On the heels of Extreme Rules, we now get to see how WWE plan on launching their follow-up direction. How will RAW play out tonight? How about…
– The show started with WWE World Heavyweight Champion Seth Rollins making his way to the ring with J&J Security and Kane. It didn’t take long before Rollins took all the credit for his win the night before and insulted Kane. The two of them began to argue (again), but were interrupted by Randy Orton. He demanded a rematch. Just as Kane was about to say he deserved a rematch, Roman Reigns‘ music hit and he made his way to the ring. He claimed that he deserved a title shot instead of Randy. Kane then suggested a tag match between him and Rollins against Orton and Reigns. Thus we ended the segment. Umm….yeah.
My problem with the segment wasn’t the storyline itself, but the blase nature that both Orton and Reigns claimed to deserve a title shot. There was no urgency or anger over the whole thing. I just expect some passion when it comes to the title.
– The first match of the evening was a 1st-round contest in the 2015 King of the Ring tournament with Dolph Ziggler taking on Bad News Barrett. It was a pretty darn good back-n-forth contest with Ziggler gaining momentum once Barrett missed a Bull Hammer. All of a sudden, Sheamus came out and distracted Ziggler long enough for Barrett to take advantage with a Bull Hammer for the pinfall…advancing in the tournament.
– The New Day, the new WWE tag team champions, made their way out to the ring. They tried to start a chant of “New Day Rocks“, but (as expected) that didn’t really work. The match scheduled to take place is Big E taking on Tyson Kidd in singles action. I like the fact that New Day is taking the heel approach because they’re over as a team people simply don’t like. This ended quickly as Big E had a pin attempt on Kidd when Xavier Woods held down Kidd’s foot to prevent him from kicking out. This may have been over way too soon, but I like what they are doing.
– Ryback came out next. Ugh. He got some cheers, but nothing too big. Good lord I dislike this guy. He was scheduled to take on “The Inspirational” Bo Dallas (big pop from me). I love his gimmick and his character and would love to see Vince & Management truly “get” the gimmick long enough to see it succeed. Unfortunately, this was a glorified squash.
Once the match was over, Bray Wyatt appeared in the ring and immediately gave him Sister Abigail to leave “The Big Guy” laying.
I really don’t know if this is such a good idea if they want to push Ryback as a fan favourite. If anything, this will increase Wyatt’s fan base and decrease Ryback’s…unless Wyatt can do a LOT to turn the crowds against him.
– John Cena came out next for a John Cena United States Title Open Challenge. He started off by describing the situation between himself and Rusev and how their next match will be an “I Quit” match at Payback. Cena basically gave up the ending of the match by saying this will be their last match, win or lose…because if he can’t win and defend America, then he doesn’t deserve a rematch. Nice to see that Rusev will lose again. Sigh…
Heath Slater came out as the guy who would challenge Cena. Thankfully, Rusev kicked his head off before the match could begin.
Lana came out to cheers, but Rusev made her return to the back to a “We Want Lana” chant. Rusev then insulted Cena and insulted Americans before the Russian flag dropped behind Cena.
– We have the second match of the 2015 King of the Ring tournament. R-Truth came out dancing like a moron, as per usual. Stardust came out next, and you already know who is advancing here. Of course, I fall asleep and wake up once the 3-count is made and imagine my shock to see R-Truth advancing. Seriously…WTF??
– Out came the newly babyface FANDANGO to take on Adam Rose. It’s really a battle of two gimmicks that could be tweaked just enough to be massively over. Regardless, Fandango showed a little bit of babyface flare before Rosa Mendez decided to come out and distract Fandango. Next thing you know, Rose hit his finishing move (whatever it is) and pinned Fandango.
Rosa then got on the mic and said that she now had a guy who treated her with respect. She then muckled onto Rose and made out with him in the ring as Fandango walked away slightly confused.
The entire crowd sat on their hands for this turn of events, and why shouldn’t they? Are they supposed to cheer Rosa because she’s a spurned woman? Should they cheer Fandango when he walks away like a heel that just got shown-up? If the crowd doesn’t know who they are supposed to cheer, then you’ve lost the entire reason for people to care about the storyline to begin with.
– Brie Bella was interviewed backstage to discuss Daniel Bryan’s injuries. WHEN IN THE HELL DID THE BELLA’S TURN BABYFACE AND WHY IN THE HELL SHOULD I GIVE TWO SHITS???
– Brie took on Naomi next. I love Naomi’s new wrestling boots, as the bottoms of the boots change colours as she wrestles. It’s the beginning of a make-over as she transitions into a heel. She needs a bit more, though. Just look at Sasha Banks in NXT…she’s got the TOTAL package in terms of heel persona AND look/gimmick. Anyway…the crowd was completely dead for this match (again) and (again) why shouldn’t they be silent? WWE hasn’t given them a reason to cheer for Brie Bella other than being married to Daniel Bryan. Naomi rolled-up Bella in a VERY sloppy inside small package and pinned her (Booker T…hard-on showing through the TV screen…called it “beautiful technique” like a moron).
– Dean Ambrose vs Sheamus was our next 2015 King of the Ring tournament match.
The match was pretty good, as both of these individuals are upper-midcard players on the cusp of being main eventers and can both “go” inside the ring. Things were beginning to build to a conclusion with a battle on the outside. The referee was visibly counting and reached 6 when Sheamus hit the Brogue Kick and pretty much knocked Ambrose out. Immediately afterwards, Dolph Ziggler came running out and attacked Sheamus, which sent the pasty-white-Viking running for the hills. It was announced that Sheamus won by disqualification, which upset Ambrose; but let’s be honest, Ambrose would have been counted out anyway so he needs to stop whining like a bitch.
– Damien Sandow came out and delivered an in-ring promo.
It was a pretty decent promo where he thanked the crowd and then asked the question we’re all wondering: where does he go from here? Out came Curtis “AxelMania” Axel. As Axel tried to get angry, Sandow began mocking him to the cheers of the crowd…apparently showing the world his new gimmick is mocking his opponent. Axel went after Sandow but he did some Hogan-esque punches before delivering a legdrop to end the segment. I wasn’t sure if this was all going to work, but the crowd seemed into it.
– The final 1st-round 2015 King of the Ring tournament match-up is Neville taking on Luke Harper. Obviously, this is a big man vs smaller man type of match. Thankfully, Luke Harper is the PERFECT big man to make Neville look incredible. After five+ minutes, the crowd was chanting “This is awesome” and they were right. This was really a great match and Harper was spectacular in making Neville look spectacular without looking weak in any way. It was a perfect match to feature Neville’s strengths. After a Red Arrow, Neville successfully advanced in the tournament.
– It was finally time for the main event: Roman Reigns & Randy Orton vs Kane & Seth Rollins. The match itself was quite entertaining. It was a paint-by-numbers match, but the crowd seemed into it and that’s all that matters. At one point, i asked on Twitter when a good time for Kane to retire would be, having recently turned 48 years old. These were some of the responses I got…
After earlier dropkicking Kane by mistake, Rollins went to do a flying plancha on the babyfaces but hit Kane instead. Kane went nuts and threw Rollins back into the ring where he was hit by a Superman Punch from Reigns and an RKO from Orton for the 1-2-3. The crowd went apeshit for the finish, so at least in Green Bay it appears that WWE is doing something right.
It was then announced that the WWE Universe voted for a triple threat main event at Payback. What’s notable, however, is that Reigns got over double the votes that Orton got…so WWE should definitely take that as a good sign. It seems that Reigns is slowly winning over his doubters through hard work and better performances.
All in all, it wasn’t the greatest RAW of all time, but it certainly didn’t suck. It was a decent show that set up some feuds for Payback.