro wrestler. He puts over Hogan then Arnold lets Hogan know that Andre the Giant was one of his favorite wrestlers and had a great time with him on the set of “Conan the Destroyer” then asks Hogan if he and Joe could enter the Battle Royal at WrestleMania. The Miz interrupts wearing a suit and does his “Really” bit and puts over his two straight-to-DVD films. He then says that he is a tough guy and not an actor, like those two, then proclaims that he will win the Andre the Giant Battle Royal. Miz then says that people are still talking about him when he defeated Cena at WM 27. Miz then tells them all that they do not belong here as Joe dares the Miz to throw him out. Joe towered over him. The Miz tries a sneak attack but Joe blocks the punch then Arnold hits him before Hulk tosses him to the floor. The segment was fine and Arnold was great and seemed very thrilled to be there.

Big Show d. Titus O’Neill (2:22) 1/4*

Show beat him with the KO punch. Titus’s offense looked pretty bad. His stomps need a lot of work as they showed a ton of light. The announcers put over the Battle Royal and at one point Titus tried to dump Show over the top rope. The Show is being pushed as the favorite to win the Battle Royal.

The Shield interrupts Stephanie and HHH and asks where they stand. HHH said that whatever happens between them and Kane & The Outlaws is between them as Stephanie books them in a match against the Real Americans.

Cena is in the bathroom mirror, breathing heavy and splashing water on his face when he sees Rowan’s sheep mask. He turns around and it went away as the announcers talk about his match against Luke Harper tonight.

John Cena NC Luke Harper (15:05) ***

Good match. The crowd was pro-Wyatt family and Harper received a ton of chants throughout the match, which made him come off like a star. The finish saw the lights go out and when they came back on, Cena was tied up in the ropes while wearing Rowan’s sheep mask. That had the crowd start a “This is Awesome” chant. The match was nice but the finish was more about extending the storyline than declaring a winner.

Naomi d. AJ Lee by countout (1:10) NR

AJ and Tamina walked out of the match and got counted out on purpose. Then, Vicki Guerrero’s music hit and she called AJ a bitch and told her that at WrestleMania, she will be facing all of the other Diva’s on the roster, including Tamina, in the “Vickie Guerrero Invitational.” The crowd heavily booed Eva Marie when she was announced. Whatever, I mean, this division is garbage and if they want to get everyone on the card, then do that and make everyone happy. I imagine that AJ retains and in the process screws over Tamina as at least that is somewhat interesting but who knows what will happen.

The Shield (Rollins & Ambrose) d. The Real Americans (13:58) ***1/4

Rollins pinned Swagger with the Peace of Mind (curb stomp). Match was good and nice to see the Brooklyn crowd really go crazy for the Shield, especially Rollins who is thriving as a face. He had an awesome dive sequence during the match. Ambrose does not make for a good babyface wrestler but Reigns and Rollins are becoming crowd favorites. The crowd also did a few “We the People” chants during the match. The Shield also powerbombed Cesaro through the announcers table. After the match ended, Kane and the New Age Outlaws, wearing suits, came out. Kane told the Shield that they will be facing them at WrestleMania.

And now, the final segment. Paul Heyman and Brock Lesnar come out to the ring as Heyman more or less cuts the same promo he has been for the past few weeks about Brock beating the Undertaker at WrestleMania. Then, we hear some chanting and see druids approach the ring. A casket is now in front of the ring as Brock is getting anxious. He finally opens it and reveals nothing. Then, after almost five minutes,the casket opens as Taker pops out. Heyman runs away. Taker then hammers away on Brock and clotheslines him over the ropes as he bounces off of the casket and lands on the floor. Then, Brock points at the WrestleMania sign as Taker gives the throat slash gesture. I thought this segment was a pile of shit and way too corny overall. And as far as the buildup to the match itself, no one is buying Lesnar at all and Taker has destroyed him in each confrontation so far. If this match doesnt end up being good, there is a chance the crowd could turn because they only selling the Undertaker as a special attraction exclusive to Mania and if his match does not deliver, then it is a complete waste.

Final Thoughts: Certainly not the greatest show and the lack of Daniel Bryan can be disappointing to some but they have at least built up WrestleMania better than it had been as recently as a few weeks ago. HHH was great on the mic and the Wyatt/Cena feud is getting better each week. The intrigue for the World Title match is growing too. They now have less than two weeks to hype the matches on the show.

WWE RAW Rundown: 3-17-14

March 17, 2014

Live from San Antonio, TX’s

Your hosts are JBL, Jerry Lawler, and Michael Cole

The show starts with a video package of last week “Yes Movement” segment.

After the package ends, HHH is standing in the ring telling the crowd that it is their fault for forcing his hand to end Daniel Bryan and the “Yes Movement.” Batista interrupts and yells at HHH for allowing Bryan to be in the title match at WrestleMania, saying that is not what he signed up for. HHH says that Bryan has no chance at beating him when Randy Orton interrupts. HHH assures them both that Bryan will not beat him then asks if Bryan has gotten that far inside of their heads. Orton asks HHH for a no DQ match with Bryan and HHH makes it happen. Orton then tells Batista that no one cared when he left then cared even less when he came back. Batista said the people love Bryan because Orton sucks and calls Orton a “paper champion” and they get in each other’s faces until HHH decides to leave. Batsita yells at him to fix the situation as HHH tells them he is sick of “troll-face, gremlins” like Bryan and of “Hollywood” starts coming back thinking they know more about THIS BUSINESS than him and says he is sick of talented guys who he has to hold their hand for so they can win. He then says if he beats Bryan, he will be in the title match at WrestleMania. As Batista yells at HHH, Orton hits him with an RKO. Well, they are guaranteeing a triple-threat match for WrestleMania now. The segment was alright but Batista is just seems to be going through the motions right now and no one at all seems to care about him.

After the break, Renee Young catches up with Batista, who is on his way out. He tells her that he is beginning to think that coming back was a big mistake

The Real Americans d The Usos in a Non-Title Match (12:20)

Solid match. Cesaro got the win after hitting Jey with the Neutralizer. I assume this leads to a feud that will end with Cesaro turning on Zeb and Swagger but it is very odd to see a feud start with the heels winning a match clean. They were putting over Cesaro strong on commentary, especially in regards to his strength. The crowd was really into the Usos, who are getting over as the tag champs.

We are shown a clip of The Shield walking out on Kane on last week’s Smackdown. When that ends, Kane is shown talking to The Shield backstage and warns them if they cannot be counted on, then they are of no use to The Authority.

Hornswoggle is tossing out St. Patrick’s Day goodies to the crowd when Bad News Barrett interrupts. His material was horrendous and seemingly written by someone who wrote for the show “All That.”

Sheamus d. Titus O’Neill (4:07)

Titus came out wearing a red beard and a green hat. He went ginger-face for this segment. Christian came out on commentary and announced that he was in the Andre the Giant Battle Royal then told Lawler that he looked like “David Spade in a fatsuit.” Sheamus won a meaningless match after hitting the Brogue Kick. There was a cool spot when Titus attempted a fallaway slam on Hornswoggle but Sheamus caught him instead. Titus is floundering as a singles wrestler and its a shame they cannot find a useful role for him as he has worlds of charisma. Sheamus is just not interesting in his current role. With a lack of heels on the roster, a Sheamus turn would help things out a lot. He claimed that he would win the Andre the Giant Battle Royal after the match until he was attacked by Christian, who ended up hitting him with an Unprettier on the floor.

Next Monday, Arnold Schwarzenegger will be on RAW. His YES chants were a thing of beauty. I hope he does that all show long next week.

John Cena comes into the ring. He said that he has given his best for twelve years and for the first time, is afraid. He is afraid of Bray Wyatt, who Cena said was different because he does not give a damn about being the best, he cares about destroying things. He cuts a passionate promo to the pro-Cena crowd about fighting for his legacy when Bray is shown on the screen wearing Cena’s shirt and other merchandise. He said that the children have not lived long enough to see Cena’s lies and that he could be just like him, singing autographs and telling jokes then going home to his “plastic”girlfriend in his castle but that is not him. He closes by stating he doesnt care if he dies, as long as he can make the world see Cena they way he does at WrestleMania. A good segment that Cena sold really well. In fact, he didnt even get a chance to respond to Wyatt.

Daniel Bryan d. Randy Orton in a non-title, no-DQ match (14:28)

Good match, about ***. Finish saw Batista run in and spear Orton then Bryan dropkicked Batista out of the ring before pinning Orton. The announcers played up the triple-threat rules after the finish and how this is how WrestleMania could end. Batista came back in and hit Orton with a Batista Bomb. Most of the no-D spots revolved around a kendo stick. Orton hit one of the nicest superplexes you will ever see during this match too. The finish was really out of nowhere.

Paul Heyman comes out and said that the Undertaker’s streak has nearly ended during the past several years, meaning that he is barely surviving. A video package then showed all of the punishment the Undertaker has taken before switching it up to showing Lesnar destroying everyone. The video package was phenomenal. After it airs, Heyman says that Lesnar will end the streak. Good effort but no one is buying Lesnar in this match.

Backstage, Stephanie and HHH are talking backstage. HHH tells Steph he is going to talk to Bryan in the ring tonight as Steph asks him if he was thinking when he made the stipulations at Mania tonight and how if he became the champion, he would be on the road away from his family.

Goldust d. Fandango (5:01)

Good lord, this match sucked. A negative star match. Just about every spot was blown and even still, it wasnt as bad as the commentary. How these three dipshits are still together on RAW is beyond me.  Fandango completely botched a suplex and after Goldy came off of the top, he nearly dropped him on his head. Goldust was livid after the match, and I think he hurt himself from one of Fandango’s blown spots. He was kicking the ropes and had to be calmed down by Cody. They seem to be building up Goldust as a harmless, goofball character as he kept on mimicking the dances off Fandango and Summer Rae. peaking of Fandango, this match did him no favors at all in attempting to improve his stock. He should get use to jobbing for a while. Sadly, the Rhodes Brothers run as a meaningful team seems to have come to an end.

Kane comes down to the ring. He cuts an overly long and very scripted promo about last week’s “Yes Movement” then blames it on Jerry Lawler for being behind the movement because it happened in his hometown of Memphis. The Shield comes out and leads Lawler into the ring. Once inside, Kane orders the Shield to attack Lawler but instead they back Kane into the corner and end up beating him down, complete with the triple powerbomb. The crowd was not into this segment at all, which started off really, really slow. Also, with all of the teasing they have done to split the team, a face turn is a change in the other direction and might confuse some of the fans.

Naomi & Cameron d. AJ Lee & Tamina (3:40)

The Bellas came out for commentary. Nikki’s tits were the highlight of the segment and it wasnt even close. The finish saw the returning Naomi, sporting an eye patch, pin AJ with a split-legged moonsault. The match wasnt anything special. After the match, AJ blames Tamina, who was trying to help her up, for leaving her alone to defend for herself. She screamed at her then Tamina shoved her to the mat, as the two stared each other down.

Mr. T is announced as the newest member of the “WWE Hall of Fame.” This was also announced by TMZ earlier today, which Cole acknowledged. As far as the intro, he and Lauper put the WWF into the National spotlight and that main event was money so Mr. T is an easy choice for the “Celebrity Wing” of the Hall of Fame.

Big Show & Dolph Ziggler & Big E. & Mark Henry d. Alberto Del Rio & Damien Sandow & Ryback & Curtis Axel (11:57)

Just a match to showcase eight guys in the WrestleMania battle Royal, specifically the Big Show, who scored the pin against Sandow. Nothing really wrong with this but the match was heatless. Dolph took his usual overly insane bumps. Del Rio was invisible here. He seems to be on the way out. Ryback and Big E had a nice little sequence at the beginning and a match between the two could end up being surprisingly fun.

The Undertaker will be on “Main Event” tomorrow night.

A Bray Wyatt Video airs set to the song “Legacy” by Eminem. It was really good and the video department brought their A+ game for this show.

Bray Wyatt d. Kofi Kingston (2:55)

Bray destroyed Kofi, who just two months ago defeated Randy Orton on RAW. Wyatt hit a really cool gutbuster and got the win with the Sister Abigail. Sucks to be Kofi.

HHH comes out to the ring and calls out Daniel Bryan. He assures that nothing he has done to him has been personal and everything he has done was best for business. He then tells Bryan that he a crossed a line last week that you do not come back from and is willing to give him a chance to come back. HHH gets angry then calms down and offers his hand, which Bryan brushes away. HHH says he would have done the same then talks about how he has dumped a ton of stuff on him and that the crowd respects him for that, where as anyone else would have folded and taken their ball and gone home, which drew a mild CM Punk chant. Steph comes out and says that Bryan endangered the lives of the fans last week and has several cops come out to arrest him. HHH argues with Steph about doing this as the cops finally ground and cuff Bryan. HHH then orders the cops to back off and leave Bryan alone. He then says how the cops arent even real then has them leave before he laughs and says he will enjoy this as he goes to stomp on a handcuffed Daniel Bryan. He brings Bryan outside and beats his ass all over the place as Steph is screeching in the background. Bryan sold like a motherfucker and everything about the beatdown was perfect. The crowd was even shocked by the beatdown, which isnt an easy feat to pull off today. This ended in the ring with HHH hitting the Pedigree then making out with Steph in a fantastic spot off a great segment. He also ripped off his shirt, I guess in an attempt to show us that he is still working out. He was ripped. Who would have ever thought that in 2014, Stephanie McMahon would be one of the best heels in the WWE? She has been great. The show ended at 11:17pm.

Final Thoughts: This show dragged badly at points but the final segment was fantastic. They are also doing a solid job building up the Cena vs. Wyatt match too. They pushed the Andre the Giant Battle Royal hard, with a lot of stars being announced for the match, which indicated that there will not be that  many actual matches on the card. They have been all over the place with the Shield the past few weeks and that might explain the lack of response from the crowd when they turned on Kane. They have been building up Mania well the past few weeks and my only real complaint for this show was in regards to the commentary, which was much, much worse than usual

WWE Monday Night RAW Rundown: 3-10-14

Live from Memphis, TN

Your hosts are Jerry Lawler, JBL, and Michael Cole

Hulk Hogan comes down to the ring. He received a decent reaction. He plays up to the “Mempho Maniacs” then talks about how he watches all of his WrestleMania matches on the WWE Network, including his match against Andre the Giant. Hulk says that because that match gets him so pumped up, he came up with an idea to create the “Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal,” with the winner receiving a trophy of Andre. John Cena comes out and sucks up to Hogan, complete with a shitty impression, then declares himself as the first entrant in the Battle Royal. The Wyatt Family now interrupts as Bray cuts a promo about pride being his favorite sin and incorporates the catchphrases of Cena and Hogan to point out that they are liars. He then tells them that if they look into his eyes, they will see a god. Cena then proceeds to cut a goofy promo which included him singing “Margaritaville” and cracking up the crowd with a joke about Bray getting his chair from “Cracker Barrel” then challenges him to a match at WrestleMania. Bray gets pissed and heads near the ring then right as he appears to be going inside, they cut to a commercial. Bray cut a good promo but Cena did not. Lucky for him that Memphis ate up everything he said. As far as the Battle Royal, having it dedicated to Andre is cool but as a whole, a Battle Royal match is uneventful and not usually well received by the crowd. At least it gives some guys a chance to be on the card though.

John Cena d. Erick Rowan

The match was joined in progress. It was under four minutes long. Rowan beat on Cena for most of the match, who was lightly selling the effects of his knee injury. Rowan looked okay out there and has improved a lot since being called up to the main roster. Cena won with a rollup as Rowan kept looking over at the rest of his stable. After the match, Cena and Hogan stood tall as the Wyatt’s surrounded the ring then began to pose as they retreated. Bray never gave a response to Cena’s challenge.

The announcers let us know that we can vote on the stipulations for the Sheamus vs. Christian match via the WWE App.

The Authority come out in front of the crowd. Stephanie says that she could fire Bryan but realize that there is value in Bryan, even if he is not an A+ player like Randy Orton or Batista, so as long as he apologizes to them, he can keep his job. Stephanie was pretty damn good here as she toned up the smugness when running down Bryan. The New Age Outlaws then come out and shake hands before heading down to the ring. Solid segment that sets up a confrontation later in the show.

The Usos d. Ryback & Curtis Axel

The NAO were on commentary saying that they are still under the weather and that is why they lost the titles.  Road Dogg even complained that he could not tell them apart. Short and uneventful match that Jimmy won when he pinned Axel after a top rope splash. Crowd likes the Usos. Sucks to be Ryback and Axel right now, especially Axel. Right before the match, they showed an insert promo of Ryback saying he will be part of the battle royal at WrestleMania.

Kane is backstage with the Shield. He runs them down for their recent failures then promises to light a fire underneath them. He orders Rollins & Reigns to face the Rhodes Brothers then Rollins wants to know if he is mad because he lost to Daniel Bryan and got laid out by the Big Show. As Kane gets mad, Reigns steps in front of him and promises to take care of any demon that stands in their way before telling him to believe in the Shield.

Big E. d Jack Swagger

Big E is also taking part in the battle royal at WrestleMania. The match lasted three minutes long and Big E won with a rollup as Swagger was yelling at Cesaro for not interfering. After the match, Cesaro was laughing as Swagger was pissed off and they got into each other’s faces briefly before blaming each other for the loss until Zeb Colter got pissed and threw down his coat and ordered them to shake hands, where Cesaro would not let go. More tension between the Real Americans.

The Undertaker comes to the ring. As he made his way down, the announcers talk about how many people are saying that Brock Lesnar has no chance against the Undertaker, when they said the opposite last week. Paul Heyman comes out and apologizes for interrupting. He tells Taker that he wants him to preserve his streak then lists off several stars and how none of them won more than four WrestleMania’s in a row to show off the greatness of his accomplishment. Heyman then says he is here to convince him to step down from his match against Lesnar in order to keep that streak and if he does not, Lesnar will destroy his myth. The Undertaker calls Heyman “messenger boy” and wants him to tell Lesnar that the fear of the unknown is the greatest fear of all and if he does indeed show up to WrestleMania, he will rest in peace. Heyman was really good here and they attempted to get the match over but no one is buying Lesnar as having a chance and they are making him an underdog for some reason, which makes no sense unless he is winning and no one wants to see that.

Roman Reigns & Seth Rollins d Cody Rhodes & Goldust

Decent match but they have had much better in the past. Rollins pinned Cody with the curbstomp. It really dragged for a few minutes after the break. Right before the break, the Rhodes Brothers took out Reigns & Rollins with dives as Ambrose paced around angrily while making the goofiest facial expressions. He reminded me of Mad Mikey (Crash Holly’s TNA character, which as a bottom of the card comedy act) and should never do that again. Anyway, the announcers spent all of the match talking about the Shield, even mentioning how Ambrose hardly ever defends his U.S. Title. At one point the crowd started a “CM Punk” chant. The crowd popped big for the hot-tag to Cody. Sad to see the Rhodes Brothers as afterthoughts though, especially when they were over big with the crowd as recently as a few months ago. The Shield stood tall after the match and all seemed to be on the same page.

The Bella Twins d. AJ Lee & Tamina

Natalya was on commentary plugging the season 2 debut of “Total Diva’s” and her title match against AJ Lee tomorrow on “Main Event.” She was not very good at all and came across as someone who was being fed lines. The announcers put over AJ’s 267 day reign, which usually signals a title change. The match was fine and ended when Nikki pinned AJ with the Shock Treatment. After the match, Nikki held the belt as Natalya hopped on the apron, ending in a staredown. My prediction: Natalya wins and drops the belt shortly to Summer Rae, who they seem to be pushing hard as the new girl on “Total Diva’s.”

Renee Young is with LL Cool J and Chris O’Donnell from “NCIS.” She asked them who they would pick to be part of the show. O’Donnell said John Cena as LL said either the Undertaker or Daniel Bryan. Then they said something about the Bella Twins. Typical cross-promotion segment.

Daniel Bryan is in the ring. He talks about the “Yes Movement” and how he will not be intimidated or scared by the Authority and if HHH wants to send people after him, he will fight. He then says tonight is when HHH will have to listen to the Yes Movement as they are going to occupy RAW tonight and will not leave the ring until he gets what he wants, which is a match against HHH at WrestleMania. Bryan says he will fill the whole arena with the Yes Movement and brings some of the members to the ring as they go to commercial.

Back from break, the ring is surrounded and filled with the Yes Movement folks. The Authority comes out as HHH says that they have 30 seconds to leave before they are arrested. They chant “no” as HHH makes fun of them, especially one of the many fat guys. Bryan asks HHH if he would like RAW in an arena of nothing but empty chairs. Two security guys go down and come right back up, refusing to clear the ring. Steph cuts  a promo on the crowd, saying how Daniel Bryan is manipulating them and that he is not worth their time. Bryan says that they own the ring, not the Authority. HHH orders the next match now as Damien Sandow walks out, with Bryan inviting Sandow to join them. He declines then HHH comes out and pushes him around until Steph grabs the mic and goes berserk. HHH takes the mic back and says that he has been trying to protect Bryan since SummerSlam, because he likes him. He then says that he will not stop until he ends Bryan and accepts his challenge at Mania. As he goes to leave, Bryan said that he is not done and adds that if he beats him, he will be added to the title match between Batista and Randy Orton at WrestleMania. HHH goes out of his mind and attempts to go down the ramp but his stopped and carried away by security. The visual of an irate HHH being carried away was something else. He was channeling his father-in-law big time, which is a good thing. Stephanie was money in this segment too. Just a fantastic and memorable moment. Everyone played the part perfectly. If you are looking for ways to pick apart this segment, it is because you do not enjoy watching wrestling.

Sheamus d. Christian in a “Memphis Street Fight”

Jerry Lawler, wearing a shirt that made him look like the Hillbilly Liberace, announced that the Memphis Street Fight won the vote. The match was good and easily the best that Sheamus has looked since his return.  The finish was awesome. Christian was charging at Sheamus with a drum, who then hit him with the Brogue Kick as his foot went through the drum and right into Christian’s face. I would give this ***.

Backstage, Brad Maddox is with Batista and Randy Orton. He nervously tells them that they need to work together to take out the Big Show and more importantly, Daniel Bryan. Orton said he will make it work as long as Batista is down. Batista stared him down then left.

Lana walked on stage and welcomed Alexander Rusev. Lana does a good job in this role. Rusev finished this off by speaking in Bulgarian as he stared into the camera. I do not understand why they had him make his debut at the Rumble then proceeded to build him up through vignettes and live promos. Seems backwards to me. Anyway, I think Rusev has potential but is not ready to be on the main roster. Needs more time in NXT.

The Wyatt Family appears on the screen as Harper tells Cena that he made a mistake. Bray then vows to make WrestleMania 30 the last thing that John Cena does before accepting his challenge.

Big Show & Daniel Bryan d. Batista & Randy Orton

Match was okay. Bryan got the win after hitting Orton with the running knee smash shortly after eluding an RKO attempt. Lawler acknowledged the “Boo-Tista” comments on Twitter. JBL and Cole had an awful back and forth on commentary about whether or not the USA Network should have taken action against Daniel Bryan. After the match, Cole put over Bryan for the win and his chance at getting the belt at WrestleMania.

Final Thoughts: Overall, the show did a very good job at hyping WrestleMania. It also featured one of the more memorable segments in RAW history with the Daniel Bryan Yes Movement. With the WWE realizing that Batista vs. Orton would be a disaster, they made the correct call and changed things up. Besides Sheamus vs. Christian, none of the other matches were memorable and they are trying to push the Battle Royal, which I dont see getting over well but you never know. Anyway, now that the top of the card is set, they have four more weeks to hype it up and add other matches too. I feel better about Mania now than I did before tonight’s show.